Going to the ball…

9_2

Red Queen, and White Queen, and Alice, and all — Illustration to the ninth chapter of Through the Looking Glass by John Tenniel. Wood-engraving by the Dalziels.

‘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.’

‘And you do Addition?’ the White Queen asked. ‘What’s one and one and one and one and one and one and one and one and one and one?’

‘I don’t know,’ said Alice. ‘I lost count.’

‘She can’t do Addition,’ the Red Queen interrupted. ‘Can you do Subtraction? Take nine from eight.’

‘Nine from eight I can’t, you know,’ Alice replied very readily: ‘but — ‘

‘She can’t do Subtraction,’ said the White Queen. ‘Can you do Division? Divide a loaf by a knife — what’s the answer to that?’ 

‘I suppose — ‘ Alice was beginning, but the Red Queen answered for her. ‘Bread-and-butter, of course. Try another Subtraction sum. Take a bone from a dog: what remains?’

Alice considered. ‘The bone wouldn’t remain, of course, if I took it — and the dog wouldn’t remain; it would come to bite me — and I’m sure I shouldn’t remain!’

‘Then you think nothing would remain?’ said the Red Queen.

‘I think that’s the answer.’

‘Wrong, as usual,’ said the Red Queen: ‘the dog’s temper would remain.’

‘But I don’t see how — ‘

‘Why, look here!’ the Red Queen cried. ‘The dog would lose its temper, wouldn’t it?’

‘Perhaps it would,’ Alice replied cautiously.

‘Then if the dog went away, its temper would remain!’ the Queen exclaimed triumphantly.

Alice said, as gravely as she could, ‘They might go different ways.’ But she couldn’t help thinking to herself, ‘What dreadful nonsense we are talking!’

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

“Hush-a-by lady, in Alice’s lap!
Till the feast’s ready, we’ve time for a nap.
When the feast’s over, we’ll go to the ball —
Red Queen, and White Queen, and Alice, and all!”

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