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Like Brothers
by [?]

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.”