VIII: Đ Qīn’z Crocegrǎnd

A

 larj rǒztrī std nir ɖ entṛns v ɖ gardn: ɖ rozz growñ on it wr ẃît, bt ɖr wr ʈri gardnrz at it, biẓli pentñ ɖm red. Alis ʈt ɖs a vri krịs ʈñ, n ś wnt nirr t woć ɖm, n jst az ś cem p t ɖm ś hŕd wn v ɖm se, “Lc ǎt nǎ, Fîv! D’nt g splaśñ pent ovr m lîc ɖt!”

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“I cd’nt hlp it,” sd Fîv, in a sulci ton; “Sevn jogd mî elbo.”

On ẃć Sevn lct p n sd, “Ɖt’s rît, Fîv! Olwz le ɖ blem on uɖrz!”

Y’d betr nt tōc!” sd Fîv. “I hŕd ɖ Qīn se onli yesṭde y dzrvd t b bhedd!”

“Ẃt fr?” sd ɖ wn hu hd spocn frst.

“Ɖt’s nn v yr biznis, Tū!” sd Sevn.

“Yes, it z hiz biznis!” sd Fîv, “n I’l tel him—it wz fr brññ ɖ cc tyliprūts instd v uńnz.”

Sevn fluñ dǎn hiz bruś, n hd jst bgun “Wel, v ol ɖ unjust ʈñz—” ẃn hiz î ćanst t fōl upn Alis, az ś std woćñ ɖm, n h ćect himslf sudnli: ɖ uɖrz lct rnd olso, n ol v ɖm baud lo.

“Wd y tel m,” sd Alis, a litl timidli, “ẃ y r pentñ ɖoz rozz?”

Fîv n Sevn sd nʈñ, bt lct at Tū. Tū bgan in a lo vôs, “Ẃ ɖ fact z, y si, Mis, ɖs hir òt t hv bn a red rǒztrī, n w pt a ẃît wn in bî mstec; n f ɖ Qīn wz t fînd it ǎt, w śd ol hv ǎr hedz cut of, y nǒ. So y si, Mis, w’r dwñ ǎr bst, afōr ś cmz, t—” At ɖs momnt Fîv, hu hd bn añśsli lcñ acrs ɖ gardn, cōld ǎt “Ɖ Qīn! Ɖ Qīn!” n ɖ ʈri gardnrz instntli ʈrù ɖmslvz flat upn ɖer fesz. Ɖr wz a sǎnd v mni ftsteps, n Alis lct rnd, īgr t si ɖ Qīn.

Frst cem ten soljrz cariyñ clubz; ɖz wr ol śept lîc ɖ ʈri gardnrz, obloñ n flat, wɖ ɖer handz n fīt at ɖ cornrz: nxt ɖ ten cortịrz; ɖz wr orṇmntd ol ovr wɖ dîmndz, n wōct tū n tū, az ɖ soljrz dd. Aftr ɖz cem ɖ royl ćildṛn; ɖr wr ten v ɖm, n ɖ litl dirz cem jumpñ meṛli alñ hand in hand, in cuplz: ɖe wr ol orṇmntd wɖ hārts. Nxt cem ɖ gests, mostli Cñz n Qīnz, n amñ ɖm Alis recgnîzd ɖ Ẃît Rabit: it wz tōcñ in a hurid nrṿs manr, smîlñ at evrʈñ ɖt wz sd, n wnt bî wɖt noṭsñ hr. Ɖen foloud ɖ Nev v Hārts, cariyñ ɖ Cñ’z crǎn on a crimzn velvit cŭśn; n, last v ol ɖs grand pṛseśn, cem Ɖ CÑ N QĪN V HĀRTS.

Alis wz rɖr dǎtfl ẃɖr ś òt nt t lî dǎn on hr fes lîc ɖ ʈri gardnrz, bt ś cd nt rmembr evr hvñ hŕd v sć a rūl at pṛseśnz; “n bsdz, ẃt wd b ɖ ys v a pṛseśn,” ʈt ś, “f ppl hd ol t lî dǎn upn ɖer fesz, so ɖt ɖe cd’nt si it?” So ś std stl ẃr ś wz, n wêtd.

Ẃn ɖ pṛseśn cem oṗzit t Alis, ɖe ol stopt n lct at hr, n ɖ Qīn sd svirli “Hu z ɖs?” Ś sd it t ɖ Nev v Hārts, hu onli baud n smîld in rplî.

“Idịt!” sd ɖ Qīn, tosñ hr hed impeśntli; n, trnñ t Alis, ś wnt on, “Ẃt’s yr nem, ćîld?”

