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Lewis Carroll: Through the Looking Glass
CHAPTER 6: Humpty Dumpty (continued)
`And only ONE for birthday presents, you know. There's glory for you!'
`I don't know what you mean by "glory,"' Alice said.
Humpty Dumpty smiled contemptuously. `Of course you don't-- till I tell you. I meant "there's a nice knock-down argument for you!"'
`But "glory" doesn't mean "a nice knock-down argument,"' Alice objected.
`When I use a word,' Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, `it means just what I choose it to mean--neither more nor less.'
`The question is,' said Alice, `whether you CAN make words mean so many different things.'
`The question is,' said Humpty Dumpty, `which is to be master-- that's all.'
Alice was too much puzzled to say anything, so after a minute Humpty Dumpty began again. `They've a temper, some of them-- particularly verbs, they're the proudest--adjectives you can do anything with, but not verbs--however, I can manage the whole lot of them! Impenetrability! That's what I say!'
`Would you tell me, please,' said Alice `what that means?'
`Now you talk like a reasonable child,' said Humpty Dumpty, looking very much pleased. `I meant by "impenetrability" that we've had enough of that subject, and it would be just as well if you'd mention what you mean to do next, as I suppose you don't mean to stop here all the rest of your life.'
`That's a great deal to make one word mean,' Alice said in a thoughtful tone.
`When I make a word do a lot of work like that,' said Humpty Dumpty, `I always pay it extra.'
`Oh!' said Alice. She was too much puzzled to make any other remark.
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