Saturday, January 14, 2023

Quote of the Day (Lewis Carroll, on a ‘Few of the Things I Like’)

“I may as well just tell you a few of the things I like, and then, whenever you want to give me a birthday present (my birthday comes once every seven years, on the fifth Tuesday in April) you will know what to give me. Well, I like, very much indeed, a little mustard with a bit of beef spread thinly under it; and I like brown sugar — only it should have some apple pudding mixed with it to keep it from being too sweet; but perhaps what I like best of all is salt, with some soup poured over it. The use of the soup is to hinder the salt from being too dry; and it helps to melt it. Then there are other things I like; for instance, pins — only they should always have a cushion put round them to keep them warm. And I like two or three handfuls of hair; only they should always have a little girl’s head beneath them to grow on, or else whenever you open the door they get blown all over the room, and then they get lost, you know.”— English children’s book author, clergyman, mathematician, and photographer Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, aka Lewis Carroll (1832-1898), letter to Jessie Sinclair, Jan. 22, 1878, in The Best of Lewis Carroll (2011)

Lewis Carroll died 125 years ago today in Guildford, England. His “child-friends,” who included Alice Liddell (the inspiration for the children’s-lit masterpiece, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland), have in recent years come in for considerable speculation as to the exact nature of their relationships with the author.

Jessie Sinclair was reputed to be another of these “child-friends,” as one might guess from the whimsical tone that the middle-aged author adopted in this letter.

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