When at last I could look around me I found that the hall was indeed simply full of animals. It seemed to me that almost every kind of creature from the countryside must be there: a pigeon, a white rat, an owl, a badger, a jackdaw—there was even a small pig, just in from the rainy garden, carefully wiping his feet on the mat while the light from the candle glistened on his wet pink back.
The Doctor took the candlestick from the duck and turned to me.
“Look here,” he said: “you must get those wet clothes off—by the way, what is your name?”
“Tommy Stubbins,” I said.
“Oh, are you the son of Jacob Stubbins, the shoemaker?”
“Yes,” I said.
“Excellent bootmaker, your father,” said the Doctor. “You see these?” and he held up his right foot to show me the enormous boots he was wearing. “Your father made me those boots four years ago, and I’ve been wearing them ever since—perfectly wonderful boots—Well now, look here, Stubbins. You’ve got to change those wet things and quick. Wait a moment till I get some more candles lit, and then we’ll go upstairs and find some dry clothes. You’ll have to wear an old suit of mine till we can get yours dry again by the kitchen-fire.”
So presently when more candles had been lighted round different parts of the house, we went upstairs; and when we had come into a bedroom the Doctor opened a big wardrobe and took out two suits of old clothes. These we put on. Then we carried our wet ones down to the kitchen and started a fire in the big chimney. The coat of the Doctor’s which I was wearing was so large for me that I kept treading on my own coat-tails while I was helping to fetch the wood up from the cellar. But very soon we had a huge big fire blazing up the chimney and we hung our wet clothes around on chairs.