On Friday the 25th of April, 1856, Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (AKA Lewis Carroll) and Alice Liddell met for the first time.

He, together with a friend, Reginald Southey (nephew of the poet Robert Southey) had gone to the garden of the deanery of Christ Church college, Oxford, in order to try out a camera that Dodgson had bought a few days earlier. He hoped to take views of the adjacent Cathederal tower.

That day’s photography turned out to be a failure. But, despite this, Dodgson wrote in his diary that evening:

” The three little girls were in the garden most of the time, and we became excellent friends: we tried to group them in the foreground of the picture, but they were not patient sitters.”

The three little girls were the three youngest daughters of Henry Liddell, the dean of Christ Church College: Lorina (whom Dodgson had already met), Alice, who was approaching her fourth birthday, and Edith, who was still a baby.

To quote from Simon Winchester’s “The Alice Behind Wonderland”:

“It was a moment Dodgson was both to recognise and memorialize. “I mark this day,” he would later write, once having succumbed to the astonishing charms of the three-year-old Alice Liddell, “with a white stone.”

The ‘white stone’ refers to Dodgson’s practice of, whenever he’d had a particularly memorable or happy day, taking a smooth white stone and adding it to the stones already in a very large clear jar.

In 1885 almost 30 years later (Dodgson would have been 53 and Alice 33) – after Dodgson’s estrangement from the Liddell family and Alice’s marriage to Reginald Hargreaves, after her long disappearance from his life, and long after their friendship and the now-legendary events that gave rise to the Alice books, Dodgson sent Alice a letter in which he hinted at the depths of his feelings for her:

“My Dear Mrs. Hargreaves,—

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

The world rightly remembers the products of that love – the Alice books, the poems and the photograph of Alice as a beggar child.

But we Kinds, we MAPs, we paedophiles have something more which to be grateful to Charles and Alice for: the example they offer us of what a beautiful, good and fruitful thing the love between an adult and a child can be.

Their love changed the world and made it a better place.

Not even the hate and hysteria of the dark times we’re living and dying through can change or obscure that fact.

Happy Alice Day!

10 thoughts on “Happy Alice Day!

  1. SeXentric err-ection, detection, correction,

    Stravinsky commented in the Swingin ’60 on ‘Lolita-like’ Nijinsky-school choreographed dancers?

    Small details can make a BIG difference yer Honour – she was a willing 15 at High Noon when we started and a wild 16 when we finally finished at the crack of Dawn was her name…

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  2. Fer ya’ll revolutionaries – Telling Truths In Lands Of Lies.

    About PLEASURE lovin’ so called ‘INNOCENT CHILDREN’. Mentally, Morally, Emotionally – WELL ABLE to C-O-N-S-E-N-T to commit CRIMES causing much PAIN!

    Quote Late Great Revolutionary Che (murdered by CIA fascists), “The first duty of a revolutionary is – EDUCATION.”

    Sooo, why wasn’t Late Great Ped Dancer Paul Christiano ‘educated’ by pro-social pals, to piss-off from fascist anti social U$A/Uptite SeXual A$$holes, to pro social Ped Friendly modern EU – SeXy 70s sad Ped Polanski et al ?

    (Answers pleeze on a Dodgson co-memmorative dodgy collectors’ postage stamp. Quote Wized Up lil Loli Alice to anti social Anglo Fascist Power & Control Freak Brit BAD Jokers, “Ur just a pack of cards!”)

    https://fr.search.yahoo.com/yhs/search;_ylt=A7x9Un4fzSVXNRYABJyPAwx.;_ylc=X1MDMjExNDcxNjU1OQRfcgMyBGZyA3locy1DTkQtMDAyBGdwcmlkA0VCVWNXaENNU0lDcFJ5bzVQU2pDZkEEbl9yc2x0AzAEbl9zdWdnAzAEb3JpZ2luA2ZyLnNlYXJjaC55YWhvby5jb20EcG9zAzAEcHFzdHIDBHBxc3RybAMEcXN0cmwDMzAEcXVlcnkDUG9sYW5za2klMjBzdGF5cyUyMGluJTIwRXVyb3BlBHRfc3RtcAMxNDYyMDk1MTcw?p=Polanski+stays+in+Europe&fr2=sb-top-fr.search&hspart=CND&hsimp=yhs-002&type=A79FEF560EC_s58_g_e_d_n

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  3. Er, small factual detail Boss?

    Wacław Niżyński/Vaslav Nijinksy dancer choreographer b. 12 Mar 1889/1890 Kiev, Ukraine – d. 8 Apr 1950
    London, UK – predeceased by 5-yrs Vlad Nab’s ‘Lolita’ 1st published in Paris Rockin ’55.

