One Reply to “6.5.2105 Journal Prompt”

  1. Mama said we should get dressed up. She said a gentleman was going to take our picture. The same gentleman from the train, she said. The man with the stories tucked in his pockets, along with the playing cards and the hard sugar sweets.

    He was quite taken with our Alice, this gentleman. He said she reminded him of another girl called Alice, and that Alice had had such adventures when she slipped down a rabbit hole. I said rabbit holes were dirty and dark and they smelled of things bureid or dead.

    He ruffled my hair and presented me with a small leather-bound book that he had about his person and he said he should like to change my mind about rabbit holes if mama would give permission for him read to us.

    He was not like a grown-up at all. Not like any grown-up I ever knew. He was like a child that was hiding inside a grown-up’s clothes, except the clothes fitted his body. He was silly like a child and he made us all laugh – especially Alice who took the greater part of his attention. He touched her hair and her cheek and he pulled a penny from behind her ear and he said ‘Oh my ears and whiskers,’ like he was surprised at the penny as much as Alice was.

    ‘Alice-on-a-train,’ he called her and he said that was because he knew so many Alices: Alice-in-a-shop, Alice-on-a-beach, Alice-under-a-streetlight and Alice-under-stairs. And of course, the first Alice, and when he said her name it was like he was hurt inside, and I thought of Mrs Cornfield and the day she lost Mr Cornfield and he never could be found again for he was just bones and dirt now in a box under the ground.

    ‘Not that dress, Milly,’ mama said and her voice was all gentle-scold. ‘You must look pretty for Mr Dodgson and his box-camera. Pretty as flowers or sunrises.’

    I wore the white dress that was only for church days. And mama brushed my hair a hundred times till it shone. And Lily’s hair the same, and Alice’s – Alice-on-a-train. And ribbons in our hair, tied in neat bows. And white socks pulled up to our knees, and shoes that were polished so hard they were like mirrors to see our faces in and I wondered if looking down a gentleman might in the reflection see up my dress.

    Then Mr Dodgson was at the door and ‘pleased to see you all’, and especially Alice-on-a-train. And he brought us presents wrapped in coloured paper and tied up with string and he took as much delight in watching us unwrap his gifts as we did in unwrapping them.

    He set his camera up in the garden and arranged us just so, which was not so pretty as mama had thought. He made me take off my shoes and socks and he ruffled my hair – like he’d done on the train, only this time it was to undo what mama had brushed into my hair. And Lily the same, and Alice-on-a-train, too, so we looked like ragamuffins or urchins – if such were ever to have taken a bath.

    Mama has the picture still, tucked into the pages of his book about Alice-down-a-rabbit-hole. I do not think she is proud of it, for she does not put it on display for guests to wonder at. And Mr Dodgson does not call no more, not with hard sugar sweets in his pocket, or pennies to pull from behind our ears, and not with stories of Alice-on-a-train and the adventures she might have had. And Alice looks a little hurt, like she has lost a Mr Cornfield.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: