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Vauxhall-gardens - that dear old London pleasure ground where for a few shillings anyone may see, on the one night a fashionable Masquerade attended by the highest in the land, and on the next a sprightly Frenchwoman ascending the rope with a veritable cannonade of fireworks exploding about her heels! It is justly famous and needs no description from me. Long may it flourish! and long may the rapacious house-builder be kept from bearing down its grand pavilions, its temples, walks and towers, its firework-grounds, splendid supper-boxes and music rooms under a nasty but lucrative tide of brick terrace.

It is of course the extraordinary illuminations and pyrotechnic discharges which have long been a feature of the displays there that lend point to the Duke's acerbic comment when he compares the dreadful visions Strange sends to menace the French at Quatre Bras to "Vauxhall-Gardens magic"[40]. Mr. Strange is understandably vexed by this remark, but not for long. He makes allowances no doubt for the nature of the Duke's business that day, which is onerous enough to sour the sweetest temper (and no-one I think has ever claimed that the Duke's temper was any of the sweetest.)

Interestingly, it is said the proprietors of Vauxhall-gardens once approached our two magicians with a view to tempting them to display their talents there, offering very large sums; Mr. Norrell indignantly refused[40].