`I HAVE tasted eggs, certainly,' said Alice, who was a very truthful child; `but
little girls eat eggs quite as much as serpents do, you know.'
`I don't believe it,' said the Pigeon; `but if they do, why then they're a kind
of serpent, that's all I can say.'
This was such a new idea to Alice, that she was quite silent for a minute or
two, which gave the Pigeon the opportunity of adding, `You're looking for eggs,
I know THAT well enough; and what does it matter to me whether you're a little girl
or a serpent?'
`It matters a good deal to ME,' said Alice hastily; `but I'm not looking for
eggs, as it happens; and if I was, I shouldn't want YOURS: I don't like them raw.'
`Well, be off, then!' said the Pigeon in a sulky tone, as it settled down again
into its nest. Alice crouched down among the trees as well as she could, for her
neck kept getting entangled among the branches, and every now and then she had to
stop and untwist it. After a while she remembered that she still held the pieces
of mushroom in her hands, and she set to work very carefully, nibbling first at
one and then at the other, and growing sometimes taller and sometimes shorter, until
she had succeeded in bringing herself down to her usual height.
It was so long since she had been anything near the right size, that it felt
quite strange at first; but she got used to it in a few minutes, and began talking
to herself, as usual. `Come, there's half my plan done now! How puzzling all these
changes are! I'm never sure what I'm going to be, from one minute to another! However,
I've got back to my right size: the next thing is, to get into that beautiful garden--how
IS that to be done, I wonder?' As she said this, she came suddenly upon an open
place, with a little house in it about four feet high. `Whoever lives there,' thought
Alice, `it'll never do to come upon them THIS size: why, I should frighten them
out of their wits!' So she began nibbling at the righthand bit again, and did not
venture to go near the house till she had brought herself down to nine inches high.
Pig and Pepper
For a minute or two she stood looking at the house, and wondering what to do
next, when suddenly a footman in livery came running out of the wood--(she considered
him to be a footman because he was in livery: otherwise, judging by his face only,
she would have called him a fish)--and rapped loudly at the door with his knuckles.
It was opened by another footman in livery, with a round face, and large eyes like
a frog; and both footmen, Alice noticed, had powdered hair that curled all over
their heads. She felt very curious to know what it was all about, and crept a little
way out of the wood to listen.
The Fish-Footman began by producing from under his arm a great letter, nearly
as large as himself, and this he handed over to the other, saying, in a solemn tone,
`For the Duchess. An invitation from the Queen to play croquet.' The Frog-Footman
repeated, in the same solemn tone, only changing the order of the words a little,
`From the Queen. An invitation for the Duchess to play croquet.'
Then they both bowed low, and their curls got entangled together.
Alice laughed so much at this, that she had to run back into the wood for fear
of their hearing her; and when she next peeped out the Fish-Footman was gone, and
the other was sitting on the ground near the door, staring stupidly up into the
Alice went timidly up to the door, and knocked.
`There's no sort of use in knocking,' said the Footman, `and that for two reasons.
First, because I'm on the same side of the door as you are; secondly, because they're
making such a noise inside, no one could possibly hear you.' And certainly there
was a most extraordinary noise going on within--a constant howling and sneezing,
and every now and then a great crash, as if a dish or kettle had been broken to
`Please, then,' said Alice, `how am I to get in?'
`There might be some sense in your knocking,' the Footman went on without attending
to her, `if we had the door between us. For instance, if you were INSIDE, you might
knock, and I could let you out, you know.' He was looking up into the sky all the
time he was speaking, and this Alice thought decidedly uncivil. `But perhaps he
can't help it,' she said to herself; `his eyes are so VERY nearly at the top of
his head. But at any rate he might answer questions.--How am I to get in?' she repeated,
`I shall sit here,' the Footman remarked, `till tomorrow--'
At this moment the door of the house opened, and a large plate came skimming
out, straight at the Footman's head: it just grazed his nose, and broke to pieces
against one of the trees behind him.
