Page images
PDF
EPUB

bed, or not to be found; at another, the horses had been engaged all day, and were too much fatigued to stand any more work till morning; at a third, a fabulous sum was asked. There were six of us, including ladies; so that the hosts thought the detaining us worth an attempt. At last, tired out with our vain efforts to obtain the means for riding, we quietly informed our would-be entertainers that, as they could not let us have horses, we should walk, and set off to carry out the intention. We had not reached the Suspension Bridge, however, before a man came running in breathless eagerness to tell us he would take us. The preliminaries were now quickly arranged, and in a few minutes we were seated behind two very fine horses, and were rumbling over the bridge on our way to Llandudno.

The distance is only about four miles; but the glory of that ride none of us will ever forget. The moon was high in the heavens, round as young Norval's shield, and the tide was high in the bay ; the carriage-road crossed the bay, and, immediately after we had left the bridge, the horses were above their knees in the water. On they gallopped at a furious rate, churning the waves into foam, and dashing it over the carriage, to the dread of some of its inmates. The driver, who was not in the best of humours at his late ride, whipped away at the horses, and we were in no vein to bid him spare; so on they gallopped with splendid spirit, breaking up the moonlight-reflecting waves into myriads of beautiful tints and pictures of curious beauty. After leaving

a

the bay, the road is up and down in steep declivities, and frequently makes most abrupt turnings ; along them all the horses were hurried at their utmost speed, regardless of the entreaties of the timid fair ones, whose nerves were somewhat deranged by such a rough journey; but the driver knew so little English, or thought that a good fright was but a meet reward for those who had thus unceremoniously disturbed his repose, that he still whipped on, and the horses still dashed along with undiminished speed. And thus, after a very short time, we rattled up the stony streets of Llandudno, and heard the pleasant singing of the waters of the bay sound our welcome as we leaped out of the carriage, and dismissed the driver with a recognition which turned his sorry looks into a cheery smile, and his rough voice into a hearty, good-humoured, “Thank you.”

Llandudno is situated on the south-east side of the Great Orme's Head, and is one of the pleasantest watering-places in the country. Besides its rambles, which are many and beautiful, and the many retired bathingplaces which it affords, besides the hills which we are now about to climb, the walk from Llandudno to Conway along the waters of the bay, is one of the most delightful that can be imagined. Several times, ere we left the place, did we walk to and from Conway along the ordinary road, and once round the bay; and dearer or pleasanter rambles we have not often had.

ever visit Llandudno without going to Conway by the sea coast.

Next morning we made our ascent. The rock,

a

"

Let no

one

a

on.

a

whose extremity is called the Great Orme's Head, is almost two miles and a half in length ; and from its base extends a rich and fruitful vale, pleasant to look

The path is steep, but comparatively easy; and none but weak persons or invalids should ride. The carboniferous limestone of which it is composed affords a rare field of study for the geologist, and he would make many pauses in climbing to its summit. Nor will the lover of pleasant views make fewer; for almost every variety of beauty that can be crowded in a small space here greets the eye. You have hill and dale; tree-covered eminences and well-cultivated fields; wood and wild in constant change of grace and picturesque loveliness; which presents many aspects and arrangements of wonderful forms; here white and dazzling beneath a noon-day sun; here "a black, jagged, precipitous, and ebon mass;" here covered with grass, or ling, or gorse, as the case may be, but always equally pleasant, and cheerful, and cheering to the lover of nature. Then the stream, without which no landscape is quite perfect, adds its riches to the luxuriant endowments of the scene. Nor must we forget the one chief glory of the place, the mighty sea, rolling and foaming and sparkling away there far as the eye can reach. All these sights met our gaze as we slowly ascended the hill. There, as if it sprung right out of the sea, is the Little Orme's Head; and in the centre of the vale, standing in solitary grandeur, is the rock called Maelgwn. As you rise a little higher, you obtain a fine view of the thick wood, in the midst of which stands, attrac

a

[ocr errors]

tively for us, Bodscallem, the seat of the Mostyns; close to which is an old ruined tower, once, it is said, the observatory of Dyganwy Castle. Still rising, look at Conway Bay winding along, and observe how narrow the strip of land is which just prevents Llandudno from being what it once was, an island. If you have good sight and a fine day, you will also distinguish the grey towers of the castle distinct in the mist and the thick air which always hangs over a town, even though that town be an unmanufacturing Welsh one. Nor must you pass the mines without resting, and spending a few moments in seeing what they have to show. The mines are of copper, and are very rich. We had some talk with the miners, who were very communicative, and told us all about the method of working them. Before leaving them we had filled our pockets and handkerchiefs with some fine specimens of sulphur crystals, copper pyrites, and other productions of the mines, which will serve as remembrances of our joy, ous ramble. There is now but one good cone to climb. A path winds round it for those who prefer it; but we choose rather the swarded sides of the hill; so up we go, now running, now slowly toiling almost on all fours, now pausing to look around us, and once again to mark our progress and our height by the distance of the objects which we have marked on our ascent. One more pull, and here we are lying down on the green and turf-bedded top. And 0, what a sight surrounds us!

Alunost surrounding us is the sea, with its bound

[ocr errors]

less expanse of waters, dotted here and there by ships, which look like living creatures moving along in glory and in joy. To our minds one of the finest sights which ever met the eye is a ship at sea, with all her sails spread, and gliding so noiselessly on her destined journey. A little world is in every ship,-a world of hopes and fears, of joys and sorrows, of cares and lightheartedness,-an epitome of the great world of which each one is a type and part. We have gazed for hours on those wonderful proofs of man's greatness and powers, and ever found them themes of exhaustless and profitable thought. No man, with the faculty of speculation and poetry in his soul, but finds ample food in each solitary vessel bearing its strange freight to its destination, as he pictures to himself the beings there borne on utterly at the mercy of the elements which they dare to trust, because they have learned almost to conquer and subdue them to their own purposes and will. We wonder not that the sea and ships have been such favourites with our greatest poets; for nothing can be grander, more sublime, more terribly beautiful, than the sea. Behold the ships on its bosom now moving along in such serene quietude; and now, in the twinkling of an eye, at the mercy of winds which they may not control, at the pitiless command of waves which they may not subdue.

But to-day winds and waves are willing servants and blessed ministers of man; and there below us the magnificent creatures spread their white wings to the mildly kissing breeze, and sweep o'er the almost unruffled

[ocr errors]
« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »