Lancashire Humour and Pathos (II.)

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EH, BILL, come to Blackpool! an' bring thi Wife, Mary,
    Hoo looks fairly run deawn wi' moilin' through t' day;
An' bring Jack an' Nelly — that curly-nobbed fairy —
    That cowf ut hoo's getten ull soon pass away.
It's lively just neaw — for there's crowds o' folk walkin'
    Up an' deawn th' Promenade fro' mornin' till neet;
They're as happy as con be, lowfin' an' tawkin' —
    By gum, Blackpool just neaw's a rally grand seet!

Come on to Blackpool — yo' may spend a nice hower
    In a sail fro' th' North Pier to Fleetwood an' back;
Or a grand afternoon i' roamin' through th' Tower,
    For th' monkeys an' tigers ull pleose yore Jack.
Yo' may goo on to th' piers — there's skatin' an' dancin',
    Or ride to th' South Shore, an' get fun eaut o' th' fair;
Or tak' th' childer on t' sands, an' jine i' their prancin',
    An' help um build castles — theau's built some i'th' air

Get ready: come neaw! for I've getten a notion
    Ut a sniff o'th' briny ull do yo aw good;
An' breathin' th' ozone fro' th' owd rollickin' ocean
    Is th' reet soart o' physic to tingle one's blood.
Yo want'en a change — maybe Fayther Time's markin'
    A notch in his stick as each yer ebbs away;
So pack up thi luggage, tha connot keep warkin' —
    If tha o'erdraws Natur, tha'll have to repay.

So come on to Blackpool, yo'll never repent it,
    It's a rare bracin' place for owd folk an' young,
This invite's i' good faith, tha'll be glad as I sent it,
    It's a good salve for dumps to mix up wi' t'thrung.
It's a lovely sayside for rest or for pleasure,
    Wi' th' waves rowlin' high or just lavin' one's feet;
Yo' may strowl upo' th' cliffs — get health without measure,
    So come, an' durnt miss such a glorious treat.



A Quire o' Nonsense — wi' Some Meeonin' in it.


THERE were a grand doo at th' oppenin' o'th' Sociable Brothers' Club.  We'd no drink, except coffee after dinner, but there were plenty o' smookin'.  When th' dinner were o'er, an' we'd getten settled after a toast an' a sung or two, somebry started a discussion, altho' there were no ajender, an' it turned on to Blackpool, an' th' way some o'th' members went at it showed there were moor paddin' i' their yeds than some folk would give um credit for.

    It started through Joe Short axin me, bein' th' fust president, "Cornt we get a better place nor this for th' Club meetins?  It's so stuffy abeaut here, one cornt get his wynt.  Let's get nearer th' say."

    This were a surprise to me, for we'd a deol o' trouble i' gettin' a reawm as would howd us, an' we weren't very far at th' back, so for answer I axt: "Wheer would tha like us to goo?"

    "Oh, annywheer but here," he said; "let's goto th' front.  Blackpool's th' ugliest teawn i'th' country, an' this is th' feawest part o' Blackpool."

    A lot o'th' members yerd Joe, an' his words kindlet a fire, as th' sayin' is, an' one or another added moor coal to it till we were aw blazin' wi' excitement.  Some o'th' members oppent their meawths wide enoof to catch buzzarts in, wonderin' heaw I'd answer Joe.  I hardly know'd what to say, but these words were th' hondiest I could think on: "Joe, tha's gan us summat to think abeaut, but I should like to know what tha meons when tha caws Blackpool ugly.  Look at th' Promenade; it's three mile lung, wi' three o'th' best terraces I know on, an' I'm sure there isn't a wider or a cleoner i'th' world.  An' look what big lodgin' heauses there is on th' front."

    "I weren't tawkin' abeaut th' Prom or th' lodgin-heauses at th' front, tho' I think they're moor harm nor good, for th' say air cornt get at th' back on um," Joe remarked; "I said, an' I stick to it, as Blackpool's th' feawest place I were ever in, an' I've bin to Sawford an' Manchester at that.  But no place I've bin to has such narrow or cruckt streets; in no other place have I seen such lung rows o' heauses, chuckt up ony road, as yo'll find here."

    "Hear, hear," sheauted Sol Hampson, an' this seemed for t' encourage Joe, for he went on: "Blackpool's like a cracked bell; th' meawth on it is th' Promenade, an' when yo' get behind theer, yo'r lookin' for th' clapper, an' get lost i'th' cracks."

    ("Good again," chirped in Sol.)

    "An wheer's th' fresh air when yo' get in th' teawn.  Th' streets are like entries — but entries are straight — an' th' heauses are so built as they keep th' say breezes eaut o'th' teawn instead o' lettin' um in.  I knowd a chap an' his wife as coom fro' Owdham for a wick, an' they lodged in a lung row in th' middle o'th' teawn.  Of cooarse th' air smelled a bit sweeter even theer nor it did i' Owdham, an' they thowt they were gettin' say breezes every minute.  But they weren't.  They happened to have a very weet time, an' they had to sit in th' heause a good deeol, but th' chap spent his time puttin' his hond through th' sittin-reaum window an' pluckin' daisies off th' lawn (?) o'th' heause opposite.  He said he'd enjoyed hissel', bein' a lover o' flowers.  When they geet whoam again, after dividin' th' Blackpool rock amung th' childer, which were soon put eaut o'th' road, th' biggest lad went to his fayther, an' said, "When are yo' gooin' to divide th' feesh?"  "What feesh?" said th' fayther; "we'n getten no feesh, my lad." Th' lad seemed doubtful, an' he said: "Are yo' sure?  Yo're Sunday clooas smell o' feesh all o'er."  An when th' fayther went an' looked at his Sunday suit th' smell o' feesh an' oil nearly knockt him o'er.  So, yo' see, if he didn't get th' say breezes he geet th' smell o' feesh, nobbut it had been fried.

    "Then, again, wheer is there a buildin' i' Blackpool ut's worth lookin' at.  Th' finest piece o' architecture is that drinkin' fountain in Talbot Square, an' that's made o' iron.  That's seen at its best when th' Salvation's Army's preichin' aside on it, an' beggin' for pennies on th' drum.

    "But I wurn't blame th' present Corporation for Blackpool bein' so ugly, but they met do better.  They'n a little bit o'th' North Shore left, but even theer they'n let some builder as wanted to make brass sharp build heauses like lung boxes, thirty in a row, an' as these goo wit' th' front o'th' cliffs, what chance is there uv onybody as lives at th' back on um gettin' ony say breezes, th' only things i' Blackpool wuth ceauntin'?  They corn't do it."

    "Nawe, they corn't," sheauted Sol Hampson, "an' I con tell yo' heaw Blackpool fust come to be speiled."

    "Order!" I said, an' knocked on th' table, "let Joe finish."

    "I were just gooin' to finish," Joe remarked, "by sayin' as there weren't a dacent street i'th' teawn."  There were a member sittin' i'th' group as I didn't know very weel, but I'd yerd him cawd Jerry.  He were a Owdham chap, but he'd coom a keepin' a company heause at Blackpool.  He jumped up just as Joe Short had finished — he were sharper nor Sol — an' he said he agreed wi' Joe abeaut th' lung rows an' narrow streets, but he did know of a dacent street or two, an' he should like to tell us summat what he knowed, an' this is what he towd us.

A Dacent Street.

    Said Jerry: "A yer or two back my brother Bill coom to see me, an' he stopped a tothri' days.  He thowt Blackpool were a feaw place, an' I wanted to show him he were wrung.  So one day I took him up Church Street on to Raikes Road, an' to th' reet o' theer there is a street or two as up to then I thowt were railly dacent an' wide, altho' they are lung rows.  So we turned in one, an' a bobby stood at th' corner.

    "'Good mornin',' I said to him, an' he ansert very civil, but he said, 'Durn't make a neise gooin' deawn here, for th' folk ull complain if yo' dun.'

    "So we walked on eaur tippy-toes, an' th' bobby coom wi' us.  'This street looks a bit dark,' I says to him; 'I notice it gets very little sun.'  'That's noan it,' says th' bobby, 'th' sun's not allowed to shine here; if it did, I should oather lock it up or summon it.'

    "'Well,' I axt, 'what's aw th' window blinds hauf way deawn for?'  'Oh,' he ansert, 'one o' th' wives o'th' Sultan o' Turkey deed last wick, an' they're in mournin' for her.  Th' folk abeaut here are thick wi' aw th' Royal Families i'th' world.'

    "'Then they mun be very rich,' I said.  'Rich!' said th' bobby, an' he staggered wi' surprise at th' question; 'Rich!  Why th' poorest mon in this street is th' Cheermon uv a Brewery!'  Th' bobby spoke i' whispers.

    "Just then eaur Bill turned to me quite solemn, an' said, 'Jerry, I durnt feel so weel; let's go back.'  'Aw reet, lad,' I said, an' then I towd th' bobby, we thanked him, but we'd go back.  'Very weel,' he said, 'but durn't mak a neise.'

    "He turned back wi' us, an' as we geet to th' end o'th' street a feesh cart were just comin'.

    "'Wheer art gooin'?' said th' bobby to th' chap as were wi' it.  'I'm takin' some salmon an' soles to th' lady at th' fourth heause fro' th' bottom.  Hoo ordered it yesterday.'

    "'Tha connot tak that cart deaun here,' th' bobby said, 'th' neise o' that ud freeten um to deoth.'

    "'Well, what mun I do?' axt th' chap.

    "'Why, tha mun poo thy clugs off an' carry it," ansert th' bobby, 'unless tha likes to wait till twelve o'clock — then there'll be two looad o' sond comin' fro' th' shore to scatter o'er th' street.'

    "'Well, but if aw wait here two heaurs th' feesh ull go bad.'

    "'Well, then,' says th' bobby, 'poo thi clugs off an' carry it.'

    "We left um at that, an' lookin' back, we seed th' chap, in his stockin' feet, carryin' a looad o' feesh to th' lady at th' fourth heause.

    "'Well, Jerry,' said eaur Bill, 'if this is bein' a gentlemon i' Blackpool I'd rayther be i'th' jenny-gate mindin' a pair o' mules.'

    "'So would I,' I says, 'a workin' chap has summat to be thankful for, after aw.'"

*            *            *            *            *            *            *

    When Jerry set down everybody were lowfin' an' shakin' honds wi' him, an' some were sheautin' "Good for thee, Jerry," that there were a reg'lar tumult, as th' parson would say, so I thowt it best to adjourn th' meeting.  I promised Sol Hampson, heawever, as he should be th' fust to speik th' wick after.

    We'd a good muster at th' next meeting.  Sol had written his lecture deaun, an' it were yezzy to see as he'd had th' dictionary at th' side on him while he were writin' it, because there were some words as I'm sure he didn't understond.  But read his papper for yorsels; it's here:—

Th' Origin o' Some Nicknames, an' heaw Blackpool were Speilt.

    "Afore I tell you heaw Blackpool were speilt I'st ha' to tell yo abeaut th' peculiarities o' some Lancashire folk, an' heaw they coom to be nicknamed as they are, for it were through th' peculiarities o' th' Blackpool folk in days gone by as Blackpool were made so ugly.

    "Fust uv aw, I'll begin wi' Bowton.  Afore their Teawn Ho' were built it were th' Market Square, an' there were a Fair howden there two or three times a yer.  But in one corner o'th' greaund there were often a penny circus, an' awlus a set o' dobby-horses.  Thoos didn't wark by steom then, an' if a lad hadn't a haup'ny to pay for a ride he met earn one by gettin' inside o' th' roundabout an' helpin' other lads, as poor as hissel', to shuv th' horses reaund.  I've done it mony a time.  But there were a chap walkin' reaund eautside wi' a whip, an' if he catched a lad ridin' on th' bars, or one not shuvvin', he'd skutch him.  So, wi' turnin' these dobby-horses so sharp Bowton lads geet in th' habit o' runnin', awlus.  An' th' wenches soon catcht th' complaint wi' runnin' after th' lads.  Childer coorn thick i' Bowton i' thoos days, an' faster nor they were wanted, an' if a lad couldn't get wark in th' teawn he'd trot off to Manchester, get a job as errand lad, an' trot off theer an' back every day, never loasin' a minute.  Its nobbut twenty-four mile boath roads, but, bless yo', that were thowt nowt on.  Bowton lads o' that generation were smart, I con tell yo'.  I were one mysel', an' should know.  So th' folk were cawd Bowton Trotters, an' th' name's stuck to um to this day.

    "Similarly, as th' skoomester would say, wi' mony other places.  Yahwood (but it's gradely name's Heywood), f'r instance, is called Monkeytown, an' th' rayson for that is yezzy.  There were a great mon lived a while back named Darwin.  He wrote a book cawd "Th' Hevolution of Man," in which he tells us that a very, very lung while sin', afore th' history o' Blackpool were wrote, men an' women used for t' walk on their honds an' feet, an' they had hairy tails.  But by-an'-by th' men begun o' wearin' collars an' women fun' eaut they looked better wi' bonnets on.  So as they had to ston' up to admire thersels i'th' lookin'-glass they geet in th' habit o' walkin' on their feet.  By doin' this regular their tails dropped off.  Darwin cawd this hevolution.  So they caw Yahwood th' Monkeytown because folk theer hasn't hevoluted yet.

    (A Vice: "Shut up wi' thy lies, Sol Hampson.")

    This interruption, as th' dictionary would say, were caused by Sim Nelson, who comes fro' Yahwood.  He were regular mad till I explained as they were what Darwin wrote, an' not Sol's opinions.  It mollified Sim a bit, but Sol were disturbed.  Heawever, order were restored, as th' reporters say, an' Sol went on:

    "Likewise, when Blackpool were young, an' th' childer could play abeaut th' fields, an' breathe th' fresh air, th' sun used to shine so very breet in th' clear blue sky, that th' childer, or th' grown-up folk for that matter, couldn't stond th' brilliance, so their eyes geet wake, an' some on um begun to sken.  Neaw, if ony on yo' ull stare at somebry as skens, yo'll not be lung afore yo' squint yorsel, so yo' con yezzily understond as aw th' childer soon begun to sken, an' they growed up that road.  In cooarse o' time th' natives coom to be nick-named Blackpool Skenners.  So, when yo' see anybody wi' a breawn face an' neck an' a gradely squint in their e'en, be sure they, or their forbears, were born in Blackpool.

A Skennin' Local Booard.

    "Well, a lung time sin', afore it were big enoof for a Corporation, there were a election for t' Local Booard, an' as it turned eaut, every chap as were elected, except one, skenned badly — some wit' reet e'e, some wit' left e'e, an' t' others wi' booath.  Th' chap as didn't sken were made th' cheermon, becos it were thowt he could see as things went on straight.  But when they were plannin' th' streets there were such barjin amung um — some thowt they should run fro' reet to left, others thowt fro' left to reet, while thoos at squinted wi' booath e'en thowt th' plans made th' streets too wide; yo' see their vision, as th' skoomester would say, didn't stretch across a yard measure — that th' cheermon resigned, afeared he'd get skennin' too.  They geet a architect an' surveyor on th' street plannin', but they booath skenned, an' th' ugly teawn o' Blackpool's a monument to th' cleverness o'th' swivel-e'ed Local Booard.

    "But they were i' earnest, for amung other great things they started a Sewage Skeme, an' laid pipes i' th' streets, an' geet somewheer to empty um.  But th' next election put a stop to their enterprise, for th' voters fun' eaut they were gooin to be let in for a big bill if they didn't awter things, so they chucked every skenner eaut.  Th' new Booard were put in to keep th' rates deawn, an' as there weren't mich need in thoos days for a big skeme, th' matter o' sewage were shoved on one side, an' they let it stop theer.

    "Neaw, as years went by, Blackpool geet fancyin' itsel', so they went in for a Corporation, wi' a gradely mayor wi' a gowd cheean reaund his neck to weight him in th' cheer, an' they geet what they wanted.  After straitenin' up things as weel as they could, an' th' population growin' so fast, they fund eaut as they'd have to do summat gradely to get shut o'th' sewage, so they said they'd finish . . . .

Th' Sewage Skeme. . . .

. . . . as were started years afore by th' Skennin' Local Booard, but they were in a mess when they fund as nobry knowed owt abeaut it.  Th' skennin' architect were deeod, an' th' surveyor had gone to Australia, wheer he'd getten a job o' freetenin' rabbits, so they couldn't ax them.

