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Chapter 3 Looking-Glass Insects

  • Of course the first thing to do was to make a grand survey of the country sh_as 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 littl_urther. 'Principal rivers— there ARE none. Principal mountains—I'm on th_nly one, but I don't think it's got any name. Principal towns—why, what AR_hose creatures, making honey down there? They can't be bees— nobody ever sa_ees a mile off, you know—' and for some time she stood silent, watching on_f them that was bustling about among the flowers, poking its proboscis int_hem, 'just as if it was a regular bee,' thought Alice.
  • However, this was anything but a regular bee: in fact it was an elephant—a_lice 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 lik_ottages with the roofs taken off, and stalks put to them—and what quantitie_f honey they must make! I think I'll go down and—no, I won't JUST yet,' sh_ent on, checking herself just as she was beginning to run down the hill, an_rying to find some excuse for turning shy so suddenly. 'It'll never do to g_own among them without a good long branch to brush them away—and what fu_t'll be when they ask me how I like my walk. I shall say— "Oh, I like it wel_nough—"' (here came the favourite little toss of the head), '"only it was s_usty and hot, and the elephants did tease so!"'
  • 'I think I'll go down the other way,' she said after a pause: 'and perhaps _ay visit the elephants later on. Besides, I do so want to get into the Thir_quare!'
  • So with this excuse she ran down the hill and jumped over the first of the si_ittle brooks.
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  • 'Tickets, please!' said the Guard, putting his head in at the window. In _oment everybody was holding out a ticket: they were about the same size a_he people, and quite seemed to fill the carriage.
  • 'Now then! Show your ticket, child!' the Guard went on, looking angrily a_lice. 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 _housand pounds a minute!'
  • 'I'm afraid I haven't got one,' Alice said in a frightened tone: 'there wasn'_ ticket-office 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 _housand pounds an inch!'
  • 'Don't make excuses,' said the Guard: 'you should have bought one from th_ngine-driver.' And once more the chorus of voices went on with 'The man tha_rives 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'_oin in this time, as she hadn't spoken, but to her great surprise, they al_HOUGHT in chorus (I hope you understand what THINKING IN CHORUS means—for _ust confess that _I_ don't), 'Better say nothing at all. Language is worth _housand pounds a word!'
  • 'I shall dream about a thousand pounds tonight, I know I shall!' though_lice.
  • All this time the Guard was looking at her, first through a telescope, the_hrough a microscope, and then through an opera- glass. 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 dresse_n white paper), 'ought to know which way she's going, even if she doesn'_now her own name!'
  • A Goat, that was sitting next to the gentleman in white, shut his eyes an_aid in a loud voice, 'She ought to know her way to the ticket-office, even i_he doesn't know her alphabet!'
  • There was a Beetle sitting next to the Goat (it was a very queer carriage-ful_f passengers altogether), and, as the rule seemed to be that they should al_peak 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 spok_ext. 'Change engines—' it said, and was obliged to leave off.
  • 'It sounds like a horse,' Alice thought to herself. And an extremely smal_oice, 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 th_arriage!' thought Alice), saying, 'She must go by post, as she's got a hea_n her—' 'She must be sent as a message by the telegraph—' 'She must draw th_rain herself the rest of the way—' and so on.
  • But the gentleman dressed in white paper leaned forwards and whispered in he_ar, 'Never mind what they all say, my dear, but take a return-ticket ever_ime the train stops.'
  • 'Indeed I shan't!' Alice said rather impatiently. 'I don't belong to thi_ailway journey at all—I was in a wood just now —and I wish I could get bac_here.'
  • '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 voic_ame from; 'if you're so anxious to have a joke made, why don't you make on_ourself?'
  • The little voice sighed deeply: it was VERY unhappy, evidently, and Alic_ould have said something pitying to comfort it, 'If it would only sigh lik_ther people!' she thought. But this was such a wonderfully small sigh, tha_he 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 too_ff 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 ol_riend. And you won't hurt me, though I AM an insect.'
  • 'What kind of insect?' Alice inquired a little anxiously. What she reall_anted to know was, whether it could sting or not, but she thought thi_ouldn't be quite a civil question to ask.
  • 'What, then you don't—' the little voice began, when it was drowned by _hrill scream from the engine, and everybody jumped up in alarm, Alice amon_he rest.
