her surroundings, and soon discoveredseveral gold-fishes swimming in the water at the foot of the fountain.
TWINKLE AND CHUBBINS
Their Astonishing Adventuresin Nature-Fairyland
Illustrated by Maginal Wright Enright
PublishersThe Reilly & Britton Co.Chicago
Copyright, 1911byThe Reilly & Britton Co.
PAGEI Mr. Woodchuck.................9II Bandit Jim Crow..............69III Prarie-Dog Town.............133IV Prince Mud-Turtle...........195V Twinkle's Enchantment.......257VI Sugar-Loaf Mountain.........321
List of Chapters
PAGEI The Trap............................11II Mr. Woodchuck Captures a Girl.......18III Mr. Woodchuck Scolds Tinkle.........26IV Mrs. Woodchuck and Her Family ......35V Mr. Woodchuck Argues the Question...43VI Twinkle is Taken to the Judge.......50VII Twinkle is Condemned................56VIII Twinkle Remembers...................66
Chapter IThe Trap
"THERE'S a woodchuck over on the side hill that is eating my clover," saidTwinkle's father, who was a farmer.
"Why don't you set a trap for it?" asked Twinkle's mother.
"I believe I will," answered the man.
So, when the midday dinner was over, the farmer went to the barn and gota steel trap, and carried it over to the clover-field on the hillside.
Twinkle wanted very much to go with him, but she had to help mamma washthe dishes and put them away, and then brush up the dining-room and putit in order. But when the work was done, and she had all the rest of theafternoon to herself, she decided to go over to the woodchuck's hole andsee how papa had set the trap, and also discover if the woodchuck hadyet been caught.
So the little girl took her blue-and-white sun-bonnet, and climbed overthe garden fence and ran across the corn-field and through the rye untilshe came to the red-clover patch on the hill.
She knew perfectly well where the woodchuck's hole was, for she hadlooked at it curiously many times; so she approached it carefully andfound the trap set just in front of the hole. If the woodchuck steppedon it, when he came out, it would grab his leg and hold him fast; andthere was a chain fastened to the trap, and also to a stout post driveninto the ground, so that when the woodchuck was caught he couldn't runaway with the trap.
But although the day was bright and sunshiny, and just the kind of daywoodchucks like, the clover-eater had not yet walked out of his hole toget caught in the trap.
So Twinkle lay down in the clover-field, half hidden by a small bank infront of the woodchuck's hole, and began to watch for the little animalto come out. Her eyes could see right into the hole, which seemed toslant upward into the hill instead of downward; but of course shecouldn't see very far in, because the hole wasn't straight, and grewblack a little way from the opening.
It was somewhat wearisome, waiting and watching so long, and the warmsun and the soft chirp of the crickets that hopped through the clovermade Twinkle drowsy. She didn't intend to go to sleep, because then shemight miss the woodchuck; but there was no harm in closing her eyes justone little minute; so she allowed the long lashes to droop over herpretty pink cheeks--just because they felt so heavy, and there was noway to prop them up.
Then, with a start, she opened her eyes again, and saw the trap and thewoodchuck hole just as they were before. Not quite, though, come to lookcarefully. The hole seemed to be bigger than at first; yes, strange asit might seem, the hole was growing bigger every minute! She watched itwith much surprise, and then looked at the trap, which remained the samesize it had always been. And when she turned her eyes upon the hole oncemore it had not only become very big and high, but a stone arch appearedover it, and a fine, polished front door now shut it off from theoutside world. She could even read a name upon the silver door-plate,and the name was this:
Chapter IIMister Woodchuck Captures a Girl
"WELL, I declare!" whispered Twinkle to herself; "how could all that havehappened?"
On each side of the door was a little green bench, big enough for two tosit upon, and between the benches was a doorstep of white marble, with amat lying on it. On one side Twinkle saw an electric door-bell.
