IN THE DUCK-YARD
no denying that, though he is not a drake. He ought to moderate himself, but that's an art which shows superior breeding, like that possessed by the little singing birds over in the lime trees in the neighbour's garden. How charmingly they sing ! There 's something quite pretty in their warbling. I call it Portugal. If I had only such a little singing bird, I'd be a mother to him, kind and good, for that's in my blood, my Portuguese blood ! '
And while she was still speaking, a little Singing Bird came head over heels from the roof into the yard. The cat was behind him, but the Bird escaped with a broken wing, and came tumbling into the yard.
' That's just like the cat, the villain ! ' said the Portuguese Duck. ' I remember him when I had children of my own. That such a creature should be allowed to live, and to wander about upon the roofs ! I don't think they do such things in Portugal ! '
And she pitied the little Singing Bird, and the other Ducks who were not of Portuguese descent pitied him too.
' Poor little creature ! ' they said, as one after another came up. ' We certainly can't sing,' they said, ' but we have an internal feeling for song, or something of the kind, within us ; we can feel that, though we don't talk of it.'
' But I can talk of it,' said the Portuguese Duck ; ' and I'll do something for the little fellow, for that 's my duty ! ' And she stepped into the water-trough, and beat her wings upon the water so heartily, that the little Singing Bird was almost drowned by the bath he got, but the Duck meant it kindly. ' That's a good deed,' she said : ' the others may take example by it.'
I Piep!' said the little Bird : one of his wings was broken, and he found it difficult to shake himself ; but he quite understood that the bath was kindly meant. ' You are very kind-hearted, madam,' he said ; but he did not wish for a second bath.
II have never thought about my heart,' continued the Portuguese Duck, ' but I know this much, that I love all my fellow creatures except the cat; but nobody can expect me to love him, for he ate up two of my ducklings. But pray make yourself at home, for one can make oneself comfortable. I myself am from a strange country, as you