And the bullets–‘”

“I know the rest,” I interrupted. “But would you say it long I mean

the way that it came out of the mangle?”

“We’ll get the Professor to sing it for you,” said Sylvie.

“It would spoil it to say it.”

“I would like to meet the Professor,” I said. “And I would like to

take you all with me, to see some friends of mine, that live near here.

Would you like to come?”

“I don’t think the Professor would like to come,” said Sylvie.

“He’s very shy. But we’d like it very much. Only we’d better not come

this size, you know.”

The difficulty had occurred to me already: and I had felt that perhaps

there would be a slight awkwardness in introducing two such tiny

friends into Society. “What size will you be?” I enquired.

“We’d better come as–common children,” Sylvie thoughtfully replied.

“That’s the easiest size to manage.”

“Could you come to-day?” I said, thinking “then we could have you at

the picnic!”

Sylvie considered a little. “Not to-day,” she replied. “We haven’t

got the things ready. We’ll come on–Tuesday next, if you like.

And now, really Bruno, you must come and do your lessons.”

“I wiss oo wouldn’t say ‘really Bruno!'” the little fellow pleaded,

with pouting lips that made him look prettier than ever.

“It always show’s there’s something horrid coming! And I won’t kiss you,

if you’re so unkind.”

“Ah, but you have kissed me!” Sylvie exclaimed in merry triumph.

“Well then, I’ll unkiss you!” And he threw his arms round her neck for

this novel, but apparently not very painful, operation.

“It’s very like kissing!” Sylvie remarked, as soon as her lips were

again free for speech.

“Oo don’t know nuffin about it! It were just the conkery!” Bruno

replied with much severity, as he marched away.

Sylvie turned her laughing face to me. “Shall we come on Tuesday?”

she said.

“Very well,” I said: “let it be Tuesday next.

But where is the Professor? Did he come with you to Fairyland?”

“No,” said Sylvie. “But he promised he’d come and see us, some day.

He’s getting his Lecture ready. So he has to stay at home.”

“At home?” I said dreamily, not feeling quite sure what she had said.

“Yes, Sir. His Lordship and Lady Muriel are at home.

Please to walk this way.”



Still more dreamily I found myself following this imperious voice into

a room where the Earl, his daughter, and Arthur, were seated.

“So you’re come at last!” said Lady Muriel, in a tone of playful reproach.

“I was delayed,” I stammered. Though what it was that had delayed me I

should have been puzzled to explain! Luckily no questions were asked.

The carriage was ordered round, the hamper, containing our contribution

to the Picnic, was duly stowed away, and we set forth.

There was no need for me to maintain the conversation. Lady Muriel and

Arthur were evidently on those most delightful of terms, where one has

no need to check thought after thought, as it rises to the lips, with

the fear ‘this will not be appreciated–this will give’ offence–

this will sound too serious–this will sound flippant’: like very old

friends, in fullest sympathy, their talk rippled on.

“Why shouldn’t we desert the Picnic and go in some other direction?”

she suddenly suggested. “A party of four is surely self-sufficing?

And as for food, our hamper–”

“Why shouldn’t we? What a genuine lady’s argument!” laughed Arthur.

“A lady never knows on which side the onus probandi–the burden of


“Do men always know?” she asked with a pretty assumption of meek docility.

“With one exception–the only one I can think of Dr. Watts, who has

asked the senseless question

‘Why should I deprive my neighbour

Of his goods against his will?’

Fancy that as an argument for Honesty! His position seems to be ‘I’m

only honest because I see no reason to steal.’ And the thief’s answer

is of course complete and crushing. ‘I deprive my neighbour of his

goods because I want them myself. And I do it against his will because

there’s no chance of getting him to consent to it!'”

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Categories: Carroll, Lewis