Page:Carroll - Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.djvu/44

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ALICE’S ADVENTURES IN WONDERLAND


inquisitively, and seemed to her to wink with one of its little eyes, but it said nothing.

“Perhaps it doesn’t understand English,” thought Alice; “I daresay it’s a French mouse, come over with William the Conqueror.” (For, with all her knowledge of history, Alice had no very clear notion how long ago anything had happened.) So she began again: “Où est ma chatte?” which was the first sentence in her French lesson-book. The Mouse gave a sudden leap out of the water, and seemed to quiver all over with fright. “Oh, I beg your pardon!” cried Alice hastily, afraid that she had hurt the poor animal’s feelings. “I quite forgot you didn’t like cats.”

“Not like cats!” cried the Mouse, in a shrill, passionate voice. “Would you like cats if you were me?”

“Well, perhaps not,” said Alice in a soothing tone: “don’t be angry about it. And yet I wish I could show you our cat Dinah: I think you’d take a fancy to cats if you could only see her. She is such a dear quiet thing,” Alice went on, half to herself, as she swam lazily about in the pool, “and she sits purring so nicely by the fire, licking her paws and washing her face—and she is such a nice soft thing to nurse—and she’s such a capital one for catching mice——oh, I beg your pardon!” cried Alice again, for this time the Mouse was bristling all over, and she felt certain it must be really offended. “We won’t talk about her any more if you’d rather not.”

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