Thursday, May 7, 2009

Some years ago there was in the city of York a society of magicians. They met upon the third Wednesday of every month and read each other long, dull papers upon the history of English magic. 
They were gentleman-magicians, which is to say they had never harmed any one by magic--nor ever done any one the slightest good. In fact, to own the truth, not one of these magicians had ever cast the smallest spell, nor by magic caused one leaf to tremble upon a tree, made one mote of dust to alter its course or changed a single hair upon any one's head. But, with this one minor reservation, they enjoyed a reputation as some of the wisest and most magical gentlemen in Yorkshire.
A great magician has said of his profession that its practitioners "...must pound and rack their brains to make the least learning go in, but quarrelling always comes very naturally to them," and the York magicians had proved the truth of this for a number of years

--Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrel, Susanna Clarke (2004)



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