Quaker girl of Stamford

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In 1817 two young misses of thirteen, one of them a Quaker girl, were exchanging confidences one day at a house in Stamford, Lincolnshire, when they became aware that their brothers were listening at the door. So great was their resentment of this intrusion that they chased the boys into the garden with a view to inflicting some childish punishment upon them. One might have expected hair-pulling or nose-wringing: instead, despite neither of the girls having any previous skill in magical arts, they suddenly joined hands and together recited a spell! The spell took instant effect: it was a charm to conjure the boys' ears off their heads, and these were not restored until the two had sworn a solemn promise not to eavesdrop henceforth.

Lord Liverpool tells this to Gilbert Norrell as an instance of the type of unbridled magic-making occurring spontaneously all over England, demanding to know why this should suddenly be so[61]. It is, of course, a result of the actions of Jonathan Strange, who is deliberately awakening the dormant magical forces of England. As he earlier tells Christopher Drawlight, "All of John Uskglass's old alliances are still in place. I am sending messengers to remind the stones and the sky and the rain of their ancient promises[59]."