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THE LIBRARY

OF

THE UNIVERSITY
OF CALIFORNIA

LOS ANGELES



MY NEIGHBOURS



OTHER BOOKS
BY CARADOC EVANS



SIXTH EDITION

MY PEOPLE

Cheap Edition

as. 6d. net



THIRD EDITION

CAPEL SIGN

Price 35. 6d. net



LONDON : ANDREW MELROSE LTD.



MY NEIGHBOURS



BY

CARADOC EVANS



LONDON: ANDREW MELROSE LTD.

3 YORK STREET, COVENT GARDEN, W.C.

1919






TO

MY FRIEND
THOMAS BURKE

OF " LIMEHOUSE NIGHTS "



500776

LIB SETS



"Earthbred" and "Joseph's House"
were printed in the English Review, and
" Treasure and Trouble " and " A Widow
Woman" in the Saturday Westminster.



CONTENTS



PAGE



I. THE Two APOSTLES . . 1

II. ACCORDING TO THE PATTERN . . 25

III. EARTHBRED . . . .53

IV. FOR BETTER . . . .71
V. LOVE AND HATE . . .89

VI. TREASURE AND TROUBLE . .111

VII. SAINT DAVID AND THE PROPHETS . 125

VIII. JOSEPH'S HOUSE . . . 149

IX. LIKE BROTHERS . . .167

X. A WIDOW WOMAN . . .181

XI. UNANSWERED PRAYERS . . . 193

XII. LOST TREASURE . . .211

XIII. PROFIT AND GLORY . . .227
vii



THE TWO APOSTLES



1



I

THE TWO APOSTLES

GOD covered sun, moon, and stars, stilled
the growing things of the earth and dried
up the waters on the face of the earth,
and stopped the roll of the world ; and
He fixed upon a measure of time in which
to judge the peoples, this being the
measure which was spoken of as the Day
of Judgment.

In the meanseason He summoned
Satan to the Judgment Hall, which is
at the side of the river that breaks into
four heads, and above which, its pulpits
stretching beyond the sky, is the Palace
of White Shirts, and below which, in
deep darknesses, are the frightful regions
of the Fiery Oven. " Give an account of
your rule in the face of those whom you
provoked to mischief," He said to Satan.

3



MY NEIGHBOURS



" My balance hitched to a beam will weigh
the good and evil of my children, and if
good is heavier than evil, I shall lighten
your countenance and clothe you with the
robes of angels."

" Awake the dead " He bade the
Trumpeter, and " Lift the lids off the
burying-places " He bade the labourers.
In their generations were they called ;
" for," said the Lord, " good and evil are
customs of a period and when the period
is passed and the next is come, good may
be evil and evil may be good."

Now God did not put His entire trust
in Satan, and in the evening of the day
He set to prove him : " It is over."

" My Lord, so be it," answered Satan.

" How now ? " asked God.

" The scale of wickedness sways like
a kite in the wind," cried Satan. " Give
me my robes and I will transgress against
you no more."

"In the Book of Heaven and Hell,"
4



THE TWO APOSTLES



said God, " there is no writing of the last
of the Welsh."

Satan spoke up : " My Lord, your
pledge concerned those judged on the
Day of Judgment. Day is outing. The
windows of the Mansion are lit ; hark the
angels tuning their golden strings for the
cheer of the Resurrection Supper. Give me
my robes that I may sing your praises."

" Can I not lengthen the day with a
wink of my eye ? '

" All things you can do, my Lord, but
observe your pledge to me. Allow these
people to rest a while longer. Their num-
ber together with the number of their sins
is fewer than the hairs on Elisha's head."

God laughed in His heart as He replied
to Satan : " Tell the Trumpeter to take
his horn and the labourers their spades
and bring to me the Welsh."

The labourers digged, and at the sound
of the horn the dead breathed and heaved.
Those whose wit was sharp hurried into

5



MY NEIGHBOURS



neighbouring chapels and stole Bibles and
hymn-books, with which in their pockets
and under their arms they joined the host
in Heaven's Courtyard, whence they went
into the Waiting Chamber that is without
the Judgment Hall.

