Friday 14 December 2018

New 'Alice in Wonderland' manuscript discovered: 'Alice in the House'.

Alice walked into the house and it was very noisy. People were standing up and sitting down and nearly everyone was shouting things like ‘Here!’ and ‘No!’. That’s funny, thought Alice, where I come from it’s ‘here and now’. Maybe they don’t know what they’re doing, she thought. 

Some people started talking about a motion. She had heard the doctor talking about that when her mother had had digestion difficulties and that’s what it seemed like when a lot of the people started shouting about passing the motion which was, sad to say, proving to be very difficult. Never put off till tomorrow, what you can do today, thought Alice to herself, remembering what her mother said.

Everyone was getting very cross and and shouting in particular at the Queen of the May. 
‘She’s called that,’ said Humpty Dumpty, ‘because she may. Then again, she may not.’
‘I don’t understand,’ said Alice.
‘Neither do I,’ said Humpty Dumpty, ‘why should I understand everything I say? I certainly don’t say everything I understand.’

‘Order!’ shouted the man everyone was calling Mr Squeaker. 
‘Is he called Mr Squeaker because he squeaks?’ said Alice.
‘No,’ said a particularly angry, sneery creature called the Gibblet, ‘he’s Mr Squeaker because he’s a little pip squeak and we hate him.’
‘Oh,’ said Alice, ‘I think we’ll all get on much better if we don’t hate each other quite so much.’
‘Rubbish,’ said the Gibblet, ‘I hate teachers and it’s never done me any harm.’
‘Has it done the teachers any harm?’ said Alice.
‘Who cares about them?’ said the Gibblet looking happier for a moment than he had looked ever since he first met his little friends the Phonics.

Just then, one of the people who had been shouting ‘Here!’ and ‘No!’ got up to speak. 
‘What we need now is impagination...’ 
At least that’s what Alice thought he said. 
‘...otherwise we’ll never get out of this hole,’ he went on.
Oh, thought Alice, he knows about the rabbit hole I fell down, but why does he think we’ll get out with...what was it? ...impagination? 

‘We need to get off this page,’ he want on.
‘Ah, I see,’ said Alice, realising what this impagination meant. They need more pages.

Rather hoping she could make the Gibblet less angry and less sneery, Alice turned to him and said, ‘That’s nice,they need more impagination.’
For some reason this annoyed the Gibblet even more. 
‘Impagination! Impagination!’ he snorted. ‘What sort of lily-livered, antsy-fancy, snowflakey stuff is that?’
He didn’t wait for an answer.
‘We need Norwich and Phonics,’ he shouted, ‘we need a Norwich-led Funiculum and more and more and more Phonics.’

This seemed to be a signal because about a hundred little Phonics rushed up to the Gibblet like a host of puppies and started licking him and making funny noises: ber, ber, ber and ker, ker, ker. 

The Gibblet stood up and the Squeaker called out in his very loud voice: ‘The Gibblet!’
And then the Gibblet said, ‘I love you, Queen of the May. Your deal is wonderful. It’s the nicest deal I’ve ever seen. I want to take it home and clutch it to me like a long lost friend. I wish everyone else thought your deal was as nice as I think it is.’
At this a very large lugubrious-looking cat, the Rees Mog, gathered together an enormous amount of cat mucus in the back of its throat, swirled it round its mouth and gobbed it on the floor. 
‘Fie on thee,’ it said in a tired, languid, mournful way, ‘I will awhile uphold the unyoked humour of your idleness. Herein do I imitate the sun who doth allow the base, contagious clouds cover up his beauty from - ‘ 
‘We need impagination!’ shouted someone behind him.
‘I abolished impagination!’ shouted the Gibblet back at him.

The whole house went very quiet.  

‘Yes,’ said the Gibblet, his eyes gleaming while the little Phonics nuzzled his knees, ‘when the Mimsy Borogove brought in the Norwich-led Funiculum, we abolished impagination. How can you have impagination if you haven’t got Norwich?’ he said looking at the people around him as if they might just possibly be the kind of idiot who did think you could have impagination without Norwich. 

He sat down.

Strangely no one in the house congratulated him for making this speech, for the only people who loved him were the little Phonics.  
‘When you’re a big boy like me,’ said the Rees Mog, purring at himself in a large mirror he carried with him, ‘you’ll get subordinate claws like mine.’

This only enraged the Gibblet even more, because he remembered that time when an irritating woman called Mirther Kernel asked him whether he knew what subordinate claws were. And he didn’t. And Mirther Kernel laughed. 

Alice walked on.