a sentimental journey, by laurence sterne

I was interrupted in the heyday of this soliloquy, with a voice which I took to be of a child, which complained ‘it could not get out’. I look’d up and down the passage, and seeing neither man, woman, nor child, I went out without farther attention.

In my return back through the passage, I heard the same words repeated twice over; and, looking up, I saw it was a starling hung in a little cage.

“I can’t get out. I can’t get out!” said the starling.

I stood looking at the bird: and to every person who came through the passage it ran fluttering to the side towards which they approached it, with the same lamentation of its captivity.

“I can’t get out,” said the starling.
“God help thee!” said I, “but I’ll let thee out, cost what it will”.

So I turned about the cage to get to the door: it was twisted and double twisted so fast with wire, there was no getting it open without pulling the cage to pieces. I took both hands to it. The bird flew to the place where I was attempting his deliverance, and thrusting his head through the trellis pressed his breast against it as if impatient.

“I fear, poor creature!” said I, “I cannot set thee at liberty.”
“No,” said the starling, “I can’t get out! I can’t get out!” said the starling.

[excerpt]

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