LANCASHIRE WIT AND HUMOUR.
BY BEN BRIERLEY
One Wednesday night, in November, 1892, Mr. Ben Brierley read a
paper entitled "Lancashire Wit and Humour," at the White Lion Hotel,
Blackley, in connection with the White Lion Literary Club. Mr.
Peter Ball presided, and there was a large attendance.
Mr. BRIERLEY said: The distinguishing
feature of Lancashire Humour is its quaintness. I do not know
a better term to apply to it. Some people seem to think it
depends upon the dialect. Nothing of the kind! The
dialect, certainly, gives force to its expressiveness; and lends a
colouring to a story that ordinary language cannot give it.
That is all! Others have an idea that the dialect a genuine
man of the soil uses is simply vulgarised English, and bad spelling,
mixed. Authors that I care not to be classed with, have
clothed their ideas in the most outrageous orthography, and called
it humour, when there has not been a scintillation of humour to
light up a sentence. I can see no fun in spelling Cobden with
a K. Yet it is to be found in a very popular book, and is
quoted as a specimen of Lancashire humour. A person who
pretends to be a humourist, and has no better claim to the title,
deserves to be forgotten, at least.
Lancashire humour depends upon the manner in which it is
employed, either in telling a story, or carrying on a conversation.
Vulgarity is not one of its essentials. It rather detracts
from its strength, while it adds nothing to its point. There
is a subtlety about it that is closely allied to art; and a stranger
cannot find out where this quality lies, nor how it is transmitted.
Perhaps it would be a puzzle to the Lancashire man himself.
But the secret of his success in telling a story is his attention to
climaxes. He knows where to place them. No one has to
inquire where the laugh comes in. This faculty has been
acquired by long practice. Winter evenings have been his
opportunities, when there has been nothing to draw him away from the
human fender formed round the cottage hearth. His own
fireside, or that of a neighbour, was his club. It was there
the village folks met on evenings for recreation, which was
sometimes to them "as good as a play." At the week's end the
alehouse was their theatre; their music hall; their palace of
varieties, with a refreshment bar, rolled into one. It was the
alehouse because the people had no choice. There were no
concerts; nor entertainments of any kind. And whoever lived a
working man's life in those days knows how dreary it would have been
but for these nightly gatherings.
But in spite of the privations the poor suffered it was a
privilege to have lived at such a time; and among a people who knew
not the inside of a police court. They gathered fun as bees do
honey; and enjoyed it the better because unadulterated with grosser
things. Their equanimity was not every day disturbed by
hearing of murders and other crimes. No great frauds planned
to rob them. It is a wonderful aid to humour is having an easy
mind. You could not expect fun out of a man with a wrinkled
In my rambles I have discovered that humour lies in veins,
like ore. In some places there are "faults," whole villages
are devoid of it. What should be humour simply consists of a
jingling of cant phrases, often meaningless, and sometimes stupid.
Factory life was in a great measure responsible for this. The
noise of the machinery made conversation impossible, unless the
words were spoken through the nose. Hence the singing of a
mill hand was not pleasant. The tone was not natural, only in
females. You never hear of a good tenor singer emanating from
the factory. Their sense of humour is blunted from the same
cause. They cannot rub shoulders together. Not so with
the handloom weaver, the hatter, and the followers of such trades as
are not noisy.
I was once travelling from Manchester to Todmorden when I was
suffering from a cold on the lungs. I got into a non-smoking
carriage. I was joined at Rochdale by two apparently mill
hands. They had short pipes, which they at once began charging
with vile smoking tobacco. I reminded them that it was a
non-smoking carriage, so they quietly put up their guns, and treated
me to some of the vilest music that ever sawed off an ear. I
knew by that they were mill hands. After listening to a few
bars, that sounded like the clang of bars of iron, I said, "Chaps,
aw think aw can stond smoke neaw." Pipes were out in a
snifter, and I thanked the young men for their willingness to oblige
me. On leaving the train I heard one of them remark to the
other, "Yond mon 'ud rayther have er smokin' nor our singin'."
There are many droll anecdotes told about local musicians at
a time when there was no Besses-o'-th'-Barn Band to give concerted
music a charm that it never had before when given by amateurs.
"Yond's Tunnicliffe playin' his tripilo (piccolo)," said one old
villager to another, "Aw reckon he's gooin' to play at this grand
oratoryio." Here is another, and quite representative of the
old country bands.
TH' OWD BASSOON PLAYER.
Lancashire has bin noted for its music, speshly on its
moorsides, wheer heawses are as thinly dotted o'er as curran's used
to be i' my groony's oon-cakes. Heaw they used to find the'r
road fro' one to another o' dark neets would puzzle folks neaw-a-days.
But thoose 'at wur livin' then managed to blunder through th' lanes
as if they knew wheer every stone an' every gutter lay, an' could
stride o'er 'em. Wayterside wur a rare place for coortin.'
If owd Johnny Fildes, the farmer, coome eawt wi' a stick he'd know
better nor leeave th' dur. He knew it wouldno' be safe to
cross th' fowt, nor for younger foalk if they're strangers. So
the'r Ann an' her chap could have the'r own way, speshly when they
seed th' tassel of a neet cap bobbin' through th' chamber window.
They knew then o wur safe. They knew, too, it wouldno' be long ere
silence, an' th' stars, an' th' music o'th' river would ha' th' neet
to the'rsels. But sometimes a growl would come like a note o'
boggart music fro' owd Johnny's heawse, an' noane o' th' childer
abeawt du'st go past th' dur. Owd Johnny played th' bassoon
i'th' Wayterside Band, or did play it afore th' band wur brokken up.
Neaw he nobbut played o' "charity" days at th' Little Jireh, when
owd Mally would brew, an' buy an extry penn'orth o' furnityer
polish, when it wur the'r turn to quieten th' hunger worm, for owd
Bobbin Joe, th' praicher. He flung th' poker at Sleawcher one
neet becose he axt him if he'd a cawve deein'. Owd Johnny had
bin doin' a bit of a practice on th' bassoon.
Well, one neet that winter th' band broke up; they'rn havin'
a practice at th' Shelf—that's at t'other moorside to owd Johnnys's,
an' a dule of a neet it wur to begin wi'. It snowed, an' froze
till everythin' cracked like a cart whip before th' moon rose.
Then a thaw set in. It begun i' owd Beawser kitchen after th'
band had drunken abeawt three peck o' th' practisin' drink.
Owd Johnny couldno' ha' towd a tree fro' a cleawd when he went for
t' go whoam if it hadno' bin for th' moon. Ther a bridge made
o' four planks, an' one side railed off, lay across th' river, an'
this bridge wur covered wi' snow, but black wheer feet had bin.
Owd Johnny had to cross this bridge, wheer he used his bassoon for a
walkin' stick. He seed th' footprints i'th' snow, an' he thowt
it wur music. He stopt.
"It may be good music," he said, "but it's d―――d badly
pricked. Ther's nob'dy i' eawr band could play that, nobbut th'
drummer. Let's try if aw con blow a stave," an' he fixed
hissel wi' th' meawth-piece o' th' bassoon bobbin' fuss i' one ear,
then i' t'other. When he geet it int' his meawth he blew.
Th' seawnd echoed between th' hills wi' sich a dismal noise 'at owd
Johnny staggered, an' th' drink he'd had helped him; then deawn he
went int' th' wayter. Theere he lay, wi' his body on th' bank
an' his feet i'th' river, an' th' moon shoinin' full in his face.
He're as fast asleep as an owd smithy dur. A neighbour seein'
him tried to reawse him up, but o 'at he could get eawt o' owd
Johnny wur a grunt, an' "Put moore clooas on mi feet, Mal, an' blow
th' candle eawt!"
As I have said, to have lived at the time when these stories
originated was a privilege. Humour may have been given to the
people as a compensation for many things they were deprived of, and
no very bad substitute neither, as the health of the old people who
are passing away abundantly testifies. This habit of rubbing
shoulders together at these domestic clubs produced many a
semi-professional tale-teller, who went about the country after the
manner of itinerant theatricals, with this difference, the
auditorium being a drawing room in place of a barn. I knew one
of this fraternity who was in great request at gentlemen's houses
for miles round. His wife remarked he seldom was at home,
unless he came for a change of air.
In this Lancashire of ours, 6o years ago, the people outside
the manufacturing towns had no places of amusement. In those
days there was no Peter Street in Manchester, with its Free Trade
Hall and Theatres, to rouse them out of the sleep of their hum-drum
life. So they would send for one of these story-tellers; and
if they fed and fuddled him in return for the entertainment he
provided he thought he was amply paid. But sometimes he got
more. His house was the repository for cast-off clothing, so
that it might have been said of his family that they were the
"glasses of fashion" of, perhaps, 2o years before. A local poetaster
hath said of one of these recipients of these benefactions:—
There is one Joseph ―
He lives i' eawr lone,
He wears a black cooat
That is not his own.
