OWD MALLY'S CART.
He's a cur who can bask in the fire's
And hearken, unheeded, the winter wind blow,
And care not a straw for the comfortless wight
That wanders about in the frost and the snow:
Bring in the
green holly, the box, and the yew,
The fir, and the laurel, all sparkling with rime!
Hang up to
the ceiling the mistletoe-bough,
And let us be jolly another Yule-time!
IT was a fine
winter forenoon, and it was the day before Christmas. The
weather was keen, and the air was pure and bright. The season,
so far, had been the severest known for many years and as strong old
country folk met one another they rubbed their hands with hearty
glee and said, "This is one o'th owd sort o' winters." There
had been a deep fall of snow, followed by a week of intense frost;
and now the roads were hard and slippery, and the crisp snow
crackled under foot, and glittered in the wintry sun like diamond
dust. Every pool, and pond, and wayside well was frozen over,
and every spout and rindle of running water was hung with twinkling
pendants of ice. The rough roadside walls, the loose stones,
and the leafless trees, in grove and garden, were all richly-clad in
beautiful frost-work, and everything in sight told of an uncommonly
It was a comfortable cottage, in a quiet lane, on the edge of
the busy suburban village. The cosy little house stood in a
garden, close by the wayside, and was half-hidden by frost-decked
bushes of holly and thickset thorns; and a clean-swept pavement of
stone flags led from the door down to the little green-painted iron
gate. A cheerful-looking middle-aged woman stood at the
window, looking out upon the road, with her children about her,
three healthy happy girls, ranging from ten to fourteen years of
age, and a little bright-eyed, mischievous lad about nine. The
cottage rang with blithe clamour, for they were all talking at once,
and they were all looking out, as if in expectation of something
they wished to see.
"Do mak a less din, childer," said the good-natured dame,
smiling. "I'm sure owd Mary 'll not be long, now. It's
just about her time. Johnny, thee run down to th' gate, an'
see if hoo's comin'."
The lad ran down to the gate and looked out. In an
instant he came back with a rush, clapping his hands and shouting, "Hoo's
comin'! hoo's comin'! Th' cart looks like a garlan'! An'
th' jackass has a greight posy on it yed! Now for it!
Now for it!"
And the merry lad capered about the house like mad, while his
three sisters clapped their hands and chatted to one another with
Two or three minutes passed, and then a little jackass-cart
stopped in front of the gate. The cart was laden with
Christmas boughs, and with green-grocery of different kinds; and the
driver was a stout ruddy-faced old widow, who kept a little shop in
the neighbouring village, and was well known all over the
neighbourhood by the name of Bonny Mally."
"Roll up fo: green holly! Green holly! Green
holly! An' box, an' laurel, an' mistletoe! Roll up
here for mistletoe, an' turmits, an' carrits, an' potitos,
prime lapstone kidneys! Roll up here for Kesmass greenery!"
The inmates of the cottage all rushed down to the gate to
welcome the old woman and her cart. The girls clustered round
the Christmas load of green; and little Johnny began to fondle and
tease the donkey.
"Good mornin', Mally," said the mother of the household.
"Good mornin'! How are yo?"
"Well; I'm th' better side out, Hannah! A merry
Christmas to yo!"
"An' a merry Christmas to yo, Mally! . . . Now, then, what
han yo getten i' this cart?"
"What have I getten? Come yor ways an' look for yersel'!
I've getten everythin' at's bonny, an' fresh, an' good, an'
toothsome! Yo towd me to bring yo some Kesmass green.
There it is, see yo! Pike for yersel'! Holly, green
holly! Roll up here for mistletoe! . . . Now, Hannah, what win
yo have? I've turmits, an' carrits, an' potitos, prime
lapstone kidneys, an' I've oranges, an' I've nuts, an' I've
apples, a nicer lot o' Newtown pippins I ne'er clapt e'en on!
Now, then! What is't to be? It'll be Kesmass Day i'th
"What dun yo want for this, Mally?" said Hannah, picking out
a fine branch of holly.
"Yo's ha' that for thripence, now, then! An' I'll
fling this lump o' laurel in with it! Will that do for yo?"
"Put 'em o' one side for me, Mally. . . . An' now then, I mun
have a bit o' this ivy, an' a branch or two o' fir, and some
"Mistletoe, mistletoe, mistletoe!" cried little Johnny.
And, in the delight of his heart, the lad threw his arms round the
donkey's neck, and cried out again, "Eh, this is a bonny jackass! .
. . Mistletoe, mistletoe, mistletoe! Be sharp wi' that
mistletoe! There's a lot o' nice lasses i'th house, an'
we're gooin' to have a party to-neet!"
"Do howd thi din a minute, lad!" said his mother, laughingly.
"Now, then, Mally; let's ha' some o' this green stuff, or else
there'll be no quietness!"
"There," said Mally, laying branch after branch upon the step
by the gate. "There, see yo! A shillin' for th' lot!
That'll not hurt yo, will it?"
"There's yo'r shillin', Mally! . . . Here, childer, here's
yo'r mistletoe, an' stuff! Here, Johnny; off with it into th'
house, an' get it hanged up!"
And away ran the blithe lad and his sisters, shouting and
laughing, each with an armful of Christmas evergreens.
"Oh, an' see yo," said Mally; "I'd like to forgetten!
I've brought that bak-stone (bake-stone) that yo ordered th' last
"That's reet, Mally. How much is it?"
"It'll be ninepence. Oh, an' I've a new thyble for yo,
"Oh, ay, th' porritch-slice. Well, an' what's that,
"Well, we'n co' it thripence, Hannah! Yo known, it
isn't what one may co' a common mak of a porritch-slice, isn't that.
Our Billy puts a deal o' wark into his porritch-slices, an' I towd
him this wur for yo! . . . Let's see, ninepence an' thripence,
that'll be a shillin' o' together, winnot it, Hannah?"
"I believe it will, Mally, when it's weel reckon't up.
An' there it is, see yo! Now, han yo ony dried garbs?"
"Plenty, plenty, but stop, dun yo want ony spiggits an'
"Nawe; we're o' reet for spiggits."
"That'll do! . . . Well, about garbs, what dun yo want?"
"What han yo getten?"
"I've sage, an' pot marjorum, an' mountain flax, an'
sanctuary, an' wood betony, an' baum, an' rue, an' Solomon's seal,
an' I know not what."
"Han yo ony mint, or penny-royal, or robin-run-i'th hedge?"
"Han yo it wi' yo?"
"Nawe; it's awhoam."
"Well; yo'n be comin' i'th afternoon again, I guess?"
"I shall, Hannah."
"Well; bring some wi' yo. An' I's want some stuff for
th' kitchen beside. . . . Good mornin', Mally! I mun be goin'
in, or else yon childer'll ha' th' house turn't th' wrang side up!"
"Good mornin', Hannah!"
And away went Mally with her jackass-cart, singing
Come all you weary wanderers
Beneath the wintry sky,
This day forget your worldly cares
And lay your sorrows by!
Awake, and sing,
The church bells ring,
'Twill soon be Christmas morning.
Roll up for green holly! an' mistletoe. Kesmass Kesmass,
Kesmass is comin'! Cheer up! an' don yo'r houses!"
THE DULE'S I'TH BUTTERY.
Heigh, Bill, owd lad! yo'r Margit's yon!
Hoo's comin' like a racer!
Some foo has put her upo' th' track!
Cut, or hoo'll have us in a crack!
By th' mass, I dar not face her!
EARLY in the
afternoon of the last day of the year, Billy Tatchin', the village
cobbler, crept in at the kitchen door at the Bull's Head, in the
hope of spending a genial hour or two of New Year's Eve with his
"ancient, trusty, droughty crony," the landlord. The roads
were as hard as iron, and the snow lay thick and crisp upon the
ground, for the frost had been bitterly keen for weeks past.
The landlady had brought Billy his pint of "fettled" ale; and she
had gone away to the front of the house, where the servant lass was
strewing fresh sand upon the slippery path which led to the door,
leaving the cobbler and the old landlord with the kitchen to
themselves. Billy had just got comfortably planted by the
fire, with his drink upon the hob beside him, and he was filling his
pipe, and chatting cheerfully, when the landlord rose and looked out
of the window, which commanded a view of the road up from the
"I'll tell tho what, Bill," said he, as he gazed upon the
silent, snow-clad scene, "this is a terrible winter. I doubt
it will go very hard wi' poor folk; for it's the heaviest nip that I
can remember. Owd Jonathan wur here this mornin', an' he says
there's bin lots o' sheep an' brids fund frozen stiff upo' th'
moor-ends. Poor things! it seems a shame for 'em to be out
such weather as this. . . . Hello! Stop! What's this?
By Guy, owd lad, thou mun look out! Thi wife's comin' up th'
road here, full scutch!"
"The dule hoo is!" said the cobbler, starting up from his
seat, an' whipping his pipe into his pocket. "The dule hoo is!
Then I mun get out o' seet, till hoo's gone! Where mun I go
"Here," said the landlord, opening a little door at the end
of the kitchen, "slip into this pantry! Thou'll be as snug as
a button there till hoo's gone!"
"It looks dark," said the cobbler, peeping in; "but ony port
in a storm! . . . Come," continued he, glancing round at the
shelves, well stored with cold meat," come, this'll do! Shut
that dur, an' lock it, an' put the keigh i' thi pocket! I
con manage here till our Sally's gone!"
In went the cobbler. The landlord closed the door, and
then went and took his seat by the fireside again, waiting for the
In the meantime, the cobbler's wife came puffing up to the
front door, where the landlady stood watching her servant lass at
"Mary," said the cobbler's wife, "is our William here?"
"Ay, he is, Sally! Yo'n find him i'th kitchen, yon!"
"I have sich bother to keep him to his wark as never wur!
But I mun have him out o' that shop, as how 'tis!"
"That's reet, Sally! Get him off whoam, while yo'n a
chance; an' as soon as yo'n getten him off, come into this little
room, here. I want to speak to you about a bit o sewin'."
"I'll be wi' yo directly, Mary," said the cobbler's wife.
And away she went to the kitchen, where the landlord sat smoking by
the fire, and looking as innocent as a purring cat.
"Is our William here?"
"He wur here, two or three minutes sin'," said the landlord,
looking up dreamily, as if he was thinking of something else; "he
wur here; but he's off again, somewhere."
"He'll happen be back again directly," said Sally. "If
he comes, tell him he's wanted. An' tell him I'm waitin' for
him i'th tother room. Th' mistress wants to see me about some
"I'll tell him, Sally."
