in the last stage of [projection]

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Senior Member
The quotation comes from Jane Eyre Chapter 17

Quotation: "Well now, while the ladies are in their rooms, I will venture down and get you something to eat." (said Jane)

And issuing from my asylum with precaution, I sought a back-stairs which conducted directly to the kitchen. All in that region was fire and commotion; the soup and fish were in the last stage of projection, and the cook hung over her crucibles in a frame of mind and body threatening spontaneous combustion. In the servants' hall two coachmen and three gentlemen's gentlemen stood or sat round the fire

Context: Jane slipped into the kitchen to fetch some food for Adele.
Hi everyone! I don't quite understand "in the last stage of projection", especially the word "projection". I guess "projection" means "the act of sending (the dishes) before the guests". So I interpret it as "the soup an fish would be served when the 'last' stage was finished" . Is it correct?
  • PaulQ

    English - England
    I am not surprised you were confused. This is more obsolete language with a meaning that would be hard to guess: From the OED:

    1.a. Alchemy. The throwing or casting of an ingredient into a crucible; esp. the casting of powdered philosopher's stone on to molten metal to effect its transmutation into gold or silver; the transmutation of metals. Cf. powder of projection n. at powder n.1 5d. Now hist.

    †b. In fig. and extended use. A process resembling this, especially one resulting in change from one thing to another. Obsolete.
    1820 W. Hazlitt Lect. Dramatic Lit. 16 Public opinion was in a state of projection.

    in the last stage of projection = in the last stages of being converted from raw food into a meal. -> Today we would say "almost ready to be served"
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