ALICE'S ADVENTURES IN WONDERLAND
- 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-XII
ALICE'S ADVENTURES IN WONDERLAND
Down the Rabbit Hole
Alice was beginning to get very tired of sitting by her sister on the
bank, and of having nothing to do: once or twice she had peeped into the
book her sister was reading, but it had no pictures or conversations in
it, `and what is the use of a book,' thought Alice `without pictures or
So she was considering in her own mind (as well as she could, for the
hot day made her feel very sleepy and stupid), whether the pleasure of
making a daisy-chain would be worth the trouble of getting up and picking
the daisies, when suddenly a White Rabbit with pink eyes ran close by
There was nothing so VERY remarkable in that; nor did Alice think
it so VERY much out of the way to hear the Rabbit say to itself,
`Oh dear! Oh dear! I shall be late!' (when she thought it over afterwards,
it occurred to her that she ought to have wondered at this, but at the
time it all seemed quite natural); but when the Rabbit actually TOOK A
WATCH OUT OF ITS WAISTCOAT- POCKET, and looked at it, and then hurried
on, Alice started to her feet, for it flashed across her mind that she
had never before see a rabbit with either a waistcoat-pocket, or a watch
to take out of it, and burning with curiosity, she ran across the field
after it, and fortunately was just 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 the world she was to get out again.
The rabbit-hole went straight on like a tunnel for some way, and then
dipped suddenly down, so suddenly that Alice had not a moment to think
about stopping herself before she found herself falling down a very deep
Either the well was very deep, or she fell very slowly, for she had plenty
of time as she went down to look about her and to wonder what was going
to happen next. First, she tried to look down and make out what she was
coming to, but it was too dark to see anything; then she looked at the
sides of the well, and noticed that they were filled with cupboards and
book-shelves; here and there she saw maps and pictures hung upon pegs.
She took down a jar from one of the shelves as she passed; it was labelled
`ORANGE MARMALADE', but to her great disappointment it way empty: she
did not like to drop the jar for fear of killing somebody, so managed
to put it into one of the cupboards 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 all think me
at home! Why, I wouldn't say anything about it, even if I fell off the
top of the house!' (Which was very likely true.)
Down, down, down. Would the fall NEVER come to an end! `I wonder
how many miles I've fallen by this time?' she said aloud. `I must be getting
somewhere near the centre of the earth. Let me see: that would be four
thousand miles down, I think--' (for, you see, Alice had learnt several
things of this sort in her lessons in the schoolroom, and though this
was not a VERY good opportunity for showing off her knowledge,
as there 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 I wonder what
Latitude or Longitude I've got to?' (Alice had no idea what Latitude was,
or Longitude either, but thought they were nice grand words to say.)
Presently she began again. `I wonder if I shall fall right THROUGH
the earth! How funny it'll seem to come out among the people that walk
with their heads downward! The Antipathies, I think--' (she was rather
glad there WAS no one listening, this time, as it didn't sound at all
the right word) `--but I shall have to ask them what the name of the country
is, you know. Please, Ma'am, is this New Zealand or Australia?' (and she
tried to curtsey as she spoke--fancy CURTSEYING as you're falling through
the air! Do you think you could manage it?) `And what an ignorant little
girl she'll think me for asking! No, it'll never do to ask: perhaps I
shall see it written up somewhere.'
Down, down, down. There was nothing else to do, so Alice soon began talking
again. Dinah'll miss me very much to-night, I should think!' (Dinah was
the cat.) `I hope they'll remember her saucer of milk at tea-time. Dinah
my dear! I wish you were down here with me! There are no mice in the air,
I'm afraid, but you might catch a bat, and that's very like a mouse, you
know. But do cats eat bats, I wonder?' And here Alice began to get rather
sleepy, and went on saying to herself, in a dreamy sort of way, `Do cats
eat bats? Do cats eat bats?' and sometimes, `Do bats eat cats?' for, you
see, as she couldn't answer either question, it didn't much matter which
way she put it. She felt that she was dozing off, and had just begun to
dream that she was walking hand in hand with Dinah, and saying to her
very earnestly, `Now, Dinah, tell me the truth: did you ever eat a bat?'
when suddenly, thump! thump! down she came 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:
she looked 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 a moment to be lost: away went Alice like the wind, and was just
in time to hear it say, as it turned a corner, `Oh my ears and whiskers,
how late it's getting!' She was close behind it when she turned to 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
Alice had been all the way down one side and up the other, trying every
door, she walked 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 first
thought 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 it would not open any of them. However, on the second time round,
she came upon a low curtain she had not noticed before, and behind it
was a little door about fifteen inches high: she tried the little golden
key in the lock, and to her great delight it fitted!
Alice opened the door and found that it led into a small passage, not
much larger than a rat-hole: she knelt down and looked along the passage
into the loveliest garden you ever saw. How she longed to get out of that
dark hall, and wander about among those beds of bright flowers and those
cool fountains, but she could not even get her head though the doorway;
`and even if my head would go through,' thought poor Alice, `it would
be of very little use without my shoulders. Oh, how I wish I could shut
up like a telescope! I think I could, if I only know how to begin.' For,
you see, so many out-of-the-way things had happened lately, that Alice
had begun to think that very few things indeed were really impossible.
There seemed to be no use in waiting by the little door, so she went back
to the table, half hoping she might find another key on it, or at any
rate a book of rules for shutting people up like telescopes: this time
she found a little bottle on it, (`which certainly was not here before,'
said Alice,) and round the neck of the bottle was a paper label, with
the words `DRINK ME' beautifully printed on it in large letters.
