The idle ramblings of a Jack of some trades, Master of none

Mar 3, 2011

Drink Me

There is some preoccupation with food and drink in Lewis Carroll's works on Alice, and it has been surmised that this is due to general fears of malnutrition in Victorian England. Of course, Carroll puts a humorous spin on these ruminations, but where his imagination really gets going is as he puts himself into Alice's mind, and limns every little child's favourite food, all mixed up. Here's an excerpt from the first chapter of the gorgeousAlice's Adventures in Wonderland:
It was all very well to say “Drink me,” but the wise little Alice was not going to do that in a hurry. “No, I’ll look first,” she said, "and see whether it’s marked ’poison’ or not"; for she had read several nice little stories about children who had got burned, and eaten up by wild beasts, and other unpleasant things, all because they would not remember the simple rules their friends had taught them: such as, that a red-hot poker will burn you if you hold it too long; and that, if you cut your finger very deeply with a knife, it usually bleeds; and she had never forgotten that, if you drink much from a bottle marked “poison,” it is almost certain to disagree with you, sooner or later. 
However, this bottle was not marked “poison,” so Alice ventured to taste it, and, finding it very nice (it had, in fact, a sort of mixed flavor of cherry-tart, custard, pine-apple, roast turkey, toffy, and hot buttered toast), she very soon finished it off.


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