DAVY AND THE GOBLIN
WHAT FOLLOWED READING "ALICE'S ADVENTURES IN WONDERLAND"
CHARLES E. CARRYL
WITH ILLUSTRATIONS BY E.B. BENSELL.
BOSTON AND NEW YORK HOUGHTON MIFFLIN COMPANY
The Riverside Press Cambridge
COPYRIGHT, 1884, 1885, 1912, AND 1913, BY THE CENTURY COMPANY
COPYRIGHT, 1885, BY TICKNOR AND COMPANY
COPYRIGHT, 1913, BY CHARLES E. CARRYL
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
DEAR LITTLE BOY, UPON THESE PAGES FIND THE TANGLED FANCIES OF THY FATHER'S MIND, BORN OF THE HOURS WHEN THOU, A LITTLE CHILD, THRONED ON HIS KNEE IN BREATHLESS RAPTURE SMILED, HEARING ENTRANCED THE MARVELS THAT WERE TOLD OF FAY AND GOBLIN IN THE DAYS OF OLD. WOULD THAT THE GLAMOUR OF THOSE CLOUDLESS DAYS MIGHT CHEER THEE STILL, WHAT TIME THE TOILSOME MAZE OF RIPER YEARS HATH BANISHED FAIRY LORE— AND BLITHESOME YOUTH HATH FLED TO COME NO MORE!
CHAPTER I. HOW THE GOBLIN CAME 11
CHAPTER II. THE BEGINNING OF THE BELIEVING VOYAGE 19
CHAPTER III. IN THE SUGAR-PLUM GARDEN 28
CHAPTER IV. THE BUTTERSCOTCHMEN 37
CHAPTER V. JACK AND THE BEAN-STALK'S FARM 42
CHAPTER VI. THE GIANT BADORFUL 53
CHAPTER VII. THE MOVING FOREST 68
CHAPTER VIII. SINDBAD THE SAILOR'S HOUSE 79
CHAPTER IX. LAY-OVERS FOR MEDDLERS 96
CHAPTER X. RIBSY 99
CHAPTER XI. ROBINSON CRUSOE'S ISLAND 110
CHAPTER XII. A WHALE IN A WAISTCOAT 123
CHAPTER XIII. THE TALKING WAVES AND THE OLD SEA-DOG 134
CHAPTER XIV. THE END OF THE BELIEVING VOYAGE 145
DAVY AND THE GOBLIN FRONTISPIECE
"'I'LL STEER,' SAID THE GOBLIN" 17
"NEXT CAME MARY FARINA" 20
THE RABBIT TAKES LIBERTIES WITH DAVY'S PROPERTY 21
"I'M A COCKALORUM," HE SOFTLY MURMURED 26
"THE CROWD BEGAN TO HUSTLE HIM ACROSS THE ROOM" 34
"BELLS WERE PEALING IN ALL DIRECTIONS" 38
"THE GOBLIN TURNED HIS TELESCOPE TOWARD HIM" 41
MOTHER HUBBARD SINGS A SONG 45
STANDING ON HIS HEAD 47
"CAREERING ON A GOAT" 48
"JUST LISTEN TO THIS" 55
"COCKALORUM HEMMED IN BY A RING OF PITCHFORKS" 61
"'VENISON IS DEER, ISN'T IT?' SAID DAVY, LOOKING UP AT THE SIGN" 65
"'HOW MANY WATCHES DO YOU WANT?' SAID SHAM-SHAM, IN A PEEVISH VOICE" 69
"SHAM-SHAM, EXCLAIMING, 'DON'T TELL ME A WATCHED POT NEVER BOILS!' BEGAN FIRING AT THE WATCHES" 75
THE COCKALORUM IS ILL 77
"THE SAVAGE WAS SITTING IN THE SHADE OF ONE OF THE DUSTERS" 85
"HE PLAYED HOP-SCOTCH WITH THE STARBOARD WATCH" 91
"HE GAVE ONE HAND TO DAVY AND THE OTHER TO THE GOBLIN" 94
"JUST HOLD MY BASKET, LIKE A GOOD CHILD" 97
"THE CABMAN HAD CLIMBED UP ON THE TOP OF THE CAB AND WAS THROWING STONES AT THE HORSE" 101
"ROBINSON REMARKED, 'HE HAS LEFT OUT THE GREATEST LOT OF COMICAL THINGS'" 114
"IF THE ROADS ARE WET AND MUDDY, WE REMAIN AT HOME AND STUDY" 117
"THE COCKALORUM CAREFULLY INSPECTED THE MARKING" 126
"'I'M PRETTY WELL, I THANK YOU,' SAID DAVY" 127
"'I'M AS NIMBLE AS A SIXPENCE,' SAID THE WHALE" 131
DAVY ASSISTS THE OLD SEA-DOG 137
"'AVAST!' SAYS HE, 'WE'LL BEAR AWAY'" 140
HE PLAYED WITH DOLLS AND HUMMING-TOPS 141
DAVY FALLS INTO THE ELASTIC SPRING 151
"'FRECKLES,' SAID THE GOBLIN, 'WHAT TIME IS IT?'" 154
"DAVY FELT MORALLY CERTAIN THERE WAS GOING TO BE A SCENE" 157
THE END OF THE BELIEVING VOYAGE 161
DAVY AND THE GOBLIN;
OR, WHAT FOLLOWED READING "ALICE'S ADVENTURES IN WONDERLAND."
HOW THE GOBLIN CAME.
It happened one Christmas eve, when Davy was about eight years old, and this is the way it came about.
That particular Christmas eve was a snowy one and a blowy one, and one generally to be remembered. In the city, where Davy lived, the storm played all manner of pranks, swooping down upon unwary old gentlemen and turning their umbrellas wrong side out, and sometimes blowing their hats quite out of sight; and as for the old ladies who chanced to be out of doors, the wind came upon them suddenly from around corners and blew the snow into their faces and twisted their petticoats about their ankles, and even whirled the old ladies themselves about in a very painful way. And in the country, where Davy had come to pass Christmas with his dear old grandmother, things were not much better; but here people were very wise about the weather, and stayed in-doors, huddled around great blazing wood fires; and the storm, finding no live game, buried up the roads and the fences, and such small fry of houses as could readily be put out of sight, and howled and roared over the fields and through the trees in a fashion not to be forgotten.
Davy, being of the opinion that a snow-storm was a thing not to be wasted, had been out with his sled, trying to have a little fun with the weather; but presently, discovering that this particular storm was not friendly to little boys, he had retreated into the house, and having put his hat and his high shoes and his mittens by the kitchen fire to dry, he began to find his time hang heavily on his hands. He had wandered idly all over the house, and had tried how cold his nose could be made by holding it against the window-panes, and, I am sorry to say, had even been sliding down the balusters and teasing the cat; and at last, as evening was coming on, had curled himself up in the big easy-chair facing the fire, and had begun to read once more about the marvellous things that happened to little Alice in Wonderland. Then, as it grew darker, he laid aside the book and sat watching the blazing logs and listening to the solemn ticking of the high Dutch clock against the wall.
Then there stole in at the door a delicious odor of dinner cooking downstairs,—an odor so promising as to roast chickens and baked potatoes and gravy and pie as to make any little boy's mouth water; and presently Davy began softly telling himself what he would choose for his dinner. He had quite finished fancying the first part of his feast, and was just coming, in his mind, to an extra large slice of apple-pie well browned (staring meanwhile very hard at one of the brass knobs of the andirons to keep his thoughts from wandering), when he suddenly discovered a little man perched upon that identical knob, and smiling at him with all his might.
This little man was a very curious-looking person indeed. He was only about a foot high, but his head was as big as a cocoanut, and he had great, bulging eyes, like a frog, and a ridiculous turned-up nose. His legs were as slender as spindles, and he had long pointed toes to his shoes, or rather to his stockings, or, for that matter, to his trousers,—for they were all of a piece,—and bright scarlet in color, as were also his little coat and his high-pointed hat and a queer little cloak that hung over his shoulder. His mouth was so wide that when he smiled it seemed to go quite behind his ears, and there was no way of knowing where the smile ended, except by looking at it from behind, which Davy couldn't do, as yet, without getting into the fire.
Now, there's no use in denying that Davy was frightened. The fact is, he was frightened almost out of his wits, particularly when he saw that the little man, still smiling furiously, was carefully picking the hottest and reddest embers out of the fire, and, after cracking them like nuts with his teeth, eating them with great relish. Davy watched this alarming meal, expecting every moment to see the little man burst into a blaze and disappear; but he finished his coals in safety, and then, nodding cheerfully at Davy, said:—
"I know you!"
"Do you?" said Davy, faintly.
"Oh, yes!" said the little man. "I know you perfectly well. You are the little boy who doesn't believe in fairies, nor in giants, nor in goblins, nor in anything the story-books tell you."
Now the truth was that Davy, having never met any giants when he was out walking, nor seen any fairies peeping out of the bushes in the garden, nor found any goblins sitting on the bedposts about the house, had come to believe that all these kinds of people were purely imaginary beings, so that now he could do nothing but stare at the little man in a shamefaced sort of way and wonder what was coming next.
"Now, all that," said the little man, shaking his finger at him in a reproving way,—"all that is very foolish and very wrong. I'm a goblin myself,—a hobgoblin,—and I've come to take you on a Believing Voyage."
"Oh, if you please, I can't go!" cried Davy, in great alarm at this proposal; "I can't, indeed. I haven't permission."
"Rubbish!" said the Goblin. "Ask the Colonel."
