The Chimney Corner (I.)

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Sarvice Time.

Hail, Sabbath! thee I hail the poor man's day,
The pale mechanic now has leave to breathe
The morning air, pure from the city's smoke:
While wandering slowly up the river side,
He meditates on Him whose power he marks
In each green tree that proudly spreads the bough,
As in the tiny dew-bent flowers that bloom
Around its roots; and while he thus surveys,
With elevated joy, each rural charm.
He hopes—
              .              .              .              .              .
As on the heights he marks the straggling bands
Returning homeward from the house of prayer.


A fine Sunday morning in August.   The bell of the moorland chapel tolling for service.

Stragglers on their way, from different points of the scene, towards the chapel MARY o' NATHAN'S o' TOOTER'S, standing in the tree-shaded porch of an old farmhouse, with her little son, drest for church.  She turns back—

"NOW, Martha, thou'll mind an' ha' th' dinner ready bi one; for there'll be no howdin' these childer when th' sarvice is o'er."

    "I'll have it ready."

    "An' mind thou doesn't burn that beef to a cinder, as thou did last Sunday! . . . An' make 'em plenty o Yorkshire puddin',—doesto yer?"

    "I yer."

    "Wind yon clock up; an' don't let thi fire get too low; an' keep yon buttery-door shut, or else thou'll ha' some o'th cats in! . . . Whatever are yon childer doin' so lung?  They're olez i'th feels when they should be i'th fowd!"

(She shouts upstairs.)

    "Now, lasses; how lung ever are yo beawn to be fiddlefadlin' up theer?  Don yo yer yon bell?  I begged an' prayed on yo to get ready i' time for once,—but yo winnot be said.  If yo'r faither had been a-whoam he'd ha' stirred some on yo up afore now!"

    "We're comin'!"

    "Yore comin'!—ay, an' so is Kessmas! (Christmas.)  A lot o' up-groon yung folk, like yo,—whatever are yo thinkin' at?  Yo needen moor tentin' nor if yo'rn in a caither!" (cradle.)

    "We're comin', I tell yo!"

    "Ay, an' I'm comin', too, if yo aren't down thoose stairs, i' two minutes!  Yo'n had th' whole mornin' to get yo'rsels ready in,—an' here yo are again!  I wonder at yo,—that I do!  Stir yo'rsels, I prayo!  I fair shame to see yo trailin' into th' chapel after th' sarvice has begun,—disturbin' folk.  An' th' parson doesn't like it, noather,—I can tell yo!  What, yo're a town's talk,—that yo are!  Mary, whatever are yo doin'?"

    "I'ts our Ailse, here; hoo cannot get her yure reet!"

    "If I have to come up thoose stairs I'll put her yure to reets, some soon,—an' thine, too!"

    "Yo can be goin' on, mother, we'n o'ertay yo!"

    "I wonder how yo can for shame o' yo'rsels, that I do!  Good Sunday as it is!  It's a disgrace to yo,—that it is,—sniggerin', an' laughin'!"

    "We aren't laughin'!"

    "Yo'n ha' to laugh o'th wrong side o'th mouth, if yo don't mind!  Hie yo down, or I'll bring a stick to yo!"

    "We sha'not be a minute, mother.  I've nobbut this bit o' ribbon to tee, an' then.  We'n o'ertay yo afore yo getter to th' Owler Nook."

    "'Od rot sich work!  I wish yo'r faither war a-whoam! . . . Come, William; we mun be goon', as how."

(She shouts upstairs again.)

    "Don yo yer?"


    "Mind; if I have to turn back, I'll warm some on yo,—to some tune! . . . Come, my lad; let's be gettin' on."

    They had not gone many yards before the old woman stopped suddenly and said, "Eh!  I declare, I've forgetter mi Prayer Book!  William; run back, my lad, an' ax Martha for it,—hoo'll find it a-top o'th drawers, wi' a white Pocket-handkerchief lapt round it.  An' there's a bunch o' neps a-side on it,—bring them, too."

