Just at that moment the king rose from his golden throne. The queen swept from her royal parlor. The judges yawned on the council benches. Awake came lords and ladies of the court. Again the fires leaped up upon the palace hearths. Again the flies buzzed on the window panes. A wind blew through the castle yard. Again the birds sang in the branches and the bees droned in the flowers. Again the dogs barked in the kennels and the horses whinnied in the stalls.
The hundred years were past and all was life and joy once more. Out of the palace gates rode the bold prince, and beside him rode the happy princess, whom his kiss had waked.
I. THE COMING OF TOPSY.
One night, when Alice was a very little girl, her papa came home early from the office. He carried a small basket in his hand, but when he saw Alice he put the basket behind his back; his eyes twinkled as he did so.
“Guess what I have brought you, little daughter,” he said. “Something to play with.”
Alice ran and caught fast hold of her papa’s knees with her two chubby arms, and her eyes grew big and bright as she peeped around at the basket.
“Oh, what is it, papa? Do let me see.”
“You must guess first,” said her papa; “such a fine plaything.”
“I know; it’s a dolly!” cried Alice.
Papa laughed. “No, it’s ever so much better than a dolly, for it’s alive,” he said.
“Oh, then it’s a bird,” cried the little girl.
But her papa only shook his head.
“Maybe it’s a bunny, then,” said Alice.
“No, no, you will never guess right,” laughed papa, “so I will have to tell you. Just listen a moment,” he said, as he held the basket close to Alice’s ear.
The little girl stood on her tiptoes and fairly held her breath. Soon she heard a faint sound: “Meow! meow! meow!”
“It’s a kitty! It’s a kitty! Do open the basket quickly, papa,” cried Alice, dancing up and down and clapping her hands. Then she tried to push her fingers under the cover.
Sure enough, when the basket was opened there lay a tiny kitten.
“Oh, isn’t she black!” cried the little girl.
“Yes, indeed, she is,” said Alice’s papa. “I should call her Topsy. There isn’t a white hair in her whole glossy coat, from the tip of her little pink nose to the end of her little black tail.”
“What big yellow eyes! And oh, look! look! what funny feet she has! Why are they so large, papa?” asked Alice.
“That’s because she is a seven-toed kitten, little daughter. I expect that she will catch a great many mice with those big feet of hers, when she grows to be a cat.”
Alice turned one of the funny front paws over. “One, two, three, four, five, six, seven,” she counted. “Yes, there are just seven toes here, but look, papa, there are not so many on her hind feet. I wonder if she is hungry. May I feed her, mamma?”