Now, the Colonel was nothing more nor less than a silly-looking little man, made of lead, that stood on the mantel-shelf holding a clock in his arms. The clock never went, but, for that matter, the Colonel never went either, for he had been standing stock-still for years, and it seemed perfectly ridiculous to ask him anything about going anywhere, so Davy felt quite safe in looking up at him and asking permission to go on the Believing Voyage. To his dismay the Colonel nodded his head, and cried out, in a little, cracked voice:—
At this the Goblin jumped down off the knob of the andiron, and skipping briskly across the room to the big Dutch clock, rapped sharply on the front of the case with his knuckles, when, to Davy's amazement, the great thing fell over on its face upon the floor as softly as if it had been a feather-bed. Davy now saw that, instead of being full of weights and brass wheels and curious works, as he had always supposed, the clock was really a sort of boat, with a wide seat at each end; but, before he had time to make any further discoveries, the Goblin, who had vanished for a moment, suddenly reappeared, carrying two large sponge-cakes in his arms. Now, Davy was perfectly sure that he had seen his grandmother putting those very sponge-cakes into the oven to bake, but before he could utter a word of remonstrance the Goblin clapped one into each seat, and scrambling into the clock sat down upon the smaller one, merely remarking:—
"They make prime cushions, you know, and we can eat 'em afterwards."
For a moment Davy had a wild idea of rushing out of the room and calling for help; but the Goblin seemed so pleased with the arrangements he had made, and, moreover, was smiling so good-naturedly, that the little boy thought better of it, and, after a moment's hesitation, climbed into the clock and took his seat upon the other cake. It was as warm and springy, and smelt as deliciously, as a morning in May. Then there was a whizzing sound, like a lot of wheels spinning around, and the clock rose from the floor and made a great swoop toward the window.
"I'll steer," shouted the Goblin, "and do you look out sharp for cats and dogs," and Davy had just time to notice that the Colonel was hastily scrambling down from the mantel-shelf with his beloved timepiece in his arms, when they, seated in the long Dutch clock, dashed through the window and out into the night.
THE BEGINNING OF THE BELIEVING VOYAGE.
The first thought that came into Davy's mind when he found himself out-of-doors was that he had started off on his journey without his hat, and he was therefore exceedingly pleased to find that it had stopped snowing and that the air was quite still and delightfully balmy and soft. The moon was shining brightly, and as he looked back at the house he was surprised to see that the window through which they had come, and which he was quite sure had always been a straight-up-and-down, old-fashioned window, was now a round affair, with flaps running to a point in the centre, like the holes the harlequin jumps through in the pantomime.
"How did that window ever get changed into a round hole?" he asked the Goblin, pointing to it in great astonishment.
"Oh," said the Goblin, carelessly, "that's one of the circular singumstances that happen on a Believing Voyage. It's nothing to what you'll see before we come back again. Ah!" he added, "there comes the Colonel!"
Sure enough, at this moment the Colonel's head appeared through the flaps. The clock was still in his arms, and he seemed to be having a great deal of trouble in getting it through, and his head kept coming into view and then disappearing again behind the flaps in so ridiculous a manner that Davy shouted with laughter, and the Goblin smiled harder than ever. Suddenly the poor little man made a desperate plunge, and had almost made his way out when the flaps shut to with a loud snap and caught him about the waist. In his efforts to free himself he dropped his clock to the ground outside, when it burst with a loud explosion, and the house instantly disappeared.
This was so unexpected, and seemed so serious a matter, that Davy was much distressed, wondering what had become of his dear old grandmother, and Mrs. Frump, the cook, and Mary Farina, the housemaid, and Solomon, the cat. However, before he had time to make any inquiries of the Goblin, his grandmother came dropping down through the air in her rocking-chair. She was quietly knitting, and her chair was gently rocking as she went by. Next came Mrs. Frump, with her apron quite full of kettles and pots, and then Mary Farina, sitting on a step-ladder with the coal-scuttle in her lap. Solomon was nowhere to be seen. Davy, looking over the side of the clock, saw them disappear, one after the other, in a large tree on the lawn, and the Goblin informed him that they had fallen into the kitchen of a witch-hazel tree, and would be well taken care of. Indeed, as the clock sailed over the tree, Davy saw that the trunk of it was hollow, and that a bright light was shining far underground; and, to make the matter quite sure, a smell of cooking was coming up through the hole. On one of the topmost boughs of the tree was a nest with two sparrows in it, and he was much astonished at discovering that they were lying side by side, fast asleep, with one of his mittens spread over them for a coverlet. I am sorry to say that Davy knew perfectly well where the other mitten was, and was ashamed to say anything about it.
"I suppose my shoes are somewhere about," he said, sadly. "Perhaps the squirrels are filling them with nuts."
"You're quite right," replied the Goblin, cheerfully; "and there's a rabbit over by the hedge putting dried leaves into your hat. I rather fancy he's about moving into it for the winter."
Davy was about to complain against such liberties being taken with his property, when the clock began rolling over in the air, and he had just time to grasp the sides of it to keep himself from falling out.
"Don't be afraid!" cried the Goblin, "she's only rolling a little;" and, as he said this, the clock steadied itself and sailed serenely away past the spire of the village church and off over the fields.
Davy now noticed that the Goblin was glowing with a bright, rosy light, as though a number of candles were burning in his stomach and shining out through his scarlet clothes.
"That's the coals he had for his supper," thought Davy; but, as the Goblin continued to smile complacently and seemed to be feeling quite comfortable, he did not venture to ask any questions, and went on with his thoughts. "I suppose he'll soon have smoke coming out of his nose, as if he were a stove. If it were a cold night I'd ask him to come and sit in my lap. I think he must be as warm as a piece of toast;" and the little boy was laughing softly to himself over this conceit, when the Goblin, who had been staring intently at the sky, suddenly ducked his head, and cried "Squalls!" and the next moment the air was filled with cats falling in a perfect shower from the sky. They were of all sizes and colors,—big cats, little cats, black cats, white cats, gray cats, yellow, spotted and brindle cats, and at least a dozen of them fell sprawling into the clock. Among them, to Davy's dismay, was Solomon, with the other mitten drawn over his head and the thumb sticking straight up like a horn. This gave him a very extraordinary appearance, and the other cats evidently regarded him with the gravest distrust as they clustered together at Davy's end of the clock, leaving Solomon standing quite alone, and complaining in a muffled voice as he tugged frantically at the mitten.
"Don't scold so much!" said the Goblin, impatiently.
Now, Davy would never have teased Solomon if he had had the slightest idea that cats could talk, and he was dreadfully mortified when Solomon cried out excitedly, "Scold! I should think I had enough to scold about to-day! I've had bits of worsted tied on to my tail, and I've had some milk with pepper in it, and I've had pill-boxes stuck on to my feet, so that I fell heels over head downstairs—let alone having this nightcap on!"
All this was certainly enough to scold about; but what else Solomon had to complain of will never be known, for, at this moment, an old tabby cat screamed out, "Barkers!" and all the cats sprang over the side of the clock, and disappeared, with Solomon bringing up the rear, like a little unicorn.
"I think it sounds very ridiculous for a cat to talk in that way," said Davy, uneasily.
"Yes; but it sounds very true, for all that," said the Goblin, gravely.
"But it was such fun, you know," said Davy, feeling that he was blushing violently.
"Oh, I dare say! Fun for you," said the Goblin, sarcastically. "Jolligong! Here come the Barkers!" he added, and, as he said this, a shower of little blue woolly balls came tumbling into the clock. To Davy's alarm they proved to be alive, and immediately began scrambling about in all directions, and yelping so ferociously that he climbed up on his cake in dismay, while the Goblin, hastily pulling a large magnifying-glass out of his hat, began attentively examining these strange visitors.
"Bless me!" cried the Goblin, turning very pale, "they're sky-terriers. The dog-star must have turned upside-down."
"What shall we do?" said Davy, feeling that this was a very bad state of affairs.
"The first thing to do," said the Goblin, "is to get away from these fellows before the solar sisters come after them. Here, jump into my hat."
So many wonderful things had happened already that this seemed to Davy quite a natural and proper thing to do, and as the Goblin had already seated himself upon the brim, he took his place opposite to him without hesitation. As they sailed away from the clock it quietly rolled over once, spilling out the sponge-cakes and all the little dogs, and was then wafted off, gently rocking from side to side as it went.
Davy was much surprised at finding that the hat was as large as a clothes-hamper, with plenty of room for him to swing his legs about in the crown. It proved, however, to be a very unpleasant thing to travel in. It spun around like a top as it sailed through the air, until Davy began to feel uncomfortably dizzy, and the Goblin himself seemed to be far from well. He had stopped smiling, and the rosy light had all faded away, as though the candles inside of him had gone out. His clothes, too, had changed from bright scarlet to a dull ashen color, and he sat stupidly upon the brim of the hat as if he were going to sleep.
"If he goes to sleep he will certainly fall overboard," thought Davy; and, with a view to rousing the Goblin, he ventured to remark, "I had no idea your hat was so big."
"I can make it any size I please, from a thimble to a sentry-box," said the Goblin. "And, speaking of sentry-boxes"—here he stopped and looked more stupid than ever.
"I verily believe he's absent-minded," said Davy to himself.
"I'm worse than that," said the Goblin, as if Davy had spoken aloud. "I'm absent-bodied;" and with these words he fell out of the hat and instantly disappeared. Davy peered anxiously over the edge of the brim; but the Goblin was nowhere to be seen, and the little boy found himself quite alone.
