Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Fit the Fifth, Page 37, Panel 1 … a snark in the grass

The Butcher would gladly have talked till next day,
But he felt that the lesson must end,
And he wept with delight in attempting to say
He considered the Beaver his friend.

Friendship is, of course, a double-edged sort of business, the very sort of tricksy fritter-my-wig-thingum-a-jig that Messers Lewis Carroll and C.L. Dodgson must have pondered over quite a bit in the course of their own long and fruitful association.

The attentive reader (is there any other?) will remember my own reasons for emasculating the Beaver, and I think that this very stanzel is proof positive of the aesthetic rightness (or is it righteousness?) of that long-ago, fateful decision on my part.

And so, we see here the Beaver and Butcher heaving into view with their freshly-minted friendship in tow. Needless to say, the friendship of the Butcher will prove a heavy burden for the luckless Beaver. The former’s penchant for looking the part of an incredible dunce, as evidenced in his just-concluded, semi-interminable monologue upon all things Jubjub, will weigh heavily upon the Beaver’s sensitive soul.

May we conjecture that Carroll might have had the same private misgivings concerning his rather leechlike pal, Dodgson? The basic principles of Prosodic Forensics may apply here, my dear Watson, when one bears in mind that once one has removed the impossible from whatever verse one is studying, whatever one is left with, however improbably, is the logical solution.

The Butcher’s poetic modus operandi is painfully obvious: dunderheaded obliviousness to all things outside his realm of expertise, a compulsion to lecture strangers ad infinitum, etc. Such a description is, as some of us are painfully aware, the very epitome of the college lecturer, of which C.L. Dodgson was a prime example.

The Beaver’s versical activities in the last Five Fits have been limited solely to making lace and saving the entire crew from wreck. The former activity is utterly frivolous, as is versifying in general, and the latter activity is nothing less than an oblique reference to her skill in composing galdors, those Celtic verse charms used in pagan times to protect the common folk from evil through the application of some mysterious, verbal magic unknown to the layman!

The attentive reader should promptly compare the above description to Lewis Carroll, and finding that it’s a perfect match, brandish their regulation Scotland Yard handcuffs, then secure the guilty party and march him off to the station to take his statement, the villain!

And while you’re at it, Sergeant, cuff that Dodgson wallah, he was probably in on it with Carroll, the two of ‘em are inseparable friends, don’t you know. We’ll soon have at least one of ‘em singing like a canary, probably till the next day, I’m afraid.


  1. Ah, yes. In conversation with another Snark illustrator at the last LCSNA meeting, I referred to the Beaver as "she" and was politely but firmly corrected. The strange thing was that I had assumed he agreed with your reasoning based on his illustrations!

  2. Quite so, Sarah, the Beaver-as-she still seems a bit radical for some. The Butcher's brusque attitude towards her and her own patient tolerance of his mental duncity are proof enough for me.

    Will we ever live in a world where the Beaver's manifest femininity can dare to express itself without fear of social ostracism?

  3. Well, I think the Beaver has all the makings a grande dame in the works, though it's 90% beneath the surface.

  4. Yes, a sort of iceberg-cum-bunny-breckinridge with a twist of maple syrup does come to mind …