“By the way, there was something about Bruno succeeding to the

Wrardenship,” said my Lady. “How does that stand in the new Agreement?”

The Chancellor chuckled. “Just the same, word for word,” he said,

“with one exception, my Lady. Instead of ‘Bruno,’ I’ve taken the

liberty to put in–” he dropped his voice to a whisper, “to put in

‘Uggug,’ you know!”

“Uggug, indeed!” I exclaimed, in a burst of indignation I could no

longer control. To bring out even that one word seemed a gigantic

effort: but, the cry once uttered, all effort ceased at once: a sudden

gust swept away the whole scene, and I found myself sitting up, staring

at the young lady in the opposite corner of the carriage, who had now

thrown back her veil, and was looking at me with an expression of

amused surprise.



That I had said something, in the act of waking, I felt sure: the

hoarse stifled cry was still ringing in my ears, even if the startled

look of my fellow-traveler had not been evidence enough: but what could

I possibly say by way of apology?

“I hope I didn’t frighten you?” I stammered out at last.

“I have no idea what I said. I was dreaming.”

“You said ‘Uggug indeed!'” the young lady replied, with quivering lips

that would curve themselves into a smile, in spite of all her efforts

to look grave. “At least–you didn’t say it–you shouted it!”

“I’m very sorry,” was all I could say, feeling very penitent and

helpless. “She has Sylvie’s eyes!” I thought to myself, half-doubting

whether, even now, I were fairly awake. “And that sweet look of

innocent wonder is all Sylvie’s too. But Sylvie hasn’t got that calm

resolute mouth nor that far-away look of dreamy sadness, like one that

has had some deep sorrow, very long ago–” And the thick-coming

fancies almost prevented my hearing the lady’s next words.

“If you had had a ‘Shilling Dreadful’ in your hand,” she proceeded,

“something about Ghosts or Dynamite or Midnight Murder–one could

understand it: those things aren’t worth the shilling, unless they give

one a Nightmare. But really–with only a medical treatise,

you know–” and she glanced, with a pretty shrug of contempt,

at the book over which I had fallen asleep.

Her friendliness, and utter unreserve, took me aback for a moment;

yet there was no touch of forwardness, or boldness, about the child for

child, almost, she seemed to be: I guessed her at scarcely over

twenty–all was the innocent frankness of some angelic visitant,

new to the ways of earth and the conventionalisms or, if you will,

the barbarisms–of Society. “Even so,” I mused, “will Sylvie look and

speak, in another ten years.”

“You don’t care for Ghosts, then,” I ventured to suggest, unless they

are really terrifying?”

“Quite so,” the lady assented. “The regular Railway-Ghosts–I mean

the Ghosts of ordinary Railway-literature–are very poor affairs.

I feel inclined to say, with Alexander Selkirk, ‘Their tameness is

shocking to me’! And they never do any Midnight Murders.

They couldn’t ‘welter in gore,’ to save their lives!”

“‘Weltering in gore’ is a very expressive phrase, certainly.

Can it be done in any fluid, I wonder?”

“I think not,” the lady readily replied–quite as if she had thought

it out, long ago. “It has to be something thick. For instance, you

might welter in bread-sauce. That, being white, would be more suitable

for a Ghost, supposing it wished to welter!”

“You have a real good terrifying Ghost in that book?” I hinted.

“How could you guess?” she exclaimed with the most engaging frankness,

and placed the volume in my hands. I opened it eagerly, with a not

unpleasant thrill like what a good ghost-story gives one) at the

‘uncanny’ coincidence of my having so unexpectedly divined the subject

of her studies.

It was a book of Domestic Cookery, open at the article Bread Sauce.’

I returned the book, looking, I suppose, a little blank, as the lady

laughed merrily at my discomfiture. “It’s far more exciting than some

of the modern ghosts, I assure you! Now there was a Ghost last

month–I don’t mean a real Ghost in in Supernature–but in a

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Categories: Carroll, Lewis