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Title: A Little Maid in Toyland
Author: Sutton, Adah Louise
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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A LITTLE MAID IN TOYLAND


[Illustration: THE SLEIGH DREW UP BESIDE A LARGE SHEET OF CLEAR GLASS,
LIGHTLY SPRINKLED WITH SNOW POWDER SO THAT IT WAS NOT TOO SLIPPERY FOR
ROLLER SKATING]


A LITTLE MAID IN TOYLAND

by

ADAH LOUISE SUTTON

Author of
“Mr. Bunny, His Book,” “The Teddy Bears,” etc.


[Illustration]


Pictured by A. Russell



The Saalfield Publishing Company
Chicago     Akron, Ohio     New York
Made in U. S. A.

Copyright, 1908
By
The Saalfield Publishing Company



CHAPTER I

THE WALKING HOUSE


THE doll’s house stood in the most convenient corner of the nursery,
having, like Noah’s dove, found rest only after a somewhat varied and
tempestuous experience. Sally had not been at all able to make up her
mind just what location suited her best, and the house had patiently
traveled, or, in other words, had been propelled by the united efforts
of Bob and Sally—“The corporal pushed and the sergeant pulled”—the one
dragging, the other pushing, from corner to corner and from side to
side of the spacious room. Not a piece of furniture but had been moved
out of the way that the doll’s house might stand in its place, and was
as methodically moved back again when the building resumed its travels.
Never did it remain in one place for longer than twenty-four hours,
much to the disgust and terror of its inmates, who were frequently
joggled from their chairs and tilted out of bed as their domicile
renewed its pilgrimage. They concluded by naming it the Walking House,
which certainly seemed appropriate enough under existing circumstances.

Finally, when the Walking House had traveled around the nursery,
Sally decided that the very best position was the one it had at first
occupied, a sunny spot between two windows, and at night lighted from
above by a bracket from which depended four electric bulbs. To be sure,
the dresser, to which this post of vantage had originally belonged,
became very sulky at being deprived of her rights, and purposely
twisted off one of her castors while in transit to the other side of
the room. But as nothing in the world was easier than for John, the man
of all work, to screw another castor in its place, nobody really minded
it the least little bit.

A great man by the name of Ruskin once said that “Architecture is
frozen music.” Now the architecture of the Walking House was no
description of music at all, and I have no doubt that the gentleman who
admired Grecian architecture would have held up both hands in dismay at
mentioning architecture and the Walking House in the same breath. Truth
to tell, the building had been designed by Sally herself, and had been
elaborated by John’s handy fingers from a number of good-sized boxes
procured from the grocery man. The boxes diminished in size as the
house soared upward, the whole terminating in a peaked roof under whose
roomy gable Sally had planned and consummated an attic for her beloved
dollies that would have put to shame the garret of many a grown-up
housekeeper.

All the rest of the rooms had been papered by the children’s deft
fingers in neat little designs procured from Mr. Brouse, the gentleman
with a wooden leg who lived three blocks away and then around the
corner and up one flight, as he himself was wont to describe it. And
although he really did live up one flight as far as eating and drinking
and sleeping were concerned, the shop was in reality only up one
step—that most fascinating shop, from whose mysterious recesses might
be procured rolls of the most delightful wall paper, which was surely
invented and designed simply and solely for the decoration of doll
houses.

Mr. Brouse was an old soldier, according to his own account, and indeed
was familiarly addressed as “Captain” by his intimate cronies. He had
lost a limb in a mysterious battle, the name of which, as spoken by
himself, Sally had never been able to discover in any one of several
histories of the United States through which the little girl had
patiently toiled in search of it. However, Sally had unbounded faith
in her hero, for such she considered him to be; and her admiration
was returned with interest by the retired “Captain” who, with his own
hands—that, as Bob seriously remarked, had once wielded a sword—carried
to the nursery a large pail of paste and assisted in hanging the wall
paper, and many a difficult corner he had arranged with neatness and
despatch. He had even tacked up tiny mouldings made from the slender
strips of which wee gilt frames are fashioned. In fact, his work was
a masterpiece of art, and Sally appreciated it hugely, making a shy
return in the way of fat pin-cushions and sprawling penwipers, and even
a gorgeous silk needlebook, mysterious of design and most difficult of
access as regarding certain wabbly strings and buttons, which, when
once fastened, could never be persuaded to open themselves again, and
behind whose secret fastnesses the needles comfortably and aimlessly
rusted.

So much for the papering of the rooms. When it came to finishing the
attic, why, that was quite another thing. Sally calmly but firmly
declared that it _must be plastered_, and plastered it was, but
altogether without the assistance of Mr. Brouse, who declared that
matters were growing altogether too complicated for him. And he
politely retired, forgetting his pail of paste, however, into which
nurse presently fell, much to the detriment of her best gloves which
she had put on in order to appear unusually fine on her afternoon out.
Nothing daunted, Sally flew to the cellar and routed out John, who was
taking a bit of a nap in a cosy little den he had fixed for himself
in the furnace room. John was surely an exception to most people, who
are usually cranky at being wakened. He bobbed up smiling, and readily
agreed to attend to plastering the attic of the Walking House. And in
a much shorter time than Sally had really expected, the whole job was
finished and the little room with its peaked ceiling looked exactly
like a really truly attic.

[Illustration: The “Captain” assisted in hanging the wall paper.]

The house, as before described, was built of good-sized boxes, neatly
put together with narrow cleats to hide the joinings, and the whole was
painted a delicate gray, only the sloping roof being moss green. John
had covered this roof with tiny shingles, and the effect of the whole
was extremely attractive. It was divided in the middle by a broad hall,
at the back of which was a wide stairway. John had rather demurred at
the stairway, foreseeing that the making of it would be a troublesome
piece of business. But Sally had stoutly insisted thereon, for how on
earth could a doll descend from upper stories to lower without stairs?
She would be forced to hurl herself out of the front windows,—called
so by compliment since the whole front of the house stood open in one
generous space—a proceeding extremely detrimental to china limbs. Sally
was a matter-of-fact little soul, albeit she possessed a brilliant
imagination. But she certainly builded better than she knew when she
insisted on that staircase. John, as usual, gave in and the stairs
became an accomplished fact.

The lower floor of the Walking House consisted of a spacious
dining-room on one side of the hall and a kitchen and laundry on the
other. On the next floor were the drawing-room, library and music-room.
On the third floor were three bed-rooms and a bath-room, and above all,
the attic.

On one side of the house and running across the front on the lower
floor, John had built a veranda, on which a doll might enjoy coolness
and comfort on the hottest of days, while all the way up the other side
ran a tiny fire-escape, which finally disappeared in a scuttle in the
sloping roof.

Bob, just then much interested in electricity, wired the whole house
and connected it with the electric light chandelier which hung above
it, so that every room was brilliantly lighted with electricity, and an
electric bell at the front door gave notice whenever a friendly doll
dropped in for afternoon tea.

Sally’s one regret was that there was no cellar. The child had dreamed
of a wee furnace and a fruit closet filled with jars of jam and jelly
put up over a tiny electric stove. But the stove had been utterly
impracticable, John had declared that it would be impossible to dig
down through the floor of the room for the cellar, and practical nurse
had pointed out the fact that nowhere could one find preserve jars tiny
enough for the purpose. So Sally had given up the project, not without
a sigh however. She had very, very realistic ideas, had Sally.

One of her pet projects, confided to her governess, Miss Palmer, not
without misgivings, had been to build a revolving house, one that
could be “swung around” as the child, knowing nothing of pivots, had
expressed it. This idea she had conceived to be applied not only to
doll houses, but to real dwellings.

“You could always have the sunshine wherever you wanted it,” she had
explained. “And wouldn’t it be fine to have it always right here in the
nursery?”

Miss Palmer had hesitated a little before replying. Indeed Sally’s
theories often caused her to hesitate. However, she finally explained
that the idea would be quite impossible, as all buildings of any size
require a firm foundation. And she thereupon proceeded to explain the
nature of the pivot, considering the opportunity a very fitting one.

“Besides,” she concluded, “wouldn’t it be very selfish for us to keep
all the sunshine on our side of the house all the time? What would
become of Grandma and Bob?”

Sally was quiet for a moment, thinking.

“I didn’t mean to be selfish,” she whispered, snuggling her peachy
cheek against her teacher’s shoulder.

“I’m sure you didn’t, my dear,” returned Miss Palmer.

And so it fell out that no architect, not even John, was ever requested
to draw plans for a house that might revolve on a pivot.



CHAPTER II

THE HOUSE IS FURNISHED


THE furnishing of the doll’s house proved a keen delight to Sally, and
the infection spread from the little girl to the other members of the
household, even Papa Doctor often emerging from his carriage with his
arms full of mysterious, knobby parcels.

Mamma Wee, as Sally lovingly nicknamed Mrs. North, renounced pink teas
and bridge parties and spent hours every day sitting bow-legged like a
Turk or a tailor, while she arranged the fascinating little rooms, laid
small carpets and tacked up tiny, ruffled curtains. For all the windows
were real ones, with panes of glass let into the small sashes and with
the cunningest little white blinds that opened in the middle and could
be securely fastened with bolts at night. Sally, who, as Bob said, was
“always thinking up something else,” was already revolving in her own
mind the propriety of demanding screens to head off imaginary flies and
mosquitoes.

“Just fancy how perfectly _huge_ a _real_ fly would look to one of
the dollies!” she said to herself as she thoughtfully pondered on the
momentous question.

She scarcely liked to ask John if he would undertake such a particular
job, he had done so much already. “Pernickety” he was sure to call it.
So, after much mature deliberation, she concluded to drop the matter
for the present, at least.

“What is the use of screening up the back and sides when the front is
all open anyway?” Bob had exclaimed when Sally finally broached the
subject to him.

“Oh, but we are imagining the front is just like that in any other
house!” retorted Sally with some spirit.

“Well, then imagine that the flies can’t come in,” responded Bob. And
that settled it.

Odd as it may seem, the attic was the very first room that Sally
started to put in order. And a most delicious little place it was, with
its raftered ceiling and neatly plastered walls. With the vision of
their own immaculate attic in her mind’s eye, the child proceeded to
neatly range around the walls several doll’s trunks, a tiny spinning
wheel and two or three odd wooden chairs; also one of the many cradles
that had been presented as offerings at the shrine of the doll’s house.
A spinning wheel and a cradle comprised, for the most part, what Sally
denominated a “proper” attic.

From the rafters the child hung tiny bunches of good-smelling herbs,
for which cook had been levied upon. To be sure, no such thing existed
in city attics as a rule, but they did down at the farm. Sally suddenly
recollected that they also had spiders and cobwebs in the attic at the
farm. The very thought of a spider made her shiver, but she wondered if
it would not be well to affect a few cobwebs, and privately concluded
to request Miss Palmer, her beloved governess, to paint in a few with
water-colors,—a scheme into which Miss Palmer heartily entered, adding
on her own responsibility a fat, yellow spider, whose appearance was
so realistic that Sally shrieked when she first discovered it. Bob
promptly suggested that a few rats should be added. But rats, Miss
Palmer declared, were beyond her powers of creation. They would require
to be real, solid little beasts, and not simply painted flat on the
wall. To this Bob readily assented, gravely adding that if they were
only painted on the wall, of course they never could come down at night
to bite the dolls. Bob concluded his remarks by making a grimace so
fearfully suggestive of a prowling rat that Sally fled in anguish, and
Miss Palmer, while she could not refrain from smiling, felt forced to
request that he would cease from tormenting his sister.

From the attic to the kitchen is quite a long jump, at least it would
have been without the staircase. But the kitchen was the next on the
program, and thither were the forces of the furnishing party now
directed. Never had a new kitchen been so liberally supplied with
stoves, kettles, pans and pots, especially _stoves_. It really seemed
as if everyone who had not sent a cradle had sent a stove. Every kind
except an electric one, as Sally sadly reflected. But Miss Palmer
consoled her by saying that she doubted very much if electric stoves
came in so small a size. So Sally was presently very well content to
see a most fascinating little cast-iron affair set up, on top of which
was ranged an array of pots and kettles sufficient to prepare a dinner
for the most particular of dolls, albeit of diminutive size.

Opposite the stove stood a neat dresser, filled with a most wonderful
array of china and glass. To be sure, Sally had reserved the very best
for the china closet in the dining-room, but the display in the kitchen
was a goodly one. So also was the wooden and tinware that hung upon
hooks and displayed itself on shelves all around the walls. But the
article dearest to Sally’s heart, and over which the child lingered
longest in a perfect passion of delight was a miniature refrigerator,
an almost exact reproduction of the big one downstairs. Lined with
opal glass, its well-filled shelves were weighted down with all sorts
of delectable edibles that dolls are presumed to delight in. Its upper
compartment was filled with chunks of ground glass to represent ice.
Sally lingered long in rapture over this delightful bit of furniture,
and having at last located it entirely to her satisfaction, placed over
against it a cute little three-cornered closet containing a collection
of brooms and mops, and a wee carpet sweeper, whose tiny, revolving
brushes really picked up any small bits of fluff and lint that happened
to be about.

Surely never was a kitchen so perfectly and generously supplied with
all things needful, from the shining yellow oil-cloth on the floor to
the beautiful blue table and chairs, the gift of nurse, who declared
them to be exactly like those used in the “auld counthry.” The whole
shining region was presided over by a stiff, colored cook in turban and
apron, who, alas! could never sit down on the beautiful blue chairs, as
she belonged to the variety of dolls that does not bend in the middle.

Out of the kitchen opened the laundry, which was furnished quite as
perfectly in its way, with a ravishing little laundry set which Mamma
Wee had discovered in one of the big department stores. Everything
was most complete and the whole family lingered in admiration over
the shiny copper boiler that adorned the neat stove, the glittering
flatirons and very tiny clothes-pins. The arrangement for heating
the irons, a black, pointed kind of stove against the sides of which
the irons stood up flatly, filled everybody with ecstasy. Sarah, the
laundress, begged for a loan of it, declaring that she had never seen
anything that could compare with it for heating real irons.

[Illustration]

This joking pleased Sally immensely, and she invited Sarah to use the
laundry for the family washing whenever she felt so inclined. Whereupon
Sarah departed laughing and declaring that she had “never seen anything
to come up to it, before nor since.” “Before nor since” was a favorite
expression of Sarah’s, the meaning of which neither Sally nor indeed
anybody else had ever been able to fathom. “Forevermore” was another
expression over which the little girl pondered deeply. She was afraid
to ask for information, lest she should give offense, for Mamma Wee
had carefully trained her little daughter to be especially considerate
of the feelings of all who were dependents in the household. Therefore
Sally wondered in secret, and the mystery was never solved, as far as I
know, to the end of the chapter.

The dining-room came next in the natural sequence of things, and an
extremely imposing and spacious room it was, with floor and paneling
polished to represent hard wood, while above the panels was displayed
a gorgeous paper of a lively red pattern. The ceiling was raftered and
studded with tiny electric light bulbs. A fine bow window occupied one
whole end. In truth, ’twas a love of a room and no mistake.

A lofty china closet contained all the fine glass and china, while a
sideboard of newest pattern groaned under its weight of rich German
silver. Everything was of the most novel and up-to-date pattern. The
round table, the finely carved chairs, and the beautiful Persian rug
that Grandma had knitted from ravelings of carpet, worked in with heavy
crochet cotton, all went to make up a picture not easily to be rivaled
in the annals of doll’s houses.

The bow window was a delight in itself. All around it ran a wide
seat which Sally piled high with tiny silk cushions, while crisp
muslin curtains finished with wee ruffles shaded the panes. A couple
of canaries hung aloft in their gilded cages. The whole effect was
stunning, and the assembled family silently gloated over it and
unitedly envied the dolls who were to enjoy such an ideal dining-room.



CHAPTER III

THE TEDDY BEARS TAKE A HAND


THE Teddy Bears, as one may well suppose, were no less interested in
the furnishing and arrangement of the doll’s house than the members of
the family themselves. They had scarcely been able to sleep a wink for
thinking and talking over the subject in hand, and Peter Pan himself
had proudly brought gifts, not exactly gold, frankincense and myrrh,
but something much more acceptable in the shape of a wee mail-box, the
very counterpart of those that hang upon the telephone posts. It had
been captured during one of his predatory night raids, during which
he and Bedelia had ransacked a neighboring toy store, carrying off
the mail-box as Peter Pan’s share of the loot, while Bedelia joyfully
abstracted a most delightful little workstand that could be shut up
like a camp chair and stood against the wall if so desired, with a
gorgeous yellow silk lining.

In justice to the bears, it must be said of them that they did not, in
this case, break through and steal, for Peter Pan left upon the counter
a piece of money, shaken down from his own little bank—a most beautiful
bank in the shape of a mottled, earthenware pig, which Sally had
presented to him without the smallest idea in the world that he would
ever use it for legitimate purposes. But the very fact of ownership
turned the Teddy Bear at once into an inveterate miser, and he hoarded
like a magpie, levying on every pocketbook that his mischievous paws
fell upon. He was, however, too cute to appropriate any but small
coins, so that thus far nothing had been missed. Teddy Bears can
scarcely be supposed to have any adequate idea of values, so when Peter
Pan proudly deposited a nickel on the counter, he considered that he
was paying very well for the articles chosen by himself and his wife.
The piece of money was afterwards found by the shopkeeper, and as he
never missed the small articles that had taken the fancy of the Teddy
Bears, he considered himself a nickel in, and “As a man thinketh, so is
he.”

To extract the bit of money from the bowels of the pig had been a
fearful piece of work, and had it not been for the end in view, the
Teddy Bear would have given up in despair. To drop a nickel into the
little slot in the creature’s back, and then to listen to the delicious
rattling it made in the cavernous interior was one thing, but to fish
it out through that narrow aperture was quite another. Anyone who
has ever tried the experiment will appreciate the dreadful quarter
of an hour that ensued as the Teddy Bears, perspiring in every pore,
struggled with that most niggardly of china pigs.

[Illustration]

First they essayed to fish out the coin, using successively a hair-pin
bent out straight and one end fashioned into a hook, a buttonhook, a
pair of manicure scissors, ruining the curved points, a crochet needle,
and nurse’s best hat-pin. Nothing, however, availed. The pig, like his
predecessor in the story that would not jump over the stile, would not
give up the coveted coin. Finally Bedelia seized it by its head and
shook it frantically, literally as the oft quoted terrier shakes the
rat. But no nickel! To be sure, they could have smashed the pig, but
in spite of his obstinacy he was the Teddy Bear’s chief treasure, and
Peter Pan loved his mottled exterior and gloried in his impossible
snout and extremely unpiglike ears. He could not bring himself to
sacrifice a thing so cherished, even on the altar of his love for Sally.