    "I might just say here as Blackpool folk were gettin' rid o'th' disorder o' squintin'.  Wi' th' streets bein' built so narrow an' cruckt th' childer as were born could learn to walk through um witheaut bein' bothered wi' th' bonny blue sky, an' th' sun they hardly ever seed, unless they walked on th' front, so their e'en stopped as straight as when they coom i'th' world.

    "Well, th' Corporation, as I said, were in a mess abeaut th' Sewage Skeme, an' they begun o' diggin' somewheer abeaut Marton to see if they could find any trace o'th' pipes, an' they'd build a Destructor.  But they dug here an' dug theer, an' findin' nowt, were just gooin' to start a new skeme o'their own when th' pipes were fund by accident.

    "A visitor fro' Sawford coom o'er for a wick.  He weren't used to havin' holidays, for th' fust day he coom he geet drunk, so folk said, wi' Blackpool ale.  If that were so, I'll bet a nut or two he were fond on it, for I've yerd as in thoos days there weren't a sowjer in th' British army as could sup hauf a gallon on it, an' live.  I've yerd as one time th' 'drink sellers offered a present of a pint apiece to th' warkhouse folk for their Kesmusdinner, an' th' Guardians thanked um for their kindness, but when th' poor paupers yerd on it they sent a letter to th' Queen axin' her to make a law to prevent th' Guardians fro' poisonin' um, an' th' Queen did.  So th' beer in thoos days mun ha' bin thick an' strung.  It's better neaw, I believe, but durn't sup too much on it.

    "Well, this visitor were up th' next mornin' at five o'clock, walkin' abeaut th' South Shore wi' bleary e'en an' beery face, an' his tung hangin' hauf road eaut uv his meawth, lookin' an' waitin' for a pub to oppen, so as he could comfort his parched throttle.  He were walkin' along th' front, an' th' tide were eaut a lung way.  His brains were addled, an' his throat were lumpy, but his nose were as keen as his tung.  In a bit he smelled summat, an' he knowed th' smell.  'I'm not so far off Sawford Docks, I think!' an' he sniffed hard.  'I should know that perfume.'  Then he looked toward th' say, an' he seed two hundred yards away summat trailin' in th' wayter, till it geet lost to view.  He started, shaded his een, an' then he said, 'By gum, what's that?  I've not seen that in Sawford; I wonder what it is.'  Then he looked harder, tryin' to make it eaut, an' he thowt he seed it move.  'Why,' he said to hissel', 'it mun be th' say sarpint.'  An he rushed off, lookin' for somebry else to come an' see it.  He met a bobby abeaut where th' Central Pier is, an' he towd him what he'd seen.

    "Th' bobby ansert, 'Oh, we've yerd abeaut th' say sarpint afore.  Every ship as comes to Blackpool brings a tale abeaut meetin' um.  Thee go whoam an' go to bed; tha'rt noan thisel' this mornin'; some sleep ull do thee good.'

    "'Say-sarpint or not,' th' chap said, 'there's summat theer hauf-a-mile lung, an I thowt I seed it move, but it mun be deeod, for there's a smell comes off it.  If it's not a say-sarpint, come an' see what it is.'

    "So they started back, an' th' chap's yed were a bit clearer by this, an' he noticed th' bobby kept close to him, an' bein' a bit freetened, he started runnin', but th' bobby kept up wi' him, an' they were gallopin' full baz when they geet to wheer th' chap had had his nose tickled.  Th' thing were still theer, an' after th' bobby had stood lookin' at it a while, an' had a strung whiff or two off it, he clapped th' Sawford chap on th' back, an' said: 'I'm fain theau browt me to see this, an' I know what it is.  Thoose are pipes, an' it's th' Sewage Skeme built by th' Skennin' Local Booard.  It's bin lost for mony a yer, an' there's five peaund reward for th' bobby as finds it, so I'm off to claim it.'  He started off runnin', but when he'd getten abeaut fifty yards he turned reaund an' sheauted to th' Sawford chap: 'It's nobbut ten minutes off oppenin' time.  Th' Manchester Arms is just across th' road; tha'll get a pint o' good ale theer, if there is any.  Good mornin'; see thee again.'

    "An' that's th' tale o' heaw Blackpool fund their lost Sewage Skeme."

*            *            *            *            *            *            *            *

    There were as much good humour when Sol set deaun as they were at th' fust meetin', so I said we'd meet again at th' same time th' wick after.  Ned Nicklewood were brunnin' to tell us surnmat, an' when we met next time he gan us this tale abeaut . . . .

A Skennin' Couple.

    "A chap once towd me uv a skennin' couple fro' th' Fylde as coom to Blackpool for their honeymoon.  They booath skenned, but, what were extraordinary, th' chap skenned wi' th' reet e'e, an' his wife wi' th' left, so, as they walked arm-in-arm through th' street, they stared at one another wi' one e'e beaut turnin' their yeds.  They lodged at th' side o' th' big wheel.  One day they lost their bearins, an' they fund thersels at th' side o'th' Hippodrome.  Neaw, yo'll remember, there's hauf-a-dozen streets facin' yo' fro' theer, an' they aw lead to nowheer.  Well, one peculiarity (as th' dictionary says) abeaut this couple were that their seet caused a optical delusion — [He meant illusion — Anoch Wragg, th' compiler art' editor o' these important records]—in each on um; f'r instance, th' wife's left e'e made everythin' look as if it were to th' reet, while her husbands reet e'e sent everythin' to th' left.  As they stood at th' Hippodrome they looked for th' big wheel, an', uv cooarse, they soon seed it, but th' wife thowt it were to'art Uncle Tom's, while th' chap made it eaut to be somewheer about St. Anne's.  Heawever, they started up a street opposite, an' when they geet to th' top they turned wi' th' street, an' come back to wheer they started fro'.  Then they tried another street, an' followin' reaund th' corner o' that they just come back to th' Hippodrome.  They went up t'other street then, an' when they'd gone up an' reaund it they were no better off.  This were very disheartenin', speshally as they could see th' wheel.  There were still another chance o' gettin' whoam, an' they dived deaun th' last oppenin' there were, an' this time they fund theirsels aside o'th' Police Station i' South King-street.  They were gawpin' abeaut lookin' for th' road to th' big wheel when a inspector were comin' eaut o'th' station, an' they jowd agen him.  They were excited, but th' chap had sense enoof to ax th' inspector to show um th' road.  Th' inspector stared at um, an' seein' two eautside e'en lookin' into his brains, while two inside uns were fixed straight on him, he thowt they were makin' faces o' purpose.  They couldn't make him understond they were lost, so he took um into th' police office, an' were gooin' to lock um up for insultin' him, when th' wife started o' cryin', an' th' husband at last managed to explain as they couldn't help skennin', but they were very sorry, an'th' inspector tumblet to th' situation in a minute.  So he leet um off, an' sent a bobby wi' um to th' big wheel itsel'.  When they fund their diggins they were so thankful they offered th' bobby tuppence for his kindness.

    "'Never mind, thank yo,' said he, for he hadn't liked th' job o' bein' wi' um; "neaw as I've seen yo' whoam I'm moor nor paid.  But never squint at a inspector again; they wurn't have it.  When yo' see a policeman wi' braid on his cooat he's somebry — an' durn't forget it.  Good day.'"

*            *            *            *            *            *            *            *

    When Ned had finished his tale, there were so mony members jumped up for t' say summat, that I could see we shouldnt get any forrarder, so I cawd for order, an' to keep th' fun gooin', I wund th' subject up like this:—

    "Joe Short's abeaut reet when he says as Blackpool's speilt wi' lung rows o' heauses an' narrow streets, an' I'll tell yo' summat I yerd a, while back as'll beer Joe's idea eaut.  Six chaps coom o'er one Owdhem Wakes, an' when they geet to th' lodgins wheer they wanted to put up at, th' lonlady could only tak three on um, but a friend of hers as lived reet opposite fund room for t' other three.  Yo' known as th' Owdham Wakes fills th' teawn as full as th' October gales fills th' wayter, so th' streets geet rayther stuffy, an' they had to oppen th' windows when they went to bed so as to be able to breathe.  Of cooarse, as chaps will, they had some confab when they'd put their candles eaut, but when they were ready for sleep they couldn't catch it because everybody had lifted their windows oppen, an' everybody could yer everybody else in th' street whisperin', singing, an' snorin' till they had to get eaut o' bed one after t'other to shut th' windows, an' th' neise were as bad as bedlam.  Neaw these six chaps, as I said, were billeted in two lots opposite each other — one lot at No. 16, an t'other at No. 17.  In th' mornin' a chap at 16 knocked at th' bedroom window of No. 17, an' he said to th' chap as oppend it, 'Ted, I've lost my collar stud.  Han any on yo' getten one to spare.'  Ted axt um, but they hadn't one, so he went to th' window, an' said, 'Nawe, Harry, we haven't; but here'a pin; fasten thi dickey deann wi' that.'  An' he honded th' pin through th' window.

    "That day happened to be a weet un, an' these chaps wanted to get abeaut, an' chance th' weet, but Ted an' Harry were teetotalers, so they let t'others goo, an' they stopped in.  They geet slack for summat to do to amuse thersels durin' th' day, so they bowt a set o' chessmen.  Neaw, as there were other folk, wi' childer, at booath 16 an' 17, they couldn't play in th' parlours, so they oppent th' bay windows, an' put one end o'th' chessbooard on th' window-sill o' No. 16 an' t'other end on th' sill o' No. 17.  This were aw reet for a table.  They played for a lung while, an' Harry were just winning a tight game when a young chap on a bicycle come dashin' up th' narrow street.  He didn't expect owt in th' road, so he run into th' chess booard, an' sent one end on it tilting again' 'tother window wi' a bang that broke aw th' glass, an' nearly knocked th' frame eaut.  Th' chessmen were lost, an' when th' bicycle felly coom to hissel he were on th' floor, an' he didn't look as if he wanted for t' get up.  He were a butcher's lad, an' when he looked for his basket an' meit they were aw o'er th' street, an' as he gathered th' stuff up his face were as raw as th' beef.  Of cooarse there were a terrible row o'er it, an' thoos Owdham chaps only geet eaut on it by buying th' butcher's lad a new set o' teeth for thoose he'd knocked eaut, an' they geet th' bicycle mended for two peaund.  Th' lonlord charged um fifteen shillin' for th' windows, an' th' butcher wanted compensation for th' beef bein speiled, but he geet nowt, becos they fund eaut as he sowd it for stew.  Them Owdhamers awlus stop on th' front neaw, an' when any fresh visitors goo for lodgins abeaut wheer they lodged th' lonladies ax um if they play chess, an' if they say 'Aye' they wurn't have 'um."

    "'Anooh,' said Sol Hampson, 'if I'd th' button I'd pass it on to' thee.'"

    "I thowt Sol were very insultin', so I said to him, rather savage, 'Sol Hampson, I durn't want thee to believe that tale, for I durn't believe it mysel, but it's time tha'd had th' button, for tha tells as mony lies as a Prime Minister.  But I gan thee order, so be dacent, an' shut up while I finish.'

    "That quietened him, so I finished wi' this: 'We'n said a deeol about Blackpool, an' we agree as th' teawn is raily ugly, but we corn't help it.  It's done, an' we're sufferin' for it, becos, altho' folk come for their health, th' Corporation o' Blackpool, wi' only seventy theausand folk, has to have as mony officers of health to keep th' teawn aw reet as Manchester has, an' there's hauve a million folk lives theer.

    "Some day, when one or two o'th' doctors has made brass enoof to speik their minds, they'll tell us it's not healthy to build heauses in terrace fashion; that a poor mon has as much reet to have th' wind blowing aw reaund his cottage as th' rich mon has reaund his mansion, an' th' builder as wanted to put more nor four heauses in a row should be made to swallow th' plans.  I met as weel finish this by sayin' as I'd sarve th' architect as draw'd such plans up same as I'd sarve a mad dug — shoot hirn."

    Th' members agreed wi' what I said, an' they'd sayrious faces when they left for whoam, for I'd gan um summat to think abeaut.



TUM Hamer lodged wi' his brother Alick, who were wed an' had two childer.  Emmer Hamer, Alick's wife, thowt awmust as much o' Tum as hoo did uv her husbond, becos Tum were a mon o' few words, an' were yezzily managed a whoam.  He were quite happy when he'd done his day's wark, if he could lie deaun on th' sofy, after his baggin', wi' a book, or goo eaut for a walk wi' their Alick, which just pleosed Emmer, for hoo knowed as Alick, who were rayther lively, were eaut o' mischief when Tum were abeaut.  Nayther o' th' chaps had other companions; they were quite content one wi' th' tother.  Last Wakes time Tum an' Alick agreed to go to Blackpool for th' wick eend, becos Emmer didn't feel fit to leove Bowton, as th' childer were gettin' reaund fro' th' mayzles, an' hoo couldn't trust nobry else wi' um.  Th' chaps booath had mules at th' same mill, an' on th' Friday neet they started eaut wi' leet hearts for th' shop wheer th' say breezes an' th' ozone's sowd.  I say sowd, an' I meon sowd, for yo' connot get um for nowt.  Durn't try, or yo'll be sowd.  Well, they geet good lodgins, an' after a quiet evenin' abeaut th' teawn they turned in early to have a full day on th' Saturday.  They geet up betimes, an' after breakfast they seet eaut for a good day's seet-seein'.  They enjoyed it raily weel till abeaut three o'clook, when it coom on rainin' very hard.  They'd noather top cooats nor umbrells, so they had to run somewheer for shelter.  In this road they geet separated, as they went different roads.  I durn't know wheer Alick, th' wed un went, but as th' tale consarns his brother we mun follow him.

    He yerd a auction chap's hammer bangin' on a booard, an' lookin' in th' shop, he seed as th' sale were gooin' to start.  He thowt he might as weel shelter theer, an' have th' fun for nowt, an' watch other sawneys as wanted bargains an' get summat gan um waste their brass.  That's what he thowt, an' there were a lot moor i'th' reaum nussin' th' same belief, but these auctioneers who come to Blackpool in th' summer know summat, an' if yo see one wi' a reaum full o' bargain hunters tryin' toget th' best on him watch heaw he lowfs at um at th' finish, for he's getten th' best bargain.  These wanderin' auctioneers creawd into th' watterin' places fro' July to September — Blackpool has aboon its share on 'um — an' they tak' as much brass eaut o'th' teawn as keeps um for th' rest o' th' year.  This is bad two roads: it's not fair to th' shopkeepers who live in th' place, an' have to squeeze thro' th' tight winter as best they con; an' it's bad for thoose who are so greedy as to want summat for nowt, altho' I sometimes think, when I yer on um being sowd, that it sarves um reet.  An', another thing as I've noticed, wheer do aw thoose foreign watches get to as are sowd by thoose auction chaps?  They're mooast on um bowt by trade union men.  I reckon they're gi'n to th' childer to play wi', when th' buyers find eaut what rubbish they are.  There's mony a theausand o' these sowd every yer in Blackpool, an' if other sayside places sell um i'th' same proportion, I'm of opinion as we British folk 'ud better waste eaur brass on findin' eaur own a job nor givin' it to furriners who durn't pay eaur rates an' taxes.

    But I mun get on wi' my tale.

    Tum Hamer went in th' auction reaum, as I said.  Th' auctioneer had just getten his sale gooin', an' havin' a lot o' gee-gaws to dispose on, as bait to catch th' sawnies, he put up th' next lot like this:—

    "Ladies an' gentlemen, I am goin' to show you how little I care for money.  See this penknife, best Sheffield steel blades, rivetted through the head and foot, stag horn sides, with nickel-silver plate on which to engrave your name.  Now, who will give a penny for it."

    "Me," sheauts a chap.

    "Right, sir, here you are," an th' chap geet it.

    "Here's a purse, best Russian leather, patent spring clasp, with silver-plated engraved corners, suitable for either a lady or gentleman.  Its value is two-an'-six.  My bid's a penny: who says tuppence."

    Every woman in th' reaum shouted "Tuppence."

    "Thank you.  That lady there, Isaac " (that were to th' chap as helped him), an' he honded th' purse to th' best-dressed woman in th' reaum, an' who were likely to be his yezziest victim.

