WHEN I were a lad April Foo-day were reckoned as mich on as Tracle-cake
Day or Poncake Tuesday. We had to think on it comin' weeks afore t'
time, an' if we happened t' forget it when we wakkend on April fust
ten to one eaur faythers an' mothers ud mak a foo on us, an' then
lowf. An' we had to keep it i' mind aw day, for every lad one met
tried to trap yo', an' if yo' happened to remember it, an' he
couldn't foo yo', if he were th' bigger lad he'd cop yo' one i'th'
At th' Sunday Skoo as I went to th' dobby as cleond th' skoo an'
kept us i' order wi' a cane while th' skoo oppent were named
Skinner Ham Skinner. He were a lung, thin chap, an' his wife, wot
helped him, were very fat, an' puffed a lot when hoo were warkin',
so th' lads cawd her Bacon. An' hoo soon geet to be cawd Fat Bacon.
Well, one Foo-day I'd forgetten it were Foo-day eaur Bess, my owdest
sister, says to me, "Jack, I want thee to goo to Skinner's, an' ax
Mrs. Skinner for that peaund o' fat bacon I left theer last neet. Be
sharp, neaw, for I want it to put i'th' beef-steak pie as I'm makkin'
for th' dinner. An here's a aniseed drop for thee."
Neaw, if there were owt i'th' chewin' line as I were fond on it were
beef-steak pie, an I were so pleosed to know we were havin' it for
dinner ut I galloped off, like a gobbin, thinkin' nowt wrung, an'
knockt at Skinner's dur. Mrs. Skinner ansert it. I said, "Eaur Bess
has sent me for that peaund o' fat bacon hoo left here last neet." Mrs. Skinner says, "Wait a minute," an hoo cowft, an' I seed her
face goo red. Hoo went i'th' kitchen, an' browt a papper i' one hond,
while hoo held t'other behind her. "Here theau art," hoo says, an'
pretended t' offer me th' papper, while hoo whizzed her husbond's
cane, which were in her other hond behind her, on mi' yed an'
showders till, when I think on it neaw, I con feel th' sore places
yet. "Theighur," hoo said, "that's fat bacon; goo an' tell yore Bess theau's getten it." An' when I went whoam cryin' eaur Bess an' my
fayther nobbut lowft, an' cawd me a April foo. Nobry else copt me
again that day, I con tell yo'.
It were another Foo-day after that as a lot of us lads geet nicely
tricked i' tryin' th' gam on, an Joe Baxter lost a penny through it. It were this road: There were a chap cawd Abram Watson but he were
better known as Owd Abram kept a shop i' Deansgate, where he sowd
everythin' i'th' grocery an' fizzik line. He were a little fat chap, wi' a bawd yed, an' he'd no teeth, so as when he spoke yo' had to be
very quiet, or else yo' couldn't tell what he said. He wor a
good-tempered chap, wi' a ripplin' smile awlus on his face.
Well, one o'th' lads we played wi' were cawd Tum Smith. He were a
quiet lad, an' we aw liked him, for he were awlus willin' t' run a
errand for us, or field aw day when we played cricket, an' he were innercent. On this April Foo-day, i'th' afternoon, we were gooin'
cricketin', an' Joe Baxter, th' biggest lad amung us, browt his bat
an' baw, an' Tum Smith carried th' stumps. We had to pass Owd Abrams
shop, an' Joe Baxter stopped us aw afore it, an' pood a little
bottle eaut of his pocket, an' a penny, an' said to Tum Smith,
"Here, Tum, tak' this bottle an' penny an' goo to Owd Abrams for a
pennorth o' pigeons milk. Its good for rubbin' eaur shins wi' if we
getten hit wi' th' baw." Some on us bethowt eaursels then what day
it were, an started lowfin' quietly, but little Tum poor lad, he
deed a while after on th' road to Canada looked so gawmless, an' thowt it were aw reet as Joe Baxter had sent him. When Tum geet i'th'
shop we aw flattened eaur noses agen' th' window, lowfin' like skoolads con lowf, an' Joe Baxter busted two buttons off his wescut
wi' jumpin' an' chinkin', thinkin' what foos he wur makin' o' booath
Tum an' Owd Abram. But as Tum didn't come flyin' eaut o'th shop, as
we aw expected, Joe put his face to th' window, an' his jaw dropped,
for he seed Owd Abram tak' th' bottle off Tum, an' Abram said, "Tha
wants a pennorth o' pigeons milk, doesta? Wheer's thy penny?" So Tum gan Abram th' penny, an' he off wi 'th' bottle to th' kitchen. In a bit he coom back wi' abeaut a tablespoonful o' milk i'th'
bottle, an' he said to Tum, "Its for th' choilt, I reckon. Well,
tell thi' mother to soak a piece o' flannel i'th' milk, an' let th'
choilt suck it. It'll cure it. An' if theres anny laft tha can have
a suck. An' be careful an' du.rn't spill iu, for pigeon milk's very
Yo con gowse heaw we felt when Tum coom eaut o'th' shop wi' th'
bottle, an' we could see through th' window Owd Abram doubled up
nearly havin' a fit wi' lowfin'. Joe Baxter were mad abeaut that
penny, for he hadn't another, an' when we went on Owd Abram hadn't
recovered, an' as Joe seed his merriment he sheauted, "I wish tha'd
brasted thysel', ewd mon," which I thowt were very wrung, becos Joe
were to blame. Anyheaw, it speilt th' day, for Joe were very bad
tempered, an' poor little Tum cried hard when he thowt he were th'
cause on it;.
None on us had th' pluck to try th' gam on again, an' I've never
done ony April fooin' sin.
BAITIN' A RAT.
I'ST never forget it! Jim Parkinson, as kept th' hay an' straw shop,
had catcht a big rat such a whopper it were as he darn't goo
near th' trap, for it growled an' barked like a little dug. So he cawd Topper, a chap as worked for him, but Topper were feared on it,
too, then he fetched Jack Bradley, th' butcher, an' Jack browt his
fox-terrier dug. When Jack went near th' cage trap th' rat set at
him, so he stopped still for a minute. Then he towd Topper an'
Parkinson to get a stick a-piece, an' they'd tak th' trap upstairs
into th' shop, wheer there were plenty o' reaum, an' they'd bait it
wi' th' dug. Jack Bradley teed his hankicher reaund his hond, geet
howd o'th' trap, an' they went upstairs to th' shop. Then they shut th' shop dur, an' th' dur as led to th' kitchen. When they'd getten
settled, Jack Bradley said, "Neaw be sure at hit it wi' yor sticks
if it dodges th' dug . . . . Are yo ready?" They said they were, an'
Jack put his foote on th' cage, an' tilted th' lid up, but th' rat
didn't oss to come eaut. So Topper went to th' back o't' trap, an'
hit it wi' his stick. Then th' rat run eaut, an' Bradley's terrier
went for it, but it missed it. As th' rat run to'rt Parkinson he
jumped up, an' comin' deawn tumblet o'er th' dug. He were up sharp enoof, an' made at th' rat wi' his stick, but as Topper were runnin'
forrud at th' minute he geet a whack on his napper fro' Jim's stick
as knockt him mazy, an' made blood come. Then Bradley, seein' as th'
terrier had missed th' rat, which had run under some straw, made a
at th' straw an' londed his clug on Jim Parkinson's shin. Jim yelled eaut, an' dropt his stick for t' rub his leg. Missis Parkinson, yerrin th' row an' scuffle i'th' shop, coom hurryin eaut o'th'
kitchen, an' as hoo oppent th' dur th' rat, seein' a chance to
escape, coom fro' under th' straw an' run past her. Hoo seed it, set
up a skrike as would ha' freetend a thunder clap, an' fawd deaun in
a fit. Then th' dug, seein th' rat gooin, barked an' were after it. Jack Bradley were so mad at th' terrier missin th' rat, that he hit
it on th' yed wi' th' stick as Jim Parkinson had dropt. There were
such a yelpin as raised th' nayburhood, an' a creawd collected
reaund th' shop door in no time. Yerrin th' neise inside th' shop
they thowt murder were bein' done, an' sombry fotcht a bobby. When
he coom he banged at th' dur, an' Jack Bradley oppent it. Th' bobby
thowt he'd getten a good cop (though he wur a bit narvous) when he
seed Mrs. Parkinson lyin' on th' flure in a fit, an' Topper sittin'
on a bundle uv hay, moanin' hard, an' howdin' his hankicher to his
yed, which were bleeding fast; an' then looked at Jim Parkinson,
who were groanin an' rubbin' his leg.
"Whooa's done aw this?" he axt Jack Bradley, who were th' only one
as wern't hurt.
Jack Bradley were so bewildered he couldn't speik.
"If tha's nowt to say I'st lock thee up, an' charge thee wi'
He collared Jack Bradley, an' were makin' off wi' him, when Jim
Parkinson, seein' as things were gettin sayrious, pood hissel'
together, an' towd th' bobby as Jack had done nowt wrung. "We'n
nobbut bin baitin' a rat," he said.
