`Well, this is grand!'
said Alice. `I never expected
I should be a Queen so soon --
and I'll tell you what it is,
your majesty,' she went on in
a severe tone (she was always
rather fond of scolding herself),
`it'll never do for you to be
lolling about on the grass like
that! Queens have to be dignified,
So she got up and walked about
-- rather stiffly just at first,
as she was afraid that the crown
might come off: but she comforted
herself with the thought that
there was nobody to see her,
`and if I really am a Queen,'
she said as she sat down again,
`I shall be able to manage it
quite well in time.'
Everything was happening so
oddly that she didn't feel a
bit surprised at finding the
Red Queen and the White Queen
sitting close to her, one on
each side: she would have like
very much to ask them how they
came there, but she feared it
would not be quite civil. However,
there would be no harm, she thought,
in asking if the game was over.
`Please, would you tell me --
' she began, looking timidly
at the Red Queen.
`Speak when you're spoken to!'
The Queen sharply interrupted
`But if everybody obeyed that
rule,' said Alice, who was always
ready for a little argument,
`and if you only spoke when you
were spoken to, and the other
person always waited for you to
begin, you see nobody would ever
say anything, so that -- '
cried the Queen. `Why, don't
you see, child --
' here she broke off with a frown,
and, after thinking for a minute,
suddenly changed the subject
of the conversation. `What do
you mean by `If you really are
a Queen"? What right have you
to all yourself so? You can't
be a Queen, you know, till you've
passed the proper examination.
And the sooner we begin it, the
`I only said "if"!'
poor Alice pleaded in a piteous
The two Queens looked at each
other, and the Red Queen remarked,
with a little shudder, `She says she
only said "if" - '
`But she said a great deal
more than that!' the White Queen
moaned, wringing her hands. `Oh,
ever so much more than that!'
`So you did, you know,' the
Red Queen said to Alice. `Always
speak the truth -- think before
you speak -- and write it down
`I'm sure I didn't mean --
' Alice was beginning, but the
Red Queen interrupted her impatiently.
`That's just what I complain
of! You should have meant!
What do you suppose is the use
of child without any meaning?
Even a joke should have some
meaning -- and a child's more
important than a joke, I hope.
You couldn't deny that, even
if you tried with both hands.'
`I don't deny things with my hands,'
`Nobody said you did,' said
the Red Queen. `I said you couldn't
if you tried.'
`She's in that state of mind,'
said the White Queen, `that she
wants to deny something --
only she doesn't know what to
`A nasty, vicious temper,'
the Red Queen remarked; and then
there was an uncomfortable silence
for a minute or two.
The Red Queen broke the silence
by saying to the White Queen,
`I invite you to Alice's dinner-party
The White Queen smiled feebly,
and said `And I invite you.'
`I didn't know I was to have
a party at all,' said Alice;
`but if there is to be one, I
think I ought to invite
`We gave you the opportunity
of doing it,' the Red Queen remarked:
`but I daresay you've not had
many lessons in manners yet?'
`Manners are not taught in
lessons,' said Alice. `Lessons
teach you to do sums, and things
of that sort.'
`And you do Addition?' the
White Queen asked. `What's one
and one and one and one and one
and one and one and one and one
`I don't know,' said Alice.
`I lost count.'
`She can't do Addition,' the
Red Queen interrupted. `Can you
do Subtraction? Take nine from
`Nine from eight I can't, you
know,' Alice replied very readily:
`but -- '
`She can't do Subtraction,'
said the White Queen. `Can you
do Division? Divide a loaf by
a knife -- what's the answer
`I suppose -- ' Alice was beginning,
but the Red Queen answered for
her. `Bread-and-butter, of course.
Try another Subtraction sum.
Take a bone from a dog: what
Alice considered. `The bone
wouldn't remain, of course, if
I took it -- and the dog wouldn't
remain; it would come to bite
me -- and I'm sure I shouldn't
`Then you think nothing would
remain?' said the Red Queen.
`I think that's the answer.'
`Wrong, as usual,' said the
Red Queen: `the dog's temper
`But I don't see how -- '
`Why, look here!' the Red Queen
cried. `The dog would lose its
temper, wouldn't it?'
