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you. Tall was his regard for you two.
Now we will prepare to bury him. Privi-
lege to bury the dead. Sending the corpse
to the crystal capel. Not wedded are you
like me. Heavy is the keep of three
children and the wife."

" For why could not the fool have saved
for his burying, I don't say ? ' ; Annie
cried. " Let the perished perish. That's
equal for all."

" In sense is your speech," Simon agreed.


44 Shop fach very neat he might have if
he was like me and you."

" Throwing away money he did," Annie
said. " I helped him three years ago
when he was sacked. Did I not pay for
him to sleep one month in lodgings ? '

" I got his frock coat cleaned at cost
price," Jane fach remembered, ic and
sewed silk on her fronts. I lent him
lendings. Where are my lendings ? '

44 A squanderer you were," Simon re-
buked the body. " Tidy sums you spent
in pubs. Booze got you the sack after
twenty years irl the same shop. Dis-
graced was I to have such a brother as
you, Shacob. Where was your religion,
man ? But he has to be buried, little
sisters, or babbling there'll be. Cheap
funeral will suit in Fulham cematary.
Reasonable your share is more than
mine, because the Big Man has trusted
me with sons."

44 No sense is in you," Annie shouted.


t4 Not one coin did he repay me. The
coins he owed me are my share."

" As an infidel you are," said Simon.
" Ach y fy, cheating the grave of custom."

4 Leaving am I." Jane fach rose.
44 Late is the day."

" Woe is me," Simon wailed. " Like
the old Welsh of Cardigan is your cunning.
Come you this night here to listen to
funeral estimates. Don't you make me
bawl this in your department, Annie, and
in your office laundry, Jane."

From the street door he journeyed by
himself to Balham, and habiting his face
with grief, he related to Mr. Ward how
Jacob died.

44 He passed in my arms," he said ;
44 very gently willingly he gave back the
ghost. A laugh in his face that might be
saying : 4 I see Thy wonders, O Lord.' ;

44 This is very sad," said Mr. Ward.
44 If there is anything we can do '

44 You speak as a Christian who goes to


chapel, sir. It's hard to discuss business
now just. But Jacob has told he left a
box in your keep."

" I don't think so. Still, I'll make
sure." Mr. Ward went away, and re-
turning, said : " The only thing he left
here is this old coat which he wore at
squadding in the morning. Of course
there is his salary :

" Yes, yes, I know. I'd give millions
of salaries for my brother back."

" You are his only relative ? "

" Indeed, sir. No father and mother
had he. An orphan. Quite pathetic. I
will never grin again. Good afternoon,
sir. I hope you'll have a successful
summer sale."

" Hadn't you better take his money ? "
said Mr. Ward. " We pay quarterly

" Certainly it will save coming again.
But business is business, even in the
presence of the dead."


" It's eighteen pounds. That's twelve
weeks at one-ten."

" Well, if you insist, insist you do.
Prefer I would to have my brother Jacob

Simon put the coat over his arm and
counted the money, and after he had drunk
a little beer and eaten of bread and cheese,
he made deals with a gravedigger and an
undertaker, and the cost for burying
Jacob was eight pounds.

That night he was with his sisters,
saying to them : " Twelve soferens will put
him in the earth. Four soferens per each."

" None can I afford," Jane fach vowed.
" Not paid my pew rent in Capel Charing
Cross have I."

" Easier for me to fly than bring the
cash," said Annie. " Larger is your screw
than me."

Simon smote the ground with his um-
brella and stayed further words. " Give
the soferens, bullocks of Hell fire."
Q 241


Annie and Jane fach were distressed.
The first said : " The flesh of the swine
shall smell before I do." The second said :
" Hard you are on a bent-back wench."

Notwithstanding their murmurs, Simon
hurled at them the spite of his wrath,
reviling them foully and filthily ; and the
women got afraid that out of his anger
would come mischief, and each gave as
she was commanded.

The third day Simon and Annie and
Jane fach stood at Jacob's grave ; and
Annie and Jane were put to shame that
Simon bragged noisily how that he had
caused a name-plate to be made for
Jacob's coffin and a wreath of glass flowers
for the mound of Jacob's grave.



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Online LibraryCaradoc EvansMy neighbours → online text (page 8 of 8)