`--or next day, maybe,' the Footman continued in the same tone, exactly as if
nothing had happened.
`How am I to get in?' asked Alice again, in a louder tone.
`ARE you to get in at all?' said the Footman. `That's the first question, you
It was, no doubt: only Alice did not like to be told so. `It's really dreadful,'
she muttered to herself, `the way all the creatures argue. It's enough to drive
The Footman seemed to think this a good opportunity for repeating his remark,
with variations. `I shall sit here,' he said, `on and off, for days and days.'
`But what am I to do?' said Alice.
`Anything you like,' said the Footman, and began whistling.
`Oh, there's no use in talking to him,' said Alice desperately: `he's perfectly
idiotic!' And she opened the door and went in.
The door led right into a large kitchen, which was full of smoke from one end
to the other: the Duchess was sitting on a three-legged stool in the middle, nursing
a baby; the cook was leaning over the fire, stirring a large cauldron which seemed
to be full of soup.
`There's certainly too much pepper in that soup!' Alice said to herself, as well
as she could for sneezing.
There was certainly too much of it in the air. Even the Duchess sneezed occasionally;
and as for the baby, it was sneezing and howling alternately without a moment's
pause. The only things in the kitchen that did not sneeze, were the cook, and a
large cat which was sitting on the hearth and grinning from ear to ear.
`Please would you tell me,' said Alice, a little timidly, for she was not quite
sure whether it was good manners for her to speak first, `why your cat grins like
`It's a Cheshire cat,' said the Duchess, `and that's why. Pig!'
She said the last word with such sudden violence that Alice quite jumped; but
she saw in another moment that it was addressed to the baby, and not to her, so
she took courage, and went on again:--
`I didn't know that Cheshire cats always grinned; in fact, I didn't know that
cats COULD grin.'
`They all can,' said the Duchess; `and most of 'em do.'
`I don't know of any that do,' Alice said very politely, feeling quite pleased
to have got into a conversation.
`You don't know much,' said the Duchess; `and that's a fact.'
Alice did not at all like the tone of this remark, and thought it would be as
well to introduce some other subject of conversation. While she was trying to fix
on one, the cook took the cauldron of soup off the fire, and at once set to work
throwing everything within her reach at the Duchess and the baby --the fire-irons
came first; then followed a shower of saucepans, plates, and dishes. The Duchess
took no notice of them even when they hit her; and the baby was howling so much
already, that it was quite impossible to say whether the blows hurt it or not.
`Oh, PLEASE mind what you're doing!' cried Alice, jumping up and down in an agony
of terror. `Oh, there goes his PRECIOUS nose'; as an unusually large saucepan flew
close by it, and very nearly carried it off.
`If everybody minded their own business,' the Duchess said in a hoarse growl,
`the world would go round a deal faster than it does.'
`Which would NOT be an advantage,' said Alice, who felt very glad to get an opportunity
of showing off a little of her knowledge. `Just think of what work it would make
with the day and night! You see the earth takes twenty-four hours to turn round
on its axis--'
`Talking of axes,' said the Duchess, `chop off her head!'
Alice glanced rather anxiously at the cook, to see if she meant to take the hint;
but the cook was busily stirring the soup, and seemed not to be listening, so she
went on again: `Twenty-four hours, I THINK; or is it twelve? I--'
`Oh, don't bother ME,' said the Duchess; `I never could abide figures!' And with
that she began nursing her child again, singing a sort of lullaby to it as she did
so, and giving it a violent shake at the end of every line:
`Speak roughly to your little boy,
And beat him when he sneezes:
He only does it to annoy,
Because he knows it teases.'
(In which the cook and the baby joined):--
`Wow! wow! wow!'
While the Duchess sang the second verse of the song, she kept tossing the baby
violently up and down, and the poor little thing howled so, that Alice could hardly
hear the words:--
`I speak severely to my boy,
I beat him when he sneezes;
For he can thoroughly enjoy
The pepper when he pleases!'
