Suppressed Through the Looking Glass Chapter - A
Here, for all you Alice-heads, is the suppressed section of Through
the Looking-Glass. It got as far as the galley-proofs before being deleted.
This episode fits in the chapter "It's my own Invention", at the end, just
before Alice says "The Eighth Square at last!". I have copied this from The
Wasp in a Wig published by Clarkson N. Potter in 1977.
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...and she was just going to spring over, when she heard a deep sigh, which
seemed to come from the wood behind her.
"There's somebody VERY unhappy there," she thought, looking anxiously
back to see what was the matter. Something like a very old man (only that his
face was more like a wasp) was sitting on the ground, leaning against a tree,
all huddled up together, and shivering as if he were very cold.
"I don't think I can be of any use to him," was Alice,s first thought,
as she turned to spring over the brook:--"but I'll just ask him what's the
matter," she added, checking herself on the very edge. "If I once jump over,
everything will change, and then I can't help him."
So she went back to the Wasp--rather unwillingly, for she was VERY
anxious to be a Queen.
"Oh my old bones , my old bones!" he was grumbling on as Alice came up
"It's rheumatism I should think," Alice said to herself, and she
stooped over him, and said very kindly, "I hope you're not in much pain?"
The Wasp only shook his shoulders, and turned his head away. "Ah,
deary me!" he said to himself.
"Can I do anything for you?" Alice went on. "Aren't you rather cold
"How you go on!" the Wasp said in a peevish tone.
Alice felt rather offended at this answer, and was very nearly walking
on and leaving him, but she thought to herself "Perhaps it's only the pain
that makes him so cross." So she tried once more.
"Won't you let me help you round to the other side? You'll be out of
the cold wind there."
The Wasp took her arm, and let her help him round the tree, but when
he got settled down again he only said, as before "Worrity, worrity! Can't you
leave a body alone?"
"Would you like me to read a bit of this?" Alice went on, as she
picked up a newspaper which had been lying at his feet.
"You may read it if you've a mind to," the Wasp said, rather sulkily.
"Nobody's hindering you, that I know of."
So Alice sat down by him, and spread out the paper on her knees, and
began. "Latest News. The Exploring Party have made another tour in the
Pantry, and have found five new lumps of white sugar, large and in fine
condition. In coming back--"
"Any brown sugar?" the Wasp interrupted.
Alice hastily ran her eye down the paper and said "No. It says
nothing about brown."
"No brown sugar!" grumbled the Wasp. "A nice exploring party!"
"In coming back," Alice went on reading, "they found a lake of
treacle. The banks of the lake were blue and white, and looked like china.
While tasting the treacle, they had a sad accident: two of their party were
"Were what?" the Wasp asked in a very cross voice.
"En-gulph-ed," Alice repeated, dividing the word into syllables.
"There's no such word in the language!" said the Wasp.
"It's in the newspaper, though," Alice said a little timidly.
"Let it stop there!" said the Wasp, fretfully turning away his head.
Alice put down the newspaper. "I'm afraid you're not well," she
said in a soothing tone. "Can't I do anything for you?"
"It's all along of the wig," the Wasp said in a much gentler voice.
"Along of the wig?" Alice repeated, quite pleased to find that he was
recovering his temper.
"You'd be cross too, if you'd a wig like mine," the Wasp went on.
"They jokes at one. And they worrits one. And then I gets cross. And I gets
cold. And I gets under a tree. And I gets a yellow handkerchief. And I ties
up my face--as at the present."
Alice looked pityingly at him. "Tying up the face is very good for
the toothache," she said.
"And its very good for the conceit," added the Wasp.
Alice didn't catch the word exactly. "Is that a kind of toothache?"
The Wasp considered a little. "Well no," he said: "it's when you hold
up your head--so--without bending your neck."
"Oh, you mean stiff-neck," said Alice .
The Wasp said "That's a new-fangled name. They called it conceit in
"Conceit isn't a disease at all," Alice remarked.
"It is, though," said the Wasp: "wait till you have it, and then
you'll know. And when you catches it, just try tying a yellow handkerchief
round your face. It'll cure you in no time."
He untied the handkerchief as he spoke, and Alice looked at his wig in
great surprise. It was bright yellow like the handkerchief, and all tangled
and tumbled about like a heap of sea-weed. "You could make your wig much
neater," she said, "if only you had a comb."
"What, you're a Bee, are you?" the Wasp said, looking at her with more
interest. "and you've got a comb. Much honey?"
"It isn't that kind," Alice hastily explained. "It's to comb hair
with--your wig's so very rough, you know."
"I'll tell you how I came to wear it," the Wasp said. "When I was
young, you know, my ringlets used to wave--"
A curious idea came into Alice's head. Almost everyone she met had
repeated poetry to her, and she thought she would try if the Wasp couldn't do
it too. "Would you mind saying it in rhyme?" she asked very politely.
"It ain't what I'm used to," said the Wasp: "however I'll try; wait a
bit." He was silent for a few moments, and then began again--
"When I was young, my ringlets waved
And curled and crinkled on my head:
And then they said 'you should be shaved,
And wear a yellow wig instead.'
But when I followed their advice,
And they had noticed the effect,
They said I did not look so nice
As they had ventured to expect.
They said it did not fit, and so
It made me look extremely plain:
But what was I to do, you know?
My ringlets would not grow again.
So now that I am old and gray,
And all my hair is nearly gone,
They take my wig from me and say
'How can you put such rubbish on?'
And still, whenever I appear,
They hoot at me and call me 'Pig!'
And that is why they do it, dear,
Because I wear a yellow wig."
"I'm very sorry for you," Alice said heartily: "and I think if your
wig fitted a little better, they wouldn't tease you quite so much."
"Your wig fits very well," the Wasp murmured, looking at her with an
expression of admiration: "it's the shape of the head as does it. Your jaws
ain't well shaped, though--I should think you couldn't bite well?"
Alice began with a little scream of laughter, which she turned into a
cough as well as she could. At last she managed to say gravely, "I can bite
anything I want."
"Not with a mouth as small as that," the Wasp persisted. "If you was
a-fighting, now--could you get hold of the other one by the back of the neck?"
"I'm afraid not," said Alice.
"Well, that's because your jaws are too short," the Wasp went on: "but
the top of your head is nice and round."
He took off his own wig as he spoke, and stretched out one claw
towards Alice," as if he wished to do the same for her, but she kept out of
reach, and would not take the hint. So he went on with his criticisms.
"Then your eyes--they're too much in front, no doubt. One would have
done as well as two, if you must have them so close--"
Alice did not like having so many personal remarks made on her, and as
the Wasp had quite recovered his spirits, and was getting very talkative, she
thought she might safely leave him. "I think I must be going now," she said.
"Good-bye, and thank-ye," said the Wasp, and Alice tripped down the
hill again, quite pleased that she had gone back and given a few minutes to
making the poor old creature comfortable.
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