"Although I am of tin," said the Woodman, "I own a heart altogether the warmest and most admirable in the whole world."
"I'm delighted to hear it," replied the Gump, with a slight cough.
"My smile," said Jack Pumpkinhead, "is worthy your best attention. It is always the same."
"Semper idem," explained the Woggle-Bug, pompously; and the Gump turned to stare at him.
"And I," declared the Saw-Horse, filling in an awkward pause, "am only remarkable because I can't help it."
"I am proud, indeed, to meet with such exceptional masters," said the Gump, in a careless tone. "If I could but secure so complete an introduction to myself, I would be more than satisfied."
"That will come in time," remarked the Scare-
204 crow. "To 'Know Thyself' is considered quite an accomplishment, which it has taken us, who are your elders, months to perfect. But now," he added, turning to the others, "let us get aboard and start upon our journey."
"Where shall we go?" asked Tip, as he clambered to a seat on the sofas and assisted the Pumpkinhead to follow him.
"In the South Country rules a very delightful Queen called Glinda the Good, who I am sure will gladly receive us," said the Scarecrow, getting into the Thing clumsily. "Let us go to her and ask her advice."
"That is cleverly thought of," declared Nick Chopper, giving the Woggle-Bug a boost and then toppling the Saw-Horse into the rear end of the cushioned seats." I know Glinda the Good, and believe she will prove a friend indeed."
"Are we all ready?" asked the boy.
"Yes," announced the Tin Woodman, seating himself beside the Scarecrow.
"Then," said Tip, addressing the Gump, "be kind enough to fly with us to the Southward; and do not go higher than to escape the houses and trees, for it makes me dizzy to be up so far."
"All right," answered the Gump, briefly.
It flopped its four huge wings and rose slowly into the air; and then, while our little band of adventurers clung to the backs and sides of the sofas for support, the Gump turned toward the South and soared swiftly and majestically away.
"The scenic effect, from this altitude, is marvelous," commented the educated Woggle-Bug, as they rode along.
"Never mind the scenery," said the Scarecrow. "Hold on tight, or you may get a tumble. The Thing seems to rock badly.'
"It will be dark soon," said Tip, observing that the sun was low on the horizon. "Perhaps we should have waited until morning. I wonder if the Gump can fly in the night."
"I've been wondering that myself," returned the Gump quietly. "You see, this is a new experience to me. I used to have legs that carried me swiftly over the ground. But now my legs feel as if they were asleep."
"They are," said Tip. "We didn't bring 'em to life."
"You're expected to fly," explained the Scarecrow. "not to walk."
"We can walk ourselves," said the Woggle-Bug."
I begin to understand what is required of me," remarked the Gump; "so I will do my best to
206 please you," and he flew on for a time in silence.
Presently Jack Pumpkinhead became uneasy.
"I wonder if riding through the air is liable to spoil pumpkins," he said.
"Not unless you carelessly drop your head over the side," answered the Woggle-Bug. "In that event your head would no longer be a pumpkin, for it would become a squash."
"Have I not asked you to restrain these unfeeling jokes?" demanded Tip, looking at the Woggle-Bug with a severe expression.
"You have; and I've restrained a good many of them," replied the insect. "But there are opportunities for so many excellent puns in our language that, to an educated person like myself, the temptation to express them is almost irresistible."
"People with more or less education discovered those puns centuries ago," said Tip.
"Are you sure?" asked the Woggle-Bug, with a startled look.
"Of course I am," answered the boy. "An educated Woggle-Bug may be a new thing; but a Woggle-Bug education is as old as the hills, judging from the display you make of it."
The insect seemed much impressed by this remark, and for a time maintained a meek silence.