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ALICE'S ADVENTURES IN WONDERLAND Lewis Carroll

CHAPTER I

                      Down the Rabbit-Hole    
    
    
     Alice was beginning to get very tired of sitting by her sister on the
bank, and of having nothing to do: once or twice she had peeped  into  the
book her sister was reading, but it had no pictures  or  conversations  in
it, - and what is the use of a book, - thought Alice - without pictures or
conversation?
     So she was considering in her own mind (as well as she could, for the
hot day made her feel very sleepy and stupid),  whether  the  pleasure  of
making a daisy-chain would be worth the trouble of getting up and  picking
the daisies, when suddenly a White Rabbit with pink eyes ran close by her.
     There was nothing so VERY remarkable in that; nor did Alice think  it
so VERY much out of the way to hear the Rabbit say to itself, -  Oh  dear!
Oh dear! I shall be late! - (when  she  thought  it  over  afterwards,  it
occurred to her that she ought to have wondered at this, but at  the  time
it all seemed quite natural); but when the Rabbit actually  TOOK  A  WATCH
OUT OF ITS WAISTCOATPOCKET, and looked at it, and then hurried  on,  Alice
started to her feet, for it flashed across her mind  that  she  had  never
before see a rabbit with either a waistcoat-pocket, or a watch to take out
of it, and burning with curiosity, she ran across the field after it,  and
fortunately was just in time to see it pop down a large rabbit-hole  under
the hedge.
     In another moment down went Alice after it,  never  once  considering
how in the world she was to get out again.
     The rabbit-hole went straight on like a tunnel for some way, and then
dipped suddenly down, so suddenly that Alice had not  a  moment  to  think
about stopping herself before she found herself falling down a  very  deep
well.
     Either the well was very deep, or she fell very slowly, for  she  had
plenty of time as she went down to look about her and to wonder  what  was
going to happen next. First, she tried to look down and make out what  she
was coming to, but it was too dark to see anything; then she looked at the
sides of the well, and noticed that they were filled  with  cupboards  and
book-shelves; here and there she saw maps and pictures hung upon pegs. She
took down a jar from one of the shelves as she passed; it was  labelled  -
ORANGE MARMALADE - , but to her great disappointment it way empty: she did
not like to drop the jar for fear of killing somebody, so managed  to  put
it into one of the cupboards as she fell past it.
     - Well! - thought Alice to herself, - after such a fall  as  this,  I
shall think nothing of tumbling down stairs! How brave they'll  all  think
me at home! Why, I wouldn't say anything about it, even if I fell off  the
top of the house! - (Which was very likely true.)
     Down, down, down. Would the fall NEVER come to an end! - I wonder how
many miles I've fallen by this time? - she said aloud. - I must be getting
somewhere near the centre of the earth. Let me see:  that  would  be  four
thousand miles down, I think - (for, you see,  Alice  had  learnt  several
things of this sort in her lessons in the schoolroom, and though this  was
not a VERY good opportunity for showing off her knowledge, as there was no
one to listen to her, still it was good practice to say it  over)  -  yes,
that's about the right distance - but  then  I  wonder  what  Latitude  or
Longitude I've got to?  -  (Alice  had  no  idea  what  Latitude  was,  or
Longitude either, but thought they were nice grand words to say.)
     Presently she began again. - I wonder if I shall fall  right  THROUGH
the earth! How funny it'll seem to come out among  the  people  that  walk
with their heads downward! The Antipathies, I think - (she was rather glad
there WAS no one listening, this time, as it didn't sound at all the right
word) - but I shall have to ask them what the name of the country is,  you
know. Please, Ma'am, is this New Zealand or Australia? - (and she tried to
curtsey as she spoke - fancy CURTSEYING as you're falling through the air!
Do you think you could manage it?)
     - And what an ignorant little girl she'll think me  for  asking!  No,
it'll never do to ask: perhaps I shall see it written up somewhere.
     Down, down, down. There was nothing else to do, so Alice  soon  began
talking again. Dinah'll miss me very much to-night, I should think! (Dinah
was the cat.) - I hope they'll remember her saucer of  milk  at  tea-time.
Dinah my dear! I wish you were down here with me! There are no mice in the
air, I'm afraid, but you might catch a bat, and that's very like a  mouse,
you know. But do cats eat bats, I wonder? - And here Alice  began  to  get
rather sleepy, and went on saying to herself, in a dreamy sort of  way,  -
Do cats eat bats? Do cats eat bats? - and sometimes, - Do bats eat cats? -
for, you see, as she couldn't  answer  either  question,  it  didn't  much
matter which way she put it. She felt that she was  dozing  off,  and  had
just begun to dream that she was walking hand  in  hand  with  Dinah,  and
saying to her very earnestly,
     - Now, Dinah, tell me the truth: did you  ever  eat  a  bat?  -  when
suddenly, thump! thump! down she came upon a heap of stick and dry leaves,
and the fall was over.
     Alice was not a bit hurt, and she jumped up  on  to  her  feet  in  a
moment: she looked up, but it  was  all  dark  overhead;  before  her  was
another long passage, and the White Rabbit was still  in  sight,  hurrying
down it. There was not a moment to be lost: away went Alice like the wind,
and was just in time to hear it say, as it turned a corner, - Oh  my  ears
and whiskers, how late it's getting! - She was close behind  it  when  she
turned to corner, but the Rabbit was no  longer  to  be  seen:  she  found
herself in a long, low hall, which was lit up by a row  of  lamps  hanging
from the roof.
     There were doors all round the hall, but they were  all  locked;  and
when Alice had been all the way down one side and  up  the  other,  trying
every door, she walked sadly down the middle, wondering how she  was  ever
to get out again.
     Suddenly she came upon a little three-legged table, all made of solid
glass; there was nothing on it except a tiny golden key, and Alice's first
thought was that it might belong to one of the doors  of  the  hall;  but,
alas! either the locks were too large, or the key was too  small,  but  at
any rate it would not open any of them. However, on the second time round,
she came upon a low curtain she had not noticed before, and behind it  was
a little door about fifteen inches high: she tried the little  golden  key
in the lock, and to her great delight it fitted!
     Alice opened the door and found that it led into a small passage, not
much larger than a rat-hole: she knelt down and looked along  the  passage
into the loveliest garden you ever saw. How she longed to get out of  that
dark hall, and wander about among those beds of bright flowers  and  those
cool fountains, but she could to even get her head thought he  doorway;  -
and even if my head would go through, - thought poor Alice, - it would  be
of very little use without my shoulders. Oh, how I wish I  could  shut  up
like a telescope! I think I could, if I only know how to begin. - For, you
see, so many out-of-the-way things had happened  lately,  that  Alice  had
begun to think that very few things indeed were really impossible.
     There seemed to be no use in waiting by the little door, so she  went
back to the table, half hoping she might find another key on it, or at any
rate a book or rules for shutting people up like telescopes: this time she
found a little bottle on it, ( - which certainly was not  here  before,  -
said Alice,) and round the neck of the bottle was a paper label, with  the
words - DRINK ME - beautifully printed on it in large letters.
     It was all very well to say - Drink me, - but the wise  little  Alice
was not going to do THAT in a hurry. - No, I'll look first, - she said,
     - and see whether it's marked - poison - or not; - for she  had  read
several nice little histories about children who had got burnt, and  eaten
up by wild beasts and other unpleasant things, all because they WOULD  not
remember the simple rules their friends had taught them: such as,  that  a
red-hot poker will burn you if your hold it too long; and that if you  cut
your finger VERY deeply with a knife, it usually bleeds; and she had never
forgotten that, if you drink much from a bottle marked - poison, -  it  is
almost certain to disagree with you, sooner or later.
     However, this bottle was NOT marked - poison, - so Alice ventured  to
taste it, and finding it very nice, (it had, in  fact,  a  sort  of  mixed
flavour of cherry-tart, custard, pine-apple, roast turkey, toffee, and hot
buttered toast,) she very soon finished it off.
    
