Quote #7

jsamn“‘The road goes on a little way and then leads into a wood of thorn trees. At the entrance to the wood there is a statue of a woman with her hands outstretched. In one hand she holds a stone eye and in the other a stone heart. As for the wood itself…’ Childermass made a gesture, perhaps expressive of his inability to describe what he had seen, or perhaps of his powerlessness in the face of it. ‘Corpses hang from every tree. Some might have died as recently as yesterday. Others are no more than age-old skeletons dressed in rusting armour. I came to a high tower built of rough-hewn stones. The walls were pierced with a few tiny windows. There was a light at one of them and the shadow of someone looking out. Beneath the tower was a clearing with a brook running through it. A young man was standing there. He looked pale and sickly, with dead eyes, and he wore a British uniform. He told me he was the Champion of the Castle of the Plucked Eye and Heart. He had sworn to protect the Lady of the Castle by challenging any one who approached with the attempt of harming or insulting her. I asked him if he had killed all the men I had seen. He said he had killed some of them and hung them upon the thorns –- as his predecessor had done before him. I asked him how the lady intended to reward him for his service. He said he did not know. He had never seen her or spoken to her. She remained in the Castle of the Plucked Eye and Heart; he stayed between the brook and the thorn trees. He asked me if I intended to fight him. I reminded him that I had neither insulted nor harmed his lady. I told him I was a servant and bound to return to my master who was at that moment waiting for me. Then I turned my horse and rode back.'”

– Susanna Clarke, Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell