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THE ROVING OSWESTRIAlH. (Frori 4ke' Jswestnj Advertiser.) C;- rit-tmas number of Chambers's Jvu/rtxli consists of a. dashing story, full of life and adventure, entitled The Winning Hazard.' With the plot I have nothing to do my purpose is to comment on the absurd way in w'h.ich the writer alludes to things Welsh. Of late years it seems to be a-sure card to throw into contempt Welsh customs and habits:;—witness the papers on Eisteddfodau that are given forth annually by our Superfne Revilers and Cockney Critics but in these there is this excuse, that, too often, Welshmen themselves are silly enough to Kit in grave judgment on compositions that would only merit a bircli Ii emanating from the first form of a National School. When our censors do more than this when they invent the facts on which they launch tilieir satire; a mild expostulation will not be out of place, and I am sure the time-honoured arid talented conductors of Chambers''s JTorirndv&re not the men willingly to malign individuals or £ nation. I Wii i-in- Hazard," I say, is a dashing -story, and amoncrst the scenes there are some extraordinary ones laid in Wales. For instance—John Griffiths, a Welsh coroner, occupies himself at three o'clock on & May morning, watching for poachers, at the side of a pond which he rents, some three or four miles from his home. He has a loa-dell gun with him, when suddenly there appear on the scene a couple of men struggling. One has got the better of -the other, and is about to panish him, when- crack goes the coroner's gun, and down the fellow drops, dead 1 Beth parties turn out to be acquaintances of G-rif- fiths's, and the one leaves him with his dead game on the spot, because he has urgent business in London. But the coroner is equal to the occasion for after the body has been removed, he calls a jury, and directs it to find a verdict of 'Temporary Insanity.' The man saved by Griffiths, w"hile in London, tells his sweetheart of the escape he has had, arid how the coroner acted, on which she very naturally asks whether it was not an 'illegal' business? "Oh," replied the Welshman, we dorSt think much of that in Wales. Griffiths made all straight by acting as chief mourner at the funeral Now, was ever a greater tissue of improbabilities put together? or was ever a cooler lie forged? No doubt the writer has made a flying visit to the Principality some time or other, for he has learned a few Welsh words and phrases. In taet he has picked up words as pigeons peas and utters them again as God shall please As a sample, we have Dear Anwyl" repeated more than once. Our WeKk readers know this is simply nonsense, and is an expression never uttered between Holyhead and Milford Haven Then he has got a smattering of local history, and his "little -learning is a dangerous thing." His fable relates to a .place he calls Dinorwich, t,) arrive at which he goes from London to Chester, by the Irish Mail, then has another railway ride into the Principality, and finally takes a forty miles jolt in a car, mountain- wards. Thus, it follows, that Dinorwich must be pretty far north in North Wales yet he tells us that the owner of Plas Dinorwich has his doors barricaded to keep out Rebecca ? Those who know anything about it know that that mysterious and avenging female never came into North Wales at all, and no one in the locality the writer describes ever dreamt she would But these are only amusing absurdities let me proceed to some graver ones. The Welsh, we all know, are a devout people. True tney uo not worsmp largely in tne parish cnurcti, nut they subscribe largely to build Presbyterian chapels, and sup- port many educated and God-fearing ministers to supply the pulpits. But the writer in Chambers attempts to describe a 'Plygain' (a meeting held in many churches and chapels early on Christmas mornings) thus:—"At three o'clock on this Christmas morning all the windows of Llandanog are lighted up. and the mountain roads are sparkled with moving twinkling lights, and all the men and women from the hills, and the men and wonien from the valley, and all the townsfolk too, are crowding into the church. Perhaps not a dozel people of all these crowds have ever consciously been to church, except at a Plygain they have mostly been christened at church, and mostly will be buried in the churchyard,—married—no ill such an unimportant affair as David acts on commercial principles, prefers the cheapest article. That is. according to the author, they go before the Regis- trar. Whv this sneer? If Welshmen do not worship at church, is there any reason why thev should be married there ? I presume they obey the law of England when they are married at the Registrar's office; and, are