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by a circuitous inland way. Still, one as regularly as I espied them in front cart passed me in the broad lowlands of me. beneath Rhiw. It contained three ser- I had the luck to be in Aberdaron vant-maids and a red-haired man with during the spring hiring-day. This a protrusive beard which betokened his great domestic festival - or otherwise ancient lineage. To the wise this indi- took place at Sarn, a market village cated hiring-time. So in effect it was. six miles away. It upset the economy The girls were changing their “mis- of a multitude of homes far and wide. suses," and seemed finely elated about From an early hour the lanes were it. At the invitation of the man I thick with flighty young women who mounted a large tin box in the rear of had given their mistresses notice, and the cart for a short rest. The box, meant to lease themselves out for the however, was grievously aslant, the coming six months at largely enhanced road was strewn with new stones, and wages; with carts containing farmers the quadruped trotted clankingly. Ten and their wives in quest of servants minutes of this exercise more than and farm hands; and with loose-limbed sufficed. Once I was constrained to men in black carrying boses under clutch at the neck of the nearest maid their arms which held all their worldly to keep myself from going, and all the kit, and which, with themselves, they while I had to hold on grimly to the were anxious to transfer to a new edge of the box. They laughed rarely régime. The fair sex without excepwhen I at length slid off and panto- tion were imposingly attired. I canuot mimically signified both my thanks and say they were dressed up to date. the discomfort their civility had occa- They told me in Aberdaron at the milsioned to me. But I caught them up linery shop that the servant-girls of the at the Rhiw Hill, where the woods district do not care for a fashion until looking seawards were blue with lya- it is two or three years old, somewhat cinths, and in which cuckoo and thrush crusted in fact. But there was seemed to be vying with each other in doubting their taste in bonnets. They sweet suggestive song. A squirrel also wore them as large nearly as the narran up an elm-tree by my side and rowness of the district lanes would shook his pretty tail in deliance or permit. Seen in the Sarn market-place appreciation of me.
the damsels were suggestive of nothOne is astonished at the amount ing so much as a grove of palm-trees of population this headland supports. with rather short trunks. Land's End in Cornwall is desolation The evening of this important day to it. True, there are not here two or was devoted to revelry of a kind scanthree hotels, each claiming to be the dalous to the stricter Welsh people. first and last in England. But tiny There was a slip of a circus in the homesteads, dot the uneven land high village, and some gingerbread stalls. up the hills which finally close the These, with beer, made up a gala occapeninsula with their abrupt reddish sion of a very emphatic kind. The cliffs laved by the blue sea. They are carts reeled home through the night. queer, prim little dwellings, with neat Their noise and that of their occupants enclosed lields around them and banked awoke me several times during the walls between, so broad that the people dark hours. And the next day those use their summits as thoroughfares, of the servant-girls who had got their even as the dogs of the district use wages in advance (a five-pound note them for perches whence to assail the or so for the half-year) trooped into stranger when in the mood. These the village aud indulged themselves eno Welsh dogs are unmannerly brutes. masse with new gowns and bonnets. One of them speedily tore out In my innocence I had hoped that mouthful from my knickerbockers, the peninsula world would abound in and the precedent once established, I Welsh women wearing their ancestral came to expect an attack from then sugar-loaf hats. No such thing. Even
the most old-fashioned of crones here heavily homewards to satisfy nature's would have elevated ber nose at the cravings, resolved, however, to return idea. At the willinery shop there to the churchyard as soon as possible were none such on view, though at my for digestive purposes. request they searched a loft to which It is a tranquillizing little place, the dregs of the market long, long ago quaint and secluded rather than beautihad been ignominiously consigned, ful. Yet its sands are of the right kiod and thence they brought two mouroful for children, with fantastic red boulders time-stained bats a foot and a half embedded in them, and, in a southerly high. The people of the house laughed wind, with substantial waves bowling at the things much as you or I might after each other into the bay.. Its ridicule a Cromwellian leathern jacket. dearth of social diversion is only wbat The words “ Paris make” inscribed you would expect. That accounts for within seemed to fully entitle the hats the otherwise culpable manner in which to all the scoffs they excited.
