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The Flower Basket A Fairy Tale   By:

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[Illustration: FRONTISPIECE. Page 23. ]

Published by Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme & Brown, London, April, 6, 1816.



I never may believe These antick fables, nor these fairy toys.




BARNARD AND FARLEY, Skinner Street, London .


Whoever honours the following little Tale with a perusal, will probably anticipate in the Preface, the so often framed apology, that it was not written with an intention of being published. Yet stale as the assurance may be, it is in this instance strictly true.

It was composed solely at the request, and for the amusement of, the children of a friend; nor would it ever have entered my head to offer any thing in the shape of a Fairy Tale to this enlightened age, when such productions have long been banished from all juvenile libraries. Among the innumerable works which do so much credit to the talents and invention of the writers, that have been substituted for them, it may admit of a question, whether beings, not professedly ideal, are not sometimes pourtrayed nearly as imaginary as any that ever "wielded wand, or worked a spell." I believe (for I have never happened to meet with the book, since it was first published) I have the sanction of one of the most celebrated female writers of the age, in her "Thoughts on the Education of a Young Princess," for supposing that the mind of a child is less likely to be misled by what is avowedly fictitious, than by those high wrought characters of perfection, which they would have little better chance of meeting with in the world, than with the fantastic agents of Oberon.

However true this may be, I certainly did not feel entitled to oppose my sentiments to popular opinion; but the few friends, to whose inspection this trifle was submitted, pronounced it worthy of publication. I am aware, that it may be said, more partiality than judgment was evinced in this decision; but there was amongst the number, one whose knowledge of the public taste cannot be disputed, and whose name, affixed as the publisher, may be considered as a passport in itself. Under such unquestionable recommendation, I am induced to hope, that "The Flower Basket" may find admittance into the literary collections of the youthful members of society; and, though conscious that it will add nothing to their store of information, I flatter myself it will not diminish the correctness of their principles.



Adrian and Amaranthé were born in an old castle, that had once been the scene of splendour and festivity, but, together with the fortunes of its owners, had fallen very much into decay. Their parents, in proud resentment of the fancied neglect and ingratitude of the world, had lived retired in the only habitable part of it from the time of their birth, associating but little with the surrounding neighbourhood. The world, however, is not ungrateful, nor neglectful of real merit, but it is wise, and when people squander their fortunes rather with a view to display their own consequence than to gratify or benefit their fellow beings, they must not expect that others will come forward to re instate them in their grandeur, though they would readily do so to relieve unavoidable distress.

The establishment consisted of a few domestics, and an old governess who was retained in that capacity rather from known worthiness of character and attachment to the family, than from any knowledge or acquirements she possessed, that befitted her for such an office. There was besides a little orphan girl, a niece of the lady's, who had been bred up with them from the time she was five years of age. From the disadvantages under which they laboured, it may be supposed these poor children had not many attractions to boast of. Adrian had the benefit of rather more education than his sister and cousin, as his father would sometimes devote himself to his instruction, but listless from disappointment, and out of humour with a world in which he despaired of his son ever appearing with the distinctions of rank and fortune, his lessons were never regularly given, or enforced in a manner likely to make any profitable impression on the mind of a playful thoughtless boy... Continue reading book >>

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