[Table of Contents]
[all the stuff is taken from Bibliomania]


Bruno's Revenge, and other Stories


IT was a very hot afternoon -- too hot to go for a walk or do anything -- or else it wouldn't have happened, I believe.

In the first place, I want to know why fairies should always be teaching us to do our duty, and lecturing us when we go wrong, and we should never teach them anything? You can't mean to say that fairies are never greedy, or selfish, or cross, or deceitful, because that would be nonsense, you know. Well then, don't you agree with me that they might be all the better for a little scolding and punishing now and then?

I really don't see why it shouldn't be tried, and I'm almost sure (only please don't repeat this loud in the woods) that if you could only catch a fairy, and put it in the corner, and give it nothing but bread and water for a day or two, you'd find it quite an improved character -- it would take down its conceit a little, at all events.

The next question is, what is the best time for seeing fairies? I believe I can tell you all about that.

The first rule is, that it must be a very hot day -- that we may consider as settled: and you must be just a little sleepy -- but not too sleepy to keep your eyes open, mind. Well, and you ought to feel a little -- what one may call `fairyish' -- the Scotch call it `eerie', and perhaps that's a prettier word; if you don't know what it means, I'm afraid I can hardly explain it; you must wait till you meet a fairy, and then you'll know.

And the last rule is, that the crickets shouldn't be chirping. I can't stop to explain that rule just now -- you must take it on trust for the present.

So, if all these things happen together, you've a good chance of seeing a fairy -- or at least a much better chance than if they didn't.

The one I'm going to tell you about was a real, naughty little fairy. Properly speaking, there were two of them, and one was naughty and one was good; but perhaps you would have found that out for yourself.

Now we really are going to begin the story.

It was Tuesday afternoon, about half past three -- it's always best to be particular as to dates -- and I had wandered down into the wood by the lake, partly because I had nothing to do, and that seemed to be a good place to do it in, and partly (as I said at first) because it was too hot to be comfortable anywhere, except under trees.

The first thing I noticed, as I went lazily along through an open place in the woods, was a large beetle lying struggling on its back, and I went down directly on one knee to help the poor thing on its feet again. In some things, you know, you can't be quite sure what an insect would like: for instance, I never could quite settle, supposing I were a moth, whether I would rather be kept out of the candle, or be allowed to fly straight in and get burnt -- or again, supposing I were a spider, I'm not sure if I should be quite pleased to have my web torn down, and the fly let loose -- but I felt quite certain that, if I were a beetle and had rolled over on my back, I should always be glad to be helped up again.

So, as I was saying, I had gone down on one knee, and was just reaching out a little stick to turn the beetle over, when I saw a sight that made me draw back hastily and hold my breath, for fear of making any noise and frightening the little creature away.

Not that she looked as if she would be easily frightened: she seemed so good and gentle that I'm sure she would never expect that anyone could wish to hurt her. She was only a few inches high, and was dressed in green, so that you really would hardly have noticed her among the long grass; and she was so delicate and graceful that she quite seemed to belong to the place, almost as if she were one of the flowers. I may tell you, besides, that she had no wings (I don't believe in fairies with wings), and that she had quantities of long brown hair and large, earnest brown eyes, and then I shall have done all I can to give you an idea of what she was like.

Sylvie (I found out her name afterwards) had knelt down just as I was doing, to help the beetle; but it needed more than a little stick for her to get it on its legs again; it was as much as she could do, with both arms, to roll the heavy thing over; and all the while she was talking to it, half scolding and half comforting, as a nurse might do with a child that had fallen down.

`There, there! You needn't cry so much about it; you're not killed yet -- though if you were, you couldn't cry, you know, and so it's a general rule against crying, my dear! And how did you come to tumble over? But I can see well enough how it was -- I needn't ask you that -- walking over sand-pits with your chin in the air, as usual. Of course if you go among sand-pits like that, you must expect to tumble; you should look.'

The beetle murmured something that sounded like `I did look,' and Sylvie went on again:

`But I know you didn't! You never do! You always walk with your chin up -- you're so dreadfully conceited. Well, let's see how many legs are broken this time. Why, none of them, I declare! though that's certainly more than you deserve. And what's the good of having six legs, my dear, if you can only kick them all about in the air when you tumble? Legs are meant to walk with, you know. Now don't be cross about it, and don't begin putting out your wings yet; I've some more to say. Go down to the frog that lives behind that buttercup -- give him my compliments -- Sylvie's compliments -- can you say "compliments"?'

