Prune

  • Alice’s Evidence

    There was a general clapping of hands at this: it was the first really clever thing the King had said that day.

    ‘That proves his guilt,’ said the Queen.

    ‘It proves nothing of the sort!’ said Alice. ‘Why, you don’t even know what they’re about!’

    ‘Read them,’ said the King.

    The White Rabbit put on his spectacles. ‘Where shall I begin, please your Majesty?’ he asked.

    ‘Begin at the beginning,’ the King said gravely, ‘and go on till you come to the end: then stop.’

    These were the verses the White Rabbit read:-

    They told me you had been to her,
    And mentioned me to him:
    She gave me a good character,
    But said I could not swim.

    He sent them word I had not gone
    (We know it to be true):
    If she should push the matter on,
    What would become of you?

    I gave her one, they gave him two,
    You gave us three or more;
    They all returned from him to you,
    Though they were mine before.

    If I or she should chance to be
    Involved in this affair,
    He trusts to you to set them free,
    Exactly as we were.

    My notion was that you had been
    (Before she had this fit)
    An obstacle that came between
    Him, and ourselves, and it,

    Don’t let him know she liked them best,
    For this must ever be
    A secret, kept from all the rest,
    Between yourself and me.

    ‘That’s the most important piece of evidence we’ve heard yet,’ said the King, rubbing his hands; ‘so now let the jury-‘

    ‘If any one of them can explain it,’ said Alice, (she had grown so large in the last few minutes that she wasn’t a bit afraid of interrupting him,) ‘I’ll give him sixpence. I don’t believe there’s an atom of meaning in it.’

    The jury all wrote down on their slates, ‘She doesn’t believe there’s an atom of meaning in it,’ but none of them attempted to explain the paper.

    ‘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…’

    Containing nary a neutron of meaning: rum-quince-cassis with prune and a bit of black ginger.

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