" Boy bach, a lot of Books of the Word
he has," a woman remarked to the Re-
spected Towy-Watkins. " Say him I have
one."

" Happy would I be to do like that,"
was the reply. " But, female, much does
the Large One regard His speeches. What
is the text on the wall ? c Prepare your
deeds for the Lord.' The Bey bile is the
most religious deed. Farewell for now,"
and he pretended to go away.

Holding the sleeve of his White Shirt,
the woman separated her toothless gums
and fashioned her wrinkled face in grief.
" Two tens he has," she croaked. " And
his shirt is clean. Dirty am I ; buried I
was as I was found, and the shovellers

6



THE TWO APOSTLES



beat the soil through the top of the coffin.
Do much will I for one Beybile."

" A poor dab you are," said Towy.
44 Many deeds you have ? But no odds
to me."

" Four I have."

44 Woe for you, unfortunate."

44 Iss-iss, horrid is my plight," the
woman whined. 44 Little I did for Him."

44 Don't draw tears. For eternity you'll
weep. Here is a massive Beybile for your
four deeds."

44 Take him one. Handy will three be
in the minute of the questioning."

44 Refusing the Beybile bach you are.
Also the hymn-book old and new nota-
tions I present for four. Stupid am I
as the pigger's prentice who bought the
Utter in the belly."

44 Be him soft and sell for one."

44 1 cannot say less. No relation you are
to me. Hope I do that right enough are
your four. Recite them to me, old woman."

7



MY NEIGHBOURS



" I ate rats to provide a Beybile to
the Respected," the woman trembled.



" You are pathetic," Towy said. " Hie
and get your tokens and have that poor
one will I because of my pity for you."

The woman told her deeds in Heaven's
Record Office, and she was given four
white tablets on which her deeds were in-
scribed ; and the rat tablet Towy took from
her. " Faith and hope are tidy heifers,"
he said, " but a stallion is charity.
Priceless Beybile I give you, sinner."

As he moved away Towy cried in the
manner of one selling by auction : " This
is the beloved Beybile of Jesus. This is
the book of hymns old and new no-
tations. Hymns harvest, communion,
funerals, Sunday schools, and hymns for
children bach are here. Treasures bulky
for certain."

For some he received three tablets each,
for some five tablets each, and for some

8



THE TWO APOSTLES



ten tablets each. But the gaudy Bible
which was decorated ^vith pictures and
ornamented with brass clasps and a leather
covering he did not sell ; nor did he sell
the gilt-edged hymn-book. Between the
leaves of his Bible he put his tablets
as a preacher his markers the writing
on each tablet confirming a verse in the
place it was set. His labour over, he
chanted : " Pen Calvaria ! Pen Calvaria !
Very soon will come to view." Men and
women gazed upon him, envying him ;
and those who had Bibles and hymn-
books hastened to do as he had done.

Among the many that came to him
was one whose name was Ben Lloyd.

" Dear me," said Towy.

" Dear me," said Ben.

" Fat is my religion after the spring-
ing," cried Towy. " Perished was I and
up again. Amen, Big Man. Amen and
amen. And amen.

' I opened my eyes and I saw a hand
9



MY NEIGHBOURS



thrusting aside the firmament and I heard
One calling me from the beyond, and the
One was God."

" Like the roar of heated bulls was the
noise, Ben bach."

" Praise Him I did that I was laid to
rest at home. Apart from the worldly ways
of the Metropolis. Tell Him I will how my
spirit, though the flesh was dead, bathed
in the living rivers and walked in the
peaceful valleys of the glorious land of
my fathers thinking, thinking of Jesus."

" Hold on. Not so fast. From Capel
Bryn Salem I journeyed to mouth with
my heart to the Lord, and your slut
of widow paid me only four soferens.
Eloquent sermon I spouted and four
soferens is the price of a supply."

" In your charity forgive her ; her
sorrow was overpowering."

" Sorrow ! The mule of an English !
She wasn't there."