The beetle tried and, I suppose, succeeded.

`Yes, that's right. And tell him he's to give you some of that salve I left with him yesterday. And you'd better get him to rub it in for you; he's got rather cold hands, but you mustn't mind that.'

I think the beetle must have shuddered at this idea, for Sylvie went on in a graver tone: `Now you needn't pretend to be so particular as all that, as if you were too grand to be rubbed by a frog. The fact is, you ought to be very much obliged to him. Suppose you could get nobody but a toad to do it, how would you like that?'

There was a little pause, and then Sylvie added: `now you may go. Be a good beetle, and don't keep your chin in the air.' And then began one of those performances of humming and whizzing and restless banging about, such as a beetle indulges in when it has decided on flying, but hasn't quite made up its mind which way to go. At last, in one of its awkward zigzags, it managed to fly right into my face, and by the time I had recovered from the shock, the little fairy had gone.

I looked about in all directions for the little creature, but there was no trace of her -- and my `eerie' feeling was quite gone off, and the crickets were chirping again merrily -- so I knew she was really gone.

And now I've got time to tell you the rule about the crickets. They always leave off chirping when a fairy goes by -- because a fairy's a kind of queen over them, I suppose -- at all events it's a much grander thing than a cricket -- so whenever you're walking out, and the crickets suddenly leave off chirping, you may be sure that either they see a fairy, or else they're frightened at your coming so near.

I walked on sadly enough, you may be sure. However, I comforted myself with thinking: `It's been a very wonderful afternoon, so far -- I'll just go quietly on and look about me, and I shouldn't wonder if I come across another fairy somewhere.'

Peering about in this way, I happened to notice a plant with rounded leaves, and with queer little holes cut out in the middle of several of them. `Ah! The leaf-cutter bee,' I carelessly remarked -- you know I am very learned in natural history (for instance, I can always tell kittens from chickens at one glance) -- and I was passing on, when a sudden thought made me stoop down and examine the leaves more carefully.

Then a little thrill of delight ran through me -- for I noticed that the holes were all arranged so as to form letters; there were three leaves side by side, with B, R, and U marked on them, and after some search I found two more, which contained an N and an O.

By this time the `eerie' feeling had all come back again, and I suddenly observed that no crickets were chirping; so I felt quite sure that `Bruno' was a fairy, and that he was somewhere very near.

And so indeed he was -- so near that I had very nearly walked over him without seeing him; which would have been dreadful, always supposing that fairies can be walked over -- my own belief is that they are something of the nature of will-o'-the-wisps, and there's no walking over them.

Think of any pretty little boy you know, rather fat, with rosy cheeks, large dark eyes, and tangled brown hair, and then fancy him made small enough to go comfortably into a coffee-cup, and you'll have a very fair idea of what the little creature was like.

`What's your name, little fellow?' I began, in as soft a voice as I could manage. And, by the way, that's another of the curious things in life that I never could quite understand -- why we always begin by asking little children their names; is it because we fancy there isn't quite enough of them, and a name will help to make them a little bigger? You never thought of asking a real large man his name, now, did you? But, however that may be, I felt it quite necessary to know his name; so, as he didn't answer my question, I asked it again a little louder. `What's your name, my little man?'

`What's yours?' he said, without looking up.

`My name's Lewis Carroll,' I said, quite gently, for he was much too small to be angry with for answering so uncivilly.

`Duke of Anything?' he asked, just looking at me for a moment and then going on with his work.

`Not Duke at all,' I said, a little ashamed of having to confess it.

`You're big enough to be two Dukes,' said the little creature; `I suppose you're Sir Something, then?'

`No,' I said, feeling more and more ashamed. `I haven't got any title.'

The fairy seemed to think that in that case I really wasn't worth the trouble of talking to, for he quietly went on digging, and tearing the flowers to pieces as fast as he got them out of the ground.

After a few minutes I tried again. `Please tell me what your name is.'

`B'uno,' the little fellow answered, very readily; `why didn't you say "please" before?'

`That's something like what we used to be taught in the nursery,' I thought to myself, looking back through the long years (about a hundred and fifty of them) to the time when I used to be a little child myself. And here an idea came into my head, and I asked him: `Aren't you one of the fairies that teach children to be good?'

