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Sylvie and Bruno Glass by Lewis Carroll, the Pennsylvania State University, Jim Manis, Faculty Editor, Hazleton, PA 18201-1291 is a Portable Document File produced as part of an ongoing student publication project, the Pennsylvania State University’s Electronic Classics Series, to bring classical works of literature, in English, to free and easy access of those wishing to make use of them.
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Sylvie and Bruno
Is all our Life, then but a dream
Seen faintly in the goldern gleam
Athwart Time’s dark resistless stream?
Bowed to the earth with bitter woe
Or laughing at some raree-show
We flutter idly to and fro.
Man’s little Day in haste we spend,
And, from its merry noontide, send No glance to meet the silent end.
Sylvie and Bruno - Lewis Carroll
SYLVIE AND BRUNO
LESS BREAD! MORE TAXES!
—and then all the people cheered again, and one man, who
was more excited than the rest, flung his hat high into the
air, and shouted (as well as I could make out) “Who roar for
the Sub-Warden?” Everybody roared, but whether it was for
the Sub-Warden, or not, did not clearly appear: some were shouting “Bread!” and some “Taxes!”, but no one seemed to
know what it was they really wanted.
All this I saw from the open window of the Warden’s break-EDITOR’S NOTE: The author’s “Preface” has been removed to the end of this electronic book. The fast-saloon, looking across the shoulder of the Lord Chan-reader will note references to images within the text, cellor, who had sprung to his feet the moment the shouting in the “Preface,” which do not appear in this edition.
began, almost as if he had been expecting it, and had rushed We strongly recommend that the reader seek hard copy editions of this classic work to view those im-to the window which commanded the best view of the mar-ages.
“What can it all mean?” he kept repeating to himself, as, 4
Sylvie and Bruno - Lewis Carroll with his hands clasped behind him, and his gown floating in from us at the end of one tack than it had been at the end of the air, he paced rapidly up and down the room. “I never the previous one.
heard such shouting before—and at this time of the morn-Yet it was evident that all was being done under orders, for ing, too! And with such unanimity! Doesn’t it strike you as I noticed that all eyes were fixed on the man who stood just very remarkable?”
under the window, and to whom the Chancellor was con-I represented, modestly, that to my ears it appeared that tinually whispering. This man held his hat in one hand and they were shouting for different things, but the Chancellor a little green flag in the other: whenever he waved the flag would not listen to my suggestion for a moment. “They all the procession advanced a little nearer, when he dipped it shout the same words, I assure you!” he said: then, leaning they sidled a little farther off, and whenever he waved his well out of the window, he whispered to a man who was hat they all raised a hoarse cheer. “Hoo-roah!” they cried, standing close underneath, “Keep’em together, ca’n’t you?
carefully keeping time with the hat as it bobbed up and down.
The Warden will be here directly. Give’em the signal for the
“Hoo-roah! Noo! Consti! Tooshun! Less! Bread! More! Taxes!” march up!” All this was evidently not meant for my ears, but
“That’ll do, that’ll do!” the Chancellor whispered. “Let I could scarcely help hearing it, considering that my chin
‘em rest a bit till I give you the word. He’s not here yet!” But was almost on the Chancellor’s shoulder.
at this moment the great folding-doors of the saloon were The ‘march up’ was a very curious sight: a straggling pro-flung open, and he turned with a guilty start to receive His cession of men, marching two and two, began from the other High Excellency. However it was only Bruno, and the Chan-side of the market-place, and advanced in an irregular zig-cellor gave a little gasp of relieved anxiety.
zag fashion towards the Palace, wildly tacking from side to
“Morning!” said the little fellow, addressing the remark, in side, like a sailing vessel making way against an unfavourable a general sort of way, to the Chancellor and the waiters.
wind so that the head of the procession was often further
“Doos oo know where Sylvie is? I’s looking for Sylvie!” 5
Sylvie and Bruno - Lewis Carroll
“She’s with the Warden, I believe, y’reince!” the Chancel-recollection this is what he said.
lor replied with a low bow. There was, no doubt, a certain
“Ahem! Ahem! Ahem! Fellow-sufferers, or rather suffering amount of absurdity in applying this title (which, as of course fellows—” (“Don’t call ‘em names!” muttered the man un-you see without my telling you, was nothing but ‘your Royal der the window. “I didn’t say felons!” the Chancellor ex-Highness’ condensed into one syllable) to a small creature plained.) “You may be sure that I always sympa—” (“‘Ear, whose father was merely the Warden of Outland: still, large
‘ear!” shouted the crowd, so loudly as quite to drown the excuse must be made for a man who had passed several years orator’s thin squeaky voice) “—that I always sympa—” he at the Court of Fairyland, and had there acquired the almost repeated. (“Don’t simper quite so much!” said the man un-impossible art of pronouncing five syllables as one.
der the window. “It makes yer look a hidiot!” And, all this But the bow was lost upon Bruno, who had run out of the time, “‘Ear, ‘ear!” went rumbling round the market-place, room, even while the great feat of The Unpronounceable like a peal of thunder.) “That I always sympathise!” yelled Monosyllable was being triumphantly performed.
the Chancellor, the first moment there was silence. “But your Just then, a single voice in the distance was understood to true friend is the Sub-Warden! Day and night he is brooding shout “A speech from the Chancellor!” “Certainly, my on your wrongs—I should say your rights—that is to say friends!” the Chancellor replied with extraordinary promp-your wrongs—no, I mean your rights—” (“Don’t talk no titude. “You shall have a speech!” Here one of the waiters, more!” growled the man under the window. “You’re making who had been for some minutes busy making a queer-look-a mess of it!”) At this moment the Sub-Warden entered the ing mixture of egg and sherry, respectfully presented it on a saloon. He was a thin man, with a mean and crafty face, and large silver salver. The Chancellor took it haughtily, drank it a greenish-yellow complexion; and he crossed the room very off thoughtfully, smiled benevolently on the happy waiter as slowly, looking suspiciously about him as if be thought there he set down the empty glass, and began. To the best of my might be a savage dog hidden somewhere. “Bravo!” he cried, 6
Sylvie and Bruno - Lewis Carroll patting the Chancellor on the back. “You did that speech to see. She looked four or five years older than Bruno, but very well indeed. Why, you’re a born orator, man!” she had the same rosy cheeks and sparkling eyes, and the
“Oh, that’s nothing! the Chancellor replied, modestly, with same wealth of curly brown hair. Her eager smiling face was downcast eyes. “Most orators are born, you know.” turned upwards towards her father’s, and it was a pretty sight The Sub-Warden thoughtfully rubbed his chin. “Why, so to see the mutual love with which the two faces—one in the they are!” he admitted. “I never considered it in that light.
Spring of Life, the other in its late Autumn—were gazing on Still, you did it very well. A word in your ear!” each other.
The rest of their conversation was all in whispers: so, as I
“No, you’ve never seen him,” the old man was saying: “you could hear no more, I thought I would go and find Bruno.
couldn’t, you know, he’s been away so long—traveling from I found the little fellow standing in the passage, and being land to land, and seeking for health, more years than you’ve addressed by one of the men in livery, who stood before been alive, little Sylvie!” Here Bruno climbed upon his other him, nearly bent double from extreme respectfulness, with knee, and a good deal of kissing, on a rather complicated his hands hanging in front of him like the fins of a fish.
system, was the result.
“His High Excellency,” this respectful man was saying, “is in
“He only came back last night,” said the Warden, when his Study, y’reince!” (He didn’t pronounce this quite so well the kissing was over: “he’s been traveling post-haste, for the as the Chancellor.) Thither Bruno trotted, and I thought it last thousand miles or so, in order to be here on Sylvie’s well to follow him.
birthday. But he’s a very early riser, and I dare say he’s in the The Warden, a tall dignified man with a grave but very Library already. Come with me and see him. He’s always pleasant face, was seated before a writing-table, which was kind to children. You’ll be sure to like him.” covered with papers, and holding on his knee one of the
“Has the Other Professor come too?” Bruno asked in an sweetest and loveliest little maidens it has ever been my lot awe-struck voice.
Sylvie and Bruno - Lewis Carroll
“Yes, they arrived together. The Other Professor is—well, knees, each secured a hand, and the happy trio set off for the you won’t like him quite so much, perhaps. He’s a little more Library—followed by me. I had come to the conclusion by dreamy, you know.”
this time that none of the party (except, for a few moments,
“I wiss Sylvie was a little more dreamy,” said Bruno.
the Lord Chancellor) was in the least able to see me.
“What do you mean, Bruno?” said Sylvie.
“What’s the matter with him?” Sylvie asked, walking with Bruno went on addressing his father. “She says she ca’n’t, a little extra sedateness, by way of example to Bruno at the oo know. But I thinks it isn’t ca’n’t, it’s wo’n’t.” other side, who never ceased jumping up and down.
“Says she ca’n’t dream!” the puzzled Warden repeated.
“What was the matter—but I hope he’s all right now—
“She do say it,” Bruno persisted. “When I says to her ‘Let’s was lumbago, and rheumatism, and that kind of thing. He’s stop lessons!’, she says ‘Oh, I ca’n’t dream of letting oo stop been curing himself, you know: he’s a very learned doctor.
Why, he’s actually invented three new diseases, besides a new
“He always wants to stop lessons,” Sylvie explained, “five way of breaking your collar-bone!” minutes after we begin!”
“Is it a nice way?” said Bruno.
“Five minutes’ lessons a day!” said the Warden. “You won’t
“Well, hum, not very,” the Warden said, as we entered the learn much at that rate, little man!” Library. “And here is the Professor. Good morning, Profes-
“That’s just what Sylvie says,” Bruno rejoined. “She says I sor! Hope you’re quite rested after your journey!” wo’n’t learn my lessons. And I tells her, over and over, I ca’n’t A jolly-looking, fat little man, in a flowery dressing-gown, learn ‘em. And what doos oo think she says? She says ‘It isn’t with a large book under each arm, came trotting in at the ca’n’t, it’s wo’n’t!’”
other end of the room, and was going straight across with-
“Let’s go and see the Professor,” the Warden said, wisely out taking any notice of the children. “I’m looking for Vol.
avoiding further discussion. The children got down off his Three,” he said. “Do you happen to have seen it?” 8
Sylvie and Bruno - Lewis Carroll
“You don’t see my children, Professor!” the Warden ex-to hear,” he was saying, “that the Barometer’s beginning to claimed, taking him by the shoulders and turning him round move—”
to face them.
“Well, which way?” said the Warden—adding, to the chil-The Professor laughed violently: then he gazed at them dren, “Not that I care, you know. Only he thinks it affects through his great spectacles, for a minute or two, without the weather. He’s a wonderfully clever man, you know. Some-speaking.
times he says things that only the Other Professor can un-At last he addressed Bruno. “I hope you have had a good derstand. Sometimes he says things that nobody can under-night, my child?” Bruno looked puzzled. “I’s had the same stand! Which way is it, Professor? Up or down?” night oo’ve had,” he replied. “There’s only been one night
“Neither!” said the Professor, gently clapping his hands.
