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Chapter IV. The Rabbit Sends in a Little
Bill
It was the White Rabbit, trotting slowly
back again, and looking anxiously about as
it went, as if it had lost something; and
she heard it muttering to itself 'The
Duchess!
The Duchess!
Oh my dear paws!
Oh my fur and whiskers!
She'll get me executed, as sure as ferrets
are ferrets!
Where CAN I have dropped them, I wonder?'
Alice guessed in a moment that it was
looking for the fan and the pair of white
kid gloves, and she very good-naturedly
began hunting about for them, but they were
nowhere to be seen--everything seemed to
have changed since her swim in the pool,
and the great hall, with the glass table
and the little door, had vanished
completely.
Very soon the Rabbit noticed Alice, as she
went hunting about, and called out to her
in an angry tone, 'Why, Mary Ann, what ARE
you doing out here?
Run home this moment, and fetch me a pair
of gloves and a fan!
Quick, now!'
And Alice was so much frightened that she
ran off at once in the direction it pointed
to, without trying to explain the mistake
it had made.
'He took me for his housemaid,' she said to
herself as she ran.
'How surprised he'll be when he finds out
who I am!
But I'd better take him his fan and gloves-
-that is, if I can find them.'
As she said this, she came upon a neat
little house, on the door of which was a
bright brass plate with the name 'W.
RABBIT' engraved upon it.
She went in without knocking, and hurried
upstairs, in great fear lest she should
meet the real Mary Ann, and be turned out
of the house before she had found the fan
and gloves.
'How queer it seems,' Alice said to
herself, 'to be going messages for a
rabbit!
I suppose Dinah'll be sending me on
messages next!'
And she began fancying the sort of thing
that would happen: '"Miss Alice!
Come here directly, and get ready for your
walk!"
"Coming in a minute, nurse!
But I've got to see that the mouse doesn't
get out."
Only I don't think,' Alice went on, 'that
they'd let Dinah stop in the house if it
began ordering people about like that!'
By this time she had found her way into a
tidy little room with a table in the
window, and on it (as she had hoped) a fan
and two or three pairs of tiny white kid
gloves: she took up the fan and a pair of
the gloves, and was just going to leave the
room, when her eye fell upon a little
bottle that stood near the looking-glass.
There was no label this time with the words
'DRINK ME,' but nevertheless she uncorked
it and put it to her lips.
'I know SOMETHING interesting is sure to
happen,' she said to herself, 'whenever I
eat or drink anything; so I'll just see
what this bottle does.
I do hope it'll make me grow large again,
for really I'm quite tired of being such a
tiny little thing!'
It did so indeed, and much sooner than she
had expected: before she had drunk half the
bottle, she found her head pressing against
the ceiling, and had to stoop to save her
neck from being broken.
She hastily put down the bottle, saying to
herself 'That's quite enough--I hope I
shan't grow any more--As it is, I can't get
out at the door--I do wish I hadn't drunk
quite so much!'
Alas! it was too late to wish that!
She went on growing, and growing, and very
soon had to kneel down on the floor: in
another minute there was not even room for
this, and she tried the effect of lying
down with one elbow against the door, and
the other arm curled round her head.
Still she went on growing, and, as a last
resource, she put one arm out of the
window, and one foot up the chimney, and
said to herself 'Now I can do no more,
whatever happens.
What WILL become of me?'
Luckily for Alice, the little magic bottle
had now had its full effect, and she grew
no larger: still it was very uncomfortable,
and, as there seemed to be no sort of
chance of her ever getting out of the room
again, no wonder she felt unhappy.
'It was much pleasanter at home,' thought
poor Alice, 'when one wasn't always growing
larger and smaller, and being ordered about
by mice and rabbits.
I almost wish I hadn't gone down that
rabbit-hole--and yet--and yet--it's rather
curious, you know, this sort of life!
I do wonder what CAN have happened to me!
When I used to read fairy-tales, I fancied
that kind of thing never happened, and now
here I am in the middle of one!
There ought to be a book written about me,
that there ought!
And when I grow up, I'll write one--but I'm
grown up now,' she added in a sorrowful
tone; 'at least there's no room to grow up
any more HERE.'
'But then,' thought Alice, 'shall I NEVER
get any older than I am now?
That'll be a comfort, one way--never to be
an old woman--but then--always to have
lessons to learn!
Oh, I shouldn't like THAT!'
