Wild Wales
by George Borrow
Hypertext Meanings and Commentaries
from the Encyclopedia of the Self
by Mark Zimmerman
Go to Part 2 of 2

Wild Wales: Its People, Language and Scenery


George Borrow


WALES is a country interesting in many respects, and deserving of
more attention than it has hitherto met with. Though not very
extensive, it is one of the most picturesque countries in the
world, a country in which Nature displays herself in her wildest,
boldest, and occasionally loveliest forms. The inhabitants, who
speak an ancient and peculiar language, do not call this region
Wales, nor themselves Welsh. They call themselves Cymry or Cumry,
and their country Cymru, or the land of the Cumry. Wales or
Wallia, however, is the true, proper, and without doubt original
name, as it relates not to any particular race, which at present
inhabits it, or may have sojourned in it at any long bygone period,
but to the country itself. Wales signifies a land of mountains, of
vales, of dingles, chasms, and springs. It is connected with the
Cumbric bal, a protuberance, a springing forth; with the Celtic
beul or beal, a mouth; with the old English welle, a fountain; with
the original name of Italy, still called by the Germans Welschland;
with Balkan and Vulcan, both of which signify a casting out, an
eruption; with Welint or Wayland, the name of the Anglo-Saxon god
of the forge; with the Chaldee val, a forest, and the German wald;
with the English bluff, and the Sanscrit palava - startling
assertions, no doubt, at least to some; which are, however, quite
true, and which at some future time will be universally
acknowledged so to be.

But it is not for its scenery alone that Wales is deserving of
being visited; scenery soon palls unless it is associated with
remarkable events, and the names of remarkable men. Perhaps there
is no country in the whole world which has been the scene of events
more stirring and remarkable than those recorded in the history of
Wales. What other country has been the scene of a struggle so
deadly, so embittered, and protracted as that between the Cumro and
the Saxon? - A struggle which did not terminate at Caernarvon, when
Edward Longshanks foisted his young son upon the Welsh chieftains
as Prince of Wales; but was kept up till the battle of Bosworth
Field, when a prince of Cumric blood won the crown of fair Britain,
verifying the olden word which had cheered the hearts of the
Ancient Britons for at least a thousand years, even in times of the
darkest distress and gloom:-

"But after long pain
Repose we shall obtain,
When sway barbaric has purg'd us clean;
And Britons shall regain
Their crown and their domain,
And the foreign oppressor be no more seen."

Of remarkable men Wales has assuredly produced its full share.
First, to speak of men of action:- there was Madoc, the son of
Owain Gwynedd, who discovered America, centuries before Columbus
was born; then there was "the irregular and wild Glendower," who
turned rebel at the age of sixty, was crowned King of Wales at
Machynlleth, and for fourteen years contrived to hold his own
against the whole power of England; then there was Ryce Ap Thomas,
the best soldier of his time, whose hands placed the British crown
on the brow of Henry the Seventh, and whom bluff Henry the Eighth
delighted to call Father Preece; then there was - who? - why Harry
Morgan, who led those tremendous fellows the Buccaneers across the
Isthmus of Darien to the sack and burning of Panama.

What, a buccaneer in the list? Ay! and why not? Morgan was a
scourge, it is true, but he was a scourge of God on the cruel
Spaniards of the New World, the merciless task-masters and butchers
of the Indian race: on which account God favoured and prospered
him, permitting him to attain the noble age of ninety, and to die
peacefully and tranquilly at Jamaica, whilst smoking his pipe in
his shady arbour, with his smiling plantation of sugar-canes full
in view. How unlike the fate of Harry Morgan to that of Lolonois,
a being as daring and enterprising as the Welshman, but a monster
without ruth or discrimination, terrible to friend and foe, who
perished by the hands, not of the Spaniards, but of the Indians,
who tore him limb from limb, burning his members, yet quivering, in
the fire - which very Indians Morgan contrived to make his own firm
friends, and whose difficult language he spoke with the same
facility as English, Spanish, and his own South Welsh.

For men of genius Wales during a long period was particularly
celebrated. - Who has not heard of the Welsh Bards? though it is
true that, beyond the borders of Wales, only a very few are
acquainted with their songs, owing to the language, by no means an
easy one, in which they were composed. Honour to them all!
everlasting glory to the three greatest - Taliesin, Ab Gwilym and
Gronwy Owen: the first a professed Christian, but in reality a
Druid, whose poems fling great light on the doctrines of the
primitive priesthood of Europe, which correspond remarkably with
the philosophy of the Hindus, before the time of Brahma: the
second the grand poet of Nature, the contemporary of Chaucer, but
worth half a dozen of the accomplished word-master, the ingenious
versifier of Norman and Italian tales: the third a learned and
irreproachable minister of the Church of England, and one of the
greatest poets of the last century, who after several narrow
escapes from starvation both in England and Wales, died master of a
paltry school at New Brunswick, in North America, sometime about
the year 1780.

But Wales has something besides its wonderful scenery, its eventful
history, and its illustrious men of yore to interest the visitor.
Wales has a population, and a remarkable one. There are countries,
besides Wales, abounding with noble scenery, rich in eventful
histories, and which are not sparingly dotted with the birthplaces
of heroes and poets, in which at the present day there is either no
population at all, or one of a character which is anything but
attractive. Of a country in the first predicament, the Scottish
Highlands afford an example: What a country is that Highland
region! What scenery! and what associations! If Wales has its
Snowdon and Cader Idris, the Highlands have their Hill of the Water
Dogs, and that of the Swarthy Swine: If Wales has a history, so
have the Highlands - not indeed so remarkable as that of Wales, but
eventful enough: If Wales has had its heroes, its Glendower and
Father Pryce, the Highlands have had their Evan Cameron and Ranald
of Moydart; If Wales has had its romantic characters, its Griffith
Ap Nicholas and Harry Morgan, the Highlands have had Rob Roy and
that strange fellow Donald Macleod, the man of the broadsword, the
leader of the Freacadan Dhu, who at Fontenoy caused, the Lord only
knows, how many Frenchmen's heads to fly off their shoulders, who
lived to the age of one hundred and seven, and at seventy-one
performed gallant service on the Heights of Abraham: wrapped in
whose plaid the dying Wolfe was carried from the hill of victory. -
If Wales has been a land of song, have not the Highlands also? - If
Wales can boast of Ab Gwilym and Gronwy, the Highlands can boast of
Ossian and MacIntyre. In many respects the two regions are equals
or nearly so; - In one respect, however, a matter of the present
day, and a very important matter too, they are anything but equals:
Wales has a population - but where is that of the Highlands? -
Plenty of noble scene; Plenty of delightful associations,
historical, poetical, and romantic - but, but, where is the

The population of Wales has not departed across the Atlantic, like
that of the Highlands; it remains at home, and a remarkable
population it is - very different from the present inhabitants of
several beautiful lands of olden fame, who have strangely
degenerated from their forefathers. Wales has not only a
population, but a highly interesting one - hardy and frugal, yet
kind and hospitable - a bit crazed, it is true, on the subject of
religion, but still retaining plenty of old Celtic peculiarities,
and still speaking Diolch i Duw! - the language of Glendower and
the Bards.

The present is a book about Wales and Welsh matters. He who does
me the honour of perusing it will be conducted to many a spot not
only remarkable for picturesqueness, but for having been the scene
of some extraordinary event, or the birth-place or residence of a
hero or a man of genius; he will likewise be not unfrequently
introduced to the genuine Welsh, and made acquainted with what they
have to say about Cumro and Saxon, buying and selling, fattening
hogs and poultry, Methodism and baptism, and the poor, persecuted
Church of England.

An account of the language of Wales will be found in the last
chapter. It has many features and words in common with the
Sanscrit, and many which seem peculiar to itself, or rather to the
family of languages, generally called the Celtic, to which it
belongs. Though not an original tongue, for indeed no original
tongue, or anything approximating to one, at present exists, it is
certainly of immense antiquity, indeed almost entitled in that
respect to dispute the palm with the grand tongue of India, on
which in some respects it flings nearly as much elucidation as it
itself receives in others. Amongst the words quoted in the chapter
alluded to I wish particularly to direct the reader's attention to
gwr, a man, and gwres, heat; to which may be added gwreichionen, a
spark. Does not the striking similarity between these words
warrant the supposition that the ancient Cumry entertained the idea
that man and fire were one and the same, even like the ancient
Hindus, who believed that man sprang from fire, and whose word
vira, (1) which signifies a strong man, a hero, signifies also

There are of course faults and inaccuracies in the work; but I have
reason to believe that they are neither numerous nor important: I
may have occasionally given a wrong name to a hill or a brook; or
may have overstated or understated, by a furlong, the distance
between one hamlet and another; or even committed the blunder of
saying that Mr Jones Ap Jenkins lived in this or that homestead,
whereas in reality Mr Jenkins Ap Jones honoured it with his
residence: I may be chargeable with such inaccuracies; in which
case I beg to express due sorrow for them, and at the same time a
hope that I have afforded information about matters relating to
Wales which more than atones for them. It would be as well if
those who exhibit eagerness to expose the faults of a book would
occasionally have the candour to say a word or two about its
merits; such a wish, however, is not likely to be gratified, unless
indeed they wisely take a hint from the following lines, translated
from a cywydd of the last of the great poets of Wales:

"All can perceive a fault, where there is one -
A dirty scamp will find one, where there's none." (2)



Proposed Excursion - Knowledge of Welsh - Singular Groom -
Harmonious Distich - Welsh Pronunciation - Dafydd Ab Gwilym.

IN the summer of the year 1854 myself, wife, and daughter
determined upon going into Wales, to pass a few months there. We
are country people of a corner of East Anglia, and, at the time of
which I am speaking, had been residing so long on our own little
estate, that we had become tired of the objects around us, and
conceived that we should be all the better for changing the scene
for a short period. We were undetermined for some time with
respect to where we should go. I proposed Wales from the first,
but my wife and daughter, who have always had rather a hankering
after what is fashionable, said they thought it would be more
advisable to go to Harrowgate, or Leamington. On my observing that
those were terrible places for expense, they replied that, though
the price of corn had of late been shamefully low, we had a spare
hundred pounds or two in our pockets, and could afford to pay for a
little insight into fashionable life. I told them that there was
nothing I so much hated as fashionable life, but that, as I was
anything but a selfish person, I would endeavour to stifle my
abhorrence of it for a time, and attend them either to Leamington
or Harrowgate. By this speech I obtained my wish, even as I knew I
should, for my wife and daughter instantly observed, that, after
all, they thought we had better go into Wales, which, though not so
fashionable as either Leamington or Harrowgate, was a very nice
picturesque country, where, they had no doubt, they should get on
very well, more especially as I was acquainted with the Welsh

It was my knowledge of Welsh, such as it was, that made me desirous
that we should go to Wales, where there was a chance that I might
turn it to some little account. In my boyhood I had been something
of a philologist; had picked up some Latin and Greek at school;
some Irish in Ireland, where I had been with my father, who was in
the army; and subsequently whilst an articled clerk to the first
solicitor in East Anglia - indeed I may say the prince of all
English solicitors - for he was a gentleman, had learnt some Welsh,
partly from books and partly from a Welsh groom, whose acquaintance
I made. A queer groom he was, and well deserving of having his
portrait drawn. He might be about forty-seven years of age, and
about five feet eight inches in height; his body was spare and
wiry; his chest rather broad, and his arms remarkably long; his
legs were of the kind generally known as spindle-shanks, but
vigorous withal, for they carried his body with great agility; neck
he had none, at least that I ever observed; and his head was
anything but high, not measuring, I should think, more than four
inches from the bottom of the chin to the top of the forehead; his
cheek-bones were high, his eyes grey and deeply sunken in his face,
with an expression in them, partly sullen, and partly irascible;
his complexion was indescribable; the little hair which he had,
which was almost entirely on the sides and the back part of his
head, was of an iron-grey hue. He wore a leather hat on ordinary
days, low at the crown, and with the side eaves turned up. A dirty
pepper and salt coat, a waistcoat which had once been red, but
which had lost its pristine colour, and looked brown; dirty yellow
leather breeches, grey worsted stockings, and high-lows. Surely I
was right when I said he was a very different groom to those of the
present day, whether Welsh or English? What say you, Sir Watkin?
What say you, my Lord of Exeter? He looked after the horses, and
occasionally assisted in the house of a person who lived at the end
of an alley, in which the office of the gentleman to whom I was
articled was situated, and having to pass by the door of the office
half-a-dozen times in the day, he did not fail to attract the
notice of the clerks, who, sometimes individually, sometimes by
twos, sometimes by threes, or even more, not unfrequently stood at
the door, bareheaded - mis-spending the time which was not legally
their own. Sundry observations, none of them very flattering, did
the clerks and, amongst them, myself, make upon the groom, as he
passed and repassed, some of them direct, others somewhat oblique.
To these he made no reply save by looks, which had in them
something dangerous and menacing, and clenching without raising his
fists, which looked singularly hard and horny. At length a whisper
ran about the alley that the groom was a Welshman; this whisper
much increased the malice of my brother clerks against him, who
were now whenever he passed the door, and they happened to be there
by twos or threes, in the habit of saying something, as if by
accident, against Wales and Welshmen, and, individually or
together, were in the habit of shouting out "Taffy," when he was at
some distance from them, and his back was turned, or regaling his
ears with the harmonious and well-known distich of "Taffy was a
Welshman, Taffy was a thief: Taffy came to my house and stole a
piece of beef."  It had, however, a very different effect upon me.
I was trying to learn Welsh, and the idea occurring to me that the
groom might be able to assist me in my pursuit, I instantly lost
all desire to torment him, and determined to do my best to scrape
acquaintance with him, and persuade him to give me what assistance
he could in Welsh. I succeeded; how I will not trouble the reader
with describing: he and I became great friends, and he taught me
what Welsh he could. In return for his instructions I persuaded my
brother clerks to leave off holloing after him, and to do nothing
further to hurt his feelings, which had been very deeply wounded,
so much so, that after the first two or three lessons he told me in
confidence that on the morning of the very day I first began to
conciliate him he had come to the resolution of doing one of two
things, namely, either to hang himself from the balk of the
hayloft, or to give his master warning, both of which things he
told me he should have been very unwilling to do, more particularly
as he had a wife and family. He gave me lessons on Sunday
afternoons, at my father's house, where he made his appearance very
respectably dressed, in a beaver hat, blue surtout, whitish
waistcoat, black trowsers and Wellingtons, all with a somewhat
ancient look - the Wellingtons I remember were slightly pieced at
the sides - but all upon the whole very respectable. I wished at
first to persuade him to give me lessons in the office, but could
not succeed: "No, no, lad;" said he, "catch me going in there: I
would just as soon venture into a nest of porcupines."  To
translate from books I had already, to a certain degree, taught
myself, and at his first visit I discovered, and he himself
acknowledged, that at book Welsh I was stronger than himself, but I
learnt Welsh pronunciation from him, and to discourse a little in
the Welsh tongue. "Had you much difficulty in acquiring the sound
of the ll?" I think I hear the reader inquire. None whatever: the
double l of the Welsh is by no means the terrible guttural which
English people generally suppose it to be, being in reality a
pretty liquid, exactly resembling in sound the Spanish ll, the
sound of which I had mastered before commencing Welsh, and which is
equivalent to the English lh; so being able to pronounce llano I
had of course no difficulty in pronouncing Lluyd, which by-the-bye
was the name of the groom.

I remember that I found the pronunciation of the Welsh far less
difficult than I had found the grammar, the most remarkable feature
of which is the mutation, under certain circumstances, of
particular consonants, when forming the initials of words. This
feature I had observed in the Irish, which I had then only learnt
by ear.

But to return to the groom. He was really a remarkable character,
and taught me two or three things besides Welsh pronunciation; and
to discourse a little in Cumraeg. He had been a soldier in his
youth, and had served under Moore and Wellington in the Peninsular
campaigns, and from him I learnt the details of many a bloody field
and bloodier storm, of the sufferings of poor British soldiers, and
the tyranny of haughty British officers; more especially of the two
commanders just mentioned, the first of whom he swore was shot by
his own soldiers, and the second more frequently shot at by British
than French. But it is not deemed a matter of good taste to write
about such low people as grooms, I shall therefore dismiss him with
no observation further than that after he had visited me on Sunday
afternoons for about a year he departed for his own country with
his wife, who was an Englishwoman, and his children, in consequence
of having been left a small freehold there by a distant relation,
and that I neither saw nor heard of him again.

But though I had lost my oral instructor I had still my silent
ones, namely, the Welsh books, and of these I made such use that
before the expiration of my clerkship I was able to read not only
Welsh prose, but, what was infinitely more difficult, Welsh poetry
in any of the four-and-twenty measures, and was well versed in the
compositions of various of the old Welsh bards, especially those of
Dafydd ab Gwilym, whom, since the time when I first became
acquainted with his works, I have always considered as the greatest
poetical genius that has appeared in Europe since the revival of

After this exordium I think I may proceed to narrate the journey of
myself and family into Wales. As perhaps, however, it will be
thought that, though I have said quite enough about myself and a
certain groom, I have not said quite enough about my wife and
daughter, I will add a little more about them. Of my wife I will
merely say that she is a perfect paragon of wives - can make
puddings and sweets and treacle posset, and is the best woman of
business in Eastern Anglia - of my step-daughter - for such she is,
though I generally call her daughter, and with good reason, seeing
that she has always shown herself a daughter to me - that she has
all kinds of good qualities, and several accomplishments, knowing
something of conchology, more of botany, drawing capitally in the
Dutch style, and playing remarkably well on the guitar - not the
trumpery German thing so-called - but the real Spanish guitar.


The Starting - Peterborough Cathedral - Anglo-Saxon Names - Kaempe
Viser - Steam - Norman Barons - Chester Ale - Sion Tudor - Pretty
Welsh Tongue.

SO our little family, consisting of myself, my wife Mary, and my
daughter Henrietta, for daughter I shall persist in calling her,
started for Wales in the afternoon of the 27th July, 1854. We flew
through part of Norfolk and Cambridgeshire in a train which we left
at Ely, and getting into another, which did not fly quite so fast
as the one we had quieted, reached the Peterborough station at
about six o'clock of a delightful evening. We proceeded no farther
on our journey that day, in order that we might have an opportunity
of seeing the cathedral.

Sallying arm in arm from the Station Hotel, where we had determined
to take up our quarters for the night, we crossed a bridge over the
deep quiet Nen, on the southern bank of which stands the station,
and soon arrived at the cathedral - unfortunately we were too late
to procure admission into the interior, and had to content
ourselves with walking round it and surveying its outside.

It is named after, and occupies the site, or part of the site of an
immense monastery, founded by the Mercian King Peda, in the year
665, and destroyed by fire in the year 1116, which monastery,
though originally termed Medeshamsted, or the homestead on the
meads, was subsequently termed Peterborough, from the circumstance
of its having been reared by the old Saxon monarch for the love of
God and the honour of Saint Peter, as the Saxon Chronicle says, a
book which I went through carefully in my younger days, when I
studied Saxon, for, as I have already told the reader, I was in
those days a bit of a philologist. Like the first, the second
edifice was originally a monastery, and continued so till the time
of the Reformation; both were abodes of learning; for if the Saxon
Chronicle was commenced in the monkish cells of the first, it was
completed in those of the second. What is at present called
Peterborough Cathedral is a noble venerable pile, equal upon the
whole in external appearance to the cathedrals of Toledo, Burgos
and Leon, all of which I have seen. Nothing in architecture can be
conceived more beautiful than the principal entrance, which fronts
the west, and which, at the time we saw it, was gilded with the
rays of the setting sun.

After having strolled about the edifice surveying it until we were
weary, we returned to our inn, and after taking an excellent supper
retired to rest.

At ten o'clock next morning we left the capital of the meads. With
dragon speed, and dragon noise, fire, smoke, and fury, the train
dashed along its road through beautiful meadows, garnished here and
there with pollard sallows; over pretty streams, whose waters stole
along imperceptibly; by venerable old churches, which I vowed I
would take the first opportunity of visiting: stopping now and
then to recruit its energies at places, whose old Anglo-Saxon names
stared me in the eyes from station boards, as specimens of which,
let me only dot down Willy Thorpe, Ringsted, and Yrthling Boro.
Quite forgetting everything Welsh, I was enthusiastically Saxon the
whole way from Medeshamsted to Blissworth, so thoroughly Saxon was
the country, with its rich meads, its old churches and its names.
After leaving Blissworth, a thoroughly Saxon place by-the-bye, as
its name shows, signifying the stronghold or possession of Bligh or
Blee, I became less Saxon; the country was rather less Saxon, and I
caught occasionally the word "by" on a board, the Danish for a
town; which "by" waked in me a considerable portion of Danish
enthusiasm, of which I have plenty, and with reason, having
translated the glorious Kaempe Viser over the desk of my ancient
master, the gentleman solicitor of East Anglia. At length we drew
near the great workshop of England, called by some, Brummagem or
Bromwicham, by others Birmingham, and I fell into a philological
reverie, wondering which was the right name. Before, however, we
came to the station, I decided that both names were right enough,
but that Bromwicham was the original name; signifying the home on
the broomie moor, which name it lost in polite parlance for
Birmingham, or the home of the son of Biarmer, when a certain man
of Danish blood, called Biarming, or the son of Biarmer, got
possession of it, whether by force, fraud, or marriage - the
latter, by-the-bye, is by far the best way of getting possession of
an estate - this deponent neither knoweth nor careth. At
Birmingham station I became a modern Englishman, enthusiastically
proud of modern England's science and energy; that station alone is
enough to make one proud of being a modern Englishman. Oh, what an
idea does that station, with its thousand trains dashing off in all
directions, or arriving from all quarters, give of modern English
science and energy. My modern English pride accompanied me all the
way to Tipton; for all along the route there were wonderful
evidences of English skill and enterprise; in chimneys high as
cathedral spires, vomiting forth smoke, furnaces emitting flame and
lava, and in the sound of gigantic hammers, wielded by steam, the
Englishman's slave. After passing Tipton, at which place one
leaves the great working district behind; I became for a
considerable time a yawning, listless Englishman, without pride,
enthusiasm, or feeling of any kind, from which state I was suddenly
roused by the sight of ruined edifices on the tops of hills. They
were remains of castles built by Norman Barons. Here, perhaps, the
reader will expect from me a burst of Norman enthusiasm: if so he
will be mistaken; I have no Norman enthusiasm, and hate and
abominate the name of Norman, for I have always associated that
name with the deflowering of helpless Englishwomen, the plundering
of English homesteads, and the tearing out of poor Englishmen's
eyes. The sight of those edifices, now in ruins, but which were
once the strongholds of plunder, violence, and lust, made me almost
ashamed of being an Englishman, for they brought to my mind the
indignities to which poor English blood has been subjected. I sat
silent and melancholy, till looking from the window I caught sight
of a long line of hills, which I guessed to be the Welsh hills, as
indeed they proved, which sight causing me to remember that I was
bound for Wales, the land of the bard, made me cast all gloomy
thoughts aside and glow with all the Welsh enthusiasm with which I
glowed when I first started in the direction of Wales.

On arriving at Chester, at which place we intended to spend two or
three days, we put up at an old-fashioned inn in Northgate Street,
to which we had been recommended; my wife and daughter ordered tea
and its accompaniments, and I ordered ale, and that which always
should accompany it, cheese. "The ale I shall find bad," said I;
Chester ale had a villainous character in the time of old Sion
Tudor, who made a first-rate englyn upon it, and it has scarcely
improved since; "but I shall have a treat in the cheese, Cheshire
cheese has always been reckoned excellent, and now that I am in the
capital of the cheese country, of course I shall have some of the
very prime."  Well, the tea, loaf and butter made their appearance,
and with them my cheese and ale. To my horror the cheese had much
the appearance of soap of the commonest kind, which indeed I found
it much resembled in taste, on putting a small portion into my
mouth. "Ah," said I, after I had opened the window and ejected the
half-masticated morsel into the street, "those who wish to regale
on good Cheshire cheese must not come to Chester, no more than
those who wish to drink first-rate coffee must go to Mocha. I'll
now see whether the ale is drinkable;" so I took a little of the
ale into my mouth, and instantly going to the window, spirted it
out after the cheese. "Of a surety," said I, "Chester ale must be
of much the same quality as it was in the time of Sion Tudor, who
spoke of it to the following effect:-

"Chester ale, Chester ale! I could ne'er get it down,
'Tis made of ground-ivy, of dirt, and of bran,
'Tis as thick as a river below a huge town!
'Tis not lap for a dog, far less drink for a man.'

Well! if I have been deceived in the cheese, I have at any rate not
been deceived in the ale, which I expected to find execrable.
Patience! I shall not fall into a passion, more especially as there
are things I can fall back upon. Wife! I will trouble you for a
cup of tea. Henrietta! have the kindness to cut me a slice of
bread and butter."

Upon the whole we found ourselves very comfortable in the old-
fashioned inn, which was kept by a nice old-fashioned gentlewoman,
with the assistance of three servants, namely, a "boots" and two
strapping chambermaids, one of which was a Welsh girl, with whom I
soon scraped acquaintance, not, I assure the reader, for the sake
of the pretty Welsh eyes which she carried in her head, but for the
sake of the pretty Welsh tongue which she carried in her mouth,
from which I confess occasionally proceeded sounds which, however
pretty, I was quite unable to understand.


Chester - The Rows - Lewis Glyn Cothi - Tragedy of Mold - Native of
Antigua - Slavery and the Americans - The Tents - Saturday Night.

ON the morning after our arrival we went out together, and walked
up and down several streets; my wife and daughter, however, soon
leaving me to go into a shop, I strolled about by myself. Chester
is an ancient town with walls and gates, a prison called a castle,
built on the site of an ancient keep, an unpretending-looking red
sandstone cathedral, two or three handsome churches, several good
streets, and certain curious places called rows. The Chester row
is a broad arched stone gallery running parallel with the street
within the facades of the houses; it is partly open on the side of
the street, and just one story above it. Within the rows, of which
there are three or four, are shops, every shop being on that side
which is farthest from the street. All the best shops in Chester
are to be found in the rows. These rows, to which you ascend by
stairs up narrow passages, were originally built for the security
of the wares of the principal merchants against the Welsh. Should
the mountaineers break into the town, as they frequently did, they
might rifle some of the common shops, where their booty would be
slight, but those which contained the more costly articles would be
beyond their reach; for at the first alarm the doors of the
passages, up which the stairs led, would be closed, and all access
to the upper streets cut off, from the open arches of which
missiles of all kinds, kept ready for such occasions, could be
discharged upon the intruders, who would be soon glad to beat a
retreat. These rows and the walls are certainly the most
remarkable memorials of old times which Chester has to boast of.

Upon the walls it is possible to make the whole compass of the
city, there being a good but narrow walk upon them. The northern
wall abuts upon a frightful ravine, at the bottom of which is a
canal. From the western one there is a noble view of the Welsh

As I stood gazing upon the hills from the wall a ragged man came up
and asked for charity.

"Can you tell me the name of that tall hill?" said I, pointing in
the direction of the south-west. "That hill, sir," said the
beggar, "is called Moel Vamagh; I ought to know something about it
as I was born at its foot."  "Moel," said I, "a bald hill; Vamagh,
maternal or motherly. Moel Vamagh, the Mother Moel."  "Just so,
sir," said the beggar; "I see you are a Welshman, like myself,
though I suppose you come from the South - Moel Vamagh is the
Mother Moel, and is called so because it is the highest of all the
Moels."  "Did you ever hear of a place called Mold?" said I. "Oh,
yes, your honour," said the beggar; "many a time; and many's the
time I have been there."  "In which direction does it lie?" said I.
"Towards Moel Vamagh, your honour," said the beggar, "which is a
few miles beyond it; you can't see it from here, but look towards
Moel Vamagh and you will see over it."  "Thank you," said I, and
gave something to the beggar, who departed, after first taking off
his hat. Long and fixedly did I gaze in the direction of Mold.
The reason which induced me to do so was the knowledge of an
appalling tragedy transacted there in the old time, in which there
is every reason to suppose a certain Welsh bard, called Lewis Glyn
Cothi, had a share.

This man, who was a native of South Wales, flourished during the
wars of the Roses. Besides being a poetical he was something of a
military genius, and had a command of foot in the army of the
Lancastrian Jasper Earl of Pembroke, the son of Owen Tudor, and
half-brother of Henry the Sixth. After the battle of Mortimer's
Cross, in which the Earl's forces were defeated, the warrior bard
found his way to Chester, where he married the widow of a citizen
and opened a shop, without asking the permission of the mayor, who
with the officers of justice came and seized all his goods, which,
according to his own account, filled nine sacks, and then drove him
out of the town. The bard in a great fury indited an awdl, in
which he invites Reinallt ap Grufydd ap Bleddyn, a kind of
predatory chieftain, who resided a little way off in Flintshire, to
come and set the town on fire, and slaughter the inhabitants, in
revenge for the wrongs he had suffered, and then proceeds to vent
all kinds of imprecations against the mayor and people of Chester,
wishing, amongst other things, that they might soon hear that the
Dee had become too shallow to bear their ships - that a certain
cutaneous disorder might attack the wrists of great and small, old
and young, laity and clergy - that grass might grow in their
streets - that Ilar and Cyveilach, Welsh saints, might slay them -
that dogs might snarl at them - and that the king of heaven, with
the saints Brynach and Non, might afflict them with blindness -
which piece, however ineffectual in inducing God and the saints to
visit the Chester people with the curses with which the furious
bard wished them to be afflicted, seems to have produced somewhat
of its intended effect on the chieftain, who shortly afterwards, on
learning that the mayor and many of the Chester people were present
at the fair of Mold, near which place he resided, set upon them at
the head of his forces, and after a desperate combat, in which many
lives were lost, took the mayor prisoner, and drove those of his
people who survived into a tower, which he set on fire and burnt,
with all the unhappy wretches which it contained, completing the
horrors of the day by hanging the unfortunate mayor.

Conversant as I was with all this strange history, is it wonderful
that I looked with great interest from the wall of Chester in the
direction of Mold?

Once did I make the compass of the city upon the walls, and was
beginning to do the same a second time, when I stumbled against a
black, who, with his arms leaning upon the wall, was spitting over
it, in the direction of the river. I apologised, and contrived to
enter into conversation with him. He was tolerably well dressed,
had a hairy cap on his head, was about forty years of age, and
brutishly ugly, his features scarcely resembling those of a human
being. He told me he was a native of Antigua, a blacksmith by
trade, and had been a slave. I asked him if he could speak any
language besides English, and received for answer that besides
English, he could speak Spanish and French. Forthwith I spoke to
him in Spanish, but he did not understand me. I then asked him to
speak to me in Spanish, but he could not. "Surely you can tell me
the word for water in Spanish," said I; he, however, was not able.
"How is it," said I, "that, pretending to be acquainted with
Spanish, you do not even know the word for water?"  He said he
could not tell, but supposed that he had forgotten the Spanish
language, adding however, that he could speak French perfectly. I
spoke to him in French - he did not understand me: I told him to
speak to me in French, but he did not. I then asked him the word
for bread in French, but he could not tell me. I made no
observations on his ignorance, but inquired how he liked being a
slave? He said not at all; that it was very bad to be a slave, as
a slave was forced to work. I asked him if he did not work now
that he was free? He said very seldom; that he did not like work,
and that it did not agree with him. I asked how he came into
England, and he said that wishing to see England, he had come over
with a gentleman as his servant, but that as soon as he got there,
he had left his master, as he did not like work. I asked him how
he contrived to live in England without working? He said that any
black might live in England without working; that all he had to do
was to attend religious meetings, and speak against slavery and the
Americans. I asked him if he had done so. He said he had, and
that the religious people were very kind to him, and gave him
money, and that a religious lady was going to marry him. I asked
him if he knew anything about the Americans? He said he did, and
that they were very bad people, who kept slaves and flogged them.
"And quite right too," said I, "if they are lazy rascals like
yourself, who want to eat without working. What a pretty set of
knaves or fools must they be, who encourage a fellow like you to
speak against negro slavery, of the necessity for which you
yourself are a living instance, and against a people of whom you
know as much as of French or Spanish."  Then leaving the black, who
made no other answer to what I said, than by spitting with
considerable force in the direction of the river, I continued
making my second compass of the city upon the wall.

Having walked round the city for the second time, I returned to the
inn. In the evening I went out again, passed over the bridge, and
then turned to the right in the direction of the hills. Near the
river, on my right, on a kind of green, I observed two or three
tents resembling those of gypsies. Some ragged children were
playing near them, who, however, had nothing of the appearance of
the children of the Egyptian race, their locks being not dark, but
either of a flaxen or red hue, and their features not delicate and
regular, but coarse and uncouth, and their complexions not olive,
but rather inclining to be fair. I did not go up to them, but
continued my course till I arrived near a large factory. I then
turned and retraced my steps into the town. It was Saturday night,
and the streets were crowded with people, many of whom must have
been Welsh, as I heard the Cambrian language spoken on every side.


Sunday Morning - Tares and Wheat - Teetotalism - Hearsay - Irish
Family - What Profession? - Sabbath Evening - Priest or Minister -
Give us God.

ON the Sunday morning, as we sat at breakfast, we heard the noise
of singing in the street; running to the window, we saw a number of
people, bareheaded, from whose mouths the singing or psalmody
proceeded. These, on inquiry, we were informed, were Methodists,
going about to raise recruits for a grand camp-meeting, which was
to be held a little way out of the town. We finished our
breakfast, and at eleven attended divine service at the Cathedral.
The interior of this holy edifice was smooth and neat, strangely
contrasting with its exterior, which was rough and weather-beaten.
We had decent places found us by a civil verger, who probably took
us for what we were - decent country people. We heard much fine
chanting by the choir, and an admirable sermon, preached by a
venerable prebend, on "Tares and Wheat."  The congregation was
numerous and attentive. After service we returned to our inn, and
at two o'clock dined. During dinner our conversation ran almost
entirely on the sermon, which we all agreed was one of the best
sermons we had ever heard, and most singularly adapted to country
people like ourselves, being on "Wheat and Tares."  When dinner was
over my wife and daughter repaired to the neighbouring church, and
I went in quest of the camp-meeting, having a mighty desire to know
what kind of a thing Methodism at Chester was.

I found about two thousand people gathered together in a field near
the railroad station; a waggon stood under some green elms at one
end of the field, in which were ten or a dozen men with the look of
Methodist preachers; one of these was holding forth to the
multitude when I arrived, but he presently sat down, I having, as I
suppose, only come in time to hear the fag-end of his sermon.
Another succeeded him, who, after speaking for about half an hour,
was succeeded by another. All the discourses were vulgar and
fanatical, and in some instances unintelligible at least to my
ears. There was plenty of vociferation, but not one single burst
of eloquence. Some of the assembly appeared to take considerable
interest in what was said, and every now and then showed they did
by devout hums and groans; but the generality evidently took little
or none, staring about listlessly, or talking to one another.
Sometimes, when anything particularly low escaped from the mouth of
the speaker, I heard exclamations of "how low! well, I think I
could preach better than that," and the like. At length a man of
about fifty, pock-broken and somewhat bald, began to speak: unlike
the others who screamed, shouted, and seemed in earnest, he spoke
in a dry, waggish style, which had all the coarseness and nothing
of the cleverness of that of old Rowland Hill, whom I once heard.
After a great many jokes, some of them very poor, and others
exceedingly thread-bare, on the folly of those who sell themselves
to the Devil for a little temporary enjoyment, he introduced the
subject of drunkenness, or rather drinking fermented liquors, which
he seemed to consider the same thing; and many a sorry joke on the
folly of drinking them did he crack, which some half-dozen amidst
the concourse applauded. At length he said:-

"After all, brethren, such drinking is no joking matter, for it is
the root of all evil. Now, brethren, if you would all get to
heaven, and cheat the enemy of your souls, never go into a public-
house to drink, and never fetch any drink from a public-house. Let
nothing pass your lips, in the shape of drink, stronger than water
or tea. Brethren, if you would cheat the Devil, take the pledge
and become teetotalers. I am a teetotaller myself, thank God -
though once I was a regular lushington."

Here ensued a burst of laughter in which I joined, though not at
the wretched joke, but at the absurdity of the argument; for,
according to that argument, I thought my old friends the Spaniards
and Portuguese must be the most moral people in the world, being
almost all water-drinkers. As the speaker was proceeding with his
nonsense, I heard some one say behind me - "a pretty fellow that,
to speak against drinking and public-houses: he pretends to be
reformed, but he is still as fond of the lush as ever. It was only
the other day I saw him reeling out of a gin-shop."

Now that speech I did not like, for I saw at once that it could not
be true, so I turned quickly round and said - "Old chap, I can
scarcely credit that!"

The man, whom I addressed, a rough-and-ready-looking fellow of the
lower class, seemed half disposed to return me a savage answer; but
an Englishman of the lower class, though you call his word in
question, is never savage with you, provided you call him old chap,
and he considers you by your dress to be his superior in station.
Now I, who had called the word of this man in question, had called
him old chap, and was considerably better dressed than himself; so,
after a little hesitation, he became quite gentle, and something
more, for he said in a half-apologetic tone - "Well, sir, I did not
exactly see him myself, but a particular friend of mine heer'd a
man say, that he heer'd another man say, that he was told that a
man heer'd that that fellow - "

"Come, come!" said I, "a man must not be convicted on evidence like
that; no man has more contempt for the doctrine which that man
endeavours to inculcate than myself, for I consider it to have been
got up partly for fanatical, partly for political purposes; but I
will never believe that he was lately seen coming out of a gin-
shop; he is too wise, or rather too cunning, for that."

I stayed listening to these people till evening was at hand. I
then left them, and without returning to the inn strolled over the
bridge to the green, where the tents stood. I went up to them:
two women sat at the entrance of one; a man stood by them, and the
children, whom I had before seen, were gambolling near at hand.
One of the women was about forty, the other some twenty years
younger; both were ugly. The younger was a rude, stupid-looking
creature, with red cheeks and redder hair, but there was a dash of
intelligence and likewise of wildness in the countenance of the
elder female, whose complexion and hair were rather dark. The man
was about the same age as the elder woman; he had rather a sharp
look, and was dressed in hat, white frock-coat, corduroy breeches,
long stockings and shoes. I gave them the seal of the evening.

"Good evening to your haner," said the man - "Good evening to you,
sir," said the woman; whilst the younger mumbled something,
probably to the same effect, but which I did not catch.

"Fine weather," said I.

"Very, sir," said the elder female. "Won't you please to sit
down?" and reaching back into the tent, she pulled out a stool
which she placed near me.

I sat down on the stool. "You are not from these parts?" said I,
addressing myself to the man.

"We are not, your haner," said the man; "we are from Ireland."

"And this lady," said I, motioning with my head to the elder
female, "is, I suppose, your wife."

"She is, your haner, and the children which your haner sees are my

"And who is this young lady?" said I, motioning to the uncouth-
looking girl.

"The young lady, as your haner is pleased to call her, is a
daughter of a sister of mine who is now dead, along with her
husband. We have her with us, your haner, because if we did not
she would be alone in the world."

"And what trade or profession do you follow?" said I.

"We do a bit in the tinkering line, your haner."

"Do you find tinkering a very profitable profession?" said I.

"Not very, your haner; but we contrive to get a crust and a drink
by it."

"That's more than I ever could," said I.

"Has your haner then ever followed tinkering?" said the man.

"Yes," said I, "but I soon left off."

"And became a minister," said the elder female, "Well, your honour
is not the first indifferent tinker that's turned out a shining

"Why do you think me a minister?"

"Because your honour has the very look and voice of one. Oh, it
was kind in your honour to come to us here in the Sabbath evening,
in order that you might bring us God."

"What do you mean by bringing you God?" said I.

"Talking to us about good things, sir, and instructing us out of
the Holy Book."

"I am no minister," said I.

"Then you are a priest; I am sure you are either a minister or a
priest; and now that I look on you, sir, I think you look more like
a priest than a minister. Yes, I see you are a priest. Oh, your
Reverence, give us God! Pull out the crucifix from your bosom, and
let us kiss the face of God!"

"Of what religion are you?" said I.

"Catholics, your Reverence, Catholics are we all."

"I am no priest."

"Then you are a minister; I am sure you are either a priest or a
minister. Oh sir, pull out the Holy Book, and instruct us from it
this blessed Sabbath evening. Give us God, sir, give us God!"

"And would you, who are Catholics, listen to the voice of a

"That would we, sir; at least I would. If you are a minister, and
a good minister, I would as soon listen to your words as those of
Father Toban himself."

"And who is Father Toban?"

"A powerful priest in these parts, sir, who has more than once
eased me of my sins, and given me God upon the cross. Oh, a
powerful and comfortable priest is Father Toban."

"And what would he say if he were to know that you asked for God
from a minister?"

"I do not know, and do not much care; if I get God, I do not care
whether I get Him from a minister or a priest; both have Him, no
doubt, only give Him in different ways. Oh sir, do give us God; we
need Him sir, for we are sinful people; we call ourselves tinkers,
but many is the sinful thing - "

"Bi-do-hosd;" said the man: Irish words tantamount to "Be silent!"

"I will not be hushed," said the woman, speaking English. "The man
is a good man, and he will do us no harm. We are tinkers, sir; but
we do many things besides tinkering, many sinful things, especially
in Wales, whither we are soon going again. Oh, I want to be eased
of some of my sins before I go into Wales again, and so do you,
Tourlough, for you know how you are sometimes haunted by devils at
night in those dreary Welsh hills. Oh sir, give us comfort in some
shape or other, either as priest or minister; give us God! Give us

"I am neither priest nor minister," said, I, "and can only say:
Lord have mercy upon you!"  Then getting up I flung the children
some money and departed.

"We do not want your money, sir," screamed the woman after me; "we
have plenty of money. Give us God! Give us God!"

"Yes, your haner," said the man, "give us God! we do not want
money;" and the uncouth girl said something, which sounded much
like Give us God! but I hastened across the meadow, which was now
quite dusky, and was presently in the inn with my wife and


Welsh Book Stall - Wit and Poetry - Welsh of Chester - Beautiful
Morning - Noble Fellow - The Coiling Serpent - Wrexham Church -
Welsh or English? - Codiad yr Ehedydd.

ON the afternoon of Monday I sent my family off by the train to
Llangollen, which place we had determined to make our head-quarters
during our stay in Wales. I intended to follow them next day, not
in train, but on foot, as by walking I should be better able to see
the country, between Chester and Llangollen, than by making the
journey by the flying vehicle. As I returned to the inn from the
train I took refuge from a shower in one of the rows or covered
streets, to which, as I have already said, one ascends by flights
of steps; stopping at a book-stall I took up a book which chanced
to be a Welsh one. The proprietor, a short red-faced man,
observing me reading the book, asked me if I could understand it.
I told him that I could.

"If so," said he, "let me hear you translate the two lines on the

"Are you a Welshman?" said I.

"I am!" he replied.

"Good!" said I, and I translated into English the two lines which
were a couplet by Edmund Price, an old archdeacon of Merion,
celebrated in his day for wit and poetry.

The man then asked me from what part of Wales I came, and when I
told him that I was an Englishman was evidently offended, either
because he did not believe me, or, as I more incline to think, did
not approve of an Englishman's understanding Welsh.

The book was the life of the Rev. Richards, and was published at
Caerlleon, or the city of the legion, the appropriate ancient
British name for the place now called Chester, a legion having been
kept stationed there during the occupation of Britain by the

I returned to the inn and dined, and then yearning for society,
descended into the kitchen and had some conversation with the Welsh
maid. She told me that there were a great many Welsh in Chester
from all parts of Wales, but chiefly from Denbighshire and
Flintshire, which latter was her own country. That a great many
children were born in Chester of Welsh parents, and brought up in
the fear of God and love of the Welsh tongue. That there were some
who had never been in Wales, who spoke as good Welsh as herself, or
better. That the Welsh of Chester were of various religious
persuasions; that some were Baptists, some Independents, but that
the greater part were Calvinistic-Methodists; that she herself was
a Calvinistic-Methodist; that the different persuasions had their
different chapels, in which God was prayed to in Welsh; that there
were very few Welsh in Chester who belonged to the Church of
England, and that the Welsh in general do not like Church of
England worship, as I should soon find if I went into Wales.

Late in the evening I directed my steps across the bridge to the
green, where I had discoursed with the Irish itinerants. I wished
to have some more conversation with them respecting their way of
life, and, likewise, as they had so strongly desired it, to give
them a little Christian comfort, for my conscience reproached me
for my abrupt departure on the preceding evening. On arriving at
the green, however, I found them gone, and no traces of them but
the mark of their fire and a little dirty straw. I returned,
disappointed and vexed, to my inn.

Early the next morning I departed from Chester for Llangollen,
distant about twenty miles; I passed over the noble bridge and
proceeded along a broad and excellent road, leading in a direction
almost due south through pleasant meadows. I felt very happy - and
no wonder; the morning was beautiful, the birds sang merrily, and a
sweet smell proceeded from the new-cut hay in the fields, and I was
bound for Wales. I passed over the river Allan and through two
villages called, as I was told, Pulford and Marford, and ascended a
hill; from the top of this hill the view is very fine. To the east
are the high lands of Cheshire, to the west the bold hills of
Wales, and below, on all sides a fair variety of wood and water,
green meads and arable fields.

"You may well look around, Measter," said a waggoner, who, coming
from the direction in which I was bound, stopped to breathe his
team on the top of the hill; "you may well look around - there
isn't such a place to see the country from, far and near, as where
we stand. Many come to this place to look about them."

I looked at the man, and thought I had never seen a more powerful-
looking fellow; he was about six feet two inches high, immensely
broad in the shoulders, and could hardly have weighed less than
sixteen stone. I gave him the seal of the morning, and asked
whether he was Welsh or English.

"English, Measter, English; born t'other side of Beeston, pure
Cheshire, Measter."

"I suppose," said I, "there are few Welshmen such big fellows as

"No, Measter," said the fellow, with a grin, "there are few
Welshmen so big as I, or yourself either; they are small men
mostly, Measter, them Welshers, very small men - and yet the
fellows can use their hands. I am a bit of a fighter, Measter, at
least I was before my wife made me join the Methodist connection,
and I once fit with a Welshman at Wrexham, he came from the hills,
and was a real Welshman, and shorter than myself by a whole head
and shoulder, but he stood up against me, and gave me more than
play for my money, till I gripped him, flung him down and myself
upon him, and then of course t'was all over with him."

"You are a noble fellow," said I, "and a credit to Cheshire. Will
you have sixpence to drink?"

"Thank you, Measter, I shall stop at Pulford, and shall be glad to
drink your health in a jug of ale."

I gave him sixpence, and descended the hill on one side, while he,
with his team, descended it on the other.

"A genuine Saxon," said I; "I daresay just like many of those who,
under Hengist, subdued the plains of Lloegr and Britain. Taliesin
called the Saxon race the Coiling Serpent. He had better have
called it the Big Bull. He was a noble poet, however: what
wonderful lines, upon the whole, are those in his prophecy, in
which he speaks of the Saxons and Britons, and of the result of
their struggle -

"A serpent which coils,
And with fury boils,
From Germany coming with arm'd wings spread,
Shall subdue and shall enthrall
The broad Britain all,
From the Lochlin ocean to Severn's bed.

"And British men
Shall be captives then
To strangers from Saxonia's strand;
They shall praise their God, and hold
Their language as of old,
But except wild Wales they shall lose their land."

I arrived at Wrexham, and having taken a very hearty breakfast at
the principal inn, for I felt rather hungry after a morning's walk
of ten miles, I walked about the town. The town is reckoned a
Welsh town, but its appearance is not Welsh - its inhabitants have
neither the look nor language of Welshmen, and its name shows that
it was founded by some Saxon adventurer, Wrexham being a Saxon
compound, signifying the home or habitation of Rex or Rag, and
identical, or nearly so, with the Wroxham of East Anglia. It is a
stirring bustling place, of much traffic, and of several thousand
inhabitants. Its most remarkable object is its church, which
stands at the south-western side. To this church, after wandering
for some time about the streets, I repaired. The tower is
quadrangular, and is at least one hundred feet high; it has on its
summit four little turrets, one at each corner, between each of
which are three spirelets, the middlemost of the three the highest.
The nave of the church is to the east; it is of two stories, both
crenulated at the top. I wished to see the interior of the church,
but found the gate locked. Observing a group of idlers close at
hand with their backs against a wall, I went up to them, and,
addressing myself to one, inquired whether I could see the church.
"Oh yes, sir," said the man; "the clerk who has the key lives close
at hand; one of us shall go and fetch him - by-the-bye, I may as
well go myself."  He moved slowly away. He was a large bulky man
of about the middle age, and his companions were about the same age
and size as himself. I asked them if they were Welsh. "Yes, sir,"
said one, "I suppose we are, for they call us Welsh."  I asked if
any of them could speak Welsh. "No, sir," said the man, "all the
Welsh that any of us know, or indeed wish to know, is 'Cwrw da.'"  
Here there was a general laugh. Cwrw da signifies good ale. I at
first thought that the words might be intended as a hint for a
treat, but was soon convinced of the contrary. There was no greedy
expectation in his eyes, nor, indeed, in those of his companions,
though they all looked as if they were fond of good ale. I
inquired whether much Welsh was spoken in the town, and was told
very little. When the man returned with the clerk I thanked him.
He told me I was welcome, and then went and leaned with his back
against the wall. He and his mates were probably a set of boon
companions enjoying the air after a night's bout at drinking. I
was subsequently told that all the people of Wrexham are fond of
good ale. The clerk unlocked the church door, and conducted me in.
The interior was modern, but in no respects remarkable. The clerk
informed me that there was a Welsh service every Sunday afternoon
in the church, but that few people attended, and those few were
almost entirely from the country. He said that neither he nor the
clergyman were natives of Wrexham. He showed me the Welsh Church
Bible, and at my request read a few verses from the sacred volume.
He seemed a highly intelligent man. I gave him something, which
appeared to be more than he expected, and departed, after inquiring
of him the road to Llangollen.

I crossed a bridge, for there is a bridge and a stream too at
Wrexham. The road at first bore due west, but speedily took a
southerly direction. I moved rapidly over an undulating country; a
region of hills, or rather of mountains lay on my right hand. At
the entrance of a small village a poor, sickly-looking woman asked
me for charity.

"Are you Welsh or English?" said I.

"Welsh," she replied; "but I speak both languages, as do all the
people here."

I gave her a halfpenny; she wished me luck, and I proceeded. I
passed some huge black buildings which a man told me were
collieries, and several carts laden with coal, and soon came to
Rhiwabon - a large village about half way between Wrexham and
Llangollen. I observed in this place nothing remarkable, but an
ancient church. My way from hence lay nearly west. I ascended a
hill, from the top of which I looked down into a smoky valley. I
descended, passing by a great many collieries, in which I observed
grimy men working amidst smoke and flame. At the bottom of the
hill near a bridge I turned round. A ridge to the east
particularly struck my attention; it was covered with dusky
edifices, from which proceeded thundering sounds, and puffs of
smoke. A woman passed me going towards Rhiwabon; I pointed to the
ridge and asked its name; I spoke English. The woman shook her
head and replied "Dim Saesneg."

"This is as it should be," said I to myself; "I now feel I am in
Wales."  I repeated the question in Welsh.

"Cefn Bach," she replied - which signifies the little ridge.

"Diolch iti," I replied, and proceeded on my way.

I was now in a wild valley - enormous hills were on my right. The
road was good, and above it, in the side of a steep bank, was a
causeway intended for foot passengers. It was overhung with hazel
bushes. I walked along it to its termination which was at
Llangollen. I found my wife and daughter at the principal inn.
They had already taken a house. We dined together at the inn;
during the dinner we had music, for a Welsh harper stationed in the
passage played upon his instrument "Codiad yr ehedydd."  "Of a
surety," said I, "I am in Wales!"


Llangollen - Wyn Ab Nudd - The Dee - Dinas Bran.

THE northern side of the vale of Llangollen is formed by certain
enormous rocks called the Eglwysig rocks, which extend from east to
west, a distance of about two miles. The southern side is formed
by the Berwyn hills. The valley is intersected by the River Dee,
the origin of which is a deep lake near Bala, about twenty miles to
the west. Between the Dee and the Eglwysig rises a lofty hill, on
the top of which are the ruins of Dinas Bran, which bear no slight
resemblance to a crown. The upper part of the hill is bare with
the exception of what is covered by the ruins; on the lower part
there are inclosures and trees, with, here and there, a grove or
farm-house. On the other side of the valley, to the east of
Llangollen, is a hill called Pen y Coed, beautifully covered with
trees of various kinds; it stands between the river and the Berwyn,
even as the hill of Dinas Bran stands between the river and the
Eglwysig rocks - it does not, however, confront Dinas Bran, which
stands more to the west.

Llangollen is a small town or large village of white houses with
slate roofs, it contains about two thousand inhabitants, and is
situated principally on the southern side of the Dee. At its
western end it has an ancient bridge and a modest unpretending
church nearly in its centre, in the chancel of which rest the
mortal remains of an old bard called Gryffydd Hiraethog. From some
of the houses on the southern side there is a noble view - Dinas
Bran and its mighty hill forming the principal objects. The view
from the northern part of the town, which is indeed little more
than a suburb, is not quite so grand, but is nevertheless highly
interesting. The eastern entrance of the vale of Llangollen is
much wider than the western, which is overhung by bulky hills.
There are many pleasant villas on both sides of the river, some of
which stand a considerable way up the hill; of the villas the most
noted is Plas Newydd at the foot of the Berwyn, built by two Irish
ladies of high rank, who resided in it for nearly half a century,
and were celebrated throughout Europe by the name of the Ladies of

The view of the hill of Dinas Bran, from the southern side of
Llangollen, would be much more complete were it not for a bulky
excrescence, towards its base, which prevents the gazer from
obtaining a complete view. The name of Llangollen signifies the
church of Collen, and the vale and village take their name from the
church, which was originally dedicated to Saint Collen, though
some, especially the neighbouring peasantry, suppose that
Llangollen is a compound of Llan, a church, and Collen, a hazel-
wood, and that the church was called the church of the hazel-wood
from the number of hazels in the neighbourhood. Collen, according
to a legendary life, which exists of him in Welsh, was a Briton by
birth, and of illustrious ancestry. He served for some time abroad
as a soldier against Julian the Apostate, and slew a Pagan champion
who challenged the best man amongst the Christians. Returning to
his own country he devoted himself to religion, and became Abbot of
Glastonbury, but subsequently retired to a cave on the side of a
mountain, where he lived a life of great austerity. Once as he was
lying in his cell he heard two men out abroad discoursing about Wyn
Ab Nudd, and saying that he was king of the Tylwyth or Teg Fairies,
and lord of Unknown, whereupon Collen thrusting his head out of his
cave told them to hold their tongues, for that Wyn Ab Nudd and his
host were merely devils. At dead of night he heard a knocking at
the door, and on his asking who was there, a voice said: "I am a
messenger from Wyn Ab Nudd, king of Unknown, and I am come to
summon thee to appear before my master to-morrow, at mid-day, on
the top of the hill."

Collen did not go - the next night there was the same knocking and
the same message. Still Collen did not go. The third night the
messenger came again and repeated his summons, adding that if he
did not go it would be the worse for him. The next day Collen made
some holy water, put it into a pitcher and repaired to the top of
the hill, where he saw a wonderfully fine castle, attendants in
magnificent liveries, youths and damsels dancing with nimble feet,
and a man of honourable presence before the gate, who told him that
the king was expecting him to dinner. Collen followed the man into
the castle, and beheld the king on a throne of gold, and a table
magnificently spread before him. The king welcomed Collen, and
begged him to taste of the dainties on the table, adding that he
hoped that in future he would reside with him. "I will not eat of
the leaves of the forest," said Collen.

"Did you ever see men better dressed?" said the king, "than my
attendants here in red and blue?"

"Their dress is good enough," said Collen, "considering what kind
of dress it is."

"What kind of dress is it?" said the king.

Collen replied: "The red on the one side denotes burning, and the
blue on the other side denotes freezing."  Then drawing forth his
sprinkler, he flung the holy water in the faces of the king and his
people, whereupon the whole vision disappeared, so that there was
neither castle nor attendants, nor youth nor damsel, nor musician
with his music, nor banquet, nor anything to be seen save the green

The valley of the Dee, of which the Llangollen district forms part,
is called in the British tongue Glyndyfrdwy - that is, the valley
of the Dwy or Dee. The celebrated Welsh chieftain, generally known
as Owen Glendower, was surnamed after this valley, the whole of
which belonged to him, and in which he had two or three places of
strength, though his general abode was a castle in Sycharth, a
valley to the south-east of the Berwyn, and distant about twelve
miles from Llangollen.

Connected with the Dee there is a wonderful Druidical legend to the
following effect. The Dee springs from two fountains, high up in
Merionethshire, called Dwy Fawr and Dwy Fach, or the great and
little Dwy, whose waters pass through those of the lake of Bala
without mingling with them, and come out at its northern extremity.
These fountains had their names from two individuals, Dwy Fawr and
Dwy Fach, who escaped from the Deluge, when all the rest of the
human race were drowned, and the passing of the waters of the two
fountains through the lake, without being confounded with its
flood, is emblematic of the salvation of the two individuals from
the Deluge, of which the lake is a type.

Dinas Bran, which crowns the top of the mighty hill on the northern
side of the valley, is a ruined stronghold of unknown antiquity.
The name is generally supposed to signify Crow Castle, bran being
the British word for crow, and flocks of crows being frequently
seen hovering over it. It may, however, mean the castle of Bran or
Brennus, or the castle above the Bran, a brook which flows at its

Dinas Bran was a place quite impregnable in the old time, and
served as a retreat to Gruffydd, son of Madawg from the rage of his
countrymen, who were incensed against him because, having married
Emma, the daughter of James Lord Audley, he had, at the instigation
of his wife and father-in-law, sided with Edward the First against
his own native sovereign. But though it could shield him from his
foes, it could not preserve him from remorse and the stings of
conscience, of which he speedily died.

At present the place consists only of a few ruined walls, and
probably consisted of little more two or three hundred years ago:
Roger Cyffyn a Welsh bard, who flourished at the beginning of the
seventeenth century, wrote an englyn upon it, of which the
following is a translation:-

"Gone, gone are thy gates, Dinas Bran on the height!
Thy warders are blood-crows and ravens, I trow;
Now no one will wend from the field of the fight
To the fortress on high, save the raven and crow."


Poor Black Cat - Dissenters - Persecution - What Impudence!

THE house or cottage, for it was called a cottage though it
consisted of two stories, in which my wife had procured lodgings
for us, was situated in the Northern suburb. Its front was towards
a large perllan or orchard, which sloped down gently to the banks
of the Dee; its back was towards the road leading from Wrexham,
behind which was a high bank, on the top of which was a canal
called in Welsh the Camlas, whose commencement was up the valley
about two miles west. A little way up the road, towards Wrexham,
was the vicarage and a little way down was a flannel factory,
beyond which was a small inn, with pleasure grounds, kept by an
individual who had once been a gentleman's servant. The mistress
of the house was a highly respectable widow, who, with a servant
maid was to wait upon us. It was as agreeable a place in all
respects as people like ourselves could desire.

As I and my family sat at tea in our parlour, an hour or two after
we had taken possession of our lodgings, the door of the room and
that of the entrance to the house being open, on account of the
fineness of the weather, a poor black cat entered hastily, sat down
on the carpet by the table, looked up towards us, and mewed
piteously. I never had seen so wretched a looking creature. It
was dreadfully attenuated, being little more than skin and bone,
and was sorely afflicted with an eruptive malady. And here I may
as well relate the history of this cat previous to our arrival
which I subsequently learned by bits and snatches. It had belonged
to a previous vicar of Llangollen, and had been left behind at his
departure. His successor brought with him dogs and cats, who,
conceiving that the late vicar's cat had no business at the
vicarage, drove it forth to seek another home, which, however, it
could not find. Almost all the people of the suburb were
dissenters, as indeed were the generality of the people of
Llangollen, and knowing the cat to be a church cat, not only would
not harbour it, but did all they could to make it miserable; whilst
the few who were not dissenters, would not receive it into their
houses, either because they had cats of their own, or dogs, or did
not want a cat, so that the cat had no home and was dreadfully
persecuted by nine-tenths of the suburb. Oh, there never was a cat
so persecuted as that poor Church of England animal, and solely on
account of the opinions which it was supposed to have imbibed in
the house of its late master, for I never could learn that the
dissenters of the suburb, nor indeed of Llangollen in general, were
in the habit of persecuting other cats; the cat was a Church of
England cat, and that was enough: stone it, hang it, drown it!
were the cries of almost everybody. If the workmen of the flannel
factory, all of whom were Calvinistic-Methodists, chanced to get a
glimpse of it in the road from the windows of the building, they
would sally forth in a body, and with sticks, stones, or for want
of other weapons, with clots of horse dung, of which there was
always plenty on the road, would chase it up the high bank or
perhaps over the Camlas; the inhabitants of a small street between
our house and the factory leading from the road to the river, all
of whom were dissenters, if they saw it moving about the perllan,
into which their back windows looked, would shriek and hoot at it,
and fling anything of no value, which came easily to hand, at the
head or body of the ecclesiastical cat. The good woman of the
house, who though a very excellent person, was a bitter dissenter,
whenever she saw it upon her ground or heard it was there, would
make after it, frequently attended by her maid Margaret, and her
young son, a boy about nine years of age, both of whom hated the
cat, and were always ready to attack it, either alone or in
company, and no wonder, the maid being not only a dissenter, but a
class teacher, and the boy not only a dissenter, but intended for
the dissenting ministry. Where it got its food, and food it
sometimes must have got, for even a cat, an animal known to have
nine lives, cannot live without food, was only known to itself, as
was the place where it lay, for even a cat must lie down sometimes;
though a labouring man who occasionally dug in the garden told me
he believed that in the springtime it ate freshets, and the woman
of the house once said that she believed it sometimes slept in the
hedge, which hedge, by-the-bye, divided our perllan from the
vicarage grounds, which were very extensive. Well might the cat
after having led this kind of life for better than two years look
mere skin and bone when it made its appearance in our apartment,
and have an eruptive malady, and also a bronchitic cough, for I
remember it had both. How it came to make its appearance there is
a mystery, for it had never entered the house before, even when
there were lodgers; that it should not visit the woman, who was its
declared enemy, was natural enough, but why if it did not visit her
other lodgers, did it visit us? Did instinct keep it aloof from
them? Did instinct draw it towards us? We gave it some bread-and-
butter, and a little tea with milk and sugar. It ate and drank and
soon began to purr. The good woman of the house was horrified when
on coming in to remove the things she saw the church cat on her
carpet. "What impudence!" she exclaimed, and made towards it, but
on our telling her that we did not expect that it should be
disturbed, she let it alone. A very remarkable circumstance was,
that though the cat had hitherto been in the habit of flying, not
only from her face, but the very echo of her voice, it now looked
her in the face with perfect composure, as much as to say, "I don't
fear you, for I know that I am now safe and with my own people."  
It stayed with us two hours and then went away. The next morning
it returned. To be short, though it went away every night, it
became our own cat, and one of our family. I gave it something
which cured it of its eruption, and through good treatment it soon
lost its other ailments and began to look sleek and bonny.


The Mowers - Deep Welsh - Extensive View - Old Celtic Hatred - Fish
Preserving - Smollet's Morgan.

NEXT morning I set out to ascend Dinas Bran, a number of children,
almost entirely girls, followed me. I asked them why they came
after me. "In the hope that you will give us something," said one
in very good English. I told them that I should give them nothing,
but they still followed me. A little way up the hill I saw some
men cutting hay. I made an observation to one of them respecting
the fineness of the weather; he answered civilly, and rested on his
scythe, whilst the others pursued their work. I asked him whether
he was a farming man; he told me that he was not; that he generally
worked at the flannel manufactory, but that for some days past he
had not been employed there, work being slack, and had on that
account joined the mowers in order to earn a few shillings. I
asked him how it was he knew how to handle a scythe, not being bred
up a farming man; he smiled, and said that, somehow or other, he
had learnt to do so.

"You speak very good English," said I, "have you much Welsh?"

"Plenty," said he; "I am a real Welshman."

"Can you read Welsh?" said I.

"Oh, yes!" he replied.

"What books have you read?" said I.

"I have read the Bible, sir, and one or two other books."

"Did you ever read the Bardd Cwsg?" said I.

He looked at me with some surprise. "No," said he, after a moment
or two, "I have never read it. I have seen it, but it was far too
deep Welsh for me."

"I have read it," said I.

"Are you a Welshman?" said he.

"No," said I; "I am an Englishman."

"And how is it," said he, "that you can read Welsh without being a

"I learned to do so," said I, "even as you learned to mow, without
being bred up to farming work."

"Ah! "said he, "but it is easier to learn to mow than to read the
Bardd Cwsg."

"I don't think that," said I; "I have taken up a scythe a hundred
times but I cannot mow."

"Will your honour take mine now, and try again?" said he.

"No," said I, "for if I take your scythe in hand I must give you a
shilling, you know, by mowers' law."

He gave a broad grin, and I proceeded up the hill. When he
rejoined his companions he said something to them in Welsh, at
which they all laughed. I reached the top of the hill, the
children still attending me.

The view over the vale is very beautiful; but on no side, except in
the direction of the west, is it very extensive; Dinas Bran being
on all other sides overtopped by other hills: in that direction,
indeed, the view is extensive enough, reaching on a fine day even
to the Wyddfa or peak of Snowdon, a distance of sixty miles, at
least as some say, who perhaps ought to add to very good eyes,
which mine are not. The day that I made my first ascent of Dinas
Bran was very clear, but I do not think I saw the Wyddfa then from
the top of Dinas Bran. It is true I might see it without knowing
it, being utterly unacquainted with it, except by name; but I
repeat I do not think I saw it, and I am quite sure that I did not
see it from the top of Dinas Bran on a subsequent ascent, on a day
equally clear, when if I had seen the Wyddfa I must have recognised
it, having been at its top. As I stood gazing around, the children
danced about upon the grass, and sang a song. The song was
English. I descended the hill; they followed me to its foot, and
then left me. The children of the lower class of Llangollen are
great pests to visitors. The best way to get rid of them is to
give them nothing: I followed that plan, and was not long troubled
with them.

