The Mock Turtle continues whining and sobbing as he talks with Alice. Amid his misery, he asks Alice if she has ever met a lobster. Remembering she once ate lobster, Alice considers saying “yes” to the Mock Turtle’s question but decides “no” is a safer response. The Mock Turtle and Gryphon explain that the Lobster-Quadrille is a dance in which all the sea creatures — except the jellyfish — gather the lobsters along the shore and throw them back into the water.
Sensing that Alice does not understand what they are talking about, the Mock Turtle and Gryphon demonstrate the dance, despite the notable absence of nearby lobsters. During the dance, the Mock Turtle sings about a whiting and a snail. When the dance ends, Alice asks about the whiting, careful to avoid mentioning her previous experience eating one. The Gryphon explains that Alice has a misconception about whiting. He states that whiting does not have a crumb, and it is named because it shines animals’ shoes. Alice mentions that, in the song, the porpoise steps on the whiting’s tail. Had she been in the dance, she says, she would have excluded the porpoise. In response, the Mock Turtle tells Alice fish go nowhere without a “porpoise,” a pun of the word “purpose.”
After all that, the Gryphon and Mock Turtle ask Alice to describe her experiences in Wonderland. Alice launches into various anecdotes, including her encounter with the Caterpillar. The Gryphon and Mock Turtle react with surprise upon hearing that Alice could not correctly recite the poem. They then order her to try again in front of them. When Alice recites random lines incorrectly, they do not react well. Displeased, the Mock Turtle demands Alice explain why she keeps ruining the poem. The Gryphon asks Alice to stop reciting the poem so that they can show her the Lobster-Quadrille dance again. However, a voice interrupts them by shouting, “the trial is beginning,” and the Gryphon takes Alice away.