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would twist itself round and look up

in her face, with such a puzzled expression that she could

not help bursting out laughing: and when she had got its

head down, and was going to begin again, it was very pro-

voking to find that the hedgehog had unrolled itself, and

was in the act of crawling away: besides all this, there was

generally a ridge or furrow in the way wherever she want-

ed to send the hedgehog to, and, as the doubled-up soldiers

were always getting up and walking off to other parts of the

ground, Alice soon came to the conclusion that it was a very

difficult game indeed.

The players all played at once without waiting for turns,

quarrelling all the while, and fighting for the hedgehogs;

and in a very short time the Queen was in a furious passion,

and went stamping about, and shouting ‘Off with his head!’

or ‘Off with her head!’ about once in a minute.

Alice began to feel very uneasy: to be sure, she had not

as yet had any dispute with the Queen, but she knew that

it might happen any minute, ‘and then,’ thought she, ‘what

would become of me? They’re dreadfully fond of behead-

ing people here; the great wonder is, that there’s any one

left alive!’

She was looking about for some way of escape, and won-

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dering whether she could get away without being seen,

when she noticed a curious appearance in the air: it puzzled

her very much at first, but, after watching it a minute or two,

she made it out to be a grin, and she said to herself ‘It’s the

Cheshire Cat: now I shall have somebody to talk to.’

‘How are you getting on?’ said the Cat, as soon as there

was mouth enough for it to speak with.

Alice waited till the eyes appeared, and then nodded. ‘It’s

no use speaking to it,’ she thought, ‘till its ears have come,

or at least one of them.’ In another minute the whole head

appeared, and then Alice put down her flamingo, and began

an account of the game, feeling very glad she had someone

to listen to her. The Cat seemed to think that there was

enough of it now in sight, and no more of it appeared.

‘I don’t think they play at all fairly,’ Alice began, in rath-

er a complaining tone, ‘and they all quarrel so dreadfully

one can’t hear oneself speak—and they don’t seem to have

any rules in particular; at least, if there are, nobody at-

tends to them—and you’ve no idea how confusing it is all

the things being alive; for instance, there’s the arch I’ve got

to go through next walking about at the other end of the

ground—and I should have croqueted the Queen’s hedge-

hog just now, only it ran away when it saw mine coming!’

‘How do you like the Queen?’ said the Cat in a low


‘Not at all,’ said Alice: ‘she’s so extremely—’ Just then she

noticed that the Queen was close behind her, listening: so

she went on, ‘—likely to win, that it’s hardly worth while

finishing the game.’


Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

The Queen smiled and passed on.

‘Who are you talking to?’ said the King, going up to Al-

ice, and looking at the Cat’s head with great curiosity.

‘It’s a friend of mine—a Cheshire Cat,’ said Alice: ‘allow

me to introduce it.’

‘I don’t like the look of it at all,’ said the King: ‘however,

it may kiss my hand if it likes.’

‘I’d rather not,’ the Cat remarked.

‘Don’t be impertinent,’ said the King, ‘and don’t look at

me like that!’ He got behind Alice as he spoke.

‘A cat may look at a king,’ said Alice. ‘I’ve read that in

some book, but I don’t remember where.’

‘Well, it must be removed,’ said the King very decidedly,

and he called the Queen, who was passing at the moment,

‘My dear! I wish you would have this cat removed!’

The Queen had only one way of settling all difficulties,

great or small. ‘Off with his head!’ she said, without even

looking round.

‘I’ll fetch the executioner myself,’ said the King eagerly,

and he hurried off.

Alice thought she might as well go back, and see how the

game was going on, as she heard the Queen’s voice in the

distance, screaming with passion. She had already heard

her sentence three of the players to be executed for having

missed their turns, and she did not like the look of things at

all, as the game was in such confusion that she never knew

whether it was her turn or not. So she went in search of her


The hedgehog was engaged in a fight with another hedge-

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hog, which seemed to Alice an excellent opportunity for

croqueting one of them with the other: the only difficulty

was, that her flamingo was gone across to the other side of

the garden, where Alice could see it trying in a helpless sort

of way to fly up into a tree.

By the time she had caught the flamingo and brought it

back, the fight was over, and both the hedgehogs were out of

sight: ‘but it doesn’t matter much,’ thought Alice, ‘as all the

arches are gone from this side of the ground.’ So she tucked

it away under her arm, that it might not escape again, and

went back for a little more conversation with her friend.

