By Author [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Title [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Language
all Classics books content using ISYS

Download this book: [ ASCII | HTML | PDF ]

Look for this book on Amazon

We have new books nearly every day.
If you would like a news letter once a week or once a month
fill out this form and we will give you a summary of the books for that week or month by email.

´╗┐Title: The "Ladies of Llangollen" - as Sketched by Many Hands; with Notices of Other Objects - of Interest in "That Sweetest of Vales"
Author: Hicklin, John
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The "Ladies of Llangollen" - as Sketched by Many Hands; with Notices of Other Objects - of Interest in "That Sweetest of Vales"" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.

Transcribed from the 1847 Thomas Catherall edition by David Price, email
ccx074@pglaf.org.  We would like to thank Llangollen Library,
Denbighshire, for allowing access to the copy from which this
transcription was made.


                             BY JOHN HICKLIN,
                          CATHEDRAL," ETC. ETC.

                     THOMAS CATHERALL, EASTGATE ROW;
                          DUBLIN: T. CRANFIELD.


                       MISS LOLLY AND MISS ANDREW,
                           THE FAMED RETREAT OF
                       "The Ladies of Llangollen,"
                           THE FOLLOWING PAGES
                         THEIR OBEDIENT SERVANT,

                                                            THE PUBLISHER.


From the early age of Cambrian history, when the peerless beauty of the
high-born Myfanwy Fechan awoke the passion and the poesy of her admiring
bard, Howel ap Einion Llygliw, down to the modern days of the more
humble, but not less renowned maiden, "Sweet Jenny Jones;" Llangollen,
"that sweetest of vales," seems to have been associated with
recollections of tender and romantic interest.  Our narrative, however,
albeit it relates to the Ladies of Llangollen, refers not to whispered
vows and moonlight serenades between gallant chiefs and damsels of noble
birth; nor to sentimental tales of love in a cottage; but it is rather
devoted to the records of a friendship, whose incidents and
eccentricities have engaged the attention of many eminent _literati_ and
tourists.  Most persons who take any interest in the scenery or
topography of North Wales, have either seen or read of that singular
residence, Plas Newydd, at Llangollen, for so many years the home of Lady
Eleanor Butler and Miss Ponsonby.

About the year 1778, these ladies, impelled by a desire to lead a
secluded life of celibacy, forsook the gay and fashionable circles in
which they had moved; and in their search for a fitting spot, on which to
pass their days together in devoted friendship to each other, and in acts
of benevolence and charity to their neighbours, they visited Llangollen.
Rambling along this charming locality one balmy evening, when the
tranquil beauty of the lovely valley was lighted up by the mild splendour
of the moon, their eyes rested upon a cottage that stood on a gentle
eminence near the village; and there they resolved to fix their abode.
They accordingly purchased the estate; built a new cottage on the site of
the old one, in a remarkably unique and somewhat grotesque style of
architecture; and laid out gardens, pleasure grounds, and rural walks
with grottoes, temples, conservatories, rustic bridges, and other
accessories for enjoying, in the undisturbed quiet of their own domain,
the natural charms of their picturesque retreat.  Their mode of life
being singular, and their costume still more so (for they assumed a style
of head-dress resembling that of men, and always wore long cloth coats,
rather like ladies' riding habits), they soon attracted the attention of
the many travellers who passed through North Wales; and as they kept up
an extensive and active correspondence with several eminent authors and
persons of distinction, the "Ladies of Llangollen," for so they were
always designated, made a much greater sensation in their seclusion, than
many less remarkable persons who are constantly living in the business
and bustle of society.  Hence many literary pilgrimages were made to the
recluses of Plas Newydd; and the "even tenor" of their way was often
diversified by the calls of the illustrious, the learned, and the
curious; from whom they were as willing to learn what was passing in
politics, literature, and general gossip, as were their visitors desirous
of having a peep within the charmed circle of this mountain solitude.
Their motive for adopting this romantic seclusion is thus stated in
"Steward's Collections and Recollections:"--

    "Lady Eleanor Butler and Miss Ponsonby were young ladies of beauty
    and rank, who loved each other with so true an affection, that they
    could never bear the afflicting idea of a separation, which the
    marriage of either might occasion.  They therefore resolved on lives
    of celibacy, and refusing many handsome offers, and remaining deaf to
    the persuasions of their friends, they retired to the beautiful Yale
    of Llangollen, to enjoy the happiness of each other's company, that
    as their friendship began in infancy, it might be perpetuated through
    life.  The traveller, in passing by the celebrated abode of these
    interesting women, must contemplate with a sigh that excessive
    friendship which could tear from the bosom of society two of its
    brightest ornaments, to bury them in the depths of seclusion:--

    'Full many a gem, of purest ray serene,
       The dark unfathom'd caves of ocean bear;
    Full many a flower is born to blush unseen,
       And waste its sweetness on the desert air.'

    "It is on this subject Miss Seward employs her poetical talents, in
    her well-known poem of 'Llangollen Vale.'--The following is an
    account of these celebrated ladies, extracted from a periodical work
    published in the year 1796.  'Miss Butler and Miss Ponsonby are now
    retired from the society of men into the wilds (!) of Llangollen in
    Wales, where they have resided seventeen years.  Miss Butler is of
    the Ormond family, and had five offers of marriage, all of which she
    rejected.  As Miss Ponsonby, her particular friend and companion, was
    supposed to have been the bar to her matrimonial union, it was
    thought proper to separate them, and Miss Butler was confined.  The
    two ladies, however, found means to elope together, but being soon
    overtaken, were brought back to their respective relations.  Many
    attempts were again made to draw Miss Butler into marriage, though in
    vain; not many weeks after, the ladies eloped again, each having a
    small sum with her.  The place of their retreat was confided to a
    female servant of the house.  Here they lived many years, unknown to
    any of the neighbouring villagers, otherwise than by the appellation
    of the 'Ladies of the Vale.'  No persuasions could ever get them from
    this retreat.  A lady from Ireland told the collector of these
    articles the following anecdote relative to these female friends:--An
    Irish nobleman (Lord Fingal) happening to be travelling in the
    neighbourhood of Llangollen Vale, and having heard much of Lady E.
    Butler and Miss Ponsonby, felt a desire to see and converse with
    them.  But how he could obtain this pleasure (as the ladies seldom or
    never saw company, and were fond of a recluse life) was the question.
    At length he bethought himself of a method the most likely to answer
    the purpose, without the appearance of forwardness or indelicacy.  He
    sent his servant with the following verbal message:--'Lord Fingal,
    travelling in this neighbourhood, sends his respectful compliments to
    Miss Butler and Miss Ponsonby, and informs them that he sets out
    to-morrow morning for Ireland, and would be happy to be the bearer of
    any commands of theirs to that country.'  This message had the effect
    which his lordship desired.  He received, in return, a kind and
    friendly invitation to take tea with the ladies, which he, of course,
    accepted with much pleasure.--Lord Fingal (the collector's informant
    added) was peculiarly charmed with the amiable behaviour of these
    interesting enthusiasts of friendship.  He found not in them the
    gravity, formality, and demureness of virgin recluses, but the ease
    of liveliness, and animated conversation of happy, cultivated, and
    polished minds."

On June 2, 1829, death severed the faithful friendship which had existed
for so many years between the eccentric residents at Plas Newydd, by
removing from this earthly scene Lady Eleanor Butler, who had attained
the advanced age of 90; and in December 9, 1831, Miss Ponsonby, who was
seldom seen (except by her domestics) after the decease of her attached
companion, was called to her "long home."  They are both buried in the
church-yard of Llangollen, where a stone monument is erected to their
memory.  On this record of mortality are inserted the following

                           Sacred to the Memory of
                            _The Right Honourable_
                        LADY ELEANOR CHARLOTTE BUTLER,
                     Late of Plas Newydd in this Parish.
                         _Deceased_ 2_nd June_, 1829,
                                Aged 90 Years.

           _Daughter of the Sixteenth_, _Sister of the Seventeenth_
                        _EARLS OF ORMONDE AND OSSORY_.

                     Aunt to the late, and to the present
                             MARQUESS OF ORMONDE.

    _Endeared to her friends by an almost unequalled excellence of
    heart_, _and by manners worthy of her illustrious birth_, _the
    admiration and delight of a very numerous acquaintance from a
    brilliant vivacity of mind undiminished to the latest period of a
    prolonged existence_.  _Her amiable condescension & benevolence
    secured the grateful attachment of those by whom they had been so
    long and so extensively experienced_.  _Her various perfections
    crowned by the most pious and cheerful submission to the Divine
    Will_, _can only be appreciated_, _where it is humbly believed_,
    _they are_ now _enjoying their Eternal Reward_, _and by her of whom
    for more than fifty years_, _they constituted that happiness_, _which
    through our Blessed Redeemer_, _she trusts will be renewed_ when THIS
    TOMB _shall have closed over its latest tenant_.

                   "Sorrow not as others who have no hope."

                                            1 _Thess._ _Chap._ 4. _v._ 13.

                                SARAH PONSONBY
                              departed this Life
                     on the 9th December, 1831, Aged 76.

    _She did not long survive her beloved Companion LADY ELEANOR BUTLER_,
    _with whom she had lived in this valley for more than half a century
    of uninterrupted friendship_.  "_But they shall no more return to
    their House_, _neither shall their place know them any more_."
    _Job_, _Chap._ 7. _v._ 10.

    _Reader pause for a moment and reflect not on the uncertainty of
    human life but upon the certainty of its termination_, _and take
    comfort from the assurance that_ "_As it is appointed unto men once
    to die_, _but after this the judgment_: _so Christ was once offered
    to bear the sins of many_; _and unto them that look for Him_, _shall
    He appear the second time without sin unto salvation_."  _Heb._
    _Chap._ 9. _v._ 27, 28.

On the same tombstone is also the following inscription, to the memory of
a faithful servant, who accompanied "the Ladies" from Ireland, the
country of their nativity.

                                 In Memory of
                              MRS. MARY CARRYL,
                        _Deceased 22 November_, 1809.

             This Monument is erected by Eleanor Butler and Sarah
                   Ponsonby of Plas Newydd in this Parish.

    _Released from Earth and all its transient woes_,
    _She whose remains beneath this Stone repose_,
    _Steadfast in faith resigned her parting breath_,
    _Looked up with Christian joy and smiled in death_.
    _Patient_, _Industrious_, _Faithful_, _Generous_, _Kind_,
    _Her Conduct left the proudest far behind_;_
    Her Virtues dignified her humble birth_,
    _And raised her mind above this sordid earth_.
    _Attachment_ (_Sacred bond of grateful breasts_)_
    Extinguished but with life_, _this Tomb attests_,
    _Reared by Two Friends who will her loss bemoan_,
    _Till with her ashes_--_Here shall rest their own_.

