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baif with which it is lined, four awkward | a magnificent gilt cage, but withal was a melancholy instance of miserable splendour. The architect of this gorgeous domicile, actuated more by ingenuity than humanity, had contrived the perches so that they swung round by the slightest motion; thus, instead of being restingplaces for the weary bird, they in reality became a sort of treadmill, which kept their wretched occupant in a state of most uncomfortable activity all day long. Being attracted by these ceaseless gyrations on the part of our friend, I felt my heart moved with pity; and on making some inquiries relative to the position he occupied in the family, I learned that he was the property of the butler, a man of a most sedate and respectable aspect, but much given to the vagrant sport of bird-catching, A gleam of hope shot across me at this discovery. I might rescue the feathered convict-I might bring him to my home
"Pooh! and so after all your hero is only a bird!"
Friend, what is it that you have said? Remember, that a goose saved Rome from destruction; that a flight of cranes betrayed the murderers of Ibycus the poet; and that when Psapho the Libyan wished to gain the reputation of being immortal, he taught a number of birds to repeat the words, Psapho is a God!" and then let them loose upon the world. Remember, too, how a dove brought to the wanderers on the great waters, tidings of the appeasement of the Almighty's vengeance; and recalling the pious deeds of Robin Redbreast, when wearily he covered the children with leaves, do not scoff at the idea of a bird being a hero,
No doubt you thought that something very fine was coming when I mentioned a "hero!" Your imagination began to revel in battles, bivouacs, forlorn hopes, and bombardments. You began instantly to think of Leonidas, Alexander the Great, and Napoleon Bonaparte. Drums began to beat, cannons to thunder, blood to flow, and straightway the crimson upas-wreath of victory blossomed before your mental vision. Vain dreams of excitement and glory! I would not dip my pen in ink to chronicle the murders of the loftiest conqueror that ever brought ruin upon nations. My hero was a peaceful, if not a useful, member of society; his quarrels were few, and such as they were, always terminated in the most bloodless manner. But enough of this. Descending from the regions of Fincy to those of fact, let me detail the history of my connexion with the illustrious subject of this simple sketch.
educate him-improve him—and, in the end, he might become a respectable bullfinch. Straightway I held counsel with the bird-catching butler, and the result of my negociation was, that for the sum of five shillings sterling, that individual sur rendered all right and title to the body of the future hero, who was borne off in triumph and a new cage to my residence. At this time he had not yet emerged from the bullfinch state of hobble-de-hoyism, (which, as all bird-fanciers know, consists in not having donned the crimson and black vesture which, at a more advanced age, becomes the prerogative of the race), but was clothed in a suit of mottled grey and brown. I little guessed the virtues concealed under that homely garb-another and a striking instance of the fallibility of externals! For some time after his introduction into our circle, we laboured under a strange delusion regarding the accomplishments of our guest. Occasionally, when in a good humour, he would indulge in a strange guttural kind of song, interspersed with long melodious whistles. Now, not being very well acquainted with the bullfinch's natural notes, and knowing that before he came under our care, he had been hung in the vicinity of a most indefatigable thrush, we took it for granted, that as the imitative faculties of the bullfinch tribe are proverbial, this occasional song was nothing less than an įmitation of
I first made his acquaintance at the house of a friend. He then and there inhabited
the persevering bird whose companion he | salutation was performed a duty which he had been. After this notable discovery never omitted, unless my door by accident ten per cent. in our estimation, and was closed-he was apparently satisfied, for some time was displayed to visitors as and flew off gaily to amuse himself about a sort of feathered Charles Matthews, who the room, investigating, with great ardour, gave a 20 an occasional "at home." One day, the contents and quality of sundry bottles however, another bullfinch was added to of perfume, pomade, and other treasures our domestic circle, and to our great which stood upon my dressing-table. amazement, we found that he had precisely a similar song to that of our favourite, and we were, perforce, obliged to come to the conclusion that his accomplishments in the vocal line were nothing beyond what his ordinary brethren possessed.
