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Title: A Trip to the Chain-Bridge, near Bangor - and other parts of North Wales
Author: Liverpool, A Gentleman of
Language: English
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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 "A Trip to the Chain-Bridge, near Bangor - and other parts of North Wales" ***

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Transcribed from the 1826 E. Smith & Co. (second) edition by David Price,
email ccx074@pglaf.org

                   [Picture: Public domain book cover]

                                  A TRIP
                                  TO THE
                        CHAIN-BRIDGE, NEAR BANGOR,
                       OTHER PARTS OF NORTH WALES,


                    CONWAY, LLANRWST, LLANGOLLEN, &c.


                       BY A GENTLEMAN OF LIVERPOOL.

First printed in the Kaleidoscope of August 2d, 9th, and 16th of the same
                                year, and
                       now reprinted; together with

                               AN APPENDIX,


                         MENTIONED IN “THE TRIP.”

                                * * * * *

                            _SECOND EDITION_.

                                * * * * *


                            [PRICE SIXPENCE.]

                                * * * * *

  [Picture: Graphic of hand pointing right] The following lines were
  principally written in the short intervals of a rapid journey of
  business in this county, some days after my return from Wales, and
  without my having the assistance of any memoranda whatever taken during
  “the Trip.”


                                                                     J. S.


I had never been in Wales beyond the border counties of Flint, Denbigh,
and Montgomery, and was, of course, a stranger to the best scenery of the
Principality.  Business, however, required that I should visit some parts
of the north-west, and as curiosity prompted me to see the new
Chain-bridge over the straits of Menai, I determined upon commencing my
trip from Liverpool by the Llewellyn steam-packet; and, accordingly, on
Tuesday, the 26th July, about ten o’clock in the forenoon, I embarked on
board that fine vessel, which was just on the point of weighing anchor.
The river Mersey was a scene of general bustle, the liveliness of which
was heightened by the brightness of the sun, and the beauty of a fleecy
sky.  A light breeze from the northward gave freshness to the air; every
appearance was favourable to such an excursion as I had projected; and a
goodly company, assembling on all parts of the vessel’s deck, indicated
that “_all the world and his wife_” were in a rambling humour this
summer.  Amongst other objects on the river an arrival from Dublin
suddenly attracted universal attention.  A steam-ship came close past us
with such a cargo as I never before beheld, although in the summer season
there may be many such.  There were probably between seven and eight
hundred persons, chiefly Irish harvest-labourers, standing on the deck of
the vessel, as closely packed as the crowd at a town meeting; and so much
did this upper weight preponderate in the balance against the cargo (if
any) below, that the vessel continually heeled, or swayed, from one side
to the other to such a degree, that her gangway ladder at one moment
touched a boat alongside, and at another arose out of the boatman’s
reach.  The crowd on board were alternately visible, as on an inclined
plane, towards each shore, as if the vessel were proud of its miserable
cargo, and was determined that the farmers both in Lancashire and
Cheshire, should be apprized of the arrival of the poor reapers.  It was
an advertisement for them, free of duty.  In a few minutes our engine
commenced its herculean labours, and, amidst the exchange of kind wavings
of the hand between us and our friends on shore, we began, not to sail,
for we had no canvas extended, but, to use a sailor’s phrase, to “_plough
the deep_.”

The passengers on board were about a hundred and seventy in number,
chiefly of the most respectable classes.  Sir R. W. and a part of his
family were under the awning on the quarterdeck, as was also a worthy
alderman, T. C. and many others.  Among those on the fore part of the
deck was the veteran comedian R., the author of that amusing work “The
Itinerant.”  A Dublin gentleman and myself became his companions till we
reached Beaumaris, and we found, as I frequently have found, much
pleasure in his agreeable society.  About the middle of the deck was
stationed a small but good band of musicians, who, from time to time,
performed almost all the favourite airs of the present day; and among the
passengers standing about the bowsprit was a small knot of friends,
apparently choristers in some country church, who, in the intervals
between the other musical performances, sang, in very good style, several
chaunts, psalms, and anthems.  Ranged under the fore gunwale of the
vessel, and sitting on the deck, were several Welsh market-women; who, as
there were no novel sights for them to gaze upon, seemed disposed to
“while away the sunny day” in slumber, or in quiet conversation with each
other; while the busier throng about them, many of whom had never before
been on the “_salt sea ocean_,” were eagerly watching for objects worthy
of notice and inquiry.  The scenery on both sides of the river, the Rock
Perch, the rocks and caverns called the Red Noses, the several
lighthouses, the vessels approaching or departing, or gliding on the
horizon, the Floating-light, the Welsh mountains, and the clear deep
green colour of the sea, became successively the topics of observation,
and the sources of pleasure; nor, amongst a select few, were Helbre
Island and “King Robert” forgotten.  The singers attended to their
singing, the musicians to their music, and the cook to his cooking.
Appetite was the principal ailment on board, although, gently be it
spoken, some few of the passengers, smooth as the sea was, were seen
creeping into corners, and “casting up their accounts.”  In general, the
ready snack, and the bottle of porter, were in great requisition; while a
considerable number of persons sat down in the cabin to a regular
half-crown dinner, and a glass of good port.  All this time we made great
progress on the water, a couple of sails having been recently hoisted in
aid of our steam-power; and we soon passed that grand object, the Great
Ormshead, which must be terrific indeed to the crew of any vessel placed
near its rugged and threatening front, in a strong north-west wind.
Penmaen-mawr soon appeared on our left, bold and rugged as the Ormshead,
but much loftier.  Like an ornamental band passing along his front, a
little above his base, we saw what was pointed out to us as the great
mail-road between Conway and Bangor.  Neither this road, nor the hill
itself, appeared so elevated as I expected; but this I afterwards found
was owing to our great distance from the shore, which, although several
miles off, appeared very near; the sea being quite smooth, and there
being no intermediate objects by which we could calculate distances.
Puffin Island, with the east coast of Anglesea behind it, was now right
a-head of us, and the opening of Beaumaris Bay a little to the left.  We
proceeded in that direction, passing large flights of puffins, and
shortly entered that beautiful bay, with Penrhyn Castle on our left;
Beaumaris, its Castle, and Lady Bulkeley’s Park on the right; and the
town of Bangor, and the straits of Menai immediately before us.  Opposite
Beaumaris, at a quarter before five o’clock, the packet stopped a few
minutes, boats approached us, and I and several other persons landed,
including Sir R. W., whose carriage was waiting to convey him, and the
ladies with him, to his seat in the neighbourhood; and including also Mr.
M., his two sisters, and two other young ladies, whom I shall have
occasion frequently to mention again.  The neat little town of Beaumaris,
(the capital of Anglesea,) the Castle, which is a beautiful ruin, and the
adjoining Park, are well worth the stranger’s attention.  Being anxious
to proceed further that night, and having transacted some business in the
town, and taken tea at the King’s Arms, I was ready at seven o’clock to
join a party, if I could meet with one, in hiring a boat for Bangor,
three miles across the water, or to the Chain-bridge, two miles further,
or to Carnarvon, seven miles beyond it.  The boatmen spoke of a party
going to Bangor, but not further, that night.  I met the party coming to
the beach.  It was Mr. M. and the four ladies.  They seemed pleased, and
I am sure I was, to find that we were all going the same way, and they
politely received me as one of their party.  I pointed out to them a
glimpse of the Chain-bridge in the distance, and proposed that, if the
boatmen would take us, we should proceed through the straits all the way
to Carnarvon that night, the wind and tide being completely favourable.
This was instantly and gladly agreed to, as suiting, and, indeed,
advancing their purposes as well as mine; fifteen silvery reasons
satisfied the boatmen; and our merrily-disposed little party of six were
seated in the boat, the sails set, and the oars at work, at a
quarter-past seven o’clock.

