This answer so confused poor Alice, that she let the Dormouse go on for some
time without interrupting it.
`They were learning to draw,' the Dormouse went on, yawning and rubbing its eyes,
for it was getting very sleepy; `and they drew all manner of things--everything
that begins with an M--'
`Why with an M?' said Alice.
`Why not?' said the March Hare.
Alice was silent.
The Dormouse had closed its eyes by this time, and was going off into a doze;
but, on being pinched by the Hatter, it woke up again with a little shriek, and
went on: `--that begins with an M, such as mouse-traps, and the moon, and memory,
and muchness-- you know you say things are "much of a muchness"--did you ever see
such a thing as a drawing of a muchness?'
`Really, now you ask me,' said Alice, very much confused, `I don't think--'
`Then you shouldn't talk,' said the Hatter.
This piece of rudeness was more than Alice could bear: she got up in great disgust,
and walked off; the Dormouse fell asleep instantly, and neither of the others took
the least notice of her going, though she looked back once or twice, half hoping
that they would call after her: the last time she saw them, they were trying to
put the Dormouse into the teapot.
`At any rate I'll never go THERE again!' said Alice as she picked her way through
the wood. `It's the stupidest tea-party I ever was at in all my life!'
Just as she said this, she noticed that one of the trees had a door leading right
into it. `That's very curious!' she thought. `But everything's curious today. I
think I may as well go in at once.' And in she went.
Once more she found herself in the long hall, and close to the little glass table.
`Now, I'll manage better this time,' she said to herself, and began by taking the
little golden key, and unlocking the door that led into the garden. Then she went
to work nibbling at the mushroom (she had kept a piece of it in her pocket) till
she was about a foot high: then she walked down the little passage: and THEN--she
found herself at last in the beautiful garden, among the bright flower-beds and
the cool fountains.
The Queen's Croquet-Ground
A large rose-tree stood near the entrance of the garden: the roses growing on
it were white, but there were three gardeners at it, busily painting them red. Alice
thought this a very curious thing, and she went nearer to watch them, and just as
she came up to them she heard one of them say, `Look out now, Five! Don't go splashing
paint over me like that!'
`I couldn't help it,' said Five, in a sulky tone; `Seven jogged my elbow.'
On which Seven looked up and said, `That's right, Five! Always lay the blame
`YOU'D better not talk!' said Five. `I heard the Queen say only yesterday you
deserved to be beheaded!'
`What for?' said the one who had spoken first.
`That's none of YOUR business, Two!' said Seven.
`Yes, it IS his business!' said Five, `and I'll tell him--it was for bringing
the cook tulip-roots instead of onions.'
Seven flung down his brush, and had just begun `Well, of all the unjust things--'
when his eye chanced to fall upon Alice, as she stood watching them, and he checked
himself suddenly: the others looked round also, and all of them bowed low.
`Would you tell me,' said Alice, a little timidly, `why you are painting those
Five and Seven said nothing, but looked at Two. Two began in a low voice, `Why
the fact is, you see, Miss, this here ought to have been a RED rose-tree, and we
put a white one in by mistake; and if the Queen was to find it out, we should all
have our heads cut off, you know. So you see, Miss, we're doing our best, afore
she comes, to--' At this moment Five, who had been anxiously looking across the
garden, called out `The Queen! The Queen!' and the three gardeners instantly threw
themselves flat upon their faces. There was a sound of many footsteps, and Alice
looked round, eager to see the Queen.
First came ten soldiers carrying clubs; these were all shaped like the three
gardeners, oblong and flat, with their hands and feet at the corners: next the ten
courtiers; these were ornamented all over with diamonds, and walked two and two,
as the soldiers did. After these came the royal children; there were ten of them,
and the little dears came jumping merrily along hand in hand, in couples: they were
all ornamented with hearts. Next came the guests, mostly Kings and Queens, and among
them Alice recognised the White Rabbit: it was talking in a hurried nervous manner,
smiling at everything that was said, and went by without noticing her. Then followed
the Knave of Hearts, carrying the King's crown on a crimson velvet cushion; and,
last of all this grand procession, came THE KING AND QUEEN OF HEARTS.
