Home
  By Author [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Title [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Language
all Classics books content using ISYS

Download this book: [ ASCII | HTML | PDF ]

Look for this book on Amazon


We have new books nearly every day.
If you would like a news letter once a week or once a month
fill out this form and we will give you a summary of the books for that week or month by email.

Title: My Neighbors - Stories of the Welsh People
Author: Evans, Caradoc
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "My Neighbors - Stories of the Welsh People" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.



MY NEIGHBORS
STORIES OF THE WELSH PEOPLE

BY
CARADOC EVANS


NEW YORK
HARCOURT, BRACE AND HOWE
1920



COPYRIGHT, 1920, BY
HARCOURT, BRACE AND HOWE, INC.


THE QUINN & BODEN COMPANY
RAHWAY, N.J.



TO
MY FRIEND
THOMAS BURKE
OF "LIMEHOUSE NIGHTS"



CONTENTS


CHAPTER                                        PAGE

       THE WELSH PEOPLE                           3
   I.  LOVE AND HATE                             11
  II.  ACCORDING TO THE PATTERN                  31
 III.  THE TWO APOSTLES                          59
  IV.  EARTHBRED                                 81
   V.  FOR BETTER                                99
  VI.  TREASURE AND TROUBLE                     117
 VII.  SAINT DAVID AND THE PROPHETS             131
VIII.  JOSEPH'S HOUSE                           155
  IX.  LIKE BROTHERS                            173
   X.  A WIDOW WOMAN                            187
  XI.  UNANSWERED PRAYERS                       199
 XII.  LOST TREASURE                            215
XIII.  PROFIT AND GLORY                         231



THE WELSH PEOPLE


Our God is a big man: a tall man much higher than the highest chapel in
Wales and broader than the broadest chapel. For the promised day that He
comes to deliver us a sermon we shall have made a hole in the roof and
taken down a wall. Our God has a long, white beard, and he is not unlike
the Father Christmas of picture-books. Often he lies on his stomach on
Heaven's floor, an eye at one of his myriads of peepholes, watching that
we keep his laws. Our God wears a frock coat, a starched linen collar
and black necktie, and a silk hat, and on the Sabbath he preaches to the
congregation of Heaven.

Heaven is a Welsh chapel; but its pulpit is of gold, and its walls,
pews, floor, roof, harmonium, and its clock--which marks the days of the
month as well as the hours of the day--are of glass. The inhabitants are
clothed in the white shirts in which they were buried and in which they
arose at the Call; and the language of God and his angels and of the
Company of Prophets is Welsh, that being the language spoken in the
Garden of Eden and by Jacob, Moses, Abraham, and Elijah.

Wales is Heaven on earth, and every Welsh chapel is a little Heaven; and
God has favored us greatly by choosing to rule over us preachers who are
fashioned in his likeness and who are without spot or blemish.

Every Welsh child knows that the preacher is next to God; "I am the Big
Man's photograph," the preacher shouts; and the child is brought up in
the fear of the preacher.

Jealous of his trust, the preacher has made rules for the salvation of
our bodies and souls. Temptations such as art, drama, dancing, and the
study of folklore he has removed from our way. Those are vanities, which
make men puffed up and vainglorious; and they are unsavory in the
nostrils of the Big Man. And look you, the preacher asks, do they not
cost money? Are they not time wasters? The capel needs your money, boys
bach, that the light--the grand, religious light--shall shine in the
pulpit.

That is the lamp which burns throughout Wales. It keeps our feet from
Church door and public house, and it guides us to the polling booth
where we record our votes as the preacher has instructed us. Be the
season never so hard and be men and women never so hungry, its flame
does not wane and the oil in its vessel is not low.

White cabbages and new potatoes, eggs and measures of corn, milk and
butter and money we give to the preacher. We trim our few acres until
our shoulders are crutched and the soil is in the crevices of our flesh
that his estate shall be a glory unto God. We make for him a house which
is as a mansion set amid hovels and for the building thereof the widow
must set aside portions of her weekly old age pension. These things and
many more we do, for forgiveness of sin is obtained by sacrifice. Such
folk as hold back their offerings have their names proclaimed in the
pulpit.

Said the preacher: "Heavy was the punishment of the Big Man on Twm Cwm,
persons, because Twm speeched against the capel. Was he not put in the
coffin in his farm trowsis and jacket? And do you know, the Big Man cast
a brightness on his buttons for him to be known in the blackness of
hell."

It is no miracle that we are religious. Our God is just behind the
preacher, and he is in the semblance of the preacher; and we believe in
him truly. It is no miracle that we are prayerful. Our God is by us in
our hagglings and cheatings. Becca Penffos prays that the dealer's eyes
are closed to the disease of her hen; Shon Porth asks the Big Man to
destroy his pregnant sister into whose bed Satan enticed him; Ianto
Tybach says: "Give me a nice bit of haymaking weather, God bach. Strike
my brother Enoch dead and blind and see I have his fields without any
old bother. A champion am I in the religion and there's gifts I give the
preacher. Ask him. That's all. Amen."

Although we know God, we are afraid of to-morrow: one will steal our
seeds, a horse will perish, our wife will die and a servant woman will
have to be hired to the time that we find another wife, the Englishman
whom we defrauded in the market place will come and seek his rights.

We are what we have been made by our preachers and politicians, and thus
we remain. Among ourselves our repute is ill. Our villages and
countryside are populated with the children of cousins who have married
cousins and of women who have played the harlot with their brothers; and
no one loves his neighbor. Abroad we are distrusted and disdained. This
is said of us: "A Welshman's bond is as worthless as his word." We
traffic in prayers and hymns, and in the name of Jesus Christ, and we
display a spurious heart upon our breast. Our politicians, crafty pupils
of the preachers and now their masters, weep and moan in the public
places as if they were women in childbirth; in their souls they are
lustful and cruel and greedy. They have made themselves the slaves of
the wicked, and like asses their eyes are lifted no higher than the
golden carrot which is their reward from the wicked. Not of one of us it
can be said: "He is a great man," or "He is a good man," or "He is an
honest man."

Maybe the living God will consider our want of knowledge and act
mercifully toward us.



I

LOVE AND HATE


By living frugally--setting aside a portion of his Civil Service pay and
holding all that he got from two butchers whose trade books he kept in
proper order--Adam Powell became possessed of Cartref in which he dwelt
and which is in Barnes, and two houses in Thornton East; and one of the
houses in Thornton East he let to his widowed daughter Olwen, who
carried on a dressmaking business. At the end of his term he retired
from his office, his needs being fulfilled by a pension, and his evening
eased by the ministrations of his elder daughter Lisbeth.

Soon an inward malady seized him, and in the belief that he would not be
rid of it, he called Lisbeth and Olwen, to whom both he pronounced his
will.

"The Thornton East property I give you," he said. "Number seven for
Lissi and eight for Olwen as she is. It will be pleasant to be next
door, and Lissi is not likely to marry at her age which is advanced.
Share and share alike of the furniture, and what's left sell with the
house and haff the proceeds. If you don't fall out in the sharing, you
never will again."

At once Lisbeth and Olwen embraced.

"My sister is my best friend," was the testimony of the elder; "we
shan't go astray if we follow the example of the dad and mother," was
that of the younger.

"Take two or three excursion trains to Aberporth for the holidays," said
Adam, "and get a little gravel for the mother's grave in Beulah. And a
cheap artificial wreath. They last better than real ones. It was in
Beulah that me and your mother learnt about Jesus."

Together Olwen and Lisbeth pledged that they would attend their father's
behests: shunning ill-will and continually petitioning to be translated
to the Kingdom of God; "but," Lisbeth laughed falsely, "you are not
going to die. The summer will do wonders for you."

"You are as right as a top really," cried Olwen.

Beholding that his state was the main concern of his children, Adam
counted himself blessed; knowing of a surety that the designs of God
stand fast against prayer and physic, he said: "I am shivery all over."

A fire was kindled and coals piled upon it that it was scarce to be
borne, and three blankets were spread over those which were on his bed,
and three earthen bottles which held heated water were put in his bed;
and yet the old man got no warmth.

"I'll manage now alone," said Lisbeth on the Saturday morning. "You'll
have Jennie and her young gentleman home for Sunday. Should he turn for
the worse I'll send for you."

Olwen left, and in the afternoon came Jennie and Charlie from the
drapery shop in which they were engaged; and sighing and sobbing she
related to them her father's will.

"If I was you, ma," Jennie counseled, "I wouldn't leave him too much
alone with Aunt Liz. You never can tell. Funny things may happen."

"I'd trust Aunt Liz anywhere," Olwen declared, loath to have her sister
charged with unfaithfulness.

"What do you think, Charlie?" asked Jennie.

The young man stiffened his slender body and inclined his pale face and
rubbed his nape, and he proclaimed that there was no discourse of which
the meaning was hidden from him and no device with which he was not
familiar; and he answered: "I would stick on the spot."

That night Olwen made her customary address to God, and before she came
up from her knees or uncovered her eyes, she extolled to God the acts
of her father Adam. But slumber kept from her because of that which
Jennie had spoken; and diffiding the humor of her heart, she said to
herself: "Liz must have a chance of going on with some work." At that
she slept; and early in the day she was in Cartref.

"Jennie and Charlie insist you rest," she told Lisbeth. "She can manage
quite nicely, and there's Charlie which is a help. So should any one who
is twenty-three."

For a week the daughters waited on their father and contrived they never
so wittily to free him from his disorder--Did they not strip and press
against him?--they could not deliver him from the wind of dead men's
feet. They stitched black cloth into garments and while they stitched
they mumbled the doleful hymns of Sion. Two yellow plates were fixed on
Adam's coffin--this was in accordance with the man's request--and the
engraving on one was in the Welsh tongue, and on the other in the
English tongue, and the reason was this: that the angel who lifts the
lid--be he of the English or of the Welsh--shall know immediately that
the dead is of the people chosen to have the first seats in the Mansion.

The sisters removed from Cartref such things as pleased them; Lisbeth
chose more than Olwen, for her house was bare; and in the choosing each
gave in to the other, and neither harbored a mean thought.

With her chattels and her sewing machine, Lisbeth entered number seven,
which is in Park Villas, and separated from the railway by a wood
paling, and from then on the sisters lived by the rare fruits of their
joint industry; and never, except on the Sabbath, did they shed their
thimbles or the narrow bright scissors which hung from their waists.
Some of the poor middle-class folk near-by brought to them their
measures of materials, and the more honorable folk who dwelt in the
avenues beyond Upper Richmond Road crossed the steep railway bridge
with blouses and skirts to be reformed.

"We might be selling Cartref now," said Olwen presently.

"I leave it to you," Lisbeth remarked.

"And I leave it to you. It's as much yours as mine."

"Suppose we consult Charlie?"

"He's a man, and he'll do the best he can."

"Yes, he's very cute is Charlie."

Charlie gave an ear unto Olwen, and he replied: "You been done in. It's
disgraceful how's she's took everything that were best."

"She had nothing to go on with," said Olwen. "And it will come back. It
will be all Jennie's."

"What guarantee have you of that? That's my question. What guarantee?"

Olwen was silent. She was not wishful of disparaging her sister or of
squabbling with Charlie.

"Well," said Charlie, "I must have an entirely free hand. Give it an
agent if you prefer. They're a lively lot."

He went about over-praising Cartref. "With the sticks and they're not
rubbish," he swore, "it's worth five hundred. Three-fifty will buy the
lot."

A certain man said to him: "I'll give you two-twenty"; and Charlie
replied: "Nothing doing."

Twelve months he was in selling the house, and for the damage which in
the meanseason had been done to it by a bomb and by fire and water the
sum of money that he received was one hundred and fifty pounds.

Lisbeth had her share, and Olwen had her share, and each applauded
Charlie, Lisbeth assuring him: "You'll never regret it"; and this is how
Charlie applauded himself: "No one else could have got so much."

"The house and cash will be a nice egg-nest for Jennie," Olwen
announced.

"And number seven and mine will make it more," added Lisbeth.

"It's a great comfort that she'll never want a roof over her," said
Olwen.

Mindful of their vows to their father, the sisters lived at peace and
held their peace in the presence of their prattling neighbors. On
Sundays, togged in black gowns on which were ornaments of jet, they
worshiped in the Congregational Chapel; and as they stood up in their
pew, you saw that Olwen was as the tall trunk of a tree at whose
shoulders are the stumps of chopped branches, and that Lisbeth's body
was as a billhook. Once they journeyed to Aberporth and they laid a
wreath of wax flowers and a thick layer of gravel on their mother's
grave. They tore a gap in the wall which divided their little gardens,
and their feet, so often did one visit the other, trod a path from
backdoor to backdoor.

Nor was their love confused in the joy that each had in Jennie, for
whom sacrifices were made and treasures hoarded.

But Jennie was discontented, puling for what she could not have,
mourning her lowly fortune, deploring her spinsterhood.

"Bert and me are getting married Christmas," she said on a day.

"Hadn't you better wait a while," said Olwen. "You're young."

"We talked of that. Charlie is getting on. He's thirty-eight, or will be
in January. We'll keep on in the shop and have sleep-out vouchers and
come here week-ends."

As the manner is, the mother wept.

"You've nothing to worry about," Lisbeth assuaged her sister. "He's
steady and respectable. We must see that she does it in style. You look
after the other arrangements and I'll see to her clothes."

She walked through wind and rain and sewed by day and night, without
heed of the numbness which was creeping into her limbs; and on the floor
of a box she put six jugs which had been owned by the Welshwoman who
was Adam's grandmother, and over the jugs she arrayed the clothes she
had made, and over all she put a piece of paper on which she had
written, "To my darling niece from her Aunt Lisbeth."

Jennie examined her aunt's handiwork and was exceedingly wrathful.

"I shan't wear them," she cried. "She might have spoken to me before she
started. After all, it's my wedding. Not hers. Pwf! I can buy better
jugs in the six-pence-apenny bazaar."

"Aunt Liz will alter them," Olwen began.

"I agree with her," said Charlie. "Aunt Liz should be more considerate
seeing what I have done for her. But for me she wouldn't have any money
at all."

Charlie and Jennie stirred their rage and gave utterance to the harshest
sayings they could devise about Lisbeth; "and I don't care if she's
listening outside the door," said Charlie; "and you can tell her it's
me speaking," said Jennie.

Throughout Saturday and Sunday Jennie pouted and dealt rudely and
uncivilly with her mother; and on Monday, at the hour she was preparing
to depart, Olwen relented and gave her twenty pounds, wherefore on the
wedding day Lisbeth was astonished.

"Why aren't you wearing my presents?" she asked.

"That's it," Jennie shouted. "Don't you forget to throw cold water, will
you? It wouldn't be you if you did. I don't want to. See? And if you
don't like it, lump it."

