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solemn face the ivied front of a hoary castle, whose towers have stood thus dark against the starry background for half a thousand years.

A quaint example of a local fair in the very heart of Wales is a cattle-fair in the old town of Carmarthen. Carmarthen anciently was the capital of Wales, for centuries the seat of kings, and the home of the Welsh Parliament. It is now a dull old agricultural town of 10,000 or 15,000 inhabitants. Its streets are busy only on great market and fair days, and are dark and stony of aspect; but it is surrounded by a landscape of fairy-like beauty, and its woods and rivers are as rich with legend as fairy-land itself. The enchanter Merlin was born at Carmarthen, and this was the center of his magical exploits. Quaintly set upon a hill, the old stone town looks out over a sylvan valley, through which winds the river Towy in the most graceful undulations.

The most striking peculiarities of the Carmarthen fair are its utter rusticity and its pronounced Welshiness. No language but Welsh is heard. The characteristic tall beaver hats abound on the heads of the women, who by this sign advertise their back-country residence. The women of the towns even this old Welsh town-are less given to the shining and stubborn beaver than to a sort of calash peculiar to Wales, fitting the head snugly. The two old women standing near you, with cheeks pressed close together, whispering sleepily in each other's ears, telling some story of corpsecandle or cyhirraeth, could not be thus intimate with their secrets if their hats were the rigid beavers of the farmer-wives. There is no single specimen here to be seen of the characteristic cockney fair-frequenters who so abound, as a rule, in every part of the British Islands, Wales included. There are no balladists singing English songs; no hawkers crying their wares in English; no gymnasts vaunting their own powers in English; no gamblers, no Aunt Sallies, no shooting-galleries-nothing whatever uttering itself in English. There is fun enough, but it is Welsh fun-scuffling, larking, chaffing. There are hawkers enough, but they cry in Welsh, and they conduct their trades in Welsh. To beat down the price seems to be the rule with every purchase, be it nothing more than a pennyworth of sweets. To go to a fair or market and buy without chaffering is mere infantile greenness, from a Welsh point of view.

The persistent inquirer in that direction

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hears a great many strange tales of superstition in connection with the old-established Welsh fairs, and Carmarthen is peculiarly rich in this regard. The folk-lore of Wales, in fact, abounds with a class of tales regarding cattle, sheep, horses, birds, poultry, goats, and other features of rural life. Such are the marvelous mare of Teirnyon, which foaled every first of May, though what became of the colt no mortal knew; the ychain banog, or mighty oxen, which drew the water-monster out of the enchanted lake, and, by their bellowing, split the rocks in twain; the birds of Rhiannon, which sang so sweetly that the warrior-knights stood eighty years entranced, listening to their warbling; the lambs of Saint Melangell, which at first were hares, and, being frightened, ran under the fair saint's robes; the fairy sheep of Cefn Rhychdir, which rose up out of the earth and vanished into the sky; and, finally, though the list is practically endless, the fairy swine of Bedwellty, which the hay-makers saw flying through the air.

You cannot avoid noticing at Carmarthen fair a singular class of cattle, which are as characteristically Welsh as any Welshman here. These are the black cattle of Wales, which, if they cannot trace their ancestry back through forty centuries, are at least peculiar to the country they inhabit. This strange breed is sometimes seen in other parts of Great Britain, but they are everywhere known by the name of Welsh black cattle. In Carmarthenshire and the adjoining regions they abound. When beheld in a drove together, browsing in a field, or pouring through a gate like ink out of a bottle, they present a spectacle as uncanny as one can imagine of anything innocent and eatable. The first time one sees this sight it is nothing less than startling; for, it must be understood, there is not a spot of hide in the whole drove that is not black, from hoof-tips to nose-tips. The suggestion of something eerie and elfin in the creatures is irresistible. As a fact, their disposition is not more demoniac than that of the average cow of civilization; their aberrations are limited to kicking over milkpails and hooking small boys, as is the bovine nature the world over. Still it would be surprising if here, at the home of Merlin, there could be discovered no mystic legend, no strange, wild tale, in connection with a creature so weird-looking and so Welsh, and their story was related to me by an acquaintance I made at Carmarthen fair, in this wise:

