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  • Chapter 7 A Mad Tea-Party

  • There was a table set out under a tree in front of the house, and the March Hare and

  • the Hatter were having tea at it: a Dormouse was sitting between them, fast asleep, and

  • the other two were using it as a cushion, resting their elbows on it, and talking over

  • its head. 'Very uncomfortable for the Dormouse,' thought Alice; 'only, as it's asleep, I suppose

  • it doesn't mind.'

  • The table was a large one, but the three were all crowded together at one corner of it:

  • 'No room! No room!' they cried out when they saw Alice coming. 'There's PLENTY of room!'

  • said Alice indignantly, and she sat down in a large armchair at one end of the table.

  • 'Have some wine,' the March Hare said in an encouraging tone.

  • Alice looked all round the table, but there was nothing on it but tea. 'I don't see any

  • wine,' she remarked.

  • 'There isn't any,' said the March Hare.

  • 'Then it wasn't very civil of you to offer it,' said Alice angrily.

  • 'It wasn't very civil of you to sit down without being invited,' said the March Hare.

  • 'I didn't know it was YOUR table,' said Alice; 'it's laid for a great many more than three.'

  • 'Your hair wants cutting,' said the Hatter. He had been looking at Alice for some time

  • with great curiosity, and this was his first speech.

  • 'You should learn not to make personal remarks,' Alice said with some severity; 'it's very

  • rude.'

  • The Hatter opened his eyes very wide on hearing this; but all he SAID was, 'Why is a raven

  • like a writing desk?'

  • 'Come, we shall have some fun now!' thought Alice. 'I'm glad they've begun asking riddles.

  • I believe I can guess that,' she added aloud.

  • 'Do you mean that you think you can find out the answer to it?' said the March Hare.

  • 'Exactly so,' said Alice.

  • 'Then you should say what you mean,' the March Hare went on.

  • 'I do,' Alice hastily replied; 'at least at least I mean what I say that's the same thing,

  • you know.'

  • 'Not the same thing a bit!' said the Hatter. 'You might just as well say that "I see what

  • I eat" is the same thing as "I eat what I see"!'

  • 'You might just as well say,' added the March Hare, 'that "I like what I get" is the same

  • thing as "I get what I like"!'

  • 'You might just as well say,' added the Dormouse, who seemed to be talking in his sleep, 'that

  • "I breathe when I sleep" is the same thing as "I sleep when I breathe"!'

  • 'It IS the same thing with you,' said the Hatter, and here the conversation dropped,

  • and the party sat silent for a minute, while Alice thought over all she could remember

  • about ravens and writing desks, which wasn't much.

  • The Hatter was the first to break the silence. 'What day of the month is it?' he said, turning

  • to Alice: he had taken his watch out of his pocket, and was looking at it uneasily, shaking

  • it every now and then, and holding it to his ear.

  • Alice considered a little, and then said 'The fourth.'

  • 'Two days wrong!' sighed the Hatter. 'I told you butter wouldn't suit the works!' he added

  • looking angrily at the March Hare.

  • 'It was the BEST butter,' the March Hare meekly replied.

  • 'Yes, but some crumbs must have got in as well,' the Hatter grumbled: 'you shouldn't

  • have put it in with the bread knife.'

  • The March Hare took the watch and looked at it gloomily: then he dipped it into his cup

  • of tea, and looked at it again: but he could think of nothing better to say than his first

  • remark, 'It was the BEST butter, you know.'

  • Alice had been looking over his shoulder with some curiosity. 'What a funny watch!' she

  • remarked. 'It tells the day of the month, and doesn't tell what o'clock it is!'

  • 'Why should it?' muttered the Hatter. 'Does YOUR watch tell you what year it is?'

  • 'Of course not,' Alice replied very readily: 'but that's because it stays the same year

  • for such a long time together.'

  • 'Which is just the case with MINE,' said the Hatter.

  • Alice felt dreadfully puzzled. The Hatter's remark seemed to have no sort of meaning in

  • it, and yet it was certainly English. 'I don't quite understand you,' she said, as politely

  • as she could.

  • 'The Dormouse is asleep again,' said the Hatter, and he poured a little hot tea upon its nose.

  • The Dormouse shook its head impatiently, and said, without opening its eyes, 'Of course,

  • of course; just what I was going to remark myself.'

  • 'Have you guessed the riddle yet?' the Hatter said, turning to Alice again.

  • 'No, I give it up,' Alice replied: 'what's the answer?'

  • 'I haven't the slightest idea,' said the Hatter.

  • 'Nor I,' said the March Hare.

  • Alice sighed wearily. 'I think you might do something better with the time,' she said,

  • 'than waste it in asking riddles that have no answers.'

  • 'If you knew Time as well as I do,' said the Hatter, 'you wouldn't talk about wasting IT.

  • It's HIM.'

  • 'I don't know what you mean,' said Alice.

  • 'Of course you don't!' the Hatter said, tossing his head contemptuously. 'I dare say you never

  • even spoke to Time!'

  • 'Perhaps not,' Alice cautiously replied: 'but I know I have to beat time when I learn music.'

  • 'Ah! that accounts for it,' said the Hatter. 'He won't stand beating. Now, if you only

  • kept on good terms with him, he'd do almost anything you liked with the clock. For instance,

  • suppose it were nine o'clock in the morning, just time to begin lessons: you'd only have

  • to whisper a hint to Time, and round goes the clock in a twinkling! Half past one, time

  • for dinner!'

  • ('I only wish it was,' the March Hare said to itself in a whisper.)

  • 'That would be grand, certainly,' said Alice thoughtfully: 'but then I shouldn't be hungry

  • for it, you know.'

