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IT was late in the autumn of 1841 that we finally bade adieu to Kington and the wild but not very picturesque Radnorshire mountains for the more varied and interesting county of Glamorgan. I have no distinct recollection of our journey, but I believe it was by coach through Hay and Brecon to Merthyr Tydvil, and thence by chaise to Neath. One solitary example of the rhyming letters I used to write has been preserved, giving my younger brother Herbert an account of our journey, of the country, and of our work, of which, though very poor doggerel, a sample may be given. After a few references to family matters, I proceed to description.

"From Kington to this place we came
By many a spot of ancient fame,
But now of small renown,

O'er many a mountain dark and drear,
And vales whose groves the parting year
Had tinged with mellow brown;

And as the morning sun arose
New beauties round us to disclose,

We reached fair Brecon town;

Then crossed the Usk, my native stream,

A river clear and bright,

Which showed a fair and much-lov'd scene
Unto my lingering sight."

We had to go to Glamorganshire to partially survey and make a corrected map of the parish of Cadoxton-juxtaNeath, which occupies the whole northern side of the Neath valley from opposite the town of Neath to the boundary of

the county at Pont-Nedd-Fychan, a distance of nearly fifteen miles, with a width varying from two to three miles, the boundary running for the most part along the crest of the mountains that bound the valley on the north-west. We lodged and boarded at a farmhouse called Bryn-coch (Red Hill), situated on a rising ground about two miles north of the town. The farmer, David Rees, a rather rough, stout Welshman, was also bailiff of the Duffryn estate. His wife could not speak a word of English, but his two daughters spoke it very well, with the pretty rather formal style of those who have first learnt it at school. Here we stayed more than a year, living plainly but very well, and enjoying the luxuries of home-made bread, fresh butter and eggs, unlimited milk and cream, with cheese made from a mixture of cow's and sheep's milk, having a special flavour, which I soon got very fond of. In this part of Wales it is the custom to milk the ewes chiefly for the purpose of making this cheese, which is very much esteemed. Another delicacy we first became acquainted with here was the true Welsh flummery, called here "sucan blawd" (steeped meal), in other places "Llumruwd" (sour sediment), whence our English word "flummery." It is formed of the husks of the oatmeal roughly sifted out, soaked in water till it becomes sour, then strained and boiled, when it forms a pale brown sub-gelatinous mass, usually eaten with abundance of new milk. It is a very delicious and very nourishing food, and frequently forms the supper in farmhouses. Most people get very fond of it, and there is no dish known to English cookery that is at all like it; but I believe the Scotch "sowens is a similar or identical preparation. This dish, with thin oatmeal cakes, home-made cheese, bacon, and sometimes hung beef, with potatoes and greens, and abundance of good milk, form the usual diet of the Welsh peasantry, and is certainly a very wholesome and nourishing combination. We, however, had also two other kinds of bread, both excellent, especially when made from new wheat. One was the ordinary huge loaves of farmhouse bread, the other what was called backstone bread-large flat cakes about a foot in diameter and an inch

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thick, baked over the fire on a large circular iron plate (formerly on a stone or slate, hence the name "bakestone" or "backstone"). This is excellent, either split open and buttered when hot, or the next day cut edgeways into slices of bread-and-butter, a delicacy fit for any lady's afternoon tea.

A little rocky stream bordered by trees and bushes ran through the farm, and was one of my favourite haunts. There was one little sequestered pool about twenty feet long into which the water fell over a ledge about a foot high. This pool was seven or eight feet deep, but shallowed at the further end, and thus formed a delightful bathing-place. Ever since my early escape from drowning at Hertford, I had been rather shy of the water, and had not learned to swim; but here the distance was so short that I determined to try, and soon got to enjoy it so much that every fine warm day I used to go and plunge head first off my ledge and swim in five or six strokes to the shallow water. In this very limited sphere of action I gained some amount of confidence in the water, and afterwards should probably have been able to swim a dozen or twenty yards, so as to reach the bank of a moderate-sized river, or sustain myself till some neighbouring boat came to my assistance. But I have never needed even this moderate amount of effort to save my life, and have never had either the opportunity or inclination to become a practised swimmer. This was partly due to a physical deficiency which I was unable to overcome. My legs are unusually long for my height, and the bones are unusually large. The result is that they persistently sink in the water, bringing me into a nearly vertical position, and their weight renders it almost impossible to keep my mouth above water. This is the case even in salt water, and being also rather deficient in strength of muscle, I became disinclined to practise what I felt to be beyond my powers.

