The King turned pale, and shut his note-book hastily. `Consider your verdict,' he said to the jury, in a low trembling voice.

`There's more evidence to come yet, please your Majesty,' said the White Rabbit, jumping up in a great hurry: `this paper has just been picked up.'

`What's in it?' said the Queen.

`I haven't opened it yet,' said the White Rabbit; `but it seems to be a letter, written by the prisoner to--to somebody.'

`It must have been that,' said the King, `unless it was written to nobody, which isn't usual, you know.'

`Who is it directed to?' said one of the jurymen.

`It isn't directed at all,' said the White Rabbit: `in fact, there's nothing written on the outside.' He unfolded the paper as he spoke, and added `It isn't a letter, after all: it's a set of verses.'

`Are they in the prisoner's handwriting?' asked another of the jurymen.

`No, they're not,' said the White Rabbit, `and that's the queerest thing about it.' (The jury all looked puzzled.)

`He must have imitated somebody else's hand,' said the King. (The jury all brightened up again.)

`Please, your Majesty,' said the Knave, `I didn't write it, and they ca'n't prove that I did: there's no name signed at the end.'

`If you didn't sign it,' said the King, `that only makes the matter worse. You must have meant some mischief, or else you'd have signed your name like an honest man.'

There was a general clapping of hands at this: it was the first really clever thing the King had said that day.

`That proves his guilt, of course,' said the Queen: `so, off with--'

`It doesn't prove anything of the sort!' said Alice. `Why, you don't even know what they're about!'

`Read them,' said the King.

The White Rabbit put on his spectacles. `Where shall I begin, please your Majesty?' he asked.

`Begin at the beginning,' the King said, very gravely, `and go on till you come to the end: then stop.'

There was dead silence in the court, whilst the White Rabbit read out these verses:

`They told me you had been to her,
   And mentioned me to him:
She gave me a good character,
   But said I could not swim.

He sent them word I had not gone
   (We know it to be true):
If she should push the matter on,
   What would become of you?

I gave her one, they gave him two,
   You gave us three or more:
They all returned from him to you,
   Though they were mine before.

If I or she should chance to be
   Involved in this affair,
He trusts to you to set them free,
   Exactly as we were.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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