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Soldiers come running through the wood in a huge crowd. After them come a bunch of horses. Alice finds her way out of the stampede and into a glade where the White King is sitting, writing in his notebook.
The King tells Alice that he's kept his promise, sending all his horses and all his men. Presumably they are going to try to put Humpty Dumpty together again. (Remember that crash at the end of Chapter 6? We think that was probably Humpty Dumpty falling off the wall.)
The King tells Alice to look for the Messengers, who went into town. Alice peers off into the distance and sees a man walking toward them, wriggling and skipping and generally making strange gestures. The King tells Alice that these gestures are Anglo-Saxon attitudes and that the messenger's name is Haigha.
Alice begins playing a word game with Haigha's name, thinking of other things that start with H – living on a Hill, eating Ham-Sandwiches and Hay, and so on.
The messenger arrives and the King is disturbed by his strange gestures. By a funny coincidence, Haigha has a bag of food with just what Alice imagined in her game – ham sandwiches and hay. The White King eats some of both and feels better.
The King asks the messenger what is happening in the town. The messenger says that the Lion and the Unicorn are fighting for the crown again.
Verse Alert: Alice recites the nursery rhyme about the Lion and the Unicorn.
Alice asks the King if the one who wins the fight gets the crown. He says no.
Alice and the White King hurry toward the town to see the Lion and Unicorn fighting. They find the other messenger, Hatta, watching the fight, drinking tea, and eating bread and butter. We learn that Hatta is the messenger the White Queen mentioned who went to jail before his trial and crime.
The Lion and the Unicorn pause in their fight and everyone takes a ten-minute break for snacks. The refreshments are the same as the ones described in the nursery rhyme: white bread, brown bread, and plum cake.
The White Queen goes running by too fast for anyone to catch her. (Remember, Queens can move any number of squares at a time in chess, so her rapid movement is related to a move in the game.)
The Lion and Unicorn stop by to say hello to the king. The Unicorn sees Alice and is astonished, saying he didn't believe in children and thought they were imaginary monsters. Alice says that's what she thought about Unicorns. Alice and the Unicorn agree to believe in each other from now on.
Alice helps out by handing around the next food described in the nursery rhyme, the plum cake. At first she has trouble cutting it, but then they explain to her that it is a Looking-Glass cake; it gets handed around first and cut afterwards.
The drums begin in the distance. (As we're sure you remember, the last line of the nursery rhyme is about the Lion and Unicorn getting drummed out of town.)
Alice is frightened by the drums and jumps to her feet, leaping over a brook in the process –