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.
White Rabbit checking watch
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 finding tiny door behind curtain
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 though 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 know 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
Alice taking "Drink Me" bottle
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
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.
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.'
Alice stretched tall
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.
Giant Alice watching Rabbit run away
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.
Alice in pool of tears
`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.
Alice with Mouse in pool of tears
`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
`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.
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
`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 you speak?'
`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 "it" means.'
`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.
Dodo presenting thimble
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 could.
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,
`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
Mouse telling story to birds and Alice
`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, you know!'
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.
The Rabbit Sends in a Little Bill
It was the White Rabbit, trotting slowly back again, and looking
anxiously about as it went, as if it had lost something; and she heard
it muttering to itself `The Duchess! The Duchess! Oh my dear paws! Oh my
fur and whiskers! She'll get me executed, as sure as ferrets are
ferrets! Where can I have dropped them, I wonder?' Alice guessed
in a moment that it was looking for the fan and the pair of white kid
gloves, and she very good-naturedly began hunting about for them, but
they were nowhere to be seen--everything seemed to have changed since
her swim in the pool, and the great hall, with the glass table and the
little door, had vanished completely.
Very soon the Rabbit noticed Alice, as she went hunting about, and
called out to her in an angry tone, `Why, Mary Ann, what are you
doing out here? Run home this moment, and fetch me a pair of gloves and
a fan! Quick, now!' And Alice was so much frightened that she ran off at
once in the direction it pointed to, without trying to explain the
mistake it had made.
`He took me for his housemaid,' she said to herself as she ran. `How
surprised he'll be when he finds out who I am! But I'd better take him
his fan and gloves--that is, if I can find them.' As she said this, she
came upon a neat little house, on the door of which was a bright brass
plate with the name `W. RABBIT' engraved upon it. She went in without
knocking, and hurried upstairs, in great fear lest she should meet the
real Mary Ann, and be turned out of the house before she had found the
fan and gloves.
`How queer it seems,' Alice said to herself, `to be going messages
for a rabbit! I suppose Dinah'll be sending me on messages next!' And
she began fancying the sort of thing that would happen: `"Miss Alice!
Come here directly, and get ready for your walk!" "Coming in a minute,
nurse! But I've got to see that the mouse doesn't get out." Only I don't
think,' Alice went on, `that they'd let Dinah stop in the house if it
began ordering people about like that!'
By this time she had found her way into a tidy little room with a
table in the window, and on it (as she had hoped) a fan and two or three
pairs of tiny white kid gloves: she took up the fan and a pair of the
gloves, and was just going to leave the room, when her eye fell upon a
little bottle that stood near the looking-glass. There was no label this
time with the words `DRINK ME,' but nevertheless she uncorked it and put
it to her lips. `I know something interesting is sure to happen,'
she said to herself, `whenever I eat or drink anything; so I'll just see
what this bottle does. I do hope it'll make me grow large again, for
really I'm quite tired of being such a tiny little thing!'
It did so indeed, and much sooner than she had expected: before she
had drunk half the bottle, she found her head pressing against the
ceiling, and had to stoop to save her neck from being broken. She
hastily put down the bottle, saying to herself `That's quite enough--I
hope I shan't grow any more--As it is, I can't get out at the door--I do
wish I hadn't drunk quite so much!'
Alas! it was too late to wish that! She went on growing, and growing,
and very soon had to kneel down on the floor: in another minute there
was not even room for this, and she tried the effect of lying down with
one elbow against the door, and the other arm curled round her head.
Still she went on growing, and, as a last resource, she put one arm out
of the window, and one foot up the chimney, and said to herself `Now I
can do no more, whatever happens. What will become of me?'
Alice cramped in Rabbit's house
Luckily for Alice, the little magic bottle had now had its full
effect, and she grew no larger: still it was very uncomfortable, and, as
there seemed to be no sort of chance of her ever getting out of the room
again, no wonder she felt unhappy.
`It was much pleasanter at home,' thought poor Alice, `when one
wasn't always growing larger and smaller, and being ordered about by
mice and rabbits. I almost wish I hadn't gone down that rabbit-hole--and
yet--and yet--it's rather curious, you know, this sort of life! I do
wonder what can have happened to me! When I used to read
fairy-tales, I fancied that kind of thing never happened, and now here I
am in the middle of one! There ought to be a book written about me, that
there ought! And when I grow up, I'll write one--but I'm grown up now,'
she added in a sorrowful tone; `at least there's no room to grow up any
`But then,' thought Alice, `shall I never get any older than I
am now? That'll be a comfort, one way--never to be an old woman-- but
then--always to have lessons to learn! Oh, I shouldn't like that!'
`Oh, you foolish Alice!' she answered herself. `How can you learn
lessons in here? Why, there's hardly room for you, and no room at
all for any lesson-books!'
And so she went on, taking first one side and then the other, and
making quite a conversation of it altogether; but after a few minutes
she heard a voice outside, and stopped to listen.
`Mary Ann! Mary Ann!' said the voice. `Fetch me my gloves this
moment!' Then came a little pattering of feet on the stairs. Alice knew
it was the Rabbit coming to look for her, and she trembled till she
shook the house, quite forgetting that she was now about a thousand
times as large as the Rabbit, and had no reason to be afraid of it.
Presently the Rabbit came up to the door, and tried to open it; but,
as the door opened inwards, and Alice's elbow was pressed hard against
it, that attempt proved a failure. Alice heard it say to itself `Then
I'll go round and get in at the window.'
`That you won't' thought Alice, and, after waiting till she
fancied she heard the Rabbit just under the window, she suddenly spread
out her hand, and made a snatch in the air. She did not get hold of
anything, but she heard a little shriek and a fall, and a crash of
broken glass, from which she concluded that it was just possible it had
fallen into a cucumber-frame, or something of the sort.
Alice's hand grabbing at Rabbit
Next came an angry voice--the Rabbit's--`Pat! Pat! Where are you?'
And then a voice she had never heard before, `Sure then I'm here!
Digging for apples, yer honour!'
`Digging for apples, indeed!' said the Rabbit angrily. `Here! Come
and help me out of this!' (Sounds of more broken glass.)
`Now tell me, Pat, what's that in the window?'
`Sure, it's an arm, yer honour!' (He pronounced it `arrum.')
`An arm, you goose! Who ever saw one that size? Why, it fills the
`Sure, it does, yer honour: but it's an arm for all that.'
`Well, it's got no business there, at any rate: go and take it away!'
There was a long silence after this, and Alice could only hear
whispers now and then; such as, `Sure, I don't like it, yer honour, at
all, at all!' `Do as I tell you, you coward!' and at last she spread out
her hand again, and made another snatch in the air. This time there were
two little shrieks, and more sounds of broken glass. `What a
number of cucumber-frames there must be!' thought Alice. `I wonder what
they'll do next! As for pulling me out of the window, I only wish they
could! I'm sure I don't want to stay in here any longer!'
She waited for some time without hearing anything more: at last came
a rumbling of little cartwheels, and the sound of a good many voices all
talking together: she made out the words: `Where's the other
ladder?--Why, I hadn't to bring but one; Bill's got the other--Bill!
fetch it here, lad!--Here, put 'em up at this corner--No, tie 'em
together first--they don't reach half high enough yet--Oh! they'll do
well enough; don't be particular-- Here, Bill! catch hold of this
rope--Will the roof bear?--Mind that loose slate--Oh, it's coming down!
Heads below!' (a loud crash)--`Now, who did that?--It was Bill, I
fancy--Who's to go down the chimney?--Nay, I shan't! You do
it!--That I won't, then!--Bill's to go down--Here, Bill! the master says
you're to go down the chimney!'
`Oh! So Bill's got to come down the chimney, has he?' said Alice to
herself. `Shy, they seem to put everything upon Bill! I wouldn't be in
Bill's place for a good deal: this fireplace is narrow, to be sure; but
I think I can kick a little!'
She drew her foot as far down the chimney as she could, and waited
till she heard a little animal (she couldn't guess of what sort it was)
scratching and scrambling about in the chimney close above her: then,
saying to herself `This is Bill,' she gave one sharp kick, and waited to
see what would happen next.
The first thing she heard was a general chorus of `There goes Bill!'
then the Rabbit's voice along--`Catch him, you by the hedge!' then
silence, and then another confusion of voices--`Hold up his head--Brandy
now--Don't choke him--How was it, old fellow? What happened to you? Tell
us all about it!'
"There goes Bill!"