Th' bobby, yerrin' Missis Parkinson groanin', just as if she were at th' last gasp, went to her, lifted her up, an' when he geet her
reaund, Topper had to be looked after, for his yed were bleeding,
an' he were skrikin' like a hooter at a fair. Then th' bobby turned
to Jim Parkinson, who were still rubbin' his leg an' pooin' afeaw
face. "I think," said th' bobby, an' he looked disgusted, "th' best
thing I con do for thee is to send for th' ambulance, an' ha' thi
leg tan off."
"Durn't bother, mester," said Parkinson, "I'st be reet in a bit. Thank you, aw't same," an' he limped ith' kitchen. Th' bobby went to
th' shop dur to send th' creawd away, an' then bethowt o' summat. He
turned back, an' said to Jack Bradley, "Wheer's th' rat yo'n bin
batin?" Jack looked reaund, an' said, surprised-like, "Why, it mun
ha' getten away!"
Th' bobby looked as if he didn't believe it, but he went off. When
he'd getten a bit deawn th' road he stopped still, pood his helmet
off, an' scrat his yed. He were thinkin'. In a bit he recollected,
an' he said to hissel, "By gow! it is; I've bin had. Yesterday were
t' thirty-fust o' March."
He were mad then, an' he set off back as fast as his feet would let
him goo. When he geet to Parkinson's shop he shuved th' dur open,
an' sheauted, "This is a trick. Yo'd best be careful; I'm noan to
be had twice."
HIS DUG "MICK."
thinks I'm fond o' drink it's a mistake for I'm not. Mony a
time when I've bin beaut brass, or bin' savin' up for my holidays,
I've never touched ale for wicks at a time, an' I could do it again.
But I do go i'th' Miller's Arms i' Blackpool sometimes, for I yer
mony a quip theer ut's woth tellin'.
Me an' Joe Short were theer t'other neet. Yo' seen we'n
a pictur club Joe's secretary an' I'm treasurer an' we'd bin
canvassin' for customers, so we thowt we'd have a pint apiece after
th' neet's wark.
There were nobbut one felly i'th' room when we went in, an',
by gum, he were a quare-lookin' customer. He were a little
chap, wi' ferrety een, an' his body were on th' twitch aw th' time
we were in, as if he'd summat on his mind.
In a bit two farmers wot lived at Marton coom in, and they'd
a collie dug wi' um. They'd bin takkin' cattle to Poulton, an
wur on th' th' road whoam again. After suppin' an' warmin'
theirsels, th' chap as owned th' dug begun o' strokin' it an tawkin'
to it, an it looked as if it knowed every word as were said to it.
"Thats a good dug yo'n getten, mester," I said.
"It is that," said he; "it con do owt but talk. Hast' a
penny in thi pocket?" he axt.
I towd him I had.
"Well," said he, "put it on its nose, an' see what it'll do
So I chanced a penny, put it on its nose, when th' dug
balanced it, chucked it up i'th' air, an' then copt it in its meawtb.
Then it walked eaut o'th' room, an' in a bit it coom back wi' a
papper bag in its meawth. It put it between its paws on th'
flure, tore th' bag oppen, an' theer it had bowt three sugar-covered
biscuits wi' th' penny, an' begun eitin' 'um.
"Well, that is clever," said Joe Short; "but it's done it
"Aye, it has," said th' farmer, "th' shopkeepers abeaut here
aw know eaur Dan." An' he patted it again.
Then th' little chap wit' ferrety een chipped in. His
body had bin twitchin' a lung while, an' his little een twinkled an'
twitched like his body.
"I'd a clever dug once," he said, "an' it were a rip."
"Well, tell us abeaut it," said Dan's mester.
"Well, I am doin'. I fun it wanderin' abeaut th' street
when it were a whelp, ragged an' rough-haired, wi' only hawf a tail.
It were a Irish terrier. When I took it whoam th' wife an'
eaur Selina (she's eaur only choilt) took pity on th' poor thing,
an' they geet to like it. But I mony a time wished I'd never
seen it, for it caused me mony a freet, an' made me so narvous I'st
never get o'er it. It were awlus feightin', an I were never
eaut o' trouble. It would tackle any dug it met, an' after
sendin' th' licked dug yelpin' deaun th' street it would come an'
sit on its haunches at my feet, an' wi' one yer cocked up an' its
yed on one side, would ax me in its way if it hadn't done that very
"I cawd it Mick. One day, when I thowt it were abeaut
six months owd, I took it wi' me to th' Post Office i' Coronation
Street to get a dug licence. Th' office were crowded. I
wur waitin' my turn to get in just behind a woman as wanted a
haup'ny stamp when there were such a skrike as made aw th' postmen
an' clerks stop sarvin', an everybody looked to see what were up.
It were Mick. This woman had her little wench wi' her, an' I
reckon Mick couldn't understood why I should wait for her to be
sarved afore me, so it had getten howd o'th' wench's frock an were
draggin' her eaut o'th' road. Then her mother throwed her arms
reaund her, an skriked "Murder," "My choilt," an' such like. I
rushed at Mick, an' punct him eaut o'th' door into th' middle o'th'
street, yelpin' an' yelpin'. Then aw wur quiet for a bit; I
geet my licence, an' wur turnin' reaund for t' come eaut, when,
behowd, Mick were set down wi' one yer cocked up lookin' so fause I
couldn't find i' my heart to hit him again.
"That were a good start o'th' trouble I had wi' him.
"I daresay yo'n seen on a summers day when th' visitors bring
their dugs to Blackpool a lot o'th' dugs ull get to th' wayter's
edge an' dash in time after time for anybody as'll throw sticks or
stones for um to swim for. Well, Mick liked that job very weel.
One day I took him to th' North Shore wheer th' bathin' vans are.
Yo know there's mixed bathin' theer. Well, Mick geet tired o'
swimmin' after sticks, so he gallivanted abeaut th' bathin' vans,
an' popped in one of um, while th' ladies as hired it were in th'
wayter. He coom eaut wi' a red flannel petticoat in his meawth,
dragged it alung th' weet sond, an' laid it at my feet. I were
so shawmed I hardly knowed wheer to look, but I said summat as I
durnt want to say again, an I gan him a punce, an' sent him off back
wi' it. He took it back reet enuff, as I thowt, but in a bit I
yerd a scream, an' seed two lasses rushin' eaut of a bathin' van,
an' tumble i'th' say. It were Mick's wark again. He'd
tan th' flannel petticoat back, as I said, but instead o' puttin' it
wheer he geet it fro', had dropped it on th' flure of a bathin' van
belungin' to two young men. When th' lasses coom back to dress
they hadn't noticed th' number on their vans, an' seein' th' red
petticoat on th' flure had walked in. They picked th'
petticoat up, an' begun o' pikin', bewildered like, amung some
wescuts an' treasure for their other garments, when th' young men
coom eaut o'th' wayter, an' walked in th' van, which were that as
they'd hired. Th' ladies went i' hysterics, an' could be yerd
as far as th' South Shore, dashed into th' wayter, an' were welly
dreawned i' their freet.
"I didn't stop to yer any moor, but skulked off wi' Mick at
my heels, one of his ears cocked up, as fast as I could, an' when I
geet near whoam I gan him a punce as I thowt he wouldn't forget.
Then I yerd a leaud knock at eaur bedroom winder, an' a smash o'
glass followed. I looked up, an' seed th' wife. Mad wi'
rage when hoo seed me punce Mick, hood hit th' window too hard at
me, an' it had brokken. That window cost me five bob, besides
a row wi' th' wife, an' hoo didn't spake to me for a month after."
"He were a smart dug," said th' farmer as owned Dan.
"He were," said Ferret Een. "Too smart bi th' hauve,
for his smartness were t' deeath on him."
"Heaw were that?" I axt.
"Well, yo seen, one day I had him eaut wi' me, an' hed had
tothri feights wi' dugs bigger nor hissel', an he'd cocked one yer
up after every victory to show me he'd won, when, just as we were
opposite eaur door comin' whoam, a motor-car coom drivin' up at
abeaut forty mile an heaur. Mick seemed to know as th' shuvver
(chauffeur) were scorchin' an' he went for th' car. His barkin'
did no good, so he jumped up at th' glass screen at th' front, but
he wuru't sharp enoof that time, for when he dropt th' motorcar run
o'er him, an' cut him in two."
"Poor Mick," said Dan's mester, "that were a sad job."
"It were," said Ferret Een. "Well, I picked him up
afore anybody had time to make remarks abeaut his folly, an' th wife
an' eaur Selina bust eaut cryin' as hard as they could; I'd a bad
twinge or two mysel', an' could feel a hot drop or two on my cheeks
as I took him i'th' back garden. I started diggin' a grave for
him, an' I'd made it pratty deep, when eaur Selina sheauted eaut, "Fayther,
there's a policemen wants you."
"Hello," I thowt, "what's up neaw," as I put th' spade deawn
an went to th' dur.
"Is that yore dug lyin on th' tramway lines?" says he.
"Nawe," I says, "my dug's just bin run o'er by a motor-car,
an' I browt it in to bury it. I'm diggin' his grave i'th'
"But theau's not getten th' dug," says he; "it's in th'
street! Come an' look."
I went, an' sure enoof I'd getten only hauve o' Mick, for
there were th' back eend on him lyin' across th' tram lines, an' his
tail were up waggin' like a clock pendylum."