Strange-looking birds now began to swoop up and chuckle at him, and others flew around him, as the hat spun along through the air, gravely staring him in the face for a while, and then sailed away, sadly bleating like sheep. Then a great creature, with rumpled feathers, perched upon the brim of the hat where the Goblin had been sitting, and, after solemnly gazing at him for a few moments, softly murmured, "I'm a Cockalorum," and flew heavily away. All this was very sad and distressing, and Davy was mournfully wondering what would happen to him next, when it suddenly struck him that his legs were feeling very cold, and, looking down at them, he discovered, to his great alarm, that the crown of the Goblin's hat had entirely disappeared, leaving nothing but the brim, upon which he was sitting. He hurriedly examined this, and found the hat was really nothing but an enormous skein of wool, which was rapidly unwinding as it spun along. Indeed, the brim was disappearing at such a rate that he had hardly made this alarming discovery before the end of the skein was whisked away, and he found himself falling through the air.
He was on the point of screaming out in his terror, when he discovered that he was falling very slowly and gently swaying from side to side, like a toy-balloon. The next moment he struck something hard, which gave way with a sound like breaking glass and let him through, and he had just time to notice that the air had suddenly become deliciously scented with vanilla, when he fell crashing into the branches of a large tree.
IN THE SUGAR-PLUM GARDEN.
The bough upon which Davy had fallen bent far down with his weight, then sprang back, then bent again, and in this way fell into a sort of delightful up-and-down dipping motion, which he found very soothing and agreeable. Indeed, he was so pleased and comforted at finding himself near the ground once more that he lay back in a crotch between two branches, enjoying the rocking of the bough, and lazily wondering what had become of the Goblin, and whether this was the end of the Believing Voyage, and a great many other things, until he chanced to wonder where he was. Then he sat up on the branch in great astonishment, for he saw that the tree was in full leaf and loaded with plums, and it flashed across his mind that the winter had disappeared very suddenly, and that he had fallen into a place where it was broad daylight.
The plum-tree was the most beautiful and wonderful thing he had ever seen, for the leaves were perfectly white, and the plums, which looked extremely delicious, were of every imaginable color.
Now, it immediately occurred to Davy that he had never in his whole life had all the plums he wanted at any one time. Here was a rare chance for a feast, and he carefully selected the largest and most luscious-looking plum he could find, to begin with. To his disappointment it proved to be quite hard, and as solid and heavy as a stone. He was looking at it in great perplexity, and punching it with his thumbs in the hope of finding a soft place in it, when he heard a rustling sound among the leaves, and, looking up, he saw the Cockalorum perched upon the bough beside him. He was gazing sadly at the plum, and his feathers were more rumpled than ever. Presently he gave a long sigh and said, in his low, murmuring voice, "Perhaps it's a sugar-plum," and then flew clumsily away as before.
"Perhaps it is!" exclaimed Davy, joyfully, taking a great bite of the plum. To his surprise and disgust he found his mouth full of very bad-tasting soap, and at the same moment the white leaves of the plum-tree suddenly turned over and showed the words "APRIL FOOL" printed very distinctly on their under sides. To make the matter worse, the Cockalorum came back and flew slowly around the branches, laughing softly to himself with a sort of a chuckling sound, until Davy, almost crying with disappointment and mortification, scrambled down from the tree to the ground.
He found himself in a large garden planted with plum-trees, like the one he had fallen into, and with walks winding about among them in every direction. These walks were beautifully paved with sugar-almonds and bordered by long rows of many-colored motto-papers neatly planted in the ground. He was too much distressed, however, by what had happened in the plum-tree to be interested or pleased with this discovery, and was about walking away, along one of the paths, in the hope of finding his way out of the garden, when he suddenly caught sight of a small figure standing a little distance from him.
He was the strangest-looking creature Davy had ever seen, not even excepting the Goblin. In the first place he was as flat as a pancake, and about as thick as one; and, in the second place, he was so transparent that Davy could see through his head and his arms and his legs almost as clearly as though he had been made of glass. This was so surprising in itself that when Davy presently discovered that he was made of beautiful, clear lemon candy, it seemed the most natural thing in the world, as explaining his transparency. He was neatly dressed in a sort of tunic of writing-paper, with a cocked hat of the same material, and he had under his arm a large book, with the words "HOLE-KEEPER'S VACUUM" printed on the cover. This curious-looking creature was standing before an extremely high wall, with his back to Davy, intently watching a large hole in the wall about a foot from the ground. There was nothing extraordinary about the appearance of the hole (except that the lower edge of it was curiously tied in a large bow-knot, like a cravat); but Davy watched it carefully for a few moments, thinking that perhaps something marvellous would come out of it. Nothing appeared, however, and Davy, walking up close behind the candy man, said very politely, "If you please, sir, I dropped in here"—
Before he could finish the sentence the Hole-keeper said snappishly, "Well, drop out again—quick!"
"But," pleaded Davy, "you can't drop out of a place, you know, unless the place should happen to turn upside down."
"I don't know anything about it," replied the Hole-keeper, without moving. "I never saw anything drop—except once. Then I saw a gum-drop. Are you a gum?" he added, suddenly turning around and staring at Davy.
"Of course I'm not," said Davy, indignantly. "If you'll only listen to me you'll understand exactly how it happened."
"Well, go on," said the Hole-keeper, impatiently, "and don't be tiresome."
"I fell down ever so far," said Davy, beginning his story over again, "and at last I broke through something"—
"That was the skylight!" shrieked the Hole-keeper, dashing his book upon the ground in a fury. "That was the barley-sugar skylight, and I shall certainly be boiled!"
This was such a shocking idea that Davy stood speechless, staring at the Hole-keeper, who rushed to and fro in a convulsion of distress.
"Now, see here," said the Hole-keeper, at length, coming up to him and speaking in a low, trembling voice. "This must be a private secret between us. Do you solemsy promilse?"
"I prolemse," said Davy, earnestly. This wasn't at all what he meant to say, and it sounded very ridiculous; but somehow the words wouldn't come straight. The Hole-keeper, however, seemed perfectly satisfied, and, picking up his book, said, "Well, just wait till I can't find your name," and began hurriedly turning over the leaves.
Davy saw, to his astonishment, that there was nothing whatever in the book, all the leaves being perfectly blank, and he couldn't help saying, rather contemptuously:—
"How do you expect to find my name in that book? There's nothing in it."
"Ah! that's just it, you see," said the Hole-keeper, exultingly; "I look in it for the names that ought to be out of it. It's the completest system that ever was invented. Oh! here you aren't!" he added, staring with great satisfaction at one of the blank pages. "Your name is Rupsy Frimbles."
"It's nothing of the sort," said Davy, indignantly.
"Tut! Tut!" said the Hole-keeper. "Don't stop to contradict or you'll be too late;" and Davy felt himself gently lifted off his feet and pushed head-foremost into the hole. It was quite dark and rather sticky, and smelt strongly of burnt sugar, and Davy had a most unpleasant time of it crawling through on his hands and knees. To add to his distress, when he came out at the further end, instead of being, as he had hoped, in the open country, he found himself in a large room, with a lofty ceiling, through which a brilliant light was mysteriously shining. The floor was of tin, and greased to such a slippery degree that Davy could hardly keep his feet, and against the walls on all sides were ranged long rows of little tin chairs glistening like silver in the dazzling light.
The only person in the room was a little man, something like the Hole-keeper in appearance, but denser and darker in the way of complexion, and dressed in a brown paper tunic and cocked hat.
This little creature was carrying a pail, and apparently varnishing the chairs with a little swab as he moved swiftly about the room; and, as he came nearer, Davy determined to speak to him.
"If you please," he began.
The little man jumped back apparently in the greatest alarm, and, after a startled look at Davy, shuffled rapidly away and disappeared through a door at the further end of the room. The next moment a confused sound of harsh voices came through the door, and the little man reappeared, followed by a perfect swarm of creatures so exactly like himself that it seemed to Davy as if a thousand of him had come back. At this moment a voice called out, "Bring Frungles this way;" and the crowd gathered around him and began to rudely hustle him across the room.
"That's not my name!" cried Davy, struggling desperately to free himself. "It isn't even the name I came in with!"
"Tut! Tut!" said a trembling voice near him; and Davy caught sight of the Hole-keeper, also struggling in the midst of the crowd, with his great book hugged tightly to his breast.
"What does it all mean?" said Davy, anxiously.
"It means that we are to be taken before the king," said the Hole-keeper, in an agitated voice. "Don't say a word until you are spoken to, and then keep perfectly still;" and the next moment they were dragged up to a low platform, where the king was sitting on a gorgeous tin throne. He was precisely like the rest of the creatures, except that he was a little larger, and wore a blue paper coat and a sparkling tin crown, and held in his hand a long white wand, with red lines running screw-wise around it, like a barber's pole. He stared at Davy and the Hole-keeper for a moment, and then called out, "Are the chairs buttered?"
"They are!" shouted the crowd, like one man.
"Then sit down!" roared the king.
The crowd shuffled off in all directions, and then engaged in a confused struggle for the chairs. They fought desperately for a few moments, tearing each others' shirts, and screaming out hoarse little squawks of pain, while the king thumped furiously with his wand, and the Hole-keeper trembled like a leaf. At last all were seated and the hubbub ceased, and the king, frowning savagely at the Hole-keeper, exclaimed, in a terrible voice, "Who broke the barley-sugar skylight?"
The Hole-keeper began fumbling at the leaves of his book in great agitation, when the king, pointing at him with his wand, roared furiously: "Boil him, at all events!"
"Tut! Tut! your majesty," began the Hole-keeper, confusedly, with his stiff little tunic fairly rustling with fright; but before he could utter another word he was rushed upon and dragged away, screaming with terror.
"Don't you go with them!" shouted Davy, made really desperate by the Hole-keeper's danger. "They're nothing but a lot of molasses candy!"
