The hedgehog was engaged in a fight with another hedgehog, which seemed to Alice
an excellent opportunity for croqueting one of them with the other: the only difficulty
was, that her flamingo was gone across to the other side of the garden, where Alice
could see it trying in a helpless sort of way to fly up into a tree.
By the time she had caught the flamingo and brought it back, the fight was over,
and both the hedgehogs were out of sight: `but it doesn't matter much,' thought
Alice, `as all the arches are gone from this side of the ground.' So she tucked
it away under her arm, that it might not escape again, and went back for a little
more conversation with her friend.
When she got back to the Cheshire Cat, she was surprised to find quite a large
crowd collected round it: there was a dispute going on between the executioner,
the King, and the Queen, who were all talking at once, while all the rest were quite
silent, and looked very uncomfortable.
The moment Alice appeared, she was appealed to by all three to settle the question,
and they repeated their arguments to her, though, as they all spoke at once, she
found it very hard indeed to make out exactly what they said.
The executioner's argument was, that you couldn't cut off a head unless there
was a body to cut it off from: that he had never had to do such a thing before,
and he wasn't going to begin at HIS time of life.
The King's argument was, that anything that had a head could be beheaded, and
that you weren't to talk nonsense.
The Queen's argument was, that if something wasn't done about it in less than
no time she'd have everybody executed, all round. (It was this last remark that
had made the whole party look so grave and anxious.)
Alice could think of nothing else to say but `It belongs to the Duchess: you'd
better ask HER about it.'
`She's in prison,' the Queen said to the executioner: `fetch her here.' And the
executioner went off like an arrow.
The Cat's head began fading away the moment he was gone, and, by the time he
had come back with the Dutchess, it had entirely disappeared; so the King and the
executioner ran wildly up and down looking for it, while the rest of the party went
back to the game.
The Mock Turtle's Story
`You can't think how glad I am to see you again, you dear old thing!' said the
Duchess, as she tucked her arm affectionately into Alice's, and they walked off
Alice was very glad to find her in such a pleasant temper, and thought to herself
that perhaps it was only the pepper that had made her so savage when they met in
`When I'M a Duchess,' she said to herself, (not in a very hopeful tone though),
`I won't have any pepper in my kitchen AT ALL. Soup does very well without--Maybe
it's always pepper that makes people hot-tempered,' she went on, very much pleased
at having found out a new kind of rule, `and vinegar that makes them sour--and camomile
that makes them bitter--and--and barley-sugar and such things that make children
sweet-tempered. I only wish people knew that: then they wouldn't be so stingy about
it, you know--'
She had quite forgotten the Duchess by this time, and was a little startled when
she heard her voice close to her ear. `You're thinking about something, my dear,
and that makes you forget to talk. I can't tell you just now what the moral of that
is, but I shall remember it in a bit.'
`Perhaps it hasn't one,' Alice ventured to remark.
`Tut, tut, child!' said the Duchess. `Everything's got a moral, if only you can
find it.' And she squeezed herself up closer to Alice's side as she spoke.
Alice did not much like keeping so close to her: first, because the Duchess was
VERY ugly; and secondly, because she was exactly the right height to rest her chin
upon Alice's shoulder, and it was an uncomfortably sharp chin. However, she did
not like to be rude, so she bore it as well as she could.
`The game's going on rather better now,' she said, by way of keeping up the conversation
`'Tis so,' said the Duchess: `and the moral of that is--"Oh, 'tis love, 'tis
love, that makes the world go round!"'
`Somebody said,' Alice whispered, `that it's done by everybody minding their
`Ah, well! It means much the same thing,' said the Duchess, digging her sharp
little chin into Alice's shoulder as she added, `and the moral of THAT is--"Take
care of the sense, and the sounds will take care of themselves."'
`How fond she is of finding morals in things!' Alice thought to herself.
`I dare say you're wondering why I don't put my arm round your waist,' the Duchess
said after a pause: `the reason is, that I'm doubtful about the temper of your flamingo.
