Ab-o'th'-Yate Sketches, Vol. I (IV)
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(Two Letters from Ab-o'-th'-Yate to the Editor of Ben Brierley's Journal in the year 1869).


Walmsley Fowt, July, 1869.

Mesther Yeadhitter,

THANK yo' for that bit o' papper yo' sent me.  It coome in very weel, aw con tell yo'.  If it had no' bin for that yo'd ha' had no letther abeaut Pussy-beaut-tail; for aw should never ha' gone across th' herrin'-bruck.  As soon as eaur Sal seed it, hoo went o of a tremble, an' said hoo knew aw should be gettin' misel' in a hobble wi' mi writin' an' mi nonsense.  But when aw towd her it wur a bank-cheque, an' not a summons, as hoo thowt, hoo fainted, an' wauted o'er i'th' nook.  Hoo said hoo could yer waves dashin' into her ears, an' cats beaut tails maawin'; an' hoo felt her bits o' pains leeavin' her quite natteral like!  If that wurno' a hint at th' Isle o' Mon, it's eaut of a woman's peawer to give one; so aw took it for as mich as it meant, an' set abeaut makkin' mi calkilations for th' eaut.

    It took abeaut three week for t' prepare things.  Different to th' last eaut!  Aw wish it had takken three year; for they'rn th' comfortablist three week ever aw passed i' mi life.  Aw could noather say wrung nor do wrung; an' aw're never fotched fro' th' "Owd Bell" once i' o th' time!  Eaur Dick calkilated ut, if things kept on that road, his clooas ud last twice as lung, as he couldno' remember when he'd a threshin'.  Ther' wur nobbut one point we couldno' agree abeaut at fust, an' that wur what part o' th' island to go to.  Someb'dy had towd th' owd Rib ut Douglas wur th' best shop, an 'ut everybody went theere, whether they went onywheere else or not.  Aw said aw didno' care for gooin' wheere so mony folk went, as they stared at me so, an sheauted me.  Aw'd rayther goo wheere aw could be quiet.  Ther a place they coed th' "Cauve," an' another th' "Chickens," wheere folk lived i' rappet-holes, if they lived onywheere.  Aw thowt we'd best lond at one o' thoose shops, an' do a bit o' Robinson Crusoe wark for a change!  Afore we could sattle it, ther a letter coome ut put things as straight as ninepence.  This is it:—

"Falcon's Nest,              
"Port Erin,              
"Isle of Man.

"Old Swell,
"A little bird has just dropped into this nest, and told me that you and your old Rib intend coming to the Isle.  If you do, come here, and I'll see that you are made as comfortable as two pigeons.  The place is very pretty, and the air is as sweet as a nut.  Besides, the company will just suit you.  We've an old codger that's always laughing, and he's dying to see you.  Then the landlord's a jolly fellow.  He says he'll see you get pop enough; and if that doesn't suit you, you may have as much "jough" as you can swim in.  Say you'll come, and I'll see that a coach and pair meets you on landing.  Write at once, and say when you are coming.  If you don't,—the next time I meet you, you had better have a pair of cricketer's leg-guards on your shins; so make up your mind in a minute, if you value your understandings.  I have determined to stay a week longer, just to have a good spree with you; so don't disappoint me.  Give my best regards to your old Ticket, as you call her, and tell her I've seen nothing on the island that can equal her: I mean nothing of the woman kind.  When she comes she will take the shine out of everybody.  So no more at present from your old companion and friend,

S. SMITHIES.           

P.S.—You had better make your will before you come, or get a cork to tightly fit your throat!        S.S."

    "An' a very nice letther too, it is," th' owd lass said, as soon as aw'd finished readin' it.  "Sam's a very sensible chap; a deeal moore so nur aw took him to be.  What nice words he uses; an' heaw nicely he puts 'em together.  Well, aw think we conno' do betther nur go to wheere is it, Ab?"

    "Port Erin," aw said.

    "Ay, Port Herrin;—that's wheere o th' fresh herrin' come fro', aw reckon.  We may have 'em chep theere, aw should think, fried i' butther an' scittert o'er wi' parsley, as Peggy Thuston does 'em."  An' th' owd lass went off wi' her calkilations just as if hoo'd londed an' getten hersel' comfortably sattled deawn at th' "Neest."

    Aw could see at once ut th' owd damsel wur so bent upo' gooin', ut it wur no use tryin' it on to go by misel'; tho' aw did just throw eaut a feeler for t' see heaw it 'ud work.  Aw said:—

    "Aw dunno' like th' thowts o' gooin' across.  It's made me aw couldno' sleep for a neet or two."

    "Wheay, what art unyessy abeaut?" hoo said.

    "Thee," aw said.  "It's mooestly a roough vowage.  If theau gets dreawnt what mun aw do beaut thee?"

    "Aw shall stond as good a chance as thee, aw reckon," hoo said.

    "Aye, aw dar'say theau would, if thi tongue could help thee ony!" aw said.  "But what if we booath on us went to th' bottom?"

    "We took one another for betther an' wurr, an' that ud be a bit o'th' wurr soart; that ud be o.  If we'rn booath dreawnt we shouldno' be feart o' one another gettin' wed agen, an' a stranger wearin' one's clooas.  Wheere ther's as mich love as ther' is between us two it should never be parted.  Eh, Ab?"  An' hoo gan me one of her owd looks ut took thirty year off mi shoothers, if it took one, an' sattled th' eaut like puttin' a seeal on a bit o' papper.

    This wur Wednesday; an' we agreed we should set sail th' Setterday after.  Aw took th' bank cheque to owd Thuston, an' he gan me a hontful o' gowd for it, ut aw thowt wur very good on him.  He said he could pay it i' Manchester for oil cake.  Aw'd mi best woollen cords wesht, an' a canary singlet ut ud bin mi feyther's; an' aw'd four pair o' lambs' wools ut hadno' a darn abeaut 'em; an' if yo'd seen th' shirts ut wur getten ready, yo'd ha' thowt aw're some lord, or summat, gooin' off to Ameriky.  Heaw one woman could get through o that, an' mak' 'em as white as they wur, is one o' thoose things ut mak's a mon shawm when he thinks heaw little he does!

    If th' owd lass had made o these preparations for me, yo' may ha' some idea as to what hoo'd done for hersel'.  Between her an' Peggy Thuston ut had gone to Blackpool, they'd farmed every box an' trunk ther' wur i' Walmsley Fowt, an' wur one short at last.  Eaur Sal said if it wurno' for th' rockers hoo'd tak' th' kayther (cradle), an' put some things i' that!  But when Jack o' Flunter's wife said hoo could mak' her a chinnon (chignon) for her yead ut ud howd as mich as a firkin tub, hoo gan th' owd fruit-basket up, an' said hoo'd be i'th' fashion for once.

Preparing for the Isle of Man

    When th' mornin' coome for bein' off it wur like a rushcart finishin' abeaut eaur dur.  O th' neighbour women wur i'th' heause helpin', or purtendin' t' help, eaur Sal to get ready.  Aw dunno' think ther a pin laft i'th' fowt, ther so mony wanted for t' tack her gears t'gether!  Just as th' last touch wur bein' made, ther a big sheaut set up i'th' fowt, an' then a skrike as if someb'dy were bein' kilt!  Aw ran eaut to see what ther' wur up, an' seed eaur Dick comin' to'ard th' dur as weet as a dreawnt rotten, an' givin' meauth as leaud as a showmen.  Aw couldno' get a word eaut on him as to what he'd bin doin', but eaur wenches said he'd bin sailin' to th' Isle o' Mon on a plank i' owd Thuston's pit, an' he'd getten shipwrecked.  Aw dhroighed his back wi' a stick, an' promised him another warmin' when aw coome whoam if aw yerd on him gooin' on a chep trip agen beaut ticket

    Aw'd engaged owd Thuston's donkey cart for t' tak' us to th' station, an' it wur drawn up to th' dur just as eaur Sal wur ready for puttin' her bonnet on; but "Edward" aw fund, had a hauve an heaur to wait yet.  When th' bonnet wur tried it fitted th' top of her yead like one o' thoose tin caps they putten candles eaut with; an' hoo could hardly raich it when hoo coome to feel for it!  That ud never do; so th' shinnon had to be poo'd deawn, an' th' things ut wur put inside on't crommed i' mi pockets till aw're pannier't as weel as ever a jackass wur.

    Just five minutes moore, an' then we're off.  Eaur Sal wanted that time to hersel' ith' loomheause.  So hoo went in an' shut hersel 'up; an', enneaw, aw could yer her axin blessin's for everybody, even thoose ut hadno' behaved to her as they should ha' done; but more particularly her own bits o' chickens, ut met be feytherless an' motherless afore th' day wur o'er.  Hoo axed Somebody to raise up a protector for' em i' case one wur wanted; an' to see they didno' go wrung, but kept i' reet ways, so ut hoo could meet 'em agen when th' sae o' life wur crossed, an' th' Isle o' Summat else nur Mon wur raiched.  Hoo finished up with—

"An' bless eaur owd Ab, if he eautlives me: an' dunno' let him wed Joe Tinker's widow, ut says hoo's waitin' for mi shoon, becose if he is a bit of a foo sometimes, he's to good a mon to throw away upo' sich like as her.  Aw'd as lief he'd ha' Peggy Thuston as onybody, for hoo's a dacent hard-workin' woman, an' 'ud be a mother to mi childer.  Amen!"

    This done, th' childer wur coed up, an' towd to be good till we coome back, an' no' fo' eaut an' feight;—if they did, they'd ha' th' knots dress't off 'em wi' a rope!  Then we set off, an' geet to th' station o reet.

    We'd no sooner getten sit deawn i'th' railway carriage, nur th' train shot eaut o'th station like a dart eaut o a gun, an' wur beawled into a tunnel afore we knew wheere we wur.  While we'rn i' that dark hole eaur Sal geet howd o' mi arm, an' squose it till it's black this minute.  Hoo said hoo could see a dark-complexioned chap, wi' horns an' a fishhook tail, grinnin' at her i'th' darkness, an' then a smell like brunnin' matches, ut hoo didno' hauve like on!  At last we coome into dayleet agen, an' soon after we fund we'rn at Liverpool station, wi' as mony chaps i' cord clooas slappin' at carriage durs as would a bin enoogh to ha' etten us.

    Ther a gentleman ut had ridden wi' us ut gan me some very good advice.  Aw'd axt another chap which wur th' road to th' Isle o' Man, an' he towd me ut if aw'd get on th' reet packet aw should ha' no 'casion t' sper (to inquire), ut made me aw're as wise as ever.  But this t'other gentleman towd me mi best plan ud be to get into a cab, an' tell th' droiver to droive me to th' Isle o' Man packet, an' aw should ha' no bother abeaut it.  Aw took his advice, an' thanked him, an' towd him if ever he coome as far as Walmsley Fowt, we'd ha' a pint together for bein' so obleegin'.

    So, wi' mich ado, aw geet th' owd Rib into a cab, an' th' luggage wur pil't up so hee, ut aw're feeart on ther' bein' some lumber wi' it upo' th' road.  Heawever, we managed to get deawn safe, an' geet amung a creawd o' folk ut wur runnin', an' pushin', an' jostlin' abeaut as if they'rn gone crackt', an' we'd summat to do to get eaut o'th' cab for th' creawd o' lads ut wur bobbin' ther' honds in at th' dur, offerin' shoe-tees for t' tee mi hat on, so as it wouldno' be blown off bi th' wynt.  Aw had to gi'e two on 'em a cleaut o'th' side o'th' yead afore they'd shift.  One on 'em sheauted eaut—

    "Yo'll want arf a dozen for that old pot o' yours!"  T'other sheauted—

    "Buy a cable for the old girl's bonnet!  Get yer one cheap!"  Then they clapt the'r thumbs to the'r noses, an' scuttert off wi' a yeawl.

    While this wur gooin' on, eaur Sal stood lookin' at a great lot o' summat ut wur rooarin' away i'th' front o' wheere we stood, an' ut wur sendin' as mich reech up two red chimdeys as would ha' driven two factories.  Hoo're axin a chap what that big thing wur, an' when he towd her it wur a "boat," an' it wur co'd th' Tinwil', hoo oppened her peepers wider nur ever.  Hoo thowt it wur quite big enough for a ship.  Ther' no ships upo' Hollin'o'th Lake hawve as big.

    "Isle of Man packet," th' chap said, "an' a very fine craft she is!"

