Welsh Journals

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WALES. Vol. IV.] AUGUST, 1897. [No. 40. HOLIDAY JOTTINGS, ARM OUT H once again,—and rest! The mountains are as glorious as ever ; and strength and health come to those who are fortunate enough to spend a brief holiday among them. The charm of Bar¬ mouth is that it re¬ mains so refreshingly Welsh. Englishmen love it because it is so strange,—a touch of the old Celtic world is felt at every turn. Its Welsh characteristics have been jealously guarded,—it is a spot beloved of the antiquarian and folklorist as well as of those who seek pure mountain and sea air. I was sincerely sorry to hear of a de¬ parture from this practice. On the other side of the Maw,—so it is said, —a new Barmouth will rise; the little village of Vriog is to become quite a town, if all prophecies are to come true. But it is not to have the old melodious name ; it is to be called, unless my memory is deceiving me, " Fairbourne." The Cambrian Railway Company has posters in every station announcing the opening of a station at " Fairbourne." I had never heard of the place before; and the following is a dialogue I often heard,— " Where is this ' Fairbourne ' ?" " Oh, it's Vriog." " But why don't they call it Vriog ? " I was told that the Llangelynin Parish Council had remonstrated in vain. It is to be hoped that the District and County Councils also will make representations to 15 1(59 the Company, not, it is to be hoped, with¬ out result. It is exceedingly difficult to see what is to be gained by introducing an absolutely new name instead of a well- known and equally pronounceable one. To me, there is something detestable in the wanton extermination of old historic names. I hope it is not true that an English owner has already tried to change Ynys Faig into "Fairbourne Hotel." What could offer itself to his mind as a reason for doing, it is impossible to say,—certainly not sentiment or utility. There is only one thing about Barmouth that I dislike,—its English name. The Welsh name Abermaw,—" the estuary of the Maw,"—has a meaning, and is very melodious. "Barmouth" is sheer nonsense; but it is well to retain it in memory of the taste of the early days of going to watering places. Barmouth always recalls to my mind the sad life of the most gifted of its sons,— the Robert Owen who died young in Australia after writing a few imperishable pieces. I was shown a letter sent by him to a young friend at Barmouth, and am very glad of the opportunity of placing an extract here. It was written when all his hopes had been shattered, and when he had ceased to hope for life. " Victoria, March \9th, 1882. " This morning I bade farewell to a young man, who on the 30th of this month is to start for England, in order to enter himself for the English bar. As you might imagine, he seemed greatly delighted with the thought of seeing the old country, to him so new and so full of interest. In this I can sympathize wholly with him.