Unfortunately, when this person died many of his stories died with
him. Pen and ink were not in great request in some of our
country villages in those days. The tales were told from
memory; and where they have not been picked up by collectors they
have been lost. John Collier was a collector; so was Robert
Walker. The anecdotes they wove into their stories had been
heard in the taproom corner, or in the domestic clubs of the time.
They were not their own inventions. They were adaptations from
others, and put into the mouths of their own characters. These
shreds were so artistically stitched together, and with such
attention to the harmony of colour, that they could be presented in
the form of a whole piece.
As an illustration of what I mean, I may instance old Joshua
Brooks, the eccentric Manchester parson. I wonder how many
stories of various kinds the anecdotes told about him have been
woven into? How much would have been said about other people
had they been as well known? I have in my own time rescued a
few of these anecdotes and sayings on their passage to the dust-bin
of oblivion, some of which I have presented to the public in my own
form. As examples, I may quote from my collection the
A "SOND BRID."
Long Jammie wur a brid stuffer; an' it used to be his boast
'at he'd every fithert animal, or one like it, 'at ever flew on
wing, or hung on a wall. He'd everythin' fro' a hummabee to a
flyin' jackass; an' he'd ha' had a pair o' thoose if Billy o' Bobs
would alleaw hissel' to be stuffed.
"Theaw't one thing short," Billy said one day, as here lookin'
reawnd Jammie's "musaum," as he co'ed his collection.
"What's that?" Jammie wanted to, know.
"It's a very skase brid," Billy said, "Co'ed a sond brid."
"Ay, it mun be skase or else aw should ha' had a specimens i'
my musaum," Jammie said. "But what is it like?"
"It's like o'th' bit-bat gender," Billy said. "It's a
yead like a cat, an' feet like a duck; an' when it flies it uses its
feet like paddles to guide itsel'."
"But why dun they co' it a sond brid?"
"Well, theaw sees, it's a native o'th' Great Desert o' Sara;
an' when it's windy, it flies tail fust, to keep sond eawt o' its
Lancashire men have been represented to be a hardy race of
people. Physically they could endure anything. They
could stand fire and water with an indifference that almost amounted
to stoicism. They could sing while descending into a coal mine
when they could smell that destructive element the black, or
choke-damp, and even jest about the possibility of going up with
their bones "mixed, cobs an' burgy, wi' a bit o' slack thrown in."
It is said that Moston folks, I mean the old inhabitants, used to go
to "Dickey Pit" to see if it rained. They could not feel it.
An instance of this indifference to weather occurred within my own
experience, and illustrates at the same time the humorous side of
the Lancashire character.
The inhabitants of the moorsides, which may be called the border
land that divides the counties of York and Lancaster, used to be a
hardy race of people. Being inured to a rough kind of life,
they seemed indifferent to rough weather and rough fortune, wind or
rain, sunshine or cold, it was all the same to these "moorsiders."
They were like "Jimmy Sprigbit," who sat under a hedge at midnight
during a heavy downpour, singing "The heavenly dews are falling,
love," as contentedly as if he had been in my lady's bower. He
used to say he was "duck built," water had no effect on him. I
was once making my way along an old lane north of Oldham, when the
wind was blowing "big guns," and the rain pouring in torrents,
fencing myself as well as I could against both with my "Gamp," when
I passed an old man, minus coat and hat, humming to himself, and
walking as leisurely as though it had been a fine summer day.
As I passed him he called out
Heigh, Mesthur, are yo' ony judge o' weather?"
"Not much," I answered, impatiently.
"Well, but, dun yo' think this'll turn to rain?"
A character in my story "Red Windows Hall," makes use of his
peculiar style of speech in begging for something he wanted.
This may shock teetotallers, but if we have to describe a character,
with the most prominent of his idiosyncrasies, we must speak of him
as we find him, without paint or varnish, or without taking off the
warts. Sam is in want of a pint of beer, without knowing how
to obtain it. An idea, as Waugh would say, "trickles into his
pate," and addressing a landlady, says—
"Didt ever know sich dry weather as this?" At the same
time looking down into the empty pot at his elbow. "It's very
dry, sartinly," replied Tabby, but without seeming to take the hint
the old man had thrown out. "Hum," said Sam, "an' it's as
dusty as th' Desert o' Jerusalem, ift' knows wheere that is."
