Illuminations: An Anthology of Welsh Short Prose

By Meic Stephens | Go to book overview

Innocent, honest, hard-working, generous, inarticulate. That was his life. A sacrifice to narrow, merciless notions about this world and the next. Yet I don't suppose it ever occurred to him that there was anything wrong with them. And sadder still, nor did it occur to his father. Nor to his class. Nor to anyone.

Cymeriadau ( Hughes a'i Fab, 1933)


On Collecting Roads

R. T. Jenkins

I had bought a new toy, for three shillings; that's how it began. The other day a friend of mine took me in his motor-car to Shrewsbury. It's a journey that I very often go on, and now I'm so familiar with it that I'm able to make fairly firm arrangements. The length of the journey is four pipefuls: light up at the outset, light up again in Betws-y-coed, light up a third time at Corwen, and for the last time on coming into Gobowen. But there's a difference between one friend and another, and one of them is such a lightning driver that the aforementioned timetable is often upset. Mind you, he's a capable and perfectly careful driver — he always slows down to forty miles an hour when he sees the 30 sign. But in his car I'm in Bethesda before filling my pipe, in Capel Curig before lighting it up, and somewhere around Corwen before finishing it. And so with him, it's a two-pipe journey, filling up again at Chirk. It was this friend who was at the steering-wheel on the day in question.

Well, having got the pipe to draw quite well, near Betws-y-coed, I began looking about me. In the glove compartment, as I tried to stuff my tobacco-pouch and matches into the usual muddle of spectacles, an old glove, a tangle of fishing-line, the A.A. Handbook, and half-a-dozen maps, I saw a brandnew book, its paper wrapping still keeping its dust-jacket clean. I pulled it out — Road Atlas, 3 miles to 1 inch. I opened it and my shout of joy very nearly frightened my friend into turning off up the road to Trefriw. 'Here it is — the very thing I've been wanting for years!' Maps on a scale big enough to show the smallest roads; but maps that were almost colourless; apart

-34-

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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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