`Your majesty shouldn't purr so loud,' Alice said, rubbing her eyes,and addressing the kitten, respectfully, yet with some severity. `Youwoke me out of oh! such a nice dream! And you've been along with me,Kitty--all through the Looking-Glass world. Did you know it, dear?'
It is a very inconvenient habit of kittens (Alice had once made theremark) that, whatever you say to them, they ALWAYS purr. `If themwould only purr for "yes" and mew for "no," or any rule of that sort,' shehad said, `so that one could keep up a conversation! But how CAN youtalk with a person if they always say the same thing?'
On this occasion the kitten only purred: and it was impossible toguess whether it meant `yes' or `no.'
So Alice hunted among the chessmen on the table till she had foundthe Red Queen: then she went down on her knees on the hearth-rug, andput the kitten and the Queen to look at each other. `Now, Kitty!' shecried, clapping her hands triumphantly. `Confess that was what you turnedinto!'
(`But it wouldn't look at it,' she said, when she was explaining thething afterwards to her sister: `it turned away its head, and pretended notto see it: but it looked a LITTLE ashamed of itself, so I think it MUSThave been the Red Queen.')`Sit up a little more stiffly, dear!' Alice cried with a merry laugh.
`And curtsey while you're thinking what to--what to purr. It saves time,remember!' And she caught it up and gave it one little kiss, `just inhonour of having been a Red Queen.'
`Snowdrop, my pet!' she went on, looking over her shoulder at theWhite Kitten, which was still patiently undergoing its toilet, `when WILLDinah have finished with your White Majesty, I wonder? That must bethe reason you were so untidy in my dream-- Dinah! do you know thatyou're scrubbing a White Queen? Really, it's most disrespectful of you!
`And what did DINAH turn to, I wonder?' she prattled on, as shesettled comfortably down, with one elbow in the rug, and her chin in her hand, to watch the kittens. `Tell me, Dinah, did you turn to HumptyDumpty? I THINK you did--however, you'd better not mention it to yourfriends just yet, for I'm not sure.
`By the way, Kitty, if only you'd been really with me in my dream,there was one thing you WOULD have enjoyed--I had such a quantity ofpoetry said to me, all about fishes! To-morrow morning you shall have areal treat. All the time you're eating your breakfast, I'll repeat "TheWalrus and the Carpenter" to you; and then you can make believe it'soysters, dear!
`Now, Kitty, let's consider who it was that dreamed it all. This is aserious question, my dear, and you should NOT go on licking your pawlike that--as if Dinah hadn't washed you this morning! You see, Kitty, itMUST have been either me or the Red King. He was part of my dream,of course--but then I was part of his dream, too! WAS it the Red King,Kitty? You were his wife, my dear, so you ought to know--Oh, Kitty, DOhelp to settle it! I'm sure your paw can wait!' But the provoking kittenonly began on the other paw, and pretended it hadn't heard the question.