It was all very well to say `Drink me,' but the wise little Alice was
not going to do THAT in a hurry. `No, I'll look first,' she said, `and
see whether it's marked "poison" or not'; for she had read several
nice little histories about children who had got burnt, and eaten up by
wild beasts and other unpleasant things, all because they WOULD not remember
the simple rules their friends had taught them: such as, that a red-hot
poker will burn you if your hold it too long; and that if you cut your
finger VERY deeply with a knife, it usually bleeds; and she had
never forgotten that, if you drink much from a bottle marked `poison,'
it is almost certain to disagree with you, sooner or later.
However, this bottle was NOT marked `poison,' so Alice ventured
to taste it, and finding it very nice, (it had, in fact, a sort of mixed
flavour of cherry-tart, custard, pine-apple, roast turkey, toffee, and
hot buttered toast,) she very soon finished it off.
* * *
`What a curious feeling!' said Alice; `I must be shutting up like a telescope.'
And so it was indeed: she was now only ten inches high, and her face brightened
up at the thought that she was now the right size for going though the
little door into that lovely garden. First, however, she waited for a
few minutes to see if she was going to shrink any further: she felt a
little nervous about this; `for it might end, you know,' said Alice to
herself, `in my going out altogether, like a candle. I wonder what I should
be like then?' And she tried to fancy what the flame of a candle is like
after the candle is blown out, for she could not remember ever having
seen such a thing.
After a while, finding that nothing more happened, she decided on going
into the garden at once; but, alas for poor Alice! when she got to the
door, she found he had forgotten the little golden key, and when she went
back to the table for it, she found she could not possibly reach it: she
could see it quite plainly through the glass, and she tried her best to
climb up one of the legs of the table, but it was too slippery; and when
she had tired herself out with trying, the poor little thing sat down
`Come, there's no use in crying like that!' said Alice to herself, rather
sharply; `I advise you to leave off this minute!' She generally gave herself
very good advice, (though she very seldom followed it), and sometimes
she scolded herself so severely as to bring tears into her eyes; and once
she remembered trying to box her own ears for having cheated herself in
a game of croquet she was playing against herself, for this curious child
was very fond of pretending to be two people. `But it's no use now,' thought
poor Alice, `to pretend to be two people! Why, there's hardly enough of
me left to make ONE respectable person!'
Soon her eye fell on a little glass box that was lying under the table:
she opened it, and found in it a very small cake, on which the words `EAT
ME' were beautifully marked in currants. `Well, I'll eat it,' said Alice,
`and if it makes me grow larger, I can reach the key; and if it makes
me grow smaller, I can creep under the door; so either way I'll get into
the garden, and I don't care which happens!'
She ate a little bit, and said anxiously to herself, `Which way? Which
way?', holding her hand on the top of her head to feel which way it was
growing, 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 so much 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
So she set to work, and very soon finished off the cake.
The Pool of Tears
`Curiouser and curiouser!' cried Alice (she was so much surprised, that
for the moment she quite forgot how to speak good English); `now I'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 almost out of sight, they
were getting so far off). `Oh, my poor little feet, I wonder who will
put on your shoes and stockings for you now, dears? I'm sure _I_ shan't
be able! I shall be a great deal too far off to trouble myself about you:
you must manage the best way you can; --but I must be kind to them,' thought
Alice, `or perhaps they won't walk the way I want to go! Let me see: I'll
give them a new pair of boots every Christmas.'
And she went on planning to herself how she would manage it. `They must
go 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!
RIGHT FOOT, ESQ.
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
now more than nine feet high, and she at once took up the little golden
key and hurried off to the garden door.
Poor Alice! It was as much as she could do, lying down on one side, to
look through into the garden with one eye; but to get through was more
hopeless than ever: she sat down and began to cry again.
`You ought to be ashamed of yourself,' said Alice, `a great girl like
you,' (she might well say this), `to go on crying in this way! 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, about four inches deep
and reaching half down the hall.
After a time she heard a little pattering of feet in the distance, and
she hastily dried her eyes to see what was coming. It was the White Rabbit
returning, splendidly dressed, with a pair of white kid gloves in one
hand and a large fan in the other: he came trotting along in a great hurry,
muttering to himself as he came, `Oh! the Duchess, the Duchess! Oh! won't
she be savage if I've kept her waiting!' Alice felt so desperate that
she was 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 Rabbit started
violently, dropped the white kid gloves and the fan, and skurried away
into the darkness as hard as he could go.
Alice took up the fan and gloves, and, as the hall was very hot, she kept
fanning herself all the time she went on talking: `Dear, dear! How queer
everything is to-day! And yesterday things went on just as usual. I wonder
if I've been changed in the night? Let me think: was I the same when I
got up this morning? I almost think I can remember feeling a little different.
But if 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 all
the children she knew that were of the same age as herself, to see if
she could have been changed for any of them.
`I'm sure I'm not Ada,' she said, `for her hair goes in such long ringlets,
and mine doesn't go in ringlets at all; and I'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, and I'm I, and--oh dear, how puzzling it
all is! I'll try if 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 shall never get to twenty at that rate! However,
the Multiplication Table doesn't signify: let's try Geography. London
is the capital of Paris, and Paris is the capital of Rome, and Rome--no,
THAT'S all wrong, I'm certain! I must have been changed for Mabel!
I'll try and say "How doth the little-- "' and she crossed her
hands on her lap as if she were saying lessons, and began to repeat it,
but her voice sounded hoarse and strange, and the words did not come the
same as they used to do:--
doth the little crocodile
his shining tail,
pour the waters of the Nile
On every golden scale!
cheerfully he seems to grin,
How neatly spread his claws,
welcome little fishes in
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 Mabel after all, and
I shall have to go and live in that poky little house, and have next 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 down here! 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 I then? Tell me
that first, and then, if I like being that person, I'll come up: if not,
I'll stay down here till I'm somebody else"--but, oh dear!' cried
Alice, with a sudden burst of tears, `I do wish they WOULD put
their heads down! I am so VERY tired of being all alone here!'
