the hatter's dream?

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Fan Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
alice supposedly went to wonderland in a dream. i do not think wonderland is a place created in a dream, but rather a place dreamers can go to.

Submitted: April 07, 2016

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Submitted: April 07, 2016



"The Hatter's Dream?"


Mathew Kohnen

The craftsman was bent over his workbench studying a stack of ostrich blooms when the bell above the shop door announced new visitors. In walked a gentleman and his daughter, people of rank and privilege betrayed by the richness of their starch finery. The man choked in his high collar and the young miss in blue dress with white pinafore that a strong wind couldn't ruffle. Their status was of no mind to the craftsman because his shop was the finest millenary in the village and only the well to do shop there.

"Go day Mr. Thaterdam, "called the gentleman, "Is my new topper ready?" Mr. Thaterdam turned two weary eyes towards his customers, his glasses fell to the tip of his long nose and a wide grin lit up his face as he reached for a splendid top hat sitting near him on the bench. "Most certainly Mr. Liddell" Mr. Thaterdam said with a hint of pride, "and please note the velvet smoothness. It is the finest beaver pelt. You'll not find such a fur used in any other hat shop."

"Oh my yes, you have made a grand hat sir." Mr. Liddell turned toward the full size mirror standing in the shop corner. His daughter Alice's eyes scanned the shop as her father tried the hat at different angle and her gaze stopped on a pile of feathers and dried flowers set out at the ready to adorn a ladies hat. "Thinking of a new bonnet is you Miss Alice?" Alice's eyes lowered a little as she replied, "No thank you sir, I'm not much for hats, I do not care for even the small straw bonnet mother insists on for church." "Why, certainly not", Mr. Thaterdam chuckled, "you would not want to cover that lovely golden hair. Why I shouldn't think you want to cut it" "You look like summer itself, with your hair like the sun and eyes as blue as the sky." He ran a callus hand down the side of her head separating gold filaments that spread into the sunlight forming a halo. The milliner's gave a whispered sigh. Alice smiled as she quietly replied, "thank you sir", and quickly looked for her father.

Mr. Liddell has just turned from admiring himself in his new hat. "Excellent, excellent job as usual." Looking down at Alice who seemed eager to go, he said "I'll settle the bill and we'll be off" and handed Mr. Thaterdam the money. "Why sir I believe the hair on the back of your head is no longer its dark brown, but almost orange!" he exclaimed as Mr. Thaterdam turned for the change. "Yes sir, it is my heritage. My father and his before worked the craft and their hair never turned grey, but became a ripe orange as you see mine is becoming." Mr. Thaterdam replied. "Your change sir" Mr. Liddell stared a moment and awkwardly held the money out. "You've seem to have given me the whole amount back sir." Mr. Thaterdam look down at the currency as if it was something he has never seen before, then shook his head, "Hmm, oh, my, my, begging your pardon sir. I haven't been sleeping well you see. A great scrapping goes on behind my walls at night. Must be some rodent got itself up in there. Well, never mind that, here you are, your change" said Mr. Thaterdam as he turn over the correct amount. "Good day to you Mr. Liddell and Miss Alice."

"Good day to you sir, and mind you get some proper rest" You don't want to be giving away all your profits." Mr. Liddell said bringing his finger up to the brim of his new hat in the way of tipping it. Alice wordlessly gave a little curtsey and they were off.

The lights were put out in the shop and after a simple tea; the gentleman went off to bed. His eyes barely fluttered shut than the awful scraping began again behind his wall. "Drat, confound it all." He stood and walking to the wall he brought a heavy fist onto it. "I must sleep!" Rather than stopping the noise, the scrapping turned into clatter. "I swear I'll put a stop to it," he bellowed and gave the wall a kick, putting all he had into it. Unfortunately in his frustration, Mr. Thaterdam forgot he had nothing on his feet and fell back on his bed nursing a throbbing toe.

Looking across through teary eyes toward the wall he noticed a piece had broken off near the floor. A glow, very bright, was coming through it. "Nah it cannot be. It is all a dream I'm having, a painful dream, but a dream none the less." He went under his covers, brought them up near over his head and turn away from the offending hole.

Try as he might, he could not shut out the sounds coming through the now opened wall. He sat on the end of the bed and worried over the glow coming out the hole. He stood, walk forward, stop, sat back on the bed, stood, and moved a little more forward, stopped. "Perhaps I best get back under the covers," he thought a loud, "no, I must look, it is all a dream anyway and I'll probably find myself waking up back in me bed." He knelt down, but the hole was still too low to see through so he went flat on his stomach and brought one eye snug up to the hole. It looked like a emerald green lawn was advancing away from the hole and not must else until suddenly two white fluffy paws scamper right near his eye. "That's it!" he shouted, and lunged back to his, I'm done with this foolishness."

Mr. Thaterdam did not know what time he had fallen asleep, but he must have done so, because the sun was waking him as it came through the slit in his blinds. He got himself out of bed and ready for the coming day, but the night had taken its toll and he left his hair sticking out in orange and brown spikes and under his paints and waste coat he left on his nightshirt rather than his normal high color and cravat.

