Yorkshire Tales. Third Series
Amusing Sketches of Yorkshire Life in the Yorkshire Dialect.
Author of "Clock Almanack," "Yorkshire Ditties," "Yorksher Puddin," "Mally an Me," etc.
Ther's sunshine an storm as we travel along, Throo life's journey whear ivver we be; An its wiser to leeten yor heart wi' a song, Nor to freeat at wbat fate may decree; Yo'll find gooid an bad amang th' fowk 'at yo meet, An' form friendships maybe yo'll regret; But tho' some may deceive an lay snares for yor feet, Pass 'em by,—an' Forgive an' Forget.
London: William Nicholson & Sons Limited, 26, Paternoster Square, E.C.
Grimes' New Hat. Sammywell Sweeps th' Chimley. Hepsabah's Hat. Old Dave to th' New Parson. Sammywell's Eggsperiment. What came of a Clock Almanac. Sammywell's Reformation. Sheffield Smook. Awr Lad. Grimes' Galloway. True Blue; A Romance of Factory Life. "If aw wor a Woman." Sammywell's Soft Snap. A Bashful Bradfordian. Th' Owd, Owd Story. Jim Nation's Fish-shop. Bob Brierley's Bull Pup. Troubles and Trials. Earnin' a Honest Penny. Th' Next Mornin'. Christmas Oysters. Chairley's Coortin. What a Gallus Button did.
Grimes' New Hat.
"Sammywell, has ta seen Swindle latly?"
"Nay, Mally, aw havn't seen him for a matter ov two or three wick."
"Well, aw wish tha'd been at chapel yesterdy mornin."
"Wor ther summat extra like."
"Eah, ther wor summat extra; an summat at wod ha made thee oppen thi e'en. Aw wor nivver so surprised i' mi life. Swindle an his wife wor thear,—an tho' it isn't oft aw tak noatice o' fowk, aw couldn't help dooin soa, an it wor a treeat to see em."
"Aw can believe thi weel enuff; ther's net monny wimmen as hansome as Mistress Swindle."
"Awm not tawkin abaat Mistress Swindle; tha knows better nor that, awd like to know what ther is hansome abaat her? Shoo's noa style abaat her. Shoo's a gurt brussen thing! But Swindle is a gooid-lukkin chap, an awm sewer onnybody could ha mistakken him for a real gentleman. He'd a grand suit o' clooas on, as hansome as onny man need wear at his wife's funeral, an noa sign o' muck under his fingernails, an he'd a silk top hat on at shane like a lukkin glass!"
"Why, what bi that? Aw've a silk top hat, but aw nivver wear it."
"Noa, an tha nivver will wear it, unless tha walks aght bi thisen! It isn't fit to be seen at a hen race. Aw wodn't be seen walkin aght wi thi wi sich a thing on thi heead. But aw meean thi to ha one an aw'll pay for it aght o' mi own pocket, but aw'll goa wi' thi to buy it, for if tha went bi thisen tha'd let em shove onny sooart ov a oldfashioned thing onto thi, but they'll find they've a different body to deal wi when awm thear."
"It's varry gooid o' thee, Mally, to offer to buy me a new hat, but aw railly dooant want one. Yond hat o' mine is as gooid as new for aw havn't had it on a duzzen times. Tha knows aw nivver wear it nobbut when aw goa to th' chapel. It isn't aboon twelve month sin aw gave ten shilling for it."
"It's soa much bigger shame for thi to tell it. It shows ha oft tha goes to a place o' worship. A fine example tha sets to Jerrymier an th' rest o' thi gron-childer. But awd have thee to know at tha'rt net as young as tha used to be, an its abaat time tha wor thinkin o' thi latter end. Tha may be deead an burried befoor long an tha owt to prepare."
"Why, tha sewerly doesn't meean to bury me in a silk hat?"
"Noa, aw dooant think awst ivver have th' luck to bury thi at all! But aw want thi to begin an goa to th' chapel reglar, an let Mistress Swindle see at her husband isn't th' only one at can turn aght like a gentleman."
"Tha'll be like to pleeas thisen abaat it, but aw thowt it wor me tha wor praad on an net mi hat."
"Tha gets some strange nooations into thi heead, Sammywell. If ther's owt abaat thi for onny woman to be praad on awm sewer aw dooant know whear it is. But as sooin as tha's finished thi pipe aw want thi to get shaved, an put on thi best Sundy suit an goa wi me into Westgate an get a new hat—one o'th best ther is i'th shop, if it taks all th' brass aw have i' mi pocket. Aw'll let Mistress Swindle see at shoo connot crow ovver me!"
Soa Sammywell went aght to be shaved, an Mally began to get ready to goa wi him, as sooin as he should be all fixed up to suit her.
"Nah, Sammywell," sed Mally, as sooin as they wor ready to set off, "Aw dunnot want thee to say a word when we get to th' shop. Aw'll do what tawkin has to be done, an if aw connot get thee a better hat nor that tha has on thi heead, and one to seem thi better, aw shall know th' reason why. Aw can hardly fashion to walk daan th' street wi thi, but it isn't varry far an we happen shalln't meet onnybody we know."
When they walked into th' shop, Mally went up to th' caanter and sed, "Young man,—aw want to buy a new silk top hat, latest fashion, best quality, price noa object, if its under ten shillin, to suit this elderly gentleman, an luk sharp abaat it, for we're prepared to pay ready brass."
"Certainly, maam," an he sooin had two or three ready for him to try on. "How will this suit?—latest style."
"That willn't do at all. It maks him luk like a pill doctor. He wants a chapel-gooin hat."
"Well, here's the very thing. Just the style for an old man."
"Then aw dooant want it! He's net an old man! He's noa older nor yo'll be if yo live as long. Why, that maks him luk like a local praicher aght o' wark!"
"How will this suit? This style is very much worn."
"Aw dooant want one at's been worn. Noa second hand hats for me."
Th' shopman didn't loise his patience, but tried one after another wol th' caanter wor piled up wi hats, but nooan on em suited.
"Aw dooant know ha it is," sed Mally, "a big shop like this an cant get a daycent lukkin hat! Awm sewer there must be one if onnybody'd sense to find it. Here's one, try this."
Sammywell put it on. "That's the ticket! That luks like summat! Aw knew aw could find one! Ha does it feel? Is it comfortable?" an shoo twisted it to one side and then twisted it back agean. "Nah, what do yo want for that,—an remember,—ready brass?"
"I cannot charge for that, because that's the hat he came in."
"Is that soa, Sammywell?"
"Eah, this is my own hat."
"Why, then, its what aw've tell'd thi monny a time,—its thee at doesn't know ha to put it on. Th' hat ails nowt if ther wor some sense i'th heead. Tha couldn't have a better. Its a blessin aw coomed wi thi or else tha'd just ha thrown ten shillin away. Awm varry mich obliged to yo, young man, for all th' trubble yo've takken to suit him, an aw hardly like to goa aght withaat buyin summat. Yo happen dooant have onny pooastage stamps?"
"Then yo can let me have threehaupoth."
"Certainly shall I send them?"
"Nay, awm nooan to praad to hug mi own bundles. Gooid afternooin."
"Good afternoon, Mrs. Grimes, glad to serve you at any time."
"He's a varry civil chap is yond. Be sewer Sammywell tha allus gooas to his shop when tha wants a pooastage stamp."
Sammywell Sweeps th' Chimley.
"Tha'rt booan idle, Sammywell, that's what's th' matter wi' thee!"
"Mally, tha knows tha doesn't spaik trewth when tha says sich a thing; for aw havn't a lazy booan i' mi skin an nivver had! Aw'll admit ther are times when aw should be thankful for a bit ov a rest, but ther's no rest whear tha art, tha taks care o' that."
"Rest! It'll be time enuff to tawk abaat rest when tha's done summat! Th' hardest wark tha ivver does is aitin an drinkin, an tha does'nt hawf chew thi mait as tha should. When do aw get onny rest? Con ta tell me that?"
"Nay, aw connot. Aw wish aw could; but tha knows 'ther's noa rest for the wicked,' soa what can ta expect."
"Dooant let me hev onny o' thy back-handed tawk or aw'll let thee see whear th' wickedness comes in! Are ta baan to goa an see after a Sweep to come to this chimley, or are we to be smoored an have all th' bits o' furnitur ruinated?"
"Aw'll fotch thee hawf-a-duzzen sweeps if tha wants em, but why the dickens could'nt ta say what tha wanted asteead o' startin blaghardin me?"
"Aw dooant want hawf-a-duzzen sweeps;—one'll be enuff for what ther is to do, an aw shouldn't want one at all if awd a felly 'at wor worth his salt, but tha can do nowt. Whativver sich shiftless fowk wor created for licks me!"
"Why tha doesn't think ivverybody should be born sweeps, does ta?"
"Noa, ther's noa need for that. But when a chap isn't clivver enuff to be a sweep, he owt still to have sense enuff to luk for one when ther's one wanted. But aw know one thing, an that is, aw'll put on mi things, an set off an leeav thi to it, an tha can awther sweep it, or get it swept, or caar ith' haase wol tha gets sufficated, soa tha knows!"
An wi that, Mally went upstairs to get don'd, leavin Sammywell to mak th' best he could on it. In a varry few minnits, shoo wor daan agean, an flingin a shillin on th' table shoo sed, "Thear's th' brass to pay th' sweep if tha gets one, and be sewer to tell him net to mak onny moor muck nor he can help, an aw'll cleean an fettle all up ith' mornin; an if tha wants owt to ait, tha knows whear it is, an as for owt to sup, tha'rt better baght, an tha knows tha spends sadly to mich," an away shoo went.
Sammywell set varry quiet for a minnit or two, studyin things, an then he sed, "Ho! Soa that's it! Well, we shall see! Shoo's left a shillin for th' sweep but nowt for me. Varry gooid.—Then it just comes to this;—If aw fotch a sweep, he gets th' shillin an aw sit drymaath, but if aw sweep it misen aw'st have a shillin to spend, soa here gooas!" an he seized th' pooaker an varry sooin had th' foir scaled aght.
"Aw dooant think it'll tak me aboon five minnits when aw start, an if aw dooant mak sich a gooid job on it shoo'll nivver know unless shoo gooas up to see, an' if shoo tries that trick it's sewer to be weel swept bith' time shoo comes daan agean," an he put on his hat an went aght, lockin' th' door after him.
Wol he wor suppin his second two penoth, who should come in but his old chum Parker.
"Halloa, Sammy!" he sed, "What's up? Aw've just met th' mistress and shoo sed shoo'd left thee at hooam, varry thrang."
"Did shoo? Well, tha sees aw havn't started yet, but aw'st ha to mak a beginnin varry sooin, tho aw must say its a job at's a bit aght o' my line."
"Why, whativver is it?"
"Its nobbut th' chimley wants sweepin, an aw doant fairly know ha to set abaat it."
"Oh, if that's all, aw can tell thi ha to manage that. It willn't tak thi aboon five minnits."
"Thar't just th' chap aw wanted to see. Call for twopenoth for thisen an then tell me ha to goa on."
Parker didn't need axin twice, an when he'd getten it, he sed,
"Tha doesn't keep hens, does ta?"
"Noa, aw keep nowt but Mally an misen, an awr Hepsabah's childer th' mooast oth' time."
"Well, but some oth' naybors do; an tha could borrow one for a few minnits. A gooid old cock wod be th' best."
"Eeah, aw could get one at belangs th' chap at lives th' next door but one. They're all off at their wark but aw could get one aght o' their yard withaat axin."
"Well, then, its easy enuff. All tha wants is a long piece o' string, an a stooan teed at one end. Then tha mun get on top oth' haase an drop th' stooan daan th' chimley, an it'll roll daan into th' foir-grate,—then tee tother end oth' string to chicken's legs, and shove it, tail furst, daan th' chimley pot, an then goa into th' haase an pool it daan th' flue, an all th' sooit will come wi it, an it'll be a cleeaner job nor if all th' sweeps ith' taan had been at it."
"Bith' heart! Parker, aw'st nivver ha thowt o' that. Aw'll goa an do it at once. Aw could do wi a job like this ivvery day ith' wick."
