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The Road Built in Hope

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“Why it’s out of the question!” bristled Miss Amelia.

Miss Amelia always bristled when she thought she was right and no one else would see her way. Dorothy had only known Miss Amelia for two weeks and she already knew that much. One tends to learn either a great deal or nothing at all when consorting with fellow passengers on a long sea voyage. Anything in-between was unheard of. Which was why Miss Amelia and Miss Maud had become fast friends with Dorothy and Uncle Henry upon finding them to be kindred spirits.

“Dear Mr. Gale, think of little Dorothy,” entreated Miss Maud. “How dreadfully bored she’ll be at a ranch."

Miss Maud, on the other hand, was inclined to wheedle and entreat. Where one might fail the other would usually prevail which is why they made such a formidable team. Strangely their appearances were at odds with their temperaments for while Miss Amelia was plump and jolly-looking she had quite a temper and Miss Maud was a gaunt, thin caricature of a spinster who was actually very tenderhearted.

“With no womenfolk to look after her or little girls to play with,” reminded Miss Amelia.

“It’s terribly kind of you to offer, but I don’t want to impose on you fine ladies,” said Uncle Henry. He stroked his beard pensively and the conversation ended there for Uncle Henry would not come to a decision until he had put in his thinking time.

Dorothy wasn’t too fussed either way. It would be awful nice to stay with Miss Maud and Miss Amelia for the week in San Francisco. It would almost be as nice as visiting her friends in Oz. But Uncle Henry’s cousin’s ranch wouldn’t be unbearable. It’d probably be a lot like their farm in Kansas only bigger and with no Aunt Em (or any aunts for that matter).

“What do you reckon, Dorothy?” Uncle Henry asked after they finished supper in the ship's dining hall.

“I think it would be more fun to stay with Miss Maud and Miss Amelia for the week,” she said honestly. “But I don’t mind going to the ranch with you Uncle Henry.”

Which was how when they disembarked from the ship, Dorothy and her little suitcase went to a fine townhouse on a hill in San Francisco whilst Uncle Henry went on to Hugson’s Ranch.

“Be a good girl and don’t go off on one of your fairyland adventures,” Uncle Henry told her at the dock. “You don’t want to give the misses a fright.”

“I’ll try not to, “ said Dorothy. “But you know Uncle Henry I never mean to go on an adventure. The adventures just happen to me.”

“So they do.”

Miss Amelia, Miss Maud, and Dorothy piled into a rented carriage. “I thought we would take one of the streetcars,” said Dorothy.

“We need to go home with our trunks and suitcases first,” explained Miss Amelia. “Tomorrow we’ll take streetcars all over San Francisco.”

Which sounded pretty jolly to Dorothy.

Before she knew it they were pulling up to a quaint townhouse which was quite novel in Dorothy’s experience. She’d lived in a one room cabin almost all her life and their cousins’ place in Australia was a one floor ranch farmhouse. Her only other experiences were grand palaces and castles in Oz. So to have something so down the middle, between poverty and decadence was unknown to her.

A red-haired maid opened the door and directed the driver where to take the trunks. While her height, hair and voice were nothing alike something about her eyes reminded Dorothy of Jellia Jamb so strikingly that she said so aloud.

“Who is Jellia Jamb?” asked Miss Maud.

“Oh, she’s a friend of mine. She works at the palace in the Emerald City. She used to work for the Wizard when he lived there, but now that Ozma is the princess she works for her I reckon.”

“The Emerald City, sounds very grand. Is it in Australia or America? Or perhaps Europe?” asked Miss Maud as she showed Dorothy to one of the guestrooms.

“Well it’s somewhere,” said Dorothy. “It’s in Oz, but you can’t find Oz on a map because it’s a fairyland.”

Unlike Uncle Henry and Aunt Em, Miss Maud did not tell her fairylands didn’t exist. But at the same time Dorothy got the feeling she didn’t quite believe in them either. Not all the way at least.

“Maybe later you can tell Amelia and I more about the fairyland of Oz,” said Miss Maud before she left Dorothy to get settled.

What a request! Dorothy wondered if Miss Maud had really meant it. Uncle Henry and Aunt Em didn’t like her to talk about Oz too much and forbid her to speak of it at all in front of strangers.

“We don’t want people to think you’re not right in the head,” said Aunt Em. “Of course we know different, but other people can get funny. I don’t want someone calling you a liar or telling a minister we can’t raise you right.”

