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The Life and Letters of Lewis Carroll by Stuart Dodgson Collingwood

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It is with no undue confidence that I have accepted the
invitation of the brothers and sisters of Lewis Carroll to write
this Memoir. I am well aware that the path of the biographer is
beset with pitfalls, and that, for him, _suppressio veri_ is
almost necessarily _suggestio falsi_--the least omission may
distort the whole picture.

To write the life of Lewis Carroll as it should be written
would tax the powers of a man of far greater experience and
insight than I have any pretension to possess, and even he would
probably fail to represent adequately such a complex personality.
At least I have done my best to justify their choice, and if in
any way I have wronged my uncle's memory, unintentionally, I
trust that my readers will pardon me.

My task has been a delightful one. Intimately as I thought I
knew Mr. Dodgson during his life, I seem since his death to have
become still better acquainted with him. If this Memoir helps
others of his admirers to a fuller knowledge of a man whom to
know was to love, I shall not have written in vain.

I take this opportunity of thanking those who have so kindly
assisted me in my work, and first I must mention my old
schoolmaster, the Rev. Watson Hagger, M.A., to whom my readers
are indebted for the portions of this book dealing with Mr.
Dodgson's mathematical works. I am greatly indebted to Mr.
Dodgson's relatives, and to all those kind friends of his and
others who have aided me, in so many ways, in my difficult task.
In particular, I may mention the names of H.R.H. the Duchess of
Albany; Miss Dora Abdy; Mrs. Egerton Allen; Rev. F. H. Atkinson;
Sir G. Baden-Powell, M.P.; Mr. A. Ball; Rev. T. Vere Bayne; Mrs.
Bennie; Miss Blakemore; the Misses Bowman; Mrs. Boyes; Mrs.
Bremer; Mrs. Brine; Miss Mary Brown; Mrs. Calverley; Miss
Gertrude Chataway; Mrs. Chester; Mr. J. C. Cropper; Mr. Robert
Davies; Miss Decima Dodgson; the Misses Dymes; Mrs. Eschwege;
Mrs. Fuller; Mr. Harry Furniss; Rev. C. A. Goodhart; Mrs.
Hargreaves; Miss Rose Harrison; Mr. Henry Holiday; Rev. H.
Hopley; Miss Florence Jackson; Rev. A. Kingston; Mrs. Kitchin;
Mrs. Freiligrath Kroeker; Mr. F. Madan; Mrs. Maitland; Miss M. E.
Manners; Miss Adelaide Paine; Mrs. Porter; Miss Edith Rix; Rev.
C. J. Robinson, D.D.; Mr. S. Rogers; Mrs. Round; Miss Isabel
Standen; Mr. L. Sergeant; Miss Gaynor Simpson; Mrs. Southwall;
Sir John Tenniel; Miss E. Gertrude Thomson; Mrs. Woodhouse; and
Mrs. Wyper.

For their help in the work of compiling the Bibliographical
chapter and some other parts of the book, my thanks are due to
Mr. E. Baxter, Oxford; the Controller of the University Press,
Oxford; Mr. A. J. Lawrence, Rugby; Messrs. Macmillan and Co.,
London; Mr. James Parker, Oxford; and Messrs. Ward, Lock and Co.,

In the extracts which I have given from Mr. Dodgson's Journal
and Correspondence it will be noticed that Italics have been
somewhat freely employed to represent the words which he
underlined. The use of Italics was so marked a feature of his
literary style, as any one who has read his books must have
observed, that without their aid the rhetorical effect, which he
always strove to produce, would have been seriously marred.


GUILDFORD, _September_, 1898.





Lewis Carroll's forebears--The Bishop of Elphin--Murder of
Captain Dodgson--Daresbury--Living in
"Wonderland"--Croft--Boyish amusements--His first
school--Latin verses--A good report--He goes to Rugby--_The
Rectory Umbrella_--"A Lay of Sorrow"


Matriculation at Christ Church--Death of Mrs. Dodgson--The
Great Exhibition--University and College Honours--A
wonderful year--A theatrical
treat--_Misch-Masch_--_The Train_--_College
Rhymes_--His _nom de plume_--"Dotheboys
Hall"--Alfred Tennyson--Ordination--Sermons--A visit to
Farringford--"Where does the day begin?"--The Queen visits


Jowett--Index to "In Memoriam"--The Tennysons--The beginning
of "Alice"--Tenniel--Artistic friends--"Alice's Adventures
in Wonderland"--"Bruno's Revenge"--Tour with Dr.
Liddon--Cologne--Berlin architecture--The "Majesty of
Justice"--Peterhof--Moscow--A Russian wedding--Nijni--The
Troitska Monastery--"Hieroglyphic" writing--Giessen


Death of Archdeacon Dodgson--Lewis Carroll's rooms at Christ
Church--"Phantasmagoria"--Translations of "Alice"--"Through
the Looking-Glass"--"Jabberwocky" in Latin--C.S.
Calverley--"Notes by an Oxford
Chiel"--Hatfield--Vivisection--"The Hunting of the Snark"


Dramatic tastes--Miss Ellen Terry--"Natural Science at
Oxford"--Mr. Dodgson as an artist--Miss E.G. Thomson--The
drawing of children--A curious dream--"The Deserted
Parks"--"Syzygies"--Circus children--Row-loving
undergraduates--A letter to _The Observer_--Resignation
of the Lectureship--He is elected Curator of the Common


"The Profits of Authorship"--"Rhyme? and Reason?"--The
Common Room Cat--Visit to Jersey--Purity of
elections--Parliamentary Representation--Various literary
projects--Letters to Miss E. Rix--Being happy--"A Tangled
Tale"--Religious arguments--The "Alice" Operetta--"Alice's
Adventures Underground"--"The Game of Logic"--Mr. Harry


A systematic life--"Memoria Technica"--Mr. Dodgson's
shyness--"A Lesson in Latin"--The "Wonderland"
Stamp-Case--"Wise Words about Letter-Writing"--Princess
Alice--"Sylvie and Bruno"--"The night cometh"--"The Nursery
'Alice'"--Coventry Patmore--Telepathy--Resignation of Dr.
Liddell--A letter about Logic.


Mr. Dodgson resigns the Curatorship--Bazaars--He lectures to
children--A mechanical "Humpty Dumpty"--A logical
controversy--Albert Chevalier--"Sylvie and Bruno
Concluded"--"Pillow Problems"--Mr. Dodgson's
generosity--College services--Religious difficulties--A
village sermon--Plans for the future--Reverence--"Symbolic


Logic-lectures--Irreverent anecdotes--Tolerance of his
religious views--A mathematical discovery--"The Little
Minister"--Sir George Baden-Powell--Last illness--"Thy will
be done"--"Wonderland" at last!--Letters from
friends--"Three Sunsets"--"Of such is the kingdom of Heaven"


Mr. Dodgson's fondness for children--Miss Isabel
Standen--Puzzles--"Me and Myself"--A double
acrostic--"Father William"--Of drinking healths--Kisses by
post--Tired in the face--The unripe
plum--Eccentricities--"Sylvie and Bruno"--"Mr. Dodgson is
going on _well_"

THE SAME--_continued._

Books for children--"The Lost Plum-Cake"--"An Unexpected
Guest"--Miss Isa Bowman--Interviews--"Matilda Jane"--Miss
Edith Rix--Miss Kathleen Eschwege




* * * * *


LEWIS CARROLL--Frontispiece
_From a photograph_.

_From a miniature, painted about_ 1826.

_From a photograph by Lewis Carroll_.

_From a silhouette_.

_From a silhouette_.

_From a photograph by Lewis Carroll_, 1856.

_From a photograph_.

_From a photograph by Elliott and Fry_.

_From a drawing by Lewis Carroll_.

_From a drawing by Lewis Carroll_.

_From a drawing by Lewis Carroll_.

_From a drawing by Lewis Carroll_.

_From drawings by Lewis Carroll_.

_From a photograph_.

_From a photograph_.

_From a photograph_.

_From a photograph_.

_From a photograph by Lewis Carroll_.

_From a drawing by Lewis Carroll_.

_From a photograph by Lewis Carroll_, 1857.

_From a photograph by Lewis Carroll_, 1875.

_From a photograph by Lewis Carroll_, 1860.

_From a photograph by Lewis Carroll_, 1858.

_From a drawing by Lewis Carroll_.

_From a photograph by Lewis Carroll_, 1863.

_From a photograph by Lewis Carroll_, 1863.

_From a photograph by Lewis Carroll_.

_From a photograph by Lewis Carroll_, 1870.

_From a photograph by Lewis Carroll_, 1866.

_From a photograph by Lewis Carroll_, 1860.

_From a photograph by Lewis Carroll_, 1865.

_From a photograph by Lewis Carroll_, 1866.

_From a photograph by Lewis Carroll_, 1867.

_From a sketch by Lewis Carroll_.

_From a photograph by Bassano_.

