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11. The Wicked King and Googly-Goo (continued)
This personage was King Krewl, and as soon as Cap'n Bill saw him the old sailor knew at once that he was not going to like the King of Jinxland.
"Hello! who's here?" said his Majesty, with a deep scowl.
"Strangers, Sire," answered the soldier, bowing so low that his forehead touched the marble tiles.
"Strangers, eh? Well, well; what an unexpected visit! Advance, strangers, and give an account of yourselves."
The King's voice was as harsh as his features. Trot shuddered a little but Cap'n Bill calmly replied:
"There ain't much for us to say, 'cept as we've arrived to look over your country an' see how we like it. Judgin' from the way you speak, you don't know who we are, or you'd be jumpin' up to shake hands an' offer us seats. Kings usually treat us pretty well, in the great big Outside World where we come from, but in this little kingdom -- which don't amount to much, anyhow -- folks don't seem to 'a' got much culchure."
The King listened with amazement to this bold speech, first with a frown and then gazing at the two children and the old sailor with evident curiosity. The courtiers were dumb with fear, for no one had ever dared speak in such a manner to their self-willed, cruel King before. His Majesty, however, was somewhat frightened, for cruel people are always cowards, and he feared these mysterious strangers might possess magic powers that would destroy him unless he treated them well. So he commanded his people to give the new arrivals seats, and they obeyed with trembling haste.
After being seated, Cap'n Bill lighted his pipe and began puffing smoke from it, a sight so strange to them that it filled them all with wonder. Presently the King asked:
"How did you penetrate to this hidden country? Did you cross the desert or the mountains?"
"Desert," answered Cap'n Bill, as if the task were too easy to be worth talking about.
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