gratify her. Indeed, I had nearly decided that I would ask a similar gift."
"Have you altered your mind, then?'' interrupted the fairy.
"Yes, indeed, madam," replied Sylvia; "and I will tell you why. The longer I stayed the more I saw that Cynthia was not really happy. In her desire to please every one she ceased to be sincere and degenerated into a mere coquette; and even her lovers felt that the charms and fascinations which were exercised upon all who approached her without distinction were valueless, so that in the end they ceased to care for them and went away disdainfully."
"I am pleased with you, child," said the fairy. "Enjoy vourself here for awhile and presently you shall go to Phyllida."
Sylvia was glad to have leisure to think, for she could not make up her mind at all what she should ask for herself, and the time was drawing very near. However, before very long the fairy sent her to Phyllida and waited for her report with unabated interest.
"I reached her court safely," said Sylvia, "and she received me with much kindness, and immediately began to exercise upon me that brilliant wit which you had bestowed upon her. I confess that I was fascinated by it, and for a week thought that nothing could be more desirable. The time passed like magic, so great was the charm of her society. But I ended by ceasing to covet that gift more than any of the others I have seen, for, like the gift of pleasing, it cannot really give satisfaction. By degrees I wearied of what had so delighted me at first, especially as I perceived more and more plainly that it is impossible to be constantly smart and amusing without being frequently ill-natured, and too apt to turn all things, even the most serious, into mere occasions for a brilliant jest."
The fairy in her heart agreed with Sylvia's conclusions and felt pleased with herself for having brought her up to well.
But now the time was come for Sylvia to receive her gift, and all her companions were assembled. The fairy stood in the midst and in the usual manner asked what she would take with her into the great world.
Sylvia paused for a moment and then answered: "A quiet spirit." And the fairy granted her request.