Ab-o'th'-Yate Sketches, Vol. I (III)
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IT'S a silly pastime an' why its kept up very few know.  Some say it's firework makkers ut keepen it up, just for th' sale o' the'r dangerous wares, an' aw think ther's a bit o' truth i' that.  Ther' hadno' used to be sich fireworks when aw're i' mi yorneyhood.  If we could raise a pin-wheel ut wouldno' turn, an' a sarpent ut 'ud clear a fowt eaut, an' a sky-rocket ut fizzed an' then fell i' th' mop-hole, we'd done great things.  But these wur laft for lads to do.  Ther no grey-yeaded owd fellies took part i' these peawder-wastin' pastimes as we see 'em neaw.  Theyr'n havin' main-brews, an' towffy, an' tharcake makkin's; an' sich a body as Guy Fawkes wur never remembered.  Aw dunno think ther three folk i' Walmsley Fowt ut knew owt abeaut him, or why his effigy wur burnt an' shot at every fifth o' November.  Aw think it's quite time his memory should rest.  After very nee 300 years o' religious bitterness its time we sunk it i' that pit coed Lethe.  Thunge! bang! rip-rap! fizz! pop! fluss!—an' what does it ameaunt to?

    Jack o' Flunter's wife had bin tellin' mi owd stockin'-mender ut "Gi Forks" wur a cruel monster, ut went abeaut wi' a poke collectin' little lads an' wenches fort' blow 'em to pieces wi' peawder, an' then sell 'em to mak' stew on!  Hoo'd yerd owd Alsie o' Beawkers say ut ther' a quart o' bell-buttons i' th' Teawer o' Lunnon ut had bin fund i' th' stew, beside wenches' shoon-buckles an' pin-poppets!

    "But theau didno' believe her," aw said.

    "Well, aw hardly could.  Aw dunno' think lads had ony bell-buttons to the'r clooas at that time.  Sin' aw con remember they mooestly wore Linsey frocks, an' nowt else; an' wenches i'stead o' havin' buckles to the'r shoon had 'em fasten't to the'r ankles wi' a bit o' ribbin or a bant.  Aw think it's nobbut a boggart tale to freeten childer wi'."

    An' neaw owd memories creepen o'er me.  Aw recollect bein' consarned i' moore mischief abeaut bonfire time nur aw care to think abeaut.  Stalin' coals wur no crime if it we'rn noane fund eaut; an' rippin' fences deawn for "owd stocks" wur th' best fun we could have, so lung as farmers didno' catch us.  But we never meddled wi' owd Thuston's hedges.  If he could find us an owd stump or two he would; an' aw dar'say it paid him to do it.  But ther one farmer i' Hazlewo'th ut wur very sore.  If he'd catcht us lookin' at owt he'd ha' rung eaur ears.  Aw con see a neet's stock-poachin' neaw ut aw shanno' forget so lung as aw con remember owt.

    We'd spotted a gate stump ut wur rotten to'art botham; an' it wur agreed amung us ut we should have it.  So we went one neet wi' a clooas-line we'd borrowed, intendin' to swim th' stump deawn th' canal, as it ud be too heavy to carry o' th' road.  Wi' a great deeal o' risk, an' a great deeal o' pooin' an' hawlin', we managed to bring th' stump to th' greawnd, an' we rowled it to th' canal.  But somebody's e'en mun ha' bin abeaut beside eaur own; for just as we'd fastened th' clooas-line to th' stump, an' launched eaur ship, an' one o'th' gang wur sayin'—"it swims weel," aw felt a grab at what should ha' bin mi collar.  It wur th' owd farmer's hont ut wur tamperin' wi' it.  He never offered to catch onybody else, becose he couldno ha' done; so he hauled me off to his heause, sayin' it ud be "transportation" for me.

    Aw gan meauth till th' music geet into hard wark; but still that grip fasten't on me like a vice.  We geet to th' heause at last, ut wur booath a farmheause an' an aleheause; an' aw're fasten't to th' kitchen hob wi' a cauve cheean; an' he said aw should ha' to stop theere while he sent for th' constable.  He gan me a buttercake to be gooin' on wi', an' towd me mi next meal ud be "skilly-an'-whack."  Afore aw'd getten through mi buttercake aw yerd a voice i'th lobby, an' aw thowt it wur th' constable comin' for me, an' geet mi music ready for another tune.

    "Wheer is th' devilment?"

    Aw thowt aw knew th' voice, an' when aw seed th' face aw're sure.  It wur mi feyther th' owd farmer had sent for, an' not th' constable!  But aw'd very nee as lief it had bin one as t'other; for if mi next meal wurno' fort' be "skilly-an'-whack," aw should ha' summat wi moore taste in it, when aw seed th' hazel stick he had wi' him.  Aw set up a yell afore aw're hit, an' welly choked misel' wi' a crust!  That saved my skin; he seed aw're punished enoof.

    "Aw towd thee theau'd be gettin' hob-shackled if theau didno' mind what theau're dooin'," mi feyther said, as th' owd farmer wur undoin' mi cheean; "an' neaw theau's getten thisel' i' limbo.  Theau'll happen mind what theau'rt dooin' next time theau goes a owd-stock poachin'.  Bring me a pint, Pee!"

    Aw promised everythin' to get lose, but mi resolutions very soon coom unglued.  Aw never knew th' meeanin' o' bein' hob-shackled before, but it wur bein' cheeaned to th' hob.  Whenever aw think abeaut that laddish spree, thoose lines o' Burns' popp'n into mi yead—

When neebors anger at a plea,
And just as wud as wud can be,
How easy can the barley-bree
                                Cement the quarrel!
It's aye the cheapest lawyer's fee
                                 To taste the barrel.

    That pint an' one or two he'd had afore, knockt mi shackles off.

    At another time aw're guilty of a piece o' devilment ut aw never forgan misel' for it yet.  Takkin' coals, as aw've said, wurno' stalin' 'em unless we'rn catcht; so ther two neighbour women, "little Matty" an' "black Betty," ut never could agree mony days together.  Ther aulus summat up wi' 'em ut caused a fratch, an' sometimes blows.  Little Matty kept her coals eautside, in a corner o' th' fowt, an' hoo'd just getten a fresh looad in.  We'rn bund to blackmail these some neet, so we waited up till everybody had gone to bed, "then to rifle, rob, and plunder," to th' extent of a barrowful.

    Th' mornin' after war wur declared.  We'd skittered some sleek fro' little Matty's coal-rook to black Betty's dur, as a mak'-believe ut Betty had bin helpin' hersel' to Matty's coals.  Ther no argyments used that mornin' nobbut one.  Th' two women fell on to one another like two jealous hens; an' ther as mich yure laft on th' battle fielt as, if it had bin mixed wi' mortar, would ha' plaistered a pig-cote wall.  It wur a nowty trick, an' when aw seed th' bare places on th' women's yeads, aw'd ha' gan owt not to ha' bin in at it.

    Just as aw're runnin' these things o'er i' mi mind, aw yerd a clatter o' clogs i' th' fowt.  Then ther a thunge at eaur dur.  Aw could yer ther a lot o' lads abeaut, so aw went to th' dur to see what wur up.  Th' youngest o' Little Dody's lads sheauted eaur leaud enoogh to be yerd at th' "Owd Bell"—

Remember, remember, it's fifth o' November,
A stick or a stake, fort' jubill-ee sake.
A turf or a coal for th' bonfire hole,
Aw pray yo' good mesther, a penny or tuppence.

    "What," aw said, "ha' no' we done wi' th' jubilee yet?"

    "Nawe, we're gooin' t' ha' a jubill-ee bonfire," th' lad said.  "Jim Thuston has gan us an owd tree root ut he says'll brun a week, if it gets agate; an' Jack o' Flunter's has gan us a plank ut he fund i' th' brook; an' Siah at owd Bob's says he'll give us some reeasty bacon, ut'll mak' th' fire brun like a nowty place; an' he says yo' con spare a loom, as yo'n never wayve on it no moore, unless it's set up at th' 'Owd Bell' an' bees-waxed."

    "Good lad!" aw said; "theau's getten some information ut may be o' some use to thee i' thi life; but dustno' know ut looms winno' brun?"

    "Th' bacon 'll happen mak' it," he said.

    "Nay, a loom's made o' boggart wood, an' 'll stond foire as lung as owd Juddie's safe.  But if yo'n come i'th' mornin' aw'll see what aw con do for yo'."  Aw thowt that ud get rid on 'em: but th' lads stuck to th' dur flag as if they didno' intend stirrin'.

    "An' win yo' give us that pictur' o' yo'rs for a Guy?" th' lad said.  "Jim Thuston says it's fit for nowt else."

    "Does theau meean my portrait?"

    "Aye, that ut Jim Thuston says wur painted for a aleheause sign."

    That wur enoof for me.

    "Here," aw said, "if theau artno' away fro' this dur in abeaut five seconds, aw'll send thee flyin' o'er that garden, an' witheaut wings, too, theau yung jackanapes!"  It's wonderful heaw these skoo boards manage to bring eaut the'r sharp points.  Sich owd lumber as aw am, an' one or two others aw could name, 'll ha' no chance wi' these lads e'enneaw.  We shall ha' nowt to do but carry baggins for 'em, an' mind what we're sayin' to 'em!  It's comin' to that.

    But aw'd a piece o' an owd loom ut noather axe nor chisel could mak' ony impression on, becose booath had bin tried mony a time.  Aw didno' know what foire ud do at it, that aw'd never tried.  So aw geet it eaut o' a lot o' lumber for these lads to try the'r eddication on.  It wur th' only piece o timber ut ever aw knew ut wouldno' swim, or eaur lads ud ha' made a raft on't afore neaw for navigatin' th' mop-hole.

    "What art' gooin' to do wi' that?" th' owd rib said, seein' aw're rippin' th' owd piece o' loomheause furniture eaut o' its corner.

    "Aw'm givin' it to th' bonfire," aw said.

    "An' dostno' know it winno' brun?" hoo said.

    "Aw dunno' care whether it bruns or not, aw'll have it eaut o' here," aw said.

    "But it isno' thine to give," hoo said.  "That's a bit o' my property, laft to me by owd Johnny o' Sammul's."

    "What's thine's mine," aw said.  "We agreed it should be when we'rn wed."

    "Aw'd as lief theau brunt me as brunt that," th' owd lass said.  "But pleeas thisel'," an' hoo gan me a look at someheaw made me feel a little bit soft.

    Aw'd noticed a crack ther' wur i' one o' th' posts ut aw never could mak' owt on, becose it wur as seaund as a piece o' iron everywheere else; an' aw thowt it wur turnin' into shoinin'-wood, th' signs o' decay.  Aw'd explore this crack afore aw gan th' timber up to th' flames.

    Jim Thuston had a little brass cannon ut used to belung to a ship for firin' signals wi', an' aw went an' borrowed it.  Aw towd him what for, it wur just to split up th' owd loom post, so as to mak' it better for takkin' th' fire.  Jim said it 'ud be like bombardin' Aygypt, blazin' at that owd fortification.  So he browt this owd cannon eaut an' some balls abeaut th' size o' young dumplins' ut they had for throwin' ropes o'er a ship's riggin' when it wur i' distress, an' charged it wi' abeaut an eaunce o' peawder an' one o' these balls.  Then we took it an' planted th' muzzle to'ard th' hauve-acre, wheere ther no danger o' onyb'dy bein' shot, an' fixed th' loom-post abeaut a foot off.