the people lounge from door to door in Life in Aberdaron cannot claim to be quest of morsels of piquant gossip. furious in pace at any time. The two Much of this gossip came to my ears score white houses of the village seem while I lodged at the millinery shop. to bob-a-nob amiably, though in a It was transparently trivial for the most drowsy manner.. It is the same with part: about the approaching death of the villagers themselves. They keep a some old inhabitant, or the near advent few.boats, three or four public houses, of a new inhabitant; the brisk interand as many shops. These last are for change of ill words between two ladies, the seduction of the people from the mistresses of adjacent houses ; or the country round, who sidle hither at all absurdity of the bonnets in which the hours of the day for a spell of dolce far two twelve-year-old Owen girls (just niente or some beer. There is a ven- out to service) had invested on the erable church hard by the sands of the strength of their hire-money. There bay ; indeed, it is held to be about the was also, as there was bound to be, no oldest building of the kind in Wales. small amount of undisguised flirtation Its aisle-walls are pleasantly decorated between the swarthy young men with with coffin-plates. In its churchyard, rings in their ears and the somewhat which has been picked at by the spring pretty girl who kept the millinery shop. lides much as little boys and girls Swarthy young men with rings in their "sample » the loaves for which their ears ought not to want articles of milparents send them to the bakers’ shops, | linery, but they seemed to. And while
a number of elegant slate monu- | I sat in my dusty parlor — with divers mental slabs, vertical and recumbent. stiff, uninteresting, clerical gentlemen Upon these the more reflective (and on the walls — quite late of an even, perhaps poetical) of the villagers love ing, these lazy young seafaring fellow's to recline while they pass spasmodic cracked their jokes with the girl till the remarks. Their eyes roam over the laughter became loud enough to distract confined waters of their little bay, with me. I dare say the maiden was well the steep cliffs of Pen-y-kil away to the endowed with lact. At any rate, she right. Thus they spend agreeable if came to see me periodically, and told, inactive hours, moving their quids from with deep sighs, of the weariness of one corner of their mouths to the other. spirit the young men and their inanily Their wives and daughters may be brought upon her. For all that, I have heard bustling about with pots and little doubt she will marry one of them pans and basins in the back yards of some day. the cottages behind them. At times In at least one respect I was foolislı the women break into shrill song. The ere exiling myself at the toe of the waves and the wind are an accompani- Lleyn. I carried with me no more ment to it. And when dinner is ready cigars than my case held. These went the gentle idlers among the tombs lurch in a day. Then I made such an outcry
for more that the village was requisi- | towards nightfall when I had had a tioned for cigars. The millinery girl surfeit of the cliffs and gorse hills and conjured her swarthy friends to see if primrosy lanes of the neighborhood. I they liadn't a box or two of "smuggled vever heard so many larks sing at smokes » in their houses. The inns, ouce as here, over the fields east of the too, were searched. But it was to no hills which end the peninsula. I never purpose.
Aberdaron does not favor smelt so sweet an open-air perfume as cigars. It likes a black sort of tobacco that from the hyacinths on the sloping with a very strong smell, and so cheap meadows under the lee of the great that I am ashamed to mention the turf walls which here divide property price. To this I was compelled to turn from property. I will not say I never my attention. A pair of simple un- saw fairer prospects than that from the waxed clay pipes were provided at the Anelwog Mountain (some seven same time. I am somewhat infatuated eight hundred feet high) whiclı falls with nicotine, but the precipitously towards the western sea
a ; strength of my infatuation more se- but it would not be gross exaggeration verely tried. I smoked myself into a if I did say so. Thus the three noblest series of mad headaches, and wondered of the senses were satiated ; this, too, what the brains and stomachs of the under a warm May sky, with caressing Welshmen of the peniusula could be zephyrs from the Atlantic, and a pleasmade of.
