Did you know that lace-making is evil?
273 The Boots and the Broker were sharpening a spade—
274 Each working the grindstone in turn:
275 But the Beaver went on making lace, and displayed
276 No interest in the concern:
277 Though the Barrister tried to appeal to its pride,
278 And vainly proceeded to cite
279 A number of cases, in which making laces
280 Had been proved an infringement of right.
421 But the Barrister, weary of proving in vain
422 That the Beaver’s lace-making was wrong,
423 Fell asleep, and in dreams saw the creature quite plain
424 That his fancy had dwelt on so long.
In Carroll’s tragicomical ballad, The Barrister complains more than once about The Beaver‘s lace-making. Why should a peaceful activity like lace-making (see lines #277 to #280 of the Snark) have “proved an infringement of right”? In the illustration on the top of this page it is the Butcher who is sharpening a spade (which might be a different to the kind of “spade” which the Boots and the Broker had been grinding). The lace-making Beaver may have been used to address dissection and vivisection in context with C. L. Dodgson’s (aka Lewis Carroll’s) involvement in the vivisection debate.