-EX, LIB I 'l
CNIVERQSITY of -FLO~kID.A'
ALICE IN BLUNDERLAND
BY THE SAME AUTHOR
A House-boat on the Styx
Coffee and Repartee
Mollie and the Unwiseman
Proposal Under Difficulties
Worsted Man; A Musical Play for Amateurs
The Enchanted Typewriter
Ghosts 4 Have Met
R. Holmes & Co.
And Many Other Short Stories
I. Off to Blunderland 3
II. The Immovable Trolley 19
III. The Aromatic Gas Plant 37
IV. The City-owned Police 56
V. The Municipaphone 73
VI. The Department of Public Verse 92
VII. The Municipal Ownership of Children 1o8
E TO SIZE OF THIS
EM A IUEW METHOD OF
[JE IG WAS USED
STEAD OF SEWING
ORDER TO BI"iD.
An Iridescent Dream
JOHN KENDRICK BANGS
Doubleday, Page & Company
COPYRIGHT, o906, BY THE
MUNICIPAL OWNERSHIP PUBLISHING BUREAU
COPYRIGHT, 1907, BY
DOUBLEDAY, PAGE & COMPANY
PUBLISHED, SEPTEMBER, 1907
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
INCLUDING THAT OP TRANSLATION INTO FOREIGN LANGUAGES
INCLUDING THE SCANDINAVIAN
The Cheshire Cat 5
The March Hare 6
"'Listen here'" .
The municipal chewery .
The municipal toothery 13
"Handing her a card" 17
"' Put that fellow off' 20
"Requested the Hatter to crack a filbert
for him". 24
"'Banged into the car ahead' 27
The Chief Engineer 30
"'It came to me like a flash'" 31
" 'Studying the economic theories of Dr.
"The White Knight interfered" 48
"'In the matter of perfume it was fine' 50
"'Nobody could be gas-fixturated'" 5
ALICE IN BLUNDERLAND
"Wrote on the side of a convenient gas
" 'I'm the soundest sleeper in town' 59
" 'Tea is served on every corner' 64
" 'We respond immediately to the call'" 67
"Made off with the agility of an antelope" 69
"'You can talk all you please'" 73
"'Fined five dollars'" 84
"'The dictionary we are compiling'" 85
"Alice transfixed at the phone" 86
"'The biggest jackass from Dan to Beer-
'Larger measure than was the custom' 94
"Greeted by the Commissioner, the Haber-
'It runs this way, your honour' 0oo
"'Our thinking department'". 102
"'When they think nobody's looking'" .116
"'If you get into trouble, use this'". 19
"Seizing her by the arm" 122
'Why-have I-I really fallen ? '" 124
ALICE IN BLUNDERLAND
OFF TO BLUNDERLAND
IT WAS one of those dull, drab, de-
pressing days when somehow or
other it seemed as if there wasn't any-
thing anywhere for anybody to do. It
was raining outdoors, so that Alice could
not amuse herself in the garden, or call
upon her friend Little Lord Fauntleroy
up the street; and downstairs her mother
was giving a Bridge Party for the benefit
of the M. O. Hot Tamale Company, which
had lately fallen upon evil days. Alice's
mother was a very charitably disposed
person, and while she loathed gambling
in all its forms, was nevertheless willing
for the sake of a good cause to forego her
principles on alternate Thursdays, but
she was very particular that her little
daughter should be kept aloof from
4 ALICE IN BLUNDERLAND
contaminating influences, so that Alice
found herself locked in the nursery and,
as I have already intimated, with nothing
to do. She had read all her books-The
House of Mirth, the novels of Hall Caine
and Marie Corelli-the operation for
appendicitis upon her dollie, while very
successful indeed, had left poor Flaxilocks
without a scrap of sawdust in her veins,
and therefore unable to play; and worst
of all, her pet kitten, under the new city
law making all felines public property,
had grown into a regular cat and appeared
only at mealtimes, and then in so dis-
reputable a condition that he was not
thought to be fit company for a child of
"Oh dear!" cried Alice impatiently,
as she sat rocking in her chair, listening
to the pattering of the rain upon the roof
of the veranda. "I do wish there was
something to do, or somebody to do, or
somewhere to go. The Gov'ment ought
to provide covered playgrounds for
OFF TO BLUNDERLAND
children on wet days. It wouldn't cost
much to put a glass cover on the Park!"
"A very good idea! I'll make a note
of that," said a squeaky little voice at
Alice sprang to her feet in surprise.
She had supposed she was alone, and for
a moment she was frightened, but a
glance around reassured her, for strange
to say, seated on the radiator warming
his toes was her old
friend the Hatter, the
queer old chap she had
met in her marvellous
trip through Wonder-
land, and with him was
THE CHESHIRE CAT
the March Hare, the
Cheshire Cat, and the White Knight from
Looking Glass Land.
"Why-you dear old things!" she
cried. "You here?"
"I don't know about these others,
but I'm here," returned the Hatter.
"The others seem to be here, but I
6 ALICE IN BLUNDERLAND
respectfully decline to take my solemn
daffydavy on the subject, because my
doctor says I'm all the time seeing things
that ain't. Besides I don't believe in
"We're here all right," put in the
March Hare. "I know because we ain't
anywhere else, and
when you ain't any-
where else you can
make up your mind
that you're here."
"Well, I'm awfully
glad to see you," said
Alice. "I've been so
HE MARCH ARE lonesome-- "
"We know that,"
said the White Knight. "We've been
studying your case lately and we thought
we'd come down and see what we could
do for you. The fact is the Hatter here
has founded a model city, where every-
thing goes just right, and we came to ask
you to pay us a call."
OFF TO BLUNDERLAND
"A city?" cried Alice.
"Yep," said the March Hare. "It's
called Blunderland and between you and
me I don't believe anybody but the
Hatter could have invented one like it.
His geegantic brain conceived the whole
thing, and I tell you it's a corker."
"Where is it?" asked Alice.
"That's telling," said the Hatter.
"I haven't had it copyrighted yet, and
until I do I ain't going to tell where it is.
be too care-
to grab. ,
in sight." LISTEN HERE"
8 ALICE IN BLUNDERLAND
"What's a cooperation? asked Alice.
"What? Never heard of a Coppera-
tion?" demanded the Hatter. "Mercy!
Ever hear of the Mumps, or the Measles,
or the Whooping Cough?"
"Yes-but I never knew they were
called Copperations," said Alice.
Well, they ain't, but they're no worse
-so they ought to be," said the Hatter.
"Listen here. I'll tell you what a cop-
And putting his hat in front of his
mouth like a telephone the Hatter recited
the following poem through it:
A cooperation is a beast
With forty leven paws
That doesn't ever pay the least
Attention to the laws.
It grabs whatever comes in sight
From hansom cabs to socks
And with a grin of mad delight
It turns 'em into stocks
OFF TO BLUNDERLAND
And then it takes a rubber hose
Connected with the sea
And pumps 'em full of HOs
Of various degree
And when they're swollen up so stout
You'd think they'd surely bust
They souse 'em once again and out
They come at last a Trust
And when the Trust is ready for
One last and final whack
They let the public in the door
To buy the water back.
See? said the Hatter as he finished.
"No," said Alice. "It sounded very
pretty through your hat, but I don't
understand it. Why should people buy
water when they can get it for nothing
in the ocean?"
"You're like all the rest," groaned
the Hatter. "Nobody seems to under-
stand but me, and somehow or other I
can't make it clear to other people."
You might if you didn't talk through
io ALICE IN BLUNDERLAND
your hat," grinned the Cheshire Cat.
Then I'd have to stop being a public
character," said the Hatter. "I'm not
going to sacrifice my career just because
you're too ignorant to see what I'm
driving at. I don't mind telling you
though, Alice, that outside of poetry a
Copperation is a Creature devised by
Selfish Interests to secure the Free Coin-
age of the Atlantic Ocean."
"Little drops of water,
Plenty of hot air,
Make a Copperation
A pretty fat affair,"
warbled the March Hare.
well," said Alice, "what about it?
Suppose there is such an animal around.
What are we going to do about it?"
