Part 4 out of 7
mental picture is as vivid as ever of one who was, through
so many years, my ideal child-friend. I have had scores of
child-friends since your time, but they have been quite a
However, I did not begin this letter to say all _that_. What
I want to ask is, Would you have any objection to the
original MS. book of "Alice's Adventures" (which I suppose
you still possess) being published in facsimile? The idea of
doing so occurred to me only the other day. If, on
consideration, you come to the conclusion that you would
rather _not_ have it done, there is an end of the matter.
If, however, you give a favourable reply, I would be much
obliged if you would lend it me (registered post, I should
think, would be safest) that I may consider the
possibilities. I have not seen it for about twenty years, so
am by no means sure that the illustrations may not prove to
be so awfully bad that to reproduce them would be absurd.
There can be no doubt that I should incur the charge of
gross egoism in publishing it. But I don't care for that in
the least, knowing that I have no such motive; only I think,
considering the extraordinary popularity the books have had
(we have sold more than 120,000 of the two), there must be
many who would like to see the original form.
Always your friend,
The letter to Harry Furniss elicited a most satisfactory reply. Mr.
Furniss said that he had long wished to illustrate one of Lewis
Carroll's books, and that he was quite prepared to undertake the work
("Sylvie and Bruno").
[Illustration: H. Furniss. _From a photograph_.]
Two more notes from the Diary, referring to the same month follow:--
_March 10th_.--A great Convocation assembled in the
theatre, about a proposed grant for Physiology, opposed by
many (I was one) who wish restrictions to be enacted as to
the practice of vivisection for research. Liddon made an
excellent speech against the grant, but it was carried by
412 to 244.
_March 29th_.--Never before have I had so many literary
projects on hand at once. For curiosity, I will here make a
list of them.
(1) Supplement to "Euclid and Modern Rivals."
(2) 2nd Edition of "Euc. and Mod. Rivals."
(3) A book of Math. curiosities, which I think of calling
"Pillow Problems, and other Math. Trifles." This will
contain Problems worked out in the dark, Logarithms without
Tables, Sines and angles do., a paper I am now writing on
"Infinities and Infinitesimals," condensed Long
Multiplication, and perhaps others.
(4) Euclid V.
(5) "Plain Facts for Circle-Squarers," which is nearly
complete, and gives actual proof of limits 3.14158, 3.14160.
(6) A symbolical Logic, treated by my algebraic method.
(7) "A Tangled Tale."
(8) A collection of Games and Puzzles of my devising, with
fairy pictures by Miss E.G. Thomson. This might also contain
my "Mem. Tech." for dates; my "Cipher-writing" scheme for
Letter-registration, &c., &c.
(9) Nursery Alice.
(10) Serious poems in "Phantasmagoria."
(11) "Alice's Adventures Underground."
(12) "Girl's Own Shakespeare." I have begun on "Tempest."
(13) New edition of "Parliamentary Representation."
(14) New edition of Euc. I., II.
(15) The new child's book, which Mr. Furniss is to
illustrate. I have settled on no name as yet, but it will
perhaps be "Sylvie and Bruno."
I have other shadowy ideas, _e.g._, a Geometry for
Boys, a vol. of Essays on theological points freely and
plainly treated, and a drama on "Alice" (for which Mr.
Mackenzie would write music): but the above is a fair
example of "too many irons in the fire!"
A letter written about this time to his friend, Miss Edith Rix, gives
some very good hints about how to work, all the more valuable because
he had himself successfully carried them out. The first hint was as
When you have made a thorough and reasonably long effort, to
understand a thing, and still feel puzzled by it,
_stop_, you will only hurt yourself by going on. Put it
aside till the next morning; and if _then_ you can't
make it out, and have no one to explain it to you, put it
aside entirely, and go back to that part of the subject
which you _do_ understand. When I was reading
Mathematics for University honours, I would sometimes, after
working a week or two at some new book, and mastering ten or
twenty pages, get into a hopeless muddle, and find it just
as bad the next morning. My rule was _to begin the book
again_. And perhaps in another fortnight I had come to
the old difficulty with impetus enough to get over it. Or
perhaps not. I have several books that I have begun over and
My second hint shall be--Never leave an unsolved difficulty
_behind_. I mean, don't go any further in that book
till the difficulty is conquered. In this point, Mathematics
differs entirely from most other subjects. Suppose you are
reading an Italian book, and come to a hopelessly obscure
sentence--don't waste too much time on it, skip it, and go
on; you will do very well without it. But if you skip a
_mathematical_ difficulty, it is sure to crop up again:
you will find some other proof depending on it, and you will
only get deeper and deeper into the mud.
My third hint is, only go on working so long as the brain is
_quite_ clear. The moment you feel the ideas getting
confused leave off and rest, or your penalty will be that
you will never learn Mathematics _at all_!
Two more letters to the same friend are, I think, deserving of a place
Eastbourne, _Sept_. 25, 1885.
My dear Edith,--One subject you touch on--"the Resurrection
of the Body"--is very interesting to me, and I have given it
much thought (I mean long ago). _My_ conclusion was to
give up the _literal_ meaning of the _material_
body altogether. _Identity_, in some mysterious way,
there evidently is; but there is no resisting the scientific
fact that the actual _material_ usable for
_physical_ bodies has been used over and over again--so
that each atom would have several owners. The mere solitary
fact of the existence of _cannibalism_ is to my mind a
sufficient _reductio ad absurdum_ of the theory that
the particular set of atoms I shall happen to own at death
(changed every seven years, they say) will be mine in the
next life--and all the other insuperable difficulties (such
as people born with bodily defects) are swept away at once
if we accept S. Paul's "spiritual body," and his simile of
the grain of corn. I have read very little of "Sartor
Resartus," and don't know the passage you quote: but I
accept the idea of the material body being the "dress" of
the spiritual--a dress needed for material life.
Ch. Ch., _Dec_. 13, 1885.
Dear Edith,--I have been a severe sufferer from
_Logical_ puzzles of late. I got into a regular tangle
about the "import of propositions," as the ordinary logical
books declare that "all _x_ is _z_" doesn't even
_hint_ that any _x_'s exist, but merely that the
qualities are so inseparable that, if ever _x_ occurs,
_z_ must occur also. As to "some _x_ is _z_"
they are discreetly silent; and the living authorities I
have appealed to, including our Professor of Logic, take
opposite sides! Some say it means that the qualities are so
connected that, if any _x_'s _did_ exist, some
_must_ be _z_--others that it only means
compatibility, _i.e.,_ that some _might_ be
_z_, and they would go on asserting, with perfect
belief in their truthfulness, "some boots are made of
brass," even if they had all the boots in the world before
them, and knew that _none_ were so made, merely because
there is no inherent impossibility in making boots of brass!
Isn't it bewildering? I shall have to mention all this in my
great work on Logic--but _I_ shall take the line "any
writer may mean exactly what he pleases by a phrase so long
as he explains it beforehand." But I shall not venture to
assert "some boots are made of brass" till I have found a
pair! The Professor of Logic came over one day to talk about
it, and we had a long and exciting argument, the result of
which was "_x -x_"--a magnitude which you will be able
to evaluate for yourself.
C. L. Dodgson.
As an example of the good advice Mr. Dodgson used to give his young
friends, the following letter to Miss Isabel Standen will serve
Eastbourne, _Aug_. 4, 1885.
I can quite understand, and much sympathise with, what you
say of your feeling lonely, and not what you can honestly
call "happy." Now I am going to give you a bit of philosophy
about that--my own experience is, that _every_ new form
of life we try is, just at first, irksome rather than
pleasant. My first day or two at the sea is a little
depressing; I miss the Christ Church interests, and haven't
taken up the threads of interest here; and, just in the same
way, my first day or two, when I get back to Christ Church,
I miss the seaside pleasures, and feel with unusual
clearness the bothers of business-routine. In all such
cases, the true philosophy, I believe, is "_wait_ a
bit." Our mental nerves seem to be so adjusted that we feel
_first_ and most keenly, the _dis_-comforts of any
new form of life; but, after a bit, we get used to them, and
cease to notice them; and _then_ we have time to
realise the enjoyable features, which at first we were too
much worried to be conscious of.
Suppose you hurt your arm, and had to wear it in a sling for
a month. For the first two or three days the discomfort of
the bandage, the pressure of the sling on the neck and
shoulder, the being unable to use the arm, would be a
constant worry. You would feel as if all comfort in life
were gone; after a couple of days you would be used to the
new sensations, after a week you perhaps wouldn't notice
them at all; and life would seem just as comfortable as
So my advice is, don't think about loneliness, or happiness,
or unhappiness, for a week or two. Then "take stock" again,
and compare your feelings with what they were two weeks
previously. If they have changed, even a little, for the
better you are on the right track; if not, we may begin to
suspect the life does not suit you. But what I want
_specially_ to urge is that there's no use in comparing
one's feelings between one day and the next; you must allow
a reasonable interval, for the _direction of_ change to
Sit on the beach, and watch the waves for a few seconds; you
say "the tide is coming in "; watch half a dozen successive
waves, and you may say "the last is the lowest; it is going
out." Wait a quarter of an hour, and compare its
_average_ place with what it was at first, and you will
say "No, it is coming in after all." ...
