Ar Lan Y Mor by Sarah E. Y. Miller

12/01/17 02:11:10AM
112 posts

September 1896

Enid Griffith stepped from the platform at Llanbrynmair into the car of the train. She clutched her small valise a little tighter as she looked at the nearly full second class car of the Cambrian line steam powered train. She had never taken the train further than Machynlleth, and that only a few times. This time she was going to Aberystwyth on the coast, to a job at a hotel, leaving her parents and six siblings behind.. But that was only if she could find a seat. There was an open spot there in the back, between a coal miner and a mother with a crying infant. Enid excused her way down the aisle until she got to the wooden bench of the row. She asked if the seat was open and when the other occupants replied it was free she pushed her way past the crying baby to the seat. She pulled the valise up onto her lap and tried to settle in for the two hours the journey would take.

Enid tried to settle her nerves but the further the train steamed away from Llanbrynmair the more nervous she got. That first part of the journey was a familiar novelty. She was still in awe of these new trains and the speeds they could go and riding in one was a treat. But unlike her previous journeys, she was not traveling with her mother or aunt to shop from a wider selection of goods. This time she was traveling by herself to move to another town all on her own.

The train pulled into Machynlleth station. The miner squeezed by her and the mother, whose baby had finally calmed to a whimper. Once the man left, Enid slid over to sit next to the window. She looked out at the stone built train station. The whistle sounded and the train lurched into motion. The unfamiliar yet familiar rolling green pastures and sheep. The green grass fields gave way to the edges of the town. The train steamed into a platform, one of several all served by a brick station. The decorative wooden arches and other decoration were painted green, red, and white. It bustled with activity of people departing the train, both those in the second class car and the first class passengers with their servants, people waiting for their train, and the stevedores loading and unloading freight. It was the most people she had ever seen in one place before and she had to navigate her way to her new residence.

Enid stepped down from the train onto the platform and joined the hustle and bustle. She looked around her for some kind of directional sign to figure out where to go. She found none and went to find someone who could tell her where the hotel she had been hired to work at was located. She found someone at the ticket office who gave her directions, which seemed easy enough.

Enid once again gripped her valise tighter and set her out down the street she had been directed to. The street was lined with more shops than she had ever seen. One was selling old china and furniture. She had no idea that there was enough of that around to have a shop just for it. She went another couple blocks and came across a storefront with the latest seaside fashions. The woolen suits were labeled as for sea bathing. Imagine such a thing. Her shadow lengthened. Enid realized she needed to stop lollygagging and get on her way. She reached the end of the street and saw the promenade for the first time.

The Ladies in their bell shaped skirts and blouses with leg o mutton sleeves holding parasols over their heads strolling on the arms of gentlemen in ditto suits. Children in similar attire ran weaving between the gentry and chased by nannies and nurses. Enid had never seen the like. But beyond the people, in their fashionable dress was the sea wall was the sea.

The waves crashing into the beach was an awesome sight. Enid had seen the power of the water in the river and streams around her home and the town. The sound was so different from the gentle flow over the rock and logs that she stood transfixed for a moment. The flow of traffic continued around her until the driver of a horse drawn gig yell a string of profanities at her. Once the conveyance was on its way, Enid resumed her journey. She reached the Golden Daffodil Hotel. Mrs. Jones, the chief housekeeper took her up to her room in the attics. Mrs. Jones filled her in on her duties and her days off. Enid was relieved to have her half day on Sunday morning so she could go to Capel for services and her day off on Wednesday.

Days passed and Enid got into her routine. She worked hard during her shifts and received vails from several of the guests when they left. She was happy enough but a bit lonely. She had been used to her large and noisy family. The work was plentiful as expected. It was everything she had been prepared for never the less, she was ready for her first day off when Wednesday rolled around.

The weather was intermittently sunny but still windy, so Enid decided to go ahead with her plans of riding the newly opened Cliff Railway. She stepped out of the back entrance to the hotel and the wind bit into her and she tightened her shawl and set off towards the promenade and Constitution Hill. After a brisk walk she reached the base of the hill and steps up to the ticket booth. The line was smaller than it had been as many of of holiday makers had gone home but the locals were coming out in droves to see the longest funicular railway in Great Britain. Enid waited her turn and handed over her coins, saved from the vails she has received, for a one way ticket to the top. The ride was different from the trains she had been on before as it climbed the hill. The town below got smaller and smaller and the view around the bay to the ruins of the castle came more into sight.

At the crest of the hill, Enid got out and wandered around. She marveled at the view out to sea and then wandered to the landward side. She found the direction in which home was and wondered if she could see home. She knew that she couldn’t but it made her seem less distant to think she could see Llanbrynmair. Finally the wind chilled her enough to seek refreshment in the cafe. She paid her money for her small pot of tea and a couple slices of Bara Brith. She finished her refreshment and went back to admiring the view. When the wind got to be too much, she wound her way down the path, stopping at the first footbridge to watch the train. By the time she reached home the wind had pick up into a full blown storm.

Enid joined the rest of the day staff in their meal and let the conversation flow around her. She had not been here long enough to make friends. She would, in time, for now she let the friendly choas flow around her whilst she ate her meal. When the meal was over, she climbed the five flights of stairs to her attic room.

Most days she was both happy for the silence of her small room with its window that looked out to the sea and sad that there was the absence of her sisters. The room was not so quiet with the storm raging outside. The sea banged and crashed. Enid stood by the window watching the waves in the light of the gas lamps along the promenade. The roar was so loud it rivaled the sound of her youngest brother and sister when they were arguing over whose turn it was to take the slop buckets out to the ty bach to empty. The spray came up and over the sea wall in curls of droplets that shimmered in the artificial light. It was mesmerizing. After an hour of watching the waves Enid drug herself away from the window and climbed in to her narrow bed. She fell asleep easily to the sound of the surf.

updated by @americymru: 12/01/17 02:14:50AM