Olwen calmed her sister, whispering: "She's excited. Don't take notice."

At the quickening of the second dawn after Christmas, Jennie and Bert
arose, and Jennie having hidden her wedding-ring, they two went about
their business; and when at noon Olwen proceeded to number seven, she
found that Lisbeth had been taken sick of the palsy and was fallen upon
the floor. Lisbeth was never well again, and what time she understood
all that Olwen had done for her, she melted into tears.

"I should have gone but for you," she averred. "The money's Jennie's,
which is the same as I had it and under the mattress, and the house is
Jennie's."

"She's fortunate," returned Olwen. "She'll never want for ten shillings
a week which it will fetch. You are kind indeed."

"Don't neglect them for me," Lisbeth urged. "I'll be quite happy if you
drop in occasionally."

"Are you not my sister?" Olwen cried. "I'm having a bed for you in our
front sitting-room. You won't be lonely."

Winter, spring, and summer passed, and the murmurs of Jennie and Charlie
against Lisbeth were grown into a horrid clamor.

"Hush, she'll hear you," Olwen always implored. "It won't be for much
longer. The doctor says she may go any minute."

"Or last ages," said Charlie.

"Jennie will have the house and the money," Olwen pleaded. "And the
money hasn't been touched. Same as you gave it to her. She showed it to
me under the mattress. Not every one have two houses."

"By then you will have bought it over and over again," said Charlie.
"Doesn't give Jennie and me much chance of saving, does it?"

"And she can't eat this and can't eat that," Jennie screamed. "She
won't, she means."

Weekly was Olwen harassed with new disputes, and she rued that she had
said: "I'll have a bed for you in our front sitting-room"; and as it
falls out in family quarrels, she sided with her daughter and her
daughter's husband.

So the love of the sisters became forced and strained, each speaking and
answering with an ill-favored mouth; it was no longer entire and
nothing that was professed united it together.

"I must make my will now," Lisbeth hinted darkly.

"Perhaps Charlie will oblige you," replied Olwen.

"Charlie! You make me smile. Why, he can't keep a wife."

"I thought you had settled all that," Olwen faltered.

"Did you? Anyway, I'll have it in black and white. The minister will do
it."

After the minister was gone away, Lisbeth said: "I couldn't very well
approach him. He's worried about money for the new vestry. Why didn't
you tell me about the new vestry? It was in the magazine."

Olwen mused and from her musings came this: "It'll be a pity to spoil it
now. For Jennie's sake."

She got very soft pillows and clean bed-clothes for Lisbeth and she
placed toothsome dishes before Lisbeth; and it was Lisbeth's way to
probe with a fork all the dishes that Olwen had made and to say "It's
badly burnt," or "You didn't give much for this," or "Of course you were
never taught to cook."

For three years Olwen endured her sister's taunts and the storms of her
daughter and her son-in-law; and then Jennie said: "I'm going to have a
baby." If she was glad and feared to hear this, how much greater was her
joy and how much heavier was her anxiety as Jennie's space grew
narrower? She left over going to the aid of Lisbeth, from whom she took
away the pillows and for whom she did not provide any more toothsome
dishes; she did not go to her aid howsoever frantic the beatings on the
wall or fierce the outcry. Never has a sentry kept a closer look-out
than Olwen for Jennie. Albeit Jennie died, and as Olwen looked at the
hair which was faded from the hue of daffodils into that of tow and at
the face the cream of the skin of which was now like clay, she hated
Lisbeth with the excess that she had loved her.

"My dear child shall go to Heaven like a Princess," she said; and she
sat at her work table to fashion a robe of fine cambric and lace for her
dead.

Disturbed by the noise of the machine, Lisbeth wailed: "You let me
starve but won't let me sleep. Why doesn't any one help me? I'll get the
fever. What have I done?"

Olwen moved to the doorway of the room, her body filling the frame
thereof, her scissors hanging at her side.

"You are wrong, sister, to starve me," Lisbeth said. "To starve me. I
cannot walk you know. You must not blame me if I change my mind about my
money. It was wrong of you."

Olwen did not answer.

"Dear me," Lisbeth cried, "supposing our father in Heaven knew how you
treat me. Indeed the vestry shall have my bit. I might be a pig in a
pigsty. I'll get the fever. Supposing our father is looking through the
window of Heaven at your cruelty to me."

Olwen muttered the burden of her care: "'The wife would pull through if
she had plenty of attention. How could she with her about? The two of
you killed her. You did. I warned you to give up everything and see to
her. But you neglected her.' That's what Charlie will say. Hoo-hoo.
'It's unheard of for a woman to die before childbirth. Serves you right
if I have an inquest.'..."

"For shame to keep from me now," said Lisbeth in a voice that was higher
than the continued muttering of Olwen. "Have you no regard for the
living? The dead is dead. And you made too much of Jennie. You spoiled
her...."

On a sudden Olwen ceased, and she strode up to the bed and thrust her
scissors into Lisbeth's breast.



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 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,"[1] 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?"

[Footnote 1: Dear little man. "Bach" is the Welsh masculine for "dear";
"fach" the Welsh feminine for "dear."]

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 labored that the people thereabout were
confounded; they stirred earlier and lay down later than any honest
folk; and they took more eggs and tubs of butter to 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 brightened himself up: he wore whipcord
leggings 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; 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 Dissenters 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 honor, his vessel of contentment was
not filled until his wife went into her deathbed and gave him a son.

"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 "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 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," replied Abel. "Eloquent he is. Grand
he is spouting prayers at his bed. Weep do I."

Neighbors 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, 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 purse of a big bull.'"

Brightness fell upon him. He had a name for the tearfulness and splendor
of his eloquence. He could conduct himself fancifully: now he was
Pharaoh wincing under the plagues, now he was the Prodigal Son longing
to eat at the pigs' trough, now he was the Widow of Nain rejoicing at
the recovery of her son, now he was a parson in Nineveh squirming under
the prophecy of Jonah; and his hearers winced or longed, rejoiced or
squirmed. Congregations sought him to preach in their pulpits, and he
chose such as offered the highest reward, pledging the richest men for
his wage and the cost of his entertainment and journey. But Ben would
rule over no chapel. "I wait for the call from above," he said.

His term at Carmarthen at an end, he came to Deinol. His father met him
in a doleful manner.

"An old boy very cruel is the Parson," Abel whined. "Has he not strained
Gwen for his tithes? Auction her he did and bought her himself for three
pounds and half a pound."

Ben answered: "Go now and say the next Saturday Benshamin Lloyd will
give mouthings on tithes in Capel Dissenters."

Ben stood in the pulpit, and spoke to the people of Capel Dissenters.

"How many of you have been to his church?" he cried. "Not one male bach
or one female fach. Go there the next Sabbath, and the black muless will
not say to you: 'Welcome you are, persons Capel. But there's glad am I
to see you.' A comic sermon you will hear. A sermon got with
half-a-crown postal order. Ask Postman. Laugh highly you will and stamp
on the floor. Funny is the Parson in the white frock. Ach y fy, why for
he doesn't have a coat preacher like Respecteds? Ask me that. From where
does his Church come from? She is the inheritance of Satan. The only
thing he had to leave, and he left her to his friends the parsons.
Iss-iss, earnest affair is this. Who gives him his food? We. Who pays
for Vicarage? We. Who feeds his pony? We. His cows? We. Who built his
church? We. With stones carted from our quarries and mortar messed about
with the tears of our mothers and the blood of our fathers."

At the gate of the chapel men discussed Ben's words; and two or three of
them stole away and herded Gwen into the corner of the field; and they
caught her and cut off her tail, and drove a staple into her udder.
Sunday morning eleven men from Capel Dissenters, with iron bands to
their clogs on their feet, and white aprons before their bellies,
shouted without the church: "We are come to pray from the book." The
Parson was affrighted, and left over tolling his bell, and he bolted and
locked the door, against which he set his body as one would set the stub
of a tree.

Running at the top of their speed the railers came to Ben, telling how
the Parson had put them to shame.

"Iobs you are," Ben answered. "The boy bach who loses the key of his
house breaks into his house. Does an old wench bar the dairy to her
mishtress?"

The men returned each to his abode, and an hour after midday they
gathered in the church burial-ground, and they drew up a tombstone, and
with it rammed the door; and they hurled stones at the windows; and in
the darkness they built a wall of dung in the room of the door.

Repentance sank into the Parson as he saw and remembered that which had
been done to him. He called to him his servant Lissi Workhouse, and her
he told to take Gwen to Deinol. The cow lowed woefully as she was
driven; she was heard even in Morfa, and many hurried to the road to
witness her.

Abel was at the going in of the close.

"Well-well, Lissi Workhouse," he said, "what's doing then?"

"'Go give the male his beast,' mishtir talked."

"Right for you are," said Abel.

"Right for enough is the rascal. But a creature without blemish he
pilfered. Hit her and hie her off."

As Lissi was about to go, Ben cried from within the house: "The cow the
fulbert had was worth two of his cows."

"Sure, iss-iss," said Abel. "Go will I to Vicarage with boys capel.
Bring the baston, Ben bach."

Ben came out, and his ardor warmed up on beholding Lissi's broad hips,
scarlet cheeks, white teeth, and full bosoms.

"Not blaming you, girl fach, am I," he said. "My father, journey with
Gwen. Walk will I with Lissi Workhouse."

That afternoon Abel brought a cow in calf into his close; and that night
Ben crossed the mown hayfields to the Vicarage, and he threw a little
gravel at Lissi's window.

       *       *       *       *       *

The hay was gathered and stacked and thatched, and the corn was cut
down, and to the women who were gleaning his father's oats, Ben said how
that Lissi was in the family way.

"Silence your tone, indeed," cried one, laughing. "No sign have I seen."

"If I died," observed a large woman, "boy bach pretty innocent you are,
Benshamin. Four months have I yet. And not showing much do I."

"No," said another, "the bulk might be only the coil of your apron,
ho-ho."

"Whisper to us," asked the large woman, "who the foxer is. Keep the
news will we."

"Who but the scamp of the Parson?" replied Ben. "What a sow of a hen."

By such means Ben shifted his offense. On being charged by the Parson he
rushed through the roads crying that the enemy of the Big Man had put
unbecoming words on a harlot's tongue. Capel Dissenters believed him.
"He could not act wrongly with a sheep," some said.

So Ben tasted the sapidness and relish of power, and his desires
increased.

"Mortgage Deinol, my father bach," he said to Abel. "Going am I to
London. Heavy shall I be there. None of the dirty English are like me."

"Already have I borrowed for your college. No more do I want to have.
How if I sell a horse?"

"Sell you the horse too, my father bach."

"Done much have I for you," Abel said. "Fairish I must be with your
sisters."

"Why for you cavil like that, father? The money of mam came to Deinol.
Am I not her son?"

Though his daughters, murmured--"We wake at the caw of the crows," they
said, "and weary in the young of the day"--Abel obeyed his son, who
thereupon departed and came to Thornton East to the house of Catherine
Jenkins, a widow woman, with whom he took the appearance of a burning
lover.

Though he preached with a view at many English chapels in London, none
called him. He caused Abel to sell cattle and mortgage Deinol for what
it was worth and to give him all the money he received therefrom; he
swore such hot love for Catherine that the woman pawned her furniture
for his sake.

Intrigued that such scant fruit had come up from his sowings, Ben
thought of further ways of stablishing himself. He inquired into the
welfare of shop-assistants from women and girls who worshiped in Welsh
chapels, and though he spoiled several in his quest, the abominations
which oppressed these workers were made known to him. Shop-assistants
carried abroad his fame and called him "Fiery Taffy." Ben showed them
how to rid themselves of their burden; "a burden," he said, "packed full
and overflowing by men of my race--the London Welsh drapers."

The Welsh drapers were alarmed, and in a rage with Ben. They took the
opinion of their big men and performed slyly. Enos-Harries--this is the
Enos-Harries who has a drapery shop in Kingsend--sent to Ben this
letter: "Take Dinner with Slf and Wife same, is Late Dinner I am pleased
to inform. You we don't live in Establishment only as per printed Note
Heading. And Oblige."

Enos-Harries showed Ben his house, and told him the cost of the
treasures that were therein.

Also Harries said: "I have learned of you as a promising Welshman, and I
want to do a good turn for you with a speech by you on St. David's Day
at Queen's Hall. Now, then."

"I am not important enough for that."

"She'll be a first-class miting in tip-top speeches. All the drapers and
dairies shall be there in crowds. Three sirs shall come."

"I am choked with engagements," said Ben. "I am preaching very busy now
just."

"Well-well. Asked I did for you are a clean Cymro bach. As I repeat,
only leading lines in speakers shall be there. Come now into the
drawing-room and I'll give you an intro to the Missus Enos-Harries. In
evening dress she is--chik Paris Model. The invoice price was ten-ten."

"Wait a bit," Ben remarked. "I would be glad if I could speak."

"Perhaps the next time we give you the invite. The Cymrodorion shall be
in the miting."

"As you plead, try I will."

"Stretching a point am I," Harries said. "This is a favor for you to
address this glorious miting where the Welsh drapers will attend and the
Missus Enos-Harries will sing 'Land of my Fathers.'"

Ben withdrew from his fellows for three days, and on the third
day--which was that of the Saint--he put on him a frock coat, and combed
down his mustache over the blood-red swelling on his lip; and he cleaned
his teeth. Here are some of the sayings that he spoke that night:

"Half an hour ago we were privileged to listen to the voice of a lovely
lady--a voice as clear as a diamond ring. It inspired us one and all
with a hireath for the dear old homeland--for dear Wales, for the land
of our fathers and mothers too, for the land that is our heritage not
by Act of Parliament but by the Act of God....

"Who ownss this land to-day? The squaire and the parshon. By what right?
By the same right as the thief who steals your silk and your laces, and
your milk and butter, and your reddy-made blousis. I know a farm of one
hundred acres, each rod having been tamed from heatherland into a manna
of abundance. Tamed by human bones and muscles--God's invested capital
in His chosen children. Six months ago this land--this fertile and rich
land--was wrestled away from the owners. The bones of the living and the
dead were wrestled away. I saw it three months ago--a wylderness. The
clod had been squeesed of its zweat. The land belonged to my father, and
his father, and his father, back to countless generations....

"I am proud to be among my people to-night. How sorry I am for any one
who are not Welsh. We have a language as ancient as the hills that
shelter us, and the rivers that never weery of refreshing us....

"Only recently a few shop-assistants--a handful of
counter-jumpers--tried to shake the integrity of our commerse. But their
white cuffs held back their aarms, and the white collars choked their
aambitions. When I was a small boy my mam used to tell me how the chief
Satan was caught trying to put his hand over the sun so as to give other
satans a chance of doing wrong on earth in the dark. That was the object
of these misguided fools. They had no grievances. I have since
investigated the questions of living-in and fines. Both are fair and
necessary. The man who tries to destroy them is like the swimmer who
plunges among the water lilies to be dragged into destruction....

"Welsh was talked in the Garden of Aden. That is where commerse began.
Didn't Eve buy the apple?...

"Ladies and gentlemen, Cymrodorion, listen. There is a going in these
classical old rafterss. It is the coming of God. And the message He
gives you this night is this: 'Men of Gwalia, march on and keep you
tails up.'"

From that hour Ben flourished. He broke his league with the
shop-assistants. Those whom he had troubled lost courage and humbled
themselves before their employers; but their employers would have none
of them, man or woman, boy or girl.

Vexation followed his prosperity. His father reproached him, writing:
"Sad I drop into the Pool as old Abel Tybach, and not as Lloyd Deinol."
Catherine harassed him to recover her house and chattels. To these
complainings he was deaf. He married the daughter of a wealthy
Englishman, who set him up in a large house in the midst of a pleasure
garden; and of the fatness and redness of his wife he was sickened
before he was wedded to her.

By studying diligently, the English language became as familiar to him
as the Welsh language. He bound himself to Welsh politicians and engaged
himself in public affairs, and soon he was as an idol to a multitude of
people, who were sensible only to his well-sung words, and who did not
know that his utterances veiled his own avarice and that of his masters.
All that he did was for profit, and yet he could not win enough.

Men and women, soothed into false ease and quickened into counterfeit
wrath, commended him, crying: "Thank God for Ben Lloyd." Such praise
puffed him up, and howsoever mighty he was in the view of fools, he was
mightier in his own view.

"At the next election I'll be in Parliament," he boasted in his vanity.
"The basis of my solidity--strength--is as immovable--is as impregnable
as Birds' Rock in Morfa."

Though the grandson of Simon Idiot and Dull Anna prophesied great things
for himself, it was evil that came to him.

He trembled from head to foot to ravish every comely woman on whom his
ogling eyes dwelt. His greed made him faithless to those whom he
professed to serve: in his eagerness to lift himself he planned,
plotted, and trafficked with the foes of his officers. Hearing that an
account of his misdeeds was spoken abroad, he called the high London
Welshmen into a room, and he said to them:

"These cruel slanderers have all but broken my spirit. They are the
wicked inventions of fiends incarnate. It is not my fall that is
required--if that were so I would gladly make the sacrifise--the zupreme
sacrifise, if wanted--but it is the fall of the Party that these men are
after. He who repeats one foul thing is doing his level best to destroy
the fabric of this magnificent organisation that has been reared by your
brains. It has no walls of stone and mortar, yet it is a sity builded by
men. We must have no more bickerings. We have work to do. The seeds are
springing forth, and a goodly harvest is promised: let us sharpen our
blades and clear our barn floors. Cymru fydd--Wales for the Welsh--is
here. At home and at Westminster our kith and kin are occupying
prominent positions. Disestablishment is at hand. We have closed
public-houses and erected chapels, each chapel being a factor in the
education of the masses in ideas of righteous government. You, my
friends, have secured much of the land, around which you have made
walls, and in which you have set water fountains, and have planted rare
plants and flowers. And you have put up your warning signs on
it--'Trespassers will be prosecuted.'

"There is coming the Registration of Workers Act, by which every worker
will be held to his locality, to his own enormous advantage. And it will
end strikes, and trades unionism will deservedly crumble. In future
these men will be able to settle down, and with God's blessing bring
children into the world, and their condition will be a delight unto
themselves and a profit to the community.

"But we must do more. I must do more. And you must help me. We must
stand together. Slander never creates; it shackles and kills. We must be
solid. Midway off the Cardigan coast--in beautiful Morfa--there is a
rock--Birds' Rock. As a boy I used to climb to the top of it, and watch
the waters swirling and tumbling about it, and around it and against it.
But I was unafraid. For I knew that the rock was old when man was young,
and that it had braved all the washings of the sea."

The men congratulated Ben; and Ben came home and he stood at a mirror,
and shaping his body put out his arms.

"How's this for my maiden speech in the house?" he asked his wife.
Presently he paused. "You're a fine one to be an M.P.'s lady," he said.
"You stout, underworked fool."

Ben urged on his imaginings: he advised his monarch, and to him for
favors merchants brought their gold, and mothers their daughters. Winter
and spring moved, and then his mind brought his enemies to his door.

"As the root of a tree spreads in the bosom of the earth," he said, "so
my fame shall spread over the world"; and he built a fence about his
house.

But his mind would not be stilled. Every midnight his enemies were at
the fence, and he could not sleep for the dreadful outcry; every
midnight he arose from his bed and walked aside the fence, testing the
strength of it with a hand and a shoulder and shooing away his enemies
as one does a brood of chickens from a cornfield.

His fortieth summer ran out--a season of short days and nights speeding
on the heels of night. Then peace fell upon him; and at dusk of a day he
came into his room, and he saw one sitting in a chair. He went up to the
chair and knelt on a knee, and said: "Your Majesty...."



III

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. "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 laborers. 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," 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 number 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 laborers their spades and bring to me the Welsh."

The laborers digged, and at the sound of the horn the dead breathed and
heaved. Those whose wit was sharp hurried into neighboring 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
Respected 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?
'Prepare your deeds for the Lord.' The Beybile 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 shovelers beat the soil through the top of the coffin. Do
much will I for one Beybile."

"A poor dab you are," said Towy.

"Many deeds you have? But no odds to me."

"Four I have."

"Woe for you, unfortunate."

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

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

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

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

"Be him soft and sell for one."

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

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

"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 inscribed; 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 notations. 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 ten tablets each. But the gaudy Bible which was decorated with
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 labor
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 springing," 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 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. Away from the stir
of Parliament. 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 o'erpowering."

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

"You don't say," cried Ben. "If 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 mistakes 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. "Dissenters," he bellowed, "what right have Church heathens to mix
with us? The Fiery Oven is their home."

The people were dismayed. Their number 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 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 rebuked the people. "Say after me: 'Go
round my backhead, Satan.'"

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

"Catch him and skin him," Towy screamed. "Teach him we will to snook
about here."

Fear arming his courage, Satan shouted: "He who hurts me him shall I
pitch head-long 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 deeds are recorded in the
archives of the House of Commons and the Cymrodorion Society."

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

Lowering his eyes the Overseer murmured: "I am not the Lord."

"For why did you not say that?" cried Towy. He stepped to the Overseer.
"Hap you are Apostle Shames. A splendid photo of Shames is in the
Beybile with pictures. Fond am I of preaching from him. Lovely pieces
there are. '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."

"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 arguments. 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 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
Congregationalists, and they quarreled 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 private ear of God. The strife
quelled and Towy having cried loudly: "Dissenters and Churchers, glad
you are that me and Ben Lloyd, Hem Pee, 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 satisfactory 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."

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 eloquent 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 account of the mischief you made these
men do."

"This is a travesty of the traditions 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 was a member
of the Government 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 passed out they beheld that the scale
of scarlet tablets touched the ground.

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

"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 remembrance before me."

"Will you destroy the just?" asked Moses.

"They have chosen."

"Shall the godly perish because of the godless?"

"I flooded the world," said God.

"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?"

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

"Remember Sodom and Gomorrah, Lot's wife and his daughters. They all
sinned after their deliverance. The doings of Sodom stayed."

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

"I 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."

"And your judgment is past understanding," 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 howlings in the
wilderness," said another; "The honey will be as bittersweet 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."

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 commanded the Overseer, "for they shall
see 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. 'This is God's will,' they said to him."

Satan's scissors fell on the floor.



IV

EARTHBRED


Because he was diseased with a consumption, Evan Roberts in his
thirtieth year left over being a drapery assistant and had himself hired
as a milk roundsman.

A few weeks thereafter he said to Mary, the woman whom he had promised
to wed: "How now if I had a milk-shop?"

Mary encouraged him, and searched for that which he desired; and it came
to be that on a Thursday afternoon they two met at the mouth of Worship
Street--the narrow lane that is at the going into Richmond.

"Stand here, Marri," Evan ordered. "Go in will I and have words with the
owner. Hap I shall uncover his tricks."

"Very well you are," said Mary. "Don't over-waggle your tongue. Address
him in hidden phrases."

Evan entered the shop, and as there was no one therein he made an
account of the tea packets and flour bags which were on the shelves.
Presently a small, fat woman stood beyond the counter. Evan addressed
her in English: "Are you Welsh?"

"That's what people say," the woman answered.

"Glad am I to hear you," Evan returned in Welsh. "Tell me how you was."

"A Cymro bach I see," the woman cried. "How was you?"

"Peeped did I on your name on the sign. Shall I say you are Mistress
Jinkins?"

"Iss, indeed, man."

"What about affairs these close days?"

"Busy we are. Why for you ask? Trade you do in milk?"

"Blurt did I for nothing," Evan replied.

"No odds, little man. Ach y fy, jealous other milkmen are of us. There's
nasty some people are."

"Natty shop you have. Little shop and big traffic, Mistress Jinkins?"

"Quick you are."

"Know you Tom Mathias Tabernacle Street?" Evan inquired.

"Seen him have I in the big meetings at Capel King's Cross."

"Getting on he is, for certain sure. Hundreds of pints he sells. And
groceries."

"Pwf," Mrs. Jenkins sneered. "Fulbert you are to believe him. A liar
without shame is Twm. And a cheat. Bad sampler he is of the Welsh."

"Speak I do as I hear. More thriving is your concern."

"No boast is in me. But don't we do thirty gallons?"

Evan summoned up surprise into his face, and joy. "Dear me to goodness,"
he exclaimed. "Take something must I now. Sell you me an egg."

Evan shook the egg at his ear. "She is good," he remarked.

"Weakish is the male," observed Mrs. Jenkins. "Much trouble he has in
his inside."

"Poor bach," replied Evan. "Well-well. Fair night for to-day."

"Why for you are in a hurry?"

"Woman fach, for what you do not know that I abide in Wandsworth and the
clock is late?"

Mrs. Jenkins laughed. "Boy pretty sly you are. Come you to Richmond to
buy one egg."

Evan coughed and spat upon the ground, and while he cleaned away his
spittle with a foot he said: "Courting business have I on the Thursdays.
The wench is in a shop draper."

"How shall I mouth where she is? With Wright?"

"In shop Breach she is." He spoke this in English: "So long."

In that language also did Mrs. Jenkins answer him: "Now we shan't be
long."

Narrowing his eyes and crooking his knees, Evan stood before Mary.
"Like to find out more would I," he said. "Guess did the old female that
I had seen the adfertissment."

"Blockhead you are to bare your mind," Mary admonished him.

"Why for you call me blockhead when there's no blockhead to be?"

"Sorry am I, dear heart. But do you hurry to marry me. You know that
things are so and so. The month has shown nothing."

"Shut your head, or I'll change my think altogether."

The next week Evan called at the dairy shop again.

"How was the people?" he cried on the threshold.

Mrs. Jenkins opened the window which was at the back of her, and called
out: "The boy from Wales is here, Dai."

Stooping as he moved through the way of the door, Dai greeted Evan
civilly: "How was you this day?"

"Quite grand," Evan answered.

"What capel do you go?"

"Walham Green, dear man."

"Good preach there was by the Respected Eynon Daviss the last Sabbath
morning, shall I ask? Eloquent is Eynon."

"In the night do I go."

"Solemn serious, go you ought in the mornings."

"Proper is your saying," Evan agreed. "Perform I would if I could."

"Biggish is your round, perhaps?" said Dai.

"Iss-iss. No-no." Evan was confused.

"Don't be afraid of your work. Crafty is your manner."

Evan had not anything to say.

"Fortune there is in milk," said Dai. "Study you the size of her. Little
she is. Heavy will be my loss. The rent is only fifteen bob a week. And
thirty gallons and more do I do. Broke is my health," and Dai laid the
palms of his hands on his belly and groaned.

"Here he is to visit his wench," said Mrs. Jenkins.

"You're not married now just?" asked Dai.

"Better in his pockets trousers is a male for a woman," said Mrs.
Jenkins.

"Comforting in your pockets trousers is a woman," Dai cried.

"Clap your throat," said Mrs. Jenkins. "Redness you bring to my skin."

Evan retired and considered.

"Tempting is the business," he told Mary. "Fancy do I to know more of
her. Come must I still once yet."

"Be not slothful," Mary pleaded. "Already I feel pains, and quickly the
months pass."

Then Evan charged her to watch over the shop, and to take a count of the
people who went into it. So Mary walked in the street. Mrs. Jenkins saw
her and imagined her purpose, and after she had proved her, she and Dai
formed a plot whereby many little children and young youths and girls
came into the shop. Mary numbered every one, but the number that she
gave Evan was three times higher than the proper number. The man was
pleased, and he spoke out to Dai. "Tell me the price of the shop," he
said.

"Improved has the health," replied Dai. "And not selling I don't think
am I."

"Pity that is. Great offer I have."

"Smother your cry. Taken a shop too have I in Petersham. Rachel will
look after this."

Mrs. Jenkins spoke to her husband with a low voice: "Witless you are.
Let him speak figures."

"As you want if you like then," said Dai.

"A puzzle you demand this one minute," Evan murmured. "Thirty pounds
would--"

"Light is your head," Dai cried.

"More than thirty gallons and a pram. Eighty I want for the shop and
stock."

"I stop," Evan pronounced. "Thirty-five can I give. No more and no
less."

"Cute bargainer you are. Generous am I to give back five pounds for luck
cash on spot. Much besides is my counter trade."

"Bring me papers for my eyes to see," said Evan.

Mrs. Jenkins rebuked Evan: "Hoity-toity! Not Welsh you are. Old English
boy."

"Tut-tut, Rachel fach," said Dai. "Right you are, and right and wrong is
Evan Roberts. Books I should have. Trust I give and trust I take. I have
no guile."

"How answer you to thirty-seven?" asked Evan. "No more we've got, drop
dead and blind."

He went away and related all to Mary.

"Lose the shop you will," Mary warned him. "And that's remorseful
you'll be."

"Like this and that is the feeling," said Evan.

"Go to him," Mary counseled, "and say you will pay forty-five."

"No-no, foolish that is."

They two conferred with each other, and Mary gave to Evan all her money,
which was almost twenty pounds; and Evan said to Dai: "I am not
doubtful--"

"Speak what is in you," Dai urged quickly.

"Test your shop will I for eight weeks as manager. I give you twenty
down as earnest and twenty-five at the finish of the weeks if I buy
her."

