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ALICE'S ADVENTURES IN WONDERLAND Lewis Carroll

CHAPTER XI

                      Who Stole the Tarts?    
    
     The King and Queen of Hearts were seated on their  throne  when  they
arrived, with a great crowd assembled about them -  all  sorts  of  little
birds and beasts, as well as the  whole  pack  of  cards:  the  Knave  was
standing before them, in chains, with a soldier on each side to guard him;
and near the King was the White Rabbit, with a trumpet in one hand, and  a
scroll of parchment in the other. In the very middle of the  court  was  a
table, with a large dish of tarts upon it: they looked so  good,  that  it
made Alice quite hungry to look at them - I  wish  they'd  get  the  trial
done, - she thought, - and hand round the refreshments! - But there seemed
to be no chance of this, so she began looking at everything about her,  to
pass away the time.
     Alice had never been in a court of justice before, but she  had  read
about them in books, and she was quite pleased to find that she  knew  the
name of nearly everything there.  -  That's  the  judge,  -  she  said  to
herself, - because of his great wig.
     The judge, by the way, was the King; and as he wore  his  crown  over
the wig, (look at the frontispiece if you want to see how he did  it,)  he
did not look at all comfortable, and it was certainly not becoming.
     - And that's the jury-box,  -  thought  Alice,  -  and  those  twelve
creatures, - (she was obliged to say - creatures, - you see, because  some
of them were animals, and some were birds,)  -  I  suppose  they  are  the
jurors. - She said this last word two or  three  times  over  to  herself,
being rather proud of it: for she thought, and rightly too, that very  few
little girls of her age knew the meaning of it at all. However, - jury-men
- would have done just as well.
     The twelve jurors were all writing very busily on slates. - What  are
they doing? - Alice whispered to the Gryphon. - They can't  have  anything
to put down yet, before the trial's begun.
     - They're putting down their names, - the Gryphon whispered in reply,
- for fear they should forget them before the end of the trial.  -  Stupid
things! - Alice began in a loud, indignant voice, but she stopped hastily,
for the White Rabbit cried out, - Silence in the court! - and the King put
on his spectacles and looked anxiously round, to make out who was talking.
     Alice could see, as well as if she were looking over their shoulders,
that all the jurors were writing down - stupid things! - on their  slates,
and she could even make out that one of them didn't know how  to  spell  -
stupid, - and that he had to ask his neighbour  to  tell  him.  -  A  nice
muddle their slates'll be in before the trial's over! - thought Alice.
     One of the jurors had a pencil that squeaked. This of  course,  Alice
could not stand, and she went round the court and got behind him, and very
soon found an opportunity of taking it away. She did it  so  quickly  that
the poor little juror (it was Bill, the Lizard) could not make out at  all
what had become of it; so, after hunting all about for it, he was  obliged
to write with one finger for the rest of the day; and  this  was  of  very
little use, as it left no mark on the slate.
     - Herald, read the accusation! - said the King.  On  this  the  White
Rabbit blew three blasts on the trumpet, and then unrolled  the  parchment
scroll, and read as follows:
    
     - The Queen of Hearts, she made some tarts, All on a summer day:
      The Knave of Hearts, he stole those tarts,    
          And took them quite away!     
    
