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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
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
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
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
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
'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
'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
'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
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
Alice said to herself, as well as she could
for sneezing.
There was certainly too much of it in the
Even the Duchess sneezed occasionally; and
as for the baby, it was sneezing and
howling alternately without a moment's
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
'It's a Cheshire cat,' said the Duchess,
'and that's why.
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
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
'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
'Which would NOT be an advantage,' said
Alice, who felt very glad to get an
opportunity of showing off a little of her
'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?
'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.'
| (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!'
| '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
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
'But perhaps it was only sobbing,' she
thought, and looked into its eyes again, to
see if there were any tears.
No, there were no tears.
'If you're going to turn into a pig, my
dear,' said Alice, seriously, 'I'll have
nothing more to do with you.
Mind now!'
The poor little thing sobbed again (or
grunted, it was impossible to say which),
and they went on for some while in silence.
Alice was just beginning to think to
herself, 'Now, what am I to do with this
creature when I get it home?' when it
grunted again, so violently, that she
looked down into its face in some alarm.
This time there could be NO mistake about
it: it was neither more nor less than a
pig, and she felt that it would be quite
absurd for her to carry it further.
So she set the little creature down, and
felt quite relieved to see it trot away
quietly into the wood.
'If it had grown up,' she said to herself,
'it would have made a dreadfully ugly
child: but it makes rather a handsome pig,
I think.'
And she began thinking over other children
she knew, who might do very well as pigs,
and was just saying to herself, 'if one
only knew the right way to change them--'
when she was a little startled by seeing
the Cheshire Cat sitting on a bough of a
tree a few yards off.
The Cat only grinned when it saw Alice.
It looked good-natured, she thought: still
it had VERY long claws and a great many
teeth, so she felt that it ought to be
treated with respect.
'Cheshire Puss,' she began, rather timidly,
as she did not at all know whether it would
like the name: however, it only grinned a
little wider.
'Come, it's pleased so far,' thought Alice,
and she went on.
'Would you tell me, please, which way I
ought to go from here?'
'That depends a good deal on where you want
to get to,' said the Cat.
'I don't much care where--' said Alice.
'Then it doesn't matter which way you go,'
said the Cat.
'--so long as I get SOMEWHERE,' Alice added
as an explanation.
'Oh, you're sure to do that,' said the Cat,
'if you only walk long enough.'
Alice felt that this could not be denied,
so she tried another question.
'What sort of people live about here?'
'In THAT direction,' the Cat said, waving
its right paw round, 'lives a Hatter: and
in THAT direction,' waving the other paw,
'lives a March Hare.
Visit either you like: they're both mad.'
'But I don't want to go among mad people,'
Alice remarked.
'Oh, you can't help that,' said the Cat:
'we're all mad here.
I'm mad.
You're mad.'
'How do you know I'm mad?' said Alice.
'You must be,' said the Cat, 'or you
wouldn't have come here.'
Alice didn't think that proved it at all;
however, she went on 'And how do you know
that you're mad?'
'To begin with,' said the Cat, 'a dog's not
You grant that?'
'I suppose so,' said Alice.
'Well, then,' the Cat went on, 'you see, a
dog growls when it's angry, and wags its
tail when it's pleased.
Now I growl when I'm pleased, and wag my
tail when I'm angry.
Therefore I'm mad.'
'I call it purring, not growling,' said
'Call it what you like,' said the Cat.
'Do you play croquet with the Queen to-
'I should like it very much,' said Alice,
'but I haven't been invited yet.'
'You'll see me there,' said the Cat, and
Alice was not much surprised at this, she
was getting so used to queer things
While she was looking at the place where it
had been, it suddenly appeared again.
'By-the-bye, what became of the baby?' said
the Cat.
'I'd nearly forgotten to ask.'
'It turned into a pig,' Alice quietly said,
just as if it had come back in a natural
'I thought it would,' said the Cat, and
vanished again.
Alice waited a little, half expecting to
see it again, but it did not appear, and
after a minute or two she walked on in the
direction in which the March Hare was said
to live.
'I've seen hatters before,' she said to
herself; 'the March Hare will be much the
most interesting, and perhaps as this is
May it won't be raving mad--at least not so
mad as it was in March.'
As she said this, she looked up, and there
was the Cat again, sitting on a branch of a
'Did you say pig, or fig?' said the Cat.
'I said pig,' replied Alice; 'and I wish
you wouldn't keep appearing and vanishing
so suddenly: you make one quite giddy.'
'All right,' said the Cat; and this time it
vanished quite slowly, beginning with the
end of the tail, and ending with the grin,
which remained some time after the rest of
it had gone.
I've often seen a cat without a grin,'
thought Alice; 'but a grin without a cat!
It's the most curious thing I ever saw in
my life!'
She had not gone much farther before she
came in sight of the house of the March
Hare: she thought it must be the right
house, because the chimneys were shaped
like ears and the roof was thatched with
It was so large a house, that she did not
like to go nearer till she had nibbled some
more of the lefthand bit of mushroom, and
raised herself to about two feet high: even
then she walked up towards it rather
timidly, saying to herself 'Suppose it
should be raving mad after all!
I almost wish I'd gone to see the Hatter
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Chapter 06 - Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll - Pig and Pepper

2947 Folder Collection
Bryan published on July 25, 2014
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