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´╗┐Title: Little Robins' Love One to Another
Author: Leslie, Madeline, 1815-1893
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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Libraries.)



  MRS. LESLIE'S BOOKS
  FOR
  LITTLE CHILDREN.

  THE ROBIN REDBREAST SERIES.


  [Illustration: LITTLE ROBINS' LOVE ONE TO ANOTHER.]


  LITTLE ROBINS'
  LOVE ONE TO ANOTHER.

  BY

  MRS. MADELINE LESLIE,

  AUTHOR OF "THE HOME LIFE SERIES;" "MRS. LESLIE'S
  JUVENILE SERIES," ETC.

  BOSTON:
  CROSBY, NICHOLS, LEE AND COMPANY,
  117 WASHINGTON STREET.


  Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1860, by
  A. R. BAKER,
  In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the District of
    Massachusetts.


  ELECTROTYPED AT THE
  BOSTON STEREOTYPE FOUNDRY.



LITTLE ROBINS' LOVE ONE TO ANOTHER.



CHAPTER I.

JACK ROBIN'S OFFENCE.


It was a lovely May morning. The air was full of sweet fragrance from
the orchards of blossoming trees. All nature seemed alive with melody.
The singing of birds, the humming of insects, the cooing of doves about
their cotes, the responsive crowing of the cocks in the farm yards, the
lowing of the cows for their calves,--even the gurgling of the ambitious
little brook running along over stones and pebbles at its utmost speed,
sparkling and foaming in the ecstasy of its delight,--all hail with
exultation the approaching summer.

But let us turn from this universal rejoicing to our friends under the
old elm tree. Mrs. Symmes we see standing within the shed churning
butter. Fred is before the door, with a pail of dough in his hand,
calling "chick, chick, chick." Annie is following grandpa to the barn
with a pan of warm milk for Whiteface, while the good farmer is driving
his oxen to the field.

The barn yard gate has been accidentally left open, and the cosset,
hearing Annie's voice, bounds forward to meet her, and puts his fore
feet on her dress, nestling his head under her arm.

"O grandpa!" exclaimed the child, "do please take the pan; Whiteface is
making me spill it all over."

"Set it down on the ground, dear, and let her drink it," said grandpa.

"I have a good mind to let her run round with me, as I did yesterday,"
continued Annie.

As grandpa smiled approval, the two were presently engaged in a merry
chase from house to barn, round the trunk of the old tree and back to
their starting spot again.

"Now," cried the little girl when she could recover her breath, "it's
time to feed my Robin family. O, they are all here!" she added, as she
opened the front door.

Jack, without waiting for further invitation, hopped into the entry,
and then into the room. The table was set for the family, and he made
bold to fly upon it, and walk round among the dishes. He looked so funny
as he hopped a step or two, and then, standing on one leg, turned his
head archly, as if to say, "I hope I don't intrude," that Annie laughed
till she cried.

"O, where is Fred? I do wish Fred were here to see the robin!" she
exclaimed, as her mother entered with a dish of smoking hot potatoes.

"Tut, tut, tut," cried Mrs. Symmes, "you are getting rather too bold;"
and she shook her apron to scare the robin away. "No, no, birdie, you
must be content with eating the crumbs from the floor."

In the mean time, Mr. and Mrs. Robin were talking to Jack in a very
excited tone, trying to convince him of the impropriety of his conduct.

"No," said Mrs. Robin, as Katy hopped closer to her brother, and cast a
pleading glance at her parents;--"No, I do not accuse you of intending
to do wrong, but you have never seen your father hop on a table, or take
liberties of that kind."

Jack did not try to excuse himself, and as Annie called them to the
door, and fed them from her hand, the parents hoped she was not much
offended.

Mr. Robin noticed that when Jack was reproved by his mother, Dick was
very much pleased, while Molly and Katy appeared greatly distressed.
"O," said he to himself, "why will not this unruly bird imitate the
lovely example of his sisters!"

When they returned to the tree, and were sitting on their favorite bough
near the nest, Dick exclaimed, "I was glad, for once, to see that some
one was in fault beside myself. If I had been guilty of such a breach of
propriety, I should have been severely chastised, if not disinherited;
but bad as you have always thought me, I have never been guilty of any
thing like that."

