The Animal Story Book - online children's book

Edited By Andrew Lang And With Numerous Illustrations By H. J. Ford

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6 ADVENTURE IN THE LIFE OF A BEAR
A murmur of admiration ran through the crowd — nothing could be more lifelike.
Fan led Tom to the buffet and offered him some little cakes, to which he was very partial, and which he pro­ceeded to swallow with so admirable a pretence of voracity that the bystanders burst out laughing. Then the mentor poured out a tumbler full of water, which Tom took gingerly between his paws, as he was accustomed to whenever Decamps did him the honour of permitting him to appear at table, and gulped down the contents at one draught. Enthusiasm knew no bounds! Indeed such was the delight and interest shown that when, at length, Fan wished to leave the buffet, he found they were hemmed in by so dense a crowd that he felt nervous lest Tom should think of clearing the road with claws and teeth. So he promptly led his bear to a corner, placed him with his back against the wall, and told him to stay there till further orders.
As has been already mentioned, this kind of drill was quite familiar to Tom, and was well suited to his natural indolence, and when a harlequin offered his hat to com­plete the picture, he settled himself comfortably, gravely laying one great paw on his wooden gun.
' Do you happen to know,' said Fan to the obliging harlequin, ' who you have lent your hat to? '
' No,' replied harlequin.
' You mean to say you don't guess ? '
' Not in the least.'
' Come, take a good look at him. From the grace of all his movements, from the manner in which he carries his head, slightly on one side, like Alexander the Great — from the admirable imitations of the bear's voice — you don't mean to say you don't recognise him? '
' Upon my word I don't.'
' Odry! ' 1 whispered Fan mysteriously; ' Odry, in his costume from '' The Bear and the Pacha " ! '
1 A well-known actor of the time.
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