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The Edwardian Days of a Dafen Diarist


William Owen was born at Cwmnant, a small farm on the outskirts of the village of Dafen, near Llanelli, on the 29th June, 1876. His parents were David and Mari Owen, who had ten children. Cwmnant extended to only twenty-four acres and it was scarcely big enough to maintain the family. To eke out a living David employed his horse and cart to carry coal from the nearby St. George pit and sell it in the district. Mari delivered milk daily from door to door in the village.

David came from Mynydd-y-Garreg, near Cydweli, his home being a farm called Penymynydd. He met Mari when they both worked at Maes-ar-Ddafen, on the lowland near Llwynhendy, he as a farm servant and she as a maid. Mari was from Llwynhendy, being the daughter of Jona John, a colourful and original character known by his bardic title, Jona o'r Ynys. (The well-known rugby player, Barry John, of our time, is of the same lineage).

David was of a quiet nature and Mari was without doubt the stronger personality. She could neither read nor write but was extremely astute and possessed an excellent memory. Her kindness to the poor and unfortunate was proverbial and many a family in time of distress had reason to bless her for a deed of generosity, usually done by stealth.

Of the ten children, one died in infancy. The others were four girls, Margaret, Catherine, Mary Ann and Rachel, and five boys, John, David, Daniel, William and Frank. William was the youngest son but one and, like the other children, he went to the village school in Dafen. He recalled taking his penny to the schoolmaster every Monday morning to pay for his tuition. Later he went to the Llanelli Higher Grade School, where he learned history, English grammar, French, mathematics and elementary science. He was a bright pupil and when he left school at the age of fifteen, he secured work at the Llanelli Post Office. Here he remained until January, 1901, when, at the age of twenty-four, he was promoted to a post at Dowlais. On his departure from Llanelli he received gifts from his colleagues and was treated to a farewell party at the Federation Rooms of the Malabar Hotel, an occasion which was reported by the local press in terms which reflected the high esteem he enjoyed in the community.

William did not stay long at Dowlais. In June, 1902, he was appointed a registry assistant in the General Post Office, London and remained there until 1914, when he was appointed postmaster at Llangollen. During his time in London he kept a diary. Parts have been lost but the diaries for 1902-4 and 1907-8 are still extant. Following the fashion of the period, they are for the main part in English despite the fact that William's first language was Welsh and that Welsh was the language used in most of the events that are recorded. In the diaries we get a glimpse of the life of a young man away from home, devoted to family and friends, and immersed in the activities of the Welsh Nonconformist community in London.

London in 1902 had a population of four and a half million. 4,000 buses ran on the streets; most of these were horse drawn, there being, in fact, only 28 motor buses. There were also 200 electric tramcars. The underground railways had been in existence for forty years, using steam power and running near the surface; the first electric underground had been opened in 1890. Houses were lit by gas and thousands went to bed nightly by the light of a candle. Country-wide, transport was mainly by railway; that recent invention, the motor car, barely disturbed the rural peace. Bicycling was a pleasurable way of travelling; other means were walking and riding by pony and trap.

Life for Welsh people in London offered much activity and stimulation. The chapels were well-supported and preaching was highly regarded; there were concerts and eisteddfodau and considerable interest in political matters, under the influence of the Liberal Party and men like Lloyd George, D. A. Thomas (later Viscount Rhondda) and Ellis Jones Griffith (later created a baronet, and briefly M.P. for Carmarthen, 1923-4).

The focal point of William's life was the chapel and he noted every service he attended, recording the name of the preacher, his text and frequently the heads of the sermon or a summary of it. He became a member of Castle Street Welsh Baptist Church but later transferred to Commercial Street1 to help the weaker cause there. He was soon elected a deacon and frequently took the service in place of the minister.

The following entries from the diary have been selected and edited to show the range of William Owen's interests.

"4-1-03. Sunday. Got up at 8.15 a.m. Had breakfast at 9.30 a.m. Walked to Castle Street. Only three in early prayer meeting. Morning service: Mr. Williams2 preached. Psalm 90.12. Saw Gwili3 outside. He had failed to find Moorfields Chapel. In Sunday School - lesson Paul and Silas in prison at Philippi, Evening: Mr. Williams preached from Exodus 14.15 as a New Year's motto. Communion. Wet night; returned early".

