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We had just time to drive as far as Schwalbing
for Mary to have a dim and dreary
glimpse of the church, where is the
picturesque Overbeck Gallery, and of the house
where dwells the little old woman with the
lots of children, and of the yet more distant
church with the pea-green spire. But all
was now cold, snow, ice, and icicles; so away
we sped home again to our comfortable tea-
table; our driver cracking his whip yet
louder and louder, and in one of his evolutions
nearly snapping off poor Mary's nose,
which seemed more than usually unkind, as
I discovered on our drive that this happened
to be her birthday! Well, after all, no harm
was done; and so delicious is the memory of
it all, that without waiting for any grander
party, we shall, before long, indulge ourselves
again in a sledge, and drive down to the lake
in the English Garden, and see the skating.
We hope also to see somewhere or other the
royal sledges, of which we hear so much.


"EVERY man's house is his castle," has
long been a favourite saying in England, and
in Wales, too, where I live, when at home;
and it suggests, and indeed is meant to imply,
not only the abstract inviolability of a man's
own private property, but the external
demonstration of a good substantial wall, and a stout
door with a lock and bolt to it, by way of a
good practical sign and token of the fact. If
a man dwelling in an old barn were to say
this, it would obviously lose half its effect;
and if he said it while strutting up and down
in front of a dilapidated pigstye, he would,
assuredly, be regarded either as a madman
or a very sorry jester. We English and Welsh
can very well understand a moral right, and the
strength of it, as in the law, though this
may generally be associated with the impression
of a number of ponderous volumes bound
in calf, and the prospect, or presence, of a
prodigious bill of costs; but when direct
reference is made to a substantial object, such
as a house or a tower, we do expect that
it shall be in a bodily condition to maintain
and justify the opinion entertained and
declared of it.

Full of these thoughts, the other day, I
chanced to stroll up a certain hill in the
neighbourhood of a fortress of time-honoured
repute for its great strengtha strength not
confined to the periods of history, in many
grave and terrible records of which it is
peculiarly rich; but, still held in extraordinary
estimation at the present day. I should
premise, that I only learnt all this afterwards;
but, being a total stranger, I had no notion
at the time what fortress it was that I was
approaching. I bent my steps towards
the dark place of strength, anxious to
gratify my feelings by the discovery, that
while " every man's house is his castle," we
possess castles in England which are capable of
resisting all possible assaults upon the houses
of those who reside within the protecting
shadow of their embattled walls.

I advanced up the hill above mentioned,
and emerging upon a great swelling summit,
I presently found myself near to an immense
range of old neglected walls and turrets, such
as we see down in Wales very commonly,
though I certainly had expected something
very different of this place from its
imposing look at a little distance. As I walked
round, my wonder increased at its dirty,
weed-grown, squalid appearance. Of course
I now perceived that I had been quite
mistaken in my first impression; because, so far
from being a fortress of great strength, it was
evidently not habitable, except by a few old
crones and their pensioner husbands, who
were allowed to reside there, and make a
few pence by showing visitors what a place it
once was, a very long time ago; just as they
do at Caernarvon Castle, and Caerphilly, and
other majestic remains of antiquity in the
ancient principality, God bless it!

I descended towards what appeared to
be the drawbridge and grand entrance-gate,
or rather the place where they used to be,
and I found myself passing between a high
row of fresh wooden palisades, surrounding
irregularlyand with unfinished gaps
betweena mass of bricklayers' rubbish, and
masons' refuse, and carpenters' leavings, and
navigators' work, in midway of confusion of
hillocks of mould, and masses of dirt, and
dry turf, and shavings, and pieces of wood,
and heaps of brick rubbish, and round hard
puddings of old mortar, and rags, and charred
wood, and flat pieces of fresh mortar, and
bricklayers' little quaint wheelbarrows, with ricketty
planks for their thin round heads to run upon,
and navigators with pickaxes, and spades, and
mauls, and mallets, and mattocks, and paviors
with trowels and paving-rammers, and beetles,
almost as big as Falstaff's "three-man beetle;"
and here and there the faded red-coat of a
soldier, making its way through the workmen
down towards the place which one may suppose
was once called the drawbridge, as the passage
in question, however overwhelmed with the
doings and materials and rubbish, extended
over a great broad trench below, which was
no doubt the moat.

I eventually made my way down to this
bridge of many wrecks, and standing close to
one side, in order to avoid the press of
passengers and soldiers and workmen passing to
and fro, I looked down into the moat below.
It was of great width, extending, probably,
some fifty or sixty feet from the base of the
fortress to its enclosing walled banks on the
opposite side. It must have been a long time
since any water was there. The walls
displayed no remains of the usual moat or ditch-
stains, and all the surface below was covered
with a dry scrubby sort of dusty grass, of a
russet hue. Two small, ragged, hungry-
looking urchins were playing a melancholy