    "It's a woman ship, then!" th' owd lass said, makkin' th' chap look as if he thowt hoo're trottin' him.  "Well, aw'm fain o' that.  Aw'd rayther trust misel' with it nur a mon ship.  Come, Ab, we'st ha' to get on this—thisTinwil, aw reckon, as everybody else is gettin' on.  Help me o'er that plank, an' see ut th' boxes are safe!  Theau knows which they are, aw reckon."

    Aw did just happen to know which they wur then; but when they'rn weel mixed up wi' a lot ut aw see'd abeaut, aw'd some misgivin' ut o wouldno' be reet at th' fur end.

    We'd no sooner getten upo' th' ship nur we parted, never to meet agen for an heaur at leeast.  Aw seeched th' owd lass up an' deawn, but could see noather top nor tail on her!  Aw thowt they'd happen letten her deawn i'th' hole amung th' boxes, but as aw could see nowt wick deawn theere, aw looked reaund agen.  At last aw fund her, laid deawn on a sort o' couch cheear, in a grand parlour deawn some steps.  Hoo're busy talkin' to hersel', like owd Ailse o' Beawker's when hoo's knittin', an' th' ramble ut hoo're gooin' through made me think hoo're poorly.

    "He're a good Ab to me," hoo said, an' soiked; "an' heaw he could leeave me this road is moore nur aw con tell!  If this be gooin' to th' Isle o' Mon, an' on a woman ship, too, save me fro' owt o'th' soart next time!  Aw wonder wheerever he is!  Eh, my Ab!"

    Aw thowt aw'd just roose her up a bit; so aw said, just leaud enoogh for her t' yer—

    "He's knockin' abeaut Liverpool yonder wi' Joe Tinker widow!"

    "What!" hoo said; an' hoo sprang up.  Then, seein' me, hoo set to an' gan me th' length an' breadth of her tongue for abeaut two minutes, an wonder't heaw aw could think o' leeavin' her as aw had done.  But it wur just like me.  Aw never cared nowt abeaut her; an' sooner hoo gan Joe Tinker widow a chance o' wearin' her clooas an' moore satisfaction it ud be to everybody.

    Aw towd her it wur her ut had gan me th' slip when aw're gettin' th' boxes put deawn i'th' saw-pit.  But hoo'd have her own road abeaut it, an' said aw'd done it becose aw're feart hoo'd be some trouble to me.  After that hoo quietened deawn, an' laid her yead upo' th' pillow agen.

    "Heaw soon is th' ship gooin' to start, Ab?" hoo said, coverin' her face wi' her shawl.  "Aw dunno' like this ranty-pow wark; it mak's me feel so quare.  It's like ridin' in a swingin'-boat.  Oh, dear me!"

    Aw towd her we'd bin on th' road above an heaur, an' we'rn gettin' eaut o'th' seet o' lond.  We should be at th' fur end in abeaut four heaurs if o went weel.

    "Eh, aw didno' think we'd stirred! " hoo said.  "Aw'm so thankful!  Is ther' a pig-cote somewheere abeaut, Ab?"

    "Nawe.  What dost ax that for?" aw said.

    "Becose," hoo said, "aw con yer a lot o' little pigs squeakin.  Wheere are they?"

    "Aw think theaw'd best not know wheere they are," aw said.  "Sae pigs are no' very partikilar abeaut folk's clooas, if they getten nee 'em.  Lie thee still, an' never mind ship bacon."

    "What's that bell ringin' for, Ab?"

    "Aw'll just ax.  Oh, it's dinner-time, aw see.  Couldto' do wi' a meauthful o' summat?"

    Hoo put her hont eaut as if hoo meant to say "husht!"

    "Heaw would some mutton broth do, wi' th' fat skimmed off?"

    Another puttin' eaut o'th' hont.

    "Or some fresh herrin' fried i' butther?"


    "Or a plateful o' Scotch collops?"

    "Hub - hub!"

    "Aw'll get thi a bit o' boilt ham, if theau likes."


    "Theigher!  If theau doesno' mind theau'll be sae-sick.  Howd up!"

    "Bucket, Ab!—tub!—owt!  Heugh!  Oh, dear my!"

    Just as aw're wonderin' what to do, a sailor chap, wi' a face made eaut o' ballis leather, coome creepin' in; an' he'd summat with him like a tin grindle-stone ut he put deawn upo' floor o'th' side o' wheere eaur Sal lee.  He said summat very kind to her, an' towd me to go on deck, as aw're gettin' very white abeaut my nose.  Aw should want a tin grindle-stone misel' if aw didno' mind.

    Aw unteed th' owd lass's bonnet-strings so as hoo wouldno' be throttled; then aw scrambled up steers to what they coed th' deck to see heaw things wur gooin' on theere.

    Th' seet as aw seed wur hardly calkilated for makkin' me i' fettle for my dinner!  Folk lee abeaut like carrits after a scrimmage in a pantymime; an' aw con hardly say ut it wur quite as pleasant as bein' in a garden filled wi' roses, an' wallfleawers, an' honeysuckles.  Aw may say it wur owt but that.  Aw geet to th' wynt side as soon as aw could, an' looked eaut upo' th' sae.

    Waves wur tossin' abeaut like a lot o' sheep havin' a fifty-hond reel in a fielt; an' they dashed agen th' ship as if they wanted to climb o'er th' side an' have an odd twell amung us!  Th' owd Tinwil wur workin' away like one o' thoose rockin' hosses in a toy shop, an' churnin' sae wi' her paddles, ut looked like two big bobbin wheels, till aw expected seein' some o' owd Daf Jones' butther turn up, if he deeals i' owt o'th' sooart.  Aw axt a chap ut stood at th' side o' me if he didno' co it roough.

    "Oh, no; not at all, it's only merry!  It may be a bit lumpy when we get further out.  I call this very nice!"

    Just then th' ship gan a yead-fust plunge, an' aw're sent wilta-shalta crash agen summat like a big cage-top, wheere aw could see th' engines pumpin' away like as if th' very owd lad wur droivin' 'em!  Aw geet a waft o' summat like th' smell o' brunt oighl, ut made me feel as if somebody wur liftin' mi inside eaut, like takkin' a clock i' pieces.  It wur a case wi' me, aw fund.  Aw could howd up no lunger; so o'er aw went, as sick as a wench when hoo's havin' a tooth drawn.

    Aw remember nowt no furr!—nobbut neaw an' then yerrin th' plungin' o'th' engines, an' what eaur Sal coed th' squeakin' o'th' little pigs, till someb'dy said lond wur i' seet.

    Aw gethert misel' up then, an' fund my legs wur very bad to manage, an' my singlet wur as slack as if th' back had bin takken eaut.  Aw looked reaund, an' seed ut folk ut had bin laid deawn wur neaw on the'r feet, walkin' abeaut as aw've seen patients do i'th' Infirmary gardens; an' a woful lot they looked!  Aw went deawn i'th' parlour for t' see heaw th' owd Rib wur gettin' on, an' fund her nicely asleep.  So aw leet her snooze on till th' ship gan o'er marlockin', an' we'rn gettin' within a stone's throw, as aw thowt, o'th' Isle o' Mon.  Then aw roosed her up an' hoo soiked, an' said—

    "Wheere am aw?"

    "We're gettin' very nee to th' fur end," aw said.

    "Eh, thank goodness!" hoo said, an' soiked agen.

    "Aw thowt aw must never ha' seen lond no moore!  Aw wonder heaw eaur childer are gettin' on!  Eh, Ab, aw ha' bin prayin' for 'em!  Tak' me eautside, wilta, for aw feel welly smooart!"

    So aw gethert her up, an' took her up steers, an' put her on a form eautside, wheere hoo could see a lot moore ut had bin like hersel'.  Then th' ship begun a gooin' slower.

    "We're gettin' close to th' sod neaw," aw said, "an ther's mony a hundert folk waitin' on us!"

    "Does t' see ony cats beaut tails?" hoo said.

    "Aye!" aw said,—"ther's three or four runnin' upo' some slates yonder!"

    "Catch me one as soon as theau con, for aw want to see what they're like."

    Before aw'd time to ha' mi laaf at her, aw're sent bang thunge deawn th' ladder, wi' a streeam o' folk after me, scramblin' for the'r luggage.  Boxes wur knockin' abeaut mi shins like clogs at a foout-bo playin', an' aw're as nee as a toucher bein' tumbled yead-fust deawn th' sawpit, wheere th' luggage wur bein' wun up.  For't soart mine eaut o' that pack o' lumber wur like seechin' a wench when hoe's eaut wi' her chap!—aw should aulus be lookin' i'th' wrung place, aw thowt.  One o'th' sailors seein' me powlerin' abeaut like a dog in a fair, took pity on me, an' axt me what mi cargo wur like, an' he'd try t' find it for me.  Aw towd him aw didno' know; but aw thowt it wur like nob'dy's else; an' that wur o th' chance aw had o' ownin' it.

    "Haven't you got your name on?" he said, lookin' at me as if his temper wur breakin' eaut, an' he couldno' howd it.

    "Nawe," aw said, "ther's nowt nobbut a weight-rope or two tee'd reaund.  If aw conno' own th' lot by thoose, aw shall be like t' wait till everybody else has soarted theers, an' tak' what's laft."

    Th' owd lad gan me a look, an' then spit on his honds, an' walked away, mutterin' summat abeaut a "lubber," ut aw da'say meant me, if it wur nobbut explained reet.

    Heawever, aw waited till th' place wur middlin' weel swept eaut; an' then aw collared o ut wur laft, an' fund aw'd th' reet keawnt, whether they'rn th' reet boxes or not.  By th' time aw'd getten th' lumber on th' deck, aw fund we'rn th' last upo' th' ship; an' th' owd rib wur havin' a fluster wi' th' sailors becose hoo wouldno' stir beaut me.  Aw towd 'em aw'd talk to the'r betthers abeaut 'em when aw gees upo' dry lend; so they drew the'r hurns in, an' went abeaut the'r wark.  At last we londed, an' wur daded up some steps on to what they coed th' "pier," but when we wur laft to eaursel's we booath on us dawled abeaut as if we'd bin drunken!  Th' pier rocked like th' ship, or favvort doin'; an' heaw folk could keep the'r feet ony betther nur us wur a puzzle to me, becose a lot on 'em had fuddled on th' road, an' we'd had nowt!

    We hadno' getten mony yard deawn th' pier, pushin' amung folk ut wur starin' at us as if we'd bin curiosities ut had bin catcht i'th' sae, when a gentleman in a white shoiny cooat an' a straw hat, coome an' tapt me on th' shoother.

    "Isn't your name Fletcher?" he said, lookin' me full i'th' face.

    Aw said it wur; or he met have it Ab-o'th'-Yate, if he liked; oather ud suit me.

    "Well, I've orders to arrest you, and take you to Port Erin Castle," he said; "so you'd better follow me!"

    "But he's never done nowt wrung!" th' owd Rib put in, lookin' in a great flusterification.  "He wouldno' hurt a worm; aw'm sure he wouldno'."

    "That may all be very true," th' gentleman said; "but it has to be proved.  I'm afraid you'll have to go with me."

    "Well, aw dar' face up owt ut aw've done," aw said; so come on!  But someb'dy 'll ha' to carry these boxes, too; aw shall no'."

    "Oh, I'll see to that.  This way, please."

    "Theau's bin dooin' summat wrung, Ab!" th' owd lass said, turnin' to me.  "Aw con see it i' thi face!  Aw reckon that wur what theau gan me th' slip for.  Eh, 'at we'd never come'n!  But wheere theau goes aw'll goo, at ony rate; so let's know th' wust."

    When we geet t' th' gates, th' gentleman ut wur wi' us, ut aw took to be a policeman i' disguise, winked at another ut come up to us, an' this mon said:

    "Oh, I see you've caught him!"

    "Yes, fairly nobbled!" t'other said.  "Where's the van?"

    "Getting ready."

    "Well we'll just have a nip at the hotel before we go;" an' whether it wur wi' th' woful look ther' wur upo' eaur Sal's face, or they couldno' howd no lunger, aw conno' tell, but they booath brasted eaut o' laaffin' an' then geet howd o' me an' th' owd Rib, an' shook eaur honds till they fairly wartcht!

    Aw went as leet as a fither o at once, an' mi owd stockin'-mender's face breetent up like summer when hoo see'd they'd nobbut bin havin' us on.  So we went into th' hotel, an' we'd a dose o'th' best physic they could get for curin' sae-sickness; an' bi th' time we'd finished, ther' wur a two-hors coach at th' dur, waitin' for t' tak' us eendway.  We wur honded in like a king an' a queen; an' when we'd getten rattled deawn aw looked reaund me.  Th' whul wo'ld an' his grondmother, an' two or three cousins fro' th' moon, met ha' bin theere, it wur so thrung wi' folk!

