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petticoats and a mourning bodice over
her shawls, and she tarried in a field
as long as it would take her to have
travelled to Moriah ; and in the heat of
the sun she returned, laughing.
165



MY NEIGHBOURS



" Mistake, mistake," she cried. " The
houses are ours. No understanding was
in me. Cross was your Nuncle. ' Terrible
if Joseph is bad with me,' he said. Man
religious and tidy is Essec." Then she
prayed that Joseph would die before her
fault was found out.

Joseph did not know what to do for
his joy. "Well-well, there's better I am
already," he said. He walked over the
land and coveted the land of his neigh-
bours. " Dwell here for ever I shall,"
he cried to Madlen. " A grand house I'll
build almost as grand as the houses of
preachers."

In the fifth night he died, and before
she began to weep, Madlen lifted her
voice : " There's silly, dear people, to
covet houses ! Only a smallish bit of
house we want. :



166



LIKE BROTHERS



IX
LIKE BROTHERS

SILAS Bo WEN hated his brother John,
but when he heard of John's sickness,
he reasoned : " Blackish has been his
dealings. And trickish. Sly also. Odd
will affairs seem if I don't go to him
at once."

At the proper hour he closed the door
of his shop. Then he washed his face,
and put beeswax on the dwindling points
of his moustache, and he came out of
Barnes into Thornton East ; into High
Road, where is his brother's shop.

' That is you," said John to him.

" How was you, man ? " Silas asked.
' Talk the name of the old malady."

" Say what you have to say in English,"
John answered in a little voice. "It is
easier and classier."

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MY NEIGHBOURS



That which was spoken was rendered
into English ; and John replied : "I am
pleazed to see you. Take the bowler
off your head and don't put her on the
harimonium. The zweat will mark the
wood."

" The love of brothers push me here,"
said Silas. " It is past understanding.
As boyss we learn the same pray-yer.
And we talked the same temperance
dialogue in Capel Zion. I was always the
temperance one. And quite a champion
reziter. The way is round and about,
boy bach, from Zion to the grave."

"Don't speak like that," pleaded John.
44 I caught a cold going to the City to get
ztok. I will be healthy by the beginning
of the week."

"Be it so. Yet I am full of your
trouble. Sick you are and how's trade ? "

" Very brisk. I am opening a shop in
Richmond again," John said.

" You're learning me something. Don't
170



LIKE BROTHERS



t

you think too much of that shop ; Death is
near, and set your mind on the crossing."

John's lame daughter Ann halted into
the room, and stepped up to the bed.

" Stand by the door for one minit,
Silas," John cried. " I am having my
chat confidential."

From a book Ann recited the busi-
ness of that day ; naming each article
that had been sold, and the cost and the
profit thereof.

" How's that with last year ? " her
father commanded.

" Two-fifteen below."

" Fool ! " John whispered. " You are
a cow, with your gamey leg. You're
ruining the place."

Ann closed the book and put her
fountain pen in the leather case which
was pinned to her blouse, and she spoke
this greeting : " How are you, Nuncle
Silas. It's long since I've seen you."
She thrust out her arched teeth in a
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MY NEIGHBOURS



smile. " Good-night, now. You must call
and see our Richmond establishment."

" Silas," said John, " empty a dose of
the medecyne in a cup for me."

44 There's little comfort in medecyne,"
Silas observed. " Not much use is the
stuff if the Lord is calling you home.
Calling you home. Shall I read you a
piece from the Beybile of the Welsh ? It
is a great pity you have forgot the language
of your mother."

44 1 did not hear you," said John.
44 Don't you trouble to say it over." He
drank the medicine. 44 Unfortunate was
the row about the Mermaid Agency. I
was sorry to take it away from you, but
if I hadn't some one else would. We kept
it in the family, Silas."

44 1 have prayed a lot," said Silas to his
brother, 44 that me and you are brought
together before the day of the death.
Nothing can break us from being
brothers."