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     - What a curious feeling! - said Alice; - I must be shutting up  like
a telescope.
     And so it was indeed: she was now only ten inches high, and her  face
brightened up at the thought that she was now the  right  size  for  going
though the little door into that lovely garden. First, however, she waited
for a few minutes to see if she was going to shrink any further: she  felt
a little nervous about this; - for it might end, you know, - said Alice to
herself, - in my going out altogether, like a  candle.  I  wonder  what  I
should be like then? - And she tried to fancy what the flame of  a  candle
is like after the candle is blown out, for she  could  not  remember  ever
having seen such a thing.
     After a while, finding that nothing more  happened,  she  decided  on
going into the garden at once; but, alas for poor Alice! when she  got  to
the door, she found he had forgotten the little golden key, and  when  she
went back to the table for it, she found she could not possibly reach  it:
she could see it quite plainly through the glass, and she tried  her  best
to climb up one of the legs of the table, but it  was  too  slippery;  and
when she had tired herself out with trying, the poor little thing sat down
and cried.
     - Come, there's no use in crying like that! - said Alice to  herself,
rather sharply; - I advise you to leave off this minute! -  She  generally
gave herself very good advice, (though she very seldom followed  it),  and
sometimes she scolded herself so severely as to bring tears into her eyes;
and once she remembered trying to box her  own  ears  for  having  cheated
herself in a game of croquet she was playing  against  herself,  for  this
curious child was very fond of pretending to be two people. - But it's  no
use now, - thought poor Alice, - to pretend to be two people! Why, there's
hardly enough of me left to make ONE respectable person!
     Soon her eye fell on a little glass box  that  was  lying  under  the
table: she opened it, and found in it a very  small  cake,  on  which  the
words - EAT ME - were beautifully marked in currants. - Well, I'll eat it,
- said Alive, - and if it makes me grow larger, I can reach the  key;  and
if it makes me grow smaller, I can creep under the  door;  so  either  way
I'll get into the garden, and I don't care which happens!
     She ate a little bit, and said anxiously to  herself,  -  Which  way?
Which way?', holding her hand on the top of her head to feel which way  it
was growing, and she was quite surprised to find  that  she  remained  the
same size: to be sure, this generally happens  when  one  eats  cake,  but
Alice had got so much into the way of expecting nothing but out-of-the-way
things to happen, that it seemed quite dull and stupid for life to  go  on
in the common way.
     So she set to work, and very soon finished off the cake.
    
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