« PreviousContinue »
hut Welsh is spoken, and divine service is seldom performed in English—Our way then lay to the seaside, at the foot of a mountain, called Penmaen Rhos—Here the way was so steep, that we talked on the lower edge of the hill, to meet the coach, that went upon a road higher on the hill—Our walk was not long, nor unpleasant: the longer I walk, the less I feel its inconvenience—As I grow warm, my breath mends, and 1 think my limbs grow pliable.
We then came to Ccnway ferry, and passed in small boats, with some passengers from the stage coach, among whom were an Irish gentlewoman, with two maids, and three little children, of which, the youngest was only a few months old. The tide did not serve the large ferry-boat, and therefore our coach could not very soon follow us—We were, therefore, to stay at the inn. It is now the day of the race at Conway, and the town was so full of company, that no money could purchase lodgings. We were not verv readily supplied with cold dinner. We would have stayed at Conway if we could have found entertainment, for we were afraid of passing Penmacn Mawr, over which lay our way to Bangor, but by bright daylight, and the delay of our coach made our departure necessarily late. There was, however, no stay on any other terms than of sitting up all night. The poor Irish lady was still more distressed—Her children wanted rest—She would have been contented with one bed, but, for a time, none could be had. —Mrs. Thrale gave her what help she could—At last two gentlemen were persuaded to yield up their room, with two beds, for which she gave half a guinea.
Our coach was at last brought, and we set out with some anxiety, but we came to Penmaen Mawr by daylight; and found a way, lately made, very easy, and very safe x—It was cut smooth, and enclosed between parallel walls; the outer of which secures the passenger from the precipice, which is deep and dreadful— This wall is here and there broken by mischievous wantonness— The inner wall preserves the road from the loose stones, which the shattered steep above it would pour down—That side of the mountain seems to have a surface of loose stones, which every
1 Penmaen Mawr is a huge rocky promontory, rising nearly 1,550 feet perpendicular above the sea. Along a shelf of this precipice is formed.an excellent road, well guarded, toward the sea, by a strong wall, supported in many parts by arches turned underneath it. Before this wall was built, travellers sometimes fell down the precipices.— Duppa.
accident may crumble—The old road was higher, and must have been very formidable—The sea beats at the bottom of the war.
At evening the moon shone eminently bright, and our thoughts of danger being now past, the rest of our journey was very pleasant. At an hour somewhat late we came to Bangor, where we found a very mean inn, and had some difficulty to obtain lodging —I lay in a room, where the other bed had two men.
Friday, Aug. 19.—We obtained boats to convey us to Anglesey, and saw Lord Bulkeley's house, and Beaumaris Castle.—I was accosted by Mr. Lloyd, the schoolmaster of Beaumaris. who had seen me at University College; and he, with Mr. Roberts, the register of Bangor, whose boat we borrowed, accompanied us. Lord Bulkeley's house is very mean, but his garden is spacious and shady, with large trees and smaller interspersed—The walks are straight, and cross each other, with no variety of plan; but thev have a pleasing coolness and solemn gloom, and extend to a great length. The castle is a mighty pile; the outward wall has fifteen round towers, besides square towers at the angles—There is then a void space between the wall and the castle, which has an area enclosed with a wall, which again has towers, larger than those of the outer wall—The towers of the inner castle are, I think, eight—There is likewise a chapel entire, built upon an arch, as I suppose, and beautifully arched with a stone roof, which is yet unbroken—The entrance into the chapel is about eight or nine feet high, and was, I suppose, higher, when there was no rubbish in the area—This castle corresponds with all the representations of romancing narratives.—Here is not wanting the private passage, the dark cavity, the deep dungeon, or the lofty tower—We did not discover the well—This is the most complete view that I have yet had of an old castle—It had a moat—The towers—We went to Bangor.