"30-8-03. Mr. Shankland, Rhyl,4 preaching at Commercial Street. Hebrews 8.10—12. The writer shows the superiority of the Gospel of the New Dispensation over the Old. 1. Its superiority because it emphasises the importance of inner experience. 2. Its superiority because it emphasises the importance of the individual. 3. Its superiority in graciousness. It is complete forgiveness. I preached in the evening. John 14.27".

"2-10-04. Dark and foggy. Mr. Herbert Morgan5 at Little Alie Street, Morning sermon, Col. 3. 1—4. The Christian in living a new life has new interests and ideals which elevate life. The things which raised Christ to the right hand of God will also raise us. These ideals when reached glorify our life. Life hid with Christ in God. All life is hidden until it is perfected".

"Evening: Communion and sermon on Cor. 12.9. 'My grace is sufficient for thee'. Man's weakness and failings are evidences of the great possibilities he has. 'Thorns in the flesh' are essential to our everlasting benefit. In our failures God has an opportunity of coming to disclose his strength. The grace here was a new standpoint from which he viewed his life; a new light in which he saw the events of his life, helping him to see how needful indeed trials are for perfecting us. After this he believed that all things work for the good of them that love Him".

Chapel life was by no means confined to preaching and devotional meetings. Both Castle Street and Commercial Street had their Mutual Improvement Societies, where topics of general interest were discussed and debated, and there were eisteddfodau, social evenings and concerts held in the chapel or schoolroom, or on more important occasions in such centres as the Queen's Hall.

"10-1-03. Walked home through City Road and spent a few hours reading and writing. In evening heard debate on 'Is it the duty of London Welsh parents to make Welsh the family language?' at Castle Street Mutual Improvement Society".

"23-3-03. Eisteddfod at Castle Street. Took prize for essay, 'Llwyrymwrthodiad yng ngoleuni'r Testament Newydd', and half the prize for translation into Welsh. Harry Thomas had full prize for translation into English".

"19-12-03. Went to Castle Street Eisteddfod. Unsuccessful in 'Letter to parents' and translation into Welsh,. Half prize for tenor solo and full prize for reciting 'Morfa Rhuddlan' ".

"9-1-04. Went to British Museum to meet Mr. David Williams6 and obtained a reader's ticket. Then went to Castle Street to social. Mr. Williams lectured on 'Jac Glanygors a'i gyd oeswyr' ".

"12-1-04. Read paper on 'John Williams7 Yr Oraclau Bywiol'.

"18-2-04. Eisteddfod at Queen's Hall.8 Met several Llanellyites, among them S. Aubrey and W. Jones, Globe Row [Dafen]. Eisteddfod not over till 11.40. Then had to walk home".

"10-3-04. Went to City Temple in the evening to hear The Creation (Haydn) performed. Very full".

"17-12-04. Spent afternoon at British Museum. In evening at Castle Street Eisteddfod. Prize for 'Drylliad y Royal Charter' (three shillings) won by me".

A day in the country was a great delight to the town-dwellers of London and Sunday Schools often arranged an annual outing of this kind. Commercial Street Sunday School held their outing on the 1st June, 1903, William noting in his diary, 'went to Court Farm, Upper Warlingham.9 Very warm day. Enjoyed ourselves very much'.

William Owen did not confine himself to his own chapel and denomination but took the opportunity to hear pulpit orators of all denominations, both Welsh and English, including such famous people as P. T. Forsyth, R. J. Campbell, Campbell Morgan, F. B. Meyer, Elvet Lewis and others. William thought deeply about religion and the diaries reveal that he experienced a spiritual crisis in his own life. On the 8th February, 1903 he heard the renowned preacher Dr. P. T. Forsyth in Bloomsbury Chapel and summarised the sermon at some length, being obviously moved by it. He frequently went to listen to evangelical preachers of the day like Dr. Campbell Morgan and F. B. Meyer, but also heard the lectures given by R. J. Campbell, the apostle of the New Theology, who in 1903 succeeded Joseph Parker as minister of the City Temple.

"8-2-03 . . . in evening went to Bloomsbury Chapel to hear Dr. Forsyth.10 Fluent speaker — pithy sayings intermixed in his sermon. His text was taken in Genesis 32.31. 'and as he passed over Penuel the sun rose upon him and he halted upon his thigh'. Jacob's struggle with the angel. The difficulties of the gospel and the Christian life have to be met and conquered. And this comes to every Christian. No true Christian can have an easy-going life . . ."

