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she,’ said the Gryphon. ‘It’s all her fancy, that: they

never executes nobody, you know. Come on!’

‘Everybody says ‘come on!’ here,’ thought Alice, as she

went slowly after it: ‘I never was so ordered about in all my

life, never!’

They had not gone far before they saw the Mock Turtle in

the distance, sitting sad and lonely on a little ledge of rock,

and, as they came nearer, Alice could hear him sighing as

if his heart would break. She pitied him deeply. ‘What is

his sorrow?’ she asked the Gryphon, and the Gryphon an-

swered, very nearly in the same words as before, ‘It’s all his

fancy, that: he hasn’t got no sorrow, you know. Come on!’

So they went up to the Mock Turtle, who looked at them

with large eyes full of tears, but said nothing.

‘This here young lady,’ said the Gryphon, ‘she wants for

to know your history, she do.’

‘I’ll tell it her,’ said the Mock Turtle in a deep, hollow

tone: ‘sit down, both of you, and don’t speak a word till I’ve

finished.’

So they sat down, and nobody spoke for some minutes.

Alice thought to herself, ‘I don’t see how he can even finish,

if he doesn’t begin.’ But she waited patiently.

‘Once,’ said the Mock Turtle at last, with a deep sigh, ‘I

was a real Turtle.’

These words were followed by a very long silence, bro-

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81

ken only by an occasional exclamation of ‘Hjckrrh!’ from

the Gryphon, and the constant heavy sobbing of the Mock

Turtle. Alice was very nearly getting up and saying, ‘Thank

you, sir, for your interesting story,’ but she could not help

thinking there must be more to come, so she sat still and

said nothing.

‘When we were little,’ the Mock Turtle went on at last,

more calmly, though still sobbing a little now and then, ‘we

went to school in the sea. The master was an old Turtle—we

used to call him Tortoise—’

‘Why did you call him Tortoise, if he wasn’t one?’ Alice

asked.

‘We called him Tortoise because he taught us,’ said the

Mock Turtle angrily: ‘really you are very dull!’

‘You ought to be ashamed of yourself for asking such a

simple question,’ added the Gryphon; and then they both

sat silent and looked at poor Alice, who felt ready to sink

into the earth. At last the Gryphon said to the Mock Turtle,

‘Drive on, old fellow! Don’t be all day about it!’ and he went

on in these words:

‘Yes, we went to school in the sea, though you mayn’t

believe it—’

‘I never said I didn’t!’ interrupted Alice.

‘You did,’ said the Mock Turtle.

‘Hold your tongue!’ added the Gryphon, before Alice

could speak again. The Mock Turtle went on.

‘We had the best of educations—in fact, we went to

school every day—’

I’ve been to a day-school, too,’ said Alice; ‘you needn’t be

82

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

so proud as all that.’

‘With extras?’ asked the Mock Turtle a little anxiously.

‘Yes,’ said Alice, ‘we learned French and music.’

‘And washing?’ said the Mock Turtle.

‘Certainly not!’ said Alice indignantly.

‘Ah! then yours wasn’t a really good school,’ said the

Mock Turtle in a tone of great relief. ‘Now at ours they had

at the end of the bill, ‘French, music, and washing—extra.‘

‘You couldn’t have wanted it much,’ said Alice; ‘living at

the bottom of the sea.’

‘I couldn’t afford to learn it.’ said the Mock Turtle with a

sigh. ‘I only took the regular course.’

‘What was that?’ inquired Alice.

‘Reeling and Writhing, of course, to begin with,’ the

Mock Turtle replied; ‘and then the different branches of

Arithmetic— Ambition, Distraction, Uglification, and De-

rision.’

‘I never heard of ‘Uglification,‘ Alice ventured to say.

‘What is it?’

The Gryphon lifted up both its paws in surprise. ‘What!

Never heard of uglifying!’ it exclaimed. ‘You know what to

beautify is, I suppose?’

‘Yes,’ said Alice doubtfully: ‘it means—to—make—any-

thing—prettier.’

‘Well, then,’ the Gryphon went on, ‘if you don’t know

what to uglify is, you are a simpleton.’

Alice did not feel encouraged to ask any more questions

about it, so she turned to the Mock Turtle, and said ‘What

else had you to learn?’

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83

‘Well, there was Mystery,’ the Mock Turtle replied,

counting off the subjects on his flappers, ‘—Mystery, an-

cient and modern, with Seaography: then Drawling—the

Drawling-master was an old conger-eel, that used to come

once a week: ^ He taught us Drawling, Stretching, and Faint-

ing in Coils.’

‘What was that like?’ said Alice.

‘Well, I can’t show it you myself,’ the Mock Turtle said:

‘I’m too stiff. And the Gryphon never learnt it.’

‘Hadn’t time,’ said the Gryphon: ‘I went to the Classics

master, though. He was an old crab, he was.’

‘I never went to him,’ the Mock Turtle said with a sigh:

‘he taught Laughing and Grief, they used to say.’

‘So he did, so he did,’ said the Gryphon, sighing in his

turn; and both creatures hid their faces in their paws.

‘And how many hours a day did you do lessons?’ said Al-

ice, in a hurry to change the subject.

‘Ten hours the first day,’ said the Mock Turtle: ‘nine the

next, and so on.’

‘What a curious plan!’ exclaimed Alice.

‘That’s the reason they’re called lessons,’ the Gryphon re-

marked: ‘because they lessen from day to day.’

This was quite a new idea to Alice, and she thought it

over a little before she made her next remark. ‘Then the

eleventh day must have been a holiday?’

‘Of course it was,’ said the Mock Turtle.

‘And how did you manage on the twelfth?’ Alice went on

eagerly.

‘That’s enough about lessons,’ the Gryphon interrupted

84

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

in a very decided tone: ‘tell her something about the games

now.’

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85

Chapter X.

The Lobster Quadrille

The Mock Turtle sighed deeply, and drew the back of one

flapper across his eyes. He looked at Alice, and tried to

speak, but for a minute or two sobs choked his voice. ‘Same

as if he had a bone in his throat,’ said the Gryphon: and

it set to work shaking him and punching him in the back.

At last the Mock Turtle recovered his voice, and, with tears

running down his cheeks, he went on again:—

‘You may not have lived much under the sea—’ (’I

haven’t,’ said Alice)— ‘and perhaps you were never even in-

troduced to a lobster—’ (Alice began to say ‘I once tasted—’

but checked herself hastily, and said ‘No, never’) ‘—so you

can have no idea what a delightful thing a Lobster Quadrille

is!’‘No, indeed,’ said Alice. ‘What sort of a dance is it?’

‘Why,’ said the Gryphon, ‘you first form into a line along

the sea-shore—’

‘Two lines!’ cried the Mock Turtle. ‘Seals, turtles, salm-

on, and so on; then, when you’ve cleared all the jelly-fish out

of the way—’

THAT generally takes some time,’ interrupted the Gry-

phon.

‘—you advance twice—’

‘Each with a lobster as a partner!’ cried the Gryphon.

86

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

‘Of course,’ the Mock Turtle said: ‘advance twice, set to

partners—’

‘—change lobsters, and retire in same order,’ continued

the Gryphon.

‘Then, you know,’ the Mock Turtle went on, ‘you throw

the—’

‘The lobsters!’ shouted the Gryphon, with a bound into

the air.

‘—as far out to sea as you can—’

‘Swim after them!’ screamed the Gryphon.

‘Turn a somersault in the sea!’ cried the Mock Turtle, ca-

pering wildly about.

‘Change lobster’s again!’ yelled the Gryphon at the top

of its voice.

‘Back to land again, and that’s all the first figure,’ said

the Mock Turtle, suddenly dropping his voice; and the two

creatures, who had been jumping about like mad things all

this time, sat down again very sadly and quietly, and looked

at Alice.

‘It must be a very pretty dance,’ said Alice timidly.

‘Would you like to see a little of it?’ said the Mock Tur-

tle.‘Very much indeed,’ said Alice.

‘Come, let’s try the first figure!’ said the Mock Turtle

to the Gryphon. ‘We can do without lobsters, you know.

Which shall sing?’

‘Oh, YOU sing,’ said the Gryphon. ‘I’ve forgotten the

words.’

So they began solemnly dancing round and round Alice,

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87

every now and then treading on her toes when they passed

too close, and waving their forepaws to mark the time, while

the Mock Turtle sang this, very slowly and sadly:—

‘Will you walk a little faster?’ said a whiting to a snail.

‘There’s a porpoise close behind us, and he’s treading on my

tail. See how eagerly the lobsters and the turtles all advance!

They are waiting on the shingle—will you come and join the

dance?

Will you, won’t you, will you, won’t you, will you join the

dance? Will you, won’t you, will you, won’t you, won’t you

join the dance?

