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The Life and Letters of Lewis Carroll by Stuart Dodgson Collingwood

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The word "Belfry" is derived from the French _bel_, "beautiful,
becoming, meet," and from the German _frei_, "free unfettered,
secure, safe." Thus, the word is strictly equivalent to "meat-safe,"
to which the new Belfry bears a resemblance so perfect as almost to
amount to coincidence.

Sec.4. _On the chief architectural merit of the new Belfry, Ch. Ch_.

Its chief merit is its simplicity--a simplicity so pure, so
profound, in a word, so _simple_, that no other word will fitly
describe it. The meagre outline, and baldness of detail, of the
present Chapter, are adopted in humble imitation of this great

Sec.5. _On the other architectural merits of the new Belfry, Ch. Ch_.

The Belfry has no other architectural merits.

"The Vision of the Three T's" followed. It also was an attack on
architectural changes in Christ Church; the general style was a parody
of the "Compleat Angler." Last of all came "The Blank Cheque, a
Fable," in reference to the building of the New Schools, for the
expenses of which it was actually proposed (in 1874), to sign a blank
cheque before any estimate had been made, or any plan laid before the
University, and even before a committee had been elected to appoint an
architect for the work.

At the end of 1874 Mr. Dodgson was again at Hatfield, where he told
the children the story of Prince Uggug, which was afterwards made a
part of "Sylvie and Bruno," though at that time it seems to have been
a separate tale. But "Sylvie and Bruno," in this respect entirely
unlike "Alice in Wonderland," was the result of notes taken during
many years; for while he was thinking out the book he never neglected
any amusing scraps of childish conversation or funny anecdotes about
children which came to his notice. It is this fact which gives such
verisimilitude to the prattle of Bruno; childish talk is a thing which
a grown-up person cannot possibly _invent_. He can only listen to
the actual things the children say, and then combine what he has heard
into a connected narrative.

During 1875 Mr. Dodgson wrote an article on "Some Popular Fallacies
about Vivisection," which was refused by the _Pall Mall Gazette_,
the editor saying that he had never heard of most of them; on which
Mr. Dodgson plaintively notes in his Diary that seven out of the
thirteen fallacies dealt with in his essay had appeared in the columns
of the _Pall Mall Gazette_. Ultimately it was accepted by the
editor of _The Fortnightly Review_. Mr. Dodgson had a peculiar
horror of vivisection. I was once walking in Oxford with him when a
certain well-known professor passed us. "I am afraid that man
vivisects," he said, in his gravest tone. Every year he used to get a
friend to recommend him a list of suitable charities to which he
should subscribe. Once the name of some Lost Dogs' Home appeared in
this list. Before Mr. Dodgson sent his guinea he wrote to the
secretary to ask whether the manager of the Home was in the habit of
sending dogs that had to be killed to physiological laboratories for
vivisection. The answer was in the negative, so the institution got
the cheque. He did not, however, advocate the total abolition of
vivisection--what reasonable man could?--but he would have liked to
see it much more carefully restricted by law. An earlier letter of his
to the _Pall Mall Gazette_ on the same subject is sufficiently
characteristic to deserve a place here. Be it noted that he signed it
"Lewis Carroll," in order that whatever influence or power his
writings had gained him might tell in the controversy.


_To the Editor of the "Pall Mall Gazette."_

Sir,--The letter which appeared in last week's
_Spectator_, and which must have saddened the heart of
every one who read it, seems to suggest a question which has
not yet been asked or answered with sufficient clearness,
and that is, How far may vivisection be regarded as a sign
of the times, and a fair specimen of that higher
civilisation which a purely secular State education is to
give us? In that much-vaunted panacea for all human ills we
are promised not only increase of knowledge, but also a
higher moral character; any momentary doubt on this point
which we may feel is set at rest at once by quoting the
great crucial instance of Germany. The syllogism, if it
deserves the name, is usually stated thus: Germany has a
higher scientific education than England; Germany has a
lower average of crime than England; _ergo_, a
scientific education tends to improve moral conduct. Some
old-fashioned logician might perhaps whisper to himself,
"Praemissis particularibus nihil probatur," but such a
remark, now that Aldrich is out of date, would only excite a
pitying smile. May we, then, regard the practice of
vivisection as a legitimate fruit, or as an abnormal
development, of this higher moral character? Is the
anatomist, who can contemplate unmoved the agonies he is
inflicting for no higher purpose than to gratify a
scientific curiosity, or to illustrate some well-established
truth, a being higher or lower, in the scale of humanity,
than the ignorant boor whose very soul would sicken at the
horrid sight? For if ever there was an argument in favour of
purely scientific education more cogent than another, it is
surely this (a few years back it might have been put into
the mouth of any advocate of science; now it reads like the
merest mockery): "What can teach the noble quality of mercy,
of sensitiveness to all forms of suffering, so powerfully as
the knowledge of what suffering really is? Can the man who
has once realised by minute study what the nerves are, what
the brain is, and what waves of agony the one can convey to
the other, go forth and wantonly inflict pain on any
sentient being?" A little while ago we should have
confidently replied, "He cannot do it"; in the light of
modern revelations we must sorrowfully confess "He can." And
let it never be said that this is done with serious
forethought of the balance of pain and gain; that the
operator has pleaded with himself, "Pain is indeed an evil,
but so much suffering may fitly be endured to purchase so
much knowledge." When I hear of one of these ardent
searchers after truth giving, not a helpless dumb animal, to
whom he says in effect, "_You_ shall suffer that
_I_ may know," but his own person to the probe and to
the scalpel, I will believe in him as recognising a
principle of justice, and I will honour him as acting up to
his principles. "But the thing cannot be!" cries some
amiable reader, fresh from an interview with that most
charming of men, a London physician. "What! Is it possible
that one so gentle in manner, so full of noble sentiments,
can be hardhearted? The very idea is an outrage to common
sense!" And thus we are duped every day of our lives. Is it
possible that that bank director, with his broad honest
face, can be meditating a fraud? That the chairman of that
meeting of shareholders, whose every tone has the ring of
truth in it, can hold in his hand a "cooked" schedule of
accounts? That my wine merchant, so outspoken, so confiding,
can be supplying me with an adulterated article? That the
schoolmaster, to whom I have entrusted my little boy, can
starve or neglect him? How well I remember his words to the
dear child when last we parted. "You are leaving your
friends," he said, "but you will have a father in me, my
dear, and a mother in Mrs. Squeers!" For all such
rose-coloured dreams of the necessary immunity from human
vices of educated men the facts in last week's
_Spectator_ have a terrible significance. "Trust no man
further than you can see him," they seem to say. "Qui vult
decipi, decipiatur."

Allow me to quote from a modern writer a few sentences
bearing on this subject:--

"We are at present, legislature and nation together,
eagerly pushing forward schemes which proceed on the
postulate that conduct is determined, not by feelings, but
by cognitions. For what else is the assumption underlying
this anxious urging-on of organisations for teaching? What
is the root-notion common to Secularists and
Denominationalists but the notion that spread of knowledge
is the one thing needful for bettering behaviour? Having
both swallowed certain statistical fallacies, there has
grown up in them the belief that State education will
check ill-doing.... This belief in the moralising effects
of intellectual culture, flatly contradicted by facts, is
absurd _a priori_.... This faith in lesson-books and
readings is one of the superstitions of the age.... Not by
precept, though heard daily; not by example, unless it is
followed; but only by action, often caused by the related
feeling, can a moral habit be formed. And yet this truth,
which mental science clearly teaches, and which is in
harmony with familiar sayings, is a truth wholly ignored
in current educational fanaticisms."

There need no praises of mine to commend to the
consideration of all thoughtful readers these words of
Herbert Spencer. They are to be found in "The Study of
Sociology" (pp. 36l-367).

Let us, however, do justice to science. It is not so wholly
wanting as Mr. Herbert Spencer would have us believe in
principles of action--principles by which we may regulate
our conduct in life. I myself once heard an accomplished man
of science declare that his labours had taught him one
special personal lesson which, above all others, he had laid
to heart. A minute study of the nervous system, and of the
various forms of pain produced by wounds had inspired in him
one profound resolution; and that was--what think
you?--never, under any circumstances, to adventure his own
person into the field of battle! I have somewhere read in a
book--a rather antiquated book, I fear, and one much
discredited by modern lights--the words, "the whole creation
groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now." Truly
we read these words with a new meaning in the present day!
"Groan and travail" it undoubtedly does still (more than
ever, so far as the brute creation is concerned); but to
what end? Some higher and more glorious state? So one might
have said a few years back. Not so in these days. The
_telos teleion_ of secular education, when divorced
from religious or moral training, is--I say it
deliberately--the purest and most unmitigated selfishness.
The world has seen and tired of the worship of Nature, of
Reason, of Humanity; for this nineteenth century has been
reserved the development of the most refined religion of
all--the worship of Self. For that, indeed, is the upshot of
it all. The enslavement of his weaker brethren--"the labour
of those who do not enjoy, for the enjoyment of those who do
not labour"--the degradation of woman--the torture of the
animal world--these are the steps of the ladder by which man
is ascending to his higher civilisation. Selfishness is the
key-note of all purely secular education; and I take
vivisection to be a glaring, a wholly unmistakable case in
point. And let it not be thought that this is an evil that
we can hope to see produce the good for which we are asked
to tolerate it, and then pass away. It is one that tends
continually to spread. And if it be tolerated or even
ignored now, the age of universal education, when the
sciences, and anatomy among them, shall be the heritage of
all, will be heralded by a cry of anguish from the brute
creation that will ring through the length and breadth of
the land! This, then, is the glorious future to which the
advocate of secular education may look forward: the dawn
that gilds the horizon of his hopes! An age when all forms
of religious thought shall be things of the past; when
chemistry and biology shall be the ABC of a State education
enforced on all; when vivisection shall be practised in
every college and school; and when the man of science,
looking forth over a world which will then own no other sway
than his, shall exult in the thought that he has made of
this fair green earth, if not a heaven for man, at least a
hell for animals.

I am, sir,

Your obedient servant,

Lewis Carroll.

_February 10th_.

On March 29, 1876, "The Hunting of the Snark" was published. Mr.
Dodgson gives some interesting particulars of its evolution. The first
idea for the poem was the line "For the Snark _was_ a Boojum, you
see," which came into his mind, apparently without any cause, while he
was taking a country walk. The first complete verse which he composed
was the one which stands last in the poem:--

In the midst of the word he was trying to say,
In the midst of his laughter and glee,
He had softly and suddenly vanished away--
For the Snark _was_ a Boojum, you see.

The illustrations were the work of Mr. Henry Holiday, and they are
thoroughly in keeping with the spirit of the poem. Many people have
tried to show that "The Hunting of the Snark" was an allegory; some
regarding it as being a burlesque upon the Tichborne case, and others
taking the Snark as a personification of popularity. Lewis Carroll
always protested that the poem had no meaning at all.

As to the meaning of the Snark [he wrote to a friend in
America], I'm very much afraid I didn't mean anything but
nonsense. Still, you know, words mean more than we mean to
express when we use them; so a whole book ought to mean a
great deal more than the writer means. So, whatever good
meanings are in the book, I'm glad to accept as the meaning
of the book. The best that I've seen is by a lady (she
published it in a letter to a newspaper), that the whole
book is an allegory on the search after happiness. I think
this fits in beautifully in many ways--particularly about
the bathing-machines: when the people get weary of life, and
can't find happiness in towns or in books, then they rush
off to the seaside, to see what bathing-machines will do for

[Illustration: Henry Holiday in his Studio. _From a

Mr. H. Holiday, in a very interesting article on "The Snark's
Significance" (_Academy,_ January 29, 1898), quoted the
inscription which Mr. Dodgson had written in a vellum-bound,
presentation-copy of the book. It is so characteristic that I take the
liberty of reproducing it here:--

Presented to Henry Holiday, most patient of artists, by
Charles L. Dodgson, most exacting, but not most ungrateful
of authors, March 29, 1876.

A little girl, to whom Mr. Dodgson had given a copy of the "Snark,"
managed to get the whole poem off by heart, and insisted on reciting,
it from beginning to end during a long carriage-drive. Her friends,
who, from the nature of the case, were unable to escape, no doubt
wished that she, too, was a Boojum.

During the year, the first public dramatic representation of "Alice in
Wonderland" was given at the Polytechnic, the entertainment taking the
form of a series of _tableaux_, interspersed with appropriate
readings and songs. Mr. Dodgson exercised a rigid censorship over all
the extraneous matter introduced into the performance, and put his
veto upon a verse in one of the songs, in which the drowning of
kittens was treated from the humorous point of view, lest the children
in the audience might learn to think lightly of death in the case of
the lower animals.

[Illustration: Lewis Carroll. _From a photograph_.]

* * * * *



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

Mr. Dodgson's love of the drama was not, as I have shown, a taste
which he acquired in later years. From early college days he never
missed anything which he considered worth seeing at the London
theatres. I believe he used to reproach himself--unfairly, I
think--with spending too much time on such recreations. For a man who
worked so hard and so incessantly as he did; for a man to whom
vacations meant rather a variation of mental employment than absolute
rest of mind, the drama afforded just the sort of relief that was
wanted. His vivid imagination, the very earnestness and intensity of
his character enabled him to throw himself utterly into the spirit of
what he saw upon the stage, and to forget in it all the petty worries
and disappointments of life. The old adage says that a man cannot burn
the candle at both ends; like most proverbs, it is only partially
true, for often the hardest worker is the man who enters with most
zest into his recreations, and this was emphatically the case with Mr.

Walter Pater, in his book on the Renaissance, says (I quote from rough
notes only), "A counted number of pulses only is given to us of a
variegated dramatic life. How may we see in them all that is to be
seen in them by the finest senses? How shall we pass most swiftly from
point to point, and be present always at the focus where the greatest
number of vital forces unite in their purest energy? To burn always
with this hard gem-like flame, to maintain this ecstasy, is success in
life." Here we have the truer philosophy, here we have the secret of
Lewis Carroll's life. He never wasted time on social formalities; he
refused to fulfil any of those (so called) duties which involve
ineffable boredom, and so his mind was always fresh and ready. He said
in one of his letters that he hoped that in the next world all
knowledge would not be given to us suddenly, but that we should
gradually grow wiser, for the _acquiring_ knowledge was to him
the real pleasure. What is this but a paraphrase of another of Pater's
thoughts, "Not the fruit of experience, but experience itself is the

And so, times without number, he allowed himself to be carried away by
emotion as he saw life in the mirror of the stage; but, best of all,
he loved to see the acting of children, and he generally gave copies
of his books to any of the little performers who specially pleased
him. On January 13, 1877, he wrote in his Diary:--

Went up to town for the day, and took E-- with me to the
afternoon pantomime at the Adelphi, "Goody Two-Shoes," acted
entirely by children. It was a really charming performance.
Little Bertie Coote, aged ten, was clown--a wonderfully
clever little fellow; and Carrie Coote, about eight, was
Columbine, a very pretty graceful little thing. In a few
years' time she will be just _the_ child to act
"Alice," if it is ever dramatised. The harlequin was a
little girl named Gilchrist, one of the most beautiful
children, in face and figure, that I have ever seen. I must
get an opportunity of photographing her. Little Bertie
Coote, singing "Hot Codlings," was curiously like the
pictures of Grimaldi.

It need hardly be said that the little girl was Miss Constance
Gilchrist. Mr. Dodgson sent her a copy of "Alice in Wonderland," with
a set of verses on her name.

Many people object altogether to children appearing on the stage; it
is said to be bad for their morals as well as for their health. A
letter which Mr. Dodgson once wrote in the _St. James's Gazette_
contains a sufficient refutation of the latter fancy:--

I spent yesterday afternoon at Brighton, where for five
hours I enjoyed the society of three exceedingly happy and
healthy little girls, aged twelve, ten, and seven. I think
that any one who could have seen the vigour of life in those
three children--the intensity with which they enjoyed
everything, great or small, that came in their way--who
could have watched the younger two running races on the
Pier, or have heard the fervent exclamation of the eldest at
the end of the afternoon, "We _have_ enjoyed
ourselves!" would have agreed with me that here, at least,
there was no excessive "physical strain," nor any
_imminent_ danger of "fatal results"! A drama, written
by Mr. Savile Clarke, is now being played at Brighton, and
in this (it is called "Alice in Wonderland") all three
children have been engaged. They had been acting every night
this week, and _twice_ on the day before I met them,
the second performance lasting till half-past ten at night,
after which they got up at seven next morning to bathe! That
such (apparently) severe work should co-exist with blooming
health and buoyant spirits seems at first sight a paradox;
but I appeal to any one who has ever worked _con amore_
at any subject whatever to support me in the assertion that,
when you really love the subject you are working at, the
"physical strain" is absolutely _nil_; it is only when
working "against the grain" that any strain is felt, and I
believe the apparent paradox is to be explained by the fact
that a taste for _acting_ is one of the strongest
passions of human nature, that stage-children show it nearly
from infancy, and that, instead of being miserable drudges
who ought to be celebrated in a new "Cry of the Children,"
they simply _rejoice_ in their work "even as a giant
rejoiceth to run his course."

Mr. Dodgson's general views on the mission of the drama are well shown
by an extract from a circular which he sent to many of his friends in

The stage (as every playgoer can testify) is an engine of
incalculable power for influencing society; and every effort
to purify and ennoble its aims seems to me to deserve all
the countenance that the great, and all the material help
that the wealthy, can give it; while even those who are
neither great nor wealthy may yet do their part, and help
"Ring out the darkness of the land,
Ring in the Christ that is to be."

[Illustration: Ellen Terry. _From a photograph by Lewis

I do not know if Mr. Dodgson's suggested amendment of some lines in
the "Merchant of Venice" was ever carried out, but it further
illustrates the serious view he took of this subject. The hint occurs
in a letter to Miss Ellen Terry, which runs as follows:--

You gave me a treat on Saturday such as I have very seldom
had in my life. You must be weary by this time of hearing
your own praises, so I will only say that Portia was all I
could have imagined, and more. And Shylock is
superb--especially in the trial-scene.

Now I am going to be very bold, and make a suggestion, which
I do hope you will think well enough of to lay it before Mr.
Irving. I want to see that clause omitted (in the sentence
on Shylock)--

That, for this favour,
He presently become a Christian;

It is a sentiment that is entirely horrible and revolting to
the feelings of all who believe in the Gospel of Love. Why
should our ears be shocked by such words merely because they
are Shakespeare's? In his day, when it was held to be a
Christian's duty to force his belief on others by fire and
sword--to burn man's body in order to save his soul--the
words probably conveyed no shock. To all Christians now
(except perhaps extreme Calvinists) the idea of forcing a
man to abjure his religion, whatever that religion may be,
is (as I have said) simply horrible.

I have spoken of it as a needless outrage on religious
feeling: but surely, being so, it is a great artistic
mistake. Its tendency is directly contrary to the spirit of
the scene. We have despised Shylock for his avarice, and we
rejoice to see him lose his wealth: we have abhorred him for
his bloodthirsty cruelty, and we rejoice to see him baffled.
And now, in the very fulness of our joy at the triumph of
right over wrong, we are suddenly called on to see in him
the victim of a cruelty a thousand times worse than his own,
and to honour him as a martyr. This, I am sure, Shakespeare
never meant. Two touches only of sympathy does he allow us,
that we may realise him as a man, and not as a demon
incarnate. "I will not pray with you"; "I had it of Leah,
when I was a bachelor." But I am sure he never meant our
sympathies to be roused in the supreme moment of his
downfall, and, if he were alive now, I believe he would cut
out those lines about becoming a Christian.

No interpolation is needed--(I should not like to suggest
the putting in a single word that is not Shakespeare's)--I
would read the speech thus:--

That lately stole his daughter:
Provided that he do record a gift,
Here in the court, &c.

