And finally to Lewis Carroll's Cheshire cat. "Cheshire Puss", she
began, rather timidly, as she did not at all know whether it would
like the name: however, it only grinned a little wider. "Come, it's
pleased so far," thought Alice, and she went on, "Would you tell me,
please, which way I ought to walk from here ?"
The Rev. Charles
Lutwidge Dodgson was born at the Old Parsonage (now demolished)
in Newton-by-Daresbury, Cheshire, on the 27th of January 1832, five
years after his father (also the Rev. Charles Dodgson) had taken
up his post there as vicar of Daresbury.
1843 the family moved to Croft near Darlington where Charles junior
attended school at Rugby. He later obtained a First Class B.A. in
Mathematics in 1854 followed by an M.A. in 1857 (his first book
was on advanced mathematics) going on to be ordained a deacon in
1861. He never proceeded to priest's orders as he spent the rest
of his life writing and lecturing at Oxford and wrote a substantial
part of Alice's adventures while on holiday in Llandudno. He died
at Guildford in Essex on January the 14th 1898, just before his
Left: Lewis Carroll kneels with Alice
behind him in Daresbury Church
In the 'Wonderland' series, under the pseudonym 'Lewis Carroll',
he published 'Alice's Adventures In Wonderland' in 1865, 'Songs
From Alice's Adventures In Wonderland' in 1870 and 'Through The
Looking Glass And What Alice Found There' in 1872.
The 'Cheshire cat' first appears in "Pig And Pepper", Chapter
VI of 'Alice's Adventures In Wonderland', playing what today would
be called in the movies a 'bit part' or a 'link'. It simply acts
as a sort of 'sign post' from the kitchen of the Duchess to the
madness of the Mad Hatter's tea party.
Today the 'Wonderland Cheshire cat' lives on in the bottom right
hand panel of the 'Lewis Carroll Memorial Window' (installed in
Daresbury All Saints Church in 1932 on the Centenary of his birth)
peering happily out from oak tree foliage between the Knave and
Queen of Hearts, over who's head can just be seen the tiny circular
spider's web which became the trade mark of Lewis Carroll.
"All right," said the Cat; and this time it vanished quite slowly,
beginning with the end of the tail, and ending with the grin, which
remained some time after the rest of it had gone."