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Chapter 6 Pig and Pepper

  • For a minute or two she stood looking at the house, and wondering what to d_ext, when suddenly a footman in livery came running out of the wood—(sh_onsidered him to be a footman because he was in livery: otherwise, judging b_is face only, she would have called him a fish)—and rapped loudly at the doo_ith his knuckles. It was opened by another footman in livery, with a roun_ace, and large eyes like a frog; and both footmen, Alice noticed, ha_owdered hair that curled all over their heads. She felt very curious to kno_hat it was all about, and crept a little way out of the wood to listen.
  • The Fish-Footman began by producing from under his arm a great letter, nearl_s large as himself, and this he handed over to the other, saying, in a solem_one, “For the Duchess. An invitation from the Queen to play croquet.” Th_rog-Footman repeated, in the same solemn tone, only changing the order of th_ords a little, “From the Queen. An invitation for the Duchess to pla_roquet.”
  • Then they both bowed low, and their curls got entangled together.
  • Alice laughed so much at this, that she had to run back into the wood for fea_f their hearing her; and, when she next peeped out, the Fish-Footman wa_one, and the other was sitting on the ground near the door, staring stupidl_p into the sky.
  • Alice went timidly up to the door, and knocked.
  • “There’s no sort of use in knocking,” said the Footman, “and that for tw_easons. First, because I’m on the same side of the door as you are: secondly, because they’re making such a noise inside, no one could possibly hear you.” And certainly there was a most extraordinary noise going on within—a constan_owling and sneezing, and every now and then a great crash, as if a dish o_ettle had been broken to pieces.
  • “Please, then,” said Alice, “how am I to get in?”
  • “There might be some sense in your knocking,” the Footman went on, withou_ttending to her, “if we had the door between us. For instance, if you wer_nside, you might knock, and I could let you out, you know.” He was looking u_nto the sky all the time he was speaking, and this Alice thought decidedl_ncivil. “But perhaps he ca’n’t help it,” she said to herself; “his eyes ar_o very nearly at the top of his head. But at any rate he might answe_uestions.—How am I to get in?” she repeated, aloud.
  • “I shall sit here,” the Footman remarked, “till to-morrow——”
  • At this moment the door of the house opened, and a large plate came skimmin_ut, straight at the Footman’s head: it just grazed his nose, and broke t_ieces against one of the trees behind him.
  • “——or next day, maybe,” the Footman continued in the same tone, exactly as i_othing had happened.
  • “How am I to get in?” asked Alice again, in a louder tone.
  • “Are you to get in at all?” said the Footman. “That’s the first question, yo_now.”
  • It was, no doubt: only Alice did not like to be told so. “It’s reall_readful,” she muttered to herself, “the way all the creatures argue. It’_nough to drive one crazy!”
  • The Footman seemed to think this a good opportunity for repeating his remark, with variations. “I shall sit here,” he said, “on and off, for days and days.”
  • “But what am I to do?” said Alice.
  • “Anything you like,” said the Footman, and began whistling.
  • “Oh, there’s no use in talking to him,” said Alice desperately: “he’_erfectly idiotic!” And she opened the door and went in.
  • The door led right into a large kitchen, which was full of smoke from one en_o the other: the Duchess was sitting on a three-legged stool in the middle, nursing a baby: the cook was leaning over the fire, stirring a large cauldro_hich seemed to be full of soup.
  • “There’s certainly too much pepper in that soup!” Alice said to herself, a_ell as she could for sneezing.
  • There was certainly too much of it in the air. Even the Duchess sneeze_ccasionally; and as for the baby, it was sneezing and howling alternatel_ithout a moment’s pause. The only things in the kitchen that did not sneeze, were the cook, and a large cat, which was lying on the hearth and grinnin_rom ear to ear.
  • “Please would you tell me,” said Alice, a little timidly, for she was no_uite sure whether it was good manners for her to speak first, “why your ca_rins like that?”
  • “It’s a Cheshire-Cat,” said the Duchess, “and that’s why. Pig!”
  • She said the last word with such sudden violence that Alice quite jumped; bu_he saw in another moment that it was addressed to the baby, and not to her, so she took courage, and went on again:—
  • “I didn’t know that Cheshire-Cats always grinned; in fact, I didn’t know tha_ats could grin.”
  • “They all can,” said the Duchess; “and most of ’em do.”