Arrived at the foot of the hill, I walked along the bank of the
canal to the west. Presently I came to a barge lying by the bank;
the boatman was in it. I entered into conversation with him. He
told me that the canal and its branches extended over a great part
of England. That the boats carried slates - that he had frequently
gone as far as Paddington by the canal - that he was generally
three weeks on the journey - that the boatmen and their families
lived in the little cabins aft - that the boatmen were all Welsh -
that they could read English, but little or no Welsh - that English
was a much more easy language to read than Welsh - that they passed
by many towns, among others Northampton, and that he liked no place
so much as Llangollen. I proceeded till I came to a place where
some people were putting huge slates into a canal boat. It was
near a bridge which crossed the Dee, which was on the left. I
stopped and entered into conversation with one, who appeared to be
the principal man. He told me amongst other things that he was a
blacksmith from the neighbourhood of Rhiwabon, and that the flags
were intended for the flooring of his premises. In the boat was an
old bareheaded, bare-armed fellow, who presently joined in the
conversation in very broken English. He told me that his name was
Joseph Hughes, and that he was a real Welshman and was proud of
being so; he expressed a great dislike for the English, who he said
were in the habit of making fun of him and ridiculing his language;
he said that all the fools that he had known were Englishmen. I
told him that all Englishmen were not fools; "but the greater part
are," said he. "Look how they work," said I. "Yes," said he,
"some of them are good at breaking stones for the road, but not
more than one in a hundred."  "There seems to be something of the
old Celtic hatred to the Saxon in this old fellow," said I to
myself, as I walked away.

I proceeded till I came to the head of the canal, where the
navigation first commences. It is close to a weir over which the
Dee falls. Here there is a little floodgate, through which water
rushes from an oblong pond or reservoir, fed by water from a corner
of the upper part of the weir. On the left, or south-west side, is
a mound of earth fenced with stones which is the commencement of
the bank of the canal. The pond or reservoir above the floodgate
is separated from the weir by a stone wall on the left, or south-
west side. This pond has two floodgates, the one already
mentioned, which opens into the canal, and another, on the other
side of the stone mound, opening to the lower part of the weir.
Whenever, as a man told me who was standing near, it is necessary
to lay the bed of the canal dry, in the immediate neighbourhood for
the purpose of making repairs, the floodgate to the canal is
closed, and the one to the lower part of the weir is opened, and
then the water from the pond flows into the Dee, whilst a sluice,
near the first lock, lets out the water of the canal into the
river. The head of the canal is situated in a very beautiful spot.
To the left or south is a lofty hill covered with wood. To the
right is a beautiful slope or lawn on the top of which is a pretty
villa, to which you can get by a little wooden bridge over the
floodgate of the canal, and indeed forming part of it. Few things
are so beautiful in their origin as this canal, which, be it known,
with its locks and its aqueducts, the grandest of which last is the
stupendous erection near Stockport, which by-the-bye filled my mind
when a boy with wonder, constitutes the grand work of England, and
yields to nothing in the world of the kind, with the exception of
the great canal of China.

Retracing my steps some way I got upon the river's bank and then
again proceeded in the direction of the west. I soon came to a
cottage nearly opposite a bridge, which led over the river, not the
bridge which I have already mentioned, but one much smaller, and
considerably higher up the valley. The cottage had several dusky
outbuildings attached to it, and a paling before it. Leaning over
the paling in his shirt-sleeves was a dark-faced, short, thickset
man, who saluted me in English. I returned his salutation,
stopped, and was soon in conversation with him. I praised the
beauty of the river and its banks: he said that both were
beautiful and delightful in summer, but not at all in winter, for
then the trees and bushes on the banks were stripped of their
leaves, and the river was a frightful torrent. He asked me if I
had been to see the place called the Robber's Leap, as strangers
generally went to see it. I inquired where it was.

"Yonder," said he, pointing to some distance down the river.

"Why is it called the Robber's Leap?" said I.

"It is called the Robber's Leap, or Llam y Lleidyr," said he,
"because a thief pursued by justice once leaped across the river
there and escaped. It was an awful leap, and he well deserved to
escape after taking it."  I told him that I should go and look at
it on some future opportunity, and then asked if there were many
fish in the river. He said there were plenty of salmon and trout,
and that owing to the river being tolerably high, a good many had
been caught during the last few days. I asked him who enjoyed the
right of fishing in the river. He said that in these parts the
fishing belonged to two or three proprietors, who either preserved
the fishing for themselves, as they best could by means of keepers,
or let it out to other people; and that many individuals came not
only from England, but from France and Germany and even Russia for
the purpose of fishing, and that the keepers of the proprietors
from whom they purchased permission to fish, went with them, to
show them the best places, and to teach them how to fish. He added
that there was a report that the river would shortly be rhydd or
free and open to any one. I said that it would be a bad thing to
fling the river open, as in that event the fish would be killed at
all times and seasons, and eventually all destroyed. He replied
that he questioned whether more fish would be taken then than now,
and that I must not imagine that the fish were much protected by
what was called preserving; that the people to whom the lands in
the neighbourhood belonged, and those who paid for fishing did not
catch a hundredth part of the fish which were caught in the river:
that the proprietors went with their keepers, and perhaps caught
two or three stone of fish, or that strangers went with the
keepers, whom they paid for teaching them how to fish, and perhaps
caught half-a-dozen fish, and that shortly after the keepers would
return and catch on their own account sixty stone of fish from the
very spot where the proprietors or strangers had great difficulty
in catching two or three stone or the half-dozen fish, or the
poachers would go and catch a yet greater quantity. He added that
gentry did not understand how to catch fish, and that to attempt to
preserve was nonsense. I told him that if the river was flung open
everybody would fish; he said that I was much mistaken, that
hundreds who were now poachers, would then keep at home, mind their
proper trades, and never use line or spear; that folks always
longed to do what they were forbidden, and that Shimei would never
have crossed the brook provided he had not been told he should be
hanged if he did. That he himself had permission to fish in the
river whenever he pleased, but never availed himself of it, though
in his young time, when he had no leave, he had been an arrant

The manners and way of speaking of this old personage put me very
much in mind of those of Morgan, described by Smollett in his
immortal novel of "Roderick Random."  I had more discourse with
him: I asked him in what line of business he was, he told me that
he sold coals. From his complexion, and the hue of his shirt, I
had already concluded that he was in some grimy trade. I then
inquired of what religion he was, and received for answer that he
was a Baptist. I thought that both himself and part of his apparel
would look all the better for a good immersion. We talked of the
war then raging - he said it was between the false prophet and the
Dragon. I asked him who the Dragon was - he said the Turk. I told
him that the Pope was far worse than either the Turk or the
Russian, that his religion was the vilest idolatry, and that he
would let no one alone. That it was the Pope who drove his fellow
religionists the Anabaptists out of the Netherlands. He asked me
how long ago that was. Between two and three hundred years I
replied. He asked me the meaning of the word Anabaptist; I told
him; whereupon he expressed great admiration for my understanding,
and said that he hoped he should see me again.

I inquired of him to what place the bridge led; he told me that if
I passed over it, and ascended a high bank beyond, I should find
myself on the road from Llangollen to Corwen and that if I wanted
to go to Llangollen I must turn to the left. I thanked him, and
passing over the bridge, and ascending the bank, found myself upon
a broad road. I turned to the left, and walking briskly in about
half an hour reached our cottage in the northern suburb, where I
found my family and dinner awaiting me.


The Dinner - English Foibles - Pengwern - The Yew-Tree - Carn-
Lleidyr - Applications of a Term.

FOR dinner we had salmon and leg of mutton; the salmon from the
Dee, the leg from the neighbouring Berwyn. The salmon was good
enough, but I had eaten better; and here it will not be amiss to
say, that the best salmon in the world is caught in the Suir, a
river that flows past the beautiful town of Clonmel in Ireland. As
for the leg of mutton it was truly wonderful; nothing so good had I
ever tasted in the shape of a leg of mutton. The leg of mutton of
Wales beats the leg of mutton of any other country, and I had never
tasted a Welsh leg of mutton before. Certainly I shall never
forget that first Welsh leg of mutton which I tasted, rich but
delicate, replete with juices derived from the aromatic herbs of
the noble Berwyn, cooked to a turn, and weighing just four pounds.

"O its savoury smell was great,
Such as well might tempt, I trow,
One that's dead to lift his brow."

Let any one who wishes to eat leg of mutton in perfection go to
Wales, but mind you to eat leg of mutton only. Welsh leg of mutton
is superlative; but with the exception of the leg, the mutton of
Wales is decidedly inferior to that of many other parts of Britain.

Here, perhaps, as I have told the reader what we ate for dinner, it
will be as well to tell him what we drank at dinner. Let him know
then, that with our salmon we drank water, and with our mutton ale,
even ale of Llangollen; but not the best ale of Llangollen; it was
very fair; but I subsequently drank far better Llangollen ale than
that which I drank at our first dinner in our cottage at

In the evening I went across the bridge and strolled along in a
south-east direction. Just as I had cleared the suburb a man
joined me from a cottage, on the top of a high bank, whom I
recognised as the mower with whom I had held discourse in the
morning. He saluted me and asked me if I were taking a walk, I
told him I was, whereupon he said that if I were not too proud to
wish to be seen walking with a poor man like himself, he should
wish to join me. I told him I should be glad of his company, and
that I was not ashamed to be seen walking with any person, however
poor, who conducted himself with propriety. He replied that I must
be very different from my countrymen in general, who were ashamed
to be seen walking with any people, who were not, at least, as
well-dressed as themselves. I said that my country-folk in general
had a great many admirable qualities, but at the same time a great
many foibles, foremost amongst which last was a crazy admiration
for what they called gentility, which made them sycophantic to
their superiors in station, and extremely insolent to those whom
they considered below them. He said that I had spoken his very
thoughts, and then asked me whether I wished to be taken the most
agreeable walk near Llangollen.

On my replying by all means, he led me along the road to the south-
east. A pleasant road it proved: on our right at some distance
was the mighty Berwyn; close on our left the hill called Pen y
Coed. I asked him what was beyond the Berwyn?

"A very wild country, indeed," he replied, "consisting of wood,
rock, and river; in fact, an anialwch."

He then asked if I knew the meaning of anialwch.

"A wilderness," I replied, "you will find the word in the Welsh

"Very true, sir," said he, "it was there I met it, but I did not
know the meaning of it, till it was explained to me by one of our

On my inquiring of what religion he was, he told me he was a

We passed an ancient building which stood on our right. I turned
round to look at it. Its back was to the road: at its eastern end
was a fine arched window like the oriel window of a church

"That building," said my companion, "is called Pengwern Hall. It
was once a convent of nuns; a little time ago a farm-house, but is
now used as a barn, and a place of stowage. Till lately it
belonged to the Mostyn family, but they disposed of it, with the
farm on which it stood, together with several other farms, to
certain people from Liverpool, who now live yonder," pointing to a
house a little way farther on. I still looked at the edifice.

"You seem to admire the old building," said my companion.

"I was not admiring it," said I; "I was thinking of the difference
between its present and former state. Formerly it was a place
devoted to gorgeous idolatry and obscene lust; now it is a quiet
old barn in which hay and straw are placed, and broken tumbrels
stowed away: surely the hand of God is visible here?"

"It is so, sir," said the man in a respectful tone, "and so it is
in another place in this neighbourhood. About three miles from
here, in the north-west part of the valley, is an old edifice. It
is now a farm-house, but was once a splendid abbey, and was called
- "

"The abbey of the vale of the cross," said I, "I have read a deal
about it. Iolo Goch, the bard of your celebrated hero, Owen
Glendower, was buried somewhere in its precincts."

We went on: my companion took me over a stile behind the house
which he had pointed out, and along a path through hazel coppices.
After a little time I inquired whether there were any Papists in

"No," said he, "there is not one of that family at Llangollen, but
I believe there are some in Flintshire, at a place called Holywell,
where there is a pool or fountain, the waters of which it is said
they worship."

"And so they do," said I, "true to the old Indian superstition, of
which their religion is nothing but a modification. The Indians
and sepoys worship stocks and stones, and the river Ganges, and our
Papists worship stocks and stones, holy wells and fountains."

He put some questions to me about the origin of nuns and friars. I
told him they originated in India, and made him laugh heartily by
showing him the original identity of nuns and nautch-girls, begging
priests and begging Brahmins. We passed by a small house with an
enormous yew-tree before it; I asked him who lived there.

"No one," he replied, "it is to let. It was originally a cottage,
but the proprietors have furbished it up a little, and call it Yew-
tree Villa."

"I suppose they would let it cheap," said I.

"By no means," he replied, "they ask eighty pounds a year for it."

"What could have induced them to set such a rent upon it?" I

"The yew-tree, sir, which is said to be the largest in Wales. They
hope that some of the grand gentry will take the house for the
romance of the yew-tree, but somehow or other nobody has taken it,
though it has been to let for three seasons."

We soon came to a road leading east and west.

"This way," said he, pointing in the direction of the west, "leads
back to Llangollen, the other to Offa's Dyke and England."

We turned to the west. He inquired if I had ever heard before of
Offa's Dyke.

"Oh yes," said I, "it was built by an old Saxon king called Offa,
against the incursions of the Welsh."

"There was a time," said my companion, "when it was customary for
the English to cut off the ears of every Welshman who was found to
the east of the dyke, and for the Welsh to hang every Englishman
whom they found to the west of it. Let us be thankful that we are
now more humane to each other. We are now on the north side of Pen
y Coed. Do you know the meaning of Pen y Coed, sir?"

"Pen y Coed," said I, "means the head of the wood. I suppose that
in the old time the mountain looked over some extensive forest,
even as the nunnery of Pengwern looked originally over an alder-
swamp, for Pengwern means the head of the alder-swamp."

"So it does, sir, I shouldn't wonder if you could tell me the real
meaning of a word, about which I have thought a good deal, and
about which I was puzzling my head last night as I lay in bed."

"What may it be?" said I.

"Carn-lleidyr," he replied: "now, sir, do you know the meaning of
that word?"

"I think I do," said I.

"What may it be, sir?"

"First let me hear what you conceive its meaning to be," said I.

"Why, sir, I should say that Carn-lleidyr is an out-and-out thief -
one worse than a thief of the common sort. Now, if I steal a
matrass I am a lleidyr, that is a thief of the common sort; but if
I carry it to a person, and he buys it, knowing it to be stolen, I
conceive he is a far worse thief than I; in fact, a carn-lleidyr."

"The word is a double word," said I, "compounded of carn and
lleidyr. The original meaning of carn is a heap of stones, and
carn-lleidyr means properly a thief without house or home, and with
no place on which to rest his head, save the carn or heap of stones
on the bleak top of the mountain. For a long time the word was
only applied to a thief of that description, who, being without
house and home, was more desperate than other thieves, and as
savage and brutish as the wolves and foxes with whom he
occasionally shared his pillow, the carn. In course of time,
however, the original meaning was lost or disregarded, and the term
carn-lleidyr was applied to any particularly dishonest person. At
present there can be no impropriety in calling a person who
receives a matrass, knowing it to be stolen, a carn-lleidyr, seeing
that he is worse than the thief who stole it, or in calling a
knavish attorney a carn-lleidyr, seeing that he does far more harm
than a common pick-pocket; or in calling the Pope so, seeing that
he gets huge sums of money out of people by pretending to be able
to admit their souls to heaven, or to hurl them to the other place,
knowing all the time that he has no such power; perhaps, indeed, at
the present day the term carn-lleidyr is more applicable to the
Pope than to any one else, for he is certainly the arch thief of
the world. So much for Carn-lleidyr. But I must here tell you
that the term carn may be applied to any who is particularly bad or
disagreeable in any respect, and now I remember, has been applied
for centuries both in prose and poetry. One Lewis Glyn Cothi, a
poet, who lived more than three hundred years ago, uses the word
carn in the sense of arrant or exceedingly bad, for in his abusive
ode to the town of Chester, he says that the women of London itself
were never more carn strumpets than those of Chester, by which he
means that there were never more arrant harlots in the world than
those of the cheese capital. And the last of your great poets,
Gronwy Owen, who flourished about the middle of the last century,
complains in a letter to a friend, whilst living in a village of
Lancashire, that he was amongst Carn Saeson. He found all English
disagreeable enough, but those of Lancashire particularly so -
savage, brutish louts, out-and-out John Bulls, and therefore he
called them Carn Saeson."

"Thank you, sir," said my companion; "I now thoroughly understand
the meaning of carn. Whenever I go to Chester, and a dressed-up
madam jostles against me, I shall call her carn-butein. The Pope
of Rome I shall in future term carn-lleidyr y byd, or the arch
thief of the world. And whenever I see a stupid, brutal Englishman
swaggering about Llangollen, and looking down upon us poor Welsh, I
shall say to myself Get home, you carn Sais! Well, sir, we are now
near Llangollen; I must turn to the left. You go straight forward.
I never had such an agreeable walk in my life. May I ask your

I told him my name, and asked him for his.

"Edward Jones," he replied.


The Berwyn - Mountain Cottage - The Barber's Pole.

ON the following morning I strolled up the Berwyn on the south-west
of the town, by a broad winding path, which was at first very
steep, but by degrees became less so. When I had accomplished
about three parts of the ascent I came to a place where the road,
or path, divided into two. I took the one to the left, which
seemingly led to the top of the mountain, and presently came to a
cottage from which a dog rushed barking towards me; an old woman,
however, coming to the door called him back. I said a few words to
her in Welsh, whereupon in broken English she asked me to enter the
cottage and take a glass of milk. I went in and sat down on a
chair which a sickly-looking young woman handed to me. I asked her
in English who she was, but she made no answer, whereupon the old
woman told me that she was her daughter and had no English. I then
asked her in Welsh what was the matter with her, she replied that
she had the cryd or ague. The old woman now brought me a glass of
milk, and said in the Welsh language that she hoped I should like
it. What further conversation we had was in the Cambrian tongue.
I asked the name of the dog, who was now fondling upon me, and was
told that his name was Pharaoh. I inquired if they had any books,
and was shown two, one a common Bible printed by the Bible Society,
and the other a volume in which the book of prayer of the Church of
England was bound up with the Bible, both printed at Oxford, about
the middle of the last century. I found that both mother and
daughter were Calvinistic-Methodists. After a little further
discourse I got up and gave the old woman twopence for the milk;
she accepted it, but with great reluctance. I inquired whether by
following the road I could get to the Pen y bryn or the top of the
hill. They shook their heads, and the young woman said that I
could not, as the road presently took a turn and went down. I
asked her how I could get to the top of the hill. "Which part of
the top?" said she. "I'r goruchaf," I replied. "That must be
where the barber's pole stands," said she. "Why does the barber's
pole stand there?" said I. "A barber was hanged there a long time
ago," said she, "and the pole was placed to show the spot."  "Why
was he hanged?" said I. "For murdering his wife," said she. I
asked her some questions about the murder, but the only information
she could give me was, that it was a very bad murder and occurred a
long time ago. I had observed the pole from our garden, at
Llangollen, but had concluded that it was a common flagstaff. I
inquired the way to it. It was not visible from the cottage, but
they gave me directions how to reach it. I bade them farewell, and
in about a quarter of an hour reached the pole on the top of the
hill. I imagined that I should have a glorious view of the vale of
Llangollen from the spot where it stood; the view, however, did not
answer my expectations. I returned to Llangollen by nearly the
same way by which I had come.

The remainder of the day I spent entirely with my family, whom at
their particular request I took in the evening to see Plas Newydd,
once the villa of the two ladies of Llangollen. It lies on the
farther side of the bridge, at a little distance from the back part
of the church. There is a thoroughfare through the grounds, which
are not extensive. Plas Newydd or the New Place is a small gloomy
mansion, with a curious dairy on the right-hand side, as you go up
to it, and a remarkable stone pump. An old man whom we met in the
grounds, and with whom I entered into conversation, said that he
remembered the building of the house, and that the place where it
now stands was called before its erection Pen y maes, or the head
of the field.


Welsh Farm-House - A Poet's Grandson - Hospitality - Mountain
Village - Madoc - The Native Valley - Corpse Candles - The Midnight

MY curiosity having been rather excited with respect to the country
beyond the Berwyn, by what my friend, the intelligent flannel-
worker, had told me about it, I determined to go and see it.
Accordingly on Friday morning I set out. Having passed by Pengwern
Hall I turned up a lane in the direction of the south, with a brook
on the right running amongst hazels, I presently arrived at a small
farm-house standing on the left with a little yard before it.
Seeing a woman at the door I asked her in English if the road in
which I was would take me across the mountain - she said it would,
and forthwith cried to a man working in a field who left his work
and came towards us. "That is my husband," said she; "he has more
English than I."

The man came up and addressed me in very good English: he had a
brisk, intelligent look, and was about sixty. I repeated the
question, which I had put to his wife, and he also said that by
following the road I could get across the mountain. We soon got
into conversation. He told me that the little farm in which he
lived belonged to the person who had bought Pengwern Hall. He said
that he was a good kind of gentleman, but did not like the Welsh.
I asked him, if the gentleman in question did not like the Welsh,
why he came to live among them. He smiled, and I then said that I
liked the Welsh very much, and was particularly fond of their
language. He asked me whether I could read Welsh, and on my
telling him I could, he said that if I would walk in he would show
me a Welsh book. I went with him and his wife into a neat kind of
kitchen, flagged with stone, where were several young people, their
children. I spoke some Welsh to them which appeared to give them
great satisfaction. The man went to a shelf and taking down a book
put it into my hand. It was a Welsh book, and the title of it in
English was "Evening Work of the Welsh."  It contained the lives of
illustrious Welshmen, commencing with that of Cadwalader. I read a
page of it aloud, while the family stood round and wondered to hear
a Saxon read their language. I entered into discourse with the man
about Welsh poetry and repeated the famous prophecy of Taliesin
about the Coiling Serpent. I asked him if the Welsh had any poets
at the present day. "Plenty," said he, "and good ones - Wales can
never be without a poet."  Then after a pause he said, that he was
the grandson of a great poet.

"Do you bear his name?" said I.

"I do," he replied.

"What may it be?"

"Hughes," he answered.

"Two of the name of Hughes have been poets," said I - "one was Huw
Hughes, generally termed the Bardd Coch, or red bard; he was an
Anglesea man, and the friend of Lewis Morris and Gronwy Owen - the
other was Jonathan Hughes, where he lived I know not."

"He lived here, in this very house," said the man. "Jonathan
Hughes was my grandfather!" and as he spoke his eyes flashed fire.

"Dear me!" said I; "I read some of his pieces thirty-two years ago
when I was a lad in England. I think I can repeat some of the
lines."  I then repeated a quartet which I chanced to remember.

"Ah!" said the man, "I see you know his poetry. Come into the next
room and I will show you his chair."  He led me into a sleeping-
room on the right hand, where in a corner he showed me an antique
three-cornered arm-chair. "That chair," said he, "my grandsire won
at Llangollen, at an Eisteddfod of Bards. Various bards recited
their poetry, but my grandfather won the prize. Ah, he was a good
poet. He also won a prize of fifteen guineas at a meeting of bards
in London."

We returned to the kitchen, where I found the good woman of the
house waiting with a plate of bread-and-butter in one hand, and a
glass of buttermilk in the other - she pressed me to partake of
both - I drank some of the buttermilk, which was excellent, and
after a little more discourse shook the kind people by the hand and
thanked them for their hospitality. As I was about to depart the
man said that I should find the lane farther up very wet, and that
I had better mount through a field at the back of the house. He
took me to a gate, which he opened, and then pointed out the way
which I must pursue. As I went away he said that both he and his
family should be always happy to see me at Ty yn y Pistyll, which
words, interpreted, are the house by the spout of water.

I went up the field with the lane on my right, down which ran a
runnel of water, from which doubtless the house derived its name.
I soon came to an unenclosed part of the mountain covered with
gorse and whin, and still proceeding upward reached a road, which I
subsequently learned was the main road from Llangollen over the
hill. I was not long in gaining the top which was nearly level.
Here I stood for some time looking about me, having the vale of
Llangollen to the north of me, and a deep valley abounding with
woods and rocks to the south.

Following the road to the south, which gradually descended, I soon
came to a place where a road diverged from the straight one to the
left. As the left-hand road appeared to lead down a romantic
valley I followed it. The scenery was beautiful - steep hills on
each side. On the right was a deep ravine, down which ran a brook;
the hill beyond it was covered towards the top with a wood,
apparently of oak, between which and the ravine were small green
fields. Both sides of the ravine were fringed with trees, chiefly
ash. I descended the road which was zigzag and steep, and at last
arrived at the bottom of the valley, where there was a small
hamlet. On the further side of the valley to the east was a steep
hill on which were a few houses - at the foot of the hill was a
brook crossed by an antique bridge of a single arch. I directed my
course to the bridge, and after looking over the parapet for a
minute or two upon the water below, which was shallow and noisy,
ascended a road which led up the hill: a few scattered houses were
on each side. I soon reached the top of the hill, where were some
more houses, those which I had seen from the valley below. I was
in a Welsh mountain village, which put me much in mind of the
villages which I had strolled through of old in Castile and La
Mancha; there were the same silence and desolation here as yonder
away - the houses were built of the same material, namely stone. I
should perhaps have fancied myself for a moment in a Castilian or
Manchegan mountain pueblicito, but for the abundance of trees which
met my eye on every side.

In walking up this mountain village I saw no one, and heard no
sound but the echo of my steps amongst the houses. As I returned,
however, I saw a man standing at a door - he was a short figure,
about fifty. He had an old hat on his head, a stick in his hand,
and was dressed in a duffel greatcoat.

"Good-day, friend," said I; "what be the name of this place?"

"Pont Fadog, sir, is its name, for want of a better."

"That's a fine name," said I; "it signifies in English the bridge
of Madoc."

"Just so, sir; I see you know Welsh."

"And I see you know English," said I.

"Very little, sir; I can read English much better than I can speak

"So can I Welsh," said I. "I suppose the village is named after
the bridge."

"No doubt it is, sir."

"And why was the bridge called the bridge of Madoc?" said I.

"Because one Madoc built it, sir."

"Was he the son of Owain Gwynedd?" said I.

"Ah, I see you know all about Wales, sir. Yes, sir; he built it,
or I daresay he built it, Madawg ap Owain Gwynedd. I have read
much about him - he was a great sailor, sir, and was the first to
discover Tir y Gorllewin or America. Not many years ago his tomb
was discovered there with an inscription in old Welsh - saying who
he was, and how he loved the sea. I have seen the lines which were
found on the tomb."

"So have I," said I; "or at least those which were said to be found
on a tomb: they run thus in English:-

"'Here, after sailing far I Madoc lie,
Of Owain Gwynedd lawful progeny:
The verdant land had little charms for me;
From earliest youth I loved the dark-blue sea.'"

"Ah, sir," said the man, "I see you know all about the son of Owain
Gwynedd. Well, sir, those lines, or something like them, were
found upon the tomb of Madoc in America."

"That I doubt," said I.

"Do you doubt, sir, that Madoc discovered America?"

"Not in the least," said I; "but I doubt very much that his tomb
was ever discovered with the inscription which you allude to upon

"But it was, sir, I do assure you, and the descendants of Madoc and
his people are still to be found in a part of America speaking the
pure iaith Cymraeg better Welsh than we of Wales do."

"That I doubt" said I. "However, the idea is a pretty one;
therefore cherish it. This is a beautiful country."

"A very beautiful country, sir; there is none more beautiful in all

"What is the name of the river, which runs beneath the bridge?"

"The Ceiriog, sir."

"The Ceiriog," said I; "the Ceiriog!"

"Did you ever hear the name before, sir?"

"I have heard of the Eos Ceiriog," said I; "the Nightingale of

"That was Huw Morris, sir; he was called the Nightingale of

"Did he live hereabout?"

"Oh no, sir; he lived far away up towards the head of the valley,
at a place called Pont y Meibion."

"Are you acquainted with his works?" said I.

"Oh yes, sir, at least with some of them. I have read the Marwnad
on Barbara Middleton; and likewise the piece on Oliver and his men.
Ah, it is a funny piece that - he did not like Oliver nor his men."

"Of what profession are you?" said I; "are you a schoolmaster or

"Neither, sir, neither; I am merely a poor shoemaker."

"You know a great deal for a shoemaker," said I.

"Ah, sir; there are many shoemakers in Wales who know much more
than I."

"But not in England," said I. "Well, farewell."

"Farewell, sir. When you have any boots to mend or shoes, sir - I
shall be happy to serve you."

"I do not live in these parts," said I.

"No, sir; but you are coming to live here."

"How do you know that?" said I.

"I know it very well, sir; you left these parts very young, and
went far away - to the East Indies, sir, where you made a large
fortune in the medical line, sir; you are now coming back to your
own valley, where you will buy a property, and settle down, and try
to recover your language, sir, and your health, sir; for you are
not the person you pretend to be, sir: I know you very well, and
shall be happy to work for you."

"Well," said I, "if I ever settle down here, I shall be happy to
employ you. Farewell."

I went back the way I had come, till I reached the little hamlet.
Seeing a small public-house, I entered it. A good-looking woman,
who met me in the passage, ushered me into a neat sanded kitchen,
handed me a chair and inquired my commands; I sat down, and told
her to bring me some ale; she brought it, and then seated herself
by a bench close by the door.

"Rather a quiet place this," said I, "I have seen but two faces
since I came over the hill, and yours is one."

"Rather too quiet, sir," said the good woman, "one would wish to
have more visitors."

"I suppose," said I, "people from Llangollen occasionally come to
visit you."

"Sometimes, sir, for curiosity's sake; but very rarely - the way is
very steep."

"Do the Tylwyth Teg ever pay you visits?"

"The Tylwyth Teg, sir?"

"Yes; the fairies. Do they never come to have a dance on the green
sward in this neighbourhood?"

"Very rarely, sir; indeed, I do not know how long it is since they
have been seen."

"You have never seen them?"

"I have not, sir; but I believe there are people living who have."

"Are corpse candles ever seen on the bank of that river?"

"I have never heard of more than one being seen, sir, and that was
at a place where a tinker was drowned a few nights after - there
came down a flood; and the tinker in trying to cross by the usual
ford was drowned."

"And did the candle prognosticate, I mean foreshow his death?"

"It did, sir. When a person is to die his candle is seen a few
nights before the time of his death."

"Have you ever seen a corpse candle?"

"I have, sir; and as you seem to be a respectable gentleman, I will
tell you all about it. When I was a girl I lived with my parents a
little way from here. I had a cousin, a very good young man, who
lived with his parents in the neighbourhood of our house. He was
an exemplary young man, sir, and having a considerable gift of
prayer, was intended for the ministry; but he fell sick, and
shortly became very ill indeed. One evening when he was lying in
this state, as I was returning home from milking, I saw a candle
proceeding from my cousin's house. I stood still and looked at it.
It moved slowly forward for a little way, and then mounted high in
the air above the wood, which stood not far in front of the house,
and disappeared. Just three nights after that my cousin died."

"And you think that what you saw was his corpse candle?"

"I do, sir! what else should it be?"

"Are deaths prognosticated by any other means than corpse candles?"

"They are, sir; by the knockers, and by a supernatural voice heard
at night."

"Have you ever heard the knockers, or the supernatural voice?"

"I have not, sir; but my father and mother, who are now dead, heard
once a supernatural voice, and knocking. My mother had a sister
who was married like herself, and expected to be confined. Day
after day, however, passed away, without her confinement taking
place. My mother expected every moment to be summoned to her
assistance, and was so anxious about her that she could not rest at
night. One night, as she lay in bed, by the side of her husband,
between sleeping and waking, she heard of a sudden a horse coming
stump, stump, up to the door. Then there was a pause - she
expected every moment to hear some one cry out, and tell her to
come to her sister, but she heard no farther sound, neither voice
nor stump of horse. She thought she had been deceived, so, without
awakening her husband, she tried to go to sleep, but sleep she
could not. The next night, at about the same time, she again heard
a horse's feet come stump, stump, up to the door. She now waked
her husband and told him to listen. He did so, and both heard the
stumping. Presently, the stumping ceased, and then there was a
loud "Hey!" as if somebody wished to wake them. "Hey!" said my
father, and they both lay for a minute expecting to hear something
more, but they heard nothing. My father then sprang out of bed,
and looked out of the window; it was bright moonlight, but he saw
nothing. The next night, as they lay in bed both asleep, they were
suddenly aroused by a loud and terrible knocking. Out sprang my
father from the bed, flung open the window, and looked out, but
there was no one at the door. The next morning, however, a
messenger arrived with the intelligence that my aunt had had a
dreadful confinement with twins in the night, and that both she and
the babes were dead."

"Thank you," said I; and paying for my ale, I returned to


A Calvinistic-Methodist - Turn for Saxon - Our Congregation - Pont
y Cyssyltau - Catherine Lingo.

I HAD inquired of the good woman of the house, in which we lived,
whether she could not procure a person to accompany me occasionally
in my walks, who was well acquainted with the strange nooks and
corners of the country, and who could speak no language but Welsh;
as I wished to increase my knowledge of colloquial Welsh by having
a companion who would be obliged, in all he had to say to me, to
address me in Welsh, and to whom I should perforce have to reply in
that tongue. The good lady had told me that there was a tenant of
hers who lived in one of the cottages, which looked into the
perllan, who, she believed, would be glad to go with me, and was
just the kind of man I was in quest of. The day after I had met
with the adventures, which I have related in the preceding chapter,
she informed me that the person in question was awaiting my orders
in the kitchen. I told her to let me see him. He presently made
his appearance. He was about forty-five years of age, of middle
stature, and had a good-natured open countenance. His dress was
poor, but clean.

"Well," said I to him in Welsh, "are you the Cumro who can speak no

"In truth, sir, I am."

"Are you sure that you know no Saxon?"

"Sir! I may know a few words, but I cannot converse in Saxon, nor
understand a conversation in that tongue."

"Can you read Cumraeg?"

"In truth, sir, I can."

"What have you read in it?"

"I have read, sir, the Ysgrythyr-lan, till I have it nearly at the
ends of my fingers."

"Have you read anything else besides the holy Scripture?"

"I read the newspaper, sir, when kind friends lend it to me."

"In Cumraeg?"

"Yes, sir, in Cumraeg. I can read Saxon a little but not
sufficient to understand a Saxon newspaper."

"What newspaper do you read?"

"I read, sir, Yr Amserau."

"Is that a good newspaper?"

"Very good, sir, it is written by good men."

"Who are they?"

"They are our ministers, sir."

"Of what religion are you?"

"A Calvinistic Methodist, sir."

"Why are you of the Methodist religion?"

"Because it is the true religion, sir."

"You should not be bigoted. If I had more Cumraeg than I have, I
would prove to you that the only true religion is that of the
Lloegrian Church."

"In truth, sir, you could not do that; had you all the Cumraeg in
Cumru you could not do that."

"What are you by trade?"

"I am a gwehydd, sir."

"What do you earn by weaving?"

"About five shillings a week, sir."

"Have you a wife?

"I have, sir."

"Does she earn anything?"

"Very seldom, sir; she is a good wife, but is generally sick."

"Have you children?"

"I have three, sir."

"Do they earn anything?"

"My eldest son, sir, sometimes earns a few pence, the others are
very small."

"Will you sometimes walk with me, if I pay you?"

"I shall be always glad to walk with you, sir, whether you pay me
or not."

"Do you think it lawful to walk with one of the Lloegrian Church?"

"Perhaps, sir, I ought to ask the gentleman of the Lloegrian Church
whether he thinks it lawful to walk with the poor Methodist

"Well, I think we may venture to walk with one another. What is
your name?"

"John Jones, sir."

"Jones! Jones! I was walking with a man of that name the other

"The man with whom you walked the other night is my brother, sir,
and what he said to me about you made me wish to walk with you

"But he spoke very good English."

"My brother had a turn for Saxon, sir; I had not. Some people have
a turn for the Saxon, others have not. I have no Saxon, sir, my
wife has digon iawn - my two youngest children speak good Saxon,
sir, my eldest son not a word."

"Well; shall we set out?"

"If you please, sir."

"To what place shall we go?"

"Shall we go to the Pont y Cyssylltau, sir?"

"What is that?"

"A mighty bridge, sir, which carries the Camlas over a valley on
its back."

"Good! let us go and see the bridge of the junction, for that I
think is the meaning in Saxon of Pont y Cyssylltau."

We set out; my guide conducted me along the bank of the Camlas in
the direction of Rhiwabon, that is towards the east. On the way we
discoursed on various subjects, and understood each other tolerably
well. I asked if he had been anything besides a weaver. He told
me that when a boy he kept sheep on the mountain. "Why did you not
go on keeping sheep?" said "I would rather keep sheep than weave."

"My parents wanted me at home, sir," said he; "and I was not sorry
to go home; I earned little, and lived badly."

"A shepherd," said I, "can earn more than five shillings a week."

"I was never a regular shepherd, sir," said he. "But, sir, I would
rather be a weaver with five shillings a week in Llangollen, than a
shepherd with fifteen on the mountain. The life of a shepherd,
sir, is perhaps not exactly what you and some other gentlefolks
think. The shepherd bears much cold and wet, sir, and he is very
lonely; no society save his sheep and dog. Then, sir, he has no
privileges. I mean gospel privileges. He does not look forward to
Dydd Sul, as a day of llawenydd, of joy and triumph, as the weaver
does; that is if he is religiously disposed. The shepherd has no
chapel, sir, like the weaver. Oh, sir, I say again that I would
rather be a weaver in Llangollen with five shillings a week, than a
shepherd on the hill with fifteen."

"Do you mean to say," said I, "that you live with your family on
five shillings a week?"

"No, sir. I frequently do little commissions by which I earn
something. Then, sir, I have friends, very good friends. A good
lady of our congregation sent me this morning half-a-pound of
butter. The people of our congregation are very kind to each
other, sir."

"That is more," thought I to myself, "than the people of my
congregation are; they are always cutting each other's throats."  I
next asked if he had been much about Wales.

"Not much, sir. However, I have been to Pen Caer Gybi, which you
call Holy Head, and to Beth Gelert, sir."

"What took you to those places?"

"I was sent to those places on business, sir; as I told you before,
sir, I sometimes execute commissions. At Beth Gelert I stayed some
time. It was there I married, sir; my wife comes from a place
called Dol Gellyn near Beth Gelert."

"What was her name?"

"Her name was Jones, sir."

"What, before she married?"

"Yes, sir, before she married. You need not be surprised, sir;
there are plenty of the name of Jones in Wales. The name of my
brother's wife, before she married, was also Jones."

"Your brother is a clever man," said I.

"Yes, sir, for a Cumro he is clebber enough."

"For a Cumro?"

"Yes, sir, he is not a Saxon, you know."

"Are Saxons then so very clever?"

"Oh yes, sir; who so clebber? The clebberest people in Llangollen
are Saxons; that is, at carnal things - for at spiritual things I
do not think them at all clebber. Look at Mr A., sir."

"Who is he?"

"Do you not know him, sir? I thought everybody knew Mr A. He is a
Saxon, sir, and keeps the inn on the road a little way below where
you live. He is the clebberest man in Llangollen, sir. He can do
everything. He is a great cook, and can wash clothes better than
any woman. Oh, sir, for carnal things, who so clebber as your

After walking about four miles by the side of the canal we left it,
and bearing to the right presently came to the aqueduct, which
strode over a deep and narrow valley, at the bottom of which ran
the Dee. "This is the Pont y Cysswllt, sir," said my guide; "it's
the finest bridge in the world, and no wonder, if what the common
people say be true, namely that every stone cost a golden

We went along it; the height was awful. My guide, though he had
been a mountain shepherd, confessed that he was somewhat afraid.
"It gives me the pendro, sir," said he, "to look down."  I too felt
somewhat dizzy, as I looked over the parapet into the glen. The
canal which this mighty bridge carries across the gulf is about
nine feet wide, and occupies about two-thirds of the width of the
bridge and the entire western side. The footway is towards the
east. From about the middle of the bridge there is a fine view of
the forges on the Cefn Bach and also of a huge hill near it called
the Cefn Mawr. We reached the termination, and presently crossing
the canal by a little wooden bridge we came to a village. My guide
then said, "If you please, sir, we will return by the old bridge,
which leads across the Dee in the bottom of the vale."  He then led
me by a romantic road to a bridge on the west of the aqueduct, and
far below. It seemed very ancient. "This is the old bridge, sir,"
said my guide; "it was built a hundred years before the Pont y
Cysswllt was dreamt of."  We now walked to the west, in the
direction of Llangollen, along the bank of the river. Presently we
arrived where the river, after making a bend, formed a pool. It
was shaded by lofty trees, and to all appearance was exceedingly
deep. I stopped to look at it, for I was struck with its gloomy
horror. "That pool, sir," said John Jones, "is called Llyn y
Meddwyn, the drunkard's pool. It is called so, sir, because a
drunken man once fell into it, and was drowned. There is no deeper
pool in the Dee, sir, save one, a little below Llangollen, which is
called the pool of Catherine Lingo. A girl of that name fell into
it, whilst gathering sticks on the high bank above it. She was
drowned, and the pool was named after her. I never look at either
without shuddering, thinking how certainly I should be drowned if I
fell in, for I cannot swim, sir."

"You should have learnt to swim when you were young," said I, "and
to dive too. I know one who has brought up stones from the bottom,
I daresay, of deeper pools than either, but he was a Saxon, and at
carnal things, you know, none so clebber as the Saxons."

I found my guide a first-rate walker and a good botanist, knowing
the names of all the plants and trees in Welsh. By the time we
returned to Llangollen I had formed a very high opinion of him, in
which I was subsequently confirmed by what I saw of him during the
period of our acquaintance, which was of some duration. He was
very honest, disinterested, and exceedingly good-humoured. It is
true, he had his little skits occasionally at the Church, and
showed some marks of hostility to the church cat, more especially
when he saw it mounted on my shoulders; for the creature soon began
to take liberties, and in less than a week after my arrival at the
cottage, generally mounted on my back, when it saw me reading or
writing, for the sake of the warmth. But setting aside those same
skits at the Church, and that dislike of the church cat, venial
trifles after all, and easily to be accounted for, on the score of
his religious education, I found nothing to blame, and much to
admire, in John Jones, the Calvinistic Methodist of Llangollen.


Divine Service - Llangollen Bells - Iolo Goch - The Abbey - Twm o'r
Nant - Holy Well - Thomas Edwards

SUNDAY arrived - a Sunday of unclouded sunshine. We attended
Divine service at church in the morning. The congregation was very
numerous, but to all appearance consisted almost entirely of
English visitors, like ourselves. There were two officiating
clergymen, father and son. They both sat in a kind of oblong
pulpit on the southern side of the church, at a little distance
below the altar. The service was in English, and the elder
gentleman preached; there was good singing and chanting.

After dinner I sat in an arbour in the perllan, thinking of many
things, amongst others, spiritual. Whilst thus engaged, the sound
of the church bells calling people to afternoon service came upon
my ears. I listened, and thought I had never heard bells with so
sweet a sound. I had heard them in the morning, but without paying
much attention to them, but as I now sat in the umbrageous arbour,
I was particularly struck with them. Oh how sweetly their voice
mingled with the low rush of the river, at the bottom of the
perllan. I subsequently found that the bells of Llangollen were
celebrated for their sweetness. Their merit indeed has even been
admitted by an enemy; for a poet of the Calvinistic Methodist
persuasion, one who calls himself Einion Du, in a very beautiful
ode, commencing with -

"Tangnefedd i Llangollen,"

says that in no part of the world do bells call people so sweetly
to church as those of Llangollen town.

In the evening, at about half-past six, I attended service again,
but without my family. This time the congregation was not
numerous, and was composed principally of poor people. The service
and sermon were now in Welsh, the sermon was preached by the
younger gentleman, and was on the building of the second temple,
and, as far as I understood it, appeared to me to be exceedingly

On the Monday evening, myself and family took a walk to the abbey.
My wife and daughter, who are fond of architecture and ruins, were
very anxious to see the old place. I too was anxious enough to see
it, less from love of ruins and ancient architecture, than from
knowing that a certain illustrious bard was buried in its
precincts, of whom perhaps a short account will not be unacceptable
to the reader.

This man, whose poetical appellation was Iolo Goch, but whose real
name was Llwyd, was of a distinguished family, and Lord of
Llechryd. He was born and generally resided at a place called Coed
y Pantwn, in the upper part of the Vale of Clwyd. He was a warm
friend and partisan of Owen Glendower, with whom he lived, at
Sycharth, for some years before the great Welsh insurrection, and
whom he survived, dying at an extreme old age beneath his own roof-
tree at Coed y Pantwn. He composed pieces of great excellence on
various subjects; but the most remarkable of his compositions are
decidedly certain ones connected with Owen Glendower. Amongst
these is one in which he describes the Welsh chieftain's mansion at
Sycharth, and his hospitable way of living at that his favourite
residence; and another in which he hails the advent of the comet,
which made its appearance in the month of March, fourteen hundred
and two, as of good augury to his darling hero.

It was from knowing that this distinguished man lay buried in the
precincts of the old edifice, that I felt so anxious to see it.
After walking about two miles we perceived it on our right hand.

The abbey of the vale of the cross stands in a green meadow, in a
corner near the north-west end of the valley of Llangollen. The
vale or glen, in which the abbey stands, takes its name from a
certain ancient pillar or cross, called the pillar of Eliseg, and
which is believed to have been raised over the body of an ancient
British chieftain of that name, who perished in battle against the
Saxons, about the middle of the tenth century. In the Papist times
the abbey was a place of great pseudo-sanctity, wealth and
consequence. The territory belonging to it was very extensive,
comprising, amongst other districts, the vale of Llangollen and the
mountain region to the north of it, called the Eglwysig Rocks,
which region derived its name Eglwysig, or ecclesiastical, from the
circumstance of its pertaining to the abbey of the vale of the

We first reached that part of the building which had once been the
church, having previously to pass through a farmyard, in which was
abundance of dirt and mire.

The church fronts the west and contains the remains of a noble
window, beneath which is a gate, which we found locked. Passing on
we came to that part where the monks had lived, but which now
served as a farmhouse; an open doorway exhibited to us an ancient
gloomy hall, where was some curious old-fashioned furniture,
particularly an ancient rack, in which stood a goodly range of
pewter trenchers. A respectable dame kindly welcomed us and
invited us to sit down. We entered into conversation with her, and
asked her name, which she said was Evans. I spoke some Welsh to
her, which pleased her. She said that Welsh people at the present
day were so full of fine airs that they were above speaking the old
language - but that such was not the case formerly, and that she
had known a Mrs Price, who was housekeeper to the Countess of
Mornington, who lived in London upwards of forty years, and at the
end of that time prided herself upon speaking as good Welsh as she
did when a girl. I spoke to her about the abbey, and asked if she
had ever heard of Iolo Goch. She inquired who he was. I told her
he was a great bard, and was buried in the abbey. She said she had
never heard of him, but that she could show me the portrait of a
great poet, and going away, presently returned with a print in a

"There," said she, "is the portrait of Twm o'r Nant, generally
called the Welsh Shakespeare."

I looked at it. The Welsh Shakespeare was represented sitting at a
table with a pen in his hand; a cottage-latticed window was behind
him, on his left hand; a shelf with plates, and trenchers behind
him, on his right. His features were rude, but full of wild,
strange expression; below the picture was the following couplet:-

"Llun Gwr yw llawn gwir Awen;
Y Byd a lanwodd o'i Ben."

"Did you ever hear of Twm o'r Nant?" said the old dame.

"I never heard of him by word of mouth," said I; "but I know all
about him - I have read his life in Welsh, written by himself, and
a curious life it is. His name was Thomas Edwards, but he
generally called himself Twm o'r Nant, or Tom of the Dingle,
because he was born in a dingle, at a place called Pen Porchell, in
the vale of Clwyd - which, by the bye, was on the estate which once
belonged to Iolo Goch, the poet I was speaking to you about just
now. Tom was a carter by trade, but once kept a toll-bar in South
Wales, which, however, he was obliged to leave at the end of two
years, owing to the annoyance which he experienced from ghosts and
goblins, and unearthly things, particularly phantom hearses, which
used to pass through his gate at midnight without paying, when the
gate was shut."

"Ah," said the dame, "you know more about Tom o'r Nant than I do;
and was he not a great poet?"

"I daresay he was," said I, "for the pieces which he wrote, and
which he called Interludes, had a great run, and he got a great
deal of money by them, but I should say the lines beneath the
portrait are more applicable to the real Shakespeare than to him."

"What do the lines mean?" said the old lady; "they are Welsh, I
know, but they are far beyond my understanding."

"They may be thus translated," said I:

"God in his head the Muse instill'd,
And from his head the world he fill'd."

"Thank you, sir," said the old lady. "I never found any one before
who could translate them."  She then said she would show me some
English lines written on the daughter of a friend of hers who was
lately dead, and put some printed lines in a frame into my hand.
They were an Elegy to Mary, and were very beautiful, I read them
aloud, and when I had finished she thanked me and said she had no
doubt that if I pleased I could put them into Welsh - she then
sighed and wiped her eyes.

On our enquiring whether we could see the interior of the abbey she
said we could, and that if we rang a bell at the gate a woman would
come to us, who was in the habit of showing the place. We then got
up and bade her farewell - but she begged that we would stay and
taste the dwr santaidd of the holy well.

"What holy well is that?" said I.

"A well," said she, "by the road's side, which in the time of the
popes was said to perform wonderful cures."

"Let us taste it by all means," said I; whereupon she went out, and
presently returned with a tray on which were a jug and tumbler, the
jug filled with the water of the holy well; we drank some of the
dwr santaidd, which tasted like any other water, and then after
shaking her by the hand, we went to the gate, and rang at the bell.

Presently a woman made her appearance at the gate - she was
genteelly drest, about the middle age, rather tall, and bearing in
her countenance the traces of beauty. When we told her the object
of our coming she admitted us, and after locking the gate conducted
us into the church. It was roofless, and had nothing remarkable
about it, save the western window, which we had seen from without.
Our attendant pointed out to us some tombs, and told us the names
of certain great people whose dust they contained. "Can you tell
us where Iolo Goch lies interred?" said I.

"No," said she; "indeed I never heard of such a person."

"He was the bard of Owen Glendower," said I, "and assisted his
cause wonderfully by the fiery odes, in which he incited the Welsh
to rise against the English."

"Indeed!" said she; "well, I am sorry to say that I never heard of

"Are you Welsh?" said I.

"I am," she replied.

"Did you ever hear of Thomas Edwards?"

"Oh, yes," said she; "I have frequently heard of him."

"How odd," said I, "that the name of a great poet should be unknown
in the very place where he is buried, whilst that of one certainly
not his superior, should be well known in that same place, though
he is not buried there."

"Perhaps," said she, "the reason is that the poet, whom you
mentioned, wrote in the old measures and language which few people
now understand, whilst Thomas Edwards wrote in common verse and in
the language of the present day."

"I daresay it is so," said I.

From the church she led us to other parts of the ruin - at first
she had spoken to us rather cross and loftily, but she now became
kind and communicative. She said that she resided near the ruins,
which she was permitted to show, that she lived alone, and wished
to be alone; there was something singular about her, and I believe
that she had a history of her own. After showing us the ruins she
conducted us to a cottage in which she lived; it stood behind the
ruins by a fish-pond, in a beautiful and romantic place enough; she
said that in the winter she went away, but to what place she did
not say. She asked us whether we came walking, and on our telling
her that we did, she said that she would point out to us a near way
home. She then pointed to a path up a hill, telling us we must
follow it. After making her a present we bade her farewell, and
passing through a meadow crossed a brook by a rustic bridge, formed
of the stem of a tree, and ascending the hill by the path which she
had pointed out, we went through a cornfield or two on its top, and
at last found ourselves on the Llangollen road, after a most
beautiful walk.


Expedition to Ruthyn - The Column - Slate Quarries - The Gwyddelod
- Nocturnal Adventure.

NOTHING worthy of commemoration took place during the two following
days, save that myself and family took an evening walk on the
Wednesday up the side of the Berwyn, for the purpose of botanizing,
in which we were attended by John Jones. There, amongst other
plants, we found a curious moss which our good friend said was
called in Welsh, Corn Carw, or deer's horn, and which he said the
deer were very fond of. On the Thursday he and I started on an
expedition on foot to Ruthyn, distant about fourteen miles,
proposing to return in the evening.

The town and castle of Ruthyn possessed great interest for me from
being connected with the affairs of Owen Glendower. It was at
Ruthyn that the first and not the least remarkable scene of the
Welsh insurrection took place by Owen making his appearance at the
fair held there in fourteen hundred, plundering the English who had
come with their goods, slaying many of them, sacking the town and
concluding his day's work by firing it; and it was at the castle of
Ruthyn that Lord Grey dwelt, a minion of Henry the Fourth and
Glendower's deadliest enemy, and who was the principal cause of the
chieftain's entering into rebellion, having, in the hope of
obtaining his estates in the vale of Clwyd, poisoned the mind of
Harry against him, who proclaimed him a traitor, before he had
committed any act of treason, and confiscated his estates,
bestowing that part of them upon his favourite, which the latter
was desirous of obtaining.

We started on our expedition at about seven o'clock of a brilliant
morning. We passed by the abbey and presently came to a small
fountain with a little stone edifice, with a sharp top above it.
"That is the holy well," said my guide: "Llawer iawn o barch yn yr
amser yr Pabyddion yr oedd i'r fynnon hwn - much respect in the
times of the Papists there was to this fountain."

"I heard of it," said I, "and tasted of its water the other evening
at the abbey;" shortly after we saw a tall stone standing in a
field on our right hand at about a hundred yards' distance from the
road. "That is the pillar of Eliseg, sir," said my guide. "Let us
go and see it," said I. We soon reached the stone. It is a fine
upright column about seven feet high, and stands on a quadrate
base. "Sir," said my guide, "a dead king lies buried beneath this
stone. He was a mighty man of valour and founded the abbey. He
was called Eliseg."  "Perhaps Ellis," said I, "and if his name was
Ellis the stone was very properly called Colofn Eliseg, in Saxon
the Ellisian column."  The view from the column is very beautiful,
below on the south-east is the venerable abbey, slumbering in its
green meadow. Beyond it runs a stream, descending from the top of
a glen, at the bottom of which the old pile is situated; beyond the
stream is a lofty hill. The glen on the north is bounded by a
noble mountain, covered with wood. Struck with its beauty I
inquired its name. "Moel Eglwysig, sir," said my guide. "The Moel
of the Church," said I. "That is hardly a good name for it, for
the hill is not bald (moel)."  "True, sir," said John Jones. "At
present its name is good for nothing, but estalom (of old) before
the hill was planted with trees its name was good enough. Our
fathers were not fools when they named their hills."  "I daresay
not," said I, "nor in many other things which they did, for which
we laugh at them, because we do not know the reasons they had for
doing them."  We regained the road; the road tended to the north up
a steep ascent. I asked John Jones the name of a beautiful
village, which lay far away on our right, over the glen, and near
its top. "Pentref y dwr, sir" (the village of the water). It is
called the village of the water, because the river below comes down
through part of it. I next asked the name of the hill up which we
were going, and he told me Allt Bwlch; that is, the high place of
the hollow road.

This bwlch, or hollow way, was a regular pass, which put me
wonderfully in mind of the passes of Spain. It took us a long time
to get to the top. After resting a minute on the summit we began
to descend. My guide pointed out to me some slate-works, at some
distance on our left. "There is a great deal of work going on
there, sir," said he: "all the slates that you see descending the
canal at Llangollen came from there."  The next moment we heard a
blast, and then a thundering sound: "Llais craig yn syrthiaw; the
voice of the rock in falling, sir," said John Jones; "blasting is
dangerous and awful work."  We reached the bottom of the descent,
and proceeded for two or three miles up and down a rough and narrow
road; I then turned round and looked at the hills which we had
passed over. They looked bulky and huge.

We continued our way, and presently saw marks of a fire in some
grass by the side of the road. "Have the Gipsiaid been there?"
said I to my guide.

"Hardly, sir; I should rather think that the Gwyddelaid (Irish)
have been camping there lately."

"The Gwyddeliad?"

"Yes, sir, the vagabond Gwyddeliad, who at present infest these
parts much, and do much more harm than the Gipsiaid ever did."

"What do you mean by the Gipsiaid?"

"Dark, handsome people, sir, who occasionally used to come about in
vans and carts, the men buying and selling horses, and sometimes
tinkering, whilst the women told fortunes."

"And they have ceased to come about?"

"Nearly so, sir; I believe they have been frightened away by the

"What kind of people are these Gwyddelod?

"Savage, brutish people, sir; in general without shoes and
stockings, with coarse features and heads of hair like mops."

"How do they live?"

"The men tinker a little, sir, but more frequently plunder. The
women tell fortunes, and steal whenever they can."

"They live something like the Gipsiaid."

"Something, sir; but the hen Gipsiaid were gentlefolks in

"You think the Gipsiaid have been frightened away by the

"I do, sir; the Gwyddelod made their appearance in these parts
about twenty years ago, and since then the Gipsiaid have been
rarely seen."

"Are these Gwyddelod poor?"

"By no means, sir; they make large sums by plundering and other
means, with which, 'tis said, they retire at last to their own
country or America, where they buy land and settle down."

"What language do they speak?"

"English, sir; they pride themselves on speaking good English, that
is to the Welsh. Amongst themselves they discourse in their own
Paddy Gwyddel."

"Have they no Welsh?"

"Only a few words, sir; I never heard one of them speaking Welsh,
save a young girl - she fell sick by the roadside as she was
wandering by herself - some people at a farmhouse took her in, and
tended her till she was well. During her sickness she took a fancy
to their quiet way of life, and when she was recovered she begged
to stay with them and serve them. They consented; she became a
very good servant, and hearing nothing but Welsh spoken, soon
picked up the tongue."

"Do you know what became of her?"

"I do, sir; her own people found her out, and wished to take her
away with them, but she refused to let them, for by that time she
was perfectly reclaimed, had been to chapel, renounced her heathen
crefydd, and formed an acquaintance with a young Methodist who had
a great gift of prayer, whom she afterwards married - she and her
husband live at present not far from Mineira."

"I almost wonder that her own people did not kill her."

"They threatened to do so, sir, and would doubtless have put their
threat into execution, had they not been prevented by the Man on

And here my guide pointed with his finger reverently upward.

"Is it a long time since you have seen any of these Gwyddeliaid?"

"About two months, sir, and then a terrible fright they caused me."

"How was that?"

"I will tell you, sir; I had been across the Berwyn to carry home a
piece of weaving work to a person who employs me. It was night as
I returned, and when I was about halfway down the hill, at a place
which is called Allt Paddy, because the Gwyddelod are in the habit
of taking up their quarters there, I came upon a gang of them, who
had come there and camped and lighted their fire, whilst I was on
the other side of the hill. There were nearly twenty of them, men
and women, and amongst the rest was a man standing naked in a tub
of water with two women stroking him down with clouts. He was a
large fierce-looking fellow and his body, on which the flame of the
fire glittered, was nearly covered with red hair. I never saw such
a sight. As I passed they glared at me and talked violently in
their Paddy Gwyddel, but did not offer to molest me. I hastened
down the hill, and right glad I was when I found myself safe and
sound at my house in Llangollen, with my money in my pocket, for I
had several shillings there, which the man across the hill had paid
me for the work which I had done."


The Turf Tavern - Don't Understand - The Best Welsh - The Maids of
Merion - Old and New - Ruthyn - The Ash Yggdrasill.

WE now emerged from the rough and narrow way which we had followed
for some miles, upon one much wider, and more commodious, which my
guide told me was the coach road from Wrexham to Ruthyn, and going
on a little farther we came to an avenue of trees which shaded the
road. It was chiefly composed of ash, sycamore and birch, and
looked delightfully cool and shady. I asked my guide if it
belonged to any gentleman's house. He told me that it did not, but
to a public-house, called Tafarn Tywarch, which stood near the end,
a little way off the road.  "Why is it called Tafarn Tywarch?"
said I, struck by the name which signifies "the tavern of turf."

"It was called so, sir," said John, "because it was originally
merely a turf hovel, though at present it consists of good brick
and mortar."

"Can we breakfast there," said I, "for I feel both hungry and

"Oh yes, sir," said John, "I have heard there is good cheese and
cwrw there."

We turned off to the "tafarn," which was a decent public-house of
rather an antiquated appearance. We entered a sanded kitchen, and
sat down by a large oaken table. "Please to bring us some bread,
cheese and ale," said I in Welsh to an elderly woman, who was
moving about.

"Sar?" said she.

"Bring us some bread, cheese and ale," I repeated in Welsh.

"I do not understand you, sar," said she in English.

"Are you Welsh?" said I in English.

"Yes, I am Welsh!"

"And can you speak Welsh?"

"Oh yes, and the best."

"Then why did you not bring what I asked for?"

"Because I did not understand you."

"Tell her," said I to John Jones, "to bring us some bread, cheese
and ale."

"Come, aunt," said John, "bring us bread and cheese and a quart of
the best ale."

The woman looked as if she was going to reply in the tongue in
which he addressed her, then faltered, and at last said in English
that she did not understand.

"Now," said I, "you are fairly caught: this man is a Welshman, and
moreover understands no language but Welsh."

"Then how can he understand you?" said she.

"Because I speak Welsh," said I.

"Then you are a Welshman?" said she.

"No I am not," said I, "I am English."

"So I thought," said she, "and on that account I could not
understand you."

"You mean that you would not," said I. "Now do you choose to bring
what you are bidden?"

"Come, aunt," said John, "don't be silly and cenfigenus, but bring
the breakfast."

The woman stood still for a moment or two, and then biting her lips
went away.

"What made the woman behave in this manner?" said I to my

"Oh, she was cenfigenus, sir," he replied; "she did not like that
an English gentleman should understand Welsh; she was envious; you
will find a dozen or two like her in Wales; but let us hope not

Presently the woman returned with the bread, cheese and ale, which
she placed on the table.

"Oh," said I, "you have brought what was bidden, though it was
never mentioned to you in English, which shows that your pretending
not to understand was all a sham. What made you behave so?"

"Why I thought," said the woman, "that no Englishman could speak
Welsh, that his tongue was too short."

"Your having thought so," said I, "should not have made you tell a
falsehood, saying that you did not understand, when you knew that
you understood very well. See what a disgraceful figure you cut."

"I cut no disgraced figure," said the woman: "after all, what
right have the English to come here speaking Welsh, which belongs
to the Welsh alone, who in fact are the only people that understand

"Are you sure that you understand Welsh?" said I.

"I should think so," said the woman, "for I come from the Vale of
Clwyd, where they speak the best Welsh in the world, the Welsh of
the Bible."

"What do they call a salmon in the Vale of Clwyd?" said I.

"What do they call a salmon?" said the woman. "Yes," said I, "when
they speak Welsh."

"They call it - they call it - why a salmon."

"Pretty Welsh!" said I. "I thought you did not understand Welsh."

"Well, what do you call it?" said the woman.

"Eawg," said I, "that is the word for a salmon in general - but
there are words also to show the sex - when you speak of a male
salmon you should say cemyw, when of a female hwyfell."

"I never heard the words before," said the woman, "nor do I believe
them to be Welsh."

"You say so," said I, "because you do not understand Welsh."

"I not understand Welsh!" said she. "I'll soon show you that I do.
Come, you have asked me the word for salmon in Welsh, I will now
ask you the word for salmon-trout. Now tell me that, and I will
say you know something of the matter."

"A tinker of my country can tell you that," said I. "The word for
salmon-trout is gleisiad."

The countenance of the woman fell.

"I see you know something about the matter," said she; "there are
very few hereabouts, though so near to the Vale of Clwyd, who know
the word for salmon-trout in Welsh, I shouldn't have known the word
myself, but for the song which says:

Glan yw'r gleisiad yn y llyn."

"And who wrote that song?" said I.

"I don't know," said the woman.

"But I do," said I; "one Lewis Morris wrote it.'

"Oh," said she, "I have heard all about Huw Morris."

"I was not talking of Huw Morris," said I, "but Lewis Morris, who
lived long after Huw Morris. He was a native of Anglesea, but
resided for some time in Merionethshire, and whilst there composed
a song about the Morwynion bro Meirionydd or the lasses of County
Merion of a great many stanzas, in one of which the gleisiad is
mentioned. Here it is in English:

"'Full fair the gleisiad in the flood,
Which sparkles 'neath the summer's sun,
And fair the thrush in green abode
Spreading his wings in sportive fun,
But fairer look if truth be spoke,
The maids of County Merion.'"

The woman was about to reply, but I interrupted her.

"There," said I, "pray leave us to our breakfast, and the next time
you feel inclined to talk nonsense about no Englishman's
understanding Welsh, or knowing anything of Welsh matters, remember
that it was an Englishman who told you the Welsh word for salmon,
and likewise the name of the Welshman who wrote the song in which
the gleisiad is mentioned."

The ale was very good and so were the bread and cheese. The ale
indeed was so good that I ordered a second jug. Observing a large
antique portrait over the mantel-piece I got up to examine it. It
was that of a gentleman in a long wig, and underneath it was
painted in red letters "Sir Watkin Wynn: 1742."  It was doubtless
the portrait of the Sir Watkin who, in 1745 was committed to the
tower under suspicion of being suspected of holding Jacobite
opinions, and favouring the Pretender. The portrait was a very
poor daub, but I looked at it long and attentively as a memorial of
Wales at a critical and long past time.

When we had dispatched the second jug of ale, and I had paid the
reckoning, we departed and soon came to where stood a turnpike
house at a junction of two roads, to each of which was a gate.

"Now, sir," said John Jones, "the way straight forward is the
ffordd newydd, and the one on our right hand is the hen ffordd.
Which shall we follow, the new or the old?"

"There is a proverb in the Gerniweg," said I, "which was the
language of my forefathers, saying, 'ne'er leave the old way for
the new,' we will therefore go by the hen ffordd."

"Very good, sir," said my guide, "that is the path I always go, for
it is the shortest."  So we turned to the right and followed the
old road. Perhaps, however, it would have been well had we gone by
the new, for the hen ffordd was a very dull and uninteresting road,
whereas the ffordd newydd, as I long subsequently found, is one of
the grandest passes in Wales. After we had walked a short distance
my guide said, "Now, sir, if you will turn a little way to the left
hand I will show you a house, built in the old style, such a house,
sir, as I daresay the original turf tavern was."  Then leading me a
little way from the road he showed me, under a hollow bank, a small
cottage covered with flags.

