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Chapter II, The Garden of Live Flowers. Part II
‘I’d rather not try, please!’ said Alice. ‘I’m quite content to stay here – only I am so hot and thirsty!’
‘I know what you’d like!’ the Queen said good-naturedly, taking a little box out of her pocket. ‘Have a biscuit?’
Alice thought it would not be civil to say ‘No,’ though it wasn’t at all what she wanted. So she took it, and ate it as well as she could: and it was very dry: and she thought she had never been so nearly choked in all her life.
‘While you’re refreshing yourself,’ said the Queen, ‘I’ll just take the measurements.’ And she took a ribbon out of her pocket, marked in inches, and began measuring the ground, and sticking little pegs in here and there.
‘At the end of two yards,’ she said, putting in a peg to mark the distance, ‘I shall give you your directions – have another biscuit?’
‘No, thank you,’ said Alice: ‘one’s quite enough!’
‘Thirst quenched, I hope?’ said the Queen.
Alice did not know what to say to this, but luckily the Queen did not wait for an answer, but went on. ‘At the end of three yards I shall repeat them – for fear of your forgetting them. At the end of four, I shall say goodbye. And at the end of five, I shall go!’
She had got all the pegs put in by this time, and Alice looked on with great interest as she returned to the tree, and then began slowly walking down the row.
At the twoyard peg she faced round, and said ‘A pawn goes two squares in its first move, you know. So you’ll go very quickly through the Third Square – by railway, I should think – and you’ll find yourself in the Fourth Square in no time. Well, that square belongs to Tweedledum and Tweedledee – the Fifth is mostly water – the Sixth belongs to Humpty Dumpty – But you make no remark?’
‘I – I didn’t know I had to make one – just then,’ Alice faltered out.
‘You should have said,’ the Queen went on in a tone of great reproof, ‘“It’s extremely kind of you to tell me all this” – however, we’ll suppose it said – the Seventh Square is all forest – however, one of the Knights will show you the way – and in the Eighth Square we shall be Queens together, and it’s all feasting and fun!’ Alice got up and curtseyed, and sat down again.
At the next peg the Queen turned again, and this time she said ‘Speak in French when you can’t think of the English for a thing – turn out your toes as you walk – and remember who you are!’ She did not wait for Alice to curtsey, this time, but walked on quickly to the next peg, where she turned for a moment to say ‘Goodbye,’ and then hurried on to the last.
How it happened, Alice never knew, but exactly as she came to the last peg, she was gone. Whether she vanished into the air, or whether she ran quickly into the wood (‘and she can run very fast!’ thought Alice), there was no way of guessing, but she was gone, and Alice began to remember that she was a Pawn, and that it would soon be time for her to move.
Chapter III, Looking Glass Insects. Part I
Of course the first thing to do was to make a grand survey of the country she was going to travel through. ‘It’s something very like learning geography,’ thought Alice, as she stood on tiptoe in hopes of being able to see a little further. ‘Principal rivers – there are none. Principal mountains – I’m on the only one, but I don’t think it’s got any name. Principal towns – why, what are those creatures, making honey down there? They can’t be bees – nobody ever saw bees a mile off, you know –’ and for some time she stood silent, watching one of them that was bustling about among the flowers, poking its proboscis into them, ‘just as if it was a regular bee,’ thought Alice.
However, this was anything but a regular bee: in fact, it was an elephant – as Alice soon found out, though the idea quite took her breath away at first. ‘And what enormous flowers they must be!’ was her next idea. ‘Something like cottages with the roofs taken off, and stalks put to them – and what quantities of honey they must make! I think I’ll go down and – no, I won’t just yet,’ she went on, checking herself just as she was beginning to run down the hill, and trying to find some excuse for turning shy so suddenly. ‘It’ll never do to go down among them without a good long branch to brush them away – and what fun it’ll be when they ask me how I liked my walk. I shall say “Oh, I like it well enough –” (here came the favourite little toss of the head), ‘“only it was so dusty and hot, and the elephants did tease so!”
‘I think I’ll go down the other way,’ she said after a pause; ‘and perhaps I may visit the elephants later on. Besides, I do so want to get into the Third Square!’
So, with this excuse, she ran down the hill and jumped over the first of the six little brooks.
‘Tickets, please!’ said the Guard, putting his head in at the window. In a moment everybody was holding out a ticket: they were about the same size as the people, and quite seemed to fill the carriage.
‘Now then! Show your ticket, child!’ the Guard went on, looking angrily at Alice. And a great many voices all said together (‘like the chorus of a song,’ thought Alice), ‘Don’t keep him waiting, child! Why, his time is worth a thousand pounds a minute!’
‘I’m afraid I haven’t got one,’ Alice said in a frightened tone: ‘there wasn’t a ticketoffice where I came from.’ And again the chorus of voices went on. ‘There wasn’t room for one where she came from. The land there is worth a thousand pounds an inch!’
‘Don’t make excuses,’ said the Guard: ‘you should have bought one from the enginedriver.’ And once more the chorus of voices went on with ‘The man that drives the engine. Why, the smoke alone is worth a thousand pounds a puff!’
Alice thought to herself, ‘Then there’s no use in speaking.’ The voices didn’t join in this time, as she hadn’t spoken, but, to her great surprise, they all thought in chorus (I hope you understand what thinking in chorus means – for I must confess that I don’t), ‘Better say nothing at all. Language is worth a thousand pounds a word!’
‘I shall dream about a thousand pounds tonight, I know I shall!’ thought Alice.