From the moment of his introduction our family, his affection for me was most remarkable. When in his cage, he would exhibit it in the most decided manher whenever I drew near, puffing out his feathers, and erecting his raven crest until he bore a ludicrous resemblance to an inflated bishop with a black mitre. In time, as he grew more familiar, his cage was usually left open, and he issued from it at pleasure, retiring thereto when weary of his liberty. It was shortly after this, that the singular instinct, which afterwards rendered him so distinguished a character, began to display itself. He discerned my footsteps from all others. If I was, out during a part of the day, the moment I entered the house on my return, his move. ments in the room, which he inhabited, became exceedingly agitated. He flew ceaselessly from his cage to the door, as if expecting some friend to enter, and as my steps drew nearer and nearer, so inuch the more eager did he become; and when at last I entered the room, with a loud eroak of exultation he would fly towards me, and enthrone, himself in great state upon the top of my head, from which elevation he usually delighted the spectators with a specimen of his vocal powers,
One day, in order to test his powers of recognition, I planned a little domestic drama, in which he and I were the sole performers. I disguised myself thoroughly in female apparel, veiling my face thickly, and concealing my identity so completely, that a human friend could scarce have recognised me. In this garb I entered the room where Master "Bully" was. He had recognised my steps outside the door, and was in the act of flying to greet me, when I made my appearance. He was bewildered. He had expected to see his friend, and here was a tall, ungainly, anomalous-looking being. He flew round me, and over me, and alighted on my head, and immediately flew away again, startled and confounded at the mystery. His instinct told him that it ought to be me, while his vision distinctly declared the contrary. Between the two, the poor bird was completely bewildered, and knew not what to think. Presently, after performing a series of evolutions around me, and trying in vain to get at the bottom of the mystery, he retired in disgust to the mantel-piece, where he sat with his feathers ruffled by melancholy, and his bright round eye fixed on me with a look half suspicious, half mournful. After enjoying his confu sion for a little while, I suddenly threw off my disguise, after the manner in which old hags in the melodrama cast away their rags, and straightway become blooming damsels in an evening dress and white satin shoes. Then what "a change came o'er the spirit" of my hero! Uttering a series of shrill notes of delight, he fluttered his wings, and with a thousand bird-like endearments, enthroned himself upon my head, where he poured forth a triumphant hymn, in honour of the unravelling of the mystery, and the reward of his affection.
The door of the room in which he was placed at night, was opposite to my bed room, The inoment day broke, he would quit his cage and fly into my room, where he invariably took up his post upon my
pillow waiting there patiently even for
hours together unt
As biographies have their beginning, so also have they their end. But as I draw near the end of mine, a sadness oppresses me, and melancholy reminiscences weigh down my spirits. I have to record the
10 NO RESET) ATSITRS 229 6
closing scene in the eventful and virtuous career of my hero. He passed from life in ainanner most sudden and unforeseen, but still lives in the memories of those who knew himbur
with the torn and bloody plumages The sunbeams still shroud the lifeless form with their golden mantley but the spirit of buoyant life that made it beautiful is fled, and my simple history is well-nigh ended
It was at summer's day-bright, warm, and luxurious. The birds in the trees lay panting in the sún, and the poppies in the corn glowed like fiery stars in a green firmament. Faint odours of the whiteblossomed jasmine stole out upon the air through its trellis of deep green leaves, and the Virginian ivy hung in heavy draperies across the wall to which it clung. In the midst of perfume, flowers, and sunbeams, behold a bright and joyous bird, whose breast vies with the adjacent rose, fluttering merrily in his cage of silvered wire. Companions of his race call to him loudly from the trees, and he answers them with a friendly whistle, but cares not to go with them, though his prison-house were opened, for he is happy and contented, and knows that he is with those that love him. The wind circles about him, and lifts the crimson plumage of his bosom, as if it were wooing him to float away upon its cool currents. The jasmine turns to him her starry face, as if she were wondering what strange and lovely flower had thus blossomed in a cage; and the yellow sunbeams fall around him like burning showers. But see! a dark shadow flits between him and the sun-a shadow, terrible and mysterious, that chills his little heart to ice. He falls motionless to the bottom of the cage his bill opens in mortal agony This breast heaves no more the current of life is frozen within him. On comes the shadow nearer, nearer still-rapidly, noiselessly it darts from the blue heights of heaven-the terrible, remorseless hawk. A moment on his wide dark wings does STA" the fearful enemy hover above the cage, "If the king of the Congo looks pon then stoops. There is a flapping of pow-the sea, he dies; so says the law," muttered erful pinions, a faint and powerless strug-old Medora, taking off his white-knitted gle, a little scream for mercy, a low gurgle cap, and passing his fingers through his of expiring life, and the destroyer soars grizzled grey hair. "Well! I must trust away with the blood of the innocent upon to Benna, then, to lead our warriors! his talonso our
An instant before, that silent cage contained a being full of life, of joy, and beauty; now a crushed and shapeless body lies bleeding at the bottom. The jasmine still hangs its pure and odorous blossoms above his head the wind still wantons
The old king rose, and gathering rounds him his blue and scarlet cloth robe-the present of some English captain-he strode into his palace. The two ends off this building were quite open at the extremes being merely roofed continuations of the enclosed centre and private part of sito One
He is buried beneath a rose tree; when the autumn scatters its deaves, they fail upon his grave. No hand save that of Nature points to the last resting-place of A FAMILY FRIEND.
