CHAPTER I. Down the Rabbit-Hole
Alice was beginning to get very tired of sitting by her sister on the
bank, and of having nothing to do: once or twice she had peeped into the
book her sister was reading, but it had no pictures or conversations in
it, ‘and what is the use of a book,’ thought Alice ‘without pictures or
So she was considering in her own mind (as well as she could, for the
hot day made her feel very sleepy and stupid), whether the pleasure
of making a daisy-chain would be worth the trouble of getting up and
picking the daisies, when suddenly a White Rabbit with pink eyes ran
close by her.
There was nothing so VERY remarkable in that; nor did Alice think it so
VERY much out of the way to hear the Rabbit say to itself, ‘Oh dear!
Oh dear! I shall be late!’ (when she thought it over afterwards, it
occurred to her that she ought to have wondered at this, but at the time
it all seemed quite natural); but when the Rabbit actually TOOK A WATCH
OUT OF ITS WAISTCOAT-POCKET, and looked at it, and then hurried on,
Alice started to her feet, for it flashed across her mind that she had
never before seen a rabbit with either a waistcoat-pocket, or a watch
to take out of it, and burning with curiosity, she ran across the field
after it, and fortunately was just in time to see it pop down a large
rabbit-hole under the hedge.
In another moment down went Alice after it, never once considering how
in the world she was to get out again.
The rabbit-hole went straight on like a tunnel for some way, and then
dipped suddenly down, so suddenly that Alice had not a moment to think
about stopping herself before she found herself falling down a very deep
Either the well was very deep, or she fell very slowly, for she had
plenty of time as she went down to look about her and to wonder what was
going to happen next. First, she tried to look down and make out what
she was coming to, but it was too dark to see anything; then she
looked at the sides of the well, and noticed that they were filled with
cupboards and book-shelves; here and there she saw maps and pictures
hung upon pegs. She took down a jar from one of the shelves as
she passed; it was labelled ‘ORANGE MARMALADE’, but to her great
disappointment it was empty: she did not like to drop the jar for fear
of killing somebody, so managed to put it into one of the cupboards as
she fell past it.
‘Well!’ thought Alice to herself, ‘after such a fall as this, I shall
think nothing of tumbling down stairs! How brave they’ll all think me at
home! Why, I wouldn’t say anything about it, even if I fell off the top
of the house!’ (Which was very likely true.)
Down, down, down. Would the fall NEVER come to an end! ‘I wonder how
many miles I’ve fallen by this time?’ she said aloud. ‘I must be getting
somewhere near the centre of the earth. Let me see: that would be four
thousand miles down, I think–‘ (for, you see, Alice had learnt several
things of this sort in her lessons in the schoolroom, and though this
was not a VERY good opportunity for showing off her knowledge, as there
was no one to listen to her, still it was good practice to say it over)
‘–yes, that’s about the right distance–but then I wonder what Latitude
or Longitude I’ve got to?’ (Alice had no idea what Latitude was, or
Longitude either, but thought they were nice grand words to say.)
Presently she began again. ‘I wonder if I shall fall right THROUGH the
earth! How funny it’ll seem to come out among the people that walk with
their heads downward! The Antipathies, I think–‘ (she was rather glad
there WAS no one listening, this time, as it didn’t sound at all the
right word) ‘–but I shall have to ask them what the name of the country
is, you know. Please, Ma’am, is this New Zealand or Australia?’ (and
she tried to curtsey as she spoke–fancy CURTSEYING as you’re falling
through the air! Do you think you could manage it?) ‘And what an
ignorant little girl she’ll think me for asking! No, it’ll never do to
ask: perhaps I shall see it written up somewhere.’
Down, down, down. There was nothing else to do, so Alice soon began
talking again. ‘Dinah’ll miss me very much to-night, I should think!’
