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´╗┐Title: The Admiral's Caravan
Author: Carryl, Charles E. (Charles Edward), 1841-1920
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Admiral's Caravan" ***

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THE
ADMIRAL'S CARAVAN


BY


CHARLES E. CARRYL


AUTHOR OF "DAVY AND THE GOBLIN"


WITH ILLUSTRATIONS BY
REGINALD B. BIRCH


[Illustration: The Riverside Press]

BOSTON AND NEW YORK
HOUGHTON MIFFLIN COMPANY
The Riverside Press Cambridge


Copyright, 1891, 1892, 1919, and 1920, by The Century Co.
Copyright, 1920, by Charles E. Carryl



[Illustration: "THE ADMIRAL, MAKING A DESPERATE ATTEMPT TO GET A VIEW
OF HIS LEGS THROUGH HIS SPY-GLASS."]



TO CONSTANCE

    Sweet Chatterbox, 't is thou that hast beguiled
    My fancy, as it drew the little child
    Who in these pages lives; her gentle ways
    Are but the reflex of thy round of days.
    The trip of syllable I held so dear,
    And all thy small remarks, are treasured here--
    Charmed by the alchemy of love to stay
    The while thy blissful childhood slips away.
    Kind little heart, that knows no selfish thought,
    Read here the tale that thou, thyself, hast wrought!



CONTENTS


                                                                    PAGE

  CHAPTER I
  Dorothy and the Admiral                                             11

  CHAPTER II
  The Ferry to Nowhere                                                23

  CHAPTER III
  The Cruise of the Sideboard                                         32

  CHAPTER IV
  Tree-top Country                                                    39

  CHAPTER V
  Bob Scarlet's Garden                                                54

  CHAPTER VI
  In the Toy-shop                                                     66

  CHAPTER VII
  The Song in the Dell                                                81

  CHAPTER VIII
  Something About the Camel                                           95

  CHAPTER IX
  The Camel's Complaint                                              104

  CHAPTER X
  The Sizing Tower                                                   112

  CHAPTER XI
  The Dancing Animals                                                120

  CHAPTER XII
  The Caravan Comes Home                                             129



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS


                                                                    PAGE
  "The Admiral, making a desperate attempt to get a
  view of his legs through his spy-glass"                   Frontispiece

  Head-piece to Chapter I                                             11

  The Admiral                                                         13

  The Highlander                                                      14

  Sir Walter Rosettes                                                 15

  "The Admiral, making a desperate attempt to get a
  view of his legs through his spy-glass"                             19

  "The Admiral sat up and gazed about with a complacent smile"        21

  "'They're entirely different from mine, anyhow,' said
  the Stork"                                                          25

  "It seemed like listening to an enormous cuckoo-clock"              26

  "'Dear Me!' she exclaimed, 'here comes all the furniture!'"         30

  "The Admiral exclaimed: 'There she is! I can see
  her quite plainly!'"                                                34

  "The sideboard slowly floated along through this
  strange forest"                                                     40

  Dorothy makes a call in the tree-top country                        43

  The extraordinary Post-Captain                               47 and 48

  "He did a little fifing on the edges of the note"                   49

  "Sir Peter caught the pirate, and he took him by the neck"          51

  "He was walking about with his hands in his waistcoat-pockets"      55

  "There were plants loaded down with little pinafores,
  and shrubs with small shoes growing all over them"                  57

  "'Why, the place where I am,' said Dorothy"                         62

  "Dorothy started off at once, as fast as she could run"             64

  "'It is a shelf!' she exclaimed"                                    67

  "The Highlander, with his usual bad luck, had put
  on his sunbonnet backward"                                          68

  "'You know your size does come in dozens, assorted,'
  continued the Jack"                                                 75

  "He sailed away under the bridge"                                   80

  "She found it rather trying to her nerves, at first,
  to meet with rabbits as big as horses"                              86

  "--To be chattered at by squirrels a head taller
  than she herself was"                                               87

  "Pushing the leaves gently aside, she cautiously peeped out"        91

  The Mouse laments                                                   93

  "And found the Caravan sitting in a row on a little
  bench at the door"                                                  96

  "He dropped his little book, with an appearance of
  great agitation, and hurried away"                                 101

  "A door at the back of the shop opened and they all rushed out"    102

  Tail-piece to Chapter VIII                                         103

  The Caravan discipline the Camel                                   109

  "'There isn't any more,' said the Highlander, rather confusedly"   115

  "An elephant and a sheep seized her by the hands, and the next
  moment she was dancing in the ring"                                123

  The animals crossing over                                          127

  "By this time they were running so fast that she
  could hardly keep up with them"                                    135

  "It slowly changed to a bird-cage with a robin sitting in it"      138

  Tail-piece to Chapter XII                                          140



[Illustration: HEAD-PIECE TO CHAPTER I.]

CHAPTER I

DOROTHY AND THE ADMIRAL


The Blue Admiral Inn stood on the edge of the shore, with its red brick
walls, and its gabled roof, and the old willow-trees that overhung it,
all reflected in the quiet water as if the harbor had been a great
mirror lying upon its back in the sun. This made it a most attractive
place to look at. Then there were crisp little dimity curtains hanging
in the windows of the coffee-room and giving great promise of tidiness
and comfort within, and this made it a most delightful place to think
about. And then there was a certain suggestion of savory cooking in the
swirl of the smoke that came out of the tall, old-fashioned chimneys,
and this made it a most difficult place to stay away from. In fact, if
any ships had chanced to come into the little harbor, I believe
everybody on board of them, from the captains down to the cabin-boys,
would have scrambled into the boats the moment the anchors were down and
pulled away for the Blue Admiral Inn.

But, so far as ships were concerned, the harbor was as dead as a
door-nail, and poor old Uncle Porticle, who kept the inn, had long ago
given up all idea of expecting them, and had fallen into a melancholy
habit of standing in the little porch that opened on the village street,
gazing first to the right and then to the left, and lastly at the
opposite side of the way, as if he had a faint hope that certain
seafaring men were about to steal a march upon him from the land-side of
the town. And Dorothy, who was a lonely little child, with no one in the
world to care for but Uncle Porticle, had also fallen into a habit of
sitting on the step of the porch by way of keeping him company; and
here they passed many quiet hours together, with the big robin hopping
about in his cage, and with the Admiral himself, on his pedestal beside
the porch, keeping watch and ward over the fortunes of the inn.

[Illustration: THE ADMIRAL.]

Now the Admiral was only a yard high, and was made of wood into the
bargain; but he was a fine figure of a man for all that, being dressed
in a very beautiful blue coat (as befitted his name) and canary-colored
knee-breeches, and wearing a fore-and-aft hat rakishly perched on the
back of his head. On the other hand, he had sundry stray cracks in the
calves of his legs, and was badly battered about the nose; but, after
all, this only gave him a certain weather-beaten appearance as if he had
been around the world any number of times in all sorts of company; and
for as long as Dorothy could remember he had been standing on his
pedestal beside the porch, enjoying the sunshine and defying the rain,
as a gallant officer should, and earnestly gazing at the opposite side
of the street through a spy-glass.

[Illustration: THE HIGHLANDER.]

Now, what the Admiral was staring at was a mystery. He might, for
instance, have been looking at the wooden Highlander that stood at the
door of Mr. Pendle's instrument-shop, for nothing more magnificent than
this particular Highlander could possibly be imagined. His clothes were
of every color of the rainbow, and he had silver buckles on his shoes,
and brass buttons on his coat, and he was varnished to such an extent
that you could hardly look at him without winking. Then his hair and his
whiskers were so red, and his legs were so pink and so fat and so
lifelike, that it seemed as if you could almost hear him speak; and,
what was more, he had been standing for years at the door of the shop,
proudly holding up a preposterous wooden watch that gave half-past
three as the correct time at all hours of the day and night. In fact, it
would have been no great wonder if the Admiral had stared at him to the
end of his days.

[Illustration: SIR WALTER ROSETTES.]

Then there was Sir Walter Rosettes, a long-bodied little man in a
cavalier's cloak, with a ruff about his neck and enormous rosettes on
his shoes, who stood on a pedestal at old Mrs. Peevy's garden gate,
offering an imitation tobacco-plant, free of charge, as it were, to any
one who would take the trouble of carrying it home. This bold device was
intended to call attention to the fact that Mrs. Peevy kept a
tobacco-shop in the front parlor of her little cottage behind the
hollyhock bushes, the announcement being backed up by the spectacle of
three pipes arranged in a tripod in the window, and by the words
"Smokers' Emporium" displayed in gold letters on the glass; and, by the
way, Dorothy knew perfectly well who _this_ little man was, as somebody
had taken the trouble of writing his name with a lead-pencil on his
pedestal just below the toes of his shoes.

And lastly there was old Mrs. Peevy herself, who might be seen at any
hour of the day, sitting at the door of her cottage, fast asleep in the
shade of her big cotton umbrella with the Chinese mandarin for a handle.
She wasn't much to look at, perhaps, but there was no way of getting at
the Admiral's taste in such matters, so he stared through his spy-glass
year in and year out, and nobody was any the wiser.

Now from sitting so much in the porch and turning these things over in
her mind, Dorothy had come to know the Admiral and the Highlander and
Sir Walter Rosettes as well as she could possibly know persons who
didn't know her, and who couldn't have spoken to her if they _had_ known
her; but nothing came of the acquaintance until a certain Christmas eve.
Of course, nobody knew better than Dorothy what Christmas eve should be
like. The snow should be falling softly, and just enough should come
down to cover up the pavements and make the streets look beautifully
white and clean, and to edge the trees and the lamp-posts and the
railings as if they were trimmed with soft lace; and just enough to
tempt children to come out, and not so much as to keep grown people at
home--in fact, just enough for Christmas eve, and not a bit more.

Then the streets should be full of people hurrying along and all
carrying plenty of parcels; and the windows should be very gay with
delightful wreaths of greens, and bunches of holly with plenty of
scarlet berries on them, and the greengrocers should have little forests
of assorted hemlock-trees on the sidewalks in front of their shops, and
everything should be as cheerful and as bustling as possible.

And, if you liked, there might be just a faint smell of cooking floating
about in the air, but this was not important by any means, as it might
happen at any time.

Well, all these good old-fashioned things came to pass on this
particular Christmas eve except the snow; and in place of that there
came a soft, warm rain which was all very well in its way, except that,
as Dorothy said, "It didn't belong on Christmas eve." And just at
nightfall she went out into the porch to smell the rain, and to see how
Christmas matters generally were getting on in the wet; and she was
watching the people hurrying by, and trying to fancy what was in the
mysterious-looking parcels they were carrying so carefully under their
umbrellas, when she suddenly noticed that the toes of the Admiral's
shoes were turned sideways on his pedestal, and looking up at him she
saw that he had tucked his spy-glass under his arm, and was gazing down
backward at his legs with an air of great concern.

This was so startling that Dorothy almost jumped out of her shoes, and
she was just turning to run back into the house when the Admiral caught
sight of her, and called out excitedly, "Cracks in my legs!"--and then
stared hard at her as if demanding some sort of an explanation of this
extraordinary state of affairs.

Dorothy was dreadfully frightened, but she was a very polite little
girl, and would have answered the town pump if it had spoken to her; so
she swallowed down a great lump that had come up into her throat, and
said, as respectfully as she could, "I'm very sorry, sir. I suppose it
must be because they are so very old."

[Illustration: "THE ADMIRAL, MAKING A DESPERATE ATTEMPT TO GET A VIEW OF
HIS LEGS THROUGH HIS SPY-GLASS."]

"Old!" exclaimed the Admiral, making a desperate attempt to get a view
of his legs through his spy-glass. "Why, they're no older than _I_ am";
and, upon thinking it over, this seemed so very true that Dorothy felt
quite ashamed of her remark and stood looking at him in a rather foolish
way.

"Try again," said the Admiral, with a patronizing air.

"No," said Dorothy, gravely shaking her head, "I'm sure I don't know any
other reason; only it seems rather strange, you know, that you've never
even seen them before."

"If you mean my legs," said the Admiral, "of course I've seen them
before--lots of times. But I've never seen 'em behind. That is," he
added by way of explanation. "I've never seen 'em behind before."

"But I mean the cracks," said Dorothy, with a faint smile. You see she
was beginning to feel a little acquainted with the Admiral by this time,
and the conversation didn't seem to be quite so solemn as it had been
when he first began talking.

"Then you should say 'seen 'em before _behind_,'" said the Admiral.
"That's where they've always been, you know."

Dorothy didn't know exactly what reply to make to this remark; but she
thought she ought to say something by way of helping along the
conversation, so she began, "I suppose it's kind of----" and here she
stopped to think of the word she wanted.

"Kind of what?" said the Admiral severely.

"Kind of--cripplesome, isn't it?" said Dorothy rather confusedly.

"Cripplesome?" exclaimed the Admiral. "Why, that's no word for it. It's
positively decrepitoodle----" here he paused for a moment and got
extremely red in the face, and then finished up with "----loodelarious,"
and stared hard at her again, as if inquiring what she thought of
_that_.

"Goodness!" said Dorothy, drawing a long breath, "what a word!"

"Well, it _is_ rather a word," said the Admiral with a very satisfied
air. "You see, it means about everything that can happen to a person's
legs--" but just here his remarks came abruptly to an end, for as he was
strutting about on his pedestal, he suddenly slipped off the edge of it
and came to the ground flat on his back.

[Illustration: "THE ADMIRAL SAT UP AND GAZED ABOUT WITH A COMPLACENT
SMILE."]