    It wur like a wakes; an' what they could see i' maulin' abeaut theere aw conno' tell, for it isno' one o'th' sweetest places aw've bin in, no' by a lot.  Aw could see mony a face ut aw knew; an some wur middlin' weel oppent when they seed me peearched as aw wur, wi' th' owd Rib at side on me.  They seemed to say, "Yond's owd Ab doin' it grandly!" or summat like it; an' one or two sheauted, but aw couldno' tell what they said, as we'rn droivin' off, me an' eaur Sal i'th' carriage, an' th' two gentlemen gooin' on before in a "trap," as they coed it, carryin' th' luggage.

    We'd hardly getten eaut of a bit o' nice country eautside Douglas nur aw yerd my queen wur takkin' it cozily, bein' gradely knocked up.  Aw followed th' suit, for aw're quite done o'er misel'; an' we booath slept like two tops till we geet to eaur journey's end.

    It wur getten' abeaut th' edge o' dark when we londed at Port Erin; an' th' Falcon's Neest, aw fund, wur in a blaze o' welcome.  Aw wurno' soory ut th' journey wur o'er, as we'd ridden lung enoof, aw thowt, to ha' browt us to th' wo'ld's end.  Th' tits had behaved weel, aw thowt, when we just calkilaten what they'd had to draw; an' they'd kept the'r yeads up for fifteen mile i' fust-rate style, an' coome in as fresh as if they'd just getten ready for gooin' to a main brew.

    We fund we wurno' quite by eaursel's when we geet to th' "Neest," for ther' a lot o' ladies an' gentlemen stood i'th' front waitin' on us comin' in, beside some ut wur lookin' eaut o'th' windows; an' these waved the'r hats an' napkins, an' sheauted—"Hurray for Lankeyshur!"  "Bravo Ab!" "Welcome to Port Erin!" "One for th' owd Rib!" "Hurray!"—till it made me feel as preaud as if aw'd won a ribbin at a doancin' match.  Aw rose up off mi seeat, an' geet upo' mi pegs, an doft mi hat to 'em, thinkin' they wur sheautin' for me, till th' owd Rib wakkent up an' poo'd at mi cooat laps, an' said they wur sheautin' for her; an' if hoo could ha' getten her bonnet off hoo'd ha' showed me that too; but th' owd lass had it teed on wi' a knot, an' couldno' losen it.

    After th' sheautin' wur o'er, aw geet deawn fro' mi peearch, an' helped th' owd lass deawn, tho' hoo said hoo "needed no helpin', thank goodness."  Aw felt a bit stiff abeaut th' angles o' mi shanks wi sittin' so lung, an' lookin' after folk ut couldno' look after the'rsel's; but aw believe if aw'd bin shreawded up i' mi coffin-shirt, wi' tuppence upo' mi peepers, aw should ha' had to shull eaut agen; for ther th' smartest lot o' duleskins ut ever aw coome across i' my life!  They coome at me as if they'd ha' worried me, an' then etten me wick at afther; an' they'rn reawnd eaur Sal till nowt could be seen on her nobbut th' bonnet, ut looked like a buoy in a roough sae!

    When this squeezin', an' slappin', an' ado makin' on slackent a bit, we'rn pushed whether or not into a reawm wheere ther a lung table laid eaur wi' o sorts o' things for atin', as if ther a regiment o' so'diers for t' feed, or a colliers' club.  Aw shuttert my knees under beawt waitin' to be axt, an' geet howd of a knife an' fork ready for t' tackle summat as soon as it wur put afore me.  Th' owd Rib said hoo're hardly ready for a job o' that soart yet.  Hoo felt as if th' heause wur rowlin' abeaut like a ship; an' hoo wondered what it wur built on' an' if it wur safe!  It must be a neest wi' rockers on, hoo thowt, as it made her feel a little bit in a gooin'-o'er way, as if hoo're gooin' to have a beawt, same as hoo'd had upo' th' wayter.  Hoo'd just have a sope o' tae an' a cracklin', an' then hoo'd go to bed, an' see if hoo should be a bit betther i'th' mornin'.  Ther a very nice lady made tae for us, an' beside that, made sich ado of eaur Sal, ut th' owd lass said it wur as good as physic to her, an' hoo thowt hoo should be able to stop up a bit lunger.  Her tung geet so loce, an' her face geet so nicely French polished, ut aw fancied ther summat else i'th' cup beside tae; but when aw named it, hoo said it wur sae-air ut had done it!  Aw've some deauts yet, but dunno' like to say mich.

    After aw'd etten as mich as ud ha' sarved a gang o' navvies, aw're shuttert deawn th' steers into as nice an' snug a fuddlin' shop as ever aw reddent my nose in; an' afore aw could get misel' plankt into a cheear, aw'd as mony glasses afore me as ud ha' done for neet-caps for a whul week.  Sam Smithies wur as red abeaut th' ears as a turkey's bonnet, an' he're flourishin' abeaut as if th' place belonged to him.  Th' londlort coome in an' said—"Ab, mak' thisel' a-whoam; if t' doesno' theau'rt a foo'!"  Th' londlady coome in too, an' said th' same, obbut hoo laft th' foo' eaut, an' didno' squeeze my hont as hard.  To my thinkin' hoo's th' finest woman i'th wo'ld obbut one!  Well, aw met say the very finest, obbut aw like quietness a-whoam, an' sayin' that met mak' things a little bit lob-sided i' Walmsley Fowt.

    As soon as aw'd getten my pipe, an' had dipt my nose a time or two inside a reechin' tumbler, aw begun a-feelin' a-whoam, as if aw're at th' "Owd Bell," gettin' misel' i' singin' fettle.  Someheaw it wur like windin' a curtain up to me, as aw hadno' seen th' company gradely before; an' aw must say ut moore aw seed on 'em an' moore aw felt a-whoam.  Ther th' husbant to that lady ut made tae for us; an' aw fund it eaut ut he coom fro' Manchester, an' had yerd abeaut Walmsley Fowt afore.  He pointed to a little reaund barrel of a chap, wi' a straw hat on, sit in a corner, an' makkin' th' place fair ring agen wi' laafin'.  They said he're th' Bishop o' Port Erin, gettin' hissel' i' tiff for Sunday wark.  He had to praich at Castleteawn, they said, an' walk theere i'th' mornin'; an' as th' distance wur a good five mile, he couldno' manage so weel—as a jolly-lookin' captain said—witheaut "takkin' plenty o' coal on board."  Ther' wur a coalin' station abeaut th' hauve road, ut went by th' name o'th' "Shore Hotel," but they never filled bunkers of a Sunday, so he had to prime hissel' o'er neet.

    Aw thowt he're th' quarest bishop ever aw coom across, an' ut if o bishops wur like him ther' wouldno' be as mony Dissenters as ther' is.  Aw should say he'd more laffin' tackle abeaut him nur ther' is i' th' whul church beside, for it coome rowlin' up fro' under his waistcooat as if he'd had a little steeam engine theere ut worked off condensed whiskey!  His face wur made for fun, if ever ther' wur one formered for owt o'th' soart, for it rollicked abeaut his meauth an' his een, an' sit stroddle-leg on his nose, an' peeped fro' under his double-barrelled chin, as if it knew it had to be boxed up o' Sunday, an' wur havin' a extry fling o' purpose.  It wur "Ha, ha, ha! ho, ho, ho! heigh, heigh, heigh!" if nob'dy said nowt; so what must it be if somb'dy had th' luck to mak' a joke?  Wheay, his white neck-napkin favvort hangin' him, an' his waistcooat buttons flew as if they'rn a lot o' keys blown off a flute wi' playin' merry music!  If he'd had a hat-peg beheend his shoothers, an' a rappel put on his nose, he'd ha' done for Punch.  Oh, yo' "owd tooad!" t'o'n a good deeal o' soreness abeaut my ribs to onswer for.  If aw'd stopt' wi' yo' a week lunger yo'd ha' to ha' said 'dust to dust' o'er me!

    Well, we spent a jolly neet, an' aw fund it wur th' forerunner of a lot o' jolly neets—aye, an' days too; an' th' fun we had wur too mich to tell yo' abeaut i' one letther; so aw'll let yo' wait another month for it, when aw con tell yo' what wur th' consequences o' not puttin' tickets on my luggage, an' other quare things.  For th' present aw'll wish yo' good neet, an' say aw'm

                                     Yo'r own,                           AB.




SECOND LETTER.—Conclusion.

                   Walmsley Fowt,                              
 August, 1869.                        

Mesthur Yeadhitter,

IT'S a common sayin' ut after a storm comes a calm.  It wur so wi' me after londin' at Port Erin.  If yo' recollecten it wur Setterday when we went, an' th' day after wur Sunday—that grand day o' rest, when if a mon doesno' feel different to what he does other days, ther's summat wrung wi his clockwark.

    As it happened, aw'd a good deeal o'th' mornin' to misel'.  Th' owd Rib had made up her mind to see an' yer as mich as hoo could; so hoo wur up an' eaut as soon as th' larks had wesht an' donned the'rsels; an' aw conno' say but hoo went upo' th' wisest plan.  Aw lee a good while collectin' my Sunday feelin's t'gether, an' harkenin' a jackdaw praich upo' th' window-stone, ut put me i' mind of owd Pa'son --yo' known whoa aw meean.  Aw could just mak' as mich eaut o' what this fithert praicher said, as aw could of ony sarmon ut he ever geet folk asleep wi'!

    Aw're havin' a bit o' my vowage o'er agen.  Aw could feel th' bed rock like a ship; an' aw fancied aw could yer th' plungin' o'th' engines, an' th' squeakin' o'th' little pigs, an' th' wynt makkin' bagpipes o'th' chimdies.  Th' jackdaw did for th' captain; so ut my bedchamber wur as weel fitted eaut as th' owd Tinwil.  Then aw'd a wakken dreeam abeaut a sleepy ride in a coach; a great sheaut, an' a deeal o' hondshakin'.  An' it coom o'er mi abeaut a straw hat, an' summat under it like a piece o' red gutty-perchy, ut had a deeal o' strain on it betimes; an' lower still a waistcooat ut had getten St. Vitus' doance, an' wouldno' be cured; but kept jowtin' up an' deawn, like that little engine ut used to grind coffee in a shop window i' Manchester.

    Well, aw swung misel' eaut o' bed at last, an' fund aw wurno' quite as weel as aw'd calkilated on.  My yead wur a good weight, an' my legs wur bad to steer.  Aw reckon it wur th' change o' air ut made me feel poorly, though eaur Sal said it wur summat else, moore likely.  Aw'd bin playin' wi' a tae-spoon to mich th' neet afore!  Tae-spoons are dangerous playthings when they're i' company wi' owt beside cups an' saucers.  They met knit comfortable neet-caps wi' 'em, but they didno' fit so weel in a mornin'.

    Bein' Sunday aw thowt aw'd don me in my best black short-legs, so ut if aw went to th' church ther' wouldno' be so mich starin' at me.  So aw sit misel' deawn upo' th' bedside, an' looked at my box.  Whether change of air didno' agree wi' it, or my e'en wur a bit quire, aw couldno' tell, but th' owd bit o' lumber looked as if it had bin havin' a marlock, an' knocked itsel' into a fresh shape.  Then th' rope ut wur reaund it seemed to ha' wasted itsel' oather wi' frettin' or sae-sickness, an' gone thinner.  It wur a weight-rope when aw put it reaund; but neaw it wur gone quite genteel, as if it wanted to be a clooasline.  Th' knots aw'd teed on it wur quite changed, as if th' Davenport Brothers had bin abeaut, doin' some sperrit conjurin'.  Heawever, aw set too, an' untee'd th' rope wi' mich ado, an' hove th' box lid up, an' had a peep inside.