All this time the Guard was looking at her, first through a telescope, then through a microscope, and then through an operaglass. At last he said, ‘You’re travelling the wrong way,’ and shut up the window, and went away.
‘So young a child,’ said the gentleman sitting opposite to her, (he was dressed in white paper), ‘ought to know which way she’s going, even if she doesn’t know her own name!’
A Goat, that was sitting next to the gentleman in white, shut his eyes and said in a loud voice, ‘She ought to know her way to the ticketoffice, even if she doesn’t know her alphabet!’
There was a Beetle sitting next to the Goat (it was a very queer carriagefull of passengers altogether), and, as the rule seemed to be that they should all speak in turn, he went on with ‘She’ll have to go back from here as luggage!’
Alice couldn’t see who was sitting beyond the Beetle, but a hoarse voice spoke next. ‘Change engines’ – it said, and there it choked and was obliged to leave off.
‘It sounds like a horse,’ Alice thought to herself. And an extremely small voice, close to her ear, said ‘You might make a joke on that – something about “horse” and “hoarse,” you know.’
Then a very gentle voice in the distance said, ‘She must be labelled “Lass, with care,” you know–’
And after that other voices went on (‘What a number of people there are in the carriage!’ thought Alice), saying ‘She must go by post, as she’s got a head on her –’ ‘She must be sent as a message by the telegraph –’ ‘She must draw the train herself the rest of the way –,’ and so on.
But the gentleman dressed in white paper leaned forwards and whispered in her ear, ‘Never mind what they all say, my dear, but take a returnticket every time the train stops.’
‘Indeed I shan’t!’ Alice said rather impatiently. ‘I don’t belong to this railway journey at all – I was in a wood just now – and I wish I could get back there.’
‘You might make a joke on that,’ said the little voice close to her ear: ‘something about “you would if you could,” you know.’
‘Don’t tease so,’ said Alice, looking about in vain to see where the voice came from. ‘If you’re so anxious to have a joke made, why don’t you make one yourself?’
The little voice sighed deeply. It was very unhappy, evidently, and Alice would have said something pitying to comfort it, ‘if it would only sigh like other people!’ she thought. But this was such a wonderfully small sigh, that she wouldn’t have heard it at all, if it hadn’t come quite close to her ear. The consequence of this was that it tickled her ear very much, and quite took off her thoughts from the unhappiness of the poor little creature.
‘I know you are a friend,’ the little voice went on: ‘a dear friend, and an old friend. And you won’t hurt me, though I am an insect.’
‘What kind of insect?’ Alice inquired, a little anxiously. What she really wanted to know was, whether it could sting or not, but she thought this wouldn’t be quite a civil question to ask.
‘What, then you don’t–’ the little voice began, when it was drowned by a shrill scream from the engine, and everybody jumped up in alarm, Alice among the rest.
The Horse, who had put his head out of the window, quietly drew it in and said ‘It’s only a brook we have to jump over.’ Everybody seemed satisfied with this, though Alice felt a little nervous at the idea of trains jumping at all. ‘However, it’ll take us into the Fourth Square, that’s some comfort!’ she said to herself. In another moment she felt the carriage rise straight up into the air, and in her fright she caught at the thing nearest to her hand, which happened to be the Goat’s beard.
But the beard seemed to melt away as she touched it, and she found herself sitting quietly under a tree – while the Gnat (for that was the insect she had been talking to) was balancing itself on a twig just over her head, and fanning her with its wings.
It certainly was a very large Gnat: ‘about the size of a chicken,’ Alice thought. Still, she couldn’t feel nervous with it, after they had been talking together so long.
‘– then you don’t like all insects?’ the Gnat went on, as quietly as if nothing had happened.
‘I like them when they can talk,’ Alice said. ‘None of them ever talk, where I come from.’
‘What sort of insects do you rejoice in, where you come from?’ the Gnat inquired.
‘I don’t rejoice in insects at all,’ Alice explained, ‘because I’m rather afraid of them – at least the large kinds. But I can tell you the names of some of them.’
‘Of course they answer to their names?’ the Gnat remarked carelessly.
‘I never knew them do it.’
‘What’s the use of their having names,’ the Gnat said, ‘if they won’t answer to them?’
‘No use to them,’ said Alice; ‘but it’s useful to the people who name them, I suppose. If not, why do things have names at all?’
‘I can’t say,’ the Gnat replied. ‘Further on, in the wood down there, they’ve got no names – however, go on with your list of insects: you’re wasting time.’
‘Well, there’s the Horsefly,’ Alice began, counting off the names on her fingers.
‘All right,’ said the Gnat: ‘half way up that bush, you’ll see a Rockinghorsefly, if you look. It’s made entirely of wood, and gets about by swinging itself from branch to branch.’
‘What does it live on?’ Alice asked, with great curiosity.
‘Sap and sawdust,’ said the Gnat. ‘Go on with the list.’
Alice looked up at the Rockinghorsefly with great interest, and made up her mind that it must have been just repainted, it looked so bright and sticky; and then she went on.
‘And there’s the Dragonfly.’
‘Look on the branch above your head,’ said the Gnat, ‘and there you’ll find a Snapdragonfly. Its body is made of plumpudding, its wings of holly-leaves, and its head is a raisin burning in brandy.’
‘And what does it live on?’ Alice asked, as before.
‘Frumenty and mince pie,’ the Gnat replied; ‘and it makes its nest in a Christmasbox.’
‘And then there’s the Butterfly,’ Alice went on, after she had taken a good look at the insect with its head on fire, and had thought to herself, ‘I wonder if that’s the reason insects are so fond of flying into candles – because they want to turn into Snapdragonflies!’