First editions and part of a poem about bats under the hammer

Mentioning every Carroll-related item that comes up for auction would be impossible, and not the good do-it-before-breakfast kind of impossible either. Nevertheless, here’s a couple of lots coming up at the end of this month that seem worth a mention.

Christie's Sale 5475, Lot #212

On November 30, Christie’s in London will be auctioning a number of  books and pamphlets. Lot #212 (pictured left) is a uniformly bound set containing the first published edition of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (the true first edition was recalled by Carroll due its unsatisfactory reproduction of Tenniel’s illustrations) and a first edition of Through the Looking-Glass. Sale 5476 also features Algebraical Formulae and Rules for the use of candidates for responsions (Lot #214), never mentioned in the author’s diary, but possibly an expanded version of Algebraical Formulae for Responsions.

The following day, on the other side of the world, the Leonard Joel auction house in Sydney, Australia, will be auctioning a facsimile of Alice’s Adventures Under Ground (Lot #294), signed by the author and dated November 15, 1895. The lot also includes two letters to Olive Gould and one to Mrs Gould and, intriguingly, “part of a poem on bats.”

A photo of the poem is below. With a bit of squinting I can read that it begins “She gave it both some bread [and?] milk / and felt its furry wings / which were as soft as softest silk / and said all sorts of things,”  but I can’t make out much of the rest. If you can decipher it, please leave a transcription in the comments! Click on the photo to see a larger image.

Part of a poem on bats. Leonard Joel Lot #294

6 comments to First editions and part of a poem about bats under the hammer

  • Ruth Berman

    Some of the remainder I can’t read at all either, and some I’m not sure of the reading, but here’s a guess (with — representing a syllable), following from “And said all sorts of things”:

    Which some such — bats like to hear
    Such as “You — — sweet!
    You little duck, you darling dear!
    You — , you’ve got no feet!”
    The little bat on hearing that
    Began to scratch & bite
    And — — said, “You little cat
    To squash you would be right.”
    So — the f– the flying mouse
    And — — — it flew
    And wasn’t — — — — house
    That’s what I hope, don’t you?

  • SHERRY SUBLETT REGAN

    “She gave it both some bread [and?] milk / and felt its furry wings / which were as soft as softest silk / and said all sorts of things,”

    “Which we suppose bats like to hear

    “Such as, “You velvet [sweet!]

    “You little duck, You darling dear!

    “You mouse, you’ve got no feet!”

    “The little bat on hearing that

    “Began to scratch & bite

    “And Alice said, “You little cat

    “To squeak you would be right.

    “So up she flung the flying mouse

    “And away, away it flew

    “And won’t come back to Alice’s house.

    “That’s what I hope, don’t you?”

    TRANSCRIBED BY SHERRY SUBLETT REGAN 11/28/2010

    [SORRY FOR THE EARLIER MISTAKE--MY MIND WAS APPARENTLY ON SOMETHING ELSE WHEN I WROTE IT.
    SCOTCH SHOULD BE SWEET TO RHYME WITH FEET. (GIGGLES)]

  • Thanks Ruth & Sherry! PS great poem!

  • Devra

    I largely agree with Sherry’s transcription, but think “squash” rather than “squeak,” and possibly “Olive” rather than “Alice.” Doubt this has anything to do with Alice. Perhaps intended for a child friend whose house was invaded by a bat?

  • SHERRY SUBLETT REGAN

    AHHH, DEVRA—YOU’RE LIKELY RIGHT….IT LOOKS MORE LIKE OLIVE DOESN’T IT? MAKES MORE SENSE SINCE IT WAS SENT TO OLIVE GOULD. (SMILE)

    BUT BECAUSE I’VE HEARD MICE SQUEAK, I’M HOLDING TO THAT ONE. (WINK)

  • SHERRY SUBLETT REGAN

    YIKES, ON SECOND LOOK….FOR A CAT TO SQUASH A MOUSE MAKES MORE SENSE, DEVRA…I HUMBLY CONCEDE–WARMLY AND KINDLY.