Tabby had heard of deserts, but thought there was none near
Jerusalem. "Blows cleawds o' sond up theere 'at maks a chap's
e'en look like two stone marbles afore he con wink." "Really!"
exclaimed the landlady. "Ay, an' if he doesno' shut his meawth
it maks him into an egg timer straight forrard." "Well, I
never!" "Just so; an' if he's sweating at th' time he gets so
peppered o'er 'at if th' Indians catches him they strippen his skin,
un' makken it into sond papper fort' polish the'r bows an' arrows,
an' sharpen the'r teeth with." "Theaw never says?" "How
would't like to be theere, owd crayther, an' no aleheawse abeawt?"
"Aw shouldno', Sam," "Nawe, nor thou wouldno' like to see me
made ins' an egg-timer, wouldta?" "Not I, marry." "Nor
sond papper, noather?" "Eh, dear me, nawe." "Well, I'm
feart I shall be oather one or t'other if aw ha' no' another pot
full," and Sam gasped, an' blowed, an' sputtered, as if his mouth
was already filling with desert sand. "An' has theaw gone
reawnd by Jerusalem for th' sake o' a pint o' drink?" said the
landlady. "Ay, an' quite far enoogh, too," was the reply.
"Well, theaw shall have it," and she added, "If ever theaw'rt wet o'
thi feet wi' summat 'at should ha' gone down thi throat, it'll be
when theaw's mistakken thi clogs for thi meawth." "True, O
King! Second chapter o' th' third book o' Isseral, 551 verse,
Many stories are told about cats, but very few of a pleasing
kind. Cats partake too much of the nature of the tiger to
recommend themselves to the companionship of man, only such as are
old maidish. Their propensity to steal is a kind of feline
weakness, for which there is only one cure. It is this.
CURTAILIN' A CAT.
"Ther's bin a big leatherin' Tum cat staylin' mi pigeons,"
Joe at little Ann's said one neet to his crony, Jim Travis, as
they'rn congregated ut th' owd "Tinkler." "What would theaw do
if it took thy hens?"
"Poison it," Jim said.
"Aw've tried that," Joe said; "but if theaw's noticed, cats
has getten too fause, they'n ate nowt 'at theaw wants 'em t' do.
They're as self-willed as women."
"Aw tried one once misel'," said Jim. "Aw tried it wi'
a stuffed lark, but pussy would ha' noane. Hoo kept walkin'
reawnd it, an' swearin' like a navvy, an' seemin' to say—'Aw'm noane
goin' to kill summat 'at's deead. Aw'm a sportin' cat;
aw kill for killin's sake. Neaw, then, tak' thi owd skin, an'
give it to a monkey,' an' it walked off wi' th' dignity of a young
tiger. But aw'll tell thi what to do. Get some prussic
acid, an' daub Tummas' cooat o'er wi' it."
"What good will that do? Poison should be swallowed."
"Aw know. Tummas 'll lick it off his cooat', an' then
tumble o'er as if he'd swallowed an earthquake."
"Aw didno' think o' that. Theaw'll yer of a cat burin'
afore long. Hearken eawt."
Some days after this confab, Joe at Little Ann's met Jim
Travis, an' Jim axt Joe if he'd getten th' corpse laid eawt for th'
"Did th' poison act?"
"Nawe; eawr Mary wouldno' let me try it. Hoo said it
wur a sin fort' poison cats. So aw gees a axe, an' waited for
Tummas to come to his huntin' greawnd. Aw hadno' waited lung
afore aw seed his catship come snakin' reawnd, an' then jump ont' th'
pigeon-booart. Neaw for it aw thowt. So aw up wi' th'
axe, an' aw chopped his tail off."
"Wheay that'll no' cure him," Jim said. "He'll come
again as soon as th' stump gets weel."
"Nay he winnot, for aw chopped his tail off close to his
CURTAILIN' THE DEVIL.
An old local tub-thumper, who sometimes held forth at our
little chapel, was one Sunday making prayer, and during his
invocation, he said, "Oh, Lord, do curtail the devil's power.
Do, Lord, curtail the devil's power." An old woman sitting on
a back seat, sang out, "Ay, do Lord, an' cut it off close to his
AN OLD MAN'S BLESSING.
