`To send all his horses and all his men,' Alice interrupted, rather unwisely.
`Now I declare that's too bad!' Humpty Dumpty cried, breaking into a sudden passion. `You've been listening at doors -- and behind trees -- and down chimneys -- or you couldn't have known it!'
`I haven't indeed!' Alice said very gently. `It's in a book.'
`Ah, well! They may write such things in a book,' Humpty Dumpty said in a calmer tone. `That's what you call a History of England, that is. Now, take a good look at me! I'm one that has spoken to a King, I am: mayhap you'll never see such another: and, to show you I'm not proud, you may shake hands with me!' And he grinned almost from ear to ear, as he leant forwards (and as nearly as possible fell off the wall in doing so) and offered Alice his hand. She watched him a little anxiously as she took it. `If he smiled much more the ends of his mouth might meet behind,' she thought: `And then I don't know what would happen to his head! I'm afraid it would come off!'
`Yes, all his horses and all his men,' Humpty Dumpty went on. `They'd pick me up again in a minute, they would! However, this conversation is going on a little too fast: let's go back to the last remark but one.'
`I'm afraid I ca'n't quite remember it,' Alice said, very politely.
`In that case we start afresh,' said Humpty Dumpty, `and it's my turn to choose a subject --' (`He talks about it just as if it was a game!' thought Alice.) `So here's a question for you. How old did you say you were?'
Alice made a short calculation, and said `Seven years and six months.'
`Wrong!' Humpty Dumpty exclaimed triumphantly. `You never said a word like it!'
`I thought you meant "How old are you?"' Alice explained.
`If I'd meant that, I'd have said it,' said Humpty Dumpty.
Alice didn't want to begin another argument, so she said nothing.
`Seven years and six months!' Humpty Dumpty repeated thoughtfully. `An uncomfortable sort of age. Now if you'd asked my advice, I'd have said "Leave off at seven" -- but it's too late now.'
`I never ask advice about growing,' Alice said indignantly.
`Too proud?' the other enquired.
Alice felt even more indignant at this suggestion. `I mean,' she said, `that one ca'n't help growing older.'
`One ca'n't, perhaps,' said Humpty Dumpty; `but two can. With proper assistance, you might have left off at seven.'
`What a beautiful belt you've got on!' Alice suddenly remarked. (They had had quite enough of the subject of age, she thought: and, if they really were to take turns in choosing subjects, it was her turn now.) `At least,' she corrected herself on second thoughts, `a beautiful cravat, I should have said -- no, a belt, I mean -- I beg your pardon!' she added in dismay, for Humpty Dumpty looked thoroughly offended, and she began to wish she hadn't chosen that subject. `If only I knew,' she thought to herself, `which was neck and which was waist!'
Evidently Humpty Dumpty was very angry, though he said nothing for a minute or two. When he did speak again, it was in a deep growl.
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