She caught the shawl as she spoke, and looked about for the owner:
in another moment the White Queen came running wildly through thewood, with both arms stretched out wide, as if she were flying, and Alicevery civilly went to meet her with the shawl.
`I'm very glad I happened to be in the way,' Alice said, as she helpedher to put on her shawl again.
The White Queen only looked at her in a helpless frightened sort ofway, and kept repeating something in a whisper to herself that soundedlike `bread-and-butter, bread-and-butter,' and Alice felt that if there was tobe any conversation at all, she must manage it herself. So she beganrather timidly: `Am I addressing the White Queen?'
`Well, yes, if you call that a-dressing,' The Queen said. `It isn'tMY notion of the thing, at all.'
Alice thought it would never do to have an argument at the verybeginning of their conversation, so she smiled and said, `If your Majestywill only tell me the right way to begin, I'll do it as well as I can.'
`But I don't want it done at all!' groaned the poor Queen. `I've beena-dressing myself for the last two hours.'
It would have been all the better, as it seemed to Alice, if she hadgot some one else to dress her, she was so dreadfully untidy. `Everysingle thing's crooked,' Alice thought to herself, `and she's all over pins!-may I put your shawl straight for you?' she added aloud.
`I don't know what's the matter with it!' the Queen said, in amelancholy voice. `It's out of temper, I think. I've pinned it here, andI've pinned it there, but there's no pleasing it!'
`It CAN'T go straight, you know, if you pin it all on one side,' Alicesaid, as she gently put it right for her; `and, dear me, what a state your hairis in!'
`The brush has got entangled in it!' the Queen said with a sigh.
`And I lost the comb yesterday.'
Alice carefully released the brush, and did her best to get the hair into order. `Come, you look rather better now!' she said, after alteringmost of the pins. `But really you should have a lady's maid!'
`I'm sure I'll take you with pleasure!' the Queen said. `Twopence aweek, and jam every other day.'
Alice couldn't help laughing, as she said, `I don't want you to hireME--and I don't care for jam.'
`It's very good jam,' said the Queen.
`Well, I don't want any TO-DAY, at any rate.'
`You couldn't have it if you DID want it,' the Queen said. `The ruleis, jam to-morrow and jam yesterday--but never jam to-day.'
`It MUST come sometimes to "jam to-day,"' Alice objected.
`No, it can't,' said the Queen. `It's jam every OTHER day: to-dayisn't any OTHER day, you know.'
`I don't understand you,' said Alice. `It's dreadfully confusing!'
`That's the effect of living backwards,' the Queen said kindly: `italways makes one a little giddy at first--'
`Living backwards!' Alice repeated in great astonishment. `I neverheard of such a thing!'