A women entered the shop a pretty lady in a light summer dress patterned in an array of flowers, her dark brown hair piled high on the top of her head, ringlets frame her graceful Face. Gentle cool green eyes sort out Mr. Thaterdam who was busy adding several splendid peacock features to a gentleman's black top hat that was expected done before the opera the following evening. The lady made her presence known with a clearing of her throat and a gentle "sir." Mr. Thaterdam jumped and stared at the woman as if a ghost had appeared out of nowhere. After a short but very award silence the poor lady trying not to stare at his starling appearance timidly asked, "Do you have my bonnet ready then Mr. Thaterdam?" First and form most Mr. Thaterdam was a milliner and any question about a hat would bring him about.

"Oh yes, yes, of course my lady. It right near. I'll fetch it presently" It was a relief to the confused shopper that some sense of normal had returned, until she was presented with the top hat that Mr. Thaterdam was working on when she came in. She weakly smile and said "Um, that is quite lovely, but if you remember mine was straw, some dry spring flowers, Um, a pink ribbon to tie it on, do you recall?' While the craftsman stared at the hat in hand and began muttering, "perhaps the feathers can be replaced with flowers, but I'm not sure about pink with the black,? The lady turned her eyes toward the door for a fast escape. "Oh look there it is hanging on that peg." She quickly took it and tried it on at the mirror. "You had me frighten but it is perfect. I never thought you be one to have me on." Mr. Thaterdam thought she was being rather strange but shrugged he shoulders and said,"this is a very fine hat," holding up the one in his hands, "but if you insist that one is ready and you might as well have it." The lady's smile began to wan again, thinking perhaps a joke was not at play here. "Put it on my account please sir?" she barely whispered. "Certainly miss, um, now what would that be account of?" The poor thing was now completely flummoxed and thought of nothing but escaping this silliness as she flew to the door. Mr. Thaterdam called after her "Good day miss, and you might consider a trim, the hair a bit long under that bonnet?" The bell atop the door was his only reply.

Mr. Thaterdam closed his eye, shaking his head, "Sure enough the ladies are the backbone of my business, but don't I earn every penny what with their scattered thinking and fussiness," he thought. "Well the light is low in the window and I'm falling asleep on me feet." Forgetting his supper, he headed into the bedroom. Removed his waist coat and night shirt and found a fresh starch shirt with high collar to put on with a polka dot bow tie. He completed the ensemble, placing his waist coat back on and adding a wool jacket with velvet collar. After a quick check in the mirror he got under the covers.

Sleep came as soon as the hatter's weary bones hit the mattress and his eyes lids fell shut. He may have been asleep 5 minutes or 5 hours, Mr. Thaterdam only knew it was pitch dark when a crash of what sounded like a cupboard full of dishes falling to the ground sat him upright in bed. The fog cleared from his eyes and he realized it wasn't as dark as it first seemed. He saw the glow was coming from the hole in the wall again. The hole had grown larger than the night before. He could see more by bringing his chest parallel to the floor and bringing his bottom forward so that it was more pushing against the bed rather than sitting. "Definitely more to see since the hole is larger," he thought. "There are sounds also. Is that silver ware against china, and voices?" Curiosity took hold and Mr. Thaterdam duck waddled over and plopped cross leg in front the hole. "Darn stupid dream if it can't all be done from my bed." He saw the grass field again and also he could see to either side rose bushes of different hues and directly in front was the underside of a dining table. Many chair legs could be seen but no legs and feet, at least not belonging to people. There were two short grey furry legs dangling from one chair. The legs ended in long paws like the back legs of a rabbit. On the adjacent chair was what appeared to be a lump of brown fur? "Will ye wake up," came a shout, "ye always asleep." The brown fur ball rose in the chair, followed by a splash, some brown liquid dripped down from the table and then it returned to the chair but this time a long tail could be seen.

A sharp pain was running down Mr. Thaterdam's side, his shoulder felt frozen in place, never to move again. He groaned, rolled to his back and when he felt the hard oak wood, realized he had fallen asleep on the floor. He was in so much pain that he could only think about getting into his bed. He managed to crawl over to the bed, reach up and grab the sheets, and then heaved himself up like a swimmer out of the water onto the dock. Lying as crumpled as his sheets Mr. Thaterdam passed out more than fell asleep.

People passing the shop the next day were surprised to find the "closed" sign up. None could recollect there ever being a day the milliner was not open, other than Sunday. It was a curious thing to the usual traffic of people, bringing a bit of excitement into their predictable day. The customers arriving to pick up their new head ware however were not interested in the unusual event but were very put out by the darken shop. Women tapped at the glass only to move off disappointed, their new hat tantalizing them on a hook just beyond the door. The midday sun further teased them by casting a light on their most anticipated purchase through the shop's windows. Gentlemen were not so timid and easily put off. They banged on the door, so hard the glass rattled and the shop bell rang, but in the end they also moved along unrewarded.

