"And that's the jury-box," thought Alice; "and those twelve creatures"
(she was obliged to say "creatures," you see, because some of them were animals, and some were birds), "I suppose they are the jurors."
She said this last word two or three times over to herself, being rather proud of it; for she thought, and rightly too, that very few little girls of her age knew the meaning of it at all. However, "jurymen" would have done just as well.
The twelve jurors were all writing very busily on slates.
"What are they doing?" Alice whispered to the Gryphon. "They can't have anything to put down yet, before the trial's begun."
"They're putting down their names," the Gryphon whispered in reply, "for fear they should forget them before the end of the trial."
"Stupid things!" Alice began in a loud indignant voice; but she stopped herself hastily, for the White Rabbit cried out, "Silence in the court!" and the King put on his spectacles and looked anxiously round, to make out who was talking.
Alice could see, as well as if she were looking over their shoulders, that all the jurors were writing down "Stupid things!" on their slates, and she could even make out that one of them didn't know how to spell "stupid," and that he had to ask his neighbor to tell him.
"A nice muddle their slates'll be in, before the trial's over!"
One of the jurors had a pencil that squeaked. This, of course, Alice could _not_ stand, and she went round the court and got behind him, and very soon found an opportunity of taking it away. She did it so quickly that the poor little juror (it was Bill, the Lizard) could not make out at all what had become of it; so, after hunting all about for it, he was obliged to write with one finger for the rest of the day; and this was of very little use as it left no mark on the slate.
"Herald, read the accusation!" said the King.
On this the White Rabbit blew three blasts on the trumpet, and then unrolled the parchment-scroll, and read as follows:
"The Queen of Hearts, she made some tarts, All on a summer day: The Knave of Hearts, he stole those tarts And took them quite away!"
"Consider your verdict," the King said to the jury.
"Not yet, not yet!" the Rabbit hastily interrupted. "There's a great deal to come before that!"
"Call the first witness," said the King; and the White Rabbit blew three blasts on the trumpet, and called out "First witness!"
The first witness was the Hatter. He came in with a teacup in one hand and a piece of bread-and-butter in the other.
"I beg pardon, your Majesty," he began, "for bringing these in; but I hadn't quite finished my tea when I was sent for."
"You ought to have finished," said the King. "When did you begin?"
The Hatter looked at the March Hare, who had followed him into the court, arm-in-arm with the Dormouse, "Fourteenth of March, I _think_ it was," he said.
"Fifteenth," said the March Hare.
"Sixteenth," said the Dormouse.
"Write that down," the King said to the jury; and the jury eagerly wrote down all three dates on their slates, and then added them up, and reduced the answer to shillings and pence.
"Take off your hat," the King said to the Hatter.
"It isn't mine," said the Hatter.
"_Stolen_!" the King exclaimed, turning to the jury, who instantly made a memorandum of the fact.
"I keep them to sell," the Hatter added as an explanation. "I've none of my own. I'm a hatter."
Here the Queen put on her spectacles, and began staring hard at the Hatter, who turned pale and fidgeted.
"Give your evidence," said the King; "and don't be nervous, or I'll have you executed on the spot."
This did not seem to encourage the witness at all: he kept shifting from one foot to the other, looking uneasily at the Queen, and in his confusion he bit a large piece out of his teacup instead of the bread-and-butter.
Just at this moment Alice felt a very curious sensation, which puzzled her a good deal until she made out what it was: she was beginning to grow larger again, and she thought at first she would get up and leave the court; but on second thoughts she decided to remain where she was as long as there was room for her.
"I wish you wouldn't squeeze so," said the Dormouse, who was sitting next to her. "I can hardly breathe."
"I can't help it," said Alice very meekly: "I'm growing."
"You've no right to grow _here_," said the Dormouse.
"Don't talk nonsense," said Alice more boldly: "you know you're growing too."
"Yes, but _I_ grow at a reasonable pace," said the Dormouse: "not in that ridiculous fashion." And he got up very sulkily and crossed over to the other side of the court.
All this time the Queen had never left off staring at the Hatter, and, just as the Dormouse crossed the court, she said, to one of the officers of the court, "Bring me the list of the singers in the last concert!" on which the wretched Hatter trembled so that he shook off both his shoes.
"Give your evidence," the King repeated angrily, "or I'll have you executed, whether you're nervous or not."
"I'm a poor man, your Majesty," the Hatter began, in a trembling voice, "and I hadn't begun my tea--not above a week or so--and what with the bread-and-butter getting so thin--and the twinkling of the tea--"
"The twinkling of _what_?" said the King.
"It _began_ with the tea," the Hatter replied.
"Of course twinkling _begins_ with a T!" said the King sharply.
"Do you take me for a dunce? Go on!"
"I'm a poor man," the Hatter went on, "and most things twinkled after that--only the March Hare said--"
"I didn't!" the March Hare interrupted in a great hurry.
"You did!" said the Hatter.
"I deny it!" said the March Hare.
"He denies it," said the King: "leave out that part."
"Well, at any rate, the Dormouse said--" the Hatter went on, looking anxiously round to see if he would deny it too; but the Dormouse denied nothing, being fast asleep.
"After that," continued the Hatter, "I cut some more bread and butter--"
"But what did the Dormouse say?" one of the jury asked.