172



LIKE BROTHERS



44 You are very doleful. I shall shift
this little cold."

" Yes-yes, you will. I would be glad
to follow your coffin to Wales and look
into the guard's van at stations where
the train stop, but the fare is big and the
shop is without a assistant. Weep until
I am sore all over I shall in Capel Shir-
land Road. When did the doctor give
you up ? '

" He's a donkey. He doesn't know
nothing. Here he is once per day and
charging for it. And he only brings his
repairs to me."

44 The largest charge will be to take
you to your blessed home," said Silas.
*' The railway need a lot of money for to
carry a corpse. I feel quite sorrowful.
In Heaven you'll remember that I was
at your deathbed."

John did not answer.

44 Well-well," said Silas, whispering
loudly, 44 making his peace with the Big
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MY NEIGHBOURS



Man he is " ; and he went away, moaning
a funereal hymn tune.

John thought over his plight and was
distressed, and he spoke to God in Welsh :
" Not fitting that you leave the daughter
fach alone. Short in her leg you made
her. There's a set-back. Her mother
perished ; and did I complain ? An
orphan will the pitiful wench be. Who will
care for the shop ? And the repairing
workman ? Steal the leather he will. A
fuss will be about shop Richmond. Paid
have I the rent for one year in advance.
Serious will the loss be. Be not of two
thinks. Send Lisha to breathe breathings
into my inside in the belly where the
heart is. Forgive me that I go to the
Capel English. Go there I do for the
trade. Generous am I in the collections.
Ask the preacher. Take some one else
to sit in my chair in the Palace. Amen.
Amen and amen." In his misery he
sobbed, and he would not speak to Ann
174



LIKE BROTHERS



nor heed her questionings. At the cold
of dawn he thought that Death was creep-
ing down to him, and he screamed :
" Allow me to live for a year two years
and a grand communion set will I
give to the Welsh capel in Shirland Road.
Individual cups. Silver-plated, Sheffield
make. Ann shall send quickly for the
price-list."

His fear was such that he would not
suffer his beard to be combed, nor have
his face covered by a bedsheet ; and he
would not stretch himself or turn his
face upwards : in such a manner dead
men lie.

Again came Silas to provoke his
brother to his death.

" Richmond shops are letting like
anything," he said.

" The place is coming on," replied
John. " I was lucky to get one in King's
Row. She is cheap too."

" What are you talking about ? There's
175



MY NEIGHBOURS



a new boot shop in King's Row already.
Next door to the jeweller."

" You are mistook. I have taken her."

" Well, then, you are cheated. Get
up at once and make a case. Wear an
overcoat and ride in the bus."

But John bade Ann go to Richmond
and to say this and that to the owner of
the house. Ann went and the house
was empty.

A third time Silas came out of Barnes,
bringing with him gifts. These are the
gifts that he offered his brother John :
a tin of lobster, a tin of sardines, a tin
of salmon, and a tin of herrings ; and
through each tin, in an unlikely place, he
had driven the point of a gimlet.

" Eat these," he said, " and good they
will do you."

"Much obliged," replied John. "I'll

try a herring with bread and butter

and vinegar to supper. Very much

obliged. It was not my blame that we

176



LIKE BROTHERS



quarrelled. Others had his eye on the
agency."

" Tish, I did not want the old Mermaid.
You keep her. I got the sole agency for
the Gwendoline."

' 4 How is Gwendolines going ? ' ;

14 More than I can do to keep ztok of her.
Four dozen gents' laces and three dozen
ladies' ditto on the twenty-fifth, and soon I
order another four dozen ladies' buttons."

John called Ann and to her he said :
" How is Mermaid ztok ? "

" We are almost out of nine gents and
four ladies," answered Ann.

44 Write Nuncle Silas the order and he'll
drop her in the Zity. Pay your fare one
way will I, Silas."

Silas fled the next day into the Mermaid
warehouse and sought out the manager.
" My brother J. Owen and Co. Thornton
East has sold his last pair of Mermaids,"
he said.

