Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

‘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 tone, ‘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 Pennyworth 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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CHAPTER XI. Who Stole the Tarts?

The King and Queen of Hearts were seated on their throne when they arrived, with a great crowd assembled about them—all sorts of little birds and beasts, as well as the whole pack of cards: the Knave was standing before them, in chains, with a soldier on each side to guard him; and near the King was the White Rabbit, with a trumpet in one hand, and a scroll of parchment in the other. In the very middle of the court was a table, with a large dish of tarts upon it: they looked so good, that it made Alice quite hungry to look at them—’I wish they’d get the trial done,’ she thought, ‘and hand round the refreshments!’ But there seemed to be no chance of this, so she began looking at everything about her, to pass away the time.

Alice had never been in a court of justice before, but she had read about them in books, and she was quite pleased to find that she knew the name of nearly everything there. ‘That’s the judge,’ she said to herself, ‘because of his great wig.’

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