Dai and Rachel weighed that which Evan had proposed. The woman said: "A
lawyer will do this"; the man said: "Splendid is the bargain and costly
and thievish are old lawyers."

In this sort Dai answered Evan: "Do as you say. But I shall not give
money for your work. Act you honestly by me. Did not mam carry me next
my brother, who is a big preacher? Lend you will I a bed, and a dish or
two and a plate, and a knife to eat food."

At this Mary's joy was abounding. "Put you up the banns," she said.

"Lots of days there is. Wait until I've bought the place."

Mary tightened her inner garments and loosened her outer garments, and
every evening she came to the shop to prepare food for Evan, to make his
bed, and to minister to him as a woman.

Now the daily custom at the shop was twelve gallons of milk, and the tea
packets and flour bags which were on shelves were empty. Evan's anger
was awful. He upbraided Mary, and he prayed to be shown how to worst
Dai. His prayer was respected: at the end of the second week he gave Dai
two pounds more than he had given him the week before.

"Brisk is trade," said Dai.

"I took into stock flour, tea, and four tins of job biscuits," replied
Evan. "Am I not your servant?"

"Well done, good and faithful servant."

It was so that Evan bought more than he would sell, and each week he
held a little money by fraud; and matches also and bundles of firewood
and soap did he buy in Dai's name.

In the middle of the eighth week Dai came down to the shop.

"How goes it?" he asked in English.

"Fine, man. Fine." Changing his language, Evan said: "Keep her will I,
and give you the money as I pledged. Take you the sum and sign you the
paper bach."

Having acted accordingly, Dai cast his gaze on the shelves and on the
floor, and he walked about judging aloud the value of what he saw: "Tea,
three-pound-ten; biscuits, four-six; flour, four-five; firewood, five
shillings; matches, one-ten; soap, one pound. Bring you these to
Petersham. Put you them with the bed and the dishes I kindly lent you."

"For sure me, fulfil my pledge will I," Evan said.

He assembled Dai's belongings and placed them in a cart which he had
borrowed; and on the back of the cart he hung a Chinese lantern which
had in it a lighted candle. When he arrived at Dai's house, he cried:
"Here is your ownings. Unload you them."

Dai examined the inside of the cart. "Mistake there is, Evan. Where's
the stock?"

"Did I not pay you for your stock and shop? Forgetful you are."

Dai's wrath was such that neither could he blaspheme God nor invoke His
help. Removing the slabber which was gathered in his beard and at his
mouth, he shouted: "Put police on you will I."

"Away must I now," said Evan. "Come, take your bed."

"Not touch anything will I. Rachel, witness his roguery. Steal he does
from the religious."

Evan drove off, and presently he became uneasy of the evil that might
befall him were Dai and Rachel to lay their hands on him; he led his
horse into the unfamiliar and hard and steep road which goes up to the
Star and Garter, and which therefrom falls into Richmond town. At what
time he was at the top he heard the sound of Dai and Rachel running to
him, each screaming upon him to stop. Rachel seized the bridle of the
horse, and Dai tried to climb over the back of the cart. Evan bent
forward and beat the woman with his whip, and she leaped aside. But Dai
did not release his clutch, and because the lantern swayed before his
face he flung it into the cart.

Evan did not hear any more voices, and misdeeming that he had got the
better of his enemies, he turned, and, lo, the bed was in a yellow
flame. He strengthened his legs and stretched out his thin upper lip,
and pulled at the reins, saying: "Wo, now." But the animal thrust up its
head and on a sudden galloped downwards. At the railing which divides
two roads it was hindered, and Evan was thrown upon the ground. Men came
forward to lift him, and he was dead.



V

FOR BETTER


At the time it was said of him "There's a boy that gets on he is," Enoch
Harries was given Gwen the daughter of the builder Dan Thomas. On the
first Sunday after her marriage the people of Kingsend Welsh Tabernacle
crowded about Gwen, asking her: "How like you the bed, Messes Harries
fach?" "Enoch has opened a shop butcher then?" "Any signs of a baban
bach yet?" "Managed to get up quickly you did the day?" Gwen answered in
the manner the questions were asked, seriously or jestingly. She
considered these sayings, and the cause of her uneasiness was not a
puzzle to her; and she got to despise the man whom she had married, and
whose skin was like parched leather, and to repel his impotent embraces.

Withal she gave Enoch pleasure. She clothed herself with costly
garments, adorned her person with rings and ornaments, and she modeled
her hair in the way of a bob-wig. Enoch gave in to her in all things; he
took her among Welsh master builders, drapers, grocers, dairymen, into
their homes and such places as they assembled in; and his pride in his
wife was nearly as great as his pride in the twenty plate-glass windows
of his shop.

In her vanity Gwen exalted her estate.

"I hate living over the shop," she said. "It's so common. Let's take a
house away from here."

"Good that I am on the premizes," Enoch replied in Welsh. "Hap go wrong
will affairs if I leave."

"We can't ask any one decent here. Only commercials," Gwen said. With a
show of care for her husband's welfare, she added: "Working too hard is
my boy bach. And very splendid you should be."

Her design was fulfilled, and she and Enoch came to dwell in Thornton
East, in a house near Richmond Park, and on the gate before the house,
and on the door of the house, she put the name Windsor. From that hour
she valued herself high. She had the words Mrs. G. Enos-Harries printed
on cards, and she did not speak of Enoch's trade in the hearing of
anybody. She gave over conversing in Welsh, and would give no answer
when spoken to in that tongue. She devised means continually to lift
herself in the esteem of her neighbors, acting as she thought they
acted: she had a man-servant and four maid-servants, and she instructed
them to address her as the madam and Enoch as the master; she had a gong
struck before meals and a bell rung during meals; the furniture in her
rooms was as numerous as that in the windows of a shop; she went to the
parish church on Sundays; she made feasts. But her life was bitter:
tradespeople ate at her table and her neighbors disregarded her.

Enoch mollified her moaning with: "Never mind. I could buy the whole
street up. I'll have you a motor-car. Fine it will be with an advert on
the front engine."

Still slighted, Gwen smoothed her misery with deeds. She declared she
was a Liberal, and she frequented Thornton Vale English Congregational
Chapel. She gave ten guineas to the rebuilding fund, put a carpet on the
floor of the pastor's parlor, sang at brotherhood gatherings, and
entertained the pastor and his wife.

Wherefore her charity was discoursed thus: "Now when Peter spoke of a
light that shines--shines, mark you--he was thinking of such ladies as
Mrs. G. Enos-Harries. Not forgetting Mr. G. Enos-Harries."

"I'm going to build you a vestry," Gwen said to the pastor. "I'll
organize a sale of work to begin with."

The vestry was set up, and Gwen bethought of one who should be charged
with the opening ceremony of it, and to her mind came Ben Lloyd, whose
repute was great among the London Welsh, and to whose house in
Twickenham she rode in her car. Ben's wife answered her sharply: "He's
awfully busy. And I know he won't see visitors."

"But won't you tell him? It will do him such a lot of good. You know
what a stronghold of Toryism this place is."

A voice from an inner room cried: "Who is to see me?"

"Come this way," said Mrs. Lloyd.

Ben, sitting at a table with writing paper and a Bible before him, rose.

"Messes Enos-Harries," he said, "long since I met you. No odds if I
mouth Welsh? There's a language, dear me. This will not interest you in
the least. Put your ambarelo in the cornel, Messes Enos-Harries, and
your backhead in a chair. Making a lecture am I."

Gwen told him the errand upon which she was bent, and while they two
drank tea, Ben said: "Sing you a song, Messes Enos-Harries. Not
forgotten have I your singing in Queen's Hall on the Day of David the
Saint. Inspire me wonderfully you did with the speech. I've been sad
too, but you are a wedded female. Sing you now then. Push your cup and
saucer under the chair."

"No-no, not in tone am I," Gwen feigned.

"How about a Welsh hymn? Come in will I at the repeats."

"Messes Lloyd will sing the piano?"

"Go must she about her duties. She's a handless poor dab."

Gwen played and sang.

"Solemn pretty hymns have we," said Ben. "Are we not large?" He moved
and stood under a picture which hung on the wall--his knees touching and
his feet apart--and the picture was that of Cromwell. "My friends say I
am Cromwell and Milton rolled into one. The Great Father gave me a child
and He took him back to the Palace. Religious am I. Want I do to live my
life in the hills and valleys of Wales: listening to the anthem of
creation, and searching for Him under the bark of the tree. And there I
shall wait for the sound of the last trumpet."

"A poet you are." Gwen was astonished.

"You are a poetess, for sure me," Ben said. He leaned over her.
"Sparkling are your eyes. Deep brown are they--brown as the nut in the
paws of the squirrel. Be you a bard and write about boys Cymru. Tell how
they succeed in big London."

"I will try," said Gwen.

"Like you are and me. Think you do as I think."

"Know you for long I would," said Gwen.

"For ever," cried Ben. "But wedded you are. Read you a bit of the
lecture will I." Having ended his reading and having sobbed over and
praised that which he had read, Ben uttered: "Certain you come again.
Come you and eat supper when the wife is not at home."

Gwen quaked as she went to her car, and she sought a person who
professed to tell fortunes, and whom she made to say: "A gentleman is in
love with you. And he loves you for your brain. He is not your husband.
He is more to you than your husband. I hear his silver voice holding
spellbound hundreds of people; I see his majestic forehead and his
auburn locks and the strands of his silken mustache."

Those words made Gwen very happy, and she deceived herself that they
were true. She composed verses and gave them to Ben.

"Not right to Nature is this," said Ben. "The mother is wrong. How many
children you have, Messes Enos-Harries?"

"Not one. The husband is weak and he is older much than I."

"The Father has kept His most beautiful gift from you. Pity that is."
Tears gushed from Ben's eyes. "If the marriage-maker had brought us
together, children we would have jeweled with your eyes and crowned with
your hair."

"And your intellect," said Gwen. "You will be the greatest Welshman."

"Whisper will I now. A drag is the wife. Happy you are with the
husband."

"Why for you speak like that?"

"And for why we are not married?" Ben took Gwen in his arms and he
kissed her and drew her body nigh to him; and in a little while he
opened the door sharply and rebuked his wife that she waited thereat.

Daily did Gwen praise and laud Ben to her husband. "There is no one in
the world like him," she said. "He will get very far."

"Bring Mistar Lloyd to Windsor for me to know him quite well," said
Enoch.

"I will ask him," Gwen replied without faltering.

"Benefit myself I will."

Early every Thursday afternoon Ben arrived at Windsor, and at the coming
home from his shop of Enoch, Ben always said: "Messes Enos-Harries has
been singing the piano. Like the trilling of God's feathered choir is
her music."

Though Ben and Gwen were left at peace they could not satisfy nor crush
their lust.

Before three years were over, Ben had obtained great fame. "He ought to
be in Parliament and give up preaching entirely," some said; and Enoch
and Gwen were partakers of his glory.

Then Gwen told him that she had conceived, whereof Ben counseled her to
go into her husband's bed.

"That I have not the stomach to do," the woman complained.

"As you say, dear heart," said Ben. "Cancer has the wife. Perish soon
she must. Ease our path and lie with your lout."

Presently Gwen bore a child; and Enoch her husband looked at it and
said: "Going up is Ben Lloyd. Solid am I as the counter."

Gwen related her fears to Ben, who contrived to make Enoch a member of
the London County Council. Enoch rejoiced: summoning the congregation of
Thornton Vale to be witnesses of his gift of a Bible cushion to the
chapel.

As joy came to him, so grief fell upon his wife. "After all," Ben wrote
to her, "you belong to him. You have been joined together in the holiest
and sacredest matrimony. Monumental responsibilities have been thrust on
me by my people. I did not seek for them, but it is my duty to bear
them. Pray that I shall use God's hoe with understanding and wisdom.
There is a talk of putting me up for Parliament. Others will have a
chanse of electing a real religious man. I must not be tempted by you
again. Well, good-by, Gwen, may He keep you unspotted from the world.
Ships that pass in the night."

Enoch was plagued, and he followed Ben to chapel meetings, eisteddfodau,
Cymrodorion and St. David's Day gatherings, always speaking in this
fashion: "Cast under is the girl fach you do not visit her. Improved has
her singing."

Because Ben was careless of his call, his wrath heated and he said to
him: "Growing is the baban."

"How's trade?" Ben remarked. "Do you estimate for Government contracts?"

"Not thought have I."

"Just hinted. A word I can put in."

"Red is the head of the baban."

"Two black heads make red," observed Ben.

"And his name is Benjamin."

"As you speak. Farewell for to-day. How would you like to put up for a
Welsh constituency?"

"Not deserving am I of anything. Happy would I and the wife be to see
you in the House."

But Ben's promise was fruitless; and Enoch bewailed: "A serpent flew
into my house."

He ordered Gwen to go to Ben.

"Recall to him this and that," he said. "A very good advert an M.P.
would be for the business. Be you dressed like a lady. Take a fur coat
on appro from the shop."

Often thereafter he bade his wife to take such a message. But Gwen had
overcome her distress and she strew abroad her charms; for no man could
now suffice her. So she always departed to one of her lovers and came
back with fables on her tongue.

"What can you expect of the Welsh?" cried Enoch in his wrath. "He hasn't
paid for the goods he got on tick from the shop. County court him will
I. He ate my food. The unrighteous ate the food of the righteous. And he
was bad with you. Did I not watch? No good is the assistant that lets
the customer go away with not a much obliged."

The portion of the Bible that Enoch read that night was this: "I have
decked my bed with coverings of tapestry, with carved works, with fine
linen of Egypt.... Come, let us take our fill of love until the morning:
let us solace ourselves with love. For the goodman is not at home, he is
gone on a long journey. He hath--"

"That's lovely," said Gwen.

"Tapestry from my shop," Enoch expounded. "And Irish linen. And busy was
the draper in Kingsend."

Gwen pretended to be asleep.

"He is the father. That will learn him to keep his promise. The wicked
man!"

Unknown to her husband Gwen stood before Ben; and at the sight of her
Ben longed to wanton with her. Gwen stretched out her arms to be clear
of him and to speak to him; her speech was stopped with kisses and her
breasts swelled out. Again she found pleasure in Ben's strength.

Then she spoke of her husband's hatred.

"Like a Welshman every spit he is," said Ben. "And a black."

But his naughtiness oppressed him for many days and he intrigued; and it
came to pass that Enoch was asked to contest a Welsh constituency, and
Enoch immediately let fall his anger for Ben.

"Celebrate this we shall with a reception in the Town Hall," he
announced. "You, Gwen fach, will wear the chikest Paris model we can
find. Ben's kindness is more than I expected. Much that I have I owe to
him."

"Even your son," said Gwen.



