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Alice’s Adventures

in Wonderland

By Lewis Caroll (1865)

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All in the Golden Afternoon

All in the golden afternoon

Full leisurely we glide;

For both our oars, with little skill,

By little arms are plied,

While little hands make vain pretense

Our wanderings to guide.

Ah, cruel Three! In such an hour,

Beneath such dreamy weather,

To beg a tale of breath too weak

To stir the tiniest feather!

Yet what can one poor voice avail

Against three tongues together?

Imperious Prima flashes forth

Her edict to “begin it”:

In gentler tones Secunda hopes

“There will be nonsense in it.”

While Tertia interrupts the tale

Not more than once a minute.


Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

Anon, to sudden silence won,

In fancy they pursue

The dream-child moving through a land

Of wonders wild and new,

In friendly chat with bird or beast—

And half believe it true.

And ever, as the story drained

The wells of fancy dry,

And faintly strove that weary one

To put the subject by,

“The rest next time—” “It is next time!”

The happy voices cry.

Thus grew the tale of Wonderland:

Thus slowly, one by one,

Its quaint events were hammered out—

And now the tale is done,

And home we steer, a merry crew,

Beneath the setting sun.

Alice! a childish story take,

And with a gentle hand

Lay it where Childhood’s dreams are twined

In Memory’s mystic band,

Like pilgrim’s withered wreath of flowers

Plucked in a far-off land.

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Chapter I.

Down the Rabbit-Hole

Alice was beginning to get very tired of sitting by her

sister on the bank, and of having nothing to do: once

or twice she had peeped into the book her sister was read-

ing, but it had no pictures or conversations in it, ‘and what

is the use of a book,’ thought Alice ‘without pictures or con-


So she was considering in her own mind (as well as she

could, for the hot day made her feel very sleepy and stu-

pid), whether the pleasure of making a daisy-chain would

be worth the trouble of getting up and picking the daisies,

when suddenly a White Rabbit with pink eyes ran close by

her.There was nothing so very remarkable in that; nor did

Alice think it so very much out of the way to hear the Rab-

bit say to itself, ‘Oh dear! Oh dear! I shall be late!’ (when

she thought it over afterwards, it occurred to her that she

ought to have wondered at this, but at the time it all seemed

quite natural); but when the Rabbit actually took a watch

out of its waistcoat-pocket, and looked at it, and then hur-

ried on, Alice started to her feet, for it flashed across her

mind that she had never before seen a rabbit with either a

waistcoat-pocket, or a watch to take out of it, and burning

with curiosity, she ran across the field after it, and fortu-


Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

nately was just in time to see it pop down a large rabbit-hole

under the hedge.

In another moment down went Alice after it, never once

considering how in the world she was to get out again.

The rabbit-hole went straight on like a tunnel for some

way, and then dipped suddenly down, so suddenly that Al-

ice had not a moment to think about stopping herself before

she found herself falling down a very deep well.

Either the well was very deep, or she fell very slowly, for

she had plenty of time as she went down to look about her

and to wonder what was going to happen next. First, she

tried to look down and make out what she was coming to,

but it was too dark to see anything; then she looked at the

sides of the well, and noticed that they were filled with cup-

boards and book-shelves; here and there she saw maps and

pictures hung upon pegs. She took down a jar from one of

the shelves as she passed; it was labelled ‘ORANGE MAR-

MALADE’, but to her great disappointment it was empty:

she did not like to drop the jar for fear of killing somebody,

so managed to put it into one of the cupboards as she fell

past it.

‘Well!’ thought Alice to herself, ‘after such a fall as this,

I shall think nothing of tumbling down stairs! How brave

they’ll all think me at home! Why, I wouldn’t say anything

about it, even if I fell off the top of the house!’ (Which was

very likely true.)