“It’s going sideways—if I may so express myself.” It was the Professor’s turn to look puzzled now. He took
“And what kind of weather does that produce?” said the off his spectacles, and rubbed them with his handkerchief.
Warden. “Listen, children! Now you’ll hear something worth Then he gazed at them again. Then he turned to the War-knowing!”
den. “Are they bound?” he enquired.
“Horizontal weather,” said the Professor, and made straight
“No, we aren’t,” said Bruno, who thought himself quite for the door, very nearly trampling on Bruno, who had only able to answer this question.
just time to get out of his way.
The Professor shook his head sadly. “Not even half-bound?”
“Isn’t he learned?” the Warden said, looking after him with
“Why would we be half-bound?” said Bruno.
admiring eyes. “Positively he runs over with learning!”
“We’re not prisoners!”
“But he needn’t run over me!” said Bruno.
But the Professor had forgotten all about them by this The Professor was back in a moment: he had changed his time, and was speaking to the Warden again. “You’ll be glad dressing-gown for a frock-coat, and had put on a pair of 9
Sylvie and Bruno - Lewis Carroll very strange-looking boots, the tops of which were open umbrellas. “I thought you’d like to see them,” he said. “These CHAPTER 2
are the boots for horizontal weather!”
“But what’s the use of wearing umbrellas round one’s L’AMIE INCONNUE
“In ordinary rain,” the Professor admitted, “they would As we entered the breakfast-saloon, the Professor was say-not be of much use. But if ever it rained horizontally, you ing “—and he had breakfast by himself, early: so he begged know, they would be invaluable—simply invaluable!” you wouldn’t wait for him, my Lady. This way, my Lady,” he
“Take the Professor to the breakfast-saloon, children,” said added, “this way!” And then, with (as it seemed to me) most the Warden. “And tell them not to wait for me. I had break-superfluous politeness, he flung open the door of my com-fast early, as I’ve some business to attend to.” The children partment, and ushered in “—a young and lovely lady!” I seized the Professor’s hands, as familiarly as if they had known muttered to myself with some bitterness. “And this is, of him for years, and hurried him away. I followed respectfully course, the opening scene of Vol. I. She is the Heroine. And behind.
I am one of those subordinate characters that only turn up when needed for the development of her destiny, and whose final appearance is outside the church, waiting to greet the Happy Pair!”
“Yes, my Lady, change at Fayfield,” were the next words I heard (oh that too obsequious Guard!), “next station but one.” And the door closed, and the lady settled down into her corner, and the monotonous throb of the engine (mak-10
Sylvie and Bruno - Lewis Carroll ing one feel as if the train were some gigantic monster, whose mouth. Gradually, however, the conviction came upon me very circulation we could feel) proclaimed that we were once that I could, by a certain concentration of thought, think more speeding on our way. “The lady had a perfectly formed the veil away, and so get a glimpse of the mysterious face—
nose,” I caught myself saying to myself, “hazel eyes, and lips—” and as to which the two questions, “is she pretty?” and “is she here it occurred to me that to see, for myself, what “the plain?”, still hung suspended, in my mind, in beautiful equi-lady” was really like, would be more satisfactory than much poise.
Success was partial—and fitful—still there was a result: I looked round cautiously, and—was entirely disappointed ever and anon, the veil seemed to vanish, in a sudden flash of my hope. The veil, which shrouded her whole face, was of light: but, before I could fully realise the face, all was dark too thick for me to see more than the glitter of bright eyes again. In each such glimpse, the face seemed to grow more and the hazy outline of what might be a lovely oval face, but childish and more innocent: and, when I had at last thought might also, unfortunately, be an equally unlovely one. I closed the veil entirely away, it was, unmistakeably, the sweet face my eyes again, saying to myself “—couldn’t have a better of little Sylvie!
chance for an experiment in Telepathy! I’ll think out her
“So, either I’ve been dreaming about Sylvie,” I said to face, and afterwards test the portrait with the original.” myself, “and this is the reality. Or else I’ve really been with At first, no result at all crowned my efforts, though I ‘di-Sylvie, and this is a dream! Is Life itself a dream, I wonder?” vided my swift mind,’ now hither, now thither, in a way that To occupy the time, I got out the letter, which had caused I felt sure would have made Æneas green with envy: but the me to take this sudden railway-journey from my London dimly-seen oval remained as provokingly blank as ever—a home down to a strange fishing-town on the North coast, mere Ellipse, as if in some mathematical diagram, without and read it over again:
even the Foci that might be made to do duty as a nose and a 11
Sylvie and Bruno - Lewis Carroll
Dear Old Friend,
This Postscript puzzled me sorely. “He is far too sensible a
Im sure it will be as great a pleasure to me, as it man,” I thought, “to have become a Fatalist. And yet what can possibly be to you, to meet once more after so many else can he mean by it?” And, as I folded up the letter and years: and of course I shall be ready to give you all the put it away, I inadvertently repeated the words aloud. “Do benefit of such medical skill as I have: only, you know, you believe in Fate?” one mustnt violate professional etiquette! And you are The fair ‘Incognita’ turned her head quickly at the sudden already in the hands of a first-rate London doctor, question. “No, I don’t!” she said with a smile. “Do you?” with whom it would be utter affectation for me to pre-
“I—I didn’t mean to ask the question!” I stammered, a tend to compete. (I make no doubt he is right in saying little taken aback at having begun a conversation in so un-the heart is affected: all your symptoms point that way.) conventional a fashion.