He brought trouble into his eyes and
M 177



MY NEIGHBOURS



made his voice to quiver as he told how
that John was dying and how that the
shop was his brother's legacy to him.
" Send you the goods for this order to
my shop in Barnes," he added. " And
all future orders. That will be my head-
quarters."

He did not go to John's house any
more ; and although John ate of the
lobster, the herrings, and the sardines
and was sick, he did not die. A week
expired and a sound reached him that
Silas was selling Mermaid boots ; and
he enjoined Ann to test the truth of that
sound.

" It's sure enough, dad," Ann said.

John's fury tingled. He put on him
his clothes and seized a stick, and by the
strength of his passion he moved into
Barnes ; and he pitched himself at the
entering in of the shop, and he saw that
Ann's speech was right. He came back ;
and he did not eat or drink or rest until
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LIKE BROTHERS



he had removed all that was in his
window and had placed therein no other
boots than the Mermaids ; and on each
pair he put a ticket which was truly
marked : " Half cost price." On his
door he put this notice : " This FIRM has
no Connection with the shop in Barnes " ;
and this notice could be seen and read
whether the door was open or shut.

After a period people returned to him,
demanding : "I want a pair of Mer-
maids, please " ; and inasmuch as he
had no more to sell, they who had dealt
with him went to the shop of his brother
John.



179



A WIDOW WOMAN



181



X

A WIDOW WOMAN

THE Respected Davydd Bern- Davy dd
spoke in this sort to the people who
were assembled at the Meeting for
Prayer : " Well- well, know you all the
order of the service. Grand prayers
pray last. Boys ordinary pray middle,
and bad prayers pray first. Boys bach
just beginning also come first. Now,
then, after I've read a bit from the Book
of Speeches and you've sung the hymn I
call out, Josi Mali will report."

Bern-Davydd ceased his reading, and
while the congregation sang, Josi placed
his arms on the sill which is in front of
pews and laid his head thereon.

" Josi Mali, man, come to the Big Seat
and mouth what you think," said Bern-
Davydd.

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MY NEIGHBOURS



Josi's mother Mali touched her son,
whispering this counsel : " Put to shame
the last prayer, indeed now, Josi."

By and by Josi lifted his head and stood
on his feet. This is what he said : " Ask-
ing was I if I was religious enough to
spout in the company of the Respected."

" Out of the necks of young youths we
hear pieces that are very sensible," said
Bern-Davy dd. " Come you, Josi Mali,
to the saintly Big Seat."

As Josi moved out of the pew. his thick
lips fallen apart and his high cheek bones
scarlet, his mother said : " Keep your
eyes clapped very close, or hap the
prayers will shout that you spoke from
a hidden book like an old parson."

So Josi, who in the fields and on his
bed had exercised prayer in the manner
that one exercises singing, uttered his
first petition in Capel Sion. He told the
Big Man to pardon the weakness of his
words, because the trousers of manhood
184



A WIDOW WOMAN



had not been long upon him ; he named
those who entered the Tavern and those
who ate bread which had been swollen by
barm ; he congratulated God that Bern-
Davy dd ruled over Sion.

At what time he was done, Bern-
Davydd cried out : " Amen. Solemn,
dear me, amen. Piece quite tidy of
prayer " ; and the men of the Big Seat
cried : " Piece quite tidy of prayer."

The quality of Josi's prayers gave
much pleasure in Sion, and it was noised
abroad even in Morfa, from whence a
man journeyed, saying : " Break your
hire with your master and be a servant in
my farm. Wanting a prayer very bad do
we in Capel Salem." Josi immediately
asked leave of God to tell Bern-Davydd
that which the man from Morfa had said.
God gave him leave, wherefore Bern-
Davydd, whose spirit waxed hot, an-
swered : " Boy, boy, why for did you not
kick the she cat on the backhead ? "
185



MY NEIGHBOURS



Then Josi said to his mother Mali :
" A preacher will I be. Go will I at the
finish of my servant term to the school
for Grammar in Castellybryn."