"I am sorry to hear you talk so, my son," said Mrs. Robin, eyeing him
with a sad glance. "Jack was rather too familiar, and perhaps took
undue advantage of the kindness of our friends; but that was all. There
was no unfriendly feeling, no selfishness, no disregard of others'
wishes in his conduct; neither was there direct disobedience to his
parents' commands, such as has often pained us in your case. We must
judge the motive, my son, before we condemn."

"I knew it would be just so," answered Dick, in a sulky tone. "Every
thing that Jack does is right, and every thing I do is wrong; and that
is a specimen of the justice of this family."

[Illustration]



CHAPTER II.

THE SPARROWS' NEST.


Mr. and Mrs. Robin were deeply pained by Dick's bad conduct. They
concluded, however, it was best to refrain from further reproof, as it
only seemed to make him worse. After the disrespectful remark at the
close of the last chapter, he flew away, and did not return until night.

Katy then begged her father and mother to accompany her to the village
where Canary lived; and, after a ready consent, they all stretched their
wings and flew away over the tops of houses and trees, not once
alighting until they reached the dwelling where the pretty bird
belonged.

Canary received them very cordially. She assured Mr. and Mrs. Robin of
her interest in their promising children. "In their society," she
added, "I sometimes forget my own trials. Young as you may think me, I
have reared four young broods. Now--but I will not make you sad by
relating my troubles. I see my kind mistress has provided water for me
to take a bath. Perhaps it will amuse you if I do so now."

Mrs. Robin assured her that the sight would delight them all.

Canary then sprang off the highest perch into the saucer of fresh
water, splashed herself thoroughly with her wings, then jumped into the
ring, and shook herself from head to foot. "I feel greatly refreshed,"
said she, after new oiling her feathers.

At the request of Katy, she then exhibited her accomplishments to the
wondering parents, and having ended by a thrilling song, they gave her
their best wishes, and took their leave.

In the mean time, Mr. Symmes, his wife, grandpa, and Annie sat down to
their breakfast, though wondering that Fred, who had been sent of an
errand, did not return. They had nearly finished their meal, when Annie
saw him running toward the house, his face all in a blaze of excitement.

He held in his hand a bird's nest; and, as he entered, took a wounded
sparrow from his bosom.

"Father," he exclaimed, "isn't it real wicked to steal little birds from
their nest?"

"Certainly, my son."

"Well, Joseph Marland and Edward Long have been doing it all the
morning, and they say it isn't wicked at all. As I was coming 'cross
lots through Deacon Myers's pasture, I heard some boys laughing very
loud; and I ran to see what the fun was. They had taken all the young
birds from the nest, and the poor parents were flying around chirping
and crying in dreadful distress.

"'Don't tease the birds so,' said I; 'put the little things back and
come away.'

"'No, indeed!' shouted Joseph; 'after all the trouble we've had, we
don't give up so easy.' And only think, grandpa, they didn't want the
young sparrows for any thing,--only they liked the sport of seeing the
old birds hop round and round.

"I got real angry at last, and said I wouldn't have any thing to do with
such wicked, cruel boys. I started to run away, when they saw Deacon
Myers driving his cow to the pasture, and they sneaked off about the
quickest. After they had gone, I picked up the nest and this poor bird
from the ground."

"Let me see it," said Mr. Symmes, holding out his hand; "and you sit
down and eat your breakfast."

He left the room immediately, carrying the sparrow with him. Presently
Annie came back with tears in her eyes, saying her father had killed it,
to put it out of pain.

"I was afraid it couldn't live," rejoined Fred. "Ugly boys! I am glad
they don't know of our robins' nest."

"Such cruelty always meets with its punishment," remarked grandpa. "I
myself knew a man who, when a boy, delighted to rob birds' nests.
Sometimes he stole the eggs, and sometimes he waited until they were
hatched, that he might have the greater fun. Then he took the poor,
helpless, unoffending things, and dug out their eyes, to see how
awkwardly they would hop around."

