Infomotions, Inc.Wild Wales: Its People, Language and Scenery / Borrow, George Henry, 1803-1881

Author: Borrow, George Henry, 1803-1881
Title: Wild Wales: Its People, Language and Scenery
Publisher: Project Gutenberg
Tag(s): welsh; wales; ale; huw morris; bridge; gronwy owen
Contributor(s): Bell, Robert, 1800-1867 [Editor]
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Rights: GNU General Public License
Size: 235,218 words (tome-like) Grade range: 9-11 (high school) Readability score: 64 (easy)
Identifier: etext648
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Wild Wales

by George Borrow

September, 1996  [Etext #648]

**The Project Gutenberg Etext of Wild Wales by George Borrow***
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Wild Wales by George Borrow
Scanned and proofed by David Price
Second proof by Jane Gammie

Wild Wales:  Its People, Language and Scenery


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.

After a little time, my wife and daughter complaining of being 
rather faint, I asked John Jones whether there was an inn in the 
neighbourhood where some refreshment could be procured.  He said 
there was, and that he would conduct us to it.  We directed our 
course towards the east, rousing successively, and setting a-
scampering, three large herds of deer - the common ones were yellow 
and of no particular size - but at the head of each herd we 
observed a big old black fellow with immense antlers; one of these 
was particularly large, indeed as huge as a bull.  We soon came to 
the verge of a steep descent, down which we went, not without some 
risk of falling.  At last we came to a gate; it was locked; 
however, on John Jones shouting, an elderly man with his right hand 
bandaged, came and opened it.  I asked him what was the matter with 
his hand, and he told me that he had lately lost three fingers 
whilst working at a saw-mill up at the castle.  On my inquiring 
about the inn he said he was the master of it, and led the way to a 
long neat low house, nearly opposite to a little bridge over a 
brook, which ran down the valley towards the north.  I ordered some 
ale and bread-and-butter, and whilst our repast was being got ready 
John Jones and I went to the bridge.

"This bridge, sir," said John, "is called Pont y Velin Castell, the 
bridge of the Castle Mill; the inn was formerly the mill of the 
castle, and is still called Melin y Castell.  As soon as you are 
over this bridge you are in shire Amwythig, which the Saxons call 
Shropshire.  A little way up on yon hill is Clawdd Offa or Offa's 
dyke, built of old by the Brenin Offa in order to keep us poor 
Welsh within our bounds."

As we stood on the bridge I inquired of Jones the name of the brook 
which was running merrily beneath it.

"The Ceiriog, sir," said John, "the same river that we saw at Pont 
y Meibion."

"The river," said I, "which Huw Morris loved so well, whose praises 
he has sung, and which he has introduced along with Cefn Uchaf in a 
stanza in which he describes the hospitality of Chirk Castle in his 
day, and which runs thus:

"Pe byddai 'r Cefn Ucha,
Yn gig ac yn fara,
A Cheiriog fawr yma'n fir aml bob tro,
Rhy ryfedd fae iddyn'
Barhau hanner blwyddyn,
I wyr bob yn gan-nyn ar ginio."

"A good penill that, sir," said John Jones.  "Pity that the halls 
of great people no longer flow with rivers of beer, nor have 
mountains of bread and beef for all comers."

"No pity at all," said I; "things are better as they are.  Those 
mountains of bread and beef, and those rivers of ale merely 
encouraged vassalage, fawning and idleness; better to pay for one's 
dinner proudly and independently at one's inn, than to go and 
cringe for it at a great man's table."

We crossed the bridge, walked a little way up the hill which was 
beautifully wooded, and then retraced our steps to the little inn, 
where I found my wife and daughter waiting for us, and very hungry.  
We sat down, John Jones with us, and proceeded to despatch our 
bread-and-butter and ale.  The bread-and-butter were good enough, 
but the ale poorish.  Oh, for an Act of Parliament to force people 
to brew good ale!  After finishing our humble meal, we got up and 
having paid our reckoning went back into the park, the gate of 
which the landlord again unlocked for us.

We strolled towards the north along the base of the hill.  The 
imagination of man can scarcely conceive a scene more beautiful 
than the one which we were now enjoying.  Huge oaks studded the 
lower side of the hill, towards the top was a belt of forest, above 
which rose the eastern walls of the castle; the whole forest, 
castle and the green bosom of the hill glorified by the lustre of 
the sun.  As we proceeded we again roused the deer, and again saw 
three old black fellows, evidently the patriarchs of the herds, 
with their white enormous horns; with these ancient gentlefolks I 
very much wished to make acquaintance, and tried to get near them, 
but no! they would suffer no such thing; off they glided, their 
white antlers, like the barked top boughs of old pollards, glancing 
in the sunshine, the smaller dapple creatures following them 
bounding and frisking.  We had again got very near the castle, when 
John Jones told me that if we would follow him he would show us 
something very remarkable; I asked him what it was.

"Llun Cawr," he replied.  "The figure of a giant."

"What giant?" said I.

But on this point he could give me no information.  I told my wife 
and daughter what he had said, and finding that they wished to see 
the figure, I bade John Jones lead us to it.  He led us down an 
avenue just below the eastern side of the castle; noble oaks and 
other trees composed it, some of them probably near a hundred feet 
high; John Jones observing me looking at them with admiration, 

"They would make fine chests for the dead, sir."

What an observation! how calculated, amidst the most bounding joy 
and bliss, to remind man of his doom!  A moment before I had felt 
quite happy, but now I felt sad and mournful.  I looked at my wife 
and daughter, who were gazing admiringly on the beauteous scenes 
around them, and remembered that in a few short years at most we 
should all three be laid in the cold narrow house formed of four 
elm or oaken boards, our only garment the flannel shroud, the cold 
damp earth above us, instead of the bright glorious sky.  Oh, how 
sad and mournful I became!  I soon comforted myself, however, by 
reflecting that such is the will of Heaven, and that Heaven is 

After we had descended the avenue some way John Jones began to look 
about him, and getting on the bank on the left side disappeared.  
We went on, and in a little time saw him again beckoning to us some 
way farther down, but still on the bank.  When we drew nigh to him 
he bade us get on the bank; we did so and followed him some way, 
midst furze and lyng.  All of a sudden he exclaimed, "There it is!"  
We looked and saw a large figure standing on a pedestal.  On going 
up to it we found it to be a Hercules leaning on his club, indeed a 
copy of the Farnese Hercules, as we gathered from an inscription in 
Latin partly defaced.  We felt rather disappointed, as we expected 
that it would have turned out to be the figure of some huge Welsh 
champion of old.  We, however, said nothing to our guide.  John 
Jones, in order that we might properly appreciate the size of the 
statue by contrasting it with his own body, got upon the pedestal 
and stood up beside the figure, to the elbow of which his head 
little more than reached.

I told him that in my country, the eastern part of Lloegr, I had 
seen a man quite as tall as the statue.

"Indeed, sir," said he; "who is it?"

"Hales the Norfolk giant," I replied, "who has a sister seven 
inches shorter than himself, who is yet seven inches taller than 
any man in the county when her brother is out of it."

When John Jones got down he asked me who the man was whom the 
statue was intended to represent.

"Erchwl," I replied, "a mighty man of old, who with club cleared 
the country of thieves, serpents, and monsters."

I now proposed that we should return to Llangollen, whereupon we 
retraced our steps, and had nearly reached the farm-house of the 
castle when John Jones said that we had better return by the low 
road, by doing which we should see the castle-lodge and also its 
gate which was considered one of the wonders of Wales.  We followed 
his advice and passing by the front of the castle northwards soon 
came to the lodge.  The lodge had nothing remarkable in its 
appearance, but the gate which was of iron was truly magnificent.

On the top were two figures of wolves which John Jones supposed to 
be those of foxes.  The wolf of Chirk is not intended to be 
expressive of the northern name of its proprietor, but as the 
armorial bearing of his family by the maternal side, and originated 
in one Ryred, surnamed Blaidd or Wolf from his ferocity in war, 
from whom the family, which only assumed the name of Middleton in 
the beginning of the thirteenth century, on the occasion of its 
representative marrying a rich Shropshire heiress of that name, 
traces descent.

The wolf of Chirk is a Cambrian not a Gothic wolf, and though "a 
wolf of battle," is the wolf not of Biddulph but of Ryred.


A Visitor - Apprenticeship to the Law - Croch Daranau - Lope de 
Vega - No Life like the Traveller's.

ONE morning as I sat alone a gentleman was announced.  On his 
entrance I recognised in him the magistrate's clerk, owing to whose 
good word, as it appeared to me, I had been permitted to remain 
during the examination into the affair of the wounded butcher.  He 
was a stout, strong-made man, somewhat under the middle height, 
with a ruddy face, and very clear, grey eyes.  I handed him a 
chair, which he took, and said that his name was R-, and that he 
had taken the liberty of calling, as he had a great desire to be 
acquainted with me.  On my asking him his reason for that desire he 
told me that it proceeded from his having read a book of mine about 
Spain, which had much interested him.

"Good," said I, "you can't give an author a better reason for 
coming to see him than being pleased with his book.  I assure you 
that you are most welcome."

After a little general discourse I said that I presumed he was in 
the law.

"Yes," said he, "I am a member of that much-abused profession."

"And unjustly abused," said I; "it is a profession which abounds 
with honourable men, and in which I believe there are fewer scamps 
than in any other.  The most honourable men I have ever known have 
been lawyers; they were men whose word was their bond, and who 
would have preferred ruin to breaking it.  There was my old master, 
in particular, who would have died sooner than broken his word.  
God bless him!  I think I see him now with his bald, shining pate, 
and his finger on an open page of 'Preston's Conveyancing.'"

"Sure you are not a limb of the law?" said Mr R-.

"No," said I, "but I might be, for I served an apprenticeship to 

"I am glad to hear it," said Mr R-, shaking me by the hand.  "Take 
my advice, come and settle at Llangollen and be my partner."

"If I did," said I, "I am afraid that our partnership would be of 
short duration; you would find me too eccentric and flighty for the 
law.  Have you a good practice?" I demanded after a pause.

"I have no reason to complain of it," said he, with a contented 

"I suppose you are married?" said I.

"Oh yes," said he, "I have both a wife and family."

"A native of Llangollen?" said I.

"No," said he:  "I was born at Llan Silin, a place some way off 
across the Berwyn."

"Llan Silin?" said I, "I have a great desire to visit it some day 
or other."

"Why so?" said he, "it offers nothing interesting."

"I beg your pardon," said I; "unless I am much mistaken, the tomb 
of the great poet Huw Morris is in Llan Silin churchyard."

"Is it possible that you have ever heard of Huw Morris?"

"Oh yes," said I; "and I have not only heard of him but am 
acquainted with his writings; I read them when a boy."

"How very extraordinary," said he; "well, you are quite right about 
his tomb; when a boy I have played dozens of times on the flat 
stone with my schoolfellows."

We talked of Welsh poetry; he said he had not dipped much into it, 
owing to its difficulty; that he was master of the colloquial 
language of Wales, but understood very little of the language of 
Welsh poetry, which was a widely different thing.  I asked him 
whether he had seen Owen Pugh's translation of Paradise Lost.  He 
said he had, but could only partially understand it, adding, 
however, that those parts which he could make out appeared to him 
to be admirably executed, that amongst these there was one which 
had particularly struck him namely:

"Ar eu col o rygnu croch

The rendering of Milton's

"And on their hinges grate
Harsh thunder."

which, grand as it was, was certainly equalled by the Welsh 
version, and perhaps surpassed, for that he was disposed to think 
that there was something more terrible in "croch daranau," than in 
"harsh thunder."

"I am disposed to think so too," said I.  "Now can you tell me 
where Owen Pugh is buried?"

"I cannot," said he; "but I suppose you can tell me; you, who know 
the burying-place of Huw Morris are probably acquainted with the 
burying-place of Owen Pugh."

"No," said I, "I am not.  Unlike Huw Morris, Owen Pugh has never 
had his history written, though perhaps quite as interesting a 
history might be made out of the life of the quiet student as out 
of that of the popular poet.  As soon as ever I learn where his 
grave is I shall assuredly make a pilgrimage to it."  Mr R- then 
asked me a good many questions about Spain, and a certain singular 
race of people about whom I have written a good deal.  Before going 
away he told me that a friend of his, of the name of J-, would call 
upon me, provided he thought I should not consider his doing so an 
intrusion.  "Let him come by all means," said I; "I shall never 
look upon a visit from a friend of yours in the light of an 

In a few days came his friend, a fine tall athletic man of about 
forty.  "You are no Welshman," said I, as I looked at him.

"No," said he, "I am a native of Lincolnshire, but I have resided 
in Llangollen for thirteen years."

"In what capacity?" said I.

"In the wine-trade," said he.

"Instead of coming to Llangollen," said I, "and entering into the 
wine-trade, you should have gone to London, and enlisted into the 
Life Guards."

"Well," said he, with a smile, "I had once or twice thought of 
doing so.  However, fate brought me to Llangollen, and I am not 
sorry that she did, for I have done very well here."

I soon found out that he was a well-read and indeed highly 
accomplished man.  Like his friend R-, Mr J- asked me a great many 
questions about Spain.  By degrees we got on the subject of Spanish 
literature.  I said that the literature of Spain was a first-rate 
literature, but that it was not very extensive.  He asked me 
whether I did not think that Lope de Vega was much overrated.

"Not a bit," said I; "Lope de Vega was one of the greatest geniuses 
that ever lived.  He was not only a great dramatist and lyric poet, 
but a prose writer of marvellous ability, as he proved by several 
admirable tales, amongst which is the best ghost story in the 

Another remarkable person whom I got acquainted with about this 
time was A-, the innkeeper, who lived a little way down the road, 
of whom John Jones had spoken so highly, saying, amongst other 
things, that he was the clebberest man in Llangollen.  One day as I 
was looking in at his gate, he came forth, took off his hat, and 
asked me to do him the honour to come in and look at his grounds.  
I complied, and as he showed me about he told me his history in 
nearly the following words:-

"I am a Devonian by birth.  For many years I served a travelling 
gentleman, whom I accompanied in all his wanderings.  I have been 
five times across the Alps, and in every capital of Europe.  My 
master at length dying left me in his will something handsome, 
whereupon I determined to be a servant no longer, but married, and 
came to Llangollen, which I had visited long before with my master, 
and had been much pleased with.  After a little time these premises 
becoming vacant, I took them, and set up in the public line, more 
to have something to do, than for the sake of gain, about which, 
indeed, I need not trouble myself much, my poor, dear master, as I 
said before, having done very handsomely by me at his death.  Here 
I have lived for several years, receiving strangers, and improving 
my house and grounds.  I am tolerably comfortable, but confess I 
sometimes look back to my former roving life rather wistfully, for 
there is no life so merry as the traveller's."

He was about the middle age and somewhat under the middle size.  I 
had a good deal of conversation with him, and was much struck with 
his frank, straightforward manner.  He enjoyed a high character at 
Llangollen for probity and likewise for cleverness, being reckoned 
an excellent gardener, and an almost unequalled cook.  His master, 
the travelling gentleman, might well leave him a handsome 
remembrance in his will, for he had not only been an excellent and 
trusty servant to him, but had once saved his life at the hazard of 
his own, amongst the frightful precipices of the Alps.  Such 
retired gentlemen's servants, or such publicans either, as honest 
A-, are not every day to be found.  His grounds, principally laid 
out by his own hands, exhibited an infinity of taste, and his 
house, into which I looked, was a perfect picture of neatness.  Any 
tourist visiting Llangollen for a short period could do no better 
than take up his abode at the hostelry of honest A-.


Ringing of Bells - Battle of Alma - The Brown Jug - Ale of 
Llangollen - Reverses.

ON the third of October - I think that was the date - as my family 
and myself, attended by trusty John Jones, were returning on foot 
from visiting a park not far from Rhiwabon we heard, when about a 
mile from Llangollen, a sudden ringing of the bells of the place, 
and a loud shouting.  Presently we observed a postman hurrying in a 
cart from the direction of the town.  "Peth yw y matter?" said John 
Jones.  "Y matter, y matter!" said the postman in a tone of 
exultation, "Sebastopol wedi cymmeryd.  Hurrah!"

"What does he say?" said my wife anxiously to me.

"Why, that Sebastopol is taken," said I.

"Then you have been mistaken," said my wife smiling, "for you 
always said that the place would either not be taken at all or 
would cost the allies to take it a deal of time and an immense 
quantity of blood and treasure, and here it is taken at once, for 
the allies only landed the other day.  Well, thank God, you have 
been mistaken!"

"Thank God, indeed," said I, "always supposing that I have been 
mistaken - but I hardly think from what I have known of the 
Russians that they would let their town - however, let us hope that 
they have let it be taken.  Hurrah!"

We reached our dwelling.  My wife and daughter went in.  John Jones 
betook himself to his cottage, and I went into the town, in which 
there was a great excitement; a wild running troop of boys were 
shouting "Sebastopol wedi cymmeryd.  Hurrah! Hurrah!"  Old Mr Jones 
was standing bare-headed at his door.  "Ah," said the old 
gentleman, "I am glad to see you.  Let us congratulate each other," 
he added, shaking me by the hand.  "Sebastopol taken, and in so 
short a time.  How fortunate!"

"Fortunate indeed," said I, returning his hearty shake; "I only 
hope it may be true."

"Oh, there can be no doubt of its being true," said the old 
gentleman.  "The accounts are most positive.  Come in, and I will 
tell you all the circumstances."  I followed him into his little 
back parlour, where we both sat down.

"Now," said the old church clerk, "I will tell you all about it.  
The allies landed about twenty miles from Sebastopol and proceeded 
to march against it.  When nearly half way they found the Russians 
posted on a hill.  Their position was naturally very strong, and 
they had made it more so by means of redoubts and trenches.  
However, the allies undismayed, attacked the enemy, and after a 
desperate resistance, drove them over the hill, and following fast 
at their heels entered the town pell-mell with them, taking it and 
all that remained alive of the Russian army.  And what do you 
think?  The Welsh highly distinguished themselves.  The Welsh 
fusileers were the first to mount the hill.  They suffered horribly 
- indeed almost the whole regiment was cut to pieces; but what of 
that? they showed that the courage of the Ancient Britons still 
survives in their descendants.  And now I intend to stand beverage.  
I assure you I do.  No words!  I insist upon it.  I have heard you 
say you are fond of good ale, and I intend to fetch you a pint of 
such ale as I am sure you never drank in your life."  Thereupon he 
hurried out of the room, and through the shop into the street.

"Well," said I, when I was by myself, "if this news does not 
regularly surprise me!  I can easily conceive that the Russians 
would be beaten in a pitched battle by the English and French - but 
that they should have been so quickly followed up by the allies, as 
not to be able to shut their gates and man their walls, is to me 
inconceivable.  Why, the Russians retreat like the wind, and have a 
thousand ruses at command, in order to retard an enemy.  So at 
least I thought, but it is plain that I know nothing about them, 
nor indeed much of my own countrymen; I should never have thought 
that English soldiers could have marched fast enough to overtake 
Russians, more especially with such a being to command them, as -, 
whom I, and indeed almost every one else have always considered a 
dead weight on the English service.  I suppose, however, that both 
they and their commander were spurred on by the active French."

Presently the old church clerk made his appearance with a glass in 
one hand, and a brown jug of ale in the other.

"Here," said he, filling the glass, "is some of the real Llangollen 
ale.  I got it from the little inn, the Eagle, over the way, which 
was always celebrated for its ale.  They stared at me when I went 
in and asked for a pint of ale, as they knew that for twenty years 
I have drunk no liquor whatever, owing to the state of my stomach, 
which will not allow me to drink anything stronger than water and 
tea.  I told them, however, it was for a gentleman, a friend of 
mine, whom I wished to treat in honour of the fall of Sebastopol."

I would fain have excused myself, but the old gentleman insisted on 
my drinking.

"Well," said I, taking the glass, "thank God that our gloomy 
forebodings are not likely to be realised.  Oes y byd i'r glod 
Frythoneg!  May Britain's glory last as long as the world!"

Then, looking for a moment at the ale, which was of a dark-brown 
colour, I put the glass to my lips and drank.

"Ah!" said the old church clerk, "I see you like it, for you have 
emptied the glass at a draught."

"It is good ale," said I.

"Good," said the old gentleman rather hastily, "good; did you ever 
taste any so good in your life?"

"Why, as to that," said I, "I hardly know what to say; I have drunk 
some very good ale in my day.  However, I'll trouble you for 
another glass."

"Oh ho, you will," said the old gentleman; "that's enough; if you 
did not think it first-rate, you would not ask for more.  This," 
said he, as he filled the glass again, "is genuine malt and hop 
liquor, brewed in a way only known, they say, to some few people in 
this place.  You must, however, take care how much you take of it.  
Only a few glasses will make you dispute with your friends, and a 
few more quarrel with them.  Strange things are said of what 
Llangollen ale made people do of yore; and I remember that when I 
was young and could drink ale, two or three glasses of the 
Llangollen juice of the barleycorn would make me - however, those 
times are gone by."

"Has Llangollen ale," said I, after tasting the second glass, "ever 
been sung in Welsh? is there no englyn upon it?"

"No," said the old church clerk, "at any rate, that I am aware."

"Well," said I, "I can't sing its praises in a Welsh englyn, but I 
think I can contrive to do so in an English quatrain, with the help 
of what you have told me.  What do you think of this? -

"Llangollen's brown ale is with malt and hop rife;
'Tis good; but don't quaff it from evening till dawn;
For too much of that ale will incline you to strife;
Too much of that ale has caused knives to be drawn."

"That's not so bad," said the old church clerk, "but I think some 
of our bards could have produced something better - that is, in 
Welsh; for example old - What's the name of the old bard who wrote 
so many englynion on ale?"

"Sion Tudor," said I; "O yes; but he was a great poet.  Ah, he has 
written some wonderful englynion on ale; but you will please to 
bear in mind that all his englynion are upon bad ale, and it is 
easier to turn to ridicule what is bad, than to do anything like 
justice to what is good."

O, great was the rejoicing for a few days at Llangollen for the 
reported triumph; and the share of the Welsh in that triumph 
reconciled for a time the descendants of the Ancient Britons to the 
seed of the coiling serpent.  "Welsh and Saxons together will 
conquer the world!" shouted brats, as they stood barefooted in the 
kennel.  In a little time, however, news not quite so cheering 
arrived.  There had been a battle fought, it is true, in which the 
Russians had been beaten, and the little Welsh had very much 
distinguished themselves, but no Sebastopol had been taken.  The 
Russians had retreated to their town, which, till then almost 
defenceless on the land side, they had, following their old maxim 
of "never despair," rendered almost impregnable in a few days, 
whilst the allies, chiefly owing to the supineness of the British 
commander, were loitering on the field of battle.  In a word, all 
had happened which the writer, from his knowledge of the Russians 
and his own countrymen, had conceived likely to happen from the 
beginning.  Then came the news of the commencement of a seemingly 
interminable siege, and of disasters and disgraces on the part of 
the British; there was no more shouting at Llangollen in connection 
with the Crimean expedition.  But the subject is a disagreeable 
one, and the writer will dismiss it after a few brief words.

It was quite right and consistent with the justice of God that the 
British arms should be subjected to disaster and ignominy about 
that period.  A deed of infamous injustice and cruelty had been 
perpetrated, and the perpetrators, instead of being punished, had 
received applause and promotion; so if the British expedition to 
Sebastopol was a disastrous and ignominious one, who can wonder?  
Was it likely that the groans of poor Parry would be unheard from 
the corner to which he had retired to hide his head by "the Ancient 
of days," who sits above the cloud, and from thence sends 


The Newspaper - A New Walk - Pentre y Dwr - Oatmeal and Barley-Meal 
- The Man on Horseback - Heavy News.

"DEAR me," said I to my wife, as I sat by the fire one Saturday 
morning, looking at a newspaper which had been sent to us from our 
own district, "what is this?  Why, the death of our old friend Dr -
.  He died last Tuesday week after a short illness, for he preached 
in his church at - the previous Sunday."

"Poor man!" said my wife.  "How sorry I am to hear of his death!  
However, he died in the fulness of years, after a long and 
exemplary life.  He was an excellent man and good Christian 
shepherd.  I knew him well; you I think only saw him once."

"But I shall never forget him," said I, "nor how animated his 
features became when I talked to him about Wales, for he, you know, 
was a Welshman.  I forgot to ask what part of Wales he came from.  
I suppose I shall never know now."

Feeling indisposed either for writing or reading, I determined to 
take a walk to Pentre y Dwr, a village in the north-west part of 
the valley which I had not yet visited.  I purposed going by a path 
under the Eglwysig crags which I had heard led thither, and to 
return by the monastery.  I set out.  The day was dull and gloomy.  
Crossing the canal I pursued my course by romantic lanes till I 
found myself under the crags.  The rocky ridge here turns away to 
the north, having previously run from the east to the west.

After proceeding nearly a mile amidst very beautiful scenery, I 
came to a farm-yard where I saw several men engaged in repairing a 
building.  This farm-yard was in a very sequestered situation; a 
hill overhung it on the west, half-way up whose side stood a farm-
house to which it probably pertained.  On the north-west was a most 
romantic hill covered with wood to the very top.  A wild valley 
led, I knew not whither, to the north between crags and the wood-
covered hill.  Going up to a man of respectable appearance, who 
seemed to be superintending the others, I asked him in English the 
way to Pentre y Dwr.  He replied that I must follow the path up the 
hill towards the house, behind which I should find a road which 
would lead me through the wood to Pentre Dwr.  As he spoke very 
good English, I asked him where he had learnt it.

"Chiefly in South Wales," said he, "where they speak less Welsh 
than here."

I gathered from him that he lived in the house on the hill and was 
a farmer.  I asked him to what place the road up the valley to the 
north led.

"We generally go by that road to Wrexham," he replied; "it is a 
short but a wild road through the hills."

After a little discourse on the times, which he told me were not 
quite so bad for farmers as they had been, I bade him farewell.

Mounting the hill I passed round the house, as the farmer had 
directed me, and turned to the west along a path on the side of the 
mountain.  A deep valley was on my left, and on my right above me a 
thick wood, principally of oak.  About a mile further on the path 
winded down a descent, at the bottom of which I saw a brook and a 
number of cottages beyond it.

I passed over the brook by means of a long slab laid across, and 
reached the cottages.  I was now as I supposed in Pentre y Dwr, and 
a pentre y dwr most truly it looked, for those Welsh words signify 
in English the village of the water, and the brook here ran through 
the village, in every room of which its pretty murmuring sound must 
have been audible.  I looked about me in the hope of seeing 
somebody of whom I could ask a question or two, but seeing no one, 
I turned to the south intending to regain Llangollen by the way of 
the monastery.  Coming to a cottage I saw a woman, to all 
appearance very old, standing by the door, and asked her in Welsh 
where I was.

"In Pentre Dwr," said she.  "This house, and those yonder," 
pointing to the cottages past which I had come, "are Pentre y Dwr.  
There is, however, another Pentre Dwr up the glen yonder," said 
she, pointing towards the north - "which is called Pentre Dwr uchaf 
(the upper) -this is Pentre Dwr isaf (the lower)."

"Is it called Pentre Dwr," said I, "because of the water of the 

"Likely enough," said she, "but I never thought of the matter 

She was blear-eyed, and her skin, which seemed drawn tight over her 
forehead and cheek-bones, was of the colour of parchment.  I asked 
her how old she was.

"Fifteen after three twenties," she replied; meaning that she was 

From her appearance I should almost have guessed that she had been 
fifteen after four twenties.  I, however, did not tell her so, for 
I am always cautious not to hurt the feelings of anybody, 
especially of the aged.

Continuing my way I soon overtook a man driving five or six very 
large hogs.  One of these which was muzzled was of a truly immense 
size, and walked with considerable difficulty on account of its 
fatness.  I walked for some time by the side of the noble porker, 
admiring it.  At length a man rode up on horseback from the way we 
had come; he said something to the driver of the hogs, who 
instantly unmuzzled the immense creature, who gave a loud grunt on 
finding his snout and mouth free.  From the conversation which 
ensued between the two men I found that the driver was the servant 
and the other the master.

"Those hogs are too fat to drive along the road," said I at last to 
the latter.

"We brought them in a cart as far as the Pentre Dwr," said the man 
on horseback, "but as they did not like the jolting we took them 

"And where are you taking them to?" said. I.

"To Llangollen," said the man, "for the fair on Monday."

"What does that big fellow weigh?" said I, pointing to the largest 

"He'll weigh about eighteen score," said the man.

"What do you mean by eighteen score?" said I.

"Eighteen score of pounds," said the man.

"And how much do you expect to get for him?"

"Eight pounds; I shan't take less."

"And who will buy him?" said I.

"Some gent from Wolverhampton or about there," said the man; "there 
will be plenty of gents from Wolverhampton at the fair."

"And what do you fatten your hogs upon?" said I.

"Oatmeal," said the man.

"And why not on barley-meal?"

"Oatmeal is the best," said the man; "the gents from Wolverhampton 
prefer them fattened on oatmeal."

"Do the gents of Wolverhampton," said I, "eat the hogs?"

"They do not," said the man; "they buy them to sell again; and they 
like hogs fed on oatmeal best, because they are the fattest."

"But the pork is not the best," said I; "all hog-flesh raised on 
oatmeal is bitter and wiry; because do you see - "

"I see you are in the trade," said the man, "and understand a thing 
or two."

"I understand a thing or two," said I, "but I am not in the trade.  
Do you come from far?"

"From Llandeglo," said the man.

"Are you a hog-merchant?" said I.

"Yes," said he, "and a horse-dealer, and a farmer, though rather a 
small one."

"I suppose as you are a horse-dealer," said I, "you travel much 

"Yes," said the man; "I have travelled a good deal about Wales and 

"Have you been in Ynys Fon?" said I.

"I see you are a Welshman," said the man.

"No," said I, "but I know a little Welsh."

"Ynys Fon!" said the man.  "Yes, I have been in Anglesey more times 
than I can tell."

"Do you know Hugh Pritchard," said I, "who lives at Pentraeth 

"I know him well," said the man, "and an honest fellow he is."

"And Mr Bos?" said I.

"What Bos?" said he.  "Do you mean a lusty, red-faced man in top-
boots and grey coat?"

"That's he," said I.

"He's a clever one," said the man.  "I suppose by your knowing 
these people you are a drover or a horse-dealer.  Yes," said he, 
turning half-round in his saddle and looking at me, "you are a 
horse-dealer.  I remember you well now, and once sold a horse to 
you at Chelmsford."

"I am no horse-dealer," said I, "nor did I ever buy a horse at 
Chelmsford.  I see you have been about England.  Have you ever been 
in Norfolk or Suffolk?"

"No," said the man, "but I know something of Suffolk.  I have an 
uncle there."

"Whereabouts in Suffolk?" said I.

"At a place called -," said the man.

"In what line of business?" said I.

"In none at all; he is a clergyman."

"Shall I tell you his name?" said I.

"It is not likely you should know his name," said the man.

"Nevertheless," said I, "I will tell it you - his name was - "

"Well," said the man, "sure enough that is his name."

"It was his name," said I, "but I am sorry to tell you he is no 
more.  To-day is Saturday.  He died last Tuesday week and was 
probably buried last Monday.  An excellent man was Dr. H. O.  A 
credit to his country and to his order."

The man was silent for some time and then said with a softer voice 
and a very different manner from that he had used before, "I never 
saw him but once, and that was more than twenty years ago - but I 
have heard say that he was an excellent man - I see, sir, that you 
are a clergyman."

"I am no clergyman," said I, "but I knew your uncle and prized him.  
What was his native place?"

"Corwen," said the man, then taking out his handkerchief he wiped 
his eyes, and said with a faltering voice:  "This will be heavy 
news there."

We were now past the monastery, and bidding him farewell I 
descended to the canal, and returned home by its bank, whilst the 
Welsh drover, the nephew of the learned, eloquent and exemplary 
Welsh doctor, pursued with his servant and animals his way by the 
high road to Llangollen.

Many sons of Welsh yeomen brought up to the Church have become 
ornaments of it in distant Saxon land, but few, very few, have by 
learning, eloquence and Christian virtues reflected so much lustre 
upon it as Hugh O- of Corwen.


Sunday Night - Sleep, Sin, and Old Age - The Dream - Lanikin Figure 
- A Literary Purchase.

THE Sunday morning was a gloomy one.  I attended service at church 
with my family.  The service was in English, and the younger Mr E- 
preached.  The text I have forgotten, but I remember perfectly well 
that the sermon was scriptural and elegant.  When we came out the 
rain was falling in torrents.  Neither I nor my family went to 
church in the afternoon.  I however attended the evening service 
which is always in Welsh.  The elder Mr E- preached.  Text, 2 Cor. 
x. 5.  The sermon was an admirable one, admonitory, pathetic and 
highly eloquent; I went home very much edified, and edified my wife 
and Henrietta, by repeating to them in English the greater part of 
the discourse which I had been listening to in Welsh.  After 
supper, in which I did not join, for I never take supper, provided 
I have taken dinner, they went to bed whilst I remained seated 
before the fire, with my back near the table and my eyes fixed upon 
the embers which were rapidly expiring, and in this posture sleep 
surprised me.  Amongst the proverbial sayings of the Welsh, which 
are chiefly preserved in the shape of triads, is the following one:  
"Three things come unawares upon a man, sleep, sin, and old age."  
This saying holds sometimes good with respect to sleep and old age, 
but never with respect to sin.  Sin does not come unawares upon a 
man:  God is just, and would never punish a man, as He always does, 
for being overcome by sin if sin were able to take him unawares; 
and neither sleep nor old age always come unawares upon a man.  
People frequently feel themselves going to sleep and feel old age 
stealing upon them; though there can be no doubt that sleep and old 
age sometimes come unawares - old age came unawares upon me; it was 
only the other day that I was aware that I was old, though I had 
long been old, and sleep came unawares upon me in that chair in 
which I had sat down without the slightest thought of sleeping.  
And there as I sat I had a dream - what did I dream about? the 
sermon, musing upon which I had been overcome by sleep? not a bit!  
I dreamt about a widely-different matter.  Methought I was in 
Llangollen fair in the place where the pigs were sold, in the midst 
of Welsh drovers, immense hogs and immense men whom I took to be 
the gents of Wolverhampton.  What huge fellows they were! almost as 
huge as the hogs for which they higgled; the generality of them 
dressed in brown sporting coats, drab breeches, yellow-topped 
boots, splashed all over with mud, and with low-crowned broad-
brimmed hats.  One enormous fellow particularly caught my notice.  
I guessed he must have weighed eleven score, he had a half-ruddy, 
half-tallowy face, brown hair, and rather thin whiskers.  He was 
higgling with the proprietor of an immense hog, and as he higgled 
he wheezed as if he had a difficulty of respiration, and frequently 
wiped off, with a dirty-white pocket-handkerchief, drops of 
perspiration which stood upon his face.  At last methought he 
bought the hog for nine pounds, and had no sooner concluded his 
bargain than turning round to me, who was standing close by staring 
at him, he slapped me on the shoulder with a hand of immense 
weight, crying with a half-piping, half-wheezing voice, "Coom, 
neighbour, coom, I and thou have often dealt; gi' me noo a poond 
for my bargain, and it shall be all thy own."  I felt in a great 
rage at his unceremonious behaviour, and, owing to the flutter of 
my spirits, whilst I was thinking whether or not I should try and 
knock him down, I awoke and found the fire nearly out and the 
ecclesiastical cat seated on my shoulders.  The creature had not 
been turned out, as it ought to have been, before my wife and 
daughter retired, and feeling cold had got upon the table and 
thence had sprung upon my back for the sake of the warmth which it 
knew was to be found there; and no doubt the springing on my 
shoulders by the ecclesiastical cat was what I took in my dream to 
be the slap on my shoulders by the Wolverhampton gent.

The day of the fair was dull and gloomy, an exact counterpart of 
the previous Saturday.  Owing to some cause I did not go into the 
fair till past one o'clock, and then seeing neither immense hogs 
nor immense men I concluded that the gents of Wolverhampton had 
been there, and after purchasing the larger porkers had departed 
with their bargains to their native district.  After sauntering 
about a little time I returned home.  After dinner I went again 
into the fair along with my wife; the stock business had long been 
over, but I observed more stalls than in the morning, and a far 
greater throng, for the country people for miles round had poured 
into the little town.  By a stall on which were some poor legs and 
shoulders of mutton I perceived the English butcher, whom the Welsh 
one had attempted to slaughter.  I recognised him by a patch which 
he wore on his cheek.  My wife and I went up and inquired how he 
was.  He said that he still felt poorly, but that he hoped he 
should get round.  I asked him if he remembered me; and received 
for answer that he remembered having seen me when the examination 
took place into "his matter."  I then inquired what had become of 
his antagonist and was told that he was in prison awaiting his 
trial.  I gathered from him that he was a native of the Southdown 
country and a shepherd by profession; that he had been engaged by 
the squire of Porkington in Shropshire to look after his sheep, and 
that he had lived there a year or two, but becoming tired of his 
situation he had come to Llangollen, where he had married a 
Welshwoman and set up as a butcher.  We told him that as he was our 
countryman we should be happy to deal with him sometimes; he, 
however, received the information with perfect apathy, never so 
much as saying "thank you."  He was a tall lanikin figure with a 
pair of large, lack-lustre staring eyes, and upon the whole 
appeared to be good for very little.  Leaving him we went some way 
up the principal street; presently my wife turned into a shop, and 
I observing a little bookstall went up to it and began to inspect 
the books.  They were chiefly in Welsh.  Seeing a kind of chap 
book, which bore on its title-page the name of Twm O'r Nant, I took 
it up.  It was called Y Llwyn Celyn or the Holy Grove, and 
contained the life and one of the interludes of Tom O' the Dingle 
or Thomas Edwards.  It purported to be the first of four numbers, 
each of which amongst other things was to contain one of his 
interludes.  The price, of the number was one shilling.  I 
questioned the man of the stall about the other numbers, but found 
that this was the only one which he possessed.  Eager, however, to 
read an interlude of the celebrated Tom, I purchased it and turned 
away from the stall.  Scarcely had I done so when I saw a wild-
looking woman with two wild children looking at me.  The woman 
curtseyed to me, and I thought I recognised the elder of the two 
Irish females whom I had seen in the tent on the green meadow near 
Chester.  I was going to address her, but just then my wife called 
to me from the shop and I went to her, and when I returned to look 
for the woman she and her children had disappeared, and though I 
searched about for her I could not see her, for which I was sorry, 
as I wished very much to have some conversation with her about the 
ways of the Irish wanderers.  I was thinking of going to look for 
her up "Paddy's dingle," but my wife meeting me, begged me to go 
home with her, as it was getting late.  So I went home with my 
better half, bearing my late literary acquisition in my hand.

That night I sat up very late reading the life of Twm O'r Nant, 
written by himself in choice Welsh, and his interlude which was 
styled "Cyfoeth a Thylody; or, Riches and Poverty."  The life I had 
read in my boyhood in an old Welsh magazine, and I now read it 
again with great zest, and no wonder, as it is probably the most 
remarkable autobiography ever penned.  The interlude I had never 
seen before, nor indeed any of the dramatic pieces of Twm O'r Nant, 
though I had frequently wished to procure some of them - so I read 
the present one with great eagerness.  Of the life I shall give 
some account and also some extracts from it, which will enable the 
reader to judge of Tom's personal character, and also an extract of 
the interlude, from which the reader may form a tolerably correct 
idea of the poetical powers of him whom his countrymen delight to 
call "the Welsh Shakespear."


History of Twm O'r Nant - Eagerness for Learning - The First 
Interlude - The Cruel Fighter - Raising Wood - The Luckless Hour - 
Turnpike-Keeping - Death in the Snow - Tom's Great Feat - The Muse 
a Friend - Strength in Old Age - Resurrection of the Dead.

"I AM the first-born of my parents," says Thomas Edwards.  "They 
were poor people and very ignorant.  I was brought into the world 
in a place called Lower Pen Parchell, on land which once belonged 
to the celebrated Iolo Goch.  My parents afterwards removed to the 
Nant (or dingle) near Nantglyn, situated in a place called Coom 
Pernant.  The Nant was the middlemost of three homesteads, which 
are in the Coom, and are called the Upper, Middle, and Lower Nant; 
and it so happened that in the Upper Nant there were people who had 
a boy of about the same age as myself, and forasmuch as they were 
better to do in the world than my parents, they having only two 
children whilst mine had ten, I was called Tom of the Dingle, 
whilst he was denominated Thomas Williams."

After giving some anecdotes of his childhood he goes on thus:- 
"Time passed on till I was about eight years old, and then in the 
summer I was lucky enough to be sent to school for three weeks; and 
as soon as I had learnt to spell and read a few words I conceived a 
mighty desire to learn to write; so I went in quest of elderberries 
to make me ink, and my first essay in writing was trying to copy on 
the sides of the leaves of books the letters of the words I read.  
It happened, however, that a shop in the village caught fire, and 
the greater part of it was burnt, only a few trifles being saved, 
and amongst the scorched articles my mother got for a penny a 
number of sheets of paper burnt at the edges, and sewed them 
together to serve as copy-books for me.  Without loss of time I 
went to the smith of Waendwysog, who wrote for me the letters on 
the upper part of the leaves; and careful enough was I to fill the 
whole paper with scrawlings which looked for all the world like 
crow's feet.  I went on getting paper and ink, and something to 
copy now from this person, and now from that, until I learned to 
read Welsh and to write it at the same time."

