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MADAME TUSSAUD'S AND THE ZOO
"MAMMA IS going herself with us to-day," said Adelaide, as the two cousins went downstairs to the breakfast-room, with their arms around each other. Walking down a stairway in this manner is not easy, for one must keep step, but after much laughter they got there, and sat down to their toast and eggs and jam with a good appetite.
"What are we going to see to-day, aunty?" asked Edith, holding Fluff while Adelaide put down his saucer of milk, for his Highness had a way of trying to lift it down himself with his paws, to the detriment of the rug.
"Suppose we make a day of it, that is, if you young people are not tired," and Mrs. Stamford smiled as the little girls broke in with a chorus of " No, indeeds." "Then we will go to Madame Tussaud's this morning, and from there to the 'Zoo,' and have lunch in the gardens."
"Oh, lovely! lovely!" said the little girls, and, giving Mrs. Stamford a kiss, they ran upstairs to get ready so that no time should be lost in getting off.
Perhaps you don't know that Madame Tussaud's and the "Zoo" are the two attractions that English children most enjoy seeing.
Madame Tussaud's Wax-works are famous the world over, and though there are other wax-works in various cities, such as the Eden Musee in New York, which have been modelled on this one in London, Madame Tussaud's will always linger in one's mind as the greatest show of its kind.
"They look like real people," said Edith, as they walked through the big room with hundreds of wax figures in all kinds of costumes. There were kings and queens and great people of a bygone time in rich court costumes, as well as great and notorious people of the present day. Though Adelaide had visited it many times, she was just as much interested as Edith, who was seeing it for the first time. But when they came to the "Chamber of Horrors" one look was enough for poor Edith, and Mrs. Stamford had to take her out, pale and trembling. Its realistic horrors were too much for her, and her aunt and cousin were quite worried, but in a minute she had recovered and laughed at herself for her fright.
After this Mrs. Stamford declared that they must look at nothing more than the travelling carriage of the great Napoleon. It was in this carriage that the great general drove to the Battle of Waterloo, where he met his defeat. It was like a small house on wheels, and Mrs. Stamford pointed out how a desk was built in one corner and how a small table could be let down for the emperor to eat from. There was a bookcase with his favourite books, and the seats were so arranged that they could be used for a bed. Of course it is much heavier and bigger than a carriage of to-day, but what did that matter with four horses to pull it?
The "Zoo" is the playground of London children, and in the afternoons, and on Saturday half-holidays, hundreds of children go there to see the animals and have tea under the trees.
"We will have lunch first," said Mrs. Stamford, as they left their carriage at the gate and walked through the beautifully kept grounds. "There is a table in a shady nook under the trees where lunches and teas are served."
"Oh, what is that?" said Edith, and she gave a scream as something cold and slippery came creeping over her shoulder.
"It's nothing but the big elephant, who wants you to give him a lump of sugar," said Adelaide, laughing, and she turned her cousin around and there was the great big elephant, with a merry party of young people in the "howdah" on his back, holding out his trunk, just like a person begging.
He is a great pet with the children, and follows them about like a dog, holding out his trunk for the sugar and cakes with which they are always feeding him.
"We will take a ride on him after lunch," said Adelaide, but when the time came it was hard to persuade Edith to mount to the seat on his back; it looked so high up and wobbly. Finally the driver lifted her up in his arms, and after all His Majesty moved off so easily that Edith did not mind it at all, and was sorry when the very short ride came to an end.
"Oh, now for the lions and tigers ; it's about their feeding-time; it is great fun to see them eat," said Adelaide.
So she led her cousin into the house where the big lions and long sleek tigers were stalking about their cages. There was a general commotion among the animals, for they knew that it was dinner-time.
"There is the Black Panther. Isn't he a beauty? I believe he is the only one in captivity," said Mrs. Stamford.
"He looks like a big black pussy, and I would like to stroke his head," said Edith, as she admired the black beauty.
"You would never want to do it again," laughed Adelaide.
Just then the keepers came in with heaped-up baskets of raw meat. Such a noise, you never heard. . Edith caught hold of her aunt as if she feared they would break through their iron cages.
After this they visited the birds and the monkeys, and lastly the house where the big snakes lived. Oh, such snakes!
"They are fascinating, but creepy," Adelaide said, as they watched the big boa-constrictors, such as you read about in "The Swiss Family Robinson" -- yards and yards long, with wicked eyes.
The general impression is that children never get tired, but after these young people had partaken of their evening meal in the schoolroom, they were quite ready for bed.
The next day was Sunday, and, after a little later breakfast than usual, the two cousins, looking fresh and pretty in their delicate frocks and dainty flower-trimmed straw hats, each carrying a prayer-book, were ready to accompany Mrs. Stamford to church.
After church they strolled through the park, as is the Sunday custom in London. "Church Parade" it is called; where everybody meets everybody else. They promenade up and down the walks or sit in the "penny" chairs. Friends gossip together, and make engagements for the coming week.
It might be called an out-of-door reception. Mrs. Stamford sat talking with some friends while Adelaide and Edith watched the young people, who were out in full force with their parents or nurse-maids. Everybody was in their prettiest clothes, and looked bright and gay.
"Mamma will have visitors this afternoon, so let us take a book into the gardens and read," said Adelaide.
Every family who has a house in one of these garden squares pays something toward keeping up the garden, which is kept locked, and only those who live in the square have keys and can enter. There are seats and shady walks and a grass plot for tennis and croquet; so it is quite like having your own garden.
This was Edith's last day in London. Mrs. Howard was coming the next day, and Edith was to return with her.
"You must come again; you have only seen a little bit of London," said Mrs. Stamford. "There is much more to show you yet."
"Remember you are coming up for Lord Mayor's day," were Adelaide's last words, and with kisses Edith parted from her aunt and cousin with reluctance.
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