The Story of Calico Clown by Laura Lee Hope
Chapter V. Taken Down Town
The Calico Clown was so surprised at the quick action of the monkey in catching him by one leg and carrying him up into the tree, that, for a moment or two, the toy said nothing. But as the hand-organ monkey climbed higher and higher the Clown finally cried:
"Here! Hold on if you please! What are you going to do?"
"Oh, just have some fun!" answered the monkey in a laughing voice. You see, he could understand and speak toy talk, just as the Calico Clown knew how to talk and understand animal language.
[Illustration with caption: Calico Clown Amuses the Monkey.]
"Well, it may be fun for you," went on the Clown, "but I don't like it! This is no fun for me! Ouch! Look out for my leg!" the Clown suddenly cried, as the monkey banged him against a branch of the tree.
"What about your leg?" asked the monkey, sitting down on a branch and winding his tail around it so he wouldn't fall off. "I don't see anything the matter."
"I mean look out and don't hurt my broken leg," went on the Clown. "Sidney, the little boy who owns me, glued it, but if you bang it too hard it may break all over again and then I'll be in a mighty bad fix."
"Oh, excuse me. I'll be careful," said the monkey.
"Well, I wish you'd take me down out of this tree," begged the Calico Clown. "I don't see why you brought me up here, anyhow."
"Oh, I just grabbed hold of you and brought you up here for fun," said the monkey. "I felt like playing. And I had to do it quickly, or my master would have stopped me. Every time I grab up anything he doesn't want me to take, I have to climb a tree. He can't chase me up there, though he'd like to lots of times, I guess."
"I thought hand-organ monkeys had collars around their necks, and a long rope fast to that which their masters held," said the Clown.
"Well, I had that, too, but I took the rope off a little while ago, so I could run loose," explained the live monkey. "I want to have some fun. Can you do anything to amuse me?" and he looked at the cymbals on the Calico Clown's hands and at the strings which were fast to his legs and arms.
"I can ask you a riddle about what makes more noise than a pig under a gate," said the Clown. "Shall I?"
"Please don't do that," begged the monkey. "I never was any good at guessing riddles. Can't you do anything else?"
"Yes, a few things," the Clown said. Then he banged his cymbals together and began to jiggle his arms and legs in such a funny way that the monkey who was holding him laughed and laughed and laughed.
"Oh, you are too funny for anything!" cried the monkey. "I'm glad I picked you up. Oh, excuse me while I laugh a little harder!"
The monkey set the Clown down astraddle the limb of a tree near the trunk, and quite a distance up from the ground. Then the monkey laughed so hard that, if he had not been holding on by his tail, he surely would have fallen. For the Clown kept on doing his funny antics and tricks, and the monkey kept on laughing until he had to hold his sides with feet and hands, they ached so.
"Oh, I'm so glad I met you!" said the monkey, when he had a chance between his fits of laughter. "I hope my master comes through this street every day with his hand organ. I'll be looking for you."
"And I'll be looking for you--to keep out of your way, if I can," thought the Clown, though he did not say it out loud.
The monkey finally grew a little quiet, and he was just going to ask the Clown to do some more jiggling when, all at once, the music of the hand organ stopped, and the Italian man cried:
"Ah, Jacko! I see you! Up-a in de tree. Bad monk! Come down right away to your Tony! Come, Jacko!"
"Oh, goodness me! I've got to go. My fun is over! Now I've got to go to work gathering pennies in my cap!" said the monkey. "Good-bye!" he called to the Calico Clown, and down out of the tree the monkey began to climb, swinging from limb to limb by his tail, as he used to do in the cocoanut groves of the forest where he had once lived.
"Here! Come back and get me! Don't leave me up in a tree like this!" begged the Calico Clown, who had sat down astride the limb after he had done his last funny trick. "Come and get me!"
"Sorry, but I haven't time! My master is calling me! I must go!" answered the monkey, hurrying more than ever. Down the tree he swung.
"Oh take me down! Don't leave me like this!" begged the Clown. But it was of no use. There he was, left all alone, high up in a tree, sitting on a branch.