Sammywell went hooam i' famous glee. He sooin gate some string an teed a nice cobble stooan to th' end on it, an then he gate up onto th' wesh-haase an easily climb'd onto th' thack. He made sewer which wor th' reight chimley pot and dropt th' stooan daan as Parker had tell'd him an daan it went till he could hear it rattle ith' empty foir-grate quite plainly, an then he went daan agean to get th' chicken.
It couldn't ha happened better, for thear wor th' old cock—a girt big white en,—carr'd up in a corner whear th' sun wor shinin, fast asleep. Sammywell had it under his arm in a twinklin, but it wornt quite as easy gettin up on th' thack agean, but he managed it, an after a deeal o' flutterin an squawkin, he teed it fast to tother end oth' string. But shovin it daan th' Chimney pot wor noa easy matter, for it wor a varry tight fit. Daan he went agean, as fast as he could, an as sooin as he gate into th' haase he began to pull.
My! but it wor a job! For a varry long time he couldn't stir it, but at last he felt it wor commin, an then th' sooit began to roll daan i' claads an he wor ommost smoored, but ther wor nowt for it but to keep poolin at it even if he wor burried under it.
It wor a varry unfortnat curcumstance at th' woman Mally had gooan to see should be away throo hooam, for it caused her to turn back, thinkin to hersen, at after all it wod happen be better for her to be at hooam to superintend things if Sammywell had getten a sweep,—an shoo just oppened th' door at th' same instant as th' cock flew into th' kitchen. Shoo couldn't see Sammywell, for th' place wor full o' sooit, but shoo could hear summat flyin raand, makkin a moast awful din, an pots an tins smashin abaat i' all directions.
Th' owd cock, seein th' door oppen, flew aght, catchin poor Mally fair ith' face wi' its wings as it passed, an sendin her onto her back ith' gutter, wi' her bonnet off, an her face blackened like a female christy minstrel!
Th' woman 'at lived opposite wor hingin aght some clooas, an th' cock tried to fly ovver 'em, but th' string bein fast to its legs, browt it daan fair i'th' middle on 'em, an what wi' th' din th' cock made, an th' skrikes shoo made—for shoo thowt for sewer it wor th' owd dule hissen—an Mally's grooans, it sooin browt aght Hepsabah an all th' naybors, an it worn't till a poleeceman coom at onnybody could tell what wor to do.
Ov coarse, th' furst thing th' poleeceman did wor to arrest Mally for bein drunk an disorderly, an ther's noa daat shoo lukt it; an then they all made a rush to th' haase, for th' sooit wor rollin aght oth' door as if th' place wor afire. Sittin on th' floor, ith' middle ov a cart looad o' sooit, wor a poor human crayter, coffin an spittin,—(an some sed, swearin,) an when he wor browt into th' dayleet, it wor Sammywell.
As sooin as he could get his breeath, he started to shak hissen,—when th' woman 'at belanged th' clooas hit him on th' heead wi a prop, an wod ha done moor but Mally interfered. When th' scare wor ovver, th' naybor wimmen did nowt but laff, an Sammywell and Mally went into th' haase an shut th' door.
"Whativver has ta been doing?" axt Mally.
"Aw've been sweepin th' chimley," sed Sammywell.
"An a bonny job tha's made on it. If tha can find onny sooap an watter onnywhear, goa and gie thisen a gooid swill an then change thi' clooas, an leeav me to tackle this mess. Aw dooant blame thee a bit moor nor aw blame misen, for knowin what a fooil tha art, and what a mullock tha allus maks ov ivverything tha offers to do, aw owt to ha had moor sense nor mention sich a thing to thi."
Sammywell thowt th' less he sed an th' better, an he went at once to do as he wor tell'd. He wor as anxious to get away as shoo wor to be shut on him, an as he wor gooin aght, Mally sed,—
"Whear are ta gooin an what are ta gooin to do?"
"Awm gooin to a funeral befoor tha sees me agean."
"Aw didn't know onnybody wor deead. Who's funeral will it be?"
"Some fowk are nivver satisfied! Aw've noa patience wi' sich like! Th' moor some fowk have an th' moor they want. Ther wor noa sich stinkin pride when aw wor young; but young folk nah dooant know what ails em. When aw wor a lass it wor thowt to be quite enuff if one wor plainly an respectably donned, an if they had onny pride, it wor to know at ther underclooas wor cleean an sweet an fit to be seen, but nah it's all top finery an fluff they think abaat; but if they'd darn ther stockins an wesh ther shifts a bit ofter, asteead o' wantin to spooart new gaons an hats ivvery few days it ud seem em better. At onnyrate, them's my sentiments."
"Why, Mally lass, what's set thi off agean? Has somdy been sayin at tha doesn't darn thi stockins an keep thi clooas cleean?"
"Noa ther hasn't, an tha knows nubdy could ivver say such a thing abaat me. It's awr Hepsabah at's started me, if tha wants to know!"
"What's shoo been up to agean? Sewerly tha's moor sense not to tak nooatice o' owt shoo says."
"Aw connot help bein worritted when shoo's put abaght, an shoo's full o' trubble,—an aw connot say at aw wonder at it."
"Why if th' lass is full o' trubble shoo's to be sympathised wi. Has her husband come hooam druffen or what?"
"Tha knows better nor that! Her husband has summat else to do wi his brass nor to teem it daan his throit. He's net like some fowk as aw could mention. But tha knows they've hard to scrat to pay ther way an keep up his club, an awr Hepsabah has a gooid deeal o' pride, an yond hat o' hers is hardly fit to be seen in at warty, nivver name Sundy, an shoo connot affoord another, an th' poor child's ommost heartbrokken."
"Bless mi life! That's easy to set straight! Connot ta lend her one o' thy bonnets?"
"Tha artn't worth tawkin to! Does ta think a young lass, (for shoo's little moor,) wod goa to th' chapel in an old woman's bonnet? If shoo'd had lot's o' father's they'd ha bowt her one."
"Happen soa;—but tha sees shoo hasn't a lot o' father's,—shoo's nobbut getten me,—but if buyin her a bit ov a bonnet will set matters straight aw could sewerly manage that."
"Nah tha'rt tawkin sense. Aw tell'd her if shoo'd nobbut ax thi tha'd nooan see her kept i'th haase for th' want ov a hat. But shoo sed tha'd allus been soa gooid to her at shoo couldn't for shame to mention it. But, tha knows, tha cannot buy her a hat unless shoo gooas wi thi."
"W ell,—tell her to put her things on an we'll goa an get her messured for one at once."
"Tha tawks as if tha wor gooin to get her a coffin asteead ov a hat. Wimmen dooant get messured for hats."
"Oh, dooant they. Well, tell her to get ready an luk sharp."
Mally left Sammywell smookin his pipe an went to carry gooid news to Hepsabah.
"Nah, Hepsabah lass,—aw've managed to tawk thi father into th' humour to buy thi a hat. A'a! but aw've had a job! Come this minnit for fear he changes his mind; an see tha gets a gooid en wol tha's th' chonce." Sammywell wor capt to see em back soa sooin, but tellin em to sit daan a bit wol he went up stairs, he left em an went to put summat into his purse, an wor rayther surprised at Mally didn't follow to see ha mich he tuk, for he had to goa into a box whear they kept ther savins at wor nivver suppooased to be touched except on special occasions.
"Aw shalln't need mich for a job o' this sooart," he sed, "if aw remember reightly that straw hat aw bowt last summer nobbut cost me eighteen pence, an shoo willn't want one as big as that; but awst nooan be to two-a-three penoth o' copper; an aw mud as weel have a bit extra to swagger wi." Soa he tuk a couple o' soverins,—ov coarse intendin to bring em back, an then hurried off wi Hepsabah as fast as he could for fear Mally wod ax some questions he didn't want to answer.
"Whear are we to goa?" he axt as soon as they wor aght o'th seet o'th haase.
"Aw think Pinchems an Twitchems will be th' best place," sed Hepsabah.
"Just whearivver tha likes, an be sewer tha gets one to suit thi."
When they gate to th' shop, Sammywell felt like holdin back, for he'd nivver been i' sich a place befoor, but he screwed his courage up, an tellin' Hepsabah to lead th' way he follered, feelin like a fish aght o' watter.
Hepsabah walked in as if shoo owned th' shop, an spaikin to a gentleman, they wor shown up stairs whear ther wor sich a lot o' wimmin tryin hats on, an sich a lot o' young lasses fussin abaat an attendin to em, wol Sammywell wor fairly flammergasted amang it. One nice young woman browt him a cheer to sit on, but he darn't ventur 'on it, for it lukt as if it wor made o' black sealin wax, but Hepsabah flopt daan on it as if shoo'd been used to sittin o' sich articles all her life. Sammywell whispered to her to be as sharp as shoo could, an stood watchin what wor gooin on. Then th' young woman coom agean wi her armful o' what lukt to be flaars an feathers an ribbins all jumbled in a lump, but which proved to be what they called hats, an as shoo put furst one an then another on to Hepsabah, he wor fairly surprised to discover what a bonny lukkin woman his dowter wor; an when shoo axt him which he liked best, he could nobbut say, "onny on em! suit thisen, lass!" an th' young woman smiled at him an sed, "It's nice when a gentleman likes to see his wife well dressed," an Sammywell blushed an sed "Hem! hem!" but didn't undeceive her. After tryin on abaat a scoor, nooan seemin to exactly suit Hepsabah, th' young woman browt another, an Sammywell's e'en fairly sparkled. "By th' heart!" he sed, "but that's what aw call a Bobby Dazzler!" an it wor plain to be seen at Hepsabah thowt soa too. "Aw should like it," shoo sed, "but awm feeared it'll cost a lot."
"Tha's nowt to do wi that. It's me at's to pay for it!" soa in a few minnits it wor packt in a box, an handed to her, an Sammywell tell'd her to tak it an get aghtside an wait for him an he'd bi wi her as sooin as he'd sattled for it. Hepsabah's face wor all smiles, tho' ther wor just a glisten o' tears in her een as shoo went away.
"An nah, young woman," sed Sammywell, as he held his purse in his hand, "ha mich do yo want?"
Shoo handed him th' bill, but he seemed as if he couldn't mak it aght, soa he put on his spectacles. "This is a mistak, Miss," he sed, "aw've nobbut agreed to pay for one."
"That's quite right, sir," shoo sed, "One hat,—twenty two and six."
"Twenty two fiddlesticks!"
"No, sir, twenty two shillings and six pence. That's not much for a gentleman to pay for his wife's hat."
"But shoo isn't mi wife! Shoo's nobbut mi dowter!"
"No one would think you had a daughter so old;—you must have married very young," sed th' young woman smilin at him in a way at made him feel funny all ovver.
He sed noa moor but handed her two soverins; shoo gave him his change, an he made th' best ov his way into th' street where Hepsabah wor waitin for him; then he lained his back agean a lamp-pooast as if he wor too waik to stand.
"Do yo feel sick, father?" sed Hepsabah.
"Eeah, aw think aw've getten a bit ov a sickener."
"It wor varry warm i' that shop."
"Eeah,—its th' hottest shop aw've ivver been in."
"Yo see, yo arn't used to buyin hats."
"Noa, an awm net likely to get used to it. Aw hooap thar't suited."
"O, father,—its a beauty! If aw can nobbut get my chap to buy me a costume to match it!"
"Tha'll nivver do that, Hepsabah, becoss he connot. If he'd to buy thee a costoom, as tha calls it, to match that, an pay for it at th' same rate as aw've paid for that hat, it ud cost him aboon a thaasand paand! What does to think it's cost me?"
"Aw can't guess."
"Twenty two shillin an sixpence! That's true whether tha believes it or net."
"Is that all! Why its as cheap as muck."
"Well, mak th' best on it, for tha'll get noa moor muck at th' same price aght o' me. But promise me at tha'll nivver tell thi mother! If shoo'd to get to know shoo wodn't be able to sleep for a wick. It's a scandlus shame, an aw've been swindled! Why, tha owt to ha getten a hat as big as a umbrella for that price."
"Well, if yo hadn't wanted me to have it yo shouldn't ha sed soa."
"Aw did want thi to have it, but it's price aw connot get ovver. Why it weighs nowt hardly. Its cost aboon five shillin an aance. Thee goa in an show it to thi mother an aw'll goa an get summat to steady mi narves."