In olden times there was a band of elfin ladies who haunted a lake among the hills back of Aberdovey, which lake in Welsh is called Llyn Barfog. They used to make their appearance just about dusk. They were clad in green, and they had for companions a pack of milk-white hounds, which were of the same breed as the cwn annwn, or dogs of hell; it was their peculiar occupation to pursue and prey upon the souls of doomed men who had perished, unbaptized, along the uplands of Cefnrhosucha. But the choicest possession of the green ladies of Llyn Barfog was a drove of beautiful milkwhite cattle, called in Welsh the gwartheg

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feiliorn, as they called the cow, spread throughout the surrounding country. From having been the owner of one small drove of cattle, the farmer now became enormously rich, the owner of such vast herds as are seen in our days only on the plains of Texas and Colorado. But there came a time (the story here begins to resemble that of the goose that laid the golden egg) when the farmer took it into his foolish

head that the milk-white cow was getting old, and his only chance of profiting by her further was to fatten her for the cigar. This he set about, and with the most amazing results. Never, since beefsteaks

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y llyn, or kine of the lake. Now there was an old farmer living near that lake who had a small drove of cattle, which used sometimes to stray to the water's edge; and one day the farmer found that the milk-white kine had scraped up an acquaintance with his cattle. Watching his opportunity, he threw a rope over the horns of one of the elfin cows, and succeeded in driving the beautiful beast to his yard. From that day the farmer's fortune was made. Such calves, such milk, such butter and cheese, as came from the milk-white cow, never had been seen in Wales before, nor ever will be seen again. The fame of the fuwch gy

were discovered, had such a fat cow been seen as this cow grew to be. The neighbors came from miles about to see her; and when the killing-day arrived, there was a vast concourse of people to witness the great event of the elfin cow's taking off. Many shook their heads and whispered their fears to one another, but the farmer seemed like one out of his mind, and urged the butcher on with eager anxiety to his bloody task. Regardless of her mournful lowing and her pleading eyes, the elfin cow was bound to the stake; the butcher raised his bludgeon, and struck fair and hard between her eyes-when lo! a shriek resounded

through the air, waking the echoes of the hills, as the butcher's bludgeon went through the goblin head of the milk-white cow, and the butcher himself reeled with the force of his blow and plunged his astonished head against the stomach of an unfortunate by-stander. At the same time a green lady was seen standing on a crag high up over the lake, with her arms outstretched toward the elfin cow, while she uttered this call to the wronged animal:

"Come, yellow Anvil,

Stray horns, spotted one of the lake, And of the hornless Dodin,

Arise, come home."

At the sound of this voice the elfin cow

raised her head and looked up at the crag; then, with a bound over the heads of the assembled multitude, she dashed up the steep acclivity, and all her descendants, even to the third and fourth generations, went with her, disappearing over the summit of the crag and plunging into the lake. Only one cow remained of all the farmer's herds, and she had turned from milky white to raven black. Whereupon the farmer in despair drowned himself in the waters of Llyn Barfog, which at once turned to the blackness of ink; and the black cow that remained behind became the progenitor of the race of black cattle which are still to be seen at Carmarthen fair.

CHRISTMAS SONG.

WRITTEN FOR THE OLD TYROLESE MELODY, "SILENT NIGHT."

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It speaks well for the Christian intelligence of the American people that they are so eager for the appearance of the Revised Version of the New Testament, now promised for publication this winter. Curiosity is quite lost in the deeper feeling of hope that at last our feet may tread upon surer ground in the investigation of truth.

