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A Necklace of Broken Promises and Regrets

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"I really cannot stress enough the dangers of dealing with fairies," said Norrell.  He looked peevishly at Strange, who was trying, without much success, to steer an old wheelbarrow full of flour, tea, and other provisions along the uneven ground.

"Oh believe me, I am well acquainted with the dangers of dealing with fairies, but we must eat," said Strange.  He was frustrated with Norrell, who was carrying the lantern.  He seemed unaware that Strange might need any light, for he walked behind Strange and a little to the right, so that the road in front of the wheelbarrow was completely shrouded in darkness.  "At any rate, we could have done this in Vienna yesterday if you had been willing to cooperate.  Instead we had to barter with fairies and I gave away all my memories of the color mauve.  Or puce.  Was it puce[1]?"  Strange frowned.  "I do not recall.  But perhaps that's to be expected."

"At any rate," said Norrell impatiently, "there are several quite tolerable spells to produce food.  Pontifex' Invitation and Assembly, for example, can create any number of things, and Pale's Crustulum[2] is specifically for weary travelers on the King's Roads.  And Catherine of Winchester's spell --"

"Neither of us has been able to make anything but stewed lamprey using that last one," said Strange.  "It may have been a particular favorite of Catherine of Winchester's, but it is not a taste I have particularly acquired.  Have you?"

"Well, no, but --"

"As for the others," said Strange, "I thought we had settled that they are spells to make food from the nearest suitable ingredients, rather than to create food from nothing.  I see no reason why we should resort to theft."

"You seemed to feel differently when you stole those apples last week," said Norrell.

"That was three months ago!" said Strange.  "...Wasn't it?  Besides, that was self-defense, not theft.  I whisked them away to stop those fairy-children pelting us with them.  It was very different."  He was getting very tired, as the wheelbarrow was very heavy and Norrell was not carrying anything, though no matter what his objections he would certainly eat all he cared to once they had got back to Hurtfew Abbey.

"Oh?  How so?" Norrell asked.

"Well, it --"  But just as he was about to answer, the wheelbarrow hit a rock or a tree root and overturned, scattering all its contents onto the dark ground.

Strange was trying to decide whether this was Norrell's fault more because he was not carrying the lantern properly or because he was distracting Strange with a pointless argument, when the bump in the road groaned.

Norrell jumped back in alarm.  "What is it?  If it is another one of those unpleasant bog-spirits,[3] tell it that we are two English magicians and we are very fearsome."

Strange righted the wheelbarrow and took the lantern from Norrell.   He shone the light upon the lump, which proved to be wearing a very tattered-looking waistcoat and lying face-down in the middle of the road.  "It is a man," he told Norrell, "or something like a man."  Then, cautiously, he turned the fellow over.

"Norrell!" said Strange, shocked.  "It is Henry Lascelles!"

"What?  No, it cannot be," said Norrell, frowning.  "What would Mr. Lascelles be doing in Faerie?"

"I should very much like to know the same," said Strange.  "Lascelles?" he asked, shaking Lascelles' shoulder.

Lascelles' eyes blinked open.  He did not look as though he comprehended anything.  "I am the -- I am the Champion of the Castle of -- of..."  He trailed off, and closed his eyes again.

"Yes, yes, of course," said Strange, dismissively.  It was clear to him that Lascelles was very ill, and that they could not begin to make sense of what had brought him to Faerie until he had recovered somewhat.

He set the lantern down upon the ground.  "If you would be so good as to help me with the food, we might be able to get both supper and Lascelles back to the house in one trip," he told Norrell.

"But what do you think is wrong with him?" Norrell asked, frowning down at Lascelles.

"Oh, a great many things," said Strange.  "I doubt if the Raven King and all his court could possibly make them all better.  But a little food and warmth cannot hurt him, and if he is at Hurtfew he will at least be out of the way of anyone who means him harm."  It occurred to Strange, briefly, that it might also have the effect of drawing Lascelles' enemies to Hurtfew, and that unless Lascelles was very much changed he was likely to have enemies, but as the last of Lascelles' enemies Strange had met were a mountebank and a scorned lady,[4] he did not expect any sort of trouble he and Norrell could not handle with ease.

And so Strange and Norrell made their way over a dark and lonely path back to Hurtfew, with Lascelles in the wheelbarrow weighed down by a sack of flour and muttering to himself.

Along the way, Strange had decided that whatever trouble Lascelles was in, it was probably nothing much.  He was drunk and had wandered into Faerie quite by accident, perhaps.  Or possibly, not content to be the editor of a prestigious magical journal, he had actually attempted some sort of magic and bungled it badly, ending up here.  Or he had offended one of the new English magicians Strange and Norrell had left in their wake, and he (or she) had decided to punish Lascelles by sending him away.  Whatever the trouble was, it was nothing that could not be solved easily and Lascelles probably deserved it.

But when Strange brought Lascelles in front of the fire, he saw that Lascelles' pallor had not merely been because of the dim light of the lantern; he looked within arm's reach of Death itself.  He muttered something under his breath about castles and eyes.  So Strange left him sitting by the fire in a large armchair and went to see if there was any brandy to be had in case Lascelles should come to his senses.[5]

However, after three or four hours[6] Strange had almost forgot about Lascelles[7] -- he had not moved from his spot by the fire, or even stirred, as far as Strange knew -- so it was very startling when Strange crossed in front of the fireplace and Lascelles leaped out at him, drawing a pistol.  "I am the Champion of the Castle of the Plucked Eye and Heart!  I offer challenges to those who would insult my lady!  Here is my gage!  Do you --"

But there Lascelles stopped in midsentence and slumped, as if he had forgot what he was going to say after all.  Strange turned and saw that Norrell must have put some sort of spell on Lascelles, for he was holding his hands in an odd and unnatural position, as if he was holding shut the lid of a box made of air.

"De Marston's Restoration of Flown Tranquility," said Norrell, by way of explanation.  He lowered his hands, shakily.

Strange took the opportunity to prise the pistol out of Lascelles' unresisting hands.  "Thank you," he told Norrell.  "But I think we had better find some rope."

Once they had bound Lascelles in a chair, the two of them contemplated him; Norrell paced fretfully around and Strange turned the pistol over in his hands carefully.  He watched Norrell for a while, and then said, pointedly, "Do you think he is mad?"  Strange did not think he was mad at all, but Norrell was never so worried as when something might be said to be Norrell's fault, and he looked very worried now.

"Possibly, possibly," said Norrell.

Strange said nothing.

"I mean..." said Norrell, trailing off.

There was a long silence.

"Well, that is, I believe -- the phrase he keeps saying -- the Plucked Eye and Heart -- it suggests he ran afoul of a fairy.  Childermass mentioned an encounter he had on the fairy road from Doncaster to Newcastle, with a gentleman who seemed similarly enchanted."  Norrell paused.  "But surely Mr. Lascelles would not be so foolish!  Surely..."  Norrell trailed off.

"We may yet remove the enchantment," said Strange, encouragingly.  He had not thought Norrell so attached to Lascelles.

"Oh, it is not that," said Norrell.  "Supposing the fairy who enchanted him should come after us?"

"Ah," said Strange.  He sighed and looked at Lascelles, unmoving in the chair.  "Lascelles?"

Lascelles made no reply.  He did not even look up.

"You there," said Strange, snapping his fingers in front of Lascelles' face.  "Champion of the Plucked Eye and Heart!"

Lascelles twitched.  "I am the Champion of the Castle of the Plucked Eye and Heart!" he recited.  "I --"

"Yes, yes, we know," said Strange.  "Have you got a name?"

Lascelles thought for a moment.  "...I do not recall," he said, finally.

"Your name is Henry Lascelles," said Strange, helpfully.  So far, aside from threatening to shoot him, this version of Lascelles was much pleasanter than the one Strange remembered.  "Do you recall anything?"

"I am the Champion of the Castle of the Plucked Eye and Heart," declared Lascelles, "and I shall kill you when next I am able!"  He struggled feebly with the ropes.

"Oh?" Strange asked, with great interest.  "For what?"

"Because you insult me by capturing me," said Lascelles.  "And you insult the Lady of the Castle of the Plucked Eye and Heart, by treating her champion so," he said, almost as an afterthought.  "And because I would enjoy it," he added, this time with sincerity.

"I see," Strange said.  There was a terrible gleam in Lascelles' eyes; Strange did not doubt him.  "And do you know who we are?"  He gestured at himself and Norrell.

Lascelles glared.  "I am the Champion of the Castle of the Plucked Eye and Heart!" he said defiantly.

"It is a rather tiresome enchantment, isn't it?" Strange asked Norrell.  "I think Ormskirk's Revelations of Thirty-Six Other Worlds may help us here.  The prescription to dispel illusions and wrong ideas has been useful to me in the past."[8]

"Really?" Norrell asked.  "I have tried it several times and never had any success with it.  I had wondered if it was mystical-sounding nonsense of Ormskirk's own invention."

"I imagine it depends on the sort of wrong ideas one is trying to dispel," said Strange, for he suspected Norrell had been trying to dispel Strange's own differences of opinion.

Norrell looked sheepish.  "Well.  They were... perhaps not entirely wrong ideas," he admitted.  He handed Strange his copy of Ormskirk.

"Nor were they entirely correct," Strange admitted.  He opened the book and began to page through it.

"What nonsense you two are talking!" shouted Lascelles, struggling with his bonds.  "I am the Champion of the Castle of the Plucked Eye and Heart!  Release me so that I may kill you and avenge this disgrace!"

Strange tsked to himself.  He placed the moon at Lascelles' eyes in order to rid him of false sights; Lascelles gave a startled cry, then went still, staring in amazement at the empty air in front of him.  He blinked, and looked at Strange and Norrell.  "I know you," he said.  "You, sir, you have been my ally," he told Norrell.  "Release me," he insisted.

"I think we had better not," said Strange.

"Oh, I agree," said Norrell.  "What is the next step?" he asked Strange.

"Bees," said Strange.[9]

"Bees?" asked Lascelles, suspiciously.

"May I?" Norrell asked.  Strange handed him the book, and in a moment Lascelles was cringing away from an invisible swarm.

When they had dispelled, he looked once more at the two of them in astonishment.  "What am I doing here?" he demanded.  "Norrell, I've no idea what lies Strange has told you, but --"

"Lascelles?" said Strange.

"Why am I tied up?" he demanded.

"You were threatening to kill us both," said Strange.

Lascelles made a small noise of disgust, as if anyone with good sense would have let him go free despite this small matter.  "It only makes sense," said Lascelles.  "You are both so tiresome."

"He is still half-enchanted," said Norrell.  "Let us continue."

The next step of the spell did not raise Lascelles' mood; he spat and spat, trying to get the taste of the salt out of his mouth.  When it came time to nail Lascelles' hand to keep him from doing the deceiver's bidding, he screamed and swore in a most ungentlemanly fashion.

Finally it came time to put Lascelles' heart in a secret place.  This perplexed Norrell.  "You said you had used this spell before," he said to Strange.  "Where did you put the heart of the subject?  A bank vault, perhaps?"

"I gave it to Arabella," said Strange, sighing.  He missed her terribly.  He had grown used to missing Arabella terribly when he had been at war, and when he had thought her dead.  But to grow accustomed to a thing does not always make it easier.  "I do not think that is a secret place any longer.  Perhaps it was that that caused her to be of interest to the fairy in the first place," he said.

"It is very likely," said Norrell.  "I have a little box that might suit.  It has a key, of course.  Perhaps we could throw the key down a well.  Or the box."

"Don't be ridiculous, Norrell, that always ends badly in stories," said Strange, shaking his head at the very idea.  "No.  No, that won't do."

"What are you going to do with my heart?" asked Lascelles.  "You put me through this torment --"

"You were not yourself, Mr. Lascelles, can you deny that?" demanded Strange.  "Or do you normally relish talk of murder so?"

Lascelles was silent for a moment.  "No!  No, of course not.  What a perfectly horrid question," he said.

"Well," said Strange, "if you want your freedom, perhaps you could help us.  We need a secret place."

"For you to cut out my heart?" demanded Lascelles.

"It is symbolic," said Norrell.  "Much of magic relies upon man's ability to make real the visions and ideas that only exist in his head.  Martin Pale once wrote --"[10]

"Yes, yes, Norrell," said Strange.  "My point is, you needn't fear for your anatomical heart, Mr. Lascelles; it is your metaphorical heart we must hide."

"Hide it under a tree, for all I care," snapped Lascelles, "as long as you will free me and end this ridiculousness."

Strange suddenly had an image of a clump of trees and briars in the shape of a man.  It was oddly familiar, and more than a little horrifying, although he could not quite fathom why.  But he had an idea that it was a real place, and so he hid Lascelles' heart there, under a small stone in the midst of the clump, and hoped it would be enough to protect him.

Strange imagined he felt a chill as he untied Lascelles, but he supposed it was just a draught.  Lascelles, for his part, seemed his old arrogant self.  "Finally," he said, rubbing his wrists.  "Now, would you please tell me what this is all about?  Either of you?"

"We found you lying in the middle of a road," said Norrell.  "How did you come to be in Faerie?"

"Faerie?"  Lascelles looked around doubtfully.  "But this is plainly Hurtfew Abbey."

"Hurtfew Abbey is now in Faerie," said Strange.  "It is true, being swathed in Endless Night is not really a boon to the sight-seer, but the solution to our problem is not likely to be in England."  Then, pointedly, he asked, "But how did you come to be here?"

