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what? The other side of what?’ thought Alice

to herself.

‘Of the mushroom,’ said the Caterpillar, just as if she had

asked it aloud; and in another moment it was out of sight.

Alice remained looking thoughtfully at the mushroom

for a minute, trying to make out which were the two sides of

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41

it; and as it was perfectly round, she found this a very diffi-

cult question. However, at last she stretched her arms round

it as far as they would go, and broke off a bit of the edge with

each hand.

‘And now which is which?’ she said to herself, and nib-

bled a little of the right-hand bit to try the effect: the next

moment she felt a violent blow underneath her chin: it had

struck her foot!

She was a good deal frightened by this very sudden

change, but she felt that there was no time to be lost, as she

was shrinking rapidly; so she set to work at once to eat some

of the other bit. Her chin was pressed so closely against her

foot, that there was hardly room to open her mouth; but

she did it at last, and managed to swallow a morsel of the

lefthand bit.

*****
‘Come, my head’s free at last!’ said Alice in a tone of de-

light, which changed into alarm in another moment, when

she found that her shoulders were nowhere to be found:

all she could see, when she looked down, was an immense

length of neck, which seemed to rise like a stalk out of a sea

of green leaves that lay far below her.

‘What can all that green stuff be?’ said Alice. ‘And where

have my shoulders got to? And oh, my poor hands, how is it

I can’t see you?’ She was moving them about as she spoke,

but no result seemed to follow, except a little shaking among

the distant green leaves.

As there seemed to be no chance of getting her hands

up to her head, she tried to get her head down to them, and

42

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

was delighted to find that her neck would bend about eas-

ily in any direction, like a serpent. She had just succeeded

in curving it down into a graceful zigzag, and was going to

dive in among the leaves, which she found to be nothing but

the tops of the trees under which she had been wandering,

when a sharp hiss made her draw back in a hurry: a large pi-

geon had flown into her face, and was beating her violently

with its wings.

‘Serpent!’ screamed the Pigeon.

‘I’m not a serpent!’ said Alice indignantly. ‘Let me

alone!’

‘Serpent, I say again!’ repeated the Pigeon, but in a more

subdued tone, and added with a kind of sob, ‘I’ve tried every

way, and nothing seems to suit them!’

‘I haven’t the least idea what you’re talking about,’ said

Alice.

‘I’ve tried the roots of trees, and I’ve tried banks, and I’ve

tried hedges,’ the Pigeon went on, without attending to her;

‘but those serpents! There’s no pleasing them!’

Alice was more and more puzzled, but she thought there

was no use in saying anything more till the Pigeon had fin-

ished.

‘As if it wasn’t trouble enough hatching the eggs,’ said the

Pigeon; ‘but I must be on the look-out for serpents night and

day! Why, I haven’t had a wink of sleep these three weeks!’

‘I’m very sorry you’ve been annoyed,’ said Alice, who was

beginning to see its meaning.

‘And just as I’d taken the highest tree in the wood,’ con-

tinued the Pigeon, raising its voice to a shriek, ‘and just as

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43

I was thinking I should be free of them at last, they must

needs come wriggling down from the sky! Ugh, Serpent!’

‘But I’m not a serpent, I tell you!’ said Alice. ‘I’m a—I’m

a—’‘Well! what are you?’ said the Pigeon. ‘I can see you’re

trying to invent something!’

‘I—I’m a little girl,’ said Alice, rather doubtfully, as she

remembered the number of changes she had gone through

that day.

‘A likely story indeed!’ said the Pigeon in a tone of the

deepest contempt. ‘I’ve seen a good many little girls in my

time, but never one with such a neck as that! No, no! You’re

a serpent; and there’s no use denying it. I suppose you’ll be

telling me next that you never tasted an egg!’

‘I have tasted eggs, certainly,’ said Alice, who was a very

truthful child; ‘but little girls eat eggs quite as much as ser-

pents do, you know.’

‘I don’t believe it,’ said the Pigeon; ‘but if they do, why

then they’re a kind of serpent, that’s all I can say.’

