Table of Contents

+ Add to Library

Previous Next

Chapter 4 Tweedledum and Tweedledee

  • They were standing under a tree, each with an arm round the other's neck, an_lice knew which was which in a moment, because one of them had 'DUM'
  • embroidered on his collar, and the other 'DEE.' 'I suppose they've each got
  • "TWEEDLE" round at the back of the collar,' she said to herself.
  • They stood so still that she quite forgot they were alive, and she was jus_ooking round to see if the word "TWEEDLE" was written at the back of eac_ollar, when she was startled by a voice coming from the one marked 'DUM.'
  • 'If you think we're wax-works,' he said, 'you ought to pay, you know. Wax- works weren't made to be looked at for nothing, nohow!'
  • 'Contrariwise,' added the one marked 'DEE,' 'if you think we're alive, yo_ught to speak.'
  • 'I'm sure I'm very sorry,' was all Alice could say; for the words of the ol_ong kept ringing through her head like the ticking of a clock, and she coul_ardly help saying them out loud:—
  • 'Tweedledum and Tweedledee
  • Agreed to have a battle;
  • For Tweedledum said Tweedledee
  • Had spoiled his nice new rattle.
  • Just then flew down a monstrous crow,
  • As black as a tar-barrel;
  • Which frightened both the heroes so,
  • They quite forgot their quarrel.'
  • 'I know what you're thinking about,' said Tweedledum: 'but it isn't so, nohow.'
  • 'Contrariwise,' continued Tweedledee, 'if it was so, it might be; and if i_ere so, it would be; but as it isn't, it ain't. That's logic.'
  • 'I was thinking,' Alice said very politely, 'which is the best way out of thi_ood: it's getting so dark. Would you tell me, please?'
  • But the little men only looked at each other and grinned.
  • They looked so exactly like a couple of great schoolboys, that Alice couldn'_elp pointing her finger at Tweedledum, and saying 'First Boy!'
  • 'Nohow!' Tweedledum cried out briskly, and shut his mouth up again with _nap.
  • 'Next Boy!' said Alice, passing on to Tweedledee, though she felt quit_ertain he would only shout out 'Contrariwise!' and so he did.
  • 'You've been wrong!' cried Tweedledum. 'The first thing in a visit is to say
  • "How d'ye do?" and shake hands!' And here the two brothers gave each other _ug, and then they held out the two hands that were free, to shake hands wit_er.
  • Alice did not like shaking hands with either of them first, for fear o_urting the other one's feelings; so, as the best way out of the difficulty, she took hold of both hands at once: the next moment they were dancing roun_n a ring. This seemed quite natural (she remembered afterwards), and she wa_ot even surprised to hear music playing: it seemed to come from the tre_nder which they were dancing, and it was done (as well as she could make i_ut) by the branches rubbing one across the other, like fiddles and fiddle- sticks.
  • 'But it certainly WAS funny,' (Alice said afterwards, when she was telling he_ister the history of all this,) 'to find myself singing "HERE WE GO ROUND TH_ULBERRY BUSH." I don't know when I began it, but somehow I felt as if I'_een singing it a long long time!'
  • The other two dancers were fat, and very soon out of breath. 'Four times roun_s enough for one dance,' Tweedledum panted out, and they left off dancing a_uddenly as they had begun: the music stopped at the same moment.
  • Then they let go of Alice's hands, and stood looking at her for a minute: there was a rather awkward pause, as Alice didn't know how to begin _onversation with people she had just been dancing with. 'It would never do t_ay "How d'ye do?" NOW,' she said to herself: 'we seem to have got beyon_hat, somehow!'
  • 'I hope you're not much tired?' she said at last.
  • 'Nohow. And thank you VERY much for asking,' said Tweedledum.
  • 'So much obliged!' added Tweedledee. 'You like poetry?'
  • 'Ye-es, pretty well—SOME poetry,' Alice said doubtfully. 'Would you tell m_hich road leads out of the wood?'
  • 'What shall I repeat to her?' said Tweedledee, looking round at Tweedledu_ith great solemn eyes, and not noticing Alice's question.
  • '"THE WALRUS AND THE CARPENTER" is the longest,' Tweedledum replied, givin_is brother an affectionate hug.
  • Tweedledee began instantly:
  • 'The sun was shining—'
  • Here Alice ventured to interrupt him. 'If it's VERY long,' she said, a_olitely as she could, 'would you please tell me first which road—'
  • Tweedledee smiled gently, and began again:
  • '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
  • Conveniently low:
  • 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 sealing-wax—
  • 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 you see he was a LITTLE sorr_or the poor oysters.'
  • 'He ate more than the Carpenter, though,' said Tweedledee. 'You see he hel_is handkerchief in front, so that the Carpenter couldn't count how many h_ook: contrariwise.'
  • 'That was mean!' Alice said indignantly. 'Then I like the Carpenter best—if h_idn'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 ver_npleasant characters—' Here she checked herself in some alarm, at hearin_omething that sounded to her like the puffing of a large steam-engine in th_ood near them, though she feared it was more likely to be a wild beast. 'Ar_here 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'_ands, 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 night-cap on, wit_ tassel, and he was lying crumpled up into a sort of untidy heap, and snorin_oud—'fit to snore his head off!' as Tweedledum remarked.
  • 'I'm afraid he'll catch cold with lying on the damp grass,' said Alice, wh_as a very thoughtful little girl.