"WV're going to gerraple with it,"
said the Hatter, with a valiant shake of
his hat. "We're going to grab it by its
throat, and shake it down, and shackle
it so that in forty years it will become as
OFF TO BLUNDERLAND
tame as a fly or any other highly domes-
"But how?" asked Alice. "You
aren't going to
do this yourself, t
are you? Single
handed and NIC IPA
"The March Hare
and the White
Knight and I. FOR
a city to do it
sprinkled our THE MUNICPA CHEERY
Rough on Copperations until there isn't
one left in the place. Everything in town
belongs to the People-street cars, gut-
ters, pavements, theatres, electric light,
cabs, manicures, dogs, cats, canary birds,
hotels, barber shops, candy stores, hats,
12 ALICE IN BLUNDERLAND
umbrellas, bakeries, cakeries, steakeries,
shops,-you can't think of a thing
that the city don't own. No more
private ownership of anything from
a toothbrush to a yacht, and the result
is we are all happy."
It sounds fine," said Alice.
"Though I think I should rather own my
"You naturally would under the old
system," assented the Hatter. "Under
a system of private ownership owning
your own teeth you'd prefer to own your
own toothbrush, but our Council has just
passed a law making teeth public prop-
erty. You see we found that some people
had teeth and other people hadn't, which is
hardly a fair condition under a Repub-
lican form of Government. It gave one
class of citizens a distinct advantage over
other people and the Declaratioh of
Independence demands absolute equality
for all. One man owning his own teeth
could eat all the hickory nuts he wanted
OFF TO BLUNDERLAND
just because he had teeth to crack 'em
with, while another man not having teeth
had either to swallow 'em whole, which
ruined his digestion, or go without, which
"I see," said Alice.
"So it occurred to Mr. Alderman
THE MUNICIPAL TOOTHERY
March Hare here," continued the Hatter,
"that we should legislate in the matter,
and at our last session we passed a law pro-
viding for the Municipal Ownership of
Teeth, so that now when a toothless
wanderer wants a hickory nut cracked he
has a perfectly legal right to stop any-
body in the street who has teeth and
make him crack the nut for him. Of
14 ALICE IN BLUNDERLAND
course we've had a little trouble enforcing
the law-alleged private rights are always
difficult to get around. Long-continued
possession has seemed so to convince
people that they have inherent rights to
the things they have enjoyed that they
put up a fight and appeal to the Consti-
tution and all that, and even when you
mention the fact, as I did in a case that
came up the other day (when a man
refused to bite off another chap's cigar
for him), that the Constitution doesn't
mention teeth anywhere in all its classes,
they are not easy to convince. This
fellow insisted that his teeth were private
property, and no city law should make
them public property. He's going to
take it to the Supreme Court. Mean-
while his teeth are in the custody of the
And what has become of the man?"
"He's in the custody of the sheriff
too," said the Hatter. "We couldn't
OFF TO BLUNDERLAND
arrange it any other way except by
pulling his teeth, and he didn't want
"I can't blame him," said Alice
reflectively. "I should hate to have my
teeth taken away from me."
"0 there's no obfuscation about if,"
said the Hatter.
Confuscation," corrected the March
Hare. "I wish you would get that
word right. It's too important to fool
"Thank you," replied the Hatter.
"My mind is on higher things than mere
words. However, as I was saying, there
is no cobfuscation about it. We don't
take a man's teeth away from him
without compensation. We pay him what
the teeth are worth and place them
at the service of the whole community."
"Where do you get the money to pay
him?" asked Alice.
"We give him a Municipal Bond,"
explained the Hatter. "It's a ten per
16 ALICE IN BLUNDERLAND
cent. bond costing two cents to print.
When he cracks a hickory nut for the
public, the man he cracks it for pays him
a cent. He rings this up on a cash
register he carries pinned to his vest, and
at the end of every week turns in the cash
to the City Treasury. That money is
used to pay the interest on the bonds.
The scheme has the additional advantage
that it makes a man's teeth negotiable
property in the sense that whereas under
the old system he couldn't very well sell
his teeth, under the new system he can
sell the bond if he gets hard up. More-
over, the City Government having
acquired control has to pay all his
dentist's bills, supply tooth powder and
so on, which results in a great saving to
the individual. It hardly costs the city
anything, except for the Tooth Inspector,
who is paid $1,200 a year, but we can
handle that easily enough, provided the
people will use the Public Teeth in
sufficiently large numbers to bring in
OFF TO BLUNDERLAND
have gone in
for it, and I
see no reason
why it should
not work as
well as any
love to go and
see your "HANDING HER A CARD"
Alice, who, though not quite convinced
as to the desirability of the Municipal
Ownership of Teeth, was nevertheless
very much interested.
"Very well," said the Hatter. "We
can go at once, for I see the train is
already standing in the Station."
"The Station?" cried Alice. "What
18 ALICE IN BLUNDERLAND
But before the Hatter could answer,
Alice, glancing through the window,
caught sight of a very beautiful train
standing before the veranda, and in a
moment she found herself stepping on
board with her friends, while a soft-
spoken guard at the door was handing
her an engraved card upon a silver salver
"Respectfully Inviting Miss Alice to
Step Lively There."
THE IMMOVABLE TROLLEY
W HAT an extraordinary car," said
Alice, as she stepped into the
brilliantly lighted vehicle. "It doesn't
seem to have any end to it," she added as
she passed down the aisle, looking for
the front platform.
"It hasn't," said the Hatter. "It
just runs on forever."
"Doesn't it stop anywhere?" cried
Alice in amazement.
"It stops everywhere," said the
Hatter. "What I mean is it hasn't any
ends at all. It's just one big circular car
that runs all around the city and joins
itself where it began in the beginning.
We call it the M. O. Express, M. O.
standing for Municipal Ownership---"
"And Money Owed," laughed a
20 ALICE IN BLUNDERLAND
Weasel that sat on the other side of the,
Put that fellow off," said the March
Hare indignantly. "Conductor-out with
"PUT THAT FELLOW OFF"
The Conductor immediately threw
the Weasel out of the window, as ordered,
and the Hatter resumed.
We call it the express because it is
so fast," he continued.
"You'd hardly think it was going at
all, observed Alice, as she noticed the
entire lack of motion in the car.
"It isn't," said the Hatter. "It's built
on a solid foundation and doesn't move
THE IMMOVABLE TROLLEY 21
an inch, and yet at the same time- it runs
all around the city. It was my idea,"
he added proudly.
But you said it was fast," protested
"And so it is, my child," said the
Hatter kindly. "It's as fast as though
it was glued down with mucilage.
There's several ways of being fast, you
know. Did you ever hear of the Ballade
of the Nancy P. D. Q.?"
"No," said Alice.
"It's a Sea Song in B flat," said the
Hatter. "I will sing it for you."
And placing his hat before his lips to
give a greater mellowness to his voice,
the Hatter sang:
THE BALLADE OF THE NANCY P. D. Q.
0 the good ship Nancy P. D. Q.
From up in Boston, Mass.,
Went sailing o'er the bounding blue
Cargoed with apple sass.
22 ALICE IN BLUNDERLAND'
She sailed around Ogunkit Bay
Down past the Banks of Quogue,
And, on a brilliant summer's day,
Just off the coast of Mandelay,
She landed in a fog.
So brace the topsails close, my lads,
And stow your grog, my crew,
For the waves are steep and the fog is deep
Round the Nancy P. D. Q.
As in the fog she groped around-
The night was black as soot-
She ran against Long Island Sound,
Out where the codfish toot.
And when the moon rose o'er the scene
So smiling, sweet and bland,
She poked her nose so sharp and keen-
'Twas freshly painted olive green-
Deep in a bar of sand.
So splice the garboard strakes, my lads,
And reef the starboard screw-
For it sticks like tar, that sandy bar,
To the Nancy P. D. Q.
THE IMMOVABLE TROLLEY 23
O the Skipper swore with a "Yeave-ho-ho!"
And the crew replied "Hi-hi!"
And then, with a cheerful "Heave-ho-yo,"
They pumped the bowsprit dry.
