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Электронная библиотека .: Классика .: Кэрролл, Льюис .: Through the looking glass

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Lewis Carroll. Through the looking glass

CHAPTER 1  Looking-Glass house

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 middle.
- 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 might.
- 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 stick 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 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 looking!
- 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
- 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 say 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 bone.
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 Lookingglass 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 a 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!
- What volcano? - said the Kind, looking up anxiously into the fire,
as if he thought that was the most likely place to find one.
- Blew - me - up, - panted the Queen, who was still a little out of
breath. - Mind you come up - the regular way - don't get blown up!
Alice watched the White King as he slowly struggled up from bar to
bar, till at last she said, - Why, you'll be hours and hours getting to
the table, at that rate. I'd far better help you, hadn't I? - But the King
took no notice of the question: it was quite clear that he could neither
hear her nor see her.
So Alice picked him up very gently, and lifted him across more slowly
than she had lifted the Queen, that she mightn't take his breath away:
but, before she put him on the table, she thought she might as well dust
him a little, he was so covered with ashes.
She said afterwards that she had never seen in all her life such a
face as the King made, when he found himself held in the air by an
invisible hand, and being dusted: he was far too much astonished to cry
out, but his eyes and his mouth went on getting larger and larger, and
rounder and rounder, till her hand shook so with laughing that she nearly
let him drop upon the floor.
- Oh! PLEASE don't make such faces, my dear! - she cried out, quite
forgetting that the King couldn't hear her. - You make me laugh so that I
can hardly hold you! And don't keep your mouth so wide open! All the ashes
will get into it - there, now I think you're tidy enough! - she added, as
she smoothed his hair, and set him upon the table near the Queen.
The King immediately fell flat on his back, and lay perfectly still:
and Alice was a little alarmed at what she had done, and went round the
room to see if she could find any water to throw over him. However, she
could find nothing but a bottle of ink, and when she got back with it she
found he had recovered, and he and the Queen were talking together in a
frightened whisper - so low, that Alice could hardly hear what they said.
The King was saying, - I assure, you my dear, I turned cold to the
very ends of my wh
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