`Perhaps it would,' Alice replied
`Then if the dog went away,
its temper would remain!' the
Queen exclaimed triumphantly.
Alice said, as gravely as she
could, `They might go different
ways.' But she couldn't help
thinking to herself, `What dreadful
nonsense we are talking!'
`She can't do sums a bit!'
the Queens said together, with
`Can you do sums?' Alice
said, turning suddenly on the
White Queen, for she didn't like
being found fault with so much.
The Queen gasped and shut her
eyes. `I can do Addition,' `if
you give me time -- but I can
do Subtraction, under any circumstances!'
`Of course you know your A
B C?' said the Red Queen.
`To be sure I do.' said Alice.
`So do I,' the White Queen
whispered: `we'll often say it
over together, dear. And I'll
tell you a secret -- I can read
words of one letter! Isn't that grand!
However, don't be discouraged.
You'll come to it in time.'
Here the Red Queen began again.
`Can you answer useful questions?'
she said. `How is bread made?'
`I know that!' Alice
cried eagerly. `You take some
flour -- '
`Where do you pick the flower?'
the White Queen asked. `In a
garden, or in the hedges?'
`Well, it isn't picked at
all,' Alice explained: `it's ground --
`How many acres of ground?'
said the White Queen. `You mustn't
leave out so many things.'
`Fan her head!' the Red Queen
anxiously interrupted. `She'll
be feverish after so much thinking.'
So they set to work and fanned
her with bunches of leaves, till
she had to beg them to leave
off, it blew her hair about so.
`She's all right again now,'
said the Red Queen. `Do you know
Languages? What's the French
`Fiddle-de-dee's not English,'
Alice replied gravely.
`Who ever said it was?' said
the Red Queen.
she saw a way out of the difficulty
`If you'll tell me what language "fiddle-de-dee" is,
I'll tell you the French for
it!' she exclaimed triumphantly.
But the Red Queen drew herself
up rather stiffly, and said `Queens
never make bargains.'
`I wish Queens never asked
questions,' Alice thought to
`Don't let us quarrel,' the
White Queen said in an anxious
tone. `What is the cause of lightning?'
`The cause of lightning,' Alice
said very decidedly, for she
felt quite certain about this,
`is the thunder -- no, no!' she
hastily corrected herself. `I
meant the other way.'
`It's too late to correct it,'
said the Red Queen: `when you've
once said a thing, that fixes
it, and you must take the consequences.'
`Which reminds me -- ' the
White Queen said, looking down
and nervously clasping and unclasping
her hands, `we had such a
thunderstorm last Tuesday --
I mean one of the last set of
Tuesdays, you know.'
Alice was puzzled. `In our country,'
she remarked, `there's only one
day at a time.'
The Red Queen said, `That's
a poor thin way of doing things.
Now here, we mostly have
days and nights two or three
at a time, and sometimes in the
winter we take as many as five
nights together -- for warmth,
`Are five nights warmer than
one night, then?' Alice ventured
`Five times as warm, of course.'
`But they should be five times
as cold, by the same rule
`Just so!' cried the Red Queen.
`Five times as warm, and five
times as cold -- just as I'm
five times as rich as you are, and five
times as clever!'
Alice sighted and gave it up.
`It's exactly like a riddle with
no answer!' she thought.
`Humpty Dumpty saw it too,'
the White Queen went on in a
low voice, more as if she were
talking to herself. `He came
to the door with a corkscrew
in his hand -- '
`What did he want?' said the
`He said he would come
in,' the White Queen went on,
`because he was looking for a
hippopotamus. Now, as it happened,
there wasn't such a thing in
the house, that morning.'
`Is there generally?' Alice
asked in an astonished tone.
`Well, only on Thursdays,'
said the Queen.
`I know what he came for,'
said Alice: `he wanted to punish
the fish, because -- '
Here the White Queen began
again. `It was such a
thunderstorm, you can't think!'