It was a lovely evening.  The ladies’ parasols were, at first, in
requisition; but, in a short time, the higher ground of the Anglesea
coast afforded us a more general shade, and then the beauty of the scene
around us was indescribable.  On our left, Port Penrhyn, with its immense
inn, and the city of Bangor in the hollow, were broadly lighted by the
declining sun.  The tints on the neighbouring mountains were finer than I
ever beheld; and they were so rich, that a faithful picture of them would
be considered too highly coloured.  Every moment brought us nearer to the
stupendous work I have before alluded to—the Chain-bridge, which I shall
hereafter more particularly describe.  Near its western extremity lay, at
anchor, in calm repose, the steam-packet which had recently been so
busily employed.  We looked up to the suspended chain-work of the bridge,
which, at first, had appeared light and elegant, but which, the nearer we
approached, assumed a heavier and grander appearance; and we saw several
persons moving to and fro upon it, whose apparently diminutive stature
and dangerous situation surprised, and almost pained us.  The boatmen
here brailed up the sails, preparatory to our passing the _swellies_, as
they called them, which are a series of circling eddies, caused by abrupt
rocks under the water, just beyond the new bridge, and about the centre
of the straits.  We passed under the lofty chains of the bridge, amazed
with their height and length, and with the vast strength of the granite
pillars and arches on each shore, from which the chains are suspended.
We soon entered the swellies, where circles, caused by the under-rocks,
whirled on every side, the surface of the water being broken in places by
other rocks which rose above its level.  Here the stream, however, was
still in our favour, and was so exceedingly rapid that we felt as if
moved along by an unseen power.  In a short time we came into almost
still water, but the current gradually increased again: we had come, so
far, with the stream from the sea at Beaumaris; the tide was now running
from the centre of the straits to the sea at Carnarvon, the breeze was as
before, and our canvas was again spread, so that we were not detained by
wind or wave a single moment.  The column, erected in honour of the
Marquis of Anglesea, here formed a prominent object on a hill towards the
west; and not far from us the splendid seat of the Marquis was the grace
and ornament of the lower and richly-wooded ground.  The appearance of
the glassy water was now particularly fine.  The red clouds above us
flung down the rays which they caught from the setting sun, and their
reflection represented rocks of bright coral beneath us, while the rising
moon cast her pale light into the wave, forming the semblance of a
pyramidal rock of polished silver.  A number of young cranes stood on the
shore, at respectful distances from each other, earnestly gazing at us as
we glided smoothly by.  Observations on all we witnessed, together with
anecdote and poetry, prevailed amongst us throughout the scene; and
never, certainly, were better timed the vocal efforts of some of the
party, in duets, such as “_Flow on_, _thou shining river_,” “_The
Canadian Boat Song_,” and “_O come to me when day-light sets_.”  Foreign
scenery was described; poets and travellers were quoted; and our stores
of conversation were increased by the circumstance that the brother of
one of the ladies present had been with the lamented Belzoni, in the
latter days, and at the death, of that enterprising traveller.  We
appeared to be upon a lake in fairy land; and after two hours of the most
delightful sailing I ever enjoyed, we stepped upon shore under the
picturesque walls of Carnarvon.  At Parry’s handsome and well situated
hotel we were most comfortably accommodated; our sitting-room overlooked
the “moonlight sea,” and commanded a view of Anglesea.  The ladies, after
partaking with us of a slight refreshment, retired to rest, while Mr. M.
and myself proceeded to view the celebrated ruins of Carnarvon Castle,
which were then beautifully illuminated by the sweet heavenly lamp of
night.  These ruins have been so often described, that it is unnecessary
for me to say more of them than that they very far exceed in extent and
majesty of appearance any idea I had formed of them from paintings or
description.  They were truly interesting, and almost awful, to
contemplate.  Returning to our inn, we passed through the north gate,
near which some vessels are being built and repaired; and here both of us
were struck with a most extraordinary appearance in the sky.  The last
red tinges were fading from the western clouds; but an arch, apparently
of sun-light, seemed to hang over the scene of the recent departure of
day.  The arch was about fifty degrees broad, and twenty in height, from
the horizon.  It was very bright, and strongly defined; its ends appeared
to rest upon two bright, but ill defined and short, pillars, while the
centre was supported by a magnificent column of vivid light.  Between the
pillars, all was total darkness for several moments, but in a short time
streaks of light in parallel lines to the pillars, began to descend from
the arch, from south to north; the whole then vanished gradually but
rapidly, and the still and silvery moonlight now extended, unopposed, to
where a scene had just occurred more strange, varied, beautiful, and
flitting, than even the powers of magic could adequately describe.  It
was now near eleven o’clock, and we adjourned to our respective
apartments, wondering at how much we had done, and how much we had seen
to admire, in the twelve short hours which had elapsed since we left the