F.JO'Br As a Koth 2908
THE FREE SLAVE. MEDORA, the king of the Congo, sat at the entrance of his reed-built palace, medi tating. The setting sun was glimmering through the lower boughs of the short, but immensely trunked tree, some fifteen feet in girth, under which he reclined. At the foot of the hill-on the summit of which, in the centre of the village, stood his palace-lay a broad expanse of luxuriantly flat country, intersected in every way by creeks, and through which the mighty Congo swept on its course.
But the old king's thoughts were not with his eyes, that glanced, now heedlessly, and now with unmeaning fixedness on the beautiful portion of his domain before him.
On one side of him stood a large earthen jar of palm wine, and on the other-the lately introduced luxury from some English man-of-war-tobacco and a pipe. But their charms were alike unheeded His wives were chattering and laughing near him, as they gathered up in parcels the ground nuts spread to dry; but he thought not of them, nor glanced even at his fas vourite helpmate, who, on household cares intent, looked occasionally I for a smile from the royal eyes.
end was used as a sort of receiving room, and the other, in which hung a huge rudelyconstructed drum, was devoted to the more serious purposes of religious celebrations, and for councils of war. The old king strick; three sounding blows upon the drum, and, in a moment all the male inhabitants of the village came flocking into the light wood enclosure that surrounded the palace. The old men emerged from their huts at the sound, and the young ones dropped the spears they were in the act of darting at a mark, and, abandoning their warlike games, crowded round their chief.
"My children," said the king, rising, when the crowd around was still, and the respectful circle about him, standing wrapped in their trade-cloth togas, or their blankets, and leaning on spear or musket, were motionless with attention; My children, I have summoned you for counsel. You have all suffered from our neighbour, Tom-Bassy-Tow, king of Lemba; he has robbed our canoes, stolen our stock, and there are some amongst you whom he has beaten."
There was a murmur of assent and indignation in the assembly at these words.
"Much as we love peace, and much as we have put up with, not only from Tom-Bassy Tow, but from the British war-chiefs, when they come to trade, (through his lie talk,) old Medora cannot live and see his children treated thus they must be revenged."
They will!"' cried the warriors, grounding their weapons with a warlike clang. "head us against Lemba!!!
1. Hold cried a grey old man, tottering into the circle. The king of the Congo must not see the sea, or our laws say he dies. Lemba borders on the sea." "Ah! tis true," said the warriors, turning one to the other; "we must not let our father go." "As
The old king bowed his head. you will, my children. Choose your own leader." There was a moment's pause, and then, as if by the same impulse, a shout arose from all of Benna! Benna shall lead us against Lemba!",
At this a tall, well-made young warrior, his white drapery hanging gracefully round him, stopped into the circle, and made obeisance to the king, o You are chosen, Benna, my son,” said
the old king, "to lead our people to the fight go and conquer.”or, fiqur to 199769
He waved his hand, and with another shout the crowd dispersed, hurryingỗ prepare their weapons, and arrange their households before going forth to battle.
Benna, having taken his instructions from the old king, wended his way towards his hut, to bid farewell to his wife and child, for the expedition was to set forth that night. As he strode along the id regular path, winding in and out between the huts and their gardens, the young warrior-his gun on his shoulder, and his ornamented dagger-knife stuck in his waistcloth-looked every inch a warrior; and his bare feet trod as proudly as if they had worn the golden spurs of knighthood. But spite of the joy, the pride, the glory of being chosen to command, a feeling of gloom he could not account for, like the shadow of some coming evil, would steal over his mind." This was something he had never felt before, and Benna tried to expel it from his thoughts as something akin to fear. Turning from the path, he entered the enclosure of a hut, larger, and standing apart from the rest. Sweet flowering shrubs blossomed around it; and by the door, from a gracefully bending banana-tree, hung massive bunches of the ripe fruit. The goats, and pigs, and poultry, and stacks of ground-nuts round about, bespoke the owner's wealth. The door of the hut was open, and before Benna could advance another step, the form of a small but exquisitely modelled girl of sixteen was hanging round his neck, and a tiny featured, but perfect face, with large black eyes, was looking up to his for a loving greeting.
