DODGSON, CHARLES LUTWIDGE (1832-1898, 'Lewis Carroll', author and mathematician)
DODGSON ASKS A MOTHER IF HER CHILDREN ARE 'INVITABLE' AND 'KISSABLE.' Of all the letters printed by Morton Cohen in The Letters, the present one is the longest, most explicit, most revealing and most detailed about the nature of his interest in his 'girl-friends' and what he wanted of them. It is also the most comprehensive and bold letter on the subject he ever wrote to the mother of one of his prospective girl-friends.
Dodgson had met Mrs Catharine Moore and her daughters on 11 July when he was giving the last lecture in his course at the Oxford High School. His later letters to Mrs R.L. Poole (when he asked her for access to her daughter Joy - without asking if she was kissable) show that Mrs Aubrey-Moore declined the invitation he extended in this letter ('...as I have made a similar request, in vain, as to her friends the Aubrey Moores, I don't feel quite confident of success on this occasion'). Mrs Moore was the wife of Aubrey Lackington Moore (1848-1890), successively Fellow of St. John's College, Lecturer and Tutor of Magdalen, Tutor of Keble and Honorary Canon of Christ Church. She apparently thought that Dodgson was a bit odd (Michael Bakewell, Lewis Carroll, 1996, pp. 323-324).
Dodgson was aware of the disquiet his relations with young girls was causing at this time. When one of his sisters voiced her concerns about his actions and what people were saying, he replied: 'The only two tests I now apply to such a question as the having some particular girl friend as a guest are, first, my own conscience, to settle whether I feel it to be entirely innocent and right, in the sight of God; secondly, the parents of my friend, to settle whether I have their full approval for what I do. You need not be shocked at my being spoken against.'
Except for a reference in a letter to the by then grown-up Evelyn Hatch ('...It's one thing, you know, to have a guest with whom you are on "Miss" terms, and quite another to have one with whom one is on "Kiss" terms...), Dodgson made no more suggestions about kissing girls in the letters printed by Morton Cohen after the present one.