But Sara was not through being brave. She stepped up upon Schlorge’s stump, and, swallowing hard, said in a clear voice,
“Perhaps it was my fault. I’m older than the Snoodle—”
“Hurrah for Sara! She’s older than the Snoodle!” cried the First and Second Gunki. And at that the whole Garden went wild over her just as the butterflies had done. The Gunki carried her around on their shoulders; the Snimmy and his wife pelted her with moon-flowers; the Plynck and the Teacup kept up an agitated patter of feminine hand-clapping; and Schlorge came running down the path from the Dimplesmithy, cheering wildly.
When they finally put her down beside the dimple-holder, very rumpled and bright-eyed and flushed, Sara felt her little heart swell with pride. For twice that day she had been acclaimed a heroine—once because she had tamed a caterpillar, and once because she was older than the Snoodle.
Something told Sara, the next morning, to take every one of her dolls. And the minute she entered the Garden she was glad that she had.
It was clear that something very unusual was afoot. She had never seen her dear Garden look so festive. It was lavishly decorated with sun-shafts and rainbows, and everywhere waved streamers of pink sunrise and violet mist. Over the fountain, in front of the tree where the Plynck sat, had been stretched a large electric sign. It read,
“In Honor of Sara. Because She is Older than the Snoodle!”
It was made of white and pink gum-drops, and they told her afterward that the Snimmy had sat up all night to weep them. The Plynck furnished the electricity by smiling every little while. This lit up the pink and white gum-drops, till they looked like the tiny globes on the Wooded Island at the Park. Of course this was in the daytime, but the Plynck’s smile was so much stronger than ordinary electricity that even in daytime it shone with quite a dazzling effect.
All of her friends were there except Avrillia. Pirlaps had come and brought all seventy of the children; he said Avrillia was coming on in a moment, and kept looking down the path for her. The minute the Kewpie saw Avrillia’s children, he slid out of Sara’s arms and ran to them; and all that day Sara could hardly pick him out from the rest of them. The Baby, too, kicked and cried and stretched out his hands until one of the older children came and took him; and all day long they passed him, too, from one to another, and he seemed perfectly contented. The Teddy-Bear sat down in a quiet corner and shaded his eyes from the lights; the Billiken strolled about with his hands in his pockets, smiling at everything; and the Japanese doll went over and took a seat on the steps of the prose-bush, where he was soon discussing with Mrs. Snimmy the best way to stew onions.
There were so many of Avrillia’s children and so many of the Gunki that the Garden had a delightfully animated appearance. Yassuh was there, carrying Pirlaps’ step and the hand-bag with his shaving-things and extra trousers; but as Avrillia hadn’t come yet he hadn’t used his step, and his clothes were quite immaculate.