"Down, down, down. There was nothing else to do . . . "
On gratitude for important things overlooked:
"`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!'"
On the law of an object in motion:
"`Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?'
`That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,' said the Cat.
`I don't much care where--' said Alice.
`Then it doesn't matter which way you go,' said the Cat.
`--so long as I get somewhere,' Alice added as an explanation.
`Oh, you're sure to do that,' said the Cat, `if you only walk long enough.'"
On my presence and participation:
"Alice felt that this could not be denied, so she tried another question. `What sort of people live about here?'
`In that direction,' the Cat said, waving its right paw round, `lives a Hatter: and in that direction,' waving the other paw, `lives a March Hare. Visit either you like: they're both mad.'
`But I don't want to go among mad people,' Alice remarked.
`Oh, you can't help that,' said the Cat: `we're all mad here. I'm mad. You're mad.'
`How do you know I'm mad?' said Alice.
`You must be,' said the Cat, `or you wouldn't have come here.'"
On the guilt of self-pity and the self-pity of guilt and the guilt of self-pity:
. . . and in another moment, splash! she was up to her chin in salt water.
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!'"
On what things really are when I let go of what I want them to be:
"While the Duchess sang the second verse of the song, she kept tossing the baby violently up and down, and the poor little thing howled so, that Alice could hardly hear the words:--
`Here! you may nurse it a bit, if you like!' the Duchess said to Alice, flinging the baby at her as she spoke. . .
. . . `If I don't take this child away with me,' thought Alice, `they're sure to kill it in a day or two: wouldn't it be murder to leave it behind?' She said the last words out loud, and the little thing grunted in reply (it had left off sneezing by this time). `Don't grunt,' said Alice; `that's not at all a proper way of expressing yourself.'
The baby grunted again, and Alice looked very anxiously into its face to see what was the matter with it. There could be no doubt that it had a very turn-up nose, much more like a snout than a real nose; also its eyes were getting extremely small for a baby: altogether Alice did not like the look of the thing at all. `But perhaps it was only sobbing,' she thought, and looked into its eyes again, to see if there were any tears.
No, there were no tears. `If you're going to turn into a pig, my dear,' said Alice, seriously, `I'll have nothing more to do with you. Mind now!' The poor little thing sobbed again (or grunted, it was impossible to say which), and they went on for some while in silence.
Alice was just beginning to think to herself, `Now, what am I to do with this creature, when I get it home?" when it grunted again, so violently, that she looked down into its face with some alarm. This time there could be no mistake about it: it was neither more nor less than a pig, and she felt that it would be quite absurd for her to carry it any further.
So she set the little creature down, and felt quite relieved to see it trot away quietly into the wood. `If it had grown up,' she said to herself, `it would have made a dreadfully ugly child: but it makes rather a handsome pig, I think.' And she began thinking over other children she knew, who might do very well as pigs . . . "
On me - the part of the Caterpillar is also played by me:
"`Who are you?' said the Caterpillar.
`I--I hardly know, Sir, just at present--at least I know who I was when I got up this morning, but I think I must have been changed several times since then".
`What do you mean by that?' said the Caterpillar sternly. `Explain yourself!'
`I can't explain myself, I'm afraid, sir' said Alice, `because I'm not myself, you see.'
`I don't see,' said the Caterpillar....Alice thought she might as well wait, as she had nothing else to do, and perhaps after all it might tell her something worth hearing. For some minutes it puffed away without speaking, but at last it unfolded its arms, took the hookah out of its mouth again, and said:
`So you think you're changed, do you?'
`I'm afraid I am, sir,' said Alice; `I can't remember things as I used--and I don't keep the same size for ten minutes together!'"
On knowing nothing:
"The Hatter opened his eyes very wide on hearing this; but all he said was, `Why is a raven like a writing-desk?'
`Come, we shall have some fun now!' thought Alice. `I'm glad they've begun asking riddles.--I believe I can guess that,' she added aloud.
`Do you mean that you think you can find out the answer to it?' said the March Hare.`Exactly so,' said Alice.
`Then you should say what you mean,' the March Hare went on.
`I do,' Alice hastily replied; `at least--at least I mean what I say--that's the same thing, you know.'
`Not the same thing a bit!' said the Hatter. `You might just as well say that "I see what I eat" is the same thing as "I eat what I see"!'
`You might just as well say,' added the March Hare, `that "I like what I get" is the same thing as "I get what I like"!'
`You might just as well say,' added the Dormouse, who seemed to be talking in his sleep, `that "I breathe when I sleep" is the same thing as "I sleep when I breathe"!'
`It is the same thing with you,' said the Hatter, and here the conversation dropped, and the party sat silent for a minute, while Alice thought over all she could remember about ravens and writing-desks, which wasn't much."
On the arrogance of boredom . . . the disrespect of Time:
"Alice sighed wearily. `I think you might do something better with the time,' she said, `than waste it in asking riddles that have no answers.'
`If you knew Time as well as I do,' said the Hatter, `you wouldn't talk about wasting it. It's him.'
`I don't know what you mean,' said Alice.
`Of course you don't!' the Hatter said, tossing his head contemptuously. `I dare say you never even spoke to Time!'
`Perhaps not,' Alice cautiously replied: `but I know I have to beat time when I learn music.'
`Ah! that accounts for it,' said the Hatter. `He won't stand beating. Now, if you only kept on good terms with him, he'd do almost anything you liked with the clock. For instance, suppose it were nine o'clock in the morning, just time to begin lessons: you'd only have to whisper a hint to Time, and round goes the clock in a twinkling! Half-past one, time for dinner!'"
On my fear of going hungry:
`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.'"
On seeing the truth that falls the illusion:
`Sentence first--verdict afterwards.'
`Stuff and nonsense!' said Alice loudly. `The idea of having the sentence first!'
`Hold your tongue!' said the Queen, turning purple.
`I won't!' said Alice.
`Off with her head!' the Queen shouted at the top of her voice. Nobody moved.
`Who cares for you?' said Alice, (she had grown to her full size by this time.) `You're nothing but a pack of cards!'
At this the whole pack rose up into the air, and came flying down upon her: she gave a little scream, half of fright and half of anger, and tried to beat them off, and found herself lying on the bank, with her head in the lap of her sister, who was gently brushing away some dead leaves that had fluttered down from the trees upon her face.
`Wake up, Alice dear!'
`Why, what a long sleep you've had!'
On waking into a new reality:
"`Now, Kitty, let's consider who it was that dreamed it all. This is a serious question, my dear, and you should not go on licking your paw like that--as if Dinah hadn't washed you this morning! You see, Kitty, it must have been either me or the Red King. He was part of my dream, of course--but then I was part of his dream, too! Was it the Red King, Kitty? You were his wife, my dear, so you ought to know--Oh, Kitty, do help to settle it! I'm sure your paw can wait!' But the provoking kitten only began on the other paw, and pretended it hadn't heard the question."
"In a Wonderland they lie,
Dreaming as the days go by,
Dreaming as the summers die:
Ever drifting down the stream --
Lingering in the golden gleam --
Life, what is it but a dream?"
The above excerpts are from Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass as they parallel my own adventures in this lifetime . . .
All Original Illustrations by: John Tenniel
Alice and the tumbling cards and Alice holding the baby pig by: Arthur Rackham
Dear sister Singleton . . . to Alice . . . to Wonderland . . . to us!