At this the king gave a frightful shriek, and, aiming a furious blow at Davy with his wand, rolled off the platform into the midst of the struggling crowd. The wand broke into a hundred pieces, and the air was instantly filled with a choking odor of peppermint; then everything was wrapped in darkness, and Davy felt himself being whirled along, heels over head, through the air. Then there came a confused sound of bells and voices, and he found himself running rapidly down a long street with the Goblin at his side.
Bells were pealing and tolling in all directions, and the air was filled with the sound of distant shouts and cries.
"What were they?" asked Davy, breathlessly.
"Butterscotchmen," said the Goblin. "You see, they always butter their chairs so that they won't stick fast when they sit down."
"And what makes you that color?" said Davy, suddenly noticing that the Goblin had changed his color to a beautiful blue.
"Trouble and worry," said the Goblin. "I always get blue when the Butterscotchmen are after me."
"Are they coming after us now?" inquired Davy, in great alarm.
"Of course they are," said the Goblin. "But the best of it is, they can't run till they get warm, and they can't get warm without running, you see. But the worst of it is that we can't stop without sticking fast," he added, anxiously. "We must keep it up until we get to the Amuserum."
"What's that?" said Davy.
"It's a place they have to amuse themselves with," said the Goblin,—"curiosities, and all that sort of thing, you know. By the way, how much money have you? We have to pay to get in."
Davy began to feel in his pockets (which is a very difficult thing to do when you're running fast), and found, to his astonishment, that they were completely filled with a most extraordinary lot of rubbish. First he pulled out what seemed to be an iron ball; but it proved to be a hard-boiled egg, without the shell, stuck full of small tacks. Then came two slices of toast, firmly tied together with a green cord. Then came a curious little glass jar, filled with large flies. As Davy took this out of his pocket, the cork came out with a loud "pop!" and the flies flew away in all directions. Then came, one after another, a tart filled with gravel, two chicken-bones, a bird's nest with some pieces of brown soap in it, some mustard in a pill-box, and a cake of beeswax stuck full of caraway seeds. Davy remembered afterward that, as he threw these things away, they arranged themselves in a long row on the curb-stone of the street. The Goblin looked on with great interest as Davy fished them up out of his pockets, and finally said, enviously, "That's a splendid collection; where did they all come from?"
"I'm sure I don't know," said Davy, in great bewilderment.
"And I'm sure I don't know," repeated the Goblin. "What else is there?"
Davy felt about in his pockets again, and found what seemed to be a piece of money. On taking it out, however, he was mortified to find that it was nothing but an old button; but the Goblin exclaimed, in a tone of great satisfaction, "Ah! hold on to that!" and ran on faster than ever.
The sound of the distant voices had grown fainter and fainter still, and Davy was just hoping that their long run was almost over, when the street came abruptly to an end at a brick wall, over the top of which he could see the branches of trees. There was a small round hole in the wall, with the words "PAY HERE" printed above it, and the Goblin whispered to Davy to hand in the button through this hole. Davy did so, feeling very much ashamed of himself, when, to his surprise, instead of receiving tickets in return, he heard a loud exclamation behind the wall, followed by a confused sound of scuffling, and the hole suddenly disappeared. The next moment a little bell tinkled, and the wall rose slowly before them like a curtain, carrying the trees with it apparently, and he and the Goblin were left standing in a large open space paved with stone.
Davy was exceedingly alarmed at seeing a dense mass of Butterscotchmen in the centre of the square, pushing and crowding one another in a very quarrelsome manner, and chattering like a flock of magpies, and he was just about to propose a hasty retreat, when a figure came hurrying through the square, carrying on a pole a large placard, bearing the words:—
"JUST RECEIVED! THE GREAT FRUNGLES THING! ON EXHIBITION IN THE PLUM-GARDEN!"
At the sight of these words the mob set up a terrific shout, and began streaming out of the square after the pole-bearer, like a flock of sheep, jostling and shoving one another as they went, and leaving Davy and the Goblin quite alone.
"I verily believe they're gone to look at my button," cried Davy, beginning to laugh, in spite of his fears. "They called me Frungles, you know."
"That's rather a nice name," said the Goblin, who had begun smiling again. "It's better than Snubgraddle, at all events. Let's have a look at the curiosities;" and here he walked boldly into the centre of the square.
Davy followed close at his heels, and found, to his astonishment and disappointment, that the curiosities were simply the things that he had fished out of his pockets but a few minutes before, placed on little pedestals and carefully protected by transparent sugar shades. He was on the point of laughing outright at this ridiculous exhibition, when he saw that the Goblin had taken a large telescope out of his pocket, and was examining the different objects with the closest attention, and muttering to himself, "Wonderful! wonderful!" as if he had never seen anything like them before.
"Pooh!" said Davy, contemptuously; "the only wonderful thing about them is, how they ever came here."
At this remark the Goblin turned his telescope toward Davy, and uttered a faint cry of surprise; and Davy, peering anxiously through the large end, saw him suddenly shrink to the size of a small beetle, and then disappear altogether. Davy hastily reached out with his hands to grasp the telescope, and found himself staring through a round glass window into a farm-yard, where a red Cow stood gazing up at him.
JACK AND THE BEAN-STALK'S FARM.
It was quite an ordinary-looking farm-yard and quite an ordinary-looking Cow, but she stared so earnestly up at Davy that he felt positively certain she had something to say to him. "Every creature I meet does have something to say," he thought, as he felt about for the window-fastening, "and I should really like to hear a Cow"—and just at this moment the window suddenly flew open, and he pitched head-foremost out upon a pile of hay in the farm-yard, and rolled from it off upon the ground. As he sat up, feeling exceedingly foolish, he looked anxiously at the Cow, expecting to see her laughing at his misfortune, but she stood gazing at him with a very serious expression of countenance, solemnly chewing, and slowly swishing her tail from side to side. As Davy really didn't know how to begin a conversation with a Cow, he waited for her to speak first, and there was consequently a long pause. Presently the Cow said, in a melancholy, lowing tone of voice, "The old gray goose is dead."
"I'm very sorry," said Davy, not knowing what else to say.
"She is," said the Cow, positively, "and we've buried her in the vegetable garden. We thought gooseberries would come up, but they didn't. Nothing came up but feathers."
"That's very curious," said Davy.
"Curious, but comfortable," replied the Cow. "You see, it makes a feather-bed in the garden. The pig sleeps there, and calls it his quill pen. Now I think that pigpens should be made of porcupine quills."
"So do I," said Davy, laughing. "What else is there in the garden?"
"Nothing but the bean-stalk," said the Cow. "You've heard of 'Jack and the Bean-stalk,' haven't you?"
"Oh! yes, indeed!" said Davy, beginning to be very much interested. "I should like to see the bean-stalk."
"You can't see the beans talk," said the Cow, gravely. "You might hear them talk; that is, if they had anything to say, and you listened long enough. By the way, that's the house that Jack built. Pretty, isn't it?"
Davy turned and looked up at the house. It certainly was a very pretty house, built of bright red brick, with little gables, and dormer-windows in the roof, and with a trim little porch quite overgrown with climbing roses. Suddenly an idea struck him, and he exclaimed:—
"Then you must be the Cow with a crumpled horn!"
"It's not crumpled," said the Cow, with great dignity. "There's a slight crimp in it, to be sure, but nothing that can properly be called a crump. Then the story was all wrong about my tossing the dog. It was the cat that ate the malt. He was a Maltese cat, and his name was Flipmegilder."
"Did you toss him?" inquired Davy.
"Certainly not," said the Cow, indignantly. "Who ever heard of a cow tossing a cat? The fact is, I've never had a fair chance to toss anything. As for the dog, Mother Hubbard never permitted any liberties to be taken with him."
"I'd dearly love to see Mother Hubbard," said Davy, eagerly.
"Well, you can," said the Cow, indifferently. "She isn't much to see. If you'll look in at the kitchen window you'll probably find her performing on the piano and singing a song. She's always at it."
Davy stole softly to the kitchen window and peeped in, and, as the Cow had said, Mother Hubbard was there, sitting at the piano, and evidently just preparing to sing. The piano was very remarkable, and Davy could not remember ever having seen one like it before. The top of it was arranged with shelves, on which stood all the kitchen crockery, and in the under part of it, at one end, was an oven with glass doors, through which he could see several pies baking.
Mother Hubbard was dressed, just as he expected, in a very ornamental flowered gown, with high-heeled shoes and buckles, and wore a tall pointed hat over her nightcap. She was so like the pictures Davy had seen of her that he thought he would have recognized her anywhere.
She sang in a high key with a very quavering voice, and this was the song:—
I had an educated pug, His name was Tommy Jones; He lived upon the parlor rug Exclusively on bones.
And if, in a secluded room, I hid one on a shelf, It disappeared; so I presume He used to help himself.
He had an entertaining trick Of feigning he was dead; Then, with a reassuring kick, Would stand upon his head.
I could not take the proper change, And go to buy him shoes, But what he'd sit upon the range And read the latest news.
And when I ventured out, one day To order him a coat, I found him, in his artless way, Careering on a goat.
I could not go to look at hats But that, with childish glee, He'd ask in all the neighbors' cats To join him at his tea.
And when I went to pay a bill (I think it was for tripe), He made himself extremely ill By smoking with a pipe.
There was something about the prim language of this song that sounded very familiar to Davy, and when Mother Hubbard chanced to turn her face towards him he was surprised to see that she looked very like old Miss Peggs, his school-teacher. While she was singing the song little handfuls of gravel were constantly thrown at her through one of the kitchen windows, and by the time the song was finished her lap was quite full of it.
"I'd just like to know who is throwing that gravel," said Davy, indignantly.