    Strange! my best Sunday short-legs had changed fro' black karseymere to white calico, wi' summat like window curtains reaund th' bottoms, i'stead o' buttons an' ribbins!  Thoose ud never do for me to go to th' church in, at onyrate.  Aw thowt aw should be sheauted wi' th' childer, as if aw're a pace-egger paradin' th' lones.  Aw threw 'em o' one side, an' put my studyin' cap on, an' wondert heaw this had bin browt abeaut.  Then aw looked a bit furr to see if owt else had changed.  Divin' deawn i'th' box aw fished up a shirt beaut oather sleeves or collar; an' another thing ut wur like a balloon wi' palisades reaund th' bottom.  Then aw coome on a square box made o' pastbooart, ut had summat inside on't like a white capscreen wi' silk strings to it!  After aw'd getten my spectekles aw made it eaut ut this thing wur a bonnet o' some soart; but which wur th' back an' which wur th' front wur eaut o'th' peawer o' mon to tell.  Aw'd an idea once ut eaur Sal had swapt me boxes; but aw thowt agen aw'd never seen her wi' no soart o' gears like these abeaut her.  Th' next thing aw geet howd on sattled o.  It wur a letther!  As it had bin read afore aw thowt they'd be no hurt i' just lookin' through it; not as aw wanted to know other folks' consarns, but to find eaut whoa it belunged to.  So aw read—

Liverpool July 1869

I rite these few loines hopping they will foind you all it right as they've left me.  I got in Liverpool all right after a very pleasant gorny the train was very punctil the old chap dosnt know but i am in Yorkshire buying up it pottatus wodnt he be wild if he knew where I was and it what I was doing.  O my dear Polly you should see the ring Iv boght a regilar bobbydazler it is I do so long for the toime that I shall put it on your sweet finger I boght it to fit the propper finger as I got some stuff to fetch the wart off in an hour's toime.  I shall get the lisens to-morrow and be happy dont be too late you know wat toime the train leeves Bolton I will meet you at the station so no more at present from your ever ever ever loving                     ―――――

N.B. * * * * * * 50 toimes over these is kisses.

N.B. after the wedding hurray for the Isle of Man."

    Theigher!  Aw thowt to misel' as a put th' letther back, somb'dy's bin makkin' foo's o' the'rsels! havin' a runaway weddin' as if it wurno' a trial big enoogh doin' it wi' o'th' help they con muster.  Aw felt wurr hobbled nur ever when aw fund this eaut.  What must be done?  Aw could see plain enoogh ut gooin' to th' church wur sattled for that day; so aw'd a plash i' some wayther, an' donned misel' i' my tother clooas, an' prepared for gooin' deawn th' steers, as ther a bell ringin', an' a scutter gooin' on up an' deawn th' heause, as if everybody had made it up to go deawn at th' same time.  Just as aw're teein my napkin on ther a knock coome to th' dur.

    "Yo'r at th' wrung shop," aw said, thinkin' it wur somb'dy ut had missed the'r road.

    "Is it Ab?" they said; an' aw could yer it wur a mon's voice.

    "Well," aw said, "aw'm hardly sure abeaut it.  If appearances are owt to go by, aw'm a mixture.  What dun yo' want?"

    "Heaw's thy yead?" th' chap said.

    "It's a bit on th' ramble," aw said.  "It 'll happen be a bit betther when aw getten my bonnet on."

    "Well, aw've getten a bonnet for thee here," th' mon said.

    What's up neaw? aw wondert; some moore mystery?  Heawever, aw oppent th' dur, an' fund it eaut ut it wur th' londlort wi' a glass o' summat like milk in his hont.

    "This is th' bonnet," he said, howdin' th' glass up.  "A rare thing to fit on after to' mich neet-cap!"

    "What's it made on?" aw axt.

    "Manx milk," he said.  "Nowt like this i' Walmsley Fowt! just try heaw it fits."

    So aw did try; an' rare stuff aw fund it wur—warm fro' th' keaw an' o!  Aw never tasted nowt like it!  Aw thowt if owd Thuston's keaws gan milk o' that soart he'd never get through t' fowt wi' it.  He'd be sowd up, snap!  Aw axt him what made th' difference; but o ut aw could get eaut on him wur ut they fed keaws at th' Isle o' Man different to what they did i' England.  Happen it wur so!

    Aw said nowt abeaut me havin' getten a wrung box just then.  Aw thowt if aw did aw should never yer th' last on't.  So aw bundled misel' deawn th' steers, an had a meawthful o' sae wynt afore breakfast.  Aw see'd th' owd Ticket scramblin' up th' broo at th' end o'th' neest, an' a warm job hoo had afore her.  Hoo'd bin deawn among some heauses at th' bottom, cat huntin'; but had seen noane nobbut what had tails.  Folk towd her ut they wurno' owd enoogh yet for 'em t' drop off, so it seems they areno' born beaut.  Th' owd lass wanted to know if th' breakfast wur ready; an' aw dar'say hoo met weel, considerin' what hoo'd gone through th' day afore.

    "It's just gooin' on th' table neaw," aw said; for aw could yer a clatter o' pots, an' spoons, an' knives, an' forks, ut made me fair yammer agen.

    "That's reet!" hoo said; an' hoo geet howd o' mi arm.  "Aw're never so hungry i' mi life!  We'n goo in linkin', like quality folk dun; for we are a bit quality neaw, when we con ride in a carriage.  So come on!"

    Well, we went into th' neest; an' aw geet mi knees nicely stabled agen, wi' summat i'th' front on me ut looked like Hazlewo'th bridge on a plate as big as a coal riddle.  Black eautside, an' red an' white inside it wur, wi' gravy wheezin' eaut o' bits o' crivices, ut made it so temptin' aw could hardly keep off it.

    "Rare stuff for th' yure, Ab!" Sam Smithies said, seein' me grinnin' at it.  An' he winked at some chaps across th' table.

    Then aw yerd someb'dy to'ard th' bottom sayin':—

    "Theau conno' cut that wi' th' scithors!"

    When Sam begun operations, he shoived it deawn i' tremblin' slices as thin as an owd sixpence, an' went through his wark as if he'd bin browt up to it; an' he honded a plateful o'er to me, ut aw made to look wizzent in abeaut two minutes or so.

    Aw fund ther nob'dy for havin' beef beside me, as ther' wur plenty o' things beside, sich as ham an' eggs, an' cowd summats wi' parsley scattert o'er, an' fresh herein' as big as yung whales, an' aw dunno' what beside.  When aw fund ut nob'dy wanted no beef aw made a deeal o' trouble o' axin 'em, but wur desperately feart on 'em sayin' aye.  A gentleman axt th' owd Rib if hoo'd have a mackerel; but hoo shaked her yead, an' said hoo'd ha' nowt ut ud mak' her ill; hoo'd bin bad enoogh th' day before; but hoo thowt ut hoo could do summat i'th' ham an' egg way.  Aw'm o'th' same way o' thinkin' misel' neaw, after seein' th' lot ut hoo polished off.  Aw'd abeaut five cups o' coffee, an' as mich beef as would ha' made a leather appron if it would ha' howden t'gether an' aw consider ut that wurno' bad doin'!

    Well, after abeaut an heaur's good heausin' we finished eaur breakfast, an' thanked Somebody for it, as we'd occasion.  Aw stroked mi waistcoat deawn, an' felt as if th' wo'ld an' me wur gettin' on very weel t'gether.  If thoose foo's across th' wayther, ut wur gooin' to cut one another's throats, had had sich a breakfast as that, they'd ha' shaked honds wi' one another, an' gone whoam!

    Th' day ut had started middlin' breet, had begun o' gleawmin', an' warnin' us 'at it wouldno' be safe to venture far eaut o' civilized quarters.  But nowt 'ud stop th' owd Rib fro' gooin' to oather church or chapel or summut o'th' sort.  Other folk met carry on as they dar' no' do awhoam, an' couldno' forshawm, if they durst; but for hersel', while th' same Heaven wur spread o'er her, an' th' same Somebody watched whether her feet went reet or wrung, hoo'd do just th' same at Port Erin as hoo would if hoo yerd th' owd Hazelwo'th bells ringin' the'r mornin' peeal, an' th' childer wur musterin' for th' skoo.

    So hoo went up th' steears for t' have a word or two wi' th' lookin' glass, an' put a bit moore black abeaut her fithers, for t' mak' her look solem.  Aw nipt up afther her, an' wur just i' time for t' see her howdin' up what should ha' bin mi black karseymeres in a way aw didno' like on.

    "What's th' meeanin' o' these, Ab?" hoo said.  An' th' way hoo said "these" had the same effect upo' mi nerves as if aw'd clapt mi ear to th' dur of a hummabee cote, after givin' th' inside a bit of a roozer.

    Aw put on as innocent a look as aw could weel muster, considerin' ut it looked a very bad case, an' towd her heaw th' mistake had bin made,—heaw ut some woman had takken mi box, an' laft me her's i'th' place, as hoo met see.

    Hoo looked at th' box, then rummaged it through—natteral enoogh for a woman, aw thowt; an' when hoo'd done, an' aw'd read her th' letther aw'd fund, hoo set up one o'th' yead cracks o' laafin' ut ever aw yerd for one ut's a bit kilt for her wynt.

    "Eh, Ab," hoo said, when hoo'd getten eaut of her laafin' fit, "Aw see neaw what theau wouldno' goo to th' church for.  If theau'd"—an' hoo went off agen wi' another brast.

    Aw never seed a thunner storm blow o'er so nicely i' mi life, an' gi'e th' matrimonial sky sich a cleean sweep.  Th' only bit o' cleaud they' wur abeaut it wur—heaw must th' mistake be reeted?  When aw towd her ut th' londlort said advertizin' i' one o'th' Douglas pappers 'ud put things square, that bit o' dimness past off, an' gan her face sich a polish, ut aw railly think a mistake o' that sort 'ud be wo'th while bein' made every day, just for th' fun o' stretchin' up agen.

    Well, after this hoo set off to th' church,—her an' th' londlady, an' that lady fro' Manchester.  Aw wondered mony a time while hoo're away if hoo could manage to keep her face i' th' reet shape when hoo should look as sollit as a hommer.  Aw know heaw aw should ha' bin misel' when aw thowt abeaut th' mistake.

    Th' day glided o'er nicely an' calmly, as Sundays should.  I'th' mornin' part i'stead o' gooin' wi' th' wife, aw did mi bit o' th' sarvice by th' sae-side,—hearkenin' th' waves sing the'r anthem, an' watchin' th' sky rowl deawn it's flocks o' cleauds into a grand congregation, ut didno' seem to care whether that great praicher ut spoke to th' sae, an' th' mountains, an' th' woods, an' th' valleys,—praiched in a black geawn or a white un, or brunt candles an' incense, or worshipped as thoose fishermen of owd did, wi' nowt nobbut th' love o' the'r Great Mesther to help 'em.  Aw con recommend this sort of a sarvice to mony a one i' England.

    Afther breakfast next day (that wur Monday) th' male portion on us went for a sail.  We engaged a captain an' made th' londlord into th' steward.  We sailed to Th' Cauve o' Mon, wheere th' only seaunds we yerd wur th' slushin' an' bangin' o' th' sae an' th' cry o' th' saegulls as they skimmed abeaut that lonely but bonny bit o' moorlond purpled o'er wi' heathery blossoms.

    Wurno' aw i' fettle for mi' dinner when we geet back!  Rayther! an' so wur one or two beside.  We fund th' owd Bishop o' Port Erin waitin' for us, an' as straight as a new pin, he wur.  Th' fust inklin' aw had ut th' owd laafin' machine wur abeaut, wur a two-thri cracks o' summat comin' up stairs eaut o'th' snug.  Aw went deawn, an' fund him i' one o' his humours, havin' a bit of a dust wi' an owd lady ut wur knockin' abeaut.  He purtends to hate women; but he's a quare way o' showin' it.

    "Now, my dear lass!" he're just sayin', "what must I have to drink?  Eh!  Ha, ha, ha!  D'ye hear, you old toad?  Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha!  Well, well, well—I think I'll have bitter.  Ha, ha, ha!"

    He'd a mop yured dog wi' him ut he coes "Fido," an' he's taiched it hate women, too, for it never barks nobbut when it sees a skirt.

    "Here, Fido!" he'd say,—"Fi, Fi, Fi!  There's an old toad coming, Ha, ha, ha!"

    "Bow, wow, wow!" an' Fido 'ud skeawl through th' yeald yorn ut hung abeaut it's e'en, an' hutch between it's mesthur's shoon, as if it had getten three or four lion peawer an' wur gooin' to ha' a meauthful o' legs, if a dacent pair coome nee.

    As soon as th' owd lad seed me, he fired off some of his best artillery, an' set his senglet buttons o doancin' like mad.  He said he're gooin' to dine wi' us, an' then if we'd a mind he'd tak' us to Castleteawn, just for an afternoon's walk.  Th' day had breetent up into a good sort o' one, an' as it wurno' so very wot, it ud be a nice walk.  Just as he're layin' th' plan eaut, th' dinner bell rung; so aw clattered upsteears, an' had howd o' a knife an fork afore th' owd bishop could get eaut o' th' snug, for aw could yer him tumblin' up after me.

