At the end of Alice’s last adventure, she has arrived at a house but doesn’t know whose it is. Now in this adventure she sees a fish livery footman arriving at the door and a frog footman answering the door. Their discourse gives an indication as to whom the house belongs to as the fish footman announces an invitation for the duchess to come play croquet with the queen. Alice wants to go inside but doesn’t know how and as the frog isn’t much help, Alice simply opens the door and goes in. There she finds the duchess nursing a baby and a cook hurling pots, pans and plates while making a highly peppered soup that causes the poor baby to howl and sneeze. The duchess is shaking the baby violently while singing a lullaby about the pepper and eventually tosses the baby to Alice to nurse while she gets ready to play croquet. Alice finds this baby rather queer shaped and sees that it is turning into a pig. She wants nothing more to do with the pig. (Would you, if someone’s behavior turns pig-like?) The pig grunts violently, she sets it down and then watches it trot off into the woods.

The other interesting character Alice meets while at the duchess’s house is the Cheshire Cat. As Alice is leaving the house she sees it up in a tree. This cat can appear and then vanish quickly or slowly leaving only a grin until finally it is gone altogether. Although this is very disconcerting to Alice, she still seeks the cat’s advice to find out where she should go. Responding to the cat’s question of where would she like to go, she says that it doesn’t really matter. So the cat answers,‘then it doesn’t matter which way you walk’. (The mind of man plans His way and the Lord directs his steps…but if we don’t plan can He direct?)
She follows up by saying she wants to go somewhere and the cat assures her she will do that if she only walks long enough. Alice wants to find out whom to visit next. The cat directs her to either the Hatter’s house or the March Hare and tells her they’re all mad. Alice says she doesn’t want to ‘go among mad people’. And the cat responds by saying we’re all mad here, even Alice and she wants to know how the cat knows that! The cat decidedly tells her that she wouldn’t have come here unless she was mad. And they have a discussion about the requirements of being mad. (Now, I would have to agree that after reading about the cook, duchess, baby and cat that it all seems mad to me. But then, what is mad? What is norm? Jesus was accused of being raving mad. John 10:19-20 says: “…At these words the Jews were again divided. Many of them said, “He is demon-possessed and raving mad. Why listen to him?”)
Alice chooses to visit the March Hare because she’s seen hatters before and hopes that because it’s May the Hare won’t be raving mad. She heads off and finds a large house with rabbit ear chimneys and a fur roof. Will she find a raving mad March Hare here after all?

Pepper

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