With love, I am always affectionately yours,
C. L. Dodgson.
The next event to chronicle in Lewis Carroll's Life is the
publication, by Messrs. Macmillan, of "A Tangled Tale," a series of
mathematical problems which had originally appeared in the _Monthly
Packet_. In addition to the problems themselves, the author added
their correct solutions, with criticisms on the solutions, correct or
otherwise, which the readers of the _Monthly Packet_ had sent in
to him. With some people this is the most popular of all his books; it
is certainly the most successful attempt he ever made to combine
mathematics and humour. The book was illustrated by Mr. A.B. Frost,
who entered most thoroughly into the spirit of the thing. One of his
pictures, "Balbus was assisting his mother-in-law to convince the
dragon," is irresistibly comic. A short quotation will better enable
the reader to understand the point of the joke:--
Balbus was waiting for them at the hotel; the journey down
had tried him, he said; so his two pupils had been the round
of the place, in search of lodgings, without the old tutor
who had been their inseparable companion from their
childhood. They had named him after the hero of their Latin
exercise-book, which overflowed with anecdotes about that
versatile genius--anecdotes whose vagueness in detail was
more than compensated by their sensational brilliance.
"Balbus has overcome all his enemies" had been marked by
their tutor, in the margin of the book, "Successful
Bravery." In this way he had tried to extract a moral from
every anecdote about Balbus--sometimes one of warning, as in
"Balbus had borrowed a healthy dragon," against which he had
written, "Rashness in Speculation "--sometimes of
encouragement, as in the words, "Influence of Sympathy in
United Action," which stood opposite to the anecdote "Balbus
was assisting his mother-in-law to convince the dragon"--and
sometimes it dwindled down to a single word, such as
"Prudence," which was all he could extract from the touching
record that "Balbus, having scorched the tail of the dragon,
went away." His pupils liked the short morals best, as it
left them more room for marginal illustrations, and in this
instance they required all the space they could get to
exhibit the rapidity of the hero's departure.
Balbus and his pupils go in search of lodgings, which are only to be
found in a certain square; at No. 52, one of the pupils supplements
the usual questions by asking the landlady if the cat scratches:--
The landlady looked round suspiciously, as if to make sure
the cat was not listening. "I will not deceive you,
gentlemen," she said. "It _do_ scratch, but not without
you pulls its whiskers! It'll never do it," she repeated
slowly, with a visible effort to recall the exact words of
some written agreement between herself and the cat, "without
you pulls its whiskers!"
"Much may be excused in a cat so treated," said Balbus as
they left the house and crossed to No. 70, leaving the
landlady curtesying on the doorstep, and still murmuring to
herself her parting words, as if they were a form of
blessing--"Not without you pulls its whiskers!"
[Illustration: _From a crayon drawing by the Rev. H.C.
They secure one room at each of the following numbers--the square
contains 20 doors on each side--Nine, Twenty-five, Fifty-two, and
Seventy-three. They require three bedrooms and one day-room, and
decide to take as day-room the one that gives them the least walking
to do to get to it. The problem, of course, is to discover which room
they adopted as the day-room. There are ten such "knots" in the book,
and few, if any of them, can be untied without a good deal of thought.
Owing, probably, to the strain of incessant work, Mr. Dodgson about
this period began to be subject to a very peculiar, yet not very
uncommon, optical delusion, which takes the form of seeing moving
fortifications. Considering the fact that he spent a good twelve hours
out of every twenty-four in reading and writing, and that he was now
well over fifty years old, it was not surprising that nature should
begin to rebel at last, and warn him of the necessity of occasional
Some verses on "Wonderland" by "One who loves Alice," appeared in the
Christmas number of _Sylvia's Home Journal_, 1885. They were
written by Miss M.E. Manners, and, as Lewis Carroll himself admired
them, they will, I think, be read with interest:--
How sweet those happy days gone by,
Those days of sunny weather,
When Alice fair, with golden hair,
And we--were young together;--
When first with eager gaze we scann'd
The page which told of Wonderland.
On hearthrug in the winter-time
We lay and read it over;
We read it in the summer's prime,
Amidst the hay and clover.
The trees, by evening breezes fann'd,
Murmured sweet tales of Wonderland.
We climbed the mantelpiece, and broke
The jars of Dresden china;
In Jabberwocky tongue we spoke,
We called the kitten "Dinah!"
And, oh! how earnestly we planned
To go ourselves to Wonderland.
The path was fringed with flowers rare,
With rainbow colours tinted;
The way was "up a winding stair,"
Our elders wisely hinted.
We did not wish to understand
_Bed_ was the road to Wonderland.
We thought we'd wait till we should grow
Stronger as well as bolder,
But now, alas! full well we know
We're only growing older.
The key held by a childish hand,
Fits best the door of Wonderland.
Yet still the Hatter drinks his tea,
The Duchess finds a moral,
And Tweedledum and Tweedledee
Forget in fright their quarrel.
The Walrus still weeps on the sand,
That strews the shores of Wonderland.
And other children feel the spell
Which once we felt before them,
And while the well-known tale we tell,
We watch it stealing o'er them:
Before their dazzled eyes expand
The glorious realms of Wonderland.
Yes, "time is fleet," and we have gained
Years more than twice eleven;
Alice, dear child, hast thou remained
With "proper aid," "two" could command
Time to go back in Wonderland.
Or have the years (untouched by charms),
With joy and sorrow laden,
Rolled by, and brought unto thy arms
A dainty little maiden?
Another Alice, who shall stand
By thee to hear of Wonderland.
Carroll! accept the heartfelt thanks
Of children of all ages,
Of those who long have left their ranks,
Yet still must love the pages
Written by him whose magic wand
Called up the scenes of Wonderland.
Long mayst thou live, the sound to hear
Which most thy heart rejoices,
Of children's laughter ringing clear,
And children's merry voices,
Until for thee an angel-hand
Draws back the veil of Wonderland.
One Who Loves "Alice."
Three letters, written at the beginning of 1886 to Miss Edith Rix, to
whom he had dedicated "A Tangled Tale," are interesting as showing the
deeper side of his character:--
Guildford, _Jan_. 15, 1886.
My dear Edith,--I have been meaning for some time to write
to you about agnosticism, and other matters in your letter
which I have left unnoticed. And yet I do not know, much as
what you say interests me, and much as I should like to be
of use to any wandering seeker after truth, that I am at all
likely to say anything that will be new to you and of any
The Moral Science student you describe must be a beautiful
character, and if, as you say, she lives a noble life, then,
even though she does not, as yet, see any God, for whose
sake she can do things, I don't think you need be unhappy
about her. "When thou wast under the fig tree, I saw thee,"
is often supposed to mean that Nathanael had been
_praying_, praying no doubt ignorantly and imperfectly,
but yet using the light he had: and it seems to have been
accepted as faith in the Messiah. More and more it seems to
me (I hope you won't be _very_ much shocked at me as an
ultra "Broad" Churchman) that what a person _is_ is of
more importance in God's sight than merely what propositions
he affirms or denies. _You_, at any rate, can do more
good among those new friends of yours by showing them what a
Christian _is_, than by telling them what a Christian
I have a deep dread of argument on religious topics: it has
many risks, and little chance of doing good. You and I will
never _argue_, I hope, on any controverted religious
question: though I do hope we may see the day when we may
freely _speak_ of such things, even where we happen to
hold different views. But even then I should have no
inclination, if we did differ, to conclude that my view was
the right one, and to try to convert you to it....
Now I come to your letter dated Dec. 22nd, and must scold
you for saying that my solution of the problem was "quite
different _to_ all common ways of doing it": if
_you_ think that's good English, well and good; but
_I_ must beg to differ to you, and to hope you will
_never_ write me a sentence similar from this again.
However, "worse remains behind"; and if you deliberately
intend in future, when writing to me about one of England's
greatest poets, to call him "Shelly," then all I can say is,
that you and I will have to quarrel! Be warned in time.
C. L. Dodgson.
CH. Ch., _Jan_. 26, 1886.
My Dear Edith,--I am interested by what you say of Miss--.
You will know, without my saying it, that if she, or any
other friend of yours with any troubles, were to like to
write to me, I would _very_ gladly try to help: with
all my ignorance and weakness, God has, I think, blessed my
efforts in that way: but then His strength is made perfect
Ch. Ch., _Feb_. 14, 1886.
My Dear Edith,... I think I've already noticed, in a way,
most of the rest of that letter--except what you say about
learning more things "after we are dead." _I_ certainly
like to think that may be so. But I have heard the other
view strongly urged, a good deal based on "then shall we
know even as we are known." But I can't believe that that
means we shall have _all_ knowledge given us in a
moment--nor can I fancy it would make me any happier: it is
the _learning_ that is the chief joy, here, at any
I find another remark anent "pupils"--a bold speculation
that my 1,000 pupils may really "go on" in the future life,
till they _have_ really outstripped Euclid. And,
please, what is _Euclid_ to be doing all that time? ...
One of the most dreadful things you have ever told me is
your students' theory of going and speaking to any one they
are interested in, without any introductions. This, joined
with what you say of some of them being interested in
"Alice," suggests the horrid idea of their some day walking
into this room and beginning a conversation. It is enough to
make one shiver, even to think of it!
Never mind if people do say "Good gracious!" when you help
old women: it _is_ being, in some degree, both "good"
_and_ "gracious," one may hope. So the remark wasn't so
I fear I agree with your friend in not liking all sermons.
Some of them, one has to confess, are rubbish: but then I
release my attention from the preacher, and go ahead in any
line of thought he may have started: and his after-eloquence
acts as a kind of accompaniment--like music while one is
reading poetry, which often, to me, adds to the effect.
C. L. Dodgson.
The "Alice" operetta, which Mr. Dodgson had despaired of, was at last
to become a reality. Mr. Savile Clarke wrote on August 28th to ask his
leave to dramatise the two books, and he gladly assented. He only made
one condition, which was very characteristic of him, that there should
be "no _suggestion_ even of coarseness in libretto or in stage
business." The hint was hardly necessary, for Mr. Savile Clarke was
not the sort of man to spoil his work, or to allow others to spoil it,
by vulgarity. Several alterations were made in the books before they
were suitable for a dramatic performance; Mr. Dodgson had to write a
song for the ghosts of the oysters, which the Walrus and the Carpenter
had devoured. He also completed "Tis the voice of the lobster," so as
to make it into a song. It ran as follows:--
Tis the voice of the lobster; I heard him declare
"You have baked me too brown: I must sugar my hair."
