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his throat as if it were oiled, 'Ellen ! Ellen !' Then he turned to Dan, and questioned : Your sister ?'

• Yes, sir.'

“Ah,' said the man greasily,' she is extremely like you. Allow me. I will bring the cage to the

I table.'

He brought the cage from the window, and placed it before Dan. At that•moment Ellen entered the room. The man's eyes wandered all over her as she took her seat at the table. She did not return his gaze, but bent her head modestly to her work.

Your sister's name is Ellen,' he said ; and


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yours ?'


• Daniel,' said Dan; 'Daniel Taylor.'

Daniel; a scriptural name. Mine is also a scriptural name : Solomon. Solomon Fewster. Solomon was a wise man; I hope I take after him.'

'I hope so, I am sure, sir,' said Dan somewhat impatiently; for he was anxious to get to business. Now, sir, if you will please to look and

. listen.'

He blew through the tin whistle ; and the bullfinches piped God save the King.'




* Very pretty, very pretty,' said Solomon Fewster, nodding his head to the music. “And you taught them yourself ?'

• Yes, sir. But it isn't as if they will only sing for me; they will sing for you, or for Ellen, or any one who blows the whistle.'

And they will sing for Ellen if she breathes into the whistle ?' said Solomon Fewster. Will Ellen breathe into the whistle with her pretty red lips ? Allow me.'

He took the whistle from Dan and handed it to Ellen ; and she reluctantly gave the signal to the birds, who willingly obeyed it. Mr. Fewster took the whistle from her and blew; and the birds for the third time piped the air. Then Dan directed his attention to the wooden whistle, and to the wonders performed by the birds at its dictation. Nothing would please Mr. Fewster but that Ellen should place the wooden whistle between her' pretty red lips,' as he called them again, and • breathe into it.' He said that breathe' was more appropriate to Ellen's pretty lips than 'blow.' He, using the whistle after her, cast upon her such admiring looks, that he really made her uncomfortable. The performance being over, Dan gazed at Mr. Fewster with .undisguised anxiety.

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He had intended to be very cunning, and to appear as if he did not care whether he sold the birds or not; but the effort was unsuccessful.

• Well, well,' said Mr. Fewster; and they are really for sale ? Poor little things! I asked the price of bullfinches yesterday at a bird-fancier's, and the man offered to sell them for fourpence each. Not that these are not worth a little more. There is the trouble of training them; of course that is worth a trifle. Still bullfinches are bullfinches all the world over; and bullfinches, I believe, are very plentiful just now—quite a glut of them in the market.' He paused, to allow this information to settle in Dan's mind, before he asked, “Now what do you want a-pair for these ?'

What do you think they are worth, sir ?' asked Dan, much depressed by Mr. Fewster's mode of bargaining.

No, no, Daniel Taylor,' said Mr. Fewster, in a bantering tone, 'I am too old a bird for that; not to be caught. Remember my namesake. You couldn't have caught him, you know; even the Queen of Sheba couldn't catch him. I can't be buyer and seller too. Put your price upon the birds; and I will tell you if they suit me.'

*You see, sir,' said Dan frankly, you puzzle


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The training of these birds has taken me a long time. You would be

You would be surprised if you knew how patient I have to be with them. And you puzzle me when you make so light a thing of my teaching, and when you tell me that bullfinches are a glut in the market. If the bullfinches you can get in the market will suit you, sir, why do you not buy them ?'

Well put, Daniel, well put,' said Mr. Fewster good-humouredly. "Still, you must fix a price on them, you know. How much shall we say ?'

?' * Fifteen shillings the pair,' said Dan boldly.

Mr. Fewster gave a long whistle, and threw himself into an attitude of surprise. Dan shifted in his seat uneasily.

• A long price,' said Mr. Fewster, when he had recovered himself; 'a very long price.'

'I couldn't take less, sir,' said Dan.

Not ten shillings? Couldn't you take ten shillings ?' suggested Mr. Fewster, throwing his head on one side insinuatingly.

There was something almost imploring in the expression on Dan's face as he said,

No, sir, I don't think I could. You haven't any idea what a time they have taken me to train. I hoped to get more for them.'


'I tell you what,' said Mr. Fewster, with sudden animation, 'Ellen shall decide with her pretty red lips. What do you say, Ellen ? Shall I give fifteen shillings for them ?'

* They are worth it, I am sure, sir,' said Ellen timidly.

"That settles it,' said Mr. Fewster gallantly. * Here is the money.'

And laying the money on the table, Mr. Fewster took the cage, and shaking hands with Dan, and pressing Ellen's fingers tenderly, bade them good-morning.

Dan's delight may be imagined. It was intensified a few days afterwards, when Mr. Fewster called again, and bought another pair of birds; Mr. Fewster at the same time informed Dan that it was likely he might become a constant customer; and so he proved to be.

In the course of a short time, Dan found himself in receipt of a regular income. Other customers came, but Dan could not supply them all, as Mr. Fewster bought the birds almost as soon as they were trained. Very soon Dan thought himself justified in making a proposal to Susan. The proposal was that they should all live together in the house where Dan carried on his business.

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