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Through the Looking-Glass, by Lewis Carroll [Charles Dodgson]
March, 1994 [Etext #12]
[Originally relaseed February/March, 1991]
**The Project Gutenberg Etext of Through the Looking-Glass*****
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THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS
by LEWIS CARROLL
THE MILENNIUM FULCRUM EDITION 1.7
One thing was certain, that the WHITE kitten had had nothing to
do with it:--it was the black kitten's fault entirely. For the
white kitten had been having its face washed by the old cat for
the last quarter of an hour (and bearing it pretty well,
considering); so you see that it COULDN'T have had any hand in
The way Dinah washed her children's faces was this: first she
held the poor thing down by its ear with one paw, and then with
the other paw she rubbed its face all over, the wrong way,
beginning at the nose: and just now, as I said, she was hard at
work on the white kitten, which was lying quite still and trying
to purr--no doubt feeling that it was all meant for its good.
But the black kitten had been finished with earlier in the
afternoon, and so, while Alice was sitting curled up in a corner
of the great arm-chair, half talking to herself and half asleep,
the kitten had been having a grand game of romps with the ball of
worsted Alice had been trying to wind up, and had been rolling it
up and down till it had all come undone again; and there it was,
spread over the hearth-rug, all knots and tangles, with the
kitten running after its own tail in the middle.
`Oh, you wicked little thing!' cried Alice, catching up the
kitten, and giving it a little kiss to make it understand that it
was in disgrace. `Really, Dinah ought to have taught you better
manners! You OUGHT, Dinah, you know you ought!' she added,
looking reproachfully at the old cat, and speaking in as cross a
voice as she could manage--and then she scrambled back into the
arm-chair, taking the kitten and the worsted with her, and began
winding up the ball again. But she didn't get on very fast, as
she was talking all the time, sometimes to the kitten, and
sometimes to herself. Kitty sat very demurely on her knee,
pretending to watch the progress of the winding, and now and then
putting out one paw and gently touching the ball, as if it would
be glad to help, if it might.
`Do you know what to-morrow is, Kitty?' Alice began. `You'd
have guessed if you'd been up in the window with me--only Dinah
was making you tidy, so you couldn't. I was watching the boys
getting in sticks for the bonfire--and it wants plenty of
sticks, Kitty! Only it got so cold, and it snowed so, they had
to leave off. Never mind, Kitty, we'll go and see the bonfire
to-morrow.' Here Alice wound two or three turns of the worsted
round the kitten's neck, just to see how it would look: this led
to a scramble, in which the ball rolled down upon the floor, and
yards and yards of it got unwound again.
`Do you know, I was so angry, Kitty,' Alice went on as soon as
they were comfortably settled again, `when I saw all the mischief
you had been doing, I was very nearly opening the window, and
putting you out into the snow! And you'd have deserved it, you
little mischievous darling! What have you got to say for
yourself? Now don't interrupt me!' she went on, holding up one
finger. `I'm going to tell you all your faults. Number one:
you squeaked twice while Dinah was washing your face this
morning. Now you can't deny it, Kitty: I heard you! What that
you say?' (pretending that the kitten was speaking.) `Her paw
went into your eye? Well, that's YOUR fault, for keeping your
eyes open--if you'd shut them tight up, it wouldn't have
happened. Now don't make any more excuses, but listen! Number
two: you pulled Snowdrop away by the tail just as I had put down
the saucer of milk before her! What, you were thirsty, were you?
How do you know she wasn't thirsty too? Now for number three:
you unwound every bit of the worsted while I wasn't looking!
`That's three faults, Kitty, and you've not been punished for
any of them yet. You know I'm saving up all your punishments for
Wednesday week--Suppose they had saved up all MY punishments!'
she went on, talking more to herself than the kitten. `What
WOULD they do at the end of a year? I should be sent to prison,
I suppose, when the day came. Or--let me see--suppose each
punishment was to be going without a dinner: then, when the
miserable day came, I should have to go without fifty dinners at
once! Well, I shouldn't mind THAT much! I'd far rather go
without them than eat them!
`Do you hear the snow against the window-panes, Kitty? How
nice and soft it sounds! Just as if some one was kissing the
window all over outside. I wonder if the snow LOVES the trees
and fields, that it kisses them so gently? And then it covers
them up snug, you know, with a white quilt; and perhaps it says,
"Go to sleep, darlings, till the summer comes again." And when
they wake up in the summer, Kitty, they dress themselves all in
green, and dance about--whenever the wind blows--oh, that's
very pretty!' cried Alice, dropping the ball of worsted to clap
her hands. `And I do so WISH it was true! I'm sure the woods
look sleepy in the autumn, when the leaves are getting brown.
`Kitty, can you play chess? Now, don't smile, my dear, I'm
asking it seriously. Because, when we were playing just now, you
watched just as if you understood it: and when I said "Check!"
you purred! Well, it WAS a nice check, Kitty, and really I might
have won, if it hadn't been for that nasty Knight, that came
wiggling down among my pieces. Kitty, dear, let's pretend--'
And here I wish I could tell you half the things Alice used to
say, beginning with her favourite phrase `Let's pretend.' She
had had quite a long argument with her sister only the day before
--all because Alice had begun with `Let's pretend we're kings
and queens;' and her sister, who liked being very exact, had
argued that they couldn't, because there were only two of them,
and Alice had been reduced at last to say, `Well, YOU can be one
of them then, and I'LL be all the rest." And once she had really
frightened her old nurse by shouting suddenly in her ear, `Nurse!
Do let's pretend that I'm a hungry hyaena, and you're a bone.'
But this is taking us away from Alice's speech to the kitten.
`Let's pretend that you're the Red Queen, Kitty! Do you know, I
think if you sat up and folded your arms, you'd look exactly like
her. Now do try, there's a dear!' And Alice got the Red Queen
off the table, and set it up before the kitten as a model for it
to imitate: however, the thing didn't succeed, principally,
Alice said, because the kitten wouldn't fold its arms properly.
So, to punish it, she held it up to the Looking-glass, that it
might see how sulky it was--`and if you're not good directly,'
she added, `I'll put you through into Looking-glass House. How
would you like THAT?'
`Now, if you'll only attend, Kitty, and not talk so much, I'll
tell you all my ideas about Looking-glass House. First, there's
the room you can see through the glass--that's just the same as
our drawing room, only the things go the other way. I can see
all of it when I get upon a chair--all but the bit behind the
fireplace. Oh! I do so wish I could see THAT bit! I want so
much to know whether they've a fire in the winter: you never CAN
tell, you know, unless our fire smokes, and then smoke comes up
in that room too--but that may be only pretence, just to make
it look as if they had a fire. Well then, the books are
something like our books, only the words go the wrong way; I know
that, because I've held up one of our books to the glass, and
then they hold up one in the other room.
`How would you like to live in Looking-glass House, Kitty? I
wonder if they'd give you milk in there? Perhaps Looking-glass
milk isn't good to drink--But oh, Kitty! now we come to the
passage. You can just see a little PEEP of the passage in
Looking-glass House, if you leave the door of our drawing-room
wide open: and it's very like our passage as far as you can see,
only you know it may be quite different on beyond. Oh, Kitty!
how nice it would be if we could only get through into Looking-
glass House! I'm sure it's got, oh! such beautiful things in it!
Let's pretend there's a way of getting through into it, somehow,
Kitty. Let's pretend the glass has got all soft like gauze, so
that we can get through. Why, it's turning into a sort of mist
now, I declare! It'll be easy enough to get through--' She
was up on the chimney-piece while she said this, though she
hardly knew how she had got there. And certainly the glass WAS
beginning to melt away, just like a bright silvery mist.
In another moment Alice was through the glass, and had jumped
lightly down into the Looking-glass room. The very first thing
she did was to look whether there was a fire in the fireplace,
and she was quite pleased to find that there was a real one,
blazing away as brightly as the one she had left behind. `So I
shall be as warm here as I was in the old room,' thought Alice:
`warmer, in fact, because there'll be no one here to scold me
away from the fire. Oh, what fun it'll be, when they see me
through the glass in here, and can't get at me!'
Then she began looking about, and noticed that what could be
seen from the old room was quite common and uninteresting, but
that all the rest was a different as possible. For instance, the
pictures on the wall next the fire seemed to be all alive, and
the very clock on the chimney-piece (you know you can only see
the back of it in the Looking-glass) had got the face of a little
old man, and grinned at her.
`They don't keep this room so tidy as the other,' Alice thought
to herself, as she noticed several of the chessmen down in the
hearth among the cinders: but in another moment, with a little
`Oh!' of surprise, she was down on her hands and knees watching
them. The chessmen were walking about, two and two!
`Here are the Red King and the Red Queen,' Alice said (in a
whisper, for fear of frightening them), `and there are the White
King and the White Queen sitting on the edge of the shovel--and
here are two castles walking arm in arm--I don't think they can
hear me,' she went on, as she put her head closer down, `and I'm
nearly sure they can't see me. I feel somehow as if I were
Here something began squeaking on the table behind Alice, and
made her turn her head just in time to see one of the White Pawns
roll over and begin kicking: she watched it with great
curiosity to see what would happen next.
`It is the voice of my child!' the White Queen cried out as she
rushed past the King, so violently that she knocked him over
among the cinders. `My precious Lily! My imperial kitten!' and
she began scrambling wildly up the side of the fender.
`Imperial fiddlestick!' said the King, rubbing his nose, which
had been hurt by the fall. He had a right to be a LITTLE annoyed
with the Queen, for he was covered with ashes from head to foot.
Alice was very anxious to be of use, and, as the poor little
Lily was nearly screaming herself into a fit, she hastily picked
up the Queen and set her on the table by the side of her noisy
The Queen gasped, and sat down: the rapid journey through the
air had quite taken away her breath and for a minute or two she
could do nothing but hug the little Lily in silence. As soon as
she had recovered her breath a little, she called out to the
White King, who was sitting sulkily among the ashes, `Mind the
`What volcano?' said the King, looking up anxiously into the
fire, as if he thought that was the most likely place to find
`Blew--me--up,' panted the Queen, who was still a little
out of breath. `Mind you come up--the regular way--don't get
Alice watched the White King as he slowly struggled up from bar
to bar, till at last she said, `Why, you'll be hours and hours
getting to the table, at that rate. I'd far better help you,
hadn't I?' But the King took no notice of the question: it was
quite clear that he could neither hear her nor see her.
So Alice picked him up very gently, and lifted him across more
slowly than she had lifted the Queen, that she mightn't take his
breath away: but, before she put him on the table, she thought
she might as well dust him a little, he was so covered with
She said afterwards that she had never seen in all her life
such a face as the King made, when he found himself held in the
air by an invisible hand, and being dusted: he was far too much
astonished to cry out, but his eyes and his mouth went on getting
larger and larger, and rounder and rounder, till her hand shook
so with laughing that she nearly let him drop upon the floor.
`Oh! PLEASE don't make such faces, my dear!' she cried out,
quite forgetting that the King couldn't hear her. `You make me
laugh so that I can hardly hold you! And don't keep your mouth
so wide open! All the ashes will get into it--there, now I
think you're tidy enough!' she added, as she smoothed his hair,
and set him upon the table near the Queen.
The King immediately fell flat on his back, and lay perfectly
still: and Alice was a little alarmed at what she had done, and
went round the room to see if she could find any water to throw
over him. However, she could find nothing but a bottle of ink,
and when she got back with it she found he had recovered, and he
and the Queen were talking together in a frightened whisper--so
low, that Alice could hardly hear what they said.
The King was saying, `I assure, you my dear, I turned cold to
the very ends of my whiskers!'
To which the Queen replied, `You haven't got any whiskers.'
`The horror of that moment,' the King went on, `I shall never,
`You will, though,' the Queen said, `if you don't make a
memorandum of it.'
Alice looked on with great interest as the King took an
enormous memorandum-book out of his pocket, and began writing. A
sudden thought struck her, and she took hold of the end of the
pencil, which came some way over his shoulder, and began writing
The poor King look puzzled and unhappy, and struggled with the
pencil for some time without saying anything; but Alice was too
strong for him, and at last he panted out, `My dear! I really
MUST get a thinner pencil. I can't manage this one a bit; it
writes all manner of things that I don't intend--'
`What manner of things?' said the Queen, looking over the book
(in which Alice had put `THE WHITE KNIGHT IS SLIDING DOWN THE
POKER. HE BALANCES VERY BADLY') `That's not a memorandum of
There was a book lying near Alice on the table, and while she
sat watching the White King (for she was still a little anxious
about him, and had the ink all ready to throw over him, in case
he fainted again), she turned over the leaves, to find some part
that she could read, `--for it's all in some language I don't
know,' she said to herself.
It was like this.
sevot yhtils eht dna ,gillirb sawT`
ebaw eht ni elbmig dna eryg diD
,sevogorob eht erew ysmim llA
.ebargtuo shtar emom eht dnA
She puzzled over this for some time, but at last a bright
thought struck her. `Why, it's a Looking-glass book, of course!
And if I hold it up to a glass, the words will all go the right
This was the poem that Alice read.
`Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.
`Beware the Jabberwock, my son!
The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
Beware the Jujub bird, and shun
The frumious Bandersnatch!'
He took his vorpal sword in hand:
Long time the manxome foe he sought--
So rested he by the Tumtum tree,
And stood awhile in thought.
And as in uffish thought he stood,
The Jabberwock, with eyes of flame,
Came whiffling through the tulgey wood,
And burbled as it came!
One, two! One, two! And through and through
The vorpal blade went snicker-snack!
He left it dead, and with its head
He went galumphing back.
`And has thou slain the Jabberwock?
Come to my arms, my beamish boy!
O frabjous day! Calloh! Callay!
He chortled in his joy.
`Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.
`It seems very pretty,' she said when she had finished it, `but
it's RATHER hard to understand!' (You see she didn't like to
confess, ever to herself, that she couldn't make it out at all.)
`Somehow it seems to fill my head with ideas--only I don't
exactly know what they are! However, SOMEBODY killed SOMETHING:
that's clear, at any rate--'
`But oh!' thought Alice, suddenly jumping up, `if I don't make
haste I shall have to go back through the Looking-glass, before
I've seen what the rest of the house is like! Let's have a look
at the garden first!' She was out of the room in a moment, and
ran down stairs--or, at least, it wasn't exactly running, but a
new invention of hers for getting down stairs quickly and easily,
as Alice said to herself. She just kept the tips of her fingers
on the hand-rail, and floated gently down without even touching
the stairs with her feet; then she floated on through the hall,
and would have gone straight out at the door in the same way, if
she hadn't caught hold of the door-post. She was getting a
little giddy with so much floating in the air, and was rather
glad to find herself walking again in the natural way.
The Garden of Live Flowers
`I should see the garden far better,' said Alice to herself,
`if I could get to the top of that hill: and here's a path that
leads straight to it--at least, no, it doesn't do that--'
(after going a few yards along the path, and turning several
sharp corners), `but I suppose it will at last. But how
curiously it twists! It's more like a corkscrew than a path!
Well, THIS turn goes to the hill, I suppose--no, it doesn't!
This goes straight back to the house! Well then, I'll try it the
And so she did: wandering up and down, and trying turn after
turn, but always coming back to the house, do what she would.
Indeed, once, when she turned a corner rather more quickly than
usual, she ran against it before she could stop herself.
`It's no use talking about it," Alice said, looking up at the
house and pretending it was arguing with her. `I'm NOT going in
again yet. I know I should have to get through the Looking-glass
again--back into the old room--and there'd be an end of all
So, resolutely turning her back upon the house, she set out
once more down the path, determined to keep straight on till
she got to the hill. For a few minutes all went on well,
and she was just saying, `I really SHALL do it this time--'
when the path gave a sudden twist and shook itself
(as she described it afterwards), and the next moment
she found herself actually walking in at the door.
'Oh, it's too bad!' she cried. `I never saw such a house for
getting in the way! Never!'
However, there was the hill full in sight, so there was nothing
to be done but start again. This time she came upon a large
flower-bed, with a border of daisies, and a willow-tree growing
in the middle.
`O Tiger-lily,' said Alice, addressing herself to one that was
waving gracefully about in the wind, `I WISH you could talk!'
`We CAN talk,' said the Tiger-lily: `when there's anybody
worth talking to."
Alice was so astonished that she could not speak for a minute:
it quite seemed to take her breath away. At length, as the
Tiger-lily only went on waving about, she spoke again, in a timid
voice--almost in a whisper. `And can ALL the flowers talk?'
`As well as YOU can,' said the Tiger-lily. `And a great deal
`It isn't manners for us to begin, you know,' said the Rose,
`and I really was wondering when you'd speak! Said I to myself,
"Her face has got SOME sense in it, thought it's not a clever
one!" Still, you're the right colour, and that goes a long way.'
`I don't care about the colour,' the Tiger-lily remarked. `If
only her petals curled up a little more, she'd be all right.'
Alice didn't like being criticised, so she began asking
questions. `Aren't you sometimes frightened at being planted out
here, with nobody to take care of you?'
`There's the tree in the middle,' said the Rose: `what else is
it good for?'
`But what could it do, if any danger came?' Alice asked.
`It says "Bough-wough!" cried a Daisy: `that's why its
branches are called boughs!'
`Didn't you know THAT?' cried another Daisy, and here they all
began shouting together, till the air seemed quite full of little
shrill voices. `Silence, every one of you!' cried the Tiger-
lily, waving itself passionately from side to side, and trembling
with excitement. `They know I can't get at them!' it panted,
bending its quivering head towards Alice, `or they wouldn't dare
to do it!'