"Three cheers!" the Mate cried with a sneeze
"Hurrah for this old boat!
She sails two knots before the breeze,
But on the bar, by Jingo, she's
The fastest thing afloat!"
So up with the gallant flag, my lads,
With a hip-hip-hip-hooroo,
For the liner fast is now outclassed
By the Nancy P. D. Q.
Alice scratched her chin in perplexity,
but the Hatter never stopped.
"I got an idea from that ballad," he
rattled on. "If you want trains fast
you've got to build 'em fast."
Yes, but if they don't go-how does
anybody get anywhere?" asked Alice.
"They can get off and walk," said
the Hatter. "And it's a great deal less
dangerous getting off a train that doesn't
move than off one that does."
24 ALICE IN BLUNDERLAND
"I can see that," said Alice. "That
weasel, for instance, would have been
badly hurt if he had been thrown through
the window of a moving car."
"REQUESTED THE HATTER TO CRACK A FILBERT FOR HIM"
"That's it exactly," said the Hatter.
"As Alderman March Hare puts it, we
M. O. people are after the comfort and
safety of the people first, last and all the
THE IMMOVABLE TROLLEY 25
time. Everything else is a tertiary con-
"What's tertiary?" asked Alice.
"Third," said the Hatter. "To come
in third. It's a combination of turtle
Just at this moment a man walking
through the car stopped and requested
the Hatter to crack a filbert for him,
which the Hatter cheerfully did. The
passer-by thanked him and paid him a
cent, which the Hatter immediately rang
up on a small cash register on his vest,
as required by the laws of Blunderland.
That's the way the Municipal Owner-
ship of Teeth works," said the Hatter as
the man passed on, and then he resumed.
"This street railway business, however,
was a much harder proposition than the
Municipal Ownership of Teeth. When
we took the railways over of course we
had to run 'em on the old system until
we'd learned the business. The first
thing we did was to get educated men for
26 ALICE IN BLUNDERLAND
Motormen and Conductors-polite fel-
lows, you know, who'd stop a car when
you asked 'em to, and when they started
wouldn't do it with such a. jerk that in
nine cases out of ten it was only the back
door that kept the car from being yanked
clean from under your feet, letting you
land in the street behind."
I know," said Alice. Like a game
of snap the whip."
Exactly," said the Hatter. Under
the old method of starting a car you never
knew, when you were going home nights,
whether you'd land in the bosom of your
family or in a basket of eggs somebody
was bringing home from market. So
we advertised for polite motormen and
conductors, and we got a great lot of them,
mostly retired druggists, floor-walkers,
poets and fellows like that, with a few
ex-politicians thrown in to give tone to
the service, and we put them on, but they
didn't know anything about motoring,
unfortunately. Somehow or other good
THE IMMOVABLE TROLLEY 27
manners and expert motoring didn't
seem to go together, and in consequence
we had a fearful lot of collisions at first.
I don't think there was a whole back
"BANGED INTO THE CAR AHEAD"
platform in the outfit at the end of the
week, no matter which way the car was
Must have been awful," said Alice.
"It was," said the Hatter, "and the
public began to complain. One man who
28 ALICE IN BLUNDERLAND
got his nose pinched between two cars
sued us for damages and we had to return
his fare. Finally one day one of the old
bobtail cars got running away, and the
first we knew it banged into the car ahead
and went right through it, coming out
in front still going like mad after the next
car, and we knew something had to be
"Mercy!" cried Alice. "I should
think the passengers in the first car would
have sued you for that."
"They would have," said the Hatter,
"if they could have scraped enough of
themselves together again to appear in
"It was a hard problem," said the
"The hardest ever," asserted the
Hatter. "But the White Knight there
gave me a clue to the solution-he's our
Copperation Council-and I put it up
to him for an opinion, and after thinking
it over for two months he reported. The
THE IMMOVABLE TROLLEY 29
only way to prevent collisions, said he,
is to cut the ends off the cars. That was
it, wasn't' it, Judge?" he added, turning
to the White Knight.
"Yes," said the Knight, "only I put
it in poetry. My precise words were
The only way that I can find
To stop this car colliding stunt
Is cutting off the end behind
And likewise that in front."
"Splendid!" cried Alice, clapping her
hands in glee. "That's fine."
Thank you," said the White Knight.
"You see, Miss Alice, I made a personal
study of collisions. The Mayor here
ordered a fresh one every day for me to
investigate, and I noticed that whenever
two cars bunked into each other it was
always at the ends and never in the
middle. The conclusion was inevitable.
The ends being the venerable spot, abolish
"A very careful and conscientious
30 ALICE IN BLUNDERLAND
aside to Alice.
ship of the
going to put
him on the
"THE CHIEF ENGINEER"
Court Bench. He means vulnerable when
he says venerable, but you mustn't mind
that. When we have Municipal Owner-
ship of the English Language we'll make
the words mean what we want 'em to."
"Then of course the question arose
as to how we could do this," said the
Hatter. "I got the Chief Engineer of
our Department of Public Works to make
some experiments, and would you believe
THE IMMOVABLE TROLLEY 31
it, when we cut the ends off the cars, there
were still other ends left? No matter how
far we clipped 'em, it was the same. It's
a curious scientific fact that you can't
cut off the end of anything and leave it
endless. We tried it with a lot of things-
cars, lengths of hose, coils of wire, rope-
everything we could think of-always
with the same result. Ends were endless,
but nothing else was. As a matter of
plied on us.
One car that
had two ends
when we began
was cut in the
then was found
to have four
ends instead of
isn't it!" cried
Alice, "IT CAME TO ME PIKE A YFL5"
32 ALICE IN BLUNDERLAND
"It unquestionably is," said the Hat-
ter, and we were at our wits' ends until
one night it came to me like a flash. I
had gone to bed on a Park Bench, accord-
ing to my custom of using nothing that
is not owned by the city, for I am very
serious about this thing, when just as I
was dozing off the whole scheme unfolded
itself. Build a circular car, of course.
One big enough to go all around the city.
That would solve so many problems.
With only one car, there'd be no car
ahead, which always irritates people who
miss it and then have to take it later.
With only one car, there could be no col-
lisions. With only one car we could get
along with only one motorman and one
conductor at a time, thus giving the others
time to go to dancing school and learn
good manners. With only one car, and
that a permanent fixture, nobody could
miss it. If it didn't move we could
economise on motive power, and even
bounce the motorman without injury to
THE IMMOVABLE TROLLEY 33
the service, if he should happen to be
impudent to the Board of Aldermen;
nobody would be run over by it; nobody
would be injured getting on and off; it
wouldn't make any difference if the
motorman didn't see the passenger who
wanted to get aboard. Being circular
there'd always be room enough to go
around, and there'd be no front or back
platform for the people to stand on or
get thrown off of going round the curves.
The expenses of keeping up the roadbed
would be nothing, because, being motion-
less, the car wouldn't jolt even if it ran
over a thank-you-marm a mile high, and
best of all, a circular car has no ends to
collide with other ends, which makes it
absolutely safe. I never heard of a car
colliding with itself, did you?"
No, I never did," replied Alice.
Nor I neither," said the March Hare.
"I don't think it ever happened, and
therefore I reason that it ain't going to
34 ALICE IN BLUNDERLAND
"And how do the people like it?"
0, they're getting to like it," replied
the Hatter. "At first they didn't want
to ride on the thing at all. They said
what you did, that they didn't seem to
be getting anywhere, and they hated to
walk home, but after awhile we proved
to them that walking was a very healthful
exercise, and on rainy nights they found
the covered car a good- deal of a con-
venience, especially when under the old
system of private ownership of umbrellas
they had left their bumbershoots at
home. Once or twice they lost their
tempers and sassed the conductor, but
he put them in jail for lazy majesty-a
German disease that we have imported
for the purpose. As an officer of the
Government the conductor has a right
to arrest anybody who sasses him as
guilty of sedition, and a night or two in
jail takes the fun out of that."
"Have you had any elections since
THE IMMOVABLE TROLLEY 35
you established it?" asked Alice, whose
father had once run for Mayor, and who
therefore knew something about politics.
