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  • Chapter 1 of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.

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  • Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

  • Chapter 1 — Down the Rabbit-Hole

  • Alice was beginning to get very tired of sitting by her sister on the bank, and of having nothing

  • to do: once or twice she had peeped into the book her sister was reading, but it had no

  • pictures or conversations in it, 'and what is the use of a book,' thought Alice 'without

  • pictures or conversation?' So she was considering in her own mind (as

  • well as she could, for the hot day made her feel very sleepy and stupid), whether the

  • pleasure of making a daisy-chain would be worth the trouble of getting up and picking

  • the daisies, when suddenly a White Rabbit with pink eyes ran close by her.

  • There was nothing so VERY remarkable in that; nor did Alice think it so VERY much out of

  • the way to hear the Rabbit say to itself, 'Oh dear! Oh dear! I shall be late!' (when

  • she thought it over afterwards, it occurred to her that she ought to have wondered at

  • this, but at the time it all seemed quite natural); but when the Rabbit actually TOOK

  • A WATCH OUT OF ITS WAISTCOAT-POCKET, and looked at it, and then hurried on, Alice started

  • to her feet, for it flashed across her mind that she had never before seen a rabbit with

  • either a waistcoat-pocket, or a watch to take out of it, and burning with curiosity, she

  • ran across the field after it, and fortunately was just in time to see it pop down a large

  • rabbit-hole under the hedge. In another moment down went Alice after it,

  • never once considering how in the world she was to get out again.

  • The rabbit-hole went straight on like a tunnel for some way, and then dipped suddenly down,

  • so suddenly that Alice had not a moment to think about stopping herself before she found

  • herself falling down a very deep well. Either the well was very deep, or she fell

  • very slowly, for she had plenty of time as she went down to look about her and to wonder

  • what was going to happen next. First, she tried to look down and make out what she was

  • coming to, but it was too dark to see anything; then she looked at the sides of the well,

  • and noticed that they were filled with cupboards and book-shelves; here and there she saw maps

  • and pictures hung upon pegs. She took down a jar from one of the shelves as she passed;

  • it was labelled 'ORANGE MARMALADE', but to her great disappointment it was empty: she

  • did not like to drop the jar for fear of killing somebody, so managed to put it into one of

  • the cupboards as she fell past it. 'Well!' thought Alice to herself, 'after such

  • a fall as this, I shall think nothing of tumbling down stairs! How brave they'll all think me

  • at home! Why, I wouldn't say anything about it, even if I fell off the top of the house!'

  • (Which was very likely true.) Down, down, down. Would the fall NEVER come

  • to an end! 'I wonder how many miles I've fallen by this time?' she said aloud. 'I must be

  • getting somewhere near the centre of the earth. Let me see: that would be four thousand miles

  • down, I think—' (for, you see, Alice had learnt several things of this sort in her

  • lessons in the schoolroom, and though this was not a VERY good opportunity for showing

  • off her knowledge, as there was no one to listen to her, still it was good practice

  • to say it over) '—yes, that's about the right distancebut then I wonder what Latitude

  • or Longitude I've got to?' (Alice had no idea what Latitude was, or Longitude either, but

  • thought they were nice grand words to say.) Presently she began again. 'I wonder if I

  • shall fall right THROUGH the earth! How funny it'll seem to come out among the people that

  • walk with their heads downward! The Antipathies, I think—' (she was rather glad there WAS

  • no one listening, this time, as it didn't sound at all the right word) '—but I shall

  • have to ask them what the name of the country is, you know. Please, Ma'am, is this New Zealand

  • or Australia?' (and she tried to curtsey as she spokefancy CURTSEYING as you're falling

  • through the air! Do you think you could manage it?) 'And what an ignorant little girl she'll

  • think me for asking! No, it'll never do to ask: perhaps I shall see it written up somewhere.'

  • Down, down, down. There was nothing else to do, so Alice soon began talking again. 'Dinah'll

  • miss me very much to-night, I should think!' (Dinah was the cat.) 'I hope they'll remember

  • her saucer of milk at tea-time. Dinah my dear! I wish you were down here with me! There are

  • no mice in the air, I'm afraid, but you might catch a bat, and that's very like a mouse,

  • you know. But do cats eat bats, I wonder?' And here Alice began to get rather sleepy,

  • and went on saying to herself, in a dreamy sort of way, 'Do cats eat bats? Do cats eat

  • bats?' and sometimes, 'Do bats eat cats?' for, you see, as she couldn't answer either

  • question, it didn't much matter which way she put it. She felt that she was dozing off,

  • and had just begun to dream that she was walking hand in hand with Dinah, and saying to her

  • very earnestly, 'Now, Dinah, tell me the truth: did you ever eat a bat?' when suddenly, thump!

  • thump! down she came upon a heap of sticks and dry leaves, and the fall was over.

  • Alice was not a bit hurt, and she jumped up on to her feet in a moment: she looked up,

  • but it was all dark overhead; before her was another long passage, and the White Rabbit

  • was still in sight, hurrying down it. There was not a moment to be lost: away went Alice

  • like the wind, and was just in time to hear it say, as it turned a corner, 'Oh my ears

  • and whiskers, how late it's getting!' She was close behind it when she turned the corner,

  • but the Rabbit was no longer to be seen: she found herself in a long, low hall, which was

  • lit up by a row of lamps hanging from the roof.

