Finally, the seagulls pull the peach out of the Cloud-Men’s reach. Everyone gathers around the Centipede. As the paint dries, he has to sit rigidly upright. All his legs stick straight out and he can’t speak—the paint is already dry on his lips. The Old-Green-Grasshopper is aghast that the paint dried so fast, but James notes that “rainbow-paint” dries quickly. Miss Spider says she hates paint. The last time Aunt Spiker painted her kitchen, Miss Spider’s grandmother got stuck in the wet paint. Nobody could rescue her, but Miss Spider and her friends brought food for the grandmother for six months. But then, last April, Aunt Sponge noticed the spider on her ceiling and murdered it with a mop. Suddenly, James hears someone shouting.
In this passage, it’s worth noticing the absurdity of both the quick-drying rainbow-paint and of Miss Spider’s grandmother’s death. The death in particular is tragic and macabre, but the thought of feeding an imprisoned spider for months is nevertheless humorous.