Alice’s Adventures Under Ground Part 2

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Alice’s Adventures Under Ground is a Webnovel created by Lewis Carroll.
This lightnovel is currently completed.

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Alice replied eagerly, for she was always ready to talk about her pet, “Dinah’s our cat. And she’s such a capital one for catching mice, you can’t think! And oh! I wish you could see her after the birds! Why, she’ll eat a little bird as soon as look at it!”

This answer caused a remarkable sensation among the party: some of the birds hurried off at once; one old magpie began wrapping itself up very carefully, remarking “I really must be getting home: the night air does not suit my throat,” and a canary called out in a trembling voice to its children “come away from her, my dears, she’s no fit company for you!” On various pretexts, they all moved off, and Alice was soon left alone.

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She sat for some while sorrowful and silent, but she was not long before she recovered her spirits, and began talking to herself again as usual: “I do wish some of them had stayed a little longer! and I was getting to be such friends with them–really the Lory and I were almost like sisters! and so was that dear little Eaglet! And then the Duck and the Dodo! How nicely the Duck sang to us as we came along through the water: and if the Dodo hadn’t known the way to that nice little cottage, I don’t know when we should have got dry again–” and there is no knowing how long she might have prattled on in this way, if she had not suddenly caught the sound of pattering feet.

It was the white rabbit, trotting slowly back again, and looking anxiously about it as it went, as if it had lost something, and she heard it muttering to itself “the Marchioness! the Marchioness! oh my dear paws! oh my fur and whiskers! She’ll have 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 nosegay and the pair of white kid gloves, and she began hunting for them, but they were now nowhere to be seen–everything seemed to have changed since her swim in the pool, and her walk along the river-bank with its fringe of rushes and forget-me-nots, and the gla.s.s table and the little door had vanished.

Soon the rabbit noticed Alice, as she stood looking curiously about her, and at once said in a quick angry tone, “why, Mary Ann! what are you doing out here? Go home this moment, and look on my dressing-table for my gloves and nosegay, and fetch them here, as quick as you can run, do you hear?” and Alice was so much frightened that she ran off at once, without saying a word, in the direction which the rabbit had pointed out.

She soon found herself in front of a neat little house, on the door of which was a bright bra.s.s plate with the name W. RABBIT, ESQ. She went in, and hurried upstairs, for fear she should meet the real Mary Ann and be turned out of the house before she had found the gloves: she knew that one pair had been lost in the hall, “but of course,” thought Alice, “it has plenty more of them in its house. How queer it seems to be going messages for a rabbit! I suppose Dinah’ll be sending me messages next!” And she began fancying the sort of things that would happen: “Miss Alice!

come here directly and get ready for your walk!” “Coming in a minute, nurse! but I’ve got to watch this mousehole till Dinah comes back, and 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!”

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By this time she had found her way into a tidy little room, with a table in the window on which was a looking-gla.s.s and, (as Alice had hoped,) two or three pairs of tiny white kid gloves: she took up a pair of gloves, and was just going to leave the room, when her eye fell upon a little bottle that stood near the looking-gla.s.s: there was no label on it this time with the words “drink me,” but nonetheless 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 see what this bottle does. I do hope it’ll make me grow larger, for I’m quite tired of being such a tiny little thing!”

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It did so indeed, and much sooner than she expected: before she had drunk half the bottle, she found her head pressing against the ceiling, and she stooped to save her neck from being broken, and hastily put down the bottle, saying to herself “that’s quite enough–I hope I sha’n’t grow any more–I wish I hadn’t drunk so much!”

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Alas! it was too late: she went on growing and growing, and very soon had to kneel down: in another minute there was not room even 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–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 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 sort of thing never happened, and now here I am in the middle of one! There out 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” said she in a sorrowful tone, “at least there’s no room to grow up any more here.”

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“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 said again, “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, which made her stop 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 to the door, and tried to open it, but as it opened inwards, and Alice’s elbow was against it, the attempt proved a failure. Alice heard it say to itself “then I’ll go round and get in at the window.”

