As the house was for a summer residence, she selected fine straw-matting, instead of woollen carpets for it. She put it down with great care, perfectly smooth and even. The wall was covered with the same cool material, delicately woven. Wasn’t it nice?
The location selected by our friend, the robin, seems to be highly appreciated by many of the feathered race. Although the robin was the first settler, others have already decided that it affords great advantages in the way of shelter from the fierce winds, from the burning rays of a summer sun, and from the too-curious eyes of hawks and other birds of prey.
An abundance of fresh, soft water can be obtained not far from Honeysuckleville, and this is always a recommendation in favour of any place, either for men or birds. Fruit also abounds. There will be bright red currants for the little folks; strawberries, too, more than they can eat, and raspberries in any quantity they may wish. I must not forget the cherries, of which birds are so fond, and which they can have at any time when they are ripe, for merely the trouble of picking.
It is not surprising, with all these advantages in its favour, that Honeysuckleville should find more than one family happy to settle within its borders. For some time, two song-sparrows have made it frequent visits; and have finally decided, after a careful survey, that no more desirable spot can be found for a summer residence. They have accordingly commenced building, not more than two feet from the mansion of the robins. Their house is much smaller—a cottage—but quite large enough for them. It nestles so lovingly in the shadow of the vines, that I am sure domestic comfort must be found there. Discord and contention could not abide in so peaceful a retreat.
The song-sparrows will be pleasant neighbours. They are exceedingly fond of vocal music, and their clear melodious voices fill the new settlement with harmony. In that terrible snow-storm which occurred in the middle of April, I often saw a sparrow alight on a bough of a tree near the house, and send up to heaven such a strain of full, gushing melody, as melted my heart with pity and admiration. It reminded me of a child of God in the midst of trials and afflictions, yet rejoicing in faith, and trusting continually in the care of a Father in heaven. Was the cold little sparrow singing itself away, as it was once believed the swan sung its own death-song? Or may the new neighbour of the robin be the very one whose voice rang out so clear and loud, above the howlings of the storm? I trust no rude blast nor chilling frost will mar the pleasure of our feathered friends, but that they may prosper in their plans, and never forget seeking a home in the vine which winds so gracefully around the porch of Mrs. Dudley’s cottage.