"Shocking!" exclaimed Mrs. Symmes.

"He ought to have been hung!" shouted Fred.

Annie pressed both hands over her eyes, and turned very pale.

"Well," resumed grandpa, "he grew to be a man, was married and settled
in life; and now came God's time to punish him. He had one child after
another until they numbered five. Three of them, two daughters and one
son, were born stone blind.

"He was a man coarse and rough in his feelings, as a cruel man will
always be; but this affliction cut him to the heart, and when it was
announced to him that the third child would never open its eyes to the
light of the sun, he threw up his arms and cried aloud, 'O God, have
mercy on me, though I had none on the poor birds!'

"Never before had he made the slightest allusion to his former cruelty,
except to his wife, though it seemed by this expression, that he had
always regarded it as a judgment."

    "If ever I see,
    On bush or tree,
  Young birds in their pretty nest,
    I must not, in play,
    Steal the birds away,
  To grieve their mother's breast.

    "My mother, I know,
    Would sorrow so
  Should I be stolen away;
    So I'll speak to the birds
    In my softest words,
  Nor hurt them in my play.

    "And when they can fly
    In the bright blue sky,
  They'll warble a song to me;
    And then, if I'm sad,
    It will make me glad
  To think they are happy and free."



CHAPTER III.

JACK ROBIN'S CART.


A few days after this, it rained very hard. The children were of course
confined to the house, though Annie pleaded to go with her father to the
barn.

After standing for some time gazing from the window, to watch the drops
following each other down the glass, she saw Mr. and Mrs. Robin
springing from one bough to another, chirping contentedly.

"I wonder they can be so happy when it rains," she thought. "I mean to
make some paper dolls, and then perhaps I shan't think so much about
staying in doors."

She ran quickly up stairs, and brought down a large box full of
pasteboard, and pieces of paper of various colors.

Grandpa sat reading by the kitchen fire, as the rain made the air damp,
and Fred held a book in his hand. He was not reading, however; his eyes
were wandering listlessly around the room. When he saw his little
sister, his face brightened, and he asked, "Don't you want me to cut you
out some new dollies?"

"Thank you," she exclaimed, her whole countenance lighting up with
smiles.

The next hour passed swiftly, as the brother and sister cut babies and
houses for them to live in, and carriages in which they could ride. Fred
had just finished quite an ingenious contrivance, a little pasteboard
cart, with wheels and shafts all in order, when tap, tap, went somebody
at the door.

"That's our robin," cried Annie, springing up to go and let him in.

True enough, it was Jack Robin, looking as drenched as a drowned rat.

"O, see how wet he is! I mean to take him to the fire," said the little
girl.

"Set him on the floor, and he'll shake himself dry in a minute,"
answered grandpa. "Birds have an oily covering," he added, "which turns
the water off and prevents it from soaking in. Look now at robin; you
would scarce know he had been wet at all. If it were not for this wise
provision of Providence, thousands of birds would be chilled to death by
every shower. Take a duck or goose after he has been swimming in the
water. After a moment, he is as dry as if he had not been near the
pond."

"O grandpa," exclaimed Annie, "will you please to tell us a story
to-day?"

"I'll try and think of one after dinner," replied the old gentleman. "I
wish to finish this book this morning."

When the little girl returned to her brother, she found the whole family
of robins there. Fred was busy fastening a piece of cord into the front
of the pasteboard cart, and presently began to harness one of the birds
into it.

"Talk to him, Annie," he said, "and hold some crumbs before him to keep
him still."

But she laughed so heartily, she could not do much else. Fred
persevered, however, and after a while succeeded in driving Jack Robin
around the room, to the great astonishment of his parents, brother and
sisters. They perched on the backs of the chairs to be out of the way,
tipped their heads this side and that, chirping and chattering
incessantly.

But at last Jack grew tired of this unusual exercise, and taking an
opportunity when Fred was holding the string loosely, he flew away,
wagon and all, to the gilt eagle which adorned the top of the looking
glass.

The perfect shout of delight drew their parents and grandfather to the
room, and there stood Master Robin, apparently no ways incommoded by
this unusual appendage to his tail, looking down as innocently as
possible upon the merry group.

"You must get your grandpa to tell you about an exhibition he once took
me to," suggested Mrs. Symmes. "Your play with robin reminds me of it."

"O, you will, you will, you're such a dear, kind grandpa," pleaded the
child, fixing her earnest, expectant eyes upon his benevolent face.

"Yes, yes, dear," said he, patting her rosy cheeks. "After dinner I'll
be ready."

"Well, then, I'll give the birds something, and let them fly away to
their nest," said Fred; "and you may be picking up all the pieces
scattered round on the floor."

"Now," said the boy, when the door was shut, "I'll be the master, and
hear you spell."

"Cat."

"C-a-t; cat," answered Annie.

"Well, you must give the meaning."

"I don't know how."

"Say like this," said the young master: "C-a-t, cat, a full-grown
kitten."

This exercise was carried on with much spirit until the children were
called to dinner.



CHAPTER IV.

THE CANARY EXHIBITION.


After he had eaten his dinner, Fred accompanied his father to the barn
to assist him about the work, then fed his fowls and Annie's lamb, after
which he returned to the house, eager to hear grandpa's account of the
exhibition.

"I dare say," began the old gentleman, "that your mother can remember
more about it than I can. The owner of the canaries was a Frenchman, who
had for many years devoted himself to the business of educating birds.
There were a great number of them, some of which were over twenty years
old.

"During the exhibition the canaries were arranged in order at one end of
the stage, and came forward as they were called by name.

"One of them, whose name, I think, was Major, was dressed in a tiny suit
of military uniform. He had a chapeau on his head and a sword in his
claw: after sitting upright for some time, Major, at the word of
command, freed himself from his dress, and flew to his cage.

"Another came forward with a slender stick in his claws. This he put
between his legs, and holding his head down, suffered himself to be
turned round and round, as if he were being roasted."

Annie was listening in open-mouthed wonder to these astonishing feats.
"O grandpa!" she exclaimed, "I hope there was no fire there."

"No, of course not," cried Fred; "but what did the others do, grandpa?"

"I can think of but two more feats, my dear. Several of them came out
together and practised some gymnastic exercises."

"What are those?" inquired Annie.

"They balanced themselves over sticks, head downwards, with their legs
and tails in the air; or on a rope, and were swung backward and forward.

"The last feat was perhaps the most wonderful of either. A bright little
fellow came out, and taking his place on the platform, was shot at,
and fell down, pretending to be dead. He lay quite still and motionless;
and presently one of his companions came forward with a little mite of a
wheelbarrow, as Annie would say, and wheeled him away."

"How very funny!" exclaimed Fred.

"See, grandpa, how very fast it rains," said the little girl; "but I
like rainy weather, when you will tell us such beautiful stories."

At this moment Mrs. Symmes joined their party. She had in her hand a pan
of beans, which she was going to pick over before they were baked.

Fred jumped up and took them from her. "Annie and I can do them,
mother," he said, "and you can sew while you hear grandpa's stories."

"That's right, my boy," said the old gentleman. "Help your mother all
you can."

The children were soon seated at their work, and their mother at her
mending. "Now, dear grandpa, we're all ready for you to begin."

"Really, my dear," he answered, pleasantly, "you are hungry after
stories."

"I like yours," said the child, "because they're always true."

"Well, let me think with what I shall begin. Have I ever told you how
fast birds can fly?"

"No, sir."

"It is perfectly astonishing," he added, "with what rapidity they dart
through the air. Not many years ago, a large number of carrier pigeons
were taken from Holland to London. They had been trained to carry
messages by attaching a small paper bag to their wing. If taken from
any particular place and let loose, they will find their way back again.
These birds were set at liberty in London at half past four in the
morning, and reached their home in Holland, a distance of three hundred
miles, by noon of the same day. One of them, a great favorite, named
Napoleon, entered his dove-cote at a quarter past ten, having flown
fifty miles in an hour.

