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13 April 2012
Dodo, meet Alice

I received some very cute and pretty Japanese postcards from Yoshi. One of them is signed on the back for me, which is a bonus. At the top of this post is my favourite one, which shows Alice with the Dodo on a bridge. It makes me think somehow of "The Owl and the Pussy Cat" by Edward Lear. Lear was another Victorian nonsense poet, and although I like his verse, I far prefer Lewis Carroll's.

My second favourite card shows several Wonderland characters having a tea party. It doesn't really depict an actual scene from the book, but I like the composition and the quaintness of the characters. Here it is:

Characters at the Tea Party

And here are all four of the postcards, laid out on my table top...

Four postcards

07 April 2012
South Elmham, Suffolk

For those who have never seen it, here is the Easter Greeting from Lewis Carroll. As most people know, he was a very devout man, and a Reverend. The picture above is of the church of St. Margaret, S. Elmham, Suffolk, seen from the old rectory drive. Carroll's brand of religion is no longer fashionable, but scenes like this would have been very familiar to him, as they can't have changed much in the last 150 years. Happy Easter everyone!


Please to fancy, if you can, that you are reading a real letter, from a real friend whom you have seen, and whose voice you can seem to yourself to hear wishing you, as I do now with all my heart, a happy Easter.

Do you know that delicious dreamy feeling when one first wakes on a summer morning, with the twitter of birds in the air, and the fresh breeze coming in at the open window--when, lying lazily with eyes half shut, one sees as in a dream green boughs waving, or waters rippling in a golden light? It is a pleasure very near to sadness, bringing tears to one's eyes like a beautiful picture or poem. And is not that a Mother's gentle hand that undraws your curtains, and a Mother's sweet voice that summons you to rise? To rise and forget, in the bright sunlight, the ugly dreams that frightened you so when all was dark--to rise and enjoy another happy day, first kneeling to thank that unseen Friend, who sends you the beautiful sun?

Are these strange words from a writer of such tales as "Alice"? And is this a strange letter to find in a book of nonsense? It may be so. Some perhaps may blame me for thus mixing together things grave and gay; others may smile and think it odd that any one should speak of solemn things at all, except in church and on a Sunday: but I think--nay, I am sure--that some children will read this gently and lovingly, and in the spirit in which I have written it.

For I do not believe God means us thus to divide life into two halves--to wear a grave face on Sunday, and to think it out-of-place to even so much as mention Him on a week-day. Do you think He cares to see only kneeling figures, and to hear only tones of prayer--and that He does not also love to see the lambs leaping in the sunlight, and to hear the merry voices of the children, as they roll among the hay? Surely their innocent laughter is as sweet in His ears as the grandest anthem that ever rolled up from the "dim religious light" of some solemn cathedral?

And if I have written anything to add to those stores of innocent and healthy amusement that are laid up in books for the children I love so well, it is surely something I may hope to look back upon without shame and sorrow (as how much of life must then be recalled!) when my turn comes to walk through the valley of shadows.

This Easter sun will rise on you, dear child, feeling your "life in every limb," and eager to rush out into the fresh morning air--and many an Easter-day will come and go, before it finds you feeble and gray-headed, creeping wearily out to bask once more in the sunlight--but it is good, even now, to think sometimes of that great morning when the "Sun of Righteousness shall arise with healing in his wings."

Surely your gladness need not be the less for the thought that you will one day see a brighter dawn than this--when lovelier sights will meet your eyes than any waving trees or rippling waters--when angel-hands shall undraw your curtains, and sweeter tones than ever loving Mother breathed shall wake you to a new and glorious day--and when all the sadness, and the sin, that darkened life on this little earth, shall be forgotten like the dreams of a night that is past!

Your affectionate friend,


EASTER, 1876.

03 April 2012

Some of you may know Oleg Lipchenko, who has done some fab Alice illustrations. I met him in New York and found him very nice and very interesting. He has a new show on in Toronto dealing with Freud - hm, would have been interesting if Freud and Carroll had met, don't you think?

">Here's the link to his show, so if you are in the Toronto area, do wander along and take a look.

By the way, I'm disabling comments again. All comments are moderated, but I'm getting floods of comment notifications for junk, and this blog is clearly on the list of organisations that pay a few cents for people to fill in junky comments and captchas.

Half of me says, why not let them carry on doing it and wasting their money? The other half of me doesn't like getting all the comment notification emails, so I have to pay attention to this spam.

I'm always glad to hear from you, of course, and so if you want to fill in the comment form and contact me that way, I'll certainly read what you have to say. Meanwhile, do come and take a look at my other blog, here, which is pretty active.