Dorothy gave a little scream of dismay; but the Admiral, who didn't
appear to be in the least disturbed by this accident, sat up and gazed
about with a complacent smile. Then, getting on his feet, he took a pipe
out of his pocket, and lit it with infinite relish; and having turned up
his coat-collar by way of keeping the rest of his clothes dry, he
started off down the street without another word. The people going by
had all disappeared in the most unaccountable manner, and Dorothy could
see him quite plainly as he walked along, tacking from one side of the
street to the other with a strange rattling noise, and blowing little
puffs of smoke into the air like a shabby little steam-tug going to sea
in a storm.

Now all this was extremely exciting, and Dorothy, quite forgetting the
rain, ran down the street a little way so as to keep the Admiral in
sight. "It's _precisely_ like a doll going traveling all by itself," she
exclaimed as she ran along. "How he rattles! I suppose _that's_ his
little cracked legs--and goodness gracious, how he smokes!" she added,
for by this time the Admiral had fired up, so to speak, as if he were
bound on a long journey, and was blowing out such clouds of smoke that
he presently quite shut himself out from view. The smoke smelt somewhat
like burnt feathers, which, of course, was not very agreeable, but the
worst of it was that when Dorothy turned to run home again she
discovered that she couldn't see her way back to the porch, and she was
feeling about for it with her hands stretched out, when the smoke
suddenly cleared away and she found that the inn, and Mr. Pendle's shop,
and Mrs. Peevy's cottage had all disappeared like a street in a
pantomime, and that she was standing quite alone before a strange little
stone house.



CHAPTER II

THE FERRY TO NOWHERE


The rain had stopped, and the moon was shining through the breaking
clouds, and as Dorothy looked up at the little stone house she saw that
it had an archway through it with "FERRY" in large letters on the wall
above it. Of course she had no idea of going by herself over a strange
ferry; but she was an extremely curious little girl, as you will
presently see, and so she immediately ran through the archway to see
what the ferry was like and where it took people, but, to her surprise,
instead of coming out at the water side, she came into a strange,
old-fashioned-looking street as crooked as it could possibly be, and
lined on both sides by tall houses with sharply peaked roofs looming up
against the evening sky.

There was no one in sight but a stork. He was a very tall stork with red
legs, and wore a sort of paper bag on his head with "FERRYMAN" written
across the front of it; and as Dorothy appeared he held out one of his
claws and said, "Fare, please," in quite a matter-of-fact way.

Dorothy was positively certain that she hadn't any money, but she put
her hand into the pocket of her apron, partly for the sake of
appearances, and partly because she was a little afraid of the Stork,
and, to her surprise, pulled out a large cake. It was nearly as big as a
saucer, and was marked "ONE BISKER"; and as this seemed to show that it
had some value, she handed it to the ferryman. The Stork turned it over
several times rather suspiciously, and then, taking a large bite out of
it, remarked, "Very good fare," and dropped the rest of it into a little
hole in the wall; and having done this he stared gravely at Dorothy for
a moment, and then said, "What makes your legs bend the wrong way?"

"Why, they don't!" said Dorothy, looking down at them to see if anything
had happened to them.

"They're entirely different from mine, anyhow," said the Stork.

"But, you know," said Dorothy very earnestly, "I couldn't sit down if
they bent the other way."

"Sitting down is all very well," said the Stork, with a solemn shake of
his head, "but you couldn't collect fares with 'em, to save your life,"
and with this he went into the house and shut the door.

[Illustration: "'THEY'RE ENTIRELY DIFFERENT FROM MINE, ANYHOW,' SAID THE
STORK."]

"It seems to me this is a very strange adventure," said Dorothy to
herself. "It appears to be mostly about people's legs," and she was
gazing down again in a puzzled way at her little black stockings when
she heard a cough, and looking up she saw that the Stork had his head
out of a small round window in the wall of the house.

"Look here," he said confidentially, "I forgot to ask what your fare was
for." He said this in a sort of husky whisper, and as Dorothy looked up
at him it seemed something like listening to an enormous cuckoo-clock
with a bad cold in its works.

[Illustration: "IT SEEMED LIKE LISTENING TO AN ENORMOUS CUCKOO-CLOCK."]

"I don't think I know exactly _what_ it was for," she said, rather
confusedly.

"Well, it's got to be for _something_, you know, or it won't be fair,"
said the Stork. "I suppose you don't want to go over the ferry?" he
added, cocking his head on one side, and looking down at her,
inquiringly.

"Oh, no indeed!" said Dorothy, very earnestly.

"_That's_ lucky," said the Stork. "It doesn't go anywhere that it ever
gets to. Perhaps you'd like to hear about it. It's in poetry, you know."

"Thank you," said Dorothy politely. "I'd like it very much."

"All right," said the Stork. "The werses is called 'A Ferry Tale'"; and,
giving another cough to clear his voice, he began:

    Oh, come and cross over to nowhere,
        And go where
    The nobodies live on their nothing a day!
    A tideful of tricks is this merry
        Old Ferry,
    And these are the things that it does by the way:

    It pours into parks and disperses
        The nurses;
    It goes into gardens and scatters the cats;
    It leaks into lodgings, disorders
        The boarders,
    And washes away with their holiday hats.

    It soaks into shops, and inspires
        The buyers
    To crawl over counters and climb upon chairs;
    It trickles on tailors, it spatters
        On hatters,
    And makes little milliners scamper up-stairs.

    It goes out of town and it rambles
        Through brambles;
    It wallows in hollows and dives into dells;
    It flows into farm-yards and sickens
        The chickens,
    And washes the wheelbarrows into the wells.

    It turns into taverns and drenches
        The benches;
    It jumps into pumps and comes out with a roar;
    It pounds like a postman at lodges--
        Then dodges
    And runs up the lane when they open the door.

    It leaks into laundries and wrangles
        With mangles;
    It trips over turnips and tumbles down-hill;
    It rolls like a coach along highways
        And byways,
    But never gets anywhere, go as it will!

    Oh, foolish old Ferry! all muddles
        And puddles--
    Go fribble and dribble along on your way;
    We drink to your health with molasses
        In glasses,
    And waft you farewell with a handful of hay!

"What do you make out of it?" inquired the Stork anxiously.

"I don't make anything out of it," said Dorothy, staring at him in great
perplexity.

"I didn't suppose you would," said the Stork, apparently very much
relieved. "I've been at it for years and years, and I've never made
sixpence out of it yet," with which remark he pulled in his head and
disappeared.

"I don't know what he means, I'm sure," said Dorothy, after waiting a
moment to see if the Stork would come back, "but I wouldn't go over that
ferry for _sixty_ sixpences. It's altogether too frolicky"; and having
made this wise resolution, she was just turning to go back through the
archway when the door of the house flew open and a little stream of
water ran out upon the pavement. This was immediately followed by
another and much larger flow, and the next moment the water came
pouring out through the doorway in such a torrent that she had just time
to scramble up on the window-ledge before the street was completely
flooded.

[Illustration: "'DEAR ME!' SHE EXCLAIMED, 'HERE COMES ALL THE
FURNITURE!'"]

Dorothy's first idea was that there was something wrong with the pipes,
but as she peeped in curiously through the window she was astonished to
see that it was raining hard inside the house--"and dear me!" she
exclaimed, "here comes all the furniture!" and, sure enough, the next
moment a lot of old-fashioned furniture came floating out of the house
and drifted away down the street. There was a corner cupboard full of
crockery, and two spinning-wheels, and a spindle-legged table set out
with a blue-and-white tea-set and some cups and saucers, and finally a
carved sideboard which made two or three clumsy attempts to get through
the doorway broadside on, and then took a fresh start, and came through
endwise with a great flourish. All of these things made quite a little
fleet, and the effect was very imposing; but by this time the water was
quite up to the window-ledge, and as the sideboard was a
fatherly-looking piece of furniture with plenty of room to move about
in, Dorothy stepped aboard of it as it went by, and, sitting down on a
little shelf that ran along the back of it, sailed away in the wake of
the tea-table.



CHAPTER III

THE CRUISE OF THE SIDEBOARD


The sideboard behaved in the most absurd manner, spinning around and
around in the water, and banging about among the other furniture as if
it had never been at sea before, and finally bringing up against the
tea-table with a crash in the stupidest way imaginable, and knocking the
tea-set and all the cups and saucers into the water. Dorothy felt very
ridiculous as you may suppose, and, to add to her mortification, the
Stork ferryman suddenly reappeared, and she could see him running along
the roofs of the houses, and now and then stopping to stare down at her
from the eaves as she sailed by, as if she were the most extraordinary
spectacle he had ever seen, as indeed she probably was. Sometimes he
waited until the sideboard had floated some distance past him as if to
see how it looked, gazed at from behind; and then Dorothy would catch
sight of him again far ahead, peering out from behind a chimney, as if
to get a front view of the performance. All this was, of course, very
impertinent, and although Dorothy was naturally a very kind-hearted
little child, she was really quite gratified when the Stork finally made
an attempt to get a new view of her from the top of an unusually tall
chimney, and fell down into it with a loud screech of dismay.

Presently the street ended at a great open space where the water spread
out in every direction, like a lake. The day seemed to be breaking, and
it was quite light; and as the sideboard sailed out into the open water,
Dorothy caught sight of something like a fat-looking boat, floating at a
little distance and slowly drifting toward her. As it came nearer it
proved to be Mrs. Peevy's big umbrella upside down, with a little party
of people sitting around on the edge of it with their feet against the
handle, and, to Dorothy's amazement, she knew every one of them. There
was the Admiral, staring about with his spy-glass, and Sir Walter
Rosettes, carefully carrying his tobacco-plant as if it were a nosegay,
and the Highlander, with his big watch dangling in the water over the
side of the umbrella; and last, there was the little Chinese mandarin
clinging convulsively to the top of the handle as if he were keeping a
lookout from the masthead.

[Illustration: "THE ADMIRAL EXCLAIMED: 'THERE SHE IS! I CAN SEE HER
QUITE PLAINLY!'"]

The sideboard brought up against the edge of the umbrella with a soft
little bump, and the Admiral, hurriedly pointing his spy-glass at
Dorothy so that the end of it almost touched her nose, exclaimed
excitedly, "There she is! I can see her quite plainly," and the whole
party gave an exultant shout.

"How are you getting on _now_?" inquired Sir Walter, as if he had had
her under close observation for a week at least.

"I'm getting on pretty well," said Dorothy, mournfully. "I believe I'm
crossing a ferry."

"So are we," said the Admiral, cheerfully. "We're a Caravan, you know."

"A Caravan?" exclaimed Dorothy, very much surprised.

"I believe I said 'Caravan' quite distinctly," said the Admiral in an
injured tone, appealing to the rest of the party; but no one said
anything except the Highlander, who hastily consulted his watch and then
exclaimed "Hurrah!" rather doubtfully.

"I understood what you said," explained Dorothy, "but I don't think I
know exactly what you mean."

"Never mind what he means," shouted Sir Walter. "_That's_ of no
consequence."

"No consequence!" exclaimed the Admiral, flaring up. "Why, I mean more
in a minute than you do in a week!"

"You _say_ more in a minute than anybody could mean in a month,"
retorted Sir Walter, flourishing his tobacco-plant.

"_I_ can talk a year without meaning _anything_," said the Highlander,
proudly; but no one took any notice of this remark, which, of course,
served him right.

The Admiral stared at Sir Walter for a moment through his spy-glass, and
then said very firmly, "You're a pig!" at which the Highlander again
consulted his watch, and then shouted, "Two pigs!" with great
enthusiasm, as if that were the time of day.

"And you're another," said Sir Walter, angrily. "If it comes to that,
we're all pigs."

"Dear me!" cried Dorothy, quite distressed at all this. "What makes you
all quarrel so? You ought to be ashamed of yourselves."

"We're all ashamed of one another, if _that_ will do any good," said the
Admiral.

"And, you see, that gives each of us two persons to be ashamed of,"
added Sir Walter, with an air of great satisfaction.

"But that isn't what I mean at all," said Dorothy. "I mean that each one
of you ought to be ashamed of _himself_."

"Why, we're each being ashamed of by two persons already," said the
Admiral, peevishly. "I should think _that_ was enough to satisfy
anybody."

"But that isn't the same thing," insisted Dorothy. "Each particular him
ought to be ashamed of each particular self." This remark sounded very
fine indeed, and Dorothy felt so pleased with herself for having made
it that she went on to say, "And the truth of it is, you all argue
precisely like a lot of little school-children."

Now, Dorothy herself was only about four feet high, but she said this in
such a superior manner that the entire Caravan stared at her with great
admiration for a moment, and then began to give a little cheer; but just
at this instant the umbrella made a great plunge, as if somebody had
given it a sudden push, and the whole party tumbled into the bottom of
it like a lot of dolls.

"What kind of a boat do you call this?" shouted Sir Walter, as they all
scrambled to their feet and clung desperately to the handle.

"It's a paragondola," said the Admiral, who had suddenly become very
pale. "You see, it isn't exactly like an ordinary ship."

"I should think not!" said Sir Walter, indignantly. "I'd as lief go to
sea in a toast-rack. Why don't you bring her head up to the wind?" he
shouted as the paragondola took another plunge.

"I can't!" cried the Admiral, despairingly; "she hasn't got any head."

"Then put me ashore!" roared Sir Walter, furiously.

Now this was all very well for Sir Walter to say, but by this time the
paragondola was racing through the water at such a rate that even the
sideboard could hardly keep up with it; and the waves were tossing about
in such wild confusion that it was perfectly ridiculous for any one to
talk about going ashore. In fact, it was a most exciting moment. The air
was filled with flying spray, and the paragondola dashed ahead faster
and faster, until at last Dorothy could no longer hear the sound of the
voices, and she could just see that they were throwing the big watch
overboard as if to lighten the ship. Then she caught sight of the
Highlander trying to climb up the handle, and Sir Walter frantically
beating him on the back with the tobacco-plant, and the next moment
there was another wild plunge and the paragondola and Caravan vanished
from sight.