One thing, at any rate, I have already done in my The lady’s smile became a laugh—not a mocking laugh, doctorial capacitysecured you a bedroom on the but the laugh of a happy child who is perfectly at her ease.
ground-floor, so that you will not need to ascend the “Didn’t you?” she said. “Then it was a case of what you stairs at all.
Doctors call ‘unconscious cerebration’?”
I shalt expect you by last train on Friday, in ac-
“I am no Doctor,” I replied. “Do I look so like one? Or cordance with your letter: and, till then, I shalt say, in what makes you think it?” the words of the old song, Oh for Friday nicht!
She pointed to the book I had been reading, which was so Fridays lang a-coming!
lying that its title, “Diseases of the Heart,” was plainly vis-
“One needn’t be a Doctor,” I said, “to take an interest in
P.S. Do you believe in Fate?
medical books. There’s another class of readers, who are yet 12
Sylvie and Bruno - Lewis Carroll more deeply interested—”
contains that of all the books; but not the other way?”
“You mean the Patients?” she interrupted, while a look of
“Certainly we may!” I replied, delighted with the illustra-tender pity gave new sweetness to her face. “But,” with an tion. “And what a grand thing it would be,” I went on dream-evident wish to avoid a possibly painful topic, “one needn’t ily, thinking aloud rather than talking, “if we could only be either, to take an interest in books of Science. Which apply that Rule to books! You know, in finding the Least contain the greatest amount of Science, do you think, the Common Multiple, we strike out a quantity wherever it oc-books, or the minds?”
curs, except in the term where it is raised to its highest power.
“Rather a profound question for a lady!” I said to myself, So we should have to erase every recorded thought, except holding, with the conceit so natural to Man, that Woman’s in the sentence where it is expressed with the greatest inten-intellect is essentially shallow. And I considered a minute sity.”
before replying. “If you mean living minds, I don’t think it’s My Lady laughed merrily. “Some books would be reduced possible to decide. There is so much written Science that no to blank paper, I’m afraid!” she said.
living person has ever read: and there is so much thought-
“They would. Most libraries would be terribly diminished out Science that hasn’t yet been written. But, if you mean in bulk. But just think what they would gain in quality!” the whole human race, then I think the minds have it: ev-
“When will it be done?” she eagerly asked. “If there’s any erything, recorded in books, must have once been in some chance of it in my time, I think I’ll leave off reading, and mind, you know.”
wait for it!”
“Isn’t that rather like one of the Rules in Algebra?” my
“Well, perhaps in another thousand years or so—” Lady enquired. (“Algebra too!” I thought with increasing
“Then there’s no use waiting!”, said my Lady. “Let’s sit wonder.) “I mean, if we consider thoughts as factors, may down. Uggug, my pet, come and sit by me!” we not say that the Least Common Multiple of all the minds
“Anywhere but by me!” growled the Sub-warden. “The 13
Sylvie and Bruno - Lewis Carroll little wretch always manages to upset his coffee!”
“Why, you need a flea, not a man!” exclaimed the Sub-I guessed at once (as perhaps the reader will also have Warden.
guessed, if, like myself, he is very clever at drawing conclu-
“Pardon me,” said the Professor. “This particular kind of sions) that my Lady was the Sub-Warden’s wife, and that bath is not adapted for a flea. Let us suppose,” he continued, Uggug (a hideous fat boy, about the same age as Sylvie, with folding his table-napkin into a graceful festoon, “that this the expression of a prize-pig) was their son. Sylvie and Bruno, represents what is perhaps the necessity of this Age—the with the Lord Chancellor, made up a party of seven.
Active Tourist’s Portable Bath. You may describe it briefly, if
“And you actually got a plunge-bath every morning?” said you like,” looking at the Chancellor, “by the letters A.T.P.B.” the Sub-Warden, seemingly in continuation of a conversa-The Chancellor, much disconcerted at finding everybody tion with the Professor. “Even at the little roadside-inns?” looking at him, could only murmur, in a shy whisper, “Pre-
“Oh, certainly, certainly!” the Professor replied with a smile cisely so!”
on his jolly face. “Allow me to explain. It is, in fact, a very
“One great advantage of this plunge-bath,” continued the simple problem in Hydrodynamics. (That means a combi-Professor, “is that it requires only half-a-gallon of water—” nation of Water and Strength.) If we take a plunge-bath,
“I don’t call it a plunge-bath,” His Sub-Excellency re-and a man of great strength (such as myself ) about to plunge marked, “unless your Active Tourist goes right under!” into it, we have a perfect example of this science. I am bound
“But he does go right under,” the old man gently replied.
to admit,” the Professor continued, in a lower tone and with
“The A.T. hangs up the P. B. on a nail—thus. He then emp-downcast eyes, “that we need a man of remarkable strength.
ties the water-jug into it—places the empty jug below the He must be able to spring from the floor to about twice his bag—leaps into the air—descends head-first into the bag—
own height, gradually turning over as he rises, so as to come the water rises round him to the top of the bag—and there down again head first.”
you are!” he triumphantly concluded. “The A.T. is as much 14
Sylvie and Bruno - Lewis Carroll under water as if he’d gone a mile or two down into the
“Quite beyond belief!” my Lady added—meaning, no Atlantic!”
