Looking-Glass: Tweedledum And Tweedledee

Chapter 2: The Garden of Live Flower and Chapter 3: Looking-Glass Insects are not included in this reading unit. This chapter picks up as Alice continues to wander through the Looking-Glass world.

[Notes by LKG]

This story is part of the Looking-Glass unit. Story source: Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There by Lewis Carroll (1871).

CHAPTER IV. Tweedledum And Tweedledee

LIBRIVOX AUDIO: Chapter 4



So she wandered on, talking to herself as she went till, on turning a sharp corner, she came upon two fat little men, so suddenly that she could not help starting back, but in another moment she recovered herself, feeling sure that they must be.

They were standing under a tree, each with an arm round the other's neck, and Alice knew which was which in a moment because one of them had 'DUM' embroidered on his collar, and the other 'DEE.' 'I suppose they've each got "TWEEDLE" round at the back of the collar,' she said to herself.

They stood so still that she quite forgot they were alive, and she was just looking round to see if the word "TWEEDLE" was written at the back of each collar, when she was startled by a voice coming from the one marked 'DUM.'

'If you think we're wax-works,' he said, 'you ought to pay, you know. Wax-works weren't made to be looked at for nothing, nohow!'

'Contrariwise,' added the one marked 'DEE,' 'if you think we're alive, you ought to speak.'

'I'm sure I'm very sorry,' was all Alice could say, for the words of the old song kept ringing through her head like the ticking of a clock, and she could hardly help saying them out loud:

Tweedledum and Tweedledee
Agreed to have a battle;
For Tweedledum said Tweedledee
Had spoiled his nice new rattle.
Just then flew down a monstrous crow,
As black as a tar-barrel,
Which frightened both the heroes so,
They quite forgot their quarrel.

'I know what you're thinking about,' said Tweedledum, 'but it isn't so, nohow.'

'Contrariwise,' continued Tweedledee, 'if it was so, it might be, and if it were so, it would be, but as it isn't, it ain't. That's logic.'

'I was thinking,' Alice said very politely, 'which is the best way out of this wood: it's getting so dark. Would you tell me, please?'

But the little men only looked at each other and grinned.

They looked so exactly like a couple of great schoolboys that Alice couldn't help pointing her finger at Tweedledum and saying 'First Boy!'

'Nohow!' Tweedledum cried out briskly and shut his mouth up again with a snap.

'Next Boy!' said Alice, passing on to Tweedledee, though she felt quite certain he would only shout out 'Contrariwise!' and so he did.

'You've been wrong!' cried Tweedledum. 'The first thing in a visit is to say "How d'ye do?" and shake hands!' And here the two brothers gave each other a hug, and then they held out the two hands that were free to shake hands with her.

Alice did not like shaking hands with either of them first for fear of hurting the other one's feelings; so, as the best way out of the difficulty, she took hold of both hands at once: the next moment they were dancing round in a ring. This seemed quite natural (she remembered afterwards), and she was not even surprised to hear music playing: it seemed to come from the tree under which they were dancing, and it was done (as well as she could make it out) by the branches rubbing one across the other, like fiddles and fiddle-sticks.

'But it certainly WAS funny' (Alice said afterwards, when she was telling her sister the history of all this) 'to find myself singing "HERE WE GO ROUND THE MULBERRY BUSH." I don't know when I began it, but somehow I felt as if I'd been singing it a long long time!'

The other two dancers were fat, and very soon out of breath. 'Four times round is enough for one dance,' Tweedledum panted out, and they left off dancing as suddenly as they had begun: the music stopped at the same moment.

Then they let go of Alice's hands and stood looking at her for a minute: there was a rather awkward pause, as Alice didn't know how to begin a conversation with people she had just been dancing with. 'It would never do to say "How d'ye do?" NOW,' she said to herself: 'we seem to have got beyond that, somehow!'

'I hope you're not much tired?' she said at last.

'Nohow. And thank you VERY much for asking,' said Tweedledum.

'So much obliged!' added Tweedledee. 'You like poetry?'

'Ye-es, pretty well—SOME poetry,' Alice said doubtfully. 'Would you tell me which road leads out of the wood?'

'What shall I repeat to her?' said Tweedledee, looking round at Tweedledum with great solemn eyes, and not noticing Alice's question.

'"THE WALRUS AND THE CARPENTER" is the longest,' Tweedledum replied, giving his brother an affectionate hug.

Tweedledee began instantly:



(700 words)






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