As a duck with its eyelids, so he with his nose
Trims his belt and his buttons, and turns out his toes.
When the sands are all dry, he is gay as a lark,
And talks with the utmost contempt of the shark;
But when the tide rises, and sharks are around,
His words have a timid and tremulous sound.
I passed by his garden, and marked, with one eye,
How the owl and the panther were sharing a pie:
The panther took pie-crust, and gravy, and meat,
And the owl had the dish for his share of the treat.
When the plate was divided, the owl, as a boon,
Was kindly permitted to pocket the spoon:
But the panther obtained both the fork and the knife,
So, when _he_ lost his temper, the owl lost its life.
The play, for the first few weeks at least, was a great success. Some
notes in Mr. Dodgson's Diary which relate to it, show how he
appreciated Mr. Savile Clarke's venture:--
_Dec. 30th._--To London with M--, and took her to
"Alice in Wonderland," Mr. Savile Clarke's play at the
Prince of Wales's Theatre. The first act (Wonderland) goes
well, specially the Mad Tea Party. Mr. Sydney Harcourt is a
capital Hatter, and little Dorothy d'Alcourt (aet. 61/2) a
delicious Dormouse. Phoebe Carlo is a splendid Alice. Her
song and dance with the Cheshire Cat (Master C. Adeson, who
played the Pirate King in "Pirates of Penzance") was a gem.
As a whole the play seems a success.
_Feb_. 11, 1887.--Went to the "Alice" play, where we
sat next a chatty old gentleman, who told me that the author
of "Alice" had sent Phoebe Carlo a book, and that she had
written to him to say that she would do her very best, and
further, that he is "an Oxford man"--all which I hope I
received with a sufficient expression of pleased interest.
Shortly before the production of the play, a Miss Whitehead had drawn
a very clever medley-picture, in which nearly all Tenniel's wonderful
creations--the Dormouse, the White Knight, the Mad Hatter,
&c.--appeared. This design was most useful as a "poster" to advertise
the play. After the London run was over, the company made a tour of
the provinces, where it met with a fair amount of success.
[Illustration: Medley of Tenniel's Illustrations in "Alice."
_From an etching by Miss Whitehead; used as a theatrical
At the end of 1886, "Alice's Adventures Underground," a facsimile of
the original MS. book, afterwards developed into "Alice's Adventures
in Wonderland," with thirty-seven illustrations by the author, was
published by Macmillan & Co. A postscript to the Preface stated that
any profits that might arise from the book would be given to
Children's Hospitals and Convalescent Homes for Sick Children. Shortly
before the book came out, Lewis Carroll wrote to Mrs. Hargreaves,
giving a description of the difficulties that he had encountered in
Christ Church, Oxford,
_November_ 11, 1886.
My Dear Mrs. Hargreaves,--Many thanks for your permission to
insert "Hospitals" in the Preface to your book. I have had
almost as many adventures in getting that unfortunate
facsimile finished, _Above_ ground, as your namesake
had _Under_ it!
First, the zincographer in London, recommended to me for
photographing the book, page by page, and preparing the
zinc-blocks, declined to undertake it unless I would entrust
the book to _him_, which I entirely refused to do. I
felt that it was only due to you, in return for your great
kindness in lending so unique a book, to be scrupulous in
not letting it be even _touched_ by the workmen's
hands. In vain I offered to come and reside in London with
the book, and to attend daily in the studio, to place it in
position to be photographed, and turn over the pages as
required. He said that could not be done because "other
authors' works were being photographed there, which must on
no account be seen by the public." I undertook not to look
at _anything_ but my own book; but it was no use: we
could not come to terms.
Then -- recommended me a certain Mr. X--, an excellent
photographer, but in so small a way of business that I
should have to _prepay_ him, bit by bit, for the
zinc-blocks: and _he_ was willing to come to Oxford,
and do it here. So it was all done in my studio, I remaining
in waiting all the time, to turn over the pages.
But I daresay I have told you so much of the story already.
Mr. X-- did a first-rate set of negatives, and took them
away with him to get the zinc-blocks made. These he
delivered pretty regularly at first, and there seemed to be
every prospect of getting the book out by Christmas, 1885.
On October 18, 1885, I sent your book to Mrs. Liddell, who
had told me your sisters were going to visit you and would
take it with them. I trust it reached you safely?
Soon after this--I having prepaid for the whole of the
zinc-blocks--the supply suddenly ceased, while twenty-two
pages were still due, and Mr. X-- disappeared!
My belief is that he was in hiding from his creditors. We
sought him in vain. So things went on for months. At one
time I thought of employing a detective to find him, but was
assured that "all detectives are scoundrels." The
alternative seemed to be to ask you to lend the book again,
and get the missing pages re-photographed. But I was most
unwilling to rob you of it again, and also afraid of the
risk of loss of the book, if sent by post--for even
"registered post" does not seem _absolutely_ safe.
In April he called at Macmillan's and left _eight_
blocks, and again vanished into obscurity.
This left us with fourteen pages (dotted up and down the
book) still missing. I waited awhile longer, and then put
the thing into the hands of a solicitor, who soon found the
man, but could get nothing but promises from him. "You will
never get the blocks," said the solicitor, "unless you
frighten him by a summons before a magistrate." To this at
last I unwillingly consented: the summons had to be taken
out at--(that is where this aggravating man is living),
and this entailed two journeys from Eastbourne--one to get
the summons (my _personal_ presence being necessary),
and the other to attend in court with the solicitor on the
day fixed for hearing the case. The defendant didn't appear;
so the magistrate said he would take the case in his
absence. Then I had the new and exciting experience of being
put into the witness-box, and sworn, and cross-examined by a
rather savage magistrate's clerk, who seemed to think that,
if he only bullied me enough, he would soon catch me out in
a falsehood! I had to give the magistrate a little lecture
on photo-zincography, and the poor man declared the case was
so complicated he must adjourn it for another week. But this
time, in order to secure the presence of our slippery
defendant, he issued a warrant for his apprehension, and the
constable had orders to take him into custody and lodge him
in prison, the night before the day when the case was to
come on. The news of _this_ effectually frightened him,
and he delivered up the fourteen negatives (he hadn't done
the blocks) before the fatal day arrived. I was rejoiced to
get them, even though it entailed the paying a second time
for getting the fourteen blocks done, and withdrew the
The fourteen blocks were quickly done and put into the
printer's hands; and all is going on smoothly at last: and I
quite hope to have the book completed, and to be able to
send you a very special copy (bound in white vellum, unless
you would prefer some other style of binding) by the end of
Believe me always,
C. L. Dodgson.
"The Game of Logic" was Lewis Carroll's next book; it appeared about
the end of February, 1887. As a method of teaching the first
principles of Logic to children it has proved most useful; the
subject, usually considered very difficult to a beginner, is made
extremely easy by simplification of method, and both interesting and
amusing by the quaint syllogisms that the author devised, such as--
No bald person needs a hair-brush;
No lizards have hair;
Therefore No lizard needs a hair brush.
Caterpillars are not eloquent;
Jones is eloquent;
Jones is not a caterpillar.
Meanwhile, with much interchange of correspondence between author and
artist, the pictures for the new fairy tale, "Sylvie and Bruno," were
being gradually evolved. Each of them was subjected by Lewis Carroll
to the most minute criticism--hyper-criticism, perhaps, occasionally.
A few instances of the sort of criticisms he used to make upon Mr.
Furniss's work may be interesting; I have extracted them from a letter
dated September 1, 1887. It will be seen that when he really admired a
sketch he did not stint his praise:--
(1) "Sylvie helping beetle" [p. 193]. A quite charming
(3) "The Doctor" and "Eric." (Mr. Furniss's idea of their
appearance). No! The Doctor won't do _at all!_ He is a
smug London man, a great "ladies' man," who would hardly
talk anything but medical "shop." He is forty at least, and
can have had no love-affair for the last fifteen years. I
want him to be about twenty-five, powerful in frame,
poetical in face: capable of intelligent interest in any
subject, and of being a passionate lover. How would you draw
King Arthur when he first met Guinevere? Try _that_
Eric's attitude is capital: but his face is a little too
near to the ordinary "masher." Please avoid _that_
inane creature; and please don't cut his hair short. That
fashion will be "out" directly.
(4) "Lady Muriel" (head); ditto (full length); "Earl."
I don't like _either_ face of Lady Muriel. I don't
think I could talk to her; and I'm quite sure I couldn't
fall in love with her. Her dress ("evening," of course) is
very pretty, I think.
I don't like the Earl's face either. He is proud of his
title, very formal, and one who would keep one "at arm's
length" always. And he is too prodigiously tall. I want a
gentle, genial old man; with whom one would feel at one's
ease in a moment.
(8) "Uggug becoming Porcupine" ("Sylvie and Bruno,
Concluded," page 388), is exactly my conception of it. I
expect this will be one of the most effective pictures in
the book. The faces of the people should express intense
(9) "The Professor" is altogether _delightful_. When
you get the text, you will see that you have hit the very
centre of the bull's-eye.
[A sketch of "Bruno"]. No, no! Please don't give us the (to
my mind) very ugly, quite modern costume, which shows with
such cruel distinctness a podgy, pot-bellied (excuse the
vulgarism) boy, who couldn't run a mile to save his life. I
want Bruno to be _strong_, but at the same time light
and active--with the figure of one of the little acrobats
one sees at the circus--not "Master Tommy," who habitually
gorges himself with pudding. Also that dress I dislike very
much. Please give him a short tunic, and _real_
knickerbockers--not the tight knee-breeches they are rapidly
Very truly yours,
C. L. Dodgson.
By Mr. Furniss's kind permission I am enabled to give an example of
the other side of the correspondence, one of his letters to Mr.