  • The Horse, who had put his head out of the window, quietly drew it in an_aid, 'It's only a brook we have to jump over.' Everybody seemed satisfie_ith this, though Alice felt a little nervous at the idea of trains jumping a_ll. 'However, it'll take us into the Fourth Square, that's some comfort!' sh_aid to herself. In another moment she felt the carriage rise straight up int_he air, and in her fright she caught at the thing nearest to her hand, whic_appened to be the Goat's beard.
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  • But the beard seemed to melt away as she touched it, and she found hersel_itting quietly under a tree—while the Gnat (for that was the insect she ha_een talking to) was balancing itself on a twig just over her head, an_anning her with its wings.
  • It certainly was a VERY large Gnat: 'about the size of a chicken,' Alic_hought. Still, she couldn't feel nervous with it, after they had been talkin_ogether so long.
  • '—then you don't like all insects?' the Gnat went on, as quietly as if nothin_ad happened.
  • 'I like them when they can talk,' Alice said. 'None of them ever talk, wher_I_ come from.'
  • 'What sort of insects do you rejoice in, where YOU come from?' the Gna_nquired.
  • 'I don't REJOICE in insects at all,' Alice explained, 'because I'm rathe_fraid of them—at least the large kinds. But I can tell you the names of som_f 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 t_hem?'
  • 'No use to THEM,' said Alice; 'but it's useful to the people who name them, _uppose. If not, why do things have names at all?'
  • 'I can't say,' the Gnat replied. 'Further on, in the wood down there, they'v_ot no names—however, go on with your list of insects: you're wasting time.'
  • 'Well, there's the Horse-fly,' Alice began, counting off the names on he_ingers.
  • 'All right,' said the Gnat: 'half way up that bush, you'll see a Rocking- horse-fly, if you look. It's made entirely of wood, and gets about by swingin_tself 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 Rocking-horse-fly with great interest, and made up he_ind that it must have been just repainted, it looked so bright and sticky; and then she went on.
  • 'And there's the Dragon-fly.'
  • 'Look on the branch above your head,' said the Gnat, 'and there you'll find _nap-dragon-fly. Its body is made of plum-pudding, its wings of holly-leaves, and its head is a raisin burning in brandy.'
  • 'And what does it live on?'
  • 'Frumenty and mince pie,' the Gnat replied; 'and it makes its nest in _hristmas box.'
  • 'And then there's the Butterfly,' Alice went on, after she had taken a goo_ook at the insect with its head on fire, and had thought to herself, '_onder if that's the reason insects are so fond of flying into candles—becaus_hey want to turn into Snap-dragon-flies!'
  • 'Crawling at your feet,' said the Gnat (Alice drew her feet back in som_larm), 'you may observe a Bread-and-Butterfly. Its wings are thin slices o_read-and-butter, its body is a crust, and its head is a lump of sugar.'
  • 'And what does IT live on?'
  • 'Weak tea with cream in it.'
  • A new difficulty came into Alice's head. 'Supposing it couldn't find any?' sh_uggested.
  • 'Then it would die, of course.'
  • 'But that must happen very often,' Alice remarked thoughtfully.
  • 'It always happens,' said the Gnat.
  • After this, Alice was silent for a minute or two, pondering. The Gnat amuse_tself meanwhile by humming round and round her head: at last it settled agai_nd remarked, 'I suppose you don't want to lose your name?'
  • 'No, indeed,' Alice said, a little anxiously.
  • 'And yet I don't know,' the Gnat went on in a careless tone: 'only think ho_onvenient it would be if you could manage to go home without it! Fo_nstance, if the governess wanted to call you to your lessons, she would cal_ut "come here—," and there she would have to leave off, because ther_ouldn't be any name for her to call, and of course you wouldn't have to go, you know.'
  • 'That would never do, I'm sure,' said Alice: 'the governess would never thin_f excusing me lessons for that. If she couldn't remember my name, she'd cal_e "Miss!" as the servants do.'
  • 'Well. if she said "Miss," and didn't say anything more,' the Gnat remarked,
  • 'of course you'd miss your lessons. That's a joke. I wish YOU had made it.'
  • 'Why do you wish _I_ had made it?' Alice asked. 'It's a very bad one.'
  • But the Gnat only sighed deeply, while two large tears came rolling down it_heeks.
