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Title: Mollie and the Unwiseman Abroad
Author: Bangs, John Kendrick, 1862-1922
Language: English
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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.

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[Illustration: Book Cover]



MOLLIE AND
THE UNWISEMAN ABROAD



_HOLIDAY EDITIONS_
_of_
_JUVENILE CLASSICS_

       *       *       *       *       *

THE PRINCESS AND THE GOBLIN
By George Macdonald

      _Twelve full-page illustrations in color, and the original wood
      engravings. Decorated chapter-headings and lining-papers.

       *       *       *       *       *

THE PRINCESS AND CURDIE
By George Macdonald

      _Twelve full page illustrations in color, and decorated
      chapter-headings and lining-papers. Ornamental cloth, $1.50._

       *       *       *       *       *

AT THE BACK OF THE NORTH WIND
By George Macdonald

      _Twelve full-page illustrations in color. Decorated
      chapter-headings and lining-papers. Cloth, ornamental, $1.50._

       *       *       *       *       *

A DOG OF FLANDERS
By "Ouida"

      _Illustrated with full-page color plates, and decorated
      chapter-headings and lining-papers. Cloth, ornamental, $1.50._

       *       *       *       *       *

J. B. LIPPINCOTT COMPANY
Publishers Philadelphia



[Illustration: "I'VE BEEN TRYING TO FIND OUT HOW TO TIE A SINKER TO THIS
SOUP"--_Page 47_]



MOLLIE AND THE
UNWISEMAN
ABROAD

BY
JOHN KENDRICK BANGS

       *       *       *       *       *

_WITH ILLUSTRATIONS IN COLOR BY_
GRACE G. WIEDERSEIM

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration]

       *       *       *       *       *

PHILADELPHIA & LONDON
J. B. LIPPINCOTT COMPANY
1910



COPYRIGHT 1910
BY J. B. LIPPINCOTT COMPANY



TO
MY FRIENDS THE CHILDREN



CONTENTS


  CHAPTER       PAGE
         FOREWORD                                                     11
           Introducing Two Heroes and a Heroine.
     I.  MOLLIE, WHISTLEBINKIE, AND THE UNWISEMAN                     13
    II.  THE START                                                    31
   III.  AT SEA                                                       48
    IV.  ENGLAND                                                      64
     V.  A CALL ON THE KING                                           81
    VI.  THEY GET SOME FOG AND GO SHOPPING                            98
   VII.  THE UNWISEMAN VISITS THE BRITISH MUSEUM                     114
  VIII.  THE UNWISEMAN'S FRENCH                                      130
    IX.  IN PARIS                                                    147
     X.  THE ALPS AT LAST                                            163
    XI.  THE UNWISEMAN PLANS A CHAMOIS COMPANY                       178
   XII.  VENICE                                                      194
  XIII.  GENOA, GIBRALTAR, AND COLUMBUS                              211
   XIV.  AT THE CUSTOM HOUSE                                         228
    XV.  HOME, SWEET HOME                                            245



ILLUSTRATIONS


                                                                    PAGE
  "I've Been Trying to Find Out How to Tie a Sinker
      to this Soup"                                       _Frontispiece_
  "Take Care of Yourself, Fizzledinkie, and don't Blow too much
      through the Top of Your Hat"                                    29
  Molly Makes Her Courtesy to Mr. King                                88
  "These are the Kind His Majesty Prefers," said the girl            104
  "Have You Seen the Ormolu Clock of Your Sister's Music Teacher?"   154
  "Out the Way There!" cried the Unwiseman                           168
  The Chamois Evidently Liked this Verse for its Eyes Twinkled       182
  They all Boarded a Gondola                                         199
  The Unwiseman Looked the Official Coldly in the Eye                229
  "I'm Never Going to Leave You Again, Boldy," he was saying         246



FOREWORD

INTRODUCING TWO HEROES AND A HEROINE


I.

  There were three little folks, and one was fair--
    Oh a rare little maid was she.
  Her eyes were as soft as the summer air,
    And blue as the summer sea.
  Her locks held the glint of the golden sun;
    And her smile shed the sweets of May;
  Her cheek was of cream and roses spun,
    And dimpled the livelong day.

II.

  The second, well he was a rubber-doll,
    Who talked through a whistling hat.
  His speech ran over with folderol,
    But his jokes they were never flat.
  He squeaked and creaked with his heart care-free
    Such things as this tale will tell,
  But whether asleep or at work was he
    The little maid loved him well.

III.

  The third was a man--O a very queer man!
    But a funny old chap was he.
  From back in the time when the world began
    His like you never did see.
  The things he'd "know," they were seldom so,
    His views they were odd and strange,
  And his heart was filled with the genial glow
    Of love for his kitchen range.

IV.

  Now the three set forth on a wondrous trip
    To visit the lands afar;
  And what befel on the shore, and ship,
    As she sailed across the bar,
  These tales will make as plain as the day
    To those who will go with me
  And follow along in the prank and play
    Of these, my travellers three.



I.

MOLLIE, WHISTLEBINKIE, AND THE UNWISEMAN


Mollie was very much excited, and for an excellent reason. Her Papa had
at last decided that it was about time that she and her Rubber-Doll,
Whistlebinkie, saw something of this great big beautiful world, and had
announced that in a few weeks they would all pack their trunks and set
sail for Europe. Mollie had always wanted to see Europe, where she had
been told Kings and Queens still wore lovely golden crowns instead of
hats, like the fairies in her story-book, and the people spoke all sorts
of funny languages, like French, and Spanish, and real live Greek. As
for Whistlebinkie, he did not care much where he went as long as he was
with Mollie, of whom like the rest of the family he was very fond.

"But," said he, when he was told of the coming voyage, "how about Mr.
Me?"

Now Mr. Me was a funny old gentleman who lived in a little red house not
far away from Mollie's home in the country. He claimed that his last
name was Me, but Mollie had always called him the Unwiseman because
there was so much he did not know, and so little that he was willing to
learn. The little girl loved him none the less for he was a very good
natured old fellow, and had for a long time been a play-mate of the two
inseparable companions, Mollie and Whistlebinkie. The latter by the way
was called Whistlebinkie because whenever he became excited he blew his
words through the small whistle in the top of his hat, instead of
speaking them gently with his mouth, as you and I would do.

"Why, we'll have to invite him to go along, too, if he can afford it,"
said Mollie. "Perhaps we'd better run down to his house now, and tell
him all about it."

"Guess-sweed-better," Whistlebinkie agreed through the top of his
beaver, as usual.

And so the little couple set off down the hill, and were fortunate
enough to find the old gentleman at home.

"Break it to him gently," whispered Whistlebinkie.

"I will," answered Mollie, under her breath, and then entering the
Unwiseman's house she greeted him cheerily. "Good Morning, Mr. Me," she
said.

"Is it?" asked the old gentleman, looking up from his newspaper which he
was reading upside-down. "I haven't tasted it yet. I never judge a day
till it's been cooked."

"Tasted it?" laughed Mollie. "Can't you tell whether a morning is good
or not without tasting it?"

"O I suppose you can if you want to," replied the Unwiseman. "If you
make up your mind to believe everything you see, why you can believe a
morning's good just by looking at it, but I prefer to taste mine before
I commit myself as to whether they are good or bad."

"Perfly-'bsoyd!" chortled Whistlebinkie through the top of his hat.

"What's that?" cried Mollie.

"Still talks through his hat, doesn't he," said the Unwiseman. "Must
think it's one of these follytones."

"Never-erd-o-sutcha-thing!" whistled Whistlebinkie. "What's a
follytone?"

"You _are_ a niggeramus," jeered the Unwiseman. "Ho! Never heard of a
follytone. Ain't he silly, Mollie?"

"I don't think I ever heard of one either, Mr. Unwiseman," said Mollie.

"Well-well-well," ejaculated the Unwiseman in great surprise. "Why a
follytone is one of those little boxes you have in the house with a
number like 7-2-3-J-Hokoben that you talk business into to some feller
off in Chicago or up in Boston. You just pour your words into the box
and they fall across a wire and go scooting along like lightning to this
person you're talkin' to."

"Oh," laughed Mollie. "You mean a telephone."

"I call 'em follytones," said the Unwiseman coolly. "Your voice sounds
so foolish over 'em. I never tried 'em but once"--here the old man began
to chuckle. "Somebody told me Philadelphia wanted me, and of course I
knew right away they were putting up a joke on me because I ain't never
met Philadelphia and Philadelphia ain't never met me, so I just got a
little squirt gun and filled it up with water and squirted it into the
box. I guess whoever was trying to make me believe he was Philadelphia
got a good soaking that time."

"I guess-smaybe-he-didn't," whistled Whistlebinkie.

"Well he didn't get me anyhow," snapped the Unwiseman. "You don't catch
me sending my voice to Philadelphia when the chances are I may need it
any minute around here to frighten burgulars away with. The idea of a
man's being so foolish as to send his voice way out to Chicago on a wire
with nobody to look after it, stumps me. But that ain't what we were
talking about."

"No," said Mollie gravely. "We were talking about tasting days. You said
you cooked them, I believe."

"That's what I said," said the Unwiseman.

"I never knew anybody else to do it," said Mollie. "What do you do it
for?"

"Because I find raw days very uncomfortable," explained the Unwiseman.
"I prefer fried-days."

"Everyday'll be Friday by and by," carolled Whistlebinkie.

"It will with me," said the old man. "I was born on a Friday, I was
never married on a Friday, and I dyed on Friday."

"You never died, did you?" asked Mollie.

"Of course I did," said the Unwiseman. "I used to have perfectly red
hair and I dyed it gray so that young people like old Squeaky-hat here
would have more respect for me."

"Do-choo-call-me-squeekyat!" cried Whistlebinkie angrily.

"All right, Yawpy-tile, I won't--only----" the Unwiseman began.

"Nor-yawpy-tile-neither," whistled Whistlebinkie, beginning to cry.

"Here, here!" cried the Unwiseman. "Stop your crying. Just because
you're made of rubber and are waterproof ain't any reason for throwing
tears on my floor. I won't have it. What do you want me to call you,
Wheezikid?"

"No," sobbed Whistlebinkie. "My name's--Whizzlebinkie."

"Very well then," said the Unwiseman. "Let it be Fizzledinkie----only
you must show proper respect for my gray hairs. If you don't I'll have
had all my trouble dyeing for nothing."

Whistlebinkie was about to retort, but Mollie perceiving only trouble
between her two little friends if they went on at this rate tried to
change the subject by going back to the original point of discussion.
"How do you taste a day to see if it's all right?" she asked.

"I stick my tongue out the window," said the Unwiseman, "and it's a good
thing to do. I remember once down at the sea-shore a young lady asked me
if I didn't think it was just a sweet day, and I stuck my tongue out of
the window and it was just as salt as it could be. Tasted like a pickle.
'No, ma'am, it ain't,' says I. 'Quite the opposite, it's quite briny,'
says I. If I'd said it was sweet she'd have thought I was as much of a
niggeramus as old Fizz----"

"Do you always read your newspaper upside-down?" Mollie put in hastily
to keep the Unwiseman from again hurting Whistlebinkie's feelings.

"Always," he replied. "I find it saves me a lot of money. You see the
paper lasts a great deal longer when you read it upside-down than when
you read it upside-up. Reading it upside-up you can go through a
newspaper in about a week, but when you read it upside-down it lasts
pretty nearly two months. I've been at work on that copy of the
_Gazette_ six weeks now and I've only got as far as the third column of
the second page from the end. I don't suppose I'll reach the news on the
first column of page one much before three weeks from next Tuesday. I
think it's very wasteful to buy a fresh paper every day when by reading
it upside-down backwards you can make the old one last two months."

"Do-bleeve-youkn-reada-tall," growled Whistlebinkie.

"What's that?" cried the old man.

"I-don't-be-lieve-you-can-read-at-all!" said Whistlebinkie.

"O as for that," laughed the old man, "I never said I could. I don't
take a newspaper to read anyhow. What's the use? Fill your head up with
a lot of stuff it's a trouble to forget."

"What _do_ you take it for?" asked Mollie, amazed at this confession.

"I'm collecting commas and Qs," said the Unwiseman. "I always was fond
of pollywogs and pug-dogs, and the commas are the living image of
pollywogs, and the letter Q always reminds me of a good natured pug-dog
sitting down with his back turned toward me. I've made a tally sheet of
this copy of the _Gazette_ and so far I've found nine thousand and
fifty-three commas, and thirty-nine pugs."

Whistlebinkie forgot his wrath in an explosion of mirth at this reply.
He fairly rolled on the floor with laughter.

"Don't be foolish, Fizzledinkie," said the Unwiseman severely. "A good Q
is just as good as a pug-dog. He's just as fat, has a fine curly tail
and he doesn't bite or keep you awake nights by barking at the moon or
make a nuisance of himself whining for chicken-bones while you are
eating dinner; and as far as the commas are concerned they're better
even than pollywogs, because they don't wiggle around so much or turn
into bull-frogs and splash water all over the place."

"There-raintenny-fleeson-cues-sneether," whistled Whistlebinkie.

"I didn't catch that," said the Unwiseman. "Talk through your nose just
once and maybe I'll be able to guess what you're trying to say."

"He says there are not any fleas on Qs," said Mollie with a reproving
glance at Whistlebinkie.

"As to that I can't say," said the Unwiseman. "I never saw any--but
anyhow I don't object to fleas on pug-dogs."

"You don't?" cried Mollie. "Why they're horrid, Mr. Unwiseman. They bite
you all up."

"Perfly-awful," whistled Whistlebinkie.

"You're wrong about that," said the Unwiseman. "They don't bite you at
all while they're on the pug-dog. It's only when they get on you that
they bite you. That's why I say I don't mind 'em on the pug-dogs. As
long as they stay there they don't hurt me."

Here the Unwiseman rose from his chair and walking across the room
opened a cupboard and taking out an old clay pipe laid it on one of the
andirons where a log was smouldering in the fire-place.

"I always feel happier when I'm smoking my pipe," he said resuming his
seat and smiling pleasantly at Mollie.

"Put it in the fire-place to warm it?" asked Whistlebinkie.

"Of course not, Stupid," replied the Unwiseman scornfully. "I put it in
the fire-place to smoke it. That's the cheapest and healthiest way to
smoke a pipe. I don't have to buy any tobacco to keep it filled, and as
long as I leave it over there on the andiron I don't get any of the
smoke up my nose or down my throat. I tried it the other way once and
there wasn't any fun in it that I could see. The smoke got in all my
flues and I didn't stop sneezing for a week. It was dreadful, and once
or twice I got scared and sent for the fire-engines to put me out. I was
so full of smoke it seemed to me I must be on fire. It wasn't so bad the
first time because the firemen just laughed and went away, but the
second time they came they got mad at what they called a second false
alarm and turned the hose on me. I tell you I was very much put out when
they did that, and since that time I've given up smoking that way. I
never wanted to be a chimney anyhow. What's the use? If you're going to
be anything of that sort it's a great deal better to be an oven so that
some kind cook-lady will keep filling you up with hot-biscuits, and
sponge-cake, and roast turkey."

"I should think so," said Mollie. "That's one of the nice things about
being a little girl----you're not expected to smoke."

"Well I don't know about that," said the Unwiseman. "Far as I can
remember I never was a little girl so I don't know what was expected of
me as such, but as far as I'm concerned I'm perfectly willing to let the
pipe get smoked in the fire-place, and keep my mouth for expressing
thoughts and eating bananas and eclairs with, and my throat for giving
three cheers on the Fourth of July, and swallowing apple pie. That's
what they were made for and hereafter that's what I'm going to use 'em
for. Where's Miss Flaxilocks?"

Miss Flaxilocks was Mollie's little friend and almost constant
companion, the French doll with the deepest of blue eyes and the richest
of golden hair from which she got her name.

"She couldn't come to-day," explained Mollie.

"Stoo-wexited," whistled Whistlebinkie.

"What's that?" asked the Unwiseman. "Sounds like a clogged-up
radiator."

"He means to say that she is too excited to come," said Mollie. "The
fact is, Mr. Unwiseman, we're all going abroad----"

"Abroad?" demanded the Unwiseman. "Where's that?"

"Hoh!" jeered Whistlebinkie. "Doesn't know where abroad is!"

"How should I know where abroad is?" retorted the Unwiseman. "I never
had any. What is it anyhow? A new kind of pie?"

"No," laughed Mollie. "Abroad is Europe, and England and----"

"And Swizz-izzer-land," put in Whistlebinkie.

"Swizz-what?" cried the Unwiseman.

"Switzerland," said Mollie. "It's Switzerland, Whistlebinkie."

"Thass-watised, Swizz-izzerland," said Whistlebinkie.

"What's the good of them?" asked the Unwiseman.

"O they're nice places to visit," said Mollie.

"Do you walk there?" asked the Unwiseman.

"No--of course not," said Mollie with a smile. "They're thousands of
miles away, across the ocean."

"Across the ocean?" ejaculated the Unwiseman. "Mercy! Ain't the ocean
that wet place down around New Jersey somewhere?"

"Yes," said Mollie. "The Atlantic Ocean."

"Humph!" said the Unwiseman. "How you going to get across? There ain't
any bridges over it, are there?"

"No indeed," said Mollie.

"Nor no trolleys?" demanded the Unwiseman.

Mollie's reply was a loud laugh, and Whistlebinkie whistled with glee.

"Going in a balloon, I suppose," sneered the Unwiseman. "That is all of
you but old Sizzerinktum here. I suppose he's going to try and jump
across. Smart feller, old Sizzerinktum."

"I ain't neither!" retorted Whistlebinkie.

"Ain't neither what--smart?" said the Unwiseman.

"No--ain't goin' to jump," said Whistlebinkie.

"Good thing too," observed the Unwiseman approvingly. "If you did you'd
bounce so high when you landed that _I_ don't believe you'd ever come
down."

"We're going in a boat," said Mollie. "Not a row boat nor a sail boat,"
she hastened to explain, "but a great big ocean steamer, large enough to
carry over a thousand people, and fast enough to cross in six days."

"Silly sort of business," said the Unwiseman. "What's the good of going
to Europe and Swazzoozalum--or whatever the place is--when you haven't
seen Albany or Troy, or New Rochelle and Yonkers, or Michigan and
Patterson?"

"O well," said Mollie, "Papa's tired and he's going to take a vacation
and we're all going along to help him rest, and Flaxilocks is so excited
about going back to Paris where she was born that I have had to keep her
in her crib all the time to keep her from getting nervous
procrastination."

"I see," said the Unwiseman. "But I don't see why if people are tired
they don't stay home and go to bed. That's the way to rest. Just lie in
bed a couple of days without moving."

"Yes," said Mollie. "But Papa needs the salt air to brace him up."

"What of it?" demanded the Unwiseman. "Can't you get salt air without
going across the ocean? Seems to me if you just fill up a pillow with
salt and sleep on that, the way you do on one of those pine-needle
pillows from the Dadirondacks, you'd get all the salt air you wanted, or
build a salt cellar under your house and run pipes from it up to your
bedroom to carry the air through."

"It wouldn't be the same, at all," said Mollie. "Besides we're going to
see the Alps."

"Oh--that's different. Of course if you're going to see the Alps that's
very different," said the Unwiseman. "I wouldn't mind seeing an Alp or
two myself. I always was interested in animals. I've often wondered why
they never had any Alps at the Zoo."

"I guess they're too big to bring over," said Mollie gravely.

"Maybe so, but even then if they catch 'em young I don't see," began the
Unwiseman.

Whistlebinkie's behavior at this point was such that Mollie, fearing a
renewal of the usual quarrel between her friends ran hastily on to the
object of their call and told the Unwiseman that they had come to bid
him good-bye.

"I wish you were going with us," she said as she shook the old
gentleman's hand.

"Thank you very much," he replied. "I suppose it would be nice, but I
have too many other things to attend to and I don't see how I could
spare the time. In the first place I've got all those commas and Qs to
look after, and then if I went away there'd be nobody around to see that
my pipe was smoked every day, or to finish up my newspaper. Likewise
also too in addition the burgulars might get into my house some night
while I was away and take the wrong things because I haven't been able
yet to let 'em know just what I'm willing to have 'em run off with, so
you see how badly things would get mixed if I went away."

"I suppose they would," sighed Mollie.

"There'd be nobody here to exercise my umbrella on wet days, either,"
continued the old gentleman, "or to see that the roof leaked just right,
or to cook my meals and eat 'em. No--I don't just see how I _could_
manage it." And so the old gentleman bade his visitors good-bye.

[Illustration: "TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF, FIZZLEDINKIE, AND DON'T BLOW TOO
MUCH THROUGH THE TOP OF YOUR HAT"]

"Take care of yourself, Fizzledinkie," he observed to Whistlebinkie,
"and don't blow too much through the top of your hat. I've heard of
boats being upset by sudden squalls, and you might get the whole party
in trouble by the careless use of that hat of yours."

Mollie and her companion with many waves of their hands back at the
Unwiseman made off up the road homeward. The old gentleman gazed after
them thoughtfully for awhile, and then returned to his work on his
newspaper.

"Queer people--some of 'em," he muttered as he cut out his ninety-ninth
Q and noted the ten-thousand-six-hundred-and-thirty-eighth comma on his
pollywog tally sheet. "Mighty queer. With a country of their own right
outside their front door so big that they couldn't walk around it in
less than forty-eight hours, they've got to go abroad just to see an old
Alp cavorting around in Whizzizalum or whatever else that place
Whistlebinkie was trying to talk about is named. I'd like to see an Alp
myself, but after all as long as there's plenty of elephants and
rhinoceroses up at the Zoo what's the good of chasing around after other
queer looking beasts getting your feet wet on the ocean, and having your
air served up with salt in it?"

And as there was nobody about to enlighten the old gentleman on these
points he went to bed that night with his question unanswered.



II.

THE START


Other good byes had been said; the huge ocean steamer had drawn out of
her pier and, with Mollie and Whistlebinkie on board, together with
Flaxilocks and the rest of the family, made her way down the bay,
through the Narrows, past Sandy Hook and out to sea. The long low lying
shores of New Jersey, with their white sands and endless lines of villas
and summer hotels had gradually sunk below the horizon and the little
maid was for the first time in her life out of sight of land.

"Isn't it glorious!" cried Mollie, as she breathed in the crisp fresh
air, and tasted just a tiny bit of the salt spray of the ocean on her
lip.

"I guesso," whistled Whistlebinkie, with a little shiver.
"Think-ide-like-it-better-'fwe-had-alittle-land-in-sight."

"O no, Whistlebinkie," returned Mollie, "it's a great deal safer this
way. There are rocks near the shore but outside here the water is ever
so deep--more'n six feet I guess. I'd be perfectly happy if the
Unwiseman was only with us."

Just then up through one of the big yawning ventilators, that look so
like sea-serpents with their big flaming mouths stretched wide open as
if to swallow the passengers on deck, came a cracked little voice
singing the following song to a tune that seemed to be made up as it
went along:

                "Yo-ho!
                Yo-ho--
    O a sailor's life for me!
          I love to nail
          The blithering gale,
    As I sail the bounding sea.
  For I'm a glorious stowaway,
  I've thrown my rake and hoe away,
  On the briny deep to go away,
    Yeave-ho--Yeave-ho--Yo-hee!"

"Where have I heard that voice before!" cried Mollie clutching
Whistlebinkie by the hand so hard that he squeaked.

"It's-sizz!" whistled Whistlebinkie excitedly.

"It's what?" cried Mollie.

"It's-his!" repeated Whistlebinkie more correctly.

"Whose--the Unwiseman's?" Mollie whispered with delight.

"Thass-swat-I-think," said Whistlebinkie.

And then the song began again drawing nearer each moment.

                "Yeave-ho,
                Yo-ho,
    O I love the life so brave.
          I love to swish
          Like the porpoise fish
    Over the foamy wave.
  So let the salt wind blow-away,
  All care and trouble throw-away,
  And lead the life of a Stowaway
    Yeave-ho--Yeave-ho--Yo-hee!"

"It is he as sure as you're born, Whistlebinkie!" cried Mollie in an
ecstacy of delight. "I wonder how he came to come."

"I 'dno," said Whistlebinkie. "I guess he's just went and gone."

As Whistlebinkie spoke sure enough, the Unwiseman himself clambered out
of the ventilator and leaped lightly on the deck alongside of them still
singing:

                "Yeave-ho,
                Yo-ho,
    I love the At-lan-tic.
          The water's wet
          And you can bet
    The motion makes me sick.
  But let the wavelets flow away
  You cannot drive the glow away
  From the heart of the happy Stowaway.
    Yeave-ho--Yeave-ho--Yo-hee!"

Dear me, what a strange looking figure he was as he jumped down and
greeted Mollie and Whistlebinkie! In place of his old beaver hat he wore
a broad and shiny tarpaulin. His trousers which were of white duck
stiffly starched were neatly creased down the sides, ironed as flat as
they could be got, nearly two feet wide and as spick and span as a
snow-flake. On his feet he wore a huge pair of goloshes, and thrown
jauntily around his left shoulder and thence down over his right arm to
his waist was what appeared to be a great round life preserver, filled
with air, and heavy enough to support ten persons of his size.

"Shiver my timbers if it ain't Mollie!" he roared as he caught sight of
her. "And Whistlebinkie too--Ahoy there, Fizzledinkie. What's the good
word?"

"Where on earth did you come from?" asked Mollie overjoyed.

"I weighed anchor in the home port at seven bells last night; set me
course nor-E by sou-sou-west, made for the deep channel running past the
red, white and blue buoy on the starboard tack, reefed my galyards in
the teeth o' the blithering gale and sneaked aboard while Captain Binks
of the good ship _Nancy B._ was trollin' for oysters off the fishin'
banks after windin' up the Port watch," replied the Unwiseman. "It's a
great life, ain't it," he added gazing admiringly about him at the
wonderful ship and then over the rail at the still more wonderful ocean.

"But how did you come to come?" asked Mollie.

"Well--ye see after you'd said good-bye to me the other day, I was sort
of upset and for the first time in my life I got my newspaper right side
up and began to read it that way," the old gentleman explained. "And I
fell on a story of the briny deep in which a young gentleman named Billy
The Rover Bold sailed from the Spanish main to Kennebunkport in a dory,
capturing seventeen brigs, fourteen galleons and a pirate band on the
way. It didn't say fourteen galleons of what, but thinkin' it might be
soda water, it made my mouth water to think of it, so I decided to rent
my house and come along. About when do you think we'll capture any
Brigs?"

"You rented your house?" asked Mollie in amazement.

"Yes--to a Burgular," said the Unwiseman. "I thought that was the best
way out of it. If the burgular has your house, thinks I, he won't break
into it, spoiling your locks, or smashing your windows and doors. What
he's got likewise moreover he won't steal, so the best thing to do is to
turn everything over to him right in the beginning and so save your
property. So I advertised. Here it is, see?" And the Unwiseman produced
the following copy of his advertisement.

  FOR TO BE LET
  ONE FIRST CLASS PREMISSES
  ALL MODDERN INCONVENIENCES
  HOT AND COAL GAS
  SIXTEEN MILES FROM POLICE STATION
  POSESSION RIGHT AWAY OFF
  ONLY BURGULARS NEED APPLY.

  Address, The Unwiseman, At Home.

"One of 'em called the next night and he's taken the house for six
months," the Unwiseman went on. "He's promised to keep the house clean,
to smoke my pipe, look after my Qs and commas, eat my meals regularly,
and exercise the umbrella on wet days. It was a very good arrangement
all around. He was a very nice polite burgular and as it happened had a
lot of business he wanted to attend to right in our neighborhood. He
said he'd keep an eye on your house too, and I told him about how to get
in the back way where the cellar window won't lock. He promised for sure
he'd look into it."

"Very kind of him I'm sure," said Mollie dubiously.

"You'd have liked him very much--nicest burgular I ever met. Had real
taking ways," said the Unwiseman.

"Howd-ulike-being-outer-sighter-land?" asked Whistlebinkie.

"Who, me?" asked the Unwiseman. "I wouldn't like it at all. I took
precious good care that I shouldn't be neither."

"Nonsense," said Mollie. "How can you help yourself?"

"This way," said the Unwiseman with a proud smile of superiority, taking
a bottle from his pocket. "See that?" he added.

"Yes," said Mollie. "What is it?"

"It's land, of course," replied the Unwiseman, holding the bottle up in
the light. "Real land off my place at home. Just before I left the house
it occurred to me that it would be pleasant to have some along and I
took a shovel and went out and got a bottle full of it. It makes me feel
safer to have the land in sight all the way over and then it will keep
me from being homesick when I'm chasing those Alps down in Swazoozalum."

"Swizz-izzerland!" corrected Whistlebinkie.

"Swit-zer-land!" said Mollie for the instruction of both. "It's not
Swazoozalum, or Swizziz-zerland, but Switzerland."

"O I see--rhymes with Hits-yer-land--when the Alp he hits your land,
then you think of Switzerland--that it?" asked the Unwiseman.

"Well that's near enough," laughed Mollie. "But how does that bottle
keep you from being homesick?"