  • There were doors all round the hall, but they were all locked; and when Alice had been all

  • the way down one side and up the other, trying every door, she walked sadly down the middle,

  • wondering how she was ever to get out again. Suddenly she came upon a little three-legged

  • table, all made of solid glass; there was nothing on it except a tiny golden key, and

  • Alice's first thought was that it might belong to one of the doors of the hall; but, alas!

  • either the locks were too large, or the key was too small, but at any rate it would not

  • open any of them. However, on the second time round, she came upon a low curtain she had

  • not noticed before, and behind it was a little door about fifteen inches high: she tried

  • the little golden key in the lock, and to her great delight it fitted!

  • Alice opened the door and found that it led into a small passage, not much larger than

  • a rat-hole: she knelt down and looked along the passage into the loveliest garden you

  • ever saw. How she longed to get out of that dark hall, and wander about among those beds

  • of bright flowers and those cool fountains, but she could not even get her head through

  • the doorway; 'and even if my head would go through,' thought poor Alice, 'it would be

  • of very little use without my shoulders. Oh, how I wish I could shut up like a telescope!

  • I think I could, if I only know how to begin.' For, you see, so many out-of-the-way things

  • had happened lately, that Alice had begun to think that very few things indeed were

  • really impossible. There seemed to be no use in waiting by the

  • little door, so she went back to the table, half hoping she might find another key on

  • it, or at any rate a book of rules for shutting people up like telescopes: this time she found

  • a little bottle on it, ('which certainly was not here before,' said Alice,) and round the

  • neck of the bottle was a paper label, with the words 'DRINK ME' beautifully printed on

  • it in large letters. It was all very well to say 'Drink me,' but

  • the wise little Alice was not going to do THAT in a hurry. 'No, I'll look first,' she

  • said, 'and see whether it's marked "poison" or not'; for she had read several nice little

  • histories about children who had got burnt, and eaten up by wild beasts and other unpleasant

  • things, all because they WOULD not remember the simple rules their friends had taught

  • them: such as, that a red-hot poker will burn you if you hold it too long; and that if you

  • cut your finger VERY deeply with a knife, it usually bleeds; and she had never forgotten

  • that, if you drink much from a bottle marked 'poison,' it is almost certain to disagree

  • with you, sooner or later. However, this bottle was NOT marked 'poison,'

  • so Alice ventured to taste it, and finding it very nice, (it had, in fact, a sort of

  • mixed flavour of cherry-tart, custard, pine-apple, roast turkey, toffee, and hot buttered toast,)

  • she very soon finished it off. 'What a curious feeling!' said Alice; 'I must

  • be shutting up like a telescope.' And so it was indeed: she was now only ten

  • inches high, and her face brightened up at the thought that she was now the right size

  • for going through the little door into that lovely garden. First, however, she waited

  • for a few minutes to see if she was going to shrink any further: she felt a little nervous

  • about this; 'for it might end, you know,' said Alice to herself, 'in my going out altogether,

  • like a candle. I wonder what I should be like then?' And she tried to fancy what the flame

  • of a candle is like after the candle is blown out, for she could not remember ever having

  • seen such a thing. After a while, finding that nothing more happened,

  • she decided on going into the garden at once; but, alas for poor Alice! when she got to

  • the door, she found she had forgotten the little golden key, and when she went back

  • to the table for it, she found she could not possibly reach it: she could see it quite

  • plainly through the glass, and she tried her best to climb up one of the legs of the table,

  • but it was too slippery; and when she had tired herself out with trying, the poor little

  • thing sat down and cried. 'Come, there's no use in crying like that!'

  • said Alice to herself, rather sharply; 'I advise you to leave off this minute!' She

  • generally gave herself very good advice, (though she very seldom followed it), and sometimes

  • she scolded herself so severely as to bring tears into her eyes; and once she remembered

  • trying to box her own ears for having cheated herself in a game of croquet she was playing

  • against herself, for this curious child was very fond of pretending to be two people.

  • 'But it's no use now,' thought poor Alice, 'to pretend to be two people! Why, there's

  • hardly enough of me left to make ONE respectable person!'

  • Soon her eye fell on a little glass box that was lying under the table: she opened it,

  • and found in it a very small cake, on which the words 'EAT ME' were beautifully marked

  • in currants. 'Well, I'll eat it,' said Alice, 'and if it makes me grow larger, I can reach

  • the key; and if it makes me grow smaller, I can creep under the door; so either way

  • I'll get into the garden, and I don't care which happens!'

  • She ate a little bit, and said anxiously to herself, 'Which way? Which way?', holding

  • her hand on the top of her head to feel which way it was growing, and she was quite surprised

  • to find that she remained the same size: to be sure, this generally happens when one eats

  • cake, but Alice had got so much into the way of expecting nothing but out-of-the-way things

  • to happen, that it seemed quite dull and stupid for life to go on in the common way.

  • So she set to work, and very soon finished off the cake.

  • End of chapter 1. Read by Kara Shallenbergwww.kayray.orgin March 2010, in San Diego, California.

Chapter 1 of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.

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Free Audio Book for Children: Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. Chapter 1 — Down the Rabbit-Hole

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    Anne Sheu posted on 2014/03/31
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