“What! After that old beggar again?” the Gardener yelled, and began

singing :–

“He thought he saw a Kangaroo

That worked a coffee-mill:

He looked again, and found it was

A Vegetable-pill

‘Were I to swallow this,’ he said,

‘I should be very ill!'”

[Image…He thought he saw a kangaroo]

“We don’t want him to swallow anything,” Sylvie explained.

“He’s not hungry. But we want to see him. So Will you please–”

“Certainly!” the Gardener promptly replied. “I always please.

Never displeases nobody.

There you are!” And he flung the door open, and let us out upon the

dusty high-road.

We soon found our way to the bush, which had so mysteriously sunk into

the ground: and here Sylvie drew the Magic Locket from its hiding-place,

turned it over with a thoughtful air, and at last appealed to Bruno in

a rather helpless way. “What was it we had to do with it, Bruno?

It’s all gone out of my head!”

“Kiss it!” was Bruno’s invariable recipe in cases of doubt and difficulty.

Sylvie kissed it, but no result followed.

“Rub it the wrong way,” was Bruno’s next suggestion.

“Which is the wrong way?”, Sylvie most reasonably enquired.

The obvious plan was to try both ways.

Rubbing from left to right had no visible effect whatever.

From right to left– “Oh, stop, Sylvie!” Bruno cried in sudden alarm.

“Whatever is going to happen?”

For a number of trees, on the neighbouring hillside, were moving slowly

upwards, in solemn procession: while a mild little brook, that had been

rippling at our feet a moment before, began to swell, and foam,

and hiss, and bubble, in a truly alarming fashion.

“Rub it some other way!” cried Bruno. “Try up-and-down! Quick!”

It was a happy thought. Up-and-down did it: and the landscape, which

had been showing signs of mental aberration in various directions,

returned to its normal condition of sobriety with the exception of a

small yellowish-brown mouse, which continued to run wildly up and down

the road, lashing its tail like a little lion.

“Let’s follow it,” said Sylvie: and this also turned out a happy

thought. The mouse at once settled down into a business-like jog-trot,

with which we could easily keep pace. The only phenomenon, that gave me

any uneasiness, was the rapid increase in the size of the little

creature we were following, which became every moment more and more

like a real lion.

Soon the transformation was complete: and a noble lion stood patiently

waiting for us to come up with it. No thought of fear seemed to occur

to the children, who patted and stroked it as if it had been a


[Image…The mouse-lion]

“Help me up!” cried Bruno. And in another moment Sylvie had lifted him

upon the broad back of the gentle beast, and seated herself behind him,

pillion-fashion. Bruno took a good handful of mane in each hand, and

made believe to guide this new kind of steed. “Gee-up!’, seemed quite

sufficient by way of verbal direction: the lion at once broke into an

easy canter, and we soon found ourselves in the depths of the forest.

I say ‘we,’ for I am certain that I accompanied them though how I managed

to keep up with a cantering lion I am wholly unable to explain.

But I was certainly one of the party when we came upon an old beggar-man

cutting sticks, at whose feet the lion made a profound obeisance,

Sylvie and Bruno at the same moment dismounting, and leaping in to the

arms of their father.

“From bad to worse!” the old man said to himself, dreamily, when the

children had finished their rather confused account of the Ambassador’s

visit, gathered no doubt from general report, as they had not seen him

themselves. “From bad to worse! That is their destiny. I see it,

but I cannot alter it. The selfishness of a mean and crafty man–the

selfishness of an ambitious and silly woman— the selfishness of a

spiteful and loveless child all tend one way, from bad to worse!

And you, my darlings, must suffer it awhile, I fear. Yet, when things

are at their worst, you can come to me. I can do but little as yet–“

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Categories: Carroll, Lewis