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is a Caucus-race?’ said Alice; not that she wanted

much to know, but the Dodo had paused as if it thought that

somebody ought to speak, and no one else seemed inclined

to say anything.

‘Why,’ said the Dodo, ‘the best way to explain it is to do

it.’ (And, as you might like to try the thing yourself, some

winter day, I will tell you how the Dodo managed it.)

First it marked out a race-course, in a sort of circle, (’the

exact shape doesn’t matter,’ it said,) and then all the party

were placed along the course, here and there. There was no

‘One, two, three, and away,’ but they began running when

they liked, and left off when they liked, so that it was not

easy to know when the race was over. However, when they

had been running half an hour or so, and were quite dry

again, the Dodo suddenly called out ‘The race is over!’ and

they all crowded round it, panting, and asking, ‘But who

has won?’

This question the Dodo could not answer without a great

deal of thought, and it sat for a long time with one finger

pressed upon its forehead (the position in which you usu-

ally see Shakespeare, in the pictures of him), while the rest

22

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

waited in silence. At last the Dodo said, ‘ everybody has won,

and all must have prizes.’

‘But who is to give the prizes?’ quite a chorus of voices

asked.

‘Why, she, of course,’ said the Dodo, pointing to Alice

with one finger; and the whole party at once crowded round

her, calling out in a confused way, ‘Prizes! Prizes!’

Alice had no idea what to do, and in despair she put her

hand in her pocket, and pulled out a box of comfits, (luckily

the salt water had not got into it), and handed them round

as prizes. There was exactly one a-piece all round.

‘But she must have a prize herself, you know,’ said the

Mouse.

‘Of course,’ the Dodo replied very gravely. ‘What else

have you got in your pocket?’ he went on, turning to Alice.

‘Only a thimble,’ said Alice sadly.

‘Hand it over here,’ said the Dodo.

Then they all crowded round her once more, while the

Dodo solemnly presented the thimble, saying ‘We beg your

acceptance of this elegant thimble’; and, when it had fin-

ished this short speech, they all cheered.

Alice thought the whole thing very absurd, but they all

looked so grave that she did not dare to laugh; and, as she

could not think of anything to say, she simply bowed, and

took the thimble, looking as solemn as she could.

The next thing was to eat the comfits: this caused some

noise and confusion, as the large birds complained that they

could not taste theirs, and the small ones choked and had to

be patted on the back. However, it was over at last, and they

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23

sat down again in a ring, and begged the Mouse to tell them

something more.

‘You promised to tell me your history, you know,’ said

Alice, ‘and why it is you hate—C and D,’ she added in a

whisper, half afraid that it would be offended again.

‘Mine is a long and a sad tale!’ said the Mouse, turning to

Alice, and sighing.

‘It IS a long tail, certainly,’ said Alice, looking down with

wonder at the Mouse’s tail; ‘but why do you call it sad?’ And

she kept on puzzling about it while the Mouse was speaking,

so that her idea of the tale was something like this:—

Fury said to

a mouse, That

he met

in the

house,

‘Let us

both go

to law:

^ I will

prosecute

you.—

Come, I’l

take no

denial;

We must

have a

trial:

24

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

For

real y

this

morning

I’ve

nothing

to do.’

Said the

mouse to

the cur,

‘Such a

trial,

dear sir,

With no

jury or

judge

would be

wasting

our breath.’

‘I’ll be

judge,

I’ll be

jury,’

Said

cunning

old Fury!

‘I’ll try

the whole

cause,

and

condemn

you

to

death.’

‘You are not attending!’ said the Mouse to Alice severely.

‘What are you thinking of?’

‘I beg your pardon,’ said Alice very humbly: ‘you had got

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25

to the fifth bend, I think?’

‘I had not!’ cried the Mouse, sharply and very angrily.

‘A knot!’ said Alice, always ready to make herself use-

ful, and looking anxiously about her. ‘Oh, do let me help to

undo it!’

‘I shall do nothing of the sort,’ said the Mouse, getting

up and walking away. ‘You insult me by talking such non-

sense!’

‘I didn’t mean it!’ pleaded poor Alice. ‘But you’re so easily

offended, you know!’

The Mouse only growled in reply.

