in her garden. See, there are a good many at this end quite hiding the
“But that won’t vex her!” said Bruno.
“After that,” I said, without noticing the remark, “we’ll water this
highest bed–up here. You see it’s getting quite dry and dusty.”
Bruno looked at me inquisitively, but he said nothing this time.
“Then after that,” I went on, “the walks want sweeping a bit; and I
think you might cut down that tall nettle–it’s so close to the garden
that it’s quite in the way–”
“What is oo talking about?” Bruno impatiently interrupted me.
“All that won’t vex her a bit!”
“Won’t it?” I said, innocently. “Then, after that, suppose we put in
some of these coloured pebbles–just to mark the divisions between the
different kinds of flowers, you know. That’ll have a very pretty
Bruno turned round and had another good stare at me. At last there
came an odd little twinkle into his eyes, and he said, with quite a new
meaning in his voice, “That’ll do nicely. Let’s put ’em in rows–
all the red together, and all the blue together. ”
“That’ll do capitally,” I said; “and then–what kind of flowers does
Sylvie like best?”
Bruno had to put his thumb in his mouth and consider a little before he
could answer. “Violets,” he said, at last.
“There’s a beautiful bed of violets down by the brook–”
“Oh, let’s fetch ’em!” cried Bruno, giving a little skip into the air.
“Here! Catch hold of my hand, and I’ll help oo along. The grass is
rather thick down that way.”
I couldn’t help laughing at his having so entirely forgotten what a big
creature he was talking to. “No, not yet, Bruno,” I said: “we must
consider what’s the right thing to do first. You see we’ve got quite a
business before us.”
“Yes, let’s consider,” said Bruno, putting his thumb into his mouth again,
and sitting down upon a dead mouse.
“What do you keep that mouse for?” I said. “You should either bury it,
or else throw it into the brook.”
“Why, it’s to measure with!” cried Bruno.
“How ever would oo do a garden without one? We make each bed three
mouses and a half long, and two mouses wide.”
I stopped him, as he was dragging it off by the tail to show me how it
was used, for I was half afraid the ‘eerie’ feeling might go off before
we had finished the garden, and in that case I should see no more of
him or Sylvie. “I think the best way will be for you to weed the beds,
while I sort out these pebbles, ready to mark the walks with.”
“That’s it!” cried Bruno. “And I’ll tell oo about the caterpillars
while we work.”
“Ah, let’s hear about the caterpillars,” I said, as I drew the pebbles
together into a heap and began dividing them into colours.
And Bruno went on in a low, rapid tone, more as if he were talking to
himself. “Yesterday I saw two little caterpillars, when I was sitting
by the brook, just where oo go into the wood. They were quite green,
and they had yellow eyes, and they didn’t see me. And one of them had
got a moth’s wing to carry–a great brown moth’s wing, oo know, all dry,
with feathers. So he couldn’t want it to eat, I should think–perhaps
he meant to make a cloak for the winter?”
“Perhaps,” I said, for Bruno had twisted up the last word into a sort
of question, and was looking at me for an answer.
One word was quite enough for the little fellow, and he went on
merrily. “Well, and so he didn’t want the other caterpillar to see the
moth’s wing, oo know–so what must he do but try to carry it with all
his left legs, and he tried to walk on the other set. Of course he
toppled over after that.”
“After what?” I said, catching at the last word, for, to tell the
truth, I hadn’t been attending much.
“He toppled over,” Bruno repeated, very gravely, “and if oo ever saw a
caterpillar topple over, oo’d know it’s a welly serious thing, and not