Through the Looking-Glass
Lewis Carroll [Charles Dodgson]
Part 2 out of 3
'Crabs, and all sorts of things,' said the Sheep: 'plenty of
choice, only make up your mind. Now, what DO you want to buy?'
'To buy!' Alice echoed in a tone that was half astonished and
half frightened--for the oars, and the boat, and the river,
had vanished all in a moment, and she was back again in the
little dark shop.
'I should like to buy an egg, please,' she said timidly. 'How
do you sell them?'
'Fivepence farthing for one--Twopence for two,' the Sheep
'Then two are cheaper than one?' Alice said in a surprised
tone, taking out her purse.
'Only you MUST eat them both, if you buy two,' said the Sheep.
'Then I'll have ONE, please,' said Alice, as she put the money
down on the counter. For she thought to herself, 'They mightn't
be at all nice, you know.'
The Sheep took the money, and put it away in a box: then she
said 'I never put things into people's hands--that would never
do--you must get it for yourself.' And so saying, she went off
to the other end of the shop, and set the egg upright on a shelf.
'I wonder WHY it wouldn't do?' thought Alice, as she groped her
way among the tables and chairs, for the shop was very dark
towards the end. 'The egg seems to get further away the more I
walk towards it. Let me see, is this a chair? Why, it's got
branches, I declare! How very odd to find trees growing here!
And actually here's a little brook! Well, this is the very
queerest shop I ever saw!'
* * * * * * *
* * * * * *
* * * * * * *
So she went on, wondering more and more at every step, as
everything turned into a tree the moment she came up to it, and
she quite expected the egg to do the same.
However, the egg only got larger and larger, and more and more
human: when she had come within a few yards of it, she saw that
it had eyes and a nose and mouth; and when she had come close to
it, she saw clearly that it was HUMPTY DUMPTY himself. 'It can't
be anybody else!' she said to herself. 'I'm as certain of it, as
if his name were written all over his face.'
It might have been written a hundred times, easily, on that
enormous face. Humpty Dumpty was sitting with his legs crossed,
like a Turk, on the top of a high wall--such a narrow one that
Alice quite wondered how he could keep his balance--and, as his
eyes were steadily fixed in the opposite direction, and he didn't
take the least notice of her, she thought he must be a stuffed
figure after all.
'And how exactly like an egg he is!' she said aloud, standing
with her hands ready to catch him, for she was every moment
expecting him to fall.
'It's VERY provoking,' Humpty Dumpty said after a long silence,
looking away from Alice as he spoke, 'to be called an egg--
'I said you LOOKED like an egg, Sir,' Alice gently explained.
'And some eggs are very pretty, you know' she added, hoping to
turn her remark into a sort of a compliment.
'Some people,' said Humpty Dumpty, looking away from her as
usual, 'have no more sense than a baby!'
Alice didn't know what to say to this: it wasn't at all like
conversation, she thought, as he never said anything to HER; in
fact, his last remark was evidently addressed to a tree--so she
stood and softly repeated to herself:--
'Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall:
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.
All the King's horses and all the King's men
Couldn't put Humpty Dumpty in his place again.'
'That last line is much too long for the poetry,' she added,
almost out loud, forgetting that Humpty Dumpty would hear her.
'Don't stand there chattering to yourself like that,' Humpty
Dumpty said, looking at her for the first time, 'but tell me your
name and your business.'
'My NAME is Alice, but--'
'It's a stupid enough name!' Humpty Dumpty interrupted impatiently.
'What does it mean?'
'MUST a name mean something?' Alice asked doubtfully.
'Of course it must,' Humpty Dumpty said with a short laugh:
'MY name means the shape I am--and a good handsome shape it is,
too. With a name like yours, you might be any shape, almost.'
'Why do you sit out here all alone?' said Alice, not wishing
to begin an argument.
'Why, because there's nobody with me!' cried Humpty Dumpty.
'Did you think I didn't know the answer to THAT? Ask another.'
'Don't you think you'd be safer down on the ground?' Alice went
on, not with any idea of making another riddle, but simply in her
good-natured anxiety for the queer creature. 'That wall is so
'What tremendously easy riddles you ask!' Humpty Dumpty growled
out. 'Of course I don't think so! Why, if ever I DID fall off--
which there's no chance of--but IF I did--' Here he pursed
his lips and looked so solemn and grand that Alice could hardly
help laughing. 'IF I did fall,' he went on, 'THE KING HAS
PROMISED ME--WITH HIS VERY OWN MOUTH--to--to--'
'To send all his horses and all his men,' Alice interrupted,
'Now I declare that's too bad!' Humpty Dumpty cried, breaking into
a sudden passion. 'You've been listening at doors--and behind trees--
and down chimneys--or you couldn't have known it!'
'I haven't, indeed!' Alice said very gently. 'It's in a book.'
'Ah, well! They may write such things in a BOOK,' Humpty
Dumpty said in a calmer tone. 'That's what you call a History of
England, that is. Now, take a good look at me! I'm one that has
spoken to a King, _I_ am: mayhap you'll never see such another:
and to show you I'm not proud, you may shake hands with me!' And
he grinned almost from ear to ear, as he leant forwards (and as
nearly as possible fell off the wall in doing so) and offered
Alice his hand. She watched him a little anxiously as she took
it. 'If he smiled much more, the ends of his mouth might meet
behind,' she thought: 'and then I don't know what would happen
to his head! I'm afraid it would come off!'
'Yes, all his horses and all his men,' Humpty Dumpty went on.
'They'd pick me up again in a minute, THEY would! However, this
conversation is going on a little too fast: let's go back to the
last remark but one.'
'I'm afraid I can't quite remember it,' Alice said very
'In that case we start fresh,' said Humpty Dumpty, 'and it's my
turn to choose a subject--' ('He talks about it just as if it
was a game!' thought Alice.) 'So here's a question for you. How
old did you say you were?'
Alice made a short calculation, and said 'Seven years and six
'Wrong!' Humpty Dumpty exclaimed triumphantly. 'You never
said a word like it!'
'I though you meant "How old ARE you?"' Alice explained.
'If I'd meant that, I'd have said it,' said Humpty Dumpty.
Alice didn't want to begin another argument, so she said
'Seven years and six months!' Humpty Dumpty repeated
thoughtfully. 'An uncomfortable sort of age. Now if you'd asked
MY advice, I'd have said "Leave off at seven"--but it's too
'I never ask advice about growing,' Alice said indignantly.
'Too proud?' the other inquired.
Alice felt even more indignant at this suggestion. 'I mean,'
she said, 'that one can't help growing older.'
'ONE can't, perhaps,' said Humpty Dumpty, 'but TWO can. With
proper assistance, you might have left off at seven.'
'What a beautiful belt you've got on!' Alice suddenly remarked.
(They had had quite enough of the subject of age, she thought:
and if they really were to take turns in choosing subjects, it
was her turn now.) 'At least,' she corrected herself on second
thoughts, 'a beautiful cravat, I should have said--no, a belt,
I mean--I beg your pardon!' she added in dismay, for Humpty
Dumpty looked thoroughly offended, and she began to wish she
hadn't chosen that subject. 'If I only knew,' she thought to
herself, 'which was neck and which was waist!'
Evidently Humpty Dumpty was very angry, though he said nothing
for a minute or two. When he DID speak again, it was in a deep
'It is a--MOST--PROVOKING--thing,' he said at last, 'when
a person doesn't know a cravat from a belt!'
'I know it's very ignorant of me,' Alice said, in so humble a
tone that Humpty Dumpty relented.
'It's a cravat, child, and a beautiful one, as you say. It's a
present from the White King and Queen. There now!'
'Is it really?' said Alice, quite pleased to find that she HAD
chosen a good subject, after all.
'They gave it me,' Humpty Dumpty continued thoughtfully, as he
crossed one knee over the other and clasped his hands round it,
'they gave it me--for an un-birthday present.'
'I beg your pardon?' Alice said with a puzzled air.
'I'm not offended,' said Humpty Dumpty.
'I mean, what IS an un-birthday present?'
'A present given when it isn't your birthday, of course.'
Alice considered a little. 'I like birthday presents best,'
she said at last.
'You don't know what you're talking about!' cried Humpty
Dumpty. 'How many days are there in a year?'
'Three hundred and sixty-five,' said Alice.
'And how many birthdays have you?'
'And if you take one from three hundred and sixty-five, what
'Three hundred and sixty-four, of course.'
