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A CAUCUS-RACE AND A LONG TAIL.
THEY were indeed a queer-looking party that assembled on the
bank-the birds with draggled feathers, the animals with their fur
clinging close to them, and all dripping wet, cross, and
The first question of course was, how to get dry again: they had a
consultation about this, and after a few minutes it seemed quite
natural to Alice to find herself talking familiarly with them, as if
she had known them all her life. Indeed, she had quite a long
argument with the Lory, who at last turned sulky, and would only
say, “I’m older than you, and must know better.” And this Alice
would not allow, without knowing how old it was, and as the Lory
positively refused to tell its age, there was no more to be said.
At last the Mouse, who seemed to be a person of some authority
among them, called out “Sit down, all of you, and listen to me! I’ll
soon make you dry enough!” They all sat down at once, in a large
ring, with the Mouse in the middle.
Alice kept her eyes anxiously fixed on it, for she felt sure she
would catch a bad cold if she did not get dry very soon.
“Ahem!” said the Mouse with an important air. “Are you all
ready? This is the driest thing I know. Silence all round, if you
please! ‘William the Conqueror, whose cause was favoured by the
pope, was soon submitted to by the English,
who wanted leaders, and had been of late much accustomed to
usurpation and conquest. Edwin and Morcar, the earls of Mercia
and Northumbria-’” “Ugh!” said the Lory, with a shiver.
“I beg your pardon!” said the Mouse, frowning, but very politely.
“Did you speak?” “Not I!” said the Lory, hastily.
“I thought you did,” said the Mouse. “I proceed. ‘Edwin and
Morcar, the earls of Mercia and Northumbria, declared for him;
and even Stigand, the patriotic archbishop of Canterbury, found it
advisable-’” “Found what?” said the Duck.
“Found it,” the Mouse replied rather crossly: “of course you know
what ‘it’ means.” “I know what ‘it’ means well enough, when I find
a thing,” said the Duck: “it’s generally a frog, or a worm. The
question is, what did the archbishop find?” The Mouse did not
notice this question, but hurriedly went on, “’-found it advisable to
go with Edgar Atheling to meet William and offer him the crown.
William’s conduct at first was moderate. But the insolence of his