A collection of the most popular dialect stories From the pen of John Hartley. Born 1839 Died 1915.
Author of "Yorkshire ditties," "Clock Almanack," "Seets i' london," etc.
"This life, sae far's I understand, is an enchanted fairy land, where pleasure is the magic wand, that weilded right, maks hours like minutes, hand in hand dance by fir' light." Burns.
The Copyright of this Book is entirely the property of W. Nicholson and Sons, and no one will be allowed to print any portion of it without their permission.
The numerous applications for the productions of Mr. Hartley's pen, the majority of which have been out of print for many years, warrants us in believing that this collection of Yorkshire Stories, will be welcomed to a large circle of his admirers.
To my Dear Sister Hannah, to whose love and motherly care I owe more than I can ever repay, I dedicate this little book as a token of sincere affection. John Hartley Christmas 1876.
Frozen to Death Or the Cottage on the Hill. Pill Jim's Progress Wi' Johns Bunion. Moravian Knight's Entertainment. Sperrit Rappin. Ther's a Mule I' th' Garden. A Neet at "Widup's Rest." Tinklin' Tom. Th' New Schooil Booard. Tha Caps me Nah! Nay Fer Sewer! Th' Battle o' Tawkin. "Owd Tommy." (A Yorkshire Sketch.) It Mud ha' been War. Ha a Dead Donkey Towt a Lesson. One, Two, Three. Sammy Bewitched. Hard to Pleeas. Ratcatchin'. Owd Moorcock. Peace Makkin. Awr Emma—A False Alarm. Niver Judge by Appearances. Mi First Testimonial. Five Paand Nooat. Silly Billy. Put up wi' it. A Queer Dream. The Mystery of Burt's Babby Mak th' best on't. Mrs Spaiktruth's Pairty. Why Tommy isn't a Deacon. One Amang th' Rest. What's yor Hurry? Ha Owd Stooansnatch's Dowter gate Wed. Th' New Railrooad. Mose Hart's Twelvth Mess. Th' Hoil-i'th'-Hill Statty. Owd Dawdles. Property Huntin'. Abraham's Sparrib. A Run ovver th' Year.
Frozen to Death
Or the Cottage on the Hill.
A Christmas Story.
The last strain of the grand old Christmas hymn had just been warbled forth from the throats and hearts of a number of happy folks, who were seated around the blazing log one Christmas eve; and on the face of each one of that family circle the cheering light revealed the look of happiness; the young—happy in the present, and indulging in hopeful anticipations for the future; the old,—equally happy as the young, and revelling in many a darling memory of the past.
"Come, Uncle John!" said a bright-eyed, flaxen-haired beauty, over whose head not more than ten Christmas days had passed,—"Come, uncle, do tell us a story; you know that we always expect one from you."
"Well, my pretty little niece," he replied, "I fear that I have exhausted all my store of ghosts and hobgoblins, and if I tell you a story now, it must be from the cold, stern world of fact, which, I fear, will be less interesting to you than the romantic fictions I have rehearsed on former occasions."
"Oh dear, no! tell us a story, a true story—we shall be all the more delighted to know that we are listening to an account of what has really occurred. Do begin at once, please".
Knocking the ashes from the bowl of his pipe, and having carefully reared it against the hob, he commenced:—
"The factory bells had just ceased ringing, and the whistles had given out their last shrieks, like the expiring yells of some agonized demon, as the old church clock drowsily tolled the hour of six, on one of the most miserable of December mornings. High on a bleak hill stood a little whitewashed cottage, from the door of which issued two children, apparently about ten years of age. As they stept into the cold morning air they shuddered, and drew their scanty garments closer around them.
"Nah, yo'll ha' to luk sharp! yond's th' last whew!—yo've nobbut fifteen minutes," cried a voice from within.
It was with great difficulty that the little couple succeeded in reaching the high road, for the ground was covered with ice, on which a continual sleet fell, and the wind, in fitful blasts, howled about them, threatening at almost every step to overthrow them. But they had no time to think of these things; slipping and running, giving each other all the aid in their power, they pressed on in the direction of the factory—the fear of being too late over-whelming every other consideration.
"Come on, Susy!" said the little lad, whom we should take to be the older of the two. "Come on, we shall niver be thear i' time; come on! stand up! tha hasn't hurt thi, has ta?" he said, as she fell for the third time upon the slippery pavement.
Tenderly he helped her to rise, but poor Susy had hurt herself, and although she strove to keep back her tears and smother her sobs, Tom saw that she had sustained a severe injury.
"Whisht!" he said, "tha munnot cry; whear ar ta hurt? Come, lain o' me, an' aw'l hug thi basket."
"O, Tom, aw've hurt mi leg—aw cannot bide to goa any farther; tha'd better leave me, for aw'm sure we'st be too lat."
"Happen net—tha'll be better in a bit,—put thi arm raand mi shoulder, tha'rt nobbut leet; aw could ommost hug thi if it worn't soa slippy. Sup o' this tea, si thee, it's warm yet, an' then tha'll feel better: an' if we are a bit too lat, aw should think they'll let us in this mornin'."
Susy drank of the tea, and, revived by its warmth, she made another attempt to pursue her way. But it was slow work; Tom did his best to help her, and tried to cheer her as well as he could, though now an' then a tear fell silently from his eyes, for his little fingers were numbed with cold, and he felt the rain had already penetrated to his skin, and the dreadful prospect of being late, and having to remain in the cold for two hours, was in itself sufficient to strike dread into the heart of one older and stronger than he. Even the watchman as he passed, turned his light upon them for a moment, and sighed. It was no business of his,—but under his waterproof cape there beat a father's heart, and he murmured as he paced the solitary street, "Thank God, they arn't mine."
But we must leave them to pursue as best they can, their miserable way, whilst we return to have a glance at the occupants of the cottage from which we saw them start. It is a one storied building, with but one room and a small out-kitchen; in one corner is a bed, on which is laid a pale, emaciated young man, to all appearance not yet thirty years of age: he is asleep, but from the quick short breath, it is not difficult to infer that his best days are over. In another corner, a number of boxes are arranged so as to extemporize a bed, now unoccupied, but from which the two little factory-workers have but lately arisen. A jug of herb tea is on the table. The fire is very low, and the light from it is only sufficient to render all indistinctly visible. In a chair opposite is a young woman with such a mournful, careworn face, that a glance inspires you with sorrow; and from a bundle of clothes on her knee issues the fretful wail of a restless child. The monotonous tick of an old clock is the only sound, saving the longdrawn sigh of that young mother, or the quick, hollow breathing of the sleeping man. Now and then the wind whistles more shrilly through the crevices of the door, and the rain beats with greater force against the little window. The mother draws still nearer to the few red embers, and turns a timid glance to the window and then to the bed: another sigh, and then the overburdened heart overflows at her eyes, and the large bright drops fall quickly on that dearly loved infant.
The church clock chimes a quarter after six—this rouses the mother once more to set aside her own griefs; the wind still howls, and the rain beats with unabated fury against the glass: her thoughts are of those little ones, and a tremor passes over her as she fears lest they should be shut out. The man moves wearily in his bed, and opening his eyes, he looks towards his wife. She is at his side in an instant.
"Have they gooan, Bessy?" he asks.
"Eea, they've gooan, an' aw hooap ther thear before nah."
"It saands vary wild. We ne'er thowt it ud come to this twelve year sin, Bess,—an' it's all along o' me!"
"Nay, Jim, tha munnot say soa—tha knows we can nooan on us help bein poorly sometimes, but when spring comes tha'll pick up thi crumbs agean, an' things 'll be different."
"That's true, lass,—aw feel that's true—things will be different when spring comes, an' afoor it comes, aw'm feeard. Has ta iver been i' bed to-neet?"
"Nay, aw couldn't come to bed, 'coss th' child wor cross, but aw've slept a bit i' th' cheer: dooant thee bother, aw'l look after mi sen. Will ta have a sup o' this teah?"
"Whisht!" he said, "that's awr Susy callin, aw'm sure it is! Oppen th' door!"
She flew to oppen th' door, and the storm rushed in with fury; the snow had begun to fall thickly: she strained her eyes and called, "Susy! Susy!" but she heard no response: yet her heart misgave her, for the thoughts of her darlings being exposed to such a storm made her shudder; but necessity knows no law, and on the slender earnings of these two children depended the subsistence of herself and husband.
"Aw think tha wor mistakken, Jim: aw con see nowt," she said, as she returned and closed the door.
"Well, happen aw wor; but it's a sorry mornin to turn aght two little lambs like them. Bessy," he said, lowering his voice to a whisper, "aw know aw'm i'th' gate,—aw con do nowt but lig i' bed, an' aw know 'at thee an' th' childer have to goa short mony a time for what aw get, but it willn't be for long. Dooant rooar! tha knows it's summat 'at we've nowt to do wi; an' tha heeard what th' parson said, 'Ther's One aboon at 'll work all things together for gooid,' an' aw feel my time's commin' varry near; but aw'm nooan freetened like aw used to be; aw think it's gooin to be a change for th' better—an' He'll luk after thee an' th' little ens."
"O! Jim! tha munnot talk abaght leavin us yet; tha'll be better in a bit."
"Niver i' this world, Bessy! Come, put thi heead o' th' pillow here beside me, aw think aw want to rest."
She placed the little babe upon the coverlet, laid her head upon the pillow, and worn out with watching, she wept herself asleep.
The church clock had chimed the half-hour before Tom and his little sister landed at the mill yard, and it was closed. The storm was still raging, but to his repeated entreaties for admission the same answer was returned, "Tha'rt too lat! tha connot come in afoor th' braikfast." Experience had taught him how vain his endeavours would be to obtain admission; and had it been himself alone that was shut out, he would have gone quietly away and spent the time as best he might; but he felt emboldened by the responsibility that was upon him on his sister's account, and he redoubled his efforts, but the timekeeper was inexorable:—"My orders iz, az nubdy mun come in after a quarter past, an' if tha doesn't goa away aw'l warm thi Jacket for thi; tha should ha come i' time same as other fowk." Poor Tom! there had still lingered some little faith in the goodness of human nature in his breast, but as he turned away, the last spark died out. To attempt to go home he knew would be useless, and therefore he sought as the only alternative, some place where he might find shelter. At a short distance from the gate, but within the sound of the whirling wheels, he sat down with his uncomplaining sister upon his knee. The snow began to fall gently at first, and he watched it as the feathery flakes grew larger and larger. He did not feel cold now; he wrapped his little scarf around his sister's neck. The snow fell still thicker: he felt so weary, so very weary; his little sister too had fallen asleep on his breast;—he laid his head against the cold stone wall, and the snow still fell, so softly, so very gently, that he dozed away and dreamed of sunny lands where all was bright and warm: and in a short time the passer-by could not have told that a brother and sister lay quietly slumbering there, wrapped in their shroud of snow.
The hum of wheels has ceased; the crowd of labourers hurry out to their morning's meal; a few short minutes, and the discordant whistles again shriek out their call to work. Tom and Susy, where are they? The gates will soon be closed again!
Well, let them close! other gates have opened for those little suffering ones. The gates of pearl have swung upon their golden hinges; no harsh voice of unkind taskmaster greets them on their entrance, but that glorious welcome.
"Come, ye blessed!" and their unloosed tongues join in the loud "Hosannah."
But those pearly gates are not for ever open. The time may come when those shall stand before them unto whom the words, "Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me," shall sound the death-knell of all hopes throughout an inconceivable eternity.
It is night, and the wind is sighing itself away. The snow has ceased to fall, and the moon looks down upon the hills in their spotless covering, shedding her soft, mild light upon all. The little cottage on the hill side would be imperceptible, were it not for the light that streams through the window and the open door. The church clock has just struck eight, and for nearly an hour a woman has stood looking towards the town, her anxiety increasing every moment. She listens to the sound of feet on the crisp snow—they come nearer—they are opposite the turn that leads to the cottage: but they pass on. Again and again she listens:—once or twice she fancies she sees two children in the distance—but they come not. Passersby become less frequent; again the church clock chimes, and all is still. Her husband and her babe are asleep. Quickly putting on her bonnet and shawl, she runs to her nearest rleighbour to ask if she will sit with them until she returns, for she must go and learn how it is that her children have not come home. She fears no denial, and she meets with none; as soon as she has stated her case, the good woman replies, "Sit wi' 'em lass! aw'm sure aw will! an' thee," she said, turning to her husband, "put on thi hat an' coit an' goa wi' her."
"O, they're nobbut laikin at snowball, or else slurrin a bit," he said;—at the same time he put on his hat and coat, and showed as much alacrity to join in the search as the mother herself.
Owd Becca thrust into her capacious pocket a tea cake and two eggs, and taking the teapot into which she put a good supply of tea, she prepared for starting off; but suddenly recollecting herself, she returned and called in loud tones to her daughter: "Sarah I get that sucking bottle, an' fill it wi' milk for th' little en, an' nah, if yo two 'll nobbut bring th' childer back, aw'l see 'at all gooas on reight at hooam."
Bessy began to express her thanks, but Becca was determined not to hear her, and drowned all she said in exhorting her husband to "luk sharp." Bessy and Old Abe directed their steps to the factory, but often paused to ask passers-by if they had seen the two lost ones, but as there had so many children passed whose outward appearance corresponded with theirs of whom they were in search, they thought it best to go at once to the works and ascertain at what time they left.
Bessy's heart misgave her as she knocked at the gatekeeper's house; an indefinable dread came over her, and she scarce knew how to state her case. Little did she think that within sound of her voice lay the dear objects of her search; hundreds of feet had passed them during the day, but none had disturbed them; the whistles had screamed for them in vain, for they had gone to that lasting "rest prepared for the weary and heavy laden." From the gatekeeper they learned that the two had arrived too late in the morning and gone away somewhere, but had not returned or been seen afterwards. Bessy stood transfixed for a moment, scarce knowing what to do, but Old Abe could look at the case more calmly; and taking hold of her hand, he led her gently away, and proceeded forthwith to the police station, where he gave as full an account and as correct a description of the missing ones as he was able. It took but a short time to accomplish this much, but the journey homewards was not so speedily performed. Every dark corner was explored, and every alley and by-lane had to be traversed, and the morning was far advanced when they reached home after their unsuccessful search.
The husband and babe were still sleeping, for Becca had ministered to all their wants. She had buoyed herself with the hope that they would be successful: but when she saw them return alone, her spirits sank as low as those of the mother, and although she was silent, yet the frequent application of the apron to her eyes showed that she felt as a mother for one so sorrowfully placed.
Promising to "luk in i' th' morn'," they left the disconsolate Bessy to her grief.
Who shall attempt to describe the anguish of that bereaved parent? Statuelike she sat, nursing a sorrow too deep for tears. Hours passed, and the first faint streak of dawn found her still sitting, with her eyes intently fixed on vacancy. Her husband's voice was the first thing that roused her from the state of despondency into which she had sunk. He spoke with difficulty, and his voice was feeble as a child's. "Bessy," he gasped, "tha munnot leave me ony moor. It's drawin varry near. Awr little Tom an' Susy have been here wol tha's been off; aw heeard 'em calling for me, but aw could'nt goa until aw'd had a word wi' thee. Aw'm feeard tha'll tak it hard, lass, but if tha finds tha cannot bide it, ax th' parson to tell thee what he tell'd to me, an' it'll comfort thee." Bessy was unable to reply. Sorrows had been heaped upon her so heavily that her feelings were benumbed; she scarcely comprehended what was said, but in the bitterness of her soul she fell upon her knees and sobbed—"Lord, help me!"
Her husband feebly took her hand and drew her towards him. "He will help thee, lassie, niver fear. One kiss, Bessy; gooid bye! Tom! Susy!—It's varry dark.—Aw think aw want to sleep."—
"And ere that hour departed. All death reveals, he knew."
A change had taken place in the atmosphere since Bessy and Abe had returned. Here and there green patches could be seen on the hill side, and the distant town presented a view of smoke-blackened roofs that shone, dripping with wet as the sickly' sun glanced over them. Little or no snow was to be found in the streets, and all the hideous sights stood out once more rejoicing in their naked deformities.
The giant engine—the factory's heart—was ceasing to beat once more, in order to allow the workers time to swallow the food necessary to enable them to bear up until noon. The gates were opened, and the crowd swarmed forth, but all seemed instinctively directed to a group at a short distance, whose pallid faces reflected the ghastly sight before them. The group soon swelled to a vast crowd. Enquiries were made on every hand by those in the outer circle—"What is it? what is it?" "Frozen to death." Tenderly those rough handed, rough-spoken men raised the death-frozen little ones. Some there were who knew them and had heard of their loss. It was to them an easy task to account for their deaths, and curses low but deep were cast on them, at whose doors the blood of those innocents must lie.
The bodies were taken to the nearest inn to wait an inquest. Those in authority were quickly on the alert; whilst some who were acquainted with the parents prepared to carry them the sorrowful tidings.—Poor Bessy! thy cup of bitterness is nearly full!
Old Becca had come according to promise, and found Bessy laid partially upon the bed in a swoon, her arm around the neck of him who had been her faithful partner for a dozen years. She raised her, bathed her forehead, and used all means in her power to promote her recovery. After a short time she was successful; and having prepared the other bed and placed Bessy upon it, she hastily left to get some assistance.
The poor have but the poor on whom they can depend in an emergency; and it is a blessing that the request for help to each other is rarely if ever made in vain.
She soon returned with plenty of willing hands—one took the babe, and others remained to perform the last sad offices to the remains of him who had gone "a little while before." Soon the men arrived with the mournful account of the discovery of the children, but Bessy knew it not. God had had compassion upon her, and to save her heart from breaking, had thrown a cloud over her reason.
Silently they stood for a moment in that house of death; and as they turned to go, one after another placed what money each had, noiselessly upon the table: the whole perhaps did not amount to much, but who shall say that it was not a welcome loan to the Lord—an investment in heaven that should in after time yield to them an interest outweighing the wealth of the whole world?
As the day advanced, numbers gathered round the inn where the coroner and jury were assembled. The usual form of viewing the bodies was gone through; and, with the exception of the girl's ancle, which was found to be dislocated, there appeared nothing to account for death save exposure to the cold.
The coroner quickly summed up, and addressing the jury said—"he did not see how they could bring in any other verdict than 'died from natural causes.'" With one exception all acquiesced, and this one refused to agree to such a verdict, saying that death had been caused by unnatural causes! At last the verdict was altered to "Found frozen to death." To this a juryman wished to add something about arbitrary laws and inhumanity, but he was overruled.
It needed nothing now but to put them in the earth, and cover them up.
The following morning the whistles shrieked as fiercely, the wheels went round as merrily as ever; two other children were in the places of the lost ones, and it was as if they had never been.
The day for the funeral arrived—the father and children were to be interred together. There was a large gathering of sympathising friends. Poor Bessy! had partially recovered, but seemed like one just waking from a dream; the mournful cortege gained the church yard. The coffins were slowly lowered into the grave. The grey-haired pastor's voice was at times almost inaudible—every heart was touched, for all took the case home to themselves, and asked the question, "How if they were mine?" "Dust to dust, and ashes to ashes," and the ceremony was completed.
Few of them had failed to remark the presence of a strange mourner—one whose dress bespoke him to be a gentleman; and as the widow turned to leave the grave, he stept up to her and offered her his arm for support. She took it mechanically, and wended her way to her desolate home. He was the only one, with the exception of Old Becca, who entered with Bessy.
He looked around the forlorn room, gazing now here, now there, to hide his emotion. He seemed about to speak when a knock at the door interrupted him.
Becca opened it, and returned with a letter stating that the bearer required an answer. The stranger took it with an air of authority and broke the seal; as he did so, a five pound note fluttered to the ground. While he read the letter his eyes flashed with a strange fire, and his quivering nostril showed the strength of the passion raging within.
Turning to the boy, he thrust the letter into his hand, and bade him pick up the note. "Take this answer to your master, boy," he said; "we return the letter and his money with disdain, and tell him that Bessy Green is not so desolate and friendless that she needs accept five pounds as the price of two innocent lives. The debt is one that no man can cancel: but the reckoning day is sure to come! tell him that, boy, from the brother of Bessy Green, from the uncle of Tom and Susy."
The boy hurried away with the message; and Bessy, who had been aroused by the stranger's vehemence, at the word "brother," threw herself upon his neck, crying—"It is George!" What follows is quickly told: Bessy's grief was deep, and it took long long months before she was fitted to engage in the ordinary occupations of life; but change of scene and cheerful company, together with the daily expanding beauties of her only child, partially healed her lacerated heart. Her generous brother, who had returned from a distant land,—where fortune had smiled upon his labours—took her to live with him, and adopted her child as his son. Becca and Abe became also installed in the house as helpers; and now, far away from the regions of factory whews, they are all living amicably together.
"That is my story for this; Christmas. How do you like it?"
It is very sorrowful, uncle John, but we are much obliged to you for telling it us, but it is surely wrong for children so young to be compelled to go to work at such an early hour?
