“I have a suggestion to make,” said Bunyip Bluegum, “which will at once restore your wonted good-humour. Observe me.”
He looked about till he found a piece of board, and wrote this notice on it with his fountain pen—
A grand procession of
the amalgamated society of
puddings will pass here
at 2.30 To-day.
This he hung on a tree. “Now,” said he, “all that remains to be done is to hide behind this bush. The news of the procession will spread like wildfire through the district, and the puddin’-thieves, unable to resist such a spectacle, will come hurrying to view the procession. The rest will be simply a matter of springing out on them like lions.”
“Superbly reasoned,” said Bill, grasping Bunyip by the hand. They all hid behind the bush, and a Crow, who happened to be passing, read the sign and flew off at once to spread the news through the district.
In fifteen minutes, by Bill’s watch, the puddin’-thieves came running down the road, and took up a position on a stump to watch the procession. They had evidently been disturbed in the very act of eating Puddin’, for the Possum was still masticating a mouthful; and the Wombat had stuck the Puddin’ in his hat, and put his hat on his head, which clearly roved him to be a very ill-bred fellow, for in good society wearing puddin’s on the head is hardly ever done.
Bill and Sam, who were like bloodhounds straining in the leash, sprang out and confronted the scoundrels, while Bunyip and Ben got behind in order to cut off their retreat.
“We’ve got you at last,” said Bill, sparring up at the Possum with the fiercest activity. “Out with our Puddin’, or prepare for a punch on the snout.”
The Possum turned pale and the Wombat hastily got behind him.
“Puddin’,” said the Possum, acting amazement, “what strange request is this?”
“What means this strange request?” asked the Wombat.
“No bungfoodlin’,” said Bill, sternly. “Produce the Puddin’ or prepare for death.”
“Before bringing accusations,” said the Possum, “prove where the Puddin’ is.”
“It’s under that feller’s hat,” roared Bill, pointing at the Wombat.
“Prove it,” said the Wombat.
“You can’t wear hats that high, without there’s Puddin’s under them,” said Bill.
“That’s not Puddin’s,” said the Possum; “that’s ventilation. He wears his hat like that to keep his brain cool.”
“Very well,” said Bill. “I call on Ben Brandysnap, as an independent witness whose bag has been stolen, to prove what’s under that hat.”
Ben put on his spectacles in order to study the Wombat carefully, and gravely pronounced this judgment—
“When you see a hat
Stuck up like that
You remark with some surprise,
`Has he been to a shop,
And bought for his top
A hat of the largest size?’