"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. The Professor left off polishing his spectacles to consider. "My dears," he said after a minute, "the day is the same length as anything that is the same length as it." And he resumed his never-ending task of polishing.
The children returned, slowly and thoughtfully, to report his answer. "Isn't he wise?"
Sylvie asked in an awestruck whisper. "If I was as wise as that, I should have a head-ache day long. I know I should!"
"You appear to be talking to somebody----that isn't here," the Professor said, turning round to the children. "Who is it?"
Bruno looked puzzled. "I never talks to nobody when he isn't here!" he replied. "It isn't good manners. Oo should always wait till he comes, before oo talks to him!"
The Professor looked anxiously in my direction, and seemed to look through and through me without seeing me. "Then who are you talking to?" he said. "There isn't anybody here, you know, except the Other Professor and he isn't here!" he added wildly, turning round and round like a teetotum. "Children! Help to look for him! Quick! He's got lost again!"
The children were on their feet in a moment.
"Where shall we look?" said Sylvie.
"Anywhere!" shouted the excited Professor. "Only be quick about it!" And he began trotting round and round the room, lifting up the chairs, and shaking them.
Bruno took a very small book out of the bookcase, opened it, and shook it in imitation of the Professor. "He isn't here," he said.
"He ca'n't be there, Bruno!" Sylvie said indignantly.
"Course he ca'n't!" said Bruno. "I should have shooked him out, if he'd been in there!"
"Has he ever been lost before?" Sylvie enquired, turning up a corner of the hearth-rug, and peeping under it.
"Once before," said the Professor: "he once lost himself in a wood----"
"And couldn't he find his-self again?" said Bruno. "Why didn't he shout? He'd be sure to hear his-self, 'cause he couldn't be far off, oo know."
"Lets try shouting," said the Professor.
"What shall we shout?" said Sylvie.
"On second thoughts, don't shout," the Professor replied. "The Vice-Warden might hear you. He's getting awfully strict!"
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