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Lewis Carroll
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland 02
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Chapter 2
THE POOL OF TEARS

"Curiouser and curiouser!? cried Alice (she was so much surprised,
that for the moment she quite forgot how to speak good English); ?now
I'm opening out like the largest telescope that ever was! Good-bye, feet!?
(for when she looked down at her feet, they seemed to be almost out of
sight, they were getting so far off). ?Oh, my poor little feet, I wonder who
will put on your shoes and stockings for you now, dears? I'm sure I shan't
be able! I shall be a great deal too far off to trouble myself about you: you
must manage the best way you can; ?but I must be kind to them,? thought
Alice, ?or perhaps they won't walk the way I want to go! Let me see: I'll
give them a new pair of boots every Christmas.?

And she went on planning to herself how she would manage it.
?They must go by the carrier,? she thought; ?and how funny it'll seem,
sending presents to one's own feet! And how odd the directions will look!

ALICE'S RIGHT FOOT, ESQ.
HEARTHRUG,
NEAR THE FENDER,
(WITH ALICE'S LOVE).

"Oh dear, what nonsense I'm talking!?
Just at this moment her head struck against the roof of the hall: in
fact she was now rather more than nine feet high, and she at once took up
the little golden key and hurried off to the garden door.

Poor Alice! It was as much as she could do, lying down on one
side, to look through into the garden with one eye; but to get through
was more hopeless than ever: she sat down and began to cry again.

?You ought to be ashamed of yourself,? said Alice, ?a great girl like
you,? (she might well say this), ?to go on crying in this way! Stop this
moment, I tell you!? But she went on all the same, shedding gallons of
tears, until there was a large pool all round her, about four inches deep
and reaching half down the hall.

After a time she heard a little pattering of feet in the distance, and
she hastily dried her eyes to see what was coming. It was the White
Rabbit returning, splendidly dressed, with a pair of white kid gloves in
one hand and a large fan in the other: he came trotting along in a great
hurry, muttering to himself as he came, ?Oh! the Duchess, the Duchess!
Oh! won't she be savage if I've kept her waiting!? Alice felt so desperate
that she was ready to ask help of any one; so, when the Rabbit came
near her, she began, in a low, timid voice, ?If you please, sir?? The
Rabbit started violently, dropped the white kid gloves and the fan, and
skurried away into the darkness as hard as he could go.

Alice took up the fan and gloves, and, as the hall was very hot, she
kept fanning herself all the time she went on talking: ?Dear, dear! How
queer everything is to-day! And yesterday things went on just as usual.
I wonder if I've been changed in the night? Let me think: was I the same
when I got up this morning? I almost think I can remember feeling a little
different. But if I'm not the same, the next question is, Who in the world
am I? Ah, that's the great puzzle!? And she began thinking over all the
children she knew that were of the same age as herself, to see if she
could have been changed for any of them.

?I'm sure I'm not Ada,? she said, ?for her hair goes in such long
ringlets, and mine doesn't go in ringlets at all; and I'm sure I can't be
Mabel, for I know all sorts of things, and she, oh! she knows such a
very little! Besides, she's she, and I'm I, and?oh dear, how puzzling it
all is! I'll try if I know all the things I used to know. Let me see: four
times five is twelve, and four times six is thirteen, and four times seven
is?oh dear! I shall never get to twenty at that rate! However, the
Multiplication don't signify: let's try Geography. London is
the capital of Paris, and Paris is the capital of Rome, and Rome?no,
that's all wrong, I'm certain! I must have been changed for Mabel! I'll
try and say "How doth the little?"' and she crossed her hands on her
lap as if she were saying lessons, and began to repeat it, but her voice
sounded hoarse and strange, and the words did not come the same as
they used to:?

?How doth the little crocodile
Improve his shining tail,
And pour the waters of the Nile
On every golden scale!

?How cheerfully he seems to grin,
How neatly spreads his claws,
And welcome little fishes in
With gently smiling jaws!?

?I'm sure those are not the right words,? said poor Alice, and her
eyes filled with tears again as she went on, ?I must be Mabel after
all, and I shall have to go and live in that poky little house, and have
next to no toys to play with, and oh! ever so many lessons to learn!
No, I've made up my mind about it; if I'm Mabel, I'll stay down here!
It'll be no use their putting their heads down and saying "Come up
again, dear!" I shall only look up and say "Who am I then? Tell me
that first, and then, if I like being that person, I'll come up: if not, I'll
stay down here till I'm somebody else"?but, oh dear!? cried Alice,
with a sudden burst of tears, ?I do wish they would put their heads
down! I am so very tired of being all alone here!?

As she said this she looked down at her hands, and was surprised
to see that she had put on one of the Rabbit's little white kid gloves
while she was talking. ?How can I have done that?? she thought. ?I
must be growing small again.? She got up and went to the table to
measure herself by it, and found that, as nearly as she could guess,
she was now about two feet high, and was going on shrinking rapidly:
she soon found out that the cause of this was the fan she was
holding, and she dropped it hastily, just in time to save herself from
shrinking away altogether.