doubt, to be more complimentary still. The Professor bowed,
“And he’s drowned, let us say, in about four minutes—” but he didn’t smile this time. “I can assure you,” he said
“By no means!” the Professor answered with a proud smile.
earnestly, “that, provided the bath was made, I used it every
“After about a minute, he quietly turns a tap at the lower morning. I certainly ordered it—that I am clear about—my end of the P. B.—all the water runs back into the jug and only doubt is, whether the man ever finished making it. It’s there you are again!”
difficult to remember, after so many years—”
“But how in the world is he to get out of the bag again?” At this moment the door, very slowly and creakingly, be-
“That, I take it,” said the Professor, “is the most beautiful gan to open, and Sylvie and Bruno jumped up, and ran to part of the whole invention. All the way up the P.B., inside, meet the well-known footstep.
are loops for the thumbs; so it’s something like going upstairs, only perhaps less comfortable; and, by the time the A. T.
has risen out of the bag, all but his head, he’s sure to topple over, one way or the other—the Law of Gravity secures that.
And there he is on the floor again!”
“A little bruised, perhaps?”
“It’s my brother!” the Sub-warden exclaimed, in a warning
“Well, yes, a little bruised; but having had his plunge-bath: whisper. “Speak out, and be quick about it!” that’s the great thing.”
The appeal was evidently addressed to the Lord Chancel-
“Wonderful! It’s almost beyond belief!” murmured the lor, who instantly replied, in a shrill monotone, like a little Sub-Warden. The Professor took it as a compliment, and boy repeating the alphabet, “As I was remarking, your Sub-bowed with a gratified smile.
Excellency, this portentous movement—” 15
Sylvie and Bruno - Lewis Carroll
“You began too soon!” the other interrupted, scarcely able being in a state of abject terror, had dropped almost into a to restrain himself to a whisper, so great was his excitement.
whisper) “—you will understand what it is they want. ”
“He couldn’t have heard you. Begin again!” “As I was re-And at that moment there surged into the room a hoarse marking,” chanted the obedient Lord Chancellor, “this por-confused cry, in which the only clearly audible words were tentous movement has already assumed the dimensions of a
“Less—bread—More—taxes!” The old man laughed heart-Revolution!”
ily. “What in the world—” he was beginning: but the Chan-
“And what are the dimensions of a Revolution?” The voice cellor heard him not. “Some mistake!” he muttered, hurry-was genial and mellow, and the face of the tall dignified old ing to the window, from which he shortly returned with an man, who had just entered the room, leading Sylvie by the air of relief. “Now listen!” he exclaimed, holding up his hand hand, and with Bruno riding triumphantly on his shoulder, impressively. And now the words came quite distinctly, and was too noble and gentle to have scared a less guilty man: with the regularity of the ticking of a clock, “More—bread—
but the Lord Chancellor turned pale instantly, and could Less taxes!’”
hardly articulate the words “The dimensions your—your
“More bread!” the Warden repeated in astonishment.
High Excellency? I—I—scarcely comprehend!”
“Why, the new Government Bakery was opened only last
“Well, the length, breadth, and thickness, if you like it week, and I gave orders to sell the bread at cost-price during better!” And the old man smiled, half-contemptuously.
the present scarcity! What can they expect more?” The Lord Chancellor recovered himself with a great ef-
“The Bakery’s closed, y’reince!” the Chancellor said, more fort, and pointed to the open window. “If your High Excel-loudly and clearly than he had spoken yet. He was lency will listen for a moment to the shouts of the exasper-emboldened by the consciousness that here, at least, he had ated populace—” (“of the exasperated populace!” the Sub-evidence to produce: and he placed in the Warden’s hands a Warden repeated in a louder tone, as the Lord Chancellor, few printed notices, that were lying ready, with some open 16
Sylvie and Bruno - Lewis Carroll ledgers, on a side-table.
act as Vice-Warden whenever the Warden is absent —would
“Yes, yes, I see!” the Warden muttered, glancing carelessly appease all this seedling discontent I mean,” he added, glanc-through them. “Order countermanded by my brother, and ing at a paper he held in his hand, “all this seething discon-supposed to be my doing! Rather sharp practice! It’s all right!” tent!”
he added in a louder tone. “My name is signed to it: so I take
“For fifteen years,” put in a deep but very harsh voice, it on myself. But what do they mean by ‘Less Taxes’? How
“my husband has been acting as Sub-Warden. It is too long!
can they be less? I abolished the last of them a month ago!” It is much too long!” My Lady was a vast creature at all
“It’s been put on again, y’reince, and by y’reince’s own or-times: but, when she frowned and folded her arms, as now, ders!”, and other printed notices were submitted for inspec-she looked more gigantic than ever, and made one try to tion.
fancy what a haystack would look like, if out of temper.
The Warden, whilst looking them over, glanced once or
“He would distinguish himself as a Vice!” my Lady pro-twice at the Sub-Warden, who had seated himself before one ceeded, being far too stupid to see the double meaning of of the open ledgers, and was quite absorbed in adding it up; her words. “There has been no such Vice in Outland for but he merely repeated “It’s all right. I accept it as my do-many a long year, as he would be!” ing.”
“What course would you suggest, Sister?” the Warden
“And they do say,” the Chancellor went on sheepishly—
looking much more like a convicted thief than an Officer of My Lady stamped, which was undignified: and snorted, State, “that a change of Government, by the abolition of the which was ungraceful. “This is no jesting matter!” she bel-Sub-Warden—I mean,” he hastily added, on seeing the lowed.