Humpty Dumpty looked doubtful. 'I'd rather see that done on
paper,' he said.
Alice couldn't help smiling as she took out her memorandum-
book, and worked the sum for him:
Humpty Dumpty took the book, and looked at it carefully. 'That
seems to be done right--' he began.
'You're holding it upside down!' Alice interrupted.
'To be sure I was!' Humpty Dumpty said gaily, as she turned it
round for him. 'I thought it looked a little queer. As I was
saying, that SEEMS to be done right--though I haven't time to
look it over thoroughly just now--and that shows that there are
three hundred and sixty-four days when you might get un-birthday
'Certainly,' said Alice.
'And only ONE for birthday presents, you know. There's glory
'I don't know what you mean by "glory,"' Alice said.
Humpty Dumpty smiled contemptuously. 'Of course you don't--
till I tell you. I meant "there's a nice knock-down argument for
'But "glory" doesn't mean "a nice knock-down argument,"' Alice
'When _I_ use a word,' Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful
tone, 'it means just what I choose it to mean--neither more nor
'The question is,' said Alice, 'whether you CAN make words mean
so many different things.'
'The question is,' said Humpty Dumpty, 'which is to be master--
Alice was too much puzzled to say anything, so after a minute
Humpty Dumpty began again. 'They've a temper, some of them--
particularly verbs, they're the proudest--adjectives you can do
anything with, but not verbs--however, _I_ can manage the whole
lot of them! Impenetrability! That's what _I_ say!'
'Would you tell me, please,' said Alice 'what that means?'
'Now you talk like a reasonable child,' said Humpty Dumpty,
looking very much pleased. 'I meant by "impenetrability" that
we've had enough of that subject, and it would be just as well
if you'd mention what you mean to do next, as I suppose you don't
mean to stop here all the rest of your life.'
'That's a great deal to make one word mean,' Alice said in a
'When I make a word do a lot of work like that,' said Humpty
Dumpty, 'I always pay it extra.'
'Oh!' said Alice. She was too much puzzled to make any other
'Ah, you should see 'em come round me of a Saturday night,'
Humpty Dumpty went on, wagging his head gravely from side to
side: 'for to get their wages, you know.'
(Alice didn't venture to ask what he paid them with; and so you
see I can't tell YOU.)
'You seem very clever at explaining words, Sir,' said Alice.
'Would you kindly tell me the meaning of the poem called
'Let's hear it,' said Humpty Dumpty. 'I can explain all the
poems that were ever invented--and a good many that haven't
been invented just yet.'
This sounded very hopeful, so Alice repeated the first verse:
'Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.
'That's enough to begin with,' Humpty Dumpty interrupted:
'there are plenty of hard words there. "BRILLIG" means four
o'clock in the afternoon--the time when you begin BROILING
things for dinner.'
'That'll do very well,' said Alice: and "SLITHY"?'
'Well, "SLITHY" means "lithe and slimy." "Lithe" is the same
as "active." You see it's like a portmanteau--there are two
meanings packed up into one word.'
'I see it now,' Alice remarked thoughtfully: 'and what are
'Well, "TOVES" are something like badgers--they're something
like lizards--and they're something like corkscrews.'
'They must be very curious looking creatures.'
'They are that,' said Humpty Dumpty: 'also they make their
nests under sun-dials--also they live on cheese.'
'And what's the "GYRE" and to "GIMBLE"?'
'To "GYRE" is to go round and round like a gyroscope. To
"GIMBLE" is to make holes like a gimlet.'
'And "THE WABE" is the grass-plot round a sun-dial, I suppose?'
said Alice, surprised at her own ingenuity.
'Of course it is. It's called "WABE," you know, because it
goes a long way before it, and a long way behind it--'
'And a long way beyond it on each side,' Alice added.
'Exactly so. Well, then, "MIMSY" is "flimsy and miserable"
(there's another portmanteau for you). And a "BOROGOVE" is a
thin shabby-looking bird with its feathers sticking out all round--
something like a live mop.'
'And then "MOME RATHS"?' said Alice. 'I'm afraid I'm giving
you a great deal of trouble.'
'Well, a "RATH" is a sort of green pig: but "MOME" I'm not
certain about. I think it's short for "from home"--meaning
that they'd lost their way, you know.'
'And what does "OUTGRABE" mean?'
'Well, "OUTGRABING" is something between bellowing and
whistling, with a kind of sneeze in the middle: however, you'll
hear it done, maybe--down in the wood yonder--and when you've
once heard it you'll be QUITE content. Who's been repeating all
that hard stuff to you?'
'I read it in a book,' said Alice. 'But I had some poetry
repeated to me, much easier than that, by--Tweedledee, I think
'As to poetry, you know,' said Humpty Dumpty, stretching out
one of his great hands, '_I_ can repeat poetry as well as other
folk, if it comes to that--'
'Oh, it needn't come to that!' Alice hastily said, hoping to
keep him from beginning.
'The piece I'm going to repeat,' he went on without noticing
her remark,' was written entirely for your amusement.'
Alice felt that in that case she really OUGHT to listen to it,
so she sat down, and said 'Thank you' rather sadly.
'In winter, when the fields are white,
I sing this song for your delight--
only I don't sing it,' he added, as an explanation.
'I see you don't,' said Alice.
'If you can SEE whether I'm singing or not, you've sharper eyes
than most.' Humpty Dumpty remarked severely. Alice was silent.
'In spring, when woods are getting green,
I'll try and tell you what I mean.'
'Thank you very much,' said Alice.
'In summer, when the days are long,
Perhaps you'll understand the song:
In autumn, when the leaves are brown,
Take pen and ink, and write it down.'
'I will, if I can remember it so long,' said Alice.
'You needn't go on making remarks like that,' Humpty Dumpty
said: 'they're not sensible, and they put me out.'
'I sent a message to the fish:
I told them "This is what I wish."
The little fishes of the sea,
They sent an answer back to me.
The little fishes' answer was
"We cannot do it, Sir, because--"'
'I'm afraid I don't quite understand,' said Alice.
'It gets easier further on,' Humpty Dumpty replied.
'I sent to them again to say
"It will be better to obey."
The fishes answered with a grin,
"Why, what a temper you are in!"
I told them once, I told them twice:
They would not listen to advice.
I took a kettle large and new,
Fit for the deed I had to do.
My heart went hop, my heart went thump;
I filled the kettle at the pump.
Then some one came to me and said,
"The little fishes are in bed."
I said to him, I said it plain,
"Then you must wake them up again."
I said it very loud and clear;
I went and shouted in his ear.'
Humpty Dumpty raised his voice almost to a scream as he
repeated this verse, and Alice thought with a shudder, 'I
wouldn't have been the messenger for ANYTHING!'
'But he was very stiff and proud;
He said "You needn't shout so loud!"
And he was very proud and stiff;
He said "I'd go and wake them, if--"
I took a corkscrew from the shelf:
I went to wake them up myself.
And when I found the door was locked,
I pulled and pushed and kicked and knocked.
And when I found the door was shut,
I tried to turn the handle, but--'
There was a long pause.
'Is that all?' Alice timidly asked.
'That's all,' said Humpty Dumpty. 'Good-bye.'
This was rather sudden, Alice thought: but, after such a VERY
strong hint that she ought to be going, she felt that it would
hardly be civil to stay. So she got up, and held out her hand.
'Good-bye, till we meet again!' she said as cheerfully as she
'I shouldn't know you again if we DID meet,' Humpty Dumpty
replied in a discontented tone, giving her one of his fingers to
shake; 'you're so exactly like other people.'
'The face is what one goes by, generally,' Alice remarked in a
'That's just what I complain of,' said Humpty Dumpty. 'Your face
is the same as everybody has--the two eyes, so--' (marking their
places in the air with this thumb) 'nose in the middle, mouth
under. It's always the same. Now if you had the two eyes on the
same side of the nose, for instance--or the mouth at the top--that
would be SOME help.'
'It wouldn't look nice,' Alice objected. But Humpty Dumpty
only shut his eyes and said 'Wait till you've tried.'
Alice waited a minute to see if he would speak again, but as he
never opened his eyes or took any further notice of her, she said
'Good-bye!' once more, and, getting no answer to this, she
quietly walked away: but she couldn't help saying to herself as
she went, 'Of all the unsatisfactory--' (she repeated this
aloud, as it was a great comfort to have such a long word to say)
'of all the unsatisfactory people I EVER met--' She never
finished the sentence, for at this moment a heavy crash shook the
forest from end to end.
