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she had practised. Lilinet asked her with a smile, for what she had been wifhing; and being told, made her this reply, You are not, my dear, to wonder or complain you may wish for yourself, but your wishes can have no effect upon another. You another. You may become lovely by the efficacy of the fountain, but that you fhall be loved is by no means a certain confequence; for you cannot confer upon another either difcernment or fidelity: that happiness which you must derive from others, it is not in my power to regulate or bestow.
Floretta was for fome time fo dejected by this limitation of the fountain's power, that she thought it unworthy of another visit; but being on fome occafion thwarted by her mother's authority, fhe went to Lilinet, and drank at the alabaster fountain for a spirit to do her own way.
Lilinet faw that fhe drank immoderately, and admo nished her of her danger; but fpirit, and her own way, gave fuch sweetness to the water, that she could not prevail upon herself to forbear, till Lilinet in pure compaffion fnatched the cup out of her hand.
When she came home every thought was contempt, and every action was rebellion: fhe had drank into herself a spirit to refift, but could not give her mother a difpofition to yield; the old lady afferted her right to govern; and, though fhe was often foiled by the impetuofity of her daughter, she supplied by pertinacy what she wanted in violence; fo that the house was in continual tumult by the pranks of the daughter and oppofition of the mother.
In time, Floretta was convinced that spirit had only made her a capricious termagant, and that her own ways
ways ended in error, perplexity and difgrace; fhe perceived that the vehemence of mind, which to a man may fometimes procure awe and obedience, produce to a woman nothing but deteftation; fhe therefore went back, and by a large draught from the flinty fountain, though the water was very bitter, replaced herself under her mother's care, and quitted her fpirit, and her own way.
Floretta's fortune was moderate, and her defires were 40 not larger, till her mother took her to spend a fummer at one of the places which wealth and idleness frequent, under pretence of drinking the waters. She was now no longer a perfect beauty, and therefore converfation in her prefence took its courfe as in other company, opinions were freely told, and obfervations made without referve. Here Floretta firft learned the importance of money. When she faw a woman of mean air and empty talk draw the attention of the place, fhe always discovered, upon enquiry, that she had fo many thoufands to her fortune.
She foon perceived that where thefe golden goddeffes appeared, neither birth, nor elegance, nor civility, had any power of attraction, that every art of entertainment was devoted to them, and that the great and the wife courted their regard.
The defire after wealth was raifed yet higher by her mother, who was always telling her how much neglect fhe fuffered for want of fortune, and what diftinctions if she had but a fortune her good qualities would obtain. Her narrative of the day was always, that Floretta walked in the morning, but was not fpoken to because fhe B b had
had a small fortune, and that Floretta danced at the ball better than any of them, but nobody minded her for want of a fortune.
This want, in which all other wants appeared to be included, Floretta was refolved to endure no longer, and came home, flattering her imagination in fecret, with the riches which fhe was now about to obtain.
On the day after her return, fhe walked out alone to meet lady Lilinet, and went with her to the fountain: riches did not tafte fo fweet as either beauty or fpirit, and therefore she was not immoderate in her draught.
When they returned from the cavern, Lilinet gave her wand to a fairy that attended her, with an order to Conduct Floretta to the black rock.
The way was not long, and they foon came to the mouth of a mine in which there was a hidden treasure, guarded by an earthy fairy, deformed and fhaggy, who opposed the entrance of Floretta, till he recognized the wand of the lady of the mountain. Here Floretta faw vaft heaps of gold and filver, and gems, gathered and repofited in former ages, and entrusted to the guard of the fairies of the earth. The little fairy delivered the orders of her mistress, and the furly fentinel promised to obey them.
Floretta, wearied with her walk, and pleased with her fuccefs, went home to reft, and when the waked in the morning, first opened her eyes upon a cabinet of jewels, and looking into her drawers and boxes, found them filled with gold.
Floretta was now as fine as the fineft. She was the first to adopt any expensive fashion, to fubfcribe to any
pompous entertainment, to encourage any foreign artist, or engage in any frolic of which the coft was to make the pleasure.
She was on a fudden the favourite of every place. 55 Report made her wealth thrice greater than it really was, and wherever the came, all was attention, reverence and obedience. The ladies who had formerly flighted her, or by whom she had been formerly careffed, gratified her pride by open flattery and private murmurs. She sometimes overheard them railing at upftarts, and wondering whence fome people came, or how their expences were supplied. This incited her to heighten the splendor of her dress, to increase the number of her retinue, and to make fuch propofitions of coftly schemes, that her rivals were forced to defift from contest.
But she now began to find that the tricks which can be played with money, will seldom bear to be repeated, that admiration is a fhort-lived paffion, and that the pleasure of expence is gone when wonder and envy are no more excited. She found that respect was an empty form, and that all those who crouded round her were drawn to her by vanity or interest.
It was however pleasant to be able on any terms to elevate and to mortify, to raise hopes and fears; and she would still have continued to be rich, had not the ambition of her mother contrived to marry her to a lord, whom the despised as ignorant, and abhorred as profligate. Her mother perfifted in her importunity; and Floretta having now loft the fpirit of refiftance, had no other refuge than to diveft herself of her fairy fortune. She implored the affiftance of Lilinet, who praised B b 2
her refolution. She drank chearfully from the flinty fountain, and found the waters not extremely bitter. When she returned fhe went to bed, and in the morning perceived that all her riches had been conveyed away she knew not how, except a few ornamental jewels, which Lilinet had ordered to be carried back as a reward for her dignity of mind.
She was now almoft weary of vifiting the fountain, and folaced herself with fuch amufements as every day happened to produce: at laft there arofe in her imagination a strong defire to become a wit.
The pleasures with which this new character appeared to them were fo numerous and fo great, that she was impatient to enjoy them; and rifing before the fun, haftened to the place where fhe knew that her fairy patronefs was always to be found./ Lilinet was willing to conduct her, but could now fcarcely reftrain her from leading the way but by telling her, that if fhe went first the fairies of the cavern would refuse her paffage.
They came in time to the fountain, and Floretta took the golden cup into her hand; fhe filled it and drank, and again she filled it, for wit was sweeter than riches, fpirit, or beauty.
As fhe returned fhe felt new fucceffions of imagery rife in her mind, and whatever her memory offered to her imagination, affumed a new form, and connected itself with things to which it feemed before to have no relation. All the appearances about her were changed, but the novelties exhibited were commonly defects. She now faw that almost every thing was wrong, without often feeing how it could be better; and frequently im