For this must ever be
A secret, kept from all the rest,
Between yourself and me.'
`That's the most important piece of evidence we've heard yet,' said the
King, rubbing his hands; `so now let the jury--'
`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 it.'
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, as we needn't try to find any. And yet I don't know,' he went on,
spreading out the verses on his knee, and looking at them with 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, turning 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,"' said Alice.
`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
`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 lasted.)
`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 that day.
`No, no!' said the Queen. `Sentence first--verdict afterwards.'
`Stuff and nonsense!' said Alice loudly. `The idea of having the sentence
`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. Nobody
`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
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 Mock Turtle.
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 summer days.