"There was... there was a rider, I think.  He..."  But then Lascelles trailed off, as if he had realized something appalling.  Then he said, "I do not recall."  Strange looked him in the eye, and he looked right back.  He seemed to be challenging Strange to accuse him of lying, but just as Strange was about to do so, something odd happened.  Strange could not quite put his finger on what it was; like much magic, it felt as though everything had changed in some tiny way.  It was as if someone had silently entered the room.  It was a feeling, in short, of expectation.  Of something requiring an answer.

"What was that?" said Strange.  He looked about, but the room looked just as it had been before.  It was not reassuring.

"What was what?" Lascelles asked, irritably, though he looked quite nervous now.  "I did not feel anything."

"Oh, no," said Norrell.  Strange saw, to his great surprise, that Norrell was holding an envelope.  It had been sealed with wax, but Norrell had slit it open and was reading the contents.  He did not seem inclined to share.

"What is it?" Strange asked.

"And where did it come from?" Lascelles asked.

"It is an invitation to supper," said Norrell, who looked quite horrified at the idea of being invited to supper.

"What?"  Strange took the envelope from him and read aloud:

By the saints Dymphna and Dismas, by the sun and the moon,

by the demon Abyzou and the angel Sariel,

the English magicians in the pillar of darkness

and their houseguest, Mr. Lascelles

are summoned, requested, and implored

to attend a small supper

at the Castle of the Plucked Eye and Heart.

You shall arrive at the time of my choosing

upon the stroke of midnight, for it is always midnight.

The card was signed with an illegible flourish in some alphabet Strange did not know.

"This invitation," he said slowly, "starts with a florilegium.[11]"

"Yes," said Norrell, looking quite worried.  "I had noticed."

"You don't think we'll have much luck if we just make our excuses, do you?" Strange asked.

"No," Norrell said resignedly, "I very much doubt it."

Strange sighed.  "Well, then.  I suppose we will be there at midnight.  Whenever that is."

"What do you mean?" Lascelles demanded.  "Why should we have to go anywhere?  What sort of an invitation is that?"

"It is not an invitation, not really," said Norrell.  "It is an envoy -- a component of a spell of summoning.  We will go, however we try not to.  I suppose the handsel[12] is the supper itself."

But just as Norrell had started speaking, Strange slowly became aware, at the edge of his hearing, of the tolling of a faraway bell with a sharp, strained quality to it.  It brought to mind all the wrongs, great and small, that he had ever suffered, and all the cruelties people had inflicted upon him and others.  It made Strange disgusted with humanity -- with his friends and family, and even with himself.  If there was some way to escape this dreadful race... he shook his head, and reminded himself not to be taken in by magic.  He would place the bees at his ears again if it came to that.

When the bell had chimed twelve times, Hurtfew's library vanished around them as if it had been nothing but a mirage, and they found themselves in a large hall of ancient stone lit by dim, guttering torches.  The walls were black with soot and the floor was covered in straw.

Looking quite out of place, a beautiful lady with long dark hair greeted them.  "Welcome, esteemed gentleman, to the Castle of the Plucked Eye and Heart," she said.

She wore a beautiful gown the color of dying screams and last breaths, and over it a lace shawl whose pattern kept changing whenever Strange looked at it.  At her throat was a necklace of broken promises and regrets.

"Who are you?" demanded Lascelles.  "Why have you brought us here?"

"I should think you would be glad to be back, Mr. Lascelles," she said, smiling at him.  "You did so enjoy your last stay here, as brief as it was."  She fingered the sharp edges of her necklace.  "Didn't you?"

Lascelles seemed to be lost for words, and while normally Strange would have trusted him not to make a regrettable faux pas, this was not a London party, and Lascelles seemed not to be entirely himself still -- or perhaps too much himself and too unguarded.  So Strange stepped forward and bowed to the lady.  "We are delighted to be here," he lied.  He was certain Norrell looked like someone who had just been served a plate of live mice.

"Are you?" she said, amused.  "I am glad of it, sirs!  I should be honored for you to stay as long as you like.  Please, sit down!  You have arrived just in time!"  She gestured at a heavy wooden table, worn and weathered and rotting in places, but set with fine china.  There were two other fairy ladies already seated; the one nearest to Strange wore a beautiful gown that at first appeared to be made of peacock feathers, but when he looked further, it turned out to be made of thousands of deep blue eyes.  She beamed at them.  The other fairy lady seemed alarmed by something; her gown put Strange in mind of summer sunrises.

The lady smiled at them all.  "Ladies, this is Mr. Strange, the English magician, and this is Mr. Norrell, the... other English magician, and this," she said, "is Mr. Lascelles, my former champion."

"English magicians!" said the lady with the gown of eyes.  She was smiling far too widely.  "Such an honor."

"And, gentlemen, may I introduce Lady Acantha of the Blue Castles?"  She nodded at the lady with the gown of eyes.  "And this is Miss Harp-of-Gold-and-Bone, my dear niece from Lost-hope --"

"If you please, it is Hope-restored now," said Miss Harp-of-Gold-and-Bone.

"Ah.  So it is," said the lady of the Castle of the Plucked Eye and Heart.

Strange sat next to Lady Acantha, who was evidently to be his dinner partner.  He looked down the table at Norrell, and tried to catch his eye, but Norrell was examining his chair.  It looked as if he might be ensuring that it was free of scorpions or rattlesnakes.  But after a moment, he apparently deemed it suitable, and sat, now levelling his suspicious glare upon Miss Harp-of-Gold-and-Bone.

Lascelles grudgingly sat across the table from Strange, and gripped his knife -- a sharp, vicious thing more suitable for hunting than for supper.  Strange remembered how cheerfully Lascelles had threatened his life, and decided to keep an eye on him.

The lady of the Castle of the Plucked Eye and Heart rang a little bell, and several servants appeared out of nowhere and placed a vast array of foods on the table.  Of the two soups, Strange much preferred the looks of the cream soup on the other side of the table, for the soup nearest him might have been a sort of bouillabaisse, except that the broth was a very light blue.  But Lascelles gave him a cold look as soon as he started to ask, and Strange decided it was not worth the bother.  He served a portion of the blue soup to Lady Acantha, and took a smaller portion for himself.

Strange looked up at the servants after he had done this, and saw that they were human; they looked dead-eyed, and wore old-fashioned garments.  He wondered how long they had been here, and how the lady of the Castle of the Plucked Eye and Heart had trapped them.

He pushed the soup around with his spoon, trying to work out how he could avoid eating through an entire meal.  Not only was the food unappetizing, it was also likely to be illusory, or enchanted.  But, Strange reasoned, they were in their hostess' power now, and if she wished them dead she could kill them at any moment, but she had not done so yet.  Perhaps she wanted something else, and, he resolved, if he was polite he might survive the meal.