He copied out a great many carols and songs, and the neighbours 
observing his fondness for learning persuaded his father to allow 
him to go to the village school to learn English.  At the end of 
three weeks, however, his father, considering that he was losing 
his time, would allow him to go no longer, but took him into the 
fields in order that the boy might assist him in his labour.  
Nevertheless Tom would not give up his literary pursuits, but 
continued scribbling, and copying out songs and carols.  When he 
was about ten he formed an acquaintance with an old man, chapel-
reader in Pentre y Foelas, who had a great many old books in his 
possession, which he allowed Tom to read; he then had the honour of 
becoming an amanuensis to a poet.

"I became very intimate," says he, "with a man who was a poet; he 
could neither read nor write; but he was a poet by nature, having a 
muse wonderfully glib at making triplets and quartets.  He was 
nicknamed Tum Tai of the Moor.  He made an englyn for me to put in 
a book in which I was inserting all the verses I could collect:

"'Tom Evans' the lad for hunting up songs,
Tom Evans to whom the best learning belongs;
Betwixt his two pasteboards he verses has got,
Sufficient to fill the whole country, I wot.'

"I was in the habit of writing my name Tom or Thomas Evans before I 
went to school for a fortnight in order to learn English; but then 
I altered it, into Thomas Edwards, for Evan Edwards was the name of 
my father, and I should have been making myself a bastard had I 
continued calling myself by my first name.  However, I had the 
honour of being secretary to the old poet.  When he had made a song 
he would keep it in his memory till I came to him.  Sometimes after 
the old man had repeated his composition to me I would begin to 
dispute with him, asking whether the thing would not be better 
another way, and he could hardly keep from flying into a passion 
with me for putting his work to the torture."

It was then the custom for young lads to go about playing what were 
called interludes, namely dramatic pieces on religious or moral 
subjects, written by rustic poets.  Shortly after Tom had attained 
the age of twelve he went about with certain lads of Nantglyn 
playing these pieces, generally acting the part of a girl, because, 
as he says, he had the best voice.  About this time he wrote an 
interlude himself, founded on "John Bunyan's Spiritual Courtship," 
which was, however, stolen from him by a young fellow from 
Anglesey, along with the greater part of the poems and pieces which 
he had copied.  This affair at first very much disheartened Tom:  
plucking up his spirits, however, he went on composing, and soon 
acquired amongst his neighbours the title of "the poet," to the 
great mortification of his parents, who were anxious to see him 
become an industrious husbandman.

"Before I was quite fourteen," says he, "I had made another 
interlude, but when my father and mother heard about it they did 
all they could to induce me to destroy it.  However, I would not 
burn it, but gave it to Hugh of Llangwin, a celebrated poet of the 
time, who took it to Landyrnog, where he sold it for ten shillings 
to the lads of the place, who performed it the following summer; 
but I never got anything for my labour, save a sup of ale from the 
players when I met them.  This at the heel of other things would 
have induced me to give up poetry, had it been in the power of 
anything to do so.  I made two interludes," he continues, "one for 
the people of Llanbedr in the Vale of Clwyd, and the other for the 
lads of Llanarmon in Yale, one on the subject of Naaman's leprosy, 
and the other about hypocrisy, which was a re-fashionment of the 
work of Richard Parry of Ddiserth.  When I was young I had such a 
rage or madness for poetizing, that I would make a song on almost 
anything I saw - and it was a mercy that many did not kill me or 
break my bones, on account of my evil tongue.  My parents often 
told me I should have some mischief done me if I went on in the way 
in which I was going.  Once on a time being with some companions as 
bad as myself, I happened to use some very free language in a place 
where three lovers were with a young lass of my neighbourhood, who 
lived at a place called Ty Celyn, with whom they kept company.  I 
said in discourse that they were the cocks of Ty Celyn.  The girl 
heard me, and conceived a spite against me on account of my 
scurrilous language.  She had a brother, who was a cruel fighter; 
he took the part of his sister, and determined to chastise me.  One 
Sunday evening he shouted to me as I was coming from Nantglyn - our 
ways were the same till we got nearly home - he had determined to 
give me a thrashing, and he had with him a piece of oak stick just 
suited for the purpose.  After we had taunted each other for some 
time, as we went along, he flung his stick on the ground, and 
stripped himself stark naked.  I took off my hat and my neck-cloth, 
and took his stick in my hand, whereupon running to the hedge he 
took a stake, and straight we set to like two furies.  After 
fighting some time, our sticks were shivered to pieces and quite 
short; sometimes we were upon the ground, but did not give up 
fighting on that account.  Many people came up and would fain have 
parted us, but he would by no means let them.  At last we agreed to 
go and pull fresh stakes, and then we went at it again until he 
could no longer stand.  The marks of this battle are upon him and 
me to this day.  At last, covered with a gore of blood, he was 
dragged home by his neighbours.  He was in a dreadful condition, 
and many thought he would die.  On the morrow there came an alarm 
that he was dead, whereupon I escaped across the mountain to Pentre 
y Foelas to the old man Sion Dafydd to read his old books."

After staying there a little time, and getting his wounds tended by 
an old woman, he departed and skulked about in various places, 
doing now and then a little work, until hearing his adversary was 
recovering, he returned to his home.  He went on writing and 
performing interludes till he fell in love with a young woman 
rather religiously inclined, whom he married in the year 1763, when 
he was in his twenty-fourth year.  The young couple settled down on 
a little place near the town of Denbigh, called Ale Fowlio.  They 
kept three cows and four horses.  The wife superintended the cows, 
and Tom with his horses carried wood from Gwenynos to Ruddlan, and 
soon excelled all other carters "in loading and in everything 
connected with the management of wood."  Tom in the pride of his 
heart must needs be helping his fellow-carriers, whilst labouring 
with them in the forests, till his wife told him he was a fool for 
his pains, and advised him to go and load in the afternoon, when 
nobody would be about, offering to go and help him.  He listened to 
her advice and took her with him.

"The dear creature," says he, "assisted me for some time, but as 
she was with child, and on that account not exactly fit to turn the 
roll of the crane with levers of iron, I formed the plan of hooking 
the horses to the rope, in order to raise up the wood which was to 
be loaded, and by long teaching the horses to pull and to stop, I 
contrived to make loading a much easier task, both to my wife and 
myself.  Now this was the first hooking of horses to the rope of 
the crane which was ever done either in Wales or England.  
Subsequently I had plenty of leisure and rest instead of toiling 
amidst other carriers."

Leaving Ale Fowlio he took up his abode nearer to Denbigh, and 
continued carrying wood.  Several of his horses died, and he was 
soon in difficulties, and was glad to accept an invitation from 
certain miners of the county of Flint to go and play them an 
interlude.  As he was playing them one called "A Vision of the 
Course of the World," which he had written for the occasion, and 
which was founded on, and named after, the first part of the work 
of Master Ellis Wyn, he was arrested at the suit of one Mostyn of 
Calcoed.  He, however, got bail, and partly by carrying and partly 
by playing interludes, soon raised money enough to pay his debt.  
He then made another interlude, called "Riches and Poverty," by 
which he gained a great deal of money.  He then wrote two others, 
one called "The Three Associates of Man, namely, the World, Nature, 
and Conscience;" the other entitled "The King, the Justice, the 
Bishop and the Husbandman," both of which he and certain of his 
companions acted with great success.  After he had made all that he 
could by acting these pieces he printed them.  When printed they 
had a considerable sale, and Tom was soon able to set up again as a 
carter.  He went on carting and carrying for upwards of twelve 
years, at the end of which time he was worth, with one thing and 
the other, upwards of three hundred pounds, which was considered a 
very considerable property about ninety years ago in Wales.  He 
then, in a luckless hour, "when," to use his own words, "he was at 
leisure at home, like King David on the top of his house," mixed 
himself up with the concerns of an uncle of his, a brother of his 
father.  He first became bail for him, and subsequently made 
himself answerable for the amount of a bill, due by his uncle to a 
lawyer.  His becoming answerable for the bill nearly proved the 
utter ruin of our hero.  His uncle failed, and left him to pay it.  
The lawyer took out a writ against him.  It would have been well 
for Tom if he had paid the money at once, but he went on dallying 
and compromising with the lawyer, till he became terribly involved 
in his web.  To increase his difficulties work became slack; so at 
last he packed his things upon his carts, and with his family, 
consisting of his wife and three daughters, fled into 
Montgomeryshire.  The lawyer, however, soon got information of his 
whereabouts, and threatened to arrest him.  Tom, after trying in 
vain to arrange matters with him, fled into South Wales, to 
Carmarthenshire, where he carried wood for a timber-merchant, and 
kept a turnpike gate, which belonged to the same individual.  But 
the "old cancer" still followed him, and his horses were seized for 
the debt.  His neighbours, however, assisted him, and bought the 
horses in at a low price when they were put up for sale, and 
restored them to him for what they had given.  Even then the matter 
was not satisfactorily settled, for, years afterwards, on the 
decease of Tom's father, the lawyer seized upon the property, which 
by law descended to Tom O'r Nant, and turned his poor old mother 
out upon the cold mountain's side.

Many strange adventures occurred to Tom in South Wales, but those 
which befell him whilst officiating as a turnpike-keeper were 
certainly the most extraordinary.  If what he says be true, as of 
course it is - for who shall presume to doubt Tom O' the Dingle's 
veracity? - whosoever fills the office of turnpike-keeper in Wild 
Wales should be a person of very considerable nerve.

"We were in the habit of seeing," says Tom, "plenty of passengers 
going through the gate without paying toll; I mean such things as 
are called phantoms or illusions - sometimes there were hearses and 
mourning coaches, sometimes funeral processions on foot, the whole 
to be seen as distinctly as anything could be seen, especially at 
night-time.  I saw myself on a certain night a hearse go through 
the gate whilst it was shut; I saw the horses and the harness, the 
postillion, and the coachman, and the tufts of hair such as are 
seen on the tops of hearses, and I saw the wheels scattering the 
stones in the road, just as other wheels would have done.  Then I 
saw a funeral of the same character, for all the world like a real 
funeral; there was the bier and the black drapery.  I have seen 
more than one.  If a young man was to be buried there would be a 
white sheet, or something that looked like one - and sometimes I 
have seen a flaring candle going past.

"Once a traveller passing through the gate called out to me:  
'Look! yonder is a corpse candle coming through the fields beside 
the highway.'  So we paid attention to it as it moved, making 
apparently towards the church from the other side.  Sometimes it 
would be quite near the road, another time some way into the 
fields.  And sure enough after the lapse of a little time a body 
was brought by exactly the same route by which the candle had come, 
owing to the proper road being blocked up with snow.

"Another time there happened a great wonder connected with an old 
man of Carmarthen, who was in the habit of carrying fish to Brecon, 
Menny, and Monmouth, and returning with the poorer kind of 
Gloucester cheese:  my people knew he was on the road and had made 
ready for him, the weather being dreadful, wind blowing and snow 
drifting.  Well, in the middle of the night, my daughters heard the 
voice of the old man at the gate, and their mother called to them 
to open it quick, and invite the old man to come in to the fire!  
One of the girls got up forthwith, but when she went out there was 
nobody to be seen.  On the morrow, lo and behold! the body of the 
old man was brought past on a couch, he having perished in the snow 
on the mountain of Tre 'r Castell.  Now this is the truth of the 

Many wonderful feats did Tom perform connected with loading and 
carrying, which acquired for him the reputation of being the best 
wood carter of the south.  His dexterity at moving huge bodies was 
probably never equalled.  Robinson Crusoe was not half so handy.  
Only see how he moved a ship into the water, which a multitude of 
people were unable to do.

"After keeping the gate for two or three years," says he, "I took 
the lease of a piece of ground in Llandeilo Fawr and built a house 
upon it, which I got licensed as a tavern for my daughters to keep.  
I myself went on carrying wood as usual.  Now it happened that my 
employer, the merchant at Abermarlais, had built a small ship of 
about thirty or forty tons in the wood about a mile and a quarter 
from the river Towy, which is capable of floating small vessels as 
far as Carmarthen.  He had resolved that the people should draw it 
to the river by way of sport, and had caused proclamation to be 
made in four parish churches, that on such a day a ship would be 
launched at Abermarlais, and that food and drink would be given to 
any one who would come and lend a hand at the work.  Four hogsheads 
of ale were broached, a great oven full of bread was baked, plenty 
of cheese and butter bought, and meat cooked for the more 
respectable people.  The ship was provided with four wheels, or 
rather four great rolling stocks, fenced about with iron, with 
great big axle-trees in them, well greased against the appointed 
day.  I had been loading in the wood that day, and sending the team 
forward, I went to see the business - and a pretty piece of 
business it turned out.  All the food was eaten, the drink 
swallowed to the last drop, the ship drawn about three roods, and 
then left in a deep ditch.  By this time night was coming on, and 
the multitude went away, some drunk, some hungry for want of food, 
but the greater part laughing as if they would split their sides.  
The merchant cried like a child, bitterly lamenting his folly, and 
told me that he should have to take the ship to pieces before he 
could ever get it out of the ditch.

"I told him that I could take it to the river, provided I could but 
get three or four men to help me; whereupon he said that if I could 
but get the vessel to the water he would give me anything I asked, 
and earnestly begged me to come the next morning, if possible.  I 
did come with the lad and four horses.  I went before the team, and 
set the men to work to break a hole through a great old wall, which 
stood as it were before the ship.  We then laid a piece of timber 
across the hole from which was a chain, to which the tackle, that 
is the rope and pulleys, was hooked.  We then hooked one end of the 
rope to the ship, and set the horses to pull at the other.  The 
ship came out of the hole prosperously enough, and then we had to 
hook the tackle to a tree, which was growing near, and by this 
means we got the ship forward; but when we came to soft ground we 
were obliged to put planks under the wheels to prevent their 
sinking under the immense weight; when we came to the end of the 
foremost planks we put the hinder ones before, and so on; when 
there was no tree at hand to which we could hook the tackle, we 
were obliged to drive a post down to hook it to.  So from tree to 
post it got down to the river in a few days.  I was promised noble 
wages by the merchant, but I never got anything from him but 
promises and praises.  Some people came to look at us, and gave us 
money to get ale, and that was all."

The merchant subsequently turned out a very great knave, cheating 
Tom on various occasions, and finally broke very much in his debt.  
Tom was obliged to sell off everything, and left South Wales 
without horses or waggon; his old friend the Muse, however, stood 
him in good stead.

"Before I left," says he, "I went to Brecon, and printed the 
'Interlude of the King, the Justice, the Bishop, and the 
Husbandman,' and got an old acquaintance of mine to play it with 
me, and help me to sell the books.  I likewise busied myself in 
getting subscribers to a book of songs called the 'Garden of 
Minstrelsy.'  It was printed at Trefecca.  The expense attending 
the printing amounted to fifty-two pounds, but I was fortunate 
enough to dispose of two thousand copies.  I subsequently composed 
an interlude called 'Pleasure and Care,' and printed it; and after 
that I made an interlude called the 'Three Powerful Ones of the 
World:  Poverty, Love, and Death.'"

The poet's daughters were not successful in the tavern speculation 
at Llandeilo, and followed their father into North Wales.  The 
second he apprenticed to a milliner, the other two lived with him 
till the day of his death.  He settled at Denbigh in a small house 
which he was enabled to furnish by means of two or three small sums 
which he recovered for work done a long time before.  Shortly after 
his return, his father died, and the lawyer seized the little 
property "for the old curse," and turned Tom's mother out.

After his return from the South Tom went about for some time 
playing interludes, and then turned his hand to many things.  He 
learnt the trade of stonemason, took jobs, and kept workmen.  He 
then went amongst certain bricklayers, and induced them to teach 
him their craft; "and shortly," as he says, "became a very lion at 
bricklaying.  For the last four or five years," says he, towards 
the conclusion of his history, "my work has been to put up iron 
ovens and likewise furnaces of all kinds, also grates, stoves and 
boilers, and not unfrequently I have practised as a smoke doctor."

The following feats of strength he performed after his return from 
South Wales, when he was probably about sixty years of age:-

"About a year after my return from the South," says he, "I met with 
an old carrier of wood, who had many a time worked along with me.  
He and I were at the Hand at Ruthyn along with various others, and 
in the course of discourse my friend said to me:  'Tom, thou art 
much weaker than thou wast when we carted wood together.'  I 
answered that in my opinion I was not a bit weaker than I was then.  
Now it happened that at the moment we were talking there were some 
sacks of wheat in the hall which were going to Chester by the 
carrier's waggon.  They might hold about three bushels each, and I 
said that if I could get three of the sacks upon the table, and had 
them tied together, I would carry them into the street and back 
again; and so I did; many who were present tried to do the same 
thing, but all failed.

"Another time when I was at Chester I lifted a barrel of porter 
from the street to the hinder part of the waggon solely by strength 
of back and arms."

He was once run over by a loaded waggon, but strange to say escaped 
without the slightest injury.

Towards the close of his life he had strong religious convictions, 
and felt a loathing for the sins which he had committed.  "On their 
account," says he in the concluding page of his biography, "there 
is a strong necessity for me to consider my ways and to inquire 
about a Saviour, since it is utterly impossible for me to save 
myself without obtaining knowledge of the merits of the Mediator, 
in which I hope I shall terminate my short time on earth in the 
peace of God enduring unto all eternity."

He died in the year 1810, at the age of 71, shortly after the death 
of his wife, who seems to have been a faithful, loving partner.  By 
her side he was buried in the earth of the graveyard of the White 
Church, near Denbigh.  There can be little doubt that the souls of 
both will be accepted on the great day when, as Gronwy Owen says:-

"Like corn from the belly of the ploughed field, in a thick crop, 
those buried in the earth shall arise, and the sea shall cast forth 
a thousand myriads of dead above the deep billowy way."


Mystery Plays - The Two Prime Opponents - Analysis of Interlude - 
Riches and Poverty - Tom's Grand Qualities.

IN the preceding chapter I have given an abstract of the life of 
Tom O' the Dingle; I will now give an analysis of his interlude; 
first, however, a few words on interludes in general.  It is 
difficult to say with anything like certainty what is the meaning 
of the word interlude.  It may mean, as Warton supposes in his 
history of English Poetry, a short play performed between the 
courses of a banquet or festival; or it may mean the playing of 
something by two or more parties, the interchange of playing or 
acting which occurs when two or more people act.  It was about the 
middle of the fifteenth century that dramatic pieces began in 
England to be called Interludes; for some time previous they had 
been styled Moralities; but the earliest name by which they were 
known was Mysteries.  The first Mysteries composed in England were 
by one Ranald, or Ranulf, a monk of Chester, who flourished about 
1322, whose verses are mentioned rather irreverently in one of the 
visions of Piers Plowman, who puts them in the same rank as the 
ballads about Robin Hood and Maid Marion, making Sloth say:

"I cannon perfitly my Paternoster as the priest it singeth,
But I can rhymes of Robin Hood and Ranald of Chester."

Long, however, before the time of this Ranald Mysteries had been 
composed and represented both in Italy and France.  The Mysteries 
were very rude compositions, little more, as Warton says, than 
literal representations of portions of Scripture.  They derived 
their name of Mysteries from being generally founded on the more 
mysterious parts of Holy Writ, for example the Incarnation, the 
Atonement, and the Resurrection.  The Moralities displayed 
something more of art and invention than the Mysteries; in them 
virtues, vices and qualities were personified, and something like a 
plot was frequently to be discovered.  They were termed Moralities 
because each had its moral, which was spoken at the end of the 
piece by a person called the Doctor. (7)  Much that has been said 
about the moralities holds good with respect to the interludes.  
Indeed, for some time dramatic pieces were called moralities and 
interludes indifferently.  In both there is a mixture of allegory 
and reality.  The latter interludes, however, display more of 
every-day life than was ever observable in the moralities; and more 
closely approximate to modern plays.  Several writers of genius 
have written interludes, amongst whom are the English Skelton and 
the Scottish Lindsay, the latter of whom wrote eight pieces of that 
kind, the most celebrated of which is called "The Puir Man and the 
Pardoner."  Both of these writers flourished about the same period, 
and made use of the interlude as a means of satirizing the vices of 
the popish clergy.  In the time of Charles the First the interlude 
went much out of fashion in England; in fact, the play or regular 
drama had superseded it.  In Wales, however, it continued to the 
beginning of the present century, when it yielded to the influence 
of Methodism.  Of all Welsh interlude composers Twm O'r Nant or Tom 
of the Dingle was the most famous.  Here follows the promised 
analysis of his "Riches and Poverty."

The entire title of the interlude is to this effect.  The two prime 
opponents Riches and Poverty.  A brief exposition of their contrary 
effects on the world; with short and appropriate explanations of 
their quality and substance according to the rule of the four 
elements, Water, Fire, Earth, and Air.

First of all enter Fool, Sir Jemant Wamal, who in rather a foolish 
speech tells the audience that they are about to hear a piece 
composed by Tom the poet.  Then appears Captain Riches, who makes a 
long speech about his influence in the world and the general 
contempt in which Poverty is held; he is, however, presently 
checked by the Fool, who tells him some home truths, and asks him, 
among other questions, whether Solomon did not say that it is not 
meet to despise a poor man, who conducts himself rationally.  Then 
appears Howel Tightbelly, the miser, who in capital verse, with 
very considerable glee and exultation, gives an account of his 
manifold rascalities.  Then comes his wife, Esther Steady, home 
from the market, between whom and her husband there is a pithy 
dialogue.  Captain Riches and Captain Poverty then meet, without 
rancour, however, and have a long discourse about the providence of 
God, whose agents they own themselves to be.  Enter then an old 
worthless scoundrel called Diogyn Trwstan, or Luckless Lazybones, 
who is upon the parish, and who, in a very entertaining account of 
his life, confesses that he was never good for anything, but was a 
liar and an idler from his infancy.  Enter again the Miser along 
with poor Lowry, who asks the Miser for meal and other articles, 
but gets nothing but threatening language.  There is then a very 
edifying dialogue between Mr Contemplation and Mr Truth, who, when 
they retire, are succeeded on the stage by the Miser and John the 
Tavern-keeper.  The publican owes the Miser money, and begs that he 
will be merciful to him.  The Miser, however, swears that he will 
be satisfied with nothing but bond and judgment on his effects.  
The publican very humbly says that he will go to a friend of his in 
order to get the bond made out; almost instantly comes the Fool who 
reads an inventory of the publican's effects.  The Miser then sings 
for very gladness, because everything in the world has hitherto 
gone well with him; turning round, however, what is his horror and 
astonishment to behold Mr Death, close by him.  Death hauls the 
Miser away, and then appears the Fool to moralise and dismiss the 

The appropriate explanations mentioned in the title are given in 
various songs which the various characters sing after describing 
themselves, or after dialogues with each other.  The announcement 
that the whole exposition, etc., will be after the rule of the four 
elements, is rather startling; the dialogue, however, between 
Captain Riches and Captain Poverty shows that Tom was equal to his 
subject, and promised nothing that he could not perform.


O Riches, thy figure is charming and bright,
And to speak in thy praise all the world doth delight,
But I'm a poor fellow all tatter'd and torn,
Whom all the world treateth with insult and scorn.


However mistaken the judgment may be
Of the world which is never from ignorance free,
The parts we must play, which to us are assign'd,
According as God has enlightened our mind.

Of elements four did our Master create
The earth and all in it with skill the most great;
Need I the world's four materials declare -
Are they not water, fire, earth, and air?

Too wise was the mighty Creator to frame
A world from one element, water or flame;
The one is full moist and the other full hot,
And a world made of either were useless, I wot.

And if it had all of mere earth been compos'd
And no water nor fire been within it enclos'd,
It could ne'er have produc'd for a huge multitude
Of all kinds of living things suitable food.

And if God what was wanted had not fully known,
But created the world of these three things alone,
How would any creature the heaven beneath,
Without the blest air have been able to breathe?

Thus all things created, the God of all grace,
Of four prime materials, each good in its place.
The work of His hands, when completed, He view'd,
And saw and pronounc'd that 'twas seemly and good.


In the marvellous things, which to me thou hast told
The wisdom of God I most clearly behold,
And did He not also make man of the same
Materials He us'd when the world He did frame?


Creation is all, as the sages agree,
Of the elements four in man's body that be;
Water's the blood, and fire is the nature,
Which prompts generation in every creature.

The earth is the flesh which with beauty is rife
The air is the breath, without which is no life;
So man must be always accounted the same
As the substances four which exist in his frame.

And as in their creation distinction there's none
'Twixt man and the world, so the Infinite One
Unto man a clear wisdom did bounteously give
The nature of everything to perceive.


But one thing to me passing strange doth appear
Since the wisdom of man is so bright and so clear
How comes there such jarring and warring to be
In the world betwixt Riches and Poverty?


That point we'll discuss without passion or fear
With the aim of instructing the listeners here;
And haply some few who instruction require
May profit derive like the bee from the briar.

Man as thou knowest, in his generation
Is a type of the world and of all the creation;
Difference there's none in the manner of birth
'Twixt the lowliest hinds and the lords of the earth.

The world which the same thing as man we account
In one place is sea, in another is mount;
A part of it rock, and a part of it dale -
God's wisdom has made every place to avail.

There exist precious treasures of every kind
Profoundly in earth's quiet bosom enshrin'd;
There's searching about them, and ever has been,
And by some they are found, and by some never seen.

With wonderful wisdom the Lord God on high
Has contriv'd the two lights which exist in the sky;
The sun's hot as fire, and its ray bright as gold,
But the moon's ever pale, and by nature is cold.

The sun, which resembles a huge world of fire,
Would burn up full quickly creation entire
Save the moon with its temp'rament cool did assuage
Of its brighter companion the fury and rage.

Now I beg you the sun and the moon to behold,
The one that's so bright and the other so cold.
And say if two things in creation there be
Better emblems of Riches and Poverty.


In manner most brief, yet convincing and clear,
You have told the whole truth to my wond'ring ear,
And I see that 'twas God, who in all things is fair,
Has assign'd us the forms, in this world which we bear.

In the sight of the world doth the wealthy man seem
Like the sun which doth warm everything with its beam;
Whilst the poor needy wight with his pitiable case
Resembles the moon which doth chill with its face.


You know that full oft, in their course as they run,
An eclipse cometh over the moon or the sun;
Certain hills of the earth with their summits of pride
The face of the one from the other do hide.

The sun doth uplift his magnificent head,
And illumines the moon, which were otherwise dead,
Even as Wealth from its station on high,
Giveth work and provision to Poverty.


I know, and the thought mighty sorrow instils,
The sins of the world are the terrible hills
An eclipse which do cause, or a dread obscuration,
To one or another in every vocation.


It is true that God gives unto each from his birth
Some task to perform while he wends upon earth,
But He gives correspondent wisdom and force
To the weight of the task, and the length of the course.



I hope there are some, who 'twixt me and the youth
Have heard this discourse, whose sole aim is the truth,
Will see and acknowledge, as homeward they plod,
Each thing is arrang'd by the wisdom of God.

There can be no doubt that Tom was a poet, or he could never have 
treated the hackneyed subjects of Riches and Poverty in a manner so 
original and at the same time so masterly as he has done in the 
interlude above analyzed:  I cannot, however, help thinking that he 
was greater as a man than a poet, and that his fame depends more on 
the cleverness, courage and energy, which it is evident by his 
biography that he possessed, than on his interludes.  A time will 
come when his interludes will cease to be read, but his making ink 
out of elderberries, his battle with the "cruel fighter," his 
teaching his horses to turn the crane, and his getting the ship to 
the water, will be talked of in Wales till the peak of Snowdon 
shall fall down.


Set out for Wrexham - Craig y Forwyn - Uncertainty - The Collier - 
Cadogan Hall - Methodistical Volume.

HAVING learnt from a newspaper that a Welsh book on Welsh Methodism 
had been just published at Wrexham, I determined to walk to that 
place and purchase it.  I could easily have procured the work 
through a bookseller at Llangollen, but I wished to explore the 
hill-road which led to Wrexham, what the farmer under the Eglwysig 
rocks had said of its wildness having excited my curiosity, which 
the procuring of the book afforded me a plausible excuse for 
gratifying.  If one wants to take any particular walk it is always 
well to have some business, however trifling, to transact at the 
end of it; so having determined to go to Wrexham by the mountain 
road, I set out on the Saturday next after the one on which I had 
met the farmer who had told me of it.

The day was gloomy, with some tendency to rain.  I passed under the 
hill of Dinas Bran.  About a furlong from its western base I turned 
round and surveyed it - and perhaps the best view of the noble 
mountain is to be obtained from the place where I turned round.  
How grand though sad from there it looked, that grey morning, with 
its fine ruin on its brow above which a little cloud hovered!  It 
put me in mind of some old king, unfortunate and melancholy but a 
king still, with the look of a king, and the ancestral crown still 
on his furrowed forehead.  I proceeded on my way, all was wild and 
solitary, and the yellow leaves were falling from the trees of the 
groves.  I passed by the farmyard, where I had held discourse with 
the farmer on the preceding Saturday, and soon entered the glen, 
the appearance of which had so much attracted my curiosity.  A 
torrent, rushing down from the north, was on my right.  It soon 
began to drizzle, and mist so filled the glen that I could only 
distinguish objects a short way before me, and on either side.  I 
wandered on a considerable way, crossing the torrent several times 
by rustic bridges.  I passed two lone farm-houses and at last saw 
another on my left hand.  The mist had now cleared up, but it still 
slightly rained - the scenery was wild to a degree - a little way 
before me was a tremendous pass, near it an enormous crag of a 
strange form rising to the very heavens, the upper part of it of a 
dull white colour.  Seeing a respectable-looking man near the house 
I went up to him.

"Am I in the right way to Wrexham?" said I, addressing him in 

"You can get to Wrexham this way, sir," he replied.

"Can you tell me the name of that crag?" said I, pointing to the 
large one.

"That crag, sir, is called Craig y Forwyn."

"The maiden's crag," said I; "why is it called so?"

"I do not know sir; some people say that it is called so because 
its head is like that of a woman, others because a young girl in 
love leaped from the top of it and was killed."

"And what is the name of this house?" said I.

"This house, sir, is called Plas Uchaf."

"Is it called Plas Uchaf," said I, "because it is the highest house 
in the valley?"

"It is, sir; it is the highest of three homesteads; the next below 
it is Plas Canol - and the one below that Plas Isaf."

"Middle place and lower place," said I.  "It is very odd that I 
know in England three people who derive their names from places so 
situated.  One is Houghton, another Middleton, and the third 
Lowdon; in modern English, Hightown, Middletown, and Lowtown."

"You appear to be a person of great intelligence, sir."

"No, I am not - but I am rather fond of analysing words, 
particularly the names of persons and places.  Is the road to 
Wrexham hard to find?"

"Not very, sir; that is, in the day-time.  Do you live at Wrexham?"

"No," I replied, "I am stopping at Llangollen."

"But you won't return there to-night?"

"Oh yes, I shall!"

"By this road?"

"No, by the common road.  This is not a road to travel by night."

"Nor is the common road, sir, for a respectable person on foot; 
that is, on a Saturday night.  You will perhaps meet drunken 
colliers who may knock you down."

"I will take my chance for that," said I, and bade him farewell.  I 
entered the pass, passing under the strange-looking crag.  After I 
had walked about half a mile the pass widened considerably and a 
little way further on debauched on some wild moory ground.  Here 
the road became very indistinct.  At length I stopped in a state of 
uncertainty.  A well-defined path presented itself, leading to the 
east, whilst northward before me there seemed scarcely any path at 
all.  After some hesitation I turned to the east by the well-
defined path, and by so doing went wrong, as I soon found.

I mounted the side of a brown hill covered with moss-like grass, 
and here and there heather.  By the time I arrived at the top of 
the hill the sun shone out, and I saw Rhiwabon and Cefn Mawr before 
me in the distance.  "I am going wrong," said I; "I should have 
kept on due north.  However, I will not go back, but will steeple-
chase it across the country to Wrexham, which must be towards the 
north-east."  So turning aside from the path, I dashed across the 
hills in that direction; sometimes the heather was up to my knees, 
and sometimes I was up to the knees in quags.  At length I came to 
a deep ravine which I descended; at the bottom was a quagmire, 
which, however, I contrived to cross by means of certain stepping-
stones, and came to a cart path up a heathery hill which I 
followed.  I soon reached the top of the hill, and the path still 
continuing, I followed it till I saw some small grimy-looking huts, 
which I supposed were those of colliers.  At the door of the first 
I saw a girl.  I spoke to her in Welsh, and found she had little or 
none.  I passed on, and seeing the door of a cabin open I looked in 
- and saw no adult person, but several grimy but chubby children.  
I spoke to them in English, and found they could only speak Welsh.  
Presently I observed a robust woman advancing towards me; she was 
barefooted and bore on her head an immense lump of coal.  I spoke 
to her in Welsh, and found she could only speak English.  "Truly," 
said I to myself, "I am on the borders.  What a mixture of races 
and languages!"  The next person I met was a man in a collier's 
dress; he was a stout-built fellow of the middle age, with a coal-
dusty surly countenance.  I asked him in Welsh if I was in the 
right direction for Wrexham, he answered in a surly manner in 
English, that I was.  I again spoke to him in Welsh, making some 
indifferent observation on the weather, and he answered in English 
yet more gruffly than before.  For the third time I spoke to him in 
Welsh, whereupon looking at me with a grin of savage contempt, and 
showing a set of teeth like those of a mastiff, he said, "How's 
this? why you haven't a word of English?  A pretty fellow you, with 
a long coat on your back and no English on your tongue, an't you 
ashamed of yourself?  Why, here am I in a short coat, yet I'd have 
you to know that I can speak English as well as Welsh, aye and a 
good deal better."  "All people are not equally clebber," said I, 
still speaking Welsh.  "Clebber," said he, "clebber! what is 
clebber? why can't you say clever!  Why, I never saw such a low, 
illiterate fellow in my life;" and with these words he turned away 
with every mark of disdain, and entered a cottage near at hand.

"Here I have had," said I to myself, as I proceeded on my way, "to 
pay for the over-praise which I lately received.  The farmer on the 
other side of the mountain called me a person of great 
intelligence, which I never pretended to be, and now this collier 
calls me a low, illiterate fellow, which I really don't think I am.  
There is certainly a Nemesis mixed up with the affairs of this 
world; every good thing which you get, beyond what is strictly your 
due, is sure to be required from you with a vengeance.  A little 
over-praise by a great deal of underrating - a gleam of good 
fortune by a night of misery."

I now saw Wrexham Church at about the distance of three miles, and 
presently entered a lane which led gently down from the hills, 
which were the same heights I had seen on my right hand, some 
months previously, on my way from Wrexham to Rhiwabon.  The scenery 
now became very pretty - hedge-rows were on either side, a 
luxuriance of trees and plenty of green fields.  I reached the 
bottom of the lane, beyond which I saw a strange-looking house upon 
a slope on the right hand.  It was very large, ruinous, and 
seemingly deserted.  A little beyond it was a farm-house, connected 
with which was a long row of farming buildings along the road-side.  
Seeing a woman seated knitting at the door of a little cottage, I 
asked her in English the name of the old, ruinous house?

"Cadogan Hall, sir," she replied.

"And whom does it belong to?" said I.

"I don't know exactly," replied the woman, "but Mr Morris at the 
farm holds it, and stows his things in it."

"Can you tell me anything about it?" said I.

"Nothing farther," said the woman, "than that it is said to be 
haunted, and to have been a barrack many years ago."

"Can you speak Welsh?" said I.

"No," said the woman, "I are Welsh but have no Welsh language."

Leaving the woman I put on my best speed and in about half an hour 
reached Wrexham.

The first thing I did on my arrival was to go to the bookshop and 
purchase the Welsh Methodistic book.  It cost me seven shillings, 
and was a thick, bulky octavo with a cut-and-come-again expression 
about it, which was anything but disagreeable to me, for I hate 
your flimsy publications.  The evening was now beginning to set in, 
and feeling somewhat hungry I hurried off to the Wynstay Arms 
through streets crowded with market people.  On arriving at the inn 
I entered the grand room and ordered dinner.  The waiters, 
observing me splashed with mud from head to foot, looked at me 
dubiously; seeing, however, the respectable-looking volume which I 
bore in my hand - none of your railroad stuff - they became more 
assured, and I presently heard one say to the other, "It's all 
right - that's Mr So-and-So, the great Baptist preacher.  He has 
been preaching amongst the hills - don't you see his Bible?"

Seating myself at a table I inspected the volume.  And here perhaps 
the reader expects that I shall regale him with an analysis of the 
Methodistical volume at least as long as that of the life of Tom O' 
the Dingle.  In that case, however, he will be disappointed; all 
that I shall at present say of it is, that it contained a history 
of Methodism in Wales, with the lives of the principal Welsh 
Methodists.  That it was fraught with curious and original matter, 
was written in a straightforward, Methodical style, and that I have 
no doubt it will some day or other be extensively known and highly 

After dinner I called for half a pint of wine.  Whilst I was 
trifling over it, a commercial traveller entered into conversation 
with me.  After some time he asked me if I was going further that 

"To Llangollen," said I.

"By the ten o'clock train?" said he.

"No," I replied, "I'm going on foot."

"On foot!" said he; "I would not go on foot there this night for 
fifty pounds."

"Why not?" said I.

"For fear of being knocked down by the colliers, who will be all 
out and drunk."

"If not more than two attack me," said I, "I shan't much mind.  
With this book I am sure I can knock down one, and I think I can 
find play for the other with my fists."

The commercial traveller looked at me.  "A strange kind of Baptist 
minister," I thought I heard him say.


Rhiwabon Road - The Public-house Keeper - No Welsh - The Wrong Road 
- The Good Wife.

I PAID my reckoning and started.  The night was now rapidly closing 
in.  I passed the toll-gate and hurried along the Rhiwabon road, 
overtaking companies of Welsh going home, amongst whom were many 
individuals, whom, from their thick and confused speech, as well as 
from their staggering gait, I judged to be intoxicated.  As I 
passed a red public-house on my right hand, at the door of which 
stood several carts, a scream of Welsh issued from it.

"Let any Saxon," said I, "who is fond of fighting and wishes for a 
bloody nose go in there."

Coming to the small village about a mile from Rhiwabon, I felt 
thirsty, and seeing a public-house, in which all seemed to be 
quiet, I went in.  A thick-set man with a pipe in his mouth sat in 
the tap-room, and also a woman.

"Where is the landlord?" said I.

"I am the landlord," said the man, huskily.  "What do you want?"

"A pint of ale," said I.

The man got up and with his pipe in his mouth went staggering out 
of the room.  In about a minute he returned holding a mug in his 
hand, which he put down on a table before me, spilling no slight 
quantity of the liquor as he did so.  I put down three-pence on the 
table.  He took the money up slowly piece by piece, looked at it 
and appeared to consider, then taking the pipe out of his mouth he 
dashed it to seven pieces against the table, then staggered out of 
the room into the passage, and from thence apparently out of the 
house.  I tasted the ale which was very good, then turning to the 
woman who seemed about three-and-twenty and was rather good-
looking, I spoke to her in Welsh.

"I have no Welsh, sir," said she.

"How is that?" said I; "this village is I think in the Welshery."

"It is," said she, "but I am from Shropshire."

"Are you the mistress of the house?" said I.

"No," said she, "I am married to a collier;" then getting up she 
said, "I must go and see after my husband."

"Won't you take a glass of ale first?" said I, offering to fill a 
glass which stood on the table.

"No," said she; "I am the worst in the world for a glass of ale;" 
and without saying anything more she departed.

"I wonder whether your husband is anything like you with respect to 
a glass of ale," said I to myself; then finishing my ale I got up 
and left the house, which when I departed appeared to be entirely 

It was now quite night, and it would have been pitchy-dark but for 
the glare of forges.  There was an immense glare to the south-west, 
which I conceived proceeded from those of Cefn Mawr.  It lighted up 
the south-western sky; then there were two other glares nearer to 
me, seemingly divided by a lump of something, perhaps a grove of 

Walking very fast I soon overtook a man.  I knew him at once by his 
staggering gait.

"Ah, landlord!" said I; "whither bound?"

"To Rhiwabon," said he, huskily, "for a pint."

"Is the ale so good at Rhiwabon," said I, "that you leave home for 

"No," said he, rather shortly, "there's not a glass of good ale in 

"Then why do you go thither?" said I.

"Because a pint of bad liquor abroad is better than a quart of good 
at home," said the landlord, reeling against the hedge.

"There are many in a higher station than you who act upon that 
principle," thought I to myself as I passed on.

