The Project Gutenberg eBook of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, by Lewis Carroll
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Title: Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland
Author: Lewis Carroll
Release Date: January, 1991 [eBook #11]
[Most recently updated: October 12, 2020]
Character set encoding: UTF-8
Produced by: Arthur DiBianca and David Widger
*** START OF THE PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK ALICE’S ADVENTURES IN WONDERLAND ***
by Lewis Carroll
THE MILLENNIUM FULCRUM EDITION 3.0
|CHAPTER I.||Down the Rabbit-Hole|
|CHAPTER II.||The Pool of Tears|
|CHAPTER III.||A Caucus-Race and a Long Tale|
|CHAPTER IV.||The Rabbit Sends in a Little Bill|
|CHAPTER V.||Advice from a Caterpillar|
|CHAPTER VI.||Pig and Pepper|
|CHAPTER VII.||A Mad Tea-Party|
|CHAPTER VIII.||The Queen’s Croquet-Ground|
|CHAPTER IX.||The Mock Turtle’s Story|
|CHAPTER X.||The Lobster Quadrille|
|CHAPTER XI.||Who Stole the Tarts?|
|CHAPTER XII.||Alice’s Evidence|
Alice was beginning to get very tired of sitting by her sister on the bank, andof having nothing to do: once or twice she had peeped into the book her sisterwas reading, but it had no pictures or conversations in it, “and what isthe use of a book,” thought Alice “without pictures orconversations?”
So she was considering in her own mind (as well as she could, for the hot daymade her feel very sleepy and stupid), whether the pleasure of making adaisy-chain would be worth the trouble of getting up and picking the daisies,when suddenly a White Rabbit with pink eyes ran close by her.
There was nothing so very remarkable in that; nor did Alice think it sovery much out of the way to hear the Rabbit say to itself, “Ohdear! Oh dear! I shall be late!” (when she thought it over afterwards, itoccurred to her that she ought to have wondered at this, but at the time it allseemed quite natural); but when the Rabbit actually took a watch out of itswaistcoat-pocket, and looked at it, and then hurried on, Alice started toher feet, for it flashed across her mind that she had never before seen arabbit with either a waistcoat-pocket, or a watch to take out of it, andburning with curiosity, she ran across the field after it, and fortunately wasjust in time to see it pop down a large rabbit-hole under the hedge.
In another moment down went Alice after it, never once considering how in theworld she was to get out again.
The rabbit-hole went straight on like a tunnel for some way, and then dippedsuddenly down, so suddenly that Alice had not a moment to think about stoppingherself before she found herself falling down a very deep well.
Either the well was very deep, or she fell very slowly, for she had plenty oftime as she went down to look about her and to wonder what was going to happennext. First, she tried to look down and make out what she was coming to, but itwas too dark to see anything; then she looked at the sides of the well, andnoticed that they were filled with cupboards and book-shelves; here and thereshe saw maps and pictures hung upon pegs. She took down a jar from one of theshelves as she passed; it was labelled “ORANGE MARMALADE”, but toher great disappointment it was empty: she did not like to drop the jar forfear of killing somebody underneath, so managed to put it into one of thecupboards as she fell past it.
“Well!” thought Alice to herself, “after such a fall as this,I shall think nothing of tumbling down stairs! How brave they’ll allthink me at home! Why, I wouldn’t say anything about it, even if I felloff the top of the house!” (Which was very likely true.)
Down, down, down. Would the fall never come to an end? “I wonderhow many miles I’ve fallen by this time?” she said aloud. “Imust be getting somewhere near the centre of the earth. Let me see: that wouldbe four thousand miles down, I think—” (for, you see, Alice hadlearnt several things of this sort in her lessons in the schoolroom, and thoughthis was not a very good opportunity for showing off her knowledge, asthere was no one to listen to her, still it was good practice to say it over)“—yes, that’s about the right distance—but then Iwonder what Latitude or Longitude I’ve got to?” (Alice had no ideawhat Latitude was, or Longitude either, but thought they were nice grand wordsto say.)
Presently she began again. “I wonder if I shall fall right throughthe earth! How funny it’ll seem to come out among the people that walkwith their heads downward! The Antipathies, I think—” (she wasrather glad there was no one listening, this time, as it didn’tsound at all the right word) “—but I shall have to ask them whatthe name of the country is, you know. Please, Ma’am, is this New Zealandor Australia?” (and she tried to curtsey as she spoke—fancycurtseying as you’re falling through the air! Do you think youcould manage it?) “And what an ignorant little girl she’ll think mefor asking! No, it’ll never do to ask: perhaps I shall see it written upsomewhere.”
Down, down, down. There was nothing else to do, so Alice soon began talkingagain. “Dinah’ll miss me very much to-night, I should think!”(Dinah was the cat.) “I hope they’ll remember her saucer of milk attea-time. Dinah my dear! I wish you were down here with me! There are no micein the air, I’m afraid, but you might catch a bat, and that’s verylike a mouse, you know. But do cats eat bats, I wonder?” And here Alicebegan to get rather sleepy, and went on saying to herself, in a dreamy sort ofway, “Do cats eat bats? Do cats eat bats?” and sometimes, “Dobats eat cats?” for, you see, as she couldn’t answer eitherquestion, it didn’t much matter which way she put it. She felt that shewas dozing off, and had just begun to dream that she was walking hand in handwith Dinah, and saying to her very earnestly, “Now, Dinah, tell me thetruth: did you ever eat a bat?” when suddenly, thump! thump! down shecame upon a heap of sticks and dry leaves, and the fall was over.
Alice was not a bit hurt, and she jumped up on to her feet in a moment: shelooked up, but it was all dark overhead; before her was another long passage,and the White Rabbit was still in sight, hurrying down it. There was not amoment to be lost: away went Alice like the wind, and was just in time to hearit say, as it turned a corner, “Oh my ears and whiskers, how lateit’s getting!” She was close behind it when she turned the corner,but the Rabbit was no longer to be seen: she found herself in a long, low hall,which was lit up by a row of lamps hanging from the roof.
There were doors all round the hall, but they were all locked; and when Alicehad been all the way down one side and up the other, trying every door, shewalked sadly down the middle, wondering how she was ever to get out again.
Suddenly she came upon a little three-legged table, all made of solid glass;there was nothing on it except a tiny golden key, and Alice’s firstthought was that it might belong to one of the doors of the hall; but, alas!either the locks were too large, or the key was too small, but at any rate itwould not open any of them. However, on the second time round, she came upon alow curtain she had not noticed before, and behind it was a little door aboutfifteen inches high: she tried the little golden key in the lock, and to hergreat delight it fitted!
Alice opened the door and found that it led into a small passage, not muchlarger than a rat-hole: she knelt down and looked along the passage into theloveliest garden you ever saw. How she longed to get out of that dark hall, andwander about among those beds of bright flowers and those cool fountains, butshe could not even get her head through the doorway; “and even if my headwould go through,” thought poor Alice, “it would be of very littleuse without my shoulders. Oh, how I wish I could shut up like a telescope! Ithink I could, if I only knew how to begin.” For, you see, so manyout-of-the-way things had happened lately, that Alice had begun to think thatvery few things indeed were really impossible.
There seemed to be no use in waiting by the little door, so she went back tothe table, half hoping she might find another key on it, or at any rate a bookof rules for shutting people up like telescopes: this time she found a littlebottle on it, (“which certainly was not here before,” said Alice,)and round the neck of the bottle was a paper label, with the words “DRINKME,” beautifully printed on it in large letters.
It was all very well to say “Drink me,” but the wise little Alicewas not going to do that in a hurry. “No, I’ll lookfirst,” she said, “and see whether it’s marked‘poison’ or not”; for she had read several nice littlehistories about children who had got burnt, and eaten up by wild beasts andother unpleasant things, all because they would not remember the simplerules their friends had taught them: such as, that a red-hot poker will burnyou if you hold it too long; and that if you cut your finger very deeplywith a knife, it usually bleeds; and she had never forgotten that, if you drinkmuch from a bottle marked “poison,” it is almost certain todisagree with you, sooner or later.
However, this bottle was not marked “poison,” so Aliceventured to taste it, and finding it very nice, (it had, in fact, a sort ofmixed flavour of cherry-tart, custard, pine-apple, roast turkey, toffee, andhot buttered toast,) she very soon finished it off.
“What a curious feeling!” said Alice; “I must be shutting uplike a telescope.”
And so it was indeed: she was now only ten inches high, and her face brightenedup at the thought that she was now the right size for going through the littledoor into that lovely garden. First, however, she waited for a few minutes tosee if she was going to shrink any further: she felt a little nervous aboutthis; “for it might end, you know,” said Alice to herself,“in my going out altogether, like a candle. I wonder what I should belike then?” And she tried to fancy what the flame of a candle is likeafter the candle is blown out, for she could not remember ever having seen sucha thing.
After a while, finding that nothing more happened, she decided on going intothe garden at once; but, alas for poor Alice! when she got to the door, shefound she had forgotten the little golden key, and when she went back to thetable for it, she found she could not possibly reach it: she could see it quiteplainly through the glass, and she tried her best to climb up one of the legsof the table, but it was too slippery; and when she had tired herself out withtrying, the poor little thing sat down and cried.
“Come, there’s no use in crying like that!” said Alice toherself, rather sharply; “I advise you to leave off this minute!”She generally gave herself very good advice, (though she very seldom followedit), and sometimes she scolded herself so severely as to bring tears into hereyes; and once she remembered trying to box her own ears for having cheatedherself in a game of croquet she was playing against herself, for this curiouschild was very fond of pretending to be two people. “But it’s nouse now,” thought poor Alice, “to pretend to be two people! Why,there’s hardly enough of me left to make one respectableperson!”
Soon her eye fell on a little glass box that was lying under the table: sheopened it, and found in it a very small cake, on which the words “EATME” were beautifully marked in currants. “Well, I’ll eatit,” said Alice, “and if it makes me grow larger, I can reach thekey; and if it makes me grow smaller, I can creep under the door; so either wayI’ll get into the garden, and I don’t care which happens!”
She ate a little bit, and said anxiously to herself, “Which way? Whichway?”, holding her hand on the top of her head to feel which way it wasgrowing, and she was quite surprised to find that she remained the same size:to be sure, this generally happens when one eats cake, but Alice had got somuch into the way of expecting nothing but out-of-the-way things to happen,that it seemed quite dull and stupid for life to go on in the common way.
So she set to work, and very soon finished off the cake.
“Curiouser and curiouser!” cried Alice (she was so much surprised,that for the moment she quite forgot how to speak good English); “nowI’m opening out like the largest telescope that ever was! Good-bye,feet!” (for when she looked down at her feet, they seemed to be almostout of sight, they were getting so far off). “Oh, my poor little feet, Iwonder who will put on your shoes and stockings for you now, dears? I’msure I shan’t be able! I shall be a great deal too far off totrouble myself about you: you must manage the best way you can;—but Imust be kind to them,” thought Alice, “or perhaps they won’twalk the way I want to go! Let me see: I’ll give them a new pair of bootsevery Christmas.”
And she went on planning to herself how she would manage it. “They mustgo by the carrier,” she thought; “and how funny it’ll seem,sending presents to one’s own feet! And how odd the directions will look!
Alice’s Right Foot, Esq., Hearthrug, near the Fender, (with Alice’s love).
Oh dear, what nonsense I’m talking!”
Just then her head struck against the roof of the hall: in fact she was nowmore than nine feet high, and she at once took up the little golden key andhurried off to the garden door.
Poor Alice! It was as much as she could do, lying down on one side, to lookthrough into the garden with one eye; but to get through was more hopeless thanever: she sat down and began to cry again.
“You ought to be ashamed of yourself,” said Alice, “a greatgirl like you,” (she might well say this), “to go on crying in thisway! Stop this moment, I tell you!” But she went on all the same,shedding gallons of tears, until there was a large pool all round her, aboutfour inches deep and reaching half down the hall.
After a time she heard a little pattering of feet in the distance, and shehastily dried her eyes to see what was coming. It was the White Rabbitreturning, splendidly dressed, with a pair of white kid gloves in one hand anda large fan in the other: he came trotting along in a great hurry, muttering tohimself as he came, “Oh! the Duchess, the Duchess! Oh! won’t she besavage if I’ve kept her waiting!” Alice felt so desperate that shewas ready to ask help of any one; so, when the Rabbit came near her, she began,in a low, timid voice, “If you please, sir—” The Rabbitstarted violently, dropped the white kid gloves and the fan, and skurried awayinto the darkness as hard as he could go.
Alice took up the fan and gloves, and, as the hall was very hot, she keptfanning herself all the time she went on talking: “Dear, dear! How queereverything is to-day! And yesterday things went on just as usual. I wonder ifI’ve been changed in the night? Let me think: was I the same when I gotup this morning? I almost think I can remember feeling a little different. Butif I’m not the same, the next question is, Who in the world am I? Ah,that’s the great puzzle!” And she began thinking over allthe children she knew that were of the same age as herself, to see if she couldhave been changed for any of them.
“I’m sure I’m not Ada,” she said, “for her hairgoes in such long ringlets, and mine doesn’t go in ringlets at all; andI’m sure I can’t be Mabel, for I know all sorts of things, and she,oh! she knows such a very little! Besides, she’s she, andI’m I, and—oh dear, how puzzling it all is! I’ll tryif I know all the things I used to know. Let me see: four times five is twelve,and four times six is thirteen, and four times seven is—oh dear! I shallnever get to twenty at that rate! However, the Multiplication Tabledoesn’t signify: let’s try Geography. London is the capital ofParis, and Paris is the capital of Rome, and Rome—no, that’sall wrong, I’m certain! I must have been changed for Mabel! I’lltry and say ‘How doth the little—’” and shecrossed her hands on her lap as if she were saying lessons, and began to repeatit, but her voice sounded hoarse and strange, and the words did not come thesame as they used to do:—
“How doth the little crocodile
Improve his shining tail,
And pour the waters of the Nile
On every golden scale!
“How cheerfully he seems to grin,
How neatly spread his claws,
And welcome little fishes in
With gently smiling jaws!”
“I’m sure those are not the right words,” said poor Alice,and her eyes filled with tears again as she went on, “I must be Mabelafter all, and I shall have to go and live in that poky little house, and havenext to no toys to play with, and oh! ever so many lessons to learn! No,I’ve made up my mind about it; if I’m Mabel, I’ll stay downhere! It’ll be no use their putting their heads down and saying‘Come up again, dear!’ I shall only look up and say ‘Who am Ithen? Tell me that first, and then, if I like being that person, I’llcome up: if not, I’ll stay down here till I’m somebodyelse’—but, oh dear!” cried Alice, with a sudden burst oftears, “I do wish they would put their heads down! I am sovery tired of being all alone here!”
As she said this she looked down at her hands, and was surprised to see thatshe had put on one of the Rabbit’s little white kid gloves while she wastalking. “How can I have done that?” she thought. “Imust be growing small again.” She got up and went to the table to measureherself by it, and found that, as nearly as she could guess, she was now abouttwo feet high, and was going on shrinking rapidly: she soon found out that thecause of this was the fan she was holding, and she dropped it hastily, just intime to avoid shrinking away altogether.
“That was a narrow escape!” said Alice, a good dealfrightened at the sudden change, but very glad to find herself still inexistence; “and now for the garden!” and she ran with all speedback to the little door: but, alas! the little door was shut again, and thelittle golden key was lying on the glass table as before, “and things areworse than ever,” thought the poor child, “for I never was so smallas this before, never! And I declare it’s too bad, that it is!”
As she said these words her foot slipped, and in another moment, splash! shewas up to her chin in salt water. Her first idea was that she had somehowfallen into the sea, “and in that case I can go back by railway,”she said to herself. (Alice had been to the seaside once in her life, and hadcome to the general conclusion, that wherever you go to on the English coastyou find a number of bathing machines in the sea, some children digging in thesand with wooden spades, then a row of lodging houses, and behind them arailway station.) However, she soon made out that she was in the pool of tearswhich she had wept when she was nine feet high.
