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I shan’t be able! I shall be a great deal

too far off to trouble myself about you: you must manage

the best way you can; —but I must be kind to them,’ thought

Alice, ‘or perhaps they won’t walk the way I want to go! Let

me see: I’ll give them a new pair of boots every Christmas.’

And she went on planning to herself how she would

manage it. ‘They must go by the carrier,’ she thought; ‘and

how funny it’ll seem, sending presents to one’s own feet!

And how odd the directions will look!





Oh dear, what nonsense I’m talking!’


Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

Just then her head struck against the roof of the hall: in

fact she was now more than nine feet high, and she at once

took up the little golden key and hurried off to the garden


Poor Alice! It was as much as she could do, lying down

on one side, to look through into the garden with one eye;

but to get through was more hopeless than ever: she sat

down and began to cry again.

‘You ought to be ashamed of yourself,’ said Alice, ‘a great

girl like you,’ (she might well say this), ‘to go on crying in

this way! Stop this moment, I tell you!’ But she went on all

the same, shedding gallons of tears, until there was a large

pool all round her, about four inches deep and reaching half

down the hall.

After a time she heard a little pattering of feet in the dis-

tance, and she hastily dried her eyes to see what was coming.

It was the White Rabbit returning, splendidly dressed, with

a pair of white kid gloves in one hand and a large fan in the

other: he came trotting along in a great hurry, muttering

to himself as he came, ‘Oh! the Duchess, the Duchess! Oh!

won’t she be savage if I’ve kept her waiting!’ Alice felt so des-

perate that she was ready to ask help of any one; so, when

the Rabbit came near her, she began, in a low, timid voice,

‘If you please, sir—’ The Rabbit started violently, dropped

the white kid gloves and the fan, and skurried away into the

darkness as hard as he could go.

Alice took up the fan and gloves, and, as the hall was

very hot, she kept fanning herself all the time she went on

talking: ‘Dear, dear! How queer everything is to-day! And

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yesterday things went on just as usual. I wonder if I’ve been

changed in the night? Let me think: was I the same when I

got up this morning? I almost think I can remember feeling

a little different. But if I’m not the same, the next ques-

tion is, Who in the world am I? Ah, that’s the great puzzle!’

And she began thinking over all the children she knew that

were of the same age as herself, to see if she could have been

changed for any of them.

‘I’m sure I’m not Ada,’ she said, ‘for her hair goes in such

long ringlets, and mine doesn’t go in ringlets at all; and I’m

sure I can’t be Mabel, for I know all sorts of things, and she,

oh! she knows such a very little! Besides, she’s she, and I’m I,

and—oh dear, how puzzling it all is! I’ll try if I know all the

things I used to know. Let me see: four times five is twelve,

and four times six is thirteen, and four times seven is—oh

dear! I shall never get to twenty at that rate! However, the

Multiplication Table doesn’t signify: let’s try Geography.

London is the capital of Paris, and Paris is the capital of

Rome, and Rome—no, that’s all wrong, I’m certain! I must

have been changed for Mabel! I’ll try and say ‘ How doth the

little—‘ and she crossed her hands on her lap as if she were

saying lessons, and began to repeat it, but her voice sounded

hoarse and strange, and the words did not come the same as

they used to do:—

‘How doth the little crocodile

Improve his shining tail,

^ And pour the waters of the Nile

On every golden scale!


Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

‘How cheerfuly he seems to grin,

How neatly spread his claws,

And welcome little fishes in

With gently smiling jaws!’

‘I’m sure those are not the right words,’ said poor Alice,

and her eyes filled with tears again as she went on, ‘I must be

Mabel after all, and I shall have to go and live in that poky

little house, and have next to no toys to play with, and oh!

ever so many lessons to learn! No, I’ve made up my mind

about it; if I’m Mabel, I’ll stay down here! It’ll be no use

their putting their heads down and saying ‘Come up again,

dear!’ I shall only look up and say ‘Who am I then? Tell me

that first, and then, if I like being that person, I’ll come up:

if not, I’ll stay down here till I’m somebody else’—but, oh

dear!’ cried Alice, with a sudden burst of tears, ‘I do wish

they would put their heads down! I am so very tired of be-

ing all alone here!’

