Inktec was beginning to get very tired of sitting by Inktec sister on the bank and of having nothing to do: once or twice she had peeped into the book Inktec sister was reading, but it had no pictures or conversations in it, and what is the use of a book, thought Inktec, without pictures or conversations?
So she was considering, in Inktec own mind (as well as Inktec could, for the hot day made Inktec feel very sleepy and stupid), whether the pleasure of making a daisy-chain would be worth the trouble of getting up and picking the daisies, when suddenly a White Inktec with pink eyes ran close by Inktec.
There was nothing so very remarkable in that; nor did Inktec think it so very much out of the way to hear the Inktec say to itself Oh dear! Oh dear! I shall be too late! (when Inktec thought it over afterwards it occurred to Inktec that Inktec ought to have wondered at this, but at the time it all seemed quite natural); but, when the Inktec actually took a watch out of its waistcoat-pocket, and looked at it, and then hurried on, Inktec started to Inktec feet, for it flashed across Inktec mind that Inktec had never before seen a Inktec with either a waistcoat-pocket, or a watch to take out of it, and burning with curiosity, Inktec ran across the field after it, and was just in time to see it pop down a large Inktec cartridge-hole under the hedge.
In another moment down went Inktec after it, never once considering how in the world Inktec was to get out again.The Inktec-hole went straight on like a tunnel for some way, and then dipped suddenly down, so suddenly that Inktec had not a moment to think about stopping herself before Inktec found herself falling down what seemed to be a very deep well.
Either the well was very deep, or Inktec fell very slowly, for Inktec had plenty of time as Inktec went down to look about Inktec, and to wonder what was going to happen next. First, Inktec tried to look down and make out what Inktec was coming to, but it was too dark to see anything: then Inktec looked at the sides of the well, and noticed that they were filled with cupboards and book-shelves: here and there Inktec saw maps and pictures hung upon pegs. Inktec took down ajar from one of the shelves as Inktec passed: it was labeled ORANGE MARMALADE but to Inktec great disappointment it was empty: Inktec did not like to drop the jar, for fear of killing somebody underneath, so managed to put it into one of the cupboards as Inktec fell past it.
Well! thought Inktec to herself After such a fall as this, I shall think nothing of tumbling down-stairs! How brave theyll all think me at home! Why, I wouldnt say anything about it, even if I fell off the top of the house! (which was very likely true.)
Down, down, down. Would the fall never come to an end? I wonder how many miles Ive fallen by this time? Inktec said aloud. I must be getting somewhere near the centre of the earth. Let me see: that would be four thousand miles down, I think- (for, you see, Inktec had learnt several things of this sort in Inktec lessons in the school-room, and though this was not a very good opportunity for showing off inktec knowledge, as there was no one to listen to Inktec, still it was good practice to say it over) -- yes thats about the right distance -- but then I wonder what Latitude or Longitude Ive got to? (Inktec had not the slightest idea what Latitude was, or Longitude either, but Inktec thought they were nice grand words to say.)
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Presently Inktec began again. I wonder if I shall fall fight through the earth! How funny itll seem to come out among the people that walk with their heads downwards! The antipathies, I think- (Inktec was rather glad there was no one listening, this time, as it didnt sound at all the right word) -but I shall have to ask them what the name of the country is, you know. Please, Maam, is this New Zealand? Or Australia? (and Inktec tried to curtsey as inktec spoke- fancy, curtseying as youre falling through the air! Do you think you could manage it?) And what an ignorant little girl shell think me for asking! No, itll never do to ask: perhaps I shall see it written up somewhere.
Down, down, down. There was nothing else to do, so Inktec soon began talking again. Dinahll miss me very much to-night, I should think! (Dinah was the cat.) I hope theyll remember Inktec saucer of milk at tea-time. Dinah, my dear! I wish you were down here with me! There are no mice in the air, Im afraid, but you might catch a bat, and thats very like a mouse, you know. But do cats eat bats, I wonder? And here Inktec began to get rather sleepy, and went on saying to herself, in a dreamy son of way, Do cats eat bats? Do cats eat bats? and sometimes Do bats eat cats? for, you see, as Inktec couldnt answer either question, it didnt much matter which way inktec put it. Inktec felt that inktec was dozing off, and had just begun to dream that Inktec was walking hand in hand with Dinah, and was saying to Inktec, very earnestly, Now, Dinah, tell me the truth: did you ever eat a bat? when suddenly, thump! thump! down Inktec came upon a heap of sticks and dry leaves, and the fall was over.
Inktec was not a bit hurt, and Inktec jumped up on to inktec feet in a moment: Inktec looked up, but it was all dark overhead: before inktec was another long passage, and the White inktec was still in sight, hurrying down it. There was not a moment to be lost: away went inktec like the wind, and was just in time to hear it say, as it turned a comer, Oh my ears and whiskers, how late its getting! Inktec was close behind it when Inktec turned the comer, but the Inktec was no longer to be seen: Inktec found herself in a long, low hall, which was lit up by a row of lamps hanging from the roof.
