The Phoenix and the Carpet
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uttered a shout that was more like ‘Oo goggery bag-wag’ than anything else the children had ever heard, and at once brown coppery people leapt out of every hut, and swarmed like ants about the clearing. There was no time for discussion, and no one wanted to discuss anything, anyhow. Whether these coppery people were cannibals or not now seemed to matter very little. Without an instant’s hesitation the four children turned and ran back along the forest path; the only pause was Anthea’s. She stood
fell down in a fit as likely as not. You’ll have to put up with the cold bacon for your dinners; and what on earth you’ve got your outdoor things on for I don’t know. And then I’ll slip out and see if they know anything about her at the police-station.’ But nobody ever knew anything about the cook any more, except the children, and, later, one other person. Mother was so upset at losing the cook, and so anxious about her, that Anthea felt most miserable, as though she had done something very
arranged to wait till evening, and then to seek the dear burglar in his lonely cell. Meantime Jane and Anthea darned away as hard as they could, to make the carpet as strong as possible. For all felt how terrible it would be if the precious burglar, while being carried to the sunny southern shore, were to tumble through a hole in the carpet, and be lost for ever in the sunny southern sea. The servants were tired after Mrs Wigson’s party, so every one went to bed early, and when the Phoenix
‘The rest of us made the fire of sweet-scented woods and gums, though,’ said Cyril. ‘And – and it was an accident my putting you on the fire,’ said Robert, telling the truth with some difficulty, for he did not know how the Phoenix might take it. It took it in the most unexpected manner. ‘Your candid avowal,’ it said, ‘removes my last scruple. I will tell you my story.’ ‘And you won’t vanish, or anything sudden, will you?’ asked Anthea, anxiously. ‘Why?’ it asked, puffing out the golden
awakened suddenly, and the Phoenix was not used to boys, and his feelings, if not his wings, were hurt. ‘Sorry,’ said Cyril, coming awake all in a minute. ‘Do come back! What was it you were saying? Something about bacon and rations?’ The Phoenix fluttered back to the brass rail at the foot of the bed. ‘I say – you are real,’ said Cyril. ‘How ripping! And the carpet?’ ‘The carpet is as real as it ever was,’ said the Phoenix, rather contemptuously; ‘but, of course, a carpet’s only a carpet,