  • 'He's dreaming now,' said Tweedledee: 'and what do you think he's dreamin_bout?'
  • Alice said 'Nobody can guess that.'
  • 'Why, about YOU!' Tweedledee exclaimed, clapping his hands triumphantly. 'An_f 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'r_nly a sort of thing in his dream!'
  • 'If that there King was to wake,' added Tweedledum, 'you'd go out—bang!—jus_ike a candle!'
  • 'I shouldn't!' Alice exclaimed indignantly. 'Besides, if I'M only a sort o_hing 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 b_aking him, I'm afraid, if you make so much noise.'
  • 'Well, it no use YOUR talking about waking him,' said Tweedledum, 'when you'r_nly 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—half-laughing though her tears, it all seeme_o ridiculous—'I shouldn't be able to cry.'
  • 'I hope you don't suppose those are real tears?' Tweedledum interrupted in _one of great contempt.
  • 'I know they're talking nonsense,' Alice thought to herself: 'and it's foolis_o cry about it.' So she brushed away her tears, and went on as cheerfully a_he could. 'At any rate I'd better be getting out of the wood, for really it'_oming on very dark. Do you think it's going to rain?'
  • Tweedledum spread a large umbrella over himself and his brother, and looked u_nto 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 'Good-night'
  • and leave them, when Tweedledum sprang out from under the umbrella and seize_er by the wrist.
  • 'Do you see THAT?' he said, in a voice choking with passion, and his eyes gre_arge and yellow all in a moment, as he pointed with a trembling finger at _mall white thing lying under the tree.
  • 'It's only a rattle,' Alice said, after a careful examination of the littl_hite thing. 'Not a rattleSNAKE, you know,' she added hastily, thinking tha_e was frightened: 'only an old rattle—quite old and broken.'
  • 'I knew it was!' cried Tweedledum, beginning to stamp about wildly and tea_is hair. 'It's spoilt, of course!' Here he looked at Tweedledee, wh_mmediately sat down on the ground, and tried to hide himself under th_mbrella.
  • Alice laid her hand upon his arm, and said in a soothing tone, 'You needn't b_o 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 _erfect scream.
  • All this time Tweedledee was trying his best to fold up the umbrella, wit_imself in it: which was such an extraordinary thing to do, that it quite too_ff 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 hi_ead out: and there he lay, opening and shutting his mouth and his larg_yes—'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 hand-in-hand into the wood, and returned in _inute with their arms full of things—such as bolsters, blankets, hearth-rugs, table-cloths, dish-covers and coal-scuttles. 'I hope you're a good hand a_inning and tying strings?' Tweedledum remarked. 'Every one of these thing_as got to go on, somehow or other.'
  • Alice said afterwards she had never seen such a fuss made about anything i_ll her life—the way those two bustled about— and the quantity of things the_ut on—and the trouble they gave her in tying strings and fastenin_uttons—'Really they'll be more like bundles of old clothes than anythin_lse, by the time they're ready!' she said to herself, as she arranged _olster 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 tha_an possibly happen to one in a battle—to get one's head cut off.'
  • Alice laughed aloud: but she managed to turn it into a cough, for fear o_urting 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 to-day I happe_o have a headache.'
  • 'And I'VE got a toothache!' said Tweedledee, who had overheard the remark.
  • 'I'm far worse off than you!'
  • 'Then you'd better not fight to-day,' said Alice, thinking it a goo_pportunity to make peace.
  • 'We MUST have a bit of a fight, but I don't care about going on long,' sai_weedledum. 'What's the time now?'
  • Tweedledee looked at his watch, and said 'Half-past four.'
  • 'Let's fight till six, and then have dinner,' said Tweedledum.
  • 'Very well,' the other said, rather sadly: 'and SHE can watch us—only you'_etter not come VERY close,' he added: 'I generally hit everything I ca_ee—when I get really excited.'
  • 'And _I_ hit everything within reach,' cried Tweedledum, 'whether I can see i_r not!'
  • Alice laughed. 'You must hit the TREES pretty often, I should think,' sh_aid.
  • Tweedledum looked round him with a satisfied smile. 'I don't suppose,' h_aid, 'there'll be a tree left standing, for ever so far round, by the tim_e've finished!'
  • 'And all about a rattle!' said Alice, still hoping to make them a LITTL_shamed of fighting for such a trifle.
  • 'I shouldn't have minded it so much,' said Tweedledum, 'if it hadn't been _ew one.'
  • 'I wish the monstrous crow would come!' thought Alice.
  • 'There's only one sword, you know,' Tweedledum said to his brother: 'but yo_an have the umbrella—it's quite as sharp. Only we must begin quick. It'_etting as dark as it can.'
  • 'And darker.' said Tweedledee.
  • It was getting dark so suddenly that Alice thought there must be _hunderstorm coming on. 'What a thick black cloud that is!' she said. 'And ho_ast it comes! Why, I do believe it's got wings!'
  • 'It's the crow!' Tweedledum cried out in a shrill voice of alarm: and the tw_rothers took to their heels and were out of sight in a moment.
  • Alice ran a little way into the wood, and stopped under a large tree. 'It ca_ever get at me HERE,' she thought: 'it's far too large to squeeze itself i_mong the trees. But I wish it wouldn't flap its wings so—it makes quite _urricane in the wood— here's somebody's shawl being blown away!'