WALMSLEY FOWT BONFIRE.
a silly pastime an' why its kept up very few know. Some say
it's firework makkers ut keepen it up, just for th' sale o' the'r
dangerous wares, an' aw think ther's a bit o' truth i' that.
Ther' hadno' used to be sich fireworks when aw're i' mi yorneyhood.
If we could raise a pin-wheel ut wouldno' turn, an' a sarpent ut 'ud
clear a fowt eaut, an' a sky-rocket ut fizzed an' then fell i' th'
mop-hole, we'd done great things. But these wur laft for lads
to do. Ther no grey-yeaded owd fellies took part i' these
peawder-wastin' pastimes as we see 'em neaw. Theyr'n havin'
main-brews, an' towffy, an' tharcake makkin's; an' sich a body as
Guy Fawkes wur never remembered. Aw dunno think ther three
folk i' Walmsley Fowt ut knew owt abeaut him, or why his effigy wur
burnt an' shot at every fifth o' November. Aw think it's quite
time his memory should rest. After very nee 300 years o'
religious bitterness its time we sunk it i' that pit coed Lethe.
Thunge! bang! rip-rap! fizz! pop! fluss!—an' what does it ameaunt
Jack o' Flunter's wife had bin tellin' mi owd stockin'-mender
ut "Gi Forks" wur a cruel monster, ut went abeaut wi' a poke
collectin' little lads an' wenches fort' blow 'em to pieces wi'
peawder, an' then sell 'em to mak' stew on! Hoo'd yerd owd
Alsie o' Beawkers say ut ther' a quart o' bell-buttons i' th' Teawer
o' Lunnon ut had bin fund i' th' stew, beside wenches' shoon-buckles
"But theau didno' believe her," aw said.
"Well, aw hardly could. Aw dunno' think lads had ony
bell-buttons to the'r clooas at that time. Sin' aw con
remember they mooestly wore Linsey frocks, an' nowt else; an'
wenches i'stead o' havin' buckles to the'r shoon had 'em fasten't to
the'r ankles wi' a bit o' ribbin or a bant. Aw think it's
nobbut a boggart tale to freeten childer wi'."
An' neaw owd memories creepen o'er me. Aw recollect
bein' consarned i' moore mischief abeaut bonfire time nur aw care to
think abeaut. Stalin' coals wur no crime if it we'rn noane
fund eaut; an' rippin' fences deawn for "owd stocks" wur th' best
fun we could have, so lung as farmers didno' catch us. But we
never meddled wi' owd Thuston's hedges. If he could find us an
owd stump or two he would; an' aw dar'say it paid him to do it.
But ther one farmer i' Hazlewo'th ut wur very sore. If he'd
catcht us lookin' at owt he'd ha' rung eaur ears. Aw con see a
neet's stock-poachin' neaw ut aw shanno' forget so lung as aw con
We'd spotted a gate stump ut wur rotten to'art botham; an' it
wur agreed amung us ut we should have it. So we went one neet
wi' a clooas-line we'd borrowed, intendin' to swim th' stump deawn
th' canal, as it ud be too heavy to carry o' th' road. Wi' a
great deeal o' risk, an' a great deeal o' pooin' an' hawlin', we
managed to bring th' stump to th' greawnd, an' we rowled it to th'
canal. But somebody's e'en mun ha' bin abeaut beside eaur own;
for just as we'd fastened th' clooas-line to th' stump, an' launched
eaur ship, an' one o'th' gang wur sayin'—"it swims weel," aw felt a
grab at what should ha' bin mi collar. It wur th' owd farmer's
hont ut wur tamperin' wi' it. He never offered to catch
onybody else, becose he couldno ha' done; so he hauled me off to his
heause, sayin' it ud be "transportation" for me.
Aw gan meauth till th' music geet into hard wark; but still
that grip fasten't on me like a vice. We geet to th' heause at
last, ut wur booath a farmheause an' an aleheause; an' aw're
fasten't to th' kitchen hob wi' a cauve cheean; an' he said aw
should ha' to stop theere while he sent for th' constable. He
gan me a buttercake to be gooin' on wi', an' towd me mi next meal ud
be "skilly-an'-whack." Afore aw'd getten through mi buttercake
aw yerd a voice i'th lobby, an' aw thowt it wur th' constable comin'
for me, an' geet mi music ready for another tune.
"Wheer is th' devilment?"
Aw thowt aw knew th' voice, an' when aw seed th' face aw're
sure. It wur mi feyther th' owd farmer had sent for, an' not
th' constable! But aw'd very nee as lief it had bin one as
t'other; for if mi next meal wurno' fort' be "skilly-an'-whack," aw
should ha' summat wi moore taste in it, when aw seed th' hazel stick
he had wi' him. Aw set up a yell afore aw're hit, an' welly
choked misel' wi' a crust! That saved my skin; he seed aw're
"Aw towd thee theau'd be gettin' hob-shackled if theau didno'
mind what theau're dooin'," mi feyther said, as th' owd farmer wur
undoin' mi cheean; "an' neaw theau's getten thisel' i' limbo.
Theau'll happen mind what theau'rt dooin' next time theau goes a owd-stock
poachin'. Bring me a pint, Pee!"
Aw promised everythin' to get lose, but mi resolutions very
soon coom unglued. Aw never knew th' meeanin' o' bein'
hob-shackled before, but it wur bein' cheeaned to th' hob.
Whenever aw think abeaut that laddish spree, thoose lines o' Burns'
popp'n into mi yead—
When neebors anger at a plea,
And just as wud as wud can be,
How easy can the barley-bree
Cement the quarrel!
It's aye the cheapest lawyer's fee
To taste the barrel.
That pint an' one or two he'd had afore, knockt mi shackles
At another time aw're guilty of a piece o' devilment ut aw
never forgan misel' for it yet. Takkin' coals, as aw've said,
wurno' stalin' 'em unless we'rn catcht; so ther two neighbour women,
"little Matty" an' "black Betty," ut never could agree mony days
together. Ther aulus summat up wi' 'em ut caused a fratch, an'
sometimes blows. Little Matty kept her coals eautside, in a
corner o' th' fowt, an' hoo'd just getten a fresh looad in.
We'rn bund to blackmail these some neet, so we waited up till
everybody had gone to bed, "then to rifle, rob, and plunder," to th'
extent of a barrowful.
Th' mornin' after war wur declared. We'd skittered some
sleek fro' little Matty's coal-rook to black Betty's dur, as a mak'-believe
ut Betty had bin helpin' hersel' to Matty's coals. Ther no
argyments used that mornin' nobbut one. Th' two women fell on
to one another like two jealous hens; an' ther as mich yure laft on
th' battle fielt as, if it had bin mixed wi' mortar, would ha'
plaistered a pig-cote wall. It wur a nowty trick, an' when aw
seed th' bare places on th' women's yeads, aw'd ha' gan owt not to
ha' bin in at it.
Just as aw're runnin' these things o'er i' mi mind, aw yerd a
clatter o' clogs i' th' fowt. Then ther a thunge at eaur dur.
Aw could yer ther a lot o' lads abeaut, so aw went to th' dur to see
what wur up. Th' youngest o' Little Dody's lads sheauted eaur
leaud enoogh to be yerd at th' "Owd Bell"—
Remember, remember, it's fifth o' November,
A stick or a stake, fort' jubill-ee sake.
A turf or a coal for th' bonfire hole,
Aw pray yo' good mesther, a penny or tuppence.
"What," aw said, "ha' no' we done wi' th' jubilee yet?"
"Nawe, we're gooin' t' ha' a jubill-ee bonfire," th' lad
said. "Jim Thuston has gan us an owd tree root ut he says'll
brun a week, if it gets agate; an' Jack o' Flunter's has gan us a
plank ut he fund i' th' brook; an' Siah at owd Bob's says he'll give
us some reeasty bacon, ut'll mak' th' fire brun like a nowty place;
an' he says yo' con spare a loom, as yo'n never wayve on it no moore,
unless it's set up at th' 'Owd Bell' an' bees-waxed."
"Good lad!" aw said; "theau's getten some information ut may
be o' some use to thee i' thi life; but dustno' know ut looms winno'
"Th' bacon 'll happen mak' it," he said.
"Nay, a loom's made o' boggart wood, an' 'll stond foire as
lung as owd Juddie's safe. But if yo'n come i'th' mornin'
aw'll see what aw con do for yo'." Aw thowt that ud get rid on
'em: but th' lads stuck to th' dur flag as if they didno' intend
"An' win yo' give us that pictur' o' yo'rs for a Guy?" th'
lad said. "Jim Thuston says it's fit for nowt else."
"Does theau meean my portrait?"
"Aye, that ut Jim Thuston says wur painted for a aleheause
That wur enoof for me.
"Here," aw said, "if theau artno' away fro' this dur in
abeaut five seconds, aw'll send thee flyin' o'er that garden, an'
witheaut wings, too, theau yung jackanapes!" It's wonderful
heaw these skoo boards manage to bring eaut the'r sharp points.
Sich owd lumber as aw am, an' one or two others aw could name, 'll
ha' no chance wi' these lads e'enneaw. We shall ha' nowt to do
but carry baggins for 'em, an' mind what we're sayin' to 'em!
It's comin' to that.
But aw'd a piece o' an owd loom ut noather axe nor chisel
could mak' ony impression on, becose booath had bin tried mony a
time. Aw didno' know what foire ud do at it, that aw'd never
tried. So aw geet it eaut o' a lot o' lumber for these lads to
try the'r eddication on. It wur th' only piece o timber ut
ever aw knew ut wouldno' swim, or eaur lads ud ha' made a raft on't
afore neaw for navigatin' th' mop-hole.
"What art' gooin' to do wi' that?" th' owd rib said, seein'
aw're rippin' th' owd piece o' loomheause furniture eaut o' its
"Aw'm givin' it to th' bonfire," aw said.
"An' dostno' know it winno' brun?" hoo said.
"Aw dunno' care whether it bruns or not, aw'll have it eaut
o' here," aw said.
"But it isno' thine to give," hoo said. "That's a bit
o' my property, laft to me by owd Johnny o' Sammul's."
"What's thine's mine," aw said. "We agreed it should be
when we'rn wed."
"Aw'd as lief theau brunt me as brunt that," th' owd lass
said. "But pleeas thisel'," an' hoo gan me a look at someheaw
made me feel a little bit soft.
Aw'd noticed a crack ther' wur i' one o' th' posts ut aw
never could mak' owt on, becose it wur as seaund as a piece o' iron
everywheere else; an' aw thowt it wur turnin' into shoinin'-wood, th'
signs o' decay. Aw'd explore this crack afore aw gan th'
timber up to th' flames.
Jim Thuston had a little brass cannon ut used to belung to a
ship for firin' signals wi', an' aw went an' borrowed it. Aw
towd him what for, it wur just to split up th' owd loom post, so as
to mak' it better for takkin' th' fire. Jim said it 'ud be
like bombardin' Aygypt, blazin' at that owd fortification. So
he browt this owd cannon eaut an' some balls abeaut th' size o'
young dumplins' ut they had for throwin' ropes o'er a ship's riggin'
when it wur i' distress, an' charged it wi' abeaut an eaunce o'
peawder an' one o' these balls. Then we took it an' planted th'
muzzle to'ard th' hauve-acre, wheere ther no danger o' onyb'dy bein'
shot, an' fixed th' loom-post abeaut a foot off.
"Neaw, childer!" Jim sheauted, "coom an' see th' seige o'
Gibberalter afore th' walls are knocked deawn!" an' a creawd flocked
reaund. "Ston' a bit furr off if yo' dunno' want to be blown
into eaur barn,"—an' he fotcht a red-wot fire-potter eaut o' th'
heause an' flourished it like a sword. "Neaw then, Jericho
flies!"—an' he covered th' touch-hole wi' th' poker. Bang!
What became o' th' loom-post we couldno' mak' eaut for a
while. But after th' reech had cleared away we fund a splinter
or two lyin' here an' theere—one wi' a verse of an owd sung
plaistered on it ut aw'd yerd owd Johnny sing mony a time, an' aw
knew then aw're on th' track. At last we coom to a bigger
piece wi' a nail in it fort' hang th' sithers on. This wur th'
piece ut aw thowt wur decayin' an' aw examined it carefully.
Reet at th' bottom o' th' nick nestlin' like a neest o' yung
gowd-finches, wur twenty spade-ace guineas, ut aw reckon owd Johnny
o' Sammuls had had sometime, an' forgetter 'em when he deed!
Aw'd no difficulty i' gettin' into th' heause when aw went
whoam, nor i' gettin' eaut agen when aw wanted. Th' owd
stockin'-mender said hoo wouldno' care if ther a jubilee bonfire
every week, till they'd brunt o' th' looms i' Walmsley Fowt.
Happen ther mony a one wi' twenty spade-ace guineas in it.
This week ther's hardly an empty loom stondin'.
PRINCE O' WALES' VISIT TO WALMSLEY FOWT.
WHITE-WESHIN' TH' FOWT.
AW could yer ther
summat unusual gooin' on one mornin' before aw'd slipt into mi
clogs, an' aw couldno' understood th' meeanin' on't. It
couldno' be th' pace-eggers, aw thowt, becose Aister Monday wur
o'er. It didno' seaund like gettin' coals in, tho' Jack o'
Flunter's wur expectin' a looad. Ther a steeam rose above th'
window, but when aw coom to reckon th' days o'th' week up aw fund it
wur Friday, so it couldno' be th' weshin' day, becose eaur Sal never
puts that off after Monday, unless ther's a merry-meal i'th fowt,
then th' weshin's done o'th' Tuesday. But th' steeam kept
risin', an' th' sheautin' o'th' childer geet leauder. Just
then th' owd rib marched through th' heause, wi' an owd blue printed
bedgeawn on ut hoo hadno' worn for years, an' a check napkin teed
reaund her yead. An' hoo looked as if hoo're gooin' to "boss"
th' heause, as a Yankee would say.
"What's up, Sarah?" aw said to her. Aw dustno' ha' co'd
her Sal just then, hoo looked so mesterful.
"Thee mind thy own bizness, an' aw'll mind mine!" wur th'
onswer hoo gan me. "But if theau wants to know, we're sleckin'
"Sleckin' lime? an' what for?"
"Fort' build a cauve cote." An' hoo gan me a look as
good as to say "That's one for thee, owd lad!" an' eaut o'th' dur
Aw lindert mi clogs to mi shanks an' went i'th fowt.
There o' th' wed women ut could be mustered wur reaund a lime-hole
they'd made while the'r husbants wur i' bed; an' they'rn cobbin' in
lumps o' lime in a very unscientific way, just women-like, while
Siah at owd Bob's wife an' little Dody's wife wur fotchin' canfulls
o' wayter fro' th' mophole.
"What's o this dooment abeaut?" aw axt Jack o' Flunter's
wife. Aw dustno' ha' axt mi own after th' onswer aw'd getten
"We're gettin' ready forth' Prince o' Wales!" hoo said.
"An' what are yo' gooin' to build?" aw wanted to know.
"This is a woman's job, Ab," hoo said; "an' if ever theau
seed a woman hondle a treawel theau'd never want to see another.
But hoo con hondle a white-wesh brush betther nur a mon ony day."
"Oh, yo'r gooin' to white-wesh, are yo'? Yon bit o
tax-wax o' mine towd me yo'rn gooin' to build a cauve cote, for t'
put me in."
"Eh, yo'r Sarah's a reet un, but hoo didno' meean it."
"An' what are yo' gooin' to white-wesh?"
"What th' pavement an' o?"
"Not us! We're nobbut gooin' t' white-wesh th' inside
o' th' heauses. Jim Thuston has gan us leeave to whitewesh th'
gate, an' th' stumps, so ut th' Prince 'ud know wheere he're coomin'
"It 'ud be a queer thing if th' owd woman slipt th' noose
while o this stir's bein' made for her lad."
"Aye, it 'ud mak' things very awkart. We should ha' to
sing 'God save the King' then, aw reckon?"
"Aye, aw reckon we should."
"Eh, it looks a good while sin' aw yerd it! Aw're
nussin' then for Lung Jammie's wife, an' aw'd th' choilt teed o' mi
back when they'rn singin' it i' th' fowt. Aw reckon when th'
Prince gets on his mother's loom that owdest lad'll get on his
"Aw reckon he will; he's bin at th' bobbinwheel lung enough.
He's bin larnin' to pike th' ratch* an' piece th' ends up, for some
"Well, aw shall be sooary if owt happens," an' Jack's wife
chucked another lump o' lime i' th' hole. "Has yo'r Sarah towd
thee we're gooin' to ha' this job to eaursel's?"
"Nawe, hoo's towd me nowt; hoo's nobbut gan me a hint."
"Well, we are; an' as this is th' last jubilee year ut ever
th' Queen 'll have, it's to be a gradely henpecked year. Eaur
Jack has gan in o'ready."
"Oh, has he? It 'ud be nowt new to me."
"Theau'rt lyin', Ab! Eaur Jack's comin'; so yo'd better
tak' yo'rsel's eaut o' th' road afore yo' getten splashed o'er."
"Aw know of a lark's neest, Ab," Jack said when he coom up.
"Let's goo an' put some prickles deawn so as they conno' net th'
yung uns when they're ready, or else we shanno' ha' a lark to sing
for us this summer. Aw dar'say theau con be spared."
"Aw con spare him onytime," th' owd stockin'-mender said,
coomin' on us like a blue cleaud.
"Aw'll get mi hat, an then," aw said, feelin' as if aw're
gooin' t' have a bit o' mi own road.
So aw gees mi hat, an' off Jack an' me went to protect this
lark neest, as aw thowt. But i'stead o' turnin' to'ard th'
fields, we went to'ard th' village, an' wauted into th' Owd Bell
fowt, just as if it had bin Setterday afternoon.
"Is th' lark neest here, Jack?" aw said, as we marched into
"Aye, an' th' owd lark's on th' eggs," Jack said, pointing to
"owd Wobbler," ut sit i'th' nook asleep.
"Jack," aw said, "this soart winno' do. Aw'll nobbut
ha' one gill, an' then aw'm off back agen."
"Agreed on," Jack said; "knock."
So aw knockt, an' ordered a pint between us; an' we supt it
beawt ony feelin' o' givin' way; an' then we took a strowl i' th'
fields, wheere ther two larks had browt the'r best music eaut an'
wur singin' a duet. Ther an idle-lookin', skulkin' limb of a
big family tree, wi' a gun i' his hont, an' here lookin' up at one
o' these larks. We could see he intended shootin' 'em, so we
went up to him.
"Dost intend shootin' thoose larks?" Jack said, in a way ut
made th' gun tremble.
"Yes, if I can," th' whelp said.
"An' what for?" Jack said, his e'en blazin'.
"To make soup of their tongues for my father."
"Is he poorly or summat?"
"No; but he likes them."
"Well, goo whoam an' tell thi feyther this is th' jubilee
year; an' for every lark ut's shot he'll ha' a peaund to pay!
An' if aw catch thee poachin' upo' this greaund agen, aw'll rom that
gun deawn thi throat. Neaw, then, hook it!"
Th' lad sneaked off, lookin' very much as if he'd bin takken
deawn a peg, an' as if th' family tree had bin shaked a bit.
"If we'd stopt fort' have another pint we should ha' yerd no
music this day," aw said to Jack, after th' lad had getten eaut o'
"Not unless we'd yerd another sooart awhoam," he said.
"We munno' expect lads bein' made betther when they're at th' skoo.
They very oft come eaut wi' hearts hardened agen everythin'.
Aw're fettlin' abeaut a boiler t'other day, when a lad wi' a slate
on his back browt a cat, an' chuckt it i' th' foire under th'
boiler, an' then ran yellin' off as if he'd done summat clever.
He didno' belong to th' 'Band o' Kindness!' If aw could ha'
getten howd on him he should just ha' smelled at that foire till
he'd known what a cat's feelin's wur like when he chuckt it in."
"Aye, we're gettin' to be like th' Romans wur afore they went
to pieces, hardened to owt," aw said. "Aw see ut t'other day
they roasted a bullock i' some teawn i' Wales; an' afore it wur
roasted they led it alive thro' th' streets, an' they had it donned
i' ribbons; an' aw dar'say it swaggered as if it had takken a prize
at a show. It little knew wheere it 'ud be th' day after.
When poor George Russell wur drawn thro' th' streets sittin' on his
coffin, for t' be hanged upo' Newton Yeath, becose he'd stown summat
to mak' a weight rope on, everybody pitied him an' said 'Poor lad!'
But it wur no pity for this ex. Everybody wur enjoyin' th'
seet. We're gettin' to' selfish for owt good."
"Well, wheer mun we spend th' day?" Jack said; "theau knows
we're forbidden to goo whoam while this white-weshin's gooin' on."
"Aw dunno' know," aw said. "Aw never felt keener o'
gooin' whoam i' mi life nur aw do neaw." Jack pood his knife
eaut, an' he cut a + i'th' bark of a tree.
"That's one to thee, Ab!" he said, as he shut his knife.
"Theau's scored middlin' weel lately. What do'st say abeaut
gooin' to Daisy Nook? We con ha' some toasted cheese theer,
an' be quiet o'er it."
"Agreed on," aw said. "Set thi weather-peg i'th reet
direction an' thi legs 'll follow."
Well, we set eaut for Daisy Nook, an' Aister bein' o'er we
fund things very quiet. So we went to owd Poots, an' ordered
some cheese an' bacon; an' bein' a bit sharp-set we could hardly
wait till it wur ready. Aw broke th' edges off a mowffin,
fort' dip i'th' fat, till aw'd welly gone reaund, an' Jack said we
should ha' nowt to graise th' cheese wi' if aw kept on. When
it wur ready, an' we'd getten through a couple o' mowffins, we
crossed o'er th' bridge to "Red Bill's." We could yer ther
some singin' gooin' on theer, an' mi lungin' fort' goo whoam geet
fainter. Jack said he knew it would. He're gettin' slack
hissel'. Wheer th' drink coom fro' while th' singin' wur gooin'
on aw couldno' find eaut, but it wur aulus theer.
"Aw wonder heaw th' white-weshin's gooin' on!" aw said to
Jack when aw fund th' afternoon wur wearin' on.
"Whoa cares for th' white-weshin' as lung as we're doin' weel?"
Jack said, gettin' howd o' his pot an' swiggin at it. " "We
dunno' kill a pig every day!"
"No moor we done, owd mon!" a little stumpy chap said ut had
getten a dog in a bant. "This dog shall run ony ut'll come for
as mich as they'n a mind."
