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ALICE'S ADVENTURES IN WONDERLAND Lewis Carroll

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.
     - 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?
     - Don't you mean - purpose - ? - said Alice.
     - I mean what I say, - the Mock Turtle replied in an  offended  tone.
And the Gryphon added - Come, let's hear some of YOUR adventures.
     - I could tell you my adventures - beginning  from  this  morning,  -
said Alice a little timidly: - but it's no use going  back  to  yesterday,
because I was a different person then.
     - Explain all that, - said the Mock Turtle.
     - No, no! The adventures first, - said the Gryphon  in  an  impatient
tone: - explanations take such a dreadful time.
     So Alice began telling them her adventures from  the  time  when  she
first saw the White Rabbit. She was a little  nervous  about  it  just  at
first, the two creatures got so close to her, one on each side, and opened
their eyes and mouths so VERY wide, but she gained courage as she went on.
Her listeners were perfectly quiet till she got  to  the  part  about  her
repeating - YOU ARE OLD, FATHER WILLIAM, - to  the  Caterpillar,  and  the
words all coming different, and then the Mock Turtle drew a  long  breath,
and said - That's very curious.
     - It's all about as curious as it can be, - said the Gryphon.
     - It all came different! - the Mock Turtle repeated thoughtfully. - I
should like to hear her try and repeat something now. Tell her to begin. -
He looked at the Gryphon as if he thought it had some  kind  of  authority
over Alice.
     - Stand up and repeat - 'TIS THE VOICE OF THE SLUGGARD,  -  said  the
Gryphon.
     - How the creatures order one about, and  make  one  repeat  lessons!
thought Alice; - I might as well be at school at once. - However, she  got
up, and began to repeat it, but her  head  was  so  full  of  the  Lobster
Quadrille, that she hardly knew what she was saying, and  the  words  came
very queer indeed:
    
     - 'Tis the voice of the Lobster; I heard him declare,
     - You have baked me too brown, I must sugar my hair. As a  duck  with
its eyelids, so he with his nose Trims his belt and his buttons, and turns
out his toes.
    
              [later editions continued as follows    
    When the sands are all dry, he is gay as a lark,    
    And will talk in contemptuous tones of the Shark,    
    But, when the tide rises and sharks are around,    
    His voice has a timid and tremulous sound.]    
    
     - That's different from what I used to say when I was a child, - said
the Gryphon.
     - Well, I never heard it before, - said the Mock  Turtle;  -  but  it
sounds uncommon nonsense.
     Alice said nothing; she had sat down with  her  face  in  her  hands,
wondering if anything would EVER happen in a natural way again.
     - I should like to have it explained, - said the Mock Turtle.
     - She can't explain it, - said the Gryphon hastily. - Go on with  the
next verse.
     - But about his toes? - the Mock Turtle persisted.  -  How  COULD  he
turn them out with his nose, you know?
     - It's  the  first  position  in  dancing.  -  Alice  said;  but  was
dreadfully puzzled by the whole thing, and longed to change the subject.
     - Go on with the next verse, - the Gryphon repeated impatiently: - it
begins - I passed by his garden.
     Alice did not dare to disobey, though she felt sure it would all come
wrong, and she went on in a trembling voice:
    
     - I passed by his garden, and marked, with one eye, How the  Owl  and
the Panther were sharing a pie
    
        [later editions continued as follows    
    The Panther took pie-crust, and gravy, and meat,    
    While the Owl had the dish as its share of the treat.    
    When the pie was all finished, the Owl, as a boon,    
    Was kindly permitted to pocket the spoon:    
    While the Panther received knife and fork with a growl,    
    And concluded the banquet - ]    
    
     - What IS the use of repeating all that  stuff,  -  the  Mock  Turtle
interrupted, - if you don't explain it as you go on? It's by far the  most
confusing thing I ever heard!
     - Yes, I think you'd better leave off, - said the Gryphon: and  Alice
was only too glad to do so.
     - Shall we try another figure of the Lobster Quadrille? - the Gryphon
went on. - Or would you like the Mock Turtle to sing you a song?
     - Oh, a song, please, if the Mock Turtle would be so  kind,  -  Alice
replied, so eagerly that the Gryphon said, in a rather offended toe,
     - Hm! No accounting for tastes! Sing her - Turtle Soup, -  will  you,
old fellow?
     The Mock Turtle sighed deeply, and began, in a voice sometimes choked
with sobs, to sing this:
    
     - Beautiful Soup, so rich and green, Waiting in a hot tureen! Who for
such dainties would not stoop? Soup of the evening, beautiful  Soup!  Soup
of the evening, beautiful Soup!
        Beau - ootiful Soo - oop!    
        Beau - ootiful Soo - oop!    
    Soo - oop of the e - e - evening,    
        Beautiful, beautiful Soup!    
    
     - Beautiful Soup! Who cares for fish, Game, or any  other  dish?  Who
would not give all else for  two  p  ennyworth  only  of  beautiful  Soup?
Pennyworth only of beautiful Soup?
        Beau - ootiful Soo - oop!    
        Beau - ootiful Soo - oop!    
    Soo - oop of the e - e - evening,    
        Beautiful, beauti - FUL SOUP!     
    
     - Chorus again! - cried the Gryphon, and the  Mock  Turtle  had  just
begun to repeat it, when a cry of - The trial's beginning! - was heard  in
the distance.
     - Come on! - cried the Gryphon, and, taking Alice  by  the  hand,  it
hurried off, without waiting for the end of the song.
     - What trial is it? - Alice panted as she ran; but the  Gryphon  only
answered - Come on! - and ran the faster,  while  more  and  more  faintly
came, carried on the breeze that followed them, the melancholy words:
    
     - Soo - oop of the e - e - evening, Beautiful, beautiful Soup!



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