Chapter 13: Who stole the tarts?
DID you ever hear how the Queen of Hearts made some tarts? And can you tell me what became of them?
“Why, of course I can! Doesn’t the song tell all about it?
The Queen of Hearts, she made some tarts:
All on a summer day:
The Knave of Hearts, he stole those tarts,
And took them quite away!”
Well, yes, the Song says so. But it would never do to punish the poor Knave, just because there was a Song about him. They had to take him prisoner, and put chains on his wrists, and bring him before the King of Hearts, so that there might be a regular trial.
Now, if you look at the big picture, at the beginning of this book, you’ll see what a grand thing a trial is, when the Judge is a King!
The King is very grand, isn‘t he? But he doesn’t look very happy. I think that big crown, on the top of his wig, must be very heavy and uncomfortable. But he had to wear them both, you see, so that people might know he was a Judge and a King.
And doesn‘t the Queen look cross? She can see the dish of tarts on the table, that she had taken such trouble to make. And she can see the bad Knave (do you see the chains hanging from his wrists ?) that stole them away from her: so I don’t think it’s any wonder if she does feel a little cross.
The White Rabbit is standing near the King, reading out the Song, to tell everybody what a bad Knave he is: and the Jury (you can just see two of them, up in the Jury-box, the Frog and the Duck) have to settle whether he’s “guilty” or “not guilty.”
Now I’ll tell you about the accident that happened to Alice.
You see, she was sitting close by the Jury-box: and she was called as a witness. You know what a “witness” is? A “witness” is a person who has seen the prisoner do whatever he’s accused of, or at any rate knows something that’s important in the trial.
But Alice hadn’t seen the Queen make the tarts: and she hadn’t seen the Knave take the tarts: and, in fact, she didn’t know anything about it: so why in the world they wanted her to be a witness, I’m sure I ca’n’t tell you!
Anyhow, they did want her. And the White Rabbit blew his big trumpet, and shouted out “Alice!” And so Alice jumped up in a great hurry. And then-
And then what do you think happened? Why, her skirt caught against the Jury-box, and tipped it over, and all the poor little Jurors came tumbling out of it!
Let’s try if we can make out all the twelve. You know there ought to be twelve to make up a Jury. I can see the Frog, and the Dormouse, and the Rat and the Ferret, and the Hedgehog, and the Lizard, and the Bantam-Cock, and the Mole, and the Duck, and the Squirrel, and a screaming bird, with a long beak, just behind the Mole.
But that only makes eleven: we must find one more creature.
Oh, do you see a little white head, coming out behind the Mole, and just under the Duck’s beak? That makes up the twelve.
Mr. Tenniel says the screaming bird is a Storkling (of course you know what that is?) and the little white head is a Mouseling. Isn’t it a little darling?
Alice picked them all up again, very carefully, and I hope they weren’t much hurt!