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some minutes it puffed away without speaking; but at last it
unfolded its arms, took the hookah out of its mouth again, and said
“So you think you’re changed, do you?” “I’m afraid I am, Sir,” said
Alice. “I ca’n’t remember things as I used-and I don’t keep the
same size for ten minutes together!” “Can’t remember what
things?” said the Caterpillar.
“Well, I’ve tried to say ‘How doth the little busy bee,’ but it all
came different!” Alice replied in a very melancholy voice.
“Repeat ‘You are old, Father William,’” said the Caterpillar.
Alice folded her hands, and began“You are old, Father William,”
the young man said, “And your hair has become very white; And
yet you incessantly stand on your head Do you think, at your age,
it is right?”
“In my youth,” Father William replied to his son, “I feared it might
injure the brain; But, now that I’m perfectly sure I have none, Why,
I do it again and again.”
“You are old,” said the youth, “as I mentioned before, And have
grown most uncommonly fat; Yet you turned a back-somersault in
at the door Pray, what is the reason of that?”
“In my youth,” said the sage, as he shook his grey locks, “I kept all
my limbs very supple By the use of this ointment-one shilling the
boxAllow me to sell you a couple?”
“You are old,” said the youth, “and your jaws are too weak For
anything tougher than suet; Yet you finished the goose, with the
bones and the beak Pray, how did you manage to do it?”
“In my youth,” said his father, “I took to the law, And argued each
case with my wife; And the muscular strength, which it gave to my
jaw Has lasted the rest of my life.”
“You are old,” said the youth, “one would hardly suppose That
your eye was as steady as ever; Yet you balanced an eel on the end
of your nose What made you so awfully clever?”
“I have answered three questions, and that is enough,” Said his
father. “Don’t give yourself airs! Do you think I can listen all day to
such stuff? Be off, or I’ll kick you down-stairs!”
“That is not said right,” said the Caterpillar.
“Not quite right, I’m afraid,” said Alice, timidly: “some of the
words have got altered.” “It is wrong from beginning to end,” said
the Caterpillar, decidedly; and there was silence for some minutes.
The Caterpillar was the first to speak.
“What size do you want to be?” it asked.
“Oh, I’m not particular as to size,” Alice hastily replied; “only one
doesn’t like changing so often, you know.” “I don’t know,” said the