“I wish I hadn’t cried so much!” said Alice, as she swamabout, trying to find her way out. “I shall be punished for it now, Isuppose, by being drowned in my own tears! That will be a queer thing,to be sure! However, everything is queer to-day.”
Just then she heard something splashing about in the pool a little way off, andshe swam nearer to make out what it was: at first she thought it must be awalrus or hippopotamus, but then she remembered how small she was now, and shesoon made out that it was only a mouse that had slipped in like herself.
“Would it be of any use, now,” thought Alice, “to speak tothis mouse? Everything is so out-of-the-way down here, that I should think verylikely it can talk: at any rate, there’s no harm in trying.” So shebegan: “O Mouse, do you know the way out of this pool? I am very tired ofswimming about here, O Mouse!” (Alice thought this must be the right wayof speaking to a mouse: she had never done such a thing before, but sheremembered having seen in her brother’s Latin Grammar, “Amouse—of a mouse—to a mouse—a mouse—O mouse!”)The Mouse looked at her rather inquisitively, and seemed to her to wink withone of its little eyes, but it said nothing.
“Perhaps it doesn’t understand English,” thought Alice;“I daresay it’s a French mouse, come over with William theConqueror.” (For, with all her knowledge of history, Alice had no veryclear notion how long ago anything had happened.) So she began again: “Oùest ma chatte?” which was the first sentence in her French lesson-book.The Mouse gave a sudden leap out of the water, and seemed to quiver all overwith fright. “Oh, I beg your pardon!” cried Alice hastily, afraidthat she had hurt the poor animal’s feelings. “I quite forgot youdidn’t like cats.”
“Not like cats!” cried the Mouse, in a shrill, passionate voice.“Would you like cats if you were me?”
“Well, perhaps not,” said Alice in a soothing tone:“don’t be angry about it. And yet I wish I could show you our catDinah: I think you’d take a fancy to cats if you could only see her. Sheis such a dear quiet thing,” Alice went on, half to herself, as she swamlazily about in the pool, “and she sits purring so nicely by the fire,licking her paws and washing her face—and she is such a nice soft thingto nurse—and she’s such a capital one for catching mice—oh, Ibeg your pardon!” cried Alice again, for this time the Mouse wasbristling all over, and she felt certain it must be really offended. “Wewon’t talk about her any more if you’d rather not.”
“We indeed!” cried the Mouse, who was trembling down to the end ofhis tail. “As if I would talk on such a subject! Our family alwayshated cats: nasty, low, vulgar things! Don’t let me hear the nameagain!”
“I won’t indeed!” said Alice, in a great hurry to change thesubject of conversation. “Are you—are you fond—of—ofdogs?” The Mouse did not answer, so Alice went on eagerly: “Thereis such a nice little dog near our house I should like to show you! A littlebright-eyed terrier, you know, with oh, such long curly brown hair! Andit’ll fetch things when you throw them, and it’ll sit up and begfor its dinner, and all sorts of things—I can’t remember half ofthem—and it belongs to a farmer, you know, and he says it’s souseful, it’s worth a hundred pounds! He says it kills all the ratsand—oh dear!” cried Alice in a sorrowful tone, “I’mafraid I’ve offended it again!” For the Mouse was swimming awayfrom her as hard as it could go, and making quite a commotion in the pool as itwent.
So she called softly after it, “Mouse dear! Do come back again, and wewon’t talk about cats or dogs either, if you don’t likethem!” When the Mouse heard this, it turned round and swam slowly back toher: its face was quite pale (with passion, Alice thought), and it said in alow trembling voice, “Let us get to the shore, and then I’ll tellyou my history, and you’ll understand why it is I hate cats anddogs.”
It was high time to go, for the pool was getting quite crowded with the birdsand animals that had fallen into it: there were a Duck and a Dodo, a Lory andan Eaglet, and several other curious creatures. Alice led the way, and thewhole party swam to the shore.
They were indeed a queer-looking party that assembled on the bank—thebirds with draggled feathers, the animals with their fur clinging close tothem, and all dripping wet, cross, and uncomfortable.
The first question of course was, how to get dry again: they had a consultationabout this, and after a few minutes it seemed quite natural to Alice to findherself talking familiarly with them, as if she had known them all her life.Indeed, she had quite a long argument with the Lory, who at last turned sulky,and would only say, “I am older than you, and must know better;”and this Alice would not allow without knowing how old it was, and, as the Lorypositively refused to tell its age, there was no more to be said.
At last the Mouse, who seemed to be a person of authority among them, calledout, “Sit down, all of you, and listen to me! I’ll soon makeyou dry enough!” They all sat down at once, in a large ring, with theMouse in the middle. Alice kept her eyes anxiously fixed on it, for she feltsure she would catch a bad cold if she did not get dry very soon.
“Ahem!” said the Mouse with an important air, “are you allready? This is the driest thing I know. Silence all round, if you please!‘William the Conqueror, whose cause was favoured by the pope, was soonsubmitted to by the English, who wanted leaders, and had been of late muchaccustomed to usurpation and conquest. Edwin and Morcar, the earls of Merciaand Northumbria—’”
“Ugh!” said the Lory, with a shiver.
“I beg your pardon!” said the Mouse, frowning, but very politely:“Did you speak?”
“Not I!” said the Lory hastily.
“I thought you did,” said the Mouse. “—I proceed.‘Edwin and Morcar, the earls of Mercia and Northumbria, declared for him:and even Stigand, the patriotic archbishop of Canterbury, found itadvisable—’”
“Found what?” said the Duck.
“Found it,” the Mouse replied rather crossly: “ofcourse you know what ‘it’ means.”
“I know what ‘it’ means well enough, when I find athing,” said the Duck: “it’s generally a frog or a worm. Thequestion is, what did the archbishop find?”
The Mouse did not notice this question, but hurriedly went on,“‘—found it advisable to go with Edgar Atheling to meetWilliam and offer him the crown. William’s conduct at first was moderate.But the insolence of his Normans—’ How are you getting on now, mydear?” it continued, turning to Alice as it spoke.
“As wet as ever,” said Alice in a melancholy tone: “itdoesn’t seem to dry me at all.”
“In that case,” said the Dodo solemnly, rising to its feet,“I move that the meeting adjourn, for the immediate adoption of moreenergetic remedies—”
“Speak English!” said the Eaglet. “I don’t know themeaning of half those long words, and, what’s more, I don’t believeyou do either!” And the Eaglet bent down its head to hide a smile: someof the other birds tittered audibly.
“What I was going to say,” said the Dodo in an offended tone,“was, that the best thing to get us dry would be a Caucus-race.”
“What is a Caucus-race?” said Alice; not that she wantedmuch to know, but the Dodo had paused as if it thought that somebodyought to speak, and no one else seemed inclined to say anything.
“Why,” said the Dodo, “the best way to explain it is to doit.” (And, as you might like to try the thing yourself, some winter day,I will tell you how the Dodo managed it.)
First it marked out a race-course, in a sort of circle, (“the exact shapedoesn’t matter,” it said,) and then all the party were placed alongthe course, here and there. There was no “One, two, three, andaway,” but they began running when they liked, and left off when theyliked, so that it was not easy to know when the race was over. However, whenthey had been running half an hour or so, and were quite dry again, the Dodosuddenly called out “The race is over!” and they all crowded roundit, panting, and asking, “But who has won?”
This question the Dodo could not answer without a great deal of thought, and itsat for a long time with one finger pressed upon its forehead (the position inwhich you usually see Shakespeare, in the pictures of him), while the restwaited in silence. At last the Dodo said, “Everybody has won, andall must have prizes.”
“But who is to give the prizes?” quite a chorus of voices asked.
“Why, she, of course,” said the Dodo, pointing to Alice withone finger; and the whole party at once crowded round her, calling out in aconfused way, “Prizes! Prizes!”
Alice had no idea what to do, and in despair she put her hand in her pocket,and pulled out a box of comfits, (luckily the salt water had not got into it),and handed them round as prizes. There was exactly one a-piece, all round.
“But she must have a prize herself, you know,” said the Mouse.
“Of course,” the Dodo replied very gravely. “What else haveyou got in your pocket?” he went on, turning to Alice.
“Only a thimble,” said Alice sadly.
“Hand it over here,” said the Dodo.
Then they all crowded round her once more, while the Dodo solemnly presentedthe thimble, saying “We beg your acceptance of this elegantthimble;” and, when it had finished this short speech, they all cheered.
Alice thought the whole thing very absurd, but they all looked so grave thatshe did not dare to laugh; and, as she could not think of anything to say, shesimply bowed, and took the thimble, looking as solemn as she could.
The next thing was to eat the comfits: this caused some noise and confusion, asthe large birds complained that they could not taste theirs, and the small oneschoked and had to be patted on the back. However, it was over at last, and theysat down again in a ring, and begged the Mouse to tell them something more.
“You promised to tell me your history, you know,” said Alice,“and why it is you hate—C and D,” she added in a whisper,half afraid that it would be offended again.
“Mine is a long and a sad tale!” said the Mouse, turning to Alice,and sighing.
“It is a long tail, certainly,” said Alice, looking downwith wonder at the Mouse’s tail; “but why do you call itsad?” And she kept on puzzling about it while the Mouse was speaking, sothat her idea of the tale was something like this:—
“Fury said to a mouse, That he met in the house, ‘Let us both go to law: I will prosecute you.—Come, I’ll take no denial; We must have a trial: For really this morning I’ve nothing to do.’ Said the mouse to the cur, ‘Such a trial, dear sir, With no jury or judge, would be wasting our breath.’ ‘I’ll be judge, I’ll be jury,’ Said cunning old Fury: ‘I’ll try the whole cause, and condemn you to death.’”
“You are not attending!” said the Mouse to Alice severely.“What are you thinking of?”
“I beg your pardon,” said Alice very humbly: “you had got tothe fifth bend, I think?”
“I had not!” cried the Mouse, sharply and very angrily.
“A knot!” said Alice, always ready to make herself useful, andlooking anxiously about her. “Oh, do let me help to undo it!”
“I shall do nothing of the sort,” said the Mouse, getting up andwalking away. “You insult me by talking such nonsense!”
“I didn’t mean it!” pleaded poor Alice. “Butyou’re so easily offended, you know!”
The Mouse only growled in reply.
“Please come back and finish your story!” Alice called after it;and the others all joined in chorus, “Yes, please do!” but theMouse only shook its head impatiently, and walked a little quicker.
“What a pity it wouldn’t stay!” sighed the Lory, as soon asit was quite out of sight; and an old Crab took the opportunity of saying toher daughter “Ah, my dear! Let this be a lesson to you never to loseyour temper!” “Hold your tongue, Ma!” said the youngCrab, a little snappishly. “You’re enough to try the patience of anoyster!”
“I wish I had our Dinah here, I know I do!” said Alice aloud,addressing nobody in particular. “She’d soon fetch it back!”
“And who is Dinah, if I might venture to ask the question?” saidthe Lory.
Alice replied eagerly, for she was always ready to talk about her pet:“Dinah’s our cat. And she’s such a capital one for catchingmice you can’t think! And oh, I wish you could see her after the birds!Why, she’ll eat a little bird as soon as look at it!”
This speech caused a remarkable sensation among the party. Some of the birdshurried off at once: one old Magpie began wrapping itself up very carefully,remarking, “I really must be getting home; the night-air doesn’tsuit my throat!” and a Canary called out in a trembling voice to itschildren, “Come away, my dears! It’s high time you were all inbed!” On various pretexts they all moved off, and Alice was soon leftalone.
“I wish I hadn’t mentioned Dinah!” she said to herself in amelancholy tone. “Nobody seems to like her, down here, and I’m sureshe’s the best cat in the world! Oh, my dear Dinah! I wonder if I shallever see you any more!” And here poor Alice began to cry again, for shefelt very lonely and low-spirited. In a little while, however, she again hearda little pattering of footsteps in the distance, and she looked up eagerly,half hoping that the Mouse had changed his mind, and was coming back to finishhis story.
It was the White Rabbit, trotting slowly back again, and looking anxiouslyabout as it went, as if it had lost something; and she heard it muttering toitself “The Duchess! The Duchess! Oh my dear paws! Oh my fur andwhiskers! She’ll get me executed, as sure as ferrets are ferrets! Wherecan I have dropped them, I wonder?” Alice guessed in a moment thatit was looking for the fan and the pair of white kid gloves, and she verygood-naturedly began hunting about for them, but they were nowhere to beseen—everything seemed to have changed since her swim in the pool, andthe great hall, with the glass table and the little door, had vanishedcompletely.
Very soon the Rabbit noticed Alice, as she went hunting about, and called outto her in an angry tone, “Why, Mary Ann, what are you doing outhere? Run home this moment, and fetch me a pair of gloves and a fan! Quick,now!” And Alice was so much frightened that she ran off at once in thedirection it pointed to, without trying to explain the mistake it had made.
“He took me for his housemaid,” she said to herself as she ran.“How surprised he’ll be when he finds out who I am! But I’dbetter take him his fan and gloves—that is, if I can find them.” Asshe said this, she came upon a neat little house, on the door of which was abright brass plate with the name “W. RABBIT,” engraved upon it. Shewent in without knocking, and hurried upstairs, in great fear lest she shouldmeet the real Mary Ann, and be turned out of the house before she had found thefan and gloves.
“How queer it seems,” Alice said to herself, “to be goingmessages for a rabbit! I suppose Dinah’ll be sending me on messagesnext!” And she began fancying the sort of thing that would happen:“‘Miss Alice! Come here directly, and get ready for yourwalk!’ ‘Coming in a minute, nurse! But I’ve got to see thatthe mouse doesn’t get out.’ Only I don’t think,” Alicewent on, “that they’d let Dinah stop in the house if it beganordering people about like that!”
By this time she had found her way into a tidy little room with a table in thewindow, and on it (as she had hoped) a fan and two or three pairs of tiny whitekid gloves: she took up the fan and a pair of the gloves, and was just going toleave the room, when her eye fell upon a little bottle that stood near thelooking-glass. There was no label this time with the words “DRINKME,” but nevertheless she uncorked it and put it to her lips. “Iknow something interesting is sure to happen,” she said toherself, “whenever I eat or drink anything; so I’ll just see whatthis bottle does. I do hope it’ll make me grow large again, for reallyI’m quite tired of being such a tiny little thing!”
It did so indeed, and much sooner than she had expected: before she had drunkhalf the bottle, she found her head pressing against the ceiling, and had tostoop to save her neck from being broken. She hastily put down the bottle,saying to herself “That’s quite enough—I hope I shan’tgrow any more—As it is, I can’t get out at the door—I do wishI hadn’t drunk quite so much!”
Alas! it was too late to wish that! She went on growing, and growing, and verysoon had to kneel down on the floor: in another minute there was not even roomfor this, and she tried the effect of lying down with one elbow against thedoor, and the other arm curled round her head. Still she went on growing, and,as a last resource, she put one arm out of the window, and one foot up thechimney, and said to herself “Now I can do no more, whatever happens.What will become of me?”
Luckily for Alice, the little magic bottle had now had its full effect, and shegrew no larger: still it was very uncomfortable, and, as there seemed to be nosort of chance of her ever getting out of the room again, no wonder she feltunhappy.
“It was much pleasanter at home,” thought poor Alice, “whenone wasn’t always growing larger and smaller, and being ordered about bymice and rabbits. I almost wish I hadn’t gone down thatrabbit-hole—and yet—and yet—it’s rather curious, youknow, this sort of life! I do wonder what can have happened to me! WhenI used to read fairy-tales, I fancied that kind of thing never happened, andnow here I am in the middle of one! There ought to be a book written about me,that there ought! And when I grow up, I’ll write one—but I’mgrown up now,” she added in a sorrowful tone; “at leastthere’s no room to grow up any more here.”
