“You know,” he added very gravely, “it’s one of the most serious things that can possibly happen to one in a battle — to get one’s head cut off.”
Alice laughed loud, but managed to turn it into a cough, for fear of hurting his feelings.
“Do I look very pale?” said Tweedledum, coming up to have his helmet tied on. (He called it a helmet, though it certainly looked much more like a saucepan.)
“Well — yes — a little,” Alice replied gently.
“I’m very brave generally,” he went on in a low voice: “only to-day I happen to have a headache.”
“And I’ve got a toothache!” said Tweedledee, who had overheard the remark. “I’m far worse than you!”
“Then you’d better not fight to-day,” said Alice, thinking it a good opportunity to make peace.
“We must have a bit of a fight, but I don’t care about going on long,” said Tweedledum. “What’s the time now?”
Tweedledee looked at his watch, and said, “Half-past four.”
“Let’s fight till six, and then have dinner,” said Tweedledum.
“Very well,” the other said, rather sadly: “and she can watch us — only you’d better not come very close,” he added: “I generally hit everything I can see — when I get really excited.”
“And I hit everything within reach,” cried Tweedledum, “whether I can see it or not!”
Alice laughed. “You must hit the trees pretty often, I should think,” she said.
Tweedledum looked round him with a satisfied smile. “I don’t suppose,” he said, “there’ll be a tree left standing, for ever so far round, by the time we’ve finished!”
“And all about a rattle!” said Alice, still hoping to make them a little ashamed of fighting for such a trifle.
“I shouldn’t have minded it so much,” said Tweedledum, “if it hadn’t been a new one.”
“I wish the monstrous crow would come!” thought Alice.
“There’s only one sword, you know,” Tweedledum said to his brother: “but you can have the umbrella — it’s quite as sharp. Only we must begin quick. It’s getting as dark as it can.”
“And darker,” said Tweedledee.
It was getting dark so suddenly that Alice thought there must be a thunderstorm coming on. “What a thick black cloud that is!” she said. “And how fast it comes! Why, I do believe it’s got wings!”
“It’s the crow!” Tweedledum cried out in a shrill voice of alarm: and the two brothers took to their heels and were out of sight in a moment.
Alice ran a little way into the wood, and stopped under a large tree. “It can never get at me here,” she thought: “it’s far too large to squeeze itself in among the trees. But I wish it wouldn’t flap its wings so — it makes quite a hurricane in the wood — here’s somebody’s shawl being blown away!”
Wool and Water
SHE caught the shawl as she spoke, and looked about for the owner: in another moment the White Queen came running wildly through the wood, with both arms stretched out wide, as if she were flying, and Alice very civilly went to meet her with the shawl.
“I’m very glad I happened to be in the way,” Alice said, as she helped her to put on her shawl again.
The White Queen only looked at her in a helpless frightened sort of way, and kept repeating something in a whisper to herself that sounded like “Bread-and-butter, bread-and-butter,” and Alice felt that if there was to be any conversation at all, she must manage it herself. So she began rather timidly: “Am I addressing the White Queen?”
“Well, yes, if you call that addressing,” the Queen said. “It isn’t my notion of the thing, at all. Alice thought it would never do to have an argument at the very beginning of their conversation, so she smiled and said, “If your Majesty will only tell me the right way to begin, I’ll do it as well as I can.”
“But I don’t want it done at all!” groaned the poor Queen. “I’ve been a-dressing myself for the last two hours.”
It would have been all the better, as it seemed to Alice, if only she had got some one else to dress her, she was so dreadfully untidy. “Every single thing’s crooked,” Alice thought to herself, “and she’s all over pins! — May I put your shawl a little more straight for you?” she added aloud.