In 1832, the home of "the Ladies of Llangollen" was sold by auction, by
the late renowned "knight of the hammer," Mr. George Robins, who put
forth the following advertisement, in his characteristic style of
decorative description.

                               "IN NORTH WALES.
                                  * * * * *
                      Particulars and Conditions of Sale
                                    OF THE
                         LADY ELEANOR BUTLER AND MISS
                               LITTLE PARADISE
                                AT LLANGOLLEN,
               Of which a more enlarged description will appear
                              on the other side.
                             IT IS ALL FREEHOLD,
               And it need hardly be remarked that it is in the
                            most favoured Spot in
                                 NORTH WALES;
                        Which will be Sold by Auction
                                  * * * * *
                              MR. GEORGE ROBINS,
                                  * * * * *
                         AT THE AUCTION MART, LONDON,
                On THURSDAY, JUNE 28, 1832, at Twelve o'Clock,
                                 IN ONE LOT,
                        BY DIRECTION OF THE EXECUTORS.

May be viewed only with Tickets, and Particulars had Twenty-one Days
prior to the Sale at the Lion Hotel, Shrewsbury; the Inns at Llangollen,
and Corwen; the Great Hotel, Bangor; Waterloo, Liverpool; York House,
Bath; and at Mr. GEORGE ROBINS's Offices, London.

N.B.  The appropriate Furniture, Service of Plate, Elegancies of the
Chateau, extensive Library of Books, and all the valuable Appendages,
will be submitted to Public Competition the latter End of the Month of
July, by Direction of the Executors.


Mr. ROBINS is not a little proud that it hath been his good fortune to be
selected by the Executors of the Lady Eleanor Butler and Miss Ponsonby to
direct the sale of their far-famed Domicile.  He feels that an apology
will be due to all those who are familiar with its beauties and
peculiarities, for the very imperfect recital which follows, while those
who are yet to be gratified with the sight of it, may imagine he has
drawn some little upon "Fancy's sketch."  There is nothing of pretension
in its outward form, it indicates but moderately the comfort that
presides within, inasmuch as will be found congregated all the _agremens_
pertaining to more consequential habitations.  Considerable tact is
conspicuous everywhere; but none more unequivocally displayed than in the
lightsome little Dining Room, contrasted with the gloomy, yet superior
grace of the Library, into which it opens.  This room is fitted up in the
Gothic style, the Windows are of ancient painted glass "_shedding their
dim religious light_."


Is the repository of the choice Library.  The auxiliary Offices are very
commensurate, the grounds are disposed in such good order as is the
natural consequence of pure taste, the Kitchen Garden is neatness itself,
and the Fruit trees are of the rarest and finest sort, and luxuriant in
their produce.  Many and shaded


Which is adorned with curious and rare Shrubs and Flowers.  It is nothing
in extent but

                     EVERYTHING IN GRACE AND BEAUTY,

United with a great variety of foliage.  Upon the Freehold is a
considerable quantity of valuable Timber which overhangs

                         A DEEP AND HOLLOW GLEN;

In its entangled bottom, a frothing brook leaps and clamours o'er the
rough stones in its channel towards

                         THE VALE OF LLANGOLLEN.

To speak of the latter would be quite superfluous, few, if any, are
unacquainted with the wildness and surpassing beauty of the most admired
spot in North Wales.  Its contiguity to the little romantic village,
giving the opportunity either to indulge in the gaiety of this place, or
recreate in retirement, (as shall seem best suited to varied
inclination), there are fortunately both auxiliaries to this scene (it
had almost been said of enchantment).  The verdant Lawns, dotted with
rare plants, the scenic beauties, and the woodland scenery combined,
plead in extenuation of this lofty tone.  The whole is encompassed by
rich meadows, wearing a park-like appearance; held with the freehold,
which is limited to less than Five Acres.  A truly beautiful Portico of
carved Oak leads to this


The whole lower Story of which, on the outside, is covered with the
richest carved Oak, and within which will be found a Dining Room 15 feet
by 15, with handsome Chimney Piece, and carved Oak Doors and Wainscoting.

A Library, 13 feet by 14 feet 6 inches, with Three Gothic Windows of
carved Oak and splendid stained Glass, exhibiting old Armorial Bearings,
and forming a Bow Window, handsome Chimney Piece of yellow and white
marble, and Recesses fitted up with Gothic Book Cases, and the Doors and
Architrave of old carved Oak.

An admirably constructed Kitchen, carved Oak Doors and Window Facia, a
very handsome carved Oak Screen and Seat, Grate Ovens, Hearths, Stew
Holes, &c.

A Housekeeper's Room, beautifully fitted up with carved Oak Presses, Oak
Doors and Window Frames.

A large Larder with fixed Tables, Hooks, &c. together with an ample
Cellar, both so situated as to be perfectly cool in the hottest weather.

Wash-house, Scullery, Coal-house, &c., a Staircase of carved Oak, Walls
and Ceilings of the same beautifully ornamented Gothic Architecture.
This is one of the most beautiful things that can be conceived.


An excellent Bed Room, fixed Book Shelves and carved Oak Door, Chimney
Piece and Window Facia, an excellent best Bed Room, Oak Doors, fancy
Cornice, and cross Ceiling Beams of carved Oak, a very handsome Chimney
Piece of the same.

A light Dressing Room and Closet, Gothic carved Oak Doors, &c. fitted up
with Book Shelves.  Over the Staircase a commodious Pantry, Shelves and
Presses for China and Plate, Oak Doors of carved open work.  The Sashes
of the Windows are all Metal.


Two good Servants' Rooms, and a Store Room.  The Premises consist of


In the best order, and well stocked with all kinds of Fruit Trees,
Vegetables, and Flowers.


Of the richest Land, well timbered, Rustic Bridges, Summer Houses of
richly carved Oak, and Rustic Seats, Cow and Calf-house, Garden-house,
Yard, Store-house, &c.  An excellent Engine Pump.

This celebrated Place was the Property, and for more than half a Century
the Residence of the late LADY ELEANOR BUTLER AND MISS PONSONBY.  It is
situated upon a Piece of rich Table Land, just above the Port and
Market-town of Llangollen, and commands a View of the Valley of the Dee,
both up and down, is close to Valle Crucis, Dinas Bran, and many of the
most beautiful Scenes in Wales.  The Taxes are very light.

                  A.                R.                P.
House, Offices,   0                 3                 14
and Shrubbery
Flower Garden     0                 0                 27
Garden House,     0                 0                 12
Court and
Poultry ditto
Part of Lawn      0                 3                 8
Nursery           0                 0                 20
Field             2                 0                 12
Total             4                 0                 13


1A. 1R. 20P. part of Lawn; and 3R. 26P. of Gardens and Shrubbery, held
from year to year, from Ousley Gore, Esq., at a rent of pounds

3R. 13P. part of Lawn and Flower Garden, held in same manner from Hon. F.
West, at a rent of pounds

4A. 1R. 30P. being two Fields, the Glen, and a Kitchen Garden, from Hon.
Mr. Mostyn, yearly at a rent of pounds

1A. 2R. 16P. a Field from J. Dicken, Esq. at a yearly rent of pounds


                                * * * * *

The exaggerated style of this ornate announcement will, doubtless, excite
a smile, and we suspect that some of our readers, who know the locality,
will laugh outright at the very fanciful stretch of imagination, which
led the worthy auctioneer to speak of the "_Port_ of Llangollen."

The purchasers of the property were Miss Lolly and Miss Andrew, the
present owners and occupiers of Plas Newydd, between whom and the late
"Ladies of Llangollen," an intimate friendship existed.

In August 1832, Mr. Robins offered by public auction the furniture and
fittings of this unique villa; the following is a copy of the
advertisement, and the catalogue of the sale extended over seventy quarto

                                * * * * *

                        "LLANGOLLEN, NORTH WALES.
                            MR. GEORGE ROBINS

Has the pleasure most respectfully to announce to the Nobility, Lovers of
the Fine Arts, and those who delight in objects of interest, and indeed
to the Public generally, that having sold "PLAS NEWYDD," he is instructed
by the Executors of

                         THE LADY ELEANOR BUTLER
                              MISS PONSONBY,

To offer for UNRESERVED COMPETITION, at the Domicile so long hallowed as
the abode of friendship,

On MONDAY, the 13th day of AUGUST, 1832,
And many succeeding Days, at Eleven for Twelve
o'clock precisely, on each day,

                              THE FOLLOWING
                      APPERTAINING TO THE RESIDENCE,

And which for extent, variety and novelty, forms a most brilliant
Assemblage, certainly unexampled in the Annals of Auctions; it having
been congregated by those highly talented Ladies, the fair "MISTRESSES OF
PLAS NEWYDD," during a series of 50 years, aided by their joint taste,
and at considerable expense, including the appropriate

                        FURNITURE OF THE CHATEAU,

Comprising a Drawing Room suite in curtains, glasses, centre, card, and
occasional tables; ottomans, sofas, couches, chairs of various
descriptions, yet in unison, whatnots, cheffioneers; the dining room is
very complete; there are excellent dining tables, chairs, sideboard,
writing tables and library chairs.

                        ELABORATELY CARVED IN OAK;

           It was once the Property of his late Royal Highness

                            THE DUKE OF YORK.

   The Furniture of the Bed Chambers and Offices is of a corresponding

                      EXCELLENT TABLE AND BED LINEN,

     The equipments of the Garden are of a very superior description;

                      A GREEN HOUSE OF GREAT BEAUTY,

      An extensive Collection of Plants, Dairy and Brewing Utensils;
                       SERVICES OF CHINA AND GLASS,
    In complete sets, for the Table, the Dejeune, the Dessert, &c. &c.

                           SIDEBOARD OF PLATE,

    Comprising many rare chased and antique items; dishes and covers,
   salvers, waiters, tea and coffee equipages, candlesticks, liquor and
                     cruet frames, spoons and forks;


                        JEWELLERY AND ELEGANCIES,

    Presenting many pleasing and valuable Ornaments for the person, in
  necklaces, car-rings, crosses and brooches, most of them inclosing the
    hair of the donors, particularly one of great interest, possessing

                  A LOCK OF "MARY QUEEN OF SCOTS" HAIR.


Very fine missals, beautifully illuminated; autographs of numerous
renowned personages, particularly a letter by "Charles the First" to Lady
Fisher, from Whitehall, during his confinement; presentation snuff boxes,
many of value, and most with lines of dedication; relics of great
antiquity, and many of modern date, presented by travellers, forming
altogether a Museum of great interest and amusement.



    Richly Chased, most exquisite in Workmanship and perfectly Unique.