`Never mind!' Alice said in a soothing tone, and stooping down
to the daisies, who were just beginning again, she whispered, `If
you don't hold your tongues, I'll pick you!'
There was silence in a moment, and several of the pink daisies
`That's right!' said the Tiger-lily. `The daisies are worst of
all. When one speaks, they all begin together, and it's enough
to make one wither to hear the way they go on!'
`How is it you can all talk so nicely?' Alice said, hoping to
get it into a better temper by a compliment. `I've been in many
gardens before, but none of the flowers could talk.'
`Put your hand down, and feel the ground,' said the Tiger-lily.
`Then you'll know why.
Alice did so. `It's very hard,' she said, `but I don't see
what that has to do with it.'
`In most gardens,' the Tiger-lily said, `they make the beds
too soft--so that the flowers are always asleep.'
This sounded a very good reason, and Alice was quite pleased to
know it. `I never thought of that before!' she said.
`It's MY opinion that you never think AT ALL,' the Rose said in
a rather severe tone.
`I never saw anybody that looked stupider,' a Violet said, so
suddenly, that Alice quite jumped; for it hadn't spoken before.
`Hold YOUR tongue!' cried the Tiger-lily. `As if YOU ever saw
anybody! You keep your head under the leaves, and snore away
there, till you know no more what's going on in the world, than
if you were a bud!'
`Are there any more people in the garden besides me?' Alice
said, not choosing to notice the Rose's last remark.
`There's one other flower in the garden that can move about
like you,' said the Rose. `I wonder how you do it--' (`You're
always wondering,' said the Tiger-lily), `but she's more bushy
than you are.'
`Is she like me?' Alice asked eagerly, for the thought crossed
her mind, `There's another little girl in the garden, somewhere!'
`Well, she has the same awkward shape as you,' the Rose said,
`but she's redder--and her petals are shorter, I think.'
`Her petals are done up close, almost like a dahlia,' the
Tiger-lily interrupted: `not tumbled about anyhow, like yours.'
`But that's not YOUR fault,' the Rose added kindly: `you're
beginning to fade, you know--and then one can't help one's
petals getting a little untidy.'
Alice didn't like this idea at all: so, to change the subject,
she asked `Does she ever come out here?'
`I daresay you'll see her soon,' said the Rose. `She's one of
the thorny kind.'
`Where does she wear the thorns?' Alice asked with some
`Why all round her head, of course,' the Rose replied. `I was
wondering YOU hadn't got some too. I thought it was the regular
`She's coming!' cried the Larkspur. `I hear her footstep,
thump, thump, thump, along the gravel-walk!'
Alice looked round eagerly, and found that it was the Red
Queen. `She's grown a good deal!' was her first remark. She had
indeed: when Alice first found her in the ashes, she had been
only three inches high--and here she was, half a head taller
than Alice herself!
`It's the fresh air that does it,' said the Rose:
`wonderfully fine air it is, out here.'
"I think I'll go and meet her,' said Alice, for, though the
flowers were interesting enough, she felt that it would be far
grander to have a talk with a real Queen.
`You can't possibly do that,' said the Rose: `_I_ should
advise you to walk the other way.'
This sounded nonsense to Alice, so she said nothing, but set
off at once towards the Red Queen. To her surprise, she lost
sight of her in a moment, and found herself walking in at the
A little provoked, she drew back, and after looking everywhere
for the queen (whom she spied out at last, a long way off), she
thought she would try the plan, this time, of walking in the
It succeeded beautifully. She had not been walking a minute
before she found herself face to face with the Red Queen, and
full in sight of the hill she had been so long aiming at.
`Where do you come from?' said the Red Queen. `And where are
you going? Look up, speak nicely, and don't twiddle your fingers
all the time.'
Alice attended to all these directions, and explained, as well
as she could, that she had lost her way.
`I don't know what you mean by YOUR way,' said the Queen: `all
the ways about here belong to ME--but why did you come out here
at all?' she added in a kinder tone. `Curtsey while you`re
thinking what to say, it saves time.'
Alice wondered a little at this, but she was too much in awe of
the Queen to disbelieve it. `I'll try it when I go home,' she
thought to herself. `the next time I'm a little late for dinner.'
`It's time for you to answer now,' the Queen said, looking at
her watch: `open your mouth a LITTLE wider when you speak, and
always say "your Majesty."'
`I only wanted to see what the garden was like, your Majesty--'
`That's right,' said the Queen, patting her on the head, which
Alice didn't like at all, `though, when you say "garden,"--I'VE
seen gardens, compared with which this would be a wilderness.'
Alice didn't dare to argue the point, but went on: `--and I
thought I'd try and find my way to the top of that hill--'
`When you say "hill,"' the Queen interrupted, `_I_ could show
you hills, in comparison with which you'd call that a valley.'
`No, I shouldn't,' said Alice, surprised into contradicting her
at last: `a hill CAN'T be a valley, you know. That would be
The Red Queen shook her head, `You may call it "nonsense" if
you like,' she said, ` but I'VE heard nonsense, compared with
which that would be as sensible as a dictionary!'
Alice curtseyed again, as she was afraid from the Queen's tone
that she was a LITTLE offended: and they walked on in silence
till they got to the top of the little hill.
For some minutes Alice stood without speaking, looking out in
all directions over the country--and a most curious country it
was. There were a number of tiny little brooks running straight
across it from side to side, and the ground between was divided
up into squares by a number of little green hedges, that reached
from brook to brook.
`I declare it's marked out just like a large chessboard!' Alice
said at last. `There ought to be some men moving about somewhere
--and so there are!' She added in a tone of delight, and her
heart began to beat quick with excitement as she went on. `It's
a great huge game of chess that's being played--all over the
world--if this IS the world at all, you know. Oh, what fun it
is! How I WISH I was one of them! I wouldn't mind being a Pawn,
if only I might join--though of course I should LIKE to be a
She glanced rather shyly at the real Queen as she said this,
but her companion only smiled pleasantly, and said, `That's
easily managed. You can be the White Queen's Pawn, if you like,
as Lily's too young to play; and you're in the Second Square to
began with: when you get to the Eighth Square you'll be a Queen
--' Just at this moment, somehow or other, they began to run.
Alice never could quite make out, in thinking it over
afterwards, how it was that they began: all she remembers is,
that they were running hand in hand, and the Queen went so fast
that it was all she could do to keep up with her: and still the
Queen kept crying `Faster! Faster!' but Alice felt she COULD NOT
go faster, though she had not breath left to say so.
The most curious part of the thing was, that the trees and the
other things round them never changed their places at all:
however fast they went, they never seemed to pass anything. `I
wonder if all the things move along with us?' thought poor
puzzled Alice. And the Queen seemed to guess her thoughts, for
she cried, `Faster! Don't try to talk!'
Not that Alice had any idea of doing THAT. She felt as if she
would never be able to talk again, she was getting so much out of
breath: and still the Queen cried `Faster! Faster!' and dragged
her along. `Are we nearly there?' Alice managed to pant out at
`Nearly there!' the Queen repeated. `Why, we passed it ten
minutes ago! Faster!' And they ran on for a time in silence,
with the wind whistling in Alice's ears, and almost blowing her
hair off her head, she fancied.
`Now! Now!' cried the Queen. `Faster! Faster!' And they
went so fast that at last they seemed to skim through the air,
hardly touching the ground with their feet, till suddenly, just
as Alice was getting quite exhausted, they stopped, and she found
herself sitting on the ground, breathless and giddy.
The Queen propped her up against a tree, and said kindly, `You
may rest a little now.'
Alice looked round her in great surprise. `Why, I do believe
we've been under this tree the whole time! Everything's just as
`Of course it is,' said the Queen, `what would you have it?'
`Well, in OUR country,' said Alice, still panting a little,
`you'd generally get to somewhere else--if you ran very fast
for a long time, as we've been doing.'
`A slow sort of country!' said the Queen. `Now, HERE, you see,
it takes all the running YOU can do, to keep in the same place.
If you want to get somewhere else, you must run at least twice as
fast as that!'
`I'd rather not try, please!' said Alice. `I'm quite content
to stay here--only I AM so hot and thirsty!'
`I know what YOU'D like!' the Queen said good-naturedly, taking
a little box out of her pocket. `Have a biscuit?'
Alice thought it would not be civil to say `No,' though it
wasn't at all what she wanted. So she took it, and ate it as
well as she could: and it was VERY dry; and she thought she had
never been so nearly choked in all her life.
`While you're refreshing yourself,' said the Queen, `I'll just
take the measurements.' And she took a ribbon out of her pocket,
marked in inches, and began measuring the ground, and sticking
little pegs in here and there.
`At the end of two yards,' she said, putting in a peg to mark
the distance, `I shall give you your directions--have another
`No, thank you,' said Alice,: `one's QUITE enough!'
`Thirst quenched, I hope?' said the Queen.
Alice did not know what to say to this, but luckily the Queen
did not wait for an answer, but went on. `At the end of THREE
yards I shall repeat them--for fear of your forgetting them.
At then end of FOUR, I shall say good-bye. And at then end of
FIVE, I shall go!'
She had got all the pegs put in by this time, and Alice looked
on with great interest as she returned to the tree, and then
began slowly walking down the row.
At the two-yard peg she faced round, and said, `A pawn goes two
squares in its first move, you know. So you'll go VERY quickly
through the Third Square--by railway, I should think--and
you'll find yourself in the Fourth Square in no time. Well, THAT
square belongs to Tweedledum and Tweedledee--the Fifth is
mostly water--the Sixth belongs to Humpty Dumpty--But you
make no remark?'
`I--I didn't know I had to make one--just then,' Alice
`You SHOULD have said,' `"It's extremely kind of you to tell me
all this"--however, we'll suppose it said--the Seventh Square
is all forest--however, one of the Knights will show you the
way--and in the Eighth Square we shall be Queens together, and
it's all feasting and fun!' Alice got up and curtseyed, and sat
At the next peg the Queen turned again, and this time she said,
`Speak in French when you can't think of the English for a thing
--turn out your toes as you walk--and remember who you are!'
She did not wait for Alice to curtsey this time, but walked on
quickly to the next peg, where she turned for a moment to say
`good-bye,' and then hurried on to the last.
How it happened, Alice never knew, but exactly as she came to
the last peg, she was gone. Whether she vanished into the air,
or whether she ran quickly into the wood (`and she CAN run very
fast!' thought Alice), there was no way of guessing, but she was
gone, and Alice began to remember that she was a Pawn, and that
it would soon be time for her to move.
Of course the first thing to do was to make a grand survey of
the country she was going to travel through. `It's something
very like learning geography,' thought Alice, as she stood on
tiptoe in hopes of being able to see a little further.
`Principal rivers--there ARE none. Principal mountains--I'm
on the only one, but I don't think it's got any name. Principal
towns--why, what ARE those creatures, making honey down there?
They can't be bees--nobody ever saw bees a mile off, you know -
- ' and for some time she stood silent, watching one of them that
was bustling about among the flowers, poking its proboscis into
them, `just as if it was a regular bee,' thought Alice.
However, this was anything but a regular bee: in fact it was
an elephant--as Alice soon found out, though the idea quite
took her breath away at first. `And what enormous flowers they
must be!' was her next idea. `Something like cottages with the
roofs taken off, and stalks put to them--and what quantities of
honey they must make! I think I'll go down and--no, I won't
JUST yet, ' she went on, checking herself just as she was
beginning to run down the hill, and trying to find some excuse
for turning shy so suddenly. `It'll never do to go down among
them without a good long branch to brush them away--and what
fun it'll be when they ask me how I like my walk. I shall say--
"Oh, I like it well enough--"' (here came the favourite little
toss of the head), `"only it was so dusty and hot, and the
elephants did tease so!"'
`I think I'll go down the other way,' she said after a pause:
`and perhaps I may visit the elephants later on. Besides, I do
so want to get into the Third Square!'
So with this excuse she ran down the hill and jumped over the
first of the six little brooks.
* * * * * * *
* * * * * *
* * * * * * *
`Tickets, please!' said the Guard, putting his head in at the
window. In a moment everybody was holding out a ticket: they
were about the same size as the people, and quite seemed to fill
`Now then! Show your ticket, child!' the Guard went on,
looking angrily at Alice. And a great many voices all said
together (`like the chorus of a song,' thought Alice), `Don't
keep him waiting, child! Why, his time is worth a thousand
pounds a minute!'
`I'm afraid I haven't got one,' Alice said in a frightened tone:
`there wasn't a ticket-office where I came from." And again
the chorus of voices went on. `There wasn't room for one where
she came from. The land there is worth a thousand pounds an inch!'
`Don't make excuses,' said the Guard: `you should have bought
one from the engine-driver.' And once more the chorus of voices
went on with `The man that drives the engine. Why, the smoke
alone is worth a thousand pounds a puff!'
Alice thought to herself, `Then there's no use in speaking."
The voices didn't join in this time, as she hadn't spoken, but to
her great surprise, they all THOUGHT in chorus (I hope you
understand what THINKING IN CHORUS means--for I must confess
that _I_ don't), `Better say nothing at all. Language is worth a
thousand pounds a word!'
`I shall dream about a thousand pounds tonight, I know I
shall!' thought Alice.
All this time the Guard was looking at her, first through a
telescope, then through a microscope, and then through an opera-
glass. At last he said, `You're travelling the wrong way,' and
shut up the window and went away.
`So young a child,' said the gentleman sitting opposite to her
(he was dressed in white paper), `ought to know which way she's
going, even if she doesn't know her own name!'
A Goat, that was sitting next to the gentleman in white, shut
his eyes and said in a loud voice, `She ought to know her way to
the ticket-office, even if she doesn't know her alphabet!'
There was a Beetle sitting next to the Goat (it was a very
queer carriage-full of passengers altogether), and, as the rule
seemed to be that they should all speak in turn, HE went on with
`She'll have to go back from here as luggage!'
Alice couldn't see who was sitting beyond the Beetle, but a
hoarse voice spoke next. `Change engines--' it said, and was
obliged to leave off.
`It sounds like a horse,' Alice thought to herself. And an
extremely small voice, close to her ear, said, `You might make a
joke on that--something about "horse" and "hoarse," you know.'
Then a very gentle voice in the distance said, `She must be
labelled "Lass, with care," you know--'
And after that other voices went on (What a number of people
there are in the carriage!' thought Alice), saying, `She must go
by post, as she's got a head on her--' `She must be sent as a
message by the telegraph--' `She must draw the train herself
the rest of the way--' and so on.
But the gentleman dressed in white paper leaned forwards and
whispered in her ear, `Never mind what they all say, my dear, but
take a return-ticket every time the train stops."
`Indeed I shan't!' Alice said rather impatiently. `I don't
belong to this railway journey at all--I was in a wood just now
--and I wish I could get back there.'
`You might make a joke on THAT, said the little voice close to
her ear: `something about "you WOULD if you could," you know.'
`Don't tease so,' said Alice, looking about in vain to see
where the voice came from; `if you're so anxious to have a joke
made, why don't you make one yourself?'
The little voice sighed deeply: it was VERY unhappy,
evidently, and Alice would have said something pitying to comfort
it, `If it would only sigh like other people!' she thought. But
this was such a wonderfully small sigh, that she wouldn't have
heard it at all, if it hadn't come QUITE close to her ear. The
consequence of this was that it tickled her ear very much, and
quite took off her thoughts from the unhappiness of the poor
`I know you are a friend, the little voice went on; `a dear
friend, and an old friend. And you won't hurt me, though I AM an
`What kind of insect?' Alice inquired a little anxiously. What
she really wanted to know was, whether it could sting or not, but
she thought this wouldn't be quite a civil question to ask.
`What, then you don't--' the little voice began, when it was
drowned by a shrill scream from the engine, and everybody jumped
up in alarm, Alice among the rest.
The Horse, who had put his head out of the window, quietly drew
it in and said, `It's only a brook we have to jump over.'
Everybody seemed satisfied with this, though Alice felt a little
nervous at the idea of trains jumping at all. `However, it'll
take us into the Fourth Square, that's some comfort!' she said to
herself. In another moment she felt the carriage rise straight
up into the air, and in her fright she caught at the thing
nearest to her hand. which happened to be the Goat's beard.
* * * * * * *
* * * * * *
* * * * * * *
But the beard seemed to melt away as she touched it, and she
found herself sitting quietly under a tree--while the Gnat (for
that was the insect she had been talking to) was balancing itself
on a twig just over her head, and fanning her with its wings.
It certainly was a VERY large Gnat: `about the size of a
chicken,' Alice thought. Still, she couldn't feel nervous with
it, after they had been talking together so long.
`--then you don't like all insects?' the Gnat went on, as
quietly as if nothing had happened.
`I like them when they can talk,' Alice said. `None of them
ever talk, where _I_ come from.'
`What sort of insects do you rejoice in, where YOU come from?'
the Gnat inquired.
`I don't REJOICE in insects at all,' Alice explained, `because
I'm rather afraid of them--at least the large kinds. But I can
tell you the names of some of them."
`Of course they answer to their names?' the Gnat remarked
`I never knew them do it.'
`What's the use of their having names the Gnat said, `if they
won't answer to them?'
`No use to THEM,' said Alice; `but it's useful to the people
who name them, I suppose. If not, why do things have names at
`I can't say,' the Gnat replied. `Further on, in the wood
down there, they've got no names--however, go on with your list
of insects: you're wasting time.'
`Well, there's the Horse-fly,' Alice began, counting off the
names on her fingers.
`All right,' said the Gnat: `half way up that bush, you'll see
a Rocking-horse-fly, if you look. It's made entirely of wood,
and gets about by swinging itself from branch to branch.'
`What does it live on?' Alice asked, with great curiosity.
