But Sylvie hastily checked him, for fear of hurting the Mastiff’s

feelings. “Please, we want a little food, and a night’s lodging–if

there’s room in the house,” she added timidly. Sylvie spoke Doggee

very prettily: but I think it’s almost better, for you, to give the

conversation in English.

“The house, indeed!” growled the Sentinel. “Have you never seen a

Palace in your life?

Come along with me! His Majesty must settle what’s to be done with you.”

They followed him through the entrance-hall, down a long passage, and

into a magnificent Saloon, around which were grouped dogs of all sorts

and sizes. Two splendid Blood-hounds were solemnly sitting up, one on

each side of the crown-bearer. Two or three Bull-dogs—whom I guessed

to be the Body-Guard of the King–were waiting in grim silence: in fact

the only voices at all plainly audible were those of two little dogs,

who had mounted a settee, and were holding a lively discussion that

looked very like a quarrel.

“Lords and Ladies in Waiting, and various Court Officials,” our guide

gruffly remarked, as he led us in. Of me the Courtiers took no notice

whatever: but Sylvie and Bruno were the subject of many inquisitive

looks, and many whispered remarks, of which I only distinctly caught

one–made by a sly-looking Dachshund to his friend “Bah wooh wahyah

hoobah Oobooh, hah bah?” (“She’s not such a bad-looking Human, is she?”)

Leaving the new arrivals in the centre of the Saloon, the Sentinel

advanced to a door, at the further end of it, which bore an inscription,

painted on it in Doggee, “Royal Kennel–scratch and Yell.”

Before doing this, the Sentinel turned to the children, and said

“Give me your names.”

“We’d rather not!” Bruno exclaimed, pulling’ Sylvie away from the door.

“We want them ourselves. Come back, Sylvie! Come quick!”

“Nonsense!’, said Sylvie very decidedly: and gave their names in Doggee.

Then the Sentinel scratched violently at the door, and gave a yell that

made Bruno shiver from head to foot.

“Hooyah wah!” said a deep voice inside. (That’s Doggee for “Come in!”)

“It’s the King himself!” the Mastiff whispered in an awestruck tone.

“Take off your wigs, and lay them humbly at his paws.” (What we should

call “at his feet.”)

Sylvie was just going to explain, very politely, that really they

couldn’t perform that ceremony, because their wigs wouldn’t come off,

when the door of the Royal Kennel opened, and an enormous Newfoundland

Dog put his head out. “Bow wow?” was his first question.

“When His Majesty speaks to you,” the Sentinel hastily whispered to Bruno,

“you should prick up your ears!”

Bruno looked doubtfully at Sylvie. “I’d rather not, please,” he said.

“It would hurt.”

[Image…The dog-king]

“It doesn’t hurt a bit!” the Sentinel said with some indignation. “Look!

It’s like this!” And he pricked up his ears like two railway signals.

Sylvie gently explained matters. “I’m afraid we ca’n’t manage it,”

she said in a low voice. “I’m very sorry: but our ears haven’t got the

right–” she wanted to say “machinery” in Doggee: but she had forgotten

the word, and could only think of “steam-engine.”

The Sentinel repeated Sylvie’s explanation to the King.

“Can’t prick up their ears without a steam-engine!” His Majesty exclaimed.

“They must be curious creatures! I must have a look at them!”

And he came out of his Kennel, and walked solemnly up to the children.

What was the amazement–nor to say the horror of the whole assembly,

when Sylvie actually patted His Majesty on the head, while Bruno seized

his long ears and pretended to tie them together under his chin!

The Sentinel groaned aloud: a beautiful Greyhound who appeared to be

one of the Ladies in Waiting–fainted away: and all the other Courtiers

hastily drew back, and left plenty of room for the huge Newfoundland to

spring upon the audacious strangers, and tear them limb from limb.

Only–he didn’t. On the contrary his Majesty actually smiled so far as

a Dog can smile–and (the other Dogs couldn’t believe their eyes,

but it was true, all the same) his Majesty wagged his tail!

“Yah! Hooh hahwooh!” (that is “Well! I never!”) was the universal cry.

Page: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92

Categories: Carroll, Lewis