The miserable Hatter dropped his teacup and bread and butter and went down on one knee. "I'm a poor man, Your Majesty," he began.
"You're a very poor speaker," said the King.
"You may go," said the King, and the Hatter hurriedly left the court.
"Call the next witness!" said the King.
The next witness was the Duchess's cook. She carried the pepper-box in her hand and the people near the door began sneezing all at once.
"Give your evidence," said the King.
"Sha'n't," said the cook.
The King looked anxiously at the White Rabbit, who said, in a low voice, "Your Majesty must cross-examine this witness."
"Well, if I must, I must," the King said. "What are tarts made of?"
"Pepper, mostly," said the cook.
For some minutes the whole court was in confusion and by the time they had settled down again, the cook had disappeared.
"Never mind!" said the King, "call the next witness."
Alice watched the White Rabbit as he fumbled over the list. Imagine her surprise when he read out, at the top of his shrill little voice, the name "Alice!"