Down, down, down. Would the fall never come to an

end! ‘I wonder how many miles I’ve fallen by this time?’

she said aloud. ‘I must be getting somewhere near the cen-

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tre of the earth. Let me see: that would be four thousand

miles down, I think—’ (for, you see, Alice had learnt sev-

eral things of this sort in her lessons in the schoolroom, and

though this was not a VERY good opportunity for showing

off her knowledge, as there was no one to listen to her, still it

was good practice to say it over) ‘—yes, that’s about the right

distance—but then I wonder what Latitude or Longitude

I’ve got to?’ (Alice had no idea what Latitude was, or Longi-

tude either, but thought they were nice grand words to say.)

Presently she began again. ‘I wonder if I shall fall right

through the earth! How funny it’ll seem to come out among

the people that walk with their heads downward! The An-

tipathies, I think—’ (she was rather glad there WAS no one

listening, this time, as it didn’t sound at all the right word)

‘—but I shall have to ask them what the name of the country

is, you know. Please, Ma’am, is this New Zealand or Austra-

lia?’ (and she tried to curtsey as she spoke—fancy curtseying

as you’re falling through the air! Do you think you could

manage it?) ‘And what an ignorant little girl she’ll think me

for asking! No, it’ll never do to ask: perhaps I shall see it

written up somewhere.’

Down, down, down. There was nothing else to do, so Al-

ice soon began talking again. ‘Dinah’ll miss me very much

to-night, I should think!’ (Dinah was the cat.) ‘I hope they’ll

remember her saucer of milk at tea-time. Dinah my dear!

I wish you were down here with me! There are no mice in

the air, I’m afraid, but you might catch a bat, and that’s very

like a mouse, you know. But do cats eat bats, I wonder?’ And

here Alice began to get rather sleepy, and went on saying to


Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

herself, in a dreamy sort of way, ‘Do cats eat bats? Do cats

eat bats?’ and sometimes, ‘Do bats eat cats?’ for, you see, as

she couldn’t answer either question, it didn’t much matter

which way she put it. She felt that she was dozing off, and

had just begun to dream that she was walking hand in hand

with Dinah, and saying to her very earnestly, ‘Now, Dinah,

tell me the truth: did you ever eat a bat?’ when suddenly,

thump! thump! down she came upon a heap of sticks and

dry leaves, and the fall was over.

Alice was not a bit hurt, and she jumped up on to her

feet in a moment: she looked up, but it was all dark over-

head; before her was another long passage, and the White

Rabbit was still in sight, hurrying down it. There was not a

moment to be lost: away went Alice like the wind, and was

just in time to hear it say, as it turned a corner, ‘Oh my ears

and whiskers, how late it’s getting!’ She was close behind it

when she turned the corner, but the Rabbit was no longer to

be seen: she found herself in a long, low hall, which was lit

up by a row of lamps hanging from the roof.

There were doors all round the hall, but they were all

locked; and when Alice had been all the way down one side

and up the other, trying every door, she walked sadly down

the middle, wondering how she was ever to get out again.

Suddenly she came upon a little three-legged table, all

made of solid glass; there was nothing on it except a tiny

golden key, and Alice’s first thought was that it might be-

long to one of the doors of the hall; but, alas! either the locks

were too large, or the key was too small, but at any rate it

would not open any of them. However, on the second time

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round, she came upon a low curtain she had not noticed

before, and behind it was a little door about fifteen inches

high: she tried the little golden key in the lock, and to her

great delight it fitted!

Alice opened the door and found that it led into a small

passage, not much larger than a rat-hole: she knelt down and

looked along the passage into the loveliest garden you ever

saw. How she longed to get out of that dark hall, and wan-

der about among those beds of bright flowers and those cool

fountains, but she could not even get her head though the

doorway; ‘and even if my head would go through,’ thought

poor Alice, ‘it would be of very little use without my shoul-

ders. Oh, how I wish I could shut up like a telescope! I think

I could, if I only know how to begin.’ For, you see, so many

out-of-the-way things had happened lately, that Alice had

begun to think that very few things indeed were really im-


There seemed to be no use in waiting by the little door,

so she went back to the table, half hoping she might find

another key on it, or at any rate a book of rules for shut-

ting people up like telescopes: this time she found a little

bottle on it, (’which certainly was not here before,’ said Al-

ice,) and round the neck of the bottle was a paper label, with

the words ‘DRINK ME’ beautifully printed on it in large


It was all very well to say ‘Drink me,’ but the wise little

Alice was not going to do that in a hurry. ‘No, I’ll look first,’