Sammywell tried to keep his spirits up wi puttin some spirits daan, but he couldn't manage it, an it wor wi fear an tremblin at he lifted th' sneck when he went hooam. All lukt breet an cheerful an th' supper wor on th' table, an Mally's face showed noa sign o' ill temper. "Thank gooidness," he sed to hissen, "shoo hasn't been upstairs to caant th' brass yet."
"Come thi ways to thi supper, Sammywell, aw wor gettin uneasy abaat thi."
"Has Hepsabah been?" he axt.
"Eeah. An shoo's shown me her new hat, an aw must say aw didn't gie thi credit for havin sich gooid taste. Shoo's famously suited, an awm pleeased to think tha's acted as a father should act for once. Aw do believe if tha could nobbut live long enuff aw should be able to mak a daycent chap on thi at th' finish."
"Did shoo say owt abaght what it cost?"
"Nay shoo didn't, an aw nivver axt her, for aw know tha'd nooan be likely to give mich; but if aw thowt aw could get one like it for owt under five an twenty shillin awd be after one i'th mornin."
"Well, but tha connot,—for ther's nivver been but one made o' that pattern."
"Ther'd happen be one ov another pattern to suit me."
"Ther's noa moor ov onny sooart whativver; for th' chap at keeps that shop is gooin to retire from business to-neet an start a bank i'th mornin,—an noa wonder."
"Onnybody'd think to listen to thi at tha didn't thoil it. Aw know ha mich brass tha tuk wi thi an if tha's spent it all, what bi that! Tha doesn't buy thi dowter a hat ivvery wick! an its far cheaper to buy a daycent article nor to squander yor brass on a lot o' rubbish. Shoo's varry careful ov her clooas is Hepsabah, an tha'll see it'll ha lasted weel bi th' time tha gooas to buy her another."
"That's a moral sartainty. If that hat lasts her wol aw buy her another it'll last a long time."
"Say noa moor abaat it. Tha's suited us an if tha hasn't suited thisen its thi own fault. Aw thowt tha desarved a bit ov a treeat soa aw fotched thi a drop o' thi favourite, an if tha doesn't want it all thisen aw dooant mind havin a drop."
"That's all reight, Mally, an awm glad tha'rt soa thowtful, but aw connot help thinkin tha'rt a varry inconsistent woman."
"Nah then! If tha'rt gooin to start callin me names aw willn't have a drop!"
"Aw dooant want to call thi names, but facts are stubborn things. If aw happen to goa an get two-penoth into mi heead tha praiches at me for a full clockhaar abaat th' sin ov extravagance an th' blessins ov economy; but awr Hepsabah can wear a hat at's cost as mich as aw could buy a distillary for, an that's all reight."
"If tha bowt a distillery, Sammywell, nawther thee nor it wod last as long as awr Hepsabah's hat, soa things are better as they are. Hand ovver what change tha's getten i' thi pocket an then sup up an let's get off to bed, an be thankful tha's getten a dowter to buy a hat for, an a wife at advises thee allus for th' best."
"All reight, lass,—awm ready,—but aw connot for th' life o' me see what awr Hepsabah's hat has to do wi young wimmen darnin ther stockins an weshin ther shifts."
"A'a, Sammywell! Ther's a deeal o' things abaat wimmen at tha has to leearn yet."
"Aw believe there is,—but twenty two an sixpence a lesson is a trifle aboon my cut."
Old Dave to th' New Parson.
"Soa, yo're th' new parson, are yo? Well, awm fain to see yo've come; Yo'll feel a trifle strange at furst, But mak yorsen at hooam.
Aw hooap yo'll think nor war o' me, If aw tell what's in mi noddle, Remember, if we dooant agree, It's but an old man's twaddle.
But aw might happen drop a hint, 'At may start yo to thinkin; Awd help yo if aw saw mi way, An do it too, like winkin.
Awm net mich up o' parsons,— Ther's some daycent ens aw know; They're smart enuff at praichin, But at practice they're too slow.
For dooin gooid nooan can deny Ther chonces are mooast ample; If they'd give us fewer precepts, An rayther moor example.
We need a friend to help waik sheep, Oe'r life's rough ruts an boulders;— Ther's a big responsibility Rests on a parson's shoulders.
But oft ther labor's all in vain, Noa matter ha persistent; Becoss ther taichin an ther lives Are hardly quite consistent.
Ther's nowt can shake ther faith in God, When bad is growing worse; An nowt abate ther trust, unless It chonce to touch ther purse.
They say, "Who giveth to the poor, Lends to the Lord," but yet, They all seem varry anxious, Net to get the Lord in debt.
But wi my fooilish nooations Mayhap yo'll net agree,— Its like enuff 'at awm mistaen,— But it seems that way to me.
If yo hear a clivver sarmon, Yor attention it command's, If yo know at th' praicher's heart's as white As what he keeps his hands.
Ther's too mich love ov worldly ways, An too mich affectation; They work i'th' vinyard a few days, Then hint abaat vacation.
He has to have a holiday Because he's worked soa hard;— Well, aw allus think 'at labor Is desarvin ov reward.
What matters, tho' his little flock A shepherd's care is wantin: Old Nick may have his run o'th' fold Wol he's off galavantin.
Aw dooant say 'at yo're sich a one, Yo seem a gradely sooart; But if yo' th' Gospel armour don, Yo'll find it isn't spooart.
Dooant sell yor heavenly birthright, For a mess ov worldly pottage: But spend less time i'th' squire's hall An moor i'th' poor man's cottage.
Point aght the way an walk in it, They'll follow, one bi one, An when yo've gained yor journey's end, Yo'll hear them words, "Well done."
A Christian soldier has to be, Endurin, bold an brave; Strong in his faith he'll sewerly win, As sewer as my name's Dave."
"If my memory sarves me reightly, Mally, its abaght forty year sin aw tell'd thee at aw liked a boil'd egg for mi braikfast, an it seems tha's nivver forgetten it, for it seems to me at tha's nivver gein me owt else, an awm just abaat sick o'th seet on em."
"Ther's nivver onny suitin thee, Sammywell, what aw do for thi, an as to givin thi eggs to thi braikfast for forty year, tha knows it isn't true, for aw dooant think tha's had em moor nor once a month, if that. But tha needn't freeat abaat that, for at th' price eggs is nah, its just like aitin brass. Aw've gien em to thi a time or two latly becoss tha complained abaat feelin waik, an ther's nowt at's moor strength nor eggs."
"If this is a sample aw believe tha'rt reight, for this is strong enuff to drive me aght o'th haase. Eggs is nivver fit to ait unless they're fresh, and tha owt to know that."
"It's a queer thing if that isn't fresh, for aw nobbut bowt a duzzen off Judy Jooans yesterdy, an shoo declared shoo laid em hersen."
"Then that accaants for it, for its just th' soort ov a egg at aw should fancy Judy wod lay. When tha buys onny moor, be sewer they've been laid wi a nice young pullet an then they willn't poison a chap. That's ommost browt mi heart up."
"If that's all tha hadn't mich to bring up, but if tha wor like other husbands tha'd set to wark an fix that cellar up, an buy some hens an then tha'd know who laid em. But tha'll do nowt nobbut sit o' thi backside an smook or else spend thi time i' some public wi a glass anent thi. Aw wonder sometimes ha tha can fashion to pool up to th' table an ait at all. But ther's nowt trubbles thee soa long as tha gets thi belly full an has a shillin i' thi pocket an a gooid bed to come to at neet."
"Why, when aw mentioned keepin hens last spring, tha flew up in a tantrum, an sed tha'd have nooan sich powse abaat th' haase, but if tha thinks we could do wi some aw'll get some to-day. This is Setterdy an ther's allus plenty to be had i'th market. Aw think it ud be a gooid idea for ther's nowt awm fonder on nor a fresh egg in a drop o' rum in a mornin."
"Rum agean! It's th' topmost thowt i' thi mind. If aw live longer nor thee, aw'll put a bottle into thi coffin. Tho' if aw did, aw do believe tha'd get up an sup it. But if tha likes to goa an buy a couple o' nice hens an fix a place up for em, tha can tak this five shillin an see what tha can do. An if tha brings me mi reight change an doesn't stop long, aw'll see if aw cannot have summat for thi at tha'll like."
"Aw'll hunt up old blind Billy, an get a couple off him, becoss aw know he's honest, an ther's net monny honest fowk i'th hen trade."
Sammywell worn't long befoor he wor off, an as he wor passin th' Market Tavern, he saw blind Billy commin aght. He tell'd him just what he wanted, an Billy sed, "As far as aw can see, tha's just come at th' reight time, for aw've three grand young pullets at's all ready for layin, an aw'll let thi have em cheap. Six shillin for three; and they're cheap at seven an sixpence."
"Nay, tha axes too much, they're sich little ens."
"Aw nivver saw three bigger at that price," he sed, an as he wor born stooan blind that wor true.
"Aw'll gie thi five shillin, an strike th' bargain just nah," sed Sammywell.
"Tha'rt a hard customer, but as we've had monny a drink together, tha shall have em."
Soa th' brass an th' chickens changed hands an Sammywell wor sooin back hooam wi his bargain.
"Tha hasn't been long," sed Mally, as shoo lukt at th' hens, "an whear's mi change?"
"Ha mich change did ta expect aght o' five shillin, when aw've browt thi three layin pullets?"
"If awd gien thi ten it ud just ha been th' same an aw owt to ha had moor sense nor to ax. But nah tha's getten em, whear does ta intend to put em?"
"Aw'll put em i' yond old hamper 'at's i'th' cellar. Aw cannot fix a place for em befoor Monday."
"Noa, but tha can beg an old box or two or a few booards wol tha'rt aght to-day an then tha'll have all ready for a start."
Sundy mornin saw Sammywell up i' gooid time, an his first job wor to feed his chickens. He felt quite like a farmer in a small way. Then Mally had to goa an peep at em. "Sammywell! come hither this minnit!" shoo called aght, an he ran daan fit to braik his neck. "Peep into that corner," shoo sed, as shoo raised th' hamper lid. An thear sewer enuff; ther wor a nice white egg. He picked it aght gently an they booath examined it, an they thowt they'd nivver seen one as nice befoor.
"What mun we do wi it?" sed Mally.
"Aw think th' best thing to do wi it will be to ait it."
"It ommost luks a shame, but still aw suppooas that's what its for. Aw wonder which laid it. Does ta think it wor th' black en or th' braan en? Aw fancy it wor th' white en."
"Eeah, aw think it must ha been th' white en," sed Sammywell, "but get it boiled an we'll share it."
They wor as pleeased as two childer ovver ther braikfast, an it had seldom happened at they'd booath been in sich a gooid temper as they wor when they started for th' chapel. Sammywell had oppened th' cellar winder to let some air in, an after lockin th' door they wor just startin off, when what should they see but that white chicken pickin away i'th fould.
"Nah, tha sees what tha's done! Tha's left th' lid off that hamper! Aw wish tha'd let things alooan at tha doesn't understand. Tha knows nowt abaat chickens."
"It's thi own fault for leeavin th' cellar winder oppen! Onny fooil mud ha known better nor that. But let's drive it back, if we leeav it aght it'll be lost."
"Shoo shoo," went Sammy, an "Shoo shoo," went Mally, but th' chicken seemed to tak varry little nooatice, until Sammywell made a click at it, then it gave a scream an ran between his legs, an seemed detarmined to goa onnywhear except to th' cellar winder. Hepsabah wor lukkin aght o'th winder an saw what they wor tryin to do, soa shoo coom aght wi th' long brush to help em, an little Jerrymier coom to help too. "Nah, gently does it," sed Sammywell, an they gethered raand in a ring an it lukt as if they wor just gooin to nab it, when Jerrymier sed "Shoo, shoo" an away it flew, clean ovver ther heeads, daan th' ginnel an aght into Westgate.
"Tha young taistrel!" sed Sammywell, but he off after it as hard as he could, an a fine race it gave him. Up one street an daan another they went, but Sammywell's blooid wor up an he worn't gooin to be lickt wi a bit ov a chicken. Th' streets wor lined wi fowk gooin to chapel or church, an they shook ther heeads in a varry meeanin way, an some on em turned up th' whites o' ther een as if they wor tryin to see th' inside o' ther heeads, but Sammywell went on an nivver lost seet o'th chicken. They'd ommost getten to th' taan hall, when they coom to a spice shop an th' door wor oppen, an in it popt. "Nah, aw've getten thi!" he sed, an he follered it in an shut th' door.
Th' young woman i'th shop wor capt when it jumpt onto th' caanter. "Catch it, mistress!" sed Sammy, an shoo clickt at it, but it flew i'th winder, an nivver mind if it didn't mak th' mint drops fly! Then it gate aght an swept all th' glass ornaments off th' shelf an peearked up on th' shandileer; Sammy struck at it wi his umberell, but he missed it, an gave th' young woman's heead sich a crack wol it rang like a pot. Then he oppened th' door an as luck wod have it, it flew aght. Sammy flew aght too, an th' woman ran after him, holdin booath hands to her heead an cryin "Murder!"
That wor enough to start all th' lads 'at should ha been at Sundy schooil after Sammywell, but he didn't care. After it he ran an at last it flew into a ass-middin, an nah he felt sewer on it. It tried to fly aght but it couldn't, but ther wor noa way to get it but to goa in after it. He wished he hadn't had on his best Sundy suit, but ther wor no help for it. He managed to crawl in, an in a minnit he wor up to his knees i' ass an puttaty pillins. Th' chicken raised sich a dust wi flutterin abaat wol he wor ommost chooaked an blinded, but he grabbed it an wor sooin aght, lukkin as if somedy'd been shakin a flaar seck ovver his heead. Th' lads set up a shaat, but he tuk noa nooatice, an made th' best of his way towards hooam, takkin care net to goa past th' spice shop, for he didn't think it wor a proper day for business like that 'at wod be waitin for him. Mally an Hepsabah follered bi a lot o'th naybors, wor commin to see what had become on him, an when they saw what a pictur he'd made ov hissen, they fairly skriked wi laffin—all but Mally. Shoo wor soa mad wol shoo couldn't spaik.
Just as they'd getten to th' end o'th ginnel, old Zekil saw him, and sed—"Heigh up, thear! What are ta dooin wi that chicken?"
"Awm takkin it whear it belangs."
"That's my chicken, put it daan an mell on it agean at thi peril."
"Nay, Zekil," sed Mally, "it's awr chicken, for Sammywell bowt it yesterdy an its laid us a egg this mornin."
"Aw tell yo it's mine! It's nivver laid onny eggs, for it's a cock. Aw can own it becoss its tail feathers is brokken."
Sammywell lukt at it, "aw wish its neck had been brokken," he sed.
Zekil tuk it an made off wi it, an Sammywell an Mally went hooam; "Goa into th' cellar an see for thisen," sed Mally, "Awm as sewer yond's awr chicken as aw've a nooas o' my face."
He went to see, and there wor his three chickens just as he'd left em.
"Nah, what am aw to do? Theas clooas'll nivver be like thersen agean, an awm wellny choaked."
"Tha desarves twice as mich as tha's getten! To think at a chap has lived to thy time o' life an connot tell th' difference between a cock an a hen. Tha must be daft."
"Daft! Soa are ta daft! Tha knew noa moor nor me. But tha can tak thi chickens, an goa to blazes wi em for owt aw care! It wor thee at wanted em, it wor nooan o' me!"
"Tha'rt net spaikin trewth—"
"Well, tha'rt another! If it hadn't been for thee awst ha been i'th chapel this minnit."
"Tha'rt happen as weel at hooam, for tha'rt nooan in a fit state o' mind for th' chapel."
"Awm nooan in a fit state o' body nawther aw think. Just luk at theas clooas!"
"Goa upstairs an change em, an aw'll see what aw can do wi em. Tha'rt th' biggest fool aw ivver met i' my life."
What came of a Clock Almanac.
Rosa and Louisa Mellit wor dressmakkers—they'd nawther father nor mother, an nowt to live on but what they could addle wi ther fingers, an that worn't mich; for tho' they'd had a bit ov a shop for ten year, asteead o'th' customers gettin mooar, they gate steadily less—nah an then they'd a dress to mak for a sarvant lass or some o'th naybors' wives or dowters, but when th' dresses wor made an sent hooam, monny a time they didn't get paid for em for months an months, an often enuff they nivver finger'd th' brass at all.
Soa as th' years went on things went from bad to worse, an asteead o' payin ready money for jock as they bowt, they'd to get it on th' strap, until ther worn't a place near whear they'd trust em onny mooar. They'd selled as much o' ther furnitur as they could till they'd nowt else left at onnybody wod buy; an they'd popt bits o' things, sich as books an odds an ends, till they'd nowt else left to pop. An nah th' rent day wor next mornin, an barrin abaat hawf a soverin they hadn't onnythin to pay it wi.
"If we could nobbut get us own debts paid," sed Louisa one neet, when th' shutters were up an they wor talkin things ovver, "we could do nicely—awm sewer Missis Rhodes could pay that three paand shoo owes us easy enuff if shoo wod."
"Aw ax'd her to-day," sed Rosa, "an shoo sed shoo'd try an let us have five shillin at Midsummer."
"What's five shillin then, when we've eight paand ten to pay to morn?"
They booath sat ovver a handful o' coils ther wor i'th grate an sed nowt for a bit, then Rosa sed,
"Ther's yond length o' black silk we've had soa long, that piece Missis Jackson ordered an then wod'nt tak; we mun sell that, it cost fower paand, happen we can get three for it. Whear is it?"
Louisa gate up an fotch'd it off a shelf—it wor tied up in a piece o' paper, an when shoo oppened it aght, it must ha getten damp somehah, for it wor all i' patches o' white mowd, an fairly ruinated.
Then booath on em burst into tears when they saw it, and sat daan ageean an sobbed for long enuff.
"Ther's nowt for it but to be turn'd aght o'th haase an goa an work i' a mill," sed Louisa.
"Eeah! dear-a-me, to think o' us commin to that." An they booath cried ageean.
"We must have summat at we can sell," Rosa sobbed in a bit, "what's getten mother's brooach?"
"We sell'd that to pay th' doctor's bill when poor owd Hamer next door had th' fever soa long." "So we did, awd forgetten."
Ageean nawther on em spake for a bit, an th' wind howl'd raaad th' haase, an rain beat ageean th' panes, an all on a sudden Rosa jump'd up an sed—
"Louisa, dooan't yo' remember when mother wor deein, shoo sed ther wor a little tin box i' her trunk, an at if ivver we wor i' onny trouble we wor to look inside ov it."
"Aw think aw do, but aw nivver saw th' box, whear is it?"
"Aw dooan't know, unless its i'th trunk still, let's hev a look for it."
They gate a cannel an went upstairs, an varry sooin coom daan ageean wi a owd tin trunk at they put on th' hearthstun. Louisa oppened it, an start'd rummagin abaat amang a whole lot o' odds an ends o' wearin apparel, an reight daan i'th bottom corner her hand coom agean summat hard.
"Here it is," shoo sed, as shoo pool'd aght a little flat tin box, abaat eight inches long an six inches wide an appen hawf an inch thick.
One end ov it wor made to slide off, but it wor soa rusty for want o' use 'at it tuk a bit o' bother to loise it, but at last off it coom, an Louisa put in her finger and pool'd aght—not a savins bank book wi a gooid raand sum o' money on its pages—but three owd numbers o'th Clock Almanack.
Poor lasses, they'd been expectin sich things aght o' this box, at when they saw what it contain'd they booath started o' cryin agean.
"Poor mother," sed Rosa, "shoo allus used to say 'at if shoo wor low spirit'd or i' trubble th' "Clock Almanack" allus cheer'd her up, an shoo must ha thowt it wod cheer us up too."
An then they cried agean, for nawther on em felt at all inclin'd for readin noa comic stooaries, or thowt at they'd find much comfort i'th Yorksher dialect that neet; soa Louisa put em back into th' box an nivver oppen'd em—but as th' box wor rayther thin, shoo had to slide em in one at a time, an as shoo wor puttin in th' second one, th' remainin almanac slipt off her knee onto th' floor, an tho' shoo didn't see it, a bit o' white paper fell aght ov it an lay under th' table.
When th' box wor put away they went to bed withaat supper, an cried thersens to sleep, an th' paper laid thear under th' table all neet, an a couple o' braan mice play'd all raand it, an used it insteead ov a table cloth to eat ther supper off.
I'th mornin when Rosa coom daan to leet th' fire th' piece o' paper wor th' furst thing shoo saw when shoo took th' shut daan; shoo picked it up an turn'd it ovver, an thear if it worn't a Ten Paand Bank o' England Nooat. Tawk abaat rejoicins, jewbilee days is nowt to that mornin. Louisa nearly went off her chump an they'd th' best braikfast they'd had for years.
They hadn't noa daat as to whear it had come thro' for it wor dated th' year at ther mother deed, they knew at it must ha been hers, an it had no daat been i'th trunk an tummell'd aght when they wor turnin things ovver—they had another look but ther wor noa mooar. It wor Rosa at look'd, but as shoo knew ther were nowt i'th little tin box but Clock Almanacks, shoo didn't oppen it.
As sooin as th' banks oppen'd Louisa went an gate th' nooat chang'd soa as to be ready for th' lanlord when he coom, an when shoo gate back Rosa met her at th' door wi a smillin face, and sed, at Missis Rhodes had browt th' three paand shoo owed em, an ordered a new black silk dress beside; soa they gate daan th' mouldy piece at they'd look'd at th' neet befooar, an to ther joy they faand aght at th' stains wor only on th' two aghtside folds, an inside it wor all reight an wod mak th' dress weel enuff.
They'd a happy day as yo can guess, an at dinner time they sent a bit o' beef an Yorksher puddin to a poorly woman at liv'd daan th' yard, an like all fowk at does a gooid turn to them at's war off nor thersens, they felt better for it. That neet when th' shop wor shut, they sat daan beside th' assnook an began o' tawkin ha different things seemed thro' what they had done th' neet befooar.
"Just to think," sed Rosa, "last neet we'd nobbut ten shillin an th' rent to pay; an naah we've th' rent paid, an nearly five paand beside, an a dress to mak into th' bargain."
"Eah!" Louisa went on, "an just fancy sellin yond owd bonnet at we've had soa long, to that owd woman at sed shoo couldn't bide new fashioned things."
"Well we've had bad luck long enuff, aw hope it'll turn nah—if we could nobbut get a bit o' brass, we'd buy Miss Simpson's shop i' front street." An soa they tawked on poor lasses i'th gladness o' ther hearts, for it wor wi them as it is wi a seet o' others i' this cowd hard world, they'd had soa mich claady weather at a bit o' sunshine wor ommost mooar nor they could understand. After they'd had ther supper, Louisa sed, "Rosa, last neet aw felt as if aw couldn't bear to read in them owd Clock Almanacs o' mothers, but aw feel to-neet as if a gooid stooary wodn't come amiss."
"Aw'll read one," sed Rosa, an shoo gate up an gate th' little tin case aght o'th box, an took th' Almanacs aght:—
"Ther's eighteen seventy fower, an five, an six, which shall aw read aght on?"
"Th' owdest one," Louisa answered, "tho' noa daat they'll all be gooid."
Rosa pickt seventy fower aght, an oppen'd it, an as shoo did soa a crisp bit o' white paper fell aght, Louisa catcht it befooar it gate to th' floor, an thear it wor a five paand nooat.
"Turn ovver th' leeaves," Louisa cried, "Quick! Quick!"
Rosa did soa, an a reglar little shaar o' nooats fell aght—it wor th same i'th t'other Almanacs, an when they'd gooan throo all th' pages they'd quite a little pile on em—some wor fivers, some tenners, an ther wor one for twenty paand. "Aw see wot dear, dear mother meant when shoo sed if ivver we wor i' onny trubble, we wor to luk into th' little tin box."
Ther wor nearly three hundred paand altogether, an poor lasses they nivver went to bed all neet, for fear o' theives braikin in an stailin—an next mornin they nivver oppen'd th' shop, but went straight away to Miss Simpson's and bowt her shop, stock an gooid will, an all, an paid brass daan for it.
They've nivver luk'd behund em since, tho' its mooar nor two year sin this happened; tho' Rosa's gooan aght o' bisniss, becoss shoo's wed a clerk in a bank; an Louisa's baan to be married at Kursmiss to a chap at has a shop next door, an they're baan to break a door thro' an roll both shops into one.
