Text - "Through the Looking-Glass" Lewis Carroll

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One thing was certain, that the white kitten had had nothing to do with
it: - it was the black kitten's fault entirely. For the white kitten had
been having its face washed by the old cat for the last quarter of
an hour (and bearing it pretty well, considering); so you see that it
couldn't have had any hand in the mischief.

The way Dinah washed her children's faces was this: first she held the
poor thing down by its ear with one paw, and then with the other paw she
rubbed its face all over, the wrong way, beginning at the nose: and
just now, as I said, she was hard at work on the white kitten, which was
lying quite still and trying to purr-no doubt feeling that it was all
meant for its good.

But the black kitten had been finished with earlier in the afternoon,
and so, while Alice was sitting curled up in a corner of the great
arm-chair, half talking to herself and half asleep, the kitten had been
having a grand game of romps with the ball of worsted Alice had been
trying to wind up, and had been rolling it up and down till it had all
come undone again; and there it was, spread over the hearth-rug, all
knots and tangles, with the kitten running after its own tail in the

‘Oh, you wicked little thing!' cried Alice, catching up the kitten, and
giving it a little kiss to make it understand that it was in disgrace.
‘Really, Dinah ought to have taught you better manners! You ought,
Dinah, you know you ought!' she added, looking reproachfully at the old
cat, and speaking in as cross a voice as she could manage-and then she
scrambled back into the arm-chair, taking the kitten and the worsted
with her, and began winding up the ball again. But she didn't get on
very fast, as she was talking all the time, sometimes to the kitten, and
sometimes to herself. Kitty sat very demurely on her knee, pretending to
watch the progress of the winding, and now and then putting out one
paw and gently touching the ball, as if it would be glad to help, if it

‘Do you know what to-morrow is, Kitty?' Alice began. ‘You'd have guessed
if you'd been up in the window with me-only Dinah was making you tidy,
so you couldn't. I was watching the boys getting in sticks for the
bonfire-and it wants plenty of sticks, Kitty! Only it got so cold, and
it snowed so, they had to leave off. Never mind, Kitty, we'll go and
see the bonfire to-morrow.' Here Alice wound two or three turns of the
worsted round the kitten's neck, just to see how it would look: this led
to a scramble, in which the ball rolled down upon the floor, and yards
and yards of it got unwound again.

‘Do you know, I was so angry, Kitty,' Alice went on as soon as they were
comfortably settled again, ‘when I saw all the mischief you had been
doing, I was very nearly opening the window, and putting you out into
the snow! And you'd have deserved it, you little mischievous darling!
What have you got to say for yourself? Now don't interrupt me!' she
went on, holding up one finger. ‘I'm going to tell you all your faults.
Number one: you squeaked twice while Dinah was washing your face this
morning. Now you can't deny it, Kitty: I heard you! What's that you
say?' (pretending that the kitten was speaking.) ‘Her paw went into your
eye? Well, that's your fault, for keeping your eyes open-if you'd
shut them tight up, it wouldn't have happened. Now don't make any more
excuses, but listen! Number two: you pulled Snowdrop away by the tail
just as I had put down the saucer of milk before her! What, you were
thirsty, were you? How do you know she wasn't thirsty too? Now for
number three: you unwound every bit of the worsted while I wasn't

‘That's three faults, Kitty, and you've not been punished for any of
them yet. You know I'm saving up all your punishments for Wednesday
week-Suppose they had saved up all my punishments!' she went on,
talking more to herself than the kitten. ‘What would they do at the end
of a year? I should be sent to prison, I suppose, when the day came.
Or-let me see-suppose each punishment was to be going without a
dinner: then, when the miserable day came, I should have to go without
fifty dinners at once! Well, I shouldn't mind that much! I'd far rather
go without them than eat them!

‘Do you hear the snow against the window-panes, Kitty? How nice and soft
it sounds! Just as if some one was kissing the window all over outside.
I wonder if the snow loves the trees and fields, that it kisses them so
gently? And then it covers them up snug, you know, with a white quilt;
and perhaps it says, "Go to sleep, darlings, till the summer comes
again." And when they wake up in the summer, Kitty, they dress
themselves all in green, and dance about-whenever the wind blows-oh,
that's very pretty!' cried Alice, dropping the ball of worsted to clap
her hands. ‘And I do so wish it was true! I'm sure the woods look sleepy
in the autumn, when the leaves are getting brown.