"Another pigeon from Ballinasloe, in Ireland, belonging to a gentleman
by the name of Bernard, was let loose at eleven o'clock in the forenoon,
with a note appended to it, directing dinner to be ready at Castle
Bernard at a given time, as he purposed being home that day. The message
reached its destination, which was twenty-three miles distant, in eleven
minutes, being at the rate of one hundred and twenty-five and a half
miles an hour."

"I had no idea that they could fly so fast," remarked Mrs. Symmes.

"These are by no means remarkable cases," added grandpa. "The eagle has
been supposed to fly one hundred and forty miles an hour; and a bird by
the name of swift, one hundred and eighty. But the most extraordinary
that I ever heard, was of a titlark who alighted on board a vessel from
Liverpool, when thirteen hundred miles from the nearest main land, and
nine hundred miles from a wild and barren island. Sea birds retain their
position upon the wing for a wonderful length of time."



CHAPTER V.

KATY ROBIN'S CAPTIVITY.


Not long after the rainy day, Mr. and Mrs. Robin were invited to Mrs.
Bill's nest, to give their advice regarding her future prospects.

"Here am I," said she, "a lonely, sorrowing bird. Soon I am to part from
my dear children, who will, in the order of nature, form new ties, thus
leaving me still more desolate. I have a proposal from a robin, who
has, like myself, been cruelly bereft of his mate, to become his wife. I
feel it is due to the relations of my husband to ask their approbation
before I take so important a step."

Mr. Robin politely waited for his wife to give her opinion, but she
nodded her head in desire that he should speak first.

"You have not mentioned the name of the robin," he said; "but if he is
one whom you can esteem and love, I advise you to accept his offer. Do I
express your opinion, my dear?"

"Certainly," responded Mrs. Robin.

Mrs. Bill then uttered a peculiar cry, and a bird who had been seated on
the top of the tree, flew into the nest.

"How do you do?" said Mr. Robin, recognizing a bird that he had often
met.

"This is my friend," said Mrs. Bill, turning her head modestly on one
side.

"He will make you a kind husband," added Mrs. Robin. "I knew and loved
his dead wife."

This matter being so pleasantly arranged, the company took their leave.

When they reached home, they found the young robins absent; and they
went to the Observatory and passed an hour or two in singing duets,
after which they descended to the cottage door, wondering their children
did not return.

It was nearly an hour later, when they heard in the distance dreadful
shrieks and cries of distress, and darting from the tree in the
direction of the sound, met Jack and Molly flying at full speed, as if
pursued by an enemy.

"O, O!" groaned Jack; "I've lost my darling sister, my beloved, whom I
had chosen for my future mate."

Molly's cries were heart-rending; and it was some time before the almost
distracted parents could wring from their afflicted children the cause
of their grief.

At last, with broken sobs and expressions of anguish, Jack, trembling
with agitation, began: "We went, soon after you left this morning, to
visit Canary, and from there we went to several farm yards, where we saw
a quantity of grain scattered on the ground. At last, grown weary of
eating, as the sun was very warm, we hopped near a house under the shade
of a cherry tree. Soon a little girl came to the door, and scattered
some crumbs on the step. Katy thought she looked very much like Annie,
and began to chirp most merrily.

"The child laughed and laughed, and tried to entice Katy inside the
house; but she was not disposed to go without me. She seemed to think
she was taking too much of the attention to herself, and turned, in her
sweet, affectionate manner, to introduce us.

"'This is my brother Jack,' she chirped; 'and this is my dear Molly.'
She looked so cunning, that I hopped up and nestled her head in my
breast. The little girl then ran and called a tall boy, and talked very
loud and fast to him; but though I turned up first one ear and then the
other, I could not understand a word she said.

"They kept scattering crumbs, and we, without once thinking of danger,
advanced farther and farther, as they retreated, until Katy and I were
within the room. But we were scarcely inside the door, when, with a loud
slam, it was shut to, and we were made prisoners, though neither of us
at first realized this.

"The tall boy opened another door very cautiously, and stepped through;
but presently returned with a cage similar to that in which Canary is
confined. He came softly toward Katy; but at the same instant a
dreadful fear darted through our minds--a fear of being made prisoners
for life.

