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So they began solemnly dancing round and round Alice, every
now and then treading on her toes when they passed too close, and
waving their fore-paws to mark the time, while the Mock Turtle
sang this, very slowly and sadly: “Will you walk a little faster?”
said a whiting to a snail, “There’s a porpoise close behind us, and
he’s treading on my tail.
See how eagerly the lobsters and the turtles all advance! They are
waiting on the shingle-will you come and join the dance? Will
you, wo’n’t you, will you, wo’n’t you, will you join the dance? Will
you, wo’n’t You, will you, wo’n’t you, wo’n’t you join the dance?
“You can really have no notion how delightful it will be When they
take us up and throw us, with the lobsters, out to sea!” But the
snail replied “Too far, too far!” and gave a look askanceSaid he
thanked the whiting kindly, but he would not join the dance.
Would not, could not, would not, could not, would not join the
Would not, could not, would not, could not, could not join the
“What matters it how far we go?” his scaly friend replied.
“There is another shore, you know, upon the other side.
Then turn not pale, beloved snail, but come and join the dance.
Will you, wo’n’t you, will you, wo’n’t you, will you join the dance?
Will you, wo’n’t you, will you, wo’n’t you, wo’n’t you join the
“Thank you, it’s a very interesting dance to watch,” said Alice,
feeling very glad that it was over at last: “and I do so like that
curious song about the whiting!” “Oh, as to the whiting,” said the
Mock Turtle, “they-you’ve seen them, of course?” “Yes,” said
Alice, “I’ve often seen them at dinn-” she checked herself hastily.
“I don’t know where Dinn may be,” said the Mock Turtle; “but, if
you’ve seen them so often, of course you know what they’re like?”
“I believe so,” Alice replied thoughtfully. “They have their tails in
their mouths-and they’re all over crumbs.” “You’re wrong about
the crumbs,” said the Mock Turtle: “crumbs would all wash off in
the sea. But they have their tails in their mouths; and the reason is-
” here the Mock Turtle yawned and shut his eyes. “Tell her about
the reason and all that,” he said to the Gryphon.
“The reason is,” said the Gryphon, “that they would go with the
lobsters to the dance. So they got thrown out to sea. So they had to
fall a long way. So they got their tails fast in their mouths. So they
couldn’t get them again. That’s all.” “Thank you,” said Alice, “it’s
very interesting. I never knew so much about a whiting before.” “I
can tell you more than that, if you like,” said the Gryphon. “Do
you know why it’s called a whiting?” “I never thought about it,”