Away went the cobbler's wife into the other room to the
landlady; and as soon as the landlord had seen her safely housed
with his wife, in the next room, he crept up to the pantry door, and
peeped in at his prisoner.
"How arto gettin' on, Billy?"
"I'm as reet as a cat in a tripe shop!" replied the cobbler.
"Well, thou mun keep still a bit! Hoo isn't gone yet!"
"Hoo doesn't need to be in a hurry," said the cobbler.
"I can do here a bit lunger."
"Hasto fund some'at to bite at?"
"Ay; a bit o' goose!"
"Get it into tho, owd lad! Wilt have a gill o' ale?"
"Mak' it a pint, Sam," said the cobbler; "an' be sharp!"
"Theer it is, sitho!" replied the landlord, as he handed in
the ale. "Now, thou mun be as quiet as thou con, or else
thou'll be fund out! I'll tell tho when hoo's gone!"
"Lock that dur again," said the cobbler; "an' keep th' keigh
i' thi pocket!"
The landlord locked the door, and took his seat by the fire.
Then, lighting his pipe again, he began to muse and mutter to
"By th' heart, I wish I'd locked him up i'th coal-house!
It would ha' bin a deal chepper! He couldn't ha' done much
damage amung th' coals; but he's an' awk'ard prisoner to lock in a
pantry, for he's as keen-bitten as a winter wolf, is Billy! . . .
I wish to the Lord yon wife of his would go! If hoo stops much
lunger we's ha' nought left for th' supper! . . . Husht! What
the dule has he agate now?"
(BILLY, in the pantry, begins to shout and
kick the door.)
"Heigh, Sam! Let me out! I'm deein'!"
"What's up witho?"
"Send for a doctor! I've supt a lot o' paint!"
"We han no paint."
"What's that, then?"
"Let me come out! I'm noan weel!"
"Get in witho! A saup o' starch'll do tho no harm!
I could sup a bucketful!"
"Well, here, then," said the cobbler, "there's a saup left
i'th bowl yet, sup that!"
"Howd thi din!" whispered the landlord, pushing the cobbler
back into the pantry. "Howd thi din; yo'r Sally's comin'!"
The landlord had just time to lock the door, and take his
seat again by the fire, when the cobbler's wife came in.
"Has our William come'd back?"
"Not yet, Sally."
"Well, if he comes, tell him he's wanted a-whoam, directly.
I mun be gooin'. A Happy New Year to yo, Sam, when it
"Th' same to yo, Sally!"
The cobbler's wife had barely got out at the front door of
the house when Billy pulled a shelf down in the pantry, and upset a
can of treacle upon his head. This was followed by a great
crash of broken pots; after which Billy began to kick the door, and
shout "Murder! Let me out! I'm kilt!" The noise
brought the landlady into the kitchen with a run.
"Good gracious!"cried she "whatever han yo agate?"
"Here," replied the landlord, handing the key of the pantry
to her, "unlock yon buttery-dur, an' look for thisel'!"
The landlady unlocked the door, and out came the cobbler,
head-foremost, with the treacle running down his face.
"Hello!" cried the landlady. "What's this?"
"Ston fur!" said Billy. "Ston fur!
"Whatever hasto bin doin' i'th that pantry?"
"Howd yo'r din!" said Billy, panting for breath; "an' gi' me
"By th' mass, Billy," said the landlord, laughing, "thou'rt a
sweet-lookin' craiter, for once! Thou desarves lickin', owd
lad! Give him some wayter, an' let him wesh his face!"
FLOUNCES AND RIBBONS.
Ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky,
The flying cloud, the frosty light
The year is dying in the night;
Ring out, wild bells, and let him die.
Ring out the old, ring in the new,
Ring, happy bells, across the snow;
The year is gong, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true.
THE long, keen
frost was over, and a rapid thaw had set in. Soft southerly
winds and drizzling rains were gradually melting away the snow from
the fields and hill-sides in front of the Moorcock Inn. It was
the last day of the old year; and Sam, the landlord, was seated in
the kitchen with Dan o' Simeon's, an old shepherd, and little
Twitter, the bird stuffer, two cronies from the moorland village in
the neighbouring Clough. Matty, the landlady, stood in the
open doorway with her hands upon her hips, looking dreamily out upon
the slushy road in front of the house, and the melancholy landscape
beyond, when Jenny Pepper, the dressmaker of the village, came by
with an umbrella over her head, and a paper parcel under her arm.
"Hello, Jenny!" cried the landlady. "Happy New Year to
"An' a Happy New Year to yo, mistress, an' mony on 'em!"
"But come in a minute, lass! What! yo'r noan i' that
"Well," said Jenny, putting down her umbrella and coming into
the doorway, "I mustn't stop long. This dress is wanted for a
weddin'. It should ha' bin done yesterday. Th' weddin's
"Never, sure! An' who's gettin' wed this time, I pray
"Well; yo couldn't guess in a week, Matty."
"Not I, marry! Who is it?"
"It's Nancy o' Tum's."
"Nay, sure! Well, well! Hoo's bin fishin' a good
while for nought; but hoo's getten a bite at last, it seems!
An' who has hoo catch't, I pray yo?"
"Yo couldn't guess."
"I's never try. Who is it?"
"It's owd Peg-leg, th' besom-maker!"
"Good gracious, Jenny! I never yerd sick a tale i' my
life! Hoo's run through th' wood, an' taen th' scrunt at last!
Why; he's owd enough to be her gron-faither! Whatever's th'
lass thinkin' on?"
"Well, between yo an' me, Matty, Nanny's chance wur gettin'
very thin; an' yo known th' owd sayin', 'Hungry dogs are fain o'
"Well, well," replied the landlady, "this is a wonderful
world, to be sure! There's one good thing about it, Jenny,
hoo'll nobbut have one shoe to polish for him, as he's a wood leg.
But come yo'r ways in. I want yo to look at yon new dress o'
The landlady led the dressmaker into a little room near the
"There, Jenny," said she, "sit yo down till I goo an' speak
to our Sam. I'll bring yo a drop o' gin in a minute."
"Sam," said the landlady, looking in at the kitchen door, "I
wish thou'd look to th' bar a minute or two, while I show jenny
Pepper yon new dress o' mine. Hoo'll have to put a fresh
gusset under th' arm; an' it wants takkin in a bit; an' hoo thinks
it would look better with another flounce or two. What does
"Nay," replied the landlord, "thou doesn't need to bother me
about thi gussets an' thi flounces. I know nought about thi
fithers an' thi furbelows, an' thi top-knots, an' thi tanklements!
Thou may flounce thi dress up to th' neck-hole, if thou's a mind, my
lass, an' thou may ornament thi yed wi' a garland o'
picklet'-cabbich, an' horsegowd, an' paycock-fithers, if thou likes,
but if thou does, thou'll ha' to walk bi thisel'! I'm noan
boun a-pace-eggin', if thou art! I'm not gooin' to walk to
church with a two-legged rush-cart upo' mi arm, an' a lot o'
childer after us, shoutin' an' starin'! If yo'r Jonathan's
wife likes to don hersel' like a mountebank's foo, let her do it,
an' among 'em be it; but if thou'rt for doin' th' same, my lass,
thou'd better goo an' get a shop among th' show-folk; an' lev me to
look after this house mysel'. I can happen get some poor
craiter or another, that's donned like a Christian, to help me a
"Sam," replied the landlady, "thou talks a lot o' talk that
would be a great deal better untalked! I never yerd sich stuff
come out of a mortal mouth! Doesto think I'm without wit?"
"Well; thour't noan o'erstocked, lass, no moore than a body's
"Ay; thou may weel put that in; for I believe thou'rt gooin'
off it, o' together, I do, for sure! I don't know what's
comin' o'er tho. I declare I can never have a bit of aught
daicent to put o' mi back but thou poos it i' pieces a shame to be
sin! Thou ought to be ashamed to thisel', that thou ought!
an' me slavin' an' tewin' as I do, fro' mornin' to neet, an' fro'
week end to week end, an' never puts my yed out o'th dur hardly!
I wonder whatever thou thinks a woman's made on! If thou'd
some folk to deal with, thou'd find a different rub o'th spindle, I
can tell tho'. Bless us an' save us! Thou doesn't need
to fly up o' that road! I nobbut want to yer what th' woman
has to say about it! Good gracious! if one is to wear anything
at o', one may as weel have it to fit! Look to this bar a bit!
I'll not be mony minutes!"
"Off witho, my lass; off witho! I've said my say; an' I
know thou'll ha' thi own way, when o's done!"
LOVE IN A SWILL TUB.
How came this man here,
Without the leave o' me?
THE first spell
of severe weather was over. A rapid, rainy thaw had cleared
away the deep snow from hill and dale, and the piles of melting mud
were fast disappearing from the roadsides. The change from
intense frost to a wet, unseasonable mildness, had been unexpected
and strong; and people who had lately complained of the bitterness
of the season were just beginning to tire of slushy streets and
muggy gloom, and to dread the influence of a "green January" upon
the future crops, when the bitter, biting north wind suddenly
returned upon us again, as rigorous as before; and once more, all
the wide landscape was shrouded in a wintry veil of spotless white;
once more "coughing drowned the parson's saw;" and crowds of young
folk were rushing blithely back again to the frozen ponds and
rivers, in high glee, where,
As they swept
On sounding skates, a thousand different ways,
In circling poise, swift as the winds along.
The glad gay scene was maddening all to joy,
It was at the close of the cattle-market day. The sun
had gone down behind the snow-clad ridge of Pendlebury; and the fall
moon was rising, round, and yellow as an orange, from the edge of
the horizon, on the opposite side, as the light of day declined.
The roads were hard; and the air was clear and bitterly cold; for
the keen north-east, Kingsley's "wind of God,"that brought the
bold pirates of Scandinavia, with swelling sails, down upon the
green shores of England in days of yore, was sweeping wild and
strong across Kersal Moor, as old John Burnet, the farmer, came
slowly down the slippery road, "setting his staff, wi' a' his skill,
to keep him sicker." The old man was tired with the business
of the market; and he was fully bent on making his way right on to
his own fireside down in the vale, when a lithe, strong footstep
came up behind him; and, with a friendly slap on the shoulder,
somebody cried out in a cheerful voice,
"Now then, John, owd lad! this is winterly enough for yo,
It was Jem Royle, a stalwart middle-aged farmer, belonging to
"Hello!" said the old man, turning round, "is it thee, Jem?
Ay, it's winterly, for sure. It's eighteen year sin we had as
keen a nip as this afore."
"Ay," replied Jem, "that wur a stinger; but it didn't last as
long as this has lasted. Besides, we'd better times then."
