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O, Brothers Grimm; O, Madame D'Anois,
O, Sultana Scheherazade and Princess
Codadad, why did you die? O, Merlin, Albertus
Magnus, Friar Bacon, Nostradamus, Doctor
Dee, why did I implicitly believe in your
magic; and then have my confidence utterly
abused by Davy, Brewster, Liebig, Faraday,
Lord Brougham and Dr. Bachhoffner of
the Polytechnic Institution? What have I
done that all the gold and jewels and flowers
of Fairyland should have been ground in a
base mechanical mill and kneaded by you
ruthless unimaginative philosophersinto
Household Bread of Useful Knowledge
administered to me in tough slices at lectures
and forced down my throat by convincing
experiments? Are the Good People, the
Brownies, the Leprechauns, the Banshees,
the Witchwolves, White Ladies, Witches,
Pixies, Wilis, Giants, Ogres, Fairy
godmothers, Good Women in the Wood, Genii,
Ghoules, Afrites, Peris, Elves, to give up
the ghost; and am I to be deprived of all the
delicious imaginings of my childhood and
have nothing in their stead?

"By no means," answers a burly Djin in
a white hat and a frock coat with a huge lily
in the button-hole, "Come with me, and I will
conjure for you, by the aid of my crystal (a
million times bigger and clearer than the
crystal of Raphael the astrologer), a fairy
palace with fairy terraces, and fairy gardens,
and fairy fountains, compared to which the
palace of Sardanapalus was a hovel, and the
gardens of the Hesperides a howling waste.
You shall see, through my crystal, so far into
the past, that the retrospection shall not end
until the world before the flood is revealed
to you, with the fat, slimy, scaly monsters
which then had life upon it. You shall be
made as well acquainted with an Egyptian
tomb as you are with St. Clement's churchyard,
and shall wander into the cella of a
Nubian temple as familiarly as you would
enter your own parish church. You shall
sit awe-struck on the steps of an Assyrian
palace; you shall draw hard breath in a
Grecian temple; you shall slake your thirst
at the fountain in a Byzantine court; you
shall tread on the prayer-carpet in a Moorish
mosque; you shall wag your beard in the
hall of a Mediæval castle; and you shall
be hospitably entertained in a Pompeian
house. You shall see, in their habits as
they were, the heroes and sages of all time,
and the Art of all time and the skill of all
nations. You shall be transported in one
minute from this, your native cold and wet, to
the warm and spicy airs of the tropics; and,
in one step, you shall exchange your own
hedge thorn and stunted herbage for the
gigantic palms and rich grasses of the East.
You shall range over the earth's surface
and cull the choicest trees and fruits and
flowers; you shall behold the lion in his
native lair and the tiger in his jungle. Only
look through my crystal long enough; and,
beginning as ignorant as a Hottentot, you
shall end wiser a hundred fold than Solon.

The magician is right; but as Beauty's
chamber was guarded by griffins, and all
enchanted castles are defended by dragons, so
is Fairyland guarded by gnomes; blue, and
uncompromising. One occupies a little crypt
on either side of the door by which visitors
are admitted to Fairyland in Crystal. To
judge from the costumes of these gnomes you
would take them to be plain constables of the
Metropolitan Police; but, my word for it,
they have all the gnomical etceteras beneath
their uniform and oilskin. The entrance to
Fairyland is not effected by rubbing a lamp,
or clapping the hands three times, or by
exclaiming "Open Sesame;" but, as a
concession to the non-magical tendencies of some
of the visitors, a commutation is accepted in
the shape of five shillings current money of
the realm. These may be paid in the very
palpable and business-like shape of two half
crowns; but you may be sure they no sooner
enter the exchequer of Fairyland than they
change into dry leaves. In a like spirit of
concession to mundane prejudices, you undergo
a ceremony, apparently that of signing your
name in a book; but which is doubtless the
preliminary for having your horoscope cast.
So also you are presented with a document
ostensibly resembling a pass-check, but
which is a talisman of the Abracadabraic
description; for the moment you receive it,
you find yourself framed and glazed in the
very middle of the great magic crystal.

Don't look about youdon't seek to

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