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IKK-44........MURIEL S REVERIE.
MURIEL'S DREAMLAND:jT Fairp Jpalr;BYMRS. J. W. BROWN, M.S.F.A.,WITHILLUSTRATIONS BY THE AUTHORESS AND HER DAUGHTER,ALBERTA BROWN.GRIFFITH AND FARRAN,SUCCESSORS TO NEWBERY AND HARRIS,ST. PAUL'S CHURCHYARD, LONDON.MDCCCLXXI.
LONDON:PRINTED BY RANKEN AND CO., DRURY HOUSE,ST. MARY-LE-STRAND, V(.C.
LLUST IRATIO NS.PAGEMURIEL'S REVERIE .............................................. FrontispieceM U R IE L ........................................................................... V i netteTHE SPIRIT OF THE FOUNTAIN .................................... 8SILVERBELLE'S COMPASSION ........................................... 32THE FLIGHT OF GOLDENCREST ............................... 38M O T H E R LE SS .................. ............................................. ..... 57THE DISCARDED FAMILY ................................................. .. 8
i ~-~ _----~~-~-UTA PI EL'S PREAV LAND,CHAPTER I.Bright Fairyland! its golden bowers,Its tiny elves, and jewell'd flowers,All rise in view!N a quiet valley, surrounded byvast mountains, where rushingstreams dash among the rocks, makingsweet melodies, that stir the heart and callforth poems, dwelt bright-haired Muriel;beauteous amid the beautiful ; in theblue depths of her thoughtful eyes, thereseemed a world beyond, unknown toB
2 MURIEL'S DREAMLAND.ordinary children, but not unfelt; for whenshe wandered into the village, they wouldcease their noisy play, and, drawing aside,would whisper, "This is Muriel." Theyfelt as if an angel had passed by, andwere silent for a brief moment. Shewas a solitary child, and would recline forhours upon the rocks wrapped in thought,creating endless visions from her ownstrange fancy. The Fairies loved Muriel,and watched over her, and, finding shewas lonely on earth, obtained their Queen'sconsent to carry her with them to Fairy-land. Muriel was fond df reading abouther friends the Fairies, and at the momentthey appointed to take her she had thrownaside her book, longing to be with them,
MURIEL'S DREAMLAND.and was so lost in thought that, for atime, she did not hear the soft sounds ofmelodious music that were surroundingher, mingled with the rustling of manywings and the sweet perfume of myriadsof flowers. At length her ears and eyesbecame opened; she observed a mistyveil of various colours approaching, whichgradually took the form of thousands oftiny creatures, more beautiful than evenher imagination had ever created. Theyformed a glittering ring; and in theirmidst two large swans, bound by chainsof silver to an opal car, appeared. TheFairies, taking the wondering Murielgently in their arms, placed her in thecar. The swans then spread their large__________ ________________________________ _____________
4 MURIEL'S DREAMLAND.white wings, and all sailed far, far away,showering sweet-scented flowers around,and chanting in silvery tones-"We have sought thee, child of the dreary earth,To lead thee to realms of beauty and mirth,Where thy angel face and thy golden hairWill rival our loveliest Fairy's there.We'll make thee a couch of a passion flower,And rock thee to sleep in a golden bow'r:While every wish of thy heart shall beBy our people granted so lovingly."Muriel had been too much accustomedto think of the Fairies as her friends tofeel any fear, or even much surprise, soshe looked at them with bright andhappy smiles, and opened her large blueeyes to their utmost extent, that she might^^_ ___ ,________________ ___ _______
MURIEL'S DREAMLAND. 5not lose any of the beauties she knewthey were going to show her.They soon approached a magnificentforest. The foliage was dazzling withgems; large flowers, composed of gold,silver, and precious stones, lifted theirlovely heads in glorious profusion, thewaving of whose stems produced faintsounds of exquisite music. Upon lookingintently, Muriel perceived that everyflower was the abode of a Fairy. In thecentre of this brilliant forest was a splen-did golden palace, with diamond windowsand wide emerald steps. The swans,who seemed to know their duty withoutguidance, alighted at the entrance of the
6 MURIEL'S DREAMLAND.palace. Muriel was lifted from the car,and conducted through a spacious hall;she ascended a golden staircase, and wasled into the presence of the King andQueen. Upon first advancing, she wasso dazzled that her eyes fell before thebeauty of their countenances and thebrilliant colours of their apparel. Uponraising them, she beheld with amazementthat all the royal family were the size ofmortals, which distinguished them entirelyfrom the other Fairies, who were tinycreatures. The floor of the palace wascrystal, and springing from the centre,as though growing out of water, wereimmense groups of lilies, the flowersforming couches, upon which the royal
MURIEL'S DREAMLAND. 7family reposed. The two Fairies whohad led Muriel into the presence benttheir heads, folded their bright wings,and stood motionless. After a shortsilence, the Queen, in musical tones,addressed Muriel thus :" Welcome to our fair realms, sweetMuriel; we have long watched over thee,and pitied thy lonely life: here thoushalt have merry companions, and beone of our own dear children."She then desired her son and daughter,who were young, like Muriel, to protecther, and show her the wonders of Fairy-land. They told her their names were
