valadilenne: (Valadilenne)
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She would have much rather awoken in her own bedroom, or even a bedroom inside the castle,
She wouldn't have liked it if it had really happened. Originally this chapter began with Alice waking up in the palace and getting lost in the mazes of corridors until she heard loud and annoying singing and wound up finding the Hatter in a gallery, but it became a dead-end.

but it was quite clear to her that these quarters were of a distinctly Leporidian taste.
A house with rabbit design features. Nice.

She opened the door and found to her surprise not only her own frock, but a new frock every time she shut and opened the armoire door.
Redundancy is quite common in the Wonderland, redundancy is. If armoires give you a different dress every time you open them, how do clothiers stay in business?

The library resembled her father's, and the lifted ceilings were something of a shock to her from being in the low and narrow rooms of the rest of the house.
The room that wasn't there before. There are several of these, and they all have clues as to what's really going on. I can't wait until the third one reveals itself to Alice.

Books, of course, on many subjects foreign to her, such as Whippetson On Care of the Bealzestock, Poke Sallet Toxicity, and even Aphids of the Greater Wonderland
Tony Joe White had a hit song called “Poke Sallet Annie” in 1969. Poke sallet is a type of green that grows in the deep south. I think it has a kind of magical aura around it because it's toxic, forbidden and dangerous. You have to boil it three times (which sounds like the start of a witch's brew), and even then you're risking your life to eat it. As an aside from my Wikipedia-ing, pokeberry ink was used to sign the Declaration of Independence.

She was startled—here was the old Queen of Hearts, and tempestuous she did look indeed.
I'd be freaked out to see the Queen of Hearts in person, but I don't think that would compare with an unbroken stare out of a photograph.

there had been far more official courtiers under the old tyrannical monarch, but the new ruler apparently chose to surround herself with an elite few.
It's almost like the Duchess is just taunting her with exclusivity—you'll never be a princess, Alice.

Just south of the library was an old museum of history which was marked “closed” in a handwriting different from the mapmaker's. There was even, and Alice smiled at this, just south of the letter-writing shop, a haberdashery.
You might have read this and thought, “Aw, Alice smiles at the thought of the Hatter's shop.” Ask yourself, though: wouldn't you really like to know what's in that closed museum?

“No, it is altogether fine,” said the Hare, not entering the room.
They say some animals can sense a weird aura around certain locations, almost like they know there's something fishy going on, even though humans can't quite pick up on it.

Local Flute-player Harvests Record Number of Preserved Habaneros, said the headline.
“Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers...”

“Oh, no, I am hardly welcome there.”
“May I ask why not?”
“Certainly,” he replied brightly. Alice stumbled at this, but caught herself accordingly.

He's such a good host, letting her be so liberal with the conversation, isn't he?

She moves in mysterious ways her wonders to perform, if you can call them that. Maybe she enjoys the illusion of mystery—those creatures she keeps around would make an excellent team for a Canasta set.”
“God moves in mysterious ways his wonders to perform,” or more topically, “Jeeves moves in mysterious ways his wonders to perform.” Share and share alike, I think. The Hare isn't necessarily right here: a Canasta team only has 2-4 players. I suppose they could break into three 2-player teams, but that would probably start problems for anyone who'd have to play against the Duchess. They'd be tempted to throw the game, probably.

“People come here quite often, you must know, and after one visit I think they find the place sufficiently beyond their narrow comprehension and use their return ticket home as fast as they can. You, on the other hand, border on insistence at your own presence. You are, in short,” and he smacked his lips with satisfaction at the completion of his blend, “An anomaly at large.”
Someone asked me if I'm going for the concept of third time's the charm, as if Alice's 3rd trip to the Wonderland somehow solidifies its existence. I'm not, but I wouldn't be averse to the interpretation. Alice just has a stronger sense of curiosity about things than other people, and she does tend to get sidetracked on projects even when she keeps proclaiming her ultimate goal of getting home (which she hasn't quite announced lately, has she?).

“Ohh, you must understand. Like a--” he pointed to himself “--out of a--” and then pointed to the newspaper, next to which Alice could just see the brimband of a large hat poking out, “--only backways, you see.”
Putting the proverbial rabbit back into the magic top hat—those creatures just up and disappear without much warning.