    "Neaw, childer!" Jim sheauted, "coom an' see th' seige o' Gibberalter afore th' walls are knocked deawn!" an' a creawd flocked reaund.  "Ston' a bit furr off if yo' dunno' want to be blown into eaur barn,"—an' he fotcht a red-wot fire-potter eaut o' th' heause an' flourished it like a sword.  "Neaw then, Jericho flies!"—an' he covered th' touch-hole wi' th' poker.  Bang!

    What became o' th' loom-post we couldno' mak' eaut for a while.  But after th' reech had cleared away we fund a splinter or two lyin' here an' theere—one wi' a verse of an owd sung plaistered on it ut aw'd yerd owd Johnny sing mony a time, an' aw knew then aw're on th' track.  At last we coom to a bigger piece wi' a nail in it fort' hang th' sithers on.  This wur th' piece ut aw thowt wur decayin' an' aw examined it carefully.  Reet at th' bottom o' th' nick nestlin' like a neest o' yung gowd-finches, wur twenty spade-ace guineas, ut aw reckon owd Johnny o' Sammuls had had sometime, an' forgetter 'em when he deed!

    Aw'd no difficulty i' gettin' into th' heause when aw went whoam, nor i' gettin' eaut agen when aw wanted.  Th' owd stockin'-mender said hoo wouldno' care if ther a jubilee bonfire every week, till they'd brunt o' th' looms i' Walmsley Fowt.  Happen ther mony a one wi' twenty spade-ace guineas in it.  This week ther's hardly an empty loom stondin'.




AW could yer ther summat unusual gooin' on one mornin' before aw'd slipt into mi clogs, an' aw couldno' understood th' meeanin' on't.  It couldno' be th' pace-eggers, aw thowt, becose Aister Monday wur o'er.  It didno' seaund like gettin' coals in, tho' Jack o' Flunter's wur expectin' a looad.  Ther a steeam rose above th' window, but when aw coom to reckon th' days o'th' week up aw fund it wur Friday, so it couldno' be th' weshin' day, becose eaur Sal never puts that off after Monday, unless ther's a merry-meal i'th fowt, then th' weshin's done o'th' Tuesday.  But th' steeam kept risin', an' th' sheautin' o'th' childer geet leauder.  Just then th' owd rib marched through th' heause, wi' an owd blue printed bedgeawn on ut hoo hadno' worn for years, an' a check napkin teed reaund her yead.  An' hoo looked as if hoo're gooin' to "boss" th' heause, as a Yankee would say.

    "What's up, Sarah?" aw said to her.  Aw dustno' ha' co'd her Sal just then, hoo looked so mesterful.

    "Thee mind thy own bizness, an' aw'll mind mine!" wur th' onswer hoo gan me.  "But if theau wants to know, we're sleckin' lime."

    "Sleckin' lime? an' what for?"

    "Fort' build a cauve cote."  An' hoo gan me a look as good as to say "That's one for thee, owd lad!" an' eaut o'th' dur hoo went.

    Aw lindert mi clogs to mi shanks an' went i'th fowt.  There o' th' wed women ut could be mustered wur reaund a lime-hole they'd made while the'r husbants wur i' bed; an' they'rn cobbin' in lumps o' lime in a very unscientific way, just women-like, while Siah at owd Bob's wife an' little Dody's wife wur fotchin' canfulls o' wayter fro' th' mophole.

    "What's o this dooment abeaut?" aw axt Jack o' Flunter's wife.  Aw dustno' ha' axt mi own after th' onswer aw'd getten afore.

    "We're gettin' ready forth' Prince o' Wales!" hoo said.

    "An' what are yo' gooin' to build?" aw wanted to know.

    "This is a woman's job, Ab," hoo said; "an' if ever theau seed a woman hondle a treawel theau'd never want to see another.  But hoo con hondle a white-wesh brush betther nur a mon ony day."

    "Oh, yo'r gooin' to white-wesh, are yo'?  Yon bit o tax-wax o' mine towd me yo'rn gooin' to build a cauve cote, for t' put me in."

    "Eh, yo'r Sarah's a reet un, but hoo didno' meean it."

    "An' what are yo' gooin' to white-wesh?"

    "Th' Fowt."

    "What th' pavement an' o?"

    "Not us!  We're nobbut gooin' t' white-wesh th' inside o' th' heauses.  Jim Thuston has gan us leeave to whitewesh th' gate, an' th' stumps, so ut th' Prince 'ud know wheere he're coomin' to."

    "It 'ud be a queer thing if th' owd woman slipt th' noose while o this stir's bein' made for her lad."

    "Aye, it 'ud mak' things very awkart.  We should ha' to sing 'God save the King' then, aw reckon?"

    "Aye, aw reckon we should."

    "Eh, it looks a good while sin' aw yerd it!  Aw're nussin' then for Lung Jammie's wife, an' aw'd th' choilt teed o' mi back when they'rn singin' it i' th' fowt.  Aw reckon when th' Prince gets on his mother's loom that owdest lad'll get on his feyther's."

    "Aw reckon he will; he's bin at th' bobbinwheel lung enough.  He's bin larnin' to pike th' ratch* an' piece th' ends up, for some time."

    "Well, aw shall be sooary if owt happens," an' Jack's wife chucked another lump o' lime i' th' hole.  "Has yo'r Sarah towd thee we're gooin' to ha' this job to eaursel's?"

    "Nawe, hoo's towd me nowt; hoo's nobbut gan me a hint."

    "Well, we are; an' as this is th' last jubilee year ut ever th' Queen 'll have, it's to be a gradely henpecked year.  Eaur Jack has gan in o'ready."

    "Oh, has he?  It 'ud be nowt new to me."

    "Theau'rt lyin', Ab!  Eaur Jack's comin'; so yo'd better tak' yo'rsel's eaut o' th' road afore yo' getten splashed o'er."

    "Aw know of a lark's neest, Ab," Jack said when he coom up.  "Let's goo an' put some prickles deawn so as they conno' net th' yung uns when they're ready, or else we shanno' ha' a lark to sing for us this summer.  Aw dar'say theau con be spared."

    "Aw con spare him onytime," th' owd stockin'-mender said, coomin' on us like a blue cleaud.

    "Aw'll get mi hat, an then," aw said, feelin' as if aw're gooin' t' have a bit o' mi own road.

    So aw gees mi hat, an' off Jack an' me went to protect this lark neest, as aw thowt.  But i'stead o' turnin' to'ard th' fields, we went to'ard th' village, an' wauted into th' Owd Bell fowt, just as if it had bin Setterday afternoon.

    "Is th' lark neest here, Jack?" aw said, as we marched into th' kitchen.

    "Aye, an' th' owd lark's on th' eggs," Jack said, pointing to "owd Wobbler," ut sit i'th' nook asleep.

    "Jack," aw said, "this soart winno' do.  Aw'll nobbut ha' one gill, an' then aw'm off back agen."

    "Agreed on," Jack said; "knock."

    So aw knockt, an' ordered a pint between us; an' we supt it beawt ony feelin' o' givin' way; an' then we took a strowl i' th' fields, wheere ther two larks had browt the'r best music eaut an' wur singin' a duet.  Ther an idle-lookin', skulkin' limb of a big family tree, wi' a gun i' his hont, an' here lookin' up at one o' these larks.  We could see he intended shootin' 'em, so we went up to him.

    "Dost intend shootin' thoose larks?" Jack said, in a way ut made th' gun tremble.

    "Yes, if I can," th' whelp said.

    "An' what for?" Jack said, his e'en blazin'.

    "To make soup of their tongues for my father."

    "Is he poorly or summat?"

    "No; but he likes them."

    "Well, goo whoam an' tell thi feyther this is th' jubilee year; an' for every lark ut's shot he'll ha' a peaund to pay!  An' if aw catch thee poachin' upo' this greaund agen, aw'll rom that gun deawn thi throat.  Neaw, then, hook it!"

    Th' lad sneaked off, lookin' very much as if he'd bin takken deawn a peg, an' as if th' family tree had bin shaked a bit.

    "If we'd stopt fort' have another pint we should ha' yerd no music this day," aw said to Jack, after th' lad had getten eaut o' seet.

    "Not unless we'd yerd another sooart awhoam," he said.  "We munno' expect lads bein' made betther when they're at th' skoo.  They very oft come eaut wi' hearts hardened agen everythin'.  Aw're fettlin' abeaut a boiler t'other day, when a lad wi' a slate on his back browt a cat, an' chuckt it i' th' foire under th' boiler, an' then ran yellin' off as if he'd done summat clever.  He didno' belong to th' 'Band o' Kindness!'  If aw could ha' getten howd on him he should just ha' smelled at that foire till he'd known what a cat's feelin's wur like when he chuckt it in."

    "Aye, we're gettin' to be like th' Romans wur afore they went to pieces, hardened to owt," aw said.  "Aw see ut t'other day they roasted a bullock i' some teawn i' Wales; an' afore it wur roasted they led it alive thro' th' streets, an' they had it donned i' ribbons; an' aw dar'say it swaggered as if it had takken a prize at a show.  It little knew wheere it 'ud be th' day after.  When poor George Russell wur drawn thro' th' streets sittin' on his coffin, for t' be hanged upo' Newton Yeath, becose he'd stown summat to mak' a weight rope on, everybody pitied him an' said 'Poor lad!'  But it wur no pity for this ex.  Everybody wur enjoyin' th' seet.  We're gettin' to' selfish for owt good."

    "Well, wheer mun we spend th' day?" Jack said; "theau knows we're forbidden to goo whoam while this white-weshin's gooin' on."

    "Aw dunno' know," aw said.  "Aw never felt keener o' gooin' whoam i' mi life nur aw do neaw."  Jack pood his knife eaut, an' he cut a + i'th' bark of a tree.

    "That's one to thee, Ab!" he said, as he shut his knife.  "Theau's scored middlin' weel lately.  What do'st say abeaut gooin' to Daisy Nook?  We con ha' some toasted cheese theer, an' be quiet o'er it."

    "Agreed on," aw said.  "Set thi weather-peg i'th reet direction an' thi legs 'll follow."

    Well, we set eaut for Daisy Nook, an' Aister bein' o'er we fund things very quiet.  So we went to owd Poots, an' ordered some cheese an' bacon; an' bein' a bit sharp-set we could hardly wait till it wur ready.  Aw broke th' edges off a mowffin, fort' dip i'th' fat, till aw'd welly gone reaund, an' Jack said we should ha' nowt to graise th' cheese wi' if aw kept on.  When it wur ready, an' we'd getten through a couple o' mowffins, we crossed o'er th' bridge to "Red Bill's."  We could yer ther some singin' gooin' on theer, an' mi lungin' fort' goo whoam geet fainter.  Jack said he knew it would.  He're gettin' slack hissel'.  Wheer th' drink coom fro' while th' singin' wur gooin' on aw couldno' find eaut, but it wur aulus theer.

    "Aw wonder heaw th' white-weshin's gooin' on!" aw said to Jack when aw fund th' afternoon wur wearin' on.

    "Whoa cares for th' white-weshin' as lung as we're doin' weel?" Jack said, gettin' howd o' his pot an' swiggin at it. "  "We dunno' kill a pig every day!"

    "No moor we done, owd mon!" a little stumpy chap said ut had getten a dog in a bant.  "This dog shall run ony ut'll come for as mich as they'n a mind."

    "Aye, if it could smell a booan at th' fur end," another o'th' company said ut had bin singin'.

    "An' aw'll sing thee a match for a quart; neaw then, Jammie!" th' little un said.

    Th' challenge wur takken up, an' th' songs wur sung.  After that Jack o' Flunter's complained o'th' bally-wartch, an' he laid th' blame upo' th' music.

    "Ab," he said, "aw'd as lief be in at th' white-weshin' as yer ony moor o' that.  What are they puttin' th' shutters up for?  It's noane dark yet."

    "Look at th' clock," aw said.

    "It's never that time, surely!" Jack said.  "Someb'dy's bin thrutchin at th' sun for t' chet us.  This is havin' a sober day, is it?  No moor resolutions!  Let's be gooin', Ab, while we con see eaur road."  An' he geet up fro' his cheear, an' made for th' dur.  "Aw shall ha' t' hang th' picturs—Jubilee picturs up when aw get whoam."

    "Theau'rt noane gooin' beawt hat, arta?" aw said.

    "Give it me here; aw thowt aw had it on.  Drunken agen!"

    When we geet whoam we fund th' white-weshin' wur finished, even to th' moppin' eaut.  Th' owd ticket wur just puttin' th' finishin' stroke on th' dur flag when hoo seed me an' Jack o' Flunter's comin' up th' fowt.  Hoo just looked at me an' then at Jack, as if hoo're weighin' us, an' couldno' mak' it eaut which side th' balance wur on.

    "Ther's no' mich to chuse on," hoo said, when hoo browt in her verdict.  "Six o' one an' hauve a dozen o' t'other."

    "Aw've had some trouble to get yo'r Ab whoam," Jack spluttered eaut.

    "Nay, dunno' mak' him wur nur he is," th' owd speshul pleader said.  "One e'elid's on th' tremble, but that's o.  Jack, theau'rt wanted awhoam.  Theau's some pictur' hangin' to do."

    "That'll find me eaut!" Jack said, an' off he waddled.

    "Here, trade on this rag, an' march into th' heause," th' owd skoomissis said to me.  "Aye ha' no' done wi' thee yet!  Theau's getten some picturs t' hang, as weel as Jack."

    Aw went into th' heause, an' looked reaund.  Th' walls wur "as white as new snow," an' when aw'd stirred th' foire up into a blaze, ther th' shadow o' a giant doancin' agen th' heause yead, like as if it wur in a fair.  Yo' may talk abeaut yo'r pappered walls, wheere ther's a stink o' glue ut lasts for weeks; but gie me white-wesh sweet as newly weshed bed clooas when they'n bin done awhoam.  They say'n th' Prince taks an interest i' workin' folks' whoams.  If he comes to Walmsley Fowt he'll see a pattern.  If it comes a bit warmer mi' fleawers 'll be eaut i'th' front garden, an' mi hummabees 'll be abeaut strappin' the'r baskets on the'r backs for summer foragin'.  Aw dunno' think he cares to see grand mansions, sich as we han abeaut Manchester, when he's one grander ov his own.  If he's what aw think he is, he'd rayther pop into a wayver's heause, an' see heaw mich con be done eaut o' little, an' what soart o' a foundation his throne 'll ha' to rest on.  But th' owd rib's comin' for t' inspect me.

    "Theau'll do, Abram, this time," hoo said, after hoo'd getten howd o' a e'elid, an' looked under it.  "Aw thowt it wur Jack ut did th' wobblin'.  Neaw then, th' picturs."

    We booath set to wark like a pair o' Jack Ketches, obbut it wur a different soart o' hangin' to the'rs.  Ther no drop, nor no "thud," nor no black flag.  Ther no shudder went through millions o' folk when th' minute wur up; but ther a bit o' summat next dur to savage said when eaur Sal missed a nail yead, an' tried to droive her thumb into th' wall!  But we geet things "fixed," th' furniture th' last, ut wur piled up i'th' loomheause; an' when aw'd getten th' clock agate o' gooin'—ther's aulus a bit o' trouble wi' a clock after a white-weshin'—aw said,

    "Theigher, Sarah, we're ready for th' Prince!"

    "Ah!" th' owd cross-examiner said, after we'd bin admirin' th' heause wi' its new shirt on, "aw think that lark neest wur at th' Owd Bell."

* Dress a length of warp when in the loom.




MY cote looked so grand in its new paint (white-wesh) an' shadows doanced on th' walls, an' amung th' pictures, an' agen th' ceilin'; an' th' owd rib looked so breet after hood put hersel' through some suds when her job wur finished, ut aw felt fairly dazed; an' when th' owd ticket said aw begun a-skennin as if aw're lookin' at summat at th' end o' mi nose, hoo could see aw're gooin' off in a dreeamin' fit; an' that confirmed her opinion ut th' "lark neest" Jack o' Flunter's an' me had bin seechin we'd fund at th' Owd Bell.  Aw leet her ha' her own say, becose one o'th fust things aw fund eaut after we'd bin knotted t'gether wur—it wur no use contradictin' a woman; an' aw've held that doctrine ever sin'.

    Aw toped o'er; an' just as mi e'en wur jackin up, they sattled on th' two brass candlesticks ut stood upo' th' chimdy-piece; an' these took th' form o' two pillars; an' th' fender ut hung above 'em—th' Sunday fender—made an arch ut sponned fro' one pillar to t'other; an' this th' Prince o' Wales an' his owd stockin'-mender wur to pass under.  It wur Walmsley Fowt triumple arch.  Aw very soon filled it wi' ribbons an' fleawers.  Th' fowt begun a-stirrin'.  Th' childer i' white—bless the'r little souls!—flyin' abeaut like little angels.  An' owd men i' black cooats ut they'd worn eaut o' recollection, an' some, aw dar'say, wur the'r feythers afore 'em, wur tryin' to put th' childer i' a double row for t' receive th' Prince, but it wur moor nur they could manage for a while, becose th' childer mit ha' had wick-silver i' the'r shoon.  At last they geet 'em summat like streight, an' as they o stood up, every little lass had a posey i' her hont, an' it wur enoogh to mak' a lad wish he're a wench, for a grander seet couldno' be pictur't.  Ther mony a mother lookin' eaut at th' chamber window, tryin' to hide summat ut trembled in her e'en, as hoo looked at a bit o' white deawn below.  Ther one o' eaur Ab's childer amung th' lot; an' th' owd gron-rib thowt th' wench's mother mit ha' put a bit moor blue in her starch, for th' frock wur th' colour of a primrose.  Mother-in-law agen! aw thowt.  Dowter never con pleeas.

    A trumpet seaunded; an' ther a stir amung th' white frocks like th' keys o' a payanno when it's bein' played—in an' eaut in an' eaut, as if they're playin' a tune.  Then th' Prince an' his bed-time grumbler coom dashin' under th' fender an' between th' two brass pillars.  An' wurno' ther' a sheaut set up!  Aw tried mi lungs till they gan me notice not to show mi loyalty too strung, or they mit want repairin'.  Eaur Sal towd me after it wur like th' bark o' Jammie Butcher's sheep dog, when it wore a flannel reaund it neck.  Th' singin' broke on mi ear like a strange melody; but aw con nobbut remember th' part o'th' hymn.  It wur summat like this—

Welcome. Prince, who shall be King!
To thee our floral gifts we bring;
And for thy gentle Princess fair,
We've lilies sweet to deck her hair.
We are not ladies bright and gay,
But children in a humble way;
And the burthen of our lay
Is "Welcome to our homes, and May!"

    A bit clumsy if aw've remembered it reet; but if Lord Tennyson wrote it aw'll ax his pardon, an' say aw'm no' fit to quote his poetry fro' memory.

    After th' hymn had bin sung, an' th' Princess had looked like Somebody else blessin' little childer, they a sheawer o' posies ut welly filled th' carriage; an' th' Princess piked some o'th' lilies eaut an' stuck 'em in her bonnet.  Th' childer sheauted harder nur ever when they seed that; an' one on 'em wur yerd to say to another, "Isno' hoo just like a gradely woman?"  "Aye, summat like mi mother!" t'other said.  An' very likely they'rn booath reet.  Th' Prince geet deaun eaut o'th' carriage while aw read th' address.  He shook honds wi' me till aw're feart he'd ha' wrung mi shoother eaut o'th' socket—co'ed me an "owd cock," an' wanted to know wheere th' "owd hen" wur!  "Hoo's theere," aw said, pointin' to th' chamber window; "hoo's tryin' to hoide hersel' at back o'th' curtains."  But aw wonder wheere he piked his Lanky up?  After this aw put on mi spectacles, an framed misel' as weel as aw could for readin' th' address.  Then aw begun—

Mesther Prince,—Theau'rt welcome to Walmsley Fowt, an' doubly welcome neaw theau's browt thi owd stockin'-mender wi thee to see some gradely folk—no' getten up for a day's show, but as theau'd see 'em every Sunday.  If we ha' not as fine clooas as some folk theau's met, we'n hearts as warm an' as loyal as ony i'th' lond—loyal to thee, becose that meeans bein' loyal to owd England.  Theau'll ha' a big job afore thee when theau gets on thi loom; but theau's helped thi mother when hoo's bin on th' push for t' get her wark eaut, so throwin' th' royal shuttle winno' be quite strange to thee.  Theau'll no' find thi warp as clear as theau may expect.  Theau'll find it'll want a good deeal o' dressin'.  Some o'th' knots han bin clumsily teed, an' these theau'll ha' t' tak' eaut; knots teed bi Gladdy; an' knots teed bi Dizzy; an' knots teed by yunger warpers, ut theau'll swear if theau tries to pass 'em through th' reed.  Oil th' spindles wi' th' goodwill o'th' nation, an' that'll help thi forrad.  Dunno' goo a brid neezin when theau should be at thi wark, nor tossin' wi' other chaps.  If ther's ony Owd Bell abeaut yo'r heause try if theau con get past th' dur.  If theau con sing a comic song aw'm feart it'll be a bad job for thee.  Theau'll be buyin' owd hats an' owd clooas, an' singin' i' some aleheause nook when theau should ha' bin at thi loom.  If theau thinks theau owt to ha' a week's holiday, tak' it when things are noane so busy; an' tak' thi wife an' childer wi' thee.  ("Hear, hear," fro' th' Princess.)  Mak' thi lads into thi companions.  Theau con do more to'ard eddicatin' 'em i' gradely ways nur o'th' boardin' skoos i' England.  Thi owd rib may tak' a hint fro' that, if hoo needs ony.  But aw think hoo doesno'.  When that owdest lad o' thine begins o' windin' bobbins, taich him heaw to do his wark wi' th' least waste; an' no' wind 'em of a political shape.  That'll help thee to mak' good cloth.  But if he winds short necked uns, they may rove, an' fluzz, an' that'll hamper thee.  Theau'll have enoo o' hinderances beawt bad windin'.  Theau may mak' up thi mind ut theau'll ha' bad folk abeaut thee; an' some o' these may cut thi treadle bands, or grease thi weigh-tropes, or put a tooad i' thi pin box.  An' if some had a chance they'd knock thee off thi loom, an' then it ud be wo-up wi' owd England!  But theau may fence agen these wi' bein' just an' true to thoose ut theau'll co thy people.  Throw thisel' on 'em when theau feels i' danger.  It ud be betther nur axin advice o' folk ut ud glory i' seein' thi shuttle fly eaut an' through th' window.  Say to thi country—"I SERVE!"  It 'ull be betther nur sayin' "I govern," an' theau'll get to th' end o' thi cut beaut makkin' a bad length, or as mich as a "sticker."  An' for God's sake try to put Ireland's loom reet, an' we con jog on like inkle wayvers an' live t'gether as a happy family.  So mote it be!