The Lion and the Unicorn
The next moment soldiers came running through the wood, at first
in twos and threes, then ten or twenty together, and at last in
such crowds that they seemed to fill the whole forest. Alice got
behind a tree, for fear of being run over, and watched them go by.
She thought that in all her life she had never seen soldiers so
uncertain on their feet: they were always tripping over
something or other, and whenever one went down, several more
always fell over him, so that the ground was soon covered with
little heaps of men.
Then came the horses. Having four feet, these managed rather
better than the foot-soldiers: but even THEY stumbled now and
then; and it seemed to be a regular rule that, whenever a horse
stumbled the rider fell off instantly. The confusion got worse
every moment, and Alice was very glad to get out of the wood into
an open place, where she found the White King seated on the
ground, busily writing in his memorandum-book.
'I've sent them all!' the King cried in a tone of delight, on
seeing Alice. 'Did you happen to meet any soldiers, my dear, as
you came through the wood?'
'Yes, I did,' said Alice: 'several thousand, I should think.'
'Four thousand two hundred and seven, that's the exact number,'
the King said, referring to his book. 'I couldn't send all the
horses, you know, because two of them are wanted in the game.
And I haven't sent the two Messengers, either. They're both gone
to the town. Just look along the road, and tell me if you can
see either of them.'
'I see nobody on the road,' said Alice.
'I only wish _I_ had such eyes,' the King remarked in a fretful
tone. 'To be able to see Nobody! And at that distance, too!
Why, it's as much as _I_ can do to see real people, by this
All this was lost on Alice, who was still looking intently
along the road, shading her eyes with one hand. 'I see somebody
now!' she exclaimed at last. 'But he's coming very slowly--and
what curious attitudes he goes into!' (For the messenger kept
skipping up and down, and wriggling like an eel, as he came
along, with his great hands spread out like fans on each side.)
'Not at all,' said the King. 'He's an Anglo-Saxon Messenger--
and those are Anglo-Saxon attitudes. He only does them when
he's happy. His name is Haigha.' (He pronounced it so as to
rhyme with 'mayor.')
'I love my love with an H,' Alice couldn't help beginning,
'because he is Happy. I hate him with an H, because he is
Hideous. I fed him with--with--with Ham-sandwiches and Hay.
His name is Haigha, and he lives--'
'He lives on the Hill,' the King remarked simply, without the
least idea that he was joining in the game, while Alice was still
hesitating for the name of a town beginning with H. 'The other
Messenger's called Hatta. I must have TWO, you know--to come
and go. One to come, and one to go.'
'I beg your pardon?' said Alice.
'It isn't respectable to beg,' said the King.
'I only meant that I didn't understand,' said Alice. 'Why one
to come and one to go?'
'Didn't I tell you?' the King repeated impatiently. 'I must
have Two--to fetch and carry. One to fetch, and one to carry.'
At this moment the Messenger arrived: he was far too much out
of breath to say a word, and could only wave his hands about, and
make the most fearful faces at the poor King.
'This young lady loves you with an H,' the King said,
introducing Alice in the hope of turning off the Messenger's
attention from himself--but it was no use--the Anglo-Saxon
attitudes only got more extraordinary every moment, while the
great eyes rolled wildly from side to side.
'You alarm me!' said the King. 'I feel faint--Give me a ham
On which the Messenger, to Alice's great amusement, opened a
bag that hung round his neck, and handed a sandwich to the King,
who devoured it greedily.
'Another sandwich!' said the King.
'There's nothing but hay left now,' the Messenger said, peeping
into the bag.
'Hay, then,' the King murmured in a faint whisper.
Alice was glad to see that it revived him a good deal.
'There's nothing like eating hay when you're faint,' he remarked
to her, as he munched away.
'I should think throwing cold water over you would be better,'
Alice suggested: 'or some sal-volatile.'
'I didn't say there was nothing BETTER,' the King replied. 'I said
there was nothing LIKE it.' Which Alice did not venture to deny.
'Who did you pass on the road?' the King went on, holding out
his hand to the Messenger for some more hay.
'Nobody,' said the Messenger.
'Quite right,' said the King: 'this young lady saw him too.
So of course Nobody walks slower than you.'
'I do my best,' the Messenger said in a sulky tone. 'I'm sure
nobody walks much faster than I do!'
'He can't do that,' said the King, 'or else he'd have been here
first. However, now you've got your breath, you may tell us
what's happened in the town.'
'I'll whisper it,' said the Messenger, putting his hands to his
mouth in the shape of a trumpet, and stooping so as to get close
to the King's ear. Alice was sorry for this, as she wanted to
hear the news too. However, instead of whispering, he simply
shouted at the top of his voice 'They're at it again!'
'Do you call THAT a whisper?' cried the poor King, jumping up
and shaking himself. 'If you do such a thing again, I'll have
you buttered! It went through and through my head like an
'It would have to be a very tiny earthquake!' thought Alice.
'Who are at it again?' she ventured to ask.
'Why the Lion and the Unicorn, of course,' said the King.
'Fighting for the crown?'
'Yes, to be sure,' said the King: 'and the best of the joke
is, that it's MY crown all the while! Let's run and see them.'
And they trotted off, Alice repeating to herself, as she ran, the
words of the old song:--
'The Lion and the Unicorn were fighting for the crown:
The Lion beat the Unicorn all round the town.
Some gave them white bread, some gave them brown;
Some gave them plum-cake and drummed them out of town.'
'Does--the one--that wins--get the crown?' she asked, as
well as she could, for the run was putting her quite out of
'Dear me, no!' said the King. 'What an idea!'
'Would you--be good enough,' Alice panted out, after running
a little further, 'to stop a minute--just to get--one's
'I'm GOOD enough,' the King said, 'only I'm not strong enough.
You see, a minute goes by so fearfully quick. You might as well
try to stop a Bandersnatch!'
Alice had no more breath for talking, so they trotted on in
silence, till they came in sight of a great crowd, in the middle
of which the Lion and Unicorn were fighting. They were in such a
cloud of dust, that at first Alice could not make out which was
which: but she soon managed to distinguish the Unicorn by his
They placed themselves close to where Hatta, the other
messenger, was standing watching the fight, with a cup of tea in
one hand and a piece of bread-and-butter in the other.
'He's only just out of prison, and he hadn't finished his tea
when he was sent in,' Haigha whispered to Alice: 'and they only
give them oyster-shells in there--so you see he's very hungry
and thirsty. How are you, dear child?' he went on, putting his
arm affectionately round Hatta's neck.
Hatta looked round and nodded, and went on with his bread and
'Were you happy in prison, dear child?' said Haigha.
Hatta looked round once more, and this time a tear or two
trickled down his cheek: but not a word would he say.
'Speak, can't you!' Haigha cried impatiently. But Hatta only
munched away, and drank some more tea.
'Speak, won't you!' cried the King. 'How are they getting on
with the fight?'
Hatta made a desperate effort, and swallowed a large piece of
bread-and-butter. 'They're getting on very well,' he said in a
choking voice: 'each of them has been down about eighty-seven
'Then I suppose they'll soon bring the white bread and the
brown?' Alice ventured to remark.
'It's waiting for 'em now,' said Hatta: 'this is a bit of it
as I'm eating.'
There was a pause in the fight just then, and the Lion and the
Unicorn sat down, panting, while the King called out 'Ten minutes
allowed for refreshments!' Haigha and Hatta set to work at once,
carrying rough trays of white and brown bread. Alice took a
piece to taste, but it was VERY dry.
'I don't think they'll fight any more to-day,' the King said to
Hatta: 'go and order the drums to begin.' And Hatta went
bounding away like a grasshopper.
For a minute or two Alice stood silent, watching him. Suddenly
she brightened up. 'Look, look!' she cried, pointing eagerly.
'There's the White Queen running across the country! She came
flying out of the wood over yonder--How fast those Queens CAN
'There's some enemy after her, no doubt,' the King said,
without even looking round. 'That wood's full of them.'
'But aren't you going to run and help her?' Alice asked, very
much surprised at his taking it so quietly.
'No use, no use!' said the King. 'She runs so fearfully quick.
You might as well try to catch a Bandersnatch! But I'll make a
memorandum about her, if you like--She's a dear good creature,'
he repeated softly to himself, as he opened his memorandum-book.
'Do you spell "creature" with a double "e"?'
