|ALICE'S ADVENTURES IN WONDERLAND
by Lewis Carroll
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 wonbered at this,
but at the time it all seemed quite natural); but when the Rabbit actually TOOK A
WATCH OUT OF ITS WAISTCOAT- POCKET , and looked at it, and then hurried on,
Alice started to her feet, for it flashed across her mind that she had never before seen 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 note 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 womder 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 was 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 wonber 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
note a VERY good opportunity for showing off her knowledge, as there was no one to lisen
to her, still it was good practice to say it over) `--yes, that's about the right distance--but then
I wonber 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 wonber 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 lisening, 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 sticks 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 the 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, womdering 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. He., 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 not even get her head though the
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
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 of 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 you 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.
He., 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.