Skip to main content
Hide Articles List

1 article on this Page

< £ he origaz of Dcw'stf price.

News
Cite
Share

< £ he origaz of Dcw'stf price. TO a stranger, the village of Hafod and its neigh- bourhood presents no striking attraction, but having, on one occasion, spent a long summer holiday there, and having, during that time, made myself pretty generally acquainted with every corner of the place, and with the villagers themselves, there is, to me, an indescribable charm in the peaceful scenery, and in the quaint Welsh customs of the Hafod folk. I had, for some time, been contemplating a visit to the Land of the Cymry and the Druids, and when an old college friend, May Joyce, suggested that I should accompany her to L •, in Denbighshire, whither she was going on a visit to a relative, I very heartily fell in with her arrangement. It was on a hot day, towards the close of July, that we found ourselves in a third class compartment of a London and North-Western train, being whirled towards that country of which I had heard and read so much, but never seen, before. It was evening when the town of I- was reached, and in the glare of many lights and amid the bustle of a jostling crowd, I felt that I was doomed to be disappointed, and that, after all, the Welsh were in no wise differ- ent from their English neighbours. I am fond of out-door life, and I had resolved, ere many days, upon making an excursion over some of the hills which surrounded the town, and it was during one of these walking tours that I made my acquaintance with Hafod. Having from earliest recollection, been somewhat given to associating a state of affairs almost akin to barbarity with Welsh peasantry, I was very naturally surprised to find, instead, a people of industrious habits, independent spirit, and of Istrong national character. When I first entered the village, the sun was slowly disappearing behind a range of low-lying hills which, on one side, cuts off communication between Hafod and the world beyond; a river which divides the village into two parts, flowed by with a subdued murmur, as though prone to disturb the stillness of the peaceful glade and from the fields afar came sounds of laughter and of song, which told of Harvest-time. The sounds drew nearer and I recognised the strains of a well-known Welsh hymn, which I have often heard since, and which always recalls that evening when I first heard it being sung by the har- vesters as they brought home the" last load." I was so occupied in contemplating the quiet beauty of that rustic scenery, and in listening to the strains of music that I forgot there were some miles between me and L-, and I stood upon the wooden bridge which crossed the river until the approach of dusk, and the presence of the singers warned me that I should be on my way. The thought of a journey of over six miles, in a strange neighbourhood, and in the fast-waning light, I must confess, made me, despite my "New Woman principles, feel a little nervous, and the sight of a group of laughing men and women made the idea of the lonely walk so "creepy" that I resolved upon putting the hospitality of some of the Welsh villagers to a test. Accordingly, when the load of hay was gone by, followed by the harvesters, still singing hymns-I have since found that it is a custom among the rural Welsh to sing hymns whenever a number of men and girls are gathered together-I slowly walked along in the direction which they took, and soon found myself at the entrance to a little farm-yard, whither the hay was being taken. The gate stood open, and I made my way towards the house, from which came a sound of bustling and an odour of savoury dishes, and I knew that the Harvest supper was being put ready for the men and women whom I had seen on the road. As I reached the door a young girl came out, and, seeing a stranger, she stopped and waited for me to speak. A shawl was thrown over her shoulders, for her cotton dress was thin and the evening air was chilly an abundance of dark hair crowned her rather shapely head; and her face, which had a healthy rustic beauty, wore a look of such homliness that I found no difficulty in explaining my presence, and in asking permission to trespass on the hospitality of the farm-house folk. She led me into the house saying, I am sure my mother will be glad to make you welcome. Do not be afraid of Lion," she said, as a large dog trotted up and sniffed at my dress, he is very good, though he looks formidable." The room into which I was taken was large, airy, and scrupulously clean; a vase filled with flowers stood on the table, and they filled the room with fragrance while through the open window came the sound of laughter from outside. After seating me in a chair, and bringing in a light, the young girl left me, saying, I will fetch my mother," and in a few moments the door opened, and a cheery voice said, with a strong Welsh accent Of course you cannot return to L to- night.' Daisy and I shall soon have a bed ready for you." The speaker I knew, from her likeness to Daisy, to be the latter's mother, and her cheerful, kindly manner very soon made me feel at home with the family, which consisted of John and Hester Price, Daisy, and a younger sister called Jane. That was my introduction to Hafod, and during the remainder of my holidays, I stayed at the farm- house at the request of the family. Daisy and Jane were as unlike as any two sisters could be, and though Jane was in no wise uncouth,