Lewis Carroll: Through the Looking Glass

CHAPTER 6: Humpty Dumpty (continued)

`Don't stand there chattering to yourself like that,' Humpty Dumpty said, looking at her for the first time, `but tell me your name and your business.'

`My NAME is Alice, but--'

`It's a stupid enough name!' Humpty Dumpty interrupted impatiently. `What does it mean?'

`MUST a name mean something?' Alice asked doubtfully.

`Of course it must,' Humpty Dumpty said with a short laugh: `MY name means the shape I am--and a good handsome shape it is, too. With a name like yours, you might be any shape, almost.'

`Why do you sit out here all alone?' said Alice, not wishing to begin an argument.

`Why, because there's nobody with me!' cried Humpty Dumpty. `Did you think I didn't know the answer to THAT? Ask another.'

`Don't you think you'd be safer down on the ground?' Alice went on, not with any idea of making another riddle, but simply in her good-natured anxiety for the queer creature. `That wall is so VERY narrow!'

`What tremendously easy riddles you ask!' Humpty Dumpty growled out. `Of course I don't think so! Why, if ever I DID fall off-- which there's no chance of--but IF I did--' Here he pursed his lips and looked so solemn and grand that Alice could hardly help laughing. `IF I did fall,' he went on, `THE KING HAS PROMISED ME--WITH HIS VERY OWN MOUTH--to--to--'

`To send all his horses and all his men,' Alice interrupted, rather unwisely.

`Now I declare that's too bad!' Humpty Dumpty cried, breaking into a sudden passion. `You've been listening at doors--and behind trees-- and down chimneys--or you couldn't have known it!'

`I haven't, indeed!' Alice said very gently. `It's in a book.'

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