"That is a house, sir, built yn yr hen dull in the old fashion, of
earth, flags and wattles and in one night. It was the custom of
old when a house was to be built, for the people to assemble, and
to build it in one night of common materials, close at hand. The
custom is not quite dead. I was at the building of this myself,
and a merry building it was. The cwrw da passed quickly about
among the builders, I assure you."  We returned to the road, and
when we had ascended a hill, my companion told me that if I looked
to the left I should see the Vale of Clwyd.

I looked and perceived an extensive valley pleasantly dotted with
trees and farm-houses, and bounded on the west by a range of hills.

"It is a fine valley, sir," said my guide, "four miles wide and
twenty long, and contains the richest land in all Wales. Cheese
made in that valley, sir, fetches a penny a pound more than cheese
made in any other valley."

"And who owns it?" said I.

"Various are the people who own it, sir, but Sir Watkin owns the
greater part."

We went on, passed by a village called Craig Vychan, where we saw a
number of women washing at a fountain, and by a gentle descent soon
reached the Vale of Clwyd.

After walking about a mile we left the road and proceeded by a
footpath across some meadows. The meadows were green and
delightful and were intersected by a beautiful stream. Trees in
abundance were growing about, some of which were oaks. We passed
by a little white chapel with a small graveyard before it, which my
guide told me belonged to the Baptists, and shortly afterwards
reached Ruthyn.

We went to an inn called the Crossed Foxes, where we refreshed
ourselves with ale. We then sallied forth to look about, after I
had ordered a duck to be got ready for dinner, at three o'clock.
Ruthyn stands on a hill above the Clwyd, which in the summer is a
mere brook, but in the winter a considerable stream, being then fed
with the watery tribute of a hundred hills. About three miles to
the north is a range of lofty mountains, dividing the shire of
Denbigh from that of Flint, amongst which, almost parallel with the
town, and lifting its head high above the rest, is the mighty Moel
Vamagh, the mother heap, which I had seen from Chester. Ruthyn is
a dull town, but it possessed plenty of interest to me, for as I
strolled with my guide about the streets I remembered that I was
treading the ground which the wild bands of Glendower had trod, and
where the great struggle commenced, which for fourteen years
convulsed Wales, and for some time shook England to its centre.
After I had satisfied myself with wandering about the town we
proceeded to the castle.

The original castle suffered terribly in the civil wars; it was
held for wretched Charles, and was nearly demolished by the cannon
of Cromwell, which were planted on a hill about half a mile
distant. The present castle is partly modern and partly ancient.
It belongs to a family of the name of W- who reside in the modern
part, and who have the character of being kind, hospitable and
intellectual people. We only visited the ancient part, over which
we were shown by a woman, who hearing us speaking Welsh, spoke
Welsh herself during the whole time she was showing us about. She
showed us dark passages, a gloomy apartment in which Welsh kings
and great people had been occasionally confined, that strange
memorial of the good old times, a drowning pit, and a large prison
room, in the middle of which stood a singular-looking column,
scrawled with odd characters, which had of yore been used for a
whipping-post, another memorial of the good old baronial times, so
dear to romance readers and minds of sensibility. Amongst other
things which our conductor showed us was an immense onen or ash; it
stood in one of the courts and measured, as she said, pedwar y
haner o ladd yn ei gwmpas, or four yards and a half in girth. As I
gazed on the mighty tree I thought of the Ash Yggdrasill mentioned
in the Voluspa, or prophecy of Vola, that venerable poem which
contains so much relating to the mythology of the ancient Norse.

We returned to the inn and dined. The duck was capital, and I
asked John Jones if he had ever tasted a better. "Never, sir,"
said he, "for to tell you the truth, I never tasted a duck before."  
"Rather singular," said I. "What, that I should not have tasted
duck? Oh, sir, the singularity is, that I should now be tasting
duck. Duck in Wales, sir, is not fare for poor weavers. This is
the first duck I ever tasted, and though I never taste another, as
I probably never shall, I may consider myself a fortunate weaver,
for I can now say I have tasted duck once in my life. Few weavers
in Wales are ever able to say as much."


Baptist Tomb-Stone - The Toll-Bar - Rebecca - The Guitar.

THE sun was fast declining as we left Ruthyn. We retraced our
steps across the fields. When we came to the Baptist Chapel I got
over the wall of the little yard to look at the grave-stones.
There were only three. The inscriptions upon them were all in
Welsh. The following stanza was on the stone of Jane, the daughter
of Elizabeth Williams, who died on the second of May, 1843:

"Er myn'd i'r oerllyd annedd
Dros dymher hir i orwedd,
Cwyd i'r lan o'r gwely bridd
Ac hyfryd fydd ei hagwedd."

which is

"Though thou art gone to dwelling cold
To lie in mould for many a year,
Thou shalt, at length, from earthy bed,
Uplift thy head to blissful sphere."

As we went along I stopped to gaze at a singular-looking hill
forming part of the mountain range on the east. I asked John Jones
what its name was, but he did not know. As we were standing
talking about it, a lady came up from the direction in which our
course lay. John Jones, touching his hat to her, said:

"Madam, this gwr boneddig wishes to know the name of that moel,
perhaps you can tell him."

"Its name is Moel Agrik," said the lady, addressing me in English.

"Does that mean Agricola's hill?" said I.

"It does," said she, "and there is a tradition that the Roman
General Agricola, when he invaded these parts, pitched his camp on
that moel. The hill is spoken of by Pennant."

"Thank you, madam," said I; "perhaps you can tell me the name of
the delightful grounds in which we stand, supposing they have a

"They are called Oaklands," said the lady.

"A very proper name," said I, "for there is plenty of oaks growing
about. But why are they called by a Saxon name, for Oaklands is

"Because," said the lady, "when the grounds were first planted with
trees they belonged to an English family."

"Thank you," said I, and, taking off my hat, I departed with my
guide. I asked him her name, but he could not tell me. Before she
was out of sight, however, we met a labourer of whom John Jones
enquired her name.

"Her name is W-s," said the man, "and a good lady she is."

"Is she Welsh?" said I.

"Pure Welsh, master," said the man. "Purer Welsh flesh and blood
need not be."

Nothing farther worth relating occurred till we reached the toll-
bar at the head of the hen ffordd, by which time the sun was almost
gone down. We found the master of the gate, his wife and son
seated on a bench before the door. The woman had a large book on
her lap, in which she was reading by the last light of the
departing orb. I gave the group the sele of the evening in
English, which they all returned, the woman looking up from her

"Is that volume the Bible?" said I.

"It is, sir," said the woman.

"May I look at it?" said I.

"Certainly," said the woman, and placed the book in my hand. It
was a magnificent Welsh Bible, but without the title-page.

"That book must be a great comfort to you," said I to her.

"Very great," said she. "I know not what we should do without it
in the long winter evenings."

"Of what faith are you?" said I.

"We are Methodists," she replied.

"Then you are of the same faith as my friend here," said I.

"Yes, yes," said she, "we are aware of that. We all know honest
John Jones."

After we had left the gate I asked John Jones whether he had ever
heard of Rebecca of the toll-gates.

"Oh, yes," said he; "I have heard of that chieftainess."

"And who was she?" said I.

"I cannot say, sir; I never saw her, nor any one who had seen her.
Some say that there were a hundred Rebeccas, and all of them men
dressed in women's clothes, who went about at night, at the head of
bands to break the gates. Ah, sir, something of the kind was
almost necessary at that time. I am a friend of peace, sir, no
head-breaker, house-breaker, nor gate-breaker, but I can hardly
blame what was done at that time, under the name of Rebecca. You
have no idea how the poor Welsh were oppressed by those gates, aye,
and the rich too. The little people and farmers could not carry
their produce to market owing to the exactions at the gates, which
devoured all the profit and sometimes more. So that the markets
were not half supplied, and people with money could frequently not
get what they wanted. Complaints were made to government, which
not being attended to, Rebecca and her byddinion made their
appearance at night, and broke the gates to pieces with sledge-
hammers, and everybody said it was gallant work, everybody save the
keepers of the gates and the proprietors. Not only the poor but
the rich, said so. Aye, and I have heard that many a fine young
gentleman had a hand in the work, and went about at night at the
head of a band dressed as Rebecca. Well, sir, those breakings were
acts of violence, I don't deny, but they did good, for the system
is altered; such impositions are no longer practised at gates as
were before the time of Rebecca."

"Were any people ever taken up and punished for those nocturnal
breakings?" said I.

"No, sir; and I have heard say that nobody's being taken up was a
proof that the rich approved of the work and had a hand in it."

Night had come on by the time we reached the foot of the huge hills
we had crossed in the morning. We toiled up the ascent, and after
crossing the level ground on the top, plunged down the bwlch
between walking and running, occasionally stumbling, for we were
nearly in complete darkness, and the bwlch was steep and stony. We
more than once passed people who gave us the n's da, the hissing
night salutation of the Welsh. At length I saw the Abbey looming
amidst the darkness, and John Jones said that, we were just above
the fountain. We descended, and putting my head down I drank
greedily of the dwr santaidd, my guide following my example. We
then proceeded on our way, and in about half-an-hour reached
Llangollen. I took John Jones home with me. We had a cheerful cup
of tea. Henrietta played on the guitar, and sang a Spanish song,
to the great delight of John Jones, who at about ten o'clock
departed contented and happy to his own dwelling.


John Jones and his Bundle - A Good Lady - The Irishman's Dingle -
Ab Gwilym and the Mist - The Kitchen - The Two Individuals - The
Horse-Dealer - I can manage him - The Mist Again.

THE following day was gloomy. In the evening John Jones made his
appearance with a bundle under his arm, and an umbrella in his

"Sir," said he, "I am going across the mountain with it piece of
weaving work, for the man on the other side, who employs me.
Perhaps you would like to go with me, as you are fond of walking."

"I suppose," said I, "you wish to have my company for fear of
meeting Gwyddelians on the hill."

John smiled.

"Well, sir," said he, "if I do meet them I would sooner be with
company than without. But I dare venture by myself, trusting in
the Man on High, and perhaps I do wrong to ask you to go, as you
must be tired with your walk of yesterday."

"Hardly more than yourself," said I. "Come; I shall be glad to go.
What I said about the Gwyddelians was only in jest."

As we were about to depart John said:

"It does not rain at present, sir, but I think it will. You had
better take an umbrella."

I did so, and away we went. We passed over the bridge, and turning
to the right went by the back of the town through a field. As we
passed by the Plas Newydd John Jones said:

"No one lives there now, sir; all dark and dreary; very different
from the state of things when the ladies lived there - all gay then
and cheerful. I remember the ladies, sir, particularly the last,
who lived by herself after her companion died. She was a good
lady, and very kind to the poor; when they came to her gate they
were never sent away without something to cheer them. She was a
grand lady too - kept grand company, and used to be drawn about in
a coach by four horses. But she too is gone, and the house is cold
and empty; no fire in it, sir; no furniture. There was an auction
after her death; and a grand auction it was and lasted four days.
Oh, what a throng of people there was, some of whom came from a
great distance to buy the curious things, of which there were

We passed over a bridge, which crosses a torrent, which descends
from the mountain on the south side of Llangollen, which bridge
John Jones told me was called the bridge of the Melin Bac, or mill
of the nook, from a mill of that name close by. Continuing our way
we came to a glen, down which the torrent comes which passes under
the bridge. There was little water in the bed of the torrent, and
we crossed easily enough by stepping-stones. I looked up the glen;
a wild place enough, its sides overgrown with trees. Dreary and
dismal it looked in the gloom of the closing evening. John Jones
said that there was no regular path up it, and that one could only
get along by jumping from stone to stone, at the hazard of breaking
one's legs. Having passed over the bed of the torrent, we came to
a path, which led up the mountain. The path was very steep and
stony; the glen with its trees and darkness on our right. We
proceeded some way. At length John Jones pointed to a hollow lane
on our right, seemingly leading into the glen.

"That place, sir," said he, "is called Pant y Gwyddel - the
Irishman's dingle, and sometimes Pant Paddy, from the Irish being
fond of taking up their quarters there. It was just here, at the
entrance of the pant, that the tribe were encamped, when I passed
two months ago at night, in returning from the other side of the
hill with ten shillings in my pocket, which I had been paid for a
piece of my work, which I had carried over the mountain to the very
place where I am now carrying this. I shall never forget the
fright I was in, both on account of my life, and my ten shillings.
I ran down what remained of the hill as fast as I could, not
minding the stones. Should I meet a tribe now on my return I shall
not run; you will be with me, and I shall not fear for my life nor
for my money, which will be now more than ten shillings, provided
the man over the hills pays me, as I have no doubt he will."

As we ascended higher we gradually diverged from the glen, though
we did not lose sight of it till we reached the top of the
mountain. The top was nearly level. On our right were a few
fields enclosed with stone walls. On our left was an open space
where whin, furze and heath were growing. We passed over the
summit, and began to descend by a tolerably good, though steep
road. But for the darkness of evening and a drizzling mist, which,
for some time past, had been coming on, we should have enjoyed a
glorious prospect down into the valley, or perhaps I should say
that I should have enjoyed a glorious prospect, for John Jones,
like a true mountaineer, cared not a brass farthing for prospects.
Even as it was, noble glimpses of wood and rock were occasionally
to be obtained. The mist soon wetted us to the skin
notwithstanding that we put up our umbrellas. It was a regular
Welsh mist, a niwl, like that in which the great poet Ab Gwilym
lost his way, whilst trying to keep an assignation with his beloved
Morfydd, and which he abuses in the following manner:-

"O ho! thou villain mist, O ho!
What plea hast thou to plague me so?
I scarcely know a scurril name,
But dearly thou deserv'st the same;
Thou exhalation from the deep
Unknown, where ugly spirits keep!
Thou smoke from hellish stews uphurl'd
To mock and mortify the world!
Thou spider-web of giant race,
Spun out and spread through airy space!
Avaunt, thou filthy, clammy thing,
Of sorry rain the source and spring!
Moist blanket dripping misery down,
Loathed alike by land and town!
Thou watery monster, wan to see,
Intruding 'twixt the sun and me,
To rob me of my blessed right,
To turn my day to dismal night.
Parent of thieves and patron best,
They brave pursuit within thy breast!
Mostly from thee its merciless snow
Grim January doth glean, I trow.
Pass off with speed, thou prowler pale,
Holding along o'er hill and dale,
Spilling a noxious spittle round,
Spoiling the fairies' sporting ground!
Move off to hell, mysterious haze;
Wherein deceitful meteors blaze;
Thou wild of vapour, vast, o'ergrown,
Huge as the ocean of unknown."

As we descended, the path became more steep; it was particularly so
at a part where it was overshadowed with trees on both sides.
Here, finding walking very uncomfortable, my knees suffering much,
I determined to run. So shouting to John Jones, "Nis gallav
gerdded rhaid rhedeg," I set off running down the pass. My
companion followed close behind, and luckily meeting no mischance,
we presently found ourselves on level ground, amongst a collection
of small houses. On our turning a corner a church appeared on our
left hand on the slope of the hill. In the churchyard, and close
to the road, grew a large yew-tree which flung its boughs far on
every side. John Jones stopping by the tree said, that if I looked
over the wall of the yard I should see the tomb of a Lord
Dungannon, who had been a great benefactor to the village. I
looked, and through the lower branches of the yew, which hung over
part of the churchyard, I saw what appeared to be a mausoleum.
Jones told me that in the church also there was the tomb of a great
person of the name of Tyrwhitt.

We passed on by various houses till we came nearly to the bottom of
the valley. Jones then pointing to a large house, at a little
distance on the right, told me that it was a good gwesty, and
advised me to go and refresh myself in it, whilst he went and
carried home his work to the man who employed him, who he said
lived in a farm-house a few hundred yards off. I asked him where
we were.

"At Llyn Ceiriog," he replied.

I then asked if we were near Pont Fadog; and received for answer
that Pont Fadog was a good way down the valley, to the north-east,
and that we could not see it owing to a hill which intervened.

Jones went his way and I proceeded to the gwestfa, the door of
which stood invitingly open. I entered a large kitchen, at one end
of which a good fire was burning in a grate, in front of which was
a long table, and a high settle on either side. Everything looked
very comfortable. There was nobody in the kitchen: on my calling,
however, a girl came, whom I bade in Welsh to bring me a pint of
the best ale. The girl stared, but went away apparently to fetch
it - presently came the landlady, a good-looking middle-aged woman.
I saluted her in Welsh and then asked her if she could speak
English. She replied "Tipyn bach," which interpreted, is, a little
bit. I soon, however, found that she could speak it very passably,
for two men coming in from the rear of the house she conversed with
them in English. These two individuals seated themselves on chairs
near the door, and called for beer. The girl brought in the ale,
and I sat down by the fire, poured myself out a glass, and made
myself comfortable. Presently a gig drove up to the door, and in
came a couple of dogs, one a tall black grey-hound, the other a
large female setter, the coat of the latter dripping with rain, and
shortly after two men from the gig entered; one who appeared to be
the principal was a stout bluff-looking person between fifty and
sixty, dressed in a grey stuff coat and with a slouched hat on his
head. This man bustled much about, and in a broad Yorkshire
dialect ordered a fire to be lighted in another room, and a chamber
to be prepared for him and his companion; the landlady, who
appeared to know him, and to treat him with a kind of deference,
asked if she should prepare two beds; whereupon he answered "No!
As we came together and shall start together, so shall we sleep
together; it will not be for the first time."

His companion was a small mean-looking man, dressed in a black
coat, and behaved to him with no little respect. Not only the
landlady, but the two men, of whom I have previously spoken,
appeared to know him and to treat him with deference. He and his
companion presently went out to see after the horse. After a
little time they returned, and the stout man called lustily for two
fourpennyworths of brandy and water - "Take it into the other
room!" said he, and went into a side room with his companion, but
almost immediately came out saying that the room smoked and was
cold, and that he preferred sitting in the kitchen. He then took
his seat near me, and when the brandy was brought drank to my
health. I said thank you, but nothing farther. He then began
talking to the men and his companion upon indifferent subjects.
After a little time John Jones came in, called for a glass of ale,
and at my invitation seated himself between me and the stout
personage. The latter addressed him roughly in English, but
receiving no answer said, "Ah, you no understand. You have no
English and I no Welsh."

"You have not mastered Welsh yet Mr - " said one of the men to him.

"No!" said he: "I have been doing business with the Welsh forty
years, but can't speak a word of their language. I sometimes guess
at a word, spoken in the course of business, but am never sure."

Presently John Jones began talking to me, saying that he had been
to the river, that the water was very low, and that there was
little but stones in the bed of the stream.

I told him if its name was Ceiriog no wonder there were plenty of
stones in it, Ceiriog being derived from Cerrig, a rock. The men
stared to hear me speak Welsh.

"Is the gentleman a Welshman?" said one of the men, near the door,
to his companion; "he seems to speak Welsh very well."

"How should I know?" said the other, who appeared to be a low
working man.

"Who are those people?" said I to John Jones.

"The smaller man is a workman at a flannel manufactory," said
Jones. "The other I do not exactly know."

"And who is the man on the other side of you?" said I.

"I believe he is an English dealer in gigs and horses," replied
Jones, "and that he is come here either to buy or sell."

The man, however, soon put me out of all doubt with respect to his

"I was at Chirk," said he; "and Mr So-and-so asked me to have a
look at his new gig and horse, and have a ride. I consented. They
were both brought out - everything new; gig new, harness new, and
horse new. Mr So-and-so asked me what I thought of his turn-out.
I gave a look and said, 'I like the car very well, harness very
well, but I don't like the horse at all; a regular bolter, rearer
and kicker, or I'm no judge; moreover, he's pigeon-toed.'  However,
we all got on the car - four of us, and I was of course
complimented with the ribbons. Well, we hadn't gone fifty yards
before the horse, to make my words partly good, began to kick like
a new 'un. However, I managed him, and he went on for a couple of
miles till we got to the top of the hill, just above the descent
with the precipice on the right hand. Here he began to rear like a
very devil.

"'Oh dear me!' says Mr So-and-so; 'let me get out!'

"'Keep where you are,' says I, 'I can manage him.'

"However, Mr So-and-so would not be ruled, and got out; coming
down, not on his legs, but his hands and knees. And then the two
others said -

"'Let us get out!'

"'Keep where you are,' said I, 'I can manage him.'

"But they must needs get out, or rather tumble out, for they both
came down on the road, hard on their backs.

"'Get out yourself,' said they all, 'and let the devil go, or you
are a done man.'

"'Getting out may do for you young hands,' says I, 'but it won't do
for I; neither my back nor bones will stand the hard road.'

"Mr So-and-so ran to the horse's head.

"'Are you mad?' says I, 'if you try to hold him he'll be over the
pree-si-pice in a twinkling, and then where am I? Give him head; I
can manage him.'

"So Mr So-and-so got out of the way, and down flew the horse right
down the descent, as fast as he could gallop. I tell you what, I
didn't half like it! A pree-si-pice on my right, the rock on my
left, and a devil before me, going, like a cannon-ball, right down
the hill. However, I contrived, as I said I would, to manage him;
kept the car from the rock and from the edge of the gulf too.
Well, just when we had come to the bottom of the hill out comes the
people running from the inn, almost covering the road.

"'Now get out of the way,' I shouts, 'if you don't wish to see your
brains knocked out, and what would be worse, mine too.'

"So they gets out of the way, and on I spun, I and my devil. But
by this time I had nearly taken the devil out of him. Well, he
hadn't gone fifty yards on the level ground, when, what do you
think he did? why, went regularly over, tumbled down regularly on
the road, even as I knew he would some time or other, because why?
he was pigeon-toed. Well, I gets out of the gig, and no sooner did
Mr So-and-so come up than I says -

"'I likes your car very well, and I likes your harness, but - me if
I likes your horse, and it will be some time before you persuade me
to drive him again.'"

I am a great lover of horses, and an admirer of good driving, and
should have wished to have some conversation with this worthy
person about horses and their management. I should also have
wished to ask him some questions about Wales and the Welsh, as he
must have picked up a great deal of curious information about both
in his forty years' traffic, notwithstanding he did not know a word
of Welsh, but John Jones prevented my further tarrying by saying,
that it would be as well to get over the mountain before it was
entirely dark. So I got up, paid for my ale, vainly endeavoured to
pay for that of my companion, who insisted upon paying for what he
had ordered, made a general bow and departed from the house,
leaving the horse-dealer and the rest staring at each other and
wondering who we were, or at least who I was. We were about to
ascend the hill when John Jones asked me whether I should not like
to see the bridge and the river. I told him I should. The bridge
and the river presented nothing remarkable. The former was of a
single arch; and the latter anything but abundant in its flow.

We now began to retrace our steps over the mountain. At first the
mist appeared to be nearly cleared away. As we proceeded, however,
large sheets began to roll up the mountain sides, and by the time
we reached the summit were completely shrouded in vapour. The
night, however, was not very dark, and we found our way tolerably
well, though once in descending I had nearly tumbled into the nant
or dingle, now on our left hand. The bushes and trees, seen
indistinctly through the mist, had something the look of goblins,
and brought to my mind the elves, which Ab Gwilym of old saw, or
thought he saw, in a somewhat similar situation:-

"In every hollow dingle stood
Of wry-mouth'd elves a wrathful brood."

Drenched to the skin, but uninjured in body and limb, we at length
reached Llangollen.


Venerable Old Gentleman - Surnames in Wales - Russia and Britain -
Church of England - Yriarte - The Eagle and his Young - Poets of
the Gael - The Oxonian - Master Salisburie.

MY wife had told me that she had had some conversation upon the
Welsh language and literature with a venerable old man, who kept a
shop in the town, that she had informed him that I was very fond of
both, and that he had expressed a great desire to see me. One
afternoon I said: "Let us go and pay a visit to your old friend of
the shop. I think from two or three things which you have told me
about him, that he must be worth knowing."  We set out. She
conducted me across the bridge a little way; then presently turning
to the left into the principal street, she entered the door of a
shop on the left-hand side, over the top of which was written:
"Jones; Provision Dealer and General Merchant."  The shop was
small, with two little counters, one on each side. Behind one was
a young woman, and behind the other a venerable-looking old man.

"I have brought my husband to visit you," said my wife, addressing
herself to him.

"I am most happy to see him," said the old gentleman, making me a
polite bow.

He then begged that we would do him the honour to walk into his
parlour, and led us into a little back room, the window of which
looked out upon the Dee a few yards below the bridge. On the left
side of the room was a large case, well stored with books. He
offered us chairs, and we all sat down. I was much struck with the
old man. He was rather tall, and somewhat inclined to corpulency.
His hair was grey; his forehead high; his nose aquiline; his eyes
full of intelligence; whilst his manners were those of a perfect

I entered into conversation by saying that I supposed his name was
Jones, as I had observed that name over the door.

"Jones is the name I bear at your service, sir," he replied.

I said that it was a very common name in Wales, as I knew several
people who bore it, and observed that most of the surnames in Wales
appeared to be modifications of Christian names; for example Jones,
Roberts, Edwards, Humphreys, and likewise Pugh, Powel, and Probert,
which were nothing more than the son of Hugh, the son of Howel, and
the son of Robert. He said I was right, that there were very few
real surnames in Wales; that the three great families, however, had
real surnames; for that Wynn, Morgan and Bulkley were all real
surnames. I asked him whether the Bulkleys of Anglesea were not
originally an English family. He said they were, and that they
settled down in Anglesea in the time of Elizabeth.

After some minutes my wife got up and left us. The old gentleman
and I had then some discourse in Welsh; we soon, however, resumed
speaking English. We got on the subject of Welsh bards, and after
a good deal of discourse the old gentleman said:

"You seem to know something about Welsh poetry; can you tell me who
wrote the following line?

"'There will be great doings in Britain, and
I shall have no concern in them.'"

"I will not be positive," said I, "but I think from its tone and
tenor that it was composed by Merddyn, whom my countrymen call

"I believe you are right," said the old gentleman, "I see you know
something of Welsh poetry. I met the line, a long time ago, in a
Welsh grammar. It then made a great impression upon me, and of
late it has always been ringing in my ears. I love Britain.
Britain has just engaged in a war with a mighty country, and I am
apprehensive of the consequences. I am old, upwards of four-score,
and shall probably not live to see the evil, if evil happens, as I
fear it will - 'There will be strange doings in Britain, but they
will not concern me.'  I cannot get the line out of my head."

I told him that the line probably related to the progress of the
Saxons in Britain, but that I did not wonder that it made an
impression upon him at the present moment. I said, however, that
we ran no risk from Russia; that the only power at all dangerous to
Britain was France, which though at present leagued with her
against Russia, would eventually go to war with and strive to
subdue her, and then of course Britain could expect no help from
Russia, her old friend and ally, who, if Britain had not outraged
her, would have assisted her, in any quarrel or danger, with four
or five hundred thousand men. I said that I hoped neither he nor I
should see a French invasion, but I had no doubt one would
eventually take place, and that then Britain must fight stoutly, as
she had no one to expect help from but herself; that I wished she
might be able to hold her own, but -

"Strange things will happen in Britain, though they will concern me
nothing," said the old gentleman with a sigh.

On my expressing a desire to know something of his history, he told
me that he was the son of a small farmer, who resided at some
distance from Llangollen; that he lost his father at an early age,
and was obliged to work hard, even when a child, in order to assist
his mother who had some difficulty, after the death of his father,
in keeping things together; that though he was obliged to work hard
he had been fond of study, and used to pore over Welsh and English
books by the glimmering light of the turf fire at night, for that
his mother could not afford to allow him anything in the shape of a
candle to read by; that at his mother's death he left rural labour,
and coming to Llangollen, commenced business in the little shop in
which he was at present; that he had been married, and had
children, but that his wife and family were dead; that the young
woman whom I had seen in the shop, and who took care of his house,
was a relation of his wife; that though he had always been
attentive to business, he had never abandoned study; that he had
mastered his own language, of which he was passionately fond, and
had acquired a good knowledge of English and of some other
languages. That his fondness for literature had shortly after his
arrival at Llangollen attracted the notice of some of the people,
who encouraged him in his studies, and assisted him by giving him
books; that the two celebrated ladies of Llangollen had
particularly noticed him; that he held the situation of church
clerk for upwards of forty years, and that it was chiefly owing to
the recommendation of the "great ladies" that he had obtained it.
He then added with a sigh, that about ten years ago he was obliged
to give it up, owing to something the matter with his eyesight,
which prevented him from reading, and, that his being obliged to
give it up was a source of bitter grief to him, as he had always
considered it a high honour to be permitted to assist in the
service of the Church of England, in the principles of which he had
been bred, and in whose doctrines he firmly believed.

Here shaking him by the hand, I said that I too had been bred up in
the principles of the Church of England; that I too firmly believed
in its doctrines, and would maintain with my blood, if necessary,
that there was not such another church in the world.

"So would I," said the old gentleman; "where is there a church in
whose liturgy there is so much Scripture as in that of the Church
of England?"

"Pity," said I, "that so many traitors have lately sprung up in its

"If it be so," said the old church clerk, "they have not yet shown
themselves in the pulpit at Llangollen. All the clergymen who have
held the living in my time have been excellent. The present
incumbent is a model of a Church-of-England clergyman. Oh, how I
regret that the state of my eyes prevents me from officiating as
clerk beneath him."

I told him that I should never from the appearance of his eyes have
imagined that they were not excellent ones.

"I can see to walk about with them, and to distinguish objects,"
said the old gentleman; "but see to read with them I cannot. Even
with the help of the most powerful glasses I cannot distinguish a
letter. I believe I strained my eyes at a very early age, when
striving to read at night by the glimmer of the turf fire in my
poor mother's chimney corner. Oh what an affliction is this state
of my eyes! I can't turn my books to any account, nor read the
newspapers; but I repeat that I chiefly lament it because it
prevents me from officiating as under-preacher."

He showed me his books. Seeing amongst them "The Fables of
Yriarte" in Spanish, I asked how they came into his possession.

"They were presented to me," said he, "by one of the ladies of
Llangollen, Lady Eleanor Butler."

"Have you ever read them?" said I.

"No," he replied; "I do not understand a word of Spanish; but I
suppose her ladyship, knowing I was fond of languages, thought that
I might one day set about learning Spanish, and that then they
might be useful to me."

He then asked me if I knew Spanish, and on my telling him that I
had some knowledge of that language, he asked me to translate some
of the fables. I translated two of them, which pleased him much.

I then asked if he had ever heard of a collection of Welsh fables
compiled about the year thirteen hundred. He said that he had not,
and inquired whether they had ever been printed. I told him that
some had appeared in the old Welsh magazine called "The Greal."

"I wish you would repeat one of them," said the old clerk.

"Here is one," said I, "which particularly struck me:-

"It is the custom of the eagle, when his young are sufficiently
old, to raise them up above his nest in the direction of the sun;
and the bird which has strength enough of eye to look right in the
direction of the sun, he keeps and nourishes, but the one which has
not, he casts down into the gulf to its destruction. So does the
Lord deal with His children in the Catholic Church Militant: those
whom He sees worthy to serve Him in godliness and spiritual
goodness He keeps with Him and nourishes, but those who are not
worthy from being addicted to earthly things, He casts out into
utter darkness, where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth."

The old gentleman, after a moment's reflection, said it was a
clever fable, but an unpleasant one. It was hard for poor birds to
be flung into a gulf, for not having power of eye sufficient to
look full in the face of the sun, and likewise hard that poor human
creatures should be lost for ever, for not doing that which they
had no power to do.

"Perhaps," said I, "the eagle does not deal with his chicks, or the
Lord with His creatures as the fable represents."

"Let us hope at any rate," said the old gentleman, "that the Lord
does not."

"Have you ever seen this book?" said he, and put Smith's "Sean
Dana" into my hand.

"Oh, yes," said I, "and have gone through it. It contains poems in
the Gaelic language by Oisin and others, collected in the
Highlands. I went through it a long time ago with great attention.
Some of the poems are wonderfully beautiful."

"They are so," said the old clerk. "I too have gone through the
book; it was presented to me a great many years ago by a lady to
whom I gave some lessons in the Welsh language. I went through it
with the assistance of a Gaelic grammar and dictionary, which she
also presented to me, and I was struck with the high tone of the

"This collection is valuable indeed," said I; "it contains poems,
which not only possess the highest merit, but serve to confirm the
authenticity of the poems of Ossian, published by Macpherson, so
often called in question. All the pieces here attributed to Ossian
are written in the same metre, tone, and spirit, as those
attributed to him in the other collection, so if Macpherson's
Ossianic poems, which he said were collected by him in the
Highlands, are forgeries, Smith's Ossianic poems, which, according
to his account, were also collected in the Highlands, must be also
forged, and have been imitated from those published by the other.
Now as it is well known that Smith did not possess sufficient
poetic power to produce any imitation of Macpherson's Ossian, with
a tenth part the merit which the "Sean Dana" possess, and that even
if he had possessed it, his principles would not have allowed him
to attempt to deceive the world by imposing forgeries upon it, as
the authentic poems of another, he being a highly respectable
clergyman, the necessary conclusion is that the Ossianic poems
which both published are genuine, and collected in the manner in
which both stated they were."

After a little more discourse about Ossian, the old gentleman asked
me if there was any good modern Gaelic poetry. "None very modern,"
said I: "the last great poets of the Gael were Macintyre and
Buchanan, who flourished about the middle of the last century. The
first sang of love and of Highland scenery; the latter was a
religious poet. The best piece of Macintyre is an ode to Ben
Dourain, or the Hill of the Water-dogs - a mountain in the
Highlands. The master-piece of Buchanan is his La Breitheanas or
Day of Judgment, which is equal in merit, or nearly so, to the
Cywydd y Farn, or Judgment Day of your own immortal Gronwy Owen.
Singular that the two best pieces on the Day of Judgment should
have been written in two Celtic dialects, and much about the same
time; but such is the fact."

"Really," said the old church clerk, "you seem to know something of
Celtic literature."

"A little," said I; "I am a bit of a philologist; and when studying
languages dip a little into the literature which they contain."

As I had heard him say that he had occasionally given lessons in
the Welsh language, I inquired whether any of his pupils had made
much progress in it. "The generality," said he, "soon became tired
of its difficulties, and gave it up without making any progress at
all. Two or three got on tolerably well. One, however, acquired
it in a time so short that it might be deemed marvellous. He was
an Oxonian, and came down with another in the vacation in order to
study hard against the yearly collegiate examination. He and his
friend took lodgings at Pengwern Hall, then a farm-house, and
studied and walked about for some time, as other young men from
college, who come down here, are in the habit of doing. One day he
and his friend came to me, who was then clerk, and desired to see
the interior of the church. So I took the key and went with them
into the church. When he came to the altar he took up the large
Welsh Common Prayer-Book, which was lying there, and looked into
it. 'A curious language this Welsh,' said he; 'I should like to
learn it.'  'Many have wished to learn it, without being able,'
said I; 'it is no easy language.'  'I should like to try,' he
replied; 'I wish I could find some one who would give me a few
lessons.'  'I have occasionally given instructions in Welsh,' said
I, 'and shall be happy to oblige you.'  Well, it was agreed that he
should take lessons of me; and to my house he came every evening,
and I gave him what instructions I could. I was astonished at his
progress. He acquired the pronunciation in a lesson, and within a
week was able to construe and converse. By the time he left
Llangollen, and he was not here in all more than two months, he
understood the Welsh Bible as well as I did, and could speak Welsh
so well that the Welsh, who did not know him, took him to be one of
themselves, for he spoke the language with the very tone and manner
of a native. Oh, he was the cleverest man for language that I ever
knew; not a word that he heard did he ever forget."

"Just like Mezzofanti," said I, "the great cardinal philologist.
But whilst learning Welsh, did he not neglect his collegiate

"Well, I was rather apprehensive on that point," said the old
gentleman, "but mark the event. At the examination he came off
most brilliantly in Latin, Greek, mathematics, and other things
too; in fact, a double first-class man, as I think they call it."

"I have never heard of so extraordinary an individual," said I. "I
could no more have done what you say he did, than I could have
taken wings and flown. Pray, what was his name?"

"His name," said the old gentleman, "was Earl."

I was much delighted with my new acquaintance, and paid him
frequent visits; the more I saw him the more he interested me. He
was kind and benevolent, a good old Church of England Christian,
was well versed in several dialects of the Celtic, and possessed an
astonishing deal of Welsh heraldic and antiquarian lore. Often
whilst discoursing with him I almost fancied that I was with Master
Salisburie, Vaughan of Hengwrt, or some other worthy of old, deeply
skilled in everything remarkable connected with wild "Camber's


The Vicar and his Family - Evan Evans - Foaming Ale - Llam y
Lleidyr - Baptism - Joost Van Vondel - Over to Rome - The Miller's
Man - Welsh and English.

WE had received a call from the Vicar of Llangollen and his lady;
we had returned it, and they had done us the kindness to invite us
to take tea with them. On the appointed evening we went, myself,
wife, and Henrietta, and took tea with the vicar and his wife,
their sons and daughters, all delightful and amiable beings - the
eldest son a fine intelligent young man from Oxford, lately
admitted into the Church, and now assisting his father in his
sacred office. A delightful residence was the vicarage, situated
amongst trees in the neighbourhood of the Dee. A large open window
in the room, in which our party sat, afforded us a view of a green
plat on the top of a bank running down to the Dee, part of the
river, the steep farther bank covered with umbrageous trees, and a
high mountain beyond, even that of Pen y Coed clad with wood.
During tea Mr E. and I had a great deal of discourse. I found him
to be a first-rate Greek and Latin scholar, and also a proficient
in the poetical literature of his own country. In the course of
discourse he repeated some noble lines of Evan Evans, the
unfortunate and eccentric Prydydd Hir, or tall poet, the friend and
correspondent of Gray, for whom he made literal translations from
the Welsh, which the great English genius afterwards wrought into
immortal verse.

"I have a great regard for poor Evan Evans," said Mr E., after he
had finished repeating the lines, "for two reasons: first, because
he was an illustrious genius, and second, because he was a South-
Wallian like myself."

"And I," I replied, "because he was a great poet, and like myself
fond of a glass of cwrw da."

Some time after tea the younger Mr E. and myself took a walk in an
eastern direction along a path cut in the bank, just above the
stream. After proceeding a little way amongst most romantic
scenery, I asked my companion if he had ever heard of the pool of
Catherine Lingo - the deep pool, as the reader will please to
remember, of which John Jones had spoken.

"Oh yes," said young Mr E.: "my brothers and myself are in the
habit of bathing there almost every morning. We will go to it if
you please."

We proceeded, and soon came to the pool. The pool is a beautiful
sheet of water, seemingly about one hundred and fifty yards in
length, by about seventy in width. It is bounded on the east by a
low ridge of rocks forming a weir. The banks on both sides are
high and precipitous, and covered with trees, some of which shoot
their arms for some way above the face of the pool. This is said
to be the deepest pool in the whole course of the Dee, varying in
depth from twenty to thirty feet. Enormous pike, called in Welsh
penhwiaid, or ducks-heads, from the similarity which the head of a
pike bears to that of a duck, are said to be tenants of this pool.

We returned to the vicarage, and at about ten we all sat down to
supper. On the supper-table was a mighty pitcher full of foaming

"There," said my excellent host, as he poured me out a glass,
"there is a glass of cwrw, which Evan Evans himself might have

One evening my wife, Henrietta, and myself, attended by John Jones,
went upon the Berwyn, a little to the east of the Geraint or
Barber's Hill, to botanize. Here we found a fern which John Jones
called Coed llus y Bran, or the plant of the Crow's berry. There
was a hard kind of berry upon it, of which he said the crows were
exceedingly fond. We also discovered two or three other strange
plants, the Welsh names of which our guide told us, and which were
curious and descriptive enough. He took us home by a romantic path
which we had never before seen, and on our way pointed out to us a
small house in which he said he was born.

The day after, finding myself on the banks of the Dee in the upper
part of the valley, I determined to examine the Llam Lleidyr or
Robber's Leap, which I had heard spoken of on a former occasion. A
man passing near me with a cart I asked him where the Robber's Leap
was. I spoke in English, and with a shake of his head he replied
"Dim Saesneg."  On my putting the question to him in Welsh,
however, his countenance brightened up.

"Dyna Llam Lleidyr, sir!" said he, pointing to a very narrow part
of the stream a little way down.

"And did the thief take it from this side?" I demanded.

"Yes, sir, from this side," replied the man.

I thanked him, and passing over the dry part of the river's bed,
came to the Llam Lleidyr. The whole water of the Dee in the dry
season gurgles here through a passage not more than four feet
across, which, however, is evidently profoundly deep, as the water
is as dark as pitch. If the thief ever took the leap he must have
taken it in the dry season, for in the wet the Dee is a wide and
roaring torrent. Yet even in the dry season it is difficult to
conceive how anybody could take this leap, for on the other side is
a rock rising high above the dark gurgling stream. On observing
the opposite side, however, narrowly, I perceived that there was a
small hole a little way up the rock, in which it seemed possible to
rest one's foot for a moment. So I supposed that if the leap was
ever taken, the individual who took it darted the tip of his foot
into the hole, then springing up seized the top of the rock with
his hands, and scrambled up. From either side the leap must have
been a highly dangerous one - from the farther side the leaper
would incur the almost certain risk of breaking his legs on a ledge
of hard rock, from this of falling back into the deep horrible
stream, which would probably suck him down in a moment.

From the Llam y Lleidyr I went to the canal and walked along it
till I came to the house of the old man who sold coals, and who had
put me in mind of Smollett's Morgan; he was now standing in his
little coal-yard, leaning over the pales. I had spoken to him on
two or three occasions subsequent to the one on which I made his
acquaintance, and had been every time more and more struck with the
resemblance which his ways and manners bore to those of Smollett's
character, on which account I shall call him Morgan, though such
was not his name. He now told me that he expected that I should
build a villa and settle down in the neighbourhood, as I seemed so
fond of it. After a little discourse, induced either by my
questions or from a desire to talk about himself, he related to me
his history, which, though not one of the most wonderful, I shall
repeat. He was born near Aberdarron in Caernarvonshire, and in
order to make me understand the position of the place, and its
bearing with regard to some other places, he drew marks in the
coal-dust on the earth. His father was a Baptist minister, who
when Morgan was about six years of age, went to live at Canol Lyn,
a place at some little distance from Port Heli. With his father he
continued till he was old enough to gain his own maintenance, when
he went to serve a farmer in the neighbourhood. Having saved some
money young Morgan departed to the foundries at Cefn Mawr, at which
he worked thirty years with an interval of four, which he had
passed partly in working in slate quarries, and partly upon the
canal. About four years before the present time he came to where
he now lived, where he commenced selling coals, at first on his own
account and subsequently for some other person. He concluded his
narration by saying that he was now sixty-two years of age, was
afflicted with various disorders, and believed that he was breaking

Such was Morgan's history; certainly not a very remarkable one.
Yet Morgan was a most remarkable individual, as I shall presently
make appear.

Rather affected at the bad account he gave me of his health I asked
him if he felt easy in his mind? He replied perfectly so, and when
I inquired how he came to feel so comfortable, he said that his
feeling so was owing to his baptism into the faith of Christ Jesus.
On my telling him that I too had been baptized, he asked me if I
had been dipped; and on learning that I had not, but only been
sprinkled, according to the practice of my church, he gave me to
understand that my baptism was not worth three halfpence. Feeling
rather nettled at hearing the baptism of my church so undervalued,
I stood up for it, and we were soon in a dispute, in which I got
rather the worst, for though he spuffled and sputtered in a most
extraordinary manner, and spoke in a dialect which was neither
Welsh, English nor Cheshire, but a mixture of all three, he said
two or three things rather difficult to be got over. Finding that
he had nearly silenced me, he observed that he did not deny that I
had a good deal of book learning, but that in matters of baptism I
was as ignorant as the rest of the people of the church were, and
had always been. He then said that many church people had entered
into argument with him on the subject of baptism, but that he had
got the better of them all; that Mr P., the minister of the parish
of L., in which we then were, had frequently entered into argument
with him, but quite unsuccessfully, and had at last given up the
matter, as a bad job. He added that a little time before, as Mr P.
was walking close to the canal with his wife and daughter and a
spaniel dog, Mr P. suddenly took up the dog and flung it in, giving
it a good ducking, whereupon he, Morgan, cried out: "Dyna y gwir
vedydd! That is the right baptism, sir! I thought I should bring
you to it at last!" at which words Mr P. laughed heartily, but made
no particular reply.

After a little time he began to talk about the great men who had
risen up amongst the Baptists, and mentioned two or three
distinguished individuals.

I said that he had not mentioned the greatest man who had been born
amongst the Baptists.

"What was his name?" said he.

"His name was Joost Van Vondel," I replied.

"I never heard of him before," said Morgan.

"Very probably," said I: "he was born, bred, and died in Holland."

"Has he been dead long?" said Morgan.

"About two hundred years," said I.

"That's a long time," said Morgan, "and maybe is the reason that I
never heard of him. So he was a great man?"

"He was indeed," said I. "He was not only the greatest man that
ever sprang up amongst the Baptists, but the greatest, and by far
the greatest, that Holland ever produced, though Holland has
produced a great many illustrious men."

"Oh I daresay he was a great man if he was a Baptist," said Morgan.
"Well, it's strange I never read of him. I thought I had read the
lives of all the eminent people who lived and died in our

"He did not die in the Baptist communion," said I.

"Oh, he didn't die in it," said Morgan; "What, did he go over to
the Church of England? a pretty fellow!"

"He did not go over to the Church of England," said I, "for the
Church of England does not exist in Holland; he went over to the
Church of Rome."

"Well, that's not quite so bad," said Morgan; "however, it's bad
enough. I daresay he was a pretty blackguard."

"No," said I: "he was a pure virtuous character, and perhaps the
only pure and virtuous character that ever went over to Rome. The
only wonder is that so good a man could ever have gone over to so
detestable a church; but he appears to have been deluded."

"Deluded indeed!" said Morgan. "However, I suppose he went over
for advancement's sake."

"No," said I; "he lost every prospect of advancement by going over
to Rome: nine-tenths of his countrymen were of the reformed
religion, and he endured much poverty and contempt by the step he

"How did he support himself?" said Morgan.

"He obtained a livelihood," said I, "by writing poems and plays,
some of which are wonderfully fine."

"What," said Morgan, "a writer of Interludes? One of Twm o'r
Nant's gang! I thought he would turn out a pretty fellow."  I told
him that the person in question certainly did write Interludes, for
example Noah, and Joseph at Goshen, but that he was a highly
respectable, nay venerable character.

"If he was a writer of Interludes," said Morgan, "he was a
blackguard; there never yet was a writer of Interludes, or a person
who went about playing them, that was not a scamp. He might be a
clever man, I don't say he was not. Who was a cleverer man than
Twm o'r Nant with his Pleasure and Care, and Riches and Poverty,
but where was there a greater blackguard? Why, not in all Wales.
And if you knew this other fellow - what's his name - Fondle's
history, you would find that he was not a bit more respectable than
Twm o'r Nant, and not half so clever. As for his leaving the
Baptists I don't believe a word of it; he was turned out of the
connection, and then went about the country saying he left it. No
Baptist connection would ever have a writer of Interludes in it,
not Twm o'r Nant himself, unless he left his ales and Interludes
and wanton hussies, for the three things are sure to go together.
You say he went over to the Church of Rome; of course he did, if
the Church of England were not at hand to receive him, where should
he go but to Rome? No respectable church like the Methodist or the
Independent would have received him. There are only two churches
in the world that will take in anybody without asking questions,
and will never turn them out however bad they may behave; the one
is the Church of Rome, and the other the Church of Canterbury; and
if you look into the matter you will find that every rogue, rascal
and hanged person since the world began, has belonged to one or
other of those communions."

In the evening I took a walk with my wife and daughter past the
Plas Newydd. Coming to the little mill called the Melyn Bac, at
the bottom of the gorge, we went into the yard to observe the
water-wheel. We found that it was turned by a very little water,
which was conveyed to it by artificial means. Seeing the miller's
man, a short dusty figure, standing in the yard, I entered into
conversation with him, and found to my great surprise that he had a
considerable acquaintance with the ancient language. On my
repeating to him verses from Taliesin he understood them, and to
show me that he did, translated some of the lines into English.
Two or three respectable-looking lads, probably the miller's sons,
came out, and listened to us. One of them said we were both good
Welshmen. After a little time the man asked me if I had heard of
Huw Morris, I told him that I was well acquainted with his
writings, and enquired whether the place in which he had lived was
not somewhere in the neighbourhood. He said it was; and that it
was over the mountains not far from Llan Sanfraid. I asked whether
it was not called Pont y Meibion. He answered in the affirmative,
and added that he had himself been there, and had sat in Huw
Morris's stone chair which was still to be seen by the road's side.
I told him that I hoped to visit the place in a few days. He
replied that I should be quite right in doing so, and that no one
should come to these parts without visiting Pont y Meibion, for
that Huw Morris was one of the columns of the Cumry.

"What a difference," said I to my wife, after we had departed,
"between a Welshman and an Englishman of the lower class. What
would a Suffolk miller's swain have said if I had repeated to him
verses out of Beowulf or even Chaucer, and had asked him about the
residence of Skelton.


Huw Morris - Immortal Elegy - The Valley of Ceiriog - Tangled
Wilderness - Perplexity - Chair of Huw Morris - The Walking Stick -
Huw's Descendant - Pont y Meibion.

Two days after the last adventure I set off, over the Berwyn, to
visit the birth-place of Huw Morris under the guidance of John
Jones, who was well acquainted with the spot.

Huw Morus or Morris, was born in the year 1622 on the banks of the
Ceiriog. His life was a long one, for he died at the age of
eighty-four, after living in six reigns. He was the second son of
a farmer, and was apprenticed to a tanner, with whom, however, he
did not stay till the expiration of the term of his apprenticeship,
for not liking the tanning art, he speedily returned to the house
of his father, whom he assisted in husbandry till death called the
old man away. He then assisted his elder brother, and on his elder
brother's death, lived with his son. He did not distinguish
himself as a husbandman, and appears never to have been fond of
manual labour. At an early period, however, he applied himself
most assiduously to poetry, and before he had attained the age of
thirty was celebrated, throughout Wales, as the best poet of his
time. When the war broke out between Charles and his parliament,
Huw espoused the part of the king, not as soldier, for he appears
to have liked fighting little better than tanning or husbandry, but
as a poet, and probably did the king more service in that capacity
than he would if he had raised him a troop of horse, or a regiment
of foot, for he wrote songs breathing loyalty to Charles, and
fraught with pungent satire against his foes, which ran like wild-
fire through Wales, and had a great influence on the minds of the
people. Even when the royal cause was lost in the field, he still
carried on a poetical war against the successful party, but not so
openly as before, dealing chiefly in allegories, which, however,
were easy to be understood. Strange to say the Independents, when
they had the upper hand, never interfered with him though they
persecuted certain Royalist poets of far inferior note. On the
accession of Charles the Second he celebrated the event by a most
singular piece called the Lamentation of Oliver's men, in which he
assails the Roundheads with the most bitter irony. He was loyal to
James the Second, till that monarch attempted to overthrow the
Church of England, when Huw, much to his credit, turned against
him, and wrote songs in the interest of the glorious Prince of
Orange. He died in the reign of good Queen Anne. In his youth his
conduct was rather dissolute, but irreproachable and almost holy in
his latter days - a kind of halo surrounded his old brow. It was
the custom in those days in North Wales for the congregation to
leave the church in a row with the clergyman at their head, but so
great was the estimation in which old Huw was universally held, for
the purity of his life and his poetical gift, that the clergyman of
the parish abandoning his claim to precedence, always insisted on
the good and inspired old man's leading the file, himself following
immediately in his rear. Huw wrote on various subjects, mostly in
common and easily understood measures. He was great in satire,
great in humour, but when he pleased could be greater in pathos
than in either; for his best piece is an elegy on Barbara
Middleton, the sweetest song of the kind ever written. From his
being born on the banks of the brook Ceiriog, and from the flowing
melody of his awen or muse, his countrymen were in the habit of
calling him Eos Ceiriog, or the Ceiriog Nightingale.

So John Jones and myself set off across the Berwyn to visit the
birthplace of the great poet Huw Morris. We ascended the mountain
by Allt Paddy. The morning was lowering and before we had half got
to the top it began to rain. John Jones was in his usual good
spirits. Suddenly taking me by the arm he told me to look to the
right across the gorge to a white house, which he pointed out.

"What is there in that house?" said I.

"An aunt of mine lives there," said he.

Having frequently heard him call old women his aunts, I said,
"Every poor old woman in the neighbourhood seems to be your aunt."

"This is no poor old woman," said he, "she is cyfoethawg iawn, and
only last week she sent me and my family a pound of bacon, which
would have cost me sixpence-halfpenny, and about a month ago a
measure of wheat."

We passed over the top of the mountain, and descending the other
side reached Llansanfraid, and stopped at the public-house where we
had been before, and called for two glasses of ale. Whilst
drinking our ale Jones asked some questions about Huw Morris of the
woman who served us; she said that he was a famous poet, and that
people of his blood were yet living upon the lands which had
belonged to him at Pont y Meibion. Jones told her that his
companion, the gwr boneddig, meaning myself, had come in order to
see the birth-place of Huw Morris, and that I was well acquainted
with his works, having gotten them by heart in Lloegr, when a boy.
The woman said that nothing would give her greater pleasure than to
hear a Sais recite poetry of Huw Morris, whereupon I recited a
number of his lines addressed to the Gof Du, or blacksmith. The
woman held up her hands, and a carter who was in the kitchen
somewhat the worse for liquor, shouted applause. After asking a
few questions as to the road we were to take, we left the house,
and in a little time entered the valley of Ceiriog. The valley is
very narrow, huge hills overhanging it on both sides, those on the
east side lumpy and bare, those on the west precipitous, and
partially clad with wood; the torrent Ceiriog runs down it,
clinging to the east side; the road is tolerably good, and is to
the west of the stream. Shortly after we had entered the gorge, we
passed by a small farm-house on our right hand, with a hawthorn
hedge before it, upon which seems to stand a peacock, curiously cut
out of thorn. Passing on we came to a place called Pandy uchaf, or
the higher Fulling mill. The place so called is a collection of
ruinous houses, which put me in mind of the Fulling mills mentioned
in "Don Quixote."  It is called the Pandy because there was
formerly a fulling mill here, said to have been the first
established in Wales; which is still to be seen, but which is no
longer worked. Just above the old mill there is a meeting of
streams, the Tarw from the west rolls down a dark valley into the

At the entrance of this valley and just before you reach the Pandy,
which it nearly overhangs, is an enormous crag. After I had looked
at the place for some time with considerable interest we proceeded
towards the south, and in about twenty minutes reached a neat kind
of house, on our right hand, which John Jones told me stood on the
ground of Huw Morris. Telling me to wait, he went to the house,
and asked some questions. After a little time I followed him and
found him discoursing at the door with a stout dame about fifty-
five years of age, and a stout buxom damsel of about seventeen,
very short of stature.

"This is the gentleman" said he, "who wishes to see anything there
may be here connected with Huw Morris."

The old dame made me a curtsey, and said in very distinct Welsh,
"We have some things in the house which belonged to him, and we
will show them to the gentleman willingly."

"We first of all wish to see his chair," said John Jones.

"The chair is in a wall in what is called the hen ffordd (old
road)," said the old gentlewoman; "it is cut out of the stone wall,
you will have maybe some difficulty in getting to it, but the girl
shall show it to you."  The girl now motioned to us to follow her,
and conducted us across the road to some stone steps, over a wall
to a place which looked like a plantation.

"This was the old road," said Jones; "but the place has been
enclosed. The new road is above us on our right hand beyond the

We were in a maze of tangled shrubs, the boughs of which, very wet
from the rain which was still falling, struck our faces, as we
attempted to make our way between them; the girl led the way, bare-
headed and bare-armed, and soon brought us to the wall, the
boundary of the new road. Along this she went with considerable
difficulty, owing to the tangled shrubs, and the nature of the
ground, which was very precipitous, shelving down to the other side
of the enclosure. In a little time we were wet to the skin, and
covered with the dirt of birds, which they had left while roosting
in the trees; on went the girl, sometimes creeping, and trying to
keep herself from falling by holding against the young trees; once
or twice she fell and we after her, for there was no path, and the
ground, as I have said before very shelvy; still as she went her
eyes were directed towards the wall, which was not always very easy
to be seen, for thorns, tall nettles and shrubs, were growing up
against it. Here and there she stopped, and said something, which
I could not always make out, for her Welsh was anything but clear;
at length I heard her say that she was afraid we had passed the
chair, and indeed presently we came to a place where the enclosure
terminated in a sharp corner.

"Let us go back," said I; "we must have passed it."

I now went first, breaking down with my weight the shrubs nearest
to the wall.

"Is not this the place?" said I, pointing to a kind of hollow in
the wall, which looked something like the shape of a chair.

"Hardly," said the girl, "for there should be a slab on the back,
with letters, but there's neither slab nor letters here."

The girl now again went forward, and we retraced our way, doing the
best we could to discover the chair, but all to no purpose; no
chair was to be found. We had now been, as I imagined, half-an-
hour in the enclosure, and had nearly got back to the place from
which we had set out, when we suddenly heard the voice of the old
lady exclaiming, "What are ye doing there, the chair is on the
other side of the field; wait a bit, and I will come and show it
you;" getting over the stone stile, which led into the wilderness,
she came to us, and we now went along the wall at the lower end; we
had quite as much difficulty here as on the other side, and in some
places more, for the nettles were higher, the shrubs more tangled,
and the thorns more terrible. The ground, however, was rather more
level. I pitied the poor girl who led the way, and whose fat naked
arms were both stung and torn. She at last stopped amidst a huge
grove of nettles, doing the best she could to shelter her arms from
the stinging leaves.

"I never was in such a wilderness in my life," said I to John
Jones, "is it possible that the chair of the mighty Huw is in a
place like this; which seems never to have been trodden by human
foot. Well does the Scripture say 'Dim prophwyd yw yn cael barch
yn ei dir ei hunan.'"

This last sentence tickled the fancy of my worthy friend, the
Calvinistic-Methodist, he laughed aloud and repeated it over and
over again to the females, with amplifications.

"Is the chair really here," said I, "or has it been destroyed? if
such a thing has been done it is a disgrace to Wales."

"The chair is really here," said the old lady, "and though Huw
Morus was no prophet, we love and reverence everything belonging to
him. Get on Llances, the chair can't be far off;" the girl moved
on, and presently the old lady exclaimed, "There's the chair,
Diolch i Duw!"

I was the last of the file, but I now rushed past John Jones, who
was before me, and next to the old lady, and sure enough there was
the chair, in the wall, of him who was called in his day, and still
is called by the mountaineers of Wales, though his body has been
below the earth in the quiet church-yard one hundred and forty
years, Eos Ceiriog, the Nightingale of Ceiriog, the sweet caroller
Huw Morus, the enthusiastic partizan of Charles and the Church of
England, and the never-tiring lampooner of Oliver and the
Independents. There it was, a kind of hollow in the stone wall, in
the hen ffordd, fronting to the west, just above the gorge at the
bottom of which murmurs the brook Ceiriog, there it was, something
like a half barrel chair in a garden, a mouldering stone slab
forming the seat, and a large slate stone, the back, on which were
cut these letters -

H. M. B.

signifying Huw Morus Bard.

"Sit down in the chair, Gwr Boneddig," said John Jones, "you have
taken trouble enough to get to it."

"Do, gentleman," said the old lady; "but first let me wipe it with
my apron, for it is very wet and dirty."

"Let it be," said I; then taking off my hat I stood uncovered
before the chair, and said in the best Welsh I could command,
"Shade of Huw Morus, supposing your shade haunts the place which
you loved so well when alive - a Saxon, one of the seed of the
Coiling Serpent, has come to this place to pay that respect to true
genius, the Dawn Duw, which he is ever ready to pay. He read the
songs of the Nightingale of Ceiriog in the most distant part of
Lloegr, when he was a brown-haired boy, and now that he is a grey-
haired man he is come to say in this place that they frequently
made his eyes overflow with tears of rapture."

I then sat down in the chair, and commenced repeating verses of Huw
Morris. All which I did in the presence of the stout old lady, the
short, buxom and bare-armed damsel, and of John Jones the
Calvinistic weaver of Llangollen, all of whom listened patiently
and approvingly, though the rain was pouring down upon them, and
the branches of the trees and the tops of the tall nettles,
agitated by the gusts from the mountain hollows, were beating in
their faces, for enthusiasm is never scoffed at by the noble
simple-minded, genuine Welsh, whatever treatment it may receive
from the coarse-hearted, sensual, selfish Saxon.

After some time, our party returned to the house - which put me
very much in mind of the farm-houses of the substantial yeomen of
Cornwall, particularly that of my friends at Penquite; a
comfortable fire blazed in the kitchen grate, the floor was
composed of large flags of slate. In the kitchen the old lady
pointed to me the ffon, or walking-stick, of Huw Morris; it was
supported against a beam by three hooks; I took it down and walked
about the kitchen with it; it was a thin polished black stick, with
a crome cut in the shape of an eagle's head; at the end was a brass
fence. The kind creature then produced a sword without a scabbard;
this sword was found by Huw Morris on the mountain - it belonged to
one of Oliver's officers who was killed there. I took the sword,
which was a thin two-edged one, and seemed to be made of very good
steel; it put me in mind of the blades which I had seen at Toledo -
the guard was very slight like those of all rapiers, and the hilt
the common old-fashioned English officer's hilt - there was no rust
on the blade, and it still looked a dangerous sword. A man like
Thistlewood would have whipped it through his adversary in a
twinkling. I asked the old lady if Huw Morris was born in this
house; she said no, but a little farther on at Pont y Meibion; she
said, however, that the ground had belonged to him, and that they
had some of his blood in their veins. I shook her by the hand, and
gave the chubby bare-armed damsel a shilling, pointing to the marks
of the nettle stings on her fat bacon-like arms. She laughed, made
me a curtsey, and said: "Llawer iawn o diolch."

John Jones and I then proceeded to the house at Pont y Meibion,
where we saw two men, one turning a grind-stone, and the other
holding an adze to it. We asked if we were at the house of Huw
Morris, and whether they could tell us anything about him; they
made us no answer but proceeded with their occupation; John Jones
then said that the Gwr Boneddig was very fond of the verses of Huw
Morris, and had come a great way to see the place where he was
born. The wheel now ceased turning, and the man with the adze
turned his face full upon me - he was a stern-looking, dark man,
with black hair, of about forty; after a moment or two he said that
if I chose to walk into the house I should be welcome. He then
conducted us into the house, a common-looking stone tenement, and
bade us be seated. I asked him if he was a descendant of Huw
Morus; he said he was; I asked him his name, which he said was Huw
- . "Have you any of the manuscripts of Huw Morus?" said I.

"None," said he, "but I have one of the printed copies of his

He then went to a drawer, and taking out a book, put it into my
hand, and seated himself in a blunt, careless manner. The book was
the first volume of the common Wrexham edition of Huw's works; it
was much thumbed - I commenced reading aloud a piece which I had
much admired in my boyhood. I went on for some time, my mind quite
occupied with my reading; at last lifting my eyes I saw the man
standing bolt upright before me, like a soldier of the days of my
childhood, during the time that the adjutant read prayers; his hat
was no longer upon his head, but on the ground, and his eyes were
reverently inclined to the book. After all what a beautiful thing
it is, not to be, but to have been a genius. Closing the book, I
asked him whether Huw Morris was born in the house where we were,
and received for answer that he was born about where we stood, but
that the old house had been pulled down, and that of all the
premises only a small out-house was coeval with Huw Morris. I
asked him the name of the house, and he said Pont y Meibion.

"But where is the bridge?" said I.

"The bridge," he replied, "is close by, over the Ceiriog. If you
wish to see it, you must go down yon field, the house is called
after the bridge."  Bidding him farewell, we crossed the road and
going down the field speedily arrived at Pont y Meibion. The
bridge is a small bridge of one arch which crosses the brook
Ceiriog - it is built of rough moor stone; it is mossy, broken, and
looks almost inconceivably old; there is a little parapet to it
about two feet high. On the right-hand side it is shaded by an
ash. The brook when we viewed it, though at times a roaring
torrent, was stealing along gently, on both sides it is overgrown
with alders, noble hills rise above it to the east and west, John
Jones told me that it abounded with trout. I asked him why the
bridge was called Pont y Meibion, which signifies the bridge of the
children. "It was built originally by children," said he, "for the
purpose of crossing the brook."

"That bridge," said I, "was never built by children."

"The first bridge," said he, "was of wood, and was built by the
children of the houses above."

Not quite satisfied with his explanation, I asked him to what place
the little bridge led, and was told that he believed it led to an
upland farm. After taking a long and wistful view of the bridge
and the scenery around it, I turned my head in the direction of
Llangollen. The adventures of the day were, however, not finished.


The Gloomy Valley - The Lonely Cottage - Happy Comparison - Clogs -
The Alder Swamp - The Wooden Leg - The Militiaman - Death-bed

ON reaching the ruined village where the Pandy stood I stopped, and
looked up the gloomy valley to the west, down which the brook which
joins the Ceiriog at this place, descends, whereupon John Jones
said, that if I wished to go up it a little way he should have
great pleasure in attending me, and that he should show me a
cottage built in the hen ddull, or old fashion, to which he
frequently went to ask for the rent; he being employed by various
individuals in the capacity of rent-gatherer. I said that I was
afraid that if he was a rent-collector, both he and I should have a
sorry welcome. "No fear," he replied, "the people are very good
people, and pay their rent very regularly," and without saying
another word he led the way up the valley. At the end of the
village, seeing a woman standing at the door of one of the ruinous
cottages, I asked her the name of the brook, or torrent, which came
down the valley. "The Tarw," said she, "and this village is called
Pandy Teirw."

"Why is the streamlet called the bull?" said I. "Is it because it
comes in winter weather roaring down the glen and butting at the

The woman laughed, and replied that perhaps it was. The valley was
wild and solitary to an extraordinary degree, the brook or torrent
running in the middle of it covered with alder trees. After we had
proceeded about a furlong we reached the house of the old fashion -
it was a rude stone cottage standing a little above the road on a
kind of platform on the right-hand side of the glen; there was a
paling before it with a gate, at which a pig was screaming, as if
anxious to get in. "It wants its dinner," said John Jones, and
opened the gate for me to pass, taking precautions that the
screamer did not enter at the same time. We entered the cottage,
very glad to get into it, a storm of wind and rain having just come
on. Nobody was in the kitchen when we entered, it looked
comfortable enough, however, there was an excellent fire of wood
and coals, and a very snug chimney corner. John Jones called
aloud, but for some time no one answered; at last a rather good-
looking woman, seemingly about thirty, made her appearance at a
door at the farther end of the kitchen. "Is the mistress at home,"
said Jones, "or the master?"