Dodgson, all the more interesting for the charming little sketch which
With respect to the spider, Mr. Dodgson had written: "Some writer says
that the full face of a spider, as seen under a magnifying-glass, is
[Illustration: _Facsimile of a letter from H. Furniss to
Lewis Carroll, August 23, 1886_.]
[Illustration: Sylvie and Bruno. _From a drawing by Henry
* * * * *
A systematic life--"Memoria Technica"--Mr. Dodgson's
shyness--"A Lesson in Latin"--The "Wonderland"
Stamp-Case--"Wise Words about Letter-Writing"--Princess
Alice--"Sylvie and Bruno"--"The night cometh"--"The Nursery
'Alice'"--Coventry Patmore--Telepathy--Resignation of Dr.
Liddell--A letter about Logic.
An old bachelor is generally very precise and exact in his habits. He
has no one but himself to look after, nothing to distract his
attention from his own affairs; and Mr. Dodgson was the most precise
and exact of old bachelors. He made a precis of every letter he wrote
or received from the 1st of January, 1861, to the 8th of the same
month, 1898. These precis were all numbered and entered in
reference-books, and by an ingenious system of cross-numbering he was
able to trace a whole correspondence, which might extend through
several volumes. The last number entered in his book is 98,721.
He had scores of green cardboard boxes, all neatly labelled, in which
he kept his various papers. These boxes formed quite a feature of his
study at Oxford, a large number of them being arranged upon a
revolving bookstand. The lists, of various sorts, which he kept were
innumerable; one of them, that of unanswered correspondents,
generally held seventy or eighty names at a time, exclusive of
autograph-hunters, whom he did not answer on principle. He seemed to
delight in being arithmetically accurate about every detail of life.
He always rose at the same early hour, and, if he was in residence at
Christ Church, attended College Service. He spent the day according to
a prescribed routine, which usually included a long walk into the
country, very often alone, but sometimes with another Don, or perhaps,
if the walk was not to be as long as usual, with some little
girl-friend at his side. When he had a companion with him, he would
talk the whole time, telling delightful stories, or explaining some
new logical problem; if he was alone, he used to think out his books,
as probably many another author has done and will do, in the course of
a lonely walk. The only irregularity noticeable in his mode of life
was the hour of retiring, which varied from 11 p.m. to four o'clock in
the morning, according to the amount of work which he felt himself in
the mood for.
He had a wonderfully good memory, except for faces and dates. The
former were always a stumbling-block to him, and people used to say
(most unjustly) that he was intentionally short-sighted. One night he
went up to London to dine with a friend, whom he had only recently
met. The next morning a gentleman greeted him as he was walking. "I
beg your pardon," said Mr. Dodgson, "but you have the advantage of me.
I have no remembrance of having ever seen you before this moment."
"That is very strange," the other replied, "for I was your host last
night!" Such little incidents as this happened more than once. To help
himself to remember dates, he devised a system of mnemonics, which he
circulated among his friends. As it has never been published, and as
some of my readers may find it useful, I reproduce it here.
My "Memoria Technica" is a modification of Gray's; but,
whereas he used both consonants and vowels to represent
digits, and had to content himself with a syllable of
gibberish to represent the date or whatever other number was
required, I use only consonants, and fill in with vowels _ad
libitum,_ and thus can always manage to make a real word of
whatever has to be represented.
The principles on which the necessary 20 consonants have
been chosen are as follows:--
1. "b" and "c," the first two consonants in the alphabet.
2. "d" from "duo," "w" from "two."
3. "t" from "tres," the other may wait awhile.
4. "f" from "four," "q" from "quattuor."
5. "l" and "v," because "l" and "v" are the Roman symbols
for "fifty" and "five."
6. "s" and "x" from "six."
7. "p" and "m" from "septem."
8. "h" from "huit," and "k" from the Greek "okto."
9. "n" from "nine"; and "g" because it is so like a "9."
0. "z" and "r" from "zero."
There is now one consonant still waiting for its digit,
viz., "j," and one digit waiting for its consonant, viz.,
"3," the conclusion is obvious.
The result may be tabulated thus:--
|1 |2 |3 |4 |5 |6 |7 |8 |9 |0 |
|b |d |t |f |l |s |p |h |n |z |
|c |w |j |q |v |x |m |k |g |r |
When a word has been found, whose last consonants represent
the number required, the best plan is to put it as the last
word of a rhymed couplet, so that, whatever other words in
it are forgotten, the rhyme will secure the only really
Now suppose you wish to remember the date of the discovery
of America, which is 1492; the "1" may be left out as
obvious; all we need is "492."
Write it thus:--
4 9 2
f n d
q g w
and try to find a word that contains "f" or "q," "n" or "g,"
"d" or "w." A word soon suggests itself--"found."
The poetic faculty must now be brought into play, and the
following couplet will soon be evolved:--
"Columbus sailed the world around,
Until America was F O U N D."
If possible, invent the couplets for yourself; you will
remember them better than any others.
The inventor found this "Memoria Technica" very useful in helping him
to remember the dates of the different Colleges. He often, of course,
had to show his friends the sights of Oxford, and the easy way in
which, asked or unasked, he could embellish his descriptions with
dates used to surprise those who did not know how the thing was done.
The couplet for St. John's College ran as follows:--
"They must have a bevel
To keep them so LEVEL."
The allusion is to the beautiful lawns, for which St. John's is
In his power of remembering anecdotes, and bringing them out just at
the right moment, Mr. Dodgson was unsurpassed. A guest brought into
Christ Church Common Room was usually handed over to him to be amused.
He was not a good man to tell a story to--he had always heard it
before; but as a _raconteur_ I never met his equal. And the best
of it was that his stories never grew--except in number.
One would have expected that a mind so clear and logical and definite
would have fought shy of the feminine intellect, which is generally
supposed to be deficient in those qualities; and so it is somewhat
surprising to find that by far the greater number of his friends were
ladies. He was quite prepared to correct them, however, when they were
guilty of what seemed to him unreasoning conduct, as is shown by the
following extract from a letter of his to a young lady who had asked
him to try and find a place for a governess, without giving the
Some of my friends are business-men, and it is pleasant to
see how methodical and careful they are in transacting any
business-matter. If, for instance, one of them were to write
to me, asking me to look out for a place for a French
governess in whom he was interested, I should be sure to
admire the care with which he would give me _her name in
full_--(in extra-legible writing if it were an unusual
name)--as well as her address. Some of my friends are not
men of business.
So many such requests were addressed to him that at one time he had a
circular letter printed, with a list of people requiring various
appointments or assistants, which he sent round to his friends.
In one respect Lewis Carroll resembled the stoic philosophers, for no
outward circumstance could upset the tranquillity of his mind. He
lived, in fact, the life which Marcus Aurelius commends so highly, the
life of calm contentment, based on the assurance that so long as we
are faithful to ourselves, no seeming evils can really harm us. But in
him there was one exception to this rule. During an argument he was
often excited. The war of words, the keen and subtle conflict between
trained minds--in this his soul took delight, in this he sought and
found the joy of battle and of victory. Yet he would not allow his
serenity to be ruffled by any foe whom he considered unworthy of his
steel; he refused to argue with people whom he knew to be hopelessly
illogical--definitely refused, though with such tact that no wound was
given, even to the most sensitive.
He was modest in the true sense of the term, neither overestimating
nor underrating his own mental powers, and preferring to follow his
own course without regarding outside criticism. "I never read anything
about myself or my books," he writes in a letter to a friend; and the
reason he used to give was that if the critics praised him he might
become conceited, while, if they found fault, he would only feel hurt
and angry. On October 25, 1888, he wrote in his Diary: "I see there is
a leader in to-day's _Standard_ on myself as a writer; but I do
not mean to read it. It is not healthy reading, I think."
He hated publicity, and tried to avoid it in every way. "Do not tell
any one, if you see me in the theatre," he wrote once to Miss Marion
Terry. On another occasion, when he was dining out at Oxford, and some
one, who did not know that it was a forbidden subject, turned the
conversation on "Alice in Wonderland," he rose suddenly and fled from
the house. I could multiply instances of this sort, but it would be
unjust to his memory to insist upon the morbid way in which he
regarded personal popularity. As compared with self-advertisement, it
is certainly the lesser evil; but that it _is_ an evil, and a
very painful one to its possessor, Mr. Dodgson fully saw. Of course it
had its humorous side, as, for instance, when he was brought into
contact with lion-hunters, autograph-collectors, _et hoc genus
omne_. He was very suspicious of unknown correspondents who
addressed questions to him; in later years he either did not answer
them at all, or used a typewriter. Before he bought his typewriter, he
would get some friend to write for him, and even to sign "Lewis
Carroll" at the end of the letter. It used to give him great amusement
to picture the astonishment of the recipients of these letters, if by
any chance they ever came to compare his "autographs."
On one occasion the secretary of a "Young Ladies' Academy" in the
United States asked him to present some of his works to the School
Library. The envelope was addressed to "Lewis Carroll, Christ Church,"
an incongruity which always annoyed him intensely. He replied to the
Secretary, "As Mr. Dodgson's books are all on Mathematical subjects,
he fears that they would not be very acceptable in a school library."