CHAPTER IV

TREE-TOP COUNTRY


It was a very curious thing that the storm seemed to follow the Caravan
as if it were a private affair of their own, and the paragondola had no
sooner disappeared than Dorothy found herself sailing along as quietly
as if such a thing as bad weather had never been heard of. But there was
something very lonely about the sideboard now, as it went careering
through the water, and she felt quite disconsolate as she sat on the
little shelf and wondered what had become of the Caravan.

"If Mrs. Peevy's umbrella shuts up with them inside of it," she said
mournfully to herself, "I'm sure I don't know what they'll do. It's such
a stiff thing to open that it must be perfectly awful when it shuts up
all of a sudden," and she was just giving a little shudder at the mere
thought of such a thing, when the sideboard bumped up against something
and she found that it had run into a tree. In fact, she found that she
had drifted into a forest of enormous trees, growing in a most
remarkable manner straight up out of the lake; and as she looked up she
could see great branches stretching out in every direction far above her
head, all interlaced together and covered with leaves as if it had been
midsummer instead of being, as it certainly was, Christmas day.

[Illustration: "THE SIDEBOARD SLOWLY FLOATED ALONG THROUGH THIS STRANGE
FOREST."]

As the sideboard slowly floated along through this strange forest,
Dorothy presently discovered that each tree had a little door in it,
close to the water's edge, with a small platform before it by way of a
door-step, as if the people who lived in the trees had a fancy for going
about visiting in boats. But she couldn't help wondering who in the
world, or, rather, who in the trees, the people went to see, for all the
little doors were shut as tight as wax, and had notices posted up on
them, such as "No admittance," "Go away," "Gone to Persia," and many
others, all of which Dorothy considered extremely rude, especially one
notice which read, "Beware of the Pig," as if the person who lived in
that particular tree was too stingy to keep a dog.

Now all this was very distressing, because, in the first place, Dorothy
was extremely fond of visiting, and, in the second place, she was
getting rather tired of sailing about on the sideboard; and she was
therefore greatly pleased when she presently came to a door without any
notice upon it. There was, moreover, a bright little brass knocker on
this door, and as this seemed to show that people were expected to call
there if they felt like it, she waited until the sideboard was passing
close to the platform and then gave a little jump ashore.

The sideboard took a great roll backward and held up its front feet as
if expressing its surprise at this proceeding, and as it pitched forward
again the doors of it flew open, and a number of large pies fell out
into the water and floated away in all directions. To Dorothy's
amazement, the sideboard immediately started off after them, and began
pushing them together, like a shepherd's dog collecting a flock of
runaway sheep; and then, having got them all together in a compact
bunch, sailed solemnly away, shoving the pies ahead of it.

Dorothy now looked at the door again, and saw that it was standing
partly open. The doorway was only about as high as her shoulder, and as
she stooped down and looked through it she saw there was a small winding
stairway inside, leading up through the body of the tree. She listened
for a moment, but everything was perfectly quiet inside, so she squeezed
in through the doorway and ran up the stairs as fast as she could go.

[Illustration: DOROTHY MAKES A CALL IN THE TREE-TOP COUNTRY.]

The stairway ended at the top in a sort of trap-door, and Dorothy popped
up through it like a jack-in-the-box; but instead of coming out, as she
expected, among the branches of the tree, she found herself in a wide,
open field as flat as a pancake, and with a small house standing far
out in the middle of it. It was a bright and sunny place, and quite like
an ordinary field in every way except that, in place of grass, it had a
curious floor of branches, closely braided together like the bottom of a
market-basket; but, as this seemed natural enough, considering that the
field was in the top of a tree, Dorothy hurried away to the little
house without giving the floor a second thought.

As she came up to the house she saw that it was a charming little
cottage with vines trained about the latticed windows, and with a sign
over the door, reading--

     THE OUTSIDE INN

"I suppose they'll take me for a customer," she said, looking rather
doubtfully at the sign, "and I haven't got any money. But I'm very
little, and I won't stay very long," she added, by way of excusing
herself, and as she said this she softly pushed open the door and went
in. To her great surprise, there was no inside to the house, and she
came out into the field again on the other side of the door. The wall on
this side, however, was nicely papered, and had pictures hanging on it,
and there were curtains at the windows as if it had been one side of a
room at some time or another; but there was a notice pasted up beside
the door, reading--

     THE INN-SIDE OUT

as if the rest of the house had gone out for a walk, and might be
expected back at any time.

Now, as you may suppose, Dorothy was quite unprepared for all this, and
she was looking about in great astonishment when she suddenly discovered
that the furniture was at home, and was standing in a rather lonely
manner quite by itself in the open field. It was, moreover, the
strangest-looking furniture she had ever seen, for it was growing
directly out of the floor in a twisted-up fashion, something like the
grapevine chairs in Uncle Porticle's garden; but the oddest part of it
all was a ridiculous-looking bed with leaves sprouting out of its legs,
and with great pink blossoms growing on the bed-posts like the satin
bows on Dorothy's little bed at the Blue Admiral Inn. All this was so
remarkable that she went over to where the furniture was standing to
take a closer look at it; and as she came up alongside the bed she was
amazed to see that the Caravan, all three of them, were lying in it in a
row, with their eyes closed as if they were fast asleep. This was such
an unexpected sight that Dorothy first drew a long breath of
astonishment and then exclaimed, "Jiminy!" which was a word she used
only on particular occasions; and, as she said this, the Caravan opened
their eyes and stared at her like so many owls.

"Why, what are you all doing here?" she said; at which the Admiral sat
up in bed, and after taking a hurried look at her through his spy-glass,
said, "Shipwrecked!" in a solemn voice and then lay down again.

"Did the paragonorer shut up with you?" inquired Dorothy, anxiously.

"Yes, ma'am," said the Admiral.

"And squashed us," added Sir Walter.

"Like everything," put in the Highlander.

"I was afraid it would," said Dorothy, sorrowfully; "I s'pose it was
something like being at sea in a cornucopia."

"Does a cornucopia have things in it that pinch your legs?" inquired Sir
Walter, with an air of great interest.

"Oh, no," said Dorothy.

"Then it wasn't like it at all," said Sir Walter, peevishly.

"It was about as much like it," said the Admiral, "as a pump is like a
post-captain"; and he said this in such a positive way that Dorothy
didn't like to contradict him. In fact she really didn't know anything
about the matter, so she merely said, as politely as she could, "I don't
think I know what a post-captain is."

"I don't either," said the Admiral, promptly, "but I can tell you how
they behave"; and sitting up in bed, he recited these verses:

    Post-captain at the Needles and commander of a crew
    On the "Royal Biddy" frigate was Sir Peter Bombazoo;
    His mind was full of music, and his head was full of tunes,
    And he cheerfully exhibited on pleasant afternoons.

[Illustration: THE EXTRAORDINARY POST-CAPTAIN (1).]

    He could whistle, on his fingers, an invigorating reel,
    And could imitate a piper on the handles of the wheel;
    He could play in double octaves, too, all up and down the rail,
    Or rattle off a rondo on the bottom of a pail.

[Illustration: THE EXTRAORDINARY POST-CAPTAIN (2).]

    Then porters with their packages, and bakers with their buns,
    And countesses in carriages, and grenadiers with guns,
    And admirals and commodores, arrived from near and far
    To listen to the music of this entertaining tar.

    When they heard the Captain humming, and beheld the dancing crew,
    The commodores severely said, "Why, this will never do!"
    And the admirals all hurried home, remarking, "This is most
    Extraordinary conduct for a captain at his post."

[Illustration: "HE DID A LITTLE FIFING ON THE EDGES OF THE NOTE."]

    Then they sent some sailing-orders to Sir Peter, in a boat,
    And he did a little fifing on the edges of the note;
    But he read the sailing-orders, as, of course, he had to do,
    And removed the "Royal Biddy" to the Bay of Boohgabooh.

    Now, Sir Peter took it kindly, but it's proper to explain
    He was sent to catch a pirate out upon the Spanish Main;
    And he played, with variations, an imaginary tune
    On the buttons of his waistcoat, like a jocular bassoon.

    Then a topman saw the Pirate come a-sailing in the bay,
    And reported to the Captain in the customary way.
    "I'll receive him," said Sir Peter, "with a musical salute!"
    And he gave some imitations of a double-jointed flute.

    Then the Pirate cried derisively, "I've heard it done before!"
    And he hoisted up a banner emblematical of gore.
    But Sir Peter said serenely, "You may double-shot the guns
    While I sing my little ballad of 'The Butter on the Buns.'"

    Then the Pirate banged Sir Peter and Sir Peter banged him back,
    And they banged away together as they took another tack.
    Then Sir Peter said politely, "You may board him, if you like"--
    And he played a little dirge upon the handle of a pike.

    Then the "Biddies" poured like hornets down upon the Pirate's deck,
    And Sir Peter caught the Pirate, and he took him by the neck,
    And remarked, "You must excuse me, but you acted like a brute
    When I gave my imitation of that double-jointed flute."

    So they took that wicked Pirate, and they took his wicked crew,
    And tied them up with double knots in packages of two;
    And left them lying on their backs in rows upon the beach
    With a little bread and water within comfortable reach.

[Illustration: "SIR PETER CAUGHT THE PIRATE, AND HE TOOK HIM BY THE
NECK."]

    Now the Pirate had a treasure (mostly silverware and gold),
    And Sir Peter took and stowed it in the bottom of his hold;
    And said "I will retire on this cargo of doubloons,
    And each of you, my gallant crew, may have some silver spoons."

    Now commodores in coach-and-fours, and corporals in cabs,
    And men with carts of pies and tarts, and fishermen with crabs,
    And barristers with wigs, in gigs, still gather on the strand--
    But there isn't any music save a little German band.

"I think Sir Peter was perfectly grand!" said Dorothy, as the Admiral
finished his verses. "He was so composed."

"So was the poetry," said the Admiral. "It _had_ to be composed, you
know, or there wouldn't have been any."

"_That_ would have been fine!" remarked the Highlander.

The Admiral got so red in the face at this, that Dorothy thought he was
going into some kind of a fit; but just at this moment there was a sharp
rap at the door, and Sir Walter exclaimed, "_That's_ Bob Scarlet, and
here we are in his flower-bed!"

"Jibs and jiggers!" said the Admiral, "I never thought of that. What do
you suppose he'll do?"

"Pick us!" said the Highlander, with remarkable presence of mind.

"Then tell him we're all out," said the Admiral to Dorothy in extreme
agitation, and with this, the whole Caravan disappeared under the bed
with all possible despatch.

"We _are_ out, you know," said Dorothy to herself, "because there's no
_in_ for us to be in"; and then she called out in a very loud voice,
"We're all out in here!" which wasn't exactly what she meant to say,
after all.

But there was no answer, and she was just stooping down to call through
the keyhole when she saw that the wall-paper was nothing but a vine
growing on a trellis, and the door only a little rustic gate leading
through it. "And, dear me!--where has the furniture gone to?" she
exclaimed, for the curly chairs had changed into flower-pot stands, and
the bed into a great mound of waving lilies, and she found herself
standing in a beautiful garden.



CHAPTER V

BOB SCARLET'S GARDEN


Being in a garden full of flowers at Christmas-time is a very fine
thing; and Dorothy was looking about with great delight, and wondering
how it had all happened, when she suddenly caught sight of a big robin
walking along one of the paths, and examining the various plants with an
air of great interest. He was a very big robin, indeed--in fact, he was
about as large as a goose; and he had on a gardener's hat, and a bright
red waistcoat which he was wearing unbuttoned so as to give his fat
little chest plenty of room; but the most remarkable thing about him was
that he was walking about _with his hands in his waistcoat-pockets_.

Dorothy had never seen a robin do this before, and she was looking at
him in great astonishment, when he chanced to turn around to take a
particular look at a large flower, and she saw that he had two
caterpillars neatly embroidered on the back of his waistcoat so as to
form the letters B. S.

[Illustration: "HE WAS WALKING ABOUT WITH HIS HANDS IN HIS
WAISTCOAT-POCKETS."]

"Now I wonder what B. S. means," she said to herself with her usual
curiosity. "It _stands_ for Brown Sugar, but, of course, it can't be
that. Perhaps it means Best Suit, or Bird Superintendent, or--or--why
it must mean Bob Scarlet, to be sure!" and clapping her hands in the joy
of this discovery, she ran after the Robin to take a nearer look at him
and, if possible, to have a little conversation.

But Bob Scarlet proved to be a very difficult person to get near to.
Over and over again Dorothy caught sight of the top of his hat beyond a
hedge, or saw the red waistcoat through the bushes; but no matter how
quickly she stole around to the spot, he was always gone before she got
there, and she would see the hat or the waistcoat far away, in another
part of the garden, and would hurry after him only to be disappointed as
before. She was getting very tired of this, and was walking around
rather disconsolately, when she happened to look at one of the plants,
and discovered that little sunbonnets were growing on it in great
profusion, like white lilies; and this was such a delightful discovery,
and such an exceedingly interesting circumstance, that she instantly
forgot all about Bob Scarlet, and started away in great excitement to
examine the other plants.

[Illustration: "THERE WERE PLANTS LOADED DOWN WITH LITTLE PINAFORES, AND
SHRUBS WITH SMALL SHOES GROWING ALL OVER THEM."]

