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XII. 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 couldn’t play, with that great red what’s-its-name in her arms! Why, how could she hold the mallet?”
Alice holding a flamingo and talking to the Duchess

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[46] 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.

Alice, Gryphon, and Mock Turtle

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



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