On th' furst ov October ivvery year as sooin as th' Clock Almanack comes aght, they booath on em run an buy th' first copy at ivver they can lig ther hands on, for th' varry seet ov th' red an yoller cover maks em think o'th happiest moment at ivver they had i' ther lives.
It isn't often at ther's soa mich brass faand inside a Clock Almanack, but ther's monny an monny a paands worth ov innocent amusement to be faand in its pages, an they're odd kind o' fowk at connot thoil to spend a threepeny bit on one, or think ther brass is wasted.
"Mally! If tha cannot scale th' foir baght makkin that din, let it alooan!"
"When aw want thee to tell me ha to scale a foir aw'll ax thi! Aw should think aw've lived long enuff to know that mich. It mun awther be scaled or it'll goa aght."
"Then let it goa aght! If tha maks a racket like that agean tha'll goa aght whativver comes o'th foir, or if tha doesn't aw'll pitch thi on th' top on it! Oh my poor heead! aw wish tha had it for hawf an haar, then tha'd know summat."
"Awm nooan soa sewer abaat that! Tha's had it ivver sin aw knew thi an its varry little at tha knows!"
"Aw know it'll drive me aght o' mi senses if it doesn't stop."
"Well, tha willn't have far to goa, that's one blessin. Bless mi life! its nobbut a touch o'th tooithwark."
"Nobbut a touch isn't it? If tha'd to be touched i'th same way tha wodn't live five minnits. As it happens, it isn't th' tooithwark at all, it's th' newralgy aw've getten into mi heead."
"Well, be thankful at tha's getten summat in it at last, for its been empty long enuff, an that owt to be fain whether its newralgy or oldralgy. Aw've noa patience wi thi, for if ther's th' leeast thing ails thi tha upsets all th' haase. When awr Hepsabah's Jerrymier had it he hardly made a muff, an he did have it wi a vengence, poor child."
"Awd like to know if ther's owt i' this world at Jerrymier hasn't had? If awd to come hooam wi mi neck brokken tha'd declare at Jerrymier had had his brokken monny a time, an seemed to enjoy it! Aw wish he'd nivver been born for he's th' plague o' my life!"
"It mud ha been a gooid job for him if he nivver had been born, an th' same could be sed abaat moor nor him, soa tha can crack that nut."
"Tha'd tawk abaat crackin nuts if tha'd th' face ache like me. O-o-o-o-h! aw believe th' top o' mi heead's commin off! Aw dooant expect onny sympathy, but connot ta gie me summat to ease me a bit? If tha doesn't awst goa ravin mad." "Onny body to lissen to thi ud fancy tha wor that already. Which side is it on?"
"It isn't th' aghtside tha may be sewer. O-o-o-o-h! its like drivin a nail into mi heead."
"Tha mun goa an get it pool'd."
"Pool'd! what pool'd? They can do me noa gooid wi poolin unless they pool mi heead off, an aw dooant think tha'd shed a tear if tha'd to see me come walkin hooam wi it under mi arm!"
"Why, aw dooant know what use it ud be to thi under thi arm, but it's been varry little use to thi under thi hat. But aw'll see what aw can do for thi if tha'll have a bit o' patience."
"Patience! All reight, lass. Aw'll ha patience. Dooant hurry thysen whativver tha does. Tha'd better goa an have a bit ov a tawk wi awr Hepsabah, an tak Jerrymier for a walk befoor tha starts. It may be th' deeath ov his gronfather, but that meeans nowt."
"Ther's nubdy wants thee to dee, for tha'd be worth less then nor tha art nah, if sich a thing could be. Nah, here sithee,—ther's a nice little oonion aw've rooasted, an tha mun let mi put it i' thi earhoil."
"Will that do onny gooid thinks ta?"
"We can nobbut try. Tha knows a sheepheead an oonion is allus gooid."
"Mally,—when tha wor poorly aw shed tears ovver thee."
"Well, if tha did, ammot aw sheddin tears?"
"Eeah, but its pillin that oonion at's made em come. Tha'll be sooary for this someday. Ooooh!"
"Nah, tha'll see that'll gie thi a bit o' ease. Keep this warm flannel to th' side o' thi face wol aw mak thi a pooltice."
"Doesn't ta think aw owt to have summat i'th inside as weel?"
"Aw've heeard say at a dooas o' oppenin physic is a varry gooid thing, an aw've some tincture o' rewbub at aw gate for Jerrymier."
"Then let Jerrymier have it! aw'll have nooan sich like muck! Can't ta think o' summat else?—summat warm an comfortin like."
"Aw can mak thi a sup o' mint teah. That's a varry gooid thing aw believe."
"Tha knows mint teah nivver does for me. Ha does ta think a drop o' warm whisky an watter, withaat sewger ud do? It isn't nice takkin, but when its for physic aw can put up wi it."
"If tha thinks it'll do thi onny gooid aw'll slip aght an get thi a tooithful."
"If it wor nobbut a tooith at wor botherin me, tha might gie me a tooithful, but when its mi whooal heead, a pint 'll be little enuff."
"Keep still just whear tha art, an aw'll fotch thi some, for unless aw do aw dooant think tha'll let me have a bit o' sleep."
Sammywell sat varry still an Mally wornt varry long befoor shoo wor back, an as sooin as shoo could shoo made him a glass booath strong an hot, an considerin at it wor baght sewger, he tuk it varry weel, tho' he did pool a faal face after he'd getten it daan.
"Nah, aw'll mak thi a gooid big bran pooltice at'll goa all ovver thi heead, an then tha mun get to bed, an then aw'll tak a drop o' whisky to awr Hepsabah's husband, for he's fair made up wi a cold."
"Tha mun do nowt o'th sooart. Ther isn't a war thing for a cold nor whisky; all th' doctor's 'll tell thi that. If he's getten a bad cold mak him some mint tea. Ther's nowt better for gettin him onto a sweeat. An aw think if aw wor thee aw wodn't bother abaat that bran pooltice wol we see ha th' whisky goas on. Awm sewer aw feel a bit easier bi nah. Aw think aw'll creep up to bed, an awd better tak th' bottle up wi me for fear it should come on agean, an aw'll leeav thee to mak th' mint teah, an be sewer tha doesn't stop long, for aw connot rest withaat thi."
He went to bed an Mally made a jugful o' strong mint teah an tuk it to Hepsabah's, an when shoo coom back an went up to bed, Sammywell wor asleep.
"He must ha had another tarrible pain," sed Mally, "for th' bottle's empty, but he's saand asleep nah."
When Mally wakkened i'th mornin, Sammywell wor still asleep, soa shoo gate up as quietly as shoo could, an tuckt him in nice an comfortable, an went daan-stairs to get a bit o' braikfast ready.
"Aw know he likes a sup a teah,—an aw'll mak him a bit o' nice buttered tooast an cook him a Yarmoth Blooater, an may-be he'll feel a bit better after he's getten that into him, tho' sometimes aw think he hardly desarves it, for he does try me sometimes wol aw think he's ommost spun me to th' length. But what can aw do? He's nooan what yo call an ill en, but he's soa aggravatin. But aw've nubdy to blame but misen, for aw've spoilt him ivver sin aw had him an awst ha to tak th' consequences. If ivver aw get wed ageean aw'll begin as aw meean to go on. But, A'a dear o' me! whativver am aw tawkin abaat! An old gronmother like me thinkin abaat gettin wed ageean! But ther are times when sich thowts will get into a body's noddle, for aw once heeard a chap say, at a chap does live sometimes till he's to old to be wed, but a woman nivver. But aw needn't trouble misen wi thinkin abaat sich things for he's nooan deead yet nor likely to be; an if he wor aw dooant know whear aw could ivver get another to suit me as weel. If aw could nobbut taich him a bit o' sense, an get him to behave as a chap ov his years owt to do it ud be different, tho' aw do believe aw should feel lost withaat him."
"His braikfast's all ready nah, an aw'll tak it to bed to him, an if he's wakkened up in a daycent temper aw'll have a tawk to him."
Sammywell had just wakkened when shoo went in wi it. "A'a! Mally, lass," he sed when he saw his braikfast, "Aw dooan't know whativver aw mud do but for thee!"
"Is thi heead onny better?"
"Aw nivver felt better i' mi life. It's a shame to put thee to all this trubble, for aw could ha getten up to it."
"It's noa trubble, Sammywell, an aw wodn't care owt abaat trubble if tha'd nobbut try an behave thisen, an net spaik to me i'th way tha does. Awm sewer sometimes, when tha gets into one o' thi tantrums aw feel as if ther wor nowt left for me to live for. If tha'd nobbut try to reform a bit,—if tha'd be as tha used to be forty or fifty year sin, aw should be th' happyest woman within saand o'th taan hall chimes. Get that into thi an tha'll happen feel better. Aw mun goa becoss its weshin day, an aw've an extra wesh, for awr Hepsabah's sent all Jerrymier's clooas at he's worn for this last fortnit, an he does mucky a seet o' brats an stuff."
"Jerrymier agean! What the duce has ta to do wi weshin Jerrymier's clooas! Let her wesh em hersen. Aw've just studden this wol awm stall'd!"
"Thear tha goas agean! If onnybody says a word to thee tha flies off in a passhion. Aw know what awr poor Hepsabah has to do an tha doesn't. Tha'd nivver ha gooan on like that when we wor wed at furst."
"Noa! but ther wor noa Jerrymier then!"
"Ther'd ha been noa Jerrymier nah if it hadn't ha been for thee. Tha cannot get ovver th' fact 'at tha'rt his gronfather. But aw mun be off for standin tawkin to thee willn't get th' clooas weshed."
"It's a drop o' rare gooid teah is this,—aw wonder if shoo's mixed it hersen, if net shoo should allus buy at that shop. Aw dooant think ther's a chap onnywhear 'at's a better wife nor aw've getten, an aw can't help thinkin sometimes at aw dooant treeat her just as aw owt to do. Aw think it's abaat time aw altered things. Shoo wants me to reform, an do as aw used to do when we wor wed at furst. Well, aw can hardly manage that, but aw remember th' time 'at aw used to mak a gooid bit a fuss on her, an used to spaik moor lovinly like. Awm blessed if aw dooant try it on agean! If a little thing like that'll suit her, shoo's worthy on it an shoo shall have it. Aw've had a gooid braikfast, an aw could ha supt a gallon o' that teah if awd had it.—It's th' weshin day, an aw used to give her a help sometimes, an aw'll do it agean."
When Sammywell gate daan staars th' place wor full o' steeam an th' smell o' sooapsuds, but he didn't put on his hat an goa aght, but he crept up cloise beside her an slippin his arm raand her waiste, he sed, "Mally, lass, connot aw help thi a bit?"
"What are ta up to nah! Aw know thy tricks ov old! Tha thinks tha can put thi hand i' mi pocket an tak th' last shillin we have i'th haase! But awm too old fashioned for thi. Ger aght o' this hoil or aw'll claat thi ovver thi heead wi this blanket!"
"Nay, lass, aw dooant like to see thee tewin like this an me dooin nowt, let's help thi a bit."
"It's little aw'll gie for sich help as thine! If tha comes here to reckon to help me, tha'll want payin for it twice ovver."
"Why, Mally love, if tha'll gie me a kuss aw'll turn th' wringin machine for thi wol tha's done."
"Sammywell,—aw want thee to luk me straight i'th face an tell me what tha's had to sup this mornin an whear tha's getten it?"
"Aw've had nowt but that drop o' teah tha browt up stairs."
"Well, aw dooant want to say tha'rt a stooary teller, but aw can think what aw like."
"Nah, Mally love——"
"Ger aght o' this hoil, gurt softheead! If tha comes near me wi onny o' thi 'Mally loves,' aw'll throw this bucket o' watter ovver thi! Tha'rt a fooil thisen an tha thinks awm one, but tha'll find thisen mistaen. After been called 'Old Towel' an 'Blow Broth' an 'Old Nivversweeat,' to say nowt abaat names at awd be ashamed to mention—it's rayther too lat i'th day to try an come ovver me wi thi 'Mally loves.'"