"Why, this is funny," said th' policeman. "He's not
deeod, an still there's only hauf a dug. What's his tail
"It's just like Mick," I said; "he never were licked in his
life, an' he wurn't be licked neaw. He's waggin' his tail, I
reckon, becos he's busted a tyre o'th' motorcar as run o'er him."
We aw coom eaut o'th' room at that, except Ferret Een, an' as
he geet to th' dur, th' farmer as owned th' sheep dug turned reaund,
"Neaw, as I look at thee, I think I know yore family."
"Dun yo," said Ferret Een, quite gawmless.
"Aye, I do," said th' farmer. "Hadn't thi' gronfayther
a big family? Tha's a lot o' relations?"
"I have," said Ferret Een.
"I thowt so," said th' farmer. "I've read abeaut thi
gronfayther. Worn't his fust name Ananias?"
There were a lowf fro' th' lobby, an' Ferret Een said nowt,
though some colour coom in his face, as th' farmer bid him good-neet.
ANOTHER DUG TALE.
TWO-OR-THRI' wick after
meeting Ferret Een we'd bin canvassin' for th' picter club again,
an' we were tired, so we cawd i'th' Miller's just to have a rest and
one pint apiece afore gooin' whoam. Thoos two farmers fro'
Merton were theer again, an' they had that collie dug, Dan, wi' em.
After we'd chatted awhile, th' talk turned to dugs. Joe Short
were larkin' wi' Dan, which remembered him, an' th' farmer as owned
it said to Joe, "Tha seems fond o' dugs; dos't understond 'em?"
"Well," said Joe, "I uset' fancy um one time, an' I've reart
a lot, but they were a little breed."
"Oy, aye!" says th' farmer, "I dare say tha con tell a tale
or two abeaut um if tha likes."
"I happen con," said Joe, "but if I towd yo summat as were
true, yo'd happen say as I were a relation o' Ferret Een."
"Not us," said th' farmer, "we durnt think tha could tell
lies like him. But tell us summat worth yerrin' when tha
"Aw reet," said Joe, an' he brasted off wi' this tale.
"Yo may believe it if yo like."
"It's some yers sin this happened. In thoos days I used
to breed breawn Poms, an' I could get good prices for um too, for
they were like black strawberry then, very scarce an' dear. So
one time I browt a whelp, six wick owd, fro' Bowton to Blackpool,
an' th' chap as wanted it arranged for t' meet me in this very
heause to buy it. I'd never bin in th' place afore. When
I geet here th' chap hadn't come to meet me, an' he never turned up
aw day. Th' lonlord took a fancy to th' pup, an' he'd ha' bowt
it but his wife had gone to her mother's for a wick. So I left
my Bowton address, an' he said he'd write me for one, if hoo liked.
Well, I had to tak th' puppy whoam again. I'd browt it in my
pocket, but I were soft enoof to carry it under my arm when I went
to th' station for whoam. Th' porter at th' barrier axed me
for my ticket, an' I showed it to him. "But wheer's th' ticket
for th' dug?" he axt. "What dug?" says I. "I have no
"What's that under thy arm, then? It's not a cat, or a
squirrel; perhaps it's a monkey" an' he lifted my cooat away to
look. "Neaw, " he says, "it's a dug."
"It's noan a dug," I says, "it's nobbut a whelp."
"Well, I'st want a ticket for it," he said.
"I'st get no ticket for it," I ansert. "Th' Goverment
says its noan a dug till its six months owd, an' then I'st ha' to
pay th' tax for it."
"Th' Goverment's nowt to do wi' it," th' porter said. "Th'
railway company's mester here, an' they say I mun have a ticket for
every dug as passes through this gate. But th' station-mester's
theer see what he says.
So I went to th' station-mester an axt him. "Tha'll
have to get a ticket for it," says he.
"But it's nobbut six-wick owd," I said.
"It doesn't matter if it's nobbut six minutes owd, tha'll
have to get a ticket. . . . An' be sharp," he says, an' he stamped
his foote, "for I've kept th' train waitin' six minutes for thee."
That were his joke. But I had to get a ticket, an' it
cost a shillin'. I were mad, yo may be sure, an' I grumbled a
lot in th' carriage. A lady felt so sorry for me she said
she'd pay for th' dug, an' hoo pood her purse eaut.
"Thank yo, missis," I said. "I shall be much obliged if
So hoo offered me a shillin'. "But I'st want th' dug,"
Well, I thowt that banged Banniger. I'll bet that woman
were a regular moocher at th' bargain ceaunters i'th' drapers'
"Nay, missis," I says, "this whelp's price is two peaund, an'
I railly couldn't let yo have it for a shillin'. But I'm much
obliged for yo'r offer." Hoo bluushed, an th' passengers lowft.
But I never could get that shillinl eaut o' my crawl, an' one
day a letter coom fro' th' lonlord here (as wor then; his name were
Jones), sayin' he'd be glad to have a pup o' that breed as I'd shown
him. Well, I had noan, but I'd getten th' mother on um, an'
hoo were gooin to have another litter. So, as I were tiret o'
breedin', I wrote an' offered him th' mother as hoo were for six
peaund. "Aw reet," he ansert, "bring her." So I put her
in a basket, fastened th' lid deawn, geet a shillin' ticket for her,
an' gan th' basket to th' guard. He oppent th' basket to see
as she were aw reet. When we geet to Blackpool I went to th'
luggage van for th' basket an' th' guard said, as he honded th'
basket eaut, "Theres a merricle here. I thowt tha said there
were only one dug, but I've yerd a lot o' yelpin'. Here, let's
look again." An' he oppent th' basket. "Why, there's
nine whelps an th' mother! I'st want a ticket apiece for this
"Well, tha'll noan ger it," I said. "There were only
one dug when I started, an here's th' ticket for that."
"Well, there's moor nor one neaw," he says, "an' I want a
I were gettin' a bit mad by this, an I ansert, "I've only one
ticket, an I'st pay no moor."
"Yah tha will," he said, as he cawd th' station mester, wot
knowed. He oppent th' basket lid, an' theer were nine o'th'
bonniest brown poms yo ever seed.
"That's getten one ticket, tha says, an' there's ten dugs.
I want nine shillin' moor fro' thee," an' he grinned so fat till his
silk hat lifted up.
My temper were gradely up neaw, as th' litter were welly
stewed, an' th' mother wanted feedin. "Yo'll noan get it," I
said, "there were only one dug when I started, but th' chep engine
has shook th' train so much that th' pups ha' coom afore their time.
I'st want compensation if owt happens."
"Compensation be hanged!" he says, "tha'll ha' to pay for um,
or else I'st keep aw th' lot."
"Aw reet; keep um," I says, an' I wrote Mester Jones's
address on a bit o' papper, an' gan it him. "These dugs belung
to th' lonlord o'th' Millers Arms."
I said, " an' he'll want ten dugs off yo, so if yo wurn't let
me tak um, an' ony on um dees, we'll ruin yore little railway
"Aw reet," he ansert; "pay up an' tak um; if tha doesnt I'st
So I coom to th' Miller's Arms, an' towd Mester Jones, an'
afore I'd finished my tale a porter coom in carryin' th' basket on
his showders, an' said th' station mester had sent th' dugs, wi' his
compliments, an' thowt he were reet in demandin' th' fare for um,
but had fun' he were wrung, and would Mester Jones o'erlook th'
"So Mester Jones looked in th' basket, an' findin' th' dugs
aw reet, he said he'd o'erlook it this time, an' he stood th' porter
a pint for fotchin' um. But I never geet my shillin' back."
"That's very good," said th' farmer as owned Dan, "an' it
shows heaw railway companies ull do you if yo durnt watch 'em."
SHE were nobbut a
mite abeaut nine yer owd but she could cleon a pair o' dursteps
wi' ony woman, an' as for nussin' a choilt, well, th' little darlins
seemed to come i'th' world o' purpose to find her a job, for hoo'd
very oft one in her arms. She'd two owder brothers, an' hoo
brooshed their shoon o' cooartin' neets, an' hoo were th' one as her
mother could trust to send to Owd Ginger's shop for oather tape,
shoe tees, or groceries. So, aw th' family cawd on Little Emma
for onythin' as wantid dooin', an' hoo were th' drudge for th' lot.
Owd Ginger were a Scotchman, an' his name were Mac Summat,
but Bowton folk couldn't get their tungs reaund th' Summat, so they
cawd him Ginger, because his yure were red. He kept a shop,
an' sowd everythin', like th' Co-op. When Ginger fust coom
i'th' nayburhood he talked Scotch, an' nobry could understond him
for a while, but he soon geet into th' Lancashire twang, though he
sometimes dropt some Scotch in it. (That's nobbut a joke.)
Heawsumever, little Emma were a favourite wi' Ginger; he
awlus breetened up a lot when hoo went to his shop, an' she very oft
coom owt wi' a cake or some towfy as Ginger had trated her to; so
Little Emma were fond o' Ginger. (That's another joke.)
But Little Emma crabbed him onct. He thowt, for a bit,
hoo were playin' a trick on him, but th' choilt did it quite
innercent. It were like this:
One day Little Emma's mother sent her to Ginger's shop.
