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could hear him sighing as if his heart would break. She pitied him
deeply. “What is his sorrow?” she asked the Gryphon. And the
Gryphon answered, very nearly in the same words as before, “It’s
all his fancy, that: he hasn’t got no sorrow, you know.
Come on!” So they went up to the Mock Turtle, who looked at
them with large eyes full of tears, but said nothing.
“This here young lady,” said the Gryphon, “she wants for to know
your history, she do.” “I’ll tell it her,” said the Mock Turtle in a
deep, hollow tone. “Sit down, both of you, and don’t speak a word
till I’ve finished.” So they sat down, and nobody spoke for some
minutes. Alice thought to herself “I don’t see how he can ever
finish, if he doesn’t begin.” But she waited patiently.
“Once,” said the Mock Turtle at last, with a deep sigh, “I was a real
Turtle.” These words were followed by a very long silence, broken
only by an occasional exclamation of “Hjckrrh!” from the Gryphon,
and the constant heavy sobbing of the Mock Turtle. Alice was very
nearly getting up and saying, “Thank you, Sir, for your interesting
story,” but she could not help thinking there must be more to
come, so she sat still and said nothing.
“When we were little,” the Mock Turtle went on at last, more
calmly, though still sobbing a little now and then, “we went to
school in the sea. The master was an old Turtle-we used to call
him Tortoise-” “Why did you call him Tortoise, if he wasn’t one?”
“We called him Tortoise because he taught us,” said the Mock
“Really you are very dull!” “You ought to be ashamed of yourself
for asking such a simple question,” added the Gryphon; and then
they both sat silent and looked at poor Alice, who felt ready to sink
into the earth. At last the Gryphon said to the Mock Turtle “Drive
on, old fellow! Don’t be all day about it!” and he went on in these
words:“Yes, we went to school in the sea, though you mayn’t
believe it-” “I never said I didn’t!” interrupted Alice.
“You did,” said the Mock Turtle.
“Hold your tongue!” added the Gryphon, before Alice could speak
again. The Mock Turtle went on.
“We had the best of educations-in fact, we went to school every
day-” “I’ve been to a day-school, too,” said Alice. “You needn’t be
so proud as all that.” “With extras?” asked the Mock Turtle, a little
“Yes,” said Alice: “we learned French and music.” “And
washing?” said the Mock Turtle.
“Certainly not!” said Alice indignantly.