Of course neither Tony, the music man, nor Sidney nor Herbert had heard this talk between the toy and the animal, for they spoke in a language that only a few can understand. The organ grinder was anxious for his monkey to come back, and he watched him scrambling down the tree. The two boys, who had gone to get bread and jam, came back to the front yard. They saw the organ grinder and his monkey, and, for the moment, they forgot all about their Clown and the Monkey on a Stick. They did not look toward the porch, or they would have noticed that the Clown was gone, though the toy Monkey was still there. The live monkey was dancing toward the boys, holding out his cap for pennies.
And the Calico Clown was up in the tree, not knowing how in the world he was ever going to get down.
"Oh, look at the monkey!" cried Herbert, as he saw the music man's long-tailed animal.
"He's nice," said Sidney. "He's like your Monkey on a Stick, only bigger, Herb. I'm going in and ask mother for a penny."
"So'm I!" said Herbert.
Still thinking that their own toys were safe on the porch, the little boys ran back into the house, where each one got a penny for the hand- organ monkey. And the monkey took off his blue cap to gather the pennies for his master.
"Good boys!" said the Italian with a smile, and he played another tune for them. And then it was time for him to travel on.
"Come along, Jacko!" he called to his monkey, and then he fastened the rope back on his monkey's collar and made him jump up on the organ. Then the two of them went down the street.
"Oh, there he goes!" thought the poor Calico Clown, still up in the tree. "Oh, he's going to leave me here! Oh, what shall I do?"
Well might he ask that. What could he do? How was he going to get down?
Herbert and Sidney, standing at the gate, saw the music man turn around the corner of the street.
"Now we'll go back and play with my Monkey and your Clown," said Herbert. "We'll practice for the circus we're going to have."
"That'll be fun!" laughed Sidney.
But when the two boys went back to the porch--well, you know, as well as I, what happened. They saw the Monkey on a Stick, but no Clown!
"Why--why, where is he?" asked Sidney, looking around. "Did you take him, Herb? Did you take my Calico Clown?"
"No, of course not," answered Herbert. "They were both here when we went to get our bread and jam. Oh, Sid! I know what happened!" he suddenly exclaimed.
"What?" asked his brother.
"The hand-organ monkey took your Clown away with him!" went on Herbert.
At first Sidney thought that this might be so, but, after thinking over the matter for a moment, he shook his head and answered:
"No, the live monkey didn't take my Clown. Don't you remember? He came up here with his cap in his hand to get our pennies. Then, when he went away, he was sitting on top of the organ and he had his cap off and so did the music man, and they didn't either of them have my Clown."
"Yes, I guess that's right," Herbert said. "But he's gone."
"We've got to find my Clown," said Sidney. "I want him back, and we can't have a circus without him. We've got to find him."
"Yes, we have," agreed Herbert. "Maybe Carlo, the dog, came and carried him away."
"Maybe," said Sidney. They blamed lots of things on poor Carlo, and sometimes he did do tricks. But this was not one of those times. So the two boys began searching for the Calico Clown.
As for that jolly chap himself he was still up in the tree. And he was not so very jolly just then, either. He did not once think of asking his pig riddle.
"I wonder if I can wiggle down?" he asked himself. "There is no one to see me now, and I can move about. I'm going to try to get down."
He wiggled and he woggled, whatever that is, and managed to get one leg over the limb, so both were on the same side. The Clown was just going to try to swing to the next lowest branch, as he had seen the live monkey do, when, all of a sudden, he slipped and fell.
"Oh, dear! Another accident! This is going to be a bad one--worse than the giant's swing!" he cried.
Down, down, down, he fell. What was going to happen?
Now, just about this time, it chanced that a man was passing under the tree. This man had on a large, loose coat with large pockets on the sides, and he was so used to carrying things in his pockets that each nearly always stood wide open, like a hungry mouth, waiting for some one to fill it.
And, as luck would have it, the man came under the tree just as the Calico Clown slipped and fell. And so, instead of falling to the ground, the Clown fell into one of the wide open side pockets of the man's coat. And the man never knew about it--at least for a time.
"Oh, my goodness me, what a narrow escape!" exclaimed the Clown as he landed safely in the soft pocket. "This is better than falling on the hard ground. But I wonder what will happen to me now."
And well might he ask that, for the man, not knowing the Clown was in his pocket, hurried on down town to his office.