VI

TREASURE AND TROUBLE


On a day in a dry summer Sheremiah's wife Catrin drove her cows to drink
at the pistil which is in the field of a certain man. Hearing of that
which she had done, the man commanded his son: "Awful is the frog to
open my gate. Put you the dog and bitch on her. Teach her will I."

It was so; and Sheremiah complained: "Why for is my spring barren? In
every field should water be."

"Say, little husband, what is in your think?" asked Catrin.

"Stupid is your head," Sheremiah answered, "not to know what I throw
out. Going am I to search for a wet farm fach."

Sheremiah journeyed several ways, and always he journeyed in secret;
and he could not find what he wanted. Tailor Club Foot came to sit on
his table to sew together garments for him and his two sons. The tailor
said: "Farm very pretty is Rhydwen. Farm splendid is the farm fach."

"And speak like that you do, Club Foot," said Sheremiah.

"Iss-iss," the tailor mumbled.

"Not wanting an old farm do I," Sheremiah cried. "But speak to goodness
where the place is. Near you are, calf bach, about affairs."

The tailor answered that Rhydwen is in the hollow of the hill which
arises from Capel Sion to the moor.

In the morning Sheremiah rode forth on his colt, and he said to Shan
Rhydwen: "Boy of a pigger am I, whatever."

"Dirt-dirt, man," Shan cried; "no fat pigs have I, look you."

"Mournful that is. Mouthings have I heard about grand pigs Tyhen. No
odds, wench. Farewell for this minute, female Tyhen."

"Pigger from where you are?" Shan asked.

"From Pencader the horse has carried me. Carry a preacher he did the
last Monday."

"Weary you are, stranger. Give hay to your horse, and rest you and take
you a little cup of tea."

"Happy am I to do that. Thirsty is the backhead of my neck."

Sheremiah praised the Big Man for tea, bread, butter, and cheese, and
while he ate and drank he put artful questions to Shan. In the evening
he said to Catrin: "Quite tidy is Rhydwen. Is she not one hundred acres?
And if there is not water in every field, is there not in four?"

He hastened to the owner of Rhydwen and made this utterance: "Farmer
very ordinary is your sister Shan. Shamed was I to examine your land."

"I shouldn't be surprised," answered the owner. "Speak hard must I to
the trollop."

"Not handy are women," said Sheremiah. "Sell him to me the poor-place.
Three-fourths of the cost I give in yellow money and one-fourth
by-and-by in three years."

Having taken over Rhydwen, Sheremiah in due season sold much of his corn
and hay, some of his cattle, and many such movable things as were in his
house or employed in tillage; and he and Catrin came to abide in
Rhydwen; and they arrived with horses in carts, cows, a bull and oxen,
and their sons, Aben and Dan. As they passed Capel Sion, people who were
gathered at the roadside to judge them remarked how that Aben was blind
in his left eye and that Dan's shoulders were as high as his ears.

At the finish of a round of time Sheremiah hired out his sons and all
that they earned he took away from them; and he and Catrin toiled to
recover Rhydwen from its slovenry. After he had paid all that he owed
for the place, and after Catrin had died of dropsy, he called his sons
home.

Thereon he thrived. He was over all on the floor of Sion, even those in
the Big Seat. Men in debt and many widow-women sought him to free them,
and in freeing them he made compacts to his advantage. Thus he came to
have more cattle than Rhydwen could hold, and he bought Penlan, the farm
of eighty acres which goes up from Rhydwen to the edge of the moor, and
beyond.

In quiet seasons he and Aben and Dan dug ditches on the land of Rhydwen;
"so that," he said, "my creatures shall not perish of thirst."

Of a sudden a sickness struck him, and in the hush which is sometimes
before death, he summoned to him his sons. "Off away am I to the
Palace," he said.

"Large will be the shout of joy among the angels," Aben told him.

"And much weeping there will be in Sion," said Dan. "Speak you a little
verse for a funeral preach."

"Cease you your babblings, now, indeed," Sheremiah demanded. "Born first
you were, Aben, and you get Rhydwen. And you, Dan, Penlan."

"Father bach," Aben cried, "not right that you leave more to me than
Dan."

"Crow you do like a cuckoo," Dan admonished his brother. "Wise you are,
father. Big already is your giving to me."

Aben looked at the window and he beheld a corpse candle moving outward
through the way of the gate. "Religious you lived, father Sheremiah, and
religious you put on a White Shirt." Then Aben spoke of the sight he had
seen.

The old man opened his lips, counseling: "Hish, hish, boys. Break you
trenches in Penlan, Dan. Poor bad are farms without water. More than
everything is water." He died, and his sons washed him and clothed him
in a White Shirt of the dead, and clipped off his long beard, which
ceasing to grow, shall not entwine his legs and feet and his arms and
hands on the Day of Rising; and they bowed their heads in Sion for the
full year.

Dan and Aben lived in harmony. They were not as brothers, but as
strangers; neighborly and at peace. They married wives, by whom they had
children, and they sat in the Big Seat in Sion. They mowed their hay and
reaped their corn at separate periods, so that one could help the other;
if one needed the loan of anything he would borrow it from his brother;
if one's heifer strayed into the pasture of the other, the other would
say: "The Big Man will make the old grass grow." On the Sabbath they and
their children walked as in procession to Sion.

In accordance with his father's word, Dan dug ditches in Penlan; and
against the barnyard--which is at the forehead of his house--water
sprang up, and he caused it to run over his water-wheel into his pond.

Now there fell upon this part of Cardiganshire a season of exceeding
drought. The face of the earth was as the face of a cancerous man. There
was no water in any of the ditches of Rhydwen and none in those of
Penlan. But the spring which Dan had found continued to yield, and from
it Aben's wife took away water in pitchers and buckets; and to the pond
Aben brought his animals.

One day Aben spoke to Dan in this wise: "Serious sure, an old bother is
this."

"Iss-iss," replied Dan. "Good is the Big Man to allow us water bach."

"How speech you if I said: 'Unfasten your pond and let him flow into my
ditches'?"

"The land will suck him before he goes far," Dan answered.

Aben departed; and he considered: "Did not Penlan belong to Sheremiah?
Travel under would the water and hap spout up in my close. Nice that
would be. Nasty is the behavior of Dan and there's sly is the job."

To Dan he said: "Open your pond, man, and let the water come into the
ditches which father Sheremiah broke."

Dan would not do as Aben desired, wherefore Aben informed against him in
Sion, crying: "Little Big Man, know you not what a Turk is the fox? One
eye bach I have, but you have two, and can see all his wickedness. Make
you him pay the cost." He raised his voice so high that the congregation
could not discern the meaning thereof, and it shouted as one person:
"Wo, now, boy Sheremiah! What is the matter, say you?"

The anger which Aben nourished against Dan waxed hot. Rain came, and it
did not abate, and the man plotted mischief to his brother's damage. In
heavy darkness he cut the halters which held Dan's cows and horses to
their stalls and drove the animals into the road. He also poisoned pond
Penlan, and a sheep died before it could be killed and eaten.

Dan wept very sore. "Take you the old water," he said. "Fat is my
sorrow."

"Not religious you are," Aben censured him. "All the water is mine."

"Useful he is to me," Dan replied. "Like would I that he turns my wheel
as he goes to you."

"Clap your mouth," answered Aben.

"Not as much as will go through the leg of a smoking pipe shall you
have."

In Sion Aben told the Big Man of all the benefits which he had conferred
upon Dan.

Men and women encouraged his fury; some said this: "An old paddy is Dan
to rob your water. Ach y fi"; and some said this: "A dirty ass is the
mule." His fierce wrath was not allayed albeit Dan turned the course of
the water away from his pond, and on his knees and at his labor asked
God that peace might come.

"Bury the water," Aben ordered, "and fill in the ditch, Satan."

"That will I do speedily," Dan answered in his timidity. "Do you give me
an hour fach, for is not the sowing at hand?" Aben would not hearken
unto his brother. He deliberated with a lawyer, and Dan was made to dig
a ditch straightway from the spring to the close of Rhydwen, and he put
pipes in the bottom of the ditch, and these pipes he covered with gravel
and earth.

So as Dan did not sow, he had nothing to reap; and people mocked him in
this fashion: "Come we will and gather in your harvest, Dan bach." He
held his tongue, because he had nothing to say. His affliction pressed
upon him so heavily that he would not be consoled and he hanged himself
on a tree; and his body was taken down at the time of the morning stars.

A man ran to Rhydwen and related to Aben the manner of Dan's death. Aben
went into a field and sat as one astonished until the light of day
paled. Then he arose, shook himself, and set to number the ears of wheat
which were in his field.



VII

SAINT DAVID AND THE PROPHETS


God grants prayers gladly. In the moment that Death was aiming at him a
missile of down, Hughes-Jones prayed: "Bad I've been. Don't let me fall
into the Fiery Pool. Give me a brief while and a grand one I'll be for
the religion." A shaft of fire came out of the mouth of the Lord and the
shaft stood in the way of the missile, consuming it utterly; "so," said
the Lord, "are his offenses forgotten."

"Is it a light thing," asked Paul, "to defy the Law?"

"God is merciful," said Moses.

"Is the Kingdom for such as pray conveniently?"

"This," Moses reproved Paul, "is written in a book: 'The Lord shall
judge His people.'"

Yet Paul continued to dispute, the Prophets gathering near him for
entertainment; and the company did not break up until God, as is the
custom in Heaven when salvation is wrought, proclaimed a period of
rejoicing.

Wherefore Heaven's windows, the number of which is more than that of
blades of grass in the biggest hayfield, were lit as with a flame; and
Heman and his youths touched their instruments with fingers and hammers
and the singing angels lifted their voices in song; and angels in the
likeness of young girls brewed tea in urns and angels in the likeness of
old women baked pleasant breads in the heavenly ovens. Out of Hell there
arose two mountains, which established themselves one over the other on
the floor of Heaven, and the height of the mountains was the depth of
Hell; and you could not see the sides of the mountains for the vast
multitude of sinners thereon, and you could not see the sinners for the
live coals to which they were held, and you could not see the burning
coals for the radiance of the pulpit which was set on the furthermost
peak of the mountain, and you could not see the pulpit--from toe to head
it was of pure gold--for the shining countenance of Isaiah; and as
Isaiah preached, blood issued out of the ends of his fingers from the
violence with which he smote his Bible, and his single voice was louder
than the lamentations of the damned.

As the Lord had enjoined, the inhabitants of Heaven rejoiced: eating and
drinking, weeping and crying hosanna.

But Paul would not joy over that which the Lord had done, and soon he
sought Him, and finding Him said: "A certain Roman noble labored his
horses to their death in a chariot race before Cæsar: was he worthy of
Cæsar's reward?"

"The noble is on the mountain-side," God answered, "and his horses are
in my chariots."

"One bears witness to his own iniquity, and you bid us feast and you say
'He shall have remembrance of me.'"

"Is there room in Heaven for a false witness?" asked God.

Again did Paul seek God. "My Lord," he entreated, "what manner of man is
this that confesses his faults?"

"You will provoke my wrath," said God. "Go and be merry."

Paul's face being well turned, God moved backward into the Record
Office, and of the Clerk of the Records He demanded: "Who is he that
prayed unto me?"

"William Hughes-Jones," replied the Clerk.

"Has the Forgiving Angel blotted out his sins?"

"For that I have fixed a long space of time"; and the Clerk showed God
eleven heavy books, on the outside of each of which was written:
"William Hughes-Jones, One and All Drapery Store, Hammersmith. His
sins"; and God examined the books and was pleased, and He cried:
"Rejoice fourfold"; and if Isaiah's roar was higher than the wailings of
the perished it was now more awful than the roar of a hundred bullocks
in a slaughter-house, and if Isaiah's countenance shone more than
anything in Heaven, it was now like the eye of the sun.

"Of what nation is he?" the Lord inquired of the Clerk.

"The Welsh; the Welsh Nonconformists."

"Put before me their good deeds."

"There is none. William Hughes-Jones is the first of them that has
prayed. Are not the builders making a chamber for the accounts of their
disobedience?"

Immediately God thundered: the earth trembled and the stars shivered and
fled from their courses and struck against one another; and God stood
on the brim of the universe and stretched out a hand and a portion of a
star fell into it, and that is the portion which He hurled into the
garden of Hughes-Jones's house. On a sudden the revels ceased: the bread
of the feast was stone and the tea water, and the songs of the angels
were hushed, and the strings of the harps and viols were withered, and
the hammers were dough, and the mountains sank into Hell, and behold
Satan in the pulpit which was an iron cage.

The Prophets hurried into the Judgment Hall with questions, and lo God
was in a cloud, and He spoke out of the cloud.

"I am angry," He said, "that Welsh Nonconformists have not heard my
name. Who are the Welsh Nonconformists?" The Prophets were silent, and
God mourned: "My Word is the earth and I peopled the earth with my
spittle; and I appointed my Prophets to watch over my people, and the
watchers slept and my children strayed."

Thus too said the Lord: "That hour I devour my children who have
forsaken me, that hour I shall devour my Prophets."

"May be there is one righteous among us?" said Moses.

"You have all erred."

"May be there is one righteous among the Nonconformists," said Moses;
"will the just God destroy him?"

"The one righteous is humbled, and I have warned him to keep my
commandments."

"The sown seed brought forth a prayer," Moses pleaded; "will not the
just God wait for the harvest?"

"My Lord is just," Paul announced. "They who gather wickedness shall not
escape the judgment, nor shall the blind instructor be held blameless."

Moreover Paul said: "The Welsh Nonconformists have been informed of you
as is proved by the man who confessed his transgressions. It is a good
thing for me that I am not of the Prophets."

"I'll be your comfort, Paul," the Prophets murmured, "that you have done
this to our hurt." Abasing themselves, they tore their mantles and
howled; and God, piteous of their howlings, was constrained to say:
"Bring me the prayers of these people and I will forget your
remissness."

The Prophets ran hither and thither, wailing: "Woe. Woe. Woe."

Sore that they behaved with such scant respect, Paul herded them into
the Council Room. "Is it seemly," he rebuked them, "that the Prophets of
God act like madmen?"

"Our lot is awful," said they.

"The lot of the backslider is justifiably awful," was Paul's rejoinder.
"You have prophesied too diligently of your own glory."

"You are learned in the Law, Paul," said Moses. "Make us waywise."

"Send abroad a messenger to preach damnation to sinners," answered Paul.
"For Heaven," added he, "is the knowledge of Hell."

So it came to pass. From the hem of Heaven's Highway an angel flew into
Wales; and the angel, having judged by his sight and his hearing,
returned to the Council Room and testified to the godliness of the Welsh
Nonconformists. "As difficult for me," he vowed, "to write the feathers
of my wings as the sum of their daily prayers."

"None has reached the Record Office," said Paul.

