T HERE was a table set out under a tree in front
of the house, and the March Hare and the Hatter were having tea at it: a
Dormouse was sitting between them, fast asleep, and the other two were using
it as a cushion resting their elbows on it, and talking over its head.
"Very uncomfortable for the Dormouse," thought Alice; "only
as it's asleep, suppose it doesn't mind."
The table was a large one, but the three were all crowded together at one corner of it. "No room! No room!" they cried out when they saw Alice coming. "There's plenty of room!" said Alice indignantly, and she sat down in a large arm-chair at one end of the table.
some wine," the March Hare said in an encouraging tone.
looked all round the table, but there was nothing on it but tea. "I
don't see any wine," she remarked.
isn't any," said the March Hare.
it wasn't very civil of you to offer it," said Alice angrily.
wasn't very civil of you to sit down without being invited," said the
"I didn't know it was your
table," said Alice; "it's laid for a great many more than three."
hair wants cutting," said the Hatter. He had been looking at Alice for
some time with great curiosity, and this was his first speech.
should learn not to make personal remarks," Alice said with some
severity; "it's very rude."
Hatter opened his eyes very wide on hearing this; but all he said was "Why
is a raven like a writing-desk?"
we shall have some fun now!" thought Alice. "I'm glad they've
begun asking riddles.—I believe I can guess that," she added aloud.
you mean that you think you can find out the answer to it?" said the
"Exactly so," said Alice.
you should say what you mean," the March Hare went on.
do," Alice hastily replied; "at least—at least I mean what I
say—that's the same thing, you know."
the same thing a bit!" said the Hatter. "Why, you might just as
well say that 'I see what I eat' is the same thing as 'I eat what I see'!"
might just as well say," added the March Hare, "that 'I like what
I get' is the same thing as 'I get what I like'!"
might just as well say," added the Dormouse, which seemed to be talking
in his sleep, "that 'I breathe when I sleep' is the same thing as 'I
sleep when I breathe'!"
"It is the same thing with you," said the Hatter; and here the conversation dropped, and the party sat silent for a minute, while Alice thought over all she could remember about ravens and writing-desks, which wasn't much.
Hatter was the first to break the silence. "What day of the month is
it?" he said, turning to Alice: he had taken his watch out of his
pocket, and was looking at it uneasily, shaking it every now and then, and
holding it to his ear.
Alice considered a
little, and then said "The fourth."
days wrong!" sighed the Hatter. "I told you butter would not suit
the works!" he added, looking angrily at the March Hare.
was the best butter," the March Hare meekly replied.
but some crumbs must have got in as well," the Hatter grumbled: "you
shouldn't have put it in with the bread-knife."
March Hare took the watch and looked at it gloomily: then he dipped it into
his cup of tea, and looked at it again: but he could think of nothing better
to say than his first remark, "It was the best butter, you know."
had been looking over his shoulder with some curiosity. "What a funny
watch!" she remarked. "It tells the day of the month, and doesn't
tell what o'clock it is!"
it?" muttered the Hatter. "Does your watch tell you what year it
"Of course not," Alice
replied very readily: "but that's because it stays the same year for
such a long time together."
is just the case with mine," said the Hatter.
felt dreadfully puzzled. The Hatter's remark seemed to have no meaning in
it, and yet it was certainly English. "I don't quite understand,"
she said, as politely as she could.
Dormouse is asleep again," said the Hatter, and he poured a little hot
tea upon its nose.
The Dormouse shook its head
impatiently, and said, without opening its eyes, "Of course, of course;
just what I was going to remark myself."
you guessed the riddle yet?" the Hatter said, turning to Alice again.
I give it up," Alice replied: "what's the answer?"
haven't the slightest idea," said the Hatter.
I," said the March Hare.
wearily. "I think you might do something better with the time,"
she said, "than wasting it asking riddles with no answers."
you knew Time as well as I do," said the Hatter, "you wouldn't
talk about wasting it. It's him."
don't know what you mean," said Alice.
course you don't!" the Hatter said, tossing his head contemptuously.
"I daresay you never spoke to Time!"
not," Alice cautiously replied: "but I know I have to beat time
when I learn music."
"Ah! that accounts for it," said the Hatter. "He won't stand beating. Now, if you only kept on good terms with him, he'd do almost anything you liked with the clock. For instance, suppose it were nine o'clock in the morning, just time to begin lessons: you'd only have to whisper a hint to Time, and round goes the clock in a twinkling! Half-past one, time for dinner!"
only wish it was," the March Hare said to itself in a whisper.)
would be grand, certainly," said Alice thoughtfully: "but then—I
shouldn't be hungry for it, you know."
at first, perhaps," said the Hatter: "but you could keep it to
half-past one as long as you liked."
that the way you manage?" Alice asked.