And I would omit Gratiano's three lines at Shylock's exit,
and let the text stand:--

_Duke_: "Get thee gone, but do it." (_Exit

The exit, in solemn silence, would be, if possible, even
grander than it now is, and would lose nothing by the
omission of Gratiano's flippant jest....

On January 16th he saw "New Men and Old Acres" at the Court Theatre.
The two authors of the pieces, Dubourg and Tom Taylor, were great
friends of his. "It was a real treat," he writes, "being well acted in
every detail. Ellen Terry was wonderful, and I should think
unsurpassable in all but the lighter parts." Mr. Dodgson himself had a
strong wish to become a dramatic author, but, after one or two
unsuccessful attempts to get his plays produced, he wisely gave up the
idea, realising that he had not the necessary constructive powers. The
above reference to Miss Ellen Terry's acting is only one out of a
countless number; the great actress and he were excellent friends, and
she did him many a kindness in helping on young friends of his who had
taken up the stage as a profession.

[Illustration: Tom Taylor. _From a photograph by Lewis

She and her sister, Miss Kate Terry, were among the distinguished
people whom he photographed. The first time he saw the latter actress
was, I think, in 1858, when she was playing in "The Tempest" at the
Princess's. "The gem of the piece," he writes, "was the exquisitely
graceful and beautiful Ariel, Miss Kate Terry. Her appearance as a
sea-nymph was one of the most beautiful living pictures I ever saw,
but this, and every other one in my recollection (except Queen
Katherine's dream), were all outdone by the concluding scene, where
Ariel is left alone, hovering over the wide ocean, watching the
retreating ship. It is an innovation on Shakespeare, but a worthy one,
and the conception of a true poet."

[Illustration: Kate Terry. _From a photograph by Lewis

Mr. Dodgson was a frequent contributor to the daily Press. As a rule
his letters appeared in the _St. James's Gazette_, for the
editor, Mr. Greenwood, was a friend of his, but the following
sarcastic epistle was an exception:--


_To the Editor of the "Pall Mall Gazette."_

Sir,--There is no one of the many ingenious appliances of
mechanical science that is more appreciated or more
successfully employed than the wedge; so subtle and
imperceptible are the forces needed for the insertion of its
"thin end," so astounding the results which its "thick end"
may ultimately produce. Of the former process we shall see a
beautiful illustration in a Congregation to be holden at
Oxford on the 24th inst., when it will be proposed to grant,
to those who have taken the degrees of bachelor and master
in Natural Science only, the same voting powers as in the
case of the "M.A." degree. This means the omission of one of
the two classical languages, Latin and Greek, from what has
been hitherto understood as the curriculum of an Oxford
education. It is to this "thin end" of the wedge that I
would call the attention of our non-residents, and of all
interested in Oxford education, while the "thick end" is
still looming in the distance. But why fear a "thick end" at
all? I shall be asked. Has Natural Science shown any such
tendency, or given any reason to fear that such a concession
would lead to further demands? In answer to that question,
let me sketch, in dramatic fashion, the history of her
recent career in Oxford. In the dark ages of our University
(some five-and-twenty years ago), while we still believed in
classics and mathematics as constituting a liberal
education, Natural Science sat weeping at our gates. "Ah,
let me in!" she moaned; "why cram reluctant youth with your
unsatisfying lore? Are they not hungering for bones; yea,
panting for sulphuretted hydrogen?" We heard and we pitied.
We let her in and housed her royally; we adorned her palace
with re-agents and retorts, and made it a very charnel-house
of bones, and we cried to our undergraduates, "The feast of
Science is spread! Eat, drink, and be happy!" But they would
not. They fingered the bones, and thought them dry. They
sniffed at the hydrogen, and turned away. Yet for all that
Science ceased not to cry, "More gold, more gold!" And her
three fair daughters, Chemistry, Biology, and Physics (for
the modern horse-leech is more prolific than in the days of
Solomon), ceased not to plead, "Give, give!" And we gave; we
poured forth our wealth like water (I beg her pardon, like
H{_2}O), and we could not help thinking there was something
weird and uncanny in the ghoul-like facility with which she
absorbed it.

The curtain rises on the second act of the drama. Science is
still weeping, but this time it is for lack of pupils, not
of teachers or machinery. "We are unfairly handicapped!" she
cries. "You have prizes and scholarships for classics and
mathematics, and you bribe your best students to desert us.
Buy us some bright, clever boys to teach, and then see what
we can do!" Once more we heard and pitied. We had bought her
bones; we bought her boys. And now at last her halls were
filled--not only with teachers paid to teach, but also with
learners paid to learn. And we have not much to complain of
in results, except that perhaps she is a little too ready to
return on our hands all but the "honour-men"--all, in fact,
who really need the helping hand of an educator. "Here, take
back your stupid ones!" she cries. "Except as subjects for
the scalpel (and we have not yet got the Human Vivisection
Act through Parliament) we can do nothing with them!"

The third act of the drama is yet under rehearsal; the
actors are still running in and out of the green-room, and
hastily shuffling on their new and ill-fitting dresses; but
its general scope is not far to seek. At no distant day our
once timid and tearful guest will be turning up her nose at
the fare provided for her. "Give me no more youths to
teach," she will say; "but pay me handsomely, and let me
think. Plato and Aristotle were all very well in their way;
Diogenes and his tub for me!" The allusion is not
inappropriate. There can be little doubt that some of the
researches conducted by that retiring philosopher in the
recesses of that humble edifice were strictly scientific,
embracing several distinct branches of entomology. I do not
mean, of course, that "research" is a new idea in Oxford.
From time immemorial we have had our own chosen band of
researchers (here called "professors"), who have advanced
the boundaries of human knowledge in many directions. True,
they are not left so wholly to themselves as some of these
modern thinkers would wish to be, but are expected to give
some few lectures, as the outcome of their "research" and
the evidence of its reality, but even that condition has not
always been enforced--for instance, in the case of the late
Professor of Greek, Dr. Gaisford, the University was too
conscious of the really valuable work he was doing in
philological research to complain that he ignored the usual
duties of the chair and delivered no lectures.

And, now, what is the "thick end" of the wedge? It is that
Latin and Greek may _both_ vanish from our curriculum;
that logic, philosophy, and history may follow; and that the
destinies of Oxford may some day be in the hands of those
who have had no education other than "scientific." And why
not? I shall be asked. Is it not as high a form of education
as any other? That is a matter to be settled by facts. I can
but offer my own little item of evidence, and leave it to
others to confirm or to refute. It used once to be thought
indispensable for an educated man that he should be able to
write his own language correctly, if not elegantly; it seems
doubtful how much longer this will be taken as a criterion.
Not so many years ago I had the honour of assisting in
correcting for the press some pages of the
_Anthropological Review_, or some such periodical. I
doubt not that the writers were eminent men in their own
line; that each could triumphantly prove, to his own
satisfaction, the unsoundness of what the others had
advanced; and that all would unite in declaring that the
theories of a year ago were entirely exploded by the latest
German treatise; but they were not able to set forth these
thoughts, however consoling in themselves, in anything
resembling the language of educated society. In all my
experience, I have never read, even in the "local news" of
a country paper, such slipshod, such deplorable English.

I shall be told that I am ungenerous in thus picking out a
few unfavourable cases, and that some of the greatest minds
of the day are to be found in the ranks of science. I freely
admit that such may be found, but my contention is that
_they_ made the science, not the science them; and that
in any line of thought they would have been equally
distinguished. As a general principle, I do not think that
the exclusive study of any _one_ subject is really
education; and my experience as a teacher has shown me that
even a considerable proficiency in Natural Science, taken
alone, is so far from proving a high degree of cultivation
and great natural ability that it is fully compatible with
general ignorance and an intellect quite below par.
Therefore it is that I seek to rouse an interest, beyond the
limits of Oxford, in preserving classics as an essential
feature of a University education. Nor is it as a classical
tutor (who might be suspected of a bias in favour of his own
subject) that I write this. On the contrary, it is as one
who has taught science here for more than twenty years (for
mathematics, though good-humouredly scorned by the
biologists on account of the abnormal certainty of its
conclusions, is still reckoned among the sciences) that I
beg to sign myself,--Your obedient servant,

Charles L. Dodgson,

_Mathematical Lecturer of Christ Church, Oxford.

May 17th._

I give the above letter because I think it amusing; it must not be
supposed that the writer's views on the subject remained the same all
through his life. He was a thorough Conservative, and it took a long
time to reconcile him to any new departure. In a political discussion
with a friend he once said that he was "first an Englishman, and then
a Conservative," but however much a man may try to put patriotism
before party, the result will be but partially successful, if
patriotism would lead him into opposition to the mental bias which has
originally made him either a Conservative or a Radical.

He took, of course, great pleasure in the success of his books, as
every author must; but the greatest pleasure of all to him was to know
that they had pleased others. Notes like the following are frequent in
his Diary: "_June_ 25_th_.--Spent the afternoon in sending
off seventy circulars to Hospitals, offering copies of 'Alice' and the
'Looking-Glass' for sick children." He well deserved the name which
one of his admirers gave him--"The man who loved little children."

In April, 1878, he saw a performance of "Olivia" at the Court Theatre.
"The gem of the piece is Olivia herself, acted by Ellen Terry with a
sweetness and pathos that moved some of the audience (nearly including
myself) to tears. Her leave-taking was exquisite; and when, in her
exile, she hears that her little brother had cried at the mention of
her name, her exclamation 'Pet!' was tenderness itself. Altogether, I
have not had a greater dramatic treat for a long time. _Dies creta

I see that I have marked for quotation the following brief entries in
the Diary:--

_Aug. 4th_ (at Eastbourne).--Went, morning and
evening, to the new chapel-of-ease belonging to S.
Saviour's. It has the immense advantage of _not_ being
crowded; but this scarcely compensates for the vile
Gregorian chants, which vex and weary one's ear.

_Aug. 17th_.--A very inquisitive person, who had some
children with her, found out my name, and then asked me to
shake hands with her child, as an admirer of my books: this
I did, unwisely perhaps, as I have no intention of
continuing the acquaintance of a "Mrs. Leo Hunter."

