TYLTYL had enjoyed himself thoroughly in the Kingdom of the Future. He had seen many wonderful things and thousands of little playfellows and then, without taking the least pains or trouble, had found the Blue Bird in his arms in the most miraculous way. He had never pictured anything more beautiful, more blue or brilliant; and he still felt it fluttering against his heart and kept hugging his arms to his breast as though the Blue Bird were there. Alas, it had vanished like a dream!
He was thinking sadly of this latest disappointment as he walked hand-in-hand with Light. They were back in the Temple and were going to the vaults where the Animals and Things had been shut up. What a sight met their eyes! The wretches had eaten and drunk such a lot that they were lying on the floor quite tipsy! Tyl? himself had lost all his dignity. He had rolled under the table and was snoring like a porpoise. His instinct remained; and the sound of the door made him prick up his ears. He opened one eye, but his sight was troubled by all that he had had to drink and he did not know his little master when he saw him. He dragged himself to his feet with a great effort, turned round several times and then dropped on the floor again with a grunt of satisfaction.
Bread and the others were as bad; and the only exception was the Cat, who was sitting up prettily on a marble and gold bench and seemed in full possession of her senses. She sprang nimbly to the ground and stepped up to Tyltyl with a smile:
"I have been longing to see you," she said, "for I have been very unhappy among all these vulgar people. They first drank all the wine and then started shouting and singing and dancing, quarrelling and fighting and making such a noise that I was very glad when, at last, they fell into a tipsy sleep."
The children praised her warmly for her good behaviour. As a matter of fact, there was no great merit in this, for she could not stand anything stronger than milk; but we are seldom rewarded when by rights we ought to be and sometimes are when we have not deserved it.
After fondly kissing the children, Tylette asked a favour of Light: "I have had such a wretched time," she whined. "Let me go out for a little while; it will do me good to be alone."
Light gave her consent without suspecting anything; and the Cat at once draped her cloak round her, put her hat straight, pulled up her soft grey boots over her knees, opened the door and ran and bounded out into the forest. we shall know, a little later, where treacherous Tylette was going so gaily and what was the horrid plot which she was mysteriously concocting.
As on the other days, the Children had their dinner with Light in a large room all encrusted with diamonds. The servants bustled around them smiling and brought delicious dishes and cakes.
After dinner, our little friends began to yawn. They felt sleepy very early, after all their adventures; and, Light – ever kind and thoughtful made them live as they were accustomed to on earth. So as not to injure their health by altering their habits, she had set up their little beds in a part of the temple where the darkness would seem like night to them.