`Well, we have to do that sometimes,' said Bruno. `and a d'eadful bother it is.' As he said this he savagely tore a heartsease in two, and trampled on the pieces.

`What are you doing there, Bruno?' I said.

`Spoiling Sylvie's garden,' was all the answer Bruno would give at first. But, as he went on tearing up the flowers, he muttered to himself: `The nasty c'oss thing -- wouldn't let me go and play this morning, though I wanted to ever so much -- said I must finish my lessons first -- lessons, indeed! -- I'll vex her finely, though!'

`Oh, Bruno, you shouldn't do that,' I cried. `Don't you know that's revenge? And revenge is a wicked, cruel, dangerous thing!'

`River-edge?' said Bruno. `What a funny word! I suppose you call it c'ooel and dangerous because if you went too far and tumbled in, you'd get d'owned.'

`No, not river-edge,' I explained; `rev-enge' (saying the word very slowly and distinctly). But I couldn't help thinking that Bruno's explanation did very well for either word.

`Oh!' said Bruno, opening his eyes very wide, but without attempting to repeat the word.

`Come! Try and pronounce it, Bruno!' I said cheerfully. `Rev-enge, rev-enge.'

But Bruno only tossed his little head, and said he couldn't; that his mouth wasn't the right shape for words of that kind. And the more I laughed the more sulky the little fellow got about it.

`Well, never mind, little man!' I said. `Shall I help you with the job you've got there?'

`Yes, please,' Bruno said, quite pacified. `Only I wish I could think of something to vex her more than this. You don't know how hard it is to make her ang'y!'

`Now listen to me, Bruno, and I'll teach you quite a splendid kind of revenge!'

`Something that'll vex her finely?' Bruno asked with gleaming eyes.

`Something that'll vex her finely. First, we'll get up all the weeds in her garden. See, there are a good many at this end -- quite hiding the flowers.'

`But that won't vex her,' said Bruno, looking rather puzzled.

`After that,' I said, without noticing the remark, `we'll water this highest bed -- up here. You see, it's getting quite dry and dusty.'

Bruno looked at me inquisitively, but he said nothing this time.

`Then after that,' I went on, `the walks want sweeping a bit; and I think you might cut down that tall nettle -- it's so close to the garden that it's quite in the way --'

`What are you talking about?' Bruno impatiently interrupted me. `All that won't vex her a bit!'

`Won't it?' I said innocently. `Then, after that, suppose we put in some of these coloured pebbles -- just to mark the divisions between the different kinds of flowers, you know. That'll have a very pretty effect.'

Bruno turned round and had another good stare at me. At last there came an odd little twinkle in his eye, and he said, with quite a new meaning in his voice, `Very well -- let's put 'em in rows -- all the 'ed together, and all the blue together.'

`That'll do capitally,' I said; `and then -- what kind of flowers does Sylvie like best in her garden?'

Bruno had to put his thumb in his mouth and consider a little before he could answer. `Violets,' he said, at last.

`There's a beautiful bed of violets down by the lake --'

`Oh, let's fetch `em!' cried Bruno, giving a little skip into the air. `Here! Catch hold of my hand and I'll help you along. The g'ass is rather thick down that way.'

I couldn't help laughing at his having so entierly forgotten what a big creature he was talking to. `No, not yet, Bruno,' I said; `we must consider what's the right thing to do first. You see, we've got quite a business before us.'

`Yes, let's consider,' said Bruno, putting his thumb into his mouth again, and sitting down upon a dead mouse.

`What do you keep that mouse for?' I said. `You should bury it, or throw it into the lake.'

`Why, it's to measure with!' cried Bruno. `How ever would you do a garden without one? We make each bed th'ee mouses and a half long, and two mouses wide.'

I stopped him, as he was dragging it off by the tail to show me how it was used, for I was half afraid the `eerie' feeling might go off before we had finished the garden, and in that case I should see no more of him or Sylvie. `I think the best way will be for you to weed the beds, while I sort out these pebbles, ready to mark the walks with.'

`That's it!' cried Bruno. `And I'll tell you about the caterpillars while we work.'

`Ah, let's hear about the caterpillars,' I said, as I drew the pebbles together into a heap, and began dividing them into colours.