As she said this she looked down at her hands, and was surprised to see
that she had put on one of the Rabbit's little white kid gloves while
she was talking. `How CAN I have done that?' she thought. `I
must be growing small again.' She got up and went to the table to measure
herself by it, and found that, as nearly as she could guess, she was now
about two feet high, and was going on shrinking rapidly: she soon found
out that the cause of this was the fan she was holding, and she dropped
it hastily, just in time to avoid shrinking away altogether.
`That WAS a narrow escape!' said Alice, a good deal frightened
at the sudden change, but very glad to find herself still in existence;
`and now for the garden!' and she ran with all speed back to the little
door: but, alas! the little door was shut again, and the little golden
key was lying on the glass table as before, `and things are worse than
ever,' thought the poor child, `for I never was so small as 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!
she was up to her chin in salt water. He first idea was that she had somehow
fallen 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
had come to the general conclusion, that wherever you go to on the English
coast you find a number of bathing machines in the sea, some children
digging in the sand with wooden spades, then a row of lodging houses,
and behind them a railway station.) However, she soon made out that she
was in the pool of tears which she had wept when she was nine feet high.
`I wish I hadn't cried so much!' said Alice, as she swam about, trying
to find her way out. `I shall be punished for it now, I suppose, 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, and she swam nearer to make out what it was: at first she thought
it must be a walrus or hippopotamus, but then she remembered how small
she was now, and she soon 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 to this mouse?
Everything is so out-of-the-way down here, that I should think very likely
it can talk: at any rate, there's no harm in trying.' So she began: `O
Mouse, do you know the way out of this pool? I am very tired of swimming
about here, O Mouse!' (Alice thought this must be the right way of speaking
to a mouse: she had never done such a thing before, but she remembered
having seen in her brother's Latin Grammar, `A mouse--of a mouse--to a
mouse--a mouse--O mouse!' The Mouse looked at her rather inquisitively,
and seemed to her to wink with one 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 the Conqueror.' (For, with all
her knowledge of history, Alice had no very clear notion how long ago
anything had happened.) So she began again: `Ou est 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 over with fright. `Oh,
I beg your pardon!' cried Alice hastily, afraid that she had hurt the
poor animal's feelings. `I quite forgot you didn'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 cat Dinah: I think you'd take
a fancy to cats if you could only see her. She is such a dear quiet thing,'
Alice went on, half to herself, as she swam lazily 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 thing to nurse--and she's such a
capital one for catching mice--oh, I beg your pardon!' cried Alice again,
for this time the Mouse was bristling all over, and she felt certain it
must be really offended. `We won't talk about her any more if you'd rather
`We indeed!' cried the Mouse, who was trembling down to the end of his
tail. `As if I would talk on such a subject! Our family always HATED cats:
nasty, low, vulgar things! Don't let me hear the name again!'
`I won't indeed!' said Alice, in a great hurry to change the subject of
conversation. `Are you--are you fond--of--of dogs?' The Mouse did not
answer, so Alice went on eagerly: `There is such a nice little dog near
our house I should like to show you! A little bright-eyed terrier, you
know, with oh, such long curly brown hair! And it'll fetch things when
you throw them, and it'll sit up and beg for its dinner, and all sorts
of thins--I can't remember half of them--and it belongs to a farmer, you
know, and he says it's so useful, it's worth a hundred pounds! He says
it kills all the rats and--oh dear!' cried Alice in a sorrowful tone,
`I'm afraid I've offended it again!' For the Mouse was swimming away from
her as hard as it could go, and making quite a commotion in the pool as
So she called softly after it, `Mouse dear! Do come back again, and we
won't talk about cats or dogs either, if you don't like them!' When the
Mouse heard this, it turned round and swam slowly back to her: its face
was quite pale (with passion, Alice thought), and it said in a low trembling
voice, `Let us get to the shore, and then I'll tell you my history, and
you'll understand why it is I hate cats and dogs.'
It was high time to go, for the pool was getting quite crowded with the
birds and animals that had fallen into it: there were a Duck and a Dodo,
a Lory and an Eaglet, and several other curious creatures. Alice led the
way, and the whole party swam to the shore.
A Caucus-Race and a Long Tale
They were indeed a queer-looking party that assembled on the bank--the
birds with draggled feathers, the animals with their fur clinging close
to them, and all dripping wet, cross, and uncomfortable.
The first question of course was, how to get dry again: they had a consultation
about this, and after a few minutes it seemed quite natural to Alice to
find herself 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 Lory positively 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,
called out, `Sit down, all of you, and listen to me! I'LL soon
make you dry enough!' They all sat down at once, in a large ring, with
the Mouse in the middle. Alice kept her eyes anxiously fixed on it, for
she felt sure she would catch a bad cold if she did not get dry very soon.
`Ahem!' said the Mouse with an important air, `are you all ready? This
is the driest thing I know. Silence all round, if you please! "William
the Conqueror, whose cause was favoured by the pope, was soon submitted
to by the English, who wanted leaders, and had been of late much accustomed
to usurpation and conquest. Edwin and Morcar, the earls of Mercia and
`Ugh!' said the Lory, with a shiver.
`I beg your pardon!' said the Mouse, frowning, but very politely: `Did
`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 it advisable--"'
`Found WHAT?' said the Duck.