“But then,” thought Alice, “shall I never get anyolder than I am now? That’ll be a comfort, one way—never to be anold woman—but then—always to have lessons to learn! Oh, Ishouldn’t like that!”
“Oh, you foolish Alice!” she answered herself. “How can youlearn lessons in here? Why, there’s hardly room for you, and noroom at all for any lesson-books!”
And so she went on, taking first one side and then the other, and making quitea conversation of it altogether; but after a few minutes she heard a voiceoutside, and stopped to listen.
“Mary Ann! Mary Ann!” said the voice. “Fetch me my glovesthis moment!” Then came a little pattering of feet on the stairs. Aliceknew it was the Rabbit coming to look for her, and she trembled till she shookthe house, quite forgetting that she was now about a thousand times as large asthe Rabbit, and had no reason to be afraid of it.
Presently the Rabbit came up to the door, and tried to open it; but, as thedoor opened inwards, and Alice’s elbow was pressed hard against it, thatattempt proved a failure. Alice heard it say to itself “Then I’llgo round and get in at the window.”
“That you won’t!” thought Alice, and, after waitingtill she fancied she heard the Rabbit just under the window, she suddenlyspread out her hand, and made a snatch in the air. She did not get hold ofanything, but she heard a little shriek and a fall, and a crash of brokenglass, from which she concluded that it was just possible it had fallen into acucumber-frame, or something of the sort.
Next came an angry voice—the Rabbit’s—“Pat! Pat! Whereare you?” And then a voice she had never heard before, “Sure thenI’m here! Digging for apples, yer honour!”
“Digging for apples, indeed!” said the Rabbit angrily. “Here!Come and help me out of this!” (Sounds of more broken glass.)
“Now tell me, Pat, what’s that in the window?”
“Sure, it’s an arm, yer honour!” (He pronounced it“arrum.”)
“An arm, you goose! Who ever saw one that size? Why, it fills the wholewindow!”
“Sure, it does, yer honour: but it’s an arm for all that.”
“Well, it’s got no business there, at any rate: go and take itaway!”
There was a long silence after this, and Alice could only hear whispers now andthen; such as, “Sure, I don’t like it, yer honour, at all, atall!” “Do as I tell you, you coward!” and at last she spreadout her hand again, and made another snatch in the air. This time there weretwo little shrieks, and more sounds of broken glass. “What anumber of cucumber-frames there must be!” thought Alice. “I wonderwhat they’ll do next! As for pulling me out of the window, I only wishthey could! I’m sure I don’t want to stay in here anylonger!”
She waited for some time without hearing anything more: at last came a rumblingof little cartwheels, and the sound of a good many voices all talking together:she made out the words: “Where’s the other ladder?—Why, Ihadn’t to bring but one; Bill’s got the other—Bill! fetch ithere, lad!—Here, put ’em up at this corner—No, tie ’emtogether first—they don’t reach half high enough yet—Oh!they’ll do well enough; don’t be particular—Here, Bill! catchhold of this rope—Will the roof bear?—Mind that looseslate—Oh, it’s coming down! Heads below!” (a loudcrash)—“Now, who did that?—It was Bill, Ifancy—Who’s to go down the chimney?—Nay, Ishan’t! You do it!—That I won’t,then!—Bill’s to go down—Here, Bill! the master saysyou’re to go down the chimney!”
“Oh! So Bill’s got to come down the chimney, has he?” saidAlice to herself. “Shy, they seem to put everything upon Bill! Iwouldn’t be in Bill’s place for a good deal: this fireplace isnarrow, to be sure; but I think I can kick a little!”
She drew her foot as far down the chimney as she could, and waited till sheheard a little animal (she couldn’t guess of what sort it was) scratchingand scrambling about in the chimney close above her: then, saying to herself“This is Bill,” she gave one sharp kick, and waited to see whatwould happen next.
The first thing she heard was a general chorus of “There goesBill!” then the Rabbit’s voice along—“Catch him, you bythe hedge!” then silence, and then another confusion ofvoices—“Hold up his head—Brandy now—Don’t chokehim—How was it, old fellow? What happened to you? Tell us all aboutit!”
Last came a little feeble, squeaking voice, (“That’s Bill,”thought Alice,) “Well, I hardly know—No more, thank ye; I’mbetter now—but I’m a deal too flustered to tell you—all Iknow is, something comes at me like a Jack-in-the-box, and up I goes like asky-rocket!”
“So you did, old fellow!” said the others.
“We must burn the house down!” said the Rabbit’s voice; andAlice called out as loud as she could, “If you do, I’ll set Dinahat you!”
There was a dead silence instantly, and Alice thought to herself, “Iwonder what they will do next! If they had any sense, they’d takethe roof off.” After a minute or two, they began moving about again, andAlice heard the Rabbit say, “A barrowful will do, to begin with.”
“A barrowful of what?” thought Alice; but she had not longto doubt, for the next moment a shower of little pebbles came rattling in atthe window, and some of them hit her in the face. “I’ll put a stopto this,” she said to herself, and shouted out, “You’d betternot do that again!” which produced another dead silence.
Alice noticed with some surprise that the pebbles were all turning into littlecakes as they lay on the floor, and a bright idea came into her head. “IfI eat one of these cakes,” she thought, “it’s sure to makesome change in my size; and as it can’t possibly make me larger,it must make me smaller, I suppose.”
So she swallowed one of the cakes, and was delighted to find that she beganshrinking directly. As soon as she was small enough to get through the door,she ran out of the house, and found quite a crowd of little animals and birdswaiting outside. The poor little Lizard, Bill, was in the middle, being held upby two guinea-pigs, who were giving it something out of a bottle. They all madea rush at Alice the moment she appeared; but she ran off as hard as she could,and soon found herself safe in a thick wood.
“The first thing I’ve got to do,” said Alice to herself, asshe wandered about in the wood, “is to grow to my right size again; andthe second thing is to find my way into that lovely garden. I think that willbe the best plan.”
It sounded an excellent plan, no doubt, and very neatly and simply arranged;the only difficulty was, that she had not the smallest idea how to set aboutit; and while she was peering about anxiously among the trees, a little sharpbark just over her head made her look up in a great hurry.
An enormous puppy was looking down at her with large round eyes, and feeblystretching out one paw, trying to touch her. “Poor little thing!”said Alice, in a coaxing tone, and she tried hard to whistle to it; but she wasterribly frightened all the time at the thought that it might be hungry, inwhich case it would be very likely to eat her up in spite of all her coaxing.
Hardly knowing what she did, she picked up a little bit of stick, and held itout to the puppy; whereupon the puppy jumped into the air off all its feet atonce, with a yelp of delight, and rushed at the stick, and made believe toworry it; then Alice dodged behind a great thistle, to keep herself from beingrun over; and the moment she appeared on the other side, the puppy made anotherrush at the stick, and tumbled head over heels in its hurry to get hold of it;then Alice, thinking it was very like having a game of play with a cart-horse,and expecting every moment to be trampled under its feet, ran round the thistleagain; then the puppy began a series of short charges at the stick, running avery little way forwards each time and a long way back, and barking hoarselyall the while, till at last it sat down a good way off, panting, with itstongue hanging out of its mouth, and its great eyes half shut.
This seemed to Alice a good opportunity for making her escape; so she set offat once, and ran till she was quite tired and out of breath, and till thepuppy’s bark sounded quite faint in the distance.
“And yet what a dear little puppy it was!” said Alice, as she leantagainst a buttercup to rest herself, and fanned herself with one of the leaves:“I should have liked teaching it tricks very much, if—if I’donly been the right size to do it! Oh dear! I’d nearly forgotten thatI’ve got to grow up again! Let me see—how is it to bemanaged? I suppose I ought to eat or drink something or other; but the greatquestion is, what?”
The great question certainly was, what? Alice looked all round her at theflowers and the blades of grass, but she did not see anything that looked likethe right thing to eat or drink under the circumstances. There was a largemushroom growing near her, about the same height as herself; and when she hadlooked under it, and on both sides of it, and behind it, it occurred to herthat she might as well look and see what was on the top of it.
She stretched herself up on tiptoe, and peeped over the edge of the mushroom,and her eyes immediately met those of a large blue caterpillar, that wassitting on the top with its arms folded, quietly smoking a long hookah, andtaking not the smallest notice of her or of anything else.
The Caterpillar and Alice looked at each other for some time in silence: atlast the Caterpillar took the hookah out of its mouth, and addressed her in alanguid, sleepy voice.
“Who are you?” said the Caterpillar.
This was not an encouraging opening for a conversation. Alice replied, rathershyly, “I—I hardly know, sir, just at present—at least I knowwho I was when I got up this morning, but I think I must have beenchanged several times since then.”
“What do you mean by that?” said the Caterpillar sternly.“Explain yourself!”
“I can’t explain myself, I’m afraid, sir,” saidAlice, “because I’m not myself, you see.”
“I don’t see,” said the Caterpillar.
“I’m afraid I can’t put it more clearly,” Alice repliedvery politely, “for I can’t understand it myself to begin with; andbeing so many different sizes in a day is very confusing.”
“It isn’t,” said the Caterpillar.
“Well, perhaps you haven’t found it so yet,” said Alice;“but when you have to turn into a chrysalis—you will some day, youknow—and then after that into a butterfly, I should think you’llfeel it a little queer, won’t you?”
“Not a bit,” said the Caterpillar.
“Well, perhaps your feelings may be different,” said Alice;“all I know is, it would feel very queer to me.”
“You!” said the Caterpillar contemptuously. “Who areyou?”
Which brought them back again to the beginning of the conversation. Alice felta little irritated at the Caterpillar’s making such very shortremarks, and she drew herself up and said, very gravely, “I think, youought to tell me who you are, first.”
“Why?” said the Caterpillar.
Here was another puzzling question; and as Alice could not think of any goodreason, and as the Caterpillar seemed to be in a very unpleasant stateof mind, she turned away.
“Come back!” the Caterpillar called after her. “I’vesomething important to say!”
This sounded promising, certainly: Alice turned and came back again.
“Keep your temper,” said the Caterpillar.
“Is that all?” said Alice, swallowing down her anger as well as shecould.
“No,” said the Caterpillar.
Alice thought she might as well wait, as she had nothing else to do, andperhaps after all it might tell her something worth hearing. For some minutesit puffed away without speaking, but at last it unfolded its arms, took thehookah out of its mouth again, and said, “So you think you’rechanged, do you?”
“I’m afraid I am, sir,” said Alice; “I can’tremember things as I used—and I don’t keep the same size for tenminutes together!”
“Can’t remember what things?” said the Caterpillar.
“Well, I’ve tried to say “How doth the little busybee,” but it all came different!” Alice replied in a verymelancholy voice.
“Repeat, “You are old, Father William,’” saidthe Caterpillar.
Alice folded her hands, and began:—
“You are old, Father William,” the young man said,
“And your hair has become very white;
And yet you incessantly stand on your head—
Do you think, at your age, it is right?”
“In my youth,” Father William replied to his son,
“I feared it might injure the brain;
But, now that I’m perfectly sure I have none,
Why, I do it again and again.”
“You are old,” said the youth, “as I mentioned before,
And have grown most uncommonly fat;
Yet you turned a back-somersault in at the door—
Pray, what is the reason of that?”
“In my youth,” said the sage, as he shook his grey locks,
“I kept all my limbs very supple
By the use of this ointment—one shilling the box—
Allow me to sell you a couple?”
“You are old,” said the youth, “and your jaws are too weak
For anything tougher than suet;
Yet you finished the goose, with the bones and the beak—
Pray, how did you manage to do it?”
“In my youth,” said his father, “I took to the law,
And argued each case with my wife;
And the muscular strength, which it gave to my jaw,
Has lasted the rest of my life.”
“You are old,” said the youth, “one would hardly suppose
That your eye was as steady as ever;
Yet you balanced an eel on the end of your nose—
What made you so awfully clever?”
“I have answered three questions, and that is enough,”
Said his father; “don’t give yourself airs!
Do you think I can listen all day to such stuff?
Be off, or I’ll kick you down stairs!”
“That is not said right,” said the Caterpillar.
“Not quite right, I’m afraid,” said Alice, timidly;“some of the words have got altered.”
“It is wrong from beginning to end,” said the Caterpillardecidedly, and there was silence for some minutes.
The Caterpillar was the first to speak.
“What size do you want to be?” it asked.
“Oh, I’m not particular as to size,” Alice hastily replied;“only one doesn’t like changing so often, you know.”
“I don’t know,” said the Caterpillar.
Alice said nothing: she had never been so much contradicted in her life before,and she felt that she was losing her temper.
“Are you content now?” said the Caterpillar.
“Well, I should like to be a little larger, sir, if youwouldn’t mind,” said Alice: “three inches is such a wretchedheight to be.”
“It is a very good height indeed!” said the Caterpillar angrily,rearing itself upright as it spoke (it was exactly three inches high).
“But I’m not used to it!” pleaded poor Alice in a piteoustone. And she thought of herself, “I wish the creatures wouldn’t beso easily offended!”
“You’ll get used to it in time,” said the Caterpillar; and itput the hookah into its mouth and began smoking again.
This time Alice waited patiently until it chose to speak again. In a minute ortwo the Caterpillar took the hookah out of its mouth and yawned once or twice,and shook itself. Then it got down off the mushroom, and crawled away in thegrass, merely remarking as it went, “One side will make you grow taller,and the other side will make you grow shorter.”
“One side of what? The other side of what?” thoughtAlice to herself.
“Of the mushroom,” said the Caterpillar, just as if she had askedit aloud; and in another moment it was out of sight.
Alice remained looking thoughtfully at the mushroom for a minute, trying tomake out which were the two sides of it; and as it was perfectly round, shefound this a very difficult question. However, at last she stretched her armsround it as far as they would go, and broke off a bit of the edge with eachhand.
“And now which is which?” she said to herself, and nibbled a littleof the right-hand bit to try the effect: the next moment she felt a violentblow underneath her chin: it had struck her foot!
She was a good deal frightened by this very sudden change, but she felt thatthere was no time to be lost, as she was shrinking rapidly; so she set to workat once to eat some of the other bit. Her chin was pressed so closely againsther foot, that there was hardly room to open her mouth; but she did it at last,and managed to swallow a morsel of the lefthand bit.
“Come, my head’s free at last!” said Alice in a tone ofdelight, which changed into alarm in another moment, when she found that hershoulders were nowhere to be found: all she could see, when she looked down,was an immense length of neck, which seemed to rise like a stalk out of a seaof green leaves that lay far below her.
“What can all that green stuff be?” said Alice. “Andwhere have my shoulders got to? And oh, my poor hands, how is it Ican’t see you?” She was moving them about as she spoke, but noresult seemed to follow, except a little shaking among the distant greenleaves.
As there seemed to be no chance of getting her hands up to her head, she triedto get her head down to them, and was delighted to find that her neck wouldbend about easily in any direction, like a serpent. She had just succeeded incurving it down into a graceful zigzag, and was going to dive in among theleaves, which she found to be nothing but the tops of the trees under which shehad been wandering, when a sharp hiss made her draw back in a hurry: a largepigeon had flown into her face, and was beating her violently with its wings.
“Serpent!” screamed the Pigeon.
“I’m not a serpent!” said Alice indignantly.“Let me alone!”
“Serpent, I say again!” repeated the Pigeon, but in a more subduedtone, and added with a kind of sob, “I’ve tried every way, andnothing seems to suit them!”
“I haven’t the least idea what you’re talking about,”said Alice.
“I’ve tried the roots of trees, and I’ve tried banks, andI’ve tried hedges,” the Pigeon went on, without attending to her;“but those serpents! There’s no pleasing them!”