Saturday, Aug. 20.—We went by water from Bangor to Caernarvon, where we met Paoli and Sir Thomas Wynne1—meeting by chance with one Troughton,2 an intelligent and loquacious
1 Sir Thomas Wynne, created Lord Newburgh, 1778: died 1807.— Duppa,
* "Lieutenant Troughton I do recollect; loquacious and intelligent he was. He wore a uniform, and belonged, I think, to a man of war."— Pio??i SIS. He was made a beutenant in 1762, and died in 1786, in that rank: he vas on half-pay and did not belong to any ship when he met wanderer, Mr. Thrnle invited him to dinner—He attended ;is to the castle, an edifice of stupendous magnitude and strength; it has in it all that we observed at Beaumaris, and much greater dimensions: many of the smaller rooms floored with stone are entire; of the larger rooms, the beams and plunks are all left: this is the state of all buildings left to time—We mounted the eagle tower by one hundred and sixty-nine steps, each of ten inches—We did not find the well; nor did I trace the moat; but moats there were, I believe, to all castles on the plain, which not only hindered access, but prevented mines—We saw but a very small part of this mighty ruin, and in all these old buildings, the subterraneous works are concealed by the rubbish—To survey this place would take much time: I did not think there had been such buildings; it surpassed my ideas.
Sunday, Aug. 21.—[At Caernarvon].—We were at church; the service in the town is alwavs English; at the parish-church at a small distance, always Welsh—The town has by degrees, I suppose, been brought nearer to the sea-side—We received an invitation to Dr. Worthington—We then went to dinner at Sir Thomas Wynne's—the dinner mean, Sir Thomas civil, his lady nothing'—Paoli civil—We supped with Colonel Wynne's lady, who lives iu one of the towers of the tastle—I have not been very well.
Monday, Aug. 22.—We went to visit Bodville,1 the place where
Dr. Johnson, in 1774. It seems then that, even so 'ate as this, half-pay officers wore their uniform in the ordinary course of life.—Croktr.
1 Lady Catharine Percival, daughter of the second Earl of Egmont: this was, it appears, the lady of whom Mrs. Piozzi relates, that " For a lady of quality, since dead, who received us at her husband's seat in Wales with less attention than he had long been accustomed to, he had :i rougher denunciation: 'That woman,' cried Johnson. ' is like sour small beer, the beverage of her table, and produce of the wretched country she lives in : like that, she could never have been a good thing, and even that Imd thing is spoiled.'" And it is probably of her too that another anecdote is told :—•' We had been visiting at a lady's house, whom, as we returned, some of the company ridiculed tor her ignorance:—' She is not ignorant,' said he,' I believe, of any thing she has been langht, or of any thing she is desirous to know; and I suppose if one wanted a little run tea, she might be a proper person enough to apply to.'" Mrs. Pioxzi says, in her MS. letters, " that Lady Catharine comes off well in the diary. He said many severe things of her, which he did not commit to paper.'' She died in 1782.—Croker.
"Situated among the mountains of Caernarvonshire.—Piozzi MS.— Craker.
Mrs. Thrale was born,1 and the churches called Tydweilliog and Llangwinodyl, which she holds by impropriation—We had an invitation to the house of Mr. Griffiths of Bryn o dol, where we found a small neat new-built house, with square rooms: the walls are of unhewn stone, and therefore thick; for the stones not fittine with exactness, are not strong without great thickness—He had planted a great deal of young wood in walks—Fruit trees do not thrive; but having grown a few years, reach some barren stratum and wither—We found Mr. Griffiths not at home; but the provisions were good.
Tuesday, Aug. 23.—Mr. Griffiths came home the next day— He married a lady who has a house and estate at [IJanver], over against Anglesea, and near Caernarvon, where she is more disposed, as it seems, to reside, than at Bryn o dol—I read Lloyd's account of Mona, which he proves to be Anglesea—In our way back to Bryn o dol, we saw at Llanerk a church built crosswise, very spacious and magnificent for this country—We could not see the parson, and could get no intelligence about it.
