The White Rabbit is the first strange character Alice
meets in Alice in Wonderland
. He reappears at the Queen's croquet
match, and serves as herald
in the Knave of Hearts
's trial at the end.
Alice's adventures begin when she is sitting sleepily on a bank, and she sees a white rabbit with pink eyes dart past her. When it says to itself, 'Oh dear! Oh dear! I shall be too late!', she starts to think something a little odd is happening, but when it takes a watch out of its waistcoat pocket, she decides to follow it, and drops down the rabbit hole after it. She loses sight of him as soon as she lands at the bottom.
In Chapter 2 he reappears splendidly dressed, with a pair of white kid gloves in one hand and a large fan in the other, still muttering to himself about how savage the Duchess will be if he is late. Alice timidly attempts to address him, but he is startled, drops the fan and gloves, and skurries away. She fans herself until she is startled to discover she is small enough to fall into the pool of tears she had cried.
He returns at the beginning of Chapter 4 looking anxiously around for his things, muttering 'The Duchess! The Duchess! Oh my dear paws! Oh my fur and whiskers! She'll get me executed, as sure as ferrets are ferrets! Where can I have dropped them, I wonder?'. He then spots Alice and mistakes her for his housemaid Mary Ann, angrily ordering her to go home and get replacements. This she does, without arguing, but wondering at how queer it is to be running messages for a rabbit.
He lived in a neat little house, on the door of which was a bright brass plate with the name 'W. RABBIT'. Inevitably she finds something to swallow, and this has the effect of making her too large for the house, so that she's wedged uncomfortably in it with one arm out the window and one foot up the chimney. The White Rabbit calls out angrily for his gloves and tries to get in. A snap of her hand has him fall into what sounds like a cucumber frame in his garden. His gardeners Pat and Bill then try to get to her. Pebbles he orders fired at her turn into cakes, which make her shrink, so she escapes.
He is quite rude and tyrannical to his servants in these early chapters; he becomes nicer later on. In Chapter 8 he shows up at the croquet game and timorously remarks to Alice that it's a fine day, then passes on the news that the feared Duchess is now under sentence of execution for having boxed the Queen's ears, which Alice finds tremendously funny.
Chapter 11 is the trial for stealing the tarts, and for this the White Rabbit is arrayed as the herald, or more commonly the clerk of court, in a tabard, with a trumpet in one hand and a scroll in the other. He calls for silence in court, reads the accusation, calls the witnesses, and advises the King on court procedure: such as hearing the evidence before passing sentence.
His voice, formerly timid or angry, is now described as shrill when he calls out Alice's name to be witness, leading into the final chapter. He speaks very respectfully to the King, whose 'important' he corrects to 'unimportant', but frowns and makes faces at him.
Finally he produces a startling piece of new evidence, a letter alleged to have been written by the prisoner, the Knave of Hearts. For this he puts on his spectacles.
This seems to be the complete sum of information about the White Rabbit in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.