1. The poem recited by Watson to Holmes was an abbreviated version of “The Walrus and the Carpenter.” The full version may be found in “Through the Looking Glass and What Alice Found There” by Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (nom de plume Lewis Carroll), pub.1872 re-published Macmillan Company, New York, 1898; now available from Dover Thrift Editions, Dover Publications, Mineola,NY 1999). That work was a sequel to Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, pub. 1865.
2. For detailed study, interpretations and underlying meanings of this and other parts of both Alice Stories, see the magnificent work of the late Martin Gardner in “The Annotated Alice” (Branham House, New York, 1960).
3. Editorial Note- The Alice Stories were written by Charles Lutwidge Dodgson for Alice Liddell. Alice Liddell was born 4 May1852. Alice was approximately the age of Sherlock Holmes who was born 6 Jan 1854 (See Sherlock Holmes of Baker Street, William S. Baring-Gould, Wings Books, New York, 1962-ISBN-0-517-03817-X).
The father of Alice Liddell was Rev. Henry Liddell (1811-1898), Dean of Christ Church College, Oxford from 1855 to 1891. The Rev. Charles Lutwidge Dodgson was a don in mathematics and logic at Christ Church College, Oxford in October 1872 when Holmes attended there (See Baring-Gould, op. cit.).
Baring-Gould tells us that Holmes became a close friend of Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, the don at Oxford who taught him mathematics and logic.
There is a high degree of probability that Sherlock Holmes and Alice Liddell were acquainted when Holmes was 18 and Alice was 20. They were both at Christ Church College, Oxford in 1872. There is certainty that Sherlock Holmes and Charles Lutwidge Dodgson became friends in 1872. And the publication date of the poem was 1872.
The question that must be considered under the circumstances is this: Had Sherlock Holmes heard the poem, “The Walrus and the Carpenter,” before Watson recited parts of it to him, and was Holmes putting on an act to entertain Watson?”
(Jody Baker is a Chattanooga attorney, who specializes in Sherlock Holmes lore. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.)