    Th' Prince looked bewildered when aw'd finished.  He'd never yerd sich an address as that afore; an' aw'd some deauts as to his understondin' it.  He'd bin so used to bein' flattered an' daubed o'er wi' butter an' traycle, ut he couldno' gawm what's meant by a bit o' gradely talk.  Heawever, he thanked me i' some very nice words, an' they went arm i' arm to eaur heause, wheere they took "lunch" wi eaur Sal an' me.  We'd made a speshal do on't.  We'd a pottato pie, with an extry hauve peaund o' neck o' mutton in it; an' th' Prince wanted to know if it wur to be etten wi' a spoon!  Aw towd him onythin' ud be reet if he could get it to his royal meauth.  When he'd tasted aw thowt his een ud ha' flown eaut, an' aw're feart he'd scauded hissel'!  But it wur his surprise.

    "Alick!" he said, turnin' to th' Princess, "we don't know what living is.  Here's a poor weaver can set us an example of cooking that it would be no shame for kings to follow.  My friend," he said, turning to me, "what may a dish like this cost?"

    "Tot it up, Sarah," aw said to mi owd scholar.  An' hoo set abeaut it.

    "Ther's two peaund an' a hauve o' mutton at seven-pence," hoo said; "an' three peaund o' pottitoes, an' a peaund o' fleaur, an' a quartern o' suet for th' crust.  It hasno' cost a hauve a creawn o t'gether."

    "Astonishing!" th' Prince said.  "Alick, we must try this at Sandringham.  My friend, what do you call this pie?"

    "A steeam ingin," aw said.

    "A steam engine!" th' Prince said.  "Why it will be regarded as a delicacy.  The very name gives it a relish.  One half the world does not know how the other half enjoys itself."

    When we'd finished eaur "lunch" ther as mich o'th' pie laft as ud ha' done for th' day after; but eaur Sal must give it to th' poor as a "Jubilee offering."  Th' Prince praised eaur wine as if he'd never tasted owt like it afore, an' he wanted to know what age it wur.

    "It's eaur own makkin', an' brewed a week sin'" aw towd him.

    That rather puzzled him.

    "Brewed!" he said.

    "Aye, ten quarts to th' peck; twice as strung as we usen drinkin' it," aw said.  "If a wayver drank a quart o' that every day they'd ha' to put him th' strait jacket on."

    He smiled an' shaked his yead.

    While this wur gooin' on, th' owd rib wur talkin' to th' Princess, tellin' her bits o' ailments—heaw hoo'd welly lost th' use o' one arm wi' nussin gron-childer; an' heaw summat ut wurno' exactly a pain sometimes comes flutterin' inside her yead, as if it wur a hummabee; an' heaw her joints cracken when hoo gets off her seeat; an' as they'rn booath wed folk—

    "Here, stop that off!" aw said.  "Theau'rt not at th' women's club neaw.  Recollect theau'rt talkin' to a Princess."

    "Aw know that," th' owd un said.  "Princesses are women, are no' they?"

    Heawever, hoo changed th' subject, an' went onto bonnets an' things.  Aw yerd her tell th' Princess hoo're pratty; an' hoo recommended ut th' Prince should ha' th' middle o' his yead rubbed every mornin' wi' a hot tally-iron for t' mak' his yure come on agen!  Then aw yerd her say—

    "Yo'r booath on yo' too pratty to be spoilt.  Yo'r very like yond two pot dolls we han upsteers; but yo'rn yunger when yond wur made.  Eh, dear me, heaw time slips o'er!  Heaw moray childer han yo'?"

    Aw had to interfere agen.

    "Theau'rt at it agen, aw yer!  Come, Prince, let's move eaut o' this cote, or else that owd damsel 'll be tellin' th' Princess summat hoo happen doesno' know.  When two women getten t'gether they' should be nob'dy else abeaut."

    So we laft table, an' th' Prince raiched his sword eaut o'th' nook an' hooked it on his belt, an' eaut we sailed.

    Th' Prince wanted to see some o' eaur institutions, so aw took him into a loomheause or two till aw'd shown him reaund.  Little Dody wur as busy wayvin' as if they nowt agate.  He said he're like to do it.  If he didno' get his wark eaut th' day after th' childer ud ha' to clem."

    "Clem!" th' Prince said; "what does that mean?"

    "Havin' the'r breakfast off nowt, an' the'r dinner off what wur laft, an' th' same browt on at baggin time!" aw towd him.

    He looked at me awhile, an' then aw could see he'd tumbled to mi meeanin'.

    "How much do you get for this work?" th' Prince said to Little Dody.

    "Twelve shillin', if ther's nowt takken off," Dody said.

    "How long has it taken you to weave it?" th' Prince axt.

    "Aw shall ha' bin a week if aw see another day," Dody said.

    Th' Prince put his hont in his pocket an' pond eaut a suvverin.

    "Here," he said to Dody, "take this, an' leave your work till to-morrow."

    By gum, aw thowt.  Dody ud ha' cruttled deawn i'th' treadle-hole when he seed th' suvverin.  He wakkered till th' pickin peg dropt eaut o' his hont.  He said he couldno' wayve another pick o'er.  So he shuttered off his loom, an' said if we'd go deawn to th' "Owd Bell" he'd stond a quart eaut o' that, that he would!  Th' news ut th' Prince had gan Little Dody a suvverin flew abeaut th' fowt like war news, an' in abeaut ten minits every loom wur gooin' obbut Dody's an' mine.  But th' Prince said he could do wi' a walk, an' he'd go wi' us to th' "Owd Bell."  We'd no sooner getten through th' gate nur th' tallygraft went reaund, an' every loom stopped as sudden as an earthquake!  Ther no chance o' ony moore suvverins.

    We'd a good bit a talk as we went deawn th' lone, an' th' Prince said he'd larnt moore that day abeawt state o'th' country, an' what wurchin folk had had to put up wi' i' times gone by, nur if he'd stopt i' Lunnon a lifetime.  Above everythin' he admired eaur Lancashire whoams; they'rn so different to what they wur i' Lunnon, an' th' folk he met wur moore ov a "gradely" sort.  He picked up that word wi' comin' deawn.

    When we geet deawn to th' "Owd Bell" Little Dody threw his suvverin upo' th' table.

    "Put the money in your pocket," th' Prince said, an' he rang th' bell: "A bottle of champagne!" he said.

    Aw thowt things wur lookin' grand when aw yerd that.  Dody licked his lips like a lad wi' a traycle-cake.  He'd never tasted champagne in his life.  An' when it wur browt in, an' th' Prince begun a-potterin at th' bottle neck wi' a pair o' pincers, aw could very nee feel th' stuff gooin' deawn mi throttle.  "Pop!" went th' cork, an' it browt to mind bein' at that hotel i' Lunnon wi' Sam Smithies.  Th' Prince tem'd my glass eaut th' fust, an' just as aw're raisin' it to mi lips—eaur Sal leet th' fire-potter drop on th' fender, an' aw started wakken!  Mi vision o' royal welcomes wur gone!  Aw shouldno' ha' cared hauve as mich if aw'd slept till we'd finished th' champagne.







WHAT'S that thing on th' top o'th' drawers?" aw axt th' owd rib one mornin', seeing summat ut looked like a big fleawer-pot turned th' wrung side up.

    "That's mi Jubilee bonnet," hoo said, wi' summat like a bit o' swagger.

    "That thing a bonnet?" aw said.

    "Aye, a bonnet," hoo said.  "What else doss think it is?"

    "Well, aw took it to be a fleawer-pot made eaut o' a new sort o' stuff," aw said.  "Art gooin' to ride a besom stail, an' fly o'er th' welkin?"

    "Aw'm not gooin' to be as aw ha' bin, an' that aw'll let thee see," hoo said.  "Aw'm gooin' to be i'th' fashin', for once.  Aw'm noane gooin' t' Exhibition wi' a basket on mi arm, as if aw're sellin' eggs, an' a sleawchin' thing on mi yead ut looks as if aw'd carried herrin' on it."

    "Theau'll want a stick wi' a double knob when theau gets that on," aw said, "an' a pair o' nanny-goats in a bant.  But theau'd be fast if onybody talked Welsh to thee."

    Th' owd wench bridled up at this.

    "Aw'll ha' thee to know ut that's what they co'en a Mother Goose bonnet, an' hoo're an English woman," hoo said, quite snappily.

    "An' a bonny goose theau'll look when theau gets it on!" aw said.  "Folk 'll tak' thee for a fortinteller."

    "They'd tak' thee for a gipsy if they seed thee neaw," hoo said.  "Theau put some paint on at th' 'Owd Bell' yesterneet," an' wi' this salute hoo banged eaut o'th' heause, an' went a-seein' Jack o' Flunter's wife.

    Aw examin't th' article when hoo're gone.  It wur th' shape ov a sugar loaf; but as it wurno' trimmed aw couldno' tell what it ud be like after it had a lot moore brass spent on it.  Aw tried it on, an' looked i'th' glass—nobbut one glance—it wur quite enoogh!

    Aw remember stondin' on a form at schoo' wi' just sich a thing as that on mi yead, becose aw'd bin catcht playin' at odd or even wi' another lad; an' it made me shawm when aw thowt abeaut it.  When women 'll wear dunce-caps for bonnets it's hard to say what they winno' do.  They'n wear owt, aye, they win.  When th' owd ticket has done wearin' it aw'll join a circus wi' it, an' have it painted red an' white, like a barber's pow, or a pair o' stockin's.

    "Here, Abram," th' stockin'-mender said when hoo coome back, "theau hasno' towd me abeaut thee an' Jack o' Flunter's gooin' to th' Exhibition this afternoon."

    "Well, ther's nowt in it yet," aw said.

    "What are yo' gooin' for, then?"

    "A seein' what ther' is to be seen."

    "An' Jack's wife an' me are gooin', too."

    That wur a sattler!  Aw thowt Jack an' me wur gooin' to have a nice Setterday afternoon, but he'd spoilt eaur gam'.  Neaw we had to mak' th' best on't.

    "Theau'rt no' gooin' i' that bonnet, arta?" aw said.

    "What, as it is?  Not me, indeed," hoo said.  "That bonnet wants mony a shillin' layin' eaut on it afore aw put it on.  Aw shanno' wear it till th' Prince o' Wales an' his wife come'n.  Aw yerd they're comin' to Walmsley Fowt afore they go'en back."

    "That'll be a rare day for thee, then," aw said.  "Theau'll ha' to be receptioned, same as theau wur at th' Manchester Teawn Hall.  That bonnet 'll hardly be tall enough for thee then.  Theau'll ha' to have abeaut three inches built on it, an a tassel hung fro' th' top."

    "Aw believe Jack's wife's is taller nur mine," hoo said.

    "What, is Jack's wife havin' one, too?"

    "Aye, hoo's no' for bein' beheend."

    "An' a nice pair yo'n look.  Nob'dy 'll be able to see o'er yo'r yeads."

    "What does that matter to a woman?  What dun we care abeaut men, whether they con see or not?  They mun tak' ladders wi' 'em."

