The Story of Calico Clown by Laura Lee Hope
Chapter VI. In the Office
The Man, into whose pocket the Calico Clown had fallen from the tree, hurried along the street, not knowing a thing of what had happened. He was anxious to get to his office to look after his business, for he was a very busy Man. He kept other folks busy, too--clerks and office boy and a girl to write letters on the typewriter.
Now, as it happened, the Man was a little late that morning, and when he reached his office he was in such haste that he did not take time to do anything before he sat down in his big chair to look over his mail.
"Please write some letters for me on the typewriter," he said to Miss Jones, who worked the machine.
Miss Jones sat down and became very busy. The Man told her what to write and she banged away on the machine. Every once in a while she would look at the Man when he paused to think of something else to say. And once, as she did this, a queer look came over the face of Miss Jones. Then she smiled and next she burst right out into a loud laugh.
And the funny part of it was that just then the Man was telling her to put in a letter something like this:
"I am very, very sorry to tell you that I can not do as you want me to."
And, just as he said the word "sorry," Miss Jones laughed her very hardest.
"Eh! What's the matter? What is so very funny about my saying I am sorry?" asked the Man. The girl typewriter and the office boy called him "the Boss" behind his back, and they liked him very much, for he was kind and good to them.
"Oh, dear! I must laugh!" said Miss Jones.
Miss Jones pointed to something sticking out of his side coat pocket. The Man put his hand there and pulled out--the Calico Clown!
You should have seen the strange look come over the Man's face. Then he laughed as hard as Miss Jones, and the office boy in the next room, hearing them, laughed also.
"Well, how in the world did that Calico Clown come to be in my pocket?" exclaimed the man. He took the toy out, turned it over and looked at it from all sides. As he did so he happened to punch the Clown in the chest, and of course the Clown banged his cymbals together, as he had been taught to do in the workshop of Santa Claus, where he had been made.
And as the cymbals tinkled and clanged the typewriter girl laughed harder than ever. Then the man happened to pull one of the strings, and the Clown kicked up his legs. The office boy was looking into the room just then, and, seeing this antic of the jolly red and yellow chap, the office boy laughed out loud.
"Dear me! I'm glad every one in this office is so good-natured," thought the Clown to himself. "And I certainly am glad to get out of that Man's pocket. I was nearly smothered there, but of course it was better than being in the tree. I'll do some more tricks for them if the Man pulls more strings."
And the Man did. He pulled the strings fastened to the Clown's arms, and they jiggled and joggled in a merry fashion, so the girl and the office boy laughed harder than ever.
"Well, how in the world did that Clown toy come to be in my pocket? That's what I want to know," said the Man, very much puzzled.
"Maybe one of the children put it in," suggested the girl. She knew the Man had children at home.
"No, I hardly think it was any of my children," said the Man. "Arnold has no toy like this. He has a Bold Tin Soldier, as he calls him, and some soldier men. And my little girl, Mirabell, has a Lamb on Wheels. But neither of them has a Calico Clown."
"Perhaps some of their playmates called at your house, to have fun with Arnold or Mirabell," said the typewriter girl, "and they may have dropped the Clown into your pocket as your coat hung on the rack."
"Yes, that could have happened," said the Man. "But I remember I put my hand in my pocket as I left the house, to make sure I had some letters I was to mail. The Clown was not in my pocket then. He must have got in after I left my house. And how could that happen, I should like to know! I didn't go in any place. How could it have happened?"
Of course neither the office boy nor the typewriter girl could tell. They had not seen the Calico Clown fall from the tree into the pocket of the Man as he passed underneath. And even the Man himself had not seen this.
"It's very queer," said the father of Mirabell and Arnold. "The only way it could have happened that I can think of is that some children I passed on the street may have tossed the Clown into my pocket. I have very large ones in this coat, and sometimes they stand wide open."
The Calico Clown stayed in the office all that day. It was the first time he had ever been to business, and he rather liked it as a change. Very few toys ever have the chance he had. He sat up on the Man's desk and watched the girl click at the typewriter, and he watched the office boy come in and out. The office boy looked at the Clown, too.
"I'm going to have some fun with him when the Boss goes out to lunch," said the office boy to himself.
Now the Clown felt rather strange in the office. His part in life was to make joy and laughter, and he could not do it sitting up straight and stiff on a desk. He looked around, and he saw, not far from him, a jolly little man, like a dwarf.
"I wish I could speak to him," thought the Clown. "He looks as if he belonged to the toy family."
And you can imagine how surprised the Clown was when, all of a sudden, the Man lifted the head right off the queer-looking little dwarf and dipped his pen down inside him!
"Why, he's an ink well!" thought the Clown. "That's what he is! An ink well! And his head comes off the same as the Porcelain Cat's head lifts off for matches to be put inside her. How very odd! I'd like to talk to that chap."
When the Man went out to lunch, into the office hurried the office boy with a grin on his face.
"What do you want?" asked the typewriter girl. "I want to make that Clown jiggle," was the answer. "I'm going to have some fun with him."
"No, you mustn't!" exclaimed the girl. "The Boss won't like it if you touch him. If you break him--"
"Aw, I won't break him!" cried the boy. "Let me have him!"
He made a grab for the Calico Clown, and the girl tried to stop the boy. As a result the Clown was knocked off the desk to the floor.
"Oh, dear! I hope my glued leg is not broken!" thought the Clown.