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I am not am eavesdropper, but I could not help being an auditor of the following little dialogue, which impressed me by its childlike simplicity.  I had joined the ramble to Boggart Ho’ Clough, and we were going through what the leader said was the Lovers’ Walk.  It was a very narrow path, and, on some parts of it, it was impossible for two people to walk abreast.  It was here my attention was first drawn to the good people alluded to.  They were immediately in front of me, and occasionally the husband — for such I took him to be — had to step in front, but the conversation did not stop on that account.

“Joe,” ejaculated the woman, “Aw wonder heaw lung this road’s bin made.”

“Nay, aw conno’ tell, Jenny,” he said.  “A good while, aw darsay.  But why do’st’ ax sich a question?”

“Aw wur nobbut just wonderin’ heaw th’ lovers went on i’ walkin’ this road i’ th’ days o’ crinoleens.”

“Get off wi’ thee, Jenny.  Theau shouldno’ talk i’ that road.  Theau never knew owt ’at would stop cooarters fro’ goin’ th’ road ’at they wanted yet.  Aw’ve known ’em goo roads ’at noather on ’em durst ha’ trod bi’ thersel’ if yo’d ha’ creawnt ’em.”

“Aye, aw darsay theau has, Joe.  But ther’ wur certain places ’at they couldno’ go to wi’ crinoleens on.  Do’st ta’ remember me goin’ to th’ church th’ fust Sunday ’at aw wore a crinoleen?  It wur nobbut a whoam-made un an’ it wouldno’ gi way same as some.  Well, theau knows, aw couldno’ get i’ th’ pew whatever aw did.  Aw dursno’ cant it o’er on it edge, loike a lad’s beawl, for aw wur feeart o’ folks seein’ ’at aw’d a winsey skirt on.  An’ doestno’ recollect heaw o th’ folks stared an’ giggle’t i’stead o’ watchin’ th’ parson an’ mindin’ the’r prayin’?  We booath went an’ sit deawn upo’ th’ Communion steps, theau knows; but as soon as aw plank’d misel’ deawn th’ crinoleen flew up an’ nearly knock’d mi hat off.  What titterin’ ther
wur i’ that church for sure.  Heaw aw geet eawt aw never could tell gradely, but aw know theau link’d me eawt, an aw never went in a church again wi’ a crinoleen on.”

“Neawe.  An’ theau hasno’ gone in so mich sin’, owd lass,” said Joe, “with or witheawt crinoleen.”

“Well, aw dunno’ think aw’ve troubled ’em so mich,” replied Jenny, “but happen aw’m no worse for that.  They hanno’ o th’ good folks i’ th’ churches an’ chapels.”

“Neawe, an’ aw dunno’ think ’at they
re o good what they have. But never mind that, Jenny.  What’s th’ good o’ troublin’ eaursel’s abeawt thoose things while we’re in a pratty lone like this?  Hasta forgetten eawr first picnic to Boggart Hole Cloof?”

“Doesta think awst ever forget it, Joe?  But aw dunno’ think this road wur as narrow then as it is neaw.”

“That’s becose we look at things differently as we get owder.  Aw remember when aw wur a lad aw used to go a fishin’ deawn  Chadderton.  Aw thowt so mich abeawt thoose pits ’at aw fish’d in that aw geet to look on ‘em as little says; an’ neaw, when I see ’em, aw wonder if ther’s bin a londslip, an’ they’n getten dried up.  Neawe, lass; th’ White Moss is summat same as it wur when thee an’ me geet lost.”

“Eh! aye!  That wur a happy neet, if we did get lost.  Aw’ve wished mony a time we could be lost again.  We lost eawr road, Joe, but we fund one another.  Mon! if it hadno’ bin for feear o’ mi mother grumblin’, aw shouldno’ ha’ cared for walkin’ abeawt th’ Moss o neet.  But aw shouldno’ want to do it neaw, theau knows.”

“An’ theau pretended ’at theau didno’ like it then,” said Joe.  “Heaw theau skriked for sure, an’ said it wur dark; an’ theau dursno’ stir till aw put mi arm reawnd thee to support an’ encourage thee.  Heaw far we walk’d that neet I dunno’ know, but we fund eawrsel’s at midneet at th’ bottom end o’ Moston, an’ then we had to walk back to th’ top o’ th’ Hunt Cloof.  But awst never forget heaw thi mother coed me that neet for keepin’ thee eawt, as hoo said, so late.”

“Aye, well, hoo wur a bit put eawt, theau knows, but hoo didno’ meean it.  Aw’ve done th’ same bi eawr Susanah’s chap.  Hoo thowt weel on thee after, didn’t hoo?”

“Aye, aw darsay, hoo did.  Aw dunnot know as aw’d mich to grumble abeawt.  But, sithi, we’re at Booth Hall neaw.  Let’s yer what th’ leader has to say abeawt it.”

They hurried on, and were soon swallowed up in the company, and I lost them. 


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