"You don't say," cried Ben. "If
10



THE TWO APOSTLES



above she is I will have her dragged
down."

" Not a stone did she put over your
head, and the strumpets of your sisters
did not tend your grave. Why you
were not eaten by worms I can't
know."

On a sudden Towy shouted : " See an
old parson do I. Is not this the day of
rising up ? Awful if the Big Man mis-
takes us for the Church. Not been inside
a church have I, drop dead and blind,
since I was born."

None gave heed to his cry, for the
sound of the bargaining was most high.
14 Dissenters," he bellowed, " what right
have Church heathens to mix with us ?
The Fiery Oven is their home."

The people were dismayed. Their num-
ber being small, the Church folk were
pressed one upon the other ; and after
they were thrown in a mass against the
gate of the Chariot House the Dissenters

11



MY NEIGHBOURS



spread themselves easily as far as the
door of the Crooked Stairway.

" Now, boys capel," Towy-Watkins
said, " we will have a sermon. Fine will
Welsh be in the nostrils of the Big
Preacher. Pray will I at once."

The prayer ended, and one struck his
tuning-fork ; and while the congregation
moaned and lamented, a tall man, who
wore the habit of a preacher and whose
yellow beard the fringe of which was
singed hung over his breast like a sheaf
of wheat, passed through the way of the
door of the Stairway, and as he walked
towards the Judgment Hall, some said :
" Fair day, Respected," and some said :
" Similar he is to Towy-Watkins."

" Shut your throats, colts," Towy re-
buked the people. " Say after me : c Go
round my backhead, Satan.' :

" Go round my backhead, Satan," the
people obeyed.

" Catch him and skin him," Towy
12



THE TWO APOSTLES



screamed. " Teach him we will to snook
about here."

Fear arming his courage, Satan
shouted : " He who hurts me him shall
I pitch headlong to the flames." The
people's hands went to their sides, and
Satan departed in peace.

" In my heart is my head," Towy said.
" Near the Oven we are. Blow your
noses of the stench. Young youths, herd
blockheads Church over here."

Before the stalwarts started on their
errand, the Overseer of the Waiting
Chamber came to the door of the lane
that takes you into the Judgment Hall,
wherefore the Dissenters wept, howled,
and whooped.

"Ready am I, God bach," Towy
exclaimed, stretching his hairy arms.
" Take me."

" Patiently I waited for the last Trump
and humbly do I now wait for the Crown
from your fingers," said Ben Lloyd. " My

13



MY NEIGHBOURS



deeds are recorded in the books of chapels
in England and Wales and in the archives
of the Cymrodorion Society."

" Clap up," Towy admonished Ben.
" My religious actions can't be counted."

Lowering his eyes the Overseer mur-
mured : " I am not the Lord."

" For why did you not say that ? '
cried Towy. He stepped to the Over-
seer. " Hap you are Apostle Shames.
A splendid photo of Shames is in the
Bey bile with pictures. Fond am I of
preaching from him. Lovely pieces there
are. c Abram believed God.' Who was
Abram ? Father of Isaac bach. Who
made Abram ? The Big Man. And the
Big Man made the capel and the respected
that is the jewel of the capel. Is not
the pulpit the throne ? Glad am I to
see you, indeed, Shames."

The Overseer opened his lips.

" Enter with you will I," said Towy.
" Look through my glassy soul you can."

14



THE TWO APOSTLES



" Silence " the Overseer began.

" Iss, silence for ever and ever, amen,"
said Towy. " No trial I need. How can
the Judge judge if there's no judging to
be ? Go up will I then. Hope to see you
again, Shames."

The Overseer tightened his girdle.
" Thus saith the Lord," he proclaimed :
" ' I will consider each by his deeds or all
by the deeds of their two apostles.' :

"Ho-ho," said Towy. "Half one
moment. Think will we. Dissenters,
crowd here. Ben Lloyd, make argu-
ments. Tricky is old Shames."

