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A D V ER TI SE M E N T,

PREFIXED

TO

MRS. WILLIAMS's MISCELLANIES.

Printed in 1766.

Those, by whose favour and encouragement the

following collection has appeared, the motives of its publication are already known : and it were superfluous to inform the rest of the world of that about which the world will have no curiosity,

Complaints, however natural, are not pleasing; and I therefore would not mention the misfortunes of my life, but to return my thanks for the kind endeavours to alleviate them, exerted by those who have subscribed, and procured fubscriptions, and those who by contributing their compositions, have left my friends less reason to repent their folicitations.

To the few by whom the dilatorinefs of my performance has been censured, I shall answer only by reminding them of my utter inability to haften it by any diligence of my own, and by wishing that they may never learni from experience how Nowly that is done, which is done gratuitously,

THE

F OU N T AINS:

o

A FAIRY TALE, *

Felix qui potuit boni
Fontem visere lucidum.

BOETHIUS.

S Floretta was wandering in a meadow at the foot

of Plinlimmon, she heard a little bird cry in such a note as she had never observed before ; and looking round her, saw a lovely goldfinch entangled by a limetwig, and a hawk hovering over him, as at the point of seizing him in his talons.

Floretta longed to rescue the little bird, but was afraid to encounter the hawk, who looked fiercely upon her without any apparent dread of her approach, and as she advanced seemed to increase in bulk, and clapped his wings in token of defiance. Floretta stood deliberating a few moments, but seeing her mother at no great diftance, took courage, and snatched the twig with the little bird upon it.

it. When she had disengaged him, she put him in her bosom, and the hawk flew away.

Floretta shewing her bird to her mother, told her from what danger she had rescued him ; her mother, after admiring his beauty, faid, that he would be a very

* Published in Mrs. Williams's Miscellanics,

A a 4

proper

proper inhabitant of the little gilded cage, which had hung empty since the starling died for want of water, and that he should be placed at the chamber window, for it would be wonderfully pleasant to hear him in the morning

Floretta, with tears in her eyes, replied, that he had better have been devoured by the hawk than die for want of water, and that she would not save him from a less evil to put him in danger of a greater: she therefore took him into her hand, cleaned his feathers from the bird-lime, looked upon him with great tenderness, and, having put his bill to her lips, dismissed him into the air.

He flew in circles round her as shę weật home, and perching on a tree before the door, delighted them a while with such sweetness of song, that her mother reproved her for not putting him in the cage. Floretta endeavoured to look grave, but silently approved her own act, and wilhed her mother more generosity. Her mother guessed her thoughts, and told her, that when she was older she would be wiser.

Floretta however did not repent, but hoped to hear her little bird the next morning singing at liberty. She waked early and listened, but no goldfinch could she hear. She rose, and walking again in the same meadow, went to view the bush where she had seen the lime-twig the day before.

When she entered the thicket, and was near the place for which she was looking, from behind a blossoming hawthorn advanced a female form of very low ftature, but of elegant proportion and majestic air, arrayed in

الله

all the colours of the meadow, and sparkling as he moved a like a dew-drop in the sun.

Floretta was too much disordered to speak or Ay, and stood motionless between fear and pleasure, when the little lady took her by the hand.

I am, said she, one of that order of beings which fome call Fairies, and some Pilkies: we have always been known to inhabit the crags and caverns of Plinlimmon. The maids and shepherds, when they wander by moonlight, have often heard our music, and some-, times seen our dances.

I am the chief of the Fairies of this region, and am known among them by the name of Lady Lilinet, of the Blue Rock, As I lived always in my own mountain, I had very little knowledge of human manners, and thought better of mankind than other Fairies found them to deserve; I therefore often opposed the mischievous practices of my sisters, without always enquiring whether they were just. I extinguished the light that was kindled to lead a traveller into a marsh, and found afterwards that he was hafting to corrupt a virgin : I dissipated a mift which assumed the form of a town, and was raised to decoy a monopolizer of corn from his way to the next market : I removed a thorn, artfully planted to prick the foot of a churl, that was going to hinder the poor from following his reapers; and defeated so

and defeated so many schemes of obstruction and punishment, that I was cited before the Queen, as one who favoured wickedness, and opposed the execution of fairy justice.

Having never been accustomed to suffer control, and thinking myself disgraced by the necessity of defence, I

so

fo much irritated the Queen by my sullenness and petu

. lance, that in her anger she transformed me into a goldfinch. In this form, says she, I doom thee to remain, till some human being shall jew ibee kindness without any profpect of intereft.

I flew out of her presence not much dejected; for I did not doubt but every reasonable being must love that which having never offended, could not be hated, and, having no power to hurt, could not be feared.

I therefore Auttered about the villages, and endeavoured to force myself into notice.

Having heard that nature was least corrupted among those who had no acquaintance with elegance and splendor, I employed myself for five years in hopping before the doors of cottages, and often fat singing on the thatched roof; my motions were seldom seen, nor my notes heard, no kindness was ever excited, and all the reward of

my officioufness was to be aimed at with a stone when I stood within a throw.

The stones never hurt me, for I had still the power of a Fairy

I then betook myself to spacious and magnificent habitations, and sung in bowers by the walks or on the banks of fountains.

In these places, where novelty was recommended by fatiety, and curiosity excited by leisure, my form and my voice were soon distinguished, and I was known by the name of the pretty goldfinch; the inhabitants would walk out to listen to my music, and at last it was their practice to court my visits by scattering meat in my common haunts.

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