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Newspaper Page Text
poor crowd surrounded the place. In
the front yard were a score or more
of household articles, such as beds,
a cupboard, chairs and tables.
A little white-faced crippled child
sat on a bench just outside of the
door, her crutches by her side.
Standing near her was a hollow-eyed
man, apparently her father.' His
eyes were swollen with despair as he
viewed the proceedings about him.
"One jof our workers, I remember
him," soliloquized Gregory, becoming
interested. "Oh, I see!"
Tacken to a tree was a legal no
tice of eviction and the seizure of
chattels for delinquent rent. This
was a common occurrence at the
mines. In this 'especial case, how
ever, something in the pitiable help
lessness of the little child and the
forlorn beaming of the old man ap
pealed strongly to the mine manager
"What do you say?" shouted the
auctioneer, taking up a bird cage and
swinging it within the sight of his
audience. "Cage and bird. A ca
nary. Looks like a singer. What am
The cage was of the commonest,
its feathered occupant as neglected
looking and cheerless as its owners.
"Oh, papa!" spoke the little girl
in pleading, tones, ''don't let them
sell poor dear Dicky."
Robert Gregory moved to the side
of the old man.
"Don't I know you?" he spoke
"You put me on watch duty nights,
sir," was the response, "but the old
rheumatics laid me up. We came
from the Dexter coal district when
they shut down, and had no money.
What you so kindly allowed me to
earn here is all gone, and they're tak
ing our poor belongings for rent"
"I'll stop that," spoke Gregory
firmly. "Don't cry, little one. You
shan't lose your pet bird."
Robert Gregory was as good as his
word. Inside of five minutes the
claim upon which the sale was based
was paid out of bis own pocket, the
goods restored to the house, and he
was more than embarrassed at the
overwhelming gratitude of his poor
The little child had the gird out of
its cage -and was caressing it as if
it were a petted child. u
"You don't know about Dicky' ex
plained the old man. "He's a hero?
he is, and an expert. Down at the3
Dexter mines twice we sent him into
the shafts, and twice he came out1
staggered and nearly gone. We knewft
what that meant, sir fire damp."
A quick idea came to the mind oO
Gregory. He had read once of these?
trained mine birds. For some time he
plied the old man with questions re-
garding the capabilities of the feath-
"Can he do it?" explaimed the oldV
man. "Could he tell how things ar?
in the old shaft Seven? Why, stro
I'll be glad to try the experiment"
Two hours later a dozen curioui
miners watched a proceeding unique!
and mystifying to their point of view.
" Old John Dean had not boasted
vainly .of Dicky and his clever abiP
ities. The little gisl stood on his"
finger, head on one side, watching
as if listening to an understood rnan-'
date as a board was pulled away trojO,
the shaft top.
Then, with a bright cheep Dickjt
plunged : craight down into the gloom
and darkness. i
Five minutes, ten minutes no ta-t
ken of the return of the messenger.
Fifteen minutes! John Dean looked!
grave and anxious.
Then a great wave of excitement
passed over the gathered throng as
there fluttered into view a wavering
splash of yellow Dicky.
The bird barely got through the;
aperture. Its head drooped, its wings
folded. It sank, a helpless lump, to
the ground. Its eyes moved once ot
twice, it straightened out rigid. 'J
"It's death down there," spoke
John Dean in a hoarse, suppressed
tone. "Poor Dicky avh"ero to thd
flastP'- - " i