While she gazed at this astonishing sight a sound of rapid footsteps washeard, and a large Jack-Rabbit, almost as big as herself, and dressed ina messenger-boy's uniform, ran up to the woodchuck's front door and rangthe bell.
Almost at once the door opened inward, and a curious personage steppedout.
Twinkle saw at a glance that it was the woodchuck himself,--but what abig and queer woodchuck it was!
He wore a swallow-tailed coat, with a waistcoat of white satin and fancyknee-breeches, and upon his feet were shoes with silver buckles. On hishead was perched a tall silk hat that made him look just as high asTwinkle's father, and in one paw he held a gold-headed cane. Also hewore big spectacles over his eyes, which made him look more dignifiedthan any other woodchuck Twinkle had ever seen.
When this person opened the door and saw the Jack-Rabbit messenger-boy,he cried out:
"Well, what do you mean by ringing my bell so violently? I supposeyou're half an hour late, and trying to make me think you're in ahurry."
The Jack-Rabbit took a telegram from its pocket and handed it to thewoodchuck without a word in reply. At once the woodchuck tore open theenvelope and read the telegram carefully.
"Thank you. There's no answer," he said; and in an instant theJack-Rabbit had whisked away and was gone.
"Well, well," said the woodchuck, as if to himself, "the foolish farmerhas set a trap for me, it seems, and my friends have sent a telegram towarn me. Let's see--where is the thing?"
He soon discovered the trap, and seizing hold of the chain he pulled thepeg out of the ground and threw the whole thing far away into the field.
"I must give that farmer a sound scolding," he muttered, "for he'sbecoming so impudent lately that soon he will think he owns the wholecountry."
But now his eyes fell upon Twinkle, who lay in the clover staring up athim; and the woodchuck gave a laugh and grabbed her fast by one arm.
"Oh ho!" he exclaimed; "you're spying upon me, are you?"
"I'm just waiting to see you get caught in the trap," said the girl,standing up because the big creature pulled upon her arm. She wasn'tmuch frightened, strange to say, because this woodchuck had agood-humored way about him that gave her confidence.
"You would have to wait a long time for that," he said, with a laughthat was a sort of low chuckle. "Instead of seeing me caught, you've gotcaught yourself. That's turning the tables, sure enough; isn't it?"
"I suppose it is," said Twinkle, regretfully. "Am I a prisoner?"
"You might call it that; and then, again, you mightn't," answered thewoodchuck. "To tell you the truth, I hardly know what to do with you.But come inside, and we'll talk it over. We musn't be seen out here inthe fields."
Still holding fast to her arm, the woodchuck led her through the door,which he carefully closed and locked. Then they passed through a kind ofhallway, into which opened several handsomely furnished rooms, and outagain into a beautiful garden at the back, all filled with flowers andbrightly colored plants, and with a pretty fountain playing in themiddle. A high stone wall was built around the garden, shutting it offfrom all the rest of the world.
The woodchuck led his prisoner to a bench beside the fountain, and toldher to sit down and make herself comfortable.
Chapter IIIMister Woodchuck Scolds Twinkle
TWINKLE was much pleased with
"Well, how does it strike you?" asked the woodchuck, strutting up anddown the gravel walk before her and swinging his gold-headed cane rathergracefully.
"It seems like a dream," said Twinkle.
"To be sure," he answered, nodding. "You'd no business to fall asleep inthe clover."
"Did I?" she asked, rather startled at the suggestion.
"It stands to reason you did," he replied. "You don't for a moment thinkthis is real, do you?"
"It _seems_ real," she answered. "Aren't you the woodchuck?"
"_Mister_ Woodchuck, if you please. Address me properly, young lady, oryou'll make me angry."
"Well, then, aren't you Mister Woodchuck?"
"At present I am; but when you wake up, I won't be," he said.
"Then you think I'm dreaming?"
"You must figure that out for yourself," said Mister Woodchuck.
"What do you suppose made me dream?"
"I don't know."
"Do you think it's something I've eaten?" she asked anxiously.