The parish being so extensive we had to stay at many different points for convenience of the survey, and one of these was about five miles up the Dulais valley, where we stayed at a small beershop in the hamlet of Crynant. I was

often here alone for weeks together, and saw a good deal of the labourers and farmers, few of whom could speak any English. The landlady here brewed her own beer in very primitive fashion in a large iron pot or cauldron in the washhouse, and had it ready for sale in a few days—a rather thick and sweetish liquor, but very palatable. The malt and hops were bought in small quantities as wanted, and brewing took place weekly, or even oftener, when there was a brisk demand.

In my bedroom there was a very large old oak chest, which I had not taken the trouble to look in, and one morning very early I heard my door open very slowly and quietly. I wondered what was coming. A man came in, cautiously looking to see if I was asleep. I wondered if he was a robber or a murderer, but lay quite still. He moved very slowly to the big chest, lifted the lid, put in his arm, groped about a little, and then drew out a large piece of hung beef! The chest contained a large quantity bedded in oatmeal. My mind was relieved, and I slept on till breakfast time.

A young Englishman who was a servant in a gentleman's house near used to come to the beershop occasionally, and would sometimes give me local information or interpret for me with the landlady when no one else was at home. He seemed to speak Welsh quite fluently, yet to my great astonishment he told me he had only been in Wales three or four months, and could not read or write. He said he picked up the language by constantly talking to the people, and I have noticed elsewhere that persons who are thus illiterate learn languages by ear with great rapidity. It no doubt arises from the fact that, having no other mental occupations and no means of acquiring information but through conversation, their whole mental capacities are concentrated on the one object of learning to speak to the people. Some natural faculty of verbal memory must no doubt exist, but when this is present in even a moderate degree the results are often very striking. Somewhat analogous cases are those of teaching the deaf and dumb the gesture language, lip-reading, and even articulate speech which they cannot themselves hear, and the still more marvellous cases of Laura Bridgman

and Helen Keller, in which was added blindness, so that the sense of touch was alone available for receiving ideas. The effect in developing the mind and enabling the sufferers to live full, contented, and even happy lives has been most marvellous, and give us a wonderful example of the capacity of the mind for receiving the most abstract ideas through one sense alone. Such persons, without proper training, would be in danger of becoming idiotic or insane from the absence of all materials on which to exercise the larger portion of their higher mental faculties. It is observed that, when first being taught the connection of arbitrary signs with objects, they are docile but apathetic, not in the least understanding the purport of the training. But after a time, when they perceive that they are acquiring a means of communicating their own wishes and even ideas to others, and receiving ideas and knowledge of the outer world from them, their whole nature seems transformed, and the acquisition and extension of this knowledge becomes the great object and the great pleasure of their lives. It seems to occupy all their thoughts and employ all their faculties, and they make an amount of progress which astonishes their teachers and seems quite incredible to persons ordinarily constituted. It gives them, in fact, what every one needs, some useful or enjoyable occupation for body and mind, and is almost equivalent to furnishing them with the faculties they have lost. A similar explanation may be given of the comparatively rapid acquisition by the deaf and dumb of those difficult arts-lipreading by watching the motion of the lips and face of the speaker, and intelligible speech by imitating the motions during speech of the lips, tongue, and larynx by using a combination of vision and touch. These give them new means of communication with their fellows, and their whole mental powers are therefore devoted to their acquisition. It is a new employment for their minds, equivalent to a new and very interesting game for children, and under such conditions learning becomes one of their greatest pleasures. The same principle applies to the rapid acquisition of a new language by the illiterate. Being debarred from reading and

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