    As we sit at th' table th' owd rib said to me—

    "Ab! is that a gradely bishop?"

    "To be sure, for owt aw know," aw said; "look at his skin;—as red an' as smoot' as an apple.  An' look heaw he's filled up at th' back o' th' ears.  A curate, or a Common pa'son hasno' getten to that yet.  Aw reckon he doesno' wear gaiters becose ther's no danger o' his legs gettin' starved this weather.  But what made thee to ax if he're a gradely bishop?"

    "Well," hoo said, "aw're talkin' to him a bit sin' an' he co'ed me an' owd tooad, an' aw thowt that wur quare talk for a bishop.

    "Oh," aw said, "that's just what theau owt to be preawd on.  A tooad theau knows, is reckont fort' ha' th' nicest een in it yed ov owt; an' when he'd seen thine, aw dunno' wonder at him co'in' thee a tooad."

    "Aye, well, it may be reet," hoo said; "but it's like a crackt shillin', it's a quare seaund wi' it."

    "It matters nowt," aw said, "when we seen he meeans weel.  It's nobbut his way."

    "But he's aulus laafin'," hoo said.  "Aw thowt bishops shouldno' laaf."

    "Aw shouldno' like to be one, then," aw said.  "If eaur religion taiches us nowt nobbut heaw to poo a long face, it's time we'd a doctor to it.  But get on wi' thi atin', if theau doesno' meean to come beheend.  Aw'm two plates afore thee neaw.  We han to go to Castleteawn, theau knows."

    Well, after th' dinner wur fairly heawsed, we made a party up to go to Castleteawn, an' agreed to peg it o' th' road.  Manx miles seemed to be lung uns, aw thowt, for they kept stretchin' eaut as we went; but it's a nice walk, an' that mak's up for th' distance.  Ther's nobbut one baitin' shop upo' th' road noather, an' that's th' "Shore Hotel;" an' snug it is, an' a pleasant body is th' londlady, an' nice uns are th' chickens.  We didno' wonder at th' owd Bishop gooin' theere, if he does purtend to hate women.  We fund eaut ut he're weel known theere; for we hadno' bin in above a minute when he co'ed 'em owd tooads an' yung tooads o' reaund.

    It wouldno' be possible, even i' this lung ramblin' letther fort' tell yo' everythin' ut we seed an' enjoyed.  But Tuesday wur a grand day, an' we spent it grandly!  To Fleshwick Bay i'th' mornin', getherin' shells an' white stones fort' put reaund th' fleawer-pots; an' to Port St. Mary i'th' afthernoon, wheere we lost th' owd bishop for an heaur or so, an' at last fund him cooartin' an owd damsel in a garden.  We should never ha' fund him, noather, if we hadno' yerd someb'dy saying, "you old tooad!" as we passed.

    O' Wednesday th' carriage wur browt eaut agen fort' tak' us back to Douglas.  Aw'd yerd abeaut my box, ut it wur o reet at ――― Hotel, waitin' for th' swap.

    Ther a leaud sheaut for us as we set eaut; th' Owd Rib axt everbody to come a seein' us at Walmsley Fowt; an' they said we're quite as welcome at th' "Falcon's Neest."


    We see'd moore o'th' place as we drove back.  "Rushen Abbey," a ruin stondin' i' one o'th' nicest bits o' country to be fund i'th' island, an' cozy villages scattered here an' theere, an' far away.  We drove eaut of eaur road a bit to see "Kirk Braddan;" an' if ever they' wur a nook made o' purpose for sleepin' a last snooze in, surely this is one; for it's like a garden, wheere th' seeds of a past life are sown i' fit company, to spring up in a new life that shall blossom to eternity!

    We geet to th' pier i' plenty o' time to get on board th' Tinwil, an' had a nice sail to Liverpool, an' managed to catch a train ut londed us whoam i' time for eaur tae.  O Walmsley Fowt turned out to welcome us and to inquire heaw we'd enjoyed eaur eaut to Isle o' Man.

                                 Your own,                        AB.



LADS had no brass i' thoose days, an' if a yung chap could muster th' price of a pint o' fettled porter for hissel' an' his sweetheart of a Sunday neet, he're reckoned to be a "don," an' cocked his cap o' one side, an' swaggered i' other ways.  A wench couldno' change her frock three times a day, but wore one till it wur done; an' bonnets, unless they'rn owd uns, wur nobbut worn o' Sundays.  If we'd ony music, it wur singin', unless it wur a little fiddle, a big un, an' a flute—aw meean hearthstone music.  Ther no payannos.  Ther' wur th' Frog Lone band for big doos, but they could nobbut play three tunes—"Owd Billy," "Halifax," an' th' "Owd Hundert."  Well, yigh, they could play th' morris tunes for doancin' to; but these wurno' coed music.  They wouldno' ha' done to ha' bin played i'th' front of a Sunday skoo procession at a charity sarmon.  If we'd no payannos we'd no maudlin songs, nor thoose empty comic things ut are bein' cabbaged fro' music halls.  What we sung wur sollit singin', an' generally spakin', ther a good deeal o' weft put into it.  Aw dunno' think ther oather a lad or a wench i' Hazlewo'th ut couldno' ha' sung th' Kesmas Hymn reet through, an' ha' sung it th' year reaund, too.

    We'd no need to go starin' deawn to Manchester if we wanted to yer a concert.  We could ha' had one ony neet ut ud ha' cost nowt.  An' everybody ud ha' bin theere at th' time, becose we'd no carriage folk to come in when it wur hauve o'er, so ut they could mak' a noise, an' be seen.  Nor we'd no "swells," noather, wi' short sticks, ut ud rayther misbehave the'rsels nur hearken to th' music.  If we'rn simple we'rn i earnest; an' that's moore nur con be said o' some folk neaw-a-days.  Jammie Ogden, wi' his "owd oon-dur," as he coed his bass fiddle; an' Joe Travis, wi' his "hoss-leg," as we coed his bazzoon; mi Uncle Bill wi' his little fiddle; an' Tunnacliffe wi' his flute; these, wi' abeaut eight singers, would ha' made a row i'th' Fowt ut ud' dreawnt a church organ, th' choir an' o.  They'd o four played at an "oratoryio" when Deborah Travis wur in her pomp.  An' ther nob'dy liked puttin' the'r knees under a full table betther nur they did.  They'r never known to stir as long as ther owt to bite or sup at; an' it's just a question whether they wouldno' rayther ha' played a tune wi' a knife an' fork nur wi' the'r instriments.  Aw've seen Joe Travis an' Tunnacliffe, booth on 'em so full, they couldno' blow; an' th' two fiddles han had to do o th' wark.  Aw've yerd mi Uncle Bill say ut if he had to larn music o'er agen he'd be a blower; an' then he could get off playin' if he're chock full.  Aw know nob'dy neaw-a-days ut con play as good at a table as they could.

    It wur a year's lookin' forrud to, wur Kesmas mornin'!  It wurno' a time for gettin' drink, an' rowlin' abeaut th' lones, swearin' an' yeawlin', an' feightin' an' doin' wurr things.  We'd a bit o' thowt abeaut what Kesmus wur for.  We'd bin towd by thoose ut had th' mooest to do wi' us ut it wur a time when everybody should be good one to another.  When Christ, Him ut praicht "Peace on earth—good-will to men," coome a-dooin' us a good turn; an' we tried in eaur own poor way, to show heaw thankful we wur for it.  We didno' goo whoam wi' a turkey by th' neck, or a goose under one's arm, an' a gallon o' whisky banging  banging abeaut one's legs, like a pavor's hommer.  An orange apiece, a mince-pie, an' a penny to put into a screw-lid box, wur as mich as wur wanted, or as could be expected.  Whether "tips" wur known i' thoose days aw canno' say; but aw never seed a hamper i' Walmsley Fowt yet.  Aw've had a duck gan me for praisin' th' breed; but that wur nobbut a sort of a reminder ut job couldno' be done too oft, not as payment for what had bin done; so that isno' takkin' a bribe i' one like me, though it would be i' somebody else case.  Kesmas wurno' looked on as a squarin'-up time becose we'd nowt to square up.  We'rn on th' level o' th' year through, unless they'd bin misfortins amung us; an' thoose han to be met as they come by booath rich an' poor alike.  It met be a time for squarin'-up wi' one's God, an' promisin' we'd never goo in his debt agen; but wo'ldly things wurno' mich thowt abeaut, unless they a bit o' good ice, or somebody had brewed.

    Well, one Kesmas—it may be a year or two o'er thirty sin'—we mustered for singin' abeaut eleven o'clock o' Kesmas neet.  Neaw, aw bethink me, its just above thirty year sin' aw know by summat very particular to go by.  It wur th' fuss time aw ever whispered a soft word or two to eaur Sal ut is neaw.  Th' chapel we met in wurno' then above th' size o' a dacent cauve cote.  It's bigger neaw, wi' an alewarmer on th' top.  "Owd John" wur livin' then; an' he'd th' stove nice an' warm for us, becose it wur gradely Kesmas weather—that sooart ut gets howd on yo' abeaut th' shoothers, an mak's yo' feel ut yo'r not angels.  Crisp an' frosty it wur, wi' a blue sky ut wur wearin' o its diamonds at once, as if it wur a time to be extry grand in.  Owd Johnny o' Sammul's wur among th' lot; an' aw thowt he kept eyein' me o'er, becose her ut's neaw my owd rib lived wi' him; an' aw dunno' think he wanted to lose her.  He's had mony a race after me sin then.  But he's gone his lung journey neaw, an' dribblets han followed him.  Joe Travis wur feart his hoss-leg wur a bit touched wi' th' weather.  He'd lapt a stockin' reaund its neck; but when he coom to blow it, th' notes crept eaut wi' a sort o' a grumble, as if they wanted to stop wheere they wur till warmer days.  Jammie Ogden said it didno' matter heaw he rosint, his fiddle-stick whistled o'er th' strengs like playin' on a hoss yure wi' a cinder.  He thowt it ud be betther when we geet toart th' "Hollies," becose it ud get thawed theere even if th' North Pow stood at th' dur.

    Aw dunno' think there's owt so pratty as th' muster for a Kesmus singin' do!  A wench shows her face then to th' best advantage.  Yo' may look at a face when its bordered reaund wi' summer blossoms, an' no feel tempted to get within nose distance on't; but let th' same face be peepin' eaut of a shawl, when it's a nice bloom on it ut th' frosty air has varnished, an aw wouldno' give a snow-bo' for yo'r peeace o'mind if hoo winno' let th' cowd end o' her little bit o' weather-peg touch yo'r cheek.  ("Get eaut wi' thee!")  An' stondin' reaund a stove, too, wi' one clog on th' end o'th cinderbox, an' seein' th' brass buckles twinkle, breeter nur th' stars o'er yead, an' th' milky way o' white wool stockin', makkin' yo'r een wartch wi' starin' at it—wheay, ther's nowt o'th' sort to be seen neaw!  It's o fleaunce, an' fringe, an' flip, an' flop, wi' breawn stockin's barkled wi' dirt, an' ut never want weshin'.  It's a wonder pins are no' a good deal dearer nur they are.

    We met i'th' little chapel, as aw've said, an' it wur a full muster.  We mun have a sing afore we turned eaut, to see if we'rn perfect.  So th' hymn wur led off wi' th' band, an' a nice mess they made on't!  Th' frost, an' th stove, had played th' very hangmont wi' th' fiddles.  Th' notes kept slippin' lower an' lower, till Owd Jammie said he should ha' to feel for his in his shoon if they kept on.  "But," he said, when he'd screwed an' strummed till his temper wur gettin' th' betther on him, "pitch yo'r voices wi' th' flute, an' never mind us.  We'st happen be reet when we getten eautside."

    We pitched to th' flute an' th' bazzoon; an' when th' fiddles put in a note it wur as dismal a seaund as a cry o' murder; or as a clerk followin' th' pa'son.  Owd Jammie would have it they'd come reet when they'd bin eautside a bit.

    Aw think ther's no music aw ever yerd ut byets th' owd Kesmas Hymn when it's sung!  I' thoose days we sung it i' different time to what they dun neaw.  We didno' go through it helter-skelter, as if we'rn singin' in a heavy sheawer, an' wanted to get eaut on't.  It went slow, as hymns should do; an' when it's sung by thoose ut con sing, an' it's yerd i'th' still mornin' air, an' thoose ut are hearkenin' are mussled up i' blankets, it's like a foretaste o' summat grander, an' ut's never yerd till we'n done wi' this wo'ld's music.