(She never could you know,'
said the Red Queen.) `And part
of the roof came off, and ever
so much thunder got in -- and
it went rolling round the room
in great lumps -- and knocking
over the tables and things --
till I was so frightened, I couldn't
remember my own name!'
Alice thought to herself, `I
never should try to remember
my name in the middle of an accident!
Where would be the use of it?'
but she did not say this aloud,
for fear of hurting the poor
`Your Majesty must excuse her,'
the Red Queen said to Alice,
taking one of the White Queen's
hands in her own, and gently
stroking it: `she means well,
but she can't help saying foolish
things, as a general rule.'
The White Queen looked timidly
at Alice, who felt she ought to
say something kind, but really
couldn't think of anything at
`She never was really well
brought up,' the Red Queen went
on: `but it's amazing how good-tempered
she is! Pat her on the head,
and see how pleased she'll be!'
But this was more than Alice
had courage to do.
`A little kindness -- and putting
her hair in papers -- would do
wonders with her -- '
The White Queen gave a deep
sigh, and laid her head on Alice's
shoulder. `I am so sleepy?'
`She's tired, poor thing!'
said the Red Queen. `Smooth her
hair -- lend her your nightcap
-- and sing her a soothing lullaby.'
got a nightcap with me,' said
Alice, as she tried
to obey the first direction:
`and I don't know any soothing
`I must do it myself, then,'
said the Red Queen, and she began:
`And now you know the words,' she
added, as she put her head down
on Alice's other shoulder, `just
sing it through to me. I'm
getting sleepy, too.' In another
moment both Queens were fast asleep,
and snoring loud.
`Hush-a-by lady, in
Till the feast's ready, we've time for a nap:
When the feast's over, we'll go to the ball --
Red Queen, and White Queen, and Alice, and all!
`What am I to do? exclaimed Alice, looking about in great perplexity,
as first one round head, and then the other, rolled down from her shoulder,
and lay like a heavy lump in her lap. `I don't thing it ever happened
before, that any one had to take care of two Queens asleep at once! No, not
in all the History of England -- it couldn't, you know, because there never
was more than one Queen at a time. Do wake up, you heavy things!' she went
on in an impatient tone; but there was no answer but a gentle snoring.
The snoring got more distinct every minute, and sounded more like a tune:
at last she could even make out the words, and she listened so eagerly that,
when the two great heads vanished from her lap, she hardly missed them.
She was standing before an
arched doorway over which were
the words "QUEEN
ALICE" in large letters, and on each side of the arch there was a bell-handle;
one was marked `Visitors' Bell,' and the other `Servants' Bell.'
`I'll wait till the song's over,' thought Alice, `and then I'll ring -- the
-- which bell must I ring?' she went on, very much puzzled by the names.
`I'm not a visitor, and I'm not a servant. There ought to be one marked "Queen," you
know -- '
Just then the door opened a little way, and a creature with a long beak put
its head out for a moment and said `No admittance till the week after next!'
and shut the door again with a bang.
Alice knocked and rang in vain for a long time, but at last, a very old Frog,
who was sitting under a tree, got up and hobbled slowly towards her: he was
dressed in bright yellow, and had enormous boots on.
`What is it, now?' the Frog said in a deep hoarse whisper.
Alice turned round, ready to find fault with anybody. `Where's the servant
whose business it is to answer the door?' she began angrily.
`Which door?' said the Frog.
Alice almost stamped with irritation at the slow drawl in which he spoke.
`This door, of course!'
The Frog looked at the door with his large dull eyes for a minute: then he
went nearer and rubbed it with his thumb, as if he were trying whether the
paint would come off; then he looked at Alice.
`To answer the door?' he said. `What's it been asking of?' He was so hoarse
that Alice could scarcely hear him.
`I don't know what you mean,' she said.
`I talks English, doesn't I?' the Frog went on. `Or are you deaf? What did
it ask you?'
`Nothing!' Alice said impatiently. `I've been knocking at it!'
`Shouldn't do that -- shouldn't do that -- ' the Frog muttered. `Wexes it,
you know.' Then he went up and gave the door a kick with one of his great feet.
`You let it alone,' he panted out, as he hobbled back to his tree, `and
it'll let you alone, you know.'
