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GENERAL NOTES AND QUERIES.

QUERIES.

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. THE LARGE ROBBERY OF BONDS.I

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MEN WHOM I HAVE KNOWN.

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MEN WHOM I HAVE KNOWN. [By Charles Wilkins, F.G.S J ASKEW ROBERTS, Author of The Gossiping Guide tc Wales." Many years ago, in wandering through North Wales, I had for guide, philosopher, and friend The Gossiping Guide to Wales, and found it in- valuable. To ascertain a route, to find details of legend or historic incident, to while awny an idle hour by the sea or up in the recesses of the mountains, or do similar good duty on a wet day in my inn, this book was always the one thing needed, It had alao a genial, social air about it. It struck one as having been compiled by a man who had stores of knowledge, and the additional capacity of b'iicg able to impart it without the air of learning or the disqualification of pedantry. He was your friend, chatty, discursive, with a joke here and an anecdote there, and when you came to your journey's end and placed your book in the recesses of your vdise you seemed to part company, to wish him farewell, just as real friends in the flesh are parted with and farewells full of emotion s iid. For the writer, Askew Roburte, I conceive j n regard out of the common run, but years passed and, though brother members of several societies, we did not meet. Our First Meeting. One day the meeting came. The Cambrian Arclite ,logical Society fixed their headquarters at Church Stretlon, and South and North Walian members gathered there in considerable numbers. On the second morning, looking over the list of ariival-, I saw the name of Askew Robert", and nt once r>sl<cd the secretary if he had seen him. "Yes," was the reply, he came in last »;ght. There he is, coming up the road with the archdeacon." 1 looked, and saw a slightly-built mar, past the prime, with a student bund, keen, dark eyes, and pale features. Wo were soon acquainted, and on many a journey then and in succeeding years nlways "chummed." A more ^nihuciistic nnti- qu-iry I never met, and, though devoled to Bye- gone" he was a good, ull-rouud intellectual friend. I 8oou found that his bock was a mirror of him- self like it, genial and chatty, showing 110 airs, assuming no importance. The J.P. and the Policeman. I never saw but once the slightest approach to any assumption of importance in my friend Askew, and that w.ts very «xcustblp, and a good deal prompted by fun. We formed part of a gathering which included a large number of county goutry, had gone by train and cottch unto the borders of his own dvmain, and were inspect- ing a monastic ruin aiid the relics of a grand retreat, placed, as tlwe old loven of the finny tribe invariably did place them, by the side of a sleepy stieam, when my friend suggested that, as we should not dine until we reached Welshpool, lunch iu some quiet pub would be acceptable. It was soon arranged, and, while the rest were rubbing tissue ) aper on old brasses or sketching recumbent figures, we hurried off and were soon enjoying the simple bread and cheese and beer which the host had. We were doing full justice to tbe lunch, when in came a pclicemao, who looked fixedly at us, thought we were nobodies who wouldn't repor!, and called for a pin, As he drank it Askew put a few questions, which were answered in an off-hand tone when, speaking with more directness and force, my friend continued, Wbo was on the bench this morning? The bench ?" rejoined the policeman iu the same manner, but showing a little more in) ereat. YtS, the bench, reiterated Askew. "I happen to be a J.P., aud wish to know." The constable stoly one look at him, recognised him, and was in a moment as deferentinl as he had been suily. He never imagined that one of the mot>t frequent on tbe bench, the keenest intellect and readiest speaker had descended to "cake and ate" in a roadside inn, and the disillusion was not a pleasant one. His First Literary Work. Mr. Askew Roberts was the son of Mr. Samuil Roberts, bookseller, of Oswestry, and was boru in that town in 1826. He was descended from the family of Anne Askew, the martyrâa name handed down amongst them for generations. His. first literary work was in connection with a magazine called Oswald's If ell, in which he was associated with the late Shirley Brooks, afterwards editor of Punch. In 1849 Oswald's Well waq succeeded by the Oswestry Advertiser, which soon developed from a monthly into a weekly. Jn course of time, by Mr. Roberts's indefatigable management, it became one of the most important and influential papers over a wide district in Shropshire and North Wales, doing good work in the railway projects and other public needs of the time. He next started a paper, which afterwards becaino the Cambrian News, and, as one of the prominent journalists, continued a power for sub- stantial good until 1868, when he retired from business, selling his copyright to two of his old associates at the Caxt'iti Press, by one of whom Mr. Edward Wood (tt, the Advertiser is still worthily conducted. The Establishment of ByegoMes. But Mr. Roberts'spirit was > ne of the indomi- table and restless, and it soon became evident that he retired only in name. In 1671 be offered to edit a column of antiquarian matter for the Adver- tiser, and thi", promptly accepted, was the origin of the now widely-lir"»wn Bye-gones which has supplied a model: I) many a newspaper in the country. So well WH.' the tines laid down by him that after his decease Bye-gones continued to exhibit the crwpy" stvle and pertinacity of gleaning which characterised the founder, hand- ing onward for town and country history in- valuable data. And "The Gossiping Guide." A little before "Byegooes b ji J roduced Mo Roberts had issued On and Of the Cambrian which in the course of years, by successive improvements and enlargements, has bocomc the Gossiping Guide-B work destined to keep the memory of its author green lony after his con- temporary have pas-sed away. His Chef Production, Regarded from an antiquarian poiivt ui vitw, his History of the Gwydtr I'amMg takes chicf rank amongst his works. This, written i«ist\e early part of tbe ninth ceniu y, by Sir J^IIM Wynne re produced in ¡71tf bv the Moo. ihiints ton; the second time in 1781, in the Harrington Miscellanies; and the third time by Miss Angharad Llwyd, in 1827, has been admirably edited by Mr. Roberts, and, as a family history of North Wales, it is simply invaluable. It gives a most graphic account of the state of society in the Middle Ages. Askew Roberts heartily disliked shams. For the stout old ladies who were first in at lunch and I who cared more about toothsome dishes than the details of antiquity he had a miid aversion, but if they partook too freely of cordials and showed it by increased loquacity then his aversion was! quickly shown, and he seemed impelled to fix his attention upon them. For assumption of impor- tance when there was no honest basis,.too, he had a dislike; for the "green" antiquarian a mild a:nil, of reproof, but genuine ability, even though accompanied by Lhe Doric language of the country, had his respect, and the grey sages of the society his veneration. Cardiff and the Western Mail." On several occasions Mr. Roberts visited Cardiff, and he was always pleased with the change and much interested in the rapid development of the place. It was a startling contrast to Oswestryâ the great docks and fleet, and the constant inrush of vast quantities of coal from the valley, formed a picture such as it was impossible for Siiop to yield. Meeting him almost the last time he g'adly accompanied me to the Western Mail offiec, for though a strong Liberal he possessed all the in- stincts of a good pressman and he was for'hwith introduced to the leading conductors, all of whom knew and respected his reputation. The quiet adjournment that followed, the hospitable recep- tion, and the earnest farewell to one whom none of us were ever destined to meet again are 'I amongst the treasured memories, It wa*. if I am not mistaken, upon this occasion, June, 1383, that Mr. Roberts caught a severe cold, from which he never recovered, and in December of the same I year the earnest labourer in go ,d works ceased to be. Mr. Roberts has linked his name inseparably with the Cambrian, and that pleasant line, winch has made the glories of the North so accessible and appreciated, wi:l always re-call his name. I am indebted for many details of the foregoing sketch to the courtesy of Mr. Woodall, editor and pnrt proprietor of the Oswestry Advertiser.

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