This is the picture that inspired me.
|"Charles Callis Western and His Brother Shirley: by John Singleton Copley|
What happened in the 5th drawing room by V-M
"Was catching roaches a couple of mornings ago; that is I wasn't s'possed to be, because it was a secret. One of the secrets like daddy says he has. He says his are 'bout the "land and finances", and that I wouldn't understand them and I would get them all wrong. I think he just wants to go about on his magical horse that turns gold and sprouts wings and grows extra legs when everybody is asleep, and goes about spying on the peasants, which I think are tiny lizards. Daddy and him go riding into the "land" as daddy calls it, and do mysterious and noble things.
Well, anyway, that's what I was doing, a very Noble thing it was - which seems to be such a useful secret, since Nursey hates the little cute crawly things and is always calling the gardeners when she catches sight of them - it was supposed to be a secret adventure, like when daddy goes and flies about killing dragons and taxes and evil beings like what I heard him say once, though he won't admit it; saying its all rubbish. I think he is rather fond of the "taxes" monster, which I imagine is a huge, fire-breathing lizard type of thingy with rainbow scales and a low, mournful, growl that makes everything drop dead unless they are very important and brave people like my daddy. In fact I'm quite sure it is like that, but only much more serious and scarier. I very much am fond of the thought of evil things being lizards, for they are such odd, funny creatures; but I don't like their noses. And evil things have noses such as that - this is something I know, because I always think of them on rainy days when my slippers and jacket come alive and we run over the castle.
But while I was secret-ing in the bushes, Nursey came up behind me all sneaky like, and then saw the roaches and scared them all away when she screamed for the gardener. I didn't think it quite fair for her to do such, because I was catching them for her, and was going to behead them like the king did of his enemies and hang them on the London bridge. Only I don't have a London bridge, so I would have to imagine I had one. They aren't too common around England, as I imagine a London bridge would have to be in London, and there is only one of those things.
After Nursey grabbed my ear, (she has very long fingers, for she is a spider in disguise, I am quite sure,) she dragged me in the house to wash me.
As I went down the hall with her, I was trying to explain to her that I really wasn't scared of spiders, but I would rather not be washed by one.
Then daddy's head man came down the same hall. I don't understand why he is the "head man", for his head is the same size as daddy's and mum's and Nurse's, and he has a body with legs and toes and fingernails like you and I both do have. He is an evil man, I am sure. He is a wizard, who put a princess under a spell, so she was turned into a dog. She can only be undone and made person again if a dog bites Head Man on the left hand on the top of the middle finger. I think that is a magical spot, because George - my brother - had a blister on that finger after Nursey told him not to put it in a pot of bad stuff. I know it was bad because I tasted it, and that was before she put the boiling water in. Tasted awful like soap. I stuck my tongue out and Nursey didn't like that at all. George mentioned that it was rude, even after I explained to him that he was going to turn into a frog or turtle or... something - I haven't decided yet.
Later that day - which happened to be the national holiday of turtles in trees - I was told we would have our portrait taken. I didn't know we owned a portrait, but I didn't want it taken. I asked if perhaps, since we somehow knew it would be taken soon, we could set up a watchman for the thief. They said it didn't make sense how I said it, but I thought I explained it rather well. It turns out that our portrait was never supposed to be taken in the first place, but we were going to have one made up of us. Us, meaning, me and George. Not even mum or daddy or Head Man - just us. We sat in the 5th drawing room, and it was very boring. There was nothing to play with and definitely nothing to squash or behead and they had me stand and point at nothing particular at one point. I didn't like that, because then my friend shall look at my portrait and say, "Hello! What are you pointing at?" And I would have to say, "Oh, nothing particular. You see, it was all in vain. But that was until the 7th day.
I was wishing very much I had a bowl of disgusting lentil posh to drown my invisible spoon-men in, when I noticed I was not being scolded. (Charles is never, ever scolded, because he reads grown-up books,)
I looked about and the portrait-person was completely, all-the-way asleep. His eyelashes didn't even flicker like they do when you are squeezing your eyes shut, pretending very hard to be asleep.
