The Cheshire Monkey swung from his tail while holding a cup of tea in his back paws, from which he occasionally sipped. He also wore a little green hat, borrowed from a leprechaun.
“And so this rabbit,” he said presently, “you say he had a pocket watch?”
“Yes, yes,” answered Alice with mounting impatience. “I must find him!”
“And so, then, where was his pocket?”
Alice only blinked.
“I assume the pocket watch was adhered to a pocket? That is the usual way of pocket watches,” said Cheshire Monkey.
“I don’t know,” said Alice. “He was moving so fast—”
“Then how do you know he was a rabbit at all? I don’t see what reason you have to look for him, in any case.” Cheshire Monkey took another sip of tea, then grimaced. “Cold,” he muttered.
“He can tell me how to get home!” Alice explained. “He’s been there, you see.”
“No, I do not see. I just said that. But if you think about it this way, rabbits do tend to come out of hats.”
“Hats?” asked Alice.
“Not my hat, mind you. Too small by far for a rabbit. Too small even for me, really. Leprechauns are known for that.”
“You should cease to repeat words I’ve said as questions,” instructed Cheshire Monkey. “You’ll never get anywhere that way.”
“I’m not getting anywhere this way, either!”
“Hats,” said Cheshire Monkey. He began to fade. “And more tea, I think . . .” But even as he disappeared, his beautiful little china tea cup fell to the ground and shattered.
“Hats and tea,” sighed Alice, seeing nothing for it but to carry on in the direction she’d been going all along, only because going back the way she’d come would seem to admit defeat.