The next moment soldiers came running through the wood, at firstin twos and threes, then ten or twenty together, and at last in such crowdsthat they seemed to fill the whole forest. Alice got behind a tree, for fearof being run over, and watched them go by.
She thought that in all her life she had never seen soldiers souncertain on their feet: they were always tripping over something orother, and whenever one went down, several more always fell over him, sothat the ground was soon covered with little heaps of men.
Then came the horses. Having four feet, these managed ratherbetter than the foot-soldiers: but even THEY stumbled now and then;and it seemed to be a regular rule that, whenever a horse stumbled therider fell off instantly. The confusion got worse every moment, and Alicewas very glad to get out of the wood into an open place, where she foundthe White King seated on the ground, busily writing in his memorandum-book.
`I've sent them all!' the King cried in a tone of delight, on seeingAlice. `Did you happen to meet any soldiers, my dear, as you camethrough the wood?'
`Yes, I did,' said Alice: `several thousand, I should think.'
`Four thousand two hundred and seven, that's the exact number,' theKing said, referring to his book. `I couldn't send all the horses, you know,because two of them are wanted in the game. And I haven't sent the twoMessengers, either. They're both gone to the town. Just look along theroad, and tell me if you can see either of them.'
`I see nobody on the road,' said Alice.
`I only wish _I_ had such eyes,' the King remarked in a fretful tone.
`To be able to see Nobody! And at that distance, too! Why, it's as muchas _I_ can do to see real people, by this light!'
All this was lost on Alice, who was still looking intently along theroad, shading her eyes with one hand. `I see somebody now!' sheexclaimed at last. `But he's coming very slowly--and what curious attitudes he goes into!' (For the messenger kept skipping up and down,and wriggling like an eel, as he came along, with his great hands spreadout like fans on each side.)`Not at all,' said the King. `He's an Anglo-Saxon Messenger-- andthose are Anglo-Saxon attitudes. He only does them when he's happy.
His name is Haigha.' (He pronounced it so as to rhyme with `mayor.')`I love my love with an H,' Alice couldn't help beginning, `becausehe is Happy. I hate him with an H, because he is Hideous. I fed himwith--with--with Ham-sandwiches and Hay. His name is Haigha, and helives--'
`He lives on the Hill,' the King remarked simply, without the leastidea that he was joining in the game, while Alice was still hesitating forthe name of a town beginning with H. `The other Messenger's calledHatta. I must have TWO, you know--to come and go. Once to come,and one to go.'
`I beg your pardon?' said Alice.
`It isn't respectable to beg,' said the King.
`I only meant that I didn't understand,' said Alice. `Why one tocome and one to go?'