"I hardly think so. This isn't any nightmare, you know, because there'snothing at all horrible about it so far. You've probably been readingsome of those creepy, sensational story-books."
"I haven't read a book in a long time," said Twinkle.
"Dreams," remarked Mister Woodchuck, thoughtfully, "are not always to beaccounted for. But this conversation is all wrong. When one is dreamingone doesn't talk about it, or even know it's a dream. So let's speak ofsomething else."
"It's very pleasant in this garden," said Twinkle. "I don't mind beinghere a bit."
"But you can't stay here," replied Mister Woodchuck, "and you ought tobe very uncomfortable in my presence. You see, you're one of thedeadliest enemies of my race. All you human beings live for or think ofis how to torture and destroy woodchucks."
"Oh, no!" she answered. "We have many more important things than that tothink of. But when a woodchuck gets eating our clover and thevegetables, and spoils a lot, we just have to do something to stop it.That's why my papa set the trap."
"You're selfish," said Mister Woodchuck, "and you're cruel to poorlittle animals that can't help themselves, and have to eat what they canfind, or starve. There's enough for all of us growing in the broadfields."
Twinkle felt a little ashamed.
"We have to sell the clover and the vegetables to earn our living," sheexplained; "and if the animals eat them up we can't sell them."
"We don't eat enough to rob you," said the woodchuck, "and the landbelonged to the wild creatures long before you people came here andbegan to farm. And really, there is no reason why you should be socruel. It hurts dreadfully to be caught in a trap, and an animalcaptured in that way sometimes has to suffer for many hours before theman comes to kill it. We don't mind the killing so much. Death doesn'tlast but an instant. But every minute of suffering seems to be an hour."
"That's true," said Twinkle, feeling sorry and repentant. "I'll ask papanever to set another trap."
"That will be some help," returned Mister Woodchuck, more cheerfully,"and I hope you'll not forget the promise when you wake up. But thatisn't enough to settle the account for all our past sufferings, I assureyou; so I am trying to think of a suitable way to punish you for thepast wickedness of your father, and of all other men that have settraps."
"Why, if you feel that way," said the little girl, "you're just as badas we are!"
"How's that?" asked Mister Woodchuck, pausing in his walk to look ather.
"It's as naughty to want revenge as it is to be selfish and cruel," shesaid.
"I believe you are right about that," answered the animal, taking offhis silk hat and rubbing the fur smooth with his elbow. "But woodchucksare not perfect, any more than men are, so you'll have to take us as youfind us. And now I'll call my family, and exhibit you to them. Thechildren, especially, will enjoy seeing the wild human girl I've had theluck to capture."
"Wild!" she cried, indignantly.
"If you're not wild now, you will be before you wake up," he said.
Chapter IVMrs. Woodchuck and Her Family
BUT Mister Woodchuck had no need to call his family, for just as hespoke a chatter of voices was heard and Mrs. Woodchuck came walking downa path of the garden with several young woodchucks following after her.
The lady animal was very fussily dressed, with puffs and ruffles andlaces all over her silk gown, and perched upon her head was a broadwhite hat with long ostrich plumes. She was exceedingly fat, even for awoodchuck, and her head fitted close to her body, without any neckwhatever to separate them. Although it was shady in the garden, she helda lace parasol over her head, and her walk was so mincing and airy thatTwinkle almost laughed in her face.
The young woodchucks were of several sizes and kinds. One littlewoodchuck girl rolled before her a doll's baby-cab, in which lay awoodchuck doll made of cloth, in quite a perfect imitation of a realwoodchuck. It was stuffed with something soft to make it round and fat,and its eyes were two glass beads sewn upon the face. A big boywoodchuck wore knickerbockers and a Tam o' Shanter cap and rolled ahoop; and there were several smaller boy and girl woodchucks, dressedquite as absurdly, who followed after their mother in a long train.
