A parody freely adapted from chapter 3 of Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (1865).
(Scene: Alice finds the Hatter and March Hare with Dormouse asleep between them. They sit crowded together near one corner of a very long table set for tea.)
Hare & Hatter: No room! No room!
Alice (sits at the end): There’s plenty of room.
Hare: Have some wine.
Alice (looks around): I don’t see any wine.
Hare: There isn’t any.
Alice: Then it wasn’t very civil of you to offer it
Hare: It wasn’t very civil of you to sit down without being invited.
Alice: Is this your table? It’s laid for a great many more than three.
Hatter: You foreigners always move in.
Alice: What? I’ve never been out of Oxfordshire.
Dormouse (in his sleep): Talk English!
Alice: Exactly so.
Hatter (looks at his watch): What day is it?
Alice: 15 July 1862. Everyone knows that.
Hatter: Wrong! (to Hare): I told you butter would ruin the works of this watch.
Hare (dips watch in tea): I used the best butter.
Alice (looks at watch). It tells the day of the month and not what o’clock it is.
Hatter: Why should it? Does your watch tell the time of day?
Alice: If I had a watch.
Hatter: Just the same as mine.
Alice (politely): I don’t quite understand you.
(Hare pours hot tea on Dormouse’s nose.)
Dormouse (asleep): My remark, too.
Hatter: There’s too much change anyway. We need to go back to the way things were and meant to be.
Alice: As they were when?
Hare: They keep trying to change the Constitution.
Alice: What Constitution?
Hatter: Our rights! Don’t you know?
Alice (recalling school lessons): Certainly. Magna Carta, 1215; the Bill of Rights, 1685. Which time do you want?
Hare: I only wish it were a matter for wishing.
Alice (persisting): But, which?
Hatter: We would keep it 1685 as long as we liked.
Alice: Is that the way you manage time?
Hatter: Not I. It was last March that the Hare went mad.
Hare: He started it, singing in front of the Queen.
‘Twinkle, twinkle, little star!
When you here have gone too far!’
You know the song perhaps?
Alice: I’ve heard something like that.
Hatter: It goes on –
‘Up above the world you fly,
While the tax hits ev’ry guy.’
Dormouse (still sleeping, joins in):
‘Twinkle, twinkle, twinkle ...’
Hatter: I’d hardly finished the first verse, when the Queen bawled, ‘He’s murdering the time! Off with his head.’
Alice: So savage? I can’t imagine the Queen saying that!
Hare: So every since, it’s been 1685 at 6 o’clock.
Alice: So that’s why so many tea things are out here.
Hatter: That’s it. It’s always tea-time, and we’ve no time to wash the things between whiles and whens.
Alice: So you move around as things are used up. What happens when you come to the beginning again?
Hare: Suppose we change the subject. Tell a story.
Alice: I’m afraid I don’t know one.
Hare & Hatter: Then Dormouse shall! Wake up!
Dormouse (drowsily): I’m awake. I am awake. (clears throat) Once there were three sisters who lived at the bottom of a treacle well.
Hatter: I want a clean cup. Everyone move on one place.
Alice (looks at the place she would take where the Hare has upset the milk jug into his plate): Mr. Hatter, you are the only one to get any advantage out of this move.
Dormouse (drifts off again; mumbles): From the well they learned to draw everything beginning with an “M,” ... muchness ...
Alice: I don’t think -- .
Hatter: Then you shouldn’t talk.
Alice (in disgust, walks off): I’ll never go there again. It was the most foolish tea party I ever was at.
(Hare & Hatter try to put Dormouse into the teapot as the curtain falls.)
© Copyright 2010 by Roger Sween.
For a review of Alice's adventures in Wonderland, see Read in 10.
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