`"What matters it how far we go?" his scaly friend replied. "There is another shore, you know, upon the other side. The further off from England the nearer is to France-- Then turn not pale, beloved snail, but come and join the dance.
Will you, won't you, will you, won't you, will you join the dance? Will you, won't you, will you, won't you, won't you join the dance?"'
`Thank you, it's a very interesting dance to watch,' said Alice, feeling very glad that it was over at last: `and I do so like that curious song about the whiting!'
`Oh, as to the whiting,' said the Mock Turtle, `they--you've seen them, of course?'
`Yes,' said Alice, `I've often seen them at dinn--' she checked herself hastily.
`I don't know where Dinn may be,' said the Mock Turtle, `but if you've seen them so often, of course you know what they're like.'
`I believe so,' Alice replied thoughtfully. `They have their tails in their mouths--and they're all over crumbs.'
`You're wrong about the crumbs,' said the Mock Turtle: `crumbs would all wash off in the sea. But they HAVE their tails in their mouths; and the reason is--' here the Mock Turtle yawned and shut his eyes.--`Tell her about the reason and all that,' he said to the Gryphon.
`The reason is,' said the Gryphon, `that they WOULD go with the lobsters to the dance. So they got thrown out to sea. So they had to fall a long way. So they got their tails fast in their mouths. So they couldn't get them out again. That's all.'
`Thank you,' said Alice, `it's very interesting. I never knew so much about a whiting before.'
`I can tell you more than that, if you like,' said the Gryphon. `Do you know why it's called a whiting?'
`I never thought about it,' said Alice. `Why?'
`IT DOES THE BOOTS AND SHOES.' the Gryphon replied very solemnly.
Alice was thoroughly puzzled. `Does the boots and shoes!' she repeated in a wondering tone.
`Why, what are YOUR shoes done with?' said the Gryphon. `I mean, what makes them so shiny?'
Alice looked down at them, and considered a little before she gave her answer. `They're done with blacking, I believe.'
`Boots and shoes under the sea,' the Gryphon went on in a deep voice, `are done with a whiting. Now you know.'
`And what are they made of?' Alice asked in a tone of great curiosity.
`Soles and eels, of course,' the Gryphon replied rather impatiently: `any shrimp could have told you that.'
`If I'd been the whiting,' said Alice, whose thoughts were still running on the song, `I'd have said to the porpoise, "Keep back, please: we don't want YOU with us!"'
`They were obliged to have him with them,' the Mock Turtle said: `no wise fish would go anywhere without a porpoise.'
`Wouldn't it really?' said Alice in a tone of great surprise.
`Of course not,' said the Mock Turtle: `why, if a fish came to ME, and told me he was going a journey, I should say "With what porpoise?"'
`Don't you mean "purpose"?' said Alice.
`I mean what I say,' the Mock Turtle replied in an offended tone. And the Gryphon added `Come, let's hear some of YOUR adventures.'
`I could tell you my adventures--beginning from this morning,' said Alice a little timidly: `but it's no use going back to yesterday, because I was a different person then.'
`Explain all that,' said the Mock Turtle.
`No, no! The adventures first,' said the Gryphon in an impatient tone: `explanations take such a dreadful time.'
So Alice began telling them her adventures from the time when she first saw the White Rabbit. She was a little nervous about it just at first, the two creatures got so close to her, one on each side, and opened their eyes and mouths so VERY wide, but she gained courage as she went on. Her listeners were perfectly quiet till she got to the part about her repeating `YOU ARE OLD, FATHER WILLIAM,' to the Caterpillar, and the words all coming different, and then the Mock Turtle drew a long breath, and said `That's very curious.'
`It's all about as curious as it can be,' said the Gryphon.