"What sort of creature is that which approaches us?" he asked, wonderingly.
The others followed his gaze, and discovered coming toward them the most extraordinary object they had ever beheld. It advanced quickly and
142 noiselessly over the soft grass and in a few minutes stood before the adventurers and regarded them with an astonishment equal to their own.
The Scarecrow was calm under all circumstances.
"Good morning!" he said, politely.
The stranger removed his hat with a flourish, bowed very low, and then responded:
"Good morning, one and all. I hope you are, as an aggregation, enjoying excellent health. Permit me to present my card."
With this courteous speech it extended a card toward the Scarecrow, who accepted it, turned it over and over, and handed it with a shake of his head to Tip.
The boy read aloud:
"MR. H. M. WOGGLE-BUG, T. E."
"Dear me!" ejaculated the Pumpkinhead, staring somewhat intently.
"How very peculiar!" said the Tin Woodman.
Tip's eyes were round and wondering, and the Saw-Horse uttered a sigh and turned away its head.
"Are you really a Woggle-Bug?" enquired the Scarecrow.
"Most certainly, my dear sir!" answered the stranger, briskly. "Is not my name upon the card?"
"It is," said the Scarecrow. "But may I ask what 'H. M.' stands for?"
"'H. M.' means Highly Magnified," returned the Woggle-Bug, proudly.
"Oh, I see." The Scarecrow viewed the stranger critically. "And are you, in truth, highly magnified?"
"Sir," said the Woggle-Bug, "I take you for a gentleman of judgment and discernment. Does it not occur to you that I am several thousand times greater than any Woggle-Bug you ever saw before? Therefore it is plainly evident that I am Highly Magnified, and there is no good reason why you should doubt the fact."
"Pardon me," returned the Scarecrow. "My brains are slightly mixed since I was last laundered. Would it be improper for me to ask, also, what the 'T.E.' at the end of your name stands for?"
"Those letters express my degree," answered the Woggle-Bug, with a condescending smile. "To be more explicit, the initials mean that I am Thoroughly Educated."
"Oh!" said the Scarecrow, much relieved.
Tip had not yet taken his eyes off this wonderful personage. What he saw was a great, round, buglike body supported upon two slender legs which ended in delicate feet -- the toes curling upward. The body of the Woggle-Bug was rather flat, and judging from what could be seen of it was of a glistening dark brown color upon the back, while the front was striped with alternate bands of light brown and white, blending together at the edges. Its arms were fully as slender as its legs, and upon a rather long neck was perched its head -- not unlike the head of a man, except that its nose ended in a curling antenna, or "feeler," and its ears from the upper points bore antennae that decorated the sides of its head like two miniature, curling pig tails. It must be admitted that the round, black eyes were rather bulging in appearance; but the expression upon the Woggle-Bug's face was by no means unpleasant.
For dress the insect wore a dark-blue swallowtail coat with a yellow silk lining and a flower in the button-hole; a vest of white duck that stretched
145 tightly across the wide body; knickerbockers of fawn-colored plush, fastened at the knees with gilt buckles; and, perched upon its small head, was jauntily set a tall silk hat.
Standing upright before our amazed friends the Woggle-Bug appeared to be fully as tall as the Tin Woodman; and surely no bug in all the Land of Oz had ever before attained so enormous a size.
"I confess," said the Scarecrow, "that your abrupt appearance has caused me surprise, and no doubt has startled my companions. I hope, however, that this circumstance will not distress you. We shall probably get used to you in time."
"Do not apologize, I beg of you!" returned the Woggle-Bug, earnestly. "It affords me great pleasure to surprise people; for surely I cannot be classed with ordinary insects and am entitled to both curiosity and admiration from those I meet."
"You are, indeed," agreed his Majesty.