Lippincotts Magazine of Popular Literature and Science

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꯰Lippincott's Magazine of Popular Literature and Science

The Project Gutenberg EBook of Lippincott's Magazine of Popular
Literature and Science, October, 1877, Vol. XX. No. 118, by Various This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with this eBook or online at
Title: Lippincott's Magazine of Popular Literature and Science, October, 1877, Vol. XX. No. 118
Author: Various
Release Date: July 27, 2005 [EBook #16361]
Language: English
Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1

Produced by Juliet Sutherland, Christine D and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team at

Transcriber's note: Punctuation normalized, original spelling retained.
[Illustration: "He stepped forward with a smile." For Percival. Page 420.]

OCTOBER, 1877. Vol XX--No. 118
Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1877, by J.B. LIPPINCOTT & CO., in the Office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington.

[Illustration: THE DEE ABOVE BALA.]
The history of Chester is that of a key. It was the last city that gave up Harold's unlucky cause and surrendered to William the Conqueror, and the last that fell in the no less unlucky cause of the Stuart king against the Parliamentarians. In much earlier times it was held by the famous Twentieth Legion, the Valens Victrix, as the key of the Roman dominion in the north-west of Britain, and at present it has peculiarities of position, as well as of architecture, which make it unique in England and a lodestone to Americans. Curiously planted on the border of the newest and most bustling manufacturing district in England, close to the coalfields of North Wales, the mines of Lancashire, the quays of its sea-rival Liverpool and the mills of grimy, wealthy Manchester, it still exercises, besides its artistic and historic supremacy, a _bona fide_ ecclesiastical sway over most of these new places. It is the first ancient city accessible to American travellers, many of whom have given practical tokens of their affectionate remembrance of it by largely subscribing to the fund for the restoration of the cathedral, a work that has already cost some eighty thousand pounds.
[Illustration: CAER-GAI.]
The neighborhood of Chester is as suggestive of antiquity and foreigners as the city itself. Volumes might be written about the quaint, Dutch-like scenery of the low rich land reclaimed from the sea; the broad, sandy estuary of the Dee, with the square-headed peninsula, the Wirrall, which divides this quiet river from the noisy Mersey; the Hoylake, Parkgate and Neston fisher-folk on the sandy shores, with their queer lives, monotonous scratching-up of mussels and cockles, a never-failing trade, their terms of praise--"the biggest scrat," for instance, "in all the island," being the form of commendation for the woman who can with her rake at the end of a long pole scratch up most shellfish in a given time; the low, fertile green pastures, the creamy cheese and the eight yearly cheese-fairs. The city itself is the most foreign-looking in all England, and the inhabitants have the good taste to be proud of this. The river Dee--Milton's "wizard stream"--celebrated both by English and Welsh bards, is not seen to as much advantage under the walls of the Roman "camp" (_castra_=Chester) as elsewhere, but its bridges serve to supply the want of fine scenery, especially the Old Bridge, which crosses the river just at its bend, and whose massive pointed arches took the place, when they were first built, of a ferry by which the city was entered at the "Ship Gate," whence now you look over "the Cop" or high bank on the right side of the stream, and view, as from a dike in Holland, the reclaimed land stretching eight miles beyond Chester, though the resemblance ceases at Saltney, where behind the iron-works tower the Welsh hills--Moel-Famman conspicuous above the rest--that bound the Vale of Clwyd.
The Dee is more a Welsh than an English river. It rises in the bleak mountain-region of Merionethshire, the most intensely Welsh of all counties, above Bala Lake, which is commonly but incorrectly called its source. Thence it flows through the Vale of Llangollen, famous in poetry, and waters the meadows of Wynnestay, the splendid home of one of Wales's most national representatives, Sir Watkin Williams Wynn, and only beyond that does it become English by flowing round and into Cheshire. On a very tiny scale the Dee follows something of the course of the Rhine: three streamlets combine to form it; these unite at the village of Llanwchllyn, and the river flows on, a mere mountain-torrent, past an old farmhouse, Caer-gai, lying on a desolate moor at the head of Bala Lake, and through the lake itself, after which its scenery alternates, like
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