"They are neither at home," said the woman, "the master is abroad
at his work, and the mistress is at the farm-house of - three miles
off to pick feathers (trwsio plu)."  She asked us to sit down.

"And who are you?" said I.

"I am only a lodger," said she, "I lodge here with my husband who
is a clog-maker."

"Can you speak English?" said I.

"Oh yes," said she, "I lived eleven years in England, at a place
called Bolton, where I married my husband, who is an Englishman."

"Can he speak Welsh?" said I.

"Not a word," said she. "We always speak English together."

John Jones sat down, and I looked about the room. It exhibited no
appearance of poverty; there was plenty of rude but good furniture
in it; several pewter plates and trenchers in a rack, two or three
prints in frames against the wall, one of which was the likeness of
no less a person than the Rev. Joseph Sanders, on the table was a
newspaper. "Is that in Welsh?" said I.

"No," replied the woman, "it is the BOLTON CHRONICLE, my husband
reads it."

I sat down in the chimney-corner. The wind was now howling abroad,
and the rain was beating against the cottage panes - presently a
gust of wind came down the chimney, scattering sparks all about.
"A cataract of sparks!" said I, using the word Rhaiadr.

"What is Rhaiadr?" said the woman; "I never heard the word before."

"Rhaiadr means water tumbling over a rock," said John Jones - "did
you never see water tumble over the top of a rock?"

"Frequently," said she.

"Well," said he, "even as the water with its froth tumbles over the
rock, so did sparks and fire tumble over the front of that grate
when the wind blew down the chimney. It was a happy comparison of
the Gwr Boneddig, and with respect to Rhaiadr it is a good old
word, though not a common one; some of the Saxons who have read the
old writings, though they cannot speak the language as fast as we,
understand many words and things which we do not."

"I forgot much of my Welsh in the land of the Saxons," said the
woman, "and so have many others; there are plenty of Welsh at
Bolton, but their Welsh is sadly corrupted."

She then went out and presently returned with an infant in her arms
and sat down. "Was that child born in Wales?" I demanded.

"No," said she, "he was born at Bolton, about eighteen months ago -
we have been here only a year."

"Do many English," said I, "marry Welsh wives?"

"A great many," said she. "Plenty of Welsh girls are married to
Englishmen at Bolton."

"Do the Englishmen make good husbands?" said I.

The woman smiled and presently sighed.

"Her husband," said Jones, "is fond of a glass of ale and is often
at the public-house."

"I make no complaint," said the woman, looking somewhat angrily at
John Jones.

"Is your husband a tall bulky man?" said I.

"Just so," said the woman.

"The largest of the two men we saw the other night at the public-
house at Llansanfraid," said I to John Jones.

"I don't know him," said Jones, "though I have heard of him, but I
have no doubt that was he."

I asked the woman how her husband could carry on the trade of a
clog-maker in such a remote place - and also whether he hawked his
clogs about the country.

"We call him a clog-maker," said the woman, "but the truth is that
he merely cuts down the wood and fashions it into squares, these
are taken by an under-master who sends them to the manufacturer at
Bolton, who employs hands, who make them into clogs."

"Some of the English," said Jones, "are so poor that they cannot
afford to buy shoes; a pair of shoes cost ten or twelve shillings,
whereas a pair of clogs only cost two."

"I suppose," said I, "that what you call clogs are wooden shoes."

"Just so," said Jones - "they are principally used in the
neighbourhood of Manchester."

"I have seen them at Huddersfield," said I, "when I was a boy at
school there; of what wood are they made?"

"Of the gwern, or alder tree," said the woman, "of which there is
plenty on both sides of the brook."

John Jones now asked her if she could give him a tamaid of bread;
she said she could, "and some butter with it."

She then went out and presently returned with a loaf and some

"Had you not better wait," said I, "till we get to the inn at

The woman, however, begged him to eat some bread and butter where
he was, and cutting a plateful, placed it before him, having first
offered me some which I declined.

"But you have nothing to drink with it," said I to him.

"If you please," said the woman, "I will go for a pint of ale to
the public-house at the Pandy, there is better ale there than at
the inn at Llansanfraid. When my husband goes to Llansanfraid he
goes less for the ale than for the conversation, because there is
little English spoken at the Pandy however good the ale."

John Jones said he wanted no ale - and attacking the bread and
butter speedily made an end of it; by the time he had done the
storm was over, and getting up I gave the child twopence, and left
the cottage with Jones. We proceeded some way farther up the
valley, till we came to a place where the ground descended a
little. Here Jones touching me on the shoulder pointed across the
stream. Following with my eye the direction of his finger, I saw
two or three small sheds with a number of small reddish blocks in
regular piles beneath them. Several trees felled from the side of
the torrent were lying near, some of them stripped of their arms
and bark. A small tree formed a bridge across the brook to the

"It is there," said John Jones, "that the husband of the woman with
whom we have been speaking works, felling trees from the alder
swamp and cutting them up into blocks. I see there is no work
going on at present or we would go over - the woman told me that
her husband was at Llangollen."

"What a strange place to come to work at," said I, "out of crowded
England. Here is nothing to be heard but the murmuring of waters
and the rushing of wind down the gulleys. If the man's head is not
full of poetical fancies, which I suppose it is not, as in that
case he would be unfit for any useful employment, I don't wonder at
his occasionally going to the public-house."

After going a little further up the glen and observing nothing more
remarkable than we had seen already, we turned back. Being
overtaken by another violent shower just as we reached the Pandy I
thought that we could do no better than shelter ourselves within
the public-house, and taste the ale, which the wife of the clog-
maker had praised. We entered the little hostelry which was one of
two or three shabby-looking houses, standing in contact, close by
the Ceiriog. In a kind of little back room, lighted by a good fire
and a window which looked up the Ceiriog valley, we found the
landlady, a gentlewoman with a wooden leg, who on perceiving me got
up from a chair, and made me the best curtsey that I ever saw made
by a female with such a substitute for a leg of flesh and bone.
There were three men, sitting with jugs of ale near them on a table
by the fire, two were seated on a bench by the wall, and the other
on a settle with a high back, which ran from the wall just by the
door, and shielded those by the fire from the draughts of the
doorway. He of the settle no sooner beheld me than he sprang up,
and placing a chair for me by the fire bade me in English be
seated, and then resumed his own seat. John Jones soon finding a
chair came and sat down by me, when I forthwith called for a quart
of cwrw da. The landlady bustled about on her wooden leg and
presently brought us the ale with two glasses, which I filled, and
taking one drank to the health of the company who returned us
thanks, the man of the settle in English rather broken. Presently
one of his companions getting up paid his reckoning and departed,
the other remained, a stout young fellow dressed something like a
stone-mason, which indeed I soon discovered that he was - he was
far advanced towards a state of intoxication and talked very
incoherently about the war, saying that he hoped it would soon
terminate, for that if it continued he was afraid he might stand a
chance of being shot, as he was a private in the Denbighshire
Militia. I told him that it was the duty of every gentleman in the
militia to be willing at all times to lay down his life in the
service of the Queen. The answer which he made I could not exactly
understand, his utterance being very indistinct and broken; it was,
however, made with some degree of violence, with two or three Myn
Diawls, and a blow on the table with his clenched fist. He then
asked me whether I thought the militia would be again called out.
"Nothing more probable," said I.

"And where would they be sent to?"

"Perhaps to Ireland," was my answer, whereupon he started up with
another Myn Diawl, expressing the greatest dread of being sent to

"You ought to rejoice in your chance of going there," said I,
"Iwerddon is a beautiful country, and abounds with whisky."

"And the Irish?" said he.

"Hearty, jolly fellows," said I, "if you know how to manage them,
and all gentlemen."

Here he became very violent, saying that I did not speak truth, for
that he had seen plenty of Irish camping amidst the hills, that the
men were half naked and the women were three parts so, and that
they carried their children on their backs. He then said that he
hoped somebody would speedily kill Nicholas, in order that the war
might be at an end and himself not sent to Iwerddon. He then asked
if I thought Cronstadt could be taken. I said I believed it could,
provided the hearts of those who were sent to take it were in the
right place.

"Where do you think the hearts of those are who are gone against
it?" said he - speaking with great vehemence.

I made no other answer than by taking my glass and drinking.

His companion now looking at our habiliments which were in rather a
dripping condition asked John Jones if we had come from far.

"We have been to Pont y Meibion," said Jones, "to see the chair of
Huw Morris," adding that the Gwr Boneddig was a great admirer of
the songs of the Eos Ceiriog.

He had no sooner said these words than the intoxicated militiaman
started up, and striking the table with his fist said: "I am a
poor stone-cutter - this is a rainy day and I have come here to
pass it in the best way I can. I am somewhat drunk, but though I
am a poor stone-mason, a private in the militia, and not so sober
as I should be, I can repeat more of the songs of the Eos than any
man alive, however great a gentleman, however sober - more than Sir
Watkin, more than Colonel Biddulph himself."

He then began to repeat what appeared to be poetry, for I could
distinguish the rhymes occasionally, though owing to his broken
utterance it was impossible for me to make out the sense of the
words. Feeling a great desire to know what verses of Huw Morris
the intoxicated youth would repeat, I took out my pocket-book and
requested Jones, who was much better acquainted with Welsh
pronunciation, under any circumstances, than myself, to endeavour
to write down from the mouth of the young fellow any verses
uppermost in his mind. Jones took the pocket-book and pencil and
went to the window, followed by the young man scarcely able to
support himself. Here a curious scene took place, the drinker
hiccuping up verses, and Jones dotting them down, in the best
manner he could, though he had evidently great difficulty to
distinguish what was said to him. At last, methought, the young
man said - "There they are, the verses of the Nightingale, on his

I took the book and read aloud the following lines beautifully
descriptive of the eagerness of a Christian soul to leave its
perishing tabernacle, and get to Paradise and its Creator:-

"Myn'd i'r wyl ar redeg,
I'r byd a beryi chwaneg,
I Beradwys, y ber wiw deg,
Yn Enw Duw yn union deg."

"Do you understand those verses?" said the man on the settle, a
dark swarthy fellow with an oblique kind of vision, and dressed in
a pepper-and-salt coat.

"I will translate them," said I; and forthwith put them into
English - first into prose and then into rhyme, the rhymed version
running thus:-

"Now to my rest I hurry away,
To the world which lasts for ever and aye,
To Paradise, the beautiful place,
Trusting alone in the Lord of Grace" -

"Well," said he of the pepper-and-salt, "if that isn't capital I
don't know what is."

A scene in a public-house, yes! but in a Welsh public-house. Only
think of a Suffolk toper repeating the death-bed verses of a poet;
surely there is a considerable difference between the Celt and the


Llangollen Fair - Buyers and Sellers - The Jockey - The Greek Cap.

ON the twenty-first was held Llangollen Fair. The day was dull
with occasional showers. I went to see the fair about noon. It
was held in and near a little square in the south-east quarter of
the town, of which square the police-station is the principal
feature on the side of the west, and an inn, bearing the sign of
the Grapes, on the east. The fair was a little bustling fair,
attended by plenty of people from the country, and from the English
border, and by some who appeared to come from a greater distance
than the border. A dense row of carts extended from the police-
station half across the space, these carts were filled with pigs,
and had stout cord-nettings drawn over them, to prevent the animals
escaping. By the sides of these carts the principal business of
the fair appeared to be going on - there stood the owners male and
female, higgling with Llangollen men and women, who came to buy.
The pigs were all small, and the price given seemed to vary from
eighteen to twenty-five shillings. Those who bought pigs generally
carried them away in their arms; and then there was no little
diversion; dire was the screaming of the porkers, yet the purchaser
invariably appeared to know how to manage his bargain, keeping the
left arm round the body of the swine and with the right hand fast
gripping the ear - some few were led away by strings. There were
some Welsh cattle, small of course, and the purchasers of these
seemed to be Englishmen, tall burly fellows in general, far
exceeding the Welsh in height and size.

Much business in the cattle-line did not seem, however, to be going
on. Now and then a big fellow made an offer, and held out his hand
for a little Pictish grazier to give it a slap - a cattle bargain
being concluded by a slap of the hand - but the Welshman generally
turned away, with a half resentful exclamation. There were a few
horses and ponies in the street leading into the fair from the

I saw none sold, however. A tall athletic figure was striding
amongst them, evidently a jockey and a stranger, looking at them
and occasionally asking a slight question of one or another of
their proprietors, but he did not buy. He might in age be about
eight-and-twenty, and about six feet and three-quarters of an inch
in height; in build he was perfection itself, a better built man I
never saw. He wore a cap and a brown jockey coat, trowsers,
leggings and high-lows, and sported a single spur. He had whiskers
- all jockeys should have whiskers - but he had what I did not
like, and what no genuine jockey should have, a moustache, which
looks coxcombical and Frenchified - but most things have terribly
changed since I was young. Three or four hardy-looking fellows,
policemen, were gliding about in their blue coats and leather hats,
holding their thin walking-sticks behind them; conspicuous amongst
whom was the leader, a tall lathy North Briton with a keen eye and
hard features. Now if I add there was much gabbling of Welsh round
about, and here and there some slight sawing of English - that in
the street leading from the north there were some stalls of
gingerbread and a table at which a queer-looking being with a red
Greek-looking cap on his head, sold rhubarb, herbs, and phials
containing the Lord knows what, and who spoke a low vulgar English
dialect - I repeat, if I add this, I think I have said all that is
necessary about Llangollen Fair.


An Expedition - Pont y Pandy - The Sabbath - Glendower's Mount -
Burial Place of Old - Corwen - The Deep Glen - The Grandmother -
The Roadside Chapel.

I WAS now about to leave Llangollen, for a short time, and to set
out on an expedition to Bangor, Snowdon, and one or two places in
Anglesea. I had determined to make the journey on foot, in order
that I might have perfect liberty of action, and enjoy the best
opportunities of seeing the country. My wife and daughter were to
meet me at Bangor, to which place they would repair by the
railroad, and from which, after seeing some of the mountain
districts, they would return to Llangollen by the way they came,
where I proposed to join them, returning, however, by a different
way from the one I went, that I might traverse new districts.
About eleven o'clock of a brilliant Sunday morning I left
Llangollen, after reading the morning-service of the Church to my
family. I set out on a Sunday because I was anxious to observe the
general demeanour of the people, in the interior of the country, on
the Sabbath.

I directed my course towards the west, to the head of the valley.
My wife and daughter after walking with me about a mile bade me
farewell, and returned. Quickening my pace I soon left Llangollen
valley behind me and entered another vale, along which the road
which I was following, and which led to Corwen and other places,
might be seen extending for miles. Lumpy hills were close upon my
left, the Dee running noisily between steep banks, fringed with
trees, was on my right; beyond it rose hills which form part of the
wall of the Vale of Clwyd; their tops bare, but their sides
pleasantly coloured with yellow corn-fields and woods of dark
verdure. About an hour's walking, from the time when I entered the
valley, brought me to a bridge over a gorge, down which water ran
to the Dee. I stopped and looked over the side of the bridge
nearest to the hill. A huge rock about forty feet long by twenty
broad, occupied the entire bed of the gorge, just above the bridge,
with the exception of a little gullet to the right, down which
between the rock and a high bank, on which stood a cottage, a run
of water purled and brawled. The rock looked exactly like a huge
whale lying on its side, with its back turned towards the runnel.
Above it was a glen of trees. After I had been gazing a little
time a man making his appearance at the door of the cottage just
beyond the bridge I passed on, and drawing nigh to him, after a
slight salutation, asked him in English the name of the bridge.

"The name of the bridge, sir," said the man, in very good English,
"is Pont y Pandy."

"Does not that mean the bridge of the fulling mill?"

"I believe it does, sir," said the man.

"Is there a fulling mill near?"

"No, sir, there was one some time ago, but it is now a sawing

Here a woman, coming out, looked at me steadfastly.

"Is that gentlewoman your wife?"

"She is no gentlewoman, sir, but she is my wife."

"Of what religion are you?"

"We are Calvinistic-Methodists, sir."

"Have you been to chapel?"

"We are just returned, sir."

Here the woman said something to her husband, which I did not hear,
but the purport of which I guessed from the following question
which he immediately put.

"Have you been to chapel, sir?"

"I do not go to chapel; I belong to the Church."

"Have you been to church, sir?"

"I have not - I said my prayers at home, and then walked out."

"It is not right to walk out on the Sabbath-day, except to go to
church or chapel."

"Who told you so?"

"The law of God, which says you shall keep holy the Sabbath-day."

"I am not keeping it unholy."

"You are walking about, and in Wales when we see a person walking
idly about, on the Sabbath-day, we are in the habit of saying,
Sabbath-breaker, where are you going?"

"The Son of Man walked through the fields on the Sabbath-day, why
should I not walk along the roads?"

"He who called Himself the Son of Man was God and could do what He
pleased, but you are not God."

"But He came in the shape of a man to set an example. Had there
been anything wrong in walking about on the Sabbath-day, He would
not have done it."

Here the wife exclaimed, "How worldly-wise these English are!"

"You do not like the English," said I.

"We do not dislike them," said the woman; "at present they do us no
harm, whatever they did of old."

"But you still consider them," said I, "the seed of Y Sarfes
cadwynog, the coiling serpent."

"I should be loth to call any people the seed of the serpent," said
the woman.

"But one of your great bards did," said I.

"He must have belonged to the Church, and not to the chapel then,"
said the woman. "No person who went to chapel would have used such
bad words."

"He lived," said I, "before people were separated into those of the
Church and the chapel; did you ever hear of Taliesin Ben Beirdd?"

"I never did," said the woman.

"But I have," said the man; "and of Owain Glendower too."

"Do people talk much of Owen Glendower in these parts?" said I.

"Plenty," said the man, "and no wonder, for when he was alive he
was much about here - some way farther on there is a mount, on the
bank of the Dee, called the mount of Owen Glendower, where it is
said he used to stand and look out after his enemies."

"Is it easy to find?" said I.

"Very easy," said the man, "it stands right upon the Dee and is
covered with trees; there is no mistaking it."

I bade the man and his wife farewell, and proceeded on my way.
After walking about a mile, I perceived a kind of elevation which
answered to the description of Glendower's mount, which the man by
the bridge had given me. It stood on the right hand, at some
distance from the road, across a field. As I was standing looking
at it a man came up from the direction in which I myself had come.
He was a middle-aged man, plainly but decently dressed, and had
something of the appearance of a farmer.

"What hill may that be?" said I in English, pointing to the

"Dim Saesneg, sir," said the man, looking rather sheepish, "Dim
gair o Saesneg."

Rather surprised that a person of his appearance should not have a
word of English, I repeated my question in Welsh.

"Ah, you speak Cumraeg, sir;" said the man evidently surprised that
a person of my English appearance should speak Welsh. "I am glad
of it! What hill is that, you ask - Dyna Mont Owain Glyndwr, sir."

"Is it easy to get to?" said I.

"Quite easy, sir," said the man. "If you please I will go with

I thanked him, and opening a gate he conducted me across the field
to the mount of the Welsh hero.

The mount of Owen Glendower stands close upon the southern bank of
the Dee, and is nearly covered with trees of various kinds. It is
about thirty feet high from the plain, and about the same diameter
at the top. A deep black pool of the river which here runs far
beneath the surface of the field, purls and twists under the
northern side, which is very steep, though several large oaks
spring out of it. The hill is evidently the work of art, and
appeared to me to be some burying-place of old.

"And this is the hill of Owain Glyndwr?" said I.

"Dyma Mont Owain Glyndwr, sir, lle yr oedd yn sefyll i edrych am ei
elvnion yn dyfod o Gaer Lleon. This is the hill of Owain
Glendower, sir, where he was in the habit of standing to look out
for his enemies coming from Chester."

"I suppose it was not covered with trees then?" said I.

"No, sir; it has not been long planted with trees. They say,
however, that the oaks which hang over the river are very old."

"Do they say who raised this hill?"

"Some say that God raised it, sir; others that Owain Glendower
raised it. Who do you think raised it?"

"I believe that it was raised by man, but not by Owen Glendower.
He may have stood upon it, to watch for the coming of his enemies,
but I believe it was here long before his time, and that it was
raised over some old dead king by the people whom he had governed."

"Do they bury kings by the side of rivers, sir?"

"In the old time they did, and on the tops of mountains; they burnt
their bodies to ashes, placed them in pots and raised heaps of
earth or stones over them. Heaps like this have frequently been
opened, and found to contain pots with ashes and bones."

"I wish all English could speak Welsh, sir."


"Because then we poor Welsh who can speak no English could learn
much which we do not know."

Descending the monticle we walked along the road together. After a
little time I asked my companion of what occupation he was and
where he lived.

"I am a small farmer, sir," said he, "and live at Llansanfraid Glyn
Dyfrdwy across the river."

"How comes it," said I, "that you do not know English?"

"When I was young," said he, "and could have easily learnt it, I
cared nothing about it, and now that I am old and see its use, it
is too late to acquire it."

"Of what religion are you?" said I.

"I am of the Church," he replied.

I was about to ask him if there were many people of his persuasion
in these parts; before, however, I could do so he turned down a
road to the right which led towards a small bridge, and saying that
was his way home, bade me farewell and departed.

I arrived at Corwen which is just ten miles from Llangollen and
which stands beneath a vast range of rocks at the head of the
valley up which I had been coming, and which is called Glyndyfrdwy,
or the valley of the Dee water. It was now about two o'clock, and
feeling rather thirsty I went to an inn very appropriately called
the Owen Glendower, being the principal inn in the principal town
of what was once the domain of the great Owen. Here I stopped for
about an hour refreshing myself and occasionally looking into a
newspaper in which was an excellent article on the case of poor
Lieutenant P. I then started for Cerrig-y-Drudion, distant about
ten miles, where I proposed to pass the night. Directing my course
to the north-west, I crossed a bridge over the Dee water and then
proceeded rapidly along the road, which for some way lay between
corn-fields, in many of which sheaves were piled up, showing that
the Welsh harvest was begun. I soon passed over a little stream,
the name of which I was told was Alowan. "Oh, what a blessing it
is to be able to speak Welsh!" said I, finding that not a person to
whom I addressed myself had a word of English to bestow upon me.
After walking for about five miles I came to a beautiful but wild
country of mountain and wood with here and there a few cottages.
The road at length making an abrupt turn to the north, I found
myself with a low stone wall on my left, on the verge of a profound
ravine, and a high bank covered with trees on my right. Projecting
out over the ravine was a kind of looking place, protected by a
wall, forming a half-circle, doubtless made by the proprietor of
the domain for the use of the admirers of scenery. There I
stationed myself, and for some time enjoyed one of the wildest and
most beautiful scenes imaginable. Below me was the deep narrow
glen or ravine, down which a mountain torrent roared and foamed.
Beyond it was a mountain rising steeply, its nearer side, which was
in deep shade, the sun having long sunk below its top, hirsute with
all kinds of trees, from the highest pinnacle down to the torrent's
brink. Cut on the top surface of the wall, which was of slate, and
therefore easily impressible by the knife, were several names,
doubtless those of tourists, who had gazed from the look-out on the
prospect, amongst which I observed in remarkably bold letters that
of T . . . .

"Eager for immortality, Mr T.," said I; "but you are no H. M., no
Huw Morris."

Leaving the looking place I proceeded, and, after one or two
turnings, came to another, which afforded a view if possible yet
more grand, beautiful and wild, the most prominent objects of which
were a kind of devil's bridge flung over the deep glen and its
foaming water, and a strange-looking hill beyond it, below which,
with a wood on either side, stood a white farm-house - sending from
a tall chimney a thin misty reek up to the sky. I crossed the
bridge, which, however diabolically fantastical it looked at a
distance, seemed when one was upon it, capable of bearing any
weight, and soon found myself by the farm-house past which the way
led. An aged woman sat on a stool by the door.

"A fine evening," said I in English.

"Dim Saesneg;" said the aged woman.

"Oh, the blessing of being able to speak Welsh," said I; and then
repeated in that language what I had said to her in the other

"I daresay," said the aged woman, "to those who can see."

"Can you not see?"

"Very little. I am almost blind."

"Can you not see me?"

"I can see something tall and dark before me; that is all."

"Can you tell me the name of the bridge?"

"Pont y Glyn bin - the bridge of the glen of trouble."

"And what is the name of this place?"

"Pen y bont - the head of the bridge."

"What is your own name?"

"Catherine Hughes."

"How old are you?"

"Fifteen after three twenties."

"I have a mother three after four twenties; that is eight years
older than yourself."

"Can she see?"

"Better than I - she can read the smallest letters."

"May she long be a comfort to you!"

"Thank you - are you the mistress of the house?"

"I am the grandmother."

"Are the people in the house?"

"They are not - they are at the chapel."

"And they left you alone?"

"They left me with my God."

"Is the chapel far from here?"

"About a mile."

"On the road to Cerrig y Drudion?"

"On the road to Cerrig y Drudion."

I bade her farewell, and pushed on - the road was good, with high
rocky banks on each side. After walking about the distance
indicated by the old lady, I reached a building, which stood on the
right-hand side of the road, and which I had no doubt was the
chapel, from a half-groaning, half-singing noise which proceeded
from it. The door being open, I entered, and stood just within it,
bare-headed. A rather singular scene presented itself. Within a
large dimly-lighted room, a number of people were assembled, partly
seated in rude pews, and partly on benches. Beneath a kind of
altar, a few yards from the door, stood three men - the middlemost
was praying in Welsh in a singular kind of chant, with his arms
stretched out. I could distinguish the words, "Jesus descend among
us! sweet Jesus descend among us - quickly."  He spoke very slowly,
and towards the end of every sentence dropped his voice, so that
what he said was anything but distinct. As I stood within the
door, a man dressed in coarse garments came up to me from the
interior of the building, and courteously, and in excellent Welsh,
asked me to come with him and take a seat. With equal courtesy,
but far inferior Welsh, I assured him that I meant no harm, but
wished to be permitted to remain near the door, whereupon with a
low bow he left me. When the man had concluded his prayer, the
whole of the congregation began singing a hymn, many of the voices
were gruff and discordant, two or three, however, were of great
power, and some of the female ones of surprising sweetness. At the
conclusion of the hymn, another of the three men by the altar began
to pray, just in the same manner as his comrade had done, and
seemingly using much the same words. When he had done, there was
another hymn, after which, seeing that the congregation was about
to break up, I bowed my head towards the interior of the building,
and departed.

Emerging from the hollow way, I found myself on a moor, over which
the road lay in the direction of the north. Towards the west, at
an immense distance, rose a range of stupendous hills, which I
subsequently learned were those of Snowdon - about ten minutes'
walking brought me to Cerrig y Drudion, a small village near a
rocky elevation, from which, no doubt, the place takes its name,
which interpreted, is the Rock of Heroes.


Cerrig y Drudion - The Landlady - Doctor Jones - Coll Gwynfa - The
Italian - Men of Como - Disappointment - Weather - Glasses -

THE inn at Cerrig y Drudion was called the Lion - whether the
white, black, red or green Lion, I do not know, though I am certain
that it was a lion of some colour or other. It seemed as decent
and respectable a hostelry as any traveller could wish, to refresh
and repose himself in, after a walk of twenty miles. I entered a
well-lighted passage, and from thence a well-lighted bar room, on
the right hand, in which sat a stout, comely, elderly lady, dressed
in silks and satins, with a cambric coif on her head, in company
with a thin, elderly man with a hat on his head, dressed in a
rather prim and precise manner. "Madam!" said I, bowing to the
lady, "as I suppose you are the mistress of this establishment, I
beg leave to inform you that I am an Englishman, walking through
these regions, in order fully to enjoy their beauties and wonders.
I have this day come from Llangollen, and being somewhat hungry and
fatigued, hope I can be accommodated here with a dinner and a bed."

"Sir!" said the lady, getting up and making me a profound curtsey,
"I am, as you suppose, the mistress of this establishment, and am
happy to say that I shall be able to accommodate you - pray sit
down, sir;" she continued, handing me a chair, "you must indeed be
tired, for Llangollen is a great way from here."

I took the seat with thanks, and she resumed her own.

"Rather hot weather for walking, sir!" said the precise-looking

"It is," said I; "but as I can't observe the country well without
walking through it, I put up with the heat."

"You exhibit a philosophic mind, sir," said the precise-looking
gentleman - "and a philosophic mind I hold in reverence."

"Pray, sir," said I, "have I the honour of addressing a member of
the medical profession?"

"Sir," said the precise-looking gentleman, getting up and making me
a bow, "your question does honour to your powers of discrimination
- a member of the medical profession I am, though an unworthy one."

"Nay, nay, doctor," said the landlady briskly; "say not so - every
one knows that you are a credit to your profession - well would it
be if there were many in it like you - unworthy? marry come up! I
won't hear such an expression."

"I see," said I, "that I have not only the honour of addressing a
medical gentleman, but a doctor of medicine - however, I might have
known as much by your language and deportment."

With a yet lower bow than before he replied with something of a
sigh, "No, sir, no, our kind landlady and the neighbourhood are in
the habit of placing doctor before my name, but I have no title to
it - I am not Doctor Jones, sir, but plain Geffery Jones at your
service," and thereupon with another bow he sat down.

"Do you reside here?" said I.

"Yes, sir, I reside here in the place of my birth - I have not
always resided here - and I did not always expect to spend my
latter days in a place of such obscurity, but, sir, misfortunes -
misfortunes . . ."

"Ah," said I, "misfortunes! they pursue every one, more especially
those whose virtues should exempt them from them. Well, sir, the
consciousness of not having deserved them should be your

"Sir," said the doctor, taking off his hat, "you are infinitely

"You call this an obscure place," said I - "can that be an obscure
place which has produced a poet? I have long had a respect for
Cerrig y Drudion because it gave birth to, and was the residence of
a poet of considerable merit."

"I was not aware of that fact," said the doctor, "pray what was his

"Peter Lewis," said I; "he was a clergyman of Cerrig y Drudion
about the middle of the last century, and amongst other things
wrote a beautiful song called Cathl y Gair Mwys, or the melody of
the ambiguous word."

"Surely you do not understand Welsh?" said the doctor.

"I understand a little of it," I replied.

"Will you allow me to speak to you in Welsh?" said the doctor.

"Certainly," said I.

He spoke to me in Welsh, and I replied.

"Ha, ha," said the landlady in English; "only think, doctor, of the
gentleman understanding Welsh - we must mind what we say before

"And are you an Englishman?" said the doctor.

"I am," I replied.

"And how came you to learn it?"

"I am fond of languages," said I, "and studied Welsh at an early

"And you read Welsh poetry?"

"Oh yes."

"How were you enabled to master its difficulties?"

"Chiefly by going through Owen Pugh's version of 'Paradise Lost'
twice, with the original by my side. He has introduced into that
translation so many of the poetic terms of the old bards, that
after twice going through it, there was little in Welsh poetry that
I could not make out with a little pondering."

"You pursued a very excellent plan, sir," said the doctor, "a very
excellent plan indeed. Owen Pugh!"

"Owen Pugh! The last of your very great men," said I.

"You say right, sir," said the doctor. "He was indeed our last
great man - Ultimus Romanorum. I have myself read his work, which
he called Coll Gwynfa, the Loss of the place of Bliss - an
admirable translation, sir; highly poetical, and at the same time

"Did you know him?" said I.

"I had not the honour of his acquaintance," said the doctor - "but,
sir, I am happy to say that I have made yours."

The landlady now began to talk to me about dinner, and presently
went out to make preparations for that very important meal. I had
a great deal of conversation with the doctor, whom I found a person
of great and varied information, and one who had seen a vast deal
of the world. He was giving me an account of an island in the West
Indies, which he had visited, when a boy coming in, whispered into
his ear; whereupon, getting up he said: "Sir, I am called away. I
am a country surgeon, and of course an accoucheur. There is a lady
who lives at some distance requiring my assistance. It is with
grief I leave you so abruptly, but I hope that some time or other
we shall meet again."  Then making me an exceedingly profound bow,
he left the room, followed by the boy.

I dined upstairs in a very handsome drawing-room, communicating
with a sleeping apartment. During dinner I was waited upon by the
daughter of the landlady, a good-looking merry girl of twenty.
After dinner I sat for some time thinking over the adventures of
the day, then feeling rather lonely and not inclined to retire to
rest, I went down to the bar, where I found the landlady seated
with her daughter. I sat down with them and we were soon in
conversation. We spoke of Doctor Jones - the landlady said that he
had his little eccentricities, but was an excellent and learned
man. Speaking of herself she said that she had three daughters,
that the youngest was with her and that the two eldest kept the
principal inn at Ruthyn. We occasionally spoke a little Welsh. At
length the landlady said, "There is an Italian in the kitchen who
can speak Welsh too. It's odd the only two people not Welshmen I
have ever known who could speak Welsh, for such you and he are,
should be in my house at the same time."

"Dear me," said I; "I should like to see him."

"That you can easily do," said the girl; "I daresay he will be glad
enough to come in if you invite him."

"Pray take my compliments to him," said I, "and tell him that I
shall be glad of his company."

The girl went out and presently returned with the Italian. He was
a short, thick, strongly-built fellow of about thirty-seven, with a
swarthy face, raven-black hair, high forehead, and dark deep eyes,
full of intelligence and great determination. He was dressed in a
velveteen coat, with broad lappets, red waistcoat, velveteen
breeches, buttoning a little way below the knee; white stockings
apparently of lamb's-wool and high-lows.

"Buona sera?" said I.

"Buona sera, signore!" said the Italian.

"Will you have a glass of brandy and water?" said I in English.

"I never refuse a good offer," said the Italian.

He sat down, and I ordered a glass of brandy and water for him and
another for myself.

"Pray speak a little Italian to him," said the good landlady to me.
"I have heard a great deal about the beauty of that language, and
should like to hear it spoken."

"From the Lago di Como?" said I, trying to speak Italian.

"Si, signore! but how came you to think that I was from the Lake of

"Because," said I, "when I was a ragazzo I knew many from the Lake
of Como, who dressed much like yourself. They wandered about the
country with boxes on their backs and weather-glasses in their
hands, but had their head-quarters at N. where I lived."

"Do you remember any of their names?" said the Italian.

"Giovanni Gestra and Luigi Pozzi," I replied.

"I have seen Giovanni Gestra myself," said the Italian, "and I have
heard of Luigi Pozzi. Giovanni Gestra returned to the Lago - but
no one knows what is become of Luigi Pozzi."

"The last time I saw him," said I, "was about eighteen years ago at
Coruna in Spain; he was then in a sad drooping condition, and said
he bitterly repented ever quitting N."

"E con ragione," said the Italian, "for there is no place like N.
for doing business in the whole world. I myself have sold seventy
pounds' worth of weather-glasses at N. in one day. One of our
people is living there now, who has done bene, molto bene."

"That's Rossi," said I, "how is it that I did not mention him
first? He is my excellent friend, and a finer, cleverer fellow
never lived, nor a more honourable man. You may well say he has
done well, for he is now the first jeweller in the place. The last
time I was there I bought a diamond of him for my daughter
Henrietta. Let us drink his health!"

"Willingly!" said the Italian. "He is the prince of the Milanese
of England - the most successful of all, but I acknowledge the most
deserving. Che viva."

"I wish he would write his life," said I; "a singular life it would
be - he has been something besides a travelling merchant, and a
jeweller. He was one of Buonaparte's soldiers, and served in
Spain, under Soult, along with John Gestra. He once told me that
Soult was an old rascal, and stole all the fine pictures from the
convents, at Salamanca. I believe he spoke with some degree of
envy, for he is himself fond of pictures, and has dealt in them,
and made hundreds by them. I question whether if in Soult's place
he would not have done the same. Well, however that may be, che

Here the landlady interposed, observing that she wished we would
now speak English, for that she had quite enough of Italian, which
she did not find near so pretty a language as she had expected.

"You must not judge of the sound of Italian from what proceeds from
my mouth," said I. "It is not my native language. I have had
little practice in it, and only speak it very imperfectly."

"Nor must you judge of Italian from what you have heard me speak,"
said the man of Como; "I am not good at Italian, for the Milanese
speak amongst themselves a kind of jargon, composed of many
languages, and can only express themselves with difficulty in
Italian. I have been doing my best to speak Italian, but should be
glad now to speak English, which comes to me much more glibly."

"Are there any books in your dialect, or jergo, as I believe you
call it?" said I.

"I believe there are a few," said the Italian.

"Do you know the word slandra?" said I.

"Who taught you that word?" said the Italian.

"Giovanni Gestra," said I; "he was always using it."

"Giovanni Gestra was a vulgar illiterate man," said the Italian;
"had he not been so he would not have used it. It is a vulgar
word; Rossi would not have used it."

"What is the meaning of it?" said the landlady eagerly.

"To roam about in a dissipated manner," said I.

"Something more," said the Italian. "It is considered a vulgar
word even in jergo."

"You speak English remarkably well," said I; "have you been long in

"I came over about four years ago," said the Italian.

"On your own account?" said I.

"Not exactly, signore; my brother, who was in business in
Liverpool, wrote to me to come over and assist him. I did so, but
soon left him, and took a shop for myself at Denbigh, where,
however, I did not stay long. At present I travel for an Italian
house in London, spending the summer in Wales, and the winter in

"And what do you sell?" said I.

"Weather-glasses, signore - pictures and little trinkets, such as
the country people like."

"Do you sell many weather-glasses in Wales?" said I.

"I do not, signore. The Welsh care not for weather-glasses; my
principal customers for weather-glasses are the farmers of

"I am told that you can speak Welsh," said I; "is that true?"

"I have picked up a little of it, signore."

"He can speak it very well," said the landlady; "and glad should I
be, sir, to hear you and him speak Welsh together."

"So should I," said the daughter who was seated nigh us, "nothing
would give me greater pleasure than to hear two who are not
Welshmen speaking Welsh together."

"I would rather speak English," said the Italian; "I speak a little
Welsh, when my business leads me amongst people who speak no other
language, but I see no necessity for speaking Welsh here."

"It is a pity," said I, "that so beautiful a country as Italy
should not be better governed."

"It is, signore," said the Italian; "but let us hope that a time
will speedily come when she will be so."

"I don't see any chance of it," said I. "How will you proceed in
order to bring about so desirable a result as the good government
of Italy?"

"Why, signore, in the first place we must get rid of the

"You will not find it an easy matter," said I, "to get rid of the
Austrians; you tried to do so a little time ago, but miserably

"True, signore; but the next time we try perhaps the French will
help us."

"If the French help you to drive the Austrians from Italy," said I,
"you must become their servants. It is true you had better be the
servants of the polished and chivalrous French, than of the brutal
and barbarous Germans, but it is not pleasant to be a servant to
anybody. However, I do not believe that you will ever get rid of
the Austrians, even if the French assist you. The Pope for certain
reasons of his own favours the Austrians, and will exert all the
powers of priestcraft to keep them in Italy. Alas, alas, there is
no hope for Italy! Italy, the most beautiful country in the world,
the birth-place of the cleverest people, whose very pedlars can
learn to speak Welsh, is not only enslaved, but destined always to
remain enslaved."

"Do not say so, signore," said the Italian, with a kind of groan.

"But I do say so," said I, "and what is more, one whose shoe-
strings, were he alive, I should not he worthy to untie, one of
your mighty ones, has said so. Did you ever hear of Vincenzio

"I believe I have, signore; did he not write a sonnet on Italy?"

"He did," said I; "would you like to hear it?

"Very much, signore."

I repeated Filicaia's glorious sonnet on Italy, and then asked him
if he understood it.

"Only in part, signore; for it is composed in old Tuscan, in which
I am not much versed. I believe I should comprehend it better if
you were to say it in English."

"Do say it in English," said the landlady and her daughter: "we
should so like to hear it in English."

"I will repeat a translation," said I, "which I made when a boy,
which though far from good, has, I believe, in it something of the
spirit of the original:-

"O Italy! on whom dark Destiny
The dangerous gift of beauty did bestow,
From whence thou hast that ample dower of wo,
Which on thy front thou bear'st so visibly.
Would thou hadst beauty less or strength more high,
That more of fear, and less of love might show,
He who now blasts him in thy beauty's glow,
Or woos thee with a zeal that makes thee die;
Then down from Alp no more would torrents rage
Of armed men, nor Gallic coursers hot
In Po's ensanguin'd tide their thirst assuage;
Nor girt with iron, not thine own, I wot,
Wouldst thou the fight by hands of strangers wage
Victress or vanquish'd slavery still thy lot."


Lacing-up High-lows - The Native Village - Game Leg - Croppies Lie
Down - Keeping Faith - Processions - Croppies Get Up - Daniel

I SLEPT in the chamber communicating with the room in which I had
dined. The chamber was spacious and airy, the bed first-rate, and
myself rather tired, so that no one will be surprised when I say
that I had excellent rest. I got up, and after dressing myself
went down. The morning was exceedingly brilliant. Going out I saw
the Italian lacing up his high-lows against a step. I saluted him,
and asked him if he was about to depart.

"Yes, signore; I shall presently start for Denbigh."

"After breakfast I shall start for Bangor," said I.

"Do you propose to reach Bangor to-night, signore?"

"Yes," said I.

"Walking, signore?"

"Yes," said I; "I always walk in Wales."

"Then you will have rather a long walk, signore; for Bangor is
thirty-four miles from here."

I asked him if he was married.

"No, signore; but my brother in Liverpool is."

"To an Italian?"

"No, signore; to a Welsh girl."

"And I suppose," said I, "you will follow his example by marrying
one; perhaps that good-looking girl the landlady's daughter we were
seated with last night?"

"No, signore; I shall not follow my brother's example. If ever I
take a wife she shall be of my own village, in Como, whither I hope
to return, as soon as I have picked up a few more pounds."

"Whether the Austrians are driven away or not?" said I.

"Whether the Austrians are driven away or not - for to my mind
there is no country like Como, signore."

I ordered breakfast; whilst taking it in the room above I saw
through the open window the Italian trudging forth on his journey,
a huge box on his back, and a weather-glass in his hand - looking
the exact image of one of those men, his country people, whom forty
years before I had known at N-. I thought of the course of time,
sighed and felt a tear gather in my eye.

My breakfast concluded, I paid my bill, and after inquiring the way
to Bangor, and bidding adieu to the kind landlady and her daughter,
set out from Cerrig y Drudion. My course lay west, across a flat
country, bounded in the far distance by the mighty hills I had seen
on the preceding evening. After walking about a mile I overtook a
man with a game leg, that is a leg which, either by nature or
accident not being so long as its brother leg, had a patten
attached to it, about five inches high, to enable it to do duty
with the other - he was a fellow with red shock hair and very red
features, and was dressed in ragged coat and breeches and a hat
which had lost part of its crown, and all its rim, so that even
without a game leg he would have looked rather a queer figure. In
his hand he carried a fiddle.

"Good morning to you," said I.

"A good morning to your hanner, a merry afternoon and a roaring,
joyous evening - that is the worst luck I wish to ye."

"Are you a native of these parts?" said I.

"Not exactly, your hanner - I am a native of the city of Dublin,
or, what's all the same thing, of the village of Donnybrook, which
is close by it."

"A celebrated place," said I.

"Your hanner may say that; all the world has heard of Donnybrook,
owing to the humours of its fair. Many is the merry tune I have
played to the boys at that fair."

"You are a professor of music, I suppose?"

"And not a very bad one, as your hanner will say, if you allow me
to play you a tune."

"Can you play Croppies Lie Down?"

"I cannot, your hanner, my fingers never learnt to play such a
blackguard tune; but if you wish to hear Croppies Get Up I can
oblige ye."

"You are a Roman Catholic, I suppose?"

"I am not, your hanner - I am a Catholic to the back-bone, just
like my father before me. Come, your hanner, shall I play ye
Croppies Get Up?"

"No," said I; "it's a tune that doesn't please my ears. If,
however, you choose to play Croppies Lie Down, I'll give you a

"Your hanner will give me a shilling?"

"Yes," said I; "if you play Croppies Lie Down; but you know you
cannot play it, your fingers never learned the tune."

"They never did, your hanner; but they have heard it played of ould
by the blackguard Orange fiddlers of Dublin on the first of July,
when the Protestant boys used to walk round Willie's statue on
College Green - so if your hanner gives me the shilling, they may
perhaps bring out something like it."

"Very good," said I; "begin!"

"But, your hanner, what shall we do for the words? though my
fingers may remember the tune my tongue does not remember the words
- that is unless . . ."

"I give another shilling," said I; "but never mind you the words; I
know the words, and will repeat them."

"And your hanner will give me a shilling?"

"If you play the tune," said I.

"Hanner bright, your hanner?"

"Honour bright," said I.

Thereupon the fiddler taking his bow and shouldering his fiddle,
struck up in first-rate style the glorious tune, which I had so
often heard with rapture in the days of my boyhood in the barrack-
yard of Clonmel; whilst I, walking by his side as he stumped along,
caused the welkin to resound with the words, which were the delight
of the young gentlemen of the Protestant academy of that beautiful
old town.

"I never heard those words before," said the fiddler, after I had
finished the first stanza.

"Get on with you," said I.

"Regular Orange words!" said the fiddler, on my finishing the
second stanza.

"Do you choose to get on?" said I.

"More blackguard Orange words I never heard!" cried the fiddler, on
my coming to the conclusion of the third stanza. "Divil a bit
farther will I play; at any rate till I get the shilling."

"Here it is for you," said I; "the song is ended, and, of course,
the tune."

"Thank your hanner," said the fiddler, taking the money, "your
hanner has kept your word with me, which is more than I thought
your hanner would. And now your hanner let me ask you why did your
hanner wish for that tune, which is not only a blackguard one but
quite out of date; and where did your hanner get the words?"

"I used to hear the tune in my boyish days," said I, "and wished to
hear it again, for though you call it a blackguard tune, it is the
sweetest and most noble air that Ireland, the land of music, has
ever produced. As for the words, never mind where I got them; they
are violent enough, but not half so violent as the words of some of
the songs made against the Irish Protestants by the priests."

"Your hanner is an Orange man, I see. Well, your hanner, the
Orange is now in the kennel, and the Croppies have it all their own

"And perhaps," said I, "before I die, the Orange will be out of the
kennel and the Croppies in, even as they were in my young days."

"Who knows, your hanner? and who knows that I may not play the old
tune round Willie's image in College Green, even as I used some
twenty-seven years ago?"

"Oh then you have been an Orange fiddler?"

"I have, your hanner. And now as your hanner has behaved like a
gentleman to me I will tell ye all my history. I was born in the
city of Dublin, that is in the village of Donnybrook, as I tould
your hanner before. It was to the trade of bricklaying I was bred,
and bricklaying I followed till at last, getting my leg smashed,
not by falling off the ladder, but by a row in the fair, I was
obliged to give it up, for how could I run up the ladder with a
patten on my foot, which they put on to make my broken leg as long
as the other. Well your hanner, being obliged to give up my
bricklaying, I took to fiddling, to which I had always a natural
inclination, and played about the streets, and at fairs, and wakes,
and weddings. At length some Orange men getting acquainted with
me, and liking my style of playing, invited me to their lodge,
where they gave me to drink and tould me that if I would change my
religion, and join them, and play their tunes, they would make it
answer my purpose. Well, your hanner, without much stickling I
gave up my Popery, joined the Orange lodge, learned the Orange
tunes, and became a regular Protestant boy, and truly the Orange
men kept their word, and made it answer my purpose. Oh the meat
and drink I got, and the money I made by playing at the Orange
lodges and before the processions when the Orange men paraded the
streets with their Orange colours.  And oh, what a day for me was
the glorious first of July when with my whole body covered with
Orange ribbons, I fiddled Croppies Lie Down, Boyne Water, and the
Protestant Boys before the procession which walked round Willie's
figure on horseback in College Green, the man and horse all ablaze
with Orange colours. But nothing lasts under the sun, as your
hanner knows; Orangeism began to go down; the Government scowled at
it, and at last passed a law preventing the Protestant boys
dressing up the figure on the first of July, and walking round it.
That was the death-blow of the Orange party, your hanner; they
never recovered it, but began to despond and dwindle, and I with
them; for there was scarcely any demand for Orange tunes. Then Dan
O'Connell arose with his emancipation and repale cries, and then
instead of Orange processions and walkings, there were Papist
processions and mobs, which made me afraid to stir out, lest
knowing me for an Orange fiddler, they should break my head, as the
boys broke my leg at Donnybrook fair. At length some of the
repalers and emancipators knowing that I was a first-rate hand at
fiddling came to me and tould me, that if I would give over playing
Croppies Lie Down and other Orange tunes, and would play Croppies
Get Up, and what not, and become a Catholic and a repaler, and an
emancipator, they would make a man of me - so as my Orange trade
was gone, and I was half-starved, I consinted, not however till
they had introduced me to Daniel O'Connell, who called me a cridit
to my country, and the Irish Horpheus, and promised me a sovereign
if I would consint to join the cause, as he called it. Well, your
hanner, I joined with the cause and became a Papist, I mane a
Catholic once more, and went at the head of processions covered all
over with green ribbons, playing Croppies Get Up, Granny Whale, and
the like. But, your hanner, though I went the whole hog with the
repalers and emancipators, they did not make their words good by
making a man of me. Scant and sparing were they in the mate and
drink, and yet more sparing in the money, and Daniel O'Connell
never gave me the sovereign which he promised me. No, your hanner,
though I played Croppies Get Up, till my fingers ached, as I
stumped before him and his mobs and processions, he never gave me
the sovereign: unlike your hanner who gave me the shilling ye
promised me for playing Croppies Lie Down, Daniel O'Connell never
gave me the sovereign he promised me for playing Croppies Get Up.
Och, your hanner, I often wished the ould Orange days were back
again. However as I could do no better I continued going the whole
hog with the emancipators and repalers and Dan O'Connell; I went
the whole animal with them till they had got emancipation; and I
went the whole animal with them till they had nearly got repale -
when all of a sudden they let the whole thing drop - Dan and his
party having frighted the Government out of its seven senses, and
gotten all they could get, in money and places, which was all they
wanted, let the whole hullabaloo drop, and of course myself, who
formed part of it. I went to those who had persuaded me to give up
my Orange tunes, and to play Papist ones, begging them to give me
work; but they tould me very civilly that they had no further
occasion for my services. I went to Daniel O'Connell reminding him
of the sovereign he had promised me, and offering if he gave it me
to play Croppies Get Up under the nose of the lord-lieutenant
himself; but he tould me that he had not time to attend to me, and
when I persisted, bade me go to the Divil and shake myself. Well,
your hanner, seeing no prospect for myself in my own country, and
having incurred some little debts, for which I feared to be
arrested, I came over to England and Wales, where with little
content and satisfaction I have passed seven years."

"Well," said I; "thank you for your history - farewell."

"Stap, your hanner; does your hanner think that the Orange will
ever be out of the kennel, and that the Orange boys will ever walk
round the brass man and horse in College Green as they did of

"Who knows?" said I. "But suppose all that were to happen, what
would it signify to you?"

"Why then divil be in my patten if I would not go back to
Donnybrook and Dublin, hoist the Orange cockade, and become as good
an Orange boy as ever."

"What," said I, "and give up Popery for the second time?"

"I would, your hanner; and why not? for in spite of what I have
heard Father Toban say, I am by no means certain that all
Protestants will be damned."

"Farewell," said I.

"Farewell, your hanner, and long life and prosperity to you! God
bless your hanner and your Orange face. Ah, the Orange boys are
the boys for keeping faith. They never served me as Dan O'Connell
and his dirty gang of repalers and emancipators did. Farewell,
your hanner, once more; and here's another scratch of the illigant
tune your hanner is so fond of, to cheer up your hanner's ears upon
your way."

And long after I had left him I could hear him playing on his
fiddle in first-rate style the beautiful tune of "Down, down,
Croppies Lie Down."


Ceiniog Mawr - Pentre Voelas - The Old Conway - Stupendous Pass -
The Gwedir Family - Capel Curig - The Two Children - Bread -
Wonderful Echo - Tremendous Walker.

I WALKED on briskly over a flat uninteresting country, and in about
an hour's time came in front of a large stone house. It stood near
the road, on the left-hand side, with a pond and pleasant trees
before it, and a number of corn-stacks behind. It had something
the appearance of an inn, but displayed no sign. As I was standing
looking at it, a man with the look of a labourer, and with a dog by
his side, came out of the house and advanced towards me.

"What is the name of this place?" said I to him in English as he
drew nigh.

"Sir," said the man, "the name of the house is Ceiniog Mawr."

"Is it an inn?" said I.

"Not now, sir; but some years ago it was an inn, and a very large
one, at which coaches used to stop; at present it is occupied by an
amaethwr - that is a farmer, sir."

"Ceiniog Mawr means a great penny," said I, "why is it called by
that name?"

"I have heard, sir, that before it was an inn it was a very
considerable place, namely a royal mint, at which pennies were
made, and on that account it was called Ceiniog Mawr."

I was subsequently told that the name of this place was Cernioge
Mawr. If such be the real name the legend about the mint falls to
the ground, Cernioge having nothing to do with pence. Cern in
Welsh means a jaw. Perhaps the true name of the house is Corniawg,
which interpreted is a place with plenty of turrets or chimneys. A
mile or two further the ground began to rise, and I came to a small
village at the entrance of which was a water-wheel - near the
village was a gentleman's seat almost surrounded by groves. After
I had passed through the village, seeing a woman seated by the
roadside knitting, I asked her in English its name. Finding she
had no Saesneg I repeated the question in Welsh, whereupon she told
me that it was called Pentre Voelas.

"And whom does the 'Plas' belong to yonder amongst the groves?"
said I.

"It belongs to Mr Wynn, sir, and so does the village and a great
deal of the land about here. A very good gentleman is Mr Wynn,
sir; he is very kind to his tenants and a very good lady is Mrs
Wynn, sir; in the winter she gives much soup to the poor."

After leaving the village of Pentre Voelas I soon found myself in a
wild hilly region. I crossed a bridge over a river, which,
brawling and tumbling amidst rocks, shaped its course to the north-
east. As I proceeded, the country became more and more wild; there
were dingles and hollows in abundance, and fantastic-looking hills,
some of which were bare, and others clad with trees of various
kinds. Came to a little well in a cavity, dug in a high bank on
the left-hand side of the road, and fenced by rude stone work on
either side; the well was about ten inches in diameter, and as many
deep. Water oozing from the bank upon a slanting tile fastened
into the earth fell into it. After damming up the end of the tile
with my hand, and drinking some delicious water, I passed on and
presently arrived at a cottage, just inside the door of which sat a
good-looking middle-aged woman engaged in knitting, the general
occupation of Welsh females.

"Good-day," said I to her in Welsh. "Fine weather."

"In truth, sir, it is fine weather for the harvest."

"Are you alone in the house?"

"I am, sir, my husband has gone to his labour."

"Have you any children?"

"Two, sir; but they are out at service."

"What is the name of this place?"

"Pant Paddock, sir."

"Do you get your water from the little well yonder?"

"We do, sir, and good water it is."

"I have drunk of it."

"Much good may what you have drunk do you, sir!"

"What is the name of the river near here?"

"It is called the Conway, sir."

"Dear me; is that river the Conway?"

"You have heard of it, sir?"

"Heard of it! it is one of the famous rivers of the world. The
poets are very fond of it - one of the great poets of my country
calls it the old Conway."

"Is one river older than another, sir?"

"That's a shrewd question. Can you read?"

"I can, sir."

"Have you any books?"

"I have the Bible, sir."

"Will you show it me?"

"Willingly, sir."

Then getting up she took a book from a shelf and handed it to me,
at the same time begging me to enter the house and sit down. I
declined, and she again took her seat and resumed her occupation.
On opening the book the first words which met my eye were: "Gad i
mi fyned trwy dy dir! - Let me go through your country" (Numb. XX.

"I may say these words," said I, pointing to the passage. "Let me
go through your country."

"No one will hinder you, sir, for you seem a civil gentleman."

"No one has hindered me hitherto. Wherever I have been in Wales I
have experienced nothing but kindness and hospitality, and when I
return to my own country I will say so."

"What country is yours, sir?"

"England. Did you not know that by my tongue?"

"I did not, sir. I knew by your tongue that you were not from our
parts - but I did not know that you were an Englishman. I took you
for a Cumro of the south country."

Returning the kind woman her book, and bidding her farewell I
departed, and proceeded some miles through a truly magnificent
country of wood, rock, and mountain. At length I came to a steep
mountain gorge, down which the road ran nearly due north, the
Conway to the left running with great noise parallel with the road,
amongst broken rocks, which chafed it into foam. I was now amidst
stupendous hills, whose paps, peaks, and pinnacles seemed to rise
to the very heaven. An immense mountain on the right side of the
road particularly struck my attention, and on inquiring of a man
breaking stones by the roadside I learned that it was called Dinas
Mawr, or the large citadel, perhaps from a fort having been built
upon it to defend the pass in the old British times. Coming to the
bottom of the pass I crossed over by an ancient bridge, and,
passing through a small town, found myself in a beautiful valley
with majestic hills on either side. This was the Dyffryn Conway,
the celebrated Vale of Conway, to which in the summer time
fashionable gentry from all parts of Britain resort for shade and
relaxation. When about midway down the valley I turned to the
west, up one of the grandest passes in the world, having two
immense door-posts of rock at the entrance. the northern one
probably rising to the altitude of nine hundred feet. On the
southern side of this pass near the entrance were neat dwellings
for the accommodation of visitors with cool apartments on the
ground floor, with large windows, looking towards the precipitous
side of the mighty northern hill; within them I observed tables,
and books, and young men, probably English collegians, seated at

After I had proceeded some way up the pass, down which a small
river ran, a woman who was standing on the right-hand side of the
way, seemingly on the look-out, begged me in broken English to step
aside and look at the fall.

"You mean a waterfall, I suppose?" said I.

"Yes, sir."

"And how do you call it?" said I.

"The Fall of the Swallow, sir."

"And in Welsh?" said I.

"Rhaiadr y Wennol, sir."

"And what is the name of the river?" said I.

"We call the river the Lygwy, sir."

I told the woman I would go, whereupon she conducted me through a
gate on the right-hand side and down a path overhung with trees to
a rock projecting into the river. The Fall of the Swallow is not a
majestic single fall, but a succession of small ones. First there
are a number of little foaming torrents, bursting through rocks
about twenty yards above the promontory on which I stood. Then
come two beautiful rolls of white water, dashing into a pool a
little way above the promontory; then there is a swirl of water
round its corner into a pool below on its right, black as death,
and seemingly of great depth; then a rush through a very narrow
outlet into another pool, from which the water clamours away down
the glen. Such is the Rhaiadr y Wennol, or Swallow Fall; called so
from the rapidity with which the waters rush and skip along.

On asking the woman on whose property the fall was, she informed me
that it was on the property of the Gwedir family. The name of
Gwedir brought to my mind the "History of the Gwedir Family," a
rare and curious book which I had read in my boyhood, and which was
written by the representative of that family, a certain Sir John
Wynne, about the beginning of the seventeenth century. It gives an
account of the fortunes of the family, from its earliest rise; but
more particularly after it had emigrated, in order to avoid bad
neighbours, from a fair and fertile district into rugged Snowdonia,
where it found anything but the repose it came in quest of. The
book which is written in bold graphic English, flings considerable
light on the state of society in Wales, in the time of the Tudors,
a truly deplorable state, as the book is full of accounts of feuds,
petty but desperate skirmishes, and revengeful murders. To many of
the domestic sagas, or histories of ancient Icelandic families,
from the character of the events which it describes and also from
the manner in which it describes them, the "History of the Gwedir
Family," by Sir John Wynne, bears a striking resemblance.

After giving the woman sixpence I left the fall, and proceeded on
my way. I presently crossed a bridge under which ran the river of
the fall, and was soon in a wide valley on each side of which were
lofty hills dotted with wood, and at the top of which stood a
mighty mountain, bare and precipitous, with two paps like those of
Pindus opposite Janina, but somewhat sharper. It was a region of
fairy beauty and of wild grandeur. Meeting an old bleared-eyed
farmer I inquired the name of the mountain and learned that it was
called Moel Siabod or Shabod. Shortly after leaving him, I turned
from the road to inspect a monticle which appeared to me to have
something of the appearance of a burial heap. It stood in a green
meadow by the river which ran down the valley on the left. Whether
it was a grave hill or a natural monticle, I will not say; but
standing in the fair meadow, the rivulet murmuring beside it, and
the old mountain looking down upon it, I thought it looked a very
meet resting-place for an old Celtic king.

Turning round the northern side of the mighty Siabod I soon reached
the village of Capel Curig, standing in a valley between two hills,
the easternmost of which is the aforesaid Moel Siabod. Having
walked now twenty miles in a broiling day I thought it high time to
take some refreshment, and inquired the way to the inn. The inn,
or rather the hotel, for it was a very magnificent edifice, stood
at the entrance of a pass leading to Snowdon, on the southern side
of the valley, in a totally different direction from the road
leading to Bangor, to which place I was bound. There I dined in a
grand saloon amidst a great deal of fashionable company, who,
probably conceiving from my heated and dusty appearance that I was
some poor fellow travelling on foot from motives of economy,
surveyed me with looks of the most supercilious disdain, which,
however, neither deprived me of my appetite nor operated
uncomfortably on my feelings.

My dinner finished, I paid my bill, and having sauntered a little
about the hotel garden, which is situated on the border of a small
lake and from which, through the vista of the pass, Snowdon may be
seen towering in majesty at the distance of about six miles, I
started for Bangor, which is fourteen miles from Capel Curig.

The road to Bangor from Capel Curig is almost due west. An hour's
walking brought me to a bleak moor, extending for a long way amidst
wild sterile hills.

The first of a chain on the left, was a huge lumpy hill with a
precipice towards the road probably three hundred feet high. When
I had come nearly parallel with the commencement of this precipice,
I saw on the left-hand side of the road two children looking over a
low wall behind which at a little distance stood a wretched hovel.
On coming up I stopped and looked at them; they were a boy and
girl; the first about twelve, the latter a year or two younger;
both wretchedly dressed and looking very sickly.

"Have you any English?" said I, addressing the boy in Welsh.

"Dim gair," said the boy; "not a word; there is no Saesneg near

"What is the name of this place?"

"The name of our house is Helyg."

"And what is the name of that hill?" said I, pointing to the hill
of the precipice.

"Allt y Gog - the high place of the cuckoo."

"Have you a father and mother?"

"We have."

"Are they in the house?"

"They are gone to Capel Curig."

"And they left you alone?"

"They did. With the cat and the trin-wire."

"Do your father and mother make wire-work?"

"They do. They live by making it."

"What is the wire-work for?"

"It is for hedges to fence the fields with."

"Do you help your father and mother?"

"We do; as far as we can."

"You both look unwell."

"We have lately had the cryd" (ague).

"Is there much cryd about here?"


"Do you live well?"

"When we have bread we live well."

"If I give you a penny will you bring me some water?"

"We will, whether you give us a penny or not. Come, sister, let us
go and fetch the gentleman water."

They ran into the house and presently returned, the girl bearing a
pan of water. After I had drunk I gave each of the children a
penny, and received in return from each a diolch or thanks.

"Can either of you read?"

"Neither one nor the other."

"Can your father and mother read?"

"My father cannot, my mother can a little."

"Are there books in the house?"

"There are not."

"No Bible?"

"There is no book at all."

"Do you go to church?"

"We do not."

"To chapel?"

"In fine weather."

"Are you happy?"

"When there is bread in the house and no cryd we are all happy."

"Farewell to you, children."

"Farewell to you, gentleman!" exclaimed both.

"I have learnt something," said I, "of Welsh cottage life and
feeling from that poor sickly child."

I had passed the first and second of the hills which stood on the
left, and a huge long mountain on the right which confronted both,
when a young man came down from a gully on my left hand, and
proceeded in the same direction as myself. He was dressed in a
blue coat and corduroy trowsers, and appeared to be of a condition
a little above that of a labourer. He shook his head and scowled
when I spoke to him in English, but smiled on my speaking Welsh,
and said: "Ah, you speak Cumraeg: I thought no Sais could speak
Cumraeg."  I asked him if he was going far.

"About four miles," he replied.

"On the Bangor road?"

"Yes," said he; "down the Bangor road."

I learned that he was a carpenter, and that he had been up the
gully to see an acquaintance - perhaps a sweetheart. We passed a
lake on our right which he told me was called Llyn Ogwen, and that
it abounded with fish. He was very amusing, and expressed great
delight at having found an Englishman who could speak Welsh; "it
will be a thing to talk of," said he, "for the rest of my life."  
He entered two or three cottages by the side of the road, and each
time he came out I heard him say: "I am with a Sais who can speak
Cumraeg."  At length we came to a gloomy-looking valley trending
due north; down this valley the road ran, having an enormous wall
of rocks on its right and a precipitous hollow on the left, beyond
which was a wall equally high as the other one. When we had
proceeded some way down the road my guide said. "You shall now
hear a wonderful echo," and shouting "taw, taw," the rocks replied
in a manner something like the baying of hounds. "Hark to the
dogs!" exclaimed my companion. "This pass is called Nant yr ieuanc
gwn, the pass of the young dogs, because when one shouts it answers
with a noise resembling the crying of hounds."

The sun was setting when we came to a small village at the bottom
of the pass. I asked my companion its name. "Ty yn y maes," he
replied, adding as he stopped before a small cottage that he was
going no farther, as he dwelt there.

"Is there a public-house here?" said I.

"There is," he replied, "you will find one a little farther up on
the right hand."

"Come, and take some ale," said I.

"No," said he.

"Why not?" I demanded.

"I am a teetotaler," he replied.

"Indeed," said I, and having shaken him by the hand, thanked him
for his company and bidding him farewell, went on. He was the
first person I had ever met of the fraternity to which he belonged,
who did not endeavour to make a parade of his abstinence and self-

After drinking some tolerably good ale in the public house I again
started. As I left the village a clock struck eight. The evening
was delightfully cool; but it soon became nearly dark. I passed
under high rocks, by houses and by groves, in which nightingales
were singing, to listen to whose entrancing melody I more than once
stopped. On coming to a town, lighted up and thronged with people,
I asked one of a group of young fellows its name.

"Bethesda," he replied.

"A scriptural name," said I.