(Dinah was the cat.) ‘I hope they’ll remember her saucer of milk at
tea-time. Dinah my dear! I wish you were down here with me! There are no
mice in the air, I’m afraid, but you might catch a bat, and that’s very
like a mouse, you know. But do cats eat bats, I wonder?’ And here Alice
began to get rather sleepy, and went on saying to herself, in a dreamy
sort of way, ‘Do cats eat bats? Do cats eat bats?’ and sometimes, ‘Do
bats eat cats?’ for, you see, as she couldn’t answer either question,
it didn’t much matter which way she put it. She felt that she was dozing
off, and had just begun to dream that she was walking hand in hand with
Dinah, and saying to her very earnestly, ‘Now, Dinah, tell me the truth:
did you ever eat a bat?’ when suddenly, thump! thump! down she came upon
a heap of sticks and dry leaves, and the fall was over.
Alice was not a bit hurt, and she jumped up on to her feet in a moment:
she looked up, but it was all dark overhead; before her was another
long passage, and the White Rabbit was still in sight, hurrying down it.
There was not a moment to be lost: away went Alice like the wind, and
was just in time to hear it say, as it turned a corner, ‘Oh my ears
and whiskers, how late it’s getting!’ She was close behind it when she
turned the corner, but the Rabbit was no longer to be seen: she found
herself in a long, low hall, which was lit up by a row of lamps hanging
from the roof.
There were doors all round the hall, but they were all locked; and when
Alice had been all the way down one side and up the other, trying every
door, she walked sadly down the middle, wondering how she was ever to
get out again.
Suddenly she came upon a little three-legged table, all made of solid
glass; there was nothing on it except a tiny golden key, and Alice’s
first thought was that it might belong to one of the doors of the hall;
but, alas! either the locks were too large, or the key was too small,
but at any rate it would not open any of them. However, on the second
time round, she came upon a low curtain she had not noticed before, and
behind it was a little door about fifteen inches high: she tried the
little golden key in the lock, and to her great delight it fitted!
Alice opened the door and found that it led into a small passage, not
much larger than a rat-hole: she knelt down and looked along the passage
into the loveliest garden you ever saw. How she longed to get out of
that dark hall, and wander about among those beds of bright flowers and
those cool fountains, but she could not even get her head through the
doorway; ‘and even if my head would go through,’ thought poor Alice, ‘it
would be of very little use without my shoulders. Oh, how I wish I could
shut up like a telescope! I think I could, if I only knew how to begin.’
For, you see, so many out-of-the-way things had happened lately,
that Alice had begun to think that very few things indeed were really
There seemed to be no use in waiting by the little door, so she went
back to the table, half hoping she might find another key on it, or at
any rate a book of rules for shutting people up like telescopes: this
time she found a little bottle on it, (‘which certainly was not here
before,’ said Alice,) and round the neck of the bottle was a paper
label, with the words ‘DRINK ME’ beautifully printed on it in large
It was all very well to say ‘Drink me,’ but the wise little Alice was
not going to do THAT in a hurry. ‘No, I’ll look first,’ she said, ‘and
see whether it’s marked “poison” or not’; for she had read several nice
little histories about children who had got burnt, and eaten up by wild
beasts and other unpleasant things, all because they WOULD not remember
the simple rules their friends had taught them: such as, that a red-hot
poker will burn you if you hold it too long; and that if you cut your
finger VERY deeply with a knife, it usually bleeds; and she had never
forgotten that, if you drink much from a bottle marked ‘poison,’ it is
almost certain to disagree with you, sooner or later.
However, this bottle was NOT marked ‘poison,’ so Alice ventured to taste
it, and finding it very nice, (it had, in fact, a sort of mixed flavour
of cherry-tart, custard, pine-apple, roast turkey, toffee, and hot
buttered toast,) she very soon finished it off.
* * * * * * *
* * * * * *
* * * * * * *
‘What a curious feeling!’ said Alice; ‘I must be shutting up like a
And so it was indeed: she was now only ten inches high, and her face
brightened up at the thought that she was now the right size for going
through the little door into that lovely garden. First, however, she
waited for a few minutes to see if she was going to shrink any further:
she felt a little nervous about this; ‘for it might end, you know,’ said
Alice to herself, ‘in my going out altogether, like a candle. I wonder
what I should be like then?’ And she tried to fancy what the flame of a
candle is like after the candle is blown out, for she could not remember
ever having seen such a thing.