"It may not be wrong to require them so to do, but it would at least show a desire on the part of the employers to ameliorate the hardness of their lot if, while endeavouring to enforce strict punctuality, they would provide some shelter for those who, having come from a distance, fail to arrive in time for admission."
"Hark, the village Waits!"
Pill Jim's Progress Wi' Johns Bunion.
It wor a varry wild day when John set off to see Pill Jim, as he wor called, but as it wor varry particklar business, he didn't let th' weather stop him.
Nah, Pill Jim wor a varry nooated chap i' some pairts o' Yorkshire. He wor an old chap, an' lived in a little haase to hissen, an' gate a livin' wi' quack-docterin' a bit; an' whativer anybody ailed, he'd some pills at wor sure to cure 'em; soa, as John had been sufferin' a long' time, he thought he'd goa an' have a bit o' tawk wi' him, an' see if he could get any gooid done.
It chonced, as luck let, at Jim wor at hooam, an' he invited him in, but as he'd nobbut one cheer, John had to sit o'th' edge o'th' long table.
"Well, John," he sed, "an' what's browt thee here this mornin'?"
"Nay, nowt 'at means mich, Jim; but aw've heeard a gooid deal o' tawk abaght thy pills, an' aw thowt they'd happen do me a bit o' gooid; but aw wanted to have a bit o' tawk to thee th' first abaght it, for tha knows one sooart o' physic doesn't do for iverybody."
"Tha'rt just mistakken abaght that, John, for my pills cure owt; they're oppenin' pills, an' although aw'm a chap 'at doesn't like to crack abaght misen, aw con just tell thee a thing or two 'at'll mak thee stare."
"Well, that's what aw want, Jim, s'oa get on wi' thy tellin'."
"Aw hardly know whear to begin, but, hasumiver, aw'll tell thee one thing: ther's lots o' fowk livin' raand abaght here 'at's been oppen'd by em, an' to some tune too; an' although aw consider physic an evil at all times, still my pills must be regarded as a necessary evil. A chap once coom to see me, an' browt a lot o' oysters, but he wor fast ha to get into 'em; aw made noa moor to do but just put two or three pills amang 'em, an' they wor oppen'd in a minit. He sed he'd niver seen sich a thing afoor. An' if tha con keep a secret, aw'll tell thi summat else but tha munnot split. One neet just at th' end o' last summer, a queer-lukkin' chap coom an' sed he didn't feel vary weel, an' he'd come to me becoss he didn't want tother doctors to know; soa aw axed him who he wor. He didn't like to tell me for a bit, but at last he sed' he wor th' Clerk o'th' Weather Office, an' he'd just getten a day off, bi th' way ov a leetnin'.' 'Well,' aw says, 'aw'll gie yo a box o' pills, an' yo mun tak two ivery neet.' He thanked me an' went away, an' aw've niver seen a wink on him sin, but tha may be sure it's them pills 'at we have to thank for sich a oppen winter as we've had, for as aw sed befoor, they'll oppen owt."
"Well, Jim, tha fair caps me! Aw wonder tha hasn't made a fortun befoor nah! But aw dooant think aw want ony pills, tho' aw'm badly enough."
"Why, what does ta ail? Has ta getten th' backwark, or th' heeadwark, or does ta feel wamly sometimes an' cannot ait?"
"Nawther, John; it's summat else nor that."
"Why, is it summat 'at tha has o' thi mind!"
"Noa, it isn't mi mind, it's mi understandin' 'at's 'sufferin'. Th' fact is, Jim, aw'm troubled wi' a bunion."
"Let's luk at it," says Jim, "ther's nowt easier to cure nor a bunion."
John took off his shoe an' stockin', an' when Jim saw it he sed, "Oh, aw see what it wants; it wants bringin' to a heead."
"Well, aw think bi th' rate it's growin', it'll be a heead afoor long, for it's as big as mi neive already."
"Nah, aw'll tell thee what tha mun do. Tak five or six o' thease pills ivery neet till tha feels a bit ov a difference, an' when tha gooas to bed tha mun put thi fooit into a pooltice, an' tha'll find it'll get better as it mends."
"Well, aw think ther's some sense i' what tha says, soa aw think aw'll try some; ha does ta sell 'em?"
"If tha buys a box they're a penny, but they corne in cheaper to buy 'em bi weight, an' as its thee aw'll let thi have a pund for a shillin'; if it wor onybody else, they'd be sixteen pence."
"Well, aw'll tak a pund, onyway. An' if aw can't tak 'em all misen, they'll happen be useful to somdy else."
"Tha mun tak 'em all thisen, an' then tha'll feel th' benefit on em," sed Jim.
"Well," sed John, when he'd getten 'em teed up in his hankerchy, "aw wish yo gooid day, an aw'll come an' see yo in a bit to repoort progress."
John limped hooam as weel as he could, an' after puttin' th' pills into a pint basin i'th' cubbard, he went to bed. His wife axed him what he could like to his supper, but he sed he worn't particklar, soa shoo went daanstairs, an' when shoo luk'd i'th' cubbard, shoo saw this basin o' pills, but shoo thowt they wor pays; soa shoo gate a bit o' mutton an' made a sup o' broth an' put 'em in; an' when they'd been boilin' awhile shoo couldn't find 'em hardly. "Why," shoo sed, "aw niver saw sich pays as theease i' all mi life; they've all boiled to smush." Shoo tuk him a basinful upstairs, an' after a spooinful or two, he sed he thowt they tasted rayther queer. "Oh! it's thi maath at's aght o' order, mun," shoo sed; "get 'em into thee, they're sure to do thee gooid."
John tew'd hard wi' 'em an' at last he finished 'em. "Niver buy ony moor pays at that shop," he sed, "for aw'm sure they're nooan reight.
"Aw didn't buy 'em," shoo sed, "they're what wor i'th' cubbard; aw thowt tha'd put 'em thear thisen."
When John heeard that, he knew in a minit what shoo'd done, an' he stared at her.
"What are ta staring at, wi' thi een an' thi maath wide oppen like that?" sed his wife.
"Tha'd ha' thi een an' thi maath oppen if tha'd swallowed what aw have," he said, "for they'll oppen ewt."
John gate up an' dressed an' went aght, an' as he didn't offer to come back, his wife an' two or three ov his mates went to seek him; an' a few yards off th' door they fan his clooas an' hat an' a pair o' booits, an' in one o'th' booits they fan a bunion,—an' that wor all ther wor left o' John.
It wor rayther a awkard thing to swear to, but his wife sed shoo couldn't be mistakken, for shoo knew it soa weel wol shoo'd be bun to be able to pick it aght ov a looad o' new puttates. Ov cooarse, they'd a inquest, but as ther wor noa evidence, an' sich a case had niver been known befoor, they returned a oppen verdict.
A few days after, as Pill Jim wor gooin' past th' church yard, he saw a chap oppenin' a grave, an' axed him who he wor oppenin' it for; an' when he heeard it wor for th' remains o' poor John, he muttered to hissen, "Noa wonder! noa wonder! them pills, they'll oppen owt. Aw wor sure they'd awther drive th' bunion away throo John, or John away throo th' bunion, which wor for th' best aw connot tell; its an oppen question— them pills leeave ivery—thing oppen."
Moravian Knight's Entertainment.
If yo want to know owt abaght me, let me tell yo 'at they called mi father Knight, an' when aw wor born he had me kursend Moravian; but noa sooiner did aw begin to laik wi' th' lads abaght ner aw began to be called Morry Neet. Soa mich abaght misen.
Aw oft think 'at fowk mak a sad mistak, i' spendin all ther time leearnin. Aw think if them 'at know soa mich had to spend part o' ther time taichin other fowk what they know, th' world mud ha' fewer philosophers, but it 'ud have fewer fooils. As that's my nooation, awve detarmined to let yo know ha aw gate on th' furst time aw went to a penny readin, an' may be somdy 'll leearn summat bi that.
Awd seen a lot o' bills stuck up for mony a day, statin' at th' 16th select penny readin' wor to tak place i'th' Jimmy Loin National Schooil, an' aw thowt awd goa. Soa when th' neet coom aw went to th' door aw clap daan mi penny like a mon, an' wor walkin in—
"Stop! Stop!" shaated aght th' brass takker, "Tha mun come back, tha's nobbut gien me a penny."
"Aw know aw've nobbut gien thee a penny," aw says; "Ha mich moor does ta want? Its a penny readin, isn't it?"
"Eea, its a penny readin, but its thrippince to goa in," he sed.
"Well, if that's it," aw says, "here's tother tuppince, but awm blowed if aw see it." But aw went in, an' a rare hoilful ther wor. In a bit Alderman Nonowt wor vooated into th' cheer, an' then he made a speech—
"Ladies and Gentlemen—(then he coughed two or three times, an' supt o' watter),—I can assure you 'at nothink gives me greater pleasure, or greater enjoyment, or I might say greater satisfaction, (a varry deal o' clappin i'th' front seeats—supt twice), when I look around me, ladies and gentlemen, and see so many old and familiar faces that I have never seen before, and when I see so many strangers that I have passed long years of social intercourse amongst, I feel, ladies and gentlemen, I feel moved, very much moved, and when I gaze again I begin to feel removed. Our object which we have in view, in keeping agate of giving these here readings, are to throw open the doors of knowledge, so that all may come and drink from the inexhaustible bottle, so to speak, ladies and gentleman, which says 'drink and thirst no more' (great cheering—women wi' cleean pocket hankerchies blow ther nooases). These meetings have also another himportant object, a nobject noble and great, which is namely, to draw people out of the public houses, and create a thirst in them for wisdom. How many men, after a hard day's work, go and sit in the public house, or what is still worse, often spend their time at some thripny concert room until nine or ten o'clock, whereas now they can come here and sit until 10 or 11 o'clock, where they are not only hentertained, but hedicated and hedified. With thease few remarks, I call upon the first reader for a solo on the German concertina."
An' it wor a solo! It reminded me o' being in a bazaar at Fair time, an' abaght a thaasand childer blowin penny trumpets; an' he whewd his arms abaght like a windmill; an' aw wor nooan sooary when he'd done. But fowk clapt an' stamped wol he coom back agean; an' he bow'd an' sed he'd give 'em an immitation o'th' backpipe, an' awve noa daat it wor varry like it, for awm sure noa frontpipe iver made as faal a din. After that th' cheerman made a few remarks an' sed, music had charms to soothe the savage beast, an' he'd no doubt we all felt soothed with what we had heard. He had now the pleasure to call for something of a more elevating nature still. The next reading would be a comic song. "Up in a balloon boys."