Alice was more and more puzzled, but she thought there was no use in sayinganything more till the Pigeon had finished.
“As if it wasn’t trouble enough hatching the eggs,” said thePigeon; “but I must be on the look-out for serpents night and day! Why, Ihaven’t had a wink of sleep these three weeks!”
“I’m very sorry you’ve been annoyed,” said Alice, whowas beginning to see its meaning.
“And just as I’d taken the highest tree in the wood,”continued the Pigeon, raising its voice to a shriek, “and just as I wasthinking I should be free of them at last, they must needs come wriggling downfrom the sky! Ugh, Serpent!”
“But I’m not a serpent, I tell you!” said Alice.“I’m a—I’m a—”
“Well! What are you?” said the Pigeon. “I can seeyou’re trying to invent something!”
“I—I’m a little girl,” said Alice, rather doubtfully,as she remembered the number of changes she had gone through that day.
“A likely story indeed!” said the Pigeon in a tone of the deepestcontempt. “I’ve seen a good many little girls in my time, but neverone with such a neck as that! No, no! You’re a serpent; andthere’s no use denying it. I suppose you’ll be telling me next thatyou never tasted an egg!”
“I have tasted eggs, certainly,” said Alice, who was a verytruthful child; “but little girls eat eggs quite as much as serpents do,you know.”
“I don’t believe it,” said the Pigeon; “but if they do,why then they’re a kind of serpent, that’s all I can say.”
This was such a new idea to Alice, that she was quite silent for a minute ortwo, which gave the Pigeon the opportunity of adding, “You’relooking for eggs, I know that well enough; and what does it matter to mewhether you’re a little girl or a serpent?”
“It matters a good deal to me,” said Alice hastily;“but I’m not looking for eggs, as it happens; and if I was, Ishouldn’t want yours: I don’t like them raw.”
“Well, be off, then!” said the Pigeon in a sulky tone, as itsettled down again into its nest. Alice crouched down among the trees as wellas she could, for her neck kept getting entangled among the branches, and everynow and then she had to stop and untwist it. After a while she remembered thatshe still held the pieces of mushroom in her hands, and she set to work verycarefully, nibbling first at one and then at the other, and growing sometimestaller and sometimes shorter, until she had succeeded in bringing herself downto her usual height.
It was so long since she had been anything near the right size, that it feltquite strange at first; but she got used to it in a few minutes, and begantalking to herself, as usual. “Come, there’s half my plan done now!How puzzling all these changes are! I’m never sure what I’m goingto be, from one minute to another! However, I’ve got back to my rightsize: the next thing is, to get into that beautiful garden—how isthat to be done, I wonder?” As she said this, she came suddenly upon anopen place, with a little house in it about four feet high. “Whoeverlives there,” thought Alice, “it’ll never do to come uponthem this size: why, I should frighten them out of their wits!” Soshe began nibbling at the righthand bit again, and did not venture to go nearthe house till she had brought herself down to nine inches high.
For a minute or two she stood looking at the house, and wondering what to donext, when suddenly a footman in livery came running out of the wood—(sheconsidered him to be a footman because he was in livery: otherwise, judging byhis face only, she would have called him a fish)—and rapped loudly at thedoor with his knuckles. It was opened by another footman in livery, with around face, and large eyes like a frog; and both footmen, Alice noticed, hadpowdered hair that curled all over their heads. She felt very curious to knowwhat it was all about, and crept a little way out of the wood to listen.
The Fish-Footman began by producing from under his arm a great letter, nearlyas large as himself, and this he handed over to the other, saying, in a solemntone, “For the Duchess. An invitation from the Queen to playcroquet.” The Frog-Footman repeated, in the same solemn tone, onlychanging the order of the words a little, “From the Queen. An invitationfor the Duchess to play croquet.”
Then they both bowed low, and their curls got entangled together.
Alice laughed so much at this, that she had to run back into the wood for fearof their hearing her; and when she next peeped out the Fish-Footman was gone,and the other was sitting on the ground near the door, staring stupidly up intothe sky.
Alice went timidly up to the door, and knocked.
“There’s no sort of use in knocking,” said the Footman,“and that for two reasons. First, because I’m on the same side ofthe door as you are; secondly, because they’re making such a noiseinside, no one could possibly hear you.” And certainly there was amost extraordinary noise going on within—a constant howling and sneezing,and every now and then a great crash, as if a dish or kettle had been broken topieces.
“Please, then,” said Alice, “how am I to get in?”
“There might be some sense in your knocking,” the Footman went onwithout attending to her, “if we had the door between us. For instance,if you were inside, you might knock, and I could let you out, youknow.” He was looking up into the sky all the time he was speaking, andthis Alice thought decidedly uncivil. “But perhaps he can’t helpit,” she said to herself; “his eyes are so very nearly atthe top of his head. But at any rate he might answer questions.—How am Ito get in?” she repeated, aloud.
“I shall sit here,” the Footman remarked, “tilltomorrow—”
At this moment the door of the house opened, and a large plate came skimmingout, straight at the Footman’s head: it just grazed his nose, and broketo pieces against one of the trees behind him.
“—or next day, maybe,” the Footman continued in the sametone, exactly as if nothing had happened.
“How am I to get in?” asked Alice again, in a louder tone.
“Are you to get in at all?” said the Footman.“That’s the first question, you know.”
It was, no doubt: only Alice did not like to be told so. “It’sreally dreadful,” she muttered to herself, “the way all thecreatures argue. It’s enough to drive one crazy!”
The Footman seemed to think this a good opportunity for repeating his remark,with variations. “I shall sit here,” he said, “on and off,for days and days.”
“But what am I to do?” said Alice.
“Anything you like,” said the Footman, and began whistling.
“Oh, there’s no use in talking to him,” said Alicedesperately: “he’s perfectly idiotic!” And she opened thedoor and went in.
The door led right into a large kitchen, which was full of smoke from one endto the other: the Duchess was sitting on a three-legged stool in the middle,nursing a baby; the cook was leaning over the fire, stirring a large cauldronwhich seemed to be full of soup.
“There’s certainly too much pepper in that soup!” Alice saidto herself, as well as she could for sneezing.
There was certainly too much of it in the air. Even the Duchess sneezedoccasionally; and as for the baby, it was sneezing and howling alternatelywithout a moment’s pause. The only things in the kitchen that did notsneeze, were the cook, and a large cat which was sitting on the hearth andgrinning from ear to ear.
“Please would you tell me,” said Alice, a little timidly, for shewas not quite sure whether it was good manners for her to speak first,“why your cat grins like that?”
“It’s a Cheshire cat,” said the Duchess, “andthat’s why. Pig!”
She said the last word with such sudden violence that Alice quite jumped; butshe saw in another moment that it was addressed to the baby, and not to her, soshe took courage, and went on again:—
“I didn’t know that Cheshire cats always grinned; in fact, Ididn’t know that cats could grin.”
“They all can,” said the Duchess; “and most of ’emdo.”
“I don’t know of any that do,” Alice said very politely,feeling quite pleased to have got into a conversation.
“You don’t know much,” said the Duchess; “andthat’s a fact.”
Alice did not at all like the tone of this remark, and thought it would be aswell to introduce some other subject of conversation. While she was trying tofix on one, the cook took the cauldron of soup off the fire, and at once set towork throwing everything within her reach at the Duchess and the baby—thefire-irons came first; then followed a shower of saucepans, plates, and dishes.The Duchess took no notice of them even when they hit her; and the baby washowling so much already, that it was quite impossible to say whether the blowshurt it or not.
“Oh, please mind what you’re doing!” cried Alice,jumping up and down in an agony of terror. “Oh, there goes hisprecious nose!” as an unusually large saucepan flew close by it,and very nearly carried it off.
“If everybody minded their own business,” the Duchess said in ahoarse growl, “the world would go round a deal faster than itdoes.”
“Which would not be an advantage,” said Alice, who felt veryglad to get an opportunity of showing off a little of her knowledge.“Just think of what work it would make with the day and night! You seethe earth takes twenty-four hours to turn round on its axis—”
“Talking of axes,” said the Duchess, “chop off herhead!”
Alice glanced rather anxiously at the cook, to see if she meant to take thehint; but the cook was busily stirring the soup, and seemed not to belistening, so she went on again: “Twenty-four hours, I think; oris it twelve? I—”
“Oh, don’t bother me,” said the Duchess; “Inever could abide figures!” And with that she began nursing her childagain, singing a sort of lullaby to it as she did so, and giving it a violentshake at the end of every line:
“Speak roughly to your little boy,
And beat him when he sneezes:
He only does it to annoy,
Because he knows it teases.”
(In which the cook and the baby joined):
“Wow! wow! wow!”
While the Duchess sang the second verse of the song, she kept tossing the babyviolently up and down, and the poor little thing howled so, that Alice couldhardly hear the words:—
“I speak severely to my boy,
I beat him when he sneezes;
For he can thoroughly enjoy
The pepper when he pleases!”
“Wow! wow! wow!”
“Here! you may nurse it a bit, if you like!” the Duchess said toAlice, flinging the baby at her as she spoke. “I must go and get ready toplay croquet with the Queen,” and she hurried out of the room. The cookthrew a frying-pan after her as she went out, but it just missed her.
Alice caught the baby with some difficulty, as it was a queer-shaped littlecreature, and held out its arms and legs in all directions, “just like astar-fish,” thought Alice. The poor little thing was snorting like asteam-engine when she caught it, and kept doubling itself up and straighteningitself out again, so that altogether, for the first minute or two, it was asmuch as she could do to hold it.
As soon as she had made out the proper way of nursing it, (which was to twistit up into a sort of knot, and then keep tight hold of its right ear and leftfoot, so as to prevent its undoing itself,) she carried it out into the openair. “If I don’t take this child away with me,” thoughtAlice, “they’re sure to kill it in a day or two: wouldn’t itbe murder to leave it behind?” She said the last words out loud, and thelittle thing grunted in reply (it had left off sneezing by this time).“Don’t grunt,” said Alice; “that’s not at all aproper way of expressing yourself.”
The baby grunted again, and Alice looked very anxiously into its face to seewhat was the matter with it. There could be no doubt that it had a veryturn-up nose, much more like a snout than a real nose; also its eyes weregetting extremely small for a baby: altogether Alice did not like the look ofthe thing at all. “But perhaps it was only sobbing,” she thought,and looked into its eyes again, to see if there were any tears.
No, there were no tears. “If you’re going to turn into a pig, mydear,” said Alice, seriously, “I’ll have nothing more to dowith you. Mind now!” The poor little thing sobbed again (or grunted, itwas impossible to say which), and they went on for some while in silence.
Alice was just beginning to think to herself, “Now, what am I to do withthis creature when I get it home?” when it grunted again, so violently,that she looked down into its face in some alarm. This time there could beno mistake about it: it was neither more nor less than a pig, and shefelt that it would be quite absurd for her to carry it further.
So she set the little creature down, and felt quite relieved to see it trotaway quietly into the wood. “If it had grown up,” she said toherself, “it would have made a dreadfully ugly child: but it makes rathera handsome pig, I think.” And she began thinking over other children sheknew, who might do very well as pigs, and was just saying to herself, “ifone only knew the right way to change them—” when she was a littlestartled by seeing the Cheshire Cat sitting on a bough of a tree a few yardsoff.
The Cat only grinned when it saw Alice. It looked good-natured, she thought:still it had very long claws and a great many teeth, so she felt that itought to be treated with respect.
“Cheshire Puss,” she began, rather timidly, as she did not at allknow whether it would like the name: however, it only grinned a little wider.“Come, it’s pleased so far,” thought Alice, and she went on.“Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”
“That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,” said theCat.
“I don’t much care where—” said Alice.
“Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,” said the Cat.
“—so long as I get somewhere,” Alice added as anexplanation.
“Oh, you’re sure to do that,” said the Cat, “if youonly walk long enough.”
Alice felt that this could not be denied, so she tried another question.“What sort of people live about here?”
“In that direction,” the Cat said, waving its right pawround, “lives a Hatter: and in that direction,” waving theother paw, “lives a March Hare. Visit either you like: they’re bothmad.”
“But I don’t want to go among mad people,” Alice remarked.
“Oh, you can’t help that,” said the Cat: “we’reall mad here. I’m mad. You’re mad.”
“How do you know I’m mad?” said Alice.
“You must be,” said the Cat, “or you wouldn’t have comehere.”
Alice didn’t think that proved it at all; however, she went on “Andhow do you know that you’re mad?”
“To begin with,” said the Cat, “a dog’s not mad. Yougrant that?”
“I suppose so,” said Alice.
“Well, then,” the Cat went on, “you see, a dog growls whenit’s angry, and wags its tail when it’s pleased. Now I growlwhen I’m pleased, and wag my tail when I’m angry. ThereforeI’m mad.”
“I call it purring, not growling,” said Alice.
“Call it what you like,” said the Cat. “Do you play croquetwith the Queen to-day?”
“I should like it very much,” said Alice, “but Ihaven’t been invited yet.”
“You’ll see me there,” said the Cat, and vanished.
Alice was not much surprised at this, she was getting so used to queer thingshappening. While she was looking at the place where it had been, it suddenlyappeared again.
“By-the-bye, what became of the baby?” said the Cat.“I’d nearly forgotten to ask.”
“It turned into a pig,” Alice quietly said, just as if it had comeback in a natural way.
“I thought it would,” said the Cat, and vanished again.
Alice waited a little, half expecting to see it again, but it did not appear,and after a minute or two she walked on in the direction in which the MarchHare was said to live. “I’ve seen hatters before,” she saidto herself; “the March Hare will be much the most interesting, andperhaps as this is May it won’t be raving mad—at least not so madas it was in March.” As she said this, she looked up, and there was theCat again, sitting on a branch of a tree.
“Did you say pig, or fig?” said the Cat.
“I said pig,” replied Alice; “and I wish you wouldn’tkeep appearing and vanishing so suddenly: you make one quite giddy.”
“All right,” said the Cat; and this time it vanished quite slowly,beginning with the end of the tail, and ending with the grin, which remainedsome time after the rest of it had gone.
“Well! I’ve often seen a cat without a grin,” thought Alice;“but a grin without a cat! It’s the most curious thing I ever sawin my life!”
She had not gone much farther before she came in sight of the house of theMarch Hare: she thought it must be the right house, because the chimneys wereshaped like ears and the roof was thatched with fur. It was so large a house,that she did not like to go nearer till she had nibbled some more of thelefthand bit of mushroom, and raised herself to about two feet high: even thenshe walked up towards it rather timidly, saying to herself “Suppose itshould be raving mad after all! I almost wish I’d gone to see the Hatterinstead!”
There was a table set out under a tree in front of the house, and the MarchHare and the Hatter were having tea at it: a Dormouse was sitting between them,fast asleep, and the other two were using it as a cushion, resting their elbowson it, and talking over its head. “Very uncomfortable for theDormouse,” thought Alice; “only, as it’s asleep, I suppose itdoesn’t mind.”
The table was a large one, but the three were all crowded together at onecorner of it: “No room! No room!” they cried out when they sawAlice coming. “There’s plenty of room!” said Aliceindignantly, and she sat down in a large arm-chair at one end of the table.
“Have some wine,” the March Hare said in an encouraging tone.
Alice looked all round the table, but there was nothing on it but tea. “Idon’t see any wine,” she remarked.
“There isn’t any,” said the March Hare.
“Then it wasn’t very civil of you to offer it,” said Aliceangrily.
“It wasn’t very civil of you to sit down without beinginvited,” said the March Hare.
“I didn’t know it was your table,” said Alice;“it’s laid for a great many more than three.”
“Your hair wants cutting,” said the Hatter. He had been looking atAlice for some time with great curiosity, and this was his first speech.
“You should learn not to make personal remarks,” Alice said withsome severity; “it’s very rude.”