"No," said the Hatter with an easy
laugh. "But we will have one in the
spring. We shall be reflected all right."
"How do you know?" asked Alice.
"If the people don't like Municipal
"O, but they do," said the March
Hare. "You see, Miss Alice, we have
employed a safe majority of the voters
in the various Departments of our M. O.
system, their terms expiring coinciden-
tally with our own-so if they vote
against us they vote against themselves.
It really makes Municipal Ownership
"He means perpetuating," whispered
the March Hare.
"Ah," said Alice. "I see."
Just then a heavy gong like a huge
fire alarm sounded and all the passengers
sprang to their feet and made for the doors,
36 ALICE IN BLUNDERLAND
"What's that?" cried Alice, timidly,
as she rose up hurriedly with all the rest.
"Don't be alarmed. It's only the
signal that our time is up," said the
Hatter. "We must get out now and
make room for others who may wish to
use the cars. Nobody can monopolise
anything under our system. I will now
take you to see our Gas and Hot Air
Plant. It is one of the seven wonders of
And the little party descended into
THE AROMATIC GAS PLANT
AFTER the little party had descended
from the marvellous trolley, con-
cerning which the March Hare observed,
most properly, that under private owner-
ship nothing so safe and sane would ever
have been thought of, they walked along
a beautiful highway, bordered with rose-
bushes, oleanders and geraniums, until
they came to a lovely little park at the
entrance to which was a huge sign
announcing that within was
THE BLUNDERLAND GAS PLANT.
To tell the truth Alice had not cared
particularly to visit the Gas Works,
because she had once been driven through
what was known at home as the Gas-
House district on her way to the ferry,
38 ALICE IN BLUNDERLAND
and her recollections of it were not alto-
gether pleasant. As she recalled it it
was in a rather squalid neighbourhood,
and the odours emanating from it were
not pleasing to what she called her ''oil-
factories." But here in Blunderland all
was different. Instead of the huge ugly
retorts rising up out of the ground, sur-
rounded by a quality of air that one could
not breathe with comfort, was as beautiful
a garden as anyone could wish to wander
through, and at its centre there stood a
retort, but not one that looked like a
great iron skull cap painted red. On
the contrary the Municipally Owned
retort had architecturally all the classic
beauty of a Carnegie Library.
"We call it the Retort Courteous,"
said the Hatter pridefully as he gazed at
the structure, and smiled happily as he
noted Alice's very evident admiration
for it. "You see, in urban affairs, as a
mere matter of fitness, we believe in
cultivating urbanity, my child, and in
THE AROMATIC GAS PLANT 39
consequence everything we do is con-
ceived in a spirit of courtesy. The gas-
houses under private ownership have not
been what you would call polite. They
were almost invariably heavy, rude, star-
ing structures that reared themselves
offensively in the public eye, and our first
effort was to subliminate "
"Ee-liminate," whispered the March
"I beg your pardon, Mr. Hare,"
retorted the Hatter. "I did not mean
ee-liminate, which means to suppress,
but subliminate, which means to sub-
limify or make sublime. I guess I know
my own language."
"Excuse me," said the March Hare
meekly. "I haven't studied the M. O.
Dictionary beyond the letter Q, Mr.
Mayor, and I was not aware that the
Common Council had as yet passed
favourably upon subliminate, either," he
added with some feeling.
"That is because it was not until
40 ALICE IN BLUNDERLAND
yesterday that the Copperation Council
decided that subliminate was a constitu-
tional word," said the Hatter sharply.
"In view of his report to me, which I
wrote myself and therefore know the
provisions of, he states that subliminate
is a perfectly just and proper word involv-
ing no infringement upon the rights of
others, and in no wise impairing the value
of innocent vested interests, and is there-
fore legal. Therefore, I shall use it
whether the Common Council approves
it or not. If they resolve that it is not a
good word, I shall veto the resolution.
If you don't like it I'll send you your
That being the case," said the March
Hare, "I withdraw my objections."
"Which," observed the Hatter tri-
umphantly, turning to Alice, shows you,
my dear young lady, the very great value
of the Municipal Ownership idea as
applied to the Board of Aldermen. As
the White Knight put it in one of his
THE AROMATIC GAS' PLANT 41
poetical reports printed in Volume 347,
of the Copperation Council's Opinions
for October, 1906, page 926,
A City may not own its Gas,
Its Barber Shops, or Cars
It may not raise Asparagrass,
Or run Official Bars;
It may not own a big Hotel
Or keep a Public Hen,
But it will always find it well
To own its Aldermen.
When Aldermen were owned by private
interests the public interests suffered, but
in this town where the City Fathers be-
long to the City they have to do what
the City tells them to, or get out."
It sounds good," was all that Alice
could think of to say.
"What I was trying to tell you when
the Alderman interpolated-" the Hat-
ter went on.
"There he goes again!" growled the
42 ALICE IN BLUNDERLAND
Was that the first thing we did when
we took over the Gas Plant was to sub-
limify the externals of the works along
lines of Architectural and Olfactoreal
beauty both to the eye and to the nose,
two organs of the human structure that
private interests seldom pay much atten-
tion to. I asked myself two questions.
First, is it necessary for a gas works to
be ugly? Second, is it necessary for gas
works to be so odourwhifferous that the
smell of the Automobile is a dream of
fragrant beauty alongside of it? To both
these questions the answer was plain.
Of course it ain't. Beauty can be applied
to the lines of a gas-tank just as readily
as to the lines of a hippopotamus, and as
for the odours, they are due to the fact
that gas as it is now made does not smell
pleasantly, but there is no reason why it
should not be so manufactured that peo-
ple would be willing to use it on their
handkerchiefs. I learned that Professor
Burbank of California had developed a
THE AROMATIC GAS PLANT 43
cactus plant that could be used for a sofa
cushion-why, I asked myself, could he
not develop a gas-plant that will put
forth flowers the perfume of which should
make that of the violet, and the rose,
sink into inoculated desoupitude?"
"It hardly seems possible, does it?"
"To a private mind it presents in-
superable difficulties," said the Hatter,
"but to a public mind like my own
nothing is impossible. If a man can
do a seemingly impossible thing with
one plant there is no reason why he
shouldn't do a seemingly impossible thing
with another plant, so I immediately
wrote to Professor Burbank offering
him a hundred thousand dollars in Blund-
erland Deferred Debenture Gas Improve-
ment Bonds a year to come here and
see what he could do to transmogrify
"Oh, I am so glad," cried Alice de-
lightedly. "I should so love to meet
44 ALICE IN BLUNDERLAND
Mr. Burbank and thank him for inventing
the coreless apple- "
You don't means the Corliss Engine,
do you?" asked the White Knight.
"Well, I'm sorry," said the Hatter,
"but Mr. Burbank wouldn't come unless
we'd pay him real money, which, although
we don't publish the fact broadcast, is
not in strict accord with the highest
principles of Municipal Ownership. We
contend that when people work for the
common weal they ought to be satisfied
to receive their pay in the common wealth,
and under the M. O. system the most
common kind of wealth is represented by
Bonds. Consequently we wrote again
to Mr. Burbank, and expressed our regret
that a man of his genius should care more
for his own selfish interests than for the
public weal, and as a sort of sarcasm on
his meanness I enclosed five of our 2963
Guaranteed Extension four per cents to
pay for the two-cent stamp he had put
upon his letter."
THE AROMATIC GAS PLANT 45
"What are the 2963 Guaranteed Ex-
tension four per cents?" asked Alice.
They are sinking fund bonds payable
in 2963, only we guarantee to extend the
date of payment to 3963 in case the sink-
ing fund has
sunk so low we
don't feel like pay- l
ing them in 2963,"
explained the Hat- "STUDYING THE ECONOMIC THEORIES
OP DR. WACK"
ter. "It's an in- D. W
genious financial idea that I got from
studying the economic theories of Dr.
Wack, Professor of Repudiation and Other
Political Economies at the Wack Busi-
ness College at Squantumville, Florida.
