Wild Wales
by George Borrow
Hypertext Meanings and Commentaries
from the Encyclopedia of the Self
by Mark Zimmerman
Return to Part 1 of 2

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 university,
partly at that of various powerful individuals who patronized him,
he travelled through Ireland, the Western Highlands, Wales,
Cornwall and Armorica, for the purpose of collecting Celtic
manuscripts. He was particularly successful in Ireland and Wales.
Several of the most precious Irish manuscripts in Oxford, and also
in the Chandos Library, were of Lhuyd's collection, and to him the
old hall at Hafod was chiefly indebted for its treasures of ancient
British literature. Shortly after returning to Oxford from his
Celtic wanderings he sat down to the composition of a grand work in
three parts, under the title of Archaeologia Britannica, which he
had long projected. The first was to be devoted to the Celtic
dialects; the second to British Antiquities, and the third to the
natural history of the British Isles. He only lived to complete
the first part. It contains various Celtic grammars and
vocabularies, to each of which there is a preface written by Lhuyd
in the particular dialect to which the vocabulary or grammar is
devoted. Of all these prefaces the one to the Irish is the most
curious and remarkable. The first part of the Archaeologia was
published at Oxford in 1707, two years before the death of the
author. Of his correspondence, which was very extensive, several
letters have been published, all of them relating to philology,
antiquities, and natural history.


An Adventure - Spytty Ystwyth - Wormwood.

SHORTLY after leaving the grounds of Hafod I came to a bridge over
the Ystwyth. I crossed it, and was advancing along the road which
led apparently to the south-east, when I came to a company of
people who seemed to be loitering about. It consisted entirely of
young men and women, the former with crimson favours, the latter in
the garb of old Wales, blue tunics and sharp crowned hats. Going
up to one of the young women, I said, "Petti yw? what's the

"Priodas (a marriage)," she replied, after looking at me
attentively. I then asked her the name of the bridge, whereupon
she gave a broad grin, and after some, little time replied: "Pont
y Groes (the bridge of the cross)."  I was about to ask her some
other question when she turned away with a loud chuckle, and said
something to another wench near her, who, grinning yet more
uncouthly, said something to a third, who grinned too, and lifting
up her hands and spreading her fingers wide, said: "Dyn oddi dir y
Gogledd - a man from the north country, hee, hee!"  Forthwith there
was a general shout, the wenches crying: "A man from the north
country, hee, hee!" and the fellows crying: "A man from the north
country, hoo, hoo!"

"Is this the way you treat strangers in the south?" said I. But I
had scarcely uttered the words when with redoubled shouts the
company exclaimed: "There's Cumraeg! there's pretty Cumraeg. Go
back, David, to shire Fon! That Cumraeg won't pass here."

Finding they disliked my Welsh I had recourse to my own language.
"Really," said I in English, "such conduct is unaccountable. What
do you mean?"  But this only made matters worse, for the shouts
grew louder still, and every one cried: "There's pretty English!
Well, if I couldn't speak better English than that I'd never speak
English at all. No, David; if you must speak at all, stick to
Cumraeg."  Then forthwith, all the company set themselves in
violent motion, the women rushing up to me with their palms and
fingers spread out in my face, without touching me, however, as
they wheeled round me at about a yard's distance, crying: "A man
from the north country, hee, hee!" and the fellows acting just in
the same way, rushing up with their hands spread out, and then
wheeling round me with cries of "A man from the north country, hoo,
hoo!"  I was so enraged that I made for a heap of stones by the
road-side, intending to take some up and fling them at the company.
Reflecting, however, that I had but one pair of hands and the
company at least forty, and that by such an attempt at revenge I
should only make myself ridiculous, I gave up my intention, and
continued my journey at a rapid pace, pursued for a long way by
"hee, hee," and "hoo, hoo," and: "Go back, David, to your goats in
Anglesey, you are not wanted here."

I began to descend a hill forming the eastern side of an immense
valley, at the bottom of which rolled the river. Beyond the valley
to the west was an enormous hill, on the top of which was a most
singular-looking crag, seemingly leaning in the direction of the
south. On the right-hand side of the road were immense works of
some kind in full play and activity, for engines were clanging and
puffs of smoke were ascending from tall chimneys. On inquiring of
a boy the name of the works I was told that they were called the
works of Level Vawr, or the Great Level, a mining establishment;
but when I asked him the name of the hill with the singular peak,
on the other side of the valley, he shook his head and said he did
not know. Near the top of the hill I came to a village consisting
of a few cottages and a shabby-looking church. A rivulet
descending from some crags to the east crosses the road, which
leads through the place, and tumbling down the valley, joins the
Ystwyth at the bottom. Seeing a woman standing at the door, I
inquired the name of the village.

"Spytty Ystwyth," she replied, but she, no more than the boy down
below, could tell me the name of the strange-looking hill across
the valley. This second Spytty or monastic hospital, which I had
come to, looked in every respect an inferior place to the first.
Whatever its former state might have been, nothing but dirt and
wretchedness were now visible. Having reached the top of the hill
I entered upon a wild moory region. Presently I crossed a little
bridge over a rivulet, and seeing a small house on the shutter of
which was painted "cwrw," I went in, sat down on an old chair,
which I found vacant, and said in English to an old woman who sat
knitting by the window: "Bring me a pint of ale!"

"Dim Saesneg!" said the old woman.

"I told you to bring me a pint of ale," said I to her in her own

"You shall have it immediately, sir," said she, and going to a
cask, she filled a jug with ale, and after handing it to me resumed
her seat and knitting.

"It is not very bad ale," said I, after I had tasted it.

"It ought to be very good," said the old woman, "for I brewed it

"The goodness of ale," said I, "does not so much depend on who
brews it as on what it is brewed of. Now there is something in
this ale which ought not to be. What is it made of?"

"Malt and hop."

"It tastes very bitter," said I. "Is there no chwerwlys (13) in

"I do not know what chwerwlys is," said the old woman.

"It is what the Saxons call wormwood," said I.

"Oh, wermod. No, there is no wermod in my beer, at least not

"Oh, then there is some; I thought there was. Why do you put such
stuff into your ale?"

"We are glad to put it in sometimes when hops are dear, as they are
this year. Moreover, wermod is not bad stuff, and some folks like
the taste better than that of hops."

"Well, I don't. However, the ale is drinkable. What am I to give
you for the pint?"

"You are to give me a groat."

"That is a great deal," said I, "for a groat I ought to have a pint
of ale made of the best malt and hops."

"I give you the best I can afford. One must live by what one
sells. I do not find that easy work."

"Is this house your own?"

"Oh no! I pay rent for it, and not a cheap one."

"Have you a husband?

"I had, but he is dead."

"Have you any children?"

"I had three, but they are dead too, and buried with my husband at
the monastery."

"Where is the monastery?"

"A good way farther on, at the strath beyond Rhyd Fendigaid."

"What is the name of the little river by the house?"

"Avon Marchnad (Market River)."

"Why is it called Avon Marchnad?"

"Truly, gentleman, I cannot tell you."

I went on sipping my ale and finding fault with its bitterness till
I had finished it, when getting up I gave the old lady her groat,
bade her farewell, and departed.


Pont y Rhyd Fendigaid - Strata Florida - The Yew-Tree - Idolatry -
The Teivi - The Llostlydan.

AND now for the resting-place of Dafydd Ab Gwilym! After wandering
for some miles towards the south over a bleak moory country I came
to a place called Fair Rhos, a miserable village, consisting of a
few half-ruined cottages, situated on the top of a hill. From the
hill I looked down on a wide valley of a russet colour, along which
a river ran towards the south. The whole scene was cheerless.
Sullen hills were all around. Descending the hill I entered a
large village divided into two by the river, which here runs from
east to west, but presently makes a turn. There was much mire in
the street; immense swine lay in the mire, who turned up their
snouts at me as I passed. Women in Welsh hats stood in the mire,
along with men without any hats at all, but with short pipes in
their mouths; they were talking together; as I passed, however,
they held their tongues, the women leering contemptuously at me,
the men glaring sullenly at me, and causing tobacco smoke curl in
my face; on my taking off my hat, however and inquiring the way to
the Monachlog, everybody was civil enough, and twenty voices told
me the way the Monastery. I asked the name of the river:

"The Teivi, sir: the Teivi."

"The name of the bridge?"

"Pony y Rhyd Fendigaid - the Bridge of the Blessed Ford, sir."

I crossed the Bridge of the Blessed Ford, and presently leaving the
main road, I turned to the east by a dung-hill, up a narrow lane
parallel with the river. After proceeding a mile up the lane,
amidst trees and copses, and crossing a little brook, which runs
into the Teivi, out of which I drank, I saw before me in the midst
of a field, in which were tombstones and broken ruins, a rustic-
looking church; a farm-house stood near it, in the garden of which
stood the framework of a large gateway. I crossed over into the
churchyard, ascended a green mound, and looked about me. I was now
in the very midst of the Monachlog Ystrad Flur, the celebrated
monastery of Strata Florida, to which in old times Popish pilgrims
from all parts of the world repaired. The scene was solemn and
impressive: on the north side of the river a large bulky hill
looked down upon the ruins and the church, and on the south side,
some way behind the farm-house, was another which did the same.
Rugged mountains formed the background of the valley to the east,
down from which came murmuring the fleet but shallow Teivi. Such
is the scenery which surrounds what remains of Strata Florida:
those scanty broken ruins compose all which remains of that
celebrated monastery, in which saints and mitred abbots were
buried, and in which, or in whose precincts, was buried Dafydd Ab
Gwilym, the greatest genius of the Cimbric race and one of the
first poets of the world.

After standing for some time on the mound I descended, and went up
to the church. I found the door fastened, but obtained through a
window a tolerable view of the interior, which presented an
appearance of the greatest simplicity. I then strolled about the
churchyard looking at the tombstones, which were humble enough and
for the most part modern. I would give something, said I, to know
whereabouts in this neighbourhood Ab Gwilym lies. That, however,
is a secret that no one can reveal to me. At length I came to a
yew-tree which stood just by the northern wall, which is at a
slight distance from the Teivi. It was one of two trees, both of
the same species, which stood in the churchyard, and appeared to be
the oldest of the two. Who knows, said I, but this is the tree
that was planted over Ab Gwilym's grave, and to which Gruffydd Gryg
wrote an ode? I looked at it attentively, and thought that there
was just a possibility of its being the identical tree. If it was,
however, the benison of Gruffydd Gryg had not had exactly the
effect which he intended, for either lightning or the force of wind
had splitten off a considerable part of the head and trunk, so that
though one part of it looked strong and blooming, the other was
white and spectral. Nevertheless, relying on the possibility of
its being the sacred tree, I behaved just as I should have done had
I been quite certain of the fact. Taking off my hat I knelt down
and kissed its root, repeating lines from Gruffydd Gryg, with which
I blended some of my own in order to accommodate what I said to
present circumstances:-

"O tree of yew, which here I spy,
By Ystrad Flur's blest monast'ry,
Beneath thee lies, by cold Death bound,
The tongue for sweetness once renown'd.
Better for thee thy boughs to wave,
Though scath'd, above Ab Gwilym's grave,
Than stand in pristine glory drest
Where some ignobler bard doth rest;
I'd rather hear a taunting rhyme
From one who'll live through endless time,
Than hear my praises chanted loud
By poets of the vulgar crowd."

I had left the churchyard, and was standing near a kind of garden,
at some little distance from the farm-house, gazing about me and
meditating, when a man came up attended by a large dog. He had
rather a youthful look, was of the middle size, and dark
complexioned. He was respectably dressed, except that upon his
head he wore a common hairy cap.

"Good evening," said I to him in Welsh.

"Good evening, gentleman," said he in the same language.

"Have you much English?" said I.

"Very little; I can only speak a few words."

"Are you the farmer?"

"Yes! I farm the greater part of the Strath."

"I suppose the land is very good here?"

"Why do you suppose so?"

"Because the monks built their house here in the old time, and the
monks never built their houses except on good land."

"Well, I must say the land is good; indeed I do not think there is
any so good in Shire Aberteifi."

"I suppose you are surprised to see me here; I came to see the old

"Yes, gentleman; I saw you looking about it."

"Am I welcome to see it?"

"Croesaw! gwr boneddig, croesaw! many, many welcomes to you,

"Do many people come to see the monastery?"

FARMER. - Yes! many gentlefolks come to see it in the summer time.

MYSELF. - It is a poor place now.

FARMER. - Very poor, I wonder any gentlefolks come to look at it.

MYSELF. - It was a wonderful place once; you merely see the ruins
of it now. It was pulled down at the Reformation.

FARMER. - Why was it pulled down then?

MYSELF. - Because it was a house of idolatry to which people used
to resort by hundreds to worship images. Had you lived at that
time you would have seen people down on their knees before stocks
and stones, worshipping them, kissing them, and repeating
pennillion to them.

FARMER. - What fools! How thankful I am that I live in wiser days.
If such things were going on in the old Monachlog it was high time
to pull it down.

MYSELF. - What kind of a rent do you pay for your land?

FARMER. - Oh, rather a stiffish one.

MYSELF. - Two pounds an acre?

FARMER. - Two pound an acre! I wish I paid no more!

MYSELF. - Well, I think that would be quite enough. In the time of
the old monastery you might have had the land at two shillings an

FARMER. - Might I? Then those couldn't have been such bad times,
after all.

MYSELF. - I beg your pardon! They were horrible times - times in
which there were monks and friars and graven images, which people
kissed and worshipped and sang pennillion to. Better pay three
pounds an acre and live on crusts and water in the present
enlightened days than pay two shillings an acre and sit down to
beef and ale three times a day in the old superstitious times.

FARMER. - Well, I scarcely know what to say to that.

MYSELF. - What do you call that high hill on the other side of the

FARMER. - I call that hill Bunk Pen Bannedd.

MYSELF. - Is the source of the Teivi far from here?

FARMER. - The head of the Teivi is about two miles from here high
up in the hills.

MYSELF. - What kind of place is the head of the Teivi?

FARMER. - The head of the Teivi is a small lake about fifty yards
long and twenty across.

MYSELF. - Where does the Teivi run to?

FARMER. - The Teivi runs to the sea, which it enters at a place
which the Cumri call Aber Teivi and the Saxons Cardigan.

MYSELF. - Don't you call Cardiganshire Shire Aber Teivi?

FARMER. - We do.

MYSELF. - Are there many gleisiaid in the Teivi?

FARMER. - Plenty, and salmons too - that is, farther down. The
best place for salmon and gleisiaid is a place, a great way down
the stream, called Dinas Emlyn.

MYSELF. - Do you know an animal called Llostlydan?

FARMER. - No, I do not know that beast.

MYSELF. - There used to be many in the Teivi.

FARMER. - What kind of beast is the Llostlydan?

MYSELF. - A beast with a broad tail, on which account the old Cumri
did call him Llostlydan. Clever beast he was; made himself house
of wood in middle of the river, with two doors, so that when hunter
came upon him he might have good chance of escape. Hunter often
after him, because he had skin good to make hat.

FARMER. - Ha, I wish I could catch that beast now in Teivi.

MYSELF. - Why so?

Farmer. - Because I want hat. Would make myself hat of his skin.

MYSELF. - Oh, you could not make yourself a hat even if you had the

FARMER. - Why not? Shot coney in Bunk Pen Banedd; made myself cap
of his skin. So why not make hat of skin of broadtail, should I
catch him in Teivi?

MYSELF. - How far is it to Tregaron?

FARMER. -'Tis ten miles from here, and eight from the Rhyd

MYSELF. - Must I go back to Rhyd Fendigaid to get to Tregaron?

FARMER. - You must.

MYSELF. - Then I must be going, for the night is coming down.

FARMER. - Farvel, Saxon gentleman!


Nocturnal Journey - Maes y Lynn - The Figure - Earl of Leicester -
Twm Shone Catti - The Farmer and Bull - Tom and the Farmer - The
Cave - The Threat - Tom a Justice - The Big Wigs - Tregaron.

IT was dusk by the time I had regained the high-road by the village
of the Rhyd Fendigaid.

As I was yet eight miles from Tregaron, the place where I intended
to pass the night, I put on my best pace. In a little time I
reached a bridge over a stream which seemed to carry a considerable
tribute to the Teivi.

"What is the name of this bridge?" said I to a man riding in a
cart, whom I met almost immediately after I had crossed the bridge.

"Pont Vleer," methought he said, but as his voice was husky and
indistinct, very much like that of a person somewhat the worse for
liquor, I am by no means positive.

It was now very dusk, and by the time I had advanced about a mile
farther dark night settled down, which compelled me to abate my
pace a little, more especially as the road was by no means first-
rate. I had come, to the best of my computation, about four miles
from the Rhyd Fendigaid when the moon began partly to show itself,
and presently by its glimmer I saw some little way off on my right
hand what appeared to be a large sheet of water. I went on, and in
about a minute saw two or three houses on the left, which stood
nearly opposite to the object which I had deemed to be water, and
which now appeared to be about fifty yards distant in a field which
was separated from the road by a slight hedge. Going up to the
principal house I knocked, and a woman making her appearance at the
door, I said:

"I beg pardon for troubling you, but I wish to know the name of
this place."

"Maes y Lynn - The Field of the Lake," said the woman.

"And what is the name of the lake?" said I.

"I do not know," said she; "but the place where it stands is called
Maes Llyn, as I said before."

"Is the lake deep?" said I.

"Very deep," said she.

"How deep?" said I.

"Over the tops of the houses," she replied.

"Any fish in the lake?"

"Oh yes! plenty."

"What fish?"

"Oh, there are llysowen, and the fish we call ysgetten."

"Eels and tench," said I; "anything else?"

"I do not know," said the woman; "folks say that there used to be
queer beast in the lake, water-cow used to come out at night and
eat people's clover in the fields."

"Pooh," said I, "that was merely some person's cow or horse, turned
out at night to fill its belly at other folks' expense."

"Perhaps so," said the woman; "have you any more questions to ask?"

"Only one," said I; "how far is it to Tregaron?"

"About three miles: are you going there?"

"Yes, I am going to Tregaron."

"Pity that you did not come a little time ago," said the woman;
"you might then have had pleasant company on your way; pleasant man
stopped here to light his pipe; he too going to Tregaron."

"It doesn't matter," said I; "I am never happier than when keeping
my own company."  Bidding the woman good night, I went on. The
moon now shone tolerably bright, so that I could see my way, and I
sped on at a great rate. I had proceeded nearly half a mile, when
I thought I heard steps in advance, and presently saw a figure at
some little distance before me. The individual, probably hearing
the noise of my approach, soon turned round and stood still. As I
drew near I distinguished a stout burly figure of a man, seemingly
about sixty, with a short pipe in his mouth.

"Ah, is it you?" said the figure, in English, taking the pipe out
of his mouth; "good evening, I am glad to see you."  Then shaking
some burning embers out of his pipe, he put it into his pocket, and
trudged on beside me.

"Why are you glad to see I me?" said I, slackening my pace; "I am a
stranger to you; at any rate, you are to me."

"Always glad to see English gentleman," said the figure; "always
glad to see him."

"How do you know that I am an English gentleman?" said I.

"Oh, I know Englishman at first sight; no one like him in the whole

"Have you seen many English gentleman?" said I.

"Oh yes, have seen plenty when I have been up in London."

"Have you been much in London?"

"Oh yes; when I was a drover was up in London every month."

"And were you much in the society of English gentlemen when you
were there?"

"Oh yes; a great deal."

"Whereabouts in London did you chiefly meet them?"

"Whereabouts? Oh, in Smithfield."

"Dear me!" said I; "I thought that was rather a place for butchers
than gentlemen."

"Great place for gentlemen, I assure you," said the figure; "met
there the finest gentleman I ever saw in my life; very grand, but
kind and affable, like every true gentleman. Talked to me a great
deal about Anglesey runts, and Welsh legs of mutton, and at parting
shook me by the hand, and asked me to look in upon him, if I was
ever down in his parts, and see his sheep and taste his ale."

"Do you know who he was?" said I.

"Oh yes; know all about him; Earl of Leicester, from county of
Norfolk; fine old man indeed - you very much like him - speak just
in same way."

"Have you given up the business of drover long?" said I.

"Oh yes; given him up a long time, ever since domm'd railroad came
into fashion."

"And what do you do now?" said I.

"Oh, not much; live upon my means; picked up a little property, a
few sticks, just enough for old crow to build him nest with -
sometimes, however, undertake a little job for neighbouring people
and get a little money. Can do everything in small way, if
necessary; build little bridge, if asked; - Jack of all Trades -
live very comfortably."

"And where do you live?"

"Oh, not very far from Tregaron."

"And what kind of place is Tregaron?"

"Oh, very good place; not quite so big as London but very good

"What is it famed for?" said I,

"Oh, famed for very good ham; best ham at Tregaron in all Shire

"Famed for anything else?"

"Oh yes! famed for great man, clever thief, Twm Shone Catti, who
was born there."

"Dear me!" said I; "when did he live?"

"Oh, long time ago, more than two hundred year."

"And what became of him?" said I; "was he hung?"

"Hung, no! only stupid thief hung. Twm Shone clever thief; died
rich man, justice of the peace and mayor of Brecon."

"Very singular," said I, "that they should make a thief mayor of

"Oh Twm Shone Catti very different from other thieves; funny
fellow, and so good-natured that everybody loved him - so they made
him magistrate, not, however, before he had become very rich man by
marrying great lady who fell in love with him."

"Ah, ah," said I; "that's the way of the world. He became rich, so
they made him a magistrate; had he remained poor they would have
hung him in spite of all his fun and good-nature. Well, can't you
tell me some of the things he did?"

"Oh yes, can tell you plenty. One day in time of fair Tom Shone
Catti goes into ironmonger's shop in Llandovery. 'Master,' says
he, 'I want to buy a good large iron porridge pot; please to show
me some.'  So the man brings three or four big iron porridge pots,
the very best he has. Tom takes up one and turns it round. 'This
look very good porridge pot,' said he; 'I think it will suit me.'  
Then he turns it round and round again, and at last lifts it above
his head and peeks into it. 'Ha, ha,' says he; 'this won't do; I
see one hole here. What mean you by wanting to sell article like
this to stranger?'  Says the man, 'There be no hole in it.'  'But
there is,' says Tom, holding it up and peeking into it again; 'I
see the hole quite plain. Take it and look into it yourself.'  So
the man takes the pot, and having held it up and peeked in, 'as I
hope to be saved,' says he, 'I can see no hole.'  Says Tom, 'Good
man, if you put your head in, you will find that there is a hole.'  
So the man tries to put in his head, but having some difficulty,
Tom lends him a helping hand by jamming the pot quite down over the
man's face, then whisking up the other pots Tom leaves the shop,
saying as he goes, 'Friend, I suppose you now see there is a hole
in the pot, otherwise how could you have got your head inside?"'

"Very good," said I; "can you tell us something more about Twm
Shone Catti?"

"Oh yes; can tell you plenty about him. The farmer at Newton, just
one mile beyond the bridge at Brecon, had one very fine bull, but
with a very short tail. Says Tom to himself: 'By God's nails and
blood, I will steal the farmer's bull, and then sell it to him for
other bull in open market place.'  Then Tom makes one fine tail,
just for all the world such a tail as the bull ought to have had,
then goes by night to the farmer's stall at Newton, steals away the
bull, and then sticks to the bull's short stump the fine bull's
tail which he himself had made. The next market day he takes the
bull to the market-place at Brecon, and calls out; 'Very fine bull
this, who will buy my fine bull?'  Quoth the farmer who stood nigh
at hand, 'That very much like my bull, which thief stole t'other
night; I think I can swear to him.'  Says Tom, 'What do you mean?
This bull is not your bull, but mine.'  Says the farmer, 'I could
swear that this is my bull but for the tail. The tail of my bull
was short, but the tail of this is long. I would fain know whether
the tail of this be real tail or not.'  'You would?' says Tom;
'well, so you shall.'  Thereupon he whips out big knife and cuts
off the bull's tail, some little way above where the false tail was
joined on. 'Ha, ha,' said Tom, as the bull's stump of tail bled,
and the bit of tail bled too to which the false tail was stuck, and
the bull kicked and bellowed. 'What say you now? Is it a true
tail or no?'  'By my faith!' says the farmer, 'I see that the tail
is a true tail, and that the bull is not mine. I beg pardon for
thinking that he was.'  'Begging pardon,' says Tom, 'is all very
well; but will you buy the bull?'  'No,' said the farmer; 'I should
be loth to buy a bull with tail cut off close to the rump.'  'Ha,'
says Tom; 'who made me cut off the tail but yourself? Did you not
force me to do so in order to clear my character? Now as you made
me cut off my bull's tail, I will make you buy my bull without his
tail.'  'Yes, yes,' cried the mob; 'as he forced you to cut off the
tail, do you now force him to buy the bull without the tail.'  Says
the farmer, 'What do you ask for the bull?'  Says Tom: 'I ask for
him ten pound.'  Says the farmer, 'I will give you eight.'  'No,'
says Tom; 'you shall give me ten, or I will have you up before the
justice.'  'That is right,' cried the mob. 'If he won't pay you
ten pound, have him up before the justice.'  Thereupon the farmer,
becoming frightened, pulled out the ten pounds and gave it for his
own bull to Tom Shone Catti, who wished him joy of his bargain. As
the farmer was driving the bull away he said to Tom: 'Won't you
give me the tail?'  'No,' said Tom; 'I shall keep it against the
time I steal another bull with a short tail;' and thereupon he runs

"A clever fellow," said I; "though it was rather cruel in him to
cut off the poor bull's tail. Now, perhaps, you will tell me how
he came to marry the rich lady?

