Lewis Carroll: Through the Looking Glass

CHAPTER 5: Wool and Water (continued)

Alice could not help laughing at this, even in the midst of her tears. `Can YOU keep from crying by considering things?' she asked.

`That's the way it's done,' the Queen said with great decision: `nobody can do two things at once, you know. Let's consider your age to begin with--how old are you?'

`I'm seven and a half exactly.'

`You needn't say "exactually,"' the Queen remarked: `I can believe it without that. Now I'll give YOU something to believe. I'm just one hundred and one, five months and a day.'

`I can't believe THAT!' said Alice.

`Can't you?' the Queen said in a pitying tone. `Try again: draw a long breath, and shut your eyes.'

Alice laughed. `There's no use trying,' she said: `one CAN'T believe impossible things.'

`I daresay you haven't had much practice,' said the Queen. `When I was your age, I always did it for half-an-hour a day. Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast. There goes the shawl again!'

The brooch had come undone as she spoke, and a sudden gust of wind blew the Queen's shawl across a little brook. The Queen spread out her arms again, and went flying after it, and this time she succeeded in catching it for herself. `I've got it!' she cried in a triumphant tone. `Now you shall see me pin it on again, all by myself!'

`Then I hope your finger is better now?' Alice said very politely, as she crossed the little brook after the Queen.

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