(Comprehensive Guide to Short Stories, Critical Edition)

Dylan, a boy about ten years of age, is going to spend the summer holiday at his Uncle Jim and Aunt Annie Jones’s farm. As Uncle Jim brings Dylan to the farm from his home in Swansea, Jim makes him wait in the cart in a scary dark alley while he goes into a pub to drink. They do not get home until midnight, much to Aunt Annie’s annoyance.

The next morning, Dylan and his cousin Gwilym look at the pigs and discover that one is missing—Uncle Jim has sold it to get drinking money. Gwilym, who wants to be a Nonconformist minister, entertains Dylan by singing hymns to God and telling him stories about girls who died for love. He shows Dylan the chapel that he has fixed up in a dilapidated barn, and he officiates at a mock service, preaching a sermon and taking up a collection.

That afternoon, Jack Williams, Dylan’s best friend from Swansea, is arriving for a visit. Aunt Annie makes Dylan put on his best suit, and she prepares a tea in the best room, a rarely used parlor. When Mrs. Williams arrives in a chauffeur-driven Daimler, Annie gives her an obsequious welcome, apologizing for her house. Mrs. Williams wants to drop Jack off and be gone, but Annie insists that she stay for tea and offers her tinned peaches that she has hoarded since Christmas for a special occasion. Mrs. Williams dusts the seat of a chair before sitting down, refuses the peaches, and leaves without finishing her cup of tea.

Dylan and Jack play cowboys and...

(The entire section is 586 words.)