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Jessie. Jessie heard him, and looking out of the window saw that he was a bird-seller, who carried upon his head a large cage full of canaries. They jumped so nimbly from perch to perch that Jessie nearly fell out of the window in her eagerness to see them.
“ Will you buy a canary bird, miss,” said the man to her. "Perhaps I may,” replied Jessie; “ but stop a minute, and I will ask my papa's leave.” Jessie then ran to her father, and said to him, quite out of breath, “Come here, papa! quick ! make haste! there is a man in the street that sells canary birds. I dare say he has got more than a hundred. He carries a large cage quite full of them on his head.”
“And why does that make you so glad ?” said her father. "Oh, papa, because, if you give me leave, I should like to buy one. I have sufficient money in my purse to do so."
“And who will feed the poor bird when it is bought,” said her father. "I will, papa,” said Jessie, “the little thing will be quite glad to be my bird.” “I am afraid you will let him die of hunger or thirst," said Mr. Brown. “I let him die of hunger and thirst !” said Jessie. “Oh, no, you may depend, I shall not. I will never touch my own breakfast till the bird has had his."
Jessie pleaded so earnestly that at last her father gave her permission to buy the bird. She chose the prettiest canary in the cage. Its colour was a bright yellow, with a little tuft of black
upon its head. Who was so happy as Jessię then ? Her
father gave her some money to buy a handsome cage, with drawers, and a water-cup of crystal. When she had put the bird in his new house, she ran about calling her mamma, brothers, and sisters, to show them her beautiful bird. Whenever any of her little friends came to see her, the first word was, “Do you know I have the prettiest canary bird in the world? He is as yellow as gold, and has a little black crest like the plumes of mamma's hat. Come, I will show him to you; his name is Cherry.”
Cherry was quite happy under Jessie's care. The first thing she thought of in the morning was to give him the freshest and clearest water. Whenever there was any cake at table, Cherry had his part first. She had always some bit of sugar in store for him, and his cage was decorated with flowers and leaves. Cherry was very pleased with these attentions. He soon learned to distinguish Jessie; and the moment he heard her step in the room, he fluttered his wings and chirped joyfully to welcome her.
At the end of a week he began to sing, and poured forth the most delightful music. Sometimes he stretched his little notes to such a length that one would have thought he must die from fatigue; then, after pausing a moment, he would begin again sweeter than ever, with a tone so clear and brilliant that he could be heard all over the house. Jessie passed whole hours in listening to him as she sat by his cage. She sometimes would let her work fall out of her hands to gaze at him
and after he had amused her with a sweet song she would give him nice things to eat.
These pleasures became, however, familiar to Jessie. Her father one day made her a present of a new book full of pictures. She was so delighted with this book that she began to forget Cherry. He would chirp the moment he saw her, though ever so far off, but Jessie did not hear him. Almost a week had passed since he had had either fresh greens or biscuit. He repeated the sweetest airs that his mistress had taught him, and composed fresh ones to amuse her, but in vain. The truth was, Jessie's thoughts were engaged on other things.
Her birthday took place soon after, when her godfather presented her with a large doll. This doll, which she called Columbine, made her forget all about her bird. From morning till night she was busy with doing nothing else but dressing and undressing Miss Columbine a hundred times, talking to her, and carrying her up and down the room. The
bird was fortunate if he got some food towards evening. Sometimes it happened that he was obliged to wait for it till the next day.
At length one day when Mr. Brown was at table he chanced to look towards the cage, and saw the canary bird lying upon its breast panting for breath. Its feathers were ruffled, and it seemed doubled up all in a lump. Mr. Brown went up to it, but it did not chirp; the poor little creature had hardly strength sufficient to draw its breath. " Jessie,” said Mr. Brown, "what is the matter
with your canary bird ?” Jessie blushed. “Why, somehow, papa, I forgot to give him his food;
I and, all in a tremble, she ran to fetch him some biscuit.
“Alas, poor bird !” said Mr. Brown, “thou art fallen into cruel hands. If I had thought you would have been treated in this way, I would never have bought you.” All the company rose up from table and held up their hands, crying the
poor bird!” Mr. Brown put some seed in the drawer, and filled the cup with fresh water, but had much difficulty in bringing Cherry back to life. Jessie left the table, and going into her room, cried so much, that her handkerchief was quite wet with her tears.
THE CANARY BIRD.
The next day Mr. Brown ordered the bird to be carried out of the house, and given to the son of Mr. Clarke, his neighbour, who was known to be a very careful boy, and certain to see that he had plenty to eat and drink. But Jessie begged and prayed that she might have another trial. She said, “Ah! my dear bird ! my poor Cherry ! Indeed, I promise you, papa, that I will never forget him after this a single moment as long as I live.”
Mr. Brown saw she was touched, and he consented at last that the bird should be again com
mitted to her care. He, however, gave her a sharp lecture for her carelessness in leaving him to suffer so keenly the pangs of hunger. “ This poor little creature,” said he, “is shut up, and therefore not able to provide for its own wants. If you want anything you can ask for it; but Cherry cannot make people understand his language. Take care that he never suffers hunger or thirst again. these words Jessie shed a flood of tears. She kissed her papa, but her grief was so great that she could not utter a word. Now Jessie was once more mistress of Cherry, and Cherry was on the best of terms with Jessie.
About a month after, Mr. Brown had to go into the country a few days with his wife. Jessie, Jessie,” said he, in parting with his daughter, “I trust you will not forget Cherry." Her parents had scarcely got into the carriage when Jessie ran to the cage, and gave her bird everything that it wanted.
In a few days, however, her time began to hang heavily. She sent for some of her little friends to come and play with her, and by this means soon became cheerful and happy. They went out for a walk together, and on their return played at blind-man's-buff and puss-in-the-corner. After that, they danced, and when it was time to go to bed, Jessie was quite tired. The next morning she awoke early, and began to think what capital sport she had had the night before. If her governess had let her, she would have run as soon as she got up to see the Miss Marshalls; but she was obliged