Lewis Carroll letters found in locked book

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The Independent Online

Letters written by Lewis Carroll, author of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, shortly before his death have been found in a locked journal.

Letters written by Lewis Carroll, author of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, shortly before his death have been found in a locked journal.

The five letters, more than 100 years old, were discovered by archivists in Alnwick Castle, Northumberland.

The letters, from in 1896 and 1897, were hidden in a locked journal inside a casket belonging to the 7th Duke of Northumberland's mother, Edith. Carroll, was a friend and contemporary at Oxford University of Henry George Percy, later the 7th Duke, and one letter is to his young daughter Muriel.

The journal was discovered by the castle's head archivist, Colin Shrimpton, who had to call in a locksmith. A spokesman for the 12th Duke said yesterday: "We think it is quite exciting because the final letter was written so close to his death and was actually signed Lewis Carroll as opposed to his real name Charles Dodgson.

"What we have to remember is Carroll's books were the Harry Potter books of their time and for the seven-year-old Muriel to have received such a letter must have been wonderful."

One of the letters is a reply to a garden party invitation. Three others try to persuade Lord Percy and his wife to have a portrait painted of their eighth child, Mary.

The final letter was written at Christmas 1897 to the couple's 13th child, Muriel, with which he sent a plum cake. This letter is thought to have been one of his last. He died on 14 January, 1898, aged 65.

The letters are on display until the end of October at Alnwick Castle as part of an exhibition of children's literature.

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