“We know the way to Fairyland–where Father’s gone–quite well,”

said Sylvie: “if only the Gardener would let us out.”

“Won’t he open the door for you?” said the Professor.

“Not for us,” said Sylvie: “but I’m sure he would for you.

Do come and ask him, Professor dear!”

“I’ll come this minute!” said the Professor.

Bruno sat up and dried his eyes. “Isn’t he kind, Mister Sir?”

“He is indeed,” said I. But the Professor took no notice of my remark.

He had put on a beautiful cap with a long tassel, and was selecting one

of the Other Professor’s walking-sticks, from a stand in the corner of

the room. “A thick stick in one’s hand makes people respectful,”

he was saying to himself. “Come along, dear children!” And we all went

out into the garden together.

“I shall address him, first of all,” the Professor explained as we went

along, “with a few playful remarks on the weather. I shall then question

him about the Other Professor. This will have a double advantage. First,

it will open the conversation (you can’t even drink a bottle of wine

without opening it first): and secondly, if he’s seen the Other Professor,

we shall find him that way: and, if he hasn’t, we sha’n’t.”

On our way, we passed the target, at which Uggug had been made to shoot

during the Ambassador’s visit.

“See!” said the Professor, pointing out a hole in the middle of the

bull’s-eye. “His Imperial Fatness had only one shot at it; and he went

in just here!

Bruno carefully examined the hole. “Couldn’t go in there,”

he whispered to me. “He are too fat!”

We had no sort of difficulty in finding the Gardener. Though he was

hidden from us by some trees, that harsh voice of his served to direct

us; and, as we drew nearer, the words of his song became more and more

plainly audible:-

“He thought he saw an Albatross

That fluttered round the lamp:

He looked again, and found it was

A Penny-Postage-Stamp.

‘You’d best be getting home,’ he said:

‘The nights are very damp!'”

[Image…He thought he saw an albatross]

“Would it be afraid of catching cold?” said Bruno.

If it got very damp,” Sylvie suggested, “it might stick to something,

you know.”

“And that somefin would have to go by the post, what ever it was!”

Bruno eagerly exclaimed. “Suppose it was a cow! Wouldn’t it be

dreadful for the other things!”

“And all these things happened to him,” said the Professor.

“That’s what makes the song so interesting.”

“He must have had a very curious life,” said Sylvie.

“You may say that!” the Professor heartily rejoined.

“Of course she may!” cried Bruno.

By this time we had come up to the Gardener, who was standing on one

leg, as usual, and busily employed in watering a bed of flowers with an

empty watering-can.

“It hasn’t got no water in it!” Bruno explained to him, pulling his

sleeve to attract his attention.

“It’s lighter to hold,” said the Gardener. “A lot of water in it makes

one’s arms ache.” And he went on with his work, singing softly to himself

“The nights are very damp!”

“In digging things out of the ground which you probably do now and

then,” the Professor began in a loud voice; “in making things into

heaps–which no doubt you often do; and in kicking things about with

one heel–which you seem never to leave off doing; have you ever

happened to notice another Professor something like me, but different?”

“Never!” shouted the Gardener, so loudly and violently that we all drew

back in alarm. “There ain’t such a thing!”

“We will try a less exciting topic,” the Professor mildly remarked to

the children. “You were asking–”

“We asked him to let us through the garden-door,” said Sylvie:

“but he wouldn’t: but perhaps he would for you!”

The Professor put the request, very humbly and courteously.

“I wouldn’t mind letting you out,” said the Gardener. “But I mustn’t

open the door for children. D’you think I’d disobey the Rules?

Not for one-and-sixpence!”

The Professor cautiously produced a couple of shillings.

“That’ll do it!” the Gardener shouted, as he hurled the watering-can

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Categories: Carroll, Lewis