It had been very hard in Australia when she returned from her adventure not to speak of what happened where the cousins could hear her. Before the trip was over though Uncle Henry had heard the entire tale. He remarked he was mighty glad she was safe and was glad she had good friends.

While she washed her face and hands in the ceramic basin – which had rosebuds painted on it – and dried them with a soft towel edged in lace (which she would later learn was Irish tatting) she put in her own ‘thinking time.’ Unlike Uncle Henry she didn’t have a beard to stroke so she had to make do with twisting a lock of hair around her finger.

“Well, Aunt Em said I couldn’t talk about it in front of strangers,” she reasoned. “And Uncle Henry said not to talk about Oz in front of the Australian cousins. But Miss Amelia and Miss Maud aren’t strangers or cousins. And Miss Maud did ask to hear more about Oz so it must be all right.”

With that settled Dorothy didn't balk at all when Maud said to her over supper, “What kind of suppers do they have in the Emerald City?”

“All sorts of good stuff. They love green though so there are heaps of vegetables, but they even color the cakes and pastries green,” Dorothy replied. “There's green lemonade and green popcorn, too. They didn't have ice cream though, but after I suggested it they're trying to make it themselves. Probably next time I'm in Oz they'll have some.”

“It certainly sounds as though they are committed!” chuckled Miss Amelia. She did not seem surprised at the mention of the Emerald City so Dorothy figured Miss Maud must have mentioned it to her. “Are there many emeralds in the city or is it named that for all the green food and decoration?”

“There are big emeralds all over,” explained Dorothy. How nice it was to talk about Oz without worrying about saying too much! “On the bridges and lamp-posts, and lots more near the palace. The people even used to wear green glasses so everything looked green even if it wasn't naturally green. No one does it anymore, but it's still plenty green.”

The conversation wandered in and out for a bit. The best part was how they treated Dorothy like she was an important person too and wanted to hear her opinions. As much as she loved Uncle Henry and Aunt Em they were not the chattering type and were always a bit concerned if she talked too much at once.

Later Miss Maud brought out a box of chocolates for them to have in the parlor afterwards and played the piano so beautifully Dorothy was enchanted. It was much prettier to listen to than the church organ.

“Maud could teach you the basic elements while you're here,” said Miss Amelia when she saw Dorothy's expression.

“Oh, no, but thank you though,” Dorothy shook her head. “I wouldn't have any place to practice in Kansas. But I'm happy to hear Miss Maud play. She's so very talented. No wonder she's a music teacher.”

“She used to be a concert pianist, they still ask her to play from time to time,” Miss Amelia sighed fondly.

It was a nice sigh, thought Dorothy. She knew a little about what it was like to be proud of your friends' achievements. It gave you a warm fizzy up feeling. The only awful thing about having lots of wonderful friends was when they lived far away, like in Oz, she reflected.

Just as Dorothy's eyes were closing Miss Maud finished playing, or maybe she finished playing because Dorothy's eyes were closing, but either way she was sent up to the lovely guest-room to go to bed. She was so tired she didn't have the strength to beg to stay up later.

The bed was so deliciously soft and the room smelled of such sweet potpourri that before she opened her eyes in the morning Dorothy thought she might be back in Oz.

“Oh, it's California,” she said aloud. It was hard to summon up any real disappointment when one was staying in a pretty house with lovely friends. “If it were Oz Jellia or Ozma would have woken me up,” she reminded herself.

As a farm girl Dorothy woke early, usually greeting the sun and sometimes even up before it. But here in San Francisco there were no eggs to gather or cows to milk so Dorothy was rather left to her own devices before the rest of the household woke. It didn't quite seem right to go down to the parlor on her own so instead Dorothy explored her bedroom.

The wallpaper itself was novelty – creamy with bluebells and ribbons all over – for the farmhouse had whitewashed walls and Ozma's palace was made of marble and the Tin Man's palace was studded and punched tin. A lace curtain hung over a marvelously wide window that looked out over the hill so Dorothy could see for miles and miles. Beyond the blocks of too-close buildings were stretches of green farms at the edge of the city and in the distance if she craned her neck was the gauzy grey-blue of the bay. From what she could tell San Francisco was larger than the Emerald City though not as uniformly grand.

Back in the room she discovered her nightstand had a little bookshelf with books on the bottom. She picked up the bright blue one with the words “The Blue Fairy Book” on the spine and to her surprise it had a witch on the cover. It certainly looked more promising than her McGuffey's Third Reader at school.

