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The scenes of our childhood.
We found Mr. Griffiths not at home; but the provisions were good. Mr. Griffiths came home the next day. He married a lady who has a house and estate at [Llanver], over against Anglesea, and near Caernarvon, where she is more disposed, as it seems, to reside than at Bryn o dol.
I read Lloyd's account of Mona, which he proves to be Anglesea.
In our way to Bryn o dol, we saw at Llanerk a Church built crosswise, very spacious and magnificent for this country. We could not see the Parson, and could get no intelligence about it.
We went to see Bodville. Mrs. Thrale remembered the rooms, and wandered over them with recollection of her childhood. This species of pleasure is always melancholy. The walk was cut down, and the pond was dry. Nothing was better'.
We surveyed the Churches, which are mean, and neglected to a degree scarcely imaginable. They have no pavement, and the earth is full of holes. The seats are rude benches; the Altars have no rails. One of them has a breach in the roof. On the desk, I think, of each lay a folio Welsh Bible of the black letter, which the curate cannot easily read2.
'Johnson described in 1762 his disappointment on his return to Lichfield. Ante, i. 429.
2 'It was impossible not to laugh at the patience Doctor Johnson shewed, when a Welsh parson of mean abilities, though a good heart, struck with reverence at the sight of Dr. Johnson, whom he had heard of as the greatest man living, could not find any words to answer his inquiries concerning a motto round somebody's arms which adorned a tomb-stone in Ruabon churchyard. If I remember right, the words
Heb Dw, Heb Dym,
Dw o' diggon.
And though of no very difficult construction, the gentleman seemed wholly confounded, and unable to explain them; till Mr. Johnson, having picked out the meaning by little and little, said to the man, "Heb is a preposition, I believe, Sir, is it not?" My countryman recovering some spirits upon the sudden question, cried out, "So I V.-33 Mr. Thrale
The scenes of our childhood.
Mr. Thrale purposes to beautify the Churches, and if he prospers, will probably restore the tithes. The two parishes are, Llangwinodyl and Tydweilliog'. The Methodists are here very prevalent. A better church will impress the people with more reverence of publick worship.
Mrs. Thrale visited a house where she had been used to drink milk, which was left, with an estate of two hundred pounds a year, by one Lloyd, to a married woman who lived with him.
We went to Pwllheli, a mean old town, at the extremity of the country. Here we bought something, to remember the place.
We returned to Caernarvon, where we ate with Mrs. Wynne.
We visited, with Mrs. Wynne, Llyn Badarn and Llyn Beris, two lakes, joined by a narrow strait. They are formed by the waters which fall from Snowdon and the opposite mountains. On the side of Snowdon are the remains of a large fort, to which we climbed with great labour. I was breathless and harassed. The Lakes have no great breadth, so that the boat is always near one bank or the other.
Note. Queeny's goats, one hundred and forty-nine, I think'.
humbly presume, Sir," very comically.' Piozzi's Anec. p. 238. The Welsh words, which are the Myddelton motto, mean, Without God, without all. God is all-sufficient.' Piozzi MS. Croker's Boswell, p. 423. In 1809 the whole income for Llangwinodyl, including surplice fees, amounted to forty-six pounds two shillings and twopence, and for Tydweilliog, forty-three pounds nineteen shillings and tenpence; so that it does not appear that Mr. Thrale carried into effect his good intention. DUPPA.
2 Mr. Thrale was near-sighted, and could not see the goats browsing on Snowdon, and he promised his daughter, who was a child of ten years old, a penny for every goat she would shew him, and Dr. Johnson kept the account; so that it appears her father was in debt to her one hundred and forty-nine pence. Queeny was the epithet, which had its origin in the nursery, by which Miss Thrale was always disAUGUST 27.
We returned to Bangor, where Mr. Thrale was lodged at Mr. Roberts's, the Register.
We went to worship at the Cathedral. The quire is mean, the service was not well read.
We came to Mr. Myddelton's, of Gwaynynog, to the first place, as my Mistress observed, where we have been welcome.
Note. On the day when we visited Bodville, we turned to the house of Mr. Griffiths, of Kefnamwycllh, a gentleman of large fortune, remarkable for having made great and sudden improvements in his seat and estate. He has enclosed a large garden with a brick wall. He is considered as a man of great accomplishments. He was educated in literature at the University, and served some time in the army, then quitted his commission, and retired to his lands. He is accounted a good man, and endeavours to bring the people to church.
