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great aim was to increase the good condition and happiness of his tenants, and to this he contributed the whole energy of his mind. Franziska could not withstand the unobtrusive signs of the young man's continued attachment; and it was not long ere the credit she was obliged to yield to his noble efforts for the welfare of his fellowcreatures, changed into a liking, which went on increasing, until at length it assumed the character of love. As Woislaw insisted on making Bertha his wife before he returned to Silesia, it was arranged that the marriage should take place at their present abode. How joyful was the surprise of the knight of Fahnenberg, when his daughter and Franz likewise entreated his blessing, and expressed their desire of being united on the same day! This day soon came round, and it saw the bright looks of two happy couples.
TWO DAYS ON THE WELSH BORDER.
O far indefinite is the term Welsh Border, that
it may relate to any part between Chester on the
north and Cardiff on the south; it may be the
beautiful country around Llangollen and the
valley of the Dee; or the flannel-making district
of Welshpool and Newtown; or the point at
which the Wye strikes across from Wales into England;
or the district in which the sweet hilly vicinity of
Abergavenny and Crickhowell presents itself; or the
winding course of the Rhymney and the proud old
ruins of Caerphilly. But it is none of these which we
have at this moment in view. We are about to
introduce the reader to that strange but valuable region
e counties of Glamorgan and Monmouth on the of Brecon on the north—strange, because there Is with few trees and few farms; and valuable, because there are such rich stores of iron and coal beneath the surface of the soil. Never, perhaps, has there been in our country a more striking example of the preponderance of sub-surface value over surface value—if we may use these expressions—than is presented by this district. The towns and the ironworks and the coal-mines of Merthyr-Tydvil, Aberdare, Hirwain, Cyfarthfa, Dowlais, Dyffryn, Sirhowy, Tredegar, Ebbw Vale, Blaenavon, Varteg, Pontypool, Blaina, Abercarn—all situated within a very small area in this border region, are the wonderful growth of underground riches, in a country where the agricultural value of the surface is small indeed.
It is interesting to trace how the industry of this region depends upon the valleys, and how the valleys depend upon one particular ridge of hilly country. Commencing at the high coach-road, running nearly westward from Abergavenny to Merthyr, the country thence southward to the Bristol Channel is scooped out into valleys, along which rivers find their way to the sea; and as mining enterprise is generally carried on more advantageously on the sides of valleys than on hilltops, we find in and near these river-valleys the great iron and coal works mentioned above. In the valley of the Llwyd, are the Blaenavon, the British, the Varteg, and the Pontypool Works; in the valley of the Ebbw Vach^Little Ebbw), are the Nant-y-glo and the Blaina Works; in the valley of the Ebbw Vawr (Great Ebbw), are the Beaufort, the Ebbw Vale, the Abercarn, and the Risca Works; in the valley of the Sirhowy are the Sirhowy and the Tredegar Works; in the valley of the Rhymney are the Rhymney Works; in the valley of the Taff are the stupendous works in and around MerthyrTydvil; in the valley of the Cynon are the Hirwain and the Aberdare Works—and so on. There are no such valleys, perhaps, elsewhere in Great Britain; certainly none which so entirely owe their prosperity to the riches found beneath them.
Pity it is, however, that so much smoke now envelops valleys which have many natural beauties in and around them. The want of trees, mentioned in a former paragraph, applies only to the mountains and uplands; the valleys are, for the most part, clothed with verdure and foliage up a considerable part of their rapidly sloping sides; and as the small rivers which flow through them are generally very winding in their courses between the hills, the valleys present many exquisite bits of scenery. Artists do not love a smoky mining region; else might our Creswicks and Bonningtons pick out ample materials for their pencils to work upon there. The mines and works are mostly high up the valleys, near the sterile region; but at spots somewhat nearer the sea, the valleys are both more rich in natural beauty, and less contaminated by smoke; and here might a lover of the picturesque roam for days, with no lack of gejfisdoccuDation.