‘You can real y have no notion how delightful it will be

When they take us up and throw us, with the lobsters, out to

sea!’ But the snail replied ‘Too far, too far!’ and gave a look

askance— Said he thanked the whiting kindly, but he would

not join the dance. Would not, could not, would not, could

not, would not join the dance. Would not, could not, would

not, could not, could not join the dance.

‘What matters it how far we go?’ his scaly friend replied.

‘There is another shore, you know, upon the other side. The

further off from England the nearer is to France— Then turn

not pale, beloved snail, but come and join the dance.

Will you, won’t you, will you, won’t you, will you join the

dance? Will you, won’t you, will you, won’t you, won’t you

join the dance?‘

‘Thank you, it’s a very interesting dance to watch,’ said

Alice, feeling very glad that it was over at last: ‘and I do so

like that curious song about the whiting!’

‘Oh, as to the whiting,’ said the Mock Turtle, ‘they—

88

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

you’ve seen them, of course?’

‘Yes,’ said Alice, ‘I’ve often seen them at dinn—’ she

checked herself hastily.

‘I don’t know where Dinn may be,’ said the Mock Turtle,

‘but if you’ve seen them so often, of course you know what

they’re like.’

‘I believe so,’ Alice replied thoughtfully. ‘They have their

tails in their mouths—and they’re all over crumbs.’

‘You’re wrong about the crumbs,’ said the Mock Turtle:

‘crumbs would all wash off in the sea. But they have their

tails in their mouths; and the reason is—’ here the Mock

Turtle yawned and shut his eyes.—‘Tell her about the reason

and all that,’ he said to the Gryphon.

‘The reason is,’ said the Gryphon, ‘that they would go

with the lobsters to the dance. So they got thrown out to

sea. So they had to fall a long way. So they got their tails

fast in their mouths. So they couldn’t get them out again.

That’s all.’

‘Thank you,’ said Alice, ‘it’s very interesting. I never

knew so much about a whiting before.’

‘I can tell you more than that, if you like,’ said the Gry-

phon. ‘Do you know why it’s called a whiting?’

‘I never thought about it,’ said Alice. ‘Why?’

‘It does the boots and shoes.’ the Gryphon replied very

solemnly.

Alice was thoroughly puzzled. ‘Does the boots and

shoes!’ she repeated in a wondering tone.

‘Why, what are your shoes done with?’ said the Gryphon.

‘I mean, what makes them so shiny?’

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89

Alice looked down at them, and considered a little before

she gave her answer. ‘They’re done with blacking, I believe.’

‘Boots and shoes under the sea,’ the Gryphon went on in

a deep voice, ‘are done with a whiting. Now you know.’

‘And what are they made of?’ Alice asked in a tone of

great curiosity.

‘Soles and eels, of course,’ the Gryphon replied rather

impatiently: ‘any shrimp could have told you that.’

‘If I’d been the whiting,’ said Alice, whose thoughts were

still running on the song, ‘I’d have said to the porpoise,

‘Keep back, please: we don’t want you with us!‘

‘They were obliged to have him with them,’ the Mock

Turtle said: ‘no wise fish would go anywhere without a por-

poise.’

‘Wouldn’t it really?’ said Alice in a tone of great sur-

prise.

‘Of course not,’ said the Mock Turtle: ‘why, if a fish came

to me, and told me he was going a journey, I should say

‘With what porpoise?‘

‘Don’t you mean ‘purpose’?’ said Alice.

‘I mean what I say,’ the Mock Turtle replied in an offend-

ed tone. And the Gryphon added ‘Come, let’s hear some of

your adventures.’

‘I could tell you my adventures—beginning from this

morning,’ said Alice a little timidly: ‘but it’s no use going

back to yesterday, because I was a different person then.’

‘Explain all that,’ said the Mock Turtle.

‘No, no! The adventures first,’ said the Gryphon in an

impatient tone: ‘explanations take such a dreadful time.’

90

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

So Alice began telling them her adventures from the time

when she first saw the White Rabbit. She was a little nervous

about it just at first, the two creatures got so close to her,

one on each side, and opened their eyes and mouths so very

wide, but she gained courage as she went on. Her listeners

were perfectly quiet till she got to the part about her repeat-

ing ’You are old, Father Wil iam,’ to the Caterpillar, and the

words all coming different, and then the Mock Turtle drew

a long breath, and said ‘That’s very curious.’

‘It’s all about as curious as it can be,’ said the Gryphon.

‘It all came different!’ the Mock Turtle repeated thought-

fully. ‘I should like to hear her try and repeat something

now. Tell her to begin.’ He looked at the Gryphon as if he

thought it had some kind of authority over Alice.

‘Stand up and repeat
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