"Tak th' traycle jug, Emma," hoo said, "an' fotch two peaund o'
black traycle. Here's sixpence, an' tha' wants tuppence back.
I'll put th' sixpence i'th' jug, so as tha'll not loase it."
Then Emma started off, an' on th' road hoo met Charley Stone,
a little nipper she played wi' when she'd th' chance, an' were very
fond on. Charley started larkin' wi' her, as lads generally do
wi' wenches as soon as they con walk beaut tumblin', an' yerrin' th'
sixpence rattle i'th' traycle jug, he tried to grab it. Little
Emma dodged him, took th' sixpence eaut o'th' jug, an' put it in her
meawth. Then hoo hooked it off to Ginger's shop.
"Well, little Starleet," said Ginger, "what does tha want
"Two peaund o' black traycle," said Little Emma, "an'
"Aye, an' tha'st have it," said Ginger, an' he reicht th' big
traycle can deawn, put Little Emma's jug on th' scales, an' teemed
th' syrup in till th' jug bumped deawn.
"Here tha art, little cherub," said Ginger, "an' tha wants
tuppence back, does ta? Well, if tha gies me sixpence tha'st
"Yo'n getten it!" said Little Emma, who'd forgotten her
larkin wi' Charley Stone. "Didn't yo' tak it fro th' bottom
"Wot?" he skriked, leauder nor a set o' bagpipes, "at bottom
o'th' jug! Why didn't tha say so afore? Tha careless
wench! Seethi' wot trouble tha's gan me!" Then he geet a
little seive, an' temd th' traycle through it back again into th'
big can, but he couldn't find th' sixpence.
"Tha's not browt th' money, tha' little imp," said Ginger,
his face gettin' red, "an' tha wants th' traycle an' tuppence back
for nowt. Ger off wi' thee. Hoots, toot."
Little Emma were in a terrible state while Ginger were
carryin' on this road, an' while hoo were cryin' hoo oppent her
meawth an' hoo felt th' sixpence slip fro' under her tung.
"Oh, I'd forgetten, Ginger," hoo cried, "th' sixpence is in my
meawth." An' hoo put her finger in, but, as her hond were
tremblin', she lost her grab, an' it slipped deawn her throat.
"I've swallowed it," said th' choilt, th' tears runnin' off
her cheeks as if they were macintosh. "Oh, Ginger, what mun I
Ginger's heart softened when hee seed her so much troubled,
an' he said: "Well, I cornt empty thee th' same as I emptied th'
traycle jug, but, as I believe thee, I'll fill it again. Tak
it, an' tell thi mother to send th' fourpence th' next time tha
I never yerd whether Ginger geet his fourpence, but I think
Little Emma lost that sixpence for ever.
I'm a greit believer i' wimmin. If ever a chap goes wrung, an'
loases his balance, if there's a chance ov his ever gettin' reet
again it's oather his mother or his wife as con do th' trick; his
wife for cheice.
There's nowt I like to see as weel as a warkin' chap smookin'
his pipe after his tay an' a day's hard wark, sittin' by th'
fireside wi' his wife an' childer gathered reaund him, listenin' to
a tale he's tellin', while th' fire sparkles breet, th' fireirons
are like lookin' glasses, an' th' harthstone so cleon it wud show a
cockroach up. Yo may tell then as that chap's getten a wife
worth havin', an' such women con generally keep a chap straight,
when hoo goes th' reet road abeaut it. I've a little tale here
ov a chap as wanted some straitenin', but he'd a wife 'as made no
booans of a job o' that soart, when hoo made her mind up.
Th' chap's name were Dick Hampson, an' he were a spinner.
He wor a good worker, an' yo'd caw him him level-yedded, but every
neaw an' again he'd goo on th' spree for a month at a time, an' then
make a reglar soss of hissel. His wife, Margit, were one o'th'
best heausewives I've ever seen, an' her two childer were noticet as
th' prattiest an' cleonest i'th' naburhood. But Dick's sprees
were Margit's ghost, an' I used to wonder, when I seed wrinkles o'
care on her face when Dick were drinkin' heawever hoo'd such i
patience wi' him. But hoo had, an' she didn't blackguard him
at such times. Nowt o'th' soart; she'd coax him, an' when he
were gettin' reaund an' his lips were parched an' his throat dry
hoo'd do th' Lazarus business, an' fotch him a pint o' ale to
relieve his sufferin'. While he were suppin' it hoo'd talk to
him quietly an' sayriously abeaut dammin' his sowl an' his body till
Dick would be ashamed ov hissel', an' while th' misery were on he'd
promise when he get reaund never to taste again.
Well, th' last spree he had were woss than ever. He
were off wark lunger, an' he supped moor ale, but summat happened as
made him teetotal, though it welly kilt him.
Margit had coddled an' nussed him moor like a mother than a
wife, an' as he geet a bit better, after givin' her a lot o'
trouble, hoo made bowd to give him a talkin' to just at th' time
when there were a gradely thirst on him. He axt her just to
fotch him one moor pint. "It'll be th' last," he said, "for
I've made up my mind when I get better never to touch, taste, or
hondle any moor."
"Dick," said Margit, "tha's said that so oft that I'm hard o'
belief. But I'd give owt as I have if I were sure tha'd keep
"Well," ansert Dick, "if theau'll fotch me a sup o' summat
just neaw tha may believe me this time, for my throat's fairly
brunnin', an' my yed's comin' off th' top."
Margit railly felt sorry for him, he were so bad. I'll
fotch thee summat, Dick," hoo said, "but wilta have a pint o' yarb
beer instead uv ale? It'll slake thi thirst just as weel, and
do thi yed good."
"Aye," ansert Dick; "I'll have owt as is weet. Fot me
So Margit, pleosed as he'd have it, put her shawl on an' went
to Bill Clegg's shop for a pint o' sars-prilla. When hoo geet
theer Bill happened to be eaut, au' his niece, Susannah, coom to
sarve her. Margit towd her what hoo wanted, but th' wench
didn't know wheer it were. So hoo went to th' bottom o'th'
stairs, an' sheauted to Bill's wife, who were cleonin' th' rooms,
"Aunt Sarah, wheer dun yo keep th' ears-prilla? Dick Hampson
wife wants a pint."
"Why," ansert her aunt, "there's two full bottles i'th' front
o'th' bottom shelf, filled wi' black stuff. It's th' bottle
nearest to thee."
So hoo geet th' bottle nearest to her, an' temd a pint into
Margit's jug, and drawed tuppence for it.
"Margit took it whoam, an' gan it to Dick, who put th' jug to
his lips, an' drained every drop. He pood his face when it
were gooin' deawn, but he were so thirsty he'd ha' supped owt.
In a bit he begun o' feelin' queer, an' his stomach were unsettlin'.
He put up wi' it for a while, not carin' to let Margit see as owt
ailed him. He geet so bad in a bit, an' were vomitin' so much,
that Margit were freetend, so hoo rushed off to Bill Clegg's for
summat to stop th' gripin' pain an' sickness. Hoo met Missis
Clegg on th' road. She were hurryin' to Margit's to tell her
as heaw Susannah had used th' wrung bottle, an' instead of a pint o'
sars-prilla she'd emptied hauf-a-dozen black draughts in Margaret's
Margit were in a terrible way at yerrin' this. "Oh
dear," hoo cried, "whatever mun I do; it'll kill him. Let's
goo an' see if yore Bill cannot give him summat for it;" an hoo
started off, pooin' Margit wi' her.
"Nawe, tha' munnot goo, Margit," said Missis Clegg, howdin'
back. "Eaur Bill doesn't know ov owt as'll do him good, an' he
doesn't know abeaut th' mistake; if he did, he'd carry on, for eaur
Susannah gan thee six black draughts, which were a shillin', an' tha
only paid tuppence. I'll tell thee what to do go to Doctor
Roberts, an' tell him abeaut it. He'll mak him aw reet, an'
durnt trouble, black draughts aren't peison. I'll pay th'
doctor, if tha'll promise not to tell eaur Bill abeaut it.
He'd carry on so."
Margit weren't in a humour for argifyin, so hoo turned off to
Doctor Roberts's surgery.
Doctor Roberts were th' medical mon for everybody i'th'
nayburhood. He were very kind to th' poor, an' just th' reet
mon to have aside on yo when yo were ill, so one may say he were
everybody's friend. But he were a bit ov a wag, for aw that,
an' liked a joke, as yo shall see.
Margit had lost a deol o' wynt by th' time hoo geet to th'
surgery, but as luck ud have it, th' doctor were in. When
Margit had towd him th' tale between sobs an' shortness o' breath,
th' owd doctor smiled, but he tried to comfort her. "There's
no danger," he said, "so I'll mix him a bottle that'll soon put him
to rights. Let's see, I've met him several times lately, an'
judgin' by the aimlessness of his gait, his legs seemed unable to
decide which way to carry him; by which I concluded that he was
having another drinkin' bout. If so, how long has he been
fuddlin' this time?"
