The Gryphon has brought Alice into a courtroom, where an effort is all about to happen.
The King and Queen of Hearts are presiding (while the King looks very silly, since he could be wearing his crown along with a judge’s wig). The Knave of Hearts — that is, the Jack — whom we saw briefly in Chapter 8, is standing in chains, apparently accused of some crime. The White Rabbit is acting as court herald, holding a scroll in one single hand and a trumpet within the other, and in the jury box sit twelve animals that are little acting as jurors. On a plate is stood by a table of tarts — delicious-looking fruit pastries — whose presence makes Alice very hungry.
Alice notices that the twelve jurors have slates and pencils (that is, little chalkboards and bits of chalk, to take notes). They are writing before the trial has even begun, the Gryphon explains that they are writing down their own names, in case they forget them during the trial when she asks the Gryphon what. Alice, startled by this idiocy, exclaims out loud, “Stupid things!”, and sees to her amazement that they write down whatever she says that they are so suggestible.
Irritated by the squeaking pencil of just one of the jurors — it is Bill the Lizard, in reality (who came along the Rabbit’s chimney in Chapter 4) — Alice sneaks up and takes it far from him, so that the confused Bill tries through the other countries in the trial to create on his slate with his finger.
The King orders the White Rabbit to read through the “accusation.” The Rabbit unrolls his scroll, and reads the start of the nursery rhyme that goes: “The Queen of Hearts, she made some tarts, all on a summer day; / The Knave of Hearts, he stole those tarts and took them quite away!” It would appear that this is actually the accusation contrary to the Knave of Hearts. The King asks the jury for the verdict, but the Rabbit reminds him that they need to hear the evidence first. So the Rabbit blows his trumpet to summon the very first witness — who turns out to be the Mad Hatter.
The King interrogates the terrified Hatter, but the questioning is ridiculous and no information that is real of it. Although this is being conducted, Alice suddenly finds that she has started to grow again, and it is getting large every quickly. The Dormouse, who is sitting next to her, complains that he’s being squished and moves to a different seat.
The interrogation continues, nevertheless the Hatter can’t remember anything he’s asked, and not extends to finish his sentences anyway. Members of the audience — namely, two guinea pigs — keep cheering, and generally are suppressed by the officers regarding the court. (Carroll explains that this is accomplished by putting the guinea pigs into a large canvas bag, and sitting on them. It is not, of course, how people are “suppressed” in courtrooms anywhere away from Wonderland.) Losing her temper, the Queen orders the Hatter beheaded, but he is allowed by the King to go out of.
The next witness is the Duchess’s cook (from Chapter 6), who will not answer any queries after all. If the King tries to cross-examine her by asking her what tarts are constructed with, she replies, “Pepper.” The Dormouse — which can be talking in its sleep — suddenly says “Treacle” (it must be thinking about the whole story concerning the molasses-well which it told Alice in Chapter 7), and also the Queen loses her temper completely. By the time the Dormouse happens to be tossed out from the court, the Cook has disappeared. The King tells the Queen she must cross-examine the next witness. Alice, very curious as to who will be called next in this trial that is ludicrous is shocked to know the Rabbit read off its scroll: “Alice!”
Chapter 12 – Alice’s Evidence
Hearing her name called as a witness, Alice calls out, “Here!”, and jumps up to go to the front of this courtroom. But she has forgotten that she’s been growing, and it is now gigantic in comparison to everybody else. The edge of her skirt knocks over the jury box, and all the little animals tumble out. Since Alice remembers accidentally knocking over a bowl of goldfish the other day, she has the confused idea that them all back in they’ll die, so she quickly tucks them back into the jury box again if she doesn’t put. (Bill the Lizard gets stuck in upside down, so Alice needs to put him back right side up.)
The King calls the court to order, and asks Alice what she is aware of the problem of the Knave and also the tarts. Alice says she does not know any single thing about it, additionally the King and jury try for a while to find out whether this will be important or unimportant. Then the King, that has been busily writing in the notebook essay helper, announces that the court’s Rule Number Forty-two says that all people more than a mile high leave the court must. Everyone stares at Alice, who protests that she’s not a mile high (though she is certainly now very big!), and that the King just made the rule up anyway. The King claims so it’s the rule that is oldest in the book. To this Alice cleverly replies it’s the oldest rule in the book, it ought to be Number One; the King turns pale, shuts his notebook and changes the subject that it if.
The White Rabbit announces that a piece that is new of has arrived — a letter which should have been authored by the Knave of Hearts and should be examined as evidence. The paper isn’t in the Knave’s handwriting, and contains no name signed to it, nevertheless the King and Queen decide that this proves the Knave’s guilt as well as the Queen begins to condemn him to death. However, Alice, that is now so large when compared with the others them, saying that nothing at all has been proved and they don’t even know what the paper says that she is not afraid of the King or Queen, interrupts. The King orders the White Rabbit to see clearly aloud.
The paper ends up to contain a nonsense poem, that the King tries to interpret in terms of the Knave. It is difficult, since the poem makes no sense, however the King finds meaning on it anyway: for example, it mentions an individual who can’t swim, while the Knave of Hearts certainly can’t swim (since he is a playing card, and thus manufactured from cardboard). It also mentions somebody having a fit, which the King things might make reference to the Queen. In the suggestion that she has ever endured a fit, the Queen grows enraged and throws a bottle of ink at Bill the Lizard.
The King, making a pun that is poorly-received your message “fit,” gets annoyed when nobody laughs, and tells the jury to take into account its verdict. The Queen demands, “Sentence first — verdict afterwards,” but Alice protests, “Stuff and nonsense! The idea of getting the sentence first!” Enraged, the Queen orders Alice’s head to be cut off, but nobody moves to do it (since Alice happens to be huge). Alice, emboldened, shouts, “Who cares for your needs? You’re nothing but a pack of cards!”
When she yells this, suddenly the entire pack of cards rises up into the air and comes flying down onto her. Alice, who has by this time around reached her size that is full again screams and tries to beat them off — but opens her eyes to find herself lying regarding the river bank, where her sister is gently brushing away some dead leaves which may have drifted down onto her face.
Alice is amazed to find out that she’s got been asleep for a very time that is long. She is told by her sister all about her astonishing dream. When she actually is done, her sister kisses her and tells her to perform in and also her tea. But as Alice trots off, still marvelling about her dream that is wonderful sister sits in the river bank, also thinking over everything Alice has informed her.
Watching the setting sun, she falls into a daydream, and seems to see all Alice’s adventures for herself. But she knows that if she opens her eyes, she’ll find herself back into the real life again. And last but not least, she thinks about how exactly when Alice is a grown woman with children of her very own, she will let them know this story, and watch their eyes grow bright with wonder; and she thinks regarding how Alice will recall the joys and griefs of her own childhood, and — as Carroll puts it within the final words — “these happy summer days.”