Betsy Butterfly in "The Friendly Stranger"
The Friendly Stranger
Of course, anyone so beautiful as Betsy Butterfly was bound to attract attention. Wherever she went people turned their heads—if they could—to look at her. And those whose heads were so fastened to their bodies that they simply couldn't crane their necks at anybody—even those unlucky creatures wheeled themselves about in order to gaze at Betsy.If they happened to be ladies they stared at her because they wanted to see what was the latest style in gowns, or maybe hats. And if they happened to be gentlemen they looked at her because they just couldn't help it.
It was no wonder, then, that Betsy Butterfly had many admirers. In fact, she was so accustomed to their flittering after her that usually she paid little heed to them. But now and then one of them made himself so agreeable that Betsy favored him slightly more than the others.Such was a stranger dressed in yellowish brown whom she chanced to meet among the flowers one day. He was flying from flower to flower with a loud buzzing. And he reminded Betsy Butterfly of somebody, but she couldn't just think who it was.
"Ah!" said the stranger, as soon as he caught Betsy's eye. "The blossoms are fine and fresh after last night's shower, aren't they?"Betsy had to admit that what the stranger said was true. And when he came right over to the flower where she was breakfasting and began buzzing around her, and eating pollen, Betsy Butterfly thought that for a stranger he seemed very friendly.
She looked at him for a time, out of the corner of her eye, while she tried to recall whom the newcomer resembled. But he looked like no one she had even seen. And then all at once Betsy knew what was so familiar about him. It was his voice!"You remind me of a friend of mine," she remarked. "He lives in the meadow not far from here. It's your buzzing," she explained. "If I didn't see you I should think you were Buster Bumblebee."Betsy's remark seemed to please the stranger. And he smiled smugly while he buzzed louder than ever.
"It's not surprising that I make you think of him," he observed. "Indeed it would be odd if I didn't, for I'm a sort of cousin of Buster's, so to speak. Perhaps you didn't know that my name is Bumble—Joseph Bumble." Naturally Betsy and Joseph became good friends on the spot. And after that people often saw them rambling together among the flowers.Now, Joseph Bumble proved to be a great talker. And since Betsy Butterfly was an excellent listener, they spent many agreeable hours together.
At least, Joseph enjoyed every minute that he spent in Betsy Butterfly's company. And if at times she found his prattle a bit tiresome, she was too well-mannered to say so.If the truth were known, Joseph Bumble proved to be somewhat of a braggart. He was forever boasting of his connection with the Bumblebee family. And Betsy couldn't say anything to him without his remarking that his cousin Buster Bumblebee's mother, the well-known Queen, thought this or that.
"And being of royal blood, the Queen ought to know what's what," he frequently said.
"I suppose—" Betsy said to him at last—"I suppose you're of royal blood yourself, Mr. Bumble?"
"Oh, very!" he replied with a smirk. "We're all of us very royal indeed."
And Betsy Butterfly thought how pleasant it was to be friends with anyone who came from such a fine family as Joseph Bumble's.