    After th' practice we set eaut.  We'd two lanterns—aw carried one, an' Jack o' Flunter's t'other.  Billy Softly helped to carry th' owd oon-dur, an' a drop o' rosin for th' singers, as some o' th' places we had to co at wur far off one another.  Th' fust place we oppent eaut at wur owd Jerry Bramble's farm.  Jerry wur a crusty owd dog at other times, an' he wouldno' let us punce th' foot-bo i' ony of his fields.  But this Kesmas mornin' his betther nature crept through his crust, an' after we'd finished singin' th' dur swung oppen, an' owd Bramble stood theere wi' his neetcap on, an' a candlestick in his hont.

    "Come in, lads an' wenches!" he said' an' he snufted th' candle wi' his fingers.  "Ther's a good warm foire, an' summat on th' hob to gargle yo'r throat wi'.  Bring that owd gronfeyther, an' that scythe-pow wi' yo'; aw dar' say they wanten weetin' too."

    It wur a welcome invitation, speshly as comin' fro' owd Jerry, an' we wurno' slow at followin' it up, becose noses wur gettin' pinched, an' throats a little bit frosty.  We'rn shown into th' kitchen, ut wur very nee as wide as Walmsley Fowt; an' we could feel th' warmth o' th' foire reet across, for th' flames wur swarmin' up a piece of an owd tree ut reared itsel' i'th' chimdy, like a foire king on his blazin' throne.

    "Poo up!" owd Bramble said, an' he motioned to some cheears ut wur very nee as heavy as so mony looms.  "An' yo' met as weel blow yo'r candles eaut, becose aw'm no' gooin' t' part wi' yo' o at once.  Yo'n ha to sing th' owd Rockingham afore yo' go'n.  Let's see, what is it theau coes it, Jammie?"

    "Th' owd Hurn-button," Jammie said, as he hauled his cheear to'ard th' hearthstone.

    "Aye, th' owd Hurn-button," Jerry said.  "Theau's fiddled that mony a hundert times, an' aw dar'say theau never played it yet wi' eaut booath thee an' th' fiddle gettin' fuddlet.  Let's see if aw con find th' depth o' thi throttle neaw."  We'd o on us getten sit deawn, an' owd Jerry lifted a big mug off th' hob, an' began a-ladin summat eaut o' th' inside.  "Try a vessel o' this," he said, hondin' a pint pot to Jammie Ogden.  "Th' men mun ha' pints, an' th' wenches gills, as they hanno' as big swallows as we han.  Neaw, Jammie, what dost think abeaut that?  Theau looks as if thi een wur gooin' t' have a bit of a swither."

    "Grand, Jerry," owd Jammie said, smackin' his lips leaud enoogh for t' drive a hoss with.  "Theau's put summat i' this beside ale an' milk."

    "Aye, ther's rum, an' spice, an' sugar," owd Bramble said, hondin' me the next pint.

    "An' eggs, Jerry," wur sheauted fro' to'ard th' top o'th' steears.  Hoo're a thin-eared un, wur owd Mary, an' hoo could yer as hoo lay i' bed.

    "Aye, an' eggs," Jerry said.  "Th' owd butter-makker's noane so weel this frost, but hoo'd ha' come'n deawn th' steears if awd letten her.  Well, what does theau think abeaut it, Ab?" he said to me.  "Thy nose hasno' bin polished enoogh yet for thee to be a gradely judge."

    "Aw'm so far a judge," aw said, "ut it tastes very moorish.  Aw could tackle this till dayleet."

    "Theau'rt a yallow-legged un, aw yer," th' owd farmer said, wi' a chuckle.  "It wur no addle egg ut hatched thee!"

    After th' men, th' women wur sarved.  Aw thowt they should ha' bin sarved th' fust.  An' didno' it bring colour eaut!  Yigh, an' th' polish, too!  Paint and beeswax couldno' ha' touched it.  Her ut's neaw my owd rib gan me a look, after hoo'd mopt her gill up, ut aw ha'no' forgetten yet.  It wur a sort of a "Whistle, an' aw'll come eaut, my lad," look.  An' it wurno' lung after that ut aw did whistle.  When th' rosin wur finished, we sang th' owd "Rockingham," an' aw believe we never did it betther.  Whoa couldno' sing the'r best after dippin' the'r bills i' sich a seed-box?  Then, feelin' abeaut hauve way on to glory, we sallied eaut for th' next shop.

    We wurno' quite as lucky as we wur at th' start, till we geet to th' finish.  Ther' no axin-ins, but owd Johnny o' Sammul's pockets kept gettin' heavier, so they' wur a bit o' satisfaction i' that.  At last we coome to th' "Hollies," an' theere we knew th' wind-up would be a grand un.  It wur, an o!

    We fund gates oppen when we geet to th' Hollies, not one gate, but booath; an' they looked like a pair o' arms sprad eaut to welcome us.  We'd abeaut two hundert yards to walk before we geet to th' heause, an' as owd Johnny o' Sammul's were rockin' abeaut i' th' front, for the posset had takken howd on him, aw'd getten hutcht close to his journeymen, [p.249] an' when aw held th' lantern to her face—aw shall catch it for this—aw could see ut hoo're in a fluster.

    "Dust think it would be ov ony use me comin' to yo'r gate, an' whistlin'?" aw said.

    "Aw shall no' tell thee," hoo said.  "Ift' doesno' try it on, theau'll never know."

    "Has owd Johnny that dog yet?" aw axt.

    "Aye, but it's festened up every neet."  That wur enoogh for me.  Aw could see a clear road to cooartin'.

    Nowt no moore wur said.  We geet to th' Hollies, an' chus wheere aw put misel' aw aulus fund th' owd gal at mi side.  Hoo're aside on me seven times a week afther that, till we geet wed.  Hoo's bin aside on me ever sin', an' sometimes leaudly.

    We gan th' singin' some bant when we knew it wur th' last time reaund.  Beside, th' posset wur helpin' us.  An' when we finished, an' yerd th' clatter o' knives an' plates inside, it wur enoogh to mak' one wish it wur Kesmus mornin' every day.

    Aw felt when aw geet into th' lobby, an' seed th' owd captain's face ut wur as rosy as his wine, an' his yure ut wur as white as th' hedges eautside, ut we'd dropt on eaur feet agen.  Heaw should we be when th' dur wur oppent for t' let us eaut?  Owd Marigowd had th' name o' never lettin' onybody leeave his dur-step as lung as they could see the'r road.  But Jammie Ogden said he'd slip him this time.  An' so owd Johnny o' Sammul's said.

    Th' table wur a seet to look at, wi' th' owd captain at th' yead, an' his heausekeeper at tother end.  We'd broth ut wur th' colour o' mi fustian jacket; an' when aw tasted mi jaws went o of a wakker.  It wur different to Shoiny Jim's "Soup au Oldham." [p.250]  Aw're towd it wur made eaut o' hare beef.  That wur enoogh to mak' one turn poacher.  We'd turkey—gradely turkey, after that; an' summat i' little glasses for t' drink to it.  Then we'd a hauve a brid a piece as black as a coal, wi' toasted bread made into crumbs to it.  Th' puddin' followed, blazin' up like fireworks; an' that sattlet us as far as th' atin went.  Then th' punch wur browt on th' table; an' owd Johnny o' Sammul's drew his sleeve across his meauth.

    "Aw'll just ha' one tot an' no moore," he said; but aw could see by his yammerin look ut he'd goo above one.

    "Neaw aw'll see heaw firm aw con be," Jammie Ogden said, "for if aw get two glasses o' that stuff aw dunno' know heaw aw mun get th' owd oon-dur whoam."

    Whether they had ony moore or not aw conno' swear.  But this aw do know, ut when th' gardener went to his wark at breakfast time he fund th' owd bass fiddle lyin' on th' lawn, wi' two strengs brokken, an lookin' o together as if it had had a war time on't!  Heaw t'others fared they wouldno' tell; but Billy Softly wur seen at dinner time scutterin' reaund th' end o' the'r heauses, wi' a napkin teed reaund his yead.  That towd a tale abeaut th' last time ut ever aw went eaut a Kesmas singin'.



THIS is th' road it wur fund eaut—

    Aw wur sit one neet windin' a bobbin or two for misel', so as th' childer could ha' time to get a bit o' larnin', an' no' be browt up as aw wur, wi' very little dayleet put into mi yead to show me th' road a gradely mon should goo.  A cowd, cuttin' wynt coome whistlin' under th' dur, an' lapt reaund mi legs, as if someb'dy wur coverin' 'em up wi' snow.  Ice-pointed pins wur stickin' i' mi sides, an' th' waft fro' mi wheel made mi face springe like corns when it's gooin' t' rain.  As coal wur hardly to be getten howd on at ony price (God help thoose ut are beaut!), aw'd a fire abeaut th' size an' colour o' owd Hollant's nose, ut gan no moore warmth nur th' candle ut hung fro' th' wheel-yead.  Fause Juddie had come a-neighbourin', an' he hutched as close to th' bars as th' fender ud let him; an' he'd his elbows pegged on his knees, an' his yead very nee i'th' chimdy-hole.  Th' childer wur gone to th' "Warmin' Skoo," wheere they payn a penny a neet for foire an' larnin', an' the'r mother had gone to a merry meal, wheere hoo likes bein'; so Juddie an' me had th' heause to eaursel's.

    "Aw'll tell thee what, Ab," th' owd lad said, givin' a shiver an' howdin' his knuckles abeaut an inch off th'reddest cinder, "we'd no 'casion to pray for cowd weather.  If this howds on we'st be starved (frozen) to deoth afore lung!  What dost think these colliers intend doin' wi' us?"

    "Yo' meean colliers' mesthers," aw said, becose aw knew ut folk i' some quarters laid o th' blame upo' th' men.

    "Well, they're booath alike," he said.  "Th' mesthers dunno' know when they'n pocketed enoogh o' brass; an' th' men winno' work as lung as they con get howd o' tuppence for a pint o' drink."

    "That's moore nur yo' know," aw said.  "Awdunno' think they're o alike i' that respect, though, fro' what aw've sin mony a time, we'n no right to expect findin' mony angels amung 'em.  But aw believe ther's dacent colliers, as weel as wayvers an' shopkeepers."

    "But they winno' work above eight heaurs a day neaw, an' hardly that," owd Juddie said, snappin' me up like a duck does a frog.

    "An' if yo'r wark wur like the'rs," aw said, "yo' wouldno' work one heaur a day, if ever yo' started at o.  Let's say what's fair abeaut everybody, even if it's that chap deawn below."

    "But they'rn used to work i' th' teens o' heaurs, an' for abeaut a third o' th' wage ut they're gettin' neaw," he said, "an' aw never yerd 'em grumble abeaut it."

    "An' what sort of an animal wur a collier then?" aw said.  "A week at once an' never seein' dayleeet, nobbut of a Sunday; an' i' danger every minute o' bein' oather blown up or brunt to a cinder!  He's what we'n made him—when we looked at colliers as we did so'diers, as men fit for nowt nobbut to face danger, so ut we could be safe an' comfortable eaursel's.  Ther' isno' a feyther i' this fowt neaw ut wouldno' rayther bury o his family nur trust 'em to wurtch i'th' coalpit!"

    "Ther's a bit o' truth i' that Ab!" owd Juddie said.  "If we could groo coal, like grooin' cotton an' nettles, we shouldno' ha' had this bother abeaut it.  Dost think we should?"

    "Not if we could groo it beawt land!" aw said.  "But so lung as we conno' shift a hon'ful o' soil, nor plant a twig, beawt axin' leov' o' one o' thoose lords yo'r so fond o' talkin' abeaut, an' payin' ony price they'n a mind to put on, we should just find eaursel's i' th' same mess we're in neaw."

    "Well, an' heaw would t' auter that?" owd Juddie wanted to know.

    "Put th' lond i' moore honds," aw said, "so ut it conno' be lock'd up, nor laid eaut for nowt nobbut shootin' o'er; an' yo'd find we should ha' booath beef an' coal chepper."

    Juddie put on his studyin' cap, an' scrat back o' one ear, as if he wur turnin' o'er an idea or two.  In a while he said—

    "Aw'm gettin' i' thy way o' thinkin', Ab, if theau does come off a breed o' yorneys.  If summat is no' done ut's never bin done yet, an' soon too, we'st be squozen into a corner ut we connot get eaut on yezzily.  Like mony a one beside me, ut never wore eaut the'r brains wi' thinkin' abeaut these things, aw've bin content to say—

Let laws and learning, trade and commerce die;
But leave us still our old nobility.