_From a photograph_.

_From a photograph by Lewis Carroll_, 1860.

_From a photograph by Lewis Carroll_, 1873.

_From a photograph by Lewis Carroll_, 1870.


_From a photograph by Lewis Carroll_, 1875.

_From a photograph_.

_From a photograph_.

_From a photograph by Lewis Carroll_.

_From a photograph by Lewis Carroll_, 1863.

_From a photograph by Lewis Carroll_, 1865.

_From a photograph_.

_From a photograph by Hill & Saunders_.

_From a photograph by A.T. Shrimpton_.

_From a photograph_.

_From a crayon drawing by the Rev. H.C. Gaye_.

_From an etching by Miss Whitehead_.



_From a drawing by Henry Holiday_.


_From a photograph by Elliott and Fry_.

_From a photograph by Lewis Carroll_, 1875.

_From a photograph by Hill & Saunders_.

_From a photograph_.

_From a photograph_.

_From a photograph_.

_From a photograph_.

_From a photograph by Lewis Carroll_.

_From a photograph by Lewis Carroll_.

_From a photograph by Lewis Carroll_.

_From a photograph by Lewis Carroll_.

_From a photograph by Elliott and Fry_.


_From a photograph by Lewis Carroll_, 1863.

_From a drawing by Lewis Carroll_.

* * * * *



Lewis Carroll's forebears--The Bishop of Elphin--Murder of
Captain Dodgson--Daresbury--Living in
"Wonderland"--Croft--Boyish amusements--His first
school--Latin verses--A good report--He goes to
Rugby--_The Rectory Umbrella_--"A Lay of Sorrow."

The Dodgsons appear to have been for a long time connected with the
north of England, and until quite recently a branch of the family
resided at Stubb Hall, near Barnard Castle.

In the early part of the last century a certain Rev. Christopher
Dodgson held a living in Yorkshire. His son, Charles, also took Holy
Orders, and was for some time tutor to a son of the then Duke of
Northumberland. In 1762 his patron presented him to the living of
Elsdon, in Northumberland, by no means a desirable cure, as Mr.
Dodgson discovered. The following extracts from his letters to various
members of the Percy family are interesting as giving some idea of the
life of a rural clergyman a hundred years ago:

I am obliged to you for promising to write to me, but don't
give yourself the trouble of writing to this place, for 'tis
almost impossible to receive 'em, without sending a
messenger 16 miles to fetch 'em.

'Tis impossible to describe the oddity of my situation at
present, which, however, is not void of some pleasant

A clogmaker combs out my wig upon my curate's head, by way
of a block, and his wife powders it with a dredging-box.

The vestibule of the castle (used as a temporary parsonage)
is a low stable; above it the kitchen, in which are two
little beds joining to each other. The curate and his wife
lay in one, and Margery the maid in the other. I lay in the
parlour between two beds to keep me from being frozen to
death, for as we keep open house the winds enter from every
quarter, and are apt to sweep into bed to me.

Elsdon was once a market town as some say, and a city
according to others; but as the annals of the parish were
lost several centuries ago, it is impossible to determine
what age it was either the one or the other.

There are not the least traces of the former grandeur to be
found, whence some antiquaries are apt to believe that it
lost both its trade and charter at the Deluge.

... There is a very good understanding between the parties
[he is speaking of the Churchmen and Presbyterians who lived
in the parish], for they not only intermarry with one
another, but frequently do penance together in a white
sheet, with a white wand, barefoot, and in the coldest
season of the year. I have not finished the description for
fear of bringing on a fit of the ague. Indeed, the ideas of
sensation are sufficient to starve a man to death, without
having recourse to those of reflection.

If I was not assured by the best authority on earth that the
world is to be destroyed by fire, I should conclude that the
day of destruction is at hand, but brought on by means of an
agent very opposite to that of heat.

I have lost the use of everything but my reason, though my
head is entrenched in three night-caps, and my throat, which
is very bad, is fortified by a pair of stockings twisted in
the form of a cravat.

As washing is very cheap, I wear _two_ shirts at a
time, and, for want of a wardrobe, I hang my great coat upon
my own back, and generally keep on my boots in imitation of
my namesake of Sweden. Indeed, since the snow became two
feet deep (as I wanted a 'chaappin of Yale' from the
public-house), I made an offer of them to Margery the maid,
but her legs are too thick to make use of them, and I am
told that the greater part of my parishioners are not less
substantial, and notwithstanding this they are remarkable
for agility.

In course of time this Mr. Dodgson became Bishop of Ossory and Ferns,
and he was subsequently translated to the see of Elphin. He was warmly
congratulated on this change in his fortunes by George III., who said
that he ought indeed to be thankful to have got away from a palace
where the stabling was so bad.

The Bishop had four children, the eldest of whom, Elizabeth Anne,
married Charles Lutwidge, of Holmrook, in Cumberland. Two of the
others died almost before they had attained manhood. Charles, the
eldest son, entered the army, and rose to the rank of captain in the
4th Dragoon Guards. He met with a sad fate while serving his king and
country in Ireland. One of the Irish rebels who were supposed to have
been concerned in the murder of Lord Kilwarden offered to give himself
up to justice if Captain Dodgson would come alone and at night to take
him. Though he fully realised the risk, the brave captain decided to
trust himself to the honour of this outlaw, as he felt that no chance
should be missed of effecting so important a capture. Having first
written a letter of farewell to his wife, he set out on the night of
December 16, 1803, accompanied by a few troopers, for the
meeting-place--an old hut that stood a mile or so from Phillipstown,
in King's County. In accordance with the terms of the agreement, he
left his men a few hundred yards from the hut to await his return, and
advanced alone through the night. A cowardly shot from one of the
windows of the cottage ended his noble life, and alarmed the troopers,
who, coming up in haste, were confronted with the dead body of their
leader. The story is told that on the same night his wife heard two
shots fired, and made inquiry about it, but could find out nothing.
Shortly afterwards the news came that her husband had been killed just
at that time.

Captain Dodgson left two sons behind him--Hassard, who, after a
brilliant career as a special pleader, became a Master of the Court of
Common Pleas, and Charles, the father of the subject of this Memoir.

Charles, who was the elder of the two, was born in the year 1800, at
Hamilton, in Lanarkshire. He adopted the clerical profession, in which
he rose to high honours. He was a distinguished scholar, and took a
double first at Christ Church, Oxford. Although in after life
mathematics were his favourite pursuit, yet the fact that he
translated Tertullian for the "Library of the Fathers" is sufficient
evidence that he made good use of his classical education. In the
controversy about Baptismal Regeneration he took a prominent part,
siding on the question with the Tractarians, though his views on some
other points of Church doctrine were less advanced than those of the
leaders of the Oxford movement. He was a man of deep piety and of a
somewhat reserved and grave disposition, which, however, was tempered
by the most generous charity, so that he was universally loved by the
poor. In moments of relaxation his wit and humour were the delight of
his clerical friends, for he had the rare power of telling anecdotes
effectively. His reverence for sacred things was so great that he was
never known to relate a story which included a jest upon words from
the Bible.

In 1830 he married his cousin, Frances Jane Lutwidge, by whom he had
eleven children, all of whom, except Lewis Carroll, survive. His wife,
in the words of one who had the best possible opportunities for
observing her character, was "one of the sweetest and gentlest women
that ever lived, whom to know was to love. The earnestness of her
simple faith and love shone forth in all she did and said; she seemed
to live always in the conscious presence of God. It has been said by
her children that they never in all their lives remember to have heard
an impatient or harsh word from her lips." It is easy to trace in
Lewis Carroll's character the influence of that most gentle of
mothers; though dead she still speaks to us in some of the most
beautiful and touching passages of his works. Not so long ago I had a
conversation with an old friend of his; one of the first things she
said to me was, "Tell me about his mother." I complied with her
request as well as I was able, and, when I had finished my account of
Mrs. Dodgson's beautiful character, she said, "Ah, I knew it must have
been so; I felt sure he must have had a good mother."

On January 27, 1832, Charles Lutwidge Dodgson was born at Daresbury,
of which parish his father was then incumbent. The village of
Daresbury is about seven miles from Warrington; its name is supposed
to be derived from a word meaning oak, and certainly oaks are very
plentiful in the neighbourhood. A canal passes through an outlying
part of the parish. The bargemen who frequented this canal were a
special object of Mr. Dodgson's pastoral care. Once, when walking with
Lord Francis Egerton, who was a large landowner in the district, he
spoke of his desire to provide some sort of religious privileges for
them. "If I only had L100," he said, "I would turn one of those barges
into a chapel," and, at his companion's request, he described exactly
how he would have the chapel constructed and furnished. A few weeks
later he received a letter from Lord Francis to tell him that his wish
was fulfilled, and that the chapel was ready. In this strange church,
which is believed to have been the first of its kind, Mr. Dodgson
conducted service and preached every Sunday evening!

