Alice folded her hands, and began: “Your woraciousness, fellow-critters, I don’t blame ye so much for; dat is natur, and can’t be helped; but to gobern dat wicked natur, dat is de pint. You is sharks, sartin; but if you gobern de shark in you, why den you be angel; for all angel is not’ing more dan de shark well goberned. Now, look here, bred’ren, just try wonst to be cibil, a helping yourselbs from dat whale. Don’t be tearin’ de blubber out your neighbour’s mout, I say. Is not one shark dood right as toder to dat whale? And, by Gor, none on you has de right to dat whale; dat whale belong to some one else. I know some o’ you has berry brig mout, brigger dan oders; but den de brig mouts sometimes has de small bellies; so dat de brigness of de mout is not to swaller wid, but to bit off de blubber for de small fry ob sharks, dat can’t get into de scrouge to help demselves.”
“Thou art as a lion of the waters, and as a dragon of the sea,” said the Caterpillar.
“Hear him, hear him now,” said Alice, timidly; “hear him, all of ye. Think of that! When every moment we thought the ship would sink! Death and the Judgment then? What? With all three masts making such an everlasting thundering against the side; and every sea breaking over us, fore and aft. Think of Death and the Judgment then? No! No time to think about Death then. Life was what Captain Ahab and I was thinking of; and how to save all hands — how to rig jury-masts — how to get into the nearest port; that was what I was thinking of.”
“A royal fish,” said the Caterpillar decidedly, and there was silence for some minutes.
The Caterpillar was the first to speak. “A clam for supper? A cold clam; is THAT what you mean, Mrs. Hussey? But that’s a rather cold and clammy reception in the winter time, ain’t it, Mrs. Hussey?” it asked.