At this moment the Unicorn sauntered by them, with his hands in
his pockets. 'I had the best of it this time?' he said to the
King, just glancing at him as he passed.
'A little--a little,' the King replied, rather nervously.
'You shouldn't have run him through with your horn, you know.'
'It didn't hurt him,' the Unicorn said carelessly, and he was
going on, when his eye happened to fall upon Alice: he turned
round rather instantly, and stood for some time looking at her
with an air of the deepest disgust.
'What--is--this?' he said at last.
'This is a child!' Haigha replied eagerly, coming in front of
Alice to introduce her, and spreading out both his hands towards
her in an Anglo-Saxon attitude. 'We only found it to-day. It's
as large as life, and twice as natural!'
'I always thought they were fabulous monsters!' said the
Unicorn. 'Is it alive?'
'It can talk,' said Haigha, solemnly.
The Unicorn looked dreamily at Alice, and said 'Talk, child.'
Alice could not help her lips curling up into a smile as she began:
'Do you know, I always thought Unicorns were fabulous monsters, too!
I never saw one alive before!'
'Well, now that we HAVE seen each other,' said the Unicorn,
'if you'll believe in me, I'll believe in you. Is that a bargain?'
'Yes, if you like,' said Alice.
'Come, fetch out the plum-cake, old man!' the Unicorn went on,
turning from her to the King. 'None of your brown bread for me!'
'Certainly--certainly!' the King muttered, and beckoned to
Haigha. 'Open the bag!' he whispered. 'Quick! Not that one--
that's full of hay!'
Haigha took a large cake out of the bag, and gave it to Alice
to hold, while he got out a dish and carving-knife. How they all
came out of it Alice couldn't guess. It was just like a
conjuring-trick, she thought.
The Lion had joined them while this was going on: he looked
very tired and sleepy, and his eyes were half shut. 'What's
this!' he said, blinking lazily at Alice, and speaking in a deep
hollow tone that sounded like the tolling of a great bell.
'Ah, what IS it, now?' the Unicorn cried eagerly. 'You'll
never guess! _I_ couldn't.'
The Lion looked at Alice wearily. 'Are you animal--vegetable
--or mineral?' he said, yawning at every other word.
'It's a fabulous monster!' the Unicorn cried out, before Alice
'Then hand round the plum-cake, Monster,' the Lion said, lying
down and putting his chin on this paws. 'And sit down, both of
you,' (to the King and the Unicorn): 'fair play with the cake,
The King was evidently very uncomfortable at having to sit down
between the two great creatures; but there was no other place for him.
'What a fight we might have for the crown, NOW!' the Unicorn
said, looking slyly up at the crown, which the poor King was
nearly shaking off his head, he trembled so much.
'I should win easy,' said the Lion.
'I'm not so sure of that,' said the Unicorn.
'Why, I beat you all round the town, you chicken!' the Lion
replied angrily, half getting up as he spoke.
Here the King interrupted, to prevent the quarrel going on: he
was very nervous, and his voice quite quivered. 'All round the
town?' he said. 'That's a good long way. Did you go by the old
bridge, or the market-place? You get the best view by the old
'I'm sure I don't know,' the Lion growled out as he lay down
again. 'There was too much dust to see anything. What a time
the Monster is, cutting up that cake!'
Alice had seated herself on the bank of a little brook, with
the great dish on her knees, and was sawing away diligently with
the knife. 'It's very provoking!' she said, in reply to the Lion
(she was getting quite used to being called 'the Monster').
'I've cut several slices already, but they always join on again!'
'You don't know how to manage Looking-glass cakes,' the Unicorn
remarked. 'Hand it round first, and cut it afterwards.'
This sounded nonsense, but Alice very obediently got up, and
carried the dish round, and the cake divided itself into three
pieces as she did so. 'NOW cut it up,' said the Lion, as she
returned to her place with the empty dish.
'I say, this isn't fair!' cried the Unicorn, as Alice sat with
the knife in her hand, very much puzzled how to begin. 'The
Monster has given the Lion twice as much as me!'
'She's kept none for herself, anyhow,' said the Lion. 'Do you
like plum-cake, Monster?'
But before Alice could answer him, the drums began.
Where the noise came from, she couldn't make out: the air
seemed full of it, and it rang through and through her head till
she felt quite deafened. She started to her feet and sprang
across the little brook in her terror,
* * * * * * *
* * * * * *
* * * * * * *
and had just time to see the Lion and the Unicorn rise to their
feet, with angry looks at being interrupted in their feast,
before she dropped to her knees, and put her hands over her ears,
vainly trying to shut out the dreadful uproar.
'If THAT doesn't "drum them out of town,"' she thought to
herself, 'nothing ever will!'
'It's my own Invention'
After a while the noise seemed gradually to die away, till all
was dead silence, and Alice lifted up her head in some alarm.
There was no one to be seen, and her first thought was that she
must have been dreaming about the Lion and the Unicorn and those
queer Anglo-Saxon Messengers. However, there was the great dish
still lying at her feet, on which she had tried to cut the plum-
cake, 'So I wasn't dreaming, after all,' she said to herself,
'unless--unless we're all part of the same dream. Only I do
hope it's MY dream, and not the Red King's! I don't like
belonging to another person's dream,' she went on in a rather
complaining tone: 'I've a great mind to go and wake him, and see
At this moment her thoughts were interrupted by a loud shouting
of 'Ahoy! Ahoy! Check!' and a Knight dressed in crimson armour
came galloping down upon her, brandishing a great club. Just as
he reached her, the horse stopped suddenly: 'You're my
prisoner!' the Knight cried, as he tumbled off his horse.
Startled as she was, Alice was more frightened for him than for
herself at the moment, and watched him with some anxiety as he
mounted again. As soon as he was comfortably in the saddle, he
began once more 'You're my--' but here another voice broke in
'Ahoy! Ahoy! Check!' and Alice looked round in some surprise
for the new enemy.
This time it was a White Knight. He drew up at Alice's side,
and tumbled off his horse just as the Red Knight had done: then
he got on again, and the two Knights sat and looked at each other
for some time without speaking. Alice looked from one to the
other in some bewilderment.
'She's MY prisoner, you know!' the Red Knight said at last.
'Yes, but then _I_ came and rescued her!' the White Knight
'Well, we must fight for her, then,' said the Red Knight, as he
took up his helmet (which hung from the saddle, and was something
the shape of a horse's head), and put it on.
'You will observe the Rules of Battle, of course?' the White
Knight remarked, putting on his helmet too.
'I always do,' said the Red Knight, and they began banging away
at each other with such fury that Alice got behind a tree to be
out of the way of the blows.
'I wonder, now, what the Rules of Battle are,' she said to
herself, as she watched the fight, timidly peeping out from her
hiding-place: 'one Rule seems to be, that if one Knight hits the
other, he knocks him off his horse, and if he misses, he tumbles
off himself--and another Rule seems to be that they hold their
clubs with their arms, as if they were Punch and Judy--What a
noise they make when they tumble! Just like a whole set of fire-
irons falling into the fender! And how quiet the horses are!
They let them get on and off them just as if they were tables!'
Another Rule of Battle, that Alice had not noticed, seemed to
be that they always fell on their heads, and the battle ended
with their both falling off in this way, side by side: when they
got up again, they shook hands, and then the Red Knight mounted
and galloped off.
'It was a glorious victory, wasn't it?' said the White Knight,
as he came up panting.
'I don't know,' Alice said doubtfully. 'I don't want to be
anybody's prisoner. I want to be a Queen.'
'So you will, when you've crossed the next brook,' said the
White Knight. 'I'll see you safe to the end of the wood--and
then I must go back, you know. That's the end of my move.'
'Thank you very much,' said Alice. 'May I help you off with
your helmet?' It was evidently more than he could manage by
himself; however, she managed to shake him out of it at last.
'Now one can breathe more easily,' said the Knight, putting
back his shaggy hair with both hands, and turning his gentle face
and large mild eyes to Alice. She thought she had never seen
such a strange-looking soldier in all her life.
He was dressed in tin armour, which seemed to fit him very
badly, and he had a queer-shaped little deal box fastened across
his shoulder, upside-down, and with the lid hanging open. Alice
looked at it with great curiosity.
'I see you're admiring my little box.' the Knight said in a
friendly tone. 'It's my own invention--to keep clothes and
sandwiches in. You see I carry it upside-down, so that the rain
can't get in.'
'But the things can get OUT,' Alice gently remarked. 'Do you
know the lid's open?'
