- Ah. - Charles Lutwidge Dodgson said suddenly, resting his elbow on the wicker basket with sandwiches. - Do you know, cat of Cheshire, that sweet feeling of sleepiness, which comes to you after awakening in a summer morning, when the air rings with bird songs, a nice breeze comes through the open window, and you, settled on the bed with your eyes half-closed, watch the slowly moving green branches, and the surface of the water rippled with golden waves like still in a dream? Ah, trust me cat, that pleasing feeling borders deep sorrow, the amazing feeling which fills your eyes with tears like an amazing painting or a magnificent poem...
You wouldn't believe it, he didn't stutter once.
The picnic went on as it was. Alice Liddel and her sisters were playing noisily on the edge of River Thames, one by one going onto the boat at the shore and jumping back off. Every time either of them happened to fall into the shallow water they'd scream loudly and lift their skirts up high. At those times Charles Lutwidge Dodgson sitting next to me would pay more attention to them and blush slightly.
- And I have loved you oh so long... - I hummed silently under my whiskers, figuring out that the March Hare was actually right about something.
- “Greensleeves” Nevermind that. You know what, dear Charles? You should describe all of that. The story as it seems slowly grew and developed into where we are now. It's time for you to write it down. Especially since the beginning is already done.
He was silent. His gaze did not come off the happily yelling Alice Liddell, lifting her skirt up so that her underwear was showing.
- There's a half of life dividing us. - He suddenly said quietly. - And time, passing away at cruel speeds. She will never even think of me in her upcoming adulthood.
- I'd suggest prose. - I couldn't hold the sarcasm. - Poetry won't sell.
He looked at me and grimaced a bit.
- Could you... hmm... become a bit more material? - He asked. - It's annoying to watch just your smile floating in thin air.
- Today, my dear Charles, I cannot deny you anything. Too big is my debt to you.
- Let's not talk about that. - He said embarrassed and looked away. - Anyone in my position... I couldn't let her... and you... get killed by my own fantasy.
- And thank you for that. And while we're at it: where in the world did you manage to get that shiny vorpal sword?
- Get what?
- Forget it. We're getting off the subject, Charles.
- A book describing it all? - He began pondering again. - I don't know. I'm not sure I would be able to...
- You would. Your fantasy has a power that can break ribs.
- Hmm – He moved his hand as if trying to pat me, but he changed his mind in time. - Hmm, who knows, maybe she... would like such a book? Besides, the University doesn't pay much, it would be good to get some extra money. Obviously, I'd have to publish it under a pseudonym. My job as a teacher...
- You need a good nom de plume, Charles. - I yawned. - Not just because of your job, your family name is no good for a cover. It sounds as if someone dying of Pneumothorax was trying to spell his last will.
- Unthinkable. - He faked offence. - Do you have any ideas? Anything that would sound better?
- I do. William Blake.
- You're deriding me.
- Emily Brontë.
This time he fell silent, and remained so for a while. The Liddell ladies found a duck mussel on the shore, the yells of joy were endless.
- Are you asleep, cat of Cheshire?
- Trying to.
- Then sleep, you sunbathing tiger. I won't interrupt you.
- I'm lying on your sleeve. What will you do when you will want to get up?
- I'll cut it off.
We remained silent a longer while, watching the river and the ducks swimming in it.
- Story writing... - Charles Lutwidge Dodgson said suddenly, looking like someone who awoke in a summer morning. - Writing is a dead art. Twentieth century is upon us, and that century will be the age of picture.
- You mean the new game, invented by Luis Jasquess Monde Daguerre?
- Yes. - He confirmed. - I mean photography. Literature is fantasy, and thus a lie. The writer lies to the reader, leading him into the depths of his own imagination. He sways him with ambiguity. Photography never lies...
- Really? - I moved the end of my tail, which among us cats signifies mockery. - Photography is not ambiguous? Even that kind of photography which depicts a girl, age 12, in a slightly uncovering pose, lying on a bed in nothing but underwear?
- Nothing to be ashamed of. - My tail moved again. - We all love beauty. I am as well fascinated by young cats, Charles Lutwidge. If I were into photography like you are I wouldn't be searching for different models either.
- I never showed any of those p-p-p-... photographs to anybody. - He unexpectedly began to stutter again. - And I n-n-n-... never will. Though there was a time, I m-m-m-... must say, when I had some hopes for photography... of the financial nature.
I smiled. I bet he didn't understand why. He didn't know what I was thinking. He didn't know what I knew, when falling down into the endless depths of the rabbit hole. What I saw, and knew, among other things, was that one hundred thirty four years later, July 1996, four of his pictures depicting young girls aged eleven to thirteen, all in romantic Victorian underwear, all in ambiguous, but erotically suggestive poses, will be auctioned in Sotheby's and sold for forty eight thousand five hundred pounds sterling. Not bad for four pieces of poor quality paper. But there was no reason to tell him that.
I heard a sound of wings. Edgar sat on a willow nearby, and cackled calling. Unnecessarily. I knew myself that it was time.
- It's time to end the picnic. - I stood up. - Goodbye Charles.
He didn't show any surprise.
- You can walk? Your wounds...
- I'm a cat.
- I almost forgot. You're a cat of Cheshire. Do you think we will ever meet again?
I didn't reply.
- Will we meet again? - He repeated.
- Nevermore. - Edgar replied.
* * *
And that, my friends, would be about it. So I'll make it short.
Once I got back to the Wonderland the afternoon went on undisturbed, because time goes by a bit different around here. I didn't go to the Hatter and the Hare though, to drink the bottle I won together with them. And to boast another, after the stubborn Shakespeare, success in fixing the future of world's literature. I didn't go to Mab, to try to soften the conflict with a banal chat filled with compliments. I went to the forest, to lie on the bough, lick my wounds and warm my fur up in the sun.
The sign saying “BEWARE OF THE JABBERWOCK” had been broken off and left in the bushes. Probably done by Jabberwock himself, because he tended to do such things. He liked to surprise others, and a warning sign just spoiled all the surprise.
My bough was right where I left it. I got on it and let my tail down in an artistic fashion. I lied down, previously checking if Radetzky was nowhere around.
The sun was warming me up. Borogoves happily wandered among the tumtums. And the mome raths outgrabe. The slithy toves were doing something on a tree nearby, but I didn't know what. It was too far away.
It was a golden aftrenoon.
Twas brilling and mimsy. As usual.
Actually, read about it yourselves. In the original. Or in any one of the translations. There's so many of them after all.
Original: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Cos-sie-konczy- ... 8&sr=1-105