"16-4-03. Went to laboratory class in morning, then to the City Temple. Heard Revd. R. J. Campbell. Could only just hear him. Temple was crowded to overflowing".11

"12-10-03. In evening went to hear Elvet Lewis12 preaching at Wilton Square. Matthew 13.3. 'Wele yr hauwr a aeth allan i hau'. Iesu fel hauwr yn (1) Ei gydymdeimlad β dynion sydd yn hau, ac yn medi siomedigaethau (2) Ei ostyngeiddrwydd. Mab Duw yn dod mewn gwisg hauwr i hau ar feysydd oerion y byd (3) Ei obaith, Y tir da, a'r had sydd yn dwyn 30, 60 a 100. 'O lafur ei enaid y gwel'."

"26-6-04. In morning went to Borough Chapel to hear Hwfa Mon.13 He preached on Daniel 5.27. 'Wele ti a'th bwyswyd ac a'th gaed yn brin'. Pregethodd am awr a hanner".

"25-11-04. Went to hear Dr. Campbell Morgan14 at Westminster Chapel speaking on 'Christ and the Old Testament'. Splendid and orthodox lecture. Feel stronger than ever in my belief and faith in the Bible as it is".

Although the chapel was central to William's life, he had other interests. He attended classes at the Northampton Institute to improve his position at the Post Office, he was an amateur painter and he also took an interest in the popular causes of the day, particularly those that were of concern to the Welsh Nonconformists: Disestablishment, Temperance and opposition to the Education Act, 1902. Lloyd George was very active at this time and William heard him speak on a number of occasions.

"6-5-03. After tea went to the G.P.O. to ascertain duty. Then to the City Temple to the Annual Meeting of the Liberation Society.15 Overflowing. Chairman: Dr. Clifford.16 Speakers: J. Jones, Bournemouth,17 Ellis-Griffith,18 Wilfred Lawson,19 Silvester Horne."20

"23-5-03. Demonstration in Hyde Park against London Education Bill".

"11-7-03. Very hot day. At Albert Hall demonstration. Revd. Scott Lidgett,21 Revd. J. Morgan Gibbon,22 Dr. John Clifford, Revd. G. Hooper, Mr. Lloyd George and Mr. R. W. Perks spoke. Hall crowded".

The demonstrations on the 23rd May and the 11th July were against the Education Act, 1902. Although the Act possessed many good features, it made provision for denominational schools to be maintained out of the rates and was ferociously opposed by the Liberals and Nonconformists in England and Wales, led by Lloyd George. The grounds for the opposition were that the children of Nonconformists would he compelled to receive sectarian education and that public money would be spent without public control.

The march to Hyde Park started at 4.15 p.m. and the marchers, preceded by bands and carrying banners, took until 6 p.m. to get into the park; one procession was led by the renowned Dr. John Clifford. It was estimated that there were 150,000 people present. At the demonstration in the Albert Hall on the 11th July, 18,000 were present and when Lloyd George rose to speak the cheers were deafening.

Despite the protests in London and elsewhere and strenuous efforts throughout the country to oppose the Act, its implementation was not prevented.

"3-3-04. To tea with Mr. Scrivens and together went to Harecourt Hall to hear John Burns, M.P.,23 speaking to the electors in the L.C.C. election. Very powerful speaker — witty and eloquent".

"26-3-04. Walked to Hyde Park for the Anti-Chinese Labour Demonstration".24

"28-5-04. Demonstration at the Albert hall against the Government's Licencing Bill.25 Lord Peel presided. Speakers: John Morley, the Bishop of Kensington, Arthur Chamberlain, T. P. Whitaker, T. W. Russell, Revd. F. B. Meyer, Dr. John Clifford. Splendid meeting. Lasted for four hours, including the hour's organ recital".

Life was not entirely serious for William. There were occasional visits to the theatre and other entertainments, friends came up from Wales and were conducted around the sights, there were social occasions apart from those in the chapel and frequent calls upon friends in their homes to share a meal and enjoy conversation.

"20-1-03. At Olympia, seeing 'Buffalo Bill'."26

"18-3-03. Met Willie Fisher. Went to Her Majesty's Theatre to see 'Resurrection'.27 Got home 11.55".