    "I'm sorry I have no more," said th' auctioneer; "but these little oddments are of no use to us."  Then he rapped on th' table wi' his hommer, an' folk as were passin' stopped to look, an' others comin' in, th' shop were full in no time.  Then he raised his v'ice, an' filled um wi' stuffin like this:—

    "The firm I represent, ladies an' gentlemen, is one of the largest in England.  They manufacture most of the goods I sell, and they own one of the richest mines in Africa.  The governor says to me, 'Mr. Goldstein, you are going among Lancashire folk.  They're honest and straightforward, so treat them as such, and, as we have got large surplus stocks, let the good people have bargains.'  Bargains!  Bargains!!  Yes, and I am here to give them to you.  Now, here's a pipe.  Any gentleman wanting a good cool smoke can't have a better.  Best briar, amber mouthpiece, solid silver-mounted and capped at the top to prevent burning.  My bid's a penny."  Somebry sheauted tuppence, an' he knocked it deawn.

    Then he browt some breast pins eaut, an' he spotted Tum Hamer. "You've forgotten," said he, "to place a pin in your neck tie this morning. Will you allow me to present you with this rolled-gold horseshoe pin; it will bring you good luck." An' he stuck th' pin in Tum's tie. "An' you, sir," to another chap, an' in this road he gan' hauf a dozen away. Then he browt tothri brooches eaut, an' gan' um to th' women.

    Folk by this time were gotten in a good humour, an' as that were what th' auctioneer had been warkin' for he were moor than pleosed wi' hissel'.  But he hadn't done wi' um yet.  After a joke or two, he went on: "Now, ladies an' gentlemen, I'm goin' to show you a little feat.  I've told you why my firm has sent me here; but they wouldn't have sent me if I weren't able to conduct their business in a straightforward and honourable manner.  I am going to put up twenty articles — Here, Isaac (to his mon) bring me that tray — an' I'll undertake to clear the lot in half-an-hour, an' everybody shall be satisfied.  Are you satisfied, sir?"  That were to th' chap as bowt th' penknife for a penny.  "Oh, aye," said th' chap.  "And are you satisifed, lady?" to th' woman as geet th' purse.  "I'm aw reet," she ansert wi' a blush.  "That's right," said th' auctioneer.  Then he drawed his cuffs back, sent his fingers through his yure, and raisin' his v'ice, he sheauted, "Yes, ladies an' gentlemen, I'll sell the articles I'll put on this tray in thirty minutes, or I'll present your local hospital with a hundred pounds. — [They sen that every yer, but th' treasurer av eaur local hospital is waitin' for th' fust hundred yet. — Anoch.]  Here's a lady's handbag, No. l," said he, an' he put other things on th' tray till he geet to nineteen.

    "How many's that, Isaac," he said to his mon.

    "Nineteen, sir," said Isaac.

    "I thought there were twenty," said th' auctioneer, "but never mind.  Here's a gentleman's watch, jewelled in nine holes, double capped, centre balance, eccentric action, solid gold, worth ten pound — worth ten pound! — but it will have to be sold.  But I'll tell you what I'll do: to encourage you, this beautiful tea and coffee service, and this nickel-silver tea tray, shall be given away, without money and without price — (Hold it up, Isaac, an' let them all see it). — That will be absolutely given away.  To encourage you to help me to get through in time, every person who buys an article will receive a ticket, and the lady or gentleman who has most tickets when the twenty articles are sold will receive this most handsome present for nothing" — here he raised his v'ice again — "this handsome tea and coffee set positively for nothing!"

    Th' folk in th' reaum were fairly bewildered (like th' flies in a traycle can) at this mon's kindness, an' they stared at one another wi' their meauths wide oppen, an' each on um made up their mind to have that tay and coffee set, but they said nowt.  When th' auctioneer had gi'n um time to shut their meauths again, he started:

    "Now, here's a handsome silver-backed hair brush and comb; pure Potosi silver.  How much?"

    "Three shillin'," somebry sheauted.

    "Thank yo'," he said, an' his lip curled up.  "Go on."

    "Four shillin'," fro' a woman.

    "Thank yo', lady; go on again."

    "Five."  " Six."

    "Six an' threepenoe," fro' Tum Hamer.

    "No, I won't take threepenny bids," said th' auctioneer.  "Six shillings; any advance.  Going."

    "Six an' sixpence," fro' a corner o'th' reaum.

    "Who'll say seven.  Be quick, please."

    "Seven shillin'," sheauted Tum Hamer.

    "Seven; going at seven.  Going — ."

    Then th' hommer dropt, an' Tum Hamer geet th' brush an' comb an' a papper ticket wi' number 1 on it.  That brush an' comb met be worth two shillin'.

    "Now, here's a pair of opera glasses worth thirty-five shillings.  Special double-crystal lens; will carry twenty-eight miles; suitable for a captain of a ship, a general on the battlefield, a sportsman at the races, or a lady at the opera.  Who'll start me at five shillings?"

    Nobry seemed to want a opera glass.  Then he spotted Tum Hamer.  "You bid five shillings, sir, an' it shan't cost you five shillings."  Tum hesitated.  "Go on, sir, say five shillings," an' Tum bid five.  He knocked it deaun to him, and when he honded it deaun there were a fancy fountain pen wi' it.  "There," said th' auctioner, "I told you they shouldn't cost you five shillings.  That fountain pen is worth ten shillings."  Tum believed him, but it were nobbut wuth sixpence.  An so th' sale went on.  Tum bowt, amung other things, a pair o' Marley horses, a kitchen clock, a lady's handbag, a watch an' cheean, hauf-a-dozen knives an' forks, an' summat else, an' awtogether he'd seven tickets, an' he'd spent o'er three peaund.  Then' th' auctioneer had sowd nineteen articles, an, he'd above ten minutes to spare, so he leoned on th' bench, an' said, "All you who have got tickets hold up your hands."  They did as he axed um, an' he said to Tum Hamer,

    "How many have you, sir?"

    "Seven," answered Tum.

    "Well, I'm going to reward you for your pluck.  Here's five shillings for you."  Tum took it, an' thanked him.  "Five shillin' an th' best chance o'th' tay an' coffee service," thowt Tum; "this is better nor warkin'."  Th' auctioneer then gan' a bit o' brass to th' tothers as had getten tickets, an' as they didn't expect owt o'th' soart they were mighty pleosed wi' theirsels, an' were sure th' auctioneer were very rich an' extra kind.  But he'd hardly done wi' um yet.

    "Now, ladies an' gentlemen," said th' auctioneer, "we come to the twentieth lot, an' I've about nine minutes in which to sell it.  This solid eighteen-carat rolled gold hunter watch, capped an' jewelled, regulator balance, real lever, is valued at fifteen guineas, but I don't expect to get its value here.  You've helped me very well, so this is to be the best bargain, and the last of the sale this afternoon.  Who'll start me at five pounds."  There were no answer to this, an' th' auctioneer tried again.

    "Will anybody say three pounds?"  No answer.

    "Well, see here," he went on, "this shan't keep me much longer.  I'll tell you what I'll do: the person who is fortunate enough to get this solid eighteen carat rolled gold watch shall go away satisfied, so give me a start.  I'll give to the purchaser of it fifteen tickets for the free gift of this magnificent tea an' coffee set."

    There were a dropping o' jaws when he said this, for Tum Hamer an' another chap wi' seven tickets apiece made sure nobry else ud come near um, an' they'd have to toss up for th' tay an' coffee set.  Tothri chaps i'th' reaum as ud bowt nowt lowft a bit, but selfish folk awlus do when they think yo'n bin had.

    Well, th' biddin' started at a sovereign, then somebry said two peaund, an' th' biddin' run up to five peaund, when th' auctioneer knocked it deaun to a woman.  Hoo towd somebry near her hoo weren't wed, an' no sign o' bein', but I reckon hoo thowt if hoo bowt a hunter hoo might run deaun a chap as quarry, an' he'd wed her.

*            *            *            *            *            *            *            *

    Tum Hamer gathered his stuff up, en' it were too much for t' carry under his arm, so he put it at front on him like a big drum, an' marched off to his diggins.  When Tum geet theer Alick were havin' his tay, an' he oppent his e'en when he seed th' donkey-load o' stuff Tum had browt.  "Wheerever hasta bin, an' what hasta getten theer?" he axed.

    "Why, when I lost thee I went in a auction-reaum to get eaut o'th' weet, but I'm a bit too dry neaw, an' I reckon I'st have to be so till I get whoam."

    "What dosta meon by bein' dried up?" axed Alick.

    "Nowt; only I'm spent up wi' gooin' in yon auction reaum.  I'st have to borrow a peaund off thee till we get whoam."

    "Borrow a peaund off me!  I haven't one; it's moor nor I had to come wi'!  I shouldn't ha' come but for keepin' thee company.  Tha' knows I've four folk to find grub for, an' tha's only thisel', an' tha gets as much wage as me.  Eaur Emma towd me tha wanted me to come, an', as hoo'd nowt to spare, hoo said tha'd lend me what I were short on."

    "If I'd known that I shouldn't ha' gone in," Tum said sadly.

    Alick looked at th' stuff on th' table, an' then axed,

    "Heaw mich hasta spent on these things?"

    "Abeaut four peaund, but its chep.  I've just six bob left," was Tum's reply.

    "Well, that caps aw!" said Alick.  "We corn't stop here till Monday afternoon wi' empty pockets.  What's to be done?"

    "I durn't know," ansert Tum, scrattin' his yed.

    "We'st ha' to go whoam to-neet, I reckon."

    This seet um booath thinkin', an' after a bit Alick spoke: "Well, it's a good job I'm wed, for a chap larns by that heaw to get eaut o' mony a scrape.  Th' best thing we con do ull be to caw th' lonlady in, an' ax her if ho'll buy some o' that stuff off thee.  Happen hoo will, if tha'll let her have a bargain."

A Chat wi' th' Lonlady.

    So they cawd Mrs. Smith in, an Alick towd her what a foo their Tum had made uv hissel' at th' auction reaum by spendin' aw th' brass he had, an' axed her if hoo'd buy th' pair o' bronze Marley horses an' a marble clock.

    "Eh, nawe!" hoo sheauted; her face gooin' red in a minute; "I want nowt o' that sort.  I wouldnt ha' such rubbitch as that i'th' heause.  I've seon it afore, an' so has every lonlady in Blackpool.  Neaw an' again a felly comes here, as shouldn't leove whoam beaut a woman for t' tak care on him, an' he gets in one o' thoose auction-rooms, an' lets um kid him to part wi' aw he has, an' when he comes to his lodgins he bethinks him he hasn't enoof laft to pay his road."

    "But," said Alick, "we'st not owe yo' so much if we stop till Monday, an' if we goo whoam to-neet my wife ull have a fit.  We'st ha' to tak um to th' pawn-shop if yo' worn't have um, that's aw."

    "Well, tak um," said Mrs. Smith, "an' yo'll find there's no pawnbroker in Blackpool ull have owt what's come fro' th' summer auction-rooms."

    "Heaw's that?" axt Tum.  It were th' fust time he'd spokken.

    "Why, becos they're worth nowt.  Heaw much hasta gan for th' Marley horses, an' th' clock as winnat goo?" axt Mrs. Smith, after that saucing.

    "Twenty-eight shillin', said Tum.

    "Twenty-eight shillin'!" an' Mrs. Smith were a while afore hoo could tak her breath.  "They're not worth hauf on it; they're only painted tin.  I durn't want um," an' hoo were beauncin' eaut o'th' reaum when Alick cawd her back.

    "Will yo' lend us a peaund on um, an' we'll send yo' th' brass forum when we get back?" pleaded Alick.

    "Nawe, I'st not!" said Mrs. Smith, "they're not worth it.  I'll land yo' six shillin' on th' lot; but if I do it'll have to goo to'rds what yo'll owe me, an' I think yo'd best pay me neaw, an' then I'st be sure yo' corn't goo in th' auction-room again."

    Alick didn't like this, becos he'd had nowt to do wi' it, but he put th' best face on it he could.  "Well, if that's th' best yo' con do, we'st ha' to agree," he said, "but yo'll let us ha' th' goods back for six shillin' if we send it yo' when we get back?"

    "Of cooarse I will, an' be glad to get shut on it," ansert Mrs. Smith.  "If I were yo, I'd shuv um into a' auction awhoam, particularly th' clock, or else it'll leg yo' deaun.  When we fust coom here a young chap were stoppin' wi' us an' he did just as yo'n done to-day — he wasted aw he'd getten.  Among th' tackle he browt in were a clock just like this.  [But I'll sit me deaun while I tell yo' this —Umph!  Theigh—ur!  That's better.]  Well, we wanted a clock, so my husbond felt sorry for th' lad, an' we bowt it at hauf th' price he'd gan for it.  That looked like a bargain, didn't it?  Well, wait a bit.  We seet it gooin' by th' Teawn Ho' clock, an' we went to bed for th' lungest neet's sleep we ever had.  It lost abeaut forty minutes in th' hower, an' turned to-morrow into yesterday.  My husbond wakkened at three by th' clock, an' it were too early for t' get up, so we had another snooze, an' we were wakkend by th' rattlin' o' milk cans.  He geet up then, an' th' clock struck eight, but when he went to oppen th' dur for th' milk, th' chap said, 'Do yo' want any extra to-neet?  I couldn't make yo' yer when I knocked this mornin'.  'Goodness me,' said my husbond, an' he oppent his e'en wider an' felt if th' bit o' yure he wore on his nob were still theer, 'what time is it ?'  Th' milkmon looked at his watch, an' said, 'Why it's ten minutes past four i' th' afternoon.'  It were no use him puncin' that clock up an' deaun th' room, but he did, an' to save his toes I picked it up an' throwed it in th' ash-bin.  But my husbond welly geet sacked, an' th' teawn were flooded two days through that clock."

    "It were a pity yo' bowt th' clock," said Alick.

    "It were that, an' th' visitor we geet it fro' went oft whoam th' day he sowd it to us, or else eaur Daniel would ha' brokken his neck."

    "Um.  What did yo'r husbond do, Mrs. Smith?" axed Alick.

    "Oh, he were a tide-turner for th' Corporation," hoo ansert.

    Tum had been listenin' to this talk wi' his meauth oppen, but he'd never yerd of a trade like that afore, so he axed her, "What is a tide-turner?"

    "Why," said Mrs. Smith, "he's a chap as watches th' tides come in, an' when it gets as high as th' Corporation wants it to goo, th' tide-turner turns th' wayter off, an' th' tide goes eaut.  If yo'll notice in some o'th' shop windows there's a fresh papper in every day sayin' heaw high th' tide ull be, an' th' Corporation wurn't allow it to get any higher."

    "Well, I never yerd nowt like that," said Tum,

    "Yo' larn moor as yo' talk to folk.  Is yo'r husbond tide-turnin' yet, Mrs. Smith?"

    "Eh, nawe," said Mrs. Smith, "he's been deeod above five yer.  He deed at Simblin' Sunday, nineteen-hundert-an'-one."

    "Poor chap!" said Alick, "what a pity."

    "Aye, it were," an' Mrs. Smith seemed pleosed at th' sympathy, for hoo' lifted th' corner uv her white brat up an' wiped a tear fro' her left e'e; "as good a mon as ever lived, an' he wouldn't cruush a worm."

    Mrs. Smith were very much affected, an' that e'e wheer th' tears coom fro' were soppin' weet, an' a corner uv her brat wanted squeezin' when hoo'd talked a bit.  But hoo liked dwellin' on her trouble.

    There was a little pause just here, then Mrs. Smith said, "I'll show yo' his memory card, an' I'll bring yo'r bill at th' same time."

    When hoo'd turned her back, Tum said to Alick, "Dosta think yon woman's truthful?  Hoo's gan us plenty o' gas for th' six shillin' hoo'll strap us.  An' I noticed when hoo were troubled an' cried abeaut her husbond th' tears aw coom fro' one e'e."

    "Well, I noticed that mysel'," said Alick, "but lonladies at th' sayside are that road; they keep one e'e wi' a tear or two ready for sympathy, but they keep t'other e'e awlus dreigh for business purposes.  Watch her when hoo comes back, an' tha'll catch her winkin'."

    Alick had hardly getten th' words eaut uv his meauth when he yerd th' seaund uv her feet.  Hoo coom in, an' planked hersel' deaun on a cheer.  "Here's my husbond's memory card.  Mun' I read it yo'?" an' witheaut waitin' for a answer, read it like this:―

Who, after a troublous life,
Left his home an' left his wife,

Th' owd brid's flown away fro' th' nest,
He's flown to heaven to get some rest;
If he'd fly back I'd have nowt to fear,
For I'd all as I wanted when he was here.