"They are always engaged in this bright business," the angel declared,
"and praising the Lord. And the number of the people is many and Heaven
will need be enlarged for their coming."

"Of a surety they pray?" asked Paul.

"Of a surety. And as they pray they quake terribly."

"The Romans prayed hardly," said Paul. "But they prayed to other gods."

"Wherever you stand on their land," asserted the angel, "you see a
temple."

"I exceedingly fear," Paul remarked, "that another Lord has dominion
over them."

The Prophets were alarmed, and they sent a company of angels over the
earth and a company under the earth; and the angels came back; one
company said: "We searched the swampy marges and saw neither a god nor a
heaven nor any prayer," and the other company said: "We probed the lofty
emptiness and we did not touch a god or a heaven or any prayer."

Paul was distressed and he reported his misgivings to God, and God
upbraided the Prophets for their sloth. "Is there no one who can do this
for me?" He cried. "Are all the cunning men in Hell? Shall I make all
Heaven drink the dregs of my fury? Burnish your rusted armor. Depart
into Hell and cry out: 'Is there one here who knows the Welsh
Nonconformists?' Choose the most crafty and release him and lead him
here."

Lots were cast and it fell to Moses to descend into Hell; and he stood
at the well, the water of which is harder than crystal, and he cried
out; and of the many that professed he chose Saint David, whom he
brought up to God.

"Visit your people," said God to the Saint, "and bring me their
prayers."

"Why should I be called?"

"It is my will. My Prophets have failed me, and if it is not done they
shall be destroyed."

David laughed. "From Hell comes a savior of the Prophets. In the middle
of my discourse at the Judgment Seat the Prophets stooped upon me. 'To
Hell with him,' they screamed."

"Perform faithfully," said the Lord, "and you shall remain in
Paradise."

"My Lord is gracious! I was a Prophet and the living believe that I am
with the saints. I will retire."

"Perform faithfully and you shall be of my Prophets."

Then God took away David's body and nailed it upon a wall, and He put
wings on the shoulders of his soul; and David darted through a cloud and
landed on earth, and having looked at the filthiness of the
Nonconformists in Wales he withdrew to London. But however actively he
tried he could not find a man of God nor the destination of the fearful
prayers of Welsh preachers, grocers, drapers, milkmen, lawyers, and
politicians.

Loth to go to Hell and put to a nonplus, David built a nest in a tree in
Richmond Park, and he paused therein to consider which way to proceed.
One day he was disturbed by the singing and preaching of a Welsh soldier
who had taken shelter from rain under the tree. David came down from
his nest, and when the mouth of the man was most open, he plunged into
the fellow's body. Henceforward in whatsoever place the soldier was
there also was David; and the soldier carried him to a clothier's shop
in Putney, the sign of the shop being written in this fashion:

J. PARKER LEWIS.
The Little (Gents. Mercer) Wonder.

Crossing the threshold, the soldier shouted: "How are you?"

The clothier, whose skin was as hide which had been scorched in a
tanner's yard, bent over the counter. "Man bach," he exclaimed, "glad am
I to see you. Pray will I now that you are all Zer Garnett." His
thanksgiving finished, he said: "Wanting a suit you do."

"Yes, and no," replied the soldier. "Cheap she must be if yes."

"You need one for certain. Shabby you are."

"This is a friendly call. To a low-class shop must a poor tommy go."

"Do you then not be cheated by an English swindler." The clothier raised
his thin voice: "Kate, here's a strange boy."

A pretty young woman, in spite of her snaggled teeth, frisked into the
room like a wanton lamb. Her brown hair was drawn carelessly over her
head, and her flesh was packed but loosely.

"Serious me," she cried, "Llew Eevans! Llew bach, how are you? Very big
has the army made you and strong."

"Not changed you are."

"No. The last time you came was to see the rabbit."

"Dear me, yes. Have you still got her?"

"She's in the belly long ago," said the clothier.

"I have another in her stead," said Kate. "A splendid one. Would you
like to fondle her?"

"Why, yez," answered the soldier.

"Drat the old animal," cried the clothier. "Too much care you give her,
Kate. Seven looks has the deacon from Capel King's Cross had of her and
he hasn't bought her yet."

As he spoke the clothier heaped garments on the counter.

"Put out your arms," he ordered Kate, "and take the suits to a room for
Llew to try on."

Kate obeyed, and Llew hymning "Moriah" took her round the waist and
embraced her, and the woman, hungering for love, gladly gave herself up.
Soon attired in a black frock coat, a black waistcoat, and black
trousers, Llew stepped into the shop.

"A champion is the rabbit," he said; "and very tame."

"If meat doesn't come down," said the clothier, "in the belly she'll be
as well."

"Let me know before you slay her. Perhaps I buy her. I will study her
again."

The clothier gazed upon Llew. "Tidy fit," he said.

"A bargain you give me."

"Why for you talk like that?" the clothier protested. "No profit can I
make on a Cymro. As per invoice is the cost. And a latest style bowler
hat I throw in."

Peering through Llew's body, Saint David saw that the dealer dealt
treacherously, and that the money which he got for the garments was two
pounds over that which was proper.

Llew walked away whistling. "A simple fellow is the black," he said to
himself. "Three soverens was bad."

On the evening of the next day--that day being the Sabbath--the soldier
worshiped in Capel Kingsend; and betwixt the sermon and the benediction,
the preacher delivered this speech: "Very happy am I to see so many
warriors here once more. We sacrificed for them quite a lot, and if they
have any Christianity left in them they will not forget what Capel
Kingsend has done and will repay same with interest. Happier still we
are to welcome Mister Hughes-Jones to the Big Seat. In the valley of the
shadow has Mister Hughes-Jones been. Earnestly we prayed for our dear
religious leader. To-morrow at seven we shall hold a prayer meeting for
his cure. At seven at night. Will everybody remember? On
Monday--to-morrow--at seven at night a prayer meeting for Mister
Hughes-Jones will be held in Capel Kingsend. The duty of every one is to
attend. Will you please say something now, zer?"

Hughes-Jones rose from the arm-chair which is under the pulpit, and
thrust out his bristled chin and rested his palms on the communion
table; and he said not one word.

"Mister Hughes-Jones," the preacher urged.

"I am too full of grace," said Hughes-Jones; he spoke quickly, as one
who is on the verge of tears, and his big nostrils widened and narrowed
as those of one who is short of breath.

"The congregation, zer, expects--"

"Well-well, I've had a glimpse of the better land and with a clear
conscience I could go there, only the Great Father has more for me to do
here. A miracle happened to me. In the thick of my sickness a meetority
dropped outside the bedroom. The mistress fainted slap bang. 'If this is
my summons,' I said, 'I am ready.' A narrow squeak that was. I will now
sit and pray for you one and all."

In the morning Llew went to the One and All and in English--that is the
tongue of the high Welsh--did he address Hughes-Jones.

"I've come to start, zer," he said.

"Why wassn't you in the chapel yezterday?"

"I wass there, zer."

"Ho-ho. For me there are two people in the chapel--me and Him."

"Yez, indeed. Shall I gommence now?"

"Gommence what?"

"My crib what I leave to join up."

"Things have changed. There has been a war on, mister. They are all
smart young ladies here now. And it is not right to sack them and shove
them on the streets."

"But--"

"Don't answer back, or I'll have you chucked from the premizes and
locked up. Much gratitude you show for all I did for the soders."

"Beg pardon, zer."

"We too did our bits at home. Slaved like horses. Me and the two sons.
And they had to do work of national importance. Disgraceful I call it in
a free country."

"I would be much obliged, zer, if you would take me on."

"You left on your own accord, didn't you? I never take back a hand that
leave on their own. Why don't you be patriotic and rejoin and finish up
the Huns?"

Bowed down, the soldier made himself drunk, and the drink enlivened his
dismettled heart; and in the evening he stole into the loft which is
above the Big Seat of Capel Kingsend, purposing to disturb the praying
men with loud curses.

But Llew slept, and while he slept the words of the praying men came
through the ceiling like the pieces of a child's jigsaw puzzle; some
floated sluggishly and fell upon the wall and the roof, and some because
of their little strength did not reach above the floor; and none went
through the roof. Saint David closed his hands on many, and there was no
soundness in them, and they became as though they were nothing. He
formed a bag of the soldier's handkerchief, and he filled it with the
words, but as he drew to the edges they crumbled into less than dust.

He pondered; and he made a sack out of cobwebs, and when the sack could
not contain any more words, he wove a lid of cobwebs over the mouth of
it. Jealous that no mishap should befall his treasure, he mounted a low,
slow-moving cloud, and folding his wings rode up to the Gate of the
Highway.



VIII

JOSEPH'S HOUSE


A woman named Madlen, who lived in Penlan--the crumbling mud walls of
which are in a nook of the narrow lane that rises from the valley of
Bern--was concerned about the future state of her son Joseph. Men who
judged themselves worthy to counsel her gave her such counsels as these:
"Blower bellows for the smith," "Cobblar clox," "Booboo for crows."

Madlen flattered her counselors, though none spoke that which was
pleasing unto her.

"Cobblar clox, ach y fy," she cried to herself. "Wan is the lad bach
with decline. And unbecoming to his Nuncle Essec that he follows low
tasks."

Moreover, people, look you at John Lewis. Study his marble gravestone in
the burial ground of Capel Sion: "His name is John Newton-Lewis; Paris
House, London, his address. From his big shop in Putney, Home they
brought him by railway." Genteel are shops for boys who are consumptive.
Always dry are their coats and feet, and they have white cuffs on their
wrists and chains on their waistcoats. Not blight nor disease nor frost
can ruin their sellings. And every minute their fingers grabble in the
purses of nobles.

So Madlen thought, and having acted in accordance with her design, she
took her son to the other side of Avon Bern, that is to Capel Mount
Moriah, over which Essec her husband's brother lorded; and him she
addressed decorously, as one does address a ruler of the capel.

"Your help I seek," she said.

"Poor is the reward of the Big Preacher's son in this part," Essec
announced. "A lot of atheists they are."

"Not pleading I have not the rent am I," said Madlen. "How if I
prentice Joseph to a shop draper. Has he any odds?"

"Proper that you seek," replied Essec. "Seekers we all are. Sit you. No
room there is for Joseph now I am selling Penlan."

"Like that is the plan of your head?" Madlen murmured, concealing her
dread.

"Seven of pounds of rent is small. Sell at eighty I must."

"Wait for Joseph to prosper. Buy then he will. Buy for your mam you
will, Joseph?"

"Sorry I cannot change my think," Essec declared.

"Hard is my lot; no male have I to ease my burden."

"A weighty responsibility my brother put on me," said Essec. "'Dying
with old decline I am,' the brother mouthed. 'Fruitful is the soil.
Watch Madlen keeps her fruitful.' But I am generous. Eight shall be the
rent. Are you not the wife of my flesh?"

After she had wiped away her tears, "Be kind," said Madlen, "and wisdom
it to Joseph."

"The last evening in the seiet I commanded the congregation to give the
Big Man's photograph a larger hire," said Essec. "A few of my proverbs I
will now spout." He spat his spittle and bundling his beard blew the
residue of his nose therein; and he chanted: "Remember Essec Pugh, whose
right foot is tied into a club knot. Here's the club to kick sinners as
my perished brother tried to kick the Bad Satan from the inside of his
female Madlen with his club of his baston. Some preachers search over
the Word. Some preachers search in the Word. But search under the Word
does preacher Capel Moriah. What's the light I find? A stutterer was
Moses. As the middle of a butter cask were the knees of Paul. A splotch
like a red cabbage leaf was on the cheek of Solomon. By the signs shall
the saints be known. 'Preacher Club Foot, come forward to tell about
Moriah,' the Big Man will say. Mean scamps, remember Essec Pugh, for I
shall remember you the Day of Rising."

It came to be that on a morning in the last month of his thirteenth year
Joseph was bidden to stand at the side of the cow which Madlen was
milking and to give an ear to these commandments: "The serpent is in the
bottom of the glass. The hand on the tavern window is the hand of Satan.
On the Sabbath eve get one penny for two ha'pennies for the plate
collection. Put money in the handkerchief corner. Say to persons you are
a nephew of Respected Essec Pugh and you will have credit. Pick the
white sixpence from the floor and give her to the mishtir; she will have
fallen from his pocket trowis."

Then Joseph turned, and carrying his yellow tin box, he climbed into the
craggy moorland path which takes you to the tramping road. By the pump
of Tavarn Ffos he rested until Shim Carrier came thereby; and while
Shim's horse drank of barley water, Joseph stepped into the wagon; and
at the end of the passage Shim showed him the business of getting a
ticket and that of going into and coming down from a railway carriage.

In that manner did Joseph go to the drapery shop of Rees Jones in
Carmarthen; and at the beginning he was instructed in the keeping and
the selling of such wares as reels of cotton, needles, pins, bootlaces,
mending wool, buttons, and such like--all those things which together
are known as haberdashery. He marked how this and that were done, and in
what sort to fashion his visage and frame his phrases to this or that
woman. His oncoming was rapid. He could measure, cut, and wrap in a
parcel twelve yards of brown or white calico quicker than any one in the
shop, and he understood by rote the folds of linen tablecloths and
bedsheets; and in the town this was said of him: "Shopmen quite
ordinary can sell what a customer wants; Pugh Rees Jones can sell what
nobody wants."

The first year passed happily, and the second year; and in the third
Joseph was stirred to go forward.

"What use to stop here all the life?" he asked himself. "Better to go
off."

He put his belongings in his box and went to Swansea.

"Very busy emporium I am in," were the words he sent to Madlen. "And the
wage is twenty pounds."

Madlen rejoiced at her labor and sang: "Ten acres of land, and a
cow-house with three stalls and a stall for the new calf, and a pigsty,
and a house for my bones and a barn for my hay and straw, and a loft for
my hens: why should men pray for more?" She ambled to Moriah, diverting
passers-by with boastful tales of Joseph, and loosened her imaginings to
the Respected.

"Pounds without number he is earning," she cried. "Rich he'll be.
Swells are youths shop."

"Gifts from the tip of my tongue fell on him," said Essec. "Religious
were my gifts."

"Iss, indeed, the brother of the male husband."

"Now you can afford nine of pounds for the place. Rich he is and richer
he will be. Pounds without number he has."

Madlen made a record of Essec's scheme for Joseph; and she said also:
"Proud I'll be to shout that my son bach bought Penlan."

"Setting aside money am I," Joseph speedily answered.

Again ambition aroused him. "Footling is he that is content with
Zwanssee. Next half-holiday skurshon I'll crib in Cardiff."

