If you believe, clap your hands…
Throughout the Victorian era, belief in fairies ran deep, especially in England where scientists and historians joined the hunt. Some testified to the customs and archeological remains left by the elvin creatures, and well-educated types easily speculated on whether fairies existed, or had in the past. For some, the stance was political, as they explained that the fairies were leaving England because the land had become too industrial.
A whole school of painters took fairies as their subject. Poet William Butler Yeats, who summoned the fairies to “come take me out of this dull world,” was a true believer, as was Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. “I beleive in fairies because I have seen them,” said Lafcadio Hearn, the Japan scholar who makes a cameo appearance in Encyclopedia of the Exquisite. He saw them, “both by day and night.”