Welsh Journals

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WALES. Vol. IV.] MARCH, 1897. [No. 35. A NEGLECTED PASTIME. Ry tho Rev. E. J. Newell, M.A., Porthcawl. Author of A History of the Welsh Church. T HAVE often pitied those unhappy -*■ dwellers in our towns who pass their time in tranquil contentment with their limited existence, who do not seek to escape to the country scenes and sounds which are frequently so near, and who have no love for the country, when perforce they visit it. You may sometimes meet such unhappy persons in the August holiday, " doing" Wales or Scotland after the conventional manner of the fashionable tourist, passing on from table d'hdte to table d'hdte, sampling and discussing the food at each hotel they visit, but utterly dead to the beauty of the scenery around them; men who will read Tit Bits as they sail through the Kyles of Bute, or with unabashed fore¬ heads will ascend Snowdon by railway. 5 49 Such persons I have met; but they have never been among my associates ; we have too little in common. I have known, however, others of quite an opposite type. One such in particular I well remember; a tall man who, with his long unkempt hair and beard, his loose black frock coat, and his speckled straw hat, was a some¬ what notable figure in the town in which he lived. His leisure hours were passed in some mercantile pur¬ suit or other, but the serious business of his life was music and country walks. On winter evenings he practised music, and on Sundays his mag¬ nificent bass voice might be heard to good effect in the church choir. But in the summer he walked in the country, clad in just the same garb as he wore in town, and his routes were as unconventional as his dress. If you mentioned any place with¬ in a radius of twenty five miles from his town, he knew it well, but he knew little of the roads by which you reached it. " I never go by the roads; I walk through the fields," he would remark ; and when you meekly suggested that there were no footpaths thereabout, he would reply, calmly and unaffectedly, " I always make my own paths." He knew every gap in the hedges, and every farmhouse for miles, and he would tell you where the farmers