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by [?]

I live high up in a city house all alone. My room is a cosy little place, though there is nothing very splendid in it,–only my pictures and books, my flowers and my little friend. When I began to live there, I was very busy and therefore very happy; but by-and-by, when my hurry was over and I had more time to myself, I often felt lonely. When I ate my meals I used to wish for a pleasant companion to eat with me; and when I sat by the fire of evenings, I thought how much more social it would be if some one sat opposite. I had many friends and callers through the day, but the evenings were often rather dull; for I couldn’t read much, and didn’t care to go out in the stormy weather.

I was wishing for a cheerful friend one night, when all of a sudden I found one; for, sitting on my hand, I saw a plump, jolly-looking fly. He sat quietly staring at me, with a mild little hum, as if to say,–

‘How are you? You wanted a friend, and here I am. Will you have me?’

Of course I would, for I liked him directly, he was so cheery and confiding, and seemed as glad to see me as I was to see him. All his mates were dead and gone, and he was alone, like myself. So I waggled one finger, by way of welcome, fearing to shake my hand, lest he should tumble off and feel hurt at my reception. He seemed to understand me, and buzzed again, evidently saying,–

‘Thank you, ma’am. I should like to stay in your warm room, and amuse you for my board. I won’t disturb you, but do my best to be a good little friend.’

So the bargain was struck, and he stopped to tea. I found that his manners had been neglected; for he was inclined to walk over the butter, drink out of the cream-pot, and put his fingers in the jelly. A few taps with my spoon taught him to behave with more propriety, and he sipped a drop of milk from the waiter with a crumb of sugar, as a well-bred fly should do.

On account of his fine voice, I named him Buzz, and we soon got on excellently together. He seemed to like his new quarters, and, after exploring every corner of the room, he chose his favourite haunts and began to enjoy himself. I always knew where he was, for he kept up a constant song, humming and buzzing, like a little kettle getting ready to boil.

On sunny days, he amused himself by bumping his head against the window, and watching what went on outside. It would have given me a headache, but he seemed to enjoy it immensely. Up in my hanging basket of ivy he made his bower, and sat there on the moss basking in the sunshine, as luxuriously as any gentleman in his conservatory. He was interested in the plants, and examined them daily with great care, walking over the ivy leaves, grubbing under the moss, and poking his head into the unfolding hyacinth buds to see how they got on.

The pictures, also, seemed to attract his attention, for he spent much time skating over the glasses and studying the designs. Sometimes I would find him staring at my Madonna, as if he said, ‘What in the world are all those topsy-turvy children about?’ Then he’d sit in the middle of a brook, in a water-color sketch by Vautin, as if bathing his feet, or seem to be eating the cherry which one little duck politely offers another little duck, in Oscar Pletch’s Summer Party. He frequently kissed my mother’s portrait, and sat on my father’s bald head, as if trying to get out some of the wisdom stored up there, like honey in an ill-thatched bee-hive. My bronze Mercury rather puzzled him, for he could not understand why the young gentleman didn’t fly off when he had four wings and seemed in such a hurry.