In our way from Bangor to Conway, we passed again the new road upon the edge of Penmaen Mawr, which would be very tremendous, but that the wall shuts out the idea of danger. In the wall are several breaches, made, as Mr. Thrale very reasonably conjectures, by fragments of rocks which roll down the mountain, broken perhaps by frost, or worn through by rain.
tinguished by Johnson. DUPPA. Her name was Esther. The allusion was to Queen Esther. Johnson often pleasantly mentions her in his letters to her mother. Thus on July 27, 1780, he writes:-' As if I might not correspond with my Queeney, and we might not tell one another our minds about politicks or morals, or anything else. Queeney and I are both steady and may be trusted; we are none of the giddy gabblers, we think before we speak.' Piozzi Letters, ii. 169. Four days later he wrote: Tell my pretty dear Queeney, that when we meet again, we will have, at least for some time, two lessons in a day. I love her and think on her when I am alone; hope we shall be very happy together and mind our books.' 1b. p. 173
We then viewed Conway.
To spare the horses at Penmaen Rhôs, between Conway and St. Asaph, we sent the coach over the road across the mountain with Mrs. Thrale, who had been tired with a walk sometime before; and I, with Mr. Thrale and Miss, walked along the edge, where the path is very narrow, and much encumbered by little loose stones, which had fallen down, as we thought, upon the way since we passed it before.
At Conway we took a short survey of the Castle, which afforded us nothing new. It is larger than that of Beaumaris, and less than that of Caernarvon. It is built upon a rock so high and steep, that it is even now very difficult of access. We found a round pit, which was called the Well; it is now almost filled, and therefore dry. We found the Well in no other castle. There are some remains of leaden pipes at Caernarvon, which, I suppose, only conveyed water from one part of the building to another. Had the garrison had no other supply, the Welsh, who must know where the pipes were laid, could easily have cut them.
We came to the house of Mr. Myddelton, (on Monday,) where we staid to September 6, and were very kindly entertained. How we spent our time, I am not very able to tell'. We saw the wood, which is diversified and romantick.
SEPTEMBER 4, SUNDAY.
We dined with Mr. Myddelton, the clergyman, at Denbigh, where I saw the harvest-men very decently dressed, after the afternoon service, standing to be hired. On other
See ante, iv. 486, for the inscription on an urn erected by Mr. Myddelton on the banks of a rivulet where Johnson delighted to stand and repeat verses.' On Sept. 18, 1777, Johnson wrote to Mrs. Thrale: - Mr. *****'s erection of an urn looks like an intention to bury me alive; I would as willingly see my friend, however benevolent and hospitable, quietly inurned. Let him think for the present of some more acceptable memorial,' Piozzi Letters, i. 371.
A visit to Dr. Worthington.
days, they stand at about four in the morning. They are hired from day to day.
We lay at Wrexham; a busy, extensive, and well built It has a very large and magnificent Church. It has a famous fair.
We came to Chirk Castle.
SEPTEMBER 8, THURSDAY.
We came to the house of Dr. Worthington', at Llanrhaiadr. Our entertainment was poor, though his house was not bad. The situation is very pleasant, by the side of a small river, of which the bank rises high on the other side, shaded by gradual rows of trees. The gloom, the stream, and the silence, generate thoughtfulness.
The town is old, and very mean, but has, I think, a market. In this house, the Welsh translation of the Old Testament was made. The Welsh singing Psalms were written by Archdeacon Price. They are not considered as elegant, but as very literal, and accurate.
We came to Llanrhaiadr, through Oswestry; a town not very little, nor very mean. The church, which I saw only at a distance, seems to be an edifice much too good for the present state of the place.
We visited the waterfall, which is very high, and in rainy weather very copious. There is a reservoir made to supply it. In its fall, it has perforated a rock. There is a room built for entertainment. There was some difficulty in climbing to a near view. Lord Lyttelton' came near it, and turned back.
Johnson wrote on Oct. 24, 1778:- My two clerical friends Darby and Worthington have both died this month. I have known Worthington long, and to die is dreadful. I believe he was a very good man.' Piozzi Letters, ii. 26.
* Thomas, the second Lord Lyttelton. DUPPA.