A harder puzzle if a harder be desired would be to determine, as to the Gardener's Song, in which cases (if any) the stanza was adapted to the surrounding text, and in which (if any) the text was adapted to the stanza.

Perhaps the hardest thing in all literature----at least I have found it so: by no voluntary effort can I accomplish it: I have to take it as it come's is to write anything original. And perhaps the easiest is, when once an original line has been struck out, to follow it up, and to write any amount more to the same tune. I do not know if 'Alice in Wonderland' was an original story----I was, at least, no conscious imitator in writing it----but I do know that, since it came out, something like a dozen story-books have appeared, on identically the same pattern. The path I timidly explored believing myself to be 'the first that ever burst into that silent sea'----is now a beaten high-road: all the way-side flowers have long ago been trampled into the dust: and it would be courting disaster for me to attempt that style again.

Hence it is that, in 'Sylvie and Bruno,' I have striven with I know not what success to strike out yet another new path: be it bad or good, it is the best I can do. It is written, not for money, and not for fame, but in the hope of supplying, for the children whom I love, some thoughts that may suit those hours of innocent merriment which are the very life of Childhood; and also in the hope of suggesting, to them and to others, some thoughts that may prove, I would fain hope, not wholly out of harmony with the graver cadences of Life.

If I have not already exhausted the patience of my readers, I would like to seize this opportunity perhaps the last I shall have of addressing so many friends at once of putting on record some ideas that have occurred to me, as to books desirable to be written----which I should much like to attempt, but may not ever have the time or power to carry through----in the hope that, if I should fail (and the years are gliding away very fast) to finish the task I have set myself, other hands may take it up.

First, a Child's Bible. The only real essentials of this would be, carefully selected passages, suitable for a child's reading, and pictures. One principle of selection, which I would adopt, would be that Religion should be put before a child as a revelation of love no need to pain and puzzle the young mind with the history of crime and punishment. (On such a principle I should, for example, omit the history of the Flood.) The supplying of the pictures would involve no great difficulty: no new ones would be needed : hundreds of excellent pictures already exist, the copyright of which has long ago expired, and which simply need photo-zincography, or some similar process, for their successful reproduction. The book should be handy in size with a pretty attractive looking cover----in a clear legible type----and, above all, with abundance of pictures, pictures, pictures!

Secondly, a book of pieces selected from the Bible----not single texts, but passages of from 10 to 20 verses each----to be committed to memory. Such passages would be found useful, to repeat to one's self and to ponder over, on many occasions when reading is difficult, if not impossible: for instance, when lying awake at night----on a railway-journey ----when taking a solitary walk-in old age, when eye-sight is failing or wholly lost----and, best of all, when illness, while incapacitating us for reading or any other occupation, condemns us to lie awake through many weary silent hours: at such a time how keenly one may realise the truth of David's rapturous cry 'O how sweet are thy words unto my throat: yea, sweeter than honey unto my mouth!'

I have said 'passages,' rather than single texts, because we have no means of recalling single texts: memory needs links, and here are none: one may have a hundred texts stored in the memory, and not be able to recall, at will, more than half-a-dozen----and those by mere chance: whereas, once get hold of any portion of a chapter that has been committed to memory, and the whole can be recovered: all hangs together.

Thirdly, a collection of passages, both prose and verse, from books other than the Bible. There is not perhaps much, in what is called 'un-inspired' literature (a misnomer, I hold: if Shakespeare was not inspired,

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