  • 'Not at first, perhaps,' said the Hatter: 'but you could keep it to half past one as

  • long as you liked.'

  • 'Is that the way YOU manage?' Alice asked.

  • The Hatter shook his head mournfully. 'Not I!' he replied. 'We quarrelled last March

  • just before HE went mad, you know' (pointing with his tea spoon at the March Hare,) 'it

  • was at the great concert given by the Queen of Hearts, and I had to sing

  • "Twinkle, twinkle, little bat! How I wonder what you're at!"

  • You know the song, perhaps?'

  • 'I've heard something like it,' said Alice.

  • 'It goes on, you know,' the Hatter continued, 'in this way:

  • "Up above the world you fly, Like a tea tray in the sky.

  • Twinkle, twinkle"'

  • Here the Dormouse shook itself, and began singing in its sleep 'Twinkle, twinkle, twinkle,

  • twinkle' and went on so long that they had to pinch it to make it stop.

  • 'Well, I'd hardly finished the first verse,' said the Hatter, 'when the Queen jumped up

  • and bawled out, "He's murdering the time! Off with his head!"'

  • 'How dreadfully savage!' exclaimed Alice.

  • 'And ever since that,' the Hatter went on in a mournful tone, 'he won't do a thing I

  • ask! It's always six o'clock now.'

  • A bright idea came into Alice's head. 'Is that the reason so many tea things are put

  • out here?' she asked.

  • 'Yes, that's it,' said the Hatter with a sigh: 'it's always tea time, and we've no time to

  • wash the things between whiles.'

  • 'Then you keep moving round, I suppose?' said Alice.

  • 'Exactly so,' said the Hatter: 'as the things get used up.'

  • 'But what happens when you come to the beginning again?' Alice ventured to ask.

  • 'Suppose we change the subject,' the March Hare interrupted, yawning. 'I'm getting tired

  • of this. I vote the young lady tells us a story.'

  • 'I'm afraid I don't know one,' said Alice, rather alarmed at the proposal.

  • 'Then the Dormouse shall!' they both cried. 'Wake up, Dormouse!' And they pinched it on

  • both sides at once.

  • The Dormouse slowly opened his eyes. 'I wasn't asleep,' he said in a hoarse, feeble voice:

  • 'I heard every word you fellows were saying.'

  • 'Tell us a story!' said the March Hare.

  • 'Yes, please do!' pleaded Alice.

  • 'And be quick about it,' added the Hatter, 'or you'll be asleep again before it's done.'

  • 'Once upon a time there were three little sisters,' the Dormouse began in a great hurry;

  • 'and their names were Elsie, Lacie, and Tillie; and they lived at the bottom of a well'

  • 'What did they live on?' said Alice, who always took a great interest in questions of eating

  • and drinking.

  • 'They lived on treacle,' said the Dormouse, after thinking a minute or two.

  • 'They couldn't have done that, you know,' Alice gently remarked; 'they'd have been ill.'

  • 'So they were,' said the Dormouse; 'VERY ill.'

  • Alice tried to fancy to herself what such an extraordinary ways of living would be like,

  • but it puzzled her too much, so she went on: 'But why did they live at the bottom of a

  • well?'

  • 'Take some more tea,' the March Hare said to Alice, very earnestly.

  • 'I've had nothing yet,' Alice replied in an offended tone, 'so I can't take more.'

  • 'You mean you can't take LESS,' said the Hatter: 'it's very easy to take MORE than nothing.'

  • 'Nobody asked YOUR opinion,' said Alice.

  • 'Who's making personal remarks now?' the Hatter asked triumphantly.

  • Alice did not quite know what to say to this: so she helped herself to some tea and bread

  • and butter, and then turned to the Dormouse, and repeated her question. 'Why did they live

  • at the bottom of a well?'

  • The Dormouse again took a minute or two to think about it, and then said, 'It was a treacle

  • well.'

  • 'There's no such thing!' Alice was beginning very angrily, but the Hatter and the March

  • Hare went 'Sh! sh!' and the Dormouse sulkily remarked, 'If you can't be civil, you'd better

  • finish the story for yourself.'

  • 'No, please go on!' Alice said very humbly; 'I won't interrupt again. I dare say there

  • may be ONE.'

  • 'One, indeed!' said the Dormouse indignantly. However, he consented to go on. 'And so these

  • three little sisters they were learning to draw, you know '

  • 'What did they draw?' said Alice, quite forgetting her promise.

  • 'Treacle,' said the Dormouse, without considering at all this time.

  • 'I want a clean cup,' interrupted the Hatter: 'let's all move one place on.'

  • He moved on as he spoke, and the Dormouse followed him: the March Hare moved into the

  • Dormouse's place, and Alice rather unwillingly took the place of the March Hare. The Hatter

  • was the only one who got any advantage from the change: and Alice was a good deal worse

  • off than before, as the March Hare had just upset the milk jug into his plate.

  • Alice did not wish to offend the Dormouse again, so she began very cautiously: 'But

  • I don't understand. Where did they draw the treacle from?'

  • 'You can draw water out of a water well,' said the Hatter; 'so I should think you could

  • draw treacle out of a treacle well eh, stupid?'

  • 'But they were IN the well,' Alice said to the Dormouse, not choosing to notice this

  • last remark.

  • 'Of course they were', said the Dormouse; 'well in.'

  • This answer so confused poor Alice, that she let the Dormouse go on for some time without

  • interrupting it.

  • 'They were learning to draw,' the Dormouse went on, yawning and rubbing its eyes, for

  • it was getting very sleepy; 'and