"Why--when I begin to pine for my native land, all I've got to do is to
open the bottle and take out a spoonful of it. 'This is my own, my
native land,' the Poet said, and when I look at this bottle so say I.
Right out of my own yard, too," said the Unwiseman, hugging the bottle
tightly to his breast. "It's queer isn't it how I should find out how to
travel so comfortably without having to ask anybody."

"I guess you're a genius," suggested Whistlebinkie.

"Maybe I am," agreed the Unwiseman, "but anyhow you know I just knew
what to do as soon as I made up my mind to come along."

Mollie looked at him admiringly.

"Take these goloshes for instance. I'm the only person on board this
boat that's got goloshes on," continued the old gentleman, "and yet if
the boat went down, how on earth could they keep their feet dry? It's
all so simple. Same way with this life preserver--it's nothing but an
old bicycle tire I found in your barn, but just think what it would mean
to me if I should fall overboard some day."

"Smitey-fine!" whistled Whistlebinkie.

"It is that. All I'll have to do is to sit inside of it and float till
they lower a boat after me," said the Unwiseman.

"What have you done about getting sea-sick?" asked Mollie.

"Ah--that's the thing that bothered me as much as anything," ejaculated
the Unwiseman, "but all of a sudden it came to me like a flash. I was
getting my fishing tackle ready for the trip and when I came to the
sinkers, there was the idea as plain as the nose on your face. Six days
out, says I, means thirty-seven meals."

"Thirty-seven?" asked Mollie.

"Yes--three meals a day for six days is--," began the Unwiseman.

"Only eighteen," said Mollie, who for a child of her size was very quick
at multiplication.

"So it is," said the Unwiseman, his face growing very red. "So it is. I
must have forgotten to set down five and carry three."

"Looks that way," said Whistlebinkie, with a mirthful squeak through the
top of his hat. "What you did was to set down three and carry seven."

"That's it," said the Unwiseman. "Three and seven make
thirty-seven--don't it?"

"Looked at sideways," said Mollie, with a chuckle.

"I know I got it somehow," observed the Unwiseman, his smile returning.
"So I prepared myself for thirty-seven meals. I brought a lead sinker
along for each one of them. I'm going to tie one sinker to each meal to
keep it down, and of course I won't be sea-sick at all. There was only
one other way out of it that I could think of; that was to eat
pound-cake all the time, but I was afraid maybe they wouldn't have any
on board, so I brought the sinkers instead."

"It sounds like a pretty good plan," said Whistlebinkie. "Where's your
State-room?"

"I haven't got one," said the Unwiseman. "I really don't need it,
because I don't think I'll go to bed all the way across. I want to sit
up and see the scenery. When you've only got a short time on the water
and aren't likely to make a habit of crossing the ocean it's too bad to
miss any of it, so I didn't take a room."

"I don't think there's much scenery to be seen on the ocean," suggested
Mollie. "It's just plain water all the way over."

"O I don't think so," replied the Unwiseman. "I imagine from that story
about Billy the Rover there's a lot of it. There's the Spanish main for
instance. I want to keep a sharp look out for that and see how it
differs from Bangor, Maine. Then once in a while you run across a
latitude and a longitude. I've never seen either of those and I'm sort
of interested to see what they look like. All I know about 'em is that
one of 'em goes up and down and the other goes over and back--I don't
exactly know how, but that's the way it is and I'm here to learn. I
should feel very badly if we happened to pass either of 'em while I was
asleep."

"Naturally," said Mollie.

"Then somewhere out here they've got a thing they call a horrizon, or a
horizon, or something like that," continued the Unwiseman. "I've asked
one of the sailors to point it out to me when we come to it, and he said
he would. Funny thing about it though--he said he'd sailed the ocean for
forty-seven years and had never got close enough to it to touch it.
'Must be quite a sight close to,' I said, and he said that all the
horrizons he ever saw was from ten to forty miles off. There's a place
out here too where the waves are ninety feet high; and then there's the
Fishin' Banks--do you know I never knew banks ever went fishin', did
you? Must be a funny sight to see a lot o' banks out fishin'. What
State-room are you in, Mollie?"

"We've got sixty-nine," said Mollie.

"Sixty-nine," demanded the Unwiseman. "What's that mean?"

"Why it's the number of my room," explained Mollie.

"O," said the Unwiseman scratching his head in a puzzled sort of way.
"Then you haven't got a State-room?"

"Yes," said Mollie. "It's a State-room."

"I don't quite see," said the Unwiseman, gazing up into the air. "If
it's a State-room why don't they call it New Jersey, or Kansas, or
Mitchigan, or some other State? Seems to me a State-room ought to be a
State-room."

"I guess maybe there's more rooms on board than there are States,"
suggested Whistlebinkie. "There ain't more than sixty States, are there,
Mollie?"

"There's only forty-six," said Mollie.

"Ah--then that accounts for number sixty-nine," observed the Unwiseman.
"They're just keeping a lot of rooms numbered until there's enough
States to go around."

"I hope we get over all right," put in Whistlebinkie, who wasn't very
brave.

"O I guess we will," said the Unwiseman, cheerfully. "I was speaking to
that sailor on that very point this morning, and he said the chances
were that we'd go through all right unless we lost one of the screws."

"Screws?" inquired Whistlebinkie.

"Yes--it don't sound possible, but this ship is pushed through the water
by a couple of screws fastened in back there at the stern. It's the
screws sterning that makes the boat go," the Unwiseman remarked with all
the pride of one who really knows what he is talking about. "Of course
if one of 'em came unfastened and fell off we wouldn't go so fast and if
both of 'em fell off we wouldn't go at all, until we got the sails up
and the wind came along and blew us into port."

"Well I never!" said Whistlebinkie.

"O I knew that before I came aboard," said the Unwiseman, sagely. "So I
brought a half dozen screws along with me. There they are."

And the old gentleman plunged his hand into his pocket and produced six
bright new shining screws.

"You see I'm ready for anything," he observed. "I think every passenger
who takes one of these screwpeller boats--that's what they call 'em,
screwpellers--ought to come prepared to furnish any number of screws in
case anything happens. I'm not going to tell anybody I've got 'em
though. I'm just holding these back until the Captain tells us the
screws are gone, and then I'll offer mine."

"And suppose yours are lost too, and there ain't any wind for the
sails?" demanded Whistlebinkie.

"I've got a pair o' bellows down in my box," said the Unwiseman
gleefully. "We can sit right behind the sails and blow the whole
business right in the teeth of a dead clam."

"Dead what?" roared Mollie.

"A dead clam," said the Unwiseman. "I haven't found out why they call it
a dead clam--unless it's because it's so still--but that's the way we
sailors refer to a time at sea when there isn't a handful o' wind in
sight and the ocean is so smooth that even the billows are afraid to
roll in it for fear they'd roll off."

"We sailors!" ejaculated Whistlebinkie, scornfully under his breath.
"Hoh!"

"Well you certainly are pretty well prepared for whatever happens,
aren't you, Mr. Unwiseman," said Mollie admiringly.

"I like to think so," said the old gentleman. "There's only one thing
I've overlooked," he added.

"Wass-that?" asked Whistlebinkie.

"I have most unaccountably forgotten to bring my skates along, and I'm
sure I don't know what would happen to me without 'em if by some
mischance we ran into an iceberg and I was left aboard of it when the
steamer backed away," the Unwiseman remarked.

Here the deck steward came along with a trayful of steaming cups of
chicken broth.

"Broth, ma'am," he said politely to Mollie.

"Thank you," said Mollie. "I think I will."

Whistlebinkie and the Unwiseman also helped themselves, and a few
minutes later the Unwiseman disappeared bearing his cup in his hand. It
was three hours after this that Mollie again encountered him, sitting
down near the stern of the vessel, a doleful look upon his face, and the
cup of chicken broth untasted and cold in his hands.

"What's the matter, dearie?" the little girl asked.

"O--nothing," he said, "only I--I've been trying for the past three
hours to find out how to tie a sinker to this soup and it regularly
stumps me. I can tie it to the cup, but whether it's the motion of the
ship or something else, I don't know what, I can't think of swallowing
_that_ without feeling queer here."

And the poor old gentleman rubbed his stomach and looked forlornly out
to sea.



III.

AT SEA


It was all of three days later before the little party of travellers met
again on deck. I never inquired very closely into the matter but from
what I know of the first thousand miles of the ocean between New York
and Liverpool I fancy Mollie and Whistlebinkie took very little interest
in anybody but themselves until they had got over that somewhat uneven
stretch of water. The ocean is more than humpy from Nantucket Light on
and travelling over it is more or less like having to slide over eight
or nine hundred miles of scenic railroads, or bumping the bumps, not for
three seconds, but for as many successive days, a proceeding which
interferes seriously with one's appetite and gives one an inclination to
lie down in a comfortable berth rather than to walk vigorously up and
down on deck--though if you _can_ do the latter it is the very best
thing in the world _to_ do. As for the Unwiseman all I know about him
during that period is that he finally gave up his problem of how to tie
a sinker to a half-pint of chicken broth, and diving head first into the
ventilator through which he had made his first appearance on deck,
disappeared from sight. On the morning of the fourth day however he
flashed excitedly along the deck past where Mollie and Whistlebinkie
having gained courage to venture up into Mollie's steamer chair were
sitting, loudly calling for the Captain.

"Hi-hullo!" called Mollie, as the old gentleman rushed by. "Mr.
Me!"--Mr. Me it will be remembered by his friends was the name the
Unwiseman had had printed on his visiting cards. "Mister Me--come here!"

The Unwiseman paused for a moment.

"I'm looking for the Captain," he called back. "I find I forgot to tell
the burgular who's rented my house that he mustn't steal my kitchen
stove until I get back, and I want the Captain to turn around and go
back for a few minutes so that I can send him word."

"He wouldn't do that, Mr. Me," said Mollie.

"Then let him set me on shore somewhere where I can walk back," said the
Unwiseman. "It would be perfectly terrible if that burgular stole my
kitchen stove. I'd have to eat all my bananas and eclairs raw, and
besides I use that stove to keep the house cool in summer."

"There isn't any shore out here to put you on," said Mollie.

"Where's your bottle of native land?" jeered Whistlebinkie. "You might
walk home on that."

"Hush, Whistlebinkie," said Mollie. "Don't make him angry."

"Well," said the Unwiseman ruefully. "I'm sure I don't know what to do
about it. It is the only kitchen stove I've got, and it's taken me ten
years to break it in. It would be very unfortunate just as I've got the
stove to do its work exactly as I want it done to go and lose it."

"Why don't you send a wireless message?" suggested Mollie. "They've got
an office on board, and you can telegraph to him."

"First rate," said the old man. "I'd forgotten that." And the Unwiseman
sat down and wrote the following dispatch:

      DEAR MR. BURGULAR:

      Please do not steal my kitchen stove. If you need a stove steal
      something else like the telephone book or that empty bottle of
      Woostershire Sauce standing on the parlor mantel-piece with the
      daisy in it, and sell them to buy a new stove with the money. I've
      had that stove for ten years and it has only just learned how to
      cook and it would be very annoying to me to have to get a new one
      and have to teach it how I like my potatoes done. You know the one
      I mean. It's the only stove in the house, so you can't get it
      mixed up with any other. If you do I shall persecute you to the
      full extent of the law and have you arrested for petty parsimony
      when I get back. If you find yourself strongly tempted to steal it
      the best thing to do is to keep it red hot with a rousing fire on
      its insides so that it will be easier for you to keep your hands
      off.

  Yours trooly,
  THE UNWISEMAN.

      P.S. Take the poker if you want to but leave the stove. It's a
      wooden poker and not much good anyhow.

  Yours trooly,
  THE UNWISEMAN.

"There!" he said as he finished writing out the message. "I guess
that'll fix it all right."

"It-tortoo," whistled Whistlebinkie through the top of his hat.

"What?" said Mollie, severely.

"It-ought-to-fix-it," repeated Whistlebinkie.

And the Unwiseman ran up the deck to the wireless telegraph office. In a
moment he returned, his face full of joy.

"I guess I got the best of 'em that time!" he chortled gleefully. "What
do you suppose Mollie? They actually wanted me to pay twenty-one
dollars and sixty cents for that telegram. The very idea!"

"Phe-ee-ew!" whistled Whistlebinkie.

"Very far from few," retorted the Unwiseman. "It was many rather than
few and I told the man so. 'I can buy five new kitchen stoves for that
amount of money,' said I. 'I can't help that,' said the man. 'I guess
you can't,' said I. 'If you could the price o' kitchen stoves would go
up'."

"What did you do?" asked Mollie.

"I told him I was just as wireless as he was, and I tossed my message up
in the air and last time I saw it it was flying back to New York as
tight as it could go," said the Unwiseman. "I guess I can send a message
without wires as well as anybody else. It's a great load off my mind to
have it fixed, I can tell you," he added.

"What have you been doing with yourself since I saw you last, Mr. Me?"
asked Mollie, as her old friend seated himself on the foot-rest of her
steamer chair.

"O I've managed to keep busy," said the Unwiseman, gazing off at the
rolling waves.

Whistlebinkie laughed.

"See-zick?" he whistled.

"What me?" asked the Unwiseman. "Of course not--we sailors don't get
sea-sick like land-lubbers. No, sirree. I've been a little miserable due
to my having eaten something that didn't agree with me--I very foolishly
ate a piece of mince pie about five years ago--but except for that I've
been feeling first rate. For the most part I've been watching the screw
driver--they've got a big steam screw driver down-stairs in the cellar
that keeps the screws to their work, and I got so interested watching it
I've forgotten all about meals and things like that."

"Have you seen horrizon yet?" asked Whistlebinkie.

"Yes," returned the Unwiseman gloomily. "It's about the stupidest thing
you ever saw. See that long line over there where the sky comes down and
touches the water?"

"Yep," said Whistlebinkie.

"Well that's what they call the horrizon," said the Unwiseman
contemptuously. "It's nothin' but a big circle runnin' round and round
the scenery, day and night, now and forever. It won't go near anybody
and it won't let anybody go near it. I guess it's just about the most
unsociable fish that ever swam the sea. Speakin' about fish, what do you
say to trollin' for a whale this afternoon?"

"That would be fine!" cried Mollie. "Have you any tackle?"

"Oh my yes," replied the Unwiseman. "I've got a half a mile o' trout
line, a minnow hook and a plate full o' vermicelli."

"Vermicelli?" demanded Mollie.

"Yes--don't you know what Vermicelli is? It's sort of baby macaroni,"
explained the Unwiseman.

"What good is it for fishing?" asked Whistlebinkie.

"I don't know yet," said the Unwiseman "but between you and me I don't
believe if you baited a hook with it any ordinary fish who'd left his
eyeglasses on the mantel-piece at home could tell it from a worm. I
neglected to bring any worms along in my native land bottle, and I've
searched the ship high and low without finding a place where I could dig
for 'em, so I borrowed the vermicelli from the cook instead."

"Does-swales-like-woyms?" whistled Whistlebinkie.

"I don't know anything about swales," said the Unwiseman.

"I meant-twales," said Whistlebinkie.

"Never heard of a twale neither," retorted the Unwiseman. "Just what
sort of a rubber fish is a twale?"

"He means whales," Mollie explained.

"Why don't he say what he means then?" said the Unwiseman scornfully. "I
never knew such a feller for twisted talk. He ties a word up into a
double bow knot and expects everybody to know what he means right off
the handle. I don't know whether whales like vermicelli or not. Seems to
me though that a fish that could bite at a disagreeable customer like
Jonah would eat anything whether it was vermicelli or just plain
catterpiller."

"Well even if they did you couldn't pull 'em aboard with a trout line
anyhow," snapped Whistlebinkie. "Whales is too heavy for that."

"Who wants to pull 'em aboard, Smarty?" retorted the Unwiseman. "I leave
it to Mollie if I ever said I wanted to pull 'em aboard. Quite the
contrary opposite. I'd rather not pull a whale on board this boat and
have him flopping around all over the deck, smashing chairs and windows,
and knockin' people overboard with his tail, and spouting water all over
us like that busted fire-hose the firemen turned on me when I thought
I'd caught fire from my pipe."

"You did say you'd take us fishing for whales, Mr. Me," Mollie put in
timidly.

"That's a very different thing," protested the Unwiseman. "Fishin' for
whales is a nice gentle sport as long as you don't catch any. But of
course if you're going to take his side against me, why you needn't go."

And the Unwiseman rose up full of offended dignity and walked solemnly
away.

"Dear me!" sighed Mollie. "I'm so sorry he's angry."

"Nuvver-mind," whistled Whistlebinkie. "He won't stay mad long. He'll be
back in a little while with some more misinformation."

Whistlebinkie was right, for in five minutes the old gentleman returned
on the run.

"Hurry up, Mollie!" he cried. "The sailor up on the front piazza says
there's a school of Porpoises ahead. I'm going to ask 'em some
questions."

Mollie and Whistlebinkie sprang quickly from the steamer chairs and
hurried along after the Unwiseman.

"I've heard a lot about these Schools of Fish," the Unwiseman observed
as they all leaned over the rail together. "And I never believed there
was such a thing, because all the fish I ever saw were pretty
stupid--leastways there never were any of them could answer any of the
questions I put to 'em. That may have been because being out o' water
they were very uncomfortable and feelin' kind of stiff and bashful, but
out here it ought to be different and I'm going to examine 'em and see
what they're taught."

"Here they come!" cried Mollie, as a huge gathering of porpoises
plunging and tumbling over each other appeared under the lee of the
vessel. "My what a lot!"

"Hi there, Porpy!" shouted the Unwiseman. "Por-pee, come over here a
minute. What will seven times eight bananas divided by three mince pies
multiplied by eight cream cakes, subtracted from a Monkey with two tails
leave?"

The old man cocked his head to one side as if trying to hear the answer.

"Don't hear anything, do you?" he asked in a moment.

"Maybe they didn't hear you," suggested Mollie.

"Askem-something-geezier," whistled Whistlebinkie.

"Something easier?" sniffed the Unwiseman. "There couldn't be anything
easier than that. It will leave a very angry monkey. You just try to
subtract something from a monkey some time and you'll see. However it is
a long question so I'll give 'em another."

The old gentleman leaned forward again and addressing the splashing fish
once more called loudly out:

"If that other sum is too much for you perhaps some one of you can tell
me how many times seven divided by eleven is a cat with four kittens,"
he inquired.

Still there was no answer. The merry creatures of the sea were
apparently too busy jumping over each other and otherwise indulging in
playful pranks in the water.

"They're mighty weak on Arithmetic, that's sure," sneered the Unwiseman.
"I guess I'll try 'em on jography. Hi there, Porpee--you big black one
over there--where's Elmira, New York?"

The Porpoise turned a complete somersault in the air and disappeared
beneath the water.

"Little Jackass!" growled the Unwiseman. "Guess he hasn't been going to
school very long not to be able to say that Elmira, New York, is at
Elmira, New York. Maybe we'll have better luck with that deep blue
Porpoise over there. Hi-you-you blue Porpoise. What's the chief product
of the lunch counter at Poughkeepsie?"

Again the Unwise old head was cocked to one side to catch the answer but
all the blue porpoise did was to wiggle his tail in the air, as he
butted one of his brother porpoises in the stomach. The Unwiseman looked
at them with an angry glance.

"Well all I've got to say about you," he shouted, "is that your father
and mother are wasting their money sending you to school!"

To which one of the Porpoises seemed to reply by sticking his head up
out of the crest of a wave and sneezing at the Unwiseman.

"Haven't even learned good manners!" roared the old gentleman.

Whereupon the whole school indulged in a mighty scrimmage in the water
jumping over, under and upon each other and splashing the spray high in
the air until finally Whistlebinkie in his delight at the sight cried
out,

"I-guess-sitz-the-football-team!"

"I guess for once you're right, Whistlebinkie," cried the Unwiseman.
"And that accounts for their not knowing anything about 'rithmetic,
jography or Elmira. When a feller's a foot-ball player he don't seem to
care much for such higher education as the Poughkeepsie lunch counter,
or how many is five. I knew the boys were runnin' foot-ball into the
ground on land, but I never imagined the fish were running it into the
water at sea. Too bad--too bad."

And again the Unwiseman took himself off and was not seen again the rest
of the day. Nor did Mollie and Whistlebinkie see much of him for the
rest of the voyage for the old fellow suddenly got it into his head
that possibly there were a few undiscovered continents about, the first
sight of which would win for him all of the glory of a Christopher
Columbus, and in order to be unquestionably the very first to catch
sight of them, he climbed up to the top of the fore-mast and remained
there for two full days. Fortunately neither the Captain nor the
Bo'-sun's mate noticed what the old gentleman was doing or they would
have put him in irons not as a punishment but to protect him from his
own rash adventuring. And so it was that the Unwiseman was the first
person on board to catch a glimpse of the Irish Coast, the which he
announced with a loud cry of glee.

"Land ho--on the starboard tack!" he cried, and then he slid down the
mast-head and rushed madly down the deck crying joyfully, "I've
discovered a continent. Hurray for me. I've discovered a continent."

"Watcher-goin'-t'do-with it?" whistled Whistlebinkie.

"Depends on how big it is," said the Unwiseman dancing gleefully. "If
it's a great big one I'll write my name on it and leave it where it is,
but if it's only a little one I'll dig it up and take it home and add it
to my back yard."

But alas for the new Columbus! It soon turned out that his new discovery
was only Ireland which thousands, not to say millions, had discovered
long before he had, so that the glory which he thought he had won soon
faded away. But the old gentleman was very amiable about it after he got
over his first disappointment.

"I don't care," he confided to Mollie later on. "There isn't anything in
discovering continents anyway. Look at Columbus. He discovered America,
but somebody else came along and took it away from him and as far as I
can find out he don't even own an abandoned farm in the United States
to-day. So what's the good?"

"Thass-wat-I-say," whistled Whistlebinkie. "I wouldn't give seven cents
to discover all the continents there is. I'd ruther be a live rubber
doll than a dead dishcover anyhow."

Later in the afternoon when the ship had left Queenstown, Mollie found
the Unwiseman sitting in her steamer chair hidden behind a copy of the
London _Times_ which had been brought aboard, and strange to relate he
had it right-side up and was eagerly running through its massive
columns.

"Looking for more pollywogs?" the little girl asked.

"No," said the Unwiseman. "I'm trying to find the latest news from
America. I want to see if that burgular has stole my stove. So far there
don't seem to be anything about it here, so the chances are it's still
safe."

"Do you think they'd cable it across?" asked Mollie.

"What the stove?" demanded the Unwiseman. "You can't send a stove by
cable, stupid."

"No--the news," said Mollie. "It wouldn't be very important, would it?"

"It would be important to me," said the Unwiseman, "and inasmuch as I
bought and paid for their old paper I've got a right to expect 'em to
put the news I want in it. If they don't I'll sue 'em for damages and
buy a new stove with the money."

The next morning bright and early the little party landed in England.



IV.

ENGLAND


The Unwiseman's face wore a very troubled look as the little party of
travellers landed at Liverpool. He had doffed his sailor's costume and
now appeared in his regular frock coat and old fashioned beaver hat, and
carried an ancient carpet-bag in his hand, presenting to Mollie and
Whistlebinkie a more familiar appearance than while in his sea-faring
clothes, but he was evidently very much worried about something.

"Cheer up," whistled Whistlebinkie noting his careworn expression. "You
look as if you were down to your last cream-cake. Wass-er-matter?"

"I think they've fooled us," replied the Unwiseman with a doubtful shake
of his gray head. "This don't look like England to me, and I've been
wondering if that ship mightn't be a pirate ship after all that's
carried us all off to some strange place with the idea of thus getting
rid of us, so that the Captain might go home and steal our
kitchen-stoves and other voluble things."

"Pooh!" ejaculated Whistlebinkie. "What makes you thinkit-taint
England?"

"It's too big in the first place," replied the Unwiseman, "and in the
second it ain't the right color. Just look at this map and you'll see."

Here Mr. Me took a map of the world out of his pocket and spread it out
before Whistlebinkie.

"See that?" he said pointing to England in one corner. "I've measured it
off with a tape measure and it's only four inches long and about an inch
and a half wide. This place we're in now is more'n five miles long and,
as far as I can see two or three miles across. And look at the color on
the map."

"Tspink," said Whistlebinkie.

"I don't know what you mean by tspink," said the Unwiseman, "but----"

"It's-pink," explained Whistlebinkie.

"Exactly," said the Unwiseman. "That's just what it is, but that ain't
the color of this place. Seems to me this place is a sort of dull yellow
dusty brown. And besides I don't see any houses on the map and this
place is just chock-full of them."

"O well, I guess it's all right," said Whistlebinkie. "Maybe when we get
further in we'll find it grows pinker. Cities ain't never the same color
as the country you know."

"Possibly," said the Unwiseman, "but even then that wouldn't account for
the difference in size. Why should the map say it's four inches by an
inch and a half, when anybody can see that this place is five miles by
three just by looking at it?"

"I guess-smaybe it's grown some since that map was made," suggested
Whistlebinkie. "Being surrounded by water you'd think it would grow."

Just then a British policeman walked along the landing stage and
Whistlebinkie added, "There's a p'liceman. You might speak to him about
it."

"Good idea," said the Unwiseman. "I'll do it." And he walked up to the
officer.

"Good morning, Robert," said he. "You'll pardon my curiosity, but is
this England?"

"Yessir," replied the officer politely. "You are on British soil, sir."

"H'm! British, eh?" observed the Unwiseman. "Just what _is_ that?
French for English, I suppose."

"This is Great Britain, sir," explained the officer with a smile.
"Hingland is a part of Great Britain."

"Hingland?" asked the Unwiseman with a frown.

"Yessir--this is Hingland, sir," replied the policeman, as he turned on
his heel and wandered on down the stage leaving the Unwiseman more
perplexed than when he had asked the question.

"It looks queerer than ever," said the Unwiseman when he had returned to
Whistlebinkie. "These people don't seem to have agreed on the name of
this place, which I consider to be a very suspicious circumstance. That
policeman said first it was England, then he said it was Great Britain,
and then he changed it to Hingland, while Mollie's father says it's
Liverpool. It's mighty strange, and I wish I was well out of it."

"Why did you call the p'liceman Robert, Mr. Me?" asked Whistlebinkie,
who somehow or other did not seem to share the old gentleman's fears.

"O I read somewhere that the English policemen were all Bobbies," the
Unwiseman replied. "But I didn't feel that I'd ought to be so familiar
as to call him that until I'd got to know him better, so I just called
him Robert."

Later on Mollie explained the situation to the old fellow.

"Liverpool," she said, "is a part of England and England is a part of
Great Britain, just as Binghamton is a part of New York and New York is
a part of the United States of America."

"Ah--that's it, eh?" he answered. "And how about Hingland?"

"That is the way some of the English people talk," explained Mollie. "A
great many of them drop their H's," she added.

"Aha!" said the Unwiseman, nodding his head. "I see. And the police go
around after them picking them up, eh?"

"I guess that's it," said Mollie.

"Because if they didn't," continued the Unwiseman, "the streets and
gutters would be just over-run with 'em. If 20,000,000 people dropped
twenty-five H's apiece every day that would be 500,000,000 H's lyin'
around. I don't believe you could drive a locomotive through that
many--Mussy Me! It must keep the police busy pickin' 'em up."

"Perfly-awful!" whistled Whistlebinkie.

"I'm going to write a letter to the King about it," said the Unwiseman,
"and send him a lot of rules like I have around my house to keep people
from being so careless."

"That's a splendid idea," cried Mollie, overjoyed at the notion. "What
will you say?"

"H'm!" said the Unwiseman. "Let me see--I guess I'd write like this:"
and the strange old man sat down on a trunk and dashed off the following
letter to King Edward.

      DEAR MISTER KING:

  Liverpool, June 10, 19--.

      I understand that the people of your Island is very careless about
      their aitches and that the pleece are worked to a frazzil pickin'
      'em up from the public highways. Why don't you by virtue of your
      exhausted rank propagate the following rules to unbait the
      nuisance?

      I. My subjex must be more careful of their aitches.

      II. Any one caught dropping an aitch on the public sidewalks will
      be fined two dollars.

      III. Aitches dropped by accident must be picked up to once
      immediately and without delay.

      IV. All aitches found roaming about the city streets unaccompanied
      by their owners will be promptly arrested by the pleece and kept
      in the public pound until called for after which they will be
      burnt, and the person calling for them fined two dollars.

      V. All persons whether they be a pleeceman or a Dook or other
      nobil personidges seeing a strange aitch lying on the sidewalk, or
      otherwise roaming at random without any visible owner whether it
      is his or not must pick it up to once immediately and without
      delay under penalty of the law.

      VI. Capital H's must be muzzled before took out in public and must
      be securely fastened by glue or otherwise to the words they are
      the beginning of.

      VII. Anybody tripping up on the aitch of another person thus
      carelessly left lying about can sue for damages and get two
      dollars for a broken leg, five dollars for a broken nose, seven
      dollars and a half for a black eye, and so on up, from the person
      leaving the aitch thus carelessly about, or a year's imprisonment,
      or both.

      VIII. A second offense will be punished by being sent to South
      Africa for five years when if the habit is continued more severe
      means will be taken like being made to live in Boston or some
      other icebound spot.

      IX. School teachers catching children using aitches in this manner
      will keep them in after school and notify their parents who will
      spank them and send them to bed without their supper.

