It was so long since she had been anything near the right size, that it felt quite strange at first; but she got used to it in a few minutes, and began talking to herself, as usual. “Come, there’s half my plan done now! How puzzling all these changes are! I’m never sure what I’m going to be, from one minute to another! However, I’ve got back to my right size : the next thing is, to get into that beautiful garden–how is that to be done, I wonder?” As she said this, she came suddenly upon an open place, with a little house in it about four feet high. “Who ever lives there,” thought Alice, “it’ll never do to come upon them this size: why, I should frighten them out of their wits!” So she began nibbling at the right-hand bit again, and did not venture to go near the house till she had brought herself down to nine inches high.
Pig and Pepper
FOR a minute or two she stood looking at the house, and wondering what to do next, when suddenly a footman in livery came running out of the wood–(she considered him to be a footman because he was in livery: otherwise, judging by his face only she would have called him a fish)–and rapped loudly at the door with his knuckles. It was opened by another footman in livery, with a round face, and large eyes like a frog; and both footmen, Alice noticed, had powdered hair that curled all over their heads. She felt very curious to know what it was all about, and crept a little way out of the wood to listen.
The Fish-Footman began by producing from under his arm a great letter, nearly as large as himself, and this he handed over to the other, saying, in a solemn tone, “For the Duchess. An invitation from the Queen to play croquet.” The Frog-Footman repeated, in the same solemn tone, only changing the order of the words a little, “From the Queen. An invitation for the Duchess to play croquet.”
Then they both bowed low, and their curls got entangled together.
Alice laughed so much at this, that she had to run back into the wood for fear of their hearing her; and, when she next peeped out, the Fish-Footman was gone, and the other was sitting on the ground near the door, staring stupidly up into the sky.
Alice went timidly up to the door, and knocked,
“There’s no sort of use in knocking,” said the Footman, “and that for two reasons. First, because I’m on the same side of the door as you are–secondly, because they’re making such a noise inside, no one could possibly hear you.” And certainly there was a most extraordinary noise going on within–a constant howling and sneezing, and every now and then a great crash, as if a dish or kettle had been broken to pieces.
“Please, then,” said Alice, “how am I to get in?”
“There might be some sense in your knocking,” the Footman went on without attending to her, “if we had the door between us. For instance, if you were inside, you might knock, and I could let you out, you know.” He was looking up into the sky all the time he was speaking, and this Alice thought decidedly uncivil. “But perhaps he can’t help it, she said to herself; “his eyes are so very nearly at the top of his head. But at any rate he might answer questions.–How am I to get in?” she repeated, aloud.
“I shall sit here,” the Footman remarked, “till to-morrow—”
At this moment the door of the house opened, and a large plate came skimming out, straight at the Footman’s head : it just grazed his nose, and broke to pieces against one of the trees behind him.
“–or next day, maybe,” the Footman continued in the same tone, exactly as if nothing had happened.
“How am I to get in?” asked Alice again, in a louder tone.
“Are you to get in at all?” said the Footman “That’s the first question, you know.”
It was, no doubt: only Alice did not like to be told so. “It’s really dreadful,” she muttered to herself, “the way all the creatures argue. It’s enough to drive one crazy!”