The Dissenters assembled close to Ben
and Towy, and the Church people crept
near them in order to share their counsel ;
but the Dissenters turned upon their
enemies and bruised them with fists and
Bibles and hymn-books, and called them
frogs, turks, thieves, atheists, blacks ; and
there never has been heard such a tumult
in any house. Alarmed that he could not

15



MY NEIGHBOURS



part one side from the other, the Overseer
sought Satan, who had a name for crafty
dealings with disputants.

Satan was distressed. "If it was not
for personal reasons," he said, " I would
let them go to Hell." He sent into the
Chamber a carpenter who put a barrier
from wall to wall, and he appointed Jude
in charge of the barrier to guard that no
one went under it or over it.

Then the wise men of the Dissenters
continued to examine the Lord's offer ;
and a thousand men declared they were
holy enough to go before God, and from
the thousand five hundred were cast out,
and from the five hundred three hundred,
and from the two hundred one hundred
were cast away. Now this hundred were
Baptists, Methodists, and Congregation-
alists, and they quarrelled so harshly and
decried one another so spitefully that Ben
and Towy made with them a compact to
speak specially for each of them in the

16



THE TWO APOSTLES



private ear of God. The strife quelled and
Towy having cried loudly : " Dissenters
and Churchers, glad you are that me and
Ben Lloyd are your apostles," he and Ben
followed the Overseer.

In the Judgment Hall the two apostles
crouched to pray, and they were stirred by
Satan laying his hands on their shoulders.

" Prayers are useless here, my friends,"
said the Devil. " We must proceed with
the business. I am just as anxious as
you are that everything reaches a satis-
factory conclusion."

" I object," said Ben. " Solemnly object.
I don't know this infidel. I don't want to
know him."

" Go from here," Towy gruntled. " A
sweat is in my whiskers. Inhabitants, why
isn't his tongue a red-hot poker ? . . .
Well, boys Palace, grand this is. Say
who you are ? " he asked one whose face
shone like a mirror. " Respected Towy-
Watkins am I."

B 17



MY NEIGHBOURS



He whose face shone like a polished
mirror answered that he was Moses the
Keeper of the Balance. " The Lord is in
the Cloud," he said.

Towy addressed the Cloud, which was
the breadth of a man's hand, and which
was brighter than the golden halo of
the throne : " Big Man, peep at your
helper. Was not I a ruler over the capel ?
Religious were my prayers."

" I did not hear any," said God.

" Mistake. Mistake. Towy bach elo-
quent was I called. Here am I with the
Speech, and the Speech is God and God
is the Speech. Take you as a great gift
this nice hymn-book."

" What are hymns ? " asked God.

" Moses, Moses," cried Towy, " explain
affairs to Him."

God spoke : " Satan, render your ac-
count of the mischief you made these
men do."

" This is a travesty of the traditions
18



THE TWO APOSTLES



of the House," said Ben. " Traditions
that are dear to me, being taught them
at my mother's knees. I refuse to be
drenched in Satan's froth. Against one
who if he had lived would be an M.P.
you are taking the evidence of the most
discredited man in the universe the
world's worst sinner."

He ceased, because Satan had begun
to read ; and Satan read rapidly, with
shame, and without pantomime, not
pausing at what times he was abused
and charged with lying ; and he read
correctly, for the Records Clerk followed
him word by word in the Book of the
Watchers ; and for every sin to which he
confessed Moses placed a scarlet tablet in
the scale of wickedness.

" I will attend to what I have heard,"
said the Lord when Satan had finished.
" Put your tablets in the scale and go
into the Chamber."

Ben and Towy withdrew, and as they
19



MY NEIGHBOURS



passed out they beheld that the scale of
scarlet tablets touched the ground.

Then the Cloud vanished and God came
out of the Cloud.

44 My wrath is fierce," He said. " Bind
these Welsh and torment them with vipers
and with fire in the uttermost parts of
Hell. They shall have no more remem-
brance before me."

