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sure to procure the animal through his own exertions, or by purchase, at least let that animal be made as content as his slavery will allow. Let it daily have fresh water, and be fixed in a spot whence it can take in a portion of pure air, and occasionally enjoy à ray of the sun to cheer its little existence; and pray, kind mother, lead away the little boy whose tender heart only waits for a hint that his fingers, playing round the glass globe, 'scare the prisoner, and make it dart, in trepidation, from side to side. He knows not that the creature is in agony, he thinks its starts are for joy. Undeceive him ; explain the timidity of a fish's nature, and above all, tell him, on the authority of Nature's Poet, that not the smallest beetle we can see crawling on the ground is without feeling of pain, when hurt; of content when its wants are satisfied. Here is one of the things which a child may see, but must not touch or handle ; for even if his hand could bafile the activity of a frightened fish, and could he grasp it, the seizure would be almost death to the poor captive, and, at any rate, deprive it of some dozens of its scales, which could not be so plucked without giving it pain. There is no objection to a child (I am not now speaking of an infant) standing near enough to see an animal of this kind, but he should always be taught to consider its feelings, and not wantonly to sport with them.
Singing and talking birds of all sorts are seen in the drawing and sitting rooms of town houses. Here are parrots, macaws, canary-birds, bullfinches, with all other of the finch tribe ; blackbirds, thrushes, larks,
&c. These are all kept in bondage for the pleasure of man, and of so little advantage is their natural instinct, that if they were set at liberty they would be found to have forgotten or lost its use. What would become of the chattering parrot, with his bulky body, and lazy wings, if we were to set him adrift in the streets or the fields ? Could his wings help him, or his thick strong beak assist him in his search through a dirty channel, the tops of houses, or in the meadows and woods for a piece of toasted moistened bread, a trough of sifted hemp-seed, a lump of sugar, and a floor of fine red sand ? He might direct his keen dilating eye in vain for this domestic food. What would become of him if he searched in Europe for the nourishment afforded by his country between the tropics ? Bewildered and hungry, he would climb from roof to roof, or tree to tree, his magnificent plumes being a mark for any prey, and he would very soon perish. The blackbird, too, or the lark, which has been bred up in a cage, would fare little better. Their domestic habits not assimilating with those wild inhabitants of the hedges and trees, they would be treated with severity, and be driven away, or else torn in pieces by the enemy.
If these creatures must be kept in the house, or given (as they often are, as presents in handsome cages) to young persons, they should always be treated kindly in respect of food, cleanliness, air and situation. We should teach children to consult the security, ease, and pleasure of their dumb favourites. Fresh seed, or other meat, and clear wa ter, with occasionally a little green meat, or other
nicety, as chopped egg and bread, &c., should be given them; twice a week, at least, they ought to be nicely cleaned. They should be allowed the sweet air of a fine morning; and to refresh themselves with a bath; and with regard to situation, children should always be taught to consider the safety of the creatures under their protection. Is it not very cruel to hang a birdcage so low as to entice a cat to give an occasional spring towards it? If the poor bird do not fall a victim to such carelessness, he certainly is a great sufferer, and we thus inflict a host of unnecessary pains, where we pretend to give but pleasure. A mother should enumerate all these duties of a gaoler to his prisoner, and require their fulfilment ere she gives her permission for a caged-bird to enter her house. Five minutes are more than sufficient to trim up any bird's apartment, and while this is cautiously and tenderly doing, how delightful is it to observe the satisfaction of the innocent captivę! To see the smooth feathers of his glossy head thrown up in a high crest; his full dark eye sparkling in delight, his quick chirp, or caressing sound, as if of thanks ; his ready motion, and minute examination of every supply as it comes forward and is fastened in its place; and if the creature is in song, to hear its burst of praise when it has tasted and is refreshed ! Yes, all this is indeed delightful; for we have creatures under our care, and they acknowledge in every look and motion, that we make them happy.
Dogs and cats are another race that must just be mentioned. These are so much tamed, and their attachment is so much depended upon, that they
will not quit the families in which they are born, and confinement is not considered necessary in order to fix them with their masters. It is pretended that these faithful animals are kept for use: the dog to. guard his master, the cat to destroy animals with which houses are generally infested; but both these fine creatures are often maintained merely because it is the pleasure and will of the master to have them. Cats are frequently seen in houses which are never troubled with mice, and dogs live in large families where substantial walls, strong bolts, and heavy doors defy every attempt of the midnight robber. But whether they be subservient to the pleasure or the use of man, they equally deserve good treatment from him. Instead of which, no brutes are more exposed to insult and outrage than are these ; and mostly, too, from children. The generous-natured dog is willing enough to frolic and gambol for their amusement; nay, he endeavours to bear with a good grace some pretty sharp blows from his young mistress or master, and takes no notice of pinches on his ears, which make them ring and the water start to his eyes. But when the hand with all its cruel force, seizes his tail, and bends it in such a manner as to make the most exquisite pang shoot to his very brain, then, that he presumes to give a low growl in his defence, how unkind ought he not to think the mother, or bystanders, who, so far from having pity on his sufferings, and drawing away the little tormentors, come forward with a menacing air, and ask him, in a voice which makes him crouch to the ground, how he dares to snap at the child ? Oh, who could be.,
hold without pity and compassion the fine generous countenance of a reproved dog, whether for a real or an imaginary fault! When he lies prostrate, offering his neck to the foot which is ready to spurn him, and is begging forgiveness with all the mute eloquence of attitude and limb, who could refuse him the goodnatured look he pleads for, or the pardon for which he bends!
And the poor cat, too, which is fated to stand by, and listen to the screams of her young, and must not, without punishment, lift up her foot to catch at her offspring and carry them away from danger, she indeed has a right to complain; yet all is forgotten, if we but give her a little milk, or a morsel of meat which we ourselves cannot touch.
To all animals should children be taught kindness ; but especially to those which are immediately under their protection.
By kindness is not meant a silly fondness, which indeed distresses the creatures almost as much as an opposite treatment, but some concern for their comforts in food and lodging. A bed of straw in a cellar or closet is good enough to satisfy both dog and cat. And if both are allowed one meal of scraps daily, a sight of the kitchen fire in cold weather, and a breathing of air occasionally, puss on the gardenwall, and the dog by his master's side, they ask no more and are content.
But what if a child, so far from providing for the wants of animals, is allowed to torment them in a thousand ways, to oppress and to injure them; and that the creatures we find it sometimes necessary to