`Sap and sawdust,' said the Gnat. `Go on with the list.'
Alice looked up at the Rocking-horse-fly with great interest,
and made up her mind that it must have been just repainted, it
looked so bright and sticky; and then she went on.
`And there's the Dragon-fly.'
`Look on the branch above your head,' said the Gnat, `and there
you'll find a snap-dragon-fly. Its body is made of plum-pudding,
its wings of holly-leaves, and its head is a raisin burning in
`And what does it live on?'
`Frumenty and mince pie,' the Gnat replied; `and it makes its
nest in a Christmas box.'
`And then there's the Butterfly,' Alice went on, after she had
taken a good look at the insect with its head on fire, and had
thought to herself, `I wonder if that's the reason insects are so
fond of flying into candles--because they want to turn into
`Crawling at your feet,' said the Gnat (Alice drew her feet
back in some alarm), `you may observe a Bread-and-Butterfly. Its
wings are thin slices of Bread-and-butter, its body is a crust,
and its head is a lump of sugar.'
`And what does IT live on?'
`Weak tea with cream in it.'
A new difficulty came into Alice's head. `Supposing it
couldn't find any?' she suggested.
`Then it would die, of course.'
`But that must happen very often,' Alice remarked thoughtfully.
`It always happens,' said the Gnat.
After this, Alice was silent for a minute or two, pondering.
The Gnat amused itself meanwhile by humming round and round her
head: at last it settled again and remarked, `I suppose you
don't want to lose your name?'
`No, indeed,' Alice said, a little anxiously.
`And yet I don't know,' the Gnat went on in a careless tone:
`only think how convenient it would be if you could manage to go
home without it! For instance, if the governess wanted to call
you to your lessons, she would call out "come here--," and
there she would have to leave off, because there wouldn't be any
name for her to call, and of course you wouldn't have to go, you
`That would never do, I'm sure,' said Alice: `the governess
would never think of excusing me lessons for that. If she
couldn't remember my name, she'd call me "Miss!" as the servants
`Well. if she said "Miss," and didn't say anything more,' the
Gnat remarked, `of course you'd miss your lessons. That's a
joke. I wish YOU had made it.'
`Why do you wish _I_ had made it?' Alice asked. `It's a very
But the Gnat only sighed deeply, while two large tears came
rolling down its cheeks.
`You shouldn't make jokes,' Alice said, `if it makes you so
Then came another of those melancholy little sighs, and this
time the poor Gnat really seemed to have sighed itself away, for,
when Alice looked up, there was nothing whatever to be seen on
the twig, and, as she was getting quite chilly with sitting still
so long, she got up and walked on.
She very soon came to an open field, with a wood on the other
side of it: it looked much darker than the last wood, and Alice
felt a LITTLE timid about going into it. However, on second
thoughts, she made up her mind to go on: `for I certainly won't
go BACK,' she thought to herself, and this was the only way to
the Eighth Square.
`This must be the wood, she said thoughtfully to herself,
`where things have no names. I wonder what'll become of MY name
when I go in? I shouldn't like to lose it at all--because
they'd have to give me another, and it would be almost certain to
be an ugly one. But then the fun would be trying to find the
creature that had got my old name! That's just like the
advertisements, you know, when people lose dogs--"ANSWERS TO
THE NAME OF `DASH:' HAD ON A BRASS COLLAR"--just fancy calling
everything you met "Alice," till one of them answered! Only they
wouldn't answer at all, if they were wise.'
She was rambling on in this way when she reached the wood: it
looked very cool and shady. `Well, at any rate it's a great
comfort,' she said as she stepped under the trees, `after being
so hot, to get into the--into WHAT?' she went on, rather
surprised at not being able to think of the word. `I mean to get
under the--under the--under THIS, you know!' putting her
hand on the trunk of the tree. `What DOES it call itself, I
wonder? I do believe it's got no name--why, to be sure it
She stood silent for a minute, thinking: then she suddenly
began again. `Then it really HAS happened, after all! And now,
who am I? I WILL remember, if I can! I'm determined to do it!'
But being determined didn't help much, and all she could say,
after a great deal of puzzling, was,`L, I KNOW it begins with L!'
Just then a Fawn came wandering by: it looked at Alice with
its large gentle eyes, but didn't seem at all frightened. `Here
then! Here then!' Alice said, as she held out her hand and tried
to stroke it; but it only started back a little, and then stood
looking at her again.
`What do you call yourself?' the Fawn said at last. Such a
soft sweet voice it had!
`I wish I knew!' thought poor Alice. She answered, rather
sadly, `Nothing, just now.'
`Think again,' it said: `that won't do.'
Alice thought, but nothing came of it. `Please, would you tell
me what YOU call yourself?' she said timidly. `I think that
might help a little.'
`I'll tell you, if you'll move a little further on,' the Fawn said.
`I can't remember here.'
So they walked on together though the wood, Alice with her arms
clasped lovingly round the soft neck of the Fawn, till they came
out into another open field, and here the Fawn gave a sudden
bound into the air, and shook itself free from Alice's arms.
`I'm a Fawn!' it cried out in a voice of delight, `and, dear me!
you're a human child!' A sudden look of alarm came into its
beautiful brown eyes, and in another moment it had darted away at
Alice stood looking after it, almost ready to cry with vexation
at having lost her dear little fellow-traveller so suddenly.
`However, I know my name now.' she said, `that's SOME comfort.
Alice--Alice--I won't forget it again. And now, which of
these finger-posts ought I to follow, I wonder?'
It was not a very difficult question to answer, as there was
only one road through the wood, and the two finger-posts both
pointed along it. `I'll settle it,' Alice said to herself, `when
the road divides and they point different ways.'
But this did not seem likely to happen. She went on and on, a
long way, but wherever the road divided there were sure to be two
finger-posts pointing the same way, one marked `TO TWEEDLEDUM'S
HOUSE' and the other `TO THE HOUSE OF TWEEDLEDEE.'
`I do believe,' said Alice at last, `that they live in the same
house! I wonder I never thought of that before--But I can't
stay there long. I'll just call and say "how d'you do?" and ask
them the way out of the wood. If I could only get to the Eighth
Square before it gets dark!' So she wandered on, talking to
herself as she went, till, on turning a sharp corner, she came
upon two fat little men, so suddenly that she could not help
starting back, but in another moment she recovered herself,
feeling sure that they must be
TWEEDLEDUM AND TWEEDLEDEE
They were standing under a tree, each with an arm round the
other's neck, and Alice knew which was which in a moment, because
one of them had `DUM' embroidered on his collar, and the other
`DEE.' `I suppose they've each got "TWEEDLE" round at the back
of the collar,' she said to herself.
They stood so still that she quite forgot they were alive,
and she was just looking round to see if the word "TWEEDLE" was
written at the back of each collar, when she was startled by a
voice coming from the one marked `DUM.'
`If you think we're wax-works,' he said, `you ought to pay, you
know. Wax-works weren't made to be looked at for nothing, nohow!'
`Contrariwise,' added the one marked `DEE,' `if you think we're
alive, you ought to speak.'
`I'm sure I'm very sorry,' was all Alice could say; for the words
of the old song kept ringing through her head like the ticking
of a clock, and she could hardly help saying them out loud:--
`Tweedledum and Tweedledee
Agreed to have a battle;
For Tweedledum said Tweedledee
Had spoiled his nice new rattle.
Just then flew down a monstrous crow,
As black as a tar-barrel;
Which frightened both the heroes so,
They quite forgot their quarrel.'
`I know what you're thinking about,' said Tweedledum: `but it
isn't so, nohow.'
`Contrariwise,' continued Tweedledee, `if it was so, it might
be; and if it were so, it would be; but as it isn't, it ain't.
`I was thinking,' Alice said very politely, `which is the best
way out of this wood: it's getting so dark. Would you tell me,
But the little men only looked at each other and grinned.
They looked so exactly like a couple of great schoolboys, that
Alice couldn't help pointing her finger at Tweedledum, and saying
`Nohow!' Tweedledum cried out briskly, and shut his mouth up
again with a snap.
`Next Boy!' said Alice, passing on to Tweedledee, though she
felt quite certain he would only shout out "Contrariwise!' and so
`You've been wrong!' cried Tweedledum. `The first thing in a
visit is to say "How d'ye do?" and shake hands!' And here the
two brothers gave each other a hug, and then they held out the
two hands that were free, to shake hands with her.
Alice did not like shaking hands with either of them first, for
fear of hurting the other one's feelings; so, as the best way out
of the difficulty, she took hold of both hands at once: the next
moment they were dancing round in a ring. This seemed quite
natural (she remembered afterwards), and she was not even
surprised to hear music playing: it seemed to come from the tree
under which they were dancing, and it was done (as well as she
could make it out) by the branches rubbing one across the other,
like fiddles and fiddle-sticks.
`But it certainly WAS funny,' (Alice said afterwards, when she
was telling her sister the history of all this,) `to find myself
singing "HERE WE GO ROUND THE MULBERRY BUSH." I don't know when
I began it, but somehow I felt as if I'd been singing it a long
The other two dancers were fat, and very soon out of breath.
`Four times round is enough for one dance,' Tweedledum panted
out, and they left off dancing as suddenly as they had begun:
the music stopped at the same moment.
Then they let go of Alice's hands, and stood looking at her for
a minute: there was a rather awkward pause, as Alice didn't know
how to begin a conversation with people she had just been dancing
with. `It would never do to say "How d'ye do?" NOW,' she said to
herself: `we seem to have got beyond that, somehow!'
`I hope you're not much tired?' she said at last.
`Nohow. And thank you VERY much for asking,' said Tweedledum.
`So much obliged!' added Tweedledee. `You like poetry?'
`Ye-es. pretty well--SOME poetry,' Alice said doubtfully.
`Would you tell me which road leads out of the wood?'
`What shall I repeat to her?' said Tweedledee, looking round at
Tweedledum with great solemn eyes, and not noticing Alice's question.
`"THE WALRUS AND THE CARPENTER" is the longest,' Tweedledum
replied, giving his brother an affectionate hug.
Tweedledee began instantly:
`The sun was shining--'
Here Alice ventured to interrupt him. `If it's VERY long,' she
said, as politely as she could, `would you please tell me first
Tweedledee smiled gently, and began again:
`The sun was shining on the sea,
Shining with all his might:
He did his very best to make
The billows smooth and bright--
And this was odd, because it was
The middle of the night.
The moon was shining sulkily,
Because she thought the sun
Had got no business to be there
After the day was done--
"It's very rude of him," she said,
"To come and spoil the fun!"
The sea was wet as wet could be,
The sands were dry as dry.
You could not see a cloud, because
No cloud was in the sky:
No birds were flying over head-- There were no birds to fly.
The Walrus and the Carpenter
Were walking close at hand;
They wept like anything to see
Such quantities of sand:
"If this were only cleared away,"
They said, "it WOULD be grand!"
"If seven maids with seven mops
Swept it for half a year,
Do you suppose," the Walrus said,
"That they could get it clear?"
"I doubt it," said the Carpenter,
And shed a bitter tear.
"O Oysters, come and walk with us!"
The Walrus did beseech.
"A pleasant walk, a pleasant talk,
Along the briny beach:
We cannot do with more than four,
To give a hand to each."
The eldest Oyster looked at him.
But never a word he said:
The eldest Oyster winked his eye,
And shook his heavy head--
Meaning to say he did not choose
To leave the oyster-bed.
But four young oysters hurried up,
All eager for the treat:
Their coats were brushed, their faces washed,
Their shoes were clean and neat--
And this was odd, because, you know,
They hadn't any feet.
Four other Oysters followed them,
And yet another four;
And thick and fast they came at last,
And more, and more, and more--
All hopping through the frothy waves,
And scrambling to the shore.
The Walrus and the Carpenter
Walked on a mile or so,
And then they rested on a rock
And all the little Oysters stood
And waited in a row.
"The time has come," the Walrus said,
"To talk of many things:
Of shoes--and ships--and sealing-wax--
Of cabbages--and kings--
And why the sea is boiling hot-- And whether pigs have wings."
"But wait a bit," the Oysters cried,
"Before we have our chat;
For some of us are out of breath,
And all of us are fat!"
"No hurry!" said the Carpenter.
They thanked him much for that.
"A loaf of bread," the Walrus said,
"Is what we chiefly need:
Pepper and vinegar besides
Are very good indeed--
Now if you're ready Oysters dear,
We can begin to feed."
"But not on us!" the Oysters cried,
Turning a little blue,
"After such kindness, that would be
A dismal thing to do!"
"The night is fine," the Walrus said
"Do you admire the view?
"It was so kind of you to come!
And you are very nice!"
The Carpenter said nothing but
"Cut us another slice:
I wish you were not quite so deaf--
I've had to ask you twice!"
"It seems a shame," the Walrus said,
"To play them such a trick,
After we've brought them out so far,
And made them trot so quick!"
The Carpenter said nothing but
"The butter's spread too thick!"
"I weep for you," the Walrus said.
"I deeply sympathize."
With sobs and tears he sorted out
Those of the largest size.
Holding his pocket handkerchief
Before his streaming eyes.
"O Oysters," said the Carpenter.
"You've had a pleasant run!
Shall we be trotting home again?"
But answer came there none--
And that was scarcely odd, because
They'd eaten every one.'
`I like the Walrus best,' said Alice: `because you see he was
a LITTLE sorry for the poor oysters.'
`He ate more than the Carpenter, though,' said Tweedledee.
`You see he held his handkerchief in front, so that the Carpenter
couldn't count how many he took: contrariwise.'
`That was mean!' Alice said indignantly. `Then I like the
Carpenter best--if he didn't eat so many as the Walrus.'
`But he ate as many as he could get,' said Tweedledum.
This was a puzzler. After a pause, Alice began, `Well! They
were BOTH very unpleasant characters--' Here she checked
herself in some alarm, at hearing something that sounded to her
like the puffing of a large steam-engine in the wood near them,
though she feared it was more likely to be a wild beast.
`Are there any lions or tigers about here?' she asked timidly.
`It's only the Red King snoring,' said Tweedledee.
`Come and look at him!' the brothers cried, and they each took
one of Alice's hands, and led her up to where the King was sleeping.
`Isn't he a LOVELY sight?" said Tweedledum.
Alice couldn't say honestly that he was. He had a tall red
night-cap on, with a tassel, and he was lying crumpled up into a
sort of untidy heap, and snoring loud--`fit to snore his head
off!' as Tweedledum remarked.
`I'm afraid he'll catch cold with lying on the damp grass,'
said Alice, who was a very thoughtful little girl.
`He's dreaming now,' said Tweedledee: `and what do you think
he's dreaming about?'
Alice said `Nobody can guess that.'
`Why, about YOU!' Tweedledee exclaimed, clapping his hands
triumphantly. `And if he left off dreaming about you, where do
you suppose you'd be?'
`Where I am now, of course,' said Alice.
`Not you!' Tweedledee retorted contemptuously. `You'd be
nowhere. Why, you're only a sort of thing in his dream!'
`If that there King was to wake,' added Tweedledum, `you'd go
out--bang!--just like a candle!'
`I shouldn't!' Alice exclaimed indignantly. `Besides, if I'M
only a sort of thing in his dream, what are YOU, I should like to
`Ditto' said Tweedledum.
`Ditto, ditto' cried Tweedledee.
He shouted this so loud that Alice couldn't help saying, `Hush!
You'll be waking him, I'm afraid, if you make so much noise.'
`Well, it no use YOUR talking about waking him,' said
Tweedledum, `when you're only one of the things in his dream.
You know very well you're not real.'
`I AM real!' said Alice and began to cry.
`You won't make yourself a bit realler by crying,' Tweedledee
remarked: `there's nothing to cry about.'
`If I wasn't real,' Alice said--half-laughing though her
tears, it all seemed so ridiculous--`I shouldn't be able to
`I hope you don't suppose those are real tears?' Tweedledum
interrupted in a tone of great contempt.
`I know they're talking nonsense,' Alice thought to herself:
`and it's foolish to cry about it.' So she brushed away her
tears, and went on as cheerfully as she could. `At any rate I'd
better be getting out of the wood, for really it's coming on very
dark. Do you think it's going to rain?'
Tweedledum spread a large umbrella over himself and his
brother, and looked up into it. `No, I don't think it is,' he
said: `at least--not under HERE. Nohow.'
`But it may rain OUTSIDE?'
`It may--if it chooses,' said Tweedledee: `we've no
`Selfish things!' thought Alice, and she was just going to say
`Good-night' and leave them, when Tweedledum sprang out from
under the umbrella and seized her by the wrist.
`Do you see THAT?' he said, in a voice choking with passion,
and his eyes grew large and yellow all in a moment, as he pointed
with a trembling finger at a small white thing lying under the
`It's only a rattle,' Alice said, after a careful examination
of the little white thing. `Not a rattleSNAKE, you know,' she
added hastily, thinking that he was frightened: only an old
rattle--quite old and broken.'
`I knew it was!' cried Tweedledum, beginning to stamp about
wildly and tear his hair. `It's spoilt, of course!' Here he
looked at Tweedledee, who immediately sat down on the ground, and
tried to hide himself under the umbrella.
Alice laid her hand upon his arm, and said in a soothing tone,
`You needn't be so angry about an old rattle.'
`But it isn't old!' Tweedledum cried, in a greater fury than
ever. `It's new, I tell you--I bought it yesterday--my nice
New RATTLE!' and his voice rose to a perfect scream.