“Mî nem z Alis, so plīz yr Maɉsti,” sd Alis vri p’lîtli; bt ś add, t hrslf, “Ẃ, ɖ’r onli a pac v cardz, aftr ol. I nīd’nt b afred v ɖm!”

“N hu r ɖz?” sd ɖ Qīn, pôntñ t ɖ ʈri gardnrz hu wr layñ rnd ɖ rǒztrī; fr, y si, az ɖe wr layñ on ɖer fesz, n ɖ patn on ɖer bacs wz ɖ sem az ɖ rest v ɖ pac, ś cd nt tel ẃɖr ɖe wr gardnrz, or soljrz, or cortịrz, or ʈri v hr ǒn ćildṛn.

“Hǎ śd I nǒ?” sd Alis, s’prîzd at hr ǒn curij. “It’s no biznis v mîn.”

Ɖ Qīn trnd crimzn wɖ fyri, n, aftr glẹrñ at hr fr a momnt lîc a wîld bīst, scrīmd “Of wɖ hr hed! Of—”

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“Nonsns!” sd Alis, vri lǎdli n dsîdidli, n ɖ Qīn wz sîḷnt.

Ɖ Cñ leid hiz hand upn hr arm, n timidli sd “Cnsidr, mî dir: ś z onli a ćîld!”

Ɖ Qīn trnd angṛli awe fṛm him, n sd t ɖ Nev “Trn ɖm ovr!”

Ɖ Nev dd so, vri cerf̣li, wɖ wn ft.

“Gt p!” sd ɖ Qīn, in a śril, lǎd vôs, n ɖ ʈri gardnrz instntli jumt p, n bgan bawñ t ɖ Cñ, ɖ Qīn, ɖ royl ćildṛn, n evrbdi els.

“Līv of ɖt!” scrīmd ɖ Qīn. “Y mc m gidi.” N ɖen, trnñ t ɖ rǒztrī, ś wnt on, “Ẃt hv y bn dwñ hir?”

“Me it plīz yr Maɉsti,” sd Tū, in a vri humbl ton, gwñ dǎn on wn ni az h spouc, “w wr trayñ—”

I si!” sd ɖ Qīn, hu hd mnẃl bn xaṃnñ ɖ rozz. “Of wɖ ɖer hedz!” n ɖ pṛseśn muvd on, ʈri v ɖ soljrz rmenñ bhnd t x’kt ɖ unforćṇt gardnrz, hu ran t Alis fr pṛtx́n.

“Y ś’nt b bhedd!” sd Alis, n ś pt ɖm intu a larj flǎrpot ɖt std nir. Ɖ ʈri soljrz wondrd abt fr a minit or tū, lcñ fr ɖm, n ɖen qaytli marćt of aftr ɖ uɖrz.

“R ɖer hedz of?” śǎtd ɖ Qīn.

“Ɖer hedz r gn, f it plīz yr Maɉsti!” ɖ soljrz śǎtd in rplî.

“Ɖt’s rît!” śǎtd ɖ Qīn. “Cn y ple croce?”

Ɖ soljrz wr sîḷnt, n lct at Alis, az ɖ qsćn wz evidntli mnt fr hr.

“Yes!” śǎtd Alis.

“Cm on, ɖen!” rord ɖ Qīn, n Alis jônd ɖ pṛseśn, wunḍrñ vri mć ẃt wd hapn nxt.

“It’s—it’s a vri fîn de!” sd a timid vôs at hr sîd. Ś wz wōcñ bî ɖ Ẃît Rabit, hu wz pīpñ añśsli intu hr fes.

“Vri,” sd Alis: “—ẃr’z ɖ Dućis?”

“Huś! Huś!” sd ɖ Rabit in a lo, hurid ton. H lct añśsli ovr hiz śoldr az h spouc, n ɖen rezd himslf upn tipto, pt hiz mǎʈ clos t hr ir, n ẃisprd “Ś’z undr sntns v x’kśn.”

“Ẃt fr?” sd Alis.

“Dd y se ‘Ẃt a piti!’?” ɖ Rabit asct.

“No, I dd’nt,” sd Alis: “I d’nt ʈnc it’s at ol a piti. I sd ‘Ẃt fr?’”

“Ś boxt ɖ Qīn’z irz—” ɖ Rabit bgan. Alis gev a litl scrīm v laftr. “Ǒ, huś!” ɖ Rabit ẃisprd in a frîtnd ton. “Ɖ Qīn wl hír y! Y si, ś cem rɖr lêt, n ɖ Qīn sd—”

“Gt t yr plesz!” śǎtd ɖ Qīn in a vôs v ʈundr, n ppl bgan runñ abt in ol d’rex́nz, tumḅlñ p agnst ć uɖr; hvr, ɖe got setld dǎn in a minit or tū, n ɖ gem bgan. Alis ʈt ś hd nvr sìn sć a krịs crocegrǎnd in hr lîf; it wz ol rijz n furoz; ɖ bōlz wr liv hejhogz, ɖ malits liv fḷmngoz, n ɖ soljrz hd t dubl ɖmslvz p n t stand on ɖer handz n fīt, t mc ɖ arćz.