"It is such an honor to meet an English magician," said Lady Acantha breathlessly, "especially one to whom I owe so much."

Strange frowned at her.  "I am sorry, madam, but I have no idea what you mean," she said.

"Why, you made it possible for my dreadful cousin to be vanquished," said Lady Acantha.

"I... did?" Strange asked.  He did not recall assisting in any vanquishings recently, unless perhaps she was related to Bonaparte.

"Oh yes," said Lady Acantha.  "Why, you must know who I speak of!  He had very distinctive hair -- it was always untidy, and it was the color of cave-fish.  He held the most tiresome parties.  I forget his name."

"Ah, I believe I recall him now," said Strange, trying to hide his alarm.

Norrell cleared his throat.  "If I may ask," he said, irritably, "to what end have you brought us here?"

The lady of the Castle of the Plucked Eye and Heart laughed at this.  "I mean to take back what is rightfully mine."  She looked at Lascelles, who sat to her left.  "Mr. Lascelles swore to protect my honor," she said, sounding wronged, "and to fight all challengers.  And yet he abandoned his post.  Why is that, I wonder?"

"I do not -- I did not -- I was tricked!" Lascelles insisted.  "I was bespelled!  I do not mean to spend the rest of my life killing anyone who passes by."

Strange used this little outburst to make an attempt on the blue soup, lest he was forced by the taste to make an unfortunate face.  But it turned out he had nothing to fear; it was the most delicious thing he had ever tasted, and he decided he had better take another helping, for he was quite sick of his and Norrell's haphazard magical cooking.  Thus emboldened, he looked about the table in search of anything else he recognized.  It did not look like such a bad spread, now; there was Yorkshire pudding and roast beef, and something like jugged hare.  He helped himself to one of the oranges with jelly close by.

"You wish to choose your own victims?  Very well," said the lady, "that can be arranged.  But you are my Champion.  You took up my cause when you fought to erase the stains upon England's honor.  A noble effort, but futile; England's honor is tarred black as a raven's feathers.  Come away from these so-called gentlemen, Mr. Lascelles.  English magicians do not care for honor.  They have broken their contracts with the trees and stones and sky, who have long lives and long memories; why should they keep their word with you?"

"We have not broken our contracts with the trees and stones and sky," Strange reminded her.  "We never had any such contracts."

"The man you seek is the Raven King," said Norrell sharply.  "You have no quarrel with us."  He frowned, and, as if to soften his earlier statement, added, "While admittedly the distinction between English magicians may sometimes be difficult, I realize, I think you will find that neither Mr. Strange nor I --"

"The distinction is immaterial," she said, cutting him off.  "You, Gilbert Norrell, have defamed your true king, hindered the cause of English magic while claiming to be its sole champion, and have sought to obfuscate truth at every turn.  You sought to escape your obligations to a member of my race when he performed a great service to you.

"And you, Jonathan Strange," she said, turning to him, "you have broken the vows made to your wife not to walk the King's Roads.  Not in letter, but in spirit, for her intention was to preserve your safety and you chose to ignore that in pursuit of power and madness.  And you have had the audacity to remind the trees and stones and sky of the King's alliances with them, without either righting his wrongs or giving them anything in return."

"Such wicked fellows," said Lady Acantha eagerly.

"Oh yes," said Miss Harp-of-Gold-and-Bone admiringly.  "It is a pity we have nothing so exciting at home."

"These are not fair accusations!" said Norrell.  "You claim to have a quarrel with the Raven King, yet you persecute me for supposedly defaming him --"

"Oh, you misunderstand me, Mr. Norrell," she said, with a sharp white smile.  "I have no grudge against the Raven King.  Indeed, the wrongs he has done are the finest in my collection, the most beautiful, the most poetic.  His failures are splendid and unmatched.  But I find yours quite elegant, and so I wish to keep them."

"How, ah.  How do you plan to obtain our failings?" asked Strange.  Fairy magic such as this was never harmless.

"Oh, I need only take some of your blood.  Not more than a pottle,[13] I daresay," she said.

"Her Ladyship has the finest collection of regrets, broken promises, and moral failings on this side of Hell," Miss Harp-of-Gold-and-Bone informed them.   "You are very honored indeed."

"Ah!" said Strange, trying to sound flattered and thoroughly failing.  He cast about for a different topic of conversation.  Perhaps he could distract their hostess, or flatter her.  "The soup is excellent, madam!  I must compliment your chef.  And, ah, the jugged hare..."

"Do you like it?" she asked, pleased.  "The soup is seasoned with garlic, fennel, and self-deceit.  The commonest of ingredients, but I am gratified nonetheless.  But I fear I must correct you sir; that is wolpertinger,[14] not hare."

Norrell nudged him with one elbow, irritably.  "Don't eat anything," he said under his breath.

Strange saw that Norrell had made no attempt to eat any of his own meal, though he had a fine-looking fillet of mermaid on his plate.  Miss Harp-of-Gold-and-Bone, his dinner partner, was sulkily eating her cinnamon bird and not speaking to him.  Strange could already see he was going to have to do all the work of keeping them out of trouble.  And Lascelles seemed to demand second helpings of dishes from farther down the table every other moment, as if he had not had food for months.  Of course, it was entirely possible Lascelles had not had food for months, but, Strange thought, it was no excuse.

The servants brought the second service out; the pièce de résistance at the center of the table was an enormous citadel molded of manticore and sphinx meat, with savory pastries all round in the shape of eyes and hearts and swords.  These were quite delicious of course, but when Strange asked Norrell as politely as he could for a helping of the roasted larks, Norrell merely glowered at him.  Strange wished desperately that he was not unwillingly bound to the company of this ridiculous man, for he was certain the lady of the Castle of the Plucked Eye and Heart would have very much preferred to invite Strange without Norrell.

As she cut up her epigrammes d'ours, the lady of the Castle of the Plucked Eye and Heart turned to Lascelles.  "I really do suggest you take me up on my offer," she said.  "You made quite the best Champion I have had in four thousand years."

"Ah, well, I admit I do not have much experience in Championing, but I am honored that you should say so," said Lascelles, with the most patently false modesty Strange had ever heard.  "Now that I think of it, I do not recall how I came to leave you.  Why would anyone do such a thing?"

Well, it was his own stupid fault, Strange thought irritably.  If he had wanted to stay here he should not have rejected the good lady's hospitality.  But she continued to flatter Lascelles as if he would make any sort of champion, and Lady Acantha and Miss Harp-of-Gold-and-Bone giggled and flirted with him, and Strange became angrier and angrier, for Lascelles was wicked and lazy and cruel, and surely did not deserve to be so favored.