8 MURIEL'S DREAMLAND.Goldencrest and Silverbelle; and whenshe observed the lovely waves of auburnhair that covered the Prince's head, andhis sister's silver locks hanging almostto her feet, she could understand thereason they were so called.Muriel felt immediately that she shouldlove them. Taking her by the hand,they led her to a deep, still pool, uponwhose bank stood a magnificent weep-ing willow of pure gold. Its spreadingbranches, trailing upon the mossy ground,were reflected in the silver lake, andformed a pleasant retreat. Around itsstem twined a gigantic passion-flower, theleaves of which were shaped into couches,
MURIEL'S DREAMLAND. 9rocked gently by a continual breath ofair; whilst the Fairy music was ever,ever faintly sighing around the stems.This was to be Muriel's home. Sheclasped her hands in wonder and delight;then she and Silverbelle sat upon themossy bank, their arms entwined, whileGoldencrest related the wonders of Fairy-land, its delights and pleasures. He toldher, however, that all was not so fair aswhere they dwelt, which was called theGolden Valley; beyond were lands inwhich abode wicked Sprites, whose delightwas to torment all dwellers on earth,bringing to them sickness, hunger, andsin. This was the Black Forest. The
10 MURIEL'S DREAMLAND.inhabitants of the Golden Valley wereoften employed in endeavouring to re-lieve the distresses caused by these evilspirits, who were so powerful that com-paratively little good could be done;nothing, in fact, unless the Fairies pro-cured some water from a Silver Fountainwhich lay beyond the Black Country, andwas perpetually guarded by the Sprites.All this Goldencrest related to Muriel asshe reclined in Silverbelle's arms by thetranquil pool. He told her that theirstore of silver rain was quite exhausted,and that he must pass through dangers ofmany kinds to renew it ready for Christ-mas time, when they always visited theearth, for the evil Sprites were then par-
MURIEL'S DREAMLAND. IIticularly active in increasing the troublesof mortals, and especially of the poor.Muriel, who loved and pitied the poorso much that she had often shed tearson earth for their sorrows, begged thatshe might accompany them on their nextjourney, to which they gladly assented.So they gave her wings like their own,and taught her to use them perfectly;and the three became firm friends, thegentle Silverbelle clinging to Muriel as asister, and Goldencrest every hour show-ing them fresh beauties.They ascended above the clouds, andsaw the wonders of the stars; they
12 MURIEL'S DREAMLAND.descended to the depths of the ocean,explored the coral caves, and gatheredthe treasures of the deep, and Muriel wasamazed at the glories she continuallybeheld. Thus time passed, until Golden-crest declared he must no longer delayhis perilous journey into the BlackCountry. His two friends became verysad, and trembled with fear when henamed the hour for his departure.At length the time arrived; he clothedhimself in flexible armour, so beautifullyfashioned that it would turn the pointsof his enemies' weapons; he buckled asharp sword by his side, and slung acrystal gourd over his shoulder to contain
MURIEL'S DREAMLAND. 13the precious liquid, thus leaving his armsfree; then, bidding them a tender adieu,he spread his light wings and soaredover the trees towards the Black Forest.For some distance the Golden Valleysparkled beneath him, and bright Fairiescontinually shot past; but, after a time,the country became gloomy, and theair so thick, that Goldencrest had muchdifficulty in breathing, and, instead ofthe melodious music of Fairyland, hor-rible and discordant noises were heard.Having made this journey many timesbefore, he flew on swiftly until he cameto a fiery pass between two black moun-tains. A shower of burning rain wasfalling, through which he must venture,
14 MURIEL'S DREAMLAND.there being no other road. Throwinghis wide mantle over his head, he dashedswiftly through the pass, and, althoughscorched and tired, he alighted on theother side in safety. Wild, mockinglaughter resounded in the air, and uglySprites appeared pointing at him as hesat resting after the trial; but braveGoldencrest cared not for pain if hecould only accomplish his mission. Onhe sped; and as he proceeded the dark-ness became thicker and the air morefoul. He knew by these signs he wasapproaching the "Howling Cave."He groped his way (for it was nowquite dark) until he found the entrance,
MURIEL'S DREAMLAND. 15although the dreadful sounds which pro-ceeded from it might have guided him,for the noise was deafening: cries, shouts,screams, in every tone of agony, wereheard there; and, as he staggered on,large stones rolled before him, many ofthem striking and bruising him, andGoldencrest was almost distracted beforehe emerged from the cavern. But hestill hastened on, and soon the entranceto the Silver Fountain came in view.In strong light, which appeared moredazzling from the late darkness, stoodtwo massive silver gates, rising high intothe sky. On one side hung a silverhorn. Rocks of brilliant colours enclosede.
16 MURIEL'S DREAMLAND.the Fairy Fountain; crystal icicles of mostfantastic form were suspended from everypoint, so that the whole face of the rocksseemed ever dripping with sparklingwater.A troop of Sprites here awaited him.Grasping his sword firmly, and wrappinghis mantle tightly round the gourd, heattacked his enemies with fierce anddesperate blows. His armour protectedhim greatly, or their numbers must haveoverpowered him.Long did the battle last, and manytimes was Goldencrest thrust back, evenwhen he had his hand on the horn and4
THE SPIRIT CF THE FOUNTAIN.
