Zeb, Jacob and Hilda in unison demanded to know why they had left in such a rush. Deety took a deep breath and started to explain. “I did not want anyone to say anything more in the presence of an author until we have had a chance to discuss the possible dangers. The theory of 'The world as myth' means that we are subject to the whims and fancies of the author who thought us up, We already have seen the world we grew up on vanish, erased from the page, crossed out, consigned to the waste basket, shredded, or just eaten by the dog. We owe our continued existence to our characters being re-used in another story. What really worries me is what happens if another author starts using us as well. Lewis Carroll already has the idea for a story based on the real life, for him, Alice. What if he includes us as well? Could it be that Rosalie got dragged in to her own past just because an author thought it would make a good story? We need to think this out and I think best in the kitchen while I am cooking, or while I am soaking in the bath. Certainly not in the presence of an author who could make life really difficult for us.”
Deety and Hilda baked while Zeb and Jake soaked in the tub. Then the girls soaked while the boys got the BBQ hot and raring to go. After baked clams, succulent steaks, grilled vegetables, 'smores and liberal quantities of beer and white wine the ideas that thought had produced began to flow. Argument, counterargument, reflection, reconsideration, re-evaluation, compromise, consolidation and finally conclusions. In keeping with the ancient Greek principle of the symposium, where anything decided while drunk needed to be ratified when sober the four went off to bed and asked Athene, the house computer, to wake them in the morning for breakfast.
The four sleepers woke with a start as in the dawn light a bugle sounded réveillé loudly throughout their wing of house. Zeb cursed and Deety daintily muttered under her breath. When instructing a computer, even one as sophisticated as Athene it paid not to assume. It was not Athene's fault that the defaults for waking people were based on Lazarus Long's military inclinations. Deety carefully and calmly instructed Athene on the future defaults for waking people in this wing of the house. Accordingly several hours later they were reawakened by gently increasing chimes and the smell of freshly brewed coffee and baked bread. In keeping with family tradition breakfast was prepared by Hilda and Deety and only light conversation was allowed until after a second cup of coffee.
The previous nights debate was revisited. After a light lunch the four agreed their course of action and carrying a basket of cakes climbed back into Gay to return to an afternoon long long ago on an Oxford riverbank.
Rosalie Appleton and Charles Dodgson were still seated on the grass by the picnic blanket when the four returned and steam was still rising from the teapot. For them their visitors had only been gone for moments and it was still an excellent time to nibble cakes and drink tea.
Gradually Deety and Jake steered the conversation to address some of the problems of paradoxes and time travel and how best to avoid altering time-lines. They carefully avoided any reference to the theory of 'The world as myth' as they did not want to plant any ideas into Charles's mind. If what happened here were to change what he was to write in the future than this could affect their own life story. Grudgingly Charles agreed not to include any reference to Rosalie or his other visitors in any tale he would produce. As far as he was concerned this was to prevent paradoxes and he had no idea that what he wrote would somewhere in the multiplicity of universes become fact.
Deety had a private chat with Rosalie to try and find out which of the many possible universes she had originated from. It certainly was not from the one they had come to call home. Cross checking with Gay who was in constant contact with Professor Wogglebug in Oz they came up with several probables but there were questions they needed to ask that Rosalie could not answer. The only suggestion that seemed to be workable was for Rosalie to visit Oz and talk to Glinda, Ozma and the Wizard.
Rosalie was quite excited by the idea of visiting somewhere she recalled reading about when young, but was concerned that her uncle would be getting worried by now that she had not returned from her walk. She cheered up when Deety explained that, when travelling in Gay, time was irrelevant. Once they knew where to take her they would be able to return her to the exact instant after she had fallen into the past.
Bidding the academic farewell the four travellers and Rosalie boarded Gay and she was quite amazed when she was shown into the little girls room that seemed larger then the whole craft. In an instant they arrived in Oz and Rosalie's adventures continued.and gave her some really good ideas for stories for the college magazine .....