_Dec. 23rd_.--I have been making a plan for work next
term, of this kind: Choose a subject (_e.g._,
"Circulation," "Journeys of S. Paul," "English Counties")
for each week. On Monday write what I know about it; during
week get up subject; on Saturday write again; put the two
papers away, and six months afterwards write again and

As an artist, Mr. Dodgson possessed an intense natural appreciation of
the beautiful, an abhorrence of all that is coarse and unseemly which
might almost be called hyper-refinement, a wonderfully good eye for
form, and last, but not least, the most scrupulous conscientiousness
about detail. On the other hand his sense of colour was somewhat
imperfect, and his hand was almost totally untrained, so that while he
had all the enthusiasm of the true artist, his work always had the
defects of an amateur.

[Illustration: Miss E. Gertrude Thomson.]

In 1878 some drawings of Miss E. Gertrude Thomson's excited his keen
admiration, and he exerted himself to make her acquaintance. Their
first meeting is described so well by Miss Thomson herself in _The
Gentlewoman_ for January 29, 1898, that I cannot do better than
quote the description of the scene as given there:--

It was at the end of December, 1878, that a letter, written
in a singularly legible and rather boyish-looking hand, came
to me from Christ Church, Oxford, signed "C. L. Dodgson."
The writer said that he had come across some fairy designs
of mine, and he should like to see some more of my work. By
the same post came a letter from my London publisher (who
had supplied my address) telling me that the "Rev. C. L.
Dodgson" was "Lewis Carroll."

"Alice in Wonderland" had long been one of my pet books, and
as one regards a favourite author as almost a personal
friend, I felt less restraint than one usually feels in
writing to a stranger, though I carefully concealed my
knowledge of his identity, as he had not chosen to reveal

This was the beginning of a frequent and delightful
correspondence, and as I confessed to a great love for fairy
lore of every description, he asked me if I would accept a
child's fairy-tale book he had written, called "Alice in
Wonderland." I replied that I knew it nearly all off by
heart, but that I should greatly prize a copy given to me by
himself. By return came "Alice," and "Through the
Looking-Glass," bound most luxuriously in white calf and

And this is the graceful and kindly note that came with
them: "I am now sending you 'Alice,' and the 'Looking-Glass'
as well. There is an incompleteness about giving only one,
and besides, the one you bought was probably in red and
would not match these. If you are at all in doubt as to what
to do with the (now) superfluous copy, let me suggest your
giving it to some poor sick child. I have been distributing
copies to all the hospitals and convalescent homes I can
hear of, where there are sick children capable of reading
them, and though, of course, one takes some pleasure in the
popularity of the books elsewhere, it is not nearly so
pleasant a thought to me as that they may be a comfort and
relief to children in hours of pain and weariness. Still, no
recipient _can_ be more appropriate than one who seems
to have been in fairyland herself, and to have seen, like
the 'weary mariners' of old--

'Between the green brink and the running foam
White limbs unrobed in a crystal air,
Sweet faces, rounded arms, and bosoms prest
To little harps of gold.'"

"Do you ever come to London?" he asked in another letter;
"if so, will you allow me to call upon you?"

Early in the summer I came up to study, and I sent him word
that I was in town. One night, coming into my room, after a
long day spent at the British Museum, in the half-light I
saw a card lying on the table. "Rev. C. L. Dodgson." Bitter,
indeed, was my disappointment at having missed him, but just
as I was laying it sadly down I spied a small T.O. in the
corner. On the back I read that he couldn't get up to my
rooms early or late enough to find me, so would I arrange to
meet him at some museum or gallery the day but one
following? I fixed on South Kensington Museum, by the
"Schliemann" collection, at twelve o'clock.

A little before twelve I was at the rendezvous, and then the
humour of the situation suddenly struck me, that _I_
had not the ghost of an idea what _he_ was like, nor
would _he_ have any better chance of discovering
_me!_ The room was fairly full of all sorts and
conditions, as usual, and I glanced at each masculine figure
in turn, only to reject it as a possibility of the one I
sought. Just as the big clock had clanged out twelve, I
heard the high vivacious voices and laughter of children
sounding down the corridor.

At that moment a gentleman entered, two little girls
clinging to his hands, and as I caught sight of the tall
slim figure, with the clean-shaven, delicate, refined face,
I said to myself, "_That's_ Lewis Carroll." He stood
for a moment, head erect, glancing swiftly over the room,
then, bending down, whispered something to one of the
children; she, after a moment's pause, pointed straight at

Dropping their hands he came forward, and with that winning
smile of his that utterly banished the oppressive sense of
the Oxford don, said simply, "I am Mr. Dodgson; I was to
meet you, I think?" To which I as frankly smiled, and said,
"How did you know me so soon?"

"My little friend found you. I told her I had come to meet a
young lady who knew fairies, and she fixed on you at once.
But _I_ knew you before she spoke."

This acquaintance ripened into a true, artistic friendship, which
lasted till Mr. Dodgson's death. In his first letter to Miss Thomson
he speaks of himself as one who for twenty years had found his one
amusement in photographing from life--especially photographing
children; he also said that he had made attempts ("most
unsuccessfully") at drawing them. When he got to know her more
intimately, he asked her to criticise his work, and when she wrote
expressing her willingness to do so, he sent her a pile of
sketch-books, through which she went most carefully, marking the
mistakes, and criticising, wherever criticism seemed to be necessary.

After this he might often have been seen in her studio, lying flat on
his face, and drawing some child-model who had been engaged for his
especial benefit. "I _love_ the effort to draw," he wrote in one
of his letters to her, "but I utterly fail to please even my own
eye--tho' now and then I seem to get somewhere _near_ a right
line or two, when I have a live child to draw from. But I have no time
left now for such things. In the next life, I do _hope_ we shall
not only _see_ lovely forms, such as this world does not contain,
but also be able to _draw_ them."

But while he fully recognised the limits of his powers, he had great
faith in his own critical judgment; and with good reason, for his
perception of the beautiful in contour and attitude and grouping was
almost unerring. All the drawings which Miss Thomson made for his
"Three Sunsets" were submitted to his criticism, which descended to
the smallest details. He concludes a letter to her, which contained
the most elaborate and minute suggestions for the improvement of one
of these pictures, with the following words: "I make all these
suggestions with diffidence, feeling that I have _really no_
right at all, as an amateur, to criticise the work of a real artist."

The following extract from another letter to Miss Thomson shows that
seeking after perfection, that discontent with everything short of the
best, which was so marked a feature of his character. She had sent him
two drawings of the head of some child-friend of his:--

Your note is a puzzle--you say that "No. 2 would have been
still more like if the paper had been exactly the same
shade--but I'd no more at hand of the darker colour." Had I
given you the impression that I was in a _hurry_, and
was willing to have No. 2 _less_ good than it
_might_ be made, so long as I could have it
_quick?_ If I did, I'm very sorry: I never _meant_
to say a word like it: and, if you had written "I could make
it still more like, on darker paper; but I've no more at
hand. How long can you wait for me to get some?" I should
have replied, "Six weeks, or six _months_, if you
prefer it!"

I have already spoken of his love of nature, as opposed to the
admiration for the morbid and abnormal. "I want you," he writes to
Miss Thomson, "to do my fairy drawings from _life_. They would be
very pretty, no doubt, done out of your own head, but they will be ten
times as valuable if done from life. Mr. Furniss drew the pictures of
'Sylvie' from life. Mr. Tenniel is the only artist, who has drawn for
me, who resolutely refused to use a model, and declared he no more
needed one than I should need a multiplication-table to work a
mathematical problem!" On another occasion he urges the importance of
using models, in order to avoid the similarity of features which would
otherwise spoil the pictures: "Cruikshank's splendid illustrations
were terribly spoiled by his having only _one_ pretty female face
in them all. Leech settled down into _two_ female faces. Du
Maurier, I think, has only _one_, now. All the ladies, and all
the little girls in his pictures look like twin sisters."

It is interesting to know that Sir Noel Paton and Mr. Walter Crane
were, in Lewis Carroll's opinion, the most successful drawers of
children: "There are but few artists who seem to draw the forms of
children _con amore_. Walter Crane is perhaps the best (always
excepting Sir Noel Paton): but the thick outlines, which he insists on
using, seem to take off a good deal from the beauty of the result."

He held that no artist can hope to effect a higher type of beauty than
that which life itself exhibits, as the following words show:--

I don't quite understand about fairies losing "grace," if
too like human children. Of course I grant that to be like
some _actual_ child is to lose grace, because no living
child is perfect in form: many causes have lowered the race
from what God made it. But the _perfect_ human form,
free from these faults, is surely equally applicable to men,
and fairies, and angels? Perhaps that is what you mean--that
the Artist can imagine, and design, more perfect forms than
we ever find in life?

I have already referred several times to Miss Ellen Terry as having
been one of Mr. Dodgson's friends, but he was intimate with the whole
family, and used often to pay them a visit when he was in town. On May
15, 1879, he records a very curious dream which he had about Miss
Marion ("Polly") Terry:--

Last night I had a dream which I record as a curiosity, so
far as I know, in the literature of dreams. I was staying,
with my sisters, in some suburb of London, and had heard
that the Terrys were staying near us, so went to call, and
found Mrs. Terry at home, who told us that Marion and
Florence were at the theatre, "the Walter House," where they
had a good engagement. "In that case," I said, "I'll go on
there at once, and see the performance--and may I take Polly
with me?" "Certainly," said Mrs. Terry. And there was Polly,
the child, seated in the room, and looking about nine or ten
years old: and I was distinctly conscious of the fact, yet
without any feeling of surprise at its incongruity, that I
was going to take the _child_ Polly with me to the
theatre, to see the _grown-up_ Polly act! Both
pictures--Polly as a child, and Polly as a woman, are, I
suppose, equally clear in my ordinary waking memory: and it
seems that in sleep I had contrived to give the two pictures
separate individualities.