‘Kitty, can you play chess? Now, don't smile, my dear, I'm asking it
seriously. Because, when we were playing just now, you watched just as
if you understood it: and when I said "Check!" you purred! Well, it was
a nice check, Kitty, and really I might have won, if it hadn't been for
that nasty Knight, that came wiggling down among my pieces. Kitty, dear,
let's pretend-' And here I wish I could tell you half the things Alice
used to say, beginning with her favourite phrase ‘Let's pretend.' She
had had quite a long argument with her sister only the day before-all
because Alice had begun with ‘Let's pretend we're kings and queens;' and
her sister, who liked being very exact, had argued that they couldn't,
because there were only two of them, and Alice had been reduced at last
to say, ‘Well, you can be one of them then, and I'll be all the rest.'
And once she had really frightened her old nurse by shouting suddenly in
her ear, ‘Nurse! Do let's pretend that I'm a hungry hyaena, and you're a

But this is taking us away from Alice's speech to the kitten. ‘Let's
pretend that you're the Red Queen, Kitty! Do you know, I think if you
sat up and folded your arms, you'd look exactly like her. Now do try,
there's a dear!' And Alice got the Red Queen off the table, and set it
up before the kitten as a model for it to imitate: however, the thing
didn't succeed, principally, Alice said, because the kitten wouldn't
fold its arms properly. So, to punish it, she held it up to the
Looking-glass, that it might see how sulky it was-‘and if you're not
good directly,' she added, ‘I'll put you through into Looking-glass
House. How would you like that?'

‘Now, if you'll only attend, Kitty, and not talk so much, I'll tell you
all my ideas about Looking-glass House. First, there's the room you can
see through the glass-that's just the same as our drawing room, only
the things go the other way. I can see all of it when I get upon a
chair-all but the bit behind the fireplace. Oh! I do so wish I could
see that bit! I want so much to know whether they've a fire in the
winter: you never can tell, you know, unless our fire smokes, and then
smoke comes up in that room too-but that may be only pretence, just to
make it look as if they had a fire. Well then, the books are something
like our books, only the words go the wrong way; I know that, because
I've held up one of our books to the glass, and then they hold up one in
the other room.

‘How would you like to live in Looking-glass House, Kitty? I wonder if
they'd give you milk in there? Perhaps Looking-glass milk isn't good
to drink-But oh, Kitty! now we come to the passage. You can just see a
little peep of the passage in Looking-glass House, if you leave the door
of our drawing-room wide open: and it's very like our passage as far
as you can see, only you know it may be quite different on beyond.
Oh, Kitty! how nice it would be if we could only get through into
Looking-glass House! I'm sure it's got, oh! such beautiful things in it!
Let's pretend there's a way of getting through into it, somehow, Kitty.
Let's pretend the glass has got all soft like gauze, so that we can get
through. Why, it's turning into a sort of mist now, I declare! It'll be
easy enough to get through-' She was up on the chimney-piece while she
said this, though she hardly knew how she had got there. And certainly
the glass was beginning to melt away, just like a bright silvery mist.

In another moment Alice was through the glass, and had jumped lightly
down into the Looking-glass room. The very first thing she did was
to look whether there was a fire in the fireplace, and she was quite
pleased to find that there was a real one, blazing away as brightly as
the one she had left behind. ‘So I shall be as warm here as I was in the
old room,' thought Alice: ‘warmer, in fact, because there'll be no one
here to scold me away from the fire. Oh, what fun it'll be, when they
see me through the glass in here, and can't get at me!'

Then she began looking about, and noticed that what could be seen from
the old room was quite common and uninteresting, but that all the rest
was as different as possible. For instance, the pictures on the
wall next the fire seemed to be all alive, and the very clock on
the chimney-piece (you know you can only see the back of it in the
Looking-glass) had got the face of a little old man, and grinned at her.

‘They don't keep this room so tidy as the other,' Alice thought to
herself, as she noticed several of the chessmen down in the hearth among
the cinders: but in another moment, with a little ‘Oh!' of surprise, she
was down on her hands and knees watching them. The chessmen were walking
about, two and two!

‘Here are the Red King and the Red Queen,' Alice said (in a whisper, for
fear of frightening them), ‘and there are the White King and the White
Queen sitting on the edge of the shovel-and here are two castles
walking arm in arm-I don't think they can hear me,' she went on, as she
put her head closer down, ‘and I'm nearly sure they can't see me. I feel
somehow as if I were invisible'

Here something began squeaking on the table behind Alice, and made her
turn her head just in time to see one of the White Pawns roll over and
begin kicking: she watched it with great curiosity to see what would
happen next.

‘It is the voice of my child!' the White Queen cried out as she rushed
past the King, so violently that she knocked him over among the cinders.
‘My precious Lily! My imperial kitten!' and she began scrambling wildly
up the side of the fender.

‘Imperial fiddlestick!' said the King, rubbing his nose, which had been
hurt by the fall. He had a right to be a little annoyed with the Queen,
for he was covered with ashes from head to foot.

Alice was very anxious to be of use, and, as the poor little Lily was
nearly screaming herself into a fit, she hastily picked up the Queen and
set her on the table by the side of her noisy little daughter.

The Queen gasped, and sat down: the rapid journey through the air had
quite taken away her breath and for a minute or two she could do nothing
but hug the little Lily in silence. As soon as she had recovered her
breath a little, she called out to the White King, who was sitting
sulkily among the ashes, ‘Mind the volcano!'