Yawning man by Harry Furniss. Swain, engraver. 1889. Illustration for Lewis Carroll's Sylvia and Bruno Concluded, 266. Source: Hathi Digital Library Trust version of a copy in the Pennsylvania State University Library. [Click on the image to enlarge it.]


This was the first of a series of three illustrations to a modified version of the old nursery song “There was a little man who had a little gun”. The picture was there entitled “Long Ceremonious Calls”, and both the characters are heavily disguised, with allusions to the revised hunting and fishing Song: “Where the Dolphin’s at home, and the Dablet / Pays long ceremonious calls.” My edition of Sylvia and Bruno Concluded annotates this passage as follows:

“Dolphin”: from the princely attire of the man seated on a tasselled cushion, it would seem that Carroll and Furniss intended not the Dolphin sea-creature, but the ‘Dauphin’ of France. Historically, to 1830, the eldest son of a French King was known as ‘Le Dauphine’, and in England as ‘the Dauphin’ or ‘Dolphin’.

“Dablet,” “mangled” from Dab = a small coastal flatfish, here dressed as a visiting Dignitary for “long ceremonious calls;” perhaps doubling as a pun on ‘the crawfish his Wifelet had dressed for his tea’. — Ray Dyer

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Carroll, Lewis. The Story of Sylvie and Bruno. London: Macmillan & Co., 1922. Hathi Digital Library Trust version of a copy in the University of North Carolina Library. Web. 20 September 2016.

Lewis Carroll’s Sylvie and Bruno with Sylvie and Bruno Concluded. Ed. Ray Dyer. Troubador/matador.co.uk, 2015; Amazon USA: 2015].

Created 10 May 2016

Last modified 1 February 2020