There was a great variety of them, and they all were of the same curious
character. Besides the bonnet-bush, there were plants loaded down with
little pinafores, and shrubs with small shoes growing all over them,
like peas, and delicate vines of thread with button-blossoms on them,
and, what particularly pleased Dorothy, a row of pots marked "FROCK
FLOWERS," and each containing a stalk with a crisp little frock growing
on it, like a big tulip upside down.

"They're only big enough for dolls," chattered Dorothy, as she hurried
from one to the other, "but, of course, they'll grow. I s'pose it's what
they call a nursery-garden. Just fancy--" she exclaimed, stopping short
and clasping her hands in a rapture,--"just fancy going out to pick an
apronful of delightful new stockings, or running out every day to see if
your best frock is ripe yet!" And I'm sure I don't know what she would
have said next, but just at this moment she caught sight of a paper
lying in the path before her, and, of course, immediately became
interested in _that_.

It was folded something like a lawyer's document, and was very neatly
marked in red ink "MEMORUMDRUMS"; and after looking at it curiously for
a moment, Dorothy said to herself, "It's prob'bly a wash-list; nothing
but two aprons, and four HDKeffs, and ten towels--there's always such a
_lot_ of towels, you know," and here she picked up the paper; but
instead of being a wash-list, she found it contained these verses:

    Have Angleworms attractive homes?
        Do Bumblebees have brains?
    Do Caterpillars carry combs?
        Do Dodos dote on drains?
    Can Eels elude elastic earls?
        Do Flatfish fish for flats?
    Are Grigs agreeable to girls?
        Do Hares have hunting-hats?
    Do Ices make an Ibex ill?
        Do Jackdaws jug their jam?
    Do Kites kiss all the kids they kill?
        Do Llamas live on lamb?
    Will Moles molest a mounted mink?
        Do Newts deny the news?
    Are Oysters boisterous when they drink?
        Do Parrots prowl in pews?
    Do Quakers get their quills from Quails?
        Do Rabbits rob on roads?
    Are Snakes supposed to sneer at snails?
        Do Tortoises tease toads?
    Can Unicorns perform on horns?
        Do Vipers value veal?
    Do Weasels weep when fast asleep?
        Can Xylophagans squeal?
    Do Yaks in packs invite attacks?
        Are Zebras full of zeal?

    P. S. Shake well and recite every morning in a shady place.

"I don't believe a single one of them, and I never read such stuff!"
exclaimed Dorothy, indignantly; and she was just about to throw down
the paper when Bob Scarlet suddenly appeared, hurrying along the path,
and gazing anxiously from side to side as if he had lost something. As
he came upon Dorothy, he started violently, and said "Shoo!" with great
vehemence, and then, after staring at her a moment, added, "Oh, I beg
your pardon--I thought you were a cat. Have you seen anything of my
exercise?"

"Is this it?" said Dorothy, holding up the paper.

"That's it," said the Robin, in a tone of great satisfaction. "Shake it
hard, please."

Dorothy gave the paper a good shake, after which Bob Scarlet took it and
stuffed it into his waistcoat-pocket, remarking, "It has to be well
shaken before I take it, you know."

"Is that the prescription?" said Dorothy, beginning to laugh.

"No, it's the postscription," replied the Robin, very seriously; "but,
somehow, I never remember it till I come to it. I suppose it's put at
the end so that I won't forget it the next time. You see, it's about the
only exercise I have."

"I should think it was very good exercise," said Dorothy, trying to look
serious again.

"Oh, it's _good_ enough, what there is of it," said the Robin, in an
offhand way.

"But I'm sure there's _enough_ of it," said Dorothy.

"There _is_ enough of it, such as it is," replied the Robin.

"Such as it is?" repeated Dorothy, beginning to feel a little perplexed.
"Why, it's _hard_ enough, I'm sure. It's enough to drive a person quite
distracted."

"Well, it's a corker till you get used to it," said the Robin, strutting
about. "There's such a tremendous variety to it, you see, that it
exercises you all over at once."

This was so ridiculous that Dorothy laughed outright. "I should _never_
get used to it," she said. "I don't believe I know a single one of the
answers."

"_I_ do!" said Bob Scarlet, proudly; "I know 'em all. It's 'No' to
everything in it."

"Dear me!" said Dorothy, feeling quite provoked at herself, "of course
it is. I never thought of that."

"And when you can answer _them_," continued the Robin, with a very
important air, "you can answer anything."

Now, as the Robin said this, it suddenly occurred to Dorothy that she
had been lost for quite a long time, and that this was a good
opportunity for getting a little information, so she said very politely:
"Then I wish you'd please tell me where I am."

"Why, you're _here_," replied the Robin, promptly. "That's what _I_ call
an easy one."

"But _where_ is it?" said Dorothy.

"Where is _what_?" said the Robin, looking rather puzzled.

[Illustration: "'WHY, THE PLACE WHERE I AM,' SAID DOROTHY."]

"Why, the place where I am," said Dorothy.

"That's here, too," replied the Robin, and then, looking at her
suspiciously, he added, "Come--no chaffing, you know. I won't have it."

"But I'm _not_ chaffing," said Dorothy, beginning to feel a little
provoked; "it's only because you twist the things I say the wrong way."

"What do you say 'em the wrong way for, then?" said Bob Scarlet,
irritably. "Why don't you get 'em straight?"

"Dear me!" exclaimed Dorothy, now quite out of patience. "How dreadfully
confusing it all is! Don't you understand?--I only want to know where
the place is where I am now,--whereabouts in the geography, I mean," she
added in desperation.

"It isn't in there at all," said Bob Scarlet, very decidedly. "There
isn't a geography going that could hold on to it for five minutes."

"Do you mean that it isn't _anywhere_?" exclaimed Dorothy, beginning to
feel a little frightened.

"No, I don't," said Bob Scarlet, obstinately. "I mean that it is
anywhere--anywhere that it chooses to be, you know; only it doesn't
_stay_ anywhere any longer than it likes."

"Then I'm going away," said Dorothy, hastily. "I won't stay in such a
place."

"Well, you'd better be quick about it," said the Robin, with a chuckle,
"or there won't be any place to go away _from_. I can feel it beginning
to go now," and with this remark Bob Scarlet him self hurried away.

[Illustration: "DOROTHY STARTED OFF AT ONCE, AS FAST AS SHE COULD RUN."]

There was something so alarming in the idea of a place going away and
leaving her behind, that Dorothy started off at once, as fast as she
could run, and indeed she wasn't a moment too soon. The garden itself
was already beginning to be very much agitated, and the clothes on the
plants were folding themselves up in a fluttering sort of a way as she
ran past them; and she noticed, moreover, that the little shoes on the
shoe-shrub were so withered away that they looked like a lot of raisins.
But she had no time to stop and look at such things, and she ran on and
on until, to her delight, she came suddenly upon the little trap-door
where she had come up. There wasn't a minute to spare, and she jumped
down into the hole without so much as stopping to look back at the
vanishing garden, and hurried down the little stairway. It was as dark
as pitch, and as she ran down, going around and around, on the winding
stairs, she could hear them folding up behind her like the slats of a
blind; and she had just time to rush through the door at the bottom,
when the trunk of the tree flapped inward like an empty bag and then
shot up into the air.



CHAPTER VI

IN THE TOY-SHOP


The first thing that Dorothy did was to draw a long breath over her
narrow escape, and the next thing was to look up into the air to see
what had become of the tree, and she saw the braided floor of the garden
floating away, far above her head, with the flapping trunks of the trees
dangling from it like a lot of one-legged trousers. This was a rather
ridiculous spectacle, and when the floor presently shriveled up into a
small brown patch, like a flying pancake, and then went entirely out of
sight, she said "Pooh!" very contemptuously and felt quite brave again.

[Illustration: "'IT IS A SHELF!' SHE EXCLAIMED."]

"It wasn't half so solemn as I expected," she went on, chattering to
herself; "I certainly thought there would be all kinds of phenomeners,
and, after all, it's precisely like nothing but a big basket of old
clothes, blowing away. But it's just as well to be saved, of course,
only I don't know where I am any more than I did before. It's a kind of
wooden floor, I think," she added, stamping on it with her little shoe;
"and, dear me! I verily believe it's nothing but a shelf. It _is_ a
shelf!" she exclaimed, peeping cautiously over the edge; "and there's
the real floor ever so far away. I can never jump down there in the
world without being dashed to destruction!"--and she was just thinking
how it would do to hang from the edge of the shelf by her hands and then
let herself drop (with her eyes shut, of course) when a little party of
people came tumbling down through the air and fell in a heap close
beside her. She gave a scream of dismay and then stood staring at them
in utter bewilderment, for, as the party scrambled to their feet, she saw
they were the Caravan, dressed up in the most extraordinary fashion, in
little frocks and long shawls, and all wearing sunbonnets. The
Highlander, with his usual bad luck, had put on _his_ sunbonnet
backward, with the crown over his face, and was struggling with it so
helplessly that Dorothy rushed at him and got it off just in time to
save him from being suffocated. In fact, he was so black in the face
that she had to pound him on the back to bring him to.

[Illustration: "THE HIGHLANDER, WITH HIS USUAL BAD LUCK, HAD PUT ON HIS
SUNBONNET BACKWARD."]

"We're disguised, you know," said the Admiral, breathlessly. "We found
these things under the bed. Bob Scarlet isn't anywhere about, is he?" he
added, staring around in an agitated manner through his spy-glass.

"About?" said Dorothy, trying to look serious. "I should think he was
about five miles from here by this time."

"I wish it was five thousand," exclaimed Sir Walter, angrily, smoothing
down his frock. "Old Peckjabber!"

"Why, what in the world is the matter?" said Dorothy, beginning to laugh
in spite of herself.

"Matter!" exclaimed the Admiral, his voice fairly trembling with
emotion; "why, look here! We was all shrinking away to nothing in that
wanishing garden. Bob Scarlet himself was no bigger than an ant when we
came away."

"And we wasn't any bigger than uncles," put in the Highlander.

"_You're_ not more than three inches high this minute," said Sir Walter,
surveying Dorothy with a critical air, with his head cocked on one side.

"Goodness gracious!" exclaimed Dorothy, with a start. "It seems to me
that's extremely small. I should think that I'd have felt it coming on."

"It comes on sort of sneaking, and you don't notice it," said the
Admiral. "_We'd_ have been completely inwisible by this time if we
hadn't jumped overboard."

"It was an awful jump!" said Dorothy, solemnly. "Didn't it hurt to fall
so far?"

"Not at all," said the Admiral, cheerfully. "The falling part of it was
quite agreeable--so cool and rushing, you know; but the landing was
tremenjious severe."

"Banged us like anything," explained the Highlander; and with this the
Caravan locked arms and walked away with the tails of their shawls
trailing behind them.

"What strange little things they are!" said Dorothy, reflectively, as
she walked along after them, "and they're for all the world precisely
like arimated dolls--movable, you know," she added, not feeling quite
sure that "arimated" was the proper word,--"and speaking of dolls,
here's a perfect multitude of 'em!" she exclaimed, for just then she
came upon a long row of dolls beautifully dressed, and standing on
their heels with their heads against the wall. They were at least five
times as big as Dorothy herself, and had price-tickets tucked into their
sashes, such as "2/6, CHEAP," "5_s._, REAL WAX," and so on; and Dorothy,
clapping her hands in an ecstasy of delight, exclaimed: "Why, it's a
monstrous, enormous toy-shop!" and then she hurried on to see what else
there might be on exhibition.

"Marbles, prob'bly," she remarked, peering over the edge of a basket
full of what looked like enormous stone cannon-balls of various colors;
"for mastodons, _I_ should say, only I don't know as _they_ ever play
marbles,--grocery shop, full of dear little drawers with real knobs on
'em,--'pothecary's shop with _true_ pill-boxes," she went on, examining
one delightful thing after another; "and here's a farm out of a box, and
all the same funny old things--trees with green shavings on them and
fences with feet so they'll stand up, and here's the dear fam'ly, same
size as the trees and the houses, of course, and--oh! I beg your
pardon," she exclaimed, for her frock had touched the farmer and knocked
him over flat on his back. "And here's a Noah's Ark, full of
higgledy-piggledy animals--why, what are you doing here?" she cried,
for just at that moment she suddenly discovered the Caravan, all huddled
together at the door of the ark, and apparently discussing something of
vast importance.

"We're buying a camel," said the Admiral, excitedly; "they've got just
the one we want for the Caravan."

"His name is Humphrey," shouted the Highlander, uproariously, "and he's
got three humps!"

"Nonsense!" cried Dorothy, bursting into a fit of uncontrollable
laughter. "There never was such a thing."

"They have 'em in arks," said the Admiral, very earnestly. "You can find
_anything_ in arks if you only go deep enough. I've seen 'em with
patriarchs in 'em, 'way down at the bottom."

"Did _they_ have any humps?" inquired the Highlander with an air of
great interest.

Dorothy went off again into a burst of laughter at this. "He's really
the most ignorant little creature I ever saw," she said.

"I thought they was something to ride on," said the Highlander, sulkily;
"otherwise, I say, let 'em keep out of arks!" The rest of the Caravan
evidently sided with him in this opinion, and after staring at Dorothy
for a moment with great disfavor they all called out "Old Proudie!" and
solemnly walked off in a row as before.

"I believe I shall have a fit if I meet them again," said Dorothy to
herself, laughing till her eyes were full of tears. "They're certainly
the foolishest things I ever saw," and with this she walked away through
the shop, and was just beginning to look at the toys again, when she
came suddenly upon an old dame sitting contentedly in the shop in a
great arm-chair. She was eating porridge out of a bowl in her lap, and
her head was so close to the edge of the shelf that Dorothy almost
walked into her cap.