Next morning the weather was still extremely fine, and at an early hour
we accompanied the ladies in visiting the Castle, the interior of which,
the gloomy passages, the massy towers, and the fine view from the top,
afforded us much scope for speculative observation, and for pretty active
exertion.  Of course, the little guide did not omit to point out the room
in which Edward II. was born, nor which were the courtly and which the
military departments of the place.

After our party had enjoyed a substantial breakfast at the hotel, I
proceeded into the town for an hour or two to transact some business, the
only remarkable feature of which was my receiving payment of a debt of
above nine years’ standing, from a person I never knew.  During this time
a handsome open sociable and a pair of horses were got ready, for a few
hours’ excursion.  The hotels at Carnarvon are well supplied with
convenient cars and sociables, the latter being adapted to the
comfortable accommodation of six persons.  By the bye, I may here
mention, that six appears to be the best number for a party making a tour
such as that I am describing; for whether in boats, or in vehicles on
shore, the sixth part of the cost of conveyance is extremely reasonable;
while, at the same time, six persons are as comfortably accommodated as
three or four.  About eleven o’clock we set out for the lakes of
Lan-berris, proceeding a little way by the Beddgellert road, making a
call at Penrhos, the residence of R. H. W. Esq. and then crossing the
country towards the lakes.  The approach to the lower or principal lake
is rugged and hilly, and we left our carriage at the summit of a piece of
high ground just before we descended into the vale, a boatman having
there met us, offering his services.  The view from a stile on our right
hand was here truly delightful, and came upon us quite by surprise.  The
lake which lay shining before us, a very picturesque bridge crossing it
near its lower extremity, and the almost Alpine appearance of the
surrounding mountains, with Snowdon’s venerable summit in the distance,
formed a picture at once interesting and sublime.  We proceeded to the
foot of the lake, and seated ourselves in a small boat, in which the
boatman and his wife immediately began to use the oars very dexterously.
“Row, _brothers_, row,” would here have been out of place; but “_the Vale
of Ovoca_” was vividly present to our minds, and our ears enjoyed a vocal
remembrancer of it.  The water in the lake seemed unusually low, owing to
the long continued drought; for, until we reached the bridge I have
before mentioned, our boat frequently touched the clear pebbly bottom, or
rustled through the long and beautiful verdure which grew beneath the
surface of the water, and which, by a constant inclination towards the
termination of the lake, indicated the direction of the placid stream.
At one time the boatman stepped into the water, and dragged the boat
easily along.  We soon passed the bridge, under the low arches of which
several cows were enjoying the luxuries of a cool shade and a foot bath.
From this portal we entered at once upon the deep and broad expanse of
the lake, and our boatman made himself very communicative with respect to
any remarkable spot, or incident, within his knowledge.  Snowdon, and the
other mountains around, cast their varied shadows upon the water; the sun
shone in meridian splendour; and we glided merrily along, occasionally
refreshing ourselves with a handful of water from the sweet and crystal
element on which we floated.  All around was loveliness and happiness;
and it was pleasing, though not at all surprising, to see, that when the
ladies averted their eyes from other attractions, and looked into the
brilliant abyss below, four handsome blooming faces gazed smilingly up at
them.  Dol Badern Castle, or rather tower, now became a prominent object,
crowning the head of the lake; and we landed to the right of it, upon the
banks of a meadow, through which we passed to the only inn in the
neighbourhood, where we enjoyed some refreshment, and where our boatman
and his “_help meet_” who had rowed us about three miles, and were to row
us back again, for six shillings, were not forgotten.

From the inn we walked, shaded from the hot sun by umbrellas and
parasols, to the junction of the upper and lower lakes, near the foot of
Dol Barden Tower.  A good looking, but meanly-dressed boy, who seemed to
guess at our object, here placed himself just before us, and slowly
walked up to the tower, by the most direct road.  We followed him, and
ascended to the castle terrace, which commanded a fine view of the lower,
and a portion of the upper lake; but we were excluded, by a part of the
building, from a full view of the entire vale.  In a few moments our
little guide, whom we had scarcely missed, peeped out upon us from an
upper window of the ruined tower.  He could not tell us how he got there,
because he could not utter a word of English; but we were much surprised,
when, after another momentary disappearance, we saw him looking down upon
us from the very top of the tower.  Two of our enterprising ladies
determined upon following him, if possible; and we discovered, that, by
climbing through a window-place, above the steps of the terrace, access
could be obtained to what was once, no doubt, a convenient spiral
staircase.  They climbed the place, followed by Mr. M. and myself, who
were astonished at their intrepidity in ascending the building, which
consisted of a pretty large circular tower, with small shattered steps,
leading spirally up the interior of the walls to the top, without any
rail or any central support whatever, and where the least slip must have
cost life or limb.  Up, however, they and we proceeded; and, when we
reached the top, and sat down upon the main wall of the ruins, the
panorama was, indeed, complete: the entire valley, the two lakes, and the
surrounding mountains and quarries, were all in broad display around us,
while the thunder-like reports of explosions in the distant slate-rocks,
and the echoes they occasioned from the hills, heightened the interest of
the gratifying scene.  The ladies (and perhaps the gentlemen, too) felt a
momentary fear, respecting the descent they had to make; but our little
guide, who ran about the tops of the steep walls like a cat, seemed to
show us so good an example of coolness of mind, that, after advising each
other to steadiness and carefulness, we descended in safety, and rewarded
the little silent boy for his unsought voluntary guidance.  We then
returned to our inn, and, in a short time, proceeded to our boat,
meeting, in our way, the worthy Alderman T. C. whom I have before
mentioned, and also W. S. Esq. the T. C. of a certain “_good old town_,”
with his family.  We had a short conversation with them upon some local
matters, amongst which, the merits and claims of a certain Mechanics’
Institute were not omitted.  We then set out on our return.  During our
stay at the inn, we had some idea of ascending Snowdon; but we found, on
calculation, that it would be too great a task for that day, and that, to
stay during the night at the inn, in order to ascend the mountain at the
best time, namely, at sun-rise, would disarrange our plans.  All the
party, however, except myself, whom business prevented, agreed to return
to the inn on the following night, and make the ascent at dawn the
succeeding morning.  I must here remark that Snowdon does not appear so
lofty from the lake as a stranger would expect: but this is owing, no
doubt, to the nearness and bulk of the surrounding hills, and the
uncertainty, to the eye, of the actual distance of that lord of the
mountains.  On the road to Carnarvon, we were particularly struck with
the forwardness of the grain crops, which appeared a fortnight in
advance, compared with those of Lancashire and Cheshire.  We arrived at
the hotel in the evening, and sat down, at seven o’clock, to an excellent
dinner, including some choice fish, and by far the tenderest and best
mutton we ever tasted.  As we were now in “_foreign parts abroad_”, we
managed, amongst us, a bottle of good port, and drank to the healths of
“_all friends in England_.”  In the evening we ordered fresh horses to
our sociable, and were quickly conveyed, by moonlight, over a fine road,
and through a beautiful country, to Bangor, where, at the Liverpool Arms,
we met with pleasant looks, good entertainment, and comfortable repose.

On the following morning the weather was as beautiful as ever, and as my
time was more limited than that of my companions, I resolved to proceed
to the Chain-bridge and back before breakfast.  Mr. M. was kind enough to
join me, and, in a few minutes, there was ready for us a one horse car,
similar to those so much used in Dublin, and called outside cars.  It was
capable of accommodating six persons, besides the driver, and was
altogether a comfortable vehicle.  We soon reached the summit of the
elevated ground between the city and the bridge, and then, looking to the
northward, on our right, we enjoyed a magnificent view of the whole bay
of Beaumaris, and of all the prominent objects by which its beautiful
neighbourhood is distinguished.  Descending from this point, past the
ferry-house, we immediately arrived at the shore, and then turning to the
left, we ascended a slope till we reached the level of the road-way of
the new bridge, one hundred feet above high-water mark.  Here we stood
near one of the great suspending piers, whose foundation is more than one
hundred feet below, and whose summit is fifty-two feet above, the level
of the road.  Two arched gate-ways are formed through this gigantic
structure, leading to the two intended carriage-ways across the straits.
Over the apex of this pier, the four massy chains hang in firm but
graceful festoon.  We traced them nearly to their fastenings in the
rocks, and were astonished at the amazing strength and security of the
whole work.  Between the fastenings and the pier we noticed the erection
of what seemed designed for the toll-house; a handsome building, rising
up to, and amongst the chains, as if the bridge were to derive its
_support_ (and perhaps it will) from the _toll_ house.  We walked up the
chains to the top of this building, and thence to the apex of the pier,
where our elevation, one hundred and fifty-two feet above the water,
appeared somewhat terrific.

I may here remark that the four chains are thus formed of solid bars of
wrought iron.  Each bar is about ten feet long, about three inches broad,
and one inch thick.  Five of these bars placed upon their edges, with
fastenings at the ends, which keep them more than an inch asunder, form a
straight link, a series of which links, to the length of 1714 feet,
constitutes a single chain.  Four such chains, placed one above the
other, the joints of one chain falling on the centre of the links of the
next, form _one great chain_, containing, of course, twenty solid bars,
the pressure upon each of which will be equalized by connecting

Each carriage-way, twelve feet wide, will be supported by two of these
great chains; and there will be a foot-path along the centre.  I have
here described such links as are placed between the two piers and
crossing the straits; those from the piers to the fastenings are rather
shorter and thicker.  The two centre chains, below which the foot-path
will be formed, between the carriage-ways, are, of course, near to each
other; perhaps not three feet asunder.  Between these two chains lay our
path over the straits; a temporary path, formed of planks, two in a
breadth, suspended from the lower links, the upper ones serving as a sort
of hand-rail.

