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while history says he was born in Carnarvon, on Welsh ground, but in neither castle or tower, the latter of which was really built by himself. History says that Queen Eleanor was brought to Carnarvon, though in midwinter, that the expected prince might be born on Welsh ground. After his birth, he was shown to the Welsh people from the top of the gateway. This ruin is in a wonderful state of preservation. The courtyard is covered with soft, green sod like velvet. Ivy clings to its walls, numerous towers and turrets, peeping out at many crevices, making of the old ruin a beautiful picture. We wandered through some of the rooms and along its battlements, catching lovely views of it from all sides. One of the most beautiful is looking out from the castle walls over the Menai Straits. This being Saturday, we left by train for Llanberis, where we spent a delightful afternoon. Taking a carriage, we drove through the little village, down to see a beautiful waterfall that poured its waters down a long ravine. In order to see it, we had to walk along the side of this ravine, following the stream up to the falls. It seemed a long walk to me, as it was a constant climb up. The stones were long and narrow and seemed like a flight of steps. We felt well repaid, however, as this is a beautiful fall of water. We returned to Victoria Hotel in time for tea and cake, taking our places afterward on the regular coach at 3:30 for Bettws-y-Coed.
This was a lovely ride in the late afternoon, over hills and valleys, passing small streams and lakes, frequently catching glimpses of Snowdon, the highest mountain in Wales. We arrived at the Royal Oak Hotel, Bettws-y-Coed, in time to locate and freshen ourselves for dinner. Our hotel is one of many named in memory of King Charles of England, who, on escaping after his defeat by Cromwell, lived for a day in an oak tree on the Welsh border. This hotel is charmingly located amid beautiful trees, with a trout stream just across the road winding in and out through the valley. This is a typical English resort, we being the exceptional Americans.
Sunday, June 12, we spent in a quiet restful way in this peaceful spot. Gusty went to the little church not far off, in the morning, while I wrote home. In the late afternoon we drove for a couple of hours, passing Conway Falls and the old Pandy Mill, which is a favorite subject with artists. We left our carriage and walked up to see the old mill, climbing over a stile and going through a small pasture, in which a little lamb was feeding. I tried to coax the little creature to me. He would come almost up, then, as I moved my hand to stroke him, would jump away, look at me a few minutes and approach again. I left him finally, going on up to the mill. As we returned, he was still there, but I did not notice him, upon which he leaped before me to the stile and waited for
me, and let me pet him. He was a darling little creature. Just outside the stile some children were playing with a large Newfoundland dog that came to us in a friendly way for notice. I was just about to pat his head, when little lammie jumped between and commenced butting the dog, as much as to say: "Get away, she must pet me.” This was a lovely ride, and Bettws-y-Coed and the Royal Oak Hotel a charming place, and we would like to have remained for a longer visit.
Monday, June 13, we left by train for Chester, England, changing cars at Llanduno Junction. While waiting there, we caught a glimpse in the distance of Conway Castle.
On reaching Chester, we drove to the Grosvenor Hotel. Not finding rooms to suit us, we went to the Blossoms, a quiet hotel, where we were well cared for. Before luncheon we drove to the cathedral, visiting the choir and stalls. These are wonderfully carved. The figures here, as in other old cathedrals, are many of them very grotesque. The artisans at that time were often allowed to make their own designs. If any one offended them, they would wreak vengeance by carving their likness in some grotesque figure; it might be in some out-of-the-way corner, but it is sure to be there. I saw on one stall the figure of a man, holding a base viol, which rested on a pig. The face of both man and pig were identical. This was said to be the Precentor who had offended this workman in some manner. These stalls were called Miserere, because the poor monks who stood in them were made miserable. There was a half circle where the monk stood and rested his arms during the service. Under this was a small seat, on which, when raised, the monk could partially rest. But woe to the one who fell asleep, for the pressure made the seat fall with a bang, and I have no doubt caused that poor monk to do penance for a long time. From the cathedral we drove to the old walls, as Chester is one of the walled towns, but which has long since outgrown them, they still stand, and are kept in good repair. These walls are quite a promenade and extend entirely around the old city. There are two towers and four gates. We walked along the walls to the tower where King Charles I stood at a window and watched his army defeated on Rowton Moor in 1645. Chester is a delight to me. It is so quaint. The old style of English architecture prevails, even that of recent structure is built in exactly the same old style, which to me seems sensible, as it helps retain its quaintness. After lunch we drove out to Eton Hall, the country seat of the Duke of Westminster. It is attractively situated on the River Dee and is open to visitors, many of whom avail themselves of the privilege. This is an elegant modern home, a palace it may be called, being large and stately. The grounds are extremely beautiful, and I greatly enjoyed the walk through them. Surrounding the immediate grounds is a great park in which are kept blooded horses, cattle, sheep and spotted deer, the latter of which are in large droves. We drove through this park both going and returning. All along the drive and in the woods, we saw numbers of little cottontails that were not in the least afraid. Beautiful wild flowers grow everywhere.