THE GOLOSHES OF FORTUNE 109
big, it glided easily and quickly through. The goloshes must have understood it well; but now^ the body was to slip through also, and that could not be done.
* I'm too fat,' said he. 'I thought my head would be the worst thing. I shan't get through.'
Now he wanted to pull his head back quickly, but he could not manage it : he could move his neck, but that was all. His first feeling was one of anger, and then his spirits sank down to zero. The goloshes of Fortune had placed him in this terrible condition, and, unfortunately, it never occurred to him to wish himself free. No : instead of wishing, he only strove, and could not stir from the spot. The rain poured down ; not a creature was to be seen in the street ; he could not reach the gate-bell, and how was he to get loose ? He foresaw that he would have to remain here until the morning, and then they would have to send for a blacksmith, to file through the iron bars. But such a business is not to be done quickly. The whole charity school opposite would be upon its legs ; the whole sailors' quarter close by would come up and see him standing in the pillory ; and a fine crowd there would be.
' Ugh ! ' he cried, ' the blood 's rising to my head, and I shall go mad ! Yes, I'm going mad ! 0 I wish I were free again, then most likely it would pass over.'
That's what he ought to have said a little sooner. The very moment he had uttered the thought his head was free ; and now he rushed in, quite dazed with the fright the goloshes of Fortune had given him. But we must not think the whole affair was over ; there was much worse to come yet.
The night passed away, and the following day too, and nobody sent for the goloshes. In the evening a representation was to take place in an amateur theatre in a distant street. The house was crammed ; and among the audience was the volunteer from the hospital, who appeared to have forgotten his adventure of the previous evening. He had the goloshes on, for they had not been sent for; and as it was dirty in the streets, they might do him good service. A new piece was recited : it was called My Aunt's Spectacles. These were spectacles which, when any one put them on in a great assembly of people, made all present look like