Margit didn't expect this, but hoo towd him th' truth, an'
hoo could see as th' doctor were chucklin' to hissel. But hoo
were tan aback when Doctor Roberts axt her if hoo'd like him cured
"I should that," said Margit, "but yo'll not manage that; for
I've tried aw I know. Besides, but for a spree neaw an' again,
he's a good husbont, an' I wouldn't have yo' hurt him."
"There's no danger, as I told you," said th' doctor, "but
fuddlin's a nervous disorder, an' if he's as bad as you represent
now, I could so act on his system with make-believe that a revulsion
in his appetite for intoxicants would ensue, and he would never
Margit didn't understand everythin' what th' doctor said, but
hoo knowed what he meant, an hoo agreed to what he said, an' even
promised to help him.
"Well, then," said th' doctor, "take this bottle, give him a
dose, an' I'll call to see him in half-an-hour."
Margit rushed off whoam, an' hoo fun their Dick aw uv a lump
on th' floor i' awful agony. His een were shut, his face blue,
an' th' sweat were rowlin' off him as if he were in a Turkish bath.
Wit' th' help o' some nayburs hoo managed to get him upstairs, an'
bi th' time they'd getten him i' bed Doctor Roberts coom. He
walked to th' bed wheer Dick lay groanin' after th' shakin he'd had
i' bein' pood abeaut, an' oppenin' one uv Dick's een wi' his finger,
said quite loud, "It's a bad case of alcoholic poisoning."
"Oh-o-o-o!" groaned Dick, as if he were deein'.
"Give me some mustard an' a jug of hot water," said th'
doctor. "He must have a strong emetic at once."
Dick groaned again while Margit geet th' hot wayter an'
mustard. Th' doctor pretended to mix it, an' he put th' jug to
Dick's lips. After a lot o' persuadin' Dick oppent his meawth,
an' th' doctor temd th' wayter deawn him faster nor he could sup it.
Dick were sick in a minute, an' th' bedclooas geet spotted
aboon a bit.
"Oh-o-o my!" groaned Dick, "I'm deein'."
"Oh, no, my man, you'll be better in a while," said th'
doctor. Then he turned to Margit, an' said, leaud enoof for
Dick to yer what he said, "Don't let him move for three days, and
don't allow anyone to talk to him. I'll call tomorrow for a
thorough examination. Meantime, if he becomes worse send word,
and I'll come at once."
Th' doctor went downstairs an' Margit followed. "Don't
be alarmed, Mrs. Hampson," said th' doctor, lowfin'; "we'll cure
him, and if he has anymore sprees I shall be a false prophet.
Give him warm water to drink every two hours, with a very little
mustard in it. This will remind him that he's poorly.
To-morrow morning you may give him a cup of beef tea."
"Aw reet, doctor; but if he gets yezzier an' wants some ale
mun he have it?"
"What!" said th' doctor, "have you already forgetten your
promise to help me? No; he mustn't have any ale or anything
like it. He won't ask for it or want it again of that I'm
sure so don't show any false sympathy by tempting him."
Then th' doctor went, an' Margit seet off upstairs to her
husbont. Hoo fun th' bed empty, an' comin' deawn to look for
him hoo met him crawlin' in eaut o' th' back dur. "Eh, my poor
lad," hoo said, "tha shouldn't ha' geet eaut o' bed. Th'
doctor says tha mun stop in for three days, an be very quiet."
"Oh dear!" wailed Dick, "I cornt stop i' bed three minutes,
let alone three days. I'm sure I'm done for."
He looked hawf deeod, an' laid his yed on her showder as hoo
helped him back. "Neaw, lie thee still, that's a good lad, an'
I'lI fotch th' emmetic up."
"Oh-o-o-o!" groaned Dick, "nawe, durnt. I corn't stond
any moor on um."
Th' very seaund o'th' word acted like magic on Dick, for he
rowled off th' bed an' scuttered deawn th' stairs an' into th' yard
faster nor a deein' chap would be expected to goo. When he
coom i'th' heause again Margit had to help him upstairs, for his
legs doubled up under him. "Oh-o-o my!" he groaned, when hoo
were ill-in him up i' bed, "if th' Lord ull forgi' me this time I'st
never touch a drop o' ale again as lung as I live. Oh, dear;
oh, dear." (Yawp!) Then he were sick again.
Margit were railly touched at seet uv her husbont when hood
getten him composed. Hoo could see his flesh were gooin', an'
his thermometer were risin'. Hoo lunged for th' next day, an'
th' doctor. An' they coom.
Doctor Roberts were theer very early on, but afore he went
upstairs he reminded Margit uv her promise to help him to cure Dick
uv his spreein'.
"Don't be afraid," said th' doctor, "of what I say during the
examination: it may be all wrong, but act as if I were in earnest,
an' when the examinations over follow me downstairs, and I'll tell
you what to do."
So th' doctor went to examine Dick, who were fast asleep
after a weary neet. He pood Dick's shirt front oppen, put th'
trumpet o'er his heart, an' put his yer to it. This wakkend
Dick. After Iistenin' a bit, th' doctor said, "Just as I
thought. Heart terribly weak, probably diseased; clearly a
case of alcohol poisoning." Then he axt Dick if he'd a pain in
his back. "Aye," groaned Dick, "but I've one a deol woss i' my
"I thought so," said th' doctor, "kidneys worse than heart.
Open your eyes."
Dick groaned, an oppent his een. "Um! Yes!" said
th' doctor. "He's highly feverish, Mrs. Hampson. I'm
afraid we shall have a job to pull him through. Give him half
a pound of castor oil with four ounces of turkey rhubarb in it;
perhaps that will clear his stomach."
"Whow-ow!" sheauted Dick; "for God's sake, doctor, durnt
order that. My stummuck's cleared eaut enoof, I'm sure," an'
he dropped back, done up.
"Yes, but you want to get better for the sake of your wife
and children, don't you?"
"Aye, I do," groaned Dick; "but durnt gi' me any castor oil
or rhubarb if yo con help it."
"Well, I'll see," said th' doctor. "But if we get you
round from this I hope it will be a lesson for you, for you've been
as near death as I care to see a young man."
"It will, doctor, it will. If I get better this time
I'll never touch drink again."
Margit followed th' doctor deawnstairs, an' he'd a grin on
his face when he towd her as Dick were gettin' on aw reet, an' hoo
could give him some beef tay. But hoo mut keep him in bed a
day or two.
Margit did as th' doctor towd her, an' Dick geet reaund, but
when he come deawnstairs he weighed two score less nor he did when
he fust went up.
I've never yerd as Dick Hampson had a spree sin then, but I
did yer as he'd getten to be th' manager o' th' mill, an' I do know
as if yo'l1 go th' chapel at Lone Ends uv a Sunday yo'll see see a
chap, wi' a grey nob neaw, leodin' th' quire. They caw him
Mester Hampson, but his front name's Dick.
ON A MOTHER'S BIRTHDAY.
(Written on a card, of my daughters'
request, on the eve of
their mother's birthday.)
Old Time pass blindly,
When he's dealing out care;
And. Nature treat kindly
A fond mother so rare;
May Heaven show'r blessings
Upon her whom we love,
And after life's journey
May we meet her above.
JIM ROGERS'S WART.
(Reprinted, by permission, from "Teddy Ashton's
WE were set deawn
comfortably, Joe Short an' me, in th' Millers Arms, i' Blackpool,
suppin' a well-earnt pint apiece that is, we'd earnt it for walkin'
abeaut aw day injoyin' eaursels. We'd bin talkin' abeaut th'
Budget, an' he'd getten rayther excited, for Joe's a red-hot
Radical, while everybody knows I'm a Tory. Joe were gettin' th'
wust o'th' argyment, when he said, "Oh, bi hanged to th' Budget,
let's drop it; we'st be fawin' eaut in a bit." Just as he said
that, who should come walkin' in but Tum Entwistle, lookin' as glum
as if he'd swallowed a mustard playster.
"Hello, Tum!" we booath said at once. "What's browt
thee here? An' wheer's Sarah?"
I met just say as Joe Short, mysel', an' Tum Entwistle were
aw tacklers at th' same wayvin' shed i' Bowton, an' nobry ud never
seen or yerd o' Tum Entwistle bein' in a aleheawse afore, or ever
walkin' abeaut bi' hissel. His wench, Sarah Watson, were awlus
wi' him, so yo' may be sure we were surprised.
"Well," said Tum, "I yerd yo'd come to Blackpool for th'
wick-end, an' as I'd nowt else to do I thowt I'd come too. I
knowd yo'd stop at th' owd diggins, an' so I've planked mysel' theer.
But I didn't expect findin' yo' here. Sup up, an' have a pint
So we supped up, an' Tum cawd for three pints, an' then I
said: "But I thowt tha were a teetotaler; it I seems I'm wrung."
"So tha art," replied Tum, "for I broke when Sarah jackt me
up six wick sin, but I'st ha' to put th' peg in, or else I'st peg
"Sarah jackt thee up!" said Joe, surprised; "well I never
yerd nowt like that. Whatever hasta done to desarve that
"Nowt as I know on," answered Tum, "except as Bill Wrigley's
bin hangin' after her a lung while neaw, an' th' last time me an'
Sarah were eaut together hoo were very sulky, an hoo towd me at last
hoo were tiret o' courtin'. Hoo wished me no harm, hoo said,
but I were too slow for an ordinary woman, so hoo'd made up her mind
to chuck it, until sombry turned up as ud talk abeaut gettin' wed
afore they'd keep a wench hangin' up for six yer, to be lifted off
th' nail just as he wanted.
