businesslike, suggesting the smooth inevitability of a conditioned reflex, or the postman's brisk process from door to door. In contrast with the annual relays of visitors prospecting among the same rocks, prodding in unfruitful places, peering and scratching for a few under- sized crabs, Charlie illustrated the conservation of energy. Not for him the crude crustacean brawl, with its savage mutilation of limb, its vulgar dissipation of temper he wielded the crab-hook like a wand to conjure willing decapods out of their holes. It was more cajolery than aggression. Charlie had come down for the best tide of the month, and was leaning against a gate, holding his ancient crook like some old-world shepherd content with the well-being of his flock. I was interested in his hook, for I had come across protagonists of all the Schools, each protesting the orthodoxy of its own particular bend. There were the penny-benders," who maintained that the coin should fit snugly into the crook, its rim touching at all points of a semi-circle and there were those smaller minds, who insisted on a curve that would just embrace a forefinger. Then there were eccentrics whose weapons just completed the right-angle, and those who turned them back extravagantly like enormous fish-hooks. Charlie's hook did not conform to the standards of any School I knew. It was a flimsy contraption, venerable in its suggestion of rusty antiquity just an irregular piece of quarter-inch iron, bent (obviously with some rock- cleft as vice) into a shape barely recognisable as a hook, and fastened casually to a piece of aged broomstick. My question was answered with a smile It's the man behind the hook that matters." One can live for years with a truism, dulled by familiarity into losing the force of its meaning. We chatted at the gate for a time, he with his hook, I with my can of water, until I gained confidence enough to make the request I had shirked for thirty years. Could I come along with him that afternoon ? His laconic Yes was encouraging, for although he does not indulge in the grander flourishes of rhetoric, he can (like most Gower men of an older generation), convey the subtlest of mean- ings, the nicest distinctions, by the modulation of a monosyllable. I remember an old farmer from The Green who could communicate all the nuances of a normal conversation, its variations of mood and meaning from gracious compliment to vigorous invective, by the precise intonation of his Ah My rendezvous with Charlie was fixed for half-past one at a point midway between two well-known rock features. Armed with my crab-hook, whose neatly-soldered iron I now regarded rather self-consciously, I made my way to our meeting-place. I was hungry, too, for by some perverse law of nature, low tides and mealtimes have a habit of synchronising. Charlie was there before me, his canvas bag, on which there still lingered the dimly-stencilled name of a national newspaper, already holding the first-fruits of his harvest. Until the middle of the Second War, he would cover the whole stretch