"Drat the toys!" cried the old dame, starting so violently that her
spectacles fell off her nose into the porridge. "Drat the new-fangled
things!"--and here she aimed a blow at Dorothy with her spoon. "They're
enough to scare folks out of their senses. Give _me_ the old-fashioned
kind--deaf and dumb and blind and stiff"--but by this time Dorothy,
almost frightened out of her wits, had run away and was hiding behind a
doll's sofa.

"_She's_ a nice person to have charge of a shop," she exclaimed
indignantly, as she listened to the old dame scolding to herself in the
distance. "The idea of not knowing human persons when you see them! Of
course, being so small _is_ rather unusual, and it's really quite
dangerous, you know," she went on, giving a little shiver at the thought
of what might have happened. "Just fancy being wrapped up in a piece of
stiff paper by mistake--shrieking wouldn't do the least good because, of
course, she's deaf as anything--"

           *       *       *       *       *

"How much are you a dozen?" said a voice, and Dorothy, looking around,
saw that it was a Dancing-Jack in the shop-window speaking to her. He
was a gorgeous creature, with bells on the seams of his clothes and with
arms and legs of different colors, and he was lounging in an easy
attitude with his right leg thrown over the top of a toy livery-stable
and his left foot in a large ornamental tea-cup; but as he was fastened
to a hook by a loop in the top of his hat, Dorothy didn't feel in the
least afraid of him.

"Thank you," she replied with much dignity, "I'm not a dozen at all. I'm
a single person. That sounds kind of unmarried," she thought to
herself, "but it's the exact truth."

[Illustration: "'YOU KNOW YOUR SIZE DOES COME IN DOZENS, ASSORTED,'
CONTINUED THE JACK."]

"No offense, I hope," said the Jack, looking somewhat abashed.

"No--not exactly," said Dorothy rather stiffly.

"You know, your size _does_ come in dozens--assorted," continued the
Jack, with quite a professional air. "Family of nine, two maids with
dusters, and cook with removable apron. Very popular, I believe."

"So I should think," remarked Dorothy, beginning to recover her good
nature.

"But of course _singles_ are much more select," said the Jack. "_We_
never come in dozens, you know."

"I suppose not," said Dorothy, innocently. "I can't imagine anybody
wanting twelve Dancing-Jacks all at the same time."

"It wouldn't do any good if they did want 'em," said the Jack. "They
couldn't get 'em,--that is, not in _this_ shop."

Now, while this conversation was going on, Dorothy noticed that the
various things in the shop-window had a curious way of constantly
turning into something else. She discovered this by seeing a little
bunch of yellow peg-tops change into a plateful of pears while she
chanced to be looking at them; and a moment afterward she caught a
doll's saucepan, that was hanging in one corner of the window, just in
the act of quietly turning into a battledore with a red morocco handle.
This struck her as being such a remarkable performance that she
immediately began looking at one thing after another, and watching the
various changes, until she was quite bewildered.

"It's something like a Christmas pantomime," she said to herself; "and
it isn't the slightest use, you know, trying to fancy what anything's
going to be, because everything that happens is so unproblesome. I don't
know where I got _that_ word from," she went on, "but it seems to
express exactly what I mean. F'r instance, there's a little cradle
that's just been turned into a coal-scuttle, and if _that_ isn't
unproblesome, well then--never mind!" (which, as you know, is a
ridiculous way little girls have of finishing their sentences.)

By this time she had got around again to the toy livery-stable, and she
was extremely pleased to find that it had turned into a smart little
baronial castle with a turret at each end, and that the ornamental
tea-cup was just changing, with a good deal of a flourish, into a small
rowboat floating in a little stream that ran by the castle walls.

"Come, _that's_ the finest thing yet!" exclaimed Dorothy, looking at all
this with great admiration; "and I wish a brazen knight would come out
with a trumpet and blow a blast"--you see, she was quite romantic at
times--and she was just admiring the clever way in which the boat was
getting rid of the handle of the tea-cup, when the Dancing-Jack
suddenly stopped talking, and began scrambling over the roof of the
castle. He was extremely pale, and, to Dorothy's alarm, spots of bright
colors were coming out all over him, as if he had been made of stained
glass, and was being lighted up from the inside.

"I believe I'm going to turn into something," he said, glaring wildly
about, and speaking in a very agitated voice.

"Goodness!" exclaimed Dorothy in dismay; "what do you suppose it's going
to be?"

"I think--" said the Jack, solemnly,--"I think it's going to be a
patchwork quilt," but just as he was finishing this remark a sort of
wriggle passed through him, and, to Dorothy's amazement, he turned into
a slender Harlequin all made up of spangles and shining triangles.

Now this was all very well, and, of course, much better than turning
into a quilt of any sort; but as the Dancing-Jack's last remark went on
without stopping, and was taken charge of, so to speak, and finished by
the Harlequin, it mixed up the two in a very confusing way. In fact, by
the time the remark came to an end, Dorothy didn't really know which of
them was talking to her, and, to make matters worse, the Harlequin
vanished for a moment, and then reappeared, about one half of his
original size, coming out of the door of the castle with an unconcerned
air as if he hadn't had anything to do with the affair.

"It's dreadfully confusing," said Dorothy to herself, "not to know which
of two persons is talking to you, 'specially when there's really only
one of them here"; but she never had a chance to find out anything about
the matter, for in the mean time a part of the castle had quietly turned
upside down, and was now a little stone bridge with the stream flowing
beneath it, and the Harlequin, who was constantly getting smaller and
smaller, was standing with one foot in the boat as if he were trying to
choose between taking a little excursion on the water and going out of
sight altogether.

"Excuse me--but did you say anything?" said Dorothy, feeling quite sure
that there was no time to be lost.

"All that _I_ said was 'quilt,'" replied the Harlequin; "I suppose
there's no particular harm in that?"

"Oh, dear, no!" said Dorothy, hastily; "only it seems a rather queer way
of beginning a conversation, you know."

"It's as good as any other way if it's all you have to say," said the
Harlequin, and by this time he had both feet in the boat, and had
evidently decided on the water excursion, for, before Dorothy could
think of anything more to say to him, he sailed away under the bridge
and disappeared.

[Illustration: "HE SAILED AWAY UNDER THE BRIDGE."]



CHAPTER VII

THE SONG IN THE DELL


"I'm sorry he's gone," said Dorothy to herself, gazing with longing eyes
after the Harlequin. "He wasn't much to talk to, but he was awful
beautiful to look at"; and, having relieved her mind by this remark, she
was just starting to take another walk through the shop when she
suddenly caught sight of a small door in one corner. It wasn't much
larger than a rat-hole, but it was big enough for her to go through, and
that, of course, was the important thing; and as she never could bear to
go by strange doorways until she knew where they led to, she immediately
ran through this one, and, quite to her surprise, found herself outside
the toy-shop.

There was a steep bank here sloping down from the wall of the shop, and
Dorothy was much interested at discovering that it was completely
overgrown with little green rocking-chairs. They were growing about in
great confusion, and once or twice, when her frock happened to brush
against them, quite an avalanche of them went clattering down the bank
and broke up at the bottom into curious little bits of wood like
jackstraws. This made climbing down the bank very exciting, but she got
safely to the bottom at last, and was just starting off for another
journey of discovery when she came suddenly upon the toy farm-house
standing quite by itself in the open country. None of the family was
present except the Farmer, who was standing in front of the house,
staring at it in a bewildered way as if he had never laid eyes on it
before. He was a plain-featured man, with a curious little hat something
like the lid of a coffee-pot, and with a great number of large yellow
buttons arranged on the front of his coat like a row of cream-tarts;
and, after the manner of all toy-farmers, he was buried to the ankles in
a round piece of wood to keep him from falling over.

Now Dorothy had always particularly wanted to see the inside of a toy
farm-house, and, as this seemed to be an excellent opportunity, she
walked up to the Farmer and said, very politely, "Can I see your house?"

"I should think you could if you looked at it," said the Farmer, staring
first at her and then at the house, as if he were greatly surprised at
the question; "_I_ can see it easily enough."

"But I mean, can I go over it?" said Dorothy, rather confused by this
answer.

The Farmer rubbed his nose and looked thoughtfully at the roof of the
house for a moment and then said, rather sulkily, "Yes, I suppose you
can, but you must agree not to knock off the chimbleys."

"Dear me," said Dorothy, beginning to laugh, "that isn't what I mean at
all. I mean, can I go through it?"

The Farmer, after turning over this proposition in his mind with great
deliberation, got down on his hands and knees and took a long look
through the little door in the front of the house, and then getting up
on his feet again, said, very seriously, "I don't see anything to
prevent it; there's another door at the back,"--and walked gravely away.
He did this in a very peculiar way, by a sort of sidelong roll on his
round wooden block like a barrel being worked along on one end; and, as
Dorothy stood watching this performance with great interest, he
presently fell over one of the little rocking-chairs, and coming down
heavily on his back, rolled away on the edge of his block and the rim
of his little round hat without making the slightest attempt to get on
his feet again.

"I shall look precisely like a elephant with a pagoda on his back," said
Dorothy, as she got down on her hands and knees and crawled through the
little door into the house, "but I'm going to see what it's like while I
have the chance. All hollow, right up to the roof, just as I expected,"
she exclaimed. "I s'pose that's so the fam'ly can stand up when they
come inside." But there was nothing in the house but a lot of old
umbrellas tied up in bundles and marked "DANGEROUS," and as she didn't
think these were very interesting, and as, moreover, her head by this
time was out of the door at the back, she crawled through without
stopping and scrambled up on to her feet again.

       *       *       *       *       *

"Oh, lovely!" cried Dorothy, clapping her hands in a rapture of delight;
for she found herself in a beautiful wood--not a make-believe affair
like the toy-farm, but a real wood with soft grass and pads of
dark-green moss growing underfoot, and with ferns and forest flowers
springing up on all sides. The wind was rustling pleasantly in the
trees, and the sunlight, shining down through the dancing leaves, made
little patches of light that chased each other about on the grass, and,
as Dorothy walked along, she felt happier than she had at any time since
losing the Blue Admiral Inn. To be sure, it wasn't the easiest matter in
the world to get along, for as the trees and the bushes and the blades
of grass were all of the natural size and Dorothy was no bigger than a
wren, she fell over a good many twigs and other small obstacles, and
tumbled down a great many times. Then, too, she found it rather trying
to her nerves, at first, to meet with rabbits as big as horses, to come
suddenly upon quails whistling like steam-engines, and to be chattered
at by squirrels a head taller than she herself was; but she was a very
wise little child about such matters, and she said to herself, "Why, of
course, they're only their usual sizes, you know, and they're sure to be
the same scary things they always are,"--and then she stamped her foot
at them and said "Shoo!" very boldly, and, after laughing to see the
great creatures whisk about and dash into the thicket, she walked along
quite contentedly.

[Illustration: "SHE FOUND IT RATHER TRYING TO HER NERVES, AT FIRST, TO
MEET WITH RABBITS AS BIG AS HORSES."]

[Illustration: "--TO BE CHATTERED AT BY SQUIRRELS A HEAD TALLER THAN SHE
HERSELF WAS."]

Presently she heard a voice singing. It seemed to come from a thick
part of the wood at one side of the path; and, after hesitating a
moment, Dorothy stole into the bushes, and, creeping cautiously along
until she was quite near the sound, crouched down in the thicket to
listen.

It was a very small voice, and it was singing this song:

                    I know a way
    Of hearing what the larks and linnets say.
      The larks tell of the sunshine and the sky;
      The linnets from the hedges make reply,
    And boast of hidden nests with mocking lay.

                    I know a way
    Of keeping near the rabbits at their play.
      They tell me of the cool and shady nooks
      Where waterfalls disturb the placid brooks
    That I may go and frolic in the spray.

                    I know a way
    Of catching dewdrops on a night in May,
      And threading them upon a spear of green,
      That through their sides translucent may be seen
    The sparkling hue that emeralds display.

                    I know a way
    Of trapping sunbeams as they nimbly play
      At hide-and-seek with meadow-grass and flowers,
      And holding them in store for dreary hours
    When winds are chill and all the sky is gray.

                    I know a way
    Of stealing fragrance from the new-mown hay
      And storing it in flasks of petals made,
      To scent the air when all the flowers fade
    And leave the woodland world to sad decay.

                    I know a way
    Of coaxing snowflakes in their flight to stay
      So still awhile, that, as they hang in air,
      I weave them into frosty lace, to wear
    About my head upon a sultry day.

Dorothy, crouching down in the thicket, listened to this little song
with great delight; but she was extremely sentimental where poetry was
concerned, and it happened that when she heard this last verse she
clasped her hands in a burst of rapture and exclaimed in quite a loud
voice, "Oh, delicious!" This was very unfortunate, for the song stopped
short the instant she spoke, and for a moment everything was perfectly
silent; then the little voice spoke up again, and said, "Who is that?"

"It's I," said Dorothy.

"It's two eyes, if it comes to that," said the little voice; "I can see
them through the bushes. Are you a rabbit?"

"No," said Dorothy, laughing softly to herself, "I'm a child."

"Oh!" exclaimed the voice. It was a very little Oh; in fact, it sounded
to Dorothy as if it might be about the size of a cherry-stone, and she
said to herself, "I verily believe it's a fairy, and she certainly can't
be a bit bigger than my thumb--my regular thumb, I mean," she added,
holding up her hand and looking at the size of it with great contempt.

Then the little voice spoke up again and said, "And how big are you?"

"I'm about three inches tall," said Dorothy; and she was so excited by
this time at the prospect of seeing a real live fairy for the first time
in her life, that she felt as if a lot of flies were running up and down
on the back of her neck.