"It's Gobobbles," said the Cow, calmly. "You'll find him around at the front of the house. By the way, have you any chewing-gum about you?"
"No," said Davy, greatly surprised at the question.
"So I supposed," said the Cow. "It's precisely what I should expect of a person who would fall out of a window."
"But I couldn't help that," said Davy.
"Of course you couldn't," said the Cow, yawning indolently. "It's precisely what I should expect of a person who hadn't any chewing-gum." And with this the Cow walked gravely away, just as Mother Hubbard made her appearance at the window.
"Boy," said Mother Hubbard, beaming mildly upon Davy through her spectacles, "you shouldn't throw gravel."
"I haven't thrown any," said Davy.
"Fie!" said Mother Hubbard, shaking her head; "always speak the truth."
"I am speaking the truth," said Davy, indignantly. "It was Gobobbles."
"So I supposed," said Mother Hubbard, gently shaking her head again. "It would have been far better if he had been cooked last Christmas instead of being left over. Stuffing him and then letting him go has made a very proud creature of him. You should never be proud."
"I'm not proud," replied Davy, provoked at being mixed up with Gobobbles in this way.
"You may define the word proud, and give a few examples," continued Mother Hubbard; and by this time she had grown to be so surprisingly like Miss Peggs that Davy immediately clasped his hands behind him, according to rule, and prepared to recite.
"Proud means being set up, I think," he said, respectfully; "but I don't think I know any examples."
"You may take Gobobbles for an example," replied Mother Hubbard. "You'll find him set up in front of the house, and mind you don't aggravate him;" and after again beaming mildly through her spectacles she disappeared from the window, and Davy went cautiously around the corner of the house, curious to see what Gobobbles might be like. As he approached the front of the house he heard a loud, thumping noise, and presently he came in sight of Gobobbles, who proved to be a large and very bold-mannered turkey with all his feathers taken off except a frowzy tuft about his neck. He was tied fast in a baby's high chair, and was thumping his chest with his wings in such a violent and ill-tempered manner that Davy at once made up his mind not to aggravate him under any circumstances. As Gobobbles caught sight of him he discontinued his thumping, and, after staring at him for a moment, said sulkily:—
"I can't abide boys!"
"Why not?" said Davy.
"Oh, they're so hungry!" said Gobobbles, passionately. "They're so everlastingly hungry. Now don't deny that you're fond of turkey."
"Well, I do like turkey," said Davy, seeing no way out of the difficulty.
"Of course you do!" said Gobobbles, tossing his head. "Now you might as well know," he continued, resuming his thumping with increased energy, "that I'm as hollow as a drum and as tough as a hat-box. Just mention that fact to any one you meet, will you? I suppose Christmas is coming, of course."
"Of course it is," replied Davy.
"It's always coming!" said Gobobbles, angrily; "I never knew a time yet when it wasn't coming!"
"I don't mind having it come," said Davy, stoutly.
"Oh, don't you, indeed!" said Gobobbles. "Well, then, I don't mind having you go!" and here he began hopping his chair forward in such a threatening manner that Davy turned and walked away with as much dignity as he could assume.
As he went around the corner of the house again he found himself in a pleasant lane, bordered on either side by a tall hedge, and, as he was now out of sight of Gobobbles, he started off on a gentle run by way of getting out of the neighborhood as soon as possible. Before he had gone a dozen steps, however, he heard a thumping sound behind him, and, looking back, he saw, to his dismay, that Gobobbles had in some way got loose from his high chair, and was coming after him, thumping himself in a perfect frenzy. In fact, his appearance was so formidable that Davy did not pause for a second look, but started off at the top of his speed.
Gobobbles, however, proved himself to be a capital runner, and, in spite of all Davy's efforts, he could hear the dreadful thumping sound coming nearer and nearer, until it seemed to be just at his heels. At this instant something sprang upon his back; but, before he could cry out in his terror, a head was suddenly thrust over his shoulder, and he found the Goblin, who was now of a bright purple color, staring him in the face and laughing with all his might.
THE GIANT BADORFUL.
"Goblin," said Davy, very seriously, as the little man jumped down from off his back, "if you are going to play such tricks as that upon me I should like to go home at once."
"Where's the harm?" said the Goblin, sitting down on the grass with his back against a wall and smiling contentedly.
"The harm is that I thought it was Gobobbles," said Davy, indignantly.
"Oh, you needn't be afraid of Gobobbles!" said the Goblin. "He's got all that he can attend to, taking care of himself. You see, he's wanted for Christmas, but why anybody should want him to eat is more than I can understand. Why, he's seventy years old if he's a day, and as indigestible as an old cork."
Just at this moment a loud, rumbling noise, like distant thunder, came from behind the wall against which the Goblin was leaning, followed by a tremendous sneeze, that fairly shook the ground.
"What's that?" whispered Davy to the Goblin, in great alarm.
"It's only Badorful," said the Goblin, laughing. "He's always snoring and waking himself up, and I suppose it's sleeping on the ground that makes him sneeze. Let's have a look at him;" and the Goblin led the way along the wall to a large grating.
Davy looked through the grating, and was much alarmed at seeing a giant, at least twenty feet in height, sitting on the ground, with his legs crossed under him like a tailor. He was dressed in a shabby suit of red velveteen, with a great leathern belt about his waist and enormous boots, and Davy thought he looked terribly ferocious. On the grass beside him lay a huge club, thickly studded at one end with great iron knobs; but Davy noticed, to his great relief, that some little creeping vines were twining themselves among these knobs, and that moss was growing thickly upon one side of the club itself, as though it had been lying there untouched for a long time.
The giant was talking to himself in a low tone, and after listening attentively at the grating for a moment, the Goblin shrieked: "He's making poetry!" and, throwing himself upon the ground, kicked up his heels in a perfect ecstasy of delight.
"Oh, hush, hush!" cried Davy, in terror. "Suppose he hears you!"
"Hears me!" said the Goblin, discontinuing his kicking and looking very much surprised. "What if he does?"
"Well, you know, he might not like being laughed at," said Davy, anxiously.
"There's something in that," said the Goblin, staring reflectively at the ground.
"And, you see," continued Davy, "a giant who doesn't like what's going on must be a dreadful creature."
"Oh! there's no fear of him" said the Goblin, contemptuously, motioning with his head toward the giant. "He's too old. Why, I must have known him, off and on, for nearly two hundred years. Come in and see him."
"Will he do anything?" said Davy, anxiously.
"Bless you, no!" said the Goblin. "He's a perfect old kitten;" and with these words he pushed open the grating and passed through, with Davy following tremblingly at his heels. Badorful looked up with a feeble smile, and merely said, "Just listen to this:"—
My age is three hundred and seventy-two, And I think, with the deepest regret, How I used to pick up and voraciously chew The dear little boys whom I met.
I've eaten them raw, in their holiday suits; I've eaten them curried with rice; I've eaten them baked, in their jackets and boots, And found them exceedingly nice.
But now that my jaws are too weak for such fare, I think it exceedingly rude To do such a thing, when I'm quite well aware Little boys do not like to be chewed.
And so I contentedly live upon eels. And try to do nothing amiss, And I pass all the time I can spare from my meals In innocent slumber—like this.
Here Badorful rolled over upon his side, and was instantly fast asleep.
"You see," said the Goblin, picking up a large stone and thumping with it upon the giant's head, "you see, he's quite weak here; otherwise, considering his age, he's a very capable giant."
At this moment a farmer, with bright red hair, thrust his head in at the grating, and calling out, "Here comes Gobobbles!" disappeared again; and Davy and the Goblin rushed out, and were just in time to see Gobobbles go by like a flash, with a crowd of people armed with pitchforks in hot pursuit. Gobobbles was going in fine style, bounding over the hedges and stone-walls like a kangaroo, and thumping vigorously, as usual, with his wings, and Davy and the Goblin were just setting off on a run to join in the chase, when a voice said, "Ahem!" and, looking up, they saw Badorful staring at them over the top of the wall.
"How does this strike you?" he said, addressing himself to Davy:—
Although I am a giant of the exhibition size, I've been nicely educated, and I notice with surprise That the simplest rules of etiquette you don't pretend to keep, For you skurry off to races while a gentleman's asleep.
Don't reply that I was drowsy, for my nap was but a kind Of dramatic illustration of a peaceful frame of mind; And you really might have waited till I woke again, instead Of indelicately pounding, with a stone, upon my head.
Very probably you'll argue that our views do not agree,— I've often found that little boys have disagreed with me,— But I'm properly entitled, on the compensation plan, To three times as much politeness as an ordinary man.
Davy was greatly distressed at having these severe remarks addressed to him.
"If you please, sir," he said earnestly, "I didn't pound you."
At this the giant glared savagely at the Goblin, and continued:—
My remarks have been directed at the one who, I supposed, Had been violently thumping on my person while I dozed; By a simple calculation, you will find that there is due Just six times as much politeness from a little chap like you.
"Oh! you make me ill!" said the Goblin, flippantly. "Go to sleep."
Badorful stared at him for a moment, and then, with a sickly smile, murmured, "Good-afternoon," and disappeared behind the wall.
Davy and the Goblin now hurried off in pursuit of Gobobbles, and presently came upon the crowd of farmers who had joined hands in a ring, and were dancing around a large white object lying on the ground. Davy pushed his way eagerly through the crowd, expecting to see Gobobbles; but the white object proved to be the Cockalorum hemmed in by a ring of pitchforks sticking in the ground, and with his feathers more rumpled than ever.
"Dear me!" exclaimed Davy, perfectly amazed, "I thought we were chasing Gobobbles!"
"Of course you did," said the Goblin, complacently; "but in this part of the world things very often turn out to be different from what they would have been if they hadn't been otherwise than as you expected they were going to be."
