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"It is the very same species of starling," said Miss Elliot; " and I believe they are easily taught both words and tunes. The only one so accomplished that I have known much about belonged

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to some neighbours of ours. It was a very clever bird. One day, when I called with some friends on the lady, the starling was brought into the drawing-room, that I might see it. I was engaged in conversation, and was not aware when the bird


was brought in. Presently, I heard a small voice chattering away, not at all like that of a bird. It was the starling, talking with great rapidity. It did not speak in the manner of the parrot, or with the hoarse note of the jackdaw. It was a voice you might fancy coming from a very little dwarf: a human voice, only very small."

"What did it talk about?" asked George.

"About everything. He would sing and talk to himself all day long, when not talked to by the inhabitants of the house. At one time he grew very thin, and seemed out of health. His mistress was afraid he was talking and singing himself into a consumption. His store of songs was wonderful, and he not only kept correctly to the tune, but uttered every word distinctly. In the midst of his singing and talking, he would sometimes break off, and exclaim, 'Well, what have you got to say next?' A blackbird hung in a cage near him. He had heard it called 'Pretty bird;' but he used one phrase which they were not aware he had ever heard, You are a blackbird. You are a very

pretty bird.' Like most favourites, he came to an untimely end; and though his cage is supplied by another, I am told the new bird is very inferior to his predecessor."

“Oh, Papa, I wish you would allow me to keep a starling, that I might teach it to talk," exclaimed Harry.

Mr. Leslie shook his head. "No caged birds in my house, Harry. It would really make me unhappy to see them, unless they were little foreigners like the canaries. Having been reared in confinement, a large airy cage is all the world to them. But your clever starling, Miss Elliot, reminds me of a very sensible blackbird, at one time the pet of a lady of my acquaintance. He had been bought when very young, merely to save him from

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the chance of ill-treatment. At first, my friend intended to have the little bird killed at once. She was persuaded to keep it a few days, and then became so interested in it, that all thoughts of

shortening its life were given up. When I saw him first, Toby was grown a fine bird, both as to plumage and song. His spirited attitudes and the brilliancy of his eye were quite remarkable. His master was a good whistler, and used to whistle tunes by the cage. Toby listened, and soon began to practise what he heard. In this way he learnt his master's favourite tunes. He was usually let out of his cage, and allowed the full range of whatever apartment his mistress occupied, for an hour or two every day. On these occasions he found many amusements. Nothing seemed to please him better than a mock fight. His master used to enter with a boxing-glove on his hand, and hold up his fist to the bird. Toby was not in the least alarmed, but attacked the gloved hand with great fury. Then he followed his master round the room, returning every thrust of the hand with the spirit of a practised boxer. Of this amusement he was never tired. seemed quite to understand that it was all play. When the door closed on the boxing-glove and its master, Toby would scream like a petted child, angry that its playfellow was gone. One day when I called on his mistress, I found the bird at liberty in the drawing-room. He had been amusing her with a little performance that she wished him to repeat before me. But my entrance had silenced him. While roaming about the room, he had begun to whistle Blue bonnets over the border,' but stopped


after the first bar. 'Come, Toby,' said his mistress, and she whistled the second bar, to lead him on. To her surprise, he did not follow her, but took it up at the third bar, and then stopped again. In this way he went through the tune with her, taking up the alternate bars. He afterwards repeated this, as it was likely he would. The wonder was in the first performance.

"Another of the bird's amusements was to hunt about his cage for bits of stone or pebbles, which were put in for him to peck at. He would wait while his master hid a pebble, running to the furthest corner of his cage, and turning his back while it was done. The signal for search being given, he hunted it up, and brought it back to his master to hide again, and then ran up into the corner as before. This also seemed an untiring game. He never gave it up while his master was willing to continue the amusement.” Mrs. Gray said she should have doated on such a bird.

"It was impossible not be interested by it," said Mr. Leslie. "It certainly was a most amusing creature; but I have forgotten many particulars I heard at the time. Poor Toby, like so many other pets, came to an untimely end, and his kind mistress is no longer living.'

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There is one occupation of the month of September never forgotten by boys. Partridge shooting, and all its attendant bustle among men and dogs,

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