"21-3-03. Bought Tolstoy's Resurrection".

"20-2-04. Met a good company [of friends from Llanelli who had come up for the Queen's Hall Eisteddfod] and went to the Tower and thence to the City. In evening went to Drury Lane to see 'Humpty Dumpty' — Dan Leno and Harry Randall.28 Got home very late again".

24-6-04. Holiday — King's birthday. Cycled down to Windsor via Kingston, Hampton and Staines. Started 12.15 Got there 3.30. Visited Castle. Stayed about one hour and returned Via Colbrook and Hounslow."

"28-6-04. In evening, tried to get into the Listeners' Gallery at the House of Commons but House too full."

"29-6-04. Jour de naissance. Allen and myself were successful in getting a permit by Mr. Lloyd George to listen to debate. We went about 6.30 p.m. Afterwards we all went for a ride as far as Clapham Common. Agnes, Miss Gay, Allen and his wife and myself."

"14-5-04. Very warm day. Cycled out to Romford. Heard the cuckoo. Saw a robin's nest with young. Called at Ilford on my return and had tea with Mr. and Mrs. Arthur. There met Mr. and Mrs. Elliot. Got back at 8.35".

"21-9-04. Went to Her Majesty's Theatre to see "The Tempest'. Had a good seat".

"22-9-04. Mr. and Mrs. Romans met me at St. Martin's-le-grand and we went to the Adelphi and saw 'The Prayer of the Sword'. Good acting but a miserable piece altogther".

William spent most of his holidays in Wales although he made occasional visits to friends in England. He remained a countryman at heart and was at home in the countryside, amongst family and friends. But he also kept in touch with colleagues he had worked with in the Post Office, to whom he wrote regularly and whom he visited from time to time.

"11-4-03. Got up 6 a.m. Started for Waterloo 7.20 a.m. Reached Salisbury 11.30 a.m. Visited Cathedral and Old Sarum. Had a look over the town. Then left for Semley [railway station about three miles north of Shaftesbury], getting there at 6. Bertie met me. We walked up to Shaftesbury, meeting Mr. Romans on the way. Found them all well there".

"12-4-03. Easter Sunday. Spent a nice day. Attended church twice".

"13-4-03. Spent today walking about. Went to Melbury Hill [south of Shaftesbury] and viewed Isle of Wight! [over 30 miles away]. We had snow this day."

"14-4-03. Bert and I hired cycles and went for a two hours' run. Left Shaftesbury at 3.15 p.m., getting to Semley Station at 4 p.m. Mr. Romans and Bert came with me. They returned in a trap before my train came. Left Semley at 4.16p m., reaching Salisbury at 5 p.m. Called at Post Office to see Maggie and left Salisbury at 5.50 p.m., coming back through Romsey and Eastleigh. Got to Waterloo at 9.40p.m., reaching Gordon Street at 10.20. Had very nice weather and thoroughly enjoyed myself".

"31-3-04. Worked on till 7 p.m. Then prepared to go home on the excursion29 leaving Paddington 11.30 p.m."

"1-4-04. Good Friday. Reached Llanelli at 7a.m. and went straight up to Dafen. Very fine morning. Mother was milking the white cow and singing. In afternoon went to tea party at Maescanner30".

"2-4-04. Late getting up. Went down to 'Cydweli by 12.33 train ... Found them pretty well at Penymynydd but Charlotte Ann was being nursed. It came to rain on my way up".

"3-4-04. Went to Soar [Llwynhendy] in the morning. Mr Evans31 preached on the Resurrection. Cwrdd Cwarter at Maescanner in afternoon. In evening went to Seion ..."

"4-4-04. Easter Monday. Went to Llanelli, calling at Post Office. Went with W.T. as far as his home and had tea. I called to see George Davies at the workhouse and found him very well. Left home about 7 p.m. and went to Burry Street before leaving. Train left at 9.55 p.m."

"5-4-04. Got to Paddington at 4.45 a.m. No train before 5.30 a.m. Went down to Hammersmith and from there to the office. On duty 9-5. In evening went to prayer meeting".

