Twelve Stories and a Dream
2. The Magic Shop
I had seen the Magic Shop from afar several times; I had passed it once or twice, a shop
window of alluring little objects, magic balls, magic hens, wonderful cones, ventriloquist
dolls, the material of the basket trick, packs of cards that LOOKED all right, and all that
sort of thing, but never had I thought of going in until one day, almost without warning,
Gip hauled me by my finger right up to the window, and so conducted himself that there
was nothing for it but to take him in. I had not thought the place was there, to tell the
truth--a modest-sized frontage in Regent Street, between the picture shop and the place
where the chicks run about just out of patent incubators, but there it was sure enough. I
had fancied it was down nearer the Circus, or round the corner in Oxford Street, or even
in Holborn; always over the way and a little inaccessible it had been, with something of
the mirage in its position; but here it was now quite indisputably, and the fat end of Gip's
pointing finger made a noise upon the glass.
"If I was rich," said Gip, dabbing a finger at the Disappearing Egg, "I'd buy myself that.
And that"--which was The Crying Baby, Very Human --and that," which was a mystery,
and called, so a neat card asserted, "Buy One and Astonish Your Friends."
"Anything," said Gip, "will disappear under one of those cones. I have read about it in a
"And there, dadda, is the Vanishing Halfpenny--, only they've put it this way up so's we
can't see how it's done."
Gip, dear boy, inherits his mother's breeding, and he did not propose to enter the shop or
worry in any way; only, you know, quite unconsciously he lugged my finger doorward,
and he made his interest clear.
"That," he said, and pointed to the Magic Bottle.
"If you had that?" I said; at which promising inquiry he looked up with a sudden
"I could show it to Jessie," he said, thoughtful as ever of others.
"It's less than a hundred days to your birthday, Gibbles," I said, and laid my hand on the
Gip made no answer, but his grip tightened on my finger, and so we came into the shop.
It was no common shop this; it was a magic shop, and all the prancing precedence Gip
would have taken in the matter of mere toys was wanting. He left the burthen of the
conversation to me.