"But awm baan to reform, awm net gooin to call thi sich names onny moor, an if tha'll nobbut let me help thi, Mally love——"
"Aw'll gie thi 'Mally love!' Aw suppooas tha thinks aw havn't enuff to do, soa tha mun come here to aggravate an hinder me all tha can!"
"Tha shouldn't ha claated me across th' chops wi that weet hippen,—that's noa way to help a chap's reformation."
"Aw'll hit thi wi summat harder nor that if tha doesn't put on thi hat an ger aght. It's noa use thee tawkin' to me abaat reformin', for it's too lat on i'th day. If it wor possible to mak thi into a daycent chap ther's nubdy'd know thi. Even little Jerrymier coom in tother day to ax for thi becoss he wanted to goa for a walk, an when aw tell'd him tha wor up stairs, he sed, 'Is mi grondad reight in his heead to-day?' Even he knows thi!"
"Aw've done wi Jerrymier for ivver an aw hooap tha'll nivver mention his name agean in a haase o' mine."
"This haase is mine as it happens, an awst nivver ax thee whose name aw've to mention. A'a! awd be ashamed o' misen if aw wor like thee, comin an makkin a bother like this th' furst thing in a mornin."
"Aw didn't want to mak onny bother,—aw wanted to help thi, Mally love, but——"
"Ger aght o' this hoil or' aw'll mash th' peggy ovver thi heead! Tha gurt maddlin! Tak this shillin an goa an see if tha can mak thisen a bigger fooil nor tha art!"
"Well, aw'll tak it, tho' aw had meant to help thi a bit, but it seems tha'rt too thrang to help a chap wi his reformation. Gooid bye, Mally love, an——" But he just managed so slip aght o'th door i' time to miss th' foir shool at shoo flung at his heead.
"Aw'll put off reformin an tryin to act like aw used to do; for aw get noa encouragement. Its noa use tryin to suit a woman for it cannot be done. Aw see nowt for it but to goa on i'th same old way, an after all, old fowk can nivver be young agean. Well, ther's one comfort,—shoo's gein me a shillin. Vartue is its own reward."
Mister Sydney Algernon Horne, wor a weel to do chap, as yo'll gather thro' his name, for parents dooant give ther child sich fine names unless thers a bit o' brass behind em. If owd Horne, Sydney's feyther, had been a poor warkin man, he'd ha called th' lad Tom, or Bill, or happen Mike; but as he wor a gentleman, wi Bank shares, an Cottage haase property, he dubbed th' lad Sydney Algernon as aw've telled yo. Aw think its nobbut reight at aw should tell yo at this rewl abaat names doesn't allus hold gooid, for ther's a mucky, dirty nooased, draggle-tail'd lass lives up awr yard, wi frowsy hair at couldn't be straightened wi nowt short ov a cooambin machine; shoo hasn't a hawpney to bless hersen wi, an yet shoo's called Victoria Hujaney, after th' Queen o' these lands, an Ex-Empress o'th French.
But aw must get on wi mi tale, or else yo'll happen be thinkin 'at awm nivver baan to tell it. Mister Sydney Algernon Horne faand hissen an orphan at three an twenty year owd, an th' owner o' all th' Bank Shares an th' Cottages, besides th' haase he lived in, which wor a varry nice one wi a big garden, an situated, as th' advertisements says, in the mooast salubrious pairt o' Sheffield.
He knew a deal o' fowk at Sheffield—fowk like him wi a heap o' brass; an bein a single man, an furst-rate company, he wor welcomed i' all th' big haases, a deeal moor heartily nor mooast o'th' readers o'th' Clock Almanac wod ha been. Young men made him welcome, becoss he could tell a gooid stooary an sing a song wi onny on em. Faythers an mothers o' marriageable dowters wor fain to see him, i' hopes at he'd be smitten wi th' charms o' Matilda Charlotte or Ethel Maude,—but th' lasses thersens wor fainest to see him, becoss he wor nice lukkin, an could tawk soft to em, an he used to squeeze ther hands when he wor sayin "gooid bye," soa gently, at he used to mak em ivvery one think at he wor dyin ov love for em.
But Sydney wor too wide awake to be catched easy; he wor varry happy an comfortable as a bachelor, an as he'd a gooid idea at i' mooast cases it wor his brass an not him at they wanted, he steered clear o' all th' traps at they set for him; an when th' Kursmis parties wor all ovver, he wor still single—an they'd none on em getten noa forrader wi him when winter coom agean, an put a stop to Lawn Tennis an Croquet Parties.
But yo know it says i' th' gooid owd Book at it isn't "gooid for a man to dwell alooan"—an aw suppoas it isn't, for someha or other, sooiner or later mooast young chaps get dropt on, an Sydney wor noa excepshun to th' rewl. Aw'll tell yo hah it wor.
One snowy neet, at abaat six o'clock he wor gooin hooam to his dinner, (for swells yo must know ha ther dinners at th' time at respectable warkin fowk ha ther teahs)—He wor just passin a dark lane end, when he heard a woman's voice singin aght "Help! Help!"
He cut up th' rooad as fast as he could, an abaat twenty yards thro' th' corner, he seed a regular offal lukkin feller strugglin wi a young lady under a gas pooast.—As sooin as th' ruffian seed Sydney commin, he bolted ovver a wall, in a way at showed at it worn't th' furst time at he'd takken to his heels to save hissen a thrashin.
Ov cooarse as sooin as th' danger wor ovver, an ther wor noa need o' owt o't sooart, th' young lady swooned away—an it tuk Sydney all his time to bring her raand, in fact it worn't until he'd kissed her two or three times, at shoo begun o' commin to her senses.
As sooin as shoo wor able to walk, he assisted her hooam, or at least to th' haase wher shoo wor visitin. On th' way shoo tell'd him at they call'd her Mabel Mothersdale, that shoo wor stayin a wick or two wi some friends, an that shoo'd just slip aght to pop a letter into th' pillar box, when th' tramp attack'd her.
Sydney went next day to ax hah shoo wor.—Shoo wor varry fain to see him—an th' friends shoo wor stayin wi made a big fuss ov him, an axd him to stay dinner. He stayed ov cooarse.
Th' next day he called wi a piece o' music 'at he'd been tellin em abaat—th' day after he went wi some tickets for a grand concert ther wor baan to be i' Sheffield—an what wi one excuse or another, he seed her ivvery day—an ivvery neet when he doffed his clooas an gate into bed, he felt moor i' love wi Mabel nor he had done th' neet befoor.
At last th' day coom for her to goa back hooam to Brummagem, where her father lived, an when Sydney called to say "gooid bye" to her, he tuk th' opportunity when they wor left aloan for abaat five minutes, to ax her to marry him. Mabel wor a sensible lass, ho knew a reight chap when shoo seed one, soa shoo sed at shoo'd wed him wi pleasur if he'd get her father's consent.
"Mother's been deead these six years," shoo sed, "but befoor shoo deed aw promised her faithful at aw'd nivver marry nubdy withaat mi father wor agreeable."
Sydney kussed her an sed he wor quite content an he'd goa daan to Brummagem next Tuesday, an ax her father on th' Wednesday mornin, an as he wor weel to do i' money matters, noa daat ther'd be noa difficulty i' gettin th' owd feller to have him for a son i' law.
Soa Mabel went hooam wi a happy heart, an caanted th' haars wol next Wednesday, when shoo'd see her dear Sydney Algernon ageean.
Nah as aw tell'd yo befooar, Sydney wor a reight nice young feller—he wor as steady as a clock, an nubdy couldn't say nowt ageean him, nobbut for one thing, an that wor he'd getten an idea into his heead, at he couldn't possibly live baat bacca—mornin, nooin an neet, he wor hardly ivver withaat awther a pipe or a cigar in his maath, an tho' fowk tell'd him at he smooked a deeal too mich, it wor noa gooid.
"Aw couldn't live baat a bit o' bacca," he used to say, "an when th' day cooms 'at aw may'nt smook, aw shall'nt care ha sooin they shut me up in a box, an cart me off to th' burryin graand."
Soa yo can easy imagine 'at wi sich sentiments as these, he didn't leeave off smookin as ha fowk tawked. At last Tuesdy coom, an as th' best train for Brummagem left at five o'clock in th' afternooin, Sydney decided he'd goa by that; an as its a longish gait, ov cooarse he tuk jolly gooid care to have plenty o' smookin materials wi him.
When he gate to th' stashun, he faand aght to his disgust, 'at th' only reekin hoil on all th' train wor full, soa he gate into another carriage an decided to mak that into one, for he'd getten some slips o' paper in his pocket wi "Smookin" on, soa as he could stick one on if it wor required, haivver has nubdy else got in wi him, he didn't bother abaat puttin th' slip up. At last th' train started an glided aght o' th' leeted stashun into th' darkness aghtside, for it wor winter time, an a thick muggy afternooin, soa he lit his pipe an started readin a "Clock Almanac" at he'd bowt—an what wi readin th' stories, an thinkin abaat ha sooin he'd see Mabel, an fillin his pipe, he didn't nooatice where he'd getten too; when all ov a sudden th' train started gooin slower an slower, an finally stopt at a bit ov a road-side stashun, abaat as big as one o' them hot pay hoils whear lads caar ov a neet to spend ther coppers in.
As it wor a express he knew it didn't owt to stop there, an just as he wor wonderin what ther wor to do, th' door wor oppened an a little owd gentleman wi spectacles on, wor tumbled into th' same compartment whear he wor, an a leather bag wor shoved in after him—a porter touched his hat an shaated aght "All reet!" th' door wor slammed too, th' whistle blew, an th' train started off agean.
"Phew! Yor smookin, sir!" sed th' owd chap as sooin as he'd getten his breeath an lukt raand.
"Eah!" sed Sydney, showin a cigar at he'd leeted not a minnit befooar.
"Aw insist on yor puttin it aght instantly," sed th' owd feller.
Sydney wornt used to bein ordered abaat like this, soa he sed:
"Oh, yo insist on it, do yo, owd buffer, but suppooas aw dooant put it aght, what then?"
"But you shall put it aght, an at once too," he went on, gettin varry red i' th' face, "do yo think at aw shall submit to be poisoned wi yor vile, disgustin tobacca smook? sich men as yo should ride in a cattle truck or a dog box—tho' if yo wor in there yo'd be taichin th' cawves an puppies bad habbits—Owd buffer, indeed! I'll have yo fined, sir."
"Nah dooan't yo get raggy," sed Sydney, poolin aght his cigar case, an leetin another; "if aw have to be fined aw mud as weel have summat for my brass," an he moved an sat on a seat in front o'th owd chap, an puffed aght o' both cigars as fast as he could, wol he made sich a reek i'th hoil at th' lamp up aboon lukk'd like a full mooin on a misty neet.
"Awm a director on this line," th' owd beggar gasped, "an aw insist on yor desistin the smookin at once, sir."
"A director are yo? awm fain to see yo, aw've often wanted to ax one o' ye gentry ha it is at th' trains is soa unpunctual on this line?"
Th' owd chap jumped up an run to th' winder, an let it daan, an started tryin to find th' cord to stop th' train, but bi gooid luck he'd getten to th' wrang side o'th carriage, an while he wor botherin to find th' rope, Sydney opened th' t'other winder an stuck one o'th' slips wi "Smookin" on it, on th' aghtside oth' pane, an then he sed:
"Aw insist on yo closin that winder, sir, th' draught annoys me, as aw've getten a bad cowd."
Haivver th' owd chap wodn't shut it, he kept his heead aght an cought, an it worn't till he catched seet o' Sydney sharpenin a gurt jack-knife on his booit, at he wor flayed into cloisin it. Nah it soa happened at only that varry afternooin, th' owd feller had been readin ith' paper, abaat a man havin escaped throo a mad haase somwhear or other, an it struck him at Sydney must be th' varry chap, soa he wor in sich a funk 'at he didn't know whativver to do, but he thowt th' best thing wod be to keep as still as he could, an not vex Sydney, soa he sat daan as quiet as owt an sed nowt.
"Are yo fond o' mewsic?" Sydney axt.
"Varry," sed th' owd chap.