And Bruno went on in a low, rapid tone, more as if he were talking to himself. `Yesterday I saw two little caterpillars, when I was sitting by the b'ook, just where you go into the wood. They were quite g'een, and they had yellow eyes, and they didn't see me. And one of them had got a moth's wing to carry -- a g'eat b'own moth's wing, you know, all d'y, with feathers. So he couldn't want it to eat, I should think -- perhaps he meant to make a cloak for the winter?'

`Perhaps,' I said, for Bruno had twisted up the last word into a sort of question, and was looking at me for an answer.

One word was quite enough for the little fellow, and he went on merrily: `Well, and so he didn't want the other caterpillar to see the moth's wing, you know -- so what must he do but t'y to carry it with all his left legs, and he t'ied to walk on the other set. Of course he toppled over after that.'

`After what?' I said, catching the last word, for, to tell the truth, I hadn't been attending much.

`He toppled over,' Bruno repeated, very gravely, `and if you ever saw a caterpillar topple over, you'd know it's a serious thing, and not sit g'inning like that -- and I shan't tell you any more.'

`Indeed and indeed, Bruno, I didn't mean to grin. See, I'm quite grave again now.'

But Bruno only folded his arms, and said: `Don't tell me. I see a little twinkle in one of your eyes -- just like the moon.'

`Am I like the moon, Bruno?' I asked.

`Your face is large and round like the moon,' Bruno answered, looking at me thoughtfully. `It doesn't shine quite so b'ight -- but it's cleaner.'

I couldn't help smiling at this. `You know I wash my face, Bruno. The moon never does that.'

`Oh, doesn't she though!' cried Bruno; and he leant forwards and added in a solemn whisper: `The moon's face gets dirtier and dirtier every night, till it's black all ac'oss. And then, when it's dirty all over -- so' -- he passed his hand across his own rosy cheeks as he spoke -- `then she washes it.'

`And then it's all clean again, isn't it?'

`Not all in a moment,' said Bruno. `What a deal of teaching you want! She washes it little by little -- only she begins at the other edge.'

By this time he was sitting quietly on the dead mouse with his arms folded, and the weeding wasn't getting on a bit; so I was obliged to say: `Work first and pleasure afterwards -- no more talking till that bed's finished.'

After that we had a few minutes of silence, while I sorted out the pebbles, and amused myself with watching Bruno's plan of gardening. It was quite a new plan to me: he always measured each bed before he weeded it, as if he was afraid the weeding would make it shrink; and once, when it came out longer than he wished, he set to work to thump the mouse with his tiny fist, crying out: `There now! It's all 'ong again! Why don't you keep your tail st'aight when I tell you!'

`I'll tell you what I'll do,' said Bruno in a half whisper, as we worked: `I'll get you an invitation to the king's dinner-party. I know one of the head-waiters.'

I couldn't help laughing at this idea. `Do the waiters invite the guests?' I asked.

`Oh, not to sit down!' Bruno hastily replied. `But to help, you know. You'd like that, wouldn't you? To hand about plates, and so on.'

`Well, but that's not so nice as sitting at the table, is it?'

`Of course it isn't,' Bruno said, in a tone as if he rather pitied my ignorance; `but if you're not even Sir Anything, you can't expect to be allowed to sit at the table, you know.'

I said, as meekly as I could that I didn't expect it, but it was the only way of going to a dinner-party that I really enjoyed. And Bruno tossed his head, and said, in a rather offended tone, that I might do as I pleased -- there were many he knew that would give their ears to go.

`Have you ever been yourself, Bruno?'

`They invited me once last year,' Bruno said, very gravely. `It was to wash up the soup-plates -- no, the cheese-plates, I mean -- that was g'and enough. But the g'andest thing of all was, I fetched the Duke of Dandelion a glass of cider!'

`That was grand!' I said, biting my lip to keep myself from laughing.

`Wasn't it?' said Bruno, very earnestly. `You know it isn't everyone that's had such an honour as that!'

This set me thinking of the various queer things we call `an honour' in this world, which, after all, haven't a bit more honour in them than what the dear little Bruno enjoyed (by the way, I hope you're beginning to like him a little, naughty as he was?) when he took the Duke of Dandelion a glass of cider.

I don't know how long I might have dreamed on in this way, if Bruno hadn't suddenly roused me. `Oh, come here quick!' he cried, in a state of the wildest excitement. `Catch hold of his other horn! I can't hold him more than a minute!'

