The invading army entered the City more slowly, for they stopped to dig emeralds out of the walls and paving-stones with the points of their knitting-needles. So the Soldier and the boy reached the palace before the news had spread that the City was conquered.
The Scarecrow and Jack Pumpkinhead were still playing at quoits in the courtyard when the game was interrupted by the abrupt entrance of the Royal Army of Oz, who came flying in without his hat or gun, his clothes in sad disarray and his long beard floating a yard behind him as he ran.
"Tally one for me," said the Scarecrow, calmly "What's wrong, my man?" he added, addressing the Soldier.
"Oh! your Majesty -- your Majesty! The City is conquered!" gasped the Royal Army, who was all out of breath.
"This is quite sudden," said the Scarecrow. "But please go and bar all the doors and windows of the palace, while I show this Pumpkinhead how to throw a quoit."
The Soldier hastened to do this, while Tip, who had arrived at his heels, remained in the courtyard to look at the Scarecrow with wondering eyes.
His Majesty continued to throw the quoits as coolly as if no danger threatened his throne, but the Pumpkinhead, having caught sight of Tip, ambled toward the boy as fast as his wooden legs would go.
"Good afternoon, noble parent!" he cried, delightedly." I'm glad to see you are here. That terrible Saw-Horse ran away with me."
"I suspected it," said Tip. "Did you get hurt? Are you cracked at all?"
"No, I arrived safely," answered Jack, "and his Majesty has been very kind indeed to me.
At this moment the Soldier with the Green Whiskers returned, and the Scarecrow asked:
"By the way, who has conquered me?"
"A regiment of girls, gathered from the four corners of the Land of Oz," replied the Soldier, still pale with fear.
"But where was my Standing Army at the time?" inquired his Majesty, looking at the Soldier, gravely.
"Your Standing Army was running," answered the fellow, honestly; "for no man could face the terrible weapons of the invaders."
"Well," said the Scarecrow, after a moment's thought, "I don't mind much the loss of my throne, for it's a tiresome job to rule over the Emerald City. And this crown is so heavy that it makes my head ache. But I hope the Conquerors have no intention of injuring me, just because I happen to be the King."
"I heard them, say" remarked Tip, with some hesitation, "that they intend to make a rag carpet of your outside and stuff their sofa-cushions with your inside."
"Then I am really in danger," declared his Majesty, positively, "and it will be wise for me to consider a means to escape."
"Where can you go?" asked Jack Pumpkinhead.
"Why, to my friend the Tin Woodman, who
100 Line-Art Drawing
rules over the Winkies, and calls himself their Emperor," was the answer. "I am sure he will protect me."
Tip was looking out the window.
"The palace is surrounded by the enemy," said
101 he "It is too late to escape. They would soon tear you to pieces."
The Scarecrow sighed.
"In an emergency," he announced, "it is always a good thing to pause and reflect. Please excuse me while I pause and reflect."
"But we also are in danger," said the Pumpkinhead, anxiously." If any of these girls understand cooking, my end is not far off!"
"Nonsense!" exclaimed the Scarecrow. "they're too busy to cook, even if they know how!"
"But should I remain here a prisoner for any length of time," protested Jack," I'm liable to spoil."
"Ah! then you would not be fit to associate with," returned the Scarecrow. "The matter is more serious than I suspected."
"You," said the Pumpkinhead, gloomily, "are liable to live for many years. My life is necessarily short. So I must take advantage of the few days that remain to me."
"There, there! Don't worry," answered the Scarecrow soothingly; "if you'll keep quiet long enough for me to think, I'll try to find some way for us all to escape."
So the others waited in patient silence while the Scarecrow walked to a corner and stood with his
102 face to the wall for a good five minutes.