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Ch. 4: THE SEARCH IN THE CUPBOARD

Now, presently, a very strange thing happened. The Twins, Lulu and Zuzu, stood at the edge of the table grieving very much that the Banjo was broken. Each put out a hand, Lulu touching the neck of the instrument, where, in her opinion, the music was, and Zuzu the round part or head, where he thought that the music was situated. To their great surprise, as they did this the Banjo again began to play, the two parts joining themselves together as good as new. So long as they held it in this way, it played the most beautiful and wonderful music. Stranger still, after it had finished playing, it began also to talk.

“I am the Enchanted Banjo of the King of Gee-Whiz,” it said in a small, distinct, and quite unmistakable voice. “I only take myself apart to rest myself; but if you put me together again, of course I feel obliged to play for you, as that is only common politeness on my part.”

“Is that indeed the truth, sir?” asked the Widow Pickle of the little dark man.

“It is,” said he; “and I myself am the Court Musician, as I have said. It is my duty to furnish music for the King every day at half-past two in the afternoon, and I find a self-playing instrument a great convenience. Now, I am sorry to disturb you, but, by the way, it is nearly time for us to be returning.”

“Excuse me, my children,” remarked the Enchanted Banjo, “but you are holding my neck very tight.”

At this, Lulu and Zuzu released their hold, and with a sigh of relief the Banjo again lay in two pieces on the table.

“Now, children, see what you have done!” exclaimed the Widow Pickle. “The Banjo is broken again.”

“Never mind,” said the Private Secretary, “it will always play when the two hold it together. Besides, it can not resist the Royal Hereditary Colors, madam, for these are very powerful in our Island.”

“In truth,” said the Widow Pickle, “I am of a mind myself to go to this wonderful place of which you talk. I would like to seek my fortune and that of my Twins. Have you credibly informed me that Twins with malazite-and corazine-colored hair would have a good chance in that country?”

“I have told you the truth,” said the little dark man; “but I must say it is very far from here to the Island of Gee-Whiz, some hundreds of thousands of miles across the seas.”

“Then, sir, how did you come here yourself?”

“I came by the Gee-Whiz Submarine Express,” replied the Private Secretary. “How else should I come?”

“Alas! I don’t know what you mean,” said the Widow Pickle at this.

“Not know, madam? Why, you have all the means for summoning the Submarine Express directly at your command.”

“Where? where?” asked the Widow excitedly.

The little man pointed at the cupboard where the late Aurelius Pickle had been accustomed to keep his Chemical Substances.

“Why, to be sure,” said the Widow Pickle, “it must be in the cupboard, for it was there I found the two strange powders which went off with a flash.”

By this time, the Twins were dancing around the room in excitement, running toward the cupboard, which had never seemed so full of interest before, even in their hungriest moments.

“Are you ready for your journey, madam?” asked the Private Secretary.

“I declare, I’ve more than half a mind to learn what all this means,” said the Widow Pickle.

“Get us ready for the journey, mamma,” cried the Twins, as though it were all settled.

“Very well,” said the Widow, “we may as well be prepared for anything that may happen. First let me comb your Royal Hereditary Hair. Lulu, go fetch me the blue comb, and you, Zuzu, get the pale-green one, on top of the dresser, at the right hand as you go in. I can not help feeling,” said the Widow Pickle, as she combed the long, wavy hair of her two children, “as though something was going to happen.”

At that moment the Enchanted Banjo, held once more by the joyful Twins, began this remarkable song:

SOMETHING'S GOING TO HAPPEN

Such a squidgy feeling in my bones!
       Such a tingling tangling of my hair!
Something whispers now in warning tones
       That it will be best if I take care.
I keep looking out on either side,
       Watching for just what I do not know—
Will it sit, or stand, or walk, or ride?
       Wonder will it come, or will it go? 

Something's sure to happen—
       Oh, what can it be?
Something, something, something
       Keeps on warning me.
I shiver and I quiver,
       I tremble and I bow—
Something's sure to happen!
       When? And where? And how?

Don't know how I know it! But I know
       By the creepy feeling of my skin,
By my eyes that keep on winking so,
       By the shaky shiver of my chin.
Something tells me to be looking out;
       Something will not tell me what to do—
Something's sure to happen; there's no doubt!
       Wonder will it be to me, or you?

Something's sure to happen—
       Oh, what will it be?
Something, something, something
       Keeps on warning me.
I quiver and I shiver,
       I shake and shake again—
Something's sure to happen!
       What? And how? And when?