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|The Tin Woodman of Oz||L. Frank Baum|
|Page 1 of 3||
We may be sure that at this moment our friends were all anxious to see the end of the adventure that had caused them so many trials and troubles. Perhaps the Tin Woodman's heart did not beat any faster, because it was made of red velvet and stuffed with sawdust, and the Tin Soldier's heart was made of tin and reposed in his tin bosom without a hint of emotion. However, there is little doubt that they both knew that a critical moment in their lives had arrived, and that Nimmie Amee's decision was destined to influence the future of one or the other.
As they assumed their natural sizes and the rhubarb leaves that had before towered above their heads now barely covered their feet, they looked around the garden and found that no person was visible save themselves. No sound of activity came from the house, either, but they walked to the front door, which had a little porch built before it, and there the two tinmen stood side by side while both knocked upon the door with their tin knuckles.
As no one seemed eager to answer the summons they knocked again; and then again. Finally they heard a stir from within and someone coughed.
"Who's there?" called a girl's voice.
"It's I!" cried the tin twins, together.
"How did you get there?" asked the voice.
They hesitated how to reply, so Woot answered for them:
"By means of magic."
"Oh," said the unseen girl. "Are you friends, or foes?"
"Friends!" they all exclaimed.
Then they heard footsteps approach the door, which slowly opened and revealed a very pretty Munchkin girl standing in the doorway.
"Nimmie Amee!" cried the tin twins.
"That's my name," replied the girl, looking at them in cold surprise. "But who can you be?"
"Don't you know me, Nimmie?" said the Tin Woodman. "I'm your old sweetheart, Nick Chopper!"
"Don't you know me, my dear?" said the Tin Soldier. "I'm your old sweetheart, Captain Fyter!"
Nimmie Amee smiled at them both. Then she looked beyond them at the rest of the party and smiled again. However, she seemed more amused than pleased.
"Come in," she said, leading the way inside. "Even sweethearts are forgotten after a time, but you and your friends are welcome."
The room they now entered was cosy and comfortable, being neatly furnished and well swept and dusted. But they found someone there besides Nimmie Amee. A man dressed in the attractive Munchkin costume was lazily reclining in an easy chair, and he sat up and turned his eves on the visitors with a cold and indifferent stare that was almost insolent. He did not even rise from his seat to greet the strangers, but after glaring at them he looked away with a scowl, as if they were of too little importance to interest him.
The tin men returned this man's stare with interest, but they did not look away from him because neither of them seemed able to take his eyes off this Munchkin, who was remarkable in having one tin arm quite like their own tin arms.
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|The Tin Woodman of Oz
L. Frank Baum
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