Through the Ivory Door
"I don't know," said Sylvie. "Hush! I must think. I could go to him, by myself, well enough. But I want you to come too."
"Let me go with you," I pleaded. "I can walk as fast as you can, I'm sure."
Sylvie laughed merrily. "What nonsense!" she cried. "Why, you ca'n't walk a bit! You're lying quite flat on your back! You don't understand these things."
"I can walk as well as you can," I repeated. And I tried my best to walk a few steps: but the ground slipped away backwards, quite as fast as I could walk, so that I made no progress at all. Sylvie laughed again.
"There, I told you so! You've no idea how funny you look, moving your feet about in the air, as if you were walking! Wait a bit. I'll ask the Professor what we'd better do." And she knocked at his study-door.
The door opened, and the Professor looked out. "What's that crying I heard just now?" he asked. "Is it a human animal?"
"It's a boy," Sylvie said.
"I'm afraid you've been teasing him?"
"No, indeed I haven't!" Sylvie said, very earnestly. "I never tease him!"
"Well, I must ask the Other Professor about it." He went back into the study, and we heard him whispering "small human animal----says she hasn't been teasing him----the kind that's called Boy----"
"Ask her which Boy," said a new voice. The Professor came out again.
"Which Boy is it that you haven't been teasing?"
Sylvie looked at me with twinkling eyes. "You dear old thing!" she exclaimed, standing on tiptoe to kiss him, while he gravely stooped to receive the salute. "How you do puzzle me! Why, there are several boys I haven't been teasing!"
The Professor returned to his friend: and this time the voice said "Tell her to bring them here----all of them!"
"I ca'n't, and I won't! "Sylvie exclaimed, the moment he reappeared. "It's Bruno that's crying: and he's my brother: and, please, we both want to go: he ca'n't walk, you know: he's----he's dreaming, you know" (this in a whisper, for fear of hurting my feelings). "Do let's go through the Ivory Door!"
"I'll ask him," said the Professor, disappearing again. He returned directly. "He says you may. Follow me, and walk on tip-toe."
The difficulty with me would have been, just then, not to walk on tip-toe. It seemed very hard to reach down far enough to just touch the floor, as Sylvie led me through the study.
The Professor went before us to unlock the Ivory Door. I had just time to glance at the Other Professor, who was sitting reading, with his back to us, before the Professor showed us out through the door, and locked it behind us. Bruno was standing with his hands over his face, crying bitterly.
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