Alice's Adventures in Wonderland

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

‘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!’ the March Hare interrupted in a great hurry.

‘You did!’ said the Hatter.

‘I deny it!’ said the March Hare.

‘He denies 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.’

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