    "Th' po'thry's mine," said Mrs. Smith, proudly; "dun yo' like it?"

    "Aye," replied Alick, wishin' to cooart her favour, "it's very good."

    That were th' answer hoo wanted, so hoo went on, "I put it in th' papper, an' when I axed him heaw mich it would be, th' gentlemen behind th' ceaunter said, 'Well, eaur usual price is four shillin', but this po'thry's so good we'll put it in at half price.'  So I paid him, and bid him Good-day, when he said 'Yo' should goo in for writin', Mrs. Smith, an' if any o' yore friends dee, if yo'll write a verse as good as this, I'll put it in th' papper at th' same price.' . . Would yo' like a memory card?"

    "Aye, we should," ansert Alick, "we want summat o' that soart to cheer us up just neaw."

    "Well, then, tak this," an' hoo honded it to him.  Hoo shaped for leovin' um then, but rememberin' hersel', turned back, an' said, "I'd liked to ha' forgetten; here's yo're bill."

    Alick took it, an' read: "Bed, three neets, 7s. 6d.; cruet, 6d.; milk, 6d.; pratoes, 6d.; boots, 9d.; Sundays dinner for two, 3s.; total, 12s. 9d."  This awmost made him sweat, not as it were dear, but he thowt o' th' funds.  "I see yo'n getten sixpence deaun for th' cruet, what does that meeon?"

    "It's for th' mustard, saut, alecar, an' pepper," said Mrs. Smith, .

    "But, we'n used nowt but a bit o' saut," Alick said.

    "Well, it's bin theer for yo'," replied Mrs. Smith; "when Selina, th' servant, took th' cruet off th' table this mornin', she said, 'Mrs. Smith, yon two chaps come fro' Cheshire, wheer th' cheese is made.  They'n not touched th' mustard.'"

    "But we durn't come fro' Cheshire," broke in Tum, "we come fro' Bowton."

    "Dun-yo!" she said, surprised; "well, well; yo're th' fust Bowton chaps I've ever had stoppin' here as didn't empty th' mustard pot th' lust meal . . . . That accounts for it; tha'd ha' never gone to yon auction reaum if tha'd etten some mustard."

    Just then th' servant browt Tum's tay; he were nearly famished, for Mrs. Smith's chatter had kept him waitin', an' seaside lonladies aren't awlus in a hurry, unless th' heause is full; then they want some on yo' eaut o'th' road.

    Alick an' Tum discussed th' bill, an' they clubbed together, an' cawd Mrs. Smith in.  They paid her, an' they'd one-an'-ninepence left to carry um on till Monday afternoon.

    "I hope yo're satisfied," said Mrs. Smith, sittin' deaun facin' Tum, "an' yo'll come again.  An' yo'll send for th' ornaments when yo' get back.  Happen tha'll be wed by then."  (This were to Tum, an' he blooshed).  "When my husbond were livin' he used to goo eeut recitin', an' when he went to at tay party, wheer there were young folk, they'd awlus sheaut for him to say 'Th' Lines to a Batchelor.'  It met hu' bin writ for thee.  It were his own po'thry, an' they did like it.  I'll say it for yo'."  An' hoo brested off wi' this:—

Why, foolish mon, doesnt the get wed?
Tha'd be better off if tha were dead,
                Nor livin' saingle;
There's mony at less would be thi wife,
An' comfort thee aw through thi life,
                An' never wrangle.

Art' not tired o' livin' so,
I'th' midst o' misery an' woe,
                Aw thi deiys?
The'd ruyther awter, I con tell,
But tha'll trust nobody but thisel',
                Tha's such quare ways.

Tha never knowed affection's bliss,
Or th' love contained in one sweet kiss,
                Not tha indeed;
The coom i'th' world for t' do some good,
An' not be like a block o' wood,
                Or some bad weed.

Tha's no wife's cheer for t' make thee glad,
Or little childer t' caw thee dad,
                An' comfort thee;
An' so, wi' awlus bein' alone,
Tha does nowt nea but sigh en' moan,
                An' thus tha'll dee.

If tha were sick, neaw what would t' do?
The'd happen have to th' warkheause goo,
                An' risk thi life;
An' who would soothe thi achin' yed,
Or keep thee warm ut neet i' bed,
                As well's a wife.

In times like thoose hoo'd be thi friend, —
Her labours then would ha' no end,
                Till tha geet weel;
Tha'd find tha'd not geet wed in vain,
For hoo'd be th' fust to soothe thi pain —
                Thy sores to heal.

Tha'rt not like folk we see aw reaund;
Thi misery poos thee deaun to th' greaund,
                An' makes thee ill;
Just get a wife thi path to cheer,
An joys ull creawn thee while tha'rt here —
                Tha'll ha' thy fill.

Tha looks so sour tha freetens folk —
Thi face weren't made to crack a joke,
                It looks too feaw;
I think it hasnt wore a smile,
Or lowft or grinned for mony a while —
                Has it neaw?

Such folk as thee owt ne'er be born;
Folk pity thee, tha looks forlorn,
                Ah! thats quite true;
Neaw just thee wed some bonny lass,
Hoo'll tend thee well an' save thi brass —
                Tha'll never rue.

Women pints at thee wi' shame —
"Theer's a bachelor!" what a name
                For any mon;
Neaw tak' advice afore its late,
An' goo an' get a gradely mate —
                I know tha' con.

Thi troubles then will have an end,
For hoo'll be to thee a worthy friend,
                I know hoo will;
For woman's worth is in her breast,
An' everythin' hoo schames for th' best,
                Wi' her skill.

    "That's th' eend on it," said Mrs. Smith; "dus ta like it."

    "It's very good," said Alick; "han' yo' a copy on it to spare."

    "Nawe, I haven't, it's not been printed; but I'll write it eaut for thy brother if he likes," an' hoo looked at Tum wi' one o' thoose fause smiles as th' sex larn when they're babbies an' practice till they dee.

    Tum seed through it, but he'd listened to th' po'thry, an' some on it had settled in his nob, as we shall yer moor abeaut.  He stretched his arms eaut, an' gaped, an' said to Alick, "Let's have a bit uv a walk.  We'st see nowt sittin' here."

    "Aye, do," said Mrs. Smith; "an' I'd forgetten, I've some marketin' to do."

Heaw they Managed beaut Brass i' Blackpool.

    When Alick an' Tum geet in th' street they felt lonely someheaw, an' they kept their honds in their pockets to howd that one-an'-ninepence deaun.  They walked past th' Palace an' th' Tower mony a time on th' spec o' seein' somebry fro' Bowton as they knowed to borrow a tothri shillin' off, but, as generally happens at such times, nobry o' that soart passed.  They hadn't spokken to one another aw th' time, an' noather on um knowed wheer they were gooin'.  Abeaut ten o'clock they were feelin' hungry, but there were some schamin' to be done afore they dare touch their capital.  They were passin' a shop wheer there were potato pie in th' winder, steamin' hot, when th' nice smell pood um up.

    "I'm hungry," said Alick, "an' I mun ha' summat to eit."

    "Aw reet," said Tum, "let's ha' fourpennorth o' prato pie apiece," an' they went in.  It were good, they thowt, an' they could ha' eaten a lot moor but for th' funds bein' low.  They'd only tharteenpence left.

    Alick bethowt him on th' road whoam as his bacca were done, an' as Tum had noan to spare, he had for t' spend threepence on an ounce o' twist, an' that laft um wi' tenpence.

    "Th' brass is fairly flyin'," said Tum; "I'm feared we'st ha' to goo whoam to-morn."

    "Well, we cornt help it," replied Alick; "I've pent nowt; it's thee to blame."

    "Well, it's my own brass," said Tum, "surely I con do as I like wi' my own."

    Alick said no moor, for he could see as Tum were a bit nettled, an' if he hinted again perhaps they'd have words.  So they went whoam, an' were not lung eaut o' bed.

    On th' Sunday mornin' at breakfast time they had to plan heaw to spend th' day.  They were booath good livin' chaps, if they weren't teetotalers, so Alick said to Tum:

    "We daren't go to chapel, becos we corn't afford to put owt in th' collectin' box.  Heaw would it be if we spent th' day on th' sands.  We can yer th' preitchin' theer, an' it's only place as I know on wheer we con get religion for nowt."

    Tum could think o' nowt better, an' abeaut ten o'clock they were stondin' aside o'th' Salvation Army, listenin' to th' band an' tothri testimonies.  They'd getten so interested as to be thinkin' abeaut nowt else, when a young woman wi' a poke bonnet started collectin' just wheer Tum were stondin'.  Hoo offered th' box to him th' very fust, an' he couldn't forshame to let it pass, so he put a penny in.  Alick twigged her comin', an' he backed eaut o'th' creawd for a bit.  After bein' theer a while lunger, th' captain cocked th' big drum on its end in th' middle o'th' ring, an' as they'd seen that done afore, they knowed what it meant.  They'd nothin' moor to spare, so they went away.

    After dinner they turned eaut again, but they kept clear o'th' Salvation Army.  They went to another stond, but they were no better off, for th' cadgin' begun theer, so they edged off to another place, an' feared uv a collection, they kept eautside o'th' crowd.  They spent moor time in dodgin th' collectin' box nor what they geet good fro' aw th' sarmons they'd yerd.

    Monday mornin' were railly grand, such a day as would make a healthy chap feel as he'd like to live for ever.

    "I wish it were four o'clock," Tum remarked, as they were havin' their breakfast.

    "What for?" axed Alick.  "If we'd a bit o' brass I could do wi' bein' here a month.  Look what a bonny mornin' it is."

    "Th' mornin's aw reet," said Tum, "but what con we do wi' ninepence between us, an' th' lonlady pooin' such faces as hoo does.  We met be beggars."

    "Oh, tak no notice uv her," said Alick, "tha doesn't know women as weel as I do.  It's thy fancy; I fund her aw reet.  Perhaps she thinks tha'rt a foo', an' I corn't blame her."

    "Well, I feel it keen enoof, Alick Hamer, an durn't think tha's any reason to fancy I'm gooin' to be insulted wi' thee," an' Tum were riled.

    "I didn't meeon to insult thee, Tum," said Alick, "but tha' imagines things.  Mrs. Smiths aw reet, but hoo towd thee plain enoof as chaps as coom beaut their wives or wenches did make foos o' theirsels betimes."

    "Well, drop it, she said enoof; durn't thee bother any moor abeaut it."

    Alick had sense enoof to say no moor, an' after a bit, when his temper had cooled deaun, Tum axed, "Wheer mun we spend th' mornin'?"

    "Well, I think we'd better goo on th' North Pier, that'll nobbut be fourpence for booath on us.  We con sit an' yer th' band, an' theres no collectin'."

    That were Alick's suggestion, an' Tum readily agreed.

    They spent th' mornin' theer, sittin' smookin' an' listenin' to th' music, but at th' interval Tum said to Alick, "I could do wi' a sup o' ale, but there's only fivepence left.  Heaw con we manage it?"

    "There's only one road I con think on," ansert Alick; "we'll go to th' refreshment pavilion together.  Thee order a glass uv ale, an' sup hauf on it; then come eaut.  I'll watch thee, an' then nip in, an' sup what tha's left.  We'st ha' to do it that road, an' then we'st have twopence-hau'p'ny left for two gills when we get to Bowton."

    An' they did this.  It weren't very much ale for two strung men, but it livened um up a good deal; it left a thirst behind it, heawever, so as when th' concert were o'er they had to goo to th' bar again an' spend th' last coppers they had, joinin' at th' beer as they did afore.

*            *            *            *            *            *            *            *

    Blackpool stations are wolly awlus creawded in th' summer, an' there isn't much difference between th' folk as are comin' in an' thoose at are gooin' away.  They aw seem happy.  Folk that are gooin' whoam have friends seein' um off, an' they're merrily chattin' while th' barriers are oppend.  Then they shake honds, an' th' friends ull say, "We're sorry yo're gooin'," an' they awlus get ansert, "An' we're sorry to go; but, ne'er mind, we'st come again next yer!"  An' they keep their word.  Then when th' train leoves th' station they wave their honkerchers eaut o'th' carriage windows to their friends, an' smile at um till they con see um no lunger.  Then they sit deaun an' joke an' sing all th' road whoam.  Th' fresh air's made um lively an' strung.  They dunnat forget th' pleasure they'n had, an' as th' months rowl reaund they keep filled wi' th' pleasant hope of another good time to be spent in th' jolliest place in England, wheer anythin' con be bowt, an' wheer there's no restriction on anybody's liberty so long as folk behave.  Good, cheery Blackpool, awlus young, an fresh every time one comes to it!

    Alick an' Tum geet to Talbot Road Station in good time, an' they were th' only deaunhearted pair in th' creawd.  When th' barriers oppend they made for th' train, an' geet a compartment to theirsels at fust, an' Alick stood at th' window as folk coom through th' barrier.

    "Why, here's Jane Barnes, thy big piecer, wi' Alice Atherton, an' David Strung an' his wife," he said to Tum, who geet up to look.

    "Hello, Dave," said Tum, "heaw arta?  When did yo' come?"

    "Oh, I'm A1," ansert Dave; "we'n bin here aw wick.  Han yo' reaum for us in theer?"

    "Aye," said Tum, "come in."

    When th' dur were oppent, Jane Barnes an' Alice Atherton had getten to th' carriage, an' Alick said as there were reaum, so they geet in, an' they'd compartment to thersels.  Jane Barnes sat next to Tum, an' Alice Atherton next to her, while Alick an' Dave an' his wife sat on th' opposite side.  Tum were pleosed wi' this arrangement, for thoos lines in Mrs. Smith's doggerel —

"There's mony a loss ud be thi wife,
 An' comfort thee aw through thi life,"

had been runnin' through his yed since hoo said um, an' for th' fust time in his life he were interested in women's company.

    When th' train geet gooin' Jane oppent her satchel, an' pood a bag o' chocolate eaut, an' offered it to Tum.  He took some, an' hoo honded th' bag reaund.

    Tum felt moor comfortable then nor he had done since he left Bowton.  Jane had worked wi' him ever sin' hoo were sixteen, an' he'd never noticed th' change in her fro' girlhood to womanhood.  He'd never seen her dressed up afore, for hoo wore clugs at her wark, an' her brat were so made to cover her that he'd not had th' chance o' seein' heaw shapely hoo were.  But neaw, as hoo honded him th' chocolate, he noticed heaw cleon an' bonny her taper fingers were, an' as he lowered his yed, an' could see her feet in nice-fitting shoon, he thowt heaw dainty an' leet for trippin' they looked.

    In a bit hoo pood a net bag off th' rack, an' hoo spread th' contents on her knee, an' hoo axed Tum, wi' pleasure in her e'en, if he liked um.  "I'm takkin' um aw presents," hoo said.  "This hummin' top's for eaur little Alf.  It's a nice un, isn't it."

    "It's a beauty," agreed Tum.

    "This wark-basket's for eaur Nelly.  Hoo's in th' sixth standard, an' her taycher said she must ha' one."

    "That's very useful," said Tum

    "An' I've bowt this Prayer Book wi' big print for my mother; she corn't see so weel at church in th' gas-leet.  It's nice, isn't it?  An' I've writ her name in it, sithee: 'A Present from Blackpool for my Dear Mother, from her Loving Daughter JANE.'"

    "That's grand," said Tum, an' Jane were pleosed as he admired it.

    Jane chuckled as hoo undid th' last parcel, an' hoo held it up for everybody to see it.  It were a mustache cup, as big as a basin, wi' a saucer th' size of a plate.  "This is for my fayther," hoo said, "an' weren't he loff when he gets it?"

    "He will that, an' I'm sure anybody would," ansert Tum.  An' then in a lower v'ice he axed her, "An' what hasta bowt for thisel'?"

    "Oh, nowt," replied Jane; "I couldn't afford.  Besides, I didn't want owt.  We're not rich at eaur heause, but we're very comfortable."

    "Does tha mind tellin' me heaw much aw th' lot as cost thee.  I'd like to know so as I shall know heaw to spend my brass."  Tum were anxious.