`Wow! wow! wow!'
`Here! you may nurse it a bit, if you like!' the Duchess said to Alice, flinging
the baby at her as she spoke. `I must go and get ready to play croquet with the
Queen,' and she hurried out of the room. The cook threw a frying-pan after her as
she went out, but it just missed her.
Alice caught the baby with some difficulty, as it was a queer- shaped little
creature, and held out its arms and legs in all directions, `just like a star-fish,'
thought Alice. The poor little thing was snorting like a steam-engine when she caught
it, and kept doubling itself up and straightening itself out again, so that altogether,
for the first minute or two, it was as much as she could do to hold it.
As soon as she had made out the proper way of nursing it, (which was to twist
it up into a sort of knot, and then keep tight hold of its right ear and left foot,
so as to prevent its undoing itself,) she carried it out into the open air. `IF
I don't take this child away with me,' thought Alice, `they're sure to kill it in
a day or two: wouldn't it be murder to leave it behind?' She said the last words
out loud, and the little thing grunted in reply (it had left off sneezing by this
time). `Don't grunt,' said Alice; `that's not at all a proper way of expressing
The baby grunted again, and Alice looked very anxiously into its face to see
what was the matter with it. There could be no doubt that it had a VERY turn-up
nose, much more like a snout than a real nose; also its eyes were getting extremely
small for a baby: altogether Alice did not like the look of the thing at all. `But
perhaps it was only sobbing,' she thought, and looked into its eyes again, to see
if there were any tears.
No, there were no tears. `If you're going to turn into a pig, my dear,' said
Alice, seriously, `I'll have nothing more to do with you. Mind now!' The poor little
thing sobbed again (or grunted, it was impossible to say which), and they went on
for some while in silence.
Alice was just beginning to think to herself, `Now, what am I to do with this
creature when I get it home?' when it grunted again, so violently, that she looked
down into its face in some alarm. This time there could be NO mistake about it:
it was neither more nor less than a pig, and she felt that it would be quite absurd
for her to carry it further.
So she set the little creature down, and felt quite relieved to see it trot away
quietly into the wood. `If it had grown up,' she said to herself, `it would have
made a dreadfully ugly child: but it makes rather a handsome pig, I think.' And
she began thinking over other children she knew, who might do very well as pigs,
and was just saying to herself, `if one only knew the right way to change them--'
when she was a little startled by seeing the Cheshire Cat sitting on a bough of
a tree a few yards off.
The Cat only grinned when it saw Alice. It looked good- natured, she thought:
still it had VERY long claws and a great many teeth, so she felt that it ought to
be treated with respect.
`Cheshire Puss,' she began, rather timidly, as she did not at all know whether
it would like the name: however, it only grinned a little wider. `Come, it's pleased
so far,' thought Alice, and she went on. `Would you tell me, please, which way I
ought to go from here?'
`That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,' said the Cat.
`I don't much care where--' said Alice.
`Then it doesn't matter which way you go,' said the Cat.
`--so long as I get SOMEWHERE,' Alice added as an explanation.
`Oh, you're sure to do that,' said the Cat, `if you only walk long enough.'
Alice felt that this could not be denied, so she tried another question. `What
sort of people live about here?'
`In THAT direction,' the Cat said, waving its right paw round, `lives a Hatter:
and in THAT direction,' waving the other paw, `lives a March Hare. Visit either
you like: they're both mad.'
`But I don't want to go among mad people,' Alice remarked.
`Oh, you can't help that,' said the Cat: `we're all mad here. I'm mad. You're
`How do you know I'm mad?' said Alice.
`You must be,' said the Cat, `or you wouldn't have come here.'
Alice didn't think that proved it at all; however, she went on `And how do you
know that you're mad?'
`To begin with,' said the Cat, `a dog's not mad. You grant that?'