And Sylvie had said `Chimney--not chimbley.'

And Bruno had said `Don't talk 'ubbish!'

All this, while the Other Professor was being extracted.

`You must have blacked your face!' the Empress said anxiously. `Let me send for some soap?'

`Thanks, no,' said the Other Professor, keeping his face turned away. `Black's quite a respectable colour. Besides, soap would be no use without water--'

Keeping his back well turned away from the audience, he went on with the Introductory Verses:

Little Birds are writing
   Interesting books,
   To be read by cooks:
Read, I say, not roasted--
Letterpress, when toasted,
   Loses its good looks.

Little Birds are playing
   Bagpipes on the shore,
   Where the tourists snore:
`Thanks!' they cry. `'Tis thrilling!
Take, oh take this shilling!
   Let us have no more!'

Little Birds are bathing
   Crocodiles in cream,
   Like a happy dream:
Like, but not so lasting--
Crocodiles, when fasting,
   Are not all they seem!

That Camel passed, as Day grew dim
   Around the ruined Pump.
`O broken heart! O broken limb!
It needs,' that Camel said to him,
`Something more fairy-like and slim,
   To execute a jump!'

That Pig lay still as any stone,
   And could not stir a stump:
Nor ever, if the truth were known,
Was he again observed to moan,
Nor ever wring his hoofs and groan,
   Because he could not jump.

That Frog made no remark, for he
   Was dismal as a dump:
He knew the consequence must be
That he would never get his fee--
And still he sits, in miserie,
   Upon that ruined Pump!

`It's a miserable story!' said Bruno. `It begins miserably, and it ends miserablier. I think I shall cry. Sylvie, please lend me your handkerchief.'

`I haven't got it with me,' Sylvie whispered.

`Then I wo'n't cry,' said Bruno manfully.

`There are more Introductory Verses to come,' said the Other Professor, `but I'm hungry.' He sat down, cut a large slice of cake, put it on Bruno's plate, and gazed at his own empty plate in astonishment.

`Where did you get that cake?' Sylvie whispered to Bruno.

`He gived it me,' said Bruno.

`But you shouldn't ask for things! You know you shouldn't!'

`I didn't ask,' said Bruno, taking a fresh mouthful: `he gived it me.'

Sylvie considered this for a moment: then she saw her way out of it. `Well, then, ask him to give me some!'

`You seem to enjoy that cake?' the Professor remarked.

`Doos that mean "munch"?' Bruno whispered to Sylvie.

Sylvie nodded. `It means "to munch" and "to like to munch".'

Bruno smiled at the Professor. `I doos enjoy it,' he said.

The Other Professor caught the word. `And I hope you're enjoying yourself, little Man?' he enquired.

Bruno's look of horror quite startled him. `No, indeed I aren't!' he said.

  By PanEris using Melati.

Previous chapter/page Back Home Email this Search Discuss Next chapter/page
Copyright: All texts on Bibliomania are © Ltd, and may not be reproduced in any form without our written permission. See our FAQ for more details.