When she got back to the Cheshire Cat, she was surprised to find quite a large crowd collected around it: there was a dispute going on between the executioner, the King, and the Queen, who were all talking at once, while all the rest were quite silent, and looked very uncomfortable.
The moment Alice appeared, she was appealed to by all three to settle the question, and they repeated their arguments to her, though, as they all spoke at once, she found it very hard to make out exactly what they said.
The executioner’s argument was, that you couldn’t cut off a head unless there was a body to cut it off from: that he had never had to do such a thing before, and he wasn’t going to begin at his time of life.
The King’s argument was, that anything that had head could be beheaded, and that you weren’t to talk nonsense.
The Queen’s argument was, that if something wasn’t done about it in less than no time, she’d have everybody executed, all round. (It was this last remark that had made the whole party look so grave and anxious.)
Alice could think of nothing else to say but “It belongs to the Duchess : you’d better ask her about it.”
“She’s in prison,” the Queen said to the executioner: “fetch her here.” And the executioner went off like an arrow.
The Cat’s head began fading away the moment he was gone, and, by the time he had come back with the Duchess, it had entirely disappeared; so the King and the executioner ran wildly up and down looking for it, while the rest of the party went back to the game.
The Mock Turtle’s Story
YOU can’t think how glad I am to see you again you dear old thing!” said the Duchess, as she tucked her arm affectionately into Alice’s, and they walked off together.
Alice was very glad to find her in such a pleasant temper, and thought to herself that perhaps it was only the pepper that had made her so savage when they met in the kitchen. “When I’m a Duchess,” she said to herself (not in a very hopeful tone though), “I won’t have any pepper in my kitchen at all. Soup does very well without–maybe it’s always pepper that makes people hot-tempered,” she went on, very much pleased at having found out a new kind of rule, “and vinegar that makes them sour–and camomile that makes them bitter–and–and barley-sugar and such things that make children sweet-tempered. I only wish people knew that: then they wouldn’t be so stingy about it, you know–”
She had quite forgotten the Duchess by this time and was a little startled when she heard her voice close to her ear. “you’re thinking about something, my dear, and that makes you forget to talk, I can’t tell you just now what the moral of that is, but I shall remember it in a bit.”
“Perhaps it hasn’t one,” Alice ventured to remark.
“Tut, tut, child!” said the Duchess. “Everything’s got a moral, if only you can find it.” And she squeezed herself up closer to Alice’s side as she spoke.
Alice did not much like her keeping so close to her: first, because the Duchess was very ugly; and secondly, because she was exactly the right height an uncomfortably sharp chin. However she did could. “The game seems to be going on rather better now,” she said.
“Tis so,” said the Duchess : “and the moral of it is–‘Oh, ’tis love, ’tis love, that makes the world go round!’ ”
“Somebody said,” whispered Alice, “that it’s done by everybody minding their own business!”
“Ah, well! It means much the same thing,” said the Duchess, digging her sharp little chin into Alice’s shoulder as she added, “and the moral of that is–‘Take care of the sense, and the sounds will take care of themselves.’ ”
“How fond she is of finding morals in things!” Alice thought to herself.
“I daresay you’re wondering why I don’t put my arm round your waist,” the Duchess said after a pause: “the reason is, that I’m doubtful about the temper of your flamingo. Shall I try the experiment?”