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MURIEL'S DREAMLAND. I7thought all was safe; but at last he con-trived to raise it to his lips and blow along and loud blast. Instantly the gateswere flung wide open and hundreds oftiny arrows discharged at the Sprites, who,with howls of pain, flew into the depthsof their forest, leaving Goldencrest faintand wounded, but alone, by the entrance.Then the Spirit of the Fountain ap-proached, clad in silver tissue, with abright star on her forehead, and, takinghis hand, chanted these words as she ledhim through the gates:"Enter, Fairy, brave and good;Thou hast many ills withstood.C
18 MURIEL'S DREAMLAND.Fill thy gourd with magic rain,Cure for mortal hearts in pain.When thou see'st a weary head,Or a heart whose joy has fled,Let a drop of water restOn the mortal thus opprest;Ease from care shall so be giv'n,Sickness from the frame be driven.Then welcome to the Magic Cave,And fill thy gourd, oh Fairy brave."Taking him to a deep pool, she badehim plunge in, when all his wounds wouldbe healed, and his strength restored.After doing as she directed, they pro-ceeded together to the fountain, withwhose magic drops he filled his gourd.She would not allow him to depart alone,but sent an army of Water-sprites to keep
MURIEL'S DREAMLAND. 19off the evil ones. They remained withhim until he arrived at the Howling Cave,when he bade them adieu, and enteredalone, only thinking now of protectinghis precious gourd, for he feared thatsome of the stones might break it. But,fortunately, he passed both dangers with-out injury, and arrived safely in Fairy-land, where he found Muriel and Silver-belle anxiously awaiting him, and whosejoy was great at his return.~o~Fi
20 MiURIEL'S DREAMLAND.CHAPTER II.The little childish tender heart,From which the tears so freely start,Is soon consol'd.HE Christmas time of the earthdrew near, and the three friendsprepared for their journey. They tiedsilver scarves about them, which renderedthem invisible, and each carried a bottleof the wonderful liquid, one drop ofwhich would lighten the heart of asorrowing mortal, and give strength tocontinue the battle of life. When they
MURIEL'S DREAMLAND. 21arrived on earth they agreed to separate,that they might the better spread thebenefits they could confer.Silverbelle, whose tender and delicatenature made her shrink from entering thehomes of the very poor, passed throughmany houses ere she found any distresssufficiently great to cause her to spend adrop of her precious liquid.It was Christmas morning: good Fairieswere hovering about, showering bright rainupon mortals, and taking from their heartsmany evil feelings that the Sprites hadplaced there. All were preparing in someway for the great festival; hanging the
22 MURIEL'S DREAMLAND.merry holly about the rooms, and laughingunder graceful branches of mistletoe; thechildren especially seemed not to knowwhat tears or sorrows were; and Silver-belle began to think the world a muchhappier place than she had fancied, andthat her precious drops were not wanted.At length she arrived at a large man-sion, to which she was attracted by hearingsounds of weeping. Hastening to thechamber from whence they proceeded, shediscovered a little child who had thrownhimself upon the floor. With tangledhair, and tears streaming down his flushedcheeks, he was exclaiming, in piteousaccents, "Oh! mamma, my own mamma,
THE FLIGHT OF GOLDENCREST.
MURIEL'S DREAMLAND. 2 3come back to your little Willie!" Hedashed his head upon the floor, andsobbed so violently, that the tender heartof Silverbelle was melted, and she de-termined to pause here, and ease thesorrows of this poor little mortal.Waving her wings over him with asoothing motion, until he became morecomposed, she went to discover the cause'of his affliction, which she soon learnedfrom the servants, who were feastingbelow regardless of his trouble-for theSprites had been at work in that house,showering black rain upon all, chillinghearts which should at least have beenwarm on that day.
24 MURIEL'S DREAMLAND.The child's father and mother hadboth died in one short week, leavingtheir beloved little Willie sad and alone.Strangers had taken possession of thehouse, who cared nothing for the orphan,looking upon him as a burden, not seek-ing to soothe his grief They had goneto spend the Christmas with friends,leaving the desolate child to cry out forhis lost mother, and weep unavailing tears.Silverbelle looked into the hearts of theservants, but could find none kindlyenough to spend a drop upon; besides,some of the Sprites were hovering abovetheir heads, and would not let her ap-proach. She left them shouting anddrinking, while into every glass the Sprites
MURIEL'S DREAMLAND. 25were dropping black rain, making themeach moment more furious, until theybecame like raving madmen.Gentle Silverbelle, who trembled atthese sights, hastened from the roomwith drooping wings, yet full of pity forthese lost mortals. Descending, then, tothe lower rooms, she found a poor hard-working woman, who had been engagedfor a few hours to save the idle servantstrouble. She was at that moment tyingon her bonnet, after collecting a few scrapsthat she was allowed to take away: herface, though lined with care, was full ofkindness, and Silverbelle determined tomake this poor woman the means of
26 MURIEL'S DREAMLAND.giving comfort to the little child above,Carefully opening her bottle, she allowedone drop to fall upon the woman's head.The effect was instantaneous: her facebrightened with a smile; the care-wornlook left it; and she exclaimed cheer-fully, as she gathered up the pieces,"Well, it's a poor dinner for Christ-mas, but, somehow, I feel happy, andas though some blessing were upon meto-day!"Silverbelle hastened to Willie, and ledhim to meet the woman as she was goingout. He stood on the stairs before herwith his tear-stained face lifted to hers.He was now pale and trembling, and the
MURIEL'S DREAMLAND. 27motherly heart of the kind woman wentout to the forlorn orphan. She took himin her arms, and asked him why hegrieved. He told her, in touching lan-guage, his simple tale. " My little one!"she exclaimed, "will you come home withme, and play with my bairns; it will bebetter for you than staying in this wickedhouse ?" Willie said, " Ah, yes! take mefrom this wicked house." She then toldone of the servants what she was goingto do, and they left together. Hasteningalong the frosty streets, with the snowbeating upon their heads, they turned upa narrow court, and arrived at a mean-looking cottage. Opening the door, shewas immediately surrounded by a troop
28 MURIEL'S DREAMLAND.of merry children, who exclaimed all atonce, " Look, mother, what the Fairieshave sent us !" and there, to her greatsurprise, hanging before a large fire, wasa fine piece of beef, which her husband,with red and scorched face, was carefullybasting. She expected to find a fewmiserable cinders in the grate, and nothingfor their Christmas dinner but the piecesshe had collected. It did, indeed, seemlike some enchantment. Her husband,as soon as the children would allow himto be heard, said, " Dear Mary, we have,indeed, to be thankful, for, no sooner hadyou gone this morning than my kindMaster, knowing we had sickness in thehouse, and were very poor this Christmas,
MURIEL'S DREAMLA ND. 29sent a large basket of good things andplenty of coals to cook them." " Mayblessings rest on him," said the thankfulwife. " I felt so happy this morning, thatI was sure some luck would come to us;and I almost believe this little one hasbrought it," and she pulled little Williefrom behind the folds of her dress, wherehe had hidden himself. "Oh! what abeautiful little fellow," said the children,crowding round him. "The Fairies mustalso have sent him. Shall we keep himwith us always, mother ?" " No, mydears," said the woman; "but he is introuble, so we must try to comfort him."She then explained to her husband,
30 MURIEL'S DREAMLAND.and he was glad she had brought himhome. Little Willie soon began tolaugh with the rest, for, being good-hearted children, they all tried to makehim happy.In the meantime, the mother went intothe next room, and gently approached asmall bed, where lay almost the shadowof a little girl, with brown eyes wideopen, but without the light of reason."Ah !" she sighed, " could my prettyAnnie have enjoyed this day, I shouldbe perfectly happy; but, alas! there isno hope of that." The poor little thing,who was the pet of the family, had beenplaying in the street some weeks before,
MURIEL'S DREAMLAND. 31when a heavy weight had fallen upon herhead, and left her insensible. She hadremained in that state since, and theybegan to despair of her ever recoveringher reason. After giving her sick childsome broth, the mother busied herselfabout preparing the dinner, setting eachof the children to do something; evenlittle Willie was put on a stool by thefire to watch that the meat did not burn.At length the grand meal was prepared;all noisily took their places round thetable. The highest chair was chosen forWillie, to make him look more important;and his pretty chubby face and arms, and-soft wavy hair, were duly admired by therough, yet generous, children around.
