Lewis Carroll: Through the Looking Glass

CHAPTER 9: Queen Alice (continued)

`But she said a great deal more than that!' the White Queen moaned, wringing her hands. `Oh, ever so much more than that!'

`So you did, you know,' the Red Queen said to Alice. `Always speak the truth--think before you speak--and write it down afterwards.'

`I'm sure I didn't mean--' Alice was beginning, but the Red Queen interrupted her impatiently.

`That's just what I complain of! You SHOULD have meant! What do you suppose is the use of child without any meaning? Even a joke should have some meaning--and a child's more important than a joke, I hope. You couldn't deny that, even if you tried with both hands.'

`I don't deny things with my HANDS,' Alice objected.

`Nobody said you did,' said the Red Queen. `I said you couldn't if you tried.'

`She's in that state of mind,' said the White Queen, `that she wants to deny SOMETHING--only she doesn't know what to deny!'

`A nasty, vicious temper,' the Red Queen remarked; and then there was an uncomfortable silence for a minute or two.

The Red Queen broke the silence by saying to the White Queen, `I invite you to Alice's dinner-party this afternoon.'

The White Queen smiled feebly, and said `And I invite YOU.'

`I didn't know I was to have a party at all,' said Alice; `but if there is to be one, I think I ought to invite the guests.'

`We gave you the opportunity of doing it,' the Red Queen remarked: `but I daresay you've not had many lessons in manners yet?'

`Manners are not taught in lessons,' said Alice. `Lessons teach you to do sums, and things of that sort.'

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