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A STRYT ISSA.

COMMERCIAL FAILURES.

WALES IN DECEMBER.

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WALES IN DECEMBER. It is wonderful, when one watches the days, how few they are, even in the winter, during which walking out is an impossibility. In Wales, especially, so far as regards the places on the coast, this is the case. On some days one scarcely remembers that it is winter, so delight- ful and invigorating is the out-of-door life; for the roads are passable, and the air is exceedingly bracing, without the sting in it which is felt in some parts of our land. It is true that every week takes something from the beauty of the autumn. The leaves which still in many places hang upon the trees have lost their rich, warm colours, and are uniformly sombre. We walk over dead leaves, and look upon brown woods and stripped branches, and feel even here the sadness which always accompanies decay. And yet for those who love nature she has no moods that are altogether cheerless, and now there are fertile little nooks under the banks that show a thousand green plants looking as healthy as if the spring had already arrived. Indeed, one finds exquisite tiny ferns and dainty wild flowers that seem to have become confused in regard to the seasons, and are either keeping young when they ought to be old, or are precociously living before the usual birth-time. After a night of frost there is no more enjoyable way of spending three or four of the mid-day hours than looking into the recesses of a wood. The hard, crisp ground is pleasant for walking; the trees, and perhaps the mountains, shelter us from the cold breeze, the sun shines much more frequently than one would suppose; and there are a thousand interesting objects on which to gaze. It is a place in which to realise and greatly re- gret one's ignorance. We find plants and shrubs, and even trees that we never saw before, and the names of which are unknown to us. Beautiful little strange birds hop about the path, and make soft sounds that indicate more wel- come than fear. Rabbits and hares run away from us, and squirrels look curiously down from their hiding-places. There are whispers in the woods that do us good to hear, and the com- munion with nature never goes far without becoming communion with God. Altogether a winter's ramble in a Welsh wood is a pleasure so great that we wish every one could share in it; and especially that those who are suffering from the present-day excitement could try the com- posing effect of this sedative. Our Welsh cousins,-are they cousins or brothers and sisters ?-have much to be grateful for in regard to their land. It is really impos- sible to go anywhere, at any time, without being charmed by its beauty. Certainly one would not prefer to travel there or anywhere else on a wet day; for rain has the effect of fog (of which we have seen very little in the Principality) and hangs an opaque curtain in front of all pictures. But in any weather other than wet there is much to be seen, and everything to be admired. We took a journey through what was before an un- known region to us; that which lies between Carnarvon and Afon Wen. It was raining, and we thought the prospect altogether dreary and uninteresting but a few days later on a .fine day we went over the same ground, and endorsed the opinion of a friend. "There is not one of these places in which I should not like to spend a few weeks." Just now the mountains are beautified with snow, not regular robes of it, but graceful trimmings, collars and crowns, and jewels. At Barmouth, the east wind is kept off by the hills, but those who are not afraid to face it, and are able to climb over the heights, or take a couple of miles of the Dolgelley-road and reach the Panorama Walk, can, if the afternoon be clear, see such a sunset as they will not soon forget, Cader ldris and his frowning companions get warmed into smiles and geniality, as the wonder- ful colour-giver lights up first one part and then another, and rock and river, seas and skies, an covered with harmonious beauty. In the good days which possibly may be not veryiar away, when the crowds that have been so eager to flock to the towns, and have left the villages smaller still, shall have found out their mistake, and desire to return to the old primitive ways of their forefathers and live the more natural and healthy life of the country, it is to be hoped that the Welsh will be moved by fraternal feelings, and let multitudes of us live with them. Their land is amazingly beautiful. but there is a vast expanse of it rather difficult of cultivation. Men can live where even sheep cannot, and there is water enough coming from the springs to supply the thirsty millions of our great cities. How splendid it would be if some philosopher and philanthropist should discover how to turn to good account a few of the barren slopes of the hills by making it possible for the world's work to be done there, where there is plenty of space in which to do it, and for the workers to live where, instead of the perpetual outlook on brick-houses, there should be the tranquillising and inspiring sight of green moun- tains and changeful seas. We wonder if land is expensive in Wales; if not, it really does seem as if the three acres, if not the cow, of which we have lately heard so much, might yet be a dream fulfilled to the people. MARIANNE FARNINGHAM. âChristian World.

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