32 MURIEL'S DREAMLAND.The father asked a blessing, and couldthe kind master who gave the meal havelooked in at that moment, he would in-deed have been amply rewarded.Silverbelle, who had been hoveringabout watching the happy party, nowleft them, and entered the next room.Resting at the head of the bed, shewaved her wings gently over the sickchild until ler staring eyes graduallyclosed, as if in a refreshing slumber.Then, taking her precious bottle, she leta drop fall on little Annie's head, andwaited for the effect.Justice had been done to the beef, the
V soS ILER L S C' h "['i.,,"'I
MURIEL'S DREAMLAND. 33plum-pudding had almost disappeared,and all were resting after their unusuallabours, when a faint cry of "Mother!"was heard distinctly through the opendoorway. They looked at each other indoubt for a moment, and then the mother,with a cry of " My child! my child !"rushed into the room.There was little Annie, wan andweak indeed, but conscious, holding outher arms as she used to do. All theothers crowded into the room, breathlesswith hope, and found, indeed, theirdarling was restored to them, and wasable to ask, in whispering tones, whathad been the matter with her, and toD
34 MURIEL'S DREAMLAND.tell them she had dreamed that a beau-tiful fairy, with large wings and silverhair, had rocked her to sleep.How happy were they all now, de-claring that Willie had brought goodfortune, and kissing him again andagain.Annie soon fell asleep, and all thefamily, full of thankfulness, were sittinground the kitchen fire, speaking softly,fearing to awake her, when a gentle tapcame at the outer door. It was opened,and a pretty-looking lady walked in, richlydressed, although in deep mourning, andimmediately perceiving Willie, she clasped
MURIEL'S DREAMLAND. 35him in her arms, and exclaimed, withemotion, " My dead sister's child! Hence-forth, for her sake, you shall be mine."Then, turning to the father and mother,she said : "My good friends, I see youhave had compassion upon the orphan.Your own kind hearts will reward you.I have come many miles to fetch thisdear child, so that he must now bid youfarewell; but when next he comes toEngland he shall not forget to visit hiskind friends." -Little Willie was kissed so much insaying good-bye that he almost lost hisbreath. The lady, as she went out atthe door, pressed the mother's hand, and
36 MURIEL'S DREAMLAND.upon opening it she found a bank-notewas left there.Thus Silverbelle and Willie broughtmany blessings to that poor home, andfor years after they talked of the wonder-fully lucky Christmas.~ciI -- ;-- -H----
MURIEL'S DREAMLAND. 37CHAPTER III.Dark crime we look with shudd'ring dreadWhere thou thy evil wings hast spread,And flee, away.OLDENCREST sought thehaunts of vice, where the evilSprites were most active, for his heartwas brave, and he loved to strugglesingle-handed against a host. Manytimes during the day, when these evilones had taken possession of a poormortal, Goldencrest would rush in amongthem, and with fierce blows would chase
3 8 MURIEL'S DREAMLAND.them away, and pour his healing balmupon the troubled head. He made hisway this Christmas Day into the loweststreets of a crowded town, where menand women were drinking together, anddreadful scenes met the eye at everycorner. The air about this part was blackwith Sprites, who were wheeling roundand round in frantic joy at causing somuch evil; and they revelled in sin andsuffering. When Goldencrest came amongthem they would have attacked him hadthey dared; but they knew his sword wassharp and powerful, and his courage great.So he poured many silver drops around,and every time one fell the Sprites howledwith rage, so that mortals thought it was a
MURIEL'S DREAMLAND. 39wild and stormy night. At length heentered a low tavern, where a dozendegraded men were assembled round abroken table playing cards. All werefierce, bad men, eager for gain, ready tocommit any crime to secure the dirtycoin which was passed about. Two ofthe number particularly arrested Golden-crest's attention. They were playing to-gether a little apart. One was a large,coarse, brutal-looking man; the other,though marked by vice, had handsomefeatures, and seemed as if he might havebeen turned to better things. The largeman was called Bertram, the smallerStephen. Bertram was evidently winninggreatly, and every time he secured an-
40 MURIEL'S DREAMLAND.other coin he. gave a loud and insultinglaugh, which roused the other almost tomadness. At length, with trembling hand,Stephen's last shilling was laid upon thetable, and, like the rest, it passed into hisadversary's pocket. Then his rage couldbe withheld no longer, and he exclaimed,in passionate tones, " Cheat and villain !I will have revenge !" In a moment Ber-tram's fist was in his face, and he wentreeling against the wall. Then theSprites danced and whirled around, andwere so strong that Goldencrest couldnot, with all his efforts, approach. Theman who had been struck leaned againstthe wall, sick and giddy from the force ofthe blow; while Bertram, laughing loudly,
