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“Hello!” aw said th’ other neet, as Tim coom wamblin’ into th’ heause.  “What’s to do wi’ thee, lad?  Theau looks as if theau’d noather won nor lost.  Hasta’ been havin’ a bit of a frap wi’ yo’r Nan, or what?”

“Neawe, I hannot, Jammy,” onsert Tim, “if I had there wouldn’t ha’ been mich deawbt as to whether aw’d won or lost.”

Why, doesta’ think ‘at theau’d ha’ lost, Tim?” I ax’d.

“Think!” he said, “Think isn
t in it, aw’m sure.  I haven’t had forty ye’rs’ experience beawt knowin’ a thing or two.  Aw’ve gan o’er frappin’.  Aw just give in for a start.  It’s th’ che’pest an’ it’s th’ soonest o’er.”

“Aye!  Aw dar’ say ’at it’s a good plan, Tim, but if it hasn’t fail’d for once what wur it ’at upset thee so mich before theau coom in?”

“Aw wurnot upset so mich, Jammy, but aw should ha’ been if I hadn’t come’n eawt o’ th’ road.  What does ta think?  Theau knows at eawr Nan goes to th’ Ranthers’ Chapel, an’ eawr Liza goes to th’ Church, while eawr Jack goes nowheer.  Well, just as aw wur havin’ a whift o’ my pipe to-neet, whoa should come in but Ranthers’ parson.  Bein’ i’ th’ locality he thowt he’d just give a call.  So he sit him deawn an’ aw towd eawr Nan to fotch him a pint o’ whoam brew’d eawt o’ th’ cellar, but he thank’d me an’ said as heaw he wur a teetotaler.  Then I offered him a pipe an’ some ’bacca, but he said as he wur a non-smoker.  Of course, after that, aw leet him have it to hissel’ an’ aw went on wi’ my smookin’.  In a bit another knock coom to th’ dur an’ whoa should come in but th’ Church parson.  Come, aw thowt, things are beawn’t be a bit lively here, so aw charged my pipe again while they geet th’ steeom up.”

Th’ Church parson star’d when he see’d whoa wur i’ possession, but as he thowt every other parson in his parish wur an intruder he wouldn’t budge.

Th’ Ranthers’ parson realised at possession wur nine-tenth’s o’ th’ law, an’ as he didn’t often get that advantage o’er th’ Church he wur determined not to give it up.  So they glared at one another for a bit.

Then eawr Liza said to th’ Church parson: “Winnot yo’ sit yo’ deawn a minute, Mesthur Blakeman?”

“Thank you,” he said as eawr Liza r’ached him a cheer, “I will avail myself of your kindness for a few minutes, but I must not stay.  I only called to give you a few particulars about the forthcoming bazaar, but I will wait a little while until you are at liberty.”

Just then eawr Jack coom in, an’ he threw th’ cat amung th’ pigeons at once, as they say.

“Well,” he says, 
this is a happy meetin’.  Are yo’ discussin’ th’ Eddication Bill?”  Noather on ’em spoke.

“What!  Have yo’ nowt to say on an important subject like that?” said eawr Jack.  They kept their een on one another as though they wur watchin’ for a spring, but they said nowt.

“Well, that’s a corker,” said Jack.  “Aw never coom across two dumb parsons before.  Aw thowt sich like folks wur as extinct as the dodo.  But, aw’ll tell yo’ what‘; aw’m fain to see yo’.  Aw wish ther’ wur a lot moore like yo’.”

“What doesta want moore dumb parsons for?” I ax’d, seein’ as th’ parsons still wur silent.

“For two or three reasons, fayther,” he onswered.  “I’ th’ fust place aw believe ’at one hawve o’ th’ bother an’ ill-feelin’ i’ this world comes throo differences i’ religion.  An’ aw believe ’at th’ moost o’ th’ differences i’ religion are due to th’ parsons.  I’ th’ second place aw’m satisfied ’at if o th’ parsons had been dumb th’ eddication question would ha’ been sattled lung sin.”

“Do you mean to insult us” ax’d th’ Methodist parson.

“Aw should be sorry to do owt o’ th’ sort,” replied Jack.  “Aw’ve a good deal o’ respect for parsons, especially if they’d nobbut have a bit moore respect for theirsel’s.  Neaw dunnot yo’ see ’at nearly o th’ fratchin’ abeawt religious eddication is amung th’ parsons?  Aw dunnot blame th’ Church ony moore nor th’ Chapel, nor th’ Chapel ony moore nor th’ Church.  They’re o alike.  Neaw, if they’ll nobbut be quiet an’ leeov it to thoose ’at han to pay for it an’ to thoose ’at it’s supposed to be for it would o be sattle’t i’ six months.”

“But would you disfranchise us?” inquired th’ Church parson.  “Have we not as much right to express our opinions as anyone else?”

“Of course yo’ have,” said Jack, “an’ yo’re supposed to have moore sense an’ tact nor ordinary folk.  Neaw dunnot yo’ think ’at folks will have less respect for religion when they see th’ parsons foin’ eawt an’ feightin’ like dogs for a booan?  If yo’ loved yo’r religion as mich as yo’ love what yo’ get eawt on it yo’d be careful abeawt doin’ owt ’at would cause folks to think ony worse of it.”

“But we are not going to forego our rights,” interrupted th’ Methody parson.

“Aw dunnot think ’at yo’ will,
agreed Jack, “an’ aw’m sorry for it.  But aw dunnot see why yo’ shouldn’t be made to follow th’ general custom o’ th’ country an’ refrain fro’ sittin’ i’ judgment wheer yo’ve competition.  We dunnot alleaw it even in a fleawer show.”

“And we don’t do it,” asserted th’ Church parson.

“Yi, aw think yo’ do,” responded Jack.

“What abeawt th’ Bishops an’ th’ Eddication Bill?”

“But aw didn’t stop to yer ony moore, Jammy.  Aw dunnot like this religious wranglin’.  Aw wonder if this new religion ’at they talk abeawt will be ony better.”

“It isn’t a new religion, Tim,” I explained.  “That’s as owd as Adam.  It’s a new theology ’at they’re talkin’ abeawt.”

“Well, an’ what’s th’ difference?” ax’d Tim.  “Aw con hardly tell thi,” aw said.

“Theology’s believin’ certain things abeawt God, an’ abeawt th’ Bible.  Religion is doin’ to others as yo’d have ‘em do to yo’.”

“Then aw say let us have less theology an’ moore religion.  But is this the new religion ’at this parson Campbell is talkin’ abeawt?” ax’d Tim.

“Well, aw’ll tell thi what he says.  He says “’at th’ object o’ religion shouldn’t be to get folks into heaven, but to get a bit of heaven into th’ lives o’ folks.”

“Well,” said Tim, “if that isn’t a new religion it’s a good un, an’ aw wish we’d moore on it.”


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