"1-8-04. Arrived Llanelli 5.45 a.m. Lovely morning. Went to Burry Street. No-one up. Knocked at Sal's. Had breakfast there and then went down to Cydweli by train. Train went through Cydweli and stopped at Ferryside. Walked from Ferryside to Cydweli and got there about noon. I joined Penymynydd folk in the hayfield. Went to Penymynydd on top of a load of hay and found that Mrs. Williams, Jellico, was at Penyrheol. Aunt saddled the pony and I trotted up to see her in the afternoon. Found her out in the hayfield. I stayed about an hour and then returned to catch 9.15 excursion at Cydweli. Called at Pinged Hill Stores.32 Mrs. Arthur very ill. Saw Mrs. Powell and all the girls. Had a cup of coffee and then went to the station. I slept the best part of the journey. Got to Paddington at 5.10 a.m. Walked across the parks to Westminster Bridge Road and went for a few hours to bed, being on duty at 12".

"10-10-04. Dull morning. Left London by the 10.50a.m. express and alighted at Bath. Visited the Roman baths before leaving. Bath seemed a slow and not too clean place but it is rather pretty. Situated in a deep, narrow valley, the terraces rising on all sides. Went on to Bristol and took tram to the Tramway Centre. Went to 24 Clare Street. Mrs. Jones was cleaning the office when I arrived. We had a good time in the evening talking about old times and the latest news".

"11-10-04. Beautifully fine day. Mrs. Jones and I started out at 10a.m. for Clifton. Went over the Suspension Bridge, then walked the Downs and took the train from Durdham Downs to the city. Had some dinner and then went out to see the Mόller Institute.33 Had a look round Bristol Telegraph Office".

"12-10-04. Took train to Newport, getting there 12.30p.m. Called to see Mr. Griffiths during the dinner hour. Walked to Alexandra Park and went on to Cardiff by the 3.25 train. In Cardiff I saw the Penarth brake in St. Mary Street and went by it to Penarth (4d.). Penarth is a clean place but the town is not pretty excepting perhaps the west side which faces the sea. Went on by Taff Vale Railway to Merthyr that night and was in Dowlais before 10p.m. Went to Thomas Watts and found them all well and expecting me".

"13-10-04. Visited various friends at Dowlais during the day".

"14-10-04. Spent the morning with Mr. Hughes34 walking over the Bryniau. Had dinner with him and then went over to the Post Office and called to see other friends before going. Josiah Davies and I went to see Tom Walters at Penydarren".

"15-10-04. Went on to Swansea and enquired my way to 48 Sea View Terrace. As I was going up I met D. Davies going back to the office. It began to rain and I had to forego a run down to Mumbles; went as far as Victoria Park and returned about 5.30p.m. Had tea and a chat and left by train for Llanelli. Got there about 8.55p.m. and went to Burry Street. Found them fairly well there. Chatted till late and got to Cwmnant about midnight. Rachel and Frank were sitting up. Others were fast asleep".

"16-10-04. Got up about 9a.m. Went to chapel. Mr. Phillips35 preached on the Burning Bush. Saw Lettice Bowen and some of my old friends. In afternoon, Mother and I went to Cwmfelin, visiting the scene of the railway accident on our way. Went to see my great-uncle and great-aunt, Isaac Jones and Hannah. Both very ill. In evening went to Soar, young R. D. Hughes preaching (grandson of R. D. Roberts).36 'Eraill a waredodd Efe, ei hun nis gall ei waredu'. Called at Uncle Daniel's37 in evening and a storm came on; we had it very rough on our way home".

The _London Welshman., 8th October, 1904, reported the railway accident as follows:
'Last Monday afternoon a fearful accident occurred on the Great Western Railway main line about three miles from Llanelly. The express from New Milford due at Paddington at 5.40, drawn by two engines and travelling at a rate of at least 50 miles an hour, was nearing Loughor Bridge when the leading engine left the rails and turned completely over. The second engine also ran off the metals, dragging the four carriages immediately behind. Passengers were hurled through the windows. It seems only three lost their lives (the driver and the stoker of the leading locomotive and a Mr. Stallard from Bristol). Six or seven were seriously injured'.

"17—20-10-04. Spent these days at Dafen and Llanelli. It being damp and dull, did not go about much".

"21-10-04. Mother and I went by 12.33 p.m. train to Cydweli. At Cydweli it rained hard. No trap awaited us at station but we met it on our way, Aunt driving. We had to stay in during the afternoon but it cleared a little in the evening. Went to Parcymynydd".