"Aye, if it could smell a booan at th' fur end," another o'th'
company said ut had bin singin'.
"An' aw'll sing thee a match for a quart; neaw then, Jammie!"
th' little un said.
Th' challenge wur takken up, an' th' songs wur sung.
After that Jack o' Flunter's complained o'th' bally-wartch, an' he
laid th' blame upo' th' music.
"Ab," he said, "aw'd as lief be in at th' white-weshin' as
yer ony moor o' that. What are they puttin' th' shutters up
for? It's noane dark yet."
"Look at th' clock," aw said.
"It's never that time, surely!" Jack said. "Someb'dy's
bin thrutchin at th' sun for t' chet us. This is havin' a
sober day, is it? No moor resolutions! Let's be gooin',
Ab, while we con see eaur road." An' he geet up fro' his
cheear, an' made for th' dur. "Aw shall ha' t' hang th'
picturs—Jubilee picturs up when aw get whoam."
"Theau'rt noane gooin' beawt hat, arta?" aw said.
"Give it me here; aw thowt aw had it on. Drunken agen!"
When we geet whoam we fund th' white-weshin' wur finished,
even to th' moppin' eaut. Th' owd ticket wur just puttin' th'
finishin' stroke on th' dur flag when hoo seed me an' Jack o'
Flunter's comin' up th' fowt. Hoo just looked at me an' then
at Jack, as if hoo're weighin' us, an' couldno' mak' it eaut which
side th' balance wur on.
"Ther's no' mich to chuse on," hoo said, when hoo browt in
her verdict. "Six o' one an' hauve a dozen o' t'other."
"Aw've had some trouble to get yo'r Ab whoam," Jack
"Nay, dunno' mak' him wur nur he is," th' owd speshul pleader
said. "One e'elid's on th' tremble, but that's o. Jack,
theau'rt wanted awhoam. Theau's some pictur' hangin' to do."
"That'll find me eaut!" Jack said, an' off he waddled.
"Here, trade on this rag, an' march into th' heause," th' owd
skoomissis said to me. "Aye ha' no' done wi' thee yet!
Theau's getten some picturs t' hang, as weel as Jack."
Aw went into th' heause, an' looked reaund. Th' walls
wur "as white as new snow," an' when aw'd stirred th' foire up into
a blaze, ther th' shadow o' a giant doancin' agen th' heause yead,
like as if it wur in a fair. Yo' may talk abeaut yo'r pappered
walls, wheere ther's a stink o' glue ut lasts for weeks; but gie me
white-wesh sweet as newly weshed bed clooas when they'n bin done
awhoam. They say'n th' Prince taks an interest i' workin'
folks' whoams. If he comes to Walmsley Fowt he'll see a
pattern. If it comes a bit warmer mi' fleawers 'll be eaut
i'th' front garden, an' mi hummabees 'll be abeaut strappin' the'r
baskets on the'r backs for summer foragin'. Aw dunno' think he
cares to see grand mansions, sich as we han abeaut Manchester, when
he's one grander ov his own. If he's what aw think he is, he'd
rayther pop into a wayver's heause, an' see heaw mich con be done
eaut o' little, an' what soart o' a foundation his throne 'll ha' to
rest on. But th' owd rib's comin' for t' inspect me.
"Theau'll do, Abram, this time," hoo said, after hoo'd getten
howd o' a e'elid, an' looked under it. "Aw thowt it wur Jack
ut did th' wobblin'. Neaw then, th' picturs."
We booath set to wark like a pair o' Jack Ketches, obbut it
wur a different soart o' hangin' to the'rs. Ther no drop, nor
no "thud," nor no black flag. Ther no shudder went through
millions o' folk when th' minute wur up; but ther a bit o' summat
next dur to savage said when eaur Sal missed a nail yead, an' tried
to droive her thumb into th' wall! But we geet things "fixed,"
th' furniture th' last, ut wur piled up i'th' loomheause; an' when
aw'd getten th' clock agate o' gooin'—ther's aulus a bit o' trouble
wi' a clock after a white-weshin'—aw said,
"Theigher, Sarah, we're ready for th' Prince!"
"Ah!" th' owd cross-examiner said, after we'd bin admirin' th'
heause wi' its new shirt on, "aw think that lark neest wur at th'
* Dress a length of warp when in the loom.
WALMSLEY FOWT WELCOME TH' PRINCE O' WALES.—AB'S
MY cote looked so
grand in its new paint (white-wesh) an' shadows doanced on th'
walls, an' amung th' pictures, an' agen th' ceilin'; an' th' owd rib
looked so breet after hood put hersel' through some suds when her
job wur finished, ut aw felt fairly dazed; an' when th' owd ticket
said aw begun a-skennin as if aw're lookin' at summat at th' end o'
mi nose, hoo could see aw're gooin' off in a dreeamin' fit; an' that
confirmed her opinion ut th' "lark neest" Jack o' Flunter's an' me
had bin seechin we'd fund at th' Owd Bell. Aw leet her ha' her
own say, becose one o'th fust things aw fund eaut after we'd bin
knotted t'gether wur—it wur no use contradictin' a woman; an' aw've
held that doctrine ever sin'.
Aw toped o'er; an' just as mi e'en wur jackin up, they
sattled on th' two brass candlesticks ut stood upo' th' chimdy-piece;
an' these took th' form o' two pillars; an' th' fender ut hung above
'em—th' Sunday fender—made an arch ut sponned fro' one pillar to
t'other; an' this th' Prince o' Wales an' his owd stockin'-mender
wur to pass under. It wur Walmsley Fowt triumple arch.
Aw very soon filled it wi' ribbons an' fleawers. Th' fowt
begun a-stirrin'. Th' childer i' white—bless the'r little
souls!—flyin' abeaut like little angels. An' owd men i' black
cooats ut they'd worn eaut o' recollection, an' some, aw dar'say,
wur the'r feythers afore 'em, wur tryin' to put th' childer i' a
double row for t' receive th' Prince, but it wur moor nur they could
manage for a while, becose th' childer mit ha' had wick-silver i'
the'r shoon. At last they geet 'em summat like streight, an'
as they o stood up, every little lass had a posey i' her hont, an'
it wur enoogh to mak' a lad wish he're a wench, for a grander seet
couldno' be pictur't. Ther mony a mother lookin' eaut at th'
chamber window, tryin' to hide summat ut trembled in her e'en, as
hoo looked at a bit o' white deawn below. Ther one o' eaur
Ab's childer amung th' lot; an' th' owd gron-rib thowt th' wench's
mother mit ha' put a bit moor blue in her starch, for th' frock wur
th' colour of a primrose. Mother-in-law agen! aw thowt.
Dowter never con pleeas.
A trumpet seaunded; an' ther a stir amung th' white frocks
like th' keys o' a payanno when it's bein' played—in an' eaut in an'
eaut, as if they're playin' a tune. Then th' Prince an' his
bed-time grumbler coom dashin' under th' fender an' between th' two
brass pillars. An' wurno' ther' a sheaut set up! Aw
tried mi lungs till they gan me notice not to show mi loyalty too
strung, or they mit want repairin'. Eaur Sal towd me after it
wur like th' bark o' Jammie Butcher's sheep dog, when it wore a
flannel reaund it neck. Th' singin' broke on mi ear like a
strange melody; but aw con nobbut remember th' part o'th' hymn.
It wur summat like this—
Welcome. Prince, who shall be King!
To thee our floral gifts we bring;
And for thy gentle Princess fair,
We've lilies sweet to deck her hair.
We are not ladies bright and gay,
But children in a humble way;
And the burthen of our lay
Is "Welcome to our homes, and May!"
A bit clumsy if aw've remembered it reet; but if Lord
Tennyson wrote it aw'll ax his pardon, an' say aw'm no' fit to quote
his poetry fro' memory.
After th' hymn had bin sung, an' th' Princess had looked like
Somebody else blessin' little childer, they a sheawer o' posies ut
welly filled th' carriage; an' th' Princess piked some o'th' lilies
eaut an' stuck 'em in her bonnet. Th' childer sheauted harder
nur ever when they seed that; an' one on 'em wur yerd to say to
another, "Isno' hoo just like a gradely woman?" "Aye, summat
like mi mother!" t'other said. An' very likely they'rn booath
reet. Th' Prince geet deaun eaut o'th' carriage while aw read
th' address. He shook honds wi' me till aw're feart he'd ha'
wrung mi shoother eaut o'th' socket—co'ed me an "owd cock," an'
wanted to know wheere th' "owd hen" wur! "Hoo's theere," aw
said, pointin' to th' chamber window; "hoo's tryin' to hoide hersel'
at back o'th' curtains." But aw wonder wheere he piked his
Lanky up? After this aw put on mi spectacles, an framed misel'
as weel as aw could for readin' th' address. Then aw begun—
Mesther Prince,—Theau'rt welcome to Walmsley Fowt, an' doubly
welcome neaw theau's browt thi owd stockin'-mender wi thee to see
some gradely folk—no' getten up for a day's show, but as theau'd see
'em every Sunday. If we ha' not as fine clooas as some folk
theau's met, we'n hearts as warm an' as loyal as ony i'th' lond—loyal
to thee, becose that meeans bein' loyal to owd England.
Theau'll ha' a big job afore thee when theau gets on thi loom; but
theau's helped thi mother when hoo's bin on th' push for t' get her
wark eaut, so throwin' th' royal shuttle winno' be quite strange to
thee. Theau'll no' find thi warp as clear as theau may expect.
Theau'll find it'll want a good deeal o' dressin'. Some o'th'
knots han bin clumsily teed, an' these theau'll ha' t' tak' eaut;
knots teed bi Gladdy; an' knots teed bi Dizzy; an' knots teed by
yunger warpers, ut theau'll swear if theau tries to pass 'em through
th' reed. Oil th' spindles wi' th' goodwill o'th' nation, an'
that'll help thi forrad. Dunno' goo a brid neezin when theau
should be at thi wark, nor tossin' wi' other chaps. If ther's
ony Owd Bell abeaut yo'r heause try if theau con get past th' dur.
If theau con sing a comic song aw'm feart it'll be a bad job for
thee. Theau'll be buyin' owd hats an' owd clooas, an' singin'
i' some aleheause nook when theau should ha' bin at thi loom.
If theau thinks theau owt to ha' a week's holiday, tak' it when
things are noane so busy; an' tak' thi wife an' childer wi' thee.
("Hear, hear," fro' th' Princess.) Mak' thi lads into thi
companions. Theau con do more to'ard eddicatin' 'em i' gradely
ways nur o'th' boardin' skoos i' England. Thi owd rib may tak'
a hint fro' that, if hoo needs ony. But aw think hoo doesno'.
When that owdest lad o' thine begins o' windin' bobbins, taich him
heaw to do his wark wi' th' least waste; an' no' wind 'em of a
political shape. That'll help thee to mak' good cloth.
