Dodo, 'the best way to explain it is to do it.' (And, as you might like to try the thing yourself, some winter day, I will tell you how the Dodo managed it.) First it marked out a race-course, in a sort of circle, ('the exact shape doesn't matter,' it said,) and then all the party were placed along the course, here and there. There was no 'One, two, three, and away,' but they began running when they liked, and left off when they liked, so that it was not easy to know when the race was over. However, when they had been running half an hour or so, and were quite dry again, the Dodo suddenly called out 'The race is over!' and they all crowded round it, panting, and asking, 'But who has won?' This question the Dodo could not answer without a great deal of thought, and it sat for a long time with one finger pressed upon its forehead (the position in which you usually see Shakespeare, in the pictures of him), while the rest waited in silence. At last the Dodo said, 'EVERYBODY has won, and all must have prizes.' 'But who is to give the prizes?' quite a chorus of voices asked. 'Why, SHE, of course,' said the Dodo, pointing to Alice with one finger; and the whole party at once crowded round her, calling out in a confused way, 'Prizes! Prizes!' Alice had no idea what to do, and in despair she put her hand in her pocket, and pulled out a box of comfits, (luckily the salt water had not got into it), and handed them round as prizes. There was exactly one a-piece all round. 'But she must have a prize herself, you know,' said the Mouse. 'Of course,' the Dodo replied very gravely. 'What else have you got in your pocket?' he went on, turning to Alice. 'Only a thimble,' said Alice sadly. 'Hand it over here,' said the Dodo. Then they all crowded round her once more, while the Dodo solemnly presented the thimble, saying 'We beg your acceptance of this elegant thimble'; and, when it had finished this short speech, they all cheered. Alice thought the whole thing very absurd, but they all looked so grave that she did not dare to laugh; and, as she could not think of anything to say, she simply bowed, and took the thimble, looking as solemn as she could. The next thing was to eat the comfits: this caused some noise and confusion, as the large birds complained that they could not taste theirs, and the small ones choked and had to be patted on the back. However, it was over at last, and they sat down again in a ring, and begged the Mouse to tell them something more. 'You promised to tell me your history, you know,' said Alice, 'and why it is you hate--C and D,' she added in a whisper, half afraid that it would be offended again. 'Mine is a long and a sad tale!' said the Mouse, turning to Alice, and sighing. 'It IS a long tail, certainly,' said Alice, looking down with wonder at the Mouse's tail; 'but why do you call it sad?' And she kept on puzzling about it while the Mouse was speaking, so that her idea of the tale was something like this:-- 'Fury said to a mouse, That he met in the house, "Let us both go to law: I will prosecute YOU.--Come, I'll take no denial; We must have a trial: For really this morning I've nothing to do." Said the mouse to the cur, "Such a trial, dear Sir, With no jury or judge, would be wasting our breath." "I'll be judge, I'll be jury," Said cunning old Fury: "I'll try the whole cause, and condemn you to death."' 'You are not attending!' said the Mouse to Alice severely. 'What are you thinking of?' 'I beg your pardon,' said Alice very humbly: 'you had got to the fifth bend, I think?' 'I had NOT!' cried the Mouse, sharply and very angrily. 'A knot!' said Alice, always ready to make herself useful, and looking anxiously about her. 'Oh, do let me help to undo it!' 'I shall do nothing of the sort,' said the Mouse, getting up and walking away. 'You insult me by talking such nonsense!' 'I didn't mean it!' pleaded poor Alice. 'But you're so easily offended, you know!' The Mouse only growled in reply. 'Please come back and finish your story!' Alice called after it; and the others all joined in chorus, 'Yes, please do!' but the Mouse only shook its head impatiently, and said, without opening its eyes, 'Of course, of course; just what I was going to remark myself.' 'Have you guessed the riddle yet?' the Hatter said, turning to Alice again. 'No, I give it up,' Alice replied: 'what's the answer?' 'I haven't the slightest idea,' said the Hatter. 'Nor I,' said the March Hare. Alice sighed wearily. 'I think you might do something better with the time,' she said, 'than waste it in asking riddles that have no answers.' 'If you knew Time as well as I do,' said the Hatter, 'you wouldn't talk about wasting IT. It's HIM.' 'I don't know what you mean,' said Alice. 'Of course you don't!' the Hatter said, tossing his head contemptuously. 'I dare say you never even spoke to Time!' 'Perhaps not,' Alice cautiously replied: 'but I know I have to beat time when I learn music.' 'Ah! that accounts for it,' said the Hatter. 