  Many curious models, bronze busts, and in Sevres bisquit; MUSICAL AND
OTHER ELEGANT CLOCKS, in ormolu; China essence, and flower vases; a large
                AEolian harp, telescopes, microscopes, &c.


 Comprising many Thousand Volumes, elegantly bound in folio, quarto, and
                        octavo, (large and small.)

                          A SERIES OF ETCHINGS.
                               EXECUTED BY
                         THE PRINCESS ELIZABETH,
                           AND PRESENTED BY HER
                         TO THE PRINCESS AMELIA;

                         AN AUTOGRAPH LETTER FROM
                       THE PRESENT KING OF FRANCE,

 Accompanying the Memoirs du Duc de Montressor, in scarlet and morocco, a
   present from His Majesty to Lady Butler and Miss Ponsonby; with many
  other contributions and valuable presents from persons of the highest
      rank and literary acquirements to these highly gifted Ladies.


 In frames and in portfolios, comprising a collection the most choice and
   valuable, many by the first Artists of the day, Portraits of Kings,
exalted and renowned Characters, and Views of the most celebrated Scenery
                of various Countries.  A small quantity of

                         RARE WINES AND LIQUEURS;

Viz., Old Port, Sherry, Madeira, Lisbon, Bucellas, Vidonia, Maraschino,
Noyeau, Eau de la Reine, and other estimable Liqueurs.

*** The entire Sale will be on View at the Chateau from the 4th to the
13th of August.

The CATALOGUES will be ready Three Weeks prior to the Sale; and may be
had at 3s. each, at the Villa; Phillips's Hotel, and the King's Head,
Llangollen; the Lion, Shrewsbury; the Owen Glendower, Corwen; the Great
Hotel, at Bangor; the Waterloo Hotel, Liverpool; the Hen and Chickens,
Birmingham; York Hotel, Bath; of Mr. Guernon, Molesworth-street, Dublin,
and at Mr. GEORGE ROBINS' Offices, Covent Garden."

                                * * * * *

The present occupiers were also purchasers of many of the rare
"curiosities and relics."

We shall now proceed to cite the descriptions which have been put upon
record by several distinguished and popular authors, relative to the
"Ladies of Llangollen."

It appears from Volume VI. of the published Letters of the late Miss Anna
Seward, that a friendly intimacy was cultivated between that clever
_literateur_ and the recluses of Plas Newydd; and it would seem from her
correspondence, that their tastes were very comprehensive and
multifarious; poetry and politics, music and mystery, tragedy and tattle,
being alike acceptable.  In a letter addressed to Lady Eleanor Butler and
Miss Ponsonby, under date Lichfield, October 4, 1802, Miss Seward

    "Ah! dearest ladies, it is under the pressure of a severe cold,
    fierce cough, and inflamed lungs, that I address you.  A duty so
    delightful had, but for this incapacitating malady, been earlier

    "I have to thank dear Miss Ponsonby for a manuscript of many verses,
    which she had the goodness to make for me in hours so engrossed, amid
    engagements so indispensable.  I had the honour to receive it as I
    was stepping into the chaise which was to convey Mrs. Smith and
    myself far from that Edenic region where we had recently passed so
    many happy hours; from those bowers in Llangollen Vale, whence the
    purest pleasures have so often flowed to my heart and mind, as from a
    full and overflowing fountain."

From Lichfield, Nov. 9, 1802, Miss Seward discourses to Miss Ponsonby on
modern tragedy, and concludes with the following bit of "blue-stocking

    "Though I know her not, I am pleased that Mrs. Spencer has had the
    good fortune to interest and delight you; for I am always desirous
    that men of genius should not do what they are so prone to do, marry
    every-day women.

    "Naughty brook, for having behaved outrageously again!  That little
    stream of the mountain is a true spoiled child, whom we love the
    better for its faults, and for all the trouble and alarm they
    occasion.  You see I presume to involve myself, as if, in some sort,
    the interesting little virago belonged to me.  Certainly it is my
    peculiar pet amongst your scenic children, dear to my taste, as they
    are beautiful; to my heart as being yours."

In a letter from Lichfield, June 13, 1805, Miss Seward begins:--

    "'With a trembling hand, my beloved Miss Ponsonby, do I take up the
    pen to thank you for a thrice kind letter.  It had not remained
    several weeks unacknowledged, but for this terrible malady of the
    head, which has oppressed me with so much severity during the
    interim.  I think it must soon lay me low.  Not at my time of life
    does the constitution, pushed from its equipoise by long enduring
    disease, regain it amid the struggles.

    "Immediately on receiving your last, I sent for Madoc; by far the
    most captivating work of its genuinely inspired author."

In the same letter the following passage occurs:--

    "Our young friend Cary has published his translation of Dante's
    Inferno.  It is thought the best which has appeared, and the sale
    goes on well.  He presents a copy to yourself and Lady Eleanor, and I
    trust you will receive it soon."

After some literary disquisitions on the Inferno, the Lay of the Last
Minstrel, and Madoc; and an allusion to King George's visit to Lichfield,
the letter thus concludes:--

    "Present me devoutly to your beloved Lady Eleanor.  Most interesting
    is your description of that visit, mutually paid to that desolate and
    silent Dinbren.  How worthy of yourselves that hour of consecration,
    with all its tributary sighs!  Too happy were the days and weeks
    which I passed beneath its roof, and in its beautiful and sublime
    environs, to permit such revisitation from me.

    "It would break my heart amid its present consciousness, spread over
    with a dark and impervious pall, which can never be drawn away.

    "Dear, and amiable Miss Ponsonby, farewell."

From Lichfield, October 31st, 1805, we have another letter to Miss
Ponsonby, with the following tremendous opening:--

    "Nothing, my dear Madam, is so common as hypocrisy and treachery
    where property is concerned; but a greater excess of them never
    poured their dark currents from the vulgar heart, than in those
    circumstances which your last letter narrates.

    "Thus ever be extortionate villany baffled--and long unclouded be the
    peace which succeeds to that attempted injury.  I cannot express how
    much I am obliged that you took the kind trouble of retracing the
    road of peril, which had so nearly engulfed a scene, whose beauties
    rise perpetually in my sleeping and waking dreams."

What ever could have happened at Plas Newydd to excite so grand a burst
of tragic passion: here _is_ matter for curious speculation!  Then Miss
Seward runs into a not very wise dissertation on politics; then reverts
to literary subjects, of which Horace Walpole's genius is the chief
topic; bemoans her own dizziness of the head; has another touch at Mr.
Pitt; and finally ejaculates "Adieu, dearest Madam!  Your beloved Lady
Eleanor will accept my affectionate devoirs!"  Why did not Miss Seward go
to Llangollen, to end her days in peace?

In the lively Memoirs of that celebrated Comedian, the late Mr. Charles
Matthews, we have the following humourous letters, descriptive of the
"Ladies of Llangollen:"--

                                               "Oswestry, Sept. 4th. 1820.

    "The dear inseparable inimitables, Lady Butler and Miss Ponsonby,
    were in the boxes here on Friday.  They came twelve miles from
    Llangollen, and returned, as they never sleep from home.  Oh, such
    curiosities!  I was nearly convulsed.  I could scarcely get on for
    the first ten minutes after my eye caught them.  Though I had never
    seen them, I instantaneously knew them.  As they are seated, there is
    not one point to distinguish them from men: the dressing and
    powdering of the hair; their well-starched neckcloths; the upper part
    of their habits, which they always wear, even at a dinner-party, made
    precisely like men's coats; and regular black beaver men's hats.
    They looked exactly like two respectable superannuated old clergymen;
    one the picture of Boruwlaski.  I was highly flattered, as they never
    were in the theatre before.

    "The packets now sail at seven in the morning; all _day_-work instead
    of night, which is delightful; and the weather is heavenly.  People
    are here extremely hospitable; but, of all days in the year, Mr.
    Ormsby Gore went to Carnarvon assizes (being high sheriff) the day
    before I arrived.  He only returned yesterday; and almost forced me
    away from the inn.  I, however, could not conveniently go there, but
    have been to call this morning.  Such a place!

    "By the by, have you any magnolias in the grounds? if not, get me one
    or two.  I saw a Portugal laurel, only four years old, full half the
    size of that great beauty at Lord Mansfield's; pray have one or two
    of them placed by themselves on our new lawn.

    "I have to-day received an invitation to call, if I have time as I
    pass, at Llangollen, to receive in due form, from the dear old
    gentlemen called Lady Butler and Miss Ponsonby, their thanks for the
    entertainment I afforded them at the theatre."

                                                   "Porkington, Oct. 24th.

    "Well, I have seen them, heard them, touched them.  The pets, "_the
    ladies_," as they are called, dined here yesterday--Lady Eleanor
    Butler and Miss Ponsonby, the curiosities of Llangollen mentioned by
    Miss Seward in her letters, about the year 1760.  I mentioned to you
    in a former letter the effect they produced upon me in public, but
    never shall I forget the first burst yesterday upon entering the
    drawing-room: to find the dear antediluvian darlings, attired for
    dinner in the same manified dress, with the Croix de St. Louis, and
    other orders, and myriads of large brooches, with stones large enough
    for snuff-boxes, stuck in their starched neckcloths!  I have not room
    to describe their most fascinating persons.  I have an invitation
    from them, which I much fear I cannot accept.  They returned home
    last night, fourteen miles, after twelve o'clock.  They have not
    slept one night from home for above forty years.  I longed to put
    Lady Eleanor under a bell-glass, and bring her to Highgate for you to
    look at."

In August 1825, Sir Walter Scott visited Llangollen, and the account of
his interview with the famed "ladies of the vale," is given with much
humour and smartness by Mr. Lockhart, in his interesting Memoirs of the
immortal "Author of Waverley."--

    "Our progress through North Wales produced nothing worth recording,
    except perhaps the feeling of delight which everything in the aspect
    of the common people, their dress, their houses, their gardens, and
    their husbandry, could not fail to call up in persons who had just
    been seeing Ireland for the first time; and a short visit (which was,
    indeed, the only one he made) to the far-famed "ladies" of
    Llangollen.  They had received some hint that Sir Walter meant to
    pass their way; and on stopping at the inn, he received an invitation
    so pressing, to add one more to the long list of the illustrious
    visitors of their retreat, that it was impossible for him not to
    comply.  We had read histories and descriptions enough of these
    romantic spinsters, and were prepared to be well amused; but the
    reality surpassed all expectation.

    "An extract from a gossiping letter of the following week will
    perhaps be sufficient for Llangollen.

                                                     "'Elleray, August 24.