`Found IT,' the Mouse replied rather crossly: `of course you know what
`I know what "it" means well enough, when I find a
thing,' said the Duck: `it's generally a frog or a worm. The question
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 meet William and offer him the
crown. William's conduct at first was moderate. But the insolence of his
Normans--" How are you getting on now, my dear?' it continued, turning
to Alice as it spoke.
`As wet as ever,' said Alice in a melancholy tone: `it doesn'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 more energetic remedies--'
`Speak English!' said the Eaglet. `I don't know the meaning of half those
long words, and, what's more, I don't believe you do either!' And the
Eaglet bent down its head to hide a smile: some of the other birds tittered
`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 wanted much
to know, but the Dodo had paused as if it thought that SOMEBODY
ought to speak, and no one else seemed inclined to say anything.
`Why,' said the Dodo, `the best way to explain it is to do it.' (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 shape
doesn't matter,' it said,) and then all the party were placed along the
course, here and there. There was no `One, two, three, and away,' but
they began running when they liked, and left off when they liked, so that
it was not easy to know when the race was over. However, when they had
been running half an hour or so, and were quite dry again, the Dodo suddenly
called out `The race is over!' and they all crowded round it, panting,
and asking, `But who has won?'
This question the Dodo could not answer without a great deal of thought,
and it sat for a long time with one finger pressed upon its forehead (the
position in which you usually see Shakespeare, in the pictures of him),
while the rest waited in silence. At last the Dodo said, `EVERYBODY
has won, and all 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 with
one finger; and the whole party at once crowded round her, calling out
in a confused 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
`But she must have a prize herself, you know,' said the Mouse.
`Of course,' the Dodo replied very gravely. `What else have you 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 presented
the thimble, saying `We beg your acceptance of this elegant thimble';
and, when it had finished this short speech, they all cheered.
Alice thought the whole thing very absurd, but they all looked so grave
that she did not dare to laugh; and, as she could not think of anything
to say, she simply bowed, and took the thimble, looking as solemn as she
The next thing was to eat the comfits: this caused some noise and confusion,
as the large birds complained that they could not taste theirs, and the
small ones choked and had to be patted on the back. However, it was over
at last, and they sat 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
`It IS a long tail, certainly,' said Alice, looking down with
wonder at the Mouse's tail' `but why do you call it sad?' And she kept
on puzzling about it while the Mouse was speaking, so that her idea of
the tale was something like this:--
`Fury said to a
mouse, That he
both go to
law: I will
I'll take no
mouse to the
`You are not attending!' said the Mouse to Alice severely. `What are you
`I beg your pardon,' said Alice very humbly: `you had got to the fifth
bend, I think?'
`I had NOT!' cried the Mouse, sharply and very angrily.
`A knot!' said Alice, always ready to make herself useful, and looking
anxiously about her. `Oh, do let me help to undo it!'
`I shall do nothing of the sort,' said the Mouse, getting up and walking
away. `You insult me by talking such nonsense!'
`I didn't mean it!' pleaded poor Alice. `But you're so easily offended,
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 the Mouse only shook
its head impatiently, and walked a little quicker.
`What a pity it wouldn't stay!' sighed the Lory, as soon as it was quite
out of sight; and an old Crab took the opportunity of saying to her daughter
`Ah, my dear! Let this be a lesson to you never to lose YOUR
temper!' `Hold your tongue, Ma!' said the young Crab, a little snappishly.
`You're enough to try the patience of an oyster!'
`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?' said the 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 catching mice 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
birds hurried off at once: one the old Magpie began wrapping itself up
very carefully, remarking, `I really must be getting home; the night-air
doesn't suit my throat!' and a Canary called out in a trembling voice
to its children, `Come away, my dears! It's high time you were all in
bed!' On various pretexts they all moved off, and Alice was soon left
`I wish I hadn't mentioned Dinah!' she said to herself in a melancholy
tone. `Nobody seems to like her, down here, and I'm sure she's the best
cat in the world! Oh, my dear Dinah! I wonder if I shall ever see you
any more!' And here poor Alice began to cry again, for she felt very lonely
and low-spirited. In a little while, however, she again heard a 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 finish
The Rabbit Sends in a Little Bill
It was the White Rabbit, trotting slowly back again, and looking anxiously
about as it went, as if it had lost something; and she heard it muttering
to itself `The Duchess! The Duchess! Oh my dear paws! Oh my fur and whiskers!
She'll get me executed, as sure as ferrets are ferrets! Where CAN I have
dropped them, I wonder?' Alice guessed in a moment that it was looking
for the fan and the pair of white kid gloves, and she very good-naturedly
began hunting about for them, but they were nowhere to be seen--everything
seemed to have changed since her swim in the pool, and the great hall,
with the glass table and the little door, had vanished completely.
Very soon the Rabbit noticed Alice, as she went hunting about, and called
out to her in an angry tone, `Why, Mary Ann, what ARE you doing
out here? 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 the direction 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'd better take him his fan and
gloves--that is, if I can find them.' As she said this, she came upon
a neat little house, on the door of which was a bright brass plate with
the name `W. RABBIT' engraved upon it. She went in without knocking, and
hurried upstairs, in great fear lest she should meet the real Mary Ann,
and be turned out of the house before she had found the fan and gloves.
`How queer it seems,' Alice said to herself, `to be going messages for
a rabbit! I suppose Dinah'll be sending me on messages next!' And she
began fancying the sort of thing that would happen: `"Miss Alice!
Come here directly, and get ready for your walk!" "Coming in
a minute, nurse! But I've got to see that the mouse doesn't get out."
Only I don't think,' Alice went on, `that they'd let Dinah stop in the
house if it began ordering people about like that!'