It mutters little which of these valleys we asce^B^M^busy homes of industry; they all present scenes paraEng^Tf one common character. Let us take the valley which ends near Newport, for instance, and through which the pretty Ebbw flows. This, it is true, is in Monmouthshire, and consequently in England politically; but geologically, geographically, and socially, it is as completely a Welsh valley as any in Glamorganshire. Proceeding north-west from Newport, we come to the first mining town of Risca, where collieries employ nearly all the people, and where the hilly country begins. Here, on the right, is Twym Barlwm, an elevation which we may call a hill or a mountain, according to the standard which we apply to such matters, and to which the good folks of Newport are wont to make picnicking excursions. And an Englishman need not worry himself about pronouncing the name properly: if he calls it Tom Barlow, he will be sufficiently near the mark for all ordinary purposes. Leaving Tom behind us, and advancing up the valley of the Ebbw, we speedily reach the point where the Sirhowy joins this river; and here we can distinctly see how three hilly ranges are instrumental in forming the two valleys. As we advance, the hills become more decided, and their sloping sides more richly covered, with foliage. Even the smoke near the next mining town, Abercarn, is not so dense as to interfere much with the beauty of the valley at this spot. Further on again, we arrive at the point where two subordinate affluents, the Ebbw Vach and the Ebbw Vawr, combine to form the Ebbw proper; here the country is still bolder, the hills still higher, and the scenes still more varied and picturesque. Whether we ascend the valley of the lesser Ebbw to Abertillery, Blaina, and Nant-y
flo, or that of the greater Ebbw to the vast ironworks of Victoria, Ibbw Vale, or Beaufort, we equally pass by gracefully rounded hills, pretty rivulets, woods of rich foliage, slopmg hillsides dotted with white cottages, and winding country roads. The contrast is almost startling when we have advanced a few miles through this scenery; the trees become less numerous, the picturesque bits less apparent, the villages larger and closer, and the smoke unmistakably more dense; until, on reaching the lately-born towns of Nant-y-glo or Ebbw Vale, we must perforce exchange blue sky and green trees for clouds of smoke and pathways of coal-ironmud. The artist need not be invited to these 3pots, unless to witness the Pandemonium scenes of the smelting-furnaces at night.
And if we take the valley of the Taff in Glamorganshire—a Welsh valley politically as well as naturally, and one of the most busy which our country presents—we find the same general features as those which have just been described. As Newport is the commercial outlet for the Ebbw district, so is Cardiff for the vale of Taff. This rapidly rising port, whose docks are crowded with shipping destined to carry iron and coal to all parts of the world, stands at the point where the Taff enters the Bristol Chanel; and thence upwards towards Merthyr, the valley takes its form ■from the varying bends of the hilly ranges on either side. At the point where the Cynon joins the Taff, the valley subdivides into two: one watered by the last-named stream, and accompanying it up to Merthyr; the other having the smaller river Cynon, and leading up to Aberdare. In the one case, as in the other, rich verdure and foliage adorn the sides of the valleys for many miles; but when Merthyr comes in sight in the one valley, and Aberdare in the other, the picturesque becomes overpowered by the industrial, and one's thoughts are forcibly directed mto a new channel.
Thus it is in all the valleys in the south-east corner of Wales: beauty above-ground marks a certain portion of the length of each valley, and wealth under-ground characterises the rest.
English visitors to this region are not numerous, except in immediate relation to business affairs. Yet is there an abundance to see well worthy of being seen, and bits of information to be picked up which greatly extend our knowledge of the Welsh inhabitants, their institutions, their social position, their industry, their amusements, and the influence exerted by the difference between the English and Welsh languages. Like the northern part of the Welsh border near Chester, the access to this Merthyr district becomes every year more easy. Whether we take a steamer from Bristol to Newport or Cardiff, or the South Wales Railway from Gloucester, we speedily reach the sea-side extremity of one or other of the valleys; and subordinate railways convey us up the valleys to the mineral region. Or if a pedestrian, reaching Abergavenny from Gloucester or Hereford, were to set out on a good stiff walk of twenty-five miles to Hirwain, he would have the whole of these valleys on his left.
We may be assured that it is not to man's ingenuity and industry that this portion of South Wales is mainly indebted for its enormous works in iron and coal. There is a combination of remarkable circumstances here. From Pontypool in the east, to Swansea in the west, there lies beneath the grassy surface an almost uninterrupted bed of coal and iron, consisting of alternate layers one above another, varying from an inch to many yards in thickness. How far down these go, no one can tell; but Sir H. de la Beche speaks pretty confidently of a depth of 11,000 feet—more than two miles! At anything beyond a few hundred feet in depth, iron and coal mines cannot be worked with profit; and therefore, so far as our means at present extend, the deeper beds are wholly beyond our grasp. But nature has rendered a singular aid here. By some convulsion in a remote but unknown period of the earth's history, these enormous beds have been bulged upwards in the middle, so as to be brought sufficiently near the surface to be worked. Not only is there coal enough everywhere about the district to smelt all the iron ore, but this coal is better calculated for the purpose than almost any other in the kingdom. The South Wales coal is so calorific—that is, it gives out s* much heat from a given weight of fuel—that a ton of ore can fle smelted