From the apex on which we sat, the chains appeared to descend very
steeply towards their fastenings on the land side, and towards the centre
over the straits.  Although the planks were not properly fastened, we
proceeded fearlessly along the vast curvature, 590 feet in length, to the
pier on the Anglesea side.  Over the centre of the straits we sat down on
a small stage, which had been placed there for the band of musicians on
the day when the last chain was suspended.  From this place, looking
downwards, we observed that the colour of the water appeared to be a
muddy pea-green.  On the apex of the Anglesea pier we had some
conversation with one of the superintendents of the work, who obligingly
showed us the rollers under the saddle of the chains, and the space in
which they would move in case the contraction or expansion of the chains
by cold or heat should ever become unequal on the two sides of the pier.
Admiration of the stupendous and almost superhuman work, and of Mr.
Telford’s consummate skill, breathed in every observation we could make;
and I thought that when death should deprive the country of the further
services of that able engineer, his epitaph, simple as that upon Sir
Christopher Wren, will be abundantly sufficient, if it state, that “_his
monument is suspended over the Straits of Menai_.”  The superintendent,
while we remained on the “airy height,” gave us much information relative
to the proceedings of the workmen in their various arduous duties; and
the only painful intelligence he communicated was, that four men had lost
their lives, at different times, by falling from the elevated parts of
the works.  No accident, however, had happened to any of the numerous
ladies and gentlemen who had recently passed over the chains.  From the
spot on which we stood we observed innumerable workmen completing the
road to the bridge, and preparing the iron net-work which is to form the
sides of the bridge, as soon as the carriage-ways are placed along the
perpendicular suspenders from the chains.

After thanking our obliging informant, we descended the chains on the
Anglesea side, and proceeded to the water’s edge, to look at the archways
formed under the road between the main pier and the land.  These, which
look so small in the printed views of the bridge, we found to be as broad
and as lofty as the aisles of Cathedrals; being sixty-five feet in
height, to the spring of the arches, and the span of each arch being
fifty-two feet.  We then walked towards the ferry, and the moment we
reached it a boat was ready to cross the water.  We embarked, hailed our
distant charioteer by a shout, he answered us by waving his hat, and then
driving down to meet us, and in a few minutes we were again seated in our
car, jaunting towards Bangor, and anticipating the pleasure which awaited
us in again meeting our fair friends, and in the enjoyment of a good

We soon alighted at our inn, and over breakfast we recounted to the
ladies all the particulars of our morning excursion.  Some of them
immediately expressed their determination to cross the chains on their
intended visit to the bridge, that evening or the next day; indeed, they
were adventurous enough for any thing.  We found they had not been idle
during our absence; and they afforded us an ample account of their walks
about the Cathedral, and the environs of the city.  After our repast, and
after I had made two or three calls on business in the town, the car was
again brought to the door, pursuant to our orders, with an extra horse,
_à la tandem_, mounted by a youthful postillion, under the command of our
driver.  About ten o’clock we all took our seats in the commodious
vehicle, and we’re speedily whisked along, upon the road to Conway, under
the brilliance and heat of a sun which rendered the ladies’ parasols
almost invaluable.  As we proceeded we admired very much the gates of
Penryn Park, which are quite out of the common style; and, as we
approached Penmaen-mawr, the truly grand view of Beaumaris Bay on our
left, with Puffin Island in the distance, the mountainous elevations on
our right, and the fresh sea-breeze gently blowing on our faces, and all
around us were quite delightful.  The cool clear waves were rippling
along the shore beneath us, and curling over the pebbly margin, as if to
refresh us by their playful agitation.  We met Pomona in the shape of a
poor “Welse umman,” carrying a small basket filled with tempting grapes;
we relieved her of part of her burden, much to her satisfaction; and, as
we journeyed along, we discussed the merits of the grapes with much more
taste than the fox in the fable did.

Presently we began to ascend the elevated part of the road, which, like
one of Jupiter’s belts, girds the bulk of Penmaen-mawr.  We found it much
higher from the sea than it appeared to be when we were on board the
Llewellyn; the huge mountain close on our right, and the precipice from
the road side to the water on our left, were steep almost as walls.
While we stopped to enjoy the view, we threw several stones down towards
the water, and were surprised on observing the length of time which
elapsed before they disappeared in the waves.  A party of Irish
harvesters, who, we supposed, had landed at Holyhead, and were in search
of employment, were here strolling along; they had a stock of bread with
them, and the small streams which they passed afforded them water; but
they begged of us, very earnestly and very persuasively, “a few coppers,
with which to buy a morsel of _backy_.”  Descending towards the eastern
foot of the mountain, and again rising up a very steep road, we began to
feel the heat of the day to be rather oppressive: but we soon stopped at
a small public-house, where we refreshed our horses with water, our
drivers with beer, and ourselves with some excellent buttermilk of the
real cut-throat kind.  We then walked up the hill, having a deep romantic
glen on the left, with a glimpse of Beaumaris Bay behind us, on our right
some bold and rugged crags, and near the top, a mass of specimens, large
and small, amongst which a mineralogist might spend many pleasant hours.