All this time Tweedledee was trying his best to fold up the
umbrella, with himself in it: which was such an extraordinary
thing to do, that it quite took off Alice's attention from the
angry brother. But he couldn't quite succeed, and it ended in
his rolling over, bundled up in the umbrella, with only his head
out: and there he lay, opening and shutting his mouth and his
large eyes--'looking more like a fish than anything else,'
`Of course you agree to have a battle?' Tweedledum said in a
`I suppose so,' the other sulkily replied, as he crawled out of
the umbrella: `only SHE must help us to dress up, you know.'
So the two brothers went off hand-in-hand into the wood, and
returned in a minute with their arms full of things--such as
bolsters, blankets, hearth-rugs, table-cloths, dish-covers and
coal-scuttles. `I hope you're a good hand at pinning and tying
strings?' Tweedledum remarked. `Every one of these things has
got to go on, somehow or other.'
Alice said afterwards she had never seen such a fuss made about
anything in all her life--the way those two bustled about--
and the quantity of things they put on--and the trouble they
gave her in tying strings and fastening buttons--`Really
they'll be more like bundles of old clothes that anything else,
by the time they're ready!' she said to herself, as she arranged a
bolster round the neck of Tweedledee, `to keep his head from
being cut off,' as he said.
`You know,' he added very gravely, `it's one of the most
serious things that can possibly happen to one in a battle--to
get one's head cut off.'
Alice laughed aloud: but she managed to turn it into a cough,
for fear of hurting his feelings.
`Do I look very pale?' said Tweedledum, coming up to have his
helmet tied on. (He CALLED it a helmet, though it certainly
looked much more like a saucepan.)
`Well--yes--a LITTLE,' Alice replied gently.
`I'm very brave generally,' he went on in a low voice: `only
to-day I happen to have a headache.'
`And I'VE got a toothache!' said Tweedledee, who had overheard
the remark. `I'm far worse off than you!'
`Then you'd better not fight to-day,' said Alice, thinking it a
good opportunity to make peace.
`We MUST have a bit of a fight, but I don't care about going on
long,' said Tweedledum. `What's the time now?'
Tweedledee looked at his watch, and said `Half-past four.'
`Let's fight till six, and then have dinner,' said Tweedledum.
`Very well,' the other said, rather sadly: `and SHE can watch
us--only you'd better not come VERY close,' he added: `I
generally hit everything I can see--when I get really excited.'
`And _I_ hit everything within reach,' cried Tweedledum,
`whether I can see it or not!'
Alice laughed. `You must hit the TREES pretty often, I should
think,' she said.
Tweedledum looked round him with a satisfied smile. `I don't suppose,'
he said, `there'll be a tree left standing, for ever so far round,
by the time we've finished!'
`And all about a rattle!' said Alice, still hoping to make them
a LITTLE ashamed of fighting for such a trifle.
`I shouldn't have minded it so much,' said Tweedledum, `if it
hadn't been a new one.'
`I wish the monstrous crow would come!' though Alice.
`There's only one sword, you know,' Tweedledum said to his
brother: `but you can have the umbrella--it's quite as sharp.
Only we must begin quick. It's getting as dark as it can.'
`And darker.' said Tweedledee.
It was getting dark so suddenly that Alice thought there must
be a thunderstorm coming on. `What a thick black cloud that is!'
she said. `And how fast it comes! Why, I do believe it's got
`It's the crow!' Tweedledum cried out in a shrill voice of
alarm: and the two brothers took to their heels and were out of
sight in a moment.
Alice ran a little way into the wood, and stopped under a large
tree. `It can never get at me HERE,' she thought: `it's far too
large to squeeze itself in among the trees. But I wish it wouldn't
flap its wings so--it makes quite a hurricane in the wood--
here's somebody's shawl being blown away!'
Wool and Water
She caught the shawl as she spoke, and looked about for the
owner: in another moment the White Queen came running wildly
through the wood, with both arms stretched out wide, as if she
were flying, and Alice very civilly went to meet her with the
`I'm very glad I happened to be in the way,' Alice said, as she
helped her to put on her shawl again.
The White Queen only looked at her in a helpless frightened
sort of way, and kept repeating something in a whisper to
herself that sounded like `bread-and-butter, bread-and-butter,'
and Alice felt that if there was to be any conversation at all,
she must manage it herself. So she began rather timidly: `Am I
addressing the White Queen?'
`Well, yes, if you call that a-dressing,' The Queen said. `It
isn't MY notion of the thing, at all."
Alice thought it would never do to have an argument at the very
beginning of their conversation, so she smiled and said, `If your
Majesty will only tell me the right way to begin, I'll do it as
well as I can.'
`But I don't want it done at all!' groaned the poor Queen.
`I've been a-dressing myself for the last two hours.'
It would have been all the better, as it seemed to Alice, if
she had got some one else to dress her, she was so dreadfully
untidy. `Every single thing's crooked,' Alice thought to
herself, `and she's all over pins!--may I put your shawl
straight for you?' she added aloud.
`I don't know what's the matter with it!' the Queen said, in a
melancholy voice. `It's out of temper, I think. I've pinned it
here, and I've pinned it there, but there's no pleasing it!'
`It CAN'T go straight, you know, if you pin it all on one
side,' Alice said, as she gently put it right for her;
`and, dear me, what a state your hair is in!'
`The brush has got entangled in it!' the Queen said with a
sigh. `And I lost the comb yesterday.'
Alice carefully released the brush, and did her best to get the
hair into order. `Come, you look rather better now!' she said,
after altering most of the pins. `But really you should have a
`I'm sure I'll take you with pleasure!' the Queen said.
`Twopence a week, and jam every other day.'
Alice couldn't help laughing, as she said, `I don't want you to
hire ME--and I don't care for jam.'
`It's very good jam,' said the Queen.
`Well, I don't want any TO-DAY, at any rate.'
`You couldn't have it if you DID want it,' the Queen said.
`The rule is, jam to-morrow and jam yesterday--but never jam
`It MUST come sometimes to "jam to-day,"' Alice objected.
`No, it can't,' said the Queen. `It's jam every OTHER day:
to-day isn't any OTHER day, you know.'
`I don't understand you,' said Alice. `It's dreadfully
`That's the effect of living backwards,' the Queen said kindly:
`it always makes one a little giddy at first--
`Living backwards!' Alice repeated in great astonishment. `I
never heard of such a thing!'
`--but there's one great advantage in it, that one's memory
works both ways.'
`I'm sure MINE only works one way.' Alice remarked. `I can't
remember things before they happen.'
`It's a poor sort of memory that only works backwards,' the
`What sort of things do YOU remember best?' Alice ventured to
`Oh, things that happened the week after next,' the Queen
replied in a careless tone. `For instance, now,' she went on,
sticking a large piece of plaster [band-aid] on her finger as she
spoke, `there's the King's Messenger. He's in prison now, being
punished: and the trial doesn't even begin till next Wednesday:
and of course the crime comes last of all.'
`Suppose he never commits the crime?' said Alice.
`That would be all the better, wouldn't it?' the Queen said,
as she bound the plaster round her finger with a bit of ribbon.
Alice felt there was no denying THAT. `Of course it would be
all the better,' she said: `but it wouldn't be all the better
his being punished.'
`You're wrong THERE, at any rate,' said the Queen: `were YOU
`Only for faults,' said Alice.
`And you were all the better for it, I know!' the Queen said
`Yes, but then I HAD done the things I was punished for,' said
Alice: `that makes all the difference.'
`But if you HADN'T done them,' the Queen said, `that would have
been better still; better, and better, and better!' Her voice went
higher with each `better,' till it got quite to a squeak at last.
Alice was just beginning to say `There's a mistake somewhere--,'
when the Queen began screaming so loud that she had to leave
the sentence unfinished. `Oh, oh, oh!' shouted the Queen,
shaking her hand about as if she wanted to shake it off.
`My finger's bleeding! Oh, oh, oh, oh!'
Her screams were so exactly like the whistle of a steam-engine,
that Alice had to hold both her hands over her ears.
`What IS the matter?' she said, as soon as there was a chance
of making herself heard. `Have you pricked your finger?'
`I haven't pricked it YET,' the Queen said, `but I soon shall--
oh, oh, oh!'
`When do you expect to do it?' Alice asked, feeling very much
inclined to laugh.
`When I fasten my shawl again,' the poor Queen groaned out:
`the brooch will come undone directly. Oh, oh!' As she said the
words the brooch flew open, and the Queen clutched wildly at it,
and tried to clasp it again.
`Take care!' cried Alice. `You're holding it all crooked!'
And she caught at the brooch; but it was too late: the pin had
slipped, and the Queen had pricked her finger.
`That accounts for the bleeding, you see,' she said to Alice
with a smile. `Now you understand the way things happen here.'
`But why don't you scream now?' Alice asked, holding her hands
ready to put over her ears again.
`Why, I've done all the screaming already,' said the Queen.
`What would be the good of having it all over again?'
By this time it was getting light. `The crow must have flown
away, I think,' said Alice: `I'm so glad it's gone. I thought
it was the night coming on.'
`I wish _I_ could manage to be glad!' the Queen said. `Only I
never can remember the rule. You must be very happy, living in
this wood, and being glad whenever you like!'
`Only it is so VERY lonely here!' Alice said in a melancholy
voice; and at the thought of her loneliness two large tears came
rolling down her cheeks.
`Oh, don't go on like that!' cried the poor Queen, wringing her
hands in despair. `Consider what a great girl you are. Consider
what a long way you've come to-day. Consider what o'clock it is.
Consider anything, only don't cry!'
Alice could not help laughing at this, even in the midst of her tears.
`Can YOU keep from crying by considering things?' she asked.
`That's the way it's done,' the Queen said with great decision:
`nobody can do two things at once, you know. Let's consider your age
to begin with--how old are you?'
`I`m seven and a half exactly.'
`You needn't say "exactually,"' the Queen remarked: `I can
believe it without that. Now I'll give YOU something to believe.
I'm just one hundred and one, five months and a day.'
`I can't believe THAT!' said Alice.
`Can't you?' the Queen said in a pitying tone. `Try again:
draw a long breath, and shut your eyes.'
Alice laughed. `There's no use trying,' she said: `one CAN'T
believe impossible things.'
`I daresay you haven't had much practice,' said the Queen.
`When I was your age, I always did it for half-an-hour a day.
Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things
before breakfast. There goes the shawl again!'
The brooch had come undone as she spoke, and a sudden gust of
wind blew the Queen's shawl across a little brook. The Queen
spread out her arms again, and went flying after it, and this
time she succeeded in catching it for herself. `I've got it!'
she cried in a triumphant tone. `Now you shall see me pin it
on again, all by myself!'
`Then I hope your finger is better now?' Alice said very
politely, as she crossed the little brook after the Queen.
* * * * * * *
* * * * * *
* * * * * * *
`Oh, much better!' cried the Queen, her voice rising to a
squeak as she went on. `Much be-etter! Be-etter! Be-e-e-etter!
Be-e-ehh!' The last word ended in a long bleat, so like a sheep
that Alice quite started.
She looked at the Queen, who seemed to have suddenly wrapped
herself up in wool. Alice rubbed her eyes, and looked again.
She couldn't make out what had happened at all. Was she in a
shop? And was that really - was it really a SHEEP that was
sitting on the other side of the counter? Rub as she could, she
could make nothing more of it: she was in a little dark shop,
leaning with her elbows on the counter, and opposite to her was an
old Sheep, sitting in an arm-chair knitting, and every now and
then leaving off to look at her through a great pair of spectacles.
`What is it you want to buy?' the Sheep said at last, looking
up for a moment from her knitting.
`I don't QUITE know yet,' Alice said, very gently. `I should
like to look all round me first, if I might.'
`You may look in front of you, and on both sides, if you like,'
said the Sheep: `but you can't look ALL round you--unless
you've got eyes at the back of your head.'
But these, as it happened, Alice had NOT got: so she contented herself
with turning round, looking at the shelves as she came to them.
The shop seemed to be full of all manner of curious things--
but the oddest part of it all was, that whenever she looked hard
at any shelf, to make out exactly what it had on it, that
particular shelf was always quite empty: though the others round
it were crowded as full as they could hold.
`Things flow about so here!' she said at last in a plaintive
tone, after she had spent a minute or so in vainly pursuing a
large bright thing, that looked sometimes like a doll and
sometimes like a work-box, and was always in the shelf next above
the one she was looking at. `And this one is the most provoking
of all--but I'll tell you what--' she added, as a sudden
thought struck her, `I'll follow it up to the very top shelf of
all. It'll puzzle it to go through the ceiling, I expect!'
But even this plan failed: the `thing' went through the
ceiling as quietly as possible, as if it were quite used to it.
`Are you a child or a teetotum?' the Sheep said, as she took up
another pair of needles. `You'll make me giddy soon, if you go
on turning round like that.' She was now working with fourteen
pairs at once, and Alice couldn't help looking at her in great
`How CAN she knit with so many?' the puzzled child thought to
herself. `She gets more and more like a porcupine every minute!'
`Can you row?' the Sheep asked, handing her a pair of knitting-
needles as she spoke.
`Yes, a little--but not on land--and not with needles--'
Alice was beginning to say, when suddenly the needles turned into
oars in her hands, and she found they were in a little boat,
gliding along between banks: so there was nothing for it but to
do her best.
`Feather!' cried the Sheep, as she took up another pair of
This didn't sound like a remark that needed any answer, so
Alice said nothing, but pulled away. There was something very
queer about the water, she thought, as every now and then the
oars got fast in it, and would hardly come out again.
`Feather! Feather!' the Sheep cried again, taking more
needles. `You'll be catching a crab directly.'
`A dear little crab!' thought Alice. `I should like that.'
`Didn't you hear me say "Feather"?' the Sheep cried angrily,
taking up quite a bunch of needles.
`Indeed I did,' said Alice: `you've said it very often--and
very loud. Please, where ARE the crabs?'
`In the water, of course!' said the Sheep, sticking some of the
needles into her hair, as her hands were full. `Feather, I say!'
`WHY do you say "feather" so often?' Alice asked at last,
rather vexed. 'I'm not a bird!'
`You are,` said the Sheet: `you're a little goose.'
This offended Alice a little, so there was no more conversation
for a minute or two, while the boat glided gently on, sometimes
among beds of weeds (which made the oars stick fast in the water,
worse then ever), and sometimes under trees, but always with the
same tall river-banks frowning over their heads.
`Oh, please! There are some scented rushes!' Alice cried in a
sudden transport of delight. `There really are--and SUCH
`You needn't say "please" to ME about `em' the Sheep said,
without looking up from her knitting: `I didn't put `em there,
and I'm not going to take `em away.'
`No, but I meant--please, may we wait and pick some?' Alice
pleaded. `If you don't mind stopping the boat for a minute.'
`How am _I_ to stop it?' said the Sheep. `If you leave off
rowing, it'll stop of itself.'
So the boat was left to drift down the stream as it would, till
it glided gently in among the waving rushes. And then the little
sleeves were carefully rolled up, and the little arms were
plunged in elbow-deep to get the rushes a good long way down
before breaking them off--and for a while Alice forgot all
about the Sheep and the knitting, as she bent over the side of
the boat, with just the ends of her tangled hair dipping into the
water--while with bright eager eyes she caught at one bunch
after another of the darling scented rushes.
`I only hope the boat won't tipple over!' she said to herself.
Oh, WHAT a lovely one! Only I couldn't quite reach it.' `And it
certainly DID seem a little provoking (`almost as if it happened
on purpose,' she thought) that, though she managed to pick plenty
of beautiful rushes as the boat glided by, there was always a
more lovely one that she couldn't reach.
`The prettiest are always further!' she said at last, with a
sigh at the obstinacy of the rushes in growing so far off, as,
with flushed cheeks and dripping hair and hands, she scrambled
back into her place, and began to arrange her new-found treasures.
What mattered it to her just than that the rushes had begun to
fade, and to lose all their scent and beauty, from the very
moment that she picked them? Even real scented rushes, you know,
last only a very little while--and these, being dream-rushes,
melted away almost like snow, as they lay in heaps at her feet--
but Alice hardly noticed this, there were so many other curious
things to think about.
They hadn't gone much farther before the blade of one of the
oars got fast in the water and WOULDN'T come out again (so Alice
explained it afterwards), and the consequence was that the handle
of it caught her under the chin, and, in spite of a series of
little shrieks of `Oh, oh, oh!' from poor Alice, it swept her
straight off the seat, and down among the heap of rushes.
However, she wasn't hurt, and was soon up again: the Sheep
went on with her knitting all the while, just as if nothing had
happened. `That was a nice crab you caught!' she remarked, as
Alice got back into her place, very much relieved to find herself
still in the boat.
`Was it? I didn't see it,' Said Alice, peeping cautiously over
the side of the boat into the dark water. `I wish it hadn't let
go--I should so like to see a little crab to take home with
me!' But the Sheep only laughed scornfully, and went on with her
`Are there many crabs here?' said Alice.
`Crabs, and all sorts of things,' said the Sheep: `plenty of
choice, only make up your mind. Now, what DO you want to buy?'
`To buy!' Alice echoed in a tone that was half astonished and
half frightened--for the oars, and the boat, and the river,
had vanished all in a moment, and she was back again in the
little dark shop.
`I should like to buy an egg, please,' she said timidly. `How
do you sell them?'
`Fivepence farthing for one--Twopence for two,' the Sheep
`Then two are cheaper than one?' Alice said in a surprised
tone, taking out her purse.
`Only you MUST eat them both, if you buy two,' said the Sheep.
`Then I'll have ONE, please,' said Alice, as she put the money
down on the counter. For she thought to herself, `They mightn't
be at all nice, you know.'
The Sheep took the money, and put it away in a box: then she
said `I never put things into people's hands--that would never
do--you must get it for yourself.' And so saying, she went off
to the other end of the shop, and set the egg upright on a shelf.