"22-10-04. Went over to Glyn Abbey,38 Tudor Rees, Green Hall,39 coming with us. It was a fine afternoon. We saw some of the monks. Mother returned home by the 7.4 train from Cydweli, we going as far as the station".

"23-10-04. Glorious morning. Went to Meinciau. Miss C. Williams, Hengoed, came to dinner to Penymynydd and in afternoon we went to Coedybrain.40 Very few there. After tea, went over to Hengoed and then to Meinciau in evening. Went to Green Hall to supper and chatted till 10.30. Got to Penymynydd 10.45 and found all locked up".

"24-10-04. Wet morning so did not go out. In afternoon, rode down to Cydweli to post a parcel and called at Pinged Hill Stores. In evening went to Green Hall".

"25-10-04. Fine day. Hounds chased fox past Penymynydd but lost it on the mountain. In afternoon, went for walk with Mr. Rees to the Van and in evening went to prayer meeting at Meinciau. Stayed to supper at Green Hall".

"26-10-04. In afternoon went down to Cydweli with trap to take the Misses Arthur out for a drive. Had a photograph taken and then drove round Pont Morlais. Got to Penymynydd 4.30 p.m. and had tea. We returned early, Aunt coming with us. It was a beautiful night. We spent a very happy day".

"27-10-04. Went off by 8.56 train and got to Aberystwyth 12.20 p.m. Very warm day. In afternoon went to Devil's Bridge. The scenery is glorious around here and I thoroughly enjoyed myself, although the journey in the light railway train seems a perilous one. In evening, stayed at 3 Terrace Road, where I met Mr. Samuel, Glyngwernen. In evening went to the university buildings, where I heard Sir John Williams, court medico,41 addressing the students. Sir Lewis Morris42 was in the chair".

"28-10-04. Left Aberystwyth 9.5a.m. and reached Carmarthen at 12.15p.m. Spent the afternoon there and went on to Cydweli by the 4.33 train. Waited at Pinged Hill Stores till the gambo came down for goods. Rather a cold night".

"29-10-04. Cydweli Fair. Walked down and bought a cow and calf for Cwmnant, £ Stayed the whole day at Cydweli. In evening the Misses Arthur came out and we did a little fairing. Walked up to Penymynydd and got there 11.50 p.m.".

"30-10-04. Sunday. Went to Meinciau in morning. Miss S. Williams, Hengoed, came to Penymynydd to dinner. In afternoon, I went to Carway and back to tea, then to Four Roads at night".

"31-10-04. Sad news for Aunt Sarah this morning; she had news of her brother Daniel's death at Jellico. She felt it very keenly. We drove over to Cwmnant. My anut returned that night and Dan and I went with her as far as Penyfai. It was a very dark night."

"3-11-04. Left home noon; travelled by 1.5p.m. from Llanelli and got to Paddington 6.10p.m. G. H. Mills travelled with me. Felt very homesick this time, as mother was so very good to me. Went to service at F. B. Meyer's".44

The diary does not record many of William Owen's innermost thoughts although occasional comments on sermons reveal, as we have seen, that he thought deeply about spiritual matters. Here and there we get a glimpse of the warp and woof of life — joy and sorrow, hope and disappointment, pleasure in the company of friends and loneliness in London. There were friendships with men and women. A lasting relationship developed between him and Sarah Jane Arthur, of Cydweli, and they were married in the old Congregational chapel there (Capel Sul, now demolished) on June 5th, 1907.

"26-12-02. Boxing Day. . . . In evening went to Burry Port Ladies Concert at Maescanner. Saw D. J. Hughes [his. best friend] and M.H.H. together. Lettice Bowen sat above me although I was not conscious of it until I heard next day".

"27-12-02. Got up late. Dan and I went to Cydweli with 12.30 train. Got there soon after 2p.m. They were well. Weather became rough but we declined to stay the night. Trap carried us to Cydweli. Called at Pinged Hill Stores and having two hours to wait for train went to send Aunt back as far as Llangadog, the two Miss Arthur's being in the trap. Walked back and left them near the Town Hall".