    "Twelve shillin'," ansert Jane.  Tum were fairly disgusted wi' hissel'.  Here were a woman as warked for him could spend a bit o' money like that on things as were useful an' would delight a heauseful o' folk, an' make um happy, while he'd wasted four peaund on a lot o' rubbish that were o' no sarvice to anybody, an' he'd made hissel miserable.

    Alice Atherton then pood her presents eaut, an' hoo'd spent her brass to as much advantage as Jane.  Tum leoned o'er to look at um, an' he were closer to Jane nor ever he'd bin afore, an' he kept so aw th' road to Bowtun.

    Ah, Tum, if tha'd only known!  There were a little angel, o' mon's creation, hoverin' o'er thee just neaw.  He wove a mantle o' finer texture than any threads ever spun by thee, liner than anythin' produced by th' silkworm, reaund Jane Barnes some yers back.  Hoo's worn it tight reaund her ever sin', an' hoo liked it, for it kept her heart warm.  That were th' Mantle o' Love, an' Cupid, th' little angel, is unlapping some on it fro' her sweet body an he'll lap hawf o'th web reaund thee, an' he'll fasten it wi' some darts he awlus carries, an' may tha never loosen it!

    Tum rested his arm on th' window ledge, an' looked eaut on th' green fields, but his thowts were aw for th' woman beside him, an' thoose lines o' Missis Smith's were tumblin' abeaut his brain, but Cupid had awterd um for him:

"There's a lass as wants to be thi wife,
 An' hoo'd comfort thee aw through thy life."

    Alice Atherton started a hymn, an' they aw joined in it, an' after that Jane sung "Abide with me," an' they helped at that, too, an' just when everythin' were at th' best, they'd getten to Bowton.

    They parted at th' station wi' a friendly Good-neet an' when Tum geet whoam he hadn't heart for owt.

    Of cooarse Emma were pleosed to see um back again.  Hoo knowed Tum would bring summat back for th' childer, but there were such a lot o' stuff o'th' wrung soart that when th' childer axt what their Uncle Tum had browt um, he towd Emma to tak everythin' but th' little watch — he'd made up his mind who were to have that — an' divide um hersel'.  This put her in a dilemma, so she towd Tum he'd better divide um, but they should have some tay fust.

    They'd not getten settled at th' table when his little favourite nephew, Tum, who'd had th' worst dose o' mayzles, looked up wi' tears in his e'en, an' said, "Uncle Tum, han yo' not browt us some Blackpool rock?"  Tum were very feelin', but through th' mess he'd made o' things he'd never thowt o'th' childer, an' this pleadin' question o'th' lad hurt him.  So he went upstairs to his box, wheer he had a few peaunds, geet some silver eaut, an' rushed eaut an' bowt two shillins' worth o' towfy as near alike to th' Blackpool stuff as he could get it, an' th' childer were pacified.

    After tay, which mellowed their tempers a bit, Tum distributed th' auction stuff as presents.

    "Here, Emma," he said, "I'll start wi' thee.  This silver-backed hair brush an' comb's very nice; I could ha' browt thee nowt usefuller."  Emma thanked him, an' took it.

    "An' this penknife ull do for little Tum," an' he gan it him, an' little Tum cut his finger wi' it straight away, an' skriked.  Emma bund his finger up, an' th' child chucked th' knife across th' reaum; he didn't want it.  When he were quieted, Tum went on:

    "These opera-glasses ull do for little Nancy—."

    "Why, Tum," interrupted Emma, "Nancy con hardly see yet.  What use is them to her?"

    "Well, save um till hoo con see," said Tum, "or else give her th' hair brush an' comb."

    "That's no better," said Emma, "hoo's hardly any yure on."

    "Well, hoo will have some day," remarked Tum, getting impatient, "save um till her yure grows.  An' that's aw aw've browt."  He said nowt abeaut th' Marley horses an' clock, as he'd a hazy idea he might want them hissel' some day.

    Tum could see as his presents weren't accepted wi, that pleasure as he had hoped for, an' he mused a while, and becoom melancholy when he fancied heaw th' knick-knacks as Jane Barnes an' Alice Atherton had browt whoam would make everyone as geet um happy an' thankful.

    When bedtime coom th' rest were very welcome to Tum, but he were a lung while afore he went to sleep.  So much had happened that day that his thowts were in a regular jumble, an' Mrs. Smiths "po'thry"—

"There's a lass as wants to be thi wife,
 An' hoo'd comfort thee aw through thi life,"

kept rushin' in his yed when he tried to settle on other things, that his poor brains were fairly bewildered.

    "This ull never do," he said rayther leauder nor he intended; "I'st be gooin' off my chump in a bit.  It's strange I never thowt o' ]ane Barnes afore . . . . But then I'd never had a gradely look at her.  I'st say summat sayrious to her to-morn, chusheaw."  An' wi' this promise to hissel' he fawd asleep.

    He started eaut for wark next mornin' intendin' to face Jane as brave as a lion, an' ax her that sayrious question, but when he seed her, an' said Good Mornin' to her, an hoo ansert him cheerily, his tung geet fast to th' roof of his meauth, his pluck dropt deaun'ards, an' he could say no moor.  But he watched her so much that mornin' till he couldn't do his wark as he ought to do; moor ends wanted piecin' than ever, but he geet on sumheaw till th' factory bell rung for dinner time.

    Emma had getten um summat tasty, as hoo awlus did, but hoo noticed as Tum's appetite weren't as usual, an' hoo axed him if th' dinner were not to his likin'.

    "Yah, it's reet enoof," he ansert, "but I'm not mysel' today."

    "Why, what is it?" Emma wanted to know.  "I've never known thee to come hack fro' Blackpool o' that road afore.  Wheer doesta feel ill?"

    Alick were eitin' his meal wi' a relish up to then, but yerrin' Emma question his brother, he oppent his e'en wider, an' stared.

    "I'm noan ill," said Tum, an' to stop further questionin' he said it were nobbut summat he had on his mind.  "But I'll tell thee soon, happen to-morn, aw abeaut it."  An' with that hoo had to be content.

    He geet to th' factory gates ten minutes afore startin' time on th' chance o' havin' it eaut wi' Jane, as he knowed she were awlus before th' time.  He'd practised a nice little speech to say to her, but when he geet up to her to say it every word slipped fro' his memory, an' he felt very clumsy an' flushed when he blurted eaut, "Jane, tha said tha'd bowt nowt for thisel' at Blackpool; I've a little watch an' cheean as I bowt, an' I durn't want it; wilta have it for a present?"

    Jane's face blooshed as red as eaur Sunday table cloth.

    "Eh, nawe," said Jane; "it's very kind on thee, but my fayther an' mother wouldn't like me to have a present off thee — I'm sure they wouldn't."

    Tum felt as if a firemon's hose-pipe had been turned on him, but he'd getten desperate.

    "Well then, buy it; tha'st have it for threepenee," he said.

    "Ay, I haven't threepence to spare; I'm savin' up to be wed."  An' hoo blooshed redder.

    "Tha'rt what?" an' Tum jumped back as if he'd bin scutched wi' a whip.  "An' who arta gooin' to marry?"

    "I'm not at liberty to tell thee yet," said Jane.

    "Well, that's a caution!" Tum gasped, an' he were welly chokin'.  "I've never seen thee wi' a chap.  Why weren't he wi' thee at Blackpool?"

    "He were," ansert Jane, "but not as mich as I should ha' liked."

    "Why, doesn't he like thee so weel as to want to be wi' thee awlus?" were Tum's next question.

    "I think he likes me," said Jane, timidly, "but I like him better nor anybody, an' if he doesn't wed me I'm sure nobry else shall."

    Poor Tum's heart ached.  He were madly in love, for th' fust time in his life.  Jane knew it, but she didn't know how tantalisin' her banter were to a chap uv Tum's temperament, or hoo wouldn't ha' been guilty on it.  He were dejected: he hung deaun his yed, an' when he could speak, it were just above a whisper: "Well, I'm sorry.  I've known thee mony a yer, an' I like thee.  I were gooin' to ax thee this very day if I'd ony chance, an' tha tells me this."

    "Well, th' day's not done, an' it's not too late to ax me yet."  Jane's face might ha' bin th' settin' uv a rose tree as hoo said this.

    What a difference in Tum!  His e'en glistened, an' he looked smart enoof to win a race.  He awmost sheauted, "Well, wilta ha' me?" an' afore he'd getten th' words gradely eaut uv his meauth her answer were at th' eend uv her tung.  "Aye, I will," hoo said, an' hoo turned her face away to hide th' tears as dropped so freely fro' her e'en.

    Happy Tum!  Happy Jane!  It's a pleasure to tell this little saycret o' their lives, because no lord ever wooed his lady moor honestly nor Tum did, an' no king could get a straighter answer fro' th' depths uv a pure woman's heart than Jane Barnes gan' her lover then.

    When they'd getten their senses back, Tum axed, "Well, shall we walk eaut to-neet, an' we con talk things o'er a bit?"

    "Aye, but I'd rayther tha'd see my fayther an' mother fust.  I never goo eaut at neet, an' unless I towd um wheer I were gooin' they'd think it strange.  But they'll not be vexed if tha'll come for me, becos we tell one another everythin'."

    "Well, I'll come at seven o'clock."

    Th' factory bell rung for th' wark to start, an' th' time flew as fast as th' bobbins.  Thoose four heaurs were happier to Tum than th' three days he'd had at Blackpool.

*            *            *            *            *            *            *            *

    Tum were made very welcome by Jane's fayther an' mother.  He were very shy at fust, an' couldn't find words to say much, but they were so nice, an' were so comfortable one with tother, that he soon begun to feel awhoam.  As he looked reaund th' heause he thowt he'd never seen anythin' like it afore.  It were a pattern of cleonliness an' order.  When he fust went in, Jane's little brother were sittin' fast asleep in his cheer wi' th' hummin'-top as hoo'd browt him lyin' at his feet, while th' streng he'd spun it wi' were hangin' fro' his finger.  Her sister, wot were in th' sixth standard, were sewin', an' were usin' th wark-basket as Jane had browt her.  Mrs. Barnes had her specs on, an' were readin' eaut o'th' Prayer Book wi' th' big print; an' th' fayther set smookin' — th' mustache cup an' saucer were on th' table at his elbow.  They were as contented as they looked.

    Tum spoke eaut bravely what he'd come for, an' th' fayther axed him some questions, which he ansert truthfully.  Jane's mother then axed Tum very quietly if he were sure he thowt so much uv her dowter as to want her for his wife, an' Tum's heart bumped agen his breast like th' piston-rod uv a steom engine as he assured her he did.  Then they gan their consent.  This matter had been conducted so reverently, witheaut ony fuss, that Tum felt like bein' in chapel, an' when they invited him to draw up to th' table an' have some supper, an Jane's fayther axed for God's blessin' on it, Tum raily thowt he were takin' th' sacrament.  They'd moor conversation after that, an' Mrs. Barnes advised um not to be in a hurry, as she'd like to be sure they loved one another.  Tum said they'd not, if they'd not keep him waitin' too lung, becos he an' Jane had known one another for a lung time, an' he were sure they'd be mated aw reet.  This took any further argument away, an' when he'd shook bonds wi' um aw except th' little brother who were still asleep, an' bid um 'Good-neet,' Jane went to th' dur wi' him.  When he looked into her smilin', bashful face he'd a minute's glimpse at heaven, an' as he pressed th' fust kiss on thoose pure, sweet lips as he parted fro' her he thowt hissel' a miserable sinner as wanted deliverance, altho' I'm sure nobry could ha' charged him wi' indulgin' in any particular sin.  Heawever, he were happily in love, an' that fine-woven mantle o' Cupid's were lapt as tight abeaut him as it were reaund Jane.

    On th' Saturday neet th' lovers went a walk through th' Market, an' lookin' at th' shop windows, an' as Tum were takin' Jane whoam, he gan her a sovereign to put in th' bank.

    "Tha con put it in thy name," he said; "it's a start toward furnishin'."

    But when she towd her folk, they said, "Nawe; tha'd best put it in his name; it's his brass, but tha con bank it for him, an' show him th' book."  An' when hoo towd Tum he agreed, an' as he thowt abeaut it, he could see as they were honourable, an' wanted nowt off him.

    But Jane's fayther didn't like her warkin' wi' Tum neaw as hoo were engaged to be wed to him, an' towd him so; it might gi' some folk reaum for idle gossip.

    Tum soon geet eaut o' that difficulty, for in th' next reaum to wheer his mules were there were a chap what were a big mon at th' chapel.  He'd childer wed, an' Tum towd him heaw matters stood wi' him an' Jane, an' axed him if he'd swop him big piecers for a bit.

    "Aye, I will," ansert Job Harrison (that were his name), "but my piecer's th' next for mules, so he may be ta'n away fro' thee very soon, an' I wouldn't like thee to stond in his road."

    "Oh, nawe," said Tum; "neaw as yo've mentioned it I'll have another ready by then."

    An' so it were arranged, an' Tum made up his mind to get his side-piecer ready for a shuve up th' ladder when th' big piecer geet a pair o' mules.

    So th' cooarse o' true love begun to run smoothly.  Th' days passed very swiftly by, but not hauve as fast as Tum would ha' liked, an' th' evenin's, when they were walkin' eaut, or sittin' in th' heause wi' Jane's family abeaut, were spent as happy as they could be.  They'd some difficulty wi' th' Sundays at fust, becos Tum were a Wesleyan, while Jane went to th' church wheer hoo'd been browt up.  But Tum said he seed little difference in th' religions, an' he'd goo to church wi' Jane, so as to be aside on her.  So he went wi' her, an' hoo fund th' places for him in th' Prayer Book, an' towd him heaw to find Easter Sunday in any yer, an' aw th' festivals, an' he jined wi' her in singin' th' Psalms, an' he prayed for everybody, fro' th' King on his throne to th' poor thief in prison.  At th' finish o'th' service he'd tak Jane whoam, an' Mrs. Barnes would make him stop to supper, an' he felt he wouldn't swop his life to live in a mansion in th' skies, or onywheer else, so contented were he.

    One neet, after they'd bin courtin' abeaut six months, Tum surprised Jane by axin' her heaw much brass he'd saved up [she was banking it].

    "Well," ansert Jane, "I did look o' Monday neet when I banked th' twenty-eight shillin' tha gan me o'Saturday, an' I think tha's tharty-two peaund in.  But I'll look again, to be sartin."

    "Oh, tha needn't bother," said Tum, "nobbut I wanted to ax thee if there isn't enoof to furnish a little heause wi'.  I'm tired o' bein' by mysel', an' I feel as I want thee awtogether."

    Jane hung down her yed; hoo couldn't speik for a while, but hoo'd nowt to be ashamed on.  She knew he'd spokken fro' his heart, an' she loved him better, if that were possible, for bein' so out-spokken.  When she could answer him, it were in a falterin' v'ice:

    "Well, it's thy pleosins, Tum.  I'm in no great hurry, for I'm content to wait till tha'rt ready.  Yet if tha'd like to get wed I daresay we could manage wi' tharty peaund.  But, if tha doesn't mind, let's goo to eaur heause, an' tha con talk to my mother an' fayther; they'll be pleosed to advise us."

    So they went, an' Tum towd um what he'd like, if they'd have no objection to it.  Jane's parents looked at one another for a bit; it were yezzy to see they were sore troubled at th' prospect o' losin' their dowter, for altho' hoo were cooartin', they never dared think uv a separation.  Th' mother then said to her husbond, "What dun yo' think abeaut it, William?" an' he ansert, "Well, if tha thinks they may be wed comforable, I'st not object to it."

    Then th' mother towd Tum they could see nowt to hinder it, at which he were so glad he'd ha' jumped o'er th' table an' made a foo uv hissel' if he hadn't grown into a regular church-gooer.  Mrs. Barnes had to poo her specs off an' rub um, for summat fro' her e'en had so blurred um that hoo couldn't see gradely through um.

    Alick went wi' Tum o' puttin' th' axins in, an' Jane an' Emma an' Mrs. Barnes were aw busy for th' next tothri wick buyin' th' furniture an' drapery, while Jane's younger sister (hoo were in th' seventh standard neaw) had th' wark-basket eaut every neet, an' her nimble fingers were busy at top speed crowsherin' anti-macassers an' nic-nacs for t' decorate th' new home.