"Oh yes; I will tell you. One day as he was wandering about,
dressed quite like a gentleman, he heard a cry, and found one very
fine lady in the hands of one highwayman, who would have robbed and
murdered her. Tom kills the highwayman and conducts the lady home
to her house and her husband, for she was a married lady. Out of
gratitude to Tom for the service he has done, the gentleman and
lady invite him to stay with them. The gentleman, who is a great
gentleman, fond of his bottle and hunting, takes mightily to Tom
for his funny sayings and because Tom's a good hand at a glass when
at table, and a good hand at a leap when in field; the lady also
takes very much to Tom, because he one domm'd handsome fellow, with
plenty of wit and what they call boetry - for Tom, amongst other
things, was no bad boet, and could treat a lady to pennillion about
her face and her ancle, and the tip of her ear. At last Tom goes
away upon his wanderings, not, however, before he has got one
promise from the lady, that if ever she becomes disengaged she will
become his wife. Well, after some time, the lady's husband dies
and leaves her all his property, so that all of a sudden she finds
herself one great independent lady, mistress of the whole of Strath
Feen, one fair and pleasant valley far away there over the Eastern
hills, by the Towey, on the borders of Shire Car. Tom, as soon as
he hears the news of all this, sets off for Strath Feen and asks
the lady to perform her word; but the lady, who finds herself one
great and independent lady, and moreover does not quite like the
idea of marrying one thief, for she had learnt who Tom was, does
hum and hah, and at length begs to be excused, because she has
changed her mind. Tom begs and entreats, but quite in vain, till
at last she tells him to go away and not trouble her any more. Tom
goes away, but does not yet lose hope. He takes up his quarters in
one strange little cave, nearly at the top of one wild hill, very
much like sugar loaf, which does rise above the Towey, just within
Shire Car. I have seen the cave myself, which is still called
Ystafell Twm Shone Catty. Very queer cave it is, in strange
situation; steep rock just above it, Towey River roaring below.
There Tom takes up his quarters, and from there he often sallies
forth, in hope of having interview with fair lady and making her
alter her mind, but she will have nothing to do with him, and at
last shuts herself up in her house and will not go out. Well, Tom
nearly loses all hope; he, however, determines to make one last
effort; so one morning he goes to the house and stands before the
door, entreating with one loud and lamentable voice that the lady
will see him once more, because he is come to bid her one eternal
farewell, being about to set off for the wars in the kingdom of
France. Well, the lady who hears all he says relents one little,
and showing herself at the window, before which are very strong
iron bars, she says: 'Here I am! whatever you have to say, say it
quickly and go your way.'  Says Tom: 'I am come to bid you one
eternal farewell, and have but one last slight request to make,
which is that you vouchsafe to stretch out of the window your lily-
white hand, that I may impress one last burning kiss of love on the
same.'  Well, the lady hesitates one little time; at last, having
one woman's heart, she thinks she may grant him this last little
request, and stretching her hand through the bars, she says:
'Well, there's my hand, kiss it once and begone.'  Forthwith Tom,
seizing her wrist with his left hand, says: 'I have got you now,
and will never let you go till you swear to become my wife.'  
'Never,' said the lady, 'will I become the wife of one thief,' and
strives with all her might to pull her hand free, but cannot, for
the left hand of Tom is more strong than the right of other man.
Thereupon Tom with his right hand draws forth his sword, and with
one dreadful shout does exclaim, - 'Now will you swear to become my
wife, for if you don't, by God's blood and nails, I will this
moment smite off your hand with this sword.'  Then the lady being
very much frightened, and having one sneaking kindness for Tom, who
though he looked very fierce looked also very handsome, said, -
'Well, well! a promise is a promise; I promised to become your
wife, and so I will; I swear I will; by all I hold holy I swear; so
let go my hand, which you have almost pulled off, and come in and
welcome!'  So Tom lets go her hand, and the lady opens her door,
and before night they were married, and in less than one month Tom,
being now very rich and Lord of Ystrad Feen, was made justice of
the peace and chairman at quarter session."

"And what kind of justice of the peace did Tom make?"

"Ow, the very best justice of the peace that there ever was. He
made the old saying good: you must get one thief to catch one
thief. He had not been a justice three year before there was not a
thief in Shire Brecon nor in Shire Car, for they also made him
justice of Carmarthenshire, and a child might walk through the
country quite safe with a purse of gold in its hand. He said that
as he himself could not have a finger in the pie, he would take
care nobody else should. And yet he was not one bloody justice
either; never hanged thief without giving him a chance to reform;
but when he found him quite hardened he would say: 'Hang up de
rogue!'  Oh, Tom was not a very hard man, and had one grateful
heart for any old kindness which had been sewn him. One day as Tom
sat on de bench with other big wigs, Tom the biggest wig of the
lot, a man was brought up charged with stealing one bullock. Tom
no sooner cast eye on the man than he remembered him quite well.
Many years before Tom had stole a pair of oxen, which he wished to
get through the town of Brecon, but did not dare to drive them
through, for at that very time there was one warrant out against
Tom at Brecon for something he had done. So Tom stands with his
oxen on the road, scratching his head and not knowing what to do.
At length there comes a man along the road, making towards Brecon,
to whom Tom says: 'Honest man, I want these two oxen to be driven
to such and such a public-house two miles beyond Brecon; I would
drive them myself only I have business to do elsewhere of more
importance. Now if you will drive them for me there and wait till
I come, which will not be long, I will give you a groat.'  Says the
man; 'I will drive them there for nothing, for as my way lies past
that same public-house I can easily afford to do so.'  So Tom
leaves the oxen with the man, and by rough and roundabout road
makes for the public-house -  beyond Brecon, where he finds the man
waiting with the oxen, who hands them over to him and goes on his
way. Now, in the man brought up before him and the other big wigs
on the bench for stealing the bullock, Tom does recognise the man
who had done him that same good turn. Well! the evidence was heard
against the man, and it soon appeared quite clear that the man did
really steal the bullock. Says the other big wigs to Tom: 'The
fact has been proved quite clear. What have we now to do but to
adshudge at once that the domm'd thief be hung?'  But Tom, who
remembered that the man had once done him one good turn, had made
up his mind to save the man. So says he to the other big wigs:
'My very worthy esteemed friends and coadshutors, I do perfectly
agree with you that the fact has been proved clear enough, but with
respect to de man, I should be very much grieved should he be hung
for this one fact, for I did know him long time ago, and did find
him to be one domm'd honest man in one transaction which I had with
him. So my wordy and esteemed friends and coadshutors I should
esteem it one great favour if you would adshudge that the man
should be let off this one time. If, however, you deem it
inexpedient to let the man off, then of course the man must be
hung, for I shall not presume to set my opinions and judgments
against your opinions and judgments, which are far better than my
own.'  Then the other big wigs did look very big and solemn, and
did shake their heads and did whisper to one another that they were
afraid the matter could not be done. At last, however, they did
come to the conclusion that as Tom had said that he had known the
fellow once to be one domm'd honest man, and as they had a great
regard for Tom, who was one domm'd good magistrate and highly
respectable gentleman with whom they were going to dine the next
day - for Tom I must tell you was in the habit of giving the very
best dinners in all Shire Brecon - it might not be incompatible
with the performance of their duty to let the man off this one
time, seeing as how the poor fellow had probably merely made one
slight little mistake. Well: to make the matter short, the man
was let off with only a slight reprimand, and left the court.
Scarcely, however, had he gone twenty yards, when Tom was after
him, and tapping him on the shoulder said: 'Honest friend, a word
with you!'  Then the man turning round Tom said: 'Do you know me,
pray?'  'I think I do, your honour,' said the man. 'I think your
honour was one of the big wigs, who were just now so kind as to let
me off.'  'I was so,' said Tom; 'and it is well for you that I was
the biggest of these big wigs before whom you stood placed,
otherwise to a certainty you would have been hung up on high; but
did you ever see me before this affair?'  'No, your honour,' said
the man, 'I don't remember ever to have seen your honour before.'  
Says Tom, 'Don't you remember one long time ago driving a pair of
oxen through Brecon for a man who stood scratching his head on the
road?'  'Oh yes,' says the man; 'I do remember that well enough.'  
'Well,' said Tom; 'I was that man. I had stolen that pair of oxen,
and I dared not drive them through Brecon. You drove them for me;
and for doing me that good turn I have this day saved your life. I
was thief then but am now big wig. I am Twm Shone Catti. Now
lookee! I have saved your life this one time, but I can never save
it again. Should you ever be brought up before me again, though
but for stealing one kid, I will hang you as high as ever Haman was
hung. One word more; here are five pieces of gold. Take them:
employ them well, and reform as I have done, and perhaps in time
you may become one big wig, like myself.'  Well: the man took the
money, and laid it out to the best advantage, and became at last so
highly respectable a character that they made him a constable. And
now, my gentleman, we are close upon Tregaron."

After descending a hill we came to what looked a small suburb, and
presently crossed a bridge over the stream, the waters of which
sparkled merrily in the beams of the moon which was now shining
bright over some lofty hills to the south-east. Beyond the bridge
was a small market-place, on the right-hand side of which stood an
ancient looking church. The place upon the whole put me very much
in mind of an Andalusian village overhung by its sierra. "Where is
the inn?" said I to my companion.

"Yonder it be;" said he pointing to a large house at the farther
end of the market-place. "Very good inn that - Talbot Arms - where
they are always glad to see English gentlemans."  Then touching his
hat, and politely waving his hand, he turned on one side, and I saw
him no more.


Tregaron Church - The Minister - Good Morning - Tom Shone's
Disguises - Tom and the Lady - Klim and Catti.

I EXPERIENCED very good entertainment at the Tregaron Inn, had an
excellent supper and a very comfortable bed. I arose at about
eight in the morning. The day was dull and misty. After
breakfast, according to my usual fashion, I took a stroll to see
about. The town, which is very small, stands in a valley, near
some wild hills called the Berwyn, like the range to the south of
Llangollen. The stream, which runs through it and which falls into
the Teivi at a little distance from the town, is called the
Brennig, probably because it descends from the Berwyn hills. These
southern Berwyns form a very extensive mountain region, extending
into Brecon and Carmarthenshire, and contain within them, as I long
subsequently found, some of the wildest solitudes and most romantic
scenery in Wales. High up amidst them, at about five miles from
Tregaron, is a deep, broad lake which constitutes the source of the
Towy, a very beautiful stream, which after many turnings and
receiving the waters of numerous small streams discharges itself
into Carmarthen Bay.

I did not fail to pay a visit to Tregaron church. It is an antique
building with a stone tower. The door being open, as the door of a
church always should be, I entered, and was kindly shown by the
clerk, whom I met in the aisle, all about the sacred edifice.
There was not much to be seen. Amongst the monuments was a stone
tablet to John Herbert, who died 1690. The clerk told me that the
name of the clergyman of Tregaron was Hughes; he said that he was
an excellent, charitable man, who preached the Gospel, and gave
himself great trouble in educating the children of the poor. He
certainly seemed to have succeeded in teaching them good manners:
as I was leaving the church, I met a number of little boys
belonging to the church school: no sooner did they see me than
they drew themselves up it, a rank on one side, and as I passed
took off their caps and simultaneously shouted, "Good-morning!"

And now something with respect to the celebrated hero of Tregaron,
Tom Shone Catti, concerning whom I picked up a good deal during my
short stay there, and of whom I subsequently read something in
printed books. (14)

According to the tradition of the country, he was the illegitimate
son of Sir John Wynn of Gwedir, by one Catherine Jones of Tregaron,
and was born at a place called Fynnon Lidiart, close by Tregaron,
towards the conclusion of the sixteenth century. He was baptised
by the name of Thomas Jones, but was generally called Tom Shone
Catti, that is Tom Jones, son of Catti or Catherine. His mother,
who was a person of some little education, brought him up, and
taught him to read and write. His life, till his eighteenth year,
was much like other peasant boys; he kept crows, drove bullocks,
and learned to plough and harrow, but always showed a disposition
to roguery and mischief. Between eighteen and nineteen, in order
to free himself and his mother from poverty which they had long
endured, he adopted the profession of a thief, and soon became
celebrated through the whole of Wales for the cleverness and
adroitness which he exercised in his calling; qualities in which he
appears to have trusted much more than in strength and daring,
though well endowed with both. His disguises were innumerable, and
all impenetrable; sometimes he would appear as an ancient crone;
sometimes as a begging cripple; sometimes as a broken soldier.
Though by no means scrupulous as to what he stole, he was
particularly addicted to horse and cattle stealing, and was no less
successful in altering the appearance of animals than his own, as
he would frequently sell cattle to the very persons from whom he
had stolen them, after they had been subjected to such a
metamorphosis, by means of dyes and the scissors, that recognition
was quite impossible. Various attempts were made to apprehend him,
but all without success; he was never at home to people who
particularly wanted him, or if at home he looked anything but the
person they came in quest of. Once a strong and resolute man, a
farmer, who conceived, and very justly, that Tom had abstracted a
bullock from his stall, came to Tregaron well armed in order to
seize him. Riding up to the door of Tom's mother, he saw an aged
and miserable-looking object, with a beggar's staff and wallet,
sitting on a stone bench beside the door. Does Tom Shone Catti
live here?" said the farmer. "Oh yes, he lives here," replied the
beggar. "Is he at home?"  "Oh yes, he is at home."  "Will you hold
my horse whilst I go in and speak to him?"  "Oh yes, I will hold
your horse."  Thereupon the man dismounted, took a brace of pistols
out of his holsters, gave the cripple his horse's bridle and
likewise his whip, and entered the house boldly. No sooner was he
inside than the beggar, or rather Tom Shone Catti, for it was he,
jumped on the horse's back, and rode away to the farmer's house
which was some ten miles distant, altering his dress and appearance
as he rode along, having various articles of disguise in his
wallet. Arriving at the house he told the farmer's wife that her
husband was in the greatest trouble, and wanted fifty pounds, which
she was to send by him, and that he came mounted on her husband's
horse, and brought his whip, that she might know he was authorised
to receive the money. The wife, seeing the horse and the whip,
delivered the money to Tom without hesitation, who forthwith made
the best of his way to London, where he sold the horse, and made
himself merry with the price, and with what he got from the
farmer's wife, not returning to Wales for several months. Though
Tom was known by everybody to be a thief, he appears to have lived
on very good terms with the generality of his neighbours, both rich
and poor. The poor he conciliated by being very free of the money
which he acquired by theft and robbery, and with the rich he
ingratiated himself by humorous jesting, at which he was a
proficient, and by being able to sing a good song. At length,
being an extremely good-looking young fellow, he induced a wealthy
lady to promise to marry him. This lady is represented by some as
a widow, and by others as a virgin heiress. After some time,
however, she refused to perform her promise and barred her doors
against him. Tom retired to a cave on the side of a steep wild
hill near the lady's house, to which he frequently repaired, and at
last, having induced her to stretch her hand to him through the
window bars, under the pretence that he wished to imprint a parting
kiss upon it, he won her by seizing her hand and threatening to cut
it off unless she performed her promise. Then, as everything at
the time at which he lived could be done by means of money, he soon
obtained for himself a general pardon, and likewise a commission as
justice of the peace, which he held to the time of his death, to
the satisfaction of everybody except thieves and ill-doers, against
whom he waged incessant war, and with whom he was admirably
qualified to cope, from the knowledge he possessed of their ways
and habits, from having passed so many years of his life in the
exercise of the thieving trade. In his youth he was much addicted
to poetry, and a great many pennillion of his composition, chiefly
on his own thievish exploits, are yet recited by the inhabitants of
certain districts of the shires of Brecon, Carmarthen, and

Such is the history or rather the outline of the history of Twm
Shone Catti. Concerning the actions attributed to him, it is
necessary to say that the greater part consist of myths, which are
told of particular individuals of every country, from the Indian
Ocean to the Atlantic: for example, the story of cutting off the
bull's tail is not only told of him but of the Irish thief Delany,
and is to be found in the "Lives of Irish Rogues and Rapparees;"
certain tricks related of him in the printed tale bearing his name
are almost identical with various rogueries related in the story-
book of Klim the Russian robber, (15) and the most poetical part of
Tom Shone's history, namely, that in which he threatens to cut off
the hand of the reluctant bride unless she performs her promise,
is, in all probability, an offshoot of the grand myth of "the
severed hand," which in various ways figures in the stories of most
nations, and which is turned to considerable account in the tale of
the above-mentioned Russian worthy Klim.


Llan Ddewi Brefi - Pelagian Heresy - Hu Gadarn - God of Agriculture
- The Silver Cup - Rude Tablet.

IT was about eleven o'clock in the morning when I started from
Tregaron; the sky was still cloudy and heavy. I took the road to
Lampeter, distant about eight miles, intending, however, to go much
farther ere I stopped for the night. The road lay nearly south-
west. I passed by Aber Coed, a homestead near the bottom of a
dingle down which runs a brook into the Teivi, which flows here
close by the road; then by Aber Carvan, where another brook
disembogues. Aber, as perhaps the reader already knows, is a
disemboguement, and wherever a place commences with Aber there to a
certainty does a river flow into the sea, or a brook or rivulet
into a river. I next passed through Nant Derven, and in about
three-quarters of an hour after leaving Tregaron reached a place of
old renown called Llan Ddewi Brefi.

Llan Ddewi Brefi is a small village situated at the entrance of a
gorge leading up to some lofty hills which rise to the east and
belong to the same mountain range as those near Tregaron. A brook
flowing from the hills murmurs through it and at length finds its
way into the Teivi. An ancient church stands on a little rising
ground just below the hills; multitudes of rooks inhabit its
steeple and fill throughout the day the air with their cawing. The
place wears a remarkable air of solitude, but presents nothing of
gloom and horror, and seems just the kind of spot in which some
quiet pensive man, fatigued but not soured by the turmoil of the
world, might settle down, enjoy a few innocent pleasures, make his
peace with God, and then compose himself to his long sleep.

It is not without reason that Llan Ddewi Brefi has been called a
place of old renown. In the fifth century, one of the most
remarkable ecclesiastical convocations which the world has ever
seen was held in this secluded spot. It was for the purpose of
refuting certain doctrines, which had for some time past caused
much agitation in the Church, and which originated with one Morgan,
a native of North Wales, who left his country at an early age and
repaired to Italy, where having adopted the appellation of
Pelagius, which is a Latin translation of his own name Morgan,
which signifies "by the seashore," he soon became noted as a
theological writer. It is not necessary to enter into any detailed
exposition of his opinions; it will, however, be as well to state
that one of the points which he was chiefly anxious to inculcate
was that it is possible for a man to lead a life entirely free from
sin by obeying the dictates of his own reason without any
assistance from the grace of God - a dogma certainly to the last
degree delusive and dangerous. When the convocation met there were
a great many sermons preached by various learned and eloquent
divines, but nothing was produced which was pronounced by the
general voice a satisfactory answer to the doctrines of the
heresiarch. At length it was resolved to send for Dewi, a
celebrated teacher of theology at Mynyw in Pembrokeshire, who from
motives of humility had not appeared in the assembly. Messengers
therefore were despatched to Dewi, who, after repeated entreaties,
was induced to repair to the place of meeting, where after three
days' labour in a cell he produced a treatise in writing in which
the tenets of Morgan were so triumphantly overthrown that the
convocation unanimously adopted it and sent it into the world with
a testimony of approbation as an antidote to the heresy, and so
great was its efficacy that from that moment the doctrines of
Morgan fell gradually into disrepute. (16)

Dewi shortly afterwards became primate of Wales, being appointed to
the see of Minevai or Mynyw, which from that time was called Ty
Ddewi or David's House, a name which it still retains amongst the
Cumry, though at present called by the Saxons Saint David's. About
five centuries after his death the crown of canonization having
been awarded to Dewi, various churches were dedicated to him,
amongst which was that now called Llan Ddewi Brefi, which was built
above the cell in which the good man composed his celebrated

If this secluded gorge or valley is connected with a remarkable
historical event it is also associated with one of the wildest
tales of mythology. Here according to old tradition died one of
the humped oxen of the team of Hu Gadarn. Distracted at having
lost its comrade, which perished from the dreadful efforts which it
made along with the others in drawing the afanc hen or old
crocodile from the lake of lakes, it fled away from its master, and
wandered about, till coming to the glen now called that of Llan
Ddewi Brefi, it fell down and perished after excessive bellowing,
from which noise the place probably derived its name of Brefi, for
Bref in Cumbric signifies a mighty bellowing or lowing. Horns of
enormous size, said to have belonged to this humped ox or bison,
were for many ages preserved in the church.

Many will exclaim who was Hu Gadarn? Hu Gadarn in the Gwlad yr Haf
or summer country, a certain region of the East, perhaps the
Crimea, which seems to be a modification of Cumria, taught the
Cumry the arts of civilised life, to build comfortable houses, to
sow grain and reap, to tame the buffalo and the bison, and turn
their mighty strength to profitable account, to construct boats
with wicker and the skins of animals, to drain pools and morasses,
to cut down forests, cultivate the vine and encourage bees, make
wine and mead, frame lutes and fifes and play upon them, compose
rhymes and verses, fuse minerals and form them into various
instruments and weapons, and to move in masses against their
enemies, and finally when the summer country became over-populated
led an immense multitude of his countrymen across many lands to
Britain, a country of forests, in which bears, wolves, and bisons
wandered, and of morasses and pools full of dreadful efync or
crocodiles, a country inhabited only by a few savage Gauls, but
which shortly after the arrival of Hu and his people became a
smiling region, forests being thinned, bears and wolves hunted
down, efync annihilated, bulls and bisons tamed, corn planted and
pleasant cottages erected. After his death he was worshipped as
the God of agriculture and war by the Cumry and the Gauls. The
Germans paid him divine honours under the name of Heus, from which
name the province of Hesse in which there was a mighty temple
devoted to him, derived its appellation. The Scandinavians
worshipped him under the name of Odin and Gautr, the latter word a
modification of Cadarn or mighty. The wild Finns feared him as a
wizard and honoured him as a musician under the name of
Wainoemoinen, and it is very probable that he was the wondrous
being whom the Greeks termed Odysses. Till a late period the word
Hu amongst the Cumry was frequently used to express God - Gwir Hu,
God knows, being a common saying. Many Welsh poets have called the
Creator by the name of the creature, amongst others Iolo Goch in
his ode to the ploughman:-

"The mighty Hu who lives for ever,
Of mead and wine to men the giver,
The emperor of land and sea,
And of all things that living be
Did hold a plough with his good hand,
Soon as the deluge left the land,
To show to men both strong and weak,
The haughty-hearted and the meek,
Of all the arts the heaven below
The noblest is to guide the plough."

So much for Hu Gadarn or Hu the Mighty, whose name puts one
strangely in mind of the Al Kader Hu or the Almighty He of the

I went to see the church. The inside was very rude and plain - a
rough table covered with a faded cloth served for an altar - on the
right-hand side was a venerable-looking chest.

"What is there in that box?" said I to the old sexton who attended

"The treasure of the church, sir," he replied in a feeble quaking

"Dear me!" said I, "what does the treasure consist of?"

"You shall see, sir," said he, and drawing a large key out of his
pocket he unlocked the chest and taking out a cup of silver he put
it into my hand saying:- "This is the treasure of the church, sir!"

I looked at the cup. It was tolerably large and of very chaste
workmanship. Graven upon it were the following words:-

"Poculum Eclesie De LXXN Dewy Brefy 1574."

"Do you always keep this cup in that chest?" said I.

"Yes sir! we have kept it there since the cup was given to us by de
godly Queen Elizabeth."

I said nothing, but I thought to myself:- "I wonder how long a cup
like this would have been safe in a crazy chest in a country church
in England."

I kissed the sacred relic of old times with reverence, and returned
it to the old sexton.

"What became of the horns of Hu Gadarn's bull?" said I, after he
had locked the cup again in its dilapidated coffer.

"They did dwindle away, sir, till they came to nothing."

"Did you ever see any part of them?" said I.

"Oh no, sir; I did never see any part of them, but one very old man
who is buried here did tell me shortly before he died that he had
seen one very old man who had seen of dem one little tip."

"Who was the old man who said that to you?" said I.

"I will show you his monument, sir," then taking me into a dusky
pew he pointed to a small rude tablet against the church wall and
said:- "That is his monument, sir."

The tablet bore the following inscription, and below it a rude
englyn on death not worth transcribing:-

Coffadwriaeth am
Diweddar o'r Draws Llwyn yn y Plwyf hwn:
Bu farw Chwefror 6 fed 1830
Yn 92 oed.

To the memory of
Of Traws Llwyn (across the Grove) in this
parish who died February the sixth, 1830.
Aged 92.

After copying the inscription I presented the old man with a trifle
and went my way.


Lampeter - The Monk Austin - The Three Publicans - The Tombstone -
Sudden Change - Trampers - A Catholic - The Bridge of Twrch.

THE country between Llan Ddewi and Lampeter presented nothing
remarkable, and I met on the road nothing worthy of being recorded.
On arriving at Lampeter I took a slight refreshment at the inn, and
then went to see the college which stands a little way to the north
of the town. It was founded by Bishop Burgess in the year 1820,
for the education of youths intended for the ministry of the Church
of England. It is a neat quadrate edifice with a courtyard in
which stands a large stone basin. From the courtyard you enter a
spacious dining-hall, over the door of which hangs a well-executed
portrait of the good bishop. From the hall you ascend by a
handsome staircase to the library, a large and lightsome room, well
stored with books in various languages. The grand curiosity is a
manuscript Codex containing a Latin synopsis of Scripture which
once belonged to the monks of Bangor Is Coed. It bears marks of
blood with which it was sprinkled when the monks were massacred by
the heathen Saxons, at the instigation of Austin the Pope's
missionary in Britain. The number of students seldom exceeds

It might be about half-past two in the afternoon when I left
Lampeter. I passed over a bridge, taking the road to Llandovery
which, however, I had no intention of attempting to reach that
night, as it was considerably upwards of twenty miles distant. The
road lay, seemingly, due east. After walking very briskly for
about an hour I came to a very small hamlet consisting of not more
than six or seven houses; of these three seemed to be public-
houses, as they bore large flaming signs. Seeing three rather
shabby-looking fellows standing chatting with their hands in their
pockets, I stopped and inquired in English the name of the place.

"Pen- something," said one of them, who had a red face and a large
carbuncle on his nose, which served to distinguish him from his
companions, who though they had both very rubicund faces had no

"It seems rather a small place to maintain three public-houses,"
said I; "how do the publicans manage to live?"

"Oh, tolerably well, sir; we get bread and cheese and have a groat
in our pockets. No great reason to complain; have we, neighbours?"

"No! no great reason to complain," said the other two.

"Dear me!" said I; "are you the publicans?"

"We are, sir," said the man with the carbuncle on his nose, "and
shall be each of us glad to treat you to a pint in his own house in
order to welcome you to Shire Car - shan't we, neighbours?"

"Yes, in truth we shall," said the other two.

"By Shire Car," said I, "I suppose you mean Shire Cardigan?"

"Shire Cardigan!" said the man; "no indeed; by Shire Car is meant
Carmarthenshire. Your honour has left beggarly Cardigan some way
behind you. Come, your honour, come and have a pint; this is my
house," said he, pointing to one of the buildings.

"But," said I, "I suppose if I drink at your expense you expect to
drink at mine?"

"Why, we can't say that we shall have any objection, your honour; I
think we will arrange the matter in this way; we will go into my
house, where we will each of us treat your honour with a pint, and
for each pint we treat your honour with your honour shall treat us
with one."

"Do you mean each?" said I.

"Why, yes! your honour, for a pint amongst three would be rather a
short allowance."

"Then it would come to this," said I, "I should receive three pints
from you three, and you three would receive nine from me."

"Just so, your honour, I see your honour is a ready reckoner."

"I know how much three times three make," said I. "Well, thank
you, kindly, but I must decline your offer; I am bound on a

"Where are you bound to, master?"

"To Llandovery, but if I can find an inn a few miles farther on I
shall stop there for the night."

"Then you will put up at the 'Pump Saint,' master; well, you can
have your three pints here and your three pipes too, and yet get
easily there by seven. Come in, master, come in! If you take my
advice you will think of your pint and your pipe and let all the
rest go to the devil."

"Thank you," said I, "but I can't accept your invitation, I must be
off;" and in spite of yet more pressing solicitations I went on.