      X. Pleecemen will report all aitches found on public streets to
      the public persecutor and will be paid at the rate of six cents a
      million for all they pick up.

      I think if your madjesty will have these rules and regulations
      printed on a blue pasteboard card in big red letters and hung up
      all over everywhere you will be able, your h. r. h., to unbait
      this terrible nuisance.

  Yoors trooly,
  THE UNWISEMAN.

      P.S. It may happen, your h. r. h., that some of your subjex can't
      help themselves in this aitch dropping habit, and it would
      therefore be mercyful of you to provide letter boxes on all the
      street cornders where they could drop their aitches into without
      breaking the rules of your high and mighty highness.

  Give my love to the roil family.
  Yoors trooly,
  THE UNWISEMAN.

"There," he said when he had scribbled the letter off with his lead
pencil. "If the King can only read that it ought to make him much
obliged to me for helping him out of a very bad box. This Island ain't
so big, map or no map, that they can afford to have it smothered in
aitches as it surely will be if the habit ain't put a stop to. I wonder
what the King's address is."

"I don't know," said Whistlebinkie with a grin. "He and I ain't never
called on each other yet."

"Is King his last name or his first, I wonder," said the Unwiseman,
scratching his head wonderingly.

"His first name is Edward," said Mollie. "It used to be Albert Edward,
but he dropped the Albert."

"Edward what?" demanded the Unwiseman. "Don't they call him Edward
Seventh?"

"Yes they do," said Mollie.

"Then I guess I'll address it to Edward S. King, Esquire, Number Seven,
London--that's where all the kings live when they're home," said the
Unwiseman.

And so the letter went addressed to Edward S. King, Esquire, Number
Seven, London, England, but whether His Majesty ever received it or not
I do not know. Certainly if he did he never answered it, and that makes
me feel that he never received it, for the King of England is known as
the First Gentleman of Europe, and I am quite sure that one who deserves
so fine a title as that would not leave a polite letter like the
Unwiseman's unanswered. Mollie's father was very much impressed when he
heard of the Unwiseman's communication.

"I shouldn't be surprised if the King made him a Duke, for that," he
said. "It is an act of the highest statesmanship to devise so simple a
plan to correct so widespread an evil. If the Unwiseman were only an
Englishman he might even become Prime Minister."

"No," said the Unwiseman later, when Mollie told him what her father had
said. "He couldn't make me Prime Minister because I haven't ever studied
zoology and couldn't preach a sermon or even take up a collection
properly, but as for being a Duke--well if he asked me as a special
favor I might accept that. The Duke of Me--how would that sound,
Mollie?"

"Oh it would be perfectly beautiful!" cried Mollie overwhelmed by the
very thought of anything so grand.

"Or Baron Brains--eh?" continued the Unwiseman.

"That would just suit you," giggled Whistlebinkie. "Barren Brains is you
all over."

"Thank you, Fizzledinkie," said the Unwiseman. "For once I quite agree
with you. I guess I'll call on some tailor up in London and see what it
would cost me to buy a Duke's uniform so's to be ready when the King
sends for me. It would be fine to walk into his office with a linen
duster on and have him say, 'From this time on Mister Me you're a Duke.
Go out and get dressed for tea,' and then turn around three times, bow
to the Queen, whisk off the duster and stand there in the roil presence
with the Duke's uniform already on. I guess he'd say that was American
enterprise all right."

"You'd make a hit for sure!" roared Whistlebinkie dancing up and down
with glee.

"I'll do it!" ejaculated the Unwiseman with a look of determination in
his eyes. "If I can get a ready-made Duke's suit for $8.50 I'll do it.
Even if it never happened I could wear the suit to do my gardening in
when I get home. Did your father say anything about this being England
or not?"

"Yes," said Mollie. "He said it was England all right. He's been here
before and he says you can always tell it by the soldiers walking around
with little pint measures on their heads instead of hats, and little
boys in beaver hats with no tails to their coats."

"All right," said the Unwiseman. "I'm satisfied if he is--only the man
that got up that map ought to be spoken to about making it pink when it
is only a dull yellow dusty gray, and only four inches long instead of
five miles. Some stranger trying to find it in the dark some night might
stumble over it and never know that he'd got what he was looking for.
Where are we going to from here?"

"We're going straight up to London," said Mollie. "The train goes in an
hour--just after lunch. Will you come and have lunch with us?"

"No thank you," replied the Unwiseman. "I've got a half dozen lunches
saved up from the ship there in my carpet bag, and I'll eat a couple of
those if I get hungry."

"Saved up from the ship?" cried Mollie.

"Yep," said the Unwiseman. "I've got a bottle full of that chicken broth
they gave us the first day out that I didn't even try to eat; six or
seven bottlefuls of beef tea, and about two dozen ginger-snaps, eight
pounds of hard-tack, and a couple of apple pies. I kept ordering things
all the way across whether I felt like eating them or not and whatever I
didn't eat I'd bottle up, or wrap up in a piece of paper and put away in
the bag. I've got just three dinners, two breakfasts and four lunches in
there. When I get to London I'm going to buy a bunch of bananas and have
an eclaire put up in a tin box and those with what I've already got
ought to last me throughout the whole trip."

"By the way, Mr. Me," said Mollie, a thoughtful look coming into her
eyes. "Do you want me to ask my Papa to buy you a ticket for London? I
think he'd do it if I asked him."

"I know he would," said Whistlebinkie. "He's one of the greatest men in
the world for doing what Mollie asks him to."

"No thank you," replied the Unwiseman. "Of course if he had invited me
to join the party at the start I might have been willing to have went at
his expense, but seeing as how I sort of came along on my own hook I
think I'd better look after myself. I'm an American, I am, and I kind of
like to be free and independent like."

"Have you any money with you?" asked Mollie anxiously.

"No," laughed the Unwiseman. "That is, not more'n enough to buy that
Duke's suit for $8.50 with. What's the use of having money? It's only a
nuisance to carry around, and it makes you buy a lot of things you don't
want just because you happen to have it along. People without money get
along a great deal cheaper than people with it. Millionaires spend twice
as much as poor people. Money ain't very sociable you know and it sort
of hates to stay with you no matter how kind you are to it. So I didn't
bring any along except the aforesaid eight-fifty."

"Tisn't much, is it," said Mollie.

"Not in dollars, but it's a lot in cents--eight hundred and fifty of
'em--that's a good deal," said the Unwiseman cheerfully. "Then each cent
is ten mills--that's--O dear me--such a lot of mills!"

"Eight thousand five hundred," Mollie calculated.

"Goodness!" cried the Unwiseman. "I hope there don't anybody find out
I've got all that with me. I'd be afraid to go to sleep for fear
somebody'd rob me."

"But _how_--how are you going to get to London?" asked Mollie anxiously.
"It's too far to walk."

"O I'll get there," said the Unwiseman.

"He'll probably get a hitch on the cow-catcher," suggested
Whistlebinkie.

"Don't you worry," laughed the Unwiseman. "It'll be all right, only--"
here he paused and looked about him to make sure that no one was
listening. "Only," he whispered, "I wish somebody would carry my
carpet-bag. It's a pretty big one as you can see, and I _might_--I don't
say I would--but I might have trouble getting to London if I had to
carry it."

"I'll be very glad to take care of it," said Mollie. "Should I have it
checked or take it with me in the train?"

"Better take it with you," said the Unwiseman. "I haven't any key and
some of these railway people might open it and eat up all my supplies."

"Very well," said Mollie. "I'll see that it's put in the train and I
won't take my eyes off it all the way up to London."

So the little party went up to the hotel. The Unwiseman's carpet-bag was
placed with the other luggage, and the family went in to luncheon
leaving the Unwiseman to his own devices. When they came out the old
fellow was nowhere to be seen and Mollie, much worried about him boarded
the train. Her father helped her with the carpet-bag, the train-door was
closed, the conductor came for the tickets and with a loud clanging of
bells the train started for London. It was an interesting trip but poor
little Mollie did not enjoy it very much. She was so worried to think
of the Unwiseman all alone in England trying some new patent way of his
own for getting over so many miles from Liverpool to the capital of the
British Empire.

"We didn't even tell him the name of our hotel, Whistlebinkie," she
whispered to her companion. "How will he ever find us again in this big
place."

"O-he'll-turn-up orright," whistled Whistlebinkie comfortingly. "He
knows a thing or two even if he is an Unwiseman."

And as it turned out Whistlebinkie was right, for about three minutes
after their arrival at the London hotel, when the carpet-bag had been
set carefully aside in one corner of Mollie's room, the cracked voice of
the Unwiseman was heard singing:

  "O a carpet-bag is more comfortabler
    Than a regular Pullman Car.
  Just climb inside and with never a stir,
    Let no one know where you are;
  And then when the train goes choo-choo-choo
    And the ticket man comes arown,
  You'll go without cost and a whizz straight through
    To jolly old London-town.
  To jolly, to jolly, to jolly, to jolly, to jolly old London-town."

"Hi there, Mollie--press the latch on this carpet-bag!" the voice
continued.

"Where are you?" cried Mollie, gazing excitedly about her.

"In here," came the voice from the cavernous depths of the carpet-bag.

"In the bag," gasped Mollie, breathless with surprise.

"_The_ same--let me out," replied the Unwiseman.

And sure enough, when Mollie and Whistlebinkie with a mad rush sped to
the carpet-bag and pressed on the sliding lock, the bag flew open and
Mr. Me himself hopped smilingly up out of its wide-stretched jaws.



V.

A CALL ON THE KING


"Mercy!" cried Mollie as the Unwiseman stepped out of the carpet-bag,
and began limbering up his stiffened legs by pirouetting about the room.
"Aren't you nearly stufficated to death?"

"No indeed," said the Unwiseman. "Why should I be?"

"Well _I_ should think the inside of a carpet-bag would be pretty
smothery," observed Mollie.

"Perhaps it would be," agreed the Unwiseman, "if I hadn't taken mighty
good care that it shouldn't be. You see I brought that life-preserver
along, and every time I needed a bite of fresh air, I'd unscrew the tin
cap and get it. I pumped it full of fine salt air the day we left
Ireland for just that purpose."

"What a splendid idea!" ejaculated Mollie full of admiration for the
Unwiseman's ingenuity.

"Yes I think it's pretty good," said the Unwiseman, "and when I get back
home I'm going to invent it and make a large fortune out of it. Of
course there ain't many people nowadays, especially among the rich, who
travel in carpet-bags the way I do, or get themselves checked through
from New York to Chicago in trunks, but there are a lot of 'em who are
always complaining about the lack of fresh air in railroad trains
especially when they're going through tunnels, so I'm going to patent a
little pocket fresh air case that they can carry about with them and use
when needed. It is to be made of rubber like a hot-water bag, and all
you've got to do before starting off on a long journey is to take your
bicycle pump, pump the fresh-air bag full of the best air you can find
on the place and set off on your trip. Then when the cars get snuffy,
just unscrew the cap and take a sniff."

"My goodness!" cried Mollie. "You ought to make a million dollars out of
that."

"Million?" retorted the Unwiseman. "Well I should say so. Why there are
80,000,000 people in America and if I sold one of those fresh-air bags a
year to only 79,000,000 of 'em at two dollars apiece for ten years you
see where I'd come out. They'd call me the Fresh Air King and print my
picture in the newspapers."

"You couldn't lend me two dollars now, could you?" asked Whistlebinkie
facetiously.

"Yes I _could_," said the Unwiseman with a frown, "but I won't--but you
can go out on the street and breathe two dollars worth of fresh air any
time you want to and have it charged to my account."

Mollie laughed merrily at the Unwiseman's retort, and Whistlebinkie for
the time being had nothing to say, or whistle either for that matter.

"You missed a lot of interesting scenery on the way up, Mr. Me," said
Mollie.

"No I didn't," said the Unwiseman. "I heard it all as it went by, and
that's good enough for me. I'd just as lief hear a thing as see it any
day. I saw some music once and it wasn't half as pretty to look at as it
was when I heard it, and it's the same way about scenery if you only get
your mind fixed up so that you can enjoy it that way. Somehow or other
it didn't sound so very different from the scenery I've heard at home,
and that's one thing that made me like it. I'm very fond of sitting
quietly in my little room at home and listening to the landscape when
the moon is up and the stars are out, and no end of times as we rattled
along from Liverpool to London it sounded just like things do over in
America, especially when we came to the switches at the railroad
conjunctions. Don't they rattle beautifully!"

"They certainly do!" said Whistlebinkie, prompted largely by a desire to
get back into the good graces of the Unwiseman. "I love it when we bump
over them so hard they make-smee-wissle."

"You're all right when you whistle, Fizzledinkie," smiled the Unwiseman.
"It's only when you try to talk that you are not all that you should be.
Woyds and you get sort of tangled up and I haven't got time to ravel you
out. But I say, Mollie, we're really in London are we?"

"Yes," said Mollie. "This is it."

"Well I guess I'll go out and see what there is about it that makes
people want to come here," said the Unwiseman. "I've got a list of
things I want to see, and the sooner I get to work the sooner I'll see
'em. First thing I want to get a sight of is a real London fog. Then of
course I want to go down to the Aquarium and see the Prince of Whales,
and call on the King and Queen, and meet a few Dukes, and Earls and
things like that. Then there's the British Museum. I'm told there is a
lot of very interesting things down there including some Egyptian
mummies that are passing their declining years there. I've never talked
to a mummy in my life and I'd rather like to meet a few of 'em. I wonder
if Dick Whittington's cat is still living."

"O I don't believe so," said Mollie. "He must have died long years ago."

"The first time and maybe the second or third or even the fourth time,"
said the Unwiseman. "But cats have nine lives and if he lived fifty
years for each of them that would be--let's see, four times nine is
eighteen, three times two is ten, carry four and----"

"It would be 450 years," laughed Mollie.

"Pretty old cat," said Whistlebinkie.

"Well there's no harm in asking anyhow, and if he is alive I'm going to
see him, and if he isn't the chances are they've had him stuffed and a
stuffed cat is better to look at than no cat at all," said the
Unwiseman, brushing off his hat preparatory to going out. "Come on,
Mollie--are you ready?"

The little party trudged down the stairs and out upon the avenue upon
which their hotel fronted.

"Guess we'd better take a hansom," said the Unwiseman as they emerged
from the door. "We'll save time going that way if the driver knows his
business. We'll just tell him to go where we want to go, and in that way
we won't have to keep asking these Roberts the way round."

"Roberts?" asked Mollie, forgetting the little incident at Liverpool.

"Oh well--the Bobbies--the pleecemen," replied the Unwiseman. "I want to
get used to 'em before I call them that."

So they all climbed into a hansom cab.

"Where to, sir?" asked the cabby, through the little hole in the roof.

"Well I suppose we ought to call on the King first," said the Unwiseman
to Mollie. "Don't you?"

"I guess so," said Mollie timidly.

"To the King's," said the Unwiseman, through the little hole.

"Beg pardon!" replied the astonished cabby.

"Don't mention it," said the Unwiseman. "Drive to the King's house first
and apologize afterwards."

"I only wanted to know where you wished to go, sir," said the cabby.

"The King's, stupid," roared the Unwiseman, "Mr. Edward S.
King's--didn't you ever hear of him?"

"To the Palace, sir?" asked the driver.

"Of course unless his h. r. h. is living in a tent somewhere--and hurry
up. We didn't engage you for the pleasures of conversation, but to drive
us," said the Unwiseman severely.

The amazed cabman whipped up his horse and a short while afterwards
reached Buckingham Palace, the home of the King and Queen in London. At
either side of the gate was a tall sentry box, and a magnificent
red-coated soldier with a high bear-skin shako on his head paced along
the path.

"There he is now," said the Unwiseman, excitedly, pointing at the guard.
"Isn't he a magnificent sight. Come along and I'll introduce you."

The Unwiseman leapt jauntily out of the hansom and Mollie and
Whistlebinkie timidly followed.

"Howdido, Mr. King," said the Unwiseman stepping in front of the sentry
and making a profound salaam and almost sweeping the walk with his hat.
"We've just arrived in London and have called to pay our respects to you
and Mrs. King. I hope the children are well. We're Americans, Mr. King,
but for the time being we've decided to overlook all our little
differences growing out of the Declaration of Independence and wish you
a Merry Fourth of July."

The sentry was dumb with amazement at this unexpected greeting, and the
cabby's eyes nearly dropped out of his head they bulged so.

"Mollie, dear," continued Mr. Me, "Come here, my child and let me
introduce you to Mr. King. Mr. King, this is a little American girl
named Mollie. She's a bit bashful in your h. r. h's presence because
between you and me you are the first real King she's ever saw. We don't
grow 'em in our country--that is not your kind. We have Cattle Kings and
Steel Kings, and I'm expecting to become a Fresh Air King myself--but
the kind that's born to the--er--to the purple like yourself, with a
gilt crown on his head and the spectre of power in his hand we don't get
even at the circus."

[Illustration: MOLLY MAKES HER COURTESY TO MR. KING]

"Very glad to meet you," gasped Mollie, feasting her eyes upon the
gorgeous red coat of the sentry.

The sentry not knowing what else to do and utterly upset by the
Unwiseman's eloquence returned the gasp as politely as he could.

"She's a mighty nice little girl, Mr. King," said the Unwiseman with a
fond glance of admiration at Mollie. "And if any of your little kings
and queens feel like calling at the hotel some morning for a friendly
Anglo-American romp, Mollie will be very glad to see them. This other
young person, your h. r. h., is Whistlebinkie who belongs to one of the
best Rubber families of the United States. He looks better than he
talks. Whistlebinkie, Mr. King. Mr. King, Whistlebinkie."

Whistlebinkie, too overcome to speak, merely squeaked, a proceeding
which seemed to please the sentry very much for he returned a truly
royal smile and expressed himself as being very glad to meet
Whistlebinkie.

"Been having pretty cold weather?" asked the Unwiseman genially.

"Been rawther 'ot," said the sentry.

"I only asked," said the Unwiseman with a glance at the guard's shako,
"because I see you have your fur crown on. Our American Kings wear
Panama crowns this weather," he added, "but then we're free over there
and can do pretty much what we like. Did you get my letter?"

"Beg your pardon?" asked the sentry.

"Mercy!" ejaculated the Unwiseman under his breath. "What an apologetic
people these English are--first the cabby and now the King." Then he
repeated aloud, "My letter--I wrote to you yesterday about this H
dropping habit of your people, and I was going to say that if after
reading it you decided to make me a Duke I'd be very glad to accept if
the clothes a Duke has to wear don't cost more than $8.50. I might even
go as high as nine dollars if the suit was a real good one that I could
wear ten or eleven years--but otherwise I couldn't afford it. It would
be very kind of your h. r. h. to make me one, but I've always made it a
rule not to spend more than a dollar a year on my clothes and even a
Duke has got to wear socks and neckties in addition to his coats and
trousers. Who is your Majesty's Tailor? That red coat fits you like
wall-paper."

The sentry said something about buying his uniforms at the Army and Navy
stores and the Unwiseman observed that he would most certainly have to
go there and see what he could get for himself.

"I'll tell 'em your h. r. h. sent me," he said pleasantly, "and maybe
they'll give you a commission on what I buy."

A long pause followed broken only by Whistlebinkie's heavy breathing for
he had by no means recovered from his excitement over having met a real
king at last. Finally the Unwiseman spoke again.

"We'd like very much to accept your kind invitation to stay to supper,
Mr. King," he observed--although the sentry had said nothing at all
about any such thing--"but we really can't to-night. You see we are
paying pretty good rates at the hotel and we feel it a sort of duty to
stay there and eat all we can so as to get our money's worth. And we'd
like to meet the Queen too, but as you can see for yourself we're hardly
dressed for that. We only came anyhow to let you know that we were here
and to tell you that if you ever came to America we'd be mighty glad to
have you call. I've got a rather nice house of my own with a
kitchen-stove in it that I wouldn't sell for five dollars that you would
enjoy seeing. It's rented this summer to one of the most successful
burgulars in America and I think you'd enjoy meeting him, and don't
hesitate to bring the children. America's a great place for children,
your h. r. h. It's just chock full of back yards for 'em to play in, and
banisters to slide down, and roller skating rinks and all sorts of
things that children enjoy. I'll be very glad to let you use my umbrella
too if the weather happens to be bad."

The sentry was very much impressed apparently by the cordiality of the
Unwiseman's invitation for he bowed most graciously a half dozen times,
and touched his bear-skin hat very respectfully, and smiled so royally
that anybody could see he was delighted with the idea of some day
visiting that far off land where the Unwiseman lived, and seeing that
wonderful kitchen-stove of which, as we know, the old gentleman was so
proud.

"By the way," said the Unwiseman, confidentially. "Before I go I'd like
to say to you that if you are writing at any time to the Emperor of
Germany you might send him my kind regards. I had hoped to be able to
stop over at Kettledam, or wherever it is he lives--no, it's Pottsdam--I
always do get pots and kettles mixed--I had hoped to be able, I say, to
stop over there and pay my respects to him, but the chances are I won't
be able to do so this trip. I'd hate to have him think that I'd been
over here and hadn't paid any attention to him, and if you'll be so kind
as to send him my regards he won't feel so badly about it. I'd write and
tell him myself, but the fact is my German is a little rusty. I only
know German by sight--and even then I don't know what it means except
Gesundheit,--which is German for 'did you sneeze?' So you see a letter
addressed to Mr. Hoch----"

"Beg pardon, but Mr. Who sir?" asked the Sentry.

"Mr. Hoch, der Kaiser," said the Unwiseman. "That's his name, isn't it?"

The sentry said he believed it was something like that.

"Well as I was saying even if I wrote he wouldn't understand what I was
trying to say, so it would be a waste of time," said the Unwiseman.

The sentry nodded pleasantly, and his eyes twinkled under his great
bear-skin hat like two sparkling bits of coal.

"Good bye, your h. r. h.," the Unwiseman continued, holding out his
hand. "It has been a real pleasure to meet you, and between you and me
if all kings were as good mannered and decent about every thing as you
are we wouldn't mind 'em so much over in America. If the rest of 'em are
like you they're all right."

And so the Unwiseman shook hands with the sentry and Mollie did likewise
while Whistlebinkie repeated his squeak with a quaver that showed how
excited he still was. The three travellers re-entered the hansom and
inasmuch as it was growing late they decided not to do any more
sight-seeing that day, and instructed the cabby to drive them back to
the hotel.

"Wonderfully fine man, that King," said the Unwiseman as they drove
along. "I had a sort of an idea he'd have a band playing music all the
time, with ice cream and cake being served every five minutes in truly
royal style."

"He was just as pleasant as a plain everyday policeman at home," said
Mollie.

"Pleasanter," observed the Unwiseman. "A policeman at home would
probably have told us to move on the minute we spoke to him, but the
King was as polite as ginger-bread. I guess we were lucky to find him
outside there because if he hadn't been I don't believe the head-butler
would have let us in."

"How-dy'u-know he was the King?" asked Whistlebinkie.

"Oh I just felt it in my bones," said the Unwiseman. "He was so big and
handsome, and then that red coat with the gold buttons--why it just
simply couldn't be anybody else."

"He didn't say much, diddee," whistled Whistlebinkie.

"No," said the Unwiseman. "I guess maybe that's one of the reasons why
he's a first class King. The fellow that goes around talking all the
time might just as well be a--well a rubber-doll like you, Fizzledinkie.
It takes a great man to hold his tongue."

The hansom drew up at the hotel door and the travellers alighted.

"Thank you very much," said the Unwiseman with a friendly nod at the
cabby.

"Five shillin's, please, sir," said the driver.

"What's that?" demanded the Unwiseman.

"Five shillin's," repeated the cabby.

"What do you suppose he means?" asked the Unwiseman turning to Mollie.

"Why he wants to be paid five shillings," whispered Mollie. "Shillings
is money."

"Oh--hm--well--I never thought of that," said the Unwiseman uneasily.
"How much is that in dollars?"

"It's a dollar and a quarter," said Mollie.

"I don't want to buy the horse," protested the Unwiseman.

"Come now!" put in the driver rather impatiently. "Five shillin's,
sir."

"Charge it," said the Unwiseman, shrinking back. "Just put it on the
bill, driver, and I'll send you a cheque for it. I've only got ten
dollars in real money with me, and I tell you right now I'm not going to
pay out a dollar and a quarter right off the handle at one fell swoop."

"You'll pay now, or I'll--" the cabby began.

And just then, fortunately for all, Mollie's father, who had been
looking all over London for his missing daughter, appeared, and in his
joy over finding his little one, paid the cabby and saved the Unwiseman
from what promised to be a most unpleasant row.



VI.

THEY GET SOME FOG AND GO SHOPPING


The following day the Unwiseman was in high-feather. At last he was able
to contemplate in all its gorgeousness a real London fog of which he had
heard so much, for over the whole city hung one of those deep, dark,
impenetrable mists which cause so much trouble at times to those who
dwell in the British capital.

"Hurry up, Mollie, and come out," he cried enthusiastically rapping on
the little girl's door. "There's one of the finest fogs outside you ever
saw. I'm going to get a bottle full of it and take it home with me."

"Hoh!" jeered Whistlebinkie. "What a puffickly 'bsoyd thing to do--as if
we never didn't have no fogs at home!"

"We don't have any London fogs in America, Whistlebinkie," said Mollie.

"No but we have very much finer ones," boasted the patriotic
Whistlebinkie. "They're whiter and cleaner to begin with, and twice as
deep."

"Well never mind, Whistlebinkie," said Mollie. "Don't go looking around
for trouble with the Unwiseman. It's very nice to be able to enjoy
everything as much as he does and you shouldn't never find fault with
people because they enjoy themselves."

"Hi-there, Mollie," came the Unwiseman's voice at the door. "Just open
the door a little and I'll give you a hatful of it."

"You can come in," said Mollie. "Whistlebinkie and I are all dressed."

And the little girl opened the door and the Unwiseman entered. He
carried his beaver hat in both hands, as though it were a pail without a
handle, and over the top of it he had spread a copy of the morning's
paper.

"It's just the finest fog ever," he cried as he came in. "Real thick. I
thought you'd like to have some, so I went out on the sidewalk and got a
hat full of it for you."

Mollie and Whistlebinkie gathered about the old gentleman as he removed
the newspaper from the top of his hat, and gazed into it.

"I do-see-anthing," whistled Whistlebinkie.

"You don't?" cried the Unwiseman. "Why it's chock full of fog. You can
see it can't you Mollie?" he added anxiously, for to tell the truth the
hat did seem to be pretty empty.

Mollie tried hard and was able to convince herself that she could see
just a tiny bit of it and acted accordingly.

"Isn't it beautiful!" she ejaculated, as if filled with admiration for
the contents of the Unwiseman's hat. "I don't think I ever saw any just
like it before--did you, Mr. Me?"

"No," said the Unwiseman much pleased, "I don't think I ever did--it's
so delicate and--er--steamy, eh? And there's miles of it outdoors and
the Robert down on the corner says we're welcome to all we want of it. I
didn't like to take it without asking, you know."

"Of course not," said Mollie, glancing into the hat again.

"So I just went up to the pleeceman and told him I was going to start a
museum at home and that I wanted to have some real London fog on
exhibition and would he mind if I took some. 'Go ahead, sir,' he said
very politely. 'Go ahead and take all you want. We've got plenty of it
and to spare. You can take it all if you want it.' Mighty kind of him I
think," said the Unwiseman. "So I dipped out a hat full for you first.
Where'll I put it?"

"O----," said Mollie, "I--I don't know. I guess maybe you'd better pour
it out into that vase up there on the mantel-piece--it isn't too thick
to go in there, is it?"

"It don't seem to be," said the Unwiseman peering cautiously into the
hat. "Somehow or other it don't seem quite as thick inside here as it
did out there on the street. Tell you the truth I don't believe it'll
keep unless we get it in a bottle and cork it up good and tight--do
you?"

"I'm afraid not," agreed Mollie. "It's something like snow--kind of
vaporates."

"I'm going to put mine in a bottle," said the Unwiseman, "and seal the
cork with sealing wax--then I'll be sure of it. Then I thought I'd get
an envelope full and send it home to my Burgular just to show him I
haven't forgotten him--poor fellow, he must be awful lonesome up there
in my house without any friends in the neighborhood and no other
burgulars about to keep him company."

And the strange little man ran off to get his bottle filled with fog
and to fill up an envelope with it as well as a souvenir of London for
the lonesome Burglar at home. Later on Mollie encountered him leaving
the hotel door with a small shovel and bucket in his hand such as
children use on the beach in the summer-time.

"The pleeceman says it's thicker down by the river," he explained to
Mollie, "and I'm going down there to shovel up a few pailsful--though
I've got a fine big bottleful of it already corked up and labelled for
my museum. And by the way, Mollie, you want to be careful about
Whistlebinkie in this fog. When he whistles on a bright clear day it is
hard enough to understand what he is saying, but if he gets _his_ hat
full of fog and tries to whistle with that it will be something awful. I
don't think I could stand him if he began to talk any foggier than he
does ordinarily."

Mollie promised to look out for this and kept Whistlebinkie indoors all
the morning, much to the rubber-doll's disgust, for Whistlebinkie was
quite as anxious to see how the fog would affect his squeak as the
Unwiseman was to avoid having him do so. In the afternoon the fog lifted
and the Unwiseman returned.