This was such a new idea to Alice, that she was quite

silent for a minute or two, which gave the Pigeon the op-

portunity of adding, ‘You’re looking for eggs, I know that

well enough; and what does it matter to me whether you’re

a little girl or a serpent?’

‘It matters a good deal to me,’ said Alice hastily; ‘but I’m

not looking for eggs, as it happens; and if I was, I shouldn’t

want yours: I don’t like them raw.’

‘Well, be off, then!’ said the Pigeon in a sulky tone, as it

settled down again into its nest. Alice crouched down among

44

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

the trees as well as she could, for her neck kept getting en-

tangled among the branches, and every now and then she

had to stop and untwist it. After a while she remembered

that she still held the pieces of mushroom in her hands, and

she set to work very carefully, nibbling first at one and then

at the other, and growing sometimes taller and sometimes

shorter, until she had succeeded in bringing herself down to

her usual height.

It was so long since she had been anything near the right

size, that it felt quite strange at first; but she got used to it in

a few minutes, and began talking to herself, as usual. ‘Come,

there’s half my plan done now! How puzzling all these

changes are! I’m never sure what I’m going to be, from one

minute to another! However, I’ve got back to my right size:

the next thing is, to get into that beautiful garden—how is

that to be done, I wonder?’ As she said this, she came sud-

denly upon an open place, with a little house in it about four

feet high. ‘Whoever lives there,’ thought Alice, ‘it’ll never

do to come upon them this size: why, I should frighten them

out of their wits!’ So she began nibbling at the righthand bit

again, and did not venture to go near the house till she had

brought herself down to nine inches high.

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45

Chapter VI.

Pig and Pepper

For a minute or two she stood looking at the house, and

wondering what to do next, when suddenly a footman

in livery came running out of the wood—(she considered

him to be a footman because he was in livery: otherwise,

judging by his face only, she would have called him a fish)—

and rapped loudly at the door with his knuckles. It was

opened by another footman in livery, with a round face, and

large eyes like a frog; and both footmen, Alice noticed, had

powdered hair that curled all over their heads. She felt very

curious to know what it was all about, and crept a little way

out of the wood to listen.

The Fish-Footman began by producing from under his

arm a great letter, nearly as large as himself, and this he

handed over to the other, saying, in a solemn tone, ‘For the

Duchess. An invitation from the Queen to play croquet.’

The Frog-Footman repeated, in the same solemn tone, only

changing the order of the words a little, ‘From the Queen.

An invitation for the Duchess to play croquet.’

Then they both bowed low, and their curls got entangled

together.

Alice laughed so much at this, that she had to run back

into the wood for fear of their hearing her; and when she

next peeped out the Fish-Footman was gone, and the other

46

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

was sitting on the ground near the door, staring stupidly up

into the sky.

Alice went timidly up to the door, and knocked.

‘There’s no sort of use in knocking,’ said the Footman,

‘and that for two reasons. First, because I’m on the same

side of the door as you are; secondly, because they’re mak-

ing such a noise inside, no one could possibly hear you.’

And certainly there was a most extraordinary noise going

on within—a constant howling and sneezing, and every

now and then a great crash, as if a dish or kettle had been

broken to pieces.

‘Please, then,’ said Alice, ‘how am I to get in?’

‘There might be some sense in your knocking,’ the Foot-

man went on without attending to her, ‘if we had the door

between us. For instance, if you were inside, you might

knock, and I could let you out, you know.’ He was looking

up into the sky all the time he was speaking, and this Alice

thought decidedly uncivil. ‘But perhaps he can’t help it,’ she

said to herself; ‘his eyes are so very nearly at the top of his

head. But at any rate he might answer questions.—How am

I to get in?’ she repeated, aloud.

‘I shall sit here,’ the Footman remarked, ‘till tomorrow—’

At this moment the door of the house opened, and a large

plate came skimming out, straight at the Footman’s head: it

just grazed his nose, and broke to pieces against one of the

trees behind him.

‘—or next day, maybe,’ the Footman continued in the

same tone, exactly as if nothing had happened.