It is the only economic theory I know
of that absolutely prevents debt from
46 ALICE IN BLUNDERLAND
becoming a burden. But that aside, when
Mr. Burbank showed that he preferred
fooling with such futile things as pine-
apples and hollyhocks, to the really up-
lifting work of providing the people with
gas that was redolent of the spices of
Araby, I resolved to do the thing myself."
He is a man of real inventive genius,"
said the March Hare, anxious, apparently,
to square himself with the Hatter again.
"Thank you, Alderman," said the
Hatter. "It is a real pleasure to find
myself strictly in accord with your views
once more. But to resume, Miss Alice-
as I say I resolved to tackle the problem
Fine," said Alice. So you went in
and studied how to make gas the old way
"Not at all," interrupted the Hatter.
"Not at all. That would have been fatal.
I found that everybody who knew how
to make gas the old way said the thing
was impossible. Hence, I reasoned, the
THE AROMATIC GAS PLANT 47
man who will find it possible must be
somebody who never knew anything
about the old way of making gas, and
nobody in the whole world knew less
about it than I. Manifestly then I
became the chosen instrument to work
the reform, so I plunged in and you really
can't imagine how easy it all turned out.
I had no old prejudices in gas-making to
overcome, no set, finicky ideas to serve as
obstacles to progress, and inside of a week
I had it. I filled the gas tanks half full
of cologne, and then pumped hot air
through them until they were chock full.
I figured it out that cologne was nothing
more than alcohol flavoured with axio-
matic oils-- "
"Aromatic," interrupted the March
Hare, forgetting himself for the moment.
The Hatter frowned heavily upon the
Alderman, and there is no telling what
would have happened had not the White
Knight interfered to protect the offender.
"It's still an open question, Mr.
48 ALICE IN BLUNDERLAND
Mayor," he observed, "if axiomatic ap-
plied to a scent is constitutional. If an
odour should become axiomatic we could
never get rid of it you see, and I think the
Alderman has distinguished authority
for his correction, which- "
THE WHITE KNIGHT INTERFERED "
"0 very well," said the Hatter. "Let
it go. I prefer axiomatic, but the private
predilections of an official should not be
permitted to influence his official actions.
I intend always to operate within the
limits of the law, so if the law says
aromatic, aromatic be it. I figured that
THE AROMATIC GAS PLANT 49
cologne was nothing more than alcohol
flavoured with aromatic oils, and that
inasmuch as both alcohol and oil burn
readily, there was no reason why hot air
passed through them should not burn
also, and carry off some of the aroma as
It certainly was a very pretty idea,"
"All the M. 0. ideas are pretty," said
the March Hare. "It is only the question
of reducing beauty to the basis of prac-
tical utility that confronts us."
"And how did it work?" asked Alice,
very much interested.
"Beautifully," said the Hatter.
"Only it wouldn't burn-just why I
haven't been able to find out. But in the
matter of perfume it was fine. People
who turned on their jets the first night
soon found their houses smelling like
bowers of roses, and a great many of them
liked it so much that they turned on every
jet in the house, and left them turned on
50 ALICE IN BLUNDERLAND
all day, so that in the mere
matter of consumption
twice as much of my aro-
matic illuminating air was
"IN THE MATTER OF PERFUME IT WAS FINE"
used in a week as the companies had
charged for under the old system, and
we used the same metres, too. In addi-
tion to this, as a mere life-saving device,
my invention proved to have a wonderful
value. In the first place nobody could
blow it out and be found gas-fixturated
the next morning-- "
"Good word that-so much more
expressive than the old privately owned
THE AROMATIC GAS PLANT 51
dictionary word asphyxiated," said the
The Hatter nodded his appreciation of
the March Hare's compliment, and ad-
mitted him once more to his good graces.
"And nobody could commit suicide
with it the way they used to do with the
in or out.
hot air NOBODY COULD BE GAS-FxUATED
52 ALICE IN BLUNDERLAND
all the time in our Administration and
it is wonderful what results you can get
from it," he went on. "But it wouldn't
light. In fact when anybody tried to
light it, such was the pressure, it blew out
the match, which I regard as an additional
point in its favour. If we have gas that
blows out matches the minute the match
is applied to it, does not that reduce the
chance of fire from the careless habit some
people have of throwing lighted matches
into the waste-basket?"
"It most certainly does," said the
White Knight gravely, and in such tones
of finality that Alice did not venture to
dispute his assertion.
"We're all agreed upon that point,"
said the Hatter. But there were com-
plaints of course. Some people, mostly
capitalists who were rich enough to have
libraries of their own, complained that
they couldn't read nights because the gas
wouldn't light. I replied that if they
wanted to read they could go to the
THE AROMATIC GAS PLANT 53
Public Library, where there were oil
lamps, and electric lights. Besides read-
ing at night is bad for the eyes. Others
objected that they couldn't see to go to
bed. The answer to that was simple
enough. People don't need to see to go
to bed. They may need to see when they
are dressing in the morning, but when
they go to bed all they have to do is to
take their clothes off and go, and I added
that people who didn't know enough to
do that had better have nurses. Finally
some of the chief kickers got up a mass-
meeting and protested that the new gas
wasn't gas at all, and in view of that fact
refused to pay their gas tax."
Oho!" said Alice. That was pretty
serious I should think."
It seemed so at first," said the Hat-
ter, "but just then the beauty of the
Municipal Ownership scheme stepped in.
I called a special meeting of the Common
Council and they settled the question
once for all."
54 ALICE IN BLUNDERLAND
Good!" cried Alice. "How did they
"They passed a resolution," said the
Hatter, unanimously declaring the aro-
matic hot-air to be gas of the most
excellent quality, and made it a misde-
meanor for anybody to say that it wasn't.
I signed the ordinance and from that
minute on our gas was gas by law."
"Still," said Alice, "those people had
already said it wasn't. Did they back
"Most of 'em did," laughed the
Hatter. "And the rest were fined $500
apiece and sent to jail for six months.
You see we made the law sufficiently
retroactive to grab the -whole bunch.
Since then there have been no com-
Whereupon the Hatter invited Alice
to stroll through the gas-plant with him,
which the little girl did, and declared it
later to have been sweeter than a walk
through a rose-garden, which causes me
THE AROMATIC GAS PLANT 55
to believe that the Mayor's scheme was a
pretty wonderful one after all, and quite
worthy of a Hatter thrust by the vagaries
of politics into the difficult business of
THE CITY-OWNED POLICE
AFTER Alice and her companions had
A enjoyed the aromatic delights of the
Blunderland Gas Plant the Hatter and
his Cabinet went into executive session
for a few hours to decide where they
should go next. The interests of Blunder-
land were so varied that this was a some-
what difficult matter to settle, especially
as Mr. Alderman March Hare, who was
a great stickler for the rights of the hon-
ourable body to which he belonged,
wished to have the question referred to
a special meeting of the Common Council.
The White Knight as Corporation Coun-
sel, however, advised the Hatter that
there was no warrant in law compelling
him to accede to the March Hare's
THE CITY-OWNED POLICE 57
"The Municipal Ownership of Rub-
bernecks act has not yet been passed,"
he observed. "Consequently visitors
to our City can be shown about in
any way in which the party in charge
chooses to choose."
Search a t
have that g u
in writ- "WROTE o. THE SIDE OF A CONVENIENT GAS T.ANK"
lic officials nowadays are too prune to
"Prone, I guess you mean," laughed
the Hatter gleefully.
"I prefer prune," said the March
58 ALICE IN BLUNDERLAND
Hare, with dignity. Public officials are
too prune nowadays to deny what they
say in private conversation to encourage
me to take any chances."
"Certainly," returned the White
Knight. I'll.write it out for you with
pleasure." Whereupon, taking a piece
of chalk from his pocket, he wrote with
it on the side of a convenient gas tank
the following opinion:
IN RE WHAT TO DO NEXT
Opinion 7,543,467,223. Liber 29. Gas
Tank No. 6
You can go to the People's Shoe Shop,
Or down to the new Town Pump.
You can visit the Civic Glue Shop,
Or call on the Public Chump.