    * * * "'We slept on Wednesday evening at Capel Curig, which Sir W.
    supposes to mean the Chapel of the Crags; a pretty little inn in a
    most picturesque situation certainly, and as to the matter of toasted
    cheese, quite exquisite.  Next day we advanced through, I verily
    believe, the most perfect gem of a country eye ever saw, having
    almost all the wildness of Highland backgrounds, and all the
    loveliness of rich English landscape nearer us, and streams like the
    purest and most babbling of our own.  At Llangollen your papa was
    waylaid by the celebrated 'Ladies'--viz. Lady Eleanor Butler and the
    Honourable Miss Ponsonby, who having been one or both crossed in
    love, forswore all dreams of matrimony in the heyday of youth,
    beauty, and fashion, and selected this charming spot for the repose
    of their now time-honoured virginity.  It was many a day, however,
    before they could get implicit credit for being the innocent friends
    they really were, among the people of the neighbourhood; for their
    elopement from Ireland had been performed under suspicious
    circumstances; and as Lady Eleanor arrived here in her natural aspect
    of a pretty girl, while Miss Ponsonby had condescended to accompany
    her in the garb of a smart footman in buckskin breeches, years and
    years elapsed ere full justice was done to the character of their
    romance. {26}  We proceeded up the hill, and found everything about
    them and their habitation odd and extravagant beyond report.  Imagine
    two women, one apparently seventy, the other sixty-five, dressed in
    heavy blue riding habits, enormous shoes, and men's hats, with their
    petticoats so tucked up, that at the first glance of them, fussing
    and tottering about their porch in the agony of expectation, we took
    them for a couple of hazy or crazy old sailors.  On nearer inspection
    they both wear a world of brooches, rings, &c., and Lady Eleanor
    positively _orders_--several stars and crosses, and a red ribbon,
    exactly like a K.C.B.  To crown all, they have crop heads, shaggy,
    rough, bushy, and as white as snow, the one with age alone, the other
    assisted by a sprinkling of powder.  The elder lady is almost blind,
    and every way much decayed; the other, the ci-devant groom, in good
    preservation.  But who could paint the prints, the dogs, the cats,
    the miniatures, the cram of cabinets, clocks, glass-cases, books,
    bijouterie, dragon-china, nodding mandarins, and whirligigs of every
    shape and hue--the whole house outside and in (for we must see
    everything to the dressing-closets), _covered_ with carved oak, very
    rich and fine some of it--and the illustrated copies of Sir W.'s
    poems, and the joking simpering compliments about Waverley, and the
    anxiety to know who McIvor really was, and the absolute devouring of
    the poor Unknown, who had to carry off, besides all the rest, one
    small bit of literal _butter_ dug up in a Milesian stone jar lately
    from the bottom of some Irish bog.  Great romance (_i.e._ absurd
    innocence of character) one must have looked for; but it was
    confounding to find this mixed up with such eager curiosity, and
    enormous knowledge of the tattle and scandal of the world they had so
    long left.  Their tables were piled with newspapers from every corner
    of the kingdom, and they seemed to have the deaths and marriages of
    the antipodes at their fingers' ends.  Their albums and autographs,
    from Louis XVIII. and George IV., down to magazine poets and
    quack-doctors, are a museum.  I shall never see the spirit of
    blue-stockingism again in such perfect incarnation.  Peveril won't
    get over their final kissing match for a week.  Yet it is too bad to
    laugh at these good old girls; they have long been the guardian
    angels of the village, and are worshipped by man, woman, and child
    about them.'"

In July, 1828, the charming vale of Llangollen was visited by a German
Prince (Puckler-Muskau of Prussia), who has thus left on record the
impressions which his excursion in that vicinity excited:--

    "The most beautiful reality, however, awaited me this morning in
    Wales.  The vision of clouds seemed to have been the harbinger of the
    magnificence of the vale of Llangollen,--a spot which, in my opinion,
    far surpasses all the beauties of the Rhine-land, and has, moreover,
    a character quite its own, from the unusual forms of the peaked tops,
    and rugged declivities of its mountains.  The Dee, a rapid stream,
    winds through the green valley in a thousand fantastic bendings,
    overhung with thick underwood.  On each side high mountains rise
    abruptly from the plain, and are crowned with antique ruins, modern
    country-houses, manufactories, whose towering chimneys send out
    columns of thick smoke, or with grotesque groups of upright rocks.
    The vegetation is everywhere rich, and hill and vale are filled with
    lofty trees, whose varied hues add so infinitely to the beauty and
    picturesque effect of a landscape.  In the midst of this luxuriant
    nature, arises, with a grandeur heightened by contrast, a single
    long, black, bare range of mountains, clothed only with thick, dark
    heather," and from time to time skirting the high road.  This
    magnificent road, which from London to Holyhead, is as even as a
    'parquet,' here runs along the side of the left range of mountains,
    at about their middle elevation and following all their windings; so
    that in riding along at a brisk trot or gallop, the traveller is
    presented at every minute with a completely new prospect; and without
    changing his position, overlooks the valley now before him, now
    behind, now at his side.  On one side is an aqueduct of twenty-five
    slender arches, a work which would have done honour to Rome.  Through
    this a second river is led over the valley and across the Dee, at an
    elevation of an hundred and twenty feet above the bed of the natural
    stream.  A few miles further on, the little town of Llangollen offers
    a delightful resting place, and is deservedly much resorted to.

    "There is a beautiful view from the churchyard near the inn: here I
    climbed upon a tomb, and stood for half an hour enjoying with deep
    and grateful delight the beauties so richly spread before me.
    Immediately below me bloomed a terraced garden, filled with vine,
    honeysuckle, rose, and a hundred gay flowers, which descended to the
    very edge of the foaming stream.  On the right hand, my eye followed
    the crisped waves in their restless murmuring course through the
    overhanging thicket; before me rose two lines of wood, divided by a
    strip of meadow-land filled with grazing cattle; and high above all,
    rose the bare conical peak of a mountain crowned by the ruins of the
    old Welsh castle Dinas Bran, or the Crow's Fortress.  On the left,
    the stone houses of the town lie scattered along the valley; the
    river forms a considerable waterfall near the picturesque bridge,
    while three colossal rocks rise immediately behind it like giant
    guards, and shut out all the more distant wonders of this enchanting

    "Before I left Llangollen I recollected the two celebrated ladies who
    have inhabited this valley for more than half a century, and of whom
    I had heard once as a child, and again recently in London.  You have
    doubtless heard your father talk of them;--'si non, voila leur
    histoire.'  Fifty-six years ago, two young, pretty and fashionable
    ladies, Lady Eleanor Butler, and the daughter of the late Lord
    Ponsonby, took it in their heads to hate men, to love only each
    other, and to live from that hour in some remote hermitage.  The
    resolution was immediately executed; and from that time neither lady
    has ever passed a night out of their cottage.  On the other hand, no
    one who is presentable travels in Wales unprovided with an
    introduction to them.  It is affirmed that the 'scandal' of the great
    world interests them as much as when they lived in it; and that their
    curiosity to know what passes has preserved all its freshness.  I had
    compliments to deliver to them from several ladies, but I had
    neglected to furnish myself with a letter.  I therefore sent my card,
    determined if they declined my visit, as I was led to fear, to storm
    the cottage.  Here, as elsewhere, however, in England, a title easily
    opened the door, and I immediately received a gracious invitation to
    a second breakfast.  Passing along a charming road, through a trim
    and pretty pleasure-ground, in a quarter of an hour I reached a small
    but tasteful gothic cottage, situated directly opposite to Dinas
    Bran, various glimpses of which were visible through openings cut in
    the trees.  I alighted, and was received at the door by the two
    ladies.  Fortunately I was already prepared by hearsay for their
    peculiarities; I might otherwise have found it difficult to repress
    some expression of astonishment.  Imagine two ladies, the eldest of
    whom, Lady Eleanor, a short robust woman, begins to feel her years a
    little, being now eighty-three; the other, a tall and imposing
    person, esteems herself still youthful, being only seventy-four.
    Both wore their still abundant hair combed straight back and
    powdered, a round man's hat, a man's cravat and waistcoat, but in the
    place of 'inexpressibles,' a short petticoat and boots: the whole
    covered by a coat of blue cloth, of a cut quite peculiar,--a sort of
    middle term between a man's coat and a lady's riding-habit.  Over
    this, Lady Eleanor wore, first, the grand cordon of the order of St.
    Louis across her shoulder; secondly, the same order around her neck;
    thirdly, the small cross of the same in her button-hole, and 'pour
    comble de gloire,' a golden lily of nearly the natural size, as a
    star,--all, as she said, presents of the Bourbon family.  So far the
    whole effect was somewhat ludicrous.  But now, you must imagine both
    ladies with that agreeable 'aisance,' that air of the world of the
    'ancien regime,' courteous and entertaining, without the slightest
    affectation; speaking French as well as any Englishwoman of my
    acquaintance; and above all, with that essentially polite,
    unconstrained, and simply cheerful manner of the good society of that
    day, which, in our serious hardworking age of business, appears to be
    going to utter decay.  I was really affected with a melancholy sort
    of pleasure in contemplating it in the persons of the amiable old
    ladies who are among the last of its living representatives; nor
    could I witness without lively sympathy the unremitting, natural and
    affectionate attention with which the younger treated her somewhat
    infirmer friend, and anticipated all her wants.  The charm of such
    actions lies chiefly in the manner in which they are performed,--in
    things which appear small and insignificant, but which are never lost
    upon a susceptible heart.

    "I began by saying that I esteemed myself fortunate in being
    permitted to deliver to the fair recluses the compliments with which
    I was charged by my grandfather, who had had the honour of visiting
    them fifty years ago.  Their beauty indeed they had lost, but not
    their memory: they remembered the C--- C--- very well, immediately
    produced an old memorial of him, and expressed their wonder that so
    young a man was dead already.  Not only the venerable ladies, but
    their house, was full of interest; indeed it contained some real
    treasures.  There is scarcely a remarkable person of the last half
    century who has not sent them a portrait or some curiosity or antique
    as a token of remembrance.  The collection of these, a well-furnished
    library, a delightful situation, an equable, tranquil life, and
    perfect friendship and union,--these have been their possessions; and
    if we may judge by their robust old age and their cheerful temper,
    they have not chosen amiss."

During the summer of 1833, Miss Catherine Sinclair, the clever authoress
of "Modern Accomplishments," made an excursion through Wales, and thus
describes her visit to Plas Newydd:--

    "No eyes but those of a poet are worthy to behold the celebrated
    valley of Llangollen, where we next proceeded, after having drawn
    largely on the firm of Messrs. Wordsworth, Cowper, Thomson, and Co.
    for language to pay a due tribute of admiration to this surpassing
    scene,--but who has a genius equal to the majesty of nature?  I
    thought of the Mahometan who turned back when he observed some such
    rich and fertile plain, saying, he had been only promised one
    Paradise, and did not wish to enjoy it upon earth.  Instead of
    following his example, however, we advanced, trying to fancy
    ourselves on the banks of the Rhine, to which so many travellers have
    compared this beautiful valley.  Pray employ your unrivalled taste in
    imagining the rugged mountains,--the sparkling river,--the ancient
    trees,--the smiling cottages,--the daisied meadows, and the fertile
    gardens, all grouped or scattered in the way you think best,--and
    invention can suggest nothing more perfect.