    Well, aw could see it wur no use havin' ony bother wi two women o' one mind.  Jack an' me ud ha' to tak' eaur wives.

    We may co' this th' fust day o'th' Exhibition, tho' ther' nowt to look at nobbut th' empty heause.  Th' second o' April,—mark that deawn i'th' almanack as th' fust day o' spring.  If it had bin th' day afore aw should ha' thowt it had bin makkin' foos on us, an' ut weather ud slipped back agen into winter.  Th' fust wild fleaur, th' cow-foot, wur peepin' eaut o' warm corners, an' th' lark wur busy rubbin' up his flute, an' fastenin' th' cracks up wi' waxed bant, as owd Tunnicliffe used to do.  It wur i' every respect a spring day when we set eaut o'th' fowt, me carryin' eaur Sal's cloak an' umbrell, an' Jack o' Flunter's dooin' ditto.  Th' women thowt they met (might) ha' worn the'r new bonnets if they'd bin ready, but they put it off while May, when they'd be fresher.

    Aw've seen th' time when we should ha' walked every inch o'th' road; but ther's no walkin' neaw.  Nob'dy cares to use the'r feet, an' through that cobblers are singin' i'th' lone, "We've got no work to do."  Afore aw'm mich owder we shall ha nowt to do but drop a penny in a nick, an' we shall be whipped off to onywhere we like.  Aw con see we're comin' to it.  Well, we'rn whipped deawn to Manchester, an' then we'd a pennoth apiece i' summat like a tent on wheels, an' then a chap sheautin' eautside, "This way to the football match!"  Th' owd rib wurno' for gettin' in at th' fuss, hoo said it wur so mich like owd Moses' show.  But heawever, we geet to Owd Trafford, an' when we'd londed, eaur Sal fixed her een on what they co'en th' dome o'th' palace, ut wur glitterin' i'th' sun as if it had just been lifted eaut o'th' sae.

    "Is that a glass balloon, Ab?" hoo wanted to know.

    "Nawe, it's an iceberg they'n browt fro' Ameriky," aw said.  "Th' place 'll be so wot i'th' summer they'n put that up theere for t' cool it."

    "It's wonderful!" hoo said.  Then aw yerd her tellin' Jack's wife what aw'd towd her, an' Jack's wife said "Eh!"

    When we geet to th' gates th' owd stockin'-mender said, "This isno' Tabonical Gardens, is it, Ab?"

    "Yigh, it's wheere number two missis Langtry showed hersel' off," aw said.

    "It doesno' look like th' same place," hoo said.

    "Nawe, theau'd hardly know it," aw said.  "But that's wheere theau sit when theau're being interviewed."

    "An' aw'm come'n i'th' same bonnet as aw had on then!" hoo said.  "Aw hope nob'dy 'll know me."

    "But ther's a lot starin' neaw," aw said.  "Let's get eaut o'th' seet, or else wi' shall be havin' 'em reaund us."

    "They'n wanted some scaffotin' for t' get up theere," Jack o' Flunter's said, lookin' up at th' dome.  "Aw'd rayther be up a chimdy nur up theere.  Thoose chaps looken as if they'rn swingin' abeaut in a ship."  Jack, as yo' known, is a bricksetter, an' con walk reaund th' top of a big chimdy.

    Some durs wur oppent, an' we went under an arch.

    "This is a gateway built by the Romans, and was the entrance to Market Street from Piccadilly," a mon said ut had getten an axe on his back, hooked in a belt reaund his waist.  Aw reckon he're a immitation of a Roman so'dier, but wheere they geet the'r blue cloth an' brass buttons fro' i' thoose days aw couldno' tell.

    "Is this Market Street?" eaur Sal wanted to know.

    "Market Street in the olden time," th' mon said.

    "Wheay, ther's no reaum to stir in it," th' owd rib said.

    "Ladies didn't wear improvers in those days," th' mon said.

    "Aw hanno' getten so mich o' one on ut yo' needen say that," th' owd ticket said.

    "He meeans ladies, not women," aw towd her, so that turned it off, an' we went on.

    "An did folk live i' these shops?" Jack's wife axt him.

    "Yes, and they hadn't private houses in the country.  They slept here."

    "An' what's this heause wi' th' steps at th' dur?" th' owd rib axt him.

    "That is the Swan Hotel, where the London Coach used to start from," th' mon said.

    "An' could a coach get deawn this street?"

    "It had to do."

    "Wheay, it looks moore like a gutter nur a street.  Heawever did folk manage to get abeaut i' thoose days!"

    "Those were the good old times we hear so much of!" th' mon i' Roman blue said.

    "An' heawever did carts pass one another?" hoo axt.

    "Here, aw con tell thee that," aw said.  "That cart ut wur th' narrest th' aleheause had to draw up i'th' fowt while t'other passed it.  Ther' wurno' as mony tram cars, an' penny coaches, an' penny tents, an' cabs knockin' abeaut as theau sees neaw.  Nor so mony gentlemen's carriages, noather.  Ther no fear o' bein' ridden o'er i' thoose days.  Th' wo'ld went a good deal slower nur it does neaw."

    "Eh, aw'm sure aw couldno' ha' getten mi wynt then!" th' owd rib said.  "It seems so closed up.  An' what's that shop deawn theere?"

    "That's Kenyon's vaults, tho' they' wur no vaults then.  They co'en that bit o'th' street th' 'Sponges Corner' neaw."

    "An' what's that piece o' wood wi' four holes in it?"

    "Th' stocks."

    "Th' Stocks! an' what wur they for?"

    "For t' put drunken folk in of a Sunday mornin', when they'd bin drinkin' o'er neet.  They stood close to th' church-gates, so ut folk could see 'em when they'rn gooin' to th' church."

    "An' heaw is it th' holes are o o' one size?"

    "So ut they'n fit ony sort o' a leg."

    "They couldno' ha' put owd Mary o' Benny's in; an' owd Sparrowshanks' legs ud ha' slipped through.  But aw see no hole for wooden legs, an' they' must ha' bin lots i' war times.  Eh, dear me!"

    "What's causin' thee to limp?" aw said, seein' ut th' owd crayther wur homplin abeaut as if hoo'd paes in her boots.

    "Oh, aw conno' get deawn Market Street if ther's no betther stones nur these for t' trade on.  Aw'm sure they'n put 'em th' wrung side up."

    "But folk had to walk on 'em two hundert years sin."

    "Aye, they happen did.  But shoon wur made o' leather i' thoose days, no breawn papper an' tripe!"

    "True, owd crayther! theau's hit it this time."

    "What are thoose three bridges?" hoo axt, as we geet furr deawn.

    "Th' owd bridges o'er th' Irwell," aw towd her.  "An' wheere's th' river?"

    "Theau mun imagine that.  Fancy theau'rt walkin' deawn it neaw, an' gooin' under th' bridges."

    "But they didno' pave bottom o'th' river, did they?"

    "Nawe, but Sal's ford wur here, an' they had to cross it on stones, but bigger stones nur these."

    Hoo're satisfied.

    "An' what's that place wheere thoose big durs are?" hoo wanted to know.

    Aw're just puzzled what to say to that; but at last aw said—

    "That's th' teawer o'th' owd church.  I' former times they built th' teawer th' fust an' th' church after, so ut they could ring folk to bed when it wur time.  If th' bells hadno' rung they'd ha' stopt up o neet, becose they'd no clocks to go by!  Neaw they build th' churches fust, an' th' steeples when they con raise th' brass."

    We crossed under th' bridges into Sawfort.

    "Theere's another stocks!" th' owd rib said; an' hoo pointed to summat like a pigeon cote wi' eight holes in it.  "Heaw is it they had to put four at once in it?  Wur folk drunkener i' Sawfort nur they wur i' Manchester?"

    "Aw dunno' think they wur," aw said.  "But at that time Sabbath breakers wur put i'th' stocks; an' fishin' wur breakin' th' Sabbath!  Ther moore fishin' clubs i' Sawfort then nur they ever had i' Owdham.  Th' edge o'th' river used to be lined wi' 'em of a Sunday mornin'; an' if ony on 'em wur catcht they put 'em i'th' stocks."

    "An' would they catch owt in an owd sink like th' Irwell? "

    "Th' Irwell wur as clear as owd Thuston's well at one time; an' it wur hung o'er wi' trees, an' folk used to doance i'th' meadows.  Neaw they doance in a tapreaum happen on t' same spot.  We conno' ha' everythin' nice an' pleasant at th' same time."

    "No moore we con," th' owd rib agreed.

    We crossed back agen into Manchester, an' th' fust things we seed wur th' Market Cross an' th' pillory.

    "What's that pow wi' th' hole at th' top for, Ab? Jack o' Flunter's wife said, lookin' up as if hoo're watchin' pigeons.

    "That's th' pillory," aw said.  "If onybody had said owt agen th' king they'd ha' put his yead through that hole while folks pelted him wi' rotten eggs."

    "Dunno' believe him!" eaur Sal said.  "Folk didno'keep hens then, they couldno' afford."

    Aw had to drop it; so we left owd Manchester an' Sawfort, an' went i'th' glass heause.  But that sometime else.







"NEAW, owd crayther!" aw said to my owd stockin'-mender, as we'rn runnin' th' gauntlet o' hunderts o' curious een, "theau shall know what a bit o' glory is—abeaut fifteen seconds of flyin' like a witch on a besom stail.  Come, owd lass, be nimble, an' let's get up these steers.  Dost think thi bonnet's o reet?"

    "It's reet for owt aw know," hoo said.

    "It doesno' look as if it wur safely lindert for flyin' through th' air at th' rate of abeaut fifty mile a minute.  Theau should ha' had it fastened to that rowl o' yure till it ud ha' lifted thy scalp off afore it had parted company."

    "But what if th' yure goes too?"

    "Oh, aw didno' think o' that!"  Aw'd forgetter it had belunged to someb'dy else some time.  Well, tee thi napkin reaund it."

    "Nay, we'rn not at th' saeside."

    "Theau'll find ut Blackpool wynt, when it blows folk off the'r feet an' through shop windows, is nobbut a puff to what theau'll feel on this railroad!  It thi ears ar'no' gradely screwed on it'll tak' 'em clean off!"

    "They'll stond a better chance nur thine, Abram.  Ther's not as mich surface.  If thine getten blown off they're think it's some wyndymill ut's bin blown to pieces.  That's one for thee, mi lord!"

    "Well, never mind that, come on."  So we meaunted to th' top o'th' station, an' fund we had to wait a good while for eaur turns—to' lung, th' owd rib thowt, for th' shortness o'th' journey.  At last it coome to eaur turns, an' we took eaur places i'th' carriage.

    "Aw feel as if it wur th' next thing to bein' hanged," th' owd ticket said, as we'rn gettin' ready for turnin' off.  "Wheere's Berry?"

    "He's just puttin' his foout on th' treadle.  Another second an' we shall be—Howgh!—jiggamy!—whoy!"

    "Heugh!—marcy!—save us!"

    "My love!"

    "My Ab!"

    "My hat!"

    "Wheere are we?"


    "Thank goodness!"