I soon reached Rhiwabon.  There was a prodigious noise in the 
public-houses as I passed through it.  "Colliers carousing," said 
I.  "Well, I shall not go amongst them to preach temperance, though 
perhaps in strict duty I ought."  At the end of the town, instead 
of taking the road on the left side of the church, I took that on 
the right.  It was not till I had proceeded nearly a mile that I 
began to be apprehensive that I had mistaken the way.  Hearing some 
people coming towards me on the road I waited till they came up; 
they proved to be a man and a woman.  On my inquiring whether I was 
right for Llangollen, the former told me that I was not, and in 
order to get there it was necessary that I should return to 
Rhiwabon.  I instantly turned round.  About half-way back I met a 
man who asked me in English where I was hurrying to.  I said to 
Rhiwabon, in order to get to Llangollen.  "Well, then," said he, 
"you need not return to Rhiwabon - yonder is a short cut across the 
fields," and he pointed to a gate.  I thanked him, and said I would 
go by it; before leaving him I asked to what place the road led 
which I had been following.

"To Pentre Castren," he replied.  I struck across the fields and 
should probably have tumbled half-a-dozen times over pales and the 
like, but for the light of the Cefn furnaces before me which cast 
their red glow upon my path.  I debauched upon the Llangollen road 
near to the tramway leading to the collieries.  Two enormous sheets 
of flame shot up high into the air from ovens, illumining two 
spectral chimneys as high as steeples, also smoky buildings, and 
grimy figures moving about.  There was a clanging of engines, a 
noise of shovels and a falling of coals truly horrible.  The glare 
was so great that I could distinctly see the minutest lines upon my 
hand.  Advancing along the tramway I obtained a nearer view of the 
hellish buildings, the chimneys, and the demoniac figures.  It was 
just such a scene as one of those described by Ellis Wynn in his 
Vision of Hell.  Feeling my eyes scorching I turned away, and 
proceeded towards Llangollen, sometimes on the muddy road, 
sometimes on the dangerous causeway.  For three miles at least I 
met nobody.  Near Llangollen, as I was walking on the causeway, 
three men came swiftly towards me.  I kept the hedge, which was my 
right; the two first brushed roughly past me, the third came full 
upon me and was tumbled into the road.  There was a laugh from the 
two first and a loud curse from the last as he sprawled in the 
mire.  I merely said "Nos Da'ki," and passed on, and in about a 
quarter of an hour reached home, where I found my wife awaiting me 
alone, Henrietta having gone to bed being slightly indisposed.  My 
wife received me with a cheerful smile.  I looked at her and the 
good wife of the Triad came to my mind.

"She is modest, void of deceit, and obedient.

"Pure of conscience, gracious of tongue, and true to her husband.

"Her heart not proud, her manners affable, and her bosom full of 
compassion for the poor.

"Labouring to be tidy, skilful of hand, and fond of praying to God.

"Her conversation amiable, her dress decent, and her house orderly.

"Quick of hand, quick of eye, and quick of understanding.

"Her person shapely, her manners agreeable, and her heart innocent.

"Her face benignant, her head intelligent, and provident.

"Neighbourly, gentle, and of a liberal way of thinking.

"Able in directing, providing what is wanting, and a good mother to 
her children.

"Loving her husband, loving peace, and loving God.

"Happy the man," adds the Triad, "who possesses such a wife."  Very 
true, O Triad, always provided he is in some degree worthy of her; 
but many a man leaves an innocent wife at home for an impure 
Jezebel abroad, even as many a one prefers a pint of hog's wash 
abroad to a tankard of generous liquor at home.


Preparations for Departure - Cat provided for - A Pleasant Party - 
Last Night at Llangollen.

I WAS awakened early on the Sunday morning by the howling of wind.  
There was a considerable storm throughout the day, but 
unaccompanied by rain.  I went to church both in the morning and 
the evening.  The next day there was a great deal of rain.  It was 
now the latter end of October; winter was coming on, and my wife 
and daughter were anxious to return home.  After some consultation 
it was agreed that they should depart for London, and that I should 
join them there after making a pedestrian tour in South Wales.

I should have been loth to quit Wales without visiting the 
Deheubarth or Southern Region, a land differing widely, as I had 
heard, both in language and customs from Gwynedd or the Northern, a 
land which had given birth to the illustrious Ab Gwilym, and where 
the great Ryce family had flourished, which very much distinguished 
itself in the Wars of the Roses - a member of which Ryce ap Thomas 
placed Henry the Seventh on the throne of Britain - a family of 
royal extraction, and which after the death of Roderic the Great 
for a long time enjoyed the sovereignty of the south.

We set about making the necessary preparations for our respective 
journeys.  Those for mine were soon made.  I bought a small leather 
satchel with a lock and key, in which I placed a white linen shirt, 
a pair of worsted stockings, a razor and a prayer-book.  Along with 
it I bought a leather strap with which to sling it over my 
shoulder:  I got my boots new soled, my umbrella, which was rather 
dilapidated, mended; put twenty sovereigns into my purse, and then 
said I am all right for the Deheubarth.

As my wife and daughter required much more time in making 
preparations for their journey than I for mine, and as I should 
only be in their way whilst they were employed, it was determined 
that I should depart on my expedition on Thursday, and that they 
should remain at Llangollen till the Saturday.

We were at first in some perplexity with respect to the disposal of 
the ecclesiastical cat; it would of course not do to leave it in 
the garden to the tender mercies of the Calvinistic Methodists of 
the neighbourhood, more especially those of the flannel 
manufactory, and my wife and daughter could hardly carry it with 
them.  At length we thought of applying to a young woman of sound 
church principles, who was lately married and lived over the water 
on the way to the railroad station, with whom we were slightly 
acquainted, to take charge of the animal, and she on the first 
intimation of our wish, willingly acceded to it.  So with her poor 
puss was left along with a trifle for its milk-money, and with her, 
as we subsequently learned, it continued in peace and comfort till 
one morning it sprang suddenly from the hearth into the air, gave a 
mew, and died.  So much for the ecclesiastical cat!

The morning of Tuesday was rather fine, and Mr Ebenezer E-, who had 
heard of our intended departure, came to invite us to spend the 
evening at the Vicarage.  His father had left Llangollen the day 
before for Chester, where he expected to be detained some days.  I 
told him we should be most happy to come.  He then asked me to take 
a walk.  I agreed with pleasure, and we set out, intending to go to 
Llansilio at the western end of the valley and look at the church.  
The church was an ancient building.  It had no spire, but had the 
little erection on its roof, so usual to Welsh churches, for 
holding a bell.

In the churchyard is a tomb in which an old squire of the name of 
Jones was buried about the middle of the last century.  There is a 
tradition about this squire and tomb to the following effect.  
After the squire's death there was a lawsuit about his property, in 
consequence of no will having been found.  It was said that his 
will had been buried with him in the tomb, which after some time 
was opened, but with what success the tradition sayeth not.

In the evening we went to the Vicarage.  Besides the family and 
ourselves there was Mr R- and one or two more.  We had a very 
pleasant party; and as most of those present wished to hear 
something connected with Spain, I talked much about that country, 
sang songs of Germania, and related in an abridged form Lope de 
Vega's ghost story, which is decidedly the best ghost story in the 

In the afternoon of Wednesday I went and took leave of certain 
friends in the town; amongst others of old Mr Jones.  On my telling 
him that I was about to leave Llangollen, he expressed considerable 
regret, but said that it was natural for me to wish to return to my 
native country.  I told him that before returning to England I 
intended to make a pedestrian tour in South Wales.  He said that he 
should die without seeing the south; that he had had several 
opportunities of visiting it when he was young, which he had 
neglected, and that he was now too old to wander far from home.  He 
then asked me which road I intended to take.  I told him that I 
intended to strike across the Berwyn to Llan Rhyadr, then visit 
Sycharth, once the seat of Owain Glendower, lying to the east of 
Llan Rhyadr, then return to that place, and after seeing the 
celebrated cataract across the mountains to Bala - whence I should 
proceed due south.  I then asked him whether he had ever seen 
Sycharth and the Rhyadr; he told me that he had never visited 
Sycharth, but had seen the Rhyadr more than once.  He then smiled 
and said that there was a ludicrous anecdote connected with the 
Rhyadr, which he would relate to me.  "A traveller once went to see 
the Rhyadr, and whilst gazing at it a calf which had fallen into 
the stream above, whilst grazing upon the rocks, came tumbling down 
the cataract.  'Wonderful!' said the traveller, and going away 
reported that it was not only a fall of water, but of calves, and 
was very much disappointed, on visiting the waterfall on another 
occasion, to see no calf come tumbling down."  I took leave of the 
kind old gentleman with regret, never expecting to see him again, 
as he was in his eighty-fourth year - he was a truly excellent 
character, and might be ranked amongst the venerable ornaments of 
his native place.

About half-past eight o'clock at night John Jones came to bid me 
farewell.  I bade him sit down, and sent for a pint of ale to 
regale him with.  Notwithstanding the ale, he was very melancholy 
at the thought that I was about to leave Llangollen, probably never 
to return.  To enliven him I gave him an account of my late 
expedition to Wrexham, which made him smile more than once.  When I 
had concluded he asked me whether I knew the meaning of the word 
Wrexham:  I told him I believed I did, and gave him the derivation 
which the reader will find in an early chapter of this work.  He 
told me that with all due submission, he thought he could give me a 
better, which he had heard from a very clever man, gwr deallus 
iawn, who lived about two miles from Llangollen on the Corwen road.  
In the old time a man of the name of Sam kept a gwestfa, or inn, at 
the place where Wrexham flow stands; when he died he left it to his 
wife, who kept it after him, on which account the house was first 
called Ty wraig Sam, the house of Sam's wife, and then for 
shortness Wraig Sam, and a town arising about it by degrees, the 
town too was called Wraig Sam, which the Saxons corrupted into 

I was much diverted with this Welsh derivation of Wrexham, which I 
did not attempt to controvert.  After we had had some further 
discourse John Jones got up, shook me by the hand, gave a sigh, 
wished me a "taith hyfryd," and departed.  Thus terminated my last 
day at Llangollen.


Departure for South Wales - Tregeiriog - Pleasing Scene - Trying to 
Read - Garmon and Lupus - The Cracked Voice - Effect of a 
Compliment - Llan Rhyadr.

THE morning of the 21st of October was fine and cold; there was a 
rime frost on the ground.  At about eleven o'clock I started on my 
journey for South Wales, intending that my first stage should be 
Llan Rhyadr.  My wife and daughter accompanied me as far as Plas 
Newydd.  As we passed through the town I shook hands with honest A-
, whom I saw standing at the door of a shop, with a kind of Spanish 
hat on his head, and also with my venerable friend old Mr Jones, 
whom I encountered close beside his own domicile.  At the Plas 
Newydd I took an affectionate farewell of my two loved ones, and 
proceeded to ascend the Berwyn.  Near the top I turned round to 
take a final look at the spot where I had lately passed many a 
happy hour.  There lay Llangollen far below me, with its chimneys 
placidly smoking, its pretty church rising in its centre, its blue 
river dividing it into two nearly equal parts, and the mighty hill 
of Brennus overhanging it from the north.

I sighed, and repeating Einion Du's verse

"Tangnefedd i Llangollen!"

turned away.

I went over the top of the hill and then began to descend its 
southern side, obtaining a distant view of the plains of Shropshire 
on the east.  I soon reached the bottom of the hill, passed through 
Llansanfraid, and threading the vale of the Ceiriog at length found 
myself at Pont y Meibion in front of the house of Huw Morris, or 
rather of that which is built on the site of the dwelling of the 
poet.  I stopped and remained before the house thinking of the 
mighty Huw, till the door opened, and out came the dark-featured 
man, the poet's descendant, whom I saw when visiting the place in 
company with honest John Jones - he had now a spade in his hand and 
was doubtless going to his labour.  As I knew him to be of a rather 
sullen unsocial disposition, I said nothing to him, but proceeded 
on my way.  As I advanced the valley widened, the hills on the west 
receding to some distance from the river.  Came to Tregeiriog a 
small village, which takes its name from the brook; Tregeiriog 
signifying the hamlet or village on the Ceiriog.  Seeing a bridge 
which crossed the rivulet at a slight distance from the road, a 
little beyond the village, I turned aside to look at it.  The 
proper course of the Ceiriog is from south to north; where it is 
crossed by the bridge, however, it runs from west to east, 
returning to its usual course, a little way below the bridge.  The 
bridge was small and presented nothing remarkable in itself:  I 
obtained, however, as I looked over its parapet towards the west a 
view of a scene, not of wild grandeur, but of something which I 
like better, which richly compensated me for the slight trouble I 
had taken in stepping aside to visit the little bridge.  About a 
hundred yards distant was a small water-mill, built over the 
rivulet, the wheel going slowly, slowly round; large quantities of 
pigs, the generality of them brindled, were either browsing on the 
banks or lying close to the sides half immersed in the water; one 
immense white hog, the monarch seemingly of the herd, was standing 
in the middle of the current.  Such was the scene which I saw from 
the bridge, a scene of quiet rural life well suited to the brushes 
of two or three of the old Dutch painters, or to those of men 
scarcely inferior to them in their own style, Gainsborough, 
Moreland, and Crome.  My mind for the last half-hour had been in a 
highly excited state; I had been repeating verses of old Huw 
Morris, brought to my recollection by the sight of his dwelling-
place; they were ranting roaring verses, against the Roundheads.  I 
admired the vigour but disliked the principles which they 
displayed; and admiration on the one hand and disapproval on the 
other, bred a commotion in my mind like that raised on the sea when 
tide runs one way and wind blows another.  The quiet scene from the 
bridge, however, produced a sedative effect on my mind, and when I 
resumed my journey I had forgotten Huw, his verses, and all about 
Roundheads and Cavaliers.

I reached Llanarmon, another small village, situated in a valley 
through which the Ceiriog or a river very similar to it flows.  It 
is half-way between Llangollen and Llan Rhyadr, being ten miles 
from each.  I went to a small inn or public-house, sat down and 
called for ale.  A waggoner was seated at a large table with a 
newspaper before him on which he was intently staring.

"What news?" said I in English.

"I wish I could tell you," said he in very broken English, "but I 
cannot read."

"Then why are you looking at the paper?" said I.

"Because," said he, "by looking at the letters I hope in time to 
make them out."

"You may look at them," said I, "for fifty years without being able 
to make out one.  You should go to an evening school."

"I am too old," said he, "to do so now; if I did the children would 
laugh at me."

"Never mind their laughing at you," said I, "provided you learn to 
read; let them laugh who win!"

"You give good advice, mester," said he, "I think I shall follow 

"Let me look at the paper," said I.

He handed it to me.  It was a Welsh paper, and full of dismal 
accounts from the seat of war.

"What news, mester?" said the waggoner.

"Nothing but bad," said I; "the Russians are beating us and the 
French too."

"If the Rusiaid beat us," said the waggoner, "it is because the 
Francod are with us.  We should have gone alone."

"Perhaps you are right," said I; "at any rate we could not have 
fared worse than we are faring now."

I presently paid for what I had had, inquired the way to Llan 
Rhyadr, and departed.

The village of Llanarmon takes its name from its church, which is 
dedicated to Garmon, an Armorican bishop, who with another called 
Lupus came over into Britain in order to preach against the heresy 
of Pelagius.  He and his colleague resided for some time in 
Flintshire, and whilst there enabled in a remarkable manner the 
Britons to achieve a victory over those mysterious people the 
Picts, who were ravaging the country far and wide.  Hearing that 
the enemy were advancing towards Mold, the two bishops gathered 
together a number of the Britons, and placed them in ambush in a 
dark valley through which it was necessary for the Picts to pass in 
order to reach Mold, strictly enjoining them to remain quiet till 
all their enemies should have entered the valley and then do 
whatever they should see them, the two bishops, do.  The Picts 
arrived, and when they were about half-way through the valley the 
two bishops stepped forward from a thicket and began crying aloud, 
"Alleluia!"  The Britons followed their example, and the wooded 
valley resounded with cries of "Alleluia! Alleluia!"  The shouts 
and the unexpected appearance of thousands of men caused such 
terror to the Picts that they took to flight in the greatest 
confusion; hundreds were trampled to death by their companions, and 
not a few were drowned in the river Alan (8) which runs through the 

There are several churches dedicated to Garmon in Wales, but 
whether there are any dedicated to Lupus I am unable to say.  After 
leaving Llanarmon I found myself amongst lumpy hills through which 
the road led in the direction of the south.  Arriving where several 
roads met I followed one and became bewildered amidst hills and 
ravines.  At last I saw a small house close by a nant or dingle, 
and turned towards it for the purpose of inquiring my way.  On my 
knocking at the door a woman made her appearance, of whom I asked 
in Welsh whether I was in the road to Llan Rhyadr.  She said that I 
was out of it, but that if I went towards the south I should see a 
path on my left which would bring me to it.  I asked her how far it 
was to Llan Rhyadr.

"Four long miles," she replied.

"And what is the name of the place where we are now?" said I.

"Cae Hir" (the long inclosure), said she.

"Are you alone in the house?" said I.

"Quite alone," said she; "but my husband and people will soon be 
home from the field, for it is getting dusk."

"Have you any Saxon?" said I.

"Not a word," said she, "have I of the iaith dieithr, nor has my 
husband, nor any one of my people."

I bade her farewell, and soon reached the road, which led south and 
north.  As I was bound for the south I strode forward briskly in 
that direction.  The road was between romantic hills; heard Welsh 
songs proceeding from the hill fields on my right, and the murmur 
of a brook rushing down a deep nant on my left.  I went on till I 
came to a collection of houses which an old woman, with a cracked 
voice and a small tin milk-pail, whom I assisted in getting over a 
stile into the road, told me was called Pen Strit - probably the 
head of the street.  She spoke English, and on my asking her how 
she had learnt the English tongue, she told me that she had learnt 
it of her mother who was an English woman.  She said that I was two 
miles from Llan Rhyadr, and that I must go straight forward.  I did 
so till I reached a place where the road branched into two, one 
bearing somewhat to the left, and the other to the right.  After 
standing a minute in perplexity I took the right-hand road, but 
soon guessed that I had taken the wrong one, as the road dwindled 
into a mere footpath.  Hearing some one walking on the other side 
of the hedge I inquired in Welsh whether I was going right for Llan 
Rhyadr, and was answered by a voice in English, apparently that of 
a woman, that I was not, and that I must go back.  I did so, and 
presently a woman came through a gate to me.

"Are you the person," said I, "who just now answered me in English 
after I had spoken in Welsh?"

"In truth I am," said she, with a half laugh.

"And how came you to answer me in English after I had spoken to you 
in Welsh?"

"Because," said she, "it was easy enough to know by your voice that 
you were an Englishman."

"You speak English remarkably well," said I.

"And so do you Welsh," said the woman; "I had no idea that it was 
possible for any Englishman to speak Welsh half so well."

"I wonder," thought I to myself, "what you would have answered if I 
had said that you speak English execrably."  By her own account she 
could read both Welsh and English.  She walked by my side to the 
turn, and then up the left-hand road, which she said was the way to 
Llan Rhyadr.  Coming to a cottage she bade me good-night and went 
in.  The road was horribly miry:  presently, as I was staggering 
through a slough, just after I had passed a little cottage, I heard 
a cracked voice crying, "I suppose you lost your way?"  I 
recognised it as that of the old woman whom I had helped over the 
stile.  She was now standing behind a little gate which opened into 
a garden before the cottage.  The figure of a man was standing near 
her.  I told her that she was quite right in her supposition.

"Ah," said she, "you should have gone straight forward."

"If I had gone straight forward," said I, "I must have gone over a 
hedge, at the corner of a field which separated two roads; instead 
of bidding me go straight forward you should have told me to follow 
the left-hand road."

"Well," said she, "be sure you keep straight forward now."

I asked her who the man was standing near her.

"It is my husband," said she.

"Has he much English?" said I.

"None at all," said she, "for his mother was not English, like 
mine."  I bade her good-night and went forward.  Presently I came 
to a meeting of roads, and to go straight forward it was necessary 
to pass through a quagmire; remembering, however, the words of my 
friend the beldame I went straight forward, though in so doing I 
was sloughed up to the knees.  In a little time I came to rapid 
descent, and at the bottom of it to a bridge.  It was now very 
dark; only the corner of the moon was casting a faint light.  After 
crossing the bridge I had one or two ascents and descents.  At last 
I saw lights before me which proved to be those of Llan Rhyadr.  I 
soon found myself in a dirty little street, and, inquiring for the 
inn, was kindly shown by a man to one which he said was the best, 
and which was called the Wynstay Arms.


Inn at Llan Rhyadr - A low Englishman - Enquiries - The Cook - A 
Precious Couple.

THE inn seemed very large, but did not look very cheerful.  No 
other guest than myself seemed to be in it, except in the kitchen, 
where I heard a fellow talking English and occasionally yelling an 
English song:  the master and the mistress of the house were civil, 
and lighted me a fire in what was called the Commercial Room, and 
putting plenty of coals in the grate soon made the apartment warm 
and comfortable.  I ordered dinner or rather supper, which in about 
half-an-hour was brought in by the woman.  The supper whether good 
or bad I despatched with the appetite of one who had walked twenty 
miles over hill and dale.

Occasionally I heard a dreadful noise in the kitchen, and the woman 
told me that the fellow there was making himself exceedingly 
disagreeable, chiefly she believed because she had refused to let 
him sleep in the house.  She said that he was a low fellow that 
went about the country with fish, and that he was the more ready to 
insult her as the master of the house was now gone out.  I asked if 
he was an Englishman, "Yes," said she, "a low Englishman."

"Then he must be low indeed," said I.  "A low Englishman is the 
lowest of the low."  After a little time I heard no more noise, and 
was told that the fellow was gone away.  I had a little whisky and 
water, and then went to bed, sleeping in a tolerable chamber but 
rather cold.  There was much rain during the night and also wind; 
windows rattled, and I occasionally heard the noise of falling 

I arose about eight.  Notwithstanding the night had been so 
tempestuous the morning was sunshiny and beautiful.  Having ordered 
breakfast I walked out in order to look at the town.  Llan Rhyadr 
is a small place, having nothing remarkable in it save an ancient 
church and a strange little antique market-house, standing on 
pillars.  It is situated at the western end of an extensive valley 
and at the entrance of a glen.  A brook or rivulet runs through it, 
which comes down the glen from the celebrated cataract, which is 
about four miles distant to the west.  Two lofty mountains form the 
entrance of the glen, and tower above the town, one on the south 
and the other on the north.  Their names, if they have any, I did 
not learn.

After strolling about the little place for about a quarter of an 
hour, staring at the things and the people, and being stared at by 
the latter, I returned to my inn, a structure built in the modern 
Gothic style, and which stands nearly opposite to the churchyard.  
Whilst breakfasting I asked the landlady, who was bustling about 
the room, whether she had ever heard of Owen Glendower.

"In truth, sir, I have.  He was a great gentleman who lived a long 
time ago, and, and - "

"Gave the English a great deal of trouble," said I.

"Just so, sir; at least I daresay it is so, as you say it."

"And do you know where he lived?"

"I do not, sir; I suppose a great way off, somewhere in the south."

"Do you mean South Wales?"

"In truth, sir, I do."

"There you are mistaken," said I; "and also in supposing he lived a 
great way off.  He lived in North Wales, and not far from this 

"In truth, sir, you know more about him than I."

"Did you ever hear of a place called Sycharth?

"Sycharth! Sycharth!  I never did, sir."

"It is the place where Glendower lived, and it is not far off.  I 
want to go there, but do not know the way."

"Sycharth! Sycharth!" said the landlady musingly:  "I wonder if it 
is the place we call Sychnant."

"Is there such a place?"

"Yes, sure; about six miles from here, near Langedwin."

"What kind of place is it?"

"In truth, sir, I do not know, for I was never there.  My cook, 
however, in the kitchen, knows all about it, for she comes from 

"Can I see her?"

"Yes, sure; I will go at once and fetch her."

She then left the room and presently returned with the cook, a 
short, thick girl with blue staring eyes.

"Here she is, sir," said the landlady, "but she has no English."

"All the better," said I.  "So you come from a place called 
Sychnant?" said I to the cook in Welsh.

"In truth, sir, I do;" said the cook.

"Did you ever hear of a gwr boneddig called Owen Glendower?"

"Often, sir, often; he lived in our place."

"He lived in a place called Sycharth?" said I.

"Well, sir; and we of the place call it Sycharth as often as 
Sychnant; nay, oftener."

"Is his house standing?"

"It is not; but the hill on which it stood is still standing."

"Is it a high hill?"

"It is not; it is a small, light hill."

"A light hill!" said I to myself.  "Old Iolo Goch, Owen Glendower's 
bard, said the chieftain dwelt in a house on a light hill.

"'There dwells the chief we all extol
In timber house on lightsome knoll.'

"Is there a little river near it," said I to the cook, "a ffrwd?"

"There is; it runs just under the hill."

"Is there a mill upon the ffrwd?"

"There is not; that is, now - but there was in the old time; a 
factory of woollen stands now where the mill once stood."

"'A mill a rushing brook upon
And pigeon tower fram'd of stone.'

"So says Iolo Goch," said I to myself, "in his description of 
Sycharth; I am on the right road."

I asked the cook to whom the property of Sycharth belonged and was 
told of course to Sir Watkin, who appears to be the Marquis of 
Denbighshire.  After a few more questions I thanked her and told 
her she might go.  I then finished my breakfast, paid my bill, and 
after telling the landlady that I should return at night, started 
for Llangedwin and Sycharth.

A broad and excellent road led along the valley in the direction in 
which I was proceeding.

The valley was beautiful and dotted with various farm-houses, and 
the land appeared to be in as high a state of cultivation as the 
soil of my own Norfolk, that county so deservedly celebrated for 
its agriculture.  The eastern side is bounded by lofty hills, and 
towards the north the vale is crossed by three rugged elevations, 
the middlemost of which, called, as an old man told me, Bryn Dinas, 
terminates to the west in an exceedingly high and picturesque crag.

After an hour's walking I overtook two people, a man and a woman 
laden with baskets which hung around them on every side.  The man 
was a young fellow of about eight-and-twenty, with a round face, 
fair flaxen hair, and rings in his ears; the female was a blooming 
buxom lass of about eighteen.  After giving them the sele of the 
day I asked them if they were English.

"Aye, aye, master," said the man; "we are English."

"Where do you come from?" said I.

"From Wrexham," said the man.

"I thought Wrexham was in Wales," said

"If it be," said the man, "the people are not Welsh; a man is not a 
horse because he happens to be born in a stable."

"Is that young woman your wife?" said I.

"Yes;" said he, "after a fashion" - and then he leered at the lass, 
and she leered at him.

"Do you attend any place of worship?" said I.

"A great many, master!"

"What place do you chiefly attend?" said I.

"The Chequers, master!"

"Do they preach the best sermons there?" said I.

"No, master! but they sell the best ale there."

"Do you worship ale?" said I.

"Yes, master, I worships ale."

"Anything else?" said I.

"Yes, master!  I and my mort worships something besides good ale; 
don't we, Sue?" and then he leered at the mort, who leered at him, 
and both made odd motions backwards and forwards, causing the 
baskets which hung round them to creak and rustle, and uttering 
loud shouts of laughter, which roused the echoes of the 
neighbouring hills.

"Genuine descendants, no doubt," said I to myself as I walked 
briskly on, "of certain of the old heathen Saxons who followed Rag 
into Wales and settled down about the house which he built.  
Really, if these two are a fair specimen of the Wrexham population, 
my friend the Scotch policeman was not much out when he said that 
the people of Wrexham were the worst people in Wales."


Sycharth - The Kindly Welcome - Happy Couple - Sycharth - Recalling 
the Dead - Ode to Sycharth.

I WAS now at the northern extremity of the valley near a great 
house past which the road led in the direction of the north-east.  
Seeing a man employed in breaking stones I inquired the way to 

"You must turn to the left," said he, "before you come to yon great 
house, follow the path which you will find behind it, and you will 
soon be in Sychnant."

"And to whom does the great house belong?"

"To whom? why, to Sir Watkin."

"Does he reside there?"

"Not often.  He has plenty of other houses, but he sometimes comes 
there to hunt."

"What is the place's name?"

"Llan Gedwin."

I turned to the left, as the labourer had directed me.  The path 
led upward behind the great house round a hill thickly planted with 
trees.  Following it I at length found myself on a broad road on 
the top extending east and west, and having on the north and south 
beautiful wooded hills.  I followed the road which presently began 
to descend.  On reaching level ground I overtook a man in a 
waggoner's frock, of whom I inquired the way to Sycharth.  He 
pointed westward down the vale to what appeared to be a collection 
of houses, near a singular-looking monticle, and said, "That is 

We walked together till we came to a road which branched off on the 
right to a little bridge.

"That is your way," said he, and pointing to a large building 
beyond the bridge, towering up above a number of cottages, he said, 
"that is the factory of Sycharth;" he then left me, following the 
high road, whilst I proceeded towards the bridge, which I crossed, 
and coming to the cottages entered one on the right hand of a 
remarkably neat appearance.

In a comfortable kitchen by a hearth on which blazed a cheerful 
billet sat a man and woman.  Both arose when I entered:  the man 
was tall, about fifty years of age, and athletically built; he was 
dressed in a white coat, corduroy breeches, shoes, and grey worsted 
stockings.  The woman seemed many years older than the man; she was 
tall also, and strongly built, and dressed in the ancient female 
costume, namely, a kind of round, half Spanish hat, long blue 
woollen kirtle or gown, a crimson petticoat, and white apron, and 
broad, stout shoes with buckles.

"Welcome, stranger," said the man, after looking me a moment or two 
full in the face.

"Croesaw, dyn dieithr - welcome, foreign man," said the woman, 
surveying me with a look of great curiosity.

"Won't you sit down?" said the man, handing me a chair.

I sat down, and the man and woman resumed their seats.

"I suppose you come on business connected with the factory?" said 
the man.

"No," said I, "my business is connected with Owen Glendower."

"With Owen Glendower?" said the man, staring.

"Yes," said I, "I came to see his place."

"You will not see much of his house now," said the man - "it is 
down; only a few bricks remain."

"But I shall see the place where his house stood," said I, "which 
is all I expected to see."

"Yes, you can see that."

"What does the dyn dieithr say?" said the woman in Welsh with an 
inquiring look.

"That he is come to see the place of Owen Glendower."

"Ah!" said the woman with a smile.

"Is that good lady your wife?" said I.

"She is."

"She looks much older than yourself."

"And no wonder.  She is twenty-one years older."

"How old are you?"


"Dear me," said I, "what a difference in your ages.  How came you 
to marry?"

"She was a widow and I had lost my wife.  We were lone in the 
world, so we thought we would marry."

"Do you live happily together?"


"Then you did quite right to marry.  What is your name?"

"David Robert."

"And that of your wife?"

"Gwen Robert."

"Does she speak English?"

"She speaks some, but not much."

"Is the place where Owen lived far from here?"

"It is not.  It is the round hill a little way above the factory."

"Is the path to it easy to find?"

"I will go with you," said the man.  "I work at the factory, but I 
need not go there for an hour at least."

He put on his hat and bidding me follow him went out.  He led me 
over a gush of water which passing under the factory turns the 
wheel; thence over a field or two towards a house at the foot of 
the mountain where he said the steward of Sir Watkin lived, of whom 
it would be as well to apply for permission to ascend the hill, as 
it was Sir Watkin's ground.  The steward was not at home; his wife 
was, however, and she, when we told her we wished to go to the top 
of Owain Glendower's Hill, gave us permission with a smile.  We 
thanked her and proceeded to mount the hill or monticle once the 
residence of the great Welsh chieftain, whom his own deeds and the 
pen of Shakespear have rendered immortal.

Owen Glendower's hill or mount at Sycharth, unlike the one bearing 
his name on the banks of the Dee, is not an artificial hill, but 
the work of nature, save and except that to a certain extent it has 
been modified by the hand of man.  It is somewhat conical and 
consists of two steps or gradations, where two fosses scooped out 
of the hill go round it, one above the other, the lower one 
embracing considerably the most space.  Both these fosses are about 
six feet deep, and at one time doubtless were bricked, as stout 
large, red bricks are yet to be seen, here and there, in their 
sides.  The top of the mount is just twenty-five feet across.  When 
I visited it it was covered with grass, but had once been subjected 
to the plough as various furrows indicated.  The monticle stands 
not far from the western extremity of the valley, nearly midway 
between two hills which confront each other north and south, the 
one to the south being the hill which I had descended, and the 
other a beautiful wooded height which is called in the parlance of 
the country Llwyn Sycharth or the grove of Sycharth, from which 
comes the little gush of water which I had crossed, and which now 
turns the wheel of the factory and once turned that of Owen 
Glendower's mill, and filled his two moats, part of the water by 
some mechanical means having been forced up the eminence.  On the 
top of this hill or monticle in a timber house dwelt the great 
Welshman Owen Glendower, with his wife, a comely, kindly woman, and 
his progeny, consisting of stout boys and blooming girls, and 
there, though wonderfully cramped for want of room, he feasted 
bards who requited his hospitality with alliterative odes very 
difficult to compose, and which at the present day only a few book-
worms understand.  There he dwelt for many years, the virtual if 
not the nominal king of North Wales, occasionally no doubt looking 
down with self-complaisance from the top of his fastness on the 
parks and fish-ponds of which he had several; his mill, his pigeon 
tower, his ploughed lands, and the cottages of a thousand 
retainers, huddled round the lower part of the hill, or strewn 
about the valley; and there he might have lived and died had not 
events caused him to draw the sword and engage in a war, at the 
termination of which Sycharth was a fire-scathed ruin, and himself 
a broken-hearted old man in anchorite's weeds, living in a cave on 
the estate of Sir John Scudamore, the great Herefordshire 
proprietor, who married his daughter Elen, his only surviving 

After I had been a considerable time on the hill looking about me 
and asking questions of my guide, I took out a piece of silver and 
offered it to him, thanking him at the same time for the trouble he 
had taken in showing me the place.  He refused it, saying that I 
was quite welcome.

I tried to force it upon him.

"I will not take it," said he; "but if you come to my house and 
have a cup of coffee, you may give sixpence to my old woman."

"I will come," said I, "in a short time.  In the meanwhile do you 
go; I wish to be alone."

"What do you want to do?"

"To sit down and endeavour to recall Glendower, and the times that 
are past."

The fine fellow looked puzzled; at last he said, "Very well," 
shrugged his shoulders, and descended the hill.

When he was gone I sat down on the brow of the hill, and with my 
face turned to the east began slowly to chant a translation made by 
myself in the days of my boyhood of an ode to Sycharth composed by 
Iolo Goch when upwards of a hundred years old, shortly after his 
arrival at that place, to which he had been invited by Owen 

Twice have I pledg'd my word to thee
To come thy noble face to see;
His promises let every man
Perform as far as e'er he can!
Full easy is the thing that's sweet,
And sweet this journey is and meet;
I've vowed to Owain's court to go,
And I'm resolved to keep my vow;
So thither straight I'll take my way
With blithesome heart, and there I'll stay,
Respect and honour, whilst I breathe,
To find his honour'd roof beneath.
My chief of long lin'd ancestry
Can harbour sons of poesy;
I've heard, for so the muse has told,
He's kind and gentle to the old;
Yes, to his castle I will hie;
There's none to match it 'neath the sky:
It is a baron's stately court,
Where bards for sumptuous fare resort;
There dwells the lord of Powis land,
Who granteth every just demand.
Its likeness now I'll limn you out:
'Tis water girdled wide about;
It shows a wide and stately door
Reached by a bridge the water o'er;
'Tis formed of buildings coupled fair,
Coupled is every couple there;
Within a quadrate structure tall
Muster the merry pleasures all.
Conjointly are the angles bound -
No flaw in all the place is found.
Structures in contact meet the eye
Upon the hillock's top on high;
Into each other fastened they
The form of a hard knot display.
There dwells the chief we all extol
In timber house on lightsome knoll;
Upon four wooden columns proud
Mounteth his mansion to the cloud;
Each column's thick and firmly bas'd,
And upon each a loft is plac'd;
In these four lofts, which coupled stand,
Repose at night the minstrel band;
Four lofts they were in pristine state,
But now partitioned form they eight.
Tiled is the roof, on each house-top
Rise smoke-ejecting chimneys up.
All of one form there are nine halls
Each with nine wardrobes in its walls
With linen white as well supplied
As fairest shops of fam'd Cheapside.
Behold that church with cross uprais'd
And with its windows neatly glaz'd;
All houses are in this comprest -
An orchard's near it of the best,
Also a park where void of fear
Feed antler'd herds of fallow deer.
A warren wide my chief can boast,
Of goodly steeds a countless host.
Meads where for hay the clover grows,
Corn-fields which hedges trim inclose,
A mill a rushing brook upon,
And pigeon tower fram'd of stone;
A fish-pond deep and dark to see,
To cast nets in when need there be,
Which never yet was known to lack
A plenteous store of perch and jack.
Of various plumage birds abound;
Herons and peacocks haunt around,
What luxury doth his hall adorn,
Showing of cost a sovereign scorn;
His ale from Shrewsbury town he brings;
His usquebaugh is drink for kings;
Bragget he keeps, bread white of look,
And, bless the mark! a bustling cook.
His mansion is the minstrels' home,
You'll find them there whene'er you come
Of all her sex his wife's the best;
The household through her care is blest
She's scion of a knightly tree,
She's dignified, she's kind and free.
His bairns approach me, pair by pair,
O what a nest of chieftains fair!
Here difficult it is to catch
A sight of either bolt or latch;
The porter's place here none will fill;
Her largess shall be lavish'd still,
And ne'er shall thirst or hunger rude
In Sycharth venture to intrude.
A noble leader, Cambria's knight,
The lake possesses, his by right,
And midst that azure water plac'd,
The castle, by each pleasure grac'd.

And when I had finished repeating these lines I said, "How much 
more happy, innocent, and holy, I was in the days of my boyhood 
when I translate Iolo's ode than I am at the present time!"  Then 
covering my face with my hands I wept like a child.


Cup of Coffee - Gwen - Bluff old Fellow - A Rabble Rout - All from 

AFTER a while I arose from my seat and descending the hill returned 
to the house of my honest friends, whom I found sitting by their 
fire as I had first seen them.

"Well," said the man, "did you bring back Owen Glendower?"

"Not only him," said I, "but his house, family, and all relating to 

"By what means?" said the man.

"By means of a song made a long time ago, which describes Sycharth 
as it was in his time, and his manner of living there."

Presently Gwen, who had been preparing coffee in expectation of my 
return, poured out a cupful, which she presented to me, at the same 
time handing me some white sugar in a basin.

I took the coffee, helped myself to some sugar, and returned her 
thanks in her own language.

"Ah," said the man, in Welsh, "I see you are a Cumro.  Gwen and I 
have been wondering whether you were Welsh or English; but I see 
you are one of ourselves."

"No," said I in the same language, "I am an Englishman, born in a 
part of England the farthest of any from Wales.  In fact, I am a 
Carn Sais."

"And how came you to speak Welsh?" said the man.

"I took it into my head to learn it when I was a boy," said I.  
"Englishmen sometimes do strange things."

"So I have heard," said the man, "but I never heard before of an 
Englishman learning Welsh."

I proceeded to drink my coffee, and having finished it, and had a 
little more discourse I got up, and having given Gwen a piece of 
silver, which she received with a smile and a curtsey, I said I 
must now be going,

"Won't you take another cup?" said Gwen, "you are welcome."

"No, thank you," said I, "I have had enough."

"Where are you going?" said the man in English.

"To Llan Rhyadr," said I, "from which I came this morning."

"Which way did you come?" said the man.

"By Llan Gedwin," I replied, "and over the hill.  Is there another 

"There is," said the man, "by Llan Silin."

"Llan Silin!" said I; "is not that the place where Huw Morris is 

"It is," said the man.

"I will return by Llan Silin," said I, "and in passing through pay 
a visit to the tomb of the great poet.  Is Llan Silin far off?"

"About half a mile," said the man.  "Go over the bridge, turn to 
the right, and you will be there presently."

I shook the honest couple by the hand and bade them farewell.  The 
man put on his hat and went with me a few yards from the door, and 
then proceeded towards the factory.  I passed over the bridge, 
under which was a streamlet, which a little below the bridge 
received the brook which once turned Owen Glendower's corn-mill.  I 
soon reached Llan Silin, a village or townlet, having some high 
hills at a short distance to the westward, which form part of the 

I entered the kitchen of an old-fashioned public-house, and sitting 
down by a table told the landlord, a red-nosed elderly man, who 
came bowing up to me, to bring me a pint of ale.  The landlord 
bowed and departed.  A bluff-looking old fellow, somewhat under the 
middle size, sat just opposite to me at the table.  He was dressed 
in a white frieze coat, and had a small hat on his head set rather 
consequentially on one side.  Before him on the table stood a jug 
of ale, between which and him lay a large crabstick.  Three or four 
other people stood or sat in different parts of the room.  
Presently the landlord returned with the ale.

"I suppose you come on sessions business, sir?" said he, as he 
placed it down before me.

"Are the sessions being held here to-day?" said I.

"They are," said the landlord, "and there is plenty of business; 
two bad cases of poaching, Sir Watkin's keepers are up at court and 
hope to convict."

"I am not come on sessions business," said I; "I am merely 
strolling a little about to see the country."

"He is come from South Wales," said the old fellow in the frieze 
coat, to the landlord, "in order to see what kind of country the 
north is.  Well at any rate he has seen a better country than his 

"How do you know that I come from South Wales?" said I.