    "The valley of Llangollen belonged once to the far-famed Owen
    Glendower, mentioned in Shakespeare's Plays, as 'not in the roll of
    common men.'  His palace stood near this formerly, and here he
    maintained a war during twelve years against Henry IV., being a keen
    adherent of Richard's; besides which, a private feud against Lord
    Grey de Ruthyn whetted his exertions.  Peace was, however, about to
    be concluded in 1415, between the Welsh chief and the English king,
    on very honourable terms, when, as we frequently observe, if any one
    attains his utmost earthly desires, Owen died.  But though the vale
    of Llangollen boasts of such a hero, its chief celebrity arises from
    a pair of heroines; and we lost no time in doing homage to their
    memories, by scrambling our way up a steep ascent to that well-known
    cottage, where the late Lady Eleanor Butler and the Honourable Miss
    Ponsonby, during more than half a century, devoted their long lives
    so romantically to friendship, celibacy, and the knitting of blue
    stockings.  It seems only astonishing that this is so very rare an
    occurrence, for any one with a friend so richly endowed as my
    accomplished correspondent, might feel safe from the possibility of
    tiring, and might like to connect her name with so charming a scene
    and with so romantic a story.  Two successors to these fair hermits
    have already sprung up, as substitutes for the original occupants,
    following the same exclusive plan of life; and in a moment of
    enthusiasm I felt much inclined to knock at the door and ask if they
    would make it a trio.  In the case of Lady Eleanor Butler and Miss
    Ponsonby, very transient visits only were acceptable, and even their
    own names remained long concealed, as the friends eloped
    clandestinely without confiding to any one, except a maid servant,
    the place of their retreat.  The cause of this very close seclusion
    having been variously conjectured, excited much gossipping curiosity
    at the time; but from whatever cause the hermitage originated, here,
    embowered in roses, they 'made a solitude and called it peace.'
    After discussing the Ladies of Llangollen, our thoughts naturally
    diverged into a general consideration, whether the greatest number of
    voluntary recluses have relinquished social intercourse on account of
    disappointed affection, mortified vanity, or mistaken devotion.

    "What a beau ideal of earthly felicity springs up to the imagination
    in taking a glance at the beautiful cottage of Llangollen! all the
    every-day vexations and vulgar cares of life, seem there swept aside,
    and nothing left for the inhabitants but to lead a life of graceful
    leisure, tying up carnations, engrafting roses, gazing at the
    splendid scenery around, and talking in perpetual ecstacies about
    flowers and perfumes.  Almost every grown-up person entertains, at
    the out-set of life, notions of happiness with a cottage nearly
    similar to that which a little girl enjoys with her first
    doll,--dressing it up, altering, arranging, painting, and spoiling
    it; but this hermitage really is a singular looking toy.  The
    building is long and low, so completely cased in richly-carved oak,
    that it might be mistaken for an enormous wardrobe.  The garden
    slopes upwards from the river Dee, and is greatly embellished by a
    splendid beech hedge about forty feet high; several charming little
    summer houses are sprinkled about the grounds; and in one most
    romantic arbour, overlooking the fine cascade, we found a volume
    lying open on the seat, which proved to be Southey's Roderick;
    suitable reading for such a scene of poetical beauty.

    "An attempt at embellishment has been made, by placing a stuffed bear
    near the house, probably in imitation of the Zoological Gardens; but
    the idea is rather a failure, and would appear more suitable over the
    door of a perfumer's shop, to intimate the presence of bear's grease.
    A little gim-crack model of a wooden house is also visible, by way of
    an ornament, stuck on the summit of a wooden pillar, but the effect
    is disproportioned to all surrounding objects, even more than the
    designs on Chinese paper; where men of six feet high are represented
    entering mansions half their own height, and birds may be seen flying
    larger than either the houses or their inhabitants.  In a cottage
    built of oak and roofed with thatch, it would be very desirable that
    the inhabitants should have some taste for the study of entomology,
    as they might find an inexhaustible hunting-field among the wooden
    walls and creepers.  It has been disputed whether more inconvenience
    is endured from the extreme cold of an English winter, or from the
    swarms of insects inevitably encountered during the heat of an
    Italian summer; but those who inhabit this 'Fairy Palace of the
    Vale,' might be able from experience at home, to decide the question.
    They could afford sufficient employment for an entire
    pin-manufactory, to supply impaling machines for all the specimens of
    insects that might be collected and classified here.  The birds too,
    were so vociferous, that we seemed standing in an aviary, and the
    locality would not at all have suited Lady ---, who scolded her
    gardener for 'letting the sparrows make such a noise under her
    windows in the morning.'  It is much to be lamented how many
    'harmonious blackbirds' annually fall victims to the preservation of
    cherries; and though the 'four-and-twenty baked in a pie,' might be
    rather too loud when they all 'began to sing,' yet a few in a garden
    are so enlivening and delightful, that it would be better never to
    taste fruit again than to lose such a concert of natural melody as we
    enjoyed at Llangollen."

Mr. Roscoe, in his remarkably interesting "Wanderings in North Wales," is
less enthusiastic than some tourists on the subject of our present
narrative; he says:--

    "Plas Newydd, for so many years the residence of the fair recluses of
    the lovely vale of Llangollen, stands on a gentle eminence close to
    the town, ornamented with a carved railing in front, and decorated
    with grotesque gables and ornaments.  The present proprietors are
    also two maiden ladies, who seem disposed to perpetuate the
    conventual celebrity of this place; and are certainly not less urbane
    than the former possessors, in permitting visitors to gratify their
    taste in the inspection of the beautiful grounds.  Attended by my
    _cicerone_, the gardener, I passed from one object of natural beauty
    to another,--the vale of Pen-gwern surrounded by part of the Berwyn
    chain, the woody dingle, and brawling brook of the Cyflymed, with
    many others, which are supplied with the most gratifying conveniences
    for their leisurely inspection.  After all, I must confess, filled as
    was my mind by the impressions of the majestic scenes with which it
    had become familiar, the miniature landscapes supplied by the
    situation of Plas Newydd, fell far short of the anticipation I had
    formed, and they forcibly recalled the emotion I remembered to have
    felt after viewing the mimic hills and vales, and passionless
    cascades of the poet Shenstone, in his retreat at the Leasowes, near

Miss Costello, who made the tour of North Wales in 1844 is even less
complimentary, and is thus smartly satirical in the peculiarities of the
departed "Ladies:"--

    "One of the great attractions of Llangollen a few years ago was the
    romantic story attached to the place and the residence there of Lady
    Eleanor Butler and Miss Ponsonby.  Pilgrimages were made to this
    shrine of friendship, and the ladies were overwhelmed with visitors,
    and their cottage filled with offerings.  Their tomb is now in the
    churchyard, and their cottage let; and very few persons recollect
    much about them, or feel any interest in a sentimental history, which
    belonged to the last century, and now can only excite a smile at the
    eccentricity of its heroines, who, under pretence of retiring from
    society, made themselves conspicuous throughout the country.  Most of
    their accumulated stores were sold by public auction, on the death of
    the last of the friends, and the cottage, as it now stands, is by no
    means either a rural or picturesque object.  It is covered inside and
    out with carved wood, some of value, and some quite worthless; and
    all that remains of the taste of the former proprietors merely proves
    how little was required to please fifty years ago.  The trees,
    planted by the friends, are now grown high, and shut out all view of
    the country; in fact, the whole place has a vulgar, common-place
    appearance, and excited in my mind no sort of interest, nor was my
    indifference agreeably dispelled by the view of an engraving, hung up
    in the little boudoir, representing the two ladies sitting at their
    table covered with curiosities, both dressed in masculine habits, and
    both frightfully ugly.  These portraits, it seems, were taken by an
    amateur, by stealth, as neither of 'The Ladies of Llangollen' would
    consent to sit, and a lamentable record is it which creates most
    unpleasing sensations to the lover of the graceful, beautiful, and

    "The 'ladies' were, although singular in the extreme, remarkably
    charitable and considerate of the necessities of their neighbours,
    and their loss has been greatly felt.  They seemed vain and pompous,
    but accomplished and intellectual, and were a strange compound of
    wisdom and folly, pride and condescension."

The celebrated Madame de Genlis, in an entertaining miscellany, under the
title of "Souvenirs de Felicie L---," has given the following graphic
narrative of "The Fair Recluses of Llangollen:"--

    "During my residence in England (says she), nothing struck me so much
    as the delicious cottage of Llangollen, in North Wales.  It is not a
    little extraordinary, that a circumstance so singular and remarkable
    as that connected with this retreat, should hitherto have escaped the
    notice of all modern travellers.  The manner in which I became
    acquainted with it was this:--During our long-stay at Bury, a small
    company of five or six persons, including ourselves, met every
    evening from seven till half-past ten o'clock.  We diverted ourselves
    with music and conversation, so that the time past very agreeably.
    One night friendship happened to be the subject of conversation, and
    I declared that I would with pleasure undertake a long journey to see
    two persons who had long been united by the bonds of genuine
    friendship.  'Well, Madam,' replied Mr. Stuart (now Lord
    Castlereagh), go to Llangollen; you will there see a model of perfect
    friendship, which will afford you the more delight, as it is
    exhibited by two females who are yet young and charming in every
    respect.  Would you like to hear the history of Lady Eleanor Butler
    and Miss Ponsonby?'--'It would give me the greatest pleasure.'--'I
    will relate it to you.'  At these words the company drew nearer to
    Mr. Stuart, we formed a little circle round him, and after
    recollecting himself a few moments, he thus began his narrative:--