"They couldn't be much worse than they are now, takkin'
everythin' together," said the old man, trudging right on down the
"Here, stop!" cried Jem, pointing across to the old inn on
the moor. "Are you noan goin' to co' at th' owd shop for an
odd gill? Come in, for a minute or two! What's o' yo'r
"Well, for a minute or two, Jem, as thou says. But I
munnot stop long; thou knows I've further to go than thou has."
"Just an odd tot together, John; an' then I mun be gooin',
too, for we'n some cattle poorly. Come on, owd lad; we don't
leet o' one another every day."
"Away wi' tho," said the old man, turning in the direction of
the inn, "away wi' tho; I'm comin'."
They entered the kitchen of the "Running Horses" together.
There was not a soul in the place; and the fire was getting low.
"Hello!" cried Jem, knocking loudly upon the table with his
cauve-stick. "Hello! Is there nobody wick i'th hole!
The landlady came in from the back-room, wiping her hands
upon her apron.
"Now, then," said she, "what's o' this din about? . . . But I
might ha' known it wur thee, Jem; for thou maks more racket than
onybody that enters this dur! Well; an' what's wanted, now
that I am here?"
"Wanted!" cried Jem. "Look at this fire! Is that
ony mak o' a fire for a winter's neet? If it had been summer
time yo'd ha' had it roarin' up th' chimbley! Mend it up a
bit, owd lass! Mend it up! It maks me dither i' mi shoon
to look at it! Mend it up! Th' hole's as dark an' as
cowd as th' inside of a tombstone!"
"It's a poor fire, for sure, Jem," said the landlady, scaling
out the ashes from the lower bars. "I towd Harry to put some
coals on, hauve-an-hour sin, but he's forgetter. If one wants
aught doin' they mun do it theirsel'. But we'n had nobody in;
an' our folk are o' busy i'th wesh-house; an' that's how it is.
Come I'll see to it! . . . What wi'n yo ha' to drink?"
"Bring us a pint apiece."
Matty brought the drink. In a few minutes the fire was
blazing bright; the hearth was swept; and the two friends crept up
to the hob together.
"Well, come," said the old man, taking up his pot, "here's a
Happy New Year to tho, Jem!"
"Th' same to yo, John!" replied Jem. "An' I hope yo'n
live to enjoy yo'r dinner th' next Christmas Day, owd lad! . . .
Well; an' is there aught fresh goin' on i yo'r quarter, John?"
"Well, there's nought fresh, Jem, that I know on. . . . Oh,
yigh! That grieght lollopin' lass o' Jone o' Well-trough's is
gooin' to be wed at last!"
"Never sure! What, her with red toppin'?"
"Ay; that's her. . . . Well, hoo's o' th' lass that they han;
an' Jone didn't want to part wi' her. But natur' will tell,
thou knows; an' th' owd lad had to give in, an' let her goo."
"An' nought but reet, noather. But who's th' chap, Jone,
who's th' chap? He'll have a rare armful for his brass, as
who gets her."
"Why, it's owd Billy Gusset, lad, o' 'Pendlebury, that
little bow-legged taylior."
"Never, sure! Why, he'll be like a tomtit peckin' at a
round o' beef!"
"It doesn't matter; he's getten her, an' he'll ha' to mak
th' best on her, now. . . . He's bin after her a good while,
tootin', an' rootin', and whewtin' about th' house; an' owd Jone
swore, mich an' moore, that if ever he geet howd on him he'd break
every bwon in his hide. But it wur no use, th' lass would
have him, an' he would have her; an' when that's case, thou knows,
there's noather lock nor bowt that'll keep 'em long. Beside,
th' lass wur turn't thirty; an' I dare say hoo thought that it wur
about th' last chance. . . . Owd Jone did o' he could to keep 'em
asunder; but it wur no use. There wur a bit of a thing
happen't one neet about a month sin that brought things to a point;
an' th' owd lad had to give in."
"Oh, ay! How wur that?"
"Well, one neet, about a month sin', when owd Jone an' his
daughter, an' little Robin th' cow-lad, had finish't their suppers,
th' owd lad drew up into th' arm-cheer, bi th' side o'th hob, an'
poo'd his pipe out. Th' eight o'clock bell, at th' church, had
just dropt tollin', an' owd Jone said to his daughter, 'Matty; thee
go thi ways to bed! Thou knows thou'll ha' to be up bi four
i'th mornin', as it's th' weshin'-day! Robin an' me can look
after th' shippon an' th' pigs! Off witho!' An' away
went Matty upstairs, without a word; an' o' wur still; for owd Jone
an' th' cow-lad had th' kitchen to theirsels . . . . But they hadn't
sat there long afore th' gam begun. . . .
"Matty slept in a reawm o'er th' top o'th kitchen, that
looked down into th' back yard, where there wur a lot o' weel-stocked
pigsityes. . . . Well, this little taylior had bin rootin' about th'
back o'th house an hour or two, tryin' to get a wap o' Matty; but
when he see'd th' leet planted i'th chamber-window aboon th'
kitchen, he thought to hissel', 'O' reet! That'll do!
I can speigk to her now!'
"Well; afore he went ony further, he peeped through th'
kitchen window, to see how things wur gooin' on. Owd Jone wur
smookin' i'th nook, an' th' cow-lad wur sound asleep at th' end o'th
dresser; an' o' wur clear; so th' little taylior climbed up onto a
coal-house slate that sloped up to Matty's window. It wur a
frosty neet, an' th' slate wur as slippy as glass; an' th' taylior
had hard wark to keep his feet; an' it happen't that close bi th'
side o'th coal-house there stood a greight tub-full o'swillin's,
about five feet deep, for th' pigs. Th' taylior had just
getten howd o'th ledge o'th window, an' he'd gan one bit of a tap at
th' pane, when his feet shot fro' under him; an' down he coom into
th' tub, up to th' neck among these swillin's, . . .
"Well; th' din set th' pigs agate o' yellin' an' gruntin'
like mad; an' it roused owd Jone i'th kitchen. . . . 'Now then,
Robin,' said he, 'wakken up, my lad! Thee go an do yon shippon
up; an' I'll look to th' pigs! Gi' me that lantron!'
Away went Robin; an' away went owd Jone wi' th' lantron in his hond;
an' as soon as he coom to th' swill-tub, th' first thing he set e'en
on wur th' little taylior's white face stickin' out at th' top o'th
swillin's . . . . 'Hello!' cried owd Jone, droppin' th' lantron to
th' floor, 'what the dule is there i'th tub?' . . .
"Well, th' little taylior were flayed out o' his senses; and
he squeaked out, 'It's me! help me out!' 'An' who arto?'
'I'm Jack o' Billy's fro Pendlebury!' 'The devil thou art?
An' what wur thou doin' i'th swill-tub?' 'I've fo'n off th'
slate?' . . . Here Matty coom in. Hoo'd yerd th' din; an' hoo
knew o' about it; so hoo hurried her clooas on, an' hoo coom runnin'
down into th' yard. 'Eh, faither,' cried Matty, when hoo geet
to th' tub, 'it's Jack! Help him out!' 'Nay,' said owd
Jone, 'thou mun help him out thisel! The devil tak Jack, an'
thee too! Get him out; an' bring him into th' house! I
mun ha' this job sattle't at once!' So Robin an' Matty geet th'
taylior out o'th tub, an' they weshed him, an' took him into th'
kitchen. An' th' weddin' wur made up th' same neet, for Jem
see'd that it wur no use feightin' again it ony longer.
"But I mun be gooin', Jem," continued the old man, drinkin'
up his ale. I mun be gooin'! So I'll bid tho good neet!"
"Good neet, John!" replied Jem. "I'll just have another
gill; an' then I'll be off mysel'!"
A BONNY PICTUR'.
here? One dead, or drunk? See, doth he breathe?
breathes, my lord. Were he not warmed with ale,
This were a cold bed to sleep so soundly.
monstrous beast! How like a swine he lies!
IT was in the
height of summer; and it was six o'clock in the morning after the
market-day. The kitchen of the Blue Bell was a scene of dirt, and
swill, and drunken disorder; and its air was redolent of the fumes
of drink and tobacco, the sickly relics of the late carouse. The
landlord's company had staggered off homeward about two hours after
break of day, leaving one of their number, Johnny o' Flops, sound
asleep upon a "long-settle" in the corner. The six o'clock bell is
tolling at the church; and Nanny, the landlady, has just come
downstairs. The servant girl is breaking chips across her knee, to
light the fire with. The landlady stops in the doorway, and looks
"Eh, good Lord o' me! what a hole this is to be sure!"
"Come, Sarah, stir thi limbs, an' get that fire leeted! . . .
Good gracious! what a smithy for one to put their yed into th' first
thing in a mornin'! An' what a stench there is! It's
enough to sicken a dog! Oppen that window, lass; an' let's
have a bit o' fresh air, for goodness sake! Eh, dear o' me!
I don't know how to begin to put this place to reets, I don't, for
sure! It's as ill as shiftin' a midden, that it is!
I'm weary o' livin' i' such racketty cotes, that I am! Just
now I feel as if I could like to lie down, an' sign o'er, an' give
everything up, for I'm sick o' this life, sick as a dog I am! .
. . I' the name o' good Katty, whatever han they had agate? It
looks as if there'd bin a dog-battle i'th hole! . . . Here, Sarah;
bring thi brush, an' sweep these brokken pots up, to begin wi'! . .
. Talk about savages! If there's ony savages i' this world
worse than these, they're noan fit to live, an' I'm sure they're
noan fit to dee! . . . I think i' my heart that th' world's gooin'
yed-lung to rack an' ruin! An', just now, my back aches to
that degree that I can hardly bide! But it's no use; I mun
buckle to. If I wur deein', it would be just th' same. I
should ha' to keep slavin' at it; an' never as much as 'thank yo!'
Ony poor soul that's forc't to live among drunken company, again'
their will, desarves to go to Heaven at last, that they done!
It's no use talkin', I mun do some'at!
(She comes into the corner where the drunken cobbler lies,
"Hello! What han we here? Good gracious!
Look here! Look at this mangy tyke i'th nook, here!
That's a bonny pictur' for th' sunshine to leet on! I wish to
the Lord he'd wakken up, an' tak hissel' whoam. Idle,
swillikin', slotch that he is! He's bin hangin' about here,
guzzlin' an' drinkin', mony a week, an' now he's gradely stagged
up! Sich folk are noan fit to be gooin' loose i'th world!
He's o' filth an' dirt; an' he hasn't a farthin' o' brass about his
rags this minute; an' he's covered yon cupboard-dur wi' chalk-marks
beside. . . . I mun ha that craiter shifted o' somehow! (She
shakes him up.) Now then! Dun yo yer? Get up!
I want to come into that nook . . . It's no use. I met as weel
talk to a milestone. I'll send somebody else to him. (She
goes to the door, and calls JONAS, thje
ostler, in from the yard.) Here, Jonas! Come an'
stir this lump o' stuff that's cruttle't i'th nook, here, an' send
him off to where he belongs! I'll not have him i'th house ony
lunger, an' that's enough!"
(The ostler shakes him up.)
"Now then, Johnny, my lad! Come; wakken up, owd dog!
It's time to be joggin'! Come; they wanten to clen th' house
up! Dost yer? Come, owd lad; gether those limbs o' thine
together, an' get whoam; it's welly breakfast time!"
(The cobbler yawns, and stretches his arms.)
"O' reet! I'm comin'! . . . . Keep thi leg back! . . .
. What time is't?"
"It's hauve-past six."
"Hauve-past six, eh! . . . . Here, drop it! Let go mi
shoolder! . . . Where am I?"
"Thou'rt i'th owd nook."
"Th' owd nook! . . . Which on 'em?"
"Thou'rt i'th Blue Bell."
"Blue Bell, eh? Come; it met ha' bin war (worse).
When I fell asleep I wur in a breek-kil'. I wonder where I's
"Thou'll be i'th wrong shop, if thou doesn't mind."
"I don't care where I am if thou arn't theer. What day
o' th' month is it?"
"It's th' fifteenth o' June."
"Fifteenth o' June, eh? . . . By th' mass, this has bin a
crumper of a New Year! I've never bin sober sin th' first o'
January! . . . Bring me a gill o' ale, an' be sharp! I'm as
dry as a kex!"
"Thou's had enough! Come, get up, an' wesh thi face;
an' brush thi clooas a bit, they're o' barken't wi' slutch!
Come, owd lad; thou'rt a shame to be sin!"
"Who's a shame to be sin? Me? Never thee mind
whether I am or not! Thou doesn't need to look at me! A
shame to be sin, eh! Thee measure a peck out o' thi own seck!
I've sin prattier folk than thee i' my time! . . . . Off witho out
o' my seet, an' fly up wi'th hens! Get out o'th leet, I tell
tho; an' let's be quiet! If ever there wur a brokken-hearted
lad i' this world it's me! . . . Who-up! cried neet-eawl! (Sings.)
Tum o' Pobs wur a good-natur't sort of a
He're a weighver by trade, an' he live't wi' his dad;
He're fond o' down-craiters, an' the neighboors o' said,
That he're reet in his heart, but he'd nought in his yed.
"Mak a less o' thi din, thou yeawlin' hount; an' be off whoam!"
"Nanny, yo'r terrible rivven, this mornin'! What's th'
matter? I'll have another skrike, as how th' cat jumps! (Sings
Nan o' Flup's wur a lass that wur swipper
Hoo'd a temper o' fire, an' a rattlin' tung;
Hoo're as hondsome a filly as mortal e'er seed,
But hoo coom of a racklesome, natterin' breed,
"Jonas," cried the landlady, "get him out o' this house at
once, I tell tho! Put him out at th' back, an' shut th' dur
"Come, owd lad," said Jonas, dragging him out of the corner,
"thou'll ha' to go this time!"
As Jonas put him out at the back-door, he said, "Now, conto
manage to keep thi feet?"
"I can manage to get out o' thy seet, Jonas, I dar say; an'
that'll do for me. . . . Look here! I'm noan gooin to tak
things as I have done! I'll poo someb'dy's legs fro' under 'em!
It caps the dule if I connot lick Jemmy Robishaw! Does thou
see that arm, Jonas?"
"Ay, I see it. If thi yed wur as strung as thi arm, owd
lad, I could mak a mon o' tho."
"Strung! Mi yed's strunger than thine! What dun
yo co' strung? I tupped th' brewhouse dur in at th' White Swan
tother day, an' never a yure turn't! Go thee and kom (comb)
thi toppin'! Thou connot do that!
"Now, conto manage? " said Jonas.
"Thee tak thi yed into th' house, an' let me do for mysel',"
said the cobbler, as he staggered away.
Let us have no lying; that becomes none
Time: A keen winter day; the church clock striking twelve.
Scene: An old wayside inn, overlooking the snow-clad fields at the
end of the village. MALLY, the
landlady, and BETTY O' JUDD'S,
the sempstress of the village, talking together at the front door.
"I'LL tell yo
what, Betty, this frost gets keener and keener! Yo mun mind
yo'r feet, as yo gone down th' road, for it's as slippy as a lookin'-glass!
I went into th' yard yesterday mornin' with a bit o' stuff for th'
hens, an' I hadn't bin out two minutes afore I coom down slap o' mi
"Eh, Mary! that would shake yo terribly, yo'r sich a size!"
"Ay, marry, it did shake me! To tell yo truth, Betty,
I've never bin reet sin', an' mi hip's as black as a coal; so I'd
ha' yo to mind yo'r feet; for yo'r like me, yo connot bide knockin'
about at yo'r time o' life!"
"Eh, bless yo, nawe, Mary! I connot for sure! I'm
soon put out o' flunters, now, I am that! . . . But I mun be gooin'!
I've left th' childer i'th house bi theirsels, an' I'm fleyed
they'n be gettin' into some sort o' lumber."
"Well, good day to yo, Betty! . . . Now, yo'n do as weel as
yo con wi' that dress o' mine; yo'n see what it wants doin' at!
An', for goodness sake, let me ha' thoose shirts of our Sam's afore
th' end o'th week, I pray yo!"
"Yo's have 'em bi Saturday mornin', Mary, at th' latest! .
. . Well, now, I mun be gooin', for, as I tell yo, I left th'
childer, an' I've left mi weshin', an' th' house is o' upset.
I wish to the Lord I could meet with our Judd! He's off upo'
th' rant again! I think there's no poor soul i' this world
that's worse plagued with a mon than I am. I don't know
whatever we should do for a livin' if I didn't stir mysel'!
An' I may wortch my fingers to th' bone, but he never seems to think
that I've done enough! Talk about weddin'! Eh, dear!"
"God help yo, Betty, lass, God help yo! Folk little
known! . . . I'll tell yo what, Betty; yo might come up to yo'r tay
some afternoon, an' bring th' childer wi' yo!"
"I will, Mary! an' thank yo!"
"Ay, do, an' don't let it be long!"
"I'll come, Mary! But I mun be off; for childer are
nobbut childer, yo known; an' I'm freeten't o' some'at happenin'!
So I'll bid yo good day, Mary!"
"Well, I mun be gooin', too, Betty; for our dinner's upo' th'
table; an' we'n my brother George o'er fro' Rossenda' Forest, I
haven't sin him as mony a month afore! So I'll bid yo good
day, Betty! Now, mind yo'r feet, for it's very slippy!"
The dinner was already set out upon the great table in the
kitchen; and Sam, the landlord, sat at the head of the board,
chatting with his brother-in-law, a burly old farmer from the green
slope near the foot of Musbury Tor, in Rossendale. Little
Johnny, the landlord's youngest lad, sat near his father, yammering,
and rubbing his hands as he gazed with hungry eyes upon the steaming
mass of boiled, beef at the head of the table. Opposite to
little Johnny sat his two elder brothers, both stalwart young men,
who had come in hungry as hunters from looking after the cattle of
the farm connected with the house. There were yet three chairs
empty at the side of the board.
"Now, then," said the landlady, as she entered the kitchen,
"I hope yo aren't waitin' o' me! George, thou'll be quite
famish't! Hello! where's yon lasses?"
"Nay," said the landlord, "thou mun look after 'em thisel'!
They're al'ays i'th feelt when they should be i'th lone!
Thou'd better shout on 'em; they're upstairs, yon, fiddle-faddlin'!"
"I never see sich wark i' mi life!" said the landlady.
Come, I'll stir 'em! (She goes to the foot of the stairs and
shouts up to them.) Now, then; whatever are yo lasses doin'
so long up theer? I've towd yo mony a time, if yo cannot
manage to come down to yo'r dinner when it's ready yo'n ha' to go
without till th' next meal. I wonder how yo con for shame,
that I do, keepin' th' whole table waitin', an' yo'r uncle
George here, too! Whatever are yo thinkin' on? Come down
this minute! Whatever are yo doin'?"
"We shan't be a minute, mother. We're nobbut doin' er
(our) hair up!"
"Doin' yo'r hair up! . . . Come down this minute, I tell yo!
If I have to come up to yo, I'll do yo'r hair up for yo, with a
rattle! . . . Sarah; I wonder that thou's no moore sense!
Whatever's bin keepin' yo?"
"Mother, we cannot find th' hair oil!"
"Od drat yo, an' yo'r hair oil!"
"Let th' lasses alone, Mary," said the landlady's brother;
let th' lasses alone! They're tryin' to mak theirsels as snod
as they con, becose there's a visitor to-day. They're yung,
mon; they're yung, an' thou's bin yung thisel'! I remember
th' time when thou wur as fain of a bit o' toppin' fat for thi yure
as ony lass in Rossenda'. , . . I guess thou's forgotten me bringin'
a pot o' bear's grease for tho out o'th town once, about thirty yer
"Aye; I've quite forgetter o' about it."
"Well, but I haven't."
"I dar say not, George. But thou sometimes remembers
things that never happen't."
"Ay, but this is as true as I'm here! . . . I'll tell thee,
Sam. . . . One mornin', about thirty yer sin, when our Mary, here,
wur just sich another slip of a lass as yo'r Sarah, hoo took me to
one side as I wur startin' off to th' town, an' begged on me to
bring her a pot o' bear's grease, unknown to mi mother, fro' owd Joe
Sutcliffe's, th' barber, ――"
"Eh, George," said the landlady, "I wonder how thou can say
sich a thing!"
"Howd thi din, lass," said her brother; "it's quite true! . .