Mary, bless thee an' thine—aw meean yo're Bill—an' thi
childer, if ever theaw has ony, but aw think theaw'rt gettin' too
owd; bless thi bread-flake, an' thi porritch dish, an' thi bacon
hooks; may thi hearthstone ne'er be frozen o'er, but awlus be as wot
an' as comfortable as it is neaw. May theaw ne'er feel no
little cowd feet i' bed, nor see no little meawths yammerin' for
summat 'at theaw conno' give 'em. May o 'at's abeawt thee
prosper, just becose theaw likes seein' folk weel off; an', when
theaw's done wi' this wo'ld, may God Omighty tak' thee to th' side
o' Him, an' put as mony creawns o' thi yed as theaw's done good
things i' this life, an' theaw'll have 'em yept up as hee as th'
Tower o' Babel, an' a breek or two o'th top on't. Amen."
We do not often hear of parrots becoming detectives, but here
is an instance of one discovering and routing a gang of hen-roost
A PARROT DETECTIVE.
Billy Kay had had a lot of his hens stown, an' he never could
find eawt who th' thief wur. He'd set a trap, but someheaw it
didno' act. It never catch nowt, nobbut one time a piece of a
stockin', 'at ther nowt like among th' neighbours. Billy had a
parrot 'at wur a bit gan to leeavin' th' cage, an' potterin' abeawt
th' hen-cote when th' hens wur eawt. It had bin browt up to a
sort o' aleheawse life an' it wanted company. It had larnt to
crow so nattural 'at th' owd cock ud like to know what breed hoo
belonged to. So he invited Polly to spend a neet wi' him an'
th' family, an' gie th' cote a rowser. So th' parrot went, an'
they'd a merry time on't. It wur late when they went to roost,
an' they'd hardly had a wink o' sleep when Polly yers summat oppen
th' cote dur. Then ther a hont lifted to th' peearch, an' one
after another th' hens were snigged off, till it coome to th' owd
cock. Polly thowt it were gettin' warm, so hoo says to th' owd
rooster—"Hutch up, owd lad, it's thy turn next." Ther no moore
This is an anecdote I heard not very long ago. The
minister at a certain Wesleyan Chapel gave out a short metre hymn,
and the leader of the choir started it with a long metre tune.
"An' heaw did yo' get on wi' it?" asked one of the listeners.
The reply was—
"We sarved th' tune same as owd Pelican did his flannels, we
Here is a Lancashire man's method of conveying his sense of hunger.
"Come an' have a bit o' dinner wi' me, Bob; theaw looks
hungry enough to rob a meawse-trap."
"Ay, aw am that. My appetite's like owd Berry's
saw—it's sharp, an' wide set. It ud go through a beefsteak
plank beawt wantin' a candle to graise it. Mi teeth ban bin
eawt o' wark so lung they dunno' know but they're bagged."
Two old friends meeting each other, and who had not met for some
years, one exclaims,
"Eh, is that thee? Aw'm as fain to see thee, lad, as if
someb'dy had gan me a thripenny bit wi' a hole in't, or as if I'd
fund a wasp neest."
As an instance of what is called Lancashire trotting, I may quote
Two fellows are having a good humoured quarrel about each
other's personal appearance, and one of them retorts, "Theaw'rt
noane so hondsome thysel, Swanky. Theaw'rt one o' thoose 'at
looks best ut th' back o' th' table; for theaw's letten lads punce
thi legs till they're like a pair o' scythe pows, in an' out, as if
they'd bin groon in a hedge."
Here is a bit of gradely Lancashire independence:—
A father addressing his son, says, "Bill, we connot o be
gentlemen. Some o' us will ha' to wayve, an' delve, an' use
hummers, an' axes, an' live so 'at they will no' be plagued wi' what
they coen gout. Theaw's a good pair o' honds o' thi own, a set
o' teeth fit for a grinnin' match, an' a pair o' shanks 'at dunno
want proppin' up wi' sticks. Theaw's the wo'ld afore thee, a
fayther's example at thi back, a pair o' clogs, an' a shirt, an'
what con theaw want beside? Nowt? Then theaw'rt fit to
live! If theaw seed a mon up to th' ears in a pit, what would
theaw do? Poo him out, wouldto? That's reet,
Bill, it's th' key to th' whul duty o' man—help one another.
Go to thi' porritch!"
TH' BEST 'O MILK.
Owd Kilter o' Dick's wur boastin' of his farmin' one neet i'
Betty o' Jim's kitchen. He could oather farm twenty acre for
milk, or five acre for pottatoes; an' he'd ha' better crops nor ony
"Ay," owd Nal said—a chap 'at liked a bit o' trottin'—"yo set
pottato peelin's i'stead o' pottatoes, an' they coome up like mint."