But if he winds short necked uns, they may rove, an' fluzz, an'
that'll hamper thee. Theau'll have enoo o' hinderances beawt
bad windin'. Theau may mak' up thi mind ut theau'll ha' bad
folk abeaut thee; an' some o' these may cut thi treadle bands, or
grease thi weigh-tropes, or put a tooad i' thi pin box. An' if
some had a chance they'd knock thee off thi loom, an' then it ud be
wo-up wi' owd England! But theau may fence agen these wi' bein'
just an' true to thoose ut theau'll co thy people. Throw
thisel' on 'em when theau feels i' danger. It ud be betther
nur axin advice o' folk ut ud glory i' seein' thi shuttle fly eaut
an' through th' window. Say to thi country—"I
SERVE!" It 'ull be betther nur sayin' "I govern," an'
theau'll get to th' end o' thi cut beaut makkin' a bad length, or as
mich as a "sticker." An' for God's sake try to put Ireland's
loom reet, an' we con jog on like inkle wayvers an' live t'gether as
a happy family. So mote it be!
Th' Prince looked bewildered when aw'd finished. He'd
never yerd sich an address as that afore; an' aw'd some deauts as to
his understondin' it. He'd bin so used to bein' flattered an'
daubed o'er wi' butter an' traycle, ut he couldno' gawm what's meant
by a bit o' gradely talk. Heawever, he thanked me i' some very
nice words, an' they went arm i' arm to eaur heause, wheere they
took "lunch" wi eaur Sal an' me. We'd made a speshal do on't.
We'd a pottato pie, with an extry hauve peaund o' neck o' mutton in
it; an' th' Prince wanted to know if it wur to be etten wi' a spoon!
Aw towd him onythin' ud be reet if he could get it to his royal
meauth. When he'd tasted aw thowt his een ud ha' flown eaut,
an' aw're feart he'd scauded hissel'! But it wur his surprise.
"Alick!" he said, turnin' to th' Princess, "we don't know
what living is. Here's a poor weaver can set us an example of
cooking that it would be no shame for kings to follow. My
friend," he said, turning to me, "what may a dish like this cost?"
"Tot it up, Sarah," aw said to mi owd scholar. An' hoo
set abeaut it.
"Ther's two peaund an' a hauve o' mutton at seven-pence," hoo
said; "an' three peaund o' pottitoes, an' a peaund o' fleaur, an' a
quartern o' suet for th' crust. It hasno' cost a hauve a
creawn o t'gether."
"Astonishing!" th' Prince said. "Alick, we must try
this at Sandringham. My friend, what do you call this pie?"
"A steeam ingin," aw said.
"A steam engine!" th' Prince said. "Why it will be
regarded as a delicacy. The very name gives it a relish.
One half the world does not know how the other half enjoys itself."
When we'd finished eaur "lunch" ther as mich o'th' pie laft
as ud ha' done for th' day after; but eaur Sal must give it to th'
poor as a "Jubilee offering." Th' Prince praised eaur wine as
if he'd never tasted owt like it afore, an' he wanted to know what
age it wur.
"It's eaur own makkin', an' brewed a week sin'" aw towd him.
That rather puzzled him.
"Brewed!" he said.
"Aye, ten quarts to th' peck; twice as strung as we usen
drinkin' it," aw said. "If a wayver drank a quart o' that
every day they'd ha' to put him th' strait jacket on."
He smiled an' shaked his yead.
While this wur gooin' on, th' owd rib wur talkin' to th'
Princess, tellin' her bits o' ailments—heaw hoo'd welly lost th' use
o' one arm wi' nussin gron-childer; an' heaw summat ut wurno'
exactly a pain sometimes comes flutterin' inside her yead, as if it
wur a hummabee; an' heaw her joints cracken when hoo gets off her
seeat; an' as they'rn booath wed folk—
"Here, stop that off!" aw said. "Theau'rt not at th'
women's club neaw. Recollect theau'rt talkin' to a Princess."
"Aw know that," th' owd un said. "Princesses are women,
are no' they?"
Heawever, hoo changed th' subject, an' went onto bonnets an'
things. Aw yerd her tell th' Princess hoo're pratty; an' hoo
recommended ut th' Prince should ha' th' middle o' his yead rubbed
every mornin' wi' a hot tally-iron for t' mak' his yure come on agen!
Then aw yerd her say—
"Yo'r booath on yo' too pratty to be spoilt. Yo'r very
like yond two pot dolls we han upsteers; but yo'rn yunger when yond
wur made. Eh, dear me, heaw time slips o'er! Heaw moray
childer han yo'?"
Aw had to interfere agen.
"Theau'rt at it agen, aw yer! Come, Prince, let's move
eaut o' this cote, or else that owd damsel 'll be tellin' th'
Princess summat hoo happen doesno' know. When two women getten
t'gether they' should be nob'dy else abeaut."
So we laft table, an' th' Prince raiched his sword eaut o'th'
nook an' hooked it on his belt, an' eaut we sailed.
Th' Prince wanted to see some o' eaur institutions, so aw
took him into a loomheause or two till aw'd shown him reaund.
Little Dody wur as busy wayvin' as if they nowt agate. He said
he're like to do it. If he didno' get his wark eaut th' day
after th' childer ud ha' to clem."
"Clem!" th' Prince said; "what does that mean?"
"Havin' the'r breakfast off nowt, an' the'r dinner off what
wur laft, an' th' same browt on at baggin time!" aw towd him.
He looked at me awhile, an' then aw could see he'd tumbled to
"How much do you get for this work?" th' Prince said to
"Twelve shillin', if ther's nowt takken off," Dody said.
"How long has it taken you to weave it?" th' Prince axt.
"Aw shall ha' bin a week if aw see another day," Dody said.
Th' Prince put his hont in his pocket an' pond eaut a
"Here," he said to Dody, "take this, an' leave your work till
By gum, aw thowt. Dody ud ha' cruttled deawn i'th'
treadle-hole when he seed th' suvverin. He wakkered till th'
pickin peg dropt eaut o' his hont. He said he couldno' wayve
another pick o'er. So he shuttered off his loom, an' said if
we'd go deawn to th' "Owd Bell" he'd stond a quart eaut o' that,
that he would! Th' news ut th' Prince had gan Little Dody a
suvverin flew abeaut th' fowt like war news, an' in abeaut ten
minits every loom wur gooin' obbut Dody's an' mine. But th'
Prince said he could do wi' a walk, an' he'd go wi' us to th' "Owd
Bell." We'd no sooner getten through th' gate nur th'
tallygraft went reaund, an' every loom stopped as sudden as an
earthquake! Ther no chance o' ony moore suvverins.
We'd a good bit a talk as we went deawn th' lone, an' th'
Prince said he'd larnt moore that day abeawt state o'th' country,
an' what wurchin folk had had to put up wi' i' times gone by, nur if
he'd stopt i' Lunnon a lifetime. Above everythin' he admired
eaur Lancashire whoams; they'rn so different to what they wur i'
Lunnon, an' th' folk he met wur moore ov a "gradely" sort. He
picked up that word wi' comin' deawn.
When we geet deawn to th' "Owd Bell" Little Dody threw his
suvverin upo' th' table.
"Put the money in your pocket," th' Prince said, an' he rang
th' bell: "A bottle of champagne!" he said.
Aw thowt things wur lookin' grand when aw yerd that.
Dody licked his lips like a lad wi' a traycle-cake. He'd never
tasted champagne in his life. An' when it wur browt in, an' th'
Prince begun a-potterin at th' bottle neck wi' a pair o' pincers, aw
could very nee feel th' stuff gooin' deawn mi throttle. "Pop!"
went th' cork, an' it browt to mind bein' at that hotel i' Lunnon wi'
Sam Smithies. Th' Prince tem'd my glass eaut th' fust, an'
just as aw're raisin' it to mi lips—eaur Sal leet th' fire-potter
drop on th' fender, an' aw started wakken! Mi vision o' royal
welcomes wur gone! Aw shouldno' ha' cared hauve as mich if
aw'd slept till we'd finished th' champagne.
RECOLLECTIONS OF THE GREAT JUBILEE EXHIBITION.
OWD MANCHESTER AN' SAWFORT.
that thing on th' top o'th' drawers?" aw axt th' owd rib one mornin',
seeing summat ut looked like a big fleawer-pot turned th' wrung side
"That's mi Jubilee bonnet," hoo said, wi' summat like a bit
"That thing a bonnet?" aw said.
"Aye, a bonnet," hoo said. "What else doss think it
"Well, aw took it to be a fleawer-pot made eaut o' a new sort
o' stuff," aw said. "Art gooin' to ride a besom stail, an' fly
o'er th' welkin?"
"Aw'm not gooin' to be as aw ha' bin, an' that aw'll let thee
see," hoo said. "Aw'm gooin' to be i'th' fashin', for once.
Aw'm noane gooin' t' Exhibition wi' a basket on mi arm, as if aw're
sellin' eggs, an' a sleawchin' thing on mi yead ut looks as if aw'd
carried herrin' on it."
"Theau'll want a stick wi' a double knob when theau gets that
on," aw said, "an' a pair o' nanny-goats in a bant. But
theau'd be fast if onybody talked Welsh to thee."
Th' owd wench bridled up at this.
"Aw'll ha' thee to know ut that's what they co'en a Mother
Goose bonnet, an' hoo're an English woman," hoo said, quite
"An' a bonny goose theau'll look when theau gets it on!" aw
said. "Folk 'll tak' thee for a fortinteller."
"They'd tak' thee for a gipsy if they seed thee neaw," hoo
said. "Theau put some paint on at th' 'Owd Bell' yesterneet,"
an' wi' this salute hoo banged eaut o'th' heause, an' went a-seein'
Jack o' Flunter's wife.
Aw examin't th' article when hoo're gone. It wur th'
shape ov a sugar loaf; but as it wurno' trimmed aw couldno' tell
what it ud be like after it had a lot moore brass spent on it.
Aw tried it on, an' looked i'th' glass—nobbut one glance—it wur
Aw remember stondin' on a form at schoo' wi' just sich a
thing as that on mi yead, becose aw'd bin catcht playin' at odd or
even wi' another lad; an' it made me shawm when aw thowt abeaut it.
When women 'll wear dunce-caps for bonnets it's hard to say what
they winno' do. They'n wear owt, aye, they win. When th'
owd ticket has done wearin' it aw'll join a circus wi' it, an' have
it painted red an' white, like a barber's pow, or a pair o'
"Here, Abram," th' stockin'-mender said when hoo coome back,
"theau hasno' towd me abeaut thee an' Jack o' Flunter's gooin' to th'
Exhibition this afternoon."
"Well, ther's nowt in it yet," aw said.
"What are yo' gooin' for, then?"
"A seein' what ther' is to be seen."
"An' Jack's wife an' me are gooin', too."
That wur a sattler! Aw thowt Jack an' me wur gooin' to
have a nice Setterday afternoon, but he'd spoilt eaur gam'.
Neaw we had to mak' th' best on't.
"Theau'rt no' gooin' i' that bonnet, arta?" aw said.
"What, as it is? Not me, indeed," hoo said. "That
bonnet wants mony a shillin' layin' eaut on it afore aw put it on.
Aw shanno' wear it till th' Prince o' Wales an' his wife come'n.
Aw yerd they're comin' to Walmsley Fowt afore they go'en back."
"That'll be a rare day for thee, then," aw said. "Theau'll
ha' to be receptioned, same as theau wur at th' Manchester Teawn
Hall. That bonnet 'll hardly be tall enough for thee then.
Theau'll ha' to have abeaut three inches built on it, an a tassel
hung fro' th' top."
"Aw believe Jack's wife's is taller nur mine," hoo said.
"What, is Jack's wife havin' one, too?"
"Aye, hoo's no' for bein' beheend."