By this time she had found her way into a tidy little room with a table
in the window, and on it (as she had hoped) a fan and two or three pairs
of tiny white kid gloves: she took up the fan and a pair of the gloves,
and was just going to leave the room, when her eye fell upon a little
bottle that stood near the looking- glass. There was no label this time
with the words `DRINK ME,' but nevertheless she uncorked it and put it
to her lips. `I know SOMETHING interesting is sure to happen,'
she said to herself, `whenever I eat or drink anything; so I'll just see
what this bottle does. I do hope it'll make me grow large again, for really
I'm quite tired of being such a tiny little thing!'
It did so indeed, and much sooner than she had expected: before she had
drunk half the bottle, she found her head pressing against the ceiling,
and had to stoop to save her neck from being broken. She hastily put down
the bottle, saying to herself `That's quite enough--I hope I shan't grow
any more--As it is, I can't get out at the door--I do wish I hadn't drunk
quite so much!'
Alas! it was too late to wish that! She went on growing, and growing,
and very soon had to kneel down on the floor: in another minute there
was not even room for this, and she tried the effect of lying down with
one elbow against the door, 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 the chimney, 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 she grew no larger: still it was very uncomfortable, and, as there
seemed to be no sort of chance of her ever getting out of the room again,
no wonder she felt unhappy.
`It was much pleasanter at home,' thought poor Alice, `when one wasn't
always growing larger and smaller, and being ordered about by mice and
rabbits. I almost wish I hadn't gone down that rabbit-hole--and yet--and
yet--it's rather curious, you know, this sort of life! I do wonder what
CAN have happened to me! When I used to read fairy-tales, I fancied
that kind of thing never happened, and now 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'm grown up now,' she added in a
sorrowful tone; `at least there's no room to grow up any more HERE.'
`But then,' thought Alice, `shall I NEVER get any older than
I am now? That'll be a comfort, one way--never to be an old woman- -but
then--always to have lessons to learn! Oh, I shouldn't like THAT!'
`Oh, you foolish Alice!' she answered herself. `How can you learn lessons
in here? Why, there's hardly room for YOU, and no room at all
for any lesson-books!'
And so she went on, taking first one side and then the other, and making
quite a conversation of it altogether; but after a few minutes she heard
a voice outside, and stopped to listen.
`Mary Ann! Mary Ann!' said the voice. `Fetch me my gloves this moment!'
Then came a little pattering of feet on the stairs. Alice knew it was
the Rabbit coming to look for her, and she trembled till she shook the
house, quite forgetting that she was now about a thousand times as large
as the 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
the door opened inwards, and Alice's elbow was pressed hard against it,
that attempt proved a failure. Alice heard it say to itself `Then I'll
go round and get in at the window.'
`THAT you won't' thought Alice, and, after waiting till she fancied
she heard the Rabbit just under the window, she suddenly spread out her
hand, and made a snatch in the air. She did not get hold of anything,
but she heard a little shriek and a fall, and a crash of broken glass,
from which she concluded that it was just possible it had fallen into
a cucumber-frame, or something of the sort.
Next came an angry voice--the Rabbit's--`Pat! Pat! Where are you?' And
then a voice she had never heard before, `Sure then I'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 whole
`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 it away!'
There was a long silence after this, and Alice could only hear whispers
now and then; such as, `Sure, I don't like it, yer honour, at all, at
all!' `Do as I tell you, you coward!' and at last she spread out her hand
again, and made another snatch in the air. This time there were TWO
little shrieks, and more sounds of broken glass. `What a number of cucumber-frames
there must be!' thought Alice. `I wonder what they'll do next! As for
pulling me out of the window, I only wish they COULD! I'm sure
I don't want to stay in here any longer!'
She waited for some time without hearing anything more: at last came a
rumbling of little cartwheels, and the sound of a good many voice all
talking together: she made out the words: `Where's the other ladder?--Why,
I hadn't to bring but one; Bill's got the other--Bill! fetch it here,
lad!--Here, put 'em up at this corner--No, tie 'em together first--they
don't reach half high enough yet--Oh! they'll do well enough; don't be
particular- -Here, Bill! catch hold of this rope--Will the roof bear?--Mind
that loose slate--Oh, it's coming down! Heads below!' (a loud crash)--`Now,
who did that?--It was Bill, I fancy--Who's to go down the chimney?--Nay,
I shan't! YOU do it!--That I won't, then!--Bill's to go down--Here,
Bill! the master says you're to go down the chimney!'
`Oh! So Bill's got to come down the chimney, has he?' said Alice to herself.
`Shy, they seem to put everything upon Bill! I wouldn't be in Bill's place
for a good deal: this fireplace is narrow, 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
she heard a little animal (she couldn't guess of what sort it was) scratching
and scrambling about in the chimney close above her: then, saying to herself
`This is Bill,' she gave one sharp kick, and waited to see what would
The first thing she heard was a general chorus of `There goes Bill!' then
the Rabbit's voice along--`Catch him, you by the hedge!' then silence,
and then another confusion of voices--`Hold up his head--Brandy now--Don't
choke him--How was it, old fellow? What happened to you? Tell us all about
Last came a little feeble, squeaking voice, (`That's Bill,' thought Alice,)
`Well, I hardly know--No more, thank ye; I'm better now--but I'm a deal
too flustered to tell you--all I know is, something comes at me like a
Jack-in-the-box, and up I goes like a sky-rocket!'
`So you did, old fellow!' said the others.
`We must burn the house down!' said the Rabbit's voice; and Alice called
out as loud as she could, `If you do. I'll set Dinah at you!'