. Well, when I geet back fro' th' town, at th' edge o' dark, I
happen't to put this pot o' bear's grease down i'th buttery, without
thinkin' at it. Well; it hadn't bin there mony minutes before
Lung Robin, a great hungry cow-lad of ours, coom loungin' in fro' th'
shippon; an' he went reet into th' buttery, to get a sly bit o'
some'at to height (eat); an' th' first thing he laid howd on wur
this pot o' bear's grease that I'd brought for our Mary. Well;
he made no more ado, but he cut two or three shivers o' loaf, an' he
spread this stuff onto it, and down it went, one skive after
another, till he'd emptied th' pot. Well, in a bit, our Mary
comes into th' kitchen, an' hoo axed what I'd done wi' th' bear's
grease. 'Thou'll find it i'th buttery,' said I; an' off hoo
went. In a minute or two hoo coom back into th' kitchen, wi'th
pot in her hond, an' hoo said, 'Why, th' pot's empty!' Well,
Robin happen't to be sittin' at th' fire-side, an' he said, 'Here;
let's look at that pot! . . . What wur there in it?' 'Bear's
grease!' 'It doesn't matter what it wur,' said Robin, 'I've
etten it, an' I could have etten twice as mich, if it had bin
theer!' 'Why, it'll mak tho ill!' 'I'm o' reet up to
now,' said Robin. An' he wur so, too. It didn't seem to
mak a bit o' difference; for in about two hours after he ate as
hearty a supper as ever he did in his life."
And now the landlord's three daughters came rushing down into
the kitchen, with many apologies for keeping their uncle George
waiting for his dinner. And it was a merry meal; for the old
Rossendale farmer was full of genial life, and racy humour, and he
kept the table in a continual roar.
UNDER THE OWD TREE.
When the flickerin' light through the window pane
From the candle's dull flame do shoot,
An' Jemmy, the smith, is a-gone down the lane,
A-playin' his ghrill-voic'd flute;
An' the miller's man
Do sit at his ease
On the seat that is under the cluster o' trees,
Wi' his pipe an' his cider can.
A fine evening in hay-time. BILL O'
GROUTYED'S and JACK O'TH
HOLE, two mowers, seated on the old ale-bench, under "th' big tree,"
by the roadside, in front of the Golden Lion, better known as "Th'
Brass Dog." DICK O' DODY'S, leaning against the horse trough,
telling a tale. OWD BILL bursts into a laugh.
"BY th' heart, that needs no provin'! Stop a minute, till I get mi woint! . . . Dick, owd lad, thou's done it at last! I never yerd
th' marrow to that sin' I're born o' mi mother. Eh! what a tale! .
. . Dick, I connot believe th' hauve o' thy talk! What does thou
think about it, Jack?"
"Well, I think it's a sunbrunt lie."
"Yo han it as I had it, word for word."
"Who towd tho?"
"Joe Plunge, th' bobby-cocker."
"Ay, well then! Joe's about as prime a hond at ratchin' (stretching,
exaggeration), as ever bote off th' edge of a cake o' brade. But, I
doubt thou's left it nought short, thysel'. There's no gettin' th'
breadth of a hay-seed in between Joe an' thee, for moonshine talk. There's six o' tone and hauve-a-dozen o' tother. If he tells a
tale, it needs no mendin', and it needs no contradictin', and if onybody i' this world tells thee a tale, thou'll put a finishin'
stroke o' thi own to't, th' next time that thi mouth flies oppen! .
. . If I wur thee, Dick, I'd give o'er lyin' an' start o' steighlin', thou'll
make more brass by it."
"I'll tell tho what, Bill, thou'rt gettin' terrible tickle about
folk's talk, o' at once. Thou met (might) ha' joined th' 'Owd Body'
(the Old Wesleyans), or some'at. Thou talks a deeol o' Sunday stuff,
owd lad! What's up?"
"Oh, bother noan! It's o' reet! I like a good lie, if there's no
harm in't, as weel as onybody. What says thou, Jack?"
"Well, I'm the same as thee, Bill, I con do wi' a good lie, if
there's no harm in't! But, at after o', there's nought like gradely
straightforrad talk. There are no good lies."
"Thou'rt reet, again, Jack; but if onybody tells me ony lies, I
like to know beforehond that they are lies."
"I'll tell yo what, lads, yo'r very bad to plez! Has there bin a
prayer-meetin' somewheer i'th fowd? I'd better button mi lip a bit."
"I'll tell tho how it is, Dick."
"Thou's bin talkin' dry-mouth, mon. Thou may weel tell lies."
"Come; I con soon awter that. (Shouts to the servant in the
doorway.) Here, Liddy! Bring me another pint!"
"That's reet; weet thi whistle, an' to't again! . . . . How didto
get on at th' rushbearin' o' Monday?"
"Well, what wi' pooin' th' cart, an' whip-crackin', an' doancin',
an' feightin', I've bin as stiff as a rubbin'-stoop ever sin'."
"Well, well, youth will have it fling! I use't to be as limber as a
snip, an' look at me now. Ay, ay, I've sin' th' time when I could
ha' doance't a bit, ay, an' ha' foughten a bit, too! Ax Bull
Robin, an' Black Bill, an' owd Curly, at th' Lower Yates, they
known! Ax 'em to count th' notches upo' their shins, they known! .
. . But my junkettin' days are o'er, now. Once a mon, an' twice a
choilt, that's th' owd tale. . . . Ay, ay, time plays th' upstroke
wi' th' best on us! I'm gettin' as cratchinly as a crush't wisket. .
. . What, yo'n had gay deeds amung yo down i'th town, then?"
"Ay, ay, we had that! Flitter Billy, at th' Clover Nook, geet wed th' same day; an' we kept it up at th' Hare an' Hounds alehouse."
"Oh, ay! is Billy getten wed, then?"
"Ay; he's buckle't to i' good time."
"Good time, saysto? That'll depend how it leets. . . . What! it's noan so lung sin' he wur wearin' hippins!"
"Nawe, it isn't, for sure. He's hardly larn't how to dry his nose
"By th' mass, but he's gooin' to a rough schoo', now! . . . An'
who's th' lass, saysto?"
"Dick o' Kitter lass, th' sond-knocker."
"Never, sure! . . . Well, by Guy! that's a smart pair o' raa
guttlins (unfledged birds) to tee together. Th' kettle connot co'
th' pon 'brunt-rump,' theer, as how 'tis for he isn't aboon
ninepence th' shillin', an' I doubt hoo'll not reitch aboon
sixpence-hawp'ny, or sevenpence at th' most."
"They're a bonny couple, for sure. But they'n happen poo
through, there's no tellin'. . . . Little Mall o' Robin's wur
telling me about this lass o' Kitter's gooin' to th' town a-buyin'
some print for her weddin'-dress. Little Mall went wi' her, an' one
or two moore, to help her to choose th' pattern. . . . Well, when
they geet to th' town, they went gawpin' about a while, wi' their
mouths oppen', fro' one window to another, starin' at things, an'
talkie' their awvish talk, an' reckonin' their brass up, an' sich
like, an', at last, they went wamblin' an lollin' into one o' these
draper's shops, an' a counter-jumper coom to 'em, an' axed'em what
they wanted; and Little Mall said, 'We're com'd a-buyin' some
print to make a dress on, for this lass, here.' 'Yo'n want some'at
lively, I guess?' said th' chap. 'Ay,' said Mall, 'it'll ha' to be
lively. It's for Sally, here; an' hoo's boun' to be wed o'
Monday, arn'to, Sally?' 'Yigh,' said Sally, 'I guess I am, if nought
happens.' 'Thats reet!' said the counter-jumper. 'I wish yo mich
happiness.' 'Thank yo, maister,' said Sally, 'it'll be o' reet. Billy says he'll tak care o' that.' 'That's th' mak!' said th'
counter-jumper. 'Now then; let's see if I can fit yo up wi' this
dress-piece. What sort of a pattern would yo like?' 'Well,' said
Sally, 'let's look at some'at wi' brids on, brids, an' posies, an'
sich like. An' yo mun let us have it chep, for we ha'not mich
brass, han we, Mally?'
"'Well, come,' said th' counter-jumper,
'let's see what I can do for yo!' An' th' owd lad set agate o'
pooin' things down for these lasses to look at, but nought wur reet. At last, he poo'd down an' he poo'd down till th' counter wur
cover't, an' pile't up wi' stuff, an' still these lasses kept
sayin', 'Eh! that'll do noan! we wanten bigger picturs nor
thoose!' At lung-length, th' counter-jumper geet out o' patience,
an' he said, 'I'll tell yo what it is, lasses; I begin to think that yo'n no taste!' 'Taste!' said Sally an' hoo stare't at th' chap a
bit, an' then hoo turn't to Mally, an' hoo said, 'Yer tho, Mally!
He thinks we're boun' to heyt (eat) it!"
"Well done, Sall o' Kitters. . . . That reminds me of owd Ben o'
Kitter's, he wur uncle to this lass. Owd Ben had bin i'th warkhouse
a bit; but he couldn't bide i' that shop, so he lost no time i' gettin' out again th' first chance he had. He said he'd
i'th oppen air than be lockt up i' sich a cote as that, wi' o'th fat
o'th lond about him. . . . Well, as soon 'as th' owd lad had getten
out, he began o' lookin' round, an' thinkin' what he could do for a
bit of a livin', an' he unbethought him 'at he'd try his hond at
green-grocerin', for he'd sin folk make a good lot o' brass wi'
gooin' round wi' a jackass-cart a-sellin' potitos, an' carrits, an'
sich like. But th' owd lad wur fast, for he'd noather cart, nor
jackass, nor stuff, nor he hadn't a farthin' o' brass in his
clooas, nor he didn't know where to turn to get noan. At last, he unbethought him o'th owd miller, an' he pluckt up, an' off he went a seein' him.
"Well, he knocked at th' front dur, an' when th' sarvant
coom, he axed if th' maister wur in; an' hoo said he wur. 'Tell him
I want a word wi' him,' said Ben. In a minute or two th' miller coom
to th' dur; an' as soon as he see'd Ben, he said, 'Hello, Ben!
what's th' matter, my lad?' 'Well,' said Ben, 'I want yo to lend me
a sovereign!' 'A sovereign!' said th' miller. 'What for? I thought thou'd bin i'th wark-house.' 'Ay,' said Ben, ' I ha' bin
bit. But I connot get my breath i' yon hole! I've stown out an' I'd
sooner be hanged than goo in again. I want to set up i'th
green-grocery line. I can borrow a jackass for a start; an' I know wheer I can buy a cart tor fifteen shillin', an', if yo'n lend me a
sovereign, t'other five shillin' 'll set me up wi' a bit o' stuff.' 'Ay,' said th' miller, 'that's o' very weel! But what mak o'
security am I to have for
mi brass?' 'Well,'said Ben, 'yo'r an owd friend o' mine, an' I'll
tell yo what I'll do wi' yo, yo sha'n ha' yo'r name upo' th' cart!
I connot say fairer than that!'"
(Servant lass shouts from the doorway.)
"Th' baggin's ready!"
"That's reet! Come, Jack! Come, Dick, my lad, thou'll have a bit
wi' us? Bring that scythe in!"