"Well," axt Joe, "an' what did tha say to that?"
"Say! What could I say?" ansert Tum, wi' his een showin'
wayter. "I said nowt, an' hoo laft me, beaut even sayin' 'Good
I could hardly howd misel' when I yerd aw this talk, so I
chimed in: "Well, Tum, I never yerd owt like that noather. I
awlus thowt tha were slow when women were abeaut, but I did think
tha'd moor grit in thee than let an ugly beggar like Bill Wrigley
tak' a breet wench like Sarah fro' off thi shoe-tips. But
Bill's smart, an' no mistake. Tha'll ha' to get her back agen,
for I see tha'rt on th' down'ard track, an' if tha'rt gooin' t'
dreawn thi trouble i' drink tha'll find as th' drink ull dreawn
"Tha'll ha' to get her back; an' I'll tell thee heaw to
manage it. But I'st ha' to tell thee a tale a true 'un and
if tha's sense enoof to act at onct on th' moral tha wins.
"It's ten yer sin' me an' Jim Rogers fust coom to Blackpool,
an' as we were single chaps we'd an idea e' pickin' up just to make
th' time pass in a jolly way; but, as tha'll see, Cupid nabbed us
booath, an' I durn't regret it. We were walkin' bi th' North
Pier when we met two bonny wenches, an' we know'd um bi seet, for
they booath weve at King's wayvin' shed. I durn't boast o' ony
good looks mysel', but I mun say as Jim Rogers were th' feawest chap
I ever did see. He were flat-footed an' he'd a thick red nose,
an' at th' eend on it he had a big wart, an' this wart had toothri
hair growin', which, when he didn't trim um off, made th' wart look
like a deeod spider wi' its legs cocked up. Yet altho' he were
as ugly as a devil-fish, he were as breet as a star i'th' firmament.
"Well, we axt these wenehes to have a walk, an' they were
ever ready. So we happened to mate wi' th' reet uns, for we
each wed th' one we pickt. Neaw I soon fun' eawt as I were
only a second favourite i'th' cooartin' line, for eaur Nance thowt
me, I'm sure, awfully slow, just becos Jim went at it as if he were
on piece-wark, an' couldnt get through hawf enoof. We took um
on th' pier for a start, an' we weren't theer hauf an heaur afore
Jim hurried Bess (that were his wench's name) off to ha' suxnmat to
eit, an' laft me an' Nance gawpin' an' wonderin'. He said he'd
meet us at th' Tower at two o'clock; an' he were theer, an' Bess an'
aw. So we aw went in, an' Jim an' Bess danced every measure on
th' bill o' fare; then he bustled her into th' caffy for tay, an'
they were just finishin' when we fun wheer they were. Then
he'd th' cheek to tell us they were gooin' to th' theatre, an'
they'd see us awhoam, when th' play were o'er. An' he bustled
Bess off afore we'd hauf finished eitin'. So Nance an' me had
to walk abeaut like two softies wi' nowt to say, bein', so to speak,
strangers to one another.
"Nance has towd me mony a time abeaut Bess gettin' whoam that
neet, tired, but happy. Hoo'd never had such a day afore, an'
hoo thowt hoo'd getten th' nicest felly as ever lived. He
hadn't gi'n her time to look at his face, or else hoo met ha' thowt
different: an' hoo towd eaur Nance, too, as it were nice to
be kissed by a chap wi' a good mustache! Well, I fairly
chinked wi' lowfin' at that, for Jim were cleeon shaven, an' what
Bess had ta'n for a mustache were thoose three hairs on Jim's wart
ut had tickled her face! Well th' next day were th' same: Jim
bustled her off to Fleetwood, an' Bess never could tell us whether
hoo went theer on th' tram or bi wayter, but hoo did remember bein'
sick, an' when they geet to Fleetwood Jim trated her to brandy an'
oysters to mak' her aw reet again. An' when they geet whoam at
neet Bess could hardly stond, hoo were so tired, but hoo were very
happy, an' towd eaur Nance ut hoo were sure as Blackpool were th'
heaven they uset to sing abeaut in th' Sunday Skoo, an' Jim were th'
archangel showin' her th' seets o' Paradise.
There's an end to booath pleasure an' toil, an' of cooarse we
had to goo to Bowton again an' wark, but Jim kept th' bustlin' gam
up theer, an' I know Bess were fain when it were o'er, an' they coom
eaut o'th' church mon an' wife. They were wed twelve months
afore us, an' just as we were abeaut teein' th' knot they'd a babby
born. It were a lad, an' a nice choilt, too, but it had one
blemish, an' that were a wart on its nose. It were hardly
noticed at fust, but as th' choilt grew so did th' wart.
"Neaw here's th' mooast remarkable thing abeaut it; Bess
didn't know till th' choilt were born as Jim had a wart on his nose.
It coom eaut at th' kessenin'. They'd had a bit of a weet doo
at th' tay-time an' after, an' next mornin' Jim were sufferin' fro'
th' after-effects. He were set in th' rockin' cheer when Bess
coom deawn th' stairs o'th' Monday mornin', an' his een were a bit
blood-shot, an' his nose were redder nor usual, an' th' wart at th'
eend on it were as blue as a wimbery. Bess looked at him i'
surprise, an' drew a lung breath. Then hoo said: 'Oh! Jim,
I've never had a gradely look at thee afore. If I'd seen that
face afore we were wed I'm sure I shouldn't ha' had thee.'
"Well,' said jim, 'tha'd plenty o' chances o' lookin'.
Why didn't tha look?'
"'Look!' said Bess. 'Heaw could I look? Tha never
gan me time to look. Tha bustled me abeaut too much . . . .
But theau'rt noan so bad to me, after aw, so I mun make th' best
o'th bargain. I never knowed as theau'd a wart on thi nose
afore, an' th' choilt taks after thee, I'm sorry to say. But I
durn't want that thing to stop at th' eend of its nose aw its life,
so we mun find some road o' shiftin' it.'
"'Oh, thats yezzy enoof,' said Jim. 'An owd woman towd
my mother ov a remedy when I were a lad, but I'd getten too big to
try it, but it owt to tak it off th' choilt. Tha mun get some
olive ile an' bath brick, an' bustle it off.' An' hoo did.
"So, Tum, tha sees th' moral. Goo back to Sarah; get
her to gie thee another chance, an' if hoo will tak thee on trial
again, bustle her."
That tale made a impression. A bit after we geet back to Bowton Tum
Entwistle left eaur wayvin' shed, an' geet a job as under-manager at
Horrocks's. He'd smartened hissel up a good lot, an' he'd begun o'
wearin' collars everyday. Abeaut six months at after Sarah coom to
eaur heawse one neet an' axt for me.
I were a bit surprised when eaur Nance sheauted as I were wanted,
for Sarah had never been afore. I axt her in, an' when hoo were set
deawn, hoo said:
"Anoch, Tum wants to know if thee an th' missis ull come to eaur
weddin' next Saturday but one."
"Why, I thowt theaud gin him up a lung while sin', bein', so to
speik, too slow for a ordinary woman." That were my chaff, an' hoo
"Too slow!" hoo ansert; "not he. I uset think he were, but it were a
mistake. He's too sharp neaw; an' I'st oather ha' to wed him or be
killed. He runs me off my legs. He took me to Barrow Bridge a month
sin', an' when we geet to th' sixty-three steps he put one leg on
one side o'th ladder and t'other leg on th' t'other side, an'
slurred deawn th' lot, an' when he geet to th' bottom he looked up,
an' sheauted, 'Come on, Sarah.' 'Oh,'lord,' I thowt, 'does he think
I con get deawn like that?' an' I begun o' walkin' deawn th' steps. He were rayther impatient, an' when I geet to th' bottom I were eaut
o' wynt. As soon as I could get my breath, I said, 'Tum, this wark
ull have to stop; no woman could stond it. Tha'rt drivin' me to th'
"I'm very sorry, Sarah," he says; "I durnt' want to do thee ony
harm; but if I'm gooin' too fast for thee let's get wed, an' then
theau con settle deawn."
"An' what didta say to that, Sarah?" I axt.
"Well, I were a bit tak'n back, for I didn't expect that just then,
but I thowt we'd courted lung enoof, so I towd him I were willin',
an' we went off theer an' then to put th' axins in. We're not makin'
a big fuss abeaut it, but Tum thowt he'd like Joe Short to stond as
th' best mon, him bein' sengle, an' he'd like yo' to come an' aw. Yo' seen, he's known yo' so long, an' he's warked wi' yo for mony a
"Let's goo, Anoch," said eaur Nance; "it's nobbut reet. I should
like to see th' weddin'." But that's just like eaur Nance; a woman
ud goo to a weddin' every day if hoo were axt.
"An' besides, th' manager o' Horrocks's is gooin' to China in a
fortnit, an' Tum's getten his job," Sarah said, "so do come."