There was a dead silence instantly, and Alice thought to herself, `I wonder
what they WILL do next! If they had any sense, they'd take the
roof off.' After a minute or two, they began moving about again, and Alice
heard the Rabbit say, `A barrowful will do, to begin with.'
`A barrowful of WHAT?' thought Alice; but she had not long to doubt, for
the next moment a shower of little pebbles came rattling in at the window,
and some of them hit her in the face. `I'll put a stop to this,' she said
to herself, and shouted out, `You'd better not do that again!' which produced
another dead silence.
Alice noticed with some surprise that the pebbles were all turning into
little cakes as they lay on the floor, and a bright idea came into her
head. `If I eat one of these cakes,' she thought, `it's sure to make SOME
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
began shrinking 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 birds waiting outside. The poor little Lizard, Bill, was in
the middle, being held up by two guinea-pigs, who were giving it something
out of a bottle. They all made a rush at Alice the moment she appeared;
but she ran off as hard as she could, and soon found herself safe in a
`The first thing I've got to do,' said Alice to herself, as she wandered
about in the wood, `is to grow to my right size again; and the second
thing is to find my way into that lovely garden. I think that will be
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
about it; and while she was peering about anxiously among the trees, a
little sharp bark 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 feebly
stretching 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
was terribly frightened all the time at the thought that it might be hungry,
in which case it would be very likely to eat her up in spite of all her
Hardly knowing what she did, she picked up a little bit of stick, and
held it out to the puppy; whereupon the puppy jumped into the air off
all its feet at once, with a yelp of delight, and rushed at the stick,
and made believe to worry it; then Alice dodged behind a great thistle,
to keep herself from being run over; and the moment she appeared on the
other side, the puppy made another rush 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 thistle again; then
the puppy began a series of short charges at the stick, running a very
little way forwards each time and a long way back, and barking hoarsely
all the while, till at last it sat down a good way off, panting, with
its tongue 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 off at once, and ran till she was quite tired and out of breath, and
till the puppy's bark sounded quite faint in the distance.
`And yet what a dear little puppy it was!' said Alice, as she leant against
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'd only been
the right size to do it! Oh dear! I'd nearly forgotten that I've got to
grow up again! Let me see--how IS it to be managed? I suppose
I ought to eat or drink something or other; but the great question is,
The great question certainly was, what? Alice looked all round her at
the flowers and the blades of grass, but she did not see anything that
looked like the right thing to eat or drink under the circumstances. There
was a large mushroom growing near her, about the same height as herself;
and when she had looked under it, and on both sides of it, and behind
it, it occurred to her that 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 caterpillar, that was sitting
on the top with its arms folded, quietly smoking a long hookah, and taking
not the smallest notice of her or of anything else.
Advice from a Caterpillar
The Caterpillar and Alice looked at each other for some time in
silence: at last the Caterpillar took the hookah out of its mouth, and
addressed her in a languid, sleepy voice.
`Who are YOU?' said the Caterpillar.
This was not an encouraging opening for a conversation. Alice replied,
rather shyly, `I--I hardly know, sir, just at present-- at least I know
who I WAS when I got up this morning, but I think I must have
been changed 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' said Alice, `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 replied very politely,
`for I can't understand it myself to begin with; and being 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, you know--and then after
that into a butterfly, I should think you'll feel it a little queer, won't
`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 are YOU?'
Which brought them back again to the beginning of the conversation. Alice
felt a little irritated at the Caterpillar's making such VERY
short remarks, and she drew herself up and said, very gravely, `I think,
you out to tell me who YOU are, first.'
`Why?' said the Caterpillar.
Here was another puzzling question; and as Alice could not think of any
good reason, and as the Caterpillar seemed to be in a VERY unpleasant
state of mind, she turned away.
`Come back!' the Caterpillar called after her. `I've something important
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 she could.
`No,' said the Caterpillar.
Alice thought she might as well wait, as she had nothing else to do, and
perhaps after all it might tell her something worth hearing. For some
minutes it puffed away without speaking, but at last it unfolded its arms,
took the hookah out of its mouth again, and said, `So you think you're
changed, do you?'
`I'm afraid I am, sir,' said Alice; `I can't remember things as I used--and
I don't keep the same size for ten minutes together!'
`Can't remember WHAT things?' said the Caterpillar.
`Well, I've tried to say "HOW DOTH THE LITTLE BUSY BEE,"
but it all came different!' Alice replied in a very melancholy voice.
`Repeat, "YOU ARE OLD, FATHER WILLIAM,"' said the 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
`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
For anything tougher than suet;
Yet you finished the goose, with the bones and the
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 Caterpillar decidedly, 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 you wouldn't
mind,' said Alice: `three inches is such a wretched height 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 piteous tone. And she
thought of herself, `I wish the creatures wouldn't be so easily offended!'
`You'll get used to it in time,' said the Caterpillar; and it put the
hookah into its mouth and began smoking again.
This time Alice waited patiently until it chose to speak again. In a minute
or two 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 the grass, 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?' thought
Alice to herself.
`Of the mushroom,' said the Caterpillar, just as if she had asked it aloud;
and in another moment it was out of sight.
Alice remained looking thoughtfully at the mushroom for a minute, trying
to make out which were the two sides of it; and as it was perfectly round,
she found this a very difficult question. However, at last she stretched
her arms round it as far as they would go, and broke off a bit of the
edge with each hand.
`And now which is which?' she said to herself, and nibbled a little of
the right-hand bit to try the effect: the next moment she felt a violent
blow underneath her chin: it had struck her foot!
