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|The Emerald City of Oz||L. Frank Baum|
10. How the Cuttenclips Lived
|Page 2 of 6||
Toto wagged his tail as if disappointed at being left behind; but he made no effort to follow them. The Wizard unlatched the door, which opened outward, and they all looked eagerly inside.
Just before the entrance was drawn up a line of tiny soldiers, with uniforms brightly painted and paper guns upon their shoulders. They were exactly alike, from one end of the line to the other, and all were cut out of paper and joined together in the centers of their bodies.
As the visitors entered the enclosure the Wizard let the door swing back into place, and at once the line of soldiers tumbled over, fell flat upon their backs, and lay fluttering upon the ground.
"Hi there!" called one of them; "what do you mean by slamming the door and blowing us over?"
"I beg your pardon, I'm sure," said the Wizard, regretfully. "I didn't know you were so delicate."
"We're not delicate!" retorted another soldier, raising his head from the ground. "We are strong and healthy; but we can't stand draughts."
"May I help you up?" asked Dorothy.
"If you please," replied the end soldier. "But do it gently, little girl."
Dorothy carefully stood up the line of soldiers, who first dusted their painted clothes and then saluted the visitors with their paper muskets. From the end it was easy to see that the entire line had been cut out of paper, although from the front the soldiers looked rather solid and imposing.
"I've a letter of introduction from Princess Ozma to Miss Cuttenclip," announced Dorothy.
"Very well," said the end soldier, and blew upon a paper whistle that hung around his neck. At once a paper soldier in a Captain's uniform came out of a paper house near by and approached the group at the entrance. He was not very big, and he walked rather stiffly and uncertainly on his paper legs; but he had a pleasant face, with very red cheeks and very blue eyes, and he bowed so low to the strangers that Dorothy laughed, and the breeze from her mouth nearly blew the Captain over. He wavered and struggled and finally managed to remain upon his feet.
"Take care, Miss!" he said, warningly. "You're breaking the rules, you know, by laughing."
"Oh, I didn't know that," she replied.
"To laugh in this place is nearly as dangerous as to cough," said the Captain. "You'll have to breathe very quietly, I assure you."
"We'll try to," promised the girl. "May we see Miss Cuttenclip, please?"
"You may," promptly returned the Captain. "This is one of her reception days. Be good enough to follow me."
He turned and led the way up a path, and as they followed slowly, because the paper Captain did not move very swiftly, they took the opportunity to gaze around them at this strange paper country.
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|The Emerald City of Oz
L. Frank Baum
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