Cassandra Parbringer

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Miss Cassandra Parbringer was a young lady in the village of Grace Adieu, Gloucestershire, who had the luck to attract the notice of Rev. Henry Woodhope when he was rector there. Miss Parbringer was then just twenty years of age, very pretty and ladylike, with blue eyes and sweet blonde curls. Despite the charms of her person however she was of a difficult, independent spirit. She was little moved by Mr. Woodhope's interest in her, commenting that in character he was very close to her uncle, Mr. Field, with whom she lived - and Mr. Field she impolitely described as "tedious". Indeed few men were so fortunate as to strike Miss Parbringer as worthy of her regard; unless perhaps it was the Raven King, for whom she had a great respect.

Nevertheless, having like most young women one eye always upon the altar, she seems at one time to have half-considered Henry Woodhope as a potential husband: but her heart was never engaged, and she therefore bore with the greatest fortitude in the world the sudden rupture that occurred when Mr. Woodhope took himself off to a wealthier parish, where he quickly succumbed to the charms of a local heiress.

This swift translation of Mr Woodhope to a new and greater parish was largely the doing of Jonathan Strange, who seems to have conceived a dislike of Miss Parbringer and to have acted with the design of separating his brother-in-law from her. His dislike was founded less on her manner towards him (which always verged on the impolite, and occasionally on the downright insolent) than on her actions. In brief, Strange had reason to think that Miss Parbringer, together with her aunt Mrs Field and her friend Miss Tobias, had done a very wicked thing: they had used magic to make away with a Captain Winbright and his friend Frederick Littleworth. These gentlemen had been paying a visit to Captain Winbright's wards, two little girls then in the care of Miss Tobias, their governess, at a house in Grace Adieu called Winter's Realm. The captain was the children's sole relative, and consequently their next heir: and it must be admitted that though the girls were quite little, their fortune was very large. Captain Winbright gave Miss Tobias the impression he had an urgent need for money to settle his debts, and she was keenly aware such a need might be very easily satisfied if, for any reason, harm should befall the two sweet little girls. In the event, harm seems to have befallen the captain and his friend instead. They simply vanished one night and no traces of them were ever found.

From the subsequent actions and comments of Jonathan Strange however it seems he suspected that by magical means Miss Parbringer and Mrs Field had somehow transformed themselves into owls, the gentlemen into mice, and then - consumed them. He took no direct action against the ladies, nonetheless, nor did he denounce them. Perhaps he felt that in defence of helpless infancy such violence, if not exactly allowable, had been understandable. Nevertheless it was quite clear to him that a lady like Miss Parbringer was not best suited to his own family circle, and so he prevailed on his friend Sir Walter Pole to offer Mr. Woodhope a parish elsewhere[LoGA].