"Is it?" said he; "well, if its name is scriptural the manners of
its people are by no means so."

A little way beyond the town a man came out of a cottage and walked
beside me. He had a basket in his hand. I quickened my pace; but
he was a tremendous walker, and kept up with me. On we went side
by side for more than a mile without speaking a word. At length,
putting out my legs in genuine Barclay fashion, I got before him
about ten yards, then turning round laughed and spoke to him in
English. He too laughed and spoke, but in Welsh. We now went on
like brothers, conversing, but always walking at great speed. I
learned from him that he was a market-gardener living at Bangor,
and that Bangor was three miles off. On the stars shining out we
began to talk about them.

Pointing to Charles's Wain I said, "A good star for travellers."

Whereupon pointing to the North star, he said:

"I forwyr da iawn - a good star for mariners."

We passed a large house on our left.

"Who lives there?" said I.

"Mr Smith," he replied. "It is called Plas Newydd; milltir genom
etto - we have yet another mile."

In ten minutes we were at Bangor. I asked him where the Albion
Hotel was.

"I will show it you," said he, and so he did.

As we came under it I heard the voice of my wife, for she, standing
on a balcony and distinguishing me by the lamplight, called out. I
shook hands with the kind six-mile-an-hour market-gardener, and
going into the inn found my wife and daughter, who rejoiced to see
me. We presently had tea.


Bangor - Edmund Price - The Bridges - Bookselling - Future Pope -
Wild Irish - Southey.

BANGOR is seated on the spurs of certain high hills near the Menai,
a strait separating Mona or Anglesey from Caernarvonshire. It was
once a place of Druidical worship, of which fact, even without the
testimony of history and tradition, the name which signifies "upper
circle" would be sufficient evidence. On the decay of Druidism a
town sprang up on the site and in the neighbourhood of the "upper
circle," in which in the sixth century a convent or university was
founded by Deiniol, who eventually became Bishop of Bangor. This
Deiniol was the son of Deiniol Vawr, a zealous Christian prince who
founded the convent of Bangor Is Coed, or Bangor beneath the wood
in Flintshire, which was destroyed, and its inmates almost to a man
put to the sword by Ethelbert, a Saxon king, and his barbarian
followers at the instigation of the monk Austin, who hated the
brethren because they refused to acknowledge the authority of the
Pope, whose delegate he was in Britain. There were in all three
Bangors; the one at Is Coed, another in Powis, and this
Caernarvonshire Bangor, which was generally termed Bangor Vawr or
Bangor the great. The two first Bangors have fallen into utter
decay, but Bangor Vawr is still a bishop's see, boasts of a small
but venerable cathedral, and contains a population of above eight
thousand souls.

Two very remarkable men have at different periods conferred a kind
of lustre upon Bangor by residing in it, Taliesin in the old, and
Edmund Price in comparatively modern time. Both of them were
poets. Taliesin flourished about the end of the fifth century, and
for the sublimity of his verses was for many centuries called by
his countrymen the Bardic King. Amongst his pieces is one
generally termed "The Prophecy of Taliesin," which announced long
before it happened the entire subjugation of Britain by the Saxons,
and which is perhaps one of the most stirring pieces of poetry ever
produced. Edmund Price flourished during the time of Elizabeth.
He was archdeacon of Merionethshire, but occasionally resided at
Bangor for the benefit of his health. Besides being one of the
best Welsh poets of his age he was a man of extraordinary learning,
possessing a thorough knowledge of no less than eight languages.

The greater part of his compositions, however clever and elegant,
are, it must be confessed, such as do little credit to the pen of
an ecclesiastic, being bitter poignant satires, which were the
cause of much pain and misery to individuals; one of his works,
however, is not only of a kind quite consistent with his sacred
calling, but has been a source of considerable blessing. To him
the Cambrian Church is indebted for the version of the Psalms,
which for the last two centuries it has been in the habit of using.
Previous to the version of the Archdeacon a translation of the
Psalms had been made into Welsh by William Middleton, an officer in
the naval service of Queen Elizabeth, in the four-and-twenty
alliterative measures of the ancients bards. It was elegant and
even faithful, but far beyond the comprehension of people in
general, and consequently by no means fitted for the use of
churches, though intended for that purpose by the author, a sincere
Christian, though a warrior. Avoiding the error into which his
predecessor had fallen, the Archdeacon made use of a measure
intelligible to people of every degree, in which alliteration is
not observed, and which is called by the Welsh y mesur cyffredin,
or the common measure. His opinion of the four-and-twenty measures
the Archdeacon has given to the world in four cowydd lines to the
following effect:

"I've read the master-pieces great
Of languages no less than eight,
But ne'er have found a woof of song
So strict as that of Cambria's tongue."

After breakfast on the morning subsequent to my arrival, Henrietta
and I roamed about the town, and then proceeded to view the bridges
which lead over the strait to Anglesey. One, for common traffic,
is a most beautiful suspension bridge completed in 1820, the result
of the mental and manual labours of the ingenious Telford; the
other is a tubular railroad bridge, a wonderful structure, no
doubt, but anything but graceful. We remained for some time on the
first bridge, admiring the scenery, and were not a little
delighted, as we stood leaning over the principal arch, to see a
proud vessel pass beneath us in full sail.

Satiated with gazing we passed into Anglesey, and making our way to
the tubular bridge, which is to the west of the suspension one,
entered one of its passages and returned to the main land.

The air was exceedingly hot and sultry, and on coming to a stone
bench, beneath a shady wall, we both sat down, panting, on one end
of it; as we were resting ourselves, a shabby-looking man with a
bundle of books came and seated himself at the other end, placing
his bundle beside him; then taking out from his pocket a dirty red
handkerchief, he wiped his face, which was bathed in perspiration,
and ejaculated: "By Jasus, it is blazing hot!"

"Very hot, my friend," said I; "have you travelled far to-day?"

"I have not, your hanner; I have been just walking about the dirty
town trying to sell my books."

"Have you been successful?"

"I have not, your hanner; only three pence have I taken this
blessed day."

"What do your books treat of?"

"Why, that is more than I can tell your hanner; my trade is to sell
the books not to read them. Would your hanner like to look at

"Oh dear no," said I; "I have long been tired of books; I have had
enough of them."

"I daresay, your hanner; from the state of your hanner's eyes I
should say as much; they look so weak - picking up learning has
ruined your hanner's sight."

"May I ask," said I, "from what country you are?"

"Sure your hanner may; and it is a civil answer you will get from
Michael Sullivan. It is from ould Ireland I am, from Castlebar in
the county Mayo."

"And how came you into Wales?"

"From the hope of bettering my condition, your hanner, and a
foolish hope it was."

"You have not bettered your condition, then?"

"I have not, your hanner; for I suffer quite as much hunger and
thirst as ever I did in ould Ireland."

"Did you sell books in Ireland?"

"I did nat, yer hanner; I made buttons and clothes - that is I
pieced them. I was several trades in ould Ireland, your hanner;
but none of them answering, I came over here."

"Where you commenced book-selling?" said I.

"I did nat, your hanner. I first sold laces, and then I sold
loocifers, and then something else; I have followed several trades
in Wales, your hanner; at last I got into the book-selling trade,
in which I now am."

"And it answers, I suppose, as badly as the others?"

"Just as badly, your hanner; divil a bit better."

"I suppose you never beg?"

"Your hanner may say that; I was always too proud to beg. It is
begging I laves to the wife I have."

"Then you have a wife?"

"I have, your hanner; and a daughter, too; and a good wife and
daughter they are. What would become of me without them I do not

"Have you been long in Wales?"

"Not very long, your hanner; only about twenty years."

"Do you travel much about?"

"All over North Wales, your hanner; to say nothing of the southern

"I suppose you speak Welsh?"

"Not a word, your hanner. The Welsh speak their language so fast,
that divil a word could I ever contrive to pick up."

"Do you speak Irish?"

"I do, yer hanner; that is when people spake to me in it."

I spoke to him in Irish; after a little discourse he said in

"I see your hanner is a Munster man. Ah! all the learned men comes
from Munster. Father Toban comes from Munster."

"I have heard of him once or twice before," said I.

"I daresay your hanner has. Every one has heard of Father Toban;
the greatest scholar in the world, who they, say stands a better
chance of being made Pope, some day or other, than any saggart in

"Will you take sixpence?"

"I will, your hanner; if your hanner offers it; but I never beg; I
leave that kind of work to my wife and daughter as I said before."

After giving him the sixpence, which he received with a lazy "thank
your hanner," I got up, and followed by my daughter returned to the

Henrietta went to the inn, and I again strolled about the town. As
I was standing in the middle of one of the business streets I
suddenly heard a loud and dissonant gabbling, and glancing around
beheld a number of wild-looking people, male and female. Wild
looked the men, yet wilder the women. The men were very lightly
clad, and were all barefooted and bareheaded; they carried stout
sticks in their hands. The women were barefooted too, but had for
the most part head-dresses; their garments consisted of blue cloaks
and striped gingham gowns. All the females had common tin articles
in their hands which they offered for sale with violent gestures to
the people in the streets, as they walked along, occasionally
darting into the shops, from which, however, they were almost
invariably speedily ejected by the startled proprietors, with looks
of disgust and almost horror. Two ragged, red-haired lads led a
gaunt pony, drawing a creaking cart, stored with the same kind of
articles of tin, which the women bore. Poorly clad, dusty and
soiled as they were, they all walked with a free, independent, and
almost graceful carriage.

"Are those people from Ireland?" said I to a decent-looking man,
seemingly a mechanic, who stood near me, and was also looking at
them, but with anything but admiration.

"I am sorry to say they are, sir;" said the man, who from his
accent was evidently an Irishman, "for they are a disgrace to their

I did not exactly think so. I thought that in many respects they
were fine specimens of humanity.

"Every one of those wild fellows," said I to myself, "is worth a
dozen of the poor mean-spirited book-tramper I have lately been
discoursing with."

In the afternoon I again passed over into Anglesey, but this time
not by the bridge but by the ferry on the north-east of Bangor,
intending to go to Beaumaris, about two or three miles distant: an
excellent road, on the left side of which is a high bank fringed
with dwarf oaks, and on the right the Menai strait, leads to it.
Beaumaris is at present a watering-place. On one side of it, close
upon the sea, stand the ruins of an immense castle, once a Norman
stronghold, but built on the site of a palace belonging to the
ancient kings of North Wales, and a favourite residence of the
celebrated Owain Gwynedd, the father of the yet more celebrated
Madoc, the original discoverer of America. I proceeded at once to
the castle, and clambering to the top of one of the turrets, looked
upon Beaumaris Bay, and the noble rocky coast of the mainland to
the south-east beyond it, the most remarkable object of which is
the gigantic Penman Mawr, which interpreted is "the great head-
stone," the termination of a range of craggy hills descending from
the Snowdon mountains.

"What a bay!" said I, "for beauty it is superior to the far-famed
one of Naples. A proper place for the keels to start from, which,
unguided by the compass, found their way over the mighty and
mysterious Western Ocean."

I repeated all the Bardic lines I could remember connected with
Madoc's expedition, and likewise many from the Madoc of Southey,
not the least of Britain's four great latter poets, decidedly her
best prose writer, and probably the purest and most noble character
to which she has ever given birth; and then, after a long,
lingering look, descended from my altitude, and returned, not by
the ferry, but by the suspension bridge to the mainland.


Robert Lleiaf - Prophetic Englyn - The Second Sight - Duncan
Campbell - Nial's Saga - Family of Nial - Gunnar - The Avenger.

"AV i dir Mon, cr dwr Menai,
Tros y traeth, ond aros trai."

"I will go to the land of Mona, notwithstanding the water of the
Menai, across the sand, without waiting for the ebb."

SO sang a bard about two hundred and forty years ago, who styled
himself Robert Lleiaf, or the least of the Roberts. The meaning of
the couplet has always been considered to be, and doubtless is,
that a time would come when a bridge would be built across the
Menai, over which one might pass with safety and comfort, without
waiting till the ebb was sufficiently low to permit people to pass
over the traeth, or sand, which, from ages the most remote, had
been used as the means of communication between the mainland and
the Isle of Mona or Anglesey. Grounding their hopes upon that
couplet, people were continually expecting to see a bridge across
the Menai: more than two hundred years, however, elapsed before
the expectation was fulfilled by the mighty Telford flinging over
the strait an iron suspension bridge, which, for grace and beauty,
has perhaps no rival in Europe.

The couplet is a remarkable one. In the time of its author there
was nobody in Britain capable of building a bridge, which could
have stood against the tremendous surges which occasionally vex the
Menai; yet the couplet gives intimation that a bridge over the
Menai there would be, which clearly argues a remarkable foresight
in the author, a feeling that a time would at length arrive when
the power of science would be so far advanced, that men would be
able to bridge over the terrible strait. The length of time which
intervened between the composition of the couplet and the
fulfilment of the promise, shows that a bridge over the Menai was
no pont y meibion, no children's bridge, nor a work for common men.
Oh, surely Lleiaf was a man of great foresight!

A man of great foresight, but nothing more; he foretold a bridge
over the Menai, when no one could have built one, a bridge over
which people could pass, aye, and carts and horses; we will allow
him the credit of foretelling such a bridge; and when Telford's
bridge was flung over the Menai, Lleiaf's couplet was verified.
But since Telford's another bridge has been built over the Menai,
which enables things to pass which the bard certainly never dreamt
of. He never hinted at a bridge over which thundering trains would
dash, if required, at the rate of fifty miles an hour; he never
hinted at steam travelling, or a railroad bridge, and the second
bridge over the Menai is one.

That Lleiaf was a man of remarkable foresight, cannot be denied,
but there are no grounds which entitle him to be considered a
possessor of the second sight. He foretold a bridge, but not a
railroad bridge; had he foretold a railroad bridge, or hinted at
the marvels of steam, his claim to the second sight would have been

What a triumph for Wales; what a triumph for bardism, if Lleiaf had
ever written an englyn, or couplet, in which not a bridge for
common traffic, but a railroad bridge over the Menai was hinted at,
and steam travelling distinctly foretold! Well, though Lleiaf did
not write it, there exists in the Welsh language an englyn, almost
as old as Lleiaf's time, in which steam travelling in Wales and
Anglesea is foretold, and in which, though the railroad bridge over
the Menai is not exactly mentioned, it may be considered to be
included; so that Wales and bardism have equal reason to be proud.
This is the englyn alluded to:-

"Codais, ymolchais yn Mon, cyn naw awr
Ciniewa'n Nghaer Lleon,
Pryd gosber yn y Werddon,
Prydnawn wrth dan mawn yn Mon."

The above englyn was printed in the Greal, 1792, p. 316; the
language shows it to be a production of about the middle of the
seventeenth century. The following is nearly a literal

"I got up in Mona as soon as 'twas light,
At nine in old Chester my breakfast I took;
In Ireland I dined, and in Mona, ere night,
By the turf fire sat, in my own ingle nook."

Now, as sure as the couplet by Robert Lleiaf foretells that a
bridge would eventually be built over the strait, by which people
would pass, and traffic be carried on, so surely does the above
englyn foreshadow the speed by which people would travel by steam,
a speed by which distance is already all but annihilated. At
present it is easy enough to get up at dawn at Holyhead, the point
of Anglesey the most distant from Chester, and to breakfast at that
old town by nine; and though the feat has never yet been
accomplished, it would be quite possible, provided proper
preparations were made, to start from Holyhead at daybreak,
breakfast at Chester at nine, or before, dine in Ireland at two,
and get back again to Holyhead ere the sun of the longest day has
set. And as surely as the couplet about the bridge argues great
foresight in the man that wrote it, so surely does the englyn prove
that its author must have been possessed of the faculty of second
sight, as nobody without it could, in the middle of the seventeenth
century, when the powers of steam were unknown, have written
anything in which travelling by steam is so distinctly alluded to.

Truly some old bard of the seventeenth century must in a vision of
the second sight have seen the railroad bridge across the Menai,
the Chester train dashing across it, at high railroad speed, and a
figure exactly like his own seated comfortably in a third-class

And now a few words on the second sight, a few calm, quiet words,
in which there is not the slightest wish to display either
eccentricity or book-learning.

The second sight is the power of seeing events before they happen,
or of seeing events which are happening far beyond the reach of the
common sight, or between which and the common sight barriers
intervene, which it cannot pierce. The number of those who possess
this gift or power is limited, and perhaps no person ever possessed
it in a perfect degree: some more frequently see coming events, or
what is happening at a distance, than others; some see things
dimly, others with great distinctness. The events seen are
sometimes of great importance, sometimes highly nonsensical and
trivial; sometimes they relate to the person who sees them,
sometimes to other people. This is all that can be said with
anything like certainty with respect to the nature of the second
sight, a faculty for which there is no accounting, which, were it
better developed, might be termed the sixth sense.

The second sight is confined to no particular country, and has at
all times existed. Particular nations have obtained a celebrity
for it for a time, which they have afterwards lost, the celebrity
being transferred to other nations, who were previously not noted
for the faculty. The Jews were at one time particularly celebrated
for the possession of the second sight; they are no longer so. The
power was at one time very common amongst the Icelanders and the
inhabitants of the Hebrides, but it is so no longer. Many and
extraordinary instances of the second sight have lately occurred in
that part of England generally termed East Anglia, where in former
times the power of the second sight seldom manifested itself.

There are various books in existence in which the second sight is
treated of or mentioned. Amongst others there is one called
"Martin's Description of the Western Isles of Scotland," published
in the year 1703, which is indeed the book from which most writers
in English, who have treated of the second sight, have derived
their information. The author gives various anecdotes of the
second sight, which he had picked up during his visits to those
remote islands, which until the publication of his tour were almost
unknown to the world. It will not be amiss to observe here that
the term second sight is of Lowland Scotch origin, and first made
its appearance in print in Martin's book. The Gaelic term for the
faculty is taibhsearachd, the literal meaning of which is what is
connected with a spectral appearance, the root of the word being
taibhse, a spectral appearance or vision.

Then there is the History of Duncan Campbell. The father of this
person was a native of Shetland, who, being shipwrecked on the
coast of Swedish Lapland, and hospitably received by the natives,
married a woman of the country, by whom he had Duncan, who was born
deaf and dumb. On the death of his mother the child was removed by
his father to Scotland, where he was educated and taught the use of
the finger alphabet, by means of which people are enabled to hold
discourse with each other, without moving the lips or tongue. This
alphabet was originally invented in Scotland, and at the present
day is much in use there, not only amongst dumb people, but many
others, who employ it as a silent means of communication. Nothing
is more usual than to see passengers in a common conveyance in
Scotland discoursing with their fingers. Duncan at an early period
gave indications of possessing the second sight. After various
adventures he came to London, where for many years he practised as
a fortune-teller, pretending to answer all questions, whether
relating to the past or the future, by means of the second sight.
There can be no doubt that this man was to a certain extent an
impostor; no person exists having a thorough knowledge either of
the past or future by means of the second sight, which only visits
particular people by fits and starts, and which is quite
independent of individual will; but it is equally certain that he
disclosed things which no person could have been acquainted with
without visitations of the second sight. His papers fell into the
hands of Defoe, who wrought them up in his own peculiar manner, and
gave them to the world under the title of the Life of Mr Duncan
Campbell, the Deaf and Dumb Gentleman: with an appendix containing
many anecdotes of the second sight from Martin's tour.

But by far the most remarkable book in existence, connected with
the second sight, is one in the ancient Norse language entitled
"Nial's Saga." (3)  It was written in Iceland about the year 1200,
and contains the history of a certain Nial and his family, and
likewise notices of various other people. This Nial was what was
called a spamadr, that is, a spaeman or a person capable of
foretelling events. He was originally a heathen - when, however,
Christianity was introduced into Iceland, he was amongst the first
to embrace it, and persuaded his family and various people of his
acquaintance to do the same, declaring that a new faith was
necessary, the old religion of Odin, Thor, and Frey, being quite
unsuited to the times. The book is no romance, but a domestic
history compiled from tradition about two hundred years after the
events which it narrates had taken place. Of its style, which is
wonderfully terse, the following translated account of Nial and his
family will perhaps convey some idea:-

"There was a man called Nial, who was the son of Thorgeir Gelling,
the son of Thorolf. The mother of Nial was called Asgerdr; she was
the daughter of Ar, the Silent, the Lord of a district in Norway.
She had come over to Iceland and settled down on land to the west
of Markarfliot, between Oldustein and Selialandsmul. Holtathorir
was her son, father of Thorlief Krak, from whom the Skogverjars are
come, and likewise of Thorgrim the big and Skorargeir. Nial dwelt
at Bergthorshval in Landey, but had another house at Thorolfell.
Nial was very rich in property, and handsome to look at, but had no
beard. He was so great a lawyer, that it was impossible to find
his equal, he was very wise, and had the gift of foretelling
events, he was good at counsel, and of a good disposition, and
whatever counsel he gave people was for their best; he was gentle
and humane, and got every man out of trouble who came to him in his
need. His wife was called Bergthora; she was the daughter of
Skarphethin. She was a bold-spirited woman who feared nobody, and
was rather rough of temper. They had six children, three daughters
and three sons, all of whom will be frequently mentioned in this

In the history many instances are given of Nial's skill in giving
good advice and his power of seeing events before they happened.
Nial lived in Iceland during most singular times, in which though
there were laws provided for every possible case, no man could have
redress for any injury unless he took it himself, or his friends
took it for him, simply because there were no ministers of justice
supported by the State, authorised and empowered to carry the
sentence of the law into effect. For example, if a man were slain,
his death would remain unpunished, unless he had a son or a
brother, or some other relation to slay the slayer, or to force him
to pay "bod," that is, amends in money, to be determined by the
position of the man who was slain. Provided the man who was slain
had relations, his death was generally avenged, as it was
considered the height of infamy in Iceland to permit one's
relations to be murdered, without slaying their murderers, or
obtaining bod from them. The right, however, permitted to
relations of taking with their own hands the lives of those who had
slain their friends, produced incalculable mischiefs; for if the
original slayer had friends, they, in the event of his being slain
in retaliation for what he had done, made it a point of honour to
avenge his death, so that by the lex talionis feuds were
perpetuated. Nial was a great benefactor to his countrymen, by
arranging matters between people, at variance in which he was much
helped by his knowledge of the law, and by giving wholesome advice
to people in precarious situations, in which he was frequently
helped by the power which he possessed of the second sight. On
several occasions he settled the disputes in which his friend
Gunnar was involved, a noble, generous character, and the champion
of Iceland, but who had a host of foes, envious of his renown; and
it was not his fault if Gunnar was eventually slain, for if the
advice which he gave had been followed, the champion would have
died an old man; and if his own sons had followed his advice, and
not been over fond of taking vengeance on people who had wronged
them, they would have escaped a horrible death, in which he himself
was involved, as he had always foreseen he should be.

"Dost thou know by what death thou thyself wilt die?" said Gunnar
to Nial, after the latter had been warning him that if he followed
a certain course he would die by a violent death.

"I do," said Nial.

"What is it?" said Gunnar.

"What people would think the least probable," replied Nial.

He meant that he should die by fire. The kind generous Nial, who
tried to get everybody out of difficulty, perished by fire. His
sons by their violent conduct had incensed numerous people against
them. The house in which they lived with their father was beset at
night by an armed party, who, unable to break into it owing to the
desperate resistance which they met with from the sons of Nial,
Skarphethin, Helgi, and Grimmr and a comrade of theirs called Kari,
(4) set it in a blaze, in which perished Nial, the lawyer and man
of the second sight, his wife Bergthora, and two of their sons, the
third, Helgi, having been previously slain, and Kari, who was
destined to be the avenger of the ill-fated family, having made his
escape, after performing deeds of heroism which for centuries after
were the themes of song and tale in the ice-bound isle.


Snowdon - Caernarvon - Maxen Wledig - Moel y Cynghorion - The
Wyddfa - Snow of Snowdon - Rare Plant.

ON the third morning after our arrival at Bangor we set out for

Snowdon or Eryri is no single hill, but a mountainous region, the
loftiest part of which, called Y Wyddfa, nearly four thousand feet
above the level of the sea, is generally considered to be the
highest point of Southern Britain. The name Snowdon was bestowed
upon this region by the early English on account of its snowy
appearance in winter; Eryri by the Britons, because in the old time
it abounded with eagles, Eryri (5) in the ancient British language
signifying an eyrie or breeding-place of eagles.

Snowdon is interesting on various accounts. It is interesting for
its picturesque beauty. Perhaps in the whole world there is no
region more picturesquely beautiful than Snowdon, a region of
mountains, lakes, cataracts, and, groves in which nature shows
herself in her most grand and beautiful forms.

It is interesting from its connection with history: it was to
Snowdon that Vortigern retired from the fury of his own subjects,
caused by the favour which he showed to the detested Saxons. It
was there that he called to his counsels Merlin, said to be
begotten on a hag by an incubus, but who was in reality the son of
a Roman consul by a British woman. It was in Snowdon that he built
the castle, which he fondly deemed would prove impregnable, but
which his enemies destroyed by flinging wild-fire over its walls;
and it was in a wind-beaten valley of Snowdon, near the sea, that
his dead body decked in green armour had a mound of earth and
stones raised over it. It was on the heights of Snowdon that the
brave but unfortunate Llywelin ap Griffith made his last stand for
Cambrian independence; and it was to Snowdon that that very
remarkable man, Owen Glendower, retired with his irregular bands
before Harry the Fourth and his numerous and disciplined armies,
soon however, to emerge from its defiles and follow the foe,
retreating less from the Welsh arrows from the crags, than from the
cold, rain and starvation of the Welsh hills.

But it is from its connection with romance that Snowdon derives its
chief interest. Who when he thinks of Snowdon does not associate
it with the heroes of romance, Arthur and his knights? whose
fictitious adventures, the splendid dreams of Welsh and Breton
minstrels, many of the scenes of which are the valleys and passes
of Snowdon, are the origin of romance, before which what is classic
has for more than half a century been waning, and is perhaps
eventually destined to disappear. Yes, to romance Snowdon is
indebted for its interest and consequently for its celebrity; but
for romance Snowdon would assuredly not be what it at present is,
one of the very celebrated hills of the world, and to the poets of
modern Europe almost what Parnassus was to those of old.

To the Welsh, besides being the hill of the Awen or Muse, it has
always been the hill of hills, the loftiest of all mountains, the
one whose snow is the coldest, to climb to whose peak is the most
difficult of all feats; and the one whose fall will be the most
astounding catastrophe of the last day.

To view this mountain I and my little family set off in a caleche
on the third morning after our arrival at Bangor.

Our first stage was to Caernarvon. As I subsequently made a
journey to Caernarvon on foot, I shall say nothing about the road
till I give an account of that expedition, save that it lies for
the most part in the neighbourhood of the sea. We reached
Caernarvon, which is distant ten miles from Bangor, about eleven
o'clock, and put up at an inn to refresh ourselves and the horses.
It is a beautiful little town situated on the southern side of the
Menai Strait at nearly its western extremity. It is called
Caernarvon, because it is opposite Mona or Anglesey: Caernarvon
signifying the town or castle opposite Mona. Its principal feature
is its grand old castle, fronting the north, and partly surrounded
by the sea. This castle was built by Edward the First after the
fall of his brave adversary Llewelyn, and in it was born his son
Edward whom, when an infant, he induced the Welsh chieftains to
accept as their prince without seeing, by saying that the person
whom he proposed to be their sovereign was one who was not only
born in Wales, but could not speak a word of the English language.
The town Caernarvon, however, existed long before Edward's time,
and was probably originally a Roman station. According to Welsh
tradition it was built by Maxen Wledig or Maxentius, in honour of
his wife Ellen who was born in the neighbourhood. Maxentius, who
was a Briton by birth, and partly by origin contested
unsuccessfully the purple with Gratian and Valentinian, and to
support his claim led over to the Continent an immense army of
Britons, who never returned, but on the fall of their leader
settled down in that part of Gaul generally termed Armorica, which
means a maritime region, but which the Welsh call Llydaw, or
Lithuania, which was the name, or something like the name, which
the region bore when Maxen's army took possession of it, owing,
doubtless, to its having been the quarters of a legion composed of
barbarians from the country of Leth or Lithuania.

After staying about an hour at Caernarvon we started for Llanberis,
a few miles to the east. Llanberis is a small village situated in
a valley, and takes its name from Peris, a British saint of the
sixth century, son of Helig ab Glanog. The valley extends from
west to east, having the great mountain of Snowdon on its south,
and a range of immense hills on its northern side. We entered this
valley by a pass called Nant y Glo or the ravine of the coal, and
passing a lake on our left, on which I observed a solitary
corracle, with a fisherman in it, were presently at the village.
Here we got down at a small inn, and having engaged a young lad to
serve as guide, I set out with Henrietta to ascend the hill, my
wife remaining behind, not deeming herself sufficiently strong to
encounter the fatigue of the expedition.

Pointing with my finger to the head of Snowdon towering a long way
from us in the direction of the east, I said to Henrietta:-

"Dacw Eryri, yonder is Snowdon. Let us try to get to the top. The
Welsh have a proverb: 'It is easy to say yonder is Snowdon; but
not so easy to ascend it.'  Therefore I would advise you to brace
up your nerves and sinews for the attempt."

We then commenced the ascent, arm-in-arm, followed by the lad, I
singing at the stretch of my voice a celebrated Welsh stanza, in
which the proverb about Snowdon is given, embellished with a fine
moral, and which may thus be rendered:-

"Easy to say, 'Behold Eryri,'
But difficult to reach its head;
Easy for him whose hopes are cheery
To bid the wretch be comforted."

We were far from being the only visitors to the hill this day;
groups of people, or single individuals, might be seen going up or
descending the path as far as the eye could reach. The path was
remarkably good, and for some way the ascent was anything but
steep. On our left was the Vale of Llanberis, and on our other
side a broad hollow, or valley of Snowdon, beyond which were two
huge hills forming part of the body of the grand mountain, the
lowermost of which our guide told me was called Moel Elia, and the
uppermost Moel y Cynghorion. On we went until we had passed both
these hills, and come to the neighbourhood of a great wall of rocks
constituting the upper region of Snowdon, and where the real
difficulty of the ascent commences. Feeling now rather out of
breath we sat down on a little knoll with our faces to the south,
having a small lake near us, on our left hand, which lay dark and
deep, just under the great wall.

Here we sat for some time resting and surveying the scene which
presented itself to us, the principal object of which was the
north-eastern side of the mighty Moel y Cynghorion, across the wide
hollow or valley, which it overhangs in the shape of a sheer
precipice some five hundred feet in depth. Struck by the name of
Moel y Cynghorion, which in English signifies the hill of the
counsellors, I enquired of our guide why the hill was so called,
but as he could afford me no information on the point I presumed
that it was either called the hill of the counsellors from the
Druids having held high consultation on its top, in time of old, or
from the unfortunate Llewelyn having consulted there with his
chieftains, whilst his army lay encamped in the vale below.

Getting up we set about surmounting what remained of the ascent.
The path was now winding and much more steep than it had hitherto
been. I was at one time apprehensive that my gentle companion
would be obliged to give over the attempt; the gallant girl,
however, persevered, and in little more than twenty minutes from
the time when we arose from our resting-place under the crags, we
stood, safe and sound, though panting, upon the very top of
Snowdon, the far-famed Wyddfa.

The Wyddfa is about thirty feet in diameter and is surrounded on
three sides by a low wall. In the middle of it is a rude cabin, in
which refreshments are sold, and in which a person resides through
the year, though there are few or no visitors to the hill's top,
except during the months of summer. Below on all sides are
frightful precipices except on the side of the west. Towards the
east it looks perpendicularly into the dyffrin or vale, nearly a
mile below, from which to the gazer it is at all times an object of
admiration, of wonder and almost of fear.

There we stood on the Wyddfa, in a cold bracing atmosphere, though
the day was almost stiflingly hot in the regions from which we had
ascended. There we stood enjoying a scene inexpressibly grand,
comprehending a considerable part of the mainland of Wales, the
whole of Anglesey, a faint glimpse of part of Cumberland; the Irish
Channel, and what might be either a misty creation or the shadowy
outline of the hills of Ireland. Peaks and pinnacles and huge
moels stood up here and there, about us and below us, partly in
glorious light, partly in deep shade. Manifold were the objects
which we saw from the brow of Snowdon, but of all the objects which
we saw, those which filled us with delight and admiration, were
numerous lakes and lagoons, which, like sheets of ice or polished
silver, lay reflecting the rays of the sun in the deep valleys at
his feet.

"Here," said I to Henrietta, "you are on the top crag of Snowdon,
which the Welsh consider, and perhaps with justice, to be the most
remarkable crag in the world; which is mentioned in many of their
old wild romantic tales, and some of the noblest of their poems,
amongst others in the 'Day of Judgment,' by the illustrious Goronwy
Owen, where it is brought forward in the following manner:

"'Ail i'r ar ael Eryri,
Cyfartal hoewal a hi.'

"'The brow of Snowdon shall be levelled with the ground, and the
eddying waters shall murmur round it.'

"You are now on the top crag of Snowdon, generally termed Y Wyddfa,
(6) which means a conspicuous place or tumulus, and which is
generally in winter covered with snow; about which snow there are
in the Welsh language two curious englynion or stanzas consisting
entirely of vowels with the exception of one consonant, namely the
letter R.

"'Oer yw'r Eira ar Eryri, - o'ryw
Ar awyr i rewi;
Oer yw'r ia ar riw 'r ri,
A'r Eira oer yw 'Ryri.

"'O Ri y'Ryri yw'r oera, - o'r ar,
Ar oror wir arwa;
O'r awyr a yr Eira,
O'i ryw i roi rew a'r ia.'

"'Cold is the snow on Snowdon's brow
It makes the air so chill;
For cold, I trow, there is no snow
Like that of Snowdon's hill.

"'A hill most chill is Snowdon's hill,
And wintry is his brow;
From Snowdon's hill the breezes chill
Can freeze the very snow.'"

Such was the harangue which I uttered on the top of Snowdon; to
which Henrietta listened with attention; three or four English, who
stood nigh, with grinning scorn, and a Welsh gentleman with
considerable interest. The latter coming forward shook me by the
hand exclaiming -

"Wyt ti Lydaueg?"

"I am not a Llydauan," said I; "I wish I was, or anything but what
I am, one of a nation amongst whom any knowledge save what relates
to money-making and over-reaching is looked upon as a disgrace. I
am ashamed to say that I am an Englishman."

I then returned his shake of the hand; and bidding Henrietta and
the guide follow me, went into the cabin, where Henrietta had some
excellent coffee and myself and the guide a bottle of tolerable
ale; very much refreshed we set out on our return.

A little way from the top, on the right-hand side as you descend,
there is a very steep path running down in a zigzag manner to the
pass which leads to Capel Curig. Up this path it is indeed a task
of difficulty to ascend to the Wyddfa, the one by which we mounted
being comparatively easy. On Henrietta's pointing out to me a
plant, which grew on a crag by the side of this path some way down,
I was about to descend in order to procure it for her, when our
guide springing forward darted down the path with the agility of a
young goat, in less than a minute returned with it in his hand and
presented it gracefully to the dear girl, who on examining it said
it belonged to a species of which she had long been desirous of
possessing a specimen. Nothing material occurred in our descent to
Llanberis, where my wife was anxiously awaiting us. The ascent and
descent occupied four hours. About ten o'clock at night we again
found ourselves at Bangor.


Gronwy Owen - Struggles of Genius - The Stipend.

THE day after our expedition to Snowdon I and my family parted;
they returning by railroad to Chester and Llangollen whilst I took
a trip into Anglesey to visit the birth-place of the great poet
Goronwy Owen, whose works I had read with enthusiasm in my early

Goronwy or Gronwy Owen, was born in the year 1722, at a place
called Llanfair Mathafarn Eithaf in Anglesey. He was the eldest of
three children. His parents were peasants and so exceedingly poor
that they were unable to send him to school. Even, however, when
an unlettered child he gave indications that he was visited by the
awen or muse. At length the celebrated Lewis Morris chancing to be
at Llanfair became acquainted with the boy, and struck with his
natural talents, determined that he should have all the benefit
which education could bestow. He accordingly, at his own expense
sent him to school at Beaumaris, where he displayed a remarkable
aptitude for the acquisition of learning. He subsequently sent him
to Jesus College, Oxford, and supported him there whilst studying
for the church. Whilst at Jesus, Gronwy distinguished himself as a
Greek and Latin scholar, and gave such proofs of poetical talent in
his native language, that he was looked upon by his countrymen of
that Welsh college as the rising Bard of the age. After completing
his collegiate course he returned to Wales, where he was ordained a
minister of the Church in the year 1745. The next seven years of
his life were a series of cruel disappointments and pecuniary
embarrassments. The grand wish of his heart was to obtain a curacy
and to settle down in Wales. Certainly a very reasonable wish. To
say nothing of his being a great genius, he was eloquent, highly
learned, modest, meek and of irreproachable morals, yet Gronwy Owen
could obtain no Welsh curacy, nor could his friend Lewis Morris,
though he exerted himself to the utmost, procure one for him. It
is true that he was told that he might go to Llanfair, his native
place, and officiate there at a time when the curacy happened to be
vacant, and thither he went, glad at heart to get back amongst his
old friends, who enthusiastically welcomed him; yet scarcely had he
been there three weeks when he received notice from the Chaplain of
the Bishop of Bangor that he must vacate Llanfair in order to make
room for a Mr John Ellis, a young clergyman of large independent
fortune, who was wishing for a curacy under the Bishop of Bangor,
Doctor Hutton - so poor Gronwy the eloquent, the learned, the meek,
was obliged to vacate the pulpit of his native place to make room
for the rich young clergyman, who wished to be within dining
distance of the palace of Bangor. Truly in this world the full
shall be crammed, and those who have little, shall have the little
which they have taken away from them. Unable to obtain employment
in Wales Gronwy sought for it in England, and after some time
procured the curacy of Oswestry in Shropshire, where he married a
respectable young woman, who eventually brought him two sons and a

From Oswestry he went to Donnington near Shrewsbury, where under a
certain Scotchman named Douglas, who was an absentee, and who died
Bishop of Salisbury, he officiated as curate and master of a
grammar school for a stipend - always grudgingly and contumeliously
paid - of three-and-twenty pounds a year. From Donnington he
removed to Walton in Cheshire, where he lost his daughter who was
carried off by a fever. His next removal was to Northolt, a
pleasant village in the neighbourhood of London.

He held none of his curacies long, either losing them from the
caprice of his principals, or being compelled to resign them from
the parsimony which they practised towards him. In the year 1756
he was living in a garret in London vainly soliciting employment in
his sacred calling, and undergoing with his family the greatest
privations. At length his friend Lewis Morris, who had always
assisted him to the utmost of his ability, procured him the
mastership of a government school at New Brunswick in North America
with a salary of three hundred pounds a year. Thither he went with
his wife and family, and there he died sometime about the year

He was the last of the great poets of Cambria and, with the
exception of Ab Gwilym, the greatest which she has produced. His
poems which for a long time had circulated through Wales in
manuscript were first printed in the year 1819. They are composed
in the ancient Bardic measures, and were with one exception, namely
an elegy on the death of his benefactor Lewis Morris, which was
transmitted from the New World, written before he had attained the
age of thirty-five. All his pieces are excellent, but his
masterwork is decidedly the Cywydd y Farn or "Day of Judgment."  
This poem which is generally considered by the Welsh as the
brightest ornament of their ancient language, was composed at
Donnington, a small hamlet in Shropshire on the north-west spur of
the Wrekin, at which place, as has been already said, Gronwy toiled
as schoolmaster and curate under Douglas the Scot, for a stipend of
three-and-twenty pounds a year.


Start for Anglesey - The Post-Master - Asking Questions - Mynydd
Lydiart - Mr Pritchard - Way to Llanfair.

WHEN I started from Bangor, to visit the birth-place of Gronwy
Owen, I by no means saw my way clearly before me. I knew that he
was born in Anglesey in a parish called Llanfair Mathafarn eithaf,
that is St Mary's of farther Mathafarn - but as to where this
Mathafarn lay, north or south, near or far, I knew positively
nothing. Passing through the northern suburb of Bangor I saw a
small house in front of which was written "post-office" in white
letters; before this house underneath a shrub in a little garden
sat an old man reading. Thinking that from this person, whom I
judged to be the post-master, I was as likely to obtain information
with respect to the place of my destination as from any one, I
stopped, and taking off my hat for a moment, inquired whether he
could tell me anything about the direction of a place called
Llanfair Mathafarn eithaf. He did not seem to understand my
question, for getting up he came towards me and asked what I
wanted: I repeated what I had said, whereupon his face became

"Llanfair Mathafarn eithaf!" said he. "Yes, I can tell you about
it, and with good reason, for it lies not far from the place where
I was born."

The above was the substance of what he said, and nothing more, for
he spoke in English somewhat broken.

"And how far is Llanfair from here?" said I.

"About ten miles," he replied.

"That's nothing," said I: "I was afraid it was much farther."

"Do you call ten miles nothing," said he, "in a burning day like
this? I think you will be both tired and thirsty before you get to
Llanfair, supposing you go there on foot. But what may your
business be at Llanfair?" said he, looking at me inquisitively.
"It is a strange place to go to, unless you go to buy hogs or

"I go to buy neither hogs nor cattle," said I, "though I am
somewhat of a judge of both; I go on a more important errand,
namely to see the birth-place of the great Gronwy Owen."

"Are you any relation of Gronwy Owen?" said the old man, looking at
me more inquisitively than before, through a large pair of
spectacles which he wore.

"None whatever," said I.

"Then why do you go to see his parish, it is a very poor one."

"From respect to his genius," said I; "I read his works long ago,
and was delighted with them."

"Are you a Welshman?" said the old man.

"No," said I, "I am no Welshman."

"Can you speak Welsh?" said he, addressing me in that language.

"A little," said I; "but not so well as I can read it."

"Well," said the old man, "I have lived here a great many years,
but never before did a Saxon call upon me, asking questions about
Gronwy Owen, or his birth-place. Immortality to his memory! I owe
much to him, for reading his writings taught me to be a poet!"

"Dear me!" said I, "are you a poet?"

"I trust I am," said he; "though the humblest of Ynys Fon."

A flash of proud fire, methought, illumined his features as he
pronounced these last words.

"I am most happy to have met you," said I; "but tell me how am I to
get to Llanfair?"

"You must go first," said he, "to Traeth Coch which in Saxon is
called the 'Red Sand.'  In the village called the Pentraeth which
lies above that sand, I was born; through the village and over the
bridge you must pass, and after walking four miles due north you
will find yourself in Llanfair eithaf, at the northern extremity of
Mon. Farewell! That ever Saxon should ask me about Gronwy Owen,
and his birth-place! I scarcely believe you to be a Saxon, but
whether you be or not, I repeat farewell."

Coming to the Menai Bridge I asked the man who took the penny toll
at the entrance, the way to Pentraeth Coch.

"You see that white house by the wood," said he, pointing some
distance into Anglesey; "you must make towards it till you come to
a place where there are four cross roads and then you must take the
road to the right."

Passing over the bridge I made my way towards the house by the wood
which stood on the hill till I came where the four roads met, when
I turned to the right as directed.

The country through which I passed seemed tolerably well
cultivated, the hedge-rows were very high, seeming to spring out of
low stone walls. I met two or three gangs of reapers proceeding to
their work with scythes in their hands.

In about half-an-hour I passed by a farm-house partly surrounded
with walnut trees. Still the same high hedges on both sides of the
road: are these hedges relics of the sacrificial groves of Mona?
thought I to myself. Then I came to a wretched village through
which I hurried at the rate of six miles an hour. I then saw a
long, lofty, craggy hill on my right hand towards the east.

"What mountain is that?" said I to an urchin playing in the hot
dust of the road.

"Mynydd Lydiart!" said the urchin, tossing up a handful of the hot
dust into the air, part of which in descending fell into my eyes.

I shortly afterwards passed by a handsome lodge. I then saw
groves, mountain Lydiart forming a noble background.

"Who owns this wood?" said I in Welsh to two men who were limbing a
felled tree by the road-side.

"Lord Vivian," answered one, touching his hat.

"The gentleman is our countryman," said he to the other after I had

I was now descending the side of a pretty valley, and soon found
myself at Pentraeth Coch. The part of the Pentraeth where I now
was consisted of a few houses and a church, or something which I
judged to be a church, for there was no steeple; the houses and
church stood about a little open spot or square, the church on the
east, and on the west a neat little inn or public-house over the
door of which was written "The White Horse. Hugh Pritchard."  By
this time I had verified in part the prediction of the old Welsh
poet of the post-office. Though I was not yet arrived at Llanfair,
I was, if not tired, very thirsty, owing to the burning heat of the
weather, so I determined to go in and have some ale. On entering
the house I was greeted in English by Mr Hugh Pritchard himself, a
tall bulky man with a weather-beaten countenance, dressed in a
brown jerkin and corduroy trowsers, with a broad low-crowned buff-
coloured hat on his head, and what might he called half shoes and
half high-lows on his feet. He had a short pipe in his mouth,
which when he greeted me he took out, but replaced as soon as the
greeting was over, which consisted of "Good-day, sir," delivered in
a frank, hearty tone. I looked Mr Hugh Pritchard in the face and
thought I had never seen a more honest countenance. On my telling
Mr Pritchard that I wanted a pint of ale, a buxom damsel came
forward and led me into a nice cool parlour on the right-hand side
of the door, and then went to fetch the ale.

Mr Pritchard meanwhile went into a kind of tap-room, fronting the
parlour, where I heard him talking in Welsh about pigs and cattle
to some of his customers. I observed that he spoke with some
hesitation; which circumstance I mention as rather curious, he
being the only Welshman I have ever known who, when speaking his
native language, appeared to be at a loss for words. The damsel
presently brought me the ale, which I tasted and found excellent;
she was going away when I asked her whether Mr Pritchard was her
father; on her replying in the affirmative I inquired whether she
was born in that house.

"No!" said she; "I was born in Liverpool; my father was born in
this house, which belonged to his fathers before him, but he left
it at an early age and married my mother in Liverpool, who was an
Anglesey woman, and so I was born in Liverpool."

"And what did you do in Liverpool?" said I.

"My mother kept a little shop," said the girl, "whilst my father
followed various occupations."

"And how long have you been here?" said I.

"Since the death of my grandfather," said the girl, "which happened
about a year ago. When he died my father came here and took
possession of his birth-right."

"You speak very good English," said I; "have you any Welsh?"

"Oh yes, plenty," said the girl; "we always speak Welsh together,
but being born at Liverpool, I of course have plenty of English."

"And which language do you prefer?" said I.

"I think I like English best," said the girl, "it is the most
useful language."

"Not in Anglesey," said I.

"Well," said the girl, "it is the most genteel."

"Gentility," said I, "will be the ruin of Welsh, as it has been of
many other things - what have I to pay for the ale?"

"Three pence," said she.

I paid the money and the girl went out. I finished my ale, and
getting up made for the door; at the door I was met by Mr Hugh
Pritchard, who came out of the tap-room to thank me for my custom,
and to bid me farewell. I asked him whether I should have any
difficulty in finding the way to Llanfair.

"None whatever," said he, "you have only to pass over the bridge of
the Traeth, and to go due north for about four miles, and you will
find yourself in Llanfair."

"What kind of place is it?" said I.

"A poor straggling village," said Mr Pritchard.

"Shall I be able to obtain a lodging there for the night?" said I.

"Scarcely one such as you would like," said Hugh.

"And where had I best pass the night?" I demanded.

"We can accommodate you comfortably here," said Mr Pritchard,
"provided you have no objection to come back."

I told him that I should be only too happy, and forthwith departed,
glad at heart that I had secured a comfortable lodging for the


Leave Pentraeth - Tranquil Scene - The Knoll - The Miller and his
Wife - Poetry of Gronwy - Kind Offer - Church of Llanfair - No
English - Confusion of Ideas - The Gronwy - Notable Little Girl -
The Sycamore Leaf - Home from California.

THE village of Pentraeth Goch occupies two sides of a romantic dell
- that part of it which stands on the southern side, and which
comprises the church and the little inn, is by far the prettiest,
that which occupies the northern is a poor assemblage of huts, a
brook rolls at the bottom of the dell, over which there is a little
bridge: coming to the bridge I stopped, and looked over the side
into the water running briskly below. An aged man who looked like
a beggar, but who did not beg of me, stood by.

"To what place does this water run?" said I in English.

"I know no Saxon," said he in trembling accents.

I repeated my question in Welsh.

"To the sea," he said, "which is not far off, indeed it is so near,
that when there are high tides, the salt water comes up to this

"You seem feeble?" said I.

"I am so," said he, "for I am old."

"How old are you?" said I.

"Sixteen after sixty," said the old man with a sigh; "and I have
nearly lost my sight and my hearing."

"Are you poor?" said I.

"Very," said the old man.

I gave him a trifle which he accepted with thanks.

"Why is this sand called the red sand?" said I.

"I cannot tell you," said the old man, "I wish I could, for you
have been kind to me."

Bidding him farewell I passed through the northern part of the
village to the top of the hill. I walked a little way forward and
then stopped, as I had done at the bridge in the dale, and looked
to the east, over a low stone wall.

Before me lay the sea or rather the northern entrance of the Menai
Straits. To my right was mountain Lidiart projecting some way into
the sea; to my left, that is to the north, was a high hill, with a
few white houses near its base, forming a small village, which a
woman who passed by knitting told me was called Llan Peder Goch or
the Church of Red Saint Peter. Mountain Lidiart and the Northern
Hill formed the headlands of a beautiful bay into which the waters
of the Traeth dell, from which I had come, were discharged. A
sandbank, probably covered with the sea at high tide, seemed to
stretch from mountain Lidiart a considerable way towards the
northern hill. Mountain, bay and sandbank were bathed in sunshine;
the water was perfectly calm; nothing was moving upon it, nor upon
the shore, and I thought I had never beheld a more beautiful and
tranquil scene.

I went on. The country which had hitherto been very beautiful,
abounding with yellow corn-fields, became sterile and rocky; there
were stone walls, but no hedges. I passed by a moor on my left,
then a moory hillock on my right; the way was broken and stony; all
traces of the good roads of Wales had disappeared; the habitations
which I saw by the way were miserable hovels into and out of which
large sows were stalking, attended by their farrows.

"Am I far from Llanfair?" said I to a child.

"You are in Llanfair, gentleman," said the child.

A desolate place was Llanfair. The sea in the neighbourhood to the
south, limekilns with their stifling smoke not far from me. I sat
down on a little green knoll on the right-hand side of the road; a
small house was near me, and a desolate-looking mill at about a
furlong's distance, to the south. Hogs came about me grunting and
sniffing. I felt quite melancholy.

"Is this the neighbourhood of the birth-place of Gronwy Owen?" said
I to myself. "No wonder that he was unfortunate through life,
springing from such a region of wretchedness."

Wretched as the region seemed, however, I soon found there were
kindly hearts close by me.

As I sat on the knoll I heard some one slightly cough very near me,
and looking to the left saw a man dressed like a miller looking at
me from the garden of the little house, which I have already

I got up and gave him the sele of the day in English. He was a man
about thirty, rather tall than otherwise, with a very prepossessing
countenance. He shook his head at my English.

"What," said I, addressing him in the language of the country,
"have you no English? Perhaps you have Welsh?"

"Plenty," said he, laughing "there is no lack of Welsh amongst any
of us here. Are you a Welshman?"

"No," said I, "an Englishman from the far east of Lloegr."

"And what brings you here?" said the man.

"A strange errand," I replied, "to look at the birth-place of a man
who has long been dead."

"Do you come to seek for an inheritance?" said the man.

"No," said I. "Besides the man whose birth-place I came to see,
died poor, leaving nothing behind him but immortality."

"Who was he?" said the miller.

"Did you ever hear a sound of Gronwy Owen?" said I.

"Frequently," said the miller; "I have frequently heard a sound of
him. He was born close by in a house yonder," pointing to the

"Oh yes, gentleman," said a nice-looking woman, who holding a
little child by the hand was come to the house-door, and was
eagerly listening, "we have frequently heard speak of Gronwy Owen;
there is much talk of him in these parts."

"I am glad to hear it," said I, "for I have feared that his name
would not be known here."

"Pray, gentleman, walk in!" said the miller; "we are going to have
our afternoon's meal, and shall be rejoiced if you will join us."

"Yes, do, gentleman," said the miller's wife, for such the good
woman was; "and many a welcome shall you have."

I hesitated, and was about to excuse myself.

"Don't refuse, gentleman!" said both, "surely you are not too proud
to sit down with us?"

"I am afraid I shall only cause you trouble," said I.

"Dim blinder, no trouble," exclaimed both at once; "pray do walk

I entered the house, and the kitchen, parlour, or whatever it was,
a nice little room with a slate floor. They made me sit down at a
table by the window, which was already laid for a meal. There was
a clean cloth upon it, a tea-pot, cups and saucers, a large plate
of bread-and-butter, and a plate, on which were a few very thin
slices of brown, watery cheese.

My good friends took their seats, the wife poured out tea for the
stranger and her husband, helped us both to bread-and-butter and
the watery cheese, then took care of herself. Before, however, I
could taste the tea, the wife, seeming to recollect herself,
started up, and hurrying to a cupboard, produced a basin full of
snow-white lump sugar, and taking the spoon out of my hand, placed
two of the largest lumps in my cup, though she helped neither her
husband nor herself; the sugar-basin being probably only kept for
grand occasions.

My eyes filled with tears; for in the whole course of my life I had
never experienced so much genuine hospitality. Honour to the
miller of Mona and his wife; and honour to the kind hospitable
Celts in general! How different is the reception of this despised
race of the wandering stranger from that of -. However, I am a
Saxon myself, and the Saxons have no doubt their virtues; a pity
that they should be all uncouth and ungracious ones!

I asked my kind host his name.

"John Jones," he replied, "Melinydd of Llanfair."

"Is the mill which you work your own property?" I inquired.

"No," he answered, "I rent it of a person who lives close by."

"And how happens it," said I, "that you speak no English?"

"How should it happen," said he, "that I should speak any? I have
never been far from here; my wife who has lived at service at
Liverpool can speak some."

"Can you read poetry?" said I.

"I can read the psalms and hymns that they sing at our chapel," he

"Then you are not of the Church?" said I.

"I am not," said the miller; "I am a Methodist."

"Can you read the poetry of Gronwy Owen?" said I.

"I cannot," said the miller, "that is with any comfort; his poetry
is in the ancient Welsh measures, which make poetry so difficult
that few can understand it."

"I can understand poetry in those measures," said I.

"And how much time did you spend," said the miller, "before you
could understand the poetry of the measures?"

"Three years," said I.

The miller laughed.

"I could not have afforded all that time," said he, "to study the
songs of Gronwy. However, it is well that some people should have
time to study them. He was a great poet as I have been told, and
is the glory of our land - but he was unfortunate; I have read his
life in Welsh and part of his letters; and in doing so have shed

"Has his house any particular name?" said I.

"It is called sometimes Ty Gronwy," said the miller; "but more
frequently Tafarn Goch."

"The Red Tavern?" said I. "How is it that so many of your places
are called Goch? there is Pentraeth Goch; there is Saint Pedair
Goch, and here at Llanfair is Tafarn Goch."

The miller laughed.

"It will take a wiser man than I," said he, "to answer that

The repast over I rose up, gave my host thanks, and said, "I will
now leave you, and hunt up things connected with Gronwy."

"And where will you find a lletty for night, gentleman?" said the
miller's wife. "This is a poor place, but if you will make use of
our home you are welcome."

"I need not trouble you," said I, "I return this night to Pentraeth
Goch where I shall sleep."

"Well," said the miller, "whilst you are at Llanfair I will
accompany you about. Where shall we go to first?"

"Where is the church?" said I. "I should like to see the church
where Gronwy worshipped God as a boy."

"The church is at some distance," said the man; "it is past my
mill, and as I want to go to the mill for a moment, it will be
perhaps well to go and see the church, before we go to the house of

I shook the miller's wife by the hand, patted a little yellow-
haired girl of about two years old on the head, who during the
whole time of the meal had sat on the slate floor looking up into
my face, and left the house with honest Jones.

We directed our course to the mill, which lay some way down a
declivity, towards the sea. Near the mill was a comfortable-
looking house, which my friend told me belonged to the proprietor
of the mill. A rustic-looking man stood in the mill-yard, who he
said was the proprietor. The honest miller went into the mill, and
the rustic-looking proprietor greeted me in Welsh, and asked me if
I was come to buy hogs.

"No," said I; "I am come to see the birth-place of Gronwy Owen;" he
stared at me for a moment, then seemed to muse, and at last walked
away saying, "Ah! a great man."

The miller presently joined me, and we proceeded farther down the
hill. Our way lay between stone walls, and sometimes over them.
The land was moory and rocky, with nothing grand about it, and the
miller described it well when he said it was tir gwael - mean land.
In about a quarter of an hour we came to the churchyard into which
we got, the gate being locked, by clambering over the wall.

The church stands low down the descent, not far distant from the
sea. A little brook, called in the language of the country a frwd,
washes its yard-wall on the south. It is a small edifice with no
spire, but to the south-west there is a little stone erection
rising from the roof, in which hangs a bell - there is a small
porch looking to the south. With respect to its interior I can say
nothing, the door being locked. It is probably like the outside,
simple enough. It seemed to be about two hundred and fifty years
old, and to be kept in tolerable repair. Simple as the edifice
was, I looked with great emotion upon it; and could I do else, when
I reflected that the greatest British poet of the last century had
worshipped God within it, with his poor father and mother, when a

I asked the miller whether he could point out to me any tombs or
grave-stones of Gronwy's family, but he told me that he was not
aware of any. On looking about I found the name of Owen in the
inscription on the slate slab of a respectable-looking modern tomb,
on the north-east side of the church. The inscription was as

Er cof am JANE OWEN
Gwraig Edward Owen,
Monachlog Llanfair Mathafam eithaf,
A fu farw Chwefror 28 1842
Yn 51 Oed.

I.E. "To the memory of JANE OWEN Wife of Edward Owen, of the
monastery of St Mary of farther Mathafarn, who died February 28,
1842, aged fifty-one."

Whether the Edward Owen mentioned here was any relation to the
great Gronwy, I had no opportunity of learning. I asked the miller
what was meant by the monastery, and he told that it was the name
of a building to the north-east near the sea, which had once been a
monastery but had been converted into a farm-house, though it still
retained its original name. "May all monasteries be converted into
farm-houses," said I, "and may they still retain their original
names in mockery of popery!"

Having seen all I could well see of the church and its precincts I
departed with my kind guide. After we had retraced our steps some
way, we came to some stepping-stones on the side of a wall, and the
miller pointing to them said:

"The nearest way to the house of Gronwy will be over the llamfa."

I was now become ashamed of keeping the worthy fellow from his
business, and begged him to return to his mill. He refused to
leave me, at first, but on my pressing him to do so, and on my
telling him that I could find the way to the house of Gronwy very
well by myself, he consented. We shook hands, the miller wished me
luck, and betook himself to his mill, whilst I crossed the llamfa.
I soon, however, repented having left the path by which I had come.
I was presently in a maze of little fields with stone walls over
which I had to clamber. At last I got into a lane with a stone
wall on each side. A man came towards me and was about to pass me
- his look was averted, and he was evidently one of those who have
"no English."  A Welshman of his description always averting his
look when he sees a stranger who he thinks has "no Welsh," lest the
stranger should ask him a question and he be obliged to confess
that he has "no English."

"Is this the way to Llanfair?" said I to the man. The man made a
kind of rush in order to get past me.

"Have you any Welsh?" I shouted as loud as I could bawl.

The man stopped, and turning a dark sullen countenance half upon me
said, "Yes, I have Welsh."

"Which is the way to Llanfair?" said I.

"Llanfair, Llanfair?" said the man, "what do you mean?"

"I want to get there," said I.

"Are you not there already?" said the fellow stamping on the
ground, "are you not in Llanfair?

"Yes, but I want to get to the town."

"Town, town! Oh, I have no English," said the man; and off he
started like a frighted bullock. The poor fellow was probably at
first terrified at seeing an Englishman, then confused at hearing
an Englishman speak Welsh, a language which the Welsh in general
imagine no Englishman can speak, the tongue of an Englishman as
they say not being long enough to pronounce Welsh; and lastly
utterly deprived of what reasoning faculties he had still remaining
by my asking him for the town of Llanfair, there being properly no

I went on, and at last getting out of the lane, found myself upon
the road, along which I had come about two hours before; the house
of the miller was at some distance on my right. Near me were two
or three houses and part of the skeleton of one, on which some men,
in the dress of masons, seemed to be occupied. Going up to these
men I said in Welsh to one, whom I judged to be the principal, and
who was rather a tall fine-looking fellow:

"Have you heard a sound of Gronwy Owain?"

Here occurred another instance of the strange things people do when
their ideas are confused. The man stood for a moment or two, as if
transfixed, a trowel motionless in one of his hands, and a brick in
the other; at last giving a kind of gasp, he answered in very
tolerable Spanish:

"Si, senor! he oido."

"Is his house far from here?" said I in Welsh.

"No, senor!" said the man, "no esta muy lejos."

"I am a stranger here, friend, can anybody show me the way?"

"Si senor! este mozo luego - acompanara usted."

Then turning to a lad of about eighteen, also dressed as a mason,
he said in Welsh:

"Show this gentleman instantly the way to Tafarn Goch."

The lad flinging a hod down, which he had on his shoulder,
instantly set off, making me a motion with his head to follow him.
I did so, wondering what the man could mean by speaking to me in
Spanish. The lad walked by my side in silence for about two
furlongs till we came to a range of trees, seemingly sycamores,
behind which was a little garden, in which stood a long low house
with three chimneys. The lad stopping flung open a gate which led
into the garden, then crying to a child which he saw within: "Gad
roi tro" - let the man take a turn; he was about to leave me, when
I stopped him to put sixpence into his hand. He received the money
with a gruff "Diolch!" and instantly set off at a quick pace.
Passing the child who stared at me, I walked to the back part of
the house, which seemed to be a long mud cottage. After examining
the back part I went in front, where I saw an aged woman with
several children, one of whom was the child I had first seen. She
smiled and asked me what I wanted.

I said that I had come to see the house of Gronwy. She did not
understand me, for shaking her head she said that she had no
English, and was rather deaf. Raising my voice to a very high tone
I said:

"Ty Gronwy!"

A gleam of intelligence flashed now in her eyes.

"Ty Gronwy," she said, "ah! I understand. Come in sir."

There were three doors to the house; she led me in by the midmost
into a common cottage room, with no other ceiling, seemingly, than
the roof. She bade me sit down by the window by a little table,
and asked me whether I would have a cup of milk and some bread-and-
butter; I declined both, but said I should be thankful for a little

This she presently brought me in a teacup, I drank it, the children
amounting to five standing a little way from me staring at me. I
asked her if this was the house in which Gronwy was born. She said
it was, but that it had been altered very much since his time -
that three families had lived in it, but that she believed he was
born about where we were now.

A man now coming in who lived at the next door, she said I had
better speak to him and tell him what I wanted to know, which he
could then communicate to her, as she could understand his way of
speaking much better than mine. Through the man I asked her
whether there was any one of the blood of Gronwy Owen living in the
house. She pointed to the children and said they had all some of
his blood. I asked in what relationship they stood to Gronwy. She
said she could hardly tell, that tri priodas, three marriages stood
between, and that the relationship was on the mother's side. I
gathered from her that the children had lost their mother, that
their name was Jones, and that their father was her son. I asked
if the house in which they lived was their own; she said no, that
it belonged to a man who lived at some distance. I asked if the
children were poor.

"Very," said she.

I gave them each a trifle, and the poor old lady thanked me with
tears in her eyes.

I asked whether the children could read; she said they all could,
with the exception of the two youngest. The eldest she said could
read anything, whether Welsh or English; she then took from the
window-sill a book, which she put into my hand, saying the child
could read it and understand it. I opened the book; it was an
English school-book treating on all the sciences.

"Can you write?" said I to the child, a little stubby girl of about
eight, with a broad flat red face and grey eyes, dressed in a
chintz gown, a little bonnet on her head, and looking the image of

The little maiden, who had never taken her eyes off of me for a
moment during the whole time I had been in the room, at first made
no answer; being, however, bid by her grandmother to speak, she at
length answered in a soft voice, "Medraf, I can."

"Then write your name in this book," said I, taking out a pocket-
book and a pencil, "and write likewise that you are related to
Gronwy Owen - and be sure you write in Welsh."

The little maiden very demurely took the book and pencil, and
placing the former on the table wrote as follows:

"Ellen Jones yn perthyn o bell i gronow owen."

That is, "Ellen Jones belonging from afar to Gronwy Owen."

When I saw the name of Ellen I had no doubt that the children were
related to the illustrious Gronwy. Ellen is a very uncommon Welsh
name, but it seems to have been a family name of the Owens; it was
borne by an infant daughter of the poet whom he tenderly loved, and
who died whilst he was toiling at Walton in Cheshire, -

"Ellen, my darling,
Who liest in the Churchyard at Walton."

says poor Gronwy in one of the most affecting elegies ever written.

After a little farther conversation I bade the family farewell and
left the house. After going down the road a hundred yards I turned
back in order to ask permission to gather a leaf from one of the
sycamores. Seeing the man who had helped me in my conversation
with the old woman standing at the gate, I told him what I wanted,
whereupon he instantly tore down a handful of leaves and gave them
to me. Thrusting them into my coat-pocket I thanked him kindly and

Coming to the half-erected house, I again saw the man to whom I had
addressed myself for information. I stopped, and speaking Spanish
to him, asked how he had acquired the Spanish language.

"I have been in Chili, sir," said he in the same tongue, "and in
California, and in those places I learned Spanish."

"What did you go to Chili for?" said I; "I need not ask you on what
account you went to California."

"I went there as a mariner," said the man; "I sailed out of
Liverpool for Chili."

"And how is it," said I, "that being a mariner and sailing in a
Liverpool ship you do not speak English?"

"I speak English, senor," said the man, "perfectly well."

"Then how in the name of wonder," said I, speaking English, "came
you to answer me in Spanish? I am an Englishman thorough bred."

"I can scarcely tell you how it was, sir," said the man scratching
his head, "but I thought I would speak to you in Spanish."

"And why not English?" said I.

"Why, I heard you speaking Welsh," said the man; "and as for an
Englishman speaking Welsh -"

"But why not answer me in Welsh?" said I.