[Illustration: Daresbury Parsonage]

The parsonage is situated a mile and a half from the village, on the
glebe-farm, having been erected by a former incumbent, who, it was
said, cared more for the glebe than the parish. Here it was that
Charles spent the first eleven years of his life--years of complete
seclusion from the world, for even the passing of a cart was a matter
of great interest to the children.

[Illustration: Lewis Carroll, aged 8.]

In this quiet home the boy invented the strangest diversions for
himself; he made pets of the most odd and unlikely animals, and
numbered certain snails and toads among his intimate friends. He tried
also to encourage civilised warfare among earthworms, by supplying
them with small pieces of pipe, with which they might fight if so
disposed. His notions of charity at this early age were somewhat
rudimentary; he used to peel rushes with the idea that the pith would
afterwards "be given to the poor," though what possible use they could
put it to he never attempted to explain. Indeed he seems at this time
to have actually lived in that charming "Wonderland" which he
afterwards described so vividly; but for all that he was a thorough
boy, and loved to climb the trees and to scramble about in the old

One of the few breaks in this very uneventful life was a holiday spent
with the other members of his family in Beaumaris. The journey took
three days each way, for railroads were then almost unknown; and
whatever advantages coaching may have had over travelling in trains,
speed was certainly not one of them.

Mr. Dodgson from the first used to take an active part in his son's
education, and the following anecdote will show that he had at least a
pupil who was anxious to learn. One day, when Charles was a very small
boy, he came up to his father and showed him a book of logarithms,
with the request, "Please explain." Mr. Dodgson told him that he was
much too young to understand anything about such a difficult subject.
The child listened to what his father said, and appeared to think it
irrelevant, for he still insisted, "_But_, please, explain!"

[Illustration: Mrs. Dodgson]

On one occasion Mr. and Mrs. Dodgson went to Hull, to pay a visit to
the latter's father, who had been seriously ill. From Hull Mrs.
Dodgson wrote to Charles, and he set much store by this letter, which
was probably one of the first he had received. He was afraid that some
of his little sisters would mess it, or tear it up, so he wrote upon
the back, "No one is to touch this note, for it belongs to C. L. D.";
but, this warning appearing insufficient, he added, "Covered with
slimy pitch, so that they will wet their fingers." The precious letter
ran as follows:--

My dearest Charlie, I have used you rather ill in not having
written to you sooner, but I know you will forgive me, as
your Grandpapa has liked to have me with him so much, and I
could not write and talk to him comfortably. All your notes
have delighted me, my precious children, and show me that
you have not quite forgotten me. I am always thinking of
you, and longing to have you all round me again more than
words can tell. God grant that we may find you all well and
happy on Friday evening. I am happy to say your dearest Papa
is quite well--his cough is rather _tickling_, but is
of no consequence. It delights me, my darling Charlie, to
hear that you are getting on so well with your Latin, and
that you make so few mistakes in your Exercises. You will be
happy to hear that your dearest Grandpapa is going on
nicely--indeed I hope he will soon be quite well again. He
talks a great deal and most kindly about you all. I hope my
sweetest Will says "Mama" sometimes, and that precious Tish
has not forgotten. Give them and all my other treasures,
including yourself, 1,000,000,000 kisses from me, with my
most affectionate love. I am sending you a shabby note, but
I cannot help it. Give my kindest love to Aunt Dar, and
believe me, my own dearest Charlie, to be your sincerely


Among the few visitors who disturbed the repose of Daresbury Parsonage
was Mr. Durnford, afterwards Bishop of Chichester, with whom Mr.
Dodgson had formed a close friendship. Another was Mr. Bayne, at that
time head-master of Warrington Grammar School, who used occasionally
to assist in the services at Daresbury. His son, Vere, was Charles's
playfellow; he is now a student of Christ Church, and the friendship
between him and Lewis Carroll lasted without interruption till the
death of the latter.

The memory of his birthplace did not soon fade from Charles's mind;
long afterwards he retained pleasant recollections of its rustic
beauty. For instance, his poem of "The Three Sunsets," which first
appeared in 1860 in _All the Year Round,_ begins with the
following stanzas, which have been slightly altered in later

I watch the drowsy night expire,
And Fancy paints at my desire
Her magic pictures in the fire.

An island farm, 'mid seas of corn,
Swayed by the wandering breath of morn,
The happy spot where I was born.

Though nearly all Mr. Dodgson's parishioners at Daresbury have passed
away, yet there are still some few left who speak with loving
reverence of him whose lips, now long silenced, used to speak so
kindly to them; whose hands, long folded in sleep, were once so ready
to alleviate their wants and sorrows.

In 1843 Sir Robert Peel presented him to the Crown living of Croft, a
Yorkshire village about three miles south of Darlington. This
preferment made a great change in the life of the family; it opened
for them many more social opportunities, and put an end to that life
of seclusion which, however beneficial it may be for a short time, is
apt, if continued too long, to have a cramping and narrowing

The river Tees is at Croft the dividing line between Yorkshire and
Durham, and on the middle of the bridge which there crosses it is a
stone which shows where the one county ends and the other begins.
"Certain lands are held in this place," says Lewis in his
"Topographical Dictionary," "by the owner presenting on the bridge, at
the coming of every new Bishop of Durham, an old sword, pronouncing a
legendary address, and delivering the sword to the Bishop, who returns
it immediately." The Tees is subject to extraordinary floods, and
though Croft Church stands many feet above the ordinary level of the
river, and is separated from it by the churchyard and a field, yet on
one occasion the church itself was flooded, as was attested by
water-marks on the old woodwork several feet from the floor, still to
be seen when Mr. Dodgson was incumbent.

This church, which is dedicated to St. Peter, is a quaint old building
with a Norman porch, the rest of it being of more modern construction.
It contains a raised pew, which is approached by a winding flight of
stairs, and is covered in, so that it resembles nothing so much as a
four-post bedstead. This pew used to belong to the Milbanke family,
with which Lord Byron was connected. Mr. Dodgson found the
chancel-roof in so bad a state of repair that he was obliged to take
it down, and replace it by an entirely new one. The only village
school that existed when he came to the place was a sort of barn,
which stood in a corner of the churchyard. During his incumbency a
fine school-house was erected. Several members of his family used
regularly to help in teaching the children, and excellent reports were

The Rectory is close to the church, and stands in the middle of a
beautiful garden. The former incumbent had been an enthusiastic
horticulturist, and the walls of the kitchen garden were covered with
luxuriant fruit-trees, while the greenhouses were well stocked with
rare and beautiful exotics. Among these was a specimen of that
fantastic cactus, the night-blowing Cereus, whose flowers, after an
existence of but a few hours, fade with the waning sun. On the day
when this occurred large numbers of people used to obtain Mr.
Dodgson's leave to see the curiosity.

[Illustration: Croft Rectory]

Near the Rectory is a fine hotel, built when Croft was an important
posting-station for the coaches between London and Edinburgh, but in
Mr. Dodgson's time chiefly used by gentlemen who stayed there during
the hunting season. The village is renowned for its baths and
medicinal waters. The parish of Croft includes the outlying hamlets of
Halnaby, Dalton, and Stapleton, so that the Rector's position is by no
means a sinecure. Within the village is Croft Hall, the old seat of
the Chaytors; but during Mr. Dodgson's incumbency the then Sir William
Chaytor built and lived at Clervaux Castle, calling it by an old
family name.

Shortly after accepting the living of Croft, Mr. Dodgson was appointed
examining chaplain to the Bishop of Ripon; subsequently he was made
Archdeacon of Richmond and one of the Canons of Ripon Cathedral.

Charles was at this time very fond of inventing games for the
amusement of his brothers and sisters; he constructed a rude train out
of a wheelbarrow, a barrel and a small truck, which used to convey
passengers from one "station" in the Rectory garden to another. At
each of these stations there was a refreshment-room, and the
passengers had to purchase tickets from him before they could enjoy
their ride. The boy was also a clever conjuror, and, arrayed in a
brown wig and a long white robe, used to cause no little wonder to his
audience by his sleight-of-hand. With the assistance of various
members of the family and the village carpenter, he made a troupe of
marionettes and a small theatre for them to act in. He wrote all the
plays himself the most popular being "The Tragedy of King John"--and
he was very clever at manipulating the innumerable strings by which
the movements of his puppets were regulated. One winter, when the snow
lay thick upon the lawn, he traced upon it a maze of such hopeless
intricacy as almost to put its famous rival at Hampton Court in the

[Illustration: Toy Station in garden at Croft.]

When he was twelve years old his father sent him to school at
Richmond, under Mr. Tate, a worthy son of that well-known Dr. Tate who
had made Richmond School so famous.

I am able to give his earliest impressions of school-life in his own
words, for one of his first letters home has been fortunately
preserved. It is dated August 5th, and is addressed to his two eldest
sisters. A boy who has _ten_ brothers and sisters can scarcely be
expected to write separate letters to each of them.

My dear Fanny and Memy,--I hope you are all getting on well,
as also the sweet twins, the boys I think that I like the
best, are Harry Austin, and all the Tates of which there are
7 besides a little girl who came down to dinner the first
day, but not since, and I also like Edmund Tremlet, and
William and Edward Swire, Tremlet is a sharp little fellow
about 7 years old, the youngest in the school, I also like
Kemp and Mawley. The rest of the boys that I know are
Bertram, Harry and Dick Wilson, and two Robinsons, I will
tell you all about them when I return. The boys have played
two tricks upon me which were these--they first proposed to
play at "King of the Cobblers" and asked if I would be king,
to which I agreed. Then they made me sit down and sat (on
the ground) in a circle round me, and told me to say "Go to
work" which I said, and they immediately began kicking me
and knocking me on all sides. The next game they proposed
was "Peter, the red lion," and they made a mark on a
tombstone (for we were playing in the churchyard) and one of
the boys walked with his eyes shut, holding out his finger,
trying to touch the mark; then a little boy came forward to
lead the rest and led a good many very near the mark; at
last it was my turn; they told me to shut my eyes well, and
the next minute I had my finger in the mouth of one of the
boys, who had stood (I believe) before the tombstone with
his mouth open. For 2 nights I slept alone, and for the rest
of the time with Ned Swire. The boys play me no tricks now.
The only fault (tell Mama) that there has been was coming in
one day to dinner just after grace. On Sunday we went to
church in the morning, and sat in a large pew with Mr.
Fielding, the church we went to is close by Mr. Tate's
house, we did not go in the afternoon but Mr. Tate read a
discourse to the boys on the 5th commandment. We went to
church again in the evening. Papa wished me to tell him all
the texts I had heard preached upon, please to tell him that
I could not hear it in the morning nor hardly one sentence
of the sermon, but the one in the evening was I Cor. i. 23.
I believe it was a farewell sermon, but I am not sure. Mrs.
Tate has looked through my clothes and left in the trunk a
great many that will not be wanted. I have had 3 misfortunes
in my clothes etc. 1st, I cannot find my tooth-brush, so
that I have not brushed my teeth for 3 or 4 days, 2nd, I
cannot find my blotting paper, and 3rd, I have no shoe-horn.
The chief games are, football, wrestling, leap frog, and
fighting. Excuse bad writing.

Yr affec' brother Charles.

_To_ SKEFF [_a younger brother, aged six_].

My dear Skeff,--Roar not lest thou be abolished. Yours,

The discomforts which he, as a "new boy," had to put up with from his
school-mates affected him as they do not, unfortunately, affect most
boys, for in later school days he was famous as a champion of the weak
and small, while every bully had good reason to fear him. Though it is
hard for those who have only known him as the gentle and retiring don
to believe it, it is nevertheless true that long after he left school
his name was remembered as that of a boy who knew well how to use his
fists in defence of a righteous cause.

As was the custom at that time, Charles began to compose Latin verses
at a very early age, his first copy being dated November 25, 1844. The
subject was evening, and this is how he treated it:--

Phoebus aqua splendet descendens, aequora tingens
Splendore aurato. Pervenit umbra solo.
Mortales lectos quaerunt, et membra relaxant
Fessa labore dies; cuncta per orbe silet.
Imperium placidum nunc sumit Phoebe corusca.
Antris procedunt sanguine ore ferae.

These lines the boy solemnly copied into his Diary, apparently in the
most blissful ignorance of the numerous mistakes they contained.

The next year he wrote a story which appeared in the school magazine.
It was called "The Unknown One," so it was probably of the sensational
type in which small boys usually revel.

Though Richmond School, as it was in 1844, may not compare favourably
in every respect with a modern preparatory school, where supervision
has been so far "reduced to the absurd" that the unfortunate masters
hardly get a minute to themselves from sunrise till long after sunset,
yet no better or wiser men than those of the school of Mr. Tate are
now to be found. Nor, I venture to think, are the results of the
modern system more successful than those of the old one. Charles loved
his "kind old schoolmaster," as he affectionately calls him, and
surely to gain the love of the boys is the main battle in

The impression he made upon his instructors may be gathered from the
following extracts from Mr. Tate's first report upon him:

Sufficient opportunities having been allowed me to draw from
actual observation an estimate of your son's character and
abilities, I do not hesitate to express my opinion that he
possesses, along with other and excellent natural
endowments, a very uncommon share of genius. Gentle and
cheerful in his intercourse with others, playful and ready
in conversation, he is capable of acquirements and knowledge
far beyond his years, while his reason is so clear and so
jealous of error, that he will not rest satisfied without a
most exact solution of whatever appears to him obscure. He
has passed an excellent examination just now in mathematics,
exhibiting at times an illustration of that love of precise
argument, which seems to him natural.

I must not omit to set off against these great advantages
one or two faults, of which the removal as soon as possible
is desirable, tho' I am prepared to find it a work of time.
As you are well aware, our young friend, while jealous of
error, as I said above, where important faith or principles
are concerned, is exceedingly lenient towards lesser
frailties--and, whether in reading aloud or metrical
composition, frequently sets at nought the notions of Virgil
or Ovid as to syllabic quantity. He is moreover marvellously
ingenious in replacing the ordinary inflexions of nouns and
verbs, as detailed in our grammars, by more exact analogies,
or convenient forms of his own devising. This source of
fault will in due time exhaust itself, though flowing freely
at present.... You may fairly anticipate for him a bright
career. Allow me, before I close, one suggestion which
assumes for itself the wisdom of experience and the
sincerity of the best intention. You must not entrust your
son with a full knowledge of his superiority over other
boys. Let him discover this as he proceeds. The love of
excellence is far beyond the love of excelling; and if he
should once be bewitched into a mere ambition to surpass
others I need not urge that the very quality of his
knowledge would be materially injured, and that his
character would receive a stain of a more serious
description still....

And again, when Charles was leaving Richmond, he wrote:

"Be assured that I shall always feel a peculiar interest in
the gentle, intelligent, and well-conducted boy who is now
leaving us."

Although his father had been a Westminster boy, Charles was, for some
reason or other, sent to Rugby. The great Arnold, who had, one might
almost say, created Rugby School, and who certainly had done more for
it than all his predecessors put together, had gone to his rest, and
for four years the reins of government had been in the firm hands of
Dr. Tait, afterwards Archbishop of Canterbury. He was Headmaster
during the whole of the time Charles was at Rugby, except the last
year, during which Dr. Goulburn held that office. Charles went up in
February, 1846, and he must have found his new life a great change
from his quiet experiences at Richmond. Football was in full swing,
and one can imagine that to a new boy "Big-side" was not an unalloyed
delight. Whether he distinguished himself as a "dropper," or ever beat
the record time in the "Crick" run, I do not know. Probably not; his
abilities did not lie much in the field of athletics. But he got on
capitally with his work, and seldom returned home without one or more
prizes. Moreover, he conducted himself so well that he never had to
enter that dreaded chamber, well known to _some_ Rugbeians, which
is approached by a staircase that winds up a little turret, and
wherein are enacted scenes better imagined than described.

[Illustration: Archbishop Tait. _From a photograph by
Messrs. Elliott and Fry_]

A schoolboy's letter home is not, usually, remarkable for the
intelligence displayed in it; as a rule it merely leads up with more
or less ingenuity to the inevitable request for money contained in the
postscript. Some of Charles's letters were of a different sort, as the
following example shows:

Yesterday evening I was walking out with a friend of mine
who attends as mathematical pupil Mr. Smythies the second
mathematical master; we went up to Mr. Smythies' house, as
he wanted to speak to him, and he asked us to stop and have
a glass of wine and some figs. He seems as devoted to his
duty as Mr. Mayor, and asked me with a smile of delight,
"Well Dodgson I suppose you're getting well on with your
mathematics?" He is very clever at them, though not equal to
Mr. Mayor, as indeed few men are, Papa excepted.... I have
read the first number of Dickens' new tale, "Davy
Copperfield." It purports to be his life, and begins with
his birth and childhood; it seems a poor plot, but some of
the characters and scenes are good. One of the persons that
amused me was a Mrs. Gummidge, a wretched melancholy person,
who is always crying, happen what will, and whenever the
fire smokes, or other trifling accident occurs, makes the
remark with great bitterness, and many tears, that she is a
"lone lorn creetur, and everything goes contrairy with her."
I have not yet been able to get the second volume Macaulay's
"England" to read. I have seen it however and one passage
struck me when seven bishops had signed the invitation to
the pretender, and King James sent for Bishop Compton (who
was one of the seven) and asked him "whether he or any of
his ecclesiastical brethren had anything to do with it?" He
replied, after a moment's thought "I am fully persuaded your
majesty, that there is not one of my brethren who is not as
innocent in the matter as myself." This was certainly no
actual lie, but certainly, as Macaulay says, it was very
little different from one.

