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Then they all crowded round her once more, while the Dodo
solemnly presented the thimble, saying “We beg your acceptance
of this elegant thimble”; and, when it had finished this short
speech, they all cheered.
Alice thought the whole thing very absurd, but they all looked so
grave that she did not dare to laugh; and, as she could not think of
anything to say, she simply bowed, and took the thimble, looking
as solemn as she could.
The next thing was to eat the comfits: this caused some noise and
confusion, as the large birds complained that they could not taste
theirs, and the small ones choked and had to be patted on the back.
However, it was over at last, and they sat down again in a ring,
and begged the Mouse to tell them something more.
“You promised to tell me your history, you know,” said Alice,
“and why it is you hate-C and D,” she added in a whisper, half
afraid that it would be offended again.
“Mine is a long and a sad tale!” said the Mouse, turning to Alice,
“It is a long tail, certainly,” said Alice, looking down with wonder
at the Mouse’s tail; “but why do you call it sad?” And she kept on
puzzling about it while the Mouse was speaking, so that her idea of
the tale was something like this: “Fury said to a mouse, That he
met in the house, ‘Let us both go to law:
I will prosecute you.
Come, I’ll take no denial: We must have the trial;
For really this morning I’ve nothing to do.’ Said the mouse to the
cur, Such a trial dear sir, With no jury or judge, would be wasting
I’ll be judge, I’ll be jury, said cunning old Fury: ‘I’ll try the whole
cause, and condemn you to death.’”
“You are not attending!” said the Mouse to Alice, severely. “What
are you thinking of?” “I beg your pardon,” said Alice very humbly:
“you had got to the fifth bend, I think?” “I had not!” cried the
Mouse, sharply and very angrily.
“A knot!” said Alice, always ready to make herself useful, and
looking anxiously about her. “Oh, do let me help to undo it!” “I
shall do nothing of the sort,” said the Mouse, getting up and
“You insult me by talking such nonsense!” “I didn’t mean it!”
pleaded poor Alice. “But you’re so easily offended, you know!”
The Mouse only growled in reply.