"Train leaves at midnight, doesn't it"

Cinderella, poster for touring theatre (1895)
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeCinderella, poster for touring theatre (1895) - Credit: Valerie McGlinchey/Victoria and Albert Museum
On her way to the home of the Grand Duke, Fevvers is associated with the fairytale of Cinderella.  The train must leave at midnight, just as the fairy godmother's magic will wear off when the clock strikes twelve.  Outside, a 'befurred footman' hands Fevvers into her carriage; Cinderella's carriage is made from a pumpkin, and her attendants from rats, mice and lizards.  It was the lizards who actually made the footmen, whilst the furred animals were horses and a driver, but Carter is nevertheless clearly referring to the animal origins of Cinderella's entourage.

In parallel, Colonel Kearney is cast as the fairy godmother whose magic can only last a certain length of time.  His spell, which cast apes as humans, tigers as dancers, men as clowns, is wearing thin; his familars are abandoning him and disaster crowds upon diaster as the midnight deadline looms.