Friday, 19 December 2014

Chapter-by-Chapter: The Hostile Hospital, Chapter 10

As you're reading this I'm on the mainland doing a little bit of last minute Christmas food shopping (among other things), but I took the time last night to read the latest chapter of The Hostile Hospital. That puts us right on track to finish this book next week (I'm planning posts in the afternoon on Monday, Tuesday and Friday) then we can kick off the next book the following week.

That's the plan at least. We all know how those usually work out.

What Happens?

Esme believes that Klaus and Sunny are the white-faced ladies in disguise and so they are handed the knife and escorted to the Surgical Ward. They are then handed over to two more of Olaf's associates and taken through to Violet's room, with none of them any the wiser about who is in their midst. And soon they are accompanying their sister into theatre.

Thoughts as I read:

The image that opens this chapter shows us that things are not looking good for Violet. At least, I'm assuming it's Violet, I can't think why we would be looking at a picture of someone else at this stage of the book. The figure is lying on a gurney with her hair hanging over at the top end, with one hand dangling from the edge of the bed. Doesn't look like very good hospital practice, if you ask me.

Even though we're at a critical point in the book waiting to find out what's going to happen to poor Violet, Snicket decides that this is the ideal moment to tell us about his good friend, Mr Sirin. Mr Sirin studied butterflies and was being chased by the police, during which point he was far more worried about his butterflies than about himself. In order to prevent the butterflies from going to prison, Mr Sirin swallowed them, kept them in his stomach for three years and then brought them back up when the danger had passed.

This two-page story gives us an idea of how the remaining Baudelaires feel about watching Esme and Dr Flacutono heading in Violet's direction with a large rusty knife. Klaus, still in disguise as a doctor, asks Esme if she works with Dr Flacutono and claims that he and Sunny are fellow associates. And just like that she takes them with her. Sunny responds to this with 'Patsy'.

Esme is apparently fooled by these disguises and proceeds to tell the children that they need to be on the look out for two children who have the Snicket file. There's now a plan to torch the hospital. Sunny replies to this with 'Torch?' but Esme's not given up any more information about that, their place is in the surgery.

They soon arrive at the Surgical Ward which has a guard on the door. The guard is immediately recognisable as Olaf's associate who looks like neither a man nor a woman but they don't recognise Klaus or Sunny. Esme's off to look for Klaus and Sunny, so they are left to go and perform the operation on Violet, who we are informed is now unconscious.

Esme does let slip that the current plan seems to involve destroying the file so no one knows what crimes they've committed, as well as to kill the Baudelaires so they can get their hands on the fortune. She finds this plan hilarious so of course the Baudelaires have to pretend that they find this funny too. Then she heads off and leaves the Baudelaires to the rest of Olaf's wicked friends.

The first of these friends is the hook-handed man and then there's the guy with the bad wig. The first thing they tell the children is that they 'can see through [their] disguise' but then they reveal that the disguises that they're talking about are the ones being worn by the pale-faced ladies, which is who they think Klaus and Sunny are. Apparently Olaf's disguises are so good that they can change the height and build of the people wearing them.

They're soon on their way to Room 922 and Sunny says 'Gwit' meaning 'They didn't recognise us either'. They quietly celebrate this until the bald guy tells them off for their whispering in case they give them away. Sunny then says 'Trapped', referring to Violet and the situation that she's in. This is another one which is cause for celebration from the hook-handed man. I think he's the one who kind of creeped at Violet in the first book, he's still creeping on her now because he says 'I've been waiting to get hooks on her since she escaped from marrying Mattathias.' *shudder*

We learn a smidge more about the plan. They're going to kill her in front of everyone so that it looks like a surgical accident. This then devolves into an argument between the two bad guys. It's actually Klaus who tells them to stop, after all, they've got a surgery to get to. The two associates are just a little bit wound up at the moment because of the stress of orphan-chasing, the fact that the children seem to slip their clutches at the last minute each time.

And then we see Violet. We're reminded of Sleeping Beauty, who Violet looks nothing like. She's lying on a rusty gurney with dirty sheets and her hair is over her face to keep her from being recognised. She looks almost dead, though we are reassured that she's breathing. The associates take a moment to consider how much fun it would be if she woke up during the surgery, this is because they are evil and find this sort of thing amusing.

This obviously freaks out the other two Baudelaires who follow their sister along the corridor as she is wheeled off to surgery and to what could be a very nasty end for Violet.

No 'happily ever after' here.

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