M/URIEL'S DREAMLAND. 41left him, well satisfied with his evening'sgains.After a few moments passed in jeeringStephen, the other men, who had startedup on hearing the noise, resumed theirplay, while he sat in a corner, with hisbruised face upon his hands, broodingover the insult and his losses, andplanning revenge.The evening wore away, but still henever moved; one by one the men reeledout into the winter's night, until some half-dozen only were left, who, folding theirarms on the table, and letting their heavyheads fall upon them, gradually dropped
42 MURIEL'S DREAMLAND.asleep. Among these was Bertram, allunconscious of the doom so near. Stephen,from his dark corner, watched him witheager eyes, whose fierce light was terribleto behold. All that was good had diedout of his face, and the evil alone wasleft. Now did the Sprites keep strictwatch over him that Goldencrest shouldnot approach; they thought he was theirsfor ever, and Goldencrest's wings drooped,for he feared he should have to tellSilverbelle and Muriel a sad tale of howhis time had that night been wasted.Patiently did Stephen wait, with clenchedhands and frowning brows, watching everymovement of Bertram. At length allwas still, save the heavy breathing of the
MURIEL'S DREAMLAND. 43sleeping men and the rustling of theSprites' wings, which sounded like raindashing against the window-panes.Half-an-hour went by, and still nomovement from Stephen. The Spritesgot impatient, and Goldencrest began tohope, when, stealthily, his hand crept toa large knife lying upon the table. Hegrasped it; and slowly, softly, he stoleto the sleeping Bertram; then strong andfierce was the battle between Goldencrestand the Sprites. Sometimes he wouldadvance a little way, when they wouldrush upon him in a body and thrust himto the other side of the room. Stephenhad reached the sleeping man; his arm
44 MURIEL'S DREAMLAND.was raised to strike, and the terrible knifegleamed in the air, when Goldencrest,faint and exhausted, with a last effort,dashed the Fairy bottle with all his forceacross the room. The whole of its con-tents fell full in the face of Stephen. Likelightning the knife dropped from his hand,and, with a wild look, he cried, "Am Imad? Oh, father! oh, mother !" andrushed with frantic haste from the house.The Sprites gave a long howl of rageand disappointment, which fell upon theears of the sleeping men like the roarof a tempest, some of whom raised theirheads for a moment, and muttered, " Whata terrible storm."
MURIEL'S DREAMLAND. 45Out into the wild night fled the con-science-stricken man, the snow beatingupon his bare head, and the wind liftingthe tangled hair from his heated brow.On, on, he rushed, sighing, groaning, andat times flinging his arms wildly in theair, so that the few passengers he metstared wonderingly after him until hewas out of sight.In a small but pleasant house, on thatsame night, sat an old man and woman.The room was cheerfully furnished; abright fire burned in the grate; and itwas evident by the comforts around thatpoverty was not the cause of the troublestamped upon the brows of both. A
46 MURIEL'S DREAMLAND.weary, care-worn look was in each face,as if the happiness of life had departed.Alas! such was really the case. Theyhad married late in life, and an onlychild had been born to them, upon whomthey lavished all the wealth of their affec-tion, indulging him in every whim, andfoolishly sacrificing all their own wishesto gratify his. He was a beautiful andwinning child, and for a time his wilfulnature and bursts of passion were soothedand passed over; but as his years in-creased, friends began to shake theirheads and foretell trouble to the foolishparents, who never denied anything totheir spoilt child. As he arrived at man-hood, their fears were more than realized;
tMURIEL'S DREAMLAND. 47he became a selfish, passionate man, andwas then led into bad company, where hes6on learned to drink and gamble, whilehis heartbroken parents had no power torestrain him. Thus he went on frombad to worse, in idleness and sin, untilthe mild temper of his father was rousedagainst him, and frequent quarrels arose.One night the old man, tried beyond allendurance, forbade him the house, andtold him never to return until he couldcome in a humble spirit, asking forgive-ness. Then the son, laughing loudly,declared that never should he be broughtso low; and heedless of his mother'stears and entreaties, he dashed from thehouse.
48 MURIEL'S DREAMLAND.Four years had now elapsed, and notidings had arrived of the prodigal-fourweary years of bitter grief to those fondparents, whose hearts were bound up intheir son. Every means had been usedto find him, but all in vain; and theirheads had become white, and their facesworn with care. They sat now, thisChristmas night, listlessly looking intothe fire, and thinking-ah! how sadly-of their absent son." He must be dead," sighed the poormother, "or he would never let anotherChristmas pass without coming: he wouldsurely remember how we ever strove tomake him enjoy this day." "Alas!" said
MURIEL'S DREAMLAND. 49the father, "that I should ever have senthim away; better, a thousand times, tohave endured anything, than that heshould go into the world, with no oneto advise or comfort him."Thus did this poor old couple bewailand mourn over their ungrateful son,blaming themselves instead of him, andstill willing to sacrifice all for his sake.Thus they remained, relating anecdotesof his childhood, praising his beauty, andnever wearying of repeating his name,until midnight had passed; and still theylingered by the fireside. Suddenly aviolent knocking at the street door re-sounded through the house. The old
50 MURIEL'S DREAMLAND.people started from their seats, and,always thinking of the same subject,murmured, "Can it be he ?" Taking acandle from the table, they went withbeating hearts-.,'to the door. Keepingthe chaiq up, the old man asked, "Whois there ?" Then, in well-known accents,came the words, " Father! mother!receive once more your penitent son;forgive and bless him." Wildly did theparents unfasten the chain, and, sobbingwith eager joy, they clasped him faintingin their arms./<-1 ^*-s^^
MURIEL'S DREAMLAND. 5CHAPTER IV.The waves dash high, the spirit of the stormIs now abroad, his wild, black formHurling destruction.QUR pretty Muriel felt lonely andtimid on first parting fromGoldencrest and Silverbelle; but thehope of doing good gave her courage,and for many miles she flew quicklythrough the bright clear air, merrilysinging, ere the bleak, wintry trees ofthe earth met her view, their myriads ofweird arms, tipped with snow, stretching
52 MURIEL'S DREAMLAND.into the cold gray sky. Then the leaf-less branches recalled to her mind thetroubles of mortals struggling againstpoverty, sickness, and hunger. Her ten-der heart became sad, and, clasping stillcloser her tiny bottle, she thought that,even without the aid of kindly Fairiesand the precious Silver Rain, if all whohad the power did some good on thisholy day, how great would be the change.Thus musing, she proceeded until smokerising from some distant trees led her toa large city on the sea-coast. There finemansions, containing every luxury, stoodalmost side by side with miserable hovels,where want and care stalked hand in handamong the people. Many Fairies were
MURIEL'S DREAMLAND. 53seeking, like herself, to cheer them, oft-times alighting on the children's cradles,kissing their rosy lips, smoothing theirgolden hair, and whispering merry dreamsinto their baby ears. At others, hoveringover the arm-chairs of the aged, tellingof peace beyond the grave, and rest fromevery care.Passing on her way, Muriel was soonattracted by the slight figure of a girlsitting on a door-step in a weary attitude,a basket of oranges by her side. Longdark hair fell upon her shoulders, and theanxious look in her soft brown eyes waspiteous to behold. A lady was alsoobserving her from a window with greati \
54 MURIEL'S DREAMLAND.interest. In a few moments a servantcame to the door with some pence anda piece of cake. The child took themthankfully, but, instead of eating thecake, as was natural, she carefully put itinto her pocket, and running eagerly toa baker's shop, purchased a small loaf,and hastened away.Muriel followed her into a room atthe top of a wretched house, where apretty baby, about three years old, satshivering by an empty grate. It waswrapped in clean, but miserably poor,clothing, while a little bell seemed itsonly amusement. The girl rushed intothe room, exclaiming, " Darling Tiny, see
MURIEV'S DREAMLAND. 55what sissy has brought !" and placed thecake in the child's hands without keep-ing a morsel for herself; then, after kiss-ing the pretty face almost passionately,she sat upon the floor eagerly devouringher bread. The little one laughed withdelight until the cake was finished, whenshe complained of being cold, and beggedto be taken in her sister's arms, whofolded her lovingly in her own raggedshawl, and, nestling together, they bothfell asleep, all their troubles for themoment forgotten.With the exception of a broken tableand chair, there was not a vestige of fur-niture in the room. No toys; no comforts;
56 MURIEL'S DREAMLAND.not even a bed: but it contained some-thing far more priceless than all these-which we might seek in vain in manypalaces a truly unselfish heart thisstarving child of fourteen gathering herbaby sister so tenderly to her lovingheart. What gems-what riches-couldbe weighed with this and not foundwanting ? They were the children of asailor, who left them at this seaport townabout two years before, with an ailingmother, expecting to return in a fewmonths ; but storms arose that madeevery sailor's wife tremble, and soon newsarrived that the ship was wrecked, and allon board had perished. The sickly wifehad no strength to bear up against these
... '.14\~~~~ ,: i .. lll 6i..... ..... .! OTH.ERLESS.
"MURIEL'S DREAMLAND. 57terrible tidings. For a few weeks shesat silently by the window looking outupon the sea, a little needlework in herhand, too heartbroken to do much; fromtime to time lifting her weary head towatch the rolling waves, frequently heav-ing deep sighs, especially when vesselsarrived. The eldest girl nursed herquietly and tenderly, taking charge en-tirely of the baby; but she droopedrapidly; and one evening, when the littlenurse came home, the usual wan smileof greeting was not given, and, hasten-ing to her mother's side, she found hereyes still fixed upon the broad ocean, butall her sorrows at an end, and only thedesolate children were now to be pitied.
58 MURIEL'S DREAMLAND.The brave-hearted child struggled againsther own grief, knowing that she alonemust support them both for the future.Who shall tell of the fears that dailymade that young heart tremble as eachmorning she left the dreary place shecalled home, uncertain whether the fewpence necessary for existence would beearned ? Or, as she lay each night, wearyand footsore, by her baby-sister's side, howmuch dearer it became for the very effortsshe made for its support ? But the childhad a face that helped her: innocenceand truth were written there; and.many a passer-by, struck with the fairpage, turned back to give her moneyand a few kindly words.