That clinched it. It would ha' looked as if I were jealous o' Tum's
good fortin if I'd refused, so I towd Sarah heaw glad I were, an'
we'd goo, but I didn't know what I were lettin' mysel' in for, or I
shouldn't ha' promised. But I'll tell that tale another time.
WHEN their second
choilt were born Jim Rogers invited me o'er to Bowton. He towd me
i'th' letter they'd getten a bonny fat wench, as took after its
mother; an' as a bit of a joke, I reckon, he said its nose were aw reet. I knowd it ud be nice if it were like its mother, for Bess,
afore hoo were wed, were as nice a wench as ever ony chap
need get spliced to. So I went to th' kessenin', an' stopped wi' um
for th' wick-eend.
At th' Saturday neet we were sittin' i'th' heause smookin', an' Jim
were readin' th' evenin' papper. He turned to me an' said, "Listen
to this, Anoch," an' he read ―
YOUR BOOTS TELL YOUR CHARACTER.
Dr. Garrier, of Bale, declares that scarpology is a science to which
criminal investigators as well as others who wish to read character
accurately will have to pay more attention. It is the art of knowing
men and women by the examination of their footwear. The doctor says
that, given a pair of boots worn by their owner for at least two
months, there is not the slightest reason why one should not be able
to tell the character, disposition, and habits of the wearer.
"It is impossible to over-estimate the importance of this new
science," says the doctor, "for by careful practice one may, after a
few minutes' acquaintance, be able to gauge a man at his worth, and
this simply by glancing at his feet."
"Neaw", he said, "what dost think o' that for
"I durnt know abeaut its bein' rubbitch," I said; "doctors
are gettin' very clivver neaw-days. Look at that French chap
I think his name's Bertillon he con tell a thief bi his finger
"That may be," replied Jim, "but heaw the deuce con he tell a
chap's karraeter bi lookin' at his shoon. If it were his feet
I could understond it. We'st ha' some doctor sayin' in a bit
as he con tell a chap's name if he nobbut smells his breath! . . . .
Nawe, I'st noan believe it."
"Well," I said, "th' subject's too deep for me, so I cornt
say owt abeaut it; but, if there is owt in it, we'st ha' to be
careful wheer we plant eaur feet, an' we'st ha' to brun eaur owd
shoon when we'n done wi' um, or else th' nayburs ull be sayin' as
its us as stole their clooas off th' lines o' weshin' days.
An' we'st not ha' to leove eaur shoon eautside o'th' bedroom dur at
th' lodgins when we goo to Blackpool for th' holidays, or else th'
sarvants ull happen swop um, an' we'd praps get a pair wi' a bad
"Aye, that met be done," said Jim, "if there were ewt in it,
but there isn't. Tak my shoon for a start. Tha knows my
feet are not what I should like um to be, bi a lung way, but I cornt
help it. An' yet I durnt think I'm a bad karracter."
Bess were bathin' th' lad i'th' kitchen, when hoo popped her
yed i'th' durway, an' said, "Well, Jim, tha knows tha'rt not as good
as tha should be sometimes."
"Well, if I'm not, what's that to do wi' my feet or my shoon?
I'm noan so bad to thee, after aw. Tha'd better sheaut i'th'
street as tha feeshed for a' angel, an' nobbut a mon swallowed thi
Jim were nettled at Bess for interruptin' him, for he doesn't
oft talk to her that road. Hoo'd sense enoof to see hoo'd hurt
his feelins, so she said no moor. Jim turned to me again, an'
went on: "As I wur sayin', heaw could he tell my karracter bi my
shoon. I have to goo to Manchester to be measured for um bi a
chap as does nowt else but make shoon to fit one's feet i'stead of
fitting th' feet into his shoon. Neaw, look at these," an' he
pickt his Sunday shoon up, which were laid aside o'th' fender, "they
durnt look like shoon, dun they? Well, they're yezzy, an' I
mun have um yezzy, for on my left foote I've getten two bunions, as
hard as Billy Mug's face; an' when I were a lad, Ned Cunliffe's
tacker-up slipped off th' flag he were liftin', an' it dropt on my
big toe, an' split th' nail, an' ever sin' then its grown uppards
istead o' lengthways, an' every neaw an' again I have to file it
deawn. An' my reet foote's wuss. Under my big toe I've a
nasty corn as speils my razzor every time I cut it, an' on my fourth
toe I've another corn what I cornt ger at to keep in order; an' in
th' baw o' my foote I've a segg as big as th' bush uv a cart wheel,
an' it makes me yell 'Jerusalem' sometimes. So heaw the hee
con onybody tell my karracter fro' th' boots I have to wear if I'm
to walk at aw.
"I'll show thee heaw a chap's karracter connot be towd fro'
his shoon. I remember two-thri yer sin I'd formert a new pair
in Manchester, an' when they were ready I went for um. I put
um on in th' shop to see if they were aw reet, an' as they were
yezzy to my feet I kept um theer. Th' shoemaker lapt mi owd
shoon in breawn papper, so I browt um that road, intendin' to wear
um eaut, as they weren't hauf done. I put um on th' rack in th'
train, an' when I geet to Bowton I forgeet um. I bethowt me th'
next day, an' wrote to th' company axin if they'd fun a pair o' big
shoon in a railway carriage. In abeaut a wick I geet a answer
that they'd fun nowt o' that soart, but on th' train I travelled by
they'd fun two postmen's leather bags lapt i' breawn papper, an'
they'd sent word to th' post office i' London, as they thowt they'd
bin stown! Well, I felt thoos were my shoon, but I made no
bother, an' forgeet um. In a while after I were i' Manchester
again, an' I happened to pass a auction reawm, an' I went in when a
chap towd me they were sellin' t' things wot had bin left an' lost
in railway trains. I bethowt me o' my shoon, when, behowd, in
a bit th' auctioneer put up two pair, an' I could see as one pair
were thoos I'd lost! Tha's yerd auctioneers' gammon when
they're sellin' stuff. They think they're clivver, but that
mon geet three bob less for them shoon than he would ha' done but
for his joke. He said he didn't know what to caw th' big pair,
but if they were shoon they'd belunged to a foote pad. I were
a bit riled at that, for I'd noticed a policemen in th' place lookin'
at my feet, an' I sheauted eaut, "Heaw dost know he were a foote
pad?" He ansert in a jiffy, "Becos th' chap as wore um 'ud
have to pad his feet!" That were good for him, an' th' folk
lowft, aw except me. So I nobbut offered him a bob for um, an'
he knocked um deawn for that. I sowd t' other pair for
hauf-a-creawn to a chap as couldn't forshome to bid after th'
auctioneer's joke, an' as I were comin' eaut th' bobby as I
mentioned followed me, an' axt me t' let him look at um. I
did. "Why," he said, "they're fourteen inches lung!"
"They're pratty big," I ansert. "Well, if I were thee I'd tak
these to th' Teawn Ho', an th' Chief Cunstable 'ull happen gi' thee
ten shillin' for um. Tha sees th' littlest policemen i'
Manchester has fourteens feet mine's sixteens an' they're flat,
like thine. They're bothered abeaut gerrin' shoon to fit um,
an' thine's just th' pattern. Tak um to him."
"An' did tha tak um?" I asked.
"Nawe, I didn't want th' bother, as I'd getten um back for
nowt, wi' my railway fare chucked in, so I browt um back, an' wore
Bess has towd eawr Nance as when Jim were coortin her he
could mak' her believe owt, an' I think sometimes he ratches um when
he tells me a tale, but I con pleeos mysel' abeaut believin' it, so
I say nowt. I towd him, heawever, that there were rayson in th'
argyment part o' what he said, an' we'd caw th' new science o'
I connot finish this beaut sayin' as th' kessenin' next day
passed off very well. I gan th' choilt away that's what they
caw godfaytherin' I think an' they cawd it Bess, like its mother.
It skriked a good deeol when th' minister degged its face wi' cowd
wayter, but I thowt he put moor on nor were needed, an' I shouldn't
ha' liked it mysel'. We'd a champion tay, an' Bess were very
nice. Hoo temd summat eaut of a bottle, wi' a goold label on,
into every cup we had, which set me an' Jim talkin' like magpies,
an' I tried next mornin' to think what we'd argued abeaut, but 'twere
no use, I couldn't remember.
It's th' fust time I've bin at godfayther, but it's aw reet,
an' if ony decent young married couple wot has a new babby ull ax
me, I'll get my white wescut weehed an' stond for um under th' same
[Lines for a Christmas Card.]
HO! FOR A MERRY CHRISTMAS.
the snowflakes fall, and the drifts gather deep,
And the harsh wintry winds are hushed into sleep,
When the sun brightly shines, tho' the frost be keen,
That is the right sort of good weather, I ween,
For a Merry
When the yule-log's ablaze up the chimney high,
And the keg is just breached, and the port tastes dry,
When the sizzling turkey is done to a turn,
And the sauce on the pudding is sure to burn
fare for Christmas.
When father comes home muffled up to the chin,
And mother shouts "Welcome!" and ushers him in,
He's quickly besieged by his girls and his boys,
For they know his pockets are laden with toys,
When the rich man's larder is filled with good cheer,
And his books show a rise in trade for the year,
If he's thought of the hungrycheerless and cold
And gen'rously helped them with silver or gold,
He's a Merry
My wishes for all on this auspicious day,
For my kindred at home and friends far away,
Is that Heaven may grant them the best of health,
And Fortune endow them with plenty of wealth,
For many a
TH' WOMAN FRO' BURY.
A Sketch at Blackpool.
I SUPPOSE most
folk who enjoy fair health like a good stroll. I know I do,
and one of the pleasures of my life is in walking in the early
morning from the Gynn Inn along the Promenade to South Shore Fair
Ground. It is, in fair weather, a glorious experience.
Three-and-a-half miles along the cleanest and widest promenade in
England probably in the world every yard of it asphalted, with
no hills to climb, the ozone-laden breezes gently filling one with
physical purity, is a splendid tonic indeed. Walks like that
inspire one with hopes of joyful life, and are a panacea for many of
the ills that afflict overworked or harassed humanity. Young
people may gain strength by indulging in it; the middle-aged may
take such a walk with advantage, and if the return journey should
prove too much for them, the enterprise of Blackpool Corporation has
provided comfortable tramcars whereon they may return, all along the
coast, at a moderate fare.
When I have walked the whole length, and back to the North
Shore, I generally indulge in a rest, and if I can manage it I take
a seat on the form nearest to, but south of, the North Pier.
Sometimes I have to wait awhile, and when any of the sitters vacate
their places it is necessary to dodge or rush quickly, as most
visitors seem to favour that particular form as a resting-place.
There is much to be seen about there: the crowd is so dense, the
fashion of Lancashire congregate near and upon the North Pier, and
there the student of the philosophy of life may see its tragedy and
comedy kaleidoscopically portrayed. There the gushing maiden
and her lover (temporary or otherwise) trip on light feet, she
smiling sweetly at the sun-burnt talk her Adonis is pouring into her
too-listening ears, each careless and fearless of the future before
them; then the aged couple, possibly on their last seaside holiday,
slowly hobbling along, with little or nothing to tell each other,
but remembering the days of long ago, when, with cheery hearts and
lightsome feet, they joined in the revelries associated with youth.
Then comes a bath chair with an invalid, probably weary of life, yet
sent to the seaside by friends, who count not the cost, wishful to
keep their loved one longer on earth. Here follow four or five
young roysterers, without headgear, and dressed loudly, humming the
refrain of a comic song they had probably heard at one of the
amusement palaces the previous night. The scene has no charm
for the next one who passes a boy just merging into manhood, who
is being wheeled on a stretcher carriage. He has lost his
youth, his half-shut eyes lack lustre, consumption has laid a fast
hold of him, and he no doubt feels dead to the world, but he is
wheeled gently by his father, who is making a toil of his holiday in
the hope of benefitting his boy, a parent's labour of love.
Thus the interesting panorama continues without cessation as long as
the day lasts.
One afternoon, after a long walk, I was fortunate to secure a
seat on my favourite form. The day was an ideal one: the sky
bright blue, with here and there a streak of cirrus cloud, the edges
of which were turned to pink as they passed over the sun, whose
fierce glare reflected a phosphorescence of such varied colours upon
the calm sea as to render its beauty beyond my powers of
description. It was a picture not often to be seen, even at
I was not seated long before the heat and the sun's glare
overpowered me, and I had to leave my seat. There was room for
me on a form opposite, where I might escape the sun's fierce heat,
which seemed to grow stronger, so I sat there and dozed.
When I had lost outward consciousness, and had, in perhaps two
minutes, dreamed of pleasantries that would only fall to one's lot
in a whole lifetime, I was startled by a sudden thud on the form
whereon I was seated, and an exclamation that sounded like a painful
long-drawn-out "Oh-o-o-o!" I rubbed my eyes and looked around.
The left half of the seat had been vacated during my somnolence, for
it was getting teatime, and the only other occupant was a woman.
I turned my head to the right to look at her, and she sat sideways
facing, and looking straight at me. She was a fine specimen of
womanhood, with a round red face, and the day's heat had rendered
necessary frequent applications of her handkerchief to keep pace
with the perspiration that would otherwise have rolled off her, for
her hair was plastered down on each side of her face as though her
head had been dipped in oil. Yet withal, for a matron she was
not bad looking, but just now she was troubled, and her contracted
countenance gave her an appearance of abject misery. And her
feet troubled her; this was apparent from the manner in which, with
great effort, she now and again knocked the heel of her right boot
on the asphalt pavement, lifting me out of position at each savage
blow. Then she would cross her right leg over the left, and
give another grunt, right from the depths, which sounded "U-u-u-gh."
I became interested, and noticed that whilst she sat very
close to me, her face directed towards me but staring at nothing,
there was room on the right of her for another person to be seated.
Possibly she expected someone ― we should see. But I dozed
again; I couldn't help it. In a while I was aroused by voices
in altercation, and turning, saw a man of medium stature leaning on
the back rest of the seat, the front part of him facing the sea.
He was her husband, and was obviously the junior partner at
home. I could tell by his attitude he was guilty of ―
something, but I knew not what. She told me, however, when,
after expressively banging her right heel on the pavement to relieve
the pain from her corn, she addressed him:
"Th' next time tha brings me to Blackpool tha'll not leove
me, I know, for I'st never goo eaut wi' thee again as lung as I
"I didn't leove thee o' purpose," he replied sheepishly, "tha'
knows I only went to have a pint wi' thoose two Bury chaps tha
knows um, they sen so an' when I coom back tha'd gone."
"Aye, an' I reckon tha went back wi' um, an' filled thy guts
wi' dirty ale, whether I geet owt or nowt. It didn't matter
abeaut me, did it?"
No answer being forthcoming to that pertinent inquiry, there
was solemn silence for a while.
Presently two men approached. Dressed in dark tweeds,
slack-back coats, and light-coloured cloth caps, their trousers were
turned up at the bottoms, and they were each smoking short clay
pipes. They stopped opposite me, evidently recognising their
pal from Bury.
"Hello, Sam," said one, addressing the man with his back
turned towards them, "we missed thee aw at once. Wheer did ta
But, whilst waiting for a reply, they caught sight of a pair
of searching eyes that belonged to the woman next to me, and the
spokesman, a little non-plussed, ejaculated, "Hello, Mrs. Haton, are
yo' here? We didn't know yo'd come."
"Neaw, I daresay not; so yo' crack, but yo'n had him aw day,
an' yo' con have him neaw. I reckon when yo' made him drunk yo'
wanted to get shut on him."
"Nay, he weren't drunk when he laft us two hours sin'.
He'd only had three pints. He towd us he'd come by hissel'."
"Did he?" she asked. "He awlus were a liar. But
tak him again. I durnt want him."
The man took the clay from his mouth, and, after some
hesitancy, ventured: "Well, we're gooin' to Fleetwood. We'n
three heaurs afore th' train goes. Will yo' booath come?"
"Nawe," she answered vehemently, as she banged her heel again
on the ground to relieve the twinge of pain from her corn, "I'st not
goo; but tak him, he cares nowt abeaut me, so's he fills hissel' wi'
There was silence for several minutes, during which the
quartette stared four different ways. Then the man who had
been spokesman said: "Well, if yo' worn't come, we'll goo.
Good afternoon." He was glad to get away.
At that moment there was a catastrophe like an earthquake;
the form suddenly heaved, lifting me several inches in the air; the
husband scooted, thinking his wife's wrath was bursting in a
castigation of himself; and their acquaintances stopped and turned
to see the cause of the earth's vibration and noise.
Th' woman fro' Bury had encountered her worst spell of pain
from her corn, and that, coupled with her mental irritation, had
caused her to bang her right heel on the ashphalt with such force as
to cause her to gurgle "U-u-gh" at each stroke, and everything in
her vicinity to shake and tremble. She got a little ease,
however, from the exercise, and her husband dared to resume his
position at the back of the seat.
There was silence for quite a long while, then the man spoke:
"Wilta come an' have some tay?"
"Nawe, I want no tay. I want nowt, but to get whoam.
Th' next time tha axes me to come to Blackpool, or anywheer else,
I'll break thi yed."
The man was cowed. After a long silence he again
requested: "Wilta come an' have a drop o' gin?"
"Nawe, I'st not," was the reply, but a faint smile played
round her mouth. She was winning!
"Yah do," he entreated, "tha'll be famished."
"I'st not, I tell thee again," she replied.
"Well, come an' ha' summat to eit. It's no use o'
speilin' thy eaut." This he urged persuasively.
"That were spelled lung sin'," she replied bitterly, "when
tha laft me to go wi' thoos drunkards. Tha didn't find their
wives comin' wi' um. They'd moor sense."
"Well, durnt bother, lass. I'st know better next time.
Come an' have summat; tha'll be ill." From the tone of his
voice I wondered whether his sympathy was genuine or his fear was
She uncrossed her legs, and tapped her right heel twice or
thrice on the ground, so gently now as seeming to coax her corn into
better behaviour, and, with a grunt lifted her stout body erect, and
she followed him into Talbot Road. I saw them enter the Wine
There was peace, but the victory was hers.