An aged Winkie, dressed in a uniform of silver cloth, came forward to assist them to alight. Said the Scarecrow to his personage:
"Show us at once to your master, the Emperor."
The man looked from one to another of the party in an embarrassed way, and finally answered:
"I fear I must ask you to wait for a time. The Emperor is not receiving this morning."
"How is that?" enquired the Scarecrow, anxiously." I hope nothing has happened to him."
"Oh, no; nothing serious," returned the man. "But this is his Majesty's day for being polished; and just now his august presence is thickly smeared with putz-pomade."
"Oh, I see!" cried the Scarecrow, greatly reassured. "My friend was ever inclined to be a dandy, and I suppose he is now more proud than ever of his personal appearance."
"He is, indeed," said the man, with a polite bow. "Our mighty Emperor has lately caused himself to be nickel-plated."
"Good Gracious!" the Scarecrow exclaimed at hearing this. "If his wit bears the same polish, how sparkling it must be! But show us in -- I'm sure the Emperor will receive us, even in his present state"
"The Emperor's state is always magnificent," said the man. "But I will venture to tell him of your arrival, and will receive his commands concerning you."
So the party followed the servant into a splendid ante-room, and the Saw- Horse ambled awkwardly after them, having no knowledge that a horse might be expected to remain outside.
The travelers were at first somewhat awed by their surroundings, and even the Scarecrow seemed impressed as he examined the rich hangings of silver cloth caught up into knots and fastened with tiny silver axes. Upon a handsome center-table stood a large silver oil-can, richly engraved with scenes from the past adventures of the Tin Woodman, Dorothy, the Cowardly Lion and the Scarecrow: the lines of the engraving being traced upon the silver in yellow gold. On the walls hung several portraits, that of the Scarecrow seeming to be the most prominent and carefully executed, while a the large painting of the famous Wizard of Oz, in act of presenting the Tin Woodman with a heart, covered almost one entire end of the room.
While the visitors gazed at these things in silent admiration they suddenly heard a loud voice in the next room exclaim:
"Well! well! well! What a great surprise!"
And then the door burst open and Nick Chopper rushed into their midst and caught the Scarecrow in a close and loving embrace that creased him into many folds and wrinkles.
"My dear old friend! My noble comrade!" cried the Tin Woodman, joyfully. "how delighted!," I am to meet you once again.
125 Full page line-art drawing.
CAUGHT THE SCARECROW IN A CLOSE AND LOVING EMBRACE
And then he released the Scarecrow and held him at arms' length while he surveyed the beloved, painted features.
But, alas! the face of the Scarecrow and many portions of his body bore great blotches of putz-pomade; for the Tin Woodman, in his eagerness to welcome his friend, had quite forgotten the condition of his toilet and had rubbed the thick coating of paste from his own body to that of his comrade.
"Dear me!" said the Scarecrow dolefully. "What a mess I'm in!"
"Never mind, my friend," returned the Tin Woodman," I'll send you to my Imperial Laundry, and you'll come out as good as new."
"Won't I be mangled?" asked the Scarecrow.
"No, indeed!" was the reply. "But tell me, how came your Majesty here? and who are your companions?"
The Scarecrow, with great politeness, introduced Tip and Jack Pumpkinhead, and the latter personage seemed to interest the Tin Woodman greatly.
"You are not very substantial, I must admit," said the Emperor. "but you are certainly unusual, and therefore worthy to become a member of our select society."
"I thank your Majesty, said Jack, humbly.
127 Line-Art Drawing
"I hope you are enjoying good health?" continued the Woodman.
"At present, yes;" replied the Pumpkinhead, with a sigh; "but I am in constant terror of the day when I shall spoil."
"Nonsense!" said the Emperor -- but in a kindly, sympathetic tone.