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Ɖ ćīf dificlti Alis faund at frst wz in maṇjñ hr flamngo: ś s’xidd in gtñ its bodi tuct awe, cumf̣tbli inuf, undr hr arm, wɖ its legz haññ dǎn, bt jenṛli, jst az ś hd got its nec nîsli stretnd ǎt, n wz gwñ t gv ɖ hejhog a blo wɖ its hed, it wd twist itslf rnd n lc p in hr fes, wɖ sć a puzld xpreśn ɖt ś cd nt hlp brstñ ǎt lafñ: n ẃn ś hd got its hed dǎn, n wz gwñ t bgin agn, it wz vri pṛvocñ t fînd ɖt ɖ hejhog hd unrold itslf, n wz in ɖ act v crōlñ awe: bsdz ol ɖs, ɖr wz jenṛli a rij or furo in ɖ we ẃrvr ś wontd t snd ɖ hejhog t, n, az ɖ dubld-up soljrz wr olwz gtñ p n wōcñ of t uɖr parts v ɖ grǎnd, Alis sn cem t ɖ cncluźn ɖt it wz a vri dificlt gem indd.

Ɖ pleyrz ol pleid at wns wɖt wêtñ fr trnz, qoṛlñ ol ɖ ẃl, n fîtñ fr ɖ hejhogz; n in a vri śort tîm ɖ Qīn wz in a fyrịs paśn, n wnt stampñ abt, n śǎtñ “Of wɖ hiz hed!” or “Of wɖ hr hed!” abt wns in a minit.

Alis bgan t fīl vri unīzi: t b śr, ś hd nt az yt hd eni dspyt wɖ ɖ Qīn, bt ś ń ɖt it mt hapn eni minit, “n ɖen,” ʈt ś, “ẃt wd bcm v m? Ɖ’r dredf̣li fond v bhedñ ppl hir; ɖ gret wundr z, ɖt ɖr’z eni wn left alîv!”

Ś wz lcñ abt fr sm we v iscep, n wunḍrñ ẃɖr ś cd gt awe wɖt biyñ sìn, ẃn ś notist a krịs apiṛns in ɖ er: it puzld hr vri mć at frst, bt, aftr woćñ it a minit or tū, ś md it ǎt t b a grin, n ś sd t hrslf “It’s ɖ Ćeśr Cat: nǎ I śl hv smbdi t tōc t.”

“Hǎ r y gtñ on?” sd ɖ Cat, az sn az ɖr wz mǎʈ inuf fr it t spīc wɖ.

Alis wêtd tl ɖ îz apird, n ɖen nodd. “It’s no ys spīcñ t it,” ś ʈt, “tl its irz hv cm, or at līst wn v ɖm.” In anɖr minit ɖ hol hed apird, n ɖen Alis pt dǎn hr flamngo, n bgan an acǎnt v ɖ gem, fīlñ vri glad ś hd smwn t lisn t hr. Ɖ Cat sīmd t ʈnc ɖt ɖr wz inuf v it nǎ in sît, n no mor v it apird.

“I d’nt ʈnc ɖe ple at ol ferli,” Alis bgan, in rɖr a cmplenñ ton, “n ɖe ol qoṛl so dredf̣li wn c’nt hír wnslf spīc—n ɖe d’nt sīm t hv eni rūlz in ptiklr; at līst, f ɖr r, nbdi atndz t ɖm—n y’v no îdīa hǎ cnfyzñ it z ol ɖ ʈñz biyñ alîv; fr instns, ɖr’z ɖ arć I’v got t g ʈru nxt wōcñ abt at ɖ uɖr end v ɖ grǎnd—n I śd hv croceid ɖ Qīn’z hejhog jst nǎ, onli it ran awe ẃn it sw mîn cmñ!”

“Hǎ d y lîc ɖ Qīn?” sd ɖ Cat in a lo vôs.

“Nt at ol,” sd Alis: “ś’z so xtrimli—” Jst ɖen ś notist ɖt ɖ Qīn wz clos bhnd hr, liṣnñ: so ś wnt on, “—lîcli t win, ɖt it’s hardli wrʈ ẃl finiśñ ɖ gem.”

Ɖ Qīn smîld n pást on.

“Hu r y tōcñ t?” sd ɖ Cñ, gwñ p t Alis, n lcñ at ɖ Cat’s hed wɖ gret krioṣti.