Halfway through a particularly thrilling tale Nellie the red-haired maid came to tell her breakfast was ready.

“How did you sleep, dear?” Miss Maud inquired.

“Pretty well I reckon since I don't remember a thing,” Dorothy replied gamely. “I thought I'd have all kinds of exciting dreams but there was nothing.”

“Travel is terribly exhausting,” said Miss Amelia. “I myself was asleep as soon as my head touched the pillow and nary a dream to speak of.”

“How is the room? Is there anything you need that we forgot?” Miss Maud continued passing the strawberry jam to Dorothy who had looked at it ruefully, but wasn't quite sure if she should ask.

“It's the nicest!” she replied. “It's got paper and that big window. Oh, and there were some books was it all right for me to read them? I know I should ask beforehand, but everyone was asleep.”

“You're quite welcome to read them. In fact we hoped you would like them,” said Miss Maud. “Amelia's nieces come to visit now and again so we always have the sorts of books they like to read.”

“I started reading the blue one with fairies.” Dorothy paused only to take bites of jammy toast and breathe. “And it's real exciting. Only there are lots of stories of girls who want to marry princes and it causes all sorts of trouble. I don't think any prince is worth all that.”

“Not even a prince in the Emerald City?” asked Miss Amelia.

“There aren't any princes in Oz,” said Dorothy. “There's an Emperor of the Winkies, a Woodsman made of tin. And the Cowardly Lion is King of the Forests. But no princes. Only Ozma the princess though I reckon she's sort of a queen because there isn't any king or queen ahead of her. Ev had a lot of princes though and they were in trouble because of their wicked father.”

“Men cause a great deal of trouble with their wickedness in the world,” Miss Amelia declared. “I'm quite certain that the only way those princes got out of their troubles was because of a woman. Women and girls are always cleaning up the messes of the world.”

“There were some wicked witches in Oz and they were women,” Dorothy rubbed her chin. “But there were good witches, too. So maybe in Oz the wickedness and goodness is divided up evenly. But in Ev the wicked king sold his family to the Nome King. And me, and Ozma, and Billina the hen rescued them so I guess in that case we did clean up their mess.”

“What did I say?” Miss Amelia was very pleased with herself. “Don't let anyone tell you that a woman isn't as capable as a man, Dorothy.”

“If someone said that to me I wouldn't believe it anyhow,” Dorothy grinned at her friends. “People can do anything if they put their minds to it. Why in Oz one of my friends is a clock-work man, Tik-Tok is his name, and he's awful brave and he isn't even alive techn'cally speaking because he's a machine. And Princess Ozma rules all of Oz and does all sorts of great deeds.”

“A regular suffragist in the making!” Miss Amelia grinned back at Dorothy. “What did I tell you Maud? The United States is in good hands if there are lots of girls like Dorothy about.”

Miss Maud smiled and shook her head. “As happy as I am to be seated with two civic-minded determined women, I was wondering if Dorothy would like to do a little shopping today?”

“That's awful generous of you, Miss Maud,” said Dorothy. “But I only have a few pennies from Uncle Henry. But I don't mind coming along if you and Miss Amelia are going to be shopping.”

“Don't be silly, Dorothy,” said Miss Amelia. “Those pennies are yours. We meant to treat you.”

“Whatever for?”

“For being such a good friend to us on the long trip back from Australia,” Miss Maud said. “And we don't have a child of our own to spoil. We spoke to your uncle on the ship and he said it was fine within reason. He and your aunt have often longed to get you presents as other children have, but things were always difficult on the farm.”

“And my nieces are quite spoiled already,” added Miss Amelia. “They're so used to gifts it isn't half as jolly to get them presents though we always do for occasions that warrant it.”

“It's very kind of you,” Dorothy said at last. “And you shouldn't do it because you feel sorry for me. Ozma made me an honorary princess of Oz so I'm not really 'poverished or anything. But if it would make you happy I don't mind.”

Two hours later found them in the grandest, and only, department store Dorothy had ever seen in her short life. Oz had many wonderful things, but no department stores as far as she knew.

“Oh, you look just like a princess in this one!” Miss Amelia clapped her hands in delight. “The blue brings out your eyes just marvelously and the tucks and frills give it that French air.”

“Everything in The City of Paris is imported from France making a French air part of the package,” chuckled Miss Maud. “But it is very sweet on you, dear.”

