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“Of course you don’t!” the Hatter said, tossing his head
contemptuously. “I dare say you never even spoke to Time!”
“Perhaps not,” Alice cautiously replied; “but I know I have to beat
time when I learn music.” “Ah! That accounts for it,” said the
Hatter. “He wo’n’t stand beating. Now, if you only kept on good
terms with him, he’d do almost anything you liked with the clock.
For instance, suppose it were nine o’clock in the morning, just time
to begin lessons: you’d only have to whisper a hint to Time, and
round goes the clock in a twinkling! Half-past one, time for
dinner!” (“I only wish it was,” the March Hare said to itself in a
whisper.) “That would be grand, certainly,” said Alice
thoughtfully; “but then-I shouldn’t be hungry for it, you know.”
“Not at first, perhaps,” said the Hatter: “but you could keep it to
half-past one as long as you liked.” “Is that the way you manage?”
The Hatter shook his head mournfully. “Not I!” he replied. “We
quarreled last March-just before he went mad, you know-”
(pointing with his teaspoon at the March Hare,) “-it was at the
great concert given by the Queen of Hearts, and I had to sing
‘Twinkle, twinkle, little bat! How I wonder what you’re at!’ You
know the song, perhaps?” “I’ve heard something like it,” said
Alice. “It goes on, you know,” the Hatter continued, “in this
way:‘Up above the world you fly, Like a tea-tray in the sky.
Here the Dormouse shook itself, and began singing in its sleep
“Twinkle, twinkle, twinkle, twinkle-” and went on so long that
they had to pinch it to make it stop.
“Well, I’d hardly finished the first verse,” said the Hatter, “when
the Queen bawled out ‘He’s murdering the time! Off with his
head!’” “How dreadfully savage!” exclaimed Alice.
“And ever since that,” the Hatter went on in a mournful tone, “he
wo’n’t do a thing I ask! It’s always six o’clock now.” A bright idea
came into Alice’s head. “Is that the reason so many tea-things are
put out here!” she asked.
“Yes, that’s it,” said the Hatter with a sigh: “it’s always tea-time,
and we’ve no time to wash the things between whiles.” “Then you
keep moving round, I suppose?” said Alice.
“Exactly so,” said the Hatter: “as the things get used up.” “But
what happens when you come to the beginning again?” Alice
ventured to ask.
“Suppose we change the subject,” the March Hare interrupted,
yawning. “I’m getting tired of this. I vote the young lady tells us a
story.” “I’m afraid I don’t know one,” said Alice, rather alarmed at