44 Will you destroy the just ? " asked
Moses.

44 They have chosen."

44 Shall the godly perish because of the
godless ? "

44 I flooded the world," said God.

44 The righteous Noah and his house and
his animals you did not destroy. And
you repented that you smote every living
thing. May not my Lord repent again ? ' :

44 I am not destroying every living thing,"
God replied. 44 I am destroying the vile."

44 Remember Sodom and Gomorrah,
Lot's wife and his daughters. They all

20



THE TWO APOSTLES



sinned after their deliverance. The doings
of Sodom stayed."

Moses also said : " You gave your ear
to Jonah from the well of the sea."

14 1 sacrificed my Son for man."

" And loosed Satan upon him."

" Is scarlet white ? " asked God.

" Is justice the fruit of injustice ? The
two men were not of the Church, and
the Church may be holy in your sight."

" I have judged."

1C And your judgment is past under-
standing," said Moses, and he sat at the
Balance.

The servants of the Lord spoke one
with another : "I cannot eat of the
supper," said one ; " The songs will be as
a wolf's bowlings in the wilderness," said
another ; " The honey will be as bitter-
sweet as Adam's apple," said a third.
But Satan exclaimed : " Come, let us seek
in the Book of the Watchers for an act
that will turn Him from His purpose."

21



MY NEIGHBOURS



In seeking, some put their fingers on
the leaves and advised Moses to cry unto
the Lord in such and such a manner.

" My voice is dumb," replied Moses.

Satan presently astonished the servants ;
he took the book to the Lord. " My
Lord," he said, " which is the more
precious good or evil ? "

" Good," said the Lord.

" More precious than the riches of
Solomon is a deed done in your name ? ' :

" Yes."

" Though the sins were as numerous
as the teeth of a shoal of fish ? "

" So. Unravel your riddle."

" An old woman of the Dissenters,"
said Satan, " claimed four tablets, whereas
her deeds were nine."

God looked at the Balance and lo, the
scale of white tablets was heavier than
the scale of scarlet tablets.

" Bid hither the apostles," He com-
manded the Overseer, " for they shall see

22



THE TWO APOSTLES



me, and this day they and their flocks
shall be in Paradise."

Satan stood before the face of Moses,
glowing as the angels ; and he brought
out scissors to clip off the fringe of his
beard. When he had cut only a little,
the Overseer entered the Judgment Hall,
saying : " The two apostles tricked Jude
and crawled under the barrier, and they
shot back the bolts of the gate of the
Chariot House and called a charioteer to
take them to Heaven. c This is God's
will,' they said to him."

Satan's scissors fell on the floor.



23



ACCORDING TO THE PATTERN



25



II

ACCORDING TO THE PATTERN

ON the eve of a Communion Sunday
Simon Idiot espied Dull Anna washing
her feet in the spume on the shore ; he
came out of his hiding-place and spoke
jestingly to Anna and enticed her into
Blind Cave, where he had sport with her.
In the ninth year of her child, whom she
had called Abel, Anna stretched out her
tongue at the schoolmaster and took her
son to the man who farmed Deinol.

" Brought have I your scarecrow," she
said. " Give you to me the brown
pennies that you will pay for him."

From dawn to sunset Abel stood on a
hedge, waving his arms, shouting, and
mimicking the sound of gunning. Weary
of his work he vowed a vow that he would
not keep on at it. He walked to Morfa
27



MY NEIGHBOURS



and into his mother's cottage ; his mother
listened to him, then she took a stick
and beat him until he could not rest nor
move with ease.

" Break him in like a frisky colt, little
man bach," said Anna to the farmer.
" Know you he is the son of Satan.
Have I not told how the Bad Man came
to me in my sound sleep and was naughty
with me ? "

But the farmer had compassion on
Abel and dealt with him kindly, and when
Abel married he let him live in Tybach
the mud-walled, straw-thatched, two-
roomed house which is midway on the
hill that goes down from Synod Inn into
Morfa and he let him farm six acres of
land.

The young man and his bride so laboured
that the people thereabout were con-
founded ; they stirred earlier and lay down
later than any honest folk ; and they
took more eggs and tubs of butter to

28



ACCORDING TO THE PATTERN

market than even Deinol, and their pigs
fattened wondrously quick.

