Continuing Tales

I Love My Love

A Alice in Wonderland Story
by justadram

Part 7 of 22

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I Love My Love

Hiblisch Day

"Hiblisch—the day on which Alice leaves again," Mally announced rather proudly to anyone who could hear her, as Alice and the Hatter said their final goodbyes to the group.

Mally's words earned her a flash of the Hatter's yellow eyes, which quickly faded as the Queen took his hands between hers and whispered something in his ear, which was inaudible to Alice.

"Goodbye, Alice," Dee said.

"There is nothing good about it," Dum contradicted.

"I was only saying," Dee insisted.

"Contrariwise, you should have not been saying," Dum pouted.

"Goodbye, boys," Alice finished, bending down to pat both of their round heads in succession.

Alice then turned to Mally and Thackery, but Mally had put her back to her, so she was only left to say her goodbyes to the March Hare. She crouched down and offered a hand to the shaking Hare, who was tugging on one ear.

"Goodbye, Thackery."

"Ye wull miss tea!" he protested, one eye pointing briefly in the opposite direction of the other. "It wull aw gae verra bad," he insisted, patting her hand. "Tollikers, batts, bow-pins, baskets, blocks, and shackles!"[1]

"Tea will go on without me, but please have a cup on my behalf," Alice answered solemnly.

He hiccupped, "Dottled Alice."[2]

She had no idea what the Hare meant, so she nodded kindly and turned to her left. "And Nivens," she said, graciously smiling on the White Rabbit, who was attired in his most regal waistcoat. "Sir McTwisp," she corrected herself. "On account of my returning to Otherland, I must pay my respects and say goodbye," she finished, imitating Nivens' superior manner of speaking.

The White Rabbit bowed, graciously saying, "It has been a pleasure, as always, the Alice."

The Queen had finished speaking privately with the Hatter and released his hands and she now turned her attention on Alice. Her hands floated airily by her shoulders and she leaned in to give Alice matching air kisses for each cheek.

"Decisions, Alice dear," she whispered through a smile, as she completed her second kiss.

"Thank you, Your Majesty."

Mirana nodded and addressed the Hatter, "Tarrant Hightopp, Royal Hatter, Leader of the Resistance, and Brave Hero of Underland, I command thee to safely escort my Champion to the Chamber of Mirrors."

Tarrant bowed deeply, sweeping his top hat in front of him. Straightening up, he patted his sheathed claymore sword before offering Alice his arm. Alice was a Champion, but the Hatter was also a Hero: she would certainly be safe in his company. The pair of them began to make their way away from the gates of Marmoreal Castle and the cheers and well wishes of the little crowd.

"Where are we headed, Hatter?" Alice asked, as the noises faded behind them.

"The Chamber is South in Snud."

"Is it a long walk?"

"You wish it to be short?" he lisped.

Alice was not sure how to respond.

"Have you told her yet?" a voice drawled.

Alice turned to look at the Hatter. "Is it?" she asked.

"Chessur," he responded with a frown. "Show yourself you shukm," the Hatter demanded.[3]

"Language, Hatter, language. Surely you know how to act in front of a lady," the Cat purred, appearing before them and rolling onto his back, paws stretching in the air. "You used to, at least. Once upon a time I remember you being rather skilled in all things related to the fairer sex."

The Hatter strode forward, pulling Alice along on his arm, forcing the Cat to dematerialize before being hit by the Hatter's hat.

"Pay no attention to him," Tarrant advised Alice.

"Perhaps he's come to say his goodbyes," Alice offered.

Chessur reappeared before them, trotting along, leaving paw prints in the wet ground. "I thought I'd drop in and make sure you aren't missing your opportunity, Hatter," the Cheshire Cat continued, tossing a grinning glance over his shoulder. "You cannot always be trusted to do the Right Thing, you know."

The Hatter brushed a low growing branch out of her way and slipped his hand into the small of her back, warning her, "Noge," as she ducked beneath the branch.[4]

It seemed as if the Hatter had decided to take no notice of Chessur, and Alice thought perhaps this might be the best plan to prevent the Hatter from having a fit of madness.