Warden’s look of astonishment, “the abolition of the office
“I will consult my brother, said the Warden. “Brother!” of Sub-Warden, and giving the present holder the right to
“—and seven makes a hundred and ninety-four, which is 17
Sylvie and Bruno - Lewis Carroll sixteen and two-pence,” the Sub-Warden replied. “Put down
“He is a charming boy!” my Lady exclaimed. “Even his two and carry sixteen.”
snores are more musical than those of other boys!” The Chancellor raised his hands and eyebrows, lost in ad-If that were so, the Professor seemed to think, the snores miration. “Such a man of business!” he murmured.
of other boys must be something too awful to be endured:
“Brother, could I have a word with you in my Study?” the but he was a cautious man, and he said nothing.
Warden said in a louder tone. The Sub-Warden rose with
“And he’s so clever!” my Lady continued. “No one will alacrity, and the two left the room together.
enjoy your Lecture more by the way, have you fixed the My Lady turned to the Professor, who had uncovered the time for it yet? You’ve never given one, you know: and it was urn, and was taking its temperature with his pocket-ther-promised years ago, before you—
mometer. “Professor!” she began, so loudly and suddenly
“Yes, yes, my Lady, I know! Perhaps next Tuesday or Tues-that even Uggug, who had gone to sleep in his chair, left off day week—”
snoring and opened one eye. The Professor pocketed his ther-
“That will do very well,” said my Lady, graciously. “Of mometer in a moment, clasped his hands, and put his head course you will let the Other Professor lecture as well?” on one side with a meek smile
“I think not, my Lady? the Professor said with some hesi-
“You were teaching my son before breakfast, I believe?” tation. “You see, he always stands with his back to the audi-my Lady loftily remarked. “I hope he strikes you as having ence. It does very well for reciting; but for lecturing—” talent?”
“You are quite right,” said my Lady. “And, now I come to
“Oh, very much so indeed, my Lady!” the Professor hast-think of it, there would hardly be time for more than one ily replied, unconsciously rubbing his ear, while some pain-Lecture. And it will go off all the better, if we begin with a ful recollection seemed to cross his mind. “I was very forc-Banquet, and a Fancy-dress Ball—” ibly struck by His Magnificence, I assure you!”
“It will indeed!” the Professor cried, with enthusiasm.
Sylvie and Bruno - Lewis Carroll
“I shall come as a Grass-hopper,” my Lady calmly pro-added in high glee. “Fifteen of ‘em, and only one bent!” ceeded. “What shall you come as, Professor?”
“I’ll make the bent one into a hook!” said Sylvie. “To catch The Professor smiled feebly. “I shall come as—as early as Bruno with, when he runs away from his lessons!” I can, my Lady!”
“You ca’n’t guess what my present is!” said Uggug, who
“You mustn’t come in before the doors are opened,” said had taken the butter-dish from the table, and was standing my Lady.
behind her, with a wicked leer on his face.
“I ca’n’t,” said the Professor. “Excuse me a moment. As
“No, I ca’n’t guess,” Sylvie said without looking up. She this is Lady Sylvie’s birthday, I would like to—” and he rushed was still examining the Professor’s pincushion.
“It’s this!” cried the bad boy, exultingly, as he emptied the Bruno began feeling in his pockets, looking more and more dish over her, and then, with a grin of delight at his own melancholy as he did so: then he put his thumb in his mouth, cleverness, looked round for applause.
and considered for a minute: then he quietly left the room.
Sylvie coloured crimson, as she shook off the butter from He had hardly done so before the Professor was back again, her frock: but she kept her lips tight shut, and walked away qu ite out of breath. “Wishing you many happy returns of to the window, where she stood looking out and trying to the day, my dear child!” he went on, addressing the smiling recover her temper.
little girl, who had run to meet him. “Allow me to give you Uggug’s triumph was a very short one: the Sub-Warden a birthday-present. It’s a second-hand pincushion, my dear.
had returned, just in time to be a witness of his dear child’s And it only cost fourpence-halfpenny!” playfulness, and in another moment a skilfully-applied box
“Thank you, it’s very pretty!” And Sylvie rewarded the old on the ear had changed the grin of delight into a howl of man with a hearty kiss.
“And the pins they gave me for nothing!” the Professor
“My darling!” cried his mother, enfolding him in her fat 19
Sylvie and Bruno - Lewis Carroll arms. “Did they box his ears for nothing? A precious pet!” tracting notice) as if he was quite used to that sort of thing,
“It’s not for nothing!” growled the angry father. “Are you he ran up to Sylvie and threw his arms round her. “I went to aware, Madam, that I pay the house-bills, out of a fixed an-my toy-cupboard,” he said with a very sorrowful face, “to nual sum? The loss of all that wasted butter falls on me! Do see if there were somefin fit for a present for oo! And there you hear, Madam!”
isn’t nuffin! They’s all broken, every one! And I haven’t got
“Hold your tongue, Sir!” My Lady spoke very quietly—
no money left, to buy oo a birthday-present! And I ca’n’t almost in a whisper. But there was something in her look give oo nuffin but this!” (“This” was a very earnest hug and which silenced him. “Don’t you see it was only a joke? And a kiss.)
