Wool and Water

SHE caught the shawl as she spoke and looked about for the owner: in another moment the White Queen came running wildly through the wood, with both arms stretched out wide, as if she were flying, and Alice very civilly went to meet her with the shawl.

`I'm very glad I happened to be in the way,' Alice said, as she helped her to put on her shawl again.

The White Queen only looked at her in a helpless frightened sort of way, and kept repeating something in a whisper to herself that sounded like `Bread-and-butter, bread-and-butter', and Alice felt that if there was to be any conversation at all, she must manage it herself. So she began rather timidly: `Am I addressing the White Queen?'

`Well, yes, if you call that a-dressing,' the Queen said. `It isn't my notion of the thing, at all.'

Alice thought it would never do to have an argument at the very beginning of their conversation, so she smiled and said `if your Majesty will only tell me the right way to begin, I'll do it as well as I can.'

`But I don't want it done at all!' groaned the poor Queen. `I've been a-dressing myself for the last two hours.'

It would have been all the better, as it seemed to Alice, if she had got some one else to dress her, she was so dreadfully untidy. `Every single thing's crooked,' Alice thought to herself, `and she's all over pins! -- May I put your shawl straight for you?' she added aloud.

`I don't know what's the matter with it!' the Queen said, in a melancholy voice. `It's out of temper, I think. I've pinned it here, and I've pinned it there, but there's no pleasing it!'

`It ca'n't go straight, you know, if you pin it all on one side,' Alice said, as she gently put it right for her; `and dear me, what a state your hair is in!'

`The brush has got entangled in it!' the Queen said with a sigh. `And I lost the comb yesterday.'

Alice carefully released the brush, and did her best to get the hair into order. `Come, you look rather better now!' she said, after altering most of the pins. `But really you should have a lady's-mind!'

`I'm sure I'll take you with pleasure!' the Queen said. `Twopence a week and jam every other day.'

Alice couldn't help laughing, as she said `I don't want you to hire me -- and I don't care for jam.'

`It's very good jam,' said the Queen.

`Well, I don't want any to-day, at any rate.'

`You couldn't have it if you did want it,' the Queen said. `The rule is, jam to-morrow and jam yesterday -- but never jam to-day.'

`It must come sometimes to "jam to-day",' Alice objected.

`No, it ca'n't, said the Queen. `It's jam every other day: to-day isn't any other day, you know.'

`I don't understand you,' said Alice. `It's dreadfully confusing!'

`That's the effect of living backwards,' the Queen said kindly: `it always makes one a little giddy at first --'

`Living backwards!' Alice repeated in great astonishment. `I never heard of such a thing!'

`-- but there's one great advantage in it, that one's memory works both ways.'

  By PanEris using Melati.

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