    "But when a mon con pocket his theausants in a year eaut o' lond ut he never paid a bodle, nor wurcht a day's wark for, it's time one begun a singin' another sung."

    Aw turned reawnd, an' looked at owd Juddie as he said that; an' aw thowt—"Owd lad, are yo'r clogs pinchin' yo'r toes?  Or han yo' getten' another window put into yo'r yead, ut yo'n fund a thing or two eaut ut yo' could never see afore?"  Just then aw poo'd a bobbin off th' spindle, an' i' doin' so nipt mi hont away rayther sharply.

    "What's to do wi' thee, Ab?" owd Juddie said, seein' me jump.

    "Aw've brunt mi finger an' thumb," aw said.

    "Heaw's that?" he said.  An' he geet up fro' his cheear, an' coome to mi.  "Hast had 'em i'th' candle?"

    "Nawe," aw said; "aw've brunt 'em wi' touchin' th' spindle.  Feel at it.  It's as wot (hot) as a tallyiron!"

    Juddie felt at th' spindle, an' his hat fairly rose on his yead.

    "Ab," he said, an' he trembl't as he said it, "what's caused that?"

    "Friction," aw said.

    "That's a word larned folks usen," he said, "an' meeans one thing rubbin' agen another."

    "Exactly," aw said.  "Th' spindle's bin made wot by turnin' reawnd."

    He shaked his yead, an' soiked.

    "This is a great day for us, Ab, if we'n a mind to mak' it so," he said, fausely.

    "Aw hope it's th' wu'st wi may ever see," aw said, "whether it's a big un or not.  But what mak's yo' say that?"

    "We'n fund summat eaut," he said, "ut may happen be th' cause of as great a change i' th' wo'ld as ever steeam wur.  Heaw wot con that spindle be made, aw wonder!"

    "Just put yo'r finger an' thumb to it," aw said, "an' aw'll gi' th' wheel a turn.  Yo'n soon find it eaut!"

    He did so; an' aw gan th' owd bit o' timber a whiz reaund middlin' briskly.

    "Oh, by dang!" he said, "theau's raised two blisters," an' he stuck his finger an' thumb in his meauth for t' cool 'em.  "But never mind; science mun ha' its martyrs.  Ab, ther's no tellin' what this may leead to.  Let's keep it to eaursels, an' we may happen mak' a fortin' or two eaut on't.  Aw'll rub these owd wits o' mine up a bit, an' try if aw conno' plan summat for makkin' yeat (heat) beaut fire.  Theau knows aw geet to within a wheel or two o' findin' eaut perpetual motion, an' belike aw con do summat wi' this."

    "But wheere win yo' get yo'r turnin' peawer fro'?" aw said, seein' ut he're knockin' his yead agen science rayther clumsily.

    "That's just wheer aw'm fast in it," he said, wi' a bit of a lowerin' of his botham jaw.  "But theau sees, Ab, o th' great inventors han had great difficulties to o'ercome.  If they hadno', everybody ud be plannin' summat, an' th' wo'ld ud be filled wi' fause folk.  Aw'll go straight whoam an' sleep on't; an' happen bi mornin' aw shall ha' planned a contrivance ut 'll tak' Walmsley Fowt bi storm some o' these cowd days!"

    "Aw hope so, if it's nobbut for th' sake o' poor folk," aw said.

    "Poor folk be hanged!" he said.  "We mun think abeaut number one if we meean t' get on.  Just thee fancy, in a month or two Taylor & Fletcher, Patent-Fire-without-Furnace Machine Makers!'  Dost co that nowt?"

    "It ud be a grand consarn, no deaut," aw said.

    "Grand!—aye.  Aw'll tell thi what, Ab," an' owd Juddie knock'd his honds t'gether like a praicher, "we'n ruin these coal mesthers straightforrad.  Aw'm like as aw con see 'em neaw offerin' folk coal for th' price o' gettin' on't, an' happ'n givin' summat eawt o' the'r own pockets for t' get 'em off the'r honds.  Aw'll come o'er i'th' mornin', an' let thee know heaw aw've gone on.  Keep dark, an' eaur fortins are made."

    Wi' that he whizzed eaut o'th' heause, an' gan th' dur a bang ut shook o th' timber abeaut it, wi' bein' i' sich glee.

    Aw turned to mi wheel agen an' thry'd to wind a bobbin or two moore, but it wur no use.  Th' thowts o' owd Juddie, an' wonderin' what sort of a plan he'd hit on, took th' wark eaut o' mi fingers; so aw blew mi candle eaut, an' went deawn to th' "Owd Bell."

    Well, th' mornin' after, just as we'rn finishing breakfast, owd Juddie coome scutterin' into th' heause in as big a hurry as if he'd a dog after him, an' as soon as he'd banged th' dur to, he said, an' aw'se never forget th' way he said it in,—

    "Ab, aw've done it!"

    "Yo' never han, surely!" eaur Sal said, jumpin' up fro' th' table quite in a gloppent way.  "Heawever could yo' do it?"

    "Do what?" owd Juddie said, starin' at eaur Sal like a wild cat.

    "Wheay, yo' said t'other neet ut if yo' ever catch'd yo'r Betty wi' a sweetheart agen yo'd hang her up by th' yure o' th' yead!"

    "Aw will, too, if hoo con find no betther a bargain nur ony o' Thrutcher lads.  But theau'rt a bit off thi hoss, neaw, Sarah.  Yo'r Ab knows what aw meean.  Stir th' foire up, wench, we'st soon ha' coals chepper."  An owd Juddie planked hissel' deawn at th' hobside, an' put his feet i'th' hesshole.

    "Oh, so as yo'n done nowt wrung aw dunno' care," th' owd Rib said.  An' hoo stuck th' foire potter i'th' bars, an' raised a bit of a blink, ut favvort bein' feart some mistake had bin made, an' it wur nobbut shoinin' upo' sufferance.

    "Well, neaw, Ab," owd Juddie said, as soon as he'd getten his clogs comfortably amung th' cinders, "aw've getten o'er every difficulty.  O ut we han to do is to set to wark straightforrad, an' put a machine up; aw've fund a peawer eaut ut never fail't yet, an' never will while th' wo'ld turns an' th' say rowls."

    "Wayter?" aw said, thinkin' ut as th' bruck ran by th' back ov his garden he'd happen bin calkilatin' o' getten' his turnin' peawer eaut o' that.

    "Wayter, nawe," he said, "though that's useful wheere ther's plenty on it; but if theau'rt buildin' a consarn o'th' top o' Blackston' Edge theau'd get little wayter peawer theer.  But ther's one thing theau could ha' plenty on—wynt!"

    "Aw never thowt abeaut wynt," aw said.  An' summat like th' A B C of owd Juddie's plan crept into mi noddle.

    "Wynt, Ab; ther's plenty o' that, owd lad!  Sometimes we'n moore on't nur we liken; but that we conno' help.  Let's put it to some use while we con ha' it for nowt.  Aw shouldno' wonder but in a very short time we'se be havin' a tax on it; so mony folk 'll be usin' it!"  An' owd Juddie chuckled to hissel' as he spekilated upo' what wur likely to be th' upshot of his new invention when it coom into use.

    "Well," aw said, an' aw squared misel' for harkenin', "what's this plan like?  Con yo' mak' it understood to common brains like mine?"

    "Simple as wheelin' a barrow," he said.  "But, as its my invention, aw think aw owt t' ha' th' fust benefit eaut on't; an' owt ut's manufactured after should go to th' firm."

    "That's nobbut fair," aw said.

    "Well, neaw then," owd Juddie said, "aw've a greenheause i' my garden, theau knows; an' aw've fund it very expensive keepin' a foire gooin' in it this winter.  Suppose neaw, ut th' fust machine ut's made is put to warmin' that?  Aw'll be at o th' expense o' timber an' stuff, if theau'll gi'e thi wark in."

    "Oh, aw'll agree to that," aw said, "if it winno' tak' so very mich time."

    "Two days 'll do it, after aw've getten things ready," owd Juddie said.  "Aw've plenty o' wood ut wur laft eaut o' th' last heauses aw put up; so ut aw con set to wark at once."

    "But yo' ha' no' towd me what th' plan is like yet," aw said.

    "Just as simple as this," he said, an' he put th' flats of his honds t'gether, an' begun a rubbin' 'em.  "Theau sees that action?"

    "Aye!" aw said.

    "Well, aw'll get two pieces o' hard wood turned abeaut th' size o' barrow trindles, an' abeaut th' thickness of a thin cheese.  They'd be moore like two o' thoose cheeses ut aw sell at sevenpence a peaund nur owt else.  One should rest upo' t'other, th' flat sides t'gether, an' turn reaund contrary ways; an' mi drivin' peawer shall be a wyndymill put up i' th' garden."

    "Brayvo!" aw said.  "Aw con see it neaw straight-forrad.  But dunno yo' think ther's a chance o'th' wood gettin' o' foire?"

    "Not a bit!" he said.  "Good owd oak—an' aw've two fine pieces on't, as seawnd as a box, they are—would throw off a deeal o' yeat afore they raised a blaze.  Iron ud do betther, aw dar' say, but we're like to put up wi' sich material as we con get for a trial."

    "Sartinly," aw said.  "Aw hope it'll turn eaut betther nur eaur cellar-navigation skame."

    "What wur that?"

    "Sailin' o'er for bacon."

    "Thee go to Jericho! " he said, givin' a twitch reawnd.  "That wur thy skame, an' not mine.  Besides, ther's no danger i' this, unless someb'dy gets wun reawnd th' wyndymill.  It's a wonder, Ab, ut summat o' this soart has never bin fund eaut afore, becose aw've read abeaut folk i' some parts o' Scotland, when they'n bin too far off a foire, warmin' the'rsel's wi' rubbin' agen a stump!"

    "Aw think aw've read summat o'th' soart," aw said; "but Scotchmen are so modest, they never boast abeaut it the'rsel's, an' are noan so weel pleast if other folk mention it."

    "That's th' charikter aw've yerd on 'em afore," owd Juddie said.  "But neaw abeaut business.  Are we to goo on?"

    "Bi o meeans," aw said.

    "Then aw'll goo an' mak' a start."  Owd Juddie geet up off his cheear as he said it, an' strode across th' floor at two strides, an' stretcht hissel' like a paecock when it knows someb'dy's lookin' at it.  "Theau fairly understonds th' plan?" he said, as he took owd o' th' dur latch.

    "Quite," aw said.

    "An' th' bargain, too?"

    "Aw think so."

    "Share th' profits after puttin' so mich o one side for extendin' th' business."

    "That's understood."

    "Then aw'm off!" an' Juddie dashed deawn th' fowt like a rent collector when somebody wants some repairs doin'.

    "What's yon crazy-pate getten in his yead neaw?" eaur Sal said, as soon as th' owd lad had turned his back.

    "He's gooin' t' bring th' price o' coals deawn," aw said.  It wur th' least aw could say.

    "Him!" th' owd Rib said, in a way ut very few con say like her.  "If we'en never coals chepper nobbut through what yon skylark does we may wait a while."

    "Dunno' say so mich," aw said.  "Ther's a chamber or two i' yond owd yead o' his wi' summat beside cobwebs in 'em.  Aw've seen into th' plan, an' aw believe it'll do."

    "Humph!" eaur Sal said, an' hoo beawled off into th' loomheause.  "Let's see, Ab," hoo said, when aw'd followed her, "owd Juddie wur gooin' t' mak' a loom ut ud wayve by itsel', wurno' he?"

    "Well, aw believe he did try," aw said.

    "An' what become on it?"

    "He brunt it."

    "Aye, an' if he doesno' brun th' next thing he tak's i' hond it'll cap me.  An owd witch as he is!"

    Ther nowt no moore said.

    It took owd Juddie a fortnit to get ready for puttin' th' machine t'gether—turnin' th' "rubbin' cylinders," as he coed th' foire mill; makin' pulleys, an' axles, an' th' sails o'th' wyndymill.  At last he said here ready for my help; so aw spent a Friday an' a Setterday i' owd Juddie's garden, fittin' up an' makin' bits o' trials as we went on.  Everythin' turned eaut quite satisfyin'; an' we could see a chance o' coals comin' deawn at a gallop.