  • 'You shouldn't make jokes,' Alice said, 'if it makes you so unhappy.'
  • Then came another of those melancholy little sighs, and this time the poo_nat really seemed to have sighed itself away, for, when Alice looked up, there was nothing whatever to be seen on the twig, and, as she was gettin_uite chilly with sitting still so long, she got up and walked on.
  • She very soon came to an open field, with a wood on the other side of it: i_ooked much darker than the last wood, and Alice felt a LITTLE timid abou_oing into it. However, on second thoughts, she made up her mind to go on:
  • 'for I certainly won't go BACK,' she thought to herself, and this was the onl_ay to the Eighth Square.
  • 'This must be the wood, she said thoughtfully to herself, 'where things hav_o names. I wonder what'll become of MY name when I go in? I shouldn't like t_ose it at all—because they'd have to give me another, and it would be almos_ertain to be an ugly one. But then the fun would be trying to find th_reature that had got my old name! That's just like the advertisements, yo_now, when people lose dogs—"ANSWERS TO THE NAME OF 'DASH:' HAD ON A BRAS_OLLAR"—just fancy calling everything you met "Alice," till one of the_nswered! Only they wouldn't answer at all, if they were wise.'
  • She was rambling on in this way when she reached the wood: it looked very coo_nd shady. 'Well, at any rate it's a great comfort,' she said as she steppe_nder the trees, 'after being so hot, to get into the—into WHAT?' she went on, rather surprised at not being able to think of the word. 'I mean to get unde_he—under the—under THIS, you know!' putting her hand on the trunk of th_ree. 'What DOES it call itself, I wonder? I do believe it's got no name—why, to be sure it hasn't!'
  • She stood silent for a minute, thinking: then she suddenly began again. 'The_t really HAS happened, after all! And now, who am I? I WILL remember, if _an! I'm determined to do it!' But being determined didn't help much, and al_he could say, after a great deal of puzzling, was, 'L, I KNOW it begins wit_!'
  • Just then a Fawn came wandering by: it looked at Alice with its large gentl_yes, but didn't seem at all frightened. 'Here then! Here then!' Alice said, as she held out her hand and tried to stroke it; but it only started back _ittle, and then stood looking at her again.
  • 'What do you call yourself?' the Fawn said at last. Such a soft sweet voice i_ad!
  • 'I wish I knew!' thought poor Alice. She answered, rather sadly, 'Nothing, just now.'
  • 'Think again,' it said: 'that won't do.'
  • Alice thought, but nothing came of it. 'Please, would you tell me what YO_all yourself?' she said timidly. 'I think that might help a little.'
  • 'I'll tell you, if you'll move a little further on,' the Fawn said. 'I can'_emember here.'
  • So they walked on together through the wood, Alice with her arms claspe_ovingly round the soft neck of the Fawn, till they came out into another ope_ield, and here the Fawn gave a sudden bound into the air, and shook itsel_ree from Alice's arms. 'I'm a Fawn!' it cried out in a voice of delight,
  • 'and, dear me! you're a human child!' A sudden look of alarm came into it_eautiful brown eyes, and in another moment it had darted away at full speed.
  • Alice stood looking after it, almost ready to cry with vexation at having los_er dear little fellow-traveller so suddenly. 'However, I know my name now.'
  • she said, 'that's SOME comfort. Alice—Alice—I won't forget it again. And now, which of these finger-posts ought I to follow, I wonder?'
  • It was not a very difficult question to answer, as there was only one roa_hrough the wood, and the two finger-posts both pointed along it. 'I'll settl_t,' Alice said to herself, 'when the road divides and they point differen_ays.'
  • But this did not seem likely to happen. She went on and on, a long way, bu_herever the road divided there were sure to be two finger-posts pointing th_ame way, one marked 'TO TWEEDLEDUM'S HOUSE' and the other 'TO THE HOUSE O_WEEDLEDEE.'
  • 'I do believe,' said Alice at last, 'that they live in the same house! _onder I never thought of that before—But I can't stay there long. I'll jus_all and say "how d'you do?" and ask them the way out of the wood. If I coul_nly get to the Eighth Square before it gets dark!' So she wandered on, talking to herself as she went, till, on turning a sharp corner, she came upo_wo fat little men, so suddenly that she could not help starting back, but i_nother moment she recovered herself, feeling sure that they must be.