"By your English," said the old fellow; "anybody may know you are 
South Welsh by your English; it is so cursedly bad.  But let's hear 
you speak a little Welsh; then I shall be certain as to who you 

I did as he bade me, saying a few words in Welsh.

"There's Welsh," said the old fellow, "who but a South Welshman 
would talk Welsh in that manner?  It's nearly as bad as your 

I asked him if he had ever been in South Wales.

"Yes," said he; "and a bad country I found it; just like the 

"If you take me for a South Welshman," said I, "you ought to speak 
civilly both of the South Welsh and their country."

"I am merely paying tit for tat," said the old fellow.  "When I was 
in South Wales your people laughed at my folks and country, so when 
I meet one of them here I serve him out as I was served out there."

I made no reply to him, but addressing myself to the landlord 
inquired whether Huw Morris was not buried in Llan Silin 
churchyard.  He replied in the affirmative.

"I should like to see his tomb," said I.

"Well, sir," said the landlord, "I shall be happy to show it to you 
whenever you please."

Here again the old fellow put in his word.

"You never had a prydydd like Huw Morris in South Wales," said he; 
"nor Twm o'r Nant either."

"South Wales has produced good poets," said I.

"No, it hasn't," said the old fellow; "it never produced one.  If 
it had, you wouldn't have needed to come here to see the grave of a 
poet; you would have found one at home."

As he said these words he got up, took his stick, and seemed about 
to depart.  Just then in burst a rabble rout of game-keepers and 
river-watchers who had come from the petty sessions, and were in 
high glee, the two poachers whom the landlord had mentioned having 
been convicted and heavily fined.  Two or three of them were 
particularly boisterous, running against some of the guests who 
were sitting or standing in the kitchen, and pushing the landlord 
about, crying at the same time that they would stand by Sir Watkin 
to the last, and would never see him plundered.  One of them, a 
fellow of about thirty, in a hairy cap, black coat, dirty yellow 
breeches, and dirty white top-boots, who was the most obstreperous 
of them all, at last came up to the old chap who disliked South 
Welshmen and tried to knock off his hat, swearing that he would 
stand by Sir Watkin; he, however, met a Tartar.  The enemy of the 
South Welsh, like all crusty people, had lots of mettle, and with 
the stick which he held in his hand forthwith aimed a blow at the 
fellow's poll, which, had he not jumped back, would probably have 
broken it.

"I will not be insulted by you, you vagabond," said the old chap, 
"nor by Sir Watkin either; go and tell him so."

The fellow looked sheepish, and turning away proceeded to take 
liberties with other people less dangerous to meddle with than old 
crabstick.  He, however, soon desisted, and sat down evidently 

"Were you ever worse treated in South Wales by the people there 
than you have been here by your own countrymen?" said I to the old 

"My countrymen?" said he; "this scamp is no countryman of mine; nor 
is one of the whole kit.  They are all from Wrexham, a mixture of 
broken housekeepers and fellows too stupid to learn a trade; a set 
of scamps fit for nothing in the world but to swear bodily against 
honest men.  They say they will stand up for Sir Watkin, and so 
they will, but only in a box in the Court to give false evidence.  
They won't fight for him on the banks of the river.  Countrymen of 
mine, indeed! they are no countrymen of mine; they are from 
Wrexham, where the people speak neither English nor Welsh, not even 
South Welsh as you do."

Then giving a kind of flourish with his stick he departed.


Llan Silin Church - Tomb of Huw Morris - Barbara and Richard - 
Welsh Country Clergyman - The Swearing Lad - Anglo-Saxon Devils.

HAVING discussed my ale I asked the landlord if he would show me 
the grave of Huw Morris.  "With pleasure, sir," said he; "pray 
follow me."  He led me to the churchyard, in which several enormous 
yew trees were standing, probably of an antiquity which reached as 
far back as the days of Henry the Eighth, when the yew bow was 
still the favourite weapon of the men of Britain.  The church 
fronts the south, the portico being in that direction.  The body of 
the sacred edifice is ancient, but the steeple which bears a gilded 
cock on its top is modern.  The innkeeper led me directly up to the 
southern wall, then pointing to a broad discoloured slab, which lay 
on the ground just outside the wall, about midway between the 
portico and the oriel end, he said:

"Underneath this stone lies Huw Morris, sir."  Forthwith taking off 
my hat I went down on my knees and kissed the cold slab covering 
the cold remains of the mighty Huw, and then, still on my knees, 
proceeded to examine it attentively.  It is covered over with 
letters three parts defaced.  All I could make out of the 
inscription was the date of the poet's death, 1709.  "A great 
genius, a very great genius, sir," said the inn-keeper, after I had 
got on my feet and put on my hat.

"He was indeed," said I; "are you acquainted with his poetry?"

"Oh yes," said the innkeeper, and then repeated the four lines 
composed by the poet shortly before his death, which I had heard 
the intoxicated stonemason repeat in the public-house of the Pandy, 
the day I went to visit the poet's residence with John Jones.

"Do you know any more of Huw's poetry?" said I.

"No," said the innkeeper.  "Those lines, however, I have known ever 
since I was a child and repeated them, more particularly of late 
since age has come upon me and I have felt that I cannot last 

It is very odd how few of the verses of great poets are in people's 
mouths.  Not more than a dozen of Shakespear's lines are in 
people's mouths:  of those of Pope not more than half that number.  
Of Addison's poetry two or three lines may be in people's mouths, 
though I never heard one quoted, the only line which I ever heard 
quoted as Addison's not being his but Garth's:

"'Tis best repenting in a coach and six.'

Whilst of the verses of Huw Morris I never knew any one but myself, 
who am not a Welshman, who could repeat a line beyond the four 
which I have twice had occasion to mention, and which seem to be 
generally known in North if not in South Wales.

From the flagstone I proceeded to the portico and gazed upon it 
intensely.  It presented nothing very remarkable, but it had the 
greatest interest for me, for I remembered how many times Huw 
Morris had walked out of that porch at the head of the 
congregation, the clergyman yielding his own place to the inspired 
bard.  I would fain have entered the church, but the landlord had 
not the key, and told me that he imagined there would be some 
difficulty in procuring it.  I was therefore obliged to content 
myself with peeping through a window into the interior, which had a 
solemn and venerable aspect.

"Within there," said I to myself, "Huw Morris, the greatest 
songster of the seventeenth century, knelt every Sunday during the 
latter thirty years of his life, after walking from Pont y Meibion 
across the bleak and savage Berwyn.  Within there was married 
Barbara Wynn, the Rose of Maelai, to Richard Middleton, the 
handsome cavalier of Maelor, and within there she lies buried, even 
as the songster who lamented her untimely death in immortal verse 
lies buried out here in the graveyard.  What interesting 
associations has this church for me, both outside and in, but all 
connected with Huw; for what should I have known of Barbara, the 
Rose, and gallant Richard but for the poem on their affectionate 
union and untimely separation, the dialogue between the living and 
the dead, composed by humble Huw, the farmer's son of Ponty y 

After gazing through the window till my eyes watered I turned to 
the innkeeper, and inquired the way to Llan Rhyadr.  Having 
received from him the desired information I thanked him for his 
civility, and set out on my return.

Before I could get clear of the town I suddenly encountered my 
friend R-, the clever lawyer and magistrate's clerk of Llangollen.

"I little expected to see you here," said he.

"Nor I you," I replied.

"I came in my official capacity," said he; "the petty sessions have 
been held here to-day."

"I know they have," I replied; "and that two poachers have been 
convicted.  I came here on my way to South Wales to see the grave 
of Huw Morris, who, as you know, is buried in the churchyard."

"Have you seen the clergyman?" said R-.

"No," I replied.

"Then come with me," said he; "I am now going to call upon him.  I 
know he will be rejoiced to make your acquaintance."

He led me to the clergyman's house, which stood at the south-west 
end of the village within a garden fenced with an iron paling.  We 
found the clergyman in a nice comfortable parlour or study, the 
sides of which were decorated with books.  He was a sharp clever-
looking man, of about the middle age.  On my being introduced to 
him he was very glad to see me, as my friend R- told me he would 
be.  He seemed to know all about me, even that I understood Welsh.  
We conversed on various subjects:  on the power of the Welsh 
language; its mutable letters; on Huw Morris, and likewise on ale, 
with an excellent glass of which he regaled me.  I was much pleased 
with him, and thought him a capital specimen of the Welsh country 
clergyman.  His name was Walter Jones.

After staying about half-an-hour I took leave of the good kind man, 
who wished me all kind of happiness, spiritual and temporal, and 
said that he should always be happy to see me at Llan Silin.  My 
friend R- walked with me a little way and then bade me farewell.  
It was now late in the afternoon, the sky was grey and gloomy, and 
a kind of half wintry wind was blowing.  In the forenoon I had 
travelled along the eastern side of the valley, which I will call 
that of Llan Rhyadr, directing my course to the north, but I was 
now on the western side of the valley, journeying towards the 
south.  In about half-an-hour I found myself nearly parallel with 
the high crag which I had seen from a distance in the morning.  It 
was now to the east of me.  Its western front was very precipitous, 
but on its northern side it was cultivated nearly to the summit.  
As I stood looking at it from near the top of a gentle acclivity a 
boy with a team, whom I had passed a little time before, came up.  
He was whipping his horses, who were straining up the ascent, and 
was swearing at them most frightfully in English.  I addressed him 
in that language, inquiring the name of the crag, but he answered 
Dim Saesneg, and then again fell to cursing; his horses in English.  
I allowed him and his team to get to the top of the ascent, and 
then overtaking him, I said in Welsh:  "What do you mean by saying 
you have no English?  You were talking English just now to your 

"Yes," said the lad, "I have English enough for my horses, and that 
is all."

"You seem to have plenty of Welsh," said I; "why don't you speak 
Welsh to your horses?"

"It's of no use speaking Welsh to them," said the boy; "Welsh isn't 
strong enough."

"Isn't Myn Diawl tolerably strong?" said I.

"Not strong enough for horses," said the boy "if I were to say Myn 
Diawl to my horses, or even Cas Andras, they would laugh at me."

"Do the other carters," said I, "use the same English to their 
horses which you do to yours?"

"Yes" said the boy, "they'll all use the same English words; if 
they didn't the horses wouldn't mind them."

"What a triumph," thought I, "for the English language that the 
Welsh carters are obliged to have recourse to its oaths and 
execrations to make their horses get on!"

I said nothing more to the boy on the subject of language, but 
again asked him the name of the crag.  "It is called Craig y 
Gorllewin," said he.  I thanked him, and soon left him and his team 
far behind.

Notwithstanding what the boy said about the milk-and-water 
character of native Welsh oaths, the Welsh have some very pungent 
execrations, quite as efficacious, I should say, to make a horse 
get on as any in the English swearing vocabulary.  Some of their 
oaths are curious, being connected with heathen times and Druidical 
mythology; for example that Cas Andras, mentioned by the boy, which 
means hateful enemy or horrible Andras.  Andras or Andraste was the 
fury or Demigorgon of the Ancient Cumry, to whom they built temples 
and offered sacrifices out of fear.  Curious that the same oath 
should be used by the Christian Cumry of the present day, which was 
in vogue amongst their pagan ancestors some three thousand years 
ago.  However, the same thing is observable amongst us Christian 
English:  we say the Duse take you! even as our heathen Saxon 
forefathers did, who worshipped a kind of Devil so called, and 
named a day of the week after him, which name we still retain in 
our hebdomadal calendar like those of several other Anglo-Saxon 
devils.  We also say:  Go to old Nick! and Nick or Nikkur was a 
surname of Woden, and also the name of a spirit which haunted fords 
and was in the habit of drowning passengers.

Night came quickly upon me after I had passed the swearing lad.  
However, I was fortunate enough to reach Llan Rhyadr, without 
having experienced any damage or impediment from Diawl, Andras, 
Duse, or Nick.


Church of Llan Rhyadr - The Clerk - The Tablet - Stone - First View 
of the Cataract.

THE night was both windy and rainy like the preceding one, but the 
morning which followed, unlike that of the day before, was dull and 
gloomy.  After breakfast I walked out to take another view of the 
little town.  As I stood looking at the church a middle-aged man of 
a remarkably intelligent countenance came up and asked me if I 
should like to see the inside.  I told him I should, whereupon he 
said that he was the clerk and would admit me with pleasure.  
Taking a key out of his pocket he unlocked the door of the church 
and we went in.  The inside was sombre, not so much owing to the 
gloominess of the day as the heaviness of the architecture.  It 
presented something in the form of a cross.  I soon found the clerk 
what his countenance represented him to be, a highly intelligent 
person.  His answers to my questions were in general ready and 

"This seems rather an ancient edifice," said I; "when was it 

"In the sixteenth century," said the clerk; "in the days of Harry 

"Have any remarkable men been clergymen of this church?"

"Several, sir; amongst its vicars was Doctor William Morgan, the 
great South Welshman, the author of the old Welsh version of the 
Bible, who flourished in the time of Queen Elizabeth.  Then there 
was Doctor Robert South, an eminent divine, who, though not a 
Welshman, spoke and preached Welsh better than many of the native 
clergy.  Then there was the last vicar, Walter D-, a great preacher 
and writer, who styled himself in print Gwalter Mechain."

"Are Morgan and South buried here?" said I.

"They are not, sir," said the clerk; "they had been transferred to 
other benefices before they died."

I did not inquire whether Walter D- was buried there, for of him I 
had never heard before, but demanded whether the church possessed 
any ancient monuments.

"This is the oldest which remains, sir," said the clerk, and he 
pointed with his finger to a tablet-stone over a little dark pew on 
the right side of the oriel window.  There was an inscription upon 
it, but owing to the darkness I could not make out a letter.  The 
clerk, however, read as follows.

1694.  21 Octr.
Hic Sepultus Est
Sidneus Bynner.

"Do you understand Latin?" said I to the clerk.

"I do not, sir; I believe, however, that the stone is to the memory 
of one Bynner."

"That is not a Welsh name," said I.

"It is not, sir," said the clerk.

"It seems to be radically the same as Bonner," said I, "the name of 
the horrible Popish Bishop of London in Mary's time.  Do any people 
of the name of Bynner reside in this neighbourhood at present?"

"None, sir," said the clerk; "and if the Bynners are descendants of 
Bonner, it is, perhaps, well that there are none."

I made the clerk, who appeared almost fit to be a clergyman, a 
small present, and returned to the inn.  After paying my bill I 
flung my satchel over my shoulder, took my umbrella by the middle 
in my right hand, and set off for the Rhyadr.

I entered the narrow glen at the western extremity of the town and 
proceeded briskly along.  The scenery was romantically beautiful; 
on my left was the little brook, the waters of which run through 
the town; beyond it a lofty hill; on my right was a hill covered 
with wood from the top to the bottom.  I enjoyed the scene, and 
should have enjoyed it more had there been a little sunshine to 
gild it.

I passed through a small village, the name of which I think was 
Cynmen, and presently overtook a man and boy.  The man saluted me 
in English, and I entered into conversation with him in that 
language.  He told me that he came from Llan Gedwin, and was going 
to a place called Gwern something, in order to fetch home some 
sheep.  After a time he asked me where I was going.

"I am going to see the Pistyll Rhyadr," said I

We had then just come to the top of a rising ground.

"Yonder's the Pistyll!" said he, pointing to the west.

I looked in the direction of his finger, and saw something at a 
great distance, which looked like a strip of grey linen hanging 
over a crag.

"That is the waterfall," he continued, "which so many of the Saxons 
come to see.  And now I must bid you good-bye, master; for my way 
to the Gwern is on the right"

Then followed by the boy he turned aside into a wild road at the 
corner of a savage, precipitous rock.


Mountain Scenery - The Rhyadr - Wonderful Feat.

AFTER walking about a mile with the cataract always in sight, I 
emerged from the glen into an oblong valley extending from south to 
north, having lofty hills on all sides, especially on the west, 
from which direction the cataract comes.  I advanced across the 
vale till within a furlong of this object, when I was stopped by a 
deep hollow or nether vale into which the waters of the cataract 
tumble.  On the side of this hollow I sat down, and gazed down 
before me and on either side.  The water comes spouting over a crag 
of perhaps two hundred feet in altitude between two hills, one 
south-east and the other nearly north.  The southern hill is wooded 
from the top, nearly down to where the cataract bursts forth; and 
so, but not so thickly, is the northern hill, which bears a 
singular resemblance to a hog's back.  Groves of pine are on the 
lower parts of both; in front of a grove low down on the northern 
hill is a small white house of a picturesque appearance.  The water 
of the cataract, after reaching the bottom of the precipice, rushes 
in a narrow brook down the vale in the direction of Llan Rhyadr.  
To the north-east, between the hog-backed hill and another strange-
looking mountain, is a wild glen, from which comes a brook to swell 
the waters discharged by the Rhyadr.  The south-west side of the 
vale is steep, and from a cleft of a hill in that quarter a slender 
stream rushing impetuously joins the brook of the Rhyadr, like the 
rill of the northern glen.  The principal object of the whole is of 
course the Rhyadr.  What shall I liken it to?  I scarcely know, 
unless to an immense skein of silk agitated and disturbed by 
tempestuous blasts, or to the long tail of a grey courser at 
furious speed.  Through the profusion of long silvery threads or 
hairs, or what looked such, I could here and there see the black 
sides of the crag down which the Rhyadr precipitated itself with 
something between a boom and a roar.

After sitting on the verge of the hollow for a considerable time I 
got up, and directed my course towards the house in front of the 
grove.  I turned down the path which brought me to the brook which 
runs from the northern glen into the waters discharged by the 
Rhyadr, and crossing it by stepping-stones, found myself on the 
lowest spur of the hog-backed hill.  A steep path led towards the 
house.  As I drew near two handsome dogs came rushing to welcome 
the stranger.  Coming to a door on the northern side of the house I 
tapped, and a handsome girl of about thirteen making her 
appearance, I inquired in English the nearest way the waterfall; 
she smiled, and in her native language said that she had no Saxon.  
On my telling her in Welsh that I was come to see the Pistyll she 
smiled again, and said that I was welcome, then taking me round the 
house, she pointed to a path and bade me follow it.  I followed the 
path which led downward to a tiny bridge of planks, a little way 
below the fall.  I advanced to the middle of the bridge, then 
turning to the west, looked at the wonderful object before me.

There are many remarkable cataracts in Britain and the neighbouring 
isles, even the little Celtic Isle of Man has its remarkable 
waterfall; but this Rhyadr, the grand cataract of North Wales, far 
exceeds them all in altitude and beauty, though it is inferior to 
several of them in the volume of its flood.  I never saw water 
falling so gracefully, so much like thin beautiful threads, as 
here.  Yet even this cataract has its blemish.  What beautiful 
object has not something which more or less mars its loveliness?  
There is an ugly black bridge or semi-circle of rock, about two 
feet in diameter and about twenty feet high, which rises some 
little way below it, and under which the water, after reaching the 
bottom, passes, which intercepts the sight, and prevents it from 
taking in the whole fall at once.  This unsightly object has stood 
where it now stands since the day of creation, and will probably 
remain there to the day of judgment.  It would be a desecration of 
nature to remove it by art, but no one could regret if nature in 
one of her floods were to sweep it away.

As I was standing on the planks a woman plainly but neatly dressed 
came from the house.  She addressed me in very imperfect English, 
saying that she was the mistress of the house and should be happy 
to show me about.  I thanked her for her offer, and told her that 
she might speak Welsh, whereupon she looked glad, and said in that 
tongue that she could speak Welsh much better than Saesneg.  She 
took me by a winding path up a steep bank on the southern side of 
the fall to a small plateau, and told me that was the best place to 
see the Pistyll from.  I did not think so, for we were now so near 
that we were almost blinded by the spray, though, it is true, the 
semicircle of rock no longer impeded the sight; this object we now 
saw nearly laterally rising up like a spectral arch, spray and foam 
above it, and water rushing below.  "That is a bridge rather for 
ysprydoedd (9) to pass over than men," said I.

"It is," said the woman; "but I once saw a man pass over it."

"How did he get up?" said I.  "The sides are quite steep and 

"He wriggled to the sides like a llysowen, (10) till he got to the 
top, when he stood upright for a minute, and then slid down on the 
other side."

"Was he any one from these parts?" said I.

"He was not.  He was a dyn dieithr, a Russian; one of those with 
whom we are now at war."

"Was there as much water tumbling then as now?"

"More, for there had fallen more rain."

"I suppose the torrent is sometimes very dreadful?" said I.

"It is indeed, especially in winter; for it is then like a sea, and 
roars like thunder or a mad bull."

After I had seen all I wished of the cataract, the woman asked me 
to come to the house and take some refreshment.  I followed her to 
a neat little room where she made me sit down and handed me a bowl 
of butter-milk.  On the table was a book in which she told me it 
was customary for individuals who visited the cataract to insert 
their names.  I took up the book which contained a number of names 
mingled here and there with pieces of poetry.  Amongst these 
compositions was a Welsh englyn on the Rhyadr, which, though 
incorrect in its prosody, I thought stirring and grand.  I copied 
it, and subjoin it with a translation which I made on the spot.

"Crychiawg, ewynawg anian - yw y Rhyadr
Yn rhuo mal taran;
Colofn o dwr, gloyw-dwr glan,
Gorwyllt, un lliw ag arian."

Foaming and frothing from mountainous height,
Roaring like thunder the Rhyadr falls;
Though its silvery splendour the eye may delight,
Its fury the heart of the bravest appals.


Wild Moors - The Guide - Scientific Discourse - The Land of Arthur 
- The Umbrella - Arrival at Bala.

WHEN I had rested myself and finished the buttermilk, I got up, and 
making the good woman a small compensation for her civility, 
inquired if I could get to Bala without returning to Llan Rhyadr.

"Oh yes," said she, "if you cross the hills for about five miles 
you will find yourself upon a road which will take you straight to 

"Is there anyone here," said I, "who will guide me over the hills, 
provided I pay him for his trouble?"

"Oh yes," said she, "I know one who will be happy to guide you 
whether you pay him or not."

She went out and presently returned with a man about thirty-five, 
stout and well-looking, and dressed in a waggoner's frock.

"There," said she, "this is the man to show you over the hills; few 
know the paths better."

I thanked her, and telling the man I was ready, bade him lead the 
way.  We set out, the two dogs of which I have spoken attending us, 
and seemingly very glad to go.  We ascended the side of the hog-
backed hill to the north of the Rhyadr.  We were about twenty 
minutes in getting to the top, close to which stood a stone or 
piece of rock, very much resembling a church altar, and about the 
size of one.  We were now on an extensive moory elevation, having 
the brook which forms the Rhyadr a little way on our left.  We went 
nearly due west, following no path, for path there was none, but 
keeping near the brook.  Sometimes we crossed water-courses which 
emptied their tribute into the brook, and every now and then 
ascended and descended hillocks covered with gorse and whin.  After 
a little time I entered into conversation with my guide.  He had 
not a word of English.

"Are you married?" said I.

"In truth I am, sir."

"What family have you?"

"I have a daughter."

"Where do you live?"

"At the house of the Rhyadr."

"I suppose you live there as servant?"

"No, sir, I live there as master."

"Is the good woman I saw there your wife?"

"In truth, sir, she is."

"And the young girl I saw your daughter?"

"Yes, sir, she is my daughter."

"And how came the good woman not to tell me you were her husband?"

"I suppose, sir, you did not ask who I was, and she thought you did 
not care to know."

"But can you be spared from home?"

"Oh yes, sir, I was not wanted at home."

"What business are you?"

"I am a farmer, sir."

"A sheep farmer?"

"Yes, sir."

"Who is your landlord."

"Sir Watkin."

"Well, it was very kind of you to come with me."

"Not at all, sir; I was glad to come with you, for we are very 
lonesome at Rhyadr, except during a few weeks in the summer, when 
the gentry come to see the Pistyll.  Moreover, I have sheep lying 
about here which need to be looked at now and then, and by coming 
hither with you I shall have an opportunity of seeing them."

We frequently passed sheep feeding together in small numbers.  In 
two or three instances my guide singled out individuals, caught 
them, and placing their heads between his knees examined the 
insides of their eyelids, in order to learn by their colour whether 
or not they were infected with the pwd or moor disorder.  We had 
some discourse about that malady.  At last he asked me if there was 
a remedy for it.

"Oh yes," said I; "a decoction of hoarhound."

"What is hoarhound?" said he.

"Llwyd y Cwn," said I.  "Pour some of that down the sheep's throat 
twice a day, by means of a horn, and the sheep will recover, for 
the bitterness, do you see, will destroy the worm (11) in the 
liver, which learned men say is the cause of the disorder."

We left the brook on our left hand and passed by some ruined walls 
which my guide informed me had once belonged to houses but were now 
used as sheepfolds.  After walking several miles, according to my 
computation, we began to ascend a considerable elevation covered 
with brown heath and ling.  As we went on the dogs frequently put 
up a bird of a black colour, which flew away with a sharp whirr.

"What bird is that?" said I.

"Ceiliog y grug, the cock of the heath," replied my guide.  "It is 
said to be very good eating, but I have never tasted it.  The 
ceiliog y grug is not food for the like of me.  It goes to feed the 
rich Saxons in Caer Ludd."

We reached the top of the elevation.

"Yonder," said my guide, pointing to a white bare place a great way 
off to the west, "is Bala road."

"Then I will not trouble you to go any further," said I; "I can 
find my way thither."

"No, you could not," said my guide; "if you were to make straight 
for that place you would perhaps fall down a steep, or sink into a 
peat hole up to your middle, or lose your way and never find the 
road, for you would soon lose sight of that place.  Follow me, and 
I will lead you into a part of the road more to the left, and then 
you can find your way easily enough to that bare place, and from 
thence to Bala."  Thereupon he moved in a southerly direction down 
the steep and I followed him.  In about twenty minutes we came to 
the road.

"Now," said my guide, "you are on the road; bear to the right and 
you cannot miss the way to Bala."

"How far is it to Bala?" said I.

"About twelve miles," he replied.

I gave him a trifle, asking at the same time if it was sufficient.  
"Too much by one-half," he replied; "many, many thanks."  He then 
shook me by the hand, and accompanied by his dogs departed, not 
back over the moor, but in a southerly direction down the road.

Wending my course to the north, I came to the white bare spot which 
I had seen from the moor, and which was in fact the top of a 
considerable elevation over which the road passed.  Here I turned 
and looked at the hills I had come across.  There they stood, 
darkly blue, a rain cloud, like ink, hanging over their summits.  
Oh, the wild hills of Wales, the land of old renown and of wonder, 
the land of Arthur and Merlin!

The road now lay nearly due west.  Rain came on, but it was at my 
back, so I expanded my umbrella, flung it over my shoulder and 
laughed.  Oh, how a man laughs who has a good umbrella when he has 
the rain at his back, aye and over his head too, and at all times 
when it rains except when the rain is in his face, when the 
umbrella is not of much service.  Oh, what a good friend to a man 
is an umbrella in rain time, and likewise at many other times.  
What need he fear if a wild bull or a ferocious dog attacks him, 
provided he has a good umbrella?  He unfurls the umbrella in the 
face of the bull or dog, and the brute turns round quite scared, 
and runs away.  Or if a footpad asks him for his money, what need 
he care provided he has an umbrella?  He threatens to dodge the 
ferrule into the ruffian's eye, and the fellow starts back and 
says, "Lord, sir!  I meant no harm.  I never saw you before in all 
my life.  I merely meant a little fun."  Moreover, who doubts that 
you are a respectable character provided you have an umbrella?  You 
go into a public-house and call for a pot of beer, and the publican 
puts it down before you with one hand without holding out the other 
for the money, for he sees that you have an umbrella and 
consequently property.  And what respectable man, when you overtake 
him on the way and speak to him, will refuse to hold conversation 
with you, provided you have an umbrella?  No one.  The respectable 
man sees you have an umbrella, and concludes that you do not intend 
to rob him, and with justice, for robbers never carry umbrellas.  
Oh, a tent, a shield, a lance, and a voucher for character is an 
umbrella.  Amongst the very best friends of man must be reckoned an 
umbrella. (12)

The way lay over dreary, moory hills; at last it began to descend, 
and I saw a valley below me with a narrow river running through it, 
to which wooded hills sloped down; far to the west were blue 
mountains.  The scene was beautiful but melancholy; the rain had 
passed away, but a gloomy almost November sky was above, and the 
mists of night were coming down apace.

I crossed a bridge at the bottom of the valley and presently saw a 
road branching to the right.  I paused, but after a little time 
went straight forward.  Gloomy woods were on each side of me and 
night had come down.  Fear came upon me that I was not on the right 
road, but I saw no house at which I could inquire, nor did I see a 
single individual for miles of whom I could ask.  At last I heard 
the sound of hatchets in a dingle on my right, and catching a 
glimpse of a gate at the head of a path, which led down into it, I 
got over it.  After descending some time I hallooed.  The noise of 
the hatchets ceased.  I hallooed again, and a voice cried in Welsh, 
"What do you want?"  "To know the way to Bala," I replied.  There 
was no answer, but presently I heard steps, and the figure of a man 
drew nigh, half undistinguishable in the darkness, and saluted me.  
I returned his salutation, and told him I wanted to know the way to 
Bala.  He told me, and I found I had been going right.  I thanked 
him and regained the road.  I sped onward, and in about half-an-
hour saw some houses, then a bridge, then a lake on my left, which 
I recognised as the lake of Bala.  I skirted the end of it, and 
came to a street cheerfully lighted up, and in a minute more was in 
the White Lion Inn.


Cheerful Fire - Immense Man - Doctor Jones - Recognition - A Fast 
Young Man - Excellent Remarks - Disappointment.

I WAS conducted into the coffee-room of the White Lion by a little 
freckled maid whom I saw at the bar, and whom I told that I was 
come to pass the night at the inn.  The room presented an agreeable 
contrast to the gloomy, desolate places through which I had lately 
come.  A good fire blazed in the grate, and there were four lights 
on the table.  Lolling in a chair by one side of the fire was an 
individual at the sight of whom I almost started.  He was an 
immense man, weighing I should say at least eighteen stone, with 
brown hair, thinnish whiskers, half-ruddy, half-tallowy complexion, 
and dressed in a brown sporting coat, drab breeches, and yellow-
topped boots - in every respect the exact image of the 
Wolverhampton gent or hog-merchant who had appeared to me in my 
dream at Llangollen, whilst asleep before the fire.  Yes, the very 
counterpart of that same gent looked this enormous fellow, save and 
except that he did not appear to be more than seven or eight and 
twenty, whereas the hog-merchant looked at least fifty.  Laying my 
satchel down I took a seat and ordered the maid to get some dinner 
for me, and then asked what had become of the waiter, Tom Jenkins.

"He is not here at present, sir," said the freckled maid; "he is at 
his own house."

"And why is he not here?" said I.

"Because he is not wanted, sir; he only comes in summer when the 
house is full of people."

And having said this the little freckled damsel left the room.

"Reither a cool night, sir!" said the enormous man after we had 
been alone together a few minutes.

I again almost started, for he spoke with the same kind of half-
piping, half-wheezing voice, with which methought the Wolverhampton 
gent had spoken to me in my dream.

"Yes," said I; "it is rather cold out abroad, but I don't care as I 
am not going any farther to-night."

"That's not my case," said the stout man, "I have got to go ten 
miles, as far as Cerrig Drudion, from which place I came this 
afternoon in a wehicle."

"Do you reside at Cerrig Drudion?" said I.

"No," said the stout man, whose dialect I shall not attempt further 
to imitate, "but I have been staying there some time; for happening 
to go there a month or two ago I was tempted to take up my quarters 
at the inn.  A very nice inn it is, and the landlady a very 
agreeable woman, and her daughters very agreeable young ladies."

"Is this the first time you have been at Bala?"

"Yes, the first time.  I had heard a good deal about it, and wished 
to see it.  So to-day, having the offer of a vehicle at a cheap 
rate, I came over with two or three other gents, amongst whom is 
Doctor Jones."

"Dear me" said I, "is Doctor Jones in Bala?"

"Yes," said the stout man.  "Do you know him?"

"Oh yes," said I, "and have a great respect for him; his like for 
politeness and general learning is scarcely to be found in 

"Only think," said the stout man.  "Well, I never heard that of him 

Wishing to see my sleeping room before I got my dinner, I now rose 
and was making for the door, when it opened, and in came Doctor 
Jones.  He had a muffler round his neck, and walked rather slowly 
and disconsolately, leaning upon a cane.  He passed without 
appearing to recognise me, and I, thinking it would be as well to 
defer claiming acquaintance with him till I had put myself a little 
to rights, went out without saying anything to him.  I was shown by 
the freckled maid to a nice sleeping apartment, where I stayed some 
time adjusting myself.  On my return to the coffee-room I found the 
doctor sitting near the fire-place.  The stout man had left the 
room.  I had no doubt that he had told Doctor Jones that I had 
claimed acquaintance with him, and that the doctor, not having 
recollected me, had denied that he knew anything of me, for I 
observed that he looked at me very suspiciously.

I took my former seat, and after a minute's silence said to Doctor 
Jones, "I think, sir, I had the pleasure of seeing you some time 
ago at Cerrig Drudion?"

"It's possible, sir," said Doctor Jones in a tone of considerable 
hauteur, and tossing his head so that the end of his chin was above 
his comforter, "but I have no recollection of it."

I held my head down for a little time, then raising it and likewise 
my forefinger, I looked Doctor Jones full in the face and said, 
"Don't you remember talking to me about Owen Pugh and Coll Gwynfa?"

"Yes, I do," said Doctor Jones in a very low voice, like that of a 
person who deliberates; "yes, I do.  I remember you perfectly, 
sir," he added almost immediately in a tone of some animation; "you 
are the gentleman with whom I had a very interesting conversation 
one evening last summer in the bar of the inn at Cerrig Drudion.  I 
regretted very much that our conversation was rather brief, but I 
was called away to attend to a case, a professional case, sir, of 
some delicacy, and I have since particularly regretted that I was 
unable to return that night, as it would have given me much 
pleasure to have been present at a dialogue, which I have been told 
by my friend the landlady, you held with a certain Italian who was 
staying at the house, which was highly agreeable and instructive to 
herself and her daughter."

"Well," said I, "I am rejoiced that fate has brought us together 
again.  How have you been in health since I had the pleasure of 
seeing you?"

"Rather indifferent, sir, rather indifferent.  I have of late been 
afflicted with several ailments, the original cause of which, I 
believe, was a residence of several years in the Ynysoedd y 
Gorllewin - the West India Islands - where I had the honour of 
serving her present gracious Majesty's gracious uncle, George the 
Fourth - in a medical capacity, sir.  I have likewise been 
afflicted with lowness of spirits, sir.  It was this same lowness 
of spirits which induced me to accept an invitation made by the 
individual lately in the room to accompany him in a vehicle with 
some other people to Bala.  I shall always consider my coming as a 
fortunate circumstance, inasmuch as it has given me an opportunity 
of renewing my acquaintance with you."

"Pray," said I, "may I take the liberty of asking who that 
individual is?"

"Why," said Doctor Jones, "he is what they call a Wolverhampton 

"A Wolverhampton gent," said I to myself; "only think!"

"Were you pleased to make any observation, sir?" said the doctor.

"I was merely saying something to myself," said I.  "And in what 
line of business may he be?  I suppose in the hog line."

"Oh no!" said Doctor Jones.  "His father, it is true, is a hog-
merchant, but as for himself he follows no business; he is what is 
called a fast young man, and goes about here and there on the 
spree, as I think they term it, drawing, whenever he wants money, 
upon his father, who is in affluent circumstances.  Some time ago 
he came to Cerrig Drudion, and was so much pleased with the place, 
the landlady, and her daughters, that he has made it his 
headquarters ever since.  Being frequently at the house I formed an 
acquaintance with him, and have occasionally made one in his 
parties and excursions, though I can't say I derive much pleasure 
from his conversation, for he is a person of little or no 

"The son of a hog-merchant," thought I to myself.  "Depend upon it, 
that immense fellow whom I saw in my dream purchase the big hog at 
Llangollen fair, and who wanted me to give him a poond for his 
bargain, was this gent's father.  Oh, there is much more in dreams 
than is generally dreamt of by philosophy!"

Doctor Jones presently began to talk of Welsh literature, and we 
were busily engaged in discussing the subject when in walked the 
fast young man, causing the floor to quake beneath his ponderous 
tread.  He looked rather surprised at seeing the doctor and me 
conversing, but Doctor Jones turning to him, said, "Oh, I remember 
this gentleman perfectly."

"Oh!" said the fast young man; "very good!" then flinging himself 
down in a chair with a force that nearly broke it, and fixing his 
eyes upon me, said, "I think I remember the gentleman too.  If I am 
not much mistaken, sir, you are one of our principal engineers at 
Wolverhampton.  Oh yes!  I remember you now perfectly.  The last 
time I saw you was at a public dinner given to you at 
Wolverhampton, and there you made a speech, and a capital speech it 

Just as I was about to reply Doctor Jones commenced speaking Welsh, 
resuming the discourse on Welsh literature.  Before, however, he 
had uttered a dozen words he was interrupted by the Wolverhampton 
gent, who exclaimed in a blubbering tone:  "O Lord, you are surely 
not going to speak Welsh.  If I had thought I was to be bothered 
with Welsh I wouldn't have asked you to come."

"If I spoke Welsh, sir," said the doctor, "it was out of compliment 
to this gentleman, who is a proficient in the ancient language of 
my country.  As, however, you dislike Welsh, I shall carry on the 
conversation with him in English, though peradventure you may not 
be more edified by it in that language than if it were held in 

He then proceeded to make some very excellent remarks on the 
history of the Gwedir family, written by Sir John Wynn, to which 
the Wolverhampton gent listened with open mouth and staring eyes.  
My dinner now made its appearance, brought in by the little 
freckled maid - the cloth had been laid during my absence from the 
room.  I had just begun to handle my knife and fork, Doctor Jones 
still continuing his observations on the history of the Gwedir 
family, when I heard a carriage drive up to the inn, and almost 
immediately after, two or three young fellows rollicked into the 
room:  "Come let's be off," said one of them to the Wolverhampton 
gent; "the carriage is ready."  "I'm glad of it," said the fast 
young man, "for it's rather slow work here.  Come, doctor! are you 
going with us or do you intend to stay here all night?"  Thereupon 
the doctor got up, and coming towards me leaning on his cane, said:  
"Sir! it gives me infinite pleasure that I have met a second time a 
gentleman of so much literature.  That we shall ever meet a third 
time I may wish but can scarcely hope, owing to certain ailments 
under which I suffer, brought on, sir, by a residence of many years 
in the Occidental Indies.  However, at all events, I wish you 
health and happiness."  He then shook me gently by the hand and 
departed with the Wolverhampton gent and his companions; the gent 
as he stumped out of the room saying, "Good-night, sir; I hope it 
will not be long before I see you at another public dinner at 
Wolverhampton, and hear another speech from you as good as the 
last."  In a minute or two I heard them drive off.  Left to myself 
I began to discuss my dinner.  Of the dinner I had nothing to 
complain, but the ale which accompanied it was very bad.  This was 
the more mortifying, for, remembering the excellent ale I had drunk 
at Bala some months previously, I had, as I came along the gloomy 
roads the present evening, been promising myself a delicious treat 
on my arrival.

"This is very bad ale!" said I to the freckled maid, "very 
different from what I drank in the summer, when I was waited on by 
Tom Jenkins."

"It is the same ale, sir," said the maid, "but the last in the 
cask; and we shan't have any more for six months, when he will come 
again to brew for the summer; but we have very good porter, sir, 
and first-rate Allsopp."

"Allsopp's ale," said I, "will do for July and August, but scarcely 
for the end of October.  However, bring me a pint; I prefer it at 
all times to porter."

My dinner concluded, I trifled away my time till about ten o'clock, 
and then went to bed.


Breakfast - The Freckled Maid - Llan uwch Llyn - The Landlady - 
Llewarch Hen - Conversions to the Church.

AWAKING occasionally in the night I heard much storm and rain.  The 
following morning it was gloomy and lowering.  As it was Sunday I 
determined to pass the day at Bala, and accordingly took my Prayer 
Book out of my satchel, and also my single white shirt, which I put 

Having dressed myself I went to the coffee-room and sat down to 
breakfast.  What a breakfast! - pot of hare; ditto of trout; pot of 
prepared shrimps; dish of plain shrimps; tin of sardines; beautiful 
beef-steak; eggs, muffin; large loaf, and butter, not forgetting 
capital tea.  There's a breakfast for you!

As the little freckled maid was removing the breakfast things I 
asked her how old she was.

"Eighteen, sir, last Candlemas," said the freckled maid.

"Are your parents alive?"

"My mother is, sir, but my father is dead."

"What was your father?"

"He was an Irishman, sir! and boots to this inn."

"Is your mother Irish?"

"No, sir, she is of this place; my father married her shortly after 
he came here."

"Of what religion are you?"

"Church, sir, Church."

"Was your father of the Church?"

"Not always, sir; he was once what is called a Catholic.  He turned 
to the Church after he came here."

"A'n't there a great many Methodists in Bala?"

"Plenty, sir, plenty."

"How came your father not to go over to the Methodists instead of 
the Church?"

"'Cause he didn't like them, sir; he used to say they were a 
trumpery, cheating set; that they wouldn't swear, but would lie 
through a three-inch board."

