Thursday 12 September 2013

'The Antipodes'

'The Antipodes', an illustration by JVL in Lewis Carroll's Alices Adventures in Wonderland
Artists' Choice Editions, 2009.

This is the episode when Alice falls down the rabbit-hole and lands at the bottom upon a heap of sticks and dry leaves. The sticks are formed to suggest an Antipodean shape.

The Text:
  Presently she began again.  `I wonder if I shall fall right
THROUGH the earth!  How funny it'll seem to come out among the
people that walk with their heads downward!  The Antipathies, I
think--' (she was rather glad there WAS no one listening, this
time, as it didn't sound at all the right word) `--but I shall
have to ask them what the name of the country is, you know.
Please, Ma'am, is this New Zealand or Australia?' (and she tried
to curtsey as she spoke--fancy CURTSEYING as you're falling
through the air!  Do you think you could manage it?)  `And what
an ignorant little girl she'll think me for asking!  No, it'll
never do to ask:  perhaps I shall see it written up somewhere.'

Down, down, down.  There was nothing else to do, so Alice soon
began talking again.  `Dinah'll miss me very much to-night, I
should think!'  (Dinah was the cat.)  `I hope they'll remember
her saucer of milk at tea-time.  Dinah my dear!  I wish you were
down here with me!  There are no mice in the air, I'm afraid, but
you might catch a bat, and that's very like a mouse, you know.
But do cats eat bats, I wonder?'  And here Alice began to get
rather sleepy, and went on saying to herself, in a dreamy sort of
way, `Do cats eat bats?  Do cats eat bats?' and sometimes, `Do
bats eat cats?' for, you see, as she couldn't answer either
question, it didn't much matter which way she put it.  She felt
that she was dozing off, and had just begun to dream that she
was walking hand in hand with Dinah, and saying to her very
earnestly, `Now, Dinah, tell me the truth:  did you ever eat a
bat?' when suddenly, thump! thump! down she came upon a heap of
sticks and dry leaves, and the fall was over.

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