She drew her foot as far down the chimney as she could, and waited till she heard a little animal (she couldn't guess of what sort it was) scratching and scrambling about in the chimney close above her: then, saying to herself, "This is Bill," she gave one sharp kick, and waited to see what would happen next.
The first thing she heard 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--"Hold up his head--Brandy now--Don't choke him--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), "Well, I hardly know--No more, thank ye; I'm better now--but I'm a deal too flustered to tell you--all I know is, something comes at me like a Jack-in-the-box, and up I goes like a sky-rocket!"
"So you did, old fellow!" said the others.
"We must burn the house down!" said the Rabbit's voice. And Alice called out, as loud as she could, "If you do, I'll set Dinah at you!"
There was a dead silence instantly, and Alice thought to herself, "I wonder what they _will_ do next! If they had any sense, they'd take the roof off." After a minute or two, they began moving about again, and Alice heard the Rabbit say, "A barrowful will do, to begin with."
"A barrowful of _what_?" thought Alice. But she had not long to doubt, for the next moment a shower of little pebbles came rattling in at the window, and some of them hit her in the face. "I'll put a stop to this," she said to herself, and shouted out, "You'd better not do that again!" which produced another dead silence.
Alice noticed, with some surprise, that the pebbles were all turning into little cakes as they lay on the floor, and a bright idea came into her head. "If I eat one of these cakes," she thought, "it's sure to make _some_ change in my size; and, as it can't possibly make me larger, it must make me smaller, I suppose."
So she swallowed one of the cakes, and was delighted to find that she began shrinking directly. As soon as she was small enough to get through the door, she ran out of the house, and found quite a crowd of little animals and birds waiting outside. The poor little Lizard, Bill, was in the middle, being held up by two guinea-pigs, who were giving it something out of a bottle. They all made a rush at Alice the moment she appeared; but she ran off as hard as she could, and soon found herself safe in a thick wood.
"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 again; 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 about anxiously among the trees, 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 touch her. "Poor little thing!" said Alice, in a coaxing tone, and she tried hard to whistle to it; but she was terribly frightened all the time at the thought that it might be hungry, in which case it would be very likely to eat her up 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, with a yelp of delight, and 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 on the other side, the puppy made another rush at the stick, and tumbled head over heels in its hurry to get hold of it: 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 began a series of short charges at the stick, running a very little way forward each time and a long way back, and barking hoarsely 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: so she set off at once, and ran till she was quite tired and out of breath, and till the puppy's bark sounded quite faint in the distance.
"And yet what a dear little puppy it was!" said Alice, as she leaned against a buttercup to rest herself, and fanned herself with one of the leaves. "I should have liked teaching it tricks very much, if--if I'd only been the right size to do it! Oh dear! 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 grass, but she could not see anything that looked like the right thing to eat or drink under the circumstances. There was a large mushroom growing 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 that she might as well look and see what was on the top of it.
She stretched herself up on tiptoe, and peeped over the edge of the mushroom, and her eyes immediately met those of a large blue caterpillar, that was sitting on the top, with his arms folded, quietly smoking a long hookah, and taking not the smallest notice of her or of anything else.
ADVICE FROM A CATERPILLAR
By Lewis Carroll
The Caterpillar and Alice looked at each other for some time in silence: at last the Caterpillar took the hookah out of its mouth, and addressed her in a languid, sleepy voice.
"Who are _you_?" said the Caterpillar.
This was not an encouraging opening for a conversation. Alice replied, rather shyly, "I--I hardly know, Sir, just at present--at least I know who I _was_ when I got up this morning, but I think I must have changed several times since then."
"What do you mean by that?" said the Caterpillar, sternly. "Explain yourself!"
"I can't explain _myself_, I'm afraid, Sir," said Alice, "because I'm not myself, you see."
"I don't see," said the Caterpillar.
"I'm afraid I can't put it more clearly," Alice replied, very politely, "for I can't understand it myself, to begin with; and being so many different sizes in a day is very confusing."
"It isn't," said the Caterpillar.
"Well, perhaps you haven't found it so yet," said Alice; "but when you have to turn into a chrysalis--you will some day, you know--and then after that into a butterfly, I should think you'll feel it a little queer, won't you?"
"Not a bit," said the Caterpillar.
"Well, perhaps _your_ feelings may be different," said Alice: "all I know is, it would feel very queer to _me_."
"You!" said the Caterpillar contemptuously. "Who are _you_?"
Which brought them back again to the beginning of the conversation.
Alice felt a little irritated at the Caterpillar's making such _very_ short remarks, and she drew herself up and said, very gravely, "I think you ought to tell me who _you_ are, first."
"Why?" said the Caterpillar.
Here was another puzzling question; and, as Alice could not think of any good reason, and the Caterpillar seemed to be in a _very_ unpleasant state of mind, she turned away.
"Come back!" the Caterpillar called after her. "I've something important to say!"
This sounded promising, certainly. Alice turned and came back again.
"Keep your temper," said the Caterpillar.
"Is that all?" said Alice, swallowing down her anger as well as she could.
"No," said the Caterpillar.
Alice thought she might as well wait, as she had nothing else to do, and perhaps after all it might tell her something worth hearing. For some minutes it puffed away without speaking; but at last it unfolded its arms, took the hookah out of its mouth again, and said, "So you think you're changed, do you?"
"I'm afraid I am, Sir," said Alice. "I can't remember things as I used--and I don't keep the same size for ten minutes together!"
"Can't remember _what_ things?" said the Caterpillar.
"Well, I've tried to say, '_How doth the little busy bee_,' but it all came different!" Alice replied in a very melancholy voice.
"Repeat, '_You are old, Father William_,'" said the Caterpillar.
Alice folded her hands, and began:
"You are old, Father William," the young man said, "And your hair has become very white; And yet you incessantly stand on your head-- Do you think, at your age, it is right?"