"I think I'll go out and see if I can find the King's tailor," he said.
"I'm getting worried about that Duke's suit. I asked the Robert what he
thought it would cost and he said he didn't believe you could get one
complete for less than five pounds and the way I figure it out that's a
good deal more than eight-fifty."

"It's twenty-five dollars," Mollie calculated.

"Mercy!" cried the Unwiseman. "It costs a lot to dress by the pound
doesn't it--I guess I'd better write to Mr. King and tell him I've
decided not to accept."

"Better see what it costs first," said Whistlebinkie.

"All right," agreed the Unwiseman. "I will--want to go with me Mollie?"

"Certainly," said Mollie.

And they started out. After walking up to Trafalgar Square and thence on
to Piccadilly, the Unwiseman carefully scanning all the signs before the
shops as they went, they came to a bake-shop that displayed in its
window the royal coat of arms and announced that "Muffins by Special
Appointment to H. R. H. the King," could be had there.

"We're getting close," said the Unwiseman. "Let's go in and have a royal
cream-cake."

Mollie as usual was willing and entering the shop the Unwiseman planted
himself before the counter and addressed the sales-girl.

"I'm a friend of Mr. King, Madame," he observed with a polite bow, "just
over from America and we had a sort of an idea that we should like to
eat a really regal piece of cake. What have you in stock made by Special
Appointment for the King?"

"We 'ave Hinglish Muffins," replied the girl.

"Let me see a few," said the Unwiseman.

The girl produced a trayful.

"Humph!" ejaculated the Unwiseman looking at them critically. "They
ain't very different from common people's muffins are they? What I want
is some of the stuff that goes to the Palace. I may look green, young
lady, but I guess I've got sense enough to see that those things are
_not_ royal."

[Illustration: "THESE ARE THE KIND HIS MAJESTY PREFERS," SAID THE GIRL]

"These are the kind his majesty prefers," said the girl.

"Come along, Mollie," said the Unwiseman turning away. "I don't want
to get into trouble and I'm sure this young lady is trying to fool us. I
am very much obliged to you, Madame," he added turning to the girl at
the counter. "We'd have been very glad to purchase some of your wares if
you hadn't tried to deceive us. Those muffins are very pretty indeed but
when you try to make us believe that they are muffins by special
appointment to his h. r. h., Mr. Edward S. King, plain and simple
Americans though we be, we know better. Even my rubber friend,
Whistlebinkie here recognizes a bean when he sees it. I shall report
this matter to the King and beg to wish you a very good afternoon."

And drawing himself up to his full height, the Unwiseman with a great
show of dignity marched out of the shop followed meekly by Mollie and
Whistlebinkie.

"I-didn-tsee-an-thing th-matter-withem," whistled Whistlebinkie. "They
looked to me like firs-class-smuffins."

"No doubt," said the Unwiseman. "That's because you don't know much. But
they couldn't fool me. If I'd wanted plain muffins I could have asked
for them, but when I ask for a muffin by special appointment to his
h. r. h. the King I want them to give me what I ask for. Perhaps you
didn't observe that not one of those muffins she brought out was set
with diamonds and rubies."

"Now that you mention it," said Mollie, "I remember they weren't."

"Prezactly," said the Unwiseman. "They weren't even gold mounted, or
silver plated, or anything to make 'em different from the plain every
day muffins that you can buy in a baker's shop at home. I don't believe
they were by special appointment to anybody--not even a nearl, much less
the King. I guess they think we Americans don't know anything over
here--but they're barking up the wrong tree if they think they can fool
me."

"We-mightuv-tastedum!" whistled Whistlebinkie much disappointed, because
he always did love the things at the baker's. "You can't tell just by
lookin' at a muffin whether it's good or not."

"Well go back and taste them," retorted the Unwiseman. "It's your
taste--only if I had as little taste as you have I wouldn't waste it on
that stuff. Ah--this is the place I've been looking for."

The old man's eyes had fallen upon another sign which read "Robe Maker
By Special Appointment to T. R. H. The King and The Queen."

"Here's the place, Mollie, where they make the King's clothes," he said.
"Now for it."

Hand in hand the three travellers entered the tailor's shop.

"How do you do, Mr. Snip," said the Unwiseman addressing the gentlemanly
manager of the shop whose name was on the sign without and who
approached him as affably as though he were not himself the greatest
tailor in the British Isles--for he couldn't have been the King's tailor
if he had not been head and shoulders above all the rest. "I had a very
pleasant little chat with his h. r. h. about you yesterday. I could see
by the fit of his red jacket that you were the best tailor in the world,
and while he didn't say very much on the subject the King gave me to
understand that you're pretty nearly all that you should be."

"Verry gracious of his Majesty I am sure," replied the tailor, washing
his hands in invisible soap, and bowing most courteously.

"Now the chances are," continued the Unwiseman, "that as soon as the
King receives a letter I wrote to him from Liverpool about how to stamp
out this horrible habit his subjects have of littering up the street
with aitches, clogging traffic and overworking the Roberts picking 'em
up, he'll ask me to settle down over here and be a Duke. Naturally I
don't want to disappoint him because I consider the King to be a mighty
nice man, but unless I can get a first-class Duke's costume----"

"We make a specialty of Ducal robes, your Grace," said the Tailor,
manifesting a great deal of interest in his queer little customer.

"Hold on a minute," cried the Unwiseman. "Don't you call me that yet--I
shant be a grace until I've decided to accept. What does an A-1 Duke's
clothes cost?"

"You mean the full State----" began the Tailor.

"I come from New York State," said the Unwiseman. "Yes--I guess that's
it. New York's the fullest State in the Union. How much for a New York
State Duke?"

"The State Robes will cost--um--let me see--I should think about fifteen
hundred pounds, your Lordship," calculated the Tailor. "Of course it all
depends on the quality of the materials. Velvets are rawther expensive
these days."

Whistlebinkie gave a long low squeak of astonishment. Mollie gasped and
the Unwiseman turned very pale as he tremblingly repeated the figure.

"Fif-teen-hundred-pounds? Why," he added turning to Mollie, "I'd have to
live about seven thousand years to get the wear out of it at a dollar a
year."

"Yes, your Lordship--or more. It all depends upon how much gold your
Lordship requires--" observed the Tailor.

"Seems to me I'd need about four barrels of it," said the Unwiseman, "to
pay a bill like that."

"We have made robes costing as high as 10,000 pounds," continued the
Tailor. "But they of course were of unusual magnificence--and for
special jubilee celebrations you know."

"You haven't any ready made Duke's clothes on hand for less?" inquired
the Unwiseman. "You know I'm not so awfully particular about the fit.
My figure's a pretty good one, but after all I don't want to thrust it
on people."

"We do not deal in ready made garments," said the Tailor coldly.

"Well I guess I'll have to give it up then," said the Unwiseman, "unless
you know where I could hire a suit, or maybe buy one second-hand from
some one of your customers who's going to get a new one."

"We do not do that kind of trade, sir," replied the Tailor, haughtily.

"Well say, Mr. Snip--ain't there anything else a chap can be made beside
a Duke that ain't quite so dressy?" persisted the old gentleman. "I
don't want to disappoint Mr. King you know."

"Oh as for that," observed the Tailor, "there are ordinary peerages,
baronetcies and the like. His Majesty might make you a Knight," he added
sarcastically.

"That sounds good," said the Unwiseman. "About what would a Knight gown
cost me--made out of paper muslin or something that's a wee bit cheaper
than solid gold and velvet?"

This perfectly innocent and sincerely asked question was never answered,
for Mr. Snip the Tailor made up his mind that the Unwiseman was guying
him and acted accordingly.

"Jorrocks!" he cried haughtily to the office boy, a fresh looking lad
who had broken out all over in brass buttons. "Jorrocks, show this 'ere
party the door."

Whereupon Mr. Snip retired and Jorrocks with a wink at Whistlebinkie
showed the travellers out.

"Well did you ever!" ejaculated the Unwiseman. "You couldn't have
expected any haughtier haughtiness than that from the King himself."

"He was pretty proud," said Mollie, with a smile, for to tell the truth
she had had all she could do all through the interview to keep from
giggling.

"He was proud all right, but I didn't notice anything very pretty about
him," said the Unwiseman. "I'm going to write to the King about both
those places, because I don't believe he knows what kind of people they
are with their bogus muffins and hoity-toity manners."

They walked solemnly along the street in the direction of the hotel.

"I won't even wait for the mail," said the Unwiseman. "I'll walk over
to the Palace now and tell him. That tailor might turn some real
important American out of his shop in the same way and then there'd be a
war over it."

"O I wouldn't," said Mollie, who was always inclined toward
peace-making. "Wait and write him a letter."

"Send-im-a-wireless-smessage," whistled Whistlebinkie.

"Good idea!" said the Unwiseman. "That'll save postage and it'll get to
the King right away instead of having to be read first by one of his
Secretaries."

So it happened that that night the Unwiseman climbed up to the roof of
the hotel and sent the following wireless telegram to the King:

      MY DEAR MR. KING:

      That tailor of yours seems to think he's a Grand Duke in disguise.
      In the first place he wanted me to pay over seven thousand dollars
      for a Duke's suit and when I asked him the price of a Knight-gown
      he told Jorrocks to show me the door, which I had already seen and
      hadn't asked to see again. He's a very imputinent tailor and if I
      were you I'd bounce him as we say in America. Furthermore they
      sell bogus muffins up at that specially appointed bake-shop of
      yours. I think you ought to know these things. Nations have gone
      to war for less.

  Yours trooly,
  THE UNWISEMAN.

      P.S. I've been thinking about that Duke proposition and I don't
      think I care to go into that business. Folks at home haven't as
      much use for 'em as they have for sour apples which you can make
      pie out of. So don't do anything further in the matter.

"There," said the Unwiseman as he tossed this message off into the air.
"That saves me $8.50 anyhow, and I guess it'll settle the business of
those bogus muffin people and that high and mighty tailor."



VII.

THE UNWISEMAN VISITS THE BRITISH MUSEUM


"What's the matter, Mr. Me?" asked Mollie one morning after they had
been in London for a week. "You look very gloomy this morning. Aren't
you feeling well?"

"O I'm feeling all right physically," said the Unwiseman. "But I'm just
chock full of gloom just the same and I want to get away from here as
soon as I can. Everything in the whole place is bogus."

"Oh Mr. Me! you mustn't say that!" protested Mollie.

"Well if it ain't there's something mighty queer about it anyhow, and I
just don't like it," said the Unwiseman. "I know they've fooled me right
and left, and I'm just glad George Washington licked 'em at Bunco Hill
and pushed 'em off our continent on the double quick."

"What is the particular trouble?" asked Mollie.

"Well, in the first place," began the old gentleman, "that King we saw
the other day wasn't a real king at all--just a sort of decoy king they
keep outside the Palace to shoo people off and keep them from bothering
the real one; and in the second place the Prince of Whales aint' a whale
at all. He ain't even a shiner. He's just a man. I don't see what right
they have to fool people the way they do. They wouldn't dare run a
circus that way at home."

Mollie laughed, and Whistlebinkie squeaked with joy.

"You didn't really expect him to be a whale, did you?" Mollie asked.

"Why of course I did," said the Unwiseman. "Why not? They claim over
here that Britannia rules the waves, don't they?"

"They certainly do," said Mollie gravely.

"Then it's natural to suppose they have a big fish somewhere to
represent 'em," said the Unwiseman. "The King can't go sloshing around
under the ocean saying howdido to porpoises and shad and fellers like
that. It's too wet and he'd catch his death of cold, so I naturally
thought the Prince of Whales looked after that end of the business, and
now I find he's not even a sardine. It's perfectly disgusting."

"I knew-he-wasn't-a-fish," said Whistlebinkie.

"Well you always were smarter than anybody else," growled the Unwiseman.
"You know a Roc's egg isn't a pebble without anybody telling you I
guess. You were born with the multiplication table in your hat, but as
for me I'm glad I've got something to learn. I guess carrying so much
real live information around in your hat is what makes you squeak so."

The old gentleman paused a moment and then he went on again.

"What I'm worrying most about is that mock king," he said. "Here I've
gone and invited him over to America, and offered to present him with
the freedom of my kitchen stove and introduce him to my burgular.
Suppose he comes? What on earth am I going to do? I can't introduce him
as the real king, and if I pass him off for a bogus king everybody'll
laugh at me, and accuse me of bringing my burgular into bad company."

"How did you find it out?" asked Mollie sadly, for she had already
written home to her friends giving them a full account of their
reception by his majesty.

"Why I went up to the Palace this morning to see why he hadn't answered
my letter and this time there was another man there, wearing the same
suit of clothes, bear-skin hat, red jacket and all," explained the
Unwiseman. "I was just flabbergasted and then it flashed over me all of
a sudden that there might be a big conspiracy on hand to kidnap the real
king and put his enemies on the throne. It was all so plain. Certainly
no king would let anybody else wear his clothes, so this chap must have
stolen them and was trying to pass himself off for Edward S. King
himself."

"Mercy!" cried Mollie. "What did you do? Call for help?"

"No sirree--I mean no ma'am!" returned the Unwiseman. "That wouldn't
help matters any. I ran down the street to a telephone office and rang
up the palace. I told 'em the king had been kidnapped and that a bogus
king was paradin' up and down in front of the Palace with the royal
robes on. I liked that first king so much I couldn't bear to think of
his lyin' off somewhere in a dungeon-cell waiting to have his head
chopped off. And what do you suppose happened? Instead of arresting the
mock king they wanted to arrest me, and I think they would have if a
nice old gentleman in a high hat and a frock coat like mine, only newer,
hadn't driven up at that minute, bowing to everybody, and entered the
Palace yard with the whole crowd giving him three cheers. Then what do
you suppose? They tried to pass _him_ off on me as the _real_ king--why
he was plainer than those muffins and looked for all the world like a
good natured life insurance agent over home."

"And they didn't arrest you?" asked Mollie, anxiously.

"No indeed," laughed the Unwiseman. "I had my carpet-bag along and when
the pleeceman wasn't looking I jumped into it and waited till they'd all
gone. Of course they couldn't find me. I don't believe they've got any
king over here at all."

"Then you'll never be a Duke?" said Whistlebinkie.

"No sirree!" ejaculated the Unwiseman. "Not while I know how to say no.
If they offer it to me I'll buy a megaphone to say no through so's
they'll be sure to hear it. Then there's that other wicked story about
London Bridge falling down. I heard some youngsters down there by the
River announcing the fact and I nearly ran my legs off trying to get
there in time to see it fall and when I arrived it not only wasn't
falling down but was just ram-jam full of omnibuses and cabs and trucks.
Really I never knew anybody anywhere who could tell as many fibs in a
minute as these people over here can."

"Well never mind, Mr. Me," said Mollie, soothingly. "Perhaps things have
gone a little wrong with you, and I don't blame you for feeling badly
about the King, but there are other things here that are very
interesting. Come with Whistlebinkie and me to the British Museum and
see the Mummies."

"Pooh!" retorted the Unwiseman. "I'd rather see a basket of figs."

"You never can tell," persisted Mollie. "They may turn out to be the
most interesting things in all the world."

"I can tell," said the Unwiseman. "I've already seen 'em and they
haven't as much conversation as a fried oyster. I went down there
yesterday and spent two hours with 'em, and a more unapproachable lot
you never saw in your life. I was just as polite to 'em as I knew how to
be. Asked 'em how they liked the British climate. Told 'em long stories
of my house at home. Invited a lot of 'em to come over and meet my
burgular just as I did the King and not a one of 'em even so much as
thanked me. They just stood off there in their glass cases and acted as
if they never saw me, and if they did, hadn't the slightest desire to
see me again. You don't catch me calling on them a second time."

"But there are other things in the Museum, aren't there?" asked Mollie.

The Unwiseman's gloom disappeared for a moment in a loud burst of
laughter.

"Such a collection of odds and ends," he cried, with a sarcastic shake
of his head. "I never saw so much broken crockery in all my life. It
looks to me as if they'd bought up all the old broken china in the
world. There are tea-pots without nozzles by the thousand. Old tin
cans, all rusted up and with dents in 'em from everywhere. Cracked
plates by the million, and no end of water-pitchers with the handles
broken off, and chipped vases and goodness knows what all. And they call
that a museum! Just you give me a half a dozen bricks and a crockery
shop over in America and in five minutes I'll make that British Museum
stuff look like a sixpence. When I saw it first, I was pretty mad to
think I'd taken the trouble to go and look at it, and then as I went on
and couldn't find a whole tea-cup in the entire outfit, and saw people
with catalogues in their hands saying how wonderful everything was, I
just had to sit down on the floor and roar with laughter."

"But the statuary, Mr. Me," said Mollie. "That was pretty fine I guess,
wasn't it? I've heard it's a splendid collection."

"Worse than the crockery," laughed the Unwiseman. "There's hardly a
statue in the whole place that isn't broken. Seems to me they're the
most careless lot of people over here with their museums. Half the
statues didn't have any heads on 'em. A good quarter of them had busted
arms and legs, and on one of 'em there wasn't anything left but a pair
of shoulder blades and half a wing sticking out at the back. It looked
more like a quarry than a museum to me, and in a mighty bad state of
repair even for a quarry. That was where they put me out," the old
gentleman added.

"Put you out?" cried Mollie. "Oh Mr. Me--you don't mean to say they
actually put you out of The British Museum?"

"I do indeed," said the Unwiseman with a broad grin on his face. "They
just grabbed me by my collar and hustled me along the floor to the great
door and dejected me just as if I didn't have any more feeling than
their old statues. It's a wonder the way I landed I wasn't as badly
busted up as they are."

"But what for? You were not misbehaving yourself, were you?" asked
Mollie, very much disturbed over this latest news.

"Of course not," returned the Unwiseman. "Quite the contrary opposite. I
was trying to help them. I came across the great big statue of some
Greek chap--I've forgotten his name--something like Hippopotomes, or
something of the sort--standing up on a high pedestal, with a sign,

  "HANDS OFF

"hanging down underneath it. When I looked at it I saw at once that it
not only had its hands off, but was minus a nose, two ears, one
under-lip and a right leg, so I took out my pencil and wrote underneath
the words Hands Off:

  "LIKEWISE ONE NOZE
  ONE PARE OF EARS
  A LEG AND ONE LIPP

"It seemed to me the sign should ought to be made complete, but I guess
they thought different, because I'd hardly finished the second P on lip
when whizz bang, a lot of attendants came rushing up to me and the first
thing I knew I was out on the street rubbing the back of my head and
wondering what hit me."

"Poor old chap!" said Mollie sympathetically.

"Guess-you-wisht-you-was-mader-ubber-like-me!" whistled Whistlebinkie
trying hard to repress his glee.

"What's that?" demanded the Unwiseman.

"I-guess-you-wished-you-were-made-of-rubber-like-me!" explained
Whistlebinkie.

"Never in this world," retorted the Unwiseman scornfully. "If I'd been
made of rubber like you I'd have bounced up and down two or three times
instead of once, and I'm not so fond of hitting the sidewalk with myself
as all that. But I didn't mind. I was glad to get out. I was so afraid
all the time somebody'd come along and accuse me of breaking their old
things that it was a real relief to find myself out of doors and nothing
broken that didn't belong to me."

"They didn't break any of your poor old bones, did they?" asked Mollie,
taking the Unwiseman's hand affectionately in her own.

"No--worse luck--they did worse than that," said the old gentleman
growing very solemn again. "They broke that bottle of my native land
that I always carry in my coat-tail pocket and loosened the cork in my
fog bottle in the other, so that now I haven't more than a pinch of my
native land with me to keep me from being homesick, and all of the fog I
was saving up for my collection has escaped. But I don't care. I don't
believe it was real fog, but just a mixture of soot and steam they're
trying to pass off for the real thing. Bogus like everything else, and
as for my native land, I've got enough to last me until I get home if
I'm careful of it. The only thing I'm afraid of is that in scooping what
I could of it up off the sidewalk I may have mixed a little British soil
in with it. I'd hate to have that happen because just at present British
soil isn't very popular with me."

"Maybe it's bogus too," snickered Whistlebinkie.

"So much the better," said the Unwiseman. "If it ain't real I can manage
to stand it."

"Then you don't think much of the British Museum?" said Mollie.

"Well it ain't my style," said the Unwiseman, shaking his head
vigorously. "But there was one thing that pleased me very much about
it," the old man went on, his eye lighting with real pleasure and his
voice trembling with patriotic pride, "and that's some of the things
they didn't have in it. It was full of things the British have captured
in Greece and Italy and Africa and pretty nearly everywhere
else--mummies from Egypt, pieces of public libraries from Athens,
second-story windows from Rome, and little dabs of architecture from
all over the map except the United States. That made me laugh. They may
have had Cleopatra's mummy there, but I didn't notice any dried up
specimens of the Decalculation of Independence lying around in any of
their old glass cases. They had a whole side wall out of some Roman
capitol building perched up on a big wooden platform, but I didn't
notice any domes from the Capitol at Washington or back piazzas from the
White House on exhibition. There was a lot of busted old statuary from
Greece all over the place, but nary a statue of Liberty from New York
harbor, or figger of Andrew Jackson from Philadelphia, or bust of Ralph
Waldo Longfellow from Boston Common, sitting up there among their
trophies--only things hooked from the little fellers, and dug up from
places like Pompey-two-eyes where people have been dead so long they
really couldn't watch out for their property. It don't take a very
glorious conqueror to run off with things belonging to people they can
lick with one hand, and it pleased me so when I couldn't find even a
finger-post, or a drug-store placard, or a three dollar shoe store sign
from America in the whole collection that my chest stuck out like a
pouter pigeon's and bursted my shirt-studs right in two. They'd have had
a lump chipped off Independence Hall at Philadelphia, or a couple of
chunks of Bunco Hill, or a sliver off the Washington Monument there all
right if they could have got away with it, but they couldn't, and I tell
you I wanted to climb right up top of the roof and sing Yankee Doodle
and crow like a rooster the minute I noticed it, I felt so good."

"Three cheers for us," roared Whistlebinkie.

"That's the way to talk, Fizzledinkie," cried the old gentleman
gleefully, and grasping Whistlebinkie by the hand he marched up and down
Mollie's room singing the Star Spangled Banner--the Unwiseman in his
excitement called it the Star Spangled Banana--and Columbia the Gem of
the Ocean at the top of his lungs, and Mollie was soon so thrilled that
she too joined in.

"Well," said Mollie, when the patriotic ardor of her two companions had
died down a little. "What are you going to do, Mr. Me? We've got to stay
here two days more. We don't start for Paris until Saturday."

"O don't bother about me," said the old man pleasantly. "I've got plenty
to do. I've bought a book called 'French in Five Lessons' and I'm going
to retire to my carpet-bag until you people are ready to start for
France. I've figured it out that I can read that book through in two
days if I don't waste too much of my time eating and sleeping and
calling on kings and queens and trying to buy duke's clothes for $8.50,
and snooping around British Museums and pricing specially appointed
royal muffins, so that by the time you are ready to start for Paris I'll
be in shape to go along. I don't think it's wise to go into a country
where they speak another language without knowing just a little about
it, and if 'French in Five Lessons' is what it ought to be you'll think
I'm another Joan of Ark when I come out of that carpet-bag."

And so the queer old gentleman climbed into his carpet-bag, which Mollie
placed for him over near the window where the light was better and
settled down comfortably to read his new book, "French in Five Lessons."

"I'm glad he's going to stay in there," said Whistlebinkie, as he and
Mollie started out for a walk in Hyde Park. "Because I wouldn't be a
bit surprised after all he's told us if the pleese were looking for
him."

"Neither should I," said Mollie. "If what he says about the British
Museum is true and they really haven't any things from the United States
in there, there's nothing they'd like better than to capture an American
and put him up in a glass case along with those mummies."

All of which seemed to prove that for once the Unwiseman was a very wise
old person.



VIII.

THE UNWISEMAN'S FRENCH


The following two days passed very slowly for poor Mollie. It wasn't
that she was not interested in the wonders of the historic Tower which
she visited and where she saw all the crown jewels, a lot of dungeons
and a splendid collection of armor and rare objects connected with
English history; nor in the large number of other things to be seen in
and about London from Westminster Abbey to Hampton Court and the Thames,
but that she was lonesome without the Unwiseman. Both she and
Whistlebinkie had approached the carpet-bag wherein the old gentleman
lay hidden several times, and had begged him to come out and join them
in their wanderings, but he not only wouldn't come out, but would not
answer them. Possibly he did not hear when they called him, possibly he
was too deeply taken up by his study of French to bother about anything
else--whatever it was that caused it, he was as silent as though he
were deaf and dumb.

"Less-sopen-thbag," suggested Whistlebinkie.
"I-don'-bleeve-hes-sinthera-tall."

"Oh yes he's in there," said Mollie. "I've heard him squeak two or three
times."

"Waddeesay?" said Whistlebinkie.

"What?" demanded Mollie, with a slight frown.

"What-did-he-say?" asked Whistlebinkie, more carefully.

"I couldn't quite make out," said Mollie. "Sounded like a little pig
squeaking."

"I guess it was-sfrench," observed Whistlebinkie with a broad grin.
"Maybe he was saying Wee-wee-wee. That's what little pigs say, and
Frenchmen too--I've heard 'em."

"Very likely," said Mollie. "I don't know what wee-wee-wee means in
little pig-talk, but over in Paris it means, 'O yes indeed, you're
perfectly right about that.'"

"He'll never be able to learn French," laughed Whistlebinkie. "That is
not so that he can speak it. Do you think he will?"

"That's what I'm anxious to see him for," said Mollie. "I'm just crazy
to find out how he is getting along."

But all their efforts to get at the old gentleman were, as I have
already said, unavailing. They knocked on the bag, and whispered and
hinted and tried every way to draw him out but it was not until the
little party was half way across the British Channel, on their way to
France, that the Unwiseman spoke. Then he cried from the depths of the
carpet bag:

"Hi there--you people outside, what's going on out there, an
earthquake?"

"Whatid-i-tellu'" whistled Whistlebinkie. "That ain't French.
Thass-singlish."

"Hallo-outside ahoy!" came the Unwiseman's voice again. "Slidyvoo la
slide sur le top de cette carpet-bag ici and let me out!"

"That's French!" cried Mollie clapping her hands ecstatically together.

"Then I understand French too!" said Whistlebinkie proudly, "because I
know what he wants. He wants to get out."

"Do you want to come out, Mr. Unwiseman?" said Mollie bending over the
carpet-bag, and whispering through the lock.

"Wee-wee-wee," said the Unwiseman.

"More-pig-talk," laughed Whistlebinkie. "He's the little pig that went
to market."

"No--it was the little pig that stayed at home that said wee, wee, wee
all day long," said Mollie.

"Je desire to be lettyd out pretty quick if there's un grand big
earthquake going on," cried the Unwiseman.

Mollie slid the nickeled latch on the top of the carpet-bag along and in
a moment it flew open.

"Kesserkersayker what's going on out ici?" demanded the Unwiseman, as he
popped out of the bag. "Je ne jammy knew such a lot of motiong. London
Bridge ain't falling down again, is it?"

"No," said Mollie. "We're on the boat crossing the British Channel."

"Oh--that's it eh?" said the Unwiseman gazing about him anxiously, and
looking rather pale, Mollie thought. "Well I thought it was queer. When
I went to sleep last night everything was as still as Christmas, and
when I waked up it was movier than a small boy in a candy store. So
we're on the ocean again eh?"

"Not exactly," said Mollie. "We're on what they call the Channel."

"Seems to me the waves are just as big as they are on the ocean, and the
water just as wet," said the Unwiseman, as the ship rose and fell with
the tremendous swell of the sea, thereby adding much to his uneasiness.

"Yes--but it isn't so wide," explained Mollie. "It isn't more than
thirty miles across."

"Then I don't see why they don't build a bridge over it," said the
Unwiseman. "This business of a little bit of a piece of water putting on
airs like an ocean ought to be put a stop to. This motion has really
very much unsettled--my French. I feel so queer that I can't remember
even what _la_ means, and as for _kesserkersay_, I've forgotten if it's
a horse hair sofa or a pair of brass andirons, and I had it all in my
head not an hour ago. O--d-dud-dear!"

The Unwiseman plunged headlong into his carpet-bag again and pulled the
top of it to with a snap.

"Oh my, O me!" he groaned from its depths. "O what a wicked channel to
behave this way. Mollie--Moll-lie--O Mollie I say."

"Well?" said Mollie.

"Far from it--very unwell," groaned the Unwiseman. "Will you be good
enough to ask the cook for a little salad oil?"

"Mercy," cried Mollie. "You don't want to mix a salad now do you?"

"Goodness, no!" moaned the Unwiseman. "I want you to pour it on those
waves and sort of clam them down and then, if you don't mind, take the
carpet-bag----"

"Yes," said Mollie.

"And chuck it overboard," groaned the Unwiseman. "I--I don't feel as if
I cared ever to hear the dinner-bell again."