    Aye, an' we lorded in a mixed up way.  Aw'd a pair o' arms wi' silk stockin's on reaund me; an' a yung chap on t'other seeat had a pair o' arms reaund him ut hadno' silk stockin's on; but as it wur nobbut for a quarter of a minute we hadno' time to feel th' difference, so it mattered nowt.  My hat, aw fund, wur lodged between my shoother blades wheere it stuck like a kettle-drum on a little so'dier's back.  But if aw hadno' had it secured wi' a piece o' treadlebant, aw should had to ha' looked for it i' Trafford Park.  Th' owd hen's feathers looked a bit mauled, but th' toppin' wur o reet; an' th' back journey, hoo said, wur like flyin' into th' sun!  Hoo're sure hoo wurno' far off it.  That's eaur experience on th' switchback railroad; an' what surprised me, th' owd crayter, afore we coome away, wanted to have another ride!  But ther other things aw had to attend to, so we turned into th' Exhibition agen.

    Aw'd thowt to ha' spent a hauve day among th' machinery, but it made sich a racket th' owd rib's yead wouldno' stond it, so aw shall have to go misel' sometime.  We noticed some folk at a stall examinin' a little table ut a lad took care to wipe finger-marks off when ladies and gentlemen ut couldno' read—"Please do not touch" would keep o'erhaulin' it.  This table is to be presented to th' Princess o' Wales, an' has bin made by lads ut' but for some kind gentlemen ut dunno' live o together for the'rsels, met neaw ha' bin pooin owd ropes i' pieces somewheere i'th' neighbourhood o' Strangeways.  It's a nice piece o' furniture, an' is worthy of a good corner i' Marlbro' House.  Th' lads ut made it wur busy at wark on other things, some cuttin' chips an' bindin' 'em i' bundles; others makkin' things for t' boil bachelors' kettles when the'r londlady has stopt th' coals off; others wur crappin owd shoon; an' one sit like "owd Torrence," makkin' owd clooas look new.

    "An' wheere han these lads come fro'?" th' owd sympathiser wanted to know.

    "The Boys' Refuge, Strangeways," aw said.

    "An' whoa keeps 'em?"

    "They're reckoned to get the'r own livin' bi the'r wark, an' if ther' owt short, thoose ut han summat to spare han t' help."

    "Ther noane sich places when we'rn young, Abram!"

    "Nawe, we'rn born at a time when th' biggest o' slovens could mak' a fortin' in a year or two, becose they could keep folk ignorant.  An' every penny they had comin' in they took care to keep to the'rsels.  They'rn 'Gradgrinds.'  But men han come up sin' then ut han tried to put others i'th' reet state o' feelin'—Dickens, Thackeray, an' moore ut aw could name.  Writers afore these wrote abeaut other things nor humanity, if we'n except Scott, Burns, Goldsmith, an' Moore, an' a few on th' same track.  Neaw, we'n a different taichin', an' a different humanity, an' these are th' fruits.  Here's summat in another line."

    We turned to a stall wheere ther a mon repairin' musical instruments, a job ut aw thowt he'd a difficulty i' doin'—battered owd things they wur, ut looked as if they'd done duty as weapons i' mony a scrimmage.

    "These han belonged to some owd band," aw said to my owd critic, ut wur lookin' as if hoo remembered some on 'em.  "Thoose they han neaw ha' not a dinge in 'em.  Owd Tunnicliffe used to say no instrument wur fit to play on till it had bin i'th' wars.  His flute wur so lapt wi' wax-bant they could hardly see a bit o' wood, an' he could play 'O Nannie' on it till he'd made mi yure rise!  What's that ut's playin' a tune on that t'other stall?  A top is it?  Well, if that isno' th' quarest thing aw ever seed!  A spinnin' top playin' music!"

    "Well, owd Juddie's wheelbarrow could play music when someb'dy had borrowed it, an' owd Juddie had wiped o'th' oil off th' trindle.  It could whistle 'pee-weet' like a chitty, an' put in a note or two like a linnet.  An' if a barrow could do that, aw conno' see why a hummin' top shouldno' do th' same."

    "Here ther two red Indians makkin' fancy things eaut o' chips.  An' they say'n Englishmen han o th' sense i'th' wo'ld, but aw deaut if ther's an Englishman i' this show ut could mak' one o' thoose boats eaut o'th' stuff they han to mak' 'em on."

    "It's like knitting beaut needles.  But are they red Indians, Ab?"

    "To be sure they are; aw know that by the'r een.  They're narr t'gether nur eaurs are."

    "But they are no' red!"

    "Nawe, they'n come'n unpainted!  They'd bin whitewesht so mich wi' English an' Canadian blood ut, but for the'r een, they'd pass for one o' us.  But they conno' auter thoose."

    "Heaw's that?"

    "Theau sees ut when an Indian shoots he doesno' shut one e'e as we dun; but skens across th' bridge o' his nose reet deawn th' barrel, while we go'en blinkin' wi' one e'e, as if t'other wur o' no use.  By that meeans they con see furr, an' strunger nur we con."

    "What mak's 'em ha' fringes to the'r treausers?"

    "It's followin' up an owd custom.  When they'rn on th' war-path, before they'rn civilised, they didno' carry a lot o' clewkin abeaut wi' 'em, like wayvers; so thoose fringes wur for t' tee the'r scalps to ut they'd ta'en i' battle.  When one on 'em had knocked an enemy o'er he'd ha' whipped eaut his knife, an' off wi' t'other's scalp in a jiffy.  Then he'd ha' fastened it to his leg, an' away he'd goo after another.  But come i' this other reaum wheere they're makkin' pots.  Theau'll see summat theere ut'll mak' thee stare."

    So into Doulton's place we went, an' fund ther a lot moore theere beside us lookin' on wi' wonder.  A mon makkin' chimdy-piece orniments, just like turnin' wood in a lathe, obbut he used no tools beside thoose he're born with; an' th' shapes he could mak' 'em tak' as th' wheel whizzed reaund wur summat wonderful.

    "Are o pots made that road, Ab?" th' owd un wanted to know.

    "Aye," aw said; "but they dunno' put th' hondles on."

    "Well, it's wonderful!"

    "Theau remembers owd Juddie once makkin' a potter's wheel, when he're gooin' to mak' his own garden pots?"

    "Aye, aw do."

    "He geet eaur Dick for t' turn for him, an' th' lad never liked turnin' a wheel.  Well, Juddie had getten a barrowful o' clay eaut o' Pee Ryder breek croft, an' this clay had bin tempered for breek, an' wur like owd Olive's porritch, rayther thin.  He put a daub o' this on th' wheel, an' set th' engine agate; but eaur Dick yerd some childer playin' i'th' lone, an' th' wheel went very slow.  'It's time aw fired up,' owd Juddie said, for he couldno' mak' his clay into ony sort o' a shape beside a flop.  'Just oil thi elbow, Dick, an' put on steeam!'  Dick did so, an' he whizzed away till th' wheel wur as cleean as if it had bin swept, an' owd Juddie looked like somb'dy ut had bin tryin' to commit suicide in a clayhole!  He never tried to mak' another garden pot.  But let's look reaund a bit."

    Aw took th' owd ticket a lookin' at some model cottages, an' rarely hoo're set up wi' 'em.  Ther one speshly, a two reaumd un, ut hoo could live in till hoo're ninety, if th' owd Mower didno' come reaund.  Ther an owd fashin't sideboard, ut looked as if it had bin ta'en eaut o'th' ark, wi' drawers ut Shem, Ham, an' Japhet kept the'r collars in, an' the'r sisters—the'r wives, aw meean—the'r pocket napkins.  An' ther a cubbort wheere Noah kept his meawse peawder.  An' ther' an owd corner cheear ut aw're no sooner sit deawn in nur aw toped o'er asleep!  That ud be nice, th' owd rib said, for me to sit in ov a neet i'stead o' gooin' to th' "Owd Bell."  An' hoo could sit on t'other side th' hearthstone in her rockin' cheear, praichin to me a sarmon neaw an' agen beaut a text, showin' me th' evils o' drinkin' an' stoppin' eaut late, an' chuckin barmaids under th' chin, an' purtendin' to go to buryins, when at th' same time they're gooin' to th' races, an' other carnal things, nobbut hoo'd ha' to stur me up wi' th' fire-potter for t' keep me wakken.

    "Wouldno' it be grand?" hoo went on.  "Then of a Sunday we could goo an' sit i'th' parlour after we'd bin to th' chapel, an'—"

    "Here, aw think theau's gone far enoogh," aw said.  "Theau's getten some cobwebs i' that yead o' thine, an' theau'rt wayvin a paradise eaut on 'em—one o' thi own soart."

    "What's my soart owt to be thine!" hoo said, wi' a dignity ut ud ha' become a skoo-missis.  "What's that readin' up theere?  Aw conno' see it beaut my glasses."

    "Far from court—far from care!"

    Aye, it isno' big fine heauses ut makken folk happy.  It wouldno' be fair to us poor folk if it wur so.  Theau're readin' t'other neet abeaut th' Queen livin' in a castle ut hoo'd never gradely seen; an' heaw men han bin delvin abeaut, an' fund places for shuttin' folk up in; an' wells wheere young princes mit ha' bin dropt in; an' other boggart holes ut made my flesh creep as theau're readin' abeaut 'em.  Ab, ther's noane o' that soart i' Walmsley Fowt.  Th' mophole's th' only danger, an' theau con keep eaut o' that if theau'll keep sober.  Let's look at that Palace next dur."

    "Dunno' thee tumble i' love wi' it, an' then.  Theau may look at grand things till thi soul gets dazzled, an' theau'll want to live i' fairy-lond."

    "Thee never fear, Abram!  Aw couldno' sleep amung o these grand things, knowin' at th' same time ut ther' hunderts o' folk hadno' a stick to sit on; an' others wur bein' turned eaut o' the'r whoams, ut are set of a blaze afore the'r e'en.  Nawe, Ab, aw couldno' live in a palace like this, an' know th' misery ther' wur reaund me.  Aw should be fears, o' seein' a pair o' horns pop through th' floor, an' yerrin summat like bosses i'th' cellar!  Aye, it's true, 'far from court—far from care'!"

    "Aw could do wi' a peep reaund th' corner o'th' Irish Section neaw," aw said, feelin' as if mi steeam wur deawn.

    "Go thisel', then, theau'll never be weant."





"ARE we at th' Exhibition, Ab?" th' owd rib axed me, as we sat under a tree ut raked tall bonnets or hats, or whatever yo' may co' thoose things o' straw an' ribbin ut ud do for hivin' hummabees in.

    "Wheere else con we be?" aw said.

    "Aw're just wonderin'," hoo said.  "We'n bin through twice, an' fund very few inside; an' look what a lot o' folk ther' is eautside.  If aw could ha' yerd a roll o' wayter aw should ha' thowt we'd bin at Blackpool."

    "But ther's nowt like Blackpool here," aw said.  "We couldno' ha' bin sittin' under a tree if we'd bin theere."

    "But look at th' women heaw they're dressed.  We dunno' use seein' owt o' this sort nobbut at th' seaside."

    "Sarah, that's one part o'th' Exhibition.  They'n come'n here to be seen.  What dun they care for machinery or pictur's, or pot makkin', or dolls, or different sorts o' soap?  They're o' moore importance the'rsels nur owt i'th' Exhibition beside.  Every finely dressed dromedary is sayin' to hersel', 'Look at me! my hump's th' biggest o' ony i' 'th gardens."'

    "An' ther' are some wappers (big ones).  Ther's one wagglin abeaut theere, an' a gentleman's had to push it o' one side, like oppenin' a gate, afore he could get past it.  Shawmful!  It ud sarve 'em reet if they could be born so.  Aw'm satisfied wi' a breadbasket."