I had not gone far when I came to a point where the road parted
into two; just at the point were a house and premises belonging
apparently to a stonemason, as a great many pieces of half-cut
granite were standing about, and not a few tombstones. I stopped
and looked at one of the latter. It was to the memory of somebody
who died at the age of sixty-six, and at the bottom bore the
following bit of poetry:-

"Ti ddaear o ddaear ystyria mewn braw,
Mai daear i ddaear yn fuan a ddaw;
A ddaear mewn ddaear raid aros bob darn
Nes daear o ddaear gyfrodir i farn."

"Thou earth from earth reflect with anxious mind
That earth to earth must quickly be consigned,
And earth in earth must lie entranced enthralled
Till earth from earth to judgment shall be called."

"What conflicting opinions there are in this world," said I, after
I had copied the quatrain and translated it. "The publican yonder
tells me to think of my pint and pipe and let everything else go to
the devil, and the tombstone here tells me to reflect with dread -
a much finer expression by-the-bye than reflect with anxious mind,
as I have got it - that in a very little time I must die, and lie
in the ground till I am called to judgment. Now, which is most
right, the tombstone or the publican? Why, I should say the
tombstone decidedly. The publican is too sweeping when he tells
you to think of your pint and pipe and nothing else. A pint and
pipe are good things. I don't smoke myself, but I daresay a pipe
is a good thing for them who like it, but there are certainly
things worth being thought of in this world besides a pint and pipe
- hills and dales, woods and rivers, for example - death and
judgment too are worthy now and then of very serious thought. So
it won't do to go with the publican the whole hog. But with
respect to the tombstone, it is quite safe and right to go with it
its whole length. It tells you to think of death and judgment -
and assuredly we ought to of them. It does not, however, tell you
to think of nothing but death and judgment and to eschew every
innocent pleasure within your reach. If it did it would be a
tombstone quite as sweeping in what it says as the publican, who
tells you to think of your pint and pipe and let everything else go
to the devil. The wisest course evidently is to blend the whole of
the philosophy of the tombstone with a portion of the philosophy of
the publican and something more, to enjoy one's pint and pipe and
other innocent pleasures, and to think every now and then of death
and judgment - that is what I intend to do, and indeed is what I
have done for the last thirty years."

I went on - desolate hills rose in the east, the way I was going,
but on the south were beautiful hillocks adorned with trees and
hedge-rows. I was soon amongst the desolate hills, which then
looked more desolate than they did at a distance. They were of a
wretched russet colour, and exhibited no other signs of life and
cultivation than here and there a miserable field and vile-looking
hovel; and if there was here nothing to cheer the eye there was
also nothing to cheer the ear. There were no songs of birds, no
voices of rills; the only sound I heard was the lowing of a
wretched bullock from a far-off slope.

I went on slowly and heavily; at length I got to the top of this
wretched range - then what a sudden change! Beautiful hills in the
far east, a fair valley below me, and groves and woods on each side
of the road which led down to it. The sight filled my veins with
fresh life, and I descended this side of the hill as merrily as I
had come up the other side despondingly. About half-way down the
hill I came to a small village. Seeing a public-house I went up to
it, and inquired in English of some people within the name of the

"Dolwen," said a dark-faced young fellow of about four-and-twenty.

"And what is the name of the valley?" said I.

"Dolwen," was the answer, "the valley is named after the village."

"You mean that the village is named after the valley," said I, "for
Dolwen means fair valley."

"It may be so," said the young fellow, "we don't know much here."

Then after a moment's pause he said:

"Are you going much farther?"

"Only as far as the 'Pump Saint.'"

"Have you any business there?" said he.

"No," I replied, "I am travelling the country, and shall only put
up there for the night"

"You had better stay here," said the young fellow. "You will be
better accommodated here than at the 'Pump Saint.'"

"Very likely," said I; "but I have resolved to go there, and when I
once make a resolution I never alter it."

Then bidding him good evening I departed. Had I formed no
resolution at all about stopping at the 'Pump Saint,' I certainly
should not have stayed in this house, which had all the appearance
of a trampers' hostelry, and though I am very fond of the
conversation of trampers, who are the only people from whom you can
learn anything, I would much rather have the benefit of it abroad
than in their own lairs. A little farther down I met a woman
coming up the ascent. She was tolerably respectably dressed,
seemed about five-and-thirty, and was rather good-looking. She
walked somewhat slowly, which was probably more owing to a large
bundle which she bore in her hand than to her path being up-hill.

"Good evening," said I, stopping.

"Good evening, your honour," said she, stopping and brightly

"Do you come from far?" said I.

"Not very far, your honour, but quite far enough for a poor feeble

"Are you Welsh?" said I.

"Och no! your honour; I am Mary Bane from Dunmanway in the kingdom
of Ireland."

"And what are you doing here?" said I.

"Och sure! I am travelling the country with soft goods."

"Are you going far?" said I.

"Merely to the village a little farther up, your honour."

"I am going farther," said I, "I am thinking of passing the night
at the 'Pump Saint.'"

"Well, then, I would just advise your honour to do no such thing,
but to turn back with me to the village above, where there is an
illigant inn where your honour will be well accommodated."

"Oh, I saw that as I came past," said I; "I don't think there is
much accommodation there."

"Oh, your honour is clane mistaken; there is always an illigant
fire and an illigant bed too."

"Is there only one bed?" said I.

"Oh, yes, there are two beds, one for the accommodation of the
people of the house and the other for that of the visitors."

"And do the visitors sleep together then?" said I.

"Oh yes! unless they wish to be unsociable. Those who are not
disposed to be sociable sleeps in the chimney-corners."

"Ah," said I, "I see it is a very agreeable inn; however, I shall
go on to the 'Pump Saint.'"

"I am sorry for it, your honour, for your honour's sake; your
honour won't be half so illigantly served at the 'Pump Saint' as
there above."

"Of what religion are you?" said I.

"Oh, I'm a Catholic, just like your honour, for if I am not clane
mistaken your honour is an Irishman."

"Who is your spiritual director?" said I.

"Why, then, it is just Father Toban, your honour, whom of course
your honour knows."

"Oh yes!" said I; "when you next see him present my respects to

"What name shall I mention, your honour?"

"Shorsha Borroo," said I.

"Oh, then I was right in taking your honour for an Irishman. None
but a raal Paddy bears that name. A credit to your honour is your
name, for it is a famous name, (17) and a credit to your name is
your honour, for it is a neat man without a bend you are. God
bless your honour and good night! and may you find dacent quarters
in the 'Pump Saint.'"

Leaving Mary Bane I proceeded on my way. The evening was rather
fine but twilight was coming rapidly on. I reached the bottom of
the valley and soon overtook a young man dressed something like a
groom. We entered into conversation. He spoke Welsh and a little
English. His Welsh I had great difficulty in understanding, as it
was widely different from that which I had been accustomed to. He
asked me where I was going to; I replied to the "Pump Saint," and
then enquired if he was in service.

"I am," said he.

"With whom do you live?" said I.

"With Mr Johnes of Dol Cothi," he answered.

Struck by the word Cothi, I asked if Dol Cothi was ever called Glyn

"Oh yes," said he, "frequently."

"How odd," thought I to myself, "that I should have stumbled all of
a sudden upon the country of my old friend Lewis Glyn Cothi, the
greatest poet after Ab Gwilym of all Wales!"

"Is Cothi a river?" said I to my companion.

"It is," said he.

Presently we came to a bridge over a small river.

"Is this river the Cothi?" said I.

"No," said he, "this is the Twrch; the bridge is called Pont y

"The bridge of Twrch or the hog," said I to myself; "there is a
bridge of the same name in the Scottish Highlands, not far from the
pass of the Trossachs. I wonder whether it has its name from the
same cause as this, namely, from passing over a river called the
Twrch or Torck, which word in Gaelic signifies boar or hog even as
it does in Welsh."  It had now become nearly dark. After
proceeding some way farther I asked the groom if we were far from
the inn of the "Pump Saint."

"Close by," said he, and presently pointing to a large building on
the right-hand side he said: "This is the inn of the 'Pump Saint,'
sir. Nos Da'chi!"


"Pump Saint" - Pleasant Residence - The Watery Coom - Philological
Fact - Evening Service - Meditation.

I ENTERED the inn of the "Pump Saint."  It was a comfortable old-
fashioned place, with a very large kitchen and a rather small
parlour. The people were kind and attentive, and soon set before
me in the parlour a homely but savoury supper, and a foaming
tankard of ale. After supper I went into the kitchen, and sitting
down with the good folks in an immense chimney-corner, listened to
them talking in their Carmarthenshire dialect till it was time to
go to rest, when I was conducted to a large chamber where I found
an excellent and clean bed awaiting me, in which I enjoyed a
refreshing sleep, occasionally visited by dreams in which some of
the scenes of the preceding day again appeared before me, but in an
indistinct and misty manner.

Awaking in the very depth of the night I thought I heard the
murmuring of a river; I listened and soon found that I had not been
deceived. "I wonder whether that river is the Cothi," said I, "the
stream of the immortal Lewis. I will suppose that it is" - and
rendered quite happy by the idea, I soon fell asleep again.

I arose about eight and went out to look about me. The village
consists of little more than half-a-dozen houses. The name "Pump
Saint" signifies "Five Saints."  Why the place is called so I know
not. Perhaps the name originally belonged to some chapel which
stood either where the village now stands or in the neighbourhood.
The inn is a good specimen of an ancient Welsh hostelry. Its gable
is to the road and its front to a little space on one side of the
way. At a little distance up the road is a blacksmith's shop. The
country around is interesting: on the north-west is a fine wooded
hill - to the south a valley through which flows the Cothi, a fair
river, the one whose murmur had come so pleasingly upon my ear in
the depth of night.

After breakfast I departed for Llandovery. Presently I came to a
lodge on the left-hand beside an ornamental gate at the bottom of
an avenue leading seemingly to a gentleman's seat. On inquiring of
a woman, who sat at the door of the lodge, to whom the grounds
belonged, she said to Mr Johnes, and that if I pleased I was
welcome to see them. I went in and advanced along the avenue,
which consisted of very noble oaks; on the right was a vale in
which a beautiful brook was running north and south. Beyond the
vale to the east were fine wooded hills. I thought I had never
seen a more pleasing locality, though I saw it to great
disadvantage, the day being dull, and the season the latter fall.
Presently, on the avenue making a slight turn, I saw the house, a
plain but comfortable gentleman's seat with wings. It looked to
the south down the dale. "With what satisfaction I could live in
that house," said I to myself, "if backed by a couple of thousands
a-year. With what gravity could I sign a warrant in its library,
and with what dreamy comfort translate an ode of Lewis Glyn Cothi,
my tankard of rich ale beside me. I wonder whether the proprietor
is fond of the old bard and keeps good ale. Were I an Irishman
instead of a Norfolk man I would go in and ask him."

Returning to the road I proceeded on my journey. I passed over
Pont y Rhanedd or the bridge of the Rhanedd, a small river flowing
through a dale, then by Clas Hywel, a lofty mountain which appeared
to have three heads. After walking for some miles I came to where
the road divided into two. By a sign-post I saw that both led to
Llandovery, one by Porth y Rhyd and the other by Llanwrda. The
distance by the first was six miles and a half, by the latter eight
and a half. Feeling quite the reverse of tired I chose the longest
road, namely the one by Llanwrda, along which I sped at a great

In a little time I found myself in the heart of a romantic winding
dell, overhung with trees of various kinds, which a tall man whom I
met told me was called Cwm Dwr Llanwrda, or the Watery Coom of
Llanwrda; and well might it be called the Watery Coom, for there
were several bridges in it, two within a few hundred yards of each
other. The same man told me that the war was going on very badly,
that our soldiers were suffering much, and that the snow was two
feet deep at Sebastopol.

Passing through Llanwrda, a pretty village with a singular-looking
church, close to which stood an enormous yew, I entered a valley
which I learned was the valley of the Towey. I directed my course
to the north, having the river on my right, which runs towards the
south in a spacious bed, which, however, except in times of flood,
it scarcely half fills. Beautiful hills were on other side, partly
cultivated, partly covered with wood, and here and there dotted
with farm-houses and gentlemen's seats; green pastures which
descended nearly to the river occupying in general the lower parts.
After journeying about four miles amid this kind of scenery I came
to a noble suspension bridge, and crossing it found myself in about
a quarter of an hour at Llandovery.

It was about half-past two when I arrived. I put up at the Castle
Inn and forthwith ordered dinner, which was served up between four
and five. During dinner I was waited upon by a strange old fellow
who spoke Welsh and English with equal fluency.

"What countryman are you?" said I.

"An Englishman," he replied.

"From what part of England?"

"From Herefordshire."

"Have you been long here?"

"Oh yes! upwards of twenty years."

"How came you to learn Welsh?"

"Oh, I took to it and soon picked it up."

"Can you read it?" said I.

"No, I can't."

"Can you read English?"

"Yes, I can; that is, a little."

"Why didn't you try to learn to read Welsh?"

"Well, I did; but I could make no hand of it. It's one thing to
speak Welsh and another to read it."

"I can read Welsh much better than I can speak it," said I.

"Ah, you are a gentleman - gentlefolks always find it easier to
learn to read a foreign lingo than to speak it, but it's quite the
contrary with we poor folks."

"One of the most profound truths ever uttered connected with
language," said I to myself. I asked him if there were many Church
of England people in Llandovery.

"A good many," he replied.

"Do you belong to the Church?" said I.

"Yes, I do."

"If this were Sunday I would go to church," said I.

"Oh, if you wish to go to church you can go to-night. This is
Wednesday, and there will be service at half-past six. If you like
I will come for you."

"Pray do," said I; "I should like above all things to go."

Dinner over I sat before the fire occasionally dozing, occasionally
sipping a glass of whiskey-and-water. A little after six the old
fellow made his appearance with a kind of Spanish hat on his head.
We set out; the night was very dark; we went down a long street
seemingly in the direction of the west. "How many churches are
there in Llandovery?" said I to my companion.

"Only one, but you are not going to Llandovery Church, but to that
of Llanfair, in which our clergyman does duty once or twice a

"Is it far?" said I.

"Oh no; just out of the town, only a few steps farther."

We seemed to pass over a bridge and began to ascend a rising
ground. Several people were going in the same direction.

"There," said the old man, "follow with these, and a little farther
up you will come to the church, which stands on the right hand."

He then left me. I went with the rest and soon came to the church.
I went in and was at once conducted by an old man, who I believe
was the sexton, to a large pew close against the southern wall.
The inside of the church was dimly lighted; it was long and narrow,
and the walls were painted with a yellow colour. The pulpit stood
against the northern wall near the altar, and almost opposite to
the pew in which I sat. After a little time the service commenced;
it was in Welsh. When the litanies were concluded the clergyman,
who appeared to be a middle-aged man, and who had rather a fine
voice, began to preach. His sermon was from the 119th Psalm: "Am
hynny hoffais dy gorchymynion yn mwy nag aur:"  "Therefore have I
loved thy commandments more than gold."  The sermon, which was
extempore, was delivered with great earnestness, and I make no
doubt was a very excellent one, but owing to its being in South
Welsh I did not derive much benefit from it as I otherwise might
have done. When it was over a great many got up and went away.
Observing, however, that not a few remained, I determined upon
remaining too. When everything was quiet the clergyman, descending
from the pulpit, repaired to the vestry, and having taken off his
gown went into a pew, and standing up began a discourse, from which
I learned that there was to be a sacrament on the ensuing Sabbath.
He spoke with much fervency, enlarging upon the high importance of
the holy communion, and exhorting people to come to it in a fit
state of mind. When he had finished a man in a neighbouring pew
got up and spoke about his own unworthiness, saying this and that
about himself, his sins of commission and omission, and dwelling
particularly on his uncharitableness and the malicious pleasure
which he took in the misfortunes of his neighbours. The clergyman
listened attentively, sometimes saying "Ah!" and the congregation
also listened attentively, a voice here and there  frequently
saying "Ah."  When the man had concluded the clergyman again spoke,
making observations on what he had heard, and hoping that the rest
would be visited with the same contrite spirit as their friend.
Then there was a hymn and we went away.

The moon was shining on high and cast its silvery light on the
tower, the church, some fine trees which surrounded it, and the
congregation going home; a few of the better dressed were talking
to each other in English, but with an accent and pronunciation
which rendered the discourse almost unintelligible to my ears.

I found my way back to my inn and went to bed, after musing awhile
on the concluding scene of which I had been witness in the church.


Llandovery - Griffith ap Nicholas - Powerful Enemies - Last Words -
Llandovery Church - Rees Pritchard - The Wiser Creature - God's
better than All - The Old Vicarage.

THE morning of the ninth was very beautiful, with a slight tendency
to frost. I breakfasted, and having no intention of proceeding on
my journey that day, I went to take a leisurely view of Llandovery
and the neighbourhood.

Llandovery is a small but beautiful town, situated amidst fertile
meadows. It is a water-girdled spot, whence its name Llandovery or
Llanymdyfri, which signifies the church surrounded by water. On
its west is the Towey, and on its east the river Bran or Brein,
which descending from certain lofty mountains to the north-east
runs into the Towey a little way below the town. The most striking
object which Llandovery can show is its castle, from which the inn,
which stands near to it, has its name. This castle, majestic
though in ruins, stands on a green mound, the eastern side of which
is washed by the Bran. Little with respect to its history is
known. One thing, however, is certain, namely that it was one of
the many strongholds, which at one time belonged to Griffith ap
Nicholas, Lord of Dinevor, one of the most remarkable men which
South Wales has ever produced, of whom a brief account here will
not be out of place.

Griffith ap Nicholas flourished towards the concluding part of the
reign of Henry the Sixth. He was a powerful chieftain of South
Wales and possessed immense estates in the counties of Carmarthen
and Cardigan. King Henry the Sixth, fully aware of his importance
in his own country, bestowed upon him the commission of the peace,
an honour at that time seldom vouchsafed to a Welshman, and the
captaincy of Kilgarran, a strong royal castle situated on the
southern bank of the Teivi a few miles above Cardigan. He had many
castles of his own, in which he occasionally resided, but his chief
residence was Dinevor, half way between Llandovery and Carmarthen,
once a palace of the kings of South Wales, from whom Griffith
traced lineal descent. He was a man very proud at heart, but with
too much wisdom to exhibit many marks of pride, speaking generally
with the utmost gentleness and suavity, and though very brave
addicted to dashing into danger for the mere sake of displaying his
valour. He was a great master of the English tongue, and well
acquainted with what learning it contained, but nevertheless was
passionately attached to the language and literature of Wales, a
proof of which he gave by holding a congress of bards and literati
at Carmarthen, at which various pieces of eloquence and poetry were
recited, and certain alterations introduced into the canons of
Welsh versification. Though holding offices of trust and emolument
under the Saxon, he in the depths of his soul detested the race,
and would have rejoiced to see it utterly extirpated from Britain.
This hatred of his against the English was the cause of his doing
that which cannot be justified on any principle of honour, giving
shelter and encouragement to Welsh thieves, who were in the habit
of plundering and ravaging the English borders. Though at the head
of a numerous and warlike clan, which was strongly attached to him
on various accounts, Griffith did not exactly occupy a bed of
roses. He had amongst his neighbours four powerful enemies who
envied him his large possessions, with whom he had continual
disputes about property and privilege. Powerful enemies they may
well be called, as they were no less personages than Humphrey Duke
of Buckingham, Richard Duke of York, who began the contest for the
crown with King Henry the Sixth, Jasper Earl of Pembroke, son of
Owen Tudor, and half-brother of the king, and the Earl of Warwick.
These accused him at court of being a comforter and harbourer of
thieves, the result being that he was deprived not only of the
commission of the peace, but of the captaincy of Kilgarran, which
the Earl of Pembroke, through his influence with his half-brother,
procured for himself. They moreover induced William Borley and
Thomas Corbet, two justices of the peace for the county of
Hereford, to grant a warrant for his apprehension on the ground of
his being in league with the thieves of the Marches. Griffith in
the bosom of his mighty clan bade defiance to Saxon warrants,
though once having ventured to Hereford he nearly fell into the
power of the ministers of justice, only escaping by the
intervention of Sir John Scudamore, with whom he was connected by
marriage. Shortly afterwards, the civil war breaking out, the Duke
of York apologised to Griffith, and besought his assistance against
the king which the chieftain readily enough promised, not out of
affection for York, but from the hatred which he felt, on account
of the Kilgarran affair, for the Earl of Pembroke, who had sided,
very naturally, with his half-brother, the king, and commanded his
forces in the west. Griffith fell at the great battle of
Mortimer's cross, which was won for York by a desperate charge made
right at Pembroke's banner by Griffith and his Welshmen, when the
rest of the Yorkists were wavering. His last words were:
"Welcome, Death! since honour and victory make for us."

The power and wealth of Griffith ap Nicholas, and also parts of his
character, have been well described by one of his bards, Gwilym ab
Ieuan Hen, in an ode to the following effect:-

"Griffith ap Nicholas, who like thee
For wealth and power and majesty!
Which most abound, I cannot say,
On either side of Towey gay,
From hence to where it meets the brine,
Trees or stately towers of thine?
The chair of judgment thou didst gain,
But not to deal in judgments vain -
To thee upon thy judgment chair
From near and far do crowds repair;
But though betwixt the weak and strong
No questions rose from right or wrong
The strong the weak to thee would hie;
The strong to do thee injury,
And to the weak thou wine wouldst deal,
And wouldst trip up the mighty heel.
A lion unto the lofty thou,
A lamb unto the weak and low.
Much thou resemblest Nudd of yore,
Surpassing all who went before;
Like him thou'rt fam'd for bravery,
For noble birth and high degree.
Hail, captain of Kilgarran's hold!
Lieutenant of Carmarthen old!
Hail, chieftain, Cambria's choicest boast!
Hail, justice, at the Saxon's cost!
Seven castles high confess thy sway,
Seven palaces thy hands obey.
Against my chief, with envy fired,
Three dukes and judges two conspired,
But thou a dauntless front didst show,
And to retreat they were not slow.
O, with what gratitude is heard
From mouth of thine the whispered word,
The deepest pools in rivers found
In summer are of softest sound;
The sage concealeth what he knows,
A deal of talk no wisdom shows;
The sage is silent as the grave,
Whilst of his lips the fool is slave;
Thy smile doth every joy impart,
Of faith a fountain is thy heart;
Thy hand is strong, thine eye is keen,
Thy head o'er every head is seen."

The church of Llandovery is a large edifice standing at the
southern extremity of the town in the vicinity of the Towey. The
outside exhibits many appearances of antiquity, but the interior
has been sadly modernized. It contains no remarkable tombs; I was
pleased, however, to observe upon one or two of the monuments the
name of Ryce, the appellation of the great clan to which Griffith
ap Nicholas belonged; of old the regal race of South Wales. On
inquiring of the clerk, an intelligent young man who showed me over
the sacred edifice, as to the state of the Church of England at
Llandovery, he gave me a very cheering account, adding, however,
that before the arrival of the present incumbent it was very low
indeed. "What is the clergyman's name?" said I; "I heard him
preach last night."

"I know you did, sir," said the clerk, bowing, "for I saw you at
the service at Llanfair - his name is Hughes."

"Any relation of the clergyman at Tregaron?" said I.

"Own brother, sir."

"He at Tregaron bears a very high character," said I.

"And very deservedly, sir," said the clerk, "for he is an excellent
man; he is, however, not more worthy of his high character than his
brother here is of the one which he bears, which is equally high,
and which the very dissenters have nothing to say against."

"Have you ever heard," said I, "of a man of the name of Rees
Pritchard, who preached within these walls some two hundred years

"Rees Pritchard, sir! Of course I have - who hasn't heard of the
old vicar - the Welshman's candle? Ah, he was a man indeed! We
have some good men in the Church, very good; but the old vicar -
where shall we find his equal?"

"Is he buried in this church?" said I.

"No, sir, he was buried out abroad in the churchyard, near the wall
by the Towey."

"Can you show me his tomb?" said I. "No, sir, nor can any one; his
tomb was swept away more than a hundred years ago by a dreadful
inundation of the river, which swept away not only tombs but dead
bodies out of graves. But there's his house in the market-place,
the old vicarage, which you should go and see. I would go and show
it you myself but I have church matters just now to attend to - the
place of church clerk at Llandovery, long a sinecure, is anything
but that under the present clergyman, who, though not a Rees
Pritchard, is a very zealous Christian, and not unworthy to preach
in the pulpit of the old vicar."

Leaving the church I went to see the old vicarage, but before
saying anything respecting it, a few words about the old vicar.

Rees Pritchard was born at Llandovery, about the year 1575, of
respectable parents. He received the rudiments of a classical
education at the school of the place, and at the age of eighteen
was sent to Oxford, being intended for the clerical profession. At
Oxford he did not distinguish himself in an advantageous manner,
being more remarkable for dissipation and riot than application in
the pursuit of learning. Returning to Wales, he was admitted into
the ministry, and after the lapse of a few years was appointed
vicar of Llandovery. His conduct for a considerable time was not
only unbecoming a clergyman, but a human being in any sphere.
Drunkenness was very prevalent in the age in which he lived, but
Rees Pritchard was so inordinately addicted to that vice that the
very worst of his parishioners were scandalized, and said: "Bad as
we may be we are not half so bad as the parson."

He was in the habit of spending the greater part of his time in the
public-house, from which he was generally trundled home in a wheel-
barrow in a state of utter insensibility. God, however, who is
aware of what every man is capable of, had reserved Rees Pritchard
for great and noble things, and brought about his conversion in a
very remarkable manner.

The people of the tavern which Rees Pritchard frequented had a
large he-goat, which went in and out and mingled with the guests.
One day Rees in the midst of his orgies called the goat to him and
offered it some ale; the creature, far from refusing it, drank
greedily, and soon becoming intoxicated, fell down upon the floor,
where it lay quivering, to the great delight of Rees Pritchard, who
made its drunkenness a subject of jest to his boon companions, who,
however, said nothing, being struck with horror at such conduct in
a person who was placed among them to be a pattern and example.
Before night, however, Pritchard became himself intoxicated, and
was trundled to the vicarage in the usual manner. During the whole
of the next day he was very ill and kept at home, but on the
following one he again repaired to the public-house, sat down and
called for his pipe and tankard. The goat was now perfectly
recovered, and was standing nigh. No sooner was the tankard
brought than Rees taking hold of it held it to the goat's mouth.
The creature, however, turned away its head in disgust, and hurried
out of the room. This circumstance produced an instantaneous
effect upon Rees Pritchard. "My God!" said he to himself, "is this
poor dumb creature wiser than I? Yes, surely; it has been drunk,
but having once experienced the wretched consequences of
drunkenness, it refuses to be drunk again. How different is its
conduct to mine! I, after having experienced a hundred times the
filthiness and misery of drunkenness, have still persisted in
debasing myself below the condition of a beast. Oh, if I persist
in this conduct what have I to expect but wretchedness and contempt
in this world and eternal perdition in the next? But, thank God,
it is not yet too late to amend; I am still alive - I will become a
new man - the goat has taught me a lesson."  Smashing his pipe he
left his tankard untasted on the table, went home, and became an
altered man.