"I suppose your mother is a Church-woman?"

"She is now, sir; but before she knew my father she was a 

"Of what religion is the master of the house?"

"Church, sir, Church; so is all the family."

"Who is the clergyman of the place?"

"Mr Pugh, sir!"

"Is he a good preacher?"

"Capital, sir! and so is each of his curates; he and they are 
converting the Methodists left and right."

"I should like to hear him."

"Well, sir! that you can do.  My master, who is going to church 
presently, will be happy to accommodate you in his pew."

I went to church with the landlord, a tall gentlemanly man of the 
name of Jones - Oh that eternal name of Jones!  Rain was falling 
fast, and we were glad to hold up our umbrellas.  We did not go to 
the church at Bala, at which there was no service that morning, but 
to that of a little village close by, on the side of the lake, the 
living of which is incorporated with that of Bala.  The church 
stands low down by the lake at the bottom of a little nook.  Its 
name which is Llan uwch Llyn, is descriptive of its position, 
signifying the Church above the Lake.  It is a long, low, ancient 
edifice, standing north-east by south-west.  The village is just 
above it on a rising ground, behind which are lofty hills 
pleasantly dotted with groves, trees, and houses.  The interior of 
the edifice has a somewhat dilapidated appearance.  The service was 
in Welsh.  The clergyman was about forty years of age, and had a 
highly-intelligent look.  His voice was remarkably clear and 
distinct.  He preached an excellent practical sermon, text, 14th 
chapter, 22nd verse of Luke, about sending out servants to invite 
people to the supper.  After the sermon there was a gathering for 
the poor.

As I returned to the inn I had a good deal of conversation with the 
landlord on religious subjects.  He told me that the Church of 
England, which for a long time had been a down-trodden Church in 
Wales, had of late begun to raise its head, and chiefly owing to 
the zeal and activity of its present ministers; that the former 
ministers of the Church were good men, but had not energy enough to 
suit the times in which they lived; that the present ministers 
fought the Methodist preachers with their own weapons, namely, 
extemporary preaching, and beat them, winning shoals from their 
congregations.  He seemed to think that the time was not far 
distant when the Anglican Church would be the popular as well as 
the established Church of Wales.

Finding myself rather dull in the inn, I went out again, 
notwithstanding that it rained.  I ascended the toman or mound 
which I had visited on a former occasion.  Nothing could be more 
desolate and dreary than the scene around.  The woods were stripped 
of their verdure and the hills were half shrouded in mist.  How 
unlike was this scene to the smiling, glorious prospect which had 
greeted my eyes a few months before.  The rain coming down with 
redoubled violence, I was soon glad to descend and regain the inn.

Shortly before dinner I was visited by the landlady, a fine tall 
woman of about fifty, with considerable remains of beauty in her 
countenance.  She came to ask me if I was comfortable.  I told her 
that it was my own fault if I was not.  We were soon in very 
friendly discourse.  I asked her her maiden name.

"Owen," said she, laughing, "which, after my present name of Jones, 
is the most common name in Wales."

"They were both one and the same originally," said I, "Owen and 
Jones both mean John."

She too was a staunch member of the Church of England, which she 
said was the only true Church.  She spoke in terms of high respect 
and admiration of her minister, and said that a new church was 
being built, the old one not being large enough to accommodate the 
numbers who thronged to hear him.

I had a noble goose for dinner, to which I did ample justice.  
About four o'clock, the weather having cleared up, I took a stroll.  
It was a beautiful evening, though rain clouds still hovered about.  
I wandered to the northern end of Llyn Tegid, which I had passed in 
the preceding evening.  The wind was blowing from the south, and 
tiny waves were beating against the shore, which consisted of small 
brown pebbles.  The lake has certainly not its name, which 
signifies Lake of Beauty, for nothing.  It is a beautiful sheet of 
water, and beautifully situated.  It is oblong and about six miles 
in length.  On all sides, except to the north, it is bounded by 
hills.  Those at the southern end are very lofty, the tallest of 
which is Arran, which lifts its head to the clouds like a huge 
loaf.  As I wandered on the strand I thought of a certain British 
prince and poet, who in the very old time sought a refuge in the 
vicinity of the lake from the rage of the Saxons.  His name was 
Llewarch Hen, of whom I will now say a few words.

Llewarch Hen, or Llewarch the Aged, was born about the commencement 
of the sixth and died about the middle of the seventh century, 
having attained to the prodigious age of one hundred and forty or 
fifty years, which is perhaps the lot of about forty individuals in 
the course of a millennium.  If he was remarkable for his years he 
was no less so for the number of his misfortunes.  He was one of 
the princes of the Cumbrian Britons; but Cumbria was invaded by the 
Saxons, and a scene of horrid war ensued.  Llewarch and his sons, 
of whom he had twenty-four, put themselves at the head of their 
forces, and in conjunction with the other Cumbrian princes made a 
brave but fruitless opposition to the invaders.  Most of his sons 
were slain, and he himself with the remainder sought shelter in 
Powys, in the hall of Cynddylan, its prince.  But the Saxon bills 
and bows found their way to Powys too.  Cynddylan was slain, and 
with him the last of the sons of Llewarch, who, reft of his 
protector, retired to a hut by the side of the lake of Bala, where 
he lived the life of a recluse, and composed elegies on his sons 
and slaughtered friends, and on his old age, all of which abound 
with so much simplicity and pathos that the heart of him must be 
hard indeed who can read them unmoved.  Whilst a prince he was 
revered for his wisdom and equity, and he is said in one of the 
historical triads to have been one of the three consulting warriors 
of Arthur.

In the evening I attended service in the old church at Bala.  The 
interior of the edifice was remarkably plain; no ornament of any 
kind was distinguishable; the congregation was overflowing, amongst 
whom I observed the innkeeper and his wife, the little freckled 
maid and the boots.  The entire service was in Welsh.  Next to the 
pew in which I sat was one filled with young singing women, all of 
whom seemed to have voices of wonderful power.  The prayers were 
read by a strapping young curate at least six feet high.  The 
sermon was preached by the rector, and was a continuation of the 
one which I had heard him preach in the morning.  It was a very 
comforting discourse, as the preacher clearly proved that every 
sinner will be pardoned who comes to Jesus.  I was particularly 
struck with one part.  The preacher said that Jesus' arms being 
stretched out upon the cross was emblematic of His surprising love 
and His willingness to receive anybody.  The service concluded with 
the noble anthem Teyrnasa Jesu Mawr, "May Mighty Jesus reign!"

The service over I returned to the parlour of the inn.  There I sat 
for a long-time, lone and solitary, staring at the fire in the 
grate.  I was the only guest in the house; a great silence 
prevailed both within and without; sometimes five minutes elapsed 
without my hearing a sound, and then, perhaps, the silence would be 
broken by a footstep at a distance in the street.  At length, 
finding myself yawning, I determined to go to bed.  The freckled 
maid as she lighted me to my room inquired how I liked the sermon.  
"Very much," said I.  "Ah," said she, "did I not tell you that Mr 
Pugh was a capital preacher?"  She then asked me how I liked the 
singing of the gals who sat in the next pew to mine.  I told her 
that I liked it exceedingly.  "Ah," said she, "them gals have the 
best voices in Bala.  They were once Methody gals, and sang in the 
chapels, but were converted, and are now as good Church as myself.  
Them gals have been the cause of a great many convarsions, for all 
the young fellows of their acquaintance amongst the Methodists - "

"Follow them to church," said I, "and in time become converted.  
That's a thing of course.  If the Church gets the girls she is 
quite sure of the fellows."


Proceed on Journey - The Lad and Dog - Old Bala - The Pass - 
Extensive View - The Two Men - The Tap Nyth - The Meeting of the 
Waters - The Wild Valley - Dinas Mawddwy.

THE Monday morning was gloomy and misty, but it did not rain, a 
circumstance which gave me no little pleasure, as I intended to 
continue my journey without delay.  After breakfast I bade farewell 
to my kind host, and also to the freckled maid, and departed, my 
satchel o'er my shoulder and my umbrella in my hand.

I had consulted the landlord on the previous day as to where I had 
best make my next halt, and had been advised by him to stop at 
Mallwyd.  He said that if I felt tired I could put up at Dinas 
Mawddwy, about two miles on this side of Mallwyd, but that if I 
were not he would advise me to go on, as I should find very poor 
accommodation at Dinas.  On my inquiring as to the nature of the 
road, he told me that the first part of it was tolerably good, 
lying along the eastern side of the lake, but that the greater part 
of it was very rough, over hills and mountains, belonging to the 
great chain of Arran, which constituted upon the whole the wildest 
part of all Wales.

Passing by the northern end of the lake I turned to the south, and 
proceeded along a road a little way above the side of the lake.  
The day had now to a certain extent cleared up, and the lake was 
occasionally gilded by beams of bright sunshine.  After walking a 
little way I overtook a lad dressed in a white greatcoat and 
attended by a tolerably large black dog.  I addressed him in 
English, but finding that he did not understand me I began to talk 
to him in Welsh.

"That's a fine dog," said I.

LAD. - Very fine, sir, and a good dog; though young he has been 
known to kill rats.

MYSELF. - What is his name?

LAD. - His name is Toby, sir.

MYSELF. - And what is your name?

LAD. - John Jones, sir.

MYSELF. - And what is your father's?

LAD. - Waladr Jones, sir.

MYSELF. - Is Waladr the same as Cadwaladr?

LAD. - In truth, sir, it is.

MYSELF. - That is a fine name.

LAD. - It is, sir; I have heard my father say that it was the name 
of a king.

MYSELF. - What is your father?

LAD. - A farmer, sir.

MYSELF. - Does he farm his own land?

LAD. - He does not, sir; he is tenant to Mr Price of Hiwlas.

MYSELF. - Do you live far from Bala?

LAD. - Not very far, sir.

MYSELF. - Are you going home now?

LAD. - I am not, sir; our home is on the other side of Bala.  I am 
going to see a relation up the road.

MYSELF. - Bala is a nice place.

LAD. - It is, sir; but not so fine as old Bala.

MYSELF. - I never heard of such a place.  Where is it?

LAD. - Under the lake, sir.

MYSELF. - What do you mean?

LAD. - It stood in the old time where the lake now is, and a fine 
city it was, full of fine houses, towers, and castles, but with 
neither church nor chapel, for the people neither knew God nor 
cared for Him, and thought of nothing but singing and dancing and 
other wicked things.  So God was angry with them, and one night, 
when they were all busy at singing and dancing and the like, God 
gave the word, and the city sank down into Unknown, and the lake 
boiled up where it once stood.

MYSELF. - That was a long time ago.

LAD. - In truth, sir, it was.

MYSELF. - Before the days of King Cadwaladr.

LAD. - I daresay it was, sir.

I walked fast, but the lad was a shrewd walker, and though 
encumbered with his greatcoat contrived to keep tolerably up with 
me.  The road went over hill and dale, but upon the whole more 
upward than downward.  After proceeding about an hour and a half we 
left the lake, to the southern extremity of which we had nearly 
come, somewhat behind, and bore away to the south-east, gradually 
ascending.  At length the lad, pointing to a small farm-house on 
the side of a hill, told me he was bound thither, and presently 
bidding me farewell, turned aside up a footpath which led towards 

About a minute afterwards a small delicate furred creature with a 
white mark round its neck and with a little tail trailing on the 
ground ran swiftly across the road.  It was a weasel or something 
of that genus; on observing it I was glad that the lad and the dog 
were gone, as between them they would probably have killed it.  I 
hate to see poor wild animals persecuted and murdered, lose my 
appetite for dinner at hearing the screams of a hare pursued by 
greyhounds, and am silly enough to feel disgust and horror at the 
squeals of a rat in the fangs of a terrier, which one of the 
sporting tribe once told me were the sweetest sounds in "natur."

I crossed a bridge over a deep gulley which discharged its waters 
into a river in a valley on the right.  Arran rose in great majesty 
on the farther side of this vale, its head partly shrouded in mist.  
The day now became considerably overcast.  I wandered on over much 
rough ground till I came to a collection of houses at the bottom of 
a pass leading up a steep mountain.  Seeing the door of one of the 
houses open I peeped in, and a woman who was sitting knitting in 
the interior rose and came out to me.  I asked the name of the 
place.  The name which she told me sounded something like Ty Capel 
Saer - the House of the Chapel of the Carpenter.  I inquired the 
name of the river in the valley.  Cynllwyd, hoary-headed, she 
seemed to say; but here, as well as with respect to her first 
answer, I speak under correction, for her Welsh was what my old 
friends, the Spaniards, would call muy cerrado, that is, close or 
indistinct.  She asked me if I was going up the bwlch.  I told her 
I was.

"Rather you than I," said she, looking up to the heavens, which had 
assumed a very dismal, not to say awful, appearance.

Presently I began to ascend the pass or bwlch, a green hill on my 
right intercepting the view of Arran, another very lofty hill on my 
left with wood towards the summit.  Coming to a little cottage 
which stood on the left I went to the door and knocked.  A smiling 
young woman opened it, of whom I asked the name of the house.

"Ty Nant - the House of the Dingle," she replied.

"Do you live alone?" said I.

"No; mother lives here."

"Any Saesneg?"

"No," said she with a smile, "S'sneg of no use here."

Her face looked the picture of kindness.  I was now indeed in Wales 
amongst the real Welsh.  I went on some way.  Suddenly there was a 
moaning sound, and rain came down in torrents.  Seeing a deserted 
cottage on my left I went in.  There was fodder in it, and it 
appeared to serve partly as a barn, partly as a cow-house.  The 
rain poured upon the roof, and I was glad I had found shelter.  
Close behind this place a small brook precipitated itself down 
rocks in four successive falls.

The rain having ceased I proceeded, and after a considerable time 
reached the top of the pass.  From thence I had a view of the 
valley and lake of Bala, the lake looking like an immense sheet of 
steel.  A round hill, however, somewhat intercepted the view of the 
latter.  The scene in my immediate neighbourhood was very desolate; 
moory hillocks were all about me of a wretched russet colour; on my 
left, on the very crest of the hill up which I had so long been 
toiling, stood a black pyramid of turf, a pole on the top of it.  
The road now wore nearly due west down a steep descent.  Arran was 
slightly to the north of me.  I, however, soon lost sight of it, as 
I went down the farther side of the hill, which lies over against 
it to the south-east.  The sun, now descending, began to shine out.  
The pass down which I was now going was yet wilder than the one up 
which I had lately come.  Close on my right was the steep hill's 
side out of which the road or path had been cut, which was here and 
there overhung by crags of wondrous forms; on my left was a very 
deep glen, beyond which was a black, precipitous, rocky wall, from 
a chasm near the top of which tumbled with a rushing sound a 
slender brook, seemingly the commencement of a mountain stream, 
which hurried into a valley far below towards the west.  When 
nearly at the bottom of the descent I stood still to look around 
me.  Grand and wild was the scenery.  On my left were noble green 
hills, the tops of which were beautifully gilded by the rays of the 
setting sun.  On my right a black, gloomy, narrow valley or glen 
showed itself; two enormous craggy hills of immense altitude, one 
to the west and the other to the east of the entrance; that to the 
east terminating in a peak.  The background to the north was a wall 
of rocks forming a semicircle, something like a bent bow with the 
head downward; behind this bow, just in the middle, rose the black 
loaf of Arran.  A torrent tumbled from the lower part of the 
semicircle, and after running for some distance to the south turned 
to the west, the way I was going.

Observing a house a little way within the gloomy vale I went 
towards it, in the hope of finding somebody in it who could give me 
information respecting this wild locality.  As I drew near the door 
two tall men came forth, one about sixty, and the other about half 
that age.  The elder had a sharp, keen look; the younger a lumpy 
and a stupid one.  They were dressed like farmers.  On my saluting 
them in English the elder returned my salutation in that tongue, 
but in rather a gruff tone.  The younger turned away his head and 
said nothing.

"What is the name of this house?" said I, pointing to the building.

"The name of it," said the old man, "is Ty Mawr."

"Do you live in it?" said I.

"Yes, I live in it."

"What waterfall is that?" said I, pointing to the torrent tumbling 
down the crag at the farther end of the gloomy vale.

"The fountain of the Royal Dyfi."

"Why do you call the Dyfy royal?" said I.

"Because it is the king of the rivers in these parts."

"Does the fountain come out of a rock?"

"It does not; it comes out of a lake, a llyn."

"Where is the llyn?"

"Over that crag at the foot of Aran Vawr."

"Is it a large lake?"

"It is not; it is small."



"Strange things in it?"

"I believe there are strange things in it."  His English now became 


"I do not know what cracadailes be."


"Ah!  No, I do not tink there be efync dere.  Hu Gadarn in de old 
time kill de efync dere and in all de lakes in Wales.  He draw them 
out of the water with his ychain banog his humpty oxen, and when he 
get dem out he burn deir bodies on de fire, he good man for dat."

"What do you call this allt?" said I, looking up to the high 
pinnacled hill on my right.

"I call that Tap Nyth yr Eryri."

"Is not that the top nest of the eagles?"

"I believe it is.  Ha!  I see you understand Welsh."

"A little," said I.  "Are there eagles there now?"

"No, no eagle now."

"Gone like avanc?"

"Yes, gone like avanc, but not so long.  My father see eagle on Tap 
Nyth, but my father never see avanc in de llyn."

"How far to Dinas?"

"About three mile."

"Any thieves about?"

"No, no thieves here, but what come from England," and he looked at 
me with a strange, grim smile.

"What is become of the red-haired robbers of Mawddwy?"

"Ah," said the old man, staring at me, "I see you are a Cumro.  The 
red-haired thieves of Mawddwy!  I see you are from these parts."

"What's become of them?"

"Oh, dead, hung.  Lived long time ago; long before eagle left Tap 

He spoke true.  The red-haired banditti of Mawddwy were 
exterminated long before the conclusion of the sixteenth century, 
after having long been the terror not only of these wild regions 
but of the greater part of North Wales.  They were called the red-
haired banditti because certain leading individuals amongst them 
had red foxy hair.

"Is that young man your son?" said I, after a little pause.

"Yes, he my son."

"Has he any English?"

"No, he no English, but he plenty of Welsh - that is if he see 

I spoke to the young man in Welsh, asking him if he had ever been 
up to the Tap Nyth, but he made no answer.

"He no care for your question," said the old man; "ask him price of 
pig."  I asked the young fellow the price of hogs, whereupon his 
face brightened up, and he not only answered my question, but told 
me that he had fat hog to sell.  "Ha, ha," said the old man; "he 
plenty of Welsh now, for he see reason.  To other question he no 
Welsh at all, no more than English, for he see no reason.  What 
business he on Tap Nyth with eagle?  His business down below in sty 
with pig.  Ah, he look lump, but he no fool; know more about pig 
than you or I, or any one 'twixt here and Mahuncleth."

He now asked me where I came from, and on my telling him from Bala, 
his heart appeared to warm towards me, and saying that I must be 
tired, he asked me to step in and drink buttermilk, but I declined 
his offer with thanks, and bidding the two adieu, returned to the 

I hurried along and soon reached a valley which abounded with trees 
and grass; I crossed a bridge over a brook, not what the old man 
had called the Dyfi, but the stream whose source I had seen high up 
the bwlch, and presently came to a place where the two waters 
joined.  Just below the confluence on a fallen tree was seated a 
man decently dressed; his eyes were fixed on the rushing stream.  I 
stopped and spoke to him.

He had no English, but I found him a very sensible man.  I talked 
to him about the source of the Dyfi.  He said it was a disputed 
point which was the source.  He himself was inclined to believe 
that it was the Pistyll up the bwlch.  I asked him of what religion 
he was.  He said he was of the Church of England, which was the 
Church of his father and his grandfather, and which he believed to 
be the only true Church.  I inquired if it flourished.  He said it 
did, but that it was dreadfully persecuted by all classes of 
dissenters, who, though they were continually quarrelling with one 
another, agreed in one thing, namely, to persecute the Church.  I 
asked him if he ever read.  He said he read a great deal, 
especially the works of Huw Morris, and that reading them had given 
him a love for the sights of nature.  He added that his greatest 
delight was to come to the place where he then was of an evening, 
and look at the waters and hills.  I asked him what trade he was.  
"The trade of Joseph," said he, smiling.  "Saer."  "Farewell, 
brother," said I; "I am not a carpenter, but like you I read the 
works of Huw Morris and am of the Church of England."  I then shook 
him by the hand and departed.

I passed a village with a stupendous mountain just behind it to the 
north, which I was told was called Moel Vrith or the party-coloured 
moel.  I was now drawing near to the western end of the valley.  
Scenery of the wildest and most picturesque description was rife 
and plentiful to a degree:  hills were here, hills were there; some 
tall and sharp, others huge and humpy; hills were on every side; 
only a slight opening to the west seemed to present itself.  "What 
a valley!" I exclaimed.  But on passing through the opening I found 
myself in another, wilder and stranger, if possible.  Full to the 
west was a long hill rising up like the roof of a barn, an enormous 
round hill on its north-east side, and on its south-east the tail 
of the range which I had long had on my left - there were trees and 
groves and running waters, but all in deep shadow, for night was 
now close at hand.

"What is the name of this place?" I shouted to a man on horseback, 
who came dashing through a brook with a woman in a Welsh dress 
behind him.

"Aber Cowarch, Saxon!" said the man in a deep guttural voice, and 
lashing his horse disappeared rapidly in the night.

"Aber Cywarch!" I cried, springing half a yard into the air.  "Why, 
that's the place where Ellis Wynn composed his immortal 'Sleeping 
Bard,' the book which I translated in the blessed days of my youth.  
Oh, no wonder that the 'Sleeping Bard' is a wild and wondrous work, 
seeing that it was composed amidst the wild and wonderful scenes 
which I here behold."

I proceeded onwards up an ascent; after some time I came to a 
bridge across a stream, which a man told me was called Avon Gerres.  
It runs into the Dyfi, coming down with a rushing sound from a wild 
vale to the north-east between the huge barn-like hill and Moel 
Vrith.  The barn-like hill I was informed was called Pen Dyn.  I 
soon reached Dinas Mawddwy, which stands on the lower part of a 
high hill connected with the Pen Dyn.  Dinas, trough at one time a 
place of considerable importance, if we may judge from its name, 
which signifies a fortified city, is at present little more than a 
collection of filthy huts.  But though a dirty squalid place, I 
found it anything but silent and deserted.  Fierce-looking, red-
haired men, who seemed as if they might be descendants of the red-
haired banditti of old, were staggering about, and sounds of 
drunken revelry echoed from the huts.  I subsequently learned that 
Dinas was the head-quarters of miners, the neighbourhood abounding 
with mines both of lead and stone.  I was glad to leave it behind 
me.  Mallwyd is to the south of Dinas - the way to it is by a 
romantic gorge down which flows the Royal Dyfi.  As I proceeded 
along this gorge the moon rising above Moel Vrith illumined my 
path.  In about half-an-hour I found myself before the inn at 


Inn at Mallwyd - A Dialogue - The Cumro.

I ENTERED the inn, and seeing a comely-looking damsel at the bar, I 
told her that I was in need of supper and a bed.  She conducted me 
into a neat sanded parlour, where a good fire was blazing, and 
asked me what I would have for supper.  "Whatever you can most 
readily provide," said I; "I am not particular."  The maid retired, 
and taking off my hat, and disencumbering myself of my satchel, I 
sat down before the fire and fell into a doze, in which I dreamed 
of some of the wild scenes through which I had lately passed.

I dozed and dozed till I was roused by the maid touching me on the 
shoulder and telling me that supper was ready.  I got up and 
perceived that during my doze she had laid the cloth and put supper 
upon the table.  It consisted of bacon and eggs.  During supper I 
had some conversation with the maid.

MYSELF. - Are you a native of this place?

MAID. - I am not, sir; I come from Dinas.

MYSELF. - Are your parents alive?

MAID. - My mother is alive, sir, but my father is dead.

MYSELF. - Where does your mother live?

MAID. - At Dinas, sir.

MYSELF. - How does she support herself?

MAID. - By letting lodgings to miners, sir.

MYSELF. - Are the miners quiet lodgers?

MAID. - Not always, sir; sometimes they get up at night and fight 
with each other.

MYSELF. - What does your mother do on those occasions?

MAID. - She draws the quilt over her head, and says her prayers, 

MYSELF. - Why doesn't she get up and part them?

MAID. - Lest she should get a punch or a thwack for her trouble, 

MYSELF. - Of what religion are the miners?

MAID. - They are Methodists, if they are anything; but they don't 
trouble their heads much about religion.

MYSELF. - Of what religion are you?

MAID. - I am of the Church, sir.

MYSELF. - Did you always belong to the Church?

MAID. - Not always.  When I was at Dinas I used to hear the 
preacher, but since I have been here I have listened to the 

MYSELF. - Is the clergyman here a good man?

MAID. - A very good man indeed, sir.  He lives close by.  Shall I 
go and tell him you want to speak to him?

MYSELF. - Oh dear me, no!  He can employ his time much more 
usefully than in waiting upon me.

After supper I sat quiet for about an hour.  Then ringing the bell, 
I inquired of the maid whether there was a newspaper in the house.  
She told me there was not, but that she thought she could procure 
me one.  In a little time she brought me a newspaper, which she 
said she had borrowed at the parsonage.  It was the CUMRO, an 
excellent Welsh journal written in the interest of the Church.  In 
perusing its columns I passed a couple of hours very agreeably, and 
then went to bed.


Mallwyd and its Church - Sons of Shoemakers - Village Inn - 

THE next day was the thirty-first of October, and was rather fine 
for the season.  As I did not intend to journey farther this day 
than Machynlleth, a principal town in Montgomeryshire, distant only 
twelve miles, I did not start from Mallwyd till just before noon.

Mallwyd is a small but pretty village.  The church is a long 
edifice standing on a slight elevation on the left of the road.  
Its pulpit is illustrious from having for many years been occupied 
by one of the very celebrated men of Wales, namely Doctor John 
Davies, author of the great Welsh and Latin dictionary, an 
imperishable work.  An immense yew tree grows in the churchyard, 
and partly overshadows the road with its branches.  The parsonage 
stands about a hundred yards to the south of the church, near a 
grove of firs.  The village is overhung on the north by the 
mountains of the Arran range, from which it is separated by the 
murmuring Dyfi.  To the south for many miles the country is not 
mountainous, but presents a pleasant variety of hill and dale.

After leaving the village a little way behind me I turned round to 
take a last view of the wonderful region from which I had emerged 
on the previous evening.  Forming the two sides of the pass down 
which comes "the royal river" stood the Dinas mountain and Cefn 
Coch, the first on the left, and the other on the right.  Behind, 
forming the background of the pass, appearing, though now some 
miles distant, almost in my proximity, stood Pen Dyn.  This hill 
has various names, but the one which I have noted here, and which 
signifies the head of a man, perhaps describes it best.  From where 
I looked at it on that last day of October it certainly looked like 
an enormous head, and put me in mind of the head of Mambrino, 
mentioned in the master work which commemorates the achievements of 
the Manchegan knight.  This mighty mountain is the birthplace of 
more than one river.  If the Gerres issues from its eastern side, 
from its western springs the Maw, that singularly picturesque 
stream, which enters the ocean at the place which the Saxons 
corruptly call Barmouth and the Cumry with great propriety Aber 
Maw, or the disemboguement of the Maw.

Just as I was about to pursue my journey two boys came up, bound in 
the same direction as myself.  One was a large boy dressed in a 
waggoner's frock, the other was a little fellow in a brown coat and 
yellowish trowsers.  As we walked along together I entered into 
conversation with them.  They came from Dinas Mawddwy.  The large 
boy told me that he was the son of a man who carted mwyn or lead 
ore, and the little fellow that he was the son of a shoemaker.  The 
latter was by far the cleverest, and no wonder, for the son of 
shoemakers are always clever, which assertion should anybody doubt 
I beg him to attend the examinations at Cambridge, at which he will 
find that in three cases out of four the senior wranglers are the 
sons of shoemakers.  From this little chap I got a great deal of 
information about Pen Dyn, every part of which he appeared to have 
traversed.  He told me amongst other things that there was a castle 
upon it.  Like a true son of a shoemaker, however, he was an arch 
rogue.  Coming to a small house with a garden attached to it in 
which there were apple-trees, he stopped, whilst I went on with the 
other boy, and after a minute or two came up running with a couple 
of apples in his hand.

"Where did you get those apples?" said I; "I hope you did not steal 

He made no reply, but bit one, then making a wry face he flung it 
away, and so he served the other.  Presently afterwards, coming to 
a side lane, the future senior wrangler, for a senior wrangler he 
is destined to be, always provided he finds his way to Cambridge, 
darted down it like an arrow, and disappeared.

I continued my way with the other lad, occasionally asking him 
questions about the mines of Mawddwy.  The information, however, 
which I obtained from him was next to nothing, for he appeared to 
be as heavy as the stuff which his father carted.  At length we 
reached a village forming a kind of semicircle on a green which 
looked something like a small English common.  To the east were 
beautiful green hills; to the west the valley with the river 
running through it, beyond which rose other green hills yet more 
beautiful than the eastern ones.  I asked the lad the name of the 
place, but I could not catch what he said, for his answer was 
merely an indistinct mumble, and before I could question him again 
he left me, without a word of salutation, and trudged away across 
the green.

Descending a hill I came to a bridge, under which ran a beautiful 
river, which came foaming down from a gulley between two of the 
eastern hills.  From a man whom I met I learned that the bridge was 
called Pont Coomb Linau, and that the name of the village I had 
passed was Linau.  The river carries an important tribute to the 
Dyfi, at least it did when I saw it, though perhaps in summer it is 
little more than a dry water-course.

Half-an-hour's walking brought me from this place to a small town 
or large village, with a church at the entrance and the usual yew 
tree in the churchyard.  Seeing a kind of inn I entered it, and was 
shown by a lad-waiter into a large kitchen, in which were several 
people.  I had told him in Welsh that I wanted some ale, and as he 
opened the door he cried with a loud voice, "Cumro!" as much as to 
say, Mind what you say before this chap, for he understands Cumraeg 
- that word was enough.  The people, who were talking fast and 
eagerly as I made my appearance, instantly became silent and stared 
at me with most suspicious looks.  I sat down, and when my ale was 
brought I took a hearty draught, and observing that the company 
were still watching me suspiciously and maintaining the same 
suspicious silence, I determined to comport myself in a manner 
which should to a certain extent afford them ground for suspicion.  
I therefore slowly and deliberately drew my note-book out of my 
waistcoat pocket, unclasped it, took my pencil from the loops at 
the side of the book, and forthwith began to dot down observations 
upon the room and company, now looking to the left, now to the 
right, now aloft, now alow, now skewing at an object, now leering 
at an individual, my eyes half closed and my mouth drawn 
considerably aside.  Here follow some of my dottings:-

"A very comfortable kitchen with a chimney-corner on the south side 
- immense grate and brilliant fire - large kettle hanging over it 
by a chain attached to a transverse iron bar - a settle on the 
left-hand side of the fire - seven fine large men near the fire - 
two upon the settle, two upon chairs, one in the chimney-corner 
smoking a pipe, and two standing up - table near the settle with 
glasses, amongst which is that of myself, who sit nearly in the 
middle of the room a little way on the right-hand side of the fire.

"The floor is of slate; a fine brindled greyhound lies before it on 
the hearth, and a shepherd's dog wanders about, occasionally going 
to the door and scratching as if anxious to get out.  The company 
are dressed mostly in the same fashion, brown coats, broad-brimmed 
hats, and yellowish corduroy breeches with gaiters.  One who looks 
like a labouring man has a white smock and a white hat, patched 
trowsers, and highlows covered with gravel - one has a blue coat.

"There is a clock on the right-hand side of the kitchen; a warming-
pan hangs close by it on the projecting side of the chimney-corner.  
On the same side is a large rack containing many plates and dishes 
of Staffordshire ware.  Let me not forget a pair of fire-irons 
which hang on the right-hand side of the chimney-corner!"

I made a great many more dottings, which I shall not insert here.  
During the whole time I was dotting the most marvellous silence 
prevailed in the room, broken only by the occasional scratching of 
the dog against the inside of the door, the ticking of the clock, 
and the ruttling of the smoker's pipe in the chimney-corner.  After 
I had dotted to my heart's content I closed my book, put the pencil 
into the loops, then the book into my pocket, drank what remained 
of my ale, got up, and, after another look at the apartment and its 
furniture, and a leer at the company, departed from the house 
without ceremony, having paid for the ale when I received it.  
After walking some fifty yards down the street I turned half round 
and beheld, as I knew I should, the whole company at the door 
staring after me.  I leered sideways at them for about half a 
minute, but they stood my leer stoutly.  Suddenly I was inspired by 
a thought.  Turning round I confronted them, and pulling my note-
book out of my pocket, and seizing my pencil, I fell to dotting 
vigorously.  That was too much for them.  As if struck by a panic, 
my quondam friends turned round and bolted into the house; the 
rustic-looking man with the smock-frock and gravelled highlows 
nearly falling down in his eagerness to get in.

The name of the place where this adventure occurred was Cemmaes.


The Deaf Man - Funeral Procession - The Lone Family - The Welsh and 
their Secrets - The Vale of the Dyfi - The Bright Moon.

A LITTLE way from Cemmaes I saw a respectable-looking old man like 
a little farmer, to whom I said:

"How far to Machynlleth?"

Looking at me in a piteous manner in the face he pointed to the 
side of his head, and said - "Dim clywed."

It was no longer no English, but no hearing.

Presently I met one yet more deaf.  A large procession of men came 
along the road.  Some distance behind them was a band of women and 
between the two bands was a kind of bier drawn by a horse with 
plumes at each of the four corners.  I took off my hat and stood 
close against the hedge on the right-hand side till the dead had 
passed me some way to its final home.

Crossed a river, which like that on the other side of Cemmaes 
streamed down from a gulley between two hills into the valley of 
the Dyfi.  Beyond the bridge on the right-hand side of the road was 
a pretty cottage, just as there was in the other locality.  A fine 
tall woman stood at the door, with a little child beside her.  I 
stopped and inquired in English whose body it was that had just 
been borne by.

"That of a young man, sir, the son of a farmer, who lives a mile or 
so up the road."

MYSELF. - He seems to have plenty of friends.

WOMAN. - Oh yes, sir, the Welsh have plenty of friends both in life 
and death.

MYSELF. - A'n't you Welsh, then?

WOMAN. - Oh no, sir, I am English, like yourself, as I suppose.

MYSELF. - Yes, I am English.  What part of England do you come 

WOMAN. - Shropshire, sir.

MYSELF. - Is that little child yours?

WOMAN. - Yes, sir, it is my husband's child and mine.

MYSELF. - I suppose your husband is Welsh.

WOMAN. - Oh no, sir, we are all English.

MYSELF. - And what is your husband?

WOMAN. - A little farmer, sir, he farms about forty acres under Mrs 

MYSELF. - Well, are you comfortable here?

WOMAN. - Oh dear me, no, sir, we are anything but comfortable.  
Here we are three poor lone creatures in a strange land, without a 
soul to speak to but one another.  Every day of our lives we wish 
we had never left Shropshire.

MYSELF. - Why don't you make friends amongst your neighbours?

WOMAN. - Oh, sir, the English cannot make friends amongst the 
Welsh.  The Welsh won't neighbour with them, or have anything to do 
with them, except now and then in the way of business.

MYSELF. - I have occasionally found the Welsh very civil.

WOMAN. - Oh yes, sir, they can be civil enough to passers-by, 
especially those who they think want nothing from them - but if you 
came and settled amongst them you would find them, I'm afraid, 
quite the contrary.

MYSELF. - Would they be uncivil to me if I could speak Welsh?

WOMAN. - Most particularly, sir; the Welsh don't like any 
strangers, but least of all those who speak their language.

MYSELF. - Have you picked up anything of their language?

WOMAN. - Not a word, sir, nor my husband neither.  They take good 
care that we shouldn't pick up a word of their language.  I stood 
the other day and listened whilst two women were talking just where 
you stand now, in the hope of catching a word, and as soon as they 
saw me they passed to the other side of the bridge, and began 
buzzing there.  My poor husband took it into his head that he might 
possibly learn a word or two at the public-house, so he went there, 
called for a jug of ale and a pipe, and tried to make himself at 
home just as he might in England, but it wouldn't do.  The company 
instantly left off talking to one another and stared at him, and 
before he could finish his pot and pipe took themselves off to a 
man, and then came the landlord, and asked him what he meant by 
frightening away his customers.  So my poor husband came home as 
pale as a sheet, and sitting down in a chair said, "Lord, have 
mercy upon me!"

MYSELF. - Why are the Welsh afraid that strangers should pick up 
their language?

WOMAN. - Lest, perhaps, they should learn their secrets, sir!

MYSELF. - What secrets have they?

WOMAN. - The Lord above only knows, sir!

MYSELF. - Do you think they are hatching treason against Queen 

WOMAN. - Oh dear no, sir.

MYSELF. - Is there much murder going on amongst them?

WOMAN. - Nothing of the kind, sir.

MYSELF. - Cattle-stealing?

WOMAN. - Oh no, sir!

MYSELF. - Pig-stealing?

WOMAN. - No, sir!

MYSELF. - Duck or hen stealing?

WOMAN. - Haven't lost a duck or hen since I have been here, sir.

MYSELF.  - Then what secrets can they possibly have?

WOMAN. - I don't know, sir! perhaps none at all, or at most only a 
pack of small nonsense that nobody would give three farthings to 
know.  However, it is quite certain they are as jealous of 
strangers hearing their discourse as if they were plotting 
gunpowder treason or something worse.

MYSELF. - Have you been long here?

WOMAN. - Only since last May, sir! and we hope to get away by next, 
and return to our own country, where we shall have some one to 
speak to.

MYSELF. - Good-bye!

WOMAN. - Good-bye, sir, and thank you for your conversation; I 
haven't had such a treat of talk for many a weary day.

The Vale of the Dyfi became wider and more beautiful as I advanced.  
The river ran at the bottom amidst green and seemingly rich 
meadows.  The hills on the farther side were cultivated a great way 
up, and various neat farm-houses were scattered here and there on 
their sides.  At the foot of one of the most picturesque of these 
hills stood a large white village.  I wished very much to know its 
name, but saw no one of whom I could inquire.  I proceeded for 
about a mile, and then perceiving a man wheeling stones in a barrow 
for the repairing of the road I thought I would inquire of him.  I 
did so, but the village was then out of sight, and though I pointed 
in its direction and described its situation I could not get its 
name out of him.  At last I said hastily, "Can you tell me your own 

"Dafydd Tibbot, sir," said he.

"Tibbot, Tibbot," said I; "why, you are a Frenchman."

"Dearie me, sir," said the man, looking very pleased, "am I, 

"Yes, you are," said I, rather repenting of my haste, and giving 
him sixpence, I left him.

"I'd bet a trifle," said I to myself, as I walked away, that this 
poor creature is the descendant of some desperate Norman Tibault 
who helped to conquer Powisland under Roger de Montgomery or Earl 
Baldwin.  How striking that the proud old Norman names are at 
present only borne by people in the lowest station.  Here's a 
Tibbot or Tibault harrowing stones on a Welsh road, and I have 
known a Mortimer munching poor cheese and bread under a hedge on an 
English one.  How can we account for this save by the supposition 
that the descendants of proud, cruel, and violent men - and who so 
proud, cruel and violent, as the old Normans - are doomed by God to 
come to the dogs?"

Came to Pont Velin Cerrig, the bridge of the mill of the Cerrig, a 
river which comes foaming down from between two rocky hills.  This 
bridge is about a mile from Machynlleth, at which place I arrived 
at about five o'clock in the evening - a cool, bright moon shining 
upon me.  I put up at the principal inn, which was of course called 
the Wynstay Arms.


Welsh Poems - Sessions Business - The Lawyer and his Client - The 
Court - The Two Keepers - The Defence.

DURING supper I was waited upon by a brisk, buxom maid who told me 
that her name was Mary Evans.  The repast over, I ordered a glass 
of whiskey and water, and when it was brought I asked the maid if 
she could procure me some book to read.  She said she was not aware 
of any book in the house which she could lay her hand on except one 
of her own, which if I pleased she would lend me.  I begged her to 
do so.  Whereupon she went out and presently returned with a very 
small volume, which she laid on the table and then retired.  After 
taking a sip of my whiskey and water I proceeded to examine it.  It 
turned out to be a volume of Welsh poems entitled "Blodau Glyn 
Dyfi"; or, Flowers of Glyn Dyfi, by one Lewis Meredith, whose 
poetical name is Lewis Glyn Dyfi.  The author indites his preface 
from Cemmaes, June, 1852.  The best piece is called Dyffryn Dyfi, 
and is descriptive of the scenery of the vale through which the 
Dyfi runs.  It commences thus:

"Heddychol ddyffryn tlws,"
Peaceful, pretty vale,

and contains many lines breathing a spirit of genuine poetry.

The next day I did not get up till nine, having no journey before 
me, as I intended to pass that day at Machynlleth.  When I went 
down to the parlour I found another guest there, breakfasting.  He 
was a tall, burly, and clever-looking man of about thirty-five.  As 
we breakfasted together at the same table we entered into 
conversation.  I learned from him that he was an attorney from a 
town at some distance, and was come over to Machynlleth to the 
petty sessions, to be held that day, in order to defend a person 
accused of spearing a salmon in the river.  I asked him who his 
client was.

