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“Stand up and repeat ‘Tis the voice of the sluggard,’” said the
“How the creatures order one about, and make one repeat lessons!”
thought Alice. “I might just as well be at school at once.” However,
she got up, and began
to repeat it, but her head was so full of the Lobster-Quadrille, that
she hardly knew what she was saying; and the words came very
queer indeed:“’Tis the voice of the Lobster: I heard him declare
‘You have baked me too brown, I must sugar my hair.’ As a duck
with his eyelids, so he with his nose Trims his belt and his buttons,
and turns out his toes.
When the sands are all dry, he is gay as a lark, And will talk in
contemptuous tones of the Shark: But, when the tide rises and
sharks are around, His voice has a timid and tremulous sound.”
“That’s different from what I used to say when I was a child,” said
“Well, I never heard it before,” said the Mock Turtle; “but it
sounds uncommon nonsense.” Alice said nothing: she had sat
down with her face in her hands, wondering if anything would
ever happen in a natural way again.
“I should like to have it explained,” said the Mock Turtle.
“She ca’n’t explain it,” said the Gryphon hastily. “Go on with the
“But about his toes?” the Mock Turtle persisted. “How could he
turn them out with his nose, you know?” “It’s the first position in
dancing,” Alice said; but she was dreadfully puzzled by the whole
thing, and longed to change the subject.
“Go on with the next verse,” the Gryphon repeated: “it begins ‘I
passed by his garden.’” Alice did not dare to disobey, though she
felt sure it would all come wrong, and she went on in a trembling
voice: “’I Passed by his garden, and marked, with one eye, How
the Owl and the Panther were sharing a pie: The Panther took pie-
crust, and gravy, and meat, While the Owl had the dish as its share
of the treat.
When the pie was all finished, the Owl, as a boon, Was kindly
permitted to pocket the spoon: While the Panther received knife
and fork with a growl, And concluded the banquet by-“
“What is the use of repeating all that stuff?” the Mock Turtle
interrupted, “if you don’t explain it as you go on? It’s by far the
most confusing thing that I ever heard!”
“Yes, I think you’d better leave off,” said the Gryphon, and Alice
was only too glad to do so.
“Shall we try another figure of the Lobster-Quadrille?” the
Gryphon went on.