"28-12-02. Fine morning. Went to service in morning. Mr. Phillips preached from Psalm 90. 1-6. After dinner, I went to the Workhouse Infirmary. Saw Mr. G. Davies. He wept but said he was comfortable. Stayed an hour, then returned passing the cemetery, where I saw Mrs. Davies with David John (Mrs. George Davies died on November 11th, 1902). On my way near Nevill's [Arms], met Margaret Jones and Lettice Bowen coming from Sunday School. Walked through New Row as far as the railway. Here we parted when, after a few steps, Margaret Jones wished 'Blwyddyn Newydd Dda i chi Mr. Owen' and L.B. added, 'A gwraig cyn y diwedd'. I replied, 'Ie wy'n gobeithio', but felt very surprised. Thought she was more refined and delicate".

"D. J. Hughes came to tea. In evening I went to hear the drama at Maescanner. At the gate I farewelled with D.J.H., pressing him to remain single for some time yet. He said, 'until I'm 28'. I came out of meeting at 7 p.m. and went home, gathered a few books and made my parcel. Night very stormy and wet. Frank and Rachel came as far as the Box45 with me, when I asked them to return, as I could then get along all right. Parting with Mam was affectionate. Dad, I thought, seemed sad which I accounted for by the story of William Pembre and the hay cutter. Left Llanelli 10.10p.m. — ten in compartment. Reached Paddington 6.5a.m."

"24-12-03. Kept on till 8 p.m. Then walked home. Lit fire and read paper. Thoughts wandered constantly to last Christmas, when I went home. Felt happy, although full of longings for the past — and regret a good deal. Sat up late, preparing to go to Walthamstow to spend my Christmas".

"25-12-03. After breakfast walked to Liverpool Street Station and went to Walthamstow by 10.52 train; arrived there about 11.30 a.m. Mr. Pennington and I went for a walk around Hale End and came back to dinner. Spent a very happy day. Played with children and sat up late. Stayed the night with them."

"31-12-03. Finished at 8 p.m. Went home and lit fire. Stayed in all the evening. Very cold night. Thus endeth the year 1904. W.O."

"1-1-04. Had a New Year's card from Lettice Bowen".

"27-1-04. Very troublesome day at office. Stayed in during evening. Had letter from W. G. Beynen".

"26-2-04. Went to prayer meeting. Felt very lonely and despondent, for memories of old friends fully overcame me when praying. Mrs. Beaumont asked me to go out to breakfast".

"22-12-04. Fog on. Very few in sewing class and prayer meeting, but we had a hearty time. Miss Moses read and prayed; Mrs. Morgan Jones prayed also. Sent box of flowers to Sarah Jane Arthur.

1904 was the year of the Revival in Wales and the happenings there were of great interest to Free Churchmen generally and to Welsh people in particular.

"25-12-04. Sunday. Christmas morning. Got up about 9 and had breakfast. Went to Little Alie Street. We had a prayer meeting in morning. In afternoon, I went to Christ Church P.S.A.46 Two persons spoke on the Welsh Revival. In the evening, I heard the Revd. Campbell Morgan speak — in lieu of a sermon — on the Welsh Revival. He spoke for upwards of an hour and I was much impressed by his earnest testimony to the reality of the Revival. No delivery of letters in London".

"31-12-04. Saturday. This is the last day of the year 1904. Beautifully fine day. I attended the Free Churches' meeting at Christ Church and heard the testimony of eyewitnesses of the Revival in Wales, among them Gipsy Smith,47 Thomas Phillips (Norwich),48 Elvet Lewis, Richard Roberts, Revd. Gregory Mantle, Dr. Campbell Morgan and Mr. Ewing. Dr. Munro Gibbon offered prayer. There was a good deal of fervour and a great effort to feel the presence of God. There was much singing throughout but in the evening the warmth of the afternoon meeting was not maintained and a great number — out of necessity or voluntarily — left before the finish. There were two women converts. I went straight to Westminster Chapel and a good number mustered and, headed by Dr. Campbell [Morgan] and the Revd. Swift, we marched round a good district, bringing back with us a great number of people. Instead of the usual order of service Dr. Morgan held an evangelistic service, personal testimony of believers, prayer and voluntary singing being the order — something like the Welsh Revival I think. During the last twenty minutes of the Old Year from 40 to 50 came forward professing belief in Christ. A remarkable meeting — I wept and laughed with gladness and was thankful to God for the manifestation of His power."

"The year ends. Looking back, God has been wonderfully good to me. I am happier, more content, stronger in faith and willpower. Have sinned less than in former years but far too much and more than I should. But I thank God for all His benefits during 1904".

Bangor 1982.
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