After a while the bears desisted from their efforts and held a council
of war. Peter Pan had about come to the end of his tether when suddenly
his eyes, roaming miserably about in search of some new weapon of
offense, fell upon something that caused him to utter a little shriek
of delight. And the article was nothing more nor less than a stick of
chewing gum. Now the Teddy Bear knew all about gum. He had tried to
chew some once and had been obliged to beg help from Sally, so closely
were his jaws welded together. She had laughingly pried them open, and
had advised him not to bite off more than he could chew in the future.

Peter Pan did not intend to bite off anything in this case. He put one
end of the gum in his mouth and chewed on it till his jaws ached, and
then passed it on to Bedelia, who repeated the performance. And in
two shakes of a lamb’s tail the end of the stick of gum was reduced
to a mass of stickiness that rivaled fly-paper. Peter Pan now turned
the bank, that is, the pig on its back so that the coins within it
came rattling down over the opening. He next carefully inserted the
chewed end of the gum, using the unchewed portion as a handle by which
to propel it into the aperture, and presently drew it triumphantly
forth with two dimes and a nickel sticking to the mass. Great were the
rejoicings at the success of the trick, and Peter Pan, supposing that
the nickel was much the more valuable as it was greater in size than
the dimes, laid it aside while he returned the other coins to the bank.
Afterward he explained the whole performance to Sally, who was very
glad indeed to hear it, for at first she had been somewhat doubtful as
to the origin of her delightful mail-box.

Meanwhile the furnishing and arranging went merrily on, and Sally
sighed in delighted rapture as she contemplated the work of her hands
and found that it was very good.

Her drawing-room she thought was her especial delight, all done in red
velvet, with a splendid red carpet and lace curtains at the windows,
over which hung draperies of red silk. A tall pier glass stood between
the windows, and on the mantel-shelf were a gilt clock under a glass
case, and two gilt candlesticks holding real wax candles. Underneath,
in the grate, a glowing flame of crimson tinfoil shone comfortably,
tinfoil being the fuel universally accepted for grates in doll houses.

A fine center table, marble-topped, occupied the middle of the room.
The chairs were luxurious, and Sally only wished that her size were
compatible with nestling down on one of them.

Across the hall from the drawing-room was the music-room, all furnished
in blue upholstered satin, and containing two pianos, a grand and an
upright. Potted plants of the paper variety bloomed in the windows and
a wee violin in a polished case lay atop of the music cabinet.

Sally had destined this apartment to be a living-room and music-room in
one, and finally added a porch swing that hung in a frame and teetered
delightfully when a doll sat in it; a couple of parrots in a gilt
cage; and Bedelia’s workstand. The effect was somewhat incongruous,
especially in connection with blue satin chairs and sofas, while Bob
remarked, quite gratuitously, that when once the parrots got started
nobody could ever hear either the violin or pianos. However, as Sally
was the only one to be pleased, no one took any notice of this remark.

With regret Sally turned from the bright little music-room, but was
presently just as deeply engrossed with the library. Here was a
peach of a room, to use her own expression—a room all furnished and
upholstered in green, with sleepy hollow chairs and a roll-top desk in
one corner. Around the walls ran shelves filled with tiny books, and a
wee telephone hung in one angle of the wall, near the desk. At one end
of the room was a big fireplace, over which rose a high mantel-shelf,
and a grandfather’s clock ticked, metaphorically speaking, in the
corner.

Sally had desired that her library should be “restful” and to that
end had worked out the scheme of furnishings on a somewhat subdued
scale. However, she succeeded admirably in carrying out her design, an
end which few grown-ups ever attain. Never was there a more charming
haven of rest to which a doll might fly for refuge from the turmoil
without than this dim, shadowy room, with its deep lounging chairs and
bewitching tea-table drawn up at one side of the fire.

There was a tiny smoker’s set, too, ranged on an oriental looking
tabouret, a collection of tiny brass articles that would have delighted
the soul of any lover of the weed. Want of space had compelled Sally
to unite library and den, but the union of the two made a much more
charming room than either one could ever have hoped to attain to by
itself.

[Illustration]

Bob had contributed to the library a distracting pipe rack, fashioned
from the bits of a cigarbox and cunningly cut out with his jig-saw, an
article whose usefulness promised to be unlimited as far as a doll’s
house was concerned. The rack was hung with tiny pipes picked up at one
of the ten-cent stores at ten cents per dozen. Bob was proud of his
handiwork and Sally considered it one of her chief treasures because
Bob had made it.

On the third floor were the bed-rooms and bath-room. The bed-rooms,
fascinatingly furnished with dainty patterns of cretonne, with fine
brass beds, and ruffled curtains at the windows, were places of rest
and delight. One of them was arranged for a nursery and contained two
cunning little white enameled cribs. There was also, in this room, a
most intricate folding bed for the nurse.

The bath-room was most elaborately appointed with shower and needle
baths, as well as a fine, white enameled tub and a complicated system
of plumbing. By means of this real water ran from a tank over the tub
and furnished forth a liberal supply for the ablutions of all the
dollies. To be sure, one was obliged to be very careful not to allow
the tub to run over, for an overflow meant ruin and rout to ceilings
below stairs.

Teddy Bears have no sense of ratio and no amount of explanation could
ever convince Bedelia that she was of a size entirely out of proportion
for the Walking House. Finally she made one valiant effort to
establish herself therein, but was driven to retire, growling, as she
could not force more than her big head and shoulders into any of the
ordinary-sized rooms. There would not have been room even for Little
Breeches, let alone for Bedelia’s generous proportions.



CHAPTER IV

BEDELIA GROWS A TAIL


BEDELIA was an extremely handsome bear, as Teddy Bears go, but for some
time she had been plunged in inexpressible gloom because she possessed
no tail. In vain her family expostulated with her, pointing out the
fact that a bear with a tail would indeed be a freak and a monstrosity.
Bedelia persisted in her notion, unreasonable as it was, and very
nearly succeeded in driving Peter Pan to the verge of insanity. For
although she led him a merry dance as a rule, he was extremely fond of
her, and being of a chivalrous nature, made all sorts of excuses for
her queer notions. Therefore he had very nearly arrived at his wits’
end when Bedelia suddenly ceased her lamentations and became quite
cheerful—a change which, had Peter Pan only read her aright, would have
appeared ominous. However, the poor fellow was so delighted at seeing
his wife once more like her former self that he suspected nothing, not
even when Bedelia began to absent herself at intervals from the family
circle.

[Illustration]

Truth to tell, Bedelia had a great deal more sense than most humans and
realized after a little that scolding and fretting would never attain
the end in view. She wanted a tail, and a tail she meant to have, and
immediately began to cast around in her fertile mind as to the means
that she should use to accomplish her end. She was far too cute to ask
advice from those who had so discouraged her, but waited with trembling
anxiety for the inevitable something which is sure to turn up sooner or
later. It is a long lane, indeed, that has no turning, but the further
one progresses, the nearer it is to the end; and Bedelia helped along
the somewhat tedious waiting by a series of experiments that would have
filled the breast of the gloomiest with hysterical mirth.

The beautiful, feathery appendage of Rough House had at first attracted
her attention as he held it aloft and waved it plume-like in the
air. But somehow Rough House had been very rude and had nipped her
smartly when she laid hold and began a series of heroic tugs. And she
had retreated in disorder with a rip in her coat, made by the dog’s
gleaming teeth. Afterward she reflected that the tail was far too large
and would not have matched her own fur anyway. This thought brought
consolation and she proceeded to turn her attention and her energies in
other directions. But try as she might, she could find nothing in the
line of a tail that became her. She tried them all from every animal
in the nursery, and nurse, finding them one by one lying on the floor,
had shaken her head as she attached them successively to their original
owners. She had her own ideas on the subject and they chiefly included
rats, or perhaps little Rags who was getting his second teeth and
might incline toward chewing things up. Sally alone suspected Bedelia,
but was unable to catch her at her evil-doing, as she carried on her
marauding chiefly in the silent night.

Having weighed in the balance and found wanting all the ready-made
tails she could find, she looked about for something out of which to
manufacture the right thing. Nothing, however, presented itself, and
Bedelia realized that she could scarcely have formed so important an
article with her own clumsy paws, even if it had. So for the time
her occupation seemed gone, and she began to mope again, filled with
chagrin that all her efforts should thus be foiled.

Meantime the summer waned and crisp nights began to suggest fall
weather. One bright afternoon Bedelia had been sitting curled up on
the broad window-seat on which she and her family kept house, pouting
as usual and longing for something in the shape of mischief with which
to occupy her rapacious paws. Sally and nurse were busy making doll
clothes, as several occupants of the Walking House were still without
suitable outfits. Suddenly nurse exclaimed,

“I believe it is soon going to be time for furs. Do you mind, darlin’,
the nice set your aunt, Miss Edith, gave me Christmas, with all thim
little tails on the muff?”

Tails! Bedelia’s ears were pricked up in a moment. Tails, and fur
tails, too! Well she remembered the day in early spring when all the
furs of the household had been aired and beaten and hung out in the sun
before being laid away in boxes, liberally sprinkled with camphor and
finally the covers all pasted up with strips of paper. They had been
put away in the big store-room at the top of the house, and Bedelia
knew exactly where they were. But she knew, also, that the store-room
was always kept locked and she did not feel very sure where the key was
kept.

She determined, however, to lose no time in looking for the bunch, and
although it took nearly a week of investigation, they were found at
last, and Bedelia lugged them off and hid them in a place whereof she
knew, and which already contained a motley array of articles which at
one time or other her fancy had prompted her to filch.

Several more days elapsed before a suitable opportunity to visit the
store-room occurred. But at last Bedelia found herself standing in
front of it with the bunch of keys in her eager paws. Behind the locked
door lay the darling wish of her heart, a tail, and in a moment she
had, as if by magic, selected the right key and swung open the heavy
door.

Now a new difficulty confronted her, one of which she had not even
dreamed. There were at least a dozen boxes standing on the shelves, all
neatly labelled, of course. But Bedelia could not read, and no good
fairy appeared to tell her which box contained nurse’s furs and the
particular tail. So she stood gloomily gazing into the closet and at
last concluded that much as she hated to take the trouble, there was
but one thing to do and that was to open every box until she discovered
the right one. This she at once set at work to do, tearing and ripping
with a pair of scissors that she had brought along, emptying out furs
and camphor in a promiscuous heap, dumping the contents of one box on
top of another until the erstwhile orderly store-room presented the
appearance of a rummage sale.

[Illustration]

Now, had Sally been conducting the investigation, she would have known
that the sets of furs were kept in the smaller boxes, while fur robes
and so on were pinned in big bundles. But Bedelia, of course, never
stopped to think of that so it fell out that nearly everything else
in the closet was ripped open and flung out on the floor before she
came across the box in which the coveted furs reposed. They were very
respectable furs of a shade of brown that seemed to Bedelia just the
proper one to harmonize with her own skin. And there were tails in
plenty, more tails than Bedelia’s wildest dreams had ever conjured. She
felt that she could wallow in tails now if she chose, and it did not
take her long to get possession of what she wanted. She nipped off half
a dozen, taking them from the neckpiece to which they were attached
by little, pointed heads, each one with its ferocious mouth wide open
displaying a number of tiny, white teeth.

Gathering up her treasures, she hurried downstairs, having taken care
to lock the door and replace the key where it had originally hung. Then
holding fast to the bunch of stolen fur, she hurriedly sought a quiet
corner in the attic, whither she often fled when for any reason she
wanted to be by herself.

A big, old mirror in a tarnished frame stood on the floor and after
something of a struggle, for the thing was heavy, Bedelia arranged it
so that she could see herself to full advantage.

[Illustration]

Everybody knows that Teddy Bears have great facilities for looking over
their shoulders. In fact, when built as a Teddy Bear should be, they
can turn their heads all the way around. Consequently Bedelia found no
difficulty in getting a full view of herself in the rear as she stood
with her back to the glass, the tail in one paw and a couple of pins
in the other. She had decided to leave the little head as it made an
admirable finish for the tail, and really gave a very jaunty appearance
to the whole. So she concluded after having clapped the whole into
place and fastened it firmly with two large shawl pins. So delighted
was she with the result that she stood before the mirror for a long
time, craning her neck and twisting her head around while she admired
her new ornament. To be sure, the head was in a place where no head
ought to be, but it grinned jubilantly while the tail flopped joyfully
as its owner walked. Finally, like Narcissus, satiated with the view of
her own loveliness, she concluded to descend to the lower regions and
show off the latest addition to her charms.

Down the stairs she trotted, trying to get used to the rather queer
sensation of the tail flapping against her hind legs. Luckily she met
nobody till she reached the nursery. Here her courage suddenly deserted
her and she made a wild break for the window-seat, in the corner of
which she at once threw herself and was making believe to be fast
asleep when a most unforeseen event occurred. The head, which we have
already recorded as being in a place where no head should be, objected
to the full weight of Bedelia’s plump body upon it, and proceeded to
nip her so vigorously that she sprang up, shrieking.

Peter Pan, who had at first thought that to let her alone was perhaps
the better policy, now flew to the rescue, but when he discovered
the cause of the trouble, he rolled on the floor in convulsions of
laughter. The head kept on nipping for pure viciousness, and poor
Bedelia, half crazed with pain and mortification, raised a dreadful
wail that brought all the members of her family to the rescue. Quite
willing to be relieved of the source of her discomfort, she melted
completely under her husband’s affectionate caresses, and finally
acknowledged that Teddy Bears really had no pressing need of caudal
appendages.



CHAPTER V

MARY AND HER LITTLE LAMB AND SOME OTHERS


AMONG her most treasured dollies was one that Sally’s Auntie Edith had
dressed as Mary to be accompanied by her little lamb, the latter to be
purchased from some toy store when Mary’s wardrobe was completed.

Now, the Walking House had been built on generous lines so that the
rooms were more airy and the dolls, in consequence, larger than those
that inhabit most doll’s houses. Mary, then, was a blond beauty, with
the fluffiest of yellow locks, crowned by the most bewitching of
shepherdess’ hats, and the most delightful costume of pale pink and
white, perfect in every detail from the fluffy paniers of the overdress
to the long, slim crook which Bob had carved with his jig-saw and which
Mary, unfortunately, could not carry owing to the fact that her china
fingers, like those of most dollies, were straight and inflexible.
A bit of very fine wire, neatly manipulated, however, produced the
desired effect, and indeed Mary felt very little doubt in her own mind
as to the fact that all the rest of the dolls were cunningly deceived
by it.

So much for Mary. When it came to the lamb, that was quite another
thing, for it seemed impossible to find anywhere a lamb of the correct
proportions to fit in with those of the charming little Mary. Store
after store was ransacked in vain, when suddenly Sally recollected that
somewhere in the attic reposed the remains of a Noah’s Ark which she
had grown tired of and had put away some time before. To the attic,
then, they flew and presently unearthed the Noah’s Ark carefully tied
up in brown paper and still in a very fair state of preservation. Out
upon the floor pell-mell they emptied the animals, but no bleating or
baahing lambkin rewarded their quest. It seemed as if there had been a
general demand for mutton and that everything of the sheep variety had
been swept from off the face of the earth. Thoroughly disappointed,
Auntie Edith sat dropping the animals back into the Ark when suddenly
she stopped with a little scream of delight and snapped up a small
object that had fallen on the floor and been hidden under her skirt.

Not a lamb, however, as Sally at first supposed, but a goat that might
have passed anywhere for a sheep except for its horns. It is very odd
what a striking resemblance often exists between the animals of a
Noah’s Ark when really there is no relationship between them at all.
So it was with this goat. The little curls of wool with which he was
covered, his legs and hoofs, his long, meek face, everything except the
sharp, curved horns resembled most intimately Mary’s little lamb. And
it took about five minutes to transform him into that very animal. Off
came his horns, as quick as a wink their little stumps were covered
with bits of cotton wool neatly glued in place. A blue ribbon was tied
around his neck and finished with a graceful bow, and, lo and behold,
the Lamb!

To say that Mary was hugely delighted at this outcome is to put it very
mildly indeed. For she had been greatly troubled in mind, fearing that
after all she would not be Mary but somebody else that did not require
the continued attendance of a lamb. Somebody else, or perhaps nobody
in particular! At this mournful conclusion a tear rolled silently down
Mary’s china cheek. But now it was all right, and she stood up right
bravely on her little, high-heeled shoes, grasping her crook with one
hand, while the other rested proudly on the Lamb’s woolly back. A very
delightful picture she made, and a very welcome addition to the family
of the Walking House she proved to be. But of Mary and her Little Lamb
we are destined to hear more hereafter.

Sally was very fond of arranging and re-arranging her doll’s house,
and on one particular morning was busily at work, this time at the
kitchen that already shone with cleanliness. Sally was squatting on her
heels, cleaning out the ice-box, which contained many plates holding
delicious looking foods of all descriptions. To be sure, they were only
make-believe, but they certainly looked good to Sally, who had not
eaten much breakfast and consequently felt hungry. One in particular
appealed to her fancy, a delicious looking cake, frosted and ornamented
as if for a birthday. Really all it needed was an array of glittering
candles to make it perfectly realistic.

Sally mechanically broke off a bit of the frosting and put it between
her lips. To her astonishment, it tasted crisp and sweet, with rather
a flavor of pineapple, and altogether like the real thing. She broke
off another scrap and swallowed it. Another bit and another followed
the first and then suddenly Sally began to experience a very queer
sensation. She felt as if she were being screwed down and shrinking
together like a pair of opera glasses. So quickly did the whole thing
happen that before she knew it, she was standing in the kitchen of the
Walking House with the black, wooden Dinah gravely regarding her.

“Oh dear! Oh dear! What would have happened if I had eaten the whole
cake? And it’s a wonder I didn’t, it was such a little one!” exclaimed
Sally.

Just then she happened to look up, and beheld Peter Pan and Bedelia
regarding her with terrified glances. A great wave of loneliness swept
over the child and she burst into tears. In a moment Peter Pan and
Bedelia had each seized a fragment of cake and in less time than it
takes me to tell it were rapidly following Sally’s example. In about
two minutes they were enjoying the distinction of being the smallest
Teddy Bears on record.

Into the kitchen they scrambled after Sally, much to the bewilderment
of black Dinah, who had never anywhere seen such creatures as Teddy
Bears of that size, and was not at all sure that she liked them,
especially when they walked into the house and took possession of her
kitchen.

The first few days of Sally’s sojourn in the doll’s house were full of
events and also full of interest, and the little girl experienced all
the new sensations that always come with a change of scene and place.
Sally’s intimate and somewhat unique experience of nursery life had
really taught her nothing relating to existence in the doll’s house,
and the mode of living employed by the little people to whose number
she now apparently belonged.

She was, indeed, very much surprised to discover that in all respects
they resembled very closely the human species, with all their little
fads and fancies, jealousies and ambitions; and it was both amusing and
astonishing to encounter among the dolls that she herself had bought
for a few cents and dressed with her own hands in scraps obtained
from the rag-bag, personalities as striking and characteristic, as
distinguishing as those belonging to some of the famous people whose
lives she had studied with Miss Palmer during her history lessons. At
least so one would think from their own opinions of themselves.

The little girl was amazed to learn that all the dolls could read
and write and that those who were imported spoke French and German
fluently. In fact, one small Japanese doll who was rigged out in a
paper kimono and wide obi of the same material, jabbered away in
Japanese, with the result that none of the others could understand a
word she said. She always presided at afternoon tea, however, which
function they understood very well, as also the tiny cups of the
fragrant drink which she brewed for their benefit. Sally secretly
resolved to teach her English, which she later accomplished, much to
the gratitude of the lonely little foreigner.

The dolls’ handwriting was not at all like her own, as it did not
take Sally long to discover. It consisted of a number of queer little
hieroglyphics of infinitesimal size, which, as Sally afterward learned,
were known only to dolls and were so small, to wit, that nobody would
ever imagine that they were anything but foolish scrawling.



CHAPTER VI

THE LITTLE BACK DOOR


SALLY was busily bustling around the kitchen, clad in one of Dinah’s
clean gingham aprons and with a stiff and clean bandanna ’kerchief
perched on her shining hair. For Dinah was ill, the result of an
unfortunate accident, for which the little girl felt herself more or
less responsible.

For some time the Little Lamb had been growing “grimy, grimier and
grimier,” as Sally said to herself, and the child had finally resolved,
although not without some misgivings, that a bath would be the next
best thing in the order of events. Having several old scores to
settle, Mary joyfully offered to assist, and with such a backing Sally
proceeded with her preparations in a resolute and hopeful frame of mind.

As the Little Lamb was indeed very dirty, Sally prepared a kind of
shampoo, such as she had often seen nurse concoct for her own use. This
was composed of tar soap, melted over the fire to a kind of jelly,
and then beaten up with a couple of eggs and a dash of borax. When it
was finished, it made a yellow, frothy compound, altogether nice and
delectable looking. Sally had made a liberal quantity, owing to the
area that had to be covered in the personality of the Little Lamb.
She left it on the kitchen table, and hurried off to find that worthy
who, scenting an impending conflict, had betaken himself to the attic.
Entrenched behind Bedelia’s screen, he firmly awaited the onslaught of
the enemy.

Dinah had all this time been busy in the upper part of the house and
now returning below stairs beheld the foamy, creamy mixture frothing
over the pan on the kitchen table. It never entered into her wooden
head to suppose that it was anything except some nice omelet or
something of the kind that one of the dolls or perhaps Sally had
knocked together for luncheon. Stirring it up with a spoon, she found
it rather thin, and proceeded to thicken it with flour and finally
decided that it would serve best as batter for griddle cakes. As she
herself was extremely fond of lemon flavoring, she added a large dose
of that, and then proceeded to bake the mess on the well-greased and
sputtering griddle.

[Illustration]

Now it must be confessed that Dinah was greedy, and the brown cakes
certainly looked tempting. Besides, had she not planned something quite
different for the dolls’ luncheon? Just one nibble she took, and then,
like other people who have hesitated, she proceeded to get lost. Her
wooden palate certainly failed to detect the flavor of tar soap, and
one brown and smoking cake speedily disappeared after another. Goodness
knows when she would have stopped had not Bedelia, attracted by the
odor of the baking cakes, suddenly appeared in the kitchen.

That worthy had been decidedly out of favor with Sally for several
days, and consequently was in no enviable frame of mind. Without so
much as a “by your leave,” she now advanced on the greedy Dinah,
snatched the plate of cakes from under her very nose, and proceeded
to dispose of them with neatness and despatch. Her taste for eatables
had been well cultivated, however, and she now discovered something
decidedly peculiar in the flavor of the cakes. But she swallowed them
all to the last crumb, more in order to spite Dinah than because she
wanted them, pausing now and then between bites to utter a threatening
little growl that served very effectually to keep Dinah at a distance,
for the cook was dreadfully afraid of the Teddy Bears. It did not take
very long for the soap and borax to get in some very fine work, and
soon Dinah and Bedelia found themselves companions in misery.

[Illustration]

When Sally had hunted all over the house without being able to find the
Little Lamb—and no wonder, for he was safely entrenched under Bedelia’s
bed in the attic—and came hurrying into the kitchen to look after her
shampoo, she found two unutterably wretched individuals tied up in
knots and rolling around on the kitchen floor. Had it been Bedelia
alone, Sally would have suspected a trick, but Dinah’s sufferings were
too genuine to admit of suspicion.

Sally flew for help without waiting for explanations, and in a short
time the sufferers were tucked up in their beds, feeling decidedly more
comfortable and listening to a lecture on gluttony which they did not
soon forget. Not but that this same lecture had to be administered in
two sections, one to Dinah in her room and one to Bedelia in the attic,
for Dinah would have died sooner than lie down in the same room with
the Teddy Bear that she now regarded with more fear and dislike than
ever.

Thus it happened that Sally was flying around the shining little
kitchen, putting things to rights and making ready to get together
something for the dolls’ luncheon. She smiled as she scoured and dried
the tin pan in which the shampoo, whose ending had been so unusual, had
been mixed. She wondered what had become of the Little Lamb, and could
not help wishing that he, instead of Dinah and Bedelia, had been the
one to gobble up the sickening cakes, for the stuff certainly had been
intended for him in the beginning.

Sally was a born housekeeper, and as she had formerly played with her
doll house, perpetually cleaning and straightening it, so she now
worked in the bright little rooms until at last all was in order,
the table laid for luncheon and a savory meal made ready. She was
too much delighted with her work to ask for assistance from any of
the dolls, and puttered around briskly, singing little snatches of a
song half under her breath. “Puttering around” was one of Dinah’s pet
expressions, and while Sally had never been sure what it really meant,
she felt quite certain that she could not be doing anything else while
working in Dinah’s kitchen. Vigorously, then, did she flutter Dinah’s
duster, seeking for dust where none existed, and merrily polishing
the already shining window sills, on which stood stiff little pots of
glowing scarlet paper geraniums. And then she suddenly became aware
that she was standing in front of a little door, whose existence she
had heretofore failed to observe.

The door was directly in the center of the back wall, and Sally could
not but wonder that John should have built it in such a place, for the
doll’s house stood flat against the nursery wall, as any orderly doll’s
house always stands. Hence there was absolutely no use for a door in
such a location. Sally meditated for a moment or two and then suddenly
concluded that the best thing to do would be to open the door and do a
little investigating. She seized the knob and pulled vigorously, but
to no purpose. The door was locked sure enough, and her best efforts
resulted in nothing. It seemed very odd that the door should be locked
and no key anywhere about. Suddenly she remembered that hanging up in
her room was a tiny golden key belonging to a chain bracelet that Papa
Doctor had once locked upon Mamma Wee’s pretty white wrist. For some
inexplicable reason Mamma Wee had never unlocked the bracelet, but
Papa Doctor always wore the key on one end of his watch chain until
one day the slender golden ring from which it hung broke, and Sally
had found the key lying on the floor. Papa Doctor had been called
out of town for an important consultation just then, and had not yet
returned. Therefore the key was hanging up in Sally’s room, and thither
the little girl hastened. Having possessed herself of the article
in question, she hurried back to the kitchen, all on tip-toe with
curiosity.

[Illustration]

She did not hear the padding of velvet paws behind her, nor see the
furry brown figure that came trotting stealthily in her wake. Having
taken a good nap, Bedelia awoke feeling as good as new. After a few
preliminary yawns, she bounced out of bed, much to the detriment of
the Little Lamb who, too much scared by all the rumpus to run away,
had finally fallen asleep under the bed with his head sticking out
at the inner side where he had considered it quite safe, as the bed
stood comparatively close to the wall. But with her usual perversity,
Bedelia jumped out of that side of the bed, landing plump in the Little
Lamb’s face. Bedelia was no light weight, and the unhappy Little Lamb
uttered a piercing shriek, at the same time hastily wriggling back into
his place of concealment. Bedelia had been considerably shaken by her
sickness and now, scared out of all her impudence by the queer thing
that she felt moving under her feet, she uttered a shrill squawk and
fled precipitately from the attic. She paused at the top of the stairs
and peered down between the railings just in time to see Sally emerge
from her room with the key in her hand.

In a moment the Teddy Bear was on the alert, trotting silently down the
stairs, dreadfully tempted to take a slide down the polished rail of
the banister, but equally afraid of being sent back if discovered. In
the meantime, Sally hastened to the kitchen, clutching the golden key
which was, of course, very much larger in proportion than in the time
when she had found it lying on the nursery floor.

“How I do hope it will open the door!” the little girl said to herself
as she thrust it into the lock and pressed against it very gently,
for she was rather afraid of breaking off the golden handle. To her
surprise and delight, however, it yielded at once, and with a turn of
the door knob Sally flung open the door and stepped outside, closely
followed by the still unseen Bedelia.



CHAPTER VII

D. TABLET, ESQ.


IT was surprising enough to find that there was any outside, for Sally
had fully expected to step down between the doll’s house and the wall.
But to find herself on a beautiful country road, flanked on either side
by fields of emerald green that stretched away as far as the eye could
reach, was far more astonishing still.

On either side of this road stood a row of tall, very stiff, very green
trees. They literally _stood_, for they did not grow out of the ground,
but rose out of flat, wooden stands that did not appear more wooden,
however, than their shiny, brown trunks. Green and stiff also were the
leaves that looked more like curled and painted shavings than anything
else. Sally examined them curiously, remembering she had once possessed
a toy farm that had contained just such trees as these. She laid her
hand against the smooth, glistening trunk, wondering if a brisk breeze
would not upset the whole business, and remembering how easily her
own farmyard trees had been overturned. These, however, seemed steady
enough, and Sally started off at a good pace, determined to investigate
the queer country into which she had made so unceremonious an entrance.

As far as she could see, the road stretched ahead of her, glaring white
in the noon sunlight, which seemed almost blinding after the subdued
light of the doll’s house. Only a moment did she pause to hang the
precious golden key upon the string of gold beads that she wore around
her neck. Somehow she felt that that dear talisman, the pledge of love
between her parents, would be to her a safeguard in time of danger. A
sudden fear of losing it assailed her, and she quickly tucked beads and
all inside her dress.

Turning for a farewell look at the Walking House, she beheld Bedelia
sitting demurely on the doorstep. The door she had closed behind her as
she stepped out. Now she jumped up and ran to Sally, who was very much
relieved to find the little bear was quite herself again, and slipped
her hand affectionately inside Bedelia’s arm. And the two proceeded
joyously along the gleaming road.

It was quite warm, for the stiff up-and-down foliage cast little or
no shadow, and there was no breeze stirring. Sally was grateful for
this as she still felt rather doubtful concerning the stability of the
trees. Bedelia, however, expressed it as her opinion that even if one
of them did blow over, she and Sally would be well able to stand it up
again. But then Bedelia had always been very self-confident.

The two companions trotted along together, stopping occasionally to
examine some queer flower or a tree that looked a little different from
the common run. Sally noticed that the flowers were all like those that
ornamented the windows of Dinah’s kitchen—of crimped and fluted paper,
while the little blades of grass appeared to be fashioned from the same
material. The whole thing seemed as if it might prove very monotonous,
at least if it were going to exist for good and all.

[Illustration]

Presently they came to a fine, large field that was fenced in all
around, and Sally could not but notice that the fences were all
wonderfully like those that had belonged to her own farmyard. In the
field were grazing a number of beautiful, placid looking cows and also
a good many sheep and goats. They were all wonderfully familiar in
appearance. Sally could not understand, although she did later on, why
everything she had seen so far suggested either the Noah’s Ark or the
farmyard. Both of them had long since been relegated to the dust-bin,
defaced and broken beyond any kind of usefulness.

And then Sally spied not very far ahead of them a sign post, which,
when they came up to it, exclaimed in a most affable manner, “Five
miles to the Palace!” and gently waved one of its arms toward the cross
road, on the edge of which it stood.

Sally was so much amazed at hearing a sign post speak that for the
moment she failed to notice the absence of any painted directions
upon its arms. However, Bedelia, who was as usual ready for anything,
retorted somewhat pertly, “And where might the road that we are
traveling on lead to?”

To which the Sign Post responded with the same cordial, although
somewhat wooden tone and a most reassuring smile, “Five miles to the
Palace,” whereupon it subsided and stood quite stiff and straight, as
if, perchance, waiting for another question, to which Sally felt quite
certain it would have responded, “Five miles to the Palace!”

As there was nothing to be gained by asking questions that would
obviously receive only the one answer, with a word of thanks the
children proceeded on their journey, wishing it were not quite so far
to the Palace, for they were both beginning to feel tired and as she
had taken no luncheon, Sally was decidedly hungry. Once she looked
back and saw that the Sign Post was gazing after them, still wearing
its affable smile. And the child fancied that she could hear a faint
murmur, “Five miles to the Palace,” while she was quite certain that
the Sign Post waved its arms in a friendly adieu.

[Illustration]

Sally now noticed for the first time that Bedelia was carrying a large
paper bag which bulged out to such an extent that it seemed every
moment as if it would burst. That it was weighty was vouched for by
the fact that Bedelia frequently shifted it from one paw to the other.
Truth to tell, the Teddy Bear, ever mindful of the inner man, had made
a swift raid on the kitchen as she passed out of the house, and had
swept into the paper bag every eatable that she could quickly lay her
paws on. Sally was just on the eve of asking what the bag contained
when suddenly its bottom gave way and there issued forth a perfect rain
of fruit, sandwiches and cakes, besides a bottle of milk and a jar of
pickles. Since the mystery had seen fit to unravel itself, Sally was
only too glad to commend Bedelia’s forethought. Having gathered up the
scattered feast, the two sat gratefully down under the shadiest tree
they could find and proceeded to feed in a most luxurious manner.

Unfortunately for Bedelia, her hunger overcame any remote idea she
might have possessed concerning good manners, and she proceeded to
gobble in so outrageous a fashion that Sally was about to remonstrate
when suddenly the culprit was arrested by the sound of a small,
querulous voice that seemed to come from her innermost being, and which
exclaimed in jerky tones,

“Don’t shovel things down so fast, for goodness’ sake! How do you
expect me to get any work done properly when you work me so fast? Oh,
dear! Oh, dear! I shall never have anything in order!”

Bedelia distinctly felt a queer sensation as if something were hopping
up and down at the very center of her little, round stomach. To say
that she was terrified is putting it very mildly, while Sally was too
astonished to move, even though she had by this time become used to
queer happenings.

“Don’t drink any more milk,” continued the voice in a kind of
exasperated squeak. “Everything down here is in a flood. I can hear
your food splash as it drops in. There isn’t a dry place for the sole
of my foot.”

Although she was scared, Bedelia resolved to preserve a bold front, and
now replied with assumed calmness, “Whoever you are, come out here and
let us see what you are like.” And then she added saucily, “You needn’t
think you can prevent me from eating what I want!”

“What’s that you say? What’s that you say?” squeaked the voice, as if
its owner were in a terrible rage. And the very next moment Bedelia
felt a dreadfully choking sensation, and out of her mouth popped the
queerest little figure that Sally had ever laid eyes upon.

He was not more than half an inch tall and he was pink all over, even
his eyes and his hair and his long, flowing beard—bright pink like
Bedelia’s tongue. And there he stood, glaring at Bedelia as well as he
could, for the bright sunshine made him blink dreadfully, and at the
same time he bowed politely to Sally, whom he evidently regarded with
approval. And Sally bowed gravely in return, although she could hardly
keep from laughing outright at the queer little creature with his
round, flat body, his thin, crooked arms and spindling legs, and above
all his extremely pompous manner.

“In me you behold Tablet—D. Tablet,” he remarked without further
preliminaries.

[Illustration]

He paused a moment, and Sally exclaimed impetuously, “I have heard
of dyspep—” Here she stopped abruptly, afraid she had already given
offense. “Dyspepsia tablet” she had been going to say.

But much to her relief, the little creature nodded affably and
quickly continued, “Children like you, who eat in moderation and show
some breeding while they eat, have no need of my good offices. Only
creatures who stuff like pigs have to be reproved by me.”

There was a slight pause and D. Tablet presently continued, evidently
flattered by the attention of his audience, although he still glared
at Bedelia out of his pink eyes which had now become accustomed to the
sunlight.

“Know, then,” he went on, “that your stomach and everybody’s stomach
is simply a storehouse in which the food is put away on shelves in
pantries and cupboards as fast as it is swallowed. Everybody who comes
into this country has a D. Tablet in his stomach to attend to this
business. He may not know it, but we are there all the same. Therefore
when you pile in fifty different things at once and drown it all with
oceans of liquid, how can we possibly get things in any kind of order?
We don’t, and then you are ill, as _you_ were yesterday.”

Bedelia jumped, so suddenly did D. Tablet wheel around upon her.

“And then when you don’t chew your food, what do you think happens? A
few moments ago you were gobbling exactly like a p-i-g. Do you know
what that spells?”

“Perfectly, independent gentleman! And I don’t care a snap what
happens,” impudently retorted Bedelia.

By this time she had decided that D. Tablet was a great bore, and being
still hungry, was itching to get at her neglected luncheon.

At this D. Tablet turned pinker than ever with rage. His flat little
body seemed to swell up until it was nearly as round as a marble. For
a moment he stood shaking with anger, and then without another word
suddenly vanished, but whither they were not able to see. Whether or no
he had plunged down Bedelia’s throat and once more assumed the endless
task of setting her internal economy to rights, neither Sally nor the
Teddy Bear had time to observe.



CHAPTER VIII

THE TALKING SIGN POST


“DON’T you think it was telling awful whoppers?” asked Bedelia, as she
settled down comfortably upon her haunches and proceeded to dispose of
a plump red banana with a rapidity that would certainly have called
forth a rebuke from the personage to whom she referred.

Sally hesitated, not quite certain which side it devolved upon her to
defend. She certainly had been somewhat impressed by D. Tablet. Had
she not seen him come tumbling, frog-like, out of Bedelia’s throat?
For aught that she could prove to the contrary, he had, perhaps, gone
tumbling back again. Being thus cruelly torn between her fondness for
Bedelia and her sense of justice, she wisely held her peace, while
Bedelia, by this time well on the way with the second banana, mentally
hurled defiance at her pink advisor.

“He was damp all over. He looked as if somebody had _licked_ him!”
she finally ejaculated, throwing away her banana skin and standing up
preparatory to suggesting that they resume their journey.

At the same moment her face stiffened, while her eyes fairly bulged
out of her head with amazement. Hurrying straight down the road toward
them, and advancing by leaps and bounds was a long, lithe figure that
they both recognized as it came nearer as the Talking Sign Post. It now
came up at a brisk gallop, and exclaimed breathlessly as soon as within
hailing distance,

“I was _so_ afraid you would get lost without me!”