'I didn't know it,' the Knight said, a shade of vexation
passing over his face. 'Then all the things must have fallen
out! And the box is no use without them.' He unfastened it as
he spoke, and was just going to throw it into the bushes,
when a sudden thought seemed to strike him, and he hung it carefully
on a tree. 'Can you guess why I did that?' he said to Alice.
Alice shook her head.
'In hopes some bees may make a nest in it--then I should get the honey.'
'But you've got a bee-hive--or something like one--fastened to
the saddle,' said Alice.
'Yes, it's a very good bee-hive,' the Knight said in a
discontented tone, 'one of the best kind. But not a single bee
has come near it yet. And the other thing is a mouse-trap. I
suppose the mice keep the bees out--or the bees keep the mice
out, I don't know which.'
'I was wondering what the mouse-trap was for,' said Alice. 'It
isn't very likely there would be any mice on the horse's back.'
'Not very likely, perhaps,' said the Knight: 'but if they DO
come, I don't choose to have them running all about.'
'You see,' he went on after a pause, 'it's as well to be
provided for EVERYTHING. That's the reason the horse has all
those anklets round his feet.'
'But what are they for?' Alice asked in a tone of great
'To guard against the bites of sharks,' the Knight replied.
'It's an invention of my own. And now help me on. I'll go with
you to the end of the wood--What's the dish for?'
'It's meant for plum-cake,' said Alice.
'We'd better take it with us,' the Knight said. 'It'll come in
handy if we find any plum-cake. Help me to get it into this bag.'
This took a very long time to manage, though Alice held the
bag open very carefully, because the Knight was so VERY awkward
in putting in the dish: the first two or three times that he
tried he fell in himself instead. 'It's rather a tight fit, you
see,' he said, as they got it in a last; 'There are so many
candlesticks in the bag.' And he hung it to the saddle, which
was already loaded with bunches of carrots, and fire-irons, and
many other things.
'I hope you've got your hair well fastened on?' he continued,
as they set off.
'Only in the usual way,' Alice said, smiling.
'That's hardly enough,' he said, anxiously. 'You see the wind
is so VERY strong here. It's as strong as soup.'
'Have you invented a plan for keeping the hair from being blown
off?' Alice enquired.
'Not yet,' said the Knight. 'But I've got a plan for keeping
it from FALLING off.'
'I should like to hear it, very much.'
'First you take an upright stick,' said the Knight. 'Then you
make your hair creep up it, like a fruit-tree. Now the reason
hair falls off is because it hangs DOWN--things never fall
UPWARDS, you know. It's a plan of my own invention. You may try
it if you like.'
It didn't sound a comfortable plan, Alice thought, and for a
few minutes she walked on in silence, puzzling over the idea, and
every now and then stopping to help the poor Knight, who
certainly was NOT a good rider.
Whenever the horse stopped (which it did very often), he fell
off in front; and whenever it went on again (which it generally
did rather suddenly), he fell off behind. Otherwise he kept on
pretty well, except that he had a habit of now and then falling
off sideways; and as he generally did this on the side on which
Alice was walking, she soon found that it was the best plan not
to walk QUITE close to the horse.
'I'm afraid you've not had much practice in riding,' she
ventured to say, as she was helping him up from his fifth tumble.
The Knight looked very much surprised, and a little offended at
the remark. 'What makes you say that?' he asked, as he scrambled
back into the saddle, keeping hold of Alice's hair with one hand,
to save himself from falling over on the other side.
'Because people don't fall off quite so often, when they've had
'I've had plenty of practice,' the Knight said very gravely:
'plenty of practice!'
Alice could think of nothing better to say than 'Indeed?' but
she said it as heartily as she could. They went on a little way
in silence after this, the Knight with his eyes shut, muttering
to himself, and Alice watching anxiously for the next tumble.
'The great art of riding,' the Knight suddenly began in a loud
voice, waving his right arm as he spoke, 'is to keep--' Here
the sentence ended as suddenly as it had begun, as the Knight
fell heavily on the top of his head exactly in the path where
Alice was walking. She was quite frightened this time, and said
in an anxious tone, as she picked him up, 'I hope no bones are broken?'
'None to speak of,' the Knight said, as if he didn't mind breaking
two or three of them. 'The great art of riding, as I was saying,
is--to keep your balance properly. Like this, you know--'
He let go the bridle, and stretched out both his arms to show
Alice what he meant, and this time he fell flat on his back,
right under the horse's feet.
'Plenty of practice!' he went on repeating, all the time that
Alice was getting him on his feet again. 'Plenty of practice!'
'It's too ridiculous!' cried Alice, losing all her patience this time.
'You ought to have a wooden horse on wheels, that you ought!'
'Does that kind go smoothly?' the Knight asked in a tone of
great interest, clasping his arms round the horse's neck as he
spoke, just in time to save himself from tumbling off again.
'Much more smoothly than a live horse,' Alice said, with a little
scream of laughter, in spite of all she could do to prevent it.
'I'll get one,' the Knight said thoughtfully to himself. 'One
There was a short silence after this, and then the Knight went
on again. 'I'm a great hand at inventing things. Now, I daresay
you noticed, that last time you picked me up, that I was looking
'You WERE a little grave,' said Alice.
'Well, just then I was inventing a new way of getting over a
gate--would you like to hear it?'
'Very much indeed,' Alice said politely.
'I'll tell you how I came to think of it,' said the Knight.
'You see, I said to myself, "The only difficulty is with the
feet: the HEAD is high enough already." Now, first I put my
head on the top of the gate--then I stand on my head--then
the feet are high enough, you see--then I'm over, you see.'
'Yes, I suppose you'd be over when that was done,' Alice said
thoughtfully: 'but don't you think it would be rather hard?'
'I haven't tried it yet,' the Knight said, gravely: 'so I can't tell
for certain--but I'm afraid it WOULD be a little hard.'
He looked so vexed at the idea, that Alice changed the subject
hastily. 'What a curious helmet you've got!' she said cheerfully.
'Is that your invention too?'
The Knight looked down proudly at his helmet, which hung from
the saddle. 'Yes,' he said, 'but I've invented a better one than
that--like a sugar loaf. When I used to wear it, if I fell off
the horse, it always touched the ground directly. So I had a
VERY little way to fall, you see--But there WAS the danger of
falling INTO it, to be sure. That happened to me once--and the
worst of it was, before I could get out again, the other White
Knight came and put it on. He thought it was his own helmet.'
The knight looked so solemn about it that Alice did not dare to
laugh. 'I'm afraid you must have hurt him,' she said in a
trembling voice, 'being on the top of his head.'
'I had to kick him, of course,' the Knight said, very seriously.
'And then he took the helmet off again--but it took hours and hours
to get me out. I was as fast as--as lightning, you know.'
'But that's a different kind of fastness,' Alice objected.
The Knight shook his head. 'It was all kinds of fastness with
me, I can assure you!' he said. He raised his hands in some
excitement as he said this, and instantly rolled out of the
saddle, and fell headlong into a deep ditch.
Alice ran to the side of the ditch to look for him. She was
rather startled by the fall, as for some time he had kept on very
well, and she was afraid that he really WAS hurt this time.
However, though she could see nothing but the soles of his feet,
she was much relieved to hear that he was talking on in his usual
tone. 'All kinds of fastness,' he repeated: 'but it was
careless of him to put another man's helmet on--with the man in
'How CAN you go on talking so quietly, head downwards?' Alice
asked, as she dragged him out by the feet, and laid him in a heap
on the bank.
The Knight looked surprised at the question. 'What does it
matter where my body happens to be?' he said. 'My mind goes on
working all the same. In fact, the more head downwards I am, the
more I keep inventing new things.'
'Now the cleverest thing of the sort that I ever did,' he went
on after a pause, 'was inventing a new pudding during the meat-
'In time to have it cooked for the next course?' said Alice.
'Well, not the NEXT course,' the Knight said in a slow thoughtful
tone: 'no, certainly not the next COURSE.'
'Then it would have to be the next day. I suppose you wouldn't
have two pudding-courses in one dinner?'
'Well, not the NEXT day,' the Knight repeated as before: 'not
the next DAY. In fact,' he went on, holding his head down, and
his voice getting lower and lower, 'I don't believe that pudding
ever WAS cooked! In fact, I don't believe that pudding ever WILL
be cooked! And yet it was a very clever pudding to invent.'
'What did you mean it to be made of?' Alice asked, hoping to
cheer him up, for the poor Knight seemed quite low-spirited about it.