Alice was rather doubtful whether she ought not to lie down on her face like
the three gardeners, but she could not remember ever having heard of such a rule
at processions; `and besides, what would be the use of a procession,' thought she,
`if people had all to lie down upon their faces, so that they couldn't see it?'
So she stood still where she was, and waited.
When the procession came opposite to Alice, they all stopped and looked at her,
and the Queen said severely `Who is this?' She said it to the Knave of Hearts, who
only bowed and smiled in reply.
`Idiot!' said the Queen, tossing her head impatiently; and, turning to Alice,
she went on, `What's your name, child?'
`My name is Alice, so please your Majesty,' said Alice very politely; but she
added, to herself, `Why, they're only a pack of cards, after all. I needn't be afraid
`And who are THESE?' said the Queen, pointing to the three gardeners who were
lying round the rosetree; for, you see, as they were lying on their faces, and the
pattern on their backs was the same as the rest of the pack, she could not tell
whether they were gardeners, or soldiers, or courtiers, or three of her own children.
`How should I know?' said Alice, surprised at her own courage. `It's no business
The Queen turned crimson with fury, and, after glaring at her for a moment like
a wild beast, screamed `Off with her head! Off--'
`Nonsense!' said Alice, very loudly and decidedly, and the Queen was silent.
The King laid his hand upon her arm, and timidly said `Consider, my dear: she
is only a child!'
The Queen turned angrily away from him, and said to the Knave `Turn them over!'
The Knave did so, very carefully, with one foot.
`Get up!' said the Queen, in a shrill, loud voice, and the three gardeners instantly
jumped up, and began bowing to the King, the Queen, the royal children, and everybody
`Leave off that!' screamed the Queen. `You make me giddy.' And then, turning
to the rose-tree, she went on, `What HAVE you been doing here?'
`May it please your Majesty,' said Two, in a very humble tone, going down on
one knee as he spoke, `we were trying--'
`I see!' said the Queen, who had meanwhile been examining the roses. `Off with
their heads!' and the procession moved on, three of the soldiers remaining behind
to execute the unfortunate gardeners, who ran to Alice for protection.
`You shan't be beheaded!' said Alice, and she put them into a large flower-pot
that stood near. The three soldiers wandered about for a minute or two, looking
for them, and then quietly marched off after the others.
`Are their heads off?' shouted the Queen.
`Their heads are gone, if it please your Majesty!' the soldiers shouted in reply.
`That's right!' shouted the Queen. `Can you play croquet?'
The soldiers were silent, and looked at Alice, as the question was evidently
meant for her.
`Yes!' shouted Alice.
`Come on, then!' roared the Queen, and Alice joined the procession, wondering
very much what would happen next.
`It's--it's a very fine day!' said a timid voice at her side. She was walking
by the White Rabbit, who was peeping anxiously into her face.
`Very,' said Alice: `--where's the Duchess?'
`Hush! Hush!' said the Rabbit in a low, hurried tone. He looked anxiously over
his shoulder as he spoke, and then raised himself upon tiptoe, put his mouth close
to her ear, and whispered `She's under sentence of execution.'
`What for?' said Alice.
`Did you say "What a pity!"?' the Rabbit asked.
`No, I didn't,' said Alice: `I don't think it's at all a pity. I said "What for?"'
`She boxed the Queen's ears--' the Rabbit began. Alice gave a little scream of
laughter. `Oh, hush!' the Rabbit whispered in a frightened tone. `The Queen will
hear you! You see, she came rather late, and the Queen said--'
`Get to your places!' shouted the Queen in a voice of thunder, and people began
running about in all directions, tumbling up against each other; however, they got
settled down in a minute or two, and the game began. Alice thought she had never
seen such a curious croquet-ground in her life; it was all ridges and furrows; the
balls were live hedgehogs, the mallets live flamingoes, and the soldiers had to
double themselves up and to stand on their hands and feet, to make the arches.
The chief difficulty Alice found at first was in managing her flamingo: she succeeded
in getting its body tucked away, comfortably enough, under her arm, with its legs
hanging down, but generally, just as she had got its neck nicely straightened out,
and was going to give the hedgehog a blow with its head, it WOULD twist itself round
and look up in her face, with such a puzzled expression that she could not help
bursting out laughing: and when she had got its head down, and was going to begin
again, it was very provoking to find that the hedgehog had unrolled itself, and
was in the act of crawling away: besides all this, there was generally a ridge or
furrow in the way wherever she wanted to send the hedgehog to, and, as the doubled-up
soldiers were always getting up and walking off to other parts of the ground, Alice
soon came to the conclusion that it was a very difficult game indeed.
The players all played at once without waiting for turns, quarrelling all the
while, and fighting for the hedgehogs; and in a very short time the Queen was in
a furious passion, and went stamping about, and shouting `Off with his head!' or
`Off with her head!' about once in a minute.
Alice began to feel very uneasy: to be sure, she had not as yet had any dispute
with the Queen, but she knew that it might happen any minute, `and then,' thought
she, `what would become of me? They're dreadfully fond of beheading people here;
the great wonder is, that there's any one left alive!'
She was looking about for some way of escape, and wondering whether she could
get away without being seen, when she noticed a curious appearance in the air: it
puzzled her very much at first, but, after watching it a minute or two, she made
it out to be a grin, and she said to herself `It's the Cheshire Cat: now I shall
have somebody to talk to.' `How are you getting on?' said the Cat, as soon as there
was mouth enough for it to speak with.
Alice waited till the eyes appeared, and then nodded. `It's no use speaking to
it,' she thought, `till its ears have come, or at least one of them.' In another
minute the whole head appeared, and then Alice put down her flamingo, and began
an account of the game, feeling very glad she had someone to listen to her. The
Cat seemed to think that there was enough of it now in sight, and no more of it
`I don't think they play at all fairly,' Alice began, in rather a complaining
tone, `and they all quarrel so dreadfully one can't hear oneself speak--and they
don't seem to have any rules in particular; at least, if there are, nobody attends
to them--and you've no idea how confusing it is all the things being alive; for
instance, there's the arch I've got to go through next walking about at the other
end of the ground--and I should have croqueted the Queen's hedgehog just now, only
it ran away when it saw mine coming!'
`How do you like the Queen?' said the Cat in a low voice.
`Not at all,' said Alice: `she's so extremely--' Just then she noticed that the
Queen was close behind her, listening: so she went on, `--likely to win, that it's
hardly worth while finishing the game.'
The Queen smiled and passed on.
`Who ARE you talking to?' said the King, going up to Alice, and looking at the
Cat's head with great curiosity.
`It's a friend of mine--a Cheshire Cat,' said Alice: `allow me to introduce it.'
`I don't like the look of it at all,' said the King: `however, it may kiss my
hand if it likes.'
`I'd rather not,' the Cat remarked.
`Don't be impertinent,' said the King, `and don't look at me like that!' He got
behind Alice as he spoke.
`A cat may look at a king,' said Alice. `I've read that in some book, but I don't
`Well, it must be removed,' said the King very decidedly, and he called the Queen,
who was passing at the moment, `My dear! I wish you would have this cat removed!'
The Queen had only one way of settling all difficulties, great or small. `Off
with his head!' she said, without even looking round.
`I'll fetch the executioner myself,' said the King eagerly, and he hurried off.
Alice thought she might as well go back, and see how the game was going on, as
she heard the Queen's voice in the distance, screaming with passion. She had already
heard her sentence three of the players to be executed for having missed their turns,
and she did not like the look of things at all, as the game was in such confusion
that she never knew whether it was her turn or not. So she went in search of her