"My dear," said Mister Woodchuck to his wife, "here is a human creaturethat I captured just outside our front door."
"Huh!" sneered the lady woodchuck, looking at Twinkle in a very haughtyway; "why will you bring such an animal into our garden, Leander? Itmakes me shiver just to look at the horrid thing!"
"Oh, mommer!" yelled one of the children, "see how skinny the beast is!"
"Hasn't any hair on its face at all," said another, "or on its paws!"
"And no sign of a tail!" cried the little woodchuck girl with the doll.
"Yes, it's a very strange and remarkable creature," said the mother."Don't touch it, my precious darlings. It might bite."
"You needn't worry," said Twinkle, rather provoked at these speeches. "Iwouldn't bite a dirty, greasy woodchuck on any account!"
"Whoo! did you hear what she called us, mommer? She says we're greasyand dirty!" shouted the children, and some of them grabbed pebbles fromthe path in their paws, as if to throw them at Twinkle.
"Tut, tut! don't be cruel," said Mister Woodchuck. "Remember the poorcreature is a prisoner, and isn't used to good society; and besidesthat, she's dreaming."
"Really?" exclaimed Mrs. Woodchuck, looking at the girl curiously.
"To be sure," he answered. "Otherwise she wouldn't see us dressed insuch fancy clothes, nor would we be bigger than she is. The whole thingis unnatural, my dear, as you must admit."
"But _we_'re not dreaming; are we, Daddy?" anxiously asked the boy withthe hoop.
"Certainly not," Mister Woodchuck answered; "so this is a fineopportunity for you to study one of those human animals who have alwaysbeen our worst enemies. You will notice they are very curiously made.Aside from their lack of hair in any place except the top of the head,their paws are formed in a strange manner. Those long slits in them makewhat are called fingers, and their claws are flat and dull--not at allsharp and strong like ours."
"I think the beast is ugly," said Mrs. Woodchuck. "It would give me theshivers to touch its skinny flesh."
"I'm glad of that," said Twinkle, indignantly. "You wouldn't have _all_the shivers, I can tell you! And you're a disagreeable, ign'rantcreature! If you had any manners at all, you'd treat strangers morepolitely."
"Just listen to the thing!" said Mrs. Woodchuck, in a horrified tone."Isn't it wild, though!"
Chapter VMr. Woodchuck Argues the Question
"REALLY," Mister Woodchuck said to his wife, "you should be moreconsiderate of the little human's feelings. She is quite intelligent andtame, for one of her kind, and has a tender heart, I am sure."
"I don't see anything intelligent about her," said the girl woodchuck.
"I guess I've b
een to school as much as you have," said Twinkle.
"School! Why, what's that?"
"Don't you know what school is?" cried Twinkle, much amused.
"We don't have school here," said Mister Woodchuck, as if proud of thefact.
"Don't you know any geography?" asked the child.
"We haven't any use for it," said Mister Woodchuck; "for we never getfar from home, and don't care a rap what state bounds Florida on thesouth. We don't travel much, and studying geography would be timewasted."
"But don't you study arithmetic?" she asked; "don't you know how to dosums?"
"Why should we?" he returned. "The thing that bothers you humans most,and that's money, is not used by us woodchucks. So we don't need tofigure and do sums."
"I don't see how you get along without money," said Twinkle,wonderingly. "You must have to buy all your fine clothes."
"You know very well that woodchucks don't wear clothes, under ordinarycircumstances," Mister Woodchuck replied. "It's only because you aredreaming that you see us dressed in this way."
"Perhaps that's true," said Twinkle. "But don't talk to me about notbeing intelligent, or not knowing things. If you haven't any schoolsit's certain I know more than your whole family put together!"
"About some things, perhaps," acknowledged Mister Woodchuck. "But tellme: do you know which kind of red clover is the best to eat?"
"No," she said.
"Or how to dig a hole in the ground to live in, with different rooms andpassages, so that it slants up hill and the rain won't come in and drownyou?"