Poor Unwiseman! He was suffering the usual fate of those who cross the
British Channel, which behaves itself at times as if it really did have
an idea that it was a great big ocean and had an ocean's work to do. But
fortunately this uneasy body of water is not very wide, and it was not
long before the travellers landed safe and sound on the solid shores of
France, none the worse for their uncomfortable trip.

"I guess you were wise not to throw me overboard after all," said the
Unwiseman, as he came out of the carpet-bag at Calais. "I feel as fine
as ever now and my lost French has returned."

"I'd like to hear some," said Mollie.

"Very well," replied the Unwiseman carelessly. "Go ahead and ask me a
question and I'll answer it in French."

"Hm! Let me see," said Mollie wondering how to begin. "Have you had
breakfast?"

"Wee Munsieur, j'ay le pain," replied the Unwiseman gravely.

"What does that mean?" asked Mollie, puzzled.

"He says he has a pain," said Whistlebinkie with a smile.

"Pooh! Bosh--nothing of the sort," retorted the Unwiseman. "Pain is
French for bread. When I say 'j'ay le pain' I mean that I've got the
bread."

"Are you the jay?" asked Whistlebinkie with mischief in his tone.

"Jay in French is I have--not a bird, stupid," retorted the Unwiseman
indignantly.

"Funny way to talk," sniffed Whistlebinkie. "I should think pain would
be a better word for pie, or something else that gives you one."

"That's because you don't know," said the Unwiseman. "In addition to the
pain I've had oofs."

"Oooffs?" cried Whistlebinkie. "What on earth are oooffs?"

"I didn't say oooffs," retorted the Unwiseman, mocking Whistlebinkie's
accent. "I said oofs. Oofs is French for eggs. Chickens lay oofs in
France. I had two hard boiled oofs, and my pain had burr and sooker on
it."

"Burr and sooker?" asked Mollie, wonderingly.

"I know what burr means--it's French for chestnuts," guessed
Whistlebinkie. "He had chestnuts on his bread."

"Nothing of the sort," said the Unwiseman. "Burr is French for butter
and has nothing to do with chestnuts. Over here in France a lady goes
into a butter store and also says avvy-voo-doo burr, and the man behind
the counter says wee, wee, wee, jay-doo-burr. Jay le bonn-burr. That
means, yes indeed I've got some of the best butter in the market,
ma'am."

"And then what does the lady say?" asked Whistlebinkie.

The Unwiseman's face flushed, and he looked very much embarrassed. It
always embarrassed the poor old fellow to have to confess that there was
something he didn't know. Unwisemen as a rule are very sensitive.

"That's as far as the conversation went in my French in Five Lessons,"
he replied. "And I think it was far enough. For my part I haven't the
slightest desire to know what the lady said next. Conversation on the
subject of butter doesn't interest me. She probably asked him how much
it was a pound, however, if not knowing what she said is going to keep
you awake nights."

"What's sooker?" asked Mollie.

"Sooker? O that's what the French people call sugar," explained the
Unwiseman.

"Pooh!" ejaculated Whistlebinkie, scornfully. "What's the use of calling
it sooker? Sooker isn't any easier to say than sugar."

"It's very much like it, isn't it?" said Mollie.

"Yes," said the Unwiseman. "They just drop the H out of sugar, and put
in the K in place of the two Gees. I think myself when two words are so
much alike as sooker and shoogger it's foolish to make two languages of
'em."

"Tell me something more to eat in French," said Whistlebinkie.

"Fromidge," said the Unwiseman bluntly.

"Fromidge? What's that!" asked Whistlebinkie.

"Cheese," said the Unwiseman. "If you want a cheese sandwich all you've
got to do is to walk into a calf--calf is French for restaurant--call
the waiter and say 'Un sandwich de fromidge, silver plate,' and you'll
get it if you wait long enough. Silver plate means if you please. The
French are very polite people."

"But how do you call the waiter?" asked Whistlebinkie.

"You just lean back in a chair and call garkon," said the Unwiseman.
"That's what the book says, but I've heard Frenchmen in London call it
gas on. I'm going to stick to the book, because it might turn out to be
an English waiter and it would be very unpleasant to have him turn the
gas on every time you called him."

"I should say so," cried Whistlebinkie. "You might get gas fixturated."

"You never would," said the Unwiseman.

"Anybody who isn't choked by your conversation could stand all the gas
fixtures in the world."

"I don't care much for cheese, anyhow," said Whistlebinkie. "Is there
any French for Beef?"

"O wee, wee, wee!" replied the Unwiseman. "Beef is buff in French.
Donny-moi-de-buff--"

"Donny-moi-de-buff!" jeered Whistlebinkie, after a roar of laughter.
"Sounds like baby-talk."

"Well it ain't," returned the Unwiseman severely. "Even Napoleon
Bonaparte had to talk that way when he wanted beef and I guess the kind
of talk that was good enough for a great Umpire like him is good enough
for a rubber squeak like you."

"Then you like French do you, Mr. Me?" asked Mollie.

"Oh yes--well enough," said the Unwiseman. "Of course I like American
better, but I don't see any sense in making fun of French the way
Fizzledinkie does. It's got some queer things about it like calling a
cat a chat, and a man a homm, and a lady a femm, and a dog a chi-enn,
but in the main it's a pretty good language as far as I have got in it.
There are one or two things in French that I haven't learned to say
yet, like 'who left my umbrella out in the rain,' and 'has James
currycombed the saddle-horse with the black spot on his eye and a
bob-tail this morning,' and 'was that the plumber or the piano tuner I
saw coming out of the house of your uncle's brother-in-law yesterday
afternoon,' but now that I'm pretty familiar with it I'm glad I learned
it. It is disappointing in some ways, I admit. I've been through French
in Five Lessons four times now, and I haven't found any conversation in
it about Kitchen-Stoves, which is going to be very difficult for me when
I get to Paris and try to explain to people there how fine my
kitchen-stove is. I'm fond of that old stove, and when these furriners
begin to talk to me about the grandness of their country, I like to hit
back with a few remarks about my stove, and I don't just see how I'm
going to do it."

"What's sky-scraper in French?" demanded Whistlebinkie suddenly.

"They don't have sky-scrapers in French," retorted the old gentleman.
"So your question, like most of the others you ask, is very very
foolish."

"You think you can get along all right then, Mr. Me?" asked Mollie,
gazing proudly at the old man and marvelling as to the amount of study
he must have done in two days.

"I can if I can only get people talking the way I want 'em to," replied
the Unwiseman. "I've really learned a lot of very polite conversation.
For instance something like this:

  "Do you wish to go anywhere?
  No I do not wish to go anywhere.
  Why don't you wish to go somewhere?
  Because I've been everywhere.
  You must have seen much.
  No I have seen nothing.
  Is not that rather strange?
  No it is rather natural.
  Why?
  Because to go everywhere one must travel too rapidly to see anything."

"That you see," the Unwiseman went on, "goes very well at a five o'clock
tea. The only trouble would be to get it started, but if I once got it
going right, why I could rattle it off in French as easy as falling off
a log."

"Smity interesting conversation," said Whistlebinkie really delighted.

"I'm glad you find it so," replied the Unwiseman.

"It's far more interesting in French than it is in English."

"Givus-smore," whistled Whistlebinkie.

"Give us what?" demanded the Unwiseman.

"Some-more," said Whistlebinkie.

"Well here is a very nice bit that I can do if somebody gives me the
chance," said the Unwiseman. "It begins:

  "Lend me your silver backed hand-glass.
  Certainly. Who is that singing in the drawing room?
  It is my daughter.
  It is long since I heard anyone sing so well.
  She has been taking lessons only two weeks.
  Does she practice on the phonograph or on her Aunt's upright piano?
  On neither. She accompanies herself upon the banjo.
  I think she sings almost as well as Miss S.
  Miss S. has studied for three weeks but Marietta has a better ear.
  What is your wife's grandmother knitting?
  A pair of ear-tabs for my nephew Jacques.
  Ah--then your nephew Jacques too has an ear?
  My nephew Jacques has two ears.
  What a musical family!"

"Spul-lendid!" cried Whistlebinkie rapturously. "When do you think you
can use that?"

"O I may be invited off to a country house to spend a week, somewhere
outside of Paris," said the Unwiseman, "and if I am, and the chance
comes up for me to hold that nice little chat with my host, why it will
make me very popular with everybody. People like to have you take an
interest in their children, especially when they are musical. Then I
have learned this to get off at the breakfast-table to my hostess:

  "I have slept well. I have two mattresses and a spring mattress.
  Will you have another pillow?
  No thank you I have a comfortable bolster.
  Is one blanket sufficient for you?
  Yes, but I would like some wax candles and a box of matches."

"That will show her that I appreciate all the comforts of her beautiful
household, and at the same time feel so much at home that I am not
afraid to ask for something else that I happen to want. The thing that
worries me a little about the last is that there might be an electric
light in the room, so that asking for a wax candle and a box of matches
would sound foolish. I gather from the lesson, however, that it is
customary in France to ask for wax candles and a box of matches, so I'm
going to do it anyhow. There's nothing like following the customs of
the natives when you can."

"I'd like to hear you say some of that in French," said Whistlebinkie.

"Oh you wouldn't understand it, Whistlebinkie," said the Unwiseman.
"Still I don't mind."

And the old man rattled off the following:

"Avvy-voo kelker chose ah me dire? Avvy-voo bien dormy la nooit
dernyere? Savvy-voo kieskersayker cetum la avec le nez rouge?
Kervooly-voo-too-der-sweet-silver-plate-o-see-le-mem. Donny-moi des
boogies et des alloomettes avec burr et sooker en tasse. La Voila.
Kerpensy-voo de cette comedie mon cher mounseer de Whistlebinkie?"

"Mercy!" cried Whistlebinkie. "What a language! I don't believe I _ever_
could learn to speak it."

"You learn to speak it, Whistlebinkie?" laughed the old gentleman. "You?
Well I guess not. I don't believe you could even learn to squeak it."

With which observation the Unwiseman hopped back into his carpet-bag,
for the conductor of the train was seen coming up the platform of the
railway station, and the old gentleman as usual was travelling without a
ticket.

"I'd rather be caught by an English conductor if I'm going to be caught
at all," he remarked after the train had started and he was safe. "For I
find in looking it over that all my talk in French is polite
conversation, and I don't think there'd be much chance for that in a row
with a conductor over a missing railway ticket."



IX.

IN PARIS


The Unwiseman was up bright and early the next morning. Mollie and
Whistlebinkie had barely got their eyes open when he came knocking at
the door.

"Better get up, Mollie," he called in. "It's fine weather and I'm going
to call on the Umpire. The chances are that on a beautiful day like this
he'll have a parade and I wouldn't miss it for a farm."

"What Umpire are you talking about?" Mollie replied, opening the door on
a crack.

"Why Napoleon Bonaparte," said the Unwiseman. "Didn't you ever hear of
him? He's the man that came up here from Corsica and picked the crown up
on the street where the king had dropped it by mistake, and put it on
his own head and made people think he was the whole roil family. He was
smart enough for an American and I want to tell him so."

"Why he's dead," said Mollie.

"What?" cried the Unwiseman. "Umpire Napoleon dead? Why--when did that
happen? I didn't see anything about it in the newspapers."

"He died a long time ago," answered Mollie. "Before I was born, I
guess."

"Well I never!" ejaculated the Unwiseman, his face clouding over. "That
book I read on the History of France didn't say anything about his being
dead--that is, not as far as I got in it. Last time I heard of him he
was starting out for Russia to give the Czar a licking. I supposed he
thought it was a good time to do it after the Japs had started the ball
a-rolling. Are you sure about that?"

"Pretty sure," said Mollie. "I don't know very much about French
history, but I'm almost certain he's dead."

"I'm going down stairs to ask at the office," said the Unwiseman.
"They'll probably know all about it."

So the little old gentleman pattered down the hall to the elevator and
went to the office to inquire as to the fate of the Emperor Napoleon. In
five minutes he was back again.

"Say, Mollie," he whispered through the key-hole. "I wish you'd ask
your father about the Umpire. I can't seem to find out anything about
him."

"Don't they know at the office?" asked Mollie.

"Oh I guess they know all right," said the Unwiseman, "but there's a
hitch somewhere in my getting the information. Far as I can find out
these people over here don't understand their own language. I asked 'em
in French, like this: 'Mounseer le Umpire, est il mort?' And they told
me he was _no_ more. Now whether _no_ more means that he is not mort, or
_is_ mort, depends on what language the man who told me was speaking. If
he was speaking French he's not dead. If he was speaking English he _is_
dead, and there you are. It's awfully mixed up."

"I-guess-seez-ded-orright," whistled Whistlebinkie. "He was dead last
time I heard of him, and I guess when they're dead once there dead for
good."

"Well you never can tell," said the Unwiseman. "He was a very great man,
the Umpire Napoleon was, and they might have only thought he was dead
while he was playing foxy to see what the newspapers would say about
him."

So Mollie asked her father and to the intense regret of everybody it
turned out that the great Emperor had been dead for a long time.

"It's a very great disappointment to me," sighed the Unwiseman, when
Mollie conveyed the sad news to him. "The minute I knew we were coming
to France I began to read up about the country, and Napoleon Bonaparte
was one of the things I came all the way over to see. Are the Boys de
Bologna dead too?"

"I never heard of them," said Mollie.

"I feel particularly upset about the Umpire," continued the Unwiseman,
"because I sat up almost all last night getting up some polite
conversation to be held with him this morning. I found just the thing
for it in my book."

"Howdit-go?" whistled Whistlebinkie.

"Like this," said the Unwiseman. "I was going to begin with:

  "'Shall you buy a horse?'

"And the Umpire was to say:

  "'I should like to buy a horse from you.'

"And then we were to continue with:

  "'I have no horse but I will sell you my dog.'
  'You are wrong; dogs are such faithful creatures.'
  'But my wife prefers cats----'"

"Pooh!" cried Whistlebinkie. "You haven't got any wife."

"Well, what of it?" retorted the Unwiseman. "The Umpire wouldn't know
that, and besides she _would_ prefer cats if I had one. You should not
interrupt conversation when other people are talking, Whistlebinkie,
especially when it's polite conversation."

"Orright-I-pol-gize," whistled Whistlebinkie. "Go on with the rest of
it."

"I was then going to say:" continued the Unwiseman,

  "'Will you go out this afternoon?'
  'I should like to go out this afternoon.'
  'Should you remain here if your mother were here?'
  'Yes I should remain here even if my aunt were here.'
  'Had you remained here I should not have gone out.'
  'I shall have finished when you come.'
  'As soon as you have received your money come to see me.'
  'I do not know yet whether we shall leave tomorrow.'
  'I should have been afraid had you not been with me.'
  'So long.'
  'To the river.'"

"To the river?" asked Whistlebinkie. "What does that mean?"

"It is French for, 'I hope we shall meet again.' Au river is the polite
way of saying, 'good-bye for a little while.' And to think that after
having sat up until five o'clock this morning learning all that by heart
I should find that the man I was going to say it to has been dead
for--how many years, Mollie?"

"Oh nearly a hundred years," said the little girl.

"No wonder it wasn't in the papers before I left home," said the
Unwiseman. "Oh well, never mind----."

"Perhaps you can swing that talk around so as to fit some French
Robert," suggested Whistlebinkie.

"The Police are not Roberts over here," said the Unwiseman. "In France
they are Johns--John Darms is what they call the pleece in this country,
and I never should think of addressing a conversation designed for an
Umpire to the plebean ear of a mere John."

"Well I think it was pretty poor conversation," said Whistlebinkie. "And
I guess it's lucky for you the Umpire is dead. All that stuff didn't
mean anything."

"It doesn't seem to mean much in English," said the Unwiseman, "but it
must mean something in French, because if it didn't the man who wrote
French in Five Lessons wouldn't have considered it important enough to
print. Just because you don't like a thing, or don't happen to
understand it, isn't any reason for believing that the Umpire would not
find it extremely interesting. I shan't waste it on a John anyhow."

An hour or two later when Mollie had breakfasted the Unwiseman presented
himself again.

"I'm very much afraid I'm not going to like this place any better than I
did London," he said. "The English people, even if they do drop their
aitches all over everywhere, understand their own language, which is
more than these Frenchmen do. I have tried my French on half a dozen of
them and there wasn't one of 'em that looked as if he knew what I was
talking about."

"What did you say to them?" asked Mollie.

[Illustration: "HAVE YOU SEEN THE ORMOLU CLOCK OF YOUR SISTER'S MUSIC
TEACHER?"]

"Well I went up to a cabman and remarked, just as the book put it, 'how
is the sister of your mother's uncle,' and he acted as if I'd hit him
with a brick," said the Unwiseman. "Then I stopped a bright looking boy
out on the rue and said to him, 'have you seen the ormolu clock of your
sister's music teacher,' to which he should have replied, 'no I have not
seen the ormolu clock of my sister's music teacher, but the candle-stick
of the wife of the butcher of my cousin's niece is on the mantel-piece,'
but all he did was to stick out his tongue at me and laugh."

"You ought to have spoken to one of the John Darms," laughed
Whistlebinkie.

"I did," said the Unwiseman. "I stopped one outside the door and asked
him, 'is your grandfather still alive?' The book says the answer to that
is 'yes, and my grandmother also,' whereupon I should ask, 'how many
grandchildren has your grandfather?' But I didn't get beyond the first
question. Instead of telling me that his grandfather was living, and his
grandmother also, he said something about Ally Voozon, a person of whom
I never heard and who is not mentioned in the book at all. I wish I
was back somewhere where they speak a language somebody can understand."

"Have you had your breakfast?" asked Mollie.

A deep frown came upon the face of the Unwiseman.

"No--" he answered shortly. "I--er--I went to get some but they tried to
cheat me," he added. "There was a sign in a window announcing French
Tabble d'hotes. I thought it was some new kind of a breakfast food like
cracked wheat, or oat-meal flakes, so I stopped in and asked for a small
box of it, and they tried to make me believe it was a meal of four or
five courses, with soup and fish and a lot of other things thrown in,
that had to be eaten on the premises. I wished for once that I knew some
French conversation that wasn't polite to tell 'em what I thought of
'em. I can imagine a lot of queer things, but when everybody tells me
that oats are soup and fish and olives and ice-cream and several other
things to boot, even in French, why I just don't believe it, that's all.
What's more I can prove that oats are oats over here because I saw a
cab-horse eating some. I may not know beans but I know oats, and I told
'em so. Then the garkon--I know why some people call these French
waiters gason now, they talk so much--the garkon said I could order _a
la carte_, and I told him I guessed I could if I wanted to, but until I
was reduced to a point where I had to eat out of a wagon I wouldn't ask
his permission."

"Good-for-you!" whistled Whistlebinkie, clapping the Unwiseman on the
back.

"When a man wants five cents worth of oats it's a regular swindle to try
to ram forty cents worth of dinner down his throat, especially at
breakfast time, and I for one just won't have it," said the Unwiseman.
"By the way, I wouldn't eat any fish over here if I were you, Mollie,"
he went on.

"Why not?" asked the little girl. "Isn't it fresh?"

"It isn't that," said the Unwiseman. "It's because over here it's
poison."

"No!" cried Mollie.

"Yep," said the Unwiseman. "They admit it themselves. Just look here."

The old gentleman opened his book on French in Five Lessons, and turned
to the back pages where English words found their French equivalents.

"See that?" he observed, pointing to the words. "Fish--poison.
P-O-I-double S-O-N. 'Taint spelled right, but that's what it says."

"It certainly does," said Mollie, very much surprised.

"Smity good thing you had that book or you might have been poisoned,"
said Whistlebinkie.

"I don't believe your father knows about that, does he, Mollie?" asked
the old man anxiously.

"I'm afraid not," said Mollie. "Leastways, he hasn't said anything to me
about it, and I'm pretty sure if he'd known it he would have told me not
to eat any."

"Well you tell him with my compliments," said the Unwiseman. "I like
your father and I'd hate to have anything happen to him that I could
prevent. I'm going up the rue now to the Loover to see the pictures."

"Up the what?" asked Whistlebinkie.

"Up the rue," said the Unwiseman. "That's what these foolish people over
here call a street. I'm going up the street. There's a guide down
stairs who says he'll take me all over Paris in one day for three
dollars, and we're going to start in ten minutes, after I've had a
spoonful of my bottled chicken broth and a ginger-snap. Humph! Tabble
d'hotes--when I've got a bag full of first class food from New York! I
tell you, Mollie, this travelling around in furry countries makes a man
depreciate American things more than ever."

"I guess you mean _ap_preciate," suggested Mollie.

"May be I do," returned the Unwiseman. "I mean I like 'em better.
American oats are better than tabble d'hotes. American beef is better
than French buff. American butter is better than foreign burr, and while
their oofs are pretty good, when I eat eggs I want eggs, and not
something else with a hard-boiled accent on it that twists my tongue out
of shape. And when people speak a language I like 'em to have one they
can understand when it's spoken to them like good old Yankamerican."

"Hoorray for-Ramerrica!" cried Whistlebinkie.

"Ditto hic, as Julius Cæsar used to say," roared the Unwiseman.

And the Unwiseman took what was left of his bottleful of their native
land out of his pocket and the three little travellers cheered it until
the room fairly echoed with the noise. That night when they had gathered
together again, the Unwiseman looked very tired.

"Well, Mollie," he said, "I've seen it all. That guide down stairs
showed me everything in the place and I'm going to retire to my
carpet-bag again until you're ready to start for Kayzoozalum----"

"Swizz-izzer-land," whistled Whistlebinkie.

"Switzerland," said Mollie.

"Well wherever it is we're going Alp hunting," said the Unwiseman. "I'm
too tired to say a word like that to-night. My tongue is all out of
shape anyhow trying to talk French and I'm not going to speak it any
more. It's not the sort of language I admire--just full o' nonsense.
When people call pudding 'poo-dang' and a bird a 'wazzoh' I'm through
with it. I've seen 8374 miles of pictures; some more busted statuary;
one cathedral--I thought a cathedral was some kind of an animal with a
hairy head and a hump on its back, but it's nothing but a big overgrown
church--; Napoleon's tomb--he is dead after all and France is a
Republic, as if we didn't have a big enough Republic home without coming
over here to see another--; one River Seine, which ain't much bigger
than the Erie Canal, and not a trout or a snapping turtle in it from
beginning to end; the Boys de Bologna, which is only a Park, with no
boys or sausages anywhere about it; the Champs Eliza; an obelisk; and
about sixteen palaces without a King or an Umpire in the whole lot; and
I've paid three dollars for it, and I'm satisfied. I'd be better
satisfied if I'd paid a dollar and a half, but you can't travel for
nothing, and I regard the extra dollar and fifty cents as well spent
since I've learned what to do next time."

"Wass-that?" whistled Whistlebinkie.

"Stay home," said the Unwiseman. "Home's good enough for me and when I
get there I'm going to stay there. Good night."

And with that the Unwiseman jumped into his carpet-bag and for a week
nothing more was heard of him.

"I hope he isn't sick," said Whistlebinkie, at the end of that period.
"I think we ought to go and find out, don't you, Mollie."

"I certainly do," said Mollie. "I know I should be just stufficated to
death if I'd spent a week in a carpet-bag."

So they tip-toed up to the side of the carpet-bag and listened. At first
there was no sound to be heard, and then all of a sudden their fears
were set completely at rest by the cracked voice of their strange old
friend singing the following patriotic ballad of his own composition:

  "Next time I start out for to travel abroad
    I'll go where pure English is spoken.
  I'll put on my shoes and go sailing toward
    The beautiful land of Hoboken.

  "No more on that movey old channel I'll sail,
    The sickening waves to be tossed on,
  But do all my travelling later by rail
    And visit that frigid old Boston.

  "Nay never again will I step on a ship
    And go as a part of the cargo,
  But when I would travel I'll make my next trip
    Out west to the town of Chicago.

  "My sweet carpet-bag, you will never again
    Be called on to cross the Atlantic.
  We'll just buy a ticket and take the first train
    To marvellous old Williamantic.

  "No French in the future will I ever speak
    With strange and impossible, answers.
  I'd rather go in for that curious Greek
    The natives all speak in Arkansas.

  "To London and Paris let other folks go
    I'm utterly cured of the mania.
  Hereafter it's me for the glad Ohi-o,
    Or down in dear sweet Pennsylvania.

  "If any one asks me to cross o'er the sea
    I'll answer them promptly, 'No thanky--
  There's beauty enough all around here for me
    In this glorious land of the Yankee.'"

Mollie laughed as the Unwiseman's voice died away.

"I guess he's all right, Whistlebinkie," she said. "Anybody who can sing
like that can't be very sick."

"No I guess not," said Whistlebinkie. "He seems to have got his tongue
out of tangle again. I was awfully worried about that."

"Why, dear?" asked Mollie.

"Because," said Whistlebinkie, "I was afraid if he didn't he'd begin to
talk like me and that would be perf'ly awful."



X.

THE ALPS AT LAST


When the Unwiseman came out of the carpet-bag again the travellers had
reached Switzerland. Every effort that Mollie and Whistlebinkie made to
induce him to come forth and go about Paris with them had wholly failed.

"It's more comfortable in here," he had answered them, "and I've got my
hands full forgetting all that useless French I learned last week. It's
very curious how much harder it is to forget French than it is to learn
it. I've been four days forgetting that wazzoh means bird and that oofs
is eggs."

"And you haven't forgotten it yet, have you," said Whistlebinkie.

"O yes," said the Unwiseman. "I've forgotten it entirely. It
occasionally occurs to me that it is so when people mention the fact,
but in the main I am now able to overlook it. I'll be glad when we are
on our way again, Mollie, because between you and me I think they're a
lot of frauds here too, just like over in England. They've got a statue
here of a lady named Miss Jones of Ark and I _know_ there wasn't any
such person on it. Shem and Ham and Japhet and their wives, and Noah,
and Mrs. Noah were there but no Miss Jones."

"Maybe Mrs. Noah or Mrs. Shem or one of the others was Miss Jones before
she married Mr. Noah or Shem, Ham or Japhet," suggested Whistlebinkie.

"Then they should ought to have said so," said the Unwiseman, "and put
up the statue to Mrs. Noah or Mrs. Shem or Mrs. Ham or Mrs. Japhet--but
they weren't the same person because this Miss Jones got burnt cooking a
steak and Mrs. Noah and Mrs. Ham and Mrs. Shem and Mrs. Japhet didn't.
Miss Jones was a great general according to these people and there
wasn't any military at all in the time of Noah for a lady to be general
of, so the thing just can't help being a put up job just to deceive us
Americans into coming over here to see their curiosities and paying
guides three dollars for leading us to them."

"Then you won't come with us out to Versailles?" asked Mollie very much
disappointed.

"Versailles?" asked the Unwiseman. "What kind of sails are Versailles?
Some kind of a French cat-boat? If so, none of that for me. I'm not fond
of sailing."

"It's a town with a beautiful palace in it," explained Mollie.

"That settles it," said the Unwiseman. "I'll stay here. I've seen all
the palaces without any kings in 'em that I need in my business, so you
can just count me out. I may go out shopping this afternoon and buy an
air-gun to shoot alps with when we get to--ha--hum----"

"Switzerland," prompted Mollie hurriedly, largely with the desire to
keep Whistlebinkie from speaking of Swiz-izzer-land.

"Precisely," said the Unwiseman. "If you'd given me time I'd have
said it myself. I've been practising on that name ever since yesterday
and I've got so I can say it right five times out of 'leven.
And I'm learning to yodel too. I have discovered that down
in--ha--hum--Swztoozalum, when people don't feel like speaking French,
they yodel, and I think I can get along better in yodeling than I can in
French. I'm going to try it anyhow. So run along and have a good time
and don't worry about me. I'm having a fine time. Yodeling is really
lots of fun. Trala-la-lio!"

So Mollie and Whistlebinkie went to Versailles, which by the way is not
pronounced Ver-sails, but Ver-sai-ee, and left the Unwiseman to his own
devices. A week later the party arrived at Chamounix, a beautiful little
Swiss village lying in the valley at the base of Mont Blanc, the most
famous of all the Alps.

"Looks-slike-a-gray-big-snow-ball," whistled Whistlebinkie, gazing
admiringly at the wonderful mountain glistening like a huge mass of
silver in the sunlight.

"It is beautiful," said Mollie. "We must get the Unwiseman out to see
it."

"I'll call him," said Whistlebinkie eagerly; and the little rubber-doll
bounded off to the carpet-bag as fast as his legs would carry him.

"Hi there, Mister Me," he called breathlessly through the key-hole.
"Come out. There's a nalp out in front of the hotel."

"Tra-la-lulio-tra-la-lali-ee," yodeled the cracked little voice from
within. "Tra-la-la-la-lalio."

"Hullo there," cried Whistlebinkie again. "Stop that tra-la-lody-ing and
hurry out, there's a-nalp in front of the hotel."

"A nalp?" said the Unwiseman popping his head up from the middle of the
bag for all the world like a Jack-in-the-box. "What's a nalp?"

"A-alp," explained Whistlebinkie, as clearly as he could--he was so out
of breath he could hardly squeak, much less speak.

"Really?" cried the Unwiseman, all excitement. "Dear me--glad you called
me. Is he loose?"

"Well," hesitated Whistlebinkie, hardly knowing how to answer,
"it-ain't-exactly-tied up, I guess."

