`Here!' cried Alice, quite forgetting
in the flurry of the moment how
large she had grown in the last
few minutes, and she jumped up
in such a hurry that she tipped
over the jury-box with the edge
of her skirt, upsetting all the
jurymen on to the heads of the
crowd below, and there they lay
sprawling about, reminding her
very much of a globe of goldfish
she had accidentally upset the
`Oh, I BEG your pardon!' she
exclaimed in a tone of great
dismay, and began picking them
up again as quickly as she could,
for the accident of the goldfish
kept running in her head, and
she had a vague sort of idea
that they must be collected at
once and put back into the jury-box,
or they would die.
`The trial cannot proceed,'
said the King in a very grave
voice, `until all the jurymen
are back in their proper places--
ALL,' he repeated with great
emphasis, looking hard at Alice
as he said do.
Alice looked at the jury-box,
and saw that, in her haste, she
had put the Lizard in head downwards,
and the poor little thing was
waving its tail about in a melancholy
way, being quite unable to move.
She soon got it out again, and
put it right; `not that it signifies
much,' she said to herself; `I
should think it would be QUITE
as much use in the trial one
way up as the other.'
As soon as the jury had a little
recovered from the shock of being
upset, and their slates and pencils
had been found and handed back
to them, they set to work very
diligently to write out a history
of the accident, all except the
Lizard, who seemed too much overcome
to do anything but sit with its
mouth open, gazing up into the
roof of the court.
`What do you know about this
business?' the King said to Alice.
`Nothing,' said Alice.
`Nothing WHATEVER?' persisted
`Nothing whatever,' said Alice.
`That's very important,' the
King said, turning to the jury.
They were just beginning to write
this down on their slates, when
the White Rabbit interrupted:
`UNimportant, your Majesty means,
of course,' he said in a very
respectful tone, but frowning
and making faces at him as he
`UNimportant, of course, I
meant,' the King hastily said,
and went on to himself in an
if he were trying which word
Some of the jury wrote it down
`important,' and some `unimportant.'
Alice could see this, as she
was near enough to look over
their slates; `but it doesn't
matter a bit,' she thought to
At this moment the King, who
had been for some time busily
writing in his note-book, cackled
out `Silence!' and read out from
his book, `Rule Forty-two. ALL
PERSONS MORE THAN A MILE HIGH
TO LEAVE THE COURT.'
Everybody looked at Alice.
`I'M not a mile high,' said
`You are,' said the King.
`Nearly two miles high,' added
`Well, I shan't go, at any
rate,' said Alice: `besides,
that's not a regular rule: you
invented it just now.'
`It's the oldest rule in the
book,' said the King.
`Then it ought to be Number
One,' said Alice.
The King turned pale, and shut
his note-book hastily. `Consider
your verdict,' he said to the
jury, in a low, trembling voice.
`There's more evidence to come
yet, please your Majesty,' said
the White Rabbit, jumping up
in a great hurry; `this paper
has just been picked up.'
`What's in it?' said the Queen.
`I haven't opened it yet,'
said the White Rabbit, `but it
seems to be a letter, written
by the prisoner to--to somebody.'
`It must have been that,' said
the King, `unless it was written
to nobody, which isn't usual,
`Who is it directed to?' said
one of the jurymen.
`It isn't directed at all,'
said the White Rabbit; `in fact,
there's nothing written on the
OUTSIDE.' He unfolded the paper
as he spoke, and added `It isn't
a letter, after all: it's a set
`Are they in the prisoner's
handwriting?' asked another of
`No, they're not,' said the
White Rabbit, `and that's the
queerest thing about it.' (The
jury all looked puzzled.)
`He must have imitated somebody
else's hand,' said the King.
(The jury all brightened up again.)
`Please your Majesty,' said
the Knave, `I didn't write it,
and they can't prove I did: there's
no name signed at the end.'
`If you didn't sign it,' said
the King, `that only makes the
matter worse. You MUST have meant
some mischief, or else you'd
have signed your name like an
There was a general clapping
of hands at this: it was the
first really clever thing the
King had said that day.
`That PROVES his guilt,' said
`It proves nothing of the sort!'
said Alice. `Why, you don't even
know what they're about!'
`Read them,' said the King.
The White Rabbit put on his
spectacles. `Where shall I begin,
please your Majesty?' he asked.
`Begin at the beginning,' the
King said gravely, `and go on
till you come to the end: then
These were the verses the White
`They told me you
had been to her,
`That's the most important piece
of evidence we've heard yet,' said
the King, rubbing his hands; `so
now let the jury--'
And mentioned me to him:
She gave me a good character,
But said I could not swim.
He sent them word I had not gone
(We know it to be true):
If she should push the matter on,
What would become of you?
I gave her one, they gave him two,
You gave us three or more;
They all returned from him to you,
Though they were mine before.
If I or she should chance to be
Involved in this affair,
He trusts to you to set them free,
Exactly as we were.
My notion was that you had been
(Before she had this fit)
An obstacle that came between
Him, and ourselves, and it.
Don't let him know she liked them best,
For this must ever be
A secret, kept from all the rest,
Between yourself and me.'