Shall I try the experiment?'
`HE might bite,' Alice cautiously replied, not feeling at all anxious to have
the experiment tried.
`Very true,' said the Duchess: `flamingoes and mustard both bite. And the moral
of that is--"Birds of a feather flock together."'
`Only mustard isn't a bird,' Alice remarked.
`Right, as usual,' said the Duchess: `what a clear way you have of putting things!'
`It's a mineral, I THINK,' said Alice.
`Of course it is,' said the Duchess, who seemed ready to agree to everything
that Alice said; `there's a large mustard-mine near here. And the moral of that
is--"The more there is of mine, the less there is of yours."'
`Oh, I know!' exclaimed Alice, who had not attended to this last remark, `it's
a vegetable. It doesn't look like one, but it is.'
`I quite agree with you,' said the Duchess; `and the moral of that is--"Be what
you would seem to be"--or if you'd like it put more simply--"Never imagine yourself
not to be otherwise than what it might appear to others that what you were or might
have been was not otherwise than what you had been would have appeared to them to
`I think I should understand that better,' Alice said very politely, `if I had
it written down: but I can't quite follow it as you say it.'
`That's nothing to what I could say if I chose,' the Duchess replied, in a pleased
`Pray don't trouble yourself to say it any longer than that,' said Alice.
`Oh, don't talk about trouble!' said the Duchess. `I make you a present of everything
I've said as yet.'
`A cheap sort of present!' thought Alice. `I'm glad they don't give birthday
presents like that!' But she did not venture to say it out loud.
`Thinking again?' the Duchess asked, with another dig of her sharp little chin.
`I've a right to think,' said Alice sharply, for she was beginning to feel a
`Just about as much right,' said the Duchess, `as pigs have to fly; and the m--'
But here, to Alice's great surprise, the Duchess's voice died away, even in the
middle of her favourite word `moral,' and the arm that was linked into hers began
to tremble. Alice looked up, and there stood the Queen in front of them, with her
arms folded, frowning like a thunderstorm.
`A fine day, your Majesty!' the Duchess began in a low, weak voice.
`Now, I give you fair warning,' shouted the Queen, stamping on the ground as
she spoke; `either you or your head must be off, and that in about half no time!
Take your choice!'
The Duchess took her choice, and was gone in a moment.
`Let's go on with the game,' the Queen said to Alice; and Alice was too much
frightened to say a word, but slowly followed her back to the croquet-ground.
The other guests had taken advantage of the Queen's absence, and were resting
in the shade: however, the moment they saw her, they hurried back to the game, the
Queen merely remarking that a moment's delay would cost them their lives.
All the time they were playing the Queen never left off quarrelling with the
other players, and shouting `Off with his head!' or `Off with her head!' Those whom
she sentenced were taken into custody by the soldiers, who of course had to leave
off being arches to do this, so that by the end of half an hour or so there were
no arches left, and all the players, except the King, the Queen, and Alice, were
in custody and under sentence of execution.
Then the Queen left off, quite out of breath, and said to Alice, `Have you seen
the Mock Turtle yet?'
`No,' said Alice. `I don't even know what a Mock Turtle is.'
`It's the thing Mock Turtle Soup is made from,' said the Queen.
`I never saw one, or heard of one,' said Alice.
`Come on, then,' said the Queen, `and he shall tell you his history,'
As they walked off together, Alice heard the King say in a low voice, to the
company generally, `You are all pardoned.' `Come, THAT'S a good thing!' she said
to herself, for she had felt quite unhappy at the number of executions the Queen
They very soon came upon a Gryphon, lying fast asleep in the sun. (IF you don't
know what a Gryphon is, look at the picture.) `Up, lazy thing!' said the Queen,
`and take this young lady to see the Mock Turtle, and to hear his history. I must
go back and see after some executions I have ordered'; and she walked off, leaving
Alice alone with the Gryphon. Alice did not quite like the look of the creature,
but on the whole she thought it would be quite as safe to stay with it as to go
after that savage Queen: so she waited.