Twelve years did they live thus wise.
For the woman these were years of toil
and child-bearing ; after she had borne
seven daughters, her sap husked and
dried up.

Now the spell of Abel's mourning was
one of ill-fortune for Deinol, the master of
which was grown careless : hay rotted
before it was gathered and corn before it
was reaped, potatoes were smitten by a
blight, a disease fell upon two cart-horses,
and a heifer was drowned in the sea. Then
the farmer felt embittered, and by day and
night he drank himself drunk in the inns
of Morfa.

Because he wanted Deinol, Abel bright-
ened himself up : he wore whipcord leg-
gings over his short legs, and a preacher's
coat over his long trunk, a white and red
patterned celluloid collar about his neck,
and a bowler hat on the back of his head ;

29



MY NEIGHBOURS



and his side-whiskers were trimmed in the
shape of a spade. He had joy of many
widows and spinsters, to each of whom he
said : " There's a grief-livener you are,"
and all of whom he gave over on hearing of
the widow of Drefach. Her he married, and
with the money he got with her, and the
money he borrowed, he bought Deinol.
Soon he was freed from the hands of his
lender. He had eight horses and twelve
cows, and he had oxen and heifers, and pigs
and hens, and he had twenty-five sheep
grazing on his moorland. As his birth
and poverty had caused him to be
scorned, so now his gains caused him to be
respected. The preacher of Capel Dissen-
ters in Morfa saluted him on the tramping
road and in shop, and brought him down
from the gallery to the Big Seat. Even
if Abel had land, money, and honour, his
vessel of contentment was not filled until
his wife went into her deathbed and gave
him a son.

30



ACCORDING TO THE PATTERN

" Indeed me," he cried, " Benshamin
his name shall be. The Large Maker
gives and a One He is for taking away."

He composed a prayer of thankfulness
and of sorrow ; and this prayer he recited
to the congregation which gathered at the
graveside of the woman from Drefach.

Benshamin grew up in the way of Capel
Dissenters. He slept with his father and
ate apart from his sisters, for his mien
was lofty. At the age of seven he knew
every question and answer in the book
44 Mother's Gift," with sayings from which
he scourged sinners ; and at the age of
eight he delivered from memory the Book
of Job at the Seiet ; at that age also he
was put among the elders in the Sabbath
School.

He advanced, waxing great in religion.
On the nights of the Saying and Searching
of the Word he was with the cunningest
men, disputing with the preacher, stressing
his arguments with his fingers, and proving

31



MY NEIGHBOURS



his learning with phrases from the sermons
of the saintly Shones Talysarn.

If one asked him : " What are you
going, Ben Abel Deinol ? ' : he always
answered : " The errander of the White
Gospel fach."

His father communed with the preacher,
who said : " Pity quite sinful if the
boy is not in the pulpit."

" Like that do I think as well too," re-
plied Abel. " Eloquent he is. Grand he is
spouting prayers at his bed. Weep do I."

Neighbours neglected their fields and
barnyards to hear the lad's shoutings to
God. Once Ben opened his eyes and
rebuked those who were outside his room.

" Shamed you are, not for certain," he
said to them. " Come in, boys Capel.
Right you hear the Gospel fach. Youngish
am I but old is my courtship of King
Jesus who died on the tree for scamps of
parsons."

He shut his eyes and sang of blood,
32



ACCORDING TO THE PATTERN

wood, white shirts, and thorns ; of the
throng that would arise from the burial-
ground, in which there were more graves
than molehills in the shire. He cried
against the heathenism of the Church,
the wickedness of Church tithes, and
against ungodly book-prayers and short
sermons.

Early Ben entered College Carmarthen,
where his piety which was an adage was
above that of any student. Of him this
was said : " White Jesus bach is as plain
on his lips as the snout of a big sow."

Brightness fell upon him. He had a
name for the tearfulness and splendour of
his eloquence. He could conduct himself
fancifully : now he was Pharoah wincing


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