Being in this fine mood, I spoke to a little boy, whom I saw playing alone in the road, asking him what he was going to be when he grew up. Of course I expected to hear him say a sailor, a soldier, a hunter, or something else that seems heroic to childhood, and I was very much surprised when he answered innocently, 'A man.'
I like to give pennies to children, but unfortunately, a man cannot do these things if he lives in a small village or town where his face is known and seen every day. For children take advantage, as I know to my cost, and would gather round him like hens around a farmer when he scatters grain.
I had now been in the United States of America something like five years, working here and there as the inclination seized me, which, I must confess, was not often. I was certainly getting some enjoyment out of life, but now and then the waste of time appalled me, for I still have a conviction that I was born to a different life.
Mother's father and brothers all took great interest in pugilism, and they knew the game well from much practice of their own. They were never so much delighted as when I visited them with a black eye or a bloody nose, at which time they would be at the trouble to give cunning points as to how to meet an opponent according to his weight and height.
Summer boarders often left clothes behind, and of what use were they to the landladies, for no rag-and-bone man ever called at their houses. The truth of the matter was that in less than a week I was well dressed from head to foot, all of these things being voluntary offerings, when in quest of eatables.
It was a proof of Welsh good nature: so long as I had a friend that knew and could introduce me, the whole Welsh people would do anything to entertain, and would even neglect their business to do so. But as a stranger in Wales, it is difficult to break through their suspicion and mistrust.
I don't suppose there is a more daring or more impudent rascal on earth than a good American beggar. It is always his boast that he has begged an ex-president, or the present one, and he claims to have received benefits from a number of well-known millionaires, actors, and prize-fighters.