We resumed our seats in the car, and found a pretty level road for some
distance.  We saw before us the vale in which the river Conway meets the
sea; and at length, between us and the water, we discerned what we all
agreed was the very _beau ideal_ of an ancient city and castle.  It was
Conway, which lay right before us and below us; our elevation affording
us a delightful bird’s-eye view of the whole place; and certainly its
walls and turrets (completely inclosing all the houses) and the Castle
with its numerous and beautifully formed towers, were the best
realization we had ever beheld of the ideas formed by our reading of
cities and castles, in the stories of antiquity.  Conway is quite perfect
in this respect, and we entered its gates with feelings of uncommon
interest.  The city lies entirely on the slope of the hill, and the
Castle, which is at the lower and eastern side of it, almost touches the
water.  The whole is admirably situated, and every view around it is
worthy of the painter’s pencil.  It was about half-past twelve when we
arrived at the Castle Inn, where we put up.  We thence proceeded
immediately to view the Castle, the ruins of which are extremely
extensive and grand.  Near the entrance we were annoyed by a swarm of
children, who rushed out of the neighbouring cottages, begging for “a
ha’penny, pleace eu ma’am; a ha’penny, pleace eu sair;” words which they
are taught to utter in a whining tone, and which they continue repeating
as long as they dare follow a party of strangers, in defiance of any
remonstrance on their parts.  This is a very common nuisance in some
parts of Wales, and it is a matter of regret that the cottagers do not
foresee what a deep and lasting mischief they are doing to their
children, by initiating them in such degrading practices.  We were shown
into the Castle, among the ruins of which we enjoyed a cool lounge for a
considerable time, the ladies always taking the lead in searching after
the picturesque and gloomy, among broken towers and staircases.  The
scene around us was that in which Monk Lewis has placed his drama of the
Castle Spectre: and, certainly, a finer theatre for the adventures of
Angela, Father Philip, Reginald, and the Ghost itself, could not have
been chosen than Conway Castle must have been in the days of its glory,
and in the times of chivalry, of romance, and of dark deeds.  From the
terrace, near the water, we had our first view of the piers, and other
works in progress, for the small, but handsomely-designed Chain-bridge
over the dangerous ferry of Conway; an improvement in which the public
are deeply interested, and by which they will be materially benefited.

Soon after our return to the inn, the time arrived when my cheerful
companions and I were to part; they on their return to Bangor (to meet
the lady’s brother whom I mentioned as having been with Belzoni) whence
they would proceed on their expedition to the Chain-bridge and to the top
of Snowdon; and I on my way to Llanrwst and Llangollen.  Our regret that
we could not longer accompany each other seemed proportionate to the
pleasure we had enjoyed since we met; and that, certainly, was glowing
and unmixed, and will, doubtless, be memorable to us all.  They took
their seats in the car, and after many a hearty “good bye,” they were
soon out of sight.  I then walked down to the water’s edge, and crossed
the ferry on business.  On my return to Conway I was struck with the
excellent design and situation of the Chain-bridge.  The approach to it
from the Denbighshire side is along a new-made terrace or breakwater,
advancing across the greater part of the river’s breadth, and, of course,
confining the rapid stream to very narrow limits on the Carnarvonshire
side.  From this terrace the Chain-bridge will appear to be the grand
entrance, under triumphal arches, to the Castle itself; and although, on
coming close to that venerable structure, there is a sudden turn from it,
leading directly to the town, I fancy a party of travellers would not
regret, that, instead of being deposited within the naked and roofless
walls of the Castle, they were handed into a small but comfortable
parlour at the Castle Inn.

About five o’clock in the afternoon I hired a small car to convey me to
Llanrwst, about twelve miles up the vale; and having lost my living
companions, I amused myself with that pathetic but strange compound of
religion and romance, the “Lights and Shadows of Scottish Life,” from
which I turned, ever and anon, to gaze upon the charming landscape
through which I was passing, and at the lovely “lights and shadows” which
the declining sun and the tinted mountains were casting upon it.  So
forward was the harvest in this fertile and extensive vale, that numbers
of reapers were busy in the corn-fields; and on my arrival at Llanrwst I
was informed that already (July 28) a loaf of new wheat had been baked
there.  In transacting some business at Llanrwst that evening I found
that the absence of one individual would leave me a vacant hour from
eight to nine o’clock; and, as I was desirous of taking that opportunity
of refreshing myself by bathing in the Conway, a tradesman accompanied me
and pointed out a deep and retired corner of the river, in which I laved
myself in the warm and clear stream with great pleasure.  My conductor, I
found, had seen the world, and his range of conversation was not confined
either to these realms or to India.  Inquiring in the town respecting the
prevailing religious sects there, I was told by an inhabitant that they
were chiefly Churchmen, Methodists, and “Wess lions.”  From this
classification I learned that the new connexion assume the name of
Methodists almost exclusively, while the “Wess lions” are content with
the title they derive from the name of the indefatigable and pious John

The evening was extremely fine, and soon after nine o’clock I was ready
to pursue my journey.  As I had sent my luggage by coach direct from
Bangor to Llangollen, I had no incumbrance; and I decided upon walking
about four miles, to Bettws y Coed, a small place on the great Welsh
road.  On leaving Llanrwst, and crossing the bridge towards Gwydyr House
and wood, I was much pleased with the beauty of the scenery up the river;
scenery which forcibly reminded me of the exquisite Diorama of Holyrood
Chapel.  The unclouded moon was shining above the summits of the hills
towards the south-east, and brightly illumined the left bank of the
river, and all the neighbouring objects in that direction; while the
thick and lofty wood on the right cast a broad dark shade over the lower
ground, and over part of the bed of the river, which was dry, in
consequence of the long-continued fair weather.  In the midst of this
dark shade, and on the dry pebbles of the river, two or three boys had
kindled a small but brilliant fire; the reflection of which from their
hands and faces, as they knelt around it, was highly picturesque.
Passing through a part of the wood on the right, I soon reached the high
road, and continued my solitary walk over ground I had never before
trodden, till I arrived at Bettws y Coed, where I was accommodated with
humble but cleanly lodgings, at an inn on the road side.