At this moment the door was flung open, and a shrill voice was heard singing:
And hundreds of voices joined in the chorus:
`To the Looking-Glass world it was Alice that said,
"I've a sceptre in hand, I've a crown on my head;
Let the Looking-Glass creatures, whatever they be,
Come and dine with the Red Queen, the White Queen, and me."'
Then followed a confused noise of cheering, and Alice thought to herself, `Thirty
times three makes ninety. I wonder if any one's counting?' In a minute there
was silence again, and the
same shrill voice sang another verse;
`Then fill up the glasses as quick as you can,
And sprinkle the table with buttons and bran:
Put cats in the coffee, and mice in the tea --
And welcome Queen Alice with thirty-times-three!'
`"O Looking-Glass creatures," quothe Alice, "draw
'Tis and honour to see me, a favour to hear:
'Tis a privilege high to have dinner and tea
Along with the Red Queen, the White Queen, and me!"'
Then came the chorus again: --
`Ninety times nine!' Alice repeated in despair, `Oh, that'll never be done! I'd
better go in at once -- ' and there was a
dead silence the moment she appeared.
`Then fill up the glasses with treacle and ink,
Or anything else that is pleasant to drink:
Mix sand with the cider, and wool with the wine --
And welcome Queen Alice with ninety-times-nine!'
Alice glanced nervously along the table, as she walked up the large hall,
and noticed that there were about fifty quests, of all kinds: some were animals,
some birds, and there were even a few flowers among them. `I'm glad they've
come without waiting to be asked,' she thought: `I should never have known
who were the right people to invite!'
There were three chairs at the head of the table; the Red and White Queens
had already taken two of them, but the middle one was empty. Alice sat down
in it, rather uncomfortable in the silence, and longing for some one to speak.
At last the Red Queen began. `You've missed the soup and fish,' she said.
`Put on the joint!' And the waiters set a leg of mutton before Alice, who looked
at it rather anxiously, as she had never had to carve a joint before.
`You look a little shy; let me introduce you to that leg of mutton,' said
the Red Queen. `Alice -- Mutton; Mutton -- Alice.' The leg of mutton got up
in the dish and made a little bow to Alice; and Alice returned the bow, not
knowing whether to be frightened or amused.
`May I give you a slice?' she said, taking up the knife and fork, and looking
from one Queen to the other.
`Certainly not,' the Red Queen, very decidedly: `it isn't etiquette to cut
any one you've been introduced to. Remove the joint!' And the waiters carried
it off, and brought a large plum-pudding in its place.
`I won't be introduced to the pudding, please,' Alice said rather hastily,
`or shall we get no dinner at all. May I give you some?'
But the Red Queen looked sulky, and growled `Pudding -- Alice; Alice -- Pudding.
Remove the pudding!' and the waiters took it always so quickly that Alice couldn't
return its bow.
However, she didn't see why the Red Queen should be the only one to give
orders, so, as an experiment, she called out `Waiter! Bring back the pudding!'
and there it was again in a moment like a conjuring-trick. It was so large
that she couldn't help feeling a little shy with it, as she had been
with the mutton; however, she conquered her shyness by a great effort and cut
a slice and handed it to the Red Queen.
`What impertinence!' said the Pudding. `I wonder how you'd like it, if I
were to cut a slice out of you, you creature!'
`It spoke in a thick, suety sort of voice, and Alice hadn't a word to say
in reply: she could only sit and look at it and gasp.
`Make a remark,' said the Red Queen: `it's ridiculous to leave all the conversation
to the pudding!'
`Do you know, I've had such a quantity of poetry repeated to me to-day,'
Alice began, a little frightened at finding that, the moment she opened her
lips, there was dead silence, and all eyes were fixed upon her; `and it's a
very curious thing, I think -- every poem was about fishes in some way. Do
you know why they're so fond of fishes, all about here?'
She spoke to the Red Queen, whose answer was a little wide of the mark. `As
to fishes,' she said, very slowly and solemnly, putting her mouth close to
Alice's ear, `her White Majesty knows a lovely riddle -- all in poetry -- all
about fishes. Shall she repeat it?'