Th' chap 'at gave that wor varry wise, for as sooin as he'd begun singin' he shut his een an' niver oppened 'em agean till he'd done, an' if he'd kept his maath shut aw should ha' been better suited still. Ov coorse he wor honcored, an' he coom back an' sang "Be—e—eutifool oil of the Se—e—e—he!" wol he fair fooamd at th' maath, but awl wave mi opinion o' that. Then coom th' gem o'th' evening, an' th' chap wor a gem 'at sang it. Th' cheerman sed he was always proud to be able to sit an' listen to such like, for it show'd what a deal better world ther might be if we all did our best for one another.
Th' peanner struck up, an' a chap in a big white hat an' longlapp'd coit sang "What aw did for Hannah," an' afoor he'd finished aw thowt if he'd done hauf as mich for Hannah as he'd done for us he owt to be shot. But when a chap's i' favor he con do owt, an' when he'd done an' been called back three times, th' cheerman sed it wor now his duty to introduce the Rev'd Dowell to read a selection from Heenuck Harden.
As sooin as he'd sed this ivery body began to walk aght, an' soa as aw thowt they must be gooin into another raam to hear it, aw went aght too. But when awd getten aghtside aw saw they wor all awther leetin ther pipes or laikin at soddin one another. Aw axed one on 'em if it wor all over. "Net it," he sed, "we've nobbut come aght wol yond dry old stick has done talking. Th' best pairt o'th' entertainment has to come off yet! Ther's three single step doncers gooin to contest for a copy ov 'Baxter's Saint's Rest,' bun up wi' gilt edges."
When aw heeard that aw ihowt, well, awm nooa saint misel, but if awm a sinner awl have a bit o' rest, whether it's Baxter's or net. Soa aw walked quitely off hooam, thinkin ha thankful we owt to be at fowk 'll labor as they do to improve an elevate poor workin' fowk. That wor th' end o' my entertainment.
Did yo iver goa to a sperrit rappin' doo? Aw did once, but aw can't say it wor mich i' my line.
It happen'd one Setterdy neet 'at aw'd been to have a pint at th' "Rompin Kittlin," an' aw heeard some chaps say 'at ther wor baan to be a meetin i'th' owd wayvin shop o'th' Sundy afternooin, an' iver so mony mediums wor commin to tell all 'at wor gooin on i'th' tother world, soa as awd nowt else to do, aw went, an' after a bit o' thrustin aw managed to get into a front seat: but they wor varry particlar who they let in. As aw wor set, waitin for th' performance to begin, aw thowt it luk'd varry mich like a inquest, for ther wor one chap set o'th' end o't' table, an' six daan each side; an' they wor a lot o'th' rummest lukkin fowk aw'd seen for a long time. They all seem'd as if they wanted sendin aght to grass, for ther faces wor th' color ov a lot o' tallow craps. In a bit they started, an' we all sang a hymn, an' varry weel it wor sung too, considerin 'at that radical gravestoan letterer joined in it; for if ther is ony body 'at can throw a whole congregation aght o' tune, its owd Cinnamon, for he owt niver to oppen his maath onywhear unless all th' fowk is booath deeaf an' blind, for th' seet o' his chowl is enuff to drive all th' harmony aght ov a meetin. Aw dar wager a trifle 'at he'd be able to spoil th' Jubilee. But as aw wor sayin, we did varry weel considerin, an' then th' cheerman gate up an' addressed a few words to us. He sed he'd noa daat 'at ther wor a goaid many amang us 'at didn't believe i' sperrits, but he could assure us 'at ther wor moor i' sperrits sometimes nor what we imagined. He sed he knew one man 'at had been under th' influence ov a sperit, 'at went hooam an' tell'd his wife sich things 'at made her hair stand ov an end, an' when he gate up next mornin he knew nowt abaat it till he saw his wife wor i'th' sulks, an' he ax'd her "what ther wor to do." "Ther's plenty to do, aw think," shoo says; "ha can ta fashion to put thi heead aght o'th' door? But tha can have yond nasty gooid-for-nawt as soain as tha likes, for awst leeave thi if aw live wol awm an haar older! It's a bonny come off, 'at me at's barn ommoss a duzzen children to thi should be shoved o' one side far a thing like yond!" "Why, lass, aw doant know what tha'rt talking abaat," he sed, "tell me what tha meeans!" "Aw've noa need to tell thi," shoo sed, "tha knows weel enuff, an' aw believe ivery word 'at tha sed, for they say 'at druffen chaps an' childer allus spaik th' truth, an' awve suspicioned yond Betty for a long time! What reight has shoo to be dawdlin abaat other fowks husbands for? If shoo wants a felly, let her get one ov her own! But tha may tak her an' welcome, an' mich gooid may shoo do thi, an' may yo allus be as happy together as aw wish vo—an' noa happier! drot her!" "Why, did aw say owt abaat Betty? Tha mun tak noa nooatice o' owt aw say when aw come hooam throo a meetin, tha sees, sin aw wor made a medium, aw ammot allus just i' mi reight senses, an' it isn't me 'at spaiks, it's what's in me." "Eea, an' it wor what wor in thi 'at spaik last neet! Tha's noa need to tell me 'at tha worn't i' thi reight wit, for tha hasn't been that for a long time but aw can tell thi one thing—if tha'rt a medium, awm net gooin to be made one! aw'll awther be one thing or tother, soa if tha'd rayther have yond mucky trolly, tak her; an' may yo booath have a seed i' yor tooith an' corns o' yor tooas, an' be fooarsed to walk daan th' hill, all th' days o' yor lives; that's what aw wish." He talked to her for a long time, but it wor noa use, for yo see shoo'd niver been enlightened, an' all he could say didn't convince her 'at he worn't answerable for all he'd sed an' done; but ov cooarse it's weel known 'at mediums arn't responsible for owt. After a few moor remarks, an' relatin a few moor incidents, he sed "it wor abaat time to begin the serious business 'at had called us together, an' he sed he hooap'd 'at if ony had came to scoff, they'd remain to pay, for they wor sadly i' need o' funds, an' he hooap'd 'at iverybody wod respond liberally, for sperits sich as they dealt in could not be getten o' trust, although they had to be takken that way." Then he knock'd th' table three times wi' his knuckles, an' two o'th' fiddle-faced chaps 'at wor set one o' each side on him, began to wriggle abaat as if they'd getten th' murly grubs. "Stop! stop!" he sed, "one at once, if yo pleease! Brother Sawny had better give his sperit backward for a few minutes, wol we've done wi' Brother Titus's." Soa Sawny gave ovver shakkin hissen, exceptin his heead, an' jumpin onto his feet, he sed, "If awve allus to give way to Titus, awm blow'd if awl come to edify yor lot ony longer." "Husht, husht!" says th' cheerman, "the sperit has takken possession o' Titus already. Will ony o'th' unbelievers ax it a few questions?" Soa aw thowt aw mud as weel be forrad as onybody else, soa aw stood up an' ax'd it furst—
"What did they use to call thi?"
"Mary Jane Wittering."
"Ha long is it since tha deed?"
(Noa answer; soa th' cheerman sed it wor a varry frivolous an' improper question, an' aw mud ax summat else.)
"Wor ta iver wed?"
"Nobbut three times."
"Wor ta allus true to 'em when tha had 'em?"
(No answer; th' cheerman shook his neive at me.)
"Are they livin or deead?"
"One's deead, one's livin, an' one's a medium."
"Has ta met anybody tha knows up i' yor pairts?"
"Monny a scoor."
"Are they happy or miserable?"
"Some one way an' some another."
"Has ta seen onybody at's come latly?"
"Nubdy but a chap they call 'Profit."
"What did they call him 'Profit' for?"
"Aw doant know, unless it's becoss he did soa weel aght o' collectin th' rates afoor he coom here."
"Is he happy?"
"Nut exactly, he's undergooin his punishment, poor chap."
"What is it?"
"He's shut up i'th dark for as monny year as he's charged fowk for feet o' gas 'at they've niver burned; an' bi what awve heeard some o'th older end o'th sperits say, it seems varry likely 'at eternity will ha getten farish in, befoor he sees leet agean."
"Is he tormented wi' owt?"
"Nowt but his conscience."
"He hadn't one when he coom, soa he's had to tak one at's been left bi somdy else, an' it pricks him sadly."
"Then it seems his brass willn't save him?"
"Noa, for yo know, 'Wi whatsoever metre yo measure, to yo it'll be measured agean."
"Is ther owt to ait an' drink i' yor quarter?"
"Noa, they've shut all th' shops up, an' it's time they shut thine up, for aw'm stall'd o' tawkin to thi?"
Aw wor baan to ax him summat else, but he began to wriggle agean, an' th' cheerman sed th' sperit wor takkin its departure, an' in a minute he oppened his een, an luk'd raand as sackless as if he had nobbut just wakken'd. "Nah, my dear friend," sed th' cheerman, turnin an' spaikin to me, "aw hooap yo're satisfied. Does ta believe i' what this sperit has communicated?"
"Well," aw says, "to tell the th' truth, aw can't say 'at aw awther believe in it or net, for aw've noa proof, but if aw sed owt aw should be inclined to say 'net'—but still it saands varry likely what one might expect, an' that's all aw can say abaat it at present."
"Be sure tha comes to awr meetin next Sundy," he sed, "an' aw can see 'at tha'll sooin be one on us." An' for that reason aw niver went agean, for aw couldn't help thinkin 'at if aw wanted to be a medium for sperits, 'at awd rayther get a owd licensed haase an' start reight.
Wol this had been gooin on, awd heeard a chap an' his wife, 'at sat cloise to me, talkin a gooid deal, an' aw varry sooin fan aght 'at shoo wor tryin to mak him believe as mich i' sperits as shoo did, an' ivery time th' medium answered one o' my questions shoo nudged him, an' sed "Does ta hear that? Its ivery word as true as gospel? Does ta believe it nah?" After shoo'd axed him two or three times, he sed, "Well, its varry wonderful, an' aw do begin to think 'at there's summat in it." "A'a!" shoo sed, "aw knew tha'd believe if aw could get thi to come." It wor Sawney's turn next to be entranced, as they call it, an' as sooin as th' sperit had takken possession on him (which seemed to be a varry hard task, an' aw dooant know wether it went in at his maath or whear), this woman 'at set aside o' me jumped up an' axed if shoo mud be allowed to put a few questions.
Th' cheerman sed shoo mud an' welcome, soa shoo began—
"Ha old am aw?"—"Fifty-two."
"Am aw married or single?"—"Married."
"Ha monny childer have aw?"—"Four."
