by Lewis Carroll
Stacey 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 Stacey 'without pictures or conversation?'
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
was nothing so VERY remarkable in that; nor did Stacey 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
wondered 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, Stacey started to her feet, for it flashed
across her mind that she had never before see 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.
another moment down went Stacey after it, never once
considering how in the world she was to get out again.
rabbit-hole went straight on like a tunnel for some way,
and then dipped suddenly down, so suddenly that Stacey had not a moment to think
about stopping herself before she found herself falling
down a very deep well.
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 wonder 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 way 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.
thought Stacey 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. Would the fall NEVER come to an end! 'I
wonder 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, Stacey had learnt several things of
this sort in her lessons in the schoolroom, and though
this was not a VERY good opportunity for showing off her
knowledge, as there was no one to listen to her, still it
was good practice to say it over) '--yes, that's about
the right distance--but then I wonder what Latitude or
Longitude I've got to?' (Stacey had no idea what Latitude was,
or Longitude either, but thought they were nice grand
words to say.)
she began again. 'I wonder 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 listening, 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. There was nothing else to do, so Stacey 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 Stacey 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.
Stacey 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 Stacey 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 to 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
were doors all round the hall, but they were all locked;
and when Stacey had been all the way down one side and
up the other, trying every door, she walked sadly down
the middle, wondering how she was ever to get out again.
she came upon a little three-legged table, all made of
solid glass; there was nothing on it except a tiny golden
key, and Stacey'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. However, 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!
Stacey 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 Stacey, '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 Stacey had begun to think that very
few things indeed were really impossible.
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 Stacey,) and round the neck of the bottle was
a paper label, with the words 'DRINK ME' beautifully
printed on it in large letters.
all very well to say 'Drink me,' but the wise little Stacey 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 your hold it too long; and that if
you cut your finger V deeply with a knife, it usually b;
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.
this bottle was NOT marked 'poison,' so Stacey 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
* * * * * * *
* * * * * *
* * * * * * *
'What a curious feeling!' said Stacey; 'I must be shutting up like
it was indeed: she was now only ten inches high, and her
face brightened up at the thought that she was now the
right size for going though the little door into that
lovely garden. First, however, she waited for a few
minutes to see if she was going to shrink any further:
she felt a little nervous about this; 'for it might end,
you know,' said Stacey to herself, 'in my going out
altogether, like a candle. I wonder what I should be like
then?' And she tried to fancy what the flame of a candle
is like after the candle is blown out, for she could not
remember ever having seen such a thing.
while, finding that nothing more happened, she decided on
going into the garden at once; but, alas for poor Stacey! when she got to the door,
she found he had forgotten the little golden key, and
when she went back to the table for it, she found she
could not possibly reach it: she could see it quite
plainly through the glass, and she tried her best to
climb up one of the legs of the table, but it was too
slippery; and when she had tired herself out with trying,
the poor little thing sat down and cried.
there's no use in crying like that!' said Stacey to herself, rather sharply; 'I
advise you to leave off this minute!' She generally gave
herself very good advice, (though she very seldom
followed it), and sometimes she scolded herself so
severely as to bring tears into her eyes; and once she
remembered trying to box her own ears for having cheated
herself in a game of croquet she was playing against
herself, for this curious child was very fond of
pretending to be two people. 'But it's no use now,'
thought poor Stacey, 'to pretend to be two people! Why,
there's hardly enough of me left to make ONE respectable
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 Stacey, '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!'
a little bit, and said anxiously to herself, 'Which way?
Which way?', holding her hand on the top of her head to
feel which way it was growing, and she was quite
surprised to find that she remained the same size: to be
sure, this generally happens when one eats cake, but Stacey had got so much into the way
of expecting nothing but out-of-the-way things to happen,
that it seemed quite dull and stupid for life to go on in
the common way.
set to work, and very soon finished off the cake.
* * * * * * *
* * * * * *
* * * * * * *
The Pool of
and curiouser!' cried Stacey (she was so much surprised,
that for the moment she quite forgot how to speak good
English); 'now I'm opening out like the largest telescope
that ever was! Good-bye, feet!' (for when she looked down
at her feet, they seemed to be almost out of sight, they
were getting so far off). 'Oh, my poor little feet, I
wonder who will put on your shoes and stockings for you
now, dears? I'm sure _I_ shan't be able! I shall be a
great deal too far off to trouble myself about you: you
must manage the best way you can; --but I must be kind to
them,' thought Stacey, 'or perhaps they won't walk the way I
want to go! Let me see: I'll give them a new pair of
boots every Christmas.'
went on planning to herself how she would manage it.........
*** End of SAMPLE ***
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