urable feeling that, had I tried ever so, Further, I had few books with me I could hardly anywhere in the realm by no means enough to carry through have got more effectually away from: the evenings of my stay. This cast me "the madding crowd” without crossupon the local literature even as I was ivg the sea. tbrown upon the local tobacco. The Was it a wonder that when I had majority of the books that were offered made myself drowsy with the scented me were in Welsh. But also there air, and had seen the sun vanish bewere divers volumes of sermons in neath the transfigured Atlautic, I was English by a famous Keltic Calvivist. not in the humor to find fault inordiThese were fine reading for wet, stormy nately with poor little Aberdaron for nights. Were I of a more convertible lacking theatres and concert-halls disposition thau I am, I should have for being, in short, the vacuous, sombeen won by the preacher's eloquence nolent little village it is? to a complete assurance that I had not But another object of interest must two chances in a thousand of escaping be mentioned. From Anelwog, and eternal damnation after death. The much more from the extreme cliffs of odds are long, but they seemed to me Braich-y-Pwll, Bardsey seems very near enough, sinner though I am.
to the mainland. It really is only about Add to these comparative depriva- two miles from Braich-y-Pwll. But tions the fact that there are no French there is no port here. From Abercooks in Aberdaron, and that my meals daron the island is about five miles were eked out methodically between of roughish current, which very little cges and bacon, tea, bad beer, and the wind makes the mariners of the village potted contents of the general store of shake their wise heads at. the village, and you might suppose I
It is rather a sacred and mysterious was not at all happy, but was rather of little isle, this of Bardsey. I had been my own free will suffering penance led to believe its inhabitants were as for some notable misdeed.
irreproachable as if they were in ParaThat, however, were a very erro- dise. This illusion was dispelled one
view of the matter. Even evening. A sudden noise of voices Aberdaron and its roughnesses were broke into the house from the domestic entertaining – for a time. But Aberda- not the shop — entrance. The shrill ron was only the stake to which I had tones of women clashed with the deep tied my tether, and to which I reverted land very thick, broken utterances of a
man. They talked, or rather clamored, | question, there is a measure of truth in Welsh, so I had no conception what it. The ruins of the abbey at this day was in the wind. Curiosity was not to are a witness to the importance of the be resisted. I left my room and saw little island many centuries ago. The my pretty milliner, her mother, and the abbey has been associated with Dubrimaidservant all heavily impelling up cius, Archbishop of Caerleon, who died the narrow stairs an aged man whose in Bardsey in A.D. 522. Rather less white hair tossed almost to his shoul- than a hundred years later occurred ders, and whose semi-circle of snowy that outrage by King Ethelred upon whiskers and beard made him look like the monks of Bangor-is-coed in FlintMosesor Abraham in the picture- shire, which seems to have spread books. The man was loth to ascend, panic among the Christians of the and resisted. But the women all had northern part of the principality. him hard in the small of the back and These disestablished believers fled to declined to give way. Thus they urged Anglesey in thousands. Many of their him to the first floor and into a bed- names are preserved for us in the chamber, where he collapsed immedi- names of the churches which ately upon a bed. They locked the ceeded the remote hermitages in which door and left him, heedless of his they ensconced themselves. Llanmonstrous cries for a supper to consist flewyn, Llanbeulan, Llanrhwydrys, of roast beef, porridge, and tea. etc., are but the churches of Flewyn,
This was a Bardsey islander over for Beulan, Rhwydrys – holy men who the day, or the week, as the weather never expected thus to go down the might please. He was a relation of the avenue of time memorialized for posshop, but had spent his best hours at terity. But the monks also fled down one of the inds. This same venerable the Carnarvon Peninsula, striving to reveller astonished me on the stairs the get as far as possible from the cruel next morning by greeting me civilly in hands of the pagan marauders. They English, and wondering (in a dubious were stopped temporarily by the redmanner) if he could have a soda-and- dish cliffs of Braich-y-Pwll. brandy. They sent him up a teacupful On a level plateau of grass and of milk instead.