"Has he told you, the Alice?" Chessur pressed, disappearing and reappearing beyond the Hatter's reach.

Alice studiously ignored the cat.

Chessur, however, seemed undaunted by his unwilling companions. He continued, "I don't think you have told her. Let me give her a clue: he wrote you poetry while you were Above."

Alice felt the Hatter begin to walk that much faster, so that now she was having some difficulty keeping up with his long legged stride.

Chessur began his recitation, flitting in and out of material being always just beyond their reach:

"If I or she should chance to be
Involved in this affair,
He trusts to you to set them free,
Exactly as we were.

My notion was that you had been
(Before she had this fit)
An obstacle that came between
Him, and ourselves, and it,

Don't let him know she liked them best,
For this must ever be
A secret, kept from all the rest,
Between yourself and me"[5]

As he finished, nothing but his curling tail remained.

"Slurking urpal slackush scrum," the Hatter growled under his breath.[6]

Alice squeezed his arm, trying to calm him with wordless comfort.

"I do not believe, Chessur, that there is any meaning in that poem," she said, addressing the air somewhat breathlessly, as the Hatter continued to hurry her along at a clipped pace.

"That poem is unauthored and unaddressed," Hatter added indignantly.

"Unauthored, hmm?" Chessur hummed, appearing just as a grin. "Haven't lost your sense of humor, have you, Hatter: an unauthored poem? Have you ever heard of such a thing, Alice?"

"I have heard of an anonymous author," Alice offered as a solution to the conundrum.

"I am well versed in the works of Anonymous, and I assure you that this poem cannot be by him. It does not have his tone, his flow, his mastery of language and metaphor. That answer is an impossibility," the Cat insisted.

"I have heard of a great many impossible things," Alice affirmed. "I believe in a great many impossible things."

"One of your best qualities," Hatter acknowledged. "Now, go away," he demanded, addressing the grinning smile.

"You're on your best behavior today, aren't you?" Chessur asked, floating dangerously close. "Determined not to say too much and determined not to repeat that nasty little scene you enacted in the castle, hmm?"

The Hatter stopped short, causing Alice to almost trip over her own skirt. He caught her elbow and she looked up into his face: his eyes were flecked with color. Straightening herself up, she glanced around. Chessur seemed to have disappeared. Although, based on his last comment, it was clear that they could never be sure when he Was and when he Was Not.

"Never mind," she said soothingly to the Hatter. "Never mind," she repeatedly gently.

He nodded and offered her his arm once more.

She looked at him, taking silent stock. He did not look as happy and bright as the day she had arrived. The colors of his clothes seemed not as rich, his skin more pale, the marks around his eyes more pronounced, and the flush of his cheeks less healthy and more worrisome. A riddle: a riddle might make him feel better, she considered.

"If you look, you can't see me. If you see me, you cannot see anything else. I can make you walk if you can't. Sometimes I speak the truth, and sometimes I lie. If I lie, I am nearer the truth. What am I?"

He sighed, "A dream."

She shook her head, acknowledging, "You are much too clever."

"My head is full of riddles," he demurred, looking askance at her. "But this is not a dream, Alice. You mustn't go back and begin to think of this as a dream again."

He was right, she realized. She had twice gone back and thought Wonderland or Underland was a dream. She had forgotten how to come back. Forgotten many details, many friends, Hatter—Tarrant. Her stomach gave silent protest.

"There is one riddle that you cannot solve, Tarrant."


"Why is a raven like a writing desk?" she asked.

"I don't know. Why is a raven like a writing desk?"

She paused, causing him to stop moving forward. She withdrew her arm from his and tilted his hat back slightly so she could better see his eyes under the shade of the forest.

"I haven't the slightest idea," she said, rising up on her tiptoes to kiss his cheek.

She drew back and watched his eyes turn a deep green tinged with flecks of blue. His coloring seemed to brighten somewhat as well.

"I've been slurvish," he said with a shake of his head. "Perfectly slurvish."

"No. No," Alice insisted, bewildered at his response.

"Alice," he said sheepishly.

"Yes, Tarrant?"

