Chapter 12: The Lobster-Quadrille

DID you ever play at Croquet? There are large wooden balls, painted with different colours, that you have to roll about; and arches of wire, that you have to send them through; and great wooden mallets, with long handles, to knock the balls about with.

Now look at the picture, and you’ll see that Alice has just been playing a Game of Croquet.

“But she couldnt play, with that great red what’s-its-name in her arms! Why, how could she hold the mallet?”

Why, my dear Child, that great red what’s-its-name (its real name is “a Flamingo“) is the mallet! In this Croquet-Game, the balls were live Hedge-hogs-you know a hedge-hog can roll itself up into a ball?-and the mallets were live Flamingos!

So Alice is just resting from the Game, for a minute, to have a chat with that dear old thing, the Duchess: and of course she keeps her mallet under her arm, so as not to lose it.

“But I don’t think she was a dear old thing, one bit! To call her Baby a Pig, and to want to chop off Alice’s head!”

Oh, that was only a joke, about chopping off Alice’s head: and as to the Baby-why, it was a Pig, you know! And just look at her smile! Why, it’s wider than all Alice’s head: and yet you can only see half of it!

Well, they’d only had a very little chat, when the Queen came and took Alice away, to see the Gryphon and the Mock Turtle.

You don’t know what a Gryphon is? Well! Do you know anything? That’s the question. However, look at the picture. That creature with a red head, and red claws, and green scales, is the Gryphon. Now you know.

And the other’s the Mock Turtle. It’s got a calf’s-head, because calf’s- head is used to make Mock Turtle Soup. Now you know.

“But what are they doing, going round and round Alice like that?”

Why, I thought of course you’d know that! They’re dancing a Lobster-Quadrille.

And next time you meet a Gryphon and a Mock Turtle, I daresay they’ll dance it foryou, if you ask them prettily. Only don’t let them come quite close, of they’ll be treading on your toes, as they did on poor Alice’s.

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