Saturday, 5 March 2016

A Well of Much Muchness

Do you remember the 'The Mad Tea Party' from Alice in Wonderland, where Dormouse, when pressed to tell a story makes up one about the three little sisters - Elsie, Lacie, and Tillie - who lived at the bottom of a treacle well? Apparently, they were learning to draw treacle from the well and the following portion is just too hilarious.

Alice did not wish to offend the Dormouse again, so she began very cautiously: 'But I don't understand. Where did they draw the treacle from?' 
'You can draw water out of a water-well,' said the Hatter; `so I should think you could draw treacle out of a treacle-well - eh, stupid?' 
'But they were in the well,' Alice said to the Dormouse, not choosing to notice this last remark.
'Of course they were', said the Dormouse; ' - well in.' 
This answer so confused poor Alice, that she let the Dormouse go on for some time without interrupting it. 
'They were learning to draw,' the Dormouse went on, yawning and rubbing its eyes, for it was getting very sleepy; 'and they drew all manner of things - everything that begins with an M - ' 
'Why with an M?' said Alice. 
'Why not?' said the March Hare. 
The Dormouse had closed its eyes by this time, and was going off into a doze; but, on being pinched by the Hatter, it woke up again with a little shriek, and went on: ' - that begins with an M, such as mouse-traps, and the moon, and memory, and muchness - you know you say things are "much of a muchness" - did you ever see such a thing as a drawing of a muchness?'
Lewis Carroll, Chapter VII: A Mad Tea Party, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland

Well, I have never seen a drawing of a muchness. Or have I? This photo in any case is one of muchness - a portion of a rather wide well back home.

Not a treacle well though.

  1. For a long long time, we used to pump water from a pond in the grounds back home. As the water quality diminished over time, a well was dug. The wells in those parts need to be wide rather than deep if one needs to store a reasonable quantity of water, owing to the soil structure of the land.

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