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Chapter IV, Tweedledum and Tweedledee. Part II
‘The sun was shining on the sea,
Shining with all his might:
He did his very best to make
The billows smooth and bright –
And this was odd, because it was
The middle of the night.
The moon was shining sulkily,
Because she thought the sun
Had got no business to be there
After the day was done –
“It’s very rude of him,” she said,
“To come and spoil the fun!”
The sea was wet as wet could be,
The sands were dry as dry.
You could not see a cloud, because
No cloud was in the sky:
No birds were flying over head –
There were no birds to fly.
The Walrus and the Carpenter
Were walking close at hand:
They wept like anything to see
Such quantities of sand:
“If this were only cleared away,”
They said, “it would be grand!”
“If seven maids with seven mops
Swept it for half a year,
Do you suppose,” the Walrus said,
“That they could get it clear?”
“I doubt it,” said the Carpenter,
And shed a bitter tear.
“O Oysters, come and walk with us!”
The Walrus did beseech.
“A pleasant walk, a pleasant talk,
Along the briny beach:
We cannot do with more than four,
To give a hand to each.”
The eldest Oyster looked at him,
But never a word he said:
The eldest Oyster winked his eye,
And shook his heavy head –
Meaning to say he did not choose
To leave the oyster-bed.
But four young oysters hurried up,
All eager for the treat:
Their coats were brushed, their faces washed,
Their shoes were clean and neat –
And this was odd, because, you know,
They hadn’t any feet.
Four other Oysters followed them,
And yet another four;
And thick and fast they came at last,
And more, and more, and more –
All hopping through the frothy waves,
And scrambling to the shore.
The Walrus and the Carpenter
Walked on a mile or so,
And then they rested on a rock
And all the little Oysters stood
And waited in a row.
“The time has come,” the Walrus said,
“To talk of many things:
Of shoes – and ships – and sealingwax –
Of cabbages – and kings –
And why the sea is boiling hot –
And whether pigs have wings.”
“But wait a bit,” the Oysters cried,
“Before we have our chat;
For some of us are out of breath,
And all of us are fat!”
“No hurry!” said the Carpenter.
They thanked him much for that.
“A loaf of bread,” the Walrus said,
“Is what we chiefly need:
Pepper and vinegar besides
Are very good indeed –
Now, if you’re ready, Oysters dear,
We can begin to feed.”
“But not on us!” the Oysters cried,
Turning a little blue.
“After such kindness, that would be
A dismal thing to do!”
“The night is fine,” the Walrus said
‘Do you admire the view?
“It was so kind of you to come!
And you are very nice!”
The Carpenter said nothing but
“Cut us another slice.
I wish you were not quite so deaf –
I’ve had to ask you twice!”
“It seems a shame,” the Walrus said,
“To play them such a trick.
After we’ve brought them out so far,
And made them trot so quick!”
The Carpenter said nothing but
“The butter’s spread too thick!”
“I weep for you,” the Walrus said:
“I deeply sympathize.”
With sobs and tears he sorted out
Those of the largest size,
Holding his pocket handkerchief
Before his streaming eyes.
“O Oysters,” said the Carpenter,
“You’ve had a pleasant run!
Shall we be trotting home again?”
But answer came there none –
And that was scarcely odd, because
They’d eaten every one.’
‘I like the Walrus best,’ said Alice: ‘because he was a little sorry for the poor oysters.’
‘He ate more than the Carpenter, though,’ said Tweedledee. ‘You see he held his handkerchief in front, so that the Carpenter couldn’t count how many he took: contrariwise.’
‘That was mean!’ Alice said indignantly. ‘Then I like the Carpenter best – if he didn’t eat so many as the Walrus.’
‘But he ate as many as he could get,’ said Tweedledum.
This was a puzzler. After a pause, Alice began, ‘Well! They were both very unpleasant characters –’ Here she checked herself in some alarm, at hearing something that sounded to her like the puffing of a large steamengine in the wood near them, though she feared it was more likely to be a wild beast. ‘Are there any lions or tigers about here?’ she asked timidly.
‘It’s only the Red King snoring,’ said Tweedledee.
‘Come and look at him!’ the brothers cried, and they each took one of Alice’s hands, and led her up to where the King was sleeping.
‘Isn’t he a lovely sight?’ said Tweedledum.
Alice couldn’t say honestly that he was. He had a tall red nightcap on, with a tassel, and he was lying crumpled up into a sort of untidy heap, and snoring loud – ‘fit to snore his head off!’ as Tweedledum remarked.
‘I’m afraid he’ll catch cold with lying on the damp grass,’ said Alice, who was a very thoughtful little girl.
‘He’s dreaming now,’ said Tweedledee: ‘and what do you think he’s dreaming about?’
Alice said ‘Nobody can guess that.’
‘Why, about you!’ Tweedledee exclaimed, clapping his hands triumphantly. ‘And if he left off dreaming about you, where do you suppose you’d be?’
‘Where I am now, of course,’ said Alice.
‘Not you!’ Tweedledee retorted contemptuously. ‘You’d be nowhere. Why, you’re only a sort of thing in his dream!’
‘If that there King was to wake,’ added Tweedledum, ‘you’d go out – bang! – just like a candle!’
‘I shouldn’t!’ Alice exclaimed indignantly. ‘Besides, if I’m only a sort of thing in his dream, what are you, I should like to know?’
‘Ditto’ said Tweedledum.
‘Ditto, ditto’ cried Tweedledee.
He shouted this so loud that Alice couldn’t help saying ‘Hush! You’ll be waking him, I’m afraid, if you make so much noise.’
‘Well, it no use your talking about waking him,’ said Tweedledum, ‘when you’re only one of the things in his dream. You know very well you’re not real.’
‘I am real!’ said Alice, and began to cry.
‘You won’t make yourself a bit realler by crying,’ Tweedledee remarked: ‘there’s nothing to cry about.’
‘If I wasn’t real,’ Alice said – halflaughing through her tears, it all seemed so ridiculous – ‘I shouldn’t be able to cry.’
‘I hope you don’t suppose those are real tears?’ Tweedledum interrupted in a tone of great contempt.
‘I know they’re talking nonsense,’ Alice thought to herself: ‘and it’s foolish to cry about it.’ So she brushed away her tears, and went on, as cheerfully as she could. ‘At any rate I’d better be getting out of the wood, for really it’s coming on very dark. Do you think it’s going to rain?’
Tweedledum spread a large umbrella over himself and his brother, and looked up into it. ‘No, I don’t think it is,’ he said: ‘at least – not under here. Nohow.’
‘But it may rain outside?’
‘It may – if it chooses,’ said Tweedledee: ‘we’ve no objection. Contrariwise.’
‘Selfish things!’ thought Alice, and she was just going to say ‘Goodnight’ and leave them, when Tweedledum sprang out from under the umbrella and seized her by the wrist.
‘Do you see that?’ he said, in a voice choking with passion, and his eyes grew large and yellow all in a moment, as he pointed with a trembling finger at a small white thing lying under the tree.
‘It’s only a rattle,’ Alice said, after a careful examination of the little white thing. ‘Not a rattle snake, you know,’ she added hastily, thinking that he was frightened: ‘only an old rattle – quite old and broken.’
‘I knew it was!’ cried Tweedledum, beginning to stamp about wildly and tear his hair. ‘It’s spoilt, of course!’ Here he looked at Tweedledee, who immediately sat down on the ground, and tried to hide himself under the umbrella.
Alice laid her hand upon his arm, and said in a soothing tone, ‘You needn’t be so angry about an old rattle.’
‘But it isn’t old!’ Tweedledum cried, in a greater fury than ever. ‘It’s new, I tell you – I bought it yesterday – my nice NEW RATTLE!’ and his voice rose to a perfect scream.
All this time Tweedledee was trying his best to fold up the umbrella, with himself in it: which was such an extraordinary thing to do, that it quite took off Alice’s attention from the angry brother. But he couldn’t quite succeed, and it ended in his rolling over, bundled up in the umbrella, with only his head out: and there he lay, opening and shutting his mouth and his large eyes – ‘looking more like a fish than anything else,’ Alice thought.
‘Of course you agree to have a battle?’ Tweedledum said in a calmer tone.
‘I suppose so,’ the other sulkily replied, as he crawled out of the umbrella: ‘only she must help us to dress up, you know.’
So the two brothers went off handinhand into the wood, and returned in a minute with their arms full of things – such as bolsters, blankets, hearthrugs, tablecloths, dishcovers and coalscuttles. ‘I hope you’re a good hand at pinning and tying strings?’ Tweedledum remarked. ‘Every one of these things has got to go on, somehow or other.’
Alice said afterwards she had never seen such a fuss made about anything in all her life – the way those two bustled about – and the quantity of things they put on – and the trouble they gave her in tying strings and fastening buttons – ‘Really they’ll be more like bundles of old clothes than anything else, by the time they’re ready!’ she said to herself, as she arranged a bolster round the neck of Tweedledee, ‘to keep his head from being cut off,’ as he said.
‘You know,’ he added very gravely, ‘it’s one of the most serious things that can possibly happen to one in a battle – to get one’s head cut off.’
Alice laughed loud: but she managed to turn it into a cough, for fear of hurting his feelings.
‘Do I look very pale?’ said Tweedledum, coming up to have his helmet tied on. (He called it a helmet, though it certainly looked much more like a saucepan.)
‘Well – yes – a little,’ Alice replied gently.
‘I’m very brave generally,’ he went on in a low voice: ‘only today I happen to have a headache.’
‘And I’ve got a toothache!’ said Tweedledee, who had overheard the remark. ‘I’m far worse off than you!’