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  • Chapter VII. 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

  • arm-chair 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?'