"'Take care, Katy,' I cried; 'don't let them catch you;' and I flew to
the top of the door. She flew away too; but they chased and chased from
one side of the room to the other, while all the time she uttered the
most piteous cries, as if she were pleading for her life, until the
cruel boy caught her by the tail and pulled the feathers out. The girl
then sprang forward, and, throwing a cloth over her, held her until her
brother brought the cage, when they thrust her into it.

"She lay so still upon the bottom of it that they thought she was dead;
but as soon as she began to moan, they directed all their attention to
catching me. I suppose they would not have found it very difficult, for
I was so full of anguish at the thought of being separated from my
beloved mate, that I cared little what became of me, had not some one
entered the room just as I was flying toward the door, and so I escaped.

"Molly had witnessed all the scene from the window, and was crying
dreadfully when I joined her."



CHAPTER VI.

JACK ROBIN'S LOVE.


All the while her brother had been relating his sad tale, poor Molly
stood on the side of the nest, shaking from head to foot. In the course
of an hour she was so ill that her parents feared she would die, and
thus that they should be deprived of two children in one day.

"To think," cried Mrs. Robin, "that we were singing so gayly while our
loved ones were in such danger and trouble!"

"We must contrive some means to rescue her," said Mr. Robin, sternly.
"I, for one, will perish before I will leave her to so horrible a fate."

Jack at this remark gave a cry of joy. He had the greatest confidence in
his father's capacity, and wondered he had not thought of this before.

"Why can't we go at once?" he exclaimed. "Mother will nurse sick Molly,
and I will show you the house."

Mrs. Robin and Molly added their entreaties, and the birds flew away.
When they reached the house, they found the cage already hung on a hook
over the front piazza.

Poor Katy was uttering the most piercing cries, and striking her wings
against the wires of the cage. As soon as she saw her father and
brother, she gave a scream of delight, and fell to the floor of her
prison house.

Jack alighted on the wires, and called her by the most endearing terms.

Mr. Robin perched on a bough hanging over the piazza, and contemplated
them with strong emotion. "O, how cruel!" he exclaimed, "to separate
such loving hearts."

At this moment the tall boy, with his sister, came to the door, and the
father listened earnestly to their voices, to learn whether they would
be friends to his imprisoned child.

"Good by, father; bid mother and Molly good by for me," cried Jack. "I
have determined to remain in captivity with Katy, rather than leave her
to pine and die alone. Yes, darling sister, I love you better than
freedom, or even than life. Here I will stay to comfort you with my
affection."

Dear little captive, how her heart beat and her bosom swelled when she
heard this! She flew to the upper perch of the cage, and put her beak
lovingly to his.

"I cannot deny such a wish, my dear Jack," said Mr. Robin, "though it
will pierce your mother's heart with sorrow to be deprived of two
children. I love you better for your ardent affection; but I do not at
all despair of your release. Good by, dear ones; I go to consult our
friends at the cottage."

As soon as he was fairly out of sight, the tall boy brought a stool, and
stood upon it, to take the cage down from the hook, and carried it into
the house, Jack still remaining perched upon the wires.

There were poor Katy's tail feathers still lying on the floor; but the
heroic bird cared not for those. He only longed to have the door opened,
that he might feel his sister's soft head nestling once more against his
own breast.

He did not have to wait long, for as soon as the room doors were
carefully secured, the cage was opened, when he flew in.

"Now, darling," said he, "we must be all the world to each other. Let
us forget every thing else in the joy of being reunited."

Katy was so happy, that she could only flutter her wings, and give
gentle cries of delight.

As soon as they became somewhat composed, Jack hopped down from the
perch to examine the cage. Like that in which Canary was confined, it
had conveniences for eating and drinking, and a nice bath tub. In
addition to this, the little girl soon stuck between the wires a piece
of cracker and a large lump of sugar.

"This stone, my dear," said Jack, "is, I suppose, for us to sharpen our
beaks upon."

"O, how sweet!" exclaimed Katy, as she tasted the sugar; and before they
left it, they had diminished it about one half.