not their own chapels largely licenced for the observance of matrimony ? And is not the blessing of a Presbyterian minister— chosen by the worshippers—as holy in the sight of God as that of the clergyman—chosen by the State? And have not the Welsh dissenters a perfect right to the nil tonal graveyards? When Mr Osborne Morgan's bill cimes again before Parliament, who is to gainsay it? Nay, have not Welsh dissenters even a right to use the parish churches themselves for their worship on one portion of the Lord's Day ? What right, I ask, has the writer in a, magazine hailing from a Presbyterian nation, to assert that it is only from an unworthy motive that a Welsh Presbvterian does not get married in church? Then the writer describes the Plygain' as an unruly flffair-a mixture of all sorts of songs, glees, and carols If such is the case, what is the clergyman doing, and where are the laws against brawling in church ? No, my readers, the tale may be a clever tale, or it may be a highly absurd one. Of this I have nothing to say, but I do call upon the conductors of a popular magazine, pub- lished in Presbyterian Scotland, to say where Llandanog is, who is its coroner, and who its parson ? It will be idle to say, Oh, Winning Hazard is only a novel dashed off to amuse. Llandanog is an imaginary place, and nothing personal was intended." We know all that, but the route is si described that we know the scene must be laid in Carnarvonshire or Denbighshire and the manners and customs of a nation—a small one—are professedly photographed. For the benefit of the author I will transcribe some extracts from a juster estimate of Welsh- men, by one who knows them better, which appeared in a more popular periodical than even Chambers's Journal. I refer to the racy address^Punch to Wales,' which appeared last autumn — I went to Taffy's house, Several things I saw, Cleanliness and godliness, Obedience to the law. He goes to chapel regular And sends his boys to school. If all Victoria's subjects Were half as good as thou, Victoria's subjects would kick up Ulicommon little row. And Punch, incarnate justice, Intends henceforth to lick All who shall scorn or sneer at you, You jolly little brick Let Chambers's Journal borrow a page from Punch and in its next number, do 'Justice to Wales The foregoing has put another InjustiCè to Wales into my head. We have had a good deal of talk of late years about 'Welsh Bishops for Welsh sees,'and this has always seemed to me rather a Sentimental grievance. Welshmen don't want Bishops,—indeed for mv own part I don't know who does want them. And if they are a necessity for Wales it can only he felt by the Clergy, and these all speak English A Bishop's revenues could certainly be better employed in the Principality than in the way they are devoted, but this is not mv grievance just now. An old and honoured Welshman (Mr Johnes) has just retired from the bench as County Court judge for Mid Wales, and an Englishman has been appointed to succeed him. I have nothing to say against Mr Serjeant Tindal Atkin- son. He would, doubtless, make an excellent County Court jllrle-for an English circuit. It is a mistake to appoint him in Wales. In a series of letters I wrote some time back to a London paper I pointed out how unjustly English critics condemned Welsh juries, by shewing that, really, in manv cases, the jurymen did not understand the language the Bar and the Bench talked in And I gave an instance—an instance, curiously enough, occurring in one of the most English towns of Wales, and one in which Mr Atkinson will have to hold his court. I refer to New- town. The late Mr Justice Crompton was holding an assize, and the jurymen were chiefly from Llangurig. The case (a nisi prius one) was complicated, and it required the closest attention from, perhaps, brighter men than some of the jury, to follow its windings. An unmistak- able snore from the box attracted his lordship's attention, and he thundered out, "Wake that juryman!" "It dunna matter, my Lordship," said the next man in the box, he canna understand a word of English The judge appealed to the High Sheriff, when it was discovered that five of the jurymen were unable to follow the English of the court, at all, and, doubtless there was another five who could only do so imperfectly. Of course had the jury stumbled on a foolish verdict, the English press would have resounded with "A Welsh jury, again!" and the like. Perhaps it is too much to expect that we should have Superior judges who talk Welsh, but in a County Court it is absolutely necessary, if justice is to be done, or who is to watch over the interests of, professionally, un- protected suitors December 31, 1870.



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