The Walrus and the Carpenter

The Walrus and the Carpenter — Illustration to the fourth chapter of Through the Looking Glass by John Tenniel. Wood-engraving by the Dalziels.

The Walrus and the Carpenter
Were walking close at hand:
They wept like anything to see
Such quantities of sand:
"If this were only cleared away,"
They said,"it would be grand!"

Student assistants from the University Scholars Program, National University of Singapore, scanned this image and added text under the supervision of George P. Landow. See below for commentary. [You may use this image without prior permission for any scholarly or educational purpose as long as you (1) credit the site and (2) link your document to this URL in a web document or cite the Victorian Web in a print one.]

Commentary by Ray Dyer

This first of three illustrations depicting the notorious abductors of young oysters, is also illustrative of Lewis Carroll's own less than complete early enchantment with the Victorian seaside experience. Here, with the suspicious pair weeping at the great quantity of sand on the beach, and wishing it all removed as an improvement, they quite mirror their author's literary foray, of a decade earlier, in his poem "A Sea Dirge" of 1860. There, in his opening verse, Carroll had declared "...the thing I hate the most/Is a thing they call the Sea." By verse 8 he was still detailing reasons, including his belief that one could only be contrariwise "If you like your coffee with sand for dregs" (Carroll, Phantasmagoria). His attitude would change later, when he started taking lengthy vacation breaks at Eastbourne, walking along Marine Parade and Eastbourne pier, and yes, even the beach, as he sought the companionship of new child-friends and their families (see Dyer 426-28).


Carroll, Lewis. Phantasmagoria. London: Macmillan, 1869.

_____. Lewis Carroll's Diaries. The Private Journals of Charles Lutwidge Dodgson. Vol. 7. Ed. Edward Wakeling. England: The Lewis Carroll Society, 2003.

Dyer, Ray. Lady Muriel. The Victorian Romance by Lewis Carroll. Annotated Scholar's Edition, Vol. 3. Leicester: Troubador, 2016.

Last modified 5 May 2021