Thereupon it threw itself comfortably down on the greensward and
beamed amiably at Sally. She felt very much like replying that if he
had been a little more communicative in the beginning, the danger of
going astray would have been smaller. However, she refrained, being
dreadfully afraid of offending the Sign Post, who after all appeared
to be very good-hearted. Not so Bedelia, who cocked her sharp, little,
black eyes in a most inquisitive manner and hastily retorted,

“No thanks to _you_ if we _did_ get lost, with your ‘Five miles to the
Palace’ and nothing else. How should we know which turning to take
next?” And then she added hurriedly, “Why don’t you have things painted
on you as they do in civilized countries?”

“If by _things_ you mean directions,” replied the Sign Post gravely,
“it would be altogether superfluous in a land where everything can
talk. And as for turnings,” he added severely, “there aren’t any. All
the roads in Toyland lead to the Palace, so you are sure to get there
some time or other. To be sure, some roads are longer than others. In
the event of your taking the longest one, you might consider yourselves
lost.”

[Illustration]

All out of patience with what she considered an extremely round-about
explanation, Bedelia did not trouble herself to reply, but Sally
hastened to smooth things over by offering the Sign Post some luncheon
out of the paper bag, which they had managed to repair with some pins,
and which now contained the remnants of their repast. This, however,
he politely refused, having already lunched copiously on his usual
diet of shavings which curious regimen agreed best with his wooden
constitution. Sally was rather disappointed at this. She recollected
once having been taken to the Zoo and having seen the ostriches fed
with oranges. And she remembered how very queer it had appeared to
her to watch the fruit as each piece traveled down the birds’ long,
red throats, one chasing another until they finally vanished in the
feathery region below. She could not help thinking that the Sign Post
was very like the throat of an ostrich, only the resemblance continued
all the way down. She could not but wonder where the luncheon would
finally have located itself, as there were apparently no facilities for
expansion in the general make-up of the Sign Post.

There was a short silence, during which Bedelia made ostentatious
preparations for moving on.

Fond as she was of the little bear, at that moment it seemed to Sally
that it could not exist in any sort of comfort without making somebody
else miserable. So she said very gently,

“Would you kindly tell me what land we are in?”

She felt quite sure that the Sign Post was waiting for her to open the
conversation.

An expression of surprise flitted over the mobile countenance of
the Sign Post, but he replied without further comment, “This is the
wonderful country of Toyland,” and then murmured in a reminiscent
manner, “Five miles to the Palace. Five miles to the Palace.” After a
moment he added, “Perhaps it will be just as well for us to be moving
without more delay. It is quite a long way for you to walk.”

So all three got upon their feet and cheerfully resumed their travels.

The country, although very fresh and green, seemed to the little girl
rather monotonous. The same cows, pigs and sheep, the same stiff little
wooden houses, fenced in by the same stiff wooden railings. People
seemed few, but as it was not far from noon, Sally concluded that they
must all be eating their dinners. And a very sensible conclusion it
was. The few folk that were encountered were of the wooden doll type,
and they all appeared to be so very busy at their work in the fields
that Sally forbore to hail them, although she would dearly have liked
to stop long enough to pass the time of day with them.

So the three proceeded, chatting merrily, the Sign Post accommodating
his long, swinging stride to the shorter steps of his small companions.
An exchange of confidences was, of course, the natural thing, and Sally
was soon giving a complete account of herself and Bedelia and of how
they had happened to stumble into Toyland. The Sign Post listened with
attention, and in return gave much valuable information concerning
both himself and the country. He explained that there were many other
Sign Posts like himself, that they were stationed at intervals of five
miles, and that it was their duty to conduct as well as to direct
strangers, should they so desire. He also explained that there was no
night in Toyland, as it was a very difficult and expensive business to
start up the sun, which in consequence was allowed to go on shining _ad
libitum_.

“Whenever anyone feels in need of rest or _repairs_, he takes a trip
to Sleepy Town. It lies just over there and adjoining our own country.
There it is always night, the moon shines perpetually, and everything
invites slumber.”

Here the Sign Post yawned in so fearful a manner that Sally, gazing on
his open countenance, decided that he might very well be a candidate
for Sleepy Town.

Following the direction in which he had pointed as he described the
location of Sleepy Town, Sally’s glance discerned what appeared to be a
faint, purplish haze hanging upon the horizon.

“You will find a great many Sign Posts there,” said her companion so
abruptly that Sally jumped, for she had fancied that he was still
yawning, “on account of the darkness. For example, how would a stranger
find Nid-Nod Street or Blanket Avenue, were there not someone present
to inform him?”

And Sally, comprehending the weight of his argument, nodded gravely.

The trio had now accomplished half their journey, and about two
miles and a half lay between them and the Palace. Sally did not feel
particularly tired, as the road was very smooth and not at all dusty.
Once an automobile passed them and Sally noted the fact that it was of
exactly the same pattern as one that she owned and which now reposed in
the nursery at home in a garage constructed by Bob of building blocks.
It was of the wrought-iron variety, and was wound up with a key.

[Illustration]

The auto which had spun merrily by suddenly stopped a few yards
ahead of them and refused to budge an inch. Sally and her companions
hastened their steps and, coming up with the auto, found that it had
run down. As the chauffeur had forgotten to bring along the key, the
party of lady dolls that occupied the car were plunged in the deepest
despair and chagrin. Sally suddenly remembered her little golden key
and hastily produced it. It was found to fit to perfection. With many
thanks the party proceeded on its way, first having invited Sally and
Bedelia to take seats in the car. The Sign Post was, of course, quite
out of the question. However, Sally politely declined, as she really
preferred very much to continue her walk with her lanky companion, to
say nothing of Bedelia. This the Sign Post greatly appreciated, and
presently stooped down and, gently lifting the little girl, he poised
her aloft on his shoulders, and in this gallant fashion she rode for a
mile or more, while Bedelia trotted behind, grumbling and growling at
the discourtesy shown her. Although she had been very uncivil indeed to
the Sign Post, Bedelia could see no good reason why she should not ride
on his other shoulder.

Being completely rested—indeed, she had not been a bit tired in the
beginning—Sally slid laughingly to the ground, quite in opposition to
the wishes of the Sign Post, who would gladly have carried her till the
end of the chapter. They had ascended a slight hill, and the city now
lay in plain sight in the charming valley beneath them. Sally could not
but observe that there was nothing at all imposing in its appearance.
All the houses seemed planned after about the same pattern. Even the
Palace itself seemed to be only a doll’s house on a larger scale than
the others. Sally’s mental comparison of it with her own beloved
Walking House was anything but favorable. The little girl presently
paused, however, to reflect that being now in the country of dolls and
toys, she could scarcely expect to find sky-scrapers. Bedelia turned
up her nose frankly enough, and, as was her custom, at once proceeded
to express her opinions without let or hindrance. And what might have
been the result had she been permitted to conclude as she began nobody
knows, for the Sign Post was beginning to look very much put out.

[Illustration]

But just at that moment their attention was attracted by a loud
noise behind them, a fearful pounding and bumping. Looking around,
they beheld advancing along the road at a high rate of speed a huge
_something_—what they were at first unable to decide. But as it came
nearer and nearer and finally swung into full view, they discovered
that it was nothing more nor less than the Walking House, hurrying
along at an astonishing pace, while from the interior issued a doleful
voice which loudly repeated at intervals the entreaty, “Wait for me!
Wait for me!”

All its windows glistened in the sun like blinking eyes, while the
castors on which it originally stood had somehow turned into prancing
feet that now hopped and skipped along with the greatest alacrity. On
it came, bumping and bouncing, and all its terrified inhabitants bumped
and bounced too, while they hung on for dear life to any available
piece of furniture that they had happened to grasp. And nearly scared
out of their wits was every mother’s son of them, for only a colony of
rubber dolls could have been in a comfortable frame of mind under such
trying circumstances. Greatly relieved were all when the frisky house
suddenly ceased its gyrations and came to a dead stop directly in front
of Sally.



CHAPTER IX

JOYTOWN


IT was clearly a case of a runaway house, and before Sally had time to
finish wondering how on earth it could have walked out of its own back
door in order to step into Toyland, as she and Bedelia had been obliged
to do, she was surrounded by all the inmates of the Walking House, who
came scrambling down the stairs and out of the doors, thoroughly glad
that their rough-and-tumble ride had come to an end.

Everybody crowded around Sally, and all sorts of experiences were
exchanged. Finally the Sign Post reminded the little girl that it was
growing late and if they wished to enter the city under his escort, it
would be well to make a move, as he had already been a long time away
from his post of duty. Accordingly the whole party set out, and soon
descended the slight hill from which Sally had taken her first look at
the city. After they were all safely at the bottom, the doll’s house
proceeded down very cautiously and _backwards_. For it was dreadfully
afraid of spilling all its contents if it went down in its normal
position. At length it was safely landed at the bottom, but Sally
immediately discovered that it never would be able to get into the city
as the gates were not particularly wide, and certainly had never been
set up with a view to admitting strange houses that came galloping
along, unceremoniously clamoring for entrance. Therefore after a brief
consultation, it was decided that the house should remain outside the
gates, which were never closed, as there was no night there; and that
the family should make it their headquarters and return for rest and
refreshment whenever they became tired out with exploring the new
country. This matter having been arranged, Sally and the faithful Sign
Post proceeded to lead the way into the city.

Over the gates was inscribed the legend:

    THE CITY OF JOY

neatly painted in plain characters distinct enough for all to read.
And with this most propitious name to greet them, the inhabitants of
the Walking House advanced bravely up the principal street. Everything
appeared to be extremely peaceful. People—who, of course, were all
dolls and very much like their visitors in size and appearance—were
going about the streets and in and out of the shops and offices.

Sally rather wondered at the absence of policemen, but upon remarking
on this to the Sign Post, quickly found herself obliged to explain
what she meant. The word was unknown in Toyland, and such a word as
crime had never entered its vocabulary. The Sign Posts were the nearest
approach to anything in the nature of “the force,” and they were only
for general guidance and information. The little girl marveled greatly
at such a state of affairs, and hoped most devoutly that Bedelia would
behave herself while sojourning among such peaceful folk. That worthy,
trotting along with her paw clasped in Sally’s hand, looked the very
picture of innocence. Sally had seen her look like this before, and at
such seasons usually prepared for the worst.

[Illustration]

The main street upon which they now were walking led straight to
the Palace, which towered aloft above the other houses in the very
center of the city. Upon closer acquaintance, Sally quite altered her
previous opinion and found the building a very fine one indeed, even
in comparison with the Walking House. She could not help wondering if
it also possessed feet in embryo that might develop and run away with
it at any unexpected moment. She was rather afraid that the dwellings
in Joytown, having noted the example of the Walking House, might
perchance take a notion to follow the same. There was, however, nothing
whatever to cause apprehension in the dignified attitude of the staid
and stationary dwellings of the chief city of Toyland. Sally felt that
all quite depended upon their powers of observation, and whether or not
they had noticed the antics of the Walking House. For is not example
more effective than precept? Sally feared that it might be so. However,
she had no time for reflection, as all the party were anxious to make
a tour of the city, and the dinner hour was rapidly approaching. It
was too late to visit the Palace, so after a walk, during which they
covered a good deal of territory, they retired to their own dwelling.

The soft, golden twilight which took the place of night, now commenced
to fall, and Sally observed many parties of the residents leaving the
city and starting in the direction of Sleepy Town. The Sign Post,
who, at Sally’s earnest solicitation, had obtained permission from
headquarters to remain with the child and her party during their stay
in Toyland, now informed Sally that the twilight was brought about by
draping the sun with many veils of delicately tinted gauze.

“You see there really is no necessity for it at all, except that having
the day all the time becomes rather monotonous,” he went on. “And
besides that, there would be no sense in having such a long day. One
could not continue at work for more than six hours, the time laid down
by the trade unions.”

This seemed a remarkably short day to Sally, and she now inquired what
the Sign Post meant by veiling the sun. But that worthy immediately
assumed an air of mystery and replied,

“It was entirely the idea of the Polly-nosed Saphead. You must ask of
him, for he alone understands the nature of the occult rite.”

“And who, pray, may be the Polly-nosed Saphead?” demanded Bedelia, who
was hopping along on the other side of the Sign Post, very demure and
highly interested in all that was taking place.

At this the Sign Post shook his head solemnly.

“He is the high priest of all Toyland,” he replied. “Few are permitted
to enter his august presence.”

He shook his head again, and was silent. And Sally and Bedelia both
solemnly shook their heads, and were silent also for the space of at
least a full minute.

However, there did not appear to be any use in standing still and
shaking their little craniums over the Polly-nosed Saphead. Accordingly
Sally and Bedelia cordially thanked the Sign Post, who promised to join
them early the next morning, and made their way toward the Walking
House. They would gladly have invited their companion to enter, had he
not been entirely too tall for any of the rooms, or even to get in at
the door. As the Sign Post was very well used to standing out-of-doors,
he patiently took up his stand close to the house, there to await the
coming of the morning. To be sure, it seemed very queer to him not to
be saying “Five miles to the Palace,” he had been saying it for such a
very long time. In fact, he had never before in all his existence been
called upon to quit his post, as he was a comparatively new Sign Post.
But a very pleasant business he found it, especially when acting as
escort to such a delightful little girl as Sally.

Meantime Sally and Bedelia had entered the house, where they found the
rest of the family awaiting them. After a short consultation, it was
decided to observe the general rules that had governed them before
they had arrived in Toyland. Because other people never went to bed
was really no reason why they should not if they found it necessary.
Therefore the shades were drawn down, the lights extinguished, and the
whole household soon wrapped in refreshing slumber.

Once Sally wakened and, peeping out between the curtains—for the window
was close to her bedside—beheld the long and lanky form of the Sign
Post standing patiently at his place. His countenance still bore its
affable smile and the child fancied she could hear him murmuring, “Five
miles to the Palace. Five miles to the Palace.”

[Illustration: Sally felt a great longing to tip over the gorgeous
little Colonel.]

“Only it couldn’t be five miles, because it isn’t any miles at all,”
murmured the child, as she slipped away into dreamland. “He’s right at
the very door of the Palace.”

Sally slept late, and as soon as she awoke sprang out of bed and rushed
eagerly to the window. There was the Sign Post, nodding and smiling at
her, and waving good-morning, to which she responded in like manner,
and then made haste to dress and ran down to the kitchen, where she
found Dinah busily preparing breakfast. All the dolls had been up all
night, putting the house to rights, as it had suffered a terrible
shaking up during its journey, and there was not a piece of furniture
in the whole place that had not bumped and bounced and slidden, so that
it all presented a very much tumbled-up appearance when at last the
house came to a standstill. However, the dolls had worked busily, and
by the time Sally descended everything was in fine shape.

After a toothsome breakfast, a short council was held as to the best
methods of procedure. It was decided to go forth in several small
parties, as their number would make one single group rather too large.
The Sign Post had managed to take part in the conference by stooping
down and poking his head in at the window, and now hastened off to
summon others of his kind. Presently returning with them, they all set
off on their explorations.

Sally and Bedelia, with their faithful guide, formed a party by
themselves and very gaily they set forth, though it must be confessed
that Bedelia looked a bit solemn. Having eaten a huge breakfast, she
was beginning to experience certain sensations which caused her to
apprehend that D. Tablet, Esq., might once again be on the rampage.
These disagreeable feelings, however, gradually wore away, and the
little bear was presently padding along as merrily as any of the others.

Beautiful indeed was the Imperial City, with its bustling business
section and its lovely residence portion, its symmetrical parks and
gleaming lakes. And high above all, as if keeping guard over the
peaceful city, the lofty Palace, which stood on a slight eminence and
was therefore rendered extremely prominent by its position as well as
its size and distinctive style of architecture.

Sally did not know very much about architecture. Most of her knowledge
on the subject was included in the somewhat mixed-up style of the
Walking House. Neither she nor Miss Palmer had ever been able to decide
whether it was Grecian or Roman, ancient or modern. To be sure, Miss
Palmer had been anxious to spare John’s feelings on the subject, and
therefore had been slow in offering an opinion. And Sally was now
plunged in quite the same perplexity with regard to the Palace. She
could not help wondering if it had been designed by the Polly-nosed
Saphead, who, since he appeared to be such a great personage, might
well be a great architect also.

The Palace stood in the midst of a beautiful park, filled with the
usual types of trees that Sally had noticed as peculiar to Toyland, and
was approached by a lofty flight of steps, guarded on either side by a
whole regiment of lead soldiers, “The Royal Guards,” as the Sign Post
explained in a rather awe-struck manner. Sally felt a great longing to
tip over the gorgeous little Colonel, as she had often done with her
lead soldiers at home, and send the whole rank and file toppling over,
one upon another. But she suddenly recollected that she was now not
the least bit bigger than the soldiers themselves. And so she meekly
followed the private who was detailed to conduct them to the presence
of Royalty.



CHAPTER X

SALLY AND BEDELIA ARE PRESENTED AT COURT


PRECEDED by their guide, Sally and Bedelia passed between the great
doors of the Palace and into a mighty circular hall that was lighted
from above by a huge dome of golden colored glass, which cast a soft
and sunshiny radiance over everything. In the center of the hall rose
a wide and winding spiral staircase, heavily carpeted with deep yellow
velvet, whose bordering melted away into soft browns and russets. Sally
thought she had never seen anything more lovely than the color scheme
of this imperial hall, with its rich woodwork of carved golden oak, and
the golden light flooding everything.

Twelve great doors opened out of the hall and they were now ushered
with great ceremony through the one directly facing the wide entrance
and were received by a splendidly dressed court page, while the private
promptly saluted and went about his business.

When Sally, with heart thumping in a most uncomfortable manner,
ventured to lift her eyes from the pavement of tessellated marble,
she beheld a most magnificently appointed apartment of regal size,
thronged with courtiers and ladies-in-waiting, all in splendid court
dress; while at the further end rose a gorgeous throne upon which were
seated two of the handsomest dolls she had ever seen. She suddenly felt
herself very plain and insignificant in the midst of all this splendor.

But there was no time for personal criticism, for she was being rapidly
conducted up the hall by the gorgeous page, who was at the same time
loudly announcing her name and that of her companion. The child felt
herself blushing to the roots of her hair as she dropped her prettiest
curtsy, and dreadfully aware in the midst of her embarrassment that
Bedelia was attracting attention from all directions. In fact, that
personage possessed most strikingly original ideas of court etiquette
and, having made a most extraordinary bow, proceeded to lick the hand
of royalty which had been most graciously extended to be kissed. This
performance gave birth to a ripple of laughter, which at once broke the
ice. The courtiers crowded around Sally and Bedelia, while the King and
Queen descended from their throne and proceeded to make themselves most
agreeable to the strangers.

The Queen was a most beautiful blond, with large, blue eyes—Sally
noticed that they had real, black lashes—and a bewildering wealth of
golden curls, which she wore floating over her shoulders and whose
luster put to shame her golden crown. She wore a splendid gown of
white satin, embroidered with threads of gold, over which opened a
robe of purple velvet lined with ermine. A splendid court train swept
far behind her, and she was, furthermore, adorned with all the family
rhinestones, which made a prodigious sparkling and glittering and
appeared very magnificent indeed.

The King was a very tall and finely-built doll, with very dark hair and
eyes. His dress was of royal purple velvet, slashed with white satin.
He, also, wore a crown of fine gold and a splendid signet ring set
with a large ruby, upon which Bedelia gazed with suspicious interest.
Noticing her interested expression and following the direction of
her glances, Sally began inwardly to quake, and resolved that the
mischievous little bear should be separated as far from the King as
possible. An unkind fate, however, willed it otherwise, for the Queen,
who felt rather afraid of Bedelia, promptly linked her arm in Sally’s
and the two walked slowly down the long hall, leaving the King to
follow with the little bear. Truth to tell, Her Majesty was extremely
curious with regard to this new kind of doll, which was neither made of
china nor stuffed with sawdust, and she pressed Sally’s hand and patted
her arm, consumed with curiosity, although disliking to ask of what
material she could possibly be made.

Sally was destined to have her ideas concerning royalty turned
topsy-turvy. Indeed, all her previous notions, obtained from well
authenticated books, pictured kings and queens as quite the reverse of
what she was really finding them. The idea of a king promenading arm in
arm with a Teddy Bear, or with any kind of a bear, as far as that went!
She could not help smiling to herself to think how angry Bedelia would
be could she know of what she herself was thinking. For Bedelia had
always considered herself a most important little personage, and quite
good enough society for kings and queens, too.

While these thoughts were chasing each other through Sally’s brain, the
Queen was interestedly, if furtively examining the little girl’s dress
and her beautiful, lustrous braids which reached below her waist. Much
was her secret astonishment to discover that the latter were not glued
on, as were her own golden tresses. This she could not fail to consider
a serious detriment, for she was the proud possessor of numerous wigs,
and simply exchanged one for another as soon as it became mussed up, a
proceeding which she considered vastly superior to having the tiresome
combing and curling done with one’s own head for a foundation, which
must be the case with Sally, of course.

In fact, the Queen was rapidly coming to the conclusion that Sally was
a most delightful problem and one very worth while solving. To this end
she informed the pages that no one else would be given audience, and
insisted that Sally and Bedelia should spend the rest of the day at the
Palace.

In the meantime Bedelia had been amusing the King, who found himself
highly entertained by this entirely new species of toy animal. He had
never before beheld anything like her, although very well acquainted
with every specimen in his kingdom. Toyland was destitute of Teddy
Bears, a fact that greatly astonished Bedelia, who did not know whether
to be mad or glad on account of it, and concerning which she later on
demanded an explanation of the Sign Post. However, he declared with a
solemn shake of his head that a question of such momentous import must
needs be referred to the Polly-nosed Saphead, a personage concerning
whom Bedelia was already burning with curiosity.

However, the King declared Bedelia to be very good company for the
time being. And, though Sally was shaking in her shoes for fear of
what she might next consider it proper to do, she behaved herself in
such a bright and comical manner that His Majesty declared he would
immediately find out why none of her species had ever before penetrated
into Toyland.

Bedelia privately decided that she would herself find out before he
did, or know the reason why. However, she intimated nothing of the
kind, and as the Queen just then suggested that they make a tour of the
Palace and grounds, the subject was dismissed for the time at least.

The Queen now threw her long train over her arm and settling her golden
crown a little more firmly on her golden curls, she caught Sally’s hand
and the two moved towards the door, followed by the King and Bedelia.
The latter had, as a matter of course, taken the King’s arm, and now
marched along with her nose in the air, greatly to the astonishment
of the scandalized court ladies, very few of whom had enjoyed a like
honor. His Royal Highness was too much amused and diverted to feel any
embarrassment. Truth to tell, life in Toyland had been dull of late,
the same thing happening every day without change or variation, and the
King was beginning to be horribly bored. Bedelia had dropped from the
sky, as it seemed, in the very nick of time.

The quartet proceeded through the crowd of respectfully bowing
courtiers to the big doors at the lower end of the room and passed
through them into the outer hall. The royal automobile was in waiting,
and after a general tour of the Palace the party stepped into it and
started for a ride through the charming country.

As they reached the edge of the town, they beheld the Walking House
patiently awaiting developments and, both King and Queen desiring to
look it over, the party descended at once and proceeded to examine it.
The position of guide was, of course, snapped up by Bedelia, whose
fluency of speech fitted her very well for such work.

The King inspected everything with the greatest interest, noting many
improvements unknown in Toyland, Both King and Queen insisted on being
introduced to all the dolls, and made themselves most delightfully
agreeable.

The little bear now noticed for the first time the absence of Peter
Pan, a fact which she had hitherto passed by, owing no doubt to the
very good time she was enjoying. Squatting on her haunches in the
kitchen while she devoured a big, red apple—for she considered that the
claims of the inner man preceded even those of royalty—she revolved the
matter in her mind, finally coming to the conclusion that there could
be but one reason for Peter’s absence: that after their disappearance
from the doll’s house, he had discovered some means of returning to
his original size, and had availed himself of it, probably finding
the society of the doll’s house uncongenial minus Sally and Bedelia,
and preferring that of his cubs. Bedelia devoutly hoped that he had
preserved a portion of the “restorer,” as she mentally styled it, for
herself and Sally. Greatly as she was enjoying herself, she certainly
had no intention of remaining as she was for the term of her natural
life. Playing at being dolls was all very well for a season, but was
scarcely satisfying enough for a perpetual diet. Besides, there was her
family. She wondered how Tom and Jerry and Little Breeches were getting
along without her. It was something of a consolation to feel that Peter
Pan was with them in her absence.

Bedelia’s brain worked quickly, if it was made of silk ravelings! And
she had firmly settled the whole matter in her own mind long before she
had finished the red apple.

When she had taken the last bite and had carefully extracted the
seeds, of which, squirrel-like, she was extremely fond, she dropped
the core into the coal scuttle, wiped her paws and muzzle on Dinah’s
best apron which happened to be freshly done up and airing before the
fire, and betook herself upstairs to find out what had been going on
in her absence. As she passed the basement door, she saw the Little
Lamb scurrying out of it, but thought nothing of the incident and sped
upstairs to the drawing-room from which issued the sounds of lively
conversation.

The King and Queen had explored every nook and corner of the Walking
House, and now expressed a most lively desire to see it walk, a request
with which the House stubbornly refused to comply. Firmly planted upon
its pedal extremities, which had to all intents and purposes turned
themselves back into castors again, it stoutly resisted all coaxing
and persuasion; and the project was finally abandoned, much to the
disappointment of their Royal Highnesses and the chagrin of Sally.

The Queen declared it high time to be on the move, as they had brought
along an elaborate luncheon which was to be served wherever they felt
like stopping, and it was already along toward noon. Therefore they all
climbed into the auto and presently rolled away, waving good-bye to the
dolls, who were assembled in front of the house to see them go.

[Illustration]

A second auto with the servants and luncheon followed at a convenient
distance. There was no dust to take for the roads were all neatly
covered with velvet carpet whenever the King and Queen went abroad. The
automobile having been wound up just before it left the garage, there
was no fear of its running down, and even if it had, Sally felt quite
sure that her golden key would have been quite sufficient to start it
up again.

The child could not but think that the King and Queen looked
exceedingly comical automobiling in their royal robes and jeweled
crowns. The long train of the Queen was dreadfully in the way, and was
always overflowing the sides of the auto and having to be re-arranged,
while her golden crown wabbled to such an alarming extent that she was
obliged to hold on to it with both hands, a proceeding which was not at
all comfortable. Nor was the King any better off, but rather worse, for
the Queen’s long and carefully dressed hair admitted of hat-pins and
formed a much better receptacle for a crown than did his own short and
curly locks.

However, the little party was a very merry one in spite of wabbly
crowns and inconvenient court-trains. And great was the fun and
laughter as they sped gaily along through the charming country.
Presently they crossed a rustic bridge and turned into a beautiful
strip of woods, and here the Queen declared that their luncheon should
be served. It was, indeed, a lovely location. A silvery stream rippled
by and formed a charming cascade, the water having been turned on from
headquarters for the benefit of the royal party. A number of birds
of brilliant plumage hopped about among the green branches, most of
them warbling sweetly. That they had all been wound up for the special
occasion Sally did not for a moment doubt, but she was already so well
accustomed to this sort of thing that she did not in the least mind
it or consider it queer. As for Bedelia, she had never noticed the
difference.

Just then the servants who had been approaching, bearing the big hamper
in which the lunch had been packed, suddenly dropped it and retreated
with every semblance of terror. Sally’s heart sank into her boots, and
she glanced nervously over her shoulders to ascertain if Bedelia were
missing. But the little bear was close behind and with the rest of the
party rushed forward to see what on earth ailed the royal servants.
The hamper lay upon the ground, while in one side yawned a great hole.
And within appeared a long, solemn face, terminated by a considerable
growth of beard. For Mary did not always find it quite convenient to
shave her Little Lamb as often as was really necessary. The goat’s
beard had sprouted, although the horns had not, and was proving a great
nuisance to everybody concerned.

In a moment the solution of the whole thing burst upon Bedelia. She
remembered having seen the Little Lamb skipping out of the basement
door and surmised that he must have hidden himself in the automobile
until they were all under way and had then chewed a hole in the side of
the hamper, as he could not unfasten the lid, and finally managed to
squeeze himself in by dint of throwing out a number of articles utterly
valueless to goats but considered quite indispensable to royalty. Of
course all this had taken place behind the backs of the servants, who
evidently had never once looked around.

Poor Sally, who recognized at the first glance the countenance of the
Little Lamb, felt that it would have been a huge relief had the ground
opened and made one mouthful of her. She was too much scandalized, as
well as too honest, to join in the terrified exclamations of the royal
couple, who, however, had but short space in which to express their
emotions. Not seeing any good reason why he should remain in his rather
cramped quarters, which he would have deserted much sooner had he not
feared to jump from the rapidly moving auto, the Little Lamb suddenly
wriggled out through the hole in the hamper’s side and taking nimbly to
his heels, scampered away and disappeared among the trees, leaving the
royal party to mourn over its departed feast.



CHAPTER XI

THE POLLY-NOSED SAPHEAD


NOBODY ever was awakened in Sleepy Town, but everyone slept just as
long as they chose. Consequently the morning was well advanced before
the King and Queen awoke, and sat up yawning and stretching in a very
unregal manner. In fact, it was just like the awakening of ordinary
folks. And when they had gotten through with this performance, they
stood up and arranged their robes and put on their crowns which they
had carefully hung up on a nearby poppy bush. Sally was also awake. She
and the Sign Post had already taken a walk down to the lake where the
little girl had looked eagerly for the Leap-Frog. But the queer little
animal was nowhere to be seen, so the two had retraced their steps,
after Sally had bathed her face and hands in the cool water. They were
very glad to find the King and Queen and Bedelia waiting for them and
eager to take the homeward way.

As they walked towards the gates, Sally noticed quite a number of
Flussies perched on the bushes, their heads under their wings, fast
asleep. The Sign Post remarked that they were the carrier-doves of
Toyland. Here and there a furry bat, hooked on some convenient branch
by his little claws, slept peacefully. Sally remarked how pretty and
downy they were, just like little winged mice. She had always wondered
why people feared them, knowing how senseless and cruel are the
superstitions regarding the timid little creatures.

    “He prayeth best who loveth best
       All things both great and small,
     For the dear God who loveth us
       He made and loveth all.”

She repeated the lines half dreamily to herself, wondering if they
included the Little Lamb and others of his ilk, as they walked along
towards the entrance, where they could already see the motor car, which
had just been freshly wound up, waiting for them.

The King and Queen climbed into the back seat, Sally and Bedelia sprang
up with the chauffeur, and with the Sign Post racing ahead on his long,
lath-like legs, they set out at a merry pace for Joytown.

It was nearly noon when they reached the palace, and after luncheon,
the Queen proposed that they should pay a visit to the Polly-nosed
Saphead, the Wizard who really controlled more or less all the affairs
of state. As Sally was only too eager to go, they hurried away without
ceremony as soon as might be, in order to have a good long afternoon.
This rather offended all the other members of the court, who were
decidedly inclined to feel aggrieved and neglected since Sally and
Bedelia had come a-visiting to the palace.

The Polly-nosed Saphead lived in a great, round tower about half a
mile from the palace. He had been advised of the advent of royalty by
means of the wireless telegraph, which has always existed in Toyland.
In fact, he claimed to be the inventor of it. But be that as it may,
he received the message from the King all right, and was on hand to
receive the royal party in his big audience room on the first floor.

When they entered the hall he was discovered sitting in his big
chair of state, his shrunken little body wrapped in a loose robe of
crimson covered with queer black figures and lined with white fur,
while his two pet gargoyles sported about at his feet. Sally saw with
astonishment that he was not a doll, but a real little man, or, more
properly speaking, a little dwarf, with a great head as bald as a
billiard ball. This defect was partially concealed by one little tuft
of hair or scalp lock, which had a dreadful habit of lifting itself
straight up in the air whenever it did not agree with the sentiments
expressed by its wearer. As for the back of his head, it was as smooth
as the palm of your hand, a fact which had long ago firmly convinced
its owner that it was extremely impolite ever to turn his back on
anyone. He had, in consequence, acquired a reputation for great
courtesy, and was pointed out as a kind of Chesterfield to the rising
generation of Toyland.

Great, flapping ears stuck out on either side of the Wizard’s little
weazened face, while his big, bulging eyes were shaded by brows and
lashes that, naturally white, were always carefully dyed to match the
scalp lock, which, if the truth must be told, was dyed too. After a
time the dye gradually wore off and grew lighter in color, so that when
the great man neglected to visit his barber at proper intervals, his
hair, not to mention his lashes, became gradually of a delicate green
hue, having worked successively through every known shade of brown
before it reached this undesirable tint. When in good condition, it
was of a rich and glossy brown, shading upon black. “Streaky,” Bedelia
cruelly declared it, the moment she laid eyes upon it.

But the most astonishing feature belonging to the Polly-nosed Saphead
was his large, beak-like nose that, shining and fleshless, rose
determinedly from the surrounding level of his countenance like the
bill of a poll-parrot, and imparted to his general appearance an air of
forever wishing to peer into mysteries. Never did question mark more
continuously uprear a perpetual interrogation than did the great man’s
inquiring nasal organ. Hence his name “The Polly-Nosed” which, far
from being a term of ridicule, was on the contrary, a title of great
respect. For were not parrots the wisest birds in all Toyland? Whatever
the rest of the name meant in the general language of Toyland, we will
not now pause to explain.

A real parrot of most brilliant plumage hung upside down on the back
of the wise man’s chair, suspended by its claws and evidently fast
asleep. While the gargoyles that Sally had at once perceived with great
astonishment upon entering the hall, frisked about their master’s chair.

The little girl had never considered these queer creatures in any other
position than close up under the eaves of a church. And she had always
supposed that their chief occupation was to spout a great deal of water
out of their huge mouths. These specimens, however, judging from their
disorderly conduct, had never heard of such a place as a church. In
fact, they were just then engaged in trying to swarm up the sides of
their master’s chair, in order to pull down the parrot. That wise old
fellow, knowing that in spite of their clumsy wings, they would never
be able to reach him in his fastness without first wallowing all over
their master, slept peacefully on, upside down as he was, and never
paid any attention to them at all.

They certainly were remarkably hideous looking creatures, having
apparently been left off when not more than half finished, for they
possessed only a head and shoulders, with great front paws and strong,
cruel looking claws. In addition to these, they each sported a pair of
dragon-like wings. They had great mouths that very nearly met around at
the back of their necks, and huge, bulging eyes, and altogether were
anything but pretty pets.

However, they crouched on the floor at a gesture from the Wizard, who
now hurriedly got himself up out of his big chair, and came forward,
bowing and scraping with the most effusive courtesy. He had big eyes
that stuck out dreadfully and gave them a ridiculous resemblance to the
gargoyles, and so fearfully did they wiggle and roll about that Sally
began to fear they would hop out of their sockets altogether before he
had finished his profuse greetings.

He seemed especially glad to see Sally, whom he at once perceived to be
of his own kind, and quite different from the inhabitants of Toyland.

Everybody having greeted everybody else with much politeness and
warmth, the King announced that he would be greatly pleased if the
Wizard would show Sally the wonders of his tower, especially the
Department of the Sun, in which they were all greatly interested.

At this the Wizard appeared greatly flattered and begged them to
excuse him for a moment. He hastened to the far end of the room where
the gargoyles had briskly renewed their efforts to get at the parrot,
seized that still soundly sleeping bird, and proceeded to hang him up
by his claws on a high bracket that had originally served to support
his own cage. Polly slept serenely and the Wizard, having tethered
the gargoyles to the legs of his great chair, returned to the waiting
party. This greatly displeased the gargoyles for by this time they had
discovered Bedelia, and were quite willing to lose the parrot if they
might get at her. It must be confessed, Bedelia did not like their
looks at all and hung to Sally’s protecting arm, although she had held
up her head and looked back over her shoulders with a provoking grin
as the whole company left the hall and began to ascend a narrow and
winding flight of stairs that led to the top of the tower.

Up and up they went, finally stepping out upon a wide platform or
veranda that ran all around the tower, and Sally saw that the great
round sun—which she perceived at a glance to be nothing more nor less
than a big electric light within a dazzling globe of cut-glass—hung
directly over the tower. The child understood at once that the Wizard’s
great power lay in his knowledge of electricity. However, she made no
comment, nor even hinted at the fact that she had ever heard of such a
thing.

She was not at all surprised that the Wizard offered very few
explanations. In fact, he was very jealous of his methods of working,
and feared continually that somebody else might discover them. As there
was no patent office in Toyland, the best thing he could do was to keep
his secrets to himself, which he accordingly did to perfection.

[Illustration]

The Sign Post, still in faithful attendance, whispered to Sally that
the great surface of the sun was kept clean by hundreds of tiny elves
who were known as the Sunshine Fairies and who spent all their lives
rubbing and polishing the glittering cut-glass surface.

“Once in the beginning,” he said solemnly, “they grew weary and fell
asleep, and the face of the sun became dark and dusty for want of
rubbing, so that we had an eclipse.”

Sally smiled, thinking it a great deal more likely that something in
connection with the electric plan had gotten out of order. However, she
offered no comment but nodded and smiled.

“Since then,” continued the Sign Post, “the elves have been divided
into two companies, and at stated times they are sent off to Sleepy
Town for rest. Then when they return the others go. It is a plan that
works very well.”

“Much better than having eclipses all the time,” broke in Bedelia
sharply. She was not very sure what an eclipse was, but had come to the
conclusion that it must be something unpleasant and disagreeable.

Sally now perceived myriads of the little Sunshine Fairies slipping
down the cold and glittering sunbeams, and right jolly creatures they
seemed to be. Each one had two pair of hands and arms so that when one
pair grew tired of rubbing and polishing, the other might come into
play.

Sally was not surprised to find the sunbeams cold, as the moonbeams in
Sleepy Town had been warm and quite springlike in their temperature.
However, she did feel curious concerning the manner in which they were
regulated, as the sunlight at noon was ever so much brighter than it
was at morning or evening. Accordingly she inquired of the ever ready
Sign Post, as she had a vague idea that the Wizard rather disliked
being questioned.

It was immediately explained to her that the light was regulated by
means of many folds of soft gauze, which were operated by means of
ropes and pulleys and in as many thicknesses as were required. They
were also in various shades of yellow, pink and violet and soft gray,
so that a most beautiful twilight could at any time be had for the
asking by simply arranging the gauze in appropriate color and thickness.

It all seemed so simple that Sally was beginning to think the Wizard
had won his fame very easily. That personage, who had of course felt
obliged to give the most of his attention to the King and Queen, now
led the way down the narrow and winding stairs, a journey which the
Sign Post made in about half as many steps with his long legs.

Very shortly they were back again in the big audience hall. Everything
was just as they had left it, the parrot still asleep and hanging up
like a bat by his claws, and the gargoyles both dozing, one under the
Wizard’s great chair and the other upon it, each with one eye open.

Sally, who had noticed Bedelia’s somewhat hostile attitude, was
relieved to find all the creatures asleep. But they were not long to
remain so, for the noise made by the party in returning speedily woke
them. The parrot, with a shrill cry, flew straight to her favorite
perch on the back of her master’s chair. Being still half asleep, she
did not perceive the dear little pet that occupied it until a lusty tug
at her tail and the dreadful consciousness that she had parted company
with several of her best tail feathers caused her to fly to the floor,
squawking and chattering.

Immediately both the gargoyles gave chase, but Polly, far from
retreating, turned boldly to face her tormentors. In a moment Bedelia
had thrown herself into the thick of the fray and there ensued a very
bad quarter of an hour for everybody all around. Fur and feathers flew
and Polly, reinforced by Bedelia, would have scored a signal victory
owing to the fact that the gargoyles were tied up, while the parrot,
after delivering a series of blows with beak and claws, could always
get out of the range of their jaws. Finally the Wizard, whom none of
them seemed to mind the least bit, succeeded in restoring order. The
gargoyles were driven off to a far corner where they were tied up in
disgrace, and Polly, minus her tail feathers, was shut up in her cage,
squawking and protesting every step of the way.

[Illustration]

Meantime, Bedelia quickly secured the bone of contention, namely the
brilliant tail feathers, and stuck them into her fur behind her ears,
where they stood up impudently, giving her rather the aspect of an
Indian squaw.

Peace having been restored, afternoon tea was brought in and served by
a number of jumping-jacks, who were in fine livery and powdered wigs.
The jumping-jacks were exclusively in the service of the Wizard and
very fine servants they proved to be. To be sure, one of them would
occasionally collapse and fall in a limp heap on the floor, scattering
tea and cakes all over the place. But as jumping-jacks usually do
collapse and sprawl on the ground unless properly held up by the string
that always grows out of the tops of their heads, nobody seemed to
think anything of it, or to mind it in the least.

It seemed rather a shame to Sally that they should be compelled to wear
powdered wigs, thus covering up forever that most important string.
The poor creatures could never be quite sure when they were going to
collapse. Besides, what a quantity of tea and cakes was always being
wasted! She could not exactly figure it all out and confided her
dilemma to the Sign Post. He remarked that even were the powdered wigs
dispensed with, there would be nobody to hold up the strings.

While this was very true, it did not help Sally in the least, and she
was rather glad when the Queen declared that it was time to leave, and
the whole party, having bade good-bye to the Wizard, with thanks for
the pleasant if somewhat strenuous visit, returned to the palace.



CHAPTER XII

THE WEATHER PROPHET


ALTHOUGH there was no night in Toyland, a species of twilight prevailed
after a certain hour, not dark enough to require lights, but it still
proved deliciously restful after a day of perfect and brilliant
sunshine.

These twilights were, of course, engineered by the Wizard from his
tower, and by means of the gauze arrangements that the Sign Post
had explained to Sally, were blue, pink, yellow, green, and so on,
according to the fancy of the magician.

It was quite the fad to give afternoon teas that matched the twilight
in color, and as a bulletin was posted each morning at the Wizard’s
front door announcing the shade of the twilight to come, the rest was
an easy matter. As soon as the diminishing sunlight proclaimed the
approach of evening, myriads of fireflies were let loose in all the
rooms of the palace, furnishing all the light that was necessary.
Indeed, Toyland knew nothing of lamps or candles, gas or electric
light. The cooking was all done with fuel, the secret of whose
preparation was known to the Wizard alone. It was non-explosive and
burned without consuming away, so that one good-sized chunk would
last forever. In fact, when a person went to invest in fuel, he first
had his cook stove measured and then ordered to be sent home a block
of exactly the right dimensions. When he wanted it lit all he had to
do was to use the bellows that hung by the side of every stove. This
started the fire at once, and an occasional application kept it going.
When the bellows was hung up for good, the fuel went out. In every
kitchen was employed a boy who did nothing but blow the fire with the
bellows. With such a state of affairs, conflagrations were unknown
and, in fact, unheard of. To be sure, there were plenty of iron fire
companies who appeared at intervals with other toys from the world of
human beings, but their occupation was gone forever, and they were
obliged to seek other pursuits, usually being given a place in the
standing army, a position for which their brilliant uniforms easily
fitted them.

On this particular evening after returning from the Wizard’s palace,—it
was a pink evening, by the way—it was announced much to Sally’s delight
that the Weather Prophet had declared snow for the following morning.
If Sally was pleased, she was just as much astonished, for the weather
was warm and the month she was quite sure was June. However, as the
Wizard managed the Weather Prophet, who was only his mouth-piece,
nobody ever knew, it appeared, what sort of weather might be expected
within the next few hours. The Queen suspected that snow had been
ordered for Sally’s benefit, and said so with a smile; while the King
suggested that they should all go over to visit the Weather Prophet,
as there was nothing especially amusing laid out for the evening. This
was readily agreed to by everyone, and as soon as dinner was over they
all started forth to walk to the house of the personage who ruled the
weather.

The evening was beautiful. A rosy flush rested upon everything, while
every wayside tree was filled with fireflies. To be sure, Bedelia
declared that the pinkish glow made them all look as if they had
scarletina. But as nobody in Toyland had ever heard of such a thing as
scarletina, her joke fell very flat indeed.

A short walk brought them to the house of the Weather Prophet. At one
period of her life Sally would have called it a glass box, set up
on end. And that was certainly what it did look like. They caught a
glimpse of a mass of fluffy drapery within and then Bedelia exclaimed
in a tone of disappointment and chagrin, “Why, it’s nothing but a paper
doll!”

Sure enough, a paper doll it was, and a lady doll at that. Sally had
seen just such dolls hung upon her Christmas trees year after year. In
fact, she had often helped to make the fluffy skirts of plaited crépe
paper.

The Sign Post here whispered that the skirts were really the most
wonderful thing about the Weather Prophet, as they changed color with
the changes of the weather.

Sally now observed hanging over the door a glass sign on which was
printed in large, golden letters

    WHEN I WEAR PINK, A STORM IS DUE,
    WHEN SKIES ARE CLEAR, MY SKIRTS ARE BLUE.

[Illustration]

In fact, the glass sign began to repeat the stanza in a very loud voice
as soon as the party was within hailing distance, and kept repeating it
over and over until the Weather Prophet angrily ordered it to be quiet,
whereupon it became so sulky that it clouded itself all over and became
quite dim.

As soon as the Weather Prophet could make herself heard, she greeted
her guests with the greatest affability, and when questioned concerning
the impending storm replied by pointing with a smile to her draperies,
which certainly were as pink as could be.

“As there never is any rain here,” she explained, “a storm usually—in
fact, as a rule—means a snow storm.” Then with a friendly nod at Sally,
she added, “In your country, where I once lived, you have many kinds of
storms.”

To this Bedelia promptly responded before Sally had time to answer,
“Snow storms, hail storms, rain storms, thunder storms and brain
storms!”

“We have thunder storms here, too, but never any rain,” replied the
Weather Prophet.

She was very pretty, and confided to Sally that she was the Wizard’s
wife, but that as she had to remain where her draperies could be
influenced by the weather, she seldom went to the tower.

“Besides which, I cannot abide his horrid gargoyles,” she added, with a
contemptuous sniff.

Sally remembered how stuffy the big hall in the tower had been and did
not at all blame the pretty doll for preferring her own bright and airy
glass house with its many ventilators and the gay, striped awnings that
could be spread out when the sun was too glaring.

As the neat, gold paper watch that the Weather Prophet wore at her belt
now pointed to the hour of nine and Sally was beginning to look tired,
they all took leave of their charming hostess and wended their way back
to the palace, where the Queen with an affectionate kiss dismissed
Sally that she might seek the rest that she so greatly needed.

“What on earth would nurse think if she could see us going to bed at
ten o’clock?” exclaimed the child, as she cuddled close up to Bedelia,
already half asleep on the dainty linen pillow.

“What would she think if she could see any of it, especially the
gargoyles?” returned the little bear sleepily.

Sally burst out laughing, remembering nurse’s dismay at sight of one
small mouse. But before her merry laugh had ceased to echo through the
room, her eyelids fell drowsily. She was fast asleep.

They slept long and soundly, and were at last awakened by the scraping
of shovels and the sound of carts and horses in the street below.
Quickly Sally sprang out of bed, followed by Bedelia, who fell all over
herself and very nearly upset Sally in her anxiety to get to the window.

A strange sight met their eyes. In the street below were moving back
and forth a myriad of little carts, each drawn by one horse, and
presided over by a jumping-jack. But wonderful to relate, instead of
shoveling up the snow and carrying it away, the drivers were unloading
it as fast as they could and spreading it over everything. Down the
road and as far as she could see, the child beheld a company of
Sign Posts that were mounted on huge ladders and busily engaged in
sprinkling the snow over the tops and branches of the stiff little
trees. They also hung numbers of glittering icicles on the boughs and
twigs.

Without waiting to see any more, Sally dressed with the greatest
possible haste and flew to find her own especial Sign Post. Him she
found waiting patiently in the hall below, and in response to her eager
queries, he explained that, as Sally already knew, the temperature in
Toyland never varied. Therefore there was neither rain nor real snow.
The snow that now lay thickly spread over everything was manufactured
by the Wizard, who alone knew how to make it.

“So you see,” concluded the Sign Post, “we can have winter whenever
Their Majesties wish for a sleigh ride.”

They were walking along the garden path by this time, the crisp snow
crunching under their feet. Sally thought that Toyland had never looked
so beautiful as now, with every tree and roof sparkling with the
glittering snow crystals. The child picked up a few icicles and put
them carefully into her pocketbook for future reference. She felt very
much puzzled to see such a topsy-turvy state of affairs as existed in
Toyland. The idea of snow being shoveled out of carts instead of being
shoveled into them! She could but reflect, however, that a snow storm
in the nursery must have been planned and executed under very nearly
the same circumstances.

“To be sure, they are only a lot of dolls,” she said to herself. “No
wonder that the Wizard is able to deceive them in so many ways.”

“What becomes of all this stuff?” just then demanded Bedelia. She
had been digging down into the snow with much vigor and had promptly
discovered that it was neither cold nor wet.

“The snow,” replied the Sign Post with dignity, “is the property of the
Wizard. When it has lain here for what he considers a proper length of
time, his servants gather it up and cart it away and it is stored up
for future use.”

Just then a great jingling of bells was heard and a huge sleigh came
swinging up the driveway. In it was seated no less a personage than the
Polly-nosed Saphead himself, wrapped in furs and evidently in a great
state of pleasurable excitement.

The poll parrot was perched on the back of the seat, while much to
Sally’s dismay the ugly heads of the two gargoyles appeared poking up
from among the fur robes.

“Come for a sleigh ride,” cried the parrot before the Wizard had time
to move or speak. “Come for a sleigh ride, a sleigh ride, a sleigh
ride!” and she would no doubt have kept on repeating the invitation
indefinitely had not one of the gargoyles suddenly reared up on the
back seat and made a grab for her brilliant tail. Whereupon the Wizard
felt obliged to interfere and it was some time before peace was
restored and the great man descended with as much pomp and ceremony as
the circumstances permitted.

He was such a bundle of furs that had it not been for his big head,
which was crowned with a large fur cap, it would have been almost
impossible to find his little shrunken body at all. He greeted Sally
with great warmth and announced that he had come to take her and the
royal party for a sleigh ride. Here Bedelia remarked in a stage whisper
that had the “royal party” been present, he would not have put Sally
first in his invitation. Nobody heeding her, however, she proceeded
to devote her attention to the parrot, the gargoyles having been left
outside in the sleigh.

While feeling rather doubtful about riding in the same vehicle with
the ugly beasts as well as Polly and Bedelia—for she knew very well
that they would all have to go along—Sally felt obliged to accept
so pressing an invitation, especially when offered by such a mighty
personage. And word was accordingly sent upstairs to the King and Queen
who presently came hurrying down, all ready for the ride.

In the excitement everyone had forgotten about breakfast, that is,
everyone but Bedelia. She now dived below stairs and made a swift raid
on the dining-room, whence she shortly returned with every evidence
of having restored exhausted nature with a great number of cookies,
judging from the crumbs that adorned her fur.

As there was no further reason for delay, the whole party climbed
into the big sleigh. The Queen and Sally were on the back seat with
Bedelia between them, the King and the Wizard on the front seat with
Polly perched on the back of it directly behind her master. The
gargoyles were perched up in front with the driver, much to the dismay
of that dignified personage, who disliked them heartily. Besides, he
considered, and with some reason, that their presence detracted in no
small degree from his own liveried dignity. However, he was too much
afraid of them to vent his displeasure as he might have done had they
not been such ugly looking customers. The footman, too, felt very much
aggrieved at having his quarters curtailed by the admission of such
passengers. However, there was no help for it, and each one being
finally settled in his place, the sleigh started off with a great
jingling of bells and waving of plumes that stood up stiffly on the
heads of the mettlesome steeds and also reared themselves aloft on the
pillars of the high dashboard.

The Wizard remarked that he had invited his wife to come along but
that as she objected to so much live stock, she had preferred to
remain where she was. Sally wondered where the Weather Prophet would
have roosted had she accepted the Wizard’s invitation, as there did
not appear to be a square inch of unoccupied room. However, she said
nothing and the sleigh sped merrily along, finally leaving the city and
swinging out into the open country.

Here also winter fair and sparkling prevailed in all its dazzling
splendor. The King remarked that there would be fine skating to which
the Wizard replied that he had caused several pair of skates to be
brought along and that they would try the skating pond when the ladies
had had enough of the sleigh.

This proposition was hailed with delight by all concerned. Sally could
not help wondering where they were going to find any ice. Her curiosity
was presently satisfied when the sleigh drew up beside a large sheet
of clear glass, which had been lightly sprinkled with the snow powder,
so that it was not too slippery for roller skating. Roller skating it
was to which the Wizard now invited his guests. And in a few moments
they were all speeding merrily along, each one trying to outstrip the
others. Even the gargoyles each buckled a pair of skates on his front
and only paws, and joined the merry company. And by dint of balancing
themselves with their wings, they managed very well indeed.

The Queen was highly delighted as the skating pond was something
entirely new, and the whole party remained circling round and round
until the Wizard, looking at his watch, suddenly declared that it was
high time for twilight and that although it greatly grieved him to stop
so delightful a diversion, he really must hasten back to his tower in
order to attend to the same. He added that his wife desired the party
to take tea with her and that it would be a lavender tea.

Everybody now took off the roller skates and piled into the sleigh, the
homeward way being taken by a different route in order that they might
lose none of the beauties of the scenery.

As they approached the spot on which the pretty little glass house of
the Weather Prophet had stood, a cry of dismay broke from the lips of
all,—at least all but those of the Wizard. The house was gone, and
not the smallest trace of either house or Prophet remained to tell
the tale. Neither did the most systematic search reveal anything.
The baffled Wizard retired to his tower to consult the stars, as he
declared, while the rest of the party hurried to the palace to get
their own lavender tea.



CHAPTER XIII

A MYSTERIOUS DISAPPEARANCE


GREAT was the hue and cry raised over the disappearance of the Weather
Prophet, and dire the dismay of the general public, that had daily
flocked to the pretty little glass house to learn the very latest
advice from the weather bureau. They greatly feared there could now
be no further predictions concerning sun and storm, for there never
had been but one Weather Prophet within the memory of anyone, even the
oldest of all. Even the Wizard knew nothing concerning the material
of which his wife’s magic skirts were made. A weather prophet she had
been, although badly in need of repair, upon her arrival in Toyland,
and her like had never been seen, would never be seen again.

Queerer even than her disappearance seemed to Sally the vanishing of
her glass house. Perhaps, like the Walking House, it had found feet
and eloped, carrying off its owner, whether willing or not. Even the
loquacious glass sign was gone, which proved conclusively to the
logical mind of the Wizard, or at least he so expressed himself, that
the house had run away with the lady, and that at that very moment she
was no doubt placidly following her profession of prophesying in some
far distant region.

Bedelia, as usual, had her own opinion concerning the matter, and went
about looking mysterious. Sally, who greatly feared that the little
bear was planning mischief, was much relieved when she finally spoke
her mind.

“I believe that bald-headed old terror knows where his wife is,” she
declared one morning while the two were wandering through the palace
greenhouses. “She had two pet Flussies and they are gone, too. Now,
even if she was carried off by her glass house against her will, she
could have sent them back with a message. Anyway, it isn’t likely that
she went of her own accord, for she is so well known all over Toyland
that wherever she went, the Wizard would be sure to find it out and
bring her back. Besides that, she had no reason for running off.
Everybody liked her and made a fuss over her.”

“Well, then, whatever do you suppose has become of her?” inquired Sally
breathlessly. The child had had her own misgivings, remembering the
pretty doll’s dislike for her husband’s pets. “You don’t suppose the
gargoyles could have _eaten_ her?” she added hurriedly.

