Illuminations: An Anthology of Welsh Short Prose

By Meic Stephens | Go to book overview

in the mud. Nobody came on to apologize for the unexpected mishap and recite immortal lines. The shreds of canvas fluttered overhead in the rain-filled wind like wordless tongues.

Chwaryddion Crwydrol (Clwb Llyfrau Cymreig, 1943),
Cwysau (Gwasg Gomer, 1980)


One Sunday Afternoon

Jac L. Williams

The early May sunshine was 'calling mountainwards' 1 and I couldn't resist the invitation. After an early lunch I cut some sandwiches, put them in my pocket, and took a walking-stick in hand. I caught the first tram that would take me to the outskirts of the city, sitting near the exit so that I could alight the more easily. I began observing the other passengers as they got on or off. I tried to imagine where each one was going. I should have liked to think that a more or less tidily dressed child or two was going to Sunday School, 2 just as I used to as a boy. I saw some with swimming costumes under their arms, which suggested that they were on their way to the baths or the lake in the park. I recalled how firmly my own mother would refuse to let me go bathing in the sea before the end of May. I stared for a long while at a young mother with a small child fidgeting on her lap as if to show the world how great his enjoyment was. It was obvious that they were all pleasure-bent, and the bags of sandwiches made it clear that they intended staying out all afternoon. I couldn't blame them. Perhaps many of them had spent the whole week indoors, in an office or factory by day and many an evening in the stuffy air of a cinema. We used to condemn townsfolk for coming to lie half-naked of a Sunday afternoon in the district where I was brought up, but nowadays I can sympathize with them and forgive this transgression. I know about their captivity during the week, the lazy sleepiness of their minds and bodies, and the urge for some kind of freedom on Sunday afternoons. I decided that they too, in their own way, were going 'to worship God in a park'.

We arrived at the park's gates. The passengers all alighted except

-57-

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Illuminations: An Anthology of Welsh Short Prose
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Preface vii
  • The Village School 1
  • Fear of the Sea 7
  • A Windy Night 9
  • The Late Lemuel Parry, Esq., J.P., O.B.E. 12
  • On Drowning a Cat 18
  • The House Across the Way 21
  • Weobley and St. Emilion 25
  • The Man in the Street 28
  • Old Dent 31
  • On Collecting Roads 34
  • 'their Land They Shall Lose' 42
  • The Red Flag 46
  • Strolling Players 50
  • One Sunday Afternoon 57
  • Salem 61
  • A Trip to the Circus 63
  • Thoughts on Coronation Day, 1953 68
  • From the Pulpit 72
  • How to Choose and Treat a Wife 77
  • To the Mountain 83
  • The Imperative Upon Me 88
  • Disenchantment 92
  • The Hiring Fair 94
  • The Man at Chapel House 97
  • Question and Answer 102
  • The Little Llandeilo Boots 105
  • My Last Day in Prison 108
  • A Discovery 118
  • A Land of Romance 121
  • Hi-Ho! 129
  • Ancestors 133
  • While Shaving 138
  • Of Time and Distance 141
  • A Methodist Deacon's Advice 146
  • Of Violets and Bells 148
  • Remembering Mrs Newbould 151
  • Good Morning, Lloyd 156
  • In Modesty and Trembling 162
  • Christmasn in the Valley 166
  • On Stammering 169
  • Butlins 172
  • A Millionaire 176
  • A Scene from Military Life 178
  • An Exile 180
  • The Fox Under Glass 183
  • A Doctor's Medicine 186
  • The Little Huts 189
  • Three Heads 191
  • On Memory 198
  • Uncle John's Boots 202
  • The Fur Coat 207
  • An Holy Kiss 214
  • Notes on Authors and Texts 217
  • Acknowledgements 238
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