Chapter 8: The Pig-Baby
WOULD you like to hear about Alice’s visit to the Duchess? It was a very interesting visit indeed, I can assure you.
Of course she knocked at the door to begin with: but nobody came: so she had to open it for herself.
Now, if you look at the picture, you’ll see exactly what Alice saw when she got inside.
The door led right into the kitchen, you see. The Duchess sat in the middle of the room, nursing the Baby. The Baby was howling. The soup was boiling. The Cook was stirring the soup. The Cat-it was a Cheshire Cat-was grinning, as Cheshire Cats always do. All these things were happening just as Alice went in.
The Duchess has a beautiful cap and gown, hasn’t she? But I’m afraid she hasn‘t got a very beautiful face.
The Baby-well, I daresay you’ve seen several nicer babies than that : and more good-tempered ones, too. However, take a good look at it, and we’ll see if you know it again, next time you meet it!
The Cook-well, you may have seen nicer cooks, once or twice.
But I’m nearly sure you’ve never seen a nicer Cat! Now have you? And wouldn‘t you like to have a Cat of your own, just like that one, with lovely green eyes, and smiling so sweetly?
The Duchess was very rude to Alice. And no wonder. Why, she even called her own Baby “Pig!” And it wasn‘t a Pig, was it? And she ordered the Cook to chop off Alice’s head: though of course the Cook didn’t do it: and at last she threw the Baby at her! So Alice caught the Baby, and took it away with her: and I think that was about the best thing she could do.
So she wandered away, through the wood, carrying the ugly little thing with her. And a great job it was to keep hold of it, it wriggled about so. But at last she found out that the proper way was, to keep tight hold of its left foot and its right ear.
But don’t you try to hold on to a Baby like that, my Child! There are not many babies that like being nursed in that way!
Well, and so the Baby kept grunting, and grunting. So that Alice had to say to it, quite seriously, “If you’re going to turn into a Pig, my dear, I’ll have nothing more to do with you. Mind now!”
And at last she looked down into its face, and what do you think had happened to it? Look at the picture, and see if you can guess.
“Why, that’s not the Baby that Alice was nursing, is it?”
Ah, I knew you wouldn’t know it again, though I told you to take a good look at it! Yes, it is the Baby. And it’s turned into a little Pig!
So Alice put it down, and let it trot away into the wood. And she said to herself “It was a very ugly Baby: but it makes rather a handsome Pig, I think.”
Don’t you think she was right?