"Nah," shoo says, turning to her husband, "isn't it true?"
"Yos, its true enuff," he sed, "aw believe there's summat in it, but aw should like to ax a question or two misen."
"Why, jump up, then, an' luk sharp an' start," shoo sed.
So he started—
"Ha old am aw?"—"Fifty-three."
"Nah then! didn't aw tell thi! does ta believe it nah?" shoo sed.
"Am aw married or single?"—"Married."
"True agean, tha sees," sed his wife.
"Ha monny childer have aw?"—"Two."
"Two! Then if my wife's four whose, is tother two?"
As sooin as shoo heeard that, an' befoor th' medium had time to spaik, shoo seized hold ov her umbrella, an'lauped off her seat towards whear th' medium wor set, an' aw fancy if th' umbrella nop had made acquaintance wi' his heead i'th' way shoo'd intended, 'at it wodn't ha taen long to untrance that chap. But th' cheerman saw her comin, an' managed to stop it, but it wor noa easy job to quieten her. "A'a, tha lyin gooid-for- nowt!" shoo sed, "has ta come here slanderin daycent wimmin? Aw defy awther onybody i' this world or onybody i'th' tother to say owt agean my karractur! Yor a lot o' himposters, ivery one on yo, that's what yo are! Come on, Jim," shoo sed to her husband, as shoo seized hold ov his arm, "let us goa, its nooan a fit place for gradely fowk."
"Dooant be i' sich a hurry," he sed, "aw begin to think ther's summat in it."
"Summat in it! Has ta noa moor sense nor to believe in a lot o' lyin vagabones like thease? Let's get hooam, they're nooan fit spots for daycent fowk, an' aw hooap awst niver catch thi i' one agean! Come on!"
"Why, tha browt me, didn't ta? an' tha seemd to believe in it."
"Eea, aw believed' em soa long as aw knew what they tell'd me wor true, but as sooin as they start lyin, aw can't believe 'em then; but aw wish awd hold o' that chap's toppin, an' awd shake th' truth aght on him, or else awd rive his heead off—nasty low-lived sneak as he is! But come on hooam, an if tha waits wol aw bring thi agean, tha'll wait wol tha'rt a thaasand year old, an moor ner that."
They went aght, an in a bit quietness wor restored.
After a few moor remarks, th' cheerman sed 'at it wor too far on i'th' day for ony moor sperits to be sent for, for th' mediums had another meeting to attend that neet, soa he read aght another hymn, an' we tried to sing it to th' tune ov "Sweet spirit, hear mi prayer," but we couldn't, for Cinnamon wor too mich for us all—he wor a deal better brayer nor prayer, an' after one or two moor tries, th' cheerman sed "'at unless that gentleman (lukkin at Cinnamon) wod awther swallow a scaarin—stooan an' a pund o' sweet sooap to clear his voice, or else keep his maath shut, we should have to leave singin aght o'th' question altogether." But Cinnamon worn't to be put daan; an' he tell'd th' cheerman 'at if he didn't know what singin wor he did, an' when he wor in Horstraly (A voice—"What does ta know abaat Horstraly, tupheead, tha niver went noa farther ner Burtonheead i' all thi life"). This ryled Cim, an' he up wi' a stooil an' whew'd it slap at th' cheerman. Aw saw ther wor likely to be a row, for whativer other sperit wor thear, aw could see plain enuff 'at th' sperit o' mischief wor i' some on 'em, soa aw crept up beside th' door an' pop'd aght, an' left 'em to settle it as they could.
Aw met Cinnamon th' next mornin, an' aw saw 'at he'd a gurt plaister ov his nooas, an' aw couldn't help thinkin what a blessin it wod ha been to some fowk if it had been stuck ovver his maath asteead.
Ther's a Mule I' th' Garden.
(This expression is one that I have often heard used in Yorkshire to some unpleasantness being afoot.)
A Christmas Story.
Hark thi lass, what a wind! it's a long time sin we had sich a storm. Folk ought to be thankful 'at's getten a warm hearthstooan to put ther feet on, sich weather as this:—unless it alters it'll be a dree Kursmiss-day. If ony poor body has to cross this moor to neet, they'll be lost, as sure as sure con be.
It's a fearful neet reight enuff, lad, an' it maks me creep cloiser to th' range,—but it's th' sooart o' weather we mun expect at this time o' th' year. It's a rare gooid job tha gate them peats in, for we stand i' need ov a bit o' fire nah. Does ta mean to sit up all th' neet same as usual?
Eea, aw think ther's nowt like keep in up th' owd customs, an' we've niver missed watchin Kursmiss in sin we wor wed, an' that'll be nearly forty year sin; weant it? Shift that canel, sithee' ha it sweals! Does'nt to think tha'd better ligg summat to th' dooar bottom? Hark thi what a wind! Aw niver heeard th' likes; it maks th' winders fair gender agean. Soa, soa; lend me owd o' that pooaker, aw shall niver be able to taich thee ha to mend a fire aw do think. Tha should never bray it in at th' top;—use it kindly mun, tha'll find it'll thrive better; it's th' same wi' a fire as it is wi' a child—if you're allus brayin' at it you'll mak it a sad un at th' last, an' niver get nowt but black luks. But its net mich use talkin' to thee aw con see, for tha'rt ommost asleep; aw believe if th' thack ud to be blown off tha couldn't keep thi e'en oppen after ten o'clock; but use is second natur ommost, an' aw feel rayther sleepy mysen, aw allus do when ther's a wind."
* * * * * * *
In two or three minutes they wor booath hard asleep, but they had't to sleep long, for ther coom a knock at th' door laad enuff to wakken deeaf Debra (an shoo couldn't hear thunner). Th' owd man started up an flew to oppen th' door, an' in stawped a walkin' snow-drift.
"Aw wish yo a merry Kursmiss," he said.
"Thank thi lad; come a bit nearer th' leet. If tha's browt noa better luk nor tha's browt weather, tha'd better ha stopped at hooam. Who art ta?"
"Well, its a bonny come off," said th' chap, "when my own uncle connot own me."
"Its nooan Ezra, is it?" said th' owd woman.
"That's my name, aw believe, aunt," he said.
"Waw, do come an' sit thi daan. Set that kettle on lad, and mak him a drop o' summat warm; he'll do wi' it."
It worn't long afoor th' new comer wor sat i'th' front o'th' fire, smookin' a long pipe an' weetin' his whistle ivery nah an then wi' a drop o' whiskey an' watter.
"Nah lad," said th' owd man, "what news has ta browt? Tha's generally summut new."
"Aw've nowt mich uts likely to be fresh, aw dooant think," said Ezra. "Yo'd hear tell abaght that do o' Slinger's aw reckon?"
"Niver a word, lad; what's th' chuffin heead been doin?"
"Well, aw'd better start at th' beginnin' o' my tale, an' as it's rayther a longish en, you mun draw up to th' fire and mak up yor mind to harken a bit."
"Yo happen niver knew Molly Momooin? Shoo lived at Coldedge, an' used to keep one o' them sooart o' spots known i' thease pairts as a whist shop; yo'll know what that is? Shoo worn't a bad-like woman, considerin' her age (for shoo wor aboon fifty, an' had been a widdy for a dozen year), an iver sin her felly deed, shoo'd sell'd small drink o'th sly (they dooant think its wrang up i' them pairts), an ther wor at said it wor nooan of a bad sooart, tho shoo used to booast at ther wor niver a chap gate druffen i' her haas, tho ther'd been one or two brussen. Like monny a widdy beside, at's getten a bit o' brass together, shoo wor pestered wi' chaps at wanted to hing ther hats up, an put ther feet o' th' hearthstooan, an' call thersen th' maister o' what they'd niver helped to haddle. But shoo wornt a waik-minded en, wornt Molly:—an shoo tell'd em all at th' chap at gate her ud have to have a willin' hand as well as a warm heart, for shoo'd enuff to do to keep hersen, withaat workin' her fingers to th' booan for a lump o' lumber ith' nook.
Soa one after another they all left off botherin' her except one, an that wor Jim o' long Joan's, throo Wadsworth, an he seemed detarmined to get her to change her mind if he could. As sooin as iver shoo oppened th' shuts in a mornin', he used to laumer in an' call for a quart (that cost him three-awpence, an used to fit him varry weel woll nooin). Well, things nother seemed to get farther nor nearer, for a long time, but one day summat happened at made a change ith' matter. It wor just abaght th' time at th' new police wor put on, an Slinger wor made into one. Nah Slinger thowt he ought to be made into a sargent, an he said "he wor determined to extinguish hissen i' sich a way woll they couldn't be off promotionin' him, an if they didn't he'd nobscond." Soa th' furst thing he did wor to goa an ligg information agen owd Molly sellin' ale baght license. Th' excise chaps sooin had him an two or three moor off to cop th' owd lass ith' act, for they said, "unless they could see it thersen they could mak nowt aght." It wor a varry nice day, an' off they set o' ther eearand.
Nah it just soa happened at Jim o' long Joans (they used to call him Jimmy-long for short), wor lukin' aght oth' winder, an' saw em comin'; ther wor noabody ith' haas drinkin' but hissen, soa emptyin' his quart daan th' sink, he tell'd Molly to be aware, for ther wor mischief brewin'; an then he bob'd under th' seat. In abaght a minit three on em coom in,—not i' ther blue clooas an silver buttons, but i' ther reglar warty duds.
"Nah, owd lass," said one, "let's have hauf-a-gallon o' stiff-shackle, an luk sharp."
"What do yo want, maister? I think yo've come to th' rang haase; do yo tak this to be a jerry-hoil; or ha?" said Molly. (They'd ta'en care to leave Slinger aghtside, cos they knew he'd be owned.)
"Nay, nah come," they said, "its all reight mun, here's th' brass, sithee, fotch a soop up, for we're all three as dry as a assmidden."
"Why, if yo are reight dry," shoo says (an bith' mass they wor, for they'd been walkin' a bit o' ther best), "ther's lots o' watter ith' pot under th' table, but be as careful as yo con, for it bides a deal o' fotchin'—but aw wodn't advise yo to fill yor bellies o' cold watter when yo're sweatin', its nooan a gooid thing mun. Have yo come fur? Yo luk as if yo'd been runnin' aght oth' gate o' summut, but aw hope yo've been i' noa sooart o' mischief: hasumever, sit yo daan an cooil a bit."
They set em daan, for they wor fessened what to do, an at last one on em whispered, "aw believe Slinger's been havin' us on, seekin' th' fiddle, but if he has, we'll repoort him an get him discharged like a shot."