"Ain't any danger of its coming into the house and biting people, is
there?" asked the Unwiseman, rummaging through the carpet-bag for his
air-gun, which he had purchased in Paris while the others were visiting
Versailles.

"No," laughed Whistlebinkie. "Tstoo-big."

"Mercy--it must be a fearful big one," said the Unwiseman. "I hope it's
muzzled."

Armed with his air-gun, and carrying a long rope with a noose in one end
over his arm, the Unwiseman started out.

"Watcher-gone-'tdo-with-the-lassoo?" panted Whistlebinkie, struggling
manfully to keep up with his companion.

"That's to tie him up with in case I catch him alive," said the
Unwiseman, as they emerged from the door of the hotel and stood upon the
little hotel piazza from which all the new arrivals were gazing at the
wonderful peak before them, rising over sixteen thousand feet into the
heavens, and capped forever with a crown of snow and ice.

[Illustration: "OUT THE WAY THERE!" CRIED THE UNWISEMAN]

"Out the way there!" cried the Unwiseman, rushing valiantly through the
group. "Out the way, and don't talk or even yodel. I must have a steady
aim, and conversation disturbs my nerves."

The hotel guests all stepped hastily to one side and made room for the
hero, who on reaching the edge of the piazza stopped short and gazed
about him with a puzzled look on his face.

"Well," he cried impatiently, "where is he?"

"Where is what?" asked Mollie, stepping up to the Unwiseman's side and
putting her hand affectionately on his shoulder.

"That Alp?" said the Unwiseman. "Whistlebinkie said there was an alp
running around the yard and I've come down either to catch him alive or
shoot him. He hasn't hid under this piazza, has he?"

"No, Mr. Me," she said. "They couldn't get an Alp under this piazza.
That's it over there," she added, pointing out Mont Blanc.

"What's it? I don't see anything but a big snow drift," said the
Unwiseman. "Queer sort of people here--must be awful lazy not to have
their snow shoveled off as late as July."

"That's the Alp," explained Mollie.

"Tra-la-lolly-O!" yodeled the Unwiseman. "Which is yodelese for
nonsense. That an Alp? Why I thought an Alp was a sort of animal with a
shaggy fur coat like a bear or a chauffeur, and about the size of a
rhinoceros."

"No," said Mollie. "An Alp is a mountain. All that big range of
mountains with snow and ice on top of them are the Alps. Didn't you know
that?"

The Unwiseman didn't answer, but with a yodel of disgust turned on his
heel and went back to his carpet-bag.

"You aren't mad at me, are you, Mr. Me?" asked Mollie, following meekly
after.

"No indeed," said the Unwiseman, sadly. "Of course not. It isn't your
fault if an Alp is a toboggan slide or a skating rink instead of a wild
animal. It's all my own fault. I was very careless to come over here and
waste my time to see a lot of snow that ain't any colder or wetter than
the stuff we have delivered at our front doors at home in winter. I
should ought to have found out what it was before I came."

"It's very beautiful though as it is," suggested Mollie.

"I suppose so," said the Unwiseman. "But I don't have to travel four
thousand miles to see beautiful things while I have my kitchen-stove
right there in my own kitchen. Besides I've spent a dollar and twenty
cents on an air-gun, and sixty cents for a lassoo to hunt Alps with,
when I might better have bought a snow shovel. _That's_ really what I'm
mad at. If I'd bought a snow shovel and a pair of ear-tabs I could have
made some money here offering to shovel the snow off that hill there
so's somebody could get some pleasure out of it. It would be a lovely
place to go and sit on a warm summer evening if it wasn't for that snow
and very likely they'd have paid me two or three dollars for fixing it
up for them."

"I guess it would take you several hours to do it," said Whistlebinkie.

"What if it took a week?" retorted the Unwiseman. "As long as they were
willing to pay for it. But what's the use of talking about it? I haven't
got a shovel, and I can't shovel the snow off an Alp with an air-gun, so
that's the end of it."

And for the time being that _was_ the end of it. The Unwiseman very
properly confined himself to the quiet of the carpet-bag until his wrath
had entirely disappeared, and after luncheon he turned up cheerily in
the office of the hotel.

"Let's hire a couple of sleds and go coasting," he suggested to Mollie.
"That Mount Blank looks like a pretty good hill. Whistlebinkie and I can
pull you up to the top and it will be a fine slide coming back."

But inquiry at the office brought out the extraordinary fact that there
were no sleds in the place and never had been.

"My goodness!" ejaculated the Unwiseman. "I never knew such people. I
don't wonder these Switzers ain't a great nation like us Americans. I
don't believe any American hotel-keeper would have as much snow as that
in his back-yard all summer long and not have a regular sled company to
accommodate guests who wanted to go coasting on it. If they had an Alp
like that over at Atlantic City they'd build a fence around it, and
charge ten cents to get inside, where you could hire a colored gentleman
to haul you up to the top of the hill and guide you down again on the
return slide."

"I guess they would," said Whistlebinkie.

"Then they'd turn part of it into an ice quarry," the Unwiseman went on,
"and sell great huge chunks of ice to people all the year round and put
the regular ice men out of business. I've half a mind to write home to
my burgular and tell him here's a chance to earn an honest living as an
iceman. He could get up a company to come here and buy up that hill and
just regularly go in for ice-mining. There never was such a chance. If
people can make money out of coal mines and gold mines and copper
mines, I don't see why they can't do the same thing with ice mines. Why
don't you speak to your Papa about it, Mollie? He'd make his everlasting
fortune."

"I will," said Mollie, very much interested in the idea.

"And all that snow up there going to waste too," continued the Unwiseman
growing enthusiastic over the prospect. "Just think of the millions of
people who can't get cool in summer over home. Your father could sell
snow to people in midsummer for six-fifty a ton, and they could shovel
it into their furnaces and cool off their homes ten or twenty degrees
all summer long. My goodness--talk about your billionaires--here's a
chance for squillions."

The Unwiseman paced the floor excitedly. The vision of wealth that
loomed up before his mind's eye was so vast that he could hardly contain
himself in the face of it.

"Wouldn't it all melt before he could get it over to America?" asked
Mollie.

"Why should it?" demanded the Unwiseman. "If it don't melt here in
summer time why should it melt anywhere else? I don't believe snow was
ever disagreeable just for the pleasure of being so."

"Wouldn't it cost a lot to take it over?" asked Whistlebinkie.

"Not if the Company owned its own ships," said the Unwiseman. "If the
Company owned its own ships it could carry it over for nothing."

The Unwiseman was so carried away with the possibilities of his plan
that for several days he could talk of nothing else, and several times
Mollie and Whistlebinkie found him working in the writing room of the
hotel on what he called his Perspectus.

"I'm going to work out that idea of mine, Mollie," he explained, "so
that you can show it to your father and maybe he'll take it up, and if
he does--well, I'll have a man to exercise my umbrella, a pair of wings
built on my house where I can put a music room and a library, and have
my kitchen-stove nickel plated as it deserves to be for having served me
so faithfully for so many years."

An hour or two later, his face beaming with pleasure, the Unwiseman
brought Mollie his completed "Perspectus" with the request that she
show it to her father. It read as follows:

THE SWITZER SNOW AND ICE CO.

THE UNWISEMAN, _President_.

MR. MOLLIE J. WHISTLEBINKIE, _Vice-President_.

A. BURGULAR, _Seketary and Treasurer_.

      I. To purchase all right, title, and interest in one first class
      Alp known as Mount Blank, a snow-clad peak located at
      Switzerville, Europe. For further perticulars, see Map if you have
      one handy that is any good and has been prepared by somebody what
      has studied jography before.

      II. To orginize the Mount Blank Toboggan Slide and Sled Company
      and build a fence around it for the benefit of the young at ten
      cents ahead, using the surplus snow and ice on Mount Blank for
      this purpose. Midsummer coasting a speciality.

      III. To mine ice and to sell the same by the pound, ton, yard, or
      shipload, to Americans at one cent less a pound, ton, yard, or
      shipload, than they are now paying to unscrupulous ice-men at
      home, thereby putting them out of business and bringing ice in
      midsummer within the reach of persons of modest means to keep
      their provisions on, who without it suffer greatly from the heat
      and are sometimes sun-struck.

      IV. To gather and sell snow to the American people in summer time
      for the purpose of cooling off their houses by throwing the same
      into the furnace like coal in winter, thereby taking down the
      thermometer two or three inches and making fans unnecessary, and
      killing mosquitoes, flies and other animals that ain't of any use
      and can only live in warm weather.

      V. Also to sell a finer quality of snow for use at children's
      parties in the United States of America in July and August where
      snow-ball fights are not now possible owing to the extreme
      tenderness of the snow at present provided by the American climate
      which causes it to melt along about the end of March and disappear
      entirely before the beginning of May.

      VI. Also to sell snow at redoosed rates to people at Christmas
      Time when they don't always have it as they should ought to have
      if Christmas is to look anything like the real thing and give boys
      and girls a chance to try their new sleds and see if they are as
      good as they are cracked up to be instead of having to be put away
      as they sometimes are until February and even then it don't always
      last.

      This Company has already been formed by Mr. Thomas S. Me, better
      known as the Unwiseman, who is hereby elected President thereof,
      with a capital of ten million dollars of which three dollars has
      already been paid in to Mr. Me as temporary treasurer by himself
      in real money which may be seen upon application as a guarantee of
      good faith. The remaining nine million nine hundred and
      ninety-nine thousand, nine hundred and ninety-seven dollars worth
      is offered to the public at one dollar a share payable in any kind
      of money that will circulate freely, one half of which will be
      used as profits for the next five years while the Company is
      getting used to its new business, and the rest will be spent under
      the direction of the President as he sees fit, it being understood
      that none of it shall be used to buy eclairs or other personal
      property with.

"There," said the Unwiseman, as he finished the prospectus. "Just you
hand that over to your father, Mollie, and see what he says. If he don't
start the ball a-rolling and buy that old Mountain before we leave this
place I shall be very much surprised."

But the Unwiseman's grand scheme never went through for Mollie's father
upon inquiry found that nobody about Chamounix cared to sell his
interest in the mountain, or even to suggest a price for it.

"They're afraid to sell it I imagine," said Mollie's father, "for fear
the new purchasers would dig it up altogether and take it over to the
United States. You see if that were to happen it would leave an awfully
big hole in the place where Mount Blank used to be and there'd be a lot
of trouble getting it filled in."

For all of which I am sincerely sorry because there are times in
midsummer in America when I would give a great deal if some such
enterprise as a "Switzer Snow & Ice Co." would dump a few tons of snow
into my cellar for use in the furnace.



XI.

THE UNWISEMAN PLANS A CHAMOIS COMPANY


The Unwiseman's disappointment over the failure of his Switzer Snow &
Ice Company was very keen at first and the strange old gentleman was
inclined to be as thoroughly disgusted with Switzerland as he had been
with London and Paris. He was especially put out when, after travelling
seven or eight miles to see a "glazier," as he called it, he discovered
that a glacier was not a frozen "window-pane mender" but a stream of ice
flowing perennially down from the Alpine summits into the valleys.

"They bank too much on their snow-drifts over here," he remarked, after
he had visited the _Mer-de-Glace_. "I wouldn't give seven cents to _see_
a thing like that when I've been brought up close to New York where we
have blizzards every once in a while that tie up the whole city till it
looks like one glorious big snow-ball fight."

And then when he wanted to go fishing in one of the big fissures of the
glacier, and was told he could drop a million lines down there without
getting a bite of any kind he announced his intention of getting out of
the country as soon as he possibly could. But after all the Unwiseman
had a naturally sun-shiny disposition and this added to the wonderful
air of Switzerland, which in itself is one of the most beautiful things
in a beautiful world, soon brought him out of his sulky fit and set him
to yodeling once more as gaily as a Swiss Mountain boy. He began to see
some of the beauties of the country and his active little mind was not
slow at discovering advantages not always clear to people with less
inquisitiveness.

"I should think," he observed to Mollie one morning as he gazed up at
Mount Blanc's pure white summit, "that this would be a great ice-cream
country. I'd like to try the experiment of pasturing a lot of fine
Jersey cows up on those ice-fields. Just let 'em browze around one of
those glaciers every day for a week and give 'em a cupful of vanilla, or
chocolate extract or a strawberry once in a while and see if they
wouldn't give ice-cream instead o' milk. It would be worth trying,
anyhow."

Mollie thought it would and Whistlebinkie gave voice to a long low
whistle of delight at the idea.

"It-ud-be-bettern-soder-watter-rany-way!" he whistled.

"Anything would be better than soda water," said the Unwiseman, who had
only tried it once and got nothing but the bubbles. "Soda water's too
foamy for me. It's like drinking whipped air."

But the thing that pleased the Unwiseman more than anything else was a
pet chamois that he encountered at a little Swiss Chalet on one of his
tours of investigation. It was a cunning little animal, very timid of
course, like a fawn, but tame, and for some reason or other it took
quite a fancy to the Unwiseman--possibly because he looked so like a
Swiss Mountain Boy with a peaked cap he had purchased, and ribbons wound
criss-cross around his calves and his magnificent Alpen-stock upon which
had been burned the names of all the Alps he had _not_ climbed. And then
the Unwiseman's yodel had become something unusually fine and original
in the line of yodeling, which may have attracted the chamois and made
him feel that the Unwiseman was a person to be trusted. At any rate the
little animal instead of running away and jumping from crag to crag at
the Unwiseman's approach, as most chamois would do, came inquiringly up
to him and stuck out its soft velvety nose to be scratched, and
permitted the Unwiseman to inspect its horns and silky chestnut-brown
coat as if it recognized in the little old man a true and tried friend
of long standing.

"Why you little beauty you!" cried the Unwiseman, as he sat on the fence
and stroked the beautiful creature's neck. "So you're what they call a
shammy, eh?"

The chamois turned its lovely eyes upon his new found friend, and then
lowered his head to have it scratched again.

  "Mary had a little sham
    Whose hide was soft as cotton,
  And everywhere that Mary went
    The shammy too went trottin'."

sang the Unwiseman, dropping into poetry as was one of his habits when
he was deeply moved.

[Illustration: THE CHAMOIS EVIDENTLY LIKED THIS VERSE FOR ITS EYES
TWINKLED]

The chamois evidently liked this verse for its eyes twinkled and it laid
its head gently on the Unwiseman's knee and looked at him appealingly as
if to say, "More of that poetry please. You are a bard after my own
heart." So the Unwiseman went on, keeping time to his verse by slight
taps on the chamois' nose.

  "It followed her to town one day
    Unto the Country Fair,
  And earned five hundred dollars just
    In shining silver-ware."

Whistlebinkie indulged in a loud whistle of mirth at this, which so
startled the little creature that it leapt backward fifteen feet in the
air and landed on top of a small pump at the rear of the yard, and stood
there poised on its four feet just like the chamois we see in pictures
standing on a sharp peak miles up in the air, trembling just a little
for fear that Whistlebinkie's squeak would be repeated. A moment of
silence seemed to cure this, however, for in less than two minutes it
was back again at the Unwiseman's side gazing soulfully at him as if
demanding yet another verse. Of course the Unwiseman could not
resist--he never could when people demanded poetry from him, it came
so very easy--and so he continued:

  "The children at the Country Fair
    Indulged in merry squawks
  To see the shammy polishing
    The family knives and forks.

  "The tablespoons, and coffee pots,
    The platters and tureens,
  The top of the mahogany,
    And crystal fire-screens."

"More!" pleaded the chamois with his soft eyes, snuggling its head close
into the Unwiseman's lap, and the old gentleman went on:

  "'O isn't he a wondrous kid!'
    The wondering children cried.
  We didn't know a shammy could
    Do such things if he tried.

  "And Mary answered with a smile
    That dimpled up her chin
  'There's much that shammy's cannot do,
  But much that shammy-skin.'"

Whistlebinkie's behavior at this point became so utterly and inexcusably
boisterous with mirth that the confiding little chamois was again
frightened away and this time it gave three rapid leaps into the air
which landed it ultimately upon the ridge-pole of the chalet, from
which it wholly refused to descend, in spite of all the persuasion in
the world, for the rest of the afternoon.

"Very intelligent little animal that," said the Unwiseman, as he trudged
his way home. "A very high appreciation of true poetry, inclined to make
friendship with the worthy, and properly mistrustful of people full of
strange noises and squeaks."

"He was awfully pretty, wasn't he," said Mollie.

"Yes, but he was better than pretty," observed the Unwiseman. "He could
be made useful. Things that are only pretty are all very well in their
way, but give me the useful things--like my kitchen-stove for instance.
If that kitchen-stove was only pretty do you suppose I'd love it the way
I do? Not at all. I'd just put it on the mantel-piece, or on the piano
in my parlor and never think of it a second time, but because it is
useful I pay attention to it every day, polish it with stove polish,
feed it with coal and see that the ashes are removed from it when its
day's work is done. Nobody ever thinks of doing such things with a plain
piece of bric-a-brac that can't be used for anything at all. You don't
put any coal or stove polish on that big Chinese vase you have in your
parlor, do you?"

"No," said Mollie, "of course not."

"And I'll warrant that in all the time you've had that opal glass jug on
the mantel-piece of your library you never shook the ashes down in it
once," said the Unwiseman.

"Mity-goo-dreeson-wy!" whistled Whistlebinkie. "They-ain't never no
ashes in it."

"Correct though ungrammatically expressed," observed the Unwiseman.
"There never are any ashes in it to be shaken down, which is a pretty
good reason to believe that it is never used to fry potatoes on or to
cook a chop with, or to roast a turkey in--which proves exactly what I
say that it is only pretty and isn't half as useful as my
kitchen-stove."

"It would be pretty hard to find anything useful for the bric-a-brac to
do though," suggested Mollie, who loved pretty things whether they had
any other use or not.

"It all depends on your bric-a-brac," said the Unwiseman. "I can find
plenty of useful things for mine to do. There's my coal scuttle for
instance--it works all the time."

"Coal-scuttles ain't bric-a-brac," said Whistlebinkie.

"My coal scuttle is," said the Unwiseman. "It's got a picture of a daisy
painted on one side of it, and I gilded the handle myself. Then there's
my watering pot. That's just as bric-a-bracky as any Chinese china pot
that ever lived, but it's useful. I use it to water the flowers in
summer, and to sift my lump sugar through in winter. Every pound of lump
sugar you buy has some fine sugar with it and if you shake the lump
sugar up in a watering pot and let the fine sugar sift through the
nozzle you get two kinds of sugar for the price of one. So it goes all
through my house from my piano to my old beaver hat--every bit of my
bric-a-brac is useful."

"Wattonearth do-you-do with a-nold beevor-at?" whistled Whistlebinkie.

"I use it as a post-office box to mail cross letters in," said the
Unwiseman gravely. "It's saved me lots of trouble."

"Cross letters?" asked Mollie. "You never write cross letters to anybody
do you?"

"I'm doing it all the time," said the Unwiseman. "Whenever anything
happens that I don't like I sit down and write a terrible letter to the
people that do it. That eases off my feelings, and then I mail the
letters in the hat."

"And does the Post-man come and get them?" asked Mollie.

"No indeed," said the Unwiseman. "That's where the beauty of the scheme
comes in. If I mailed 'em in the post-office box on the lamp-post, the
post-man would take 'em and deliver them to the man they're addressed to
and I'd be in all sorts of trouble. But when I mail them in my hat
nobody comes for them and nobody gets them, and so there's no trouble
for anybody anywhere."

"But what becomes of them?" asked Mollie.

"I empty the hat on the first Tuesday after the first Monday of every
month and use them for kindling in my kitchen-stove," said the
Unwiseman. "It's a fine scheme. I keep out of trouble, don't have to buy
so much kindling wood, and save postage."

"That sounds like a pretty good idea," said Mollie.

"It's a first class idea," returned Mr. Me, "and I'm proud of it. It's
all my own and if I had time I'd patent it. Why I was invited to a party
once by a small boy who'd thrown a snow-ball at my house and wet one of
the shingles up where I keep my leak, and I was so angry that I sat down
and wrote back that I regretted very much to be delighted to say that
I'd never go to a party at his house if it was the only party in the
world besides the Republican; that I didn't like him, and thought his
mother's new spring bonnet was most unbecoming and that I'd heard his
father had been mentioned for Alderman in our town and all sorts of
disgraceful things like that. I mailed this right in my hat and used it
to boil an egg with a month later, while if I'd mailed it in the
post-office box that boy'd have got it and I couldn't have gone to his
party at all."

"Oh--you went, did you?" laughed Mollie.

"I did and I had a fine time, six eclairs, three plates of ice cream, a
pound of chicken salad, and a pocketful of nuts and raisins," said the
Unwiseman. "He turned out to be a very nice boy, and his mother's spring
bonnet wasn't hers at all but another lady's altogether, and his father
had not even been mentioned for Water Commissioner. You see, my dear,
what a lot of trouble mailing that letter in the old beaver hat saved
me, not to mention what I earned in the way of food by going to the
party which I couldn't have done had it been mailed in the regular way."

Here the old gentleman began to yodel happily, and to tell passersby in
song that he was a "Gay Swiss Laddy with a carpet-bag, That never knew
fear of the Alpine crag, For his eye was bright and his conscience
clear, As he leapt his way through the atmosphere, Tra-la-la, tra-la-la,
Trala-lolly-O."

"I do-see-how-yood-make-that-shammy-useful," said Whistlebinkie. "Except
to try your poems on and I don't b'lieve he's a good judge o' potery."

"He's a splendid judge of queer noises," said the Unwiseman, severely.
"He knew enough to jump a mile whenever you squeaked."

"Watt-else-coodie-doo?" asked Whistlebinkie through his hat. "You
haven't any silver to keep polished and there aren't enough queer noises
about your place to keep him busy."

"What else coodie-do?" retorted the Unwiseman, giving an imitation of
Whistlebinkie that set both Mollie and the rubber doll to giggling. "Why
he could polish up the handle of my big front door for one thing. He
could lie down on his back and wiggle around the floor and make it shine
like a lookin' glass for another. He could rub up against my kitchen
stove and keep it bright and shining for a third--that's some of the
things he couldie-doo, but I wouldn't confine him to work around my
house. I'd lead him around among the neighbors and hire him out for
fifty cents a day for general shammy-skin house-work. I dare say
Mollie's mother would be glad to have a real live shammy around that she
could rub her tea-kettles and coffee pots on when it comes to cleaning
the silver."

"They can buy all the shammys they need at the grocer's," said
Whistlebinkie scornfully.

"Dead ones," said the Unwiseman, "but nary a live shammy have you seen
at the grocer's or the butcher's or the milliner's or the piano-tuner's.
That's where Wigglethorpe----"

"Wigglethorpe?" cried Whistlebinkie.

"Yes Wigglethorpe," repeated the Unwiseman. "That's what I have decided
to call my shammy when I get him because he will wiggle."

"He don't thorpe, does he?" laughed Whistlebinkie.

"He thorpes just as much as you bink," retorted the Unwiseman. "But as I
was saying, Wigglethorpe, being alive, will be better than any ten dead
ones because he won't wear out, maids won't leave him around on the
parlor floor, and just because he wiggles, the silver and the hardwood
floors and front door handles will be polished up in half the time it
takes to do it with a dead one. At fifty cents a day I could earn three
dollars a week on Wigglethorpe----"

"Which would be all profit if you fed him on potery," said Whistlebinkie
with a grin.

"And if I imported a hundred of them after I found that Wigglethorpe was
successful," the Unwiseman continued, very wisely ignoring
Whistlebinkie's sarcasm, "that would be--hum--ha----"

"Three hundred dollars a week," prompted Mollie.

"Exactly," said the Unwiseman, "which in a year would amount
to--ahem--three times three hundred and sixty-five is nine, twice nine
is----"

"It comes to $15,600 a year," said Mollie.

"Right to a penny," said the Unwiseman. "I was figuring it out by the
day. Fifteen thousand six hundred dollars a year is a big sum of money
and reckoned in eclairs at fifty eclairs for a dollar is--er--is--well
you couldn't eat 'em if you tried, there'd be so many."

"Seven hundred and eighty thousand eclairs," said Mollie.

"That's what I said," said the Unwiseman. "You just couldn't eat 'em,
but you could sell 'em, so really you'd have two businesses right away,
shammys and eclaires."

"Mitey-big-biziness," hissed Whistlebinkie.

"Yes," said the Unwiseman, "I think I'll suggest it to my burgular when
I get home. It seems to me to be more honorable then burguling and it's
just possible that after a summer spent in the uplifting company of my
kitchen stove and having got used to the pleasant conversation of my
leak, and seen how peaceful it is to just spend your days exercising a
sweet gentle umbrella like mine, he'll want to reform and go into
something else that he can do in the day-time."

By this time the little party had reached the hotel, and Mollie's father
was delighted to hear of the Unwiseman's proposition. It was an entirely
new idea, he said, although he was doubtful if it was a good business
for a burgular.

"People might not be willing to trust him with their silver," he said.

"Very well then," said the Unwiseman. "Let him begin on front door knobs
and parlor floors. He's not likely to run away with those."

The next day the travellers left Switzerland and when I next caught
sight of them they had arrived at Venice.



XII.

VENICE


It was late at night when Mollie and her friends arrived at Venice and
the Unwiseman, sleeping peacefully as he was in the cavernous depths of
his carpet-bag, did not get his first glimpse of the lovely city of the
waters until he waked up the next morning. Unfortunately--or possibly it
was a fortunate circumstance--the old gentleman had heard of Venice only
in a very vague way before, and had no more idea of its peculiarities
than he had of those of Waycross Junction, Georgia, or any other place
he had never seen. Consequently his first sight of Venice filled him
with a tremendous deal of excitement. Emerging from his carpet-bag in
the cloak-room of the hotel he walked out upon the front steps of the
building which descended into the Grand Canal, the broad waterway that
runs its serpentine length through this historic city of the Adriatic.

"'Gee Whittaker!'" he cried, as the great avenue of water met his gaze.
"There's been a flood! Hi there--inside--the water main has busted, and
the whole town's afloat. Wake up everybody and save yourselves!"

He turned and rushed madly up the hotel stairs to the floor upon which
his friends' rooms were located, calling lustily all the way:

"Get up everybody--the reservoy's busted; the dam's loose. To the boats!
Mollie--Whistlebinkie--Mister and Mrs. Mollie--get up or you'll be
washed away--the whole place is flooded. You haven't a minute to spare."

"What's the matter, Mr. Me?" asked Mollie, opening her door as she
recognized the Unwiseman's voice out in the hallway. "What are you
scaring everybody to death for?"

"Get out your life preservers--quick before it is too late," gasped the
Unwiseman. "There's a tidal wave galloping up and down the street, and
we'll be drowned. To the roof! All hands to starboard and man the
boats."

"What _are_ you talking about?" said Mollie.

"Look out your front window if you don't believe me," panted the
Unwiseman. "The whole place is chuck full of water--couldn't bail it out
in a week----"

"Oh," laughed Mollie, as she realized what it was that had so excited
her friend. "Is that all?"

"All!" ejaculated the Unwiseman, his eyebrows lifting higher with
astonishment. "Isn't it enough? What do you want, the whole Atlantic
Ocean sitting on your front stoop?"

"Why--" began Mollie, "this is Venice----"

"Looks like Watertown," interrupted the Unwiseman.

"Thass-swattit-izz," whistled Whistlebinkie. "Venice is a water town.
It's built on it."

"Built on it?" queried the Unwiseman looking scornfully at Whistlebinkie
as much as to say you can't fool me quite so easily as that. "Built on
water?" he repeated.

"Exactly," said Mollie. "Didn't you know that, Mr. Me? Venice is built
right out on the sea."

"Well of all queer things!" ejaculated the Unwiseman, so surprised that
he plumped down on the floor and sat there gazing wonderingly up at
Mollie. "A whole city built on the sea! What's the matter, wasn't there
land enough?"

"Oh yes, I guess there was plenty of land," said Mollie, "but maybe
somebody else owned it. Anyhow the Venetians came out here where there
were a lot of little islands to begin with and drove piles into the
water and built their city on them."

"Well that beats me," said the Unwiseman, shaking his head in
bewilderment. "I've heard of fellows building up big copperations on
water, but never a city. How do they keep the water out of their
cellars?"

"They don't," said Mollie.

"Maybe they build their cellars on the roof," suggested Whistlebinkie.

"Well," said the Unwiseman, rising from the floor and walking to the
front window and gazing out at the Grand Canal, "I hope this hotel is
anchored good and fast. I don't mind going to sea on a big boat that's
built for it, but I draw the line at sailin' all around creation in a
hotel."

The droll little old gentleman poised himself on one toe and stretched
out his arms. "There don't seem to be much motion, does there," he
remarked.

"There isn't any at all," said Mollie. "It's perfectly still."

"I guess it's because it's a clam day," observed the Unwiseman uneasily.
"I hope it'll stay clam while we're here. I'd hate to be caught out in
movey weather like they had on that sassy little British Channel. This
hotel would flop about fearfully and _I_ believe it would sink if
somebody carelessly left a window open, to say nothing of its falling
over backward and letting the water in the back door."

"Papa says it's perfectly safe," said Mollie. "The place has been here
more'n a thousand years and it hasn't sunk yet."

