These words were followed by a very long silence, broken only by an occasional exclamation of "Hjckrrh!" from the Gryphon, and the constant heavy sobbing of the Mock Turtle. Alice was very nearly getting up and saying, "Thank you, Sir, for your interesting story,"
but she could not help thinking there _must_ be more to come, so she sat still and said nothing.
"When we were little," the Mock Turtle went on at last, more calmly, though still sobbing a little now and then, "we went to school in the sea. The master was an old Turtle--we used to call him Tortoise--"
"Why did you call him Tortoise, if he wasn't one?" Alice asked.
"We called him Tortoise because he taught us," said the Mock Turtle angrily. "Really you are very dull!"
"You ought to be ashamed of yourself for asking such a simple question," added the Gryphon; and then they both sat silent and looked at poor Alice, who felt ready to sink into the earth. At last the Gryphon said to the Mock Turtle, "Drive on, old fellow! Don't be all day about it!" and he went on in these words:
"Yes, we went to school in the sea, though you mayn't believe it--"
"I never said I didn't!" interrupted Alice.
"You did," said the Mock Turtle.
"Hold your tongue!" added the Gryphon, before Alice could speak again.
The Mock Turtle went on:
"We had the best of educations--in fact, we went to school every day--"
"_I've_ been to a day-school, too," said Alice. "You needn't be so proud as all that."
"With extras?" asked the Mock Turtle, a little anxiously.
"Yes," said Alice; "we learned French and music."
"And washing?" said the Mock Turtle.
"Certainly not!" said Alice indignantly.
"Ah! Then yours wasn't a really good school," said the Mock Turtle in a tone of great relief. "Now, at _ours_, they had, at the end of the bill, 'French, music, _and washing_--extra.'"
"You couldn't have wanted it much," said Alice; "living at the bottom of the sea."
"I couldn't afford to learn it," said the Mock Turtle with a sigh. "I only took the regular course."
"What was that?" inquired Alice.
"Reeling and Writhing, of course, to begin with," the Mock Turtle replied; "and then the different branches of Arithmetic--Ambition, Distraction, Uglification, and Derision."
"I never heard of 'Uglification,'" Alice ventured to say. "What is it?"
The Gryphon lifted up both its paws in surprise. "Never heard of uglifying!" it exclaimed. "You know what to beautify is, I suppose?"
"Yes," said Alice doubtfully: "it means--to--make--anything--prettier."
"Well, then," the Gryphon went on, "if you don't know what to uglify is, you _are_ a simpleton."
Alice did not feel encouraged to ask any more questions about it: so she turned to the Mock Turtle, and said, "What else had you to learn?"
"Well, there was Mystery," the Mock Turtle replied, counting off the subjects on his flappers--"Mystery, ancient and modern, with Seaography: then Drawling--the Drawling-master was an old conger-eel, that used to come once a week: _he_ taught us Drawling, Stretching, and Fainting in Coils."
"What was _that_ like?" said Alice.
"Well, I can't show it you, myself," the Mock Turtle said: "I'm too stiff. And the Gryphon never learned it."
"Hadn't time," said the Gryphon: "I went to the Classical master, though. He was an old crab, _he_ was."
"I never went to him," the Mock Turtle said with a sigh. "He taught Laughing and Grief, they used to say."
"So he did, so he did," said the Gryphon, sighing in his turn; and both creatures hid their faces in their paws.
"And how many hours a day did you do lessons?" said Alice, in a hurry to change the subject.
"Ten hours the first day," said the Mock Turtle: "nine the next, and so on."
"What a curious plan!" exclaimed Alice.
"That's the reason they're called lessons," the Gryphon remarked: "because they lessen from day to day."
This was quite a new idea to Alice, and she thought it over a little before she made her next remark. "Then the eleventh day must have been a holiday?"
"Of course it was," said the Mock Turtle.
"And how did you manage on the twelfth?" Alice went on eagerly.
"That's enough about lessons," the Gryphon interrupted in a very decided tone. "Tell her something about the games now."
By Lewis Carroll
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--"