“No, and I don’t believe the Polly flew away with her,” retorted
Bedelia scornfully. “I believe she is hidden somewhere within a very
short distance from here. The Wizard has some motive for getting her
out of the way. You know he said she had refused to go sleighing with
the rest of us. He probably said that just for effect.”

“But what could he have done with the house?” demanded Sally.

“Oh, that could easily have been taken to pieces and moved away. He had
those imps of gargoyles to help him,” replied the little bear. Then
after a moment’s thought, she added reflectively, “As you know, the
King and Queen have gone away on business for a couple of days. Suppose
we try to unravel this mystery all by ourselves. I am sure the Sign
Post will help us. He can run very fast, besides being so tall he can
get at almost anything. Of course we won’t mention what we are doing to
anyone. It may be that I am on quite the wrong scent. But there’s no
harm in trying.”

And Sally having given her delighted consent, Bedelia trotted off to
find the Sign Post, singing at the top of her voice

    “The owl, and the eel, and the warming pan
     They went to call on the soap-fat man;
     The soap-fat man he was not within
     For he’d gone for a ride on his rolling-pin;
     So they all came back by way of the town,
     And turned the meeting-house upside down.”

This ancient classic somehow, it seemed to Sally, applied to the
situation in hand, only it was Sally and the Sign Post and Bedelia
instead of the owl and the eel and the warming-pan.

A bright idea suddenly struck the little girl, and she could scarcely
wait until Bedelia returned with the Sign Post to announce it to them.

“Bedelia, dear,” she exclaimed, “if we are going to be real detectives,
we shouldn’t use our own names, because real detectives never do. Let
us call ourselves the Owl and the Eel and the Warming-Pan. It will be
so lovely and mysterious!”

Bedelia clapped her paws with delight at this proposition, while the
Sign Post beamed approval from his lofty height.

“With capitals, of course,” continued Sally. “And now which of us shall
be which?”

After some discussion, it was decided that Sally should be the Owl
(with a capital), Bedelia the Eel, while the long and lean Sign Post
should be the Warming-Pan.

This mighty problem having been settled, they proceeded to hold a
council of war and finally decided to set forth at once upon their
mission. They concluded to go on foot and, if it were not possible to
return each night to the palace, to remain wherever they could find
lodging. The Sign Post, while he had no opinion of his own at all
concerning the disappearance of the Weather Prophet, was glad to fall
in with the plans of anyone who had, and Sally perceived with delight
that he was going to be a most valuable addition to their detective
force.

By noon their simple preparations were completed and they set forth
merrily enough, having concluded to go over the nearby ground first,
then if they discovered nothing to proceed to regions more remote.
Bedelia’s idea that the subject of their search was hidden close by
seemed sensible enough. She might be in the Wizard’s tower for that
matter. The disappearance of the house was what bothered all of them.
What use could anyone have for a vanishing glass house? It was really
most mysterious.

They walked on, discussing the subject that was so troubling them
when suddenly the sound of heavy paws padding along behind them made
them turn quickly. And they beheld hurrying along after them a big,
white figure that Sally recognized at once as the large Polar Bear
rug that lay at the side of the Queen’s bed. He had come to life most
beautifully and only flopped in a very small degree, considering his
boneless condition. He came up panting a little and wagging his huge
head amiably as is the fashion with Polar Bears.

“I was _so_ afraid you would get away!” he said in a panting voice, as
he linked arms with Sally and quickly fell into step with her. Then
he added, “Aren’t you surprised to see me? I never did such a thing
before. Ever since I can remember, I have lain beside the Queen’s bed.
But this morning I felt that I had reached the limit. Do let me go
along with you! I am thirsting for adventure.”

“Do you think you could walk so far?” said Sally, eyeing his somewhat
wabbly legs rather doubtfully. “Besides, what will the Queen say when
she returns?”

“I shall not be there to hear,” replied the Polar Bear solemnly. “And
as for walking, I can go along with the best of you. Besides, you will
find me very useful, for when you are tired, I will spread myself out
and you can rest comfortably on my long, soft hair.” He smiled so
amiably as he said this that the others at once consented to take him
along, and also informed him of the object of their journey.

This confidence ended, they proceeded more briskly than before, and
soon the palace was left behind and they found themselves in the open
country. At the edge of the town Sally saw a most peculiar looking tree
whose queer leaves, some square, some oblong, no two of them alike,
were white instead of green, and rustled with a sound like sweetest
music as the wind whispered softly through them.

“Oh, what a queer tree!” she exclaimed, hurrying toward it.

“That, my dear, is a letter tree,” said the Sign Post.

“A letter tree?” replied the child blankly. “Then you have no
post-office in Toyland?”

“I do not know what a post-office may be,” replied the other. “But here
all our letters grow on trees. The loving thoughts of our friends to
us, why should they not bloom and bear fruit, the fruit of the heart
and brain?”

Much impressed by the eloquence of her companion, Sally was silent,
but Bedelia remarked that she had heard of a brain-storm, but that
brain-fruit was one too many for her.

The Sign Post, without condescending to notice the little bear’s
impertinence, lifted Sally in his long arms so that she might more
closely examine the wonderful tree, which she did with the greatest
curiosity. But although she sought all over it, there was no fruit
bearing her name. She had not expected anything, yet she somehow felt
disappointed. However, Bedelia was in the highest spirits, having been
lifted up by the Polar Bear, with whom she had struck up the greatest
friendship, and she could scarcely be restrained from appropriating a
number of letters, albeit they were all addressed to other people.

Just as the Polar Bear was resolutely setting her down on her feet, she
made a sudden grab and descended to the ground with a letter tightly
clasped in her mischievous paw.

“Oh, Bedelia, how could you!” cried Sally in distress.

“Well, it’s for you, stupid!” retorted Bedelia saucily, as she thrust
the envelope under Sally’s nose. Sure enough it was, and Sally had
somehow overlooked it. It was addressed in a manner not to be mistaken:

    To Sally,

    Care of Her Royal Highness,

    The Palace,

    Toyland.


“How curious!” cried Sally as she eagerly tore it open.

It read thus:

    Dear Sally:—

    Here I am shut up in the tower by that horrid old
    Polly-nosed Saphead. He sent for me yesterday on the
    pretense that he wanted me to go sleigh-riding, and
    when he got me up here in the very top of the tower, he
    locked me in and went away. He has left the gargoyles
    outside the door and I can hear them scratching and
    fussing around. I don’t know what he is doing this for,
    but anyway he has gone off on business with the King
    and Queen and I want you to bring help at once and let
    me out. I know how to get even with him. Do hurry, dear
    Sally.

                              Yours in prison,
                                    The Weather Prophet.

“Didn’t I tell you so?” exclaimed Bedelia after a moment of stupefied
silence. And then she added briskly, “There’s no use standing here
staring like a lot of gawks. The thing to do is to hurry back home and
get the Weather Prophet out of prison.”

To this all eagerly assented, and Sally fancied that she heard the
Sign Post murmur faintly, “Five miles to the palace.” Whether or not
this was true, they had come a goodly distance and were all more
or less tired, so that rest and refreshment were really necessary
before starting back on their homeward journey. Therefore they seated
themselves under the beautiful letter tree and ate the dainty food that
had been put up for them by the obliging cook before they left the
palace. There were chicken sandwiches, deviled eggs, thin slices of
cold ham and tongue, and a beautiful salad of lettuce and celery in a
bowl. And for dessert was a fine strawberry tart covered with whipped
cream and a number of most tempting little cakes. There was also a jug
of lemonade.

The Sign Post, who had obligingly carried all these dainties dangling
from one of his long arms, helped to spread the feast and then sat down
contentedly to his own meal of shavings, which, as he now explained,
constituted his regular fare. The only variety consisted in the fact
that they were obtained from different woods, each of which possessed
its own peculiar flavor.

The meal at last being ended, Sally and Bedelia cleared the remains of
it away, and as all felt thoroughly rested, they concluded to start
back at once to the palace. As all roads in Toyland lead to the palace,
they simply proceeded on their way instead of retracing their steps.
Sally and the Sign Post led the way, while Bedelia trotted contentedly
along with the Polar Bear.

Presently through a break in the trees they caught a gleam of something
that glistened like ice in the cold sunshine.

“The lake!” cried Sally. “If we only had our skates and plenty of time,
what fun we might have.”

To which the Polar Bear responded rather severely, “Whoever heard of a
rescue party stopping to go skating?”

And as this was very true, Sally remained silent, although feeling
rather hurt that the Polar Bear should have taken her up so suddenly.

[Illustration]

They were now directly on the edge of the lake, and as she gazed
down upon its glistening glass surface that gleamed with a hundred
rainbow tints, Sally suddenly uttered a loud exclamation, “The Weather
Prophet’s glass house!” she cried excitedly. “The Wizard used it to
make this lake. He carried her off and shut her up because he knew she
would object to having it pulled to pieces and made into a lake!”

And indeed the truth of her assertion proved itself at once to the
minds of all present, for the lake had been laid in sections and one
could discern plainly enough where the top and sides of the house were
joined so as to make one flat surface. Even the pretty striped awnings
of red and white had been utilized in the construction of a tent, under
which the skaters had rested when weary with their exertions.

Indignation at the meanness of the crafty old Wizard and sympathy for
his pretty little wife was expressed by all, and they at once hastened
forward, more resolved than ever to rescue her from the clutches of the
Wizard, or to perish in the attempt.

They made very good time, the Sign Post carrying Sally and Bedelia turn
and turn about when either felt tired. But it was near the hour for
twilight before the towers and gables of the royal palace came into
view. Sally suddenly remembered that in the absence of the Wizard there
would probably be no twilight, a fact that she had not before thought
of. They would have to do their work in broad daylight. However, they
hurried along and were soon in the grounds of the Wizards palace.

High up in the tip-top window of the lofty tower they saw fluttering
a tiny white object that was evidently the handkerchief of the poor
little prisoner, for having seen them she was waving it frantically.

All was silent and deserted. The Wizard had locked up everything
securely and had given a holiday to his servants, fearing that they
might notice the effort of his prisoner to make herself heard, which
effort she was pretty certain to make. Consequently the little party
had nothing to fear in the way of encountering guards. How to effect an
entrance was, however, quite another matter, for everything was bolted,
barred and padlocked. The problem was finally solved by the Sign Post,
who stood on his very tiptoes and triumphantly boosted Bedelia in at
the third story window, which had been left open as being too high up
to offer a means of egress for the prisoner.



CHAPTER XIV

THE ECLIPSE


ONCE inside, Bedelia quickly gave a hand to Sally and in a moment
the little girl, lifted up by the Sign Post, stood beside the small
bear. The Sign Post now swiftly swung himself up to the balcony,
being assisted in no small degree by the Polar Bear, who for various
reasons remained below. He was to keep watch and give notice if anyone
approached.

It was now arranged that as the Sign Post was far too tall to navigate
around inside of the house, he should climb from one balcony to another
until he reached the top and if possible effect the rescue of the
Wizardess from the outside. This seemed very satisfactory to Sally and
Bedelia, neither of whom exactly liked the idea of encountering the
gargoyles which they knew were wandering about, unfettered, in the dark
halls.

[Illustration]

Anxiously they waited, watching the long legs of the Sign Post as they
trailed over the edge of the upper railing. Then they disappeared and
all was painful suspense for what seemed at least a century. Then at
a shout from the Polar Bear they both rushed out on the balcony. They
beheld the Sign Post swinging himself swiftly down from balcony to
balcony, which he appeared to do with the utmost ease and looking more
like a big spider than anything else—all legs and arms. Clinging to
his neck was the Weather Prophet, her fluffy skirts flying every which
way in the fine breeze. Presently he had reached the ground and having
gently set his fair burden down, he quickly scrambled back again and
hastened to bring down Sally and Bedelia, who were beginning to feel a
wee bit nervous as they had tried the door of the room in which they
were and had found it locked on the outside. And right thankful they
were to find themselves on the green grass below, comforting the little
Weather Prophet, who was overjoyed to find herself at liberty.

Where she should go was the next question. The Wizard might return
at any moment, and her own house was a house no longer. Suddenly an
expression of delight flashed over Sally’s face.

“Let us go to the Walking House!” she exclaimed. “You will be quite
safe there and if anyone comes in pursuit, the house can easily escape
with you.”

To this the Weather Prophet gave a joyful assent.

“Let us go quickly, quickly!” she cried. “I feel it in my bones, in my
skirts, I mean, that we are going to have something very unusual. In
fact, according to the calculations, we are going to have an eclipse of
the sun in about a quarter of an hour.”

Here she winked at Bedelia with a gesture so comical that the little
bear rolled over laughing.

“Come, don’t let us delay,” exclaimed the rescued one, and hand in hand
they hurried away from the Wizard’s tower, which was soon completely
obscured from view by the thick trees that surrounded it.

At the edge of the park they paused and as the distance to the Walking
House was several miles, The Sign Post suggested that he should procure
a conveyance and also some wraps for the Weather Prophet in order that
none might recognize her. Accordingly he disappeared swiftly and soon
returned with one of the autos from the royal garage. As for Sally,
Bedelia and the Weather Prophet, you could never have told one from the
other in their coats and goggles, while the Polar Bear cuddled around
their feet, thus keeping them nice and warm.

Away they flew, the Sign Post for once in his life perched next the
chauffeur with his long legs doubled up as much as possible and the
rest of them hanging over the dashboard. The chauffeur was an old
oyster, who had been chosen for this capacity because he was _dumb_,
and could not voice his suspicions provided he felt any.

As the Walking House stood on the very edge of the town, it took at
least fifteen minutes to reach it, and although the chauffeur made good
speed, just as they were drawing up in front of it, darkness, sudden,
swift and ominous, fell upon Toyland.

It was altogether a hopeless darkness, for which the inhabitants of
Toyland were totally unprepared. Lamps and candles were unknown and the
people crouched in their gay little houses panic-stricken.

Only in the Walking House did lights appear, for in accordance with
custom, candles and candelabra adorned mantels and tables, and it was
the work of only a moment to light them all. Gaily Sally and her party
hurried into the house, Sally racing downstairs to find Dinah, for they
were all as hungry as wolves, while Bedelia escorted the guest of honor
upstairs to remove her wraps.

The Polar Bear stretched himself before the front door, making a very
effectual guard in case of danger.

[Illustration: The dolls had come down into the parlor to be introduced
to the new arrivals.]

At Sally’s suggestion, all the shades were drawn down so that no
ray of light might pierce the outer darkness—darkness that covered
everything like a muffling cloak, in which the inhabitants of Toyland
were helplessly floundering about, and which was sure to last until the
Wizard came back to set things straight.

“And a fine time he’ll have doing it,” remarked the Weather Prophet
with a toss of her pretty little head. “He won’t be able to see his
hand before his face, and I took care to leave his old electric
machines in such a muddle that he’ll have his hands full—fuller than
they’ve ever been with all the cares of state included.”

Sally, who had suspected as much, tried to reprove her, but ended by
laughing outright. The Weather Prophet was so very like Bedelia when in
her impish moods.

As for Bedelia herself, the idea tickled her so that she laughed until
she rolled off the sofa on which she had been sitting and proceeded to
bounce up and down on the floor like a fat rubber ball. Then as soon
as she was able to get her breath, she sat up, panting and rubbing the
tears out of her eyes with both paws.

“My face is leaking! I must be turning into a gargoyle,” she exclaimed,
which of course started everybody laughing all over again.

By this time all the dolls had come crowding down into the parlor to
be introduced to the new arrival. Sally did not consider it wise to
introduce the Weather Prophet by her real name, feeling that if a
strict investigation should be made, it would be safer if none of the
dolls were aware of her identity. So it was that she was known to the
inhabitants as Nellie, a name that had suggested itself to Bedelia.

Sally feared that her own disappearance and that of Bedelia would be
connected with that of the Wizard’s wife, and therefore resolved to
take every precaution. The eclipse of course would retard any search
that the Wizard might see fit to make. But what to do with the fugitive
lady for the rest of her life was a question. She flatly declared
she would never return to the Wizard and was wild with rage when she
learned the use to which her pretty little glass house had been put.

While all the pleasant acquaintance-making was going on in the Walking
House, an automobile containing a badly rattled Wizard was slowly
picking its way along through the inky blackness. The old gentleman
was shrewd enough to guess the cause of the eclipse, although he had
been quite sure in the beginning that his wife was locked up too
securely to be able to get at anything. He had started forth at once,
greatly against the wishes of the King and Queen who, of course,
could not understand the cause of his anxiety, and who much preferred
to stay behind until the sun shone again. But the Wizard had taken
immediate flight, and was now hurrying back to his tower as rapidly as
circumstances and the eclipse would permit. On the principle that all
roads led to the palace, the chauffeur kept straight on through the
pitch darkness, tooting his horn occasionally to prevent a collision
with any other eclipse-belated wayfarer who might be floundering about
on the same road.

The snow made it somewhat difficult and altogether the trip was
anything but a pleasant one, and the Polly-nosed Saphead was glad
indeed when he at last found himself in front of his gloomy tower.
Instead of stopping there, however, he ordered the chauffeur to go on
to the palace, much to the dismay of that personage, who considered
that he had already traveled far enough. Nevertheless he put on speed
and soon arrived at the royal residence.

Here the Wizard quickly alighted and hastened into the palace. He was
gone some time and the chauffeur was growing very impatient when he
at last reappeared, triumphantly bearing in his hands a large wicker
cage in which were gleaming and glowing all the fireflies that were
accustomed always to be liberated at twilight. He chuckled to himself
as he was whirled back to his tower, and in a few moments was inside
and hastening toward the room that contained his electric plant.

The gargoyles came hurrying down to meet him, and it was a very good
thing that he carried a light, for had they caught him alone in the
darkness, they would no doubt have made a meal of him. As it was, they
recognized him at once and came flapping joyously along with hoarse
growls of welcome. But the Wizard now had no time to waste on his pets.
Pushing them roughly aside, he dove into his laboratory and after one
look around, sank upon a chair with a groan that the gargoyles heard as
they crouched against the door in the darkness outside, and to which
they replied with sharp growls.

Everywhere reigned confusion worse confounded. Wires were cut,
batteries disconnected, wreck and ruin faced him on every side. The
Wizard smote his breast and fairly wept with rage.

“Call me the Wizard of Was,” he ejaculated, “for nobody but a
good-for-nothing old back number would have gone off and left that minx
to get in her fine work here.”

“The Wizard of Was! The Wizard of Was!” a mocking voice cried out of
the darkness. And the terrified Wizard jumped to his feet, while a peal
of unearthly laughter rang through the room. The next moment he sat
down again, much relieved. The parrot had fluttered in after him quite
unobserved, and, perched on the high mantel-shelf, was imitating her
master at pleasure. Hearing the familiar voice, the gargoyles began to
scratch and snarl at the door. They considered it very unfair that the
parrot should be allowed inside while _they_ were banished to outer
darkness.

