This direct reference to Wonderland prepares the reader for the
many parallels that follow. When their adventures begin, both
girls are about the same age, Alice seven and a half, Emmeline
exactly eight. Just as Alice joins a tea party in Wonderland,
Emmeline plays with her tiny tea set on the beach after they land.
Emmeline's former pet, like the Cheshire Cat, "had white stripes
and a white chest, and rings down its tail" and died "showing its
teeth." Whereas Alice looks for a poison label on a bottle that
says "Drink Me," Emmeline innocently tries to eat "the never-
wake-up berries" and receives a stern rebuke and a lecture about
poison from Paddy Button. "The Poetry of Learning" chapter
echoes Alice's dialogue with the caterpillar. Like the wily
creature smoking a hookah, Paddy smokes a pipe and shouts
"Hurroo!" as the children teach him to write his name in the sand.
The children lose "all count of time," just as the Mad Hatter does.
Whereas Alice grows nine feet taller, Dick sprouts "two inches
taller" and Emmeline "twice as plump." Like the baby in the "Pig
and Pepper," Hannah sneezes at the first sight of Dicky. The novel
is artfully littered with references to wonder, curiosity, and
strangeness—all evidence of Stacpoole's conscious effort to
invoke and honor his Victorian predecessor.
Stacpoole presented The Blue Lagoon to Publisher T. Fisher
Unwin in September 1907 and went to Cumberland to assist
another ailing doctor in his practice. Every day from Eden Vue in
Langwathby, Stacpoole wrote to his fiancee, Margaret Robson (or
Maggie, as he called her), and waited anxiously for their wedding
day. On December 17, 1907, the couple were married and spent
their honeymoon at Stebbing Park, a friend's country house in