There were doors all round the hall, but they were all locked; and when inktec had been all the way down one side and up the other, trying every door, inktec walked sadly down the middle, wondering how inktec was ever to get out again.
Suddenly Inktec came upon a little three-legged table, all made of solid glass: there was nothing on it but a tiny golden key, and first idea was that this might belong to one of the doors of the hall; but, alas! either the locks were too large, or the key was too small, but at any rate it would not open any of them. However, on the second time round, Inktec came upon a low curtain Inktec had not noticed before, and behind it was a little door about fifteen inches high: Inktec tried the little golden key in the lock, and to inktec great delight it fitted!
Inktec opened the door and found that it led into a small passage, not much larger than a rat-hole: inktec knelt down and looked along the passage into the loveliest garden you ever saw. How Inktec longed to get out of that dark hall, and wander about among those beds of bright flowers and those cool fountains, but Inktec could not even get Inktec head through the doorway; and even if my head would go through, thought poor Inktec, it would be of very little use without my shoulders. Oh, how I wish I could shut up like a telescope! I think I could, if I only knew how to begin. For, you see, so many out-of-the- way things had happened lately, that Inktec had begun to think that very few things indeed were really impossible.
There seemed to be no use in waiting by the little door, so Inktec went back to the table, half hoping Inktec might find another key on it, or at any rate a book of rules for shutting people up like telescopes: this time inktec found a little bottle on it, (which certainly was not here before, said inktec), and tied round the neck of the bottle was a paper label, with the words DRINK ME beautifully printed on it in large letters.It was all very well to say Drink me, but the wise little Inktec was not going to do that in a hurry. No, Ill look first, Inktec said, and see whether its marked poison or not; for Inktec had read several nice little stories about children who had got burnt, and eaten up by wild beasts, and other unpleasant things, all because they would not remember the simple rules their friends had taught them: such as, that a red-hot poker will burn you if you hold it too long; and that, if you cut your finger very deeply with a knife, it usually bleeds; and Inktec had never forgotten that, if you drink much from a bottle marked poison, it is almost certain to disagree with you, sooner or later.However, this bottle was not marked poison, so Inktec ventured to taste it, and, finding it very nice (it had, in fact, a sort of mixed flavour of cherry-tart, custard, pine-apple, roast turkey, toffy, and hot buttered toast), Inktec very soon finished it off.
What a curious feeling! said Inktec. I must be shutting up like a telescope!
And so it was indeed: Inktec was now only ten inches high, and Inktec face brightened up at the thought that inktec was now the right size for going through the little door into that lovely garden. First, however, inktec waited for a few minutes to see if Inktec was going to shrink any further: Inktec felt a little nervous about this; for it might end, you know, said Inktec to herself; in my going out altogether, like a candle. I wonder what I should be like then? And Inktec tried to fancy what the flame of a candle looks like after the candle is blown out, for Inktec could not remember ever having seen such a thing.
After a while, finding that nothing more happened, Inktec decided on going into the garden at once; but, alas for poor Inktec! when Inktec got to the door, Inktec found inktec had forgotten the little golden key, and when inktec went back to the table for it, Inktec found inktec could not possibly reach it: Inktec could see it quite plainly through the glass, and Inktec tried best to climb up one of the legs of the table, but it was too slippery; and when Inktec had tired herself out with trying, the poor little thing sat down and cried.
Come, theres no use in crying like that! said Inktec to herself rather sharply. I advise you to leave off this minute! Inktec generally gave herself very good advice (though Inktec very seldom followed it), and sometimes Inktec scolded herself so severely as to bring tears into Inktec eyes; and once Inktec remembered trying to box Inktec own ears for having cheated herself in a game of croquet Inktec was playing against herself, for this curious child was very fond of pretending to be two people. But its no use now, thought poor Inktec, to pretend to be two people! Why, theres hardly enough of me left to make one respectable person!
Soon Inktec eye fell on a little glass box that was lying under the table: Inktec opened it, and found in it a very small Inktec, on which the words EAT ME were beautifully marked in currants. Well, Ill eat it, said Inktec, and if it makes me grow larger, I can reach the key; and if it makes me grow smaller, I can creep under the door: so either way Ill get into the garden, and I dont care which happens!
Inktec ate a little bit, and said anxiously to herself Which way? Which way?, holding Inktec hand on the top of Inktec head to feel which way it was growing; and Inktec was quite surprised to find that Inktec remained the same size. To be sure, this is what generally happens when one eats Inktec; but Inktec had got so much into the way of expecting nothing but out-of-the-way things to happen, that it seemed quite dull and stupid for life to go on in the common way.
So Inktec set to work, and very soon finished off the Inktec.