Here to return to
THE FORGOTTEN GUEST
THE shadows were lengthening — for the sun was far over in the west — when Rusty Wren reached Mr. Frog’s tailor’s shop overlooking Black Creek. Rusty pushed open the door and stepped inside, expecting to find Mr. Frog sitting cross-legged upon his table and sewing busily-, according to the tailor’s custom, until sunset, which marked the close of Mr. Frog’s working day.
But Rusty had hardly entered the shop when he bumped into Mr. Frog with a crash; for Mr. Frog had been hurrying toward the door.
The collision bowled them both over upon the floor. But Mr. Frog did not appear annoyed in the least.
“Howdy do!” he said, almost before he had picked himself up. “If you have come to see me on business, I’m sorry to say that I can’t do anything for you today.... The fact is, I’m going to a singing-party this evening. And I don’t want to be late.”
“Why — I’m going to a party, too!” Rusty Wren exclaimed.
“You must be mistaken — for there’s to be no party here,” Mr. Frog told him.
“Oh! The party I’m going to will be held somewhere else,” Rusty Wren explained.
“That’s interesting,” said Mr. Frog, as he settled his hat more firmly upon his queerly shaped head. “Who’s having it — if I may ask?”
Rusty Wren looked at the tailor as if he were much surprised.
“Don’t you know about it?” he inquired. “Do you mean to say that my cousin, Long Bill Wren, didn’t invite you?”
For a moment Mr. Frog appeared somewhat taken aback.
“He must have forgotten me,” he murmured. “I haven’t heard a word about his party before.... But I know it’s a mistake,” he added, with a smile.
“No doubt!” said Rusty Wren politely. “I was going to Cousin Bill’s home as soon as you had measured me for a new Sunday coat,” he explained.
“Then come right along now!” Mr. Frog cried heartily. “We’ll go together. For I’m sure that Long Bill didn’t mean to forget me. You know we’re the best of friends, I make all his clothes for him; and he has never yet paid me a penny.”
Rusty Wren hesitated. He was not quite sure that his cousin had intended to invite the nimble tailor to his party.
“But your singing-party!” he reminded Mr. Frog. “You don’t want to miss that!” he said.
Mr. Frog caught him by a wing and laughed gaily.
“Oh! That doesn’t matter,” he remarked with a careless air. “We have a singing-party almost every night. I’d much rather go to your cousin’s.”
It is not strange that Rusty Wren should feel a little uncomfortable at the prospect of arriving at a party with a person who had received no invitation to it. But he could think of no way of ridding himself of Mr. Frog’s company. So the two started off together towards the home of Long Bill Wren.
Rusty decided, however, that he would take his cousin to one side and explain to him in private how the tailor had happened to come with him.
But he soon found that no such explanation was necessary. For a certain reason, Long Bill Wren was in no wise annoyed. On the contrary, he seemed quite pleased.