The others now came up, and the Tin Woodman greeted the Lion and the Tige_ordially. Button-Bright yelled with fear when Dorothy first took his hand an_ed him toward the great beasts; but the girl insisted they were kind an_ood, and so the boy mustered up courage enough to pat their heads; after the_ad spoken to him gently and he had looked into their intelligent eyes hi_ear vanished entirely and he was so delighted with the animals that he wante_o keep close to them and stroke their soft fur every minute.
As for the shaggy man, he might have been afraid if he had met the beast_lone, or in any other country, but so many were the marvels in; the Land o_z that he was no longer easily surprised, and Dorothy's friendship for th_ion and Tiger was enough to assure him they were safe companions. Toto barke_t the Cowardly Lion in joyous greeting, for he knew the beast of old an_oved him, and it was funny to see how gently the Lion raised his huge paw t_at Toto's head. The little dog smelled of the Tiger's nose, and the Tige_olitely shook paws with him; so they were quite likely to become fir_riends.
Tik-tok and Billina knew the beasts well, so merely bade them good day an_sked after their healths and inquired about the Princess Ozma.
Now it was seen that the Cowardly Lion and the Hungry Tiger were drawin_ehind them a splendid golden chariot, to which they were harnessed by golde_ords. The body of the chariot was decorated on the outside with designs i_lusters of sparkling emeralds, while inside it was lined with a green an_old satin, and the cushions of the seats were of green plush embroidered i_old with a crown, underneath which was a monogram.
"Why, it's Ozma's own royal chariot!" exclaimed Dorothy.
"Yes," said the Cowardly Lion; "Ozma sent us to meet you here, for she feare_ou would be weary with your long walk and she wished you to enter the City i_ style becoming your exalted rank."
"What!" cried Polly, looking at Dorothy curiously. "Do you belong to th_obility?"
"Just in Oz I do," said the child, "'cause Ozma made me a Princess, you know.
But when I'm home in Kansas I'm only a country girl, and have to help with th_hurning and wipe the dishes while Aunt Em washes 'em. Do you have to hel_ash dishes on the rainbow, Polly?"
"No, dear," answered Polychrome, smiling.
"Well, I don't have to work any in Oz, either," said Dorothy. "It's kind o_un to be a Princess once in a while; don't you think so?"
"Dorothy and Polychrome and Button-Bright are all to ride in the chariot,"
said the Lion. "So get in, my dears, and be careful not to mar the gold or pu_our dusty feet on the embroidery."
Button-Bright was delighted to ride behind such a superb team, and he tol_orothy it made him feel like an actor in a circus. As the strides of th_nimals brought them nearer to the Emerald City every one bowed respectfull_o the children, as well as to the Tin Woodman, Tik-tok, and the shaggy man,
who were following behind.
The Yellow Hen had perched upon the back of the chariot, where she could tel_orothy more about her wonderful chickens as they rode. And so the gran_hariot came finally to the high wall surrounding the City, and paused befor_he magnificent jewel-studded gates.
These were opened by a cheerful-looking little man who wore green spectacle_ver his eyes. Dorothy introduced him to her friends as the Guardian of th_ates, and they noticed a big bunch of keys suspended on the golden chain tha_ung around his neck. The chariot passed through the outer gates into a fin_rched chamber built in the thick wall, and through the inner gates into th_treets of the Emerald City.
Polychrome exclaimed in rapture at the wondrous beauty that met her eyes o_very side as they rode through this stately and imposing City, the equal o_hich has never been discovered, even in Fairyland. Button-Bright could onl_ay "My!" so amazing was the sight; but his eyes were wide open and he trie_o look in every direction at the same time, so as not to miss anything.
The shaggy man was fairly astounded at what he saw, for the graceful an_andsome buildings were covered with plates of gold and set with emeralds s_plendid and valuable that in any other part of the world any one of the_ould have been worth a fortune to its owner. The sidewalks were superb marbl_labs polished as smooth as glass, and the curbs that separated the walks fro_he broad street were also set thick with clustered emeralds. There were man_eople on these walks—men, women and children—all dressed in handsome garment_f silk or satin or velvet, with beautiful jewels. Better even than this: al_eemed happy and contented, for their faces were smiling and free from care,
and music and laughter might be heard on every side.
"Don't they work at all?" asked the shaggy man.
"To be sure they work," replied the Tin Woodman; "this fair city could not b_uilt or cared for without labor, nor could the fruit and vegetables and othe_ood be provided for the inhabitants to eat. But no one works more than hal_is time, and the people of Oz enjoy their labors as much as they do thei_lay."
"It's wonderful!" declared the shaggy man. "I do hope Ozma will let me liv_ere."
The chariot, winding through many charming streets, paused before a buildin_o vast and noble and elegant that even Button-Bright guessed at once that i_as the Royal Palace. Its gardens and ample grounds were surrounded by _eparate wall, not so high or thick as the wall around the City, but mor_aintily designed and built all of green marble. The gates flew open as th_hariot appeared before them, and the Cowardly Lion and Hungry Tiger trotte_p a jeweled driveway to the front door of the palace and stopped short.
"Here we are!" said Dorothy, gaily, and helped Button-Bright from the chariot.
Polychrome leaped out lightly after them, and they were greeted by a crowd o_orgeously dressed servants who bowed low as the visitors mounted the marbl_teps. At their head was a pretty little maid with dark hair and eyes, dresse_ll in green embroidered with silver. Dorothy ran up to her with eviden_leasure, and exclaimed:
"O, Jellia Jamb! I'm so glad to see you again. Where's Ozma?"
"In her room, your Highness," replied the little maid demurely, for this wa_zma's favorite attendant. "She wishes you to come to her as soon as you hav_ested and changed your dress, Princess Dorothy. And you and your friends ar_o dine with her this evening."
"When is her birthday, Jellia?" asked the girl.
"Day after to-morrow, your Highness."
"And where's the Scarecrow?"
"He's gone into the Munchkin country to get some fresh straw to stuff himsel_ith, in honor of Ozma's celebration," replied the maid. "He returns to th_merald City to-morrow, he said."
By this time, Tok-tok, the Tin Woodman, and the shaggy man had arrived and th_hariot had gone around to the back of the palace, Billina going with the Lio_nd Tiger to see her chickens after her absence from them. But Toto staye_lose beside Dorothy.
"Come in, please," said Jellia Jamb; "it shall be our pleasant duty to escor_ll of you to the rooms prepared for your use."
The shaggy man hesitated. Dorothy had never known him to be ashamed of hi_haggy looks before, but now that he was surrounded by so much magnificenc_nd splendor the shaggy man felt sadly out of place.
Dorothy assured him that all her friends were welcome at Ozma's palace, so h_arefully dusted his shaggy shoes with his shaggy handkerchief and entered th_rand hall after the others.
Tik-tok lived at the Royal Palace and the Tin Woodman always had the same roo_henever he visited Ozma, so these two went at once to remove the dust of th_ourney from their shining bodies. Dorothy also had a pretty suite of room_hich she always occupied when in the Emerald City; but several servant_alked ahead politely to show the way, although she was quite sure she coul_ind the rooms herself. She took Button-Bright with her, because he seemed to_mall to be left alone in such a big palace; but Jellia Jamb herself ushere_he beautiful Daughter of the Rainbow to her apartments, because it was eas_o see that Polychrome was used to splendid palaces and was therefore entitle_o especial attention.