How Green Was My Valley

How Green Was My Valley by Richard Llewellyn

Book: How Green Was My Valley by Richard Llewellyn Read Free Book Online
Authors: Richard Llewellyn
little boy.
    They called him Gareth.
    The boys were often in to see me. They all had their meals in the parlour during the
     time I was bad, and sometimes in the evening they were allowed in for a minute, though
     I still could not speak to them because of a broken jaw.
    But they were very kind to me, later on, and Davy and Owen took turns to read books,
     but they had to stop reading Mr. Boswell’s Life of Johnson because it made me laugh, and laughing hurt too much.
    There is a man was Dr. Johnson. Indeed I do wish we had a few of his kind living to-day.
     Mind, I have heard him called an old busybody and other things, too. But I have always
     noticed that those who said such things were the very ones whom Dr. Johnson would
     have had under the table with a look, never mind a word. I owe a big debt to Mr. Boswell,
     indeed. How happy he must have been to write about so great a man.
    It was during that time that I found out about books. We had not many in the house,
     but what there were, were good, although a bit solid for me, mind. But my father,
     and Davy, and Ivor when he had time, were all at pains to explain when hard words
     came up, and so by easy stages I grew with them.
    But we were in agonies there with Mr. Stuart Mill’s System of Logic . It was so hard that we laughed no end at ourselves. But we got through to the end
     and all the better for it. There is another man with a head.
    The Bible, of course, my father and Owen read before going to bed, and I knew it in
     the end as well as Owen.
    It was then that I had thoughts about Christ, and I have never changed my mind. He
     did appear to me then as a man, and as a man I still think of him. In that way, I
     have had comfort. If he had been a God, or any more a son of God than any of us, then
     it is unfair to ask us to do what he did. But if he was a man who found out for himself
     what there is that is hidden in life, then we all have a chance to do the same. And
     with the help of God, we shall.
    Indeed, I am going from this house to-night to try and find out what is the matter
     with me and the people I know, because there is something radically wrong with us
     all, to be sure.
    Davy used to say the same thing, and if ever a man had cause to question his fellows,
     that man was Davy. I used to write his letters for him when I got better, not that
     he was unable to write his own, but because I had all day to write in. So I got to
     know all about matters concerning the Union and from the first I knew that things
     were wrong.
    Mrs. Tom Jenkins used to come up after school with her little girl, and give me the
     lessons for the day to follow, and take away the work I had done during the day. There
     is kind of her to come up all that way day after day, just to earn fourpence a week
     and do her best for a sick boy. And make no mistake, best it was. She got handwriting
     primers for me, that my father paid for, so that I would have a good hand when I was
     ready to leave my bed. And I could write beautiful, too. I have never said so, but
     I cannot put in words what came in me when I won a handwriting competition set by
     a paper in Town.
    And you should have seen the look in my father’s eyes when he brought in the paper.
     They were all in the kitchen, for it was reading time, and we were waiting for my
     father because he was late, and a strange event with him.
    But when he came in, breathing a little extra from the Hill, he had the paper under
     his arm as he carried his Bible, and we knew from the way he came in and sat down
     in his chair that there was something serious to be said. So we all sat quiet. We
     could hear my mother singing to my new sister upstairs.
    My father put on his glasses, and picked up the paper, and looked all round at the
     boys, but he gave no look to me at all. I thought I had done something wrong, and
     I was bruising my brains trying to think what, when my father cleared his throat,
     and then I knew it was nothing bad, but

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