He was struggling desperately with a great snail, clinging to one of its horns, and nearly breaking his poor little back in his efforts to drag it over a blade of grass.

I saw we should have no more gardening if I let this sort of thing go on, so I quietly took the snail away, and put it on a bank where he couldn't reach it. `We'll hunt it afterwards, Bruno,' I said, `if you really want to catch it. But what's the use of it when you've got it?'

`What's the use of a fox when you've got it?' said Bruno. `I know you big things hunt foxes.'

I tried to think of some good reason why `big things' should hunt foxes, and he shouldn't hunt snails, but none came into my head; so I said at last: `Well, I suppose one's as good as the other. I'll go snail-hunting myself some day.'

`I should think you wouldn't be so silly,' said Bruno, `as to go snail-hunting all by yourself. Why, you'd never get the snail along, if you hadn't somebody to hold on to his other horn!'

`Of course I shan't go alone,' I said, quite gravely. `By the way, is that the best kind to hunt, or do you recommend the ones without shells?'

`Oh no, we never hunt the ones without shells,' Bruno said, with a little shudder at the thought of it. `They're always so c'oss about it; and then, if you tumble over them, they're ever so sticky!'

By this time we had nearly finished the garden. I had fetched some violets, and Bruno was just helping me to put in the last, when he suddenly stopped and said, `I'm tired.'

`Rest, then,' I said. `I can go on without you.'

Bruno needed no second invitation: he at once began arranging the dead mouse as a kind of sofa. `And I'll sing you a little song,' he said, as he rolled it about.

`Do,' I said. `There's nothing I should like better.'

`Which song will you choose?' Bruno said, as he dragged the mouse into a place where he could get a good view of me. `"Ting, ting, ting" is the nicest.'

There was no resisting such a strong hint as this: however, I pretended to think about it for a moment, and then said: `Well, I like "Ting, ting, ting" best of all.'

`That shows you're a good judge of music,' Bruno said, with a pleased look. `How many bluebells would you like?' And he put his thumb into his mouth to help me to consider.

As there was only one bluebell within easy reach, I said very gravely that I thought one would do this time, and I picked it and gave it to him. Bruno ran his hand once or twice up and down the flowers, like a musician trying an instrument, producing a most delicious, delicate tinkling as he did so. I had never heard flower-music before--I don't think one can, unless one's in the `eerie' state--and I don't know quite how to give you an idea of what it was like, except by saying that it sounded like a peal of bells a thousand miles off. When he had satisfied himself that the flowers were in tune, he seated himself on the dead mouse (he never seemed really comfortable anywhere else), and, looking up at me with a merry twinkle in his eyes, he began. By the way, the tune was rather a curious one, and you might like to try it for yourself, so here are the notes:

`Rise, oh, rise! The daylight dies:
   The owls are hooting, ting, ting, ting!
Wake, oh, wake! Beside the lake
   The elves are fluting, ting, ting, ting!
Welcoming our fairy king,
   We sing, sing, sing.'

He sang the first four lines briskly and merrily, making the bluebells chime in time with the music; but the last two he sang quite slowly and gently, and merely waved the flowers backwards and forwards above his head. And when he had finished the first verse, he left off to explain. `The name of our fairy king is Obberwon'--he meant `Oberon', I believe--`and he lives over the lake--there--and now and then he comes in a little boat--and then we go and meet him--and then we sing this song, you know.'

`And then you go and dine with him?' I said mischievously.

`You shouldn't talk,' Bruno hastily said; `it interrupts the song so.'

I said I wouldn't do it again.

`I never talk myself when I'm singing,' he went on, very gravely; `so you shouldn't either.' Then he turned the bluebells once more and sang:

`Hear, oh, hear! From far and near
   A music stealing, ting, ting, ting!
Fairy bells adown the dells
   Are merrily pealing, ting, ting, ting!
Welcoming our fairy king
   We ring, ring, ring.

`See, oh, see! On every t'ee
   What lamps are shining, ting, ting, ting!
They are eyes of fiery flies
   To light our dining, ting, ting, ting!
Welcoming our fairy king
   They swing, swing, swing.

`Haste, oh, haste! to take and haste
   The dainties waiting, ting, ting, ting!
Honey-dew is stored--'

`Hush, Bruno!' I interrupted, in a warning whisper. `She's coming!'