`I wonder WHY it wouldn't do?' thought Alice, as she groped her
way among the tables and chairs, for the shop was very dark
towards the end. `The egg seems to get further away the more I
walk towards it. Let me see, is this a chair? Why, it's got
branches, I declare! How very odd to find trees growing here!
And actually here's a little brook! Well, this is the very
queerest shop I ever saw!'
* * * * * * *
* * * * * *
* * * * * * *
So she went on, wondering more and more at every step, as
everything turned into a tree the moment she came up to it, and
she quite expected the egg to do the same.
However, the egg only got larger and larger, and more and more
human: when she had come within a few yards of it, she saw that
it had eyes and a nose and mouth; and when she had come close to
it, she saw clearly that it was HUMPTY DUMPTY himself. `It can't
be anybody else!' she said to herself. `I'm as certain of it, as
if his name were written all over his face.'
It might have been written a hundred times, easily, on that
enormous face. Humpty Dumpty was sitting with his legs crossed,
like a Turk, on the top of a high wall--such a narrow one that
Alice quite wondered how he could keep his balance--and, as his
eyes were steadily fixed in the opposite direction, and he didn't
take the least notice of her, she thought he must be a stuffed
figure after all.
`And how exactly like an egg he is!' she said aloud, standing
with her hands ready to catch him, for she was every moment
expecting him to fall.
`It's VERY provoking,' Humpty Dumpty said after a long silence,
looking away from Alice as he spoke, `to be called an egg--
`I said you LOOKED like an egg, Sir,' Alice gently explained.
`And some eggs are very pretty, you know' she added, hoping to
turn her remark into a sort of a compliment.
`Some people,' said Humpty Dumpty, looking away from her as
usual, `have no more sense than a baby!'
Alice didn't know what to say to this: it wasn't at all like
conversation, she thought, as he never said anything to HER; in
fact, his last remark was evidently addressed to a tree--so she
stood and softly repeated to herself: --
`Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall:
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.
All the King's horses and all the King's men
Couldn't put Humpty Dumpty in his place again.'
`That last line is much too long for the poetry,' she added,
almost out loud, forgetting that Humpty Dumpty would hear her.
`Don't stand there chattering to yourself like that,' Humpty
Dumpty said, looking at her for the first time, `but tell me your
name and your business.'
`My NAME is Alice, but--'
`It's a stupid enough name!' Humpty Dumpty interrupted impatiently.
`What does it mean?'
`MUST a name mean something?' Alice asked doubtfully.
`Of course it must,' Humpty Dumpty said with a short laugh:
`MY name means the shape I am--and a good handsome shape it is,
too. With a name like yours, you might be any shape, almost.'
`Why do you sit out here all alone?' said Alice, not wishing
to begin an argument.
`Why, because there's nobody with me!' cried Humpty Dumpty.
`Did you think I didn't know the answer to THAT? Ask another.'
`Don't you think you'd be safer down on the ground?' Alice went
on, not with any idea of making another riddle, but simply in her
good-natured anxiety for the queer creature. `That wall is so
`What tremendously easy riddles you ask!' Humpty Dumpty growled
out. `Of course I don't think so! Why, if ever I DID fall off -
- which there's no chance of--but IF I did--' Here he pursed
his lips and looked so solemn and grand that Alice could hardly
help laughing. `IF I did fall,' he went on, `THE KING HAS
PROMISED ME--WITH HIS VERY OWN MOUTH--to--to--'
`To send all his horses and all his men,' Alice interrupted,
`Now I declare that's too bad!' Humpty Dumpty cried, breaking into
a sudden passion. `You've been listening at doors--and behind trees--
and down chimneys--or you couldn't have known it!'
`I haven't, indeed!' Alice said very gently. `It's in a book.'
`Ah, well! They may write such things in a BOOK,' Humpty
Dumpty said in a calmer tone. `That's what you call a History of
England, that is. Now, take a good look at me! I'm one that has
spoken to a King, _I_ am: mayhap you'll never see such another:
and to show you I'm not proud, you may shake hands with me!' And
he grinned almost from ear to ear, as he leant forwards (and as
nearly as possible fell of the wall in doing so) and offered
Alice his hand. She watched him a little anxiously as she took
it. `If he smiled much more, the ends of his mouth might meet
behind,' she thought: `and then I don't know what would happen
to his head! I'm afraid it would come off!'
`Yes, all his horses and all his men,' Humpty Dumpty went on.
`They'd pick me up again in a minute, THEY would! However, this
conversation is going on a little too fast: let's go back to the
last remark but one.'
`I'm afraid I can't quite remember it,' Alice said very
`In that case we start fresh,' said Humpty Dumpty, `and it's my
turn to choose a subject--' (`He talks about it just as if it
was a game!' thought Alice.) `So here's a question for you. How
old did you say you were?'
Alice made a short calculation, and said `Seven years and six
`Wrong!' Humpty Dumpty exclaimed triumphantly. `You never
said a word like it!'
`I though you meant "How old ARE you?"' Alice explained.
`If I'd meant that, I'd have said it,' said Humpty Dumpty.
Alice didn't want to begin another argument, so she said
`Seven years and six months!' Humpty Dumpty repeated
thoughtfully. `An uncomfortable sort of age. Now if you'd asked
MY advice, I'd have said "Leave off at seven"--but it's too
`I never ask advice about growing,' Alice said indignantly.
`Too proud?' the other inquired.
Alice felt even more indignant at this suggestion. `I mean,'
she said, `that one can't help growing older.'
`ONE can't, perhaps,' said Humpty Dumpty, `but TWO can. With
proper assistance, you might have left off at seven.'
`What a beautiful belt you've got on!' Alice suddenly remarked.
(They had had quite enough of the subject of age, she thought:
and if they really were to take turns in choosing subjects, it
was her turn now.) `At least,' she corrected herself on second
thoughts, `a beautiful cravat, I should have said--no, a belt,
I mean--I beg your pardon!' she added in dismay, for Humpty
Dumpty looked thoroughly offended, and she began to wish she
hadn't chosen that subject. `If I only knew,' the thought to
herself, 'which was neck and which was waist!'
Evidently Humpty Dumpty was very angry, though he said nothing
for a minute or two. When he DID speak again, it was in a deep
`It is a--MOST--PROVOKING--thing,' he said at last, `when
a person doesn't know a cravat from a belt!'
`I know it's very ignorant of me,' Alice said, in so humble a
tone that Humpty Dumpty relented.
`It's a cravat, child, and a beautiful one, as you say. It's a
present from the White King and Queen. There now!'
`Is it really?' said Alice, quite pleased to find that she HAD
chosen a good subject, after all.
`They gave it me,' Humpty Dumpty continued thoughtfully, as he
crossed one knee over the other and clasped his hands round it,
`they gave it me--for an un-birthday present.'
`I beg your pardon?' Alice said with a puzzled air.
`I'm not offended,' said Humpty Dumpty.
`I mean, what IS an un-birthday present?'
`A present given when it isn't your birthday, of course.'
Alice considered a little. `I like birthday presents best,'
she said at last.
`You don't know what you're talking about!' cried Humpty
Dumpty. `How many days are there in a year?'
`Three hundred and sixty-five,' said Alice.
`And how many birthdays have you?'
`And if you take one from three hundred and sixty-five, what
`Three hundred and sixty-four, of course.'
Humpty Dumpty looked doubtful. `I'd rather see that done on
paper,' he said.
Alice couldn't help smiling as she took out her memorandum-
book, and worked the sum for him:
Humpty Dumpty took the book, and looked at it carefully. `That
seems to be done right--' he began.
`You're holding it upside down!' Alice interrupted.
`To be sure I was!' Humpty Dumpty said gaily, as she turned it
round for him. `I thought it looked a little queer. As I was
saying, that SEEMS to be done right--though I haven't time to
look it over thoroughly just now--and that shows that there are
three hundred and sixty-four days when you might get un-birthday
`Certainly,' said Alice.
`And only ONE for birthday presents, you know. There's glory
`I don't know what you mean by "glory,"' Alice said.
Humpty Dumpty smiled contemptuously. `Of course you don't--
till I tell you. I meant "there's a nice knock-down argument for
`But "glory" doesn't mean "a nice knock-down argument,"' Alice
`When _I_ use a word,' Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful
tone, `it means just what I choose it to mean--neither more nor
`The question is,' said Alice, `whether you CAN make words mean
so many different things.'
`The question is,' said Humpty Dumpty, `which is to be master -
- that's all.'
Alice was too much puzzled to say anything, so after a minute
Humpty Dumpty began again. `They've a temper, some of them--
particularly verbs, they're the proudest--adjectives you can do
anything with, but not verbs--however, _I_ can manage the whole
lot of them! Impenetrability! That's what _I_ say!'
`Would you tell me, please,' said Alice `what that means?`
`Now you talk like a reasonable child,' said Humpty Dumpty,
looking very much pleased. `I meant by "impenetrability" that
we've had enough of that subject, and it would be just as well
if you'd mention what you mean to do next, as I suppose you don't
mean to stop here all the rest of your life.'
`That's a great deal to make one word mean,' Alice said in a
`When I make a word do a lot of work like that,' said Humpty
Dumpty, `I always pay it extra.'
`Oh!' said Alice. She was too much puzzled to make any other
`Ah, you should see `em come round me of a Saturday night,'
Humpty Dumpty went on, wagging his head gravely from side to
side: `for to get their wages, you know.'
(Alice didn't venture to ask what he paid them with; and so you
see I can't tell YOU.)
`You seem very clever at explaining words, Sir,' said Alice.
`Would you kindly tell me the meaning of the poem called
`Let's hear it,' said Humpty Dumpty. `I can explain all the
poems that were ever invented--and a good many that haven't
been invented just yet.'
This sounded very hopeful, so Alice repeated the first verse:
`Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.
`That's enough to begin with,' Humpty Dumpty interrupted:
`there are plenty of hard words there. "BRILLIG" means four
o'clock in the afternoon--the time when you begin BROILING
things for dinner.'
`That'll do very well,' said Alice: and "SLITHY"?'
`Well, "SLITHY" means "lithe and slimy." "Lithe" is the same
as "active." You see it's like a portmanteau--there are two
meanings packed up into one word.'
`I see it now,' Alice remarked thoughtfully: `and what are
`Well, "TOVES' are something like badgers--they're something
like lizards--and they're something like corkscrews.'
`They must be very curious looking creatures.'
`They are that,' said Humpty Dumpty: `also they make their
nests under sun-dials--also they live on cheese.'
`Andy what's the "GYRE" and to "GIMBLE"?'
`To "GYRE" is to go round and round like a gyroscope. To
"GIMBLE" is to make holes like a gimblet.'
`And "THE WABE" is the grass-plot round a sun-dial, I suppose?'
said Alice, surprised at her own ingenuity.
`Of course it is. It's called "WABE," you know, because it
goes a long way before it, and a long way behind it--'
`And a long way beyond it on each side,' Alice added.
`Exactly so. Well, then, "MIMSY" is "flimsy and miserable"
(there's another portmanteau for you). And a "BOROGOVE" is a
thin shabby-looking bird with its feathers sticking out all round--
something like a live mop.'
`And then "MOME RATHS"?' said Alice. `I'm afraid I'm giving
you a great deal of trouble.'
`Well, a "RATH" is a sort of green pig: but "MOME" I'm not
certain about. I think it's short for "from home"--meaning
that they'd lost their way, you know.'
`And what does "OUTGRABE" mean?'
`Well, "OUTGRABING" is something between bellowing and
whistling, with a kind of sneeze in the middle: however, you'll
hear it done, maybe--down in the wood yonder--and when you've
once heard it you'll be QUITE content. Who's been repeating all
that hard stuff to you?'
`I read it in a book,' said Alice. `But I had some poetry
repeated to me, much easier than that, by--Tweedledee, I think
`As to poetry, you know,' said Humpty Dumpty, stretching out
one of his great hands, `_I_ can repeat poetry as well as other
folk, if it comes to that--'
`Oh, it needn't come to that!' Alice hastily said, hoping to
keep him from beginning.
`The piece I'm going to repeat,' he went on without noticing
her remark,' was written entirely for your amusement.'
Alice felt that in that case she really OUGHT to listen to it,
so she sat down, and said `Thank you' rather sadly.
`In winter, when the fields are white,
I sing this song for your delight--
only I don't sing it,' he added, as an explanation.
`I see you don't,' said Alice.
`If you can SEE whether I'm singing or not, you've sharper eyes
than most.' Humpty Dumpty remarked severely. Alice was silent.
`In spring, when woods are getting green,
I'll try and tell you what I mean.'
`Thank you very much,' said Alice.
`In summer, when the days are long,
Perhaps you'll understand the song:
In autumn, when the leaves are brown,
Take pen and ink, and write it down.'
`I will, if I can remember it so long,' said Alice.
`You needn't go on making remarks like that,' Humpty Dumpty
said: `they're not sensible, and they put me out.'
`I sent a message to the fish:
I told them "This is what I wish."
The little fishes of the sea,
They sent an answer back to me.
The little fishes' answer was
"We cannot do it, Sir, because--"'
`I'm afraid I don't quite understand,' said Alice.
`It gets easier further on,' Humpty Dumpty replied.
`I sent to them again to say
"It will be better to obey."
The fishes answered with a grin,
"Why, what a temper you are in!"
I told them once, I told them twice:
They would not listen to advice.
I took a kettle large and new,
Fit for the deed I had to do.
My heart went hop, my heart went thump;
I filled the kettle at the pump.
Then some one came to me and said,
"The little fishes are in bed."
I said to him, I said it plain,
"Then you must wake them up again."
I said it very loud and clear;
I went and shouted in his ear.'
Humpty Dumpty raised his voice almost to a scream as he
repeated this verse, and Alice thought with a shudder, `I
wouldn't have been the messenger for ANYTHING!'
`But he was very stiff and proud;
He said "You needn't shout so loud!"
And he was very proud and stiff;
He said "I'd go and wake them, if--"
I took a corkscrew from the shelf:
I went to wake them up myself.
And when I found the door was locked,
I pulled and pushed and kicked and knocked.
And when I found the door was shut,
I tried to turn the handle, but--'
There was a long pause.
`Is that all?' Alice timidly asked.
`That's all,' said Humpty Dumpty. `Good-bye.'
This was rather sudden, Alice thought: but, after such a VERY
strong hint that she ought to be going, she felt that it would
hardly be civil to stay. So she got up, and held out her hand.
`Good-bye, till we meet again!' she said as cheerfully as she
`I shouldn't know you again if we DID meet,' Humpty Dumpty
replied in a discontented tone, giving her one of his fingers to
shake; `you're so exactly like other people.'
`The face is what one goes by, generally,' Alice remarked in a
`That`s just what I complain of,' said Humpty Dumpty. `Your
face is the same as everybody has--the two eyes, so--'
(marking their places in the air with this thumb) `nose in the
middle, mouth under. It's always the same. Now if you had the
two eyes on the same side of the nose, for instance--or the
mouth at the top--that would be SOME help.'
`It wouldn't look nice,' Alice objected. But Humpty Dumpty
only shut his eyes and said `Wait till you've tried.'
Alice waited a minute to see if he would speak again, but as he
never opened his eyes or took any further notice of her, she said
`Good-bye!' once more, and, getting no answer to this, she
quietly walked away: but she couldn't help saying to herself as
she went, `Of all the unsatisfactory--' (she repeated this
aloud, as it was a great comfort to have such a long word to say)
`of all the unsatisfactory people I EVER met--' She never
finished the sentence, for at this moment a heavy crash shook the
forest from end to end.
The Lion and the Unicorn
The next moment soldiers came running through the wood, at first
in twos and threes, then ten or twenty together, and at last in
such crowds that they seemed to fill the whole forest. Alice got
behind a tree, for fear of being run over, and watched them go by.
She thought that in all her life she had never seen soldiers so
uncertain on their feet: they were always tripping over
something or other, and whenever one went down, several more
always fell over him, so that the ground was soon covered with
little heaps of men.
Then came the horses. Having four feet, these managed rather
better than the foot-soldiers: but even THEY stumbled now and
then; and it seemed to be a regular rule that, whenever a horse
stumbled the rider fell off instantly. The confusion got worse
every moment, and Alice was very glad to get out of the wood into
an open place, where she found the White King seated on the
ground, busily writing in his memorandum-book.
`I've sent them all!' the King cried in a tone of delight, on
seeing Alice. `Did you happen to meet any soldiers, my dear, as
you came through the wood?'
`Yes, I did,' said Alice: `several thousand, I should think.'
`Four thousand two hundred and seven, that's the exact number,'
the King said, referring to his book. `I couldn't send all the
horses, you know, because two of them are wanted in the game.
And I haven't sent the two Messengers, either. They're both gone
to the town. Just look along the road, and tell me if you can
see either of them.'
`I see nobody on the road,' said Alice.
`I only wish _I_ had such eyes,' the King remarked in a fretful
tone. `To be able to see Nobody! And at that distance, too!
Why, it's as much as _I_ can do to see real people, by this
All this was lost on Alice, who was still looking intently
along the road, shading her eyes with one hand. `I see somebody
now!' she exclaimed at last. `But he's coming very slowly--and
what curious attitudes he goes into!' (For the messenger kept
skipping up and down, and wriggling like an eel, as he came
along, with his great hands spread out like fans on each side.)
`Not at all,' said the King. `He's an Anglo-Saxon Messenger--
and those are Anglo-Saxon attitudes. He only does them when
he's happy. His name is Haigha.' (He pronounced it so as to
rhyme with `mayor.'
`I love my love with an H,' Alice couldn't help beginning,
`because he is Happy. I hate him with an H, because he is Hideous.
I fed him with--with--with Ham-sandwiches and Hay.
His name is Haigha, and he lives--'
`He lives on the Hill,' the King remarked simply, without the
least idea that he was joining in the game, while Alice was still
hesitating for the name of a town beginning with H. `The other
Messenger's called Hatta. I must have TWO, you know--to come
and go. Once to come, and one to go.'
`I beg your pardon?' said Alice.
`It isn't respectable to beg,' said the King.
`I only meant that I didn't understand,' said Alice. `Why one
to come and one to go?'
`Didn't I tell you?' the King repeated impatiently. `I must
have Two--to fetch and carry. One to fetch, and one to carry.'
At this moment the Messenger arrived: he was far too much out
of breath to say a word, and could only wave his hands about, and
make the most fearful faces at the poor King.
`This young lady loves you with an H,' the King said,
introducing Alice in the hope of turning off the Messenger's
attention from himself--but it was no use--the Anglo-Saxon
attitudes only got more extraordinary every moment, while the
great eyes rolled wildly from side to side.
`You alarm me!' said the King. `I feel faint--Give me a ham
On which the Messenger, to Alice's great amusement, opened a
bag that hung round his neck, and handed a sandwich to the King,
who devoured it greedily.
`Another sandwich!' said the King.
`There's nothing but hay left now,' the Messenger said, peeping
into the bag.
`Hay, then,' the King murmured in a faint whisper.
Alice was glad to see that it revived him a good deal.
`There's nothing like eating hay when you're faint,' he remarked
to her, as he munched away.
`I should think throwing cold water over you would be better,'
Alice suggested: `or some sal-volatile.'
`I didn't say there was nothing BETTER,' the King replied. `I said
there was nothing LIKE it.' Which Alice did not venture to deny.
`Who did you pass on the road?' the King went on, holding out
his hand to the Messenger for some more hay.
`Nobody,' said the Messenger.
`Quite right,' said the King: `this young lady saw him too.
So of course Nobody walks slower than you.'
`I do my best,' the Messenger said in a sulky tone. `I'm sure
nobody walks much faster than I do!'
`He can't do that,' said the King, `or else he'd have been here
first. However, now you've got your breath, you may tell us
what's happened in the town.'
`I'll whisper it,' said the Messenger, putting his hands to his
mouth in the shape of a trumpet, and stooping so as to get close
to the King's ear. Alice was sorry for this, as she wanted to
hear the news too. However, instead of whispering, he simply
shouted at the top of his voice `They're at it again!'
`Do you call THAT a whisper?' cried the poor King, jumping up
and shaking himself. `If you do such a thing again, I'll have
you buttered! It went through and through my head like an
`It would have to be a very tiny earthquake!' thought Alice.
`Who are at it again?' she ventured to ask.
`Why the Lion and the Unicorn, of course,' said the King.
`Fighting for the crown?'
`Yes, to be sure,' said the King: `and the best of the joke
is, that it's MY crown all the while! Let's run and see them.'
And they trotted off, Alice repeating to herself, as she ran, the
words of the old song:--
`The Lion and the Unicorn were fighting for the crown:
The Lion beat the Unicorn all round the town.
Some gave them white bread, some gave them brown;
Some gave them plum-cake and drummed them out of town.'
`Does--the one--that wins--get the crown?' she asked, as
well as she could, for the run was putting her quite out of
`Dear me, no!' said the King. `What an idea!'
`Would you--be good enough,' Alice panted out, after running
a little further, `to stop a minute--just to get--one's
`I'm GOOD enough,' the King said, `only I'm not strong enough.
You see, a minute goes by so fearfully quick. You might as well
try to stop a Bandersnatch!'
Alice had no more breath for talking, so they trotted on in
silence, till they came in sight of a great crowd, in the middle
of which the Lion and Unicorn were fighting. They were in such a
cloud of dust, that at first Alice could not make out which was
which: but she soon managed to distinguish the Unicorn by his
They placed themselves close to where Hatta, the other
messenger, was standing watching the fight, with a cup of tea in
one hand and a piece of bread-and-butter in the other.
`He's only just out of prison, and he hadn't finished his tea
when he was sent in,' Haigha whispered to Alice: `and they only
give them oyster-shells in there--so you see he's very hungry
and thirsty. How are you, dear child?' he went on, putting his
arm affectionately round Hatta's neck.
Hatta looked round and nodded, and went on with his bread and
`Were you happy in prison, dear child?' said Haigha.
Hatta looked round once more, and this time a tear or two
trickled down his cheek: but not a word would he say.
`Speak, can't you!' Haigha cried impatiently. But Hatta only
munched away, and drank some more tea.
`Speak, won't you!' cried the King. 'How are they getting on
with the fight?'
Hatta made a desperate effort, and swallowed a large piece of
bread-and-butter. `They're getting on very well,' he said in a
choking voice: `each of them has been down about eighty-seven
`Then I suppose they'll soon bring the white bread and the
brown?' Alice ventured to remark.
`It's waiting for 'em now,' said Hatta: `this is a bit of it
as I'm eating.'
There was a pause in the fight just then, and the Lion and the
Unicorn sat down, panting, while the King called out `Ten minutes
allowed for refreshments!' Haigha and Hatta set to work at once,
carrying rough trays of white and brown bread. Alice took a
piece to taste, but it was VERY dry.
`I don't think they'll fight any more to-day,' the King said to
Hatta: `go and order the drums to begin.' And Hatta went
bounding away like a grasshopper.
For a minute or two Alice stood silent, watching him. Suddenly
she brightened up. `Look, look!' she cried, pointing eagerly.
"There's the White Queen running across the country! She came
flying out of the wood over yonder--How fast those Queens CAN
`There's some enemy after her, no doubt,' the King said,
without even looking round. `That wood's full of them.'
`But aren't you going to run and help her?' Alice asked, very
much surprised at his taking it so quietly.
`No use, no use!' said the King. `She runs so fearfully quick.
You might as well try to catch a Bandersnatch! But I'll make a
memorandum about her, if you like--She's a dear good creature,'
he repeated softly to himself, as he opened his memorandum-book.
`Do you spell "creature" with a double "e"?'
At this moment the Unicorn sauntered by them, with his hands in
his pockets. `I had the best of it this time?' he said to the
King, just glancing at him as he passed.
`A little--a little,' the King replied, rather nervously.
`You shouldn't have run him through with your horn, you know.'
`It didn't hurt him,' the Unicorn said carelessly, and he was
going on, when his eye happened to fall upon Alice: he turned
round rather instantly, and stood for some time looking at her
with an air of the deepest disgust.
`What--is--this?' he said at last.
`This is a child!' Haigha replied eagerly, coming in front of
Alice to introduce her, and spreading out both his hands towards
her in an Anglo-Saxon attitude. `We only found it to-day. It's
as large as life, and twice as natural!'
`I always thought they were fabulous monsters!' said the
Unicorn. `Is it alive?'
`It can talk,' said Haigha, solemnly.
The Unicorn looked dreamily at Alice, and said `Talk, child.'
Alice could not help her lips curling up into a smile as she began:
`Do you know, I always thought Unicorns were fabulous monsters, too!
I never saw one alive before!'
`Well, now that we HAVE seen each other,' said the Unicorn,
`if you'll believe in me, I'll believe in you. Is that a bargain?'
`Yes, if you like,' said Alice.
`Come, fetch out the plum-cake, old man!' the Unicorn went on,
turning from her to the King. `None of your brown bread for me!'
`Certainly--certainly!' the King muttered, and beckoned to
Haigha. `Open the bag!' he whispered. `Quick! Not that one--
that's full of hay!'
Haigha took a large cake out of the bag, and gave it to Alice
to hold, while he got out a dish and carving-knife. How they all
came out of it Alice couldn't guess. It was just like a
conjuring-trick, she thought.
The Lion had joined them while this was going on: he looked
very tired and sleepy, and his eyes were half shut. `What's
this!' he said, blinking lazily at Alice, and speaking in a deep
hollow tone that sounded like the tolling of a great bell.
`Ah, what IS it, now?' the Unicorn cried eagerly. `You'll
never guess! _I_ couldn't.'
The Lion looked at Alice wearily. `Are you animal--vegetable
--or mineral?' he said, yawning at every other word.
`It's a fabulous monster!' the Unicorn cried out, before Alice
`Then hand round the plum-cake, Monster,' the Lion said, lying
down and putting his chin on this paws. `And sit down, both of
you,' (to the King and the Unicorn): `fair play with the cake,
The King was evidently very uncomfortable at having to sit down
between the two great creatures; but there was no other place for him.
`What a fight we might have for the crown, NOW!' the Unicorn
said, looking slyly up at the crown, which the poor King was
nearly shaking off his head, he trembled so much.
`I should win easy,' said the Lion.
`I'm not so sure of that,' said the Unicorn.
`Why, I beat you all round the town, you chicken!' the Lion
replied angrily, half getting up as he spoke.
Here the King interrupted, to prevent the quarrel going on: he
was very nervous, and his voice quite quivered. `All round the
town?' he said. `That's a good long way. Did you go by the old
bridge, or the market-place? You get the best view by the old
`I'm sure I don't know,' the Lion growled out as he lay down
again. `There was too much dust to see anything. What a time
the Monster is, cutting up that cake!'
Alice had seated herself on the bank of a little brook, with
the great dish on her knees, and was sawing away diligently with
the knife. `It's very provoking!' she said, in reply to the Lion
(she was getting quite used to being called `the Monster').
`I've cut several slices already, but they always join on again!'
`You don't know how to manage Looking-glass cakes,' the Unicorn
remarked. `Hand it round first, and cut it afterwards.'
This sounded nonsense, but Alice very obediently got up, and
carried the dish round, and the cake divided itself into three
pieces as she did so. `NOW cut it up,' said the Lion, as she
returned to her place with the empty dish.
`I say, this isn't fair!' cried the Unicorn, as Alice sat with
the knife in her hand, very much puzzled how to begin. `The
Monster has given the Lion twice as much as me!'
`She's kept none for herself, anyhow,' said the Lion. `Do you
like plum-cake, Monster?'
But before Alice could answer him, the drums began.
Where the noise came from, she couldn't make out: the air
seemed full of it, and it rang through and through her head till
she felt quite deafened. She started to her feet and sprang
across the little brook in her terror,
* * * * * * *
* * * * * *
* * * * * * *
and had just time to see the Lion and the Unicorn rise to their
feet, with angry looks at being interrupted in their feast,
before she dropped to her knees, and put her hands over her ears,
vainly trying to shut out the dreadful uproar.
`If THAT doesn't "drum them out of town,"' she thought to
herself, 'nothing ever will!'
`It's my own Invention'
After a while the noise seemed gradually to die away, till all
was dead silence, and Alice lifted up her head in some alarm.
There was no one to be seen, and her first thought was that she
must have been dreaming about the Lion and the Unicorn and those
still lying at her feet, on which she had tried to cut the plum-
cake, `So I wasn't dreaming, after all,' she said to herself,
`unless--unless we're all part of the same dream. Only I do
hope it's MY dream, and not the Red King's! I don't like
belonging to another person's dream,' she went on in a rather
complaining tone: `I've a great mind to go and wake him, and see
At this moment her thoughts were interrupted by a loud shouting
of `Ahoy! Ahoy! Check!' and a Knight dressed in crimson armour
came galloping down upon her, brandishing a great club. Just as
he reached her, the horse stopped suddenly: `You're my
prisoner!' the Knight cried, as he tumbled off his horse.
Startled as she was, Alice was more frightened for him than for
herself at the moment, and watched him with some anxiety as he
mounted again. As soon as he was comfortably in the saddle, he
began once more `You're my--' but here another voice broke in
`Ahoy! Ahoy! Check!' and Alice looked round in some surprise
for the new enemy.
This time it was a White Knight. He drew up at Alice's side,
and tumbled off his horse just as the Red Knight had done: then
he got on again, and the two Knights sat and looked at each other
for some time without speaking. Alice looked from one to the
other in some bewilderment.
`She's MY prisoner, you know!' the Red Knight said at last.
`Yes, but then _I_ came and rescued her!' the White Knight
`Well, we must fight for her, then,' said the Red Knight, as he
took up his helmet (which hung from the saddle, and was something
the shape of a horse's head), and put it on.
`You will observe the Rules of Battle, of course?' the White
Knight remarked, putting on his helmet too.
`I always do,' said the Red Knight, and they began banging away
at each other with such fury that Alice got behind a tree to be
out of the way of the blows.
`I wonder, now, what the Rules of Battle are,' she said to
herself, as she watched the fight, timidly peeping out from her
hiding-place: `one Rule seems to be, that if one Knight hits the
other, he knocks him off his horse, and if he misses, he tumbles
off himself--and another Rule seems to be that they hold their
clubs with their arms, as if they were Punch and Judy--What a
noise they make when they tumble! Just like a whole set of fire-
irons falling into the fender! And how quiet the horses are!
They let them get on and off them just as if they were tables!'
Another Rule of Battle, that Alice had not noticed, seemed to
be that they always fell on their heads, and the battle ended
with their both falling off in this way, side by side: when they
got up again, they shook hands, and then the Red Knight mounted
and galloped off.
`It was a glorious victory, wasn't it?' said the White Knight,
as he came up panting.
`I don't know,' Alice said doubtfully. `I don't want to be
anybody's prisoner. I want to be a Queen.'
`So you will, when you've crossed the next brook,' said the
White Knight. `I'll see you safe to the end of the wood--and
then I must go back, you know. That's the end of my move.'
`Thank you very much,' said Alice. `May I help you off with
your helmet?' It was evidently more than he could manage by
himself; however, she managed to shake him out of it at last.
`Now one can breathe more easily,' said the Knight, putting
back his shaggy hair with both hands, and turning his gentle face
and large mild eyes to Alice. She thought she had never seen
such a strange-looking soldier in all her life.
He was dressed in tin armour, which seemed to fit him very
badly, and he had a queer-shaped little deal box fastened across
his shoulder, upside-down, and with the lid hanging open. Alice
looked at it with great curiosity.
`I see you're admiring my little box.' the Knight said in a
friendly tone. `It's my own invention--to keep clothes and
sandwiches in. You see I carry it upside-down, so that the rain
can't get in.'
`But the things can get OUT,' Alice gently remarked. `Do you
know the lid's open?'
`I didn't know it,' the Knight said, a shade of vexation
passing over his face. `Then all the things much have fallen
out! And the box is no use without them.' He unfastened it as
he spoke, and was just going to throw it into the bushes,
when a sudden thought seemed to strike him, and he hung it carefully
on a tree. `Can you guess why I did that?' he said to Alice.
Alice shook her head.
`In hopes some bees may make a nest in it--then I should get the honey.'
`But you've got a bee-hive--or something like one--fastened to
the saddle,' said Alice.
`Yes, it's a very good bee-hive,' the Knight said in a
discontented tone, `one of the best kind. But not a single bee
has come near it yet. And the other thing is a mouse-trap. I
suppose the mice keep the bees out--or the bees keep the mice
out, I don't know which.'
`I was wondering what the mouse-trap was for,' said Alice. `It
isn't very likely there would be any mice on the horse's back.'
`Not very likely, perhaps,' said the Knight: `but if they DO
come, I don't choose to have them running all about.'
`You see,' he went on after a pause, `it's as well to be
provided for EVERYTHING. That's the reason the horse has all
those anklets round his feet.'
`But what are they for?' Alice asked in a tone of great
`To guard against the bites of sharks,' the Knight replied.
`It's an invention of my own. And now help me on. I'll go with
you to the end of the wood--What's the dish for?'
`It's meant for plum-cake,' said Alice.
`We'd better take it with us,' the Knight said. `It'll come in
handy if we find any plum-cake. Help me to get it into this bag.'
This took a very long time to manage, though Alice held the
bag open very carefully, because the Knight was so VERY awkward
in putting in the dish: the first two or three times that he
tried he fell in himself instead. `It's rather a tight fit, you
see,' he said, as they got it in a last; `There are so many
candlesticks in the bag.' And he hung it to the saddle, which
was already loaded with bunches of carrots, and fire-irons, and
many other things.
`I hope you've got your hair well fastened on?' he continued,
as they set off.
`Only in the usual way,' Alice said, smiling.
`That's hardly enough,' he said, anxiously. `You see the wind
is so VERY strong here. It's as strong as soup.'
`Have you invented a plan for keeping the hair from being blown
off?' Alice enquired.
`Not yet,' said the Knight. `But I've got a plan for keeping
it from FALLING off.'
`I should like to hear it, very much.'
`First you take an upright stick,' said the Knight. `Then you
make your hair creep up it, like a fruit-tree. Now the reason
hair falls off is because it hangs DOWN--things never fall
UPWARDS, you know. It's a plan of my own invention. You may try
it if you like.'
It didn't sound a comfortable plan, Alice thought, and for a
few minutes she walked on in silence, puzzling over the idea, and
every now and then stopping to help the poor Knight, who
certainly was NOT a good rider.
Whenever the horse stopped (which it did very often), he fell
off in front; and whenever it went on again (which it generally
did rather suddenly), he fell off behind. Otherwise he kept on
pretty well, except that he had a habit of now and then falling
off sideways; and as he generally did this on the side on which
Alice was walking, she soon found that it was the best plan not
to walk QUITE close to the horse.
`I'm afraid you've not had much practice in riding,' she
ventured to say, as she was helping him up from his fifth tumble.
The Knight looked very much surprised, and a little offended at
the remark. `What makes you say that?' he asked, as he scrambled
back into the saddle, keeping hold of Alice's hair with one hand,
to save himself from falling over on the other side.
