A Wonderland Micellany

Dear Children,

At Christmas-time a few grave words are not quite out of place, I hope, even at the end of a book of nonsense--and I want to take this opportunity of thanking the thousands of children who have read Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, for the kindly interest they have taken in my little dream-child.

The thought of the many English firesides where happy faces have smiled her a welcome, and of the many English children to whom she has brought an hour of (I trust) innocent amusement, is one of the brightest and pleasantest thoughts of my life. I have a host of young friends already, whose names and faces I know--but I cannot help feeling as if, through `Alice's Adventures' I had made friends with any mmany other dear children, whose faces I shall never see.

To all my little friends, known and unknown, I wish with all my heart, `A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year'. May God bless you, dear children, and make each Christmas-tide, as it comes round to you, more bright and beautiful than the last--bright with the presence of that unseen Friend, who once on earth blessed little children--and beautiful with memories of a loving life, which has sought and found the truest kind of happiness, the only kind that is really worth the having, the happiness of making others happy too!

Your affectionate Friend,

                                   LEWIS   CARROLL

December 25, 1871


`Who will Riddle me the How and the Why?'

So questions one of England's sweetest singers. The `How?' has already been told, after a fashion, in the verses prefixed to Alice in Wonderland; and some other memories of that happy summer day are set down, for those who care to see them, in this little book--the germ that was to grow into the published volume. But the `Why?' cannot, and need not, be put into words. Those for whom a child's mind is a sealed book, and who see no divinity in a child's smile, would read such words in vain: while for any one that has ever loved one true child, no words are needed. For he will have known the awe that falls on one in the presence of a spirit fresh from GOD's hands, on whom no shadow of sin, and but the outermost fringe of the shadow of sorrow, has yet fallen: he will have felt the bitter contrast between the haunting selfishness that spoils his best deeds and the life that is but an overflowing love--for I think a child's first attitude to the world is a simple love for all living things: and he will have learned that the best work a man can do is when he works for love's sake only, with no thought of name, or gain, or earthly reward. No deed of ours, I suppose, on this side the grave, is really unselfish: yet if one can put forth all one's powers in a task where nothing of reward is hoped for but a little child's whispered thanks, and the airy touch of a little child's pure lips, one seems to come somewhere near to this.

There was no idea of publication in my mind when I wrote this little book: that was wholly an afterthought, pressed on me by the `perhaps too partial friends' who always have to bear the blame when a writer rushes into print: and I can truly say that no praise of theirs has ever given me one hundredth part of the pleasure it has been to think of the sick children in hospitals (where it has been a delight to me to send copies) forgetting, for a few bright hours, their pain and weariness--perhaps thinking lovingly of the unknown writer of the tale--perhaps even putting up a childish prayer (and oh, how much it needs!) for one who can but dimly hope to stand, some day, not quite out of sight of those pure young faces, before the great white throne. `I am very sure,' writes a lady-visitor at a Home for Sick Children, `that there will be many loving earnest prayers for you on Easter morning from the children.'

  By PanEris using Melati.

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