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  • Chapter X. The Lobster Quadrille

  • The Mock Turtle sighed deeply, and drew the

  • back of one flapper across his eyes.

  • He looked at Alice, and tried to speak, but

  • for a minute or two sobs choked his voice.

  • 'Same as if he had a bone in his throat,'

  • said the Gryphon: and it set to work

  • shaking him and punching him in the back.

  • At last the Mock Turtle recovered his

  • voice, and, with tears running down his

  • cheeks, he went on again:--

  • 'You may not have lived much under the sea-

  • -' ('I haven't,' said Alice)--'and perhaps

  • you were never even introduced to a

  • lobster--' (Alice began to say 'I once

  • tasted--' but checked herself hastily, and

  • said 'No, never') '--so you can have no

  • idea what a delightful thing a Lobster

  • Quadrille is!'

  • 'No, indeed,' said Alice.

  • 'What sort of a dance is it?'

  • 'Why,' said the Gryphon, 'you first form

  • into a line along the sea-shore--'

  • 'Two lines!' cried the Mock Turtle.

  • 'Seals, turtles, salmon, and so on; then,

  • when you've cleared all the jelly-fish out

  • of the way--'

  • 'THAT generally takes some time,'

  • interrupted the Gryphon.

  • '--you advance twice--'

  • 'Each with a lobster as a partner!' cried

  • the Gryphon.

  • 'Of course,' the Mock Turtle said: 'advance

  • twice, set to partners--'

  • '--change lobsters, and retire in same

  • order,' continued the Gryphon.

  • 'Then, you know,' the Mock Turtle went on,

  • 'you throw the--'

  • 'The lobsters!' shouted the Gryphon, with a

  • bound into the air.

  • '--as far out to sea as you can--'

  • 'Swim after them!' screamed the Gryphon.

  • 'Turn a somersault in the sea!' cried the

  • Mock Turtle, capering wildly about.

  • 'Change lobsters again!' yelled the Gryphon

  • at the top of its voice.

  • 'Back to land again, and that's all the

  • first figure,' said the Mock Turtle,

  • suddenly dropping his voice; and the two

  • creatures, who had been jumping about like

  • mad things all this time, sat down again

  • very sadly and quietly, and looked at

  • Alice.

  • 'It must be a very pretty dance,' said

  • Alice timidly.

  • 'Would you like to see a little of it?'

  • said the Mock Turtle.

  • 'Very much indeed,' said Alice.

  • 'Come, let's try the first figure!' said

  • the Mock Turtle to the Gryphon.

  • 'We can do without lobsters, you know.

  • Which shall sing?'

  • 'Oh, YOU sing,' said the Gryphon.

  • 'I've forgotten the words.'

  • So they began solemnly dancing round and

  • round Alice, every now and then treading on

  • her toes when they passed too close, and

  • waving their forepaws to mark the time,

  • while the Mock Turtle sang this, very

  • slowly and sadly:--

  • '"Will you walk a little faster?" said a

  • whiting to a snail.

  • "There's a porpoise close behind us, and

  • he's treading on my tail.

  • See how eagerly the lobsters and the

  • turtles all advance!

  • They are waiting on the shingle--will you

  • come and join the dance?

  • Will you, won't you, will you, won't you,

  • will you join the dance?

  • Will you, won't you, will you, won't you,

  • won't you join the dance?

  • "You can really have no notion how

  • delightful it will be When they take us up

  • and throw us, with the lobsters, out to

  • sea!"

  • But the snail replied "Too far, too far!"

  • and gave a look askance-- Said he thanked

  • the whiting kindly, but he would not join

  • the dance.

  • Would not, could not, would not, could

  • not, would not join the dance.

  • Would not, could not, would not, could not,

  • could not join the dance.

  • '"What matters it how far we go?" his

  • scaly friend replied.

  • "There is another shore, you know, upon the

  • other side.

  • The further off from England the nearer is

  • to France-- Then turn not pale, beloved

  • snail, but come and join the dance.

  • Will you, won't you, will you, won't you,

  • will you join the dance?

  • Will you, won't you, will you, won't you,

  • won't you join the dance?"'

  • 'Thank you, it's a very interesting dance

  • to watch,' said Alice, feeling very glad

  • that it was over at last: 'and I do so like

  • that curious song about the whiting!'

  • 'Oh, as to the whiting,' said the Mock

  • Turtle, 'they--you've seen them, of

  • course?'

  • 'Yes,' said Alice, 'I've often seen them at

  • dinn--' she checked herself hastily.

  • 'I don't know where Dinn may be,' said the

  • Mock Turtle, 'but if you've seen them so

  • often, of course you know what they're

  • like.'

  • 'I believe so,' Alice replied thoughtfully.

  • 'They have their tails in their mouths--and

  • they're all over crumbs.'

  • 'You're wrong about the crumbs,' said the

  • Mock Turtle: 'crumbs would all wash off in

  • the sea.

  • But they HAVE their tails in their mouths;

  • and the reason is--' here the Mock Turtle

  • yawned and shut his eyes.

  • --'Tell her about the reason and all that,'

  • he said to the Gryphon.

  • 'The reason is,' said the Gryphon, 'that

  • they WOULD go with the lobsters to the

  • dance.

  • So they got thrown out to sea.

  • So they had to fall a long way.

  • So they got their tails fast in their

  • mouths.

  • So they couldn't get them out again.

  • That's all.'

  • 'Thank you,' said Alice, 'it's very

  • interesting.

  • I never knew so much about a whiting

  • before.'

  • 'I can tell you more than that, if you

  • like,' said the Gryphon.

  • 'Do you know why it's called a whiting?'

  • 'I never thought about it,' said Alice.

  • 'Why?'

  • 'IT DOES THE BOOTS AND SHOES.' the Gryphon

  • replied very solemnly.

  • Alice was thoroughly puzzled.

  • 'Does the boots and shoes!' she repeated in

  • a wondering tone.

  • 'Why, what are YOUR shoes done with?' said

  • the Gryphon.

  • 'I mean, what makes them so shiny?'

  • Alice looked down at them, and considered a

  • little before she gave her answer.

  • 'They're done with blacking, I believe.'

  • 'Boots and shoes under the sea,' the

  • Gryphon went on in a deep voice, 'are done

  • with a whiting.

  • Now you know.'

  • 'And what are they made of?'

  • Alice asked in a tone of great curiosity.

  • 'Soles and eels, of course,' the Gryphon

  • replied rather impatiently: 'any shrimp

  • could have told you that.'

  • 'If I'd been the whiting,' said Alice,

  • whose thoughts were still running on the

  • song, 'I'd have said to the porpoise, "Keep

  • back, please: we don't want YOU with us!"'

  • 'They were obliged to have him with them,'

  • the Mock Turtle said: 'no wise fish would

  • go anywhere without a porpoise.'

  • 'Wouldn't it really?' said Alice in a tone

  • of great surprise.

  • 'Of course not,' said the Mock Turtle:

  • 'why, if a fish came to ME, and told me he

  • was going a journey, I should say "With

  • what porpoise?"'