Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass Wonderland, Chapter 12
By Lewis Carroll
Wonderland, Chapter 12
Alice jumps up to get into the witness box, forgetting that she has grown huge again. She knocks over the jury box and all the jurors spill out onto the floor, like goldfish knocked out of a bowl.
Alice apologizes and picks up the jurors, putting them back in the box. At first she puts Bill the Lizard in upside-down, and the King makes her turn him right-side-up.
The King asks Alice what she knows about the trial and she tells him nothing. The King says this is very important, but the Rabbit corrects him, saying it's unimportant.
The King reads a rule saying that people more than a mile high must leave the court. Alice says this is nonsense and refuses to go.
The King calls for the verdict again, but the Rabbit says there is still more evidence: a letter from the prisoner.
The Knave says he didn't write the letter, but the King refuses to accept this and has the White Rabbit read it. This is – you guessed it – our last Verse Alert for Wonderland.
The White Rabbit reads out an incomprehensible poem. What's particularly confusing about it is that there aren't any proper names. It begins, "They told me you had been to her / And mentioned me to him," and just gets more confusing from there.
The King thinks this poem is an important piece of evidence, but Alice thinks that it's nonsense.
The King persists in trying to come up with elaborate interpretations of different passages in the poem. Alice argues with him, showing the flaws in his reasoning.
The Queen is angered by the suggestion that she has fits and throws an inkstand at Bill the Lizard. Alice argues with the Queen, who wants to have the sentence first and the verdict afterwards. The Queen orders Alice executed, but none of the soldiers try to arrest her since she is now enormous.
Alice announces that she doesn't care what any of them think, since they're only a pack of cards. The whole pack leaps up at her and she begins beating them away with her hands.
Alice wakes up to discover that she has been lying asleep under the tree beside her sister. What she thought were playing cards are dead leaves in her face.
Alice tells her sister about her adventures in Wonderland. Her sister sends her into the house for tea.
Alice's sister remains by herself under the tree. She daydreams about Alice, about the fantasy creatures that Alice described, and about what Alice will be like as an old woman telling the story to her own children.