Elsina-light of my soul! I lead our warriors to-night to Lemba.
'Oh, Benna, Benna! must you leave me?" sobbed his wife; and a shower of tears' dimmed the sunshine of her smile.
Nay, dearest one, nay, weep not so," said Benna, kissing her eyes; "what an example for our little one; see! he will cry, too." And the little brown boy, that, unable to walk, lay sprawling out his arms for his mother's embrace on a matted couch near, began to sob in sympathy, et
Come, Elsina, cheer up! Remember the path to Lemba is also the way to glory. Come, my life, get me my war-spears, and let not your tears dim their brightness.de
dquordt bua n01 zoBy sunset call preparations were completed, and shortly after, a single sounding blow on the signal drum at the palace, summoned all thither. A bright pine fire was burning in the centre of the open council-room, and shone upon the grey hair, and white and blue robes of Medora, and the old wise men of the tribe kneeling around it. Nothing broke the stillness of the night save the dull incessant buzz of insects, as the warriors silently ranged themselves outside the palace entrance, their dusky forms and bright arms now gleaming in the firelight-now lost in shadow. In the background, the women in their parti-coloured drapery clustered round them. The crowd made way as Benna came; and he looked like the leader of them all, as he stepped proudly through the line of men to the old king's side. Again were the last orders given, the last blessing asked, and then, silent as the night, the crowd melted away into the gloom, and the pink and pride of Medora's people, with Benna at their head, were sweeping on their way to Lemba. On they marched, through the parched-up yellow grass and sandy soil of the hill-top, and through the thick and seemingly pathless waste of luxuriant tree and flower, and interwoven bush-bordering creeks in the valleys. Silently-not with the tramp of armed men-they marched; the progress of their swift and noiseless steps unmarked but by the shrill cry of a startled parrot, or some bounding antelope bursting through the bush. 'Twas now midnight, and they were close upon Lemba. The winding path they followed turned abruptly from the bush, and upon a clear space of common there was the town before .. them.
Stop! rest here," said Benna; and the whole party was in an instant motionless, and almost invisible in the dark shadow of the trees around. Rested from their rapid march, they formed in closer order than they had hitherto kept, and sped on to the 1/town. Not a twinkle of light was to be seen from any of the huts; but here and there were the smouldering embers of wood bafires; where some wily trapper of monkey 9dor parrot, or weary wanderer, had roasted bo his supper of ground-nuts, and watched or i rested.
Sans The first but was passed they are in the village; and then Benna, with a shout of
exultation, cried to his w warriors, To the palace of Tom-Bassy-TowWith a yell that shook the town, and startled it into life, they rushed on. The palace tocsib sounded its echoing alarum through the night, and in an instant shrieks and yells of women and men, birds and beasts, rose upon the air. Benna has seized upon Tom-Bassy-Tow-they are struggling to the death; women and children naked, are flying here and there, and Medora's wars riors are ravaging the town. But suddenly, from the inner portion of the palace, a rush is made; four Portuguese slave-dealers, who had come the day before to purchase, now, with cutlass and pistol, flew out into the fight. Benna is wounded and downthe village rallies at the sight. TomBassy-Tow yells his war-cry, and they charge with fury on the intruders. Astonished-overwhelmed at the apparition of white men-dismay seizes them. What avail their spears and old muskets against sharp sword and ready pistol? In vain Benna drags himself along the ground, and calls on them for old Medora's sake to fight. They turn and fly, leaving Benna where he laid. But five out of the fifty that set forth reached Medora's town to tell the tale. The rest were made prisoners, or killed in the pursuit. Benna, bleeding from the sword-cnts he had received, is bound and flung into a hut with a dozen more prisoners, while the palace and the town resound with joyful acclamations at the victory. Benna's heart is wounded more sorely than his body. He thinks of Elsina and his child, of his disgrace and defeat, and of the fate before him; and to grant his prayer for death would be a mercy. His captors heed it not, as next morning, heart-broken- and suffering, he is dragged ont with the rest before the palace of Tom-Bassy-Town!
There was the conqueror, his eyes glistening as much from the libation of spirits, liberally supplied by his guests, he had indulged in, as at his triumphavith
The Portuguese sat near, and the whole village, men, women, and children, crowded round, crowing with delight. had odw
"We shall have a better market than we expected,” said one slave dealer to the other. geteed bas "Now what you give for this man ?”’ said Tom-Bassy-Tow,' in a broken dingo,