"But you thought so yourself," began Davy, when, to his distress, the Goblin suddenly faded into a dull pinkish color, and then disappeared altogether. Davy looked about him, and found that the Cockalorum and the dancing farmers had also disappeared, and that he was quite alone in a dense wood.
THE MOVING FOREST.
"Oh, dear!" cried Davy, speaking aloud in his distress, "I do wish people and things wouldn't change about so! Just so soon as ever I get to a place it goes away, and I'm somewhere else!"—and the little boy's heart began to beat rapidly as he looked about him; for the wood was very dark and solemn and still.
Presently the trees and bushes directly before him moved silently apart and showed a broad path beautifully overgrown with soft turf; and as he stepped forward upon it the trees and bushes beyond moved silently aside in their turn, and the path grew before him, as he walked along, like a green carpet slowly unrolling itself through the wood. It made him a little uneasy, at first, to find that the trees behind him came together again, quietly blotting out the path; but then he thought, "It really doesn't matter, so long as I don't want to go back;" and so he walked along very contentedly.
By and by the path seemed to give itself a shake, and, turning abruptly around a large tree, brought Davy suddenly upon a little butcher's shop, snugly buried in the wood. There was a sign on the shop, reading, "ROBIN HOOD: VENISON," and Robin himself, wearing a clean white apron over his suit of Lincoln green, stood in the door-way, holding a knife and steel, as though he were on the lookout for customers. As he caught sight of Davy he said, "Steaks? Chops?" in an inquiring way, quite like an every-day butcher.
"Venison is deer, isn't it?" said Davy, looking up at the sign.
"Not at all," said Robin Hood, promptly. "It's the cheapest meat about here."
"Oh, I didn't mean that," replied Davy; "I meant that it comes off of a deer."
"Wrong again!" said Robin Hood, triumphantly. "It comes on a deer. I cut it off myself. Steaks? Chops?"
"No, I thank you," said Davy, giving up the argument. "I don't think I want anything to eat just now."
"Then what did you come here for?" said Robin Hood, peevishly. "What's the good, I'd like to know, of standing around and staring at an honest tradesman?"
"Well, you see," said Davy, beginning to feel that he had, somehow, been very rude in coming there at all, "I didn't know you were this sort of person at all. I always thought you were an archer, like—like William Tell, you know."
"That's all a mistake about Tell," said Robin Hood, contemptuously. "He wasn't an archer. He was a crossbow man,—the crossest one that ever lived. By the way," he added, suddenly returning to business with the greatest earnestness, "you don't happen to want any steaks or chops to-day, do you?"
"No, not to-day, thank you," said Davy, very politely.
"To-morrow?" inquired Robin Hood.
"No, I thank you," said Davy again.
"Will you want any yesterday?" inquired Robin Hood, rather doubtfully.
"I think not," said Davy, beginning to laugh.
Robin Hood stared at him for a moment with a puzzled expression, and then walked into his little shop, and Davy turned away. As he did so the path behind him began to unfold itself through the wood, and, looking back over his shoulder, he saw the little shop swallowed up by the trees and bushes. Just as it disappeared from view he caught a glimpse of a charming little girl, peeping out of a latticed window beside the door. She wore a little red hood, and looked wistfully after Davy as the shop went out of sight.
"I verily believe that was Little Red Riding Hood," said Davy to himself, "and I never knew before that Robin Hood was her father!" The thought of Red Riding Hood, however, brought the wolf to Davy's mind, and he began to anxiously watch the thickets on either side of the path, and even went so far as to whistle softly to himself, by way of showing that he wasn't in the least afraid. He went on and on, hoping the forest would soon come to an end, until the path shook itself again, disclosing to view a trim little brick shop in the densest part of the thicket. It had a neat little green door, with a bright brass knocker upon it, and a sign above it, bearing the words:—
"SHAM-SHAM: BARGAINS IN WATCHES."
"Well!" exclaimed Davy, in amazement. "Of all places to sell watches in that's the preposterest!"—but as he turned to walk away he found the trees and bushes for the first time blocking his way, and refusing to move aside. This distressed him very much, until it suddenly occurred to him that this must mean that he was to go into the shop; and, after a moment's hesitation, he went up and knocked timidly at the door with the bright brass knocker. There was no response to the knock, and Davy cautiously pushed open the door and went in.
The place was so dark that at first he could see nothing, although he heard a rattling sound coming from the back part of the shop; but presently he discovered the figure of an old man, busily mixing something in a large iron pot. As Davy approached him he saw that the pot was full of watches, which the old man was stirring with a ladle. The old creature was very curiously dressed, in a suit of rusty green velvet, with little silver buttons sewed over it, and he wore a pair of enormous yellow-leather boots; and Davy was quite alarmed at seeing that a broad leathern belt about his waist was stuck full of old-fashioned knives and pistols. Davy was about to retreat quickly from the shop, when the old man looked up, and said, in a peevish voice:—
"How many watches do you want?"—and Davy saw that he was a very shocking-looking person, with wild, staring eyes, and with a skin as dark as mahogany, as if he had been soaked in something for ever so long.
"How many?" repeated the old man, impatiently.
"If you please," said Davy, "I don't think I'll take any watches to-day. I'll call"—
"Drat 'em!" interrupted the old man, angrily beating the watches with his ladle; "I'll never get rid of em—never!"
"It seems to me"—began Davy, soothingly.
"Of course it does!" again interrupted the old man, as crossly as before. "Of course it does! That's because you won't listen to the why of it."
"But I will listen," said Davy.
"Then sit down on the floor and hold up your ears," said the old man.
Davy did as he was told to do, so far as sitting down on the floor was concerned, and the old man pulled a paper out of one of his boots, and, glaring at Davy over the top of it, said, angrily:—
"You're a pretty spectacle! I'm another. What does that make?"
"A pair of spectacles, I suppose," said Davy.
"Right!" said the old man. "Here they are." And pulling an enormous pair of spectacles out of the other boot he put them on, and began reading aloud from his paper:—
My recollectest thoughts are those Which I remember yet; And bearing on, as you'd suppose, The things I don't forget.
But my resemblest thoughts are less Alike than they should be; A state of things, as you'll confess, You very seldom see.
"Clever, isn't it?" said the old man, peeping proudly over the top of the paper.
"Yes, I think it is," said Davy, rather doubtfully.
"Now comes the cream of the whole thing," said the old man. "Just listen to this:"—
And yet the mostest thought I love Is what no one believes—
Here the old man hastily crammed the paper into his boot again, and stared solemnly at Davy.
"What is it?" said Davy, after waiting a moment for him to complete the verse. The old man glanced suspiciously about the shop, and then added, in a hoarse whisper:—
That I'm the sole survivor of The famous Forty Thieves!
"But I thought the Forty Thieves were all boiled to death," said Davy.
"All but me," said the old man, decidedly. "I was in the last jar, and when they came to me the oil was off the boil, or the boil was off the oil,—I forget which it was,—but it ruined my digestion, and made me look like a gingerbread man. What larks we used to have!" he continued, rocking himself back and forth and chuckling hoarsely. "Oh! we were a precious lot, we were! I'm Sham-Sham, you know. Then there was Anamanamona Mike,—he was an Irishman from Hullaboo,—and Barcelona Boner,—he was a Spanish chap, and boned everything he could lay his hands on. Strike's real name was Gobang; but we called him Strike, because he was always asking for more pay. Hare Ware was a poacher and used to catch Welsh rabbits in a trap; we called him 'Hardware' because he had so much steal about him. Good joke, wasn't it?"
"Oh, very!" said Davy, laughing.
"Frown Whack was a scowling fellow with a club," continued Sham-Sham. "My! how he could hit! And Harico and Barico were a couple of bad Society Islanders. Then there was Wee Wo,—he was a little Chinese chap, and we used to send him down the chimneys to open front doors for us. He used to say that sooted him to perfection. Wac—"
At this moment an extraordinary commotion began among the watches. There was no doubt about it, the pot was boiling, and Sham-Sham, angrily crying out, "Don't tell me a watched pot never boils!" sprang to his feet, and, pulling a pair of pistols from his belt, began firing at the watches, which were now bubbling over the side of the pot and rolling about the floor; while Davy, who had had quite enough of Sham-Sham by this time, ran out of the door.
To his great surprise he found himself in a sort of underground passage, lighted by grated openings overhead; but as he could still hear Sham-Sham, who now seemed to be firing all his pistols at once, he did not hesitate, but ran along the passage at the top of his speed.
Presently he came in sight of a figure hurrying toward him with a lighted candle, and, as it approached, he was perfectly astounded to see that it was Sham-Sham himself, dressed up in a neat calico frock and a dimity apron, like a house-keeper, and with a bunch of keys hanging at his girdle.
The old man seemed to be greatly agitated, and hurriedly whispering, "We thought you were never coming, sir!" led the way through the passage in great haste. Davy noticed that they were now in a sort of tunnel made of fine grass. The grass had a delightful fragrance, like new-mown hay, and was neatly wound around the tunnel, like the inside of a bird's-nest. The next moment they came out into an open space in the forest, where, to Davy's amazement, the Cockalorum was sitting bolt upright in an arm-chair, with his head wrapped up in flannel.
It seemed to be night, but the place was lighted up by a large chandelier that hung from the branches of a tree, and Davy saw that a number of odd-looking birds were roosting on the chandelier among the lights, gazing down upon the poor Cockalorum with a melancholy interest. As Sham-Sham made his appearance, with Davy at his heels, there was a sudden commotion among the birds, and they all cried out together, "Here's the doctor!" but before Davy could reply the Hole-keeper suddenly made his appearance, with his great book, and, hurriedly turning over the leaves, said, pointing to Davy, "He isn't a doctor. His name is Gloopitch." At these words there arose a long, wailing cry, the lights disappeared, and Davy found himself on a broad path in the forest, with the Hole-keeper walking quietly beside him.