    Tho, Igor Fyodorovich Stravinsky/Strawinski/ Strawinsky/Stravinskii b. 5 or 17 Jun 1882 – d. 6 April 1971 was a Russian (later naturalized French and American) composer, pianist and conductor, widely considered one of the most important and influential composers of the 20th century, if falsely reported to have commented in the 1930s or 40s on a ‘Lolita-like’ Nijinsky?

    https://fr.search.yahoo.com/yhs/search?hsimp=yhs-002&hspart=CND&type=A79FEF560EC_s58_g_e_d_n&p=Nijinsky

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    1. Talking about rites (or should that be ‘Writes’ – you’ve got me at it now!) of Spring – makes me think of Stravinky’s music, and the ballet in which a young maiden dances herself to death as part of fertility rites.

      (Stravinsky referred to the choreographer, Nijinsky’s, dancing maidens as “knock-kneed and long-braided Lolitas”)

      The music is wild, primal and aggressive but incredibly beautifu. The dancers in the following reconstruction of the ballet are not quite ‘knock-kneed lolitas’ – I guess the difficulties of the choreography would have been too great for real little girls to dance – but the music is so vivid that one can easily imagine them.

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  4. And, lest we ferget.

    Another fine UnVile Victorian Juv Clitorian-fan Frank Kilvert, Reverend – now largely unrevered.

    Tho too at Oxford Uni, Wadham College c. 1860 ‘tis unlikely he ever crossed ped paths with 1850 Christ College Carroll.

    Yet sooo kid cunt keen was West Cuntry Francis that in his infamous diary he once wrote:

    “I walked 10 miles today, just for a kiss from a sweet child’s mouth.”

    https://fr.search.yahoo.com/yhs/search?hsimp=yhs-002&hspart=CND&type=A79FEF560EC_s58_g_e_d_n&p=frances%20kilvert

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    1. Yes, it’s a long time since I read Kilvert’s diaries but I remember there being quite a few nice little girl moments in his diaries – a ‘Gypsy Lizzie’ was a favourite of his, and there was some incident when a man caught him with a little girl who’d taken off her clothes and the man called him something like ‘a cad and a bounder!’ – strong stuff!

      I remember how incredibly good his diaries are – very beautifully written, witty and humane – they paint a kind of rural idyll punctuated with glimpses of extreme poverty and misery and the occasional horrific incident.

      Ruskin is another girl lover who may have crossed paths with CLD – in fact I remember reading in his autobiography ‘Praeterita’ quite a long description of his meeting with and playing with Alice Liddell.

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  5. You forgot to write “April” in the first sentence.
    To me, April the 25th is meaningless. First, at that time, Alice was too young to attract his interest, CLD was rather having conversations with her elder brother Harry and sister Lorina. Only later did they interact more, in particular on the memorable July the 4th, 1862, when he first recited the Alice in Wonderland story.
    Second, I think that their relation was not the strongest of all the ones he had. People fantasize about a love story between them because she was such a beautiful little girl.
    You quote only one paragraph from a famous letter. The complete letter can be found in Collingwood’s biography, and also here: http://still-she-haunts-me-phantomwise.tumblr.com/post/50175577813/then-guiliano-upped-the-interview-ante-by-bringing
    It looks like he is flattering her in order to obtain from her the original manuscript, so that he can publish it.
    In my opinion, Alice did not love CLD very much, and other friendships with girl were more important.
    One example is Gertrude Chataway, who approached him on holiday (she was 9), and remained his friend in adulthood, sharing regular holidays with him. He dedicated The Hunting of the Snark to her, with a double acrostic, the only known double by him.
    Another example is Beatrice Hatch, who remained a lifelong friend and wrote his eulogy for The Guardian when he died. He photographed her when she was 4, and he sent her sweet notes when she was 28.
    A third example is Isa Bowman, who lived with CLD between the ages of 15 and 19. He dedicated Sylivie and Bruno to her, and she wrote a biographical memoir about him.

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  6. A boat beneath a sunny sky,
    Lingering onward dreamily
    In an evening of July …

    Children three that nestle near,
    Eager eye and willing ear,
    Pleased a simple tale to hear …

    Long has paled that sunny sky:
    Echoes fade and memories die.
    Autumn frosts have slain July.

    Still she haunts me, phantomwise,
    Alice moving under skies
    Never seen by waking eyes.

    Children yet, the tale to hear,
    Eager eye and willing ear,
    Lovingly shall nestle near.

    In a Wonderland they lie,
    Dreaming as the days go by,
    Dreaming as the summers die:

    Ever drifting down the stream …
    Lingering in the golden gleam …
    Life, what is it but a dream?

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  7. Alice day is easy for me to remember. It falls on ANZAC day, in Australia, so it provides a nice counter point of solemn gratitude for the service of our veterans, and joyful hope provided by Lewis Carrol and Alice Liddell. Plus, there’s always a celebration with family. No need to come up with a believable reason to celebrate. Such a grand day to be an Australian MAP. 🙂

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