Alice was feeling sleepy. Her adventures had seemed to be playing out for ever and only the fact that the sun was still fairly high in the sky confirmed it was still the very same day. The craziness of the Dodo caucus had been very tiring, shenanigans always tend to be eventually wearisome so having found a nice quit patch of chamomile under a rather splendid spreading chestnut tree Alice laid back against the trunk and slowly allowed her eyelids to droop, then close.
“Underneath the spreading chestnut tree
I sees you but you don’t sees me
What a strange conundrum it must be
Neath the spreading chestnut tree.”
“That’s not right at all.”
“Seems perfectly acceptable to me my dear.”
When his face finally appeared the Cheshire’s smile was broader than ever and his whiskers seemed exceptionally perky.
You look like a cat who got the cream!”
“Pilchard sandwiches actually, with a little lime cordial to wash them down”
“I like pilchards, especially the ones that are covered in tomato sauce.”
“These were in Olive oil, good for the whiskers as you can no doubt witness.”
“You must excuse me laying down I was just having a little siesta.”
“You still are my dear Alice; this interlude with me is just a dream.”
Alice considered that fact for a while but really could see no way of proving the Cheshire’s prognosis right or wrong.
“I will take your word for that my dear Mister Cheshire.”
Would you like some evidence?”
Alice nodded without really understanding the consequences till she noticed her feet had disappeared.
“That’s very strange indeed and just a little disconcerting.”
Alice had now vanished up to the knees.
“How on earth will I be able to walk?”
“Really Alice? I show you the magic of dreams and all you have to say is really that banal?”
Alice was very put out by the Cheshire’s disappointment and immediately tried to rectify her inadequate response.
“You are quite correct most magnificent feline of all. I am so sorry I demeaned your magical intervention.”
The Cheshire quite puffed up with pride and for the very first time cam completely into view. He was indeed a very majestically proportioned moggy.
Thankfully Alices body had stopped disappearing and was back to its full functioning self.
The chestnut tree trunk behind her back suddenly felt much harder than it had before and the chamomile around her feet had been replaced by common pasture grass.
“There you are Alice; I have been looking everywhere for you. Your parents will be very cross with me if I don’t get you home in time for tea.”
Alices mathematics tutor Mister Dodgson was looking very flustered indeed.
“I had no idea you had wandered off while I was finishing the water color painting. I really am so easily distracted.”
“Don’t be silly Charles, I mean Mister Dodgson.”
Dodgson blushed terribly and tried to look anything but distracted by Alices use of his first name.
“Best not to get used to too much familiarity Alice, it’s not acceptable in society you know.”
Alice grinned impishly. She did so love to tease poor Dodgson at every opportunity.
“I had the most entertaining dream, full of all kinds of wonderful imaginings.”
“That would be the Cheshire cheese sandwiches we had for lunch.”
“Yes the Cheshire. I do like the Cheshire.”
Mister Dodgson smiled sweetly even though he really had no idea what Alice meant. He found it quite impossible to remain annoyed with his young charge for more than a moment.
The short return punt along the Isis from meadow to college was quickly accomplished. Alice lay back in the prow of the flat bottomed craft and watched Dodgson work the long pole to both propel and steer them smoothly. He was a surprisingly good athlete considering his devotion to his studies and could easily have earned a blue if so desired.
“Have you ever watched the reflections in the rivers surface?”
“Much like the reflections in a looking glass Alice.”
“Yes a looking glass.”
Alice dipped her hand into the water and watched as the ripples manipulated the reflection from the sky above. Just for the briefest moment she caught the faintest outline of a very broad familiar grin.
“Next time Cheshire, through the looking glass.”