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  • Chapter I. 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 distance--but 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 spoke-- fancy 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.