The Mr. Mayor who is mentioned in this letter formed a very high
opinion of his pupil's ability, for in 1848 he wrote to Archdeacon
Dodgson: "I have not had a more promising boy at his age since I came
to Rugby."

Dr. Tait speaks no less warmly:--

My dear Sir,--I must not allow your son to leave school
without expressing to you the very high opinion I entertain
of him. I fully coincide in Mr. Cotton's estimate both of
his abilities and upright conduct. His mathematical
knowledge is great for his age, and I doubt not he will do
himself credit in classics. As I believe I mentioned to you
before, his examination for the Divinity prize was one of
the most creditable exhibitions I have ever seen.

During the whole time of his being in my house, his conduct
has been excellent.

Believe me to be, My dear Sir,

Yours very faithfully,


Public school life then was not what it is now; the atrocious system
then in vogue of setting hundreds of lines for the most trifling
offences made every day a weariness and a hopeless waste of time,
while the bad discipline which was maintained in the dormitories made
even the nights intolerable--especially for the small boys, whose beds
in winter were denuded of blankets that the bigger ones might not feel

Charles kept no diary during his time at Rugby; but, looking back upon
it, he writes in 1855:--

During my stay I made I suppose some progress in learning of
various kinds, but none of it was done _con amore_, and
I spent an incalculable time in writing out
impositions--this last I consider one of the chief faults of
Rugby School. I made some friends there, the most intimate
being Henry Leigh Bennett (as college acquaintances we find
fewer common sympathies, and are consequently less
intimate)--but I cannot say that I look back upon my life at
a Public School with any sensations of pleasure, or that any
earthly considerations would induce me to go through my
three years again.

When, some years afterwards, he visited Radley School, he was much
struck by the cubicle system which prevails in the dormitories there,
and wrote in his Diary, "I can say that if I had been thus secure from
annoyance at night, the hardships of the daily life would have been
comparative trifles to bear."

The picture on page 32 was, I believe, drawn by Charles rile he was
at Rugby in illustration of a letter received from one of his sisters.
Halnaby, as I have said before, was an outlying district of Croft

During his holidays he used to amuse himself by editing local
magazines. Indeed, they might be called _very local_ magazines,
as their circulation was confined to the inmates of Croft Rectory. The
first of these, _Useful and Instructive Poetry_, was written
about 1845. It came to an untimely end after a six months' run, and
was followed at varying intervals by several other periodicals,
equally short-lived.

In 1849 or 1850, _The Rectory Umbrella_ began to appear. As the
editor was by this time seventeen or eighteen years old, it was
naturally of a more ambitious character than any of its precursors. It
contained a serial story of the most thrilling interest, entitled,
"The Walking-Stick of Destiny," some meritorious poetry, a few
humorous essays, and several caricatures of pictures in the Vernon
Gallery. Three reproductions of these pictures follow, with extracts
from the _Umbrella_ descriptive of them.

[Illustration: The only sister who _would_ write to her
brother, though the table had just "folded down"! The other sisters
are depicted "sternly resolved to set off to Halnaby & the Castle,"
tho' it is yet "early, early morning"--Rembrondt.]


As our readers will have seen by the preceding page, we
have commenced engraving the above series of pictures. "The
Age of Innocence," by Sir J. Reynolds, representing a young
Hippopotamus seated under a shady tree, presents to the
contemplative mind a charming union of youth and innocence.


[Illustration: _"The Scanty Meal."_]

We have been unusually[001] successful in our second
engraving from the Vernon Gallery. The picture is
intended, as our readers will perceive, to illustrate the
evils of homoeopathy.[002] This idea is well carried out
through the whole picture. The thin old lady at the head of
the table is in the painter's best style; we almost fancy we
can trace in the eye of the other lady a lurking suspicion
that her glasses are not really in fault, and that the old
gentleman has helped her to _nothing_ instead of a
nonillionth.[003] Her companion has evidently got an empty
glass in his hand; the two children in front are admirably
managed, and there is a sly smile on the footman's face, as
if he thoroughly enjoyed either the bad news he is bringing
or the wrath of his mistress. The carpet is executed with
that elaborate care for which Mr. Herring is so famed, and
the picture on the whole is one of his best.

"_The First Ear-ring_"

The scene from which this excellent picture is painted
is taken from a passage in the autobiography[004] of the
celebrated Sir William Smith[005] of his life when a
schoolboy: we transcribe the passage: "One day Bill
Tomkins[006] and I were left alone in the house, the old
doctor being out; after playing a number of pranks Bill laid
me a bet of sixpence that I wouldn't pour a bottle of ink
over the doctor's cat. _I did it_, but at that moment
old Muggles came home, and caught me by the ear as I
attempted to run away. My sensations at the moment I shall
never forget; _on that occasion I received my first
ear-ring_.[007] The only remark Bill made to me, as he
paid me the money afterwards was, 'I say, didn't you just
howl jolly!'" The engraving is an excellent copy of the

[Illustration: Sir D. Wilkie Painter The First Earring.
W. Greatbach Engraver. _from the picture in the Vernon Gallery_]

The best thing in the _Rectory Umbrella_ was a parody on Lord
Macaulay's style in the "Lays of Ancient Rome"; Charles had a special
aptitude for parody, as is evidenced by several of the best-known
verses in his later books.


No. 2.

Fair stands the ancient[008] Rectory,
The Rectory of Croft,
The sun shines bright upon it,
The breezes whisper soft.
From all the house and garden
Its inhabitants come forth,
And muster in the road without,
And pace in twos and threes about,
The children of the North.

Some are waiting in the garden,
Some are waiting at the door,
And some are following behind,
And some have gone before.
But wherefore all this mustering?
Wherefore this vast array?
A gallant feat of horsemanship
Will be performed to-day.

To eastward and to westward,
The crowd divides amain,
Two youths are leading on the steed,
Both tugging at the rein;
And sorely do they labour,
For the steed[009] is very strong,
And backward moves its stubborn feet,
And backward ever doth retreat,
And drags its guides along.

And now the knight hath mounted,
Before the admiring band,
Hath got the stirrups on his feet.
The bridle in his hand.
Yet, oh! beware, sir horseman!
And tempt thy fate no more,
For such a steed as thou hast got,
Was never rid before!

The rabbits[010] bow before thee.
And cower in the straw;
The chickens[011] are submissive,
And own thy will for law;
Bullfinches and canary
Thy bidding do obey;
And e'en the tortoise in its shell
Doth never say thee nay.

But thy steed will hear no master,
Thy steed will bear no stick,
And woe to those that beat her,
And woe to those that kick![012]
For though her rider smite her,
As hard as he can hit,
And strive to turn her from the yard,
She stands in silence, pulling hard
Against the pulling bit.

And now the road to Dalton
Hath felt their coming tread,
The crowd are speeding on before,
And all have gone ahead.
Yet often look they backward,
And cheer him on, and bawl,
For slower still, and still more slow,
That horseman and that charger go,
And scarce advance at all.

And now two roads to choose from
Are in that rider's sight:
In front the road to Dalton,
And New Croft upon the right.
"I can't get by!" he bellows,
"I really am not able!
Though I pull my shoulder out of joint,
I cannot get him past this point,
For it leads unto his stable!"

Then out spake Ulfrid Longbow,[013]
A valiant youth was he,
"Lo! I will stand on thy right hand
And guard the pass for thee!"
And out spake fair Flureeza,[014]
His sister eke was she,
"I will abide on thy other side,
And turn thy steed for thee!"

And now commenced a struggle
Between that steed and rider,
For all the strength that he hath left
Doth not suffice to guide her.
Though Ulfrid and his sister
Have kindly stopped the way,
And all the crowd have cried aloud,
"We can't wait here all day!"

Round turned he as not deigning
Their words to understand,
But he slipped the stirrups from his feet
The bridle from his hand,
And grasped the mane full lightly,
And vaulted from his seat,
And gained the road in triumph,[015]
And stood upon his feet.

All firmly till that moment
Had Ulfrid Longbow stood,
And faced the foe right valiantly,
As every warrior should.
But when safe on terra firma
His brother he did spy,
"What _did_ you do that for?" he cried,
Then unconcerned he stepped aside
And let it canter by.

They gave him bread and butter,[016]
That was of public right,
As much as four strong rabbits,
Could munch from morn to night,
For he'd done a deed of daring,
And faced that savage steed,
And therefore cups of coffee sweet,
And everything that was a treat,
Were but his right and meed.

And often in the evenings,
When the fire is blazing bright,
When books bestrew the table
And moths obscure the light,
When crying children go to bed,
A struggling, kicking load;
We'll talk of Ulfrid Longbow's deed,
How, in his brother's utmost need,
Back to his aid he flew with speed,
And how he faced the fiery steed,
And kept the New Croft Road.