The Hatter opened his eyes very wide on hearing this; but all he saidwas, “Why is a raven like a writing-desk?”
“Come, we shall have some fun now!” thought Alice. “I’mglad they’ve begun asking riddles.—I believe I can guessthat,” she added aloud.
“Do you mean that you think you can find out the answer to it?”said the March Hare.
“Exactly so,” said Alice.
“Then you should say what you mean,” the March Hare went on.
“I do,” Alice hastily replied; “at least—at least Imean what I say—that’s the same thing, you know.”
“Not the same thing a bit!” said the Hatter. “You might justas well say that ‘I see what I eat’ is the same thing as ‘Ieat what I see’!”
“You might just as well say,” added the March Hare, “that‘I like what I get’ is the same thing as ‘I get what Ilike’!”
“You might just as well say,” added the Dormouse, who seemed to betalking in his sleep, “that ‘I breathe when I sleep’ is thesame thing as ‘I sleep when I breathe’!”
“It is the same thing with you,” said the Hatter, and herethe conversation dropped, and the party sat silent for a minute, while Alicethought over all she could remember about ravens and writing-desks, whichwasn’t much.
The Hatter was the first to break the silence. “What day of the month isit?” he said, turning to Alice: he had taken his watch out of his pocket,and was looking at it uneasily, shaking it every now and then, and holding itto his ear.
Alice considered a little, and then said “The fourth.”
“Two days wrong!” sighed the Hatter. “I told you butterwouldn’t suit the works!” he added looking angrily at the MarchHare.
“It was the best butter,” the March Hare meekly replied.
“Yes, but some crumbs must have got in as well,” the Hattergrumbled: “you shouldn’t have put it in with thebread-knife.”
The March Hare took the watch and looked at it gloomily: then he dipped it intohis cup of tea, and looked at it again: but he could think of nothing better tosay than his first remark, “It was the best butter, youknow.”
Alice had been looking over his shoulder with some curiosity. “What afunny watch!” she remarked. “It tells the day of the month, anddoesn’t tell what o’clock it is!”
“Why should it?” muttered the Hatter. “Does your watchtell you what year it is?”
“Of course not,” Alice replied very readily: “butthat’s because it stays the same year for such a long timetogether.”
“Which is just the case with mine,” said the Hatter.
Alice felt dreadfully puzzled. The Hatter’s remark seemed to have no sortof meaning in it, and yet it was certainly English. “I don’t quiteunderstand you,” she said, as politely as she could.
“The Dormouse is asleep again,” said the Hatter, and he poured alittle hot tea upon its nose.
The Dormouse shook its head impatiently, and said, without opening its eyes,“Of course, of course; just what I was going to remark myself.”
“Have you guessed the riddle yet?” the Hatter said, turning toAlice again.
“No, I give it up,” Alice replied: “what’s theanswer?”
“I haven’t the slightest idea,” said the Hatter.
“Nor I,” said the March Hare.
Alice sighed wearily. “I think you might do something better with thetime,” she said, “than waste it in asking riddles that have noanswers.”
“If you knew Time as well as I do,” said the Hatter, “youwouldn’t talk about wasting it. It’s him.”
“I don’t know what you mean,” said Alice.
“Of course you don’t!” the Hatter said, tossing his headcontemptuously. “I dare say you never even spoke to Time!”
“Perhaps not,” Alice cautiously replied: “but I know I haveto beat time when I learn music.”
“Ah! that accounts for it,” said the Hatter. “He won’tstand beating. Now, if you only kept on good terms with him, he’d doalmost anything you liked with the clock. For instance, suppose it were nineo’clock in the morning, just time to begin lessons: you’d only haveto whisper a hint to Time, and round goes the clock in a twinkling! Half-pastone, time for dinner!”
(“I only wish it was,” the March Hare said to itself in a whisper.)
“That would be grand, certainly,” said Alice thoughtfully:“but then—I shouldn’t be hungry for it, you know.”
“Not at first, perhaps,” said the Hatter: “but you could keepit to half-past one as long as you liked.”
“Is that the way you manage?” Alice asked.
The Hatter shook his head mournfully. “Not I!” he replied.“We quarrelled last March—just before he went mad, youknow—” (pointing with his tea spoon at the March Hare,)“—it was at the great concert given by the Queen of Hearts, and Ihad to sing
‘Twinkle, twinkle, little bat!
How I wonder what you’re at!’
You know the song, perhaps?”
“I’ve heard something like it,” said Alice.
“It goes on, you know,” the Hatter continued, “in thisway:—
‘Up above the world you fly,
Like a tea-tray in the sky.
Here the Dormouse shook itself, and began singing in its sleep“Twinkle, twinkle, twinkle, twinkle—” and went on solong that they had to pinch it to make it stop.
“Well, I’d hardly finished the first verse,” said the Hatter,“when the Queen jumped up and bawled out, ‘He’s murdering thetime! Off with his head!’”
“How dreadfully savage!” exclaimed Alice.
“And ever since that,” the Hatter went on in a mournful tone,“he won’t do a thing I ask! It’s always six o’clocknow.”
A bright idea came into Alice’s head. “Is that the reason so manytea-things are put out here?” she asked.
“Yes, that’s it,” said the Hatter with a sigh:“it’s always tea-time, and we’ve no time to wash the thingsbetween whiles.”
“Then you keep moving round, I suppose?” said Alice.
“Exactly so,” said the Hatter: “as the things get usedup.”
“But what happens when you come to the beginning again?” Aliceventured to ask.
“Suppose we change the subject,” the March Hare interrupted,yawning. “I’m getting tired of this. I vote the young lady tells usa story.”
“I’m afraid I don’t know one,” said Alice, ratheralarmed at the proposal.
“Then the Dormouse shall!” they both cried. “Wake up,Dormouse!” And they pinched it on both sides at once.
The Dormouse slowly opened his eyes. “I wasn’t asleep,” hesaid in a hoarse, feeble voice: “I heard every word you fellows weresaying.”
“Tell us a story!” said the March Hare.
“Yes, please do!” pleaded Alice.
“And be quick about it,” added the Hatter, “or you’llbe asleep again before it’s done.”
“Once upon a time there were three little sisters,” the Dormousebegan in a great hurry; “and their names were Elsie, Lacie, and Tillie;and they lived at the bottom of a well—”
“What did they live on?” said Alice, who always took a greatinterest in questions of eating and drinking.
“They lived on treacle,” said the Dormouse, after thinking a minuteor two.
“They couldn’t have done that, you know,” Alice gentlyremarked; “they’d have been ill.”
“So they were,” said the Dormouse; “very ill.”
Alice tried to fancy to herself what such an extraordinary ways of living wouldbe like, but it puzzled her too much, so she went on: “But why did theylive at the bottom of a well?”
“Take some more tea,” the March Hare said to Alice, very earnestly.
“I’ve had nothing yet,” Alice replied in an offended tone,“so I can’t take more.”
“You mean you can’t take less,” said the Hatter:“it’s very easy to take more than nothing.”
“Nobody asked your opinion,” said Alice.
“Who’s making personal remarks now?” the Hatter askedtriumphantly.
Alice did not quite know what to say to this: so she helped herself to some teaand bread-and-butter, and then turned to the Dormouse, and repeated herquestion. “Why did they live at the bottom of a well?”
The Dormouse again took a minute or two to think about it, and then said,“It was a treacle-well.”
“There’s no such thing!” Alice was beginning very angrily,but the Hatter and the March Hare went “Sh! sh!” and the Dormousesulkily remarked, “If you can’t be civil, you’d better finishthe story for yourself.”
“No, please go on!” Alice said very humbly; “I won’tinterrupt again. I dare say there may be one.”
“One, indeed!” said the Dormouse indignantly. However, he consentedto go on. “And so these three little sisters—they were learning todraw, you know—”
“What did they draw?” said Alice, quite forgetting her promise.
“Treacle,” said the Dormouse, without considering at all this time.
“I want a clean cup,” interrupted the Hatter: “let’sall move one place on.”
He moved on as he spoke, and the Dormouse followed him: the March Hare movedinto the Dormouse’s place, and Alice rather unwillingly took the place ofthe March Hare. The Hatter was the only one who got any advantage from thechange: and Alice was a good deal worse off than before, as the March Hare hadjust upset the milk-jug into his plate.
Alice did not wish to offend the Dormouse again, so she began very cautiously:“But I don’t understand. Where did they draw the treaclefrom?”
“You can draw water out of a water-well,” said the Hatter;“so I should think you could draw treacle out of a treacle-well—eh,stupid?”
“But they were in the well,” Alice said to the Dormouse, notchoosing to notice this last remark.
“Of course they were,” said the Dormouse; “—wellin.”
This answer so confused poor Alice, that she let the Dormouse go on for sometime without interrupting it.
“They were learning to draw,” the Dormouse went on, yawning andrubbing its eyes, for it was getting very sleepy; “and they drew allmanner of things—everything that begins with an M—”
“Why with an M?” said Alice.
“Why not?” said the March Hare.
Alice was silent.
The Dormouse had closed its eyes by this time, and was going off into a doze;but, on being pinched by the Hatter, it woke up again with a little shriek, andwent on: “—that begins with an M, such as mouse-traps, and themoon, and memory, and muchness—you know you say things are “much ofa muchness”—did you ever see such a thing as a drawing of amuchness?”
“Really, now you ask me,” said Alice, very much confused, “Idon’t think—”
“Then you shouldn’t talk,” said the Hatter.
This piece of rudeness was more than Alice could bear: she got up in greatdisgust, and walked off; the Dormouse fell asleep instantly, and neither of theothers took the least notice of her going, though she looked back once ortwice, half hoping that they would call after her: the last time she saw them,they were trying to put the Dormouse into the teapot.
“At any rate I’ll never go there again!” said Alice asshe picked her way through the wood. “It’s the stupidest tea-partyI ever was at in all my life!”
Just as she said this, she noticed that one of the trees had a door leadingright into it. “That’s very curious!” she thought. “Buteverything’s curious today. I think I may as well go in at once.”And in she went.
Once more she found herself in the long hall, and close to the little glasstable. “Now, I’ll manage better this time,” she said toherself, and began by taking the little golden key, and unlocking the door thatled into the garden. Then she went to work nibbling at the mushroom (she hadkept a piece of it in her pocket) till she was about a foot high: then shewalked down the little passage: and then—she found herself at lastin the beautiful garden, among the bright flower-beds and the cool fountains.
A large rose-tree stood near the entrance of the garden: the roses growing onit were white, but there were three gardeners at it, busily painting them red.Alice thought this a very curious thing, and she went nearer to watch them, andjust as she came up to them she heard one of them say, “Look out now,Five! Don’t go splashing paint over me like that!”
“I couldn’t help it,” said Five, in a sulky tone;“Seven jogged my elbow.”
On which Seven looked up and said, “That’s right, Five! Always laythe blame on others!”
“You’d better not talk!” said Five. “I heard theQueen say only yesterday you deserved to be beheaded!”
“What for?” said the one who had spoken first.
“That’s none of your business, Two!” said Seven.
“Yes, it is his business!” said Five, “and I’lltell him—it was for bringing the cook tulip-roots instead ofonions.”
Seven flung down his brush, and had just begun “Well, of all the unjustthings—” when his eye chanced to fall upon Alice, as she stoodwatching them, and he checked himself suddenly: the others looked round also,and all of them bowed low.
“Would you tell me,” said Alice, a little timidly, “why youare painting those roses?”
Five and Seven said nothing, but looked at Two. Two began in a low voice,“Why the fact is, you see, Miss, this here ought to have been ared rose-tree, and we put a white one in by mistake; and if the Queenwas to find it out, we should all have our heads cut off, you know. So you see,Miss, we’re doing our best, afore she comes, to—” At thismoment Five, who had been anxiously looking across the garden, called out“The Queen! The Queen!” and the three gardeners instantly threwthemselves flat upon their faces. There was a sound of many footsteps, andAlice looked round, eager to see the Queen.
First came ten soldiers carrying clubs; these were all shaped like the threegardeners, oblong and flat, with their hands and feet at the corners: next theten courtiers; these were ornamented all over with diamonds, and walked two andtwo, as the soldiers did. After these came the royal children; there were tenof them, and the little dears came jumping merrily along hand in hand, incouples: they were all ornamented with hearts. Next came the guests, mostlyKings and Queens, and among them Alice recognised the White Rabbit: it wastalking in a hurried nervous manner, smiling at everything that was said, andwent by without noticing her. Then followed the Knave of Hearts, carrying theKing’s crown on a crimson velvet cushion; and, last of all this grandprocession, came THE KING AND QUEEN OF HEARTS.
Alice was rather doubtful whether she ought not to lie down on her face likethe three gardeners, but she could not remember ever having heard of such arule at processions; “and besides, what would be the use of aprocession,” thought she, “if people had all to lie down upon theirfaces, so that they couldn’t see it?” So she stood still where shewas, and waited.
When the procession came opposite to Alice, they all stopped and looked at her,and the Queen said severely “Who is this?” She said it to the Knaveof Hearts, who only bowed and smiled in reply.
“Idiot!” said the Queen, tossing her head impatiently; and, turningto Alice, she went on, “What’s your name, child?”
“My name is Alice, so please your Majesty,” said Alice verypolitely; but she added, to herself, “Why, they’re only a pack ofcards, after all. I needn’t be afraid of them!”
“And who are these?” said the Queen, pointing to the threegardeners who were lying round the rose-tree; for, you see, as they were lyingon their faces, and the pattern on their backs was the same as the rest of thepack, she could not tell whether they were gardeners, or soldiers, orcourtiers, or three of her own children.
“How should I know?” said Alice, surprised at her owncourage. “It’s no business of mine.”
The Queen turned crimson with fury, and, after glaring at her for a moment likea wild beast, screamed “Off with her head! Off—”
“Nonsense!” said Alice, very loudly and decidedly, and the Queenwas silent.
The King laid his hand upon her arm, and timidly said “Consider, my dear:she is only a child!”
The Queen turned angrily away from him, and said to the Knave “Turn themover!”
The Knave did so, very carefully, with one foot.
“Get up!” said the Queen, in a shrill, loud voice, and the threegardeners instantly jumped up, and began bowing to the King, the Queen, theroyal children, and everybody else.
“Leave off that!” screamed the Queen. “You make megiddy.” And then, turning to the rose-tree, she went on, “Whathave you been doing here?”
“May it please your Majesty,” said Two, in a very humble tone,going down on one knee as he spoke, “we were trying—”
“I see!” said the Queen, who had meanwhile been examiningthe roses. “Off with their heads!” and the procession moved on,three of the soldiers remaining behind to execute the unfortunate gardeners,who ran to Alice for protection.
“You shan’t be beheaded!” said Alice, and she put them into alarge flower-pot that stood near. The three soldiers wandered about for aminute or two, looking for them, and then quietly marched off after the others.
“Are their heads off?” shouted the Queen.
“Their heads are gone, if it please your Majesty!” the soldiersshouted in reply.
“That’s right!” shouted the Queen. “Can you playcroquet?”
The soldiers were silent, and looked at Alice, as the question was evidentlymeant for her.
“Yes!” shouted Alice.
“Come on, then!” roared the Queen, and Alice joined the procession,wondering very much what would happen next.
“It’s—it’s a very fine day!” said a timid voiceat her side. She was walking by the White Rabbit, who was peeping anxiouslyinto her face.
“Very,” said Alice: “—where’s the Duchess?”
“Hush! Hush!” said the Rabbit in a low, hurried tone. He lookedanxiously over his shoulder as he spoke, and then raised himself upon tiptoe,put his mouth close to her ear, and whispered “She’s under sentenceof execution.”
“What for?” said Alice.
“Did you say ‘What a pity!’?” the Rabbit asked.
“No, I didn’t,” said Alice: “I don’t thinkit’s at all a pity. I said ‘What for?’”
