Part 8 out of 14
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,
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
"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
"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
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
"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
"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
"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
"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
"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
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
"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
"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
"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
"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
"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
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.
ENTER CAPTAIN POVERTY
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
"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
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
"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
"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
"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