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CHAPTER 3: A Caucus-Race and a Long Tale (continued)
`A knot!' said Alice, always ready to make herself useful, and looking anxiously about her. `Oh, do let me help to undo it!'
`I shall do nothing of the sort,' said the Mouse, getting up and walking away. `You insult me by talking such nonsense!'
`I didn't mean it!' pleaded poor Alice. `But you're so easily offended, you know!'
The Mouse only growled in reply.
`Please come back and finish your story!' Alice called after it; and the others all joined in chorus, `Yes, please do!' but the Mouse only shook its head impatiently, and walked a little quicker.
`What a pity it wouldn't stay!' sighed the Lory, as soon as it was quite out of sight; and an old Crab took the opportunity of saying to her daughter `Ah, my dear! Let this be a lesson to you never to lose YOUR temper!' `Hold your tongue, Ma!' said the young Crab, a little snappishly. `You're enough to try the patience of an oyster!'
`I wish I had our Dinah here, I know I do!' said Alice aloud, addressing nobody in particular. `She'd soon fetch it back!'
`And who is Dinah, if I might venture to ask the question?' said the Lory.
Alice replied eagerly, for she was always ready to talk about her pet: `Dinah's our cat. And she's such a capital one for catching mice you can't think! And oh, I wish you could see her after the birds! Why, she'll eat a little bird as soon as look at it!'
This speech caused a remarkable sensation among the party. Some of the birds hurried off at once: one old Magpie began wrapping itself up very carefully, remarking, `I really must be getting home; the night-air doesn't suit my throat!' and a Canary called out in a trembling voice to its children, `Come away, my dears! It's high time you were all in bed!' On various pretexts they all moved off, and Alice was soon left alone.
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