Different as an angel of light is from the fiend of the pit was
Rees Pritchard from that moment from what he had been in former
days. For upwards of thirty years he preached the Gospel as it had
never been preached before in the Welsh tongue since the time of
Saint Paul, supposing the beautiful legend to be true which tells
us that Saint Paul in his wanderings found his way to Britain and
preached to the inhabitants the inestimable efficacy of Christ's
bloodshedding in the fairest Welsh, having like all the other
apostles the miraculous gift of tongues. The good vicar did more.
In the short intervals of relaxation which he allowed himself from
the labour of the ministry during those years he composed a number
of poetical pieces, which after his death were gathered together
into a volume and published, under the title of "Canwyll y Cymry;
or, the Candle of the Welshman."  This work, which has gone through
almost countless editions, is written in two common easy measures,
and the language is so plain and simple that it is intelligible to
the homeliest hind who speaks the Welsh language. All of the
pieces are of a strictly devotional character, with the exception
of one, namely, a welcome to Charles, Prince of Wales, on his
return from Spain, to which country he had gone to see the Spanish
ladye whom at one time he sought as bride. Some of the pieces are
highly curious, as they bear upon events at present forgotten; for
example, the song upon the year 1629, when the corn was blighted
throughout the land, and "A Warning to the Cumry to repent when the
Plague of Blotches and Boils was prevalent in London."  Some of the
pieces are written with astonishing vigour, for example, "The Song
of the Husbandman," and "God's Better than All," of which last
piece the following is a literal translation:-


"God's better than heaven or aught therein,
Than the earth or aught we there can win,
Better than the world or its wealth to me -
God's better than all that is or can be.
Better than father, than mother, than nurse,
Better than riches, oft proving a curse,
Better than Martha or Mary even -
Better by far is the God of heaven.
If God for thy portion thou hast ta'en
There's Christ to support thee in every pain,
The world to respect thee thou wilt gain,
To fear thee the fiend and all his train.
Of the best of portions thou choice didst make
When thou the high God to thyself didst take,
A portion which none from thy grasp can rend
Whilst the sun and the moon on their course shall wend
When the sun grows dark and the moon turns red,
When the stars shall drop and millions dread,
When the earth shall vanish with its pomps in fire,
Thy portion still shall remain entire.
Then let not thy heart, though distressed, complain!
A hold on thy portion firm maintain.
Thou didst choose the best portion, again I say -
Resign it not till thy dying day."

The old vicarage of Llandovery is a very large mansion of dark red
brick, fronting the principal street or market-place, and with its
back to a green meadow bounded by the river Bran. It is in a very
dilapidated condition, and is inhabited at present by various poor
families. The principal room, which is said to have been the old
vicar's library, and the place where he composed his undying
Candle, is in many respects a remarkable apartment. It is of large
dimensions. The roof is curiously inlaid with stucco or mortar,
and is traversed from east to west by an immense black beam. The
fire-place, which is at the south, is very large and seemingly of
high antiquity. The windows, which are two in number and look
westward into the street, have a quaint and singular appearance.
Of all the houses in Llandovery the old vicarage is by far the most
worthy of attention, irrespective of the wonderful monument of
God's providence and grace who once inhabited it.

The reverence in which the memory of Rees Pritchard is still held
in Llandovery the following anecdote will show. As I was standing
in the principal street staring intently at the antique vicarage, a
respectable-looking farmer came up and was about to pass, but
observing how I was employed he stopped, and looked now at me and
now at the antique house. Presently he said

"A fine old place, is it not, sir? but do you know who lived

Wishing to know what the man would say provided he thought I was
ignorant as to the ancient inmate, I turned a face of inquiry upon
him; whereupon he advanced towards me two or three steps, and
placing his face so close to mine that his nose nearly touched my
cheek, he said in a kind of piercing whisper -

"The Vicar."

Then drawing his face back he looked me full in the eyes as if to
observe the effect of his intelligence, gave me two nods as if to
say, "He did, indeed," and departed.

THE Vicar of Llandovery had then been dead nearly two hundred
years. Truly the man in whom piety and genius are blended is
immortal upon earth.


Departure from Llandovery - A Bitter Methodist - North and South -
The Caravan - Captain Bosvile - Deputy Ranger - A Scrimmage - The
Heavenly Gwynfa - Dangerous Position.

ON the tenth I departed from Llandovery, which I have no hesitation
in saying is about the pleasantest little town in which I have
halted in the course of my wanderings. I intended to sleep at
Gutter Vawr, a place some twenty miles distant, just within
Glamorganshire, to reach which it would be necessary to pass over
part of a range of wild hills, generally called the Black
Mountains. I started at about ten o'clock; the morning was
lowering, and there were occasional showers of rain and hail. I
passed by Rees Pritchard's church, holding my hat in my hand as I
did so, not out of respect for the building, but from reverence for
the memory of the sainted man who of old from its pulpit called
sinners to repentance, and whose remains slumber in the churchyard
unless washed away by some frantic burst of the neighbouring Towey.
Crossing a bridge over the Bran just before it enters the greater
stream, I proceeded along a road running nearly south and having a
range of fine hills on the east. Presently violent gusts of wind
came on, which tore the sear leaves by thousands from the trees, of
which there were plenty by the roadsides. After a little time,
however, this elemental hurly-burly passed away, a rainbow made its
appearance, and the day became comparatively fine. Turning to the
south-east under a hill covered with oaks, I left the vale of the
Towey behind me, and soon caught a glimpse of some very lofty hills
which I supposed to be the Black Mountains. It was a mere glimpse,
for scarcely had I descried them when mist settled down and totally
obscured them from my view.

In about an hour I reached Llangadog, a large village. The name
signifies the church of Gadog. Gadog was a British saint of the
fifth century, who after labouring amongst his own countrymen for
their spiritual good for many years, crossed the sea to Brittany,
where he died. Scarcely had I entered Llangadog when a great
shower of rain came down. Seeing an ancient-looking hostelry I at
once made for it. In a large and comfortable kitchen I found a
middle-aged woman seated by a huge deal table near a blazing fire,
with a couple of large books open before her. Sitting down on a
chair I told her in English to bring me a pint of ale. She did so,
and again sat down to her books, which on inquiry I found to be a
Welsh Bible and Concordance. We soon got into discourse about
religion, but did not exactly agree, for she was a bitter
Methodist, as bitter as her beer, only half of which I could get

Leaving Llangadog I pushed forward. The day was now tolerably
fine. In two or three hours I came to a glen, the sides of which
were beautifully wooded. On my left was a river, which came
roaring down from a range of lofty mountains right before me to the
south-east. The river, as I was told by a lad, was the Sawdde or
Southey, the lofty range the Black Mountains. Passed a pretty
village on my right standing something in the shape of a
semicircle, and in about half-an-hour came to a bridge over a river
which I supposed to be the Sawdde which I had already seen, but
which I subsequently learned was an altogether different stream.
It was running from the south, a wild, fierce flood, amidst rocks
and stones, the waves all roaring and foaming.

After some time I reached another bridge near the foot of a very
lofty ascent. On my left to the east upon a bank was a small
house, on one side of which was a wheel turned round by a flush of
water running in a little artificial canal; close by it were two
small cascades, the waters of which, and also those of the canal,
passed under the bridge in the direction of the west. Seeing a
decent-looking man engaged in sawing a piece of wood by the
roadside, I asked him in Welsh whether the house with the wheel was
a flour mill.

"Nage," said he, "it is a pandy, fulling mill."

"Can you tell me the name of a river," said I, "which I have left
about a mile behind me. Is it the Sawdde?'

"Nage," said he, "it is the Lleidach."

Then looking at me with great curiosity, he asked if I came from
the north country.

"Yes," said I, "I certainly come from there."

"I am glad to hear it," said he, "for I have long wished to see a
man from the north country."

"Did you never see one before?" said I.

"Never in my life," he replied; "men from the north country seldom
show themselves in these parts."

"Well," said I; "I am not ashamed to say that I come from the

"Ain't you? Well, I don't know that you have any particular reason
to be ashamed, for it is rather your misfortune than your fault;
but the idea of any one coming from the north - ho, ho!"

"Perhaps in the north," said I, "they laugh at a man from the

"Laugh at a man from the south! No, no; they can't do that."

"Why not?" said I; "why shouldn't the north laugh at the south as
well as the south at the north?"

"Why shouldn't it? why, you talk like a fool. How could the north
laugh at the south as long as the south remains the south and the
north the north? Laugh at the south! you talk like a fool, David,
and if you go on in that way I shall be angry with you. However,
I'll excuse you; you are from the north, and what can one expect
from the north but nonsense? Now tell me, do you of the north eat
and drink like other people? What do you live upon?"

"Why, as for myself," said I; "I generally live on the best I can

"Let's hear what you eat; bacon and eggs?

"Oh yes, I eat bacon and eggs when I can get nothing better."

"And what do you drink? Can you drink ale?"

"Oh yes," said I; "I am very fond of ale when it's good. Perhaps
you will stand a pint?"

"Hm," said the man looking somewhat blank; "there is no ale in the
Pandy and there is no public-house near at hand, otherwise - Where
are you going to-night?"

"To Gutter Vawr."

"Well, then, you had better not loiter; Gutter Vawr is a long way
off over the mountain. It will be dark, I am afraid, long before
you get to Gutter Vawr. Good evening, David! I am glad to have
seen you, for I have long wished to see a man from the north
country. Good evening! you will find plenty of good ale at Gutter

I went on my way. The road led in a south-eastern direction
gradually upward to very lofty regions. After walking about half-
an-hour I saw a kind of wooden house on wheels drawn by two horses
coming down the hill towards me. A short black-looking fellow in
brown-top boots, corduroy breeches, jockey coat and jockey cap sat
on the box, holding the reins in one hand and a long whip in the
other. Beside him was a swarthy woman in a wild flaunting dress.
Behind the box out of the fore part of the caravan peered two or
three black children's heads. A pretty little foal about four
months old came frisking and gambolling now before now beside the
horses, whilst a colt of some sixteen months followed more
leisurely behind. When the caravan was about ten yards distant I
stopped, and raising my left hand with the little finger pointed
aloft, I exclaimed:

"Shoon, Kaulomengro, shoon! In Dibbel's nav, where may tu be
jawing to?"

Stopping his caravan with considerable difficulty the small black
man glared at me for a moment like a wild cat, and then said in a
voice partly snappish, partly kind:

"Savo shan tu? Are you one of the Ingrines?"

"I am the chap what certain folks calls the Romany Rye."

"Well, I'll be jiggered if I wasn't thinking so and if I wasn't
penning so to my juwa as we were welling down the chong."

"It is a long time since we last met, Captain Bosvile, for I
suppose I may call you Captain now?"

"Yes! the old man has been dead and buried this many a year, and
his sticks and titles are now mine. Poor soul, I hope he is happy;
indeed I know he is, for he lies in Cockleshell churchyard, the
place he was always so fond of, and has his Sunday waistcoat on him
with the fine gold buttons, which he was always so proud of. Ah,
you may well call it a long time since we met - why, it can't be
less than thirty year."

"Something about that - you were a boy then of about fifteen."

"So I was, and you a tall young slip of about twenty; well, how did
you come to jin mande?"

"Why, I knew you by your fighting mug - there ain't such another
mug in England."

"No more there an't - my old father always used to say it was of no
use hitting it for it always broke his knuckles. Well, it was kind
of you to jin mande after so many years. The last time I think I
saw you was near Brummagem, when you were travelling about with
Jasper Petulengro and - I say, what's become of the young woman you
used to keep company with?"

"I don't know."

"You don't? Well, she was a fine young woman and a vartuous. I
remember her knocking down and giving a black eye to my old mother,
who was wonderfully deep in Romany, for making a bit of a gillie
about you and she. What was the song? Lord, how my memory fails
me! Oh, here it is:-

"'Ando berkho Rye cano
Oteh pivo teh khavo
Tu lerasque ando berkho piranee
Teh corbatcha por pico.'"

"Have you seen Jasper Petulengro lately?" said I.

"Yes, I have seen him, but it was at a very considerable distance.
Jasper Petulengro doesn't come near the likes of we now. Lord! you
can't think what grand folks he and his wife have become of late
years, and all along of a trumpery lil which somebody has written
about them. Why, they are hand and glove with the Queen and
Prince, and folks say that his wife is going to be made dame of
honour, and Jasper Justice of the Peace and Deputy Ranger of
Windsor Park."

"Only think," said I. "And now tell me, what brought you into

"What brought me into Wales? I'll tell you; my own fool's head. I
was doing nicely in the Kaulo Gav and the neighbourhood, when I
must needs pack up and come into these parts with bag and baggage,
wife and childer. I thought that Wales was what it was some thirty
years agone when our foky used to say - for I was never here before
- that there was something to be done in it; but I was never more
mistaken in my life. The country is overrun with Hindity mescrey,
woild Irish, with whom the Romany foky stand no chance. The
fellows underwork me at tinkering, and the women outscream my wife
at telling fortunes - moreover, they say the country is theirs and
not intended for niggers like we, and as they are generally in vast
numbers what can a poor little Roman family do but flee away before
them? A pretty journey I have made into Wales. Had I not
contrived to pass off a poggado bav engro - a broken-winded horse -
at a fair, I at this moment should be without a tringoruschee piece
in my pocket. I am now making the best of my way back to
Brummagem, and if ever I come again to this Hindity country may
Calcraft nash me."

"I wonder you didn't try to serve some of the Irish out," said I.

"I served one out, brother; and my wife and childer helped to wipe
off a little of the score. We had stopped on a nice green, near a
village over the hills in Glamorganshire, when up comes a Hindity
family, and bids us take ourselves off. Now it so happened that
there was but one man and a woman and some childer, so I laughed,
and told them to drive us off. Well, brother, without many words,
there was a regular scrimmage. The Hindity mush came at me, the
Hindity mushi at y my juwa, and the Hindity chaves at my chai. It
didn't last long, brother. In less than three minutes I had hit
the Hindity mush, who was a plaguey big fellow, but couldn't fight,
just under the point of the chin, and sent him to the ground with
all his senses gone. My juwa had almost scratched an eye out of
the Hindity mushi, and my chai had sent the Hindity childer
scampering over the green. 'Who has got to quit now?' said I to
the Hindity mush after he had got on his legs, looking like a man
who has been cut down after hanging just a minute and a half. 'Who
has got notice to quit, now, I wonder?'  Well, brother, he didn't
say anything, nor did any of them, but after a little time they all
took themselves off, with a cart they had, to the south. Just as
they got to the edge of the green, however, they turned round and
gave a yell which made all our blood run cold. I knew what it
meant, and said, 'This is no place for us.'  So we got everything
together and came away and, though the horses were tired, never
stopped till we had got ten miles from the place; and well it was
we acted as we did, for, had we stayed, I have no doubt that a
whole Hindity clan would have been down upon us before morning and
cut our throats."

"Well," said I, "farewell. I can't stay any longer. As it is, I
shall be late at Gutter Vawr."

"Farewell, brother!" said Captain Bosvile; and, giving a cry, he
cracked, his whip and set his horses in motion.

"Won't you give us sixpence to drink?" cried Mrs Bosvile, with a
rather shrill voice.

"Hold your tongue, you she-dog," said Captain Bosvile. "Is that
the way in which you take leave of an old friend? Hold your
tongue, and let the Ingrine gentleman jaw on his way."

I proceeded on my way as fast as I could, for the day was now
closing in. My progress, however, was not very great; for the road
was steep, and was continually becoming more so. In about half-an-
hour I came to a little village, consisting of three or four
houses; one of them, at the door of which several carts were
standing, bore the sign of a tavern.

"What is the name of this place?" said I to a man who was breaking
stones on the road.

"Capel Gwynfa," said he.

Rather surprised at the name, which signifies in English the Chapel
of the place of bliss, I asked the man why it was called so.

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

"Was there ever a chapel here?" said I.

"I don't know, sir; there is none now."

"I daresay there was in the old time," said I to myself, as I went
on, "in which some holy hermit prayed and told his beads, and
occasionally received benighted strangers. What a poetical word
that Gwynfa, place of bliss, is. Owen Pugh uses it in his
translation of 'Paradise Lost' to express Paradise, for he has
rendered the words Paradise Lost by Col Gwynfa - the loss of the
place of bliss. I wonder whether the old scholar picked up the
word here. Not unlikely. Strange fellow that Owen Pugh. Wish I
had seen him. No hope of seeing him now, except in the heavenly
Gwynfa. Wonder whether there is such a place. Tom Payne thinks
there's not. Strange fellow that Tom Payne. Norfolk man. Wish I
had never read him."

Presently I came to a little cottage with a toll-bar. Seeing a
woman standing at the door, I inquired of her the name of the gate.

"Cowslip Gate, sir."

"Has it any Welsh name?"

"None that I know of, sir."

This place was at a considerable altitude, and commanded an
extensive view to the south, west, and north. Heights upon heights
rose behind it to the east. From here the road ran to the south
for a little way nearly level, then turned abruptly to the east,
and was more steep than ever. After the turn, I had a huge chalk
cliff towering over me on the right, and a chalk precipice on my
left. Night was now coming on fast, and, rather to my uneasiness,
masses of mist began to pour down the sides of the mountain. I
hurried on, the road making frequent turnings. Presently the mist
swept down upon me, and was so thick that I could only see a few
yards before me. I was now obliged to slacken my pace, and to
advance with some degree of caution. I moved on in this way for
some time, when suddenly I heard a noise, as if a number of carts
were coming rapidly down the hill. I stopped, and stood with my
back close against the high bank. The noise drew nearer, and in a
minute I saw distinctly through the mist, horses, carts, and forms
of men passing. In one or two cases the wheels appeared to be
within a few inches of my feet. I let the train go by, and then
cried out in English, "Am I right for Gutter Vawr?"

"Hey?" said a voice, after a momentary interval.

"Am I right for Gutter Vawr?" I shouted yet louder.

"Yes sure!" said a voice, probably the same.

Then instantly a much rougher voice cried, "Who the Devil are you?"

I made no answer, but went on, whilst the train continued its way
rumbling down the mountain. At length I gained the top, where the
road turned and led down a steep descent towards the south-west.
It was now quite night, and the mist was of the thickest kind. I
could just see that there was a frightful precipice on my left, so
I kept to the right, hugging the side of the hill. As I descended
I heard every now and then loud noises in the vale, probably
proceeding from stone quarries. I was drenched to the skin, nay,
through the skin, by the mist, which I verily believe was more
penetrating than that described by Ab Gwilym. When I had proceeded
about a mile I saw blazes down below, resembling those of furnaces,
and soon after came to the foot of the hill. It was here pouring
with rain, but I did not put up my umbrella, as it was impossible
for me to be more drenched than I was. Crossing a bridge over a
kind of torrent, I found myself amongst some houses. I entered one
of them from which a blaze of light and a roar of voices proceeded,
and, on inquiring of an old woman who confronted me in the passage,
I found that I had reached my much needed haven of rest, the tavern
of Gutter Vawr in the county of Glamorgan.


Inn at Gutter Vawr - The Hurly-burly - Bara y Caws - Change of
Manner - Welsh Mistrust - Wonders of Russia - The Emperor - The
Grand Ghost Story.

THE old woman who confronted me in the passage of the inn turned
out to be the landlady. On learning that I intended to pass the
night at her house, she conducted me into a small room on the
right-hand side of the passage, which proved to be the parlour. It
was cold and comfortless, for there was no fire in the grate. She
told me, however, that one should be lighted, and going out,
presently returned with a couple of buxom wenches, who I soon found
were her daughters. The good lady had little or no English; the
girls, however, had plenty, and of a good kind too. They soon
lighted a fire, and then the mother inquired if I wished for any

"Certainly," said I, "for I have not eaten anything since I left
Llandovery. What can I have?"

"We have veal and bacon," said she.

"That will do," said I; "fry me some veal and bacon, and I shan't
complain. But pray tell what prodigious noise is that which I hear
on the other side of the passage?"

"It is only the miners and the carters in the kitchen making
merry," said one of the girls.

"Is there a good fire there?" said I.

"Oh yes," said the girl, "we have always a good fire in the

"Well then," said I, "I shall go there till supper is ready, for I
am wet to the skin, and this fire casts very little heat."

"You will find them a rough set in the kitchen," said the girl.

"I don't care if I do" said I; "when people are rough I am civil,
and I have always found that civility beats roughness in the long
run."  Then going out I crossed the passage and entered the

It was nearly filled with rough unkempt fellows, smoking, drinking,
whistling, singing, shouting or jabbering, some in a standing, some
in a sitting, posture. My entrance seemed at once to bring
everything to a dead stop; the smokers ceased to smoke, the hand
that was conveying the glass or the mug to the mouth was arrested
in air, the hurly-burly ceased and every eye was turned upon me
with a strange inquiring stare. Without allowing myself to be
disconcerted I advanced to the fire, spread out my hands before it
for a minute, gave two or three deep "ahs" of comfort, and then
turning round said: "Rather a damp night, gentlemen - fire
cheering to one who has come the whole way from Llandovery - Taking
a bit of a walk in Wales, to see the scenery and to observe the
manners and customs of the inhabitants - Fine country, gentlemen,
noble prospects, hill and dale - Fine people too - open-hearted and
generous; no wonder! descendants of the Ancient Britons - Hope I
don't intrude - other room rather cold and smoking - If I do, will
retire at once - don't wish to interrupt any gentleman in their
avocations or deliberations - scorn to do anything ungenteel or
calculated to give offence - hope I know how to behave myself -
ought to do so - learnt grammar at the High School at Edinburgh."

"Offence, intrusion!" cried twenty voices. "God bless your honour!
no intrusion and no offence at all; sit down - sit here - won't you

"Please to sit here, sir," said an old grimy-looking man, getting
up from a seat in the chimney-corner - "this is no seat for me
whilst you are here, it belongs to you - sit down in it," and
laying hold of me he compelled me to sit down in the chair of
dignity, whilst half-a-dozen hands pushed mugs of beer towards my
face; these, however, I declined to partake of on the very
satisfactory ground that I had not taken supper, and that it was a
bad thing to drink before eating, more especially after coming out
of a mist.

"Have you any news to tell of the war, sir?" said a large tough
fellow, who was smoking a pipe.

"The last news that I heard of the war," said I, "was that the snow
was two feet deep at Sebastopol."

"I heard three," said the man; "however, if there be but two it
must be bad work for the poor soldiers. I suppose you think that
we shall beat the Russians in the end."

"No, I don't," said I; "the Russians are a young nation and we are
an old; they are coming on and we are going off; every dog has its

"That's true," said the man, "but I am sorry that you think we
shall not beat the Russians, for the Russians are a bad set."

"Can you speak Welsh?" said a darkish man with black, bristly hair
and a small inquisitive eye.

"Oh, I know two words in Welsh," said I; "bara y caws."

"That's bread and cheese," said the man, then turning to a
neighbour of his he said in Welsh: "He knows nothing of Cumraeg,
only two words; we may say anything we please; he can't understand
us. What a long nose he has!"

"Mind that he an't nosing us," said his neighbour. "I should be
loth to wager that he doesn't understand Welsh; and, after all, he
didn't say that he did not, but got off by saying he understood
those two words."

"No, he doesn't understand Welsh," said the other; "no Sais
understands Welsh, and this is a Sais. Now with regard to that
piece of job-work which you and I undertook."  And forthwith he and
the other entered into a disquisition about the job-work.

The company soon got into its old train, drinking and smoking and
making a most terrific hullabaloo. Nobody took any farther notice
of me. I sat snug in the chimney-corner, trying to dry my wet
things, and as the heat was very great, partially succeeded. In
about half-an-hour one of the girls came to tell me that my supper
was ready, whereupon I got up and said:

"Gentlemen, I thank you for your civility; I am now going to
supper; perhaps before I turn in for the night I may look in upon
you again."  Then without waiting for an answer I left the kitchen
and went into the other room, where I found a large dish of veal
cutlets and fried bacon awaiting me, and also a smoking bowl of
potatoes. Ordering a jug of ale I sat down, and what with hunger
and the goodness of the fare, for everything was first-rate, made
one of the best suppers I ever made in my life.

Supper over I called for a glass of whiskey-and-water, over which I
trifled for about half-an-hour and then betook myself again to the
kitchen. Almost as soon as I entered, the company - who seemed to
be discussing some point, and were not making much hurly-burly -
became silent, and looked at me in a suspicious and uneasy manner.
I advanced towards the fire. The old man who had occupied the seat
in the chimney-corner and had resigned it to me, had again taken
possession of it. As I drew near to the fire he looked upon the
ground, and seemed by no means disposed to vacate the place of
honour; after a few moments, however, he got up and offered me the
seat with slight motion of his hand and without saying a word. I
did not decline it but sat down, and the old gentleman took a chair
near. Universal silence now prevailed; sullen looks were cast at
me, and I saw clearly enough that I was not welcome. Frankness was
now my only resource. "What's the matter, gentlemen?" said I; "you
are silent and don't greet me kindly; have I given you any cause of
offence?"  No one uttered a word in reply for nearly a minute, when
the old man said slowly and deliberately: "Why, sir, the long and
short of it is this: we have got it into our heads that you
understand every word of our discourse; now, do you or do you not?"

"Understand every word of your discourse?" said I; "I wish I did; I
would give five pounds to understand every word of your discourse."

"That's a clever attempt to get off, sir," said the old man, "but
it won't exactly do. Tell us whether you know more Welsh than bara
y caws, or to speak more plainly, whether you understand a good
deal of what we say."

"Well," said I, "I do understand more Welsh than bara y caws - I do
understand a considerable part of a Welsh conversation; moreover, I
can read Welsh, and have the life of Tom O'r Nant at my fingers'

"Well, sir, that is speaking plain, and I will tell you plainly
that we don't like to have strangers among us who understand our
discourse, more especially if they be gentlefolks."

"That's strange," said I; "a Welshman or foreigner, gentle or
simple, may go into a public-house in England, and nobody cares a
straw whether he understands the discourse of the company or not."

"That may be the custom in England," said the old man, "but it is
not so in Wales."

"What have you got to conceal?" said I; "I suppose you are honest

"I hope we are, sir," said the old man; "but I must tell you, once
for all, that we don't like strangers to listen to our discourse."

"Come," said I, "I will not listen to your discourse, but you shall
listen to mine. I have a wonderful deal to say if I once begin; I
have been everywhere."

"Well, sir," said the old man, "if you have anything to tell us
about where you have been and what you have seen, we shall be glad
to hear you."

"Have you ever been in Russia?" shouted a voice, that of the large
rough fellow who asked me the question about the Russian war.

"Oh yes, I have been in Russia," said I.

"Well, what kind of a country is it?"

