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The Marvelous Land of Oz

15.
The Prisoners of the Queen
Approaching the gateway of the Emerald City the travelers found it guarded by two girls
of the Army of Revolt, who opposed their entrance by drawing the knitting-needles from
their hair and threatening to prod the first that came near.
But the Tin Woodman was not afraid."
At the worst they can but scratch my beautiful nickel-plate," he said. "But there will be
no 'worst,' for I think I can manage to frighten these absurd soldiers very easily. Follow
me closely, all of you!"
Then, swinging his axe in a great circle to right and left before him, he advanced upon the
gate, and the others followed him without hesitation.
The girls, who had expected no resistance whatever, were terrified by the sweep of the
glittering axe and fled screaming into the city; so that our travelers passed the gates in
safety and marched down the green marble pavement of the wide street toward the royal
palace.
"At this rate we will soon have your Majesty upon the throne again," said the Tin
Woodman, laughing at his easy conquest of the guards.
"Thank you, friend Nick," returned the Scarecrow, gratefully. "Nothing can resist your
kind heart and your sharp axe."
As they passed the rows of houses they saw through the open doors that men were
sweeping and dusting and washing dishes, while the women sat around in groups,
gossiping and laughing.
"What has happened?" the Scarecrow asked a sad-looking man with a bushy beard, who
wore an apron and was wheeling a baby-carriage along the sidewalk.
"Why, we've had a revolution, your Majesty as you ought to know very well," replied the
man; "and since you went away the women have been running things to suit themselves.
I'm glad you have decided to come back and restore order, for doing housework and
minding the children is wearing out the strength of every man in the Emerald City."
"Hm!" said the Scarecrow, thoughtfully. "If it is such hard work as you say, how did the
women manage it so easily?"
"I really do not know" replied the man, with a deep sigh. "Perhaps the women are made
of castiron."
No movement was made, as they passed along the street, to oppose their progress.
Several of the women stopped their gossip long enough to cast curious looks upon our
friends, but immediately they would turn away with a laugh or a sneer and resume their
 
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