Of course Norrell was saying nothing whatsoever; he had barely touched his aloyau du minotaure and was gnawing dispiritedly on a dinner roll.  Every now and then Miss Harp-of-Gold-and-Bone gave him a very stern look, and scolded him under her breath, and Strange could not but feel sorry for her, trapped next to Norrell.  At several points Norrell had actually kicked Strange, though Strange could not imagine why he should do so except because he was dreadful.  What a hateful fellow Norrell was.

Miss Harp-of-Gold-and-Bone enthused wildly about an English novel she had read wherein somebody married somebody else against all odds.  Her only objection was that the protagonist had not chosen to flay her cruel suitor alive after his fraud had been found out, for this, she reasoned, would have prevented him from running off with her sister.  "It is what any sensible elder sister would do," she explained.

This naturally led to Lady Acantha recounting a comic story about a suitor who she had contrived to feed to hungry bears.  "I had agreed to elope with him that night," she said, "but I thought better of it after about half an hour when I realized he was quite likely to take ill eventually, or worse, to age.  Better to put him out of his misery quickly and entertainingly."

Throughout the rest of supper, Lascelles flirted most abominably with the lady of the Castle of the Plucked Eye and Heart.  He seemed to think it quite inevitable that he should resume his duties as her Champion, but more and more, Strange thought that he should be the one to be her Champion.  After all, he was a great magician!  But it seemed to him that every time he tried to challenge Lascelles for it, Lady Acantha drew him into some conversation about the legendary ferocity of English magicians, which he was obliged to answer.

When the third service was brought in, the faux citadel (now looking quite gnawed-upon) was replaced by a huge sculpted sugar tree.  This was not novel; Strange had seen more spectacular confections at London parties.  But he was happy nonetheless, for the tree obscured his view of Lascelles, who was now irritating beyond all measure.  Aside from the tree, Strange could not put a name to a single dish, but Lady Acantha recognized them all, and suggested that Strange try either the midnight ice or the heartache tart.  Strange chose the former, and helped her to a large slice of the latter.

The midnight ice was very sweet and tasted like something partway between bilberry and chocolate.  It had stars mixed in with it, and these tasted quite odd indeed.  In fact, they did not really taste like anything, but there was a sharp sensation whenever Strange bit down on one, as if he had been shocked awake from a long slumber.

He noticed, further on down the table, that Norrell was now having a very quiet argument with Miss Harp-of-Gold-and-Bone.  Suddenly, they looked up at him, and Strange realized they were arguing about him.  How dare they!

"Oh, do not pay them any mind," said Lady Acantha.  "Such shocking manners they have.  Of course, what can you expect of that sort?  Her father, Thorns-and-Briars-Upon-the-Road, actually married a --"

But what Mrs. Thorns-and-Briars-Upon-the-Road was, Strange did not hear,[15] for suddenly his mouth was filled with the taste of salt.  He could not even recall the taste of anything else.  It was as if he had never eaten anything but salt in his life.  He coughed and swallowed and hurried to grab his wine, but as soon as it had begun, it was all over.

He put the wine down.  Suddenly he was neither hungry nor thirsty, for he was very aware of the grave danger he was in.

He did not hazard a look at Norrell, for unfortunately Norrell was dreadfully unsubtle about these things.  But he wished he could give Norrell some small sign that the spell had worked and that Strange had been disenchanted.

"Are you quite all right, Mr. Strange?" asked Lady Acantha.

"Oh, yes," said Strange.  "I think I swallowed one of the stars the wrong way."

She seemed satisfied with this explanation, and Strange contrived to avoid eating any more of the oddly-flavored desserts.

After supper, one of the dead-eyed servants led them to a cramped room that seemed to have started life out as a storage room; it had been repurposed into a drawing-room, evidently, but it still smelled very strongly of garlic.

There was, however, a harpsichord in one corner.  Miss Harp-of-Gold-and-Bone clapped her hands together and turned to the others.  "Would you like to hear me play?"

"Oh, yes," said the lady of the Castle of the Plucked Eye and Heart.  "And perhaps one of these gentlemen would like to dance."  She eyed Strange and Lascelles speculatively, and, as the chords of a song Strange did not recognize started up, Lascelles bowed to her before Strange remembered to pretend he was still enchanted.

The music was well-played, if a little mournful, and Strange examined himself for any signs of enchantment, but it seemed perfectly ordinary music to him.  Lady Acantha smiled at Strange as a wolf smiles at a rabbit, and she seemed to be expecting him to say something.

Strange smiled mildly back at her.  "I do not particularly enjoy dancing," he said.

"You do," said Lady Acantha.  "It is only that you are not particularly enchanted any longer."

"Oh, but -- that is -- I do not know --"

Lady Acantha laughed.  "You need not hide it from me.  If you help me kill her," she said, nodding at the lady of the Castle of the Plucked Eye and Heart, "I will let you and the other magician live."

"Ah," said Strange, trying not to sound relieved and worried and startled all at the same time.

"As long as you do not allow that one to kill her first," said Lady Acantha, nodding at Miss Harp-of-Gold-and-Bone.

"Do you really think that likely?" Strange asked, for of all the fairies he had met, Miss Harp-of-Gold-and-Bone seemed comparatively harmless.  "She seems an accomplished young lady, and she is our hostess' niece!"

"She is plainly an assassin sent by that new king," said Lady Acantha, rolling her eyes at his ignorance.  "Besides, do you think she would rule well?  I doubt it.  She is far too young."

"Ah, so you have plans to rule, then," said Strange.  This put him on firmer ground.

"Oh, yes," said Lady Acantha.  "The Castle of the Plucked Eye and Heart is in dire need of a new lady.  This décor is miserable and the servants are all several centuries out of date."

"You mean their uniforms are several centuries out of date," Strange suggested.

"Those too," said Lady Acantha, vaguely.  "I shall get rid of them all and start afresh.  So, do we have an agreement?"

"Let me just speak to my associate," said Strange, as if he and Norrell were business partners, and as if he and Norrell regularly agreed on anything.

Lady Acantha nodded, and Strange went to consult Norrell, who was standing in the corner, trying to pretend he was not miserable and out of place in the presence of other people.

"Norrell," said Strange, and Norrell looked very startled for a moment.

"Oh," said Norrell, "it is only you.  You had better not get yourself enchanted again, because I--"

"Have you any ideas as to how we are going to escape?" Strange asked, trying to keep his voice down.  "Do you know of any magic that will remove us from this place?"

Norrell shook his head.  "A fairy's magic is strongest in his own realm.  But the thing I am most interested in is our hostess' necklace."

Strange frowned.  "I'm afraid I don't follow you, Norrell.  Why should her necklace be of any use?"

"Do you recall our discussions of objects of power, such as magic rings and amulets?" Norrell asked.

"I recall you claiming they did not exist," said Strange.  "But I have done my own reading.  You think her necklace is something like that?"

"Yes," said Norrell.  "And if you steal it from her and destroy it somehow, her abilities will be greatly diminished.  She may die of it."