    "'Lady Eleanor Butler, was born in Dublin.  She was left an orphan
    while in her cradle; and possessing an ample fortune, together with
    an amiable disposition and a beautiful person, her hand was solicited
    by persons belonging to the first families in Ireland.  At an early
    age she manifested great repugnance to the idea of giving herself a
    master.  This love of independence, which she never dissembled, did
    no injury to her reputation; her conduct has always been
    irreproachable, and no female is more highly distinguished for
    sweetness of temper, modesty, and all the virtues which adorn her
    sex.  In tender infancy a mutual attachment took place between her
    and Miss Ponsonby, by an accident which made a deep impression on
    their imagination.  They had no difficulty to persuade themselves
    that heaven had formed them for each other; that is, that it had
    designed each of them to devote her existence to the other, so that
    they might glide together down the stream of life, in the bosom of
    peace, the most intimate friendship, and delicious independence.
    This idea their sensibility was destined to realize.  Their
    friendship gradually grew stronger with their years, so that at
    seventeen they mutually engaged never to sacrifice their liberty, or
    to part from each other.  From that moment they formed the design of
    withdrawing from the world, and of settling for good in some
    sequestered retreat.  Having heard of the charming scenery of Wales,
    they secretly absconded from their friends for the purpose of fixing
    upon their future residence.  They visited Llangollen, and there, on
    the summit of a mountain, they found a little detached cottage, with
    the situation of which they were delighted.  Here they resolved to
    form their establishment.  Meanwhile the guardians of the young
    fugitives sent people after them, and they were conveyed back to
    Dublin.  They declared that they would return to their mountain as
    soon as they were of age.  Accordingly, at twenty-one, in spite of
    the entreaties and remonstrances of their relatives and friends, they
    quitted Ireland for ever, and flew to Llangollen.  Miss Ponsonby is
    not rich, but Lady Eleanor possesses a considerable fortune.  She
    purchased the little hut and the property of the mountain, where she
    built a cottage, very simple in external appearance, but the interior
    of which displays the greatest elegance.  On the top of the mountain
    she has formed about the house a court and flower-garden; a hedge of
    rosebushes is the only enclosure that surrounds this rural
    habitation.  A convenient carriage-road, the steepness of which has
    been diminished by art, was carried along the mountain.  On the side
    of the latter some ancient pines of prodigious height were preserved;
    fruit trees were planted, and a great quantity of cherry trees in
    particular, which produce the best and finest cherries in England.
    The two friends likewise possess a farm for their cattle, with a
    pretty farm-house and a kitchen-garden at the foot of the mountain.
    In this sequestered abode these two extraordinary persons, with minds
    equally cultivated, and accomplishments equally pleasing, have now
    resided ten years, without ever having been absent from it a single
    night.  Nevertheless they are not unsociable, they sometimes pay
    visits to the neighbouring gentry, and receive with the greatest
    politeness travellers on their way to or from Ireland, who are
    recommended to them by any of their old friends.'

    "This account strongly excited my curiosity, and produced the same
    effect on Mademoiselle d'Orleans and my two young companions.  We
    determined the same night to set out immediately for Llangollen, by
    the circuitous route of Brighton, Portsmouth, and the Isle of Wight.
    It was the latter end of July when we arrived at Llangollen.  This
    place has not the rich appearance of the English villages in general,
    but nothing can equal the cleanliness of the houses, and among the
    lower classes of any country this is an infallible proof of
    abundance.  Llangollen, surrounded with woods and meadows, clothed
    with the freshest verdure, is situated at the foot of the mountain
    belonging to the two friends, which there forms a majestic pyramid
    covered with trees and flowers.  We arrived at the cottage, the only
    object of our journey, an hour before sunset.

    "The two friends had received in the morning by a messenger the
    letter which Mr. Stuart had given me for them.  We were received with
    a grace, a cordiality, and kindness, of which it would be impossible
    for me to give any idea.  I could not turn my eyes from those two
    ladies, rendered so interesting by their friendship and so
    extraordinary on account of their way of life.  I perceived in them
    none of that vanity which takes delight in the surprize of others.
    Their mutual attachment, and their whole conduct evince such
    simplicity, that astonishment soon gives way to softer emotions; all
    they do and say breathes the utmost frankness and sincerity.  One
    circumstance which I cannot help remarking is, that after living so
    many years in this sequestered retreat, they speak French with equal
    fluency and purity.  I was likewise much struck with the little
    resemblance there is between them.  Lady Eleanor has a charming face,
    embellished with the glow of health; her whole appearance and manner
    announce vivacity and the most unaffected gaiety.  Miss Ponsonby has
    a fine countenance, but pale and melancholy.  One seems to have been
    born in this solitude, so perfectly is she at her ease in it; for her
    easy carriage shews that she has not retained the slightest
    recollection of the world and its vain pleasures.  The other, silent
    and pensive, has too much candour and innocence for you to suppose
    that repentance has conducted her into solitude, but you would
    suppose that she still cherishes some painful regrets.  Both have the
    most engaging politeness, and highly-cultivated minds.  An excellent
    library, composed of the best English, French, and Italian authors,
    affords them an inexhaustible source of diversified amusement and
    solid occupation; for reading is not truly profitable except when a
    person has time to read again.

    "The interior of the house is delightful on account of the just
    proportion and distribution of the apartments, the elegance of the
    ornaments and furniture, and the admirable view which you enjoy from
    all the windows; the drawing-room is adorned with charming
    landscapes, drawn and coloured from nature, by Miss Ponsonby.  Lady
    Eleanor is a great proficient in music; and their solitary habitation
    is filled with embroidery by them both, of wonderful execution.  Miss
    Ponsonby, who writes the finest hand I ever saw, has copied a number
    of select pieces in verse and prose, which she has ornamented with
    vignettes and arabesques, in the best taste, and which form a most
    valuable collection.  Thus the arts are cultivated there with equal
    modesty and success, and their productions are admired with a feeling
    that is not experienced elsewhere; the spectator observes with
    delight that so much merit is secure in this peaceful retreat from
    the shafts of satire and envy, and that talents unaccompanied with
    ostentation and pride, have there never coveted any suffrages but
    those of friendship.

    "This evening was a scene of enchantment for me; not one painful
    reflection disturbed its felicity.  I retired to rest, but my
    imagination was so fully occupied with what I had seen and heard,
    that my thoughts kept me for a long time awake.  At length, I was
    just falling asleep, when I was roused by the most melodious sounds.
    I listened in great astonishment; it was not music, but an indistinct
    and celestial harmony which penetrated my very soul.  I discovered
    that it was produced by a violent wind which had just then arisen; my
    ear distinguished the distant noise and the whistling usually heard
    on such occasions, but the winds changing their nature as they
    approached this asylum of peace and friendship, formed only the most
    enchanting harmony as they met its trees and its walls.  I was
    strongly disposed to believe in prodigies; but nevertheless I was
    determined to investigate the nature of this, but I durst not rise
    for fear of waking Mademoiselle d'Orleans, who was extremely fatigued
    with her journey, and slept in a bed close by mine.  The tempest
    suddenly ceased, and the harmonious sounds appeared to be carried to
    a distance by the retiring winds.  I raised my head towards the
    heavens to catch the last tones of this celestial concert, which
    seemed to be lost in the clouds.  I listened with transport like St.
    Cecilia; if I had had my harp in my hands I should certainly have
    dropped it; at that moment all terrestrial music appeared totally
    spiritless and insipid.

    "Next morning the whole mystery was explained.  On opening my window
    I found in the balcony an Eolian harp, an instrument with which I was
    then unacquainted, and which, when the wind blows upon it, produces
    such enchanting sounds.

    "I walked out the whole forenoon with the two friends; nothing can
    equal the charms of the surrounding scenery, and of the prospects
    which the mountain whose summit they occupy commands; at this
    elevation they appear the queens of all the beautiful country at
    their feet.  Towards the north they have a view of the village and of
    a wood; to the south a long river washes the foot of the mountain,
    and fertilizes meadows of prodigious extent, beyond which is
    discovered an amphitheatre of hills, covered with intermingled trees
    and rocks.  In the midst of this wild scenery rises a majestic tower,
    which might be taken for the Pharos of this coast, but is only the
    ruins of a magnificent castle, once the residence of the prince of
    the country.  This solitary region was doubtless at that time
    flourishing and populous, now it is abandoned to nature alone;
    nothing is now to be seen in it but herds of goats, and a few
    scattered herdsmen sitting upon the rocks and playing upon the Irish
    harp.  Facing this rustic and melancholy scene the two friends have
    raised a verdant seat, shaded by two poplars, and thither they told
    me they often repair in summer to read together the poems of Ossian.

    "The ride from Wrexham to Llangollen is remarkable for the sublimity
    and awful grandeur of the prospects; the most prominent feature in
    the landscape is a high and stupendous chain of mountains, sometimes
    swelling into the clouds, or gently shelving into the vallies, around
    which they form a wide amphitheatre; and by their elevations afford
    shelter, and tend to fertilize the vales at their bases.  I was led
    to exclaim--

    'I love thy mountain's giant forms!
       Darkly clad in gath'ring storms;
    I love thy rocks, down whose steep sides,
       With foaming, dizzying crash,
    Thunder the torrent's tan-brown tides,
       And roaring whirlwinds dash.'


    ''Mid clouds and crags, dark pools and mountains drear,
       The wild-wood's silence, and the billow's roll,
    Great Nature rules, and claims with brow austere,
       The shudd'ring homage of the inmost soul.'

    "From the craggy sides of the rocks descend the tributary streams to
    supply the river which divides the dales, and which dashes its
    foaming impetuous course along the banks, often edged with broken
    crags and grey rocks, or is seen winding in a deeper and more
    peaceful stream through dark and silent groves, spreading their
    autumnal shades over the surface, or often glistening through fields
    of verdure and cultivated spots of ground; here foaming and chafing
    some dark ruin's tottering base, there reflecting the modern villa or
    the humble hamlet in its silver bosom, and by the variety of scenery
    giving new beauty to the whole.

    "The cottages, bridges, villas, towers, rocks, and dark ruins of
    Gothic antiquity, are in unison with the surrounding objects, and the
    attention is frequently called from beholding the beauties of nature
    to pause on the works of art.  In the centre of the long valley which
    stretches to Llangollen, is erected a most stupendous aqueduct, by
    which the canal is conveyed from a lofty hill over a wide chasm in
    the mountains; the length of this amazing work of art and human
    industry, is, I was informed, three hundred yards, the aqueduct
    composed of cast iron, is supported on fifty stone pillars and
    arches, and the view of this immense pile bestriding the valley is
    grand beyond description, and contributes much to heighten the effect
    produced by the whole scenery; for here grandeur and sublimity sit
    enthroned on the mountains, and solitude and human privacy, with
    their attendant charms, have fixed their abode in the vallies.

    "The beauties of the Vale of Llangollen certainly exceed every idea I
    had formed of their grandeur, and on my arrival at the inn in the
    village, the muse embodied the following


    'Much have I heard, Llangollen, of thy scenes,
    And the wild landscapes of thy mountain greens,
    The rushing streams, that dash thy rocks among,
    Thy snow-topt mountains, thy wild harper's song,
    Thy fruitful vallies deep, where oft between
    Rise hamlets, rocks, and tow'rs to grace the scene.
    Where solitude and calm contentment dwell,
    And contemplation roves each rocky dell,
    Or climbs the snow-topt mountain's cloudy height
    To watch the sinking shades of evening light;
    To view the foaming torrent's misty shower,
    To list' the brooding tempest's rising roar,
    Mark the blue mists the silvery moonbeams shroud,
    Or golden ev'ning edge the dusky cloud;
    Yet, till this hour my doubting heart has thought
    Thy glowing scenes by fancy's pencil wrought,
    Or drest in poetry's enchanting hues,
    And all the flatt'ring colours of the muse;
    But if in winter's storms thy beauties charm,
    If the cold breast thy varying landscapes warm,
    In summer's smiles it surely stands confest,
    That he who draws thee fairest paints thee best.'"

Having thus seen the various amusing and interesting records, which so
many of our most popular authors have given to the world, respecting the
once famous "Ladies of Llangollen," curiosity induced us to pay a visit
to this much frequented abode of ancient friendship.  Accordingly in
March, 1847, we made an excursion, in company with our respected
Publisher, to the celebrated retreat of Plas Newydd; and through the
favour of Mr. Jacques, an intelligent and hospitable gentleman resident
at Pen-y-bryn, Llangollen, we were introduced to the present owners, Miss
Lolly and Miss Andrew, and met with a most courteous reception.  Their
manners are easy, dignified, and lady-like; totally free from all
affectation, and in nowise marked by that frigid stateliness and pedantic
formality, which a censorious world proverbially attributes to a state of
elderly maidenhood.  In all its characteristic particulars, the cottage
remains in the same condition as in the days of Lady Eleanor and Miss
Ponsonby; but its present possessors have introduced several judicious
alterations in the interior, which, though carried out in strict harmony
with the general design of its former occupants, exhibit an improved
taste and a cultivated judgment.  The house is delightfully situated, and
is well-adapted to realize the notion of the poet--

    "'Tis pleasant from the loop-holes of retreat
    To look at such a world; to see great Babel
    And not feel the crush;"

but the site is not well chosen for developing the many charming
prospects which the vale of Llangollen affords; and, indeed, the entire
arrangements, both of dwelling and pleasure grounds, seem to be
suggestive rather of another poetical maxim in great favour with
anchorites and recluses--"Retire, the world shut out."  We cannot agree
with Miss Seward, who describes this hermitage as "a retreat which
breathes all the witchery of genius, taste, and sentiment."  It is rather
fantastical than tasteful, and savours more of eccentricity than
sentiment.  In the Gothic entrance, there are undoubtedly many fine
specimens of carved wood-work, some of which we suspect were the plunder
of despoiled convents and churches during the continental wars of the
last century; but classical, mythological, and scripture subjects are
intermingled in odd confusion, and with "most admired disorder."  The
rooms are small and comfortable, with very low ceilings; the prospect
from the dining-room is flat and tame; but several of the miniature
views, as seen through small openings of the painted window in the
library, are remarkably picturesque, and reveal themselves with a
pleasing effect to the eye of the artist or the admirer of natural
scenery.  The cottage yet contains many articles of furniture and choice
rarities, which belonged to the former owners; whose portraits adorn the
fanciful little boudoir.  Disguised as they are by the strangeness of
their costume, we should not like to hazard any opinion of our own as to
their personal charms; especially as Miss Seward has been so minutely
particular in telling us "all about them."  That clever and amusing
gossip says of the "ladies," whom she rhapsodizes as "the enchantresses"
of Plas Newydd--

    "Lady Eleanor is of middle height, and somewhat beyond the
    _embonpoint_ as to plumpness; her face round and fair, with the glow
    of luxuriant health.  She has not fine features, but they are
    agreeable; enthusiasm in her eye, hilarity and benevolence in her
    smile.  Exhaustless is her fund of historic and traditionary
    knowledge, and of every thing passing in the present eventful period.
    She expresses all she feels with an ingenuous ardour, at which, the
    cold-spirited beings stare.  I am informed that both these ladies
    read and speak most of the modern languages.  Of the Italian poets,
    especially of Dante, they are warm admirers.  Miss Ponsonby, somewhat
    taller than her friend, is neither slender nor otherwise, but very
    graceful.  Easy, elegant, yet pensive, is her address and manner.

       "Her voice, like lovers' watched, is kind and low."

    A face rather long than round, a complexion clear but without bloom,
    with a countenance which, from its soft melancholy, has a peculiar
    interest.  If her features are not beautiful, they are very sweet and
    feminine.  Though the pensive spirit within permits not her lovely
    dimples to give mirth to her smile, they increase its sweetness, and,
    consequently, her power of engaging the affections.  We see, through
    her veil of shading reserve, that all the talents and accomplishments
    which enrich the mind of Lady Eleanor, exist, with equal powers, in
    this her charming friend."

We commend these pen and ink portraits to the notice of our readers
without controversy; and the more especially, as they may gratify their
curiosity still more in this matter, by purchasing from our Publisher a
well-executed engraving representing, with all due fidelity, excellent
likenesses of the "Ladies of Llangollen;" each, as _Hamlet_ would say,
"in her habit as she lived."

Among the treasured relics which the cottage now contains, we were shewn
the veritable crutch-headed walking stick, on which Lady Eleanor used to
support her aged steps, when rambling through the village on errands of
mercy, or sauntering among the pleasure grounds of her mountain-home; and
we also saw and handled the broad-brimmed hat worn by Miss Ponsonby,
whose head we should judge to have been small and finely formed.  O for
the genius of a Seward, to have written an ode to that venerable
head-dress! and in good truth, one might almost fancy we heard the spirit
of that amiable enthusiast, bidding us, like _Gesler's_ captain, "bow
down and honour it."  Seriously, every little particular connected with
the history and habits of the departed "Ladies" is so anxiously prized at
Llangollen, that we felt very grateful for the prompt kindness with which
the present worthy possessors of the unique residence contributed to our
information and amusement.  We may therefore tell, for the advantage of
such of our readers as associate their notions of "old maids" with an
affectionate regard for the canine and feline tribes, that Lady Eleanor
Butler possessed a favourite dog of the turnspit-breed, called "Trust;"
that Miss Ponsonby had a small white poodle, named "Busy;" and that they
had a joint interest in a popular cat, answering to the name of
"Meggins;" all of which four-footed domestics were especial pets in their
garden walks or at their quiet fire-side.

The little domain of Plas-Newydd, if situated in some localities, would
be esteemed a miniature paradise, but planted as it is amidst so many
scenes of surpassing loveliness, its limited and somewhat formal
characteristics suffer by comparison.  The arrangement of the ground
might have suited the peculiar tastes and habits of the "recluses;" but
it is certainly very far inferior to the picturesque effect, which
landscape gardening in the present day could _there_ produce.  The
prettiest portions of these much-vaunted precints are the shady knoll,
overhanging a romantic glen, down which a brawling streamlet leaps its
frothing course over a craggy bed; and the rural walk by the gothic
fount, into which a pellucid mountain-rill pours its refreshing waters.
Among the remembrances of former days, is the effigy of a guardian
'lion,' (which, under the name of a 'bear,' has been noted by an author
whom we have quoted;) the melancholy quadruped is now considerably "used
up," and excites a laugh at the burlesque on the monarch of the forest,
which his attenuated figure and shrivelled hide present.  Plas-Newydd is
unquestionably a delightful residence; and its adjacent pleasure grounds
and gardens afford most inviting facilities for those who love to make a
practical study of horticulture; to ruminate amidst its tranquil retreats
over the published works of some favourite authors; or to "meditate,"
like the patriarch, at "even-tide" on the wonders and glories of Eternal
Power.  Apart therefore from the romantic recollections, with which the
singular history of the "Ladies of Llangollen" has invested this fair
spot of earth, it presents to the tourist certain attractions, which the
reflective explorer of the lovely vallies of the Dee should not neglect.
We heard from some of the older inhabitants several anecdotes of the
benevolence and charity of the departed "Ladies," whose memory is most
affectionately cherished in the neighbourhood.  It has been said that on
religious subjects, these ancient friends were divided in opinion; one
being a Roman Catholic and the other a Protestant; but the parish clerk,
an intelligent old man who knew them well, assured us that they both
regularly attended the services in the Church of Llangollen, and received
the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper, both there, and at their own cottage
during the last illness of Lady Eleanor Butler, from the vicar.  With all
their eccentricity, their attachment to each other must have been of a
pure, unchanging, and fervent character; else would they never have
forsworn in the full bloom of youth and beauty, the gay fascinations or
the elegant ease of courtly life for the dull monotony of seclusion and
celibacy.  Both in feeling and intellect, Lady Eleanor Butler and Miss
Ponsonby were no common persons; it may of a truth be said of them, that
"they lived to a good old age and died honoured and respected;" and if
ever the beings of a brighter and holier sphere are permitted to cast
back occasional glimpses on the world which they have left, their spirits
may sometimes hover over the sacred spot where their ashes repose, and
haunt the moon-lit banks of the silvery Dee, in its murmuring current by
the lowly church-yard of Llangollen.


The picturesque ruins of this venerable structure stand in a lovely and
sequestered valley, about two miles from Llangollen, and are approached
by as delightful and inviting road as ever rambler need wish to tread.
The Rev. John Williams, in his learned description of this ancient
monastery, says:

    "The abbey was founded about the year 1200, {58a} and in conformity
    with the rule {58b} of the Cistercian fraternity, was dedicated to
    the Blessed Virgin Mary.  The names by which it was generally known
    to the Welsh had, however, a particular reference to the locality
    where it was situated: thus, 'Monachlog y Glyn,' 'Monachlog Glyn
    Egwestl,' 'Monachlog Pant y Groes.'  And in Latin it was called
    'Abbatia {58c} de Valle Crucis,' and 'Abbatia de Llanegwest.'

    "The remains of the abbey extant at the present day consist of the
    church, and of a building on the southern side, part of which seems
    to have formed the Abbot's lodgings, and part to have been the
    refectory, with the dormitory above.  The church is a cruciform
    building, of which the northern side has been almost entirely
    destroyed, and without any vestige remaining of its roof, except in
    the eastern aisle of the southern transept.  In the midst of these
    hallowed precincts the rubbish is heaped up to a great height,
    caused, probably, by the fall of the northern wall, and by the
    remains of the roof:--the pavement, if there be any of it subsisting,
    is entirely concealed, and ash-trees grow luxuriantly upon the
    mounds, adding to the picturesque effect of the ruin, but saddening
    the heart of the antiquary.  We are unable, therefore, to determine
    the number of piers that formed the side of the nave; but from the
    space between the western end and the central piers, at the
    intersection of the transepts, we should conjecture this number to
    have been three, thus making four arches on either side.  The choir
    was without aisles, but each transept had one on the eastern side,
    which seems to have been used as a chapel.  The oldest portion of the
    church is the choir; the eastern end of which was lighted by three
    bold and lofty lancet arches, rising from no great height above the
    level of the pavement to half the altitude of the building, and by
    two proportionably smaller lancets above.  In the apex of the gable
    was probably a small aperture, but of this no trace remains; the
    gable is mutilated, and we judge only from the analogy of the western
    end of the nave.  In each of the northern and southern walls of the
    choir is a lancet window; and two similar windows, but lower in
    height, occur in each of the eastern walls of the transept aisles.
    High up in the southern wall, also, is to be seen a small loophole,
    communicating with a passage which leads over the vaulting of the
    southern transept aisle to the abbatial building adjoining the
    church.  This passage is now blocked up, but it is conjectured to
    have served either as a closet wherein the abbot could attend service
    privately, or else as a place of confinement or penitence for the
    monks.  The architecture of this portion of the church corresponds in
    its style with the date of the foundation,--the commencement of the
    thirteenth century: the lancets, with their mouldings, are strictly
    of that date, and the capitals of the shafts, which are worked with
    great boldness, are of the late Norman period, rather than of that
    which is called Early-pointed."

