Looking-Glass Insects

OF course the first thing to do was to make a grand survey of the country she was going to travel through. `It's something very like learning geography,' thought Alice, as she stood on tiptoe in hopes of being able to see a little further. `Principal rivers--there are none. Principal mountains--I'm on the only one, but I don't think it's got any name. Principal towns--why, what are those creatures, making honey down there? They ca'n't be bees--nobody ever saw bees a mile off, you know--' and for some time she stood silent, watching one of them that was bustling about among the flowers, poking its proboscis into them, `just as if it was a regular bee,' thought Alice.

However, this was anything but a regular bee: in fact, it was an elephant--as Alice soon found out, though the idea quite took her breath away at first. `And what enormous flowers they must be!' was her next idea. `Something like cottages with the roofs taken off, and stalks put to them--and what quantities of honey they must make! I think I'll go down and--no, I wo'n't go just yet,' she went on, checking herself just as she was beginning to run down the hill, and trying to find some excuse for turning shy so suddenly. `It'll never do to go down among them without a good long branch to brush them away--and what fun it'll be when they ask me how I liked my walk. I shall say "Oh, I liked it well enough--" (here came the favourite little toss of the head), "only it was so dusty and hot, and the elephants did tease so!"'

`I think I'll go down the other way,' she said after a pause; `and perhaps I may visit the elephants later on. Besides, I do so want to get into the Third Square!'

So, with this excuse, she ran down the hill, and jumped over the first of the six little brooks.

*     *      *      *      *    
*       *     *     *     
*      *      *      *      *    

`Tickets, please!' said the Guard, putting his head in at the window. In a moment everybody was holding out a ticket: they were about the same size as the people, and quite seemed to fill the carriage.

`Now then! Show your ticket, child!' the Guard went on, looking angrily at Alice. And a great many voices all said together (`like the chorus of a song,' thought Alice) `Don't keep him waiting, child! Why, his time is worth a thousand pounds a minute!'

`I'm afraid I haven't got one,' Alice said in a frightened tone: `there wasn't a ticket-office where I came from.' And again the chorus of voices went on. `There wasn't room for one where she came from. The land there is worth a thousand pounds an inch!'

`Don't make excuses,' said the Guard: `you should have bought one from the engine-driver.' And once more the chorus of voices went on with `The man that drives the engine. Why, the smoke alone is worth a thousand pounds a puff!'

Alice thought to herself `Then there's no use in speaking.' The voices didn't join in, this time, as she hadn't spoken, but, to her great surprise, they all thought in chorus (I hope you understand what thinking in chorus means--for I must confess that I don't), `Better say nothing at all. Language is worth a thousand pounds a word!'

`I shall dream about a thousand pounds to-night, I know I shall!' thought Alice.

All this time the Guard was looking at her, first through a telescope, then through a microscope, and then through an opera-glass. At last he said `You're travelling the wrong way,' and shut up the window, and went away.

`So young a child,' said the gentleman sitting opposite to her, (he was dressed in white paper), `ought to know which way she's going, even if she doesn't know her own name!'

A Goat that was sitting next to the gentleman in white, shut his eyes and said in a loud voice, `She ought to know her way to the ticket-office, even if she doesn't know her alphabet!'

  By PanEris using Melati.

Previous chapter Back Home Email this Search Discuss Bookmark Next chapter/page
Copyright: All texts on Bibliomania are © Bibliomania.com Ltd, and may not be reproduced in any form without our written permission. See our FAQ for more details.