“Hurry, hurry, mamma!” cried the Twins. “Let us go.”
“But how can we go?” asked the Widow Pickle of the Private Secretary, as she stood holding the second box of powder in her hand.
“I suggest, madam,” said the Private Secretary, “that you might put a little of the first powder, the blue one, in the engine.”
The Widow Pickle placed a pinch of the pale-blue powder upon a certain portion of the little boat, and, to her great surprise, it began to grow before her eyes.
It grew and it grew, slowly but steadily, until it was large enough for either of the Twins to get into. In a moment more it would have been too large to pass out of the window; and as the Widow Pickle saw this, she was about to brush off the rest of the powder.
“Stop!” cried the Private Secretary. “The window will not make the slightest difference in the world. Quick, madam! Get in with the second box, or it will be too late.”
Indeed, the engine inside the boat now began to churn, and a strange, brilliant sort of blue smoke began to hiss at the spouts near the wheel. The boat, for such it can be called, began to crawl on its feet across the floor toward the window. The Private Secretary grasped the Enchanted Banjo and with a bound sprang into the boat. The Widow, holding on to the remaining box of powder, and grasping the Twins also with the other hand, sprang aboard quickly. The Private Secretary then snapped down the glass all around.
To her great surprise, the Widow Pickle found the boat quite large enough for all four of them, and even as she settled down comfortably in her seat the boat rose slowly and, with a slight hissing of the strange blue steam at the wheel, it passed directly out and through the window, just as though it were not there, and sailed off across the tops of the tall buildings toward the sea.
“Madam,” replied the Private Secretary, “there is no need to be startled. It is very well, however, that you got the second box from among the Chemical Substances of the late Aurelius Pickle.”
“Why should that be so?” asked the Widow. “You must remember that I am in the dark about many of these things. It seems very strange to me to be thus flying off across the city. For all we know, we may drop directly into the sea before long.”
“That is true,” said the Private Secretary, chuckling. “In fact, that is precisely what we shall do within two minutes. And that is the reason I am glad you have the green powder with you. That, you must understand, is our fuel for water travel; for without that we could not possibly get up any green steam, and surely you must know that with a boat of this particular kind, blue steam may be all very well for the air, but it is of no service whatever under the water.”
“That,” said the Widow Pickle, “seems a most singular thing.”
“Many things which now seem strange to you,” replied the Private Secretary, “will presently seem quite natural. You must remember to put a little of the green powder under the boiler the moment we strike the water; but whatever you do, you must not put the green powder in before we reach the water.”
“Why, what will happen then?” asked Zuzu.
“You would better not try to find out,” said the Private Secretary, smiling. “But now, madam, first put in a little more of the blue powder. I see we are passing near the moon, and, if I mistake not, the face of the moon is unusually clean to-night. I see that little Lucy Green has been at work. You do not know how that can be? Perhaps the Enchanted Banjo will tell you. Put it together, my dears, and see if it will not.”
So Lulu and Zuzu held the Banjo as before, and to their great surprise it told them how the moon had its face cleaned.
LITTLE LUCY GREEN
Oh, have you never heard the reason why the moon is clean? Once on a time there was a girl whose name was Lucy Green; She saw the moon was dirty and was very far from bright, She raised her hands in horror, and exclaimed: "My, what a sight!" And then she got some polish, and a ladder, and she climbed Till she reached the moon that drifted, spotted, dusty, and begrimed. UP! clum' she and clim' she Oh,
Then she scoured the moon with polish and she cleaned it of its rust, And she took a cloth and rubbed it till it hadn't any dust; And the good old moon grew happy when its face began to shine And the little girl was merry, and she said: "Now, you look fine!" Then she took her can of polish, and her cloth, and then she found That the moonbeams made her ladder seem like gold from sky to ground. Oh, she clim' and she clum' DOWN!