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A TRAMP ACROSS WALES. [BY THE REV. J. H. STOW ELL, M.A.] ffo. V.—TOWYN. LLWYNGWRIL, BARMOUTH, LLANBEDR, HARLECH. I trust my readers are not getting impatient with the bad weather in this tramp. It isn't my fault, and after to-day I can promise they shall read but little of any but first-class weather for the rest of the tour. Indeed, I think it is some credit to me that for so Ion? I persevered, undaunted by ) Tain and mist, drawing what jewels I could from the ugly and venomous head of adversity. Cer- tainly I hadn't, so far, seen the mountains, except- ing in the one distant glimpse fromNebo hill. And now they were very near me. Towyn lay flat and uninteresting around me, the monotony broken only by the very massive square tower of the old church. In the glowing railway advertisements of picturesque Wales that I have before referred to, Towyn is represented as backed by precipitous, sunlit crags, with very fine effect; but as I shoul- dered my knapsack at 8.45 a.m., though the rain had ceased, no crags were to be seen. Over my i levitable ham and eggs I had read in the Gossip- i ig Guide to Wales of the famous Bird Rock, the grand glimpses of Snowdon, the fine ascents of fader Idris, and other delights of this place. But they were not for me. I might have been walking through the swamps of Lincoln- shire for all the hills or rocks I could see. I com- forted myself with grim sarcasms against the poets who delight in cloud-capped mountains, wondering whether thev would think the mountains finer still cloud-dressing-gowned, and cloud-booted, too, as they appeared to me. I would rather have seen them without their clothes. Yet the sun was begining to struggle hopefully with the heavy atmosphere, and I looked for better luck at Barmouth which lay about three hours ahead. Turning somewhat inland for a few miles the road suddenly emerged strain at the seaside, and for a great distance I traversed a magnificent walk with lofty cliffs on my right, their tops vanishing in the mist, and the sea surging forty feet below me on the left. 11 NeaAhis roint I notice a pretty cottage em- bew ered in the gay blossoms of spring. A youth gtfcd at the door, and I nodded t, him as I passed. And a dog ran out, not barking but fawning and delighted, apparently, to receive a caress. It struck me I might make my almost professional demand here for milk, or buttermilk, and I turned b; ck. Then I almost wished I hadn't, for a look of nfar dejection upon the young man's face when I can e nearer, and the fact then observable that, niuer the clambering rose trees, the window MI; ds were all closely drawn, told me I had come to li e house of mourning. A woman, with woe written in every line of her face, came forward and niler\tly brought me a glass of milk. I could not, <]ar d not ask any questions. Whether they could have conversed with me in English I don't know but there was no need, the mute appeal of broken hearts was more than eloquent. Hesitating for one moment I held out my hand with some money. but they shook their heads wearily and turned away. The poor dog, bereft, mysteriously to his vlim brain no doubt, of a rightful master, followed me along the road, and only by a show of unkind- ness on my part could he be induced to go back. A little later I passed through a small town called Xlwyngwril, and here a very comical old Welsh "woman tackled me. She had evidently been well treated by a tourist on some previous occasion, for she seemed to know the species and their require- ments. She was either the owner or the ccm- mi: sion agent of a little provision shop, for she instantly, with a curtsey, pointed to the biscuit tins in the window. Shop, sir nice cakies in shop '• Milk," was my reply. "where do they sell milk ?" Then she rather reluctantly pointed to a linen draper's establishment across the road. I inquired there somewhat dubiously, but they sold milk sure enough, and I was quickly enjoying my pint. And then the old woman came in, too, and seeing [ had nothing to eat with the milk began her cry of Cake cake, Sir, nice cakes in shop," in the most coaxing tone imagin- able, and when wreathed in seductive smile she began to pat me on the back. I had to gulp down my laughter and milk together, and bid the com- pany a respectful but a rapid farewell. Along the rest of the way to Barmouth I en- countered only two other individuals. One was, to my great astonishment, a policeman. What, in in Wales could a policeman want where there were no people, I wondered I thought I would hurry up and ask him the question. But he seemed afraid of me. He quickened his pace, too, and presently turned up a by-lane and disappeared. Do I sleep •? Do I dream" was my mental exclamation. Had I seen a phantom in her Majesty's buttons, or was the worthy constable onlv a little timid at the intrusion of the public upon his lonely beat ? The problem is still un- solved. Bat possibly he was merely an unsociable Saxon, for my next encounter was with a true Welshman with all the vivacity and sympathetic friendliness of his race. He was in his best creasad black clothes and a silk hat, evidently on his way to some important social function. I asked the way to Barmouth. He seemed delighted to have an opportunity to exercise his English, as well as to be gracious to ia stranger, and began a really dignified and voluble, though rather in- coherent, oration a Look here, now, Sir. I will tell you all about it now exactly." A minute description of the remaining four miles of road, he gave me: winding up with instructions for crossing the bridge from which the celebrated mountain prospect is to be had, for this," he de- clared, "You was only pay two pence, and you will haf a grrand rreview." Well. the review" was grand