“That I can’t tell. How do I know as there is anybody left over at the Judgment Day? Let that be. What I say is, that when a man’s soul and a woman’s soul unites together —that makes an Angel——”

“I dunno about souls. I know as one plus one makes three, sometimes,” said Frank. But he had the laugh to himself.

“Bodies and souls, it’s the same,” said Tom.

“And what about your missis, who was married afore you knew her?” asked Alfred, set on edge by this discourse.

“That I can’t tell you. If I am to become an Angel, it’ll be my married soul, and not my single soul. It’ll not be the soul of me when I was a lad: for I hadn’t a soul as would make an Angel then.”

“I can always remember,” said Frank’s wife, “when our Harold was bad, he did nothink but see an angel at th’ back o’ th’ lookin’-glass. ‘Look, mother,’ ’e said, ‘at that angel!’ ‘Theer isn’t no angel, my duck,’ I said, but he wouldn’t have it. I took th’ lookin’-glass off’n th’ dressin’-table, but it made no difference. He kep’ on sayin’ it was there. My word, it did give me a turn. I thought for sure as I’d lost him.”

“I can remember,” said another man, Tom’s sister’s husband, “my mother gave me a good hidin’ once, for sayin’ I’d got an angel up my nose. She seed me pokin’, an’ she said: ‘What are you pokin’ at your nose for—give over.’ ‘There’s an angel up it,’ I said, an’ she fetched me such a wipe. But there was. We used to call them thistle things ‘angels’ as wafts about. An’ I’d pushed one o’ these up my nose, for some reason or other.”

“It’s wonderful what children will get up their noses,” said Frank’s wife. “I c’n remember our Hemmie, she shoved one o’ them bluebell things out o’ th’ middle of a bluebell, what they call ‘candles’, up her nose, and oh, we had some work! I’d seen her stickin’ ’em on the end of her nose, like, but I never thought she’d be so soft as to shove it right up. She was a gel of eight or more. Oh, my word, we got a crochet- hook an’ I don’t know what …”

Tom Brangwen’s mood of inspiration began to pass away. He forgot all about it, and was soon roaring and shouting with the rest. Outside the wake came, singing the carols. They were invited into the bursting house. They had two fiddles and a piccolo. There in the parlour they played carols, and the whole company sang them at the top of its voice. Only the bride and bridegroom sat with shining eyes and strange, bright faces, and scarcely sang, or only with just moving lips.

The wake departed, and the guysers came. There was loud applause, and shouting and excitement as the old mystery play of St. George, in which every man present had acted as a boy, proceeded, with banging and thumping of club and dripping pan.

“By Jove, I got a crack once, when I was playin’ Beelzebub,” said Tom Brangwen, his eyes full of water with laughing. “It knocked all th’ sense out of me as you’d crack an egg. But I tell you, when I come to, I played Old Johnny Roger with St. George, I did that.”

He was shaking with laughter. Another knock came at the door. There was a hush.

“It’s th’ cab,” said somebody from the door.

“Walk in,” shouted Tom Brangwen, and a red-faced grinning man entered.

“Now, you two, get yourselves ready an’ off to blanket fair,” shouted Tom Brangwen. “Strike a daisy, but if you’re not off like a blink o’ lightnin’, you shanna go, you s’ll sleep separate.”

Anna rose silently and went to change her dress. Will Brangwen would have gone out, but Tilly came with his hat and coat. The youth was helped on.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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