'It began with blotting paper,' the Knight answered with a groan.
'That wouldn't be very nice, I'm afraid--'
'Not very nice ALONE,' he interrupted, quite eagerly: 'but
you've no idea what a difference it makes mixing it with other
things--such as gunpowder and sealing-wax. And here I must
leave you.' They had just come to the end of the wood.
Alice could only look puzzled: she was thinking of the pudding.
'You are sad,' the Knight said in an anxious tone: 'let me sing
you a song to comfort you.'
'Is it very long?' Alice asked, for she had heard a good deal
of poetry that day.
'It's long,' said the Knight, 'but very, VERY beautiful.
Everybody that hears me sing it--either it brings the TEARS
into their eyes, or else--'
'Or else what?' said Alice, for the Knight had made a sudden
'Or else it doesn't, you know. The name of the song is called
'Oh, that's the name of the song, is it?' Alice said, trying to
'No, you don't understand,' the Knight said, looking a little
vexed. 'That's what the name is CALLED. The name really IS "THE
AGED AGED MAN."'
'Then I ought to have said "That's what the SONG is called"?'
Alice corrected herself.
'No, you oughtn't: that's quite another thing! The SONG is
called "WAYS AND MEANS": but that's only what it's CALLED, you
'Well, what IS the song, then?' said Alice, who was by this
time completely bewildered.
'I was coming to that,' the Knight said. 'The song really IS
"A-SITTING ON A GATE": and the tune's my own invention.'
So saying, he stopped his horse and let the reins fall on its
neck: then, slowly beating time with one hand, and with a faint
smile lighting up his gentle foolish face, as if he enjoyed the
music of his song, he began.
Of all the strange things that Alice saw in her journey Through
The Looking-Glass, this was the one that she always remembered
most clearly. Years afterwards she could bring the whole scene
back again, as if it had been only yesterday--the mild blue
eyes and kindly smile of the Knight--the setting sun gleaming
through his hair, and shining on his armour in a blaze of light
that quite dazzled her--the horse quietly moving about, with
the reins hanging loose on his neck, cropping the grass at her
feet--and the black shadows of the forest behind--all this
she took in like a picture, as, with one hand shading her eyes,
she leant against a tree, watching the strange pair, and
listening, in a half dream, to the melancholy music of the song.
'But the tune ISN'T his own invention,' she said to herself:
'it's "I GIVE THEE ALL, I CAN NO MORE."' She stood and listened
very attentively, but no tears came into her eyes.
'I'll tell thee everything I can;
There's little to relate.
I saw an aged aged man,
A-sitting on a gate.
"Who are you, aged man?" I said,
"and how is it you live?"
And his answer trickled through my head
Like water through a sieve.
He said "I look for butterflies
That sleep among the wheat:
I make them into mutton-pies,
And sell them in the street.
I sell them unto men," he said,
"Who sail on stormy seas;
And that's the way I get my bread--
A trifle, if you please."
But I was thinking of a plan
To dye one's whiskers green,
And always use so large a fan
That they could not be seen.
So, having no reply to give
To what the old man said,
I cried, "Come, tell me how you live!"
And thumped him on the head.
His accents mild took up the tale:
He said "I go my ways,
And when I find a mountain-rill,
I set it in a blaze;
And thence they make a stuff they call
Rolands' Macassar Oil--
Yet twopence-halfpenny is all
They give me for my toil."
But I was thinking of a way
To feed oneself on batter,
And so go on from day to day
Getting a little fatter.
I shook him well from side to side,
Until his face was blue:
"Come, tell me how you live," I cried,
"And what it is you do!"
He said "I hunt for haddocks' eyes
Among the heather bright,
And work them into waistcoat-buttons
In the silent night.
And these I do not sell for gold
Or coin of silvery shine
But for a copper halfpenny,
And that will purchase nine.
"I sometimes dig for buttered rolls,
Or set limed twigs for crabs;
I sometimes search the grassy knolls
For wheels of Hansom-cabs.
And that's the way" (he gave a wink)
"By which I get my wealth--
And very gladly will I drink
Your Honour's noble health."
I heard him then, for I had just
Completed my design
To keep the Menai bridge from rust
By boiling it in wine.
I thanked him much for telling me
The way he got his wealth,
But chiefly for his wish that he
Might drink my noble health.
And now, if e'er by chance I put
My fingers into glue
Or madly squeeze a right-hand foot
Into a left-hand shoe,
Or if I drop upon my toe
A very heavy weight,
I weep, for it reminds me so,
Of that old man I used to know--
Whose look was mild, whose speech was slow,
Whose hair was whiter than the snow,
Whose face was very like a crow,
With eyes, like cinders, all aglow,
Who seemed distracted with his woe,
Who rocked his body to and fro,
And muttered mumblingly and low,
As if his mouth were full of dough,
Who snorted like a buffalo--
That summer evening, long ago,
A-sitting on a gate.'
As the Knight sang the last words of the ballad, he gathered up
the reins, and turned his horse's head along the road by which
they had come. 'You've only a few yards to go,' he said,' down
the hill and over that little brook, and then you'll be a Queen--
But you'll stay and see me off first?' he added as Alice turned
with an eager look in the direction to which he pointed. 'I
shan't be long. You'll wait and wave your handkerchief when I
get to that turn in the road? I think it'll encourage me, you
'Of course I'll wait,' said Alice: 'and thank you very much
for coming so far--and for the song--I liked it very much.'
'I hope so,' the Knight said doubtfully: 'but you didn't cry
so much as I thought you would.'
So they shook hands, and then the Knight rode slowly away into
the forest. 'It won't take long to see him OFF, I expect,'
Alice said to herself, as she stood watching him. 'There he
goes! Right on his head as usual! However, he gets on again
pretty easily--that comes of having so many things hung round
the horse--' So she went on talking to herself, as she watched
the horse walking leisurely along the road, and the Knight
tumbling off, first on one side and then on the other. After the
fourth or fifth tumble he reached the turn, and then she waved
her handkerchief to him, and waited till he was out of sight.
'I hope it encouraged him,' she said, as she turned to run
down the hill: 'and now for the last brook, and to be a Queen!
How grand it sounds!' A very few steps brought her to the edge of
the brook. 'The Eighth Square at last!' she cried as she bounded across,
* * * * * * *
* * * * * *
* * * * * * *
and threw herself down to rest on a lawn as soft as moss, with little
flower-beds dotted about it here and there. 'Oh, how glad I am
to get here! And what IS this on my head?' she exclaimed in a tone
of dismay, as she put her hands up to something very heavy,
and fitted tight all round her head.
'But how CAN it have got there without my knowing it?' she said
to herself, as she lifted it off, and set it on her lap to make
out what it could possibly be.
It was a golden crown.
'Well, this IS grand!' said Alice. 'I never expected I should be
a Queen so soon--and I'll tell you what it is, your majesty,' she
went on in a severe tone (she was always rather fond of scolding
herself), 'it'll never do for you to be lolling about on the grass
like that! Queens have to be dignified, you know!'
So she got up and walked about--rather stiffly just at first,
as she was afraid that the crown might come off: but she
comforted herself with the thought that there was nobody to see
her, 'and if I really am a Queen,' she said as she sat down
again, 'I shall be able to manage it quite well in time.'
Everything was happening so oddly that she didn't feel a bit
surprised at finding the Red Queen and the White Queen sitting
close to her, one on each side: she would have liked very much to
ask them how they came there, but she feared it would not be
quite civil. However, there would be no harm, she thought, in
asking if the game was over. 'Please, would you tell me--' she
began, looking timidly at the Red Queen.
'Speak when you're spoken to!' The Queen sharply interrupted her.
'But if everybody obeyed that rule,' said Alice, who was always
ready for a little argument, 'and if you only spoke when you were
spoken to, and the other person always waited for YOU to begin,
you see nobody would ever say anything, so that--'
'Ridiculous!' cried the Queen. 'Why, don't you see, child--'
here she broke off with a frown, and, after thinking for a
minute, suddenly changed the subject of the conversation. 'What
do you mean by "If you really are a Queen"? What right have you
to call yourself so? You can't be a Queen, you know, till you've
passed the proper examination. And the sooner we begin it, the better.'
'I only said "if"!' poor Alice pleaded in a piteous tone.
The two Queens looked at each other, and the Red Queen
remarked, with a little shudder, 'She SAYS she only said "if"--'
'But she said a great deal more than that!' the White Queen
moaned, wringing her hands. 'Oh, ever so much more than that!'
