same effect.”

“Happy, happy, happy Small!” Lady Muriel murmured rapturously.

“None but the Short, none but the Short, none but the Short enjoy the Tall!”

“But let me go on,” said the Earl. “We’ll have a third race of men,

five inches high; a fourth race, an inch high–”

“They couldn’t eat common beef and mutton, I’m sure!” Lady Muriel


“True, my child, I was forgetting. Each set must have its own cattle

and sheep.”

“And its own vegetation,” I added. “What could a cow, an inch high,

do with grass that waved far above its head?”

“That is true. We must have a pasture within a pasture, so to speak.

The common grass would serve our inch-high cows as a green forest of

palms, while round the root of each tall stem would stretch a tiny

carpet of microscopic grass. Yes, I think our scheme will work fairly

well. And it would be very interesting, coming into contact with the

races below us. What sweet little things the inch-high bull-dogs would

be! I doubt if even Muriel would run away from one of them!”

“Don’t you think we ought to have a crescendo series, as well?” said

Lady Muriel. “Only fancy being a hundred yards high!

One could use an elephant as a paper-weight, and a crocodile as a pair

of scissors!”

“And would you have races of different sizes communicate with one

another?” I enquired. “Would they make war on one another, for instance,

or enter into treaties?”

“War we must exclude, I think. When you could crush a whole nation

with one blow of your fist, you couldn’t conduct war on equal terms.

But anything, involving a collision of minds only, would be possible in

our ideal world–for of course we must allow mental powers to all,

irrespective of size. “Perhaps the fairest rule would be that,

the smaller the race, the greater should be its intellectual development!”

“Do you mean to say,” said Lady Muriel, “that these manikins of an inch

high are to argue with me?”

“Surely, surely!” said the Earl. “An argument doesn’t depend for its

logical force on the size of the creature that utters it!”

She tossed her head indignantly. “I would not argue with any man less

than six inches high!” she cried. “I’d make him work!”

“What at?” said Arthur, listening to all this nonsense with an amused


“Embroidery!” she readily replied. “What lovely embroidery they would do!”

“Yet, if they did it wrong,” I said, “you couldn’t argue the question.

I don’t know why: but I agree that it couldn’t be done.”

“The reason is,” said Lady Muriel, “one couldn’t sacrifice one’s

dignity so far.”

“Of course one couldn’t!” echoed Arthur. “Any more than one could

argue with a potato. It would be altogether–excuse the ancient

pun–infra dig.!”

“I doubt it,” said I. “Even a pun doesn’t quite convince me.”

“Well, if that is not the reason,” said Lady Muriel, “what reason would

you give?”

I tried hard to understand the meaning of this question: but the

persistent humming of the bees confused me, and there was a drowsiness

in the air that made every thought stop and go to sleep before it had

got well thought out: so all I could say was “That must depend on the

weight of the potato.”

I felt the remark was not so sensible as I should have liked it to be.

But Lady Muriel seemed to take it quite as a matter of course.

“In that case–” she began, but suddenly started, and turned away to

listen. “Don’t you hear him?” she said. “He’s crying. We must go to

him, somehow.”

And I said to myself “That’s very strange.

I quite thought it was Lady Muriel talking to me. Why, it’s Sylvie all

the while!” And I made another great effort to say something that

should have some meaning in it. “Is it about the potato?”



“I don’t know,” said Sylvie. “Hush! I must think. I could go to him,

by myself, well enough. But I want you to come too.”

“Let me go with you,” I pleaded. “I can walk as fast as you can,

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Categories: Carroll, Lewis