" Glad am I to hear you talk," said
Mali. " Serious pity that my belongings
are so few."

" Small is your knowledge of the
Speeches," Josi rebuked his mother.
" How go they : ' Sell all that you
have ? ' Iss-iss, all, mam fach."

Now Mali lived in Pencoch, which is in
the valley about midway between Shop
Rhys and the Schoolhouse, and she rented
nearly nine acres of the land which is
on the hill above Sion. Beyond the fur-
nishings of her two-roomed house, she
owned three cows, a heifer, two pigs, and
fowls. She fattened her pigs and sold
them, and she sold also her heifer ; and
Josi went to the School of Grammar.
Mali laboured hard on the land, and
she got therefrom all that there was to
186



A WIDOW WOMAN



be got ; and whatever that she earned
she hid in a hole in the ground. " Handy
is little money," she murmured, " to pay
for lodgings and clothes preacher, and
the old scamps of boys who teach him."
She lived on potatoes and buttermilk,
and she dressed her land all the time.
People came to remark of her : " There's
no difference between Mali Pencoch and
the mess in her cowhouse."

Days, weeks, and months moved slowly ;
and years sped. Josi passed from the
School of Grammar to College Car-
marthen, and Mali gave him all the
money that she had, and prayed thus :
" Big Man bach, terrible would affairs
be if I perished before the boy was all
right. Let you me keep my strength that
Josi becomes as large as Bern-Davydd.
Amen."

Even so. Josi had a name among
Students' College, and even among
ordained rulers of pulpits ; and Mali
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MY NEIGHBOURS



went about her duties joyful and glad ;
it was as if the Kingdom of the Palace of
White Shirts was within her. While at
her labour she mumbled praises to the
Big Man for His goodness, until an awful
thought came to her : " Insulting am I
to the Large One bach. Only preachers
are holy enough to stand in their pray.
Not stop must I now ; go on my knees
will I in the dark."

She did not kneel on her knees for
the stiffness that was in her limbs.

Her joy was increased exceedingly when
Josi was called to minister unto Capel
Beulah in Carmarthen, and she boasted :
" Bigger than Sion is Moriah and of lofts
has not the Temple two ? '

" Idle is your babbling," one admon-
ished her. " Does a calf feed his
mother? "

Josi heard the call. His name grew;
men and women spoke his sayings one to
another, and Beulah could not contain
188



A WIDOW WOMAN



all the people who would hear his word ;
and he wrote a letter to his mother :
" God has given me to wed Mary Ann,
the daughter of Daniel Shop Guildhall.
Kill you a pig and salt him and send to
me the meat."

All that Josi asked Mali gave, and more ;
she did not abate in any of her toil for
five years, when a disease laid hold on Josi
and he died. Mali cleaned her face and
her hands in the Big Pistil from which
you draw drinking water, and she brought
forth her black garments and put them
on her ; and because of her age she
could not weep. The day before that
her son was to be buried, she went
to the house of her neighbour Sara Eye
Glass, and to her she said : t Wench
nice, perished is Josi and off away
am I. Console his widow fach I must.
Tell you me that you will milk my
cow."

Sara turned her seeing eye upon Mali.
189



MY NEIGHBOURS



" An old woman very mad you are to go
two nines of miles."

" Milk you my cow," said Mali. " And
milk you her dry. Butter from me the
widow fach shall have. And give ladlings
of the hogshead to my pigs and scatter
food for my hens."

She tore a baston from a tree, trimmed
it and blackened it with blacking, and at
noon she set forth to the house of her
daughter-in-law ; and she carried in a
basket butter, two dead fowls, potatoes,
carrots, and a white-hearted cabbage, and
she came to Josi's house in the darkness
which is in the morning, and it was so that
she rested on the threshold ; and in the
bright light Mary Ann opened the door,
and was astonished. " Mam - in - law,"
she said, " there's nasty for you to come
like this. Speak what you want. Sitting
there is not respectable. You are like
an old woman from the country."