MURIEL'S DREAMLAND. 59But the sailor-father was not dead, andhelp was near for these children. He hadstarted on his voyage, after bidding hisdelicate wife adieu, with the hope of pro-motion in a few months, leaving his littlestore of money with her, and cheeringthe last moments they were together bydwelling on the comforts they would beable to enjoy on his return.For some weeks all went smoothly;but gradually the wind arose, andsuch a fearful storm raged for twodays and nights that the oldest sailorson the vessel declared they had neverseen its like. The captain was abrave fellow, and even when he knew
60 MURIEL'S DREAMLAND.the ship was sinking and all hopegone, gallantly gave his orders with un-faltering voice, and kept the crew fromdespair until the last moment. But fatewas too much for him. Amidst the flash-ing lightning and deafening thunder, withthe rolling billows dashing mountains high,down sank the good ship "Arabian," torise no more.For a few moments the vivid light-ning flashed upon a hundred upturnedfaces in all the agonies of a suddendeath ; in another moment the vividlightning still flashed, but the faces wereno more, the wide ocean had engulfedthem. One only had- strength to battle_ __ ____________________
MURIEL'S DREAMLAND. 61with the giant waves. His presence ofmind had enabled him to -look aroundand to discover something that loomedlike rocks ahead. In that dreadful mo-ment a blanched face also appeared byhis side. It was that of the good captain,and he determined to make every effort tosave him as well as himself. Seizing thenow lifeless form by the hair, he battledfiercely with the terrible waves, feelingsure, if he could reach the spot that hadbeen revealed to him by the gleaminglightning, they would both be safe forthe time.By great good fortune, just as allhope was leaving him, a wave lifted
62 MURIEL'S DREAMLAND.them far on high, and in descendingthey were dashed violently against somehard substance. He clung to it with des-perate tenacity, and held on firmly. Waveafter wave rolled over him, but yet heclung, until a lull in the storm gave himan opportunity of looking around. Thelightning was still his friend, and revealedfurther on many rocks piled around, show-ing that land had been gained. Afterresting for awhile, he made another effortto push forward, and succeeded with des-perate exertion in reaching dry land. Fora moment he sank exhausted and faintingon the sand; but his brave heart wouldnot allow him to give way when a fellow-creature's life depended on his exertions.
MURIEL'S DREAMLAND. 63He was shocked, on examining his com-panion, to find him terribly disfigured bycontact with the rocks, and for a long timehe despaired of restoring animation. Butwarmth and life at last returned, and thetwo bruised and desolate men stood inawful solitude, in the black midnight, theonly survivors of the wreck. It seemedas if the elements had worn themselvesout in the last burst that sent the doomedship to destruction, for soon after theraging storm subsided, and the moonshone forth with startling brilliancy, dis-closing masses of rolling clouds piled oneupon the other in awful grandeur. Thetwo men were overwhelmed with conflict--ing emotions: thankfulness for their own
64 MURIEL'S DREAMLAND.preservation, grief for the fate of theircompanions, and fears for the future.They waited patiently until the red sunarose from its ocean bed, when theywandered inland to explore the country.They found it totally uninhabited, andtheir only hope was to obtain the noticeof some passing ship.For many weeks they subsisted onwild fruits and herbs, keeping a sharplook-out all day over the sea. Atlength a large vessel hove in sight, and,with strained eyes and trembling hearts,the half-starved men sought with franticefforts to attract her attention. They suc-ceeded beyond their expectations, and a
MURIEL'S DREAMLAND. 65boat was put off to rescue them. Thehonest sailors showed the greatest kind-ness; but the vessel was bound for China,and they were compelled to make the longvoyage, so that many months elapsed be-fore they could start on their homewardjourney.The captain was a rich man, and,in gratitude for the preservation ofhis life, settled a pension on his bravepreserver, so that he arrived this veryChristmas morning a happy man indeed,but for the fears about his wife's health,which he could not shake off. Hasteningto the lodging where he had left her, hethere heard the sad tidings, and wasF
66 MURIEL'S DREAMLAND.directed to the attic, in which his twochildren were now lying fast asleep uponthe hard floor. In a few moments heheld them passionately to his manlybreast; but sobs that arose for hisdead wife choked all words, and,burying his head in his hands, heseemed totally unable to control hisgrief.Muriel, looking on at this moment,hastened to pour the healing balm uponhis brow. Soon calmer thoughts arose.His eldest daughter, with fond caresses,spoke to him in soothing tones, placingthe pretty baby in his arms. As themagic rain took effect, something seemed
MURIEL'S DREAMLAND. 67to whisper to his bruised heart of theblessings he still possessed in thesedear children; of the privations theymust have endured without the aid offather or mother, and his capability nowof supplying all their wants. A feel-ing of resignation, after a time, cameover him; he listened to his child'saccount of her mother's calm death,and, sitting with his arms around them,determined to devote his future life totheir welfare, as she would have done.______________.~~~~ -- ----- --------------
68 MURIEL'S DREAMLAND.CHAPTER V.Oh send not from thy heart this nightSoft Mercy, in her robes of white,Knocking for entrance.URIEL felt it hard to tear her-self from these children, whohad interested her so deeply; but, eagerto try still further the virtues of theprecious silver rain, she flew in thedirection of her beloved mountains,whose giant heads were covered withsnow. Having far to travel, she waslate in arriving. The setting sun threw a
MURIEL'S DREAMLAND. 69red glory upon the distant peaks, makingthem look like white-haired kings, withjewelled crowns upon their hoary heads.Deep, deep into the valley flew Muriel.A rushing torrent dashed among thegray and mossy stones, and the sterntrees lifted their leafless branches intothe red and golden sky. As Murielgazed she felt that, after all her dreams,Fairyland was not so beautiful as this.She proceeded to a house of some size,near her own home, where dwelt an oldman who was sadly in want of somesoftening influence to melt his unfor-giving heart. As Muriel entered atthe door she paused to look at this
70 MURIEL'S DREAMLAND.hardened man, and, knowing his history,feared that the drops she held in herhand would not be powerful enoughfor the purpose. Long gray hair wasfalling about his shoulders, and hiscold blue eyes were looking intently inthe fire. Thus he remained motionless,while Muriel thought over what shehad heard of his past life. There was,no sign of rejoicing about the place,no holly upon the walls, no happy facesround the fire, only this stony-heartedold man, resolving never to relent.He had married when young a beauti-ful girl of a delicate and timid nature.He was harsh and stern, and she soon
MURIEL'S DREAMLAND. 71went to her quiet grave without regret,except at leaving a little daughter onearth, with no friend but her sternfather, who, she well knew, never for-gave a fault. On her death-bed shecalled him to her side, and beggedhim to be gentle to the little one.With many tears and prayers sheasked him, should his child ever greatlyoffend him, for her sake, to be for-giving, and to remember that she hadno mother's love to bless and guideher. He promised all she desired, for,although he had never been a kindhusband, he still loved, and was grievedat losing her. Alas! how had he kepthis promise? That child, so fondly
72 MURIELS DREAMLAND.cherished by his dead wife, was now,with her helpless babes, on this bitterChristmas night, in one of his barns,perishing with cold and hunger; andthe stern old man was sitting at hiscomfortable fire, shutting out all pityfrom his heart.The child had lived alone with herfather, fearing yet loving him, untilwomanhood. She was always gentleand obedient, and he showed moreaffection for her than he had ever donefor any other human being. All wentsmoothly until a stranger gained herlove, and sought her for a wife; thenthe father took a strong dislike to her
MURIEL'S DREAMLAND. 73lover, selfishly wishing to keep heralways with him. His obstinate natureappeared, and he declared they shouldnever marry. For years they waited,hoping he would relent, but in vain.At last they married and came tothrow themselves at his feet, feelingsure he would soon forgive them. Theylittle knew his heart. He cast themfrom him with threats and curses; andalthough ten years had passed, he hadnot shown the least sign of relenting.They left for a distant land, and hisdaughter never wearied of writing, fromtime to time sending long and lovingletters, begging for a single line in re-turn. But the stern man threw all her
74 MURIEL'S DREAMLAND.letters into the fire without reading somuch as a word. Ten years they wereunited, and three children were born tothem, when' a terrible accident deprivedthe husband of life in a moment, andleft the wife and children penniless.What could she then do but returnto him who was still dearly loved?She wrote to tell him of her misfortune,and determination to return home if shehad no line from him. She little thoughtthat this letter shared the fate of somany others, and was flung pitilesslyunopened into the fire. Not hearingfrom him, she concluded he would receiveher, and started with her children for hermountain home, so fondly remembered
MURIEL'S DREAMLAND. 75during her absence. Three days agoshe arrived, and with a wildly beatingheart and trembling steps hastened toher father's door; but he would notsee her face. And she heard him, ina loud, harsh voice bid the servant drivethat strange woman from the door, forhe had no daughter."Father, father," she screamed, "havemercy; I am a widow, and cannot givemy children bread." But the only answerhe returned was, "I have no daughter;drive her away." Oh! what anguishwrung her heart, what tears of agonyfell from her eyes as she looked uponher helpless infants! The servants wept
76 MURIEL'S DREAMLAND.for her, but dared not let her remain;and having no other home, she tookshelter in one of her father's barns,where, shivering with cold, and almoststarving, they had remained for threeweary days, the servants bringing themwhat food they dared, and denyingthemselves to feed them: thus werethey spending Christmas Day, whenMuriel stood in the doorway. Afterpausing for some moments, thinkingwith sorrow of these things, she advancedto the old man, and gently pouredsome drops upon his brow, still doubtingif he could relent; but the all-powerfulwater from the silver fountain wascapable of working even this miracle,
MURIEL'S DREAMLAND. 77for as it fell a vision seemed to risebefore him. He saw as in a dream hisdying wife, with her wan face andclasped hands, eagerly imploring himto be merciful to their only child; hesaw himself (then a young man) weep-ing bitterly, and promising in brokenaccents all she desired, even swearingthat he would be gentle and forgiving,remembering she had no mother andno friend on earth but himself. Hehid his face with his hands; but stillthe vision rose before him-still hisyoung wife's dying eyes were fixed uponhis, and he saw her thin white handsraised entreatingly. He tried to leavehis chair; but some spell seemed to
78 MURIEL'S DREAMLAND.hold him, while dreadful fears cameinto his mind, that at the great dayno mercy would be shown for his sins.A trembling seized his limbs, large dropsstood upon his brow, for the eager,mournful face was still there. At length,with a powerful effort, he turned hishead from the vision, only to seeanother even more wonderful, for stand-ing by his side was what seemed tohim his own child-his little Ada-justas she stood by her dying mother'sbed. She raised her timid eyes to hisface, and softly said, " Grandfather,'blessed are the merciful for they shallobtain mercy.'" Then he awoke fromhis trance, the vision disappeared, and
MURIEL'S DREAMLAND. 79he knew that the sweet infant by hisside was Ada's child, and not his own.Tears of repentance rained down hisfurrowed cheeks; he clasped the littleone in his arms, and said, bitterly,"Child, I do not deserve mercy, for Ihave greatly sinned; let us find thymother."Muriel had left the old man andsought the barn where his helplessdaughter was lying. She had whisperedcomfort into her ear, and urged her tosend the youngest child (so like herself)to seek her grandfather, teaching herwhat words to repeat. Persuading oneof the servants to put her gently into his
80 MURIEL'S DREAMLAND.room, the child crept unobserved to hergrandfather's side, and thus, with Muriel'sunseen guidance, appeared to him atthe right moment. She now put herlittle hand confidingly in his, and ledhim to the barn, where his only childhad taken shelter, telling him on theway how cold and hungry they were,and how dear mamma was crying allday long, and striving to keep themwarm. " But why," said the little one,"don't you take us into your nice, warmhouse, grandpapa, where we could feelthe fire as well as you ?"Was it only the wintry wind thatmade the old man tremble, and turn
Att.Jr-THE DISCARDED FAMILY.