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Morning Serial; Voices of the Children.

Byline: George Ewart Evans

Now the house and the family were dwarfed, painfully, by the new outgrowing. New covered lands opened out and vague shapes paraded in pageantry before the mind's eye.

There, nothing seemed certain. The girl at the farm was a symbol of a tract of undiscovered country and her image came up with an intensity that increased with the growing distance in time.

Although I could not remember how she looked, what she wore, what she said, she was more real even than when I had met her. She had never sent the photographs, as Nipper had often reminded me with regret, nor the snap of herself, as she had promised. Yet that she had not done so threw a deeper light upon her. The girl at the farm!

There was no need of a photograph. Even her name did not matter now. For me she was as little in need of a name as the stars are in need of a guide-map or the sunlight in need of the spectrum. Yes, the sunlight. It was chiefly by the sunlight that I could recapture that afternoon, which spread out and dwarfed all else, dividing me and pointing to the new life, disturbing and beautiful, that I was growing to.

Now, too, since Dinah had left, the family had lost its compactness. Nor was there the same order: we lost our Sunday collars and mislaid our boots; the hole in the sock spread and there was no one to mend our shirts. Mother had too much to do.

When all the small troubles mounted up and towered over us, we went up to visit Dinah in her house in Brynllefrith. Sometimes two of us together, or sometimes I went alone, taking a weighty burden of complaint for her to scatter to the winds.

Then after a visit I found that Dinah was going to have a baby. She was knitting something woolly when she told me in an off-hand way. But instead of being puzzled and ashamed as I would have been a short while before, I now accepted small babies as one of the inescapable devices of providence, as apt to appear as unheralded and sometimes as unaccountably as a thunderbolt from the sky.

Not that I didn't know the facts of life: I had gleaned those out of mud and out of print, but something had grown inside me, coating over the old painful conflict, helping me to accept even where I did not fully understand.

And when Dinah's baby was born I felt no disturbing commotion within, but only a strange amusement and even a tinge of interest in seeing whether a week-old baby was as much like the skinned rabbit as I remembered it to be.

Continues tomorrow.

Voices of the Children by George Ewart Evans is part of the Library of Wales series published by Parthian. For more information on the series visit www.libraryofwales.org. To buy your copy visit www.gwales.com
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Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Aug 4, 2009
Words:501
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