Soa Sydney started wavin his jack knife abaat, an bellowin a song aght o' tune, abaat Buffalo Bill, an huntin buffalos in th' wilds o' Kensington, an he stuck a verse in abaat scalpin Railway directors. In th' meeantime th' train wor gooin along at a gooid rattle, for they wor lat, an th' driver wor makkin up time, soa th' carriage started o' swingin a bit. Th' owd feller thowt he mud say summat to try an mak Sydney forget abaat scalpin directors, soa he sed:
"Dooant yo think this trains gooin quickly, sir?"
"Aw wish it wod goa twenty times faster, aw wish it wod goa a thaasand times faster," sed Sydney, wavin his arms abaat, "aw wish it wod goa bang into another train an smash this carriage all inter smithereens."
"Why, if it did yo'd be killed!"
"Awd dee gladly ony day," Sydney answered, "if aw could only know at a Director wor killed too."
An soa they went on, Sydney dooin all kind o' mad things, he even insisted on th' Director smookin three whiffs ov a cigar; but at last, like ivverything i' this world, th' journey coom to an end, an they glided into th' station at Brummagem.
As sooin as ivver th' train stopt, th' Director jumpt aght, an called for a porter, "Get that gentleman's name," he sed, "he's been smookin in this carriage."
Sydney wor sittin quite calmly, wi' hawf a cigar in his maath, an th' porter sed,—
"Have yo been smookin, sir?"
"Ov coorse aw have, cannot yo see mi cigar, this is a smookin carriage, luk thear"—an he pointed to th' label on th' winder.
Th' porter couldn't do anything when he seed that, but th' Director sent for th' stashun maister, an made an awful shindy; he sed 'at Sydney wor mad, an ha he'd threatened him wi' a knife, an aw dooant know what beside—but Sydney wor soa polite, an whispered to th' Stashun maister, "at he thowt th' owd feller had had too mich to sup, for he'd been smookin hissen as they could easy find aght if they smell'd his breeath."
Soa th' Stashun maister sed he couldn't do owt, as it wor a smookin carriage, soa Sydney wor allowed to goa to th' Hotel, leeavin 'em to feight it aght as they liked.
Th' last thing he thowt ov that neet befooar he fell asleep wor, ha Mabel wod laugh next day when he telled her abaat it.
Next mornin when he'd had his braikfast, he donned hissen up smart as a chap owt to do when he's gooin a cooartin, an set off in a cab to Mabel's father's haase.
Th' lass wor lukkin aght for him, an after a bit o' kussin an huggin (as is suitable at sich times) Sydney sed he mud as weel see her father an get it ovver.
"He's in th' library," sed Mabel.
"Nah for it," Sydney sed, as they stood aghtside th' door, "gie me another kuss, lass, to keep me up to th' mark, an eh! aw've sich a joke to tell thi abaat afterwards."
Mabel kussed him ageean, an then shoo oppen'd th' door an walked in, wi Sydney followin behund feelin varry uncumfortable, for its noa joke aw can tell yo axin an owd gentleman to gie yo his dowter.
Mister Mothersdale wor sittin at a table, writin a letter, when they went in an he didn't luk up till Mabel sed:—"Papa, dear, this is Mister Horne, th' gentleman I told yo abaat, who protected me from that ruffian i' Sheffield, who tried to rob me."
He lukked up, and Sydney felt like to sink into his booits, for if it worn't th' varry owd chap at he'd travelled in th' train wi' th' neet befooar.
Nah tho' Sydney knew th' owd chap in a crack, by gooid luck Mabel's father hadn't his glasses on, soa he didn't mak him aght at furst.
"Awm varry fain to mak yor acquaintance, sir," he sed, "my dowter has towd me ha kind yo wor i' Sheffield, an aw wish to thank yo for it."
Sydney wor soa flayed ov th' owd feller rememberin his voice, 'at he shoved a hawpny into his maath befooar he spake, an then he sed:—"Aw didn't do much awm sewer, Sir. It wor nowt at all."
"Have aw ivver met yo befooar," Mister Mothersdale axt, "aw seem to know yor voice?"
"Net as aw know on," Sydney answered, feelin at he wor in for a thunderin lot o' lyin.
"Mister Horne's niver been i' Brummagem befooar," Mabel sed.
"It's varry strange," th' owd man went on, as he put his specs on, "aw seem to know yor voice soa weel, an dear-a-me yor face reminds me ov sumdy but aw cannot tell who."
Nah Sydney wor dressed quite different thro what he had th' neet befooar, an while Mabel's father wor puzzlin his heead abaat it, Mabel sed "Aw showed yo a photograph o' Mister Horne, papa, praps that's it?"
"That must be it," Sydney sed, jumpin at th' idea soa sharp, at in spite o'th hawpny he had in his maath, he spoke quite nateral like; an though th' owd feller couldn't believe 'at this nice gradely lukkin young man, could be th' same as th' madman he'd travelled wi' th' neet befooar, th' idea coom into his heead, an th' moor he lukked, th' moor certain he grew.
"Can yo sing," he axed.
"Awm a varry poor singer," Sydney sed.
"Soa wor th' chap last neet," thowt owd Mothersdale, but Mabel put in, "Oh! Papa he sings as beautifully as Sims Reeves."
"Then it couldn't ha been him," thowt her father, an then he axt:
"Do yo know a comic song at awm varry fond ov, abaat Buffalo Bill scalpin Railway Directors in th' Wilds o' Kensington?"
Mabel laft, an Sydney tried to laff too, as he sed:—
"Aw nivver heeard ov it befooar, but if yor fond ov it, aw'll try an get it an sing it for yo."
Th' owd man wor baan to ax some mooar questions when Sydney thinkin it wor time to change th' subject, sed:—"Aw've come, Mr. Mothersdale, to ax if yo've onny objections to"—he'd quite forgetten abaat his voice ageean, an when he gate that far, Mabel's father begun o' beein quite sewer i' wor th' madman, an he stuck in wi:—"Do yo happen, Mr. Horne, to have a big knife abaat yo, for aw want one for abaat hawf a minnit?"
Sydney wor just baan to bring aght his Jack knife, but he remembered just i' time, soa he sed, "Noa, awm sorry aw haven't, but Mister Mothersdale wod yo have onny objections to Mabel an me keepin company? Awm weel off, aw've a gooid hooam to tak her to, an awm sewer aw can mak her happy."
Nah ivvery word at Sydney sed made owd Mothersdale mooar sewer at he wor th' chap at he'd coom daan i'th train wi th' neet afooar. He wor awfully riled abaat it yo may be sewer, for if ther wor one thing on earth at he couldn't abide it wor th' stink o' bacca, an he'd been varry near smooared i' that railway carriage. But wol he wor as mad as a hatter abaat it, he remembered at he'd heeard Mabel say 'at this Mister Horne had heaps o' brass, soa he thowt he'd say no mooar abaat th' neet afooar, but let him wed th' lass, an tak a revenge aght ov him some other way.
Soa he started jawin away, as these better class fathers does, abaat ha he couldn't bide to part wi his dear Mabel, an soa on; but when Sydney tell'd him abaat his Bank shares, an th' cottage haase property, he sooin gave in.
"Well," he sed wi a sniff, as if he'd getten a bad cowd in his heead, "if yo booath on yo love each other soa mich, aw willn't stand in th' road o' yor happiness, but ther's one little request aw must ask yo to grant me, Mr. Horne, in return for my dowter?"
Sydney wor soa sewted at th' way things wor gooin, at he blurted aght, "awst be glad to promise owt yo like to ask, sir."
"Awm a member o' th' Anti-tobacca Society," sed th' owd beggar chucklin to hissen, "an aw hooap yo dooant indulge i' smookin or snufftakkin?"
"Aw do smook a little, sir, but varry little."
"Then, ov cooarse as its soa little, yo willn't object to give it up in order to win Mabel's hand?"
Poor Sydney, he'd nobbut had three cigars that mornin, an he wor fair deein to get aght an have a smook, but ther didn't seem noa escape, soa wi a sigh, he sed:—"Varry weel, sir, aw'll give it up."
Owd Mothersdale grinned, an thowt ha nicely he wor payin him off for th' neet befoor, then he shoved a sheet o' paper across th' table, an Sydney wrote on it that he promised nivver to smook no mooar wol th' owd chap consented.
"Aw shall nivver consent," sed Mr. Mothersdale, "haivver it doesn't matter. Nah, Mabel, gie me a kiss, an then yo an Mister Horne can run away an talk things ovver."
Mabel kissed him, an went away wi Sydney, but when shoo axed him afterwards what th' joke wor he'd promised to tell her, he pretended he'd forgetten.
They wor wed at Midsummer, an Sydney kept his word abaat smookin—he started chewin, an suckin owd empty pipes, but it worn't like smookin, an whenivver he smelt th' reek ov a cigar it fair set him longin, but like a man owt to do, he didn't braik his promise.
Abaat a year after, when they wor baan to cursen th' babby, Mabel's father wor ax'd to th' ceremony. Mabel wor vexed at Sydney couldn't smook, becoss shoo knew ha fond he wor on it, soa th' afternooin her father wor expected, shoo sed, "we'll cure papa ov his dislike to bacca smook, or else we'll get him to let yo smook ageean."
"Hah'll yo do it, lass?"
"Wait an see," shoo sed, "yo shall smook a pipe to-neet."
He wondered ha it wor to be done, an at fower o'clock shoo sent him off to th' stashun to meet her father.
When they gate back th' whole haase wor full o' bacca smook, in bedrooms an passages, on th' steps, in th' sittin rooms, ther wor thick white claads ov it.
"Oh, dear-a-me," sed Mr. Mothersdale, "whativvers this? Sydney yo've brokken yor promise, an been smookin?"
"Aw haven't," Sidney sed, "nivver a whif hav aw smook'd sin th' day aw promised."
"Noa," Mabel sed, "we've faand a better way nor that, we're booath fond o'th reek o' bacca, soa we get a fumigatin thing aght o'th greenhaase, and burn bacca in it, it sents all th' haase i' noa time, an saves Sydney all th' trubble o' puffin away at pipes an cigars."
He felt he wor done—he couldn't live i' sich a smook as that, soa he tell'd Sydney at if he'd keep his smookin aght o'th raich o' his nooas, he could start when he liked, providin they wodn't use th' fumigator noa mooar.
Sidney slipt aght into th' back garden, an smook'd what he thowt wor th' best cigar he'd ivver had in his life; an as it says in stooary books "they all lived varry happy ivver afterwards."
Beautiful babby! Beautiful lad! Pride o' thi mother and joy o' thi dad! Full ov sly tricks an sweet winnin ways;— Two cherry lips whear a smile ivver plays; Two little een ov heavenly blue,— Wonderinly starin at ivverything new, Two little cheeks like leaves of a rooas,— An planted between em a wee little nooas, A chin wi a dimple 'at tempts one to kiss;— Nivver wor bonnier babby nor this. Two little hands 'at are seldom at rest,— Except when asleep in thy snug little nest. Two little feet 'at are kickin all day, Up an daan, in an aght, like two kittens at play. Welcome as dewdrops 'at freshen the flaars, Soa has thy commin cheered this life ov awrs. What tha may come to noa mortal can tell;— We hooap an we pray 'at all may be well. We've other young taistrels, one, two an three, But net one ith' bunch is moor welcome nor thee. Sometimes we are tempted to grummel an freeat, Becoss we goa short ov what other fowk get. Poverty sometimes we have as a guest, But tha needn't fear, tha shall share ov the best. What are fowks' riches to mother an me? All they have wodn't buy sich a babby as thee. Aw wor warned i' mi young days 'at weddin browt woe, 'At labor an worry wod keep a chap low,— 'At love aght o' th' winder wod varry sooin flee, When poverty coom in at th' door,—but aw see Old fowk an old sayins sometimes miss ther mark, For love shines aght breetest when all raand is dark. Ther's monny a nobleman, wed an hawf wild, 'At wod give hawf his fortun to have sich a child. Then why should we envy his wealth an his lands, Tho' sarvents attend to obey his commands? For we have the treasures noa riches can buy, An aw think we can keep em,—at leeast we can try; An if it should pleeas Him who orders all things, To call yo away to rest under His wings,— Tho to part wod be hard, yet this comfort is giv'n, We shall know 'at awr treasures are safe up i' Heaven Whear no moth an noa rust can corrupt or destroy, Nor thieves can braik in, nor troubles annoy. Blessins on thi! wee thing,—an whativver thi lot, Tha'rt promised a mansion, tho born in a cot, What fate is befoor thi noa mortal can see, But Christ coom to call just sich childer as thee. An this thowt oft cheers me, tho' fortun may fraan, Tha may yet be a jewel to shine in His craan.