'Oh, you foolish Alice!' she answered
herself.
'How can you learn lessons in here?
Why, there's hardly room for YOU, and no
room at all for any lesson-books!'
And so she went on, taking first one side
and then the other, and making quite a
conversation of it altogether; but after a
few minutes she heard a voice outside, and
stopped to listen.
'Mary Ann!
Mary Ann!' said the voice.
'Fetch me my gloves this moment!'
Then came a little pattering of feet on the
stairs.
Alice knew it was the Rabbit coming to look
for her, and she trembled till she shook
the house, quite forgetting that she was
now about a thousand times as large as the
Rabbit, and had no reason to be afraid of
it.
Presently the Rabbit came up to the door,
and tried to open it; but, as the door
opened inwards, and Alice's elbow was
pressed hard against it, that attempt
proved a failure.
Alice heard it say to itself 'Then I'll go
round and get in at the window.'
'THAT you won't' thought Alice, and, after
waiting till she fancied she heard the
Rabbit just under the window, she suddenly
spread out her hand, and made a snatch in
the air.
She did not get hold of anything, but she
heard a little shriek and a fall, and a
crash of broken glass, from which she
concluded that it was just possible it had
fallen into a cucumber-frame, or something
of the sort.
Next came an angry voice--the Rabbit's--
'Pat!
Pat!
Where are you?'
And then a voice she had never heard
before, 'Sure then I'm here!
Digging for apples, yer honour!'
'Digging for apples, indeed!' said the
Rabbit angrily.
'Here!
Come and help me out of THIS!'
(Sounds of more broken glass.)
'Now tell me, Pat, what's that in the
window?'
'Sure, it's an arm, yer honour!'
(He pronounced it 'arrum.')
'An arm, you goose!
Who ever saw one that size?
Why, it fills the whole window!'
'Sure, it does, yer honour: but it's an arm
for all that.'
'Well, it's got no business there, at any
rate: go and take it away!'
There was a long silence after this, and
Alice could only hear whispers now and
then; such as, 'Sure, I don't like it, yer
honour, at all, at all!'
'Do as I tell you, you coward!' and at last
she spread out her hand again, and made
another snatch in the air.
This time there were TWO little shrieks,
and more sounds of broken glass.
'What a number of cucumber-frames there
must be!' thought Alice.
'I wonder what they'll do next!
As for pulling me out of the window, I only
wish they COULD!
I'm sure I don't want to stay in here any
longer!'
She waited for some time without hearing
anything more: at last came a rumbling of
little cartwheels, and the sound of a good
many voices all talking together: she made
out the words: 'Where's the other ladder?
--Why, I hadn't to bring but one; Bill's
got the other--Bill! fetch it here, lad!
--Here, put 'em up at this corner--No, tie
'em together first--they don't reach half
high enough yet--Oh! they'll do well
enough; don't be particular--Here, Bill!
catch hold of this rope--Will the roof
bear?
--Mind that loose slate--Oh, it's coming
down!
Heads below!'
(a loud crash)--'Now, who did that?
--It was Bill, I fancy--Who's to go down
the chimney?
--Nay, I shan't!
YOU do it!
--That I won't, then!
--Bill's to go down--Here, Bill! the master
says you're to go down the chimney!'
'Oh!
So Bill's got to come down the chimney, has
he?' said Alice to herself.
'Shy, they seem to put everything upon
Bill!
I wouldn't be in Bill's place for a good
deal: this fireplace is narrow, to be sure;
but I THINK I can kick a little!'
She drew her foot as far down the chimney
as she could, and waited till she heard a
little animal (she couldn't guess of what
sort it was) scratching and scrambling
about in the chimney close above her: then,
saying to herself 'This is Bill,' she gave
one sharp kick, and waited to see what
would happen next.
The first thing she heard was a general
chorus of 'There goes Bill!' then the
Rabbit's voice along--'Catch him, you by
the hedge!' then silence, and then another
confusion of voices--'Hold up his head--
Brandy now--Don't choke him--How was it,
old fellow?
What happened to you?
Tell us all about it!'
Last came a little feeble, squeaking voice,
('That's Bill,' thought Alice,) 'Well, I
hardly know--No more, thank ye; I'm better
now--but I'm a deal too flustered to tell
you--all I know is, something comes at me
like a Jack-in-the-box, and up I goes like
a sky-rocket!'
