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.
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!"
"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.
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