Some fourteen or fifteen years ago, the Fourth-class of the Girl's
Latin School at Boston, U.S., started a magazine, and asked him if
they might call it _The Jabberwock._ He wrote in reply:--
Mr. Lewis Carroll has much pleasure in giving to the editors
of the proposed magazine permission to use the title they
wish for. He finds that the Anglo-Saxon word "wocer" or
"wocor" signifies "offspring" or "fruit." Taking "jabber" in
its ordinary acceptation of "excited and voluble
discussion," this would give the meaning of "the result of
much excited discussion." Whether this phrase will have any
application to the projected periodical, it will be for the
future historian of American literature to determine. Mr.
Carroll wishes all success to the forthcoming magazine.
From that time forward he took a great interest in the magazine, and
thought very well of it. It used, I believe, to be regularly supplied
to him. Only once did he express disapproval of anything it contained,
and that was in 1888, when he felt it necessary to administer a rebuke
for what he thought to be an irreverent joke. The sequel is given in
the following extract from _The Jabberwock_ for June, 1888:--
A FRIEND WORTH HAVING.
_The Jabberwock_ has many friends, and perhaps a few
(very few, let us hope) enemies. But, of the former, the
friend who has helped us most on the road to success is Mr.
Lewis Carroll, the author of "Alice in Wonderland," &c. Our
readers will remember his kind letter granting us permission
to use the name "Jabberwock," and also giving the meaning of
that word. Since then we have received another letter from
him, in which he expresses both surprise and regret at an
anecdote which we published in an early number of our little
paper. We would assure Mr. Carroll, as well as our other
friends, that we had no intention of making light of a
serious matter, but merely quoted the anecdote to show what
sort of a book Washington's diary was.
But now a third letter from our kind friend has come,
enclosing, to our delight, a poem, "A Lesson in Latin," the
pleasantest Latin lesson we have had this year.
The first two letters from Mr. Carroll were in a beautiful
literary hand, whereas the third is written with a
typewriter. It is to this fact that he refers in his letter,
which is as follows:--
"29, Bedford Street,
Covent Garden, LONDON,
_May_ 16, 1888.
Dear Young Friends,--After the Black Draught of serious
remonstrance which I ventured to send to you the other day,
surely a Lump of Sugar will not be unacceptable? The
enclosed I wrote this afternoon on purpose for you.
I hope you will grant it admission to the columns of _The
Jabberwock_, and not scorn it as a mere play upon words.
This mode of writing, is, of course, an American invention.
We never invent new machinery here; we do but use, to the
best of our ability, the machines you send us. For the one I
am now using, I beg you to accept my best thanks, and to
Your sincere friend,
Surely we can patiently swallow many Black Draughts, if we
are to be rewarded with so sweet a Lump of Sugar!
The enclosed poem, which has since been republished in
"Three Sunsets," runs as follows:
A LESSON IN LATIN.
Our Latin books, in motley row,
Invite us to the task--
Gay Horace, stately Cicero;
Yet there's one verb, when once we know,
No higher skill we ask:
This ranks all other lore above--
We've learned "amare" means "to love"!
So hour by hour, from flower to flower,
We sip the sweets of life:
Till ah! too soon the clouds arise,
And knitted brows and angry eyes
Proclaim the dawn of strife.
With half a smile and half a sigh,
"Amare! Bitter One!" we cry.
Last night we owned, with looks forlorn,
"Too well the scholar knows
There is no rose without a thorn "--
But peace is made! we sing, this morn,
"No thorn without a rose!"
Our Latin lesson is complete:
We've learned that Love is "Bitter-sweet"
In October Mr. Dodgson invented a very ingenious little stamp-case,
decorated with two "Pictorial Surprises," representing the "Cheshire
Cat" vanishing till nothing but the grin was left, and the baby
turning into a pig in "Alice's" arms. The invention was entered at
Stationers' Hall, and published by Messrs. Emberlin and Son, of
Oxford. As an appropriate accompaniment, he wrote "Eight or Nine Wise
Words on Letter-Writing," a little booklet which is still sold along
with the case. The "Wise Words," as the following extracts show, have
the true "Carrollian" ring about them:--
Some American writer has said "the snakes in this district
may be divided into one species--the venomous." The same
principle applies here. Postage-stamp-cases may be divided
into one species--the "Wonderland."
Since I have possessed a "Wonderland-Stamp-Case," Life has
been bright and peaceful, and I have used no other. I
believe the Queen's Laundress uses no other.
My fifth Rule is, if your friend makes a severe remark,
either leave it unnoticed or make your reply distinctly less
severe: and, if he makes a friendly remark, tending towards
"making up" the little difference that has arisen between
you, let your reply be distinctly _more_ friendly. If,
in picking a quarrel, each party declined to go more than
_three-eighths_ of the way, and if, in making friends,
each was ready to go _five-eighths_ of the way--why,
there would be more reconciliations than quarrels! Which is
like the Irishman's remonstrance to his gad-about daughter:
"Shure, you're _always_ goin' out! You go out
_three_ times for wanst that you come in!"
My sixth Rule is, _don't try to have the last word!_
How many a controversy would be nipped in the bud, if each
was anxious to let the _other_ have the last word!
Never mind how telling a rejoinder you leave unuttered:
never mind your friend's supposing that you are silent from
lack of anything to say: let the thing drop, as soon as it
is possible without discourtesy: remember "Speech is
silvern, but silence is golden"! (N.B. If you are a
gentleman, and your friend a lady, this Rule is superfluous:
_you won't get the last word!_)
Remember the old proverb, "Cross-writing makes
cross-reading." "The _old_ proverb?" you say
inquiringly. "_How_ old?" Well, not so _very_
ancient, I must confess. In fact, I invented it while
writing this paragraph. Still, you know, "old" is a
_comparative_ term. I think you would be _quite_
justified in addressing a chicken, just out of the shell, as
"old boy!" _when compared_ with another chicken that
was only half-out!
The pamphlet ends with an explanation of Lewis Carroll's method of
using a correspondence-book, illustrated by a few imaginary pages from
such a compilation, which are very humorous.
[Illustration: _Facsimile of programme of "Alice in
At the end of the year the "Alice" operetta was again produced at the
Globe Theatre, with Miss Isa Bowman as the heroine. "Isa makes a
delightful Alice," Mr. Dodgson writes, "and Emsie [a younger sister]
is wonderfully good as Dormouse and as Second Ghost [of an oyster!],
when she sings a verse, and dances the Sailor's Hornpipe."
[Illustration: "The Mad Tea-Party." _From a photograph by
Elliott & Fry_.]
The first of an incomplete series, "Curiosa Mathematica," was
published for Mr. Dodgson by Messrs. Macmillan during the year. It was
entitled "A New Theory of Parallels," and any one taking it up for the
first time might be tempted to ask, Is the author serious, or is he
simply giving us some _jeu d'esprit?_ A closer inspection,
however, soon settles the question, and the reader, if mathematics be
his hobby, is carried irresistibly along till he reaches the last
The object which Mr. Dodgson set himself to accomplish was to prove
Euclid I. 32 without assuming the celebrated 12th Axiom, a feat which
calls up visions of the "Circle-Squarers."
The work is divided into two parts: Book I. contains certain
Propositions which require no disputable Axiom for their proof, and
when once the few Definitions of "amount," &c., have become familiar
it is easy reading. In Book II. the author introduces a new Axiom, or
rather "Quasi-Axiom"--for it's _self-evident_ character is open
to dispute. This Axiom is as follows:--
In any Circle the inscribed equilateral Tetragon (Hexagon in
editions 1st and 2nd) is greater than any one of the
Segments which lie outside it.
Assuming the truth of this Axiom, Mr. Dodgson proves a series of
Propositions, which lead up to and enable him to accomplish the feat
referred to above.
At the end of Book II. he places a proof (so far as finite magnitudes
are concerned) of Euclid's Axiom, preceded by and dependent on the
Axiom that "If two homogeneous magnitudes be both of them finite, the
lesser may be so multiplied by a finite number as to exceed the
greater." This Axiom, he says, he believes to be assumed by every
writer who has attempted to prove Euclid's 12th Axiom. The proof
itself is borrowed, with slight alterations, from Cuthbertson's
In Appendix I. there is an alternative Axiom which may be substituted
for that which introduces Book II., and which will probably commend
itself to many minds as being more truly axiomatic. To substitute
this, however, involves some additions and alterations, which the
Appendix II. is headed by the somewhat startling question, "Is
Euclid's Axiom true?" and though true for finite magnitudes--the sense
in which, no doubt, Euclid meant it to be taken--it is shown to be not
universally true. In Appendix III. he propounds the question, "How
should Parallels be defined?"
Appendix IV., which deals with the theory of Parallels as it stands
to-day, concludes with the following words:--
I am inclined to believe that if ever Euclid I. 32 is proved
without a new Axiom, it will be by some new and ampler
definition of the _Right Line_--some definition which
shall connote that mysterious property, which it must
somehow possess, which causes Euclid I. 32 to be true. Try
_that_ track, my gentle reader! It is not much trodden
as yet. And may success attend your search!
In the Introduction, which, as is frequently the case, ought to be
read _last_ in order to be appreciated properly, he relates his
experiences with two of those "misguided visionaries," the
circle-squarers. One of them had selected 3.2 as the value for
"_pi_," and the other proved, to his own satisfaction at least,
that it is correctly represented by 3! The Rev. Watson Hagger, to
whose kindness, as I have already stated in my Preface, my readers are
indebted for the several accounts of Mr. Dodgson's books on
mathematics which appear in this Memoir, had a similar experience with
one of these "cranks." This circle-squarer selected 3.125 as the value
for "_pi_," and Mr. Hagger, who was fired with Mr. Dodgson's
ambition to convince his correspondent of his error, failed as
signally as Mr. Dodgson did.
The following letter is interesting as showing that, strict
Conservative though he was, he was not in religious matters
narrow-minded; he held his own opinions strongly, but he would never
condemn those of other people. He saw "good in everything," and there
was but little exaggeration, be it said in all reverence, in the
phrase which an old friend of his used in speaking of him to me: "Mr.