"An' a nice pair yo'n look. Nob'dy 'll be able to see
o'er yo'r yeads."
"What does that matter to a woman? What dun we care
abeaut men, whether they con see or not? They mun tak' ladders
Well, aw could see it wur no use havin' ony bother wi two
women o' one mind. Jack an' me ud ha' to tak' eaur wives.
We may co' this th' fust day o'th' Exhibition, tho' ther'
nowt to look at nobbut th' empty heause. Th' second o'
April,—mark that deawn i'th' almanack as th' fust day o' spring.
If it had bin th' day afore aw should ha' thowt it had bin makkin'
foos on us, an' ut weather ud slipped back agen into winter.
Th' fust wild fleaur, th' cow-foot, wur peepin' eaut o' warm
corners, an' th' lark wur busy rubbin' up his flute, an' fastenin'
th' cracks up wi' waxed bant, as owd Tunnicliffe used to do.
It wur i' every respect a spring day when we set eaut o'th' fowt, me
carryin' eaur Sal's cloak an' umbrell, an' Jack o' Flunter's dooin'
ditto. Th' women thowt they met (might) ha' worn the'r new
bonnets if they'd bin ready, but they put it off while May, when
they'd be fresher.
Aw've seen th' time when we should ha' walked every inch o'th'
road; but ther's no walkin' neaw. Nob'dy cares to use the'r
feet, an' through that cobblers are singin' i'th' lone, "We've got
no work to do." Afore aw'm mich owder we shall ha nowt to do
but drop a penny in a nick, an' we shall be whipped off to onywhere
we like. Aw con see we're comin' to it. Well, we'rn
whipped deawn to Manchester, an' then we'd a pennoth apiece i'
summat like a tent on wheels, an' then a chap sheautin' eautside,
"This way to the football match!" Th' owd rib wurno' for
gettin' in at th' fuss, hoo said it wur so mich like owd Moses'
show. But heawever, we geet to Owd Trafford, an' when we'd
londed, eaur Sal fixed her een on what they co'en th' dome o'th'
palace, ut wur glitterin' i'th' sun as if it had just been lifted
eaut o'th' sae.
"Is that a glass balloon, Ab?" hoo wanted to know.
"Nawe, it's an iceberg they'n browt fro' Ameriky," aw said.
"Th' place 'll be so wot i'th' summer they'n put that up theere for
t' cool it."
"It's wonderful!" hoo said. Then aw yerd her tellin'
Jack's wife what aw'd towd her, an' Jack's wife said "Eh!"
When we geet to th' gates th' owd stockin'-mender said, "This
isno' Tabonical Gardens, is it, Ab?"
"Yigh, it's wheere number two missis Langtry showed hersel'
off," aw said.
"It doesno' look like th' same place," hoo said.
"Nawe, theau'd hardly know it," aw said. "But that's
wheere theau sit when theau're being interviewed."
"An' aw'm come'n i'th' same bonnet as aw had on then!" hoo
said. "Aw hope nob'dy 'll know me."
"But ther's a lot starin' neaw," aw said. "Let's get
eaut o'th' seet, or else wi' shall be havin' 'em reaund us."
"They'n wanted some scaffotin' for t' get up theere," Jack o'
Flunter's said, lookin' up at th' dome. "Aw'd rayther be up a
chimdy nur up theere. Thoose chaps looken as if they'rn
swingin' abeaut in a ship." Jack, as yo' known, is a
bricksetter, an' con walk reaund th' top of a big chimdy.
Some durs wur oppent, an' we went under an arch.
"This is a gateway built by the Romans, and was the entrance
to Market Street from Piccadilly," a mon said ut had getten an axe
on his back, hooked in a belt reaund his waist. Aw reckon
he're a immitation of a Roman so'dier, but wheere they geet the'r
blue cloth an' brass buttons fro' i' thoose days aw couldno' tell.
"Is this Market Street?" eaur Sal wanted to know.
"Market Street in the olden time," th' mon said.
"Wheay, ther's no reaum to stir in it," th' owd rib said.
"Ladies didn't wear improvers in those days," th' mon said.
"Aw hanno' getten so mich o' one on ut yo' needen say that,"
th' owd ticket said.
"He meeans ladies, not women," aw towd her, so that turned it
off, an' we went on.
"An did folk live i' these shops?" Jack's wife axt him.
"Yes, and they hadn't private houses in the country.
They slept here."
"An' what's this heause wi' th' steps at th' dur?" th' owd
rib axt him.
"That is the Swan Hotel, where the London Coach used to start
from," th' mon said.
"An' could a coach get deawn this street?"
"It had to do."
"Wheay, it looks moore like a gutter nur a street.
Heawever did folk manage to get abeaut i' thoose days!"
"Those were the good old times we hear so much of!" th' mon i'
Roman blue said.
"An' heawever did carts pass one another?" hoo axt.
"Here, aw con tell thee that," aw said. "That cart ut
wur th' narrest th' aleheause had to draw up i'th' fowt while
t'other passed it. Ther' wurno' as mony tram cars, an' penny
coaches, an' penny tents, an' cabs knockin' abeaut as theau sees
neaw. Nor so mony gentlemen's carriages, noather. Ther
no fear o' bein' ridden o'er i' thoose days. Th' wo'ld went a
good deal slower nur it does neaw."
"Eh, aw'm sure aw couldno' ha' getten mi wynt then!" th' owd
rib said. "It seems so closed up. An' what's that shop
"That's Kenyon's vaults, tho' they' wur no vaults then.
They co'en that bit o'th' street th' 'Sponges Corner' neaw."
"An' what's that piece o' wood wi' four holes in it?"
"Th' Stocks! an' what wur they for?"
"For t' put drunken folk in of a Sunday mornin', when they'd
bin drinkin' o'er neet. They stood close to th' church-gates,
so ut folk could see 'em when they'rn gooin' to th' church."
"An' heaw is it th' holes are o o' one size?"
"So ut they'n fit ony sort o' a leg."
"They couldno' ha' put owd Mary o' Benny's in; an' owd
Sparrowshanks' legs ud ha' slipped through. But aw see no hole
for wooden legs, an' they' must ha' bin lots i' war times. Eh,
"What's causin' thee to limp?" aw said, seein' ut th' owd
crayther wur homplin abeaut as if hoo'd paes in her boots.
"Oh, aw conno' get deawn Market Street if ther's no betther
stones nur these for t' trade on. Aw'm sure they'n put 'em th'
wrung side up."
"But folk had to walk on 'em two hundert years sin."
"Aye, they happen did. But shoon wur made o' leather i'
thoose days, no breawn papper an' tripe!"
"True, owd crayther! theau's hit it this time."
"What are thoose three bridges?" hoo axt, as we geet furr
"Th' owd bridges o'er th' Irwell," aw towd her. "An'
wheere's th' river?"
"Theau mun imagine that. Fancy theau'rt walkin' deawn
it neaw, an' gooin' under th' bridges."
"But they didno' pave bottom o'th' river, did they?"
"Nawe, but Sal's ford wur here, an' they had to cross it on
stones, but bigger stones nur these."
"An' what's that place wheere thoose big durs are?" hoo
wanted to know.
Aw're just puzzled what to say to that; but at last aw said—
"That's th' teawer o'th' owd church. I' former times
they built th' teawer th' fust an' th' church after, so ut they
could ring folk to bed when it wur time. If th' bells hadno'
rung they'd ha' stopt up o neet, becose they'd no clocks to go by!
Neaw they build th' churches fust, an' th' steeples when they con
raise th' brass."
We crossed under th' bridges into Sawfort.
"Theere's another stocks!" th' owd rib said; an' hoo pointed
to summat like a pigeon cote wi' eight holes in it. "Heaw is
it they had to put four at once in it? Wur folk drunkener i'
Sawfort nur they wur i' Manchester?"
"Aw dunno' think they wur," aw said. "But at that time
Sabbath breakers wur put i'th' stocks; an' fishin' wur breakin' th'
Sabbath! Ther moore fishin' clubs i' Sawfort then nur they
ever had i' Owdham. Th' edge o'th' river used to be lined wi'
'em of a Sunday mornin'; an' if ony on 'em wur catcht they put 'em
"An' would they catch owt in an owd sink like th' Irwell? "
"Th' Irwell wur as clear as owd Thuston's well at one time;
an' it wur hung o'er wi' trees, an' folk used to doance i'th'
meadows. Neaw they doance in a tapreaum happen on t' same
spot. We conno' ha' everythin' nice an' pleasant at th' same
"No moore we con," th' owd rib agreed.
We crossed back agen into Manchester, an' th' fust things we
seed wur th' Market Cross an' th' pillory.
"What's that pow wi' th' hole at th' top for, Ab? Jack o'
Flunter's wife said, lookin' up as if hoo're watchin' pigeons.
"That's th' pillory," aw said. "If onybody had said owt
agen th' king they'd ha' put his yead through that hole while folks
pelted him wi' rotten eggs."
"Dunno' believe him!" eaur Sal said. "Folk didno'keep
hens then, they couldno' afford."
Aw had to drop it; so we left owd Manchester an' Sawfort, an'
went i'th' glass heause. But that sometime else.
RECOLLECTIONS OF THE GREAT JUBILEE EXHIBITION.
ON THE SWITCHBACK.
crayther!" aw said to my owd stockin'-mender, as we'rn runnin' th'
gauntlet o' hunderts o' curious een, "theau shall know what a bit o'
glory is—abeaut fifteen seconds of flyin' like a witch on a besom
stail. Come, owd lass, be nimble, an' let's get up these
steers. Dost think thi bonnet's o reet?"
"It's reet for owt aw know," hoo said.
"It doesno' look as if it wur safely lindert for flyin'
through th' air at th' rate of abeaut fifty mile a minute.
Theau should ha' had it fastened to that rowl o' yure till it ud ha'
lifted thy scalp off afore it had parted company."
"But what if th' yure goes too?"
"Oh, aw didno' think o' that!" Aw'd forgetter it had
belunged to someb'dy else some time. Well, tee thi napkin
"Nay, we'rn not at th' saeside."
"Theau'll find ut Blackpool wynt, when it blows folk off
the'r feet an' through shop windows, is nobbut a puff to what
theau'll feel on this railroad! It thi ears ar'no' gradely
screwed on it'll tak' 'em clean off!"
"They'll stond a better chance nur thine, Abram. Ther's
not as mich surface. If thine getten blown off they're think
it's some wyndymill ut's bin blown to pieces. That's one for
thee, mi lord!"
"Well, never mind that, come on." So we meaunted to th'
top o'th' station, an' fund we had to wait a good while for eaur
turns—to' lung, th' owd rib thowt, for th' shortness o'th' journey.
At last it coome to eaur turns, an' we took eaur places i'th'
"Aw feel as if it wur th' next thing to bein' hanged," th'
owd ticket said, as we'rn gettin' ready for turnin' off. "Wheere's
"He's just puttin' his foout on th' treadle. Another
second an' we shall be—Howgh!—jiggamy!—whoy!"
"Wheere are we?"
