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I have already (in chap. xi.) described one of the curious “standing stones” near the source of the Llia river, but there is a still more interesting example about a mile and a half north-west of Ystrad-fellte, where the old Roman road— the Saru Helen—crosses over the ridge between the Nedd and the Llia valleys. This is a tall, narrow stone, roughly quadrilateral, on one of the faces of which there is a rudely inscribed Latin inscription, as seen in the photograph, and in copy of the letters given opposite. It reads as follows:—
DERVACI FILIUS JUSTI IC IACIT
meaning [The body] of Dervacus the son of Justus lies here. It will be seen that the letters D, A, and I in Dervaci, and the T and I in Justi are inverted or reversed, probably indicating that the cutting was done by an illiterate workman, who placed them as most convenient when working on an erect stone. The stone itself is probably British, and was utilized as a memorial of a Roman soldier who died near the place. One of our most memorable excursions was in June, 1846, when I and my brother spent the night in this water-cave. I wanted to go again to the top of the Beacons to see if I could find any rare beetles there, and also to show my brother the waterfalls and other beauties of the upper valley. Starting after an early breakfast we walked to Pont-neddfychan, and then turned up the western branch to the Rocking Stone, a large boulder of millstone-grit resting on a nearly level surface, but which by a succession of pushes with one hand can be made to rock considerably. It was here I obtained one of the most beautiful British beetles, Trichius fasciatus, the only time I ever captured it. We then went on to the Gladys and Einon Gam falls; then, turning back followed up the river Nedd for some miles, crossed over to the cavern, and then on to Ystrad-fellte, where we had supper and spent the night, having walked leisurely about eighteen or twenty miles. The next morning early we proceeded up the valley to the highest farm on the Dringarth, then struck across the mountain to the road from Hirwain to Brecon, which we followed to the bridge over the Taff, and then turned off towards the Beacons, the weather being perfect. It was a delightful walk, on a gradual slope of fifteen hundred feet in a mile and a half, with a little steeper bit at the end, and the small overhanging cap of peat at the summit, as already described in chapter xi. I searched over it for beetles, which were, however, very scarce, and we then walked along the ridge to the second and higher triangular summit, peeped with nervous dread on my part over the almost perpendicular precipice towards Brecon, noted the exact correspondence in slope of the two peat summits, and then back to the ridge and a little way down the southern slope to where a tiny spring trickles out—the highest source of the river Taff—and there, lying on the soft mountain turf, enjoyed our lunch and the distant view over valley and mountain to the faint haze of the British Channel. We then returned to the western summit, took a final view of the grand panorama around us, and bade farewell to the beautiful mountain, the summit of which neither of us visited again, though I have since been very near it. We took nearly the same route back, had a substantial tea at the little inn at Ystrad-fellte, and then, about seven o'clock, walked down to the cave to prepare our quarters for the night. I think we had both of us at this time determined, if possible, to go abroad into more or less wild countries, and we wanted for once to try sleeping out-of-doors, with no shelter or bed but what nature provided.
Just inside the entrance of the cave there are slopes of water-worn rock and quantities of large pebbles and boulders, and here it was quite dry, while farther in, where there were patches of smaller stones and sand, it was much colder and quite damp, so our choice of a bed was limited to rock or boulders. We first chose a place for a fire, and then searched for sufficient dead or dry wood to last us the night. This took us a good while, and it was getting dusk before we lit our fire. We then sat down, enjoying the flicker of the flame on the roof of the cavern, the glimmer of the stars through the trees outside, and the gentle murmur of the little river beside us. After a scanty supper we tried to find a place