`If any one of them can explain
it,' said Alice, (she had grown
so large in the last few minutes
that she wasn't a bit afraid
of interrupting him,) `I'll give
him sixpence. _I_ don't believe
there's an atom of meaning in
The jury all wrote down on
their slates, `She doesn't
believe there's an atom of meaning
in it,' but none of them attempted
to explain the paper.
`If there's no meaning in it,'
said the King, `that saves
a world of trouble, you know,
we needn't try to find any.
And yet I don't know,' he went
spreading out the verses on
his knee, and looking at them
one eye; `I seem to see some
meaning in them, after all. "--said
i could not swim--" you
can't swim, can you?' he added,
to the Knave.
The Knave shook his head sadly.
`Do I look like it?' he said.
(Which he certainly did not,
being made entirely of cardboard.)
`All right, so far,' said the
King, and he went on muttering
over the verses to himself: `"We
know it to be true--" that's
the jury, of course-- "I gave
her one, they gave him two--" why,
that must be what he did with
the tarts, you know--'
`But, it goes on "They all
returned from him to you,"'
`Why, there they are!' said
the King triumphantly, pointing
to the tarts on the table. `Nothing
can be clearer than that.
Then again--"Before she had
this fit--" you never had
fits, my dear, I think?' he said
to the Queen.
`Never!' said the Queen furiously,
throwing an inkstand at the Lizard
as she spoke. (The unfortunate
little Bill had left off writing
on his slate with one finger,
as he found it made no mark;
but he now hastily began again,
using the ink, that was trickling
down his face, as long as it
`Then the words don't fit you,'
said the King, looking round
the court with a smile. There
was a dead silence.
`It's a pun!' the King added
in an offended tone, and everybody
laughed, `Let the jury consider
their verdict,' the King said,
for about the twentieth time
`No, no!' said the Queen. `Sentence
`Stuff and nonsense!' said
Alice loudly. `The idea of having
the sentence first!'
`Hold your tongue!' said the
Queen, turning purple.
`I won't!' said Alice.
`Off with her head!' the Queen
shouted at the top of her voice.
`Who cares for you?' said Alice,
(she had grown to her full size
by this time.) `You're nothing
but a pack of cards!'
At this the whole pack rose
up into the air, and came flying
down upon her: she gave a little
scream, half of fright and half
of anger, and tried to beat them
off, and found herself lying
on the bank, with her head in
the lap of her sister, who was
gently brushing away some dead
leaves that had fluttered down
from the trees upon her face.
`Wake up, Alice dear!' said
her sister; `Why, what a long
sleep you've had!'
`Oh, I've had such a curious
dream!' said Alice, and she told
her sister, as well as she could
remember them, all these strange
Adventures of hers that you have
just been reading about; and
when she had finished, her sister
kissed her, and said, `It WAS
a curious dream, dear, certainly:
but now run in to your tea; it's
getting late.' So Alice got up
and ran off, thinking while she
ran, as well she might, what
a wonderful dream it had been.
But her sister sat still just
as she left her, leaning her
head on her hand, watching the
setting sun, and thinking of
little Alice and all her wonderful
Adventures, till she too began
dreaming after a fashion, and
this was her dream:--
First, she dreamed of little
Alice herself, and once again
the tiny hands were clasped upon
her knee, and the bright eager
eyes were looking up into hers--she
could hear the very tones of
her voice, and see that queer
little toss of her head to keep
back the wandering hair that
WOULD always get into her eyes--and
still as she listened, or seemed
to listen, the whole place around
her became alive the strange
creatures of her little sister's
The long grass rustled at her
feet as the White Rabbit hurried
by--the frightened Mouse splashed
his way through the neighbouring
pool--she could hear the rattle
of the teacups as the March Hare
and his friends shared their
never-ending meal, and the shrill
voice of the Queen ordering off
her unfortunate guests to execution--once
more the pig-baby was sneezing
on the Duchess's knee, while
plates and dishes crashed around
it--once more the shriek of the
Gryphon, the squeaking of the
Lizard's slate-pencil, and the
choking of the suppressed guinea-pigs,
filled the air, mixed up with
the distant sobs of the miserable
So she sat on, with closed
eyes, and half believed herself
in Wonderland, though she knew
she had but to open them again,
and all would change to dull
reality--the grass would be only
rustling in the wind, and the
pool rippling to the waving of
the reeds--the rattling teacups
would change to tinkling sheep-
bells, and the Queen's shrill
cries to the voice of the shepherd
boy--and the sneeze of the baby,
the shriek of the Gryphon, and
all thy other queer noises, would
change (she knew) to the confused
clamour of the busy farm-yard--while
the lowing of the cattle in the
distance would take the place
of the Mock Turtle's heavy sobs.
Lastly, she pictured to herself
how this same little sister of
hers would, in the after-time,
be herself a grown woman; and
how she would keep, through all
her riper years, the simple and
loving heart of her childhood:
and how she would gather about
her other little children, and
make their eyes bright
and eager with many a strange
tale, perhaps even with the dream
of Wonderland of long ago: and
how she would feel with all their
simple sorrows, and find a pleasure
in all their simple joys, remembering
her own child-life, and the happy