[Illustration: Exterior of Christ Church]

* * * * *



Matriculation at Christ Church--Death of Mrs. Dodgson--The
Great Exhibition--University and College Honours--A
wonderful year--A theatrical treat--_Misch-Masch--The
Train--College Rhymes_--His _nom de
plume_--"Dotheboys Hall"--Alfred
Tennyson--Ordination--Sermons--A visit to
Farringford--"Where does the day begin?"--The Queen visits

We have traced in the boyhood of Lewis Carroll the beginnings of those
characteristic traits which afterwards, more fully developed, gave him
so distinguished a position among his contemporaries. We now come to a
period of his life which is in some respects necessarily less
interesting. We all have to pass through that painful era of
self-consciousness which prefaces manhood, that time when we feel so
deeply, and are so utterly unable to express to others, or even to
define clearly to ourselves, what it is we do feel. The natural
freedom of childhood is dead within us; the conventional freedom of
riper years is struggling to birth, and its efforts are sometimes
ludicrous to an unsympathetic observer. In Lewis Carroll's mental
attitude during this critical period there was always a calm dignity
which saved him from these absurdities, an undercurrent of
consciousness that what seemed so great to him was really very little.

On May 23, 1850, he matriculated at Christ Church, the venerable
college which had numbered his father's among other illustrious names.
A letter from Dr. Jelf, one of the canons of Christ Church, to
Archdeacon Dodgson, written when the former heard that his old
friend's son was coming up to "the House," contains the following
words: "I am sure I express the common feeling of all who remember you
at Christ Church when I say that we shall rejoice to see a son of
yours worthy to tread in your footsteps."

Lewis Carroll came into residence on January 24, 1851. From that day
to the hour of his death--a period of forty-seven years--he belonged
to "the House," never leaving it for any length of time, becoming
almost a part of it. I, for one, can hardly imagine it without him.

Though technically "in residence," he had not rooms of his own in
College during his first term. The "House" was very full; and had it
not been for one of the tutors, the Rev. J. Lew, kindly lending him
one of his own rooms, he would have had to take lodgings in the town.
The first set of rooms he occupied was in Peckwater Quadrangle, which
is annually the scene of a great bonfire on Guy Fawkes' Day, and,
generally speaking, is not the best place for a reading man to live

In those days the undergraduates dining in hall were divided into
"messes." Each mess consisted of about half a dozen men, who had a
table to themselves. Dinner was served at five, and very indifferently
served, too; the dishes and plates were of pewter, and the joint was
passed round, each man cutting off what he wanted for himself. In Mr.
Dodgson's mess were Philip Pusey, the late Rev. G. C. Woodhouse, and,
among others, one who still lives in "Alice in Wonderland" as the

Only a few days after term began, Mrs. Dodgson died suddenly at Croft.
The shock was a terrible one to the whole family, and especially to
her devoted husband. I have come across a delightful and most
characteristic letter from Dr. Pusey--a letter full of the kindest and
truest sympathy with the Archdeacon in his bereavement. The part of it
which bears upon Mrs. Dodgson's death I give in full:--

[Illustration: Grave of Archdeacon and Mrs. Dodgson in Croft

My dear Friend, I hear and see so little and so few persons,
that I had not heard of your sorrow until your to-day's
letter; and now I but guess what it was: only your language
is that of the very deepest. I have often thought, since I
had to think of this, how, in all adversity, what God takes
away He may give us back with increase. One cannot think
that any holy earthly love will cease, when we shall "be
like the Angels of God in Heaven." Love here must shadow our
love there, deeper because spiritual, without any alloy from
our sinful nature, and in the fulness of the love of God.
But as we grow here by God's grace will be our capacity for
endless love. So, then, if by our very sufferings we are
purified, and our hearts enlarged, we shall, in that endless
bliss, love more those whom we loved here, than if we had
never had that sorrow, never been parted....

Lewis Carroll was summoned home to attend the funeral--a sad interlude
amidst the novel experiences of a first term at College. The Oxford of
1851 was in many ways quite unlike the Oxford of 1898. The position of
the undergraduates was much more similar to that of schoolboys than is
now the case; they were subject to the same penalties--corporal
punishment, even, had only just gone out of vogue!--and were expected
to work, and to work hard.

Early rising then was strictly enforced, as the following extract from
one of his letters will show:--

I am not so anxious as usual to begin my personal history,
as the first thing I have to record is a very sad incident,
namely, my missing morning chapel; before, however, you
condemn me, you must hear how accidental it was. For some
days now I have been in the habit of, I will not say getting
up, but of being called at a quarter past six, and generally
managing to be down soon after seven. In the present
instance I had been up the night before till about half-past
twelve, and consequently when I was called I fell asleep
again, and was thunderstruck to find on waking that it was
ten minutes past eight. I have had no imposition, nor heard
anything about it. It is rather vexatious to have happened
so soon, as I had intended never to be late.

[Illustration: Lewis Carroll, aged 23.]

It was therefore obviously his custom to have his breakfast
_before_ going to chapel. I wonder how many undergraduates of the
present generation follow the same hardy rule! But then no
"impositions" threaten the modern sluggard, even if he neglects chapel

During the Long Vacation he visited the Great Exhibition, and wrote
his sister Elizabeth a long account of what he had seen:--

I think the first impression produced on you when you get
inside is one of bewilderment. It looks like a sort of
fairyland. As far as you can look in any direction, you see
nothing but pillars hung about with shawls, carpets, &c.,
with long avenues of statues, fountains, canopies, etc.,
etc., etc. The first thing to be seen on entering is the
Crystal Fountain, a most elegant one about thirty feet high
at a rough guess, composed entirely of glass and pouring
down jets of water from basin to basin; this is in the
middle of the centre nave, and from it you can look down to
either end, and up both transepts. The centre of the nave
mostly consists of a long line of colossal statues, some
most magnificent. The one considered the finest, I believe,
is the Amazon and Tiger. She is sitting on horseback, and a
tiger has fastened on the neck of the horse in front. You
have to go to one side to see her face, and the other to see
the horse's. The horse's face is really wonderful,
expressing terror and pain so exactly, that you almost
expect to hear it scream.... There are some very ingenious
pieces of mechanism. A tree (in the French Compartment) with
birds chirping and hopping from branch to branch exactly
like life. The bird jumps across, turns round on the other
branch, so as to face back again, settles its head and neck,
and then in a few moments jumps back again. A bird standing
at the foot of the tree trying to eat a beetle is rather a
failure; it never succeeds in getting its head more than a
quarter of an inch down, and that in uncomfortable little
jerks, as if it was choking. I have to go to the Royal
Academy, so must stop: as the subject is quite inexhaustible,
there is no hope of ever coming to a regular finish.

On November 1st he won a Boulter scholarship, and at the end of the
following year obtained First Class Honours in Mathematics and a
Second in Classical Moderations. On Christmas Eve he was made a
Student on Dr. Pusey's nomination, for at that time the Dean and
Canons nominated to Studentships by turn. The only conditions on which
these old Studentships were held were that the Student should remain
unmarried, and should proceed to Holy Orders. No statute precisely
defined what work was expected of them, that question being largely
left to their own discretion.

The eight Students at the bottom of the list that is to say, the eight
who had been nominated last--had to mark, by pricking on weekly papers
called "the Bills," the attendance at morning and evening chapel. They
were allowed to arrange this duty among themselves, and, if it was
neglected, they were all punished. This long-defunct custom explains
an entry in Lewis Carroll's Diary for October 15, 1853, "Found I had
got the prickbills two hundred lines apiece, by not pricking in in the
morning," which, I must confess, mystified me exceedingly at first.
Another reference to College impositions occurs further on in his
Diary, at a time when he was a Lecturer: "Spoke to the Dean about
F--, who has brought an imposition which his tutor declares is not
his own writing, after being expressly told to write it himself."

The following is an extract from his father's letter of
congratulation, on his being nominated for the Studentship:--

My dearest Charles,--The feelings of thankfulness and
delight with which I have read your letter just received, I
must leave to _your conception_; for they are, I assure
you, beyond _my expression_; and your affectionate
heart will derive no small addition of joy from thinking of
the joy which you have occasioned to me, and to all the
circle of your home. I say "_you_ have occasioned,"
because, grateful as I am to my old friend Dr. Pusey for
what he has done, I cannot desire stronger evidence than his
own words of the fact that you have _won_, and well
won, this honour for _yourself_, and that it is
bestowed as a matter of _justice_ to _you_, and
not of _kindness_ to _me_. You will be interested
in reading extracts from his two letters to me--the first
written three years ago in answer to one from me, in which I
distinctly told him that I neither asked nor expected that
he should serve me in this matter, unless my son should
fairly reach the standard of merit by which these
appointments were regulated. In reply he says--

"I thank you for the way in which you put the application to
me. I have now, for nearly twenty years, not given a
Studentship to any friend of my own, unless there was no
very eligible person in the College. I have passed by or
declined the sons of those to whom I was personally indebted
for kindness. I can only say that I shall have _very
great_ pleasure, if circumstances permit me to nominate
your son."