Joseph gained his desire, and the chronicle of his doings he sent to his
mother. "Twenty-five, living-in, and spiffs on remnants are the wages,"
he said. "In the flannelette department I am and I have not been fined
once. Lot of English I hear, and we call ladies madam that the wedded
nor the unwedded are insulted. Boys harmless are the eight that sleep by
me. Examine Nuncle of the price of Penlan."

"I will wag my tongue craftily and slowly," Madlen vowed as she crossed
her brother-in-law's threshold.

"I Shire Pembroke land is cheap," she said darkly.

"Look you for a farm there," said Essec. "Pelted with offers am I for
Penlan. Ninety I shall have. Poverty makes me sell very soon."

"As he says."

"Pretty tight is Joseph not to buy her. No care has he for his mam."

"Stiffish are affairs with him, poor dab."

Madlen reported to Joseph that which Essec had said, and she added:
"Awful to leave the land of your father. And auction the cows. Even the
red cow that is a champion for milk. Where shall I go? The House of the
Poor. Horrid that your mam must go to the House of the Poor."

Joseph sat on his bed, writing: "Taken ten pounds from the post I have
which leaves three shillings. Give Nuncle the ten as earnest of my
intention."

Nine years after that day on which he had gone to Carmarthen Joseph said
in his heart: "London shops for experience"; and he caused a frock coat
to be sewn together, and he bought a silk hat and an umbrella, and at
the spring cribbing he walked into a shop in the West End of London,
asking: "Can I see the engager, pleaze?" The engager came to him and
Joseph spoke out: "I have all-round experience. Flannelettes three years
in Niclass, Cardiff, and left on my own accord. Kept the colored dresses
in Tomos, Zwanssee. And served through. Apprentized in Reez Jones
Carmarthen for three years. Refs egzellent. Good ztok-keeper and
appearance."

"Start at nine o'clock Monday morning," the engager replied. "Thirty
pounds a year and spiffs; to live in. You'll be in the laces."

"Fashionable this shop is," Joseph wrote to Madlen, "and I have to be
smart and wear a coat like the preachers, and mustn't take more than
three zwap lines per day or you have the sack. Two white shirts per
week; and the dresses of the showroom young ladies are a treat. Five
pounds enclosed for Nuncle."

"Believe your mam," Madlen answered: "don't throw gravel at the windows
of the old English unless they have the fortunes."

In his zeal for his mother's welfare Joseph was heedless of himself,
eating little of the poor food that was served him, clothing his body
niggardly, and seldom frequenting public bath-houses; his mind spanned
his purpose, choosing the fields he would join to Penlan, counting the
number of cattle that would graze on the land, planning the slate-tiled
house which he would set up.

"Twenty pounds more must I have," he moaned, "for the blaguard Nuncle."

Every day thereafter he stole a little money from his employers and
every night he made peace with God: "Only twenty-five is the wage, and
spiffs don't count because of the fines. Don't you let me be found out,
Big Man bach. Will you strike mam into her grave? And disgrace Respected
Essec Pugh Capel Moriah?"

He did not abate his energies howsoever hard his disease was wasting and
destroying him. The men who lodged in his bedroom grew angry with him.
"How can we sleep with your dam coughing?" they cried. "Why don't you
invest in a second-hand coffin?"

Feared that the women whom he served would complain that the poison of
his sickness was tainting them and that he would be sent away, Joseph
increased his pilferings; where he had stolen a shilling he now stole
two shillings; and when he got five pounds above the sum he needed, he
heaved a deep sigh and said: "Thank you for your favor, God bach. I will
now go home to heal myself."

Madlen took the money to Essec, coming back heavy with grief.

"Hoo-hoo," she whined, "the ninety has bought only the land. Selling the
houses is Essec."

"Wrong there is," said Joseph. "Probe deeply we must."

From their puzzlings Madlen said: "What will you do?"

"Go and charge swindler Moriah."

"Meddle not with him. Strong he is with the Lord."

"Teach him will I to pocket my honest wealth."

Because of his weakness, Joseph did not go to Moriah; to-day he said: "I
will to-morrow," and to-morrow he said: "Certain enough I'll go
to-morrow."

In the twilight of an afternoon he and Madlen sat down, gazing about,
and speaking scantily; and the same thought was with each of them, and
this was the thought: "A tearful prayer will remove the Big Man from His
judgment, but nothing will remove Essec from his purpose."

"Mam fach," said Joseph, "how will things be with you?"

"Sorrow not, soul nice," Madlen entreated her son. "Couple of weeks very
short have I to live."

"As an hour is my space. Who will stand up for you?"

"Hish, now. Hish-hish, my little heart."

Madlen sighed; and at the door she made a great clatter, and the sound
of the clatter was less than the sound of her wailing.

"Mam! Mam!" Joseph shouted. "Don't you scream. Hap you will soften
Nuncle's heart if you say to him that my funeral is close."

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

"Mistake, mistake," she cried. "The houses are ours. No undertanding 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 neighbors. "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."



IX

LIKE BROTHERS


Silas Bowen 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 mustache, 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."

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. "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 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 business 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 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."

"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."

"I did not hear you," said John. "Don't you trouble to say it over." He
drank the medicine. "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."

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

"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 Shirland 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."

"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.

"Well-well," said Silas, whispering loudly, "making his peace with the
Big 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 nor heed her questionings. At the cold of dawn
he thought that Death was creeping 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 a new boot shop in King's Row
already. Next door to the jeweler."

"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
quarreled. 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."

"How is Gwendolines going?"

"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.

"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 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 headquarters."

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 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
Mermaids, please"; and inasmuch as he had no more to sell, they who had
dealt with him went to the shop of his brother.



X

A WIDOW WOMAN


The Respected Davydd Bern-Davydd 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.

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: "Asking 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-Davydd. "Come you, Josi Mali, to the saintly Big
Seat."

As Josi moved out of his 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 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-Davydd 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, answered: "Boy,
boy, why for did you not kick the she cat on the backhead?"

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 furnishings 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 labored hard on the land, and
she got therefrom all that there was to 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 cow-house."

Days, weeks, and months moved slowly; and years sped. Josi passed from
the School of Grammar to College Carmarthen, 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 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 labor 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 admonished 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 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 neighbor Sara Eye
Glass, and to her she said: "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. "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 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 Respecteds at the
funeral?"

"Much preaching shall I say?"

"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. After 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.

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 set
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."



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 of 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 appointed
keepers of the Welsh Tabernacle, which is at Kingsend. At that they took
their belongings into the three rooms that are below the chapel; and
their spirits were lifted up marvelously 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 neighbors, 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
and hassocks which were in the pews of the most honored 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 forehead.

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 complaint: "Careless was Tim
in the dispatch 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."

"You cannot say less," said Eylwin Jones. "Pay they ought for this, the
irreligious couple. As the English proverb--'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 waiting to go
out."

Rebuked, Tim and Martha left over sinning: and Tim put Enoch Harries'
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," advised 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."

"Needing servants hap he does."

"Perhaps, iss; perhaps, no."

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

Tim addressed Enoch, and Enoch answered: "Blabber you do to me, why for?
Send your old female to Mishtress Harries. Order you her to go quite
respectable."

Curtsying before Mrs. Harries, Martha said: "I am Tim Dafis' 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. Harries had said, and Tim observed: "I
will rejoice in a bit of prayer."

"Iss," Martha agreed. "In the parlor 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 favor 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 worshiped 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.

"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
Piccadilly 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."

"You must change, miss," Mrs. Harries went on. "Or you can pack your box
and go on the streets. Must not think because you are Welsh you can do
as you like here."

On a sudden Winnie spoke and charged her mistress with a want of virtue.

"Is that the kind of miss you are!" Mrs. Harries shouted. "Where did you
get those shoes from?"

"You yourself gave them to me."

"You thief! You know I didn't. They are far too small for your big feet.
Come along--let's see what you've got upstairs."

That hour Mrs. Harries summoned a policeman, and in due time Winnie was
put in prison.

Tim and Martha did not speak to any one of this that had been done to
their daughter.

"Punished must a thief be," said Tim. "Bad is the wench."

"Bad is our little daughter," answered Martha.

Sabbath morning came and she wept.

"Showing your lament you are, old fool," cried Tim.

"For sure, no. But the mother am I."

Tim said: "My inside shivers oddly. Girl fach too young to be in jail."

A fire was set in the preacher's parlor and the doors of the Tabernacle
were opened. Tim, the Bible in his hands, stepped up to the pulpit, his
eyes closed in prayer, and as he passed up he stumbled.

Eylwin Jones heard the noise of his fall and ran into the chapel.

"What's the matter?" he cried. "Comic you look on your stomach. Great
one am I for to see jokes."

"An old rod did catch my toe," Tim explained.

Eylwin changed the cast of his countenance. "Awful you are," he reproved
Tim. "Suppose that was me. Examine you the stairs. Now indeed forget a
handkerchief have I for to wipe the flow of the nose. Order Winnie to
give me one of Enoch Harries. Handkerchiefs white and smelly he has."

"Ill is Winnie fach," said Martha.

"Gone she has for brief weeks to Wales," Tim added.

In the morning Eylwin came to the Tabernacle.

"Not healthy am I," he said. "Shock I had yesterday. Fancy I do a rabbit
from Wales for the goiter."

"Tasty are rabbits," Tim uttered.

"Clap up, indeed," said Martha. "Too young they are to eat and are they
not breeding?"

"Rabbits very young don't breed," remarked Eylwin.

"They do," Martha avowed. "Sometimes, iss; sometimes, no. Poison they
are when they breed."

"Not talking properly you are," said Eylwin. "Why for you palaver about
breeding to the preacher? Cross I will be."

"Be you quiet now, Martha," said Tim. "Lock your tongue."

"Send a letter to Winnie for a rabbit; two rabbits if she is small,"
ordered Eylwin. "And not see your faults will I."

Tim and Martha were perplexed and communed with each other; and Tim
walked to Wimbledon where he was not known and so have his errand
guessed. He bought a rabbit and carried it to the door of the minister's
house. "A rabbit from Winnie fach in Wales," he said.

"Eat her I will before I judge her," replied Eylwin; and after he had
eaten it he said: "Quite fair was the animal. Serious dirty is the
capel. As I flap my hand on the cushion Bible in my eloquence, like
chimney smoke is the dust. Clean you at once. For are not the
anniversary meetings on the sixth Sabbath? All the rich Welsh will be
there, and Enoch Harries and the wife of him."

He came often to view Tim and Martha at their labor.

"Fortunate is your wench to have holiday," he said one day. "Hard have
preachers to do in the vineyard."

"Hear we did this morning," Tim began to speak.

"In a hurry am I," Eylwin interrupted. "Fancy I do butter from Wales
with one pinch of salt in him. Tell Winnie to send butter that is
salted."

Martha bought two pounds of butter.

"Mean is his size," Tim grieved.

"Much is his cost," Martha whined.

"Get you one pound of marsherin and make him one and put him on a wetted
cabbage leaf."

The fifth Sunday dawned.

"Next to-morrow," said Martha, "the daughter will be home. Go you to the
jail and fetch her, and take you for her a big hat for old jailers cut
the hair very short."

"No-no," Tim replied. "Better she returns and speak nothing. With no
questions shall we question her."

Monday opened and closed.

"Mistake is in your count," Martha hinted.

"Slow scolar am I," said Tim. "Count will I once more."

"Don't you, boy bach," Martha hastened to say. "Come she will."

At the dusk of Friday Eylwin Jones, his goitered chin shivering, ran
furiously and angrily into the Tabernacle. "Ho-ho," he cried. "In jail
is Winnie. A scampess is she and a whore. Here's scandal. Mother and
father of a thief in the house of the capel bach of Jesus Christ. Robbed
Mistress Harries she did. Broke is the health of the woman nice as a
consequent. She will not be at the anniversary meetings because the
place is contaminated by you pair. And her husband won't. Five shillings
each they give to the collection. The capel wants the half soferen. Out
you go. Now at once."

Tim and Martha were sorely troubled that Winnie would come to the Chapel
House and not finding them, would go away.

"Loiter will I near by," said Tim.

"Say we rent a room and peer for her," said Martha.

Thereon from dusk to day either Tim or Martha sat at the window of their
room and watched. The year died and spring and summer declined into
autumn, when on a moon-lit night men flew in machines over London and
loosened bombs upon the people thereof.

"Feared am I," said Martha, "that our daughter is not in the shelter."
She screamed: "Don't stand there like a mule. Pray, Tim man."

Remembering how that he had prayed, Tim answered: "Try a prayer will I
near the capel."

So Martha watched at her window and Tim prayed at the door of the
Tabernacle.



XII

LOST TREASURE


Here is the tale that is told about Hugh Evans, who was a commercial
traveler in drapery wares, going forth on his journeys on Mondays and
coming home on Fridays. The tale tells how on a Friday night Hugh sat at
the table in the kitchen of his house, which is in Parson's Green. He
had before him coins of gold, silver, and copper, and also bills of his
debts; and upon each bill he placed certain monies in accordance with
the sum marked thereon. Having fixed the residue of his coins and having
seen that he held ten pounds, his mind was filled with such bliss that
he said within himself: "A nice little amount indeed. Brisk are
affairs."

"Millie," he addressed his wife, "look over them and add them together."

"Wait till I'm done," was the answer. "The irons are all hotted up."

Hugh chided her. "You are not interested in my saving. You don't care.
It's nothing to you. Forward, as I call."

"If I sit down," Millie offered, "I feel I shall never get up again and
the irons are hotted and what I think is a shame to waste gas like this
the price it is."

"Why didn't you say so at the first opportunity? Be quick then. I shan't
allow the cash to lay here."

Duly Millie observed her husband's order, and what time she proved that
which Hugh had done, she was admonished that she had spent too much on
this and that.

"I'm doing all I can not to be extravagant," she whimpered. "I don't buy
a thing for my back." Her short upper lip curled above her broken teeth
and trembled; she wept.

"But whatever," said Hugh softening his spirit, "I got ten soferens in
hand. Next quarter less you need and more you have. Less gass and
electric. You don't gobble food so ravishingly in warm weather. The more
I save."

Having exchanged the ten pounds for a ten-pound note, remorse seized
Hugh. "A son of a mule am I," he said. "Dangerous is paper as he blows.
If he blows! Bulky are soferens and shillings. If you lose two, you got
the remnants. But they are showy and tempting." He laid the note under
his pillow and slept, and he took it with him, secreted on his person,
to Kingsend Chapel, where every Sunday morning and evening he sang
hymns, bowed under prayer, and entertained his soul with sermons.

Just before departing on Monday he gave the note to Millie. "Keep him
securely," he counseled her. "Tell nobody we stock so much cash."

