The Story of Calico Clown by Laura Lee Hope
Chapter IV. Up in a Tree
Faster and faster danced the Calico Clown. No one needed to pull his strings now, for he could dance by himself, no eyes of children or grown folk being in the closet to watch him.
Up and down, first to this side and then to the other, now on his left foot and now on his right, tapping his cymbals softly together, and wagging his head, the Calico Clown amused the Match-Safe Cat and the sugar Bunny in the closet.
"Oh, don't dance any more! Please stop!" begged the Candy Rabbit, holding one paw to his side.
"Don't you like it?" asked the Calico Clown, rather surprised.
"Oh, yes!" was the answer. "But your dance is so funny that it makes me laugh so hard that my ears ache! Do please stop!"
"Yes, please do," begged the Cat. "If you don't, I'm afraid I'll laugh so hard my head may come off and roll to the floor."
"Oh, I wouldn't want that to happen!" exclaimed the Clown, as he brought his queer, jerky dance to an end. "If you'd rather, I could tell a riddle."
"Not the one about what makes more noise than a pig under a gate!" exclaimed the Candy Rabbit. "Don't ask that one!"
"Well, it's the only one I know," said the Clown. "I'll try to think of another. But, anyhow, I'll stop my dancing. However, I'm glad for one reason that I did it. It shows that my broken leg is almost as good as the other. A bit stiff, perhaps, but almost as good."
"Yes, you danced as well as I ever saw you jig back in the toy store," said the Rabbit. "You have made the night pass very pleasantly for us."
"You have indeed," added the Cat. "We appreciate your dancing and your fun very much."
"Thank you, both," replied the Calico Clown. "It is a pleasure to do things for fellows such as you."
Then they rested quietly.
A little later Sidney opened the door of the closet to see if his Calico Clown was all right. There lay the yellow and red chap on his back, with one leg stuck straight up in the air, as if he had just kicked a football and then had fallen down.
"Why! Why!" exclaimed Sidney in surprise. "I didn't leave my Clown like that!"
"What has happened to him?" asked Madeline, who came to see if her Candy Rabbit was dry.
"He has one leg stuck up in the air," went on her brother. "I left him lying flat on his back, so the broken leg I mended would get good and hard and stiff again. Now look at him!"
"It is funny," agreed Madeline. Didn't you move him?"
"I didn't touch him, and I don't believe anybody has come to this closet since I put him here, except you. Wouldn't it be funny, Madeline, if the Clown got up by himself to see if he could walk on his glued leg?"
"Yes, it would be very funny," agreed the little girl. "But maybe my Rabbit helped him, or this Match-Safe Cat. Maybe they moved the Clown!"
"How could they?" Sidney wanted to know.
"They couldn't, unless they came to life," went on Madeline in a whisper. "And sometimes," she went on, looking around to make sure no one else heard her, "sometimes I think that our toys can do things by themselves when we can't see them."
"Oh, ho! Course they can't do anything!" laughed Sidney.
But if he could have seen the Calico Clown dancing on the closet shelf, and if he could have heard the Cat and the Candy Rabbit laughing until one's head nearly came off and the other had pains in his ears, then Sidney would have thought differently, wouldn't he?
"Well, anyhow, I'm going to take my Calico Clown out and see how he jumps around this morning," said Sidney, after a while.
Sidney found that the Calico Clown was almost as good an acrobat, or jumper, as ever. When punched in the chest, the Clown would bang his cymbals together. And when the strings were pulled, out shot the arms and legs like those of a Jumping Jack, only in different fashion.
The red and yellow trousers of the Clown had not been soiled by his giant's swing accident, and Sidney had been careful not to get any spots of glue on his toy when he mended him.
"The only thing wrong is that the broken leg is a little stiffer than the other," Sidney said, as he made his Clown do all sorts of funny tricks. "I suppose that leg is a little shorter, or maybe the glue made it stiff. But he is just what I want, and I'd rather have him than the musical top I traded for him. Maybe Herbert and I can get up a little circus, as Herbert once had a show with his Monkey on a Stick. A clown belongs in a circus, and so do monkeys. Maybe we'll have one."
The Calico Clown, who heard Sidney say this, thought it would be very jolly to be in a circus.
Sidney certainly liked the Calico Clown. He made him do many funny tricks for the boys and girls--Dick, Dorothy, Mirabell, Arnold, and for Madeline and Herbert, who were Sidney's brother and sister.
"With my Monkey on a Stick and your Calico Clown we surely can have a fine circus some day," said Herbert, as he and Sidney were playing out on the porch one warm, summer day.
The Monkey and Clown had been glad to see each other when they met again after having been separated at the store. Each one had different adventures to tell.
All of a sudden, as Herbert and Sidney, with their Monkey and Clown toys, were making each other laugh by the funny antics of the two playthings, a voice called:
"Boys, do you want some bread and jam?"
"Oh, I should say we did!" cried Herbert.
"We're coming," answered Sidney, for it was the jolly, good-natured cook who had called to them from her kitchen where she had just made some fresh raspberry jam.
Leaving the Monkey and the Clown on the porch, the boys ran around to the side door for their jam and bread.
"Now we have a chance to talk," said the Monkey to the Clown.
"Yes, but it will not be for very long," was the answer. "Those boys will soon be back here. They'll not eat forever. I was just wondering- -"
"What?" asked the Monkey, for the Calico Clown suddenly stopped speaking and looked down the street. "What were you wondering?"
"Well, just now I am wondering if that is your brother," went on the Clown, pointing toward the gate with one hand on which was fastened a clanging cymbal. "Look, here comes a chap who looks just like you, except that he has no stick, and his cap is blue, while yours is red. And hark! I hear music!"
"Oh, it's a hand organ, and that's a real, live monkey you see!" exclaimed the Monkey on a Stick. "It is true he looks like me, but we are no relation. He is a live monkey and I am a toy."
"Here he comes now!" cried the Calico Clown, and, as he spoke, the hand-organ man, making music, came along, and the live monkey ran into the yard and up on the steps. And then a dreadful thing happened!
For the live monkey quickly caught up the Calico Clown, and, holding the red and yellow chap in his hands, the long-tailed creature climbed up into a tree. Yes, indeed, as true as I'm telling you, the live monkey carried the Calico Clown up into a tree!