“She boxed the Queen’s ears—” the Rabbit began. Alicegave a little scream of laughter. “Oh, hush!” the Rabbit whisperedin a frightened tone. “The Queen will hear you! You see, she came ratherlate, and the Queen said—”
“Get to your places!” shouted the Queen in a voice of thunder, andpeople began running about in all directions, tumbling up against each other;however, they got settled down in a minute or two, and the game began. Alicethought she had never seen such a curious croquet-ground in her life; it wasall ridges and furrows; the balls were live hedgehogs, the mallets liveflamingoes, and the soldiers had to double themselves up and to stand on theirhands and feet, to make the arches.
The chief difficulty Alice found at first was in managing her flamingo: shesucceeded in getting its body tucked away, comfortably enough, under her arm,with its legs hanging down, but generally, just as she had got its neck nicelystraightened out, and was going to give the hedgehog a blow with its head, itwould twist itself round and look up in her face, with such a puzzledexpression that she could not help bursting out laughing: and when she had gotits head down, and was going to begin again, it was very provoking to find thatthe hedgehog had unrolled itself, and was in the act of crawling away: besidesall this, there was generally a ridge or furrow in the way wherever she wantedto send the hedgehog to, and, as the doubled-up soldiers were always getting upand walking off to other parts of the ground, Alice soon came to the conclusionthat it was a very difficult game indeed.
The players all played at once without waiting for turns, quarrelling all thewhile, and fighting for the hedgehogs; and in a very short time the Queen wasin a furious passion, and went stamping about, and shouting “Off with hishead!” or “Off with her head!” about once in a minute.
Alice began to feel very uneasy: to be sure, she had not as yet had any disputewith the Queen, but she knew that it might happen any minute, “andthen,” thought she, “what would become of me? They’redreadfully fond of beheading people here; the great wonder is, thatthere’s any one left alive!”
She was looking about for some way of escape, and wondering whether she couldget away without being seen, when she noticed a curious appearance in the air:it puzzled her very much at first, but, after watching it a minute or two, shemade it out to be a grin, and she said to herself “It’s theCheshire Cat: now I shall have somebody to talk to.”
“How are you getting on?” said the Cat, as soon as there was mouthenough for it to speak with.
Alice waited till the eyes appeared, and then nodded. “It’s no usespeaking to it,” she thought, “till its ears have come, or at leastone of them.” In another minute the whole head appeared, and then Aliceput down her flamingo, and began an account of the game, feeling very glad shehad someone to listen to her. The Cat seemed to think that there was enough ofit now in sight, and no more of it appeared.
“I don’t think they play at all fairly,” Alice began, inrather a complaining tone, “and they all quarrel so dreadfully onecan’t hear oneself speak—and they don’t seem to have anyrules in particular; at least, if there are, nobody attends to them—andyou’ve no idea how confusing it is all the things being alive; forinstance, there’s the arch I’ve got to go through next walkingabout at the other end of the ground—and I should have croqueted theQueen’s hedgehog just now, only it ran away when it saw minecoming!”
“How do you like the Queen?” said the Cat in a low voice.
“Not at all,” said Alice: “she’s soextremely—” Just then she noticed that the Queen was close behindher, listening: so she went on, “—likely to win, that it’shardly worth while finishing the game.”
The Queen smiled and passed on.
“Who are you talking to?” said the King, going up to Alice,and looking at the Cat’s head with great curiosity.
“It’s a friend of mine—a Cheshire Cat,” said Alice:“allow me to introduce it.”
“I don’t like the look of it at all,” said the King:“however, it may kiss my hand if it likes.”
“I’d rather not,” the Cat remarked.
“Don’t be impertinent,” said the King, “and don’tlook at me like that!” He got behind Alice as he spoke.
“A cat may look at a king,” said Alice. “I’ve read thatin some book, but I don’t remember where.”
“Well, it must be removed,” said the King very decidedly, and hecalled the Queen, who was passing at the moment, “My dear! I wish youwould have this cat removed!”
The Queen had only one way of settling all difficulties, great or small.“Off with his head!” she said, without even looking round.
“I’ll fetch the executioner myself,” said the King eagerly,and he hurried off.
Alice thought she might as well go back, and see how the game was going on, asshe heard the Queen’s voice in the distance, screaming with passion. Shehad already heard her sentence three of the players to be executed for havingmissed their turns, and she did not like the look of things at all, as the gamewas in such confusion that she never knew whether it was her turn or not. Soshe went in search of her hedgehog.
The hedgehog was engaged in a fight with another hedgehog, which seemed toAlice an excellent opportunity for croqueting one of them with the other: theonly difficulty was, that her flamingo was gone across to the other side of thegarden, where Alice could see it trying in a helpless sort of way to fly upinto a tree.
By the time she had caught the flamingo and brought it back, the fight wasover, and both the hedgehogs were out of sight: “but it doesn’tmatter much,” thought Alice, “as all the arches are gone from thisside of the ground.” So she tucked it away under her arm, that it mightnot escape again, and went back for a little more conversation with her friend.
When she got back to the Cheshire Cat, she was surprised to find quite a largecrowd collected round it: there was a dispute going on between the executioner,the King, and the Queen, who were all talking at once, while all the rest werequite silent, and looked very uncomfortable.
The moment Alice appeared, she was appealed to by all three to settle thequestion, and they repeated their arguments to her, though, as they all spokeat once, she found it very hard indeed to make out exactly what they said.
The executioner’s argument was, that you couldn’t cut off a headunless there was a body to cut it off from: that he had never had to do such athing before, and he wasn’t going to begin at his time of life.
The King’s argument was, that anything that had a head could be beheaded,and that you weren’t to talk nonsense.
The Queen’s argument was, that if something wasn’t done about it inless than no time she’d have everybody executed, all round. (It was thislast remark that had made the whole party look so grave and anxious.)
Alice could think of nothing else to say but “It belongs to the Duchess:you’d better ask her about it.”
“She’s in prison,” the Queen said to the executioner:“fetch her here.” And the executioner went off like an arrow.
The Cat’s head began fading away the moment he was gone, and, by the timehe had come back with the Duchess, it had entirely disappeared; so the King andthe executioner ran wildly up and down looking for it, while the rest of theparty went back to the game.
“You can’t think how glad I am to see you again, you dear oldthing!” said the Duchess, as she tucked her arm affectionately intoAlice’s, and they walked off together.
Alice was very glad to find her in such a pleasant temper, and thought toherself that perhaps it was only the pepper that had made her so savage whenthey met in the kitchen.
“When I’m a Duchess,” she said to herself, (not in avery hopeful tone though), “I won’t have any pepper in my kitchenat all. Soup does very well without—Maybe it’s always pepperthat makes people hot-tempered,” she went on, very much pleased at havingfound out a new kind of rule, “and vinegar that makes them sour—andcamomile that makes them bitter—and—and barley-sugar and suchthings that make children sweet-tempered. I only wish people knew that:then they wouldn’t be so stingy about it, you know—”
She had quite forgotten the Duchess by this time, and was a little startledwhen she heard her voice close to her ear. “You’re thinking aboutsomething, my dear, and that makes you forget to talk. I can’t tell youjust now what the moral of that is, but I shall remember it in a bit.”
“Perhaps it hasn’t one,” Alice ventured to remark.
“Tut, tut, child!” said the Duchess. “Everything’s gota moral, if only you can find it.” And she squeezed herself up closer toAlice’s side as she spoke.
Alice did not much like keeping so close to her: first, because the Duchess wasvery ugly; and secondly, because she was exactly the right height torest her chin upon Alice’s shoulder, and it was an uncomfortably sharpchin. However, she did not like to be rude, so she bore it as well as shecould.
“The game’s going on rather better now,” she said, by way ofkeeping up the conversation a little.
“’Tis so,” said the Duchess: “and the moral of thatis—‘Oh, ’tis love, ’tis love, that makes the world goround!’”
“Somebody said,” Alice whispered, “that it’s done byeverybody minding their own business!”
“Ah, well! It means much the same thing,” said the Duchess, diggingher sharp little chin into Alice’s shoulder as she added, “and themoral of that is—‘Take care of the sense, and the soundswill take care of themselves.’”
“How fond she is of finding morals in things!” Alice thought toherself.
“I dare say you’re wondering why I don’t put my arm roundyour waist,” the Duchess said after a pause: “the reason is, thatI’m doubtful about the temper of your flamingo. Shall I try theexperiment?”
“He might bite,” Alice cautiously replied, not feeling at allanxious to have the experiment tried.
“Very true,” said the Duchess: “flamingoes and mustard bothbite. And the moral of that is—‘Birds of a feather flocktogether.’”
“Only mustard isn’t a bird,” Alice remarked.
“Right, as usual,” said the Duchess: “what a clear way youhave of putting things!”
“It’s a mineral, I think,” said Alice.
“Of course it is,” said the Duchess, who seemed ready to agree toeverything that Alice said; “there’s a large mustard-mine nearhere. And the moral of that is—‘The more there is of mine, the lessthere is of yours.’”
“Oh, I know!” exclaimed Alice, who had not attended to this lastremark, “it’s a vegetable. It doesn’t look like one, but itis.”
“I quite agree with you,” said the Duchess; “and the moral ofthat is—‘Be what you would seem to be’—or ifyou’d like it put more simply—‘Never imagine yourself not tobe otherwise than what it might appear to others that what you were or mighthave been was not otherwise than what you had been would have appeared to themto be otherwise.’”
“I think I should understand that better,” Alice said verypolitely, “if I had it written down: but I can’t quite follow it asyou say it.”
“That’s nothing to what I could say if I chose,” the Duchessreplied, in a pleased tone.
“Pray don’t trouble yourself to say it any longer than that,”said Alice.
“Oh, don’t talk about trouble!” said the Duchess. “Imake you a present of everything I’ve said as yet.”
“A cheap sort of present!” thought Alice. “I’m gladthey don’t give birthday presents like that!” But she did notventure to say it out loud.
“Thinking again?” the Duchess asked, with another dig of her sharplittle chin.
“I’ve a right to think,” said Alice sharply, for she wasbeginning to feel a little worried.
“Just about as much right,” said the Duchess, “as pigs haveto fly; and the m—”
But here, to Alice’s great surprise, the Duchess’s voice died away,even in the middle of her favourite word ‘moral,’ and the arm thatwas linked into hers began to tremble. Alice looked up, and there stood theQueen in front of them, with her arms folded, frowning like a thunderstorm.
“A fine day, your Majesty!” the Duchess began in a low, weak voice.
“Now, I give you fair warning,” shouted the Queen, stamping on theground as she spoke; “either you or your head must be off, and that inabout half no time! Take your choice!”
The Duchess took her choice, and was gone in a moment.
“Let’s go on with the game,” the Queen said to Alice; andAlice was too much frightened to say a word, but slowly followed her back tothe croquet-ground.
The other guests had taken advantage of the Queen’s absence, and wereresting in the shade: however, the moment they saw her, they hurried back tothe game, the Queen merely remarking that a moment’s delay would costthem their lives.
All the time they were playing the Queen never left off quarrelling with theother players, and shouting “Off with his head!” or “Off withher head!” Those whom she sentenced were taken into custody by thesoldiers, who of course had to leave off being arches to do this, so that bythe end of half an hour or so there were no arches left, and all the players,except the King, the Queen, and Alice, were in custody and under sentence ofexecution.
Then the Queen left off, quite out of breath, and said to Alice, “Haveyou seen the Mock Turtle yet?”
“No,” said Alice. “I don’t even know what a Mock Turtleis.”
“It’s the thing Mock Turtle Soup is made from,” said theQueen.
“I never saw one, or heard of one,” said Alice.
“Come on, then,” said the Queen, “and he shall tell you hishistory,”
As they walked off together, Alice heard the King say in a low voice, to thecompany generally, “You are all pardoned.” “Come,that’s a good thing!” she said to herself, for she had feltquite unhappy at the number of executions the Queen had ordered.
They very soon came upon a Gryphon, lying fast asleep in the sun. (If youdon’t know what a Gryphon is, look at the picture.) “Up, lazything!” said the Queen, “and take this young lady to see the MockTurtle, and to hear his history. I must go back and see after some executions Ihave ordered;” and she walked off, leaving Alice alone with the Gryphon.Alice did not quite like the look of the creature, but on the whole she thoughtit would be quite as safe to stay with it as to go after that savage Queen: soshe waited.
The Gryphon sat up and rubbed its eyes: then it watched the Queen till she wasout of sight: then it chuckled. “What fun!” said the Gryphon, halfto itself, half to Alice.
“What is the fun?” said Alice.
“Why, she,” said the Gryphon. “It’s all herfancy, that: they never executes nobody, you know. Come on!”
“Everybody says ‘come on!’ here,” thought Alice, as shewent slowly after it: “I never was so ordered about in all my life,never!”
They had not gone far before they saw the Mock Turtle in the distance, sittingsad and lonely on a little ledge of rock, and, as they came nearer, Alice couldhear him sighing as if his heart would break. She pitied him deeply.“What is his sorrow?” she asked the Gryphon, and the Gryphonanswered, very nearly in the same words as before, “It’s all hisfancy, that: he hasn’t got no sorrow, you know. Come on!”
So they went up to the Mock Turtle, who looked at them with large eyes full oftears, but said nothing.
“This here young lady,” said the Gryphon, “she wants for toknow your history, she do.”
“I’ll tell it her,” said the Mock Turtle in a deep, hollowtone: “sit down, both of you, and don’t speak a word tillI’ve finished.”
So they sat down, and nobody spoke for some minutes. Alice thought to herself,“I don’t see how he can ever finish, if he doesn’tbegin.” But she waited patiently.
“Once,” said the Mock Turtle at last, with a deep sigh, “Iwas a real Turtle.”
These words were followed by a very long silence, broken only by an occasionalexclamation of “Hjckrrh!” from the Gryphon, and the constant heavysobbing of the Mock Turtle. Alice was very nearly getting up and saying,“Thank you, sir, for your interesting story,” but she could nothelp thinking there must be more to come, so she sat still and saidnothing.
“When we were little,” the Mock Turtle went on at last, morecalmly, though still sobbing a little now and then, “we went to school inthe sea. The master was an old Turtle—we used to call himTortoise—”
“Why did you call him Tortoise, if he wasn’t one?” Aliceasked.
“We called him Tortoise because he taught us,” said the Mock Turtleangrily: “really you are very dull!”
“You ought to be ashamed of yourself for asking such a simplequestion,” added the Gryphon; and then they both sat silent and looked atpoor Alice, who felt ready to sink into the earth. At last the Gryphon said tothe Mock Turtle, “Drive on, old fellow! Don’t be all day aboutit!” and he went on in these words:
“Yes, we went to school in the sea, though you mayn’t believeit—”
“I never said I didn’t!” interrupted Alice.
“You did,” said the Mock Turtle.
“Hold your tongue!” added the Gryphon, before Alice could speakagain. The Mock Turtle went on.
“We had the best of educations—in fact, we went to school everyday—”
“I’ve been to a day-school, too,” said Alice;“you needn’t be so proud as all that.”
“With extras?” asked the Mock Turtle a little anxiously.
“Yes,” said Alice, “we learned French and music.”
“And washing?” said the Mock Turtle.
“Certainly not!” said Alice indignantly.
“Ah! then yours wasn’t a really good school,” said the MockTurtle in a tone of great relief. “Now at ours they had at the endof the bill, ‘French, music, andwashing—extra.’”
“You couldn’t have wanted it much,” said Alice; “livingat the bottom of the sea.”
“I couldn’t afford to learn it.” said the Mock Turtle with asigh. “I only took the regular course.”
“What was that?” inquired Alice.
“Reeling and Writhing, of course, to begin with,” the Mock Turtlereplied; “and then the different branches of Arithmetic—Ambition,Distraction, Uglification, and Derision.”
