« PreviousContinue »
of carriage, was installed in my present abode where instead of admiration, I excite but censure. It is of this envious irritation, my dear Sir, continued Achilles, that I now complain. The men, learned or unlearned, view me with the jaundiced eye of prejudice, for my strong athletic limbs seem an overt reproach on their effeminacy. Though I have so much brass in my face, I can assure you that I frequently blush through the bronze, from a sense of their paltry animadversions. They find that I am an object of general female admiration, and their own self-love is mortified. It was therefore with the view of publishing my grievances, that I have ventured to address you with such prolixity. State my case to the British nation, and add for the especial comfort of their morals, that when the present generation has evaporated, its descendants shall bring their wives and their young daughters to behold me, that they may early imbibe principles of chastity, modesty, and decorum from the naked warrior, who was the delight and the envy of their ancestors.
The statue ceased, and his solemn voice seemed vibrating on my ear, like a peal of expiring thunder. With awe I turned towards him, but instead of an impassioned historian, beheld the cold moon shining down upon an inanimate countenance.
The talisman that had charmed me was broken, the music that had breathed of the past was hushed, and reason again resumed her unclouded sway. The moon was yet high in heaven, as I rose from the spot where I had been seated. The noble mansions that skirt the Park were yet silvered with her beams, and the lamps on the gates of Piccadilly seemed to sink into dimness before her. All was stillness around me, save when the deep-toned abbey clock, or the harsh voice of the patrole, announced the waning of the night. By the time that I had reached my lodgings, a startling summons awaited me. The printer was inexorable in his epistolary demands for copy, and I resolved that as my communication with Achilles had produced so soporific a tendency, I would witness its effect, in the pages of the Inn-keeper's Album.
So now, 'tis ended, like an old wife's story.
"THE Inkeeper's Album" is now brought to a conclusion, its numerous contributors are compressed into one, and of the poor Welch schoolmaster with his sturdy spouse and eleven thick babes, nothing remains but the name. But before even this idle vision fades, he would say a few words concerning the motives that induced him to dwell so minutely upon the local and domestic history of Wales. Compelled to rusticate for a season in the Principality, he chose that part of it where the native character was most genuine, and the landscape most solitary and sublime. Accident led, and inclination detained him in the neighbourhood of Llangadock, where, satis
fied with a few old books, and a daily ramble among "the Black Mountains:" months flew imperceptibly by, until the approach of winter hinted the necessity of a return to London. Here the repeated offers of a liberal and well-known bookseller induced him to arrange for publication the contents of an unconnected Album, and to assume the guise of a Welchman, in order that his traditions might pass current, and his paucity of talent be more strictly characteristic.
How (to assume the insignificant unit) I have succeeded, now remains to be shown. For the fidelity of my scenic sketches I will vouch, as my object has uniformly been, not to display my own information, but to do justice to a part of Wales, that has hitherto been neglected; and I may say, comparatively unknown. The whole of my description is confined to the counties of Carmarthen and Cardigan, and lies within the circumference of forty miles.-The Sporting Sketches were merely inserted from their strict delineation of landscape, for, as the reader will not fail to remark, they possess no further claims to merit than by detailing incidents in the common-place manner, which an orthodox Nimrod may be supposed to use. The two fictitious characters, Morgan and Drake Somerset, were introduced by way of giving a sort
of dramatic interest, and of relieving the monotony attached to a mere egotistical relation.
With respect to the other Essays and Sketches, I shall beg leave to add a few words. The tale of Twm (Anglice Tom) John Catty, was collected partly from tradition, and partly from researches among obscure topographical publications. The circumstance of his interview with the White Lady of Llynn-y-Van, although it appear like an imitation of the Monastery, is recorded by his superstitious countrymen as a fact. Modern accounts have made him of humble parentage; but on reference to Gryffith's Antiquities of Cardigan, I find that he was well descended, and from the necessities of my tale have dubbed him a chieftain, committed a burglary on his estates, taken him a wife from the ribs of my own invention, and transported him without benefit of Judge or Jury to the green-woods of Cardigan, wherein I have also sown a highly necessary crop of wild foresters.
The locality of "Reading School revisited," will I am afraid, condemn it in the eyes of my readers. It is, however, as much generalized, as consistently with character I could make it, and may perhaps find an echo in the breasts of those who return to a favourite spot where their memory is already on the wane. For myself, I have merely introduced