    No' bein' so mich wynt at fust, th' mill went rayther slower nun we expected.  Then th' ropes, ut had to do i'stead o' straps, kept slippin' an' hinder't th' thing a bit.  Th' grindin' part o'th' machinery wur fitted up i'th' greenheause; an' th' turnin' tackle went through th' wall to th' wyndymill, ut Juddie calkilated wur abeaut four jackass peawer.  We couldno' get th' cylinders up to a yeat ut ud melt a candle; but if th' wynt ud brisken up a bit aw could see summat could be done.  Abeaut th' third day ther coom a keen north-yeaster, an' th' mill went reaund finely.  Th' cylinders wur as wot as a oon, an' rare spekilations owd Juddie made as he stood i'th' greenheause, feelin' at th' yeat.

    "If th' cylinders wur made o' iron, Ab," he said, "an' went reaund twice as fast, they'd soon be red.  Is no' it wonderful? "

    "Floggin'!" aw said.

    "Heaw mich would t' give for a coal pit, neaw?" he said.

    "Aw'd hardly ha' one gan me," aw said.

    "Th' Co-op. folk munno' know nowt abeaut this till its patented," he said.

    "It shanno' get eaut through me," aw said.  "Aw've to' big an interest at stake."

    "Eaur folk wondert what wurt' do yesterneet, when th' wynt wur gettin' up," Juddie said.  "They could yen grindin' an' craikin', an' rumblin' an' whistlin', but could no' mak' eaut what wur th' cause on't.  Aw knew at th' same time what wur do'in' it; an' wur very nee gettin' eaut o' bed o seein what height th' momiter wur."

    "Yo'r wenches ud think it wur a boggart," aw said.

    "A boggart!" an' owd Juddie rubbed his honds, an' chuckled in his fause way.  "Ther moor folk beside eaur wenches thowt it wur a boggart.  Mally-at-th'-rain-tub wur i' eaur bake-heause this mornin', an' sayin' ther'd bin summat seen i' eaur garden neet afore, at no ackeawnt could be made on—summat at kept throwin' it arms abeaut like a dozen morris doancers drunken.  Robin o' Peggy's browt his gun eaut, an' had a shot at it, but it took no effect; th' arms kept flying abeaut just th' same.  Aw thowt misel' aw yerd a gun goo off i' th' neet time but aw laid it upo' th' poachers, so took no fur notice on't.  Th' neighbours ull be rarely bothert till they find it eaut, winno they, Ab?"

    "It's likely," aw said, "ther' never wur sich a contrivance afore."

    "Bangs Tummy Tootlers poetry does no it?" he said.  "Theau mun recollect, Ab, its my invention; so 'at if we share th' profits, aw mun ha' th' name o' bein' th' finder-eaut.  Aw may have a moniment when aw'm deod!"

    "Aw'm sure yo' win," aw said.  "At ony rate, aw winno' spoil yo'r chance."

    "Suprisin' is no it?" he said, "'at wynt has no bin put to moore use, when it costs nowt?  Look what millions o' tons o' coals are wasted every year i' doin' summat 'at th' stormy winds met be put to!  An' th' danger ther' is i' usin' steeam, too!  Owd Thuston, theau sees, met have a wyndymill for to do his churnin' an' haychoppin', an' turmit-cuttin', i'stid o' havin' yond steeam jiggerty-jig puffin' away at it.  It must cost him summat neaw for foire.  Then aw expect th' end o' his kitchen bein' blown in sometime, for the'r Peggy is no' mich o' an injuneer."

    "Steeam's a dangerous thing for a woman to meddle wi'," aw said.

    "Aye, or a mon oather," Juddie said.  "But wynt yo' may trust i' onybody's fingers.  Theau sees aw may put this wyndymill o' mine to grindin' maut, for lads turn up the'r noses neaw at sixpence a day an' baggins for turnin' th' maut mill.  Aw con save o that, theau sees.  Then agen, we'n had no organ music at th' church these three Sundays, becose they con get nob'dy t' blow sin crazy Johnny shut up.  Why no' put a wyndymill upo' th' steeple ut ull do th' wark?  It ud look as weel as yond ale-warmer they'n put o'th' top.  Mon, we dunno' know ut we're born yet!  Dost no' feel as warm as if theau're in a bakeheause?"

    "Not quite," aw said.

    "Then theau'rt of a nesh natur'," he said.  "Aw'm sweatin' neaw.  If th' speed keeps up I'se ha' t' goo eaut a-coolin' misel'."

    "Yo'r plants dunno' seem to know what to mak' o' this consarn," aw said.

    "Nawe," owd Juddie said.  "They keepen hangin' the'r yeads deawn, an' lookin' what's gooin' on.  They ha' no' bin browt up to bein' warm't wi' machinery; an'plants are a bit quare as weel as Christians.  Th' mill's gooin' bravely, is no' it, Ab?  Dost no' smell a smell o' brunnin'?"

    "Aye, aw do," aw said.  "Thoose cylinders are gettin' warm.  They should no' foire."

    "Will theau foire?" he said wi' a huff.  "They'd strike sparks off, an' then they would no' brun.  Gradely owd oak that is, mon!  But come, let's go deawn to th' 'Owd Bell', an' have a pint or two for t' drink success to eaur new invention.  We'st be above drinkin' fourp'ny eenneaw."

    So to th' "Owd Bell" we went, wheere we tarried till punsin'-eaut time, owd Juddie fairly hutchin' o th' while we'rn theere for t' let th' cat eaut o' th' bag, an' tell abeaut his warmin' machine.  He geet coed summat beside a truth-teller mony a time for sayin' coals 'ud come deawn wi' a rattle afore lung.  Aw thowt Jack-o'-Flunter's 'ud ha' hoven him into th' fowt once for tellin' him he'd be clemmed to deoth afore th' winter wur o'er.  Jack's begun a-workin' i' th' coal-pit, an' says he're never betther off in his life, so he're hardly likely for t' stond owd Juddie's talk.  Every time ther a bit o' quietness i' th' heause owd Juddie ud say, "Yer thee, Ab, heaw th' wynt's blowin'!  Th' engine's gooin' rarely neaw, aw know."  Just as we're gooin' eaut the'r Betty coome runnin' to th' dur, an' said her feyther must be sharp whoam.

    "Wheay, what's up?" he said, lookin' quite takken.

    "Th' greenheause is o ov a foire!" Betty said, "an' we darno' go nee it.  Do be sharp!"

    Th' owd lad set eaut like Dicky Misfortin', [p.265] an' me after him as hard as we could leather; an' when we geet to eaur fowt we could see his greenheause wur o ov a hallybash, an' th' wyndymill workin' away as if nowt had happened.  We set to work at once, an' geet th' foire eaut as soon as we could; but o th' glass i' th' roof wur brokken, an' a lot o' th' plants looked as if they'd wintered badly somewheer.  He'd covered th' floor wi' straw for t' help th' warmin', never thinkin' th' cylinders ud tak' foire.  But it seems they had done, an' brunt the'rsel's black, beside settin' foire to th' straw, ut wur as dry as tinder, an' ud soon catch.

    "Heaw are shares sellin'?" aw said to owd Juddie, as soon as we'd getten th' foire eaut.

    He never spoke, but walked away, an' never sin then have aw yerd a word abeaut "Taylor and Fletcher, Patent-Fire-Without-Furnace Machine Makers."  But th' wyndymill's workin' yet.

    "Ther mony a one said ut owd Juddie had dropt his 'bacca amung th' straw, an' it had takken foire through that.  But some folk ull say owt."





OWD PIGEON wur as droy a brid
    As ever swiped his drink;
He liked to see a frothy pint
    Smile at his nose, an' wink.

At morn or neet, 'twur aulus reet,
    A quart, or pint, or gill
Wur th' same to him; if th' pot wur full,
    He never had his fill.

If e're he geet his breeches' knees
    Beneath a tapreaum table,
He'd sit, an' drink, an' smook, an' wink,
    As lung as he wur able.

He'd grown so firm to th' aleheause nook
    An' swiped so mony mixtures,
'At when it coom to changin' honds
    He're reckoned amung th' fixtures.

Whene'er their Betty brewed a "peck,"
    If he could find a jug,
He wouldno' wait till th' ale wur "tunned,"
    He'd lade it eaut o'th' mug.

One neet Owd Pigeon flew to'ard whoam,
    Wi' a very wobblin' flutter;
Sometimes he'd tumble into th' hedge,
    An' sometimes into th' gutter.

He knew he're late, an' didno' want
    Their Betty t' see a leet;
So crept upsteers to bed i'th' dark,
    An' in his stockin' feet.

He groped abeaut i'th' sleepin' cote,
    An' felt for th' drawers an' th' bed;
But nowt he touched, till th' bedpost flew
    An' banged agen his yead!

"Theigher," said Pigeon, "that's a go
    Someb'dy's bin workin' charms;
It's th' fust time e'er aw knew mi nose
    Wur lunger nor mi arms!"

But poor Owd Pigeon's time had come,
    An' when his will he'd signt,
He said he ailed nowt nobbut "drooth,"
    An' begged for another pint.

His "rulin' passion" stuck till death;
    An' as th' Slayer raised his dart,
He licked his lips, an' faintly said,
    "Just mak' it int' a quart!"

"Aw wouldno' care a pin for th' grave,
    Though totterin' upo' th' brink,
If aw could come back wi' th' buryin' folk,
    An' ha' mi share o'th' drink."





"YO may talk o' hard times," said owd Abram o' Dan's,
    But yo'n nobbut touched th' fringe on 'em yet.
They'rn harder when bacon wi' th' scithors wur cut,
    An' porritch no wayver could get;
When th' wynt would blow through yo' as if you'rn a sieve,
    An' whistled the keener it froze;
When we'd nothin' to fence eaur cowd bodies 'gen th' cowd,
    But creep-o'ers an' howd-teh-bi-th'-wohs. [p.270]

"They'n hard times when a crust o' Breawn George wur too hard
    For rottans to drag i' their holes;
When childer wur moore scientific nur rats,
    An' bored for 't, like borin' for coals.
They made a big hole i'th' timbers o'er th' shelf,
    Heaw they did it, wheay, nobody knows;
But th' crust o' Breawn George disappeared like a ghost,
    Then 'twur creep-o'ers, an' howd-teh-bi-th'-wohs.

"It wur dangerous t' turn eaut wi' yo'r owler new graised,
    For yo'rn sure to be tracked by dogs.
If they'd smelt mutton fat they'd ha' set yo' i'th' lone,
    An' etten both tops off yo'r clogs.
If a bakin'-day happened, though seldom one coome,
    Mi feyther'd get ready for blows.
He'd ha' guarded th' oon dur like a sentry i'th' wars,
    More creep-o'ers, an' howd-teh-bi-th'-wohs.

"No pawnbroker throve eaut o'th' custom he geet,
    Becose folk had nothin' to pop.
They'd takken the'r rags till they'd noane they could spare,
    Unless they'd ha' stript 'em i'th' shop.
Little help could be squeezed eaut o'th' rich i' thoose days,
    Noather i' mayte, foire, nor 'thank yo' sir' clothes;
They walled reaund the'r heauses, an' shut up the'r hearts,
    When we'd creep-o'ers, an' howd-teh-bi-th'-wohs.

"Aw've worn eaut mi owler i' lookin' for wark,
    But of wark they wur noane to be had;
When th' mice emigrated, an' deed upo' th' road;
    An' wi' th' rottans—wheay, things wur as bad.
When th' brids coome i' flocks to a cottager's dur,
    An' showed 'em the'r frost-bitten toes,
An' heaw slackly the'r fithers hung on to the'r backs,
    They couldno' ate howd-teh-bi-th'-wohs.

"Aw think it quite time these owd limbs wur at rest,
    Or on the'r long journey to'ard whoam,
Wheere ther's no frost nor snow, an' no yammerin' hearts
    Nor hauve naked bodies con come.
Aw yerd a voice sayin', 'Ye sufferers on earth,
    Come hither, and try your new clothes!
For the poor shall be rich, and the rich all alike,'—
    No moore creep-o'ers, or howd-teh-bi-th'-wohs!






Johnny o' th' Bell, the host of the "Blue Bell," used to declare emphatically that there was only one sparrow in Moston, and it was black with being shot at!


Askers: Newts.


Sowe: Paste made from flour.


See "Ab-o'th'-Yate and Chep Beef," in Vol. III.


Weavers who were not of the family were used to be called journeymen. Ab takes the liberty of calling his sweetheart one.


See "Shoiny Jim's Kesmus Dinner," in Vol. III.


A famous race-runner fifty years ago.


Creep-o'ers—"Creep over stiles."

Howd-teh-bi-th'-wohs—"Hold-thee-by-the-walls," a kind of gruel sweetened with treacle.



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