She caught the shawl as she
spoke, and looked about for the
owner: in another moment the
White Queen came running wildly
through the wood, with both arms
stretched out wide, as if she
were flying, and Alice very civilly
went to meet her with the
`I'm very glad I happened to
be in the way,' Alice said, as
she helped her to put on her
The While Queen only looked
at her in a helpless frightened
sort of way, and kept repeating
something in a whisper to herself
that sounded like `bread-and-butter,
bread-and-butter,' and Alice
felt that if there was to be
any conversation at all, she
must manage it herself. So she
began rather timidly: `Am I addressing
the White Queen?'
`Well, yes, if you call that
a-dressing,' The Queen said.
`It isn't my notion of
the thing, at all."
Alice thought it would never
do to have an argument at the
very beginning of their conversation,
so she smiled and said, `If your
Majesty will only tell me the
right way to begin, I'll do it
as well as I can.'
`But I don't want it done at
all!' groaned the poor Queen.
`I've been a-dressing myself
for the last two hours.'
It would have been all the
better, as it seemed to Alice,
if she had got some one else
to dress her, she was so dreadfully
untidy. `Every single thing's
crooked,' Alice thought to herself,
`and she's all over pins! --
may I put your shawl straight
for you?' she added aloud.
`I don't know what's the matter
with it!' the Queen said, in
a melancholy voice. `It's out
of temper, I think. I've pinned
it here, and I've pinned it there,
but there's no pleasing it!'
`It can't go straight,
you know, if you pin it all on
one side,' Alice said, as she
gently put it right for her;
`and, dear me, what a state your
hair is in!'
`The brush has got entangled
in it!' the Queen said with a
sigh. `And I lost the comb yesterday.'
Alice carefully released the
brush, and did her best to get
the hair into order. `Come, you
look rather better now!' she
said, after altering most of
the pins. `But really you should
have a lady's maid!'
`I'm sure I'll take you with
pleasure!' the Queen said. `Twopence
a week, and jam every other day.'
Alice couldn't help laughing,
as she said, `I don't want you
to hire me -- and I don't
care for jam.'
`It's very good jam,' said
`Well, I don't want any to-day,
at any rate.'
`You couldn't have it if you did want
it,' the Queen said. `The rule
is, jam to-morrow and jam yesterday
-- but never jam to-day.'
`It must come
sometimes to "jam do-day,"'
`No, it can't,' said the Queen.
`It's jam every other day:
to-day isn't any other day,
`I don't understand you,' said
Alice. `It's dreadfully confusing!'
`That's the effect of living
backwards,' the Queen said kindly:
`it always makes one a little
giddy at first --
`Living backwards!' Alice repeated
in great astonishment. `I never
heard of such a thing!'
` -- but there's one great
advantage in it, that one's memory
works both ways.'
`I'm sure mine only
works one way.' Alice remarked.
`I can't remember things before
`It's a poor sort of memory
that only works backwards,' the
`What sort of things do you remember
best?' Alice ventured to ask.
`Oh, things that happened the
week after next,' the Queen replied
in a careless tone. `For instance,
now,' she went on, sticking a
large piece of plaster [band-aid]
on her finger as she spoke, `there's
the King's Messenger. He's in
prison now, being punished: and
the trial doesn't even begin
till next Wednesday: and of course
the crime comes last of all.'
`Suppose he never commits the
crime?' said Alice.
`That would be all the better
wouldn't it?' the Queen said,
as she bound the plaster round
her finger with a bit of ribbon.
Alice felt there was no denying that.
`Of course it would be all the
better,' she said: `but it wouldn't
be all the better his being punished.'
`You're wrong there,
at any rate,' said the Queen:
`were you ever punished?'
`Only for faults,' said Alice.
`And you were all the better
for it, I know!' the Queen said
`Yes, but then I had done
the things I was punished for,'
said Alice: `that makes all the
`But if you hadn't done
them,' the Queen said, `that
would have been better still;
better, and better, and better!'
Her voice went higher with each
`better,' till it got quite to
a squeak at last.
Alice was just beginning to
say `There's a mistake somewhere-,'
** when the Queen began screaming
so loud that she had to leave
the sentence unfinished. `Oh,
oh, oh!' shouted the Queen, shaking
her hand about as if she wanted
to shake it off. `My finger's
bleeding! Oh, oh, oh, oh!'
Her screams were so exactly
like the whistle of a steam-engine,
that Alice had to hold both her
hands over her ears.
`What is the matter?'
she said, as soon as there was
a chance of making herself heard.
`Have you pricked your finger?'
`I haven't pricked it yet,'
the Queen said, `but I soon shall
- - oh, oh, oh!'
`When do you expect to do it?'
Alice asked, feeling very much
inclined to laugh.
`When I fasten my shawl again,'
the poor Queen groaned out: `the
brooch will come undone directly.
Oh, oh!' As she said the words
the brooch flew open, and the
Queen clutched wildly at it,
and tried to clasp it again.
`Take care!' cried Alice. `You're
holding it all crooked!' And
she caught at the brooch; but
it was too late: the pin had
slipped, and the Queen had pricked
`That accounts for the bleeding,
you see,' she said to Alice with
a smile. `Now you understand
the way things happen here.'
`But why don't you scream now?'
Alice asked, holding her hands
ready to put over her ears again.
`Why, I've done all the screaming
already,' said the Queen. `What
would be the good of having it
all over again?'
By this time it was getting
light. `The crow must have flown
away, I think,' said Alice: `I'm
so glad it's gone. I thought
it was the night coming on.'
`I wish I could manage
to be glad!' the Queen said.
`Only I never can remember the
rule. You must be very happy,
living in this wood, and being
glad whenever you like!'
`Only it is so very lonely
here!' Alice said in a melancholy
voice; and at the thought of
her loneliness two large tears
came rolling down her cheeks.
`Oh, don't go on like that!'
cried the poor Queen, wringing
her hands in despair. `Consider
what a great girl you are. Consider
what a long way you've come to-day.
Consider what o'clock it is.
Consider anything, only don't
Alice could not help laughing
at this, even in the midst of
her tears. `Can you keep
from crying by considering things?'
`That's the way it's done,'
the Queen said with great decision:
`nobody can do two things at
once, you know. Let's consider
you age to begin with -- how
old are you?'
`I`m seven and a half exactly.'
the Queen remarked: `I can believe
it without that. Now I'll give you something
I'm just one hundred and one,
five months and a day.'
`I can't believe that!'
`Can't you?' the Queen said
in a pitying tone. `Try again:
draw a long breath, and shut
Alice laughed. `There's not
use trying,' she said: `one can't believe
`I daresay you haven't had
much practice,' said the Queen.
`When I was your age, I always
did it for half-an-hour a day.
Why, sometimes I've believed
as many as six impossible things
before breakfast. There goes
the shawl again!'
The brooch had come undone
as she spoke, and a sudden gust
of wind blew the Queen's shawl
across a little brook. The Queen
spread out her arms again, and
went flying after it, and this
time she succeeded in catching
it for herself. `I've got!' she
cried in a triumphant tone. `Now
you shall see me pin it on again,
all by myself!'
`Then I hope your finger is
better now?' Alice said very
politely, as she crossed the
little brook after the Queen.
* * * * * * *
* * * * * *
* * * * * * *
`Oh, much better!' cried the
Queen, her voice rising to a
squeak as she went on. `Much
be-etter! Be-etter! Be-e-e-etter!
Be-e-ehh!' The last word ended
in a long bleat, so like a sheep
that Alice quite started.
She looked at the Queen, who
seemed to have suddenly wrapped
herself up in wool. Alice rubbed
her eyes, and looked again. She
couldn't make out what had happened
at all. Was she in a shop? And
was that really - was it really
a sheep that was sitting
on the other side of the counter?
Rub as she could, she could make
nothing more of it: she was in
a little dark shop, leaning with
her elbows on the counter, and
opposite to her was a old Sheep,
sitting in an arm-chair knitting,
and every now and then leaving
off to look at her through a
great pair of spectacles.
`What is it you want to buy?'
the Sheep said at last, looking
up for a moment from her knitting.
`I don't quite know
yet,' Alice said, very gently.
I should like to look all round
me first, if I might.'
`You may look in front of you,
and on both sides, if you like,'
said the Sheep: `but you can't
look all round you --
unless you've got eyes at the
back of your head.'
But these, as it happened,
Alice had not got: so
she contented herself with turning
round, looking at the shelves
as she came to them.
The shop seemed to be full
of all manner of curious things
-- but the oddest part of it
all was, that whenever she looked
hard at any shelf, to make out
exactly what it had on it, that
particular shelf was always quite
empty: though the others round
it were crowded as full as they
`Things flow about so here!'
she said at last in a plaintive
tone, after she had spent a minute
or so in vainly pursuing a large
bright thing, that looked sometimes
like a doll and sometimes like
a work-box, and was always in
the shelf next above the one
she was looking at. `And this
one is the most provoking of
all -- but I'll tell you what
-- ' she added, as a sudden thought
struck her, `I'll follow it up
to the very top shelf of all.
It'll puzzle it to go through
the ceiling, I expect!'
But even this plan failed:
the `thing' went through the
ceiling as quietly as possible,
as if it were quite used to it.
`Are you a child or a teetotum?'
the Sheep said, as she took up
another pair of needles. `You'll
make me giddy soon, if you go
on turning round like that.'
She was now working with fourteen
pairs at once, and Alice couldn't
help looking at her in great
`How can she knit with
so many?' the puzzled child thought
to herself. `She gets more and
more like a porcupine every minute!'
`Can you row?' the Sheep asked,
handing her a pair of knitting-
needles as she spoke.
`Yes, a little -- but not on
land -- and not with needles
-- ' Alice was beginning to say,
when suddenly the needles turned
into oars in her hands, and she
found they were in a little boat,
gliding along between banks:
so there was nothing for it but
to do her best.
`Feather!' cried the Sheep,
as she took up another pair of
This didn't sound like a remark
that needed any answer, so Alice
said nothing, but pulled away.
There was something very queer
about the water, she thought,
as every now and then the oars
got fast in it, and would hardly
come out again.
