Through the Looking-Glass
Lewis Carroll [Charles Dodgson]
Part 3 out of 3
she spoke, several inches; but she got hold of the edge of the
table, and managed to pull herself down again.
'Take care of yourself!' screamed the White Queen, seizing
Alice's hair with both her hands. 'Something's going to happen!'
And then (as Alice afterwards described it) all sorts of things
happened in a moment. The candles all grew up to the ceiling,
looking something like a bed of rushes with fireworks at the top.
As to the bottles, they each took a pair of plates, which they
hastily fitted on as wings, and so, with forks for legs, went
fluttering about in all directions: 'and very like birds they
look,' Alice thought to herself, as well as she could in the
dreadful confusion that was beginning.
At this moment she heard a hoarse laugh at her side, and turned
to see what was the matter with the White Queen; but, instead of
the Queen, there was the leg of mutton sitting in the chair.
'Here I am!' cried a voice from the soup tureen, and Alice turned
again, just in time to see the Queen's broad good-natured face
grinning at her for a moment over the edge of the tureen, before
she disappeared into the soup.
There was not a moment to be lost. Already several of the
guests were lying down in the dishes, and the soup ladle was
walking up the table towards Alice's chair, and beckoning to her
impatiently to get out of its way.
'I can't stand this any longer!' she cried as she jumped up and
seized the table-cloth with both hands: one good pull, and
plates, dishes, guests, and candles came crashing down together
in a heap on the floor.
'And as for YOU,' she went on, turning fiercely upon the Red Queen,
whom she considered as the cause of all the mischief--but the Queen
was no longer at her side--she had suddenly dwindled down to the size
of a little doll, and was now on the table, merrily running round
and round after her own shawl, which was trailing behind her.
At any other time, Alice would have felt surprised at this,
but she was far too much excited to be surprised at anything NOW.
'As for YOU,' she repeated, catching hold of the little creature
in the very act of jumping over a bottle which had just lighted
upon the table, 'I'll shake you into a kitten, that I will!'
She took her off the table as she spoke, and shook her
backwards and forwards with all her might.
The Red Queen made no resistance whatever; only her face grew
very small, and her eyes got large and green: and still, as
Alice went on shaking her, she kept on growing shorter--and
fatter--and softer--and rounder--and--
--and it really WAS a kitten, after all.
Which Dreamed it?
'Your majesty shouldn't purr so loud,' Alice said, rubbing her
eyes, and addressing the kitten, respectfully, yet with some
severity. 'You woke me out of oh! such a nice dream! And you've
been along with me, Kitty--all through the Looking-Glass world.
Did you know it, dear?'
It is a very inconvenient habit of kittens (Alice had once made
the remark) that, whatever you say to them, they ALWAYS purr.
'If they would only purr for "yes" and mew for "no," or any rule
of that sort,' she had said, 'so that one could keep up a
conversation! But how CAN you talk with a person if they always
say the same thing?'
On this occasion the kitten only purred: and it was impossible
to guess whether it meant 'yes' or 'no.'
So Alice hunted among the chessmen on the table till she had
found the Red Queen: then she went down on her knees on the
hearth-rug, and put the kitten and the Queen to look at each
other. 'Now, Kitty!' she cried, clapping her hands triumphantly.
'Confess that was what you turned into!'
('But it wouldn't look at it,' she said, when she was
explaining the thing afterwards to her sister: 'it turned away
its head, and pretended not to see it: but it looked a LITTLE
ashamed of itself, so I think it MUST have been the Red Queen.')
'Sit up a little more stiffly, dear!' Alice cried with a merry
laugh. 'And curtsey while you're thinking what to--what to
purr. It saves time, remember!' And she caught it up and gave
it one little kiss, 'just in honour of having been a Red Queen.'
'Snowdrop, my pet!' she went on, looking over her shoulder at
the White Kitten, which was still patiently undergoing its
toilet, 'when WILL Dinah have finished with your White Majesty, I
wonder? That must be the reason you were so untidy in my dream--
Dinah! do you know that you're scrubbing a White Queen?
Really, it's most disrespectful of you!
'And what did DINAH turn to, I wonder?' she prattled on, as she
settled comfortably down, with one elbow in the rug, and her chin
in her hand, to watch the kittens. 'Tell me, Dinah, did you turn
to Humpty Dumpty? I THINK you did--however, you'd better not
mention it to your friends just yet, for I'm not sure.
'By the way, Kitty, if only you'd been really with me in my
dream, there was one thing you WOULD have enjoyed--I had such a
quantity of poetry said to me, all about fishes! To-morrow
morning you shall have a real treat. All the time you're eating
your breakfast, I'll repeat "The Walrus and the Carpenter" to
you; and then you can make believe it's oysters, dear!
'Now, Kitty, let's consider who it was that dreamed it all.
This is a serious question, my dear, and you should NOT go on
licking your paw like that--as if Dinah hadn't washed you this
morning! You see, Kitty, it MUST have been either me or the Red
King. He was part of my dream, of course--but then I was part
of his dream, too! WAS it the Red King, Kitty? You were his
wife, my dear, so you ought to know--Oh, Kitty, DO help to
settle it! I'm sure your paw can wait!' But the provoking
kitten only began on the other paw, and pretended it hadn't heard
Which do YOU think it was?
A boat beneath a sunny sky,
Lingering onward dreamily
In an evening of July--
Children three that nestle near,
Eager eye and willing ear,
Pleased a simple tale to hear--
Long has paled that sunny sky:
Echoes fade and memories die.
Autumn frosts have slain July.
Still she haunts me, phantomwise,
Alice moving under skies
Never seen by waking eyes.
Children yet, the tale to hear,
Eager eye and willing ear,
Lovingly shall nestle near.
In a Wonderland they lie,
Dreaming as the days go by,
Dreaming as the summers die:
Ever drifting down the stream--
Lingering in the golden gleam--
Life, what is it but a dream?
Back to Full Books