‘but if they do, why then they’re a kind of serpent, that’s all I can say.’
‘Then you keep moving round, I suppose?’ said Alice.
‘But who is to give the prizes?’ quite a chorus of voices asked.
CHORUS./ (In which the cook and the baby joined):–/ ‘Wow! wow! wow!’
Soon her eye fell on a little glass box that was lying under the table: she opened it, and found in it a very small cake, on which the words ‘EAT ME’ were beautifully marked in currants. ‘Well, I’ll eat it,’ said Alice, ‘and if it makes me grow larger, I can reach the key; and if it makes me grow smaller, I can creep under the door; so either way I’ll get into the garden, and I don’t care which happens!’
There was certainly too much of it in the air. Even the Duchess sneezed occasionally; and as for the baby, it was sneezing and howling alternately without a moment’s pause. The only things in the kitchen that did not sneeze, were the cook, and a large cat which was sitting on the hearth and grinning from ear to ear.
‘But I don’t want to go among mad people,’ Alice remarked.
‘What for?’ said Alice.
‘Can’t remember WHAT things?’ said the Caterpillar.
Alice felt dreadfully puzzled. The Hatter’s remark seemed to have no sort of meaning in it, and yet it was certainly English. ‘I don’t quite understand you,’ she said, as politely as she could.
‘Here! Come and help me out of THIS!’ (Sounds of more broken glass.)
‘I’m NOT a serpent!’ said Alice indignantly. ‘Let me alone!’
‘I don’t think they play at all fairly,’ Alice began, in rather a complaining tone, ‘and they all quarrel so dreadfully one can’t hear oneself speak–and they don’t seem to have any rules in particular; at least, if there are, nobody attends to them–and you’ve no idea how confusing it is all the things being alive; for instance, there’s the arch I’ve got to go through next walking about at the other end of the ground–and I should have croqueted the Queen’s hedgehog just now, only it ran away when it saw mine coming!’
How neatly spread his claws,
And welcome little fishes in
With gently smiling jaws!’
The door led right into a large kitchen, which was full of smoke from one end to the other: the Duchess was sitting on a three-legged stool in the middle, nursing a baby; the cook was leaning over the fire, stirring a large cauldron which seemed to be full of soup.
The Dormouse slowly opened his eyes. ‘I wasn’t asleep,’ he said in a hoarse, feeble voice: ‘I heard every word you fellows were saying.’
‘That’s right!’ shouted the Queen. ‘Can you play croquet?’