I love Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell — and I hope it never ends.
For today, though — more “Fun & Folly — Brought to You by the Gentleman with the Thistle-Down Hair.” Here we have a little anecdote about towers — and what might happen if you throw a child out of a window. Follow me, if you please . . .
When they reached the house in Harley-street the gentleman took a very affectionate farewell of Stephen, urging him not to feel sad at this parting and reminding him that they would meet again that very night at Lost-hope. ” . . . When a most charming ceremony will be held in the belfry of the Easternmost Tower. It commemorates an occasion which happened — oh! five hundred years ago or so — when I cleverly contrived to capture the little children of my enemy and we pushed them out of the belfry to their deaths.”
“Tonight we will re-enact this great triumph! We will dress straw dolls in the children’s blood-stained clothes and fling them down on to the paving stones and then we will sing and dance and rejoice over their destruction!”
“And do you perform this ceremony every year, sir? I feel sure I would have remembered it if I had seen it before. It is so very . . . striking.”
“I am glad you think so. I perform it whenever I think of it. Of course it was a great deal more striking when we used real children.”
Oh, my! And there you have it, ladies and gentlemen. More fun and folly, on this the twenty-sixth day of January, in the year of Our Lord two-thousand-and-sixteen . . . as relayed to you by that mischievous gentleman with the thistle-down hair.