where the Murder comes at page fifteen, and the Wedding at page forty

–surely they are due to Steam?”

“And when we travel by Electricity if I may venture to develop your

theory we shall have leaflets instead of booklets, and the Murder and

the Wedding will come on the same page.”

“A development worthy of Darwin!”, the lady exclaimed enthusiastically.

“Only you reverse his theory. Instead of developing a mouse into an

elephant, you would develop an elephant into a mouse!” But here we

plunged into a tunnel, and I leaned back and closed my eyes for a

moment, trying to recall a few of the incidents of my recent dream.

“I thought I saw–” I murmured sleepily: and then the phrase insisted

on conjugating itself, and ran into “you thought you saw–he thought

he saw–” and then it suddenly went off into a song:–

“He thought he saw an Elephant,

That practised on a fife:

He looked again, and found it was

A letter from his wife.

‘At length I realise,’ he said,

“The bitterness of Life!'”

And what a wild being it was who sang these wild words! A Gardener he

seemed to be yet surely a mad one, by the way he brandished his

rake–madder, by the way he broke, ever and anon, into a frantic

jig–maddest of all, by the shriek in which he brought out the last

words of the stanza!

[Image….The gardener]

It was so far a description of himself that he had the feet of

an Elephant: but the rest of him was skin and bone: and the wisps of

loose straw, that bristled all about him, suggested that he had been

originally stuffed with it, and that nearly all the stuffing had come


Sylvie and Bruno waited patiently till the end of the first verse.

Then Sylvie advanced alone (Bruno having suddenly turned shy)

and timidly introduced herself with the words “Please, I’m Sylvie!”

“And who’s that other thing?’, said the Gardener.

“What thing?” said Sylvie, looking round. “Oh, that’s Bruno.

He’s my brother.”

“Was he your brother yesterday?” the Gardener anxiously enquired.

“Course I were!” cried Bruno, who had gradually crept nearer,

and didn’t at all like being talked about without having his share in

the conversation.

“Ah, well!” the Gardener said with a kind of groan. “Things change so,

here. Whenever I look again, it’s sure to be something different!

Yet I does my duty! I gets up wriggle-early at five–”

“If I was oo,” said Bruno, “I wouldn’t wriggle so early. It’s as bad as

being a worm!” he added, in an undertone to Sylvie.

“But you shouldn’t be lazy in the morning, Bruno,” said Sylvie.

“Remember, it’s the early bird that picks up the worm!”

“It may, if it likes!” Bruno said with a slight yawn. “I don’t like

eating worms, one bit. I always stop in bed till the early bird has

picked them up!”

“I wonder you’ve the face to tell me such fibs!” cried the Gardener.

To which Bruno wisely replied “Oo don’t want a face to tell fibs

wiz–only a mouf.”

Sylvie discreetly changed the subject. “And did you plant all these

flowers?” she said.

“What a lovely garden you’ve made! Do you know, I’d like to live here


“In the winter-nights–” the Gardener was beginning.

“But I’d nearly forgotten what we came about!” Sylvie interrupted.

“Would you please let us through into the road? There’s a poor old

beggar just gone out–and he’s very hungry–and Bruno wants to give

him his cake, you know!”

“It’s as much as my place is worth!’, the Gardener muttered, taking a

key from his pocket, and beginning to unlock a door in the garden-wall.

“How much are it wurf? “Bruno innocently enquired.

But the Gardener only grinned. “That’s a secret!” he said. “Mind you

come back quick!” he called after the children, as they passed out into

the road. I had just time to follow them, before he shut the door


We hurried down the road, and very soon caught sight of the old Beggar,

about a quarter of a mile ahead of us, and the children at once set off

running to overtake him.

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Categories: Carroll, Lewis