It is too long! It is much too long!" My Lady was a vast creature at all times: but, when she frowned and folded her arms, as now, she looked more gigantic than ever, and made one try to fancy what a haystack would look like, if out of temper.
"He would distinguish himself as a Vice!" my Lady proceeded, being far too stupid to see the double meaning of her words. "There has been no such Vice in Outland for many a long year, as he would be!"
"What course would you suggest, Sister?" the Warden mildly enquired.
My Lady stamped, which was undignified: and snorted, which was ungraceful. "This is no jesting matter!" she bellowed.
"I will consult my brother, said the Warden. "Brother!"
"--and seven makes a hundred and ninety-four, which is sixteen and two-pence," the Sub-Warden replied. "Put down two and carry sixteen."
The Chancellor raised his hands and eyebrows, lost in admiration. "Such a man of business!" he murmured.
"Brother, could I have a word with you in my Study?" the Warden said in a louder tone. The Sub-Warden rose with alacrity, and the two left the room together.
My Lady turned to the Professor, who had uncovered the urn, and was taking its temperature with his pocket-thermometer. "Professor!" she began, so loudly and suddenly that even Uggug, who had gone to sleep in his chair, left off snoring and opened one eye. The Professor pocketed his thermometer in a moment, clasped his hands, and put his head on one side with a meek smile
"You were teaching my son before breakfast, I believe?" my Lady loftily remarked. "I hope he strikes you as having talent?"
"Oh, very much so indeed, my Lady!" the Professor hastily replied, unconsciously rubbing his ear, while some painful recollection seemed to cross his mind. "I was very forcibly struck by His Magnificence, I assure you!"
"He is a charming boy!" my Lady exclaimed. "Even his snores are more musical than those of other boys!"
If that were so, the Professor seemed to think, the snores of other boys must be something too awful to be endured: but he was a cautious man, and he said nothing.
"And he's so clever!" my Lady continued. "No one will enjoy your Lecture more by the way, have you fixed the time for it yet? You've never given one, you know: and it was promised years ago, before you--
"Yes, yes, my Lady, I know! Perhaps next Tuesday or Tuesday week--"
"That will do very well," said my Lady, graciously. "Of course you will let the Other Professor lecture as well?"
"I think not, my Lady? the Professor said with some hesitation. "You see, he always stands with his back to the audience. It does very well for reciting; but for lecturing--"
"You are quite right," said my Lady. "And, now I come to think of it, there would hardly be time for more than one Lecture. And it will go off all the better, if we begin with a Banquet, and a Fancy-dress Ball--"
"It will indeed!" the Professor cried, with enthusiasm.
"I shall come as a Grass-hopper," my Lady calmly proceeded. "What shall you come as, Professor?"
The Professor smiled feebly. "I shall come as--as early as I can, my Lady!"
"You mustn't come in before the doors are opened," said my Lady.
"I ca'n't," said the Professor. "Excuse me a moment. As this is Lady Sylvie's birthday, I would like to--" and he rushed away.
Bruno began feeling in his pockets, looking more and more melancholy as he did so: then he put his thumb in his mouth, and considered for a minute: then he quietly left the room.
He had hardly done so before the Professor was back again, quite out of breath. "Wishing you many happy returns of the day, my dear child!" he went on, addressing the smiling little girl, who had run to meet him. "Allow me to give you a birthday-present. It's a second-hand pincushion, my dear. And it only cost fourpence-halfpenny!"
"Thank you, it's very pretty!" And Sylvie rewarded the old man with a hearty kiss.
"And the pins they gave me for nothing!" the Professor added in high glee. "Fifteen of 'em, and only one bent!"
"I'll make the bent one into a hook!" said Sylvie.