"Very different from this," said I, "which is a little country up
in a corner, full of hills and mountains; that is an immense
country, extending from the Baltic Sea to the confines of China,
almost as flat as a pancake, there not being a hill to be seen for
nearly two thousand miles."

"A very poor country isn't it, always covered with ice and snow?"

"Oh no; it is one of the richest countries in the world, producing
all kinds of grain, with noble rivers intersecting it, and in some
parts covered with stately forests. In the winter, which is rather
long, there is a good deal of ice and snow, it is true, but in the
summer the weather is warmer than here."

"And are there any towns and cities in Russia, sir, as there are in
Britain?" said the old man who had resigned his seat in the
chimney-corner to me; "I suppose not, or if there be, nothing equal
to Hereford or Bristol, in both of which I have been."

"Oh yes," said I, "there are plenty of towns and cities. The two
principal ones are Moscow and Saint Petersburg, both of which are
capitals. Moscow is a fine old city, far up the country, and was
the original seat of empire. In it there is a wonderful building
called the Kremlin, situated on a hill. It is partly palace,
partly temple, and partly fortress. In one of its halls are I
don't know how many crowns, taken from various kings whom the
Russians have conquered. But the most remarkable thing in the
Kremlin is a huge bell in a cellar or cave, close by one of the
churches; it is twelve feet high, and the sound it gives when
struck with an iron bar, for there are no clappers to Russian
bells, is so loud that the common Russians say it can be heard over
the empire. The other city, Saint Petersburg, where the Court
generally reside, is a modern and very fine city; so fine indeed,
that I have no hesitation in saying that neither Bristol nor
Hereford is worthy to be named in the same day with it. Many of
the streets are miles in length, and straight as an arrow. The
Nefsky Prospect, as it is called, a street which runs from the
grand square, where stands the Emperor's palace, to the monastery
of Saint Alexander Nefsky, is nearly three miles in length, and is
full of noble shops and houses. The Neva, a river twice as broad
and twice as deep as the Thames, and whose waters are clear as
crystal, runs through the town, having on each side of it a superb
quay, fenced with granite, which affords one of the most delightful
walks imaginable. If I had my choice of all the cities of the
world to live in, I would choose Saint Petersburg."

"And did you ever see the Emperor?" said the rough fellow, whom I
have more than once mentioned, "did you ever see the Emperor

"Oh yes: I have seen him frequently."

"Well, what kind of a man is he? we should like to know."

"A man of colossal stature, with a fine, noble, but rather stern
and severe aspect. I think I now see him, with his grey cloak,
cocked hat, and white waving plumes, striding down the Nefsky
Prospect, and towering by a whole head over other people."

"Bravo! Did you ever see him at the head of his soldiers?"

"Oh yes! I have seen the Emperor review forty thousand of his
chosen troops in the Champs de Mars, and a famous sight it was.
There stood the great, proud man looking at his warriors as they
manoeuvred before him. Two-thirds of them were cavalry, and each
horseman was mounted on a beautiful blood charger of Cossack or
English breed, and arrayed in a superb uniform. The blaze, glitter
and glory were too much for my eyes, and I was frequently obliged
to turn them away. The scene upon the whole put me in mind of an
immense field of tulips of various dyes, for the colours of the
dresses, of the banners and the plumes, were as gorgeous and
manifold as the hues of those queenly flowers."

"Bravo!" said twenty voices; "the gentleman speaks like an
areithiwr. Have you been in other countries besides Russia?"

"Oh yes! I have been in Turkey, the people of which are not
Christians, but frequently put Christians to shame by their good
faith and honesty. I have been in the land of the Maugrabins, or
Moors - a people who live on a savoury dish called couscousoo, and
have the gloomiest faces and the most ferocious hearts under
heaven. I have been in Italy, whose people, though the most clever
in the world, are the most unhappy, owing to the tyranny of a being
called the Pope, who, when I saw him, appeared to be under the
influence of strong drink. I have been in Portugal, the people of
which supply the whole world with wine, and drink only water
themselves. I have been in Spain, a very fine country, the people
of which are never so happy as when paying other folks' reckonings.
I have been - but the wind is blowing wildly without, and the rain
pelting against the windows; this is a capital night for a ghost
story; shall I tell you a ghost story which I learnt in Spain?"

"Yes, sir, pray do; we all love ghost stories. Do tell us the
ghost story of Spain."

Thereupon I told the company Lope de Vega's ghost story, which is
decidedly the best ghost story in the world.

Long and loud was the applause which followed the conclusion of the
grand ghost story of the world, in the midst of which I got up,
bade the company good-night, and made my exit. Shortly afterwards
I desired to be shown to my sleeping apartment. It was a very
small room upstairs, in the back part of the house; and I make no
doubt was the chamber of the two poor girls, the landlady's
daughters, as I saw various articles of female attire lying about.
The spirit of knight-errantry within me was not, however,
sufficiently strong to prevent me taking possession of the female
dormitory; so, forthwith divesting myself of every portion of my
habiliments, which were steaming like a boiling tea-kettle, I got
into bed between the blankets, and in a minute was fast in the arms
of Morpheus.


Morning - A Cheerless Scene - The Carter - Ode to Glamorgan -
Startling Halloo - One-sided Liberty - Clerical Profession - De
Courcy - Love of the Drop - Independent Spirit - Another People.

I SLEPT soundly through the night. At about eight o'clock on the
following morning I got up and looked out of the window of my room,
which fronted the north. A strange scene presented itself: a
roaring brook was foaming along towards the west, just under the
window. Immediately beyond it was a bank, not of green turf, grey
rock, or brown mould, but of coal rubbish, coke and cinders; on the
top of this bank was a fellow performing some dirty office or
other, with a spade and barrow; beyond him, on the side of a hill,
was a tramway, up which a horse was straining, drawing a load of
something towards the north-west. Beyond the tramway was a grove
of yellow-looking firs; beyond the grove a range of white houses
with blue roofs, occupied, I suppose, by miners and their families;
and beyond these I caught a sight of the mountain on the top of
which I had been the night before - only a partial one, however, as
large masses of mist were still hanging about it. The morning was
moist and dripping, and nothing could look more cheerless and
uncomfortable than the entire scene.

I put on my things, which were still not half dry, and went down
into the little parlour, where I found an excellent fire awaiting
me, and a table spread for breakfast. The breakfast was delicious,
consisting of excellent tea, buttered toast, and Glamorgan
sausages, which I really think are not a whit inferior to those of
Epping. After breakfast I went into the kitchen, which was now
only occupied by two or three people. Seeing a large brush on a
dresser, I took it up, and was about to brush my nether
habiliments, which were terribly bespattered with half-dried mire.
Before, however, I could begin, up started one of the men, a wild,
shock-headed fellow dressed like a carter, in rough blue frieze
coat, yellow, broad corduroy trowsers, grey woollen stockings and
highlows, and snatching the brush out of my hand, fell to brushing
me most vigorously, puffing and blowing all the time in a most
tremendous manner. I did not refuse his services, but let him go
on, and to reward him as I thought, spoke kindly to him, asking him
various questions. "Are you a carter?" said I. No answer. "One
of Twm O'r Nant's people?"  No answer. "Famous fellow that Twm O'r
Nant, wasn't he? Did you ever hear how he got the great tree in at
Carmarthen Gate? What is wood per foot at present? Whom do you
cart for? Or are you your own master? If so, how many horses do
you keep?"

To not one of these questions, nor to a dozen others which I put,
both in English and Welsh, did my friend with the brush return any
verbal answer, though I could occasionally hear a kind of stifled
giggle proceeding from him. Having at length thoroughly brushed
not only my clothes, but my boots and my hat, which last article he
took from my head, and placed it on again very dexterously, after
brushing it, he put the brush down on the dresser, and then
advancing to me made me a bow, and waving his forefinger backwards
and forwards before my face, he said, with a broad grin: "Nice
gentleman - will do anything for him but answer questions, and let
him hear my discourse. Love to listen to his pleasant stories of
foreign lands, ghosts and tylwith teg; but before him, deem it wise
to be mum, quite mum. Know what he comes about. Wants to hear
discourse of poor man, that he may learn from it poor man's little
ways and infirmities, and mark them down in one small, little book
to serve for fun to Lord Palmerston and the other great gentlefolks
in London. Nice man, civil man, I don't deny; and clebber man too,
for he knows Welsh, and has been everywhere - but fox - old fox -
lives at Plas y Cadno." (18)

Having been informed that there was a considerable iron foundry
close by, I thought it would be worth my while to go and see it. I
entered the premises, and was standing and looking round, when a
man with the appearance of a respectable mechanic came up and
offered to show me over the place. I gladly accepted his offer,
and he showed me all about the iron foundry. I saw a large steam-
engine at full play, terrible furnaces, and immense heaps of
burning, crackling cinders, and a fiery stream of molten metal
rolling along. After seeing what there was to be seen, I offered a
piece of silver to my kind conductor, which he at once refused. On
my asking him, however, to go to the inn and have a friendly glass,
he smiled, and said he had no objection. So we went to the inn,
and had two friendly glasses of whiskey-and-water together, and
also some discourse. I asked him if there were any English
employed on the premises. "None," said he, "nor Irish either; we
are all Welsh."  Though he was a Welshman, his name was a very
common English one.

After paying the reckoning, which only amounted to three and
sixpence, I departed for Swansea, distant about thirteen miles.
Gutter Vawr consists of one street, extending for some little way
along the Swansea road, the foundry, and a number of huts and
houses scattered here and there. The population is composed almost
entirely of miners, the workers at the foundry, and their families.
For the first two or three miles the country through which I passed
did not at all prepossess me in favour of Glamorganshire: it
consisted of low, sullen, peaty hills. Subsequently, however, it
improved rapidly, becoming bold, wild, and pleasantly wooded. The
aspect of the day improved, also, with the appearance of the
country. When I first started the morning was wretched and
drizzly, but in less than an hour it cleared up wonderfully, and
the sun began to flash out. As I looked on the bright luminary I
thought of Ab Gwilym's ode to the sun and Glamorgan, and with
breast heaving and with eyes full of tears, I began to repeat parts
of it, or rather of a translation made in my happy boyish years:-

"Each morn, benign of countenance,
Upon Glamorgan's pennon glance!
Each afternoon in beauty clear
Above my own dear bounds appear!
Bright outline of a blessed clime,
Again, though sunk, arise sublime -
Upon my errand, swift repair,
And unto green Glamorgan bear
Good days and terms of courtesy
From my dear country and from me!
Move round - but need I thee command? -
Its chalk-white halls, which cheerful stand -
Pleasant thy own pavilions too -
Its fields and orchards fair to view.

"O, pleasant is thy task and high
In radiant warmth to roam the sky,
To keep from ill that kindly ground,
Its meads and farms, where mead is found,
A land whose commons live content,
Where each man's lot is excellent,
Where hosts to hail thee shall upstand,
Where lads are bold and lasses bland,
A land I oft from hill that's high
Have gazed upon with raptur'd eye;
Where maids are trained in virtue's school,
Where duteous wives spin dainty wool;
A country with each gift supplied,
Confronting Cornwall's cliffs of pride."

Came to Llanguick, a hamlet situated near a tremendous gorge, the
sides of which were covered with wood. Thence to the village of
Tawy Bridge, at the bottom of a beautiful valley, through which
runs the Tawy, which, after the Taf, is the most considerable river
in Glamorganshire. Continuing my course, I passed by an enormous
edifice which stood on my right hand. It had huge chimneys, which
were casting forth smoke, and from within I heard the noise of a
steam-engine and the roar of furnaces.

"What place is this?" said, I to a boy.

"Gwaith haiarn, sir; ym perthyn i Mr Pearson. Mr Pearson's iron
works, sir."

I proceeded, and in about half-an-hour saw a man walking before me
in the same direction in which I was. He was going very briskly,
but I soon came up to him. He was a small, well-made fellow, with
reddish hair and ruddy, determined countenance, somewhat tanned.
He wore a straw hat, checkered shirt, open at the neck, canvas
trousers and blue jacket. On his feet were shoes remarkably thin,
but no stockings, and in his hand he held a stout stick, with
which, just before I overtook him, he struck a round stone which
lay on the ground, sending it flying at least fifty yards before
him on the road, and following it in its flight with a wild and
somewhat startling halloo.

"Good-day, my friend," said I; "you seem to be able to use a

"And sure I ought to be, your honour, seeing as how my father
taught me, who was the best fighting man with a stick that the
Shanavests ever had. Many is the head of a Caravaut that he has
broken with some such an Alpeen wattle as the one I am carrying
with me here."

"A good thing," said I, "that there are no Old Waist-coats and
Cravats at present, at least bloody factions bearing those names."

"Your honour thinks so! Faith! I am clane of a contrary opinion.
I wish the ould Shanavests and Caravauts were fighting still, and I
among them. Faith! there was some life in Ireland in their days."

"And plenty of death too," said I. "How fortunate it is that the
Irish have the English among them to prevent their cutting each
other's throats."

"The English prevent the Irish from cutting each other's throats!
Well, if they do, it is only that they may have the pleasure of
cutting them themselves. The bloody tyrants! too long has their
foot been upon the neck of poor old Ireland."

"How do the English tyrannise over Ireland?"

"How do they tyrannise over her? Don't they prevent her from
having the free exercise of her Catholic religion, and make her
help to support their own Protestant one?"

"Well, and don't the Roman Catholics prevent the Protestants from
having the free exercise of their religion, whenever they happen to
be the most numerous, and don't they make them help to support the
Roman Catholic religion?"

"Of course they do, and quite right! Had I my will, there
shouldn't be a place of Protestant worship left standing, or a
Protestant churl allowed to go about with a head unbroken."

"Then why do you blame the Protestants for keeping the Romans a
little under?"

"Why do I blame them? A purty question! Why, an't they wrong, and
an't we right?"

"But they say that they are right and you wrong."

"They say! who minds what they say? Haven't we the word of the
blessed Pope that we are right?"

"And they say that they have the word of the blessed Gospel that
you are wrong."

"The Gospel! who cares for the Gospel? Surely you are not going to
compare the Gospel with the Pope?"

"Well, they certainly are not to be named in the same day."

"They are not? Then good luck to you! We are both of the same
opinion. Ah, I thought your honour was a rale Catholic. Now, tell
me from what kingdom of Ireland does your honour hail?"

"Why, I was partly educated in Munster."

"In Munster! Hoorah! Here's the hand of a countryman to your
honour. Ah, it was asy to be seen from the learning, which your
honour shows, that your honour is from Munster. There's no spot in
Ireland like Munster for learning. What says the old song?

"'Ulster for a soldier,
Connaught for a thief,
Munster for learning,
And Leinster for beef.'

"Hoorah for learned Munster! and down with beggarly, thievish
Connaught! I would that a Connaught man would come athwart me now,
that I might break his thief's head with my Alpeen."

"You don't seem to like the Connaught men," said I.

"Like them! who can like them? a parcel of beggarly thievish
blackguards. So your honour was edicated in Munster - I mane
partly edicated. I suppose by your saying that you were partly
edicated, that your honour was intended for the clerical
profession, but being over fond of the drop was forced to lave
college before your edication was quite completed, and so for want
of a better profession took up with that of merchandise. Ah, the
love of the drop at college has prevented many a clever young
fellow from taking holy orders. Well, it's a pity but it can't be
helped. I am fond of a drop myself, and when we get to - shall be
happy to offer your honour a glass of whiskey. I hope your honour
and I shall splice the mainbrace together before we part."

"I suppose," said I, "by your talking of splicing the mainbrace
that you are a sailor."

"I am, your honour, and hail from the Cove of Cork in the kingdom
of Munster."

"I know it well," said I, "it is the best sea-basin in the world.
Well, how came you into these parts?"

"I'll tell your honour; my ship is at Swansea, and having a
relation working at the foundry behind us I came to see him."

"Are you in the royal service?"

"I am not, your honour; I was once in the royal service, but having
a dispute with the boatswain at Spithead, I gave him a wipe, jumped
overboard and swam ashore. After that I sailed for Cuba, got into
the merchants' service there, and made several voyages to the Black
Coast. At present I am in the service of the merchants of Cork."

"I wonder that you are not now in the royal service," said I,
"since you are so fond of fighting. There is hot work going on at
present up the Black Sea, and brave men, especially Irishmen, are
in great request."

"Yes, brave Irishmen are always in great request with England when
she has a battle to fight. At other times they are left to lie in
the mud with the chain round their necks. It has been so ever
since the time of De Courcy, and I suppose always will be so,
unless Irishmen all become of my mind, which is not likely. Were
the Irish all of my mind, the English would find no Irish champion
to fight their battles when the French or the Russians come to
beard them."

"By De Courcy," said I, "you mean the man whom the King of England
confined in the Tower of London after taking from him his barony in
the county of Cork."

"Of course, your honour, and whom he kept in the Tower till the
King of France sent over a champion to insult and beard him, when
the king was glad to take De Courcy out of the dungeon to fight the
French champion, for divil a one of his own English fighting men
dared take the Frenchman in hand."

"A fine fellow that De Courcy," said I.

"Rather too fond of the drop though, like your honour and myself,
for after he had caused the French champion to flee back into
France he lost the greater part of the reward which the King of
England promised him, solely by making too free with the strong
drink. Does your honour remember that part of the story?"

"I think I do," said I, "but I should be very glad to hear you
relate it."

"Then your honour shall. Right glad was the King of England when
the French champion fled back to France, for no sooner did the
dirty spalpeen hear that they were going to bring De Courcy against
him, the fame of whose strength and courage filled the whole world,
than he betook himself back to his own country, and was never heard
of more. Right glad, I say, was the King of England, and gave
leave to De Courcy to return to Ireland. 'And you shall have,'
said he, 'of the barony which I took from you all that you can ride
round on the first day of your return.'  So De Courcy betook
himself to Ireland and to his barony, but he was anything but a
lucky man, this De Courcy, for his friends and relations and
tenantry, hearing of his coming, prepared a grand festival for him,
with all kinds of illigant viands and powerful liquors, and when he
arrived there it was waiting for him, and down to it he sat, and
ate, and drank, and for joy of seeing himself once more amongst his
friends and tenantry in the hall of his forefathers, and for love
of the drop, which he always had, he drank of the powerful liquors
more than he ought, and the upshot was that he became drunk, agus
do bhi an duine maith sin misgeadh do ceather o glog; the good
gentleman was drunk till four o'clock, and when he awoke he found
that he had but two hours of day remaining to win back his brave
barony. However, he did not lose heart, but mounted his horse and
set off riding as fast as a man just partly recovered from
intoxication could be expected to do, and he contrived to ride
round four parishes, and only four, and these four parishes were
all that he recovered of his brave barony, and all that he had to
live upon till his dying day, and all that he had to leave to his
descendants, so that De Courcy could scarcely be called a very
lucky man, after all."

Shortly after my friend the sailor had concluded his account of De
Courcy, we arrived in the vicinity of a small town or rather
considerable village. It stood on the right-hand side of the road,
fronting the east, having a high romantic hill behind it on the
sides of which were woods, groves, and pleasant-looking white

"What place is this?" said I to my companion.

"This is -, your honour; and here, if your honour will accept a
glass of whiskey we will splice the mainbrace together."

"Thank you," said I; "but I am in haste to get to Swansea.
Moreover, if I am over fond of the drop, as you say I am, the
sooner I begin to practise abstinence the better."

"Very true, your honour! Well, at any rate, when your honour gets
to Swansea, you will not be able to say that Pat Flannagan walked
for miles with your honour along the road, without offering your
honour a glass of whiskey."

"Nor shall Pat Flannagan be able to say the same thing of my
honour. I have a shilling in my pocket at Pat Flannagan's service,
if he chooses to splice with it the mainbrace for himself and for

"Thank your honour; but I have a shilling in my own pocket, and a
dollar too, and a five-pound note besides; so I needn't be beholden
for drink money to anybody under the sun."

"Well then, farewell! Here's my hand! - Slan leat a Phatraic ui

"Slan leat a dhuine-uasail!" said Patrick, giving me his hand; "and
health, hope, and happiness to ye."

Thereupon he turned aside to -, and I continued my way to Swansea.
Arrived at a place called Glandwr, about two miles from Swansea, I
found that I was splashed from top to toe, for the roads were
frightfully miry, and was sorry to perceive that my boots had given
way at the soles, large pieces of which were sticking out. I must,
however, do the poor things the justice to say, that it was no
wonder that they were in this dilapidated condition, for in those
boots I had walked at least two hundred miles, over all kinds of
paths, since I had got them soled at Llangollen. "Well," said I to
myself, "it won't do to show myself at Swansea in this condition,
more especially as I shall go to the best hotel; I must try and get
myself made a little decent here."  Seeing a little inn, on my
right, I entered it, and addressing myself to a neat comfortable
landlady, who was standing within the bar, I said:-

"Please to let me have a glass of ale! - and hearkee; as I have
been walking along the road, I should be glad of the services of
the 'boots.'"

"Very good, sir," said the landlady with a curtsey.

Then showing me into a nice little sanded parlour, she brought me
the glass of ale, and presently sent in a lad with a boot-jack to
minister to me. Oh, what can't a little money effect? For
sixpence in that small nice inn, I had a glass of ale, my boots
cleaned, and the excrescences cut off, my clothes wiped with a
dwile, and then passed over with a brush, and was myself thanked
over and over again. Starting again with all the spirited
confidence of one who has just cast off his slough, I soon found
myself in the suburbs of Swansea. As I passed under what appeared
to be a railroad bridge I inquired in Welsh of an ancient-looking
man, in coaly habiliments, if it was one. He answered in the same
language that it was, then instantly added in English:-

"You have taken your last farewell of Wales, sir; it's no use
speaking Welsh farther on."

I passed some immense edifices, probably manufactories, and was
soon convinced that, whether I was in Wales or not, I was no longer
amongst Welsh. The people whom I met did not look like Welsh.
They were taller and bulkier than the Cambrians, and were speaking
a dissonant English jargon. The women had much the appearance of
Dutch fisherwomen; some of them were carrying huge loads on their
heads. I spoke in Welsh to two or three whom I overtook.

"No Welsh, sir!"

"Why don't you speak Welsh?" said I.

"Because we never learnt it. We are not Welsh."

"Who are you then?"

"English; some calls us Flamings."

"Ah, ah!" said I to myself; "I had forgot."

Presently I entered the town, a large, bustling, dirty, gloomy
place, and inquiring for the first hotel, was directed to the
"Mackworth Arms," in Wine Street.

As soon as I was shown into the parlour I summoned the "boots," and
on his making his appearance I said in a stern voice: "My boots
want soling; let them be done by to-morrow morning."

"Can't be, sir; it's now Saturday afternoon, the shoemaker couldn't
begin them to-night!"

"But you must make him!" said I; "and look here, I shall give him a
shilling extra, and you an extra shilling for seeing after him."

"Yes, sir; I'll see after him - they shall be done, sir. Bring you
your slippers instantly. Glad to see you again in Swansea, sir,
looking so well."


Swansea - The Flemings - Towards England.

SWANSEA is called by the Welsh Abertawe, which signifies the mouth
of the Tawy. Aber, as I have more than once had occasion to
observe, signifies the place where a river enters into the sea or
joins another. It is a Gaelic as well as a Cumric word, being
found in the Gaelic names Aberdeen and Lochaber, and there is good
reason for supposing that the word harbour is derived from it.
Swansea or Swansey is a compound word of Scandinavian origin, which
may mean either a river abounding with swans, or the river of
Swanr, the name of some northern adventurer who settled down at its
mouth. The final ea or ey is the Norwegian aa, which signifies a
running water; it is of frequent occurrence in the names of rivers
in Norway, and is often found, similarly modified, in those of
other countries where the adventurous Norwegians formed

Swansea first became a place of some importance shortly after the
beginning of the twelfth century. In the year 1108, the greater
part of Flanders having been submerged by the sea (19) an immense
number of Flemings came over to England, and entreated of Henry the
First the king then occupying the throne, that he would all allot
to them lands in which they might settle, The king sent them to
various parts of Wales, which had been conquered by his barons or
those of his predecessors: a considerable number occupied Swansea
and the neighbourhood; but far the greater part went to Dyfed,
generally but improperly called Pembroke, the south-eastern part of
which, by far the most fertile, they entirely took possession of,
leaving to the Welsh the rest, which is very mountainous and

I have already said that the people of Swansea stand out in broad
distinctness from the Cumry, differing from them in stature,
language, dress, and manners, and wished to observe that the same
thing may be said of the inhabitants of every part of Wales which
the Flemings colonised in any considerable numbers.

I found the accommodation very good at the "Mackworth Arms"; I
passed the Saturday evening very agreeably, and slept well
throughout the night. The next morning to my great joy I found my
boots, capitally repaired, awaiting me before my chamber door. Oh
the mighty effect of a little money! After breakfast I put them
on, and as it was Sunday went out in order to go to church. The
streets were thronged with people; a new mayor had just been
elected, and his worship, attended by a number of halbert and
javelin men, was going to church too. I followed the procession,
which moved with great dignity and of course very slowly. The
church had a high square tower, and looked a very fine edifice on
the outside, and no less so within, for the nave was lofty with
noble pillars on each side. I stood during the whole of the
service as did many others, for the congregation was so great that
it was impossible to accommodate all with seats. The ritual was
performed in a very satisfactory manner, and was followed by an
excellent sermon. I am ashamed to say that have forgot the text,
but I remember a good deal of the discourse. The preacher said
amongst other thing that the Gospel was not preached in vain, and
that he very much doubted whether a sermon was ever delivered which
did not do some good. On the conclusion of the service I strolled
about in order to see the town and what pertained to it. The town
is of considerable size, with some remarkable edifices, spacious
and convenient quays, and a commodious harbour into which the river
Tawy flowing from the north empties itself. The town and harbour
are overhung on the side of the east by a lofty green mountain with
a Welsh name, no doubt exceedingly appropriate, but which I regret
to say has escaped my memory.

After having seen all that I wished, I returned to my inn and
discharged all my obligations. I then departed, framing my course
eastward towards England, having traversed Wales nearly from north
to south.


Leave Swansea - The Pandemonium - Neath Abbey - Varied Scenery.

