“And what does it live on?”
“weak tea with cream in it.”
A new difficulty came into Alice’s head. “Supposing it couldn’t find any?” she suggested.
“Then it would die, of course.”
“But that must happen very often,” Alice remarked thoughtfully. “It always happens,” said the Gnat.
After this, Alice was silent for a minute or two, pondering. The Gnat amused itself meanwhile by humming round and round her head: at last it settled again and remarked, “I suppose you don’t want to lose your name?”
“No, indeed,” Alice said, a little anxious.
“And yet I don’t know,” the Gnat went on in a careless tone: “only think how convenient it would be if you could manage to go home without it. For instance, if the governess wanted to call you to your lesson, she would call out , ’Come here — ,’ and there she would have to leave off, because there wouldn’t be any name for her to call and of course you wouldn’t have to go, you know.”
“That would never do, I’m sure,” said Alice: “the governess would never think of excusing me lessons for that. If she couldn’t. remember my name, she’d call me ’Miss!’ as the servants do.”
“Well, if she said “Miss,’ and didn’t say anything more,” the Gnat remarked, “of course you’d miss your lessons. That’s a joke. I wish you had made it.”
Why do you wish I had made it?” Alice asked.
“It’s a very bad one.”
But the Gnat only sighed deeply, while two large tears came rolling down its cheeks.
“You shouldn’t make jokes,” Alice said, “if it makes you so unhappy.”
Then came another of those melancholy little sighs, and this time the poor Gnat really seemed to have sighed itself away, for, when Alice looked up, there was nothing whatever to be seen on the twig, and, as she was getting quite chilly with sitting still so long, she got up and walked on.
She very soon came to an open field with a wood on the other side of it: it looked much darker than the last wood, and Alice felt a little timid about going into it. However, on second thoughts, she made up her mind to go on: “for I certainly won’t go back,” she thought to herself, and this was the only way to the Eighth Square.
“This must be the wood,” she said thoughtfully to herself, “where things have no names, I wonder what’ll become of my name when I go in? I shouldn’t like to lose it at all — because they’d have to give me another, and it would be almost certain to be an ugly one. But then the fun would be, trying to find the creature that had got my old name!
That’s just like the advertisements, you know, when people lose dogs — “answers to the name of “Dash”: had on a brass collar’ — just fancy calling everything you met “Alice,’ till one of them answered! Only they wouldn’t answer at all, if they were wise.” She was rambling on in this way when she reached the wood: it looked very cool and shady.
“Well, at any rate it’s a great comfort,” she said as she stepped under the trees, “after being so hot, to get into the — into the — into what?” she went on, rather surprised at not being able to think of the word. “I mean to get under the — under the — under this, you know!” putting her hand on the trunk of the tree. “What does it call itself? I do believe it’s got no name — why, to be sure it hasn’t!”
She stood silent for a minute, thinking: then she suddenly began again. “Then it really has happened, after all! And now, who am I? I will remember, if I can! I’m determined to do it!” But being detemined didn’t help her much, and all she could say, after a great deal of puzzling, was, “L, I know it begins with L!”
Just then a Fawn came wandering by: it looked at Alice with its large eyes, but didn’t seem at all frightened. “Here then! Here then!” Alice said, as she held out her hand and tried to stroke it: but it only started back a little, and then stood looking at her again.