'So you did, you know,' the Red Queen said to Alice. 'Always
speak the truth--think before you speak--and write it down
'I'm sure I didn't mean--' Alice was beginning, but the Red
Queen interrupted her impatiently.
'That's just what I complain of! You SHOULD have meant! What
do you suppose is the use of child without any meaning? Even a
joke should have some meaning--and a child's more important
than a joke, I hope. You couldn't deny that, even if you tried
with both hands.'
'I don't deny things with my HANDS,' Alice objected.
'Nobody said you did,' said the Red Queen. 'I said you
couldn't if you tried.'
'She's in that state of mind,' said the White Queen, 'that she
wants to deny SOMETHING--only she doesn't know what to deny!'
'A nasty, vicious temper,' the Red Queen remarked; and then
there was an uncomfortable silence for a minute or two.
The Red Queen broke the silence by saying to the White Queen,
'I invite you to Alice's dinner-party this afternoon.'
The White Queen smiled feebly, and said 'And I invite YOU.'
'I didn't know I was to have a party at all,' said Alice; 'but
if there is to be one, I think _I_ ought to invite the guests.'
'We gave you the opportunity of doing it,' the Red Queen
remarked: 'but I daresay you've not had many lessons in manners
'Manners are not taught in lessons,' said Alice. 'Lessons
teach you to do sums, and things of that sort.'
'And you do Addition?' the White Queen asked. 'What's one and
one and one and one and one and one and one and one and one and one?'
'I don't know,' said Alice. 'I lost count.'
'She can't do Addition,' the Red Queen interrupted.
'Can you do Subtraction? Take nine from eight.'
'Nine from eight I can't, you know,' Alice replied very readily:
'She can't do Subtraction,' said the White Queen. 'Can you do
Division? Divide a loaf by a knife--what's the answer to that?'
'I suppose--' Alice was beginning, but the Red Queen answered
for her. 'Bread-and-butter, of course. Try another Subtraction
sum. Take a bone from a dog: what remains?'
Alice considered. 'The bone wouldn't remain, of course, if I
took it--and the dog wouldn't remain; it would come to bite me
--and I'm sure I shouldn't remain!'
'Then you think nothing would remain?' said the Red Queen.
'I think that's the answer.'
'Wrong, as usual,' said the Red Queen: 'the dog's temper would
'But I don't see how--'
'Why, look here!' the Red Queen cried. 'The dog would lose its
temper, wouldn't it?'
'Perhaps it would,' Alice replied cautiously.
'Then if the dog went away, its temper would remain!' the
Queen exclaimed triumphantly.
Alice said, as gravely as she could, 'They might go different
ways.' But she couldn't help thinking to herself, 'What dreadful
nonsense we ARE talking!'
'She can't do sums a BIT!' the Queens said together, with great
'Can YOU do sums?' Alice said, turning suddenly on the White
Queen, for she didn't like being found fault with so much.
The Queen gasped and shut her eyes. 'I can do Addition, if you
give me time--but I can do Subtraction, under ANY circumstances!'
'Of course you know your A B C?' said the Red Queen.
'To be sure I do.' said Alice.
'So do I,' the White Queen whispered: 'we'll often say it over
together, dear. And I'll tell you a secret--I can read words
of one letter! Isn't THAT grand! However, don't be discouraged.
You'll come to it in time.'
Here the Red Queen began again. 'Can you answer useful
questions?' she said. 'How is bread made?'
'I know THAT!' Alice cried eagerly. 'You take some flour--'
'Where do you pick the flower?' the White Queen asked. 'In a
garden, or in the hedges?'
'Well, it isn't PICKED at all,' Alice explained: 'it's GROUND
'How many acres of ground?' said the White Queen. 'You mustn't
leave out so many things.'
'Fan her head!' the Red Queen anxiously interrupted. 'She'll
be feverish after so much thinking.' So they set to work and
fanned her with bunches of leaves, till she had to beg them to
leave off, it blew her hair about so.
'She's all right again now,' said the Red Queen. 'Do you know
Languages? What's the French for fiddle-de-dee?'
'Fiddle-de-dee's not English,' Alice replied gravely.
'Who ever said it was?' said the Red Queen.
Alice thought she saw a way out of the difficulty this time.
'If you'll tell me what language "fiddle-de-dee" is, I'll tell
you the French for it!' she exclaimed triumphantly.
But the Red Queen drew herself up rather stiffly, and said
'Queens never make bargains.'
'I wish Queens never asked questions,' Alice thought to
'Don't let us quarrel,' the White Queen said in an anxious
tone. 'What is the cause of lightning?'
'The cause of lightning,' Alice said very decidedly, for she
felt quite certain about this, 'is the thunder--no, no!' she
hastily corrected herself. 'I meant the other way.'
'It's too late to correct it,' said the Red Queen: 'when
you've once said a thing, that fixes it, and you must take the
'Which reminds me--' the White Queen said, looking down and
nervously clasping and unclasping her hands, 'we had SUCH a
thunderstorm last Tuesday--I mean one of the last set of
Tuesdays, you know.'
Alice was puzzled. 'In OUR country,' she remarked, 'there's
only one day at a time.'
The Red Queen said, 'That's a poor thin way of doing things.
Now HERE, we mostly have days and nights two or three at a time,
and sometimes in the winter we take as many as five nights
together--for warmth, you know.'
'Are five nights warmer than one night, then?' Alice ventured
'Five times as warm, of course.'
'But they should be five times as COLD, by the same rule--'
'Just so!' cried the Red Queen. 'Five times as warm, AND five
times as cold--just as I'm five times as rich as you are, AND
five times as clever!'
Alice sighed and gave it up. 'It's exactly like a riddle with
no answer!' she thought.
'Humpty Dumpty saw it too,' the White Queen went on in a low
voice, more as if she were talking to herself. 'He came to the
door with a corkscrew in his hand--'
'What did he want?' said the Red Queen.
'He said he WOULD come in,' the White Queen went on, 'because
he was looking for a hippopotamus. Now, as it happened, there
wasn't such a thing in the house, that morning.'
'Is there generally?' Alice asked in an astonished tone.
'Well, only on Thursdays,' said the Queen.
'I know what he came for,' said Alice: 'he wanted to punish
the fish, because--'
Here the White Queen began again. 'It was SUCH a thunderstorm,
you can't think!' ('She NEVER could, you know,' said the Red
Queen.) 'And part of the roof came off, and ever so much thunder
got in--and it went rolling round the room in great lumps--and
knocking over the tables and things--till I was so frightened,
I couldn't remember my own name!'
Alice thought to herself, 'I never should TRY to remember my
name in the middle of an accident! Where would be the use of
it?' but she did not say this aloud, for fear of hurting the poor
'Your Majesty must excuse her,' the Red Queen said to Alice,
taking one of the White Queen's hands in her own, and gently
stroking it: 'she means well, but she can't help saying foolish
things, as a general rule.'
The White Queen looked timidly at Alice, who felt she OUGHT to
say something kind, but really couldn't think of anything at the
'She never was really well brought up,' the Red Queen went on:
'but it's amazing how good-tempered she is! Pat her on the head,
and see how pleased she'll be!' But this was more than Alice had
courage to do.
'A little kindness--and putting her hair in papers--would
do wonders with her--'
The White Queen gave a deep sigh, and laid her head on Alice's
shoulder. 'I AM so sleepy?' she moaned.
'She's tired, poor thing!' said the Red Queen. 'Smooth her hair
--lend her your nightcap--and sing her a soothing lullaby.'
'I haven't got a nightcap with me,' said Alice, as she tried to
obey the first direction: 'and I don't know any soothing
'I must do it myself, then,' said the Red Queen, and she began:
'Hush-a-by lady, in Alice's lap!
Till the feast's ready, we've time for a nap:
When the feast's over, we'll go to the ball--
Red Queen, and White Queen, and Alice, and all!
'And now you know the words,' she added, as she put her head
down on Alice's other shoulder, 'just sing it through to ME. I'm
getting sleepy, too.' In another moment both Queens were fast
asleep, and snoring loud.
'What AM I to do?' exclaimed Alice, looking about in great
perplexity, as first one round head, and then the other, rolled
down from her shoulder, and lay like a heavy lump in her lap.