"Why," said another, "ha is it he isn't here? Where's he gooan?"
"He's hid hissen ith' pigcoit just aghtside. Aw expect he'll be ommost stoled o' waitin' bi this, but let him wait, he desarves it for bringin' folk o' sich eearands as theease, We'st nobbut get laft at when we get back, soa what think yo if we goa an say nowt abaght it? He'll nooan stop long aw'll warrant."
"Well, nowt but reight," they said; soa biddin' th' owd woman gooid day, they set off back. When they went aght, Jimmy crope throo under th' langsettle, an' lukin' at Molly, he said, "Nah, have aw done thi a gooid turn this time owd craytur?"
"Tha has, Jim, an aw'm varry mich obleeged to thi, lad," shoo says, "an tha shall have another quart at my expense."
"Net yet, thank thi, Molly. Aw havn't done wi this—ther's a bit ov a spree to be had aght on it yet mun, aw heeard ivery word at they said, an what does ta think! They've left Slinger ith' pigcoit waitin', an aw meean to keep him theear for a bit." Soa sayin,' he quietly crept aght, an went raand to th' back o' th' pigcoit.
"Slinger! are ta thear?"
"All reight, lad; have yo fun ought?"
"Nut yet, but we're just gooin to do; tha munnat stir, whativer tha does. Its a rare do is this. It'll be th' makin' on us, mun."
"Does ta think we shall get made into sargents?" axed Slinger.
"I lad, an corporals too, aw'll be bun; but bowd thi whisht, whatever tha does—we'll come for thi as sooin as we want thi; does ta think tha could sup a drop o' summat if tha had it?"
"Aw wish aw'd chonce, that's all.'"
"Well, bide thi time, an aw'll send thi some."
Jim then walked away, an leavin' Slinger screwed up like a dishclaat, he went into th' haase, and call'd for a quart.
"Well, what's come o' Slinger?" said Molly.
"Oh, he's all reight—he's gooin through his degrees to get made into a sargent or a corporal or some other sort ov a ral, but aw'll bet he'll wish it wor his funeral afoor aw've done wi' him."
Jimmy sat comfortably suppin' his stiffshackle an smokin' a bit o' bacca, an tried by all th' means in his power to wheedle th' owd woman into his way o' thinkin'.
"Tha mud do wor nor ha' me mun" he said, "aw'm nut ovver handsome aw know, but ther's nowt abaght me to flay onybody."
"Ther'll nubby be freetened o' thee lad, tha need'nt think," shoo says, "for tha reminds me ov a walkin' cloaas peg—if tha'd been split a bit heigher up tha'd ha' done for a pair o' cart shafts."
"Well tha knows beauty's i'th eye o'th beholder," says Jim.
"They'd be able to put all thy beauty i' ther e'e an see noa war for it," shoo says.
"Well, aw'm willin' to work an keep thi a lady as far as th' brass 'll gaa."
"What mack ov a lady aw should like to know? Th' same as aw am nah aw reckon, up to th' elbows i' soap suds. But once for all aw want thi to understand at aw'm nooan i'th weddin' vein at present."
"Well tha'rt a hard-hearted woman, that's what tha art—an nooan as gooid ith' bottom as tha mud be, or else tha'd niver live here chaitin' th' excise for a livin', astead o' being th' wife ov a daycent chap. Aw ommost wish aw'd letten them chaps catch thi; it ud nobbut ha sarved thi reight."
"Sarved me reight, wod it? Well tha con goa an fotch Slinger aght o' th' pigcoit (for aw reckon he's thear yet), but ha mich better ar ta, at sits thear suppin' it? But whether aw'm as gooid as aw should be or net, aw'm sure tha'rt a gooid-for-nowt, an th' sooiner tha taks thi hook aght o' this haase an' th' better, for aw've studden thy nonsense woll aw'm fair staled. Are ta baan? For if tha doesn't tha'll get this poaker abaght thi heead."
"Nay! Nay! tha doesn't mean it?" said Jim, jumpin' aght o'th gate, "tha wodn't hurt me surelee?"
"Hurt thi! drabbit thi up, tha's spun me to th' length—ger aght o' that door."
Jimmy kept backin' aght step by step, an' Molly wor flourishin' th' poaker, but nother on em saw at th' peggy-tub wor fair i'th gate woll Jim backed slap into it. Splash went th' watter o' ivery side, an' Molly skriked, "A'a dear! sarved thi reight, as if tha could'nt see a whole tub! What are ta splashin' like that for?"
But poor Jimmy couldn't spaik, for he wor wedged as fast as a thief in a miln, an' nowt but his legs an' his arms could be seen. Molly catched howd on his legs an' tried to pool him aght, but th' heigher shoo lifted his feet an' th' lower sank his heead, soa ther wor noa way to do but to roll it over an' teem him aght.
"This beats all," says Molly, as shoo helped him up, "couldn't ta see it?"
"Does ta think aw've a e'e i' th' back o' my heead?" he said, "it's all long o' thee, an' dang it that watters whoot."
"It's like to be whoot," shoo says, "did ta iver know folk wesh i' cold watter, tha lumphead?"
"Well, what shall aw have to do? Aw'm as weet as a sop, to say nowt ov a blister or two.
"Tha mun goa thi ways to bed an' throw thi clooas daan th' stairs an, aw'll see if aw connot dry 'em off for thi."
Soa up stairs he went an' flang his weet things daan, sayin' at th' same time, "If tha finds any buttons off tha can suit thisen whether tha puts 'em on or net."
"Aw've summat else to do nor sew for thee, tha's made we wark enuff," shoo said.
It did'nt tak long for Molly to dry th' cloas an' shoo raylee felt sooary for him after all, soa shoo set too an' stitched him a button or two on, an' as shoo said, "mensened him up a bit for he wor somebody's poor lad."
He wor sooin drest nice an' comfortable agean an' then he thowt it wor time to goa an' see what had come o' Slinger.
As sooin as he coom near th' coit he could hear him snoaring away ommost as laad as a trombone. "Well tha'rt a bonny en" he said "to be paid aght o'th rates for keeping a sharp luk aght. Aw did think to bring thi summat to sup but its a pity to disturb thi. Aw'll try another dodge an see ha' that'll act."
Away he went an' in a minit or two coom back wi a huggin o' strea, an' quietly oppenin th' door he shoved it in,—he then walked off mutterin "tha'll be capp'd when tha wackens owd lad."
As th' day began to grow shorter a few owd faces began to peep in to see ha Molly wor gettin on an' to taste ov her drink. When ther'd getten abaght a hauf a duzzen on em Jim slipped aght an' sammed up all he could find i'th' shape o' buckets an' had em filled wi watter an' not o' th' cleanest sooart,—then he lit a wisp o' strea just aghtside o'th' pighoil door an' waited wall th' smook had begun to curl nicely up:— then he darted into th' haase an' bawled aght "Heigh lads! do come,— somdy's set th' pighoil o' fire."
Aght they flew an' sure enuff thear it wor reekin away' like a brick kiln.
"Sleck th' inside first," says Jim, an' in a twinklin one pailful after another wor splashed in. Slinger sooin wacken'd but he wor fast what to mak on it,—he thowt he must be dreamin ov a storm at sea or summat.
"Howd on! Howd on!" he yell'd aght "what have yo agate?"
"Do luk sharp lads," says Jim, "ther's somdy inside they'll be burnt to th' deeath. Bring some watter some on yo."
"Ther is noan," they says, "its all done."
"Why mucky watter 'll sleck as weel as clean, give us howd of a pailful o' swill. We munnot have th' poor body burnt to th' deeath."
Just as Slinger was rushin aght o'th' door he gate a reglar dooas 'at ommost floor'd him.
"Nah lads, lets stop a bit, says Jim, aw think th' dangers ommost ovver,—lets see who this chap is. It's happen somdy at wanted to burn owd Molly aght o' haase an' harbor."
Slinger brast aght o'th' door like a roarin lion,—but he wor sooin collard, an' he wor soa bedisend with soft cake an' puttaty pillins at his own mother could'nt ha owned him.
"Dooant yo know who aw am," he sputtered aght, "Awm Slinger, yo know me."
"Bith mass it is Slinger," said Jim,—"its noabdy else," whativer has ta been dooin to get into a mess like this? Tha may thank thy stars tha worn't burnt to th' deeath."
"Well aw dooant know 'at it means mich whether a chap's burnt or draand, but awther on 'em befoor being smoord,—did iver ony body see sich a seet as aw am?"
"Why tha luks like a sheep heead wi brain sauce tem'd over it, said one."
"He needn't carry a scent bottle wi' him, they'll be able to smell him withaat," said another.
"Ha shall aw have to get clean," says Slinger. "Aw can't goa hooam this pictur?"
"Tha'll have to get sombdy to scrape thi daan, unless tha thinks tha's getten enuff o'th' scrape tha'rt in already;—but aw think tha'd better goa hooam to th' wife an' tell her tha's comed."
"He's noa need to do that, if shoo's ought of a nooas sho'll find it aght.
"Well if this is what comes o' being a bobby aw'll drop it, but for gooidness sake lads, niver split for aw'st niver hear th' last o' this do."
At last they persuaded Slinger to goa hooam. What he said to th' wife or what shoo said to him folk niver knew, but certain it is 'at shoo went an' left him an' lived wi her mother for aboon a wick at after.
When he turned aght next mornin to goa see th' superintendent, he luked like a gate-post 'at's studden in a rookery for six months. He'd to wait a bit afoor he could see him, but when he did he said "Maister!" aw've comed to get turned off for awm sick o' this job—no moor cunstublin for me, aw've had enuff."
"Why my good man," he said, "what's up? Have yo dropt in for summat yo dooant like?"
"Aw have,—an' summat's been dropt onto me at aw dooant like, an aw've made up my mind to throw up th' drumsticks an' tak to honest hard wark for a livin."
"Well young man, yo seem dissatisfied, but yo should remember 'at we're like soldiers in a war, we're feightin agean things 'at isn't reight, its nut allus straight forrard, it seems yors has'nt been this time, but its one o'th chances o' war' at yo mun expect."
"It may be a chance o' war, but it'll be a chance o' better afoor yo catch me at it agean, so gooid mornin."
When he'd getten into th' street he langed to goa up to owd Molly's agean, but thowts o'th' neet afoor kept him back, and varry weel it wor soa, for Jim o' Long wor dooin his best to flay th' owd woman woll shoo'd be glad to have him and shut up th' wisht shop,—an' be shot he managed, for shoo promised shoo'd wed him in a month, an' shoo wor as gooid as her word.