As she said this she looked down at her hands, and was

surprised to see that she had put on one of the Rabbit’s lit-

tle white kid gloves while she was talking. ‘How can I have

done that?’ she thought. ‘I must be growing small again.’

She got up and went to the table to measure herself by it, and

found that, as nearly as she could guess, she was now about

two feet high, and was going on shrinking rapidly: she soon

found out that the cause of this was the fan she was holding,

and she dropped it hastily, just in time to avoid shrinking

away altogether.

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‘That was a narrow escape!’ said Alice, a good deal fright-

ened at the sudden change, but very glad to find herself still

in existence; ‘and now for the garden!’ and she ran with all

speed back to the little door: but, alas! the little door was

shut again, and the little golden key was lying on the glass

table as before, ‘and things are worse than ever,’ thought the

poor child, ‘for I never was so small as this before, never!

And I declare it’s too bad, that it is!’

As she said these words her foot slipped, and in another

moment, splash! she was up to her chin in salt water. Her

first idea was that she had somehow fallen into the sea, ‘and

in that case I can go back by railway,’ she said to herself. (Al-

ice had been to the seaside once in her life, and had come

to the general conclusion, that wherever you go to on the

English coast you find a number of bathing machines in the

sea, some children digging in the sand with wooden spades,

then a row of lodging houses, and behind them a railway

station.) However, she soon made out that she was in the

pool of tears which she had wept when she was nine feet


‘I wish I hadn’t cried so much!’ said Alice, as she swam

about, trying to find her way out. ‘I shall be punished for it

now, I suppose, by being drowned in my own tears! That

will be a queer thing, to be sure! However, everything is

queer to-day.’

Just then she heard something splashing about in the

pool a little way off, and she swam nearer to make out what

it was: at first she thought it must be a walrus or hippopota-

mus, but then she remembered how small she was now, and


Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

she soon made out that it was only a mouse that had slipped

in like herself.

‘Would it be of any use, now,’ thought Alice, ‘to speak

to this mouse? Everything is so out-of-the-way down here,

that I should think very likely it can talk: at any rate, there’s

no harm in trying.’ So she began: ‘O Mouse, do you know

the way out of this pool? I am very tired of swimming about

here, O Mouse!’ (Alice thought this must be the right way

of speaking to a mouse: she had never done such a thing be-

fore, but she remembered having seen in her brother’s Latin

Grammar, ‘A mouse—of a mouse—to a mouse—a mouse—

O mouse!’ The Mouse looked at her rather inquisitively, and

seemed to her to wink with one of its little eyes, but it said


‘Perhaps it doesn’t understand English,’ thought Alice;

‘I daresay it’s a French mouse, come over with William the

Conqueror.’ (For, with all her knowledge of history, Alice

had no very clear notion how long ago anything had hap-

pened.) So she began again: ‘Ou est ma chatte?’ which was

the first sentence in her French lesson-book. The Mouse

gave a sudden leap out of the water, and seemed to quiver all

over with fright. ‘Oh, I beg your pardon!’ cried Alice hastily,

afraid that she had hurt the poor animal’s feelings. ‘I quite

forgot you didn’t like cats.’

‘Not like cats!’ cried the Mouse, in a shrill, passionate

voice. ‘Would you like cats if you were me?’

‘Well, perhaps not,’ said Alice in a soothing tone: ‘don’t

be angry about it. And yet I wish I could show you our cat

Dinah: I think you’d take a fancy to cats if you could only

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see her. She is such a dear quiet thing,’ Alice went on, half

to herself, as she swam lazily about in the pool, ‘and she sits

purring so nicely by the fire, licking her paws and washing

her face—and she is such a nice soft thing to nurse—and

she’s such a capital one for catching mice—oh, I beg your

pardon!’ cried Alice again, for this time the Mouse was bris-

tling all over, and she felt certain it must be really offended.

‘We won’t talk about her any more if you’d rather not.’

‘We indeed!’ cried the Mouse, who was trembling down

to the end of his tail. ‘As if I would talk on such a subject!

Our family always hated cats: nasty, low, vulgar things!

Don’t let me hear the name again!’