?That was a narrow escape!? said Alice, a good deal frightened
at the sudden change, but very glad to find herself still in existence;
?and now for the garden!? and she ran with all speed back to the
little door: but, alas! the little door was shut again, and the little
golden key was lying on the glass table as before, ?and things are
worse than ever,? thought the poor child, ?for I never was so small
as this before, never! And I declare it's too bad, that it is!?

As she said these words her foot slipped, and in another
moment, splash! she was up to her chin in salt water. Her first idea
was that she had somehow fallen into the sea, ?and in that case
I can go back by railway,? she said to herself. (Alice had been to
the seaside once in her life, and had come to the general conclusion,
that wherever you go to on the English coast you find a number of
bathing machines in the sea, some children digging in the sand with
wooden spades, then a row of lodging houses, and behind them a
railway station.) However, she soon made out that she was in the
pool of tears which she had wept when she was nine feet high.

?I wish I hadn't cried so much!? said Alice, as she swam
about, trying to find her way out. ?I shall be punished for it now,
I suppose, by being drowned in my own tears! That will be a queer
thing, to be sure! However, everything is queer to-day.?

Just then she heard something splashing about in the pool
a little way off, and she swam nearer to make out what it was: at
first she thought it must be a walrus or hippopotamus, but then
she remembered how small she was now, and she soon made
out that it was only a mouse that had slipped in like herself.

?Would it be of any use, now,? thought Alice, ?to speak to this
mouse? Everything is so out-of-the-way down here, that I should
think very likely it can talk: at any rate, there's no harm in trying.?
So she began: ?O Mouse, do you know the way out of this pool?
I am very tired of swimming about here, O Mouse!? (Alice thought
this must be the right way of speaking to a mouse: she had never
done such a thing before, but she remembered having seen in her
brother's Latin Grammar, ?A mouse?of a mouse?to a mouse?a
mouse?O mouse!? The Mouse looked at her rather inquisitively, and
seemed to her to wink with one of its little eyes, but it said nothing.

?Perhaps it doesn't understand English,? thought Alice; ?I
daresay it's a French mouse, come over with William the Conqueror.?
(For, with all her knowledge of history, Alice had no very clear notion
how long ago anything had happened.) So she began again: ?Ou
est ma chatte?? which was the first sentence in her French lesson-book.
The Mouse gave a sudden leap out of the water, and seemed to quiver
all over with fright. ?Oh, I beg your pardon!? cried Alice hastily, afraid
that she had hurt the poor animal's feelings. ?I quite forgot you didn't
like cats.?

?Not like cats!? cried the Mouse, in a shrill, passionate voice.
?Would you like cats if you were me??

?Well, perhaps not,? said Alice in a soothing tone: ?don't be angry
about it. And yet I wish I could show you our cat Dinah: I think you'd
take a fancy to cats if you could only see her. She is such a dear quiet
thing,? Alice went on, half to herself, as she swam lazily about in the
pool, ?and she sits purring so nicely by the fire, licking her paws and
washing her face?and she is such a nice soft thing to nurse?and
she's such a capital one for catching mice?oh, I beg your pardon!?
cried Alice again, for this time the Mouse was bristling all over, and
she felt certain it must be really offended. ?We won't talk about her
any more if you'd rather not.?

?We indeed!? cried the Mouse, who was trembling down to the
end of his tail. ?As if I would talk on such a subject! Our family always
hated cats: nasty, low, vulgar things! Don't let me hear the name again!?

?I won't indeed!? said Alice, in a great hurry to change the subject
of conversation. ?Are you?are you fond?of?of dogs?? The Mouse did
not answer, so Alice went on eagerly: ?There is such a nice little dog
near our house I should like to show you! A little bright-eyed terrier,
you know, with oh, such long curly brown hair! And it'll fetch things
when you throw them, and it'll sit up and beg for its dinner, and all
sorts of things?I can't remember half of them?and it belongs to a
farmer, you know, and he says it's so useful, it's worth a hundred
pounds! He says it kills all the rats and?oh dear!? cried Alice in a
sorrowful tone, ?I'm afraid I've offended it again!? For the Mouse was
swimming away from her as hard as it could go, and making quite a
commotion in the pool as it went.

So she called softly after it, ?Mouse dear! Do come back again,
and we won't talk about cats or dogs either, if you don't like them!?
When the Mouse heard this, it turned round and swam slowly back
to her: its face was quite pale (with passion, Alice thought), and it
said in a low trembling voice, ?Let us get to the shore, and then I'll
tell you my history, and you'll understand why it is I hate cats and dogs.?

It was high time to go, for the pool was getting quite crowded
with birds and animals that had fallen into it: there was a Duck
and a Dodo, a Lory and an Eaglet, and several other curious creatures.
Alice led the way, and the whole party swam to the shore.

(from "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" - 1865)

Alice: Ellie Wen
Narrator: Adam Frank
White Rabbit: Mark Eckardt
Voice: Phil Burns
Mouse: Allison Karic

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Read by: Phil Burns, Mark Eckardt, Adam Frank, Allison Karic, & Ellie Wen
 

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