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  • 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 from 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!' 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.'

  • '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