The Gryphon sat up and rubbed its eyes: then it watched the Queen till she was
out of sight: then it chuckled. `What fun!' said the Gryphon, half to itself, half
`What IS the fun?' said Alice.
`Why, SHE,' said the Gryphon. `It's all her fancy, that: they never executes
nobody, you know. Come on!'
`Everybody says "come on!" here,' thought Alice, as she went slowly after it:
`I never was so ordered about in all my life, never!'
They had not gone far before they saw the Mock Turtle in the distance, sitting
sad and lonely on a little ledge of rock, and, as they came nearer, Alice could
hear him sighing as if his heart would break. She pitied him deeply. `What is his
sorrow?' she asked the Gryphon, and the Gryphon answered, very nearly in the same
words as before, `It's all his fancy, that: he hasn't got no sorrow, you know. Come
So they went up to the Mock Turtle, who looked at them with large eyes full of
tears, but said nothing.
`This here young lady,' said the Gryphon, `she wants for to know your history,
`I'll tell it her,' said the Mock Turtle in a deep, hollow tone: `sit down, both
of you, and don't speak a word till I've finished.'
So they sat down, and nobody spoke for some minutes. Alice thought to herself,
`I don't see how he can EVEN finish, if he doesn't begin.' But she waited patiently.
`Once,' said the Mock Turtle at last, with a deep sigh, `I was a real Turtle.'
These words were followed by a very long silence, broken only by an occasional
exclamation of `Hjckrrh!' from the Gryphon, and the constant heavy sobbing of the
Mock Turtle. Alice was very nearly getting up and saying, `Thank you, sir, for your
interesting story,' but she could not help thinking there MUST be more to come,
so she sat still and said nothing.
`When we were little,' the Mock Turtle went on at last, more calmly, though still
sobbing a little now and then, `we went to school in the sea. The master was an
old Turtle--we used to call him Tortoise--'
`Why did you call him Tortoise, if he wasn't one?' Alice asked.
`We called him Tortoise because he taught us,' said the Mock Turtle angrily:
`really you are very dull!'
`You ought to be ashamed of yourself for asking such a simple question,' added
the Gryphon; and then they both sat silent and looked at poor Alice, who felt ready
to sink into the earth. At last the Gryphon said to the Mock Turtle, `Drive on,
old fellow! Don't be all day about it!' and he went on in these words:
`Yes, we went to school in the sea, though you mayn't believe it--'
`I never said I didn't!' interrupted Alice.
`You did,' said the Mock Turtle.
`Hold your tongue!' added the Gryphon, before Alice could speak again. The Mock
Turtle went on.
`We had the best of educations--in fact, we went to school every day--'
`I'VE been to a day-school, too,' said Alice; `you needn't be so proud as all
`With extras?' asked the Mock Turtle a little anxiously.
`Yes,' said Alice, `we learned French and music.'
`And washing?' said the Mock Turtle.
`Certainly not!' said Alice indignantly.
`Ah! then yours wasn't a really good school,' said the Mock Turtle in a tone
of great relief. `Now at OURS they had at the end of the bill, "French, music, AND
`You couldn't have wanted it much,' said Alice; `living at the bottom of the
`I couldn't afford to learn it.' said the Mock Turtle with a sigh. `I only took
the regular course.'
`What was that?' inquired Alice.
`Reeling and Writhing, of course, to begin with,' the Mock Turtle replied; `and
then the different branches of Arithmetic-- Ambition, Distraction, Uglification,
`I never heard of "Uglification,"' Alice ventured to say. `What is it?'
The Gryphon lifted up both its paws in surprise. `What! Never heard of uglifying!'
it exclaimed. `You know what to beautify is, I suppose?'
`Yes,' said Alice doubtfully: `it means--to--make--anything--prettier.'
`Well, then,' the Gryphon went on, `if you don't know what to uglify is, you
ARE a simpleton.'