For many silent years some of us orthodox people have been thrown heavily back upon our admiration for the version we use, and upon our loyalty to the venera

ble Bible Society which issues it. We ought to be credited with a good measure of patience, for we surely have never concealed our convictions that it is possible to retain whatever is historically precious in the King James Bible, and yet eliminate the patent blemishes from some of the verses. We may be pardoned for admitting that we have grown tired of quoting the eleventh of Jude, and then waiting for the chirk superintendent to explain: "Now, children, that does not mean Core, but Korah; Numbers xvi. 1.”

We do not see why we should any longer | be put to the task of explaining that in two cases, Hebrews iv. 8, and Acts vii. 45, our Bible Society chooses to print the name "Jesus" instead of Joshua. We can be content to admit "Poti-pherah" for Potiphar, for they are only similar names for two persons; but we find no apology for "Timothy " and " Timotheus" in the same chapter, applied to one man whom ministers have so much to say about. What right have Christian people to continue to publish and circulate as inspired what now many of them know is imperfect and inaccurate, and so suggests persistent doubts? Let us understand that it is not the teachers or the preachers alone who do the fault-finding. Who does not know that if you should hold up a superlatively excellent bottle of apothecary's ointment before an inquisitive boy, the first thing he would fasten his eyes upon would be the flies inside of it? So the first thing to do afterward would be just to take the flies out.

The answer to these most innocent suggestions has generally been sharp and impetuous. The man who asks them has been set up as a butt of attack for bad taste in finding fault with a version that some "English Roman Catholic scholar" has declared to be the best pattern of "uncommon beauty and marvelous English." What has this to do with the fact that it is fatiguing to keep going over an old contradiction with our children?" By and by " has long since ceased to mean immediately, and "let" now means just the opposite of hindered. One is usually asked if he cannot find better occupation than carping at small blemishes in the midst of "superlative excellence." Now this is as unfair as it well can be. Is it necessary to the supreme glory of this translation that there should be, in I. Cor. xvi. 22, a comma after " anathema," and before "Maran atha," instead of a period? Is an inquiring minister undermining confidence in this excellent version, when he asks that "Noe" might be spelled Noah, so that he might be spared the explanation of it for the three times out of six where it occurs in the New Testament?

It is needless to try to conceal the fact that there is much uneasiness as to the manner in which the New Revision is presently to be issued. It seems to be generally understood that British publishers are to have the entire editions in charge, and only their sheets are to be offered in the American market. If the publishing

houses of the United States, as well as the Bible Society and Tract Society and Sunday-school Union, and eventually the denominational Boards of all the churches, should happen to be nobly jealous of this monopoly-if some high sense of national honor should lead them to deny that a volume of common ownership and interest like the New Testament ought to claim even that fiction of "moral copyright" which authors are talking about— then it would surely be very difficult to show wherein their pain resembled petulance, or why their regret should be pronounced mercenary. For really, the anxiety in the minds of our Christian students and teachers is not caused by any fear of losing dollars and cents from the sale of a new publication. The New Testament is sold for five cents now, and a whole Bible for a quarter of a dollar. So there is no special promise of gain held out in that direction. There are already a half-dozen cheap serial "libraries" in this one city of New York, and they are beginning to include religious books among their stories and romances. Several of them began with Canon Farrar's "Life of Christ," coupling it with his "Life of St. Paul." Then Conybeare and Howson's "Life and Epistles of St. Paul" appeared in a like form, followed by Geikie's "Life of Christ." Hughes's "Manliness of Christ" has been thus printed, and Bunyan's "Pilgrim's Progress" is in prospect. Such volumes, alongside of Dumas's novels and Sue's romances, seem incongruous; but why must religion not be popularized if it brings regular profits? If these publication houses do not catch up the New Version the moment it is put in type, they will be exceedingly foolish in a business way; shown on the corner stands, it would have an enormous sale. And why should they not? Will it be unfortunate to have the New Testament in a cheap pamphlet so that every one can obtain a copy of it for twenty cents? Will it not be to edification to find the novel-printers and the serial-story publishers competing with one another in circulating an edition of the revised and scholarly New Translation of the Bible?