On the following morning, charming landscapes and a clear sky rendered
every thing around me delightful; and at an early hour I set out towards
Llangollen, upon one of the Holyhead and Shrewsbury coaches, with every
disposition to enjoy the interesting scenery through which we had to
pass, upon one of the finest roads, perhaps the very finest, in the
world.  Nor was I disappointed.  The iron bridge, the hills on one hand,
the deep ravines on the other, and the variety which every turn in the
road afforded to the view, made the journey short and pleasant.  At a
place where we stopped a few moments, a poor “Welse umman” solicited our
favours, asking very assiduously of each passenger, (and at the same time
exhibiting the various products of her industry)—“D’you want a Welse
wig?—d’you want a wool stockings?—d’you want a wool gloves?—d’you want a
Welse wig?”—and so on, alternately; but the weather was not _harvest_
weather to _her_, and she obtained no orders.  Soon after we passed
Kernioge, and while we were travelling at full speed, I was surprised by
a poor woman getting up behind the coach, obtaining a footing among the
passengers, and handing her hat round, not only to those near her, but to
those in front, to whom she reached across the roof; nor did I perceive,
until I was informed of the fact, that she was perfectly blind!  She
descended from the coach with the utmost ease; although such was our
rapidity, that, in a few moments, she was left far behind us.  Passing
through Corwen, I reached Llangollen about one o’clock.  The beauties of
this place, or rather of the vale in which it is situated, are well
known.  The bridge, standing upon foundations furnished by nature itself,
is always an object of admiration; and if the town and church were light
coloured, so as to present a distinct contrast to the surrounding
foliage, the whole would have a most charming appearance.  So exhausted
was the river Dee at this season, that I crossed the timber of a small
wear, and the bed of the river, without wetting even the soles of my
shoes.  From Llangollen, homewards, my journey was merely on business;
but I thought, that, up to this period, a narrative of the incidents
which had occurred during a trip of only three days and three hours’
duration, might not be uninteresting to some of my friends.


  _Containing some particulars of Objects and Places mentioned in_ “_The

   Chiefly extracted from “The Cambrian Traveller’s Guide,” a large and
     useful volume, published by Mr. George Nicholson, of Stourport.


This mountain is the terminating point of the long Carnarvonshire chain.
It is 1550 feet high, from the level of the sea.  As late as the year
1772 there was only a narrow and dangerous path along the shelf upon its
side; but since that period, a grant was made by Parliament, and a
voluntary subscription entered into for the formation of the present
useful and safe road, “the most sublime terrace in the British Isles.”
It is guarded on the sea-side by a wall of about five feet high, add
supported in many parts by deep walls below.—See pages 5 and 15.


This uninhabited island is of an oval shape, about a mile in length, and
half a mile in breadth.  Near the centre is an old square tower, supposed
to be the fragment of a religious house.  During the summer the island
swarms with various birds of passage, particularly the _alca artica_, or
puffin.  The firing of a gun will frequently cause clouds of these birds
to rise, uttering loud and dissonant sounds.


This edifice is supposed to stand upon the site of a palace, which, in
the eighth century, belonged to Roderic Mwynog, grandson to Cadwalader,
the last king of the Ancient Britons.  It appears to have been rebuilt in
the reign of Henry VI.; and although it has been greatly altered of late,
the original design has been preserved.  It is fronted with yellow brick,
which gives it the appearance of stone.  The gateway into the park
resembles a Roman triumphal arch.


This pleasant little town is the capital of the island of Anglesea.  Its
name is formed from the French words _beau_, fair, and _marais_, marsh.
The Castle was built by Edward I. towards the close of the thirteenth
century, and its ruins are now included in the domains of Lady Bulkeley.
On the accession of Charles II. Lord Bulkeley was Constable of the
Castle.  The lowness of its site, and the great diameter of its circular
towers and bastions, together with the dilapidated state of its walls,
deprive this structure, though exceedingly ponderous, of that prominent
character and imposing effect so strikingly apparent in the prouder piles
of Carnarvon and Conway.  The town sends one member to Parliament.


This is a Bishop’s see, in the county of Carnarvon, and is said to derive
its name from _bon_, good, and _chœur_, choir; but this seems a strained
etymology.  It is supposed to have been formerly a more considerable
place than it is at present.  The views from the elevated environs are
extremely fine.  The Cathedral was founded in the sixth century, by St.
Deiniol (Daniel) who was elected the first Bishop of Bangor.  It was
destroyed by the Saxons in 1071, and rebuilt by King John in 1212.  In
1402 it was burnt down, in the rebellion of Owen Glyndwr, and remained in
ruins upwards of ninety years.  It was rebuilt early in the sixteenth
century, chiefly by Bishop Sheffington.  On a rocky eminence, about half
a mile east from Bangor, formerly stood a castle, built by Hugh, Earl of
Chester, in the reign of William II.  Its site is still visible.  The
situation of the Bishop’s residence is much admired.


For a description of this magnificent and truly surprising structure, see
pages 12 to 14.


This place is so called from _Caer_, a fortress, _yn_, in, and _Arfon_,
the district opposite to Mon, or Anglesea.  The ancient city was the only
station possessed by the Romans in this part of Wales; it stood about
half a mile south of the present town, where, probably, the British
dwelt.  The Castle is a magnificent ruin.  It was built by Edward I.
after the completion of his conquest in 1282; and as the Welsh would not
submit quietly to be governed by any but a Welsh Prince, he caused his
Queen (Eleanor) to reside here for a time, and here Edward II. was born.
The Castle has been the scene of many memorable events, and is well worth
an hour’s contemplation.  Carnarvon sends one member to Parliament.—See
page 8.


This small but conspicuous structure is the only one remaining of five
military stations erected by the Ancient Britons to defend the five
passes through the Carnarvonshire chain of mountains.—See page 10.


The Snowdon range of mountains commences at Penmaen-mawr, and terminates
on the margin of Carnarvon bay.  The height of the peak of Snowdon is
3568 feet.


