Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
by Lewis Carroll
Chapter II — The Pool of Tears
`Curiouser and curiouser!' cried Alice (she was so
much surprised, that for the moment she quite forgot how
to speak good English); `now I'm opening out like the
largest telescope that ever was! Good-bye, feet!' (for
when she looked down at her feet, they seemed to be
almost out of sight, they were getting so far off). `Oh,
my poor little feet, I wonder who will put on your shoes
and stockings for you now, dears? I'm sure I shan't be
able! I shall be a great deal too far off to trouble
myself about you: you must manage the best way you can;
--but I must be kind to them,' thought Alice, `or perhaps
they won't walk the way I want to go! Let me see: I'll
give them a new pair of boots every Christmas.'
And she went on planning to herself how she would
manage it. `They must go by the carrier,' she thought;
`and how funny it'll seem, sending presents to one's own
feet! And how odd the directions will look!
ALICE'S RIGHT FOOT, ESQ.
NEAR THE FENDER,
(WITH ALICE'S LOVE).
Oh dear, what nonsense I'm talking!'
Just then her head struck against the roof of the hall:
in fact she was now more than nine feet high, and she at
once took up the little golden key and hurried off to the
Poor Alice! It was as much as she could do, lying down
on one side, to look through into the garden with one
eye; but to get through was more hopeless than ever: she
sat down and began to cry again.
`You ought to be ashamed of yourself,' said Alice, `a
great girl like you,' ( she might well say this), `to go
on crying in this way! Stop this moment, I tell you!' But
she went on all the same, shedding gallons of tears,
until there was a large pool all round her, about four
inches deep and reaching half down the hall .
After a time she heard a little pattering of feet in
the distance, and she hastily dried her eyes to see what
was coming. It was the White Rabbit returning ,
splendidly dressed, with a pair of white kid gloves in
one hand and a large fan in the other: he came trotting
along in a great hurry, muttering to himself as he came,
`Oh! the Duchess, the Duchess! Oh! won't she be savage if
I've kept her waiting!' Alice felt so desperate that she
was ready to ask help of any one; so, when the Rabbit
came near her, she began, in a low, timid voice, `If you
please, sir--' The Rabbit started violently, dropped the
white kid gloves and the fan, and skurried away into the
darkness as hard as he could go.
Alice took up the fan and gloves, and, as the hall was
very hot, she kept fanning herself all the time she went
on talking: `Dear, dear! How queer everything is to-day!
And yesterday things went on just as usual. I wonder if
I' ve been changed in the night? Let me think: was I the
same when I got up this morning? I almost think I can
remember feeling a little different. But if I'm not the
same, the next question is, Who in the world am I? Ah,
THAT'S the great puzzle!' And she began thinking over all
the children she knew that were of the same age as
herself, to see if she could have been changed for any of
`I'm sure I'm not Ada,' she said, `for her hair goes
in such long ringlets, and mine doesn't go in ringlets at
all; and I'm sure I can't be Mabel, for I know all sorts
of things, and she, oh! she knows such a very little!
Besides, SHE'S she, and I'm I, and--oh dear, how puzzling
it all is! I'll try if I know all the things I used to
know. Let me see: four times five is twelve, and four
times six is thirteen, and four times seven is--oh dear!
I shall never get to twenty at that rate! However, the
Multiplication Table doesn't signify: let's try Geography.
London is the capital of Paris, and Paris is the capital
of Rome, and Rome--no, THAT'S all wrong, I'm certain! I
must have been changed for Mabel! I'll try and say "How
doth the little--"' and she crossed her hands on her
lap as if she were saying lessons, and began to repeat
it, but her voice sounded hoarse and strange, and the
words did not come the same as they used to do:--
`How doth the little crocodile
Improve his shining tail,
And pour the waters of the Nile
On every goldenscale!
`How cheerfully he seems to grin,
How neatly spread his claws,
And welcome little fishes in
With gently smiling jaws!'
`I'm sure those are not the right words,' said poor
Alice, and her eyes filled with tears again as she went
on, `I must be Mabel after all, and I shall have to go
and live in that poky little house, and have next to no
toys to play with, and oh! ever so many lessons to learn!
No, I've made up my mind about it; if I'm Mabel, I'll
stay down here! It'll be no use their putting their heads
down and saying "Come up again, dear!" I shall
only look up and say "Who am I then? Tell me that
first, and then, if I like being that person, I'll come
up: if not, I'll stay down here till I'm somebody else"--but,
oh dear!' cried Alice, with a sudden burst of tears, `I
do wish they WOULD put their heads down! I am so VERY
tired of being all alone here!'
As she said this she looked down at her hands, and was
surprised to see that she had put on one of the Rabbit's
little white kid gloves while she was talking . `How CAN
I have done that?' she thought. `I must be growing small
again.' She got up and went to the table to measure
herself by it, and found that, as nearly as she could
guess, she was now about two feet high, and was going on
shrinking rapidly: she soon found out that the cause of
this was the fan she was holding, and she dropped it
hastily, just in time to avoid shrinking away altogether.