"All right," said the Unwiseman. "If your father says that I'm satisfied
because he most generally knows what he's talking about, but all the
same I think we should ought to have brought a couple o' row boats and a
lot of life preservers along. I don't believe in taking any chances.
What do the cab-horses do here, swim?"

"No," said Mollie. "There aren't any horses in Venice. They have
gondolas."

"Gondolas?" repeated the Unwiseman. "What are gondolas, trained ducks?
Don't think much o' ducks as a substitute for horses."

"Perfly-bsoyd!" whistled Whistlebinkie.

"I should think they'd drive whales," said the Unwiseman, "or porpoises.
By Jiminy, that would be fun, wouldn't it? Let's see if we can't hire a
four whale coach, Mollie, and go driving about the city, or better yet,
if they've got them well broken, get a school of porpoises. We might put
on our bathing suits and go horseback riding on 'em. I don't take much
to the trained duck idea, ducks are so flighty and if they shied at
anything they might go flying up in the air and dump us backwards out of
our cab into the water."

"We're going to take a gondola ride this morning," said Mollie. "Just
you wait and see, Mr. Me."

[Illustration: THEY ALL BOARDED A GONDOLA]

So the Unwiseman waited and an hour later he and Mollie and
Whistlebinkie boarded a gondola in charge of a very handsome and smiling
gondolier who said his name was Giuseppe Zocco.

"Soako is a good name for a cab-driver in this town," said the
Unwiseman, after he had inspected the gondola and ascertained that it
was seaworthy. "I guess I'll talk to him."

"You-do-know-Eye-talian," laughed Whistlebinkie.

"It's one of the languages I _do_ know," returned the Unwiseman. "I buy
all my bananas and my peanuts from an Eye-talian at home and for two or
three years I have been able to talk to him very easily."

He turned to the gondolier.

"Gooda da morn, Soako," he observed very politely. "You havea da
prett-da-boat."

"Si, Signor," returned the smiling gondolier, who was not wholly
unfamiliar with English.

"See what?" asked the Unwiseman puzzled, but looking about carefully to
see what there was to be seen.

"He says we're at sea," laughed Whistlebinkie.

"Oh--well--that's it, eh?" said the Unwiseman. "I thought he only spoke
Eye-talian." And then he addressed the gondolier again. "Da weather's
mighta da fine, huh? Not a da rain or da heava da wind, eh? Hopa da babe
is vera da well da morn."

"Si, Signor," said Giuseppe.

"Da Venn greata da place. Too mucha da watt for me. Lika da dry land
moocha da bett, Giuseppe. Ever sella da banann?" continued the
Unwiseman.

"Non, Signor," replied Giuseppe. "No sella da banann."

"Bully da bizz," said the Unwiseman. "Maka da munn hand over da fist.
You grinda da org?"

"Huh?" grinned Giuseppe.

"He doesn't understand," said Mollie giggling.

"I asked him if he ever ground a hand-organ," said the Unwiseman.
"Perfectly simple question. I aska da questch, Giuseppe, if you ever
grinda da org. You know what I mean. Da musica-box, wid da monk for
climba da house for catcha da nick."

"What's 'catcha da nick'?" whispered Whistlebinkie.

"To catch the nickels, stoopid," said the Unwiseman; "don't interrupt.
No hava da monk, Giuseppe?" he asked.

"Non, Signor," said the gondolier. "No hava da monk."

"Too bad," observed the Unwiseman. "Hand-org not moocha da good without
da monk. Da monk maka da laugh and catcha da mun by da cupful. If you
ever come to America, Giuseppe, no forgetta da monk with a redda da
cap."

With which admonition the Unwiseman turned his attention to other
things.

"Is that really Eye-talian?" asked Whistlebinkie.

"Of course it is," said the Unwiseman. "It's the easiest language in the
world to pick up and only requires a little practice to make you speak
it as if it were your own tongue. I was never conscious that I was
learning it in my morning talks with old Gorgorini, the banana man at
home. This would be a great place for automobiles, wouldn't it, Mollie?"
he laughed in conclusion.

"I don't guesso," said Whistlebinkie.

The gondolier now guided the graceful craft to a flight of marble steps
up which Mollie and her friends mounted to the Piazza San Marco.

"This is great," said the Unwiseman as he gazed about him and took in
its splendors. "It's a wonder to me that they don't have a lot of places
like this on the way over from New York to Liverpool. Crossing the ocean
would be some fun if you could step off every hour or two and stretch
your legs on something solid, and buy a few tons of tumblers, and feed
pigeons. Fact is I think that's the best cure in the world for
sea-sickness. If you could run up to a little piazza like this three
times a day where there's a nice restaurant waiting for you and no
motion to spoil your appetite I wouldn't mind being a sailor for the
rest of my life."

The travellers passed through the glorious church of San Marco,
inspected the Doge's Palace and then returned to the gondola, upon which
they sailed back to their hotel.

"Moocha da thanks, Giuseppe," said the Unwiseman, as he alighted.
"Here's a Yankee da quart for you. Save it up and when you come to
America as all the Eye-talians seem to be doing these days, it will help
start you in business."

And handing the gondolier a quarter the Unwiseman disappeared into the
hotel. The next day he entered Mollie's room and asked permission to sit
out on her balcony.

"I think I'll try a little fishing this afternoon," he said. "It isn't a
bad idea having a hotel right on the water front this way after all. You
can sit out on your balcony and drop your line out into the water and
just haul them in by the dozen."

But alas for the old gentleman's expectations, he caught never a fish.
Whether it was the fault of the bait or not I don't know, but the only
things he succeeded in catching were an old barrel-hoop that went
floating along the canal from the Fruit Market up the way, and, sad to
relate, the straw hat of an American artist on his way home in his
gondola from a day's painting out near the Lido. The latter incident
caused a great deal of trouble and it took all the persuasion that
Mollie's father was capable of to keep the artist from having the
Unwiseman arrested. It seems that the artist was very much put out
anyhow because, mix his colors as he would, he could not get that
peculiarly beautiful blue of the Venetian skies, and the lovely
iridescent hues of the Venetian air were too delicate for such a brush
as his, and to have his straw hat unceremoniously snatched off his head
by an old gentleman two flights up with an ordinary fish hook baited
with macaroni in addition to his other troubles was too much for his
temper, not a good one at best.

"I am perfectly willing to say that I am sorry," protested the
Unwiseman when he was hauled before the angry artist. "I naturally would
be sorry. When a man goes fishing for shad and lands nothing but a last
year's straw hat, why wouldn't he be sorry?"

"That's a mighty poor apology!" retorted the artist, putting the straw
hat on his head.

"Well I'm a poor man," said the Unwiseman. "My expenses have been very
heavy of late. What with buying an air-gun to shoot Alps with, and
giving a quarter to the Ganderman to help him buy a monkey, I'm reduced
from nine-fifty to a trifle under seven dollars."

"You had no business fishing from that balcony!" said the artist
angrily.

"I haven't any business anywhere, I've retired," said the Unwiseman.
"And I can tell you one thing certain," he added, "if I was going back
into business I wouldn't take up fishing for straw hats and barrel-hoops
in Venice. There's nothing but to trouble in it."

"I shall lodge a complaint against you in the Lion's Mouth," said the
artist, with a slight twinkle in his eye, his good humor returning in
the presence of the Unwiseman.

"And I shall fall back on my rights as an American citizen to fish
whenever I please from my own balcony with my own bait without
interruption from foreign straw hats," said the Unwiseman with dignity.

"What?" cried the artist. "You an American?"

"Certainly," said the Unwiseman. "You didn't take me for an Eye-talian,
did you?"

"So am I," returned the artist holding out his hand. "If you'd only told
me that in the beginning I never should have complained."

"Don't mention it," said the Unwiseman graciously. "I was afraid you
were an Englishman, and then there'd been a war sure, because I'll never
give in to an Englishman. If your hat is seriously damaged I'll give you
my tarpaulin, seeing that you are an American like myself."

"Not at all," said the artist. "The hat isn't hurt at all and I'm very
glad to have met you. If your hook had only caught my eye on my way up
the canal I should have turned aside so as not to interfere."

"Well I'm mighty glad it didn't catch your eye," said the Unwiseman. "I
could afford to buy you a new straw hat, but I'm afraid a new eye would
have busted me."

And there the trouble ended. The artist and the Unwiseman shook hands
and parted friends.

"What was that he said about the Lion's Mouth?" asked the Unwiseman
after the artist had gone.

"He said he'd lodge a complaint there," said Mollie. "That's the way
they used to do here. Those big statues of lions out in front of the
Doggies' Palace with their mouths wide open are big boxes where people
can mail their complaints to the Government."

"Oh, I see," said the Unwiseman. "And when the Doggies get the
complaints they attend to 'em, eh?"

"Yes," said Mollie.

"And who are the Doggies?" asked the Unwiseman. "They don't have dogs
instead of pleece over here, do they? I get so mixed up with these
Johns, and Bobbies, and Doggies I hardly know where I'm at."

"I don't exactly understand why," said Mollie, "but the people in Venice
are ruled by Doggies."

"They're a queer lot from Buckingham Palace, London, down to this old
tow-path," said the Unwiseman, "and if I ever get home alive there's no
more abroad for your Uncle Me."

On the following day, Mollie's parents having seen all of Venice that
their limited time permitted, prepared to start for Genoa, whence the
steamer back to New York was to sail. Everything was ready, but the
Unwiseman was nowhere to be found. The hotel was searched from top to
bottom and not a sign of him. Giuseppe Zocco denied all knowledge of
him, and the carpet-bag gave no evidence that he had been in it the
night before as was his custom. Train-time was approaching and Mollie
was distracted. Even Whistlebinkie whistled under his breath for fear
that something had happened to the old gentleman.

"I hope he hasn't fallen overboard!" moaned Mollie, gazing anxiously
into the watery depths of the canal.

"Here he comes!" cried Whistlebinkie, jubilantly, and sure enough down
the canal seated on a small raft and paddling his way cautiously along
with his hands came the Unwiseman, singing the popular Italian ballad
"Margherita" at the top of his lungs.

"Gander ahoy!" he cried, as he neared the hotel steps. "Sheer off there,
Captain, and let me into Port."

The gondolier made room for him and the Unwiseman alighted.

"Where _have_ you been?" asked Mollie, throwing her arms about his neck.

"Up the canal a little way," he answered unconcernedly. "I wanted to
mail a letter to the Doggie in the Lion's Mouth."

"What about?" asked Mollie.

"Watertown, otherwise Venice," said the Unwiseman. "I had some
suggestions for its improvement and I didn't want to go way without
making them. There's a copy of my letter if you want to see it," he
added, handing Mollie a piece of paper upon which he had written as
follows:

  29 Grand Canal St., Venice, It.

      ANCIENT & HONORABLE BOW-WOWS:

      I have enjoyed my visit to your beautiful but wet old town very
      much and would respectfully advise you that there are several
      things you can do to keep it unspiled. These are as follows to wit
      viz:

      I. Bale it out once in a while and see that the barrel hoops in
      your Grand Canal are sifted out of it. They're a mighty poor
      stubstishoot for shad.

      II. Get a few trained whales in commission so that when a feller
      wants to go driving he won't have to go paddling.

      III. Stock your streets with trout, or flounders, or perch or even
      sardines in order that us Americans who feel like fishing won't
      have to be satisfied with a poor quality of straw hat.

      IV. During the fishing season compel artists returning from their
      work to wear beaver hats or something else that a fish-hook baited
      with macaroni won't catch into thus making a lot of trouble.

      V. Get together on your language. I speak the very best variety of
      banana-stand Italian and twenty-three out of twenty-four people to
      which I have made remarks in it have not been able to grasp my
      meaning.

      VI. Pigeons are very nice to have but they grow monotonous. Would
      suggest a half dozen first class American hens as an ornament to
      your piazza.

      VII. Stop calling yourself Doggies. It makes people laugh.

      With kind regards to the various Mrs. Ds, believe me to be with
      mucho da respecto,

  Yoursa da trool,
  Da Unadawisamann.

      P.S. If you ever go sailing abroad in your old town point her
      nose towards my country. We'll all be glad to see you over there
      and can supply you with all the water you need.

  Y da T,
  MISTER ME.

It was with these recommendations to the Doges that the Unwiseman left
Venice. Whether they were ever received or not I have never heard, but
if they were I am quite sure they made the "Doggies" yelp with delight.



XIII.

GENOA, GIBRALTAR, AND COLUMBUS


"Whatta da namea dissa cit?" asked the Unwiseman in his best Italian as
the party arrived at Genoa, whence they were to set sail for home the
next day.

"This is Genoa," said Mollie.

"What's it good for?" demanded the old gentleman, gazing around him in a
highly critical fashion.

"It's where Christopher Columbus was born," said Mollie. "Didn't you
know that?"

"You don't mean the gentleman who discovered the United States, do you?"
asked the Unwiseman, his face brightening with interest.

"The very same," said Mollie. "He was born right here in this town."

"Humph!" ejaculated the Unwiseman. "Queer place for a fellow like that
to be born in. You'd think a man who was going to discover America would
have been born a little nearer the United States than this. Up in
Canada for instance, or down around Cuba, so's he wouldn't have so far
to travel."

"Canada and Cuba weren't discovered either at that time," explained
Mollie, smiling broadly at the Unwiseman's ignorance.

"Really?" said the Unwiseman. "Well that accounts for it. I always
wondered why the United States wasn't discovered by somebody nearer
home, like a Canadian or a Cuban, or some fellow down around where the
Panama hats come from, but of course if there wasn't any Canadians or
Cubans or Panama hatters around to do it, it's as clear as pie." The old
gentleman paused a moment, and then he went on: "So this is the place
that would have been our native land if Columbus hadn't gone to sea, is
it? I think I'll take home a bottle of it to keep on the mantel-piece
alongside of my bottle of United States and label 'em' My Native Land,
Before and After.'"

"That's a very good idea," said Mollie. "Then you'll have a complete
set."

"I wonder," said the Unwiseman, rubbing his forehead reflectively, "I
wonder if he's alive yet."

"What, Christopher Columbus?" laughed Mollie.

"Yes," said the Unwiseman. "I haven't seen much in the papers about him
lately, but that don't prove he's dead."

"Why he discovered America in 1492," said Mollie.

"Well--let's see--how long ago was that? More'n forty years, wasn't it?"
said the Unwiseman.

"I guess it was more than forty years ago," giggled Mollie.

"Well--say fifty then," said the Unwiseman. "I'm pretty nearly that old
myself. I was born in 1839, or 1843, or some such year, and as I
remember it we'd been discovered then--but that wouldn't make him so
awfully old you know. A man can be eighty and still live. Look at old
Methoosalum--he was nine hundred."

"Oh well," said Mollie, "there isn't any use of talking about it.
Columbus has been dead a long time----"

"All I can say is that I'm very sorry," interrupted the Unwiseman, with
a sad little shake of his head. "I should very much like to have gone
over and called on him just to thank him for dishcovering the United
States. Just think, Mollie, of what would have happened if he hadn't!
You and I and old Fizzledinkie here would have had to be Eye-talians, or
Switzers, and live over here all the time if it hadn't been for him, and
our own beautiful native land would have been left way across the sea
all alone by itself and we'd never have known anything about it."

"We certainly ought to be very much obliged to Mr. Columbus for all he
did for us," said Mollie.

"I-guess-somebuddyelse-wudda-donit," whistled Whistlebinkie. "They
cuddn'-ta-helptit-with-all-these-socean steamers-going-over-there
every-day."

"That's true enough," said the Unwiseman, "but we ought to be thankful
to Columbus just the same. Other people _might_ have done it, but the
fact remains that he _did_ do it, so I'm much obliged to him. I'd sort
of like to do something to show my gratitude."

"Better write to his family," grinned Whistlebinkie.

"For a rubber doll with a squeak instead of brain in his head that's a
first rate idea, Fizzledinkie," said the old gentleman. "I'll do it."

And so he did. The evening mail from the Unwiseman's hotel carried with
it a souvenir postal card addressed to Christopher Columbus, Jr., upon
which the sender had written as follows:

  GENOA, Aug. 23, 19--.

      DEAR CHRISTOPHER:

      As an American citizen I want to thank you for your Papa's very
      great kindness in dishcovering the United States. When I think
      that if he hadn't I might have been born a Switzer or a French
      John Darm it gives me a chill. I would have called on you to say
      this in person if I'd had time, but we are going to sail tomorrow
      for home and we're pretty busy packing up our carpet-bags and
      eating our last meals on shore. If you ever feel like dishcovering
      us on your own account and cross over the briny deep yourself,
      don't fail to call on me at my home where I have a fine kitching
      stove and an umbrella which will always be at your disposal.

  Yours trooly,
  THE UNWISEMAN, U. S. A.

Later in the evening to the same address was despatched another postal
reading:

      P.S. If you happen to have an extra photograph of your Papa lying
      around the house that you don't want with his ortygraph on it I
      shall be glad to have you send it to me. I will have it framed
      and hung up in the parlor alongside of General Washington and
      President Roosevelt who have also been fathers of their country
      from time to time.

  Yours trooly,
  THE UNWISEMAN, U. S. A.

"I'm glad I did that," said the Unwiseman when he told Mollie of his two
messages to Christopher, Jr. "I don't think people as a rule are careful
enough these days to show their thanks to other people who do things for
them. It don't do any harm to be polite in matters of that kind and some
time it may do a lot of good. Good manners ain't never out of place
anywhere anyhow."

In which praiseworthy sentiment I am happy to say both Mollie and
Whistlebinkie agreed.

The following day the travellers embarked on the steamer bound for New
York. This time, weary of his experience as a stowaway on the trip over,
the Unwiseman contented himself with travelling in his carpet-bag and
not until after the ship had passed along the Mediterranean and out
through the straits of Gibraltar, did he appear before his companions.
His first appearance upon deck was just as the coast of Africa was
fading away upon the horizon. He peered at this long and earnestly
through a small blue bottle he held in his hand, and then when the last
vestige of the scene sank slowly behind the horizon line into the sea,
he corked the bottle up tightly, put it into his pocket and turned to
Mollie and Whistlebinkie.

"Well," he said, "that's done--and I'm glad of it. I've enjoyed this
trip very much, but after all I'm glad I'm going home. Be it ever so
bumble there's no place like home, as the Bee said, and I'll be glad to
be back again where I can sleep comfortably on my kitchen-stove, with my
beloved umbrella standing guard alongside of me, and my trusty leak
looking down upon me from the ceiling while I rest."

"You missed a wonderful sight," said Mollie. "That Rock of Gibraltar was
perfectly magnificent."

"I didn't miss it," said the Unwiseman. "I peeked at it through the
port-hole and I quite agree with you. It is the cutest piece of rock
I've seen in a long time. It seemed almost as big to me as the boulder
in my back yard must seem to an ant, but I prefer my boulder just the
same. Gibrallyper's too big to do anything with and it spoils the view,
whereas my boulder can be rolled around the place without any trouble
and doesn't spoil anything. I suppose they keep it there to keep Spain
from sliding down into the sea, so it's useful in a way, but after all
I'm just as glad it's here instead of out on my lawn somewhere."

"What have you been doing all these days?" asked Mollie.

"O just keeping quiet," said the Unwiseman. "I've been reading up on
Christopher Columbus and--er--writing a few poems about him. He was a
wonderful man, Columbus was. He proved the earth was round when
everybody else thought it was flat--and how do you suppose he did it?"

"By sailin' around it," said Whistlebinkie.

"That was after he proved it," observed the Unwiseman, with the superior
air of one who knows more than somebody else. "He proved it by making an
egg stand up on its hind legs."

"What?" cried Mollie.

"I didn't know eggs had hind legs," said Whistlebinkie.

"Ever see a chicken?" asked the Unwiseman.

"Yes," said Whistlebinkie.

"Well, a chicken's only an advanced egg," said the Unwiseman.

"That's true," said Mollie.

"And chickens haven't got anything but hind legs, have they?" demanded
the old gentleman.

"Thass-a-fact," whistled Whistlebinkie.

"And Columbus proved it by making the egg stand up?" asked Mollie.

"That's what history tells us," said the Unwiseman. "All the Harvard and
Yale professors of the day said the earth was flat, but Columbus knew
better, so he just took an egg and proved it. That's one of the things
I've put in a poem. Want to hear it?"

"Indeed I do," said Mollie. "It must be interesting."

"It is--it's the longest poem I ever wrote," said the Unwiseman, and
seeking out a retired nook on the steamer's deck the droll old fellow
seated himself on a coil of rope and read the following poem to Mollie
and Whistlebinkie.

COLUMBUS AND THE EGG.

  "Columbus was a gentleman
    Who sailed the briny sea.
  He was a bright young Genoan
    In sunny Italy
  Who once discovered just the plan
    To find Amerikee."

"Splendid!" cried Mollie, clapping her hands with glee.

"Perfly-bully!" chortled Whistlebinkie, with a joyous squeak.

"I'm glad you like it," said the Unwiseman, with a smile of pleasure.
"But just you wait. The best part of it's to come yet."

And the old gentleman resumed his poem:

  "He sought the wise-men of his time,
    And when the same were found,
  He went and whispered to them, 'I'm
    Convinced the Earth is round,
  Just like an orange or a lime--
    I'll bet you half a pound!'

  "Each wise-man then just shook his head--
    Each one within his hat.
  'Go to, Columbus, child,' they said.
    '_We_ know the Earth is flat.
  Go home, my son, and go to bed
    And don't talk stuff like that.'

  "But Christopher could not be hushed
    By fellows such as they.
  His spirit never could be crushed
    In such an easy way,
  And with his heart and soul unsquushed
    He plunged into the fray."

"What's a fray?" asked Whistlebinkie.

"A fight, row, dispute, argyment," said the Unwiseman. "Don't
interrupt. We're coming to the exciting part."

And he went on:

  "'I'll prove the world is round,' said he
    'For you next Tuesday night,
  If you will gather formally
    And listen to the right.'
  And all the wise-men did agree
    Because they loved a fight.

  "And so the wise-men gathered there
    To hear Columbus talk,
  And some were white as to the hair
    And some could hardly walk,
  And one looked like a Polar Bear
    And one looked like an Auk."

"How-dju-know-that?" asked Whistlebinkie. "Does the history say all
that?"

"No," said the Unwiseman. "The history doesn't say anything about their
looks, but there's a picture of the whole party in the book, and it was
just as I say especially the Polar Bear and the Auk. Anyhow, they were
all there and the poem goes on to tell about it.

  "Now when about the room they sat
    Columbus he came in;
  Took off his rubbers and his hat,
    Likewise his tarpaulin.
  He cleared his throat and stroked the cat
    And thuswise did begin."

"There wasn't any cat in the picture," explained the Unwiseman, "but I
introduced him to get a rhyme for hat and sat. Sometimes you have to do
things like that in poetry and according to the rules if you have a
license you can do it."

"Have you got a license?" asked Whistlebinkie.

"Not to write poetry, but I've got a dog-license," said the Unwiseman,
"and I guess if a man pays three dollars to keep a dog and doesn't keep
the dog he's got a right to use the license for something else. I'll
risk it anyhow. So just keep still and listen.

  "'You see this egg?' Columbus led.
    'Now watch me, sirs, I begs.
  I'll make it stand upon its head
    Or else upon its legs.'
  And instantly 'twas as he said
    As sure as eggs is eggs.

  "For whether 'twas an Egg from school
    Or in a circus taught,
  Or whether it was just a cool
    Egg of unusual sort,
  That egg stood up just like a spool
    According to report."

"I bet he smashed in the end of it," said Whistlebinkie.

"Maybe it was a scrambled egg, maybe he stuck a pin in an end of it.
Maybe he didn't. Anyhow, he made it stand up," said the Unwiseman, "and
I wish you'd stop squeakyrupting when I'm reading."

"Go ahead," said Whistlebinkie meekly. "It's a perfly spulendid piece o'
potery and I can't help showing my yadmiration for it."

"Well keep your yadmiration for the yend of it," retorted the Unwiseman.
"We'll be in New York before I get it finished at this rate."

Whistlebinkie promised not to squeak again and the Unwiseman resumed.

  "'O wonderful!' the wise-men cried.
    'O marvellous,' said they.
  And then Columbus up and tried
    The egg the other way,
  And still it stood up full of pride
    Or so the histories say.

  "Again the wise-men cried aloud,
    'O wizard, marvellous!
  Of all the scientific crowd
    This is the man for us--
  O Christopher we're mighty proud
    Of you, you little cuss!'"

"That wasn't very polite," began Whistlebinkie.

"Now Squeaky," said the Unwiseman.

"'Scuse!" gasped Whistlebinkie.

And the Unwiseman went on:

  "'For men who make an omlette
    We really do not care;
  To poach an egg already yet
    Is easy everywhere;
  But he who'll teach it etiquette--
    He is a genius rare.

  "'So if _you_ say the Earth is round
    We think it must be so.
  Your reasoning's so very sound,
    Columbus don't you know.
  Come wizard, take your half-a-pound
    Before you homeward go.'"

Whistlebinkie began to fidget again and his breath came in little short
squeaks.

"But I don't see," he began. "It didn't prove----"

"Wait!" said the Unwiseman. "Don't you try to get in ahead of the
finish. Here's the last verse, and it covers your ground.

  "And thus it was, O children dear,
    Who gather at my knee,
  Columbus showed the Earth the sphere
    It since has proved to be;
  Though how the Egg trick made it clear,
    I'm blest if I can see."

"Well I'm glad you put that last voyse in," said Whistlebinkie, "because
I don't see either."

"Oh--I guess they thought a man who could train an egg to stand up was a
pretty smart man," said Mollie, "and they didn't want to dispute with
him."

"I shouldn't be surprised if that was it," said the Unwiseman. "I
noticed too in the picture that Columbus was about twice as big as any
of the wise-men, and maybe that had something to do with it too. Anyhow,
he was pretty smart."

"Is that all you wrote?" asked Whistlebinkie.

"No," said the Unwiseman. "I did another little one called 'I Wonder.'
There are a lot of things the histories don't tell you anything about,
so I've put 'em all in a rhyme as a sort of hint to people who are going
to write about him in the future. It goes like this:

  "When Christopher Columbus came ashore,
  The day he landed in Americor
  I wonder what he said when first he tried
  Down in the subway trains to take a ride?

  "When Christopher Columbus went up town
  And looked the country over, up and down,
  I wonder what he thought when first his eye
  Was caught by the sky-scrapers in the sky?

  "When Christopher put up at his hotel
  And first pushed in the button of his bell
  And upward came the boy who orders takes,
  I wonder if he ordered buckwheat cakes?

  "When Christopher went down to Washington
  To pay his call the President upon
  I wonder if the President felt queer
  To know that his discoverer was here?

  "I wonder when his slow-poke caravels
  Were tossed about by heavy winds and swells,
  If he was not put out and mad to spy
  The ocean steamers prancing swiftly by?"

"I don't know about other people," said the Unwiseman, "but little
things like that always interest me about as much as anything else, but
there's nary a word about it in the papers, and as far as my memory is
concerned when he first came I was too young to know much about what was
going on. I do remember a big parade in his honor, but I think that was
some years after the discovery."

"I guess it was," said Mollie, with a laugh. "There wasn't anything but
Indians there when he arrived."

"Really? How unfortunate--how very unfortunate," said the Unwiseman. "To
think that on the few occasions that he came here he should meet only
Indians. Mercy! What a queer idea of the citizens of the United States
he must have got. Really, Mollie, I don't wonder that instead of
settling down in New York, or Boston, or Chicago, he went back home
again to live. Nothing but Indians! Well, well, well!"

And the Unwiseman wandered moodily back to his carpet-bag.

"With so many nice people living in America," he sighed, "it does seem
too bad that he should meet only Indians who, while they may be very
good Indians indeed, are not noted for the quality of their manners."

And so the little party passed over the sea, and I did not meet with
them again until I reached the pier at New York and discovered the
Unwiseman struggling with the Custom House Inspectors.



XIV.

AT THE CUSTOM HOUSE


"Hi there--where are you going with that carpet-bag?" cried a gruff
voice, as the Unwiseman scurried along the pier, eager to get back home
as speedily as possible after the arrival of the steamer at New York.

"Where do you suppose I'm going?" retorted the Unwiseman, pausing in his
quick-step march back to the waiting arms of his kitchen-stove. "Doesn't
look as if I was walkin' off to sea again, does it?"

"Come back here with that bag," said the man of the gruff voice, a tall
man with a shiny black moustache and a blue cap with gold trimmings on
his head.

"What, me?" demanded the Unwiseman.

"Yes, you," said the man roughly. "What business have you skipping out
like that with a carpet-bag as big as a house under your arm?"

"It's my bag--who's got a better right?" retorted the Unwiseman. "I
bought and paid for it with my own money, so why shouldn't I walk off
with it?"

"Has it been inspected?" demanded the official.

"It don't need to be--there ain't any germans in it," said the
Unwiseman.

"Germans?" laughed the official.

"Yes--Mike robes--you know----" continued the Unwiseman.

"O, you mean germs," said the official. "Well, I didn't say disinfected.
I said inspected. You can't lug a bag like that in through here without
having it examined, you know. What you got in it?"

