The King and Queen of Hearts are presiding (while the King looks very silly, since he is wearing his crown together 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 a single hand and a trumpet into the other, plus 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 pieces of chalk, when planning on taking notes). When she asks the Gryphon what they are writing ahead of the trial has even begun, the Gryphon explains that they’re writing down their very own names, just in case they forget them throughout the trial. 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 for the jurors — it is Bill the Lizard, in fact (who came along the Rabbit’s chimney in Chapter 4) — Alice sneaks up and takes it away from him, and so the confused Bill tries through the rest of the trial to create on his slate along with his finger.
The White is ordered by the King Rabbit to learn 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 seems that this is basically the accusation contrary to the Knave of Hearts. The King asks the jury because of its verdict, but the Rabbit reminds him that they have 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, however the questioning is ridiculous and no real information comes of it. While this is being conducted, Alice suddenly finds that she has begun to develop again, and is getting large every quickly. The Dormouse, who is sitting close to her, complains that he’s being squished and moves to another seat.
The interrogation continues, but the Hatter can’t remember anything he’s asked, and never extends to finish his sentences anyway. Members of the audience — namely, two guinea pigs — keep cheering, and are usually suppressed because of the officers regarding the court. (Carroll explains that this is accomplished by putting the guinea pigs into a large canvas bag, and sitting in it. This isn’t, needless to say, how folks are “suppressed” in courtrooms anywhere outside of 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 does not want to answer any questions after all. When the King tries to cross-examine her by asking her what tarts are made of, she replies, “Pepper.” The Dormouse — which is talking in its sleep — suddenly says “Treacle” (it must be thinking about the whole story in regards to the molasses-well which it told Alice in Chapter 7), as well as the Queen loses her temper completely. Because of the time the Dormouse happens to be tossed out of the court, the Cook has disappeared. The King tells the Queen she must cross-examine the witness that is next. Alice, very curious as to who will be called next in this trial that is ludicrous is shocked to hear the Rabbit read off its scroll: “Alice!”
Hearing her name called as a witness, Alice calls out, “Here!”, and jumps up to go to the leading of the courtroom. But she has forgotten that she’s been growing, and it is now gigantic compared to everyone else. The side of her skirt knocks over the jury box, and all sorts of the little animals tumble out. Since Alice remembers accidentally knocking over a bowl of goldfish a week ago, she has the confused idea that if she doesn’t place them all back in they’ll die, so she quickly tucks them back to the jury box again. (Bill the Lizard gets stuck in upside down, so Alice has to put him side that is back right.)
The court is called by the King to order, and asks Alice what she knows about the situation for the Knave plus the tarts. Alice says she does not know anything about this, and also the King and jury try for a time to figure out whether this is certainly important or unimportant. Then the King, who has been busily writing in his notebook, announces that the court’s Rule Number Forty-two says that every people more than a mile high must leave the court. Everyone stares at Alice, who protests that she’s not a mile high (though she actually is certainly now very big!), and therefore the King just made the rule up anyway. The King claims so it’s the rule that is oldest in the book. For 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 will need to have been written by the Knave of Hearts and should be examined as evidence. The paper is not in the Knave’s handwriting, and contains no true name signed to it, but the King and Queen decide that this proves the Knave’s guilt and the Queen begins to condemn him to death. However, Alice, who is now so large in comparison with the others that she actually is not afraid of the King or Queen, interrupts them, saying that nothing at all has been proved and so they don’t even understand what the paper says. The King orders the White Rabbit to aloud read it.
The paper works out to contain a nonsense poem, which the King tries to interpret in relation to the Knave. This is difficult, considering that the poem makes no sense, however the King finds meaning on it anyway: as an example, it mentions an individual who can’t swim, plus the Knave of Hearts certainly can’t swim (since he is a playing card, and thus made from cardboard). It also mentions somebody having a fit, that the King things might refer to the Queen. The Queen grows enraged and throws a bottle of ink at Bill the Lizard at the suggestion that she has ever had a fit.
The King, making a poorly-received pun on the term “fit,” gets annoyed when nobody laughs, and tells the jury to think about its verdict. The Queen demands, “Sentence first — verdict afterwards,” but Alice protests, “Stuff and nonsense! The thought of obtaining the sentence first!” Enraged, the Queen orders Alice’s check out be take off, but nobody moves to get it done (since Alice is currently 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 got by this time reached her full size again, screams and tries to beat them off — but opens her eyes to locate herself lying on the river bank, where her sister is gently brushing away some dead leaves that have drifted down onto her face.
Alice is amazed to discover that she has been find out this here asleep for a very few years. She is told by her sister all about her astonishing dream. Her and tells her to run in and have her tea when she is done, her sister kisses. But as Alice trots off, still marvelling about her dream that is wonderful sister sits regarding the river bank, also thinking over everything Alice has shared with her.
Watching the sun that is setting she falls into a daydream, and generally seems to see all Alice’s adventures for herself. But she understands that herself back in the real world again if she opens her eyes, she’ll find. And last but not least, she thinks about how exactly when Alice is a woman that is grown children of her very own, she’s going to tell them this story, and watch their eyes grow bright with wonder; and she thinks about how precisely Alice will remember the joys and griefs of her own childhood, and — as Carroll puts it within the final words — “these happy summer days.”