(A jolly haymaker comes down the road with his coat on his arm, and
a rake upon his shoulder, singing)
O'er moor an' mountain grey,
I've wandered mony a day,
Trudgin' through wind an' weet,
Onward, fro' morn to neet,
To see thoose e'en so breet,
(He sits down on the bench under the tree, and shouts to the servant
lass, who stands in the doorway.)
"Liddy! has Fiddler Bill co'de here?"
"Bring me a pint o' ale, then; for mi throttle's as dry as a kex."
Trudgin' through wind an' weet,
Pantin' fro' morn to neet,
To kiss thoose lips so sweet,
(A wayworn tramp comes creeping up from the road, and sits down upon
the bench to rest. The haymaker looks at him a bit, and then begins
to talk to him.)
"Thou's never bin here afore?"
"Yigh, I have."
"I've never sin' tho!"
"I wur nobbut four year owd when I wur here afore."
"Oh, nawe! . . . Well; an' con thou remember bein' four year owd?"
"Ay; I con."
"Well, by th' mass! . . . Why, I connot remember what time I went to bed
last neet! (The tramp gropes pes in his pocket, and then 'looks
about the floor.) What arto seechin'?"
"What mak of a pipe?"
"A little wood un, o' perpetrated wi' holes."
"O' perpetrated wi' holes? (Stares at the tramp.) How owd arto?"
"I'se be thirty-five come Thar-cake Monday."
"Thou'rt gettin' on, owd lad. . . . An' what arto co'de?"
"I'm code Nathan o' Switcher's; but mi gradely name's Fuzzbo'."
"Fuzzbo', eh? Ay, an' a good name, too. Well, I'll tell tho what, if
I wur thee, Fuzzbo', I'd give o'er usin' these one-an'-ninepenny
words, an' stick to nice little round uns, they're better to
manage, an' they come'n in chepper. There's a good deal o' sarviceable talk to be getten out o' little words, weel-sorted, an'
sarve't up nicely. (The tramp loops about the floor again.) What arto seechin' now?"
"I'm seechin' some cheese an' loaf, an' a pint o' ale."
"Hasto ony brass?"
"I've a hawpenny."
"I see. . . . Conto wortch ony, to ony sense?"
"I've bin poorly!"
"Thou's bin poorly a good while, bi th' look on tho."
"Ay; a good while."
"Ay; an' thou'll tak a deeol o' curin'. What trade arto?"
"I sarve't mi time to makin' skewers for butchers."
"Ay; an' a good trade, too. . . . I dar say thou's turn't o'er a
deal o' brass i' thi time."
"Ay; I've sin better days."
"Ay; I guess so. . . . An' thou'll see 'em again afore aught's
lung, if thou'll behave thisel'. Doesto know onybody about here?"
"Nawe; but there's an uncle o' mine lives about five miles off."
"Has he ony brass?"
"He's as poor as a crow."
"Keep o' thi own side then! . . . I've a bit of a manchet i' mi
pocket, here, if that'll do tho ony good, thou'rt welcome. Here!
Now, give o'er cockin' thi little finger, an' get agate o' makin'
skewers as soon as thou con! An' so, good day to tho! My ale's
done; an' I'm off!"
I've heard my reverend grannie say,
In lanely glens ye like to stray;
Or where auld ruined castles gray,
Nod to the moon,
Ye fright the nightly wanderer's way
Wi' eldritch croon.
A dusky night, late in autumn, with a patch of stars looking
down, here and there, between the clouds. TUM
RINDLE and JONE
O' LIMPER'S entering
the shady lane leading up to the church. All still around.
A low wind moaning through the trees.
"WHAT time is't
"Noan so fur off nine. Th' eight o'clock bell drops
just as I wur comin' out o' Bull Robin dur-hole, wi' a
pluck-an-liver for my Aint Mally."
"I'll tell tho what, it's terrible dark."
"It's raither a sad-colour's mak of a neet, as thou says,
but it'll get leeter after we'n bin out a bit."
"Poo up! . . . Hast ony 'bacco?"
"Ay; thou'll find some i' that box. Help thysel'!"
"Well, I think I's pipe up, afore I goo ony fur! . . . I'll
tell tho what, Tummy, I don't hauve like this lone i'th neet-time!"
"It's a feaw look, for sure, owd lad, i'th eawl-leet.
But, thou'rt happen boggart-feared?"
"Well, I'm noan partial to sich like nooks as these, at th'
edge o' dark, nor I never wur, fro' bein' quite a bantlin'.
Beside, I've yerd o' things bein' sin i' this lone."
"What mak o' things?"
"Why, o' maks o' freetenin'! Things 'at are never sin
i'th gradely dayleet!"
"I've never sin nought o'th sort; an' I've travel't this lone
aboon twenty year, drunk an' sober, at o' maks o' times."
"I don't care. Some folk never dun see nought,
noather bi neet nor day! But I've both sin things an' yerd
things i' this lone at's made my yore ston' straight up, mony a
time! Don't tell me! Beside, Bill o' Toppin's, th' keaw-doctor,
wur smoor't i'th ditch, yon, at th' time o'th greight flood; an' owd
Jack o'th Smithy hanged hissel' i'th elm-tree nook, about th' middle
o'th lone, th' last back-end; an' folk say'n 'at they both on 'em
"Well, let 'em come back a bit if they'n a mind, I'm noan
fleyed on 'em! But I should advise 'em to keep o' their own
side now that they're getten safe londed, if they'n let 'em stop.
They don't need to come back here again, as how 'tis, for we'd
quite enough on 'em afore they laft this country! But, it's
mich to me if they'n let folk out again, at after they getten
quietly lapt up in a grave! What good con they do when they
dun come back, that's what I want to know? . . . But, it's o'
bull-scutter! I don't believe sich tales!"
"Thou believes i' nought nobbut thi bally."
"Well, Jone, I've moore reawm i' my inside than thou has!
Thou'rt so thrutcht-up wi' o' maks o' flaysome fancies that thou's
no comfort o' thi life. But, I tell tho again, I'm noan
freeten't o' deeod folk! It's th' wick uns 'at I'm fleyed on!
If I can get o'er th' wick uns, I think I can bant tother mak, for
aught that I've sin on 'em yet! An' as for 'em comin' again,
well, I've been out at o' times o'th neet, between candle-leet an'
cock-crow, i' o' maks o' one-ly spots, an' I never let o' nought
yet mich warse nor mysel'!"
"I dar say not, Tummy. But it's no use o' talkin'!
There is folk 'at's sin things, if thou hasn't! . . . Hello! my
leet's out! Let's co' at owd Bill's, here; he'll happen goo up
th' lone wi' us."
"Never thee mind owd Bill! There's nought'll come when
there's two on us together! Besides, there isn't a ghost i'
this world that dar face me! Come on witho; an' dunnot be a
"There's no harm i' co'in, as how 'tis. Beside, I want
"Well, in witho, then."
(TUMMY opens the door of old BILL'S
cottage. A crabbθd old woman is seated on the hearth, smoking
"Is Bill awhoam?"
"Where is he?"
"He's gwon out."
"Where's he gwon to?"
"Somewheer where there's ale to be had, I dar say."
"Is Bill wife in?"
"Nawe; hoo's gwon out."
"Where's hoo gwon to?"
"Hoo's gwon a-seechin' him; an' if hoo leets on him it'll be
"Con I leet my pipe at th' fire?"
"Nawe, yo connot; for th' fire's gwon out, too. An' yo
may goo out an' o', as soon as yo'n a mind, an' shut that dur
(They come out, and shut the door.)
"Well, by th' mass, Jone, yon's a nattle't owd fuzzock, as
how 'tis! Who is hoo?"
"It's owd Bill wife mother. Hoo's aboon fourscore.
They say'n hoo can witch folk."
"Ay; an' hoo favvours it, too! But hoo'd no 'casion to
fly at me wi' sich a ber, canker't owd besom as hoo is, I never
clapt e'en on her afore i' mi life 'at I know on, an' I don't care
if I never see her again, for hoo's noan so pratty! To my
thinkin' hoo looks as if hoo'd had a deeol o' truck wi' th' lower
"Thou's just hit it, Jone! Hoo comes of a moonshine
breed! A scowlin', skulkin', lot o' sky-wanderin'
besom-striders, 'at delighten i' hatchin' devilment for folk!
I know th' whole seed, breed, an' generation on 'em. Owd an'
yung, they're a prowlin', lurchin', ill-willed brood o'
unhowsome spawn, that ever creepen away fro' th' leet, a-brewin'
hag-broth i' festerin' nooks, where no gradely thing can live!
When I wur a lad, an' we'n bin sittin' bi th' fire at neet, I've
yerd mi mother tell sich tales about ill deeds done bi one an'
another o'th lot that, mony a time, my yure's stood of an end, an'
goose-flesh has crept o'er me, fro' top to toe! This nattle't
owd hag 'at we'n just sin, hoo use't to sell charms, an' temptin'
powder, an' sich like, an' hoo's witched mony a score o' folk to
deeoth, bi o' accounts. Folk use't to turn out o'th road when
they seed her comin', for they wur fleyed o' meetin' her. Th'
whole country-side wur fleyed on her, for if they geet her ill will
they wur dun for. . . . An' her faither afore her, he wur just th'
same. He live't at a lonesome outside place, i'th heart o'th
moors, deep down by th' side o' runnin' wayter, an' it wur known
bi th' name o'th 'Wesh-cote.' There wur no road went by it;
an' there wur no regular trod led to't; an' nobody could see th'
house, sich as it wur, till they geet very near a-top on't, it
wur so low down in a nook. That's where this owd woman's
faither live't, and that's where hoo wur brought up.
"I've yerd say that her faither use't to tell fortin, an' he
reckon't to rule planets, an' sich like. He went bi th' name
o' Boggart Bill, for he wur seldom sin i'th dayleet; but he use't
to wander about a good deeol bi hissel' i'th neet-time. I
remember my uncle Jonas tellin' about gooin' to th' 'Wesh-cote' once
a-seein' this Boggart Bill, th' wise man, about a cow 'at he'd lost.
He said he never seed sich a fleysome-lookin' cote in his life, it
wur so dark, an' dirty, an lumbersome, an' it wur o' full o' dusty
garbs, an' skins, an' skeletons, an' bottle't snakes, an' hedgehogs,
an' feaw-lookin' worms wi' wings on, an' sich like, an' there were
two greight black cats, wi' green e'en, i'th hole, an' these cats
coom reet up to my faither, an' sat down i'th front on him, an' they
kept starin' at him. An' there were a greight owl, up in a
nook, that kept oppenin' an' shuttin' it een; an' there were a dried
alligator hanged fro' th' ceilin', o' cover't wi' dust, it had
glass e'en an' it had th' skeleton of a monkey sittin' stride-legs
on it back.
