“Won’t we though,” said Kernel Cob, “leave it to me,” for he was very brave of heart and nothing daunted him, because he was a soldier, you see, and was brave by nature.
And the Showman took them into the theatre, and the performance began. When the play was over, quick as a flash, Kernel Cob cut the strings from Sweetclover and himself.
“Now is our time!” shouted he to Sweetclover and the Villain, who were standing close by, and the Villain, catching Sweetclover by the hand, ran away with her.
Holding the Showman at a distance, Kernel Cob backed his way off the stage, joined the Villain and Sweetclover and all three ran out into the street at the top of their speed, but the Showman was much faster and was close on their heels when they came to a corner.
“Straight ahead!” shouted Kernel Cob while he turned and ran up the other street. This puzzled the Showman just what Kernel Cob wanted, and while he stood, wondering which one of them to follow, they gained on him.
Feeling angrier with Kernel Cob than with the Villain and Sweetclover, he made after him, but Kernel Cob had a good start this time and had turned another corner, and seeing an open doorway, leaped in and was well-hidden by the time the Showman came puffing by.
For a long time the Showman searched, but never thought of the door behind which Kernel Cob was hiding and finally gave up the search and went back.
After Kernel Cob had given him plenty of time to get away, he came out cautiously and with great courage went back the way he had come, anxious to find Sweetclover and the Villain.
When he came to the corner where Sweetclover and the Villain had gone straight ahead, he followed on after them, but could find no trace of them. Night was coming on and still he walked and being very tired with all his running, he sat down on the roadside, for he was now out in the country. And the moon came out and he watched it and thought of the many adventures he had been in since Sweetclover and he were up there and a great longing came into his heart to see her and if he had not been a soldier, I am sure he would have cried, but he didn’t. Instead, he got upon his feet and looked about for some place where he could spend the night.
This he soon found, for close at hand was a field in which some hay had been stacked, and, careful not to arouse the dog, he crept under one of the haystacks and soon was fast asleep.
The Villain and Sweetclover ran on and on till their legs would carry them no farther and, being entirely out of breath, they came to a halt at last. They were far out beyond the City, and, if they had not been worried about Kernel Cob, they would have enjoyed the lovely fields of flowers and sunshine, but Sweetclover was quite sure that the wicked Showman had captured Kernel Cob and, having recovered her breath, sat down and began to cry. And the Villain, being a very kind-hearted puppet sat down to comfort her, but, try as he would, Sweetclover only cried the louder.