"Why, I saw it was not your language, sir," said the man, "and as I
had picked up some Spanish I thought it would be but fair to answer
you in it."

"But how did you know that I could speak Spanish?" said I.

"I don't know indeed, sir," said the man; "but I looked at you, and
something seemed to tell me that you could speak Spanish. I can't
tell you how it was sir," said he, looking me very innocently in
the face, "but I was forced to speak Spanish to you. I was

"The long and the short of it was," said I, "that you took me for a
foreigner, and thought that it would be but polite to answer me in
a foreign language."

"I daresay it was so, sir," said the man. "I daresay it was just
as you say."

"How did you fare in California?" said I.

"Very fairly indeed, sir," said the man. "I made some money there,
and brought it home, and with part of it I am building this house."

"I am very happy to hear it," said I, "you are really a remarkable
man - few return from California speaking Spanish as you do, and
still fewer with money in their pockets."

The poor fellow looked pleased at what I said, more especially at
that part of the sentence which touched upon his speaking Spanish
well. Wishing him many years of health and happiness in the house
he was building, I left him, and proceeded on my path towards
Pentraeth Goch.

After walking some way, I turned round in order to take a last look
of the place which had so much interest for me. The mill may be
seen from a considerable distance; so may some of the scattered
houses, and also the wood which surrounds the house of the
illustrious Gronwy. Prosperity to Llanfair! and may many a
pilgrimage be made to it of the same character as my own.


Boxing Harry - Mr Bos - Black Robin - Drovers - Commercial

I ARRIVED at the hostelry of Mr Pritchard without meeting any
adventure worthy of being marked down. I went into the little
parlour, and, ringing the bell, was presently waited upon by Mrs
Pritchard, a nice matronly woman, whom I had not before seen, of
whom I inquired what I could have for dinner.

"This is no great place for meat," said Mrs Pritchard, "that is
fresh meat, for sometimes a fortnight passes without anything being
killed in the neighbourhood. I am afraid at present there is not a
bit of fresh meat to be had. What we can get you for dinner I do
not know, unless you are willing to make shift with bacon and

"I'll tell you what I'll do," said I, "I will have the bacon and
eggs with tea and bread-and-butter, not forgetting a pint of ale -
in a word, I will box Harry."

"I suppose you are a commercial gent," said Mrs Pritchard.

"Why do you suppose me a commercial gent?" said I. "Do I look

"Can't say you do much," said Mrs Pritchard; "you have no rings on
your fingers, nor a gilt chain at your waistcoat-pocket, but when
you said 'box Harry,' I naturally took you to be one of the
commercial gents, for when I was at Liverpool I was told that that
was a word of theirs."

"I believe the word properly belongs to them," said I. "I am not
one of them; but I learnt it from them, a great many years ago,
when I was much amongst them. Those whose employers were in a
small way of business, or allowed them insufficient salaries,
frequently used to 'box Harry,' that is, have a beaf-steak, or
mutton-chop, or perhaps bacon and eggs, as I am going to have,
along with tea and ale, instead of the regular dinner of a
commercial gentleman, namely, fish, hot joint, and fowl, pint of
sherry, tart, ale and cheese, and bottle of old port, at the end of

Having made arrangements for "boxing Harry" I went into the tap-
room, from which I had heard the voice of Mr Pritchard proceeding
during the whole of my conversation with his wife. Here I found
the worthy landlord seated with a single customer; both were
smoking. The customer instantly arrested my attention. He was a
man, seemingly about forty years of age with a broad red face, with
certain somethings, looking very much like incipient carbuncles,
here and there, upon it. His eyes were grey and looked rather as
if they squinted; his mouth was very wide, and when it opened
displayed a set of strong, white, uneven teeth. He was dressed in
a pepper-and-salt coat of the Newmarket cut, breeches of corduroy
and brown top boots, and had on his head a broad, black, coarse,
low-crowned hat. In his left hand he held a heavy whale-bone whip
with a brass head. I sat down on a bench nearly opposite to him
and the landlord.

"Well," said Mr Pritchard; "did you find your way to Llanfair?"

"Yes," said I.

"And did you execute the business satisfactorily which led you
there?" said Mr Pritchard.

"Perfectly," said I.

"Well, what did you give a stone for your live pork?" said his
companion glancing up at me, and speaking in a gruff voice.

"I did not buy any live pork," said I; "do you take me for a pig-

"Of course," said the man, in pepper-and-salt; "who but a pig
jobber could have business at Llanfair?"

"Does Llanfair produce nothing but pigs?" said I.

"Nothing at all," said the man in the pepper-and-salt, "that is,
nothing worth mentioning. You wouldn't go there for runts, that
is, if you were in your right senses; if you were in want of runts
you would have gone to my parish and have applied to me, Mr Bos;
that is if you were in your senses. Wouldn't he, John Pritchard?"

Mr Pritchard thus appealed to took the pipe out of his mouth, and
with some hesitations said that he believed the gentleman neither
went to Llanfair for pigs nor black cattle but upon some particular

"Well," said Mr Bos, "it may be so, but I can't conceive how any
person, either gentle or simple, could have any business in
Anglesey save that business was pigs or cattle."

"The truth is," said I, "I went to Llanfair to see the birth-place
of a great man - the cleverest Anglesey ever produced."

"Then you went wrong," said Mr Bos, "you went to the wrong parish,
you should have gone to Penmynnydd; the clebber man of Anglesey was
born and buried at Penmynnydd, you may see his tomb in the church."

"You are alluding to Black Robin," said I, "who wrote the ode in
praise of Anglesey - yes, he was a very clever young fellow, but
excuse me, he was not half such a poet as Gronwy Owen."

"Black Robin," said Mr Bos, "and Gronow Owen, who the Devil were
they? I never heard of either. I wasn't talking of them, but of
the clebberest man the world ever saw. Did you never hear of Owen
Tiddir? If you didn't, where did you get your education?"

"I have heard of Owen Tudor," said I, "but never understood that he
was particularly clever; handsome he undoubtedly was - but clever -

"How not clebber?" interrupted Mr Bos. "If he wasn't clebber, who
was clebber? Didn't he marry a great queen, and was not Harry the
Eighth his great grandson?"

"Really," said I, "you know a great deal of history."

"I should hope I do," said Mr Bos. "Oh, I wasn't at school at
Blewmaris for six months for nothing; and I haven't been in
Northampton, and in every town in England, without learning
something of history. With regard to history I may say that few -
Won't you drink?" said he, patronizingly, as he pushed a jug of ale
which stood before him on a little table towards me.

Begging politely to be excused on the plea that I was just about to
take tea, I asked him in what capacity he had travelled all over

"As a drover to be sure," said Mr Bos, "and I may say that there
are not many in Anglesey better known in England than myself - at
any rate I may say that there is not a public-house between here
and Worcester at which I am not known."

"Pray excuse me," said I, "but is not droving rather a low-lifed

"Not half so much as pig-jobbing," said Bos, "and that that's your
trade I am certain, or you would never have gone to Llanfair."

"I am no pig-jobber," said I, "and when I asked you that question
about droving, I merely did so because one Ellis Wynn, in a book he
wrote, gives the drovers a very bad character, and puts them in
Hell for their mal-practices."

"Oh, he does," said Mr Bos, "well, the next time I meet him at
Corwen I'll crack his head for saying so. Mal-practices - he had
better look at his own, for he is a pig-jobber too. Written a book
has he? then I suppose he has been left a legacy, and gone to
school after middle-age, for when I last saw him, which is four
years ago, he could neither read nor write."

I was about to tell Mr Bos that the Ellis Wynn that I meant was no
more a pig-jobber than myself, but a respectable clergyman, who had
been dead considerably upwards of a hundred years, and that also,
notwithstanding my respect for Mr Bos's knowledge of history, I did
not believe that Owen Tudor was buried at Penmynnydd, when I was
prevented by the entrance of Mrs Pritchard, who came to inform me
that my repast was ready in the other room, whereupon I got up and
went into the parlour to "box Harry."

Having dispatched my bacon and eggs, tea and ale, I fell into deep
meditation. My mind reverted to a long past period of my life,
when I was to a certain extent fixed up with commercial travellers,
and had plenty of opportunities of observing their habits, and the
terms employed by them in conversation. I called up several
individuals of the two classes into which they used to be divided,
for commercial travellers in my time were divided into two classes,
those who ate dinners and drank their bottle of port, and those who
"boxed Harry."  What glorious fellows the first seemed! What airs
they gave themselves! What oaths they swore! and what influence
they had with hostlers and chambermaids! and what a sneaking-
looking set the others were! shabby in their apparel; no fine
ferocity in their countenances; no oaths in their mouths, except
such a trumpery apology for an oath as an occasional "confounded
hard;" with little or no influence at inns, scowled at by hostlers,
and never smiled at by chambermaids - and then I remembered how
often I had bothered my head in vain to account for the origin of
the term "box Harry," and how often I had in vain applied both to
those who did box and to those who did not "box Harry," for a clear
and satisfactory elucidation of the expression - and at last found
myself again bothering my head as of old in a vain attempt to
account for the origin of the term "boxing Harry."


Northampton - Horse - Breaking - Snoring.

TIRED at length with my vain efforts to account for the term which
in my time was so much in vogue amongst commercial gentlemen I left
the little parlour, and repaired to the common room. Mr Pritchard
and Mr Bos were still there smoking and drinking, but there was now
a candle on the table before them, for night was fast coming on.
Mr Bos was giving an account of his travels in England, sometimes
in Welsh, sometimes in English, to which Mr Pritchard was listening
with the greatest attention, occasionally putting in a "see there
now," and "what a fine thing it is to have gone about."  After some
time Mr Bos exclaimed:

"I think, upon the whole, of all the places I have seen in England
I like Northampton best."

"I suppose," said I, "you found the men of Northampton good-
tempered, jovial fellows?"

"Can't say I did," said Mr Bos; "they are all shoe-makers, and of
course quarrelsome and contradictory, for where was there ever a
shoemaker who was not conceited and easily riled? No, I have
little to say in favour of Northampton as far as the men are
concerned. It's not the men but the women that make me speak in
praise of Northampton. The men all are ill-tempered, but the women
quite the contrary. I never saw such a place for merched anladd as
Northampton. I was a great favourite with them, and could tell you
such tales."

And then Mr Bos, putting his hat rather on one side of his head,
told us two or three tales of his adventures with the merched
anladd of Northampton, which brought powerfully to my mind part of
what Ellis Wynn had said with respect to the practices of drovers
in his day, detestation for which had induced him to put the whole
tribe into Hell.

All of a sudden I heard a galloping down the road, and presently a
mighty plunging, seemingly of a horse, before the door of the inn.
I rushed out followed by my companions, and lo, on the open space
before the inn was a young horse, rearing and kicking, with a young
man on his back. The horse had neither bridle nor saddle, and the
young fellow merely rode him with a rope passed about his head -
presently the horse became tolerably quiet, and his rider jumping
off led him into the stable, where he made him fast to the rack and
then came and joined us, whereupon we all went into the room from
which I and the others had come on hearing the noise of the

"How came you on the colt's back, Jenkins?" said Mr Pritchard,
after we had all sat down and Jenkins had called for some cwrw. "I
did not know that he was broke in."

"I am breaking him in myself," said Jenkins speaking Welsh. "I
began with him to-night."

"Do you mean to say," said I, "that you have begun breaking him in
by mounting his back?"

"I do," said the other.

"Then depend upon it," said I, "that it will not be long before he
will either break his neck or knees or he will break your neck or
crown. You are not going the right way to work."

"Oh, myn Diawl!" said Jenkins, "I know better. In a day or two I
shall have made him quite tame, and have got him into excellent
paces and shall have saved the money I must have paid away, had I
put him into a jockey's hands."

Time passed, night came on, and other guests came in. There was
much talking of first-rate Welsh and very indifferent English, Mr
Bos being the principal speaker in both languages; his discourse
was chiefly on the comparative merits of Anglesey runts and Scotch
bullocks, and those of the merched anladd of Northampton and the
lasses of Wrexham. He preferred his own country runts to the
Scotch kine, but said upon the whole, though a Welshman, he must
give the preference to the merched of Northampton over those of
Wrexham, for free and easy demeanour, notwithstanding that in that
point which he said was the most desirable point in females, the
lasses of Wrexham were generally considered out-and-outers.

Fond as I am of listening to public-house conversation, from which
I generally contrive to extract both amusement and edification, I
became rather tired of this, and getting up, strolled about the
little village by moonlight till I felt disposed to retire to rest,
when returning to the inn, I begged to be shown the room in which I
was to sleep. Mrs Pritchard forthwith taking a candle conducted me
to a small room upstairs. There were two beds in it. The good
lady pointing to one, next the window, in which there were nice
clean sheets, told me that was the one which I was to occupy, and
bidding me good-night, and leaving the candle, departed. Putting
out the light I got into bed, but instantly found that the bed was
not long enough by at least a foot. "I shall pass an uncomfortable
night," said I, "for I never yet could sleep comfortably in a bed
too short. However, as I am on my travels, I must endeavour to
accommodate myself to circumstances."  So I endeavoured to compose
myself to sleep; before, however, I could succeed, I heard the
sound of stumping steps coming upstairs, and perceived a beam of
light through the crevices of the door, and in a moment more the
door opened and in came two loutish farming lads whom I had
observed below, one of them bearing a rushlight stuck into an old
blacking-bottle. Without saying a word they flung off part of
their clothes, and one of them having blown out the rushlight, they
both tumbled into bed, and in a moment were snoring most
sonorously. "I am in a short bed," said I, "and have snorers close
by me; I fear I shall have a sorry night of it."  I determined,
however, to adhere to my resolution of making the best of
circumstances, and lay perfectly quiet, listening to the snorings
as they rose and fell; at last they became more gentle and I fell
asleep, notwithstanding my feet were projecting some way from the
bed. I might have lain ten minutes or a quarter of an hour when I
suddenly started up in the bed broad awake. There was a great
noise below the window of plunging and struggling interspersed with
Welsh oaths. Then there was a sound as if of a heavy fall, and
presently a groan. "I shouldn't wonder," said I, "if that fellow
with the horse has verified my words, and has either broken his
horse's neck or his own. However, if he has, he has no one to
blame but himself. I gave him fair warning, and shall give myself
no further trouble about the matter, but go to sleep," and so I


Brilliant Morning - Travelling with Edification - A Good Clergyman
- Gybi.

I AWOKE about six o'clock in the morning, having passed the night
much better than I anticipated. The sun was shining bright and
gloriously into the apartment. On looking into the other bed I
found that my chums, the young farm-labourers, had deserted it.
They were probably already in the field busy at labour. After
lying a little time longer I arose, dressed myself and went down.
I found my friend honest Pritchard smoking his morning pipe at the
front door, and after giving him the sele of the day, I inquired of
him the cause of the disturbance beneath my window the night
before, and learned that the man of the horse had been thrown by
the animal off its back, that the horse almost immediately after
had slipped down, and both had been led home very much hurt. We
then talked about farming and the crops, and at length got into a
discourse about Liverpool. I asked him how he liked that mighty
seaport; he said very well, but that he did not know much about it
- for though he had a house there where his family had resided, he
had not lived much at Liverpool himself, his absences from that
place having been many and long.

"Have you travelled then much about England?" said I.

"No," he replied. "When I have travelled it has chiefly been
across the sea to foreign places."

"But what foreign places have you visited?" said I.

"I have visited," said Pritchard, "Constantinople, Alexandria, and
some other cities in the south latitudes."

"Dear me," said I, "you have seen some of the most celebrated
places in the world - and yet you were silent, and said nothing
about your travels whilst that fellow Bos was pluming himself at
having been at such places as Northampton and Worcester, the haunts
of shoe-makers and pig-jobbers."

"Ah," said Pritchard, "but Mr Bos has travelled with edification;
it is a fine thing to have travelled when one has done so with
edification, but I have not. There is a vast deal of difference
between me and him - he is considered the 'cutest man in these
parts, and is much looked up to."

"You are really," said I, "the most modest person I have ever known
and the least addicted to envy. Let me see whether you have
travelled without edification."

I then questioned him about the places which he had mentioned, and
found he knew a great deal about them, amongst other things he
described Cleopatra's needle, and the At Maidan at Constantinople
with surprising exactness.

"You put me out," said I; "you consider yourself inferior to that
droving fellow Bos, and to have travelled without edification,
whereas you know a thousand times more than he, and indeed much
more than many a person who makes his five hundred a year by going
about lecturing on foreign places, but as I am no flatterer I will
tell you that you have a fault which will always prevent your
rising in this world, you have modesty; those who have modesty
shall have no advancement, whilst those who can blow their own horn
lustily, shall be made governors. But allow me to ask you in what
capacity you went abroad?"

"As engineer to various steamships," said Pritchard.

"A director of the power of steam," said I, "and an explorer of the
wonders of Iscander's city willing to hold the candle to Mr Bos. I
will tell you what, you are too good for this world, let us hope
you will have your reward in the next."

I breakfasted and asked for my bill; the bill amounted to little or
nothing - half-a-crown I think for tea-dinner, sundry jugs of ale,
bed and breakfast. I defrayed it, and then inquired whether it
would be possible for me to see the inside of the church.

"Oh yes," said Pritchard. "I can let you in, for I am churchwarden
and have the key."

The church was a little edifice of some antiquity, with a little
wing and without a spire; it was situated amidst a grove of trees.
As we stood with our hats off in the sacred edifice, I asked
Pritchard if there were many Methodists in those parts.

"Not so many as there were," said Pritchard, "they are rapidly
decreasing, and indeed dissenters in general. The cause of their
decrease is that a good clergyman has lately come here, who visits
the sick and preaches Christ, and in fact does his duty. If all
our clergymen were like him there would not be many dissenters in
Ynis Fon."

Outside the church, in the wall, I observed a tablet with the
following inscription in English.

Here lieth interred the body of Ann, wife of Robert Paston, who
deceased the sixth day of October, Anno Domini.

R. A.

"You seem struck with that writing?" said Pritchard, observing that
I stood motionless, staring at the tablet.

"The name of Paston," said I, "struck me; it is the name of a
village in my own native district, from which an old family, now
almost extinct, derived its name. How came a Paston into Ynys Fon?
Are there any people bearing that name at present in these parts?"

"Not that I am aware," said Pritchard,

"I wonder who his wife Ann was?" said I, "from the style of that
tablet she must have been a considerable person."

"Perhaps she was the daughter of the Lewis family of Llan Dyfnant,"
said Pritchard; "that's an old family and a rich one. Perhaps he
came from a distance and saw and married a daughter of the Lewis of
Dyfnant - more than one stranger has done so. Lord Vivian came
from a distance and saw and married a daughter of the rich Lewis of

I shook honest Pritchard by the hand, thanked him for his kindness
and wished him farewell, whereupon he gave mine a hearty squeeze,
thanking me for my custom.

"Which is my way," said I, "to Pen Caer Gybi?"

"You must go about a mile on the Bangor road, and then turning to
the right pass through Penmynnydd, but what takes you to Holyhead?"

"I wish to see," said I, "the place where Cybi the tawny saint
preached and worshipped. He was called tawny because from his
frequent walks in the blaze of the sun his face had become much
sun-burnt. This is a furiously hot day, and perhaps by the time I
get to Holyhead, I may be so sun-burnt as to be able to pass for
Cybi himself."


Moelfre - Owain Gwynedd - Church of Penmynnydd - The Rose of Mona.

LEAVING Pentraeth Coch I retraced my way along the Bangor road till
I came to the turning on the right. Here I diverged from the
aforesaid road, and proceeded along one which led nearly due west;
after travelling about a mile I stopped, on the top of a little
hill; cornfields were on either side, and in one an aged man was
reaping close to the road; I looked south, west, north and east; to
the south was the Snowdon range far away, with the Wyddfa just
discernible; to the west and north was nothing very remarkable, but
to the east or rather north-east, was mountain Lidiart and the tall
hill confronting it across the bay.

"Can you tell me," said I to the old reaper, "the name of that bald
hill, which looks towards Lidiart?"

"We call that hill Moelfre," said the old man desisting from his
labour, and touching his hat.

"Dear me," said I; "Moelfre, Moelfre!"

"Is there anything wonderful in the name, sir?" said the old man

"There is nothing wonderful in the name," said I, "which merely
means the bald hill, but it brings wonderful recollections to my
mind. I little thought when I was looking from the road near
Pentraeth Coch yesterday on that hill, and the bay and strand below
it, and admiring the tranquillity which reigned over all, that I
was gazing upon the scene of one of the most tremendous conflicts
recorded in history or poetry."

"Dear me," said the old reaper; "and whom may it have been between?
the French and English, I suppose."

"No," said I; "it was fought between one of your Welsh kings, the
great Owain Gwynedd, and certain northern and Irish enemies of

"Only think," said the old man, "and it was a fierce battle, sir?"

"It was, indeed," said I; "according to the words of a poet, who
described it, the Menai could not ebb on account of the torrent of
blood which flowed into it, slaughter was heaped upon slaughter,
shout followed shout, and around Moelfre a thousand war flags

"Well, sir," said the old man, "I never before heard anything about
it, indeed I don't trouble my head with histories, unless they be
Bible histories."

"Are you a Churchman?" said I.

"No," said the old man, shortly; "I am a Methodist."

"I belong to the Church," said I.

"So I should have guessed, sir, by your being so well acquainted
with pennillion and histories. Ah, the Church. . . . ."

"This is dreadfully hot weather, said I, "and I should like to
offer you sixpence for ale, but as I am a Churchman I suppose you
would not accept it from my hands."

"The Lord forbid, sir," said the old man, "that I should be so
uncharitable! If your honour chooses to give me sixpence, I will
receive it willingly. Thank your honour! Well, I have often said
there is a great deal of good in the Church of England."

I once more looked at the hill which overlooked the scene of Owen
Gwynedd's triumph over the united forces of the Irish Lochlanders
and Normans, and then after inquiring of the old man whether I was
in the right direction for Penmynnydd, and finding that I was, I
set off at a great pace, singing occasionally snatches of Black
Robin's ode in praise of Anglesey, amongst others the following

"Bread of the wholesomest is found
In my mother-land of Anglesey;
Friendly bounteous men abound
In Penmynnydd of Anglesey."

I reached Penmynnydd, a small village consisting of a few white
houses and a mill. The meaning of Penmynnydd is literally the top
of a hill. The village does not stand on a hill, but the church
which is at some distance, stands on one, or rather on a hillock.
And it is probable from the circumstance of the church standing on
a hillock, that the parish derives its name. Towards the church
after a slight glance at the village, I proceeded with hasty steps,
and was soon at the foot of the hillock. A house, that of the
clergyman, stands near the church, on the top of the hill. I
opened a gate, and entered a lane which seemed to lead up to the

As I was passing some low buildings, probably offices pertaining to
the house, a head was thrust from a doorway, which stared at me.
It was a strange hirsute head, and probably looked more strange and
hirsute than it naturally was, owing to its having a hairy cap upon

"Good day," said I.

"Good day, sar," said the head, and in a moment more a man of
middle stature, about fifty, in hairy cap, shirt-sleeves, and green
apron round his waist, stood before me. He looked the beau-ideal
of a servant of all work.

"Can I see the church?" said I.

"Ah, you want to see the church," said honest Scrub. "Yes, sar!
you shall see the church. You go up road there past church - come
to house, knock at door - say what you want - and nice little girl
show you church. Ah, you quite right to come and see church - fine
tomb there and clebber man sleeping in it with his wife, clebber
man that - Owen Tiddir; married great queen - dyn clebber iawn."

Following the suggestions of the man of the hairy cap I went round
the church and knocked at the door of the house, a handsome
parsonage. A nice little servant-girl presently made her
appearance at the door, of whom I inquired whether I could see the

"Certainly, sir," said she; "I will go for the key and accompany

She fetched the key and away we went to the church. It is a
venerable chapel-like edifice, with a belfry towards the west; the
roof sinking by two gradations, is lower at the eastern or altar
end, than at the other. The girl, unlocking the door, ushered me
into the interior.

"Which is the tomb of Tudor?" said I to the pretty damsel.

"There it is, sir," said she, pointing to the north side of the
church; "there is the tomb of Owen Tudor."

Beneath a low-roofed arch lay sculptured in stone on an altar tomb,
the figures of a man and woman; that of the man in armour; that of
the woman in graceful drapery. The male figure lay next the wall.

"And you think," said I to the girl; "that yonder figure is that of
Owen Tudor?"

"Yes, sir," said the girl; "yon figure is that of Owen Tudor; the
other is that of his wife, the great queen; both their bodies rest

I forbore to say that the figures were not those of Owen Tudor and
the great queen, his wife; and I forbore to say that their bodies
did not rest in that church, nor anywhere in the neighbourhood, for
I was unwilling to dispel a pleasing delusion. The tomb is
doubtless a tomb of one of the Tudor race, and of a gentle partner
of his, but not of the Rose of Mona and Catherine of France. Her
bones rest in some corner of Westminster's noble abbey; his moulder
amongst those of thousands of others, Yorkists and Lancastrians,
under the surface of the plain, where Mortimer's Cross once stood,
that plain on the eastern side of which meanders the murmuring Lug;
that noble plain, where one of the hardest battles which ever
blooded English soil was fought; where beautiful young Edward
gained a crown, and old Owen lost a head, which when young had been
the most beautiful of heads, which had gained for him the
appellation of the Rose of Anglesey, and which had captivated the
glances of the fair daughter of France, the widow of Monmouth's
Harry, the immortal victor of Agincourt.

Nevertheless, long did I stare at that tomb which though not that
of the Rose of Mona and his queen, is certainly the tomb of some
mighty one of the mighty race of Theodore. Then saying something
in Welsh to the pretty damsel, at which she started, and putting
something into her hand, at which she curtseyed, I hurried out of
the church.


Mental Excitation - Land of Poets - The Man in Grey - Drinking
Healths - The Greatest Prydydd - Envy - Welshmen not Hogs -
Gentlemanly Feeling - What Pursuit? - Tell him to Walk Up - Editor
of the TIMES - Careful Wife - Departure.

I REGAINED the high road by a short cut, which I discovered, across
a field. I proceeded rapidly along for some time. My mind was
very much excited: I was in the birthplace of the mighty Tudors -
I had just seen the tomb of one of them; I was also in the land of
the bard; a country which had produced Gwalchmai who sang the
triumphs of Owain, and him who had sung the Cowydd of Judgment,
Gronwy Owen. So no wonder I was excited. On I went reciting
bardic snatches connected with Anglesey. At length I began
repeating Black Robin's ode in praise of the island, or rather my
own translation of it, executed more than thirty years before,
which amongst others, contains the following lines:-

"Twelve sober men the muses woo,
Twelve sober men in Anglesey,
Dwelling at home, like patriots true,
In reverence for Anglesey."

"Oh," said I, after I had recited that stanza, "what would I not
give to see one of those sober patriotic bards, or at least one of
their legitimate successors, for by this time no doubt, the sober
poets, mentioned by Black Robin, are dead. That they left
legitimate successors who can doubt? for Anglesey is never to be
without bards. Have we not the words, not of Robin the Black, but
Huw the Red to that effect?

"'Brodir, gnawd ynddi prydydd;
Heb ganu ni bu ni bydd.'

"That is: a hospitable country, in which a poet is a thing of
course. It has never been and will never be without song."

Here I became silent, and presently arrived at the side of a little
dell or ravine, down which the road led, from east to west. The
northern and southern sides of this dell were precipitous. Beneath
the southern one stood a small cottage. Just as I began to descend
the eastern side, two men began to descend the opposite one, and it
so happened that we met at the bottom of the dingle, just before
the house, which bore a sign, and over the door of which was an
inscription to the effect that ale was sold within. They saluted
me; I returned their salutation, and then we all three stood still,
looking at one another. One of the men was rather a tall figure,
about forty, dressed in grey, or pepper-and-salt, with a cap of
some kind on his head, his face was long and rather good-looking,
though slightly pock-broken. There was a peculiar gravity upon it.
The other person was somewhat about sixty - he was much shorter
than his companion, and much worse dressed - he wore a hat that had
several holes in it, a dusty rusty black coat, much too large for
him; ragged yellow velveteen breeches, indifferent fustian gaiters,
and shoes, cobbled here and there, one of which had rather an ugly
bulge by the side near the toes. His mouth was exceedingly wide,
and his nose remarkably long; its extremity of a deep purple; upon
his features was a half-simple smile or leer; in his hand was a
long stick. After we had all taken a full view of one another I
said in Welsh, addressing myself to the man in grey, "Pray may I
take the liberty of asking the name of this place."

"I believe you are an Englishman, sir," said the man in grey,
speaking English, "I will therefore take the liberty of answering
your question in the English tongue. The name of this place is
Dyffryn Gaint."

"Thank you," said I; "you are quite right with regard to my being
an Englishman, perhaps you are one yourself?"

"Sir," said the man in grey, "I have not the honour to be so. I am
a native of the small island in which we are."

"Small," said I, "but famous, particularly for producing
illustrious men."

"That's very true indeed, sir," said the man in grey, drawing
himself up; "it is particularly famous for producing illustrious

"There was Owen Tudor?" said I.

"Very true," said the man in grey, "his tomb is in the church a
little way from hence."

"Then," said I, "there was Gronwy Owen, one of the greatest bards
that ever lived. Out of reverence to his genius I went yesterday
to see the place of his birth."

"Sir," said the man in grey, "I should be sorry to leave you
without enjoying your conversation at some length. In yonder house
they sell good ale, perhaps you will not be offended if I ask you
to drink some with me and my friend?"

"You are very kind," said I, "I am fond of good ale and fonder
still of good company - suppose we go in?"

We went into the cottage, which was kept by a man and his wife,
both of whom seemed to be perfectly well acquainted with my two new
friends. We sat down on stools, by a clean white table in a little
apartment with a clay floor - notwithstanding the heat of the
weather, the little room was very cool and pleasant owing to the
cottage being much protected from the sun by its situation. The
man in grey called for a jug of ale, which was presently placed
before us along with three glasses. The man in grey having filled
the glasses from the jug which might contain three pints, handed
one to me, another to his companion, and then taking the third
drank to my health. I drank to his and that of his companion; the
latter, after nodding to us both, emptied his at a draught, and
then with a kind of half-fatuous leer, exclaimed, "Da iawn, very

The ale, though not very good, was cool and neither sour nor
bitter; we then sat for a moment or two in silence, my companions
on one side of the table, and I on the other. After a little time
the man in grey looking at me said:

"Travelling I suppose in Anglesey for pleasure?"

"To a certain extent," said I; "but my chief object in visiting
Anglesey was to view the birth-place of Gronwy Owen; I saw it
yesterday, and am now going to Holyhead chiefly with a view to see
the country."

"And how came you, an Englishman, to know anything of Gronwy Owen?"

"I studied Welsh literature when young," said I, "and was much
struck with the verses of Gronwy: he was one of the great bards of
Wales, and certainly the most illustrious genius that Anglesey ever

"A great genius, I admit," said the man in grey, "but pardon me,
not exactly the greatest Ynis Fon has produced. The race of the
bards is not quite extinct in the island, sir. I could name one or
two - however, I leave others to do so - but I assure you the race
of bards is not quite extinct here."

"I am delighted to hear you say so," said I, "and make no doubt
that you speak correctly, for the Red Bard has said that Mona is
never to be without a poet - but where am I to find one? just
before I saw you I was wishing to see a poet; I would willingly
give a quart of ale to see a genuine Anglesey poet."

"You would, sir, would you?" said the man in grey, lifting his head
on high, and curling his upper lip.

"I would, indeed," said I, "my greatest desire at present is to see
an Anglesey poet, but where am I to find one?"

"Where is he to find one?" said he of the tattered hat; "where's
the gwr boneddig to find a prydydd?  No occasion to go far, he,
he, he."

"Well" said I, "but where is he?"

"Where is he? why, there," said he, pointing to the man in grey -
"the greatest prydydd in tir Fon or the whole world."

"Tut, tut, hold your tongue," said the man in grey.

"Hold my tongue, myn Diawl, not I - I speak the truth," then
filling his glass he emptied it exclaiming, "I'll not hold, my
tongue. The greatest prydydd in the whole world."

"Then I have the honour to be seated with a bard of Anglesey?" said
I, addressing the man in grey.

"Tut, tut," said he of the grey suit.

"The greatest prydydd in the whole world," iterated he of the
bulged shoe, with a slight hiccup, as he again filled his glass.

"Then," said I, "I am truly fortunate."

"Sir," said the man in grey, "I had no intention of discovering
myself, but as my friend here has betrayed my secret, I confess
that I am a bard of Anglesey - my friend is an excellent individual
but indiscreet, highly indiscreet, as I have frequently told him,"
and here he looked most benignantly reproachful at him of the
tattered hat.

"The greatest prydydd," said the latter, "the greatest prydydd that
- " and leaving his sentence incomplete he drank off the ale which
he had poured into his glass.

"Well," said I, "I cannot sufficiently congratulate myself for
having met an Anglesey bard - no doubt a graduate one. Anglesey,
was always famous for graduate bards, for what says Black Robin?

"'Though Arvon graduate bards can boast,
Yet more canst thou, O Anglesey.'"

"I suppose by graduate bard you mean one who has gained the chair
at an eisteddfod?" said the man in grey. "No, I have never gained
the silver chair - I have never had an opportunity. I have been
kept out of the eisteddfodau. There is such a thing as envy, sir -
but there is one comfort, that envy will not always prevail."

"No," said I; "envy will not always prevail - envious scoundrels
may chuckle for a time at the seemingly complete success of the
dastardly arts to which they have recourse, in order to crush merit
- but Providence is not asleep. All of a sudden they see their
supposed victim on a pinnacle far above their reach. Then there is
weeping, and gnashing of teeth with a vengeance, and the long,
melancholy howl. Oh, there is nothing in this world which gives
one so perfect an idea of retribution as the long melancholy howl
of the disappointed envious scoundrel when he sees his supposed
victim smiling on an altitude far above his reach."

"Sir," said the man in grey, "I am delighted to hear you. Give me
your hand, your honourable hand. Sir, you have now felt the hand-
grasp of a Welshman, to say nothing of an Anglesey bard, and I have
felt that of a Briton, perhaps a bard, a brother, sir? Oh, when I
first saw your face out there in the dyffryn, I at once recognised
in it that of a kindred spirit, and I felt compelled to ask you to
drink. Drink, sir! but how is this? the jug is empty - how is
this? - Oh, I see - my friend sir, though an excellent individual,
is indiscreet, sir - very indiscreet. Landlord, bring this moment
another jug of ale!"

"The greatest prydydd," stuttered he of bulged shoe - "the greatest
prydydd - Oh - "

"Tut, tut," said the man in grey.

"I speak the truth and care for no one," said he of the tattered
hat. "I say the greatest prydydd. If any one wishes to gainsay me
let him show his face and Myn Diawl - "

The landlord brought the ale, placed it on the table, and then
stood as if waiting for something.

"I suppose you are waiting to be paid," said I; "what is your

"Sixpence for this jug, and sixpence for the other," said the

I took out a shilling and said: "It is but right that I should pay
half of the reckoning, and as the whole affair is merely a shilling
matter, I should feel obliged in being permitted to pay the whole,
so, landlord, take the shilling and remember you are paid."  I then
delivered the shilling to the landlord, but had no sooner done so
than the man in grey, starting up in violent agitation, wrested the
money from the other, and flung it down on the table before me

"No, no, that will never do. I invited you in here to drink, and
now you would pay for the liquor which I ordered. You English are
free with your money, but you are sometimes free with it at the
expense of people's feelings. I am a Welshman, and I know
Englishmen consider all Welshmen hogs. But we are not hogs, mind
you! for we have little feelings which hogs have not. Moreover, I
would have you know that we have money, though perhaps not so much
as the Saxon."  Then putting his hand into his pocket, he pulled
out a shilling, and giving it to the landlord, said in Welsh: "Now
thou art paid, and mayst go thy ways till thou art again called
for. I do not know why thou didst stay after thou hadst put down
the ale. Thou didst know enough of me to know that thou didst run
no risk of not being paid."

"But," said I, after the landlord had departed, "I must insist on
being my share. Did you not hear me say that I would give a quart
of ale to see a poet?"

"A poet's face," said the man in grey, "should be common to all,
even like that of the sun. He is no true poet, who would keep his
face from the world."

"But," said I, "the sun frequently hides his head from the world,
behind a cloud."

"Not so," said the man in grey. "The sun does not hide his face,
it is the cloud that hides it. The sun is always glad enough to be
seen, and so is the poet. If both are occasionally hid, trust me
it is no fault of theirs. Bear that in mind; and now pray take up
your money."

"The man is a gentleman," thought I to myself, "whether a poet or
not; but I really believe him to be a poet; were he not he could
hardly talk in the manner I have just heard him."

The man in grey now filled my glass, his own, and that of his
companion. The latter emptied his in a minute, not forgetting
first to say "the best prydydd in all the world!" the man in grey
was also not slow to empty his own. The jug now passed rapidly
between my two friends, for the poet seemed determined to have his
full share of the beverage. I allowed the ale in my glass to
remain untasted, and began to talk about the bards, and to quote
from their works. I soon found that the man in grey knew quite as
much of the old bards and their works as myself. In one instance
he convicted me of a mistake.

I had quoted those remarkable lines in which an old bard, doubtless
seeing the Menai Bridge by means of second sight, says:- "I will
pass to the land of Mona notwithstanding the waters of the Menai,
without waiting for the ebb" - and was feeling not a little proud
of my erudition, when the man in grey after looking at me for a
moment fixedly, asked me the name of the bard who composed them.
"Sion Tudor," I replied.

"There you are wrong," said the man in grey; "his name was not Sion
Tudor but Robert Vychan, in English, Little Bob. Sion Tudor wrote
an englyn on the Skerries whirlpool in the Menai; but it was Little
Bob who wrote the stanza in which the future bridge over the Menai
is hinted at."

"You are right," said I, "you are right. Well, I am glad that all
song and learning are not dead in Ynis Fon."

"Dead," said the man in grey, whose features began to be rather
flushed, "they are neither dead nor ever will be. There are plenty
of poets in Anglesey - why, I can mention twelve, and amongst them
and not the least - pooh, what was I going to say? twelve there
are, genuine Anglesey poets, born there, and living there for the
love they bear their native land. When I say they all live in
Anglesey, perhaps I am not quite accurate, for one of the dozen
does not exactly live in Anglesey, but just over the bridge. He is
an elderly man, but his awen, I assure you, is as young and
vigorous as ever."

"I shouldn't be at all surprised," said I, "if he was a certain
ancient gentleman, from whom I obtained information yesterday, with
respect to the birth-place of Gronwy Owen."

"Very likely," said the man in grey; "well, if you have seen him
consider yourself fortunate, for he is a genuine bard, and a
genuine son of Anglesey, notwithstanding he lives across the

"If he is the person I allude to," said I, "I am doubly fortunate,
for I have seen two bards of Anglesey."

"Sir," said the man in grey, "I consider myself quite as fortunate,
in having met such a Saxon as yourself, as it is possible for you
to do, in having seen two bards of Ynis Fon."

"I suppose you follow some pursuit besides bardism?" said I; "I
suppose you farm?"

"I do not farm," said the man in grey, "I keep an inn."

"Keep an inn?" said I.

"Yes," said the man in grey. "The - Arms at L-."

"Sure," said I, "inn-keeping and bardism are not very cognate

"You are wrong," said the man in grey; "I believe the awen, or
inspiration, is quite as much at home in the bar as in the barn,
perhaps more. It is that belief which makes me tolerably satisfied
with my position and prevents me from asking Sir Richard to give me
a farm instead of an inn."

"I suppose," said I, "that Sir Richard is your landlord?"

"He is," said the man in grey, "and a right noble landlord too."

"I suppose," said I, 'that he is right proud of his tenant?"

"He is," said the man in grey, "and I am proud of my landlord, and
will here drink his health. I have often said that if I were not
what I am, I should wish to be Sir Richard."

"You consider yourself his superior?" said I.

"Of course," said the man in grey - "a baronet is a baronet; but a
bard, is a bard you know - I never forget what I am, and the
respect due to my sublime calling. About a month ago I was seated
in an upper apartment in a fit of rapture. There was a pen in my
hand, and paper before me on the table, and likewise a jug of good
ale, for I always find that the awen is most prodigal of her
favours when a jug of good ale is before me. All of a sudden my
wife came running up, and told me that Sir Richard was below, and
wanted to speak to me. 'Tell him to walk up,' said I. 'Are you
mad?' said my wife. 'Don't you know who Sir Richard is?'  'I do,'
said I, 'a baronet is a baronet, but a bard is a bard. Tell him to
walk up.'  Well, my wife went and told Sir Richard that I was
writing, and could not come down, and that she hoped he would not
object to walk up. 'Certainly not; certainly not,' said Sir
Richard. 'I shall be only too happy to ascend to a genius on his
hill. You may be proud of such a husband, Mrs W.'  And here it
will be as well to tell you that my name is W.-J. W. of -. Sir
Richard then came up, and I received him with gravity and
politeness. I did not rise of course, for I never forget myself a
moment, but I told him to sit down, and added, that after I had
finished the pennill I was engaged upon, I would speak to him.
Well, Sir Richard smiled and sat down, and begged me not to hurry
myself, for that he could wait. So I finished the pennill,
deliberately, mind you, for I did not forget who I was, and then
turning to Sir Richard entered upon business with him."

"I suppose Sir Richard is a very good-tempered man?" said I.

"I don't know," said the man in grey. "I have seen Sir Richard in
a devil of a passion, but never with me - no, no! Trust Sir
Richard for not riding the high horse with me - a baronet is a
baronet, but a bard is a bard; and that Sir Richard knows."

"The greatest prydydd," said the man of the tattered hat, emptying
the last contents of the jug into his glass, "the greatest prydydd
that - "

"Well," said I, "you appear to enjoy very great consideration, and
yet you were talking just now of being ill-used."

"So I have been," said the man in grey, "I have been kept out of
the eisteddfoddau - and then - what do you think? That fellow, the
editor of the TIMES - "

"Oh," said I, "if you have anything to do with the editor of the
TIMES you may, of course, expect nothing but shabby treatment, but
what business could you have with him?"

"Why I sent him some pennillion for insertion, and he did not
insert them."

"Were they in Welsh or English?"

"In Welsh, of course."

"Well, then the man had some excuse for disregarding them - because
you know the TIMES is written in English."

"Oh, you mean the London TIMES," said the man in grey. "Pooh! I
did not allude to that trumpery journal, but the Liverpool TIMES,
the Amserau. I sent some pennillion to the editor for insertion
and he did not insert them. Peth a clwir cenfigen yn Saesneg?"

"We call cenfigen in English envy," said I; "but as I told you
before, envy will not always prevail."

"You cannot imagine how pleased I am with your company," said the
man in grey. "Landlord, landlord!"

"The greatest prydydd," said the man of the tattered hat, "the
greatest prydydd."

"Pray don't order any more on my account," said I, "as you see my
glass is still full. I am about to start for Caer Gybi. Pray,
where are you bound for?"

"For Bangor," said the man in grey. "I am going to the market."

"Then I would advise you to lose no time," said I, "or you will
infallibly be too late; it must now be one o'clock."

"There is no market to-day," said the man in grey, "the market is
to-morrow, which is Saturday. I like to take things leisurely, on
which account, when I go to market, I generally set out the day
before, in order that I may enjoy myself upon the road. I feel
myself so happy here that I shall not stir till the evening. Now
pray stay with me and my friend till then."

"I cannot," said I, "if I stay longer here I shall never reach Caer
Gybi to-night. But allow me to ask whether your business at L-
will not suffer by your spending so much time on the road to

"My wife takes care of the business whilst I am away," said the man
in grey, "so it won't suffer much. Indeed it is she who chiefly
conducts the business of the inn. I spend a good deal of time from
home, for besides being a bard and inn-keeper, I must tell you I am
a horse-dealer and a jobber, and if I go to Bangor it is in the
hope of purchasing a horse or pig worth the money."

"And is your friend going to market too?" said I.

"My friend goes with me to assist me and bear me company. If I buy
a pig he will help me to drive it home; if a horse, he will get up
upon its back behind me. I might perhaps do without him, but I
enjoy his company highly. He is sometimes rather indiscreet, but I
do assure you he is exceedingly clever."

"The greatest prydydd," said the man of the bulged shoe, "the
greatest prydydd in the world."

"Oh, I have no doubt of his cleverness," said I, "from what I have
observed of him. Now before I go allow me to pay for your next jug
of ale."

"I will do no such thing," said the man in grey. "No farthing do
you pay here for me or my friend either. But I will tell you what
you may do. I am, as I have told you, an inn-keeper as well as a
bard. By the time you get to L- you will be hot and hungry and in
need of refreshment, and if you think proper to patronise my house,
the - Arms, by taking your chop and pint there, you will oblige me.
Landlord, some more ale."

"The greatest prydydd," said he of the bulged shoe, "the greatest
prydydd - "

"I will most certainly patronise your house," said I to the man in
grey, and shaking him heartily by the hand I departed.


Inn at L-  The Handmaid - The Decanter - Religious Gentleman -
Truly Distressing - Sententiousness - Way to Pay Bills.

I PROCEEDED on my way in high spirits indeed, having now seen not
only the tomb of the Tudors, but one of those sober poets for which
Anglesey has always been so famous. The country was pretty, with
here and there a hill, a harvest-field, a clump of trees or a

I soon reached L-, a small but neat town. "Where is the - Arms?"
said I to a man whom I met.

"Yonder, sir, yonder," said he, pointing to a magnificent structure
on the left.

I went in and found myself in a spacious hall. A good-looking
young woman in a white dress with a profusion of pink ribbons
confronted me with a curtsey. "A pint and a chop!" I exclaimed,
with a flourish of my hand and at the top of my voice. The damsel
gave a kind of start, and then, with something like a toss of the
head, led the way into a very large room, on the left, in which
were many tables, covered with snowy-white cloths, on which were
plates, knives and forks, the latter seemingly of silver, tumblers,
and wine-glasses.

"I think you asked for a pint and a chop, sir?" said the damsel,
motioning me to sit down at one of the tables.

"I did," said I, as I sat down, "let them be brought with all
convenient speed, for I am in something of a hurry."

"Very well, sir," said the damsel, and then with another kind of
toss of the head, she went away, not forgetting to turn half round,
to take a furtive glance at me, before she went out of the door.

"Well," said I, as I looked at the tables, with their snowy-white
cloths, tumblers, wine-glasses and what not, and at the walls of
the room glittering with mirrors, "surely a poet never kept so
magnificent an inn before; there must be something in this fellow
besides the awen, or his house would never exhibit such marks of
prosperity and good taste - there must be something in this fellow;
though he pretends to be a wild erratic son of Parnassus, he must
have an eye to the main chance, a genius for turning the penny, or
rather the sovereign, for the accommodation here is no penny
accommodation, as I shall probably find. Perhaps, however, like
myself, he has an exceedingly clever wife who, whilst he is making
verses, or running about the country swigging ale with people in
bulged shoes, or buying pigs or glandered horses, looks after
matters at home, drives a swinging trade, and keeps not only
herself, but him respectable - but even in that event he must have
a good deal of common-sense in him, even like myself, who always
allows my wife to buy and sell, carry money to the bank, draw
cheques, inspect and pay tradesmen's bills, and transact all my
real business, whilst I myself pore over old books, walk about
shires, discoursing with gypsies, under hedgerows, or with sober
bards - in hedge ale-houses."  I continued musing in this manner
until the handmaid made her appearance with a tray, on which were
covers and a decanter, which she placed before me. "What is that?"
said I, pointing to a decanter.

"Only a pint of sherry, sir," said she of the white dress and

"Dear me," said I, "I ordered no sherry, I wanted some ale - a pint
of ale."

"You called for a pint, sir," said the handmaid, "but you mentioned
no ale, and I naturally supposed that a gentleman of your
appearance" - here she glanced at my dusty coat - "and speaking in
the tone you did, would not condescend to drink ale with his chop;
however, as it seems I have been mistaken, I can take away the
sherry and bring you the ale."

"Well, well," said I, "you can let the sherry remain; I do not like
sherry, and am very fond of ale, but you can let the wine remain;
upon the whole I am glad you brought it - indeed I merely came to
do a good turn to the master of the house."

"Thank you, sir," said the handmaid.

"Are you his daughter?" said I.

"Oh no, sir," said the handmaid reverently; "only his waiter."

"You may be proud to wait on him," said I.

"I am, sir," said the handmaid, casting down her eyes.

"I suppose he is much respected in the neighbourhood?" said I.

"Very much so, sir," said the damsel, "especially amidst the

"The connection," said I. "Ah, I see, he has extensive
consanguinity, most Welsh have. But," I continued, "there is such
a thing as envy in the world, and there are a great many malicious
people in the world, who speak against him."

"A great many, sir, but we take what they say from whence it

"You do quite right," said I. "Has your master written any poetry

"Sir!" said the damsel staring at me.

"Any poetry," said I, "any pennillion?"

"No, sir," said the damsel; "my master is a respectable man, and
would scorn to do anything of the kind."

"Why," said I, "is not your master a bard as well as an innkeeper?"

"My master, sir, is an innkeeper," said the damsel; "but as for the
other, I don't know what you mean."

"A bard," said I, "is a prydydd, a person who makes verses -
pennillion; does not your master make them?"

"My master make them? No, sir; my master is a religious gentleman,
and would scorn to make such profane stuff."

"Well," said I, "he told me he did within the last two hours. I
met him at Dyffrin Gaint, along with another man, and he took me
into the public-house, where we had a deal of discourse."

"You met my master at Dyffryn Gaint?" said the damsel.

"Yes," said I, "and he treated me with ale, told me that he was a
poet, and that he was going to Bangor to buy a horse or a pig."

"I don't see how that could be, sir," said the damsel; "my master
is at present in the house, rather unwell, and has not been out for
the last three days - there must be some mistake."

"Mistake," said I. "Isn't this the - Arms?"

"Yes, sir, it is."

"And isn't your master's name W-?"

"No, sir, my master's name is H-, and a more respectable man - "

"Well," said I interrupting her - "all I can say is that I met a
man in Dyffryn Gaint, who treated me with ale, told me that his
name was W-, that he was a prydydd and kept the - Arms at L-."

"Well," said the damsel, "now I remember, there is a person of that
name in L-, and he also keeps a house which he calls the - Arms,
but it is only a public-house."

"But," said I, "is he not a prydydd, an illustrious poet; does he
not write pennillion which everybody admires?"

"Well," said the damsel, "I believe he does write things which he
calls pennillions, but everybody laughs at them."

"Come, come," said I, "I will not hear the productions of a man who
treated me with ale, spoken of with disrespect. I am afraid that
you are one of his envious maligners, of which he gave me to
understand that he had a great many."

"Envious, sir! not I indeed; and if I were disposed to be envious
of anybody it would not be of him; oh dear, why he is - "

"A bard of Anglesey," said I, interrupting her, "such a person as
Gronwy Owen describes in the following lines, which by-the-bye were
written upon himself:-

"'Where'er he goes he's sure to find
Respectful looks and greetings kind.'

"I tell you that it was out of respect to that man that I came to
this house. Had I not thought that he kept it, I should not have
entered it and called for a pint and chop - how distressing! how
truly distressing!"

"Well, sir," said the damsel, "if there is anything distressing you
have only to thank your acquaintance who chooses to call his mug-
house by the name of a respectable hotel, for I would have you know
that this is an hotel, and kept by a respectable and a religious
man, and not kept by -  However, I scorn to say more, especially as
I might be misinterpreted. Sir, there's your pint and chop, and if
you wish for anything else you can ring. Envious, indeed, of such
-  Marry come up!" and with a toss of her head, higher than any she
had hitherto given, she bounced out of the room.

Here was a pretty affair! I had entered the house and ordered the
chop and pint in the belief that by so doing I was patronising the
poet, and lo, I was not in the poet's house, and my order would
benefit a person for whom, however respectable and religious, I
cared not one rush. Moreover, the pint which I had ordered
appeared in the guise not of ale, which I am fond of, but of
sherry, for which I have always entertained a sovereign contempt,
as a silly, sickly compound, the use of which will transform a
nation, however bold and warlike by nature, into a race of
sketchers, scribblers, and punsters, in fact into what Englishmen
are at the present day. But who was to blame? Why, who but the
poet and myself? The poet ought to have told me that there were
two houses in L- bearing the sign of the - Arms, and that I must
fight shy of the hotel and steer for the pot-house, and when I gave
the order I certainly ought to have been a little more explicit;
when I said a pint I ought to have added - of ale. Sententiousness
is a fine thing sometimes, but not always. By being sententious
here, I got sherry, which I dislike, instead of ale which I like,
and should have to pay more for what was disagreeable, than I
should have had to pay for what was agreeable. Yet I had merely
echoed the poet's words in calling for a pint and chop, so after
all the poet was to blame for both mistakes. But perhaps he meant
that I should drink sherry at his house, and when he advised me to
call for a pint, he meant a pint of sherry. But the maid had said
he kept a pot-house, and no pot-houses have wine-licences; but the
maid after all might be an envious baggage, and no better than she
should be. But what was now to be done? Why, clearly make the
best of the matter, eat the chop and leave the sherry. So I
commenced eating the chop, which was by this time nearly cold.
After eating a few morsels I looked at the sherry: "I may as well
take a glass," said I. So with a wry face I poured myself out a

"What detestable stuff!" said I, after I had drunk it. "However,
as I shall have to pay for it I may as well go through with it."  
So I poured myself out another glass, and by the time I had
finished the chop I had finished the sherry also.

And now what was I to do next? Why, my best advice seemed to be to
pay my bill and depart. But I had promised the poet to patronize
his house, and had by mistake ordered and despatched a pint and
chop in a house which was not the poet's. Should I now go to his
house and order a pint and chop there? Decidedly not! I had
patronised a house which I believed to be the poet's; if I
patronised the wrong one, the fault was his, not mine - he should
have been more explicit. I had performed my promise, at least in

Perfectly satisfied with the conclusion I had come to, I rang the
bell. "The bill?" said I to the handmaid.

"Here it is!" said she, placing a strip of paper in my hand.

I looked at the bill, and, whether moderate or immoderate, paid it
with a smiling countenance, commanded the entertainment highly, and
gave the damsel something handsome for her trouble in waiting on

Reader, please to bear in mind that as all bills must be paid, it
is much more comfortable to pay them with a smile than with a
frown, and that it is much better by giving sixpence, or a shilling
to a poor servant, which you will never miss at the year's end, to
be followed from the door of an inn by good wishes, than by giving
nothing to be pursued by cutting silence, or the yet more cutting

"Sir," said the good-looking, well-ribboned damsel, "I wish you a
pleasant journey, and whenever you please again to honour our
establishment with your presence, both my master and myself shall
be infinitely obliged to you."


Oats and Methodism - The Little Girl - Ty Gwyn - Bird of the Roof -
Purest English - Railroads - Inconsistency - The Boots.

IT might be about four in the afternoon when I left L- bound for
Pen Caer Gybi, or Holyhead, seventeen miles distant. I reached the
top of the hill on the west of the little town, and then walked
briskly forward. The country looked poor and mean - on my right
was a field of oats, on my left a Methodist chapel - oats and
Methodism! what better symbols of poverty and meanness?

I went onward a long way, the weather was broiling hot, and I felt
thirsty. On the top of a long ascent stood a house by the
roadside. I went to the door and knocked - no answer - "Oes neb yn
y ty?" said I.

"Oes!" said an infantine voice.

I opened the door and saw a little girl. "Have you any water?"
said I.

"No," said the child, "but I have this," and she brought me some
butter-milk in a basin. I just tasted it, gave the child a penny
and blessed her.

"Oes genoch tad?"

"No," said she; "but I have a mam."  Tad in mam; blessed sounds; in
all languages expressing the same blessed things.

After walking for some hours I saw a tall blue hill in the far
distance before me. "What is the name of that hill?" said I to a
woman whom I met.

"Pen Caer Gybi," she replied.

Soon after I came to a village near to a rocky gully. On inquiring
the name of the village, I was told it was Llan yr Afon, or the
church of the river. I passed on; the country was neither grand
nor pretty - it exhibited a kind of wildness, however, which did
not fail to interest me - there were stones, rocks and furze in
abundance. Turning round the corner of a hill, I observed through
the mists of evening, which began to gather about me, what seemed
to be rather a genteel house on the roadside; on my left, and a
little way behind it a strange kind of monticle, on which I thought
I observed tall upright stones. Quickening my pace, I soon came
parallel with the house, which as I drew nigh, ceased to look like
a genteel house, and exhibited an appearance of great desolation.
It was a white, or rather grey structure of some antiquity. It was
evidently used as a farm-house, for there was a yard adjoining to
it, in which were stacks and agricultural implements. Observing
two men in the yard, I went in. They were respectable, farm-
looking men, between forty and fifty; one had on a coat and hat,
the other a cap and jacket. "Good evening," I said in Welsh.

"Good evening," they replied in the same language, looking
inquiringly at me.

"What is the name of this place?" said I.

"It is called Ty gwyn," said the man of the hat.

"On account of its colour, I suppose?" said I.

"Just so," said the man of the hat.

"It looks old," said I.

"And it is old," he replied. "In the time of the Papists it was
one of their chapels."

"Does it belong to you?" I demanded.

"Oh no, it belongs to one Mr Sparrow from Liverpool. I am his
bailiff, and this man is a carpenter who is here doing a job for

Here ensued a pause, which was broken by the man of the hat saying
in English, to the man of the cap:

"Who can this strange fellow be? he has not a word of English, and
though he speaks Welsh his Welsh sounds very different from ours.
Who can he be?"

"I am sure I don't know," said the other.

"I know who he is," said the first, "he comes from Llydaw, or
Armorica, which was peopled from Britain estalom, and where I am
told the real old Welsh language is still spoken."

"I think I heard you mention the word Llydaw?" said I, to the man
of the hat.

"Ah," said the man of the hat, speaking Welsh, "I was right after
all; oh, I could have sworn you were Llydaweg. Well, how are the
descendants of the ancient Britons getting on in Llydaw?"

"They are getting on tolerably well," said I, "when I last saw
them, though all things do not go exactly as they could wish."

"Of course not," said he of the hat. "We too have much to complain
of here; the lands are almost entirely taken possession of by
Saxons, wherever you go you will find them settled, and a Saxon
bird of the roof must build its nest in Gwyn dy."

"You call a sparrow in your Welsh a bird of the roof, do you not?"
said I.

"We do," said he of the hat. "You speak Welsh very well
considering you were not born in Wales. It is really surprising
that the men of Llydaw should speak the iaith so pure as they do."

"The Welsh when they went over there," said I, "took effectual
means that their descendants should speak good Welsh, if all tales
be true."

"What means?" said he of the hat.

"Why," said I; "after conquering the country they put all the men
to death, and married the women, but before a child was born they
cut out all the women's tongues, so that the only language the
children heard when they were born was pure Cumraeg. What do you
think of that?"

"Why, that it was a cute trick," said he of the hat.

"A more clever trick I never heard," said the man of the cap.

"Have you any memorials in the neighbourhood of the old Welsh?"
said I.

"What do you mean?" said the man of the hat.

"Any altars of the Druids?" said I; "any stone tables?"

"None," said the man of the hat.

"What may those stones be?" said I, pointing to the stones which
had struck my attention.

"Mere common rocks," said the man.

"May I go and examine them?" said I.

"Oh yes!" said he of the hat, "and we will go with you."

We went to the stones, which were indeed common rocks, and which
when I reached them presented quite a different appearance from
that which they presented to my eye when I viewed them from afar.

"Are there many altars of the Druids in Llydaw?" said the man of
the hat.

"Plenty," said I, "but those altars are older than the time of the
Welsh colonists, and were erected by the old Gauls."

"Well," said the man of the cap, "I am glad I have seen the man of

"Whom do you call a man of Llydaw?" said I.

"Whom but yourself?" said he of the hat.

"I am not a man of Llydaw," said I in English, "but Norfolk, where
the people eat the best dumplings in the world, and speak the
purest English. Now a thousand thanks for your civility. I would
have some more chat with you, but night is coming on, and I am
bound to Holyhead."

Then leaving the men staring after me, I bent my steps towards

I passed by a place called Llan something, standing lonely on its
hill. The country round looked sad and desolate. It is true night
had come on when I saw it.

On I hurried. The voices of children sounded sweetly at a distance
across the wild champaign on my left.

It grew darker and darker. On I hurried along the road; at last I
came to lone, lordly groves. On my right was an open gate and a
lodge. I went up to the lodge. The door was open, and in a little
room I beheld a nice-looking old lady sitting by a table, on which
stood a lighted candle, with her eyes fixed on a large book.

"Excuse me," said I; "but who owns this property?"

The old lady looked up from her book, which appeared to be a Bible,
without the slightest surprise, though I certainly came upon her
unawares, and answered:

"Mr John Wynn."

I shortly passed through a large village, or rather town, the name
of which I did not learn. I then went on for a mile or two, and
saw a red light at some distance. The road led nearly up to it,
and then diverged towards the north. Leaving the road I made
towards the light by a lane, and soon came to a railroad station.

"You won't have long to wait, sir," said a man, "the train to
Holyhead will be here presently."

"How far is it to Holyhead?" said I.

"Two miles, sir, and the fare is only sixpence."

"I despise railroads," said I, "and those who travel by them," and
without waiting for an answer returned to the road. Presently I
heard the train - it stopped for a minute at the station, and then
continuing its course passed me on my left hand, voiding fierce
sparks, and making a terrible noise - the road was a melancholy
one; my footsteps sounded hollow upon it. I seemed to be its only
traveller - a wall extended for a long, long way on my left. At
length I came to a turnpike. I felt desolate and wished to speak
to somebody. I tapped at the window, at which there was a light; a
woman opened it. "How far to Holyhead?" said I in English.

"Dim Saesneg," said the woman.

I repeated my question in Welsh.

"Two miles," said she.

"Still two miles to Holyhead by the road," thought I. "Nos da,"
said I to the woman and sped along. At length I saw water on my
right, seemingly a kind of bay, and presently a melancholy ship. I
doubled my pace, which was before tolerably quick, and soon saw a
noble-looking edifice on my left, brilliantly lighted up. "What a
capital inn that would make," said I, looking at it wistfully, as I
passed it. Presently I found myself in the midst of a poor, dull,
ill-lighted town.

"Where is the inn?" said I to a man.

"The inn, sir; you have passed it. The inn is yonder," he
continued, pointing towards the noble-looking edifice.

"What, is that the inn?" said I.

"Yes, sir, the railroad hotel - and a first-rate hotel it is."

"And are there no other inns?"

"Yes, but they are all poor places. No gent puts up at them - all
the gents by the railroad put up at the railroad hotel."

What was I to do? after turning up my nose at the railroad, was I
to put up at its hotel? Surely to do so would be hardly acting
with consistency. "Ought I not rather to go to some public-house,
frequented by captains of fishing smacks, and be put in a bed a
foot too short for me," said I, as I reflected on my last night's
couch at Mr Pritchard's. "No, that won't do - I shall go to the
hotel, I have money in my pocket, and a person with money in his
pocket has surely a right to be inconsistent if he pleases."

So I turned back and entered the railroad hotel with lofty port and
with sounding step, for I had twelve sovereigns in my pocket,
besides a half one, and some loose silver, and feared not to
encounter the gaze of any waiter or landlord in the land. "Send
boots!" I roared to the waiter, as I flung myself down in an arm-
chair in a magnificent coffee-room. "What the deuce are you
staring at? send boots can't you, and ask what I can have for

"Yes, sir," said the waiter, and with a low bow departed.

"These boots are rather dusty," said the boots, a grey-haired,
venerable-looking man, after he had taken off my thick, solid,
square-toed boots. "I suppose you came walking from the railroad?"

"Confound the railroad!" said I. "I came walking from Bangor. I
would have you know that I have money in my pocket, and can afford
to walk. I am fond of the beauties of nature; now it is impossible
to see much of the beauties of nature unless you walk. I am
likewise fond of poetry, and take especial delight in inspecting
the birth-places and haunts of poets. It is because I am fond of
poetry, poets and their haunts, that I am come to Anglesey.
Anglesey does not abound in the beauties of nature, but there never
was such a place for poets; you meet a poet, or the birth-place of
a poet, everywhere."

"Did your honour ever hear of Gronwy Owen?" said the old man.

"I have," I replied, "and yesterday I visited his birth-place; so
you have heard of Gronwy Owen?"

"Heard of him, your honour; yes, and read his works. That 'Cowydd
y Farn' of his is a wonderful poem."

"You say right," said I; "the 'Cowydd of Judgment' contains some of
the finest things ever written - that description of the toppling
down of the top crag of Snowdon, at the day of Judgment, beats
anything in Homer."

"Then there was Lewis Morris, your honour," said the old man, "who
gave Gronwy his education and wrote 'The Lasses of Meirion' - and -

"And 'The Cowydd to the Snail,'" said I, interrupting him - "a
wonderful man he was."

"I am rejoiced to see your honour in our house," said boots; "I
never saw an English gentleman before who knew so much about Welsh
poetry, nor a Welsh one either. Ah, if your honour is fond of
poets and their places you did right to come to Anglesey - and your
honour was right in saying that you can't stir a step without
meeting one; you have an example of the truth of that in me - for
to tell your honour the truth, I am a poet myself, and no bad one

Then tucking the dusty boots under his arm, the old man with a low
congee, and a "Good-night, your honour!" shuffled out of the room.


Caer Gyby - Lewis Morris - Noble Character.

I DINED or rather supped well at the Railroad Inn - I beg its
pardon, Hotel, for the word Inn at the present day is decidedly
vulgar. I likewise slept well; how could I do otherwise, passing
the night, as I did, in an excellent bed in a large, cool, quiet
room? I arose rather late, went down to the coffee-room and took
my breakfast leisurely, after which I paid my bill and strolled
forth to observe the wonders of the place.

Caer Gybi or Cybi's town is situated on the southern side of a bay
on the north-western side of Anglesey. Close to it on the south-
west is a very high headland called in Welsh Pen Caer Gybi, or the
head of Cybi's city, and in English Holy Head. On the north,
across the bay, is another mountain of equal altitude, which if I
am not mistaken bears in Welsh the name of Mynydd Llanfair, or
Saint Mary's Mount. It is called Cybi's town from one Cybi, who
about the year 500 built a college here to which youths noble and
ignoble resorted from far and near. He was a native of Dyfed or
Pembrokeshire, and was a friend and for a long time a fellow-
labourer of Saint David. Besides being learned, according to the
standard of the time, he was a great walker, and from bronzing his
countenance by frequent walking in the sun was generally called
Cybi Velin, which means tawny or yellow Cybi.