"Ah have escorted ye in th' wrong direction," he admitted, sticking his hands in his waistcoat.

"The wrong direction?" Alice parroted back, confused by his admission.

"Aye," he said, his eyes flashing blue. "Ye could a'most mak' me forget whit ah have sworn tae dae."

He looked down at her with such intensity that Alice felt her cheeks flush with color. He was gazing at her lips again, she was almost certain. His hand slipped around hers: it was warm and worn and rough. It dwarfed hers.

"Will you take me in the correct direction?" she asked, willing her voice not to waver.

"Aye," he said reluctantly.

They walked for some time before either spoke again. When the Hatter broke the silence, it was to announce the approach of their destination.

"It will not be long," he said, speaking in a somewhat strangled voice.

"Long until?" she prodded.

"We are at the Chamber. I made us walk a bit too fast. Unless you wanted to get there very quickly and then I have not made us walk quite fast enough. But if it has not been long enough I could make us walk…"

"Tarrant," she said, patting his arm and drawing him back.

"Thank you. I'm fine," he said, swallowing.

Alice could see the wooden chamber emerging behind a clearing in the trees, but now her thoughts were less with returning and more with the mood that had sprung up around them, created out of Looks and Words and Things Unsaid.

"I won't ask you if you're coming back," he said, his words very measured, as if he had practiced them. "I will just remind you that Time is a fickle fellow."

He was right again. Without understanding the whys of it, she knew that while she could be gone two days in Otherland years might pass in Underland. She might be leaving him for a day, a month, a year, or forever. She did not know what was to be the duration of their separation and he did not either: two know nothings standing before a wooden chamber. She took a step towards the door of the chamber, ready to test the knob, when he stopped her.

"Nunz," he said, holding her hand tight.[7]



"Why should I stay?" she asked, wanting desperately for him to say something that made sense, so she could make sense of things herself, but half expecting him to speak of tea parties and hats and rhymes.

"Because..." he began, the color in his eyes switching quickly from green to blue to yellow. He reached up a trembling hand to touch her cheek. "Fur a'm in luve wi' ye."

He loved her? Not just loved her, but was in love with her? Men had said such things to her before, but she had never believed them. It had always been Nonsense in the way of getting what they wanted and appearing to their best advantage. This revelation may have been surprising, but Alice believed Hatter. She believed him with every fiber of her being, as the knowledge of his love seeped into every corner of her. He would never say that he loved her and not mean it; not even to get her to stay. She knew he was much too forthright, decent, and honorable to do any such thing.

How had she missed this? She had thought herself Perceptive, and yet, she had missed her dearest friend in either world being in love with her! She wanted to say something—this sort of thing demanded a response—but suddenly her heart had risen up in her throat, in an attempt to get across what it felt, perhaps unaware that it was an organ incapable of speech. She wanted to lecture it: stay down in your place, heart!

"Gae 'n' come back tae me, lassie."

She managed to nod, 'yes,' against the palm of his hand.

"Fairfarren, Alice."[8]

[1] Thackery is listing off some of the tools of a Hatter. A tolliker is a wooden tool used to smooth the brim. A batt is a flat oval shape of fur used to make one hat. A bow-pin is a tool used to shape the bow. A basket is a wooden tool used when pressing wet cloth onto the batt. A block is a wooden mold used to shape the crown. A shackle is a curling tool used to roll up, or roll under, the brim edge of a hat.

[2] dottle – in a state of dotage, witless, crazy

[3] shukm — excrement

[4] noge - go low down

[5] "They told me you had been to her..." is a poem by Lewis Carroll appearing in Adventures in Wonderland. It is alleged by the court of the King and Queen of Hearts to have been written by the Knave, but it was not addressed to anyone and the knave refused to take credit for it. Alice pronounces it at the time not to have "an atom of meaning in it."

[6] slurking urpal slackush scrum — dirty words of the most foul meaning

[7] nunz — don't go - not now.

[8] fairfarren - farewell, "May you travel far under fair skies"

I Love My Love

A Alice in Wonderland Story
by justadram

Part 7 of 22

<< Previous     Home     Next >>