"If I steal it from her?" Strange asked, frowning.  "How am I supposed to do that?"

"I don't know," said Norrell, irritably, "you were always well-liked in society.  I am certain you can do... whatever it is you do, and we can be free of this mess."

"And how are we to keep Lascelles occupied?" said Strange.

"Well, I thought..."  Norrell trailed off.  "You will think me mad."

"Please, go on," said Strange.

"...I thought I could... well... he is the Champion of the Castle of the Plucked Eye and Heart now.  He will issue a challenge, will he not, if I insult his lady?" Norrell said, in a very small, terrified voice.

"What?" Strange demanded.  Norrell shushed him.  "He will murder you.  You cannot fight him!  Have you any idea what it would entail?"

"It would entail Mr. Lascelles being distracted for the hopefully brief time it will take for you to get the necklace and break it," said Norrell.

"...Norrell, why didn't you just disenchant Lascelles?" said Strange.  He watched as Lascelles and the lady of the Castle of the Plucked Eye and Heart danced together -- she was leading, he noticed.

Norrell was strangely silent for a moment or two, as if whatever he was about to say could cause irreparable harm to come to him.  Finally, he said, "I did.  He is -- he is entirely himself."

"Oh," said Strange.  He was horrified, but not particularly surprised.  "Oh, I see."  Norrell still looked shaken.

"I can only presume he really does prefer it this way," said Norrell.

"Well.  Well, in that case," said Strange.  "It is a dreadful plan, I must say, but since it is the only one we have..."

He looked back at Norrell, who seemed to be several shades paler than he usually was.  "How... exactly shall I start?" Norrell asked.

"Well," said Strange, "you will have to insult the lady of the Castle.  He will have no choice but to defend her honor."

"Should I -- should I call her... ugly?" Norrell suggested.  He looked scandalized.  "Or insult her cooking, perhaps?"

Despite himself, Strange laughed at the ridiculousness of the situation.  "You have often expounded upon the notorious wickedness and laziness of fairies, their lack of industry, their fickle natures -- and yet you cannot think of anything to insult the fairy woman who has brought us here to murder us?"

"I shall have to think of something," Norrell said unhappily.  "And after that?"

"Well," said Strange, frowning, "unless I am mistaken, you ought to have your choice of weapons.  After all, he is the one challenging you.  If you can, choose some very odd weapons that will be difficult to obtain on short notice.  Something unreasonable.  Then Lascelles will be preoccupied with finding you your billiards cues or scimitars or cricket bats or whatever nonsense you choose."

Norrell looked incredibly relieved.  "Thank you, yes, of course.  ...Unless I do not have my choice of weapons after all, in which case he will simply shoot me," he said, frowning.

"Yes, well..."  Strange tried for several moments to come up with something reassuring, but he could not think of anything Norrell would find convincing.  "I wish you luck," he said, finally.  "And do try not to get yourself killed."

Strange went to stand next to the harpsichord, and paid Miss Harp-of-Gold-and-Bone several compliments on her playing, although to own the truth, it was suffering slightly now; she kept looking over her shoulder to watch the lady of the Castle of the Plucked Eye and Heart and Lascelles.

She paused in her playing, and turned to watch the proceedings herself.  "I told him," she said softly, "that if he would help me kill her, and not let that old hag do it --" and here she looked significantly at Lady Acantha, who smiled pleasantly back, "-- I would preserve him from death if he fought her Champion for me."

"Ah," said Strange.  "It is you who suggested that part of the plan."

"I have always wished to see such a battle," said Miss Harp-of-Gold-and-Bone, excitedly.  "Usually when fairies kill each other it is more artistic than sporting."  She sighed.  "Someday I should like to have a Champion.  Would you be willing to fight someone on my account, Mr. Strange?" she asked, hopefully.

"I am married," he reminded her.

"Oh, that," said Miss Harp-of-Gold-and-Bone.

"You mentioned that our hostess had a fine collection of regrets, broken promises, and moral failings," he said.  "Do you know anything more about it?  Do you think she will show us her collection this evening?"

"Well," said Miss Harp-of-Gold-and-Bone, "I believe she keeps the moral failings in a statue garden, along with her favorite former Champions.  The regrets and broken promises each have a gallery of their own.  I have only seen the regrets myself, but they are very fine.  There is an entire room, for example, devoted to the regrets of men who wished to become kings but did not, and another devoted to the regrets of men who did become kings after all and wished to be anything but royal.  But the finest broken promises in her collection -- and the finest regrets -- are the Raven King's, and these she wears on her necklace.  For what is the purpose of pretty things if one cannot show them off?"

"I suppose that makes sense," said Strange, wondering what sort of regrets and broken promises the Raven King had.  But then he heard the familiar sound of his tutor clearing his throat, and Strange turned his attention to Norrell, Lascelles, and the lady of the Castle of the Plucked Eye and Heart.  He strained to hear Norrell's insult.

"Madam," he was saying, "you are... you are a vicious, amoral, inhuman creature, and -- and deceitful.  And you have poor taste in... in..."  He looked about the room, momentarily lost for words.  " wallpaper!" he said finally.

"How dare you!  I am almost never deceitful!" she said.  But she seemed to be relishing the situation, not enraged by it.  She turned to Lascelles.  "Are you going to stand for this sort of thing?"

"Norrell!" snarled Lascelles.  "Apologize at once for this insult to my lady."

Norrell quailed.  "Mr. Lascelles, you must see that she is no sort of lady.  You are no longer enchanted -- you need not be her creature."

"I am no one's creature, not even yours, Norrell," said Lascelles.  "I am the Champion of the Castle of the Plucked Eye and Heart, and I challenge you to single combat.  What is your weapon?"

Norrell was apparently too frightened to speak up, for Strange could not hear his choice.  Strange looked at Miss Harp-of-Gold-and-Bone.  "You said you would protect him from harm, did you not?"

She shrugged.  "He never formally accepted my offer.  So no.  Perhaps he will regret it in the end," she said cheerfully.  "Perhaps I will get a necklace out of him."

"Well, perhaps they will not fight each other immediately," said Strange.  "So long as Norrell chose well, they will not be able to find --"  But the lady of the Castle of the Plucked Eye and Heart had summoned a servant, who held up two cricket bats.  Where they had got them at such short notice was beyond Strange, and he did not like Norrell's chances at all.  The lady of the Castle of the Plucked Eye and Heart took the bats, whispered something softly to them, and then offered them to the two combatants.

Norrell accepted his bat, but held it at arms' length, as if it were something putrid.

"Please excuse me," said Strange to Miss Harp-of-Gold-and-Bone.  And he hurried over to the lady of the Castle of the Plucked Eye and Heart.  "This is a terrible business," he said.

"Oh, isn't it?" she said, gleefully.

"And certainly not a sight for a lady's eyes," continued Strange.

She looked skeptical at this.