`Her Red Majesty's very kind to mention it,' the White Queen murmured into
Alice's other ear, in a voice like the cooing of a pigeon. `It would be such a
treat! May I?'
`Please do,' Alice said very politely.
The White Queen laughed with delight, and stroked Alice's cheek. Then she
`Take a minute to think about it, and then guess,' said the Red Queen. `Meanwhile,
we'll drink your health -- Queen Alice's health!' she screamed at the top of
her voice, and all the guests began drinking it directly, and very queerly they
managed it: some of them put their glasses upon their heads like extinguishers,
and drank all that trickled down their faces -- others upset the decanters, and
drank the wine as it ran off the edges of the table -- and three of them (who
looked like kangaroos) scrambled into the dish of roast mutton, and began eagerly
lapping up the gravy, `just like pigs in a trough!'
"`First, the fish must be caught.'
That is easy: a baby, I think, could have caught it.
`Next, the fish must be bought.'
That is easy: a penny, I think, would have bought it.
`Now cook me the fish!'
That is easy, and will not take more than a minute.
`Let it lie in a dish!'
That is easy, because it already is in it.
`Bring it here! Let me sup!'
It is easy to set such a dish on the table.
`Take the dish-cover up!'
is so hard that I fear I'm unable!
For it holds it like glue --
Holds the lid to the dish, while it lies in the middle:
Which is easiest to do,
Un-dish-cover the fish, or dishcover the riddle?'"
`You ought to return thanks in a neat speech,' the Red Queen said, frowning
at Alice as she spoke.
`We must support you, you know,' the White Queen whispered, as Alice got
up to do it, very obediently, but a little frightened.
`Thank you very much,' she whispered in reply, `but I can do quite well without.'
`That wouldn't be at all the thing,' the Red Queen said very decidedly: so
Alice tried to submit to it with a good grace.
(And they did push so!' she said afterwards, when she was telling
her sister the history of the feast. `You would have thought they wanted to
squeeze me flat!')
In fact it was rather difficult for her to keep in her place while she made
her speech: the two Queens pushed her so, one on each side, that they nearly
lifted her up into the air: `I rise to return thanks -- ' Alice began: and
she really did rise as she spoke, several inches; but she got hold of
the edge of the table, and managed to pull herself down again.
`Take care of yourself!' screamed the White Queen, seizing Alice's hair with
both her hands. `Something's going to happen!'
And then (as Alice afterwards described it) all sorts of thing happened in
a moment. The candles all grew up to the ceiling, looking something like a
bed of rushes with fireworks at the top. As to the bottles, they each took
a pair of plates, which they hastily fitted on as wings, and so, with forks
for legs, went fluttering about in all directions: `and very like birds they
look,' Alice thought to herself, as well as she could in the dreadful confusion
that was beginning.
At this moment she heard a hoarse laugh at her side, and turn to see what
was the matter with the White Queen; but, instead of the Queen, there was the
leg of mutton sitting in the chair. `Here I am!' cried a voice from the soup
tureen, and Alice turned again, just in time to see the Queen's broad good-natured
face grinning at the for a moment over the edge of the tureen, before she disappeared
into the soup.
There was not a moment to be lost. Already several of the guests were lying
down in the dishes, and the soup ladle was walking up the table towards Alice's
chair, and beckoning to her impatiently to get out of its way.
`I can't stand this any longer!' she cried as she jumped up and seized the
table-cloth with both hands: one good pull, and plates, dishes, guests, and
candles came crashing down together in a heap on the floor.
`And as for you,' she went on, turning fiercly upon the Red Queen,
who she considered as the cause of all the mischief -- but the Queen was no
longer at her side -- she had suddenly dwindled down to the size of a little
doll, and was now on the table, merrily running round and round after her own
shawl, which was trailing behind her.
At any other time, Alice would have felt surprised at this, but she was far
too much excited to be surprised at anything now. `As for you,'
she repeated, catching hold of the little creature in the very act of jumping
over a bottle which had just lighted upon the table, `I'll shake you into a
kitten, that I will!'