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- Journeys Through Bookland V3 - 5/69 -


"But how CAN it have got there without my knowing it?" she said to herself, as she lifted it off, and set it on her lap to make out what it could possibly be. It was a golden crown.

"Well, this IS grand!" said Alice. "I never expected I should be a queen so soon--and I'll tell you what it is, your majesty," she went on in a severe tone (she was always rather fond of scolding herself), "it'll never do for you to be lolling about on the grass like that! Queens have to be dignified, you know!"

So she got up and walked about--rather stiffly just at first, as she was afraid that the crown might come off: but she comforted herself with the thought that there was nobody to see her; "and if I really am a queen," she said, as she sat down again, "I shall be able to manage it quite well in time."

Everything was happening so oddly that she didn't feel a bit surprised at finding the Red Queen and the White Queen sitting close to her, one on each side: she would have liked very much to ask them how they came there, but she feared it would not be quite civil. However, there would be no harm, she thought, in asking if the game was over.

[Illustration: IT WAS A GOLDEN CROWN]

"Please, would you tell me--" she began, looking timidly at the Red Queen.

"Speak when you're spoken to!" the Queen sharply interrupted her.

"But if everybody obeyed that rule," said Alice, who was always ready for a little argument, "and if you only spoke when you were spoken to, and the other person always waited for YOU to begin, you see nobody would ever say anything, so--"

"Ridiculous!" cried the Queen. "Why, don't you see, child--" here she broke off with a frown, and, after thinking for a minute, suddenly changed the subject of the conversation. "What do you mean by 'If you really are a queen?' What right have you to call yourself so? You can't be a queen, you know, till you've passed the proper examination. And the sooner we begin it, the better."

"I only said 'if'," poor Alice pleaded in a piteous tone.

The two queens looked at each other, and the Red Queen remarked, with a little shudder, "She SAYS she only said 'if'--"

"But she said a great deal more than that," the White Queen moaned, wringing her hands. "Oh, ever so much more than that."

"So you did, you know," the Red Queen said to Alice. "Always speak the truth--think before you speak--and write it down afterward."

"I'm sure I didn't mean--" Alice was beginning, but the Red Queen interrupted her impatiently.

"That's just what I complain of. You SHOULD have meant! What do you suppose is the use of a child without any meaning? Even a joke should have some meaning--and a child's more important than a joke, I hope. You couldn't deny that, even if you tried with both hands."

"I don't deny things with my HANDS," Alice objected. "Nobody said you did," said the Red Queen. "I said you couldn't if you tried."

"She's in that state of mind," said the White Queen, "that she wants to deny SOMETHING--only she doesn't know what to deny."

"A nasty, vicious temper," the Red Queen remarked; and there was an uncomfortable silence for a minute or two.

The Red Queen broke the silence by saying to the White Queen, "I invite you to Alice's dinner party this afternoon."

The White Queen smiled feebly, and said, "And I invite YOU."

"I didn't know I was to have a party at all," said Alice; "but if there is to be one, I think _I_ ought to invite the guests."

"We gave you the opportunity of doing it," the Red Queen remarked: "but I dare say you've not had many lessons in manners yet?"

"Manners are not taught in lessons," said Alice. "Lessons teach you to do sums, and things of that sort."

"Can you do addition?" the White Queen asked. "What's one and one and one and one and one and one and one and one and one and one?"

"I don't know," said Alice. "I lost count."

"She can't do Addition," the Red Queen interrupted. "Can you do Subtraction? Take nine from eight."

"Nine from eight I can't, you know," Alice replied very readily: "but--"

"She can't do Subtraction," said the White Queen. "Can you do Division? Divide a loaf by a knife--what's the answer to that?"

"I suppose--" Alice was beginning, but the Red Queen answered for her. "Bread-and-butter, of course. Try another Subtraction sum. Take a bone from a dog: what remains?"

Alice considered. "The bone wouldn't remain, of course, if I took it-- and the dog wouldn't remain; it would come to bite me--and I'm sure _I_ shouldn't remain!"

[Illustration: ALICE CONSIDERED]

"Then you think nothing would remain?" said the Red Queen.

"I think that's the answer."

"Wrong as usual," said the Red Queen; "the dog's temper would remain."

"But I don't see how--"

"Why, look here!" the Red Queen cried. "The dog would lose its temper, wouldn't it?"

"Perhaps it would," Alice replied cautiously.

"Then if the dog went away, its temper would remain!" the Queen exclaimed triumphantly.

Alice said, as gravely as she could, "They might go different ways." But she couldn't help thinking to herself, "What nonsense we ARE talking!"

"She can't do sums a BIT," the queens said together, with great emphasis.

"Can YOU do sums?" Alice said, turning suddenly on the White Queen, for she didn't like being found fault with so much.

The Queen gasped and shut her eyes. "I can do Addition," she said, "if you give me time--but I can't do Subtraction under ANY circumstances!"

"Of course you know your A B C?" said the Red Queen.

"To be sure I do," said Alice.

"So do I," the White Queen whispered: "we'll often say it over together, dear. And I'll tell you a secret--I can read words of one letter! Isn't THAT grand? However, don't be discouraged. You'll come to it in time."

Here the Red Queen began again. "Can you answer useful questions?" she said. "How is bread made?"

"I know THAT," Alice cried eagerly. "You take some flour--"

"Where do you pick the flower?" the White Queen asked. "In a garden, or in the hedges?"

"Well, it isn't PICKED at all," Alice explained: "it's GROUND--"

"How many acres of ground?" said the White Queen. "You mustn't leave out so many things."

"Fan her head!" the Red Queen anxiously interrupted. "She'll be feverish after so much thinking." So they set to work and fanned her with bunches of leaves, till she had to beg them to leave off, it blew her hair about so.

"She's all right again now," said the Red Queen. "Do you know languages? What's the French for fiddle-de-dee?"

"Fiddle-de-dee's not English," Alice replied gravely.

"Who ever said it was?" said the Red Queen.

Alice thought she saw a way out of the difficulty this time. "If you'll tell me what language 'fiddle-de-dee' is, I'll tell you the French for it!" she exclaimed triumphantly.

But the Red Queen drew herself up rather stiffly, and said, "Queens never make bargains."

"I wish queens never asked questions," Alice thought to herself.

"Don't let us quarrel," the White Queen said, in an anxious tone. "What is the cause of lightning?"

"The cause of lightning," Alice said, very decidedly, for she felt quite certain about this, "is the thunder--no, no!" she hastily corrected herself. "I meant the other way."

"It's too late to correct it," said the Red Queen: "when you've once said a thing, that fixes it, and you must take the consequences."

"Which reminds me," the White Queen said, looking down and nervously clasping and unclasping her hands, "we had SUCH a thunderstorm last Tuesday--I mean one of the last set of Tuesdays, you know."

Alice was puzzled. "In OUR country," she remarked, "there's only one day at a time."

The Red Queen said, "That's a poor thin way of doing things. Now HERE, we mostly have days and nights two or three at a time, and sometimes in the winter we take as many as five nights together--for warmth, you know."


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