Sunday, 9 March 2014

The Cook chucks fire-irons, saucepans, plates, and dishes all over the kitchen

The Cook chucks fire-irons, saucepans, plates, and dishes all over the kitchen, 
an illustration by JVL in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, Artists' Choice Editions, 2009

The Text:

The door led right into a large kitchen, which was full of smoke
from one end to the other: the Duchess was sitting on a three-
legged stool in the middle, nursing a baby; the cook was leaning
over the fire, stirring a large cauldron which seemed to be full of

 'There's certainly too much pepper in that soup!' Alice said to
 herself, as well as she could for sneezing.

 There was certainly too much of it in the air. Even the Duchess
sneezed occasionally; and as for the baby, it was sneezing and
howling alternately without a moment's pause. The only things in
the kitchen that did not sneeze, were the cook, and a large cat
which was sitting on the hearth and grinning from ear to ear.

'Please would you tell me,' said Alice, a little timidly, for she was
not quite sure whether it was good manners for her to speak first,
'why your cat grins like that?'

'It's a Cheshire cat,' said the Duchess, 'and that's why. Pig!'

She said the last word with such sudden violence that Alice quite
jumped; but she saw in another moment that it was addressed to
the baby, and not to her, so she took courage, and went on again: --

'I didn't know that Cheshire cats always grinned; in fact, I didn't
know that cats COULD grin.'

 'They all can,' said the Duchess; 'and most of 'em do.'

'I don't know of any that do,' Alice said very politely, feeling quite
pleased to have got into a conversation.

'You don't know much,' said the Duchess; 'and that's a fact.'

Alice did not at all like the tone of this remark, and thought it
would be as well to introduce some other subject of conversation.
While she was trying to fix on one, the cook took the cauldron of
soup off the fire, and at once set to work throwing everything
within her reach at the Duchess and the baby -- the fire-irons
came first; then followed a shower of saucepans, plates, and dishes.
The Duchess took no notice of them even when they hit her; and the
baby was howling so much already, that it was quite impossible to
say whether the blows hurt it or not.

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