The dress was fit for a princess of Oz or indeed any high society girl out California way, but entirely impractical for the Kansas farm.

“It's awf'lly beautiful,” Dorothy agreed with a gay laugh. “But it'll get too dirty in Kansas.”

“Couldn't you wear it to church?” Miss Amelia suggested.

“Oh, no, the road to church is dusty in the summer and muddy in the winter. We have to walk on account of not having a buggy. But a hat would be fine. I have two sunbonnets but they get faded real fast.”

“Then we should like to see some girls' hats,” Miss Maud told the saleslady.

In the end both a hat and parasol were purchased in addition to two dresses (not the dainty blue silk but a sensible navy serge and a robust ivory twill that would wash well) and even more exciting a real bathing costume with a cap and slippers and everything!

“It's not too expensive?” Dorothy asked in a worried tone. “I only really could use a hat.”

“Fiddlesticks,” said Miss Amelia. “You're going to use all of them, aren't you? I call that money well spent then.”

“Swimming is very healthy exercise,” Miss Maud soothed. “And you told us it was going to be immodest for you to swim in your petticoats soon.”

“If I was a boy I could swim in my skin at any age,” sighed Dorothy. “I don't know what makes a girl's skin more immodest than a boy's.”

“Nothing, but a silly notion of menfolk I'm afraid,” said Miss Amelia. “But we won't let that silly notion keep you from swimming. There's a few inches in all the seams so your aunt can let it out as you grow.”

“Besides we were selfishly hoping we could take you to the Sutro Baths here in San Francisco while you visited,” Miss Maud added. “They have big saltwater pools for swimming and a museum of kinds of curiosities.”

“Do they have ice cream?” Dorothy asked with a tilt of her head.

“Indeed they do. I've even heard they have peppermint ice cream that's divinely refreshing.”

“Well that settles it,” said Dorothy. “That sounds about the funnest place in the United States then.”

“We'll get up early tomorrow and take the rail line all the way out there,” promised Miss Maud. “And we'll all bring our bathing costumes.”

Astonishing! Grown-up ladies who could swim and liked peppermint ice cream were notable in Dorothy's book. She didn't mind them buying her a bathing costume at all now because it was going to be a big lovely outing and not simply charity you understand.

They bid The City of Paris department store goodbye, quite literally as Dorothy chummily shook the hand of every saleslady who helped them in the department, and went on for lunch at a hotel.

The hotel was called the Palace and Dorothy could see why. It was every bit as grand as the palaces in Oz and Ev. They ate at a table covered in snowy white linens while the golden California sunshine shone through the pretty arched windows and palm trees in potted plants were all around them.

“If it were done up in more green than gold it'd be just like Ozma's palace in the Emerald City,” remarked Dorothy.

“I hope that makes you feel at home,” said Miss Maud tenderly.

“I'm glad to be hear with you both,” said Dorothy. “I'd be nervous to be here with strangers. The first time I went to Oz I was littler and real scared of a lot of things. But now that I have friends there that makes even the scary things tolerable. I feel at home in Ozma's palace because Ozma and all my friends are there.”

“Friendship is the treasure beyond all measure,” Miss Amelia said. “You're a wise girl to have figured that out so early on. Now, I'd like to hear more about that Nome King and your tick-tock machine man you were telling us about. Oh, and that princess too! You say she rules the whole country like a queen and without a prince or man to tell her her business. That's a girl after my own heart!”

By the end of the luncheon the Misses Amelia and Maud were wholly acquainted with Dorothy's adventure in Ev starting with the shipwreck and ending with her return to Australia. Dorothy was very pleased with their reactions for they gasped when they ought and laughed when it was right and in general seemed to enjoy her tale immensely. Admonitions were entirely absent.

“I'm surprised the Queen of Ev didn't bestow the title of princess upon you as well,” commented Miss Maud at the end. “You did such a great service to them.”

“Aw, that wasn't that much,” scoffed Dorothy.“Billina did all the real work saving everyone else. 'Sides they had heaps of princesses and princes in Ev already so I reckon one more might have put them over the top.”

“As they're finding out in Europe, there is such a thing as too many royals,” Miss Amelia nodded sagely. “But it was real kind of that Ozma to proclaim you a princess of her country.”

“Well I did lots in Oz the first time I went there. Everyone wanted me to stay with them then, Ozma wasn't a princess yet you see, but I had to get home to Uncle Henry and Aunt Em. It isn't right to leave your family behind 'specially without notice.”