"Well, Boggart Bill laft my uncle Jonas bi hissel' amung
these things awhile, an' he went into another reawm, a-seein' about
this lost cow. Well, my uncle Jonas said that as soon as
Boggart Bill had gone out o' wur deeod still for two or three
minutes, an' he felt very quare arming this fleysome lot; an' then a
terrible gam begun 'at made him sweat like a bull; an' he wacker't
all o'er like a lump o' warp-sizin'. He said this stuffed
alligator, 'at hanged fro' th' ceilm', began a-winkin' at him; an' a
skeleton 'at stoode i'th nook put it arm out to shake honds wi' him;
an' then th' owl i'th corner gav a wild skrike, an' everythin' i'th
hole rattle't an' turn't round; an' my uncle Jonas said he wur so
freeten't that he couldn't stir a peg, but he could feel his yure
goin' white. An' then he said that, just as he wur thinkin' o'
tryin' to dry his for-yed wi' his hankitcher, one o' these black
cats, that had bin lookin' into th' fire, coom an' stoode reet i'th
front on him, an' after it had stare's at him a while wi' two green
e'en, it said in a rough voice, 'Thou'd better be gooin'!' My
uncle Jonas said that he wur so capt wi' this that he couldn't tak
his woint; but, afore he coom to hissel', there wur some'at else
started. There wur a kettle stoode upo' th' hob, at his elbow,
an' th' lid o' this kettle hove up, an' a voice i'th inside co'de
out, 'Ay; thou'd better be gooin' while thour't weel!' Well,
sweat started a running down my uncle Jonas's face i' greight
rindles; an' he gav a glent at th' dur-hole; but he said he couldn't
stir a fuut, for he felt as if he wur nail't to th' floor.
"At last, he unbethought him as he'd try to say his prayers,
an' it wur time, for just as he wur beginnin' a-sayin', 'Our
Father, which art in heaven,' th' skeleton i'th nook poo'd a short
black pipe from under his hip-bwon, and, knockin' th' ashes out
again' th' wall, it said, 'That's reet, owd lad; hast ony 'bacco?'
and afore my uncle Jonas could oppen his mouth, one o' these black
cats upo' th' hearthstone took a little brass box fro' under his
reet oxter, an' he said, as he honded it to this skeleton, 'Here,
Scrag, owd brid; thou'll find a bit i'th bottom o' that box'"
"Here, stop, Tummy! Thou doesn't meeon to tell me
that thou believes that tale?"
"Yigh, I do; every word on't!"
"Well, then, owd lad, I've getten it into my yed 'at
thou's no business out o'th dur! It time to turn a keigh upo'
thee! Thour't noan reet, owd buzzart, thour't noan reet!"
"Reet or wrung, Jone, it's true what I'm tellin' tho!
But let me finish my tale."
"Get endways, then. I want it o'er."
"Well, at after that, this skeleton poo'd a stoo' up to th'
fire, an' then it sit down, an' cross it legs, an' then it filled th'
pipe, an' began a-smookin', an' starin' into th' grate, an' o' wur
still fur a minute or two. At last th' skeleton honds his 'bacco
box back to th' cat, an' he says, 'How soon should we begin,
thinksto?' 'Well,' said th' cat, 'it's getten welly time.'
'Brast off, then!' said th' skeleton, while I get a reech o'
'bacco!' Then, my uncle Jonas said th' stuffed alligator
wagged it tale, an' begun a-laughin', an' everythin' i'th hole,
deeod an' alive, gave a skrike, an' a twirl o'er. 'Howd!'
said th' cat, 'there's some on 'em short; I'll co' their names
o'er!' an' wi' that it poo'd a bit o' papper fro' under it tail, an'
began a-coin' out, 'Batkin!' A voice i'th chimbley said,
'Here!' 'Blin'-worm!' said th' cat; an' th' onswer coom fro'
under th' floor, 'I'm playin' me i'th soof!' 'Come up!' said
th' cat; an' then it went on readin'. 'Edder-cop!' an' some'at
fro' th' back o'th clock co'de out, 'Here!' 'Slutchkin!' an' a
voice fro' th' hinder end o'th alligator cried, 'Here!' 'Flipperswitch!'
an' this time my uncle Jonas said, th' onswer coom straight out o'
th' solid wall, close to him, 'Here!' cried a squeakin' voice.
'That'll do,' said th' skeleton, knockin' th' ashes out of his pipe
again' his shin, an' puttin' it back under his hip-bwon, 'That'll
do! strike up, Bitterbump!' an' a drowsy mak o' music coom out of
an' owd saut-box, 'at hung close to the dur, beawt lid.
"An' then mi uncle Jonas said there were hell's delight agate
i' that hole in a minute. These two black cats started a-waltzin'
i'th middle o'th floor, an' th' tongs an' poker geet one another
round th' middle, an' twirl't away after 'em, an' th' skeletons
coom out o' their nooks, an' began a-rattlin' like mad at a
three-bond reel, an' as for th' cheers an' tables, they lilted and
tilted, some one gate, some another, every mon for hissed', an'
there wur sich a wild racket o' dins i'th hole that mi uncle Jonas
said he felt hissel' gooin' mad, an' he whisper't to hissel', as he
crope a bit nar th' dur-hole, 'I mun oather get out o' this cote or
I'm a lost mon.' At last"
"Howd, Tummy! . . . What's yon?"
"Under th' trees, yon!"
"Ay, by th' mass! what is it?"
"Nay! . . . It's two e'en, I see, as what it is!"
"Ay, by th' mass, an' they're pummers, too! . . . Howd!
It's comin' this gate on!"
"It's comin', for sure, an' I can yer no feet, noather!"
"An' so am I! (They take to their heels; and meet again at
the church gates, out of breath.) Now then, Tummy!
Thou wouldn't believe! What dost think about that? Wilco
believe thi own e'en?"
"Well, it looked rayther quare for sure! but it's happen
nought nobbut a jackass."
"Am I a jackass, thinksto?"
"Well, I think so, sometimes."
"Well, but, if yon's nobbut a jackass, what didto run for?"
"I ran becose thou ran; thou doesn't think I wur boun' to be
laft stondin' yon bi mysel'? If thou hadn't started, I'd never
ha' stirred a peg! I thought thou'd more pluck than runnin'!"
"Pluck! what's th' use o' pluck? It's no-use feightin'
wi' things 'at belungs another world!"
"No moore it is. . . . An' at after o' there's some'at quare
"There is that. I wonder, sometimes, what they're made
"Well, my opinion is 'at they're made o' whiteweshed
"Ay; an' likely stuff, too. An' there's both white uns
an' black uns, but, bi o' accounts, leet-colour's uns are th'
warst to lay. . . . Hello! Sitho! . . . It's comin' again!"
"Ay; it's yon, by th' mass! Tak up theer! I'll
meet tho at th' 'Amen-Corner!'"
Up the airy mountain,
Down the rushy glen,
We daren't go a-hunting
For fear of little men;
Wee folk, good folk,
Trooping all together;
Green jacket, red cap,
And white owl's feather!
A fine evening in hay-time. BILL O'
GROUTYED'S and JACK
O'TH MARL HOLE,
two mowers, coming out of the old roadside inn, called the Golden
Lion, better known as "Th' Brass Dog."
"I'LL tell tho
what, Bill, yon lad's mother desarves hangin'!
"Why, for giving way to his faither."
"Well, an' his faither desarves hangin'!"
"Why, for bein' his faither!"
"Well, between thee an' me, I think it's a breed 'at
should be stopt, o' somehow, afore it gets ony fur."
"Who is th' camplin' pynot, thinksto?"
"Nay, I know not; but I never yerd a mon wi' a lennocker tung
sin I're born. . . . It reminds me o' that lad o' Billy Tricker's.
Billy an' this lad o' his went out in a boat one day; an' they
hadn't bin out lung afore a breeze sprung up, an' after they'd
wobble't about a bit, the boat upset. Well, theer they wur,
faither an' son, both i'th wayter at once, but it wur every mon
for hissel', for they could noather on 'em swim mich. Well,
Billy took no notice o' nob'dy, but played straight for dry lond;
an' this lad of his splashed after his faither as wee, as he could;
an' he kept co'in' out for him to stop a minute. 'Stop, be
hanged!' cried Billy. 'I'll stop noan! Come thee this
gate on, there's no leetin'-shop here (alighting-place) till thou
gets to th' bottom!' Well, that fleyed th' lad war (worse) nor
ever, an' he begun a-sayin' his prayers; an' now an' then he yeawlt
eawt for someb'dy to come an' save him; but every time he oppen't
his chops, down went another greight gulp o' wayter, till th' lad
were as swelled as a balloon. At last his faither turn't his
yed, an' he said to him, 'Johnny, if thou wants to be save't,
THOU MUN KEEP THI MOUTH SHUT!'. . . .
An' it's th' same wi' yon mon i'th inside, here."
"Ay. . . . I could hardly hutch an' abide while he wur agate
o' talkin'! I think that folk han no more reet to rom their
talk into one's ear-hole bout axin' one's lev (leave) than they han
to walk into one's house bout axin'. An' I didn't like th'
look o' yon chap, noather, for he coom slinkin in at th' dur-hole as
if he'd bin robbin' a hen-cote. An' as for talk! By th'
mass, he licks Batterlash! . . . When he war agate of his cample, it
made me think o' Jone o' Twiner's when he wur hearkenin' a greasy-lookin'
chap at wur preitchin' at th' market-cross. This chap had
yeawlt, an' shouted, an' thumped, an' pown his book a good while,
an' Jone had been meeterly patient; but at last Jone co'de out to th'
preitcher, an' said, 'I'll tell tho what, my lad, I've getten it
into mi yed that if my salvation depends upo' thy skrikin', I met
as weel sign o'er,for I'm a lost mon!' . . . Bill; we man have
another tot, I guess?"
"Ay. Let's sit us down."
(They sit down upon the old ale-bench, under " Th' Big Tree.")
"I'll tell tho what, Bill; yon bit o' baggin's done me good."
"Ay, an' me, too. I war as hungry as a foomart-dog!"
"Ay, an' me, too. It wur good stuff, an' there wur
plenty on it. . . . Hasto ony 'bacco?"
"Here, help thisel'! . . . Ay, it wur a bit o' prime stuff,
as thou says! . . . He's a good provider, is th, owd lad, an' good
luck to him, say I, for he brews th' best ale o' this
"It's a saup o' good stuff, Bill, an' there's never a wick
thing needs to go short of bally-timber at this house!"
