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|The Knave of Hearts|
Knave of Hearts
The European Magazine (April, 1782)
The Knave of Hearts is a nursery rhyme character from 1782. Lewis Carroll later adapted the rhyme into the book Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.
The Knave of Hearts is mentioned first in chapter 8, and chapters 11 and 12 deal with his trial for a tart burglary in which the King of Hearts presides as judge. Alice eventually defends the Knave after the evidence becomes increasingly absurd and she is called as a witness.
The White Rabbit announces the charges as:
- 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!
The Knave rarely speaks during the trial. The Hatter is called to give evidence but, spends his entire time being nervous in front of the King and Queen of Hearts, and the Duchess' Cook is summoned to tell the court what tarts are made of. Neither is a convincing witness, and the Knave does not offer a very good defense. He denies he wrote a letter that mysteriously appears in the court, but that he already knows isn't signed.
Fortunately for him, Alice diverts the attention of the court by growing ever and ever larger and arguing more and more, lastly with the Queen over the concept of "sentence first—verdict afterwards". Before a verdict can be reached for the Knave's innocence or guilt, Alice reaches full size and forcefulness, and then calls them "nothing but a pack of cards". They attack her, ending the trial.
Public Domain Appearances
- The Queen of Hearts
- King and Queen of Hearts: with the Rogueries of the Knave who stole the Queen's Pies
- Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
- Alice in Wonderland (1915)