IT was about two o'clock of a dull and gloomy afternoon when I
started from Abertawy or Swansea, intending to stop at Neath, some
eight miles distant. As I passed again through the suburbs I was
struck with their length and the evidences of enterprise which they
exhibited - enterprise, however, evidently chiefly connected with
iron and coal, for almost every object looked awfully grimy.
Crossing a bridge I proceeded to the east up a broad and spacious
valley, the eastern side of which was formed by russet-coloured
hills, through a vista of which I could descry a range of tall blue
mountains. As I proceeded I sometimes passed pleasant groves and
hedgerows, sometimes huge works; in this valley there was a
singular mixture of nature and art, of the voices of birds and the
clanking of chains, of the mists of heaven and the smoke of

I reached Llan- , a small village half-way between Swansea and
Neath, and without stopping continued my course, walking very fast.
I had surmounted a hill, and had nearly descended that side of it
which looked towards the east, having on my left, that is to the
north, a wooded height, when an extraordinary scene presented
itself to my eyes. Somewhat to the south rose immense stacks of
chimneys surrounded by grimy diabolical-looking buildings, in the
neighbourhood of which were huge heaps of cinders and black
rubbish. From the chimneys, notwithstanding it was Sunday, smoke
was proceeding in volumes, choking the atmosphere all around. From
this pandemonium, at the distance of about a quarter of a mile to
the south-west, upon a green meadow, stood, looking darkly grey, a
ruin of vast size with window holes, towers, spires, and arches.
Between it and the accursed pandemonium, lay a horrid filthy place,
part of which was swamp and part pool: the pool black as soot, and
the swamp of a disgusting leaden colour. Across this place of
filth stretched a tramway leading seemingly from the abominable
mansions to the ruin. So strange a scene I had never beheld in
nature. Had it been on canvas, with the addition of a number of
Diabolical figures, proceeding along the tramway, it might have
stood for Sabbath in Hell - devils proceeding to afternoon worship,
and would have formed a picture worthy of the powerful but insane
painter, Jerome Bos.

After standing for a considerable time staring at the strange
spectacle I proceeded. Presently meeting a lad, I asked him what
was the name of the ruin.

"The Abbey," he replied.

"Neath Abbey?" said I.


Having often heard of this abbey, which in its day was one of the
most famous in Wales, I determined to go and inspect it. It was
with some difficulty that I found my way to it. It stood, as I
have already observed, in a meadow, and was on almost every side
surrounded by majestic hills. To give any clear description of
this ruined pile would be impossible, the dilapidation is so great,
dilapidation evidently less the effect of time than of awful
violence, perhaps that of gunpowder. The southern is by far the
most perfect portion of the building; there you see not only walls
but roofs. Fronting you full south, is a mass of masonry with two
immense arches, other arches behind them: entering, you find
yourself beneath a vaulted roof, and passing on you come to an
oblong square which may have been a church; an iron-barred window
on your right enables you to look into a mighty vault, the roof of
which is supported by beautiful pillars. Then - but I forbear to
say more respecting these remains, for fear of stating what is
incorrect, my stay amongst them having been exceedingly short.

The Abbey of Glen Neath was founded in the twelfth century by
Richard Grenfield, one of the followers of Robert Fitzhamon, who
subjugated Glamorgan. Neath Abbey was a very wealthy one, the
founder having endowed it with extensive tracts of fertile land
along the banks of the rivers Neath and Tawy. In it the
unfortunate Edward of Carnarvon sought a refuge for a few days from
the rage of his revolted barons, whilst his favourite, the equally
unfortunate Spencer, endeavoured to find a covert amidst the
thickets of the wood-covered hill to the north. When Richmond
landed at Milford Haven to dispute the crown with Richard the
Second, the then Abbot of Neath repaired to him and gave him his
benediction, in requital for which the adventurer gave him his
promise that in the event of his obtaining the crown, he would
found a college in Glen Neath, which promise, however, after he had
won the crown, he forgot to perform. (20)  The wily abbot, when he
hastened to pay worship to what he justly conceived to be the
rising sun, little dreamt that he was about to bless the future
father of the terrible man doomed by Providence to plant the
abomination of desolation in Neath Abbey and in all the other nests
of monkery throughout the land.

Leaving the ruins I proceeded towards Neath. The scenery soon
became very beautiful; not that I had left machinery altogether
behind, for I presently came to a place where huge wheels were
turning, and there was smoke and blast, but there was much that was
rural and beautiful to be seen, something like park scenery, and
then there were the mountains near and in the distance. I reached
Neath at about half-past four, and took up my quarters at an inn
which had been recommended to me by my friend the boots at Swansea.


Town of Neath - Hounds and Huntsman - Spectral Chapel - The Glowing

NEATH is a place of some antiquity, for it can boast of the remains
of a castle and is a corporate town. There is but little Welsh
spoken in it. It is situated on the Neath, and exports vast
quantities of coal and iron, of both of which there are rich mines
in the neighbourhood. It derives its name from the river Nedd or
Neth, on which it stands. Nedd or Neth is the same word as Nith,
the name of a river in Scotland, and is in some degree connected
with Nidda, the name of one in Germany. Nedd in Welsh signifies a
dingle, and the word in its various forms has always something to
do with lowness or inferiority of position. Amongst its forms are
Nether and Nieder. The term is well applied to the Glamorganshire
river, which runs through dingles and under mountains.

The Neath has its source in the mountains of Brecon, and enters the
sea some little way below the town of Neath.

On the Monday morning I resumed my journey, directing my course up
the vale of Neath towards Merthyr Tydvil, distant about four-and-
twenty miles. The weather was at first rainy, misty and miserable,
but improved by degrees. I passed through a village which I was
told was called Llanagos; close to it were immense establishments
of some kind. The scenery soon became exceedingly beautiful; hills
covered with wood to the tops were on either side of the dale. I
passed an avenue leading somewhere through groves, and was
presently overtaken and passed by hounds and a respectable-looking
old huntsman on a black horse; a minute afterwards I caught a
glimpse of an old red-brick mansion nearly embosomed in groves,
from which proceeded a mighty cawing. Probably it belonged to the
proprietor of the dogs, and certainly looked a very fit mansion for
a Glamorganshire squire, justice of the peace and keeper of a pack
of hounds.

I went on, the vale increasing in beauty; there was a considerable
drawback, however: one of those detestable contrivances, a
railroad, was on the farther side - along which trains were
passing, rumbling and screaming.

I saw a bridge on my right hand with five or six low arches over
the river, which was here full of shoals. Asked a woman the name
of the bridge.

"PONT FAWR ei galw, sir."

I was again amongst the real Welsh - this woman had no English.

I passed by several remarkable mountains, both on the south and
northern side of the vale. Late in the afternoon I came to the
eastern extremity of the vale and ascended a height. Shortly
afterwards I reached Rhigos, a small village.

Entering a public-house I called for ale and sat down amidst some
grimy fellows, who said nothing to me and to whom I said nothing -
their discourse was in Welsh and English. Of their Welsh I
understood but little, for it was a strange corrupt jargon. In
about half-an-hour after leaving this place I came to the beginning
of a vast moor. It was now growing rather dusk, and I could see
blazes here and there; occasionally I heard horrid sounds. Came to
Irvan, an enormous mining-place with a spectral-looking chapel,
doubtless a Methodist one. The street was crowded with rough,
savage-looking men. "Is this the way to Merthyr Tydvil?" said I to

"Yes!" bawled the fellow at the utmost stretch of his voice.

"Thank you!" said I, taking off my hat and passing on.

Forward I went, up hill and down dale. Night now set in. I passed
a grove of trees and presently came to a collection of small houses
at the bottom of a little hollow. Hearing a step near me I stopped
and said in Welsh: "How far to Merthyr Tydvil?"

"Dim Cumrag, sir!" said a voice, seemingly that of a man.

"Good night!" said I, and without staying to put the question in
English, I pushed on up an ascent, and was presently amongst trees.
Heard for a long time the hooting of an owl or rather the frantic
hollo. Appeared to pass by where the bird had its station. Toiled
up an acclivity and when on the top stood still and looked around
me. There was a glow on all sides in the heaven, except in the
north-east quarter. Striding on I saw a cottage on my left hand,
and standing at the door the figure of a woman. "How far to
Merthyr?" said I in Welsh.

"Tair milltir - three miles, sir."

Turning round a corner at the top of a hill I saw blazes here and
there, and what appeared to be a glowing mountain in the south-
east. I went towards it down a descent which continued for a long,
long way; so great was the light cast by the blazes and that
wonderful glowing object, that I could distinctly see the little
stones upon the road. After walking about half-an-hour, always
going downwards, I saw a house on my left hand and heard a noise of
water opposite to it. It was a pistyll. I went to it, drank
greedily, and then hurried on. More and more blazes, and the
glowing object looking more terrible than ever. It was now above
me at some distance to the left, and I could see that it was an
immense quantity of heated matter like lava, occupying the upper
and middle parts of a hill, and descending here and there almost to
the bottom in a zigzag and tortuous manner. Between me and the
hill of the burning object lay a deep ravine. After a time I came
to a house, against the door of which a man was leaning. "What is
all that burning stuff above, my friend?"

"Dross from the iron forges, sir!"

I now perceived a valley below me full of lights, and descending
reached houses and a tramway. I had blazes now all around me. I
went through a filthy slough, over a bridge, and up a street, from
which dirty lanes branched off on either side, passed throngs of
savage-looking people talking clamorously, shrank from addressing
any of them, and finally, undirected, found myself before the
Castle Inn at Merthyr Tydvil.


Iron and Coal - The Martyred Princess - Cyfartha Fawr - Diabolical

MERTHYR TYDVIL is situated in a broad valley through which roll the
waters of the Taf. It was till late an inconsiderable village, but
is at present the greatest mining place in Britain, and may be
called with much propriety the capital of the iron and coal.

It bears the name of Merthyr Tydvil, which signifies the Martyr
Tydvil, because in the old time a Christian British princess was
slain in the locality which it occupies. Tydvil was the daughter
of Brychan, Prince of Brecon, surnamed Brycheiniawg, or the
Breconian, who flourished in the fifth century and was a
contemporary of Hengist. He was a man full of Christian zeal, and
a great preacher of the Gospel, and gave his children, of which he
had many, both male and female, by various wives, an education
which he hoped would not only make them Christians, but enable them
to preach the Gospel to their countrymen. They proved themselves
worthy of his care, all of them without one exception becoming
exemplary Christians, and useful preachers. In his latter days he
retired to a hermitage in Glamorganshire near the Taf, and passed
his time in devotion, receiving occasionally visits from his
children. Once, when he and several of them, amongst whom was
Tydvil, were engaged in prayer, a band of heathen Saxons rushed in
upon them and slew Tydvil with three of her brothers. Ever since
that time the place has borne the name of Martyr Tydvil. (21)

The Taf, which runs to the south of Merthyr, comes down from
Breconshire, and enters the Bristol Channel at Cardiff, a place the
name of which in English is the city on the Taf. It is one of the
most beautiful of rivers, but is not navigable on account of its
numerous shallows. The only service which it renders to commerce
is feeding a canal which extends from Merthyr to Cardiff. It is
surprising how similar many of the Welsh rivers are in name: Taf,
Tawey, Towey, Teivi, and Duffy differ but very little in sound.
Taf and Teivi have both the same meaning, namely a tendency to
spread out. The other names, though probably expressive of the
properties or peculiarities of the streams to which they
respectively belong, I know not how to translate.

The morning of the fourteenth was very fine. After breakfast I
went to see the Cyfartha Fawr iron works, generally considered to
be the great wonder of the place. After some slight demur I
obtained permission from the superintendent to inspect them. I was
attended by an intelligent mechanic. What shall I say about the
Cyfartha Fawr? I had best say but very little. I saw enormous
furnaces. I saw streams of molten metal. I saw a long ductile
piece of red-hot iron being operated upon. I saw millions of
sparks flying about. I saw an immense wheel impelled round with
frightful velocity by a steam-engine of two hundred and forty horse
power. I heard all kinds of dreadful sounds. The general effect
was stunning. These works belong to the Crawshays, a family
distinguished by a strange kind of eccentricity, but also by genius
and enterprising spirit, and by such a strict feeling of honour
that it is a common saying that the word of any one of them is as
good as the bond of other people.

After seeing the Cyfartha I roamed about, making general
observations. The mountain of dross which had startled me on the
preceding night with its terrific glare, and which stands to the
north-west of the town, looked now nothing more than an immense
dark heap of cinders. It is only when the shades of night have
settled down that the fire within manifests itself, making the hill
appear an immense glowing mass. All the hills around the town,
some of which are very high, have a scorched and blackened look.
An old Anglesea bard, rather given to bombast, wishing to extol the
abundant cheer of his native isle said: "The hills of Ireland are
blackened by the smoke from the kitchens of Mona."  With much more
propriety might a bard of the banks of the Taf, who should wish to
apologise for the rather smutty appearance of his native vale
exclaim: "The hills around the Taf once so green are blackened by
the smoke from the chimneys of Merthyr."  The town is large and
populous. The inhabitants for the most part are Welsh, and Welsh
is the language generally spoken, though all have some knowledge of
English. The houses are in general low and mean, and built of
rough grey stone. Merthyr, however, can show several remarkable
edifices, though of a gloomy horrid Satanic character. There is
the hall of the Iron, with its arches, from whence proceeds
incessantly a thundering noise of hammers. Then there is an
edifice at the foot of a mountain, half way up the side of which is
a blasted forest and on the top an enormous crag. A truly
wonderful edifice it is, such as Bos would have imagined had he
wanted to paint the palace of Satan. There it stands: a house of
reddish brick with a slate roof - four horrid black towers behind,
two of them belching forth smoke and flame from their tops - holes
like pigeon holes here and there - two immense white chimneys
standing by themselves. What edifice can that be of such strange
mad details? I ought to have put that question to some one in
Tydvil, but did not, though I stood staring at the diabolical
structure with my mouth open. It is of no use putting the question
to myself here.

After strolling about for some two hours with my hands in my
pockets, I returned to my inn, called for a glass of ale, paid my
reckoning, flung my satchel over my shoulder, and departed.


Start for Caerfili - Johanna Colgan - Alms-Giving - The Monstrous
Female - The Evil Prayer - The Next Day - The Aifrionn - Unclean
Spirits - Expectation - Wreaking Vengeance - A decent Alms.

I LEFT Merthyr about twelve o'clock for Caerfili. My course lay
along the valley to the south-east. I passed a large village
called Troed y Rhiw, or the foot of the slope, from its being at
the foot of a lofty elevation, which stands on the left-hand side
of the road, and was speeding onward fast, with the Taf at some
distance on my right, when I saw a strange-looking woman advancing
towards me. She seemed between forty and fifty, was bare-footed
and bare-headed, with grizzled hair hanging in elf locks, and was
dressed in rags and tatters. When about ten yards from me, she
pitched forward, gave three or four grotesque tumbles, heels over
head, then standing bolt upright, about a yard before me, raised
her right arm, and shouted in a most discordant voice - "Give me an
alms, for the glory of God!"

I stood still, quite confounded. Presently, however, recovering
myself, I said:- "Really, I don't think it would be for the glory
of God to give you alms."

"Ye don't! Then, Biadh an taifrionn - however, I'll give ye a
chance yet. Am I to get my alms or not?"

"Before I give you alms I must know something about you. Who are

"Who am I? Who should I be but Johanna Colgan, a bedivilled woman
from the county of Limerick?"

"And how did you become bedevilled?"

"Because a woman something like myself said an evil prayer over me
for not giving her an alms, which prayer I have at my tongue's end,
and unless I get my alms will say over you. So for your own sake,
honey, give me my alms, and let me go on my way."

"Oh, I am not to be frightened by evil prayers! I shall give you
nothing till I hear all about you."

"If I tell ye all about me will ye give me an alms?"

"Well, I have no objection to give you something if you tell me
your story."

"Will ye give me a dacent alms?"

"Oh, you must leave the amount to my free will and pleasure. I
shall give you what I think fit."

"Well, so ye shall, honey; and I make no doubt ye will give me a
dacent alms, for I like the look of ye, and knew ye to be an
Irishman half a mile off. Only four years ago, instead of being a
bedivilled woman, tumbling about the world, I was as quiet and
respectable a widow as could be found in the county of Limerick. I
had a nice little farm at an aisy rint, horses, cows, pigs, and
servants, and, what was better than all, a couple of fine sons, who
were a help and comfort to me. But my black day was not far off.
I was a mighty charitable woman, and always willing to give to the
bacahs and other beggars that came about. Every morning, before I
opened my door, I got ready the alms which I intended to give away
in the course of the day to those that should ask for them, and I
made so good a preparation that, though plenty of cripples and
other unfortunates wandering through the world came to me every
day, part of the alms was sure to remain upon my hands every night
when I closed my door. The alms which I gave away consisted of
meal; and I had always a number of small measures of meal standing
ready on a board, one of which I used to empty into the poke of
every bacah or other unfortunate who used to place himself at the
side of my door and cry out 'Ave Maria!' or 'In the name of God!'  
Well, one morning I sat within my door spinning, with a little bit
of colleen beside me who waited upon me as servant. My measures of
meal were all ready for the unfortunates who should come, filled
with all the meal in the house; for there was no meal in the house
save what was in those measures - divil a particle, the whole stock
being exhausted; though by evening I expected plenty more, my two
sons being gone to the ballybetagh, which was seven miles distant,
for a fresh supply, and for other things. Well, I sat within my
door, spinning, with my servant by my side to wait upon me, and my
measures of meal ready for the unfortunates who might come to ask
for alms. There I sat, quite proud, and more happy than I had ever
felt in my life before; and the unfortunates began to make their
appearance. First came a bacah on crutches; then came a woman with
a white swelling; then came an individual who had nothing at all
the matter with him, and was only a poor unfortunate, wandering
about the world; then came a far cake, (22) a dark man, who was led
about by a gossoon; after him a simpley, and after the simpleton
somebody else as much or more unfortunate. And as the afflicted
people arrived and placed themselves by the side of the door and
said 'Ave Mary,' or 'In the name of God,' or crossed their arms, or
looked down upon the ground, each according to his practice, I got
up and emptied my measure of meal into his poke, or whatever he
carried about with him for receiving the alms which might be given
to him; and my measures of meal began to be emptied fast, for it
seemed that upon that day, when I happened to be particularly short
of meal, all the unfortunates in the county of Limerick had
conspired together to come to ask me for alms. At last every
measure of meal was emptied, and there I sat in my house with
nothing to give away provided an unfortunate should come. Says I
to the colleen: 'What shall I do provided any more come, for all
the meal is gone, and there will be no more before the boys come
home at night from the ballybetagh.'  Says the colleen: 'If any
more come, can't ye give them something else?'  Says I: 'It has
always been my practice to give in meal, and loth should I be to
alter it; for if once I begin to give away other things, I may give
away all I have.'  Says the colleen: 'Let's hope no one else will
come: there have been thirteen of them already.'  Scarcely had she
said these words, when a monstrous woman, half-naked, and with a
long staff in her hand, on the top of which was a cross, made her
appearance; and placing herself right before the door, cried out so
that you might have heard her for a mile, 'Give me an alms for the
glory of God!'  'Good woman,' says I to her, 'you will be kind
enough to excuse me: all the preparation I had made for alms has
been given away, for I have relieved thirteen unfortunates this
blessed morning - so may the Virgin help ye, good woman!'  'Give me
an alms,' said the Beanvore, with a louder voice than before, 'or
it will be worse for you.'  'You must excuse me, good mistress,'
says I, 'but I have no more meal in the house. Those thirteen
measures which you see there empty were full this morning, for what
was in them I have given away to unfortunates. So the Virgin and
Child help you.'  'Do you choose to give me an alms?' she shrieked,
so that you might have heard her to Londonderry. 'If ye have no
meal give me something else.'  'You must excuse me, good lady,'
says I: 'it is my custom to give alms in meal, and in nothing
else. I have none in the house now; but if ye come on the morrow
ye shall have a triple measure. In the meanwhile may the Virgin,
Child, and the Holy Trinity assist ye!'  Thereupon she looked at me
fixedly for a moment, and then said, not in a loud voice, but in a
low, half-whispered way, which was ten times more deadly:-

"'Biaidh an taifrionn gan sholas duit a bhean shilach!'

Then turning from the door she went away with long strides. Now,
honey, can ye tell me the meaning of those words?"

"They mean," said I, "unless I am much mistaken: 'May the Mass
never comfort ye, you dirty queen!'"

"Ochone! that's the maning of them, sure enough. They are cramped
words, but I guessed that was the meaning, or something of the
kind. Well, after hearing the evil prayer, I sat for a minute or
two quite stunned; at length recovering myself a bit I said to the
colleen: 'Get up, and run after the woman and tell her to come
back and cross the prayer.'  I meant by crossing that she should
call it back or do something that would take the venom out of it.
Well, the colleen was rather loth to go, for she was a bit scared
herself, but on my beseeching her, she got up and ran after the
woman, and being rather swift of foot, at last, though with much
difficulty, overtook her, and begged her to come back and cross the
prayer, but the divil of a woman would do no such thing, and when
the colleen persisted she told her that if she didn't go back, she
would say an evil prayer over her too. So the colleen left her,
and came back, crying and frighted. All the rest of the day I
remained sitting on the stool speechless, thinking of the prayer
which the woman had said, and wishing I had given her everything I
had in the world, rather than she should have said it. At night
came home the boys, and found their mother sitting on the stool,
like one stupefied. 'What's the matter with you, mother?' they
said. 'Get up and help us to unpack. We have brought home plenty
of things on the car, and amongst others a whole boll of meal.'  
'You might as well have left it behind you,' said I; 'this morning
a single measure of meal would have been to me of all the
assistance in the world, but I question now if I shall ever want
meal again.'  They asked me what had happened to me, and after some
time I told them how a monstrous woman had been to me, and had said
an evil prayer over me, because having no meal in the house I had
not given her an alms. 'Come, mother,' said they, 'get up and help
us to unload! never mind the prayer of the monstrous woman - it is
all nonsense.'  Well, I got up and helped them to unload, and
cooked them a bit, and sat down with them, and tried to be merry,
but felt that I was no longer the woman that I was. The next day I
didn't seem to care what became of me, or how matters went on, and
though there was now plenty of meal in the house, not a measure did
I fill with it to give away in the shape of alms; and when the
bacahs and the liprous women, and the dark men, and the other
unfortunates placed themselves at the side of the door, and gave me
to understand that they wanted alms, each in his or her particular
manner, divil an alms did I give them, but let them stand and took
no heed of them, so that at last they took themselves off,
grumbling and cursing. And little did I care for their grumblings
and cursings. Two days before I wouldn't have had an unfortunate
grumble at me, or curse me, for all the riches below the sun; but
now their grumblings and curses didn't give me the slightest
unasiness, for I had an evil prayer spoken against me in the Shanna
Gailey by the monstrous woman, and I knew that I was blighted in
this world and the next. In a little time I ceased to pay any heed
to the farming business, or to the affairs of the house, so that my
sons had no comfort in their home. And I took to drink and induced
my eldest son to take to drink too - my youngest son, however, did
not take to drink, but conducted himself well, and toiled and
laboured like a horse and often begged me and his brother to
consider what we were about, and not to go on in a way which would
bring us all to ruin, but I paid no regard to what he said, and his
brother followed my example, so that at last seeing things were
getting worse every day, and that we should soon be turned out of
house and home, for no rint was paid, every penny that could be got
being consumed in waste, he bade us farewell and went and listed
for a sodger. But if matters were bad enough before he went away,
they became much worse after; for now when the unfortunates came to
the door for alms, instead of letting them stand in pace till they
were tired, and took themselves off, I would mock them and point at
them, and twit them with their sores and other misfortunes, and not
unfrequently I would fling scalding water over them, which would
send them howling and honing away, till at last there was not an
unfortunate but feared to come within a mile of my door. Moreover
I began to misconduct myself at chapel, more especially at the
Aifrionn or Mass, for no sooner was the bell rung, and the holy
corpus raised, than I would shout and hoorah, and go tumbling and
toppling along the floor before the holy body, as I just now
tumbled along the road before you, so that the people were
scandalized, and would take me by the shoulders and turn me out of
doors, and began to talk of ducking me in the bog. The priest of
the parish, however, took my part, saying that I ought not to be
persecuted, for that I was not accountable for what I did, being a
possessed person, and under the influence of divils. 'These,
however,' said he, 'I'll soon cast out from her, and then the woman
will be a holy cratur, much better than she ever was before.'  A
very learned man was Father Hogan, especially in casting out
divils, and a portly, good-looking man too, only he had a large
rubicon nose, which people said he got by making over free with the
cratur in sacret. I had often looked at the nose, when the divil
was upon me, and felt an inclination to seize hold of it, just to
see how it felt. Well, he had me to his house several times, and
there he put holy cloths upon me, and tied holy images to me, and
read to me out of holy books, and sprinkled holy water over me, and
put questions to me, and at last was so plased with the answers I
gave him, that he prached a sermon about me in the chapel, in which
he said that he had cast six of my divils out of me, and should
cast out the seventh, which was the last, by the next Sabbath, and
then should present me to the folks in the chapel as pure a vessel
as the blessed Mary herself - and that I was destined to accomplish
great things, and to be a mighty instrument in the hands of the
Holy Church, for that he intended to write a book about me,
describing the miracle he had performed in casting the seven divils
out of me, which he should get printed at the printing-press of the
blessed Columba, and should send me through all Ireland to sell the
copies, the profits of which would go towards the support of the
holy society for casting out unclane spirits, to which he himself
belonged. Well, the people showed that they were plased by a loud
shout, and went away longing for the next Sunday when I was to be
presented to them without a divil in me. Five times the next week
did I go to the priest's house, to be read to, and be sprinkled,
and have cloths put upon me, in order that the work of casting out
the last divil, which it seems was stronger than all the rest,
might be made smooth and aisy, and on the Saturday I came to have
the last divil cast out, and found his riverince in full
canonicals, seated in his aisy chair. 'Daughter,' said he when he
saw me, 'the work is nearly over. Now kneel down before me, and I
will make the sign of the cross over your forehead, and then you
will feel the last and strongest of the divils, which have so long
possessed ye, go out of ye through your eyes, as I expect you will
say to the people assembled in the chapel to-morrow.'  So I put
myself on my knees before his reverence, who after muttering
something to himself, either in Latin or Shanna Gailey - I believe
it was Latin, said, 'Look me in the face, daughter!'  Well, I
looked his reverence in the face, and there I saw his nose looking
so large, red, and inviting that I could not resist the temptation,
and before his reverence could make the sign of the cross, which
doubtless would have driven the divil out of me, I made a spring at
it, and seizing hold of it with forefinger and thumb, pulled hard
at it. Hot and inctious did it feel. Oh, the yell that his
reverence gave! However, I did not let go my hold, but kept
pulling at the nose, till at last to avoid the torment, his
reverence came tumbling down upon me, causing me by his weight to
fall back upon the floor. At the yell which he gave, and at the
noise of the fall, in came rushing his reverence's housekeeper and
stable-boy, who seeing us down on the floor, his reverence upon me
and my hand holding his reverence's nose, for I felt loth to let it
go, they remained in astonishment and suspense. When his
reverence, however, begged them, for the Virgin's sake, to separate
him from the divil of a woman, they ran forward, and having with
some difficulty freed his reverence's nose from my hand, they
helped him up. The first thing that his reverence did, on being
placed on his legs, was to make for a horse-whip, which stood in
one corner of the room, but I guessing how he meant to use it,
sprang up from the floor, and before he could make a cut at me, ran
out of the room, and hasted home. The next day, when all the
people for twenty miles round met in the chapel, in the expectation
of seeing me presented to them a purified and holy female, and
hearing from my mouth the account of the miracle which his
reverence had performed, his reverence made his appearance in the
pulpit with a dale of gould bater's leaf on his nose, and from the
pulpit he told the people how I had used him, showing them the
gould bater's leaf on his feature, as testimony of the truth of his
words, finishing by saying that if at first there were seven
devils, there were now seven times seven within me. Well, when the
people heard the story, and saw his nose with the bater's leaf upon
it, they at first began to laugh, but when he appealed to their
consciences, and asked them if such was fitting tratement for a
praist, they said it was not, and that if he would only but curse
me, they would soon do him justice upon me. His reverence then
cursed by book, bell, and candle, and the people, setting off from
the chapel, came in a crowd to the house where I lived, to wrake
vengeance upon me. Overtaking my son by the way, who was coming
home in a state of intoxication, they bate him within an inch of
his life, and left him senseless on the ground, and no doubt would
have served me much worse, only seeing them coming, and guessing
what they came about, though I was a bit intoxicated myself, I
escaped by the back of the house out into the bog, where I hid
myself amidst a copse of hazels. The people coming to the house,
and not finding me there, broke and destroyed every bit of
furniture, and would have pulled the house down, or set fire to it,
had not an individual among them cried out that doing so would be
of no use, for that the house did not belong to me, and that
destroying it would merely be an injury to the next tenant. So the
people, after breaking my furniture and ill-trating two or three
dumb beasts, which happened not to have been made away with, went
away, and in the dead of night I returned to the house, where I
found my son, who had just crawled home covered wit bruises. We
hadn't, however, a home long, for the agents of the landlord came
to seize for rent, took all they could find, and turned us out upon
the wide world. Myself and son wandered together for an hour or
two, then, having a quarrel with each other, we parted, he going
one way and I another. Some little time after I heard that he was
transported. As for myself, I thought I might as well take a leaf
out of the woman's book who had been the ruin of me. So I went
about bidding people give me alms for the glory of God, and
threatening those who gave me nothing that the mass should never
comfort them. It's a dreadful curse that, honey; and I would
advise people to avoid it even though they give away all they have.
If you have no comfort in the mass, you will have comfort in
nothing else. Look at me: I have no comfort in the mass, for as
soon as the priest's bell rings, I shouts and hoorahs, and performs
tumblings before the blessed corpus, getting myself kicked out of
chapel, and as little comfort as I have in the mass have I in other
things, which should be a comfort to me. I have two sons who ought
to be the greatest comfort to me, but are they so? We'll see - one
is transported, and of course is no comfort to me at all. The
other is a sodger. Is he a comfort to me? Not a bit. A month ago
when I was travelling through the black north, tumbling and
toppling about, and threatening people with my prayer, unless they
gave me alms, a woman, who knew me, told me that he was with his
regiment at Cardiff, here in Wales, whereupon I determined to go
and see him, and crossing the water got into England, from whence I
walked to Cardiff asking alms of the English in the common English
way, and of the Irish, and ye are the first Irish I have met, in
the way in which I asked them of you. But when I got to Cardiff
did I see my son? I did not, for the day before he had sailed with
his regiment to a place ten thousand miles away, so I shall never
see his face again nor derive comfort from him. Oh, if there's no
comfort from the mass there's no comfort from anything else, and he
who has the evil prayer in the Shanna Gailey breathed upon him,
will have no comfort from the mass. Now, honey, ye have heard the
story of Johanna Colgan, the bedivilled woman. Give her now a
dacent alms and let her go!"