Aye, an' we lorded in a mixed up way. Aw'd a pair o'
arms wi' silk stockin's on reaund me; an' a yung chap on t'other
seeat had a pair o' arms reaund him ut hadno' silk stockin's on; but
as it wur nobbut for a quarter of a minute we hadno' time to feel th'
difference, so it mattered nowt. My hat, aw fund, wur lodged
between my shoother blades wheere it stuck like a kettle-drum on a
little so'dier's back. But if aw hadno' had it secured wi' a
piece o' treadlebant, aw should had to ha' looked for it i' Trafford
Park. Th' owd hen's feathers looked a bit mauled, but th'
toppin' wur o reet; an' th' back journey, hoo said, wur like flyin'
into th' sun! Hoo're sure hoo wurno' far off it. That's
eaur experience on th' switchback railroad; an' what surprised me,
th' owd crayter, afore we coome away, wanted to have another ride!
But ther other things aw had to attend to, so we turned into th'
Aw'd thowt to ha' spent a hauve day among th' machinery, but
it made sich a racket th' owd rib's yead wouldno' stond it, so aw
shall have to go misel' sometime. We noticed some folk at a
stall examinin' a little table ut a lad took care to wipe
finger-marks off when ladies and gentlemen ut couldno' read—"Please
do not touch" would keep o'erhaulin' it. This table is to be
presented to th' Princess o' Wales, an' has bin made by lads ut' but
for some kind gentlemen ut dunno' live o together for the'rsels, met
neaw ha' bin pooin owd ropes i' pieces somewheere i'th'
neighbourhood o' Strangeways. It's a nice piece o' furniture,
an' is worthy of a good corner i' Marlbro' House. Th' lads ut
made it wur busy at wark on other things, some cuttin' chips an'
bindin' 'em i' bundles; others makkin' things for t' boil bachelors'
kettles when the'r londlady has stopt th' coals off; others wur
crappin owd shoon; an' one sit like "owd Torrence," makkin' owd
clooas look new.
"An' wheere han these lads come fro'?" th' owd sympathiser
wanted to know.
"The Boys' Refuge, Strangeways," aw said.
"An' whoa keeps 'em?"
"They're reckoned to get the'r own livin' bi the'r wark, an'
if ther' owt short, thoose ut han summat to spare han t' help."
"Ther noane sich places when we'rn young, Abram!"
"Nawe, we'rn born at a time when th' biggest o' slovens could
mak' a fortin' in a year or two, becose they could keep folk
ignorant. An' every penny they had comin' in they took care to
keep to the'rsels. They'rn 'Gradgrinds.' But men han
come up sin' then ut han tried to put others i'th' reet state o'
feelin'—Dickens, Thackeray, an' moore ut aw could name.
Writers afore these wrote abeaut other things nor humanity, if we'n
except Scott, Burns, Goldsmith, an' Moore, an' a few on th' same
track. Neaw, we'n a different taichin', an' a different
humanity, an' these are th' fruits. Here's summat in another
We turned to a stall wheere ther a mon repairin' musical
instruments, a job ut aw thowt he'd a difficulty i' doin'—battered
owd things they wur, ut looked as if they'd done duty as weapons i'
mony a scrimmage.
"These han belonged to some owd band," aw said to my owd
critic, ut wur lookin' as if hoo remembered some on 'em. "Thoose
they han neaw ha' not a dinge in 'em. Owd Tunnicliffe used to
say no instrument wur fit to play on till it had bin i'th' wars.
His flute wur so lapt wi' wax-bant they could hardly see a bit o'
wood, an' he could play 'O Nannie' on it till he'd made mi yure
rise! What's that ut's playin' a tune on that t'other stall?
A top is it? Well, if that isno' th' quarest thing aw ever
seed! A spinnin' top playin' music!"
"Well, owd Juddie's wheelbarrow could play music when
someb'dy had borrowed it, an' owd Juddie had wiped o'th' oil off th'
trindle. It could whistle 'pee-weet' like a chitty, an' put in
a note or two like a linnet. An' if a barrow could do that, aw
conno' see why a hummin' top shouldno' do th' same."
"Here ther two red Indians makkin' fancy things eaut o'
chips. An' they say'n Englishmen han o th' sense i'th' wo'ld,
but aw deaut if ther's an Englishman i' this show ut could mak' one
o' thoose boats eaut o'th' stuff they han to mak' 'em on."
"It's like knitting beaut needles. But are they red
"To be sure they are; aw know that by the'r een.
They're narr t'gether nur eaurs are."
"But they are no' red!"
"Nawe, they'n come'n unpainted! They'd bin whitewesht
so mich wi' English an' Canadian blood ut, but for the'r een, they'd
pass for one o' us. But they conno' auter thoose."
"Theau sees ut when an Indian shoots he doesno' shut one e'e
as we dun; but skens across th' bridge o' his nose reet deawn th'
barrel, while we go'en blinkin' wi' one e'e, as if t'other wur o' no
use. By that meeans they con see furr, an' strunger nur we
"What mak's 'em ha' fringes to the'r treausers?"
"It's followin' up an owd custom. When they'rn on th'
war-path, before they'rn civilised, they didno' carry a lot o'
clewkin abeaut wi' 'em, like wayvers; so thoose fringes wur for t'
tee the'r scalps to ut they'd ta'en i' battle. When one on 'em
had knocked an enemy o'er he'd ha' whipped eaut his knife, an' off
wi' t'other's scalp in a jiffy. Then he'd ha' fastened it to
his leg, an' away he'd goo after another. But come i' this
other reaum wheere they're makkin' pots. Theau'll see summat
theere ut'll mak' thee stare."
So into Doulton's place we went, an' fund ther a lot moore
theere beside us lookin' on wi' wonder. A mon makkin' chimdy-piece
orniments, just like turnin' wood in a lathe, obbut he used no tools
beside thoose he're born with; an' th' shapes he could mak' 'em tak'
as th' wheel whizzed reaund wur summat wonderful.
"Are o pots made that road, Ab?" th' owd un wanted to know.
"Aye," aw said; "but they dunno' put th' hondles on."
"Well, it's wonderful!"
"Theau remembers owd Juddie once makkin' a potter's wheel,
when he're gooin' to mak' his own garden pots?"
"Aye, aw do."
"He geet eaur Dick for t' turn for him, an' th' lad never
liked turnin' a wheel. Well, Juddie had getten a barrowful o'
clay eaut o' Pee Ryder breek croft, an' this clay had bin tempered
for breek, an' wur like owd Olive's porritch, rayther thin. He
put a daub o' this on th' wheel, an' set th' engine agate; but eaur
Dick yerd some childer playin' i'th' lone, an' th' wheel went very
slow. 'It's time aw fired up,' owd Juddie said, for he couldno'
mak' his clay into ony sort o' a shape beside a flop. 'Just
oil thi elbow, Dick, an' put on steeam!' Dick did so, an' he
whizzed away till th' wheel wur as cleean as if it had bin swept,
an' owd Juddie looked like somb'dy ut had bin tryin' to commit
suicide in a clayhole! He never tried to mak' another garden
pot. But let's look reaund a bit."
Aw took th' owd ticket a lookin' at some model cottages, an'
rarely hoo're set up wi' 'em. Ther one speshly, a two reaumd
un, ut hoo could live in till hoo're ninety, if th' owd Mower didno'
come reaund. Ther an owd fashin't sideboard, ut looked as if
it had bin ta'en eaut o'th' ark, wi' drawers ut Shem, Ham, an'
Japhet kept the'r collars in, an' the'r sisters—the'r wives, aw
meean—the'r pocket napkins. An' ther a cubbort wheere Noah
kept his meawse peawder. An' ther' an owd corner cheear ut
aw're no sooner sit deawn in nur aw toped o'er asleep! That ud
be nice, th' owd rib said, for me to sit in ov a neet i'stead o'
gooin' to th' "Owd Bell." An' hoo could sit on t'other side th'
hearthstone in her rockin' cheear, praichin to me a sarmon neaw an'
agen beaut a text, showin' me th' evils o' drinkin' an' stoppin'
eaut late, an' chuckin barmaids under th' chin, an' purtendin' to go
to buryins, when at th' same time they're gooin' to th' races, an'
other carnal things, nobbut hoo'd ha' to stur me up wi' th'
fire-potter for t' keep me wakken.
"Wouldno' it be grand?" hoo went on. "Then of a Sunday
we could goo an' sit i'th' parlour after we'd bin to th' chapel,
"Here, aw think theau's gone far enoogh," aw said. "Theau's
getten some cobwebs i' that yead o' thine, an' theau'rt wayvin a
paradise eaut on 'em—one o' thi own soart."
"What's my soart owt to be thine!" hoo said, wi' a dignity ut
ud ha' become a skoo-missis. "What's that readin' up theere?
Aw conno' see it beaut my glasses."
"Far from court—far from care!"
Aye, it isno' big fine heauses ut makken folk happy. It
wouldno' be fair to us poor folk if it wur so. Theau're readin'
t'other neet abeaut th' Queen livin' in a castle ut hoo'd never
gradely seen; an' heaw men han bin delvin abeaut, an' fund places
for shuttin' folk up in; an' wells wheere young princes mit ha' bin
dropt in; an' other boggart holes ut made my flesh creep as theau're
readin' abeaut 'em. Ab, ther's noane o' that soart i' Walmsley
Fowt. Th' mophole's th' only danger, an' theau con keep eaut
o' that if theau'll keep sober. Let's look at that Palace next
"Dunno' thee tumble i' love wi' it, an' then. Theau may
look at grand things till thi soul gets dazzled, an' theau'll want
to live i' fairy-lond."
"Thee never fear, Abram! Aw couldno' sleep amung o
these grand things, knowin' at th' same time ut ther' hunderts o'
folk hadno' a stick to sit on; an' others wur bein' turned eaut o'
the'r whoams, ut are set of a blaze afore the'r e'en. Nawe, Ab,
aw couldno' live in a palace like this, an' know th' misery ther'
wur reaund me. Aw should be fears, o' seein' a pair o' horns
pop through th' floor, an' yerrin summat like bosses i'th' cellar!
Aye, it's true, 'far from court—far from care'!"
"Aw could do wi' a peep reaund th' corner o'th' Irish Section
neaw," aw said, feelin' as if mi steeam wur deawn.
"Go thisel', then, theau'll never be weant."
AT THE MANCHESTER EXHIBITION.
THINGS ARE NOT WHAT THEY SEEM.
"ARE we at th'
Exhibition, Ab?" th' owd rib axed me, as we sat under a tree ut
raked tall bonnets or hats, or whatever yo' may co' thoose things o'
straw an' ribbin ut ud do for hivin' hummabees in.
"Wheere else con we be?" aw said.
"Aw're just wonderin'," hoo said. "We'n bin through
twice, an' fund very few inside; an' look what a lot o' folk ther'
is eautside. If aw could ha' yerd a roll o' wayter aw should
ha' thowt we'd bin at Blackpool."
"But ther's nowt like Blackpool here," aw said. "We
couldno' ha' bin sittin' under a tree if we'd bin theere."
"But look at th' women heaw they're dressed. We dunno'
use seein' owt o' this sort nobbut at th' seaside."
"Sarah, that's one part o'th' Exhibition. They'n come'n
here to be seen. What dun they care for machinery or pictur's,
or pot makkin', or dolls, or different sorts o' soap? They're
o' moore importance the'rsels nur owt i'th' Exhibition beside.
Every finely dressed dromedary is sayin' to hersel', 'Look at me! my
hump's th' biggest o' ony i' 'th gardens."'
"An' ther' are some wappers (big ones). Ther's one
wagglin abeaut theere, an' a gentleman's had to push it o' one side,
like oppenin' a gate, afore he could get past it. Shawmful!