“It’s a frend v mîn—a Ćeśr Cat,” sd Alis: “alǎ m t intṛdys it.”

“I d’nt lîc ɖ lc v it at ol,” sd ɖ Cñ: “hvr, it me cis mî hand f it lîcs.”

“I’d rɖr nt,” ɖ Cat rmarct.

“D’nt b imprtinnt,” sd ɖ Cñ, “n d’nt lc at m lîc ɖt!” H got bhnd Alis az h spouc.

“A cat me lc at a cñ,” sd Alis. “I’v réd ɖt in sm bc, bt I d’nt rmembr ẃr.”

“Wel, it mst b rmuvd,” sd ɖ Cñ vri dsîdidli, n h cōld ɖ Qīn, hu wz pasñ at ɖ momnt, “Mî dir! I wś y wd hv ɖs cat rmuvd!”

Ɖ Qīn hd onli wn we v seṭlñ ol dificltiz, gret or smōl. “Of wɖ hiz hed!” ś sd, wɖt īvn lcñ rnd.

“I’l feć ɖ x’kśnr mslf,” sd ɖ Cñ īgrli, n h hurid of.

Alis ʈt ś mt az wel g bac, n si hǎ ɖ gem wz gwñ on, az ś hŕd ɖ Qīn’z vôs in ɖ distns, scrīmñ wɖ paśn. Ś hd olrdi hŕd hr sntns ʈri v ɖ pleyrz t b x’ktd fr hvñ míst ɖer trnz, n ś dd nt lîc ɖ lc v ʈñz at ol, az ɖ gem wz in sć cnfyźn ɖt ś nvr ń ẃɖr it wz hr trn or nt. So ś wnt in srć v hr hejhog.

Ɖ hejhog wz ingejd in a fît wɖ anɖr hejhog, ẃć sīmd t Alis an xḷnt oṗtyṇti fr croceyñ wn v ɖm wɖ ɖ uɖr: ɖ onli dificlti wz, ɖt hr flamngo wz gn acrs t ɖ uɖr sîd v ɖ gardn, ẃr Alis cd si it trayñ in a hlplis sort v we t flî p intu a tri.

Bî ɖ tîm ś hd còt ɖ flamngo n bròt it bac, ɖ fît wz ovr, n bʈ ɖ hejhogz wr ǎt v sît: “bt it dz’nt matr mć,” ʈt Alis, “az ol ɖ arćz r gn fṛm ɖs sîd v ɖ grǎnd.” So ś tuct it awe undr hr arm, ɖt it mt nt iscep agn, n wnt bac fr a litl mor convseśn wɖ hr frend.

Ẃn ś got bac t ɖ Ćeśr Cat, ś wz s’prîzd t fînd qt a larj crǎd c’lectd rnd it: ɖr wz a dspyt gwñ on btwn ɖ x’kśnr, ɖ Cñ, n ɖ Qīn, hu wr ol tōcñ at wns, ẃl ol ɖ rest wr qt sîḷnt, n lct vri uncumf̣tbl.

Ɖ momnt Alis apird, ś wz apild t bî ol ʈri t setl ɖ qsćn, n ɖe rpitd ɖer arğmnts t hr, ɖo, az ɖe ol spouc at wns, ś faund it vri hard indd t mc ǎt xacli ẃt ɖe sd.

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Ɖ x’kśnr’z arğmnt wz, ɖt y cd’nt cut of a hed unls ɖr wz a bodi t cut it of fṛm: ɖt h hd nvr hd t d sć a ʈñ bfr, n h wz’nt gwñ t bgin at hiz tîm v lîf.

Ɖ Cñ’z arğmnt wz, ɖt enʈñ ɖt hd a hed cd b bhedd, n ɖt y wr’nt t tōc nonsns.

Ɖ Qīn’z arğmnt wz, ɖt f smʈñ wz’nt dn abt it in les ɖn no tîm ś’d hv evrbdi x’ktd, ol rnd. (It wz ɖs last rmarc ɖt hd md ɖ hol parti lc so grev n añśs.)

Alis cd ʈnc v nʈñ els t se bt “It b’loñz t ɖ Dućis: y’d betr asc hr abt it.”

“Ś’z in prizn,” ɖ Qīn sd t ɖ x’kśnr: “feć hr hir.” N ɖ x’kśnr wnt of lîc an aro.

Ɖ Cat’s hed bgan fedñ awe ɖ momnt h wz gn, n, bî ɖ tîm h hd cm bac wɖ ɖ Dućis, it hd intîrli dis’pird; so ɖ Cñ n ɖ x’kśnr ran wîldli p n dǎn lcñ fr it, ẃl ɖ rest v ɖ parti wnt bac t ɖ gem.


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