“Indeed,” Miss Maud coughed delicately. “You did right in that circumstance. A child oughtn't leave home unless they're being treated ill. But what's this about your first adventure in fairyland?”

“Don't have her tire herself out, Maud,” Miss Amelia chided her companion, but there was no real rebuke in her tone. “After a busy morning shopping and a fancy luncheon I'm ready for a cat nap myself. You'll tell us more about your fairy adventures when we're more rested, won't you Dorothy?”

“Sure thing!” Dorothy said and startled herself by yawning. “Goodness! I think I'm more tuckered out than I thought. It's a good thing San Francisco's got streetcars because I don't think I could all the way back right now.”

*

The rest of the week passed in a whirl of outings. Sutro Baths was even more glorious than Dorothy had been led to believe. She got to swim almost the entire day, she never got to do that in Kansas or Oz!

“Next time I'm in Oz, I'll have to tell Ozma all about this. If the Wogglebug can get a great big university built in Oz, I bet they can build baths like these,” Dorothy quietly mused as she floated dreamily in the pool.

“It's a shame Ozma isn't here, too. She'd probably love to have a good swim. I'm only sorry the Scarecrow and Nick can't join in the fun even if they do build the baths.”

There was the crux of being well traveled with friends in lots of far away places. Wherever she was Dorothy was always missing someone. When she was in Kansas she missed her friends in Oz, and now her new friends in San Francisco, and when she was in Oz she missed her Aunt and Uncle.

But such tragic philosophy could not hold out long when soon she was towel tousled, dressed, and eating peppermint ice cream with Miss Amelia and Miss Maud in one of the club rooms. She had two whole dishes, but she couldn't talk much of Oz because so many friends of the ladies kept coming up to say hello.

“I didn't know you were famous,” Dorothy said.

“Maud is the famous one from her concert pianist days,” boasted Miss Amelia. “Anyone who knows anything about music in San Francisco is acquainted with her.”

“Amelia, don't give Dorothy such an exaggerated notion of me,” Miss Maud blushed. Not a very pretty blush like a Gibson girl, but there was something charming about it Dorothy thought. Like maybe people could be grown-up but still be young at heart. “More of these folks know us from suffragist gatherings.”

“Either way, it's nice to know my friends have lots of friends,” Dorothy said gravely. “I don't like to think of anyone being left behind and lonely.”

“You're such a kind sweet soul,” said Miss Maud. “We will of course miss you when you go back to Kansas.”

“And we may be down Kansas way in the future,” Miss Amelia added. “Kansas is fast becoming one of the leaders of the suffrage movement. So if your aunt and uncle can spare the time you can all come out to Topeka and we'll have a good old fashioned reunion.”

“Oh, that's wonderful! Because you know I don't think I'll be able to come to California for a good long while.” In some ways San Francisco was more inaccessible than Oz. With magic Ozma and Glinda could contrive to bring Dorothy back to Oz, but magic didn't buy cross-continental railroad tickets. “Maybe not until I'm a grown-up.”

“Maybe, maybe not,” said Miss Maud exchanged a look with Miss Amelia that Dorothy couldn't guess at. “But you are always welcome to visit us, dear, even if you are a grown lady.”

“Oh good!”

In the museum attached to the baths they were stopped several more times by people Dorothy reckoned must've been famous because of their fancy get-ups. But being the practical girl she was Dorothy was less impressed by diamonds (who care for diamonds when emeralds and rubies were much prettier and were all over Oz?) of those folk and more keenly interested in the museum's collection of stuffed animals.

There was a stuffed bear larger than even the Cowardly Lion or the Hungry Tiger, whose plaque read 'The Monarch.' A funny striped black-and-white horse creature called a zebra was her favorite though it was closely followed by an eagle that was mounted so cannily you could swear it had paused mid-flight.

“They're not too scary are they?” Miss Maud asked anxiously. She hovered close to Dorothy.

“They're not scary at all!” laughed Dorothy. “They can't bite or even growl. I don't know if I 'pprove of hunting just for stuffing animals, but they are int'resting to look at. I guess it's different because in Oz you can talk to lots of the animals so you wouldn't kill them for stuffing. I can't imagine anyone wanting a stuffed tiger when you can have a live one for a friend and have real conversations.”

“What do tigers like to talk about?”

“Eating fat babies.”

“My word!” was Miss Maud's response, but Miss Amelia just guffawed, “That's a tiger for you!”