"Dear me!" exclaimed the little voice, expressing great astonishment in
its small way. "Why, there's hardly enough of you to put in a corner."

Dorothy reflected for a moment and then called out, "But, you know,
_that_ depends altogether on the size of the corner."

"Oh, no, it doesn't!" said the little voice, very confidently. "All
corners are the same size if you only get close enough to 'em."

"Dear me!" said Dorothy to herself, "how very intelligent she is! I
_must_ have a look at her"; and, pushing the leaves gently aside, she
cautiously peeped out.

[Illustration: "PUSHING THE LEAVES GENTLY ASIDE, SHE CAUTIOUSLY PEEPED
OUT."]

It was a charming little dell, carpeted with fine moss, and with
strange-looking wild flowers and tall nodding grasses growing about the
sides of it; but, to Dorothy's astonishment, the fairy proved to be an
extremely small field-mouse, sitting up like a little pug-dog and gazing
attentively at the thicket: "and _I_ think"--the Mouse went on, as if
it were tired of waiting for an answer to its last remark--"_I_ think a
child should be six inches tall, _at least_."

This was so ridiculous that Dorothy had to put her hand over her mouth
to keep from screaming with laughter. "Why," she exclaimed, "I used to
be"--and here she had to stop and count up on her fingers as if she
were doing a sum--"I used to be eight times as big as _that_, myself."

"Tut, tut!--" said the Mouse, and the "tuts" sounded like beads dropping
into a pill-box--"tut, tut! Don't tell me such rubbish!"

"Oh, you needn't _tut_ me," said Dorothy. "It's the exact truth."

"Then I don't understand it," said the Mouse, shaking its head in a
puzzled way. "_I_ always thought children grew the other way."

"Well, you see,--" said Dorothy, in her old-fashioned way,--"you see,
I've been very much reduced." (She thought afterward that this sounded
rather as if she had lost all her property, but it was the only thing
she could think of to say at the time.)

"I _don't_ see it at all," said the Mouse, fretfully, "and what's more,
I don't see _you_, in fact, I don't think you ought to be hiding in the
bushes and chattering at me in this way."

This seemed to Dorothy to be a very personal remark, and she answered,
rather indignantly, "And why not, I should like to know?"

"Because,"--said the Mouse in a very superior manner,--"because little
children should be seen and not heard."

"Hoity-toity!" said Dorothy, very sharply. (I don't think she had the
slightest idea of what this meant, but she had read somewhere in a book
that it was an expression used when other persons gave themselves airs,
and she thought she would try the effect of it on the Mouse.) But, to
her great disappointment, the Mouse made no reply of any kind, and after
picking a leaf and holding it up to its eyes for a moment, as if it were
having a cry in its small way, the poor little creature turned about and
ran into the thicket at the further side of the dell.

[Illustration: THE MOUSE LAMENTS.]

Dorothy was greatly distressed at this, and, jumping out of the bushes
into the dell, she began calling, "Mousie! Mousie! Come back! I didn't
mean it, dear. It was only an esperiment." But there was no answer, and,
stooping down at the place where the Mouse had disappeared, she looked
into the thicket. There was nothing there but a very small squirrel
eating a nut; and, after staring at her for a moment in great
astonishment, he threw the nut in her face and scampered off into the
bushes.

"Nice manners, upon my word!" said Dorothy, in great indignation at this
treatment, and then, standing up, she gazed about the dell rather
disconsolately; but there was no living thing in sight except a fat
butterfly lazily swinging up and down on a blade of grass. Dorothy
touched him with her finger to see if he were awake, but the Butterfly
gave himself an impatient shake, and said, fretfully, "Oh, don't," and,
after waiting a moment, to be sure that was all he had to say, she
walked mournfully away through the wood.



CHAPTER VIII

SOMETHING ABOUT THE CAMEL


The wood wasn't nearly so pleasant now as it had been before, and
Dorothy was quite pleased when, after walking a little way, she came in
sight again of the bank covered with rocking-chairs, and running up, she
hurried through the little door into the toy-shop.

Everything was just as she had left it, and the stream was running
merrily under the castle bridge; but just as she was going by, the
bridge itself began hitching up in the middle and pawing, as it were, at
the banks of the stream in such an extraordinary manner that she stopped
to see what was going to happen.

"It's sure to be something wonderous," she said to herself, as she stood
watching it, and she was quite right about this, for the bridge
presently turned into a remarkably spirited rocking-horse (dappled, with
black spots scattered about), and after rocking back and forth once or
twice, as if to be sure it really _was_ a horse, settled down perfectly
still as if it never expected to be anything else. In fact, with the
exception of a large fly, about as big as one of Dorothy's feet, that
was buzzing about, everything in the window was now perfectly quiet, and
drawing a long breath of relief, she walked away through the shop.

[Illustration: "AND FOUND THE CARAVAN SITTING IN A ROW ON A LITTLE BENCH
AT THE DOOR."]

As she walked along on the shelf, she presently came to the grocer's
shop and found the Caravan sitting in a row on a little bench at the
door. The Admiral had the Camel in his lap, and they were all gazing at
it with an air of extreme solicitude. It was a frowsy little thing with
lumpy legs that hung down in a dangling way from the Admiral's knees,
and Sir Walter was busily employed trying to make it drink something out
of a bottle.

"What are you giving him?" inquired Dorothy, curiously.

"Glue," said the Admiral, promptly. "He needs stiffening up, you see."

"Goodness gracious, what an awful dose!" said Dorothy, with a shudder.

"_That_ doesn't make any difference so long as he won't take it," said
Sir Walter; and here he flew into a tremendous passion, and began
beating the Camel about the head so furiously with the bottle that
Dorothy cried out, "Here--stop that instantly!"

"_He_ doesn't mind it no more than if he was a bolster," put in the
Highlander. "Set him up again and let's see him fall down," he added,
rubbing his hands together with a relish.

"Indeed, you'll do nothing of the sort," exclaimed Dorothy, with great
indignation; and, snatching the Camel from the Admiral's lap, she
carried him into the grocer's shop and set him down upon the floor. The
Camel looked about for a moment with a very mournful expression on his
face, and then climbed into one of the drawers that was standing open,
and pulled it to after him as a person might close a door, and Dorothy,
after watching this remarkable performance with great wonderment, went
out again.

The Caravan had lost no time, and were standing on the bench, putting up
a little sign on the front of the shop with "CAMEL FOR SALE" on it, and
Dorothy, trying not to laugh, said, "Is this your shop?"

"Yes," replied the Admiral, with an important air. "The grocer's been
sold for a cook because he had an apron on, and we've taken the
business."

"What are you going to keep?" asked Dorothy, who was vastly amused at
this idea.

"Why, we're going to keep the shop," said the Admiral, climbing down
from the bench and staring at her in great surprise.

"But you must certainly keep things to sell," said Dorothy.

"How can we keep things if we sell 'em?" inquired Sir Walter.

"Well, you can't sell anything unless you keep it in the shop, you
know," persisted Dorothy, feeling that she was somehow or other getting
the worst of the argument.

"Bosh!" said the Admiral, obstinately; "you _can't_ keep things you
sell--that is," he added, "not unless your customers are crazy"; and
with this remark the Caravan went into the shop and shut the door in
Dorothy's face, as if she wasn't worth talking to any longer.

Dorothy waited for a moment to see if they were coming out again, and
then, as there was a noise inside as if they were piling up the drawers
against the door by way of a barricade, she walked slowly away through
the toy-shop.

She had had such a variety of adventures in the shop by this time that
she was getting quite tired of the place, and she was walking along
rather disconsolately, and wishing there was some way of growing to her
natural size, and then getting back again to poor old Uncle Porticle and
the Blue Admiral Inn, when, as she went around the corner of the little
apothecary's shop, she came suddenly upon Bob Scarlet. To her great
surprise, he was now just about the size of an ordinary robin; but he
had on his red waistcoat, and had quite as important an air as ever, and
he was strolling about examining the various toys, and putting down the
price of everything in a little red book, as if he were thinking of
going into the business himself.

"Now, I wonder how he ever got to be _that_ size," thought Dorothy, as
she hid behind a little pile of lead-pencils and watched him over the
top of them. "I suppose he's eaten something, or drunk something, to
make him grow, the way they do in fairy stories; because the Admiral
certainly said he wasn't any bigger than an ant. And, oh! I wish I knew
what it was," she added, mournfully, as the tears came into her eyes at
the thought of how small she was, "I _wish_ I knew what it was!"

"If I wasn't a little afraid of him," she went on, after she had had a
little cry, "I'd ask him. But likely as not he'd peck at me--old
peckjabber!" and here she laughed through her tears as she thought of
the Caravan in their little sunbonnets. "Or p'r'aps he'd snap me up!
I've often heard of snapping people up when they asked too many
questions, but seems to me it never meant anything so awful as that
before"; and she was rambling on in this way, laughing and crying by
turns, when at this moment Bob Scarlet came suddenly upon a fine brass
bird-cage, and, after staring at it in a stupefied way for an instant,
he dropped his little book, with an appearance of great agitation, and
hurried away without so much as looking behind him.

[Illustration: "HE DROPPED HIS LITTLE BOOK, WITH AN APPEARANCE OF GREAT
AGITATION, AND HURRIED AWAY."]

Dorothy ran after him, carefully keeping out of sight in case he should
turn around, and as she went by the bird-cage she saw that it was marked
"PERFECTLY SECURE" in large letters. "And _that's_ what took the conceit
out of you, mister," she said, laughing to herself, and hurried along
after the Robin.

As she caught sight of him again he was just scurrying by the grocer's
shop, and she could see the faces of the Caravan watching him, over the
top of a little half-blind in the window, with an expression of the
greatest concern, and the next moment a door at the back of the shop
opened and they all rushed out. They had on their sunbonnets and shawls,
and Dorothy saw that the Admiral was carrying the Camel under his arm;
but before she could say a word to them they had scampered away and were
out of sight.

[Illustration: "A DOOR AT THE BACK OF THE SHOP OPENED AND THEY ALL
RUSHED OUT."]

By this time the toy-shop itself was all in a commotion. Dolls were
climbing down from the shelves and falling over each other; the big
marbles had in some way got out of the basket and were rolling about in
all directions; and Dorothy could see the old dame at the further end of
the shop, running about and frantically striking at one thing after
another with her spoon. To make matters worse, quite a little army of
tin soldiers suddenly appeared, running confusedly about, with the
drawers from the little grocer's shop upside down on their heads, and
all calling "Fire!" at the top of their voices. As they couldn't see
where anybody was going, or where they were going themselves, it made
the situation very desperate indeed.

Dorothy was frightened almost out of her wits, but she ran on in a
bewildered sort of a way, dodging the rolling marbles and upsetting the
dolls and the soldiers in great numbers, until she fortunately caught
sight of the little rat-hole of a door, and, rushing through it, she
hurried down the bank, knocking the green rocking-chairs about in every
direction, and ran off into the wood as fast as she could go.

[Illustration: TAIL-PIECE TO CHAPTER VIII.]



CHAPTER IX

THE CAMEL'S COMPLAINT


Dorothy ran along until she thought she was quite safe, and then stopped
to look back and listen. There was a confused sound of shouts and cries
in the distance, but nothing seemed to be coming after her, so, after
waiting a moment to get her breath, she walked quietly away through the
wood.

"What a scene of turmoil it was!" she said to herself. (You see, she was
trying to express herself in a very dignified and composed manner, as if
she hadn't been in the least disturbed by what had happened.) "I
presume--" she went on, "I presume it was something like a riot,
although I really don't see what it was all about. Of course I've never
been in a riot, but if it's anything like _that_, I shall never have
anything to do with one";--which certainly was a very wise resolution
for a little girl to make; but as Dorothy was always making wise
resolutions about things that were never going to happen, I really
don't think that this particular one was a matter of any consequence.

She was so much pleased with these remarks that she was going on to say
a number of very fine things, when she came suddenly upon the Caravan
hiding behind a large tree. They were sitting in a little bunch on the
grass, and, as Dorothy appeared, they all put on an appearance of great
unconcern, and began staring up at the branches of the tree, as if they
hadn't seen her.

"They've certainly been doing something they're ashamed of," she said to
herself, "but they can't deceive me with any such behavior as _that_";
and just then the Admiral pretended he had just caught sight of her and
said, with a patronizing air, "Ah! How d' ye do? How d' ye do?" as if
they hadn't met for quite a while.

"You know perfectly well how I do, and I consider that a very foolish
remark," replied Dorothy, speaking in a very dignified manner, and not
feeling at all pleased with this reception; and then noticing that
Humphrey was nowhere to be seen, she said severely, "Where's your
Camel?"

"Camels is no good," said the Admiral, evasively. "Leastwise _he_
wasn't."

"Why not?" said Dorothy. She said this very sternly, for she felt
morally certain that the Admiral was trying to conceal something from
her.

"Well, you see," said the Admiral, uneasily, "he talked too much. He was
always grumbling."

"Grumbling about what?" said Dorothy.

"Oh, about a wariety of things," said the Admiral. "Meals and lodgings
and all that, you know. I used to try to stop him. 'Cammy,' I says--"

"'Cammy' is short for camel," explained Sir Walter, and Dorothy laughed
and nodded, and the Admiral went on--

"'Cammy,' I says, 'don't scold so much'; but lor! I might as well have
talked to a turnpike-gate."

"Better," put in Sir Walter. "_That_ shuts up sometimes, and _he_ never
did."

"Oh, jummy!" said the Highlander, with a chuckle, "_that's_ a good one!"

"But what was it all about?" persisted Dorothy.

"_You_ tell her, Ruffles," said the Admiral.

