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Letter to Gertrude Chataway

Written by

Lewis Carroll
Contributor Page

Year

2010

Christ Church, Oxford, October 28, 1876

My Dearest Gertrude,

—You will be sorry, and surprised, and puzzled, to hear what a queer illness I have had ever since you went. I sent for the doctor, and said, "Give me some medicine. for I'm tired." He said, "Nonsense and stuff! You don't want medicine: go to bed!" I said, "No; it isn't the sort of tiredness that wants bed. I'm tired in the face."

He looked a little grave, and said, "Oh, it's your nose that's tired: a person often talks too much when he thinks he knows a great deal." I said, "No, it isn't the nose. Perhaps it's the hair."

Then he looked rather grave, and said, "Now I understand: you've been playing too many hairs on the pianoforte." "No, indeed I haven't!" I said, "and it isn't exactly the hair: it's more about the nose and chin."

Then he looked a good deal graver, and said, "Have you been walking much on your chin lately?" I said, "No." "Well!" he said, "it puzzles me very much. Do you think it's in the lips?" "Of course!" I said. "That's exactly what it is!"

Then he looked very grave indeed, and said, "I think you must have been giving too many kisses." "Well," I said, "I did give one kiss to a baby child, a little friend of mine." "Think again," he said; "are you sure it was only one?" I thought again, and said, "Perhaps it was eleven times." Then the doctor said, "You must not give her any more till your lips are quite rested again." "But what am I to do?" I said, "because you see, I owe her a hundred and eighty-two more."

Then he looked so grave that tears ran down his cheeks, and he said, "You may send them to her in a box." Then I remembered a little box that I once bought at Dover, and thought I would some day give it to some little girl or other. So I have packed them all in it very carefully. Tell me if they come safe or if any are lost on the way.

Lewis Carroll