    Mrs. Barnes gan Jane a pleasant surprise one neet just after tay-time.  Hoo went to a little drawer in th' big chest an' browt a little leather bag eaut.  Hoo put it on th' table aside o' wheer Jane were sat, an' said, "Thy fayther says I'd better give thee this neaw.  It's part o' thy wages we've saved up for thee sin' tha were engaged to Tum.  As we felt he were so honourable an' straightforrud, we said we'd help yo' as much as we could, so there's ten peaund in this bag for yo'; we wish we could make it moor."

    Jane were o'erwhelmed.  Her fust thowt were that hoo shouldn't take it, for, although they were so comfortable as to be in want o' nowt, hoo couldn't understond heaw they could spare aw that money for her; an' she towd her mother so.

    "Dunnot bother, my dowter," Mrs. Barnes ansert, "tha's been a good wench, an' it's eaur duty to help thee.  We're sure tha'll do thy duty to thy husbond, an' we'd like him to know as we've loved thee, as we should."  An' Jane had to be satisfied.

    When everythin' had been arranged, an' their cottage (a bran-new un) furnished neat an' natty, Tum an' Jane were jined together in th' bonds uv holy matrimony.  They were fairly looaded wi' presents, an' everythin' passed off weel.

    Tum had lung enough afore then getten th' Marley horses an' th' clock as wouldn't goo fro' Mrs. Smith, at Blackpool.  Tum had tan th' clock to he put reet, au' it had gone ever sin'.  They were on th' mantiel piece at their new home, an' they reilly looked weel.

*            *            *            *            *            *            *            *

    It's tothri yer sin' these things happened.  Noather Tum nor Jane's bin to Blackpool sin' then, but they're havin' a wick theer next Wakes — perhaps, an' they'll tak another Jane wi' um.  They're as happy as th' day's lung, an' in a mornin' Tum wakkens, as soon as day-leet comes, wi' a choilt's chatter, as wakkens Jane an aw, an' hoo lifts her baby dowter fro' its crib an planks it between hersel' an' Tum, as he likes it aside on him.  It cooes, an says, "Da, Da, Da," an' kicks its fat legs abeaut, an' poos Tum's mustache.  Then Tum ull put his finger on its soft velvety flesh, just under its fust rib, an' it lowfs an' it crows, an' talks in its way; an' he tickles it again, an' it chinks lowder, an' he keeps at it till th' choilt can lowf no lunger, but starts o' skrikin'.  Then Jane ull sit up, an' say, quite sharp, "Durn't hurt her, Tum; tha'll have her in a fit!" an' hoo taks it to her breast to soothe it.  Then Tum ull get up an' make th' fire, an' put th' kettle on.  He makes a sope o' tay, an' taks a cupful upstairs to Jane.  When he gets theer they'n booath fawn asleep again.  He looks at one an' then at t' other, an' says to hissel', "Eh, Jane, tha mun ha' bin a angel when tha were a babby, for hoo's just like thee," an' he kisses um booath.  Jane wakkens at that, an' as hoo sups her tay.  Tum goes off to wark, wi' a lovin' wife's mornin' prayer for his welfare,

    At neet as he comes whoam Jane's waitin' at th' dur for him.  Hoo lifts th' choilt up, an' it stretches eaut its little arms for t' goo to him, so' he taks it off her, an' it likes him to give it some uv his tay, wi' a extra drop o' milk in, eaut uv his saucer.

    Then in a bit Jane ull undress th' choilt, an' taks her to bee-bo.  Tom sits smookin' in his arm-cheer, an' as he yers Jane's vice singin' th' little cheruh to sleep, he sees th' Marley horses an' th' clock as wouldn't goo on th' mantelpiece through th' smook as curls fro' his pipe, an' his thowts wander back to th' Blackpool auction reaum, an' he lowfs to hissel at his foolishness that day, but he doesn't regret it neaw, because it were through that as he determined to have a wife, an' he's moor nor satisfied wi' th' one he's getten."

    Mrs. Barnes caws to see Tum an' Jane, an' th' choilt, as oft as hoo con, an' they spend th' Sunday afternoons mooastly at Barneses, an' they aw goo to church at neet.  Alick an' Emma Hamer are very thick wi' um, an' th' three families stick very close together.  Tum's livin' in hopes uv havin' a son afore lung; if it happens as he expects, I'm feared they'll have to put off their visit to Blackpool for another yer.




Thy yure's gone grey; tha'rt fadin' fast;
Aw th' summer o' thy life is past;
Tha'rt gooin' to thy grave at last,
            Unweary saint;
Wi' age thy face has changed its cast,
            But never faint.

Thy feeble step gets waker still,
But theau mun totter on until
Another does thy mission fill
            Here below;
An' when tha's done thy Mester's will,
            To Him tha'll go.

What good tha'st done sin tha's bin here!
Tha'st whispered mony a sowl a cheer,
When weighted deaun wi' doubt an' fear
            O' th' life to come;
Tha'st comforted when death were near,
            An' helped um whoam.

Tha'll find it hard to goo, I know,
To heaven, an leove us here below,
Wi' pungent sorrow, pain, an' woe
            To battle wi';
But we'll brave it aw, an' conquer th' foe,
            Then follow thee.

Life is but short — a measured spon —
Allotted eaut by God to mon,
To spend on earth as best he con
            In doin' good;
An' then he taks um, one by one,
            Fro' th' thorny road.

There's nowt on earth for thee to crave ;
There's sweeter rest for th' good an' brave;
There's endless jeighs t'other side o' th' grave
            For folk like thee;
Tha's nowt to fear — Christ deed to save —
            We aw mun dee.




HOSBURN Grove were th' best part in eaur nayburhood.  There were only six heauses in a row in th' Grove, an' everywheer else there were twenty or moor.  An' th' folk what lived in Hosburn Grove thowt summat o' theirsels, th' women specially.  Every mornin' one met see um comin' eaut o'th' front doors o' cleonin' their steps, an' everyone on um 'ud wear a cleon apron an' her best hat, an' th' show o' fithers an flowers in Hosburn Grove at thoose times were a spectacle to be seen nowheer else.  Th' hawkers, when they geet to th' Grove, raised their pratoes a penny in th' five peaund, an' when th' milkmen coom they didn't hit th' sides o' their cans wi' th' whip·stocks, an' sheaut "Milk."  Nowt so vulgar.  They knocked at th' durs, an' cawd quite nicely, "Milk, ladies; new milk."  An' then th' women 'ud come rushin' on tip-toe wi' their jugs to th' milk float mooastly to see which on um were wearin' owt dif'rent to what they had on th' day afore.  So yo' may reckon as th' folk what lived in Hosburn Grove were blue-blooded aristocrats.

    At No. 46 there lived a chap an' his wife an' dowter named Smith.  Mrs. Smith an' their Becky were dress-makers, an' they warked very hard an' lung to keep theirsels dacent an' respectable, for Mrs. Smith's husbond not only didn't do much to keep th' whoam together, but he mooastly wanted keepin' hissel.  It isn't yezzy for me to describe him, but yo'n coom across such folk in yo'r time.  He went eaut o'th' heause in a mornin', as cleon an' weel-dressed as his wife could afford to make him, an' he'd come back at neet welly canned up, an' tell his wife as his heart were plaguin' him very much, an' trade were bad, an' he could get nowt to do in his line; an' she were soft enoof to believe him.  Hoo thowt he were unfortunate, an' hoo towd folk in th' Grove he were too delicate to wark, an' hoo thowt it were a shome ut a chap as clever as he were couldn't get a shop wheer his great talent would ha' scope.  He talked o'er his misfortin' so much that hoo railly thowt it were so, an' hoo took it as her duty to wark her finger-ends to th' bone to keep him in idleness.  I've seen chaps o' that soart afore, an' it's a pity they con get women soft enoof to be gammoned so yezzy.

    Neaw I want yo' to keep in mind that these Smiths lived at th' corner heause, number 46, Hosburn Grove, becos if yo' forget it th' tale's speilt.

    Well, at number 48, next dur, Bob Smith an' his wife an' babby lived.  Bob were th' son o' th' Smith at 46, but he were a different soart o' chap to his fayther.  His job were tacklin' in a wayvin' shed, an' he were hard-warkin' an' steady.  His wife, Jane, were as good as him every bit, an' they geet on together very weel.  Bob were extra fond uv his mother, but he didn't awtogether approve uv her coverin' up his fayther's faults as hoo did.  Bob knowed th' owd chap didn't like wark as weel as he liked drink, an' he were sure th' weakness uv his heart were put on, an' he used for t' tell his mother as if his fayther would drink less he could wark moor.  Bob had mony a time helped his mother eaut o' money troubles, when his fayther had browt no brass whoam.

    Mrs. Smith an' her dowter, at th' time I'm tellin' abeaut, had been very slack o' wark, an' they'd getten behind wi' th' rent.  They'd bin that road afore, but had pood it up after a wick or two.  This time, heawever, they owed for two months, an' th' lonlord were gottin' impatient.  So on th' Saturday he coom for th' rent, an' when Mrs. Smith towd him hoo'd no money for him he were mad, an' he towd her if th' rent weren't at his office by ten o'clock on th' Monday mornin' he'd send th' bum baileys.  This put her an' her dowter in a weary way, an' when th' husbond coom in abeaut two o'clock, rayther soberer nor usual, th' wife towd him what th' lonlord had threatened.

    "Well, let him send um," he said, an' he sat deaun studyin'.  In a bit he towd her for t' look for another heause theer an' then, an' hoo mut tell nobry, an' they'd flit on th' quiet.

    He then went to their Bob's, next dur, an' after tellin' him th' tale, he axed Bob to help him in a plan o' baulkin' th' lonlord, wi' at chance o' gettin' summat eaut on him.

    "Whats th' plan?" axed Bob.  "Why, this," said his fayther: "When th' bums come to eaur heause I'st send um to thee — thy name's Bob Smith, tha knows — an' let um tak' thy goods; then there'll be a shinty abeaut it."

    Young Bob flew up at this, an' in his passion he towd his fayther he'd gone dotty.  "What mun they tak' my furniture for?  I durn't owe um ony rent.  I think if yo wouldn't drink as much as yo' dun yo' wouldn't have th' baileys comin', an' my mother would be a lot better off . . . Nawe, I corn't see it!  Let um tak' my goods?  Nawe!"

    If owd Smith were good for nowt else he were a good hypocrite.  His face were neaw drawn, he'd a pained look, an' he forced tears in his e'en when he a lectured young Bob i' this fashion: "It's awlus th' road!  Yo' may spend th' best yers uv yo'r life in bringin' up yo're childer wi' a ballyful o' grub, an' clooas, an' givin' um good trades, an' if yo' ax um to do yo' a good turn, heawever little it'll cost um, they turn reaund on yo' like this!  I never thowt, Bob, when 'tha were a choilt, an' I were nussin' thee, aye, mony an' a time, tha'd ha' trated thy owd fayther like this in th' time uv his distress."

    This talk worked on Bob, an' he felt ashamed uv hissel'.  So he said to his fayther: "I'm not turnin' my back on yo', fayther, but is there no other road as I con help yo' beside lettin' th' bums tak my furniture?"

    "Nawe, my lad, there isn't," said his fayther, "unless tha'll pay th' rent for us, an' I wouldn't ax thee to do that.  If there were another road I should ha' towd thee, for I'm not one o' thoose hard-hearted chaps as keeps these matters fro' his childer.  I browt yo' up to know everythin' o' my affairs, an' I thowt tha' knowed as we should stick together when trouble coom.  Besides, we'st make money eaut o'th' plan, an' I think it's only reet we should make a lot o' brass eaut o' th' lonlord, for he insults thy mother every wick when he comes for th' rent, just becos we'n no brass to pay it.  If he'd be satisfied wi' thy mother sayin' 'We'n no rent for yo' to-day, lonlord,' I should think nowt on it, but he isn't, an' he stonds at th' dur sheautin', an' th' nayburs yer him, an' start lowfin'.  An' he's been threatenin' lately to send us th' bums, an' clear us eaut, just as if poor folk, what's honest, hasn't a reet to live somewheer."

    This tale mollified young Bob so far as to make him promise his fayther as he'd let him do what he proposed, feelin' satisfied that his fayther knowed moor than th' lonlord, an' would get um eaut uv a scrape, wi' some profit at th' eend o'th' job.

    Mrs. Smith weren't lung in findin' another place to live in, an' that very neet they jumped th' moon, an' shifted mooast o' their furniture to th' new place, but left th' curtains an' blinds up in Hosburn Grove as if nowt had bin disturbed.  So on th' Monday owd Smith an' his wife waited for th' bums comin'.  Abeaut two o'clock there were a knock at th' dur, an' Mrs. Smith oppent th' upstairs window, as if hoo were cleonin' deaun, an' axed two chaps as were stood on th' steps what they wanted.  "We'n coom for eight wicks' rent," one on um said.

    "Wot rent?" axed Mrs. Smith.  "Who's sent yo' here?  Haven't yo' made a mistake?"

    "Nawe, I think not!" said th' bum, an' he looked at th' blue papper he carried in his hond.  "This is Smith's — Robert Smith's — isn't it?" th' chap axed.

    "I thowt yo' were wrung," Mrs. Smith said.  "Robert Smith lives next dur.  An' get off thoose cleon steps.  Next time yo' come to a respectable body's heause wipe yore dirty feet."

    Th' bum-baileys skulked off to th' next dur.  But it's time we geet to th'. . . .


    "Does Robert Smith live here?" th' bailey as had done th' talkin' next dur axed.

    "Aye, he does," ansert Jane, who had oppent th' dur as soon as'th' chap had knocked; an hoo cawd to her husbond, "Bob, tha'rt wanted."

    Bob happened to be awhoam that day, for his wayvers were waitin' for warps.  It's a good job as he were, for th' choilt had getten through its teethin', an' had begun o' walking by itsel' th' day afore, so Jane had weshed th' cradle eaut, an' put it in th' scullery for Bob to carry upstairs eaut o'th' road.  An' th' cat had kittlet — three bonny black an' white uns — an' as Jane would nobbut keep one, Bob had just dreawned th' tother two when Jane sheauted to him as he were wanted.  So Bob had lifted th' deod kittlens eaut o'th' mug, an' lapt up in some newspaper to bury um, but in his hurry to answer Jane he had to put um deaun for a bit, so he dropped um in th' cradle.

    Perhaps's some folk ull think Bob were cruel for takkin' th' lives o' these kittlens.  I durn't approve uv it mysel', for I think there's nowt on four legs as useful as a cat.  What better plaything could yo' have for a choilt, if it's a lad, when it's cuttin' its teeth, than a kittlin'?  Give him one when he's cryin' an' he'll stop in a jiffy.  As soon as he feels it he'll find its tail an' start nippin' it an' pooin' it.  Then th' choilt ull crow an' th' kittlin' ull me-ow, an' th' choilt ull poo harder.  Th' kittlin' ull spit then, an' turn reaund an' scrat him.  This makes th' choilt cry, an' his mother has to hunt for th' kittlin'.  When it's fund hoo taks it to him again, an' he's quieted.  He larks wi' it again, but it wants to get away, an' it poos one road an' th' choilt poos another, an' th' gam goes on till th' kittlin' has another scrat, an' runs off.  Th' choilt's had its fust lesson in fizzical culture — he learns to poo hard, an' th' kittlin' learns to meow an' scrat.  So they booath get browt up together.  Nearly every lad in th' navy, an' every prize-feighter, too, has bin browt up wi' kittlins.  Th' ancient Egyptians fund cats so useful that they worshipped um, an' yo' know heaw brave thoose ancients were; they'd feight onybody.  When th' cats deed they stuffed um wi' sawdust to presarve um; neavv we fill their insides wi' wayter to destroy um.  It's a bad sign.  Then, again, think heaw useful a cat is in a family.  When yore friend, say, invites yo' to have tay wi' him, an' yo' goo, his wife happens not to care for yo', but doesn't like to say so, so hoo'll let th' cat loase on yo'.  When yo're sat deaun it'll come rubbin' itsel' again yo'r britches, then it starts o' purrin', an' yo' stroke it till its tail cocks up.  Then it'll rowl o'er for yo' to rub it's Little Mary, an' yo think it's playin', for its purrin' very hard.  So yo' tickle it a bit, an' aw at once it sends hauf-a-dozen claws into yo'r hand.  Yo're marked for mony a day after that, an' yo've fund eaut as a cat con scratch.  Then yo're friends wife is so sorry, an' "goes" for th' cat, to put it in th' cellar, but it's skedaddled, an' yo' tak it as a strung hint to do th' same, an' yo' goo.

