`I'm sure mine only works one way,' Alice remarked. `I ca'n't remember things before they happen.'
`It's a poor sort of memory that only works backwards,' the Queen remarked.
`What sort of things do you remember best?' Alice ventured to ask.
`Oh, things that happened the week after next,' the Queen replied in a careless tone. `For instance, now,' she went on, sticking a large piece of plaster on her finger as she spoke, `there's the King's Messenger. He's in prison now, being punished: and the trial doesn't even begin till next Wednesday: and of course the crime comes last of all.'
`Suppose he never commits the crime?' said Alice.
`That would be all the better, wouldn't it?' the Queen said, as she bound the plaster round her finger with a bit of ribbon.
Alice felt there was no denying that. `Of course it would be all the better,' she said: `but it wouldn't be all the better his being punished.'
`You're wrong there, at any rate,' said the Queen. `Were you ever punished?'
`Only for faults,' said Alice.
`And you were all the better for it, I know!' the Queen said triumphantly.
`Yes, but then I had done the things I was punished for,' said Alice: `that makes all the difference.'
`But if you hadn't done them,' the Queen said, `that would have been better still; better, and better, and better!' Her voice went higher with each `better', till it got quite to a squeak at last.
Alice was just beginning to say `There's a mistake somewhere --,' when the Queen began screaming, so loud that she had to leave the sentence unfinished. `Oh, oh, oh!' shouted the Queen, shaking her hand about as if she wanted to shake it off. `My finger's bleeding! Oh, oh, oh, oh!'
Her screams were so exactly like the whistle of a steam-engine, that Alice had to hold both her hands over her ears.
`What is the matter?' she said, as soon as there was a chance of making herself heard. `Have you pricked your finger?'
`I haven't pricked it yet,' the Queen said, `but I soon shall -- oh, oh, oh!'
`When do you expect to do it?' Alice said, feeling very much inclined to laugh.
`When I fasten my shawl again,' the poor Queen groaned out: `the brooch will come undone directly. Oh, oh!' As she said the words the brooch flew open, and the Queen clutched wildly at it, and tried to clasp it again.
`Take care!' cried Alice. `You're holding it all crooked!' And she caught at the brooch; but it was too late: the pin had slipped, and the Queen had pricked her finger.
`That accounts for the bleeding, you see,' she said to Alice with a smile. `Now you understand the way things happen here.'
`But why don't you scream now?' Alice asked, holding her hands ready to put over her ears again.
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