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  • Chapter VI. Pig and Pepper

  • For a minute or two she stood looking at

  • the house, and wondering what to do next,

  • when suddenly a footman in livery came

  • running out of the wood--(she considered

  • him to be a footman because he was in

  • livery: otherwise, judging by his face

  • only, she would have called him a fish)--

  • and rapped loudly at the door with his

  • knuckles.

  • It was opened by another footman in livery,

  • with a round face, and large eyes like a

  • frog; and both footmen, Alice noticed, had

  • powdered hair that curled all over their

  • heads.

  • She felt very curious to know what 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, nearly as

  • large as himself, and this he handed over

  • to the other, saying, in a solemn tone,

  • 'For the Duchess.

  • An invitation from the Queen to play

  • croquet.'

  • The Frog-Footman repeated, in the same

  • solemn tone, only changing the order of the

  • words a little, 'From the Queen.

  • An invitation for the Duchess to play

  • croquet.'

  • 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 fear of their

  • hearing her; and when she next peeped out

  • the Fish-Footman was gone, and the other

  • was sitting on the ground near the door,

  • staring stupidly up 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 two reasons.

  • 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

  • constant howling and sneezing, and every

  • now and then a great crash, as if a dish or

  • kettle 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 without

  • attending to her, 'if we had the door

  • between us.

  • For instance, if you were INSIDE, you might

  • knock, and I could let you out, you know.'

  • He was looking up into the sky all the time

  • he was speaking, and this Alice thought

  • decidedly uncivil.

  • 'But perhaps he can't help it,' she said to

  • herself; 'his eyes are so VERY nearly at

  • the top of his head.

  • But at any rate he might answer questions.

  • --How am I to get in?' she repeated, aloud.

  • 'I shall sit here,' the Footman remarked,

  • 'till tomorrow--'

  • At this moment the door of the house

  • opened, and a large plate came skimming

  • out, straight at the Footman's head: it

  • just grazed his nose, and broke to pieces

  • against one of the trees behind him.

  • '--or next day, maybe,' the Footman

  • continued in the same tone, exactly as if

  • nothing 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, you know.'

  • It was, no doubt: only Alice did not like

  • to be told so.

  • 'It's really dreadful,' she muttered to

  • herself, 'the way all the creatures argue.

  • It's enough 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's perfectly

  • idiotic!'

  • And she opened the door and went in.

  • The door led right into a large kitchen,

  • which was full of smoke from one end to 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 cauldron which seemed to

  • be full of soup.

  • 'There's certainly too much pepper in that

  • soup!'

  • Alice said to herself, as well as she could

  • for sneezing.

  • There was certainly too much of it in the

  • air.

  • Even the Duchess sneezed occasionally; and

  • as for the baby, it was sneezing and

  • howling alternately without a moment's

  • pause.

  • The only things in the kitchen that did not

  • sneeze, were the cook, and a large cat

  • which was sitting on the hearth and

  • grinning from ear to ear.

  • 'Please would you tell me,' said Alice, a

  • little timidly, for she was not quite sure

  • whether it was good manners for her to

  • speak first, 'why your cat grins 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; but she

  • 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 that cats

  • 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 pleased to

  • 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 as well to

  • introduce some other subject of

  • conversation.

  • While she was trying to fix on one, the

  • cook took the cauldron of soup off the

  • fire, and at once set to work throwing

  • everything within her reach at the Duchess

  • and the baby--the fire-irons came first;

  • then followed a shower of saucepans,

  • plates, and dishes.

  • The Duchess took no notice of them even

  • when they hit her; and the baby was howling

  • so much already, that it was quite

  • impossible to say whether the blows hurt it

  • or not.

  • 'Oh, PLEASE mind what you're doing!' cried

  • Alice, jumping up and down in an agony of

  • terror.

  • 'Oh, there goes his PRECIOUS nose'; as an

  • unusually large saucepan 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 an

  • opportunity of showing off a little of her

  • knowledge.

  • 'Just think of what work it would make with

  • the day and night!

  • You see the earth takes twenty-four hours

  • 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 the hint; but

  • the cook was busily stirring the soup, and

  • seemed not to be listening, 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!'

  • And with that she began nursing her child

  • again, singing a sort of lullaby to it as

  • 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 baby

  • violently up and down, and the poor little

  • thing howled so, that Alice could hardly

  • 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 play croquet

  • with the Queen,' and she hurried out of the

  • room.

  • The cook threw a frying-pan after her as

  • she went out, but it just missed her.

  • Alice caught the baby with some difficulty,

  • as it was a queer-shaped little creature,

  • 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-engine when she caught it, and kept

  • doubling itself up and straightening itself

  • out again, so that altogether, for the

  • first minute or two, it was as much as she

  • could do to hold it.

  • As soon as she had made out the proper way

  • of nursing it, (which was to twist it up

  • into a sort of knot, and then keep tight

  • hold of its right ear and left foot, so as

  • to prevent its undoing itself,) she carried

  • it out into the open air.

  • 'IF I don't take this child away with me,'

  • thought Alice, 'they're sure to kill it in

  • a day or two: wouldn't it be murder to

  • leave it behind?'

  • She said the last words out loud, and the

  • little thing grunted in reply (it had left

  • off sneezing by this time).

  • 'Don't grunt,' said Alice; 'that's not at

  • all a proper way of expressing yourself.'

  • The baby grunted again, and Alice looked

  • very anxiously into its face to see what

  • 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 getting

  • extremely small for a baby: altogether

  • Alice did not like the look of the thing at

  • all.

  • 'But perhaps it was only sobbing,' she