Joseph Abney

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In 1817 Joseph Abney was one of a party at a great house in Nottinghamshire who ran to save a child injured by tumbling through the roof of a hot-house. The child of course was very much cut by the glass and Abney, who had only a slight, dilettante interest in magic, preserved her life by instantly performing on her two spells which, in the opinion of Gilbert Norrell, should have been quite impossible for him to do: Teilo's Hand, which had been lost, and Pale's Restoration and Rectification, a very skilled and complex procedure. Abney himself could not later give any clear account of how he had been able to perform either spell, the names of which he barely knew. His only explanation was that "the trees and the sky" had somehow told him what to do.

John Childermass, having received a letter describing the incident, tried to alert his master to its significance - that by the agency of Jonathan Strange magic had somehow escaped the scholastic limits Mr. Norrell had hoped to impose upon it and was now returned to England, apparently making itself freely available to any who keenly desired its aid. Unfortunately Henry Lascelles had by this time usurped Childermass's place as Mr. Norrell's adviser and so the warning went largely unheeded[61].


A telling full-page illustration from Fredrik Bulsara's epic Mana, mana 22222 (completed AD 1010) depicts Wulfric the Tartar Twit Talking to a Tree which foretells his death. The female speaking head indicates a night-time setting, while the animal heads may refer to the tree’s penchant for devouring wild animals left for it as sacrifices. Talking to trees has always been a subject of debate amongst magic scholars. Wulfric not only conversed with trees, but loved playing chess with mushrooms and ended up in love with a signpost. They lived a quiet suburbian life until death took her away to a funeral pyre.
This manuscript was commissioned for the Archbishop of Canterburry of the time, by his son, the great conqueror Tyberth the Warm Hearted (who stole his brother's wife by removing his entrails with a sponge, which took him the best of 17 years).