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Tik-Tok of Oz

5. The Roses Repulse the Refugees
Gently the raft grated on the sandy beach. Then Betsy easily waded ashore, the mule
following closely behind her. The sun was now shining and the air was warm and laden
with the fragrance of roses.
"I'd like some breakfast, Hank," remarked the girl, feeling more cheerful now that she
was on dry land; "but we can't eat the flowers, although they do smell mighty good."
"Hee-haw!" replied Hank and trotted up a little pathway to the top of the bank.
Betsy followed and from the eminence looked around her. A little way off stood a
splendid big greenhouse, its thousands of crystal panes glittering in the sunlight.
"There ought to be people somewhere 'round," observed Betsy thoughtfully; "gardeners,
or somebody. Let's go and see, Hank. I'm getting hungrier ev'ry minute."
So they walked toward the great greenhouse and came to its entrance without meeting
with anyone at all. A door stood ajar, so Hank went in first, thinking if there was any
danger he could back out and warn his companion. But Betsy was close at his heels and
the moment she entered was lost in amazement at the wonderful sight she saw.
The greenhouse was filled with magnificent rosebushes, all growing in big pots. On the
central stem of each bush bloomed a splendid Rose, gorgeously colored and deliciously
fragrant, and in the center of each Rose was the face of a lovely girl.
As Betsy and Hank entered, the heads of the Roses were drooping and their eyelids were
closed in slumber; but the mule was so amazed that he uttered a loud "Hee-haw!" and at
the sound of his harsh voice the rose leaves fluttered, the Roses raised their heads and a
hundred startled eyes were instantly fixed upon the intruders.
"I--I beg your pardon!" stammered Betsy, blushing and confused.
"O-o-o-h!" cried the Roses, in a sort of sighing chorus; and one of them added: "What a
horrid noise!"
"Why, that was only Hank," said Betsy, and as if to prove the truth of her words the mule
uttered another loud "Hee-haw!"
At this all the Roses turned on their stems as far as they were able and trembled as if
some one were shaking their bushes. A dainty Moss Rose gasped: "Dear me! How
dreadfully dreadful!"
"It isn't dreadful at all," said Betsy, somewhat indignant. "When you get used to Hank's
voice it will put you to sleep."
The Roses now looked at the mule less fearfully and one of them asked:
"Is that savage beast named Hank?"
 
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