‘Please come back and finish your story!’ Alice called af-

ter it; and the others all joined in chorus, ‘Yes, please do!’

but the Mouse only shook its head impatiently, and walked

a little quicker.

‘What a pity it wouldn’t stay!’ sighed the Lory, as soon

as it was quite out of sight; and an old Crab took the oppor-

tunity of saying to her daughter ‘Ah, my dear! Let this be a

lesson to you never to lose your temper!’ ‘Hold your tongue,

Ma!’ said the young Crab, a little snappishly. ‘You’re enough

to try the patience of an oyster!’

‘I wish I had our Dinah here, I know I do!’ said Alice

aloud, addressing nobody in particular. ‘She’d soon fetch

it back!’

‘And who is Dinah, if I might venture to ask the ques-

tion?’ said the Lory.

Alice replied eagerly, for she was always ready to talk

about her pet: ‘Dinah’s our cat. And she’s such a capital one

for catching mice you can’t think! And oh, I wish you could

26

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

see her after the birds! Why, she’ll eat a little bird as soon as

look at it!’

This speech caused a remarkable sensation among the

party. Some of the birds hurried off at once: one old Magpie

began wrapping itself up very carefully, remarking, ‘I really

must be getting home; the night-air doesn’t suit my throat!’

and a Canary called out in a trembling voice to its children,

‘Come away, my dears! It’s high time you were all in bed!’

On various pretexts they all moved off, and Alice was soon

left alone.

‘I wish I hadn’t mentioned Dinah!’ she said to herself in

a melancholy tone. ‘Nobody seems to like her, down here,

and I’m sure she’s the best cat in the world! Oh, my dear

Dinah! I wonder if I shall ever see you any more!’ And here

poor Alice began to cry again, for she felt very lonely and

low-spirited. In a little while, however, she again heard a lit-

tle pattering of footsteps in the distance, and she looked up

eagerly, half hoping that the Mouse had changed his mind,

and was coming back to finish his story.

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27

Chapter IV.

The Rabbit Sends

in a Little Bill

It was the White Rabbit, trotting slowly back again, and

looking anxiously about as it went, as if it had lost some-

thing; and she heard it muttering to itself ‘The Duchess!

The Duchess! Oh my dear paws! Oh my fur and whiskers!

She’ll get me executed, as sure as ferrets are ferrets! Where

can I have dropped them, I wonder?’ Alice guessed in a mo-

ment that it was looking for the fan and the pair of white kid

gloves, and she very good-naturedly began hunting about

for them, but they were nowhere to be seen—everything

seemed to have changed since her swim in the pool, and the

great hall, with the glass table and the little door, had van-

ished completely.

Very soon the Rabbit noticed Alice, as she went hunting

about, and called out to her in an angry tone, ‘Why, Mary

Ann, what are you doing out here? Run home this moment,

and fetch me a pair of gloves and a fan! Quick, now!’ And

Alice was so much frightened that she ran off at once in the

direction it pointed to, without trying to explain the mis-

take it had made.

‘He took me for his housemaid,’ she said to herself as

she ran. ‘How surprised he’ll be when he finds out who I

28

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

am! But I’d better take him his fan and gloves—that is, if I

can find them.’ As she said this, she came upon a neat little

house, on the door of which was a bright brass plate with the

name ‘W. RABBIT’ engraved upon it. She went in without

knocking, and hurried upstairs, in great fear lest she should

meet the real Mary Ann, and be turned out of the house be-

fore she had found the fan and gloves.

‘How queer it seems,’ Alice said to herself, ‘to be going

messages for a rabbit! I suppose Dinah’ll be sending me on

messages next!’ And she began fancying the sort of thing

that would happen: ‘“Miss Alice! Come here directly, and get

ready for your walk!’ ‘Coming in a minute, nurse! But I’ve got

to see that the mouse doesn’t get out.’ Only I don’t think,’ Al-

ice went on, ‘that they’d let Dinah stop in the house if it began

ordering people about like that!’

By this time she had found her way into a tidy little room

with a table in the window, and on it (as she had hoped) a fan

and two or three pairs of tiny white kid gloves: she took up

the fan and a pair of the gloves, and was just going to leave

the room, when her eye fell upon a little bottle that stood

near the lookingglass. There was no label this time with the

words ‘DRINK ME,’ but nevertheless she uncorked it and put

it to her lips. ‘I know something interesting is sure to happen,’

she said to herself, ‘whenever I eat or drink anything; so I’ll

just see what this bottle does. I do hope it’ll make me grow

large again, for really I’m quite tired of being such a tiny little

thing!’