`That WAS a narrow escape!' said Alice, a good deal
frightened at the sudden change, but very glad to find
herself still in existence; `and now for the garden!' and
she ran with all speed back to the little door: but, alas!
the little door was shut again, and the little golden key
was lying on the glass table as before, `and things are
worse than ever,' thought the poor child, `for I never
was so small as this before, never! And I declare it's
too bad, that it is!'
As she said these words her foot slipped, and in
another moment, splash! she was up to her chin in salt
water. He first idea was that she had somehow fallen into
the sea, `and in that case I can go back by railway,' she
said to herself. (Alice had been to the seaside once in
her life, and had come to the general conclusion, that
wherever you go to on the English coast you find a number
of bathing machines in the sea, some children digging in
the sand with wooden spades, then a row of lodging
houses, and behind them a railway station.) However, she
soon made out that she was in the pool of tears which she
had wept when she was nine feet high.
`I wish I hadn't cried so much!' said Alice, as she
swam about, trying to find her way out. `I shall be
punished for it now, I suppose, by being drowned in my
own tears! That WILL be a queer thing, to be sure!
However, everything is queer to-day.'
Just then she heard something splashing about in the
pool a little way off, and she swam nearer to make out
what it was: at first she thought it must be a walrus or
hippopotamus, but then she remembered how small she was
now, and she soon made out that it was only a mouse that
had slipped in like herself.
`Would it be of any use, now,' thought Alice, `to
speak to this mouse? Everything is so out-of-the-way down
here, that I should think very likely it can talk: at any
rate, there's no harm in trying.' So she began: `O Mouse,
do you know the way out of this pool? I am very tired of
swimming about here, O Mouse!' (Alice thought this must
be the right way of speaking to a mouse: she had never
done such a thing before, but she remembered having seen
in her brother's Latin Grammar, `A mouse--of a mouse--to
a mouse--a mouse--O mouse!' The Mouse looked at her
rather inquisitively, and seemed to her to wink with one
of its little eyes, but it said nothing.
`Perhaps it doesn't understand English,' thought
Alice; `I daresay it's a French mouse, come over with
William the Conqueror.' (For, with all her knowledge of
history, Alice had no very clear notion how long ago
anything had happened.) So she began again: `Ou est ma
chatte?' which was the first sentence in her French
lesson-book. The Mouse gave a sudden leap out of the
water, and seemed to quiver all over with fright. `Oh, I
beg your pardon!' cried Alice hastily, afraid that she
had hurt the poor animal's feelings. `I quite forgot you
didn't like cats.'
`Not like cats!' cried the Mouse, in a shrill,
passionate voice. `Would YOU like cats if you were me?'
`Well, perhaps not,' said Alice in a soothing tone:
`don't be angry about it. And yet I wish I could show you
our cat Dinah: I think you'd take a fancy to cats if you
could only see her. She is such a dear quiet thing,'
Alice went on, half to herself, as she swam lazily about
in the pool, `and she sits purring so nicely by the fire,
licking her paws and washing her face--and she is such a
nice soft thing to nurse--and she's such a capital one
for catching mice--oh, I beg your pardon!' cried Alice
again, for this time the Mouse was bristling all over,
and she felt certain it must be really offended. `We
won't talk about her any more if you'd rather not.'
`We indeed!' cried the Mouse, who was trembling down
to the end of his tail. `As if I would talk on such a
subject! Our family always HATED cats: nasty, low, vulgar
things! Don't let me hear the name again!'
`I won't indeed!' said Alice, in a great hurry to
change the subject of conversation. `Are you--are you
fond--of--of dogs?' The Mouse did not answer, so Alice
went on eagerly: `There is such a nice little dog near
our house I should like to show you! A little bright-eyed
terrier, you know, with oh, such long curly brown hair!
And it'll fetch things when you throw them, and it'll sit
up and beg for its dinner, and all sorts of things--I
can't remember half of them-- and it belongs to a farmer,
you know, and he says it's so useful, it's worth a
hundred pounds! He says it kills all the rats and--oh
dear!' cried Alice in a sorrowful tone, `I'm afraid I've
offended it again!' For the Mouse was swimming away from
her as hard as it could go, and making quite a commotion
in the pool as it went.
So she called softly after it, `Mouse dear! Do come
back again, and we won't talk about cats or dogs either,
if you don't like them!' When the Mouse heard this, it
turned round and swam slowly back to her: its face was
quite pale (with passion, Alice thought), and it said in
a low trembling voice, `Let us get to the shore, and then
I'll tell you my history, and you'll understand why it is
I hate cats and dogs.'
It was high time to go, for the pool was getting quite
crowded with the birds and animals that had fallen into
it: there were a Duck and a Dodo, a Lory and an Eaglet,
and several other curious creatures. Alice led the way,
and the whole party swam to the shore.
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