Millie put the note between the folds of a Paisley shawl, which was
precious to her inasmuch as it had been her mother's, and she wrapped a
blanket over the shawl and placed it in a cupboard. But on Friday she
could not remember where she had hidden the note; "never mind," she
consoled herself, "it will occur to me all of a sudden."

As that night Hugh cast off his silk hat and his frock coat, he shouted:
"Got the money all tightly?"

"Yes," replied Millie quickly. "As safe as in the Bank of England."

"Can't be safer than that. Keep him close to you and tell no one. Paper
money has funny ways." Hugh then prophesied that in a year his wealth in
a mass would be fifty pounds.

"With ordinary luck, and I'm sure you desire it because you're always at
it, it will," Millie agreed.

"No luck about it. No stop to me. We've nothing to purchase. And you
don't. At home you are, with food and clothes and a ceyling above you.
Kings don't want many more."

"Yes," said Millie. "No."

Weeks passed and Millie was concerned that she could not find the note,
tried she never so hard. At the side of her bed she entreated to be led
to it, and in the day she often paused and closing her eyes prayed:
"Almighty Father, bring it to me."

The last Friday of the quarter Hugh divided his money in lots, and it
was that he had eleven pounds over his debts. "Eleven soferens now," he
cried to his wife. "That's grand! Makes twenty-one the first six months
of the wedded life."

"It reflects great credit on you," said Millie, concealing her
unhappiness.

"Another eighty and I'd have an agency. Start a factory, p'raps. There's
John Daniel. He purchases an house. Ten hands he has working gents'
shirts for him."

Millie turned away her face and demanded from God strength with which to
acquaint her husband of her misfortune. What she asked for was granted
unto her at her husband's amorous moment of the Sabbath morning.

Hugh's passion deadened, and in his agony he sweated.

"They're gone! Every soferen," he cried. "They can't all have gone. The
whole ten." He opened his eyes widely. "Woe is me. Dear me. Dear me."

Until day dimmed and night grayed did they two search, neither of them
eating and neither of them discovering the treasure.

Therefore Hugh had not peace nor quietness. Grief he uttered with his
tongue, arms, and feet, and it was in the crease of his garments. He
sought sympathy and instruction from those with whom he traded. "All the
steam is gone out of me," he wailed. One shopkeeper advised him: "Has it
slipped under the lino?" Another said: "Any mice in the house? Money has
been found in their holes." The third said: "Sure the wife hasn't spent
it on dress. You know what ladies are." These hints and more Hugh wrote
down on paper, and he mused in this wise: "An old liar is the wench. For
why I wedded the English? Right was mam fach; senseless they are. Crying
she has lost the yellow gold, the bitch. What blockhead lost one penny?
What is in the stomach of my purse this one minute? Three
shillings--soferen--five pennies--half a penny--ticket railway. Hie
backwards will I on Thursday on the surprise. No comfort is mine before
I peep once again."

He pried in every drawer and cupboard, and in the night he arose and
inquired into the clothes his wife had left off; and he pushed his
fingers into the holes of mice and under the floor coverings, and groped
in the fireplaces; and he put subtle questions to Millie.

"If you'd done like this in a shop you'd be sacked without a ref," he
said when his search was over. "We must have him back. It's a sin to let
him go. Reduce expenses at once."

Millie disrobed herself by the light of a street lamp, and she ate
little of such foods as are cheapest, whereat her white cheeks sunk and
there was no more luster in her brown hair; and her larder was as though
there was a famine in the country. If she said to Hugh: "Your boots are
leaking," she was told: "Had I the soferens I would get a pair"; or if
she said: "We haven't a towel in the place," the reply was: "Find the
soferens and buy one or two."

The more Hugh sorrowed and scrimped, the more he gained; and word of his
fellows' hardships struck his broad, loose ears with a pleasant tinkle.
While on his journeys he stayed at common lodging-houses, and he did not
give back to his employers any of the money which was allowed him to
stay at hotels. Some folk despised him, some mocked him, and many
nicknamed him "the ten-pound traveler." To the shopkeeper who hesitated
to deal with him he whined his loss, making it greater than it was, and
expressing: "The interest alone is very big."

By such methods he came to possess one hundred and twenty pounds in two
years. His employers had knowledge of his deeds, and they summoned him
to them and said to him that because of the drab shabbiness of his
clothes and his dishonest acts they had appointed another in his stead.

"You started this," he admonished Millie. "Bring light upon mattar."

"What can I do?" Millie replied. "Shall I go back to the dressmaking as
I was?"

Hugh was not mollified. By means of such women man is brought to a
penny. He felt dishonored and wounded. Of the London Welsh he was the
least. Look at Enos-Harries and Ben Lloyd and Eynon Davies. There's boys
for you. And look at the black John Daniel, who was a prentice with him
at Carmarthen. Hark him ordering preacher Kingsend. Watch him on the
platform on the Day of David the Saint. And all, dear me, out of J.D.'s
Ritfit three-and-sixpence gents' tunic shirts.

He considered a way, of which he spoke darkly to Millie, lest she might
cry out his intention.

"No use troubling," he said in a changed manner. "Come West and see the
shops."

Westward they two went, pausing at windows behind which were displayed
costly blouses.

"That's plenty at two guineas," Hugh said of one.

"It's a Paris model," said Millie.

"Nothing in her. Nothing."

"Not much material, I grant," Millie observed. "The style is fashionable
and they charge a lot."

"I like to see you in her," said Hugh. "Take in the points and make her
with an odd length of silk."

When the blouse was finished, Hugh took it to a man at whose shop trade
the poorest sort of middle-class women, saying: "I can let you have a
line like this at thirty-five and six a dozen."

"I'll try three twelves," said the man.

Then Hugh went into the City and fetched up Japanese silk, and lace, and
large white buttons; and Millie sewed with her might.

Hugh thrived, and his success was noised among the London Welsh. The
preacher of Kingsend Chapel visited him.

"Not been in the Temple you have, Mistar Eevanss, almost since you were
spliced," he said. "Don't say the wife makes you go to the capel of the
English."

"Busy am I making money."

"News that is to me, Mistar Eevanss. Much welcome there is for you with
us."

In four years Hugh had eighteen machines, at each of which a skilled
woman sat; and he hired young girls to sew through buttons and
hook-and-eyes and to make button-holes. These women and girls were under
the hand of Millie, who kept count of their comings and goings and the
work they performed, holding from their wages the value of the material
they spoilt and of the minutes they were not at their task. Millie
labored faithfully, her heart being perfect with her husband's. She and
Hugh slept in the kitchen, for all the other rooms were stockrooms or
workrooms; and the name by which the concern was called was "The French
Model Blouse Co. Manageress--Mme. Zetta, the notorious French Modiste."

Howsoever bitterly people were pressed, Hugh did not cease to prosper.
In riches, honor, and respect he passed many of the London Welsh.

For that he could not provide all the blouses that were requested of
him, he rented a big house. That hour men were arrived to take thereto
his belongings, Millie said: "I'll throw the Paisley shawl over my arm.
I wouldn't lose it for anything"; and as she moved away the ten-pound
note fell on the ground. "Well, I never!" she cried in her dismay. "It
was there all the time."

Hugh seized the note from her hand.

"You've the head of a sieve," he said. Also he lamented: "All these
years we had no interest in him."



XIII

PROFIT AND GLORY


By serving in shops, by drinking himself drunk, and by shamming good
fortune, Jacob Griffiths gave testimony to the miseries and joys of
life, and at the age of fifty-six he fell back in his bed at his
lodging-house in Clapham, suffered, drew up his crippled knees and died.
On the morrow his brother Simon hastened to the house; and as he neared
the place he looked up and beheld his sisters Annie and Jane fach also
hurrying thither. Presently they three saw one another as with a single
eye, wherefore they slackened their pace and walked with seemliness to
the door. Jacob's body was on a narrow, disordered bed, and in the state
of its deliverance: its eyes were aghast and its hands were clenched in
deathful pangs.

Then Simon bowed his trunk and lifted his silk hat and his umbrella in
the manner of a preacher giving a blessing.

"Of us family it can be claimed," he pronounced, "that even the Angel do
not break us. We must all cross Jordan. Some go with boats and bridges.
Some swim. Some bridges charge a toll--one penny and two pennies. A toll
there is to cross Jordan."

"He'll be better when he's washed and laid out proper," remarked the
woman of the lodging-house.

"Let down your apron from your head," Simon said to her. "We are
mourning for our brother, the son of the similar father and mother. You
don't think me insulting if I was alone with the corpse. I shan't be
long at my religious performance. I am a busy man like you."

The woman having gone, he spoke at Jacob: "Perished you are now, Shacob.
You have unraveled the tangled skein of eternal life. Pray I do you will
find rest with the restless of big London. Annie and Jane fach,
sorrowful you are; wet are your tears. Go you and drink a nice cup of
tea in the café. Most eloquent I shall be in a minute and there's
hysterics you'll get. Arrive will I after you. Don't pay for tea; that
will I do."

"Iss, indeed," said Annie. "Off you, Jane fach. You, Simon, with her,
for fear she is slayed in the street. Sit here will I and speak to the
spirit of Shacob."

"The pant of my breath is not back"--Jane fach's voice was shrill. "Did
I not muster on reading the death letter? Witness the mud sprinkled on
my gown."

"Why should you muster, little sister?" inquired Simon.

"Right that I reach him in respectable time, was the think inside me,"
Jane fach answered. "What other design have I? Stay here I will. A boy,
dear me, for a joke was Shacob with me. Heaps of gifts he made me;
enough to fill a yellow tin box."

"Generous he was," Simon said. "Hap he parted with all. Full of feeling
you are. But useless that we loll here. No odds for me; this is my day
in the City. How will your boss treat you, Annie, for being away without
a pass? Angry will your buyer be, I would be in a temper with my young
ladies. Hie to the office, Jane. Don't you borrow borrowings from me if
you are sacked."

"You are as sly as the cow that steals into clover," Annie cried out.
She removed her large hat and set upright the osprey feathers thereon,
puffed out her hair which was fashioned in a high pile, and whitened
with powder the birth-stain on her cheek. "They daren't discharge me.
I'd carry the costume trade with me. Each second you hear, 'Miss
Witton-Griffiths, forward,' and 'Miss Witton-Griffiths, her heinness is
waiting for you.' In favor am I with the buyer."

"Whisper to me your average takings per week," Simon craved. "Not repeat
will I."

After exaggerating her report, Annie said: "You are going now, then."

Jane fach took from a chair a cup that had tea in it, a candlestick--the
candle in which died before Jacob--and a teapot, and she sat in the
chair. "Oo-oo," she squeaked. "Sorry am I you are flown."

"Stupid wenches you are," Simon admonished his sisters. "And curious.
Scandalous you are to pry into the leavings of the perished dead."

Jane fach, whose shoulders were crumped and whose nose was as the beak
of a parrot, put forth her head. "The reins of a flaming chariot can't
drag me from him. Was he not father to me? Much he handed and more he
promised."

"Great is your avarice," Simon declared.

"Fonder he was of me than any one," Annie cried. "The birthdays he
presented me with dresses--until he was sacked. While I was cribbing,
did he not speak well to my buyer? Fitting I stay with him this day."

"I was his chief friend," said Simon. "We were closer than brothers. So
grand was he to me that I could howl once more. Iss, I could preach a
funeral sermon on my brother Shacob."

Jacob's virtues were truly related. Much had the man done for his
younger brother and sisters; albeit his behavior was vain, ornamenting
his person garishly and cheaply, and comporting himself foolishly.
Summer by summer he went to Wales and remained there two weeks; and he
gave a packet of tea or coffee to every widow who worshiped in the
capel, and a feast of tea and currant bread and carraway-seed cake to
the little children of the capel.

Wheedlers flattered him for gain: "The watch of a nobleman you carry"
and "The ring would buy a field," said those about Sion; "Never seen a
more exact fact simily of King George in my life than you," cried
spongers in London public-houses. All grasped whatever gifts they could
and turned from him laughing: "The watch of the fob is brass"; "No more
worth than a play marble is the ring"; "Old Griffiths is the bloomin'
limit." Yet Jacob had delight in the thought that folk passed him rich
for his apparel and acts.

"Waste of hours very awful is this," Simon uttered by and by. He brought
out his order book and a blacklead pencil. "Take stock will I now and
put down."

He searched the pockets of Jacob's garments and the drawers in the
chest, and knelt on his knees and peered under Jacob's bed; and all that
he found were trashy clothes and boots. His sisters tore open the seams
of the garments and spread their fingers in the hollow places, and they
did not find anything.

"Jewellary he had," exclaimed Annie. "Much was the value of his diamond
ring. 'This I will to you,' he said to me. Champion she would seem on my
finger. Half a hundred guineas was her worth."

"Where is the watch and chain?" Jane fach demanded. "Gold they were.
Link like the fingers of feet the chain had. These I have."

"Lovely were his solitaires," cried Annie. "They are mine."

"Liar of a bitch," said Jane fach. "'All is yours,' mouthed Shacob my
brother, who hears me in the Palace."

Simon answered neither yea nor no. He stepped down to the woman of the
house. "I have a little list here of the things my brother left in your
keeping," he began. "Number wan, gold watch--"

The woman opened her lips and spoke: "Godstruth, he didn't have a bean
to his name. Gold watch! I had to call him in the mornings. What with
blacking his whiskers and being tender on his feet, which didn't allow
of him to run to say the least of it, I was about pretty early. Else
he'd never get to Ward's at all. And Balham is a long run from here."

"I will come back and see you later," Simon replied, and he returned to
his sisters. "Hope I do," he said to them. "You discover his affairs.
All belong to you. Tall was his regard for you two. Now we will prepare
to bury him. Privilege 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. "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, "and
sewed silk on her fronts. I lent him lendings. Where are my lendings?"

"A squanderer you were," Simon rebuked the body. "Tidy sums you spent
in pubs. Booze got you the sack after twenty years in the same shop.
Disgraced 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."

"No sense is in you," Annie shouted. "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."

"Leaving am I." Jane fach rose. "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.

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

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

"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
returning, 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
here."

"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 back."

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 umbrella and stayed further words. "Give
the soferens, bullocks of Hell fire."

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.


THE END





*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "My Neighbors - Stories of the Welsh People" ***

Doctrine Publishing Corporation provides digitized public domain materials.
Public domain books belong to the public and we are merely their custodians.
This effort is time consuming and expensive, so in order to keep providing
this resource, we have taken steps to prevent abuse by commercial parties,
including placing technical restrictions on automated querying.

We also ask that you:

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Doctrine Publishing
Corporation's ISYS search for use by individuals, and we request that you
use these files for personal, non-commercial purposes.

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort
to Doctrine Publishing's system: If you are conducting research on machine
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a
large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the use of
public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help.

+ Keep it legal -  Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for
ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just because
we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.



Home