It ud sarve 'em reet if they could be born so. Aw'm satisfied
wi' a breadbasket."
"They'n be browt reaund to th' front next, theau'll see an'
then they'll be farthingales, like they wore i' Queen Bess's time;
an' then they'n ha' to walk i'th' middle o'th' road, like geese.
Theau sees shoother-o'-mutton sleeves are cumin' up agen."
"Aye, aw see they are."
"Bonnets 'll ha' a turn next, aw reckon. I'stead o'
wearin' 'em stuck on th' top o' the'r yead like a fleawer pot,
they'll begin o' slidin' deawn to'ard th' back. Then they'n
put a bit moore to th' front, an' put a cap screen inside; an' then
another owd fashin 'll be on th' carpet."
"Th' owd coal-box fashin, like mi Aint Lucy used to hoide her
yead in. An' what wi' dresses wi' shoother-o'-mutton sleeves,
an' stummager fronts, we shall be ready for owd times agen.
But one dress had to do then wheere twenty are worn neaw; an'
bonnets are eaut o' fashin in a week. My Aint Lucy wore her
bombazine dress a dozen year to my knowledge, an' when hoo'd worn
her bonnet till it wur as breawn as an owd stockin', her gronchilder
made it in a rappit cote. Ther's noane sich times neaw.
What dun theere yung chaps carry sticks for?"
"Aw reckon to walk wi'."
"Nay, that conno' be. They carryin' 'em like carryin'
besoms, as if they'rn gooin' to sweep a fowt. Is that a fashin,
"Aye, aw reckon it is. Sticks are very hondy for pokin'
one another i'th' ribs, or tappin' 'em on th' shoother, or bobbin
folk i'th' een when they're gettin' on th' top o' a tram-car.
Aw dunno' know what other sarvice they're for."
"Owd Silver-yead, theau remembers, carried a stick for a
different use. It wur welly as tall as hissel', an' he'd grip
it i'th' middle to help him on th' road. These are noane to
help 'em on th' road."
"Nawe; infirmities get mony imitaters. Hass noticed th'
colours o' these dresses?"
"Aw've noticed one thing—ther's a good deeal o' white worn.
An' nice an' cool it looks. It reminds me o' mi younger days,
afore theau coome whistlin' at owd Johnny o' Sammul's gate.
Aw'd a white frock made for t' walk wi' th' scholars in. An'
aw'd a white cap, lined wi' pink; an' white stockin's, an' buckled
shoon; an' when aw're turn't eaut mi Aint Lucy said aw looked like a
"It's a good while sin' then; an' theau'rt a little bit
changed booath in appearance an' temper. It's a pity that
frock wouldno' fit thee neaw. Aw could like to see thee in
"Theau meeans theau wishes aw're th' same age agen."
"Theau's just gexed it."
"An' ha' o to go through agen ut aw've gone through?"
"Well, it couldno' happen so neaw. Theau sees, if we'rn
th' age we wur then, an' life before us, theau'd be a lady, an' aw
should be a gentleman, before we'rn fifty. We shouldno' be
sniggin' at a loom, an' skamin' heaw to mak' booath ends meet.
At th' rate things are gooin' on machinery 'll do o th' wark.
We should ha' nowt to do but live! If this Exhibition had bin
fifty year sin', th' visitors wouldno' ha' averaged 20,000 a day.
Folk had summat else to do nur goo abeaut showin' heaw weel they
could be dressed. If this state o' things 'll howd eaut aw
dunno' care, but aw'm feart it winno'."
"An' aw'm feart, too. What are they buildin' o'er theer,
"Another switchback; one isno' enoo. They're buildin' 'em
up an' deawn th' country—Lunnon, Liverpool, Newcastle, Belle Vue,
an' aw've yerd it said they're havin' one at Daisy Nook an'
Blackpool. That shows folk liken to be tickled, same as
"Heaw fain everybody seems to be when they meeten one
"Aye, theau may weel say seems. Let 'em part, an' the'r
true character 'll come eaut. One 'll bite her lips till they bleed
becose t'other has getten a broad red sash reaund her. Aw
dar'say if truth wur known it covers a hole in her dress. Sich
like little deceptions are carried on everywheere. Thoose
white dresses theau's bin praisin' happen covern rags ut are no' fit
to be seen. If theau's getten it i' thi yead ut everythin's
what it seems, sweep it eaut, for sich notions are no' wo'th
harbourin'. These yung swells theau sees—caned, an' booted,
an' collared, theau'd imagin' had the'r pockets lined wi' brass."
"Well, an' ha' no' they?"
"Some on 'em may be, but it's a question who it belungs to.
A lot on 'em han feythers howdin' a tight grip on 'em. Others
are clerks wi' less wage nur mechanics, an' are puzzled to know heaw
they mun meet the'r londladies. But they mun show off."
"Well, let's get fro' under this tree an' goo somewheere
"For a change, then, we'n go reaund th' boozeries."
"Nay, theau'll no' get me i' one o' thoose places."
"No' for t' drink, but to look reaund. We'n tak' th'
fust shop, this grand Pagoda. Look heaw it's hived reaund!
Happen they' isno' one o' that lot ut are sheautin for drink as if
they'rn deein for it, ut ud ha' wanted it if he'd bin awhoam, or at
his wark. But th' minute a mon gets loce, an' i'th' fresh air,
he goes as dry as a chimdy. Some are affected bi the'r clooas.
Aw yerd a mon say ut if he gets his Sunday duds on he begins a-thinkin'
heaw nice a pint ud be if he could get at it. An' he wishes
every day wur Sunday, so ut he could be gettin' at th' last gasp
abeaut twelve o'clock. He'd never think abeaut it if he'd his
clogs on. Theau may depend on't ther's a deeal o' habit an'
sentiment abeaut drink. Theau knows little Dan, aw reckon?"
"Who doesno' know him?"
"Well, Dan wur so i'th' habit o' gooin' to th' Owd Bell every
Setturday at four o'clock, an' gettin' i' singin' fettle, an' talkin'
fine, ut he couldno' break off it. Abeaut three o'clock his
tongue ud be gettin' glued fast to his meauth. At hauve past
he could abide no lunger. So he'd jump off his loom, sweep
reaund his treadle-hole, pike his breeches, an' at four o'clock he'd
go leatherin' deawn th' lone as if he're tryin' t' catch a train ut
had bin gone a minute. At five o'clock he'd be singin' 'On
board of the Arethusa.' At six he'd be waddlin' whoam—singin'
an' sheautin' as if he'd bin a giant. But one time Dan had a
cut to get eaut for Monday mornin', an' it couldno be done unless he
wove late o' Setturday. This wur a sore trial to him. At
three o'clock symptoms o' alephobia coome on him. At four he
couldno' abide unless he sung. So he begun wi' 'Arethusa,' an'
it reliev't him. At five he felt his yead gooin' an' his feet
couldno' keep on th' treadles. At six he fell into th'
treadle-hole as drunken as if he'd bin at th' Owd Bell! Th'
force o' habit, theau sees."
"He'd ha' a pitcherful in his pinbox, aw reckon."
"Did't ever know a wayver drink o'er his wark?"
"Aw've known one leeave his loom when a finger has bin put
"That may be. But theau never knew th' sanctity o' a
loomheause invaded by drink. A wayver ud as soon think o'
havin' it i'th church. Th' very thowts on't ud set him o' of a
"Theau meeans set him a-yammerin."
"Nay, he'd be like a mad dog at wayter till he geet eautside.
They may ha' drink in a hay-meadow, becose haymakkin' isno' regilar
wark. But in a loomheause--never! Th' nearest ut ever aw
knew of a wayver wantin' a taste o' summat when he're at his loom
wur owd Jack o' Nat's, an' he're satisfied wi' suckin' humbugs.
A wayver's loomheause is his sanctum sanctorum. Theere's Latin
for thee, Sarah! If theau gets so mich on't theau'll be wearin'
a four-cornered cap afore lung an' carryin' mortar. Neaw we'n
ha' a peep i' this other shop furr on."
"Well, aw'll goo wi' thee theere, becose it looks like a
teetotal place, an' aw could do wi' a bottle o' pop."
"It is a teetotal place, so far as it consarns teetotallers.
They con ha' pop, or lemonade, or coffee—owt beside cowd wayter."
"An' why conno' they ha' cowd wayter?"
"Becose it's warm. They conno' keep it cowd. Just
put thi yead in at that dur, an' feel if theau'd like to be one o'
thoose women at th' back o'th' ceaunter."
"Phoo-oo-oo! Like stickin' mi yead in a oon when it's
ready for bakin'. Heaw con folk abide in here?"
"They are abidin', an' puttin' moore coals on eaut o'th'
"Aw thowt it wur a teetotal shop!"
"It is to teetotallers. They con ha' as mich as they
wanten. It's like sun an' air, free to onybody beaut
conditions or limit. Neaw then, get thi pop swallowed an'
let's dive into a cooler. Come on, we'n go deawn to th' Irish
"A-lookin' at the'r lace an' fine linens, aw reckon?"
"Just as it happens."
We went deawn to th' Irish Section, an' fund th' same thing
gooin' on theere as at other drinkeries. Aw dunno' know heaw
it is ut swells conno' behave the'rsel's as weel as workin' folk.
They drinken whiskey wi' the'r glooves on, an' chucken barmaids
under th' chin, an' keepen 'em waitin' for the'r brass, as if they
hadno' enoogh to do beaut bein' hindert i' every way. But aw
reckon it's becose they're eddicated, an' know no betther. A
workin' men 'll goo i' these places, an' afore he axes for his glass
he'll show ut he's brass to pay for it, for fear they winno' sarve
him. Then, when he's getten his glass, he drinks, an' says "th'
weather's warm," then drinks agen. When he's finished, an' th'
waitress stares at him, as if hoo're noane used to civility, he
wonders if he hasno' paid her, an' feels his pockets o'er.
When hoo tells him wi' a nice smile ut he has paid, he feels hissel'
so flattered ut he'll ha' another glass, an' fetch a companion in
for t' see what a "good sort" of a barmaid hoo is. He doesno'
seem to know heaw far civility goes i' ony sort o' society; an' he
hasno' bin eddicated to know th' difference between civility an'
monkeyishness, becose he sees moore o' onenur t'other.
"Abram," th' owd rib said, "Aw thowt ther' summat drew thee
here beside laces an' poplins!"
"Well, aw like to see a nice face, if it doesno' belung to
me," aw said. "Theau're as pratty as ony o' these at one
Th' owd ticket stretched her bonnet at th' mirror, an' said—
"Gammon, Abram! theau never thowt nowt o'th' sort." But
it tickl't her, too. "What are these monkeys behavin'
the'rsel's i' that road for?"
"Husht! they're fro' a lunatic asylum, an' that big chap's
the'r keeper! They're kept i' confinement so mich ut th' seet
o' a pratty face maks 'em beside the'rsel's. When they'n had
the'r spree eaut th' keeper 'll tak' 'em whoam, wheere they'n
quietly climb the'r sticks."
"Poor lads!" th' owd sympathiser said; an' hoo stood
twopenno'th for mi day's-good behaviour.
PHILOSOPHIC REFLECTIONS ON THE GREAT JUBILEE
thinkin', Ab," said my owd stockin'-mender, reflectin', as hoo aulus
does upo' owt boo sees, "ut th' effects o' this Exhibition may be
seen i' moore ways nur one."
