Scopus

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Jacques Belasis's Scopus is a spell that is used simply to detect whether magic is occurring; the Scopus however does not identify the magic or the person performing it. The spell requires a glass filled with water. If magic is detected, a white light appears in the glass; the light is brighter if the magic is nearby and dimmer if the magic is farther away[46].

John Childermass performs Belasis's Scopus shortly prior to the attempt on his master's life in the January of 1816. Childermass is in the library at Hanover-square, occupied with some usual business of the day, when he first becomes aware that magic of great power is occurring nearby - magic so strong that it almost melts the barriers between England and Faerie. Indeed it affects Childermass himself so powerfully as nearly to cause him to faint. Gathering himself together, he carries out the Scopus and locates the source of the magic as the square outside his master's house; but still he cannot tell who the magician may be. Later he discusses the matter with Mr. Norrell, and suggests that perhaps the source may have been Lady Pole (though Mr. Norrell scouts the notion). Plagued as ever by jealous anxiety about other magicians, Mr. Norrell is at first inclined to be out of temper on discovering that Childermass can perform any spell at all. Later, recollecting that he owes his life to Childermass - and on being reminded moreover that he taught Childermass the spell himself - he becomes calmer.[46].