“I never heard of ‘Uglification,’” Alice ventured tosay. “What is it?”
The Gryphon lifted up both its paws in surprise. “What! Never heard ofuglifying!” it exclaimed. “You know what to beautify is, Isuppose?”
“Yes,” said Alice doubtfully: “itmeans—to—make—anything—prettier.”
“Well, then,” the Gryphon went on, “if you don’t knowwhat to uglify is, you are a simpleton.”
Alice did not feel encouraged to ask any more questions about it, so she turnedto the Mock Turtle, and said “What else had you to learn?”
“Well, there was Mystery,” the Mock Turtle replied, counting offthe subjects on his flappers, “—Mystery, ancient and modern, withSeaography: then Drawling—the Drawling-master was an old conger-eel, thatused to come once a week: he taught us Drawling, Stretching, andFainting in Coils.”
“What was that like?” said Alice.
“Well, I can’t show it you myself,” the Mock Turtle said:“I’m too stiff. And the Gryphon never learnt it.”
“Hadn’t time,” said the Gryphon: “I went to theClassics master, though. He was an old crab, he was.”
“I never went to him,” the Mock Turtle said with a sigh: “hetaught Laughing and Grief, they used to say.”
“So he did, so he did,” said the Gryphon, sighing in his turn; andboth creatures hid their faces in their paws.
“And how many hours a day did you do lessons?” said Alice, in ahurry to change the subject.
“Ten hours the first day,” said the Mock Turtle: “nine thenext, and so on.”
“What a curious plan!” exclaimed Alice.
“That’s the reason they’re called lessons,” the Gryphonremarked: “because they lessen from day to day.”
This was quite a new idea to Alice, and she thought it over a little before shemade her next remark. “Then the eleventh day must have been aholiday?”
“Of course it was,” said the Mock Turtle.
“And how did you manage on the twelfth?” Alice went on eagerly.
“That’s enough about lessons,” the Gryphon interrupted in avery decided tone: “tell her something about the games now.”
The Mock Turtle sighed deeply, and drew the back of one flapper across hiseyes. He looked at Alice, and tried to speak, but for a minute or two sobschoked his voice. “Same as if he had a bone in his throat,” saidthe Gryphon: and it set to work shaking him and punching him in the back. Atlast the Mock Turtle recovered his voice, and, with tears running down hischeeks, he went on again:—
“You may not have lived much under the sea—” (“Ihaven’t,” said Alice)—“and perhaps you were never evenintroduced to a lobster—” (Alice began to say “I oncetasted—” but checked herself hastily, and said “No,never”) “—so you can have no idea what a delightful thing aLobster Quadrille is!”
“No, indeed,” said Alice. “What sort of a dance is it?”
“Why,” said the Gryphon, “you first form into a line alongthe sea-shore—”
“Two lines!” cried the Mock Turtle. “Seals, turtles, salmon,and so on; then, when you’ve cleared all the jelly-fish out of theway—”
“That generally takes some time,” interrupted the Gryphon.
“—you advance twice—”
“Each with a lobster as a partner!” cried the Gryphon.
“Of course,” the Mock Turtle said: “advance twice, set topartners—”
“—change lobsters, and retire in same order,” continued theGryphon.
“Then, you know,” the Mock Turtle went on, “you throwthe—”
“The lobsters!” shouted the Gryphon, with a bound into the air.
“—as far out to sea as you can—”
“Swim after them!” screamed the Gryphon.
“Turn a somersault in the sea!” cried the Mock Turtle, caperingwildly about.
“Change lobsters again!” yelled the Gryphon at the top of itsvoice.
“Back to land again, and that’s all the first figure,” saidthe Mock Turtle, suddenly dropping his voice; and the two creatures, who hadbeen jumping about like mad things all this time, sat down again very sadly andquietly, and looked at Alice.
“It must be a very pretty dance,” said Alice timidly.
“Would you like to see a little of it?” said the Mock Turtle.
“Very much indeed,” said Alice.
“Come, let’s try the first figure!” said the Mock Turtle tothe Gryphon. “We can do without lobsters, you know. Which shallsing?”
“Oh, you sing,” said the Gryphon. “I’veforgotten the words.”
So they began solemnly dancing round and round Alice, every now and thentreading on her toes when they passed too close, and waving their forepaws tomark the time, while the Mock Turtle sang this, very slowly and sadly:—
“Will you walk a little faster?” said a whiting to a snail.
“There’s a porpoise close behind us, and he’s treading on my tail.
See how eagerly the lobsters and the turtles all advance!
They are waiting on the shingle—will you come and join the dance?
Will you, won’t you, will you, won’t you, will you join the dance?
Will you, won’t you, will you, won’t you, won’t you join the dance?
“You can really have no notion how delightful it will be
When they take us up and throw us, with the lobsters, out to sea!”
But the snail replied “Too far, too far!” and gave a look askance—
Said he thanked the whiting kindly, but he would not join the dance.
Would not, could not, would not, could not, would not join the dance.
Would not, could not, would not, could not, could not join the dance.
“What matters it how far we go?” his scaly friend replied.
“There is another shore, you know, upon the other side.
The further off from England the nearer is to France—
Then turn not pale, beloved snail, but come and join the dance.
Will you, won’t you, will you, won’t you, will you join the dance?
Will you, won’t you, will you, won’t you, won’t you join the dance?”
“Thank you, it’s a very interesting dance to watch,” saidAlice, feeling very glad that it was over at last: “and I do so like thatcurious song about the whiting!”
“Oh, as to the whiting,” said the Mock Turtle,“they—you’ve seen them, of course?”
“Yes,” said Alice, “I’ve often seen them atdinn—” she checked herself hastily.
“I don’t know where Dinn may be,” said the Mock Turtle,“but if you’ve seen them so often, of course you know whatthey’re like.”
“I believe so,” Alice replied thoughtfully. “They have theirtails in their mouths—and they’re all over crumbs.”
“You’re wrong about the crumbs,” said the Mock Turtle:“crumbs would all wash off in the sea. But they have their tailsin their mouths; and the reason is—” here the Mock Turtle yawnedand shut his eyes.—“Tell her about the reason and all that,”he said to the Gryphon.
“The reason is,” said the Gryphon, “that they would gowith the lobsters to the dance. So they got thrown out to sea. So they had tofall a long way. So they got their tails fast in their mouths. So theycouldn’t get them out again. That’s all.”
“Thank you,” said Alice, “it’s very interesting. Inever knew so much about a whiting before.”
“I can tell you more than that, if you like,” said the Gryphon.“Do you know why it’s called a whiting?”
“I never thought about it,” said Alice. “Why?”
“It does the boots and shoes,” the Gryphon replied verysolemnly.
Alice was thoroughly puzzled. “Does the boots and shoes!” sherepeated in a wondering tone.
“Why, what are your shoes done with?” said the Gryphon.“I mean, what makes them so shiny?”
Alice looked down at them, and considered a little before she gave her answer.“They’re done with blacking, I believe.”
“Boots and shoes under the sea,” the Gryphon went on in a deepvoice, “are done with a whiting. Now you know.”
“And what are they made of?” Alice asked in a tone of greatcuriosity.
“Soles and eels, of course,” the Gryphon replied ratherimpatiently: “any shrimp could have told you that.”
“If I’d been the whiting,” said Alice, whose thoughts werestill running on the song, “I’d have said to the porpoise,‘Keep back, please: we don’t want you with us!’”
“They were obliged to have him with them,” the Mock Turtle said:“no wise fish would go anywhere without a porpoise.”
“Wouldn’t it really?” said Alice in a tone of great surprise.
“Of course not,” said the Mock Turtle: “why, if a fish cameto me, and told me he was going a journey, I should say ‘With whatporpoise?’”
“Don’t you mean ‘purpose’?” said Alice.
“I mean what I say,” the Mock Turtle replied in an offended tone.And the Gryphon added “Come, let’s hear some of youradventures.”
“I could tell you my adventures—beginning from this morning,”said Alice a little timidly: “but it’s no use going back toyesterday, because I was a different person then.”
“Explain all that,” said the Mock Turtle.
“No, no! The adventures first,” said the Gryphon in an impatienttone: “explanations take such a dreadful time.”
So Alice began telling them her adventures from the time when she first saw theWhite Rabbit. She was a little nervous about it just at first, the twocreatures got so close to her, one on each side, and opened their eyes andmouths so very wide, but she gained courage as she went on. Herlisteners were perfectly quiet till she got to the part about her repeating“You are old, Father William,” to the Caterpillar, and thewords all coming different, and then the Mock Turtle drew a long breath, andsaid “That’s very curious.”
“It’s all about as curious as it can be,” said the Gryphon.
“It all came different!” the Mock Turtle repeated thoughtfully.“I should like to hear her try and repeat something now. Tell her tobegin.” He looked at the Gryphon as if he thought it had some kind ofauthority over Alice.
“Stand up and repeat ‘’Tis the voice of thesluggard,’” said the Gryphon.
“How the creatures order one about, and make one repeat lessons!”thought Alice; “I might as well be at school at once.” However, shegot up, and began to repeat it, but her head was so full of the LobsterQuadrille, that she hardly knew what she was saying, and the words came veryqueer indeed:—
“’Tis the voice of the Lobster; I heard him declare,
“You have baked me too brown, I must sugar my hair.”
As a duck with its eyelids, so he with his nose
Trims his belt and his buttons, and turns out his toes.”
[later editions continued as follows
When the sands are all dry, he is gay as a lark,
And will talk in contemptuous tones of the Shark,
But, when the tide rises and sharks are around,
His voice has a timid and tremulous sound.]
“That’s different from what I used to say when I was achild,” said the Gryphon.
“Well, I never heard it before,” said the Mock Turtle; “butit sounds uncommon nonsense.”
Alice said nothing; she had sat down with her face in her hands, wondering ifanything would ever happen in a natural way again.
“I should like to have it explained,” said the Mock Turtle.
“She can’t explain it,” said the Gryphon hastily. “Goon with the next verse.”
“But about his toes?” the Mock Turtle persisted. “Howcould he turn them out with his nose, you know?”
“It’s the first position in dancing.” Alice said; but wasdreadfully puzzled by the whole thing, and longed to change the subject.
“Go on with the next verse,” the Gryphon repeated impatiently:“it begins ‘I passed by his garden.’”
Alice did not dare to disobey, though she felt sure it would all come wrong,and she went on in a trembling voice:—
“I passed by his garden, and marked, with one eye,
How the Owl and the Panther were sharing a pie—”
[later editions continued as follows
The Panther took pie-crust, and gravy, and meat,
While the Owl had the dish as its share of the treat.
When the pie was all finished, the Owl, as a boon,
Was kindly permitted to pocket the spoon:
While the Panther received knife and fork with a growl,
And concluded the banquet—]
“What is the use of repeating all that stuff,” the MockTurtle interrupted, “if you don’t explain it as you go on?It’s by far the most confusing thing I ever heard!”
“Yes, I think you’d better leave off,” said the Gryphon: andAlice was only too glad to do so.
“Shall we try another figure of the Lobster Quadrille?” the Gryphonwent on. “Or would you like the Mock Turtle to sing you a song?”
“Oh, a song, please, if the Mock Turtle would be so kind,” Alicereplied, so eagerly that the Gryphon said, in a rather offended tone,“Hm! No accounting for tastes! Sing her ‘Turtle Soup,’will you, old fellow?”
The Mock Turtle sighed deeply, and began, in a voice sometimes choked withsobs, to sing this:—
“Beautiful Soup, so rich and green,
Waiting in a hot tureen!
Who for such dainties would not stoop?
Soup of the evening, beautiful Soup!
Soup of the evening, beautiful Soup!
Soo—oop of the e—e—evening,
Beautiful, beautiful Soup!
“Beautiful Soup! Who cares for fish,
Game, or any other dish?
Who would not give all else for two p
ennyworth only of beautiful Soup?
Pennyworth only of beautiful Soup?
Soo—oop of the e—e—evening,
Beautiful, beauti—FUL SOUP!”
“Chorus again!” cried the Gryphon, and the Mock Turtle had justbegun to repeat it, when a cry of “The trial’s beginning!”was heard in the distance.
“Come on!” cried the Gryphon, and, taking Alice by the hand, ithurried off, without waiting for the end of the song.
“What trial is it?” Alice panted as she ran; but the Gryphon onlyanswered “Come on!” and ran the faster, while more and more faintlycame, carried on the breeze that followed them, the melancholy words:—
“Soo—oop of the e—e—evening,
Beautiful, beautiful Soup!”
The King and Queen of Hearts were seated on their throne when they arrived,with a great crowd assembled about them—all sorts of little birds andbeasts, as well as the whole pack of cards: the Knave was standing before them,in chains, with a soldier on each side to guard him; and near the King was theWhite Rabbit, with a trumpet in one hand, and a scroll of parchment in theother. In the very middle of the court was a table, with a large dish of tartsupon it: they looked so good, that it made Alice quite hungry to look atthem—“I wish they’d get the trial done,” she thought,“and hand round the refreshments!” But there seemed to be no chanceof this, so she began looking at everything about her, to pass away the time.
Alice had never been in a court of justice before, but she had read about themin books, and she was quite pleased to find that she knew the name of nearlyeverything there. “That’s the judge,” she said to herself,“because of his great wig.”
The judge, by the way, was the King; and as he wore his crown over the wig,(look at the frontispiece if you want to see how he did it,) he did not look atall comfortable, and it was certainly not becoming.
“And that’s the jury-box,” thought Alice, “and thosetwelve creatures,” (she was obliged to say “creatures,” yousee, because some of them were animals, and some were birds,) “I supposethey are the jurors.” She said this last word two or three times over toherself, being rather proud of it: for she thought, and rightly too, that veryfew little girls of her age knew the meaning of it at all. However,“jury-men” would have done just as well.
The twelve jurors were all writing very busily on slates. “What are theydoing?” Alice whispered to the Gryphon. “They can’t haveanything to put down yet, before the trial’s begun.”
“They’re putting down their names,” the Gryphon whispered inreply, “for fear they should forget them before the end of thetrial.”
“Stupid things!” Alice began in a loud, indignant voice, but shestopped hastily, for the White Rabbit cried out, “Silence in thecourt!” and the King put on his spectacles and looked anxiously round, tomake out who was talking.
Alice could see, as well as if she were looking over their shoulders, that allthe jurors were writing down “stupid things!” on their slates, andshe could even make out that one of them didn’t know how to spell“stupid,” and that he had to ask his neighbour to tell him.“A nice muddle their slates’ll be in before the trial’sover!” thought Alice.
One of the jurors had a pencil that squeaked. This of course, Alice couldnot stand, and she went round the court and got behind him, and verysoon found an opportunity of taking it away. She did it so quickly that thepoor little juror (it was Bill, the Lizard) could not make out at all what hadbecome of it; so, after hunting all about for it, he was obliged to write withone finger for the rest of the day; and this was of very little use, as it leftno mark on the slate.
“Herald, read the accusation!” said the King.
On this the White Rabbit blew three blasts on the trumpet, and then unrolledthe parchment scroll, and read as follows:—
“The Queen of Hearts, she made some tarts,
All on a summer day:
The Knave of Hearts, he stole those tarts,
And took them quite away!”
“Consider your verdict,” the King said to the jury.
“Not yet, not yet!” the Rabbit hastily interrupted.“There’s a great deal to come before that!”
“Call the first witness,” said the King; and the White Rabbit blewthree blasts on the trumpet, and called out, “First witness!”
The first witness was the Hatter. He came in with a teacup in one hand and apiece of bread-and-butter in the other. “I beg pardon, yourMajesty,” he began, “for bringing these in: but I hadn’tquite finished my tea when I was sent for.”
“You ought to have finished,” said the King. “When did youbegin?”
