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“You’re a very poor speaker,” said the King.
Here one of the guinea-pigs cheered, and was immediately
suppressed by the officers of the court. (As that is rather a hard
word, I will just explain to you how it was done. They had a large
canvas bag, which tied up at the mouth with strings: into this they
slipped the guinea-pig, head first, and then sat upon it.) “I’m glad
I’ve seen that done,” thought Alice. “I’ve so often read in the
newspapers, at the end of trials, ‘There was some attempt at
applause, which was immediately suppressed by the officers of the
court,’ and I never understood what it meant till now.” “If that’s all
you know about it, you may stand down,” continued the King.
“I ca’n’t go no lower,” said the Hatter: “I’m on the floor, as it is.”
“Then you may sit down” the King replied.
Here the other guinea-pig cheered, and was suppressed.
“Come, that finishes the guinea-pigs!” thought Alice. “Now we
shall get on better.”
“I’d rather finish my tea,” said the Hatter, with an anxious look at
the Queen, who was reading the list of singers.
“You may go,” said the King, and the Hatter hurriedly left the
court, without even waiting to put his shoes on.
“-and just take his head off outside,” the Queen added to one of the
officers; but the Hatter was out of sight before the officer could get
to the door.
“Call the next witness!” said the King.
The next witness was the Duchess’s cook. She carried the pepper-
box in her hand, and Alice guessed who it was, even before she got
into the court, by the way the people near the door began sneezing
all at once.
“Give your evidence,” said the King.
“Sha’n’t,” said the cook.
The King looked anxiously at the White Rabbit, who said, in a low
voice, “Your Majesty must cross-examine this witness.” “Well, if I
must, I must,” the King said with a melancholy air, and, after
folding his arms and frowning at the cook till his eyes were nearly
out of sight, he said, in a deep voice, “What are tarts made of?”
“Pepper, mostly,” said the cook.
“Treacle,” said a sleepy voice behind her.
“Collar that Dormouse!” the Queen shrieked out. “Behead that
Dormouse! Turn that Dormouse out of court! Suppress him! Pinch
him! Off with his whiskers!” For some minutes the whole court
was in confusion, getting the Dormouse turned out, and, by the
time they had settled down again, the cook had disappeared.
“Never mind!” said the King, with an air of great relief. “Call the
next witness.” And he added, in an under-tone to the Queen,