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by Lewis Carroll

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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.'


(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 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 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 mad. 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 Alice.

`Call it what you like,' said the Cat. `Do you play croquet

with the Queen to-day?'

`I should like it very much,' said Alice, `but I haven't been invited yet.'

`You'll see me there,' said the Cat, and vanished.

Alice was not much surprised at this, she was getting so used

to queer things happening. 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 way.

`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 tree.

`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.

`Well! 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 fur. 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 instead!'



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