“That you wo’n’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 s.n.a.t.c.h in the air. She did not get hold of anything, but she heard a little shriek and a fall and a crash of breaking gla.s.s, from which she concluded that it was just possible it had fallen into a cuc.u.mber-frame, or something of the sort.

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Next came an angry voice–the rabbit’s–“Pat, Pat! where are you?” And then a voice she had never heard before, “shure then I’m here! digging for apples, anyway, yer honour!”

“Digging for apples indeed!” said the rabbit angrily, “here, come and help me out of this!”–Sound of more breaking gla.s.s.

“Now, tell me, Pat, what is that coming out of the window?”

“Shure it’s an arm, yer honour!” (He p.r.o.nounced it “arrum”.)

“An arm, you goose! Who ever saw an arm that size? Why, it fills the whole window, don’t you see?”

“Shure, it does, yer honour, but it’s an arm for all that.”

“Well, it’s no business there: go and take it away!”

There was a long silence after this, and Alice could only hear whispers now and then, such as “shure 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 s.n.a.t.c.h in the air. This time there were two little shrieks, and more breaking gla.s.s–“what a number of cuc.u.mber-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 stop in here any longer!”

She waited for some time without hearing anything more: at last came a rumbling of little cart-wheels, 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–here, put ’em up at this corner–no, tie ’em together first–they don’t reach 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 sha’n’t! you do it!–that I won’t then–Bill’s got to go down–here, Bill! the master says you’ve to go down the chimney!”

“Oh, so Bill’s got to come down the chimney, has he?” said Alice to herself, “why, they seem to put everything upon Bill! I wouldn’t be in Bill’s place for a good deal: the fireplace is a pretty tight one, 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 what sort it was) scratching and scrambling in the chimney close above her: then, saying to herself “this is Bill,” she gave one sharp kick, and waited again to see what would happen next.

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The first thing was a general chorus of “there goes Bill!” then the rabbit’s voice alone “catch him, you by the hedge!” then silence, and then another confusion of voices, “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,) which said “well, I hardly know–I’m all of a fl.u.s.ter myself–something comes at me like a Jack-in-the-box, and the next minute up I goes like a rocket!” “And so you did, old fellow!” said the other voices.

“We must burn the house down!” said the voice of the rabbit, and Alice called out as loud as she could “if you do, I’ll set Dinah at you!” This caused silence again, and while Alice was thinking “but how can I get Dinah here?” she found to her great delight that she was getting smaller: very soon she was able to get up out of the uncomfortable position in which she had been lying, and in two or three minutes more she was once more three inches high.

She ran out of the house as quick as she could, and found quite a crowd of little animals waiting outside–guinea-pigs, white mice, squirrels, and “Bill” a little green lizard, that was being supported in the arms of one of the guinea-pigs, while another was giving it something out of a bottle. They all made a rush at her the moment she appeared, but Alice ran her hardest, and soon found herself in a thick wood.

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Chapter III

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“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, 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 anxiously among the trees round her, 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 reach her: “poor thing!” said Alice in a coaxing tone, and she tried hard to whistle to it, but she was terribly alarmed all the while at the thought that it might be hungry, in which case it would probably devour her 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, and with a yelp of delight 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 at the other side, the puppy made another dart at the stick, and tumbled head over heels in its hurry to get hold: 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 begin a series of short charges at the stick, running a very little way forwards each time and a long way back, and barking hoa.r.s.ely 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.

She set off at once, and ran till the puppy’s bark sounded quite faint in the distance, and till she was quite tired and out of breath.

“And yet what a dear little puppy it was!” said Alice, as she leant against a b.u.t.tercup to rest herself, and fanned herself with her hat. “I should have liked teaching it tricks, if–if I’d only been the right size to do it! Oh! 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 gra.s.s but could not see anything that looked like the right thing to eat under the circ.u.mstances. There was a large mushroom 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 to look and see what was on the top of it.

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