London, South Kensington
30 November 2005
DODGSON, Charles Lutwidge ('Lewis Carroll'). Autograph letter signed ('yours aff[ectiona]tely C.L. Dodgson') to 'Gina' [Georgina Mary Balfour] (noting 'I write the name so under protest'), The Residence, Ripon, 12 January 1867, 7 pages, 8vo (some spotting).
ON THE PHOTOGRAPHING OF CHILDREN AND BABIES. The letter opens with an outburst of fantasy worthy of the Queen of Hearts: 'On receiving your violent & passionate letter this morning, I immediately telegraphed to my printer in London (who I thought must be to blame in the matter) the following message "O.W.H.H." (I need hardly tell you that those letters are always understood by the Telegraph Company to mean "Off With His Head") and in less than an hour I received the following answer "I.I.D." (you know of course that these letters stand for "It Is Done"). However, I found afterwards that he had not been so much in fault as I supposed, & I regretted having sent such hasty order -- but let us quit this painful subject'. The remainder of the letter contains a self-consciously sober and systematic discussion ('you had better rub up your spectacles, & drink a little "eau sucré" to get your head clear -- ahem!') of photographs taken by Dodgson of the recipient and her family, and of the orders made for them, since Gina has accused him of failing to send an order of which he has no note, and in one case of a photograph he cannot remember. Dodgson accordingly lists the ten photographs he took, and the two orders he has since received, noting also that Gina's mother has given him permission to give a photograph to his close friend Robert Godfrey Faussett in Oxford who however 'finds himself quite unable to decide which he likes best', and a proposal that Gina bring her baby sister to Oxford to be photographed the next summer: 'I took a baby of about that age there last summer (it was a grand-daughter of Dr Pusey) & we managed it by bringing her at her sleeping-time, so that she was easier to take than most grown-up people are'. The letter concludes with a characteristically evasive subscription: 'is it the right thing to send love to a person, & then sign yourself "yours truly"? I doubt it -- I think a letter should warm up towards the end, & not cool down ...'.
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