The chief anxiety in connection with any kind of unauthorized issuing of a volume like the Word of God is found in the exposure to mistake and the liability to positive perversion. The familiar religious works mentioned above, although claiming to be "unabridged," are incomplete at

points. Any one who pleases can easily | compare Farrar's bound volume with the pamphlet, and imagine how indignant the author must be with the reproduction. We must run the risk of being pronounced unnecessarily finical when we assert that nothing short of positive accuracy will content us in an issue of the Scriptures. The spelling, the paragraphing, the punctuation, the italicizing, are all of immeasurable importance. Let us remember how unfortunately exposed the wisest proof-readers are to charges of carelessness, and how nearly impossible it is to be absolutely Is not the "breeches" Bible the laughing-stock of old-edition hunters? It was so named from the word in Gen. iii. 7: They made themselves breeches." Who forgets the "not" Bible, sometimes called the "wicked" Bible, because it omitted the negative in the seventh commandment? Laud fined an unlucky printer fifteen hundred dollars for this mistake, and then suppressed a large and costly edition already in the market. Then there was the "placemakers' Bible," named thus because of the misrendering of the beatitude: "Blessed are the peacemakers." So we recollect the "bug" Bible, and the "treacle" Bible, and the "rosin" Bible, and the "vinegar Bible. And by this time we begin to understand what Cotton Mather deplores, when he writes that "a blundering typographer" had made in his Bible, at Psalm cxix. 161, a most suggestive mistake: "Printers have persecuted me without cause." Indeed, this was the very word which the man had inserted in the place of "princes." Now, it may not be within our achievement to attain entire correctness; but Christian readers will not be satisfied with anything very far short of it-that is to say, they are not going to be patient if this great work falls into hands which cannot be trusted. Hence it is of intense importance that the earliest editions of this Revision should be watched, for it will be hard to pick out mistakes later.

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The sensitiveness upon such points is well illustrated by those discussions which grew out of the changes in the Apostles' Creed, a few years ago. Only the difference between a semicolon and a comma set some usually quiet men on fire,-for doctrine resides sometimes in punctuation. "I believe in the Holy Catholic Church, the communion of saints," with the comma after "church," means, I believe in the Holy Catholic Church, as the communion

of saints, or, I believe the Holy Catholic Church is composed of the communion of saints of all names and all ages, on earth and in heaven. But the semicolon after "church," so some said, makes it to mean, I believe in the church, and then again, I believe in the communion of saints. Hence, in opposing the alteration, some disputants argued against constituting the church an authority in any matters of faith. And then they went on to combat the notion that saints were to be believed in after death, although they one communion make." All this difference of opinion was provoked by a punctuation mark.

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Are there any such cases in the Bible? Surely. No doubt this Revising Committee have spent days in canvassing the vexed question raised in I. Tim. iii. 15. So in John xii. 27-" Father, save me from this hour." Ought that clause to be followed, as it is now, by a colon, or by an interrogation point? Such things are vital to sense. Twenty-five years ago several more instances were pointed out, and by no less an authority than Dr. Hodgeclarum et venerabile nomen, great with the majesty of death upon it now. He calls attention to Rom. iv. 1, in which the words, " according to the flesh," if pointed in one way, qualify the word "father"; thus Abraham is said to be our "father according to the flesh." But if the clause should be pointed in the other way, then it qualifies "hath found"; thus the question asked in the verse is, What hath Abraham found according to the flesh? So he says about Rev. xiii. 8, those words, "from the foundation of the world," may refer to the word "slain," and so the sense would be," the Lamb, slain from the foundation of the world." But if they refer to the word "written," the sense must be, "written from the foundation of the world." Hence, he rightly remarks, "to alter the punctuation here is to change the sense of the passage." That punctuation is changed in our present version.

Now the opinion is gaining ground among all thoughtful people that a definite and persistent endeavor should be made by American Christians to help the Bible Society here at home prepare to assume the wise work of publishing immediately an edition of this New Version which should bear for us the imprint and authorization that we know and love. We feel a sincere reluctance to receive our Book from an

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