Of all the mathematical books which Mr. Dodgson wrote, by far the most
elaborate, if not the most original, was "Euclid and His Modern
Rivals." The first edition was issued in 1879, and a supplement,
afterwards incorporated into the second edition, appeared in 1885.

This book, as the author says, has for its object

to furnish evidence (1) that it is essential for the
purposes of teaching or examining in Elementary Geometry to
employ one text-book only; (2) that there are strong _a
priori_ reasons for retaining in all its main features,
and especially in its sequence and numbering of
Propositions, and in its treatment of Parallels, the Manual
of Euclid; and (3) that no sufficient reasons have yet been
shown for abandoning it in favour of any one of the modern
Manuals which have been offered as substitutes.

The book is written in dramatic form, and relieved throughout by many
touches in the author's happiest vein, which make it delightful not
only to the scientific reader, but also to any one of average
intelligence with the slightest sense of humour.

Whether the conclusions are accepted in their entirety or not, it is
certain that the arguments are far more effective than if the writer
had presented them in the form of an essay. Mr. Dodgson had a wide
experience as a teacher and examiner, so that he knew well what he was
writing about, and undoubtedly the appearance of this book has done
very much to stay the hand of the innovator.

The scene opens in a College study--time, midnight. Minos, an
examiner, is discovered seated between two immense piles of
manuscripts. He is driven almost to distraction in his efforts to mark
fairly the papers sent up, by reason of the confusion caused through
the candidates offering various substitutes for Euclid. Rhadamanthus,
another equally distracted examiner, comes to his room.

The two men consult together for a time, and then Rhadamanthus
retires, and Minos falls asleep. Hereupon the Ghost of Euclid appears,
and discusses with Minos the reasons for retaining his Manual as a
whole, in its present order and arrangement. As they are mainly
concerned with the wants of beginners, their attention is confined to
Books I. and II.

We must be content with one short extract from the dialogue:--

_Euclid_.--It is, I think, a friend of yours who has
amused himself by tabulating the various Theorems which
might be enunciated on the single subject of Pairs of Lines.
How many did he make them out to be?

_Minos_.--About two hundred and fifty, I believe.

_Euclid_.--At that rate there would probably be within
the limit of my First Book--how many?

_Minos_.--A thousand at least.

_Euclid_.--What a popular school-book it will be! How
boys will bless the name of the writer who first brings out
the complete thousand!

With a view to discussing and criticising his various modern rivals,
Euclid promises to send to Minos the ghost of a German Professor (Herr
Niemand) who "has read all books, and is ready to defend any thesis,
true or untrue."

"A charming companion!" as Minos drily remarks.

This brings us to Act II., in which the Manuals which reject Euclid's
treatment of Parallels are dealt with one by one. Those Manuals which
adopt it are reserved for Act III., Scene i.; while in Scene ii., "The
Syllabus of the Association for the Improvement of Geometrical
Teaching," and Wilson's "Syllabus," come under review.

Only one or two extracts need be given, which, it is hoped, will
suffice to illustrate the character and style of the book:

Act II., Scene v.--Niemand and Minos are arguing for and against
Henrici's "Elementary Geometry."

_Minos_.--I haven't quite done with points yet. I find
an assertion that they never jump. Do you think that arises
from their having "position," which they feel might be
compromised by such conduct?

_Niemand_.--I cannot tell without hearing the passage

_Minos_.--It is this: "A point, in changing its
position on a curve, passes in moving from one position to
another through all intermediate positions. It does not move
by jumps."

_Niemand_.--That is quite true.

_Minos_.--Tell me then--is every centre of gravity a


_Minos_.--Let us now consider the centre of gravity of
a flea. Does it--

_Niemand (indignantly)_.--Another word, and I shall
vanish! I cannot waste a night on such trivialities.

_Minos_.--I can't resist giving you just _one_
more tit-bit--the definition of a square at page 123: "A
quadrilateral which is a kite, a symmetrical trapezium, and
a parallelogram is a square!" And now, farewell, Henrici:
"Euclid, with all thy faults, I love thee still!"

Again, from Act II., Scene vi.:--

_Niemand_.--He (Pierce, another "Modern Rival,") has a
definition of direction which will, I think, be new to you.

"The _direction of a line_ in any part is the direction
of a point at that part from the next preceding point of the

_Minos_.--That sounds mysterious. Which way along a
line are "preceding" points to be found?

_Niemand_.--_Both ways._ He adds, directly
afterwards, "A line has two different directions," &c.

_Minos_.--So your definition needs a postscript.... But
there is yet another difficulty. How far from a point is the
"next" point?

_Niemand_.--At an infinitely small distance, of course.
You will find the matter fully discussed in my work on the
Infinitesimal Calculus.

_Minos_.--A most satisfactory answer for a teacher to
make to a pupil just beginning Geometry!

In Act IV. Euclid reappears to Minos, "followed by the ghosts of
Archimedes, Pythagoras, &c., who have come to see fair play." Euclid
thus sums up his case:--

"'The cock doth craw, the day doth daw,' and all respectable
ghosts ought to be going home. Let me carry with me the hope
that I have convinced you of the necessity of retaining my
order and numbering, and my method of treating Straight
Lines, Angles, Right Angles, and (most especially)
Parallels. Leave me these untouched, and I shall look on
with great contentment while other changes are made--while
my proofs are abridged and improved--while alternative
proofs are appended to mine--and while new Problems and
Theorems are interpolated. In all these matters my Manual is
capable of almost unlimited improvement."

In Appendices I. and II. Mr. Dodgson quotes the opinions of two
eminent mathematical teachers, Mr. Todhunter and Professor De Morgan,
in support of his argument.

Before leaving this subject I should like to refer to a very novel use
of Mr. Dodgson's book--its employment in a school. Mr. G. Hopkins,
Mathematical Master in the High School at Manchester, U.S., and
himself the author of a "Manual of Plane Geometry," has so employed it
in a class of boys aged from fourteen or fifteen upwards. He first
called their attention to some of the more prominent difficulties
relating to the question of Parallels, put a copy of Euclid in their
hands, and let them see his treatment of them, and after some
discussion placed before them Mr. Dodgson's "Euclid and His Modern
Rivals" and "New Theory of Parallels."

Perhaps it is the fact that American boys are sharper than English,
but at any rate the youngsters are reported to have read the two books
with an earnestness and a persistency that were as gratifying to their
instructor as they were complimentary to Mr. Dodgson.

In June of the same year an entry in the Diary refers to a proposal in
Convocation to allow the University Club to have a cricket-ground in
the Parks. This had been proposed in 1867, and then rejected. Mr.
Dodgson sent round to the Common Rooms copies of a poem on "The
Deserted Parks," which had been published by Messrs. Parker in 1867,
and which was afterwards included in "Notes by an Oxford Chiel." I
quote the first few lines:--

Museum! loveliest building of the plain
Where Cherwell winds towards the distant main;
How often have I loitered o'er thy green,
Where humble happiness endeared the scene!
How often have I paused on every charm,--
The rustic couple walking arm in arm,
The groups of trees, with seats beneath the shade
For prattling babes and whisp'ring lovers made,
The never-failing brawl, the busy mill,
Where tiny urchins vied in fistic skill.
(Two phrases only have that dusky race
Caught from the learned influence of the place;
Phrases in their simplicity sublime,
"Scramble a copper!" "Please, sir, what's the time?")
These round thy walks their cheerful influence shed;
These were thy charms--but all these charms are fled,
Amidst thy bowers the tyrant's hand is seen,
And rude pavilions sadden all thy green;
One selfish pastime grasps the whole domain,
And half a faction swallows up the plain;
Adown thy glades, all sacrificed to cricket,
The hollow-sounding bat now guards the wicket;
Sunk are thy mounds in shapeless level all,
Lest aught impede the swiftly rolling ball;
And trembling, shrinking from the fatal blow,
Far, far away thy hapless children go.
Ill fares the place, to luxury a prey,
Where wealth accumulates, and minds decay:
Athletic sports may flourish or may fade,
Fashion may make them, even as it has made;
But the broad Parks, the city's joy and pride,
When once destroyed can never be supplied!

Readers of "Sylvie and Bruno" will remember the way in which the
invisible fairy-children save the drunkard from his evil life, and I
have always felt that Mr. Dodgson meant Sylvie to be something more
than a fairy--a sort of guardian angel. That such an idea would not
have been inconsistent with his way of looking at things is shown by
the following letter:

Ch. Ch., _July_, 1879.

My dear Ethel,--I have been long intending to answer your
letter of April 11th, chiefly as to your question in
reference to Mrs. N--'s letter about the little S--s [whose
mother had recently died]. You say you don't see "how they
can be guided aright by their dead mother, or how light can
come from her." Many people believe that our friends in the
other world can and do influence us in some way, and perhaps
even "guide" us and give us light to show us our duty. My
own feeling is, it _may_ be so: but nothing has been
revealed about it. That the angels do so _is_ revealed,
and we may feel sure of _that_; and there is a
beautiful fancy (for I don't think one can call it more)
that "a mother who has died leaving a child behind her in
this world, is allowed to be a sort of guardian angel to
that child." Perhaps Mrs. N-- believes that.

Here are two other entries in the Diary:--

_Aug. 26th_.--Worked from about 9.45 to 6.45, and again
from 10.15 to 11.45 (making 101/2 hours altogether) at an
idea which occurred to me of finding limits for _pi_ by
elementary trigonometry, for the benefit of the

_Dec. 12th_.--Invented a new way of working one word
into another. I think of calling the puzzle "syzygies."

I give the first three specimens:--

permanent }
entice } Send MAN on ICE.
ICE. }

sacred }
credentials } RELY on ACRE.
entirely }

prismatic }
dramatic } Prove PRISM to be ODIOUS.
melodrama }
melodious }

In February, 1880, Mr. Dodgson proposed to the Christ Church
"Staff-salaries Board," that as his tutorial work was lighter he
should have L200 instead of L300 a year. It is not often that a man
proposes to cut down _his own_ salary, but the suggestion in this
case was intended to help the College authorities in the policy of
retrenchment which they were trying to carry out.

_May 24th_.--Percival, President of Trin. Coll., who
has Cardinal Newman as his guest, wrote to say that the
Cardinal would sit for a photo, to me, at Trinity. But I
could not take my photography there and he couldn't come to
me: so nothing came of it.

_Aug. 19th_. [At Eastbourne].--Took Ruth and Maud to
the Circus (Hutchinson and Tayleure's--from America). I
made friends with Mr. Tayleure, who took me to the tents of
horses, and the caravan he lived in. And I added to my
theatrical experiences by a chat with a couple of circus
children--Ada Costello, aged 9, and Polly (Evans, I think),
aged 13. I found Ada in the outer tent, with the pony on
which she was to perform--practising vaulting on to it,
varied with somersaults on the ground. I showed her my wire
puzzle, and ultimately gave it her, promising a duplicate to
Polly. Both children seemed bright and happy, and they had
pleasant manners.

_Sept. 2nd_.--Mrs. H-- took me to Dr. Bell's (the old
homoeopathic doctor) to hear Lord Radstock speak about
"training children." It was a curious affair. First a very
long hymn; then two very long extempore prayers (not by Lord
R--), which were strangely self-sufficient and wanting in
reverence. Lord R--'s remarks were commonplace enough,
though some of his theories were new, but, I think, not
true--_e.g.,_ that encouraging emulation in
schoolboys, or desiring that they should make a good
position in life, was un-Christian. I escaped at the first
opportunity after his speech, and went down on the beach,
where I made acquaintance with a family who were banking up
with sand the feet and legs of a pretty little girl perched
on a sand-castle. I got her father to make her stand to be
drawn. Further along the beach a merry little mite began
pelting me with sand; so I drew _her_ too.

_Nov. 16th_.--Thought of a plan for simplifying
money-orders, by making the sender fill up two duplicate
papers, one of which he hands in to be transmitted by the
postmaster--it containing a key-number which the receiver
has to supply in _his_ copy to get the money. I think
of suggesting this, and my plan for double postage on
Sunday, to the Government.

_Dec. 19th_.--The idea occurred to me that a game might
be made of letters, to be moved about on a chess-board till
they form words.

A little book, published during this year, "Alice (a dramatic version
of Lewis Carroll's 'Alice'), and other Fairy Tales for Children," by
Mrs. Freiligrath-Kroeker, was very successful, and, I understand,
still has a regular sale. Mr. Dodgson most gladly gave his consent to
the dramatisation of his story by so talented an authoress, and
shortly afterwards Mrs. Kroeker brought out "Through the
Looking-Glass" in a similar form.

_Jan._ 17, 1881.--To the Lyceum to see "The Cup" and
"The Corsican Brothers." The first is exquisitely put on,
and Ellen Terry as Camma is the perfection of grace, and
Irving as the villain, and Mr. Terriss as the husband, were
very good. But the piece wants substance.

_Jan._ 19_th_.--Tried to go to Oxford, but the
line is blocked near Didcot, so stayed another night in
town. The next afternoon the line was reported clear, but
the journey took 5 hours! On the day before the Dean of Ch.
Ch. and his family were snowed up for 21 hours near Radley.

_March_ 27_th_.--Went to S. Mary's and stayed for
Holy Communion, and, as Ffoulkes was alone, I mustered up
courage to help him. I read the exhortation, and was pleased
to find I did not once hesitate. I think I must try
preaching again soon, as he has often begged me to do.

_April_ 16_th_.--Mr. Greenwood approves my theory
about general elections, and wants me to write on it in the
_St. James's Gazette_. (The letter appeared on May 5,

_May_ 14_th_.--Took the longest walk (I believe) I
have ever done--round by Dorchester, Didcot and Abingdon--27
miles--took 8 hours--no blisters, I rejoice to find, and I
feel very little tired.

_May_ 26_th_.--The row-loving men in College are
beginning to be troublesome again, and last night some 30 or
40 of them, aided by out-College men, made a great
disturbance, and regularly defied the Censors. I have just
been with the other Tutors into Hall, and heard the Dean
make an excellent speech to the House. Some two or three
will have to go down, and twelve or fifteen others will be
punished in various ways. (A later note says): The
punishments had to be modified--it turned out that the
disturbers were nearly all out-College men.

[Illustration 229: DR. Liddell. _From a photograph by Hill &

Mr. Dodgson sent a letter to _The Observer_ on this subject:--

Sir,--Your paper of May 29th contains a leading article on
Christ Church, resting on so many mis-statements of fact
that I venture to appeal to your sense of justice to allow
me, if no abler writer has addressed you on the subject, an
opportunity of correcting them. It will, I think, be found
that in so doing I shall have removed the whole foundation
on which the writer has based his attack on the House, after
which I may contentedly leave the superstructure to take
care of itself. "Christ Church is always provoking the
adverse criticism of the outer world." The writer justifies
this rather broad generalisation by quoting three instances
of such provocation, which I will take one by one.

At one time we are told that "The Dean ... neglects his
functions, and spends the bulk of his time in Madeira." The
fact is that the Dean's absence from England more than
twenty years ago during two successive winters was a sad
necessity, caused by the appearance of symptoms of grave
disease, from which he has now, under God's blessing,
perfectly recovered.

The second instance occurred eleven years ago, when some of
the undergraduates destroyed some valuable statuary in the
Library. Here the writer states that the Dean first
announced that criminal proceedings would be taken, and
then, on discovering that the offenders were "highly
connected," found himself "converted to the opinion that
mercy is preferable to stern justice, and charity to the
strict letter of the law." The facts are that the punishment
awarded to the offenders was deliberated on and determined
on by the Governing Body, consisting of the Dean, the
Canons, and some twenty Senior Students; that their
deliberations were most assuredly in no way affected by any
thoughts of the offenders being "highly connected"; and
that, when all was over, we had the satisfaction of seeing
ourselves roundly abused in the papers on both sides, and
charged with having been too lenient, and also with having
been too severe.

The third instance occurred the other night. Some
undergraduates were making a disturbance, and the Junior
Censor "made his appearance in person upon the scene of
riot," and "was contumeliously handled." Here the only
statement of any real importance, the alleged assault by
Christ Church men on the Junior Censor, is untrue. The fact
is that nearly all the disturbers were out-College men, and,
though it is true that the Censor was struck by a stone
thrown from a window, the unenviable distinction of having
thrown it belongs to no member of the House. I doubt if we
have one single man here who would be capable of so base and
cowardly an act.

The writer then gives us a curious account of the present
constitution of the House. The Dean, whom he calls "the
right reverend gentleman," is, "in a kind of way, master of
the College. The Canons, in a vague kind of way, are
supposed to control the College." The Senior Students "dare
not call their souls their own," and yet somehow dare "to
vent their wrath" on the Junior Students. His hazy, mental
picture of the position of the Canons may be cleared up by
explaining to him that the "control" they exercise is
neither more nor less than that of any other six members of
the Governing Body. The description of the Students I pass
over as not admitting any appeal to actual facts.

The truth is that Christ Church stands convicted of two
unpardonable crimes--being great, and having a name. Such a
place must always expect to find itself "a wide mark for
scorn and jeers"--a target where the little and the nameless
may display their skill. Only the other day an M.P., rising
to ask a question about Westminster School, went on to speak
of Christ Church, and wound up with a fierce attack on the
ancient House. Shall we blame him? Do we blame the wanton
schoolboy, with a pebble in his hand, all powerless to
resist the alluring vastness of a barndoor?

The essence of the article seems to be summed up in the
following sentence: "At Christ Church all attempts to
preserve order by the usual means have hitherto proved
uniformly unsuccessful, and apparently remain equally
fruitless." It is hard for one who, like myself, has lived
here most of his life, to believe that this is seriously
intended as a description of the place. However, as general
statements can only be met by general statements, permit me,
as one who has lived here for thirty years and has taught
for five-and-twenty, to say that in my experience order has
been the rule, disorder the rare exception, and that, if the
writer of your leading article has had an equal amount of
experience in any similar place of education, and has found
a set of young men more gentlemanly, more orderly, and more
pleasant in every way to deal with, than I have found here,
I cannot but think him an exceptionally favoured
mortal.--Yours, &c.

Charles L. Dodgson,

_Student and Mathematical Lecturer of Christ Church_.

In July began an amusing correspondence between Mr. Dodgson and a
"circle-squarer," which lasted several months. Mr. Dodgson sent the
infatuated person, whom we will call Mr. B--, a proof that the area of
a circle is less than 3.15 the square of the radius. Mr. B--replied,
"Your proof is not in accordance with Euclid, it assumes that a circle
may be considered as a rectangle, and that two right lines can enclose
a space." He returned the proof, saying that he could not accept any
of it as elucidating the exact area of a circle, or as Euclidean. As
Mr. Dodgson's method involved a slight knowledge of trigonometry, and
he had reason to suspect that Mr. B--was entirely ignorant of that
subject, he thought it worth while to put him to the test by asking
him a few questions upon it, but the circle-squarer, with commendable
prudence, declined to discuss anything not Euclidean. Mr. Dodgson then
wrote to him, "taking leave of the subject, until he should be willing
to enlarge his field of knowledge to the elements of Algebraical
Geometry." Mr. B--replied, with unmixed contempt, "Algebraical
Geometry is all moon-shine." _He_ preferred "weighing cardboard"
as a means of ascertaining exact truth in mathematical research.
Finally he suggested that Mr. Dodgson might care to join in a
prize-competition to be got up among the followers of Euclid, and as
he apparently wished him to understand that he (Mr. B--) did not think
much of his chances of getting a prize, Mr. Dodgson considered that
the psychological moment for putting an end to the correspondence had

Meanwhile he was beginning to feel his regular College duties a
terrible clog upon his literary work. The Studentship which he held
was not meant to tie him down to lectures and examinations. Such work
was very well for a younger man; he could best serve "the House" by
his literary fame.