So much for Cybi, and his town! And now something about one whose
memory haunted me much more than that of Cybi during my stay at

Lewis Morris was born at a place called Tref y Beirdd, in Anglesey,
in the year 1700. Anglesey, or Mona, has given birth to many
illustrious men, but few, upon the whole, entitled to more
honourable mention than himself. From a humble situation in life,
for he served an apprenticeship to a cooper at Holyhead, he raised
himself by his industry and talents to affluence and distinction,
became a landed proprietor in the county of Cardigan, and inspector
of the royal domains and mines in Wales. Perhaps a man more
generally accomplished never existed; he was a first-rate mechanic,
an expert navigator, a great musician, both in theory and practice,
and a poet of singular excellence. Of him it was said, and with
truth, that he could build a ship and sail it, frame a harp and
make it speak, write an ode and set it to music. Yet that saying,
eulogistic as it is, is far from expressing all the vast powers and
acquirements of Lewis Morris. Though self-taught, he was
confessedly the best Welsh scholar of his age, and was well-versed
in those cognate dialects of the Welsh - the Cornish, Armoric,
Highland Gaelic and Irish. He was likewise well acquainted with
Hebrew, Greek and Latin, had studied Anglo-Saxon with some success,
and was a writer of bold and vigorous English. He was besides a
good general antiquary, and for knowledge of ancient Welsh customs,
traditions, and superstitions, had no equal. Yet all has not been
said which can be uttered in his praise; he had qualities of mind
which entitled him to higher esteem than any accomplishment
connected with intellect or skill. Amongst these were his noble
generosity and sacrifice of self for the benefit of others. Weeks
and months he was in the habit of devoting to the superintendence
of the affairs of the widow and fatherless: one of his principal
delights was to assist merit, to bring it before the world and to
procure for it its proper estimation: it was he who first
discovered the tuneful genius of blind Parry; it was he who first
put the harp into his hand; it was he who first gave him scientific
instruction; it was he who cheered him with encouragement and
assisted him with gold. It was he who instructed the celebrated
Evan Evans in the ancient language of Wales, enabling that talented
but eccentric individual to read the pages of the Red Book of
Hergest as easily as those of the Welsh Bible; it was he who
corrected his verses with matchless skill, refining and polishing
them till they became well worthy of being read by posterity; it
was he who gave him advice, which, had it been followed, would have
made the Prydydd Hir, as he called himself, one of the most
illustrious Welshmen of the last century; and it was he who first
told his countrymen that there was a youth of Anglesey whose
genius, if properly encouraged, promised fair to rival that of
Milton: one of the most eloquent letters ever written is one by
him, in which he descants upon the beauties of certain poems of
Gronwy Owen, the latent genius of whose early boyhood he had
observed, whom he had clothed, educated and assisted up to the
period when he was ordained a minister of the Church, and whom he
finally rescued from a state bordering on starvation in London,
procuring for him an honourable appointment in the New World.
Immortality to Lewis Morris! But immortality he has won, even as
his illustrious pupil has said, who in his elegy upon his
benefactor, written in America, in the four-and-twenty measures, at
a time when Gronwy had not heard the Welsh language spoken for more
than twenty years, has words to the following effect:-

"As long as Bardic lore shall last, science and learning be
cherished, the language and blood of the Britons undefiled, song be
heard on Parnassus, heaven and earth be in existence, foam be on
the surge, and water in the river, the name of Lewis of Mon shall
be held in grateful remembrance."


The Pier - Irish Reapers - Wild Irish Face - Father Toban - The
Herd of Swine - Latin Blessing.

THE day was as hot as the preceding one. I walked slowly towards
the west, and presently found myself upon a pier, or breakwater, at
the mouth of the harbour. A large steamer lay at a little distance
within the pier. There were fishing-boats on both sides, the
greater number on the outer side, which lies towards the hill of
Holy Head. On the shady side of the breakwater under the wall were
two or three dozen of Irish reapers; some were lying asleep, others
in parties of two or three were seated with their backs against the
wall, and were talking Irish; these last all appeared to be well-
made middle-sized young fellows, with rather a ruffianly look; they
stared at me as I passed. The whole party had shillealahs either
in their hands or by their sides. I went to the extremity of the
pier, where was a little lighthouse, and then turned back. As I
again drew near the Irish, I heard a hubbub and observed a great
commotion amongst them. All, whether those whom I had seen
sitting, or those whom I had seen reclining, had got, or were
getting on their legs. As I passed them they were all standing up,
and their eyes were fixed upon me with a strange kind of
expression, partly of wonder, methought, partly of respect. "Yes,
'tis he, sure enough," I heard one whisper. On I went, and at
about thirty yards from the last I stopped, turned round and leaned
against the wall. All the Irish were looking at me - presently
they formed into knots and began to discourse very eagerly in
Irish, though in an undertone. At length I observed a fellow going
from one knot to the other, exchanging a few words with each.
After he had held communication with all he nodded his head, and
came towards me with a quick step; the rest stood silent and
motionless with their eyes turned in the direction in which I was,
and in which he was advancing. He stopped within a yard of me and
took off his hat. He was an athletic fellow of about twenty-eight,
dressed in brown frieze. His features were swarthy, and his eyes
black; in every lineament of his countenance was a jumble of
savagery and roguishness. I never saw a more genuine wild Irish
face - there he stood looking at me full in the face, his hat in
one hand and his shillealah in the other.

"Well, what do you want?" said I, after we had stared at each other
about half a minute.

"Sure, I'm just come on the part of the boys and myself to beg a
bit of a favour of your reverence."

"Reverence," said I, "what do you mean by styling me reverence?"

"Och sure, because to be styled your reverence is the right of your

"Pray what do you take me for?"

"Och sure, we knows your reverence very well."

"Well, who am I?"

"Och, why Father Toban to be sure."

"And who knows me to be Father Toban?"

"Och, a boy here knows your reverence to be Father Toban."

"Where is that boy?"

"Here he stands, your reverence."

"Are you that boy?"

"I am, your reverence."

"And you told the rest that I was Father Toban?"

"I did, your reverence."

"And you know me to be Father Toban?"

"I do, your reverence."

"How do you know me to be Father Toban?"

"Och, why because many's the good time that I have heard your
reverence, Father Toban, say mass."

"And what is it you want me to do?"

"Why, see here, your reverence, we are going to embark in the dirty
steamer yonder for ould Ireland, which starts as soon as the tide
serves, and we want your reverence to bless us before we goes."

"You want me to bless you?"

"We do, your reverence, we want you to spit out a little bit of a
blessing upon us before we goes on board."

"And what good would my blessing do you?"

"All kinds of good, your reverence; it would prevent the dirty
steamer from catching fire, your reverence, or from going down,
your reverence, or from running against the blackguard Hill of
Howth in the mist, provided there should be one."

"And suppose I were to tell you that I am not Father Toban?"

"Och, your reverence, will never think of doing that."

"Would you believe me if I did?"

"We would not, your reverence."

"If I were to swear that I am not Father Toban?"

"We would not, your reverence."

"On the evangiles?"

"We would not, your reverence."

"On the Cross?"

"We would not, your reverence."

"And suppose I were to refuse to give you a blessing?"

"Och, your reverence will never refuse to bless the poor boys."

"But suppose I were to refuse?"

"Why, in such a case, which by-the-bye is altogether impossible, we
should just make bould to give your reverence a good big bating."

"You would break my head?"

"We would, your reverence."

"Kill me?"

"We would, your reverence."

"You would really put me to death?"

"We would not, your reverence."

"And what's the difference between killing and putting to death?"

"Och, sure there's all the difference in the world. Killing manes
only a good big bating, such as every Irishman is used to, and
which your reverence would get over long before matins, whereas
putting your reverence to death would prevent your reverence from
saying mass for ever and a day."

"And you are determined on having a blessing?"

"We are, your reverence."

"By hook or by crook?"

"By crook or by hook, your reverence."

"Before I bless you, will you answer me a question or two?"

"I will, your reverence."

"Are you not a set of great big blackguards?"

"We are, your reverence."

"Without one good quality?"

"We are, your reverence."

"Would it not be quite right to saddle and bridle you all, and ride
you violently down Holyhead or the Giant's Causeway into the
waters, causing you to perish there, like the herd of swine of

"It would, your reverence."

"And knowing and confessing all this, you have the cheek to come
and ask me for a blessing?"

"We have, your reverence."

"Well, how shall I give the blessing?"

"Och, sure your reverence knows very well how to give it."

"Shall I give it in Irish?"

"Och, no, your reverence - a blessing in Irish is no blessing at

"In English?"

"Och, murder, no, your reverence, God preserve us all from an
English blessing!"

"In Latin?"

"Yes, sure, your reverence; in what else should you bless us but in
holy Latin?"

"Well then prepare yourselves."

"We will, your reverence - stay one moment whilst I whisper to the
boys that your reverence is about to bestow your blessing upon us."

Then turning to the rest who all this time had kept their eyes
fixed intently upon us, he bellowed with the voice of a bull:

"Down on your marrow bones, ye sinners, for his reverence Toban is
about to bless us all in holy Latin."

He then flung himself on his knees on the pier, and all his
countrymen, baring their heads, followed his example - yes, there
knelt thirty bare-headed Eirionaich on the pier of Caer Gybi
beneath the broiling sun. I gave them the best Latin blessing I
could remember, out of two or three which I had got by memory out
of an old Popish book of devotion, which I bought in my boyhood at
a stall. Then turning to the deputy I said, "Well, now are you

"Sure, I have a right to be satisfied, your reverence; and so have
we all - sure we can now all go on board the dirty steamer, without
fear of fire or water, or the blackguard Hill of Howth either."

"Then get up, and tell the rest to get up, and please to know and
let the rest know, that I do not choose to receive farther trouble,
either by word or look, from any of ye, as long as I remain here."

"Your reverence shall be obeyed in all things," said the fellow,
getting up. Then walking away to his companions he cried, "Get up,
boys, and plase to know that his reverence Toban is not to be
farther troubled by being looked at or spoken to by any one of us
as long as he remains upon this dirty pier."

"Divil a bit farther trouble shall he have from us!" exclaimed many
a voice, as the rest of the party arose from their knees.

In half a minute they disposed themselves in much the same manner
as that in which they were when I first saw them - some flung
themselves again to sleep under the wall, some seated themselves
with their backs against it, and laughed and chatted, but without
taking any notice of me; those who sat and chatted took, or
appeared to take, as little notice as those who lay and slept of
his reverence Father Toban.


Gage of Suffolk - Fellow in a Turban - Town of Holyhead - Father
Boots - An Expedition - Holy Head and Finisterrae - Gryffith ab
Cynan - The Fairies' Well.

LEAVING the pier I turned up a street to the south, and was not
long before I arrived at a kind of market-place, where were carts
and stalls, and on the ground, on cloths, apples and plums, and
abundance of greengages, - the latter, when good, decidedly the
finest fruit in the world, a fruit, for the introduction of which
into England, the English have to thank one Gage of an ancient
Suffolk family, at present extinct, after whose name the fruit
derives the latter part of its appellation. Strolling about the
market-place I came in contact with a fellow dressed in a turban
and dirty blue linen robes and trowsers. He bore a bundle of
papers in his hand, one of which he offered to me. I asked him who
he was.

"Arap," he replied.

He had a dark, cunning, roguish countenance, with small eyes, and
had all the appearance of a Jew. I spoke to him in what Arabic I
could command on a sudden, and he jabbered to me in a corrupt
dialect, giving me a confused account of a captivity which he had
undergone amidst savage Mahometans. At last I asked him what
religion he was of.

"The Christian," he replied.

"Have you ever been of the Jewish?" said I.

He returned no answer save by a grin.

I took the paper, gave him a penny, and then walked away. The
paper contained an account in English of how the bearer, the son of
Christian parents, had been carried into captivity by two Mahometan
merchants, a father and son, from whom he had escaped with the
greatest difficulty.

"Pretty fools," said I, "must any people have been who ever stole
you; but oh what fools if they wished to keep you after they had
got you!"

The paper was stuffed with religious and anti-slavery cant, and
merely wanted a little of the teetotal nonsense to be a perfect
specimen of humbug.

I strolled forward, encountering more carts and more heaps of
greengages; presently I turned to the right by a street, which led
some way up the hill. The houses were tolerably large and all
white. The town, with its white houses placed by the seaside, on
the skirt of a mountain, beneath a blue sky and a broiling sun, put
me something in mind of a Moorish piratical town, in which I had
once been. Becoming soon tired of walking about, without any
particular aim, in so great a heat, I determined to return to the
inn, call for ale, and deliberate on what I had best next do. So I
returned and called for ale. The ale which was brought was not ale
which I am particularly fond of. The ale which I am fond of is ale
about nine or ten months old, somewhat hard, tasting well of malt
and little of the hop - ale such as farmers, and noblemen too, of
the good old time, when farmers' daughters did not play on pianos
and noblemen did not sell their game, were in the habit of offering
to both high and low, and drinking themselves. The ale which was
brought me was thin washy stuff, which though it did not taste much
of hop, tasted still less of malt, made and sold by one Allsopp,
who I am told calls himself a squire and a gentleman - as he
certainly may with quite as much right as many a lord calls himself
a nobleman and a gentleman; for surely it is not a fraction more
trumpery to make and sell ale than to fatten and sell game. The
ale of the Saxon squire, for Allsopp is decidedly an old Saxon
name, however unakin to the practice of old Saxon squires the
selling of ale may be, was drinkable for it was fresh, and the day,
as I have said before, exceedingly hot; so I took frequent draughts
out of the shining metal tankard in which it was brought,
deliberating both whilst drinking, and in the intervals of
drinking, on what I had next best do. I had some thoughts of
crossing to the northern side of the bay, then, bearing the north-
east, wend my way to Amlwch, follow the windings of the sea-shore
to Mathafarn eithaf and Pentraeth Coch, and then return to Bangor,
after which I could boast that I had walked round the whole of
Anglesey, and indeed trodden no inconsiderable part of the way
twice. Before coming, however, to any resolution, I determined to
ask the advice of my friend the boots on the subject. So I
finished my ale, and sent word by the waiter that I wished to speak
to him; he came forthwith, and after communicating my deliberations
to him in a few words I craved his counsel. The old man, after
rubbing his right forefinger behind his right ear for about a
quarter of a minute, inquired if I meant to return to Bangor, and
on my telling him that it would be necessary for me to do so, as I
intended to walk back to Llangollen by Caernarvon and Beth Gelert,
strongly advised me to return to Bangor by the railroad train,
which would start at seven in the evening, and would convey me
thither in an hour and a half. I told him that I hated railroads,
and received for answer that he had no particular liking for them
himself, but that he occasionally made use of them on a pinch, and
supposed that I likewise did the same. I then observed, that if I
followed his advice I should not see the north side of the island
nor its principal town Amlwch, and received for answer that if I
never did, the loss would not be great - that as for Amlwch it was
a poor poverty-stricken place - the inn a shabby affair - the
master a very so-so individual, and the boots a fellow without
either wit or literature. That upon the whole he thought I might
be satisfied with what I had seen for after having visited Owen
Tudor's tomb, Caer Gybi and his hotel, I had in fact seen the cream
of Mona. I then said that I had one objection to make, which was
that I really did not know how to employ the time till seven
o'clock, for that I had seen all about the town.

"But has your honour ascended the Head?" demanded Father Boots.

"No," said I; "I have not."

"Then," said he, "I will soon find your honour ways and means to
spend the time agreeably till the starting of the train. Your
honour shall ascend the Head under the guidance of my nephew, a
nice intelligent lad, your honour, and always glad to earn a
shilling or two. By the time your honour has seen all the wonders
of the Head and returned, it will be five o'clock. Your honour can
then dine, and after dinner trifle away the minutes over your wine
or brandy-and-water till seven, when your honour can step into a
first-class for Bangor."

I was struck with the happy manner in which he had removed the
difficulty in question, and informed him that I was determined to
follow his advice. He hurried away, and presently returned with
his nephew, to whom I offered half-a-crown provided he would show
me all about Pen Caer Gyby. He accepted my offer with evident
satisfaction, and we lost no time in setting out upon our

We had to pass over a great deal of broken ground, sometimes
ascending, sometimes descending, before we found ourselves upon the
side of what may actually be called the headland. Shaping our
course westward we came to the vicinity of a lighthouse standing on
the verge of a precipice, the foot of which was washed by the sea.

Leaving the lighthouse on our right we followed a steep winding
path which at last brought us to the top of the pen or summit,
rising, according to the judgment which I formed, about six hundred
feet from the surface of the sea. Here was a level spot some
twenty yards across, in the middle of which stood a heap of stones
or cairn. I asked the lad whether this cairn bore a name, and
received for answer that it was generally called Bar-cluder y Cawr
Glas, words which seem to signify the top heap of the Grey Giant.

"Some king, giant, or man of old renown lies buried beneath this
cairn," said I. "Whoever he may be, I trust he will excuse me for
mounting it, seeing that I do so with no disrespectful spirit."  I
then mounted the cairn, exclaiming:-

"Who lies 'neath the cairn on the headland hoar,
His hand yet holding his broad claymore,
Is it Beli, the son of Benlli Gawr?"

There stood I on the cairn of the Grey Giant, looking around me.
The prospect, on every side, was noble: the blue interminable sea
to the west and north; the whole stretch of Mona to the east; and
far away to the south the mountainous region of Eryri, comprising
some of the most romantic hills in the world. In some respects
this Pen Santaidd, this holy headland, reminded me of Finisterrae,
the Gallegan promontory which I had ascended some seventeen years
before, whilst engaged in battling the Pope with the sword of the
gospel in his favourite territory. Both are bold, bluff headlands
looking to the west, both have huge rocks in their vicinity, rising
from the bosom of the brine. For a time, as I stood on the cairn,
I almost imagined myself on the Gallegan hill; much the same
scenery presented itself as there, and a sun equally fierce struck
upon my head as that which assailed it on the Gallegan hill. For a
time all my thoughts were of Spain. It was not long, however,
before I bethought me that my lot was now in a different region,
that I had done with Spain for ever, after doing for her all that
lay in the power of a lone man, who had never in this world
anything to depend upon, but God and his own slight strength. Yes,
I had done with Spain, and was now in Wales; and, after a slight
sigh, my thoughts became all intensely Welsh. I thought on the old
times when Mona was the grand seat of Druidical superstition, when
adoration was paid to Dwy Fawr, and Dwy Fach, the sole survivors of
the apocryphal Deluge; to Hu the Mighty and his plough; to Ceridwen
and her cauldron; to Andras the Horrible; to Wyn ab Nudd, Lord of
Unknown, and to Beli, Emperor of the Sun. I thought on the times
when the Beal fire blazed on this height, on the neighbouring
promontory, on the cope-stone of Eryri, and on every high hill
throughout Britain on the eve of the first of May. I thought on
the day when the bands of Suetonius crossed the Menai strait in
their broad-bottomed boats, fell upon the Druids and their
followers, who with wild looks and brandished torches lined the
shore, slew hundreds with merciless butchery upon the plains, and
pursued the remainder to the remotest fastnesses of the isle. I
figured to myself long-bearded men with white vestments toiling up
the rocks, followed by fierce warriors with glittering helms and
short broad two-edged swords; I thought I heard groans, cries of
rage, and the dull, awful sound of bodies precipitated down rocks.
Then as I looked towards the sea I thought I saw the fleet of
Gryffith Ab Cynan steering from Ireland to Aber Menai, Gryffith,
the son of a fugitive king, born in Ireland, in the Commot of
Columbcille, Gryffith the frequently baffled, the often victorious;
once a manacled prisoner sweating in the sun, in the market-place
of Chester, eventually king of North Wales; Gryffith, who "though
he loved well the trumpet's clang loved the sound of the harp
better"; who led on his warriors to twenty-four battles, and
presided over the composition of the twenty-four measures of
Cambrian song. Then I thought -. But I should tire the reader
were I to detail all the intensely Welsh thoughts which crowded
into my head as I stood on the Cairn of the Grey Giant.

Satiated with looking about and thinking, I sprang from the cairn
and rejoined my guide. We now descended the eastern side of the
hill till we came to a singular looking stone, which had much the
appearance of a Druid's stone. I inquired of my guide whether
there was any tale connected with this stone.

"None," he replied; "but I have heard people say that it was a
strange stone, and on that account I brought you to look at it."

A little farther down he showed me part of a ruined wall.

"What name does this bear?" said I.

"Clawdd yr Afalon," he replied. "The dyke of the orchard."

"A strange place for an orchard," I replied. "If there was ever an
orchard on this bleak hill, the apples must have been very sour."

Over rocks and stones we descended till we found ourselves on a
road, not very far from the shore, on the south-east side of the

"I am very thirsty," said I, as I wiped the perspiration from my
face; "how I should like now to drink my fill of cool spring

"If your honour is inclined for water," said my guide, "I can take
you to the finest spring in all Wales."

"Pray do so," said I, "for I really am dying of thirst."

"It is on our way to the town," said the lad, "and is scarcely a
hundred yards off."

He then led me to the fountain. It was a little well under a stone
wall, on the left side of the way. It might be about two feet
deep, was fenced with rude stones, and had a bottom of sand.

"There," said the lad, "is the fountain. It is called the Fairies'
Well, and contains the best water in Wales."

I lay down and drank. Oh, what water was that of the Fairies'
Well! I drank and drank, and thought I could never drink enough of
that delicious water; the lad all the time saying that I need not
be afraid to drink, as the water of the Fairies' Well had never
done harm to anybody. At length I got up, and standing by the
fountain repeated the lines of a bard on a spring, not of a Welsh
but a Gaelic bard, which are perhaps the finest lines ever composed
on the theme. Yet MacIntyre, for such was his name, was like
myself an admirer of good ale, to say nothing of whiskey, and loved
to indulge in it at a proper time and place. But there is a time
and place for everything, and sometimes the warmest admirer of ale
would prefer the lymph of the hill-side fountain to the choicest
ale that ever foamed in tankard from the cellars of Holkham. Here
are the lines most faithfully rendered:-

"The wild wine of nature,
Honey-like in its taste,
The genial, fair, thin element
Filtering through the sands,
Which is sweeter than cinnamon,
And is well known to us hunters.
O, that eternal, healing draught,
Which comes from under the earth,
Which contains abundance of good
And costs no money!"

Returning to the hotel I satisfied my guide and dined. After
dinner I trifled agreeably with my brandy-and-water till it was
near seven o'clock, when I paid my bill, thought of the waiter and
did not forget Father Boots. I then took my departure, receiving
and returning bows, and walking to the station got into a first-
class carriage and soon found myself at Bangor.


The Inn at Bangor - Port Dyn Norwig - Sea Serpent - Thoroughly
Welsh Place - Blessing of Health.

I WENT to the same inn at Bangor at which I had been before. It
was Saturday night and the house was thronged with people who had
arrived by train from Manchester and Liverpool, with the intention
of passing the Sunday in the Welsh town. I took tea in an immense
dining or ball-room, which was, however, so crowded with guests
that its walls literally sweated. Amidst the multitude I felt
quite solitary - my beloved ones had departed for Llangollen, and
there was no one with whom I could exchange a thought or a word of
kindness. I addressed several individuals, and in every instance
repented; from some I got no answers, from others what was worse
than no answers at all - in every countenance near me suspicion,
brutality, or conceit, was most legibly imprinted - I was not
amongst Welsh, but the scum of manufacturing England.

Every bed in the house was engaged - the people of the house,
however, provided me a bed at a place which they called the
cottage, on the side of a hill in the outskirts of the town. There
I passed the night comfortably enough. At about eight in the
morning I arose, returned to the inn, breakfasted, and departed for
Beth Gelert by way of Caernarvon.

It was Sunday, and I had originally intended to pass the day at
Bangor, and to attend divine service twice at the Cathedral, but I
found myself so very uncomfortable, owing to the crowd of
interlopers, that I determined to proceed on my journey without
delay; making up my mind, however, to enter the first church I
should meet in which service was being performed; for it is really
not good to travel on the Sunday without going into a place of

The day was sunny and fiercely hot, as all the days had lately
been. In about an hour I arrived at Port Dyn Norwig: it stood on
the right side of the road. The name of this place, which I had
heard from the coachman who drove my family and me to Caernarvon
and Llanberis a few days before, had excited my curiosity with
respect to it, as it signifies the Port of the Norway man, so I now
turned aside to examine it. "No doubt," said I to myself, "the
place derives its name from the piratical Danes and Norse having
resorted to it in the old time."  Port Dyn Norwig seems to consist
of a creek, a staithe, and about a hundred houses: a few small
vessels were lying at the staithe. I stood about ten minutes upon
it staring about, and then feeling rather oppressed by the heat of
the sun, I bent my way to a small house which bore a sign, and from
which a loud noise of voices proceeded. "Have you good ale?" said
I in English to a good-looking buxom dame of about forty, whom I
saw in the passage.

She looked at me but returned no answer.

"Oes genoch cwrw da?" said I.

"Oes!" she replied with a smile, and opening the door of a room on
the left-hand bade me walk in.

I entered the room; six or seven men, seemingly sea-faring people,
were seated drinking and talking vociferously in Welsh. Their
conversation was about the sea-serpent: some believed in the
existence of such a thing, others did not. After a little time one
said, "Let us ask this gentleman for his opinion."

"And what would be the use of asking him?" said another, "we have
only Cumraeg, and he has only Saesneg."

"I have a little broken Cumraeg, at the service of this good
company," said I. "With respect to the snake of the sea I beg
leave to say that I believe in the existence of such a creature;
and am surprised that any people in these parts should not believe
in it: why, the sea-serpent has been seen in these parts."

"When was that, Gwr Boneddig?" said one of the company.

"About fifty years ago," said I. "Once in October, in the year
1805, as a small vessel of the Traeth was upon the Menai, sailing
very slowly, the weather being very calm, the people on board saw a
strange creature like an immense worm swimming after them. It soon
overtook them, climbed on board through the tiller-hole, and coiled
itself on the deck under the mast - the people at first were
dreadfully frightened, but taking courage they attacked it with an
oar and drove it overboard; it followed the vessel for some time,
but a breeze springing up they lost sight of it."

"And how did you learn this?" said the last who had addressed me.

"I read the story," said I, "in a pure Welsh book called the

"I now remember hearing the same thing," said an old man, "when I
was a boy; it had slipt out of my memory, but now I remember all
about it. The ship was called the ROBERT ELLIS. Are you of these
parts, gentleman?"

"No," said I, "I am not of these parts."

"Then you are of South Wales - indeed your Welsh is very different
from ours."

"I am not of South Wales," said I, "I am the seed not of the sea-
snake but of the coiling serpent, for so one of the old Welsh poets
called the Saxons."

"But how did you learn Welsh?" said the old man.

"I learned it by the grammar," said I, "a long time ago."

"Ah, you learnt it by the grammar," said the old man; "that
accounts for your Welsh being different from ours. We did not
learn our Welsh by the grammar - your Welsh is different from ours,
and of course better, being the Welsh of the grammar. Ah, it is a
fine thing to be a grammarian."

"Yes, it is a fine thing to be a grammarian," cried the rest of the
company, and I observed that everybody now regarded me with a kind
of respect.

A jug of ale which the hostess had brought me had been standing
before me some time. I now tasted it and found it very good.
Whilst despatching it, I asked various questions about the old
Danes, the reason why the place was called the port of the
Norwegian, and about its trade. The good folks knew nothing about
the old Danes, and as little as to the reason of its being called
the port of the Norwegian - but they said that besides that name it
bore that of Melin Heli, or the mill of the salt pool, and that
slates were exported from thence, which came from quarries close

Having finished my ale, I bade the company adieu and quitted Port
Dyn Norwig, one of the most thoroughly Welsh places I had seen, for
during the whole time I was in it, I heard no words of English
uttered, except the two or three spoken by myself. In about an
hour I reached Caernarvon.

The road from Bangor to Caernarvon is very good and the scenery
interesting - fine hills border it on the left, or south-east, and
on the right at some distance is the Menai with Anglesey beyond it.
Not far from Caernarvon a sandbank commences, extending for miles
up the Menai, towards Bangor, and dividing the strait into two.

I went to the Castle Inn which fronts the square or market-place,
and being shown into a room ordered some brandy-and-water, and sat
down. Two young men were seated in the room. I spoke to them and
received civil answers, at which I was rather astonished, as I
found by the tone of their voices that they were English. The air
of one was far superior to that of the other, and with him I was
soon in conversation. In the course of discourse he informed me
that being a martyr to ill-health he had come from London to Wales,
hoping that change of air, and exercise on the Welsh hills, would
afford him relief, and that his friend had been kind enough to
accompany him. That he had been about three weeks in Wales, had
taken all the exercise that he could, but that he was still very
unwell, slept little and had no appetite. I told him not to be
discouraged, but to proceed in the course which he had adopted till
the end of summer, by which time I thought it very probable that he
would be restored to his health, as he was still young. At these
words of mine a beam of hope brightened his countenance, and he
said that he had no other wish than to regain his health, and that
if he did he should be the happiest of men. The intense wish of
the poor young man for health caused me to think how insensible I
had hitherto been to the possession of the greatest of all
terrestrial blessings. I had always had the health of an elephant,
but I never remembered to have been sensible to the magnitude of
the blessing or in the slightest degree grateful to God who gave
it. I shuddered to think how I should feel if suddenly deprived of
my health. Far worse, no doubt, than that poor invalid. He was
young, and in youth there is hope - but I was no longer young. At
last, however, I thought that if God took away my health He might
so far alter my mind that I might be happy even without health, or
the prospect of it; and that reflection made me quite comfortable.


National School - The Young Preacher - Pont Bettws - Spanish Words
- Two Tongues, Two Faces - The Elephant's Snout - Llyn Cwellyn -
The Snowdon Ranger - My House - Castell y Cidwm - Descent to Beth

IT might be about three o'clock in the afternoon when I left
Caernarvon for Beth Gelert, distant about thirteen miles. I
journeyed through a beautiful country of hill and dale, woods and
meadows, the whole gilded by abundance of sunshine. After walking
about an hour without intermission I reached a village, and asked a
man the name of it.

"Llan - something," he replied.

As he was standing before a long building, through the open door of
which a sound proceeded like that of preaching, I asked him what
place it was, and what was going on in it, and received for answer
that it was the National School, and that there was a clergyman
preaching in it. I then asked if the clergyman was of the Church,
and on learning that he was, I forthwith entered the building,
where in one end of a long room I saw a young man in a white
surplice preaching from a desk to about thirty or forty people, who
were seated on benches before him. I sat down and listened. The
young man preached with great zeal and fluency. The sermon was a
very seasonable one, being about the harvest, and in it things
temporal and spiritual were very happily blended. The part of the
sermon which I heard - I regretted that I did not hear the whole -
lasted about five-and-twenty minutes: a hymn followed, and then
the congregation broke up. I inquired the name of the young man
who preached, and was told that it was Edwards, and that he came
from Caernarvon. The name of the incumbent of the parish was

Leaving the village of the harvest sermon I proceeded on my way
which lay to the south-east. I was now drawing nigh to the
mountainous district of Eryri; a noble hill called Mount Eilio
appeared before me to the north; an immense mountain called Pen
Drws Coed lay over against it on the south, just like a couchant
elephant with its head lower than the top of its back. After a
time I entered a most beautiful sunny valley, and presently came to
a bridge over a pleasant stream running in the direction of the
south. As I stood upon that bridge I almost fancied myself in
Paradise; everything looked so beautiful or grand - green, sunny
meadows lay all around me, intersected by the brook, the waters of
which ran with tinkling laughter over a shingly bottom. Noble
Eilio to the north; enormous Pen Drws Coed to the south; a tall
mountain far beyond them to the east. "I never was in such a
lovely spot!" I cried to myself in a perfect rapture. "Oh, how
glad I should be to learn the name of this bridge, standing on
which I have had 'Heaven opened to me,' as my old friends the
Spaniards used to say."  Scarcely had I said these words when I
observed a man and a woman coming towards the bridge in the
direction in which I was bound. I hastened to meet them in the
hope of obtaining information. They were both rather young, and
were probably a couple of sweethearts taking a walk or returning
from meeting. The woman was a few steps in advance of the man;
seeing that I was about to address her, she averted her head and
quickened her steps, and before I had completed the question, which
I put to her in Welsh, she had bolted past me screaming "Ah Dim
Seasneg," and was several yards distant.

I then addressed myself to the man who had stopped, asking him the
name of the bridge.

"Pont Bettws," he replied.

"And what may be the name of the river?" said I.

"Afon - something," said he.

And on my thanking him he went forward to the woman who was waiting
for him by the bridge.

"Is that man Welsh or English?" I heard her say when he had
rejoined her.

"I don't know," said the man - "he was civil enough; why were you
such a fool?"

"Oh, I thought he would speak to me in English," said the woman,
"and the thought of that horrid English puts me into such a
flutter; you know I can't speak a word of it."

They proceeded on their way and I proceeded on mine, and presently
coming to a little inn on the left side of the way, at the entrance
of a village, I went in.

A respectable-looking man and woman were seated at tea at a table
in a nice clean kitchen. I sat down on a chair near the table, and
called for ale - the ale was brought me in a jug - I drank some,
put the jug on the table, and began to discourse with the people in
Welsh. A handsome dog was seated on the ground; suddenly it laid
one of its paws on its master's knee.

"Down, Perro," said he.

"Perro!" said I; "why do you call the dog Perro?"

"We call him Perro," said the man, "because his name is Perro."

"But how came you to give him that name?" said I.

"We did not give it to him," said the man - "he bore that name when
he came into our hands; a farmer gave him to us when he was very
young, and told us his name was Perro."

"And how came the farmer to call him Perro?" said I.

"I don't know," said the man - "why do you ask?"

"Perro," said I, "is a Spanish word, and signifies a dog in
general. I am rather surprised that a dog in the mountains of
Wales should be called by the Spanish word for dog."  I fell into a
fit of musing. "How Spanish words are diffused! Wherever you go
you will find some Spanish word or other in use. I have heard
Spanish words used by Russian mujiks and Turkish fig-gatherers - I
have this day heard a Spanish word in the mountains of Wales, and I
have no doubt that were I to go to Iceland I should find Spanish
words used there. How can I doubt it; when I reflect that more
than six hundred years ago, one of the words to denote a bad woman
was Spanish. In the oldest of Icelandic domestic Sagas,
Skarphedin, the son of Nial the seer, called Hallgerdr, widow of
Gunnar, a puta - and that word so maddened Hallgerdr that she never
rested till she had brought about his destruction. Now, why this
preference everywhere for Spanish words over those of every other
language? I never heard French words or German words used by
Russian mujiks and Turkish fig-gatherers. I question whether I
should find any in Iceland forming part of the vernacular. I
certainly never found a French or even a German word in an old
Icelandic Saga. Why this partiality everywhere for Spanish words?
the question is puzzling; at any rate it puts me out - "

"Yes, it puts me out!" I exclaimed aloud, striking my fist on the
table with a vehemence which caused the good folks to start half up
from their seats. Before they could say anything, however, a
vehicle drove up to the door, and a man getting out came into the
room. He had a glazed hat on his head, and was dressed something
like the guard of a mail. He touched his hat to me, and called for
a glass of whiskey. I gave him the sele of the evening and entered
into conversation with him in English. In the course of discourse
I learned that he was the postman, and was going his rounds in his
cart - he was more than respectful to me, he was fawning and
sycophantic. The whiskey was brought, and he stood with the glass
in his hand. Suddenly he began speaking Welsh to the people;
before, however, he had uttered two sentences the woman lifted her
hand with an alarmed air, crying "Hush! he understands."  The
fellow was turning me to ridicule. I flung my head back, closed my
eyes, opened my mouth and laughed aloud. The fellow stood aghast;
his hand trembled, and he spilt the greater part of the whiskey
upon the ground. At the end of about half a minute I got up, asked
what I had to pay, and on being told twopence, I put down the
money. Then going up to the man I put my right forefinger very
near to his nose, and said "Dwy o iaith dwy o wyneb, two languages,
two faces, friend!"  Then after leering at him for a moment I
wished the people of the house good-evening and departed.

Walking rapidly on towards the east I soon drew near the
termination of the valley. The valley terminates in a deep gorge
or pass between Mount Eilio - which by-the-bye is part of the chine
of Snowdon - and Pen Drws Coed. The latter, that couchant elephant
with its head turned to the north-east, seems as if it wished to
bar the pass with its trunk; by its trunk I mean a kind of jaggy
ridge which descends down to the road. I entered the gorge,
passing near a little waterfall which with much noise runs down the
precipitous side of Mount Eilio; presently I came to a little mill
by the side of a brook running towards the east. I asked the
miller-woman, who was standing near the mill, with her head turned
towards the setting sun, the name of the mill and the stream. "The
mill is called 'The mill of the river of Lake Cwellyn,'" said she,
"and the river is called the river of Lake Cwellyn."

"And who owns the land?" said I.

"Sir Richard," said she. "I Sir Richard yw yn perthyn y tir. Mr
Williams, however, possesses some part of Mount Eilio."

"And who is Mr Williams?" said I.

"Who is Mr Williams?" said the miller's wife. "Ho, ho! what a
stranger you must be to ask me who is Mr Williams."

I smiled and passed on. The mill was below the level of the road,
and its wheel was turned by the water of a little conduit supplied
by the brook at some distance above the mill. I had observed
similar conduits employed for similar purposes in Cornwall. A
little below the mill was a weir, and a little below the weir the
river ran frothing past the extreme end of the elephant's snout.
Following the course of the river I at last emerged with it from
the pass into a valley surrounded by enormous mountains. Extending
along it from west to east, and occupying its entire southern part
lay an oblong piece of water, into which the streamlet of the pass
discharged itself. This was one of the many beautiful lakes, which
a few days before I had seen from the Wyddfa. As for the Wyddfa I
now beheld it high above me in the north-east looking very grand
indeed, shining like a silver helmet whilst catching the glories of
the setting sun.

I proceeded slowly along the road, the lake below me on my right
hand, whilst the shelvy side of Snowdon rose above me on the left.
The evening was calm and still, and no noise came upon my ear save
the sound of a cascade falling into the lake from a black mountain,
which frowned above it on the south, and cast a gloomy shadow far
over it.

This cataract was in the neighbourhood of a singular-looking rock,
projecting above the lake from the mountain's side. I wandered a
considerable way without meeting or seeing a single human being.
At last when I had nearly gained the eastern end of the valley I
saw two men seated on the side of the hill, on the verge of the
road, in the vicinity of a house which stood a little way up the
hill. The lake here was much wider than I had hitherto seen it,
for the huge mountain on the south had terminated and the lake
expanded considerably in that quarter, having instead of the black
mountain a beautiful hill beyond it.

I quickened my steps and soon came up to the two individuals. One
was an elderly man, dressed in a smock frock and with a hairy cap
on his head. The other was much younger, wore a hat, and was
dressed in a coarse suit of blue nearly new, and doubtless his
Sunday's best. He was smoking a pipe. I greeted them in English
and sat down near them. They responded in the same language, the
younger man with considerable civility and briskness, the other in
a tone of voice denoting some reserve.

"May I ask the name of this lake?" said I, addressing myself to the
young man who sat between me and the elderly one.

"Its name is Llyn Cwellyn, sir," said he, taking the pipe out of
his mouth. "And a fine lake it is."

"Plenty of fish in it?" I demanded.

"Plenty, sir; plenty of trout and pike and char."

"Is it deep?" said I.

"Near the shore it is shallow, sir, but in the middle and near the
other side it is deep, so deep that no one knows how deep it is."

"What is the name," said I, "of the great black mountain there on
the other side?"

"It is called Mynydd Mawr or the Great Mountain. Yonder rock,
which bulks out from it, down the lake yonder, and which you passed
as you came along, is called Castell Cidwm, which means Wolf's rock
or castle."

"Did a wolf ever live there?" I demanded.

"Perhaps so," said the man, "for I have heard say that there were
wolves of old in Wales."

"And what is the name of the beautiful hill yonder, before us
across the water?"

"That, sir, is called Cairn Drws y Coed," said the man.

"The stone heap of the gate of the wood," said I.

"Are you Welsh, sir?" said the man.

"No," said I, "but I know something of the language of Wales. I
suppose you live in that house?"

"Not exactly, sir, my father-in-law here lives in that house, and
my wife with him. I am a miner, and spend six days in the week at
my mine, but every Sunday I come here and pass the day with my wife
and him."

"And what profession does he follow?" said I; "is he a fisherman?"

"Fisherman!" said the elderly man contemptuously, "not I. I am the
Snowdon Ranger."

"And what is that?" said I.

The elderly man tossed his head proudly, and made no reply.

"A ranger means a guide, sir," said the younger man; "my father-in-
law is generally termed the Snowdon Ranger because he is a tip-top
guide, and he has named the house after him the Snowdon Ranger. He
entertains gentlemen in it who put themselves under his guidance in
order to ascend Snowdon and to see the country."

"There is some difference in your professions," said "he deals in
heights, you in depths, both, however, are break-necky trades."

"I run more risk from gunpowder than anything else," said the
younger man. "I am a slate-miner, and am continually blasting. I
have, however, had my falls. Are you going far to-night, sir?"

"I am going to Beth Gelert," said I.

"A good six miles, sir, from here. Do you come from Caernarvon?"

"Farther than that," said I. "I come from Bangor."

"To-day, sir, and walking?"

"To-day, and walking."

"You must be rather tired, sir, you came along the valley very

"I am not in the slightest degree tired," said I; "when I start
from here, I shall put on my best pace, and soon get to Beth

"Anybody can get along over level ground," said the old man,

"Not with equal swiftness," said I. "I do assure you, friend, to
be able to move at a good swinging pace over level ground is
something not to be sneezed at. Not," said I, lifting up my voice,
"that I would for a moment compare walking on the level ground to
mountain ranging, pacing along the road to springing up crags like
a mountain goat, or assert that even Powell himself, the first of
all road walkers, was entitled to so bright a wreath of fame as the
Snowdon Ranger."

"Won't you walk in, sir?" said the elderly man.

"No, I thank you," said I, "I prefer sitting out here gazing on the
lake and the noble mountains."

"I wish you would, sir," said the elderly man, "and take a glass of
something; I will charge you nothing."

"Thank you," said I, "I am in want of nothing, and shall presently
start. Do many people ascend Snowdon from your house?"

"Not so many as I could wish," said the ranger; "people in general
prefer ascending Snowdon from that trumpery place Beth Gelert; but
those who do are fools - begging your honour's pardon. The place
to ascend Snowdon from is my house. The way from my house up
Snowdon is wonderful for the romantic scenery which it affords;
that from Beth Gelert can't be named in the same day with it for
scenery; moreover, from my house you may have the best guide in
Wales; whereas the guides of Beth Gelert - but I say nothing. If
your honour is bound for the Wyddfa, as I suppose you are, you had
better start from my house to-morrow under my guidance."

"I have already been up the Wyddfa from Llanberis," said I, "and am
now going through Beth Gelert to Llangollen, where my family are;
were I going up Snowdon again I should most certainly start from
your house under your guidance, and were I not in a hurry at
present, I would certainly take up my quarters here for a week, and
every day snake excursions with you into the recesses of Eryri. I
suppose you are acquainted with all the secrets of the hills?"

"Trust the old ranger for that, your honour. I would show your
honour the black lake in the frightful hollow in which the fishes
have monstrous heads and little bodies, the lake on which neither
swan, duck nor any kind of wildfowl was ever seen to light. Then I
would show your honour the fountain of the hopping creatures,
where, where - "

"Were you ever at that Wolf's crag, that Castell y Cidwm?" said I.

"Can't say I ever was, your honour. You see it lies so close by,
just across the lake, that - "

"You thought you could see it any day, and so never went," said I.
"Can you tell me whether there are any ruins upon it?"

"I can't, your honour."

"I shouldn't wonder," said I, "if in old times it was the
stronghold of some robber-chieftain; cidwm in the old Welsh is
frequently applied to a ferocious man. Castell Cidwm, I should
think, rather ought to be translated the robber's castle than the
wolf's rock. If I ever come into these parts again you and I will
visit it together, and see what kind of place it is. Now farewell!
It is getting late."  I then departed.

"What a nice gentleman!" said the younger man, when I was a few
yards distant.

"I never saw a nicer gentleman," said the old ranger.

I sped along, Snowdon on my left, the lake on my right, and the tip
of a mountain peak right before me in the east. After a little
time I looked back; what a scene! The silver lake and the shadowy
mountain over its southern side looking now, methought, very much
like Gibraltar. I lingered and lingered, gazing and gazing, and at
last only by an effort tore myself away. The evening had now
become delightfully cool in this land of wonders. On I sped,
passing by two noisy brooks coming from Snowdon to pay tribute to
the lake. And now I had left the lake and the valley behind, and
was ascending a hill. As I gained its summit, up rose the moon to
cheer my way. In a little time, a wild stony gorge confronted me,
a stream ran down the gorge with hollow roar, a bridge lay across
it. I asked a figure whom I saw standing by the bridge the place's
name. "Rhyd du" - the black ford - I crossed the bridge. The
voice of the Methodist was yelling from a little chapel on my left.
I went to the door and listened: "When the sinner takes hold of
God, God takes hold of the sinner."  The voice was frightfully
hoarse. I passed on: night fell fast around me, and the mountain
to the south-east, towards which I was tending, looked blackly
grand. And now I came to a milestone on which I read with
difficulty: "Three miles to Beth Gelert."  The way for some time
had been upward, but now it was downward. I reached a torrent,
which coming from the north-west rushed under a bridge, over which
I passed. The torrent attended me on my right hand the whole way
to Beth Gelert. The descent now became very rapid. I passed a
pine wood on my left, and proceeded for more than two miles at a
tremendous rate. I then came to a wood - this wood was just above
Beth Gelert - proceeding in the direction of a black mountain, I
found myself amongst houses, at the bottom of a valley. I passed
over a bridge, and inquiring of some people whom I met the way to
the inn, was shown an edifice brilliantly lighted up, which I


Inn at Beth Gelert - Delectable Company - Lieutenant P-.

THE inn or hotel at Beth Gelert was a large and commodious
building, and was anything but thronged with company; what company,
however, there was, was disagreeable enough, perhaps more so than
that in which I had been the preceding evening, which was composed
of the scum of Manchester and Liverpool; the company amongst which
I now was, consisted of seven or eight individuals, two of them
were military puppies, one a tallish fellow, who though evidently
upwards of thirty, affected the airs of a languishing girl, and
would fain have made people believe that he was dying of ENNUI and
lassitude. The other was a short spuddy fellow, with a broad ugly
face and with spectacles on his nose, who talked very
consequentially about "the service" and all that, but whose tone of
voice was coarse and his manner that of an under-bred person; then
there was an old fellow about sixty-five, a civilian, with a red
carbuncled face; he was father of the spuddy military puppy, on
whom he occasionally cast eyes of pride and almost adoration, and
whose sayings he much applauded, especially certain DOUBLES
ENTENDRES, to call them by no harsher term, directed to a fat girl,
weighing some fifteen stone, who officiated in the coffee-room as
waiter. Then there was a creature to do justice to whose
appearance would require the pencil of a Hogarth. He was about
five feet three inches and a quarter high, and might have weighed,
always provided a stone weight had been attached to him, about half
as much as the fat girl. His countenance was cadaverous and was
eternally agitated by something between a grin and a simper. He
was dressed in a style of superfine gentility, and his skeleton
fingers were bedizened with tawdry rings. His conversation was
chiefly about his bile and his secretions, the efficacy of licorice
in producing a certain effect, and the expediency of changing one's
linen at least three times a day; though had he changed his six, I
should have said that the purification of the last shirt would have
been no sinecure to the laundress. His accent was decidedly
Scotch: he spoke familiarly of Scott and one or two other Scotch
worthies, and more than once insinuated that he was a member of
Parliament. With respect to the rest of the company I say nothing,
and for the very sufficient reason that, unlike the above described
batch, they did not seem disposed to be impertinent towards me.

Eager to get out of such society I retired early to bed. As I left
the room the diminutive Scotch individual was describing to the old
simpleton, who on the ground of the other's being a "member," was
listening to him with extreme attention, how he was labouring under
an access of bile owing to his having left his licorice somewhere
or other. I passed a quiet night, and in the morning breakfasted,
paid my bill, and departed. As I went out of the coffee-room the
spuddy, broad-faced military puppy with spectacles was vociferating
to the languishing military puppy, and to his old simpleton of a
father, who was listening to him with his usual look of undisguised
admiration, about the absolute necessity of kicking Lieutenant P-
out of the army for having disgraced "the service."  Poor P-, whose
only crime was trying to defend himself with fist and candlestick
from the manual attacks of his brutal messmates.


The Valley of Gelert - Legend of the Dog - Magnificent Scenery -
The Knicht - Goats in Wales - The Frightful Crag - Temperance House
- Smile and Curtsey.

BETH GELERT is situated in a valley surrounded by huge hills, the
most remarkable of which are Moel Hebog and Cerrig Llan; the former
fences it on the south, and the latter, which is quite black and
nearly perpendicular, on the east. A small stream rushes through
the valley, and sallies forth by a pass at its south-eastern end.
The valley is said by some to derive its name of Beddgelert, which
signifies the grave of Celert, from being the burial-place of
Celert, a British saint of the sixth century, to whom Llangeler in
Carmarthenshire is believed to have been consecrated, but the
popular and most universally received tradition is that it has its
name from being the resting-place of a faithful dog called Celert
or Gelert, killed by his master, the warlike and celebrated
Llywelyn ab Jorwerth, from an unlucky misapprehension. Though the
legend is known to most people, I shall take the liberty of
relating it.

Llywelyn during his contests with the English had encamped with a
few followers in the valley, and one day departed with his men on
an expedition, leaving his infant son in a cradle in his tent,
under the care of his hound Gelert, after giving the child its fill
of goat's milk. Whilst he was absent a wolf from the neighbouring
mountains, in quest of prey, found its way into the tent, and was
about to devour the child, when the watchful dog interfered, and
after a desperate conflict, in which the tent was torn down,
succeeded in destroying the monster. Llywelyn returning at evening
found the tent on the ground, and the dog, covered with blood,
sitting beside it. Imagining that the blood with which Gelert was
besmeared was that of his own son devoured by the animal to whose
care he had confided him, Llywelyn in a paroxysm of natural
indignation forthwith transfixed the faithful creature with his
spear. Scarcely, however, had he done so when his ears were
startled by the cry of a child from beneath the fallen tent, and
hastily removing the canvas he found the child in its cradle, quite
uninjured, and the body of an enormous wolf, frightfully torn and
mangled, lying near. His breast was now filled with conflicting
emotions, joy for the preservation of his son, and grief for the
fate of his dog, to whom he forthwith hastened. The poor animal
was not quite dead, but presently expired, in the act of licking
his master's hand. Llywelyn mourned over him as over a brother,
buried him with funeral honours in the valley, and erected a tomb
over him as over a hero. From that time the valley was called Beth

Such is the legend, which, whether true or fictitious, is
singularly beautiful and affecting.

The tomb, or what is said to be the tomb, of Gelert, stands in a
beautiful meadow just below the precipitous side of Cerrig Llan:
it consists of a large slab lying on its side, and two upright
stones. It is shaded by a weeping willow, and is surrounded by a
hexagonal paling. Who is there acquainted with the legend, whether
he believes that the dog lies beneath those stones or not, can
visit them without exclaiming with a sigh, "Poor Gelert!"

After wandering about the valley for some time, and seeing a few of
its wonders, I inquired my way for Festiniog, and set off for that
place. The way to it is through the pass at the south-east end of
the valley. Arrived at the entrance of the pass I turned round to
look at the scenery I was leaving behind me; the view which
presented itself to my eyes was very grand and beautiful. Before
me lay the meadow of Gelert with the river flowing through it
towards the pass. Beyond the meadow the Snowdon range; on the
right the mighty Cerrig Llan; on the left the equally mighty, but
not quite so precipitous, Hebog. Truly, the valley of Gelert is a
wondrous valley - rivalling for grandeur and beauty any vale either
in the Alps or Pyrenees. After a long and earnest view I turned
round again and proceeded on my way.

Presently I came to a bridge bestriding the stream, which a man
told me was called Pont Aber Glas Lyn, or the bridge of the
debouchement of the grey lake. I soon emerged from the pass, and
after proceeding some way stopped again to admire the scenery. To
the west was the Wyddfa; full north was a stupendous range of
rocks; behind them a conical peak seemingly rivalling the Wyddfa
itself in altitude; between the rocks and the road, where I stood,
was beautiful forest scenery. I again went on, going round the
side of a hill by a gentle ascent. After a little time I again
stopped to look about me. There was the rich forest scenery to the
north, behind it were the rocks and behind the rocks rose the
wonderful conical hill impaling heaven; confronting it to the
south-east, was a huge lumpish hill. As I stood looking about me I
saw a man coming across a field which sloped down to the road from
a small house. He presently reached me, stopped and smiled. A
more open countenance than his I never saw in all the days of my

"Dydd dachwi, sir," said the man of the open countenance, "the
weather is very showy."

"Very showy, indeed," said I; "I was just now wishing for somebody,
of whom I might ask a question or two."

"Perhaps I can answer those questions, sir?"

"Perhaps you can. What is the name of that wonderful peak sticking
up behind the rocks to the north?"

"Many people have asked that question, sir, and I have given them
the answer which I now give you. It is called the 'Knicht,' sir;
and a wondrous hill it is."

"And what is the name of yonder hill opposite to it, to the south,
rising like one big lump."

"I do not know the name of that hill, sir, farther than that I have
heard it called the Great Hill."

"And a very good name for it," said I; "do you live in that house?"

"I do, sir, when I am at home."

"And what occupation do you follow?"

"I am a farmer, though a small one."

"Is your farm your own?"

"It is not, sir: I am not so far rich."

"Who is your landlord?"

"Mr Blicklin, sir. He is my landlord."

"Is he a good landlord?"

"Very good, sir, no one can wish for a better landlord."

"Has he a wife?"

"In truth, sir, he has; and a very good wife she is."

"Has he children?"

"Plenty, sir; and very fine children they are."

"Is he Welsh?"

"He is, sir! Cumro pur iawn."

"Farewell," said I; "I shall never forget you; you are the first
tenant I ever heard speak well of his landlord, or any one
connected with him."

"Then you have not spoken to the other tenants of Mr Blicklin, sir.
Every tenant of Mr Blicklin would say the same of him as I have
said, and of his wife and his children too. Good-day, sir!"

I wended on my way; the sun was very powerful; saw cattle in a pool
on my right, maddened with heat and flies, splashing and fighting.
Presently I found myself with extensive meadows on my right, and a
wall of rocks on my left, on a lofty bank below which I saw goats
feeding; beautiful creatures they were, white and black, with long
silky hair, and long upright horns. They were of large size, and
very different in appearance from the common race. These were the
first goats which I had seen in Wales; for Wales is not at present
the land of goats, whatever it may have been.

I passed under a crag exceedingly lofty, and of very frightful
appearance. It hung menacingly over the road. With this crag the
wall of rocks terminated; beyond it lay an extensive strath,
meadow, or marsh bounded on the cast by a lofty hill. The road lay
across the marsh. I went forward, crossed a bridge over a
beautiful streamlet, and soon arrived at the foot of the hill. The
road now took a turn to the right, that is to the south, and seemed
to lead round the hill. Just at the turn of the road stood a small
neat cottage. There was a board over the door with an inscription.
I drew nigh and looked at it, expecting that it would tell me that
good ale was sold within, and read: "Tea made here, the draught
which cheers but not inebriates."  I was before what is generally
termed a temperance house.

"The bill of fare does not tempt you, sir," said a woman who made
her appearance at the door, just as I was about to turn away with
an exceedingly wry face.

"It does not," said I, "and you ought to be ashamed of yourself to
have nothing better to offer to a traveller than a cup of tea. I
am faint; and I want good ale to give me heart, not wishy-washy tea
to take away the little strength I have."

"What would you have me do, sir? Glad should I be to have a cup of
ale to offer you, but the magistrates, when I applied to them for a
licence, refused me one; so I am compelled to make a cup of tea, in
order to get a crust of bread. And if you choose to step in, I
will make you a cup of tea, not wishy-washy, I assure you, but as
good as ever was brewed."

"I had tea for my breakfast at Beth Gelert," said I, "and want no
more till to-morrow morning. What's the name of that strange-
looking crag across the valley?"

"We call it Craig yr hyll ddrem, sir; which means - I don't know
what it means in English."

"Does it mean the crag of the frightful look?"

"It does, sir," said the woman; "ah, I see you understand Welsh.
Sometimes it's called Allt Traeth."

"The high place of the sandy channel," said I; "did the sea ever
come up here?"

"I can't say, sir; perhaps it did; who knows?"

"I shouldn't wonder," said I, "if there was once an arm of the sea
between that crag and this hill. Thank you! Farewell."

"Then you won't walk in, sir?

"Not to drink tea," said I, "tea is a good thing at a proper time,
but were I to drink it now, it would make me ill."

"Pray, sir, walk in," said the woman, "and perhaps I can
accommodate you."

"Then you have ale?" said I.

"No, sir; not a drop, but perhaps I can set something before you
which you will like as well."

"That I question," said I, "however, I will walk in."

The woman conducted me into a nice little parlour, and, leaving me,
presently returned with a bottle and tumbler on a tray.

"Here, sir," said she, "is something, which though not ale, I hope
you will be able to drink."

"What is it?" said I.

"It is -, sir; and better never was drunk."

I tasted it; it was terribly strong. Those who wish for either
whisky or brandy far above proof, should always go to a temperance

I told the woman to bring me some water, and she brought me a jug
of water cold from the spring. With a little of the contents of
the bottle, and a deal of the contents of the jug, I made myself a
beverage tolerable enough; a poor substitute, however, to a genuine
Englishman for his proper drink, the liquor which, according to the
Edda, is called by men ale, and by the gods beer.

I asked the woman whether she could read; she told me that she
could, both Welsh and English; she likewise informed me that she
had several books in both languages. I begged her to show me some,
whereupon she brought me some half dozen, and placing them on the
table left me to myself. Amongst the books was a volume of poems
in Welsh, written by Robert Williams of Betws Fawr, styled in
poetic language, Gwilym Du O Eifion. The poems were chiefly on
religious subjects. The following lines which I copied from
"Pethau a wnaed mewn Gardd," or things written in a garden,
appeared to me singularly beautiful:-

"Mewn gardd y cafodd dyn ei dwyllo;
Mewn gardd y rhoed oddewid iddo;
Mewn gardd bradychwyd Iesu hawddgar;
Mewn gardd amdowyd ef mewn daear."

"In a garden the first of our race was deceived;
In a garden the promise of grace he received;
In a garden was Jesus betrayed to His doom;
In a garden His body was laid in the tomb."

Having finished my glass of "summut" and my translation, I called
to the woman and asked her what I had to pay.

"Nothing," said she, "if you had had a cup of tea I should have
charged sixpence."

"You make no charge," said I, "for what I have had?"

"Nothing, sir, nothing."

"But suppose," said I, "I were to give you something by way of
present would you - " and here I stopped. The woman smiled.

"Would you fling it in my face?" said I.

"Oh dear, no, sir," said the woman, smiling more than before.

I gave her something - it was not a sixpence - at which she not
only smiled but curtseyed; then bidding her farewell I went out of
the door.

I was about to take the broad road, which led round the hill, when
she inquired of me where I was going, and on my telling her to
Festiniog, she advised me to go by a by-road behind the house which
led over the hill.

"If you do, sir," said she, "you will see some of the finest
prospects in Wales, get into the high road again, and save a mile
and a half of way."

I told the temperance woman I would follow her advice, whereupon
she led me behind the house, pointed to a rugged path, which with a
considerable ascent seemed to lead towards the north, and after
giving certain directions, not very intelligible, returned to her
temperance temple.


Spanish Proverb - The Short Cut - Predestinations - Rhys Goch - Old
Crusty - Undercharging - The Cavalier.

THE Spaniards have a proverb: "No hay atajo sin trabajo," there is
no short cut without a deal of labour. This proverb is very true,
as I know by my own experience, for I never took a short cut in my
life, and I have taken many in my wanderings, without falling down,
getting into a slough, or losing my way. On the present occasion I
lost my way, and wandered about for nearly two hours amidst rocks,
thickets, and precipices, without being able to find it. The
temperance woman, however, spoke nothing but the truth when she
said I should see some fine scenery. From a rock I obtained a
wonderful view of the Wyddfa towering in sublime grandeur in the
west, and of the beautiful, but spectral, Knicht shooting up high
in the north; and from the top of a bare hill I obtained a prospect
to the south, noble indeed - waters, forests, hoary mountains, and
in the far distance the sea. But all these fine prospects were a
poor compensation for what I underwent: I was scorched by the sun,
which was insufferably hot, and my feet were bleeding from the
sharp points of the rocks which cut through my boots like razors.
At length coming to a stone wall I flung myself down under it, and
almost thought that I should give up the ghost. After some time,
however, I recovered, and getting up tried to find my way out of
the anialwch. Sheer good fortune caused me to stumble upon a path,
by following which I came to a lone farm-house, where a good-
natured woman gave me certain directions by means of which I at
last got out of the hot stony wilderness, for such it was, upon a
smooth royal road.

"Trust me again taking any short cuts," said I, "after the specimen
I have just had."  This, however, I had frequently said before, and
have said since after taking short cuts - and probably shall often
say again before I come to my great journey's end.

I turned to the east which I knew to be my proper direction, and
being now on smooth ground put my legs to their best speed. The
road by a rapid descent conducted me to a beautiful valley with a
small town at its southern end. I soon reached the town, and on
inquiring its name found I was in Tan y Bwlch, which interpreted
signifieth "Below the Pass."  Feeling much exhausted I entered the
Grapes Inn.

On my calling for brandy and water I was shown into a handsome
parlour. The brandy and water soon restored the vigour which I had
lost in the wilderness. In the parlour was a serious-looking
gentleman, with a glass of something before him. With him, as I
sipped my brandy and water, I got into discourse. The discourse
soon took a religious turn, and terminated in a dispute. He told
me he believed in divine predestination; I told him I did not, but
that I believed in divine prescience. He asked me whether I hoped
to be saved; I told him I did, and asked him whether he hoped to be
saved. He told me he did not, and as he said so, he tapped with a
silver tea-spoon on the rim of his glass. I said that he seemed to
take very coolly the prospect of damnation; he replied that it was
of no use taking what was inevitable otherwise than coolly. I
asked him on what ground he imagined he should be lost; he replied
on the ground of being predestined to be lost. I asked him how he
knew he was predestined to be lost; whereupon he asked me how I
knew I was to be saved. I told him I did not know I was to be
saved, but trusted I should be so by belief in Christ, who came
into the world to save sinners, and that if he believed in Christ
he might be as easily saved as myself, or any other sinner who
believed in Him. Our dispute continued a considerable time longer.
At last, finding him silent, and having finished my brandy and
water, I got up, rang the bell, paid for what I had had, and left
him looking very miserable, perhaps at finding that he was not
quite so certain of eternal damnation as he had hitherto supposed.
There can be no doubt that the idea of damnation is anything but
disagreeable to some people; it gives them a kind of gloomy
consequence in their own eyes. We must be something particular
they think, or God would hardly think it worth His while to torment
us for ever.

I inquired the way to Festiniog, and finding that I had passed by
it on my way to the town, I went back, and as directed turned to
the east up a wide pass, down which flowed a river. I soon found
myself in another and very noble valley, intersected by the river
which was fed by numerous streams rolling down the sides of the
hills. The road which I followed in the direction of the east lay
on the southern side of the valley and led upward by a steep
ascent. On I went, a mighty hill close on my right. My mind was
full of enthusiastic fancies; I was approaching Festiniog the
birthplace of Rhys Goch, who styled himself Rhys Goch of Eryri or
Red Rhys of Snowdon, a celebrated bard, and a partisan of Owen
Glendower, who lived to an immense age, and who, as I had read, was
in the habit of composing his pieces seated on a stone which formed
part of a Druidical circle, for which reason the stone was called
the chair of Rhys Goch; yes, my mind was full of enthusiastic
fancies all connected with this Rhys Goch, and as I went along
slowly, I repeated stanzas of furious war songs of his exciting his
countrymen to exterminate the English, and likewise snatches of an
abusive ode composed by him against a fox who had run away with his
favourite peacock, a piece so abounding with hard words that it was
termed the Drunkard's chokepear, as no drunkard was ever able to
recite it, and ever and anon I wished I could come in contact with
some native of the region with whom I could talk about Rhys Goch,
and who could tell me whereabouts stood his chair.

Strolling along in this manner I was overtaken by an old fellow
with a stick in his hand, walking very briskly. He had a crusty
and rather conceited look. I spoke to him in Welsh, and he
answered in English, saying that I need not trouble myself by
speaking Welsh, as he had plenty of English, and of the very best.
We were from first to last at cross purposes. I asked him about
Rhys Goch and his chair. He told me that he knew nothing of
either, and began to talk of Her Majesty's ministers and the fine
sights of London. I asked him the name of a stream which,
descending a gorge on our right, ran down the side of a valley, to
join the river at its bottom. He told me that he did not know, and
asked me the name of the Queen's eldest daughter. I told him I did
not know, and remarked that it was very odd that he could not tell
me the name of a stream in his own vale. He replied that it was
not a bit more odd than that I could not tell him the name of the
eldest daughter of the Queen of England: I told him that when I
was in Wales I wanted to talk about Welsh matters, and he told me
that when he was with English he wanted to talk about English
matters. I returned to the subject of Rhys Goch and his chair, and
he returned to the subject of Her Majesty's ministers, and the fine
folks of London. I told him that I cared not a straw about Her
Majesty's ministers and the fine folks of London, and he replied
that he cared not a straw for Rhys Goch, his chair or old women's
stories of any kind.