    "Of all that portion of the nave which occurs between the central
    tower and the western end, nothing remains but the outer wall of the
    southern aisle; the western end of it, however, still stands, and is
    a beautiful example of the richest and purest architecture of the
    middle of the thirteenth century.  Over a central doorway, with
    deeply recessed mouldings and shafts, and with a bold dog-tooth
    ornament, each projection of which is elegantly carved into four
    converging fleurs-de-lys, occur three lofty windows, the central one
    taller than those at its sides--all with remarkably bold splays, both
    internally and externally, enriched with shafts and mouldings.  The
    central window appears to have been of only one light, though broad,
    and to have had its arch occupied by a foliation of six cusps, and
    therefore of seven recesses,--the foliating spaces being solid.  The
    side windows are each of two lights, the principal arch-head being
    solid, but pierced with a single aperture divided into six
    foliations.  Above these three windows runs a kind of framework,
    analagous in some respects to that at the eastern end of the choir.
    The gable is pierced above these windows with a small but beautiful
    wheel-window of eight pointed compartments, each trifoliated; the
    divisions being moulded in one order, and converging to a central
    ring, itself pierced to admit the light.  Above all is a square
    quatrefoliated aperture in the very apex of the gable.  On the
    external face of the western end are two bold buttresses of a single
    stage, that on the south-eastern side being pierced with loopholes
    for a circular staircase formed in the thickness of itself and the

The Abbey of Valle Crucis was dissolved in the year 1535, and is said to
have been the first of the Welsh monasteries which underwent the doom of

    Romantic Abbey! hallow'd be the rest
    Of those, who rear'd thee in this wild green vale
    A temple lovely as the place is blest--
    And stern as beautiful:--but words would fail
    To paint thy ruin'd glories, though the gale
    Of desolation sweeps thro' thy hoar pile,
    And waves the long grass thro' thy cloisters pale
    Where the dark ivy scorns day's garish smile,
    And weed-grown fragments crown thy desecrated aisle.

    * * * *

    How sweet the sounds!--whose soft enchantments rose
    'Mid those wild woodlands at the matin prime--
    Or when the vesper song at evening's close
    Wafted the soul beyond the cares of time,
    To that Elysium of a brighter clime
    Where thro' heaven's portals golden vistas gleam,
    And the high harps of Seraphim sublime
    Came o'er the spirit like a prophet's dream,
    Till faded earth away on glory's endless beam.

    Oft the proud feudal chief, whom human law
    Or kingly pow'r could bind not, nor control,
    Has paus'd before thy gates in holy awe,
    And felt religion's charm subdue his soul--
    The heart that joy'd to hear the savage howl
    Of battle on the breeze, has soften'd been--
    List'ning the hymns of peace that sweetly stole
    O'er this lone vale, where fancy's eye hath seen
    Forms bright and angel-like glide thro' thy vistas green:

    And angel forms here at thy altar knelt,
    Fair dames, and gentle maidens whose bright eyes
    The sternest heart of warrior-mould could melt,
    Soft'ning grim war with gen'rous sympathy--
    Pleading, like pity wafted from the skies
    To quell the stormy rage of savage man:
    And hence the gentle manners had their rise--
    Hence knights for lady's praise all dangers ran--
    And thus, the glorious age of chivalry began.

The Abbey derives its name (the Vale of the Cross) from a sepulchral
monument commonly called "THE PILLAR OF ELISEG," which stands on an
ancient tumulus in the middle of this beautifully secluded glen.  It was
erected by Cyngen ab Cadell Dryrnllug, in memory of his great grandfather
Eliseg, whose son Brochmail Ysgythrog, grandfather of the founder of this
rude monument of filial veneration, was engaged in the memorable border
wars at the close of the sixth century; and was defeated at the Battle of
Chester, A.D. 607.  During the great rebellion this pillar was thrown
down by Oliver Cromwell's "Reformers," who in their fiery zeal for
destruction mistook it for a "Popish Cross;" and it remained for more
than a century in its broken recumbent condition, when it was restored by
the patriotism and intelligence of Mr. Lloyd of Trevor Hall, and replaced
upon its pedestal with a suitable memorial to record the fact.  It now
forms an interesting relic of antiquity, and is probably the oldest
British Cross (bearing a carved inscription) which exists in these
islands.  That said inscription has long been a puzzle to the learned
investigator of archaeological remains.

Having wandered through the verdant meads of the "happy valley," the
adventurous tourist may probably wish to climb the lofty hill, which is
crowned by the romantic ruins of the Castle of Dinas Bran.  This
memorable fortress of the past, is a remarkable object from all parts of
the vale; for whose safety and defence it was long the abode of a line of
chiefs renowned in Cambrian lore.  The view from the summit is
exceedingly picturesque, grand, and imposing; and naturally prompts the
exclamation of the Poet of the Seasons--

    "Heavens! what a goodly prospect spreads around."

On descending the mountain-path, the traveller may perchance look round
for a comfortable resting-place and good refreshment; he will readily
find both, either at the Hand, or the King's Head Hotel.  In the album of
the latter house of entertainment he may also peruse the following
bacchanalian effusion in honour of "Llangollen Ale," which he will then
be in the mood to enjoy; and as he quaffs this nectar of the valley, he
may thus chaunt its praises, if in a convivial humour, to the music of a
Welsh harp--


While other poets loudly rant
   About Llangollen's Vale,
Let me, with better taste, descant
   Upon Llangollen Ale.

The daughters of the place are fair,
   Its sons are strong and hale:
What makes them so?  Llangollen air?
   No, no!--Llangollen Ale.

And Nature only beautified
   The landscape, to prevail
On travellers to turn aside
   And quaff Llangollen Ale.

For though the scene might please at first
   As charms would quickly stale;
While he who tastes will ever thirst
   To drink Llangollen Ale.

From rock to rock the Dee may roam,
   And chafe without avail;
It cannot match its yeasty foam
   Against Llangollen Ale.

The umber-tinted trees that crown
   Bron-vawr's ridge are pale,
Contrasted with the nutty brown
   That tints Llangollen Ale.

Nor is the keep of Dinas-bran,
   Though high and hard to scale,
So elevated as the man
   Who drinks Llangollen Ale.

Thy shattered arch, beside the way,
   Val-crucis, tells a tale
Of monks who sometimes went astray
   To quaff Llangollen Ale.

And still upon the saintly spot
   The pilgrim may regale
His fainting spirits with a pot
   Of good Llangollen Ale.

For though the ancient portress may
   Not offer it for sale,
Yet cheerfully to all who pay
   She gives Llangollen Ale.

And, Eliseg, thy pillar rude
   Is merely--I'll be bail--
A monument to him who brewed
   The first Llangollen Ale.

In short, each ruin, stream, or tree,
   Within Llangollen's Vale,
Where'er I turn, whate'er I see,
   Is redolent of Ale.

                                                       _Liverpool_.  R. R.

The convivial disposition of the monks of the "olden time" has always
been a favourite theme with our romance writers and "ballad-mongers;" but
it would appear from a passage which Mr. Roscoe quotes, that the cowled
brethren of Valle Crucis Abbey did not content themselves in their hours
of festivity with draughts of "Llangollen Ale."  The wealth of the
institution, he infers, may be judged of by the magnificent hospitality
of the monks, who are described by Owain as having the table usually
covered with four courses of meat, served up in silver dishes, with
sparkling claret for their general beverage.

    "Many have told of the monks of old,
       What a saintly race they were;
    But 'tis most true, that a merrier crew
       Could scarce be found elsewhere;
          For they sung and laughed,
          And the rich wine quaffed,
       And lived on the daintiest cheer.

    "And the Abbot meek, with his form so sleek,
       Was the heartiest of them all,
    And would take his place, with a smiling face,
       When the refection bell would call;
          And they sung and laughed,
          And the rich wine quaffed,
       Till they shook the olden hall."



                                VIEWS, &c.
                             LATELY PUBLISHED
                           BY THOMAS CATHERALL,
                          EASTGATE ROW, CHESTER.

                                * * * * *

                                  OF THE
                       "THE LADIES OF LLANGOLLEN."

                              Price 2s. 6d.

                                * * * * *

                               PLAS NEWYDD,
                             NEAR LLANGOLLEN,
       The Seat of the late Lady Eleanor Butler and Miss Ponsonby.

                              Price 1s. 6d.

                                * * * * *

                           VALLE CRUCIS ABBEY,
                             NEAR LLANGOLLEN.

                              Price 1s. 6d.

                                * * * * *

                            PILLAR OF ELISEG,
                         NEAR VALLE CRUCIS ABBEY.

                                Price 1s.

                                * * * * *

                            A GREAT VARIETY OF
                           CONSTANTLY ON SALE.


{26}  "It is, I suppose, needless to say, that the editor is far from
vouching for the accuracy of these details.  The letter in the text gives
the gossip as it was heard at the time."

{58a}  According to Tanner.  Bishop Godwin saith, A.D. 1100, which is
decidedly wrong, if Madog was the founder.

{58b}  Tanner's Notitia Monastica.

{58c}  Sive Monasterium.

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The "Ladies of Llangollen" - as Sketched by Many Hands; with Notices of Other Objects - of Interest in "That Sweetest of Vales"" ***

Doctrine Publishing Corporation provides digitized public domain materials.
Public domain books belong to the public and we are merely their custodians.
This effort is time consuming and expensive, so in order to keep providing
this resource, we have taken steps to prevent abuse by commercial parties,
including placing technical restrictions on automated querying.

We also ask that you:

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Doctrine Publishing
Corporation's ISYS search for use by individuals, and we request that you
use these files for personal, non-commercial purposes.

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort
to Doctrine Publishing's system: If you are conducting research on machine
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a
large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the use of
public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help.

+ Keep it legal -  Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for
ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just because
we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.