Things, `is--that is, it is called--' here he took it up, and examined the label again, as if he thought it might have changed since he last saw it, `is called Aqua Pura--common water--the fluid that cheers--'
`Hip! Hip! Hip!' the Head-Cook began enthusiastically.
`--but not inebriates!' the Professor went on quickly, but only just in time to check the "Hooroar!' which was beginning.
`Our second Specimen,' he went on, carefully opening a small jar, `is--' here he removed the lid, and a large beetle instantly darted out, and with an angry buzz went straight out of the Pavilion, `--is--or rather, I should say,' looking sadly into the empty jar, `it was--a curious kind of Blue Beetle. Did anyone happen to remark--as it went past--three blue spots under each wing?'
Nobody had remarked them.
`Ah, well!' the Professor said with a sigh. `It's a pity. Unless you remark that kind of thing at the moment, it's very apt to get overlooked! The next Specimen, at any rate, will not fly away! It is--in short, or perhaps, more correctly, at length--an Elephant. You will observe--' Here he beckoned to the Gardener to come up on the platform, and with his help began putting together what looked like an enormous dog-kennel, with short tubes projecting out of it on both sides.
`But we've seen Elephants before,' the Emperor grumbled.
`Yes, but not through a Megaloscope!' the Professor eagerly replied, `You know you ca'n't see a Flea, properly, without a magnifying-glass--what we call a Microscope. Well, just in the same way, you ca'n't see an Elephant, properly, without a minimifying-glass. There's one in each of these little tubes. And this is a Megaloscope! The Gardener will now bring in the next Specimen. Please open both curtains, down at the end there, and make way for the Elephant!'
There was a general rush to the sides of the Pavilion, and all eyes were turned to the open end, watching for the return of the Gardener, who had gone away singing `He thought he saw an Elephant That practised on a Fife!' There was silence for a minute: and then his harsh voice was heard again in the distance. `He looked again--come up then! He looked again, and found it was--woa back! and found it was A letter from his--make way there! He's a-coming!'
And in marched or waddled--it is hard to say which is the right word--an Elephant, on its hind-legs, and playing on an enormous fife which it held with its fore-feet.
The Professor hastily threw open a large door at the end of the Megaloscope, and the huge animal, at a signal from the Gardener, dropped the fife, and obediently trotted into the machine, the door of which was at once shut by the Professor. `The Specimen is now ready for observation!' he proclaimed. `It is exactly the size of the common Mouse--Mus Communis!'
There was a general rush to the tubes, and the spectators watched with delight the minikin creature, as it playfully coiled its trunk round the Professor's extended finger, finally taking its stand upon the palm of his hand, while he carefully lifted it out, and carried it off to exhibit to the Imperial party.
`Isn't it a darling?' cried Bruno. `May I stroke it, please? I'll touch it welly gently!'
The Empress inspected it solemnly with her eye-glass. `It is very small,' she said in a deep voice. `Smaller than elephants usually are, I believe?'
The Professor gave a start of delighted surprise. `Why, that's true!' he murmured to himself. Then louder, turning to the audience, `Her Imperial Highness has made a remark which is perfectly sensible!' And a wild cheer arose from that vast multitude.
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