“Shut up!” he commanded, fiercely throwing his words at the parrot
like shots from a gun. And then, “Lie down there, will you?” this
accompanied with a vigorous slap applied to the top of his head, for
his scalp-lock had suddenly lifted itself erect and was standing
straight up in the air.

[Illustration]

“You don’t like the looks of things, hey? Well, I don’t either. But
just mind your own affairs. I’ll attend to the rest.” Then pulling
himself vigorously together, he set to work to repair the damage as
best he could, although he foresaw plenty of hard work ahead of him
before the sun could shine out again. Right well he knew that his
reputation as a wizard would be gone forever did the present state
of affairs continue for any length of time, and while he worked, he
concocted a story which he intended to give out to the public on the
morrow.

As far as his wife was concerned, he had no doubt that she was
wandering about in the upper darkness at the very top of the tower,
for it never occurred to him that she could have escaped. He supposed
that she had merely climbed out of one window and into another, and
so effected an entrance to his rooms where was kept all the electric
machinery with which he manipulated the sun.

While he was fussing and fuming, raging at the parrot and scolding the
gargoyles, his pretty little wife was in close confab with Sally and
Bedelia.

“I don’t exactly understand about that letter tree,” Sally remarked, as
she softly scratched the little bear’s fuzzy ears and at the same time
gently patted Nellie’s little hand that lay upon her knee.

The three were stretched cosily on the Polar Bear rug in front of the
glowing grate, having put on kimonos and let down their back hair—at
least, all but Bedelia who wore her usual fur costume.

“Well, my dear,” replied the Weather Prophet, “you see we have no
postal system such as yours, and indeed it is quite unnecessary.
Whenever we want to communicate with anyone, we simply think our
message just as hard as we can, and very shortly our thoughts burst
forth into buds and blossoms on one of our letter trees. There are
quite a good many of them in Toyland.”

“And how does your friend know?” inquired Sally.

“Oh, one’s friend always has an impression that a letter is waiting.
You had one, although you didn’t know it, or you would not have taken
the road to the letter tree,” replied the Weather Prophet.

“How very wonderful!” exclaimed the child, while Bedelia, who had been
rubbing her head gently against Sally, remarked that it certainly made
a wonderful saving in stamps and stationery.

“And there is one thing I have to confess,” went on the Weather
Prophet, suddenly holding up a small, glittering object which Sally at
once recognized as her little golden key. “Had it not been for this, I
never could have gained access to all the private rooms and closets of
the Wizard’s tower, although I climbed out of my own window and in at
his. The gargoyles, whom you know I fear and despise, were loose in the
hall outside my door so I had to choose the other way.”

“But how did you get the key?” demanded the little girl, as she
smilingly hung it on her gold chain and replaced the two around her
neck. “I never missed it,” she added.

“You dropped it the day you were in my house, and I fancied, as soon as
I saw it, that it was a magic key. Of course, I meant to return it the
very next time I saw you, but no opportunity offered. Take good care of
it, my dear. It is a wonderful little talisman.”

Sally nodded assent to this and presently all three, being tired out
with the day’s adventures, tumbled into bed, Sally feeling delighted to
be back once more in her own cosy little room.



CHAPTER XV

SALLY FINDS THE ENCHANTED WOOD


IT took nearly two days for the Wizard to get things in the tower
once more into proper shape and during all that time the eclipse hung
heavily over Toyland. The Wizard had worked feverishly with no light
save that obtained from the fireflies that he had stolen from the
palace. He was shaking in his shoes for fear the King and Queen should
return and find that the only source of illumination had been cut off.
As not even the wireless telegraph was working, he had been unable to
communicate with Their Majesties, but feared that they must be very
impatient by this time and that they might make their appearance at any
moment.

It was difficult to get on with only the light afforded by the
fireflies, and he chuckled grimly as he pictured the Weather Prophet,
who had so reveled in the sunshine of her glass house, pining in the
darkness in which he supposed she was locked up.

The room in which he had left her was on the opposite side of the
tower, and he had only to cross the hall to reach it, but he savagely
vowed to himself that he would not go near her, and that he didn’t care
if she starved to death. After a while, however, the extreme quiet got
on his nerves, and he began to wonder how it was that no sound at all
came to him from the room across the hall. Presently he tiptoed very
softly to the door and listened. But all was still as could be—nothing
moved or breathed.

He went back to his work, but a feeling of uneasiness possessed him.
The Queen was very fond of his pretty wife, and he knew that he would
be called to strict account should he be the cause of any ill befalling
her. After a little while he went back again and listened, but still he
could hear nothing. After a moment of hesitation, he opened the door
and went in.

By the radiance afforded by the fireflies, he saw at once that the
room was empty. Even the food that he had left there was untouched. A
hurried visit to all the other rooms on the floor failed to discover
the object of his search. Really terrified, he sat down to consider.
Suppose she had thrown herself down from the balcony, and was at that
moment laying on the ground below, dashed to pieces! He had not the
courage to go and investigate. For like most people who brag a great
deal about themselves, the Wizard was an arrant coward. He fled back
to his work, stopping not for food or rest, with the result that on
the morning of the third day the sun shone brilliantly once more over
Toyland.

A great notice was posted at the gate of the tower, announcing that the
sun had been swallowed up by an enormous dragon known to science as the
Ictotherium; that the Wizard had engaged him, single-handed, and by his
magic arts had compelled him to disgorge his brilliant meal and flee
the country.

The bulletin went on to state that the Weather Prophet had been carried
away by the dragon. Prompted by curiosity, she had exposed herself on
the high balcony at the top of the tower, contrary to the advice of her
husband. The notice concluded with the announcement that there would be
a purple twilight that afternoon, beginning promptly at five-thirty and
advising that violets would be a suitable adornment for the afternoon
tea tables.

Great was the grief expressed by everyone when the fate of the Wizard’s
pretty little wife became generally known, for she had been a general
favorite. Indeed, public sorrow almost outweighed public joy, delighted
as everyone was that the sun shone once more. The Wizard shut himself
up in his tower and refused to see anyone, and the general supposition
was that he was prostrated with grief. To tell the truth, his
jumping-jacks were scouring the country to see if they could discover
any trace whatsoever of his wife, while he himself was nearly wild with
anxiety lest she should suddenly pop up at some unlucky moment and give
the whole thing away.

Early that morning Sally had started for the tower, as she knew that
a bulletin of some sort would be posted. The little girl was glad to
see daylight once more and also to be able to take a good long walk,
and she skipped along in the bright sunshine, occasionally giving a
little jump for sheer joy. The period of the eclipse had been a tedious
one for her, as she despised being shut in the house. So now she made
very good time along the highway, and so thoroughly did she manage to
interest herself in everything and everybody that before very long she
found that she had lost her way.

Now, of course in Toyland it is not such a very serious thing to lose
one’s way, for as everybody knows, all roads lead to the palace.
However, Sally was greatly surprised to suddenly find herself in a
little strip of woods, with no road at all visible in any direction,
and without even a path to show the way that others had taken. She
recollected having left the highway to run after a queer looking figure
that had attracted her attention and which had kept just beyond her,
dodging along behind trees and bushes. And then, just as she had come
up to it, had vanished as completely as though the ground had swallowed
it. And then she had awakened to the fact that she was lost.

“How provoking!” she said crossly to herself. “If I ever get hold of
the animal that coaxed me in here, I’ll show him what’s what.”

She had spoken out loud, and at the same time shook her little fist in
a decidedly threatening manner.

“I’m no animal, I’ll have you know,” exclaimed a shrill, squeaky voice
so close to her that she jumped at least a foot in the air.

And whirling around, she beheld just at her elbow the queerest little
man that she had ever laid eyes on. He was white all over, with floppy
arms and legs, and a squatty, flabby body and a head that wabbled. And
he had a general appearance of being all tied up in knots. It was the
creature that she had been following to her own undoing, and for a
moment she glared at it as if she would fall upon it tooth and nail.
The very next she fell to laughing as if she would burst.

[Illustration: “Oh, I know you! You are just tied out of a
handkerchief.”]

“Oh, I know you!” she exclaimed breathlessly. “You are just tied out of
a handkerchief. I have often made a lot of you at home to hang over the
chandelier with long strings. And when I pulled the strings you danced.”

“I do not know where home may be,” returned the Handkerchief Man
crossly, “but I do know that you never pulled any strings as far as
I am concerned.” Then he added, peering anxiously about, “Have you
happened to see my brother, the Doughnut Man? He came here yesterday to
pick buttons which he sells to the people in town who are too lazy to
come out and pick them for themselves.”

“To pick buttons?” ejaculated Sally, and then she added severely, “I
don’t believe he ever found this place while the eclipse was going on.
Nobody could have found anything, not even himself.”

“That’s just it; he lost himself. Nobody ever finds this place unless
he loses himself. That makes it even, you know. You’re lost, I’m lost,
my brother is lost, and the Peppermint Stick is lost. Everybody is
lost.”

Sally felt unable to contradict him, although she wanted to badly
enough. Therefore she demanded with some asperity:

“What is the Peppermint Stick? It sounds good to me.”

“You mean _who_ is the Peppermint Stick. Well, he was a candy cane in
his youth and hung on a Christmas tree. Oh, you’ll be sure to like him,
he’s so sweet.”

“If I happen to see a doughnut and a candy cane anywhere between here
and next Christmas, I shall eat them,” declared Sally firmly.

She drew up her pink lips in a hungry grin, showing all her sharp
little white teeth.

The effect of her words on the Handkerchief Man was entirely
unexpected, for after gazing at her for a moment as if fascinated, he
exclaimed feebly, “Alas, my brother!” then threw up his wabbly arms and
fell over in a dead faint.

“Now, what would anybody do with a thing like that?” exclaimed Sally.

Picking up the Handkerchief Man, she shook him vigorously, but as he
refused to revive, while every bit of him flopped unpleasantly, she
presently propped him up against a tree and started off by herself,
resolved to investigate the queer bit of woods which nobody ever found
without first losing himself.

“The very idea of a handkerchief behaving like that!” she said to
herself as she trotted along, keeping an eye open for the button bush
concerning which she had already heard. But no sign of it appeared,
neither did she find herself any nearer to the road. On the contrary,
she seemed to be getting deeper and deeper into the woods. The trees
grew closer and closer together, while the bushes seemed thicker and
thicker. At last it seemed that there was no longer even a little path
between the dense growths and that if she wished to proceed further,
she must push her way through. As she paused for a moment to consider,
something small and very hard struck her smartly on the nose. This blow
was followed up by another and another. Thoroughly astonished, she
stopped and picked up one of the missiles that lay shining directly at
her feet. Then she uttered a little exclamation of joy:

“The Button Bush!” she cried excitedly.

“Yes, the Button Bush,” retorted a voice above her head, and the Bush
shook itself again indignantly, sending a shower of the buttons of all
sizes and descriptions pelting over the little girl.

“If you please,” began Sally rather timidly, “if you please, have you
seen the Doughnut Man anywhere about?”

Just as she spoke a queer looking figure came swiftly around from the
other side of the bush. Sally saw that its body was composed of large,
puffy doughnuts, while his head and limbs were formed of the same
edibles in smaller sizes. It was almost staggering under the weight of
a great basket of buttons that it was lugging along, while its round
eyes, which consisted of two plump raisins, seemed popping out of its
head with the exertion.

“He looks good to me. I wonder how he tastes,” said Sally to herself,
involuntarily taking a step forward. But the Doughnut Man, holding his
basket of buttons firmly in front of himself as if it were a shield,
advanced smiling and not at all as if he had any idea of being devoured.

“I beg your pardon, but did you happen to see the Peppermint Stick
anywhere hereabouts?” he inquired politely.

“No, but I found the Handkerchief Man. He fainted,” returned Sally
promptly. “I couldn’t bring him to and I was afraid to shake him any
more for fear he would come untied, and then he would have been nothing
but a plain handkerchief. So I propped him up against a tree and left
him. No doubt he is all right by this time. Would you like to go back
and see?”

“Oh, no,” returned the other quickly. “You see, we are both lost, you
and I, or we shouldn’t be here at all. So what is the use of looking
for that peevish chap? He has very little backbone anyway. Very little
backbone,” he repeated sadly, while a tear rolled down his crisp, fried
cheek.

“I don’t see what that has to do with it,” began Sally. But her
companion interrupted her with a great want of manners.

“Oh, nothing has anything to do with anything else here, because
everything is lost, more or less. As soon as anything finds itself, it
gets away. So will you and so will I and so will the Peppermint Stick.”

“Bless my soul, how very curious! Are you quite sure that you are not
all crazy instead of being all lost?” exclaimed Sally saucily.

“Maybe _you_ are crazy, although I don’t know what that means,” replied
the other sadly.

“Well, I can’t stop to explain now. It would take too long,” returned
the child smartly, “but if you ever come across it, you’ll know.
Anyway, if you had your brother here now, you could mop up your tears
with him,” and as she spoke, she dexterously flipped away a large,
round one that hung trembling on the very end of the Doughnut Man’s
stubby nose.

“There you go again! Really, it’s very upsetting when one doesn’t
understand a thing you mean. Then there’s the Button Bush. She’s mad
again because I came for more buttons. What good are buttons on a bush,
anyway? They’ve got to be picked while they’re ripe or else they all go
to seed. Really, it’s very unreasonable.”

“I suppose you have a good trade in buttons,” suggested the little girl
politely. “But who, pray, is the Peppermint Stick? Is he good to e—”
She caught herself hastily, somehow feeling that the Doughnut Man would
be displeased by what she had been on the verge of saying. Something
under her apron warned her that it must be near lunch time, for her
breakfast had been but a light one, and then she was _very_ fond of
peppermint.

“Yes, indeed, I have a very good trade,” replied the Doughnut Man.
“Only it would be more congenial if the Button Bush would quit giving
herself such ridiculous airs. As for the Peppermint Stick, he isn’t
good for anything in particular as far as I know. Long ago he was a
cane and was hooked on the bough of a Christmas tree. Nobody ate him
and he had a bad fracture, the result of being dropped. So in the
course of time, he drifted here and the Gloo-Gloos fixed him up. The
only thing I don’t like about him is that he is striped. Now I simply
abominate stripes, although I adore polka dots. But tastes differ.
Perhaps you like stripes?”

“I don’t mind them at all in peppermint,” replied Sally. “And I would
show him that I didn’t if I only could get my teeth into him,” she
added to herself.

“Well, I suppose we had better try to find our way out of this,” said
the other after a short silence. He was evidently anxious to get back
to town with his stock in trade and Sally was growing extremely hungry.
Accordingly, the two started forth and after wandering along for
some time at length discovered a little beaten track which gradually
broadened until it finally became a footpath.

This, they felt quite sure, would conduct them to their desired
destination. As they were hurrying along, they suddenly came upon
a little cottage so completely hidden among the trees that it was
scarcely discernible.

“Ah, now I know where we are! This cottage belongs to an old Codfish.
He makes his living by weighing people at so much apiece.”

“By weighing people?” cried Sally in amazement. “Does anybody ever come
here?”

“Nobody,” replied the other promptly. “But then he has the _scales_,
and of course feels as if he should use them.”

“Very scrupulous, I’m sure,” said Sally gravely. She strained her eyes,
hoping to catch a glimpse of the conscientious Codfish. But everything
about the tiny cottage was tightly closed, and an air of desertion hung
about the place. Over the door hung a small sign on which was inscribed
in tall letters:

    PEOPLE WEIGHED HERE.
         C. FISH.

and below this was the picture of a Codfish standing by a pair of
scales, while a crowd of people were advancing in the foreground, all
apparently anxious to avail themselves of the opportunity.

[Illustraion: Sally and Doughnut man looking at Codfish]

As Sally and the Doughnut Man came abreast of the sign, the child was
almost paralyzed with amazement to see the Codfish nimbly hop off,
followed by the scales and all the people, and come running briskly
towards them.

“I’ve stood up there vegetating long enough,” cried the Codfish. “And
I’m actually perishing for want of a swim. No one wants to be weighed
anyhow. Why should they?”

He shot out the question with so impressive, not to say ferocious a
manner that nobody cared to answer. Only one member of the crowd that
had hopped off the sign protested feebly that he had been waiting for
a long time. However, as nobody paid any attention to him, he soon
relapsed into silence.

“If you know the way out of these woods, for goodness’ sake show us,”
exclaimed the Doughnut Man.

To which the Codfish responded by beginning to sing in a very loud
voice:

    “The elephant sat on the railroad track,
       By the light, by the light, by the light of the moon,
     Picking his teeth with a baseball bat,
       By the light, by the light of the moon.”

“I don’t see what that has to do with it,” exclaimed Sally impatiently.
Then turning to the Doughnut Man, she added severely, “You said just
now that you knew where we were, and you don’t at all.”

“Oh, to be sure I do, and so do you. We are right opposite the
Codfish’s house,” retorted the other. Then he added thoughtfully, “What
seems so very queer to me is that we haven’t come across the Peppermint
Stick.”

As nobody cared a snap about the Peppermint Stick and as Sally felt
that there was no use in arguing with any of them, she suggested that
they should make a move, and herself taking the lead, they started
forth in Indian file.

“Idiots!” muttered the little girl to herself. “To think that they’ve
lived here all their lives and don’t know anything about the place!”

She hurried along at such a brisk pace that the others found some
difficulty to keep up, especially the Doughnut Man, burdened as he was
by his huge basket of buttons. After they had gone a mile or so, the
little girl suddenly uttered a cry of joy, for she beheld an opening
in the trees and saw that a few steps would bring them to the edge
of the wood. Upon emerging from the dense shadows of the trees, they
found that it was already twilight and Sally no longer wondered at her
ravenous appetite.

Once on the highroad, it was easy enough to find the way home, and
hither she hastened, feeling glad enough when she beheld the lights of
the Walking House through the shadows.

The Weather Prophet ran to meet her, her face sparkling with excitement.

“The King and Queen have been here,” she cried, “and they were so
delighted to find that I was not devoured by a horrid dragon that they
are going to take me to live with them at the palace, and build a
beautiful crystal tower for my use exclusively.”

She then told Sally of the Wizard’s bulletin and added that, as he
had humbly begged her pardon and promised never to interfere with her
again, she had not betrayed him to the King and Queen.

“I guess that was the best thing to do,” said Sally, as she sat down
to a substantial supper. “Nobody else understood about the sun and a
perpetual eclipse would have been perfectly awful.”

“Quite so,” returned the Weather Prophet, and after a little, Sally
having related the day’s adventures, they all went to bed.



      *      *      *      *      *      *



Transcriber’s note:

Obvious punctuation errors were corrected.

Page 139, “principal” changed to “principle” (principle that all roads)

Page 149, “hankerchief” changed to “handkerchief” (out of a
handkerchief)

Page 159, “arguin” changed to “arguing” (in arguing with any of)





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