At that there was a general laugh among the other spectators, and an exchange of glances that seemed to say he must be either very blind or extremely simple.
Walter did not seem to notice, however, but went on: “Are the upper floors open to visitors, sir? and are there refreshments served there, or in any other part of the building?”
At that the laugh among the people in the room and about the doorway grew louder,—it seemed so good a joke that anyone should take those wax figures for living people—and a burly German, taking pity on Walter’s stupidity, said; “Mine frient, dose vos vax beobles, ha, ha, ha! dey don’t can’t say nodings.”
With that the laughter grew louder, and another German, evidently good-naturedly desirous to relieve Walter’s embarrassment, spoke, turning as he did so to the first speaker:
“Dat vasn’t no sign de young shentlemans vas dumb; he don’t can’t help it; he t’ot dey vas life beoples.”
“Nefer you mine dose silly fellows, young shentleman, dey doan’ know noddings.”
The words seemed to come from the lips of the waxen man, and struck the crowd with astonishment. “I would tell you vat you vants to know,” he added, “but I pees von stranger in dose barts mineself.”
Then the woman seemed to speak: “Come to de dable, mine frient, and eat somedings mit us.”
“Thank you, very much,” returned Walter, “you are most kind and hospitable, but I cannot think of intruding upon your hospitality.” And with a bow directed toward her and her spouse, he turned and left the room, the rest of his party following and leaving the little crowd of Germans gazing at each other and the waxen figures in wide-eyed, open-mouthed astonishment.
“Papa,” complained little Ned as they left the German quarter, “I’m so tired and sleepy.”
“Hungry, too, papa’s boy, aren’t you?” was the kindly enquiring rejoinder. “Well, papa will take you back to our floating home, and leave you there with your nurse to be fed and have a good, long nap. I think Elsie would like to go too. Wouldn’t you, daughter?”
The little girl gave a glad assent, and arranging with his wife and older daughters where to meet them on his return, the captain set off with the two little ones for the Dolphin.
Captain Raymond was not gone very long, and on his return found the others sitting quietly listening to the music of the German band. But they were ready to go at his invitation and test the excellence of the fare to be obtained at the Woman’s Building.
“There are cafes at each end of the roof covered with Oriental awnings,” he said, “and surely we may expect as good fare at a woman’s establishment as anywhere else.”
“I think we certainly should,” said Rosie in a sprightly tone; “and there must be a lovely view or views from that roof and the loggias.”