Conway (from _Cynwy_, great river) is a fine old fortified town, situated
at the northern corner of Carnarvonshire.  The Castle was built in 1284,
by Edward I. as a security against insurrections.  He was besieged in it,
and only rescued by the arrival of his fleet.  In the civil wars in the
seventeenth century it was garrisoned by the Archbishop of York, and
afterwards by Prince Rupert.  The town and Castle were taken by storm in
1646, but the parliamentary forces did not injure the Castle, which was
never greatly damaged, until the Earl of Conway, who received a grant of
it from Charles II. despoiled it of timber, lead, iron, &c. for his own
use.  A stranger will be much struck by the general appearance of Conway,
which forms an interesting picture, and is very unlike any other place in
the kingdom.—See page 16.

[Picture: Graphic of a hand pointing right] The writer of “the Trip” had
no opportunity of visiting Capel Cerig, or Beddgelert; but no person
should omit to do so when time will permit.  From Carnarvon a most
delightful tour may be made to Beddgelert, Capel Cerig, Snowdon,
Llanberris lake, and back to Carnarvon.


This village is said to have been called Capel Curig, in consequence of
St. Curig being the patron of the chapel.  From this place Snowdon and
all the contiguous mountains burst at once full in view, marking this the
finest approach to our boasted Alps.  The scenery in the neighbourhood is
full of variety and beauty.


This romantic village is said to derive its name from a singular
occurrence.  Tradition says, that Llewellyn the Great came to reside at
Beddgelert during the hunting season, with his wife and children, and one
day, the family being absent, a wolf had entered the house.  On
returning, his greyhound, called Cilihart, met him, wagging his tail, but
covered with blood.  The prince being alarmed, ran into the nursery, and
found the cradle in which the child had lain overturned, and the ground
covered with gore.  Imagining the greyhound had killed the child, he
immediately drew his sword and slew him; but, on turning up the cradle,
he found under it the child alive, and the wolf dead.  This so affected
the prince, that he erected a tomb over his faithful dog’s grave, where,
afterwards, the parish-church was built, and called from this accident,
Bedd-Cilihart, or The Grave of Cilihart.  This incident gave rise to the
following pathetic verses:


   The spearmen heard the bugle sound,
      And cheer’ly smiled the morn,
   And many a breach, and many a hound
      Attend Llewellyn’s horn.

   And still he blew a louder blast,
      And gave a louder cheer,
   “Come, Gelert, why art thou the last
      Llewellyn’s horn to hear?

   “O where does faithful Gelert roam!
      The flow’r of all his race:
   So true, so brave,—a lamb at home,
      A lion in the chase!”

   ’Twas only at Llewellyn’s board
      The faithful Gelert fed;
   He watch’d, he serv’d, he cheer’d his lord,
      And sentinel’d his bed.

   In sooth he was a peerless hound,
      The gift of Royal John:
   But now no Gelert could be found,
      And all the chase rode on.

   And now as over rocks and dells
      The gallant chidings rise.
   All Snowdon’s craggy chaos yells,
      With many mingled cries.

   That day Llewellyn little lov’d
      The chase of hart or hare,
   And scant and small the booty proved,
      For Gelert was not there.

   Unpleas’d Llewellyn homeward hied,
      When, near the portal seat,
   His truant Gelert he espied,
      Bounding, his lord to greet.

   But when he gain’d the Castle door,
      Aghast the chieftain stood—
   The hound was smear’d with gouts of gore
      His lips and fangs ran blood!

   Llewellyn gazed with wild surprise;
      Unus’d such looks to meet;
   His fav’rite check’d his joyful guise,
      And crouch’d and lick’d his feet.

   Onward in haste Llewellyn past,
      And on went Gelert too;
   And still where’er his eyes he cast,
      Fresh blood gouts shock’d his view.

   O’erturned his infant’s bed he found,
      The blood-stain’d covert rent;
   And all around the walls and ground,
      With recent blood besprent.

   He call’d his child—no voice replied—
      He search’d with terror wild;
   Blood, blood, he found on every side,
      But nowhere found the child;

   “Hell-hound, by thee my child’s devour’d,”
      The frantic father cried,
   And to the hilt his vengeful sword
      He plunged in Gelert’s side.

   His suppliant, as to earth he fell,
      No pity could impart;
   But still his Gelert’s dying yell,
      Past heavy o’er his heart.

   Arous’d by Gelert’s dying yell,
      Some slumb’rer waken’d nigh;
   What words the parent’s joy can tell,
      To hear his infant cry!

   Conceal’d beneath a mangled heap;
      His hurried search had miss’d,
   All glowing from his rosy sleep,
      His cherub boy he kiss’d.

   No scratch had he, nor harm nor dread;
      But, the same couch beneath,
   Lay a great wolf, all torn and dead,
      Tremendous still in death!

   Ah, what was then Llewellyn’s pain,
      For now the truth was clear;
   The gallant hound the wolf had slain,
      To save Llewellyn’s heir.

   Vain, vain, was all Llewellyn’s woe:
      “Best of thy kind adieu:
   The frantic deed that laid thee low,
      This heart shall ever rue.”

   And now a gallant tomb they raise,
      With costly sculpture deck’d;
   And marbles storied with his praise,
      Poor Gelert’s bones protect.

   Here never could the spearmen pass,
      Or forester unmov’d;
   Here oft the tear-besprinkled grass,
      Llewellyn’s sorrow prov’d.

   And here he hung his horn and spear—
      And oft as evening fell,
   In fancy’s piercing sounds would hear
      Poor Gelert’s dying yell!

   And till great Snowdon’s rocks grow old,
      And cease the storm to brave,
   The consecrated spot shall hold
      The name of Gelert’s grave!


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