    "They'n be browt reaund to th' front next, theau'll see an' then they'll be farthingales, like they wore i' Queen Bess's time; an' then they'n ha' to walk i'th' middle o'th' road, like geese.  Theau sees shoother-o'-mutton sleeves are cumin' up agen."

    "Aye, aw see they are."

    "Bonnets 'll ha' a turn next, aw reckon.  I'stead o' wearin' 'em stuck on th' top o' the'r yead like a fleawer pot, they'll begin o' slidin' deawn to'ard th' back.  Then they'n put a bit moore to th' front, an' put a cap screen inside; an' then another owd fashin 'll be on th' carpet."

    "Th' owd coal-box fashin, like mi Aint Lucy used to hoide her yead in.  An' what wi' dresses wi' shoother-o'-mutton sleeves, an' stummager fronts, we shall be ready for owd times agen.  But one dress had to do then wheere twenty are worn neaw; an' bonnets are eaut o' fashin in a week.  My Aint Lucy wore her bombazine dress a dozen year to my knowledge, an' when hoo'd worn her bonnet till it wur as breawn as an owd stockin', her gronchilder made it in a rappit cote.  Ther's noane sich times neaw.  What dun theere yung chaps carry sticks for?"

    "Aw reckon to walk wi'."

    "Nay, that conno' be.  They carryin' 'em like carryin' besoms, as if they'rn gooin' to sweep a fowt.  Is that a fashin, too?"

    "Aye, aw reckon it is.  Sticks are very hondy for pokin' one another i'th' ribs, or tappin' 'em on th' shoother, or bobbin folk i'th' een when they're gettin' on th' top o' a tram-car.  Aw dunno' know what other sarvice they're for."

    "Owd Silver-yead, theau remembers, carried a stick for a different use.  It wur welly as tall as hissel', an' he'd grip it i'th' middle to help him on th' road.  These are noane to help 'em on th' road."

    "Nawe; infirmities get mony imitaters.  Hass noticed th' colours o' these dresses?"

    "Aw've noticed one thing—ther's a good deeal o' white worn.  An' nice an' cool it looks.  It reminds me o' mi younger days, afore theau coome whistlin' at owd Johnny o' Sammul's gate.  Aw'd a white frock made for t' walk wi' th' scholars in.  An' aw'd a white cap, lined wi' pink; an' white stockin's, an' buckled shoon; an' when aw're turn't eaut mi Aint Lucy said aw looked like a little angel."

    "It's a good while sin' then; an' theau'rt a little bit changed booath in appearance an' temper.  It's a pity that frock wouldno' fit thee neaw.  Aw could like to see thee in it."

    "Theau meeans theau wishes aw're th' same age agen."

    "Theau's just gexed it."

    "An' ha' o to go through agen ut aw've gone through?"

    "Well, it couldno' happen so neaw.  Theau sees, if we'rn th' age we wur then, an' life before us, theau'd be a lady, an' aw should be a gentleman, before we'rn fifty.  We shouldno' be sniggin' at a loom, an' skamin' heaw to mak' booath ends meet.  At th' rate things are gooin' on machinery 'll do o th' wark.  We should ha' nowt to do but live!  If this Exhibition had bin fifty year sin', th' visitors wouldno' ha' averaged 20,000 a day.  Folk had summat else to do nur goo abeaut showin' heaw weel they could be dressed.  If this state o' things 'll howd eaut aw dunno' care, but aw'm feart it winno'."

    "An' aw'm feart, too.  What are they buildin' o'er theer, Ab?"

    "Another switchback; one isno' enoo.  They're buildin' 'em up an' deawn th' country—Lunnon, Liverpool, Newcastle, Belle Vue, an' aw've yerd it said they're havin' one at Daisy Nook an' Blackpool.  That shows folk liken to be tickled, same as childer."

    "Heaw fain everybody seems to be when they meeten one another!"

    "Aye, theau may weel say seems.  Let 'em part, an' the'r true character 'll come eaut. One 'll bite her lips till they bleed becose t'other has getten a broad red sash reaund her.  Aw dar'say if truth wur known it covers a hole in her dress.  Sich like little deceptions are carried on everywheere.  Thoose white dresses theau's bin praisin' happen covern rags ut are no' fit to be seen.  If theau's getten it i' thi yead ut everythin's what it seems, sweep it eaut, for sich notions are no' wo'th harbourin'.  These yung swells theau sees—caned, an' booted, an' collared, theau'd imagin' had the'r pockets lined wi' brass."

    "Well, an' ha' no' they?"

    "Some on 'em may be, but it's a question who it belungs to.  A lot on 'em han feythers howdin' a tight grip on 'em.  Others are clerks wi' less wage nur mechanics, an' are puzzled to know heaw they mun meet the'r londladies.  But they mun show off."

    "Well, let's get fro' under this tree an' goo somewheere else."

    "For a change, then, we'n go reaund th' boozeries."

    "Nay, theau'll no' get me i' one o' thoose places."

    "No' for t' drink, but to look reaund.  We'n tak' th' fust shop, this grand Pagoda.  Look heaw it's hived reaund!  Happen they' isno' one o' that lot ut are sheautin for drink as if they'rn deein for it, ut ud ha' wanted it if he'd bin awhoam, or at his wark.  But th' minute a mon gets loce, an' i'th' fresh air, he goes as dry as a chimdy.  Some are affected bi the'r clooas.  Aw yerd a mon say ut if he gets his Sunday duds on he begins a-thinkin' heaw nice a pint ud be if he could get at it.  An' he wishes every day wur Sunday, so ut he could be gettin' at th' last gasp abeaut twelve o'clock.  He'd never think abeaut it if he'd his clogs on.  Theau may depend on't ther's a deeal o' habit an' sentiment abeaut drink.  Theau knows little Dan, aw reckon?"

    "Who doesno' know him?"

    "Well, Dan wur so i'th' habit o' gooin' to th' Owd Bell every Setturday at four o'clock, an' gettin' i' singin' fettle, an' talkin' fine, ut he couldno' break off it.  Abeaut three o'clock his tongue ud be gettin' glued fast to his meauth.  At hauve past he could abide no lunger.  So he'd jump off his loom, sweep reaund his treadle-hole, pike his breeches, an' at four o'clock he'd go leatherin' deawn th' lone as if he're tryin' t' catch a train ut had bin gone a minute.  At five o'clock he'd be singin' 'On board of the Arethusa.'  At six he'd be waddlin' whoam—singin' an' sheautin' as if he'd bin a giant.  But one time Dan had a cut to get eaut for Monday mornin', an' it couldno be done unless he wove late o' Setturday.  This wur a sore trial to him.  At three o'clock symptoms o' alephobia coome on him.  At four he couldno' abide unless he sung.  So he begun wi' 'Arethusa,' an' it reliev't him.  At five he felt his yead gooin' an' his feet couldno' keep on th' treadles.  At six he fell into th' treadle-hole as drunken as if he'd bin at th' Owd Bell!  Th' force o' habit, theau sees."

    "He'd ha' a pitcherful in his pinbox, aw reckon."

    "Did't ever know a wayver drink o'er his wark?"

    "Aw've known one leeave his loom when a finger has bin put up."

    "That may be.  But theau never knew th' sanctity o' a loomheause invaded by drink.  A wayver ud as soon think o' havin' it i'th church.  Th' very thowts on't ud set him o' of a tremble."

    "Theau meeans set him a-yammerin."

    "Nay, he'd be like a mad dog at wayter till he geet eautside.  They may ha' drink in a hay-meadow, becose haymakkin' isno' regilar wark.  But in a loomheause--never!  Th' nearest ut ever aw knew of a wayver wantin' a taste o' summat when he're at his loom wur owd Jack o' Nat's, an' he're satisfied wi' suckin' humbugs.  A wayver's loomheause is his sanctum sanctorum.  Theere's Latin for thee, Sarah!  If theau gets so mich on't theau'll be wearin' a four-cornered cap afore lung an' carryin' mortar.  Neaw we'n ha' a peep i' this other shop furr on."

    "Well, aw'll goo wi' thee theere, becose it looks like a teetotal place, an' aw could do wi' a bottle o' pop."

    "It is a teetotal place, so far as it consarns teetotallers.  They con ha' pop, or lemonade, or coffee—owt beside cowd wayter."

    "An' why conno' they ha' cowd wayter?"

    "Becose it's warm.  They conno' keep it cowd.  Just put thi yead in at that dur, an' feel if theau'd like to be one o' thoose women at th' back o'th' ceaunter."

    "Phoo-oo-oo!  Like stickin' mi yead in a oon when it's ready for bakin'.  Heaw con folk abide in here?"

    "They are abidin', an' puttin' moore coals on eaut o'th' whiskey bottle."

    "Aw thowt it wur a teetotal shop!"

    "It is to teetotallers.  They con ha' as mich as they wanten.  It's like sun an' air, free to onybody beaut conditions or limit.  Neaw then, get thi pop swallowed an' let's dive into a cooler.  Come on, we'n go deawn to th' Irish section neaw."

    "A-lookin' at the'r lace an' fine linens, aw reckon?"

    "Just as it happens."

    We went deawn to th' Irish Section, an' fund th' same thing gooin' on theere as at other drinkeries.  Aw dunno' know heaw it is ut swells conno' behave the'rsel's as weel as workin' folk.  They drinken whiskey wi' the'r glooves on, an' chucken barmaids under th' chin, an' keepen 'em waitin' for the'r brass, as if they hadno' enoogh to do beaut bein' hindert i' every way.  But aw reckon it's becose they're eddicated, an' know no betther.  A workin' men 'll goo i' these places, an' afore he axes for his glass he'll show ut he's brass to pay for it, for fear they winno' sarve him.  Then, when he's getten his glass, he drinks, an' says "th' weather's warm," then drinks agen.  When he's finished, an' th' waitress stares at him, as if hoo're noane used to civility, he wonders if he hasno' paid her, an' feels his pockets o'er.  When hoo tells him wi' a nice smile ut he has paid, he feels hissel' so flattered ut he'll ha' another glass, an' fetch a companion in for t' see what a "good sort" of a barmaid hoo is.  He doesno' seem to know heaw far civility goes i' ony sort o' society; an' he hasno' bin eddicated to know th' difference between civility an' monkeyishness, becose he sees moore o' onenur t'other.

    "Abram," th' owd rib said, "Aw thowt ther' summat drew thee here beside laces an' poplins!"

    "Well, aw like to see a nice face, if it doesno' belung to me," aw said.  "Theau're as pratty as ony o' these at one time."

    Th' owd ticket stretched her bonnet at th' mirror, an' said—

    "Gammon, Abram! theau never thowt nowt o'th' sort."  But it tickl't her, too.  "What are these monkeys behavin' the'rsel's i' that road for?"

    "Husht! they're fro' a lunatic asylum, an' that big chap's the'r keeper!  They're kept i' confinement so mich ut th' seet o' a pratty face maks 'em beside the'rsel's.  When they'n had the'r spree eaut th' keeper 'll tak' 'em whoam, wheere they'n quietly climb the'r sticks."

    "Poor lads!" th' owd sympathiser said; an' hoo stood twopenno'th for mi day's-good behaviour.



"AW'M thinkin', Ab," said my owd stockin'-mender, reflectin', as hoo aulus does upo' owt boo sees, "ut th' effects o' this Exhibition may be seen i' moore ways nur one."

