She nestled herself comfortably in Dorothy's lap until the kitten gave a snarl of jealous anger and leaped up with a sharp claw fiercely bared to strike Billina a blow. But the little girl gave the angry kitten such a severe cuff that it jumped down again without daring to scratch.
"How horrid of you, Eureka!" cried Dorothy. "Is that the way to treat my friends?"
"You have queer friends, seems to me," replied the kitten, in a surly tone.
"Seems to me the same way," said Billina, scornfully, "if that beastly cat is one of them."
"Look here!" said Dorothy, sternly. "I won't have any quarrelling in the Land of Oz, I can tell you! Everybody lives in peace here, and loves everybody else; and unless you two, Billina and Eureka, make up and be friends, I'll take my Magic Belt and wish you both home again, IMMEJITLY. So, there!"
They were both much frightened at the threat, and promised meekly to be good. But it was never noticed that they became very warm friends, for all of that.
And now the Tin Woodman arrived, his body most beautifully nickle-plated, so that it shone splendidly in the brilliant light of the room. The Tin Woodman loved Dorothy most tenderly, and welcomed with joy the return of the little old Wizard.
"Sir," said he to the latter, "I never can thank you enough for the excellent heart you once gave me. It has made me many friends, I assure you, and it beats as kindly and lovingly today as it every did."
"I'm glad to hear that," said the Wizard. "I was afraid it would get moldy in that tin body of yours."
"Not at all," returned Nick Chopper. "It keeps finely, being preserved in my air-tight chest."
Zeb was a little shy when first introduced to these queer people; but they were so friendly and sincere that he soon grew to admire them very much, even finding some good qualities in the yellow hen. But he became nervous again when the next visitor was announced.
"This," said Princess Ozma, "is my friend Mr. H. M. Woggle-Bug, T. E., who assisted me one time when I was in great distress, and is now the Dean of the Royal College of Athletic Science."
"Ah," said the Wizard; "I'm pleased to meet so distinguished a personage."
"H. M.," said the Woggle-Bug, pompously, "means Highly Magnified; and T. E. means Thoroughly Educated. I am, in reality, a very big bug, and doubtless the most intelligent being in all this broad domain."
"How well you disguise it," said the Wizard. "But I don't doubt your word in the least."
"Nobody doubts it, sir," replied the Woggle-Bug, and drawing a book from its pocket the strange insect turned its back on the company and sat down in a corner to read.
Nobody minded this rudeness, which might have seemed more impolite in one less thoroughly educated; so they straightway forgot him and joined in a merry conversation that kept them well amused until bed-time arrived.
16. Jim, The Cab-Horse
Jim the Cab-horse found himself in possession of a large room with a green marble floor and carved marble wainscoting, which was so stately in its appearance that it would have awed anyone else. Jim accepted it as a mere detail, and at his command the attendants gave his coat a good rubbing, combed his mane and tail, and washed his hoofs and fetlocks. Then they told him dinner would be served directly and he replied that they could not serve it too quickly to suit his convenience. First they brought him a steaming bowl of soup, which the horse eyed in dismay.
"Take that stuff away!" he commanded. "Do you take me for a salamander?"
They obeyed at once, and next served a fine large turbot on a silver platter, with drawn gravy poured over it.
"Fish!" cried Jim, with a sniff. "Do you take me for a tom-cat? Away with it!"
The servants were a little discouraged, but soon they brought in a great tray containing two dozen nicely roasted quail on toast.
"Well, well!" said the horse, now thoroughly provoked. "Do you take me for a weasel? How stupid and ignorant you are, in the Land of Oz, and what dreadful things you feed upon! Is there nothing that is decent to eat in this palace?"
The trembling servants sent for the Royal Steward, who came in haste and said:
"What would your Highness like for dinner?"
"Highness!" repeated Jim, who was unused to such titles.