“Now for the evidence,” said the King, “and then the sentence.”
“No!” said the Queen, “first the sentence, and then the evidence!”
“Nonsense!” cried Alice, so loudly that everybody jumped, “the idea of having the sentence first!”
“Hold your tongue!” said the Queen.
“I won’t!” said Alice, “you’re nothing but a pack of cards! Who cares for you?”
At this the whole pack rose up into the air, and came flying down upon her: she gave a little scream of fright, and tried to beat them off, and found herself lying on the bank, with her head in the lap of her sister, who was gently brushing away some leaves that had fluttered down from the trees on to her face.
“Wake up!, Alice dear!” said her sister, “what a nice long sleep you’ve had!”
“Oh, I’ve had such a curious dream!” said Alice, and she told her sister all her Adventures Under Ground, as you have read them, and when she had finished, her sister kissed her and said “it was a curious dream, dear, certainly! But now run in to your tea: it’s getting late.”
So Alice ran off, thinking while she ran (as well she might) what a wonderful dream it had been.
||But her sister sat there some while longer, watching the setting sun, and thinking of little Alice and her Adventures, till she too began dreaming after a fashion, and this was her dream:
She saw an ancient city, and a quiet river winding near it along the plain, and up the stream went slowly gliding a boat with a merry party of children on board--she could hear their voices and laughter like music over the water--and among them was another little Alice, who sat listening with bright eager eyes to a tale that was being told, and she listened for the words of the tale, and lo! it was the dream of her own little sister. So the boat wound slowly along, beneath the bright summer-day, with its merry crew and its music of voices and laughter, till it passed round one of the many turnings of the stream, and she saw it no more.
Then she thought, (in a dream within the dream, as it were,) how this same little Alice would, in the after-time, be herself a grown woman: and how she would keep, through her riper years, the simple and loving heart of her childhood; and how she would gather around her other little children, and make their eyes bright and eager with many a wonderful tale, perhaps even with these very adventures of the little Alice of long-ago: and how she would feel with all their simple sorrows, and find a pleasure in all their simple joys, remembering her own child-life, and the happy summer days.