You can visit the Social Rooster,
Or sample Municipal Cheese-
In short you can do what you choose ter,
And go where you dee dash please.
(Signed) JOHN DOE WHITE KNIGHT,
THE CITY-OWNED POLICE 59
Meanwhile Alice had been turned over
to the Chief of Police to be cared for,
and was charmed to discover that that
individual was none other than her old
friend the Dormouse whom she had met
in her trip through Wonderland at the
you ever come
to be Chief of
to be Chief of THE SOUNDEST SLEEPER IN TOWN"
cried delightedly, as she recognized him.
"I'm the soundest sleeper in town,"
he replied with a yawn, so they made me
head of the force. You see, young lady,
the great trouble with the average police-
man is that he's too wide-awake, and
that leads to graft. When the Hatter's
60 ALICE IN BLUNDERLAND
Municipal Police Commission looked into
the question they found that the Cop who
spent most of his time asleep spent less of
his time clubbing people who wouldn't
whack up with him on the profits of their
business. Every ossifer who has been
convicted of petty larceny in the past,
the records show, has been a fellow who
stayed awake most of the time, and no
ossifer has ever yet been known to go in
for graft or get a record for clubbing
innocent highwaymen over the head while
he was asleep either on a Park Bench, or
in an alleyway. Consequently, says they,
Mr. Dormouse who wakes up only on
every fifth Thursday in February will
make the best Police ossifer in the bunch,
and being the best had ought to be chose
chief. Hence accordingly, it became thus.
Moreover I am a champion Tea Drinker."
"What's that got to do with it?"
"Everything," said the Dormouse,
rubbing his eyes sleepily. "Every blessed
THE CITY-OWNED POLICE 61
thing. Tea Drinking is one of our hardest
duties under the new system providing
for the Municipal Ownership of Every-
thing In Sight Including the Cop on the
Corner. You see when the City grabbed
up the Bakeries, and the Trolleys, and the
Grand Opera House, and the Condensed
Milk Factory, and the Saw Mills, and the
Breakfast Food Jungles, all envy, hatred
and malice disappeared. Everybody
loved his neighbour better than he did
himself or his wife's family, and con-
sequently hence there was therefore no
crime, which left the Policeman out of a
job. The only Burglars left in town were
the regularly appointed official safe-
crackers representing the Municipal Own-
ership of Petty and Grand Larceny.
The only gambling houses left were under
the direct supervision of the Mayor acting
ex-officio and the Chairman of the Alder-
manic Committee on Faro and Roulette.
The Game of Bunco became a duly
authorised official diversion under con-
( 62 ALICE IN BLUNDERLAND
trol of the Tax Assessors, and the Town
Toper, being elected by popular vote,
could get as leery as he pleased by public
consent. Life Insurance Agents became
likewise Public Servants under the Gen-
eral Ordinance of 1905 starting the Civic
Tontine Parlours where people were com-
pelled to buy Life Insurance from the
City itself at so much a yard."
"A yard? cried Alice.
"Yep," yawned the Dormouse. "Pol-
icies were issued anywhere from three
inches to a yard long, each inch represent-
ing a year. If you bought a mile of Life
Insurance you were insured for as many
years as there are inches in a mile. I never
could stay awake long enough to figure
out how much that is, but it's several
"But what did the Agents have to
do?" asked Alice. "If people had to
take it- "
"They went out and grabbed delin-
quents," said the Dormouse.
THE CITY-OWNED POLICE 63
"I shouldn't think people would need
life insurance for the benefit of their fam-
ilies if everybody has everything he wants
in Blunderland," put in Alice.
"They don't," said the Dormouse,
rapping his head with his club to keep
from dropping off to sleep. "It ain't
for the benefit of their families-it's for
the benefit of the City. A City like this
can use benefits to great advantages most
all the time. But you see the results,
of Municipalisinrg all sorts of crime from",
straight burglary up to life insurance
resulted in the Police having nothing
to do. There wasn't anybody to arrest,
or to quell, or to club, and so they turned
us into a social organisation and that's
where Tea Drinking comes in strong.
Every afternoon at five o'clock, tea is
served on every corner in Blunderland
by the Policeman on beat. They have
become quite a public function, but
they're a trifle hard on the police who
don't care for tea, because we have to be
S64 ALICE IN BLUNDERLAND
very polite and take it with everybody
who comes up, and be nice and cha ty
into the bargain. In addition to this
we are required to go to dances and take
care of the wall-flowers and make our-
selves generally agreeable. It is one of
"TEA IS SERVED ON EVERY CORNER"
the laws of BEunderland that all girls are
born free and equal in the pursuit of life,
liberty and german favours, and when
any of the Terpsichorean Force finds a
girl with red hair and snub nose with
freckles on it decorating the wall and
being neglected at a cotillion, it is his
duty to plunge in and either dance with
her himself, or put some Willieboy under
THE CITY-OWNED POLICE 65
arrest until he calls her out and gives
her the time of her life. You can't
imagine what.wonderfulrsults this Muni-
cipal Control of that social situation
has done in the line of popularising plain
"It sounds very interesting," Alice
ventured. "I should think the girls
would like it."
"They do," said the Dormouse. "The
only objection to it comes from the Willie-
boys, but nobody cares much what they
think because there aren't many of them
that can think."
And is that all you do ?" asked Alice.
"Oh, no indeed," said the Dormouse.
"We keep reserves for Bridge Parties
at the Station all the time, so that if
any taxpayer ever needs a fourth hand
to make up a game all he has to do is to
ring up headquarters and get an ossifer
to come up and play. In addition to this
we look after old ladies who want to go
shopping and aren't strong enough to
66 ALICE IN BLUNDERLAND
break through the rush line at the bar-
gain counters. And then once in a while
somebody's baby will wake up at three
o'clock in the morning and demand the
moon, and we go up and attend to it."
"What?" cried Alice in amazement.
"You don't mean to say you give it the
"Not exactly," said the Dormouse.
"We just promise to give it. That's
one of the strong points about Municipal
Ownership. It's the easiest system to
make promises under you ever knew.
You can promise anything, and later on
if you don't make good you can promise
something better, and so on. It works
very well in a great many places.
But that isn't really what we go up
to the house for. We go up to relieve
the poor tired parents who have been
working hard all day and are too weary
to walk up and down the floor with the
baby. We respond immediately to the
call, grab up the baby and walk the floor
THE CITY-OWNED POLICE 67
with him until he is quiet again. Once
last winter a chap with three pairs of
twins six months, a year and a half, and
three years old respectively, had to send
for the patrol wagon. All six of 'em
"WE RESPOND IMMEDIATELY TO THE CALL"
waked up and began to squall at once
and we sent seven ossifers and a sergeant
up to look after them. They had to
parade around that house from 2 A. M.
until seven-thirty before those babies
Just at this moment the Dormouse
68 ALICE IN BLUNDERLAND
was interrupted in his story by a raggedly
dressed old man on a pair of crutches
who begged an alms of him.
"Only a dollar, sir," he asked pite-
ously. "Only a dollar to relieve a
terrible case of distress."
"Certainly, Simpkins," said the Dor-
mouse kindly. "I-well I'll be jig-
gered-" he added, feeling through his
pockets. "I must have left my money
at home. Maybe this young lady can
help you out. Miss Alice, permit me
to introduce you to Simpkins. He's the
most successful beggar in nineteen
"Glad to meet you," said Alice,
shaking hands with Simpkins.
"You couldn't spare a dollar, could
you, Miss?" whined the Beggar. "It
will relieve a terrible case of distress
"Why-yes," said Alice, suddenly
remembering that she had a silver dollar
in her pocket. "Here it is."
THE CITY-OWNED POLICE 69
And she handed it to Simpkins who
thanked her profusely.
"How's business?" asked the
"Fine," said Simpkins, executing a
jig. "I've collected $800
since eleven o'clock this
Whereupon, for g et-
ting his crutches, he made "ADE OFF WITH THE
AGILITY OF AN ANTELOPE
off up the street with the
agility of an antelope. Alice gazed after
him in wonder.
"I-I didn't suppose you had any
beggars in Blunderland," said she.