    Have yo' ever noticed what good weather-tellers cats are?  When yo' see pussy sittin' inside o'th' fender wi' its back to th' foire an' its tail under it, it's a sure sign as there's gooin' to be frost or snow, an' cowd weather; an' if yo' yer two or three on um havin' a concert on th' heause top as yo're gooin' to bed yo' may be sure uv a warm neet.

    But I'm forgettin' my tale — I've made a float in th' cloth, as a wayver would say — so I mun get back to it.


    When Bob had dropped th' kittlins in th' cradle he went to th' dur, an' axed th' chap what he wanted.

    "We've come," said th' bailey, "for eight wicks' rent; that's two peaund, an' seven-an-six for a day's wage for two on us."

    "But I durn't owe ony rent," said Bob, an' he cawd to Jane to prove it, but hoo'd just ta'n th' choilt's bed back to th' cradle.  Hoo dropped it on th' top o' th' kittlins, not knowin' they were theer, an' hoo hopped it eaut o'th' back dur to keep fro' lowfin'.

    "Well," said th' bailey, "th' lonlord says yo' dun, an' we've coom for it; so if yo're not gooin' to pay, we'st have to tak your things."

    "I tell yo' again," ansert Bob, "I owe him nowt, an' if yo' tak annythin' fro' here there'll be bother."

    "Oh, tha'rt threatenin', art'o?  Well, we'st do eaur duty, an' if tha'rt gooin' to be stupid, we'll come in an' mark thy furniture."

    So they went in an' took stock o' t' things, an' put a mark on thoose as they said they'd tak for th' rent.  Meonwhile Mrs. Smith, Bob's mother, had cleared her goods eaut o' th' next dur, but hoo left th' blinds an' curtains still up.  Owd Smith were in such good humour at th' idea o' making th' lonlord stump up that he didn't goo drinkin'.

    Bob didn't oss to pay th' baileys eaut, an' he went to his wark next day — he'd been sent for.  Th' bums were gettin' a bit narvous as to what they should do, so one on um went to th' lonlord for further orders.  He were mad at what he thowt were owd Smith's stupidity, an' he towd th' chap they must stop in th' full time, an' if th' rent weren't paid by then, they should tak their things.

    Well, on th' fourth day th' nayburhood were aw ablaze when they seed bills posted abeaut, sayin' as Bob Smiths furniture were to be sowd at Coppum's auction reaum for rent.  An' they were moor surpriset when a furniture van coom to Bob Smith's, an' took his goods away.  That they couldn't understond, for th' nayburs knowed he were a steady chap as warked hard, an' they were aw so sure as he'd a bit o' money put by for ony trouble as should come.

    So, on th' followin' Monday, after dinner, there were such a flutter o' fithers an' big hats as had never bin seen afore in Hosburn Grove, for every woman in th' district turned eaut in her best, an' it were a fine procession deaun to Coppum's auction room to see th' sale o' Bob Smith's furniture, as had bin ta'n for backrent.  A lot o' these women were young, an' hadn't bin wed so long, so they believed, uv cooarse, a heause weren't gradely furnished unless there were summat for a choilt to be rocked in, so they'd each on um made up their minds to have Bob's cradle, but that were a little saycret they kept to theirsels.

    Th' sale had to begin at three o'clock sharp, for cash only, as Mester Coppum said at th' bottom uv his bills.  So, if yo' durn't mind, we'll goo wi' th' creawd an' see heaw th' sale goes on, but we'st ha' to make th' sale a chapter by itsel'.


    Coppum's salereaum were a big place — two shops knocked into one — an' there were reaum for a lot o' stuff as weel as a creawd o' folk.  That day there were a deol o' goods in, an' after Bob Smith's furniture had bin disposed on there were another heauseful o' goods as should be sowd, becos th' owners were gooin' to America.  In their tackle were a bonny poll parrot, which were hung up aside o' wheer th' auctioneer had to stond.  Abeaut a quarter to three aw th' women fro' Hosburn Grove were theer, as weel as a lot o' other folk as had come to bid for t'other stuff.  Th' auctioneer coom in then o' lookin' reaund, an' he seed th' parrot, an' he went aside o'th' cage.  He'd a terrible cowd that day, an' he'd a big red honkercher to keep his nose dry.  As he stood near it, a chap sheauts eaut, "When are yo' gooin' to sell th' parrot, Mester Coppum?"

    "Thee shut up!" said th' parrot.  Folk grinned at that, an' th' auctioneer turned to look at th' chap, an' lowft too.  When he looked at th' parrot again it ducked its yed, an' said "Scratch Polly," so he put his linger through th' wires o'th' cage, when th' brid made a snap at it, which made th' auctioneer poo his finger away sharp.

    "Dom thee!" he sheauted, as he wiped some red off his finger, an' then he said to th' chap as axed th' question, "I'st sell it fust.  I munnot ha' this thing abeaut th' place any lunger nor I con help."

    "Shut up," said th' parrot: . . . "This is a hot shop."

    By this it had getten three o'olock, so th' auctioneer started th' auction, an' after tellin' folk th' conditions o'th' sale he introduced th' parrot this road:—

    "This ere parrot's a brid wuth havin'.  (He blowed his nose.)  Yo'n yerd it talk English, an' I think it could swear a bit if it liked."

    "Shut—up!" skriked th' parrot.

    "I want yo' to help me to-day," said owd Coppum.  "Yo' see I've getten a bad cowd, an' beside my nose runnin', I've neises in my yed, an' my yerrin's not very sure, so when yo're biddin' will yo' speik up, an' then I'st be sure to yer yo'."

    Then he put th' red-spotted honkercher to his nose an' blowed it again.

    "Neaw, this parrot coom fro' Australia, an' th' chap as owns it browt it hissel'.  It's not like th' parrots as are advertised as talkers; this parrot con talk.  In fact, yo' could howd a conversation wi' it.  When yore childer talks as weel as this parrot yo' send um eaut to earn their livin', an' I dare say this parrot could earn its livin' if it had a trade in its fingers.  So there's a chance for th' chap as buys it to larn it to wark; it'll be a job for him."

    "Will it?" said th' parrot.

    "Aye, it will," said th' auctioneer, an' lookin' reaund he spotted a chap as he thowt had interrupted him, an' advised him to buy it, an' see.

    "Will onybody say five peaund for a start?"

    Nobry jumped at th' chance, so he sheauted to th' chap as worked for him "Charlie, fotch that parrot to th' front, an' show it round."

    Charlie lifted th' cage up, an' as soon as th' brid felt itsel' swingin' it set up such a skrike, an' flew an' battered its wings abeaut th' cage as nearly made Charlie drop it.  He put it on th' table under Mester Coppum's bench, an' it settled itsel' theer.

    "Neaw, then," said th' auctioneer, "yo' con aw see it.  Who'll start th' biddin"?  Somebry say five peaund."

    "Five peaund," said th' parrot.

    "Thank yo'," said Coppum.  "Who's bid's that?"

    Folk were titterin' by neaw, an' th' auctioneer looked unyezzy, but he reckoned to tak no notice.

    "Well, start it wi' summat," he said; "let's get th' sale gooin'."

    A chap sheauted "Three peaund."

    "Well, that'll do for a start . . . . Mind yo', this is a valuable brid.  It con talk, as yo've yerd."

    "Con it?" said th' parrot.

    "Shut up," said th' auctioneer, lookin' savage at Polly.  "Neaw, then, I've three peaund bid; hoo says three peaund ten?"

    "Three peaund ten!" fro' th' parrot.

    Owd Coppum didn't notice it at th' time, an' he went on: "Three peaund ten!  Shall I say four peaund?"

    There were no answer till he axed, "Who's bid were that?" an' somebry towd him it were th' parrot's.

    "Here, Charlie," he sheauted to his mon, "we mun stop this joker fro' chatterin'; we'st be here aw day.  Fetch that black cloth as covers th' cage an' put it reaund, an' then it con see nowt."

    So Charlie fetched th' cloth, an' were puttin' it reaund th' cage when th' parrot geet howd uv his finger.  Charlie gan a yell, an' as he pood his hond away he knocked th' cage off th' table, an' th' parrot skreeched again, while Charlie were sayin' things he weren't used to.  He let th' cage stop on th' flure while he sucked his finger, an' when he stooped to pick th' cage up th' parrot said, "Dom thee," an' fluttered its wings up an' deaun, an' there were a rumpus in a minute.  Heawever, a chap as understood brids coom fro' th' back to help Charlie, so they took it behind th' auctioneer, wheer it had been afore.

    Durin' this commotion owd Coppum had bin blowin' his nose an' coolin' his temper.  When aw were quiet he tried again.

    "Let's see," he said, "we'd getten to four peaund ten, hadn't we?  Whose bid were that?"

    Nobry owned it.

    "Well, then," he said, "we'll goo back to three peaund ten.  That were thy bid, I think?" p'intin' wi' his hommer to a chap in th' middle.

    "It were," said th' chap.

    "It were," echoed th' parrot, but owd Coppum didn't yer it.  He seed th' folk grinnin', heawever, so he said: "This isn't a lowfin' matter; yo' women should save yo'r smiles for th' parson; I've my livin' to get. . . . Neaw, who'll say four peaund?"

    "Me," sheauts th' chap as had helped Charlie wi' th' brid.

    "Thank yo'," said th' auctioneer.  "Neaw, goo on, sharp; this parrot an' cage is wuth twenty peaund.  Yo'n nobbut bid for th' cage yet.  Who's gooin' to say four ten?"

    "Four ten," said th' parrot.  "By gum, it's a dark neet.  Go to sleep, Polly."

    Th' place were soon in a gradely uproar, an' th' auctioneer looked troublet an' tired.  He blowed his nose wi' such a crack as might ha' brasted it, an' cawd Charlie.  "Tak' that cage into th' back oflice eaut o' th' road, an' when tha gets it theer uncover it, an' let it mak as much neise as it likes."

    When Charlie went to th' cage th' parrot skriked, "Charlie, Charlie, scratch Polly," an' when it felt th' cage bein' shifted, it skreeched, "Dom thee, dom thee," an' folk yerd it gibberin in th' back reaum till Charlie coom eaut an' shut th' dur on it.

    Then th' auctioneer geet his good temper back, an' went on wi' th' sale.

    "We'd getten to four peaund," he said, an' he blowed his nose again.  "That parrot's upset me.  Four peaund; dare onybody say four ten?"

    A woman as kept a pub said hoo'd give four ten.

    "That's better," said owd Coppum; "men's no pluck when women are abeaut.  Neaw, some other lady say five peaund an' we'll leove men eaut o' this little job."

    "Five pounds" piped a little lady wi' a Yorkshire terrier under her arm.  She'd a v'ice like th' top note uv a clarionet.

    "I wish I could just let yo' have it," said owd Coppum, "for I'm sure yo're kind to animals.  Yo're husbond mun be a happy mon."

    Everybody's e'en were turned to'rt th' lady.  Hoo didn't like it, an' hoo said to a woman aside on her, "The impudent man.  I never had a husband, and I don't want one."  But th' dear owd girl needn't ha' said that, for everybody could see it.

    After blowin' his nose an' feelin' sorry for his joke, owd Coppum said, "It's only my gammon, missis; but I should like yo' to have th' brid . . . Neaw, somebody say five ten."

    "Aw reet,' said th' chap as helped Charlie, "I'll gi' yo' five peaund ten."

    "That's business," said th' auctioneer; "we're shapin' neaw.  Who's gooin' to have th' parrot as con talk for six peaund?  I'st not dwell any lunger.  Five peaund ten, once; five peaund ten, twice—" (Here his nose bothered him, an' he wiped it).

    "Six pounds!" said th' little lady wi' t' dug.

    "Theighur!  I wanted yo' to have it.  Six peaund!  Th' last time o' axin'.  Any advance on six peaund?"

    There were no answer, an' th' hommer dropped.

    "Will yo' tak it neaw?" axed th' auctioneer.

    "No," replied th' lady.  "I'll send my servant for it shortly."

    "Well, will yo' pay for it neaw, if yo' please?  There's no tick at th' auctions; terms cash."

    "Certainly," said th' lady, an' hoo paid for it an' went eaut."


    Bob Smith's goods were neaw to be sowd, an' th' auctioneer introduced um this road: "I'm sure there's a lot o' yo' folk as knows these things has bin ta'n for rent.  I'm very sorry, I'm sure, but it's my duty "—

    (There were a tear in his e'e an' a drop on his nose, an' th' red honkercher were used again).

    "I said it were my duty to do th' best I could for th' lonlord.  So I haven't to let my feelin's interfere wi' my duty to thoose as employs me.  Neaw, th' fust thing I'st offer in this lot is a cradle an' bed.  It's as good as new, for it's only bin used for one choilt.  So yo' women wot's just getten wed has a chance o' preparin' for th' stranger yo'r expectin'."

    Here he stopped an' looked reaund for his mon.  "Charlie," he sheauted, when he'd faxed his e'en on him, "bring that cradle deaun wi' th' choilt's bed in it."

    So Charlie lifted th' cradle deaun, while th' auctioneer's nose were drippin'.

    "This cowd's gettin' wuss," he went on, "an' its hard wark gooin' on like this, so I mun ax yo' to help me by biddin' sharp, an' then we'st get through it.  Neaw I'll start wi' this cradle."

    Aw th' young wed women in th' reaum pressed as close as they could to have a look at th' only thing they were short on in th' furnishin' line, but Charlie stood in th' front on it while his mester were talking.

    "I remember," th' auctioneer went on, "when I'd bin in th' matrimonial state abeaut a year, me an' th' wife were talkin' one neet, an' I were sayin' heaw nice th' heause looked — we'd everythin' in th' furniture line as were wanted — an' I were admirin' it, th' wife interrupted me by sayin' "But, John, there's one thing we shall want directly."

    "What's that?" I axed her.

    "Why, a cradle," she said.

    "An' it were so.  So I see a lot o' young married women here, an' I mun tell yo' that if yo're lucky yo'll want a cradle, an' this connot be beat onywheer.  It's carved at th' top, an' th' rockers is fastened on by turned pedestals, so I should recommend yo' to bid weel for it, or else some on yo' ull miss it.  Neaw, heaw mich shall I say for a start?"

    Then two women as were aside on it lifted one eend o'th' little bed up, an' there were a very unpleasant smell coom off it.  Then summat hit their faces, like as if they were in a sondstorm at th' sayside.  Th' women backed eaut o' th' road as fast as they could, for they'd getten hunderds o' fleas on um, which soon fund their way fro' their faces deaun their necks, an' o'er their arms.  There were a entry next to th' auction reaum, an thoose women rushed in theer to hunt for th' fleas.  As they'd left th' cradle two others went an' lifted th' eend o'th' bed up, an' th' fleas bein' eaut for business jumped on to them, an' they scuttered eaut o'th' shop into th' entry.  Then other women went forrud to look what were in th' cradle.  They stepped back as fast as they could, an' th' entry were soon full on um.  One woman as hoo were gooin' eaut sheauted, "Theres summat else in that cradle beside th' bed!"

    "Is there?" said th' auctioneer, quite gawmless; "well, we'll sell th' cradle an contents!  Heaw much for th' lot?"

    By this time th' smell had getten so strung that th' folk in th' reaum were howdin' their nostrils together wi' their fingers an' thumbs.  Owd Coppum couldn't smell owt for his cowd, an' he thowt as th' folk, by howdin' their noses, were feared o' catchin' it.

    "I corn't help havin' a bad cowd," he said, as he used his honkercher again, "but it's not good manners for yo' to be mockin' me.  Yo'll catch nowt here — but bargains."

    "It's not that," said one chap, "it's th' stink eaut o' that cradle."

    "What stink?" axed Mester Coppum; "I con smell nowt.  Charlie, just see what's in that cradle."

    Charlie had smelled summat fro' th' fust, an' had getten as far back as he dare, but neaw he went to th' cradle, an' turned th' bed up.  Th' fleas had getten weel disturbed by then, so they went for him.  His face were covered in a second, an' as he slapped his cheeks they shifted on to his whiskers an' up his shirt sleeves, so he run eaut o'th' reaum.

