“Dorothy, dear, we must pack our things for we are going to China this afternoon.”
But a great misfortune happened, for when Dorothy’s parents arrived in China they were in a great hurry to leave the dock, where the boat landed, and Dorothy, who had fallen asleep, forgot her dolls, and left them on a bench in the waiting room, and before Kernel Cob or Jackie Tar or the Villain or Sweetclover could catch up to her, she had been lifted into her mother’s arms and had disappeared in the crowd.
“Well,” said Jackie Tar, “Here we are in China.” “I don’t see any cups and saucers,” said Kernel Cob, looking about the streets. “All I can see is a lot of women with hair hanging down their backs.”
“Those are men—Chinamen,” explained Jackie Tar, for sailors travel all about and know pretty nearly everything about the people of the world.
“Well, if they are men,” said Kernel Cob, “they ought to have their hair cut, and look like men. And if Jackie and Peggs’ motheranfather look like these Chinamen, I don’t want to find them at all, for I think a child is better off without parents than having two mothers.”
“I wish we had never come here at all,” said Sweetclover.
“Never mind,” said the Villain, “we will find a way to get out of here.”
“Leave it to me,” said Jackie Tar. “I’ve been about this old world enough to know how to manage things.”
But much as he had been about, he didn’t count on the things that happen when you least expect them, for just at that moment, and without any warning, they were picked up by a little Chinese boy who carried them home.
“This must be the thirteenth of the month,” said Jackie Tar, for you know that people think that the number thirteen brings bad luck.
But it wasn’t the thirteenth as you will presently see, for it was a very lucky day indeed for our little friends.
And they were played with by the little Chinese boy, and, when it came time to go to bed, he took the little dolls with him and for once they were fed a very enjoyable supper of rice and milk, a food which Jackie Tar and the Villain liked, but Kernel Cob said it needed raisins and more sugar, so it might be a rice pudding, and after that they were properly put to bed under nice warm covers, but they did not sleep, you may be sure, but lay awake waiting for the little boy to fall asleep so that they might make their escape.
At last the moment arrived, and silently and cautiously they crept from under the covers, and once the Villain stumbled in climbing over the side of the crib, which wakened the little boy, but he must have been very tired for he went to sleep at once without thinking of his dolls.
They hurried away in the direction of the water, which Jackie Tar said he knew, for, said he, “A sailor can always smell the salt sea air, no matter how far away he may be.”