Wednesday, April 09, 2008

A Book MeMe

I've found an interesting book meme from Rowan's blog, Circle of the Year (see side panel for link). The idea is to take a random book nearest to you, turn to page 123 find sentence number 5 on that page and type up the next three sentences, so here goes:-

"Three chaise and two phaetons full of guests arrived to dine in a setting that could scarcely have been more romantic.

'We found the scenery of Valle-Crucis grand, silent, impressive, awful' wrote Miss Seward to a friend of this serene and unalarming spot. While the guests strolled about the grass and the hired harper played his soul-haunting airs; while Miss Seward and the Ladies, no doubt plagued by midges, mutually pondered 'the deep repose, resulting from the high umbrageous mountains'; the friendship ripened."

The excerpt is from a book I bought ages ago called 'The ladies of Llangollen' by Elizabeth Mavor. It is the story of Lady Eleanor Butler and Sarah Ponsonby who were, according to the introduction, from which I quote 'two aristocratic spinsters of thirty-nine and twenty-three respectively, who were to provide Welsh travellers with food for speculation over the next fifty years'

The Ladies escaped from their families in Ireland, with the help of a faithfull servant, and in 1780 set up home at Plas Newydd in the town of Llangollen in Wales and set about transforming the small cottage into a Gothic style residence, altering the house and gardens out of all recognition. In so doing they attracted the attention of many of the literary luminaries of the time. People like the poet William Wordsworth, the author Sir Walter Scott and the Duke of Wellington all visited the Ladies and held them in high esteem and affection. The Miss Seward mentioned in the extract would be the poet Anna Seward also known as The Swan of Lichfield. The Ladies lived happily at Plas Newydd for over 50 years and it still remains almost as it was then.

We visited quite a few years ago now and I've always wanted to visit again, it is such an interesting place. I bought the book above whilst I was there and also a poster of a painting The Ladies at home with their servant and their cats, which I'm sure we still have somewhere.

I'm not going to pass this on to anyone, have a go if you want to.

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