_July_ 14_th._--Came to a more definite decision
than I have ever yet done--that it is about time to resign
the Mathematical Lectureship. My chief motive for holding on
has been to provide money for others (for myself, I have
been many years able to retire), but even the L300 a year I
shall thus lose I may fairly hope to make by the additional
time I shall have for book-writing. I think of asking the
G.B. (Governing Body) next term to appoint my successor, so
that I may retire at the end of the year, when I shall be
close on fifty years old, and shall have held the
Lectureship for exactly 26 years. (I had the Honourmen for
the last two terms of 1855, but was not full Lecturer till
Hilary, 1856.)

_Oct_. 18_th_.--I have just taken an important
step in life, by sending to the Dean a proposal to resign
the Mathematical Lectureship at the end of this year. I
shall now have my whole time at my own disposal, and, if God
gives me life and continued health and strength, may hope,
before my powers fail, to do some worthy work in
writing--partly in the cause of mathematical education,
partly in the cause of innocent recreation for children, and
partly, I hope (though so utterly unworthy of being allowed
to take up such work) in the cause of religious thought. May
God bless the new form of life that lies before me, that I
may use it according to His holy will!

_Oct. 21st_.--I had a note in the evening from the
Dean, to say that he had seen the Censors on the subject of
my proposed resignation at the end of the year, and that
arrangements should be made, as far as could be done, to
carry out my wishes; and kindly adding an expression of
regret at losing my services, but allowing that I had
"earned a right to retirement." So my Lectureship seems to
be near its end.

_Nov. 30th_.--I find by my Journal that I gave my
_first_ Euclid Lecture in the Lecture-room on Monday,
January 28, 1856. It consisted of twelve men, of whom nine
attended. This morning, I have given what is most probably
my _last_: the lecture is now reduced to nine, of whom
all attended on Monday: this morning being a Saint's Day,
the attendance was voluntary, and only two appeared--E.H.
Morris, and G. Lavie. I was Lecturer when the _father_
of the latter took his degree, viz., in 1858.

There is a sadness in coming to the end of anything in life.
Man's instincts cling to the Life that will never end.

_May 30, 1882._--Called on Mrs. R--. During a good part
of the evening I read _The Times_, while the party
played a round game of spelling words--a thing I will never
join in. Rational conversation and _good_ music are the
only things which, to me, seem worth the meeting for, for
grown-up people.

_June 1st._--Went out with Charsley, and did four miles
on one of his velocimans, very pleasantly.

The velociman was an early and somewhat cumbrous form of tricycle; Mr.
Dodgson made many suggestions for its improvement. He never attempted
to ride a bicycle, however, but, in accordance with his own dictum,
"In youth, try a bicycle, in age, buy a tricycle," confined himself to
the three-wheeled variety.

[Illustration: XI Oxford types From a photograph by A.T.

_Nov. 8th_.--Whitehead, of Trinity, told us a charming
story in Common Room of a father and son. They came up
together: the son got into a College--the father had to go
to New Inn Hall: the son passed Responsions, while his
father had to put off: finally, the father failed in Mods
and has gone down: the son will probably take his degree,
and may then be able to prepare his father for another try.

Among the coloured cartoons in Shrimpton's
window at Oxford there used to be, when I was
up, a picture which I think referred to this story.

_Nov. 23rd._--Spent two hours "invigilating" in the
rooms of W.J. Grant (who has broken his collar-bone, and is
allowed to do his Greats papers in this way) while he
dictated his answers to another undergraduate, Pakenham, who
acted as scribe.

_Nov. 24th_.--Dined with Fowler (now President of
C.C.C.) in hall, to meet Ranken. Both men are now mostly
bald, with quite grey hair: yet how short a time it seems
since we were undergraduates together at Whitby! (in 1854).

_Dec 8th._--A Common Room Meeting. Fresh powers were
given to the Wine Committee, and then a new Curator elected.
I was proposed by Holland, and seconded by Harcourt, and
accepted office with no light heart: there will be much
trouble and thought needed to work it satisfactorily, but it
will take me out of myself a little, and so may be a real
good--my life was tending to become too much that of a
selfish recluse.

During this year he composed the words of a song, "Dreamland." The air
was _dreamed_ by his friend, the late Rev. C. E. Hutchinson, of
Chichester. The history of the dream is here given in the words of the

I found myself seated, with many others, in darkness, in a
large amphitheatre. Deep stillness prevailed. A kind of
hushed expectancy was upon us. We sat awaiting I know not
what. Before us hung a vast and dark curtain, and between it
and us was a kind of stage. Suddenly an intense wish seized
me to look upon the forms of some of the heroes of past
days. I cannot say whom in particular I longed to behold,
but, even as I wished, a faint light flickered over the
stage, and I was aware of a silent procession of figures
moving from right to left across the platform in front of
me. As each figure approached the left-hand corner it turned
and gazed at me, and I knew (by what means I cannot say) its
name. One only I recall--Saint George; the light shone with
a peculiar blueish lustre on his shield and helmet as he
turned and slowly faced me. The figures were shadowy, and
floated like mist before me; as each one disappeared an
invisible choir behind the curtain sang the "Dream music." I
awoke with the melody ringing in my ears, and the words of
the last line complete--"I see the shadows falling, and
slowly pass away." The rest I could not recall.

[Illustration: Dreamland--Facsimile of Words and Music.]




When midnight mists are creeping
And all the land is sleeping
Around me tread the mighty dead,
And slowly pass away.

Lo, warriors, saints, and sages,
From out the vanished ages,
With solemn pace and reverend face
Appear and pass away.

The blaze of noonday splendour,
The twilight soft and tender,
May charm the eye: yet they shall die,
Shall die and pass away

But here, in Dreamland's centre,
No spoiler's hand may enter,
These visions fair, this radiance rare,
Shall never pass away

I see the shadows falling,
The forms of eld recalling;
Around me tread the mighty dead,
And slowly pass away

One of the best services to education which Mr. Dodgson performed was
his edition of "Euclid I. and II.," which was published in 1882. In
writing "Euclid and His Modern Rivals," he had criticised somewhat
severely the various substitutes proposed for Euclid, so far as they
concerned beginners; but at the same time he had admitted that within
prescribed limits Euclid's text is capable of amendment and
improvement, and this is what he attempted to do in this book. That he
was fully justified is shown by the fact that during the years
1882-1889 the book ran through eight editions. In the Introduction he
enumerates, under the three headings of "Additions," "Omissions," and
"Alterations," the chief points of difference between his own and the
ordinary editions of Euclid, with his reasons for adopting them. They
are the outcome of long experience, and the most conservative of
teachers would readily accept them.

The proof of I. 24, for example, is decidedly better and more
satisfactory than the ordinary proof, and the introduction of the
definition of "projection" certainly simplifies the cumbrous
enunciations of II. 12 and 13. Again, the alternative proof of II. 8,
suggested in the Introduction, is valuable, and removes all excuse for
omitting this proposition, as is commonly clone.

The figures used are from the blocks prepared for the late Mr.
Todhunter's well-known edition of Euclid, to which Mr. Dodgson's
manual forms an excellent stepping-stone.

At the beginning of 1883 he went up to town to see the collection of
D. G. Rossetti's pictures in the Burlington Gallery. He was especially
struck with "Found," which he thus describes--

A picture of a man finding, in the streets of London, a girl
he had loved years before in the days of her innocence. She
is huddled up against the wall, dressed in gaudy colours,
and trying to turn away her agonised face, while he, holding
her wrists, is looking down with an expression of pain and
pity, condemnation and love, which is one of the most
marvellous things I have ever seen done in painting.

_Jan_. 27, 1883 [His birthday].--I cannot say I feel
much older at 51 than at 21! Had my first
"tasting-luncheon"; it seemed to give great satisfaction.
[The object of the Curator's "tasting-luncheon" was, of
course, to give members of Common Room an opportunity of
deciding what wines should be bought.]

_March_ 15_th._--Went up to town to fulfil my
promise to Lucy A.--: to take her for her _first_ visit
to the theatre. We got to the Lyceum in good time, and the
play was capitally acted. I had hinted to Beatrice (Miss
Ellen Terry) how much she could add to Lucy's pleasure by
sending round a "carte" of herself; she sent a cabinet. She
is certainly an adept in giving gifts that gratify.

_April_ 23_d_.--Tried another long walk--22 miles,
to Besilsleigh, Fyfield, Kingston, Bagpuize, Frilford,
Marcham, and Abingdon. The last half of the way was in the
face of wind, rain, snow, and hail. Was too lame to go into

* * * * *



"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

In 1883 Lewis Carroll was advised to make a stand against the heavy
discount allowed by publishers to booksellers, and by booksellers to
the public. Accordingly the following notice began to appear in all
his books: "In selling Mr. Lewis Carroll's books to the Trade, Messrs.
Macmillan and Co. will abate 2d. in the shilling (no odd copies), and
allow 5 per cent, discount within six months, and 10 per cent, for
cash. In selling them to the Public (for cash only) they will allow 10
per cent, discount."

It was a bold step to take, and elicited some loud expressions of
disapproval. "Rather than buy on the terms Mr. Lewis Carroll offers,"
"A Firm of London Booksellers" wrote in _The Bookseller_ of August
4th, "the trade will do well to refuse to take copies of his books,
new or old, so long as he adheres to the terms he has just announced
to the trade for their delectation and delight." On the other hand, an
editorial, which appeared in the same number of _The Bookseller,_
expressed warm approval of the innovation.

To avoid all possible misconceptions, the author fully explained his
views in a little pamphlet on "The Profits of Authorship." He showed
that the bookseller makes as much profit out of every volume he sells
(assuming the buyer to pay the full published price, which he did in
those days more readily than he does to-day) as author and publisher
together, whereas his share in the work is very small. He does not say
much about the author's part in the work--that it is a very heavy one
goes without saying--but in considering the publisher's share he

The publisher contributes about as much as the bookseller in
time and bodily labour, but in mental toil and trouble a
great deal more. I speak with some personal knowledge of the
matter, having myself, for some twenty years, inflicted on
that most patient and painstaking firm, Messrs. Macmillan
and Co., about as much wear and worry as ever publishers
have lived through. The day when they undertake a book for
me is a _dies nefastus_ for them. From that day till
the book is out--an interval of some two or three years on
an average--there is no pause in "the pelting of the
pitiless storm" of directions and questions on every
conceivable detail. To say that every question gets a
courteous and thoughtful reply--that they are still outside
a lunatic asylum--and that they still regard me with some
degree of charity--is to speak volumes in praise of their
good temper and of their health, bodily and mental. I think
the publisher's claim on the profits is on the whole
stronger than the booksellers.