"A farmer," said he, "a tenant of Lord V-, who will probably 
preside over the bench which will try the affair."

"Oh," said I, "a tenant spearing his landlord's fish - that's bad."

"No," said he, "the fish which he speared, that is, which he is 
accused of spearing, did not belong to his landlord but to another 
person; he hires land of Lord V-, but the fishing of the river 
which runs through that land belongs to Sir Watkin."

"Oh, then," said I, "supposing he did spear the salmon I shan't 
break my heart if you get him off:  do you think you shall?"

"I don't know," said he.  "There's the evidence of two keepers 
against him; one of whom I hope, however, to make appear a 
scoundrel, in whose oath the slightest confidence is not to be 
placed.  I shouldn't wonder if I make my client appear a persecuted 
lamb.  The worst is, that he has the character of being rather fond 
of fish, indeed of having speared more salmon than any other six 
individuals in the neighbourhood."

"I really should like to see him," said I; "what kind of person is 
he? - some fine, desperate-looking fellow, I suppose?"

"You will see him presently," said the lawyer; "he is in the 
passage waiting till I call him in to take some instructions from 
him; and I think I had better do so now, for I have breakfasted, 
and time is wearing away."

He then got up, took some papers out of a carpet bag, sat down, and 
after glancing at them for a minute or two, went to the door and 
called to somebody in Welsh to come in.  Forthwith in came a small, 
mean, wizzened-faced man of about sixty, dressed in a black coat 
and hat, drab breeches and gaiters, and looking more like a decayed 
Methodist preacher than a spearer of imperial salmon.

"Well," said the attorney, "This is my client, what do you think of 

"He is rather a different person from what I had expected to see," 
said I; "but let us mind what we say or we shall offend him."

"Not we," said the attorney; "that is, unless we speak Welsh, for 
he understands not a word of any other language."

Then sitting down at the further table he said to his client in 
Welsh:  "Now, Mr So-and-so, have you learnt anything more about 
that first keeper?"

The client bent down, and placing both his hands upon the table 
began to whisper in Welsh to his professional adviser.  Not wishing 
to hear any of their conversation I finished my breakfast as soon 
as possible and left the room.  Going into the inn-yard I had a 
great deal of learned discourse with an old ostler about the 
glanders in horses.  From the inn-yard I went to my own private 
room and made some dottings in my note-book, and then went down 
again to the parlour, which I found unoccupied.  After sitting some 
time before the fire I got up, and strolling out, presently came to 
a kind of marketplace, in the middle of which stood an old-
fashioned-looking edifice supported on pillars.  Seeing a crowd 
standing round it I asked what was the matter, and was told that 
the magistrates were sitting in the town-hall above, and that a 
grand poaching case was about to be tried.  "I may as well go and 
hear it," said I.

Ascending a flight of steps I found myself in the hall of justice, 
in the presence of the magistrates and amidst a great many people, 
amongst whom I observed my friend the attorney and his client.  The 
magistrates, upon the whole, were rather a fine body of men.  Lord 
V- was in the chair, a highly intelligent-looking person, with 
fresh complexion, hooked nose, and dark hair.  A policeman very 
civilly procured me a commodious seat.  I had scarcely taken 
possession of it when the poaching case was brought forward.  The 
first witness against the accused was a fellow dressed in a dirty 
snuff-coloured suit, with a debauched look, and having much the 
appearance of a town shack.  He deposed that he was a hired keeper, 
and went with another to watch the river at about four o'clock in 
the morning; that they placed themselves behind a bush, and that a 
little before day-light they saw the farmer drive some cattle 
across the river.  He was attended by a dog.  Suddenly they saw him 
put a spear upon a stick which he had in his hand, run back to the 
river, and plunging the spear in, after a struggle, pull out a 
salmon; that they then ran forward, and he himself asked the farmer 
what he was doing, whereupon the farmer flung the salmon and spear 
into the river and said that if he did not take himself off he 
would fling him in too.  The attorney then got up and began to 
cross-question him.  "How long have you been a keeper?"

"About a fortnight."

"What do you get a week?"

"Ten shillings."

"Have you not lately been in London?"

"I have."

"What induced you to go to London?"

"The hope of bettering my condition."

"Were you not driven out of Machynlleth?"

"I was not."

"Why did you leave London?"

"Because I could get no work, and my wife did not like the place."

"Did you obtain possession of the salmon and the spear?"

"I did not."

"Why didn't you?"

"The pool was deep where the salmon was struck, and I was not going 
to lose my life by going into it."

"How deep was it?"

"Over the tops of the houses," said the fellow, lifting up his 

The other keeper then came forward; he was brother to the former, 
but had much more the appearance of a keeper, being rather a fine 
fellow, and dressed in a wholesome, well-worn suit of velveteen.  
He had no English, and what he said was translated by a sworn 
interpreter.  He gave the same evidence as his brother about 
watching behind the bush, and seeing the farmer strike a salmon.  
When cross-questioned, however, he said that no words passed 
between the farmer and his brother, at least, that he heard.  The 
evidence for the prosecution being given, my friend the attorney 
entered upon the defence.  He said that he hoped the court were not 
going to convict his client, one of the most respectable farmers in 
the county, on the evidence of two such fellows as the keepers, one 
of whom was a well-known bad one, who for his evil deeds had been 
driven from Machynlleth to London, and from London back again to 
Machynlleth, and the other, who was his brother, a fellow not much 
better, and who, moreover, could not speak a word of English - the 
honest lawyer forgetting no doubt that his own client had just as 
little English as the keeper.  He repeated that he hoped the court 
would not convict his respectable client on the evidence of these 
fellows, more especially as they flatly contradicted each other in 
one material point, one saying that words had passed between the 
farmer and himself, and the other that no words at all had passed, 
and were unable to corroborate their testimony by anything visible 
or tangible.  If his client speared the salmon and then flung the 
salmon with the spear sticking in its body into the pool, why 
didn't they go into the pool and recover the spear and salmon?  
They might have done so with perfect safety, there being an old 
proverb - he need not repeat it - which would have secured them 
from drowning had the pool been not merely over the tops of the 
houses but over the tops of the steeples.  But he would waive all 
the advantage which his client derived from the evil character of 
the witnesses, the discrepancy of their evidence, and their not 
producing the spear and salmon in court.  He would rest the issue 
of the affair with confidence, on one argument, on one question; it 
was this.  Would any man in his senses - and it was well known that 
his client was a very sensible man - spear a salmon not his own 
when he saw two keepers close at hand watching him - staring at 
him?  Here the chairman observed that there was no proof that he 
saw them - that they were behind a bush.  But my friend the 
attorney very properly, having the interest of his client and his 
own character for consistency in view, stuck to what he had said, 
and insisted that the farmer must have seen them, and he went on 
reiterating that he must have seen them, notwithstanding that 
several magistrates shook their heads.

Just as he was about to sit down I moved up behind him and 
whispered:  "Why don't you mention the dog?  Wouldn't the dog have 
been likely to have scented the fellows out even if they had been 
behind the bush?"

He looked at me for a moment and then said with a kind of sigh:  
"No, no! twenty dogs would be of no use here.  It's no go - I shall 
leave the case as it is."

The court was cleared for a time, and when the audience were again 
admitted Lord V- said that the Bench found the prisoner guilty; 
that they had taken into consideration what his counsel had said in 
his defence, but that they could come to no other conclusion, more 
especially as the accused was known to have been frequently guilty 
of similar offences.  They fined him four pounds, including costs.

As the people were going out I said to the farmer in Welsh:  "A bad 
affair this."

"Drwg iawn" - very bad indeed, he replied.

"Did these fellows speak truth?" said I.

"Nage - Dim ond celwydd" - not they! nothing but lies.

"Dear me!" said I to myself, "what an ill-treated individual!"


Machynlleth - Remarkable Events - Ode to Glendower - Dafydd Gam - 
Lawdden's Hatchet.

MACHYNLLETH, pronounced Machuncleth, is one of the principal towns 
of the district which the English call Montgomeryshire, and the 
Welsh Shire Trefaldwyn or the Shire of Baldwin's town, Trefaldwyn 
or the town of Baldwin being the Welsh name for the town which is 
generally termed Montgomery.  It is situated in nearly the centre 
of the valley of the Dyfi, amidst pleasant green meadows, having to 
the north the river, from which, however, it is separated by a 
gentle hill.  It possesses a stately church, parts of which are of 
considerable antiquity, and one or two good streets.  It is a 
thoroughly Welsh town, and the inhabitants, who amount in number to 
about four thousand, speak the ancient British language with 
considerable purity.

Machynlleth has been the scene of remarkable events, and is 
connected with remarkable names, some of which have rung through 
the world.  At Machynlleth, in 1402, Owen Glendower, after several 
brilliant victories over the English, held a parliament in a house 
which is yet to be seen in the Eastern Street, and was formally 
crowned King of Wales; in his retinue was the venerable bard Iolo 
Goch, who, imagining that he now saw the old prophecy fulfilled, 
namely, that a prince of the race of Cadwaladr should rule the 
Britons, after emancipating them from the Saxon yoke, greeted the 
chieftain with an ode, to the following effect:-

"Here's the life I've sigh'd for long:
Abash'd is now the Saxon throng,
And Britons have a British lord
Whose emblem is the conquering sword;
There's none I trow but knows him well,
The hero of the watery dell,
Owain of bloody spear in field,
Owain his country's strongest shield;
A sovereign bright in grandeur drest,
Whose frown affrights the bravest breast.
Let from the world upsoar on high
A voice of splendid prophecy!
All praise to him who forth doth stand
To 'venge his injured native land!
Of him - of him a lay I'll frame
Shall bear through countless years his name,
In him are blended portents three,
Their glories blended sung shall be:
There's Oswain, meteor of the glen,
The head of princely generous men;
Owain the lord of trenchant steel,
Who makes the hostile squadrons reel;
Owain, besides, of warlike look,
A conqueror who no stay will brook;
Hail to the lion leader gay!
Marshaller of Griffith's war array;
The scourger of the flattering race,
For them a dagger has his face;
Each traitor false he loves to smite,
A lion is he for deeds of might;
Soon may he tear, like lion grim,
All the Lloegrians limb from limb!
May God and Rome's blest father high
Deck him in surest panoply!
Hail to the valiant carnager,
Worthy three diadems to bear!
Hail to the valley's belted king!
Hail to the widely conquering,
The liberal, hospitable, kind,
Trusty and keen as steel refined!
Vigorous of form he nations bows,
Whilst from his breast-plate bounty flows.
Of Horsa's seed on hill and plain
Four hundred thousand he has slain.
The copestone of our nation's he,
In him our weal, our all we see;
Though calm he looks his plans when breeding,
Yet oaks he'd break his clans when leading.
Hail to this partisan of war,
This bursting meteor flaming far!
Where'er he wends, Saint Peter guard him,
And may the Lord five lives award him!"

To Machynlleth on the occasion of the parliament came Dafydd Gam, 
so celebrated in after time; not, however, with the view of 
entering into the councils of Glendower, or of doing him homage, 
but of assassinating him.  This man, whose surname Gam signifies 
crooked, was a petty chieftain of Breconshire.  He was small of 
stature and deformed in person, though possessed of great strength.  
He was very sensitive of injury, though quite as alive to kindness; 
a thorough-going enemy and a thorough-going friend.  In the earlier 
part of his life he had been driven from his own country for 
killing a man, called Big Richard of Slwch, in the High Street of 
Aber Honddu or Brecon, and had found refuge in England and kind 
treatment in the house of John of Gaunt, for whose son Henry, 
generally called Bolingbroke, he formed one of his violent 
friendships.  Bolingbroke, on becoming King Henry the Fourth, not 
only restored the crooked little Welshman to his possessions, but 
gave him employments of great trust and profit in Herefordshire.  
The insurrection of Glendower against Henry was quite sufficient to 
kindle against him the deadly hatred of Dafydd, who swore "by the 
nails of God" that he would stab his countryman for daring to rebel 
against his friend King Henry, the son of the man who had received 
him in his house and comforted him when his own countrymen were 
threatening his destruction.  He therefore went to Machynlleth with 
the full intention of stabbing Glendower, perfectly indifferent as 
to what might subsequently be his own fate.  Glendower, however, 
who had heard of his threat, caused him to be seized and conducted 
in chains to a prison which he had in the mountains of Sycharth.  
Shortly afterwards, passing through Breconshire with his host, he 
burnt Dafydd's house - a fair edifice called the Cyrnigwen, 
situated on a hillock near the river Honddu - to the ground, and 
seeing one of Gam's dependents gazing mournfully on the smouldering 
ruins he uttered the following taunting englyn:-

"Shouldst thou a little red man descry
Asking about his dwelling fair,
Tell him it under the bank doth lie,
And its brow the mark of the coal doth bear."

Dafydd remained confined till the fall of Glendower, shortly after 
which event he followed Henry the Fifth to France, where he 
achieved that glory which will for ever bloom, dying, covered with 
wounds, on the field of Agincourt after saving the life of the 
king, to whom in the dreadest and most critical moment of the fight 
he stuck closer than a brother, not from any abstract feeling of 
loyalty, but from the consideration that King Henry the Fifth was 
the son of King Henry the Fourth, who was the son of the man who 
received and comforted him in his house, after his own countrymen 
had hunted him from house and land.

Connected with Machynlleth is a name not so widely celebrated as 
those of Glendower and Dafydd Gam, but well known to and cherished 
by the lovers of Welsh song.  It is that of Lawdden, a Welsh bard 
in holy orders, who officiated as priest at Machynlleth from 1440 
to 1460.  But though Machynlleth was his place of residence for 
many years, it was not the place of his birth, Lychwr in 
Carmarthenshire being the spot where he first saw the light.  He 
was an excellent poet, and displayed in his compositions such 
elegance of language, and such a knowledge of prosody, that it was 
customary, long after his death, when any masterpiece of vocal song 
or eloquence was produced, to say that it bore the traces of 
Lawdden's hatchet.  At the request of Griffith ap Nicholas, a 
powerful chieftain of South Wales, and a great patron of the Muse, 
he drew up a statute relating to poets and poetry, and at the great 
Eisteddfodd, or poetical congress, held at Carmarthen in the year 
1450, under the auspices of Griffith, which was attended by the 
most celebrated bards of the north and south, he officiated as 
judge, in conjunction with the chieftain, upon the compositions of 
the bards who competed for the prize - a little silver chair.  Not 
without reason, therefore, do the inhabitants of Machynlleth 
consider the residence of such a man within their walls, though at 
a far by-gone period, as conferring a lustre on their town, and 
Lewis Meredith has probability on his side when, in his pretty poem 
on Glen Dyfi, he says:-

"Whilst fair Machynlleth decks thy quiet plain,
Conjoined with it shall Lawdden's name remain."


The Old Ostler - Directions - Church of England Man - The Deep 
Dingle - The Two Women - The Cutty Pipe - Waen y Bwlch  - The Deaf 
and Dumb - The Glazed Hat.

I ROSE on the morning of the 2nd of November intending to proceed 
to the Devil's Bridge, where I proposed halting a day or two, in 
order that I might have an opportunity of surveying the far-famed 
scenery of that locality.  After paying my bill I went into the 
yard to my friend the old ostler, to make inquiries with respect to 
the road.

"What kind of road," said I, "is it to the Devil's Bridge?"

"There are two roads, sir, to the Pont y Gwr Drwg; which do you 
mean to take?"

"Why do you call the Devil's Bridge the Pont y Gwr Drwg, or the 
bridge of the evil man?"

"That we may not bring a certain gentleman upon us, sir, who 
doesn't like to have his name taken in vain."

"Is their much difference between the roads?"

"A great deal, sir; one is over the hills, and the other round by 
the valleys."

"Which is the shortest?"

"Oh, that over the hills, sir; it is about twenty miles from here 
to the Pont y Gwr Drwg over the hills, but more than twice that by 
the valleys."

"Well, I suppose you would advise me to go by the hills?"

"Certainly, sir - that is, if you wish to break your neck, or to 
sink in a bog, or to lose your way, or perhaps, if night comes on, 
to meet the Gwr Drwg himself taking a stroll.  But to talk soberly.  
The way over the hills is an awful road, and, indeed, for the 
greater part is no road at all."

"Well, I shall go by it.  Can't you give me some directions?"

"I'll do my best, sir, but I tell you again that the road is a 
horrible one, and very hard to find."

He then went with me to the gate of the inn, where he began to give 
me directions, pointing to the south, and mentioning some names of 
places through which I must pass, amongst which were Waen y Bwlch 
and Long Bones.  At length he mentioned Pont Erwyd, and said:  "If 
you can but get there, you are all right, for from thence there is 
a very fair road to the bridge of the evil man; though I dare say 
if you get to Pont Erwyd - and I wish you may get there - you will 
have had enough of it and will stay there for the night, more 
especially as there is a good inn."

Leaving Machynlleth, I ascended a steep hill which rises to the 
south of it.  From the top of this hill there is a fine view of the 
town, the river, and the whole valley of the Dyfi.  After stopping 
for a few minutes to enjoy the prospect I went on.  The road at 
first was exceedingly good, though up and down, and making frequent 
turnings.  The scenery was beautiful to a degree:  lofty hills were 
on either side, clothed most luxuriantly with trees of various 
kinds, but principally oaks.  "This is really very pleasant," said 
I, "but I suppose it is too good to last long."  However, I went on 
for a considerable way, the road neither deteriorating nor the 
scenery decreasing in beauty.  "Surely I can't be in the right 
road," said I; "I wish I had an opportunity of asking."  Presently 
seeing an old man working with a spade in a field near a gate, I 
stopped and said in Welsh:  "Am I in the road to the Pont y Gwr 
Drwg?"  The old man looked at me for a moment, then shouldering his 
spade he came up to the gate, and said in English:  "In truth, sir, 
you are."

"I was told that the road thither was a very bad one," said I, "but 
this is quite the contrary."

"This road does not go much farther, sir," said he; "it was made to 
accommodate grand folks who live about here."

"You speak very good English," said I; "where did you get it?"

He looked pleased, and said that in his youth he had lived some 
years in England.

"Can you read?" said I.

"Oh yes," said he, "both Welsh and English."

"What have you read in Welsh?" said I.

"The Bible and Twm O'r Nant."

"What pieces of Twm O'r Nant have you read?"

"I have read two of his interludes and his life."

"And which do you like best - his life or his interludes?"

"Oh, I like his life best."

"And what part of his life do you like best?"

"Oh, I like that part best where he gets the ship into the water at 

"You have a good judgment," said I; "his life is better than his 
interludes, and the best part of his life is where he describes his 
getting the ship into the water.  But do the Methodists about here 
in general read Twm O'r Nant?"

"I don't know," said be; "I am no Methodist."

"Do you belong to the Church?"

"I do."

"And why do you belong to the Church?"

"Because I believe it is the best religion to get to heaven by."

"I am much of your opinion," said I.  "Are there many Church people 
about here?"

"Not many," said he, "but more than when I was young."

"How old are you?"


"You are not very old," said I.

"An't I?  I only want one year of fulfilling my proper time on 

"You take things very easily," said I.

"Not so very easily, sir; I have often my quakings and fears, but 
then I read my Bible, say my prayers, and find hope and comfort."

"I really am very glad to have seen you," said I; "and now can you 
tell me the way to the bridge?"

"Not exactly, sir, for I have never been there; but you must follow 
this road some way farther, and then bear away to the right along 
yon hill" - and he pointed to a distant mountain.

I thanked him, and proceeded on my way.  I passed through a deep 
dingle, and shortly afterwards came to the termination of the road; 
remembering, however, the directions of the old man,, I bore away 
to the right, making for the distant mountain.  My course lay now 
over very broken ground where there was no path, at least that I 
could perceive.  I wandered on for some time; at length on turning 
round a bluff I saw a lad tending a small herd of bullocks.  "Am I 
in the road," said I, "to the Pont y Gwr Drwg?"

"Nis gwn!  I don't know," said he sullenly.  "I am a hired servant, 
and have only been here a little time."

"Where's the house," said I, "where you serve?"

But as he made no answer I left him.  Some way farther on I saw a 
house on my left, a little way down the side of a deep dingle which 
was partly overhung with trees, and at the bottom of which a brook 
murmured.  Descending a steep path, I knocked at the door.  After a 
little time it was opened, and two women appeared, one behind the 
other.  The first was about sixty; she was very powerfully made, 
had stern grey eyes and harsh features, and was dressed in the 
ancient Welsh female fashion, having a kind of riding-habit of blue 
and a high conical hat like that of the Tyrol.  The other seemed 
about twenty years younger; she had dark features, was dressed like 
the other, but had no hat.  I saluted the first in English, and 
asked her the way to the Bridge, whereupon she uttered a deep 
guttural "augh" and turned away her head, seemingly in abhorrence.  
I then spoke to her in Welsh, saying I was a foreign man - I did 
not say a Saxon - was bound to the Devil's Bridge, and wanted to 
know the way.  The old woman surveyed me sternly for some time, 
then turned to the other and said something, and the two began to 
talk to each other, but in a low, buzzing tone, so that I could not 
distinguish a word.  In about half a minute the eldest turned to 
me, and extending her arm and spreading out her five fingers wide, 
motioned to the side of the hill in the direction which I had been 

"If I go that way shall I get to the bridge of the evil man?" said 
I, but got no other answer than a furious grimace and violent 
agitations of the arm and fingers in the same direction.  I turned 
away, and scarcely had I done so when the door was slammed to 
behind me with great force, and I heard two "aughs," one not quite 
so deep and abhorrent as the other, probably proceeding from the 
throat of the younger female.

"Two regular Saxon-hating Welsh women," said I, philosophically; 
"just of the same sort no doubt as those who played such pranks on 
the slain bodies of the English soldiers, after the victory 
achieved by Glendower over Mortimer on the Severn's side."

I proceeded in the direction indicated, winding round the side of 
the hill, the same mountain which the old man had pointed out to me 
some time before.  At length, on making a turn I saw a very lofty 
mountain in the far distance to the south-west, a hill right before 
me to the south, and, on my left, a meadow overhung by the southern 
hill, in the middle of which stood a house from which proceeded a 
violent barking of dogs.  I would fain have made immediately up to 
it for the purpose of inquiring my way, but saw no means of doing 
so, a high precipitous bank lying between it and me.  I went 
forward and ascended the side of the hill before me, and presently 
came to a path running east and west.  I followed it a little way 
towards the east.  I was now just above the house, and saw some 
children and some dogs standing beside it.  Suddenly I found myself 
close to a man who stood in a hollow part of the road, from which a 
narrow path led down to the house; a donkey with panniers stood 
beside him.  He was about fifty years of age, with a carbuncled 
countenance, high but narrow forehead, grey eyebrows, and small, 
malignant grey eyes.  He had a white hat, with narrow eaves and the 
crown partly knocked out, a torn blue coat, corduroy breeches, long 
stockings and highlows.  He was sucking a cutty pipe, but seemed 
unable to extract any smoke from it.  He had all the appearance of 
a vagabond, and of a rather dangerous vagabond.  I nodded to him, 
and asked him in Welsh the name of the place.  He glared at me 
malignantly, then, taking the pipe out of his mouth, said that he 
did not know, that he had been down below to inquire and light his 
pipe, but could get neither light nor answer from the children.  I 
asked him where he came from, but he evaded the question by asking 
where I was going to.

"To the Pont y Gwr Drwg," said I.

He then asked me if I was an Englishman.

"Oh yes," said I, "I am Carn Sais;" whereupon, with a strange 
mixture in his face of malignity and contempt, he answered in 
English that he didn't understand me.

"You understood me very well," said I, without changing my 
language, "till I told you I was an Englishman.  Harkee, man with 
the broken hat, you are one of the bad Welsh who don't like the 
English to know the language, lest they should discover your lies 
and rogueries."  He evidently understood what I said, for he 
gnashed his teeth, though he said nothing.  "Well," said I, "I 
shall go down to those children and inquire the name of the house;" 
and I forthwith began to descend the path, the fellow uttering a 
contemptuous "humph" behind me, as much as to say, "Much you'll 
make out down there."  I soon reached the bottom and advanced 
towards the house.  The dogs had all along been barking violently; 
as I drew near to them, however, they ceased, and two of the 
largest came forward wagging their tails.  "The dogs were not 
barking at me," said I, "but at that vagabond above."  I went up to 
the children; they were four in number, two boys and two girls, all 
red-haired, but tolerably good-looking.  They had neither shoes nor 
stockings.  "What is the name of this house?" said I to the eldest, 
a boy about seven years old.  He looked at me, but made no answer.  
I repeated my question; still there was no answer, but methought I 
heard a humph of triumph from the hill.  "Don't crow quite yet, old 
chap," thought I to myself, and putting my hand into my pocket, I 
took out a penny, and offering it to the child said:  "Now, small 
man, Peth yw y enw y lle hwn?"  Instantly the boy's face became 
intelligent, and putting out a fat little hand, he took the ceiniog 
and said in an audible whisper, "Waen y Bwlch."  "I am all right," 
said I to myself; "that is one of the names of the places which the 
old ostler said I must go through."  Then addressing myself to the 
child I said:  "Where's your father and mother?"

"Out on the hill," whispered the child.

"What's your father?"

"A shepherd."

"Good," said I.  "Now can you tell me the way to the bridge of the 
evil man?"  But the features became blank, the finger was put to 
the mouth, and the head was hung down.  That question was evidently 
beyond the child's capacity.  "Thank you!" said I, and turning 
round I regained the path on the top of the bank.  The fellow and 
his donkey were still there.  "I had no difficulty," said I, "in 
obtaining information; the place's name is Waen y Bwlch.  But oes 
genoch dim Cumraeg - you have no Welsh."  Thereupon I proceeded 
along the path in the direction of the east.  Forthwith the fellow 
said something to his animal, and both came following fast behind.  
I quickened my pace, but the fellow and his beast were close in my 
rear.  Presently I came to a place where another path branched off 
to the south.  I stopped, looked at it, and then went on, but 
scarcely had done so when I heard another exulting "humph" behind.  
"I am going wrong," said I to myself; "that other path is the way 
to the Devil's Bridge, and the scamp knows it or he would not have 
grunted."  Forthwith I faced round, and brushing past the fellow 
without a word turned into the other path and hurried along it.  By 
a side glance which I cast I could see him staring after me; 
presently, however, he uttered a sound very much like a Welsh 
curse, and, kicking his beast, proceeded on his way, and I saw no 
more of him.  In a little time I came to a slough which crossed the 
path.  I did not like the look of it at all, and to avoid it 
ventured upon some green mossy-looking ground to the left, and had 
scarcely done so when I found myself immersed to the knees in a 
bog.  I, however, pushed forward, and with some difficulty got to 
the path on the other side of the slough.  I followed the path, and 
in about half-an-hour saw what appeared to be houses at a distance.  
"God grant that I maybe drawing near some inhabited place!" said I.  
The path now grew very miry, and there were pools of water on 
either side.  I moved along slowly.  At length I came to a place 
where some men were busy in erecting a kind of building.  I went up 
to the nearest and asked him the name of the place.  He had a 
crowbar in his hand, was half naked, had a wry mouth and only one 
eye.  He made me no answer, but mowed and gibbered at me.

"For God's sake," said I, "don't do so, but tell me where I am!"  
He still uttered no word, but mowed and gibbered yet more 
frightfully than before.  As I stood staring at him another man 
came to me and said in broken English:  "It is of no use speaking 
to him, sir, he is deaf and dumb."

"I am glad he is no worse," said I, "for I really thought he was 
possessed with the evil one.  My good person, can you tell me the 
name of this place?"

"Esgyrn Hirion, sir," said he.

"Esgyrn Hirion," said I to myself; "Esgyrn means 'bones,' and 
Hirion means 'long.'  I am doubtless at the place which the old 
ostler called Long Bones.  I shouldn't wonder if I get to the 
Devil's Bridge to-night after all."  I then asked the man if he 
could tell me the way to the bridge of the evil man, but he shook 
his head and said that he had never heard of such a place, adding, 
however, that he would go with me to one of the overseers, who 
could perhaps direct me.  He then proceeded towards a row of 
buildings, which were, in fact, those objects which I had guessed 
to be houses in the distance.  He led me to a corner house, at the 
door of which stood a middle-aged man, dressed in a grey coat, and 
saying to me, "This person is an overseer," returned to his labour.  
I went up to the man, and, saluting him in English, asked whether 
he could direct me to the Devil's Bridge, or rather to Pont Erwyd.

"It would be of no use directing you, sir," said he, "for with all 
the directions in the world it would be impossible for you to find 
the way.  You would not have left these premises five minutes 
before you would be in a maze without knowing which way to turn.  
Where do you come from?"

"From Machynlleth," I replied.

"From Machynlleth!" said he.  "Well, I only wonder you ever got 
here, but it would be madness to go farther alone."

"Well," said I, "can I obtain a guide?"

"I really don't know," said he; "I am afraid all the men are 

As we were speaking a young man made his appearance at the door 
from the interior of the house.  He was dressed in a brown short 
coat, had a glazed hat on his head, and had a pale but very 
intelligent countenance.

"What is the matter?" said he to the other man.

"This gentleman," replied the latter, "is going to Pont Erwyd, and 
wants a guide."

"Well," said the young man, "we must find him one.  It will never 
do to let him go by himself."

"If you can find me a guide," said I, "I shall be happy to pay him 
for his trouble."

"Oh, you can do as you please about that," said the young man; 
"but, pay or not, we would never suffer you to leave this place 
without a guide, and as much for our own sake as yours; for the 
directors of the Company would never forgive us if they heard we 
had suffered a gentleman to leave these premises without a guide, 
more especially if he were lost, as it is a hundred to one you 
would be if you went by yourself."

"Pray," said I, "what Company is this, the directors of which are 
so solicitous about the safety of strangers?"

"The Potosi Mining Company," said he, "the richest in all Wales.  
But pray walk in and sit down, for you must be tired."


The Mining Compting Room - Native of Aberystwyth - Story of a 
Bloodhound - The Young Girls - The Miner's Tale - Gwen Frwd - The 

I FOLLOWED the young man with the glazed hat into a room, the other 
man following behind me.  He of the glazed hat made me sit down 
before a turf fire, apologising for its smoking very much.  The 
room seemed half compting-room, half apartment.  There was a wooden 
desk with a ledger upon it by the window, which looked to the west, 
and a camp bedstead extended from the southern wall nearly up to 
the desk.  After I had sat for about a minute, the young man asked 
me if I would take any refreshment.  I thanked him for his kind 
offer, which I declined, saying, however, that if he would obtain 
me a guide I should feel much obliged.  He turned to the other man 
and told him to go and inquire whether there was any one who would 
be willing to go.  The other nodded, and forthwith went out.

"You think, then," said I, "that I could not find the way by 

"I am sure of it," said he, "for even the people best acquainted 
with the country frequently lose their way.  But I must tell you, 
that if we do find you a guide, it will probably be one who has no 

"Never mind," said I, "I have enough Welsh to hold a common 

A fine girl about fourteen now came in, and began bustling about.

"Who is this young lady?" said I.

"The daughter of a captain of a neighbouring mine," said he; "she 
frequently comes here with messages, and is always ready to do a 
turn about the house, for she is very handy."

"Has she any English?" said I.

"Not a word," he replied.  "The young people of these hills have no 
English, except they go abroad to learn it."

"What hills are these?" said I.

"Part of the Plynlimmon range," said he.

"Dear me," said I, "am I near Plynlimmon?"

"Not very far from it," said the young man, "and you will be nearer 
when you reach Pont Erwyd."

"Are you a native of these parts?" said I.

"I am not," he replied; "I am a native of Aberystwyth, a place on 
the sea-coast about a dozen miles from here."

"This seems to be a cold, bleak spot," said I; "is it healthy?"

"I have reason to say so," said he; "for I came here from 
Aberystwyth about four months ago very unwell, and am now perfectly 
recovered.  I do not believe there is a healthier spot in all 

We had some further discourse.  I mentioned to him the adventure 
which I had on the hill with the fellow with the donkey.  The young 
man said that he had no doubt that he was some prowling thief.

"The dogs of the shepherd's house," said I, "didn't seem to like 
him, and dogs generally know an evil customer.  A long time ago I 
chanced to be in a posada, or inn, at Valladolid in Spain.  One hot 
summer's afternoon I was seated in a corridor which ran round a 
large open court in the middle of the inn; a fine yellow, three-
parts-grown bloodhound was lying on the ground beside me with whom 
I had been playing, a little time before.  I was just about to fall 
asleep, when I heard a 'hem' at the outward door of the posada, 
which was a long way below at the end of a passage which 
communicated with the court.  Instantly the hound started upon his 
legs, and with a loud yell, and with eyes flashing fire, ran nearly 
round the corridor, down a flight of steps, and through the passage 
to the gate.  There was then a dreadful noise, in which the cries 
of a human being and the yells of the hound were blended.  I 
forthwith started up and ran down, followed by several other 
guests, who came rushing out of their chambers round the corridor.  
At the gate we saw a man on the ground and the hound trying to 
strangle him.  It was with the greatest difficulty, and chiefly 
through the intervention of the master of the dog, who happened to 
be present, that the animal could be made to quit his hold.  The 
assailed person was a very powerful man, but had an evil 
countenance, was badly dressed, and had neither hat, shoes nor 
stockings.  We raised him up and gave him wine, which he drank 
greedily, and presently, without saying a word, disappeared.  The 
guests said they had no doubt that he was a murderer flying from 
justice, and that the dog by his instinct, even at a distance, knew 
him to be such.  The master said that it was the first time that 
the dog had ever attacked any one or shown the slightest symptom of 
ferocity.  Not the least singular part of the matter was, that the 
dog did not belong to the house, but to one of the guests from a 
distant village; the creature therefore could not consider itself 
the house's guardian."

I had scarcely finished my tale when the other man came in and said 
that he had found a guide, a young man from Pont Erwyd, who would 
be glad of such an opportunity to go and see his parents, that he 
was then dressing himself, and would shortly make his appearance.  
In about twenty minutes he did so.  He was a stout young fellow 
with a coarse blue coat, and coarse white felt hat; he held a stick 
in his hand.  The kind young book-keeper now advised us to set out 
without delay, as the day was drawing to a close and the way was 
long.  I shook him by the hand, told him that I should never forget 
his civility, and departed with the guide.

The fine young girl, whom I have already mentioned, and another 
about two years younger, departed with us.  They were dressed in 
the graceful female attire of old Wales.

We bore to the south down a descent, and came to some moory, quaggy 
ground intersected with water-courses.  The agility of the young 
girls surprised me; they sprang over the water-courses, some of 
which were at least four feet wide, with the ease and alacrity of 
lawns.  After a short time we came to a road, which, however, we 
did not long reap the benefit of, as it only led to a mine.  Seeing 
a house on the top of a hill, I asked my guide whose it was.

"Ty powdr," said he, "a powder house," by which I supposed he meant 
a magazine of powder used for blasting in the mines.  He had not a 
word of English. . If the young girls were nimble with their feet, 
they were not less so with their tongues, as they kept up an 
incessant gabble with each other and with the guide.  I understood 
little of what they said, their volubility preventing me from 
catching more than a few words.  After we had gone about two miles 
and a half, they darted away with surprising swiftness down a hill 
towards a distant house, where, as I learned from my guide, the 
father of the eldest lived.  We ascended a hill, passed between two 
craggy elevations, and then wended to the south-east over a 
strange, miry place, in which I thought any one at night not 
acquainted with every inch of the way would run imminent risk of 
perishing.  I entered into conversation with my guide.  After a 
little time he asked me if I was a Welshman.  I told him no.

"You could teach many a Welshman," said he.

"Why do you think so?" said I.

"Because many of your words are quite above my comprehension," said 

"No great compliment," thought I to myself; but putting a good face 
upon the matter I told him that I knew a great many old Welsh 

"Is Potosi an old Welsh word?" said he.

"No," said I; "it is the name of a mine in the Deheubarth of 

"Is it a lead mine?"

"No!" said I, "it is a silver mine."

"Then why do they call our mine, which is a lead mine, by the name 
of a silver mine?"

"Because they wish to give people to understand," said I, "that it 
is very rich - as rich in lead as Potosi in silver.  Potosi is, or 
was, the richest silver mine in the world, and from it has come at 
least one half of the silver which we use in the shape of money and 
other things."

"Well," said he, "I have frequently asked, but could never learn 
before why our mine was called Potosi."

"You did not ask at the right quarter," said I; "the young man with 
the glazed hat could have told you as well as I."  I inquired why 
the place where the mine was bore the name of Esgyrn Hirion or Long 
Bones.  He told me that he did not know, but believed that the 
bones of a cawr or giant had been found there in ancient times.  I 
asked him if the mine was deep.

"Very deep," he replied.

"Do you like the life of a miner?" said I.

"Very much," said he, "and should like it more, but for the noises 
of the hill."

"Do you mean the powder blasts?" said I.

"Oh no!" said he, "I care nothing for them; I mean the noises made 
by the spirits of the hill in the mine.  Sometimes they make such 
noises as frighten the poor fellow who works underground out of his 
senses.  Once on a time I was working by myself very deep 
underground, in a little chamber to which a very deep shaft led.  I 
had just taken up my light to survey my work, when all of a sudden 
I heard a dreadful rushing noise, as if an immense quantity of 
earth had come tumbling down.  'Oh God!' said I, and fell 
backwards, letting the light fall, which instantly went out.  I 
thought the whole shaft had given way, and that I was buried alive.  
I lay for several hours half stupefied, thinking now and then what 
a dreadful thing it was to be buried alive.  At length I thought I 
would get up, go to the mouth of the shaft, feel the mould, with 
which it was choked up, and then come back, lie down, and die.  So 
I got up and tottered to the mouth of the shaft, put out my hand 
and felt - nothing; all was clear.  I went forward, and presently 
felt the ladder.  Nothing had fallen; all was just the same as when 
I came down.  I was dreadfully afraid that I should never be able 
to get up in the dark without breaking my neck; however, I tried, 
and at last, with a great deal of toil and danger, got to a place 
where other men were working.  The noise was caused by the spirits 
of the hill in the hope of driving the miner out of his senses.  
They very nearly succeeded.  I shall never forget how I felt when I 
thought I was buried alive.  If it were not for those noises in the 
hill, the life of a miner would be quite heaven below."

We came to a cottage standing under a hillock, down the side of 
which tumbled a streamlet close by the northern side of the 
building.  The door was open, and inside were two or three females 
and some children.  "Have you any enwyn?" said the lad, peeping in.

"Oh yes!" said a voice - "digon! digon!"  Presently a buxom, 
laughing girl brought out two dishes of buttermilk, one of which 
she handed to me and the other to the guide.  I asked her the name 
of the place.

"Gwen Frwd - the 'Fair Rivulet,'" said she.

"Who lives here?"

"A shepherd."

"Have you any English?"

"Nagos!" said she, bursting into a loud laugh.  "What should we do 
with English here?" After we had drunk the buttermilk I offered the 
girl some money, but she drew back her hand angrily, and said:  "We 
don't take money from tired strangers for two drops of buttermilk; 
there's plenty within, and there are a thousand ewes on the hill.  

"Dear me!" thought I to myself as I walked away; "that I should 
once in my days have found shepherd life something as poets have 
represented it!"

I saw a mighty mountain at a considerable distance on the right, 
the same I believe which I had noted some hours before.  I inquired 
of my guide whether it was Plynlimmon.

"Oh no!" said he, "that is Gaverse; Pumlimmon is to the left."

"Plynlimmon is a famed hill," said I; "I suppose it is very high."

"Yes!" said he, "it is high; but it is not famed because it is 
high, but because the three grand rivers of the world issue from 
its breast, the Hafren, the Rheidol, and the Gwy."

Night was now coming rapidly on, attended with a drizzling rain.  I 
inquired if we were far from Pont Erwyd.  "About a mile," said my 
guide; "we shall soon be there."  We quickened our pace.  After a 
little time he asked me if I was going farther than Pont Erwyd.

"I am bound for the bridge of the evil man," said I; "but I daresay 
I shall stop at Pont Erwyd to-night."

"You will do right," said he; "it is only three miles from Pont 
Erwyd to the bridge of the evil man, but I think we shall have a 
stormy night."

"When I get to Pont Erwyd," said I, "how far shall I be from South 

"From South Wales!" said he; "you are in South Wales now; you 
passed the Terfyn of North Wales a quarter of an hour ago."

The rain now fell fast and there was so thick a mist that I could 
only see a few yards before me.  We descended into a valley, at the 
bottom of which I heard a river roaring.

"That's the Rheidol," said my guide, "coming from Pumlimmon, 
swollen with rain."

Without descending to the river, we turned aside up a hill, and, 
after passing by a few huts, came to a large house, which my guide 
told me was the inn of Pont Erwyd.


Consequential Landlord - Cheek - Darfel Gatherel - Dafydd Nanmor - 
Sheep Farms - Wholesome Advice - The Old Postman - The Plant de Bat 
- The Robber's Cavern.

