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Madame Stephens’s Adventures in World Language Land

Madame Stephens was beginning to get very tired of having nothing to do, so she was considering in her own mind (as well as she could, for the hot day made her feel very sleepy and stupid), whether the pleasure of having a croissant would be worth the trouble of getting up and going to the pâtisserie, when suddenly a White Rabbit with pink eyes ran close by her.

There was nothing so very remarkable in that; nor did Madame Stephens think it so very much out of the way to hear the Rabbit muttering to herself in Spanish; but when the Rabbit actually took a watch out of her waistcoat-pocket, and looked at it, and then hurried on, Madame Stephens started to her feet, for it flashed across her mind that she had never before seen a rabbit with either a waistcoat-pocket, or a watch to take out of it, and burning with curiosity, she ran across the field after it, and fortunately was just in time to see it pop down a large rabbit-hole under the hedge.

In another moment down went Madame Stephens after it, never once considering how in the world she was to get out again.

There was a table set out under a tree in front of the house, and Mrs. Schwarzbauer and Mrs. Ham were having tea at it: Mr. Ugro was sitting between them, fast asleep, and the other two were using him as a cushion, resting their elbows on him, and talking over his head.  “Very uncomfortable for Mr. Ugro,” thought Madame Stephens, “only, as he’s asleep, I suppose he doesn’t mind.”

Next to the table, atop an enormous mushroom, Mrs. Nazario reposed, quietly blowing bubbles, and taking not the least notice of Madame Stephens or of anything else. Behind the table stood Mrs. Zuleika, the Queen of Hearts, and to her left sat a large cat which was grinning from ear to ear.

Alice In Wonderland Photograph

“Please would you tell me,” said Madame Stephens, a little timidly, for she was not quite sure whether it was good manners for her to speak first, “why your cat grins like that?”

“It’s a Grantham cat,” said the Queen, “and that’s why.”

The Cat only grinned when it saw Madame Stephens. It looked good-natured, she thought: still it had very long claws and a great many teeth, so she felt that it ought to be treated with respect.

“Grantham Puss,” she began, “Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”

“That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,” said the Cat.

“I don’t much care where—” said Madame Stephens.

“Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,” said the Cat.

“—so long as I get somewhere,” Madame Stephens added as an explanation.

“Oh, you’re sure to do that,” said the Cat, “if you only walk long enough.”

Madame Stephens felt that this could not be denied, so she tried another question. “What sort of people live about here?”

“Here we have,” the Cat said, waving its right paw round, “a Hatter and a White Rabbit. Visit with either you like: they’re both mad.”

“But I don’t want to go among mad people,” Madame Stephens remarked.

“Oh, you can’t help that,” said the Cat: “we’re all mad here. I’m mad. You’re mad.”

“How do you know I’m mad?” said Madame Stephens.

“You must be,” said the Cat, “or you wouldn’t have come here.”

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One Response to “Madame Stephens’s Adventures in World Language Land”

  1. […] last season began with the cast travelling to a magical realm in the unforgettable episode “Madame Stephens’s Adventures in World Language Land” and ended with Mrs. Ham and Mr. Grantham preparing to head off for an action-packed trip to […]

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