Alice's Adventures in Wonderland

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

‘Oh, PLEASE mind what you’re doing!’ cried Alice, jumping up and down in an agony of terror. ‘Oh, there goes his PRECIOUS nose'; as an unusually large saucepan flew close by it, and very nearly carried it off.

‘If everybody minded their own business,’ the Duchess said in a hoarse growl, ‘the world would go round a deal faster than it does.’

‘Which would NOT be an advantage,’ said Alice, who felt very glad to get an opportunity of showing off a little of her knowledge. ‘Just think of what work it would make with the day and night! You see the earth takes twenty-four hours to turn round on its axis—’

‘Talking of axes,’ said the Duchess, ‘chop off her head!’

Alice glanced rather anxiously at the cook, to see if she meant to take the hint; but the cook was busily stirring the soup, and seemed not to be listening, so she went on again: ‘Twenty-four hours, I THINK; or is it twelve? I—’

‘Oh, don’t bother ME,’ said the Duchess; ‘I never could abide figures!’ And with that she began nursing her child again, singing a sort of lullaby to it as she did so, and giving it a violent shake at the end of every line:

   'Speak roughly to your little boy,
    And beat him when he sneezes:
   He only does it to annoy,
    Because he knows it teases.'


 (In which the cook and the baby joined):—

       'Wow! wow! wow!'

While the Duchess sang the second verse of the song, she kept tossing the baby violently up and down, and the poor little thing howled so, that Alice could hardly hear the words:—

   'I speak severely to my boy,
    I beat him when he sneezes;
   For he can thoroughly enjoy
    The pepper when he pleases!'


       'Wow! wow! wow!'

‘Here! you may nurse it a bit, if you like!’ the Duchess said to Alice, flinging the baby at her as she spoke. ‘I must go and get ready to play croquet with the Queen,’ and she hurried out of the room. The cook threw a frying-pan after her as she went out, but it just missed her.

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