SINDBAD THE SAILOR'S HOUSE.
"You had no right to tell those birds my name was Gloopitch!" said Davy, angrily. "That's the second time you've got it wrong."
"Well, it's of no consequence," said the Hole-keeper, complacently. "I'll make it something else the next time. I suppose you know they've caught Gobobbles?"
"I'm glad of it!" said Davy, heartily. "He's worse than the Cockalorum, ten times over. What did they do with him?"
"Cooked him," said the Hole-keeper,—"roasted him, fried him, pickled him, and boiled him."
"Gracious!" exclaimed Davy; "I shouldn't think he'd be good for much after all that."
"He isn't," replied the Hole-keeper, calmly. "They're going to keep him to rub out pencil-marks with."
This was such a ridiculous idea that Davy threw back his head, and laughed long and loud.
"Do that again," said the Hole-keeper, stopping short in his walk and gazing at him earnestly; and Davy burst into another fit of laughter.
"Do it again," persisted the Hole-keeper, staring at him still more solemnly.
This was somewhat tiresome; and, after a rather feeble attempt at a third laugh, Davy said, "I don't feel like it any more."
"If I could do that," said the Hole-keeper, earnestly, "I'd never stop. The fact is," he continued, gravely shaking his head, "I've never laughed in my life. Does it hurt much?"
"It doesn't hurt at all," said Davy, beginning to laugh again.
"Well, there, there!" said the Hole-keeper, peevishly, resuming his walk again; "don't keep it up forever. By the way, you're not the postman, are you?"
"Of course I'm not," said Davy.
"I'm glad of that," said the Hole-keeper; "postmen are always so dreadfully busy. Would you mind delivering a letter for me?" he added, lowering his voice confidentially.
"Oh, no," answered Davy, rather reluctantly; "not if it will be in my way."
"It's sure to be in your way, because it's so big," said the Hole-keeper; and, taking the letter out of his pocket, he handed it to Davy. It certainly was a very large letter, curiously folded, like a dinner-napkin, and sealed in a great many places with red and white peppermint drops, and Davy was much pleased to see that it was addressed:—
Captain Robinson Crusoe, Jeran Feranderperandamam, B.G.
"What does B.G. stand for?" said Davy.
"Baldergong's Geography, of course," said the Hole-keeper.
"But why do you put that on the letter?" inquired Davy.
"Because you can't find Jeran Feranderperandamam anywhere else, stupid," said the Hole-keeper, impatiently. "But I can't stop to argue about it now;" and, saying this, he turned into a side path, and disappeared in the wood.
As Davy walked mournfully along, turning the big letter over and over in his hands, and feeling very confused by the Hole-keeper's last remark, he presently saw, lying on the walk before him, a small book, beautifully bound in crimson morocco, and, picking it up, he saw that it was marked on the cover:—
- BALDERGONG'S STUFFING FOR THE STUPID. -
"Perhaps this will tell me where to go," he thought as he opened it; but it proved to be far more confusing than the Hole-keeper himself had been. In fact it was altogether the most ridiculous and provoking book Davy had ever seen.
The first page was headed, in large capital letters:—
HOW TO FRILL GRIDDLEPIGS.
And it seemed to Davy that this ought to be something about cooking sausages; but all he found below the heading was:—
Never frill 'em: snuggle 'em always.
And this seemed so perfectly silly that he merely said, "Oh, bosh!" and turned impatiently to the next page. This, however, was no better. The heading was:—
TWO WAYS OF FRUMPLING CRUMBLES.
And under this was—
One way:— Frumple your crumbles with rumbles.
The other way:— Frumple your crumbles: then add two grumbles of tumbles and stir rapidly.
Davy read this over two or three times, in the greatest perplexity, and then gave it up in despair.
"It's nothing at all except a jumbly way of cooking something tumbly," he said to himself, and then turned sadly to the third page. Alas! this was a great deal worse, being headed:—
THE BEST SNUB FOR FEASTIE SPRALLS;
and poor Davy began to feel as if he were taking leave of his senses. He was just about to throw the book down in disgust, when it was suddenly snatched out of his hands; and, turning hastily, he saw a savage glaring at him from the bushes.
Now Davy knew perfectly well, as all little boys should know, that when you meet a savage in the woods you must get behind a tree as quickly as possible; but he did this in such haste that he found, to his dismay, that he and the savage had chosen the same tree, and in the next instant the savage was after him. The tree was a very large one, and Davy, in his fright, went around it a number of times, so rapidly that he presently caught sight of the back of the savage, and he was surprised to see that he was no bigger than a large monkey; and, moreover, that he was gorgeously dressed, in a beautiful blue coat, with brass buttons on the tail of it, and pink striped trousers. He had hardly made this discovery when the savage vanished as mysteriously as he had appeared, and the next moment Davy came suddenly upon a high paling of logs, that began at the tree and extended in a straight line far out into the forest.
It was very puzzling to Davy when it occurred to him that, although he had been around the tree at least a dozen times, he had never seen this paling before, and a door that was in it also bothered him; for, though it was quite an ordinary-looking door, it had no knob nor latch, nor, indeed, any way of being opened that he could perceive. On one side of it, in the paling, was a row of bell-pulls, marked:—
Family; Police; Butcher; Baker; Candlestick-maker;
and on the door itself was a large knocker, marked:—
- Postman. -
After examining all these Davy decided that, as he had a letter in charge, he was more of a postman than anything else, and he therefore raised the knocker and rapped loudly. Immediately all the bell-pulls began flying in and out of their own accord, with a deafening clangor of bells behind the paling; and then the door swung slowly back upon its hinges.
Davy walked through the door-way and found himself in the oddest-looking little country place that could possibly be imagined. There was a little lawn laid out, on which a sort of soft fur was growing instead of grass, and here and there about the lawn, in the place of flower-beds, little footstools, neatly covered with carpet, were growing out of the fur. The trees were simply large feather-dusters, with varnished handles; but they seemed, nevertheless, to be growing in a very thriving manner, and on a little mound at the back of the lawn stood a small house, built entirely of big conch-shells, with their pink mouths turned outward. This gave the house a very cheerful appearance, as if it were constantly on a broad grin.
To Davy's dismay, however, the savage was sitting in the shade of one of the dusters, complacently reading the little red book, and he was just wondering whether or not he would be able to get out of the place without being seen, when the little creature looked up at him with a tremendous smile on his face, and Davy saw, to his astonishment, that he was the Goblin, dressed up like an Ethiopian serenader.
"Oh! you dear, delicious old Goblin!" cried Davy, in an ecstasy of joy at again finding his travelling-companion. "And were you the savage that was chasing me just now?"
The Goblin nodded his head, and, exclaiming "My, how you did cut and run!" rolled over and over, kicking his heels about in a delirium of enjoyment.
"Goblin," said Davy, gravely, "I think we could have just as good a time without any such doings as that."
"I couldn't," said the Goblin, sitting up again and speaking very positively; "it's about all the fun I have."
"Well, then," said Davy, "I wish you wouldn't be disappearing all the time. I think that is a very disagreeable habit."
"Rubbish!" said the Goblin, with a chuckle. "That's only my way of getting a vacation."
"And where do you go?" inquired Davy; but this proved to be a very unfortunate question, for the Goblin immediately began fading away in such an alarming manner that he would certainly have gone entirely out of sight if Davy had not caught him by the coat-collar and pulled him into view again with a gentle shake.
"Oh, I beg your pardon!" said Davy, who was greatly alarmed by this narrow escape. "I really don't care to know about that; I only want to know what place this is."
The Goblin stared about him in a dazed manner for a moment, and then said, "Sindbad the Sailor's house."
"Really and truly?" said the delighted Davy.
"Really and treally truly," said the Goblin. "And here he comes now!"
Davy looked around and saw an old man coming toward them across the lawn. He was dressed in a Turkish costume, and wore a large turban and red morocco slippers turned up at the toes like skates; and his white beard was so long that at every fourth step he trod upon it and fell flat on his face. He took no notice whatever of either Davy or the Goblin, and, after falling down a number of times, took his seat upon one of the little carpet footstools, and taking off his turban began stirring about in it with a large wooden spoon. As he took off his turban Davy saw that his head, which was perfectly bald, was neatly laid out in black and white squares like a chess-board.
"This here Turk is the most reckless old story-teller that ever was born," said the Goblin, pointing with his thumb over his shoulder at Sindbad. "You can't believe half he tells you."
"I'd like to hear one of his stories, for all that," said Davy.
"All right!" said the Goblin, promptly; "just come along with me, and he'll give us a whopper."
As they started off to join Sindbad, Davy was much surprised to see that the Goblin was much taller than he had been; in fact, he was now almost up to Davy's shoulder.
"Why, I verily believe you've been growing!" exclaimed Davy, staring at him in amazement.
"I have," said the Goblin, calmly. "But I only did it to fit these clothes. It's much handier, you see, than having a suit made to order."
"But, suppose the clothes had been too small?" argued Davy.
"Then I'd have grown the other way," replied the Goblin, with an immense smile. "It doesn't make a bit of difference to me which way I grow. Anything to be comfortable is my rule;" and as he said this they came to where Sindbad was sitting, busily stirring with his great spoon.
As Davy and the Goblin sat down beside him, Sindbad hastily put on his turban, and, after scowling at Davy for a moment, said to the Goblin, "It's no use telling him anything; he's as deaf as a trunk."