Last came a little feeble, squeaking voice, (`That's Bill,' thought
Alice,) `Well, I hardly know--No more, thank ye; I'm better now--but I'm
a deal too flustered to tell you--all I know is, something comes at me
like a Jack-in-the-box, and up I goes like a sky-rocket!'
`So you did, old fellow!' said the others.
`We must burn the house down!' said the Rabbit's voice; and Alice
called out as loud as she could, `If you do. I'll set Dinah at you!'
There was a dead silence instantly, and Alice thought to herself, `I
wonder what they will do next! If they had any sense, they'd take
the roof off.' After a minute or two, they began moving about again, and
Alice heard the Rabbit say, `A barrowful will do, to begin with.'
`A barrowful of what?' thought Alice; but she had not long to
doubt, for the next moment a shower of little pebbles came rattling in
at the window, and some of them hit her in the face. `I'll put a stop to
this,' she said to herself, and shouted out, `You'd better not do that
again!' which produced another dead silence.
Alice noticed with some surprise that the pebbles were all turning
into little cakes as they lay on the floor, and a bright idea came into
her head. `If I eat one of these cakes,' she thought, `it's sure to make
some change in my size; and as it can't possibly make me larger,
it must make me smaller, I suppose.'
So she swallowed one of the cakes, and was delighted to find that she
began shrinking directly. As soon as she was small enough to get through
the door, she ran out of the house, and found quite a crowd of little
animals and birds waiting outside. The poor little Lizard, Bill, was in
the middle, being held up by two guinea-pigs, who were giving it
something out of a bottle. They all made a rush at Alice the moment she
appeared; but she ran off as hard as she could, and soon found herself
safe in a thick wood.
`The first thing I've got to do,' said Alice to herself, as she
wandered about in the wood, `is to grow to my right size again; and the
second thing is to find my way into that lovely garden. I think that
will be the best plan.'
It sounded an excellent plan, no doubt, and very neatly and simply
arranged; the only difficulty was, that she had not the smallest idea
how to set about it; and while she was peering about anxiously among the
trees, a little sharp bark just over her head made her look up in a
An enormous puppy was looking down at her with large round eyes, and
feebly stretching out one paw, trying to touch her. `Poor little thing!'
said Alice, in a coaxing tone, and she tried hard to whistle to it; but
she was terribly frightened all the time at the thought that it might be
hungry, in which case it would be very likely to eat her up in spite of
all her coaxing.
Dog looking at tiny Alice
Hardly knowing what she did, she picked up a little bit of stick, and
held it out to the puppy; whereupon the puppy jumped into the air off
all its feet at once, with a yelp of delight, and rushed at the stick,
and made believe to worry it; then Alice dodged behind a great thistle,
to keep herself from being run over; and the moment she appeared on the
other side, the puppy made another rush at the stick, and tumbled head
over heels in its hurry to get hold of it; then Alice, thinking it was
very like having a game of play with a cart-horse, and expecting every
moment to be trampled under its feet, ran round the thistle again; then
the puppy began a series of short charges at the stick, running a very
little way forwards each time and a long way back, and barking hoarsely
all the while, till at last it sat down a good way off, panting, with
its tongue hanging out of its mouth, and its great eyes half shut.
This seemed to Alice a good opportunity for making her escape; so she
set off at once, and ran till she was quite tired and out of breath, and
till the puppy's bark sounded quite faint in the distance.
`And yet what a dear little puppy it was!' said Alice, as she leant
against a buttercup to rest herself, and fanned herself with one of the
leaves: `I should have liked teaching it tricks very much, if--if I'd
only been the right size to do it! Oh dear! I'd nearly forgotten that
I've got to grow up again! Let me see--how is it to be managed? I
suppose I ought to eat or drink something or other; but the great
question is, what?'
The great question certainly was, what? Alice looked all round her at
the flowers and the blades of grass, but she did not see anything that
looked like the right thing to eat or drink under the circumstances.
There was a large mushroom growing near her, about the same height as
herself; and when she had looked under it, and on both sides of it, and
behind it, it occurred to her that she might as well look and see what
was on the top of it.
She stretched herself up on tiptoe, and peeped over the edge of the
mushroom, and her eyes immediately met those of a large caterpillar,
that was sitting on the top with its arms folded, quietly smoking a long
hookah, and taking not the smallest notice of her or of anything else.
Alice meets the Caterpillar