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she looked out at the sunshine on the new grass, and
As we came along, he stopped - working and
"Wheah you-all gwine?" called the negro, and then we saw that it was 'Rastus Smith, who always beats our carpets for us at house-cleaning time. Pete called to him, “Why, my little canary-bird, Dickie-you know Dickie-he got out of his cage, and flew down to Mrs. Albright's and up in her lilac-bush, and then around the corner this way. Did you— "
But 'Rastus was already down on the walk with us, his eyes rolling so the whites showed, and he was pointing toward the place where Elm Street turns north. "Right dere, honey," he said: "right dere, Mister Pete. Not more 'n half a instanter ago, I see yo' little yaller bu'd, flying 'long des es chipper as though he had business to see to. He went 'Queet! queet ! like dat."
"Oh, that 's Dickie !" said Pete, Sallie, Dolly and Nora. "That 's just the way he goes!”
"Well, foller me, folks," said 'Rastus, and we all went along down the road. It is rather a long way, and the children had time to get big bunches of dandelions. It was too early for buttercups, so we tried with dandelions to see if the baby liked butter, but he ducked down his fat little chin, and giggled so, it was hard to see.
At the turn of the road,
'Rastus gave a start, and cried out: "Dey he ! dey you just walk along while I plow this furrow. he! Right dere by dat patch of brambleberry That 'll bring me to the edge of the woods, and bushes !”
then I 'll tie my horses and go in with you to find “Oh, I see him! I see him !" the children said, your bird.” and began to run. Mrs. Albright and Nora and We walked along on the grass, watching him. the baby and I came along after, but when we None of us had ever been so near a real plow caught up with them, as we did in a few minutes, there was no Dickie to be seen.
"Where is he?" asked Mrs. Albright, very much interested. A pretty pink had come up in her cheeks from hurrying so in the fresh air. “He few that way!" Sallie said.
We were now almost out in the country, standing by a field that a farmer was plowing, with some hens pecking around after him in the fresh furrows.
"No, it was that way!" said Pete positively.
“ 'T was n't ary one of them ways," said 'Rastus. "He went over to’des that there ho'se-chestnut-tree. Der ain't no question 'bout dat."
"Let 's ask the farmer," said Mrs. Albright. So she did, explaining that was a pet bird of the little boy's, and that he was very fond of it, and all.
The farmer leaned on the handles of his plow and looked down at Pete. "Well now, that 's too bad,” he said. “I 've got a little fellow 'bout your age. He ain't got a canary, but he 's got a lame hen that he sets great store by. I know he'd feel awful bad if she ran away from home.”
“But did you see my Dickie?" said Pete; "a little yellow bird about—"
"Well, I don't know but what I did, come to think of it,” said the farmer, looking around. "Yes, sir, I remember now. I saw him flying along close to the ground. He went into the woods yonder.”
Pete looked pretty sober. “Oh, we'll never catch him there!” he said, with a tremble in his voice and a little quiver of his lips.
The farmer took up his lines again and clucked to his horses. “Never you fear," he said; "he while it was plowing, and it was fun to watch the was flying real slow, as though he was tired. bright, sharp blade go tearing through the sod We 'll find him in one of the first trees. Now, and turn up a big, brown ribbon of earth.
“How good it smells !" said Mrs. Albright. “It snatch it away from her. Finally, Sallie could n't must be nice to live in the country.”
stand it any longer, and catching hold of a long, The children were laughing over the antics of fat fellow with her own fingers, she held it out to the hens. The minute the plow started up, they the little pullet. She was so set on seeing fair ran to get the best position behind it, and as fast play, that she forgot entirely that usually she 's as one fat angleworm after another was turned as afraid as can be of angleworms. up, they gobbled him down. Sallie grew inter- Nora began to wipe her eyes. “It ʼminds me of ested in one thin, little pullet who never could get home-the purty field and all,” she said. “It 's
the happiest hour I 've seen in th' new country.”
The farmer was now at the end of his furrow, and we were at the edge of the woods. He tied his horses to an oak-tree and helped us climb the fence. “Here, I 'll carry the baby, cart and all,” he said, and so we set off.
It was lovely in the woods—all the spring flowers were out, and a brook ran full over clean pebbles.
“Now, let 's see," said the farmer. “Where 'd he be likely to go?"