Dodgson was as broad--as broad as _Christ_."
Christ Church, Oxford, _May_ 4, 1889.
Dear Miss Manners,--I hope to have a new book out very soon,
and had entered your name on the list of friends to whom
copies are to go; but, on second thoughts, perhaps you might
prefer that I should send it to your little sister (?)
(niece) Rachel, whom you mentioned in one of your letters.
It is to be called "The Nursery Alice," and is meant for
very young children, consisting of coloured enlargements of
twenty of the pictures in "Alice," with explanations such as
one would give in showing them to a little child.
I was much interested by your letter, telling me you belong
to the Society of Friends. Please do not think of _me_
as one to whom a "difference of creed" is a bar to
friendship. My sense of brother- and sisterhood is at least
broad enough to include _Christians_ of all
denominations; in fact, I have one valued friend (a lady who
seems to live to do good kind things) who is a Unitarian.
Shall I put "Rachel Manners" in the book?
Believe me, very sincerely yours,
C. L. Dodgson.
From June 7th to June 10th he stayed at Hatfield.
Once at luncheon [he writes] I had the Duchess (of Albany)
as neighbour and once at breakfast, and had several other
chats with her, and found her very pleasant indeed. Princess
Alice is a sweet little girl. Her little brother (the Duke
of Albany) was entirely fascinating, a perfect little
prince, and the picture of good-humour. On Sunday afternoon
I had a pleasant half-hour with the children [Princess
Alice, the Duke of Albany, Honorable Mabel Palmer, Lady
Victoria Manners, and Lord Haddon], telling them "Bruno's
Picnic" and folding a fishing-boat for them. I got the
Duchess's leave to send the little Alice a copy of the
"Nursery Alice," and mean to send it with "Alice
Underground" for herself.
Towards the end of the year Lewis Carroll had tremendously hard work,
completing "Sylvie and Bruno." For several days on end he worked from
breakfast until nearly ten in the evening without a rest. At last it
was off his hands, and for a month or so he was (comparatively) an
idle man. Some notes from his Diary, written during this period,
_Nov. 17th._--Met, for first time, an actual believer
in the "craze" that buying and selling are wrong (!) (he is
rather 'out of his mind'). The most curious thing was his
declaration that he himself _lives_ on that theory, and
never buys anything, and has no money! I thought of railway
travelling, and ventured to ask how he got from London to
Oxford? "On a bicycle!" And how he got the bicycle? "It was
given him!" So I was floored, and there was no time to think
of any other instances. The whole thing was so new to me
that, when he declared it to be _un-Christian_, I quite
forgot the text, "He that hath no sword, let him sell his
garment, and buy one."
_Dec. 19th._--Went over to Birmingham to see a
performance of "Alice" (Mrs. Freiligrath Kroeker's version)
at the High School. I rashly offered to tell "Bruno's
Picnic" afterwards to the little children, thinking I should
have an audience of 40 or 50, mostly children, instead of
which I had to tell it from the stage to an audience of
about 280, mostly older girls and grown-up people! However,
I got some of the children to come on the stage with me, and
the little Alice (Muriel Howard-Smith, aet. 11) stood by me,
which made it less awful. The evening began with some of
"Julius Caesar" in German. This and "Alice" were really
capitally acted, the White Queen being quite the best I have
seen (Miss B. Lloyd Owen). I was introduced to Alice and a
few more, and was quite sorry to hear afterwards that the
other performers wanted to shake hands.
The publication of "Sylvie and Bruno" marks an epoch in its author's
life, for it was the publication of all the ideals and sentiments
which he held most dear. It was a book with a definite purpose; it
would be more true to say with several definite purposes. For this
very reason it is not an artistic triumph as the two "Alice" books
undoubtedly are; it is on a lower literary level, there is no unity in
the story. But from a higher standpoint, that of the Christian and the
philanthropist, the book is the best thing he ever wrote. It is a
noble effort to uphold the right, or what he thought to be the right,
without fear of contempt or unpopularity. The influence which his
earlier books had given him he was determined to use in asserting
[Illustration: The Late Duke of Albany. _From a photograph
by Lewis Carroll._]
Of course the story has other features, delightful nonsense not
surpassed by anything in "Wonderland," childish prattle with all the
charm of reality about it, and pictures which may fairly be said to
rival those of Sir John Tenniel. Had these been all, the book would
have been a great success. As things are, there are probably hundreds
of readers who have been scared by the religious arguments and
political discussions which make up a large part of it, and who have
never discovered that Sylvie is just as entrancing a personage as
Alice when you get to know her.
Perhaps the sentiment of the following poem, sent to Lewis Carroll by
an anonymous correspondent, may also explain why some of "Alice's"
lovers have given "Sylvie" a less warm welcome:--
Ah! Sylvie, winsome, wise and good!
Fain would I love thee as I should.
But, to tell the truth, my dear,--
And Sylvie loves the truth to hear,--
Though fair and pure and sweet thou art,
Thine elder sister has my heart!
I gave it her long, long ago
To have and hold; and well I know,
Brave Lady Sylvie, thou wouldst scorn
To accept a heart foresworn.
Lovers thou wilt have enow
Under many a greening bough--
Lovers yet unborn galore,
Like Alice all the wide world o'er;
But, darling, I am now too old
To change. And though I still shall hold
Thee, and that puckling sprite, thy brother,
Dear, I cannot _love_ another:
In this heart of mine I own
_She_ must ever reign alone!
I do not know N.P.'s name and address, or I should have asked leave
before giving publicity to the above verses. If these words meet his
eye, I hope he will accept my most humble apologies for the liberty I
At the beginning of 1894 a Baptist minister, preaching on the text,
"No man liveth to himself," made use of "Sylvie and Bruno" to enforce
his argument. After saying that he had been reading that book, he
proceeded as follows:
A child was asked to define charity. He said it was "givin'
away what yer didn't want yerself." This was some people's
idea of self-sacrifice; but it was not Christ's. Then as to
serving others in view of reward: Mr. Lewis Carroll put this
view of the subject very forcibly in his "Sylvie and
Bruno"--an excellent book for youth; indeed, for men and
women too. He first criticised Archdeacon Paley's definition
of virtue (which was said to be "the doing good to mankind,
in obedience to the will of God, and for the sake of
everlasting happiness,") and then turned to such hymns as
Whatever, Lord, we lend to Thee,
_Repaid a thousandfold shall be_,
Then gladly will we give to Thee,
Giver of all!
Mr. Carroll's comment was brief and to the point. He said:
"Talk of Original _Sin_! Can you have a stronger proof
of the Original Goodness there must be in this nation than
the fact that Religion has been preached to us, as a
commercial speculation, for a century, and that we still
believe in a God?" ["Sylvie and Bruno," Part i., pp. 276,
277.] Of course it was quite true, as Mr. Carroll pointed
out, that our good deeds would be rewarded; but we ought to
do them because they were _good_, and not because the
reward was great.
In the Preface to "Sylvie and Bruno," Lewis Carroll alluded to certain
editions of Shakespeare which seemed to him unsuitable for children;
it never seemed to strike him that his words might be read by
children, and that thus his object very probably would be defeated,
until this fact was pointed out to him in a letter from an unknown
correspondent, Mr. J.C. Cropper, of Hampstead. Mr. Dodgson replied as
Dear Sir,--Accept my best thanks for your thoughtful and
valuable suggestion about the Preface to "Sylvie and Bruno."
The danger you point out had not occurred to me (I suppose I
had not thought of _children_ reading the Preface): but
it is a very real one, and I am very glad to have had my
attention called to it.
Believe me, truly yours,
Mathematical controversy carried on by correspondence was a favourite
recreation of Mr. Dodgson's, and on February 20, 1890, he wrote:--
I've just concluded a correspondence with a Cambridge man,
who is writing a Geometry on the "Direction" theory
(Wilson's plan), and thinks he has avoided Wilson's (what
_I_ think) fallacies. He _hasn't_, but I can't
convince him! My view of life is, that it's next to
impossible to convince _anybody_ of _anything_.
The following letter is very characteristic. "Whatsoever thy hand
findeth to do, do it with all thy might," was Mr. Dodgson's rule of
life, and, as the end drew near, he only worked the harder:--
Christ Church, Oxford, _April_ 10, 1890.
My dear Atkinson,--Many and sincere thanks for your most
hospitable invitation, and for the very interesting photo of
the family group. The former I fear I must ask you to let me
defer _sine die_, and regard it as a pleasant dream,
not _quite_ hopeless of being some day realised. I keep
a list of such pleasant possibilities, and yours is now one
of ten similar kind offers of hospitality. But as life
shortens in, and the evening shadows loom in sight, one gets
to _grudge any_ time given to mere pleasure, which
might entail the leaving work half finished that one is
longing to do before the end comes.
There are several books I _greatly_ desire to get
finished for children. I am glad to find my working powers
are as good as they ever were. Even with the mathematical
book (a third edition) which I am now getting through the
press, I think nothing of working six hours at a stretch.
There is one text that often occurs to me, "The night
cometh, when no man can work." Kindest regards to Mrs.
Atkinson, and love to Gertrude.
