Sunday, 16 January 2011

A Letter from Uncle Lewis

Here is the text of a letter from Lewis Carroll to Sydney Bowles.  There is a sketch of a cat in the upper left corner (what else?).  The letter was written from 'Ch.Ch. Oxford', (or Christchurch College) dated May 22, 1891.

My dear Sydney,

       I am so sorry, and so ashamed!  Do you know, I didn't even know of your existence?  And it was such a surprise to hear that you had sent me your love!  I felt just as if Nobody had suddenly run into the room, & had given me a kiss!  (That's a thing that happens to me, most days, just now.)  If only I had known you were existing, I would have sent you heaps of love, long ago.  And, now I come to think about it, I ought to have sent you the love, without being so particular about whether you existed or not.  In some ways, you know, people, that don't exist, are much nicer than people that do.  For instance, people that don't exist are never cross:  and they never contradict you:  and they never tread on your toes!  Oh, they're ever so much nicer than people that do exist!  However, never mind:  you can't help existing, you know; and I daresay you're just as nice as if you didn't.

       Which of my books shall I give you, now that I know you're a real child?  Would you like 'Alice in Wonderland'?  Or 'Alice Under Ground'?  (That's the book just as I first wrote it, with my own pictures).

     Please give my love, and a kiss, to Weenie and Vera, & yourself (don't forget the kiss to yourself, please:  on the forehead is the best place.)

Your affectionate friend,
Lewis Carroll!
That's just about how you would expect him to write, isn't it?  This is from a library book, The Mitford Family Album.   Carroll, in real life a mathematics don at Christchurch College named Charles Dodgson, was a friend of her father.  Sydney Bowles married devastatingly handsome David Mitford, and the rest is history...

2 comments:

The English Organizer said...

You're right: full of his personality. I love all the emphasis he included!

Michelloui said...

Wow, thats quite an insight--I would and I wouldnt expect him to write like that I guess. Hard to explain what I mean. I'd love to read that book.