The Hatter looked at the March Hare, who had followed him into the court,arm-in-arm with the Dormouse. “Fourteenth of March, I think itwas,” he said.
“Fifteenth,” said the March Hare.
“Sixteenth,” added the Dormouse.
“Write that down,” the King said to the jury, and the jury eagerlywrote down all three dates on their slates, and then added them up, and reducedthe answer to shillings and pence.
“Take off your hat,” the King said to the Hatter.
“It isn’t mine,” said the Hatter.
“Stolen!” the King exclaimed, turning to the jury, whoinstantly made a memorandum of the fact.
“I keep them to sell,” the Hatter added as an explanation;“I’ve none of my own. I’m a hatter.”
Here the Queen put on her spectacles, and began staring at the Hatter, whoturned pale and fidgeted.
“Give your evidence,” said the King; “and don’t benervous, or I’ll have you executed on the spot.”
This did not seem to encourage the witness at all: he kept shifting from onefoot to the other, looking uneasily at the Queen, and in his confusion he bit alarge piece out of his teacup instead of the bread-and-butter.
Just at this moment Alice felt a very curious sensation, which puzzled her agood deal until she made out what it was: she was beginning to grow largeragain, and she thought at first she would get up and leave the court; but onsecond thoughts she decided to remain where she was as long as there was roomfor her.
“I wish you wouldn’t squeeze so.” said the Dormouse, who wassitting next to her. “I can hardly breathe.”
“I can’t help it,” said Alice very meekly: “I’mgrowing.”
“You’ve no right to grow here,” said the Dormouse.
“Don’t talk nonsense,” said Alice more boldly: “youknow you’re growing too.”
“Yes, but I grow at a reasonable pace,” said the Dormouse:“not in that ridiculous fashion.” And he got up very sulkily andcrossed over to the other side of the court.
All this time the Queen had never left off staring at the Hatter, and, just asthe Dormouse crossed the court, she said to one of the officers of the court,“Bring me the list of the singers in the last concert!” on whichthe wretched Hatter trembled so, that he shook both his shoes off.
“Give your evidence,” the King repeated angrily, “orI’ll have you executed, whether you’re nervous or not.”
“I’m a poor man, your Majesty,” the Hatter began, in atrembling voice, “—and I hadn’t begun my tea—not abovea week or so—and what with the bread-and-butter getting so thin—andthe twinkling of the tea—”
“The twinkling of the what?” said the King.
“It began with the tea,” the Hatter replied.
“Of course twinkling begins with a T!” said the King sharply.“Do you take me for a dunce? Go on!”
“I’m a poor man,” the Hatter went on, “and most thingstwinkled after that—only the March Hare said—”
“I didn’t!” the March Hare interrupted in a great hurry.
“You did!” said the Hatter.
“I deny it!” said the March Hare.
“He denies it,” said the King: “leave out that part.”
“Well, at any rate, the Dormouse said—” the Hatter went on,looking anxiously round to see if he would deny it too: but the Dormouse deniednothing, being fast asleep.
“After that,” continued the Hatter, “I cut some morebread-and-butter—”
“But what did the Dormouse say?” one of the jury asked.
“That I can’t remember,” said the Hatter.
“You must remember,” remarked the King, “or I’llhave you executed.”
The miserable Hatter dropped his teacup and bread-and-butter, and went down onone knee. “I’m a poor man, your Majesty,” he began.
“You’re a very poor speaker,” said the King.
Here one of the guinea-pigs cheered, and was immediately suppressed by theofficers of the court. (As that is rather a hard word, I will just explain toyou how it was done. They had a large canvas bag, which tied up at the mouthwith strings: into this they slipped the guinea-pig, head first, and then satupon it.)
“I’m glad I’ve seen that done,” thought Alice.“I’ve so often read in the newspapers, at the end of trials,“There was some attempts at applause, which was immediately suppressed bythe officers of the court,” and I never understood what it meant tillnow.”
“If that’s all you know about it, you may stand down,”continued the King.
“I can’t go no lower,” said the Hatter: “I’m onthe floor, as it is.”
“Then you may sit down,” the King replied.
Here the other guinea-pig cheered, and was suppressed.
“Come, that finished the guinea-pigs!” thought Alice. “Now weshall get on better.”
“I’d rather finish my tea,” said the Hatter, with an anxiouslook at the Queen, who was reading the list of singers.
“You may go,” said the King, and the Hatter hurriedly left thecourt, without even waiting to put his shoes on.
“—and just take his head off outside,” the Queen added to oneof the officers: but the Hatter was out of sight before the officer could getto the door.
“Call the next witness!” said the King.
The next witness was the Duchess’s cook. She carried the pepper-box inher hand, and Alice guessed who it was, even before she got into the court, bythe way the people near the door began sneezing all at once.
“Give your evidence,” said the King.
“Shan’t,” said the cook.
The King looked anxiously at the White Rabbit, who said in a low voice,“Your Majesty must cross-examine this witness.”
“Well, if I must, I must,” the King said, with a melancholy air,and, after folding his arms and frowning at the cook till his eyes were nearlyout of sight, he said in a deep voice, “What are tarts made of?”
“Pepper, mostly,” said the cook.
“Treacle,” said a sleepy voice behind her.
“Collar that Dormouse,” the Queen shrieked out. “Behead thatDormouse! Turn that Dormouse out of court! Suppress him! Pinch him! Off withhis whiskers!”
For some minutes the whole court was in confusion, getting the Dormouse turnedout, and, by the time they had settled down again, the cook had disappeared.
“Never mind!” said the King, with an air of great relief.“Call the next witness.” And he added in an undertone to the Queen,“Really, my dear, you must cross-examine the next witness. Itquite makes my forehead ache!”
Alice watched the White Rabbit as he fumbled over the list, feeling verycurious to see what the next witness would be like, “—for theyhaven’t got much evidence yet,” she said to herself. Imagineher surprise, when the White Rabbit read out, at the top of his shrill littlevoice, the name “Alice!”
“Here!” cried Alice, quite forgetting in the flurry of the momenthow large she had grown in the last few minutes, and she jumped up in such ahurry that she tipped over the jury-box with the edge of her skirt, upsettingall the jurymen on to the heads of the crowd below, and there they laysprawling about, reminding her very much of a globe of goldfish she hadaccidentally upset the week before.
“Oh, I beg your pardon!” she exclaimed in a tone of greatdismay, and began picking them up again as quickly as she could, for theaccident of the goldfish kept running in her head, and she had a vague sort ofidea that they must be collected at once and put back into the jury-box, orthey would die.
“The trial cannot proceed,” said the King in a very grave voice,“until all the jurymen are back in their properplaces—all,” he repeated with great emphasis, looking hardat Alice as he said so.
Alice looked at the jury-box, and saw that, in her haste, she had put theLizard in head downwards, and the poor little thing was waving its tail aboutin a melancholy way, being quite unable to move. She soon got it out again, andput it right; “not that it signifies much,” she said to herself;“I should think it would be quite as much use in the trial one wayup as the other.”
As soon as the jury had a little recovered from the shock of being upset, andtheir slates and pencils had been found and handed back to them, they set towork very diligently to write out a history of the accident, all except theLizard, who seemed too much overcome to do anything but sit with its mouthopen, gazing up into the roof of the court.
“What do you know about this business?” the King said to Alice.
“Nothing,” said Alice.
“Nothing whatever?” persisted the King.
“Nothing whatever,” said Alice.
“That’s very important,” the King said, turning to the jury.They were just beginning to write this down on their slates, when the WhiteRabbit interrupted: “Unimportant, your Majesty means, ofcourse,” he said in a very respectful tone, but frowning and making facesat him as he spoke.
“Unimportant, of course, I meant,” the King hastily said,and went on to himself in an undertone,
“important—unimportant—unimportant—important—”as if he were trying which word sounded best.
Some of the jury wrote it down “important,” and some“unimportant.” Alice could see this, as she was near enough to lookover their slates; “but it doesn’t matter a bit,” she thoughtto herself.
At this moment the King, who had been for some time busily writing in hisnote-book, cackled out “Silence!” and read out from his book,“Rule Forty-two. All persons more than a mile high to leave thecourt.”
Everybody looked at Alice.
“I’m not a mile high,” said Alice.
“You are,” said the King.
“Nearly two miles high,” added the Queen.
“Well, I shan’t go, at any rate,” said Alice: “besides,that’s not a regular rule: you invented it just now.”
“It’s the oldest rule in the book,” said the King.
“Then it ought to be Number One,” said Alice.
The King turned pale, and shut his note-book hastily. “Consider yourverdict,” he said to the jury, in a low, trembling voice.
“There’s more evidence to come yet, please your Majesty,”said the White Rabbit, jumping up in a great hurry; “this paper has justbeen picked up.”
“What’s in it?” said the Queen.
“I haven’t opened it yet,” said the White Rabbit, “butit seems to be a letter, written by the prisoner to—to somebody.”
“It must have been that,” said the King, “unless it waswritten to nobody, which isn’t usual, you know.”
“Who is it directed to?” said one of the jurymen.
“It isn’t directed at all,” said the White Rabbit; “infact, there’s nothing written on the outside.” He unfoldedthe paper as he spoke, and added “It isn’t a letter, after all:it’s a set of verses.”
“Are they in the prisoner’s handwriting?” asked another ofthe jurymen.
“No, they’re not,” said the White Rabbit, “andthat’s the queerest thing about it.” (The jury all looked puzzled.)
“He must have imitated somebody else’s hand,” said the King.(The jury all brightened up again.)
“Please your Majesty,” said the Knave, “I didn’t writeit, and they can’t prove I did: there’s no name signed at theend.”
“If you didn’t sign it,” said the King, “that onlymakes the matter worse. You must have meant some mischief, or elseyou’d have signed your name like an honest man.”
There was a general clapping of hands at this: it was the first really cleverthing the King had said that day.
“That proves his guilt,” said the Queen.
“It proves nothing of the sort!” said Alice. “Why, youdon’t even know what they’re about!”
“Read them,” said the King.
The White Rabbit put on his spectacles. “Where shall I begin, please yourMajesty?” he asked.
“Begin at the beginning,” the King said gravely, “and go ontill you come to the end: then stop.”
These were the verses the White Rabbit read:—
“They told me you had been to her,
And mentioned me to him:
She gave me a good character,
But said I could not swim.
He sent them word I had not gone
(We know it to be true):
If she should push the matter on,
What would become of you?
I gave her one, they gave him two,
You gave us three or more;
They all returned from him to you,
Though they were mine before.
If I or she should chance to be
Involved in this affair,
He trusts to you to set them free,
Exactly as we were.
My notion was that you had been
(Before she had this fit)
An obstacle that came between
Him, and ourselves, and it.
Don’t let him know she liked them best,
For this must ever be
A secret, kept from all the rest,
Between yourself and me.”
“That’s the most important piece of evidence we’ve heardyet,” said the King, rubbing his hands; “so now let thejury—”
“If any one of them can explain it,” said Alice, (she had grown solarge in the last few minutes that she wasn’t a bit afraid ofinterrupting him,) “I’ll give him sixpence. I don’tbelieve there’s an atom of meaning in it.”
The jury all wrote down on their slates, “She doesn’tbelieve there’s an atom of meaning in it,” but none of themattempted to explain the paper.
“If there’s no meaning in it,” said the King, “thatsaves a world of trouble, you know, as we needn’t try to find any. Andyet I don’t know,” he went on, spreading out the verses on hisknee, and looking at them with one eye; “I seem to see some meaning inthem, after all. “—said I could not swim—” youcan’t swim, can you?” he added, turning to the Knave.
The Knave shook his head sadly. “Do I look like it?” he said.(Which he certainly did not, being made entirely of cardboard.)
“All right, so far,” said the King, and he went on muttering overthe verses to himself: “‘We know it to be true—’that’s the jury, of course—‘I gave her one, they gave himtwo—’ why, that must be what he did with the tarts, youknow—”
“But, it goes on ‘they all returned from him toyou,’” said Alice.
“Why, there they are!” said the King triumphantly, pointing to thetarts on the table. “Nothing can be clearer than that. Thenagain—‘before she had this fit—’ you never hadfits, my dear, I think?” he said to the Queen.
“Never!” said the Queen furiously, throwing an inkstand at theLizard as she spoke. (The unfortunate little Bill had left off writing on hisslate with one finger, as he found it made no mark; but he now hastily beganagain, using the ink, that was trickling down his face, as long as it lasted.)
“Then the words don’t fit you,” said the King, lookinground the court with a smile. There was a dead silence.
“It’s a pun!” the King added in an offended tone, andeverybody laughed, “Let the jury consider their verdict,” the Kingsaid, for about the twentieth time that day.
“No, no!” said the Queen. “Sentence first—verdictafterwards.”
“Stuff and nonsense!” said Alice loudly. “The idea of havingthe sentence first!”
“Hold your tongue!” said the Queen, turning purple.
“I won’t!” said Alice.
“Off with her head!” the Queen shouted at the top of her voice.Nobody moved.
“Who cares for you?” said Alice, (she had grown to her full size bythis time.) “You’re nothing but a pack of cards!”
At this the whole pack rose up into the air, and came flying down upon her: shegave a little scream, half of fright and half of anger, and tried to beat themoff, and found herself lying on the bank, with her head in the lap of hersister, who was gently brushing away some dead leaves that had fluttered downfrom the trees upon her face.
“Wake up, Alice dear!” said her sister; “Why, what a longsleep you’ve had!”
“Oh, I’ve had such a curious dream!” said Alice, and she toldher sister, as well as she could remember them, all these strange Adventures ofhers that you have just been reading about; and when she had finished, hersister kissed her, and said, “It was a curious dream, dear,certainly: but now run in to your tea; it’s getting late.” So Alicegot up and ran off, thinking while she ran, as well she might, what a wonderfuldream it had been.
But her sister sat still just as she left her, leaning her head on her hand,watching the setting sun, and thinking of little Alice and all her wonderfulAdventures, till she too began dreaming after a fashion, and this was herdream:—
First, she dreamed of little Alice herself, and once again the tiny hands wereclasped upon her knee, and the bright eager eyes were looking up intohers—she could hear the very tones of her voice, and see that queerlittle toss of her head to keep back the wandering hair that wouldalways get into her eyes—and still as she listened, or seemed to listen,the whole place around her became alive with the strange creatures of herlittle sister’s dream.
The long grass rustled at her feet as the White Rabbit hurried by—thefrightened Mouse splashed his way through the neighbouring pool—she couldhear the rattle of the teacups as the March Hare and his friends shared theirnever-ending meal, and the shrill voice of the Queen ordering off herunfortunate guests to execution—once more the pig-baby was sneezing onthe Duchess’s knee, while plates and dishes crashed around it—oncemore the shriek of the Gryphon, the squeaking of the Lizard’sslate-pencil, and the choking of the suppressed guinea-pigs, filled the air,mixed up with the distant sobs of the miserable Mock Turtle.
So she sat on, with closed eyes, and half believed herself in Wonderland,though she knew she had but to open them again, and all would change to dullreality—the grass would be only rustling in the wind, and the poolrippling to the waving of the reeds—the rattling teacups would change totinkling sheep-bells, and the Queen’s shrill cries to the voice of theshepherd boy—and the sneeze of the baby, the shriek of the Gryphon, andall the other queer noises, would change (she knew) to the confused clamour ofthe busy farm-yard—while the lowing of the cattle in the distance wouldtake the place of the Mock Turtle’s heavy sobs.
Lastly, she pictured to herself how this same little sister of hers would, inthe after-time, be herself a grown woman; and how she would keep, through allher riper years, the simple and loving heart of her childhood: and how shewould gather about her other little children, and make their eyes brightand eager with many a strange tale, perhaps even with the dream of Wonderlandof long ago: and how she would feel with all their simple sorrows, and find apleasure in all their simple joys, remembering her own child-life, and thehappy summer days.
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