Continuing Tales

Bonkers To Be Late

A Alice in Wonderland Story
by RosieLilyIce93

Part 4 of 48

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It was Sunday, the day of rest in the Christian world.

Well, for everyone except Alice Kingsleigh.

There in the pew at St. George's Church in Hanover Square, Alice sat with in perfect silence, quite an unusual occurrence mind you.

But it was anything but silent in her mind!

Ever since the soirée she had been waging an internal battle. Her heart felt as if it were constantly mending and breaking at the thought of simultaneously leaving her family and abandoning Wonderland forever.

England meant being with her family, expanding the company, keeping up her friendship with the Williams family. It also meant having to deal with Hamish and his mother, plus London society expectations which of course included husband hunts by her mother.

Wonderland meant color, the best tea parties imaginable, old reliable friendships, and delightful madness around every bend. Yet in choosing it, she would be giving up the opportunity to be a fully independent business woman and a role model for whatever little creature Margaret was bringing into the world in only a matter of months.

Damn and blast! Why in this new, innovative world where there were countless new technologies improving lives was making one decision so difficult?


Alice felt a sharp jab in her ribs. Even after three years at sea her body knew what to do. She jumped to her feet, crossed herself, and raised the hymnal to being singing. Out of the corner of her eye she saw her mother's small smile of approval and her sisters barely contained laughter.

Sighing to herself Alice began to sing.

Abide with me; fast falls the eventide;
the darkness deepens; Lord, with me abide;
When other helpers fail and comforts flee,
Help of the helpless, oh, abide with me.

The music continued on to its close,

Hold Thou Thy cross before my closing eyes;
Shine through the gloom and point me to the skies;
Heav'n's morning breaks, and earth's vain shadows flee;
In life, in death, O Lord, abide with me.

This hymn, which had been such a comfort to her as a child, left her oddly aching now. It made her remember her father, how he would stand between her and Margaret an arm around each of them as they sang together. How happy they had all been in those moments …

Hymnals closed around her and the congregation was beginning to kneel for the time of silent and personal prayers. Alice knelt with them unsure if she really wanted to speak with God at the moment. The second her knees hit the kneeler though she found her inner voice speaking quite loudly to Him.

What are you playing at sending one sign to go and then immediately sending me another sign to stay? Hmm? What's the point? I've already gone around the bend once! Are you trying to send me there again? Is this supposed to be some kind of punishment for keeping silent all these years toward you? Or is this one of yours the devil's little games like with poor Job? Well?!

Alice paused, half expecting to hear an answer.


She heaved a sigh, receiving another jab in the ribs for her disruptiveness.

Fine. Be that way. I'm feeling so lost and confused. Please, Lord, in whatever mercy you have left, please, be gentle with my poor mind! Amen!

Alice sat back in her seat and tried to focus on the rest of the service. By the end she was fighting off a headache.

She proceeded up the aisle with her family but was stopped by Father Rowe at the doors.

"Miss Kingsleigh may I speak with you for a minute?" The older man queried.

"Of course Father. Mother I'll be there in a moment." Helen Kingsleigh merely nodded and went off to speak with some friends. Alice followed the priest back to the sacristy. She didn't have long to wait before he began speaking.

"Your mind seemed troubled today my child." Alice couldn't help but smile. Father Rowe had always been plain spoken. It was one of the reasons he and her father had been such good friends.

"Don't trouble yourself Father Rowe, I'm merely at a cross roads in my life and am struggling to decide which road to take." She was able to speak calmly to this man. He was so like the Man he represented, nonjudgmental.

"Ah, well I'm glad you mentioned that. You see, Widow Luckett is suffering from gout currently and is unable to attend to our Thursday child care service. She'll more than likely be laid up for a few weeks and I was wondering if you would care to take over in the mean time?" he asked hopefully.

Alice could only stare at him blankly before speaking.

"Me?" She finally squeaked.

"Yes! I thought the children would love to hear stories from you travels, especially the young ladies. You would be much admired by them and it would be a great help to me. Please Alice?" The man was practically begging her!

Alice stood quietly in contemplation. The request was an unusual one and seemed to suit her, yet something seemed off.

"Father Rowe, why aren't you writing to the archbishop requesting a junior minister to take over the position temporarily?" She asked. If he was going to be blunt then so was she! Father Rowe went pink in the face and shuffled his feet for a minute. Finally he looked her straight in the eye.

"Because Miss Kingsleigh, the archbishop and I are temporarily at odds. Apparently he didn't approve of my recent writings praising the rise in female independence in England. And I am loathe to ask for help from the man that would call one of my flock a 'promiscuous young filly.'"

Alice stood in shock. Then she burst in to laughter. She doubled over trying to catch her breath. Eyes watering she looked up at the bemused Father Rowe.

"I accept Father. I'll be there on Thursday evening." She said between great gasps for air.

Father beamed and patted her on the back.

The weeks fell into a pattern and during that hour every Thursday evening, Alice felt something akin to peace. Every Thursday she'd either begin or finish another tale from a different port from her journey. Father Rowe had been right. The children seemed to admire her greatly and kept up a constant stream of questions, which she was all too happy to answer.

She'd developed a particularly close relationship with little Josephine Conroy. The bright eyed little girl seemed keen on adventure of any and every sort. From listening to Alice's stories to then leading the other children on 'crusades to the Holy Land' she seemed to soak up everything Alice said. It was rather gratifying to know she was having an influence on someone so young and so like herself at that age.

In that hour she didn't think about Here or There. All that mattered was the children. Oh of course once she was home, safe in the confines of her room, her mind sink back into its internal debate. But on Thursdays she had her time of peace.

Until on evening that peace was shattered.

Coming out from the chapel that evening, Alice had been engrossed in her thoughts of her previous prayer. She'd taken a minute to kneel and thank God for being gentle on her poor brain that past few weeks. Neither a hide nor hair of a sign to return to Wonderland! As she stepped out into the dying light, she caught sight of a group of the children gathered around something, all talking quite excitedly.

Curiousser and curiousser …

She moved forward to question the young ones when something white ran off into the bushes from under the feet of the little group. The youngsters released a collective sigh of disappointment.

"What is it my lovelies?" Alice asked wonderingly.

They gather about her skirts and Josephine caught her attention.

"Oh Miss Alice! It was a rabbit!" She squealed eagerly.

"A rabbit?" Alice asked with a smile. Small creatures and small children always seemed keen on each other …

"Yes! A white rabbit! A white rabbit in a waistcoat!"

Alice froze. Her breathing became shallow.

"A white rabbit in a waistcoat?" She whispered, trying not to go to pieces in front of the youth.

"Yes! Hear, look! He left his waistcoat by accident." With that Josephine shoved, a blue, Nivens sized waistcoat into Alice's hands. Looking down at the garment, she could only think one thing.

Very funny God. Absolutely hilarious.

Bonkers To Be Late

A Alice in Wonderland Story
by RosieLilyIce93

Part 4 of 48

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