"Would you consider sixpence a decent alms?"

"I would. If you give me sixpence, I will not say my prayer over

"Would you give me a blessing?"

"I would not. A bedivilled woman has no blessing to give."

"Surely if you are able to ask people to give you alms for the
glory of God, you are able to give a blessing."

"Bodderation! are ye going to give me sixpence?"

"No! here's a shilling for you! Take it and go in peace."

"There's no pace for me," said Johanna Colgan, taking the money.
"What did the monstrous female say to me? 'Biaidh an taifrionn gan
sholas duit a bhean shalach.' (23)  This is my pace - hoorah!
hoorah!" then giving two or three grotesque topples she hurried
away in the direction of Merthyr Tydvil.


Pen y Glas - Salt of the Earth - The Quakers' Yard - The

AS I proceeded on my way the scenery to the south on the farther
side of the river became surprisingly beautiful. On that side
noble mountains met the view, green fields and majestic woods, the
latter brown it is true, for their leaves were gone, but not the
less majestic for being brown. Here and there were white farm-
houses: one of them, which I was told was called Pen y Glas, was a
truly lovely little place. It stood on the side of a green hill
with a noble forest above it, and put me wonderfully in mind of the
hunting lodge, which Ifor Hael allotted as a retreat to Ab Gwilym
and Morfydd, when they fled to him from Cardigan to avoid the rage
of the Bow Bach, and whose charming appearance made him say to his

"More bliss for us our fate propounds
On Taf's green banks than Teivy's bounds."

On I wandered. After some time the valley assumed the form of an
immense basin, enormous mountains composed its sides. In the
middle rose hills of some altitude, but completely overcrowned by
the mountains around. These hills exhibited pleasant inclosures,
and were beautifully dotted with white farm-houses. Down below
meandered the Taf, its reaches shining with a silver-like
splendour. The whole together formed an exquisite picture, in
which there was much sublimity, much still quiet life, and not a
little of fantastic fairy loveliness.

The sun was hastening towards the west as I passed a little cascade
on the left, the waters of which, after running under the road,
tumbled down a gully into the river. Shortly afterwards meeting a
man I asked him how far it was to Caerfili.

"When you come to the Quakers' Yard, which is a little way further
on, you will be seven miles from Caerfili."

"What is the Quakers' Yard?"

"A place where the people called Quakers bury their dead."

"Is there a village near it?

"There is, and the village is called by the same name."

"Are there any Quakers in it?"

"Not one, nor in the neighbourhood, but there are some, I believe,
in Cardiff."

"Why do they bury their dead there?"

"You should ask them, not me. I know nothing about them, and don't
want; they are a bad set of people."

"Did they ever do you any harm?"

"Can't say they did. Indeed I never saw one in the whole of my

"Then why do you call them bad?"

"Because everybody says they are."

"Not everybody. I don't; I have always found them the salt of the

"Then it is salt that has lost its savour. But perhaps you are one
of them?"

"No, I belong to the Church of England."

"Oh, you do. Then good-night to you. I am a Methodist. I thought
at first that you were one of our ministers, and had hoped to hear
from you something profitable and conducive to salvation, but - "

"Well, so you shall. Never speak ill of people of whom you know
nothing. If that isn't a saying conducive to salvation, I know not
what is. Good evening to you."

I soon reached the village. Singular enough, the people of the
very first house, at which I inquired about the Quakers' Yard, were
entrusted with the care of it. On my expressing a wish to see it,
a young woman took down a key, and said that if I would follow her
she would show it me. The Quakers' burying-place is situated on a
little peninsula or tongue of land, having a brook on its eastern
and northern sides, and on its western the Taf. It is a little
oblong yard, with low walls, partly overhung with ivy. The
entrance is a porch to the south. The Quakers are no friends to
tombstones, and the only visible evidence that this was a place of
burial was a single flag-stone, with a half-obliterated
inscription, which with some difficulty I deciphered, and was as

To the Memory of THOMAS EDMUNDS
Who died April the ninth 1802 aged 60 years.
Who died January the fourth 1810 aged 70.

The beams of the descending sun gilded the Quakers' burial-ground
as I trod its precincts. A lovely resting-place looked that little
oblong yard on the peninsula, by the confluence of the waters, and
quite in keeping with the character of the quiet Christian people
who sleep within it. The Quakers have for some time past been a
decaying sect, but they have done good work in their day, and when
they are extinct they are not destined to be soon forgotten. Soon
forgotten! How should a sect ever be forgotten, to which have
belonged three such men as George Fox, William Penn, and Joseph

Shortly after I left the Quakers' Yard the sun went down and
twilight settled upon the earth. Pursuing my course I reached some
woodlands, and on inquiring of a man, whom I saw standing at the
door of a cottage, the name of the district, was told that it was
called Ystrad Manach - the Monks' Strath or valley. This name it
probably acquired from having belonged in times of old to some
monkish establishment. The moon now arose and the night was
delightful. As I was wandering along I heard again the same wild
noise which I had heard the night before, on the other side of
Merthyr Tydvil. The cry of the owl afar off in the woodlands. Oh
that strange bird! Oh that strange cry! The Welsh, as I have said
on a former occasion, call the owl Dylluan. Amongst the cowydds of
Ab Gwilym there is one to the dylluan. It is full of abuse against
the bird, with whom the poet is very angry for having with its cry
frightened Morfydd back, who was coming to the wood to keep an
assignation with him, but not a little of this abuse is wonderfully
expressive and truthful. He calls the owl a grey thief - the
haunter of the ivy bush - the chick of the oak, a blinking eyed
witch, greedy of mice, with a visage like the bald forehead of a
big ram, or the dirty face of an old abbess, which bears no little
resemblance to the chine of an ape. Of its cry he says that it is
as great a torment as an agonizing recollection, a cold shrill
laugh from the midst of a kettle of ice; the rattling of sea-
pebbles in an old sheep-skin, on which account many call the owl
the hag of the Rhugylgroen. The Rhugylgroen, it will be as well to
observe, is a dry sheepskin containing a number of pebbles, and is
used as a rattle for frightening crows. The likening the visage of
the owl to the dirty face of an old abbess is capital, and the
likening the cry to the noise of the rhugylgroen is anything but
unfortunate. For, after all, what does the voice of the owl so
much resemble as a diabolical rattle. I'm sure I don't know.
Reader, do you?

I reached Caerfili at about seven o'clock, and went to the "Boar's
Head," near the ruins of a stupendous castle, on which the beams of
the moon were falling.


Caerfili Castle - Sir Charles - The Waiter - Inkerman.

I SLEPT well during the night. In the morning after breakfast I
went to see the castle, over which I was conducted by a woman who
was intrusted with its care. It stands on the eastern side of the
little town, and is a truly enormous structure, which brought to my
recollection a saying of our great Johnson, to be found in the
account of his journey to the Western Islands, namely "that for all
the castles which he had seen beyond the Tweed the ruins yet
remaining of some one of those which the English built in Wales
would find materials."  The original founder was one John De Bryse,
a powerful Norman who married the daughter of Llewellyn Ap
Jorwerth, the son-in-law of King John, and the most war-like of all
the Welsh princes, whose exploits, and particularly a victory which
he obtained over his father-in-law, with whom he was always at war,
have been immortalized by the great war-bard, Dafydd Benfras. It
was one of the strongholds which belonged to the Spencers, and
served for a short time as a retreat to the unfortunate Edward the
Second. It was ruined by Cromwell, the grand foe of the baronial
castles of Britain, but not in so thorough and sweeping a manner as
to leave it a mere heap of stones. There is a noble entrance porch
fronting the west - a spacious courtyard, a grand banqueting room,
a corridor of vast length, several lofty towers, a chapel, a sally-
port, a guard-room and a strange underground vaulted place called
the mint, in which Caerfili's barons once coined money, and in
which the furnaces still exist which were used for melting metal.
The name Caerfili is said to signify the Castle of Haste, and to
have been bestowed on the pile because it was built in a hurry.
Caerfili, however, was never built in a hurry, as the remains show.
Moreover, the Welsh word for haste is not fil but ffrwst. Fil
means a scudding or darting through the air, which can have nothing
to do with the building of a castle. Caerfili signifies Philip's
City, and was called so after one Philip a saint. It no more means
the castle of haste than Tintagel in Cornwall signifies the castle
of guile, as the learned have said it does, for Tintagel simply
means the house in the gill of the hill, a term admirably
descriptive of the situation of the building.

I started from Caerfili at eleven for Newport, distant about
seventeen miles. Passing through a toll-gate I ascended an
acclivity, from the top of which I obtained a full view of the
castle, looking stern, dark and majestic. Descending the hill I
came to a bridge over a river called the Rhymni or Rumney, much
celebrated in Welsh and English song - thence to Pentref Bettws, or
the village of the bead-house, doubtless so called from its having
contained in old times a house in which pilgrims might tell their

The scenery soon became very beautiful - its beauty, however, was
to a certain extent marred by a horrid black object, a huge coal
work, the chimneys of which were belching forth smoke of the
densest description. "Whom does that work belong to?" said I to a
man nearly as black as a chimney sweep.

"Who does it belong to? Why, to Sir Charles."

"Do you mean Sir Charles Morgan?"

"I don't know. I only know that it belongs to Sir Charles, the
kindest-hearted and richest man in Wales and in England too."

Passing some cottages I heard a group of children speaking English.
Asked an intelligent-looking girl if she could speak Welsh.

"Yes," said she, "I can speak it, but not very well."  There is not
much Welsh spoken by the children hereabout. The old folks hold
more to it.

I saw again the Rhymni river, and crossed it by a bridge; the river
here was filthy and turbid, owing of course to its having received
the foul drainings of the neighbouring coal works. Shortly
afterwards I emerged from the coom or valley of the Rhymni, and
entered upon a fertile and tolerably level district. Passed by
Llanawst and Machen. The day which had been very fine now became
dark and gloomy. Suddenly, as I was descending a slope, a
brilliant party, consisting of four young ladies in riding-habits,
a youthful cavalier and a servant in splendid livery - all on noble
horses, swept past me at full gallop down the hill. Almost
immediately afterwards, seeing a road-mender who was standing
holding his cap in his hand - which he had no doubt just
reverentially doffed - I said in Welsh: "Who are those ladies?"

"Merched Sir Charles - the daughters of Sir Charles," he replied.

"And is the gentleman their brother?"

"No! the brother is in the Crim - fighting with the Roosiaid. I
don't know who yon gentleman be."

"Where does Sir Charles live?"

"Down in the Dyfryn, not far from Basallaig."

"If I were to go and see him," I said, "do you think he would give
me a cup of ale?"

"I daresay he would; he has given me one many a time."

I soon reached Basallaig, a pleasant village standing in a valley
and nearly surrounded by the groves of Sir Charles Morgan. Seeing
a decent public-house I said to myself, "I think I shall step in
and have my ale here, and not go running after Sir Charles, whom
perhaps after all I shouldn't find at home."  So I went in and
called for a pint of ale. Over my ale I trifled for about half-an-
hour, then paying my groat I got up and set off for Newport, in the
midst of a thick mist which had suddenly come on, and which
speedily wetted me nearly to the skin.

I reached Newport at about half-past four, and put up at a large
and handsome inn called the King's Head. During dinner the waiter,
unasked, related to me his history. He was a short thick fellow of
about forty, with a very disturbed and frightened expression of
countenance. He said that he was a native of Brummagen, and had
lived very happily at an inn there as waiter, but at length had
allowed himself to be spirited away to an establishment high up in
Wales amidst the scenery. That very few visitors came to the
establishment, which was in a place so awfully lonesome that he
soon became hipped, and was more than once half in a mind to fling
himself into a river which ran before the door and moaned dismally.
That at last he thought his best plan would be to decamp, and
accordingly took French leave early one morning. That after many
frights and much fatigue he had found himself at Newport, and taken
service at the King's Head, but did not feel comfortable, and was
frequently visited at night by dreadful dreams. That he should
take the first opportunity of getting to Brummagen, though he was
afraid that he should not be able to get into his former place,
owing to his ungrateful behaviour. He then uttered a rather
eloquent eulogium on the beauties of the black capital, and wound
up all by saying that he would rather be a brazier's dog at
Brummagen than head waiter at the best establishment in Wales.

After dinner I took up a newspaper and found in it an account of
the battle of Inkerman, which appeared to have been fought on the
fifth of November, the very day on which I had ascended Plynlimmon.
I was sorry to find that my countrymen had suffered dreadfully, and
would have been utterly destroyed but for the opportune arrival of
the French. "In my childhood," said I, "the Russians used to help
us against the French; now the French help us against the Russians.
Who knows but before I die I may see the Russians helping the
French against us?"


Town of Newport - The Usk - Note of Recognition - An Old
Acquaintance - Connamara Quean - The Wake - The Wild Irish - The
Tramping Life - Business and Prayer - Methodists - Good Counsel.

NEWPORT is a large town in Monmouthshire, and had once walls and a
castle. It is called in Welsh Cas Newydd ar Wysg, or the New
Castle upon the Usk. It stands some miles below Caerlleon ar Wysg,
and was probably built when that place, at one time one of the most
considerable towns in Britain, began to fall into decay. The Wysg
or Usk has its source among some wild hills in the south-west of
Breconshire, and, after absorbing several smaller streams, amongst
which is the Hondu, at the mouth of which Brecon stands, which on
that account is called in Welsh Aber Hondu, and traversing the
whole of Monmouthshire, enters the Bristol Channel near Newport, to
which place vessels of considerable burden can ascend. Wysg or Usk
is an ancient British word, signifying water, and is the same as
the Irish word uisge or whiskey, for whiskey, though generally
serving to denote a spirituous liquor, in great vogue amongst the
Irish, means simply water. The proper term for the spirit is
uisquebaugh, literally acqua vitae, but the compound being
abbreviated by the English, who have always been notorious for
their habit of clipping words, one of the strongest of spirits is
now generally denominated by a word which is properly expressive of
the simple element water.

Monmouthshire is at present considered an English county, though
certainly with little reason, for it not only stands on the western
side of the Wye, but the names of almost all its parishes are
Welsh, and many thousands of its population still speak the Welsh
language. It is called in Welsh Sir, or Shire, Fynwy, and takes
its name from the town Mynwy or Monmouth, which receives its own
appellation from the river Mynwy or Minno, on which it stands.
There is a river of much the same name, not in Macedon but in the
Peninsula, namely the Minho, which probably got its denomination
from that race cognate to the Cumry, the Gael, who were the first
colonisers of the Peninsula, and whose generic name yet stares us
in the face and salutes our ears in the words Galicia and Portugal.

I left Newport at about ten o'clock on the 16th; the roads were
very wet, there having been a deluge of rain during the night. The
morning was a regular November one, dull and gloomy. Desirous of
knowing whereabouts in these parts the Welsh language ceased, I
interrogated several people whom I met. First spoke to Esther
Williams. She told me she came from Pennow, some miles farther on,
that she could speak Welsh, and that indeed all the people could
for at least eight miles to the east of Newport. This latter
assertion of hers was, however, anything but corroborated by a
young woman, with a pitcher on her head, whom I shortly afterwards
met, for she informed me that she could speak no Welsh, and that
for one who could speak it, from where I was to the place where it
ceased altogether, there were ten who could not. I believe the
real fact is that about half the people for seven or eight miles to
the east of Newport speak Welsh, more or less, as about half those
whom I met and addressed in Welsh, answered me in that tongue.

Passed through Pennow or Penhow, a small village. The scenery in
the neighbourhood of this place is highly interesting. To the
north-west at some distance is Mynydd Turvey, a sharp pointed blue
mountain. To the south-east, on the right, much nearer, are two
beautiful green hills, the lowest prettily wooded, and having its
top a fair white mansion called Penhow Castle, which belongs to a
family of the name of Cave. Thence to Llanvaches, a pretty little
village. When I was about the middle of this place I heard an odd
sound, something like a note of recognition, which attracted my
attention to an object very near to me, from which it seemed to
proceed, and which was coming from the direction in which I was
going. It was the figure seemingly of a female, wrapped in a
coarse blue cloak, the feet bare and the legs bare also nearly up
to the knee, both terribly splashed with the slush of the road.
The head was surmounted by a kind of hood, which just permitted me
to see coarse red hair, a broad face, grey eyes, a snubbed nose,
blubber lips and great white teeth - the eyes were staring intently
at me. I stopped and stared too, and at last thought I recognised
the features of the uncouth girl I had seen on the green near
Chester with the Irish tinker Tourlough and his wife.

"Dear me!" said I, "did I not see you near Chester last summer?"

"To be sure ye did; and ye were going to pass me without a word of
notice or kindness had I not given ye a bit of a hail."

"Well," said I, "I beg your pardon. How is it all wid ye?"

"Quite well. How is it wid yere hanner?'

"Tolerably. Where do you come from?"

"From Chepstow, yere hanner."

"And where are you going to?"

"To Newport, yere hanner."

"And I come from Newport, and am going to Chepstow. Where's
Tourlough and his wife?"

"At Cardiff, yere hanner; I shall join them again to-morrow."

"Have you been long away from them?"

"About a week, yere hanner."

"And what have you been doing?"

"Selling my needles, yere hanner."

"Oh! you sell needles. Well, I am glad to have met you. Let me
see. There's a nice little inn on the right: won't you come in
and have some refreshment?"

"Thank yere hanner; I have no objection to take a glass wid an old

"Well, then, come in; you must be tired, and I shall be glad to
have some conversation with you."

We went into the inn - a little tidy place. On my calling, a
respectable-looking old man made his appearance behind a bar.
After serving my companion with a glass of peppermint, which she
said she preferred to anything else, and me with a glass of ale,
both of which I paid for, he retired, and we sat down on two old
chairs beneath a window in front of the bar.

"Well," said I, "I suppose you have Irish: here's slainte - "

"Slainte yuit a shaoi," said the girl, tasting her peppermint.

"Well: how do you like it?'

"It's very nice indeed."

"That's more than I can say of the ale, which, like all the ale in
these parts, is bitter. Well, what part of Ireland do you come

"From no part at all. I never was in Ireland in my life. I am
from Scotland Road, Manchester."

"Why, I thought you were Irish?"

"And so I am; and all the more from being born where I was.
There's not such a place for Irish in all the world as Scotland

"Were your father and mother from Ireland?"

"My mother was from Ireland: my father was Irish of Scotland Road,
where they met and married."

"And what did they do after they married?"

"Why, they worked hard, and did their best to get a livelihood for
themselves and children, of which they had several besides myself,
who was the eldest. My father was a bricklayer, and my mother sold
apples and oranges and other fruits, according to the season, and
also whiskey, which she made herself, as she well knew how; for my
mother was not only a Connacht woman, but an out-and-out Connamara
quean, and when only thirteen had wrought with the lads who used to
make the raal cratur on the islands between Ochterard and Bally na
hinch. As soon as I was able, I helped my mother in making and
disposing of the whiskey and in selling the fruit. As for the
other children, they all died when young, of favers, of which there
is always plenty in Scotland Road. About four years ago - that is,
when I was just fifteen - there was a great quarrel among the
workmen about wages. Some wanted more than their masters were
willing to give; others were willing to take what was offered them.
Those who were dissatisfied were called bricks; those who were not
were called dungs. My father was a brick; and, being a good man
with his fists, was looked upon as a very proper person to fight a
principal man amongst the dungs. They fought in the fields near
Salford for a pound a side. My father had it all his own way for
the first three rounds, but in the fourth, receiving a blow under
the ear from the dung, he dropped, and never got up again, dying
suddenly. A grand wake my father had, for which my mother
furnished usquebaugh galore; and comfortably and dacently it passed
over till about three o'clock in the morning, when, a dispute
happening to arise - not on the matter of wages, for there was not
a dung amongst the Irish of Scotland Road - but as to whether the
O'Keefs or O'Kellys were kings of Ireland a thousand years ago, a
general fight took place, which brought in the police, who, being
soon dreadfully baten, as we all turned upon them, went and fetched
the military, with whose help they took and locked up several of
the party, amongst whom were my mother and myself, till the next
morning, when we were taken before the magistrates, who, after a
slight scolding, set us at liberty, one of them saying that such
disturbances formed part of the Irish funeral service; whereupon we
returned to the house, and the rest of the party joining us, we
carried my father's body to the churchyard, where we buried it very
dacently, with many tears and groanings."

"And how did your mother and you get on after your father was

"As well as we could, yere hanner; we sold fruit, and now and then
a drop of whiskey, which we made; but this state of things did not
last long, for one day my mother seeing the dung who had killed my
father, she flung a large flint stone and knocked out his right
eye, for doing which she was taken up and tried, and sentenced to a
year's imprisonment, chiefly it was thought because she had been
heard to say that she would do the dung a mischief the first time
she met him. She, however, did not suffer all her sentence, for
before she had been in prison three months she caught a disorder
which carried her off. I went on selling fruit by myself whilst
she was in trouble, and for some time after her death, but very
lonely and melancholy. At last my uncle Tourlough, or, as the
English would call him, Charles, chancing to come to Scotland Road
along with his family, I was glad to accept an invitation to join
them which he gave me, and with them I have been ever since,
travelling about England and Wales and Scotland, helping my aunt
with the children, and driving much the same trade which she has
driven for twenty years past, which is not an unprofitable one."

"Would you have any objection to tell me all you do?"

"Why I sells needles, as I said before, and sometimes I buys things
of servants, and sometimes I tells fortunes."

"Do you ever do anything in the way of striopachas?"

"Oh no! I never do anything in that line; I would be burnt first.
I wonder you should dream of such a thing."

"Why surely it is not worse than buying things of servants, who no
doubt steal them from their employers, or telling fortunes, which
is dealing with the devil."

"Not worse? Yes, a thousand times worse; there is nothing so very
particular in doing them things, but striopachas - Oh dear!"

"It's a dreadful thing I admit, but the other things are quite as
bad; you should do none of them."

"I'll take good care that I never do one, and that is striopachas;
them other things I know are not quite right, and I hope soon to
have done wid them; any day I can shake them off and look people in
the face, but were I once to do striopachas I could never hold up
my head"

"How comes it that you have such a horror of striopachas?"

"I got it from my mother, and she got it from hers. All Irish
women have a dread of striopachas. It's the only thing that
frights them; I manes the wild Irish, for as for the quality women
I have heard they are no bit better than the English. Come, yere
hanner, let's talk of something else."

"You were saying now that you were thinking of leaving off fortune-
telling and buying things of servants. Do you mean to depend upon
your needles alone?"

"No; I am thinking of leaving off tramping altogether and going to
the Tir na Siar."

"Isn't that America?"

"It is, yere hanner; the land of the west is America."

"A long way for a lone girl."

"I should not be alone, yere hanner; I should be wid my uncle
Tourlough and his wife."

"Are they going to America?"

"They are, yere hanner; they intends leaving off business and going
to America next spring."

"It will cost money."

"It will, yere hanner; but they have got money, and so have I."

"Is it because business is slack that you are thinking of going to

"Oh no, yere hanner; we wish to go there in order to get rid of old
ways and habits, amongst which are fortune-telling and buying
things of sarvants, which yere hanner was jist now checking me

"And can't you get rid of them here?"

"We cannot, yere hanner. If we stay here we must go on tramping,
and it is well known that doing them things is part of tramping."

"And what would you do in America?"

"Oh, we could do plenty of things in America - most likely we
should buy a piece of land and settle down."

"How came you to see the wickedness of the tramping life?"

"By hearing a great many sarmons and preachings and having often
had the Bible read to us by holy women who came to our tent."

"Of what religion do you call yourselves now?"