"Would it not be best," he said, "to leave until it is all over?  You and I and Lady Acantha and Miss Harp-of-Gold-and-Bone could go look at your galleries of regrets and broken promises.  I should very much like to see them.  Particularly what you have of John Uskglass'," he added.

"Oh, no, we need not leave for such a silly little thing as that," she said.  "For you have already seen his regrets and broken promises.  They are here on this necklace."

"Ah," said Strange, who had been expecting this.  "But I should very much like to see the finer details.  I find one cannot truly appreciate art unless --"

"Will you be quiet, sir?" she said.  "I am watching my Champion fight.  Here is my necklace, and I hope it pleases you."  And she took the necklace off and handed it to Strange, then turned back to watch Lascelles and Norrell without another word.

He was gratified at how simple it had been, but once he had the necklace in his hand, reality fell away and he was seeing half through another's eyes.  Here were lovers, lost to time and age and the duties of a man with three kingdoms in three different worlds.  Here was word of his enemies in Hell readying themselves to invade Agrace -- but no, his lands in England and Faerie needed him more.  Here were friends killed for treachery, and enemies slain and accidentally made into martyrs.  Here he looked back on his youth and on the cruelties he had committed to gain his throne.

Strange staggered, and came back to himself.  He looked up -- Norrell and Lascelles were conversing -- and now they were turning away from each other and taking several paces back.  The lady of the Castle of the Plucked Eye and Heart had eyes only for them.  Strange tried to concentrate.  How was he going to break promises that were already broken?

For here was his agreement with the trees and stones and sky, and with the birds, that they would serve him and his people if only he would also serve them.  Here was how Agrace was nearly brought to its knees before he roused himself to protect it.  And here was how he came to abandon his English subjects -- oh, he came back every now and then, he could not help himself, but he could not resume his rule, for his kingdom in Faerie was now foundering, and suddenly he had to reconquer his lands, and his ancient contract with England -- not just its people but the land itself -- had had to be put aside.

Strange shook his head.  He reminded himself very firmly that these were not his memories, and that he was not the Raven King.  He wished he could write this all down, wished that Norrell wasn't going to be dead -- or at least very badly injured -- in a few moments, because all that he was learning was extraordinary, but he was failing Norrell, and he was failing himself.

He cast about for something -- anything -- that could break a broken promise.

Oh.  Oh of course.  Pale's Restoration and Rectification.  If he repaired the broken promises, he would break the necklace, and the lady's power.  Now, if he only had something to make the key from...  He searched his coat pockets for something, anything, and found a pin that some absent-minded tailor had let drop into his pocket, and nothing else.

"Oh, that will never work," said a voice from behind him, and Strange turned to see the man who spoke.  He was a slight man in dark, fashionable clothes, with long black hair.  Strange thought he seemed very familiar, but he could not quite put a name to him.  But it did not surprise him at all that the man should be here.  Of course he was here.

"Do you happen to have a thin metal object?" he asked.  He thought the fellow was a magician, but he was probably only a theoretical magician, so Strange added, for clarification, "I need to perform Pale's Restoration."

The man snorted.  "Oh, Jonathan Strange.  There's nothing that'll fix a broken promise except the one who broke his promise in the first place.  Give it to me and I can do the magic."

Strange supposed there was no harm in him trying, unless Lascelles managed to break Norrell's head first.  He looked at the combatants, but time seemed to have slowed down for them.  They were just now turning, and --

"You!  What are you doing here?" shrieked the lady of the Castle of the Plucked Eye and Heart.

She was shouting, apparently, at Strange.

"Me?" he asked, taken aback.  "You invited me.  I am your guest tonight."

"Not you," she said.  "Him."

Strange turned, and nearly leapt back, for now he properly saw the dark-haired man he'd been speaking to, and recognized him, though he had never seen him in this form.

"You invited me as well," said the Raven King.  He produced an invitation card, just like the one Strange had read earlier.  "The English magicians in the pillar of darkness," he read aloud,"are summoned, requested, and implored.  I am an English magician -- the English magician, in fact.  The darkness belongs to me.  And yet you ate without me.  I am sorely disappointed --" and here, Strange thought, he addressed the lady by name.  He walked towards her and threw her invitation down in front of her, contemptuously.  "This is no way to treat your king."

"You are my king no longer," she said, sounding very close to rage.  "You abandoned your kingdom here for the far side of Hell, or do you not recall?"

"I have returned now," said the Raven King.  "I am taking back all that is mine.  This citadel, for example, and its twin further along the road.  These regrets of mine, which you have delighted in.  These promises, which I shall endeavor to keep this time around.  And Mr. Henry Lascelles."

"What?" said the lady of the Castle of the Plucked Eye and Heart.  "I shall give you your regrets and your promises, and -- and if you are truly to be King again, I will serve you however you like, but I must have some little comforts.  Such as a Champion."

The King shook his head.  "You misunderstand.  Mr. Lascelles killed a man in order to prevent word of magic's return.  Though he did not know it, he was acting against me in his intentions.  And though he did not know it, he only furthered my goals, for he was a part of the spell I was working.[16]  Therefore, he is mine and I shall do whatever I please with him.  Henry Lascelles is my prisoner.  If you continue to be the lady of this citadel -- which is very doubtful -- you must find another Champion."

Lascelles looked at the King without any sign of recognition.  "And who exactly are you to talk about me so?  You dress like a gentleman but you certainly do not speak like one."  It was true; he had a strange, rough accent.

"That's very true," said the Raven King.  "I am not a gentleman.  I am a king, and a magician.  And you are a thief and a murderer.  I shall let you live, for the part you played today in the restoration of my promises, as unintentional as it was.  But not in this form, not any longer.  You no longer have any use to me as you are."  He waved a hand, and suddenly Lascelles was not there, and his cricket bat clattered to the floor.  Instead there was a cluster of magpies.  For just a moment they were roughly in Lascelles' shape -- one for his head, two for his trunk, and one for each of his limbs.  But then they flew off.  One sat upon the Raven King's shoulder.

The Raven King turned to Norrell, who appeared to want very much to withdraw into a shell like a tortoise.  "Gilbert Norrell," said the King.

"Ah," said Norrell.  He did not seem to be capable of saying anything else.  This, Strange thought, was a first.

"You have slandered my name throughout Britain.  You have even endeavored to make my former subjects forget that I ever existed.  I should have you before the Cinque Dragownes."  His words were crisp and cutting.

"I -- you -- it --"  Norrell was caught between rage and fear.  Finally he said, "English magic needed you and you left it to wither and die.  Your Majesty.  I am sorry for my lies and for my omissions, but I will not apologize for saying that you abandoned your kingdom."

The Raven King snorted.  "Unrepentant as ever.  But I suppose, as you assisted slightly in the revival of English magic, I shall have to pardon you."