Alice Liddell came along just as one gentleman was bringing forth a tremendous kick that threaten to knock out door and frame, but he also limped away without his order. Alice was delivering a request for a new riding hat from her mother, while Mrs. Liddell picked up some items at the apothecary. Finding the closed shop was more than a curiosity, it was an adventure. Any child would know it to be so. Alice was very fond of mysteries and happy to find one needing investigation. She had already seen that knocking was not going to open the door. Not one adult has gained entrance, but Alice has an advantage, she did not think as an adult and she tried the handle.

The latch gave and the door move inward. She jumped when the shop bell sounded. Her composure returned and Alice called "Hello, Mr. Thaterdam? Hello?" A light was coming from a door that was ajar at the end of the shop. She shuffled more than stepped toward it, repeating, "hello" as she neared the opening. Alice poked her head between the door and frame. Mr. Thaterdam sat on the bed starring at the wall opposite the bed. A shaft of light came through the curtains illuminating his hair, which was such a color now it looked like a orange hanging on a tree. "Mr. Thaterdam," Alice said as she knocked and the door opened a little further on squeaky hinges. "Are you well sir?" Mr. Thaterdam tuned a perplex face toward her. His lips parted into a grin filling his face. "Why Alice this is marvelous, you're in my dream!"

Alice thought him confused; perhaps he has just woken up. "I'm here Mr. Thaterdam, delivering an order for my mother. I've just left it on the workbench in the shop. I wanted to see if you are alright, you see, you never miss work." He waved his hands "I'm fine, fine!" Alice smile and sighed most relieved, "he is not confused now," she thought. "Yes, yes, splendid now," he continued, "you see I've been starring through that hole for hours. You can see it is quite large now, we can easily fit through it and I can see everything now. It appears to be such a wonderful tea setup, the rabbit and mouse are enjoying it so much, well at least the rabbit is, the mouse appears asleep, I fancied I would join in. That is what I was deciding on when you popped in, to go or not." Alice diverted her eyes toward the wall with its dirty wall paper peeling near the floor boards so not to stare at the poor man as he rambled. Mr. Thaterdam jumped up from the bed and grabbed a top hat hanging on the headboard. "Right we're off," he said and offered a bent arm for Alice to take. The poor girl nearly jumped to the top of the bureau. Her eyes were wide, her hands clutched to her chest. "I'm, I'm, I'm afraid I can't sir, I only came to drop the order for my Mother, and she is expecting me back directly." Mr. Thaterdam calmed a bit. "I'm very sorry I cannot attend the tea but I really must go," she added gently feeling sorry for the gentleman, but while speaking Alice slowly back stepped toward the door. Mr. Thaterdam smiled weakly and replied, "That is quit all right, I understand, you must attend your mother," he smiled a little broader, "but you'll join us another time?" "That would be lovely sir," Alice assured him, she curtsied and was gone.

The hatter stood before the hole. "Dash it all!" he said aloud to the empty room. He grabbed his lapels, gave a tug, threw his shoulders back and strolled forth onto the grass. He reached the table, took his hat off, brought it across his chest and bowed low at the waist. "Good day to you both," he greeted the rabbit and mouse. Replacing his hat, Mr. Thaterdam got comfortable in the chair at the head of the table.

The rabbit stared, his ears straight up and whiskers twitching, "Why the impertinence," he spat, "sitting without being first invited to, and sitting at the head of the table. Why I never" Mr. Thaterdam smiled at the rabbit and explained, "I know everything is a bit untoward, but after must consideration I decided to enjoy my dream and since it is my dream, I am the host and therefore the head of the table" The rabbit splashed tea on the mouse and shouted in his ear, "Are you hearing this? He is calling us part of his dream, figments of imagination!" The mouse licked his whiskers and moved his head to a dry spot on the table. "You made us up?" The rabbit went on. "Now sir will you please explain to us, how we know this to be your dream?" Mr. Thaterdam thought a moment and replied, "Are you suggesting this is your dream?" The rabbit thumped down a mighty back paw and laughed, "Don't be daft man. Any fool can see I am as real as the sun and just as awake. As far as I can tell so are you, so I can't see that there is dreaming going on. The only one here asleep is the mouse." The rabbit stopped speaking and starred at the mouse as if for the first time. He brought a paw up under his chin and started scratching. "Ummm, my, that is a worry. I've never known the fellow awake for more than a minute at any given time. That is something to puzzle on, is he dreaming?"

Mr. Thaterdam frowned and shut his eyes. He thought about his shop, the hole, the grass, table, tea, and everything the rabbit said. Did not Alice see him off from his room? All of it whirled inside his head faster and faster. His face was crunched; his cheeks scarlet and his eyes shut so tight, tears dripped from them. The rabbit was wide eye, holding his breath, and poking the mouse to look. Suddenly Mr. Thaterdam's eyes shot open and a look of happiness came on his face. Such contentment never before seen or will ever be seen on anyone else.

He took the tea pot and poured himself a cupper.

"I entered through a hole in the wall of my house,

to have tea with a rabbit and mouse.

Is it I or is it you who is dreaming?

Perhaps it is all madness,

But I am happy and shall not be leaving."

"Pass the sugar pleas rabbit."

© Copyright 2018 mkohnen. All rights reserved.

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