But not one of them answered him for they didn’t know what he had said.
“I guess tin soldiers are deaf,” said he.
“No, they’re not,” said a voice behind him, “only these are Italians and do not understand English.”
And looking behind him, Kernel Cob discovered an English clown doll who turned a somersault and came up on his feet with a merry laugh.
“Good for you,” said Kernel Cob, “I wish I could do that.”
“Everybody to his trade,” said the clown, and stood upon his head.
“Maybe you’d be good enough to stay upon your feet till I find out what I want to know,” said Kernel Cob.
And the Clown sprang into the air, turned over three or four times, and landed neatly upon his feet again.
“What is it you want to know?” he asked.
“First I want to know why you don’t keep still?” asked Kernel Cob, for the Clown’s antics made him nervous.
“I’m a Circus Clown,” said he, “and I just turn these hand-springs all day.”
So Kernel Cob looked about the store, but could see nobody else that looked as if he could talk English.
“What do you do all day without anybody to talk to?” he asked the Clown at length.
“Oh,” said the Clown, “I tell myself funny stories to make me laugh, and then I have my hand-springs to make; that keeps me pretty busy,” and he rolled along the shelf, head over heels.
“Well, I always thought a Clown was a silly fellow,” said Kernel Cob, “but now I’m sure of it,” and he turned upon his heel and walked out of the store.
When he got outside he told the others that it was no use trying to find out anything that way. So they walked along till night came and they crawled into a boat, which is called a gondola, and wait to sleep.
During the night, they were wakened by the movement of the boat, and looking out they saw that they were in motion. A man in a white suit and a red sash was paddling the gondola with a long oar, and he was singing a very beautiful song, and the moonlight was on the water. And they passed many other gondolas, and all the men who paddled were singing beautiful songs.
“I would like to live here,” whispered the Villain, “everybody seems to be so happy.”
“So would I,” said Sweetclover. “I love to hear beautiful music, but we have to find Jackie and Peggs’ motheranfather.”
And being tired, they fell asleep and early in the morning their gondola was resting at the side of some marble steps which led up to a great square called Saint Mark’s. So they got out of the gondola and walked across the square, for there wasn’t anybody to be seen at so early an hour in the morning.
And a great number of pigeons were flying about. Thousands and thousands of them.
And Jackie Tar had a wonderful idea.
“Let’s ask the pigeons if they will help us.”
“Goodie!” said Sweetclover.