God, Soap, and Free Soup
The same year (1865) that Wonderland was published in London an English couple founded the Christian Mission in the same city. An evangelical and philanthropic organization, the Christian Mission, later named the Salvation Army, preached Christian salvation to the sinful poor folks of London's East End. This "army of do-gooders" also established community "soup kitchens" that provided free soup for the city's impoverished and homeless residents. Hot soup was available day and night, along with the inspiring slogan "Soup, soap, and salvation." It is unknown if any soup eaters in a 19th-century Salvation Army kitchen in London sang verses from the Mock Turtle's Wonderland soup song: "Beau---ootiful Soo---oop! …/Soo---oop of the e-e-evening,/Beautiful, beautiful Soup!" Source: Andrzej Diniejko, "The … Salvation Army in Victorian England," Victorian Web (.org), 3 Nov 2012.
Illustration commentary: Top: The Mock Turtle with soup and soup-song words from Wonderland drawn by the British artist Gwynedd M. Hudson (active 1909-1935) and published in London and New York in 1922. It is not known if Ms. Hudson, about whom little is known, ate soup or even liked soup. In addition to being a book illustrator, she was a figure painter and poster artist. (Color added by AWT.) Bottom: A watercolor (1908) by the New Zealand-born illustrator Harry Rountree (1878-1950) depicting a solitary Mock Turtle (upper left) at oceanside singing the "beautiful soup" song. Rountree is noted for his animal illustrations and in his 1908 edition of Wonderland drew numerous scenes populated by animals. Source: ATW's illustrator files.
Moustache factlet: In Lewis Carroll's Victorian England, a gentlemen with a large moustache used a metal spoon -- a silver spoon if wealthy -- equipped with a guard on one side of the spoon's bowl to prevent soup from wetting upper-lip whiskers; the author of the Alice books, however, did not have a moustache. Source: AWT's whisker files.
Fog factlet: In Victorian London, the dense fogs created by smoke from coal-burning fires that were harmful to human health were called pea-soup fogs or pea-soupers after a thick dull-yellow soup make from dried split peas. Source: "Pea-soup," The New Shorter Oxford English Dictionary (Oxford, 1993).
Lady and Lilacs at Christ Church
A painting owned by Lewis Carroll may have inspired his own artistic version of the fictional Alice.
The Caterpillar's Nontoxic Mushroom
The species of mushroom that Alice eats in Wonderland is not identified in the first Alice book.
Alice Rides the Victorian Railroad
England's real Victorian railroad is reflected in Alice's train ride in Looking-Glass world.
An English Illustrator's Wonderland Face
An early 20th-century illustrator of Wonderland often used himself as a model.
Wonderland Overshadows Maui Wowie
The Alice books provide a treasure-trove of colorful names for female cosmetics.
Long-Necked Alice as Treetop Scientist
A title word in the first Alice book describes a research phase in the scientific world of treetop studies.
The Ubiquitous Non-Wonderland Cocktail
Literary-minded bartenders and mixologists who create names for cocktails occasionally reply on the Alice books for inspiration.
The Physical Impairments of Alice's Creators
The author and the first illustrator of the Alice books had lifelong above-the-neck problems.
The Jabberwocky of Microbiology
A word from a Looking-Glass poem finds a home in microbiology.