    "Aye, fifty roads, aw shouldno' wonder," aw said, for t' give her a bit o' encouragement.

    "Theau sees th' atin', an' drinkin' ut's gooin' on—but aw'll say nowt abeaut th' drinkin', becose an Englishman 'll drink onywheere if folk trien to stop him—but theau sees th' atin' ut's gooin' on."

    "Aye ther's middlin' o' jaw-waggin' to be seen," aw said.

    "But what they ate'n at th' Exhibition they conno' ate i' Manchester," hoo said.

    "That's logic," aw said.  "Neaw then, owd crayther, what art' droivin' at?"

    "It must be injurin' cook-shops an' 'toffy caverns,' as theau coes 'em."

    "Theau meeans 'coffee taverns,' Sarah!  Ther's no doubt on't.  Ther' never wur owt invented yet, but if it benefited one class, it injured another.  Theau remembers seein' that nice case o' hats."

    "Aw do; but it's so seldom aw do look at hats ut aw should ha' forgetten.  Bonnets are moore i' my line."

    "Aw know they are.  Theau'll stare at a bonnet shop window till theau goes mazy; an' then folk thinken theau's tasted summat stronger nur warm broth.  But aw're gooin' to say what chance has Sammy wi' his fine show, when his hats are made by hond, an' others are makkin' 'em by steeam?"

    "Makkin' hats by steeam, Ab!"

    "Aye, go deawn i'th' Hatteries an' theau'll find a machine ut'll turn a hat eaut in abeaut ten seconds, lined wi' patent leather, an' tipped wi' Persian satin, wi' th' buyer's name printed under th' lion an' unicorn, an' a little hole i'th' middle for let eaut steeam, an' a hole for a hatguard i'th' brim, wi' an eyelet squeezed in it ready for th' saeside!  What dost think abeaut that, neaw?"

    "Well, aw think theau'rt at thi owd gam' agen, an' ut nowt 'll get thee off it."

    "Let me tell thi this, owd sceptic!  Ther a mon had his hat blown off one day when he're at top o'th' owd church steeple, an' it went like a balloon o'er into Trafford Park.  Well, he had to get a new un; but as he'd a yead as big as eaur broth pon, he couldno' get one ut ud fit him.  He tried th' biggest ut Sammy had, but as his biggest wur nobbut a seven-an'-a -quarter it kebbed on th' mon's yead like queen's creawn on one o' these new sixpences.  That wouldno' do.  He met a tried a hat-box an' gone whoam i' that; but he bethowt hissel o' this steeam hat machine, so he went theere.  He towd 'em he wanted a hat makkin' abeaut eight-an'-three-quarters size.  He said he wanted it at once, as his train started in a quarter of an heaur.  He stuck his yead into summat for t' tak' his measure, an' by th' time he'd wiped th' swat off, th' hat tumbled eaut at t'other end o'th' machine ready for puttin' on!  Th' mon walked off wi' it as if he'd getten a firkin tub on th' top of his yead, an' when he gees to th' station he'd five minutes to spare.  Neaw that's true!"

    "Heaw doss know it's true?"

    "Becose aw seed it made.  Aw're theere when th' chap browt his yead wi' him, an' gan th' order for it to be fitted.  Aw seed th' silk an' stuff for th' shape put in; an' then th' linen, an' th' tip, wi' th' letters made o' indy-rubber for t' print th' mon's name; an' aw seed th' hat tumble eaut ready for donnin'.  Ther's no mistake abeaut it."

    "Dost think they could mak' bonnets?"

    "They con mak' owt to fit a yead, or ony sort of a yead.  A mon ut has summat to do wi' it towd me they'd made a hat for a beggin' elephant; an' it fitted him so nicely ut he could tak' it off wi' his trunk like a gentleman, an howd it eaut like a churchwarden does a collection box at a charity sarmon.  They'n an order in for one to be made for that elephant at Belle Vue, ut rings a bell an' grinds coffee for th' price of a cake."

    "Aw should think ut if they could mak' 'em ony width they could mak' 'em tall enoogh."

    "So th' mon towd me.  He said they could mak' 'em so tall ut if a chap wur in a church, an' he sit beheend two ladies, he could go to sleep beaus th' pa'son seein' him, an' that ud be a convanience for a lot aw know, an' would save 'em summat i' snuff."

    "It wouldno' save thee mich."

    "Reet, owd ticket!  But abeaut this Exhibition, why shouldno' publicans' interests be considered as weel as thoose of other tradesfolk?  They han to pay rates same as shopkeepers an' butchers.  An' neaw theau may go through Manchester onytime an' have a whul publicheause to thisel'.  The'r customers are at th' Exhibition or at a cricket match, or a jumpin' do.  An' when they'n had enoogh they jumpen on a tramcar an' off whoam."

    "Just as it should be," th' owd moralist said; an' hoo thowt hoo had me.  "Public-heauses wur built for travellers an' idle wayvers.  Ther' no railroads then, so travellers had to go fro' one teawn to another upo' shanks.  An' as they'd no relations for t' quarter the'rsels on, an' no teetotal places fit for a mon to put his yead in, they had to go to a public-heause, wheere they could ha' every comfort they could ha' awhoam —"

    "An' no pickled tongue!"

    "Theau doesno' get as mich o' that as theau desarves, Abram, so theau's no 'casion to put thy motto in.  They had to go theere or nowheere.  Neaw ther's railroads, an' private hotels, an' coffee heauses, an' they'n not as mich 'casion for public-heauses as they had at one time.  Goo into one o' these public-heauses neaw, an' ax for out beside drink, an' theau'll soon find thisel' eautside!  Theau'll find no idle wayvers theere, becose th' mooest on 'em are oather i'th' churchyard or i'th' warkheause.  Theau may find, if theau'll go between meal times, a lot o' slovenly women i'th' vault, talkin' like a lot o' parrots, an' lettin' the'r childer sup.  But owd-fashint publicheauses are gone."

    "Ther's a good deeal o' truth i' what theau says, owd philosopheress," aw said; "but theau hasno' towd o.  If ther's a public-heause tumbles loce, a brewer buys it, an' onyone he puts in mun tak' his ale an' sperrits off him.  If customers complain ut they conno' drink sich stuff, an' he gets some off another brewer on th' sly, his name has to come off th' sign.  Th' next ut comes finds it winno' do, so he oppens his heause into a music place, an' gets a lot o' lads ut thinken they con sing for t' come an' blaat every neet for a gill o' slutch apiece.  Or he encourages dart shootin', or ringin' th' bull, or owt for t' bring folk to th' heause ut han no need for it, or ut arno' dry.  Bi these meeans th' heause loses its character, an' gets dirty, an' low, an' forsaken.  That's one cause o' so mony clubs bein' oppened, wheere they con drink the'r own stuff, an' drink as lung as they'n a mind.  Theau'rt reet, Sarah! public-heauses are made into a monopoly.  After havin' sarved the'r purpose, they'n missed the'r way.  They'n getten into onybody's honds—some ut never wur fit—an' they're gooin' to th' dogs.  We never see a jolly owd cock stondin' at th' dur neaw, wi' a pair o' shirt sleeves as wide as a balloon, chattin' an' laffin wi' everybody ut goes past.  Nawe, he's droivin' abeaut somewheere, an' grumblin' abeaut trade."

    "Ther's another thing aw dunno' consider reet, Abram.  Theau sees these dresses ut are walkin' abeaut?"

    "Well, what abeaut thoose?"

    "Aw'd like to know heaw mony han bin bowt i' Manchester?"

    "Wheay, theau doesno' think they'd go to Owdham, or Chorley, or Chowbent for 'em?"

    "Nawe; but they go'en reaund th' Exhibition, an' if they seen summat they'd like, they conno' buy it here, but they con order it.  So what chance has a shopkeeper ut has no stall here?  His goods may be chepper an' betther, but becose he's no stall here he may shut his shop up, an' goo on th' tramp.  That's another road this Exhibition works."

    "Like th' van system," aw said.  "Theau's no 'casion to go to a shop for owt neaw.  Theau con have it browt to th' dur, an' fro' o parts o'th' country.  Aw yerd a baker talkin' t'other day abeaut stuff bein' so chep they could mak' no profit on the'r bread.  They owt to put th' corn laws on agen, so ut ther'd be a chance ov a bit o' profit.  It met be free trade, but they no fair trade neaw.  This baker has a place i' Ash'n, an' he sarves folk abeaut Walmsley Fowt.  Aw axt him heaw he'd like payin' a hauve a crown duty afore his van wur alleawed to cross Clayton Bridge?  Th' shopkeepers had to pay the'r rent, beside keepin' th' road i' repair for his van.  But he'd no rent to pay i' that neighbourhood; so could afford to undersell th' shopkeepers theere.  He said they'd same chance as he had.  They should get vans o' the'r own.  But he'd tak' care they didno' get a footin' i' Ash'n.  Theau seed o thoose boilers wheere th' engines are?"

    "Aye, what abeaut 'em?"

    "Dost' think thoose wur made o purpose for this Exhibition?"

    "Aw've never gan a thowt abeaut 'em."

    "Theau may depend on't some forriners han bin peepin' an' skeaulin' abeaut thoose; an' if we dunno' mind they'n be havin' 'em; an' thoose rope engines, too, ut worken as steady an' as true as a hummin' top.  Then we shan be cryin' eaut abeaut forrin competition; an i'th' same breath as we sheauten nowt con lick owd England.  An' nowt could lick owd England if we mun have o th' trade to eaursels.  But forriners winno' let us.  We'n shown 'em by eaur Exhibitions heaw to mak' machinery for the'rsels; an' they go'en whoam an' dun it, while we're sheautin.  Eh, John Bull! theau'rt abeaut as big a jackass as ever nipt a thistle!"

    "But hasno' Ameriky oppent an' Exhibition i' Lunnon? an conno' we borrow things off 'em?"

    "Ther's nowt to borrow nobbut a tribe o' Indians an' keaw lads; an' they'll tak' moore back nur they brows wi' 'em.  Catch th' Yankees showin' us owt ut ud do us good!  They'n moore 'grit' in 'em nur that."

    "Aw've yerd thee say, Ab, ut folk shouldno' live for the'rsels alone.  Ut it wur selfishness,"

    "An' aw'll say so agen.  But ther's a difference between livin' for ones sel' an' livin' for other folk.  We no sooner invent summat nur we oather run reaund th' wo'ld wi' it, or inviten o'th' wo'ld to come here an' see it.  An' they'n ha' copied it, an' made use on't, while we're fratchin' wi' eaur neighbours abeaut patent rights.  We gi'en 'em every chance o' lickin' us.  They con have eaur coals i' Russia chepper nur they con be laid deawn i' Lunnon!  But aw reckon if we wur to put a tax on 'em colliers ud cry eaut ut we'rn ruinin' the'r trade.  So ut if ther's a tax on onythin' someb'dy's sure to yelp; an' th' same if ther's one takken off.  We conno' legislate for everybody."

    "Heaw is it, Ab, we're so partial to forriners?  They con get on here when an English mon or woman ud ha' to clem."

    "Well, they'n do things ut we wouldno' do.  What mon or woman ud go reaund th' country wi' a box organ, or one o' thoose tinklin' boxes?"

    "Well, happen theau'rt reet; but let's begooin' whoam."  An' we went.

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