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Not since the Conants' tea party has there been such confusion in the Tower. And then, it may be recalled, Alice and her friends were merely preparing to go to a party and not, as seems to be the case here, having a party all of their own. But listen a bit for yourselves. Dodo, very serious, is making the opening dinner speech.
"My friends: It is with great pleasure that on this one hundred and fourth anniversary, A. D. of our beloved..."
"Say, Colonel, what's A. D.?" interrupted Bill the Lizard, "and can you please reach the cookies?"
"You should learn to wait," said Alice as politely as she could, "there will be time for questions later. Will you please continue, Dr. Dodo?"
"...It is with great pleasure that on this anniversary of Mr...."
"A. D.", squeaked the Dormouse, "you left out A. D.!" But before Alice could say anything it turned around and closed its eyes again.
"Great is the pleasure," the Dodo began once again, now standing on one foot and loosening its collar with the other, "that befalls me on this celebration of the one hundred and fourth anniversary A. D. (and here he paused looking over to the Dormouse who, though eyes closed, nodded assent) of our beloved author Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, alias Lewis Carroll, to pay him homage for the joy he has given to millions of people".
And here the Dodo bowed as gracefully as he could to receive the great applause.
"Indeed, to wax poetic", he continued: "'Tis (three score) years since Carroll's art, With topsy-turvy magic, Sent Alice wondering through a part Half-comic and half tragic.'"
"How sweet," said the Queen, throwing her arms about Alice.
"Ahem," the Dolo went on, "yes, my friends, 'tis three score years and may I remind you this old world of ours has changed in many ways since that time. The motor has replaced the horse..."
"That's quite jolly," said the Knight looking at Alice. But the Dodo went on as if nothing had happened.
"...We have witnessed a great war...our sense of values has changed considerably--ours is the mechanical age and the era of mass education--idealists are tolerated but not believed (and here he looked towards the four-poster where the Vagabond was sitting) but, my friends I am happy to say that despite our materialistic way of things our Alice is just as real today as are the dreams of children. It is therefore fitting that we remember Mr. Carroll today who has brought such a bit of beauty to our lives so often all too drab."
And at this there was greater applause which quite startled even the Dormouse and brought a rich crimson to Alice's cheeks. And it all did please the Vagabond very much.
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