Always sincerely yours,
C. L. Dodgson.
For the benefit of children aged "from nought to five," as
he himself phrased it, Lewis Carroll prepared a nursery
edition of "Alice." He shortened the text considerably, and
altered it so much that only the plot of the story remained
unchanged. It was illustrated by the old pictures, coloured
by Tenniel, and the cover was adorned by a picture designed
by Miss E. Gertrude Thomson. As usual, the Dedication takes
the form of an anagram, the solution of which is the name of
one of his later child-friends. "_The Nursery
'Alice,_'" was published by Macmillan and Co., in March,
On August 18th the following letter on the "Eight Hours
Movement" appeared in _The Standard:_--
Sir,--Supposing it were the custom, in a
certain town, to sell eggs in paper bags at so much per bag,
and that a fierce dispute had arisen between the egg vendors
and the public as to how many eggs each bag should be
understood to contain, the vendors wishing to be allowed to
make up smaller bags; and supposing the public were to say,
"In future we will pay you so much per egg, and you can make
up bags as you please," would any ground remain for further
Supposing that employers of labour, when threatened with a
"strike" in case they should decline to reduce the number of
hours in a working day, were to reply, "In future we will
pay you so much per hour, and you can make up days as you
please," it does appear to me--being, as I confess, an
ignorant outsider--that the dispute would die out for want
of a _raison d'etre_, and that these disastrous
strikes, inflicting such heavy loss on employers and
employed alike, would become things of the past.
I am, Sir, your obedient servant,
The remainder of the year was uneventful; a few notes from his Diary
must represent it here:--
_Oct. 4th._--Called on Mr. Coventry Patmore (at
Hastings), and was very kindly received by him, and stayed
for afternoon tea and dinner. He showed me some interesting
pictures, including a charming little drawing, by Holman
Hunt, of one of his daughters when three years old. He gave
me an interesting account of his going, by Tennyson's
request, to his lodging to look for the MS. of "In
Memoriam," which he had left behind, and only finding it by
insisting on going upstairs, in spite of the landlady's
opposition, to search for it. Also he told me the story (I
think I have heard it before) of what Wordsworth told his
friends as the "one joke" of his life, in answer to a
passing carter who asked if he had seen his wife. "My good
friend, I didn't even know you had a wife!" He seems a very
hale and vigorous old man for nearly seventy, which I think
he gave as his age in writing to me.
_Oct. 31st._--This morning, thinking over the problem
of finding two squares whose sum is a square, I chanced on a
theorem (which seems _true_, though I cannot prove it),
that if x squared + y squared be even, its half is the sum of two squares.
A kindred theorem, that 2(x squared + y squared) is always the sum of two
squares, also seems true and unprovable.
_Nov. 5th.--_I have now proved the above two theorems.
Another pretty deduction from the theory of square numbers
is, that any number whose square is the sum of two squares,
is itself the sum of two squares.
I have already mentioned Mr. Dodgson's habit of thinking out problems
at night. Often new ideas would occur to him during hours of
sleeplessness, and he had long wanted to hear of or invent some easy
method of taking notes in the dark. At first he tried writing within
oblongs cut out of cardboard, but the result was apt to be illegible.
In 1891 he conceived the device of having a series of squares cut out
in card, and inventing an alphabet, of which each letter was made of
lines, which could be written along the edges of the squares, and
dots, which could be marked at the corners. The thing worked well, and
he named it the "Typhlograph," but, at the suggestion of one of his
brother-students, this was subsequently changed into "Nyctograph."
He spent the Long Vacation at Eastbourne, attending service every
Sunday at Christ Church, according to his usual rule.
_Sept._ 6, 1891.--At the evening service at Christ
Church a curious thing happened, suggestive of telepathy.
Before giving out the second hymn the curate read out some
notices. Meanwhile I took my hymn-book, and said to myself
(I have no idea _why_), "It will be hymn 416," and I
turned to it. It was not one I recognised as having ever
heard; and, on looking at it, I said, "It is very prosaic;
it is a very unlikely one"--and it was really startling,
the next minute, to hear the curate announce "Hymn 416."
In October it became generally known that Dean Liddell was going to
resign at Christmas. This was a great blow to Mr. Dodgson, but little
mitigated by the fact that the very man whom he himself would have
chosen, Dr. Paget, was appointed to fill the vacant place. The old
Dean was very popular in College; even the undergraduates, with whom
he was seldom brought into contact, felt the magic of his commanding
personality and the charm of his gracious, old-world manner. He was a
man whom, once seen, it was almost impossible to forget.
[Illustration: The Dean of Christ Church. _From a
photograph by Hill & Saunders._]
Shortly before the resignation of Dr. Liddell, the Duchess of Albany
spent a few days at the Deanery. Mr. Dodgson was asked to meet her
Royal Highness at luncheon, but was unable to go. Princess Alice and
the little Duke of Albany, however, paid him a visit, and were
initiated in the art of making paper pistols. He promised to send the
Princess a copy of a book called "The Fairies," and the children,
having spent a happy half-hour in his rooms, returned to the Deanery.
This was one of the days which he "marked with a white stone." He sent
a copy of "The Nursery 'Alice'" to the little Princess Alice, and
received a note of thanks from her, and also a letter from her mother,
in which she said that the book had taught the Princess to like
reading, and to do it out of lesson-time. To the Duke he gave a copy
of a book entitled "The Merry Elves." In his little note of thanks for
this gift, the boy said, "Alice and I want you to love us both." Mr.
Dodgson sent Princess Alice a puzzle, promising that if she found it
out, he would give her a "golden chair from Wonderland."
At the close of the year he wrote me a long letter, which I think
worthy of reproducing here, for he spent a long time over it, and it
contains excellent examples of his clear way of putting things.
_To S.D. Collingwood._
Ch. Ch., Oxford, _Dec_. 29, 1891.
My Dear Stuart,--(Rather a large note-sheet, isn't it? But
they do differ in size, you know.) I fancy this book of
science (which I have had a good while, without making any
use of it), may prove of some use to you, with your boys. [I
was a schoolmaster at that time.] Also this cycling-book (or
whatever it is to be called) may be useful in putting down
engagements, &c., besides telling you a lot about cycles.
There was no use in sending it to _me; my _cycling days
You ask me if your last piece of "Meritt" printing is dark
enough. I think not. I should say the rollers want fresh
inking. As to the _matter_ of your specimen--[it was a
poor little essay on killing animals for the purpose of
scientific recreations, _e.g._, collecting
butterflies]--I think you _cannot_ spend your time
better than in trying to set down clearly, in that
essay-form, your ideas on any subject that chances to
interest you; and _specially_ any theological subject
that strikes you in the course of your reading for Holy
It will be most _excellent_ practice for you, against
the time when you try to compose sermons, to try thus to
realise exactly what it is you mean, and to express it
clearly, and (a much harder matter) to get into proper shape
the _reasons_ of your opinions, and to see whether they
do, or do not, tend to prove the conclusions you come to.
You have never studied technical Logic, at all, I fancy. [I
_had_, but I freely admit that the essay in question
proved that I had not then learnt to apply my principles to
practice.] It would have been a great help: but still it is
not indispensable: after all, it is only the putting into
rules of the way in which _every_ mind proceeds, when
it draws valid conclusions; and, by practice in careful
thinking, you may get to know "fallacies" when you meet with
them, without knowing the formal _rules_.
At present, when you try to give _reasons_, you are in
considerable danger of propounding fallacies. Instances
occur in this little essay of yours; and I hope it won't
offend your _amour propre_ very much, if an old uncle,
who has studied Logic for forty years, makes a few remarks
I am not going to enter _at all_ on the subject-matter
itself, or to say whether I agree, or not, with your
_conclusions_: but merely to examine, from a
logic-lecturer's point of view, your _premisses_ as
relating to them.
(1) "As the lower animals do not appear to have personality
or individual existence, I cannot see that any particular
one's life can be very important," &c. The word
"personality" is very vague: I don't know what you mean by
it. If you were to ask yourself, "What test should I use in
distinguishing what _has_, from what has _not_,
personality?" you might perhaps be able to express your
meaning more clearly. The phrase "individual existence" is
clear enough, and is in direct logical contradiction to the
phrase "particular one." To say, of anything, that it has
_not_ "individual existence," and yet that it _is_
a "particular one," involves the logical fallacy called a
"contradiction in terms."
(2) "In both cases" (animal and plant) "death is only the
conversion of matter from one form to another." The word
"form" is very vague--I fancy you use it in a sort of
_chemical_ sense (like saying "sugar is starch in
another form," where the change in nature is generally
believed to be a rearrangement of the very same atoms). If
you mean to assert that the difference between a live animal
and a dead animal, _i.e.,_ between animate and
sensitive matter, and the same matter when it becomes
inanimate and insensitive, is a mere rearrangement of the
same atoms, your premiss is intelligible. (It is a bolder
one than any biologists have yet advanced. The most
sceptical of them admits, I believe, that "vitality" is a
thing _per se. _However, that is beside my present
scope.) But this premiss is advanced to prove that it is of
no "consequence" to kill an animal. But, granting that the
conversion of sensitive into insensitive matter (and of
course _vice versa_) is a mere change of "form," and
_therefore_ of no "consequence"; granting this, we
cannot escape the including under this rule all similar
cases. If the _power_ of feeling pain, and the
_absence_ of that power, are only a difference of
"form," the conclusion is inevitable that the _feeling_
pain, and the _not_ feeling it, are _also_ only a
difference in form, _i.e.,_ to convert matter, which is
_not_ feeling pain, into matter _feeling_ pain, is
only to change its "form," and, if the process of "changing
form" is of no "consequence" in the case of sensitive and
insensitive matter, we must admit that it is _also_ of
no "consequence" in the case of pain-feeling and _not_
pain-feeling matter. This conclusion, I imagine, you neither
intended nor foresaw. The premiss, which you use, involves
the fallacy called "proving too much."
The best advice that could be given to you, when you begin
to compose sermons, would be what an old friend once gave to
a young man who was going out to be an Indian judge (in
India, it seems, the judge decides things, without a jury,
like our County Court judges). "Give _your decisions_
boldly and clearly; they will probably be _right_. But
do _not_ give your _reasons: they_ will probably
be _wrong"_ If your lot in life is to be in a
_country_ parish, it will perhaps not matter
_much_ whether the reasons given in your sermons do or
do not prove your conclusions. But even there you
_might_ meet, and in a town congregation you would be
_sure_ to meet, clever sceptics, who know well how to
argue, who will detect your fallacies and point them out to
those who are _not_ yet troubled with doubts, and thus
undermine _all_ their confidence in your teaching.
At Eastbourne, last summer, I heard a preacher advance the
astounding argument, "We believe that the Bible is true,
because our holy Mother, the Church, tells us it is." I pity
that unfortunate clergyman if ever he is bold enough to
enter any Young Men's Debating Club where there is some
clear-headed sceptic who has heard, or heard of, that
sermon. I can fancy how the young man would rub his hands,
in delight, and would say to himself, "Just see me get him
into a corner, and convict him of arguing in a circle!"
The bad logic that occurs in many and many a well-meant
sermon, is a real danger to modern Christianity. When
detected, it may seriously injure many believers, and fill
them with miserable doubts. So my advice to you, as a young
theological student, is "Sift your reasons _well_, and,
before you offer them to others, make sure that they prove
I hope you won't give this letter of mine (which it has cost
me some time and thought to write) just a single reading and
then burn it; but that you will lay it aside. Perhaps, even
years hence, it may be of some use to you to read it again.
Believe me always
Your affectionate Uncle,
C. L. Dodgson.
* * * * *
Mr. Dodgson resigns the Curatorship--Bazaars--He lectures to
children--A mechanical "Humpty Dumpty"--A logical
controversy--Albert Chevalier--"Sylvie and Bruno
Concluded"--"Pillow Problems"--Mr. Dodgson's
generosity--College services--Religious difficulties--A
village sermon--Plans for the future--Reverence--"Symbolic
At Christ Church, as at other Colleges, the Common Room is an
important feature. Open from eight in the morning until ten at night,
it takes the place of a club, where the "dons" may see the newspapers,
talk, write letters, or enjoy a cup of tea. After dinner, members of
High Table, with their guests if any are present, usually adjourn to
the Common Room for wine and dessert, while there is a smoking-room
hard by for those who do not despise the harmless but unnecessary
weed, and below are cellars, with a goodly store of choice old wines.
The Curator's duties were therefore sufficiently onerous. They were
doubly so in Mr. Dodgson's case, for his love of minute accuracy
greatly increased the amount of work he had to do. It was his office
to select and purchase wines, to keep accounts, to adjust selling
price to cost price, to see that the two Common Room servants
performed their duties, and generally to look after the comfort and
convenience of the members.
"Having heard," he wrote near the end of the year 1892, "that Strong
was willing to be elected (as Curator), and Common Room willing to
elect him, I most gladly resigned. The sense of relief at being free
from the burdensome office, which has cost me a large amount of time
and trouble, is very delightful. I was made Curator, December 8, 1882,
so that I have held the office more than nine years."
The literary results of his Curatorship were three very interesting
little pamphlets, "Twelve Months in a Curatorship, by One who has
tried it"; "Three years in a Curatorship, by One whom it has tried";
and "Curiosissima Curatoria, by 'Rude Donatus,'" all printed for
private circulation, and couched in the same serio-comic vein. As a
logician he naturally liked to see his thoughts in print, for, just as
the mathematical mind craves for a black-board and a piece of chalk,
so the logical mind must have its paper and printing-press wherewith
to set forth its deductions effectively.
A few extracts must suffice to show the style of these pamphlets, and
the opportunity offered for the display of humour.
In the arrangement of the prices at which wines were to be sold to
members of Common Room, he found a fine scope for the exercise of his
mathematical talents and his sense of proportion. In one of the
pamphlets he takes old Port and Chablis as illustrations.
The original cost of each is about 3s. a bottle; but the
present value of the old Port is about 11s. a bottle. Let us
suppose, then, that we have to sell to Common Room one
bottle of old Port and three of Chablis, the original cost
of the whole being 12s., and the present value 20s. These
are our data. We have now two questions to answer. First,
what sum shall we ask for the whole? Secondly, how shall we
apportion that sum between the two kinds of wine?
The sum to be asked for the whole he decides, following precedent, is
to be the present market-value of the wine; as to the second question,
he goes on to say--
We have, as so often happens in the lives of distinguished
premiers, three courses before us: (1) to charge the
_present_ value for each kind of wine; (2) to put on a
certain percentage to the _original_ value of each
kind; (3) to make a compromise between these two courses.
Course 1 seems to me perfectly reasonable; but a very
plausible objection has been made to it--that it puts a
prohibitory price on the valuable wines, and that they would
remain unconsumed. This would not, however, involve any loss
to our finances; we could obviously realise the enhanced
values of the old wines by selling them to outsiders, if the
members of Common Room would not buy them. But I do not
advocate this course.
Course 2 would lead to charging 5s. a bottle for Port and
Chablis alike. The Port-drinker would be "in clover," while
the Chablis-drinker would probably begin getting his wine
direct from the merchant instead of from the Common Room
cellar, which would be a _reductio ad absurdum_ of the
tariff. Yet I have heard this course advocated, repeatedly,
as an abstract principle. "You ought to consider the
_original_ value only," I have been told. "You ought to
regard the Port-drinker as a private individual, who has
laid the wine in for himself, and who ought to have all the
advantages of its enhanced value. You cannot fairly ask him
for more than what you need to refill the bins with Port,
_plus_ the percentage thereon needed to meet the
contingent expenses." I have listened to such arguments, but
have never been convinced that the course is just. It seems
to me that the 8s. additional value which the bottle of Port
has acquired, is the property of _Common Room_, and
that Common Room has the power to give it to whom it
chooses; and it does not seem to me fair to give it all to
the Port-drinker. What merit is there in preferring Port to
Chablis, that could justify our selling the Port-drinker his
wine at less than half what he would have to give outside,
and charging the Chablis-drinker five-thirds of what he
would have to give outside? At all events, I, as a
Port-drinker, do not wish to absorb the whole advantage, and
would gladly share it with the Chablis-drinker. The course I
Course 3, which is a compromise between 1 and 2, its
essential principle being to sell the new wines _above_
their value, in order to be able to sell the old
_below_ their value. And it is clearly desirable, as
far as possible, to make the reductions _where they will
be felt,_ and the additions _where they will not be
felt._ Moreover it seems to me that reduction is most
felt where it _goes down to the next round sum,_ and an
addition in the reverse case, _i.e.,_ when it _starts
from a round sum._ Thus, if we were to take 2d. off a 5s.
8d. wine, and add it to a 4s. 4d.--thus selling them at 5s.
6d. and 4s. 6d. the reduction would be welcomed, and the
addition unnoticed; and the change would be a popular one.
The next extract shows with what light-hearted frivolity he could
approach this tremendous subject of wine:--
The consumption of Madeira (B) has been during the past
year, zero. After careful calculation I estimate that, if
this rate of consumption be steadily maintained, our present
stock will last us an infinite number of years. And although
there may be something monotonous and dreary in the prospect
of such vast cycles spent in drinking second-class Madeira,
we may yet cheer ourselves with the thought of how
economically it can be done.
To assist the Curator in the discharge of his duties, there was a Wine
Committee, and for its guidance a series of rules was drawn up. The
first runs as follows: "There shall be a Wine Committee, consisting of
five persons, including the Curator, whose duty it shall be to assist
the Curator in the management of the cellar." "Hence," wrote Mr.
Dodgson, "logically it is the bounden duty of the Curator 'to assist
himself.' I decline to say whether this clause has ever brightened
existence for me--or whether, in the shades of evening, I may ever
have been observed leaving the Common Room cellars with a small but
suspicious-looking bundle, and murmuring, 'Assist thyself, assist
Every Christmas at Christ Church the children of the College servants
have a party in the Hall. This year he was asked to entertain them,
and gladly consented to do so. He hired a magic lantern and a large
number of slides, and with their help told the children the three
following stories: (1) "The Epiphany"; (2) "The Children Lost in the
Bush"; (3) "Bruno's Picnic."
I have already referred to the services held in Christ Church for the
College servants, at which Mr. Dodgson used frequently to preach. The
way in which he regarded this work is very characteristic of the man.
"Once more," he writes, "I have to thank my Heavenly Father for the
great blessing and privilege of being allowed to speak for Him! May He
bless my words to help some soul on its heavenward way." After one of
these addresses he received a note from a member of the congregation,
thanking him for what he had said. "It is very sweet," he said, "to
get such words now and then; but there is danger in them if more such
come, I must beg for silence."
During the year Mr. Dodgson wrote the following letter to the Rev.
C.A. Goodhart, Rector of Lambourne, Essex:--
Dear Sir,--Your kind, sympathising and most encouraging
letter about "Sylvie and Bruno" has deserved a better
treatment from me than to have been thus kept waiting more
than two years for an answer. But life is short; and one has
many other things to do; and I have been for years almost
hopelessly in arrears in correspondence. I keep a register,
so that letters which I intend to answer do somehow come to
the front at last.
In "Sylvie and Bruno" I took courage to introduce what I had
entirely avoided in the two "Alice" books--some reference to
subjects which are, after all, the _only_ subjects of real
interest in life, subjects which are so intimately bound up
with every topic of human interest that it needs more effort
to avoid them than to touch on them; and I felt that such a
book was more suitable to a clerical writer than one of mere
I hope I have not offended many (evidently I have not
offended _you_) by putting scenes of mere fun, and talk
about God, into the same book.
Only one of all my correspondents ever guessed there was
more to come of the book. She was a child, personally
unknown to me, who wrote to "Lewis Carroll" a sweet letter
about the book, in which she said, "I'm so glad it hasn't
got a regular wind-up, as it shows there is more to come!"