`Because people don't fall off quite so often, when they've had
`I've had plenty of practice,' the Knight said very gravely:
`plenty of practice!'
Alice could think of nothing better to say than `Indeed?' but
she said it as heartily as she could. They went on a little way
in silence after this, the Knight with his eyes shut, muttering
to himself, and Alice watching anxiously for the next tumble.
`The great art of riding,' the Knight suddenly began in a loud
voice, waving his right arm as he spoke, `is to keep--' Here
the sentence ended as suddenly as it had begun, as the Knight
fell heavily on the top of his head exactly in the path where
Alice was walking. She was quite frightened this time, and said
in an anxious tone, as she picked him up, `I hope no bones are broken?'
`None to speak of,' the Knight said, as if he didn't mind breaking
two or three of them. `The great art of riding, as I was saying,
is--to keep your balance properly. Like this, you know--'
He let go the bridle, and stretched out both his arms to show
Alice what he meant, and this time he fell flat on his back,
right under the horse's feet.
`Plenty of practice!' he went on repeating, all the time that
Alice was getting him on his feet again. `Plenty of practice!'
`It's too ridiculous!' cried Alice, losing all her patience this time.
`You ought to have a wooden horse on wheels, that you ought!'
`Does that kind go smoothly?' the Knight asked in a tone of
great interest, clasping his arms round the horse's neck as he
spoke, just in time to save himself from tumbling off again.
`Much more smoothly than a live horse,' Alice said, with a little
scream of laughter, in spite of all she could do to prevent it.
`I'll get one,' the Knight said thoughtfully to himself. `One
There was a short silence after this, and then the Knight went
on again. `I'm a great hand at inventing things. Now, I daresay
you noticed, that last time you picked me up, that I was looking
`You WERE a little grave,' said Alice.
`Well, just then I was inventing a new way of getting over a
gate--would you like to hear it?'
`Very much indeed,' Alice said politely.
`I'll tell you how I came to think of it,' said the Knight.
`You see, I said to myself, "The only difficulty is with the
feet: the HEAD is high enough already." Now, first I put my
head on the top of the gate--then I stand on my head--then
the feet are high enough, you see--then I'm over, you see.'
`Yes, I suppose you'd be over when that was done,' Alice said
thoughtfully: `but don't you think it would be rather hard?'
`I haven't tried it yet,' the Knight said, gravely: `so I can't tell
for certain--but I'm afraid it WOULD be a little hard.'
He looked so vexed at the idea, that Alice changed the subject
hastily. `What a curious helmet you've got!' she said cheerfully.
`Is that your invention too?'
The Knight looked down proudly at his helmet, which hung from
the saddle. `Yes,' he said, `but I've invented a better one than
that--like a sugar loaf. When I used to wear it, if I fell off
the horse, it always touched the ground directly. So I had a
VERY little way to fall, you see--But there WAS the danger of
falling INTO it, to be sure. That happened to me once--and the
worst of it was, before I could get out again, the other White
Knight came and put it on. He thought it was his own helmet.'
The knight looked so solemn about it that Alice did not dare to
laugh. `I'm afraid you must have hurt him,' she said in a
trembling voice, `being on the top of his head.'
`I had to kick him, of course,' the Knight said, very seriously.
`And then he took the helmet off again--but it took hours and hours
to get me out. I was as fast as--as lightning, you know.'
`But that's a different kind of fastness,' Alice objected.
The Knight shook his head. `It was all kinds of fastness with
me, I can assure you!' he said. He raised his hands in some
excitement as he said this, and instantly rolled out of the
saddle, and fell headlong into a deep ditch.
Alice ran to the side of the ditch to look for him. She was
rather startled by the fall, as for some time he had kept on very
well, and she was afraid that he really WAS hurt this time.
However, though she could see nothing but the soles of his feet,
she was much relieved to hear that he was talking on in his usual
tone. `All kinds of fastness,' he repeated: `but it was
careless of him to put another man's helmet on--with the man in
`How CAN you go on talking so quietly, head downwards?' Alice
asked, as she dragged him out by the feet, and laid him in a heap
on the bank.
The Knight looked surprised at the question. `What does it
matter where my body happens to be?' he said. `My mind goes on
working all the same. In fact, the more head downwards I am, the
more I keep inventing new things.'
`Now the cleverest thing of the sort that I ever did,' he went
on after a pause, `was inventing a new pudding during the meat-
`In time to have it cooked for the next course?' said Alice.
`Well, not the NEXT course,' the Knight said in a slow thoughtful
tone: `no, certainly not the next COURSE.'
`Then it would have to be the next day. I suppose you wouldn't
have two pudding-courses in one dinner?'
`Well, not the NEXT day,' the Knight repeated as before: `not
the next DAY. In fact,' he went on, holding his head down, and
his voice getting lower and lower, `I don't believe that pudding
ever WAS cooked! In fact, I don't believe that pudding ever WILL
be cooked! And yet it was a very clever pudding to invent.'
`What did you mean it to be made of?' Alice asked, hoping to
cheer him up, for the poor Knight seemed quite low-spirited about it.
`It began with blotting paper,' the Knight answered with a groan.
`That wouldn't be very nice, I'm afraid--'
`Not very nice ALONE,' he interrupted, quite eagerly: `but
you've no idea what a difference it makes mixing it with other
things--such as gunpowder and sealing-wax. And here I must
leave you.' They had just come to the end of the wood.
Alice could only look puzzled: she was thinking of the pudding.
`You are sad,' the Knight said in an anxious tone: `let me sing
you a song to comfort you.'
`Is it very long?' Alice asked, for she had heard a good deal
of poetry that day.
`It's long,' said the Knight, `but very, VERY beautiful.
Everybody that hears me sing it--either it brings the TEARS
into their eyes, or else--'
`Or else what?' said Alice, for the Knight had made a sudden
`Or else it doesn't, you know. The name of the song is called
`Oh, that's the name of the song, is it?' Alice said, trying to
`No, you don't understand,' the Knight said, looking a little
vexed. `That's what the name is CALLED. The name really IS "THE
AGED AGED MAN."'
`Then I ought to have said "That's what the SONG is called"?'
Alice corrected herself.
`No, you oughtn't: that's quite another thing! The SONG is
called "WAYS AND MEANS": but that's only what it's CALLED, you
`Well, what IS the song, then?' said Alice, who was by this
time completely bewildered.
`I was coming to that,' the Knight said. `The song really IS
"A-SITTING ON A GATE": and the tune's my own invention.'
So saying, he stopped his horse and let the reins fall on its
neck: then, slowly beating time with one hand, and with a faint
smile lighting up his gentle foolish face, as if he enjoyed the
music of his song, he began.
Of all the strange things that Alice saw in her journey Through
The Looking-Glass, this was the one that she always remembered
most clearly. Years afterwards she could bring the whole scene
back again, as if it had been only yesterday--the mild blue
eyes and kindly smile of the Knight--the setting sun gleaming
through his hair, and shining on his armour in a blaze of light
that quite dazzled her--the horse quietly moving about, with
the reins hanging loose on his neck, cropping the grass at her
feet--and the black shadows of the forest behind--all this
she took in like a picture, as, with one hand shading her eyes,
she leant against a tree, watching the strange pair, and
listening, in a half dream, to the melancholy music of the song.
`But the tune ISN'T his own invention,' she said to herself:
`it's "I GIVE THEE ALL, I CAN NO MORE."' She stood and listened
very attentively, but no tears came into her eyes.
`I'll tell thee everything I can;
There's little to relate.
I saw an aged aged man,
A-sitting on a gate.
"Who are you, aged man?' I said,
"and how is it you live?"
And his answer trickled through my head
Like water through a sieve.
He said "I look for butterflies
That sleep among the wheat:
I make them into mutton-pies,
And sell them in the street.
I sell them unto men,' he said,
"Who sail on stormy seas;
And that's the way I get my bread--
A trifle, if you please."
But I was thinking of a plan
To dye one's whiskers green,
And always use so large a fan
That they could not be seen.
So, having no reply to give
To what the old man said,
I cried, "Come, tell me how you live!"
And thumped him on the head.
His accents mild took up the tale:
He said "I go my ways,
And when I find a mountain-rill,
I set it in a blaze;
And thence they make a stuff they call
Rolands' Macassar Oil--
Yet twopence-halfpenny is all
They give me for my toil."
But I was thinking of a way
To feed oneself on batter,
And so go on from day to day
Getting a little fatter.
I shook him well from side to side,
Until his face was blue:
"Come, tell me how you live," I cried,
"And what it is you do!"
He said "I hunt for haddocks' eyes
Among the heather bright,
And work them into waistcoat-buttons
In the silent night.
And these I do not sell for gold
Or coin of silvery shine
But for a copper halfpenny,
And that will purchase nine.
"I sometimes dig for buttered rolls,
Or set limed twigs for crabs;
I sometimes search the grassy knolls
For wheels of Hansom-cabs.
And that's the way" (he gave a wink)
"By which I get my wealth--
And very gladly will I drink
Your Honour's noble health."
I heard him then, for I had just
Completed my design
To keep the Menai bridge from rust
By boiling it in wine.
I thanked much for telling me
The way he got his wealth,
But chiefly for his wish that he
Might drink my noble health.
And now, if e'er by chance I put
My fingers into glue
Or madly squeeze a right-hand foot
Into a left-hand shoe,
Or if I drop upon my toe
A very heavy weight,
I weep, for it reminds me so,
Of that old man I used to know--
Whose look was mild, whose speech was slow,
Whose hair was whiter than the snow,
Whose face was very like a crow,
With eyes, like cinders, all aglow,
Who seemed distracted with his woe,
Who rocked his body to and fro,
And muttered mumblingly and low,
As if his mouth were full of dough,
Who snorted like a buffalo-- That summer evening, long ago,
A-sitting on a gate.'
As the Knight sang the last words of the ballad, he gathered up
the reins, and turned his horse's head along the road by which
they had come. `You've only a few yards to go,' he said,' down
the hill and over that little brook, and then you'll be a Queen -
-But you'll stay and see me off first?' he added as Alice turned
with an eager look in the direction to which he pointed. `I
shan't be long. You'll wait and wave your handkerchief when I
get to that turn in the road? I think it'll encourage me, you
`Of course I'll wait,' said Alice: `and thank you very much
for coming so far--and for the song--I liked it very much.'
`I hope so,' the Knight said doubtfully: `but you didn't cry
so much as I thought you would.'
So they shook hands, and then the Knight rode slowly away into
the forest. `It won't take long to see him OFF, I expect,'
Alice said to herself, as she stood watching him. `There he
goes! Right on his head as usual! However, he gets on again
pretty easily--that comes of having so many things hung round
the horse--' So she went on talking to herself, as she watched
the horse walking leisurely along the road, and the Knight
tumbling off, first on one side and then on the other. After the
fourth or fifth tumble he reached the turn, and then she waved
her handkerchief to him, and waited till he was out of sight.
`I hope it encouraged him,' she said, as she turned to run
down the hill: `and now for the last brook, and to be a Queen!
How grand it sounds!' A very few steps brought her to the edge of
the brook. `The Eighth Square at last!' she cried as she bounded across,
* * * * * * *
* * * * * *
* * * * * * *
and threw herself down to rest on a lawn as soft as moss, with little
flower-beds dotted about it here and there. `Oh, how glad I am
to get here! And what IS this on my head?' she exclaimed in a tone
of dismay, as she put her hands up to something very heavy,
and fitted tight all round her head.
`But how CAN it have got there without my knowing it?' she said
to herself, as she lifted it off, and set it on her lap to make
out what it could possibly be.
It was a golden crown.
`Well, this IS grand!' said Alice. `I never expected I should
be a Queen so soon--and I'll tell you what it is, your
majesty,' she went on in a severe tone (she was always rather
fond of scolding herself), `it'll never do for you to be lolling
about on the grass like that! Queens have to be dignified, you
So she got up and walked about--rather stiffly just at first,
as she was afraid that the crown might come off: but she
comforted herself with the thought that there was nobody to see
her, `and if I really am a Queen,' she said as she sat down
again, `I shall be able to manage it quite well in time.'
Everything was happening so oddly that she didn't feel a bit
surprised at finding the Red Queen and the White Queen sitting
close to her, one on each side: she would have liked very much to
ask them how they came there, but she feared it would not be
quite civil. However, there would be no harm, she thought, in
asking if the game was over. `Please, would you tell me--' she
began, looking timidly at the Red Queen.
`Speak when you're spoken to!' The Queen sharply interrupted her.
`But if everybody obeyed that rule,' said Alice, who was always
ready for a little argument, `and if you only spoke when you were
spoken to, and the other person always waited for YOU to begin,
you see nobody would ever say anything, so that--'
`Ridiculous!' cried the Queen. `Why, don't you see, child--'
here she broke off with a frown, and, after thinking for a
minute, suddenly changed the subject of the conversation. `What
do you mean by `If you really are a Queen"? What right have you
to call yourself so? You can't be a Queen, you know, till you've
passed the proper examination. And the sooner we begin it, the better.'
`I only said "if"!' poor Alice pleaded in a piteous tone.
The two Queens looked at each other, and the Red Queen
remarked, with a little shudder, `She SAYS she only said "if" - '
`But she said a great deal more than that!' the White Queen
moaned, wringing her hands. `Oh, ever so much more than that!'
`So you did, you know,' the Red Queen said to Alice. `Always
speak the truth--think before you speak--and write it down
`I'm sure I didn't mean--' Alice was beginning, but the Red
Queen interrupted her impatiently.
`That's just what I complain of! You SHOULD have meant! What
do you suppose is the use of child without any meaning? Even a
joke should have some meaning--and a child's more important
than a joke, I hope. You couldn't deny that, even if you tried
with both hands.'
`I don't deny things with my HANDS,' Alice objected.
`Nobody said you did,' said the Red Queen. `I said you
couldn't if you tried.'
`She's in that state of mind,' said the White Queen, `that she
wants to deny SOMETHING--only she doesn't know what to deny!'
`A nasty, vicious temper,' the Red Queen remarked; and then
there was an uncomfortable silence for a minute or two.
The Red Queen broke the silence by saying to the White Queen,
`I invite you to Alice's dinner-party this afternoon.'
The White Queen smiled feebly, and said `And I invite YOU.'
`I didn't know I was to have a party at all,' said Alice; `but
if there is to be one, I think _I_ ought to invite the guests.'
`We gave you the opportunity of doing it,' the Red Queen
remarked: `but I daresay you've not had many lessons in manners
`Manners are not taught in lessons,' said Alice. `Lessons
teach you to do sums, and things of that sort.'
`And you do Addition?' the White Queen asked. `What's one and
one and one and one and one and one and one and one and one and one?'
`I don't know,' said Alice. `I lost count.'
`She can't do Addition,' the Red Queen interrupted.
`Can you do Subtraction? Take nine from eight.'
`Nine from eight I can't, you know,' Alice replied very readily:
`She can't do Subtraction,' said the White Queen. `Can you do
Division? Divide a loaf by a knife--what's the answer to that?'
`I suppose--' Alice was beginning, but the Red Queen answered
for her. `Bread-and-butter, of course. Try another Subtraction
sum. Take a bone from a dog: what remains?'
Alice considered. `The bone wouldn't remain, of course, if I
took it--and the dog wouldn't remain; it would come to bite me
--and I'm sure I shouldn't remain!'
`Then you think nothing would remain?' said the Red Queen.
`I think that's the answer.'
`Wrong, as usual,' said the Red Queen: `the dog's temper would
`But I don't see how--'
`Why, look here!' the Red Queen cried. `The dog would lose its
temper, wouldn't it?'
`Perhaps it would,' Alice replied cautiously.
`Then if the dog went away, its temper would remain!' the
Queen exclaimed triumphantly.
Alice said, as gravely as she could, `They might go different
ways.' But she couldn't help thinking to herself, `What dreadful
nonsense we ARE talking!'
`She can't do sums a BIT!' the Queens said together, with great
`Can YOU do sums?' Alice said, turning suddenly on the White
Queen, for she didn't like being found fault with so much.
The Queen gasped and shut her eyes. `I can do Addition,' `if
you give me time--but I can do Subtraction, under ANY
`Of course you know your A B C?' said the Red Queen.
`To be sure I do.' said Alice.
`So do I,' the White Queen whispered: `we'll often say it over
together, dear. And I'll tell you a secret--I can read words
of one letter! Isn't THAT grand! However, don't be discouraged.
You'll come to it in time.'
Here the Red Queen began again. `Can you answer useful
questions?' she said. `How is bread made?'
`I know THAT!' Alice cried eagerly. `You take some flour--'
`Where do you pick the flower?' the White Queen asked. `In a
garden, or in the hedges?'
`Well, it isn't PICKED at all,' Alice explained: `it's GROUND
`How many acres of ground?' said the White Queen. `You mustn't
leave out so many things.'
`Fan her head!' the Red Queen anxiously interrupted. `She'll
be feverish after so much thinking.' So they set to work and
fanned her with bunches of leaves, till she had to beg them to
leave off, it blew her hair about so.
`She's all right again now,' said the Red Queen. `Do you know
Languages? What's the French for fiddle-de-dee?'
`Fiddle-de-dee's not English,' Alice replied gravely.
`Who ever said it was?' said the Red Queen.
Alice thought she saw a way out of the difficulty this time.
`If you'll tell me what language "fiddle-de-dee" is, I'll tell
you the French for it!' she exclaimed triumphantly.
But the Red Queen drew herself up rather stiffly, and said
`Queens never make bargains.'
`I wish Queens never asked questions,' Alice thought to
`Don't let us quarrel,' the White Queen said in an anxious
tone. `What is the cause of lightning?'
`The cause of lightning,' Alice said very decidedly, for she
felt quite certain about this, `is the thunder--no, no!' she
hastily corrected herself. `I meant the other way.'
`It's too late to correct it,' said the Red Queen: `when
you've once said a thing, that fixes it, and you must take the
`Which reminds me--' the White Queen said, looking down and
nervously clasping and unclasping her hands, `we had SUCH a
thunderstorm last Tuesday--I mean one of the last set of
Tuesdays, you know.'
Alice was puzzled. `In OUR country,' she remarked, `there's
only one day at a time.'
The Red Queen said, `That's a poor thin way of doing things.
Now HERE, we mostly have days and nights two or three at a time,
and sometimes in the winter we take as many as five nights
together--for warmth, you know.'
`Are five nights warmer than one night, then?' Alice ventured
`Five times as warm, of course.'
`But they should be five times as COLD, by the same rule--'
`Just so!' cried the Red Queen. `Five times as warm, AND five
times as cold--just as I'm five times as rich as you are, AND
five times as clever!'
Alice sighed and gave it up. `It's exactly like a riddle with
no answer!' she thought.
`Humpty Dumpty saw it too,' the White Queen went on in a low
voice, more as if she were talking to herself. `He came to the
door with a corkscrew in his hand--'
`What did he want?' said the Red Queen.
`He said he WOULD come in,' the White Queen went on, `because
he was looking for a hippopotamus. Now, as it happened, there
wasn't such a thing in the house, that morning.'
`Is there generally?' Alice asked in an astonished tone.
`Well, only on Thursdays,' said the Queen.
`I know what he came for,' said Alice: `he wanted to punish
the fish, because--'
Here the White Queen began again. `It was SUCH a thunderstorm,
you can't think!' (She NEVER could, you know,' said the Red
Queen.) `And part of the roof came off, and ever so much thunder
got in--and it went rolling round the room in great lumps--
and knocking over the tables and things--till I was so
frightened, I couldn't remember my own name!'
Alice thought to herself, `I never should TRY to remember my
name in the middle of an accident! Where would be the use of
it?' but she did not say this aloud, for fear of hurting the poor
`Your Majesty must excuse her,' the Red Queen said to Alice,
taking one of the White Queen's hands in her own, and gently
stroking it: `she means well, but she can't help saying foolish
things, as a general rule.'
The White Queen looked timidly at Alice, who felt she OUGHT to
say something kind, but really couldn't think of anything at the
`She never was really well brought up,' the Red Queen went on:
`but it's amazing how good-tempered she is! Pat her on the head,
and see how pleased she'll be!' But this was more than Alice had
courage to do.
`A little kindness--and putting her hair in papers--would
do wonders with her--'
The White Queen gave a deep sigh, and laid her head on Alice's
shoulder. `I AM so sleepy?' she moaned.
`She's tired, poor thing!' said the Red Queen. `Smooth her
hair--lend her your nightcap--and sing her a soothing
`I haven't got a nightcap with me,' said Alice, as she tried to
obey the first direction: `and I don't know any soothing
`I must do it myself, then,' said the Red Queen, and she began:
`Hush-a-by lady, in Alice's lap!
Till the feast's ready, we've time for a nap:
When the feast's over, we'll go to the ball--
Red Queen, and White Queen, and Alice, and all!
`And now you know the words,' she added, as she put her head
down on Alice's other shoulder, `just sing it through to ME. I'm
getting sleepy, too.' In another moment both Queens were fast
asleep, and snoring loud.
`What AM I to do?' exclaimed Alice, looking about in great
perplexity, as first one round head, and then the other, rolled
down from her shoulder, and lay like a heavy lump in her lap.
`I don't think it EVER happened before, that any one had to take
care of two Queens asleep at once! No, not in all the History of
England--it couldn't, you know, because there never was more
than one Queen at a time. `Do wake up, you heavy things!'
she went on in an impatient tone; but there was no answer
but a gentle snoring.
The snoring got more distinct every minute, and sounded more
like a tune: at last she could even make out the words, and she
listened so eagerly that, when the two great heads vanished from
her lap, she hardly missed them.
She was standing before an arched doorway over which were the
words QUEEN ALICE in large letters, and on each side of the arch
there was a bell-handle; one was marked `Visitors' Bell,' and the
other `Servants' Bell.'
`I'll wait till the song's over,' thought Alice, `and then I'll
ring--the--WHICH bell must I ring?' she went on, very much
puzzled by the names. `I'm not a visitor, and I'm not a servant.
There OUGHT to be one marked "Queen," you know--'
Just then the door opened a little way, and a creature with a
long beak put its head out for a moment and said `No admittance
till the week after next!' and shut the door again with a bang.
Alice knocked and rang in vain for a long time, but at last, a
very old Frog, who was sitting under a tree, got up and hobbled
slowly towards her: he was dressed in bright yellow, and had
enormous boots on.
`What is it, now?' the Frog said in a deep hoarse whisper.
Alice turned round, ready to find fault with anybody. `Where's
the servant whose business it is to answer the door?' she began
`Which door?' said the Frog.
Alice almost stamped with irritation at the slow drawl in which
he spoke. `THIS door, of course!'
The Frog looked at the door with his large dull eyes for a minute:
then he went nearer and rubbed it with his thumb, as if he were
trying whether the paint would come off; then he looked at Alice.
`To answer the door?' he said. `What's it been asking of?'
He was so hoarse that Alice could scarcely hear him.
`I don't know what you mean,' she said.
`I talks English, doesn't I?' the Frog went on. `Or are you deaf?
What did it ask you?'
`Nothing!' Alice said impatiently. `I've been knocking at it!'
`Shouldn't do that--shouldn't do that--' the Frog muttered.
`Wexes it, you know.' Then he went up and gave the door a kick
with one of his great feet. `You let IT alone,' he panted out,
as he hobbled back to his tree, `and it'll let YOU alone, you know.'
At this moment the door was flung open, and a shrill voice was
`To the Looking-Glass world it was Alice that said,
"I've a sceptre in hand, I've a crown on my head;
Let the Looking-Glass creatures, whatever they be,
Come and dine with the Red Queen, the White Queen, and me."'
And hundreds of voices joined in the chorus:
`Then fill up the glasses as quick as you can,
And sprinkle the table with buttons and bran:
Put cats in the coffee, and mice in the tea--
And welcome Queen Alice with thirty-times-three!'
Then followed a confused noise of cheering, and Alice thought
to herself, `Thirty times three makes ninety. I wonder if any
one's counting?' In a minute there was silence again, and the
same shrill voice sang another verse;
`"O Looking-Glass creatures," quothe Alice, "draw near!
'Tis an honour to see me, a favour to hear:
'Tis a privilege high to have dinner and tea
Along with the Red Queen, the White Queen, and me!"'
Then came the chorus again: --
`Then fill up the glasses with treacle and ink,
Or anything else that is pleasant to drink:
Mix sand with the cider, and wool with the wine--
And welcome Queen Alice with ninety-times-nine!'
`Ninety times nine!' Alice repeated in despair, `Oh, that'll
never be done! I'd better go in at once--' and there was a
dead silence the moment she appeared.
Alice glanced nervously along the table, as she walked up the
large hall, and noticed that there were about fifty guests, of
all kinds: some were animals, some birds, and there were even a
few flowers among them. `I'm glad they've come without waiting
to be asked,' she thought: `I should never have known who were
the right people to invite!'
There were three chairs at the head of the table; the Red and
White Queens had already taken two of them, but the middle one
was empty. Alice sat down in it, rather uncomfortable in the
silence, and longing for some one to speak.
At last the Red Queen began. `You've missed the soup and
fish,' she said. `Put on the joint!' And the waiters set a leg
of mutton before Alice, who looked at it rather anxiously, as she
had never had to carve a joint before.
`You look a little shy; let me introduce you to that leg of
mutton,' said the Red Queen. `Alice--Mutton; Mutton--Alice.'
The leg of mutton got up in the dish and made a little bow to
Alice; and Alice returned the bow, not knowing whether to be
frightened or amused.
`May I give you a slice?' she said, taking up the knife and
fork, and looking from one Queen to the other.
`Certainly not,' the Red Queen said, very decidedly:
`it isn't etiquette to cut any one you've been introduced to.
Remove the joint!' And the waiters carried it off, and brought
a large plum-pudding in its place.
`I won't be introduced to the pudding, please,' Alice said rather hastily,
`or we shall get no dinner at all. May I give you some?'
But the Red Queen looked sulky, and growled `Pudding--Alice;
Alice--Pudding. Remove the pudding!' and the waiters took it
away so quickly that Alice couldn't return its bow.
However, she didn't see why the Red Queen should be the only
one to give orders, so, as an experiment, she called out `Waiter!
Bring back the pudding!' and there it was again in a moment like
a conjuring-trick. It was so large that she couldn't help
feeling a LITTLE shy with it, as she had been with the mutton;
however, she conquered her shyness by a great effort and cut a
slice and handed it to the Red Queen.
`What impertinence!' said the Pudding. `I wonder how you'd
like it, if I were to cut a slice out of YOU, you creature!'
It spoke in a thick, suety sort of voice, and Alice hadn't a
word to say in reply: she could only sit and look at it and gasp.
`Make a remark,' said the Red Queen: `it's ridiculous to leave
all the conversation to the pudding!'
`Do you know, I've had such a quantity of poetry repeated to me
to-day,' Alice began, a little frightened at finding that, the
moment she opened her lips, there was dead silence, and all eyes
were fixed upon her; `and it's a very curious thing, I think--
every poem was about fishes in some way. Do you know why they're
so fond of fishes, all about here?'
She spoke to the Red Queen, whose answer was a little wide of
the mark. `As to fishes,' she said, very slowly and solemnly,
putting her mouth close to Alice's ear, `her White Majesty knows
a lovely riddle--all in poetry--all about fishes. Shall she
`Her Red Majesty's very kind to mention it,' the White Queen
murmured into Alice's other ear, in a voice like the cooing of a
pigeon. `It would be SUCH a treat! May I?'
`Please do,' Alice said very politely.
The White Queen laughed with delight, and stroked Alice's
cheek. Then she began:
`"First, the fish must be caught."
That is easy: a baby, I think, could have caught it.
"Next, the fish must be bought."
That is easy: a penny, I think, would have bought it.
"Now cook me the fish!"
That is easy, and will not take more than a minute.
Let it lie in a dish!"
That is easy, because it already is in it.
"Bring it here! Let me sup!"
It is easy to set such a dish on the table.
"Take the dish-cover up!"
Ah, THAT is so hard that I fear I'm unable!
For it holds it like glue--
Holds the lid to the dish, while it lies in the middle:
Which is easiest to do,
Un-dish-cover the fish, or dishcover the riddle?'
`Take a minute to think about it, and then guess,' said the Red Queen.
`Meanwhile, we'll drink your health--Queen Alice's health!'
she screamed at the top of her voice, and all the guests
began drinking it directly, and very queerly they managed it:
some of them put their glasses upon their heads like extinguishers,
and drank all that trickled down their faces--others upset the decanters,
and drank the wine as it ran off the edges of the table--and three of them
(who looked like kangaroos) scrambled into the dish of roast mutton,
and began eagerly lapping up the gravy, `just like pigs in a trough!'
`You ought to return thanks in a neat speech,' the Red Queen said,
frowning at Alice as she spoke.
`We must support you, you know,' the White Queen whispered, as
Alice got up to do it, very obediently, but a little frightened.
`Thank you very much,' she whispered in reply, `but I can do
quite well without.'
`That wouldn't be at all the thing,' the Red Queen said very
decidedly: so Alice tried to submit to it with a good grace.
(`And they DID push so!' she said afterwards, when she was
telling her sister the history of the feast. `You would have
thought they wanted to squeeze me flat!')
In fact it was rather difficult for her to keep in her place
while she made her speech: the two Queens pushed her so, one on
each side, that they nearly lifted her up into the air: `I rise
to return thanks--' Alice began: and she really DID rise as
she spoke, several inches; but she got hold of the edge of the
table, and managed to pull herself down again.
`Take care of yourself!' screamed the White Queen, seizing
Alice's hair with both her hands. `Something's going to happen!'
And then (as Alice afterwards described it) all sorts of thing
happened in a moment. The candles all grew up to the ceiling,
looking something like a bed of rushes with fireworks at the top.
As to the bottles, they each took a pair of plates, which they
hastily fitted on as wings, and so, with forks for legs, went
fluttering about in all directions: `and very like birds they
look,' Alice thought to herself, as well as she could in the
dreadful confusion that was beginning.
At this moment she heard a hoarse laugh at her side, and turned
to see what was the matter with the White Queen; but, instead of
the Queen, there was the leg of mutton sitting in the chair.
`Here I am!' cried a voice from the soup tureen, and Alice turned
again, just in time to see the Queen's broad good-natured face
grinning at her for a moment over the edge of the tureen, before
she disappeared into the soup.
There was not a moment to be lost. Already several of the
guests were lying down in the dishes, and the soup ladle was
walking up the table towards Alice's chair, and beckoning to her
impatiently to get out of its way.
`I can't stand this any longer!' she cried as she jumped up and
seized the table-cloth with both hands: one good pull, and
plates, dishes, guests, and candles came crashing down together
in a heap on the floor.
`And as for YOU,' she went on, turning fiercly upon the Red Queen,
whom she considered as the cause of all the mischief--but the Queen
was no longer at her side--she had suddenly dwindled down to the size
of a little doll, and was now on the table, merrily running round
and round after her own shawl, which was trailing behind her.
At any other time, Alice would have felt surprised at this,
but she was far too much excited to be surprised at anything NOW.
`As for YOU,' she repeated, catching hold of the little creature
in the very act of jumping over a bottle which had just lighted
upon the table, `I'll shake you into a kitten, that I will!'
She took her off the table as she spoke, and shook her
backwards and forwards with all her might.
The Red Queen made no resistance whatever; only her face grew
very small, and her eyes got large and green: and still, as
Alice went on shaking her, she kept on growing shorter--and
fatter--and softer--and rounder--and--
--and it really WAS a kitten, after all.
Which Dreamed it?
`Your majesty shouldn't purr so loud,' Alice said, rubbing her
eyes, and addressing the kitten, respectfully, yet with some
severity. `You woke me out of oh! such a nice dream! And you've
been along with me, Kitty--all through the Looking-Glass world.
Did you know it, dear?'
It is a very inconvenient habit of kittens (Alice had once made
the remark) that, whatever you say to them, they ALWAYS purr.
`If them would only purr for "yes" and mew for "no," or any rule
of that sort,' she had said, `so that one could keep up a
conversation! But how CAN you talk with a person if they always
say the same thing?'
On this occasion the kitten only purred: and it was impossible
to guess whether it meant `yes' or `no.'
So Alice hunted among the chessmen on the table till she had
found the Red Queen: then she went down on her knees on the
hearth-rug, and put the kitten and the Queen to look at each
other. "Now, Kitty!' she cried, clapping her hands triumphantly.
`Confess that was what you turned into!'
(`But it wouldn't look at it,' she said, when she was
explaining the thing afterwards to her sister: `it turned away
its head, and pretended not to see it: but it looked a LITTLE
ashamed of itself, so I think it MUST have been the Red Queen.')
`Sit up a little more stiffly, dear!' Alice cried with a merry
laugh. `And curtsey while you're thinking what to--what to
purr. It saves time, remember!' And she caught it up and gave
it one little kiss, `just in honour of having been a Red Queen.'
`Snowdrop, my pet!' she went on, looking over her shoulder at
the White Kitten, which was still patiently undergoing its
toilet, `when WILL Dinah have finished with your White Majesty, I
wonder? That must be the reason you were so untidy in my dream -
- Dinah! do you know that you're scrubbing a White Queen?
Really, it's most disrespectful of you!
`And what did DINAH turn to, I wonder?' she prattled on, as she
settled comfortably down, with one elbow in the rug, and her chin
in her hand, to watch the kittens. `Tell me, Dinah, did you turn
to Humpty Dumpty? I THINK you did--however, you'd better not
mention it to your friends just yet, for I'm not sure.
`By the way, Kitty, if only you'd been really with me in my
dream, there was one thing you WOULD have enjoyed--I had such a
quantity of poetry said to me, all about fishes! To-morrow
morning you shall have a real treat. All the time you're eating
your breakfast, I'll repeat "The Walrus and the Carpenter" to
you; and then you can make believe it's oysters, dear!
`Now, Kitty, let's consider who it was that dreamed it all.
This is a serious question, my dear, and you should NOT go on
licking your paw like that--as if Dinah hadn't washed you this
morning! You see, Kitty, it MUST have been either me or the Red
King. He was part of my dream, of course--but then I was part
of his dream, too! WAS it the Red King, Kitty? You were his
wife, my dear, so you ought to know--Oh, Kitty, DO help to
settle it! I'm sure your paw can wait!' But the provoking
kitten only began on the other paw, and pretended it hadn't heard
Which do YOU think it was?
A boat beneath a sunny sky,
Lingering onward dreamily
In an evening of July--
Children three that nestle near,
Eager eye and willing ear,
Pleased a simple tale to hear--
Long has paled that sunny sky:
Echoes fade and memories die.
Autumn frosts have slain July.
Still she haunts me, phantomwise,
Alice moving under skies
Never seen by waking eyes.
Children yet, the tale to hear,
Eager eye and willing ear,
Lovingly shall nestle near.
In a Wonderland they lie,
Dreaming as the days go by,
Dreaming as the summers die:
Ever drifting down the stream--
Lingering in the golden gleam--
Life, what is it but a dream?
End of the Project Gutenberg Etext of Through the Looking-Glass