heather here where the land looks Bardsey is the property of Lord towards Bardsey, only two miles away Newborough, who owns so much terri- (though with a strong tide between), tory in the north-west of Wales. It is and about a hundred and fifty feet a possession full of honor, if we are above the sea, there may still be disto believe the accepted tradition that cerned the outline of an embanked twenty thousand saints lie buried in it. enclosure within which buildings forThe lord of the isle has erected a mon- merly existed. This locally goes by unent to their memory in the precincts the name of Eglwys Fair, or Our of the old ruined abbey ; nor does he Lady's Chapel. That is all that tradireduce the number of them by a single tion tells us on the subject. It may one. At first sight you might doubt have been a chapel like those so comthe island's ability to hold the bones of mon in the south of Europe on marine 50
many mortals ; but really it has a headlands beacons of hope and circumference of about three miles, safety for Christian sailors; or merely which, manifestly, may suffice. The a place of pilgrimage. But also it may modern islanders are, as they ought to have been founded and supported by be, a byword of integrity and sobriety those exiled "religious " from Bangor. at home ; but perhaps it is a pity the is-coed en route for Bardsey. It is righteous influence of their native place enough that it is there. We may frame does not cling to them more effectually various interesting conjectures about when they are away from it.
it. For my part, I would fain imagine This legend of Bardsey's saints de- that the chapel of Our Lady of Braich, mands explicit recognition. Out of y-Pwll had a considerable existence
and was incorporated with a wonas- on the ocean that has endeared itself tery ; and, further, that after the death to them. You would expect these of the successive inmates, they were superannuated mariners to be rather forried over the food to their last rest- beedless of the dangers attendant upon ing-place in Bardsey. It is quite cred- the sea and its currents. In the Faroe ible that a thousand or two of the Islands and elsewhere there is an anBangor-is-coed monks and their Chris- nual and relatively large mortality due tian Hock sheltered and died in the to storms and capsizes. But here at island, even though common sense Bardsey years pass and there is no puts the question, “How could they death from natural or accidental causes. exist here ere they died ?” With the The islanders are not to be bribed to dead bodies of these Christians and cross to Aberdaron or from Aberdaron tliose of the monastery of Our Lady of when the weather is risky. A soverBraich-y-Pwll we may readily justify eign or two more or less can make but the later chroniclers (who were seldom little difference to their material prosgood at arithmetic) in telling of the perity, and they seem sufficiently philotwenty thousand Bardsey saints. sophic to perceive it. Much more to
Thus may be explained this unique their taste is it to stand at the doors of cliaracteristic of the little island. The their cottages and prattle about past subject has been provocative of a host times. These travelled ones talk very of scoffs — so much so that the island- passable English, though they interers themselves have given up defend-lard it with Welsh mannerisms which ing their country's reputation in the may well make the Londoner smile. matter and shake their heads with the They have adventures enough to remajority. But it does not deserve to late about storms and fanatic foreignbe smothered in ridicule as a mere ers ; nor does it signify overmuch that lying tale.
they strain at the long-bow to excite The modern folk of Bardsey cannot the interest of the ladies. There is but be influenced more or less by the something taking about the hard-feahalo that is about their land. They tured but placid old fellows, with their are a simple, law-abiding community lurching gait, fluent if rather labored the women in particular being engag- speech, and their simple clay pipes in ingly ignorant about events in the which they smoke the disagreeable great world of which they are a part, black tobacco of the mainland. though a small one. They have not I hope this little paper may have much to commend them to admiration shown, as I meant it to show, that externally. Constant exposure gives with all its crudity and defects the them very tawny complexions, and Lleyn is not at all a bad place for a though they have strength they have holiday. It certainly affords in full few of the graces that on the mainland measure those two best features of a often accompany strength. They are profitable change of residence : novelty thick - limbed, heavy - featured, and and a good air. In summer one can rather dull to the eye. But all this is endure with smiles a certain amount of scant account to their discredit in of discomfort. Moreover, I doubt not comparison with the liomely virtues I have made more of the failings of that are certainly theirs. A person of the Lleyn folk than I need have done ; experience could recognize them at a while, on the other hand, a keener or glance as inhabitants of a remote island. more amiable visitor would probably
Among the men, not a few have (liscover in them a variety of virtues travelled far and wide as sailors and which the casual stranger does not disfisherfolk ere settling down on this cern in them. sorse-clad rock. They find the island I walked to Aberdaron from Pwllheli, thoroughly congenial. It is a sort of but returned by the coach.
This was compromise for them. They are an amusingly odd final experience of dry land, and yet it is as if they were the ways of life in the peninsula. We