27th April 2020

Refusing to take the bait Tweedledum settled himself into a suitable Gielgud-ish manner and commenced to recite anew.

“The ice that makes the sea so cold and cream to fit in cones

Has little linked with saucepan lids or seemingly cheap loans

The way the sun just spins and spins but never needs to rest

Except when poor old moon decides to cover up his chest

Such matters are a constant strain on all these many fops

Who walk and swim or float and sink from bottom up to top?

The sea is full of barnacles and crabs that sidle by

Lobsters doing minuets and fish that really fly

Nothing is for nothing except in games of naught

Tomorrow is another day for turning dreams to salt.”

Happily, this time the chorus was both well solemnified and fortified by Alice and Tweedledee joining in.

“Pirate ships are galleons that also means four quarts

Be careful that the days of week are not one pinty short

Sunday is that kind of day that needs a lot of milk

When reverend and pastor-men have tea with all their ilk

Patience remains a virtue and libretto oh so gay

Affectionately remembered on this and every day.”

Alice had begun to note a certain oddity in both vocabulary and construction but remained politely silent.

“The sea is full of barnacles and crabs that sidle by

Lobsters doing minuets and fish that really fly

Nothing is for nothing except in games of naught

Tomorrow is another day for turning dreams to salt.”

The chorus was now a lusty expression of their conviviality and Alice could even imagine that the small forest creatures that must have gathered to listen were humming along harmoniously.

“Is the poem very long?”

“One hundred and twenty stanzas in all. But like the national anthem no one knows most of the words.”

Alice wasn’t asking because she was bored you must understand but rather from politeness didn’t wish to hold the twins from any other duties they might have.

“The only saving grace is that is gets a few verses shorter every time its recited.”

“That seems very strange and quite mystifying.”

“Not at all. Mister Tusk has a voracious appetite and eats a few lines every chance he gets. The more its repeated the more he nibbles, it’s the law of reducing returns you know!”

Alice was quite certain that was an incorrect interpretation of the rule but not being a great mathematician like her mentor she kept stoically silent.

“Perhaps then it would be wise to skip to the end?”

The logic of her remark was of course full of topsy turvy terpsichoredary, the very act of moving to the end would change the finale irreversibly. Tweedledum considered the suggestion for a moment then nodded agreeably.

The Spanish main with all its gold and fine chinoiserie

Has a vast share of wealth to offer up for you and me

For pirates a true victory is measured by success

Treasure won and prizes taken harshly with duress

Buccaneers historically are rarely buried old

Their days are really short but undeniably bold.

The sea is full of barnacles and crabs that sidle by

Lobsters doing minuets and fish that really fly

Nothing is for nothing except in games of naught

Tomorrow is another day for turning dreams to salt.”

Alice was contemplating the beautiful and poignant words when she was startled by a very loud and fishy smelling burp.

“You see Mister Tusk has done it again! Another stanza gone forever.”

“I told her didn’t I?”

“No I did!”

“Don’t you argue with me!”

The twins Ritalin dosage was obviously wearing off, so Alice decided to leave whilst the going was good.

“I see you found the Walrus and Carpenter story dear child.”

The Cheshire’s familiar toothy grin greeted her from a nearby beech nut tree.

“I really didn’t want to cause the twins to fight again.”

“Not your fault Alice dear, down to their famous grandmother if you must know! Will end in a terrible conflagration someday.”

“Who is their grandmother?”

“OH that’s a state secret my sweet child, but do you like riddles?”

“Most certainly, doesn’t everyone?’

“Well then try this. When is a sponge cake like a railway station?”

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