"He's the only one," replied the Dor-
mouse. He's the official Beggar of the
70 ALICE IN BLUNDERLAND
Town. He gets $25,000 in Tenth De-
ferred Reorganisation Certificates a year
-which, if the Certificates pay ten cents
on the dollar, as we hope, will turn out to
be a good salary in the end."
But why does he beg? Who gets the
money?" asked Alice.
"'The City," said the Dormouse. "Once
in a while when the Printing Plant gets
clogged up with large orders of Bonds for
our various enterprises, the City has to
get hold of a few dollars of real money, so
they send Simpkins out for it. I believe
he's out to-day trying to raise the inter-
est on the Sixteenth Mortgage Extension
Bonds on the Municipal Cigarette Plant
purchased year before last. It's ten
months overdue and the former owners
have asked the Government to smoke
"Oh!" said Alice. "Is the Printing
Plant clogged up?"
"Unmercifully," said the Dormouse.
"Not to say teetotally. They're prepar-
THE CITY-OWNED POLICE 71
ing their Christmas issues in Magazine
form, and that means a terrible lot of
extra work. I don't believe the way
things look now that the City will be able
to print the money for last January's pay-
roll until somewhere around the next
Fourth of July, and if that's the case poor
old Simpkins will either have to work
overtime or get a half-dozen Deputy
Assistant Beggars to put the town in
funds. I'm expecting to have the Police
put on that job at any minute."
Alice was silent for a moment, and the
Dormouse went on.
"What do you think of the Municipal
Ownership of the Police idea?" he asked.
"It's fine," said Alice. "But I
thought all Cities owned their police
"A great many people think that,"
laughed the Dormouse. "But it isn't
"It is in New York and Chicago-I
heard my Papa say so once," said Alice.
72 ALICE IN BLUNDERLAND
Again the Dormouse laughed.
"Well," he said. "I don't want to
cast any asparagus on your father's
intelligence, but he's wrong. The Police
may own New York and Chicago, but
New York and Chicago don't own the
police-not by a long shot."
"Who does, then?" demanded Alice.
"The Lord only knows," laughed the
Dormouse. Some people say John Doe,
and other people say the Man Higher Up,
but which it is, or who either of 'em may
be, I haven't the slightest idea. Maybe
they belong to the Copper Trust."
And then with a sly wink at the little
maid the Dormouse turned over and went
ARMED with the Copperation Coun-
sel's opinion authorising him to
do whatever he pleased next, the Hatter
decided that he would give Alice a
"YOU CAN TALK ALL YOU PLEASE"
demonstration of the workings of the
74 ALICE IN BLUNDERLAND
Which," said he proudly, I consider
to be the most Democraticising thing I
have ever invented. You can talk all
you please about Universal Brotherhood,
Unlimited Sisterhood, and the Infinity of
Unclehood, but all of these movements
put together haven't done as much to
promote the equality of everybody as
that Municipaphone idea of mine."
Alice thought the Cheshire Cat's grin
expanded slightly as the Hatter spoke,
but she was not sure, although he most
assuredly did wink at her.
"I should admire to see it," she said.
"What is it, just?"
"It is the result of the Municipal
Ownership of the Telephone," returned
the Hatter proudly. "We have taken
over everything that works by electricity
-electric lighting, the telegraph, the
"Even the thunder and lightning,"
interrupted the White Knight. "And
under our management everything runs
so smoothly that even the lightning
doesn't strike any more. That's a great
thing in Municipal Ownership. There
aren't any more strikes under it."
"What he says is true, my child,"
said the Hatter, and in time we expect
to get the thunder itself under control so
that it will serve some useful purpose-I
don't know yet exactly what, but I am
having experiments made in storage
batteries which will catch and hold the
thunder with the idea of saving the noise
it makes for fire-crackers, or Presidential
salutes, or other things and occasions
where the fracturing of silence seems
desirable. Surely if we can take elec-
tricity and under suitable Municipal
supervision make it serve as a substitute
for a tallow dip, why shouldn't we extract
the reverberance with which it is fraught
to add to the general clangour of joyous
"No reason at all," said Alice. "I
wonder no one has ever thought of that
76 ALICE IN BLUNDERLAND
before. Just think of all the magnificent
noises that go to waste in a thunder-
"You will discover in time, my dear
child, that only under the Municipal
Ownership of Brains such as we have here,
can such great ideas be seized from the
infinity of nothingness and turned into
an irresistible propaganda," said the
"He's the biggest gander of the
bunch," whispered the March Hare.
But it isn't what we are going to do,
but what we have done that we propose
to show you," continued the Hatter,
eyeing the March Hare coldly. "And
as I have said, the Municipaphone is my
crowning achievement. Just come here
and I will show you."
The Hatter led Alice to a nearby lamp-
post, and pointing to a little box fastened
to the middle of the pillar explained to
her that that was the Municipaphone.
"We have them in every room in
every house in the City, on all the lamp-
posts, hydrants, telegraph poles, in fact
everywhere where there is a chance or
room enough to hang one," the Hatter
"It's just like a telephone, isn't it?"
said Alice. "Only it looks like a hat
instead of a funnel."
"Exactly," said the Hatter, "but we
don't call it a telephone any more. The
word telephone struck me as being a
misnomer. You don't tell the 'phone
anything when you talk into it. You
tell the person at the other end of the line,
and so, I changed its name to the Muni-
cipaphone, which shows that it's a 'phone
that belongs to the City. Just to sort of
moralise the thing I had the mouth-piece
changed to look like a hat instead of a
funnel, because funnels are apt to suggest
alcoholic beverages and sometimes people
who aren't at all thirsty are made so by
the mere power of suggestion. The hat,
however, has always commended itself
78 ALICE IN BLUNDERLAND
to our greatest statesmen as a vehicle
best suited for the transmission of ideas,
and I therefore adopted it."
"It is very pretty," commented Alice.
"Only I think a few ribbons would
improve it a little."
"Possibly," said the Hatter. "We
haven't had time yet to look after the
millinery aspect of the situation, but
we'll take that up at our next Cabinet
meeting. I thank you for the suggestion.
But you see how the thing works. This
little book here has a list of the names of
everybody in town with their Municipa-
phone numbers attached. The lowly as
well as the highly, from the newsboy up
to the Bridge Whist set, are all repre-
sented here, so that all are connected in
one way or another with each other.
There is no man, woman, or child so poor
and humble of birth, that he or she cannot
get into immediate relations with the
haughty and proud. Everybody is on
speaking terms with everybody else, and
we have thereby reached socially a con-
dition wherein all men though not re-
lated are nevertheless connected. You
frequently hear a wash-lady remark that
while she has not met Mrs. Van Varick
Van Astorbilt or Mrs. Willieboy de Crud-
oil personally, they are nevertheless
connections of hers if not by blood or
marriage at least by wire, which is
stronger than either. Some day instead
of having Societies of the Cincinnati, and
Sons and Daughters of the Revolution I
hope to see associations of Brothers and
Sisters of the Municipaphone which shall
become a factor of overwhelming solidar-
ity in all social and political affairs."
It's a splendid scheme," said Alice.
It is a tie of material strength which
binds together our first and last families,
increasing the pride of the latter, and
diminishing that of the former until we
have at last reached an average of self-
satisfaction which knows no barriers of
class distinction," said the Hatter. "But
8o ALICE IN BLUNDERLAND
it wouldn't have worked if we hadn't
formulated strict rules by which every
household in town is governed. One
of our rules is that the person called upon
must answer immediately and truthfully
any question which the person at the
other end asks, and of course in perfectly
polite language. For instance, suppose
you try it yourself. Just ring up Number
83115, Bloomingdale, and ask for Mrs.
S. Van Livingston Smythe. She's the
biggest swell in town. Ask her anything
that comes into your head, and you'll
see how it works. Tell her you are Mrs.
O'Flaherty, the Head Wash-Lady of the
Alice took her place at the Municipa-
phone and called 83115 Bloomingdale, as
"Hello! she said.
"Hush! Don't say that-say Ah
there!" interrupted the Hatter. "Hello
comes under the head of profanity, which
is against the law."
