Continuing Tales

I Love My Love

A Alice in Wonderland Story
by justadram

Part 2 of 22

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I Love My Love

Later on Gaelig Day

Alice stared up at the walls of Hatter's house stacked high with hats and bolts of fabric and trim in every imaginable color and some unimaginable as well. His improved coloring could not be due to a reduced practice in the trade, evidently.

"It isnae much, bit it suits mah purposes," Hatter stated.

"It's a lovely workroom, Hatter. Very suitable. It suits you just as it ought."

She could not fathom why his accent had made an appearance again. On their solitary ramble to his house from the tea party he had seemed to largely leave his madness behind him, as if it was tied more to his mad companions than to mercury. It had occurred to her that he was perhaps merely mercurial.

"Your hands must always be busy," she mused. She reached out a hand to grasp one of his in her own. "But they are not as badly treated as before."

"It is just the influence of the White Queen," he lisped.

"I could treat the scrapes that remain," Alice said, running a finger over a small red mark.

"Nae," he responded softly, pulling his hand away.

Alice sighed. She would like to do something for him, but she did not know what. Perhaps there was some tidying up that could be done here in his house. Glancing about the room, something caught her eye. It was a dress—a human sized dress—hanging in the corner. It was white and trimmed in blue. It reminded her of the dress he had made for her the last time she was in Underland, as it did not appear to have shoulders. That sounded delightful right about now, having just finished pulling along her messy dress buttoned stiffly up the back of the neck all the way from the Hare House.

"Dae ye lik' it?" he asked, taking note of the focus of her gaze.

"The dress? What's not to like, Hatter? It's perfectly lovely like everything you do."

She could not help but laugh when his eyes deepened in color.

"Tis fur ye, lassie. It wull fit."

"For me?" Alice asked, moving towards the dress as nimbly as she could in the crowded room with her heavy skirts dragging behind her.

He followed behind her, stopping within reach as she stroked the lovely fabric. Examining the care put into the garment, a Notion sneaked up on her and whispered something in her ear.

"Did you know I was coming, Hatter?"

"Ye did promise."

Alice had promised to return, but she had forgotten somewhere along the way that she had done so. Underland had begun once more to feel like a dream that she liked to pull off the shelf, when she was in need of cheering. She had made a promise and if it had not been for her flight of fancy to see the lovely little creatures in the looking glass, she might not have kept it. How distressing, she thought, inwardly scolding herself. She liked to think of herself as a great Keeper of Promises.

"I'm sorry, Hatter," she said, turning to face him.

She pressed the palm of her hand to his cheek as she had done at the tea party, watching the colors swirl in his eyes.

"Wull ye ca' me by mah name, Alice?"

"Your proper name?"

"Tarrant Hightopp."

"Of course, Mr. Hightopp," Alice promised.

It was an odd request: she had not thought the Hatter to be so formal, but she was happy to oblige. This was a promise she could easily keep, and she had some redressing to do.

"That isn't what he meant, my dear," a voice drawled as first a toothy grin and then a cat materialized hovering above them.

"Chessur!" Alice exclaimed.

"Slurvish, cat," the Hatter growled, as Alice's hand slipped from his face.[1]

"He wants to hear you say 'Tarrant,' the love-sick…"

Alice frowned, as Hatter swatted at the air and the cat disappeared.

"Ye'r nae welcome in 'ere, Chessur!" he shouted at the air.

Chessur reappeared just out of reach and to the left. "You have wanted her here and now she is, Hatter. He has wanted you here so desperately, my dear," Chessur assured her with a cheeky grin.

She did not know how to respond to Chessur's teasing.

"Best be out with it, Hatter," the Cat lectured, disappearing once more as the Hatter took another swing. "While you have Time," the disembodied voice concluded.

Tarrant seemed on the verge of madness, and Alice wanted to draw him back. She could not be concerned with Chessur and his ramblings.

"Tarrant?" she tried hesitantly.

Hatter stopped his useless cursing and swinging and turned back to her, his eyes gone wide.

"Yes, Alice?"

"You knew I would return, when I didn't know it myself anymore. I think that shows a great deal of…"


"All of the best people are," Alice assured him, since he looked as if he thought this might be a very Bad Thing. "But, I was going to say, good-faith."

Hatter shifted on his feet, fumbling with his waistcoat and muttering, "Alice, why did you leave?"

Alice considered briefly. "I suppose, I left, because I had responsibilities. It was the Grownup Right Thing to do."

"Are you still quite Grownup?" he asked warily.

"Do I look it?" she teased.

"Ah dinnae wantae say whit ah think ye leuk lik', wee laddie."

Alice stared back down at her soiled skirts, musing, "Yes, I am a mess."

The Hatter stuffed his hands in his pockets nervously, clearing his throat: "That's not what I meant."

