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“Then the Dormouse shall!” they both cried. “Wake up,
Dormouse!” And they pinched it on both sides at once.
The Dormouse slowly opened its eyes. “I wasn’t asleep,” it said in
a hoarse, feeble voice, “I heard every word you fellows were
saying.” “Tell us a story!” said the March Hare.
“Yes, please do!” pleaded Alice.
“And be quick about it,” added the Hatter, “or you’ll be asleep
again before it’s done.” “Once upon a time there were three little
sisters,” the Dormouse began in a great hurry; “and their names
were Elsie, Lacie and Tillie; and they lived at the bottom of a well-”
“What did they live on?” said Alice, who always took a great
interest in questions of eating and drinking.
“They lived on treacle,” said the Dormouse, after thinking a minute
“They couldn’t have done that, you know,” Alice gently remarked.
“They’d have been have ill.” “So they were,” said the Dormouse;
“very ill.” Alice tried a little to fancy to herself what such an
extraordinary way of living would be like, but it puzzled her too
much: so she went on: “But why did they live at the bottom of a
well?” “Take some more tea,” the March Hare said to Alice, very
“I’ve had nothing yet,” Alice replied in an offended tone: “so I
ca’n’t take more.” “You mean you ca’n’t take less,” said the Hatter:
“it’s very easy to take more than nothing.” “Nobody asked your
opinion,” said Alice.
“Who’s making personal remarks now!” the Hatter asked
Alice did not quite know what to say to this: so she helped herself
to some tea and bread-and-butter, and then turned to the
Dormouse, and repeated her question. “Why did they live at the
bottom of a well?”
The Dormouse again took a minute or two to think about it, and
then said “It was a treacle-well.” “There’s no such thing!” Alice
was beginning very angrily, but the Hatter and the March Hare
went “Sh! Sh!” and the Dormouse sulkily remarked “If you ca’n’t
be civil, you’d better finish the story for yourself.” “No, please go
on!” Alice said very humbly. “I wo’n’t interrupt you again. I dare
say there may be one.” “One, indeed!” said the Dormouse
indignantly. However, he consented to go on. “And so these three
little sisters-they were learning to draw, you know-” “What did
they draw?” said Alice, quite forgetting her promise.
“Treacle,” said the Dormouse, without considering at all, this time.
“I want a clean cup,” interrupted the Hatter: “let’s all move one
place on.” He moved on as he spoke, and the Dormouse followed