"Aye, fifty roads, aw shouldno' wonder," aw said, for t' give
her a bit o' encouragement.
"Theau sees th' atin', an' drinkin' ut's gooin' on—but aw'll
say nowt abeaut th' drinkin', becose an Englishman 'll drink
onywheere if folk trien to stop him—but theau sees th' atin' ut's
"Aye ther's middlin' o' jaw-waggin' to be seen," aw said.
"But what they ate'n at th' Exhibition they conno' ate i'
Manchester," hoo said.
"That's logic," aw said. "Neaw then, owd crayther, what
art' droivin' at?"
"It must be injurin' cook-shops an' 'toffy caverns,' as theau
"Theau meeans 'coffee taverns,' Sarah! Ther's no doubt
on't. Ther' never wur owt invented yet, but if it benefited
one class, it injured another. Theau remembers seein' that
nice case o' hats."
"Aw do; but it's so seldom aw do look at hats ut aw should
ha' forgetten. Bonnets are moore i' my line."
"Aw know they are. Theau'll stare at a bonnet shop
window till theau goes mazy; an' then folk thinken theau's tasted
summat stronger nur warm broth. But aw're gooin' to say what
chance has Sammy wi' his fine show, when his hats are made by hond,
an' others are makkin' 'em by steeam?"
"Makkin' hats by steeam, Ab!"
"Aye, go deawn i'th' Hatteries an' theau'll find a machine
ut'll turn a hat eaut in abeaut ten seconds, lined wi' patent
leather, an' tipped wi' Persian satin, wi' th' buyer's name printed
under th' lion an' unicorn, an' a little hole i'th' middle for let
eaut steeam, an' a hole for a hatguard i'th' brim, wi' an eyelet
squeezed in it ready for th' saeside! What dost think abeaut
"Well, aw think theau'rt at thi owd gam' agen, an' ut nowt 'll
get thee off it."
"Let me tell thi this, owd sceptic! Ther a mon had his
hat blown off one day when he're at top o'th' owd church steeple,
an' it went like a balloon o'er into Trafford Park. Well, he
had to get a new un; but as he'd a yead as big as eaur broth pon, he
couldno' get one ut ud fit him. He tried th' biggest ut Sammy
had, but as his biggest wur nobbut a seven-an'-a -quarter it kebbed
on th' mon's yead like queen's creawn on one o' these new sixpences.
That wouldno' do. He met a tried a hat-box an' gone whoam i'
that; but he bethowt hissel o' this steeam hat machine, so he went
theere. He towd 'em he wanted a hat makkin' abeaut
eight-an'-three-quarters size. He said he wanted it at once,
as his train started in a quarter of an heaur. He stuck his
yead into summat for t' tak' his measure, an' by th' time he'd wiped
th' swat off, th' hat tumbled eaut at t'other end o'th' machine
ready for puttin' on! Th' mon walked off wi' it as if he'd
getten a firkin tub on th' top of his yead, an' when he gees to th'
station he'd five minutes to spare. Neaw that's true!"
"Heaw doss know it's true?"
"Becose aw seed it made. Aw're theere when th' chap
browt his yead wi' him, an' gan th' order for it to be fitted.
Aw seed th' silk an' stuff for th' shape put in; an' then th' linen,
an' th' tip, wi' th' letters made o' indy-rubber for t' print th'
mon's name; an' aw seed th' hat tumble eaut ready for donnin'.
Ther's no mistake abeaut it."
"Dost think they could mak' bonnets?"
"They con mak' owt to fit a yead, or ony sort of a yead.
A mon ut has summat to do wi' it towd me they'd made a hat for a
beggin' elephant; an' it fitted him so nicely ut he could tak' it
off wi' his trunk like a gentleman, an howd it eaut like a
churchwarden does a collection box at a charity sarmon. They'n
an order in for one to be made for that elephant at Belle Vue, ut
rings a bell an' grinds coffee for th' price of a cake."
"Aw should think ut if they could mak' 'em ony width they
could mak' 'em tall enoogh."
"So th' mon towd me. He said they could mak' 'em so
tall ut if a chap wur in a church, an' he sit beheend two ladies, he
could go to sleep beaus th' pa'son seein' him, an' that ud be a
convanience for a lot aw know, an' would save 'em summat i' snuff."
"It wouldno' save thee mich."
"Reet, owd ticket! But abeaut this Exhibition, why
shouldno' publicans' interests be considered as weel as thoose of
other tradesfolk? They han to pay rates same as shopkeepers
an' butchers. An' neaw theau may go through Manchester onytime
an' have a whul publicheause to thisel'. The'r customers are
at th' Exhibition or at a cricket match, or a jumpin' do. An'
when they'n had enoogh they jumpen on a tramcar an' off whoam."
"Just as it should be," th' owd moralist said; an' hoo thowt
hoo had me. "Public-heauses wur built for travellers an' idle
wayvers. Ther' no railroads then, so travellers had to go fro'
one teawn to another upo' shanks. An' as they'd no relations
for t' quarter the'rsels on, an' no teetotal places fit for a mon to
put his yead in, they had to go to a public-heause, wheere they
could ha' every comfort they could ha' awhoam —"
"An' no pickled tongue!"
"Theau doesno' get as mich o' that as theau desarves, Abram,
so theau's no 'casion to put thy motto in. They had to go
theere or nowheere. Neaw ther's railroads, an' private hotels,
an' coffee heauses, an' they'n not as mich 'casion for public-heauses
as they had at one time. Goo into one o' these public-heauses
neaw, an' ax for out beside drink, an' theau'll soon find thisel'
eautside! Theau'll find no idle wayvers theere, becose th'
mooest on 'em are oather i'th' churchyard or i'th' warkheause.
Theau may find, if theau'll go between meal times, a lot o' slovenly
women i'th' vault, talkin' like a lot o' parrots, an' lettin' the'r
childer sup. But owd-fashint publicheauses are gone."
"Ther's a good deeal o' truth i' what theau says, owd
philosopheress," aw said; "but theau hasno' towd o. If ther's
a public-heause tumbles loce, a brewer buys it, an' onyone he puts
in mun tak' his ale an' sperrits off him. If customers
complain ut they conno' drink sich stuff, an' he gets some off
another brewer on th' sly, his name has to come off th' sign.
Th' next ut comes finds it winno' do, so he oppens his heause into a
music place, an' gets a lot o' lads ut thinken they con sing for t'
come an' blaat every neet for a gill o' slutch apiece. Or he
encourages dart shootin', or ringin' th' bull, or owt for t' bring
folk to th' heause ut han no need for it, or ut arno' dry. Bi
these meeans th' heause loses its character, an' gets dirty, an'
low, an' forsaken. That's one cause o' so mony clubs bein'
oppened, wheere they con drink the'r own stuff, an' drink as lung as
they'n a mind. Theau'rt reet, Sarah! public-heauses are made
into a monopoly. After havin' sarved the'r purpose, they'n
missed the'r way. They'n getten into onybody's honds—some ut
never wur fit—an' they're gooin' to th' dogs. We never see a
jolly owd cock stondin' at th' dur neaw, wi' a pair o' shirt sleeves
as wide as a balloon, chattin' an' laffin wi' everybody ut goes
past. Nawe, he's droivin' abeaut somewheere, an' grumblin'
"Ther's another thing aw dunno' consider reet, Abram.
Theau sees these dresses ut are walkin' abeaut?"
"Well, what abeaut thoose?"
"Aw'd like to know heaw mony han bin bowt i' Manchester?"
"Wheay, theau doesno' think they'd go to Owdham, or Chorley,
or Chowbent for 'em?"
"Nawe; but they go'en reaund th' Exhibition, an' if they seen
summat they'd like, they conno' buy it here, but they con order it.
So what chance has a shopkeeper ut has no stall here? His
goods may be chepper an' betther, but becose he's no stall here he
may shut his shop up, an' goo on th' tramp. That's another
road this Exhibition works."
"Like th' van system," aw said. "Theau's no 'casion to
go to a shop for owt neaw. Theau con have it browt to th' dur,
an' fro' o parts o'th' country. Aw yerd a baker talkin'
t'other day abeaut stuff bein' so chep they could mak' no profit on
the'r bread. They owt to put th' corn laws on agen, so ut
ther'd be a chance ov a bit o' profit. It met be free trade,
but they no fair trade neaw. This baker has a place i' Ash'n,
an' he sarves folk abeaut Walmsley Fowt. Aw axt him heaw he'd
like payin' a hauve a crown duty afore his van wur alleawed to cross
Clayton Bridge? Th' shopkeepers had to pay the'r rent, beside
keepin' th' road i' repair for his van. But he'd no rent to
pay i' that neighbourhood; so could afford to undersell th'
shopkeepers theere. He said they'd same chance as he had.
They should get vans o' the'r own. But he'd tak' care they
didno' get a footin' i' Ash'n. Theau seed o thoose boilers
wheere th' engines are?"
"Aye, what abeaut 'em?"
"Dost' think thoose wur made o purpose for this Exhibition?"
"Aw've never gan a thowt abeaut 'em."
"Theau may depend on't some forriners han bin peepin' an'
skeaulin' abeaut thoose; an' if we dunno' mind they'n be havin' 'em;
an' thoose rope engines, too, ut worken as steady an' as true as a
hummin' top. Then we shan be cryin' eaut abeaut forrin
competition; an i'th' same breath as we sheauten nowt con lick owd
England. An' nowt could lick owd England if we mun have o th'
trade to eaursels. But forriners winno' let us. We'n
shown 'em by eaur Exhibitions heaw to mak' machinery for the'rsels;
an' they go'en whoam an' dun it, while we're sheautin. Eh,
John Bull! theau'rt abeaut as big a jackass as ever nipt a thistle!"
"But hasno' Ameriky oppent an' Exhibition i' Lunnon? an conno'
we borrow things off 'em?"
"Ther's nowt to borrow nobbut a tribe o' Indians an' keaw
lads; an' they'll tak' moore back nur they brows wi' 'em.
Catch th' Yankees showin' us owt ut ud do us good! They'n
moore 'grit' in 'em nur that."
"Aw've yerd thee say, Ab, ut folk shouldno' live for
the'rsels alone. Ut it wur selfishness,"
"An' aw'll say so agen. But ther's a difference between
livin' for ones sel' an' livin' for other folk. We no sooner
invent summat nur we oather run reaund th' wo'ld wi' it, or inviten
o'th' wo'ld to come here an' see it. An' they'n ha' copied it,
an' made use on't, while we're fratchin' wi' eaur neighbours abeaut
patent rights. We gi'en 'em every chance o' lickin' us.
They con have eaur coals i' Russia chepper nur they con be laid
deawn i' Lunnon! But aw reckon if we wur to put a tax on 'em
colliers ud cry eaut ut we'rn ruinin' the'r trade. So ut if
ther's a tax on onythin' someb'dy's sure to yelp; an' th' same if
ther's one takken off. We conno' legislate for everybody."
"Heaw is it, Ab, we're so partial to forriners? They
con get on here when an English mon or woman ud ha' to clem."
"Well, they'n do things ut we wouldno' do. What mon or
woman ud go reaund th' country wi' a box organ, or one o' thoose
"Well, happen theau'rt reet; but let's begooin' whoam."
An' we went.