Regularly incensed against the old fellow, I told him he was a bad
Welshman, and he retorted by saying I was a bad Englishman. I said
he appeared to know next to nothing. He retorted by saying I knew
less than nothing, and almost inarticulate with passion added that
he scorned to walk in such illiterate company, and suiting the
action to the word sprang up a steep and rocky footpath on the
right, probably a short cut to his domicile, and was out of sight
in a twinkling. We were both wrong: I most so. He was crusty and
conceited, but I ought to have humoured him and then I might have
got out of him anything he knew, always supposing that he knew

About an hour's walk from Tan y Bwlch brought me to Festiniog,
which is situated on the top of a lofty hill looking down from the
south-east, on the valley which I have described, and which as I
know not its name I shall style the Valley of the numerous streams.
I went to the inn, a large old-fashioned house standing near the
church; the mistress of it was a queer-looking old woman,
antiquated in her dress and rather blunt in her manner. Of her,
after ordering dinner, I made inquiries respecting the chair of
Rhys Goch, but she said that she had never heard of such a thing,
and after glancing at me askew, for a moment, with a curiously-
formed left eye which she had, went away muttering chair, chair;
leaving me in a large and rather dreary parlour, to which she had
shown me. I felt very fatigued, rather I believe from that unlucky
short cut than from the length of the way, for I had not come more
than eighteen miles. Drawing a chair towards a table I sat down,
and placing my elbows upon the board I leaned my face upon my
upturned hands, and presently fell into a sweet sleep, from which I
awoke exceedingly refreshed just as a maid opened the room door to
lay the cloth.

After dinner I got up, went out and strolled about the place. It
was small, and presented nothing very remarkable. Tired of
strolling I went and leaned my back against the wall of the
churchyard and enjoyed the cool of the evening, for evening with
its coolness and shadows had now come on.

As I leaned against the wall, an elderly man came up and entered
into discourse with me. He told me he was a barber by profession,
had travelled all over Wales, and had seen London. I asked him
about the chair of Rhys Goch. He told me that he had heard of some
such chair a long time ago, but could give me no information as to
where it stood. I know not how it happened that he came to speak
about my landlady, but speak about her he did. He said that she
was a good kind of woman, but totally unqualified for business, as
she knew not how to charge. On my observing that that was a piece
of ignorance with which few landladies or landlords either were
taxable, he said that however other publicans might overcharge,
undercharging was her foible, and that she had brought herself very
low in the world by it - that to his certain knowledge she might
have been worth thousands instead of the trifle which she was
possessed of, and that she was particularly notorious for
undercharging the English, a thing never before dreamt of in Wales.
I told him that I was very glad that I had come under the roof of
such a landlady; the old barber, however, said that she was setting
a bad example, that such goings on could not last long, that he
knew how things would end, and finally working himself up into a
regular tiff left me abruptly without wishing me good-night.

I returned to the inn, and called for lights; the lights were
placed upon the table in the old-fashioned parlour, and I was left
to myself. I walked up and down the room some time. At length,
seeing some old books lying in a corner, I laid hold of them,
carried them to the table, sat down and began to inspect them; they
were the three volumes of Scott's "Cavalier" - I had seen this work
when a youth, and thought it a tiresome trashy publication.
Looking over it now when I was grown old I thought so still, but I
now detected in it what from want of knowledge I had not detected
in my early years, what the highest genius, had it been manifested
in every page, could not have compensated for, base fulsome
adulation of the worthless great, and most unprincipled libelling
of the truly noble ones of the earth, because they the sons of
peasants and handycraftsmen, stood up for the rights of outraged
humanity, and proclaimed that it is worth makes the man and not
embroidered clothing. The heartless, unprincipled son of the
tyrant was transformed in that worthless book into a slightly-
dissipated, it is true, but upon the whole brave, generous and
amiable being; and Harrison, the English Regulus, honest, brave,
unflinching Harrison, into a pseudo-fanatic, a mixture of the rogue
and fool. Harrison, probably the man of the most noble and
courageous heart that England ever produced, who when all was lost
scorned to flee, like the second Charles from Worcester, but,
braved infamous judges and the gallows, who when reproached on his
mock trial with complicity in the death of the king, gave the noble
answer that "It was a thing not done in a corner," and when in the
cart on the way to Tyburn, on being asked jeeringly by a lord's
bastard in the crowd, "Where is the good old cause now?" thrice
struck his strong fist on the breast which contained his courageous
heart, exclaiming, "Here, here, here!"  Yet for that "Cavalier,"
that trumpery publication, the booksellers of England, on its first
appearance, gave an order to the amount of six thousand pounds.
But they were wise in their generation; they knew that the book
would please the base, slavish taste of the age, a taste which the
author of the work had had no slight share in forming.

Tired after a while with turning over the pages of the trashy
"Cavalier" I returned the volumes to their place in the corner,
blew out one candle, and taking the other in my hand marched off to


The Bill - The Two Mountains - Sheet of Water - The Afanc-Crocodile
- The Afanc-Beaver - Tai Hirion - Kind Woman - Arenig Vawr - The
Beam and Mote - Bala.

AFTER breakfasting I demanded my bill. I was curious to see how
little the amount would be, for after what I had heard from the old
barber the preceding evening about the utter ignorance of the
landlady in making a charge, I naturally expected that I should
have next to nothing to pay. When it was brought, however, and the
landlady brought it herself, I could scarcely believe my eyes.
Whether the worthy woman had lately come to a perception of the
folly of undercharging, and had determined to adopt a different
system; whether it was that seeing me the only guest in the house
she had determined to charge for my entertainment what she usually
charged for that of two or three - strange by-the-bye that I should
be the only guest in a house notorious for undercharging - I know
not, but certain it is the amount of the bill was far, far from the
next to nothing which the old barber had led me to suppose I should
have to pay, who perhaps after all had very extravagant ideas with
respect to making out a bill for a Saxon. It was, however, not a
very unconscionable bill, and merely amounted to a trifle more than
I had paid at Beth Gelert for somewhat better entertainment.

Having paid the bill without demur and bidden the landlady
farewell, who displayed the same kind of indifferent bluntness
which she had manifested the day before, I set off in the direction
of the east, intending that my next stage should be Bala. Passing
through a tollgate I found myself in a kind of suburb consisting of
a few cottages. Struck with the neighbouring scenery, I stopped to
observe it. A mighty mountain rises in the north almost abreast of
Festiniog; another towards the east divided into two of unequal
size. Seeing a woman of an interesting countenance seated at the
door of a cottage I pointed to the hill towards the north, and
speaking the Welsh language, inquired its name.

"That hill, sir," said she, "is called Moel Wyn."

Now Moel Wyn signifies the white, bare hill.

"And how do you call those two hills towards the east?"

"We call one, sir, Mynydd Mawr, the other Mynydd Bach."

Now Mynydd Mawr signifies the great mountain and Mynydd Bach the
little one.

"Do any people live in those hills?"

"The men who work the quarries, sir, live in those hills. They and
their wives and their children. No other people."

"Have you any English?"

"I have not, sir. No people who live on this side the talcot
(tollgate) for a long way have any English."

I proceeded on my journey. The country for some way eastward of
Festiniog is very wild and barren, consisting of huge hills without
trees or verdure. About three miles' distance, however, there is a
beautiful valley, which you look down upon from the southern side
of the road, after having surmounted a very steep ascent. This
valley is fresh and green and the lower parts of the hills on its
farther side are, here and there, adorned with groves. At the
eastern end is a deep, dark gorge, or ravine, down which tumbles a
brook in a succession of small cascades. The ravine is close by
the road. The brook after disappearing for a time shows itself
again far down in the valley, and is doubtless one of the
tributaries of the Tan y Bwlch river, perhaps the very same brook
the name of which I could not learn the preceding day in the vale.

As I was gazing on the prospect an old man driving a peat cart came
from the direction in which I was going. I asked him the name of
the ravine and he told me it was Ceunant Coomb or hollow-dingle
coomb. I asked the name of the brook, and he told me that it was
called the brook of the hollow-dingle coomb, adding that it ran
under Pont Newydd, though where that was I knew not. Whilst he was
talking with me he stood uncovered. Yes, the old peat driver stood
with his hat in his hand whilst answering the questions of the
poor, dusty foot-traveller. What a fine thing to be an Englishman
in Wales!

In about an hour I came to a wild moor; the moor extended for miles
and miles. It was bounded on the east and south by immense hills
and moels. On I walked at a round pace, the sun scorching me sore,
along a dusty, hilly road, now up, now down. Nothing could be
conceived more cheerless than the scenery around. The ground on
each side of the road was mossy and rushy - no houses - instead of
them were neat stacks, here and there, standing in their blackness.
Nothing living to be seen except a few miserable sheep picking the
wretched herbage, or lying panting on the shady side of the peat
clumps. At length I saw something which appeared to be a sheet of
water at the bottom of a low ground on my right. It looked far off
- "Shall I go and see what it is?" thought I to myself. "No,"
thought I. "It is too far off" - so on I walked till I lost sight
of it, when I repented and thought I would go and see what it was.
So I dashed down the moory slope on my right, and presently saw the
object again - and now I saw that it was water. I sped towards it
through gorse and heather, occasionally leaping a deep drain. At
last I reached it. It was a small lake. Wearied and panting I
flung myself on its bank and gazed upon it.

There lay the lake in the low bottom, surrounded by the heathery
hillocks; there it lay quite still, the hot sun reflected upon its
surface, which shone like a polished blue shield. Near the shore
it was shallow, at least near that shore upon which I lay. But
farther on, my eye, practised in deciding upon the depths of
waters, saw reason to suppose that its depth was very great. As I
gazed upon it my mind indulged in strange musings. I thought of
the afanc, a creature which some have supposed to be the harmless
and industrious beaver, others the frightful and destructive
crocodile. I wondered whether the afanc was the crocodile or the
beaver, and speedily had no doubt that the name was originally
applied to the crocodile.

"Oh, who can doubt," thought I, "that the word was originally
intended for something monstrous and horrible? Is there not
something horrible in the look and sound of the word afanc,
something connected with the opening and shutting of immense jaws,
and the swallowing of writhing prey? Is not the word a fitting
brother of the Arabic timsah, denoting the dread horny lizard of
the waters? Moreover, have we not the voice of tradition that the
afanc was something monstrous? Does it not say that Hu the Mighty,
the inventor of husbandry, who brought the Cumry from the summer-
country, drew the old afanc out of the lake of lakes with his four
gigantic oxen? Would he have had recourse to them to draw out the
little harmless beaver? Oh, surely not. Yet have I no doubt that
when the crocodile had disappeared from the lands, where the Cumric
language was spoken, the name afanc was applied to the beaver,
probably his successor in the pool, the beaver now called in Cumric
Llostlydan, or the broad-tailed, for tradition's voice is strong
that the beaver has at one time been called the afanc."  Then I
wondered whether the pool before me had been the haunt of the
afanc, considered both as crocodile and beaver. I saw no reason to
suppose that it had not. "If crocodiles," thought I, "ever existed
in Britain, and who shall say that they have not, seeing that there
remains have been discovered, why should they not have haunted this
pool? If beavers ever existed in Britain, and do not tradition and
Giraldus say that they have, why should they not have existed in
this pool?

"At a time almost inconceivably remote, when the hills around were
covered with woods, through which the elk and the bison and the
wild cow strolled, when men were rare throughout the lands and
unlike in most things to the present race - at such a period - and
such a period there has been - I can easily conceive that the
afanc-crocodile haunted this pool, and that when the elk or bison
or wild cow came to drink of its waters the grim beast would
occasionally rush forth, and seizing his bellowing victim, would
return with it to the deeps before me to luxuriate at his ease upon
its flesh. And at a time less remote, when the crocodile was no
more, and though the woods still covered the hills, and wild cattle
strolled about, men were more numerous than before, and less unlike
the present race, I can easily conceive this lake to have been the
haunt of the afanc-beaver, that he here built cunningly his house
of trees and clay, and that to this lake the native would come with
his net and his spear to hunt the animal for his precious fur.
Probably if the depths of that pool were searched relics of the
crocodile and the beaver might be found, along with other strange
things connected with the periods in which they respectively lived.
Happy were I if for a brief space I could become a Cingalese that I
might swim out far into that pool, dive down into its deepest part
and endeavour to discover any strange things which beneath its
surface may lie."  Much in this guise rolled my thoughts as I lay
stretched on the margin of the lake.

Satiated with musing I at last got up and endeavoured to regain the
road. I found it at last, though not without considerable
difficulty. I passed over moors, black and barren, along a dusty
road till I came to a valley; I was now almost choked with dust and
thirst, and longed for nothing in the world so much as for water;
suddenly I heard its blessed sound, and perceived a rivulet on my
left hand. It was crossed by two bridges, one immensely old and
terribly dilapidated, the other old enough, but in better repair -
went and drank under the oldest bridge of the two. The water
tasted of the peat of the moors, nevertheless I drank greedily of
it, for one must not be over-delicate upon the moors.

Refreshed with my draught I proceeded briskly on my way, and in a
little time saw a range of white buildings, diverging from the road
on the right hand, the gable of the first abutting upon it. A kind
of farm-yard was before them. A respectable-looking woman was
standing in the yard. I went up to her and inquired the name of
the place.

"These houses, sir," said she, "are called Tai Hirion Mignaint.
Look over that door and you will see T. H. which letters stand for
Tai Hirion. Mignaint is the name of the place where they stand."

I looked, and upon a stone which formed the lintel of the
middlemost door I read "T. H 1630."

The words Tai Hirion it will be as well to say signify the long

I looked long and steadfastly at the inscription, my mind full of
thoughts of the past.

"Many a year has rolled by since these houses were built," said I,
as I sat down on a stepping-stone.

"Many indeed, sir," said the woman, "and many a strange thing has

"Did you ever hear of one Oliver Cromwell?" said I.

"Oh, yes, sir, and of King Charles too. The men of both have been
in this yard and have baited their horses; aye, and have mounted
their horses from the stone on which you sit."

"I suppose they were hardly here together?" said I.

"No, no, sir," said the woman, "they were bloody enemies, and could
never set their horses together."

"Are these long houses," said I, "inhabited by different families?"

"Only by one, sir, they make now one farm-house."

"Are you the mistress of it," said I.

"I am, sir, and my husband is the master. Can I bring you
anything, sir?"

"Some water," said I, "for I am thirsty, though I drank under the
old bridge."

The good woman brought me a basin of delicious milk and water.

"What are the names of the two bridges," said I, "a little way from

"They are called, sir, the old and new bridge of Tai Hirion; at
least we call them so."

"And what do you call the ffrwd that runs beneath them?"

"I believe, sir, it is called the river Twerin."

"Do you know a lake far up there amidst the moors?"

"I have seen it, sir; they call it Llyn Twerin."

"Does the river Twerin flow from it?"

"I believe it does, sir, but I do not know."

"Is the lake deep?"

"I have heard that it is very deep, sir, so much so that nobody
knows it's depth."

"Are there fish in it?"

"Digon, sir, digon iawn, and some very large. I once saw a Pen-
hwyad from that lake which weighed fifty pounds."

After a little farther conversation I got up, and thanking the kind
woman departed. I soon left the moors behind me and continued
walking till I came to a few houses on the margin of a meadow or
fen in a valley through which the way trended to the east. They
were almost overshadowed by an enormous mountain which rose beyond
the fen on the south. Seeing a house which bore a sign, and at the
door of which a horse stood tied, I went in, and a woman coming to
meet me in a kind of passage, I asked her if I could have some ale.

"Of the best, sir," she replied, and conducted me down the passage
into a neat room, partly kitchen, partly parlour, the window of
which looked out upon the fen. A rustic-looking man sat smoking at
a table with a jug of ale before him. I sat down near him, and the
good woman brought me a similar jug of ale, which on tasting I
found excellent. My spirits which had been for some time very
flagging presently revived, and I entered into conversation with my
companion at the table. From him I learned that he was a farmer of
the neighbourhood, that the horse tied before the door belonged to
him, that the present times were very bad for the producers of
grain, with very slight likelihood of improvement; that the place
at which we were was called Rhyd y fen, or the ford across the fen;
that it was just half way between Festiniog and Bala, that the
clergyman of the parish was called Mr Pughe, a good kind of man,
but very purblind in a spiritual sense; and finally that there was
no safe religion in the world, save that of the Calvinistic-
Methodists, to which my companion belonged.

Having finished my ale I paid for it, and leaving the Calvinistic
farmer still smoking, I departed from Rhyd y fen. On I went along
the valley, the enormous hill on my right, a moel of about half its
height on my left, and a tall hill bounding the prospect in the
east, the direction in which I was going. After a little time,
meeting two women, I asked them the name of the mountain to the

"Arenig Vawr," they replied, or something like it.

Presently meeting four men I put the same question to the foremost,
a stout, burly, intelligent-looking fellow, of about fifty. He
gave me the same name as the women. I asked if anybody lived upon

"No," said he, "too cold for man."

"Fox?" said I.

"No! too cold for fox."

"Crow?" said I.

"No, too cold for crow; crow would be starved upon it."  He then
looked me in the face, expecting probably that I should smile.

I, however, looked at him with all the gravity of a judge,
whereupon he also observed the gravity of a judge, and we continued
looking at each other with all the gravity of judges till we both
simultaneously turned away, he followed by his companions going his
path, and I going mine.

I subsequently remembered that Arenig is mentioned in a Welsh poem,
though in anything but a flattering and advantageous manner. The
writer calls it Arenig ddiffaith or barren Arenig, and says that it
intercepts from him the view of his native land. Arenig is
certainly barren enough, for there is neither tree nor shrub upon
it, but there is something majestic in its huge bulk. Of all the
hills which I saw in Wales none made a greater impression upon me.

Towards evening I arrived at a very small and pretty village in the
middle of which was a tollgate. Seeing an old woman seated at the
door of the gate-house I asked her the name of the village. "I
have no Saesneg!" she screamed out.

"I have plenty of Cumraeg," said I, and repeated my question.
Whereupon she told me that it was called Tref y Talcot - the
village of the tollgate. That it was a very nice village, and that
she was born there. She then pointed to two young women who were
walking towards the gate at a very slow pace and told me they were
English. "I do not know them," said I. The old lady, who was
somewhat deaf, thinking that I said I did not know English, leered
at me complacently, and said that in that case, I was like herself,
for she did not speak a word of English, adding that a body should
not be considered a fool for not speaking English. She then said
that the young women had been taking a walk together, and that they
were much in each other's company for the sake of conversation, and
no wonder, as the poor simpletons could not speak a word of Welsh.
I thought of the beam and mote mentioned in Scripture, and then
cast a glance of compassion on the two poor young women. For a
moment I fancied myself in the times of Owen Glendower, and that I
saw two females, whom his marauders had carried off from Cheshire
or Shropshire to toil and slave in the Welshery, walking together
after the labours of the day were done, and bemoaning their
misfortunes in their own homely English.

Shortly after leaving the village of the tollgate I came to a
beautiful valley. On my right hand was a river the farther bank of
which was fringed with trees; on my left was a gentle ascent, the
lower part of which was covered with rich grass, and the upper with
yellow luxuriant corn; a little farther on was a green grove,
behind which rose up a moel. A more bewitching scene I never
beheld. Ceres and Pan seemed in this place to have met to hold
their bridal. The sun now descending shone nobly upon the whole.
After staying for some time to gaze, I proceeded, and soon met
several carts, from the driver of one of which I learned that I was
yet three miles from Bala. I continued my way and came to a
bridge, a little way beyond which I overtook two men, one of whom,
an old fellow, held a very long whip in his hand, and the other, a
much younger man with a cap on his head, led a horse. When I came
up the old fellow took off his hat to me, and I forthwith entered
into conversation with him. I soon gathered from him that he was a
horsedealer from Bala, and that he had been out on the road with
his servant to break a horse. I astonished the old man with my
knowledge of Welsh and horses, and learned from him - for
conceiving I was one of the right sort, he was very communicative -
two or three curious particulars connected with the Welsh mode of
breaking horses. Discourse shortened the way to both of us, and we
were soon in Bala. In the middle of the town he pointed to a large
old-fashioned house on the right hand, at the bottom of a little
square, and said, "Your honour was just asking me about an inn.
That is the best inn in Wales, and if your honour is as good a
judge of an inn as of a horse, I think you will say so when you
leave it. Prydnawn da 'chwi!"


Tom Jenkins - Ale of Bala - Sober Moments - Local Prejudices - The
States - Unprejudiced Man - Welsh Pensilvanian Settlers - Drapery
Line - Evening Saunter.

SCARCELY had I entered the door of the inn when a man presented
himself to me with a low bow. He was about fifty years of age,
somewhat above the middle size, and had grizzly hair and a dark,
freckled countenance, in which methought I saw a considerable dash
of humour. He wore brown clothes, had no hat on his head, and held
a napkin in his hand. "Are you the master of this hotel?" said I.

"No, your honour," he replied, "I am only the waiter, but I
officiate for my master in all things; my master has great
confidence in me, sir."

"And I have no doubt," said I, "that he could not place his
confidence in any one more worthy."

With a bow yet lower than the preceding one the waiter replied with
a smirk and a grimace, "Thanks, your honour, for your good opinion.
I assure your honour that I am deeply obliged."

His air, manner, and even accent, were so like those of a
Frenchman, that I could not forbear asking him whether he was one.

He shook his head and replied, "No, your honour, no, I am not a
Frenchman, but a native of this poor country, Tom Jenkins by name."

"Well," said I, "you really look and speak like a Frenchman, but no
wonder; the Welsh and French are much of the same blood. Please
now to show me into the parlour."

He opened the door of a large apartment, placed a chair by a table
which stood in the middle, and then, with another bow, requested to
know my farther pleasure. After ordering dinner I said that as I
was thirsty I should like to have some ale forthwith.

"Ale you shall have, your honour," said Tom, "and some of the best
ale that can be drunk. This house is famous for ale."

"I suppose you get your ale from Llangollen," said I, "which is
celebrated for its ale over Wales."

"Get our ale from Llangollen?" said Tom, with sneer of contempt,
"no, nor anything else. As for the ale it was brewed in this house
by your honour's humble servant."

"Oh," said I, "if you brewed it, it must of course be good. Pray
bring me some immediately, for I am anxious to drink ale of your

"Your honour shall be obeyed," said Tom, and disappearing returned
in a twinkling with a tray on which stood a jug filled with liquor
and a glass. He forthwith filled the glass, and pointing to its
contents said:

"There, your honour, did you ever see such ale? Observe its
colour! Does it not look for all the world as pale and delicate as
cowslip wine?"

"I wish it may not taste like cowslip wine," said I; "to tell you
the truth, I am no particular admirer of ale that looks pale and
delicate; for I always think there is no strength in it."

"Taste it, your honour," said Tom, "and tell me if you ever tasted
such ale."

I tasted it, and then took a copious draught. The ale was indeed
admirable, equal to the best that I had ever before drunk - rich
and mellow, with scarcely any smack of the hop in it, and though so
pale and delicate to the eye nearly as strong as brandy. I
commended it highly to the worthy Jenkins, who exultingly

"That Llangollen ale indeed! no, no! ale like that, your honour,
was never brewed in that trumpery hole Llangollen."

"You seem to have a very low opinion of Llangollen?" said I.

"How can I have anything but a low opinion of it, your honour? A
trumpery hole it is, and ever will remain so."

"Many people of the first quality go to visit it," said I.

"That is because it lies so handy for England, your honour. If it
did not, nobody would go to see it. What is there to see in

"There is not much to see in the town, I admit," said I, "but the
scenery about it is beautiful: what mountains!"

"Mountains, your honour, mountains! well, we have mountains too,
and as beautiful as those of Llangollen. Then we have our lake,
our Llyn Tegid, the lake of beauty. Show me anything like that
near Llangollen?"

"Then," said I, "there is your mound, your Tomen Bala. The
Llangollen people can show nothing like that."

Tom Jenkins looked at me for a moment with some surprise, and then
said: "I see you have been here before, sir."

"No," said I, "never, but I have read about the Tomen Bala in
books, both Welsh and English."

"You have, sir," said Tom. "Well, I am rejoiced to see so book-
learned a gentleman in our house. The Tomen Bala has puzzled many
a head. What do the books which mention it say about it, your

"Very little," said I, "beyond mentioning it; what do the people
here say of it?"

"All kinds of strange things, your honour."

"Do they say who built it?"

"Some say the Tylwyth Teg built it, others that it was cast up over
a dead king by his people. The truth is, nobody here knows who
built it, or anything about it, save that it is a wonder. Ah,
those people of Llangollen can show nothing like it."

"Come," said I, "you must not be so hard upon the people of
Llangollen. They appear to me upon the whole to be an eminently
respectable body."

The Celtic waiter gave a genuine French shrug. "Excuse me, your
honour, for being of a different opinion. They are all drunkards."

"I have occasionally seen drunken people at Llangollen," said I,
"but I have likewise seen a great many sober."

"That is, your honour, you have seen them in their sober moments;
but if you had watched, your honour, if you had kept your eye on
them, you would have seen them reeling too."

"That I can hardly believe," said I.

"Your honour can't! but I can who know them. They are all
drunkards, and nobody can live among them without being a drunkard.
There was my nephew - "

"What of him?" said I.

"Why he went to Llangollen, your honour, and died of a drunken
fever in less than a month."

"Well, but might he not have died of the same, if he had remained
at home?"

"No, your honour, no! he lived here many a year, and never died of
a drunken fever; he was rather fond of liquor, it is true, but he
never died at Bala of a drunken fever; but when he went to
Llangollen he did. Now, your honour, if there is not something
more drunken about Llangollen than about Bala, why did my nephew
die at Llangollen of a drunken fever?"

"Really," said I, "you are such a close reasoner, that I do not
like to dispute with you. One observation however, I wish to make:
I have lived at Llangollen, without, I hope, becoming a drunkard."

"Oh, your honour is out of the question," said the Celtic waiter
with a strange grimace. "Your honour is an Englishman, an English
gentleman, and of course could live all the days of your life at
Llangollen without being a drunkard, he, he! Who ever heard of an
Englishman, especially an English gentleman, being a drunkard, he,
he, he. And now, your honour, pray excuse me, for I must go and
see that your honour's dinner is being got ready in a suitable

Thereupon he left me with a bow yet lower than any I had previously
seen him make. If his manners put me in mind of those of a
Frenchman, his local prejudices brought powerfully to my
recollection those of a Spaniard. Tom Jenkins swears by Bala and
abuses Llangollen, and calls its people drunkards, just as a
Spaniard exalts his own village and vituperates the next and its
inhabitants, whom, though he will not call them drunkards, unless
indeed he happens to be a Gallegan, he will not hesitate to term
"una caterva de pillos y embusteros."

The dinner when it appeared was excellent, and consisted of many
more articles than I had ordered. After dinner, as I sat
"trifling" with my cold brandy and water, an individual entered, a
short thick dumpy man about thirty, with brown clothes and a broad
hat, and holding in his hand a large leather bag. He gave me a
familiar nod, and passing by the table at which I sat, to one near
the window, he flung the bag upon it, and seating himself in a
chair with his profile towards me, he untied the bag, from which he
poured a large quantity of sovereigns upon the table and fell to
counting them. After counting them three times he placed them
again in the bag which he tied up, then taking a small book,
seemingly an account-book, out of his pocket, he wrote something in
it with a pencil, then putting it in his pocket he took the bag and
unlocking a beaufet which stood at some distance behind him against
the wall, he put the bag into a drawer; then again locking the
beaufet he sat down in the chair, then tilting the chair back upon
its hind legs he kept swaying himself backwards and forwards upon
it, his toes sometimes upon the ground, sometimes mounting until
they tapped against the nether side of the table, surveying me all
the time with a queer kind of a side glance, and occasionally
ejecting saliva upon the carpet in the direction of place where I

"Fine weather, sir," said I, at last, rather tired of being skewed
and spit at in this manner.

"Why yaas," said the figure; "the day is tolerably fine, but I have
seen a finer."

"Well, I don't remember to have seen one," said I; "it is as fine a
day as I have seen during the present season, and finer weather
than I have seen during this season I do not think I ever saw

"The weather is fine enough for Britain," said the figure, "but
there are other countries besides Britain."

"Why," said I, "there's the States, 'tis true."

"Ever been in the States, Mr?" said the figure quickly.

"Have I ever been in the States," said I, "have I ever been in the

"Perhaps you are of the States, Mr; I thought so from the first."

"The States are fine countries," said I.

"I guess they are, Mr."

"It would be no easy matter to whip the States."

"So I should guess, Mr."

"That is, single-handed," said I.

"Single-handed, no nor double-handed either. Let England and
France and the State which they are now trying to whip without
being able to do it, that's Russia, all unite in a union to whip
the Union, and if instead of whipping the States they don't get a
whipping themselves, call me a braying jackass - "

"I see, Mr," said I, "that you are a sensible man, because you
speak very much my own opinion. However, as I am an unprejudiced
person, like yourself, I wish to do justice to other countries -
the States are fine countries - but there are other fine countries
in the world. I say nothing of England; catch me saying anything
good of England; but I call Wales a fine country; gainsay it who
may, I call Wales a fine country."

"So it is, Mr."

"I'll go farther," said I; "I wish to do justice to everything: I
call the Welsh a fine language."

"So it is, Mr. Ah, I see you are an unprejudiced man. You don't
understand Welsh, I guess."

"I don't understand Welsh," said I; "I don't understand Welsh.
That's what I call a good one."

"Medrwch siarad Cumraeg?" said the short figure spitting on the

"Medraf," said I.

"You can, Mr! Well, if that don't whip the Union. But I see: you
were born in the States of Welsh parents."

"No harm in being born in the States of Welsh parents," said I.

"None at all, Mr; I was myself, and the first language I learnt to
speak was Welsh. Did your people come from Bala, Mr?"

"Why no! Did yourn?"

"Why yaas - at least from the neighbourhood. What State do you
come from? Virginny?"

"Why no!"

"Perhaps Pensilvany country?"

"Pensilvany is a fine State," said I.

"So it is, Mr. Oh, that is your State, is it? I come from

"You do, do you? Well, Varmont is not a bad state, but not equal
to Pensilvany, and I'll tell you two reasons why; first it has not
been so long settled, and second there is not so much Welsh blood
in it as there is in Pensilvany."

"Is there much Welsh blood in Pensilvany then?"

"Plenty, Mr, plenty. Welsh flocked over to Pensilvany even as far
back as the time of William Pen, who as you know, Mr, was the first
founder of the Pensilvany State. And that puts me in mind that
there is a curious account extant of the adventures of one of the
old Welsh settlers in Pensilvania. It is to be found in a letter
in an old Welsh book. The letter is dated 1705, and is from one
Huw Jones, born of Welsh parents in Pensilvany country, to a cousin
of his of the same name residing in the neighbourhood of this very
town of Bala in Merionethshire, where you and I, Mr, now are. It
is in answer to certain inquiries made by the cousin, and is
written in pure old Welsh language. It gives an account of how the
writer's father left this neighbourhood to go to Pensilvania; how
he embarked on board the ship WILLIAM PEN; how he was thirty weeks
on the voyage from the Thames to the Delaware. Only think, Mr, of
a ship now-a-days being thirty weeks on the passage from the Thames
to the Delaware river; how he learnt the English language on the
voyage; how he and his companions nearly perished with hunger in
the wild wood after they landed; how Pensilvania city was built;
how he became a farmer and married a Welsh woman, the widow of a
Welshman from shire Denbigh, by whom he had the writer and several
other children; how the father used to talk to his children about
his native region and the places round about Bala, and fill their
breasts with longing for the land of their fathers; and finally how
the old man died leaving his children and their mother in
prosperous circumstances. It is a wonderful letter, Mr, all
written in the pure old Welsh language."

"I say, Mr, you are a cute one and know a thing or two. I suppose
Welsh was the first language you learnt, like myself?"

"No, it wasn't - I like to speak the truth - never took to either
speaking or reading the Welsh language till I was past sixteen."

"'Stonishing! but see the force of blood at last. In any line of

"No, Mr, can't say I am."

"Have money in your pocket, and travel for pleasure. Come to see
father's land."

"Come to see old Wales. And what brings you here, Hiraeth?"

"That's longing. No, not exactly. Came over to England to see
what I could do. Got in with house at Liverpool in the drapery
business. Travel for it hereabouts, having connections and
speaking the language. Do branch business here for a banking-house
besides. Manage to get on smartly."

"You look a smart 'un. But don't you find it sometimes hard to
compete with English travellers in the drapery line?"

"I guess not. English travellers! set of nat'rals. Don't know the
language and nothing else. Could whip a dozen any day. Regularly
flummox them."

"You do, Mr? Ah, I see you're a cute 'un. Glad to have met you."

"I say, Mr, you have not told me from what county your forefathers

"From Norfolk and Cornwall counties."

"Didn't know there were such counties in Wales."

"But there are in England."

"Why, you told me you were of Welsh parents."

"No, I didn't. You told yourself so."

"But how did you come to know Welsh?"

"Why, that's my bit of a secret."

"But you are of the United States?"

"Never knew that before."

"Mr, you flummox me."

"Just as you do the English drapery travellers. Ah, you're a cute
'un - but do you think it altogether a cute trick to stow all those
sovereigns in that drawer?"

"Who should take them out, Mr?"

"Who should take them out? Why, any of the swell mob that should
chance to be in the house might unlock the drawer with their flash
keys as soon as your back is turned, and take out all the coin."

"But there are none of the swell mob here."

"How do you know, that?" said I, "the swell mob travel wide about -
how do you know that I am not one of them?"

"The swell mob don't speak Welsh, I guess."

"Don't be too sure of that," said I - "the swell coves spare no
expense for their education - so that they may be able to play
parts according to circumstances. I strongly advise you, Mr, to
put that bag somewhere else lest something should happen to it."

"Well, Mr, I'll take your advice. These are my quarters, and I was
merely going to keep the money here for convenience' sake. The
money belongs to the bank, so it is but right to stow it away in
the bank safe. I certainly should be loth to leave it here with
you in the room, after what you have said."  He then got up,
unlocked the drawer, took out the bag, and with a "Goodnight, Mr,"
left the room.

I "trifled" over my brandy and water till I finished it, and then
walked forth to look at the town. I turned up a street, which led
to the east, and soon found myself beside the lake at the north-
west extremity of which Bala stands. It appeared a very noble
sheet of water stretching from north to south for several miles.
As, however, night was fast coming on I did not see it to its full
advantage. After gazing upon it for a few minutes I sauntered back
to the square, or marketplace, and leaning my back against a wall,
listened to the conversation of two or three groups of people who
were standing near, my motive for doing so being a desire to know
what kind of Welsh they spoke. Their language as far as I heard it
differed in scarcely any respect from that of Llangollen. I,
however, heard very little of it, for I had scarcely kept my
station a minute when the good folks became uneasy, cast side-
glances at me, first dropped their conversation to whispers, next
held their tongues altogether, and finally moved off, some going to
their homes, others moving to a distance and then grouping together
- even certain ragged boys who were playing and chattering near me
became uneasy, first stood still, then stared at me, and then took
themselves off and played and chattered at a distance. Now what
was the cause of all this? Why, suspicion of the Saxon. The Welsh
are afraid lest an Englishman should understand their language,
and, by hearing their conversation, become acquainted with their
private affairs, or by listening to it, pick up their language
which they have no mind that he should know - and their very
children sympathise with them. All conquered people are suspicious
of their conquerors, The English have forgot that they ever
conquered the Welsh, but some ages will elapse before the Welsh
forget that the English have conquered them.


The Breakfast - The Tomen Bala - El Punto de la Vana.

I SLEPT soundly that night, as well I might, my bed being good and
my body weary. I arose about nine, dressed and went down to the
parlour which was vacant. I rang the bell, and on Tom Jenkins
making his appearance I ordered breakfast, and then asked for the
Welsh American, and learned that he had breakfasted very early and
had set out in a gig on a journey to some distance. In about
twenty minutes after I had ordered it my breakfast made its
appearance. A noble breakfast it was; such indeed as I might have
read of, but had never before seen. There was tea and coffee, a
goodly white loaf and butter; there were a couple of eggs and two
mutton chops. There was broiled and pickled salmon - there was
fried trout - there were also potted trout and potted shrimps.
Mercy upon me! I had never previously seen such a breakfast set
before me, nor indeed have I subsequently. Yes, I have
subsequently, and at that very house when I visited it some months

After breakfast I called for the bill. I forget the exact amount
of the bill, but remember that it was very moderate. I paid it and
gave the noble Thomas a shilling, which he received with a bow and
truly French smile, that is a grimace. When I departed the
landlord and landlady, highly respectable-looking elderly people,
were standing at the door, one on each side, and dismissed me with
suitable honour, he with a low bow, she with a profound curtsey.

Having seen little of the town on the preceding evening, I
determined before setting out for Llangollen to become better
acquainted with it, and accordingly took another stroll about it.

Bala is a town containing three or four thousand inhabitants,
situated near the northern end of an oblong valley, at least two-
thirds of which are occupied by Llyn Tegid. It has two long
streets, extending from north to south, a few narrow cross ones, an
ancient church, partly overgrown with ivy, with a very pointed
steeple, and a town-hall of some antiquity, in which Welsh
interludes used to be performed. After gratifying my curiosity
with respect to the town, I visited the mound - the wondrous Tomen

The Tomen Bala stands at the northern end of the town. It is
apparently formed of clay, is steep and of difficult ascent. In
height it is about thirty feet, and in diameter at the top about
fifty. On the top grows a gwern or alder-tree, about a foot thick,
its bark terribly scotched with letters and uncouth characters,
carved by the idlers of the town who are fond of resorting to the
top of the mound in fine weather, and lying down on the grass which
covers it. The Tomen is about the same size as Glendower's Mount
on the Dee, which it much resembles in shape. Both belong to that
brotherhood of artificial mounds of unknown antiquity, found
scattered, here and there, throughout Europe and the greater part
of Asia, the most remarkable specimen of which is, perhaps, that
which stands on the right side of the way from Adrianople to
Stamboul, and which is called by the Turks Mourad Tepehsi, or the
tomb of Mourad. Which mounds seem to have been originally intended
as places of sepulture, but in many instances were afterwards used
as strongholds, bonhills or beacon-heights, or as places on which
adoration was paid to the host of heaven.

From the Tomen there is a noble view of the Bala valley, the Lake
of Beauty up to its southern extremity, and the neighbouring and
distant mountains. Of Bala, its lake and Tomen, I shall have
something to say on a future occasion.

Leaving Bala I passed through the village of Llanfair and found
myself by the Dee, whose course I followed for some way. Coming to
the northern extremity of the Bala valley, I entered a pass tending
due north. Here the road slightly diverged from the river. I sped
along, delighted with the beauty of the scenery. On my left was a
high bank covered with trees, on my right a grove, through openings
in which I occasionally caught glimpses of the river, over whose
farther side towered noble hills. An hour's walking brought me
into a comparatively open country, fruitful and charming. At about
one o'clock I reached a large village, the name of which, like
those of most Welsh villages, began with Llan. There I refreshed
myself for an hour or two in an old-fashioned inn, and then resumed
my journey.

I passed through Corwen; again visited Glendower's monticle upon
the Dee, and reached Llangollen shortly after sunset, where I found
my beloved two well and glad to see me.

That night, after tea, Henrietta played on the guitar the old
muleteer tune of "El Punto de la Vana," or the main point at the
Havanna, whilst I sang the words -

"Never trust the sample when you go your cloth to buy:
The woman's most deceitful that's dressed most daintily.
The lasses of Havanna ride to mass in coaches yellow,
But ere they go they ask if the priest's a handsome fellow.
The lasses of Havanna as mulberries are dark,
And try to make them fairer by taking Jesuit's bark."


The Ladies of Llangollen - Sir Alured - Eisteddfodau - Pleasure and

SHORTLY after my return I paid a visit to my friends at the
Vicarage, who were rejoiced to see me back, and were much
entertained with the account I gave of my travels. I next went to
visit the old church clerk of whom I had so much to say on a former
occasion. After having told him some particulars of my expedition,
to all of which he listened with great attention, especially to
that part which related to the church of Penmynydd and the tomb of
the Tudors, I got him to talk about the ladies of Llangollen, of
whom I knew very little save what I had heard from general report.
I found he remembered their first coming to Llangollen, their
living in lodgings, their purchasing the ground called Pen y maes,
and their erecting upon it the mansion to which the name of Plas
Newydd was given. He said they were very eccentric, but good and
kind, and had always shown most particular favour to himself; that
both were highly connected, especially Lady Eleanor Butler, who was
connected by blood with the great Duke of Ormond who commanded the
armies of Charles in Ireland in the time of the great rebellion,
and also with the Duke of Ormond who succeeded Marlborough in the
command of the armies in the Low Countries in the time of Queen
Anne, and who fled to France shortly after the accession of George
the First to the throne, on account of being implicated in the
treason of Harley and Bolingbroke; and that her ladyship was
particularly fond of talking of both these dukes, and relating
anecdotes concerning them. He said that the ladies were in the
habit of receiving the very first people in Britain, "amongst
whom," said the old church clerk, "was an ancient gentleman of most
engaging appearance and captivating manners, called Sir Alured C-.
He was in the army, and in his youth, owing to the beauty of his
person, was called , 'the handsome captain.'  It was said that one
of the royal princesses was desperately in love with him, and that
on that account George the Third insisted on his going to India.
Whether or not there was truth in the report, to India he went,
where he served with distinction for a great many years. On his
return, which was not till he was upwards of eighty, he was
received with great favour by William the Fourth, who amongst other
things made him a field-marshal. As often as October came round
did this interesting and venerable gentleman make his appearance at
Llangollen to pay his respects to the ladies, especially to Lady
Eleanor, whom he had known at Court as far back they say as the
American war. It was rumoured at Llangollen that Lady Eleanor's
death was a grievous blow to Sir Alured, and that he would never be
seen there again. However, when October came round he made his
appearance at the Vicarage, where he had always been in the habit
of taking up his quarters, and called on and dined with Miss
Ponsonby at Plas Newydd, but it was observed that he was not so gay
as he had formerly been. In the evening, on his taking leave of
Miss Ponsonby, she said that he had used her ill. Sir Alured
coloured, and asked her what she meant, adding that he had not to
his knowledge used any person ill in the course of his life. 'But
I say you have used me ill, very ill,' said Miss Ponsonby, raising
her voice, and the words 'very ill' she repeated several times. At
last the old soldier waxing rather warm demanded an explanation.
'I'll give it you,' said Miss Ponsonby; 'were you not going away
after having only kissed my hand?'  'Oh,' said the general, 'if
that is my offence, I will soon make you reparation,' and instantly
gave her a hearty smack on the lips, which ceremony he never forgot
to repeat after dining with her on subsequent occasions."

We got on the subject of bards, and I mentioned to him Gruffydd
Hiraethog, the old poet buried in the chancel of Llangollen church.
The old clerk was not aware that he was buried there, and said that
though he had heard of him he knew little or nothing about him.

"Where was he born?" said he.

"In Denbighshire," I replied, "near the mountain Hiraethog, from
which circumstance he called himself in poetry Gruffydd Hiraethog."

"When did he flourish?"

"About the middle of the sixteenth century."

"What did he write?"

"A great many didactic pieces," said I in one of which is a famous
couplet to this effect:

"He who satire loves to sing
On himself will satire bring."

"Did you ever hear of William Lleyn?" said the old gentleman.

"Yes," said I; "he was a pupil of Hiraethog, and wrote an elegy on
his death, in which he alludes to Gruffydd's skill in an old Welsh
metre, called the Cross Consonancy, in the following manner:

'"In Eden's grove from Adam's mouth
Upsprang a muse of noble growth;
So from thy grave, O poet wise,
Cross Consonancy's boughs shall rise.'"

"Really," said the old clerk, "you seem to know something about
Welsh poetry. But what is meant by a muse springing up from Adam's
mouth in Eden?"

"Why, I suppose," said I, "that Adam invented poetry."

I made inquiries of him about the eisteddfodau or sessions of
bards, and expressed a wish to be present at one of them. He said
that they were very interesting; that bards met at particular
periods and recited poems on various subjects which had been given
out beforehand, and that prizes were allotted to those whose
compositions were deemed the best by the judges. He said that he
had himself won the prize for the best englyn on a particular
subject at an eisteddfod at which Sir Watkin Williams Wynn
presided, and at which Heber, afterwards Bishop of Calcutta, was
present, who appeared to understand Welsh well, and who took much
interest in the proceedings of the meeting.

Our discourse turning on the latter Welsh poets I asked him if he
had been acquainted with Jonathan Hughes, who the reader will
remember was the person whose grandson I met and in whose arm-chair
I sat at Ty yn y pistyll, shortly after my coming to Llangollen.
He said that he had been well acquainted with him, and had helped
to carry him to the grave, adding, that he was something of a poet,
but that he had always considered his forte lay in strong good
sense rather than poetry. I mentioned Thomas Edwards, whose
picture I had seen in Valle Crucis Abbey. He said that he knew him
tolerably well, and that the last time he saw him was when he,
Edwards, was about seventy years of age, when he sent him in a cart
to the house of a great gentleman near the aqueduct where he was
going to stay on a visit. That Tom was about five feet eight
inches high, lusty, and very strongly built; that he had something
the matter with his right eye; that he was very satirical and very
clever; that his wife was a very clever woman and satirical; his
two daughters both clever and satirical, and his servant-maid
remarkably satirical and clever, and that it was impossible to live
with Twm O'r Nant without learning to be clever and satirical; that
he always appeared to be occupied with something, and that he had
heard him say there was something in him that would never let him
be idle; that he would walk fifteen miles to a place where he was
to play an interlude, and that as soon as he got there he would
begin playing it at once, however tired he might be. The old
gentleman concluded by saying that he had never read the works of
Twm O'r Nant, but he had heard that his best piece was the
interlude called "Pleasure and Care."


The Treachery of the Long Knives - The North Briton - The Wounded
Butcher - The Prisoner.

ON the tenth of September our little town was flung into some
confusion by one butcher having attempted to cut the throat of
another. The delinquent was a Welshman, who it was said had for
some time past been somewhat out of his mind; the other party was
an Englishman, who escaped without further injury than a deep gash
in the cheek. The Welshman might be mad, but it appeared to me
that there was some method in his madness. He tried to cut the
throat of a butcher: didn't this look like wishing to put a rival
out of the way? and that butcher an Englishman: didn't this look
like wishing to pay back upon the Saxon what the Welsh call
bradwriaeth y cyllyll hirion, the treachery of the long knives? So
reasoned I to myself. But here perhaps the reader will ask what is
meant by "the treachery of the long knives?" whether he does or not
I will tell him.

Hengist wishing to become paramount in Southern Britain thought
that the easiest way to accomplish his wish would be by destroying
the South British chieftains. Not believing that he should be able
to make away with them by open force he determined to see what he
could do by treachery. Accordingly he invited the chieftains to a
banquet to be held near Stonehenge, or the Hanging Stones, on
Salisbury Plains. The unsuspecting chieftains accepted the
invitation, and on the appointed day repaired to the banquet, which
was held in a huge tent. Hengist received them with a smiling
countenance and every appearance of hospitality, and caused them to
sit down to table, placing by the side of every Briton one of his
own people. The banquet commenced, and all seemingly was mirth and
hilarity. Now Hengist had commanded his people that when he should
get up and cry "nemet eoure saxes," that is, take your knives, each
Saxon should draw his long sax, or knife, which he wore at his
side, and should plunge it into the throat of his neighbour. The
banquet went on, and in the midst of it, when the unsuspecting
Britons were revelling on the good cheer which had been provided
for them, and half-drunken with the mead and beer which flowed in
torrents, uprose Hengist, and with a voice of thunder uttered the
fatal words "nemet eoure saxes:" the cry was obeyed, each Saxon
grasped his knife and struck with it at the throat of his
defenceless neighbour. Almost every blow took effect; only three
British chieftains escaping from the banquet of blood. This
infernal carnage the Welsh have appropriately denominated the
treachery of the long knives. It will be as well to observe that
the Saxons derived their name from the saxes, or long knives, which
they wore at their sides, and at the use of which they were
terribly proficient.

Two or three days after the attempt at murder at Llangollen,
hearing that the Welsh butcher was about to be brought before the
magistrates, I determined to make an effort to be present at the
examination. Accordingly I went to the police station and inquired
of the superintendent whether I could be permitted to attend. He
was a North Briton, as I have stated somewhere before, and I had
scraped acquaintance with him, and had got somewhat into his good
graces by praising Dumfries, his native place, and descanting to
him upon the beauties of the poetry of his celebrated countryman,
my old friend, Allan Cunningham, some of whose works he had
perused, and with whom as he said, he had once the honour of
shaking hands. In reply to my question he told me that it was
doubtful whether any examination would take place, as the wounded
man was in a very weak state, but that if I would return in half-
an-hour he would let me know. I went away, and at the end of the
half-hour returned, when he told me that there would be no public
examination, owing to the extreme debility of the wounded man, but
that one of the magistrates was about to proceed to his house and
take his deposition in the presence of the criminal and also of the
witnesses of the deed, and that if I pleased I might go along with
him, and he had no doubt that the magistrate would have no
objection to my being present. We set out together; as we were
going along I questioned him about the state of the country, and
gathered from him that there was occasionally a good deal of crime
in Wales.

"Are the Welsh a clannish people?" I demanded.

"Very," said he.

"As clannish as the Highlanders?" said I.

"Yes," said he, "and a good deal more."

We came to the house of the wounded butcher, which was some way out
of the town in the north-western suburb. The magistrate was in the
lower apartment with the clerk, one or two officials, and the
surgeon of the town. He was a gentleman of about two or three and
forty, with a military air and large moustaches, for besides being
a justice of the peace and a landed proprietor, he was an officer
in the army. He made me a polite bow when I entered, and I
requested of him permission to be present at the examination. He
hesitated a moment and then asked me my motive for wishing to be
present at it.

"Merely curiosity," said I.

He then observed that as the examination would be a private one, my
being permitted or not was quite optional.

"I am aware of that," said I, "and if you think my remaining is
objectionable I will forthwith retire."  He looked at the clerk,
who said there could be no objection to my staying, and turning
round to his superior said something to him which I did not hear,
whereupon the magistrate again bowed and said that he should he
very happy to grant my request.

We went upstairs and found the wounded man in bed with a bandage
round his forehead, and his wife sitting by his bedside. The
magistrate and his officials took their seats, and I was
accommodated with a chair. Presently the prisoner was introduced
under the charge of a policeman. He was a fellow somewhat above
thirty, of the middle size, and wore a dirty white frock coat; his
right arm was partly confined by a manacle. A young girl was
sworn, who deposed that she saw the prisoner run after the other
with something in his hand. The wounded man was then asked whether
he thought he was able to make a deposition; he replied in a very
feeble tone that he thought he was, and after being sworn deposed
that on the preceding Saturday, as he was going to his stall, the
prisoner came up to him and asked whether he had ever done him any
injury? he said no. "I then," said he, "observed the prisoner's
countenance undergo a change, and saw him put his hand to his
waistcoat-pocket and pull out a knife. I straight became
frightened, and ran away as fast as I could; the prisoner followed,
and overtaking me, stabbed me in the face. I ran into the yard of
a public-house and into the shop of an acquaintance, where I fell
down, the blood spouting out of my wound."  Such was the deposition
of the wounded butcher. He was then asked whether there had been
any quarrel between him and the prisoner? He said there had been
no quarrel, but that he had refused to drink with the prisoner when
he requested him, which he had done very frequently, and had more
than once told him that he did not wish for his acquaintance. The
prisoner, on being asked, after the usual caution, whether he had
anything to say, said that he merely wished to mark the man but not
to kill him. The surgeon of the place deposed to the nature of the
wound, and on being asked his opinion with respect to the state of
the prisoner's mind, said that he believed that he might be
labouring under a delusion. After the prisoner's bloody weapon and
coat had been produced he was committed.

It was generally said that the prisoner was disordered in his mind;
I held my tongue, but judging from his look and manner I saw no
reason to suppose that he was any more out of his senses than I
myself, or any person present, and I had no doubt that what induced
him to commit the act was rage at being looked down upon by a
quondam acquaintance, who was rising a little in the world,
exacerbated by the reflection that the disdainful quondam
acquaintance was one of the Saxon race, against which every
Welshman entertains a grudge more or less virulent, which, though
of course, very unchristianlike, is really, brother Englishman,
after the affair of the long knives, and two or three other actions
of a somewhat similar character of our noble Anglo-Saxon
progenitors, with which all Welshmen are perfectly well acquainted,
not very much to be wondered at.


The Dylluan - The Oldest Creatures.

MUCH rain fell about the middle of the month; in the intervals of
the showers I occasionally walked by the banks of the river which
speedily became much swollen; it was quite terrible both to the
sight and ear near the "Robber's Leap;" there were breakers above
the higher stones at least five feet high and a roar around almost
sufficient "to scare a hundred men."  The pool of Lingo was
strangely altered; it was no longer the quiet pool which it was in
summer, verifying the words of the old Welsh poet that the deepest
pool of the river is always the stillest in the summer and of the
softest sound, but a howling turbid gulf, in which branches of
trees, dead animals and rubbish were whirling about in the wildest
confusion. The nights were generally less rainy than the days, and
sometimes by the pallid glimmer of the moon I would take a stroll
along some favourite path or road. One night as I was wandering
slowly along the path leading through the groves of Pen y Coed I
was startled by an unearthly cry - it was the shout of the dylluan
or owl, as it flitted over the tops of the trees on its nocturnal

Oh, that cry of the dylluan! what a strange wild cry it is; how
unlike any other sound in nature! a cry which no combination of
letters can give the slightest idea of. What resemblance does
Shakespear's to-whit-to-whoo bear to the cry of the owl? none
whatever; those who hear it for the first time never know what it
is, however accustomed to talk of the cry of the owl and to-whit-
to-whoo. A man might be wandering through a wood with Shakespear's
owl-chorus in his mouth, but were he then to hear for the first
time the real shout of the owl he would assuredly stop short and
wonder whence that unearthly cry could proceed.

Yet no doubt that strange cry is a fitting cry for the owl, the
strangest in its habits and look of all birds, the bird of whom by
all nations the strangest tales are told. Oh, what strange tales
are told of the owl, especially in connection with its long-
lifedness; but of all the strange wild tales connected with the age
of the owl, strangest of all is the old Welsh tale. When I heard
the owl's cry in the groves of Pen y Coed that tale rushed into my
mind. I had heard it from the singular groom who had taught me to
gabble Welsh in my boyhood, and had subsequently read it in an old
tattered Welsh story-book, which by chance fell into my hands. The
reader will perhaps be obliged by my relating it.

"The eagle of the alder grove, after being long married and having
had many children by his mate, lost her by death, and became a
widower. After some time he took it into his head to marry the owl
of the Cowlyd Coomb; but fearing he should have issue by her, and
by that means sully his lineage, he went first of all to the oldest
creatures in the world in order to obtain information about her
age. First he went to the stag of Ferny-side Brae, whom he found
sitting by the old stump of an oak, and inquired the age of the
owl. The stag said: 'I have seen this oak an acorn which is now
lying on the ground without either leaves or bark: nothing in the
world wore it up but my rubbing myself against it once a day when I
got up, so I have seen a vast number of years, but I assure you
that I have never seen the owl older or younger than she is to-day.
However, there is one older than myself, and that is the salmon-
trout of Glyn Llifon.'  To him went the eagle and asked him the age
of the owl and got for answer: 'I have a year over my head for
every gem on my skin and for every egg in my roe, yet have I always
seen the owl look the same; but there is one older than myself, and
that is the ousel of Cilgwry.'  Away went the eagle to Cilgwry, and
found the ousel standing upon a little rock, and asked him the age
of the owl. Quoth the ousel: 'You see that the rock below me is
not larger than a man can carry in one of his hands: I have seen
it so large that it would have taken a hundred oxen to drag it, and
it has never been worn save by my drying my beak upon it once every
night, and by my striking the tip of my wing against it in rising
in the morning, yet never have I known the owl older or younger
than she is to-day. However, there is one older than I, and that
is the toad of Cors Fochnod; and unless he knows her age no one
knows it.'  To him went the eagle and asked the age of the owl, and
the toad replied: 'I have never eaten anything save what I have
sucked from the earth, and have never eaten half my fill in all the
days of my life; but do you see those two great hills beside the
cross? I have seen the place where they stand level ground, and
nothing produced those heaps save what I discharged from my body,
who have ever eaten so very little - yet never have I known the owl
anything else but an old hag who cried Too-hoo-hoo, and scared
children with her voice even as she does at present.'  So the eagle
of Gwernabwy; the stag of Ferny-side Brae; the salmon trout of Glyn
Llifon; the ousel of Cilgwry; the toad of Cors Fochnod, and the owl
of Coomb Cowlyd are the oldest creatures in the world; the oldest
of them all being the owl."


Chirk - The Middleton Family - Castell y Waen - The Park - The
Court Yard - The Young Housekeeper - The Portraits - Melin y
Castell - Humble Meal - Fine Chests for the Dead - Hales and

THE weather having become fine, myself and family determined to go
and see Chirk Castle, a mansion ancient and beautiful, and
abounding with all kinds of agreeable and romantic associations.
It was founded about the beginning of the fifteenth century by a St
John, Lord of Bletsa, from a descendant of whom it was purchased in
the year 1615 by Sir Thomas Middleton, the scion of an ancient
Welsh family who, following commerce, acquired a vast fortune, and
was Lord Mayor of London. In the time of the great civil war it
hoisted the banner of the king, and under Sir Thomas, the son of
the Lord Mayor, made a brave defence against Lambert, the
Parliamentary General, though eventually compelled to surrender.
It was held successively by four Sir Thomas Middletons, and if it
acquired a war-like celebrity under the second, it obtained a
peculiarly hospitable one under the fourth, whose daughter, the
fruit of a second marriage, became Countess of Warwick and
eventually the wife of the poet and moralist Addison. In his time
the hospitality of Chirk became the theme of many a bard,
particularly of Huw Morris, who, in one of his songs, has gone so
far as to say that were the hill Cefn Uchaf turned into beef and
bread, and the rill Ceiriog into beer or wine, they would be
consumed in half a year by the hospitality of Chirk. Though no
longer in the hands of one of the name of Middleton, Chirk Castle
is still possessed by one of the blood, the mother of the present
proprietor being the eldest of three sisters, lineal descendants of
the Lord Mayor, between whom in default of an heir male the wide
possessions of the Middleton family were divided. This gentleman,
who bears the name of Biddulph, is Lord Lieutenant of the county of
Denbigh, and notwithstanding his war-breathing name, which is
Gothic, and signifies Wolf of Battle, is a person of highly amiable
disposition, and one who takes great interest in the propagation of
the Gospel of peace and love.

To view this place, which, though in English called Chirk Castle,
is styled in Welsh Castell y Waen, or the Castle of the Meadow, we
started on foot about ten o'clock of a fine bright morning,
attended by John Jones. There are two roads from Llangollen to
Chirk, one the low or post road, and the other leading over the
Berwyn. We chose the latter. We passed by the Yew Cottage, which
I have described on a former occasion, and began to ascend the
mountain, making towards its north-eastern corner. The road at
first was easy enough, but higher up became very steep, and
somewhat appalling, being cut out of the side of the hill which
shelves precipitously down towards the valley of the Dee. Near the
top of the mountain were three lofty beech-trees growing on the
very verge of the precipice. Here the road for about twenty yards
is fenced on its dangerous side by a wall, parts of which are built
between the stems of the trees. Just beyond the wall a truly noble
prospect presented itself to our eyes. To the north were bold
hills, their sides and skirts adorned with numerous woods and white
farm-houses; a thousand feet below us was the Dee and its wondrous
Pont y Cysultau. John Jones said that if certain mists did not
intervene we might descry "the sea of Liverpool"; and perhaps the
only thing wanting to make the prospect complete, was that sea of
Liverpool. We were, however, quite satisfied with what we saw, and
turning round the corner of the hill, reached its top, where for a
considerable distance there is level ground, and where, though at a
great altitude, we found ourselves in a fair and fertile region,
and amidst a scene of busy rural life. We saw fields and
inclosures, and here and there corn-stacks, some made, and others
not yet completed, about which people were employed, and waggons
and horses moving. Passing over the top of the hill, we began to
descend the southern side, which was far less steep than the one we
had lately surmounted. After a little way, the road descended
through a wood, which John Jones told us was the beginning of "the
Park of Biddulph."

"There is plenty of game in this wood," said he; "pheasant cocks
and pheasant hens, to say nothing of hares and coneys; and in the
midst of it there is a space sown with a particular kind of corn
for the support of the pheasant hens and pheasant cocks, which in
the shooting-season afford pleasant sport for Biddulph and his

Near the foot of the descent, just where the road made a turn to
the east, we passed by a building which stood amidst trees, with a
pond and barns near it.

"This," said John Jones, "is the house where the bailiff lives who
farms and buys and sells for Biddulph, and fattens the beeves and
swine, and the geese, ducks, and other poultry which Biddulph
consumes at his table."

The scenery was now very lovely, consisting of a mixture of hill
and dale, open space and forest, in fact the best kind of park
scenery. We caught a glimpse of a lake in which John Jones said
there were generally plenty of swans, and presently saw the castle,
which stands on a green grassy slope, from which it derives its
Welsh name of Castell y Waen; gwaen in the Cumrian language
signifying a meadow or uninclosed place. It fronts the west, the
direction from which we were coming; on each side it shows five
towers, of which the middlemost, which protrudes beyond the rest,
and at the bottom of which is the grand gate, is by far the
bulkiest. A noble edifice it looked, and to my eye bore no slight
resemblance to Windsor Castle.

Seeing a kind of ranger, we inquired of him what it was necessary
for us to do, and by his direction proceeded to the southern side
of the castle, and rung the bell at a small gate. The southern
side had a far more antique appearance than the western; huge
towers with small windows, and partly covered with ivy, frowned
down upon us. A servant making his appearance, I inquired whether
we could see the house; he said we could, and that the housekeeper
would show it to us in a little time but that at present she was
engaged. We entered a large quadrangular court: on the left-hand
side was a door and staircase leading into the interior of the
building, and farther on was a gateway, which was no doubt the
principal entrance from the park. On the eastern side of the
spacious court was a kennel, chained to which was an enormous dog,
partly of the bloodhound, partly of the mastiff species, who
occasionally uttered a deep magnificent bay. As the sun was hot,
we took refuge from it under the gateway, the gate of which, at the
further end, towards the park, was closed. Here my wife and
daughter sat down on a small brass cannon, seemingly a six-pounder,
which stood on a very dilapidated carriage; from the appearance of
the gun, which was of an ancient form, and very much battered, and
that of the carriage, I had little doubt that both had been in the
castle at the time of the siege. As my two loved ones sat, I
walked up and down, recalling to my mind all I had heard and read
in connection with this castle. I thought of its gallant defence
against the men of Oliver; I thought of its roaring hospitality in
the time of the fourth Sir Thomas; and I thought of the many
beauties who had been born in its chambers, had danced in its
halls, had tripped across its court, and had subsequently given
heirs to illustrious families.

At last we were told that she housekeeper was waiting for us. The
housekeeper, who was a genteel, good-looking young woman, welcomed
us at the door which led into the interior of the house. After we
had written our names, she showed us into a large room or hall on
the right-hand side on the ground floor, where were some helmets
and ancient halberts, and also some pictures of great personages.
The floor was of oak, and so polished and slippery, that walking
upon it was attended with some danger. Wishing that John Jones,
our faithful attendant, who remained timidly at the doorway, should
participate with us in the wonderful sights we were about to see, I
inquired of the housekeeper whether he might come with us. She
replied with a smile that it was not the custom to admit guides
into the apartments, but that he might come, provided he chose to
take off his shoes; adding, that the reason she wished him to take
off his shoes was, an apprehension that if he kept them on he would
injure the floors with their rough nails. She then went to John
Jones, and told him in English that he might attend us, provided he
took off his shoes; poor John, however, only smiled and said "Dim

"You must speak to him in your native language," said I, "provided
you wish him to understand you - he has no English."

"I am speaking to him in my native language," said the young
housekeeper, with another smile - "and if he has no English, I have
no Welsh."

"Then you are English?" said I.

"Yes," she replied, "a native of London."

"Dear me," said I. "Well, it's no bad thing to be English after
all; and as for not speaking Welsh, there are many in Wales who
would be glad to have much less Welsh than they have."  I then told
John Jones the condition on which he might attend us, whereupon he
took off his shoes with great glee and attended us, holding them in
his hand.

We presently went upstairs, to what the housekeeper told us was the
principal drawing-room, and a noble room it was, hung round with
the portraits of kings and queens, and the mighty of the earth.
Here, on canvas, was noble Mary, the wife of William of Orange, and
her consort by her side, whose part like a true wife she always
took. Here was wretched Mary of Scotland, the murderess of her own
lord. Here were the two Charleses and both the Dukes of Ormond -
the great Duke who fought stoutly in Ireland against Papist and
Roundhead; and the Pretender's Duke who tried to stab his native
land, and died a foreign colonel. And here, amongst other
daughters of the house, was the very proud daughter of the house,
the Warwick Dowager who married the Spectator, and led him the life
of a dog. She looked haughty and cold, and not particularly
handsome; but I could not help gazing with a certain degree of
interest and respect on the countenance of the vixen, who served
out the gentility worshipper in such prime style. Many were the
rooms which we entered, of which I shall say nothing, save that
they were noble in size and rich in objects of interest. At last
we came to what was called the picture gallery. It was a long
panelled room, extending nearly the whole length of the northern
side. The first thing which struck us on entering was the huge
skin of a lion stretched out upon the floor; the head, however,
which was towards the door, was stuffed, and with its monstrous
teeth looked so formidable and life-like, that we were almost
afraid to touch it. Against every panel was a portrait; amongst
others was that of Sir Thomas Middleton, the stout governor of the
castle, during the time of the siege. Near to it was the portrait
of his rib, Dame Middleton. Farther down on the same side were two
portraits of Nell Gwynn; the one painted when she was a girl; the
other when she had attained a more mature age. They were both by
Lely, the Apelles of the Court of wanton Charles. On the other
side was one of the Duke of Gloucester, the son of Queen Anne, who,
had he lived, would have kept the Georges from the throne. In this
gallery on the southern side was a cabinet of ebony and silver,
presented by Charles the Second to the brave warrior Sir Thomas,
and which, according to tradition, cost seven thousand pounds.
This room, which was perhaps the most magnificent in the castle,
was the last we visited. The candle of God, whilst we wandered
through these magnificent halls, was flaming in the firmament, and
its rays, penetrating through the long narrow windows, showed them
off, and all the gorgeous things which they contained to great
advantage. When we left the castle we all said, not excepting John
Jones, that we had never seen in our lives anything more princely
and delightful than the interior.

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