In his letter received this morning he says--

"I have great pleasure in telling you that I have been
enabled to recommend your son for a Studentship this
Christmas. It must be so much more satisfactory to you that
he should be nominated thus, in consequence of the
recommendation of the College. One of the Censors brought me
to-day five names; but in their minds it was plain that they
thought your son on the whole the most eligible for the
College. It has been very satisfactory to hear of your son's
uniform steady and good conduct."

The last clause is a parallel to your own report, and I am
glad that you should have had so soon an evidence so
substantial of the truth of what I have so often inculcated,
that it is the "steady, painstaking, likely-to-do-good" man,
who in the long run wins the race against those who now and
then give a brilliant flash and, as Shakespeare says,
"straight are cold again."

[Illustration: Archdeacon Dodgson.]

In 1853 Archdeacon Dodgson was collated and installed as one of the
Canons of Ripon Cathedral. This appointment necessitated a residence
of three months in every year at Ripon, where Dr. Erskine was then
Dean. A certain Miss Anderson, who used to stay at the Deanery, had
very remarkable "clairvoyant" powers; she was able--it was averred--by
merely holding in her hand a folded paper containing some words
written by a person unknown to her, to describe his or her character.
In this way, at what precise date is uncertain, she dictated the
following description of Lewis Carroll: "Very clever head; a great
deal of number; a great deal of imitation; he would make a good actor;
diffident; rather shy in general society; comes out in the home
circle; rather obstinate; very clever; a great deal of concentration;
very affectionate; a great deal of wit and humour; not much
eventuality (or memory of events); fond of deep reading; imaginative,
fond, of reading poetry; _may_ compose." Those who knew him well
will agree that this was, at any rate, a remarkable coincidence.

Longley, afterwards Primate, was then Bishop of Ripon. His charming
character endeared him to the Archdeacon and his family, as to every
one else who saw much of him. He was one of the few men whose faces
can truly be called _beautiful_; it was a veil through which a
soul, all gentleness and truth, shone brightly.

In the early part of 1854 Mr. Dodgson was reading hard for "Greats."
For the last three weeks before the examination he worked thirteen
hours a day, spending the whole night before the _viva voce_ over
his books. But philosophy and history were not very congenial subjects
to him, and when the list was published his name was only in the third

[Illustration: Archbishop Longley.]

He spent the Long Vacation at Whitby, reading Mathematics with
Professor Price. His work bore good fruit, for in October he obtained
First Class Honours in the Final Mathematical School. "I am getting
quite tired of being congratulated on various subjects," he writes;
"there seems to be no end of it. If I had shot the Dean I could hardly
have had more said about it."

In another letter dated December 13th, he says:

Enclosed you will find a list which I expect you to rejoice
over considerably; it will take me more than a day to
believe it, I expect--I feel at present very like a child
with a new toy, but I daresay I shall be tired of it soon,
and wish to be Pope of Rome next.... I have just been to Mr.
Price to see how I did in the papers, and the result will I
hope be gratifying to you. The following were the sums total
for each in the First Class, as nearly as I can remember:--

Dodgson ... ... ... 279
Bosanquet ... ... ... 261
Cookson ... ... ... 254
Fowler ... ... ... 225
Ranken ... ... ... 213

He also said he never remembered so good a set of men in.
All this is very satisfactory. I must also add (this is a
very boastful letter) that I ought to get the senior
scholarship next term.... One thing more I will add, to
crown all, and that is, I find I am the next First Class
Mathematical Student to Faussett (with the exception of
Kitchin who has given up Mathematics), so that I stand next
(as Bosanquet is going to leave) for the Lectureship.

On December 18th he took the degree of Bachelor of Arts, and on
October 15, 1855, he was made a "Master of the House," in honour of
the appointment of the new Dean (Dr. Liddell) who succeeded Dean
Gaisford. To be made Master of the House means that a man has all the
privileges of a Master of Arts within the walls of Christ Church. But
he must be of a certain number of terms' standing, and be admitted in
due form by the Vice-Chancellor, before he is a Master of Arts of the
University. In this wider sense Mr. Dodgson did not take his Master's
degree until 1857.

This is anticipating events, and there is much to tell of the year
1855, which was a very eventful one for him. On February 15th he was
made Sub-Librarian. "This will add L35 to my income," he writes, "not
much towards independence." For he was most anxious to have a
sufficient income to make him his own master, that he might enter on
the literary and artistic career of which he was already dreaming. On
May 14th he wrote in his Diary: "The Dean and Canons have been pleased
to give me one of the Bostock scholarships, said to be worth L20 a
year--this very nearly raises my income this year to independence.

His college work, during 1855, was chiefly taking private pupils, but
he had, in addition, about three and a half hours a day of lecturing
during the last term of the year. He did not, however, work as one of
the regular staff of lecturers until the next year. From that date his
work rapidly increased, and he soon had to devote regularly as much as
seven hours a day to delivering lectures, to say nothing of the time
required for preparing them.

The following extract from his Journal, June 22, 1855, will serve to
show his early love for the drama. The scene is laid at the Princess'
Theatre, then at the height of its glory:--

The evening began with a capital farce, "Away with
Melancholy," and then came the great play, "Henry VIII.,"
the greatest theatrical treat I ever had or ever expect to
have. I had no idea that anything so superb as the scenery
and dresses was ever to be seen on the stage. Kean was
magnificent as Cardinal Wolsey, Mrs. Kean a worthy successor
to Mrs. Siddons as Queen Catherine, and all the accessories
without exception were good--but oh, that exquisite vision
of Queen Catherine's! I almost held my breath to watch: the
illusion is perfect, and I felt as if in a dream all the
time it lasted. It was like a delicious reverie, or the most
beautiful poetry. This is the true end and object of
acting--to raise the mind above itself, and out of its petty
cares. Never shall I forget that wonderful evening, that
exquisite vision--sunbeams broke in through the roof, and
gradually revealed two angel forms, floating in front of the
carved work on the ceiling: the column of sunbeams shone
down upon the sleeping queen, and gradually down it floated,
a troop of angelic forms, transparent, and carrying palm
branches in their hands: they waved these over the sleeping
queen, with oh! such a sad and solemn grace. So could I
fancy (if the thought be not profane) would real angels seem
to our mortal vision, though doubtless our conception is
poor and mean to the reality. She in an ecstasy raises her
arms towards them, and to sweet slow music, they vanish as
marvellously as they came. Then the profound silence of the
audience burst at once into a rapture of applause; but even
that scarcely marred the effect of the beautiful sad waking
words of the Queen, "Spirits of peace, where are ye?" I
never enjoyed anything so much in my life before; and never
felt so inclined to shed tears at anything fictitious, save
perhaps at that poetical gem of Dickens, the death of little

On August 21st he received a long letter from his father, full of
excellent advice on the importance to a young man of saving money:--

I will just sketch for you [writes the Archdeacon] a
supposed case, applicable to your own circumstances, of a
young man of twenty-three, making up his mind to work for
ten years, and living to do it, on an Income enabling him to
save L150 a year--supposing him to appropriate it thus:--

L s. d.

Invested at 4 per cent. ... ... 100 0 0

Life Insurance of L1,500 ... 29 15 0
Books, besides those bought in
ordinary course ... ... ... 20 5 0
L150 0 0

Suppose him at the end of the ten years to get a Living
enabling him to settle, what will be the result of his

1. A nest egg of L1,220 ready money, for furnishing and
other expenses.

2. A sum of L1,500 secured at his death on payment of a
_very much_ smaller annual Premium than if he had then
begun to insure it.

3. A useful Library, worth more than L200, besides the
books bought out of his current Income during the period....

The picture on the opposite page is one of Mr. Dodgson's illustrations
in _Misch-Masch,_ a periodical of the nature of _The Rectory
Umbrella_, except that it contained printed stories and poems by
the editor, cut out of the various newspapers to which he had
contributed them. Of the comic papers of that day _Punch,_ of
course, held the foremost place, but it was not without rivals; there
was a certain paper called _Diogenes_, then very near its end,
which imitated _Punch's_ style, and in 1853 the proprietor of
_The Illustrated News_, at that time one of the most opulent
publishers in London, started _The Comic Times._ A capable editor
was found in Edmund Yates; "Phiz" and other well-known artists and
writers joined the staff, and 100,000 copies of the first number were

[Illustration: Studies from English Poets II "Alas! What
Boots--" Milton's Lucidas.]

Among the contributors was Frank Smedley, author of "Frank Fairleigh."
Though a confirmed invalid, and condemned to spend most of his days on
a sofa, Mr. Smedley managed to write several fine novels, full of the
joy of life, and free from the least taint of discontent or morbid
feeling. He was one of those men--one meets them here and there--whose
minds rise high above their bodily infirmities; at moments of
depression, which come to them as frequently, if not more frequently,
than to other men, they no doubt feel their weakness, and think
themselves despised, little knowing that we, the stronger ones in
body, feel nothing but admiration as we watch the splendid victory of
the soul over its earthly companion which their lives display.

