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|The Marvelous Land of Oz||L. Frank Baum|
A Nickel-Plated Emperor
|Page 2 of 4||
The travelers were at first somewhat awed by their surroundings, and even the Scarecrow seemed impressed as he examined the rich hangings of silver cloth caught up into knots and fastened with tiny silver axes. Upon a handsome center-table stood a large silver oil-can, richly engraved with scenes from the past adventures of the Tin Woodman, Dorothy, the Cowardly Lion and the Scarecrow: the lines of the engraving being traced upon the silver in yellow gold. On the walls hung several portraits, that of the Scarecrow seeming to be the most prominent and carefully executed, while a the large painting of the famous Wizard of Oz, in act of presenting the Tin Woodman with a heart, covered almost one entire end of the room.
While the visitors gazed at these things in silent admiration they suddenly heard a loud voice in the next room exclaim:
"Well! well! well! What a great surprise!"
And then the door burst open and Nick Chopper rushed into their midst and caught the Scarecrow in a close and loving embrace that creased him into many folds and wrinkles.
"My dear old friend! My noble comrade!" cried the Tin Woodman, joyfully. "how delighted!," I am to meet you once again.
And then he released the Scarecrow and held him at arms' length while he surveyed the beloved, painted features.
But, alas! the face of the Scarecrow and many portions of his body bore great blotches of putz-pomade; for the Tin Woodman, in his eagerness to welcome his friend, had quite forgotten the condition of his toilet and had rubbed the thick coating of paste from his own body to that of his comrade.
"Dear me!" said the Scarecrow dolefully. "What a mess I'm in!"
"Never mind, my friend," returned the Tin Woodman," I'll send you to my Imperial Laundry, and you'll come out as good as new."
"Won't I be mangled?" asked the Scarecrow.
"No, indeed!" was the reply. "But tell me, how came your Majesty here? and who are your companions?"
The Scarecrow, with great politeness, introduced Tip and Jack Pumpkinhead, and the latter personage seemed to interest the Tin Woodman greatly.
"You are not very substantial, I must admit," said the Emperor. "but you are certainly unusual, and therefore worthy to become a member of our select society."
"I thank your Majesty, said Jack, humbly.
"I hope you are enjoying good health?" continued the Woodman.
"At present, yes;" replied the Pumpkinhead, with a sigh; "but I am in constant terror of the day when I shall spoil."
"Nonsense!" said the Emperor -- but in a kindly, sympathetic tone. "Do not, I beg of you, dampen today's sun with the showers of tomorrow. For before your head has time to spoil you can have it canned, and in that way it may be preserved indefinitely."
Tip, during this conversation, was looking at the Woodman with undisguised amazement, and noticed that the celebrated Emperor of the Winkies was composed entirely of pieces of tin, neatly soldered and riveted together into the form of a man. He rattled and clanked a little, as he moved, but in the main he seemed to be most cleverly constructed, and his appearance was only marred by the thick coating of polishing-paste that covered him from head to foot.
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|The Marvelous Land of Oz
L. Frank Baum
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