[Image...'I will lend you fifty more!']
'How vast the total sum appears Of all the kindnesses I've done, From Childhood's half-forgotten years Down to that Loan of April One! That Fifty Pounds! You little guessed How deep it drained my slender store: But there's a heart within this breast, And I WILL LEND YOU FIFTY MORE!'
'Not so,' was Peter's mild reply, His cheeks all wet with grateful tears; No man recalls, so well as I, Your services in bygone years: And this new offer, I admit, Is very very kindly meant-- Still, to avail myself of it Would not be quite convenient!'
You'll see in a moment what the difference is between 'convenient' and 'inconvenient.' You quite understand it now, don't you?" he added, looking kindly at Bruno, who was sitting, at Sylvie's side, on the floor.
"Yes," said Bruno, very quietly. Such a short speech was very unusual, for him: but just then he seemed, I fancied, a little exhausted. In fact, he climbed up into Sylvie's lap as he spoke, and rested his head against her shoulder. "What a many verses it was!" he whispered.
A MUSICAL GARDENER.
The Other Professor regarded him with some anxiety. "The smaller animal ought to go to bed at once," he said with an air of authority.
"Why at once?" said the Professor.
"Because he can't go at twice," said the Other Professor.
The Professor gently clapped his hands. 'Isn't he wonderful!" he said to Sylvie. "Nobody else could have thought of the reason, so quick. Why, of course he ca'n't go at twice! It would hurt him to be divided."
This remark woke up Bruno, suddenly and completely. "I don't want to be divided," he said decisively.
"It does very well on a diagram," said the Other Professor. "I could show it you in a minute, only the chalk's a little blunt."
"Take care!" Sylvie anxiously exclaimed, as he began, rather clumsily, to point it. "You'll cut your finger off, if you hold the knife so!"
"If oo cuts it off, will oo give it to me, please? Bruno thoughtfully added.
"It's like this," said the Other Professor, hastily drawing a long line upon the black board, and marking the letters 'A,' 'B,' at the two ends, and 'C' in the middle: "let me explain it to you. If AB were to be divided into two parts at C--"
"It would be drownded," Bruno pronounced confidently.
The Other Professor gasped. "What would be drownded?"
"Why the bumble-bee, of course!" said Bruno. "And the two bits would sink down in the sea!"
Here the Professor interfered, as the Other Professor was evidently too much puzzled to go on with his diagram.
"When I said it would hurt him, I was merely referring to the action of the nerves--"
The Other Professor brightened up in a moment. "The action of the nerves," he began eagerly, "is curiously slow in some people. I had a friend, once, that, if you burnt him with a red-hot poker, it would take years and years before he felt it!"
"And if you only pinched him?" queried Sylvie.
"Then it would take ever so much longer, of course. In fact, I doubt if the man himself would ever feel it, at all. His grandchildren might."
"I wouldn't like to be the grandchild of a pinched grandfather, would you, Mister Sir?" Bruno whispered. "It might come just when you wanted to be happy!"
That would be awkward, I admitted, taking it quite as a matter of course that he had so suddenly caught sight of me. "But don't you always want to be happy, Bruno?"
"Not always," Bruno said thoughtfully. "Sometimes, when I's too happy, I wants to be a little miserable. Then I just tell Sylvie about it, oo know, and Sylvie sets me some lessons. Then it's all right."
"I'm sorry you don't like lessons," I said.
"You should copy Sylvie. She's always as busy as the day is long!"
"Well, so am I!" said Bruno.
"No, no!" Sylvie corrected him. "You're as busy as the day is short!"
"Well, what's the difference?" Bruno asked. "Mister Sir, isn't the day as short as it's long? I mean, isn't it the same length?"
Never having considered the question in this light, I suggested that they had better ask the Professor; and they ran off in a moment to appeal to their old friend.