144 THE FURTHER ADVENTURES OF 'TOM'
peacefully under a table, whilst each visitor provided himself with a cup of tea and such cakes as he fancied.
At the end of twenty minutes the teapot was empty and the cakes had vanished. The bell was rung, and answered by the master of the cafe. ' More!' cried Decamps, and the master of the cafe bowed himself out backwards, and hastened to obey orders.
"Whilst waiting for ' more,' Janin read to the assembled company that interesting account of the early days of Jacko I., with which all readers of the ' Blue Animal Story Book ' are doubtless familiar.
The applause which followed this history was suddenly interrupted by a piercing shriek on the staircase. Every one rushed out to see what was the matter, and found the porter's little girl half-fainting in the arms of Tom, who, startled by this sudden interruption, hurried off downstairs.
A moment later another scream, even more shrill than the first, was heard. An old lady, who had lived on the third floor for the last thirty-five years, had come as far as the landing to discern what all the noise was about, and, finding herself face to face with the fugitive, fainted instantly away.
Tom turned back, hurried up fifteen steps, found an open door and burst into the midst of a wedding feast. Here was a hullabaloo ! The whole party rose to their feet, and, headed by the newly married couple, rushed to the stairs. In a moment the inhabitants of the house from cellar to attic were standing out on the various landings, all talking at once, and, as generally happens in such cases, no one listening.
At last the story was traced back to its beginning. The girl who gave the first alarm said that, as she was bringing up the cream she felt some one seize her round the waist. The staircase was dark, and thinking she had to do with some impertinent lodger she promptly dealt him a smart box on the ears. Tom had replied by a growl, which