indeed, though I could only see the lower half of it on arrival at the bridge the mist had rolled like a curtain halfway up the mountain sides and far inland, as the great estuary narrowed, rank behind rank of these Titanic warriors stood disclosed. BARMOUTH itself glistened beautifully under its canopy of mist; and I adjudged it instantly the prettiest of all the towns I had so far seen. Nor was my judgment altered on closer in- spection. Even the shock I experienced on finding: that some of the^curios"->I was about to purchase as a memento of my visit bore the withering inscription Made in Germany" -—even that could not remove the impression that Barmouth was a beautiful, clean, and altogether delightful spot. I passed through the town and, regaining the shore, after resting and bathing my feet, walked along the sands for about a mile and a half. Then I found the road again, and calcu- lated that I should reach Harlech by about seven in the evening. Now I am going to interpolate a story for the truth of which I can vouch, amd which my readers will excuse though it by rights has no place in the notes of my tramp. It was precisely in this locality, between Barmouth and Harlech, that two ladies, one of whom is now a resident in Barry, were travelling when it happened that in the same railway compartment as themselves there was a man decidedly the worse for liquor. The two ladies, whom it is only bare justice to describe as .distinctly handsome in personal appearance, were strict teetotallers and they felt the reverse of com- fortable when this tipsy man insisted on pointing cut to them what he considered the special beauties of the scenery, With womanly wit, hoping the remark might prove a word in season, one of the ladies said that this was indeed such a place as must have been in the hymn-writer's mind, Where every prospect pleases, And only man is vile. The man, to use a vulgarism, twigged it at once. He retreated in silence to the furthest corner of the compartment, and in a few minutes showed he wasn't too drunk for some kind of self-defence by the following audible reflection ;—" Well, I've travelled in America and in France, and in Ger- many. and all over the country, but I never did meet two such ugly, disagreeable old women any- where." And I met a strange man here, too. Just after passing through the picturesque village of lilanbedr I came upon him—a wild-looking drover, chewing tobacco and limping, uttering heavy groans at every few paces. He hurried after me, and, apparently, took me for a quack doctor, for he said, Can you not give me something for my rheumatics ?" I felt flattered at such confidence, and at once recommended salicylate of soda writing the name on a piece of paper for him. Then he opened his heart, and told me all about himself. He had been all his life in that district until a. few years ago, when, by some rash vsnture, te became a bankrupt. Then he went to America, and by hard work, in a little time earned money enough to come back and pay off all his creditors. The man was not boasting. He was not rich, but loved his native land, and was now a cattle dealer. Beasts were cheap. You could get them for nearly nothing he assured me. And he knew every ineh of the countryside. Do you see that church," he said. pointing to a little structure some 5QO yards off the road that is the oldest church in the country; the first church that there ever was it belongs to the ancient days. I listened in awe-stricken silence. .And then I had to smile when lie began to pile it on further in an approach to exact chronology, That Church. I tell you, is before Christ; 0 yes. long, before Christ." He also told me, what I suppose is not altogether fable, about the whole of the Bay of Cardigan having being at one time dry land inhabited by a thriving population and guarded against the 8e3 by walls and gates, until in a mad freak the gates were opened and the lande utterly delated in a night by Seithen^u. the drunkard." "And ho;v far are we now from Harlech ?' I asked. 0, I will shew you Harlooh in a miatue," be said mysteriously, and, truly, in a minute we rounded a coiner in the road, and with the exclamation, There's Harlech," he waved his hand over the most perfect landscape picture I had ever beheld. The waters of a vast bay sparkled in the setting sun. On the far horizon, where the opposite orm of the bay gradually vanished in the haze, rose huge mountain tops, clear now of mist save where here and there a long, white, fleecy strip would linger (in a fashion that suggested cloud necktied, rather than "cloud-capped," I ruminated); and then, as the eye traced the curve of the shore dotted with towns and villages, it rested on the foreground immediately below us. a sandy level waste, rising abruptly in cliffs for two hundred feet, where high above all on a precipitous mass of rock stood Harlech Castle, a four square towered and turreted keep, hardly ruined enough to look like a ruin at a little distance—so delicate and romantic was the effect of this old castle upon the scene that one would hardly have been surprised to see some gentle knight come pricking on the plain, Yclad in mighty arms and sit ver." My companion pointed to a little cot built of rough mountain stone on the steep hill-side. There," he said, Is my ancestral home." My father was born there and I was born there and now my wife and children are there waiting for me. And I must go. So good-day to you. Sir, so long." Then I moved on into the little town, and after wandering for an hour about the walls and grounds of the C.istle, thinking of the Men of Harlech, who arc said on one occasion to have slain six thousand Saxon foes at its gates, I found a tidy little temperance hotel, where I was made quite comfortable for the night. (To he contimwd.)