It was quite true; the old duck had evidently come to the conclusion that we were something dainty to eat—in the frog line probably—and was waddling towards us as quickly as her game leg would allow.
Fortunately we were soon able to out-distance her; and having fixed our latitude by Kensington Palace, which we could just see in the distance, we set out for the gate.
To our tiny, but rapidly growing bodies the distance seemed an interminable one, especially as darkness was now quickly falling. We could see the lights in Kensington, but they seemed far, far away; and to add to our dismay, when at last, tired and exhausted, we did reach the gate, it was only to find it closed for the night, and that during our journey from the Pond we had grown too big to be able to squeeze through the railings.
We waited a few minutes uncertain what to do, till presently a cab came in sight, the horse walking leisurely and the cabby evidently on the look-out for a fare.
“Cabby! cabby!” I called, and Lionel added his shrill voice to mine.
The cabman looked about in bewilderment.
“Here, by the Park gates!” I yelled, and he got down from his seat and came over to where we were standing.
“Well, I’m blowed!” he exclaimed when he had had a good look at us. “What the Dickens are you? Kids or dwarfs or what?”
“Never mind what we are, cabby; get us out of here somehow, and drive us home to Kensington Square, and I’ll give you a sovereign.”
“Will you, though?” said the cabby. “Well, I’m gaun to do it, but the question is—how? I’ll go and knock up the park keeper.”
“No, no, don’t do that!” I said hastily. “He’ll want such a lot of explanations, and we’re wet and uncomfortable and anxious to get home. Do please try and think of some way of getting us out without having to call him.”
Our cabby was a man of resource, for having considered for a moment, he backed the horse close against the gate, stood on the top and lowered the horse’s nosebag by means of a long rope which he kept by him in case of emergencies, and cried—
“Now then, get in there, one at a time, and I’ll soon have you over here.”
Lionel got in first, and as the cabby had said, was easily hauled up and deposited on the top of the cab.
I followed, and in a very short space of time we were both inside the cab and rattling home at a good pace.
I got the cabby to knock at the door, and Mrs. Putchy, to whom I quickly explained everything, gave him a sovereign for me. In a very few minutes Lionel and I were warm and comfortable each in our respective beds.
In the morning we had both grown to our original sizes, and the adventure of the day before was nothing but a memory.
SHIN SHIRA AND THE DIAMOND
I was exceedingly surprised a few weeks after our latest adventure with the little Yellow Dwarf to receive the following extraordinary letter from him. It was dated from Baghdad, and bore two very unusual postage stamps, which Lionel promptly claimed for his collection.