'He won't stand beating. Now, if you only kept on good terms with him, he'd do almost anything you liked with the clock. For instance, suppose it were nine o'clock in the morning, just time to begin lessons: you'd only have to whisper a hint to Time, and round goes the clock in a twinkling! Half-past one, time for dinner!' ('I only wish it was,' the March Hare said to itself in a whisper.) 'That would be grand, certainly,' said Alice thoughtfully: 'but then--I shouldn't be hungry for it, you know.' 'Not at first, perhaps,' said the Hatter: 'but you could keep it to half-past one as long as you liked.' 'Is that the way YOU manage?' Alice asked. The Hatter shook his head mournfully. 'Not I!' he replied. 'We quarrelled last March--just before HE went mad, you know--' (pointing with his tea spoon at the March Hare,) '--it was at the great concert given by the Queen of Hearts, and I had to sing "Twinkle, twinkle, little bat! How I wonder what you're at!" You know the song, perhaps?' 'I've heard something like it,' said Alice. 'It goes on, you know,' the Hatter continued, 'in this way:-- "Up above the world you fly, Like a tea-tray in the sky. Twinkle, twinkle--"' Here the Dormouse shook itself, and began singing in its sleep 'Twinkle, twinkle, twinkle, twinkle--' and went on so long that they had to pinch it to make it stop. 'Well, I'd hardly finished the first verse,' said the Hatter, 'when the Queen jumped up and bawled out, "He's murdering the time! Off with his head!"' 'How dreadfully savage!' exclaimed Alice. 'And ever since that,' the Hatter went on in a mournful tone, 'he won't do a thing I ask! It's always six o'clock now.' A bright idea came into Alice's head. 'Is that the reason so many tea-things are put out here?' she asked. 'Yes, that's it,' said the Hatter with a sigh: 'it's always tea-time, and we've no time to wash the things between whiles.' 'Then you keep moving round, I suppose?' said Alice. 'Exactly so,' said the Hatter: 'as the things get used up.' 'But what happens when you come to the beginning again?' Alice ventured to ask. 'Suppose we change the subject,' the March Hare interrupted, yawning. 'I'm getting tired of this. I vote the young lady tells us a story.' 'I'm afraid I don't know one,' said Alice, rather alarmed at the proposal. 'Then the Dormouse shall!' they both cried. 'Wake up, Dormouse!' And they pinched it on both sides at once. The Dormouse slowly opened his eyes. 'I wasn't asleep,' he said in a hoarse, feeble voice: 'I heard every word you fellows were saying.' 'Tell us a story!' said the March Hare. 'Yes, please do!' pleaded Alice. 'And be quick about it,' added the Hatter, 'or you'll be asleep again before it's done.' 'Once upon a time there were three little sisters,' the Dormouse began in a great hurry; 'and their names were Elsie, Lacie, and Tillie; and they lived at the bottom of a well?' 'Take some more tea,' the March Hare said to Alice, very earnestly. 'I've had nothing yet,' Alice replied in an offended tone, 'so I can't take more.' 'You mean you can't take LESS,' said the Hatter: 'it's very easy to take MORE than nothing.' 'Nobody asked YOUR opinion,' said Alice. 'Who's making personal remarks now?' the Hatter asked triumphantly. Alice did not quite know what to say to this: so she helped herself to some tea and bread-and-butter, and then turned to the Dormouse, and repeated her question. 'Why did they live at the bottom of a well?' The Dormouse again took a minute or two to think about it, and then said, 'It was a treacle-well.' 'There's no such thing!' Alice was beginning very angrily, but the Hatter and the March Hare went 'Sh! sh!' and the Dormouse sulkily remarked, 'If you can't be civil, you'd better finish the story for yourself.' 'No, please go on!' Alice said very humbly; 'I won't interrupt again. I dare say there may be ONE.' 'One, indeed!' said the Dormouse indignantly. However, he consented to go on. 'And so these three little sisters--they were learning to draw, you know--' 'What did they draw?' said Alice, quite forgetting her promise. 'Treacle,' said the Dormouse, without considering at all this time. 'I want a clean cup,' interrupted the Hatter: 'let's all move one place on.' He moved on as he spoke, and the Dormouse followed him: the March Hare moved into the Dormouse's place, and Alice rather unwillingly took the place of the March Hare. The Hatter was the only one who got any advantage from the change: and Alice was a good deal worse off than before, as the March Hare had just upset the milk-jug into his plate. Alice did not wish to offend the Dormouse again, so she began very cautiously: 'But I don't understand. Where did they draw the treacle from?' 'You can draw water out of a water-well,' said the Hatter; 'so I should think you could draw treacle out of a treacle-well--eh, stupid?' 'But they were IN the well,' Alice said to the Dormouse, not choosing to notice this last remark. 'Of course they were', said the Dormouse; '--well in.' This answer so.