`Feather! Feather!' the Sheep
cried again, taking more needles.
`You'll be catching a crab directly.'
`A dear little crab!' thought
Alice. `I should like that.'
hear me say "Feather"?'
the Sheep cried angrily, taking
up quite a bunch of needles.
`Indeed I did,' said Alice:
`you've said it very often --
and very loud. Please, where are the
`In the water, of course!'
said the Sheep, sticking some
of the needles into her hair,
as her hands were full. `Feather,
you say "feather" so
often?' Alice asked at last,
rather vexed. 'I'm not a bird!'
`You are,` said the Sheet:
`you're a little goose.'
This offended Alice a little,
so there was no more conversation
for a minute or two, while the
boat glided gently on, sometimes
among beds of weeds (which made
the oars stick fast in the water,
worse then ever), and sometimes
under trees, but always with
the same tall river-banks frowning
over their heads.
`Oh, please! There are some
scented rushes!' Alice cried
in a sudden transport of delight.
`There really are -- and such beauties!'
say "please" to me about
`em' the Sheep said, without
looking up from her knitting:
`I didn't put `em there, and
I'm not going to take `em away.'
`No, but I meant -- please,
may we wait and pick some?' Alice
pleaded. `If you don't mind stopping
the boat for a minute.'
`How am I to stop it?'
said the Sheep. `If you leave
off rowing, it'll stop of itself.
So the boat was left to drift
down the stream as it would,
till it glided gently in among
the waving rushes. And then the
little sleeves were carefully
rolled up, and the little arms
were plunged in elbow-deep to
get the rushes a good long way
down before breaking them off
-- and for a while Alice forgot
all about the Sheep and the knitting,
as she bent over the side of
the boat, with just the ends
of her tangled hair dipping into
the water -- while with bright
eager eyes she caught at one
bunch after another of the darling
`I only hope the boat won't
tipple over!' she said to herself.
Oh, what a lovely one!
Only I couldn't quite reach it.'
`And it certainly did seem
a little provoking ( `almost
as if it happened on purpose,'
she thought) that, though she
managed to pick plenty of beautiful
rushes as the boat glided by,
there was always a more lovely
one that she couldn't reach.
`The prettiest are always further!'
she said at last, with a sigh
at the obstinacy of the rushes
in growing so far off, as, with
flushed cheeks and dripping hair
and hands, she scrambled back
into her place, and began to
arrange her new-found treasures.
What mattered it to her just
than that the rushes had begun
to fade, and to lose all their
scent and beauty, from the very
moment that she picked them?
Even real scented rushes, you
know, last only a very little
while -- and these, being dream-rushes,
melted away almost like snow,
as they lay in heaps at her feet
-- but Alice hardly noticed this,
there were so many other curious
things to think about.
They hadn't gone much farther
before the blade of one of the
oars got fast in the water and wouldn't come
out again (so Alice explained
it afterwards), and the consequence
was that the handle of it caught
her under the chin, and, in spite
of a series of little shrieks
of `Oh, oh, oh!' from poor Alice,
it swept her straight off the
seat, and down among the heap
However, she wasn't hurt, and
was soon up again: the Sheep
went on with her knitting all
the while, just as if nothing
had happened. `That was a nice
crab you caught!' she remarked,
as Alice got back into her place,
very much relieved to find herself
still in the boat.
`Was it? I didn't see it,'
Said Alice, peeping cautiously
over the side of the boat into
the dark water. `I wish it hadn't
let go -- I should so like to
see a little crab to take home
with me!' But the Sheep only
laughed scornfully, and went
on with her knitting.
`Are there many crabs here?'
`Crabs, and all sorts of things,'
said the Sheep: `plenty of choice,
only make up your mind. Now,
what do you want to buy?'
`To buy!' Alice echoes in a
tone that was half astonished
and half frightened -- for the
oars, and the boat, and the river,
had vanished all in a moment,
and she was back again in the
little dark shop.
`I should like to buy an egg,
please,' she said timidly. `How
do you sell them?'
`Fivepence farthing for one
-- Twopence for two,' the Sheep
`Then two are cheaper than
one?' Alice said in a surprised
tone, taking out her purse.
`Only you must eat them
both, if you buy two,' said the
`Then I'll have one,
please,' said Alice, as she put
the money down on the counter.
For she thought to herself, `They
mightn't be at all nice, you
The Sheep took the money, and
put it away in a box: then she
said `I never put things into
people's hands -- that would
never do -- you must get it for
yourself.' And so saying, she
went off to the other end of
the shop, and set the egg upright
on a shelf.
`I wonder why it wouldn't
do?' thought Alice, as she groped
her way among the tables and
chairs, for the shop was very
dark towards the end. `The egg
seems to get further away the
more I walk towards it. Let me
see, is this a chair? Why, it's
got branches, I declare! How
very odd to find trees growing
here! And actually here's a little
brook! Well, this is the very
queerest shop I ever saw!'
* * * * * * *
* * * * * *
* * * * * * *
So she went on, wondering more
and more at every step, as everything
turned into a tree the moment
she came up to it, and she quite
expected the egg to do the same.