Everybody else had gone to so something else, and I wanted so much to do something else also. George did too, although he didn't say anything.
I got up and crept along the ground like a snake with disturbed digestion, and looked all around with my big snake eyes, flicking my tongue like they do. I had never realized how hard it was to flick one's tongue and George said my tongue looked nothing like a snake's tongue when it flicked. I wanted to yell, but then I heard a very strange noise. It was the sound of a wizard scraping the bottom of his breakfast bowl with a golden spoon. I thought that was odd because it was not breakfast time, and wizards are never supposed to use golden spoons! Unless they go to mum's finest cupboard and take them without permission.
I immediately thought of daddy's Head Man. He is just the type to do something underhanded like that! I did a flip with my power-skills and landed on the ceiling. Then something hideous came into the room! It would be hard to say if it was Head Man, because everything was up-side-down, but it had a lizard nose and orange feet. (That speaks volumes about one's character, you know. Its a sure giveaway of a sneaky lineage.) I grabbed the chandelier which had magically turned into a double sword specially made for lizard-nosed-and-orange-footed Heads, and leaped off of my perch. George, who's secret name is Sir Palooza, had sprouted two pairs of wings, and was just winding his twenty yard tail around the arm of the sofa. (I don't know how much a yard is, but I think it something like a mile, and that is very long, I think.)
The lizard-nosed-and-orange-footed Head let out a war-like gurgle - like the gurgle you make when you make bubbles in your tea at 4 o'clock luncheon with Nursey - and rushed onto Sir Palooza. He was very heavy, so when he missed, his body made a large hole in the floor, knocking out the walls.
It was a very long battle, but the portrait-person ended up awake, and started painting very fast. Now there was two of me, and two of George, I mean Sir Palooza, and a white and brown dog! This was bad news for lizard-nosed-and-orange-footed Head, because a dog could break the spell he, (I think,) put on the princess.
All of a sudden, Sir Palooza and me lost our super powers, and we landed back into our portrait seats. Mr. Lizard-nosed-and-orange-footed Head liked that and made a rush for us, blowing this hunting-whistle on top of his head all the while. George, I mean Sir Palooza, started reading furiously in his grown-up book, trying to figure out how one should run away from a lizard-nosed-and-orange-footed Head, drawing maps and diagrams with speedy rapidity that boggles the human brain into a too-thick mush like at breakfast. But I had a better idea!
I shouted heroically, (for that was the dog's name,) and he pounced where I was pointing. He ran backwards all the way to lizard-nosed-and-orange-footed Head Man, looking at where to go from the invisible mirror I held, and then did a triple flip, watching his chirography from my mirror, tracing each side-step and pounce. It seemed like slow motion. George looked up in a very heroic way, (Oh, bother, I shall just call him George now, and not Sir Palooza,) and I gave a devilishly good-looking grin. The dog opened his mouth and said the words,
"Now I have gotten you Mr. lizard-nosed-and-orange-footed Head, and you will melt like a pudding in the oven when Cook has put to much cream into it."
Although it sounded a lot like barks and growls, but I could decode it because of my elf-brain.
He bit deep into the top of Head's middle-finger-on-his-left-hand. Daddy's Head Man disappeared in an instant, and the dog stayed a dog, but I s'posse a princess became human again somewhere in great big Britain. I suppose I had passed out from the drama and pressure of saving the universe, but only a little bit, for I woke up later, and the portrait was all done.
It was of the dramatic scene where we were in a dimly lit cave, (with trees and rivers and clouds and balconies,) and the dog jumping to my command. You see, the portrait man must have been very quick in that last split second to catch all that. Nursey said I had dremp it, but how else had the artist known to draw a white and brown dog named Babalooga? Because there had been no dog, nor cave in the room all 7 days. I had heard of certain odd little men adding details in paintings that actually wasn't there in real life. You see, it was pure magic. And that, my dear ladies and gentlemen, (I've always wanted to say that), is what happened in the 5th drawing room. But I have yet to drown the spoon-men in lentil stew."