Then he said, "Really, ladies, you must excuse me. I'd rather be patched than mismatched, as I would be with a lovely, snub-nosed wife. You are too beautiful for me; go seek your husbands elsewhere."
"Monster!" cried Indigo. "If you choose me, I'll scratch your eyes out!"
"If you choose me," said Cobalt in a rage, "I'll tear out your hair by the roots!"
"If I am to be your wife," screamed Azure, "I'll mark your obstinate face with my fingernails!"
"And I," said Turquoise passionately, "will pound your head with a broomstick!"
"I'll shake him till his teeth rattle!" shrieked Sapphire.
"The best way to manage a husband," observed Cerulia angrily, "is to pull his nose."
"Ladies," said Ghip-Ghisizzle when he had a chance to speak, "do not anticipate these pleasures, I beg of you, for I shall choose none among you for a wife."
"We'll see about that," said Indigo.
"I think you will soon change your mind," added Azure.
"I'm going to be patched to Tingle, here, as soon as the Boolooroo returns," said Ghip-Ghisizzle, "and it's against the law for a patched man to marry anyone. It's regarded as half-bigamy."
"Dear me!" cried Cerulia. "If he's patched, he never can be Boolooroo."
"Then he musn't be patched," declared Sapphire. "We must save him from that fate, girls, and force him to decide among us. Otherwise, none of us can ever be the Queen."
This being evident, they proceeded to unbind the long legs of Ghip-Ghisizzle, leaving his body and arms, however, tied fast together. Then between them they got him upon his feet and led him away, paying no attention to poor Tiggle, who whined to be released so he could fight in the war. After a hurried consultation, the Six Snubnosed Princesses decided to hide the Majordomo in one of their boudoirs, so they dragged him up the stairs to their reception room and fell to quarreling as to whose boudoir should be occupied by their captive. Not being able to settle the question, they finally locked him up in a vacant room across the hall and told him he must stay there until he had decided to marry one of the Princesses and could make a choice among them.
THE CAPTURE OF CAP'N BILL
While this was transpiring in the palace, Cap'n Bill and the Pinkies had encamped before the principal gate of the City and a tent had been pitched for Trot and Button-Bright and Rosalie. The army had been very fearful and weak-kneed when it first entered the Blue Country, but perceiving that the Boolooroo and his people were afraid of them and had locked themselves up in the City, the Pinkies grew bolder and longed to make an attack.
One of them, in his curiosity to examine the Blue City, got a little too near the wall, and a blue soldier threw his cord-and-weight at him. The cord didn't wind around the Pinkie, as he was too far off, but the weight hit him in the eye and made him howl lustily as he trotted back to this comrades at full speed. After this experience, the invaders were careful to keep a safe distance from the wall.
The Boolooroo, having made all preparations to receive the enemy, was annoyed because they held back. He was himself so nervous and excited that he became desperate, and after an hour of tedious waiting, during which time he pranced around impatiently, he decided to attack the hated Pinkies and rid the country of them.
"Their dreadful color makes me hysterical," he said to his soldiers, "so if I am to have any peace of mind, we must charge the foe and drive them back into the Fog Bank. But take all the prisoners you can, my brave men, and tomorrow we will have a jolly time patching them. Don't be afraid; those pink creatures have no blue blood in their veins, and they'll run like rabbits when they see us coming."
Then he ordered the gate thrown open, and immediately the Blueskins poured out into the open plain and began to run toward the Pinkies. The Boolooroo went out, too, but he kept well behind his people, remembering the sharp sticks with which the enemy were armed.