Lavengro, by George Borrow

Chapter 80

The border — Thank you both — Pipe and fiddle — Taliesin.

We were now drawing very near the hills, and Peter said, ‘If you are to go into Wales, you must presently decide, for we are close upon the border.’

‘Which is the border?’ said I.

‘Yon small brook,’ said Peter, ‘into which the man on horseback who is coming towards us is now entering.’

‘I see it,’ said I, ‘and the man; he stops in the middle of it, as if to water his steed.’

We proceeded till we had nearly reached the brook. ‘Well,’ said Peter, ‘will you go into Wales?’

‘What should I do in Wales?’ I demanded.

‘Do!’ said Peter, smiling, ‘learn Welsh.’

I stopped my little pony. ‘Then I need not go into Wales; I already know Welsh.’

‘Know Welsh!’ said Peter, staring at me.

‘Know Welsh!’ said Winifred, stopping her cart.

‘How and when did you learn it?’ said Peter.

‘From books, in my boyhood.’

‘Read Welsh!’ said Peter; ‘is it possible?’

‘Read Welsh!’ said Winifred; ‘is it possible?’

‘Well, I hope you will come with us,’ said Peter.

‘Come with us, young man,’ said Winifred; ‘let me, on the other side of the brook, welcome you into Wales.’

‘Thank you both,’ said I, ‘but I will not come.’

‘Wherefore?’ exclaimed both, simultaneously.

‘Because it is neither fit nor proper that I cross into Wales at this time, and in this manner. When I go into Wales, I should wish to go in a new suit of superfine black, with hat and beaver, mounted on a powerful steed, black and glossy, like that which bore Greduv to the fight of Catraeth. I should wish, moreover, to see the Welshmen assembled on the border ready to welcome me with pipe and fiddle, and much whooping and shouting, and to attend me to Wrexham, or even as far as Machynllaith, where I should wish to be invited to a dinner at which all the bards should be present, and to be seated at the right hand of the president, who, when the cloth was removed, should arise, and, amidst cries of silence, exclaim — “Brethren and Welshmen, allow me to propose the health of my most respectable friend the translator of the odes of the great Ab Gwilym, the pride and glory of Wales.”’

‘How!’ said Peter, ‘hast thou translated the works of the mighty Dafydd?’

‘With notes critical, historical, and explanatory.’

‘Come with us, friend,’ said Peter. ‘I cannot promise such a dinner as thou wishest, but neither pipe nor fiddle shall be wanting.’

‘Come with us, young man,’ said Winifred, ‘even as thou art, and the daughters of Wales shall bid thee welcome.’

‘I will not go with you,’ said I. ‘Dost thou see that man in the ford?’

‘Who is staring at us so, and whose horse has not yet done drinking? Of course I see him.’

‘I shall turn back with him. God bless you.’

‘Go back with him not,’ said Peter; ‘he is one of those whom I like not, one of the clibberty-clabber, as Master Ellis Wyn observes — turn not with that man.’

‘Go not back with him,’ said Winifred. ‘If thou goest with that man, thou wilt soon forget all our profitable counsels; come with us.’

‘I cannot; I have much to say to him. Kosko Divvus, Mr. Petulengro.’

‘Kosko Divvus, Pal,’ said Mr. Petulengro, riding through the water; ‘are you turning back?’

I turned back with Mr. Petulengro.

Peter came running after me: ‘One moment, young man, — who and what are you?’

‘I must answer in the words of Taliesin,’ said I: ‘none can say with positiveness whether I be fish or flesh, least of all myself. God bless you both!’

‘Take this,’ said Peter, and he thrust his Welsh Bible into my hand.

http://ebooks.adelaide.edu.au/b/borrow/george/lavengro/chapter80.html

Last updated Wednesday, March 12, 2014 at 13:32