"Well," said Sir Walter, "it was all the same thing, over and over
again. He had it all in verses so he wouldn't forget any of it. It went
like this:

    "Canary-birds feed on sugar and seed,
      Parrots have crackers to crunch;
    And, as for the poodles, they tell me the noodles
      Have chickens and cream for their lunch.
        But there's never a question
        About MY digestion--
      ANYTHING does for me!

    "Cats, you're aware, can repose in a chair,
      Chickens can roost upon rails;
    Puppies are able to sleep in a stable,
      And oysters can slumber in pails.
        But no one supposes
        A poor Camel dozes--
      ANY PLACE does for me!

    "Lambs are inclosed where it's never exposed,
      Coops are constructed for hens;
    Kittens are treated to houses well heated,
      And pigs are protected by pens.
        But a Camel comes handy
        Wherever it's sandy--
      ANYWHERE does for me!

    "People would laugh if you rode a giraffe,
      Or mounted the back of an ox;
    It's nobody's habit to ride on a rabbit,
      Or try to bestraddle a fox.
        But as for a Camel, he's
        Ridden by families--
      ANY LOAD does for me!

    "A snake is as round as a hole in the ground,
      And weasels are wavy and sleek;
    And no alligator could ever be straighter
      Than lizards that live in a creek.
        But a Camel's all lumpy
        And bumpy and humpy--
      ANY SHAPE does for me!"

Now, Dorothy was a very tender-hearted little child, and by the time
these verses were finished she hardly knew whether to laugh or to cry.
"Poor old, feeble-minded thing!" she said, compassionately. "And what
became of him at last?"

There was a dead silence for a moment, and then the Admiral said
solemnly:

"We put him in a pond."

"Why, that's the most unhuman thing I ever heard of in all my life!"
exclaimed Dorothy, greatly shocked at this news.

[Illustration: THE CARAVAN DISCIPLINE THE CAMEL.]

"Well," said the Admiral, in a shamefaced sort of way, "_we_ thought it
was a good thing to do--for us, you know."

"And _I_ call it proud and unforgiving," said Dorothy, indignantly.
"Did the poor creature say anything?"

"Not at first," said the Admiral; "but after he got in he said things."

"Such as what?" said Dorothy.

"Oh, we couldn't make out _what_ he said," replied the Admiral,
peevishly. "It was perfectly unintellijibbergibble."

"Kind of gurgly," put in the Highlander.

"Did he go right down?" inquired Dorothy, very anxiously.

"Not a bit of it," said the Admiral, flippantly. "He never went down at
all. He floated, just like a cork, you know."

"Round and round and round," added Sir Walter.

"Like a turnip," put in the Highlander.

"What do you mean by _that_?" said Dorothy, sharply.

"Nothing," said the Highlander, looking very much abashed; "only I
thought turnips turned round."

Dorothy was greatly provoked at all this, and felt that she really ought
to say something very severe; but the fact was that the Caravan looked
so innocent, sitting on the grass with their sunbonnets all crooked on
their heads, that it was as much as she could do to keep from laughing
outright. "You know," she said to herself, "if it wasn't for the
Highlander's whiskers, it'd be precisely like a' infant class having a
picnic; and after all, they're really nothing but graven images"--so she
contented herself by saying, as severely as she could:

"Well, I'm extremely displeased, and I'm very much ashamed of all of
you."

The Caravan received this reproof with great cheerfulness, especially
the Admiral, who took a look at Dorothy through his spy-glass, and then
said with much satisfaction: "Now we're each being ashamed of by _three_
persons"; but Dorothy very properly took no notice of this remark, and
walked away in a dignified manner.



CHAPTER X

THE SIZING TOWER


As Dorothy walked along, wondering what would happen to her next, she
felt something tugging at her frock, and looking around she saw that it
was the Highlander running along beside her, quite breathless, and
trying very hard to attract her attention. "Oh, it's you, is it?" she
said, stopping short and looking at him pleasantly.

"Yes, it's me," said the Highlander, sitting down on the ground as if he
were very much fatigued. "I've been wanting to speak to you privately
for a very long time."

"What about?" said Dorothy, wondering what was coming now.

"Well," said the Highlander, blushing violently and appearing to be
greatly embarrassed, "you seem to be a very kind-hearted person, and I
wanted to show you some poetry I've written."

"Did you compose it?" said Dorothy, kindly.

"No," said the Highlander; "I only made it up. Would you like to hear
it?"

"Oh, yes, indeed," said Dorothy, as gravely as she could; "I should like
to hear it very much."

"It's called"--said the Highlander, lowering his voice confidentially
and looking cautiously about--"it's called 'The Pickle and the
Policeman';" and, taking a little paper out of his pocket, he began:

    "There was a little pickle and his name was John--"

"Oh, dear!" exclaimed Dorothy, "I don't think that will do _at all_."

"Suppose I call him _George_?" said the Highlander, gazing reflectively
at his paper. "It's got to be something short, you know."

"But you mustn't call him _anything_," said Dorothy, laughing. "Pickles
don't have any names."

"All right," said the Highlander; and, taking out a pencil, he began
repairing his poetry with great industry. He did a great deal of
writing, and a good deal of rubbing out with his thumb, and finally said
triumphantly:

    "There was a little pickle and he hadn't any name!"

"Yes, that will do very nicely," said Dorothy; and the Highlander,
clearing his voice, read off his poetry with a great flourish:

    "There was a little pickle and he hadn't any name--
    In this respect, I'm just informed, all pickles are the same.
    A large policeman came along, a-swinging of his club,
    And took that little pickle up and put him in a tub.

"That's rather good about taking him up," said the Highlander, chuckling
to himself; "so exactly like a policeman, you know."

"Oh, yes, indeed," said Dorothy, who was ready to scream with laughter.
"What's the rest of it?"

"There isn't any more," said the Highlander, rather confusedly. "There
was going to be another verse, but I couldn't think of anything more to
say."

"Oh, well, it's very nice as it is," said Dorothy, consolingly; and
then, as the Highlander put up his paper and went away, she laughed till
her eyes were full of tears. "They are _all_ funny," she said at last,
as she walked away through the wood, "but I think _he's_ funnier than
all of 'em put together"--which, by the way, was not a very sensible
remark for her to make, as you will see if you'll take the trouble to
think it over.

[Illustration: "'THERE ISN'T ANY MORE,' SAID THE HIGHLANDER, RATHER
CONFUSEDLY."]

But presently, as she strolled along, she made a discovery that quite
drove the Highlander and his ridiculous poetry out of her head. It was a
tower in the wood; not an ordinary tower, of course, for there would
have been nothing remarkable about that, but a tower of shining brass,
and so high that the top of it was quite out of sight among the
branches of the trees. But the strangest thing about it was that there
seemed to be no possible way of getting into it, and Dorothy was very
cautiously walking around it to see if she could find any door when she
came suddenly upon the Caravan standing huddled together, and apparently
in a state of great excitement.

"What is it?" asked Dorothy, eagerly.

"Hush!" said the Admiral, in an agitated whisper. "We think it's where
Bob Scarlet changes himself"--and as he said this there was a tremendous
flapping of wings, and down came Bob Scarlet through the branches and
landed with a thump a little way from where they were standing. He was
as big as a goose again, and his appearance was so extremely formidable
that the Caravan, as one man, threw themselves flat on their faces in a
perfect frenzy of terror, and Dorothy herself hid in the grass, with her
heart beating like a little eight-day clock. But Bob Scarlet fortunately
paid no more attention to any of them than if they had been so many
flies, and, after strutting about for a moment with his usual important
air, strolled away in the direction of the toy-shop.

"Now what do you make of _that_?" said the Admiral, lifting up his
head. "He went in at a little door not five minutes ago, and he wasn't
any bigger than an every-day bird."

"I'm sure I don't know _what_ to make of it," said Dorothy. "But where
is the door?" she added, running around the tower and looking at it on
all sides.

"It went up after him," said the Admiral, "like a corkscrew."

"And it's coming down again, like a gimlet!" shouted the Highlander;
and, as they all looked up, sure enough there was the little door slowly
coming down, around and around, as if it were descending an invisible
staircase on the outside of the tower. They all watched this performance
with much interest, and as the door touched the ground it opened, and,
to Dorothy's amazement, out came the little field-mouse.

"What is it?" cried Dorothy, as they all crowded around the little
creature. "Do tell us what it all means."

"It's a Sizing Tower," said the Mouse, its little voice trembling with
agitation. "You get big at the top, and little at the bottom. I wouldn't
go up there again--not for a bushel of nuts."

"Were you pretty big?" inquired Sir Walter.

"Monstrous!" said the Mouse, with a little shudder; "I was as big as a
squirrel; and while I was up there, Bob Scarlet flew up and came down
with the door, and there I was."

"_That_ was a precious mess!" remarked the Highlander.

"Wasn't it now!" said the Mouse. "And if he hadn't taken it into his
head to come up again and _fly down_, I'd 'a' been there yet."

"Why, it's the very thing for us!" cried Dorothy, clapping her hands
with delight as a happy thought occurred to her. "Let's all go up and
get back our regular selves."

"You go first," said the Admiral, suspiciously, "and call down to us how
it feels." But Dorothy wouldn't hear of this; and after a great deal of
arguing and pushing and saying "_You_ go in first," the whole party at
last got squeezed in through the little doorway. Then the Mouse sat up
on its hind legs and waved a little farewell with its paws, and the door
softly closed.

"If we begin to grow _now_," said the Admiral's voice in the dark,
"we'll all be squeegeed, _sure_!"

       *       *       *       *       *

"What an extraordinary thing!" exclaimed Dorothy; for they had come out
into a street full of houses.

"What _I_ want to know is what's become of the door," said Sir Walter,
indignantly, staring at a high wall where the door had been, and which
was now perfectly blank.

"I'm sure I don't know," said Dorothy, quite bewildered. "It's really
quite mysterious, isn't it?"

"It makes my stomach tickle like anything," said the Highlander, in a
quavering voice.

"What _shall_ we do?" said Dorothy, looking about uneasily.

"Run away!" said the Admiral, promptly; and without another word the
Caravan took to their heels and disappeared around a corner. Dorothy
hurried after them, but by the time she turned the corner they were
quite out of sight; and as she stopped and looked about her she
discovered that she was once more in the Ferryman's street, and, to her
great delight, quite as large as she had been when she left the Blue
Admiral Inn.



CHAPTER XI

THE DANCING ANIMALS


It seemed to be evening again, and, although the Ferryman was nowhere in
sight, Dorothy knew the place the moment she looked up and saw the
peaked roofs outlined against the sky. The houses were quaint,
old-fashioned-looking buildings with the upper parts jutting far out
beyond the lower stories and with dark little doorways almost hidden in
the shadows beneath; and the windows were very small casements filled
with diamond-shaped panes of shining green glass. All the houses were
brilliantly lighted up, and there were great iron lamps swung on chains
across the street, so that the street itself was almost as bright as
day, and Dorothy thought she recognized it as a place she had once read
about where nobody but astrologers lived. There was a confused sound of
fiddling going on somewhere, and as Dorothy walked along she could hear
a scuffling noise inside the houses as if the inhabitants were dancing
about on sanded floors. Presently, as she turned a corner, she came
upon a number of storks who were dancing a sort of solemn quadrille up
and down the middle of the street. They stopped dancing as she came
along, and stood in a row gazing gravely at her as she passed by and
then resumed their quadrille as solemnly as before.

The strangest thing about the fiddling was that it seemed to be going on
somewhere in the air, and the sound appeared to come from all directions
at once. At first the music was soft and rather slow in time, but it
grew louder and louder, and the fiddles played faster and faster, until
presently they were going at such a furious rate that Dorothy stopped
and looked back to see how the storks were getting on in their dancing;
and she could see them in the distance, scampering up and down the
street, and bumping violently against one another in a frantic attempt
to keep time with the music. At any other time she would have been
vastly amused at this spectacle; but just then she was feeling a little
afraid that some of the astrologers might come out to see what was going
on, and she was therefore quite relieved when the storks presently gave
up all hope of finishing their quadrille, and rising in the air with a
tremendous flapping of wings, flew away over the tops of the houses and
disappeared. Strangely enough, the sound of the fiddling followed them
like a traveling band, and grew fainter and fainter until it finally
died away in the distance.

But the scuffling noise in the houses continued, and Dorothy did just
what you'd suppose such a curious little child would have done--that is,
she stole up and peeped in at one of the windows; but she could see
nothing through the thick glass but some strange-looking shadows bobbing
confusedly about inside. Of course you know what she did _then_. In
fact, after hesitating a moment, she softly opened the door of the house
and went in.

The room was full of animals of every description, dancing around in a
ring with the greatest enthusiasm; and as Dorothy appeared they all
shouted, "Here she is!" and, before she could say a single word, the two
nearest to her (they were an elephant and a sheep, by the way) seized
her by the hands, and the next moment she was dancing in the ring. She
was quite surprised to see that the elephant was no bigger than the
sheep; and, as she looked about, it seemed to her, in the confusion,
that all the animals in the room were of precisely the same size.

[Illustration: "AN ELEPHANT AND A SHEEP SEIZED HER BY THE HANDS, AND THE
NEXT MOMENT SHE WAS DANCING IN THE RING."]

"Isn't it rather unusual--" she said to the Sheep (it seemed more
natural, somehow, to speak to the Sheep)--"isn't it rather unusual for
different animals to be so much alike?"

"Not in _our_ set," said the Sheep, conceitedly. "We all know who's who.
Of course we have to mark the pigs, as they're so extremely like the
polar-bears;" and Dorothy noticed that two pigs, who were dancing just
opposite to her, had labels with "PIG" on them hung around their necks
by little chains, as if they had been a couple of decanters--"only," she
thought, "it would have been 'SHERRY' or 'MADEIRA' instead of 'PIG,' you
know."