a very clever one, too! He only meant that he loved nobody
“Oh, thank you, darling!” cried Sylvie. “I like your present but her! And, instead of being pleased with the compliment, best of all!” (But if so, why did she give it back so quickly?) the spiteful little thing has gone away in a huff!” His Sub-Excellency turned and patted the two children on The Sub-Warden was a very good hand at changing a sub-the head with his long lean hands. “Go away, dears!” he said.
ject. He walked across to the window. “My dear,” he said, “is
“There’s business to talk over. “ that a pig that I see down below, rooting about among your Sylvie and Bruno went away hand in hand: but, on reach-flower-beds?”
ing the door, Sylvie came back again and went up to Uggug
“A pig!” shrieked my Lady, rushing madly to the window, timidly. “I don’t mind about the butter,” she said, “and I—
and almost pushing her husband out, in her anxiety to see I’m sorry he hurt you!” And she tried to shake hands with for herself. “Whose pig is it? How did it get in? Where’s that the little ruffian: but Uggug only blubbered louder, and crazy Gardener gone?”
wouldn’t make friends. Sylvie left the room with a sigh.
At this moment Bruno re-entered the room, and passing The Sub-Warden glared angrily at his weeping son. “Leave Uggug (who was blubbering his loudest, in the hope of at-the room, Sirrah!” he said, as loud as he dared. His wife was 20
Sylvie and Bruno - Lewis Carroll still leaning out of the window, and kept repeating “I ca’n’t see that pig! Where is it?”
“It’s moved to the right now it’s gone a little to the left,” said the Sub-Warden: but he had his back to the window, A CUNNING CONSPIRACY
and was making signals to the Lord Chancellor, pointing to Uggug and the door, with many a cunning nod and wink.
The Warden entered at this moment: and close behind The Chancellor caught his meaning at last, and, crossing him came the Lord Chancellor, a little flushed and out of the room, took that interesting child by the ear the next breath, and adjusting his wig, which appeared to have been moment he and Uggug were out of the room, and the door dragged partly off his head.
shut behind them: but not before one piercing yell had rung
“But where is my precious child?” my Lady enquired, as through the room, and reached the ears of the fond mother.
the four took their seats at the small side-table devoted to
“What is that hideous noise?” she fiercely asked, turning ledgers and bundles and bills.
upon her startled husband.
“He left the room a few minutes ago with the Lord Chan-
“It’s some hyaena—or other,” replied the Sub-Warden, cellor,” the Sub-Warden briefly explained.
looking vaguely up to the ceiling, as if that was where they
“Ah!” said my Lady, graciously smiling on that high offi-usually were to be found. “Let us to business, my dear. Here cial. “Your Lordship has a very taking way with children! I comes the Warden.” And he picked up from the floor a wan-doubt if any one could gain the ear of my darling Uggug so dering scrap of manuscript, on which I just caught the words quickly as you can!” For an entirely stupid woman, my Lady’s
‘after which Election duly holden the said Sibimet and Tabikat remarks were curiously full of meaning, of which she herself his wife may at their pleasure assume Imperial—’ before, was wholly unconscious.
with a guilty look, he crumpled it up in his hand.
The Chancellor bowed, but with a very uneasy air. “I think 21
Sylvie and Bruno - Lewis Carroll the Warden was about to speak,” he remarked, evidently gether, for any noise it made. “When my husband is Vice,” anxious to change the subject.
she said, “it will be the same as if we had a hundred Vices!” But my Lady would not be checked. “He is a clever boy,”
“Hear, hear!” cried the Sub-Warden.
she continued with enthusiasm, “but he needs a man like
“You seem to think it very remarkable,” my Lady remarked your Lordship to draw him out!”
with some severity, “that your wife should speak the truth!” The Chancellor bit his lip, and was silent. He evidently
“No, not remarkable at all!” her husband anxiously ex-feared that, stupid as she looked, she understood what she plained. “Nothing is remarkable that you say, sweet one!” said this time, and was having a joke at his expense. He My Lady smiled approval of the sentiment, and went on.
might have spared himself all anxiety: whatever accidental
“And am I Vice-Wardeness?”
meaning her words might have, she herself never meant any-
“If you choose to use that title,” said the Warden: “but thing at all.
‘Your Excellency’ will be the proper style of address. And I
“It is all settled!” the Warden announced, wasting no time trust that both ‘His Excellency’ and ‘Her Excellency’ will over preliminaries. “The Sub-Wardenship is abolished, and observe the Agreement I have drawn up. The provision I am my brother is appointed to act as Vice-Warden whenever I most anxious about is this.” He unrolled a large parchment am absent. So, as I am going abroad for a while, he will enter scroll, and read aloud the words “‘item, that we will be kind on his new duties at once.”
to the poor.’ The Chancellor worded it for me,” he added,
“And there will really be a Vice after all?” my Lady en-glancing at that great Functionary. “I suppose, now, that word quired.
‘item’ has some deep legal meaning?”
“I hope so!” the Warden smilingly replied.
“Undoubtedly!” replied the Chancellor, as articulately as My Lady looked much pleased, and tried to clap her hands: he could with a pen between his lips. He was nervously roll-but you might as well have knocked two feather-beds to-ing and unrolling several other scrolls, and making room 22
Sylvie and Bruno - Lewis Carroll among them for the one the Warden had just handed to Chancellor’s help, shifting the papers from side to side, and him. “These are merely the rough copies,” he explained: “and, pointing out to the Warden the place whew he was to sign.
as soon as I have put in the final corrections—” making a He then signed it himself, and my Lady and the Chancellor great commotion among the different parchments, “—a semi-added their names as witnesses.
colon or two that I have accidentally omitted—” here he
“Short partings are best,” said the Warden. “All is ready for darted about, pen in hand, from one part of the scroll to my journey. My children are waiting below to see me off.” another, spreading sheets of blotting-paper over his correc-He gravely kissed my Lady, shook hands with his brother tions, “all will be ready for signing.” and the Chancellor, and left the room.