She was a good deal frightened by this very sudden change, but she felt
that there was no time to be lost, as she was shrinking rapidly; so she
set to work at once to eat some of the other bit. Her chin was pressed
so closely against her 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
`Come, my head's free at last!' said Alice in a tone of delight, which
changed into alarm in another moment, when she found that her shoulders
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
sea of green leaves that lay far below her.
`What CAN all that green stuff be?' said Alice. `And where HAVE
my shoulders got to? And oh, my poor hands, how is it I can't see you?'
She was moving them about as she spoke, but no result seemed to follow,
except a little shaking among the distant green leaves.
As there seemed to be no chance of getting her hands up to her head, she
tried to get her head down to them, and was delighted to find that her
neck would bend about easily in any direction, like a serpent. She had
just succeeded in curving it down into a graceful zigzag, and was going
to dive in among the leaves, which she found to be nothing but the tops
of the trees under which she had been wandering, when a sharp hiss made
her draw back in a hurry: a large pigeon 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 subdued tone,
and added with a kind of sob, `I've tried every way, and nothing 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, and I'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 saying
anything more till the Pigeon had finished.
`As if it wasn't trouble enough hatching the eggs,' said the Pigeon; `but
I must be on the look-out for serpents night and day! Why, I haven't had
a wink of sleep these three weeks!'
`I'm very sorry you've been annoyed,' said Alice, who was 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 was thinking I should be
free of them at last, they must needs come wriggling down from the sky!
`But I'm NOT a serpent, I tell you!' said Alice. `I'm a--I'm
`Well! WHAT are you?' said the Pigeon. `I can see you're trying to invent
`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 deepest contempt.
`I've seen a good many little girls in my time, but never ONE
with such a neck as that! No, no! You're a serpent; and there's no use
denying it. I suppose you'll be telling me next that you never tasted
`I HAVE tasted eggs, certainly,' said Alice, who was a very truthful
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
or two, which gave the Pigeon the opportunity of adding, `You're looking
for eggs, I know THAT well enough; and what does it matter to
me whether 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, I shouldn't want YOURS:
I don't like them raw.'
`Well, be off, then!' said the Pigeon in a sulky tone, as it settled down
again into its nest. Alice crouched down among the trees as well as she
could, for her neck kept getting entangled among the branches, and every
now and then she had to stop and untwist it. After a while she remembered
that she still held the pieces of mushroom in her hands, and she set to
work very carefully, nibbling first at one and then at the other, and
growing sometimes taller and sometimes shorter, until she had succeeded
in bringing herself down to her usual height.
It was so long since she had been anything near the right size, that it
felt quite strange at first; but she got used to it in a few minutes,
and began talking 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 going
to be, from one minute to another! However, I've got back to my right
size: the next thing is, to get into that beautiful garden--how IS
that to be done, I wonder?' As she said this, she came suddenly upon an
open place, with a little house in it about four feet high. `Whoever lives
there,' thought Alice, `it'll never do to come upon them THIS
size: why, I should frighten them out of their wits!' So she began nibbling
at the righthand bit again, and did not venture to go near the house till
she had brought herself down to nine inches high.
Pig and Pepper
For a minute or two she stood looking at the house, and wondering what
to do next, when suddenly a footman in livery came running out of the
wood--(she considered him to be a footman because he was in livery: otherwise,
judging by his face only, she would have called him a fish)--and rapped
loudly at the door with his knuckles. It was opened by another footman
in livery, with a round face, and large eyes like a frog; and both footmen,
Alice noticed, had powdered hair that curled all over their heads. She
felt very curious to know what 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,
nearly as large as himself, and this he handed over to the other, saying,
in a solemn tone, `For the Duchess. An invitation from the Queen to play
croquet.' The Frog-Footman repeated, in the same solemn tone, only changing
the order of the words a little, `From the Queen. An invitation for 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 fear of 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 into the 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 of the door as you are;
secondly, because they're making such a noise inside, no one could possibly
hear you.' And certainly there was a most 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 to pieces.
`Please, then,' said Alice, `how am I to get in?'
`There might be some sense in your knocking,' the Footman went on without
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, you know.'
He was looking up into the sky all the time he was speaking, and this
Alice thought decidedly uncivil. `But perhaps he can't help it,' she said
to herself; `his eyes are so VERY nearly at the top of his head.
But at any rate he might answer questions.--How am I to get in?' she repeated,
`I shall sit here,' the Footman remarked, `till tomorrow--'
At this moment the door of the house opened, and a large plate came skimming
out, straight at the Footman's head: it just grazed his nose, and broke
to pieces against one of the trees behind him.
`--or next day, maybe,' the Footman continued in the same tone, 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's really
dreadful,' she muttered to herself, `the way all the creatures 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 Alice desperately: `he's
perfectly idiotic!' And she opened the door and went in.
The door led right into a large kitchen, which was full of smoke from
one end to 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 cauldron which seemed to be full of soup.
`There's certainly too much pepper in that soup!' Alice said to herself,
as well as she could for sneezing.
There was certainly too much of it in the air. Even the Duchess sneezed
occasionally; and as for the baby, it was sneezing and howling alternately
without a moment's pause. The only things in the kitchen that did not
sneeze, were the cook, and a large cat which was sitting on the hearth
and grinning from ear to ear.
`Please would you tell me,' said Alice, a little timidly, for she was
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, `and that's why. Pig!'
She said the last word with such sudden violence that Alice quite jumped;
but she saw in another moment that it was addressed to the baby, and not
to her, so she took courage, and went on again:--
I didn't know that Cheshire cats always grinned; in fact, I didn't know
that cats COULD grin.'
`They all can,' said the Duchess; `and most of 'em do.'
`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; `and that's a fact.'
