«Every third Thursday,» said Mrs. Banks.
«The best people, madam,» Mary Poppins said, «give every second Thursday. Or…»
«Very well,» said Mrs. Banks quickly.
So her Day Out began. Mary Poppins put on her white coat and white gloves and took her umbrella with a parrot’s head for a handle under her arm. Mary Poppins liked to look her best. And she knew she always looked her best.
She walked very quickly. But sometimes she stopped near a car or shop window to put her hat straight. She didn’t forget about her dress and her umbrella.
So she went to meet her friend, Bert. He was very good at drawing pavement pictures.
It was a fine day and there were some pictures — two Bananas, and an Apple, and a head of Queen Elizabeth on the pavement.
«Mary!» Bert cried happily.
«It’s my Day Out, Bert,» she said.
«I know, Mary,» he said, «but…» and he looked sadly into his cap. There was little money in it. «Business is bad today. I’m sorry, I can’t take you to tea today.»
Mary Poppins thought of the lemon-cakes. What a pity! But when she saw Bert’s face and said:
«That’s all right, Bert. I really don’t want any tea today.» And it was nice of Mary Poppins because she liked lemon-cakes very much.
Bert understood everything but he said nothing. He took her hand in his and said: «Look, there is a new picture!» They could see big trees, green grass and blue sea in it. «Mary,» he said, «I’ve got an idea! Let’s go there, into the picture?»
And he got Mary out of the street, into the picture. There they were, inside it!
How green it was there and how quiet! What soft grass under their feet! There were green leaves near their hats, and little coloured flowers near their shoes. Mary Poppins looked at Bert. Now he had a bright green-and-red coat and white trousers and a new yellow hat.
«Bert, you look fine!» she cried.
Bert could not say anything; he was looking at her with round eyes! She took a little mirror out of her bag and looked into it. Round her shoulders there was a watery blue dress, on her head there was a beautiful blue hat. She was wearing shoes with diamonds like a princess.
So, they went and went and came to a little table. And there on a green table was Afternoon Tea! There were hundreds of lemon-cakes on it!
«Sit down, Madam,» asked a tall man in a black coat. Mary Poppins and Bert sat down on little green chairs.
«I’m the Waiter!» said the man in the black coat.
«Oh! But I didn’t see you in the picture,» said Mary Poppins.
«Ah, I was behind the tree,» said the Waiter.
So, they began their afternoon tea. They drank a lot of tea and finished all the cakes.
«There is nothing to pay,» said the Waiter. «Can you see a Merry-go-Round?» And he showed them the way between trees.
«That’s funny,» said she. «I didn’t see it in the picture.»
They came up to the Merry-go-Round. Mary Poppins and Bert jumped on two horses. When the music started, the horses left their places! What a surprise! Mary Poppins and Bert had a nice ride that day! When they came back, it was nearly dark. «I’m very sorry,» the Waiter said, «but we close at seven. May I show you the Way Out?»
«It’s a wonderful picture, Bert!» said Mary Poppins.
«Well, I did my best, Mary,» said Bert and they saw a large white door. It was made of thick chalk lines.
«Here you are!» the Waiter said. «This is the Way Out.»
«Good-bye and thank you,» said Mary Poppins. Then they went through the white door.
When they went out, the lovely dress and the diamonds from her shoes and her beautiful hat disappeared. So did Bert’s bright clothes.
When she came back to Number Seventeen, Jane and Michael asked her:
«Where have you been?»
«In Fairyland,» said Mary Poppins.
«Did you see Cinderella?» said Jane.
«Cinderella? Not me… No!» said Mary Poppins.
«Or Robinson Crusoe?» asked Michael.
«Robinson Crusoe — no!» said Mary Poppins.
«Then you have not been to our Fairyland!»
Mary Poppins gave her greatest sniff.
«Don’t you know,» she said, «that everybody’s got a Fairyland of their own?»