“Left his hookah and a good supply of ma'sal...
A hookah is the large smoking instrument the Caterpillar uses, with the hose that connects to the ornate mouthpiece he's always holding. Ma'sal is a famous brand name given to shisha tobacco—it's made with honey, so it has an unusual appearance.

I was in a large meadow with many of my relatives and compatriots, only the whole business was conducted on our hind legs and with a far deal greater fear that something was going to swoop in and eat—either us, or the grass in the fields, I honestly cannot recall.
The March Hare has nightmares about Watership Down. As do we all.

“I should say not, I had a blasphemous headache only the Furies would applaud,”
Tea wouldn't make a good hangover cure given that it's a diuretic. You would think he would know that, but he's far too into the stuff to give it up.

a sleek wooden pipe elegantly curving out of the side of his mouth. Forming slowly in the bowl were soap bubbles, glinting purple and blue in the sunlight before they roiled up and floated away into the trees.
I know I'm really specific about the details sometimes, and this is something that I can picture only one way. You know those stereotypical ads from the 1950s that feature “cardigan-wearing Dad” who looks like a facsimile of Ozzie Nelson? That perfectly straight, almost square pipe coming out of his mouth? I just can't imagine the Hatter with an “old-fashioned S-curve” pipe like Sherlock Holmes would have. He's way too youthful for that mess. And he smokes a bubble pipe, which is my favorite thing about him.

“Ceci n'est pas une pipe,” said the Hatter with a shrug.
“This is not a pipe.” A reference to Rene Magritte's famous painting “Treachery of Images,” of a pipe with the phrase beneath it—and he was right. It's not a pipe, it's a picture of a pipe. The Hatter is just being philosophical and hinting (in a ridiculously subtle way) at more metaphysics—is it really a pipe? Can we trust the setting of the story considering it's a story? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:MagrittePipe.jpg

“It is a boring and equivocally disturbing and I wish it weren't there—much rather have a hot house in that part of the lot,” he replied with a sigh.
The Hare wouldn't grow orchids in his hot house—it'd be nothing but tea plants. Not even carrots, I suspect. Alice later gets the conservatory that he supposedly wants—and what's important is that he got the library when he wasn't expecting it.

“Let's go see where they're putting you up, shall we? I hear it's a nice house, in a manor of speaking!”
Oh Lord. That man and his puns. Sometimes they just come, and sometimes he sits up late at night thinking them up and then waiting around, just hoping for someone to say the right word.

“If you enjoy sitting in a stifling dusty room squinting until your eyes go all strabismus.” Alice rolled her eyes and the Hatter gave her a sly sidelong smile.
“There, you see? I suspect you have it from too much time staring at words. And you wouldn't be enjoying anything out of doors with one eye here and the other eye there.” He made the attempt at a wall-eyed look, but winced painfully.

Strabismus is a condition where the eyes aren't properly aligned—it's not the condition of being cross-eyed. Basically you lose your depth perception because your eyes aren't looking at the same point in space.

“I think you were Queen Alice before.” ... the soft gorging burzing sound rose from a deep undetectable bass into a low register that was barely audible.
Interesting things tend to happen when Alice's name is spoken aloud.

There was an awkward silence in which they listened to each other gasping...
Suggestive implications make me laugh.

”Bombay reserve in your coat pocket and half a snifter of brandy in your shoe, wouldn't that be--”
I bet he does keep a private bottle of a fine vintage in those shoes—there's no way his feet are that big.

“Pleating seams go an awfully long way when you've got the determination for big pockets,” he said.
Pleating seams go a long way, but his hat sure can hold a lot more, and hats don't have pleating seams...

The Hatter had wandered off to look inside the post box as though he expected to find something of greater interest.
West of House
You are standing in an open field west of a white house, with a boarded front door. There is a small mailbox here.

“The White Rabbit moved out?” said the Hatter from directly beyond her elbow. He was standing with his head cocked at a curious angle and a strange sort of concern squaring off at the blue in his eyes.
It's all fine and well when it's Walruses and Carpenters, but when royal heralds start disappearing, it makes one wonder.

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Valadilenne

May 2009

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