"I don't know, yere hanner; we are clane unsettled about religion.
We were once Catholics and carried Saint Colman of Cloyne about wid
us in a box; but after hearing a sermon at a church about images,
we went home, took the saint out of his box and cast him into a

"Oh it will never do to belong to the Popish religion, a religion
which upholds idol-worship and persecutes the Bible - you should
belong to the Church of England."

"Well, perhaps we should, yere hanner, if its ministers were not
such proud violent men. Oh, you little know how they look down
upon all poor people, especially on us tramps. Once my poor aunt,
Tourlough's wife, who has always had stronger conviction than any
of us, followed one of them home after he had been preaching, and
begged him to give her God, and was told by him that she was a
thief, and if she didn't take herself out of the house he would
kick her out."

"Perhaps, after all," said I; "you had better join the Methodists -
I should say that their ways would suit you better than those of
any other denomination of Christians."

Yere hanner knows nothing about them, otherwise ye wouldn't talk in
that manner. Their ways would never do for people who want to have
done with lying and staring, and have always kept themselves clane
from striopachas. Their word is not worth a rotten straw, yere
hanner, and in every transaction which they have with people they
try to cheat and overreach - ask my uncle Tourlough, who has had
many dealings with them. But what is far worse, they do that which
the wildest calleen t'other side of Ougteraarde would be burnt
rather than do. Who can tell ye more on that point than I, yere
hanner? I have been at their chapels at nights, and have listened
to their screaming prayers, and have seen what's been going on
outside the chapels after their services, as they call them, were
over - I never saw the like going on outside Father Toban's chapel,
yere hanner! Yere hanner's hanner asked me if I ever did anything
in the way of striopachas - now I tell ye that I was never asked to
do anything in that line but by one of them folks - a great man
amongst them he was, both in the way of business and prayer, for he
was a commercial traveller during six days of the week and a
preacher on the seventh - and such a preacher. Well, one Sunday
night after he had preached a sermon an hour-and-a-half long, which
had put half a dozen women into what they call static fits, he
overtook me in a dark street and wanted me to do striopachas with
him - he didn't say striopachas, yer hanner, for he had no Irish -
but he said something in English which was the same thing."

"And what did you do?"

"Why, I asked him what he meant by making fun of a poor ugly girl -
for no one knows better than myself, yere hanner, that I am very
ugly - whereupon he told me that he was not making fun of me, for
it had long been the chief wish of his heart to commit striopachas
with a wild Irish Papist, and that he believed if he searched the
world he should find none wilder than myself."

"And what did you reply?"

"Why, I said to him, yere hanner, that I would tell the
congregation, at which he laughed and said that he wished I would,
for that the congregation would say they didn't believe me, though
at heart they would, and would like him all the better for it."

"Well, and what did you say then?"

"Nothing, at all, yere hanner; but I spat in his face and went home
and told my uncle Tourlough, who forthwith took out a knife and
began to sharp it on a whetstone, and I make no doubt would have
gone and stuck the fellow like a pig, had not my poor aunt begged
him not on her knees. After that we had nothing more to do with
the Methodists as far as religion went."

"Did this affair occur in England or Wales?"

"In the heart of England, yere hanner; we have never been to the
Welsh chapels, for we know little of the language."

"Well, I am glad it didn't happen in Wales: I have rather a high
opinion of the Welsh Methodist. The worthiest creature I ever knew
was a Welsh Methodist. And now I must leave you and make the best
of my way to Chepstow."

"Can't yere hanner give me God before ye go?"

"I can give you half-a-crown to help you on your way to America."

"I want no half-crowns, yere hanner; but if ye would give me God
I'd bless ye."

"What do you mean by giving you God?"

"Putting Him in my heart by some good counsel which will guide me
through life."

"The only good counsel I can give you is to keep the commandments;
one of them it seems you have always kept. Follow the rest and you
can't go very wrong."

"I wish I knew them better than I do, yere hanner."

"Can't you read?"

"Oh no, yere hanner, I can't read, neither can Tourlough nor his

"Well, learn to read as soon as possible. When you have got to
America and settled down you will have time enough to learn to

"Shall we be better, yere hanner, after we have learnt to read?"

"Let's hope you will."

"One of the things, yere hanner, that have made us stumble is that
some of the holy women, who have come to our tent and read the
Bible to us, have afterwards asked my aunt and me to tell them
their fortunes."

"If they have, the more shame for them, for they can have no
excuse. Well, whether you learn to read or not, still eschew
striopachas, don't steal, don't deceive, and worship God in spirit,
not in image. That's the best counsel I can give you."

"And very good counsel it is, yere hanner, and I will try to follow
it, and now, yere hanner, let us go our two ways."

We placed our glasses upon the bar and went out. In the middle of
the road we shook hands and parted, she going towards Newport and I
towards Chepstow. After walking a few yards I turned round and
looked after her. There she was in the damp lowering afternoon
wending her way slowly through mud and puddle, her upper form
huddled in the rough frieze mantle, and her coarse legs bare to the
top of the calves. "Surely," said I to myself, "there never was an
object less promising in appearance. Who would think that there
could be all the good sense and proper feeling in that uncouth girl
which there really is?"


Arrival at Chepstow - Stirring Lyric - Conclusion.

I PASSED through Caer Went, once an important Roman station, and
for a long time after the departure of the Romans a celebrated
British city, now a poor desolate place consisting of a few old-
fashioned houses and a strange-looking dilapidated church. No
Welsh is spoken at Caer Went, nor to the east of it, nor indeed for
two or three miles before you reach it from the west.

The country between it and Chepstow, from which it is distant about
four miles, is delightfully green, but somewhat tame.

Chepstow stands on the lower part of a hill, near to where the
beautiful Wye joins the noble Severn. The British name of the
place is Aber Wye or the disemboguement of the Wye. The Saxons
gave it the name of Chepstow, which in their language signifies a
place where a market is held, because even in the time of the
Britons it was the site of a great cheap or market. After the
Norman Conquest it became the property of De Clare, one of
William's followers, who built near it an enormous castle, which
enjoyed considerable celebrity during several centuries from having
been the birthplace of Strongbow, the conqueror of Ireland, but
which is at present chiefly illustrious from the mention which is
made of it in one of the most stirring lyrics of modern times, a
piece by Walter Scott, called the "Norman Horseshoe," commemorative
of an expedition made by a De Clare, of Chepstow, with the view of
insulting with the print of his courser's shoe the green meads of
Glamorgan, and which commences thus:-

"Red glows the forge" -

I went to the principal inn, where I engaged a private room and
ordered the best dinner which the people could provide. Then
leaving my satchel behind me I went to the castle, amongst the
ruins of which I groped and wandered for nearly an hour,
occasionally repeating verses of the Norman Horseshoe. I then went
to the Wye and drank of the waters at its mouth, even as some time
before I had drunk of the waters at its source. Then returning to
my inn I got my dinner, after which I called for a bottle of port,
and placing my feet against the sides of the grate I passed my time
drinking wine and singing Welsh songs till ten o'clock at night,
when I paid my reckoning, amounting to something considerable.
Then shouldering my satchel I proceeded to the railroad station,
where I purchased a first-class ticket, and ensconcing myself in a
comfortable carriage, was soon on the way to London, where I
arrived at about four o'clock in the morning, having had during the
whole of my journey a most uproarious set of neighbours a few
carriages behind me, namely, some hundred and fifty of Napier's
tars returning from their expedition to the Baltic.


THE original home of the Cumro was Southern Hindustan, the extreme
point of which, Cape Comorin, derived from him its name. It may be
here asked what is the exact meaning of the word Cumro? The true
meaning of the word is a youth. It is connected with a Sanscrit
word, signifying a youth, and likewise a prince. It is surprising
how similar in meaning the names of several nations are: Cumro, a
youth; Gael, a hero; (24) Roman, one who is comely, a husband; (25)
Frank or Frenchman, a free, brave fellow; Dane, an honest man;
Turk, a handsome lad; Arab, a sprightly fellow. Lastly, Romany
Chal, the name by which the Gypsy styles himself, signifying not an
Egyptian, but a lad of Rome. (26)

The language of the Cumro is called after him Cumraeg. Of Cumric
there are three dialects, the speech of Cumru or Wales; that of
Armorica or, as the Welsh call it, Llydaw, and the Cornish, which
is no longer spoken, and only exists in books and in the names of
places. The Cumric bears considerable affinity to the Gaelic, or
the language of the Gael, of which there are also three dialects,
the Irish, the speech of the Scottish Highlanders, and the Manx,
which last is rapidly becoming extinct. The Cumric and Gaelic have
not only a great many thousand words in common, but also a
remarkable grammatical feature, the mutation and dropping of
certain initial consonants under certain circumstances, which
feature is peculiar to the Celtic languages. The number of
Sanscritic words which the Cumric and Gaelic possess is
considerable. Of the two the Gaelic possesses the most, and those
have generally more of the Sanscritic character, than the words of
the same class which are to be found in the Welsh. The Welsh,
however, frequently possesses the primary word when the Irish does
not. Of this the following is an instance. One of the numerous
Irish words for a mountain is codadh. This word is almost
identical with the Sanscrit kuta, which also signifies a mountain;
but kuta and codadh are only secondary words. The Sanscrit
possesses the radical of kuta, and that is kuda, to heap up, but
the Irish does not possess the radical of codadh. The Welsh,
without possessing any word for a hill at all like codadh, has the
primary or radical word; that word is codi, to rise or raise,
almost identical in sound and sense with the Sanscrit kuda. Till a
house is raised there is no house, and there is no hill till the
Nara or Omnipotent says ARISE.

The Welsh is one of the most copious languages of the world, as it
contains at least eighty thousand words. It has seven vowels; w in
Welsh being pronounced like oo, and y like u and i. Its most
remarkable feature is the mutation of initial consonants, to
explain which properly would require more space than I can afford.
(27)  The nouns are of two numbers, the singular and plural, and a
few have a dual number. The genders are three, the Masculine, the
Feminine and the Neuter. There are twelve plural terminations of
nouns, of which the most common is au. Some substantives are what
the grammarians call aggregate plurals, (28)  "which are not used
in the plural without the addition of diminutive terminations, for
example adar, birds, aderyn, a bird; gwenyn, bees, gwenynen, a
single bee."  There are different kinds of adjectives; some have a
plural, some have none; some have a feminine form, others have not;
the most common plural termination is ion. It is said by some that
the verb has properly no present tense, the future being used
instead. The verbs present many difficulties, and there are many
defective and irregular ones. In the irregularities of its verbs
the Welsh language very much resembles the Irish.

The numerals require some particular notice: forty, sixty and
eighty are expressed by deugain, trigain, and pedwarugain,
literally, two twenties, three twenties, and four twenties; whilst
fifty, seventy, and ninety are expressed by words corresponding
with ten after two twenties, ten after three twenties, and ten
after four twenties. Whether the Welsh had ever a less clumsy way
of expressing the above numbers is unknown - something similar is
observable in French, and the same practice prevails in the modern
Gaelic; in the ancient Gaelic, however, there are such numerals as
ceathrachad, seasgad, and naochad, which correspond with
quadraginta, sexaginta, and nonaginta. The numerals dau, tri, and
pedwar, or two, three, and four, have feminine forms, becoming when
preceding feminine nouns, dwy, tair, and pedair. In Gaelic no
numeral has a feminine form; certain numerals, however, have an
influence over nouns which others have not, and before cead, a
hundred, and mile, a thousand, do, two, is changed into da, for it
is not customary to say do chead, two hundred, and do mhile, two
thousand, but da chead and da mhile. (29)  With respect to pedwar,
the Welsh for four, I have to observe that it bears no similitude
to the word for the same number in Gaelic; the word for four in
Gaelic is ceathair, and the difference between ceathair and pedwar
is great indeed. Ceathair is what may be called a Sanscritic
numeral; and it is pleasant to trace it in various shapes, through
various languages, up to the grand speech of India: Irish,
ceathair; Latin, quatuor; Greek, tessares; Russian, cheturi;
Persian, chahar; Sanscrit, chatur. As to pedwar, it bears some
resemblance to the English four, the German vier, is almost
identical with the Wallachian patrou, and is very much like the
Homeric word [Greek text which cannot be reproduced], but beyond
Wallachia and Greece we find nothing like it, bearing the same
meaning, though it is right to mention that the Sanscrit word pada
signifies a QUARTER, as well as a foot. It is curious that the
Irish word for five, cuig, is in like manner quite as perplexing as
the Welsh word for four. The Irish word for five is not a
Sanscritic word, pump, the Welsh word for five, is. Pantschan is
the Sanscrit word for five, and pump is linked to pantschan by the
AEolick pempe, the Greek pente and pemptos, the Russian piat and
the Persian Pantsch; but what is cuig connected with? Why it is
connected with the Latin quinque, and perhaps with the Arabic
khamsa; but higher up than Arabia we find nothing like it; or if
one thinks one recognises it, it is under such a disguise that one
is rather timorous about swearing to it - and now nothing more on
the subject of numerals.

I have said that the Welsh is exceedingly copious. Its
copiousness, however, does not proceed, like that of the English,
from borrowing from other languages. It has certainly words in
common with other tongues, but no tongue, at any rate in Europe,
can prove that it has a better claim than the Welsh to any word
which it has in common with that language. No language has a
better supply of simple words for the narration of events than the
Welsh, and simple words are the proper garb of narration; and no
language abounds more with terms calculated to express the
abstrusest ideas of the meta-physician. Whoever doubts its
capability for the purpose of narration, let him peruse the Welsh
Historical Triads, in which are told the most remarkable events
which befell the early Cumry; and whosoever doubts its power for
the purpose of abstruse reasoning, let him study a work called
Rhetorick, by Master William Salisbury, written about the year
1570, and I think he will admit that there is no hyperbole, or, as
a Welshman would call it, GORWIREB, in what I have said with
respect to the capabilities of the Welsh language.

As to its sounds - I have to observe that at the will of a master
it can be sublimely sonorous, terribly sharp, diabolically guttural
and sibilant, and sweet and harmonious to a remarkable degree.
What more sublimely sonorous than certain hymns of Taliesin; more
sharp and clashing than certain lines of Gwalchmai and Dafydd
Benfras, describing battles; more diabolically grating than the
Drunkard's Choke-pear by Rhys Goch, and more sweet than the lines
of poor Gronwy Owen to the Muse? Ah, those lines of his to the
Muse are sweeter even than the verses of Horace, of which they
profess to be an imitation. What lines in Horace's ode can vie in
sweetness with

"Tydi roit a diwair wen
Lais eos i lysowen!"

"Thou couldst endow, with thy dear smile,
With voice of lark the lizard vile!"

Eos signifies a nightingale, and Lysowen an eel. Perhaps in no
language but the Welsh, could an eel be mentioned in lofty poetry:
Lysowen is perfect music.

Having stated that there are Welsh and Sanscrit words which
correspond, more or less, in sound and meaning, I here place side
by side a small number of such words, in order that the reader may
compare them.

WELSH                           SANSCRIT

Aber, a meeting of waters, an   Ap, apah, water; apaga,
outflowing; Avon, a river;      a river; Persian, ab,
Aw, a flowing                   water; Wallachian, apa

Anal, breath                    Anila, air

Arian, silver                   Ara, brass; Gypsy, harko,
Aur, gold                       copper (30)

Athu, to go                     At'ha; Russian, iti

Bod, being, existence           Bhavat, bhuta

Brenin, a king                  Bharanda, a lord; Russian

Caer, a wall, a city            Griha, geha, a house; Hindu-
                                stani, ghar; Gypsy, kair,

Cain, fine, bright              Kanta, pleasing, beautiful;
                                Kana, to shine

Canu, to sing                   Gana, singing

Cathyl, a hymn                  Kheli a song; Gypsy, gillie

Coed, a wood, trees             Kut'ha, kuti, a tree

Cumro, a Welshman               Kumara, a youth, a prince

Daear, daeren, the earth        Dhara, fem. dharani

Dant, a tooth                   Danta

Dawn, a gift                    Dana

Derw, an oak                    Daru, timber

Dewr, bold, brave               Dhira

Drwg, bad                       Durgati, hell; Durga,
                                the goddess of destruction

Duw, God                        Deva, a god

Dwfr, dwfyr, water              Tivara, the ocean
                                (Tiber, Tevere)

Dwr, water                      Uda; Greek, [Text which
                                cannot be reproduced]
                                Sanscrit, dhlira, the
                                ocean; Persian, deria,
                                dooria, the sea; Gypsy,

En, a being, a soul, that       An, to breathe, to live;
which lives                     ana, breath; Irish, an,
                                a man, fire

Gair, a word                    Gir, gira, speech

Gwr, a man                      Vira, a hero, strong, fire;
Gwres, heat                     Lat. vir, a man; Dutch, vuur,
                                fire; Turkish, er, a man;
                                Heb., ur, fire

Geneth, girl                    Kani

Geni, to be born                Jana

Gwybod, to know                 Vid

Hocedu, to cheat                Kuhaka, deceit

Huan, the sun                   Ina

Ieuanc,young                    Youvan

Ir, fresh, juicy                Ira, water
Irdra, juiciness

Llances, a girl                 Lagnika

Lleidyr, a thief                Lata

Maen, a stone                   Mani, a gem

Mam, mother                     Ma

Marw, to die                    Mara, death

Mawr, great                     Maha

Medd, mead                      Mad'hu, honey

Meddwi, to intoxicate           Mad, to intoxicate; Mada,
                                intoxication; Mada, pleasure;
                                Madya, wine; Matta,
                                intoxicated; Gypsy, matto,
                                drunk; Gr. [Text which cannot
                                be reproduced], wine, [Text
                                which cannot be reproduced],
                                to be drunk

Medr, a measure                 Matra

Nad, a cry                      Nad, to speak; Nada, sound

Nant, ravine, rivulet           Nadi, a river

Neath, Nedd, name of a river;   Nicha, low, deep; nichaga,
nedd, a dingle, what is low,    a river, that which descends;
deep (Nith, Nithsdale)          nitha, water

Nef, heaven                     Nabhas; Russian, nabeca, the
                                heavens; Lat., nubes, a cloud

Neidiaw, to leap;               Nata, to dance; Nata, dancing

Ner, the Almighty, the Lord,    Nara, that which animates
the Creator                     every thing, the spirit of
                                God (31)

Nerth, strength, power          Nara, man, the spirit of God;
                                Gr. [text which cannot be
                                reproduced], a man, [text
                                which cannot be reproduced]
                                strength; Persian, nar, a
                                male; Arabic, nar, fire

Noddwr, a protector             Natha

Nos, night                      Nisa

Pair, a cauldron                Pit'hara

Ped, a foot; pedair, four       Pad, a foot; pada, a quarter

Pridd, earth                    Prithivi, the earth

Prif, principal, prime          Prabhu, a lord, a ruler

Rhen, the Lord                  Rajan, a king

Rhian, a lady                   Hindustani, rani

Rhod, a wheel                   Ratha, a car

Swm, being together             Sam

Swynwr, a wizard, sorcerer      Sanvanana, a witch;
                                Hindustani, syani

Tad, father                     Tata

Tan, fire                       Dahana

Tant, a string                  Tantu

Tanu, to expand                 Tana

Toriad, a breaking, cutting     Dari, cutting

Uchafedd, height                Uchch'ya

Ych, ox                         Ukshan

The Nara is called by the Tartars soukdoun, and by the Chinese ki:
"Principe qui est dans le ciel, sur la terre, dans l'homme, et dans
toutes les choses materielles et immaterielles." - DICTIOINNAIRE
TARTARE MANTCHOU, par Amyot. Tome second, p, 124.

In the above list of Cumric and Sanscrit words there are certainly
some remarkable instances of correspondence in sound and sense, the
most interesting of which is that afforded by Ner, the Cumric word
for the Lord, and Nara, the Sanscrit word for the Spirit of God.
From comparing the words in that list one might feel disposed to
rush to the conclusion that the Cumric sprang from the Sanscrit,
the sacred language of sunny Hindustan. But to do so would be
unwise, for deeper study would show that if the Welsh has some
hundreds of words in common with the Sanscrit, it has thousands
upon thousands which are not to be found in that tongue, after
making all possible allowance for change and modification. No
subject connected with what is called philosophy is more mortifying
to proud human reason than the investigation of languages, for in
what do the researches of the most unwearied philologist terminate
but a chaos of doubt and perplexity, else why such exclamations as
these? Why is the Wallachian word for water Sanscrit? for what is
the difference between apa and ap? Wallachian is formed from Latin
and Sclavonian; why then is not the word for water either woda or
aqua, or a modification of either? Why is the Arabic word for the
sea Irish, for what is the difference between bahar, the Arabic
word for sea, and beathra, an old Irish word for water, pronounced
barra, whence the river Barrow? How is it that one of the names of
the Ganges is Welsh; for what is the difference between Dhur, a
name of that river, and dwr, the common Welsh word for water? How
is it that aequor, a Latin word for the sea, so much resembles
AEgir, the name of the Norse God of the sea? and how is it that
Asaer, the appellative of the Northern Gods, is so like Asura, the
family name of certain Hindu demons? Why does the scanty Gailk,
the language of the Isle of Man, possess more Sanscrit words than
the mighty Arabic, the richest of all tongues; and why has the
Welsh only four words for a hill, and its sister language the Irish
fifty-five? How is it that the names of so many streams in various
countries, for example Donau, Dwina, Don, and Tyne, so much
resemble Dhuni, a Sanscrit word for a river? How is it that the
Sanscrit devila stands for what is wise and virtuous, and the
English devil for all that is desperate and wicked? How is it that
Alp and Apennine, Celtic words for a hill, so much resemble ap and
apah, Sanscrit words for water? Why does the Sanscrit kalya mean
to-morrow as well as yesterday, and the Gypsy merripen life as well
as death? How is it that ur, a Gaelic word for fire, is so like
ura the Basque word for water, and Ure the name of an English
stream? Why does neron, the Modern Greek word for water, so little
resemble the ancient Greek [text which cannot be reproduced] and so
much resemble the Sanscrit nira? and how is it that nara, which
like nira signifies water, so much resembles nara, the word for man
and the Divinity? How is it that Nereus, the name of an ancient
Greek water god, and Nar, the Arabic word for fire, are so very
like Ner, the Welsh word for the Creator? How is it that a certain
Scottish river bears the name of the wife of Oceanus, for what is
Teith but Teithys? How indeed! and why indeed! to these and a
thousand similar questions. Ah man, man! human reason will never
answer them, and you may run wild about them, unless, dropping your
pride, you are content to turn for a solution of your doubts to a
certain old volume, once considered a book of divine revelation,
but now a collection of old wives' tales, the Bible.


(1) That vira at one time meant man in general, as well as fire,
there can be no doubt. It is singular how this word or something
strikingly like it, occurs in various European languages, sometimes
as man, sometimes as fire. Vir in Latin signifies man, but vuur in
Dutch signifies fire. In like manner fear in Irish signifies a
man, but fire in English signifies the consuming, or, as the Hindus
would call it, the producing element.

(2) "Pawb a'i cenfydd, o bydd bai,
A Bawddyn, er na byddai." - GRONWY OWEN.

(3) One or two of the characters and incidents in this Saga are
mentioned in the Romany Rye. London, 1857, vol. i. p. 240; vol.
ii. p. 150.

A partial translation of the Saga, made by myself, has been many
years in existence. It forms part of a mountain of unpublished
translations from the Northern languages. In my younger days no
London publisher, or indeed magazine editor, would look at anything
from the Norse, Danish, etc.

(4) All these three names are very common in Norfolk, the
population of which is of Norse origin. Skarphethin is at present
pronounced Sharpin. Helgi Heely. Skarphethin, interpreted, is a
keen pirate.

(5) Eryri likewise signifies an excrescence or scrofulous eruption.
It is possible that many will be disposed to maintain that in the
case of Snowdon the word is intended to express a rugged
excrescence or eruption on the surface of the earth.

(6) It will not be amiss to observe that the original term is
gwyddfa but gwyddfa; being a feminine noun or compound commencing
with g, which is a mutable consonant, loses the initial letter
before y the definite article - you say Gwyddfa a tumulus, but not
y gwyddfa THE tumulus.

(7) Essay on the Origin of the English Stage by Bishop Percy.
London, 1793.

(8) The above account is chiefly taken from the curious Welsh book
called "Dych y prif Oesoedd."

(9) Spirits.

(10) Eel.

(11) For an account of this worm, which has various denominations,
see article "Fasciola Hepatica" in any Encyclopaedia.

(12) As the umbrella is rather a hackneyed subject two or three
things will of course be found in the above eulogium on an umbrella
which have been said by other folks on that subject; the writer,
however, flatters himself that in his eulogium on an umbrella two
or three things will also be found which have never been said by
any one else about an umbrella.

(13) Bitter root.

(14) Amongst others a kind of novel called "The Adventures of Twm
Shon Catty, a Wild Wag of Wales."  It possesses considerable
literary merit, the language being pure, and many of the
descriptions graphic. By far the greater part of it, however,
would serve for the life of any young Welsh peasant, quite as well
as for that of Twm Shon Catti. Its grand fault is endeavouring to
invest Twm Shon with a character of honesty, and to make his
exploits appear rather those of a wild young waggish fellow than of
a robber. This was committing a great mistake. When people take
up the lives of bad characters the more rogueries and villainies
they find, the better they are pleased, and they are very much
disappointed and consider themselves defrauded by any attempt to
apologise for the actions of the heroes. If the thieves should
chance to have reformed, the respectable readers wish to hear
nothing of their reformation till just at the close of the book,
when they are very happy to have done with them for ever.

(15) Skazka O Klimkie. Moscow, 1829.

(16) Hanes Crefydd Yn Nghymru.

(17) The good gentlewoman was probably thinking of the celebrated
king Brian Boromhe slain at the battle of Clontarf.

(18) Fox's Court - perhaps London.

(19) Drych y Prif Oesoedd, p. 100.

(20) Y Greal, p. 279.

(21) Hanes Crefydd Yn NGhymru.

(22) Fear caoch: vir caecus.

(23) Curses of this description, or evil prayers as they are
called, are very common in the Irish language, and are frequently
turned to terrible account by that most singular class or sect, the
Irish mendicants. Several cases have occurred connected with these
prayers, corresponding in many respects with the case detailed

(24) Sanscrit, Kali, a hero.

(25) Sanscrit, Rama, Ramana, a husband.

(26) Romany chal, son of Rome, lad of Rome. Romany chi, daughter
of Rome, girl of Rome. Chal, chiel, child, the Russian cheloviek,
a man, and the Sanscrit Jana, to be born, are all kindred words.

(27) For a clear and satisfactory account of this system see Owen's
Welsh Grammar, p. 13.
(28) Owen's Grammar, p. 40.

(29) Pronounced vile or wile - here the principle of literal
mutation is at work.

(30) Lat. aurum, gold; AERis, of brass. Perhaps the true meaning
of ara, aurum, &c., is unrefined metal; if so, we have the root of
them all in our own word ore.

(31) "The Eternal, the divine imperishable spirit pervading the
universe." -  WILSON'S SANSCRIT DICTIONARY, p. 453.

          The End

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