Jimmy settled daan to his cobblin (for he reckoned to do a bit at that when he did ought), an' he worked away varry weel for a bit, an' Molly took a pride i'th' garden aghtside an' th' haase inside, an' they were varry comfortable. But ther wor just an odd booan somewhear abaght Jim 'at did'nt like wark, an' aw think it must 'ha' been a wopper, for it used to stop all t'other ivery nah and then for two or three days together. He liked to goa an' sit i'th' beershop opposite, an' have a pint or two, an' Molly knew it wor her bit o' brass at wor gooin, for shoo said "he hardly haddled as mich sometimes as he cost i' wax."
One day he'd been rayther longer nor usual, an' shoo wor just ready for him.
"Aw thowt tha used to tell me at it wornt th' ale tha wanted, it wor me; but na it is'nt me ta wants, it's the ale."
"Why, woll a chap lives he con alter his mind, connot he?" said Jim.
"Oh! soa tha's altered thi mind, has ta? Tha's noa need to tell me that, aw can see it, an' aw've altered mine too, an' aw've a gooid mind to pail my heead agean th' jawm when aw think on it."
"Why, lass, it's a pity to spoil a gooid mind, but aw'st advise thi to tak thi cap off for fear o' crushin it."
"An' if aw did crush it, whose brass wor it at bought it, aw should like to know? Tha's taen moor brass across th' rooad this wick nor what ud ha bought booath a cap an a bonnet, an' tha'rt staring across nah as if tha langed to be gooin agean. What are ta starin at?"
"Nay nowt, but aw think ther's a mule i'th' garden," said Jim.
"He'd hardly getten th' words aght ov his maath, when Molly seizes th' besom, an' flies aght, saying, "It's just what yo mun expect when folk come hooam hauf druffen, an' leeav th' gate oppen."
"Whativer has th' owd craytur up," says Jim. "Shoo surely doesn't think aw mean ther wor a mule i'th' garden? Aw nobbut meant ther wor a bit ov a row i'th' hoil; but aw'll niver be trusted if shoo is'nt lukkin under th' rhubub leaves, as if shoo thowt a mule could get thear, but shoo'll be war mad at ther isn't one nor what shoo wod ha been if shoo'd fun hauf a duzzen."
Molly coom back in a awful temper. "Soa tha thowt tha couldn't do enuff to aggravate me but tha mun mak a fooil on me?"
"Why, wornt ther one?"
"Noa, ther worn't, an' tha knew that."
"Ther wor summat 'at luk'd as faal as one, daatless, when tha wor thear."
"Come, tha's noa room to talk. Aw think aw'm as handsom as thee, ony end up. Folk may weel wonder what aw could see i' thee, and aw niver should ha had thee if aw had'nt been varry cloise seeted."
"Tha'rt booath cloise seeted and cloise fisted, aw think, and if tha wor cloiser maathed sometimes ther'd be less din."
"Thear tha goaas agean. Aw've spakken, have aw. Aw'll tell thi what it is, tha can't bide to be tell'd o' thi faults, but aw'm nooan gooin to be muzzled to suit thee."
"Why, lass, it isn't oft tha oppens thi maath for nowt, tha generally lets summat aght."
"Well, an' when tha oppens thine, tha generally lets summat in, soa we're abaght straight."
"Aw wish we wor, lass, for aw'm stoled o' this bother, an' if ther isn't a mule i'th' garden nah, ther's summat else, for if that isn't Slinger, aw wor niver soa capt i' my life. Why, he looks as fat as a pig. Oppen th' door, an' ax him in, for it's th' first time aw've seen him sin he'd his heead in a pooltice."
"Gooid day, Slinger; ha ta gettin on?"
"Oh, meeterly just. Aw thowt a callin when aw went past afoor, but ther wor sich a din, aw thowt ther mud be a mule i' th'"—
"What does ta say," says Molly. "Has ta come here to taunt me? "Aw've been tell'd abaght that mule afoor this afternooin."
"Molly," said Jim, "tha caps me. Doesn't ta know what folk mean when they say there's a mule i' th' garden? They mean there's a bit of a dust i' th' hoil, that's all mun."
"Oh! is that it!" says Molly. "Aw see nah. Yo know aw'm to be excused if aw dooant understand iverything, for aw'm not mich of a scholard; ther worn't schooils like there is nah when aw wor a lass; but aw'd a brother once 'at wor as cliver as onybody—he used to be able to rule th' planets; but he wor draaned at last, an' aw declare aw've niver been able to bide th' seet o' watter sin'. Aw believe that wor what made me start o' brewin."
"Why yo happen have a sup left, said Slinger?"
"Ea lad, ther's some i' that pewter sithee—tak howd an sup."
"Thank thi' "he said, an' here's wishing at ther may niver be a 'mule i' th' garden' but what 'll be as easy getten shut on as this has been this afternooin."
"Gooid lad Slinger! Tha talks like a book. Aw believe if tha'd had a better bringin up tha'd ha' made a philosipher says Molly."
"Tha had a fancy once to be a police ossifer hadn't ta said Jim? But aw think tha's getten that nooation purged aght on thi nah?"
"Well, aw gate it swill'd aght on me ony way. But aw think some times' at it towt me a bit o' sense, an' whoiver he is 'at wants to raise hissen up, by poolin somdy else daan, aw hope he'll get sarved ith' same way; for when a chap shuts his een to ivery body's interests but his own he desarves to be dropt on—but if we'd all to strive to lend one another a hand, things ud go on a deal smoother, an' as nooan on us is perfect, we ought to try by kindness an' gooid natur an by practisin a bit o' patience to mak one another's rooad as pleasant as we con, an if we stuck to that we should find fewer mules i' th' garden."
* * * * * * *
"O! an' soa that's th' tale abaght Slinger, is it Ezra?"
"That's it uncle, its done nah."
"Its abaght time it wor, an' th' next time tha comes here an' brings a tale wi' thi mak it hauf as long an' it'll be twice as welcome."
A Neet at "Widup's Rest."
We've mooast on us, at one 'time or another, accidentally dropt amang company withaat havin ony idea o' spendin mich time wi' em, an' yet we've kept stoppin an' stoppin, feelin as happy as con be, an' niver thinkin for a minit what a blowin-up we should get when we landed hooam. An' aw've mony a time thowt 'at a body enjoys a bit ov a doo o' that sooart a deal better nor a grand set affair, becoss when a body expects nowt it's hardly likely he'll be disappointed. Well, it wor one day last winter 'at aw'd walked monny a weary mile, an' it wor commin dark, when aw called at "Widdup's Rest," to see if aw could get owt to comfort me old inside, for aw wor feelin varry wamley. As sooin as th' lonlady saw me shoo ax'd me to step forrads into another raam, which aw did, an' fan a few chaps set raand a fire fit to rooast a bull, an' lukkin varry jolly. As sooin as they saw me they made raam for me at th' hob end, an' began talkin to me as friendly as if they'd known me all ther life. Aw sooin began to feel varry mich at hooam wi' em, an' as th' lonlady browt in some basins o' hot stew 'at shoo wodn't be paid for, (an old trick to get fowk to spend twice as mich another rooad) an' as another chap wod pay for all we had to sup an' smook, aw thowt aw mud ha gone farther an' fared worse. It worn't long befoor some moor coom droppin in (ha that happens aw dooant know, but aw darsay you'll ha nooaticed it monny a time yorsen, 'at if ther's owt stirrin 'at's cheap ther's allus a certain class o' fowk 'at drop in accidentally).
After a bit, we mustered a varry nice pairty ov abaat a dozen, an' as iverybody wor tawkin at once we managed to mak a fairish din. But at last one o'th' chaps proposed 'at we should have a cheerman, an' see if we couldn't conduct business in a moor sensible manner. Ivery body sed, "hear, hear!" an' ov cooarse th' chap 'at wor standin sam wor voated in, which seemed to give him mich satisfaction, an aw couldn't help thinking 'at he worn't th' furst chap 'at had getten put i' sich a position for his brass an' net his brains.
After "order" had been called two or three times bi every body i'th' place, th' cheerman stood up an' sed, "Gentlemen, aw feel varry praad to okkipy this cheer, an' aw'll do mi best to discharge the duties that disolves upon me at this important crikus, an' aw think if ony body wants to order owt they'd better do it at once, soas we shalln't have ony interruptions." We all shaated, "hear, hear!" agean, an' th' lonlady wor i'th' raam befoor we'd time to ring th' bell. When we'd all getten supplied th' cheerman stood up agean, an' knockin th' table wi' a empty ale bottle, sed, "silence!"
We ivery one shaated "silence!" an' luk'd daggers at one another for makkin sich a din, an' then he went on to say, "Gentlemen, as aw'm a stranger amang yo, ov coorse aw dooant know mich abaat yo, but aw should be varry mich pleeased if one on yo wod oblige bi singing a song."
"Nah ther's a chonce for thee, Cocky," sed one.
"Tha knows aw connot sing," sed Cocky, "aw think Ike ud do better nor me."
"Nay, aw can sing nooan," sed Ike, "aw niver sang owt i' mi life but' Rock-a-boo-babby,' an' it's soa long sin aw've forgetten that, but ther's old Mosslump thear, happen he'll give us one, we all know he can sing." "Dooant thee pitch onto me," sed Mosslump, "it'll be time enuf for thee to start o' orderin when we mak thi into th' cheerman, what can't yo start wi' Standhen for, we know he can sing?"
"O, Standhen!" they sed, "we'd forgetten Standhen! He can give us a owd Tory touch we know."
Up jumpt th' cheerman, an befoor Standhen had time to spaik he called aght, "Mr. Standhen! We're all waitin for thy song, an as cheerman o' this assembly aw expect thee to do what tha con to entertain this compny, or otherwise aw shall vacate this cheer."
As all th' glasses wor beginnin to get low, they felt this to be an appeal to ther inmost sowl, soa they all began, perswadin Standhen, an' after a deeal to do he promised to try. "Aw know awst braik daan befoor aw start," he sed. "Nay, tha'll have to start furst," sed one, "but we'll excuse thi if tha does; if tha tries it'll show willin." After coughin once an' suppin twice, he shut his e'en an' oppened his maath, an' this is what coom aght:—
Thou grand old Church of England! Though others raise their voice, And try to stain thy spotless name, Thou still shall be my choice; Just as thou art, I love thee thus, And freely I confess, I'd have thee not one jot the more, Nor yet one tittle less.
Those who would rob thee of thy rights, And urge with specious tongue, That theft by Act of Parliament Can surely not be wrong. I'd have them leave thy sheltering wing, And nevermore to dare To stand within thy courts of praise, Or taint thy house of prayer.
Oh! dear old Church of England, That points the way to Heaven! Amid a sad, sad world of sin The truly, only leaven. We leave thee to our Father's care, Who knows thy needs the best, Convinced that He, by aid of thee, Will leaven all the rest.
When he'd finished they all knocked ther glasses on th' table bi way ov applaudin, which th' lonlady hearin, at once coom in an' ax'd if they wor "callin?" an' as all wor empty, shoo luk'd varry hard at th' cheerman, an' he nodded "as befoor," soa shoo gethered up th' empties, an' called for Liza "to bring in them glasses," which wor at once done, an' showd a gooid deal o' foreseet on her part i' havin 'em ready.
When all had getten sarved wi' hot watter, an' given ovver crushin sugar, th' cheerman announced 'at it wor Mr. Standhen's call, soa up jumped Standhen, an' said "he couldn't do better nor call owd Mosslump for a song." Some moor applause followed this, but they didn't knock th' tables wi' ther glasses this time, becoss they wor too full. Mosslump stood up, wiped his maath wi' th' corners ov his necktie, turned up his e'en as if he wor gooin to depart this life i' peace, an' in a voice, time, an' manner peculiarly his own he sung—
Mistress Moore is Johnny's wife, An' Johnny is a druffen sot; He spends th' best portion ov his life I'th beershop wi' a pipe an' pot. At schooil together John an' me Set side by side like trusty chums, An' niver did we disagree Till furst we met sweet Lizzy Lumbs. At John shoo smiled, An' aw wor riled; Shoo showed shoo loved him moor nor me Her bonny e'en Aw've seldom seen Sin' that sad day shoo slighted me.
Aw've heeard fowk say shoo has to want, For Johnny ofttimes gets o'th spree; He spends his wages in a rant, An' leeaves his wife to pine or dee. An' monny a time aw've ligged i' bed, An' cursed my fate for bein poor, An' monny a bitter tear aw've shed, When thinkin ov sweet Mistress Moore. For shoo's mi life Is Johnny's wife, An' tho' to love her isn't reet, What con aw do, When all th' neet throo Aw'm dreeamin ov her e'en soa breet.
Aw'll goa away an' leeave this spot, For fear 'at we should iver meet, For if we did, as sure as shot Awst throw me daan anent her feet. Aw know shoo'd think aw wor a fooil, To love a woman when shoo's wed, But sin' aw saw her furst at schooil, It's been a wretched life aw've led. But th' time has come To leeave mi hooam, An' th' sea between us sooin shall roar, Yet still mi heart Will niver part Wi' th' image ov sweet Mistress Moore.
Long befoor he'd done th' chaps had begun tawkin, some abaat politics an some abaat Knursticks, an' when he sat daan th' cheerman wor th' only quiet chap i' th' lot, an' he wor ommost asleep; but Mosslump comforted hissen wi' whisperin to me 'at classical mewsic wor varry little thowt on, an' after a sigh, a sup, a shake ov his head, an' another leet for his pipe, he sat daan evidently detarmined not to be suited wi' owt i' th' singin way that neet. After th' cheerman had wakken'd up, two or three called for "Cocky," an' this time he gate up withaat ony excuses, an' although he did rock backards an' forrads like a clock pendlum th' wrang end up, yet aw must say he entered life an' soul into what he had to do, an' in a voice 'at seemed three times too big for the size ov his carcass he sang—
Lord John and John Lord were both born on a day, But their fortunes were different quite; Lord John was decked out in most gorgeous array, As soon as he first saw the light. But poor Johnny Lord, it's true on my word, He'd no clothes to step into at all; He'd no flannel to wrap, he'd no nightgown or cap, But was rolled in his poor mother's shawl. Now, it seems very strange, yet it's true what I say And I hope you're not doubting my word; And I'll tell what took place in a general way, With Lord John and with poor Johnny Lord
The nurse took Lord John, and the doctors stood round, And examined the child and his clothes; Whilst a fussy physician, with looks most profound, Wiped his aristocratical nose. "It is, I declare, most uncommonly fair, And its voice, oh! how sweet when it cries; It really would seem like the child of a dream, Or an angel just dropt from the skies." Now, it seems very strange, &c.
Now, poor Johnny Lord and his mother were laid, Both fainting and cold on the straw; No doctors would come there unless they were paid, Or compelled to be there by the law. No comforting word heard poor Mistress Lord, As o'er her babe bending she sat, And each one who saw it cried with one accord, "What a little detestable brat." Now, it seems very strange, &c.
The two babes became men as the years rolled away. And Lord John sported carriage and pair, Whilst poor Johnny Lord working hard for poor pay, Was content with what fell to his share. Lord John went to races, to balls and to routs, And squandered his wealth with the gay, Till at last came the reaper, and sought them both out, And took Lord John and John Lord away. Now, it seems very strange, &c.
Very soon a grand monument stood o'er Lord John, To show where the great man was laid, But over John Lord was no mark and no stone, It was left as when left by the spade. But the time yet shall come when John Lord and Lord John Shall meet in the realms far away, When the riches and titles of earth are all gone, Then which will be greatest, friends, say? Then, though it seems strange, yet it's true what you've heard, And a lesson throughout it is cast, Which should comfort the poor working men like John Lord, For we all shall be equal at last.
As sooin as he'd finished quaverin on th' last noat but one, ther wor sich a knockin o' glasses an' thump in o' fists, wol th' lonlady coom in agean, an' th' cheerman felt it his duty to order "as befoor," which order th' lonlady worn't long i' executin. "Gooid lad! Cocky!" sed Ike, "if aw'd a voice like thee aw'd travel! Tawk abaat Sims Reeves! He niver sang a song like that sin he wor creddled! Nah Maister Cheerman, keep up th' harmony, we're mendin on it aw'm sure. 'Gow, aw'll have another pipe o' bacca o' th' heead on it' nay, raylee, aw niver did hear sich a song," savin which he sat daan an' hid his astonishment behund a claad o' reek.
"Well," sed th' cheerman, "as Ike seems soa anxious, aw think he'd better try an' let's see what he con do." "Hear, hear!" on all sides, an' two or three pulled him up whether he wod or net, an' after a gooid deal o' sidelin abaat, he axed if he mud have his cap on, for he could niver sing withaat cap. "That's to keep th' mewsic throo flyin aght o'th' top ov his heead," sed one. "Order!" sed th' cheerman, "if Ike wants his cap on let him have it, may be he'll loise th' air withaat it."
Ike luk'd very solid for a minit, an' then he struck a lively tune in a voice abaat as musical as a saw sharpener.
Let us have a jolly spree, An' wi' joy an' harmonie, Let the merry moments flee, For mi love's come back. O, the days did slowly pass, When aw'd lost mi little lass, But nah we'll have a glass, For mi love's come back.
O, shoo left me in a hig, An' shoo didn't care a fig, But nah aw'll donce a jig, For mi love's come back. An' aw know though far away, 'At her heart neer went astray, An' awst iver bless the day, For mi love's come back.
When shoo ax'd me yesterneet What made mi heart so leet, Aw says, "why can't ta see it's 'Coss mi love's come back." Then aw gave her just a kiss, An' shoo tuk it noan amiss An' aw'm feear'd aw'st brust wi' bliss, For mi love's come back.
Nah aw'm gooin to buy a ring, An' a creddle an' a swing, Ther's noa tellin what may spring, For mi' love's come back. O, aw niver thowt befoor 'At sich joy could be i' stoor, But nah aw'l grieve noa moor, For mi love's come back.
As mud ha been expected, they applauded Ike famously, but th' cheerman wor hard asleep agean, an' it tuk a gooid shakkin to wakken him, an' then he didn't seem to be altogether thear, an' as sooin as they left him aloan he dropt on agean.
"Aw think th' cheerman's ommost sewed up," sed Ike. "Net he! he's noan sewed up," sed Mosslump, "it's that song o' thine 'at's sent him to sleep! who the shames does ta think could keep wakken for sich a song as that? aw knew tha'd do it as sooin as aw heeard thi begin." "Come, aw'll sing thee for a quairt any day," sed Ike, "tha fancies coss tha'd once a uncle 'at could sing a bit, 'at ther's some mewsic born i' thee; but if aw'd a public haase aw wodn't let thee sing in it for a paand, for aw'll bet tha'd turn all th' ale saar." "Tha am't worth tawkin to, Ike, an' as for thee havin a voice, Why! tha arn't fit to hawk cockles an' mussels." "Well, an if aw did hawk 'em aw'd tak gooid care aw didn't sell thee ony unless aw gate th' brass befoorhand, soa tha can crack that nut." "Does ta mean to say 'at aw dooant pay mi way? aw've moor brass commin in ivery day nor tha can addle in a wick." Aw saw it luk'd likely for a row brewin, soa aw sed, "nah chaps, we've had a verry nice evening soa far, an' aw shouldn't like ony unpleasantness, for yo see th' cheerman's had a drop too much, an' aw think we owt to try to get him hooam if ony body knows wheear he lives." "Eea!" sed one chap 'at had been varry quite all th' neet, "aw dooant think he'll pay for owt ony moor, soa we mud as weel get shut on him." "Ther's Frank standin' at th' corner," sed another "aw dar say he'll tak him." "Who's Frank, aw asked." "O, it's a donkey 'at they call Frank," sed Ike, "th' chap 'at bowt him had him kursened Frank i' honor o' Frank Crossley bein made a member o' parliment." "Varry weel," aw sed, "then let's get him onto it." One or two came to give a lift, an' wi' a bit o' trouble we gate him aghtside. Th' donkey wor thear, but as ther wor a gurt milk can o' each side on it, aw couldn't see exactly ha to put this chap on. "O," sed Ike, "he'll ride nicely between' em," soa we hoisted him up, an' gave th' chap 'at belang'd donkey a shilling to see him safe hooam. Off they went at a jog trot, an' aw fancy if he'd niver known owt abaat th' can can befoor, 'at he'd have a varry lively noation o' what it meant befoor he'd gooan two mile daan th' hill. When we'd getten him away, some o'th chaps went back into th' haase, but aw thowt my wisest plan wor to steer straight for hooam, which aw did, an' although aw believe my old woman had prepared a dish o' tongue for mi supper, as aw went straight to bed an' fell asleep, aw'm net exactly sure whether aw gate it or net. When aw wakken'd next mornin, aw began thinking abaat th' neet befoor, an' aw coom to th' conclusion, 'at "Widdop's Rest" might be all varry weel once in a way, but if a chap had weary booans, he'd be able to rest a deal better in a comfortable bed at hooam.