She glanced rather shyly at the real Queen as she said this, but her companion only smiled pleasantly, and said, “That’s easily managed. You can be the White Queen’s Pawn, if you like, as Lily’s too young to play; and you’re in the Second Square to begin with: when you get into the Eighth Square you’ll be a Queen — -” Just at this moment, somehow or other, they began to run.
Alice never could quite make out, in thinking it over afterwards, how it was that they began: all she remembers is, that they were running hand in hand, and the Queen went so fast that it was all she could do to keep up with her: and still the Queen kept crying “Faster!” but Alice felt she could not go faster, though she had no breath to say so. The most curious part of the thing was, that the trees and the other things round them never changed their places at all: however fast they went, they never seemed to pass anything. “I wonder if all the things move along with us?” thought poor puzzled Alice. And the Queen seemed to guess her thoughts, for she cried, “Faster! Don’t try to talk!”
Not that Alice had any idea of doing that. She felt as if she would never be able to talk again, she was getting so out of breath: and still the Queen cried, “Faster! Faster!” and dragged her along. “Are we nearly there?” Alice managed to pant out at last.
“Nearly there!” the Queen repeated. “Why, we passed it ten minutes ago! Faster!” And they ran on for a time in silence, with the wind whistling in Alice’s ears, and almost blowing her hair off her head, she fancied.
“Now! Now!” cried the Queen. “Faster! Faster!” And they went so fast that at last they seemed to skim through the air, hardly touching the ground with their feet, till suddenly, just as Alice was getting quite exhausted, they stopped, and she found herself sitting on the ground, breathless and giddy. The Queen propped her against a tree, and said kindly, “You may rest a little now.”
Alice looked round her in great surprise. “Why, I do believe we’ve been under this tree all the time! Everything’s just as it was!”
“Of course it is,” said the Queen: “what would you have it?”
“Well, in our country,” said Alice, still panting a little, “you’d generally get to somewhere else — if you ran very fast for a long time, as we’ve been doing.”
“A slow sort of country!” said the Queen. “Now, here, you see, it takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place. If you want to get somewhere else, you must run at least twice as fast as that!”
“I’d rather not try, please!” said Alice. “I’m quite content to stay here — only I am so hot and thirsty! ”
“I know what you’d like!” the Queen said good-naturedly, taking a little box out of her pocket, “Have a biscuit?”
Alice thought it would not be civil to say “No,” though it wasn’t at all what she wanted. So she took it, and ate it as well as she could: and it was very dry; and she thought she had never been so nearly choked in all her life.
“While you’re refreshing yourself,” said the Queen, “I’ll just take the measurements.” And she took a ribbon out of her pocket, marked in inches, and began measuring out the ground, and sticking little pegs in here and there.
“At the end of two yards,” she said, putting in a peg to mark the distance, “I shall give you your directions — have another biscuit?”
“No, thank you,” said Alice: “one’s quite enough!”
“Thirst quenched, I hope?” said the Queen.
Alice did not know what to say to this, but luckily the Queen did not wait for an answer, but went on. “At the end of three yards I shall repeat them — for fear of your forgetting them. At the end of four, I shall say good-bye. And at the end of five, I shall go!”
She had got all the pegs put in by this time, and Alice looked on with great interest as she returned to the tree, and then began slowly walking down the row.