     - Consider your verdict, - the King said to the jury.
     - Not yet, not yet! - the Rabbit hastily  interrupted.  -  There's  a
great deal to come before that!
     - Call the first witness, - said the King; and the White Rabbit  blew
three blasts on the trumpet, and called out, - First witness!
     The first witness was the Hatter. He came in with  a  teacup  in  one
hand and a piece of bread-and-butter in the other. - I  beg  pardon,  your
Majesty, - he began, - for bringing these in: but I hadn't quite  finished
my tea when I was sent for.
     - You ought to have finished, - said the King. - When did you  begin?
The Hatter looked at the March Hare, who had followed him into the  court,
arm-in-arm with the Dormouse. - Fourteenth of March, I think it was, -  he
said.
     - Fifteenth, - said the March Hare.
     - Sixteenth, - added the Dormouse.
     - Write that down, - the King said to the jury, and the jury  eagerly
wrote down all three dates on their slates, and then added  them  up,  and
reduced the answer to shillings and pence.
     - Take off your hat, - the King said to the Hatter.
     - It isn't mine, - said the Hatter.
     - Stolen! - the King exclaimed, turning to the  jury,  who  instantly
made a memorandum of the fact.
     - I keep them to sell, - the Hatter added as an explanation;  -  I've
none of my own. I'm a hatter.
     Here the Queen put on  her  spectacles,  and  began  staring  at  the
Hatter, who turned pale and fidgeted.
     - Give your evidence, - said the King; - and  don't  be  nervous,  or
I'll have you executed on the spot.
     This did not seem to encourage the witness at all: he  kept  shifting
form one foot to the other, looking uneasily at  the  Queen,  and  in  his
confusion he  bit  a  large  piece  out  of  his  teacup  instead  of  the
bread-and-butter.
     Just at this moment  Alice  felt  a  very  curious  sensation,  which
puzzled her a good deal until she made out what it was: she was  beginning
to grow larger again, and she thought at first she would get up and  leave
the court; but on second thoughts she decided to remain where she  was  as
long as there was room for her.
     - I wish you wouldn't squeeze  so.  -  said  the  Dormouse,  who  was
sitting next to her. - I can hardly breathe.
     - I can't help it, - said Alice very meekly: - I'm growing.
     - You've no right to grow here, - said the Dormouse.
     - Don't talk nonsense, - said Alice more boldly: -  you  know  you're
growing too.
     - Yes, but I grow at a reasonable pace, - said the Dormouse: - not in
that ridiculous fashion. - And he got up very sulkily and crossed over  to
the other side of the court.
     All this time the Queen had never left off  staring  at  the  Hatter,
and, just as the Dormouse crossed the  court,  she  said  to  one  of  the
officers of the court, - Bring me the list of  the  singers  in  the  last
concert! - on which the wretched Hatter trembled so, that  he  shook  both
his shoes off.
     - Give your evidence, - the King repeated angrily, - or I'll have you
executed, whether you're nervous or not.
     - I'm a poor man, your Majesty, - the Hatter began,  in  a  trembling
voice, - and I hadn't begun my tea - not above a week or  so  -  and  what
with the bread-and-butter getting so thin - and the twinkling of the tea
     - The twinkling of the what? - said the King.
     - It began with the tea, - the Hatter replied.
     - Of course twinkling begins with a T! - said the King sharply. -  Do
you take me for a dunce? Go on!
     - I'm a poor man, - the Hatter went on, - and  most  things  twinkled
after that - only the March Hare said
     - I didn't! - said the Hatter.
     - I deny it! - said the King: - leave out that part.
     - Well, at any rate, the Dormouse said - the Hatter went on,  looking
anxiously round to see if he would deny it too: but  the  Dormouse  denied
nothing, being fast asleep.
     - After that, - continued  the  Hatter,  -  I  cut  some  more  bread
and-butter
     - But what did the Dormouse say? - one of the jury asked.
     - That I can't remember, - said the Hatter.
     - You MUST remember,  -  remarked  the  King,  -  or  I'll  have  you
executed. The miserable Hatter dropped his  teacup  and  bread-and-butter,
and went down on one knee. - I'm a poor man, your Majesty, - he began.
     - You're a very poor speaker, -  said  the  King.  Here  one  of  the
guinea-pigs cheered, and was immediately suppressed by the officers of the
court. (As that is rather a hard word, I will just explain to you  how  it
was done. They had a large canvas bag, which tied up  at  the  mouth  with
strings: into this they slipped the guinea-pig, head first, and  then  sat
upon it.)
     - I'm glad I've seen that done, - thought Alice. - I've so often read
in the newspapers, at the end of trials, -  There  was  some  attempts  at
applause, which was immediately suppressed by the officers of the court, -
and I never understood what it meant till now.
     - If that's all you know about it, you may stand  down,  -  continued
the King.
     - I can't go no lower, - said the Hatter: - I'm on the floor,  as  it
is.
     - Then you  may  SIT  down,  -  the  King  replied.  Here  the  other
guinea-pig  cheered,  and  was  suppressed.  -  Come,  that  finished  the
guinea-pigs! - thought Alice. - Now we shall get on better.
     - I'd rather finish my tea, - said the Hatter, with an  anxious  look
at the Queen, who was reading the list of singers.
     - You may go, - said the King, and  the  Hatter  hurriedly  left  the
court, without even waiting to put his shoes on.
     - and just take his head off outside, - the Queen added to one of the
officers: but the Hatter was out of sight before the officer could get  to
the door.
     - Call the next witness! - said the King. The next  witness  was  the
Duchess's cook. She carried the pepper-box in her hand, and Alice  guessed
who it was, even before she got into the court, by the way the people near
the door began sneezing all at once.
     - Give your evidence, - said the King.
     - Shan't, - said the cook. The King looked  anxiously  at  the  White
Rabbit, who said in a low voice, - Your Majesty  must  cross-examine  THIS
witness.
     - Well, if I must, I must, - the King said, with  a  melancholy  air,
and, after folding his arms and frowning at the cook till  his  eyes  were
nearly out of sight, he said in a deep voice, - What are tarts made of?
     - Pepper, mostly, - said the cook.
     - Treacle, - said a sleepy voice behind her.
     - Collar that Dormouse, - the  Queen  shrieked  out.  -  Behead  that
Dormouse! Turn that Dormouse out of court! Suppress him!  Pinch  him!  Off
with his whiskers!
     For some minutes the  whole  court  was  in  confusion,  getting  the
Dormouse turned out, and, by the time they had  settled  down  again,  the
cook had disappeared.
     - Never mind! - said the King, with an air of great  relief.  -  Call
the next witness. - And he added in an undertone to the Queen,  -  Really,
my dear, YOU must cross-examine  the  next  witness.  It  quite  makes  my
forehead ache!
     Alice watched the White Rabbit as he fumbled over the  list,  feeling
very curious to see what the next  witness  would  be  like,  -  for  they
haven't got much  evidence  YET,  -  she  said  to  herself.  Imagine  her
surprise, when the White Rabbit read out, at the top of his shrill  little
voice, the name - Alice!



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