" Come am I to sorrow," answered
190



A WIDOW WOMAN



Mali. " Boy all grand was Josi bach.
Look at him now will I."

' Talking no sense you are," said Mary
Ann. " Why you do not see that the
house is full of muster ? Will there not
be many Respect eds at the funeral ? ' !

" Much preaching shall I say ? v

" Indeed, iss. But haste about now
and help to prepare food to eat. Slow
you are, female."

Presently mourners came to the house,
and when each had walked up and gazed
upon the features of the dead, and when
the singers had sung and the Respecteds
had spoken, and while a carpenter
turned screws into the coffin, Mary Ann
said to Mali : " Clear you the dishes now,
and cut bread and spread butter for those
who will return after the funeral. Alter
all have been served go you home to
Pencoch." She drew a veil over her face
and fell to weeping as she followed the six
men who carried Josi's coffin to the hearse.
191



MY NEIGHBOURS



Having finished, Mali took her baston
and her empty basket and began her
journey. As she passed over Towy Street
the public way which is strewn with
stones she saw that many people were
gathered at the gates of Beulah to witness
Mary Ann's loud lamentations at Josi's
grave.

Mali stayed a little time ; then she
went on, for the light was dimming. At
the hour she reached Pencoch the mown
hay was dry and the people were gathering
it together. She cried outside the house
of Sara Eye Glass : " Large thanks, Sara
fach. Home am I, and like pouring water
were the tears. And there's preaching."
She milked her cows and fed her pigs and
her fowls, and then she stepped up to her
bed. The sounds of dawn aroused her.
She said to herself : " There's sluggish
am I. Dear-dear, rise must I in a haste,
for Mary Ann will need butter to feed
the baban bach that Josi gave her."
192



UNANSWERED PRAYERS



N 193



XI
UNANSWERED PRAYERS

WHEN Winnie Davies was let out of
prison, shame pressed heavily on her
feelings ; and though her mother Martha
and her father Tim prayed almost
without ceasing, she did not come home.
It was so that one night Martha watched
for her at a window and Tim prayed
for her at the door oi' the Tabernacle,
and a bomb fell upon the ground that
was between them, and they were both
destroyed.

All the days of their life, Tim and
Martha were poor and meek and religious ;
they were cheaper than the value set on
them by their cheapeners. As a reward
for their pious humility, they were ap-
pointed keepers of the Welsh Tabernacle,
which is at Kingsend. At that they took
195



MY NEIGHBOURS



their belongings into the three rooms
that are below the chapel ; and their
spirits were lifted up marvellously that
the Reverend Eylwin Jones and the
deacons of the Tabernacle had given to
them the way of life.

In this fashion did Tim declare his
blessedness : " Charitable are Welsh to
Welsh. Little Big Man, boys tidy are boys
Capel Tabernacle."

" What if we were old atheists ? "
cried Martha.

" Wife fach, don't you send me in a
fright," Tim said.

They two applied themselves to their
tasks : the woman washed the linen and
cleaned the doorsteps and the houses of
her neighbours, the man put posters
on hoardings, trimmed gardens, stood
at the doors of Welsh gatherings. By
night they mustered, sweeping the floor
of the chapel, polishing the wood and brass
that were therein, and beating the cushions
196



UNANSWERED PRAYERS



and hassocks which were in the pews of
the most honoured of the congregation.
Sunday mornings Tim put a white india-
rubber collar under the Adam's apple
in his throat, and Martha covered her
long, thin body in black garments, and
drew her few hairs tightly from her fore-
head.

Though they clad and comported
themselves soberly Enoch Harries, who,
at this day, was the treasurer and head
deacon of the chapel, spoke up against
them to Eylwin Jones. This is his com-
plaint : " Careless was Tim in the dis-
patch department, delivering the parcel
always to the wrong customers and for
why he was sacked. Good was I to get
him the capel. Careless he is now also.
By twilight, dark, and thick blackness,
light electric burns in Tabernacle. Waste
that is. Sound will I my think. Why
cannot the work be done in the day
I don't know."

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MY NEIGHBOURS



' You cannot say less," said Eylwin
Jones. " Pay they ought for this, the
irreligious couple. As the English pro-
verb 'There's no gratitude in the
poor.' "

" Another serious piece of picking have
I," continued Harries. " I saw Tim
sticking on hoarding. ' What, dear me,'
I mumbled between the teeth I don't
speech to myself, man, as usual. The
Apostles did, now. They wrote their
minds. Benefit for many if I put down
my religious thinks for a second New
Testament. What say you Eylwin
Jones ? Lots of says very clever I can
give you ' is he sticking ? ' A biggish
paper was the black pasting about
Walham Green Music Hall. What do
you mean for that ? And the posters
for my between season's sale were wait-
ing to go out."

Rebuked, Tim and Martha left over
sinning : and Tim put Enoch Harries'
198



UNANSWERED PRAYERS



posters in places where they should not
have been put, wherefore Enoch smiled
upon him.

" Try will I some further," said Tim by
and by.

" Don't you crave too much," ad-
vised Martha. " The Bad Man craved
the pulpit of the Big Man."

" Shut your backhead. Out of school
will Winnie be very near now."

" Speak clear."

" Ask Enoch Harries will I to make her
his servant."

" Be modest in your manner," Martha
warned her husband. " Man grand is
Enoch."

44 Needing servants hap he does."

44 Perhaps, iss ; perhaps, no."

44 Cute is Winnie," said Tim ; 44 and
quick. Sense she has."

Tim addressed Enoch, and Enoch
answered : 44 Blabber you do to me, why
for ? Send your old female to Mishtress
199



MY NEIGHBOURS



Harries. Order you her to go quite
respectable."

Curtsying before Mrs. Harries, Martha
said : " I am Tim Dans' wife."

" Oh, really. The person that is in
charge of that funny little Welsh chapel."
Mrs. Harries sat at a table. " Give me
your girl's name, age, and names of
previous employers for references."
Having written all that Martha said, she
remarked : " We are moving next week
to a large establishment in Thornton
East. I am going to call it Windsor.
Of course the husband and I will go to
the English church. I thought I could
take your girl with me to Windsor."

" The titcher give her an excellent
character."

" I'll find that out for myself. Well,
as you are so poor, I'll give her a trial.
I'll pay her five pounds a year and her
keep. I do hope she is ladylike."

Martha told Tim that which Mrs.
200



UNANSWERED PRAYERS



Harries had said, and Tim observed :
" I will rejoice in a bit of prayer."

44 Iss," Martha agreed. " In the parlour
of the preacher. They go up quicker."

God was requested by Tim to heap
money upon Mrs. Harries, and to give
Winnie the wisdom, understanding, and
obedience which enable one to serve
faithfully those who sit in the first pews
in the chapel.

Now Winnie found favour in the sight
of her mistress, whose personal maid she
was made and whose habits she copied.
She painted her cheeks and dyed her
hair and eyebrows and eyelashes ; and
she frequented Thornton Vale English
Congregational Chapel, where now wor-
shipped Enoch and his wife. Some of
the men who came to Windsor ogled
her impudently, but she did not give
herself to any man. These ogles Mrs.
Harries interpreted truthfully and she
whipped up her jealous rage.
201



MY NEIGHBOURS



" You're too fast," she chided Winnie.
" Look at your blouse. You might be
undressed. You are a shame to your
sex. One would say you are a Picca-
dilly street-walker and they wouldn't be
far wrong. I won't have you making
faces at my visitors. Understand that."

Winnie said : " I don't."


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