'I don't think it EVER happened before, that any one had to take
care of two Queens asleep at once! No, not in all the History of
England--it couldn't, you know, because there never was more
than one Queen at a time. 'Do wake up, you heavy things!'
she went on in an impatient tone; but there was no answer
but a gentle snoring.
The snoring got more distinct every minute, and sounded more
like a tune: at last she could even make out the words, and she
listened so eagerly that, when the two great heads vanished from
her lap, she hardly missed them.
She was standing before an arched doorway over which were the
words QUEEN ALICE in large letters, and on each side of the arch
there was a bell-handle; one was marked 'Visitors' Bell,' and the
other 'Servants' Bell.'
'I'll wait till the song's over,' thought Alice, 'and then I'll
ring--the--WHICH bell must I ring?' she went on, very much
puzzled by the names. 'I'm not a visitor, and I'm not a servant.
There OUGHT to be one marked "Queen," you know--'
Just then the door opened a little way, and a creature with a
long beak put its head out for a moment and said 'No admittance
till the week after next!' and shut the door again with a bang.
Alice knocked and rang in vain for a long time, but at last, a
very old Frog, who was sitting under a tree, got up and hobbled
slowly towards her: he was dressed in bright yellow, and had
enormous boots on.
'What is it, now?' the Frog said in a deep hoarse whisper.
Alice turned round, ready to find fault with anybody. 'Where's
the servant whose business it is to answer the door?' she began
'Which door?' said the Frog.
Alice almost stamped with irritation at the slow drawl in which
he spoke. 'THIS door, of course!'
The Frog looked at the door with his large dull eyes for a minute:
then he went nearer and rubbed it with his thumb, as if he were
trying whether the paint would come off; then he looked at Alice.
'To answer the door?' he said. 'What's it been asking of?'
He was so hoarse that Alice could scarcely hear him.
'I don't know what you mean,' she said.
'I talks English, doesn't I?' the Frog went on. 'Or are you deaf?
What did it ask you?'
'Nothing!' Alice said impatiently. 'I've been knocking at it!'
'Shouldn't do that--shouldn't do that--' the Frog muttered.
'Vexes it, you know.' Then he went up and gave the door a kick
with one of his great feet. 'You let IT alone,' he panted out,
as he hobbled back to his tree, 'and it'll let YOU alone, you know.'
At this moment the door was flung open, and a shrill voice was
'To the Looking-Glass world it was Alice that said,
"I've a sceptre in hand, I've a crown on my head;
Let the Looking-Glass creatures, whatever they be,
Come and dine with the Red Queen, the White Queen, and me."'
And hundreds of voices joined in the chorus:
'Then fill up the glasses as quick as you can,
And sprinkle the table with buttons and bran:
Put cats in the coffee, and mice in the tea--
And welcome Queen Alice with thirty-times-three!'
Then followed a confused noise of cheering, and Alice thought
to herself, 'Thirty times three makes ninety. I wonder if any
one's counting?' In a minute there was silence again, and the
same shrill voice sang another verse;
'"O Looking-Glass creatures," quothe Alice, "draw near!
'Tis an honour to see me, a favour to hear:
'Tis a privilege high to have dinner and tea
Along with the Red Queen, the White Queen, and me!"'
Then came the chorus again:--
'Then fill up the glasses with treacle and ink,
Or anything else that is pleasant to drink:
Mix sand with the cider, and wool with the wine--
And welcome Queen Alice with ninety-times-nine!'
'Ninety times nine!' Alice repeated in despair, 'Oh, that'll
never be done! I'd better go in at once--' and there was a
dead silence the moment she appeared.
Alice glanced nervously along the table, as she walked up the
large hall, and noticed that there were about fifty guests, of
all kinds: some were animals, some birds, and there were even a
few flowers among them. 'I'm glad they've come without waiting
to be asked,' she thought: 'I should never have known who were
the right people to invite!'
There were three chairs at the head of the table; the Red and
White Queens had already taken two of them, but the middle one
was empty. Alice sat down in it, rather uncomfortable in the
silence, and longing for some one to speak.
At last the Red Queen began. 'You've missed the soup and
fish,' she said. 'Put on the joint!' And the waiters set a leg
of mutton before Alice, who looked at it rather anxiously, as she
had never had to carve a joint before.
'You look a little shy; let me introduce you to that leg of
mutton,' said the Red Queen. 'Alice--Mutton; Mutton--Alice.'
The leg of mutton got up in the dish and made a little bow to
Alice; and Alice returned the bow, not knowing whether to be
frightened or amused.
'May I give you a slice?' she said, taking up the knife and
fork, and looking from one Queen to the other.
'Certainly not,' the Red Queen said, very decidedly:
'it isn't etiquette to cut any one you've been introduced to.
Remove the joint!' And the waiters carried it off, and brought
a large plum-pudding in its place.
'I won't be introduced to the pudding, please,' Alice said rather
hastily, 'or we shall get no dinner at all. May I give you some?'
But the Red Queen looked sulky, and growled 'Pudding--Alice;
Alice--Pudding. Remove the pudding!' and the waiters took it
away so quickly that Alice couldn't return its bow.
However, she didn't see why the Red Queen should be the only
one to give orders, so, as an experiment, she called out 'Waiter!
Bring back the pudding!' and there it was again in a moment like
a conjuring-trick. It was so large that she couldn't help
feeling a LITTLE shy with it, as she had been with the mutton;
however, she conquered her shyness by a great effort and cut a
slice and handed it to the Red Queen.
'What impertinence!' said the Pudding. 'I wonder how you'd
like it, if I were to cut a slice out of YOU, you creature!'
It spoke in a thick, suety sort of voice, and Alice hadn't a
word to say in reply: she could only sit and look at it and gasp.
'Make a remark,' said the Red Queen: 'it's ridiculous to leave
all the conversation to the pudding!'
'Do you know, I've had such a quantity of poetry repeated to me
to-day,' Alice began, a little frightened at finding that, the
moment she opened her lips, there was dead silence, and all eyes
were fixed upon her; 'and it's a very curious thing, I think--
every poem was about fishes in some way. Do you know why they're
so fond of fishes, all about here?'
She spoke to the Red Queen, whose answer was a little wide of
the mark. 'As to fishes,' she said, very slowly and solemnly,
putting her mouth close to Alice's ear, 'her White Majesty knows
a lovely riddle--all in poetry--all about fishes. Shall she
'Her Red Majesty's very kind to mention it,' the White Queen
murmured into Alice's other ear, in a voice like the cooing of a
pigeon. 'It would be SUCH a treat! May I?'
'Please do,' Alice said very politely.
The White Queen laughed with delight, and stroked Alice's
cheek. Then she began:
'"First, the fish must be caught."
That is easy: a baby, I think, could have caught it.
"Next, the fish must be bought."
That is easy: a penny, I think, would have bought it.
"Now cook me the fish!"
That is easy, and will not take more than a minute.
"Let it lie in a dish!"
That is easy, because it already is in it.
"Bring it here! Let me sup!"
It is easy to set such a dish on the table.
"Take the dish-cover up!"
Ah, THAT is so hard that I fear I'm unable!
For it holds it like glue--
Holds the lid to the dish, while it lies in the middle:
Which is easiest to do,
Un-dish-cover the fish, or dishcover the riddle?'
'Take a minute to think about it, and then guess,' said the Red Queen.
'Meanwhile, we'll drink your health--Queen Alice's health!'
she screamed at the top of her voice, and all the guests
began drinking it directly, and very queerly they managed it:
some of them put their glasses upon their heads like extinguishers,
and drank all that trickled down their faces--others upset the decanters,
and drank the wine as it ran off the edges of the table--and three of them
(who looked like kangaroos) scrambled into the dish of roast mutton,
and began eagerly lapping up the gravy, 'just like pigs in a trough!'
'You ought to return thanks in a neat speech,' the Red Queen said,
frowning at Alice as she spoke.
'We must support you, you know,' the White Queen whispered, as
Alice got up to do it, very obediently, but a little frightened.
'Thank you very much,' she whispered in reply, 'but I can do
quite well without.'
'That wouldn't be at all the thing,' the Red Queen said very
decidedly: so Alice tried to submit to it with a good grace.
('And they DID push so!' she said afterwards, when she was
telling her sister the history of the feast. 'You would have
thought they wanted to squeeze me flat!')
In fact it was rather difficult for her to keep in her place
while she made her speech: the two Queens pushed her so, one on
each side, that they nearly lifted her up into the air: 'I rise
to return thanks--' Alice began: and she really DID rise as
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