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Wild Wales

George Henry Borrow

Book Overview: 

The book recounts Borrow's experiences, insights and personal encounters whilst touring Wales alone on foot after a family holiday in Llangollen in 1854. Although contemporary critics dismissed its whimsical tone, it quickly became popular with readers as a travel book and more importantly as a very lively account of the literary, social and geographical history of Wales. Borrow’s engaging character comes across especially in his meetings with various itinerants – mostly native and peasant – along the muddy Welsh path. Borrow’s keen ear for dialogue may remind us of a Dickens or Trollope, and like the latter his wit and wisdom are rarely absent. Indeed the author has been described as an "eccentric, larger-than-life, jovial man whose laughter rings all through the book".

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .Nearly so, sir; I believe they have been frightened away by the Gwyddelod.”

“What kind of people are these Gwyddelod?”

“Savage, brutish people, sir; in general without shoes and stockings, with coarse features and heads of hair like mops.”

“How do they live?”

“The men tinker a little, sir, but more frequently plunder.  The women tell fortunes, and steal whenever they can.”

“They live something like the Gipsiaid.”

“Something, sir; but the hen Gipsiaid were gentlefolks in comparison.”

“You think the Gipsiaid have been frightened away by the Gwyddelians?”

“I do, sir; the Gwyddelod made their appearance in these parts about twenty years ago, and since then the Gipsiaid have been rarely seen.”

“Are these Gwyddelod poor?”

“By no means, sir; they make large sums by plundering and o. . . Read More