MY guide went to a side door, and opening it without ceremony went 
in.  I followed and found myself in a spacious and comfortable-
looking kitchen:  a large fire blazed in a huge grate, on one side 
of which was a settle; plenty of culinary utensils, both pewter and 
copper, hung around on the walls, and several goodly rows of hams 
and sides of bacon were suspended from the roof.  There were 
several people present, some on the settle and others on chairs in 
the vicinity of the fire.  As I advanced, a man arose from a chair 
and came towards me.  He was about thirty-five years of age, well 
and strongly made, with a fresh complexion, a hawk nose, and a keen 
grey eye.  He wore top-boots and breeches, a half jockey coat, and 
had a round cap made of the skin of some animal on his head.

 "Servant, sir!" said he in rather a sharp tone, and surveying me 
with something of a supercilious air.

"Your most obedient humble servant!" said I; "I presume you are the 
landlord of this house."

"Landlord!" said he, "landlord!  It is true I receive guests 
sometimes into my house, but I do so solely with the view of 
accommodating them; I do not depend upon innkeeping for a 
livelihood.  I hire the principal part of the land in this 

"If that be the case," said I, "I had better continue my way to the 
Devil's Bridge; I am not at all tired, and I believe it is not very 
far distant."

"Oh, as you are here," said the farmer-landlord, "I hope you will 
stay.  I should be very sorry if any gentleman should leave my 
house at night after coming with an intention of staying, more 
especially in a night like this.  Martha!" said he, turning to a 
female between thirty and forty - who I subsequently learned was 
the mistress - "prepare the parlour instantly for this gentleman, 
and don't fail to make up a good fire."

Martha forthwith hurried away, attended by a much younger female.

"Till your room is prepared, sir," said he, "perhaps you will have 
no objection to sit down before our fire?"

"Not the least," said I; "nothing gives me greater pleasure than to 
sit before a kitchen fire.  First of all, however, I must settle 
with my guide, and likewise see that he has something to eat and 

"Shall I interpret for you?" said the landlord; "the lad has not a 
word of English; I know him well."

"I have not been under his guidance for the last three hours," said 
I, "without knowing that he cannot speak English; but I want no 

"You do not mean to say, sir," said the landlord, with a surprised 
and dissatisfied air, "that you understand Welsh?"

I made no answer, but turning to the guide thanked him for his 
kindness, and giving him some money asked him if it was enough.

"More than enough, sir," said the lad; "I did not expect half as 
much.  Farewell!"

He was then about to depart, but I prevented him saying:

"You must not go till you have eaten and drunk.  What will you 

"Merely a cup of ale, sir," said the lad.

"That won't do," said I; "you shall have bread and cheese and as 
much ale as you can drink.  Pray," said I to the landlord, "let 
this young man have some bread and cheese and a large quart of 

The landlord looked at me for a moment, then turning to the lad he 

"What do you think of that, Shon?  It is some time since you had a 
quart of ale to your own cheek."

"Cheek," said I - "cheek!  Is that a Welsh word?  Surely it is an 
importation from the English, and not a very genteel one."

"Oh come, sir!" said the landlord, "we can dispense with your 
criticisms.  A pretty thing indeed for you, on the strength of 
knowing half-a-dozen words of Welsh, to set up for a Welsh critic 
in the house of a person who knows the ancient British language 

"Dear me!" said I, "how fortunate I am! a person thoroughly versed 
in the ancient British language is what I have long wished to see.  
Pray what is the meaning of Darfel Gatherel?"

"Oh sir!" said the landlord, "you must answer that question 
yourself; I don't pretend to understand gibberish!"

"Darfel Gatherel," said I, "is not gibberish; it was the name of 
the great wooden image at Ty Dewi, or Saint David's, in 
Pembrokeshire, to which thousands of pilgrims in the days of popery 
used to repair for the purpose of adoring it, and which at the time 
of the Reformation was sent up to London as a curiosity, where it 
eventually served as firewood to burn the monk Forrest upon, who 
was sentenced to the stake by Henry the Eighth for denying his 
supremacy.  What I want to know is, the meaning of the name, which 
I could never get explained, but which you who know the ancient 
British language perfectly can doubtless interpret."

"Oh, sir," said the landlord, "when I said I knew the British 
language perfectly, I perhaps went too far there are, of course, 
some obsolete terms in the British tongue, which I don't 
understand.  Dar, Dar - what is it?  Darmod Cotterel amongst the 
rest; but to a general knowledge of the Welsh language I think I 
may lay some pretensions; were I not well acquainted with it, I 
should not have carried off the prize at various eisteddfodau, as I 
have done.  I am a poet, sir - a prydydd."

"It is singular enough," said I, "that the only two Welsh poets I 
have seen have been innkeepers - one is yourself, the other a 
person I met in Anglesey.  I suppose the Muse is fond of cwrw da."

"You would fain be pleasant, sir," said the landlord; "but I beg 
leave to inform you that I am not fond of pleasantries; and now, as 
my wife and the servant are returned, I will have the pleasure of 
conducting you to the parlour."

"Before I go," said I, "I should like to see my guide provided with 
what I ordered."  I stayed till the lad was accommodated with bread 
and cheese and a foaming tankard of ale, and then bidding him 
farewell, I followed the landlord into the parlour, where I found a 
fire kindled, which, however, smoked exceedingly.  I asked my host 
what I could have for supper, and was told that he did not know, 
but that if I would leave the matter to him he would send the best 
he could.  As he was going away, I said:  "So you are a poet?  
Well, I am very glad to hear it, for I have been fond of Welsh 
poetry from my boyhood.  What kind of verse do you employ in 
general?  Did you ever write an awdl in the four-and-twenty 
measures?  What are the themes of your songs?  The deeds of the 
ancient heroes of South Wales, I suppose, and the hospitality of 
the great men of the neighbourhood who receive you as an honoured 
guest at their tables.  I'll bet a guinea that however clever a 
fellow you may be you never sang anything in praise of your 
landlord's housekeeping equal to what Dafydd Nanmor sang in praise 
of that of Ryce of Twyn four hundred years ago:

'For Ryce if hundred thousands plough'd
The lands around his fair abode;
Did vines of thousand vineyards bleed,
Still corn and wine great Ryce would need;
If all the earth had bread's sweet savour,
And water all had cyder's flavour,
Three roaring feasts in Ryce's hall
Would swallow earth and ocean all.'


"Really, sir," said the landlord, "I don't know how to reply to 
you, for the greater part of your discourse is utterly 
unintelligible to me.  Perhaps you are a better Welshman than 
myself; but however that may be, I shall take the liberty of 
retiring in order to give orders about your supper."

In about half-an-hour the supper made its appearance in the shape 
of some bacon and eggs.  On tasting them I found them very good, 
and calling for some ale I made a very tolerable supper.  After the 
things had been removed I drew near to the fire, but as it still 
smoked, I soon betook myself to the kitchen.  My guide had taken 
his departure, but the others whom I had left were still there.  
The landlord was talking in Welsh to a man in a rough great-coat, 
about sheep.  Setting himself down near the fire I called for a 
glass of whiskey and water, and then observing that the landlord 
and his friend had suddenly become silent, I said:  "Pray go on 
with your discourse; don't let me be any hindrance to you."

"Yes, sir!" said the landlord snappishly, "go on with our discourse 
for your edification, I suppose?"

"Well," said I, "suppose it is for my edification; surely you don't 
grudge a stranger a little edification which will cost you 

"I don't know that, sir," said the landlord; "I don't know that.  
Really, sir, the kitchen is not the place for a gentleman."

"Yes, it is," said I, "provided the parlour smokes.  Come, come, I 
am going to have a glass of whiskey and water; perhaps you will 
take one with me."

"Well, sir!" said the landlord, in rather a softened tone, "I have 
no objection to take a glass with you."

Two glasses of whiskey and water were presently brought, and the 
landlord and I drank to each other's health.

"Is this a sheep district?" said I, after a pause of a minute or 

"Yes, sir," said the landlord; "it may to a certain extent be 
called a sheep district."

"I suppose the Southdown and Norfolk breeds would not do for these 
here parts," said I, with a regular Norfolk whine.

"No, sir, I don't think they would exactly," said the landlord, 
staring at me.  "Do you know anything about sheep?"

"Plenty, plenty," said I; "quite as much indeed as about Welsh 
words and poetry."  Then in a yet more whining tone than before, I 
said:  "Do you think that a body with money in his pocket could 
hire a nice comfortable sheep farm hereabouts?"

"Oh, sir!" said the landlord in a furious tone, "you have come to 
look out for a farm, I see, and to outbid us poor Welshmen:  it is 
on that account you have studied Welsh; but, sir, I would have you 
know - "

"Come!" said I, "don't be afraid; I wouldn't have all the farms in 
your country, provided you would tie them in a string and offer 
them to me.  If I talked about a farm, it was because I am in the 
habit of talking about everything, being versed in all matters, do 
you see, or affecting to be so, which comes much to the same thing.  
My real business in this neighbourhood is to see the Devil's Bridge 
and the scenery about it."

"Very good, sir," said the landlord; "I thought so at first.  A 
great many English go to see the Devil's Bridge and the scenery 
near it, though I really don't know why, for there is nothing so 
very particular in either.  We have a bridge here too, quite as 
good as the Devil's Bridge; and as for scenery, I'll back the 
scenery about this house against anything of the kind in the 
neighbourhood of the Devil's Bridge.  Yet everybody goes to the 
Devil's Bridge and nobody comes here!"

"You might easily bring everybody here," said I, "if you would but 
employ your talent.  You should celebrate the wonders of your 
neighbourhood in cowydds, and you would soon have plenty of 
visitors; but you don't want them, you know, and prefer to be 
without them."

The landlord looked at me for a moment, then taking sip of his 
whiskey and water he turned to the man with whom he had previously 
been talking and recommenced the discourse about sheep.  I make no 
doubt, however, that I was a restraint upon them; they frequently 
glanced at me, and soon fell to whispering.  At last both got up 
and left the room, the landlord finishing his glass of whiskey and 
water before he went away.

"So you are going to the Devil's Bridge, sir!" said an elderly man, 
dressed in a grey coat, with a broad-brimmed hat, who sat on the 
settle smoking a pipe in company with another elderly man with a 
leather hat, with whom I had heard him discourse sometimes in 
Welsh, sometimes in English, the Welsh which he spoke being rather 

"Yes," said I, "I am going to have a sight of the bridge and the 
neighbouring scenery."

"Well, sir, I don't think you will be disappointed, for both are 

"Are you a Welshman?" said I.

"No, sir, I am not; I am an Englishman from Durham, which is the 
best county in England."

"So it is," said I - "for some things at any rate.  For example, 
where do you find such beef as in Durham?"

"Ah, where indeed, sir?  I have always said that neither the 
Devonshire nor the Lincolnshire beef is to be named in the same day 
with that of Durham."

"Well," said I, "what business do you follow in these parts?  I 
suppose you farm?"

"No, sir, I do not; I am what they call a mining captain."

"I suppose that gentleman," said I, motioning to the man in the 
leather hat, "is not from Durham?"

"No, sir, he is not; he is from this neighbourhood."

"And does he follow mining?"

"No, sir, he does not; he carries about the letters."

"Is your mine near this place?"

"Not very, sir; it is nearer the Devil's Bridge."

"Why is the bridge called the Devil's Bridge?" said

"Because, sir, 'tis said that the Devil built it in the old time, 
though that I can hardly believe; for the Devil, do ye see, 
delights in nothing but mischief, and it is not likely that such 
being the case he would have built a thing which must have been of 
wonderful service to people by enabling them to pass in safety over 
a dreadful gulf."

"I have heard," said the old postman with the leather hat, "that 
the Devil had no hand in de work at all, but that it was built by a 
Mynach, or monk, on which account de river over which de bridge is 
built is called Afon y Mynach - dat is de Monk's River."

"Did you ever hear," said I, "of three creatures who lived a long 
time ago near the Devil's Bridge, called the Plant de Bat?"

"Ah, master!" said the old postman, "I do see that you have been in 
these parts before; had you not, you would not know of the Plant de 

"No," said I, "I have never been here before; but I heard of them 
when I was a boy, from a Cumro who taught me Welsh, and had lived 
for some time in these parts.  Well, what do they say here about 
the Plant de Bat? for he who mentioned them to me could give me no 
further information about them than that they were horrid creatures 
who lived in a cave near the Devil's Bridge several hundred years 

"Well, master," said the old postman, thrusting his forefinger 
twice or thrice into the bowl of his pipe, "I will tell you what 
they says here about the Plant de Bat.  In de old time - two, three 
hundred year ago - a man lived somewhere about here called Bat or 
Bartholomew; this man had three children, two boys and one girl, 
who, because their father's name was Bat, were generally called 
'Plant de Bat,' or Bat's children.  Very wicked children they were 
from their cradle, giving their father and mother much trouble and 
uneasiness; no good in any one of them, neither in the boys nor the 
girl.  Now the boys, once when they were rambling idly about, 
lighted by chance upon a cave near the Devil's Bridge.  Very 
strange cave it was, with just one little hole at top to go in by; 
so the boys said to one another:  'Nice cave this for thief to live 
in.  Suppose we come here when we are a little more big and turn 
thief ourselves.'  Well, they waited till they were a little more 
big, and then leaving their father's house they came to de cave and 
turned thief, lying snug there all day and going out at night to 
rob upon the roads.  Well, there was soon much talk in the country 
about the robberies which were being committed, and people often 
went out in search of de thieves, but all in vain; and no wonder, 
for they were in a cave very hard to light upon, having, as I said 
before, merely one little hole at top to go in by.  So, Bat's boys 
went on swimmingly for a long time, lying snug in cave by day and 
going out at night to rob, letting no one know where they were but 
their sister, who was as bad as themselves, and used to come to 
them and bring them food and stay with them for weeks, and 
sometimes go out and rob with them.  But as de pitcher which goes 
often to de well comes home broke at last, so it happened with 
Bat's children.  After robbing people upon the roads by night many 
a long year and never being found out, they at last met one great 
gentleman upon the roads by night and not only robbed, but killed 
him, leaving his body all cut and gashed near to Devil's Bridge.  
That job was the ruin of Plant de Bat, for the great gentleman's 
friends gathered together and hunted after his murderers with dogs, 
and at length came to the cave, and going in, found it stocked with 
riches, and the Plant de Bat sitting upon the riches, not only the 
boys but the girl also.  So they took out the riches and the Plant 
de Bat, and the riches they did give to churches and spyttys, and 
the Plant de Bat they did execute, hanging the boys and burning the 
girl.  That, master, is what they says in dese parts about the 
Plant de Bat."

"Thank you!" said I.  "Is the cave yet to be seen?"

"Oh yes! it is yet to be seen, or part of it, for it is not now 
what it was, having been partly flung open to hinder other thieves 
from nestling in it.  It is on the bank of the river Mynach, just 
before it joins the Rheidol.  Many gentlefolk in de summer go to 
see the Plant de Bat's cave."

"Are you sure," said I, "that Plant de Bat means Bat's children?"

"I am not sure, master; I merely says what I have heard other 
people say.  I believe some says that it means 'the wicked 
children,' or 'the Devil's children.'  And now, master, we may as 
well have done with them, for should you question me through the 
whole night, I could tell you nothing more about the Plant de Bat."

After a little further discourse, chiefly about sheep and the 
weather, I retired to the parlour, where the fire was now burning 
brightly; seating myself before it, I remained for a considerable 
time staring at the embers and thinking over the events of the day.  
At length I rang the bell and begged to be shown to my chamber, 
where I soon sank to sleep, lulled by the pattering of rain against 
the window and the sound of a neighbouring cascade.


Wild Scenery - Awful Chasm - John Greaves - Durham County - Queen 
Philippa - The Two Aldens - Welsh Wife - The Noblest Business - The 
Welsh and the Salve - The Lad John.

A RAINY and boisterous night was succeeded by a bright and 
beautiful morning.  I arose and having ordered breakfast went forth 
to see what kind of country I had got into.  I found myself amongst 
wild, strange-looking hills, not, however, of any particular 
height.  The house, which seemed to front the east, stood on the 
side of a hill, on a wide platform abutting on a deep and awful 
chasm, at the bottom of which chafed and foamed the Rheidol.  This 
river enters the valley of Pont Erwyd from the north-west, then 
makes a variety of snake-like turns, and at last bears away to the 
south-east just below the inn.  The banks are sheer walls, from 
sixty to a hundred feet high, and the bed of the river has all the 
appearance of a volcanic rent.  A brook, running from the south 
past the inn, tumbles into the chasm at an angle, and forms the 
cascade whose sound had lulled me to sleep the preceding night.

After breakfasting I paid my bill, and set out for the Devil's 
Bridge without seeing anything more of that remarkable personage in 
whom were united landlord, farmer, poet, and mighty fine gentleman 
- the master of the house.  I soon reached the bottom of the 
valley, where are a few houses and the bridge from which the place 
takes its name, Pont Erwyd signifying the bridge of Erwyd.  As I 
was looking over the bridge, near which are two or three small 
waterfalls, an elderly man in a grey coat, followed by a young lad 
and dog, came down the road which I had myself just descended.

"Good day, sir," said he, stopping, when he came upon the bridge.  
"I suppose you are bound my road?"

"Ah," said I, recognising the old mining captain with whom I had 
talked in the kitchen the night before, "is it you?  I am glad to 
see you.  Yes, I am bound your way, provided you are going to the 
Devil's Bridge."

"Then, sir, we can go together, for I am bound to my mine, which 
lies only a little way t'other side of the Devil's Bridge."

Crossing the bridge of Erwyd, we directed our course to the south-

"What young man is that," said I, "who is following behind us?"

"The young man, sir, is my son John, and the dog with him is his 
dog Joe."

"And what may your name be, if I may take the liberty of asking?"

"Greaves, sir; John Greaves from the county of Durham."

"Ah! a capital county that," said I.

"You like the county, sir?  God bless you!  John!" said he in a 
loud voice, turning to the lad, "why don't you offer to carry the 
gentleman's knapsack?"

"Don't let him trouble himself," said I.  "As I was just now 
saying, a capital county is Durham county."

"You really had better let the boy carry your bag, sir."

"No," said I, "I would rather carry it myself.  I question upon the 
whole whether there is a better county in England."

"Is it long since your honour was in Durham county?"

"A good long time.  A matter of forty years." 

"Forty years! - why that's the life of a man.  That's longer than I 
have been out of the county myself.  I suppose your honour can't 
remember much about the county."

"Oh yes, I can!  I remember a good deal."

"Please, your honour, tell me what you remember about the county.  
It would do me good to hear it."

"Well, I remember it was a very fine county in more respects than 
one.  One part of it was full of big hills and mountains, where 
there were mines of coal and lead, with mighty works with tall 
chimneys spouting out black smoke, and engines roaring, and big 
wheels going round, some turned by steam, and others by what they 
call forces, that is, brooks of water dashing down steep channels.  
Another part was a more level country, with beautiful woods, happy-
looking farm-houses well-filled fields and rich, glorious meadows, 
in which stood stately, with brown sides and short horns, the 
Durham ox."

"Oh dear, oh dear!" said my companion.  "Ah!  I see your honour 
knows everything about Durham county.  Forces? none but one who had 
been in Durham county would have used that word.  I haven't heard 
it for five-and-thirty years.  Forces! there was a force close to 
my village.  I wonder if your honour has ever been in Durham city?"

"Oh yes!  I have been there."

"Does your honour remember anything about Durham city?"

"Oh yes!  I remember a good deal about it."

"Then, your honour, pray tell us what you remember about it - pray 
do I perhaps it will do me good."

"Well then, I remember that it was a fine old city standing on a 
hill with a river running under it, and that it had a fine old 
church, one of the finest in the of Britain; likewise a fine old 
castle; and last, not least, a capital old inn, where I got a 
capital dinner off roast Durham beef, and a capital glass of ale, 
which I believe was the cause, of my being ever after fond of ale."

 "Dear me!  Ah, I see your honour knows all about Durham city.  And 
now let me ask one question.  How came your honour to Durham, city 
and county?  I don't think your honour is a Durham man either of 
town or field."

"I am not; but when I was a little boy I passed through Durham 
county with my mother and brother to a place called Scotland."

"Scotland! a queer country that, your honour!"

"So it is," said I; "a queerer country I never saw in all my life."

"And a queer set of people, your honour."

"So they are," said I; "a queerer set of people than the Scotch you 
would scarcely see in a summer's day."

"The Durham folks, neither of town or field, have much reason to 
speak well of the Scotch, your honour."

"I dare say not," said I; "very few people have."

"And yet the Durham folks, your honour, generally contrived to give 
them as good as they brought."

"That they did," said I; "a pretty licking the Durham folks once 
gave the Scots under the walls of Durham city, after the scamps had 
been plundering the country for three weeks - a precious licking 
they gave them, slaying I don't know how many thousands, and taking 
their king prisoner."

"So they did, your honour, and under the command of a woman too."

"Very true," said I; "Queen Philippa."

"Just so, your honour!  The idea that your honour should know so 
much about Durham, both field and town!"

"Well," said I, "since I have told you so much about Durham, 
perhaps you will tell me something about yourself.  How did you 
come here?"

"I had better begin from the beginning, your honour.  I was born in 
Durham county close beside the Great Force, which no doubt your 
honour has seen.  My father was a farmer, and had a bit of a share 
in a mining concern.  I was brought up from my childhood both to 
farming and mining work, but most to mining, because, do you see, I 
took most pleasure in it, being the more noble business of the two.  
Shortly after I had come to man's estate my father died, leaving me 
a decent little property, whereupon I forsook farming altogether 
and gave myself up, body, soul, and capital, to mining, which at 
last I thoroughly understand in all its branches.  Well, your 
honour, about five-and-thirty years ago - that was when I was about 
twenty-eight - a cry went through the north country that a great 
deal of money might be made by opening Wales, that is, by mining in 
Wales in the proper fashion, which means the north country fashion, 
for there is no other fashion of mining good for much.  There had 
long been mines in Wales, but they had always been worked in a 
poor, weak, languid manner, very different from that of the north 
country.  So a company was formed, at the head of which were the 
Aldens, George and Thomas, for opening Wales, and they purchased 
certain mines in these districts which they knew to be productive, 
and which might be made yet more so, and settling down here called 
themselves the Rheidol United.  Well, after they had been here a 
little time they found themselves in want of a man to superintend 
their concerns, above all in the smelting department.  So they 
thought of me, who was known to most of the mining gentry in the 
north country, and they made a proposal to me through George Alden, 
afterwards Sir George, to come here and superintend.  I said no at 
first, for I didn't like the idea of leaving Durham county to come 
to such an outlandish place as Wales; howsomeover, I at last 
allowed myself to be overpersuaded by George Alden, afterwards Sir 
George, and here I came with my wife and family - for I must tell 
your honour I had married a respectable young woman of Durham 
county, by whom I had two little ones - here I came and did my best 
for the service of the Rheidol United.  The company was terribly 
set to it for a long time, spending a mint of money and getting 
very poor returns.  To my certain knowledge, the two Aldens, George 
and Tom, spent between them thirty thousand pounds.  The company, 
however, persevered, chiefly at the instigation of the Aldens, who 
were in the habit of saying, 'Never say die!' and at last got the 
better of all their difficulties and rolled in riches, and had the 
credit of being the first company that ever opened Wales, which 
they richly deserved, for I will uphold it that the Rheidol United, 
particularly the Aldens, George and Thomas, were the first people 
who really opened Wales.  In their service I have been for five-
and-thirty years, and daresay shall continue so till I die.  I have 
been tolerably comfortable, your honour, though I have had my 
griefs, the bitterest of which was the death of my wife, which 
happened about eight years after I came to this country.  I thought 
I should have gone wild at first, your honour; having, however, 
always plenty to do, I at last got the better of my affliction.  I 
continued single till my English family grew up and left me, when, 
feeling myself rather lonely, I married a decent young Welshwoman, 
by whom I had one son, the lad John who is following behind with 
his dog Joe.  And now your honour knows the whole story of John 
Greaves, miner from the county of Durham."

"And a most entertaining and instructive history it is," said I.  
"You have not told me, however, how you contrived to pick up Welsh:  
I heard you speaking it last night with the postman."

"Why, through my Welsh wife, your honour!  Without her I don't 
think I should ever have picked up the Welsh manner of discoursing 
- she is a good kind of woman, my Welsh wife, though - "

"The loss of your Durham wife must have been a great grief to you," 
said I.

"It was the bitterest grief, your honour, as I said before, that I 
ever had; my next worst I think was the death of a dear friend."

"Who was that?" said I

"Who was it, your honour? why, the Duke of Newcastle."

"Dear me!" said I, "how came you to know him?"

"Why, your honour, he lived at a place not far from here, called 
Hafod, and so - "

"Hafod?" said I; "I have often heard of Hafod and its library; but 
I thought it belonged to an old Welsh family called Johnes."

"Well, so it did, your honour, but the family died away, and the 
estate was put up for sale, and purchased by the Duke, who built a 
fine house upon it, which he made his chief place of residence - 
the old family house, I must tell your honour, in which the library 
was, had been destroyed by fire.  Well, he hadn't been long settled 
there before he found me out and took wonderfully to me, 
discoursing with me and consulting me about his farming and 
improvements.  Many is the pleasant chat and discourse I have had 
with his Grace for hours and hours together, for his Grace had not 
a bit of pride, at least he never showed any to me, though perhaps 
the reason of that was that we were both north country people.  
Lord!  I would have laid down my life for his Grace and have done 
anything but one which he once asked me to do.  'Greaves,' said the 
Duke to me one day, 'I wish you would give up mining and become my 
steward.'  'Sorry I can't oblige your Grace,' said I, 'but give up 
mining I cannot.  I will at any time give your Grace all the advice 
I can about farming and such like, but give up mining I cannot; 
because why? - I conceive mining to be the noblest business in the 
'versal world.'  Whereupon his Grace laughed, and said he dare say 
I was right, and never mentioned the subject again."

"Was his Grace very fond of farming and improving?"

"Oh yes, your honour.  Like all the great gentry, especially the 
north country gentry, his Grace was wonderfully fond of farming and 
improving; and a wonderful deal of good he did, reclaiming 
thousands of acres of land which was before good for nothing, and 
building capital farm-houses and offices for his tenants.  His 
grand feat, however, was bringing the Durham bull into this 
country, which formed a capital cross with the Welsh cows.  Pity 
that he wasn't equally fortunate with the north country sheep."

"Did he try to introduce them into Wales?"

"Yes, but they didn't answer, as I knew they wouldn't.  Says I to 
the Duke:  'It won't do, your Grace, to bring the north country 
sheep here:  because why? the hills are too wet and cold for their 
constitutions'; but his Grace, who had sometimes a will of his own, 
persisted and brought the north country sheep to these parts, and 
it turned out as I said - the sheep caught the disease, and the 
wool parted and - "

"But," said I, "you should have told him about the salve made of 
bran, butter and oil; you should have done that."

"Well, so I did, your honour.  I told him about the salve, and the 
Duke listened to me, and the salve was made by these very hands; 
but when it was made, what do you think? the foolish Welsh wouldn't 
put it on, saying that it was against their laws and statties and 
religion to use it, and talked about Devil's salves and the Witch 
of Endor, and the sin against the Holy Ghost, and such like 
nonsense.  So to prevent a regular rebellion, the Duke gave up the 
salve, and the poor sheep pined away and died, till at last there 
was not one left."

"Who holds the estate at present?" said I.

"Why, a great gentleman from Lancashire, your honour, who bought it 
when the Duke died; but he doesn't take the same pleasure in it 
which the Duke did, nor spend so much money about it, the 
consequence being that everything looks very different from what it 
looked in the Duke's time.  The inn at the Devil's Bridge and the 
grounds look very different from what they looked in the Duke's 
time, for you must know that the inn and the grounds form part of 
the Hafod estate, and are hired from the proprietor."

By this time we had arrived at a small village, with a toll-bar and 
a small church or chapel at some little distance from the road, 
which here made a turn nearly full south.  The road was very good, 
but the country was wild and rugged; there was a deep vale on the 
right, at the bottom of which rolled the Rheidol in its cleft, 
rising beyond which were steep, naked hills.

"This village," said my companion, "is called Ysbytty Cynfyn.  Down 
on the right, past the church, is a strange bridge across the 
Rheidol, which runs there through a horrid kind of a place.  The 
bridge is called Pont yr Offeiriad, or the Parson's Bridge, because 
in the old time the clergyman passed over it every Sunday to do 
duty in the church here."

"Why is this place called Ysbytty Cynfyn?" said I, "which means the 
hospital of the first boundary; is there a hospital of the second 
boundary near here?"

"I can't say anything about boundaries, your honour; all I know is, 
that there is another Spytty farther on beyond Hafod called Ysbytty 
Ystwyth, or the 'Spytty upon the Ystwyth.  But to return to the 
matter of the Minister's Bridge:  I would counsel your honour to go 
and see that bridge before you leave these parts.  A vast number of 
gentry go to see it in the summer time.  It was the bridge which 
the landlord was mentioning last night, though it scarcely belongs 
to his district, being quite as near the Devil's Bridge inn as it 
is to his own, your honour."

We went on discoursing for about half a mile farther, when, 
stopping by a road which branched off to the hills on the left, my 
companion said.  "I must now wish your honour good day, being 
obliged to go a little way up here to a mining work on a small bit 
of business; my son, however, and his dog Joe will show your honour 
the way to the Devil's Bridge, as they are bound to a place a 
little way past it.  I have now but one word to say, which is, that 
should ever your honour please to visit me at my mine, your honour 
shall receive every facility for inspecting the works, and moreover 
have a bellyful of drink and victuals from Jock Greaves, miner from 
the county of Durham."

I shook the honest fellow by the hand, and went on in company with 
the lad John and his dog as far as the Devil's Bridge.  John was a 
highly-intelligent lad, spoke Welsh and English fluently, could 
read, as he told me, both languages, and had some acquaintance with 
the writings of Twm o'r Nant, as he showed by repeating the 
following lines of the carter poet, certainly not the worst which 
he ever wrote:-

"Twm or Nant mae cant a'm galw,
Tomas Edwards yw fy enw,"

Tom O Nant is a nickname I've got,
My name's Thomas Edwards, I wot."


The Hospice - The Two Rivers - The Devil's Bridge - Pleasant 

I ARRIVED at the Devil's Bridge at about eleven o'clock of a fine 
but cold day, and took up my quarters at the inn, of which I was 
the sole guest during the whole time that I continued there; for 
the inn, standing in a lone, wild district, has very few guests 
except in summer, when it is thronged with tourists, who avail 
themselves of that genial season to view the wonders of Wales, of 
which the region close by is considered amongst the principal.

The inn, or rather hospice - for the sounding name of hospice is 
more applicable to it than the common one of inn - was built at a 
great expense by the late Duke of Newcastle.  It is an immense 
lofty cottage with projecting eaves, and has a fine window to the 
east which enlightens a stately staircase and a noble gallery.  It 
fronts the north, and stands in the midst of one of the most 
remarkable localities in the world, of which it would require a far 
more vigorous pen than mine to convey an adequate idea.

Far to the west is a tall, strange-looking hill, the top of which 
bears no slight resemblance to that of a battlemented castle.  This 
hill, which is believed to have been in ancient times a stronghold 
of the Britons, bears the name of Bryn y Castell, or the hill of 
the castle.  To the north-west are russet hills, to the east two 
brown paps, whilst to the south is a high, swelling mountain.  To 
the north, and just below the hospice, is a profound hollow with 
all the appearance of the crater of an extinct volcano; at the 
bottom of this hollow the waters of two rivers unite; those of the 
Rheidol from the north, and those of the Afon y Mynach, or the 
Monks' River, from the south-east.  The Rheidol, falling over a 
rocky precipice at the northern side of the hollow, forms a 
cataract very pleasant to look upon from the middle upper window of 
the inn.  Those of the Mynach which pass under the celebrated 
Devil's Bridge are not visible, though they generally make 
themselves heard.  The waters of both, after uniting, flow away 
through a romantic glen towards the west.  The sides of the hollow, 
and indeed of most of the ravines in the neighbourhood, which are 
numerous, are beautifully clad with wood.

Penetrate now into the hollow above which the hospice stands.  You 
descend by successive flights of steps, some of which are very 
slippery and insecure.  On your right is the Monks' River, roaring 
down its dingle in five successive falls, to join its brother the 
Rheidol.  Each of the falls has its own peculiar basin, one or two 
of which are said to be of awful depth.  The length which these 
falls with their basins occupy is about five hundred feet.  On the 
side of the basin of the last but one is the cave, or the site of 
the cave, said to have been occupied in old times by the Wicked 
Children - the mysterious Plant de Bat - two brothers and a sister, 
robbers and murderers.  At present it is nearly open on every side, 
having, it is said, been destroyed to prevent its being the haunt 
of other evil people.  There is a tradition in the country that the 
fall at one time tumbled over its mouth.  This tradition, however, 
is evidently without foundation, as from the nature of the ground 
the river could never have run but in its present channel.  Of all 
the falls, the fifth or last is the most considerable:  you view it 
from a kind of den, to which the last flight of steps, the 
ruggedest and most dangerous of all, has brought you.  Your 
position here is a wild one.  The fall, which is split into two, is 
thundering beside you; foam, foam, foam is flying all about you; 
the basin or cauldron is boiling frightfully below you; hirsute 
rocks are frowning terribly above you, and above them forest trees, 
dank and wet with spray and mist, are distilling drops in showers 
from their boughs.

But where is the bridge, the celebrated bridge of the Evil Man?  
From the bottom of the first flight of steps leading down into the 
hollow you see a modern-looking bridge, bestriding a deep chasm or 
cleft to the south-east, near the top of the dingle of the Monks' 
River; over it lies the road to Pont Erwyd.  That, however, is not 
the Devil's Bridge; but about twenty feet below that bridge, and 
completely overhung by it, don't you see a shadowy, spectral 
object, something like a bow, which likewise bestrides the chasm?  
You do!  Well, that shadowy, spectral object is the celebrated 
Devil's Bridge, or, as the timorous peasants of the locality call 
it, the Pont y Gwr Drwg.  It is now merely preserved as an object 
of curiosity, the bridge above being alone used for transit, and is 
quite inaccessible except to birds and the climbing wicked boys of 
the neighbourhood, who sometimes at the risk of their lives 
contrive to get upon it from the frightfully steep northern bank, 
and snatch a fearful joy, as, whilst lying on their bellies, they 
poke their heads over its sides worn by age, without parapet to 
prevent them from falling into the horrid gulf below.  But from the 
steps in the hollow the view of the Devil's Bridge, and likewise of 
the cleft, is very slight and unsatisfactory.  To view it properly, 
and the wonders connected with it, you must pass over the bridge 
above it, and descend a precipitous dingle on the eastern side till 
you come to a small platform in a crag.  Below you now is a 
frightful cavity, at the bottom of which the waters of the Monks' 
River, which comes tumbling from a glen to the east, whirl, boil, 
and hiss in a horrid pot or cauldron, called in the language of the 
country Twll yn y graig, or the hole in the rock, in a manner truly 
tremendous.  On your right is a slit, probably caused by volcanic 
force, through which the waters after whirling in the cauldron 
eventually escape.  The slit is wonderfully narrow, considering its 
altitude which is very great - considerably upwards of a hundred 
feet.  Nearly above you, crossing the slit, which is partially 
wrapt in darkness, is the far-famed bridge, the Bridge of the Evil 
Man, a work which, though crumbling and darkly grey, does much 
honour to the hand which built it, whether it was the hand of Satan 
or of a monkish architect; for the arch is chaste and beautiful, 
far superior in every respect, except in safety and utility, to the 
one above it, which from this place you have not the mortification 
of seeing.  Gaze on these objects, namely, the horrid seething pot 
or cauldron, the gloomy volcanic slit, and the spectral, shadowy 
Devil's Bridge for about three minutes, allowing a minute to each, 
then scramble up the bank and repair to your inn, and have no more 
sight-seeing that day, for you have seen enough.  And if pleasant 
recollections do not haunt you through life of the noble falls and 
the beautiful wooded dingles to the west of the bridge of the Evil 
One, and awful and mysterious ones of the monks' boiling cauldron, 
the long, savage, shadowy cleft, and the grey, crumbling, spectral 
bridge, I say boldly that you must be a very unpoetical person 


Dinner at the Hospice - Evening Gossip - A Day of Rain - A Scanty 
Flock - The Bridge of the Minister - Legs in Danger.

I DINED in a parlour of the inn commanding an excellent view of the 
hollow and the Rheidol fall.  Shortly after I had dined, a fierce 
storm of rain and wind came on.  It lasted for an hour, and then 
everything again became calm.  Just before evening was closing in I 
took a stroll to a village which stands a little way to the west of 
the inn.  It consists only of a few ruinous edifices, and is 
chiefly inhabited by miners and their families.  I saw no men, but 
plenty of women and children.  Seeing a knot of women and girls 
chatting I went up and addressed them.  Some of the girls were very 
good-looking; none of the party had any English; all of them were 
very civil.  I first talked to them about religion, and found that, 
without a single exception, they were Calvinistic-Methodists.  I 
next talked to them about the Plant de Bat.  They laughed heartily 
at the first mention of their name, but seemed to know very little 
about their history.  After some twenty minutes' discourse I bade 
them good-night and returned to my inn.

The night was very cold; the people of the house, however, made up 
for me a roaring fire of turf, and I felt very comfortable.  About 
ten o'clock I went to bed, intending next morning to go and see 
Plynlimmon, which I had left behind me on entering Cardiganshire.  
When the morning came, however, I saw at once that I had entered 
upon a day by no means adapted for excursions of any considerable 
length, for it rained terribly; but this gave me very little 
concern; my time was my own, and I said to myself:  "If I can't go 
to-day I can perhaps go to-morrow."  After breakfast I passed some 
hours in a manner by no means disagreeable, sometimes meditating 
before my turf fire, with my eyes fixed upon it, and sometimes 
sitting by the window, with my eyes fixed upon the cascade of the 
Rheidol, which was every moment becoming more magnificent.  At 
length about twelve o'clock, fearing that if I stayed within I 
should lose my appetite for dinner, which has always been one of 
the greatest of my enjoyments, I determined to go and see the 
Minister's Bridge which my friend the old mining captain had spoken 
to me about.  I knew that I should get a wetting by doing so, for 
the weather still continued very bad, but I don't care much for a 
wetting provided I have a good roof, a good fire, and good fare to 
betake myself to afterwards.

So I set out.  As I passed over the bridge of the Mynach River I 
looked down over the eastern balustrade.  The Bridge of the Evil 
One, which is just below it, was quite invisible.  I could see, 
however, the pot or crochan distinctly enough, and a horrible sight 
it presented.  The waters were whirling round in a manner to 
describe which any word but frenzied would be utterly powerless.  
Half-an-hour's walking brought me to the little village through 
which I had passed the day before.  Going up to a house I knocked 
at the door, and a middle-aged man opening it, I asked him the way 
to the Bridge of the Minister.  He pointed to the little chapel to 
the west, and said that the way lay past it, adding that he would 
go with me himself, as he wanted to go to the hills on the other 
side to see his sheep.

We got presently into discourse.  He at first talked broken 
English, but soon began to speak his native language.  I asked him 
if the chapel belonged to the Methodists.

"It is not a chapel," said he, "it is a church."

"Do many come to it?" said I.

"Not many, sir, for the Methodists are very powerful here.  Not 
more than forty or fifty come."

"Do you belong to the Church?" said I.

"I do, sir - thank God!"

"You may well be thankful," said I, "for it is a great privilege to 
belong to the Church of England."

"It is so, sir," said the man, 'though few, alas! think so."

I found him a highly-intelligent person.  On my talking to him 
about the name of the place, he said that some called it Spytty 
Cynfyn, and others Spytty Cynwyl, and that both Cynwyl and Cynfyn 
were the names of people, to one or other of which the place was 
dedicated, and that, like the place farther on called Spytty 
Ystwyth, it was in the old time a hospital or inn for the 
convenience of the pilgrims going to the great monastery of Ystrad 
Flur or Strata Florida.

Passing through a field or two we came to the side of a very deep 
ravine, down which there was a zigzag path leading to the bridge.  
The path was very steep, and, owing to the rain, exceedingly 
slippery.  For some way it led through a grove of dwarf oaks, by 
grasping the branches of which I was enabled to support myself 
tolerably well; nearly at the bottom, however, where the path was 
most precipitous, the trees ceased altogether.  Fearing to trust my 
legs, I determined to slide down, and put my resolution in 
practice, arriving at a little shelf close by the bridge without 
any accident.  The man, accustomed to the path, went down in the 
usual manner.  The bridge consisted of a couple of planks and a 
pole flung over a chasm about ten feet wide, on the farther side of 
which was a precipice with a path at least quite as steep as the 
one down which I had come, and without any trees or shrubs by which 
those who used it might support themselves.  The torrent rolled 
about nine feet below the bridge; its channel was tortuous; on the 
south-east side of the bridge was a cauldron, like that on which I 
had looked down from the bridge over the river of the monks.  The 
man passed over the bridge and I followed him; on the other side we 
stopped and turned round.  The river was rushing and surging, the 
pot was boiling and roaring, and everything looked wild and savage; 
but the locality, for awfulness and mysterious gloom, could not 
compare with that on the east side of the Devil's Bridge, nor for 
sublimity and grandeur with that on the west.