Weilnesday, Avg. 24.—We went to see Bodville—Mrs. Thrale remembered the rooms, and wandered over them, with recollection of her childhood—This species of pleasure is always melancholy—The walk was cut down, and the pond was dry—Nothing was better. We surveyed the churches, which are mean, and neglected to a degree scarcely imaginable—They have no pavement, and the earth is full of holes—The seats are rude benches; the altars have no rails—One of them has a breach in the root
1 Bodfal House is apparently unchanged since Dr. Johnson's visit: it has the air of having been built from one of Inigo Jones's designs about the beginning of the 17ih century, as the plan and some internal details show. The facade retains little of that date, and must have been remodelled in George II.'s time. The pilasters and frieze above the doorway are the only Jacobean relics in front; at the back are two small mullioned windows. There is a panelled bedroom with palm leaves, &e, browned over with a hot poker (probably of the time of George II.), which may have delighted Mrs. Thrale when a child as much as it did the girl who now showed it. An avenue leads to the house with a large pond on the left hand. One bedroom is traditionally assigned to Dr. Johnson, who, however, does not seem to have slept at Bodfal. The church ut Tudweiliog has been beautifully rebuilt by the Wynne-Finch family, who have a seat (CefnAmwlch, noticed on p. 393) close by. The present (1884) aged Lord Newburgh is son of the Sir John Wynne whom Johnson met, though not by the Percival wife.—From information obliginflh/ supplied by Mr. F. T. Palyrave, who visited the house and made a sketch of it in September, 1883.—Editor.
—On the desk, I think, of each lay a folio Welsh Bible of the black letter, which the curate cannot easily read—Mr. Thrale purposes to beautify the churches, and, if he prospers, will probably restore the tithes—The two parishes are, Llangwinodyl and Tydweilliog—The methodists are here very prevalent—A better church will impress the people with more reverence of public worship—Mrs. Thrale visited a house where she had been used to drink milk, which was left, with an estate of two hundred pounds a year, by one Lloyd, to a married woman who lived with him—We went to Pwlheli, a mean old town, at the extremity of the country—Here we bought something to remember the place.
Thursday, Aug. 25.—We returned to Caernarvon, where we eat with Mrs. Wynne.
Friday, Aug. 26.—We visited, with Mrs. Wynne,' Llyn Badarn and Llyn Beris, two lakes, joined by a narrow strait—They arc formed by the waters which fall from Snowdon, and the opposite mountains—On the side of Snowdon are the remains of a large fort, to which we climbed with great labour—I was breathless and harassed—The lakes have no great breadth, so that the boat is always near one bank or the other—Note. Queeny's' goats, one hundred and forty-nine, I think.
Saturday, Aug. 27.—We returned to Bangor, where Mr. Thrale was lodged at Mr. Roberts's, the register.
Sunday, Aug. 28.—We went to worship at the cathedral—The choir is mean; the service was not well read.
Monday, Aug. 29.—We came to Mr. Myddelton's, of Gwaynynog, to the first pluce, as my Mistress observed, where we have been welcome.8
1 "As we were rowing on the lnke, Mrs. Glynn Wynne, wife of Lord Kewburgh's brother, who accompanied us, sang Welsh songs to the harp."—Piozii MS.—Croker.
* Mr. Thrale was near-sighted, and could not see the goats browsing on Snowdon, and he promised his daughter, who was a child of ten years old, a penny for every goat she would show him, and Dr. Johnson kept the account; so that it appears her father was in debt to her one hundred and forty-nine pence. Queeny was an epithet, which had its origin in the nursery, by which [in allusion to Queen Either] Miss Thrale (whose name was Esther) was always distinguished by Johnson.
"It is very likely I did say so. My relations were not quite as furward as I thought they might have been to welcome a long distant kinswoman. The Myddeltous were more cordial. The old colonel had been