‘I won’t indeed!’ said Alice, in a great hurry to change

the subject of conversation. ‘Are you—are you fond—of—of

dogs?’ The Mouse did not answer, so Alice went on eagerly:

‘There is such a nice little dog near our house I should like

to show you! A little bright-eyed terrier, you know, with oh,

such long curly brown hair! And it’ll fetch things when you

throw them, and it’ll sit up and beg for its dinner, and all

sorts of things—I can’t remember half of them—and it be-

longs to a farmer, you know, and he says it’s so useful, it’s

worth a hundred pounds! He says it kills all the rats and—

oh dear!’ cried Alice in a sorrowful tone, ‘I’m afraid I’ve

offended it again!’ For the Mouse was swimming away from

her as hard as it could go, and making quite a commotion

in the pool as it went.

So she called softly after it, ‘Mouse dear! Do come back

again, and we won’t talk about cats or dogs either, if you

don’t like them!’ When the Mouse heard this, it turned


Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

round and swam slowly back to her: its face was quite pale

(with passion, Alice thought), and it said in a low trembling

voice, ‘Let us get to the shore, and then I’ll tell you my his-

tory, and you’ll understand why it is I hate cats and dogs.’

It was high time to go, for the pool was getting quite

crowded with the birds and animals that had fallen into it:

there were a Duck and a Dodo, a Lory and an Eaglet, and

several other curious creatures. Alice led the way, and the

whole party swam to the shore.

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Chapter III.

A Caucus-Race and

a Long Tale

They were indeed a queer-looking party that assembled

on the bank—the birds with draggled feathers, the ani-

mals with their fur clinging close to them, and all dripping

wet, cross, and uncomfortable.

The first question of course was, how to get dry again:

they had a consultation about this, and after a few minutes

it seemed quite natural to Alice to find herself talking fa-

miliarly with them, as if she had known them all her life.

Indeed, she had quite a long argument with the Lory, who

at last turned sulky, and would only say, ‘I am older than

you, and must know better’; and this Alice would not allow

without knowing how old it was, and, as the Lory positively

refused to tell its age, there was no more to be said.

At last the Mouse, who seemed to be a person of author-

ity among them, called out, ‘Sit down, all of you, and listen

to me! I’l soon make you dry enough!’ They all sat down

at once, in a large ring, with the Mouse in the middle. Al-

ice kept her eyes anxiously fixed on it, for she felt sure she

would catch a bad cold if she did not get dry very soon.

‘Ahem!’ said the Mouse with an important air, ‘are you

all ready? This is the driest thing I know. Silence all round,


Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

if you please! ‘William the Conqueror, whose cause was fa-

voured by the pope, was soon submitted to by the English,

who wanted leaders, and had been of late much accustomed

to usurpation and conquest. Edwin and Morcar, the earls of

Mercia and Northumbria—’

‘Ugh!’ said the Lory, with a shiver.

‘I beg your pardon!’ said the Mouse, frowning, but very

politely: ‘Did you speak?’

‘Not I!’ said the Lory hastily.

‘I thought you did,’ said the Mouse. ‘—I proceed. ‘Edwin

and Morcar, the earls of Mercia and Northumbria, declared

for him: and even Stigand, the patriotic archbishop of Can-

terbury, found it advisable—’

‘Found what?’ said the Duck.

‘Found it,’ the Mouse replied rather crossly: ‘of course

you know what ‘it’ means.’

‘I know what ‘it’ means well enough, when I find a thing,’

said the Duck: ‘it’s generally a frog or a worm. The question

is, what did the archbishop find?’

The Mouse did not notice this question, but hurriedly

went on, ‘—found it advisable to go with Edgar Atheling to

meet William and offer him the crown. William’s conduct

at first was moderate. But the insolence of his Normans—’

How are you getting on now, my dear?’ it continued, turn-

ing to Alice as it spoke.

‘As wet as ever,’ said Alice in a melancholy tone: ‘it doesn’t

seem to dry me at all.’

‘In that case,’ said the Dodo solemnly, rising to its feet, ‘I

move that the meeting adjourn, for the immediate adoption

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of more energetic remedies—’

‘Speak English!’ said the Eaglet. ‘I don’t know the mean-

ing of half those long words, and, what’s more, I don’t believe

you do either!’ And the Eaglet bent down its head to hide a

smile: some of the other birds tittered audibly.

‘What I was going to say,’ said the Dodo in an offended

tone, ‘was, that the best thing to get us dry would be a Cau-


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