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Dick Lawson And The Young Mocking-Bird
by [?]



“I want a young mocking-bird. Can’t you get me one?”

“I d’no, sir.”

“Don’t you think you could try?”

“I d’no, sir. P’r’aps I might.”

“Well, see if you can’t. I’ll give you half a dollar for one.”

“Will you? Then I’ll try.”

And off Dick started for the woods, without stopping for any further words on the subject.

The two individuals introduced are a good-natured farmer in easy circumstances, and a bright boy, the son of a poor woman in the neighbourhood.

As Dick Lawson was hurrying away for the woods, his mind all intent upon finding a nest of young mocking-birds, and despoiling it, he met a juvenile companion, named Henry Jones.

“Come, Harry,” said he, in an animated voice, “I want you to go with me.”

“Where are you going?” asked the friend.

“I am going to look for a mocking-bird’s nest.”

“What for?”

“To get a young one. Mr. Acres said he would give me half a dollar for a young mocking-bird.”

“He did?”

“Yes, he did so!” was the animated reply.

“But don’t he know that it’s wrong to rob bird’s nests!”

“If it had been wrong, Harry, Mr. Acres wouldn’t have asked me to get him a bird. He knows what is right and wrong, as well as anybody about here.”

“And so does Mr. Milman, our Sunday-school teacher; and he says that it is wicked to rob bird’s nests. You know he has told us that a good many times.”

“But Mr. Acres knows what is right as well as Mr. Milman, and if it had been wrong, he’d never have asked me to get him a bird. And then, you know, he says he will give me half a dollar for a single one.”

“I wouldn’t touch a bird’s nest for ten dollars,” rejoined Henry Jones, warmly.

“I would then,” replied Dick, from whose mind the promised reward had, for the time, completely dispelled every tender impression received both from his mother, who had been very careful of her child, and his teacher at the Sunday-school. “But come,” he added, “you’ll go with me, anyhow.”

“Not, if you are going to rob a bird’s nest,” firmly responded Henry. “It is wicked to do so.”

“Wicked! I don’t see any thing so very wicked about it. Mr. Acres is a good man, so everybody says, and I know he wouldn’t tell me to do a wicked thing.”

“I’m sure it is wicked,” persevered Henry Jones, “for isn’t it taking the poor little birds from their mother? Don’t you think it would be wicked for some great giant to come and carry your little sister away off where you could never find her, and shut her up in a cage, and keep her there all her life?”

“No, but birds are not little children. It’s a very different thing. But you needn’t talk, Harry; for it’s no use. If you’ll go along, you shall have half the money I get for the bird–if not, why, I’ll go myself and keep the whole of it.”

“I wouldn’t go with you for a hundred dollars,” said Harry half-indignantly, turning away.

“Then I’ll go myself,” was Dick Lawson’s sneering reply, as he sprang forward and hurried off to the woods.

He did not, however, feel very easy in mind, although he attempted first to whistle gayly, and then to sing. The remonstrance of Henry Jones had its effect in calling back previous better feelings, awakened by the precepts of a good mother and the instructions of a judicious Sabbath-school teacher. To oppose these, however, were the direct sanction of Mr. Acres, towards whom he had always been taught to look with respect, and the stimulating hope of a liberal reward. These were powerful incentives–but they could not hush the inward voice of disapprobation, that seemed to speak in a louder and sterner tone with every advancing step. Still, this voice, loud as it was, could not make him pause or hesitate. Onward he pursued his way, and soon entered the woods and old fields he had fixed in his mind as the scene of his operations.