"Rhyme? and Reason?" appeared at Christmas; the dedicatory verses,
inscribed "To a dear child: in memory of golden summer hours and
whispers of a summer sea," were addressed to a little friend of the
author's, Miss Gertrude Chataway. One of the most popular poems in the
book is "Hiawatha's Photographing," a delicious parody of Longfellow's
"Hiawatha." "In an age of imitation," says Lewis Carroll, in a note at
the head, "I can claim no special merit for this slight attempt at
doing what is known to be so easy." It is not every one who has read
this note who has observed that it is really in the same metre as the
poem below it.

Another excellent parody, "Atalanta in Camden-Town," exactly hit off
the style of that poet who stands alone and unapproached among the
poets of the day, and whom Mr. Dodgson used to call "the greatest
living master of language."

"Fame's Penny Trumpet," affectionately dedicated to all "original
researchers" who pant for "endowment," was an attack upon the

Who preach of Justice--plead with tears
That Love and Mercy should abound--
While marking with complacent ears
The moaning of some tortured hound.

Lewis Carroll thus addresses them:--

Fill all the air with hungry wails--
"Reward us, ere we think or write!
Without your gold mere knowledge fails
To sate the swinish appetite!"

And, where great Plato paced serene,
Or Newton paused with wistful eye,
Rush to the chase with hoofs unclean
And Babel-clamour of the stye!

Be yours the pay: be theirs the praise:
We will not rob them of their due,
Nor vex the ghosts of other days
By naming them along with you.

They sought and found undying fame:
They toiled not for reward nor thanks:
Their cheeks are hot with honest shame
For you, the modern mountebanks!

"For auld lang syne" the author sent a copy of his book to Mrs.
Hargreaves (Miss Alice Liddell), accompanied by a short note.

Christ Church, _December_ 21, 1883.

Dear Mrs. Hargreaves,--Perhaps the shortest day in the year
is not _quite_ the most appropriate time for recalling the
long dreamy summer afternoons of ancient times; but anyhow
if this book gives you half as much pleasure to receive as
it does me to send, it will be a success indeed.

Wishing you all happiness at this happy season, I am,

Sincerely yours,

C. L. Dodgson.

The beginning of 1884 was chiefly occupied in Common Room business.
The Curatorship seems to have been anything but a sinecure. Besides
weightier responsibilities, it involved the care of the Common Room
Cat! In this case the "care" ultimately killed the cat--but not until
it had passed the span of life usually allotted to those animals, and
beyond which their further existence is equally a nuisance to
themselves and to every one else. As to the best way of "terminating
its sublunary existence," Mr. Dodgson consulted two surgeons, one of
whom was Sir James Paget. I do not know what method was finally
adopted, but I am sure it was one that gave no pain to pussy's nerves,
and as little as possible to her feelings.

On March 11th there was a debate in Congregation on the proposed
admission of women to some of the Honour Schools at Oxford. This was
one of the many subjects on which Mr. Dodgson wrote a pamphlet. During
the debate he made one of his few speeches, and argued strongly
against the proposal, on the score of the injury to health which it
would inflict upon the girl-undergraduates.

Later in the month he and the Rev. E.F. Sampson, Tutor of Christ
Church, paid a visit to Jersey, seeing various friends, notably the
Rev. F.H. Atkinson, an old College friend of Mr. Dodgson's, who had
helped him when he was editor of _College Rhymes_. I quote a few
lines from a letter of his to Mr. Atkinson, as showing his views on

So you have been for twelve years a married man, while I am
still a lonely old bachelor! And mean to keep so, for the
matter of that. College life is by no means unmixed misery,
though married life has no doubt many charms to which I am a

A note in his Diary on May 5th shows one of the changes in his way of
life which advancing years forced him to make:--

Wrote to -- (who had invited me to dine) to beg off, on the
ground that, in my old age, I find dinner parties more and
more fatiguing. This is quite a new departure. I much grudge
giving an evening (even if it were not tiring) to bandying
small-talk with dull people.

The next extract I give does not look much like old age!

I called on Mrs. M--. She was out; and only one maid in,
who, having come to the gate to answer the bell, found the
door blown shut on her return. The poor thing seemed really
alarmed and distressed. However, I got a man to come from a
neighbouring yard with a ladder, and got in at the
drawing-room window--a novel way of entering a friend's

Oddly enough, almost exactly the same thing happened to him in 1888:
"The door blew shut, with the maid outside, and no one in the house. I
got the cook of the next house to let me go through their premises,
and with the help of a pair of steps got over the wall between the two

In July there appeared an article in the _St. James's Gazette_ on
the subject of "Parliamentary Elections," written by Mr. Dodgson. It
was a subject in which he was much interested, and a few years before
he had contributed a long letter on the "Purity of Elections" to the
same newspaper. I wish I had space to give both in full; as things
are, a summary and a few extracts are all I dare attempt. The writer
held that there are a great number of voters, and _pari passu_ a
great number of constituencies, that like to be on the winning side,
and whose votes are chiefly influenced by that consideration. The
ballot-box has made it practically impossible for the individual voter
to know which is going to be the winning side, but after the first few
days of a general election, one side or the other has generally got a
more or less decided advantage, and a weak-kneed constituency is
sorely tempted to swell the tide of victory.

But this is not all. The evil extends further than to the
single constituency; nay, it extends further than to a
single general election; it constitutes a feature in our
national history; it is darkly ominous for the future of
England. So long as general elections are conducted as at
present we shall be liable to oscillations of political
power, like those of 1874 and 1880, but of ever-increasing
violence--one Parliament wholly at the mercy of one
political party, the next wholly at the mercy of the
other--while the Government of the hour, joyfully hastening
to undo all that its predecessors have done, will wield a
majority so immense that the fate of every question will be
foredoomed, and debate will be a farce; in one word, we
shall be a nation living from hand to mouth, and with no
settled principle--an army, whose only marching orders will
be "Right about face!"

His remedy was that the result of each single election should be kept
secret till the general election is over:--

It surely would involve no practical difficulty to provide
that the boxes of voting papers should be sealed up by a
Government official and placed in such custody as would make
it impossible to tamper with them; and that when the last
election had been held they should be opened, the votes
counted, and the results announced.

The article on "Parliamentary Elections" proposed much more sweeping
alterations. The opening paragraph will show its general purport:--

The question, how to arrange our constituencies and conduct
our Parliamentary elections so as to make the House of
Commons, as far as possible, a true index of the state of
opinion in the nation it professes to represent, is surely
equal in importance to any that the present generation has
had to settle. And the leap in the dark, which we seem about
to take in a sudden and vast extension of the franchise,
would be robbed of half its terrors could we feel assured
that each political party will be duly represented in the
next Parliament, so that every side of a question will get a
fair hearing.

The axioms on which his scheme was based were as follows:--

(1) That each Member of Parliament should represent
approximately the same number of electors.

(2) That the minority of the two parties into which, broadly
speaking, each district may be divided, should be adequately

(3) That the waste of votes, caused by accidentally giving
one candidate more than he needs and leaving another of the
same party with less than he needs, should be, if possible,

(4) That the process of marking a ballot-paper should be
reduced to the utmost possible simplicity, to meet the case
of voters of the very narrowest mental calibre.

(5) That the process of counting votes should be as simple
as possible.

Then came a precise proposal. I do not pause to compare it in detail
with the suggestions of Mr. Hare, Mr. Courtney, and others:--

I proceed to give a summary of rules for the method I
propose. Form districts which shall return three, four, or
more Members, in proportion to their size. Let each elector
vote for one candidate only. When the poll is closed, divide
the total number of votes by the number of Members to be
returned _plus_ one, and take the next greater integer as
"quota." Let the returning officer publish the list of
candidates, with the votes given for each, and declare as
"returned" each that has obtained the quota. If there are
still Members to return, let him name a time when all the
candidates shall appear before him; and each returned Member
may then formally assign his surplus votes to whomsoever of
the other candidates he will, while the other candidates may
in like manner assign their votes to one another.

This method would enable each of the two parties in a
district to return as many Members as it could muster
"quotas," no matter how the votes were distributed. If, for
example, 10,000 were the quota, and the "reds" mustered
30,000 votes, they could return three Members; for, suppose
they had four candidates, and that A had 22,000 votes, B
4,000, C 3,000, D 1,000, A would simply have to assign 6,000
votes to B and 6,000 to C; while D, being hopeless of
success, would naturally let C have his 1,000 also. There
would be no risk of a seat being left vacant through two
candidates of the same party sharing a quota between
them--an unwritten law would soon come to be
recognised--that the one with fewest votes should give place
to the other. And, with candidates of two opposite parties,
this difficulty could not arise at all; one or the other
could always be returned by the surplus votes of his party.

Some notes from the Diary for March, 1885, are worth reproducing

_March_ 1_st_.--Sent off two letters of literary
importance, one to Mrs. Hargreaves, to ask her consent to my
publishing the original MS. of "Alice" in facsimile (the
idea occurred to me the other day); the other to Mr. H.
Furniss, a very clever illustrator in _Punch_, asking
if he is open to proposals to draw pictures for me.

The letter to Mrs. Hargreaves, which, it will be noticed, was earlier
in date than the short note already quoted in this chapter, ran as

My Dear Mrs. Hargreaves,--I fancy this will come to you
almost like a voice from the dead, after so many years of
silence, and yet those years have made no difference that I
can perceive in _my_ clearness of memory of the days when we
_did_ correspond. I am getting to feel what an old man's
failing memory is as to recent events and new friends, (for
instance, I made friends, only a few weeks ago, with a very
nice little maid of about twelve, and had a walk with
her--and now I can't recall either of her names!), but my

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