Every once in a blue moon I post one of my short pieces on the old blog. In this case it’s a little experiment in which I tried to write in the voice and tone of one of my favorite books: Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell. If you haven’t read it or seen the terrific mini-series based on it, quit mucking around with me and indulge yourself. It’s wonderful and a very impressive piece of work.
Meanwhile, this little effort is in this year’s anthology from the Naperville Writers Group. Rivulets 28 will be out October 1. If you enjoy this story, buy a copy and help some local writers gain recognition.
It is a sad fact of modern British life that there is no more magick. I am not referring to the kind of “magic” where your seldom-spoken-of uncle pulls sixpence pieces from behind your ear, or hooded priests commit dark acts on barren moors or in dark pine forests to summon slimy-tentacled gods. Both of those are, sadly, in abundant supply to this minute.
When I refer to magick, I of course refer to that ancient art unique to Britain, usually involving the help of faeries, sprites and other “small folk.” After a brief resurgence in the early half of the 19th century—where rumours abound that it helped defeat Napoleon and saved our Blessed Island from defeat and shame, demonstrations of the Art became all the rage in the parlors of Whitehall and Mayfair, then disappeared again forever. Those fantastic beings were never again spoken of seriously, except as the stuff of myth.
It is, indeed, gone, never to return. In point of fact, it ended at precisely 10:43 on the evening of October 20, 1854, in the drawing room of Lord and Lady Winthrop. I was there, and these many years later I have never forgotten. Nor have I spoken of it until now……