“Should it not be read out, first?” my Lady enquired.
The three waited in silence till the sound of wheels an-
“No need, no need!” the Sub-Warden and the Chancellor nounced that the Warden was out of hearing: then, to my exclaimed at the same moment, with feverish eagerness.
surprise, they broke into peals of uncontrollable laughter.
“No need at all,” the Warden gently assented. “Your hus-
“What a game, oh, what a game!” cried the Chancellor.
band and I have gone through it together. It provides that he And he and the Vice-Warden joined hands, and skipped shall exercise the full authority of Warden, and shall have wildly about the room. My Lady was too dignified to skip, the disposal of the annual revenue attached to the office, but she laughed like the neighing of a horse, and waved her until my return, or, failing that, until Bruno comes of age: handkerchief above her head: it was clear to her very limited and that he shall then hand over, to myself or to Bruno as understanding that something very clever had been done, the case may be, the Wardenship, the unspent revenue, and but what it was she had yet to learn.
the contents of the Treasury, which are to be preserved, in-
“You said I should hear all about it when the Warden had tact, under his guardianship.”
gone,” she remarked, as soon as she could make herself heard.
All this time the Sub-Warden was busy, with the
“And so you shall, Tabby!” her husband graciously replied, 23
Sylvie and Bruno - Lewis Carroll as he removed the blotting-paper, and showed the two parch-trick! All the Jewels, only think! May I go and put them on ments lying side by side. “This is the one he read but didn’t directly?”
sign: and this is the one he signed but didn’t read! You see it
“Well, not just yet, Lovey,” her husband uneasily replied.
was all covered up, except the place for signing the names—”
“You see the public mind isn’t quite ripe for it yet. We must
“Yes, yes!” my Lady interrupted eagerly, and began com-feel our way. Of course we’ll have the coach-and-four out, at paring the two Agreements.
once. And I’ll take the title of Emperor, as soon as we can
“‘Item, that he shall exercise the authority of Warden, in safely hold an Election. But they’ll hardly stand our using the Warden’s absence.’ Why, that’s been changed into ‘shall the Jewels, as long as they know the Warden’s alive. We must be absolute governor for life, with the title of Emperor, if spread a report of his death. A little Conspiracy—” elected to that office by the people.’ What! Are you Em-
“A Conspiracy!” cried the delighted lady, clapping her peror, darling?”
hands. “Of all things, I do like a Conspiracy! It’s so interest-
“Not yet, dear,” the Vice-Warden replied. “It won’t do to ing!”
let this paper be seen, just at present. All in good time.” The Vice-Warden and the Chancellor interchanged a wink My Lady nodded, and read on. “‘Item, that we will be or two. “Let her conspire to her heart’s content!” the cun-kind to the poor.’ Why, that’s omitted altogether!” ning Chancellor whispered. “It’ll do no harm!”
“Course it is!” said her husband. “We’re not going to bother
“And when will the Conspiracy—”
about the wretches!”
“Hist!’, her husband hastily interrupted her, as the door
“Good,” said my Lady, with emphasis, and read on again.
opened, and Sylvie and Bruno came in, with their arms
“‘Item, that the contents of the Treasury be preserved in-twined lovingly round each other—Bruno sobbing convul-tact.’ Why, that’s altered into ‘shall be at the absolute dis-sively, with his face hidden on his sister’s shoulder, and Sylvie posal of the Vice-Warden’! “Well, Sibby, that was a clever more grave and quiet, but with tears streaming down her 24
Sylvie and Bruno - Lewis Carroll cheeks.
followed her to the window. The old Beggar looked up at us
“Mustn’t cry like that!” the Vice-Warden said sharply, but with hungry eyes. “Only a crust of bread, your Highness!” without any effect on the weeping children. “Cheer ‘em up he pleaded.
a bit!” he hinted to my Lady.
He was a fine old man, but looked sadly ill and worn. “A
“Cake!” my Lady muttered to herself with great decision, crust of bread is what I crave!” he repeated. “A single crust, crossing the room and opening a cupboard, from which she and a little water!”
presently returned with two slices of plum-cake. “Eat, and
“Here’s some water, drink this!”
don’t cry!” were her short and simple orders: and the poor Uggug bellowed, emptying a jug of water over his head.
children sat down side by side, but seemed in no mood for
“Well done, my boy!” cried the Vice-Warden.
“That’s the way to settle such folk!” For the second time the door opened—or rather was burst
“Clever boy!”, the Wardeness chimed in. “Hasn’t he good open, this time, as Uggug rushed violently into the room, spirits?”
shouting “that old Beggars come again!”
“Take a stick to him!” shouted the Vice-Warden, as the
“He’s not to have any food—” the Vice-warden was be-old Beggar shook the water from his ragged cloak, and again ginning, but the Chancellor interrupted him. “It’s all right,” gazed meekly upwards.
he said, in a low voice: “the servants have their orders.”
“Take a red-hot poker to him!” my Lady again chimed in.
“He’s just under here,” said Uggug, who had gone to the Possibly there was no red-hot poker handy: but some sticks window, and was looking down into the court-yard.
were forthcoming in a moment, and threatening faces sur-