'So you did, old fellow!' said the others.
'We must burn the house down!' said the
Rabbit's voice; and Alice called out as
loud as she could, 'If you do.
I'll set Dinah at you!'
There was a dead silence instantly, and
Alice thought to herself, 'I wonder what
they WILL do next!
If they had any sense, they'd take the roof
off.'
After a minute or two, they began moving
about again, and Alice heard the Rabbit
say, 'A barrowful will do, to begin with.'
'A barrowful of WHAT?' thought Alice; but
she had not long to doubt, for the next
moment a shower of little pebbles came
rattling in at the window, and some of them
hit her in the face.
'I'll put a stop to this,' she said to
herself, and shouted out, 'You'd better not
do that again!' which produced another dead
silence.
Alice noticed with some surprise that the
pebbles were all turning into little cakes
as they lay on the floor, and a bright idea
came into her head.
'If I eat one of these cakes,' she thought,
'it's sure to make SOME change in my size;
and as it can't possibly make me larger, it
must make me smaller, I suppose.'
So she swallowed one of the cakes, and was
delighted to find that she began shrinking
directly.
As soon as she was small enough to get
through the door, she ran out of the house,
and found quite a crowd of little animals
and birds waiting outside.
The poor little Lizard, Bill, was in the
middle, being held up by two guinea-pigs,
who were giving it something out of a
bottle.
They all made a rush at Alice the moment
she appeared; but she ran off as hard as
she could, and soon found herself safe in a
thick wood.
'The first thing I've got to do,' said
Alice to herself, as she wandered about in
the wood, 'is to grow to my right size
again; and the second thing is to find my
way into that lovely garden.
I think that will be the best plan.'
It sounded an excellent plan, no doubt, and
very neatly and simply arranged; the only
difficulty was, that she had not the
smallest idea how to set about it; and
while she was peering about anxiously among
the trees, a little sharp bark just over
her head made her look up in a great hurry.
An enormous puppy was looking down at her
with large round eyes, and feebly
stretching out one paw, trying to touch
her.
'Poor little thing!' said Alice, in a
coaxing tone, and she tried hard to whistle
to it; but she was terribly frightened all
the time at the thought that it might be
hungry, in which case it would be very
likely to eat her up in spite of all her
coaxing.
Hardly knowing what she did, she picked up
a little bit of stick, and held it out to
the puppy; whereupon the puppy jumped into
the air off all its feet at once, with a
yelp of delight, and rushed at the stick,
and made believe to worry it; then Alice
dodged behind a great thistle, to keep
herself from being run over; and the moment
she appeared on the other side, the puppy
made another rush at the stick, and tumbled
head over heels in its hurry to get hold of
it; then Alice, thinking it was very like
having a game of play with a cart-horse,
and expecting every moment to be trampled
under its feet, ran round the thistle
again; then the puppy began a series of
short charges at the stick, running a very
little way forwards each time and a long
way back, and barking hoarsely all the
while, till at last it sat down a good way
off, panting, with its tongue hanging out
of its mouth, and its great eyes half shut.
This seemed to Alice a good opportunity for
making her escape; so she set off at once,
and ran till she was quite tired and out of
breath, and till the puppy's bark sounded
quite faint in the distance.
'And yet what a dear little puppy it was!'
said Alice, as she leant against a
buttercup to rest herself, and fanned
herself with one of the leaves: 'I should
have liked teaching it tricks very much,
if--if I'd only been the right size to do
it!
Oh dear!
I'd nearly forgotten that I've got to grow
up again!
Let me see--how IS it to be managed?
I suppose I ought to eat or drink something
or other; but the great question is, what?'
The great question certainly was, what?
Alice looked all round her at the flowers
and the blades of grass, but she did not
see anything that looked like the right
thing to eat or drink under the
circumstances.
There was a large mushroom growing near
her, about the same height as herself; and
when she had looked under it, and on both
sides of it, and behind it, it occurred to
her that she might as well look and see
what was on the top of it.
She stretched herself up on tiptoe, and
peeped over the edge of the mushroom, and
her eyes immediately met those of a large
caterpillar, that was sitting on the top
with its arms folded, quietly smoking a
long hookah, and taking not the smallest
notice of her or of anything else.
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Chapter 04 - Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll - The Rabbit Sends in a Little Bill

8725 Folder Collection
Bryan published on July 25, 2014
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