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X. THE MAD TEA-PARTY.
This is the Mad Tea-Party. You see Alice had left the Cheshire-Cat, and had gone off to see the March Hare and the Hatter, as the Cheshire-Cat had advised her: and she found them having tea under a great tree, with a Dormouse sitting between them.

There were only those three at the table, but there were quantities of tea-cups set all along it. You ca’n’t see all the table, you know, and even in the bit you can see there are nine cups, counting the one the March Hare has got in his hand.

That’s the March Hare, with the long ears, and straws mixed up with his hair. The straws[38] showed he was mad——I don’t know why. Never twist up straws among your hair, for fear people should think you’re mad!

There was a nice green arm-chair at the end of the table, that looked as if it was just meant for Alice: so she went and sat down in it.

Then she had quite a long talk with the March Hare and the Hatter. The Dormouse didn’t say much. You see it was fast asleep generally, and it only just woke up for a moment, now and then.

As long as it was asleep, it was very useful to the March Hare and the Hatter, because it had a nice round soft head, just like a pillow: so they could put their elbows on it, and lean across it, and talk to each other quite comfortably. You wouldn’t like people to use your head for a pillow, would you? But if you were fast asleep, like the Dormouse, you wouldn’t feel it: so I suppose you wouldn’t care about it.
Alice, March Hare, and Mad Hatter at a table laid for tea

I’m afraid they gave Alice very little to eat and drink. However, after a bit, she helped herself to some tea and bread-and-butter: only[39] I don’t quite see where she got the bread-and-butter: and she had no plate for it. Nobody seems to have a plate except the Hatter. I believe the March Hare must have had one as well: because, when they all moved one place on (that was the rule at this curious tea-party), and Alice had to go into the place of the March Hare, she found he had just upset the milk-jug into his plate. So I suppose[40] his plate and the milk-jug are hidden behind that large tea-pot.

The Hatter used to carry about hats to sell: and even the one that he’s got on his head is meant to be sold. You see it’s got its price marked on it——a “10” and a “6”——that means “ten shillings and sixpence.” Wasn’t that a funny way of selling hats? And hasn’t he got a beautiful neck-tie on? Such a lovely yellow tie, with large red spots.

He has just got up to say to Alice “Your hair wants cutting!” That was a rude thing to say, wasn’t it? And do you think her hair does want cutting? I think it’s a very pretty length——just the right length.


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