After a while, finding that nothing more happened, she decided on going
into the garden at once; but, alas for poor Alice! when she got to the
door, she found she had forgotten the little golden key, and when she
went back to the table for it, she found she could not possibly reach
it: she could see it quite plainly through the glass, and she tried her
best to climb up one of the legs of the table, but it was too slippery;
and when she had tired herself out with trying, the poor little thing
sat down and cried.
‘Come, there’s no use in crying like that!’ said Alice to herself,
rather sharply; ‘I advise you to leave off this minute!’ She generally
gave herself very good advice, (though she very seldom followed it),
and sometimes she scolded herself so severely as to bring tears into
her eyes; and once she remembered trying to box her own ears for having
cheated herself in a game of croquet she was playing against herself,
for this curious child was very fond of pretending to be two people.
‘But it’s no use now,’ thought poor Alice, ‘to pretend to be two people!
Why, there’s hardly enough of me left to make ONE respectable person!’
Soon her eye fell on a little glass box that was lying under the table:
she opened it, and found in it a very small cake, on which the words
‘EAT ME’ were beautifully marked in currants. ‘Well, I’ll eat it,’ said
Alice, ‘and if it makes me grow larger, I can reach the key; and if it
makes me grow smaller, I can creep under the door; so either way I’ll
get into the garden, and I don’t care which happens!’
She ate a little bit, and said anxiously to herself, ‘Which way? Which
way?’, holding her hand on the top of her head to feel which way it was
growing, and she was quite surprised to find that she remained the same
size: to be sure, this generally happens when one eats cake, but Alice
had got so much into the way of expecting nothing but out-of-the-way
things to happen, that it seemed quite dull and stupid for life to go on
in the common way.
So she set to work, and very soon finished off the cake.
* * * * * * *
* * * * * *
* * * * * * *
CHAPTER II. The Pool of Tears
‘Curiouser and curiouser!’ cried Alice (she was so much surprised, that
for the moment she quite forgot how to speak good English); ‘now I’m
opening out like the largest telescope that ever was! Good-bye, feet!’
(for when she looked down at her feet, they seemed to be almost out of
sight, they were getting so far off). ‘Oh, my poor little feet, I wonder
who will put on your shoes and stockings for you now, dears? I’m sure
_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!
ALICE’S RIGHT FOOT, ESQ.
NEAR THE FENDER,
(WITH ALICE’S LOVE).
Oh dear, what nonsense I’m talking!’
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 door.
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 distance, 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
desperate 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 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 question 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!
‘How cheerfully 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 being 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 little 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.
‘That WAS a narrow escape!’ said Alice, a good deal frightened 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. (Alice 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 high.
‘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 hippopotamus, but then she remembered how small
she was now, and 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 before, 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 nothing.
‘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 happened.) 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 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 bristling 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 belongs 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 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
history, 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.
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 animals 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 familiarly 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 authority among them,
called out, ‘Sit down, all of you, and listen to me! I’LL soon make you
dry enough!’ They all sat down at once, in a large ring, with the Mouse
in the middle. Alice 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, if you please! “William
the Conqueror, whose cause was favoured 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
‘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 Canterbury, found it advisable–“‘
‘Found WHAT?’ said the Duck.
‘Found IT,’ the Mouse replied rather crossly: ‘of course you know what
‘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
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, turning
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 of more energetic
‘Speak English!’ said the Eaglet. ‘I don’t know the meaning 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
‘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 Caucus-race.’
‘What 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 usually see Shakespeare, in the pictures
of him), while the rest 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 finished 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
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 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
‘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
both go to
law: I will
I’ll take no
must have a
mouse to the
‘You are not attending!’ said the Mouse to Alice severely. ‘What are you
‘I beg your pardon,’ said Alice very humbly: ‘you had got 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 useful, 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 nonsense!’
‘I didn’t mean it!’ pleaded poor Alice. ‘But you’re so easily offended,
The Mouse only growled in reply.
‘Please come back and finish your story!’ Alice called after 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 opportunity 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 question?’ said the
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 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 little 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.