Alice did not at all like the tone of this remark, and thought it would
be as well to introduce some other subject of conversation. While she
was trying to fix on one, the cook took the cauldron of soup off the fire,
and at once set to work throwing everything within her reach at the Duchess
and the baby- -the fire-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 was howling so much already, that it was quite impossible
to say whether the blows hurt it or not.
`Oh, PLEASE mind what you're doing!' cried Alice, jumping up
and down in an agony of terror. `Oh, there goes his PRECIOUS
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 a hoarse
growl, `the world would go round a deal faster than it does.'
`Which would NOT be an advantage,' said Alice, who felt very
glad 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 see the earth
takes twenty-four hours to turn round on its axis--'
`Talking of axes,' said the Duchess, `chop off her head!'
Alice glanced rather anxiously at the cook, to see if she meant to take
the hint; but the cook was busily stirring the soup, and seemed not to
be listening, so she went on again: `Twenty-four hours, I THINK;
or is it twelve? I--'
`Oh, don't bother ME,' said the Duchess; `I never could abide
figures!' And with that she began nursing her child again, singing a sort
of lullaby to it as she did so, and giving it a violent shake at the end
of every line:
`Speak roughly to your little
And beat him when
He only does it to annoy,
Because he knows
(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 baby violently up and down, and the poor little thing howled so, that
Alice could hardly hear the words:--
`I speak severely to my boy,
I beat him when
For he can thoroughly enjoy
The pepper when
`Wow! wow! wow!'
`Here! you may nurse it a bit, if you like!' the Duchess said to Alice,
flinging the baby at her as she spoke. `I must go and get ready to play
croquet with the Queen,' and she hurried out of the room. The cook threw
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
little creature, and held out its arms and legs in all directions, `just
like a star-fish,' thought Alice. The poor little thing was snorting like
a steam-engine when she caught it, and kept doubling itself up and straightening
itself out again, so that altogether, for the first minute or two, it
was as much as she could do to hold it.
As soon as she had made out the proper way of nursing it, (which was to
twist it up into a sort of knot, and then keep tight hold of its right
ear and left foot, so as to prevent its undoing itself,) she carried it
out into the open air. `IF I don't take this child away with me,' thought
Alice, `they're sure to kill it in a day or two: wouldn't it be murder
to leave it behind?' She said the last words out loud, and the little
thing grunted in reply (it had left off sneezing by this time). `Don't
grunt,' said Alice; `that's not at all a proper way of expressing yourself.'
The baby grunted again, and Alice looked very anxiously into its face
to see what was the matter with it. There could be no doubt that it had
a VERY turn-up nose, much more like a snout than a real nose;
also its eyes were getting extremely small for a baby: altogether Alice
did not like the look of the thing at all. `But perhaps it was only sobbing,'
she thought, and looked into its eyes again, to see if there were any
No, there were no tears. `If you're going to turn into a pig, my dear,'
said Alice, seriously, `I'll have nothing more to do with you. Mind now!'
The poor little thing sobbed again (or grunted, it was 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 with
this 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
be NO mistake about it: it was neither more nor less than a pig, and she
felt 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
trot away quietly into the wood. `If it had grown up,' she said to herself,
`it would have made a dreadfully ugly child: but it makes rather a handsome
pig, I think.' And she began thinking over other children she knew, who
might do very well as pigs, and was just saying to herself, `if one only
knew the right way to change them--' when she was a little startled by
seeing the Cheshire Cat sitting on a bough of a tree a few yards off.
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
it ought to be treated with respect.
`Cheshire Puss,' she began, rather timidly, as she did not at all know
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 the Cat.
`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 an explanation.
`Oh, you're sure to do that,' said the Cat, `if you only 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 paw round, `lives
a Hatter: and in THAT direction,' waving the other paw, `lives a March
Hare. Visit either you like: they're both mad.'
`But I don't want to go among mad people,' Alice remarked.
`Oh, you can't help that,' said the Cat: `we're all mad here. I'm mad.
`How do you know I'm mad?' said Alice.
`You must be,' said the Cat, `or you wouldn't have come here.'
Alice didn't think that proved it at all; however, she went on `And how
do you know that you're mad?'
`To begin with,' said the Cat, `a dog's not mad. You grant that?'
`I suppose so,' said Alice.
`Well, then,' the Cat went on, `you see, a dog growls when it's angry,
and wags its tail when it's pleased. Now I growl when I'm pleased, and
wag my tail when I'm angry. Therefore I'm mad.'
`I call it purring, not growling,' said Alice.
`Call it what you like,' said the Cat. `Do you play croquet with the Queen
`I should like it very much,' said Alice, `but I haven't been invited
`You'll see me there,' said the Cat, and vanished.
Alice was not much surprised at this, she was getting so used to queer
things happening. While she was looking at the place where it had been,
it suddenly appeared again.
`By-the-bye, what became of the baby?' said the Cat. `I'd nearly forgotten
`It turned into a pig,' Alice quietly said, just as if it had come back
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 March Hare was said to live. `I've seen hatters before,' she said
to herself; `the March Hare will be much the most interesting, and perhaps
as this is May it won't be raving mad--at least not so mad as it was in
March.' As she said this, she looked up, and there was the Cat 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't keep appearing and
vanishing so suddenly: you make on 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 remained some
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 say in my life!'
She had not gone much farther before she came in sight of the house of
the March Hare: she thought it must be the right house, because the chimneys
were shaped 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 the lefthand bit of mushroom, and raised herself to about two
feet high: even then she walked up towards it rather timidly, saying to
herself `Suppose it should be raving mad after all! I almost wish I'd
gone to see the Hatter instead!'