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especially pretty restaurant, and Dorothy stopped to gaze through its window. Inside she saw snow-white napery and gleaming, silver cutlery far more exquisite than any she’d ever seen in Kansas. An obsequiously bowing, saccharinely smiling maître d’ fulsomely flattered each opulently dressed, bejeweled customer, and fawning, unctuous waiters hovered officiously, ready to pounce on any water glass that was less than full.

At a small table at the back, two inebriated, rambunctious young men giggled uncontrollably as they quaffed beers and taunted their crimson-faced young waitress. At the front, a queue of palavering patrons waited to pay the cashier.

Finally arriving at the exact center of the City, our group stood before a great building, which was the Palace of the Great Wizard. A soldier stood before the door, and Dorothy noticed that a green epaulet adorned each shoulder of his resplendent green uniform.

“Here are strangers,” said the Guardian of the Gates, “and they demand to see the Wizard.”

The soldier led the little party into a capacious, green-carpeted waiting room that boasted green leather armchairs and small teak tables inset with emeralds. Wainscoting divided the walls into two discrete yet complementary shades of green, the lighter shade toward the top. “Make yourselves comfortable while I go to the Throne Room to tell Oz you are here,” said the soldier politely.

While waiting for the soldier to return, the travelers had their first chance to relax and discuss the vicissitudes of their long journey. Waxing philosophical, the Scarecrow attributed everything that had happened to nothing more than the vagaries of fate. The Tim Woodman, sounding somewhat Calvinistic, conjectured that whatever happened was simply “meant to be.” And at one point, the Lion, at the risk of sounding solipsistic, asked if he might merely be dreaming.

Their reflections were interrupted by the sudden return of the soldier. Dorothy noticed for the first time that a single-striped chevron was sewn onto each of his sleeves. “Have you seen the Wizard,” she queried expectantly.

“I’ve never seen him,” answered the soldier, “but I spoke to him as he sat behind his screen. He said that you should all come back tomorrow and he will grant you an audience. Tonight you shall sleep in the Palace.”

Their disappointment at not being received at once was somewhat mitigated by the soldier’s assurance that they would be heard tomorrow. Exhausted from their long day, they decided to go to bed at once and adjourned to their respective bedrooms.

Alone in her room, Dorothy gazed for a while through the window at the taffeta backdrop of the night, wondering what tomorrow would bring. When she climbed into bed she found she was too keyed up to sleep. After a while she got dressed again and slipped out of the room to roam the halls of the great Palace.

Chapter 12 “The Citizens of the Emerald City”

The denizens of Oz, who, for the most part, were gregarious and garrulous, were out in great number, and it seemed they had nothing to do but satisfy their penchant

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