7th October 2021

The Knave of Hearts is a characterization most recognizable in the 21st-century. He is so smothered by protection, face never allowed to be exposed to the slightest breeze, he finds it necessary to act out in any way possible to shrug off the constraint he feels has somehow disallowing his development, as opposed to simply keeping his pasty and overly sensitive skin away from the dangers of Wonderland at large.

The Jack is not as might be supposed by his position in the ascendency of the pack a direct offspring of the King and Queen of Hearts, but rather a mere fool who is but marginally more important than the number ten, if only because of his rather flamboyant clothes. A repeatedly accused thief of pepper tarts, the very singular produce of the Duchesses cook, a renowned and most very serious baker of all things sneezery, and infamously the second most unattractive female in the whole of the universe, the first notably being the Dutchess herself, who height just happens to be exactly right for most annoyingly continuously resting her very prodigiously pointed chin upon Alices shoulder. The poor ladies appearance is never truly described in the narrative itself, simply stated by Alice as being ’very ugly’. Later graphic representations, particularly that by John Tenniel, follow more the physical aspect of ‘A Grotesque old Woman’ by Quention Matsys (c.1513) and ‘Grotesque Head’, a sketch in red chalk by Leonardo da Vinci, both subjects suggested to be suffering from Paget’s disease, or osteitis deformans. The Dutchess has a want to beat her baby boy for the teasing habit of sneezing, an erroneous diagnosis of the fault, the cook more obviously being the true miscreant, with her constant pepper flinging ways.

The other notable in the Duchesses household is her cat, a Cheshire cat, of very peculiar characteristics and a most catenary smile, an expression having the disturbing tendency to ever appear first and disappear last at every singular meeting. As with most felines the creature is dismissive and inclined to be cheesy but originating from the Midlands such a trait is quite to be expected. The puss should more correctly be addressed as Pusey, that being both its name and nature.

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