After a while the noise seemed gradually to die away, till all wasdead silence, and Alice lifted up her head in some alarm. There was no oneto be seen, and her first thought was that she must have been dreamingabout the Lion and the Unicorn and those still lying at her feet, on whichshe had tried to cut the plum- cake, `So I wasn't dreaming, after all,' shesaid to herself, `unless--unless we're all part of the same dream. Only Ido hope it's MY dream, and not the Red King's! I don't like belonging toanother person's dream,' she went on in a rather complaining tone: `I've agreat mind to go and wake him, and see what happens!'
At this moment her thoughts were interrupted by a loud shouting of`Ahoy! Ahoy! Check!' and a Knight dressed in crimson armour camegalloping down upon her, brandishing a great club. Just as he reachedher, the horse stopped suddenly: `You're my prisoner!' the Knight cried,as he tumbled off his horse.
Startled as she was, Alice was more frightened for him than forherself at the moment, and watched him with some anxiety as he mountedagain. As soon as he was comfortably in the saddle, he began once more`You're my--' but here another voice broke in `Ahoy! Ahoy! Check!'
and Alice looked round in some surprise for the new enemy.
This time it was a White Knight. He drew up at Alice's side, andtumbled off his horse just as the Red Knight had done: then he got onagain, and the two Knights sat and looked at each other for some timewithout speaking. Alice looked from one to the other in somebewilderment.
`She's MY prisoner, you know!' the Red Knight said at last.
`Yes, but then _I_ came and rescued her!' the White Knight replied.
`Well, we must fight for her, then,' said the Red Knight, as he tookup his helmet (which hung from the saddle, and was something the shapeof a horse's head), and put it on.
`You will observe the Rules of Battle, of course?' the White Knightremarked, putting on his helmet too.
`I always do,' said the Red Knight, and they began banging away ateach other with such fury that Alice got behind a tree to be out of the wayof the blows.
`I wonder, now, what the Rules of Battle are,' she said to herself, asshe watched the fight, timidly peeping out from her hiding-place: `oneRule seems to be, that if one Knight hits the other, he knocks him off hishorse, and if he misses, he tumbles off himself--and another Rule seems tobe that they hold their clubs with their arms, as if they were Punch andJudy--What a noise they make when they tumble! Just like a whole setof fire- irons falling into the fender! And how quiet the horses are! Theylet them get on and off them just as if they were tables!'
Another Rule of Battle, that Alice had not noticed, seemed to be thatthey always fell on their heads, and the battle ended with their both fallingoff in this way, side by side: when they got up again, they shook hands,and then the Red Knight mounted and galloped off.