  • “I don’t know of any that do,” Alice said very politely, feeling quite please_o have got into a conversation.
  • “You don’t know much,” said the Duchess; “and that’s a fact.”
  • Alice did not at all like the tone of this remark, and thought it would be a_ell to introduce some other subject of conversation. While she was trying t_ix on one, the cook took the cauldron of soup off the fire, and at once se_o work throwing everything within her reach at the Duchess and the baby—th_ire-irons came first; then followed a shower of saucepans, plates, an_ishes. The Duchess took no notice of them even when they hit her; and th_aby was howling so much already, that it was quite impossible to say whethe_he blows hurt it or not.
  • “Oh, please mind what you’re doing!” cried Alice, jumping up and down in a_gony of terror. “Oh, there goes his precious nose!”, as an unusually larg_aucepan flew close by it, and very nearly carried it off.
  • “If everybody minded their own business,” the Duchess said, in a hoarse growl, “the world would go round a deal faster than it does.”
  • “Which would not be an advantage,” said Alice, who felt very glad to get a_pportunity of showing off a little of her knowledge. “Just think of what wor_t would make with the day and night! You see the earth takes twenty-fou_ours to turn round on its axis——”
  • “Talking of axes,” said the Duchess, “chop off her head!”
  • Alice glanced rather anxiously at the cook, to see if she meant to take th_int; but the cook was busily stirring the soup, and seemed not to b_istening, so she went on again: “Twenty-four hours, I think; or is it twelve?
  • I——”
  • “Oh, don’t bother me!” said the Duchess. “I never could abide figures!” An_ith that she began nursing her child again, singing a sort of lullaby to i_s she did so, and giving it a violent shake at the end of every line:—
  • ? “Speak roughly to your little boy,
  • ? And beat him when he sneezes:
  • ? He only does it to annoy,
  • ? Because he knows it teases.”
  • CHORUS
  • (in which the cook and the baby joined):—
  • ? “Wow! Wow! Wow!”
  • While the Duchess sang the second verse of the song, she kept tossing the bab_iolently up and down, and the poor little thing howled so, that Alice coul_ardly hear the words:—
  • ?
  • ? “I speak severely to my boy,
  • ? I beat him when he sneezes;
  • ? For he can thoroughly enjoy
  • ? The pepper when he pleases!”
  • CHORUS
  • ? “Wow! wow! wow!”
  • “Here! You may nurse it a bit, if you like!” the Duchess said to Alice, flinging the baby at her as she spoke. “I must go and get ready to pla_roquet with the Queen,” and she hurried out of the room. The cook threw _rying-pan after her as she went, but it just missed her.
  • Alice caught the baby with some difficulty, as it was a queer-shaped littl_reature, and held out its arms and legs in all directions, “just like a star- fish,” thought Alice. The poor little thing was snorting like a steam-engin_hen she caught it, and kept doubling itself up and straightening itself ou_gain, so that altogether, for the first minute or two, it was as much as sh_ould do to hold it.
  • As soon as she had made out the proper way of nursing it (which was to twis_t up into a sort of knot, and then keep tight hold of its right ear and lef_oot, so as to prevent its undoing itself), she carried it out into the ope_ir. “If I don’t take this child away with me,” thought Alice, “they’re sur_o kill it in a day or two. Wouldn’t it be murder to leave it behind?” Sh_aid the last words out loud, and the little thing grunted in reply (it ha_eft off sneezing by this time). “Don’t grunt,” said Alice; “that’s not at al_ proper way of expressing yourself.”
  • The baby grunted again, and Alice looked very anxiously into its face to se_hat was the matter with it. There could be no doubt that it had a very turn- up nose, much more like a snout than a real nose: also its eyes were gettin_xtremely small for a baby: altogether Alice did not like the look of th_hing at all. “But perhaps it was only sobbing,” she thought, and looked int_ts eyes again, to see if there were any tears.
  • No, there were no tears. “If you’re going to turn into a pig, my dear,” sai_lice, seriously, “I’ll have nothing more to do with you. Mind now!” The poo_ittle thing sobbed again (or grunted, it was impossible to say which), an_hey went on for some while in silence.
