The embellishments began 10 months later—when Carroll went back to the entry and added, “On which occasion, I told them the fairy tale of Alice’s Adventures Under Ground, which I undertook to write out for Alice”—and didn’t stop for decades. By the time 80-year-old Alice Hargreaves (nee Liddell) was telling the tale on her triumphant visit to New York—the “original Alice” was greeted at the dock by more than 30 reporters—her recollection of a “blazing summer afternoon with heat haze shimmering over the meadows” was already established fact.
More On July 4, 1862, Rev. Charles Dodgson, an Oxford lecturer in mathematics better known now as Lewis Carroll, author of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass, rowed up the Thames to a picnic spot. He had with him four of his favourite people: his friend Robinson Duckworth and the three young Liddell girls—Lorina, 13, Edith, 8, and 10-year-old Alice. From the sparse evidence of Carroll’s diary, it was hardly a memorable occasion; perhaps it was the weather that July day: cloudy and damp, with a high of 20° C.