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.The Witch began to think about how she might disarm the girl.It was hard to tellwhat her weapons were, except for that sort of inane good sense and emotionalhonesty.- 501 - During dinner Dorothy began to cry."What, she would have preferred the vegetables to the cheese?" said Nanny.But the girl would not answer.She set both her hands on the scrubbed oakentabletop, and her shoulders shook with grief.Liir longed to get up and wrap his armsaround her.The Witch nodded grimly that he was to stay put.He whacked his milkmug hard on the table, in annoyance."It's all very nice," Dorothy said at last, sniffling," but I am so worried for UncleHenry and Auntie Em.Uncle Henry frets so when I'm just a wee bit late from theschoolhouse, and Auntie Em-well, she can be so cross when she's upset!""All Aunties are cross," said Liir."Eat up, for who knows when another meal will come your way," said the Witch.The girl tried to eat, but kept dissolving in tears.Eventually Liir began to tear up,too.The little dog, Toto, begged for scraps, which made the Witch think of her ownlosses.Killyjoy, who had been with her eight years, a fly-ridden corpse going stiff onthe hill among all his progeny.She cared less about the bees and the crows, butKillyjoy was her special pet."Well, this is some party," said Nanny."I wonder if I should have prettied thingsup with a candle.""Kindle candle can dull," said Chistery.Nanny lit a candle and sang "Happy Birthday to You," to make Dorothy feelbetter, but no one joined in.Then silence fell.Only Nanny kept eating, finishing the cheese and starting onthe candle.Liir was turning white and pink by turns, and Dorothy had begun to stare- 502 - blankly at a knothole in the polished wood of the trestle table.The Witch scratchedher fingers with her knife, and ranthe blade along her forefinger softly, as if it were the feather of a pfenix."What's going to happen to me," said Dorothy, lapsing into a monotone."Ishouldn't have come here.""Nanny, Liir," said the Witch, "take yourselves off to the kitchen.Bring the Lionwith you.""Is that old bag talking to me?" Nanny asked Liir."Why's the little girl crying, ourfood not good enough for her?""I'm not leaving Dorothy's side!" said the Lion."Don't I know you?" said the Witch in a low, even voice."You were the cub theydid experiments with in the science lab at Shin long ago.You were terrified then and Ispoke up for you.I'll save you again if you behave.""I don't want to be saved," said the Lion petulantly."I know the feeling," said the Witch."But you can teach me something aboutAnimals in the wild.Whether they revert, or how much.I take it you were raised in thewild.You can be of service.You can protect me when I go out of here with myGrimmerie, my book of magicks, my Malleus Maleficarum, my mesmerizingincunabulum, my codex of scarabee, fylfot and gammadion, my text thaumaturgical."The Lion roared, so suddenly they were all jolted in their seats, even Dorothy."Thunder at night, devil's delight," observed Nanny, glancing out the window."Ibetter take in the laundry.""I'm bigger than you," said the Lion to the Witch, "and I'm not letting Dorothyalone with you."- 503 - The Witch swooped down and gathered the little dog in her arms."Chistery, godump this thing in the fishwell," she said.Chistery looked dubious, but scamperedaway with Toto under his arm like a yapping furry loaf of bread."Oh no, save him, someone!" said Dorothy.The Witch shot out her hand andpinned her to the table, but the lion had catapulted into the kitchen after the snowmonkey and Toto."Liir, lock the kitchen door," shouted the Witch."Bar it so they can't come back.""No, no," cried Dorothy, "I'll go with you, just don't hurt Toto! He's done nothingto you!" She turned to Liir, and said, "Please don't let that monkey hurt my Toto.TheLion is useless, don't trust him to save my little dog!""Do I take it we'll have pudding by the fire?" said Nanny, looking up brightly."It'scaramel custard."The Witch took Dorothy's hand and began to lead her away.Liir suddenly leapedover and took hold of Dorothy's other hand."You old hag, let her alone," he shouted."liir, really, you pick the most awkward times to develop character," said theWitch wearily, quietly."Don't embarrass yourself and me with this charade ofcourage.""I'll be all right-just take care of Toto," said Dorothy."Oh Liir, take care of Toto, nomatter what-please.He needs a home."Liir leaned over and kissed Dorothy, who fell against the wall in astonishment."Release me," mumbled the Witch."Whatever my faults, I don't deserve this."- 504 - She pushed Dorothy ahead of her into the tower room, and locked the doorbehind her.The long period of sleeplessness was making her head spin."What haveyou come for," she said to the girl."I know why you have tramped all the way fromthe Emerald City-but go on, tell me to my face! Have you come to murder me, as therumors say-or do you carry a message from the Wizard, maybe? Is he now willing tobargain the book for Nor? The magic for the child? Tell me! Or-I know-he hasinstructed you to steal my book! Is it that!"But the girl only backed away, looking left and right, for an escape.There was noway out except the window, and that was a deadly fall."Tell me," said the Witch."I am all alone in a strange land, don't make me do this," said the girl."You came to kill me and then to steal the Grimmerie!""I don't know what you're talking about!""First give me the shoes," said the Witch, "for they're mine.Then we'll talk.""I can't, they won't come off," said the girl, "I think that Glinda put a spell onthem.I've been trying to get them off for days.My socks are so sweaty, it's not to bebelieved.""Give them me!" snarled the Witch."If you go back to the Wizard with them, you'llbe playing right into his hands!""No, look, they're stuck!" shouted the girl.She kicked at one heel with the othertoe."Look, see, I'm trying, I'm trying, they won't come off, honest, promise! I tried togive them to the Wizard when he demanded them, but they wouldn't come off!There's something the matter with them, they're too tight or something! Or maybeI'm growing."- 505 - "You have no right to those shoes," said the Witch.She circled.The girl backedaway, stumbling over furniture, knocking over the beehive, and stepping on thequeen bee, who had emerged from the fragments."Everything I have, every little thing I have, dies when you come across it," saidthe Witch."There's Liir down below, ready to throw me over for the sake of a singlekiss.My beasts are dead, my sister is dead, you strew death in your path, and you'rejust a girl! You remind me of Nor! She thought the world was magic, and look whathappened to her!""What, what happened?" said Dorothy, pitiably playing for time [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]