"Excuse me," said Alice. "Ah
there!" she added. "Give me 83115
Bloomingdale, please, Central."
"Name, please," said Central.
"Bridget O'Flaherty," replied Alice
"Address?" asked Central.
"Tub 37, Municipal Laundry," said
Occupation? continued the other.
"Wringer," laughed Alice.
"All right, there you are," said
Central, making the desired connection.
"Is this Mrs. S. Van Livingston
Smythe?" asked Alice.
"Yes," said a sweet voice from the
other end of the line. What is it?"
"I am Bridget O'Flaherty," said
Alice, "of the Municipal Laundry,
and I wanted to ask was your grand-
father ever a monkey?"
It was not a very polite question, but
under the excitement of the moment
Alice could think of nothing better to
82 ALICE IN BLUNDERLAND
"I don't believe so, Mrs. O'Flaherty,"
came the sweet voice in answer. "I
have looked over every branch of our
family tree and there isn't a cocoanut on
it. Why, are you looking for a missing
grandfather of your own?"
"No," smiled Alice, "but I've read
all the books in the public library and I
thought he might have a tail to tell that
I would find amusing."
"Well, I'm very sorry," said the
sweet voice. "Grandfather died forty
years ago, so I don't believe he can help
you. I would advise you to go up to the
Monkeyhouse and ask one of your own
Good-bye," said Alice.
Well?" asked the Hatter with a grin.
"What do you think of it?"
Why-it's perfectly wonderful," said
Alice. "If that were to happen in New
York or even in Brooklyn or Binghamton
Mrs. S. Van Livingston Smythe would
have been very indignant, not only over
the question, but for the mere fact that
the-er-wash-lady dared ring her up
"Exactly," said the Hatter, with a
bland smile of satisfaction. "This Muni-
cipaphone controlled by strict rules which
people must obey is a great social leveller."
But why did Central want my name
and address?" asked Alice.
Because Central has to keep a record
of all that everybody says for the Inspec-
tor of Personal Communications," ex-
plained the Hatter. "Every word you
and Mrs. Smythe spoke was recorded
at the Central Office, and if either of you
had used any expression stronger than
Fudge, or 0 Tutt you would have been
fined five dollars for each expression and
repetition thereof. We expect to estab-
lish Civic Control of Public and Private
Speech within the next year, and we have
begun it with supervision of the Muni-
"But, cried Alice, "If I had said
84 ALICE IN BLUNDERLAND
something that required a fine, wouldn't
Mrs. O'Flaherty, who is innocent,
have had to pay?"
"Yes," said the Hatter. "But in all
cases where the public welfare is con-
0 D yield how-
is one of the
"FINED FIVE DOLLARS"
Ownership. Mrs. O'Flaherty would have
to suffer in order that the great prin-
ciple involved in Polite Speech for all
Classes might prevail. The strict en-
forcement of our anti-Gosh legislation
has resulted almost in the complete
elimination of profane speech in Blunder-
land-so much so in fact that in
the new Dictionary we are compiling
such words as Golramit, Dodgastit, and
Goshallhemlocks are being left out alto-
"It is a great moral agency," said
the White Knight. "It increases the
self-respect of the submerged, curbs the
pride of the rich, and holds in complete
subjection those evil communications
which corrupt good manners."
"And nothing but the
result of Municipal Owner- OF
ship," put in the March
grouch for a
saidtheHatter, / /
"to which I ...
86 ALICE IN BLUNDERLAND
.a, feel I should call
Ad your attention.
These phones be-
4 ing in every room
may be con-
"ALICE TRANSFIXED AT THE PHONE" other peo-
ple are say-
ing, gossip is gradually dying out, and
people everywhere are more careful of
what they say even in private, for now-
adays the walls literally have ears. To
give you an example, I will connect you
at once with the home of the Duchess
whom you met, if you remember, in
your journey through Wonderland and
you may judge for yourself of how useful
this Municipaphone is to us in ascertain-
ing the general trend of public opinion."
The Hatter gave the order to Central
and in a minute Alice stood transfixed
at the phone listening intently. She
recognized the voice of the Duchess
"THE BIGGEST JACKASS FROM DAN TO BEERSHEBA
"As for that old fool of a Hatter,"
she was saying, "he is the biggest jack-
ass from Dan to Beersheba."
"Well?" said the Hatter. "Can you
"Yes," giggled Alice. Very plainly."
"What does she say?" asked the
88 ALICE IN BLUNDERLAND
"Why," said Alice reddening, "she-
she's talking about you."
"The dear Duchess," ejaculated the
Hatter, with a foolish smirk. I'm very
much afraid-ahem-that the Duchess
has her eye on me."
She has," said Alice. She is refer-
ring to you in the warmest tones-she
thinks you're big-great-the very great-
est from Dan to Beersheba."
"Ah me!" sighed the Hatter. "If I
were only a younger man! "
"They'll make a match of it yet,"
said the White Knight in a soft whisper
"Yes," sneered the March Hare, who
had overheard, jealously, "and a fine
old sulphur-headed lucifer of a match
it will be too."
"Well, it's all very nice," said Alice,
very anxious to change the subject.
"But I can't say that I'm sure I'd like
it. Why, you can't have any secrets
"And why should you wish to, my
dear child?" asked the Hatter, coming
out of his dream of romance. "Why
not so order your life that you have no
need for secrecy?"
"Yes," said Alice. "I suppose that
is better, but then, Mr. Hatter, isn't
there to be any more private life?"
"Not under Municipal Ownership,"
said the Hatter. "Carried to its logical
conclusion that with all other so-called
private rights will be merged in the
glorious culmination of a complete well
rounded Municipal Life. It is toward
that Grand Civic Eventuation that I
and my associates in this noble move-
ment are constantly striving."
"Are you going to have Municipal
Control of Marriage? asked Alice, slyly.
The Hatter blushed and smiled fool-
ishly. I-ah-am thinking about that,"
he said with a funny little laugh. It would
be a most excellent thing to do, for in my
opinion a great many people nowadays
90 ALICE IN BLUNDERLAND
get married too thoughtlessly. Just be-
cause they happen to love each other
they go off and get married, but under
Municipal Control it would be much
more difficult for a man or a woman to
take so serious a step. For instance,
if I had my way the Common Council
would have to be asked for permission
for a man to marry. The question would
come up in the form of a bill, which would
immediately be referred to the Committee
on Matrimony, who would discuss it very
thoroughly before bringing it before the
Council. If a majority of the Committee
considered that the application should
be granted, then the matter should be
placed before the whole Council, by which
it should be debated in open public ses-
sions, the applicant having been invited
to appear and under cross-examination
by the District Attorney demonstrate
his fitness to be married. All others
knowing any reason why he should not
be married should also have the oppor-
tunity to appear and state their reasons
for opposing the granting of the appli-
cation. I am inclined to believe that
this would put a stop to these hasty
marriages which have given rise to that
beautiful proverb, Married in Camden,
Repent at South Dakota."
I should think it would," said Alice.
"And when do you propose to start this
Well, you see," said the Hatter with
a giggle, "before I take final steps in the
matter I wish to have a few words with-
er-well-you know who-I--"
"The Duchess, Alice ventured.
"Ah, you precocious child!" cried the
Hatter, tapping Alice on the shoulder
coyly. "You must not believe all you
overhear the Duchess say about me. She
is so prejudiced, and blind to my faults.
I-I'm almost sorry I connected you
with her over the Municipaphone."
THE DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC VERSE
I THINK," said the Hatter, "that be-
fore we go any further we would
better show Miss Alice our Municipal
Poetry Factory. The whistle will blow
very shortly and our Divine Afflatus
Dynamo will shut down, so if she is to
see that feature of our work now is the
time to do it."
"Yes," said the March Hare, "al-
though the office is in some confusion
owing to your recent Municipal Order
Number 20,367 making Alabazam rhyme
with Mulligatawney, and extending the
number of lines in the municipal quat-
rains from four to twenty-three. The
employees are finding considerable diffi-
culty in making twenty-three-line quat-
rains and at least half the force have