Thomas Lanchester

From The Library at Hurtfew
Jump to: navigation, search
Thomas Lanchester is the author of a treatise concerning the language of birds. Gilbert Norrell is in the process of searching this work for a favourite passage when he is disturbed by the intrusion into his private study of Vinculus, who proceeds to harangue him about his role in the Revival of English Magic. Having been thoroughly shaken by this episode, Mr Norrell returns again to his book but is shocked to read in it an endorsement of the sort of wild, instinctual nature magic practised by the Raven King. The passage begins:

...There is nothing else in magic but the wild thought of the bird as it casts itself into the void. (For the full passage, see The Language of Birds.)

Previously inclined to admire Lanchester's work as a valuable attempt to describe the magic of the great Aureates, Mr Norrell's opinions undergo a material change. He insists that Lord Portishead, the editor of The Friends of English Magic, should attack Lanchester in the next edition of the magazine for being "mystical".[13]

Proof of the esteem in which Mr Norrell formerly held Lanchester is his possession of a small china portrait bust of him, kept in his study. This is unfortunately destroyed by the gentleman with the thistle-down hair on his second appearance in Mr Norrell's presence when, vexed by Mr Norrell's taxing him with having behaved dishonestly in the affair of Lady Pole, he causes a candlestick to leap from its place and fly across the room. It shatters a bust of Lanchester and a mirror on its way.[18]