"Then tell it to me," said the Goblin, with great presence of mind.
"All right," said Sindbad, "I'll give you a nautical one."
Here he rose for a moment, hitched up his big trousers like a sailor, cocked his turban on one side of his head, and, sitting down again, began:—
A capital ship for an ocean trip Was "The Walloping Window-blind;" No gale that blew dismayed her crew Or troubled the captain's mind. The man at the wheel was taught to feel Contempt for the wildest blow, And it often appeared, when the weather had cleared, That he'd been in his bunk below.
The boatswain's mate was very sedate, Yet fond of amusement, too; And he played hop-scotch with the starboard watch While the captain tickled the crew. And the gunner we had was apparently mad, For he sat on the after-rail, And fired salutes with the captain's boots, In the teeth of the booming gale.
The captain sat in a commodore's hat, And dined, in a royal way, On toasted pigs and pickles and figs And gummery bread, each day. But the cook was Dutch, and behaved as such; For the food that he gave the crew Was a number of tons of hot-cross buns, Chopped up with sugar and glue.
And we all felt ill as mariners will, On a diet that's cheap and rude; And we shivered and shook as we dipped the cook In a tub of his gluesome food. Then nautical pride we laid aside, And we cast the vessel ashore On the Gulliby Isles, where the Poohpooh smiles, And the Anagazanders roar.
Composed of sand was that favored land, And trimmed with cinnamon straws; And pink and blue was the pleasing hue Of the Tickletoeteaser's claws. And we sat on the edge of a sandy ledge And shot at the whistling bee; And the Binnacle-bats wore water-proof hats As they danced in the sounding sea.
On rubagub bark, from dawn to dark, We fed, till we all had grown Uncommonly shrunk,—when a Chinese junk Came by from the torriby zone. She was stubby and square, but we didn't much care, And we cheerily put to sea; And we left the crew of the junk to chew The bark of the rubagub tree.
Here Sindbad stopped, and gazed solemnly at Davy and the Goblin.
"If you please, sir," said Davy, respectfully, "what is gummery bread?"
"It's bread stuffed with molasses," said Sindbad; "but I never saw it anywhere except aboard of 'The Prodigal Pig.'"
"But," said Davy, in great surprise, "you said the name of your ship was"—
"So I did, and so it was," interrupted Sindbad, testily. "The name of a ship sticks to it like wax to a wig. You can't change it."
"Who gave it that name?" said the Goblin.
"What name?" said Sindbad, looking very much astonished.
"Why, 'The Cantering Soup-tureen,'" said the Goblin, winking at Davy.
"Oh, that name," said Sindbad,—"that was given to her by the Alamagoozelum of Popjaw. But speaking of soup-tureens, let's go and have some pie;" and, rising to his feet, he gave one hand to Davy and the other to the Goblin, and they all walked off in a row toward the little shell house. This, however, proved to be a very troublesome arrangement, for Sindbad was constantly stepping on his long beard and falling down; and as he kept a firm hold of his companions' hands they all went down in a heap together a great many times. At last Sindbad's turban fell off, and as he sat up on the grass, and began stirring in it again with his wooden spoon, Davy saw that it was full of broken chessmen.
"It's a great improvement, isn't it?" said Sindbad.
"What is?" said Davy, very much puzzled.
"Why, this way of playing the game," said Sindbad, looking up at him complacently. "You see, you make all the moves at once."
"It must be a very easy way," said Davy.
"It's nothing of the sort," said Sindbad, sharply. "There are more moves in one of my games than in twenty ordinary games;" and here he stirred up the chessmen furiously for a moment, and then triumphantly calling out "Check!" clapped the turban on his head.
As they set out again for the little house Davy saw that it was slowly moving around the edge of the lawn, as if it were on a circular railway, and Sindbad followed it around, dragging Davy and the Goblin with him, but never getting any nearer to the house.
"Don't you think," said Davy, after a while, "that it would be a good plan to stand still and wait until the house came around to us?"
"Here, drop that!" exclaimed Sindbad, excitedly; "that's my idea. I was just about proposing it myself."
"So was I," said the Goblin to Sindbad. "Just leave my ideas alone, will you?"
"Your ideas!" retorted Sindbad, scornfully. "I didn't know you'd brought any with you."
"I had to," replied the Goblin, with great contempt, "otherwise there wouldn't have been any on the premises."
"Oh! come, I say!" cried Sindbad; "that's my sneer, you know. Don't go to putting the point of it the wrong way."
"Take it back, if it's the only one you have," retorted the Goblin, with another wink at Davy.
"Thank you, I believe I will," replied Sindbad, meekly; and, as the little house came along just then, they all stepped in at the door as it went by. As they did so, to Davy's amazement, Sindbad and the Goblin quietly vanished, and Davy, instead of being inside the house, found himself standing in a dusty road, quite alone.
LAY-OVERS FOR MEDDLERS.
As Davy stood in the road, in doubt which way to go, a Roc came around the corner of the house. She was a large bird, nearly six feet tall, and was comfortably dressed, in a bonnet and a plaid shawl, and wore overshoes. About her neck was hung a covered basket and a door-key; and Davy at once concluded that she was Sindbad's house-keeper.
"I didn't mean to keep you waiting," said the Roc, leading the way along the road; "but I declare that, what with combing that lawn every morning with a fine tooth comb, and brushing those shells every evening with a fine tooth-brush, I don't get time for anything else let alone feeding the animals."
"What animals?" said Davy, beginning to be interested.
"Why, his, of course," said the Roc, rattling on in her harsh voice. "There's an Emphasis and two Periodicals, and a Spotted Disaster, all crawlin' and creepin' and screechin'"—
Here Davy, unable to control himself, burst into a fit of laughter, in which the Roc joined heartily, rolling her head from side to side, and repeating, "All crawlin' and creepin' and screechin'," over and over again, as if that were the cream of the joke. Suddenly she stopped laughing, and said in a low voice, "You don't happen to have a beefsteak about you, do you?"
Davy confessed that he had not, and the Roc continued, "Then I must go back. Just hold my basket, like a good child." Here there was a scuffling sound in the basket, and the Roc rapped on the cover with her hard beak, and cried, "Hush!"
"What's in it?" said Davy, cautiously taking the basket.
"Lay-overs for meddlers," said the Roc, and, hurrying back along the road, was soon out of sight.
"I wonder what they're like," said Davy to himself, getting down upon his hands and knees and listening curiously with his ear against the cover of the basket. The scuffling sound continued, mingled with little sneezes and squeaking sobs, as if some very small kittens had bad colds and were crying about it.
"I think I'll take a peep," said Davy, looking cautiously about him. There was no one in sight, and he carefully raised the cover a little way and tried to look in. The scuffling sound and the sobs ceased, and the next instant the cover flew off the basket, and out poured a swarm of little brown creatures, like snuff-boxes with legs. As they scampered off in all directions Davy made a frantic grab at one of them, when it instantly turned over on its back and blew a puff of smoke into his face, and he rolled over in the road, almost stifled. When he was able to sit up again and look about him the empty basket was lying on its side near him, and not a lay-over was to be seen. At that moment the Roc came in sight, hurrying along the road with her shawl and her bonnet-strings fluttering behind her; and Davy, clapping the cover on the basket, took to his heels and ran for dear life.
The road was very dreary and dusty, and wound in and out in the most tiresome way until it seemed to have no end to it, and Davy ran on and on, half expecting at any moment to feel the Roc's great beak pecking at his back. Fortunately his legs carried him along so remarkably well that he felt he could run for a week; and, indeed, he might have done so if he had not, at a sharp turn in the road, come suddenly upon a horse and cab. The horse was fast asleep when Davy dashed against him, but he woke up with a start, and, after whistling like a locomotive once or twice in a very alarming manner, went to sleep again. He was a very frowsy-looking horse, with great lumps at his knees and a long, crooked neck like a camel's; but what attracted Davy's attention particularly was the word "RIBSY" painted in whitewash on his side in large letters. He was looking at this, and wondering if it were the horse's name, when the door of the cab flew open and a man fell out, and, after rolling over in the dust, sat up in the middle of the road and began yawning. He was even a more ridiculous-looking object than the horse, being dressed in a clown's suit, with a morning-gown over it by way of a top-coat, and a field-marshal's cocked hat. In fact, if he had not had a whip in his hand no one would ever have taken him for a cabman. After yawning heartily he looked up at Davy, and said drowsily, "Where to?"
"To B.G.," said Davy, hastily referring to the Hole-keeper's letter.
"All right," said the cabman, yawning again. "Climb in, and don't put your feet on the cushions."
Now, this was a ridiculous thing for him to say, for when Davy stepped inside he found the only seats were some three-legged stools huddled together in the back part of the cab, all the rest of the space being taken up by a large bath-tub that ran across the front end of it. Davy turned on one of the faucets, but nothing came out except some dust and a few small bits of gravel, and he shut it off again, and, sitting down on one of the little stools, waited patiently for the cab to start.
Just then the cabman put his head in at the window, and, winking at him confidentially, said, "Can you tell me why this horse is like an umbrella?"
"No," said Davy.
"Because he's used up," said the cabman.
"I don't think that's a very good conundrum," said Davy.
"So do I," said the cabman. "But it's the best one I can make with this horse. Did you say N.B.?" he asked.
"No, I said B.G.," said Davy.
"All right," said the cabman again, and disappeared from the window. Presently there was a loud trampling overhead, and Davy, putting his head out at the window, saw that the cabman had climbed up on top of the cab and was throwing stones at the horse, which was still sleeping peacefully.
"It's all right," said the cabman, cheerfully, as he caught sight of Davy. "If he doesn't start pretty soon I'll give him some snuff. That always wakes him up."