There was a general clapping of hands at this: it was the first really clever thing the King had said that day.
“That proves his guilt, of course,” said the Queen: “so off with——”
“It doesn’t prove anything of the sort!” said Alice. “Why, you don’t even know what they’re about!”
“Read them,” said the King.
The White Rabbit put on his spectacles. “Where shall I begin, please your Majesty?” he asked.
“Begin at the beginning,” the King said gravely, “and go on till you come to the end; then stop.”
There was dead silence in the court, whilst the White Rabbit read out these verses:—
“They told me you had been to her,
And mentioned me to him:
She gave me a good character,
But said I could not swim.
He sent them word I had not gone
(We know it to be true):
If she should push the matter on,
What would become of you?
I gave her one, they gave him two,
You gave us three or more;
They all returned from him to you,
Though they were mine before.