Alice jumps to the White Rabbit’s call to the stand. She forgets that she has grown larger and knocks over the jury stand, then scrambles to put all of the jurors back. Alice claims to know “nothing whatever” about the tarts, which the King deems “very important.” The White Rabbit corrects the King, suggesting that he in fact means “unimportant.” The King agrees, muttering the words “important” and “unimportant” to himself.
The King interjects with Rule 42, which states, “All persons more than a mile high to leave the court.” Everyone turns to Alice, who denies she is a mile high and accuses the King of fabricating the rule. The King replies that Rule 42 is the oldest rule in the book, but Alice retorts that if it is the oldest rule in the book, it ought to be the first rule. The King becomes quiet for a moment before calling for a verdict. The White Rabbit interrupts and declares that more evidence must be presented first. He presents a paper supposedly written by the Knave, though it is not written in the Knave’s handwriting. The Knave refutes the charge, explaining that there is no signature on the document. The King reasons that the Knave must have meant mischief because he did not sign the note like an honest man would. The court seems pleased by this reasoning, and the Queen concludes that the paper proves the Knave’s guilt. Alice demands to read the poem on the paper. While the poem appears to have no meaning, the King provides an explanation and calls for a verdict. The Queen demands that the sentence come before the verdict. Alice chaffs at this proposal and criticizes the Queen, who calls for Alice’s beheading. Alice has grown to her full size and bats away the playing cards as they fly upon her.
Alice suddenly wakes up and finds herself back on her sister’s lap at the riverbank. She tells her adventures to her sister who bids her go inside for tea. Alice traipses off, while her sister remains by the riverbank daydreaming. She envisions the characters from Alice’s adventures, but knows that when she opens her eyes the images will dissipate. She imagines that Alice will one day grow older but retain her childlike spirit and recount her adventures to other children.
Alice in Wonderland 10: Alice’s Evidence – Listen and Read
Chapter Ten of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carrol (abridged)
This Librivox Recording is in the Public Domain.
Chapter Ten – Alice’s evidence
“Here!” cried Alice. She jumped up in such a hurry that she tipped over the jury-box, upsetting all the jurymen on to the heads of the crowd below.
“Oh, I beg your pardon!” she exclaimed in a tone of great dismay.
“The trial cannot proceed,” said the King, “until all the jurymen are back in their proper places — all,” he repeated with great emphasis, looking hard at Alice.
“What do you know about this business?” the King said to Alice.
“Nothing whatever,” said Alice.
The King then read from his book: “Rule forty-two. All persons more than a mile high to leave the court.”
“I’m not a mile high,” said Alice.
“Nearly two miles high,” said the Queen.
“Well, I sha’n’t go, at any rate,” said Alice.
The King turned pale and shut his note-book hastily. “Consider your verdict,” he said to the jury, in a low, trembling voice.
“There’s more evidence to come yet, please Your Majesty,” said the White Rabbit, jumping up in a great hurry. “This paper has just been picked up. It seems to be a letter written by the prisoner to — to somebody.” He unfolded the paper as he spoke and added, “It isn’t a letter, after all; it’s a set of verses.”
“Please, Your Majesty,” said the Knave, “I didn’t write it and they can’t prove that I did; there’s no name signed at the end.”
“You must have meant some mischief, or else you’d have signed your name like an honest man,” said the King. There was a general clapping of hands at this.
“Read them,” he added, turning to the White Rabbit.
There was dead silence in the court whilst the White Rabbit read out the verses.
“That’s the most important piece of evidence we’ve heard yet,” said the King.
“I don’t believe there’s an atom of meaning in it,” ventured Alice.
“If there’s no meaning in it,” said the King, “that saves a world of trouble, you know, as we needn’t try to find any. Let the jury consider their verdict.”
“No, no!” said the Queen. “Sentence first — verdict afterwards.”
“Stuff and nonsense!” said Alice loudly. “The idea of having the sentence first!”
“Hold your tongue!” said the Queen, turning purple.
“I won’t!” said Alice.
“Off with her head!” the Queen shouted at the top of her voice. Nobody moved.
“Who cares for you?” said Alice (she had grown to her full size by this time). “You’re nothing but a pack of cards!”
At this, the whole pack rose up in the air and came flying down upon her; she gave a little scream, half of fright and half of anger, and tried to beat them off, and found herself lying on the bank, with her head in the lap of her sister, who was gently brushing away some dead leaves that had fluttered down from the trees upon her face.
“Wake up, Alice dear!” said her sister. “Why, what a long sleep you’ve had!”
“Oh, I’ve had such a curious dream!” said Alice. And she told her sister, as well as she could remember them, all these strange adventures of hers that you have just been reading about. Alice got up and ran off, thinking while she ran, as well she might, what a wonderful dream it had been.
Alice in Wonderland – Listen and Read
- Alice in Wonderland 1: Down the Rabbit-Hole – Listen and Read
- Alice in Wonderland 2: The Pool of Tears – Listen and Read
- Alice in Wonderland 3: A Caucus Race and a Long Tale – Listen and Read
- Alice in Wonderland 4: The Rabbit Sends in a Little Bill – Listen and Read
- Alice in Wonderland 5: Advice from a Caterpillar – Listen and Read
- Alice in Wonderland 6: Pig and Pepper – Listen and Read
- Alice in Wonderland 7: A Mad Tea Party – Listen and Read
- Alice in Wonderland 8: The Queen’s Croquet Ground – Listen and Read
- Alice in Wonderland 9: Who Stole the Tarts? – Listen and Read
- Alice in Wonderland 10: Alice’s Evidence – Listen and Read
A Christmas Carol – Listen and Read
- A Christmas Carol 1: Marley’s Ghost – Listen and Read
- A Christmas Carol 2: The First of the Three Spirits – Listen and Read
- A Christmas Carol 3: The Second of the Three Spirits – Listen and Read
- A Christmas Carol 4: The Last of the Spirits – Listen and Read
- A Christmas Carol 5: The End of It – Listen and Read
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video: Listen and Read – Youtube
audio: LibriVox: Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (dramatic reading)
transcript: Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland