“Only,” observed the raven, drily, “there is one little objection to that. Generally—I may be mistaken, of course, my notions are very old-fashioned, I daresay—but, generally, people give parties in their own houses, don’t they?”
And as he spoke he looked straight at Hugh, cocking his head on one side more than ever.
THE FOREST OF THE RAINBOWS.
and amethyst, gold and grey.”
Hugh felt rather offended. It was natural that he should do so, I think. At least I am sure that in his place I too should have felt hurt. He had said nothing to make the raven speak in that disagreeably sarcastic way.
“I wish Jeanne were here,” he said to himself; “she would think of something to put him down a little.”
But aloud he said nothing, so, great was his surprise, when the raven coolly remarked in answer to his unspoken thoughts,
“So Jeanne could put me down, you think? I confess, I don’t agree with you. However, never mind about that. We shall be very good friends in time. And now, how about visiting the castle?”
“I should like to go,” replied Hugh, thinking it wiser, all things considered, to get over his offended feelings. “I should like to see the castle very much, though I should have liked Jeanne to be with me; but still,” he went on, reflecting that Jeanne would be extremely disappointed if he did not make the most of his present opportunity, such as it was, “if you will be so kind as to show me the way, Monsieur Dudu, I’d like to go, and then, any way, I can tell Jeanne all about it.”
“I cannot exactly show you the way,” said the raven, “I am only the guardian on this side. But if you will attend to what I say, you will get on very well. Here, in the first place, is a pair of wall-climbers to put on your feet.”
He held out his claw, on the end of which hung, by a narrow ribbon, two round little cushions about the size of a macaroon biscuit. Hugh took them, and examined them curiously. They were soft and elastic, what Hugh in his own words would have described as “blobby.” They seemed to be made of some stuff like indiarubber, and were just the colour of his skin.
“What funny things!” said Hugh.
“They are made after the pattern of the fly’s wall-climbers,” remarked the raven. “Put them on—tie them on, that is to say, so that they will be just in the middle of your foot, underneath of course. That’s right; now jump out of bed and follow me,” and before Hugh knew what he was doing he found himself walking with the greatest ease straight up the wall to where the long flight of steps to the tapestry castle began. On the lowest steps the raven stopped a moment.
“Shall I take them off now?” asked Hugh. “I don’t need them to walk up steps with.”