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right to do what he would with his own. The reasoning seemed sound to some of my companions, and they were about to let him go, when I remonstrated with them, and suggested that we should bring him before Mr. White, and let him decide whether they belonged to John Lovell or the parent birds. The idea seemed such an excellent one to Charles Murphy, that he leaped for joy as he clutched the culprit's arm with a faster hold, and he so effectually seconded my proposition, that John Lovell was forth with dragged into the presence of our master and Dame Dunton without further ceremony. As we proceeded, he kicked and screamed with all his might ; but there was no alternative, for while yet struggling we reached the cottage.
When we entered, Mr. White demanded the cause of our rudeness, and the uproar raised by John Lovell. This was explained in a few words; and, in confirmation of our story, I held up the fingers of the culprit, which were stained with the blood of his innocent victims. I added : “But the reason, sir, we have brought him here is, for you to decide whether they belonged to him or the parent birds. He says, that he found them, and that he has a right to do what he pleases with them.”
While this scene was going forward, Dame Dunton had placed her huge spectacles on the bridge of her nose, and, advancing towards John Lovell, fixed her “four eyes” full upon him with such a stedfast gaze, that he seemed to shrink from her, as though she were some unearthly being. She was thus situated when I ceased,
and, without waiting for the reply of our master, she uttered such a reproof as I never before or since heard fall from her gentle lips towards "young gentlemen." “ Why, boy,” she said, “you
have disgraced yourself, and I must share in that disgrace. It has long been my pride, that the birds of the air live unmolested near my dwelling; but I have let in a boy-monster to destroy them. I can no longer address to them these words :
'No school-boy rude, to mischief prope,
E'er shows his ruddy face,
In this sequestered place.
Secure the linnet sings;
To clog her painted wings.
Domestic bird, to come
With one that loves his home.
Shall store of fruit preserve;
Come, feed without reserve.
To you these plums belong ;
But sweeter far your song.
Our mutual interest guard;
Your songs be my reward.'
Boy,” continued Dame Dunton, "you have not only committed an act of wanton cruelty, but you have robbed me of a great pleasure. After this I do not think that the songs of the birds, which hitherto have been a great solace to me, will prove half so pleasing. When I hear them, I shall think of the day when I let in a wanton boy among them to destroy them.- Sir," she added, as she turned towards Mr. White, “I must request if ever you bring this boy again to my cottage that he be confined to the chimneycorner, and that you will allow me to punish him by withholding from him the treat I have in store for the young gentlemen. I should, also, wish that his portion may be distributed among those who have shown such kindness to the other nestlings. I am sure they must have kind hearts, and they deserve to be rewarded.”
Mr. White readily agreed to Dame Dunton's request, and as we left the cottage, he commanded John Lovell to take his seat in the chimneycorner, and not to stir till we went home.
To be deprived of Dame Dunton's treat was no common punishment. On leaving the shrubbery, we were at all times directed to take our seats, after the Oriental fashion, on nature's own carpet. Besides the provisions we had brought with us, there was a large hot home-baked cake in the middle, and, interspersed, there were little heaps of fruit, according to the number of "young gentlemen.” Of all this inviting store, the good dame bade us partake heartily, for that we were very welcome.
She would also add: “ As you partake of these nice things, you should be grateful to God, who is so kind to you as to supply them out of the fulness of His bounty."
I believe there was no one, on any occasion, who did not do full justice to the good cheer thus set before us. Long did we sit over it, and while we enjoyed ourselves, Dame Dunton would address her conversation mainly to the “ young gentlemen;" while our master sat by in silence. “ You will excuse me, sir," she would say sometimes to him; “but you know I do not often have the pleasure of talking to young gentlemen, and therefore it is I neglect you.” Our master always held her excused, with a ready smile, and an assurance that he was happy to sit still, and receive a lesson from her lips.
Many were the lessons which we received from the lips of Dame Dunton; but, perhaps, one of the most interesting was one on the advantages we enjoyed in receiving a good education. It was the more interesting because it led to a display of boyish views on the subject, which were partly at variance with those of our hostess. The good dame having observed that we ought to be thankful we were living in a day when learning was so much prized, and with one who paid so much attention to our education, Charles Murphy looked archly at her, and asked if she ever went to school?
“I should have thought,” replied Dame Dunton, “ that you would have concluded, from what I said, that I did not have much schooling. young days, parents, who even had plenty of money, rarely thought of sending their children to school for a long period, and especially their daughters."
“I thought so," said Charles, still looking archly.
Why, what does the young gentleman mean?” inquired Dame Dunton.
“ Oh dear,” answered Charles, “if knew how difficult it is to ascend the ladder of learning you would not have praised it so warmly.
You should see us sometimes labouring to get up a single round. I am sure if you did, you would say, "Do not trouble yourselves, young gentlemen, about the matter, you will be much happier on the ground.""
Such a display of metaphor, had, perhaps, never before been uttered within the limits of Dame Dunton's cottage, and being unable to comprehend it, she again asked what the young gentleman meant. Charles was silent; probably from fear of offending our master, who sat smiling, and who, during the pause, gave me a look which demanded an interpretation. I understood it, and observed:—“Charles means that our lessons are sometimes so difficult and long that we can scarcely master them, and that you would recommend us to remain in ignorance rather than take so much trouble about the matter." 6. That is plain sense,
answered Dame Dunton; “but the young gentleman is mistaken. I hope he does not dislike learning; and if he does, I hope there is not any one else before me like him. For my own part, I would give all the little I possess to be a good scholar. But I am thankful that I am able to read, and that enables me to go through the world with comfort."
As soon as Dame Dunton had uttered the latter sentence, Charles Murphy exclaimed that it was a happy idea. “I can read,” he added, and why should I trouble my head about Latin and Greek? I know sufficient to enable me to get through the world with comfort.”