  • Alice was just beginning to think to herself, “Now, what am I to do with thi_reature, when I get it home?” when it grunted again, so violently, that sh_ooked down into its face in some alarm. This time there could be no mistak_bout it: it was neither more nor less than a pig, and she felt that it woul_e quite absurd for her to carry it any further.
  • So she set the little creature down, and felt quite relieved to see it tro_way quietly into the wood. “If it had grown up,” she said to herself, “i_ould have made a dreadfully ugly child: but it makes rather a handsome pig, _hink.” And she began thinking over other children she knew, who might do ver_ell as pigs, and was just saying to herself “if one only knew the right wa_o change them——” when she was a little startled by seeing the Cheshire-Ca_itting on a bough of a tree a few yards off.
  • The Cat only grinned when it saw Alice. It looked good-natured, she thought: still it had very long claws and a great many teeth, so she felt that it ough_o be treated with respect.
  • “Cheshire Puss,” she began, rather timidly, as she did not at all know whethe_t would like the name: however, it only grinned a little wider. “Come, it’_leased so far,” thought Alice, and she went on. “Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”
  • “That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,” said the Cat.
  • “I don’t much care where——” said Alice.
  • “Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,” said the Cat.
  • “——so long as I get somewhere,” Alice added as an explanation.
  • “Oh, you’re sure to do that,” said the Cat, “if you only walk long enough.”
  • Alice felt that this could not be denied, so she tried another question. “Wha_ort of people live about here?”
  • “In that direction,” the Cat said, waving its right paw round, “lives _atter: and in that direction,” waving the other paw, “lives a March Hare.
  • Visit either you like: they’re both mad.”
  • “But I don’t want to go among mad people,” Alice remarked.
  • “Oh, you ca’n’t help that,” said the Cat: “we’re all mad here. I’m mad. You’r_ad.”
  • “How do you know I’m mad?” said Alice.
  • “You must be,” said the Cat, “or you wouldn’t have come here.”
  • Alice didn’t think that proved it at all: however, she went on: “And how d_ou know that you’re mad?”
  • “To begin with,” said the Cat, “a dog’s not mad. You grant that?”
  • “I suppose so,” said Alice.
  • “Well, then,” the Cat went on, “you see, a dog growls when it’s angry, an_ags its tail when it’s pleased. Now I growl when I’m pleased, and wag my tai_hen I’m angry. Therefore I’m mad.”
  • “I call it purring, not growling,” said Alice.
  • “Call it what you like,” said the Cat. “Do you play croquet with the Queen to- day?”
  • “I should like it very much,” said Alice, “but I haven’t been invited yet.”
  • “You’ll see me there,” said the Cat, and vanished.
  • Alice was not much surprised at this, she was getting so used to queer thing_appening. While she was looking at the place where it had been, it suddenl_ppeared again.
  • “By-the-bye, what became of the baby?” said the Cat. “I’d nearly forgotten t_sk.”
  • “It turned into a pig,” Alice quietly said, just as if the Cat had come bac_n a natural way.
  • “I thought it would,” said the Cat, and vanished again.
  • Alice waited a little, half expecting to see it again, but it did not appear, and after a minute or two she walked on in the direction in which the Marc_are was said to live. “I’ve seen hatters before,” she said to herself: “th_arch Hare will be much the most interesting, and perhaps, as this is May, i_o’n’t be raving mad—at least not so mad as it was in March.” As she sai_his, she looked up, and there was the Cat again, sitting on a branch of _ree.
  • “Did you say ‘pig’, or ‘fig’?” said the Cat.
  • “I said ‘pig’,” replied Alice; “and I wish you wouldn’t keep appearing an_anishing so suddenly: you make one quite giddy.”
  • “All right,” said the Cat; and this time it vanished quite slowly, beginnin_ith the end of the tail, and ending with the grin, which remained some tim_fter the rest of it had gone.
  • “Well! I’ve often seen a cat without a grin,” thought Alice; “but a gri_ithout a cat! It’s the most curious thing I ever saw in all my life!”
  • She had not gone much farther before she came in sight of the house of th_arch Hare: she thought it must be the right house, because the chimneys wer_haped like ears and the roof was thatched with fur. It was so large a house, that she did not like to go nearer till she had nibbled some more of the left- hand bit of mushroom, and raised herself to about two feet high: even then sh_alked up towards it rather timidly, saying to herself “Suppose it should b_aving mad after all! I almost wish I’d gone to see the Hatter instead!”