It did so indeed, and much sooner than she had expect-

ed: before she had drunk half the bottle, she found her head

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29

pressing against the ceiling, and had to stoop to save her neck

from being broken. She hastily put down the bottle, saying

to herself ‘That’s quite enough—I hope I shan’t grow any

more—As it is, I can’t get out at the door—I do wish I hadn’t

drunk quite so much!’

Alas! it was too late to wish that! She went on growing,

and growing, and very soon had to kneel down on the floor:

in another minute there was not even room for this, and she

tried the effect of lying down with one elbow against the

door, and the other arm curled round her head. Still she went

on growing, and, as a last resource, she put one arm out of

the window, and one foot up the chimney, and said to herself

‘Now I can do no more, whatever happens. What will become

of me?’

Luckily for Alice, the little magic bottle had now had its

full effect, and she grew no larger: still it was very uncomfort-

able, and, as there seemed to be no sort of chance of her ever

getting out of the room again, no wonder she felt unhappy.

‘It was much pleasanter at home,’ thought poor Alice,

‘when one wasn’t always growing larger and smaller, and be-

ing ordered about by mice and rabbits. I almost wish I hadn’t

gone down that rabbit-hole—and yet—and yet—it’s rather

curious, you know, this sort of life! I do wonder what can

have happened to me! When I used to read fairy-tales, I fan-

cied that kind of thing never happened, and now here I am

in the middle of one! There ought to be a book written about

me, that there ought! And when I grow up, I’ll write one—but

I’m grown up now,’ she added in a sorrowful tone; ‘at least

there’s no room to grow up any more here.’

30

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

‘But then,’ thought Alice, ‘shall I never get any older than

I am now? That’ll be a comfort, one way—never to be an old

woman— but then—always to have lessons to learn! Oh, I

shouldn’t like that!’

‘Oh, you foolish Alice!’ she answered herself. ‘How can

you learn lessons in here? Why, there’s hardly room for you,

and no room at all for any lesson-books!’

And so she went on, taking first one side and then the oth-

er, and making quite a conversation of it altogether; but after

a few minutes she heard a voice outside, and stopped to lis-

ten.‘Mary Ann! Mary Ann!’ said the voice. ‘Fetch me my

gloves this moment!’ Then came a little pattering of feet on

the stairs. Alice knew it was the Rabbit coming to look for

her, and she trembled till she shook the house, quite forget-

ting that she was now about a thousand times as large as the

Rabbit, and had no reason to be afraid of it.

Presently the Rabbit came up to the door, and tried to

open it; but, as the door opened inwards, and Alice’s elbow

was pressed hard against it, that attempt proved a failure. Al-

ice heard it say to itself ‘Then I’ll go round and get in at the

window.’

That you won’t’ thought Alice, and, after waiting till she

fancied she heard the Rabbit just under the window, she sud-

denly spread out her hand, and made a snatch in the air. She

did not get hold of anything, but she heard a little shriek and

a fall, and a crash of broken glass, from which she concluded

that it was just possible it had fallen into a cucumber-frame,

or something of the sort.

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31

Next came an angry voice—the Rabbit’s—‘Pat! Pat! Where

are you?’ And then a voice she had never heard before, ‘Sure

then I’m here! Digging for apples, yer honour!’

‘Digging for apples, indeed!’ said the Rabbit angrily.

‘Here! Come and help me out of this!’ (Sounds of more bro-

ken glass.)

‘Now tell me, Pat, what’s that in the window?’

‘Sure, it’s an arm, yer honour!’ (He pronounced it ‘ar-

rum.’)

‘An arm, you goose! Who ever saw one that size? Why, it

fills the whole window!’

‘Sure, it does, yer honour: but it’s an arm for all that.’

‘Well, it’s got no business there, at any rate: go and take it

away!’

There was a long silence after this, and Alice could only

hear whispers now and then; such as, ‘Sure, I don’t like it, yer

honour, at all, at all!’ ‘Do as I tell you, you coward!’ and at

last she spread out her hand again, and made another snatch

in the air. This time there were
1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10

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