Jack Morris told him that they had it safe at home, and that it was very much alive, quarreling furiously with his parrot Bella. The old man’s face brightened at this, and then Jack and Carl, finding that he had had no breakfast, went off to a restaurant near by, and got him some steak and coffee. The Italian was very grateful, and as he ate, Jack said the tears ran into his coffee cup. He told them how much he loved his animals, and, how it “made ze heart bitter to hear zem crying to him to deliver zem from ze raging fire.”
The boys came home, and got their breakfast and went to school. Miss Laura did not go out. She sat all day with a very quiet, pained face. She could neither read nor sew, and Mr. and Mrs. Morris were just as unsettled. They talked about the fire in low tones, and I could see that they felt more sad about Mrs. Montague’s death than if she had died in an ordinary way. Her dear little canary, Barry, died with her. She would never be separated from him, and his cage had been taken up to the top of the hotel with her. He probably died an easier death than his poor mistress. Charley’s dog escaped, but was so frightened that he ran out to their house, outside the town.
At tea time, Mr. Morris went down town to see that the Italian got a comfortable place for the night. When he came back, he said that he had found out that the Italian was by no means so old a man as he looked, and that he had talked to him about raising a sum of money for him among the Fairport people, till he had become quite cheerful, and said that if Mr. Morris would do that, he would try to gather another troupe of animals together and train them.
“Now, what can we do for this Italian?” asked Mrs. Morris. “We can’t give him much money, but we might let him have one or two of our pets. There’s Billy, he’s a bright, little dog, and not two years old yet. He could teach him anything.”
There was a blank silence among the Morris children. Billy was such a gentle, lovable, little dog, that he was a favorite with every one in the house. “I suppose we ought to do it,” said Miss Laura, at last; “but how can we give him up?”
There was a good deal of discussion, but the end of it was that Billy was given to the Italian. He came up to get him, and was very grateful, and made a great many bows, holding his hat in his hand. Billy took to him at once, and the Italian spoke so kindly to him, that we knew he would have a good master. Mr. Morris got quite a large sum of money for him, and when he handed it to him, the poor man was so pleased that he kissed his hand, and promised to send frequent word as to Billy’s progress and welfare.
* * * * *
DANDY THE TRAMP
About a week after Billy left us, the Morris family, much to its surprise, became the owner of a new dog. He walked into the house one cold, wintry afternoon and lay calmly down by the fire. He was a brindled bull-terrier, and he had on a silver-plated collar with “Dandy” engraved on it. He lay all the evening by the fire, and when any of the family spoke to him, he wagged his tail, and looked pleased. I growled a little at him at first, but he never cared a bit, and just dozed off to sleep, so I soon stopped.