Hatter shook his head mournfully. "Not I!" he replied. "We
quarrelled last March——just before he went mad, you know——" (pointing
with his teaspoon to the March Hare), "it was at the great concert
given by the Queen of Hearts, and I had to sing
twinkle, little bat!
How I wonder what you're at!'
You know that song, perhaps?"
"I've heard something like it," said Alice.
"It goes on, you know,"
the Hatter continued, "in this way:—
above the world you fly,
Like a tea-tray in the sky.
Here the Dormouse shook itself, and began
singing in its sleep "Twinkle, twinkle, twinkle, twinkle——" and
went on so long that they had to pinch it to make it stop.
I'd hardly finished the first verse," said the Hatter, "when the
Queen jumped up and bawled out 'He's murdering the time! Off with his head!'"
dreadfully savage!" exclaimed Alice.
ever since that," the Hatter went on in a mournful tone, "he won't
do a thing I ask! It's always six o'clock now."
bright idea came into Alice's head. "Is that the reason so many
tea-things are put out here?" she asked.
that's it," said the Hatter with a sigh: "it's always tea-time,
and we've no time to wash the things between whiles."
you keep moving round, I suppose?" said Alice.
so," said the Hatter: "as the things get used up."
what happens when you come to the beginning again?" Alice ventured to
"Suppose we change the subject,"
the March Hare interrupted, yawning. "I'm getting tired of this. I vote
the young lady tells us a story."
afraid I don't know one," said Alice, rather alarmed at the proposal.
the Dormouse shall!" they both cried. "Wake up, Dormouse!"
And they pinched it on both sides at once.
Dormouse slowly opened his eyes. "I wasn't asleep," he said in a
hoarse, feeble voice: "I heard every word you fellows were saying."
us a story!" said the March Hare.
please do!" pleaded Alice.
quick about it," added the Hatter, "or you'll be asleep again
before it's done."
"Once upon a time
there were three little sisters," the Dormouse began in a great hurry;
"and their names were Elsie, Lacie, and Tillie; and they lived at the
bottom of a well——"
"What did they
live on?" said Alice, who always took a great interest in questions of
eating and drinking.
"They lived on
treacle," said the Dormouse, after thinking a minute or two.
couldn't have done that, you know," Alice gently remarked; "they'd
have been ill."
"So they were,"
said the Dormouse; "very ill."
tried a little to fancy to herself what such an extraordinary way of living
would be like, but it puzzled her too much, so she went on: "But why
did they live at the bottom of a well?"
some more tea," the March Hare said to Alice, very earnestly.
had nothing yet," Alice replied in an offended tone, "so I can't
"You mean you can't take
less," said the Hatter; "it's very easy to take more than nothing."
asked your opinion," said Alice.
"Who's making personal remarks now?" the Hatter asked triumphantly.
did not quite know what to say to this: so she helped herself to some tea
and bread-and-butter, and then turned to the Dormouse, and repeated her
question. "Why did they live at the bottom of a well?"
Dormouse again took a minute or two to think about it, and then said, "It
was a treacle-well."
"There's no such
thing!" Alice was beginning very angrily, but the Hatter and the March
Hare went "Sh! sh!" and the Dormouse sulkily remarked: "If
you can't be civil, you'd better finish the story for yourself."
please go on!" Alice said very humbly. "I won't interrupt you
again. I dare say there may be one."
indeed!" said the Dormouse indignantly. However, he consented to go on.
"And so these three little sisters—they were learning to draw, you
"What did they draw?"
said Alice, quite forgetting her promise.
said the Dormouse, without considering at all this time.
want a clean cup," interrupted the Hatter: "let's all move one
He moved as he spoke, and the
Dormouse followed him: the March Hare moved into the Dormouse's place, and
Alice rather unwillingly took the place of the March Hare. The Hatter was
the only one who got any advantage from the change: and Alice was a good
deal worse off than before, as the March Hare had just upset the milk-jug
into his plate.
Alice did not wish to offend
the Dormouse again, so she began very cautiously: "But I don't
understand. Where did they draw the treacle from?"
can draw water out of a water-well," said the Hatter; "so I should
think you could draw treacle out of a treacle-well—eh, stupid!"
they were in the well," Alice said to the Dormouse, not choosing to
notice this last remark.
"Of course they
were," said the Dormouse; "——well in."
answer so confused poor Alice that she let the Dormouse go on for some time
without interrupting it.
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——"
with an M?" said Alice.
said the March Hare.
Alice was silent.
The Dormouse had closed its eyes by this time,
and was going off into a dose; 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——"
you shouldn't talk," said the Hatter.
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.
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
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 to-day. I think I
may as well go in at once." And in she went.
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 set 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.