"I suppose you all came out of a Noah's Ark," she said presently, at a
venture.

"Of course. Largest size, I believe. How _very_ clever you are!" said
the Sheep, admiringly. "By the way," she added, confidentially, "do you
happen to know what a tapir is?"

"I believe it's something to light, like a candle," said Dorothy.

"Does it ever go out of its own accord?" inquired the Sheep.

"It _ought_ not to," said Dorothy.

"Then that accounts for the trouble we've had," said the Sheep, with a
satisfied air. "Those two tapirs dancing over there are always in
everybody's way, and we've had to _put_ them out over and over again."

This sounded like a joke; but the Sheep was so serious that Dorothy
didn't dare to laugh, so she said, by way of continuing the
conversation, "I don't see any birds here."

"Oh dear, no!" exclaimed the Sheep; "you see, this is really a
quadrupedrille. Of course _you're_ all right, because it's precisely as
if you were dancing on your hind feet. In fact," she added, nodding
approvingly, "you look almost as well as if you were."

"Thank you!" said Dorothy, laughing.

"There was a seal that wanted to join," the Sheep went on. "He pressed
us very hard, but he never made the slightest impression on us;" and
there was a twinkle in the Sheep's eyes as she said this, so that
Dorothy felt morally certain it _was_ a joke this time; but, before she
could make any reply, the Elephant called out "Recess!" and the animals
all stopped dancing and began walking about and fanning themselves with
little portfolios which they produced in such a mysterious manner that
Dorothy couldn't see where in the world they came from.

"Now, look here," said the Elephant,--he seemed to be a sort of Master
of Ceremonies, and the animals all clustered about him as he said
this,--"why can't _she_ dance with the Camel?" and he pointed out
Dorothy with his portfolio.

"She can!" shouted the animals in chorus. "Come on, Sarah!"--and the
Camel, who had been moping in a corner with her head against the wall,
came forward with a very sulky expression on her face.

"Her name is Sahara," whispered the Sheep, plucking at Dorothy's frock
to attract her attention, "but we call her Sarah to save time. She's
kind of grumpy now because the other Camel stayed away, but she'll
titter like a turtle when she gets to dancing."

"I don't know what relation she is to Humphrey," thought Dorothy, as the
Camel took her by the hand, "but she's certainly big enough to be his
great-grandmother ten times over." Before she had time to think any more
about it, however, the Elephant called out, "Ladies change!" and the
dancing began again harder than ever.

It was a very peculiar dance this time, and, as near as Dorothy could
make it out, consisted principally in the animals passing her along from
one to another as if they were each anxious to get rid of her; and
presently she discovered that, in some unaccountable manner, she had
been passed directly through the fireplace into the next house; but as
this house was quite as full of dancing animals as the other, this
didn't help matters much except that it got Sarah out of the way--"and
_that_," said poor little Dorothy to herself, "is certainly _something_!"

[Illustration: THE ANIMALS CROSSING OVER.]

Just then the Elephant, who had mysteriously appeared from a pantry in
one corner of the room, shouted out, "All cross over!" and the animals
began to crowd out of the house into the courtyard, and then, pushing
in great confusion through a large gateway, rushed across the street and
into the house on the other side of the way. Dorothy was quite taken off
her feet in the rush, but, watching her chance, she hid behind a large
churn that was standing conveniently in the middle of the street; and
when they had all passed in, she ran away down the street as fast as she
could go.

She ran on until she had got quite out of the Ferryman's street, and was
walking along in the open country, feeling quite pleased with herself
for having so cleverly escaped from the dancing-party without having to
take the trouble of saying "Good night" to the Elephant, when she saw,
in the moonlight, something white lying beside the road, and going up to
it, she discovered it was a letter.



CHAPTER XII

THE CARAVAN COMES HOME


The letter was lying on a flat stone, with several lumps of sugar laid
on it like paper-weights to keep it from blowing away. It wasn't at all
a nice-looking letter; in fact, it looked as if it had been dragged over
the ground for a long distance; and Dorothy, after observing all this,
was just turning away when she chanced to look at the address and saw
that the letter was intended for her. The address was written in a very
cramped little hand, and the writing was crowded up into one corner as
if it were trying to get over the edge of the envelope; but the words
were "TO DOROTHY," as plain as possible.

"What a very strange thing!" she said to herself, taking up the letter
and turning it over several times rather distrustfully. "I don't think
it looks very nice, but it may be something important, and I s'pose I
ought to read it"; and saying this, she opened the letter. It was
printed in funny little letters something like bird-tracks, and this was
what was in it:

     We are in a bad fix. The fix is a cage. We have been seezed in a
     outburst of ungovernerubble fury by Bob Scarlet. He says there's
     been too many robbin pies. He goes on, and says he is going to have
     a girl pie. With gravy. We shreeked out that we wasn't girls. Only
     disgized and tuff as anything. He says with a kurdling laff we'll
     do. O save us. We wish we was home. There is no male and we send
     this by a noble rat. He is a female.

     THE CARAVAN.

"Now, _that's_ the most ridiculous letter I ever got," said Dorothy,
gazing at it in blank astonishment; "and I don't _think_ it's spelled
very well either," she added rather doubtfully as she read it again;
"but of course I must go and help the poor little creatures. I ought to
feel frightened, but I really feel as brave as an ox. I s'pose _that's_
because I'm going to help the unfortunate"; and putting the letter in
her pocket, she started off.

"It's perfectly surprising," she said to herself as she ran along, "the
mischief they get into! They're really no more fit to be going about
alone than so many infants"; and she was so pleased with herself for
saying this that she began to feel quite large and bold. "But it was
very clever of 'em to think of the rat," she went on, "and of course
_that_ accounts for the sugar. No one but a rat would ever have thought
of using sugar for paper-weights. If I wasn't afraid of a rat I'd wish
it hadn't gone away, though, for I haven't the slightest idea where the
Caravan is, or which way I ought to go."

But it presently appeared that the noble rat had arranged the whole
matter for her; for as Dorothy ran along she began to find lumps of
sugar set up at intervals like little mile-stones, so that she shouldn't
miss the road.

"It's precisely like Hop-o'-my-thumb and his little crumbs of bread,"
she said, laughing to herself when she saw these, "only better, because,
you see, the birds can't carry them off."

The rat, however, seemed to have had a very roundabout idea of a road,
for the lumps of sugar were scattered zigzag in every direction, and, at
one place, led directly through a knot-hole in a fence as if nobody
could possibly have any trouble in getting through _that_; but, as the
little mile-stones appeared again on the other side of the fence,
Dorothy scrambled over and ran on. Then she found herself climbing over
rocks and wading through little puddles of water where the sugar was set
up on stones in the most thoughtful way, so that it shouldn't melt; and
in another place the lumps were stuck up in a line on the trunk of a
large tree, and, after leading the way through a number of branches,
suddenly descended on the opposite side of the tree into a little bog,
where Dorothy stuck fast for several minutes and got her shoes very much
soiled. All this was very provoking, and she was beginning to get a
little out of patience, when the lumps of sugar suddenly came to an end
at a small stone wall; and, looking over it, she spied the Caravan in
their cage.

The cage proved to be an enormous rat-trap, and the Caravan, with
remarkable presence of mind, had put their legs through between the
wires at the bottom of it, and were walking briskly along, holding up
the cage with their hands. The news of this extraordinary performance
had evidently been spread abroad, as the Ferryman and a number of
serious-looking storks were escorting the Caravan with an air of great
interest, and occasionally taking to their heels when the Admiral
chanced to look at them through the wires with his spy-glass. There was
a door, to be sure, in the side of the trap, quite big enough for the
Admiral, and Sir Walter, and the Highlander to come out of, all in a row
if they liked, but they evidently hadn't noticed this--"and I'm not
going to tell 'em about it, just yet," said Dorothy to herself, "because
they deserve to be punished for their capers. But it's really quite
clever of 'em to put their little legs through in that way," she went
on, "and extremely convenient--that is, you know," she added
thoughtfully, "so long as they all want to go the same way"; and, with
this wise reflection, she scrambled over the wall and ran after the
procession.

The Admiral and Sir Walter seemed greatly mortified when Dorothy
appeared, and she saw that Sir Walter was making a desperate attempt to
pull up his legs into the cage as if he hadn't anything whatever to do
with the affair. The Highlander, however, who always seemed to have
peculiar ideas of his own, shouted out "Philopene!" as he caught sight
of her, and then laughed uproariously as if this were the finest joke in
the world; but Dorothy, very properly, took not the slightest notice of
his remark.

"How did you ever get into _this_ scrape?" said she, addressing the
Admiral as the head of the family.

"It was easy enough to get into," said the Admiral, peevishly; "we just
fell into it through the hole in the top. But there wasn't any scrape
about it until we tried to get out again. _Then_ we got scraped like
anything."

"Needles was nothing to it," added Sir Walter, solemnly.

"Nor cats," put in the Highlander.

"I'm very sorry," said Dorothy, compassionately; "and are you really
going to be made into a pie?"

"Oh, dear, no!" said the Admiral. "We got excused."

"Excused?" exclaimed Dorothy, very much surprised.

"Well, it was something like that," said Sir Walter, confusedly. "You
see, Bob Scarlet didn't exactly like to come in here after us--"

"Unconquerabubble awersion to cages," explained the Admiral.

"And so he goes off after hooks to pull us out with," continued Sir
Walter--

"And we inwents this way of going about, and comes away!" added the
Admiral triumphantly.

"And where are you going now?" said Dorothy; for by this time they were
running so fast that she could hardly keep up with them.

[Illustration: "BY THIS TIME THEY WERE RUNNING SO FAST THAT SHE COULD
HARDLY KEEP UP WITH THEM."]

"We're going to the Ferry," said the Admiral, "and these pelicans are
showing us the way"; and as he said this the whole party hurried through
a little archway and came out at the waterside.

An old stage-coach without any wheels was floating close up against the
river-bank, and quite a little party of the dancing animals was
crowding aboard of it, pushing and shoving one another, and all talking
in the most excited manner; and as Dorothy found herself next to her old
friend the Sheep, in the crowd, she inquired anxiously, "Where are you
all going?"

"We don't know exactly," said the Sheep, "but we've all taken tickets to
different places so as to be sure of getting _somewhere_"; and with this
remark the Sheep disappeared in the crowd, leaving Dorothy very much
bewildered.

By this time the Caravan had, by great exertions, climbed up on top of
the coach and were sitting there in the cage, as if it had been a sort
of cupola for purposes of observation; and, indeed, the Admiral was
already quite absorbed in taking in various points of interest with his
glass. The storks, meanwhile, had crowded into the coach after the
animals, and had their heads out through all the windows as if there
were no room for them inside. This gave the coach somewhat the
appearance of a large chicken-coop with too many chickens in it; and as
Dorothy didn't fancy a crowd, she climbed up on the box. As she did so,
Sarah, the Camel, put her head out of the front window and, laying it
in Dorothy's lap, murmured, "Good-evening," and went comfortably to
sleep. The next moment the fiddles in the air began playing again and
the stage-coach sailed away.

       *       *       *       *       *

Dorothy never knew exactly what happened next, because everything was so
confused. She had an idea, however, that they were all singing the Ferry
Song, and that they had just got to a new part, beginning--

    "It pours into picnics and swishes the dishes,"

when a terrible commotion began on top of the coach, and she saw that
Bob Scarlet had suddenly appeared inside the cage _without his
waistcoat_, and that the Caravan were frantically squeezing themselves
out between the wires. At the same moment a loud roaring sound arose in
the air, and the quadrupeds and the storks began jumping out of the
windows in all directions. Then the stage-coach began to rock violently,
and she felt that it was about to roll over, and clutched at the neck of
the Camel to save herself; but the Camel had slipped away, and she found
she had hold of something like a soft cushion--and the next moment the
coach went over with a loud crash.

[Illustration: "IT SLOWLY CHANGED TO A BIRD-CAGE WITH A ROBIN SITTING IN
IT."]

Dorothy gave a little scream as the coach went over, and then held her
breath; but instead of sousing into the water as she expected, she came
down on top of it with a hard bump, and, very much to her astonishment,
found herself sitting up on a carpeted floor. For a moment the
rat-trap, with Bob Scarlet inside of it, seemed to be floating around in
the air like a wire balloon, and then, as she rubbed her eyes and looked
again, it slowly changed into a bird-cage with a fat robin sitting in it
on a perch, and peering sharply at her sideways with one of his bright
little eyes; and she found she was sitting on the floor of the little
parlor of the Blue Admiral Inn, with her little rocking-chair overturned
beside her and the cushion firmly clutched in her hand. The coach, and
the dancing animals, and the Ferryman and his storks had all
disappeared, which was a very fortunate thing, as there wasn't room for
them in the parlor; and as for the roaring sound in the air--why, Uncle
Porticle was fast asleep in his big arm-chair, with his handkerchief
spread over his face, and I think it more than likely that he had
something to do with the sound.

Dorothy stared about for a moment, and then, suddenly remembering the
Caravan, she jumped up and ran to the window. It was snowing hard, and
she saw through the driving snowflakes that the Highlander and Sir
Walter Rosettes were standing on their pedestals, complacently watching
the people hurrying by with their Christmas parcels; and as for the
Admiral, he was standing on _his_ pedestal, with a little pile of snow
like a sugar-loaf on top of his hat, and intently gazing across the
street through his spy-glass.

[Illustration: TAIL-PIECE TO CHAPTER XII.]

THE END.





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