Norrell looked appalled.  "Assisted sli--"

"Your Majesty," said Strange, quickly, "if you could assist us with the minor task of -- well -- getting us out of this Endless Night --"

"Oh, no," said the Raven King, "it is not endless.  It will only last a hundred years.  You must learn to be patient!  But I can send the two of you back to where you came from.  In fact, I would highly suggest you hurry back, for there is the little matter of politics."  He gestured at the lady of the Castle of the Plucked Eye and Heart, and Lady Acantha, and Miss Harp-of-Gold-and-Bone, the last two of whom were circling the former.  Lady Acantha's face was rather more wolfish than Strange recalled, as were her teeth, and Miss Harp-of-Gold-and-Bone had pulled a large, wicked-looking knife from somewhere.

"Oh, you needn't worry about us," said Norrell, seeming only too happy to finally escape.  "I believe we know the way."

"Have you a mirror of some sort?" Strange asked.  The Raven King waved his hand, and one of the walls was suddenly replaced with a sheet of rain.  Through the water they could see the familiar library of Hurtfew Abbey.  "Ah," said Strange.  "On the other side of the rain."  He smiled wryly to himself, and took a step forward.

"No!  You cannot leave me here to them!" said the lady of the Castle of the Plucked Eye and Heart.

"I am sorry," Strange told her, "but I believe we have overstayed our welcome.  And you did want to kill us."

"Only because I found you interesting!" she said piteously.

"Goodbye, madam," said Norrell, very firmly.  He hurried through the rain, pulling Strange along by the arm.

They found themselves once more in the dark study, their clothes soaked from the King's doorway, which was nowhere to be seen.

Norrell sighed.  "Dinner parties.  Ha!  What an awful waste of an evening."

"Not entirely," said Strange.  "I saw John Uskglass' regrets and broken promises as well as if they were mine.  It was terrible and wonderful.  I must write them down.  Where is the ink?"

And so Strange and Norrell spent the next few hours talking and arguing over all they had seen.  Norrell hadn't changed a whit, and continued to drive Strange slightly mad as he eagerly cited books he'd never let Strange read.  And Strange was disappointed that even appealing to the Raven King had not won them freedom from the Endless Night.  But, he supposed, as the Raven King had told him, he would just have to learn to be patient.

It might take a while.

1: Strange had in fact sold all his memories of the color chartreuse.

2: Dr. Martin Pale claimed he had learned the Crustulum from a fellow traveler while he was on the road from Agrace to the City of Iron Angels.  They were running low on provisions, and Pale's companion used the spell to provide them with enough food to survive.  It may be used to obtain bread or nearly any other sort of baked good, though the exact results are unpredictable.

3: Norrell had lost a wig to a bog-spirit recently, though before he had insisted they were merely figments of the credulous imaginations of lesser Aurate magicians.  No matter how well-supported Norrell's arguments were and how extensive his reading on the subject of naiads, dryads, and similar creatures, it turned out that bog-spirits did not enjoy being told that they were fictional.

4: The infamous Christopher Drawlight and his victim, Mrs. Maria Bullworth, as described in the history Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell.

5: Strange's experiences with medicine had mostly been while at war.  Battlefield medicine relies mainly on liquor and luck; the former can be used to clean wounds, to raise a man's spirits, or to knock him out, but without the latter, all efforts may often be for naught.

6: By this point, Strange and Norrell had started to keep time by candle.  Unfortunately, as all of the clocks and watches within the Endless Night permanently indicated that the hour was midnight, Strange and Norrell were drawing on their own hazy memories of how long a candle ought to burn for, and, even without this complication, neither magician had ever been known for his excellent perception of time.

7: He and Norrell got to discussing how Lascelles could possibly have come to Faerie, and, when Strange had suggested Lascelles had made enemies, Norrell had mentioned a passage in The Book of the Lady Catherine of Winchester about a spell Catherine of Winchester had used to send an irritating suitor far, far away.  But upon finding the passage, Strange discovered that Catherine of Winchester had had some difficulty in banishing a person to another world without the use of mirrors, and so she had had to make do with banishing the fellow to Granada.  This, naturally, had led to researching whether spells used to transport an object or the magician himself to Faerie might be put to malign purposes such as banishment, and this led in turn to questions about why certain objects were quite difficult to send anywhere by magic -- birches and oaks, for example, are unusually resistant to relocation magic.  Strange had the idea that it might have something to do with the Raven King's contract with the forests of England.

8: A description of this spell, which Strange once used to rescue an elderly gentleman from an evil influence, may be found in Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell.

9: "Place a swarm of bees at his ears.  Bees love truth and will destroy the deceiver's lies."  In the Cinque Dragownes, the Raven King's court of magical justice, witnesses would promise to be truthful by swearing before a beehive that was brought into the courtroom for just this purpose.  According to the accounts of William of Lanchester and Catherine of Winchester, the bees would fly up and sting any witness who perjured himself.

10: The great Argentine magician Dr. Martin Pale ascribed his fascination with creating magical devices to assist him in his spells to this quality of magic.  He claimed that by bringing one thing into the world (by the work of his hands) it made bringing another thing into the world (a spell) much simpler.

11: A haphazard list of saints, which medieval fairies were wont to include in their spells.  Fairies were often unclear as to the distinction between magic and religion.  In modern times, as may be seen from this example, polite society's rules of etiquette may also become confused and intermixed with magic.

12: A handsel is a gift promised to the subject of a spell of summoning.  It may be a future promise, such as the fruits of a particular tree, or something immaterial, such as the summoning magician rendering some necessary service.  It need not even be a particularly pleasant gift so long as it means a great deal to one or both parties; the Master of Nottingham is said to have cut off several of the fingers on his left hand in order to summon up his wayward daughter.  Though this cannot be said to be much of a gift, the spell worked.  Of course, the Master of Nottingham's daughter was a powerful magician in her own right, who kept company with a number of similarly powerful magicians; she was soon free of her father and none the worse for wear.

13: Prior to the recent Weights and Measures act, a "pottle" of liquid was half a gallon.  Neither Mr. Strange nor Mr. Norrell were very likely to survive the procedure.

14: The wolpertinger is a sort of winged carnivorous rabbit, generally accepted to be imaginary.  It tastes rather like quail.

15: The fairy gentleman Thorns-and-Briars-Upon-the-Road married three times; once to a human woman of surpassing wealth, once to a fairy woman of surpassing beauty, and once to a yew tree.  It is likely that Lady Acantha was scandalized by the last one, for Thorns-and-Briars-Upon-the-Road's overlord had been at war with the yew trees for centuries.  Thorns-and-Briars-Upon-the-Road claimed, in his defense, that he had mistaken her for an oak.  Of course, nobody believed him.

16: It was once a widely-held belief that those who committed murders under the influence of magic did not go to Heaven or Hell when they died, but to the Raven King.