"There isn't, Jone! . . . Gi's a match! (Lights his pipe.)
. . . He'll have a rare hay-crop this time, too, will th' owd lad."
"Ay, he will. An' I never cut a bit o' better stuff sin
I're born. I could ha' fund i' my heart to lie down an' heyt
"I've etten war (worse) stuff in my time, Jone. Ay, ay;
there's some pleasure i' cuttin' a good yarb! Where's that
scythe o' mine? . . . Oh, it's theer?"
"It's a new un, isn't it, Bill?"
"Yigh. I bought it at Jim Hamilton's, when I're down
town last Monday. Owd Jem o' Thatcher's bought one at th' same
"I'll tell tho what, Bill, owd Jem's gettin' white about th'
"Th' colour's o' gone into his nose. Yon nose of his
has been terrible red a good while."
"It's cost as mich brass, paintin', as a row of good-size't
"Ay, it has; an' it's noan finish't yet."
"Nawe, nor it never will be till he's finish't hissel'. . ..
They say'n he's trouble't wi' a maut-seawker in his inside."
"It's some mak of a worm, that will have ale."
"Bilady; th' owd lad's noan bi hissel'! There's a deeol
o' maut-seawkers about this country!"
"There is that, owd lad! . . . I guess thou didn't yer how
Jem o'th owd Sur's were gettin' on while thou were down i'th town?"
"Nawe; I hadn't mich time. At after I'd bought mi
scythe, I geet a pint o' ale, an' some cheese an' brade, at th' Hare
an' Hounds, an' then I left mi scythe, an' went out a-buyin' some
bits o' oddments for th' wife; an', while I wur agate, I geet a bowl
o' stew at owd Boswell's upo' th' New Wole, an' I dropp't into
Billy Whipp's, at th' bottom o'th church steps, a-buyin' a top-cake,
an' a catch-bo, an' a pen'oth o' humbugs (a kind of sweets), for yon
bantlin o' mine."
"Well; an' how's Billy gettin' on?"
"Oh, as reet as a ribbin! Thou knows that curly-yure't
lad o' his?"
"What! that little hurcheon wi' th' cauve-lick't toppin'?"
"Ay; an' blue e'en."
"Sure I do, he's co'de Billy, after his gronfaither!"
"Well, he wur in when I co'de tother day, an' Billy towd me
a bit of a crack about him that raither tickle't me a bit! He
said this lad coom runnin' in one day, an' he said, 'Gronfaither;
how mony commandments are there, say'n yo?' 'Well,' said owd
Billy, 'there use't to be about ten on 'em, when I wur a lad.'
'Well, then, they may get agate o' makin' a fresh lot, as soon as
they'n a mind,' said th' lad. 'Why, what for?' 'Becose
th' owd uns are o' done for! Me an' Johnny Butter'oth has
brokken a lot on 'em into smithy-smudge, an' th' lads i'th fowd
are agate o' mashin' tother as fast as they con, an' nob'dy dar
stop 'em!' 'How's that?' 'Becose it's Mischief Neet!'
'Why, how mony commandments han yo brokken?' 'Eh, I connot
tell, but I'm sure there's noan o'th owd uns left; for Iron Jemmy
has run th' owd bang-beggar into a duck-pond, wi his haliday-clooas
on, an' Tommy Reed has tem'd (teemed, poured) a hauve-a-pound o'
traycle into his aint Margit's Sunday boots, an' Juddy Buckley has
twitchel't his gronmother's cat wi an owd tin-kettle full o' brokken
pots, an' Charley Preston has squirted a lot o' blue ink into th'
schoo'maister's ear-hole, through a snip i'th window, an' Billy
Livesey's hanged th' Amen Corner alehouse sign o'er th' top o'th
Ranter's Chapel dur-hole, an' little Jack Parker's gin th' parson
a black e'e wi' a turmit-lantern, an' they wur startin' o' fresh
warlocks when I coom off!' 'An' what hasto laft 'em for?'
'Becose I want a butter-cake. Be sharp, so as I con go
back!' 'Well, an' what has Jonny Butter'orth an' thee bin doin',
then?' 'Eh, Johnny Butter'orth's lick't 'em o'! He
started wi' givin' owd Nukkin a wusk o'th chops wi' a stockin'ful o'
slutch, an' then he pickt (pushed) one o' Lung Turner chimbley-sweeps
into a mugful o' churn-milk that stood at owd Flocky's dur-hole,
then he climb't o'er th' wole into owd Dearden orchart, an' he coom
back again wi' his hat full o' apples, an' at after that, he ran
up a culvert, wi' two foomart-dogs beheend him. . . . An' I've done
my share, for I teed owd Collier toffy-stall to a coach wheel, an'
off it went up th' street, wi' o'th lad's i'th town scramblin' for
th' toffy. I geet a greight lump o' Indy-rock, an' some
kissins (kind of sweets) for mysel'. An' after that I sent mi
fuut-bo' through a chapel window, an' as soon as I've had a
butter-cake I'm off o' steighlin' coals to make a bran-fire on, so
I think there'll not be so mony commandments laft when we'n done wi'
"That lad's like his faither, he's fair fizzin' wi' life!"
"Ay; an' he's as full o' mischief as an egg's full o'
"Lads win be lads, if they're weel an' hearty. An'
they're noan o'th worst mak, noather!"
"Nawe, they are not. . . . I've getten to the bottom o'th
pot, I don't know how thou'rt gettin' on."
"I'm boun' to have another."
"I'll tell tho what, Bill, it's a grand neet!"
"Ay, it is. I think it's th' nicest part o'th day just
when th' eawl-leet's comin' on."
"Ay, an' so do I. Bill, does tho believe i' fairies,
an' sich like?"
"Believe i' fairies? Ay, an' witches, an' clapcans, an'
boggarts, an' o' maks o' deviltry. I don't know that I ever
seed a gradely fairy mysel', but I have sin mony a quare thing 'at
doesn't belung this world; an' I know lots o' folk that's both sin
fairies an' yerd 'em, ay, an' felt 'em, too, for they're noan
within doin' a bit o' mischief to folk that they dunnot talk to."
"It's me that knows that! . . . Thou remembers that red
yure't wench 'at use't to be th' sarvant at Billy Nutta's, th'
baker, i'th Bull Broo Entry?"
"Sure, I do."
"Well, they say'n hoo's bin fleyed out o' her wits; an'
it's mich if ever hoo's hersel' again. Her mother's terribly
put about o'er it."
"Poor lass! Fairies, I guess?"
"Fairies, an' nought else! . . . Thou knows hoo's bin livin'
at an owd farm, down i'th Thrutch, this year or two back, an' bi
o' accounts, every dingle an' dell, an' hollow i' that cloof swarms
wi' fairies, an' o' maks o' freetenin'. . . . Well, one moonleet
neet, when this lass wur comin' whoam through th' wood fro a
churn-supper at Jem o Fairoff's, at Whit'oth, hoo yerd some music
playin', an' hoo pept through th' hedge to see whatever it could
be, at that time o'th neet; an' theer, sure enough, in a green
dingle, there wur a swarm o'th bonniest little craiters 'at ever
wursin, drest i' o' maks o' glitterin' finery, dancin' to music by
moonleet. . . . Well, th' lass stare't wi' o' her e'en, an' at
last, hoo war so ta'en up wi' this seet, that hoo clapt her honds,
an' started o' singin' an' dancin' to th' tune hersel'. . . . Well,
hoo'd hardly getten her mouth oppen afore these little folk set up
a skrike, an' a cloud coom o'er the moon. Well, this lass
remembers nought after that; but hoo wur fund th' next mornin', lyin'
on her back i'th cloof, nipt black an' blue all o'er; an' ever sin
then hoo, keeps agate o' singin' this tune 'at th' fairies wur
doancin' to, an' they connot stop her."
"Poor lass! It's mich if ever hoo's reet again!"
"Hoo's done for, I believe. . . . Well, look at mi Uncle Joe!
. . . He'd bin off mowin' at Marlan', an', as he wur comin' whoam
late one moonleet neet, he yerd a hunt agate up i'th air, just aboon
him. He said he could yer 'em crackin' their whips, an'
shoutin' to their dogs, an' he could hear their silver bridles
jinglin', an' their dogs barkin', as clear as if the whole thing had
bin gooin' by afore his e'en. Well, my Uncle Joe wur fond of
a hunt hissel', so he started a-yeawlin' eawt some o'th owd
huntin'-cries, 'Hark up to Bugle! Blossom, bonny lass!
By, dogs, by!' But, by th' mass! he'd better ha' kept his tung
between his teeth, for, in a second, there wur ten thousan' little
whips flog in' at him, an' he wur fund th' next mornin', lyin' on
his back on a midden, two mile off, as dateless as a rubbin'-stoop."
"Well, it wur very near th' same wi' Billy Robishaw.
One neet th' last summer, he wur comin' through th' wood, at Sparth
Blossoms, wi' a basketful o' stuff fro th' town, when he yerd a
silvery sort of a jingle in a green nook at tother side o'th hedge.
So Billy crope up th' bonk, an' pept o'er to see what there wur
agate. An' theer, sure enough, there wur a grand company o'
fairy gentry, set at a table covered wi' gowd dishes, an' gowd
candlesticks, an' there wur fairy sarvants i' livery, waitin' on,
an' while th' supper wur agate, full swing, there wur hauve-a-dozen
fairy harpers playin' up in a corner. Well, Billy, like thy
Uncle Joe, couldn't howd his din, so he shouted, 'Yo'r doin' it
nicely, down theer!" But afore he could say another word, out
went th' leet, an' Billy felt a greight whuzz o' hummabees about his
yed, an' he rolled down th' bonk; an' theer he lee, on his back,
fast to th' floor. Well, he felt pins runnin' into him all
o'er, but he couldn't stir a peg. At last, one little divvel,
dressed in a green jacket an' a red cap, began o' dancin' on th' end
of his nose; an' Billy watched him until he could bide no lunger, so
he shouted eawt, 'Go it, Redcap, my lad!' Wi' that, this
fairy-doancer run up Billy's nose-hole, an' he coom eawt at his
right ear, an' shouted, 'Off wi' him!' An' away went Billy an'
his basket, through th' air, at th' rate of a hundred mile an hour.
An' he wur fund th' next mornin' at th' top o' Knowe Hill,
hauve-starv't to deeoth, an' it wur mony a day afore they could
get a word out on him. . . . Hello who's this 'at's comin'?'"
"It's Fiddler Bill!"
"By th' mass! I'm off!"
"An' so am I!"
Excelsior Printing and Bookbinding Works, Manchester.