Bruno checked his song only just in time for Sylvie not to hear him, and then, catching sight of her as she slowly made her way through the long grass, he suddenly rushed out headlong at her like a little bull, shouting: `Look the other way! Look the other way!'

`Which way?' Sylvie asked, in rather a frightened tone, as she looked round in all directions to see where the danger could be.

`That way!' said Bruno, carefully turning her round with her face to the wood. `Now, walk backwards--walk gently--don't be f'ightened: you shan't t'ip!'

But Sylvie did `t'ip' notwithstanding: in fact he led her, in his hurry, across so many little sticks and stones, that it was really a wonder the poor child could keep on her feet at all. But he was far too much excited to think of what he was doing.

I silently pointed out to Bruno the best place to lead her to, so as to get a view of the whole garden at once: it was a little rising ground, about the height of a potato; and, when they had mounted it, I drew back into the shade, that Sylvie mightn't see me.

I heard Bruno cry out triumphantly `Now you may look!' and then followed a great clapping of hands, but it was all done by Bruno himself. Sylvie was quite silent--she only stood and gazed with her hands clasped tightly together, and I was afraid she didn't like it after all.

Bruno too was watching her anxiously, and when she jumped down off the mound, and began wandering up and down the little walks, he cautiously followed her about, evidently anxious that she should form her own opinion of it all, without any hint from him. And when at last she drew a long breath, and gave her verdict--in a hurried whisper, and without the slightest regard to grammar--`It's the loveliest thing as I never saw in all my life before!' the little fellow looked as well pleased as if it had been given by all the judges and juries in England put together.

`And did you really do it all by yourself, Bruno?' said Sylvie. `And all for me?'

`I was helped a bit,' Bruno began, with a merry little laugh at her surprise. `We've been at it all the afternoon--I thought you'd like--' and here the poor little fellow's lip began to quiver, and all in a moment he burst out crying, and running up to Sylvie he flung his arms passionately round her neck, and hid his face on her shoulder.

There was a little quiver in Sylvie's voice too as she whispered: `Why, what's the matter, darling?' and tried to lift up his head and kiss him.

But Bruno only clung to her, sobbing, and wouldn't be comforted till he had confessed all. `I t'ied--to spoil your garden--first--but--I'll never-- never--' and then came another burst of tears, which drowned the rest of the sentence. At last he got out the words, `I liked--putting in the flowers--for you, Sylvie--and I never was so happy before--' and the rosy little face came up at last to be kissed, all wet with tears as it was.

Sylvie was crying too by this time, and she said nothing but `Bruno, dear!' and `I never was so happy before--' though why two children who had never been so happy before should both be crying, was a great mystery to me.

I felt very happy too, but of course I didn't cry: `big things' never do, you know--we leave all that to the fairies. Only I think it must have been raining a little just then, for I found a drop or two on my cheeks.

After that they went through the whole garden again, flower by flower, as if it were a long sentence they were spelling out, with kisses for commas, and a great hug by way of a full-stop when they got to the end.

`Do you know, that was my river-edge, Sylvie?' Bruno began, looking solemnly at her.

Sylvie laughed merrily. `What do you mean?' she said; and she pushed back her heavy brown hair with both hands, and looked at him with dancing eyes in which the big teardrops were still glittering.

Bruno drew in a long breath, and made up his mouth for a great effort. `I mean rev-enge,' he said `now you under'tand.' And he looked so happy and proud at having said the word right at last, that I quite envied him. I rather think Sylvie didn't `under'tand' at all; but she gave him a little kiss on each cheek, which seemed to do just as well.

So they wandered off lovingly together, in among the buttercups, each with an arm twined round the other, whispering and laughing as they went, and never so much as once looked back at poor me. Yes, once, just before I quite lost sight of them, Bruno half turned his head, and nodded me a saucy little good-bye over one shoulder. And that was all the thanks I got for my trouble.

I know you're sorry the story's come to an end--aren't you?--so I'll just tell you one thing more. They very last thing I saw of them was this--Sylvie was stooping down with her arms round Bruno's neck, and saying coaxingly in his ear: `Do you know, Bruno, I've quite forgotten that hard word--do say it once more. Come! Only this once, dear!'

But Bruno wouldn't try it again.