“But he doesn't actually do it,” Dorothy explained. “He's got too much of a conscience. He just talks about it.”

“Thank goodness for that!”

*

Another day took them to a Chinese restaurant that had lots of paper lanterns outside and inside. Dorothy couldn't read anything on the menu, but it all tasted delicious though Miss Maud had worried that she might get an upset stomach.

“I never get an upset stomach when I'm hungry,” Dorothy reassured her. “And I'm always hungry for a good meal.”

She wondered what Ozma would think of this exotic dinner. There weren't any China folk in Oz so they couldn't ever eat Chinese food. Maybe one day Ozma could figure out how to make the Magic Belt work in the United States and she could visit and try such things.

But the dinner was not the most exciting part of Chinatown. Just as they were getting ready to take the streetcar back home Dorothy heard a tiny mewl. “I hear something!”

Before her friends had time to object Dorothy went down the little alley to investigate. The mewls stopped, then started again. Under a heap of dirty canvas was an equally dirty, bedraggled kitten.

“Eureka!” Dorothy exclaimed. She crouched down to gather the kitten in her arms.

“Dorothy Gale, what on Earth has possessed you?” Miss Amelia huffed out of breath.

“I heard this kitten crying,” Dorothy said patiently. “And then I found it. Look how she's been abandoned, Miss Amelia. She's all dirty and alone and probably real hungry.”

Miss Amelia had stared down tyrannical family patriarchs, Congressman, and policeman. But those were pushovers compared to the Kansas girl and the kitten. “I see. Well step along we don't want to miss the next streetcar.”

“So that means I can keep her?” Dorothy trotted out of the alley after Miss Amelia.

“I'm not so heartless as to tell you to let a kitten starve. We'll ask Nellie to fix up some broth or chicken for it and I think there's a big basket in the garret that'll do for a bed if we put some blankets in it.”

Dorothy nodded eagerly. A kitten was no substitute for Toto, and she'd be home with Toto again soon, but lots of farms kept a cat as well as a dog so she didn't think Uncle Henry would mind.

After a bath they found that the kitten's fur was white and that it rather had the air of a little queen. Unlike other cats it did not disdain a bath provided the water was warm and it was talked to constantly.

“Her name is Eureka,” Dorothy said once the kitten was settled in her lap in the parlor. “Uncle Henry says 'Eureka' means 'I found it' and I found her today so I think it's a pretty good name.”

“It's a lovely name,” Miss Maud agreed.

“Better than 'Snowball' or 'Fluffy,'” Miss Amelia said. “Heaven preserve us from unimaginatively named pets.”

“As I recall your nieces have both a Fluffy and a Snowball.”

“Exactly, Maud, exactly.”

It was funny how Miss Amelia and Miss Maud sometimes said things that made no sense to anyone but they understood each other perfectly. Almost like they spoke in a secret language.

“You and Miss Maud are best friends aren't you?” Dorothy asked as she began to feel drowsy from the long day and big supper. When one had a purring kitten on one's lap one got sleepy very quickly, it was a proven fact.

“Indeed we are.”

“You're so lucky you live with your best friend in the whole world,” yawned Dorothy as her eyes began to shut. “Ozma lives awfully far away. I don't know when I'll see her again.”

“That's a dreadful pity,” Miss Amelia patted Dorothy on the head.

“She asked me, you know,” continued Dorothy as she fought off sleep. “She asked me to come live with her forever in Oz and I wanted to so much. Ozma is the dearest, most wondefullest girl in the whole world. Did you feel that way about Miss Maud when you met her?”

“Oh yes,” Miss Amelia said softly. “Very much so and very much still. Perhaps one day you'll be with your Ozma, too.”

Miss Maud sounded like she was blushing, but Dorothy's eyes were mostly closed so she couldn't check to be sure, when she said, “I'm certain you will be reunited. In fairyland or beyond.”

Dorothy decided then and there, right on the shores of dreamland, that it was a good plan. If Miss Maud and Miss Amelia could live together as companions then surely one day so could she and Ozma. Not that Ozma could live in the United States in a pretty townhouse with Dorothy as lovely as that might be. A ruler of Oz had responsibilities after all. But maybe just maybe Dorothy could stay in Oz in the future. Maybe Uncle Henry and Aunt Em could have a little farm in Munchkinland so they'd be near.

“It gives a girl hope,” she whispered to herself after she was finally tucked into bed with Eureka on the pillow beside her.

And hope was its own kind of magic.