"You should always say what you mean," Alice reminded him gently. "If we all went around saying what we didn't mean, we'd be in a terrible state of disarray."

"Well isn't that wise. Are you well acquainted with Wisdom?"

She hoped very much she had acquired some wisdom—and not just a storehouse of money—during her time travelling and working for the company.

"We've met," Alice said with a sly smile.

"I wondered, sometimes…when it was not teatime and I was not otherwise employed in teatime duties…" he began but stopped, seemingly embarrassed.

"Yes?" she urged him to continue.

"What you were doing," he finished.

"Travelling the world," she answered simply.

"Pussy cat, pussy cat, where have you been?" he sing-songed, reaching up to pet her pulled back hair.

She was too kind to show that she had noticed his hand tremble with a slight tremor as he reached for her. She could not help but inhale, however, at his touch: such a thing was not permitted in Otherland and it would take some getting used to if Hatter continued to be so unknowingly familiar.

"I've been to London to look at the Queen," she completed the rhyme for him.[2]

"So, you shan't be going back?" he asked, just as he had done at the tea party.

The Hatter or Tarrant seemed rather prickled by this particular Problem. She bit her lower lip, thinking. He wanted an answer: a real once, but she was not sure she had one for him. She may have made her fortune, but she did still have responsibilities. It simply would not do to disappear from her bedchamber and never appear again: surely, her mother would be worried. And she may have left some messy marks on the looking glass that would be someone else's responsibility. Bother, she thought indignantly: decisions—real ones and not the business kind—were so unpleasant. She wondered if a riddle would do in place of an answer. He was rather fond of them.

She was prevented from answering him or thinking of a riddle, however, when a knock sounded on the Hatter House door.

The Hatter sighed, evidently growing weary of impudent interruptions. "Who th' blast is that?" he demanded, striding towards the door and pulling it open with energy.

A pink nose twitched at the door. Alice could not have been more pleased to see the White Rabbit holding a proclamation by his side.

"Nivens," the Hatter grumbled. "Whit dae yi'll waant?"

The Hatter did not share her enthusiasm for the visitor.

Alice hurried forward, abandoning the lovely gown for the moment. "Shall I meet with all of my old friends today?" she asked cheerfully.

"I hope not," the Hatter muttered to himself.

"Lady Alice," the Rabbit said, addressing her and holding the proclamation above his head so that it unfurled to the ground. "I come on behalf of her Majesty the White Queen to request your attendance at the castle. Tonight," he added.

Alice wondered at the length of the proclamation: there must have been something other than what Nivens read aloud on the parchment. But, as she squinted, the words seemed to dance and transform. So, perhaps he was merely doing his best given the changeable circumstances.

"Tonight?" the Hatter asked in exasperation. He pulled his broken pocket watch from his waistcoat and examined it closely. He tapped the face with certainty, asserting, "There simply isn't Time."

"The Queen has spoken with Time. He shall wait."

"It grows dark already," the Hatter argued back.

"Are Hatters afraid of the dark?" Nivens responded, rolling the proclamation back up and tucking it under his arm.

The Rabbit shivered slightly himself, as if he might suffer from such an affliction.

"Of course not!" the Hatter said, affronted by the very suggestion. "But, all the same, we'll come tomorrow," Hatter continued to argue.

"That won't do. The Queen explicitly said tonight. She has made preparations. What ingratitude! What dubious dedication to one's Queen! After the Queen was so kind to inviteyou as well, Hatter."

A swishing cat tail materialized by the door and Chessur's mouth-less voice addressed Nivens, "He wants to be alone with her. There's no use reasoning with a mad man."

Alice did not believe that. She believed that Tarrant could most certainly be reasoned with. He was not unreasonable, only mildly mercurial or manic or mad, maybe. But then, she had been considering things that began with the letter 'M' lately.

"Well, I can't stand around and argue with him all day. I'll be late!" Nivens haughtily said with a nose twitch.

"We can't say 'no' to the Queen, Tarrant," Alice reasoned, laying her hand on her friend's tense shoulder.

Something about her statement or touch seemed to soften his resolve.

"Yes, Alice. Of course, Alice," he lisped.

Perfectly reasonably, Alice congratulated herself on being right.

[1] slurvish - selfish, self-centered

[2] ""Pussy cat, pussy cat, where have you been?"

"I've been to London to look at the Queen."

"Pussy cat, pussy cat, what did you there?"

"I caught a little mouse under the chair.""

Percy B. Green, author of A History of Nursery Rhymes (1899), wrote the following about the Pussycat, Pussycat nursery rhyme: "No doubt the incident giving rise to this verse had to do with the terrible fright Queen Bess (Elizabeth) is supposed to have had on discovering a mouse in the folds of her dress - for it was she of virgin fame to whom pussy-cat paid the visit."

I Love My Love

A Alice in Wonderland Story
by justadram

Part 2 of 22

<< Previous     Home     Next >>