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The Life and Letters of Lewis Carroll (Rev. C. L. Dodgson)
written by "Collingwood, Stuart Dodgson, 1870-1937"
...Where tiny urchins vied in fistic skill. (Two phrases only have that dusky race Caught from the learned influence of the place; Phrases in their simplicity sublime, "Scramble a copper!" "Please, sir, what's the time?") These round thy walks their cheerful influence shed; These were thy charms—but all these charms are fled, Amidst thy bowers the tyrant's hand is seen, And rude pavilions sadden all thy green; One selfish pastime grasps the whole domain, And half a faction swallows up the plain; Adown thy glades, all sacrificed to cricket, The hollow-sounding bat now guards the wicket; Sunk are thy mounds in shapeless level all, Lest aught impede the swiftly rolling ball; And trembling, shrinking from the fatal blow, Far, far away thy hapless children go. Ill fares the place, to luxury a prey, Where wealth accumulates, and minds decay: Athletic sports may flourish or may fade, Fashion may make them, even as it has made; But the broad Parks, the city's joy and pride, When once destroyed can never be supplied! Readers of "Sylvie and Bruno" will remember the way in which the invisible fairy-children save the drunkard from his evil life, and I have always felt that Mr. Dodgson meant Sylvie to be something more than a fairy—a sort of guardian angel. That such an idea would not have been inconsistent with his way of looking at things is shown by the following letter: Ch. Ch., July, 1879. My dear Ethel,—I have been long intending to answer your letter of April 11th, chiefly as to your question in reference to Mrs. N—'s letter about the little S—s [whose mother had recently died]. You say you don't see "how they can be guide...

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