"It's noa use, Sammywell,—aw dooant knaw ha tha feels, but aw can assure thee 'at aw dooant feel so young as aw used to do. When aw wor twenty years younger tha allus set off bi thisen an left me to mooild amang it th' best way aw could; but nah, when tha knows 'at aw can hardly put one fooit afoor tother tha wants me to goa for a walk. Its weel enuff for thee to climb ovver hills an daan dales, becoss thi limbs are limber—thanks to me for takkin care on thi as aw have done. It's miserable for me to caar ith' haase all bi misen, an thee wanderin abaat as tha does, an hardly ivver turns up except at meal times, an net allus then. If tha'd ha takken moor nooatice ov what aw've sed to thi i' years gooan by, we could ha been ridin in a carriage ov us own nah. It is'nt at aw've onny desire to show off, but aw think when fowk get to my age, an have tew'd as aw've done, they're entitled to some ease an comfort. But aw suppooas aw'st nivver know what rest is until awm under th' sod."
"Aw think tha must ha been aitin summat 'at's disagreed wi thi, owd lass, for tha's done nowt but grummel this last two-o'-three days. Tha caars i'th' haase too mich. Tha sees tha connot ride a bicycle, an tha'd hardly like to be seen ridin in a wheelbarro, or else awd trundle thee abaat for an hour or two ivvery day, an awr Hepsabah's peramberlater wod'nt hold thi, if it wod it ud find Jerrymier summat to do an keep him aght o' mischief. Then ther's plenty o' tram-cars, but tha allus says tha feels smoor'd when tha rides i' one o' them, soa awm fast what to do amang it."
"Dooant bother thisen.—Aw'st get a ride one o' theas days as far as th' cemetary, an aw shall'nt hav long to wait unless things alter pretty sooin."
"Well, what wod ta advise me to do?"
"It's too lat on ith' day for thee to come to me for advice. Do thi own way, but when tha's lost me tha'll miss me,—mark that. Tha'll nivver find another to do for thi as aw've done."
"Aw hooap net,—but aw hav'nt lost thi yet, an aw dooant want to. But aw've just getten a nooation! Awm capt aw nivver thowt on it befoor! Aw'll goa see abaat it this varry minnit! Tha shall be reight set up this time. Just have a bit o' patience, an aw'll be back in an haar's time."
"Thear tha gooas agean! If aw say a word to thee tha flies off after some wild goois eearand an manages to mak thisen into a bigger fooil nor tha art. Tell me what tha meeans to do?"
"Aw'll tell thi all abaat it when aw come back, an aw weant belong."
"Well dooant goa an get owt to sup. If tha'rt detarmined to have it, buy some an bring it hooam wi thi, for aw believe tha spaiks trewth when tha sed aw'd getten summat at disagreed wi me, for mi stummack's been varry kittle for a day or two."
"All reight, lass! Keep thi pecker up, an aw'll bring thi raand all reight." An Sammywell set off.
"Aw wish aw'd nivver spokken," sed Mally, as shoo watched him pass th' winder. "He's getten that bankbook in his pocket, an he'll as sewer goa an squander some moor brass as he's livin. He isn't fit to be trusted. He meeans weel enuff, but he's soa simple. Net but what ther's war nor him if yo knew whear to find 'em, an aw believe he tries to do his best, but that isn't mich to crack on. Hasumivver, aw mun put up wi it, soa aw'll get thi drinkin ready, for he sed he wod'nt be long."
It didn't tak her long befoor shoo'd made as temptin an comfortable a meal as onny reasonable chap could desire, an then shoo set daan to wait wi as mich patience as shoo could. Darkness wor creepin on an shoo'd ommost getten stall'd o' watchin th' clock, when ther wor a queer grindin sooart ov a noise aghtside, an in another minnit Sammywell come in.
"Nah, lass! Tha sees aw hav'nt been varry long an aw've browt thi summat. Bring a leet an have a luk at it."
"Whativver is it?" shoo sed, as shoo coom to th' door wi a cannel in her hand. "Whativver has ta getten?" shoo sed, as shoo walked raand it.
"Aw've bowt this galloway an little carriage soas aw can drive thi aght whenivver th' weather's fine."
"Whativver wrangheeaded trick will ta be guilty on next!"
"Why, tha wor grummelin abaat net bein able to get aght o' door, an aw bethowt me at old Swindle had this for sale, soa aw've bowt it."
"An nicely he's swindled thee aw've noa daat. But are ta sewer it is a galloway? Becoss aw wodn't believe what he says if he went onto his bended knees."
"Well, what does ta think it is? Tha can see at it's nawther a elefant nor a camel."
"Well, lad,—it may be all reight, but aw should want somdy else to say soa. It luks varry poorly aw think, luk ha white it is ith' face."
"That's th' color on it. It ails nowt an tha'll say soa when aw drive thi aght ith' mornin."
"Thee drive me aght, does ta say? Nay, lad, aw've moor respect for misen nor that! What does ta think awr Hepsabah an th' naybors wod say. But it'll do for Jerrymier. But whear are ta baan to put it?"
"Aw've getten a place to keep it, an if awther Jerrymier or his mother dar to mell on it, they'll know abaat it."
"Tha need'nt freeat,—ther'll nubdy be ovver anxious to mell ov a thing like that. If tha'd bowt a donkey an cart an started hawkin cockles and muscles or else leadin coils ther mud ha been some sense in it. But tak it away an come in an get thi drinkin an dooant stand thear lukkin as gawmless as that article. Off tha gooas an tak it wi thi, an if it lives wol mornin tha can show it to Jerrymier an ax him whether it is a galloway or net. It luks as if it had coom aght o' Noah's Ark, tho if awed been Noah aw should ha let that thing have a swim for it."
"Tha'rt th' mooast provokin, dissatisfied, ungrateful woman aw ivver met! Awm in a gooid mind to drive away an nivver coom back!"
"If tha depends on that whiteweshed umberella-stand tha wodn't be far to seek. But tha'd better hand me that bankbook, for fear tha should leet o' onny moor curosities, an we're nooan gooin to goa into th' show trade. Nah away wi thi."
Grimes drove off an Mally went into th' haase.
"What a silly owd maddlin he is. Just to think at he should goa an wear all that brass o' me. Awr Hepsabah 'll be fair ranty. But then it's his own brass an he's a reight to spend it as he thinks fit, an aw know ther isn't another body ith' world but me at he'd ha bowt it for. Aw think aw nivver saw a bonnier little thing, but it'll be time enuff to tell him soa when he's cooild daan a bit. Aw have to keep him daan a bit or else he'd sooin be too big for his booits. That's his fooit. When he's had a cup o' this teah, an had theas muffins (aw bowt em a purpose for him) he'll leet his pipe an sattle daan, an aw can sooin bring him raand if he's as mad as a wasp. Aw'st nivver be able to sleep to-neet for thinkin abaat yon'd pony an th' drive aght ith' mornin."
When Grimes coom in he wor lukkin varry glumpy.
"Come thi ways, an get theas muffins wol they're hot,—they're fresh off th' beckstun an that butter's come reight off th' farm an its as sweet as a nut."
Sammywell sed nowt, but as th' teah began to warm him an th' muffins wor just to his likin his face seemed to clear a bit, an when shoo handed him his second cup, he wink'd at her, (he couldn't help it.) "This is a drop o' gooid teah, lass, an aw think aw nivver had grander muffins."
"Aw've tried to suit thi. Has ta fed that galloway an left it comfortable for th' neet?"
"As comfortable as it desarves! But aw did'nt know 'at a whiteweshed umberella-stand wanted makkin comfortable."
"Aw know its all reight for tha hasn't a heart i' thi belly to hurt a flee. What time does ta intend to start off i'th mornin."
"Mak thi own time. But aw thowt tha didn't care to goa."
"It's what aw've been langin for for years, an tha knows, Sammywell, if aw do say a word nah an agean at doesn't just suit thi, its becoss tha aggravates me. If tha'd treeat me as a wife owt to be treated, aw should nivver utter a wrang word."
"Well, tha artn't th' only one i' this haase at gets aggravated sometimes, but we'll say noa moor abaat it. Try an bi ready bi ten o'clock i'th mornin, an we'll start aght if its fine."
"But tha doesn't feel cross abaat it, does ta lad."
"Cross, behanged! If aw tuk onny nooatice o' what tha says, aw should allus be cross. Let's get to bed."
Next mornin Mally wor soa flustered wol when Grimes coom in to his braikfast after lukkin to th' galloway, her hands tremmeld soa at shoo could hardly teem aght his teah.
But shoo managed to get donned at last, an Sammywell browt th' galloway an th' little trap to th' door, an he felt a bit narvous too, for it wor th' furst time he'd ivver driven aght wi his wife, but he wor praad to do it, an his pride kept him up.
They wor i' hooaps o' gettin off withaat Hepsabah an th' naybors gettin to know, but it wor noa use. Sombd'y seen th' galloway, an when Sammywell helpt Mally into her seat, they wor all aght.
Hepsabah stood thear, wi a babby o' awther arm, an Jerrymier at her side, an as they rode past, shoo put on as humble a luk as shoo knew ha, an dropt a curtsey, an sed "Gooid mornin, Mr. and Mrs. Grimes, Esquire." Then shoo brast aght laffin an all th' naybor wimmen waved ther approns or towels or owt else they could snatch howd on, an cheered em wol they gate aght o'th bottom o'th fold.
They tuk th' shortest cut to get aght o'th busy streets, an they worn't long befoor they coom to whear ther wor green fields on booath sides o'th rooad. It wor a grand day, an they sed little for a while, for they wor booath feelin varry happy, an they lukt it.
Old as they wor, an i' spite ov all th' ups an daans they'd had, they felt like sweethearts agean, an if they couldn't luk forrad to th' long enjoyment ov monny pleasures, they could luk back wi few regrets, an hearts full ov thankfulness for all th' blessins they'd had an possessed.
"Aw nivver thowt, Sammywell," sed Mally, after a bit, "at aw should ivver live to ride i' mi own carriage an pair."
"Why, lass, awm pleased if tha'rt suited. But tha can hardly call it a carriage an pair."
"Aw dooant see why net. Its a varry nice little carriage is this an awm sewer th' galloway an thee mak a gooid pair, for aw should tak yo to be booath abaat th' same age, an th' same complection to nowt, except for thi nooas; an yo nawther on yi ivver hurried yorsen mich or seem likely to do; but aw think if aw wor thee awd get aght an shove behind a bit, its a pity to see it tewin up this hill, an its puffin like all that."
"Well, let it puff! If ther's onny shovin to be done tha'll ha to tak thi share on it. We'll stop at yond haase at top o'th hill an then wol we get a bite an a sup, Fanny can rest a bit."
"That's th' galloway's name."
"Then it'll have to be kursend ovver agean."
"Dooant thee think 'at aw forget. It wor Fanny Hebblethwaite at wor allus hankerin after thee until we wor wed, an for some time after. Aw've had enuff o' Fannys. We'll call it Jerrymier."
"But its a mare tha sees."
"Well then, we'll call it Jimmima."
"Let's mak it Jenny an ha done wi it."
"Owt'll do but Fanny. Shoo wor a impotent hussy. Aw wonder what becoom on her?"
"Aa! shoo's been deead aboon a duzzen year?"
"Oh, well then—tha can call it Fanny."
They did enjoy thersen that day an noa mistak, an monny a day after, an they're lukkin forrad to monny a pleasant little time.
Th' naybors have getten used to seein em nah an have noa desire to poak fun at em.
Jerrymier has takken a big fancy to th' galloway, an oft gooas an gethers it a basket full ov sweet clover, an when Grimes an Mally arn't using it, Hepsabah an her babbies have a drive throo th' park, Jerrymier acting as th' cooachman.
Th' galloway knows its getten a gooid hooam. It wants for nowt,—Mally taks gooid care o' that. It's one to be trusted an it knows its way abaat. Some day yo may see an old galloway, pullin a little carriage containin an old man an woman;—all three on em saand asleep, an yo can rest assured at that's Grime's an Mally an ther Galloway.