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SHORT LENGTHS FROM THE WELSH COUNTER. The average Welshman's natural inde- pendence, and his inherited love of liberty, is nowhere seen stronger than in the life of the London Welsh draper. We are too prone to idealise the past, and believe that all the heroism and the romance of our race are to be found in far distant history. But if we had eyes to see we would find that the romance of King Arthur still lives behind unromantic English counters and that the simple country youths who have been digging at the roots of the hazel tree are now wandering in modern London-the cave tomb of our ideals-our sleeping Arthur- are all moved by an impulse from the dis- tance of their truest best existence to come and wake their sleeping hero and his free- dom loving knights and if for the moment too many of them have had their eyes turned on the gold strewn on the floor of the cave, it is Arthur and liberty that are the final goal of their quest. Liberty past and present. This quest of the Holy Grail of Liberty runs clear through the history of our nation. It was the spirit that inspired Owen Glyndwr in his long straggle against English domi- nance, and for the political freedom of Wales it was the spirit that inspired Rowlands Llangeitho and Howel Harries against the crushing uniformity and deadly mechanism of the English Church and it is still the same spirit, though clothed in less romantic vesture, that drives scores of our young countrymen to scorn delights and live laborious days and nights in the unlovely market streets of London, rather than abide in the big emporium of commerce with their many advantages, and short hours, as hewers of wood and drawers of water for the English employer; that they may develope their own individuality, and in imagination at least cultivate their own vineyards, and grow as many of their own figtrees as London landlordism will allow them to do, that they may dwell under them in peace. The economic value of ideals. It is this side of the Welshman's character that is so puzzling to the average English- man. The great motive power behind all his activities is the love of gain, so sure is he of the universality of this principle that all his symptoms of political economy are built on that assumption. That it is possible for the average work-a-day man to toil for any- thing else is an idea beyond his limited horizon. It is a common saying in the Principality that when an Englishman takes a farm or a shop, the first question he asks is, Can I get a living here and the Welshman's first question, Can I pay the rent. It is indica- tive of the two points of view. The English- man is primarily concerned with his own personal welfare; the Welshman with that side of the question which implies social obligation and the relation of his life to that of his fellow-man, though he may only be a landlord. The Welshman leaves his mountain home with a sigh, when he turns his face to London, Manchester, or some distant land when English landlordism, economically and too often religiously, denies him the liberty to live his own life in his own way. But his sigh is tinged with hope that some day he will return, may be in the evening of his day, economically independent and free, and it is this divine spark of idealism whether his success is great or small—that inspires his journey along the toilsome paths of commerce in an alien land. But the Englishman without this passion- ate love of his native soil cares not in what climate or country to pitch his tent, so long as he can find gold. And so he has be- come the great colonizer of the world—un- polite people call it by another name. The Welsh of London and the great cities of England want another Daniel Owen to pourtray their lives. Some of the finest romance of our race, and some of the noblest heroisms of our people are to be found in little dairies in the slumdoms of the East End, and hidden in unpretentious little businesses in the mean streets of London. May this divine idealism of the Welshman never die out. H.


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