"Here you see, sir," said the man, "the Bridge of the Offeiriad, 
called so, it is said, because the popes used to pass over it in 
the old time; and here you have the Rheidol, which, though not so 
smooth nor so well off for banks as the Hafren and the Gwy, gets to 
the sea before either of them, and, as the pennill says, is quite 
as much entitled to honour:-

"'Hafren a Wy yn hyfryd eu wedd
A Rheidol vawr ei anrhydedd.'

Good rhyme, sir, that.  I wish you would put it into Saesneg."

"I am afraid I shall make a poor hand of it," said I; "however, I 
will do my best:-

"'Oh pleasantly do glide along the Severn and the Wye;
But Rheidol's rough, and yet he's held by all in honour high.'

"Very good rhyme that, sir! though not so good as the pennill 
Cymraeg.  Ha, I do see that you know the two languages and are one 
poet.  And now, sir, I must leave you, and go to the hills to my 
sheep, who I am afraid will be suffering in this dreadful weather.  
However, before I go, I should wish to see you safe over the 

I shook him by the hand, and retracing my steps over the bridge, 
began clambering up the bank on my knees.

"You will spoil your trousers, sir!" cried the man from the other 

"I don't care if I do," said I, "provided I save my legs, which are 
in some danger in this place, as well as my neck, which is of less 

I hurried back amidst rain and wind to my friendly hospice, where, 
after drying my wet clothes as well as I could, I made an excellent 
dinner on fowl and bacon.  Dinner over, I took up a newspaper which 
was brought me, and read an article about the Russian war, which 
did not seem to be going on much to the advantage of the allies.  
Soon flinging the paper aside, I stuck my feet on the stove, one on 
each side of the turf fire, and listened to the noises without.  
The bellowing of the wind down the mountain passes and the roaring 
of the Rheidol fall at the north side of the valley, and the 
rushing of the five cascades of the river Mynach, were truly awful.  
Perhaps I ought not to have said the five cascades of the Mynach, 
but the Mynach cascade, for now its five cascades had become one, 
extending from the chasm over which hung the bridge of Satan to the 
bottom of the valley.

After a time I fell into a fit of musing.  I thought of the Plant 
de Bat; I thought of the spitties or hospitals connected with the 
great monastery of Ystrad Flur or Strata Florida; I thought of the 
remarkable bridge close by, built by a clever monk of that place to 
facilitate the coming of pilgrims with their votive offerings from 
the north to his convent; I thought of the convent built in the 
time of our Henry the Second by Ryce ab Gruffyd, prince of South 
Wales; and lastly, I thought of a wonderful man who was buried in 
its precincts, the greatest genius which Wales, and perhaps 
Britain, ever produced, on whose account, and not because of old it 
had been a magnificent building, and the most celebrated place of 
popish pilgrimage in Wales, I had long ago determined to visit it 
on my journey, a man of whose life and works the following is a 
brief account.


Birth and Early Years of Ab Gwilym - Morfudd - Relic of Druidism - 
The Men of Glamorgan - Legend of Ab Gwilym - Ab Gwilym as a Writer 
- Wonderful Variety - Objects of Nature - Gruffydd Gryg.

DAFYDD AB GWILYM was born about the year 1320, at a place called 
Bro Gynnin in the county of Cardigan.  Though born in wedlock he 
was not conceived legitimately.  His mother being discovered by her 
parents to be pregnant, was turned out of doors by them, whereupon 
she went to her lover, who married her, though in so doing he acted 
contrary to the advice of his relations.  After a little time, 
however, a general reconciliation took place.  The parents of Ab 
Gwilym, though highly connected, do not appear to have possessed 
much property.  The boy was educated by his mother's brother 
Llewelyn ab Gwilym Fychan, a chief of Cardiganshire; but his 
principal patron in after life was Ifor, a cousin of his father, 
surnamed Hael, or the bountiful, a chieftain of Glamorganshire.  
This person received him within his house, made him his steward and 
tutor to his daughter.  With this young lady Ab Gwilym speedily 
fell in love, and the damsel returned his passion.  Ifor, however, 
not approving of the connection, sent his daughter to Anglesey, and 
eventually caused her to take the veil in a nunnery of that island.  
Dafydd pursued her, but not being able to obtain an interview, he 
returned to his patron, who gave him a kind reception.  Under 
Ifor's roof he cultivated poetry with great assiduity and wonderful 
success.  Whilst very young, being taunted with the circumstances 
of his birth by a brother bard called Rhys Meigan, he retorted in 
an ode so venomously bitter that his adversary, after hearing it, 
fell down and expired.  Shortly after this event he was made head 
bard of Glamorgan by universal acclamation.

After a stay of some time with Ifor, he returned to his native 
county and lived at Bro Gynnin.  Here he fell in love with a young 
lady of birth called Dyddgu, who did not favour his addresses.  He 
did not break his heart, however, on her account, but speedily 
bestowed it on the fair Morfudd, whom he first saw at Rhosyr in 
Anglesey, to which place both had gone on a religious account.  The 
lady after some demur consented to become his wife.  Her parents 
refusing to sanction the union, their hands were joined beneath the 
greenwood tree by one Madawg Benfras, a bard, and a great friend of 
Ab Gwilym.  The joining of people's hands by bards, which was 
probably a relic of Druidism, had long been practised in Wales, and 
marriages of this kind were generally considered valid, and seldom 
set aside.  The ecclesiastical law, however, did not recognise 
these poetical marriages, and the parents of Morfudd by appealing 
to the law soon severed the union.  After confining the lady for a 
short time, they bestowed her hand in legal fashion upon a 
chieftain of the neighbourhood, very rich but rather old, and with 
a hump on his back, on account which he was nicknamed bow-back, or 
little hump-back.  Morfudd, however, who passed her time in rather 
a dull manner with this person, which would not have been the case 
had she done her duty by endeavouring to make the poor man 
comfortable, and by visiting the sick and needy around her, was 
soon induced by the bard to elope with him.  The lovers fled to 
Glamorgan, where Ifor Hael, not much to his own credit, received 
them with open arms, probably forgetting how he had immured his OWN 
daughter in a convent, rather than bestow her on Ab Gwilym.  Having 
a hunting-lodge in a forest on the banks of the lovely Taf, he 
allotted it to the fugitives as a residence.  Ecclesiastical law, 
however, as strong in Wild Wales as in other parts of Europe, soon 
followed them into Glamorgan, and, very properly, separated them.  
The lady was restored to her husband, and Ab Gwilym fined to a very 
high amount.  Not being able to pay the fine, he was cast into 
prison; but then the men of Glamorgan arose to a man, swearing that 
their head bard should not remain in prison.  "Then pay his fine!" 
said the ecclesiastical law, or rather the ecclesiastical lawyer.  
"So we will!" said the men of Glamorgan, and so they did.  Every 
man put his hand into his pocket; the amount was soon raised, the 
fine paid, and the bard set free.

Ab Gwilym did not forget this kindness of the men of Glamorgan, 
and, to requite it, wrote an address to the sun, in which he 
requests that luminary to visit Glamorgan, to bless it, and to keep 
it from harm.  The piece concludes with some noble lines somewhat 
to this effect

"If every strand oppression strong
Should arm against the son of song,
The weary wight would find, I ween,
A welcome in Glamorgan green."

Some time after his release he meditated a second elopement with 
Morfudd, and even induced her to consent to go off with him.  A 
friend, to whom he disclosed what he was thinking of doing, asking 
him whether he would venture a second time to take such a step, "I 
will," said the bard, "in the name of God and the men of 
Glamorgan."  No second elopement, however, took place, the bard 
probably thinking, as has been well observed, that neither God nor 
the men of Glamorgan would help him a second time out of such an 
affair.  He did not attain to any advanced age, but died when about 
sixty, some twenty years before the rising of Glendower.  Some time 
before his death his mind fortunately took a decidedly religious 

He is said to have been eminently handsome in his youth, tall, 
slender, with yellow hair falling in ringlets down his shoulders.  
He is likewise said to have been a great libertine.  The following 
story is told of him:-

"In a certain neighbourhood he had a great many mistresses, some 
married and others not.  Once upon a time, in the month of June he 
made a secret appointment with each of his lady-loves, the place 
and hour of meeting being the same for all; each was to meet him at 
the same hour beneath a mighty oak which stood in the midst of a 
forest glade.  Some time before the appointed hour he went, and 
climbing up the oak, hid himself amidst the dense foliage of its 
boughs.  When the hour arrived he observed all the nymphs tripping 
to the place of appointment; all came, to the number of twenty-four 
- not one stayed away.  For some time they remained beneath the oak 
staring at each other.  At length an explanation ensued, and it 
appeared that they had all come to meet Ab Gwilym.

"'Oh, the treacherous monster!' cried they with one accord; 'only 
let him show himself and we will tear him to pieces.'

"'Will you?' said Ab Gwilym from the oak; 'here I am; let her who 
has been most wanton with me make the first attack upon me!'

"The females remained for some time speechless; all of a sudden, 
however, their anger kindled, not against the bard, but against 
each other.  From harsh and taunting words they soon came to 
actions:  hair was torn off, faces were scratched, blood flowed 
from cheek and nose.  Whilst the tumult was at its fiercest Ab 
Gwilym slipped away."

The writer merely repeats this story, and he repeats it as 
concisely as possible, in order to have an opportunity of saying 
that he does not believe one particle of it.  If he believed it, he 
would forthwith burn the most cherished volume of the small 
collection of books from which he derives delight and recreation, 
namely, that which contains the songs of Ab Gwilym, for he would 
have nothing in his possession belonging to such a heartless 
scoundrel as Ab Gwilym must have been had he got up the scene above 
described.  Any common man who would expose to each other and the 
world a number of hapless, trusting females who had favoured him 
with their affections, and from the top of a tree would feast his 
eyes upon their agonies of shame and rage, would deserve to be - 
emasculated.  Had Ab Gwilym been so dead to every feeling of 
gratitude and honour as to play the part which the story makes him 
play, he would have deserved not only to be emasculated, but to be 
scourged with harp-strings in every market-town in Wales, and to be 
dismissed from the service of the Muse.  But the writer repeats 
that he does not believe one tittle of the story, though Ab 
Gwilym's biographer, the learned and celebrated William Owen, not 
only seems to believe it, but rather chuckles over it.  It is the 
opinion of the writer that the story is of Italian origin, and that 
it formed part of one of the many rascally novels brought over to 
England after the marriage of Lionel, Duke of Clarence, the third 
son of Edward the Third, with Violante, daughter of Galeazzo, Duke 
of Milan.

Dafydd Ab Gwilym has been in general considered as a songster who 
never employed his muse on any subject save that of love, and there 
can be no doubt that by far the greater number of his pieces are 
devoted more or less to the subject of love.  But to consider him 
merely in the light of an amatory poet would be wrong.  He has 
written poems of wonderful power on almost every conceivable 
subject.  Ab Gwilym has been styled the Welsh Ovid, and with great 
justice, but not merely because like the Roman he wrote admirably 
on love.  The Roman was not merely an amatory poet:  let the shade 
of Pythagoras say whether the poet who embodied in immortal verse 
the oldest, the most wonderful, and at the same time the most 
humane, of all philosophy was a mere amatory poet.  Let the shade 
of blind Homer be called up to say whether the bard who composed 
the tremendous line -

"Surgit ad hos clypei dominus septemplicis Ajax" -

equal to any save ONE of his own, was a mere amatory songster.  
Yet, diversified as the genius of the Roman was, there is no 
species of poetry in which he shone in which the Welshman may not 
be said to display equal merit.  Ab Gwilym, then, has been fairly 
styled the Welsh Ovid.  But he was something more - and here let 
there be no sneers about Welsh:  the Welsh are equal in genius, 
intellect and learning to any people under the sun, and speak a 
language older than Greek, and which is one of the immediate 
parents of the Greek.  He was something more than the Welsh Ovid:  
he was the Welsh Horace, and wrote light, agreeable, sportive 
pieces, equal to any things of the kind composed by Horace in his 
best moods.  But he was something more:  he was the Welsh Martial, 
and wrote pieces equal in pungency to those of the great Roman 
epigrammatist, - perhaps more than equal, for we never heard that 
any of Martial's epigrams killed anybody, whereas Ab Gwilym's piece 
of vituperation on Rhys Meigan - pity that poets should be so 
virulent - caused the Welshman to fall down dead.  But he was yet 
something more:  he could, if he pleased, be a Tyrtaeus; he was no 
fighter - where was there ever a poet that was? - but he wrote an 
ode on a sword, the only warlike piece that he ever wrote, the best 
poem on the subject ever written in any language.  Finally, he was 
something more:  he was what not one of the great Latin poets was, 
a Christian; that is, in his latter days, when he began to feel the 
vanity of all human pursuits, when his nerves began to be unstrung, 
his hair to fall off, and his teeth to drop out, and he then 
composed sacred pieces entitling him to rank with - we were going 
to say Caedmon; had we done so we should have done wrong; no 
uninspired poet ever handled sacred subjects like the grand Saxon 
Skald - but which entitle him to be called a great religious poet, 
inferior to none but the protege of Hilda.

Before ceasing to speak of Ab Gwilym, it will be necessary to state 
that his amatory pieces, which constitute more than one-half of his 
productions, must be divided into two classes:  the purely amatory 
and those only partly devoted to love.  His poems to Dyddgu and the 
daughter of Ifor Hael are productions very different from those 
addressed to Morfudd.  There can be no doubt that he had a sincere 
affection for the two first; there is no levity in the cowydds 
which he addressed to them, and he seldom introduces any other 
objects than those of his love.  But in his cowydds addressed to 
Morfudd is there no levity?  Is Morfudd ever prominent?  His 
cowydds to that woman abound with humorous levity, and for the most 
part have far less to do with her than with natural objects - the 
snow, the mist, the trees of the forest, the birds of the air, and 
the fishes of the stream.  His first piece to Morfudd is full of 
levity quite inconsistent with true love.  It states how, after 
seeing her for the first time at Rhosyr in Anglesey, and falling in 
love with her, he sends her a present of wine by the hands of a 
servant, which present she refuses, casting the wine contemptuously 
over the head of the valet.  This commencement promises little in 
the way of true passion, so that we are not disappointed when we 
read a little farther on that the bard is dead and buried, all on 
account of love, and that Morfudd makes a pilgrimage to Mynyw to 
seek for pardon for killing him, nor when we find him begging the 
popish image to convey a message to her.  Then presently we almost 
lose sight of Morfudd amidst birds, animals and trees, and we are 
not sorry that we do; for though Ab Gwilym is mighty in humour, 
great in describing the emotions of love and the beauties of the 
lovely, he is greatest of all in describing objects of nature; 
indeed in describing them he has no equal, and the writer has no 
hesitation in saying that in many of his cowydds in which he 
describes various objects of nature, by which he sends messages to 
Morfudd, he shows himself a far greater poet than Ovid appears in 
any one of his Metamorphoses.  There are many poets who attempt to 
describe natural objects without being intimately acquainted with 
them, but Ab Gwilym was not one of these.  No one was better 
acquainted with nature; he was a stroller, and there is every 
probability that during the greater part of the summer he had no 
other roof than the foliage, and that the voices of birds and 
animals were more familiar to his ears than was the voice of man.  
During the summer months, indeed, in the early part of his life, he 
was, if we may credit him, generally lying perdue in the woodland 
or mountain recesses near the habitation of his mistress, before or 
after her marriage, awaiting her secret visits, made whenever she 
could escape the vigilance of her parents, or the watchful of her 
husband, and during her absence he had nothing better to do than to 
observe objects of nature and describe them.  His ode to the Fox, 
one of the most admirable of his pieces, was composed on one of 
these occasions.

Want of space prevents the writer from saying as much as he could 
wish about the genius of this wonderful man, the greatest of his 
country's songsters, well calculated by nature to do honour to the 
most polished age and the most widely-spoken language.  The bards 
his contemporaries, and those who succeeded him for several hundred 
years, were perfectly convinced of his superiority, not only over 
themselves, but over all the poets of the past; and one, and a 
mighty one, old Iolo the bard of Glendower, went so far as to 
insinuate that after Ab Gwilym it would be of little avail for any 
one to make verses -

"Aed lle mae'r eang dangneff,
Ac aed y gerdd gydag ef."

"To Heaven's high peace let him depart,
And with him go the minstrel art."

He was buried at Ystrad Flur, and a yew tree was planted over his 
grave, to which Gruffydd Gryg, a brother bard, who was at one time 
his enemy, but eventually became one of the most ardent of his 
admirers, addressed an ode, of part of which the following is a 

"Thou noble tree, who shelt'rest kind
The dead man's house from winter's wind;
May lightnings never lay thee low;
Nor archer cut from thee his bow,
Nor Crispin peel thee pegs to frame;
But may thou ever bloom the same,
A noble tree the grave to guard
Of Cambria's most illustrious bard!"


Start for Plynlimmon - Plynlimmon's Celebrity - Troed Rhiw Goch.

THE morning of the fifth of November looked rather threatening.  
As, however, it did not rain, I determined to set off for 
Plynlimmon, and, returning at night to the inn, resume my journey 
to the south on the following day.  On looking into a pocket 
almanac I found it was Sunday.  This very much disconcerted me, and 
I thought at first of giving up my expedition.  Eventually, 
however, I determined to go, for I reflected that I should be doing 
no harm, and that I might acknowledge the sacredness of the day by 
attending morning service at the little Church of England chapel 
which lay in my way.

The mountain of Plynlimmon to which I was bound is the third in 
Wales for altitude, being only inferior to Snowdon and Cadair 
Idris.  Its proper name is Pum, or Pump, Lumon, signifying the five 
points, because towards the upper part it is divided into five 
hills or points.  Plynlimmon is a celebrated hill on many accounts.  
It has been the scene of many remarkable events.  In the tenth 
century a dreadful battle was fought on one of its spurs between 
the Danes and the Welsh, in which the former sustained a bloody 
overthrow; and in 1401 a conflict took place in one of its valleys 
between the Welsh, under Glendower, and the Flemings of 
Pembrokeshire, who, exasperated at having their homesteads 
plundered and burned by the chieftain who was the mortal enemy of 
their race, assembled in considerable numbers and drove Glendower 
and his forces before them to Plynlimmon, where, the Welshmen 
standing at bay, a contest ensued, in which, though eventually 
worsted, the Flemings were at one time all but victorious.  What, 
however, has more than anything else contributed to the celebrity 
of the hill is the circumstance of its giving birth to three 
rivers, the first of which, the Severn, is the principal stream in 
Britain; the second, the Wye, the most lovely river, probably, 
which the world can boast of; and the third, the Rheidol, entitled 
to high honour from its boldness and impetuosity, and the 
remarkable banks between which it flows in its very short course, 
for there are scarcely twenty miles between the ffynnon or source 
of the Rheidol and the aber or place where it disembogues itself 
into the sea.

I started about ten o'clock on my expedition, after making, of 
course, a very hearty breakfast.  Scarcely had I crossed the 
Devil's Bridge when a shower of hail and rain came on.  As, 
however, it came down nearly perpendicularly, I put up my umbrella 
and laughed.  The shower pelted away till I had nearly reached 
Spytty Cynwyl, when it suddenly left off and the day became 
tolerably fine.  On arriving at the Spytty, I was sorry to find 
that there would be no service till three in the afternoon.  As 
waiting till that time was out of the question, I pushed forward on 
my expedition.  Leaving Pont Erwyd at some distance on my left, I 
went duly north till I came to a place amongst hills where the road 
was crossed by an angry-looking rivulet, the same, I believe which 
enters the Rheidol near Pont Erwyd, and which is called the Castle 
River.  I was just going to pull off my boots and stockings in 
order to wade through, when I perceived a pole and a rail laid over 
the stream at little distance above where I was.  This rustic 
bridge enabled me to cross without running the danger of getting a 
regular sousing, for these mountain streams, even when not reaching 
so high as the knee, occasionally sweep the wader off his legs, as 
I know by my own experience.  From a lad whom I presently met I 
learned that the place where I crossed the water was called Troed 
rhiw goch, or the Foot of the Red Slope.

About twenty minutes' walk from hence brought me to Castell 
Dyffryn, an inn about six miles distant from the Devil's Bridge, 
and situated near a spur of the Plynlimmon range.  Here I engaged a 
man to show me the sources of the rivers and the other wonders of 
the mountain.  He was a tall, athletic fellow, dressed in brown 
coat, round buff hat, corduroy trousers, linen leggings and 
highlows, and, though a Cumro, had much more the appearance of a 
native of Tipperary than a Welshman.  He was a kind of shepherd to 
the people of the house, who, like many others in South Wales, 
followed farming and inn-keeping at the same time.


The Guide - The Great Plynlimmon - A Dangerous Path - Source of the 
Rheidol - Source of the Severn - Pennillion - Old Times and New - 
The Corpse Candle - Supper.

LEAVING the inn, my guide and myself began to ascend a steep hill 
just behind it.  When we were about halfway up I asked my 
companion, who spoke very fair English, why the place was called 
the Castle.

"Because, sir," said he, "there was a castle here in the old time."

"Whereabouts was it?" said I.

"Yonder," said the man, standing still and pointing to the right.  
"Don't you see yonder brown spot in the valley?  There the castle 

"But are there no remains of it?" said I.  "I can see nothing but a 
brown spot."

"There are none, sir; but there a castle once stood, and from it 
the place we came from had its name, and likewise the river that 
runs down to Pont Erwyd."

"And who lived there?" said I.

"I don't know, sir," said the man; "but I suppose they were grand 
people, or they would not have lived in a castle."

After ascending the hill and passing over its top, we went down its 
western side and soon came to a black, frightful bog between two 
hills.  Beyond the bog and at some distance to the west of the two 
hills rose a brown mountain, not abruptly, but gradually, and 
looking more like what the Welsh call a rhiw, or slope, than a 
mynydd, or mountain.

"That, sir," said my guide, "is the grand Plynlimmon."

"It does not look much of a hill," said I.

"We are on very high ground, sir, or it would look much higher.  I 
question, upon the whole, whether there is a higher hill in the 
world.  God bless Pumlummon Mawr!" said he, looking with reverence 
towards the hill.  "I am sure I have a right to say so, for many is 
the good crown I have got by showing gentlefolks like yourself to 
the top of him."

"You talk of Plynlimmon Mawr, or the great Plynlymmon," said I; 
"where are the small ones?"

"Yonder they are," said the guide, pointing to two hills towards 
the north; "one is Plynlimmon Canol, and the other Plynlimmon Bach 
- the middle and the small Plynlimmon."

"Pumlummon," said I, "means five summits.  You have pointed out 
only three; now, where are the other two?"

"Those two hills which we have just passed make up the five.  
However, I will tell your worship that there is a sixth summit.  
Don't you see that small hill connected with the big Pumlummon, on 
the right?"

"I see it very clearly," said I.

"Well, your worship, that's called Bryn y Llo - the Hill of the 
Calf, or the Calf Plynlimmon, which makes the sixth summit."

"Very good," said I, "and perfectly satisfactory.  Now let us 
ascend the Big Pumlummon."

In about a quarter of an hour we reached the summit of the hill, 
where stood a large carn or heap of stones.  I got upon the top and 
looked around me.

A mountainous wilderness extended on every side, a waste of russet 
coloured hills, with here and there a black, craggy summit.  No 
signs of life or cultivation were to be discovered, and the eye 
might search in vain for a grove or even a single tree.  The scene 
would have been cheerless in the extreme had not a bright sun 
lighted up the landscape.

"This does not seem to be a country of much society," said I to my 

"It is not, sir.  The nearest house is the inn we came from, which 
is now three miles behind us.  Straight before you there is not one 
for at least ten, and on either side it is an anialwch to a vast 
distance.  Plunlummon is not a sociable country, sir; nothing to be 
found in it, but here and there a few sheep or a shepherd."

"Now," said I, descending from the carn, "we will proceed to the 
sources of the rivers."

"The ffynnon of the Rheidol is not far off," said the guide; "it is 
just below the hill."

We descended the western side of the hill for some way; at length, 
coming to a very craggy and precipitous place, my guide stopped, 
and pointing with his finger into the valley below, said:-

"There, sir, if you look down you can see the source of the 

I looked down, and saw far below what appeared to be part of a 
small sheet of water.

"And that is the source of the Rheidol?" said I.

"Yes, sir," said my guide; "that is the ffynnon of the Rheidol."

"Well," said I; "is there no getting to it?"

"Oh yes! but the path, sir, as you see, is rather steep and 

"Never mind," said I.  "Let us try it."

"Isn't seeing the fountain sufficient for you, sir?"

"By no means," said I.  "It is not only necessary for me to see the 
sources of the rivers, but to drink of them, in order that in after 
times I may be able to harangue about them with a tone of 
confidence and authority."

"Then follow me, sir; but please to take care, for this path is 
more fit for sheep or shepherds than gentlefolk."

And a truly bad path I found it; so bad indeed that before I had 
descended twenty yards I almost repented having ventured.  I had a 
capital guide, however, who went before and told me where to plant 
my steps.  There was one particularly bad part, being little better 
than a sheer precipice; but even here I got down in safety with the 
assistance of my guide, and a minute afterwards found myself at the 
source of the Rheidol.

The source of the Rheidol is a small beautiful lake, about a 
quarter of a mile in length.  It is overhung on the east and north 
by frightful crags, from which it is fed by a number of small 
rills.  The water is of the deepest blue, and of very considerable 
depth.  The banks, except to the north and east, slope gently down, 
and are clad with soft and beautiful moss.  The river, of which it 
is the head, emerges at the south-western side, and brawls away in 
the shape of a considerable brook, amidst moss, and rushes down a 
wild glen tending to the south.  To the west the prospect is 
bounded, at a slight distance, by high, swelling ground.  If few 
rivers have a more wild and wondrous channel than the Rheidol, 
fewer still have a more beautiful and romantic source.

After kneeling down and drinking freely of the lake I said:

"Now, where are we to go to next?"

"The nearest ffynnon to that of the Rheidol, sir, is the ffynnon of 
the Severn."

"Very well," said I; "let us now go and see the ffynnon of the 

I followed my guide over a hill to the north-west into a valley, at 
the farther end of which I saw a brook streaming apparently to the 
south, where was an outlet.

"That brook," said the guide, "is the young Severn."  The brook 
came from round the side of a very lofty rock, singularly 
variegated, black and white, the northern summit presenting 
something of the appearance of the head of a horse.  Passing round 
this crag we came to a fountain surrounded with rushes, out of 
which the brook, now exceedingly small, came murmuring.

"The crag above," said my guide, "is called Crag y Cefyl, or the 
Rock of the Horse, and this spring at its foot is generally called 
the ffynnon of the Hafren.  However, drink not of it, master; for 
the ffynnon of the Hafren is higher up the nant.  Follow me, and I 
will presently show you the real ffynnon of the Hafren."

I followed him up a narrow and very steep dingle.  Presently we 
came to some beautiful little pools of water in the turf, which was 
here remarkably green.

"These are very pretty pools, an't they, master?" said my 
companion.  "Now, if I was a false guide I might bid you stoop and 
drink, saying that these were the sources of the Severn; but I am a 
true cyfarwydd, and therefore tell you not to drink, for these 
pools are not the sources of the Hafren, no more than the spring 
below.  The ffynnon of the Severn is higher up the nant.  Don't 
fret, however, but follow me, and we shall be there in a minute."

So I did as he bade me, following him without fretting higher up 
the nant.  Just at the top he halted and said:  "Now, master, I 
have conducted you to the source of the Severn.  I have considered 
the matter deeply, and have come to the conclusion that here, and 
here only, is the true source.  Therefore stoop down and drink, in 
full confidence that you are taking possession of the Holy Severn."

The source of the Severn is a little pool of water some twenty 
inches long, six wide, and about three deep.  It is covered at the 
bottom with small stones, from between which the water gushes up.  
It is on the left-hand side of the nant, as you ascend, close by 
the very top.  An unsightly heap of black turf-earth stands right 
above it to the north.  Turf-heaps, both large and small, are in 
abundance in the vicinity.

After taking possession of the Severn by drinking at its source, 
rather a shabby source for so noble a stream, I said, "Now let us 
go to the fountain of the Wye."

"A quarter of an hour will take us to it, your honour," said the 
guide, leading the way.

The source of the Wye, which is a little pool, not much larger than 
that which constitutes the fountain of the Severn, stands near the 
top of a grassy hill which forms part of the Great Plynlimmon.  The 
stream after leaving its source runs down the hill towards the 
east, and then takes a turn to the south.  The Mountains of the 
Severn and the Wye are in close proximity to each other.  That of 
the Rheidol stands somewhat apart front both, as if, proud of its 
own beauty, it disdained the other two for their homeliness.  All 
three are contained within the compass of a mile.

"And now, I suppose, sir, that our work is done, and we may go back 
to where we came from," said my guide, as I stood on the grassy 
hill after drinking copiously of the fountain of the Wye.

"We may," said I; "but before we do I must repeat some lines made 
by a man who visited these sources, and experienced the hospitality 
of a chieftain in this neighbourhood four hundred years ago."  Then 
taking off my hat, I lifted up my voice and sang:-

"From high Plynlimmon's shaggy side
Three streams in three directions glide;
To thousands at their mouths who tarry
Honey, gold and mead they carry.
Flow also from Plynlimmon high
Three streams of generosity;
The first, a noble stream indeed,
Like rills of Mona runs with mead;
The second bears from vineyards thick
Wine to the feeble and the sick;
The third, till time shall be no more,
Mingled with gold shall silver pour."

"Nice pennillion, sir, I daresay," said my guide, "provided a 
person could understand them.  What's meant by all this mead, wine, 
gold, and silver?"

"Why," said I, "the bard meant to say that Plynlimmon, by means of 
its three channels, sends blessings and wealth in three different 
directions to distant places, and that the person whom he came to 
visit, and who lived on Plynlimmon, distributed his bounty in three 
different ways, giving mead to thousands at his banquets, wine from 
the vineyards of Gascony to the sick and feeble of the 
neighbourhood, and gold and silver to those who were willing to be 
tipped, amongst whom no doubt was himself, as poets have never been 
above receiving a present."

"Nor above asking for one, your honour; there's a prydydd in this 
neighbourhood who will never lose a shilling for want of asking for 
it.  Now, sir, have the kindness to tell me the name of the man who 
made those pennillion."

"Lewis Glyn Cothi," said I; "at least, it was he who made the 
pennillion from which those verses are translated."

"And what was the name of the gentleman whom he came to visit?"

"His name," said I, "was Dafydd ab Thomas Vychan."

"And where did he live?"

"Why, I believe, he lived at the castle, which you told me once 
stood on the spot which you pointed out as we came up.  At any 
rate, he lived somewhere upon Plynlimmon."

"I wish there was some rich gentleman at present living on 
Plynlimmon," said my guide; "one of that sort is much wanted."

"You can't have everything at the same time," said I; "formerly you 
had a chieftain who gave away wine and mead, and occasionally a bit 
of gold or silver, but then no travellers and tourists came to see 
the wonders of the hills, for at that time nobody cared anything 
about hills; at present you have no chieftain, but plenty of 
visitors, who come to see the hills and the sources, and scatter 
plenty of gold about the neighbourhood."

We now bent our steps homeward, bearing slightly to the north, 
going over hills and dales covered with gorse and ling.  My guide 
walked with a calm and deliberate gait, yet I had considerable 
difficulty in keeping up with him.  There was, however, nothing 
surprising in this; he was a shepherd walking on his own hill, and 
having first-rate wind, and knowing every inch of the ground, made 
great way without seeming to be in the slightest hurry:  I would 
not advise a road-walker, even if he be a first-rate one, to 
attempt to compete with a shepherd on his own, or indeed any hill; 
should he do so, the conceit would soon be taken out of him.

After a little time we saw a rivulet running from the west.

"This ffrwd," said my guide, "is called Frennig.  It here divides 
shire Trefaldwyn from Cardiganshire, one in North and the other in 
South Wales."

Shortly afterwards we came to a hillock of rather a singular shape.

"This place, sir," said he, "is called Eisteddfa."

"Why is it called so?" said I.  "Eisteddfa means the place where 
people sit down."

"It does so," said the guide, "and it is called the place of 
sitting because three men from different quarters of the world once 
met here, and one proposed that they should sit down."

"And did they?" said I.

"They did, sir; and when they had sat down they told each other 
their histories."

"I should be glad to know what their histories were," said I.

"I can't exactly tell you what they were, but I have heard say that 
there was a great deal in them about the Tylwyth Teg or fairies."

"Do you believe in fairies?" said I.

"I do, sir; but they are very seldom seen, and when they are they 
do no harm to anybody.  I only wish there were as few corpse-
candles as there are Tylwith Teg, and that they did as little 

"They foreshow people's deaths, don't they?" said I.

"They do, sir; but that's not all the harm they do.  They are very 
dangerous for anybody to meet with.  If they come bump up against 
you when you are walking carelessly it's generally all over with 
you in this world.  I'll give you an example:  A man returning from 
market from Llan Eglos to Llan Curig, not far from Plynlimmon, was 
struck down dead as a horse not long ago by a corpse-candle.  It 
was a rainy, windy night, and the wind and rain were blowing in his 
face, so that he could not see it, or get out of its way.  And yet 
the candle was not abroad on purpose to kill the man.  The business 
that it was about was to prognosticate the death of a woman who 
lived near the spot, and whose husband dealt in wool - poor thing! 
she was dead and buried in less than a fortnight.  Ah, master, I 
wish that corpse-candles were as few and as little dangerous as the 
Tylwith Teg or fairies."

We returned to the inn, where I settled with the honest fellow, 
adding a trifle to what I had agreed to give him.  Then sitting 
down, I called for a large measure of ale, and invited him to 
partake of it.  He accepted my offer with many thanks and bows, and 
as we sat and drank our ale we had a great deal of discourse about 
the places we had visited.  The ale being finished, I got up and 

"I must now be off for the Devil's Bridge!"

Whereupon he also arose, and offering me his hand, said:

"Farewell, master; I shall never forget you.  Were all the 
gentlefolks who come here to see the sources like you, we should 
indeed feel no want in these hills of such a gentleman as is spoken 
of in the pennillion."

The sun was going down as I left the inn.  I recrossed the 
streamlet by means of the pole and rail.  The water was running 
with much less violence than in the morning, and was considerably 
lower.  The evening was calm and beautifully cool, with a slight 
tendency to frost.  I walked along with a bounding and elastic 
step, and never remember to have felt more happy and cheerful.

I reached the hospice at about six o'clock, a bright moon shining 
upon me, and found a capital supper awaiting me, which I enjoyed 

How one enjoys one's supper at one's inn after a good day's walk, 
provided one has the proud and glorious consciousness of being able 
to pay one's reckoning on the morrow!


A Morning View - Hafod Ychdryd - The Monument - Fairy-looking Place 
- Edward Lhuyd.

THE morning of the sixth was bright and glorious.  As I looked from 
the window of the upper sitting-room of the hospice the scene which 
presented itself was wild and beautiful to a degree.  The oak-
covered tops of the volcanic crater were gilded with the brightest 
sunshine, whilst the eastern sides remained in dark shade and the 
gap or narrow entrance to the north in shadow yet darker, in the 
midst of which shone the silver of the Rheidol cataract.  Should I 
live a hundred years I shall never forget the wild fantastic beauty 
of that morning scene.

I left the friendly hospice at about nine o'clock to pursue my 
southern journey.  By this time the morning had lost much of its 
beauty, and the dull grey sky characteristic of November began to 
prevail.  The way lay up a hill to the south-east; on my left was a 
glen down which the river of the Monk rolled with noise and foam.  
The country soon became naked and dreary, and continued so for some 
miles.  At length, coming to the top of a hill, I saw a park before 
me, through which the road led after passing under a stately 
gateway.  I had reached the confines of the domain of Hafod.

Hafod Ychdryd, or the summer mansion of Uchtryd, has from time 
immemorial been the name of a dwelling on the side of a hill above 
the Ystwyth, looking to the east.  At first it was a summer boothie 
or hunting lodge to Welsh chieftains, but subsequently expanded to 
the roomy, comfortable dwelling of Welsh squires, where hospitality 
was much practised and bards and harpers liberally encouraged.  
Whilst belonging to an ancient family of the name of Johnes, 
several members of which made no inconsiderable figure in 
literature, it was celebrated, far and wide, for its library, in 
which was to be found, amongst other treasures, a large collection 
of Welsh manuscripts on various subjects - history, medicine, 
poetry and romance.  The house, however, and the library were both 
destroyed in a dreadful fire which broke out.  This fire is 
generally called the great fire of Hafod, and some of those who 
witnessed it have been heard to say that its violence was so great 
that burning rafters mixed with flaming books were hurled high 
above the summits of the hills.  The loss of the house was a matter 
of triviality compared with that of the library.  The house was 
soon rebuilt, and probably, phoenix-like, looked all the better for 
having been burnt, but the library could never be restored.  On the 
extinction of the family, the last hope of which, an angelic girl, 
faded away in the year 1811, the domain became the property of the 
late Duke of Newcastle, a kind and philanthrophic nobleman, and a 
great friend of agriculture, who held it for many years, and 
considerably improved it.  After his decease it was purchased by 
the head of an ancient Lancashire family, who used the modern house 
as a summer residence, as the Welsh chieftains had used the wooden 
boothie of old.

I went to a kind of lodge, where I had been told that I should find 
somebody who would admit me to the church, which stood within the 
grounds and contained a monument which I was very desirous of 
seeing, partly from its being considered one of the masterpieces of 
the great Chantrey, and partly because it was a memorial to the 
lovely child, the last scion of the old family who had possessed 
the domain.  A good-looking young woman, the only person whom I 
saw, on my telling my errand, forthwith took a key and conducted me 
to the church.  The church was a neat edifice with rather a modern 
look.  It exhibited nothing remarkable without, and only one thing 
remarkable within, namely, the monument, which was indeed worthy of 
notice, and which, had Chantrey executed nothing else, might well 
have entitled him to be considered, what the world has long 
pronounced him, the prince of British sculptors.

This monument, which is of the purest marble, is placed on the 
eastern side of the church, below a window of stained glass, and 
represents a truly affecting scene:  a lady and gentleman are 
standing over a dying girl of angelic beauty, who is extended on a 
couch, and from whose hand a volume, the Book of Life, is falling.  
The lady is weeping.

Beneath is the following inscription -

To the Memory of
The only child of THOMAS and JANE JOHNES
Who died in 1811
After a few days' sickness
This monument is dedicated
By her parents.

An inscription worthy, by its simplicity and pathos, to stand below 
such a monument.

After presenting a trifle to the woman, who, to my great surprise, 
could not speak a word of English, I left the church, and descended 
the side of the hill, near the top of which it stands.  The scenery 
was exceedingly beautiful.  Below me was a bright green valley, at 
the bottom of which the Ystwyth ran brawling, now hid amongst 
groves, now showing a long stretch of water.  Beyond the river to 
the east was a noble mountain, richly wooded.  The Ystwyth, after a 
circuitous course, joins the Rheidol near the strand of the Irish 
Channel, which the united rivers enter at a place called Aber 
Ystwyth, where stands a lovely town of the same name, which sprang 
up under the protection of a baronial castle, still proud and 
commanding even in its ruins, built by Strongbow, the conqueror of 
the great western isle.  Near the lower part of the valley the road 
tended to the south, up and down through woods and bowers, the 
scenery still ever increasing in beauty.  At length, after passing 
through a gate and turning round a sharp corner, I suddenly beheld 
Hafod on my right hand, to the west at a little distance above me, 
on a rising ground, with a noble range of mountains behind it.

A truly fairy place it looked, beautiful but fantastic, in the 
building of which three styles of architecture seemed to have been 
employed.  At the southern end was a Gothic tower; at the northern 
an Indian pagoda; the middle part had much the appearance of a 
Grecian villa.  The walls were of resplendent whiteness, and the 
windows, which were numerous, shone with beautiful gilding.  Such 
was modern Hafod, a strange contrast, no doubt, to the hunting 
lodge of old.

After gazing at this house of eccentric taste for about a quarter 
of an hour, sometimes with admiration, sometimes with a strong 
disposition to laugh, I followed the road, which led past the house 
in nearly a southerly direction.  Presently the valley became more 
narrow, and continued narrowing till there was little more room 
than was required for the road and the river, which ran deep below 
it on the left-hand side.  Presently I came to a gate, the boundary 
in the direction in which I was going of the Hafod domain.

Here, when about to leave Hafod, I shall devote a few lines to a 
remarkable man whose name should be ever associated with the place.  
Edward Lhuyd was born in the vicinity of Hafod about the period of 
the Restoration.  His father was a clergyman, who after giving him 
an excellent education at home sent him to Oxford, at which seat of 
learning he obtained an honourable degree, officiated for several 
years as tutor, and was eventually made custodiary of the Ashmolean 
Museum.  From his early youth he devoted himself with indefatigable 
zeal to the acquisition of learning.  He was fond of natural 
history and British antiquities, but his favourite pursuit, and 
that in which he principally distinguished himself, was the study 
of the Celtic dialects; and it is but doing justice to his memory 
to say, that he was not only the best Celtic scholar of his time, 
but that no one has arisen since worthy to be considered his equal 
in Celtic erudition.  Partly at the expense of the univer