"Train leaves at midnight, doesn't it"
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.