rest of the pack, she could not tell whether they were gardeners, or soldiers, or courtiers, or three of her own children.
`How should I know?' said Alice, surprised at her own courage. `It's no business of mine.'
The Queen turned crimson with fury, and, after glaring at her for a moment like a wild beast, began screaming `Off with her head! Off with --'
`Nonsense!' said Alice, very loudly and decidedly, and the Queen was silent.
The King laid his hand upon her arm, and timidly said `Consider, my dear: she is only a child!'
The Queen turned angrily away from him, and said to the Knave `Turn them over!'
The Knave did so, very carefully, with one foot.
`Get up!' said the Queen in a shrill, loud voice, and the three gardeners instantly jumped up, and began bowing to the King, the Queen, the royal children, and everybody else.
`Leave off that!' screamed the Queen. `You make me giddy.' And then, turning to the rose-tree, she went on `What have you been doing here?'
`May it please your Majesty,' said Two, in a very humble tone, going down on one knee as he spoke, `we were trying --'
`I see!' said the Queen, who had meanwhile been examining the roses. `Off with their heads!' and the procession moved on, three of the soldiers remaining behind to execute the unfortunate gardeners, who ran to Alice for protection.
`You sha'n't be beheaded!' said Alice, and she put them into a large flower-pot that stood near. The three soldiers wandered about for a minute or two, looking for them, and then quietly marched off after the others.
`Are their heads off?' shouted the Queen.
`Their heads are gone, if it please your Majesty!' the soldiers shouted in reply.
`That's right!' shouted the Queen. `Can you play croquet?'
The soldiers were silent, and looked at Alice, as the question was evidently meant for her.
`Yes!' shouted Alice.
`Come on, then!' roared the Queen, and Alice joined the procession, wondering very much what would happen next.
`It's -- it's a very fine day!' said a timid voice at her side. She was walking by the White Rabbit, who was peeping anxiously into her face.
`Very,' said Alice. `Where's the Duchess?'
`Hush! Hush!' said the Rabbit in a low hurried tone. He looked anxiously over his shoulder as he spoke, and then raised himself upon tiptoe, put his mouth close to her ear, and whispered `She's under sentence of execution.'
`What for?' said Alice.
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