When the tall boy thought they were a little wonted to their new home,
he hung them out in the sun again; and here we will leave them while we
return to their parents.

Mrs. Robin was indeed sorely grieved when her husband returned alone.
Molly still continued to suffer so much from the shock she had received,
that she could scarcely fly to the ground for her food.

"I still have hope," cried Mr. Robin, "that our friends may find a way
to relieve us, if we can make them understand what our trouble is."

It was in vain, however, that he chirped, and cried, and flew from the
door off in the direction of his distressed children; and thus day after
day and week after week went by, and still Jack and Katy remained in
captivity.

Mr. and Mrs. Robin, with Molly, visited them many times in a day, and
carried them fine worms. Nor did they wholly forsake Canary, whose fate
was even worse than their own. They carried many tender messages from
one cage to the other, thus enlivening the imprisonment of both.

Dick, to his parents' great sorrow, had expressed little sympathy for
his brother and sister, and had never once visited them, though he gave
as a reason that he feared himself being captured. He was joined now
almost wholly to Mrs. Bill's family, and seldom returned to his parents'
nest.

[Illustration]



CHAPTER VII.

THE RESTORED ROBINS.


One morning, Mr. Robin, his wife, and Molly, came, as usual, to the
cottage for crumbs. They were very much excited, and hopped hurriedly
about the room, flapping their wings and jerking their tails
incessantly.

"What can they want?" exclaimed Annie. "There is something the matter, I
am sure."

Grandpa gazed thoughtfully at them, and then said, "The little one has
never been as cheerful since the loss of her companions; perhaps they
are intending to leave this part of the country."

"O, I hope not!" exclaimed Annie, almost ready to cry. "I should miss
them dreadfully."

This was indeed the case, Mr. and Mrs. Robin having long given up all
hope of procuring the release of their children; and finding that they
were well fed, had concluded to leave for a time, in the hope that
change of scene would restore Molly to health.

Fred and Annie were sincere mourners for their pretty birds; and though
many others came and sang on the old elm tree, they insisted that no
songs were so sweet as those sung by their old friends. Their school
commenced, however, about that time, and this somewhat diverted their
minds.

On rainy days, Annie begged her grandfather for a story about birds; and
he smiled as he related the account of a stork who refused to be
comforted when separated from his mate, until a looking glass was placed
in his house, that reflected his own image, which he took to be his
mate, and was thus pacified.

He also told her about the blind woman who was led to church every
Sunday by a tame gander, who took hold of her gown with his bill.

He related to them the story of the strange attachment which was formed
between a goose and a fierce dog, so that she made her nest in his
kennel, and sat on her eggs with her head nestled against his breast.

To these incidents of birds he added that also of the raven who
regularly travelled over the stage road in one coach, until at a certain
town he met another coach of the same line in which last he took passage
and returned to his home.

       *       *       *       *       *

We must now pass over several months, and relate an adventure which
occurred late in the fall. Fred and Annie one morning received an
invitation to a party given by one of their schoolmates, on the
afternoon of the same day.

As they entered the house, dressed in their Sunday suits, their
countenances glowing with pleasure, Fred heard the familiar chirp of a
robin, and, glancing to the window, saw a large cage containing a pair
of their favorite birds.

"O Fred!" cried Annie, suddenly, growing pale with excitement "there are
our lost robins."

Jack and Katy (for it was indeed they) instantly recognized their young
friends. They flew rapidly from one side of the cage to another,
striking their wings against the wires in their vain efforts to fly to
her.

Mrs. Jones, the lady of the house, at that moment entered the room. Fred
advanced toward her, and fixing his frank eyes full on her face, said,
"Those are our robins, ma'am."

"Do you think so?" she asked, with a smile. "If you can prove that they
belong to you, you shall have them, cage and all; but they have been
here a long time."

"If you will please open the cage, I will show you that they know us,"
said the boy, earnestly.

"What is it?" inquired Mr. Jones, coming forward and joining the group.

His wife repeated what Fred had said.

"What makes you think they are yours?" asked the gentleman, kindly.