    A bobby stood at th' top o'th' street, lookin' deaun, an' as he seed th' women rush eaut o' th' auction reaum into th' entry he wondered what were up, so he coom deaun th' street, an' stopped at th' entry, intendin' to say summat, but he didn't know what.  Th' entry were just like a hencote uv a mornin', when th' poultry wakken up an' shake their fithers, an' begin o' pickin' theirsels.

    He stopped theer a minute wi' his meawth oppen, when he felt summat on his face, then on his neck, an' he walked away.  His neck were ticklin', so he put his hond up to smack it, but th' trouble had shifted deaun his back.  He knowed what it were by then, so he went to th' lamp post at th' corner to rub his back agen it.  But th' fleas were sharper nor him.  One had getten reaund him, an' as he twisted his clooas at th' front, th' little innercent went to his showders, an' lower deaun, so he went to th' lamp-post to scrat his back again.  A newspapper lad had bin watchin' him, an' he coom up.  Th' bobby axed him what he wanted, an' th' lad says, "Does th' tram pass here for Moses Gate?"  Th' bobby swore at him, an' towd him to goo — well, somewheer in th' opposite direction to Moses' Gate, so th' lad run away lowfin'.

    Then he went reaund th' corner.  In a bit th' sergeant coom, an' says, "What arto scrattin' for, Jones?" an' Jones towd him th' tale, an' he axed th' sergeant to let him off duty, while he went whoam an' changed his shirt.  Th' sergeant had a grudge agen Jones, so he grumbled.

    "Tha'rt not as smart as I've thowt thee," he said; "a mon in th' force as con catch a thief isn't up to so much if he corn't catch a flea.  But tha may goo."

    Th' sergeant were pooin' a book eaut uv his pocket to enter th' time Jones went off duty, when a regular whopper jumped off th' bobby reet in his e'e.

    "Hook it, Jones; goo neaw," said th' sergeant.

    Jones went, leovin' th' sergeant tryin' to get th insect eaut uv his e'e with th' lap uv his cooat.

    There were a empty tramcar as went near where th' bobby lived, so he booarded it, an' he went on th' top, thinkin' he might catch one or two if there were nobry watchin' him.  But, by-an'-by, a tall thin lady, as looked like a snowdrop as had been planted very late, went upstairs, an' feelin' as hoo'd be better protected aside uv a bobby, planked hersel' at th' side o' Jones.  He were rubbin' an' twistin' his clooas at th' front on him, an' hoo turned her yed reaund to see what were troublin' him, an' hoo'd a flea in her new hat in no time.  It geet to her neck, an' when hoo felt it, hoo lifted her fingers like a pair o' sugar-tungs to pick th' little tormentor off.  But it were a fause joker, an' slipped deaun her back.  Hoo seed th' bobby rubbin' hissel on th' seat-rest o'th' car, so hoo shifted heigher up on th' opposite side.  Hoo felt uncomfortable, for th' little beggar liked a dainty meal, an' were havin' it, so hoo had to rub her back, an' folk as were passin' stopped to stare at th' novel seet uv her an' Jones rubbin' theirsels at th' same time.  Then th' lady's flea changed its quarters an' went to th' front on her.  Hoo gathered a hondful uv her clooas, an' twisted um sideways an' back again, an' th' flea mun ha' lost its howd, for hoo were quiet for a bit.  Th' bobby were havin' some trouble, heawever, for he were twistin' an' mutterin' but could catch nowt.  Hoo turned reaund to look, an' he'd getten his treausers leg up to his knee, an' his stockin' deaun to his ankle.  He were huntin' a flea, an' were usin' language woss nor yo'd yer at a vestry meetin', or onywheer else.

    Hoo were so shocked that it would be safe to say she were a spinster, but she'd been tickled moor in that quarter of an hower than she had in her natural life afore, only she didn't enjoy it, for th' flea had had aw th' fun.  When th' car stopped hoo geet off, but hoo were still wrigglin'.


    As th' women had scuttered eaut o'th' auction reaum into th' entry other women as were passin' stopped, an', seein' some commotion inside, stepped in, but they couldn't get to th' front, as there were a lot o' brokers in.  They'd seen some o'th' women leove th' place in a hurry, an', bein' curious, edged their way to th' cradle, an' then they went eaut, two at a time, wi' as mony fleas on um as had had th' chance o' jumpin.  Th' women made for th' entry, too, but there were little reaum for um, an' they had to scratch their road whoam.

    Th' men in th' reaum were anxious to know what were in that cradle when they'd seen th' women goo eaut, so thoose nearest to it lifted th' corner o'th' bed up an' snifted, an' then went eaut.  Others did th' same, an', howdin' their noses, followed suit, an' th' reaum were gettin' slack.

    There were a aleheause two doors off Coppum's; it were at a corner aside o'th' lamp.  Neaw, it happened as th' publican were lookin' through th' window as th' bobby were rubbin' his back again th' lamp, so when th' fust two men coom in an' ordered a glass uv ale apiece, an' then started unbuttonin' their wescuts he suspected what were up, so he slipped reaund th' bar, an' fastened th' front doors.  He then turned to th' chaps, an' towd um as th' beer were too fresh to be drunk, an' he couldn't sarve um.  Then he axed um to goo eaut th' back way.  But to get um eaut he had to promise to let um have a glass o' porter apiece, an' he sarved um in th' stable.

    Meonwhile Mester Coppum had begun o' tastin' what he couldn't smell, an' not bein' able to get a bid for th' cradle which he'd felt sure everybody were so anxious to buy, he went to see what were th' cause o' th' women leovin' th' reaum.  Liftin' th' bed reet eaut he seed th' two kittlins which Bob Smith had chucked in th' cradle that day as he dreawned um.  After tryin' to catch some o'th' fleas he were peppered wi', he towd what few folk there were left in th' reaum as it were no use tryin' to sell owt that day, an' he'd start again on th' Friday, an' finish in one day.  His back started ticklin' him, an' he went to rub it agen th' back dur, which were oppen.  When he coom back th' reaum were cleared, so he axed Charlie, who were stondin' eautside o' th' shop dur, what they should do wi' th' cradle?

    "I think th' best plan would be to get it eaut o' th' road," said Charlie.  "I've just seen a dust cart gooin' up th' street.  Mun I stop it?  Perhaps they'd empty th' cradle in th' cart, an tak it away."

    "Fotch um back," said Coppum, "an' tell um I'll give um a shillin' if they'll take th' bed au' t' kittlins away."

    Charlie went, an' browt th' men wi' th' dust cart back.  When they walked in th' reaum th' smell welly chocked um, an' they backed eautside Mester Coppum sheauted, "I want yo' to empty this cradle, an' tak th' stuff away.  I'll give yo' sixpence a piece.  There's nobbut a choilt's bed in it, an' two kittlins.  They're deeod, but they make th' place smell a bit."

    "Dun they!" said th' foreman o'th' cart.  "I think they make th' place stink a lot."  After he'd whispered to his mate, he turned reaund an' sheauted to Mester Coppum, "We're not allowed to tak deeod cats; besides, we durn't want th' job.  A shillin's no good to us."  An' they made as if to goo.

    "Here!" bawled Coppum, "you'd best tak um neaw.  If yo' durn't we'st ha' to chuck um in th' dust can, an' they'll peison hauf o'th' nayburhood.  Yo'll have to shift um at th' finish."

    "Not us," said th' spokesmon, "that's not eaur job; we're not midden-emptiers; we're above that.  But to oblige yo' we tak um away for hauve-a-creawn, an' no less."

    Mester Coppum studied a minute, "Tak um off, then," he said, so th' men geet howd o' th' cradle, carried it sideways to th' edge o'th' cart, an' tipped it o'er.  Th' fleas were liberated, an' mony a passer-by as went through what they thowt were a cloud o' dust wondered why they itched so for th' rest o'th' day, till they went whoam at neet an' fund eaut th' cause o' their trouble.


    When th' bums had ta'n Bob Smith's furniture, Bob went to talk wi' his fayther as to th' next move.  Th' owd chap were quite merry, an' chuckled as he thowt uv heaw they'd make th' lonlord sit up for it.  So they went to a lawyer straightaway, an' laid th' case afore him.

    "And you say," said th' lawyer, "that you not only owed the man nothing, but that he was not your landlord?"

    "That's just it," said owd Smith, "Eaur Bob owes nowt to nobry; it's me as owes th' rent, an' he's ta'n eaur Bob's things."

    "A most dangerous game to play," said th' lawyer.

    "And how much do you value the goods worth that he has taken?"

    "Tharty peaund."

    "Oh!  Then we'll claim thirty pounds for the furniture, an' thirty pounds for illegal distraint.  Will that do?"  An' th' lawyer chuckled, as they gen'rally do when they're sendin' folk trouble.

    "That'll do very weel," ansert owd Smith, an' he tried to look wise.  He turned to his son, an' said, "Sixty peaund ull do, weren't it, Bob?"

    Young Bob's rneawth run wayter at th' thowt o' sixty peaund for what bit o' harm he'd suffered, an' he couldn't speik, but he nodded his yed.

    "Very well," said th' lawyer, "I'll issue a writ at once . . . . Let me see, I shall want your address," speikin' to Bob.

    "We're livin' wi' my fayther an' mother at present," Bob towd him, "an' th' address is 4, Blackstaff-street."

    "That will do," said th' lawyer, as he wrote it deaun.  "Good afternoon."  An' he showed um eaut.

*            *            *            *            *            *            *            *

    Two days after, th' lonlord were sittin', lookin' glum, in his office.  He were toastin' his shins afore th' fire, an' he were starin' at th' hot coals to see if he could find a road eaut uv a difficulty, for he'd just getten a writ for sixty peaund for unlawfully distrainin' on the goods of "Robert Smith, junior, now residing with his father at 4, Blackstaff-street."  He were disturbed by a knock at th' dur, an' he said "Come in."  An' in walked Mester Coppum.

    "Good day, Mester Parkison," Coppum started, "I've cawd to see you abeaut that furniture o' Smith's that I should ha' sowd yesterday."

    "Why, what abeaut it?  Didn't yo' sell it?"

    "Nawe, I didn't.  Everybody rushed eaut o' th' reaum when I offered th' fust article for sale."

    "Hello, there's moor trouble," said Mester Parkison to hissel', an' then he axed, "Whatever did they goo eaut for?  Were there a boggart in it?"

    "Not exactly a boggart," said Mester Coppum, wi' a twinkle in his e'e, "but there were two deeod kittlins in it.  They were covered wi' fleas, an' they stunk woss nor th' fish market."  Then he towd aw th' day's proceedings, finishin' up wi "An' this is what a poll parrot did," unlappin' a yard o' rag fro' his hond, an' showin' Parkinson his finger; "but I did manage to sell that chap."

    Parkison didn't notice th' finger much; he were too busy thinkin'.  In a bit he raised his yed, an' said, "Well, I'm sorry for yo'r misfortins, but I'm glad yo'n not sowd th' furniture, becos there's gooin' to be trouble.  See yo', I've getten a writ this mornin'."

    He honded th' blue papper to Mester Coppum, who read it, an' then said, "Um! an' cornt yo' see through this; it's as plain as dayleet."

    "Nawe, I corn't; what dun yo' mak on it?"

    "Why, it's this: Yore baileys has gone to th' wrung heause, an' they'n ta'n th' son's goods instead uv his fayther's."

    "Heaw con that be?" axed Parkison; "I sent um to 46, Hosburn Grove."

    "Happen yo' did.  But they took th' goods away fro' 48."

    "Phew!" an' Parkison whistled.

    "That's what they'n done.  But this owd Smith's a wily beggar.  If he lived at number 46, it's plain as he's made a moonleet flit, but he's not bin smart enoof, for he gan hissel away when he towd his lawyer as their Bob were stoppin' wi' him, an' his address is on this blue papper."

    Mester Parkison jumped fro' his cheer smilin'.  "I see through it neaw," he said.  "I'm fain yo' cawd.  Durn't sell thoose things till yo' hear further.  I'll goo to my lawyer this minute."  They went eaut together, but parted at th' dur, Mester Goppum to go to his auction reaum, an' Mester Parkison on th' road to his lawyer.

    Mester Longbill, attorney-at-law an' commissioner uv oaths, were in his office when Parkison geet theer, an' th' lonlord were much relieved, for he'd bin in a terrible sweat.  After tellin' him aw abeaut it, an' showin' him th' blue papper, Mester Longbill rubbed his honds, then he rubbed his chin; happen he were thinkin' heaw mich he could make eaut o'th' job.  In a bit he axed Parkison' "Would you rather settle the matter by arrangement, or send Smith to prison?  He's liable to three months' imprisonment for fraudulently evading payment of rent, but if you are willing to settle the matter on the condition that his son withdraws his claim, I think I could bring him to."

    "Then bring him too," ansert Parkison, "for I'm tiret o't' th' whole job,"

    So Longbill sent owd Smith a letter, tellin' him he'd laid hissel oppen for three months' hard labour for his moonleet flit, an' sayin' if he didn't come deaun an' bring ninety peaund (three times th' value o'th' goods he'd shifted, as Mester Parkison said they were wuth), a summons would be sent fro' th' police office at once.

    Owd Smith an' Bob were booath in th' heause when th' letter arrived.  Before th' owd chap oppened it he thowt it were surely an offer to pay summat to settle Bob's claim, an' he tore th' envelope oppen wi' a swagger as said to Bob, "I knowed heaw it would be; I towd thee he'd be glad to settle it."  But when he put his specs on, an' held th' letter in one hand an' wit t'other scrattin' his yed, his face were th' shape uv a pullet's fust egg — thick at th' top an' tight to'rt th' bottom.

    Young Bob were terribly mad wi' his fayther, an' some very strung words passed between um.  Mrs. Smith an' Becky were skrikin', an' Jane said she knowed heaw it would be.  Hoo'd never had a wrung word wi' her husbond sin' they were wed, but neaw langwidge flew abeaut like fireworks.  "Tha'll p'raps ha' moor sense next time!" Jane said; "th' idea uv thee lettin' th' bums breik our heause up to pleeos an owd sot as is too lazy to wark, like thy father."

    Mrs. Smith fainted at this, an' they aw had to turn to her, to get her reaund.  Hoo weren't used to fits o' that soart, so when hoo'd come to, after a lung spell, they'd getten calm again, an' begun o·' talkin sensible.  It wur proposed as owd Smith should goo to Longbill's at once, an' settle th' affair as best he could, rayther than goo to prison.

    This fired Bob again.  "Nawe!" said he; "I knowed heaw it would be at th' start, an' I were sure I should be th' sufferer.  Why doesn't he wark to pay his road instead o' causin' bother like this?  Let him goo to prison!  Three months' hard labour ull do him good; he's never warked for three months together sin' I were born."

    "Durn't bother wi' him, Bob," pleaded Jane; "it's not wuth it.  Thee go deaun, an' mend th' matter as well as tha con.  I've faith in thee; thy fayther ull make a bigger mess if he's ony moor to do wi' it."

    Bob's mother an' Becky helped Jane to persuade Bob, so he went.

    It weren't a nice job, speshally as his fayther had been so cocksure o' makin' a pile eaut o'th' bailey's mistake, but he'd getten calm bi th' time Longbill had convinced him heaw foolish his fayther had been.

    "Well, what dun yo' propose to do?" axed Bob.

    "Oh, nothing more," ansert Longbill, "than take a summons out against your father, as we have told him, and the law will take its course."

    "But, then, if my fayther goes to prison look what a disgrace it'll be to us."

    "We've nothing to do with that," said Mester Longbill; "I shall be sorry, of course, to put the law in motion, but your father has, by his conduct, asked for it.  It's a serious affair, but if you would like to settle it, as a preliminary you must withdraw all claim against Mister Parkinson, an' then we might arrange."

    "Aw reet," said Bob, "I'll withdraw all claims agen Mester Parkison."

    "Thats right," said Longbill; "then sign this paper, abandoning any claim."  Bob signed it.

    "Now," added Mester Longbill, "if you'll agree to pay the rent owing by your father, we will return your furniture at once.  It seems nothing has been sold, so that there need be no delay."

    "Goo on, then," said Bob, "I'm sick on it."

    Well, Bob paid his fayther's rent up, an' geet his furniture back.  This streng o' circumstances wakkend owd Smith up very much, an' so shomed him wi' his family that he geet wark, an' has kept at it ever sin', so we may fairly say as things turned eaut for th' best after aw.


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