When she got back to the Cheshire Cat, she was sur-

prised to find quite a large crowd collected round it: there

was a dispute going on between the executioner, the King,

and the Queen, who were all talking at once, while all the

rest were quite silent, and looked very uncomfortable.

The moment Alice appeared, she was appealed to by all

three to settle the question, and they repeated their argu-

ments to her, though, as they all spoke at once, she found it

very hard indeed to make out exactly what they said.

The executioner’s argument was, that you couldn’t cut off

a head unless there was a body to cut it off from: that he had

never had to do such a thing before, and he wasn’t going to

begin at his time of life.

The King’s argument was, that anything that had a head

could be beheaded, and that you weren’t to talk nonsense.

The Queen’s argument was, that if something wasn’t

done about it in less than no time she’d have everybody ex-

ecuted, all round. (It was this last remark that had made the


Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

whole party look so grave and anxious.)

Alice could think of nothing else to say but ‘It belongs to

the Duchess: you’d better ask her about it.’

‘She’s in prison,’ the Queen said to the executioner: ‘fetch

her here.’ And the executioner went off like an arrow.

The Cat’s head began fading away the moment he was

gone, and, by the time he had come back with the Dutchess,

it had entirely disappeared; so the King and the executioner

ran wildly up and down looking for it, while the rest of the

party went back to the game.

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Chapter IX.

The Mock Turtle’s Story

‘You can’t think how glad I am to see you again, you

dear old thing!’ said the Duchess, as she tucked her

arm affectionately into Alice’s, and they walked off togeth-

er. Alice was very glad to find her in such a pleasant temper,

and thought to herself that perhaps it was only the pepper

that had made her so savage when they met in the kitchen.

‘When ^ I’m a Duchess,’ she said to herself, (not in a very

hopeful tone though), ‘I won’t have any pepper in my kitch-

en at al . Soup does very well without—Maybe it’s always

pepper that makes people hot-tempered,’ she went on, very

much pleased at having found out a new kind of rule, ‘and

vinegar that makes them sour—and camomile that makes

them bitter—and—and barley-sugar and such things that

make children sweet-tempered. I only wish people knew

that: then they wouldn’t be so stingy about it, you know—’

She had quite forgotten the Duchess by this time, and

was a little startled when she heard her voice close to her

ear. ‘You’re thinking about something, my dear, and that

makes you forget to talk. I can’t tell you just now what the

moral of that is, but I shall remember it in a bit.’

‘Perhaps it hasn’t one,’ Alice ventured to remark.

‘Tut, tut, child!’ said the Duchess. ‘Everything’s got a


Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

moral, if only you can find it.’ And she squeezed herself up

closer to Alice’s side as she spoke.

Alice did not much like keeping so close to her: first, be-

cause the Duchess was VERY ugly; and secondly, because

she was exactly the right height to rest her chin upon Alice’s

shoulder, and it was an uncomfortably sharp chin. How-

ever, she did not like to be rude, so she bore it as well as she


‘The game’s going on rather better now,’ she said, by way

of keeping up the conversation a little.

‘Tis so,’ said the Duchess: ‘and the moral of that is—‘Oh,

‘tis love, ‘tis love, that makes the world go round!‘

‘Somebody said,’ Alice whispered, ‘that it’s done by ev-

erybody minding their own business!’

‘Ah, well! It means much the same thing,’ said the Duch-

ess, digging her sharp little chin into Alice’s shoulder as she

added, ‘and the moral of that is—‘Take care of the sense,

and the sounds will take care of themselves.‘

‘How fond she is of finding morals in things!’ Alice

thought to herself.

‘I dare say you’re wondering why I don’t put my arm

round your waist,’ the Duchess said after a pause: ‘the rea-

son is, that I’m doubtful about the temper of your flamingo.

Shall I try the experiment?’

He might bite,’ Alice cautiously replied, not feeling at all

anxious to have the experiment tried.

‘Very true,’ said the Duchess: ‘flamingoes and mustard

both bite. And the moral of that is—‘Birds of a feather flock


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‘Only mustard isn’t a bird,’ Alice remarked.

‘Right, as usual,’ said the Duchess: ‘what a clear way you

have of putting things!’

‘It’s a mineral, I think,’ said Alice.

‘Of course it is,’ said the Duchess, who seemed ready to

agree to everything that Alice said; ‘there’s a large mustard-

mine near here. And the moral of that is—‘The more there

is of mine, the less there is of yours.‘

‘Oh, I know!’ exclaimed Alice, who had not attended to

this last remark, ‘it’s a vegetable. It doesn’t look like one,

but it is.’

‘I quite agree with you,’ said the Duchess; ‘and the moral

of that is—‘Be what you would seem to be’—or if you’d like

it put more simply—‘Never imagine yourself not to be oth-

erwise than what it might appear to others that what you

were or might have been was not otherwise than what you

had been would have appeared to them to be otherwise.‘

‘I think I should understand that better,’ Alice said very

politely, ‘if I had it written down: but I can’t quite follow it

as you say it.’

‘That’s nothing to what I could say if I chose,’ the Duch-

ess replied, in a pleased tone.

‘Pray don’t trouble yourself to say it any longer than that,’

said Alice.

‘Oh, don’t talk about trouble!’ said the Duchess. ‘I make

you a present of everything I’ve said as yet.’

‘A cheap sort of present!’ thought Alice. ‘I’m glad they

don’t give birthday presents like that!’ But she did not ven-

ture to say it out loud.


Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

‘Thinking again?’ the Duchess asked, with another dig of

her sharp little chin.

‘I’ve a right to think,’ said Alice sharply, for she was be-

ginning to feel a little worried.

‘Just about as much right,’ said the Duchess, ‘as pigs have

to fly; and the m—’

But here, to Alice’s great surprise, the Duchess’s voice

died away, even in the middle of her favourite word ‘moral,’

and the arm that was linked into hers began to tremble. Al-

ice looked up, and there stood the Queen in front of them,

with her arms folded, frowning like a thunderstorm.

‘A fine day, your Majesty!’ the Duchess began in a low,

weak voice.

‘Now, I give you fair warning,’ shouted the Queen,

stamping on the ground as she spoke; ‘either you or your

head must be off, and that in about half no time! Take your


The Duchess took her choice, and was gone in a mo-


‘Let’s go on with the game,’ the Queen said to Alice; and

Alice was too much frightened to say a word, but slowly fol-

lowed her back to the croquet-ground.

The other guests had taken advantage of the Queen’s ab-

sence, and were resting in the shade: however, the moment

they saw her, they hurried back to the game, the Queen

merely remarking that a moment’s delay would cost them

their lives.

All the time they were playing the Queen never left off

quarrelling with the other players, and shouting ‘Off with

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his head!’ or ‘Off with her head!’ Those whom she sentenced

were taken into custody by the soldiers, who of course had

to leave off being arches to do this, so that by the end of half

an hour or so there were no arches left, and all the players,

except the King, the Queen, and Alice, were in custody and

under sentence of execution.

Then the Queen left off, quite out of breath, and said to

Alice, ‘Have you seen the Mock Turtle yet?’

‘No,’ said Alice. ‘I don’t even know what a Mock Turtle

is.’ ‘It’s the thing Mock Turtle Soup is made from,’ said the


‘I never saw one, or heard of one,’ said Alice.

‘Come on, then,’ said the Queen, ‘and he shall tell you

his history,’

As they walked off together, Alice heard the King say in a

low voice, to the company generally, ‘You are all pardoned.’

‘Come, that’s a good thing!’ she said to herself, for she had

felt quite unhappy at the number of executions the Queen

had ordered.

They very soon came upon a Gryphon, lying fast asleep

in the sun. (IF you don’t know what a Gryphon is, look at

the picture.) ‘Up, lazy thing!’ said the Queen, ‘and take this

young lady to see the Mock Turtle, and to hear his history. I

must go back and see after some executions I have ordered’;

and she walked off, leaving Alice alone with the Gryphon.

Alice did not quite like the look of the creature, but on the

whole she thought it would be quite as safe to stay with it as

to go after that savage Queen: so she waited.


Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

The Gryphon sat up and rubbed its eyes: then it watched

the Queen till she was out of sight: then it chuckled. ‘What

fun!’ said the Gryphon, half to itself, half to Alice.

‘What IS the fun?’ said Alice.

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