`It's a poor sort of memory that only works backwards,' the Queen remarked.

`What sort of things do you remember best?' Alice ventured to ask.

`Oh, things that happened the week after next,' the Queen replied in a careless tone. For instance, now,' she went on, sticking a large piece of plaster on her finger as she spoke, `there's the King's Messenger. He's in prison now, being punished: and the trial doesn't even begin till next Wednesday: and of course the crime comes last of all.'

`Suppose he never commits the crime?' said Alice.

`That would be all the better, wouldn't it?' the Queen said, as she bound the plaster round her finger with a bit of ribbon.

Alice felt there was no denying that. `Of course it would be all the better,' she said: `but it wouldn't be all the better his being punished.'

`You're wrong there, at any rate,' said the Queen. `Were you ever punished?'

`Only for faults,' said Alice.

`And you were all the better for it, I know!' the Queen said triumphantly.

`Yes, but then I had done the things I was punished for,' said Alice: `that makes all the difference.'

`But if you hadn't done them,' the Queen said, `that would have been better still; better, and better, and better!'

Through the Looking Glass: Lewis Carroll, Chapter V

© 2010 Ann Grenier

No comments:

Post a Comment