The Annotated Snark: The Full Text of Lewis Carroll's Great Nonsense Epic The Hunting of the Snark

By Lewis Carroll; Henry Holiday | Go to book overview

Fit the Sixth
THE BARRISTER'S DREAM

THEY sought it with thimbles, they sought it with care;
They pursued it with forks and hope;
They threatened its life with a railway-share;
They charmed it with smiles and soap.

____________________
48
The farcical side of English law had received its classic expression in 1837 in Dickens' story, in The Pickwick Papers, of Mr. Pickwick's trial for breach of promise; a trial that may have influenced Carroll's equally celebrated account of the trial of the Knave of Hearts, perhaps also the Barrister's dream.

Another possible influence on the dream was the trial of the Tichborne claimant. Sir Roger Charles Tichborne, a wealthy young Englishman, was lost at sea in 1854 when the ship on which he sailed went down with all hands. His eccentric dowager mother, Lady Tichborne, refused to believe that her son had drowned. She foolishly advertised for news of Sir Roger and, sure enough, in 1865 an illiterate butcher in Wagga Wagga, New South Wales, responded. Sir Roger had been a slim man with straight black hair. The butcher was extremely fat, with wavy brown light hair. Nevertheless, there was a big emotional recognition scene when mother and claimant finally met in Paris. The trustees of Sir Roger's estate were unconvinced. They brought suit against the claimant in 1871 and the trial turned into one of the longest and funniest of all English court cases. More than a hundred persons swore that the claimant was indeed Sir Roger. Lewis Carroll followed the trial with interest, recording in his diary on February 28, 1874, the final verdict of guilty and the claimant's sentence of fourteen years for perjury.

It is possible that Carroll intended the Barrister's Dream to be

-75-

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The Annotated Snark: The Full Text of Lewis Carroll's Great Nonsense Epic The Hunting of the Snark
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page 3
  • Acknowledgments 4
  • Contents 9
  • Introduction 11
  • The Hunting of the Snark 27
  • Preface 33
  • The Hunting of the Snark - An Agony, in Eight Fits 35
  • Fit the First: - The Landing 37
  • Fit the Second: - The Bellman's Speech 47
  • Fit the Third: - The Baker's Tale 54
  • Fit the Fourth: - The Hunting 59
  • Fit the Fifth: - The Beaver's Lesson 65
  • Fit the Sixth: - The Barrister's Dream 75
  • Fit the Seventh: - The Banker's Fate 81
  • Fit the Eighth: - The Vanishing 85
  • Bibliography 91
  • Appendix 96
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