It was through Frank Smedley that Mr. Dodgson became one of the
contributors to _The Comic Times_. Several of his poems appeared
in it, and Mr. Yates wrote to him in the kindest manner, expressing
warm approval of them. When _The Comic Times_ changed hands in
1856, and was reduced to half its size, the whole staff left it and
started a new venture, _The Train_. They were joined by Sala,
whose stories in _Household Words_ were at that time usually
ascribed by the uninitiated to Charles Dickens. Mr. Dodgson's
contributions to _The Train_ included the following: "Solitude"
(March, 1856); "Novelty and Romancement" (October, 1856); "The Three
Voices" (November, 1856); "The Sailor's Wife" (May, 1857); and last,
but by no means least, "Hiawatha's Photographing" (December, 1857).
All of these, except "Novelty and Romancement," have since been
republished in "Rhyme? and Reason?" and "Three Sunsets."

The last entry in Mr. Dodgson's Diary for this year reads as

I am sitting alone in my bedroom this last night of the old
year, waiting for midnight. It has been the most eventful
year of my life: I began it a poor bachelor student, with no
definite plans or expectations; I end it a master and tutor
in Ch. Ch., with an income of more than L300 a year, and the
course of mathematical tuition marked out by God's
providence for at least some years to come. Great mercies,
great failings, time lost, talents misapplied--such has been
the past year.

His Diary is full of such modest depreciations of himself and his
work, interspersed with earnest prayers (too sacred and private to be
reproduced here) that God would forgive him the past, and help him to
perform His holy will in the future. And all the time that he was thus
speaking of himself as a sinner, and a man who was utterly falling
short of his aim, he was living a life full of good deeds and
innumerable charities, a life of incessant labour and unremitting
fulfilment of duty. So, I suppose, it is always with those who have a
really high ideal; the harder they try to approach it the more it
seems to recede from them, or rather, perhaps, it is impossible to be
both "the subject and spectator" of goodness. As Coventry Patmore

Become whatever good you see;
Nor sigh if, forthwith, fades from view
The grace of which you may not be
The Subject and spectator too.

The reading of "Alton Locke" turned his mind towards social subjects.
"If the book were but a little more definite," he writes, "it might
stir up many fellow-workers in the same good field of social
improvement. Oh that God, in His good providence, may make me
hereafter such a worker! But alas, what are the means? Each one has
his own _nostrum_ to propound, and in the Babel of voices nothing
is done. I would thankfully spend and be spent so long as I were sure
of really effecting something by the sacrifice, and not merely lying
down under the wheels of some irresistible Juggernaut."

He was for some time the editor of _College Rhymes_, a Christ
Church paper, in which his poem, "A Sea Dirge" (afterwards republished
in "Phantasmagoria," and again in "Rhyme? and Reason?"), first
appeared. The following verses were among his contributions to the
same magazine:--

I painted her a gushing thing,
With years perhaps a score
I little thought to find they were
At least a dozen more;
My fancy gave her eyes of blue,
A curly auburn head:
I came to find the blue a green,
The auburn turned to red.

She boxed my ears this morning,
They tingled very much;
I own that I could wish her
A somewhat lighter touch;
And if you were to ask me how
Her charms might be improved,
I would not have them _added to_,
But just a few _removed_!

She has the bear's ethereal grace,
The bland hyena's laugh,
The footstep of the elephant,
The neck of the giraffe;
I love her still, believe me,
Though my heart its passion hides;
"She is all my fancy painted her,"
But oh! _how much besides_!

It was when writing for _The Train_ that he first felt the need
of a pseudonym. He suggested "Dares" (the first syllable of his
birthplace) to Edmund Yates, but, as this did not meet with his
editor's approval, he wrote again, giving a choice of four names, (1)
Edgar Cuthwellis, (2) Edgar U. C. Westhall, (3) Louis Carroll, and (4)
Lewis Carroll. The first two were formed from the letters of his two
Christian names, Charles Lutwidge; the others are merely variant forms
of those names--Lewis = Ludovicus = Lutwidge; Carroll = Carolus =
Charles. Mr. Yates chose the last, and thenceforward it became Mr.
Dodgson's ordinary _nom de plume_. The first occasion on which he
used it was, I believe, when he wrote "The Path of Roses," a poem
which appeared in _The Train_ in May, 1856.

On June 16th he again visited the Princess's Theatre. This time the
play was "A Winter's Tale," and he "especially admired the acting of
the little Mamillius, Ellen Terry, a beautiful little creature, who
played with remarkable ease and spirit."

During the Long Vacation he spent a few weeks in the English Lake
District. In spite of the rain, of which he had his full share, he
managed to see a good deal of the best scenery, and made the ascent of
Gable in the face of an icy gale, which laid him up with neuralgia for
some days. He and his companions returned to Croft by way of Barnard
Castle, as he narrates in his Diary:--

We set out by coach for Barnard Castle at about seven, and
passed over about forty miles of the dreariest hill-country
I ever saw; the climax of wretchedness was reached in Bowes,
where yet stands the original of "Dotheboys Hall"; it has
long ceased to be used as a school, and is falling into
ruin, in which the whole place seems to be following its
example--the roofs are falling in, and the windows broken or
barricaded--the whole town looks plague-stricken. The
courtyard of the inn we stopped at was grown over with
weeds, and a mouthing idiot lolled against the corner of the
house, like the evil genius of the spot. Next to a prison or
a lunatic asylum, preserve me from living at Bowes!

Although he was anything but a sportsman, he was interested in the
subject of betting, from a mathematical standpoint solely, and in 1857
he sent a letter to _Bell's Life_, explaining a method by which a
betting man might ensure winning over any race. The system was either
to back _every_ horse, or to lay against _every_ horse,
according to the way the odds added up. He showed his scheme to a
sporting friend, who remarked, "An excellent system, and you're bound
to win--_if only you can get people to take your bets_."

In the same year he made the acquaintance of Tennyson, whose writings
he had long intensely admired. He thus describes the poet's

A strange shaggy-looking man; his hair, moustache, and beard
looked wild and neglected; these very much hid the character
of the face. He was dressed in a loosely fitting morning
coat, common grey flannel waistcoat and trousers, and a
carelessly tied black silk neckerchief. His hair is black; I
think the eyes too; they are keen and restless--nose
aquiline--forehead high and broad--both face and head are
fine and manly. His manner was kind and friendly from the
first; there is a dry lurking humour in his style of

I took the opportunity [he goes on to say] of asking the
meaning of two passages in his poems, which have always
puzzled me: one in "Maud"--

Strange that I hear two men
Somewhere talking of me;
Well, if it prove a girl, my boy
Will have plenty; so let it be.

He said it referred to Maud, and to the two fathers
arranging a match between himself and her.

The other was of the poet--

Dowered with the hate of hate, the scorn of scorn,
The love of love.

He said that he was quite willing it should bear any meaning
the words would fairly bear; to the best of his recollection
his meaning when he wrote it was "the hate of the quality
hate, &c.," but he thought the meaning of "the quintessence
of hatred" finer. He said there had never been a poem so
misunderstood by the "ninnies of critics" as "Maud."

[Illustration: Alfred Tennyson. _From a photograph by Lewis

During an evening spent at Tent Lodge Tennyson remarked, on the
similarity of the monkey's skull to the human, that a young monkey's
skull is quite human in shape, and gradually alters--the analogy being
borne out by the human skull being at first more like the statues of
the gods, and gradually degenerating into human; and then, turning to
Mrs. Tennyson, "There, that's the second original remark I've made
this evening!" Mr. Dodgson saw a great deal of the Tennysons after
this, and photographed the poet himself and various members of his

In October he made the acquaintance of John Ruskin, who in after years
was always willing to assist him with his valuable advice on any point
of artistic criticism. Mr. Dodgson was singularly fortunate in his
friends; whenever he was in difficulties on any technical matters,
whether of religion, law, medicine, art, or whatever it might be, he
always had some one especially distinguished in that branch of study
whose aid he could seek as a friend. In particular, the names of Canon
King (now Bishop of Lincoln), and Sir James Paget occur to me; to the
latter Mr. Dodgson addressed many letters on questions of medicine and
surgery--some of them intricate enough, but never too intricate to
weary the unfailing patience of the great surgeon.

A note in Mr. Dodgson's Journal, May 9, 1857, describes his
introduction to Thackeray:--

I breakfasted this morning with Fowler of Lincoln to meet
Thackeray (the author), who delivered his lecture on George
III. in Oxford last night. I was much pleased with what I
saw of him; his manner is simple and unaffected; he shows no
anxiety to shine in conversation, though full of fun and
anecdote when drawn out. He seemed delighted with the
reception he had met with last night: the undergraduates
seem to have behaved with most unusual moderation.

The next few years of his life passed quietly, and without any unusual
events to break the monotony of college routine. He spent his mornings

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