she said, ‘and see whether it’s marked ‘ poison’ or not’; for she

had read several nice little histories about children who had


Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

got burnt, and eaten up by wild beasts and other unpleas-

ant things, all because they would not remember the simple

rules their friends had taught them: such as, that a red-hot

poker will burn you if you hold it too long; and that if you

cut your finger very deeply with a knife, it usually bleeds;

and she had never forgotten that, if you drink much from a

bottle marked ‘ poison,’ it is almost certain to disagree with

you, sooner or later.

However, this bottle was not marked ‘poison,’ so Alice

ventured to taste it, and finding it very nice, (it had, in fact,

a sort of mixed flavour of cherry-tart, custard, pine-apple,

roast turkey, toffee, and hot buttered toast,) she very soon

finished it off.

‘What a curious feeling!’ said Alice; ‘I must be shutting

up like a telescope.’

And so it was indeed: she was now only ten inches high,

and her face brightened up at the thought that she was now

the right size for going through the little door into that love-

ly garden. First, however, she waited for a few minutes to see

if she was going to shrink any further: she felt a little ner-

vous about this; ‘for it might end, you know,’ said Alice to

herself, ‘in my going out altogether, like a candle. I wonder

what I should be like then?’ And she tried to fancy what the

flame of a candle is like after the candle is blown out, for she

could not remember ever having seen such a thing.

After a while, finding that nothing more happened, she

decided on going into the garden at once; but, alas for poor

Alice! when she got to the door, she found she had forgotten

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the little golden key, and when she went back to the table for

it, she found she could not possibly reach it: she could see

it quite plainly through the glass, and she tried her best to

climb up one of the legs of the table, but it was too slippery;

and when she had tired herself out with trying, the poor

little thing sat down and cried.

‘Come, there’s no use in crying like that!’ said Alice to

herself, rather sharply; ‘I advise you to leave off this minute!’

She generally gave herself very good advice, (though she

very seldom followed it), and sometimes she scolded her-

self so severely as to bring tears into her eyes; and once she

remembered trying to box her own ears for having cheated

herself in a game of croquet she was playing against herself,

for this curious child was very fond of pretending to be two

people. ‘But it’s no use now,’ thought poor Alice, ‘to pretend

to be two people! Why, there’s hardly enough of me left to

make ONE respectable person!’

Soon her eye fell on a little glass box that was lying under

the table: she opened it, and found in it a very small cake, on

which the words ‘EAT ME’ were beautifully marked in cur-

rants. ‘Well, I’ll eat it,’ said Alice, ‘and if it makes me grow

larger, I can reach the key; and if it makes me grow smaller, I

can creep under the door; so either way I’ll get into the gar-

den, and I don’t care which happens!’

She ate a little bit, and said anxiously to herself, ‘Which

way? Which way?’, holding her hand on the top of her head

to feel which way it was growing, and she was quite sur-

prised to find that she remained the same size: to be sure,

this generally happens when one eats cake, but Alice had got


Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

so much into the way of expecting nothing but out-of-the-

way things to happen, that it seemed quite dull and stupid

for life to go on in the common way.

So she set to work, and very soon finished off the cake.

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Chapter II.

The Pool of Tears

‘Curiouser and curiouser!’ cried Alice (she was so much

surprised, that for the moment she quite forgot how

to speak good English); ‘now I’m opening out like the larg-

est telescope that ever was! Good-bye, feet!’ (for when she

looked down at her feet, they seemed to be almost out of

sight, they were getting so far off). ‘Oh, my poor little feet,

I wonder who will put on your shoes and stockings for you

now, dears? I’m sure
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