And just then Pete pulled my skirt and pointed to two men who sat in a corner of the fence, with a pack of greasy cards in front of them. They were such rough-looking tramps that I was very glad the farmer and 'Rastus were with us. When the farmer saw them, he asked them about Dick, and began to describe him.
They did not look up from their cards. "No, we ain't see' a yellow bird, nor any other kind," one said crossly, and dealt out another hand.
We went on, and 'Rastus began to chuckle. “Dey ain' seen Dickie 'cause dey ain' look’!" he said. "Dey said dey ain' seen him nor no other bu'd, and dat presact minute dere was a highhole buildin' his nes' in de tree dey had dere backs up against, and fo' meadow-larks wuz a-sittin' on de top fence rail, singin' fit to bu'st deyse'ves !"
And really the trouble in the woods was to pick OF HIS PLOW AND LOOKED DOWN AT PETE."
Dickie out from among all the other birds who
were fying and singing around. I had n't any anywhere fast enough to have her share. Some idea that there were so many birds in the whole big, greedy hen with her crop already just burst- world as the farmer pointed out to us that aftering open would pounce down on the worm and
He knew them, every one, and told us ever so many things about how they built their It was the first time he 'd done more than to fly nests, and what color their nests were, and all, across the room and back. and whether they were good-natured or quarreled At last he settled in the tiptop of an ash-tree with their neighbors. He grew more and more that was ever so straight and tall. “Now,” said observant himself, and was almost as pleased as the farmer, “I tell you what. We could n't catch the children when he showed them a little bunch him now if we should climb up there. But I 'll of leaves, and after making them guess what it mark the tree so, with my knife, and early, early was, pointed out an opening on one side, and, in- to-morrow morning, just before daybreak (you side, four speckled eggs, as yellow as cream. It know birds are so dead asleep then they can't was an oven-bird's nest, he told them, the bird move), I 'll come out and get him, and bring him who called, “Teacher, teacher, TEACHER!" all into town. Will that do?" the time. He said he guessed he 'd have to bring I said it would do very well, and that we ought his own little boy out and show it to him.
to be getting home, for it must be late. Pete "I declare," he said, “I ain't been out in the and Sallie and Dolly suddenly remembered that woods in springtime before in I don't know they were empty down to their toes"just when! There 's always such a lot of farm-work starved !" to do then."
The farmer looked at his watch, and told me it Finally they did catch sight of Dickie again; was five o'clock. Then he said: “Now, we 've then they kept seeing him fly from one tree to come clear through the woods to the other side, another, very slowly they said. It was plain he and my house is just over that next field. You go was tired. Poor Dickie, why should n't he be ? along and have a drink of milk all around, and
they were so good, and it took us so long that the farmer was at the house before we were.
There were a lot of cups of cool milk and a plate of cookies set out on a tray on the porch, and the farmer called to us from the barn where he was hitching up, that his wife had put them
der, too, for we made a lot of noise. A straw-ride, we found out, is just as much fun as they say it is. The children sang some songs they 'd learned at school, and then ’Rastus began. We none of us ever dreamed he had such a lovely voice. We are going to get
him to sing for us at our next school entertainment. He sang one lovely old negro song after another, some funny and some sad, and we applauded after each one as though we were at a concert. It was like a concert, he sang so well.
When we got back to the tennis-court, he there for us. We sat down on the steps, and climbed down and went to rolling again. "I drank the milk and ate the cookies, and we agreed hopes you gets yo’ bu'd all right,” he called after that never in all our lives had we tasted anything us. “I 'm much obliged fo’takin' me 'long !" so good. Then we wet our handkerchiefs in the At the Albrights's we dropped Dolly and her watering-trough and put them around the big mother. “I 've had a lovely time !" said Mrs. bouquets of wild flowers we had picked in the Albright, holding up the big bunch of white woods, and then the farmer came rattling out of violets. "Do let me know about it when you get the barn.
Dickie back." He had hitched up to a hay-wagon with a deep When the hay-wagon drove up to our house, layer of straw, just the kind you read about, and we all began to shout at the tops of our voices to he lifted us all in pell-mell, laughing and squeal- make Bridget (Nora's aunt and our cook) come ing. All 'cept the baby. We laid him down on out and see us. We were dying to surprise her! Nora's apron, turned clean side out (you see it She 's a very good cook, and nice when the chilwas a good thing we had that along) in a nest dren are sick, but she 's a cross old thing who