`I didn't know I was to have a party at all,' said Alice; `but, if there is to be one, I think I ought to invite the guests.'
`We gave you the opportunity of doing it,' the Red Queen remarked; `but I daresay you've not had many lessons in manners yet.'
`Manners are not taught in lessons,' said Alice. `Lessons teach you to do sums, and things of that sort.'
`Can you do Addition?' the White Queen asked. `What's one and one and one and one and one and one and one and one and one and one?'
`I don't know,' said Alice. `I lost count.'
`She ca'n't do Addition,' the Red Queen interrupted, `Can you do Subtraction? Take nine from eight.'
`Nine from eight I ca'n't, you know,' Alice replied very readily: `but--'
`She ca'n't do Subtraction,' said the White Queen. `Can you do Division? Divide a loaf by a knife--what's the answer to that?'
`I suppose--' Alice was beginning, but the Red Queen answered for her. `Bread-and-butter, of course. Try another Subtraction sum. Take a bone from a dog: what remains?'
Alice considered. `The bone wouldn't remain, of course, if I took it--and the dog wouldn't remain: it would come to bite me--and I'm sure I shouldn't remain!'
`Then you think nothing would remain?' said the Red Queen.
`I think that's the answer.'
`Wrong, as usual,' said the Red Queen: `the dog's temper would remain.'
`But I don't see how--'
`Why, look here!' the Red Queen cried. `The dog would lose its temper, wouldn't it?'
`Perhaps it would,' Alice replied cautiously.
`Then if the dog went away, its temper would remain!' the Queen exclaimed triumphantly.
Alice said, as gravely as she could, `They might go different ways.' But she couldn't help thinking to herself `What dreadful nonsense we are talking!'
`She ca'n't do sums a bit!' the Queens said together, with great emphasis.
`Can you do sums?' Alice said, turning suddenly on the White Queen, for she didn't like being found fault with so much.
The Queen gasped and shut her eyes. `I can do Addition,' she said, `if you give me time--but I ca'n't do Subtraction under any circumstances!'
`Of course you know your ABC?' said the Red Queen.
`To be sure, I do,' said Alice.
`So do I,' the White Queen whispered: `we'll often say it over together, dear. And I'll tell you a secret--I can read words of one letter! Isn't that grand? However, don't be discouraged. You'll come to it in time.'
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