This put owd Kester i'th' sulks for awhile, but at last he
"A good job for thee, Nal," he said. "Theaw could brew
a sope o' mint tae for th' childer, then!"
"Ay, it wur a good job," Nal said, peevishly. "That, wi'
a spoonful o' yor milk, made things grand."
"Ay, ay, ay," Kester said, thinkin' he'd won.
"No flies dreawn i' yor milk!" Nal said.
"Nawe, nawe," Kester said, slappin' his knees, "They'd walk
on th' cream!"
"Nay," Nal said, "they'd be dreawnt i'th' wayter afore they
could get to th' milk."
This is another specimen:—
Owd Senty had a jackass' at would ate owt obbut clover; an'
that it had no chance o' tastin'. Clooas, or mops—nowt coome
wrong for it. If it ever wur too cowd for t' keep hissel warm
in his cote, "William" would go i'th' heawse, an' stond afore th'
fire till he're hawve roasted; an' if ther owt lyin' abeawt lose
he'd have a meawthful on't. Spoons had been missed; an' one
time th' pepper box; but Bill never took a second dose o' that sort
o' provender. Another time owd Senty's wife had left her
leather puss, wi' a hawve suvverin in it, upon th' table, when th'
jackass wur lookin' reawnd. He'd tasted leather afore, havin'
etten a pair o' childer's shoon 'at had bin dropt i'th' lone.
He snapped this puss up, th' half suvverin' an' o; an' weary wark
ther' wur o'er it. Bill had to be kept up a day or two through
that job. But some time after owd Senty wur havin' his pint at
th' "Owd Bell;" and Jim Thuston thowt he'd trot him a bit.
"Oh, Senty," he said, "did yo ever get that hawve suvverin
back 'at th' jackass swallowed?" "Nawe," Senty said, "If theaw
remembers I bowt him off a Jew; an' he larnt a bit o' his owd
mesther's trade, that wur lendin' money at great interest. O
'at th' donkey ud part wi' wur seven-an'-sixpence. He said
he'd keep t'other hawve creawn for two days' interest.
The following are miscellaneous, with which I shall conclude this
A GOOD REASON WHY.
Little Dody wur boastin' one neet i'th' "Owd Bell" kitchen
'at he'd never struck his wife, nor gan her a cross word, in his
life. "Ther's abeawt twelve stone of a reason for that, Dody,"
Fause Juddie said. "Theaw'd be feart on her layin' thee across
her knee, an' knockin' some o'th' dust eawt o' thi clooas."
TOO HEAVY FOR HIS JOB.
Pudgy wur takkin' a part in a bit o' play-actin' at Hazelw'th
skoo. Summat he'd done 'at th' king ud knight him for.
Joe Travis wur th' king; so he commands Pudgy for t' kneel deawn.
Th' owd lad dropt on booath knees wi' a bang ut wur very nee puttin'
th' gas eawt. Th' king laid his sword on Pudgy's shoother,
then he said, "Rise a knight, Sir John Hayes." But th' new
knight couldno' rise; an' he frabbed, an' frabbed, but it wur o' no
use, he're to heavy. Th' king seein' this, an' forgettin' his
dignity, sheawted to th' army 'at wur beheend him, "Neaw, yo' two
British an' French armies, booath on yo' come here, an' help Pudgy
up off his knees; he's to' heavy for his job." It took booath
armies for t' lift him.
HEAW HE'RE SOWD.
At th' time 'at th' magistrates used to sit at th' "Owd
Bell," an' th' lock-ups stood at th' back o'th' brewheawse, ther a
madcap fro' Owdham one neet had bin usin' a two-inch pair o'clogs
to' freely again any shins 'at come in his road. That geet him
put wheere he're safe for th' neet. Th' ostler carried th'
keys o'th' lockups; an' it wur his place for t' keep his prisoners
as quiet as he could. This Owdhamer wur moore nur his match
for a while, for he drummed on th' dur wi' his clogs till th' noise
could ha' bin yerd a mile off. At last Sam hit on a plan for
mufflin' th' seawnd, if he couldno' quieten th' drummer. He
went to th' lock-ups dur, an' said, "Here, owd mon, aw'd like thee
t' trim thisel' up a bit, so 'at theaw'll look th' best side eawt
when theaw goes afore th' magistrates i'th' mornin', so gie me thi
clogs, an' aw'll graise 'em for thi." Th' mon honded th' clogs
eawt, an' as soon as Sam had getten howd on 'em he said, "Neaw,
then, theaw con punce as long as theaw's a mind i' thi' stockin'-feet!"