[Illustration: THE UNWISEMAN LOOKED THE OFFICIAL COLDLY IN THE EYE]

The Unwiseman placed his bag on the floor of the pier and sat on it and
looked the other coldly in the eye.

"Who are you anyhow?" he asked. "What right have you to ask me such
impident questions as, What have I got in this bag?"

"Well in private life my name's Maginnis," said the official, "but down
here on this dock I'm Uncle Sam, otherwise the United States of America,
that's who."

The Unwiseman threw his head back and roared with laughter.

"I do not mean to be rude, my dear Mr. Maginnis," he said, "but I really
must say Tutt, Tush, Pshaw and Pooh. I may even go so far as to say
Pooh-pooh--which is twice as scornful as just plain pooh. _You_ Uncle
Sam? You must think I'm as green as apples if you think I'll believe
that."

"It is true nevertheless," said the official sternly, "and unless you
hand over that bag at once----"

"Well I know better," said the Unwiseman angrily. "Uncle Sam has a red
goatee and you've got nothing but a shiny black moustache that looks
like a pair of comic eyebrows that have slipped and slid down over your
nose. Uncle Sam wears a blue swallow-tail coat with brass buttons on it,
and a pair of red and white striped trousers like a peppermint stick,
and you've got nothin' but an old pea-jacket and blue flannel pants on,
and as for the hat, Uncle Sam wears a yellow beaver with fur on it like
a coon-cat, while that thing of yours looks like a last summer's
yachtin' cap spruced up with brass. You're a very smart man, Mr.
Maginnis, but you can't fool an old traveller like me. I've been to
Europe, I have, and I guess I know the difference between a fire-engine
and a clothes horse. Uncle Sam indeed!"

"I must inspect the contents of that bag," said the official firmly. "If
you resist it will be confiscated."

"I don't know what confiscated means," returned the Unwiseman valiantly,
"but any man who goes through this bag of mine goes through me first.
I'm sittin' on the lock, Mr. Maginnis, and I don't intend to move--no,
not if you try to blast me away. A man's carpet-bag is his castle and
don't you forget it."

"What's the matter here?" demanded a policeman, who had overheard the
last part of this little quarrel.

"Nothing much," said the Unwiseman. "This gentleman here in the
messenger boy's clothes says he's the President o' the United States,
Congress, the Supreme Court, and the Army and Navy, all rolled into one,
thinking that by so doing he can get hold of my carpet-bag. That's all.
Anybody can see by lookin' at him that he ain't even the Department of
Agriculture. The United States Government! Really it makes me laugh."

Here the Unwiseman grinned broadly, and the Policeman and the official
joined in.

"He's a new kind of a smuggler, officer," said Mr. Maginnis, "or at
least he acts like one. I caught him trotting off with that bag under
his arm, and he refuses to let me inspect it."

"I ain't a smuggler!" retorted the Unwiseman indignantly.

"You'll have to let him look through the bag, Mister," said the
Policeman. "He's a Custom House Inspector and nobody's allowed to take
in baggage of any sort that hasn't been inspected."

"Is that the law?" asked the Unwiseman.

"Yep," said the Policeman.

"What's the idea of it?" demanded the Unwiseman.

"Well the United States Government makes people pay a tax on things that
are made on the other side," explained the Inspector. "That's the way
they make the money to pay the President's salary and the other running
expenses of the Government."

"Oh--that's it, eh?" said the Unwiseman. "Well you'd ought to have told
me that in the beginning. I didn't know the Government needed money to
pay the President. I thought all it had to do was to print all it
needed. Of course if the President's got to go without his money unless
I help pay, I'll be only too glad to do all I can to make up the amount
you're short. He earns every penny of it, and it isn't fair to make him
wait for it. About how much do you need to even it up? I've only got
four dollars left and I'm afraid I'll have to use a little of it myself,
but what's left over you're welcome to, only I'd like the President to
know I chipped in. How much does he get anyhow?"

"Seventy-five thousand dollars," said the Inspector.

"And there are 80,000,000 people in the country, ain't there?" asked the
Unwiseman.

"About that?" said the Inspector.

"So that really my share comes to--say four and a quarter thousandths of
a cent--that it?" demanded the Unwiseman.

"Something like that," laughed the Inspector.

"Well then," said the Unwiseman, taking a copper coin from his pocket,
"here's a cent. Can you change it?"

"We don't do business that way," said the Inspector impatiently. "We
examine your baggage and tax that--that's all. If you refuse to let us,
we confiscate the bag, and fine you anywhere from $100 to $5000. Now
what are you going to do?"

"What he says is true," said the Policeman, "and I'd advise you to save
trouble by opening up the bag."

"O well of course if _you_ say so I'll do it, but I think it's mighty
funny just the same," said the Unwiseman, rising from the carpet-bag and
handing it over to the Inspector. "In the first place it's not polite
for an entire stranger to go snooping through a gentleman's carpet-bag.
In the second place if the Secretary of the Treasury hasn't got enough
money on hand when pay-day comes around he ought to state the fact in
the newspapers so we citizens can hustle around and raise it for him
instead of being held up for it like a highwayman, and in the third
place it's very extravagant to employ a man like Mr. Maginnis here for
three dollars a week or whatever he gets, just to collect four and a
quarter thousandths of a cent. I don't wonder there ain't any money in
the treasury if that's the way the Government does business."

So the inspection of the Unwiseman's carpet bag began. The first thing
the Inspector found upon opening that wonderful receptacle was "French
in Five Lessons."

"What's that?" he asked.

"That's a book," replied the Unwiseman. "It teaches you how to talk
French in five easy lessons."

"What did you pay for it?" asked the Inspector.

"I didn't pay anything for it," said the Unwiseman. "I found it."

"What do you think it's worth?" queried the Inspector.

"Nothing," said the Unwiseman. "That is, all the French I got out of it
came to about that. It may have been first class looking French, but
when I came to use it on French people they didn't seem to recognize it,
and it had a habit of fading away and getting lost altogether, so as far
as I'm concerned it ain't worth paying duty on. If you're going to tax
me for that you can confisticate it and throw it at the first cat you
want to scare off your back-yard fence."

"What's this?" asked the Inspector, taking a small tin box out of the
bag.

"Ginger-snaps, two bananas and an eclair," said the Unwiseman. "I shan't
pay any duty on them because I took 'em away with me when I left home."

"I don't know whether I can let them in duty-free or not," said the
Inspector, with a wink at the Policeman.

"Well I'll settle that in a minute," said the Unwiseman, and reaching
out for the tin-box in less than two minutes he had eaten its contents.
"You can't tax what ain't, can you?" he asked.

"Of course not," said the Inspector.

"Well then those ginger-snaps ain't, and the bananas ain't and the
eclair ain't, so there you are," said the Unwiseman triumphantly. "Go on
with your search, Uncle Sammy. You haven't got much towards the
President's salary yet, have you!"

The Inspector scorned to reply, and after rummaging about in the bag
for a few moments, he produced a small box of macaroni.

"I guess we'll tax you on this," he said. "What is it?"

"Bait," said the Unwiseman.

"I call it macaroni," said the Inspector.

"You can call it what you please," said the Unwiseman. "I call it
bait--and it's no good. I can dig better bait than all the macaroni in
the world in my back yard. I fish for fish and not for Eye-talians, so I
don't need that kind. If I can't keep it without paying taxes for it,
confisticate it and eat it yourself. I only brought it home as a
souvenir of Genoa anyhow."

"I don't want it," said the Inspector.

"Then give it to the policeman," said the Unwiseman. "I tell you right
now I wouldn't pay five cents to keep a piece of macaroni nine miles
long. Be careful the way you handle that sailor suit of mine. I had it
pressed in London and I want to keep the creases in the trousers just
right the way the King wears his."

"Where did you buy them?" asked the Inspector, holding the duck trousers
up in the air.

"Right here in this town before I stole on board the _Digestic_," said
the Unwiseman.

"American made, are they?" asked the Inspector.

"Yes," said the Unwiseman. "You can tell that by lookin' at 'em. They're
regular canvas-back ducks with the maker's name stamped on the buttons."

Closer inspection of the garment proved the truth of the Unwiseman's
assertion and the Inspector proceeded.

"Didn't you make any purchases abroad?" he asked. "Clothes or jewels or
something?"

"I didn't buy any clothes at all," said the Unwiseman. "I did ask the
price of a Duke's suit and a Knight gown, but I didn't buy either of
them. You don't have to pay duty on a request for information, do you?"

"You are sure you didn't buy any?" repeated the Inspector.

"Quite sure," said the Unwiseman. "A slight misunderstanding with the
King combined with a difference of opinion with his tailor made it
unnecessary for me to lay in a stock of royal raiment. And the same
thing prevented my buying any jewels. If I'd decided to go into the
Duke business I probably should have bought a few diamond rings and a
half a dozen tararas to wear when I took breakfast with the roil family,
but I gave that all up when I made up my mind to remain a farmer.
Tararas and diamond rings kind of get in your way when you're pulling
weeds and planting beets, so why should I buy them?"

"How about other things?" asked the Inspector. "You say you've been
abroad all summer and haven't bought anything?"

"I didn't say anything of the sort," said the Unwiseman. "I bought a lot
of things. In London I bought a ride in a hansom cab, in Paris I bought
a ride in a one horse fakir, and in Venice I bought a ride in a
Gandyola. I bought a large number of tarts and plates of ice cream in
various places. I bought a couple of souvenir postal cards to send to
Columbus's little boy. In Switzerland I didn't buy anything because the
things I wanted weren't for sale such as pet shammys and Alps and
Glaziers and things like that. There's only two things that I can
remember that maybe ought to be taxed. One of 'em's an air gun to shoot
alps with and the others a big alpen-stock engraved with a red hot iron
showing what mountains I didn't climb. The Alpen-stock I used as a fish
pole in Venice and lost it because my hook got stuck in an artist's
straw hat, but the air gun I brought home with me. You can tax it if you
want to, but I warn you if you do I'll give it to you and then you'll
have to pay the tax yourself."

Having delivered himself of this long harangue, the Unwiseman, quite out
of breath, sat down on Mollie's trunk and waited for new developments.
The Inspector apparently did not hear him, or if he did paid no
attention. The chances are that the Unwiseman's words never reached his
ears, for to tell the truth his head was hidden way down deep in the
carpet-bag. It was all of three minutes before he spoke, and then with
his face all red with the work he drew his head from the bag and,
gasping for air observed, wonderingly:

"I can't find anything else but a lot of old bottles in there. What
business are you in anyhow?" he asked. "Bottles and rags?"

"I am a collector," said the Unwiseman, with a great deal of dignity.

"Well--after all I guess we'll have to let you in free," said the
Inspector, closing the bag with a snap and scribbling a little mark on
it with a piece of chalk to show that it had been examined. "The
Government hasn't put any tax on old bottles and junk generally so
you're all right. If all importers were like you the United States would
have to go out of business."

"Junk indeed!" cried the Unwiseman, jumping up wrathfully. "If you call
my bottles junk I'd like to know what you'd say to the British Museum.
That's a scrap heap, alongside of this collection of mine, and I don't
want you to forget it!"

And gathering his belongings together the Unwiseman in high dudgeon
walked off the pier while the Inspector and the Policeman watched him go
with smiles on their faces so broad that if they'd been half an inch
broader they would have met behind their necks and cut their heads off.

"I never was so insulted in my life," said the Unwiseman, as he told
Mollie about it in the carriage going up to the train that was to take
them back home. "He called that magnificent collection of mine junk."

"What was there in it?" asked Mollie.

"Wait until we get home and I'll show you," said the Unwiseman. "It's
the finest collection of--well just wait and see. I'm going to start a
Museum up in my house that will make that British Museum look like
cinder in a giant's eye. How did you get through the Custom House?"

"Very nicely," said Mollie. "The man wanted me to pay duty on
Whistlebinkie at first, because he thought he was made in Germany, but
when he heard him squeak he let him in free."

"I should think so," said the Unwiseman. "There's no German in his
squeak. He couldn't get a medium sized German word through his hat. If
he could I think he'd drive me crazy. Just open the window will you
while I send this wireless message to the President."

"To the President?" cried Mollie.

"Yes--I want him to know I'm home in the first place, and in the second
place I want to tell him that the next time he wants to collect his
salary from me, I'll take it as a personal favor if he'll come himself
and not send Uncle Sam Maginnis after it. I can stand a good deal for my
country's sake but when a Custom House inspector prys into my private
affairs and then calls them junk just because the President needs a four
and a quarter thousandth of a cent, it makes me very, very angry. It's
been as much as I could do to keep from saying 'Thunder' ever since I
landed, and that ain't the way an American citizen ought to feel when he
comes back to his own beautiful land again after three months' absence.
It's like celebrating a wanderer's return by hitting him in the face
with a boot-jack, and I don't like it."

The window was opened and with much deliberation the Unwiseman
despatched his message to the President, announcing his return and
protesting against the tyrannous behavior of Mr. Maginnis, the Custom
House Inspector, after which the little party continued on their way
until they reached their native town. Here they separated, Mollie and
Whistlebinkie going to their home and the Unwiseman to the queer little
house that he had left in charge of the burglar at the beginning of the
summer.

"If I ever go abroad again," said the Unwiseman at parting, "which I
never ain't going to do, I'll bring a big Bengal tiger back in my bag
that ain't been fed for seven weeks, and then we'll have some fun when
Maginnis opens the bag!"



XV.

HOME, SWEET HOME


"Hurry up and finish your breakfast, Whistlebinkie," said Mollie the
next morning after their return from abroad. "I want to run around to
the Unwiseman's House and see if everything is all right. I'm just crazy
to know how the burglar left the house."

"I-mall-ready," whistled Whistlebinkie. "I-yain't-very-ungry."

"Lost your appetite?" asked Mollie eyeing him anxiously, for she was a
motherly little girl and took excellent care of all her playthings.

"Yep," said Whistlebinkie. "I always do lose my appetite after eating
three plates of oat-meal, four chops, five rolls, six buckwheat cakes
and a couple of bananas."

"Mercy! How do you hold it all, Whistlebinkie?" said Mollie.

"Oh--I'm made o'rubber and my stummick is very 'lastic," explained
Whistlebinkie.

So hand in hand the little couple made off down the road to the
pleasant spot where the Unwiseman's house stood, and there in the front
yard was the old gentleman himself talking to his beloved boulder, and
patting it gently as he did so.

[Illustration: "I'M NEVER GOING TO LEAVE YOU AGAIN, BOLDY," HE WAS
SAYING]

"I'm never going to leave you again, Boldy," he was saying to the rock
as Mollie and Whistlebinkie came up. "It is true that the Rock of
Gibraltar is bigger and broader and more terrible to look at than you
are but when it comes right down to business it isn't any harder or to
my eyes any prettier. You are still my favorite rock, Boldy dear, so you
needn't be jealous." And the old gentleman bent over and kissed the
boulder softly.

"Good morning," said Mollie, leaning over the fence. "Whistlebinkie and
I have come down to see if everything is all right. I hope the
kitchen-stove is well?"

"Well the house is here, and all the bric-a-brac, and the leak has grown
a bit upon the ceiling, and the kitchen-stove is all right thank you,
but I'm afraid that old burgular has run off with my umbrella," said the
Unwiseman. "I can't find a trace of it anywhere."

"You don't really think he has stolen it do you?" asked Mollie.

"I don't know what to think," said the Unwiseman, shaking his head
gravely. "He had first class references, that burgular had, and claimed
to have done all the burguling for the very nicest people in the country
for the last two years, but these are the facts. He's gone and the
umbrella's gone too. I suppose in the burgular's trade like in
everything else you some times run across one who isn't as honest as he
ought to be. Occasionally you'll find a burgular who'll take things that
don't belong to him and it may be that this fellow that took my house
was one of that kind--but you never can tell. It isn't fair to judge a
man by disappearances, and it is just possible that the umbrella got
away from him in a heavy storm. It was a skittish sort of a creature
anyhow and sometimes I've had all I could do in windy weather to keep it
from running away myself. What do you think of my sign?"

"I don't see any sign," said Mollie, looking all around in search of the
object. "Where is it?"

"O I forgot," laughed the old gentleman gaily. "It's around on the other
side of the house--come on around and see it."

The callers walked quickly around to the rear of the Unwiseman's house,
and there, hanging over the kitchen door, was a long piece of board upon
which the Unwiseman had painted in very crooked black letters the
following words:

  THE BRITISH MUSEUM JUNIOR
  Admishun ten cents.     Exit fifteen cents.
  Burgulars one umbrella.
  THE FINEST COLECTION OF ALPS AND SOFORTHS ON EARTH.
  CHILDREN AND RUBER DOLLS FREE ON SATIDYS.

"Dear me--how interesting," said Mollie, as she read this remarkable
legend, "but--what does it mean?"

"It means that I've started a British Museum over here," said the
Unwiseman, "only mine is going to be useful, instead of merely
ornamental like that one over in London. For twenty-five cents a man can
get a whole European trip in my Museum without getting on board of a
steamer. I only charge ten cents to come in so as to get people to
come, and I charge fifteen cents to get out so as to make 'em stay until
they have seen all there is to be seen. People get awfully tired
travelling abroad, I find, and if you make it too easy for them to run
back home they'll go without finishing their trip. I charge burgulars
one umbrella to get in so that if my burgular comes back he'll have to
make good my loss, or stay out."

"Why do you let children and rubber dolls in free?" asked Mollie,
reading the sign over a second time.

"I wrote that rule to cover you and old Squizzledinkie here," said the
old gentleman, with a kindly smile at his little guests. "Although it
really wasn't necessary because I don't charge any admission to people
who come in the front door and you could always come in that way. That's
the entrance to my home. The back-door I charge for because it's the
entrance to my museum, don't you see?"

"Clear as a blue china alley," said Whistlebinkie.

"Come in and see the exhibit," said the Unwiseman proudly.

And then as Mollie and Whistlebinkie entered the house their eyes fell
upon what was indeed the most marvellous collection of interesting
objects they had ever seen. All about the parlor were ranged row upon
row of bottles, large and small, each bearing a label describing its
contents, with here and there mysterious boxes, and broken tumblers and
all sorts of other odd things that the Unwiseman had brought home in his
carpet-bag.

"Bottle number one," said he, pointing to the object with a cane, "is
filled with Atlantic Ocean--real genuine briny deep--bottled it myself
and so I know there's nothing bogus about it. Number two which looks
empty, but really ain't, is full of air from the coast of Ireland,
caught three miles out from Queenstown by yours trooly, Mr. Me. Number
three, full of dust and small pebbles, is genuine British soil gathered
in London the day they put me out of the Museum. 'Tain't much to look
at, is it?" he added.

"Nothin' extra," said Whistlebinkie, inspecting it with a critical air
after the manner of one who was an expert in soils.

"Not compared to American soil anyhow," said the Unwiseman. "This hard
cake in the tin box is a 'Muffin by Special Appointment to the King,'"
he went on with a broad grin. "I went in and bought one after we had our
rumpus in the bake-shop, just for the purpose of bringing it over here
and showing the American people how vain and empty roilty has become. It
is not a noble looking object to my eyes."

"Mine neither," whistled Whistlebinkie. "It looks rather stale."

"Yes," said the Unwiseman. "And that's the only roil thing about it.
Passing along rapidly we come soon to a bottleful of the British
Channel," he resumed. "In order to get the full effect of that very
conceited body of water you want to shake it violently. That gives you
some idea of how the water works. It's tame enough now that I've got it
bottled but in its native lair it is fierce. You will see the
instructions on the bottle."

Sure enough the bottle was labeled as the Unwiseman said with full
instructions as to how it must be used.

"Shake for fifteen minutes until it is all roiled up and swells around
inside the bottle like a tidal wave," the instructions read. "You will
then get a small idea of how this disagreeable body of water behaves
itself in the presence of trusting strangers."

"Here is my bottle of French soil," said the Unwiseman, passing on to
the next object. "It doesn't look very different from English soil but
it's French all right, as you would see for yourself if it tried to
talk. I scooped it up myself in Paris. There's the book--French in Five
Lessons--too. That I call 'The French Language,' which shows people who
visit this museum what a funny tongue it is. That pill box full of sand
is a part of the Swiss frontier and the small piece of gravel next to it
is a piece of an Alp chipped off Mount Blanc by myself, so that I know
it is genuine. It will give the man who has never visited
Swaz--well--that country, a small idea of what an Alp looks like and
will correct the notion in some people's minds that an Alp is a wild
animal with a long hairy tail and the manners of a lion. The next two
bottles contain all that is left of a snow-ball I gathered in at
Chamouny, and a chip of the Mer de Glace glazier. They've both melted
since I bottled them, but I'll have them frozen up again all right when
winter comes, so there's no harm done."

"What's this piece of broken china on the table?" asked Mollie.

"That is a fragment of a Parisian butter saucer," said the Unwiseman.
"One of the waiters fell down stairs with somebody's breakfast at our
hotel in Paris one morning while we were there," he explained, "and I
rescued that from the debris. It is a perfect specimen of a broken
French butter dish."

"I don't think it's very interesting," said Mollie.

"Well to tell you the truth, I don't either, but you've got to remember,
my dear, that this is a British Museum and the one over in London is
chuck full of broken china, old butter plates and coffee cups from all
over everywhere, and I don't want people who care for that sort of thing
to be disappointed with my museum when they come here. Take that plaster
statue of Cupid that I bought in Venice--I only got that to please
people who care for statuary."

"Where is it?" asked Mollie, searching the room with her eye for the
Cupid.

"I've spread it out through the Museum so as to make it look more like a
collection," said the Unwiseman. "I got a tack-hammer as soon as I got
home last night and fixed it up. There's an arm over on the
mantel-piece. His chest and left leg are there on top of the piano,
while his other arm with his left ear and right leg are in the kitchen.
I haven't found places for his stummick and what's left of his head yet,
but I will before the crowd begins to arrive."

"Why Mr. Me!" protested Mollie, as she gazed mournfully upon the scraps
of the broken Cupid. "You didn't really smash up that pretty little
statue?"

"I'm afraid I did, Mollie," said the Unwiseman sadly. "I hated to do it,
but this is a Museum my dear, and when you go into the museum business
you've to do it according to the rules. One of the rules seems to be 'No
admission to Unbusted Statuary,' and I've acted accordingly. I don't
want to deceive anybody and if I gave even to my kitchen-stove the idea
that these first class museums over in Europe have anything but
fractures in them----"

"Fragments, isn't it?" suggested Mollie.

"It's all the same," said the Unwiseman, "Fractures or fragments, there
isn't a complete statue anywhere in any museum that I ever saw, and in
educating my kitchen-stove in Art I'm going to follow the lead of the
experts."

"Well I don't see the use of it," sighed Mollie, for she had admired the
pretty little plaster Cupid very much indeed.

"No more do I, Mollie dear," said the Unwiseman, "but rules are rules
and we've got to obey them. This is the Grand Canal at Venice," he added
holding up a bottle full of dark green water in order to change the
subject. "And here is what I call a Hoople-fish from the Adriatic."

"What on earth is a Hoople-fish?" cried Mollie with a roar of laughter
as she gazed upon the object to which the Unwiseman referred, an old
water soaked strip of shingley wood.

"It is the barrel hoop I caught that day I went fishing from the hotel
balcony," explained the Unwiseman. "I wish I'd kept the artist's straw
hat I landed at the same time for a Hat-fish to complete my collection
of Strange Shad From Venice, but of course that was impossible. The
artist seemed to want it himself and as he had first claim to it I
didn't press the matter. The barrel-hoop will serve however to warn
Americans who want to go salmon fishing on the Grand Canal just what
kind of queer things they'll catch if they have any luck at all."

"What's this?" asked Whistlebinkie, peering into a little tin pepper pot
that appeared to contain nothing but sand.

"You must handle that very carefully," said the Unwiseman, taking it in
one hand, and shaking some of the sand out of it into the palm of the
other. "That is the birth-place of Christopher Columbus, otherwise the
soil of Genoa. I brought home about a pail-ful of it, and I'm going to
have it put up in forty-seven little bottles to send around to people
that would appreciate having it. One of 'em is to go to the President to
be kept on the White House mantel-piece in memory of Columbus, and the
rest of them I shall distribute to the biggest Museums in each one of
the United States. I don't think any State in the Union should be
without a bottle of Columbus birth-place, in view of all that he did for
this country by discovering it. There wouldn't have been any States at
all of it hadn't been for him, and it strikes me that is a very simple
and touching way of showing our gratitude."

"Perfectly fine!" cried Mollie enthusiastically. "I don't believe
there's another collection like this anywhere in all the world, do you?"
she added, sweeping the room with an eye full of wondering admiration
for the genius that had gathered all these marvellous things together.

"No--I really don't," said the Unwiseman. "And just think what a fine
thing it will be for people who can't afford to travel," he went on.
"For twenty-five cents they can come here and see everything we
saw--except a few bogus kings and things like that that ain't really
worth seeing--from the French language down to the Venetian Hoople-fish,
from an Alp and a Glazier to a Specially Appointed Muffin to the King
and Columbus's birth-place. I really think I shall have to advertise it
in the newspapers. A Trip Abroad Without Leaving Home, All for a
Quarter, at the Unwiseman's Museum. Alps a Specialty."

"Here's a couple of empty bottles," said Whistlebinkie, who had been
snooping curiously about the room.

"Yes," said the Unwiseman. "I've more than that. I'm sorry to say that
some of my exhibits have faded away. The first one was filled with
London fog, and as you remember I lost that when the cork flew out the
day they dejected me from the British Museum. That other bottle when I
put the cork in it contained a view of Gibraltar and the African Coast
through the port-hole of the steamer, but it's all faded out, just as
the bird's-eye view of the horizon out in the middle of the ocean that I
had in a little pill bottle did. There are certain things you can't keep
even in bottles--but I shall show the Gibraltar bottle just the same. A
bottle of that size that once contained that big piece of rock and the
African Coast to boot, is a wonderful thing in itself."

In which belief Mollie and Whistlebinkie unanimously agreed.

"Was the kitchen-stove glad to see you back?" asked Whistlebinkie.

"Well--it didn't say very much," said the Unwiseman, with an
affectionate glance out into the kitchen, "but when I filled it up with
coal, and started the fire going, it was more than cordial. Indeed
before the evening was over it got so very warm that I had to open the
parlor windows to cool it off."

"It's pretty nice to be home again, isn't it," said Mollie.

"Nice?" echoed the old gentleman. "I can just tell you, Miss Mollie
Whistlebinkie, that the finest thing I've seen since I left home, finer
than all the oceans in the world, more beautiful than all the Englands
in creation, sweeter than all the Frances on the map, lovelier than any
Alp that ever poked its nose against the sky, dearer than all the
Venices afloat--the greatest, most welcome sight that ever greeted my
eyes was my own brass front door knob holding itself out there in the
twilight of yesterday to welcome me home and twinkling in the fading
light of day like a house afire as if to show it was glad to see me
back. That's why the minute I came into the yard I took off my hat and
knelt down before that old brass knob and kissed it."

The old man's voice shook just a little as he spoke, and a small
teardrop gathered and glistened in a corner of his eye--but it was a
tear of joy and content, not of sorrow.

"And then when I turned the knob and opened the door," he went on,
"well--talk about your Palaces with all their magnificent shiny floors
and gorgeous gold framed mirrors and hall-bedrooms as big as the Madison
Square Garden--they couldn't compare to this old parlor of mine with the
piano over on one side of the room, the refrigerator in the other, the
leak beaming down from the ceiling, and my kitchen-stove peeking in
through the door and sort of keeping an eye on things generally. And not
a picture in all that 9643 miles of paint at the Loover can hold a
candle to my beloved old Washington Crossing the Delaware over my
mantel-piece, with the British bombarding him with snow-balls and the
river filled to the brim with ice-bergs--no sirree! And best of all,
nobody around to leave their aitches all over the place for somebody
else to pick up, or any French language to take a pretty little bird and
turn it into a wazzoh, or to turn a good honest hard boiled egg into an
oof, but everybody from Me myself down to the kitchen-stove using the
good old American language whenever we have something to say and holding
our tongues in the same when we haven't."

"Hooray for us!" cried Whistlebinkie, dancing with glee.

"That's what I say," said the Unwiseman. "America's good enough for me
and I'm glad I'm back."

"Well I feel the same way," said Mollie. "I liked Europe very much
indeed but somehow or other I like America best."

"And for a very good reason," said the Unwiseman.

"What?" asked Mollie.

"Because it's Home," said the Unwiseman.

"I guess-thassit," said Whistlebinkie.

"Well don't guess again, Fizzledinkie," said the Unwiseman, "because
that's the answer, and if you guessed again you might get it wrong."

And so it was that Mollie and the Unwiseman and Whistlebinkie finished
their trip abroad, and returned better pleased with Home than they had
ever been before, which indeed is one of the greatest benefits any of us
get out of a trip to Europe, for after all that fine old poet was right
when he said:

  "East or West
  Home is best."

In closing I think I ought to say that the Unwiseman's umbrella turned
up in good order the next morning, and where do you suppose?

Why up on the roof where the kind-hearted burglar had placed it to
protect the Unwiseman's leak from the rain!

So he seems to have been a pretty honest old burglar after all.

THE END.





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