"Their parents came and built a nest in our tree," said the boy. "When
the little ones were hatched, we always fed them, and they grew so tame
they would eat crumbs from our mouths, hop about the room, and alight on
our heads."

"Yes!" cried Annie; "and one we tackled, that largest one, into a paper
cart, and he drew it all round the room, and then flew with it to the
top of the mirror."

"How many young ones were there?" asked the lady.

"Four," answered Fred; "but one was a naughty bird, and his parents had
a great deal of trouble with him. The other was a little darling; but
after these went away, and did not come back, she pined, and at last
the old robins flew away with her."

Annie then related how Molly was fastened to the nest.

The whole party of children were standing about eagerly listening.
"Well," said the gentleman, "I will close the doors of the room and open
the cage. If they fly to you, or seem in any way to recognize you, I
will restore your property."

"And the cage too," said the lady.

"Birdie, birdie," called the little girl.

Katy hopped quickly from her perch, and flying over the heads of the
others, alighted on Annie's shoulder.

Jack quickly followed, and perched on her head.

"If you will please give me some crumbs," said the happy girl, tears of
joy standing in her eyes, "I will show you how they eat from my mouth."

"Here, birdie," she cried, placing a piece between her teeth.

Jack alighted on her finger, then flew forward and caught the crumb in
his beak, after which both he and his sister repeated the feat many
times.

Mr. Jones laughed heartily, as he called his little girl to his side,
and putting a piece of sugar in her mouth, told her to call the robins
as Annie had done.

She did so; but though Jack and Katy turned their bright eyes toward the
sugar, of which they were very fond, and chirped loudly for it, yet they
would not leave their old friends.

Mr. Jones bade Fred take the birds, while Annie left the room, to see
whether it was not accident which had led them to alight on her head.
But the moment she returned, they flew to meet her, and showed the
greatest pleasure when she caressed them.

"I'm afraid," said the gentleman to his daughter, "that you'll have to
give up your pets."

"I don't care for them now," answered the child. "They never play any
tricks for me; they only stay cooped up in their cage."

"When you go home, then, you may carry them," said the lady. "But how
will you get them back to the cage?"

There was some difficulty in this, to be sure; for Katy and Jack, having
once tasted the joys of liberty, did not like to return to captivity
again. But at length by coaxing they succeeded in making them enter the
door, which was quickly closed upon them.

"O mother! O grandpa! what do you think Fred is bringing?" shouted
Annie, running forward and opening the cottage door.

Now, being so near the end of my book, I can only tell my young reader,
in a few words, how delighted the robins were to return to their old
home;--how in pleasant weather they flew around the nest in the elm
tree, but always returned to the cage at night;--how during the cold
winter they learned to warble forth their thanks to the dear children
who had proved such loving friends;--how the old robins returned with
the warm breath of spring, and were welcomed with delight by Jack and
Katy, who had begun a nest of their own;--how Molly had found a mate,
and built a nest on a bough near her parents;--and how sweetly at
sunrise and at sunset they all carolled rich music, until the whole air
resounded with their song.

Of Dick nothing was known by his parents, until their new brood was
hatched, when one day a robin perched on a bough of the elm tree, and
after gazing around for a moment, was recognized as the lost bird. Then
were loud chirpings and great rejoicings, especially after he told them
he had reformed from his old habits, and was trying to train up his
young family as he had been taught by his parents.

       *       *       *       *       *


THE LITTLE FRANKIE SERIES.

  LITTLE FRANKIE AND HIS MOTHER.
  LITTLE FRANKIE AT HIS PLAYS.
  LITTLE FRANKIE AND HIS COUSIN.
  LITTLE FRANKIE AND HIS FATHER.
  LITTLE FRANKIE ON A JOURNEY.
  LITTLE FRANKIE AT SCHOOL.


THE ROBIN REDBREAST SERIES.

  THE ROBINS' NEST.
  LITTLE ROBINS IN THE NEST.
  LITTLE ROBINS LEARNING TO FLY.
  LITTLE ROBINS IN TROUBLE.
  LITTLE ROBINS' FRIENDS.
  LITTLE ROBINS' LOVE ONE TO ANOTHER.





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