‘How am I to get in?’ asked Alice again, in a louder tone.

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47

Are you to get in at all?’ said the Footman. ‘That’s the

first question, you know.’

It was, no doubt: only Alice did not like to be told so.

‘It’s really dreadful,’ she muttered to herself, ‘the way all the

creatures argue. It’s enough to drive one crazy!’

The Footman seemed to think this a good opportunity

for repeating his remark, with variations. ‘I shall sit here,’

he said, ‘on and off, for days and days.’

‘But what am I to do?’ said Alice.

‘Anything you like,’ said the Footman, and began whis-

tling.

‘Oh, there’s no use in talking to him,’ said Alice desper-

ately: ‘he’s perfectly idiotic!’ And she opened the door and

went in.

The door led right into a large kitchen, which was full

of smoke from one end to the other: the Duchess was sit-

ting on a three-legged stool in the middle, nursing a baby;

the cook was leaning over the fire, stirring a large cauldron

which seemed to be full of soup.

‘There’s certainly too much pepper in that soup!’ Alice

said to herself, as well as she could for sneezing.

There was certainly too much of it in the air. Even the

Duchess sneezed occasionally; and as for the baby, it was

sneezing and howling alternately without a moment’s pause.

The only things in the kitchen that did not sneeze, were the

cook, and a large cat which was sitting on the hearth and

grinning from ear to ear.

‘Please would you tell me,’ said Alice, a little timidly, for

she was not quite sure whether it was good manners for her

48

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

to speak first, ‘why your cat grins like that?’

‘It’s a Cheshire cat,’ said the Duchess, ‘and that’s why.

Pig!’She said the last word with such sudden violence that Al-

ice quite jumped; but she saw in another moment that it was

addressed to the baby, and not to her, so she took courage,

and went on again:—

‘I didn’t know that Cheshire cats always grinned; in fact,

I didn’t know that cats could grin.’

‘They all can,’ said the Duchess; ‘and most of ‘em do.’

‘I don’t know of any that do,’ Alice said very politely, feel-

ing quite pleased to have got into a conversation.

‘You don’t know much,’ said the Duchess; ‘and that’s a

fact.’

Alice did not at all like the tone of this remark, and

thought it would be as well to introduce some other sub-

ject of conversation. While she was trying to fix on one, the

cook took the cauldron of soup off the fire, and at once set

to work throwing everything within her reach at the Duch-

ess and the baby —the fire-irons came first; then followed a

shower of saucepans, plates, and dishes. The Duchess took

no notice of them even when they hit her; and the baby was

howling so much already, that it was quite impossible to say

whether the blows hurt it or not.

‘Oh, please mind what you’re doing!’ cried Alice, jump-

ing up and down in an agony of terror. ‘Oh, there goes his

precious nose’; as an unusually large saucepan flew close by

it, and very nearly carried it off.

‘If everybody minded their own business,’ the Duchess

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49

said in a hoarse growl, ‘the world would go round a deal

faster than it does.’

‘Which would not be an advantage,’ said Alice, who felt

very glad to get an opportunity of showing off a little of her

knowledge. ‘Just think of what work it would make with the

day and night! You see the earth takes twenty-four hours to

turn round on its axis—’

‘Talking of axes,’ said the Duchess, ‘chop off her head!’

Alice glanced rather anxiously at the cook, to see if she

meant to take the hint; but the cook was busily stirring the

soup, and seemed not to be listening, so she went on again:

‘Twenty-four hours, I think; or is it twelve? I—’

‘Oh, don’t bother ME,’ said the Duchess; ‘I never could

abide figures!’ And with that she began nursing her child

again, singing a sort of lullaby to it as she did so, and giving

it a violent shake at the end of every line:

‘Speak roughly to your little boy,

And beat him when he sneezes:

^ He only does it to annoy,

Because he knows it teases.’

CHORUS

(In which the cook and the baby joined):—

‘Wow! wow! wow!’

While the Duchess sang the second verse of the song,

50

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

she kept tossing the baby violently up and down, and the

poor little thing howled so, that Alice could hardly hear the

words:—

1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10

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