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CHAPTER 9: Queen Alice
`Well, this IS grand!' said Alice. `I never expected I should be a Queen so soon--and I'll tell you what it is, your majesty,' she went on in a severe tone (she was always rather fond of scolding herself), `it'll never do for you to be lolling about on the grass like that! Queens have to be dignified, you know!'
So she got up and walked about--rather stiffly just at first, as she was afraid that the crown might come off: but she comforted herself with the thought that there was nobody to see her, `and if I really am a Queen,' she said as she sat down again, `I shall be able to manage it quite well in time.'
Everything was happening so oddly that she didn't feel a bit surprised at finding the Red Queen and the White Queen sitting close to her, one on each side: she would have liked very much to ask them how they came there, but she feared it would not be quite civil. However, there would be no harm, she thought, in asking if the game was over. `Please, would you tell me--' she began, looking timidly at the Red Queen.
`Speak when you're spoken to!' The Queen sharply interrupted her.
`But if everybody obeyed that rule,' said Alice, who was always ready for a little argument, `and if you only spoke when you were spoken to, and the other person always waited for YOU to begin, you see nobody would ever say anything, so that--'
`Ridiculous!' cried the Queen. `Why, don't you see, child--' here she broke off with a frown, and, after thinking for a minute, suddenly changed the subject of the conversation. `What do you mean by "If you really are a Queen"? What right have you to call yourself so? You can't be a Queen, you know, till you've passed the proper examination. And the sooner we begin it, the better.'
`I only said "if"!' poor Alice pleaded in a piteous tone.
The two Queens looked at each other, and the Red Queen remarked, with a little shudder, `She SAYS she only said "if"--'
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