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Sylvie and Bruno by Lewis Carroll is a publication of the Pennsylvania State University. This Portable Document file is furnished free and without any charge of any kind. Any person using this document file, for any purpose, and in any way, does so at his or her own risk. Neither the Pennsylvania State University nor Jim Manis, Faculty Editor, nor anyone associated with the Pennsylvania State University assumes any responsibility for the material contained within the document or for the file as an electronic transmission, in any way.

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.

Cover design by Jim Manis

Copyright © 1998 The Pennsylvania State University The Pennsylvania State University is an equal opportunity University.


Sylvie and Bruno




Lewis Carroll



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










—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.

since yesterday!”

“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-

Yours always,


Arthur Forster.

“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 p