    The lad ran back for his mother's Prayer Book; and then they wandered on together down the old lane, under over-hanging boughs of thick-leaved summer green, through which the strong sunshine stole in fitful freaks of golden gleam.  The air was clear, and pure, and bright, and save the songs of birds, and the quiet music of a little brooklet here and there, the sound of the chapel bell floated far and wide over the rural parish with cheerful solemnity, calling the scattered inhabitants of hill and dale from their leafy nooks to the house of prayer.  The sky was cloudless, and the green flower-sprent landscape seemed as still as the over-arching heavens.  A strange serenity lay upon the beautiful summer scene, as if all nature felt that the day of God, and god of days, had dawned upon the earth once more.  The old lane leading towards the chapel was flanked by a sprawling thorn hedge, overhung by the foliage of ancient forest trees.  The hedge, on each side, was full of holes, and "hare gates," and tunnels, and runs, where the mole, the weazle, and the urchin wandered at will; and where many a wasp-nest lurked unseen; and it was overgrown with a world of herbs and wild-flowers, and prickly brushwood, the delight of the country botanist and the truant schoolboy.  As old Mary wandered thoughtfully down the lane, with her Prayer Book in her hand, Billy lingered behind his mother, and began to play amongst the flowery wilderness by the wayside.  Not hearing his footsteps, she turned round, and to her dismay she saw him a little way behind, up to the middle in prickles, quietly whistling, and cutting a twig with his knife.

    "William!" cried she, "whatever arto doin'?"

    "I'm makin' a wicken-whistle."

    "I'll whistle tho; thou little monkey, thou!  Doesto know what day it is?  Gi' me howd o' that knife, this minute!  An' look how thou's daubed thi clooas!  An' thi shoon, too,—they're o' cover't wi' frog-rud,—dirty lad!  An' tak that posy out o' thi hat!  I have sich wark wi' one and another on yo that I'm fair moidert out o' mi life,—that I am! . . . Now, then, wipe thi nose; an' come on!  Stop a minute; let's see if yon lasses are comin'!"

    The old woman turned back a little, and looking back towards the house, through an opening in the hedge, she said, "Oh; they're comin' at last, I see!  They'n nobbut just be i' time!  Come, William, let's be gooin' on!"

                    .                       .                       .                       .                       .

    In another part of the landscape, where a rough bridle-path led up to the unshaded heights overlooking the pleasant vale, two old friends met on their way to chapel.

    "Mornin', Sam!"


    "Fine mornin'!"

    "Fine mornin', very! . . . Thou's a bit o' a smut o' thi nose, Enoch! . . . T'other side . . . That's it!  It's off, now! . . . Well; an' how are yo' o' up at th' Crag?"

    "Oh,—meeterly.  My wife's a bit bother't wi'th 'tic,—an' one o'th' childer's trouble't wi'th worms,—but t'other are o' reet.  They're off to th' chapel, yon, sitho."

    "Owd Bill o' Snatch-block's had a bit of a touch o'th worms,—but I think he's getten rid on 'em o' somehow.  Jone o' Collop's met him i'th' fowd one day, about a month sin', an' he says to him, he says, 'Bill; thou looks poorly; what's to do witho?'  'I'm trouble't wi'th' worms,' said Bill.  'Worms!' said Jone; 'I con soon get rid o' thoose for tho!  Sitho; thou sees th' Seven Stars yon?'  'Ay!'  'Well,—go thi ways reet in at th' front dur, an' get about seven pints of owd Jerry's very best ale,—an' if it doesn't kill th' worms, by th' mass, it'll kill thee!' "

    "Ay; it's just like Jone, is that.  Well; an' how are yo gettin' on wi' yo'r hay?"

    "Well; we're leet-honded, raither; but I think it'll do very fair,—if this weather howds out."

    "An' it looks ever so likely."

    "Ay; it's just let i'th reet nick, has this fine weather; an' I think we're safe as lung as this moon lasts. . . . Who's yon, at's wobblin by th' end o'th lone, yon?"

    "It's Robin o' Bob's. . . . He geet o' his hay in three days sin'; an' they had their churn-supper o' Friday neet; an' he axed th' hawve o'th' parish to't.  But there wur so mony coom 'at had to stop o' neet that his wife said to him, 'I'll tell thee what, Robin; I'se never be able to find beds for th' hawve o' these!'  'Oh, never thee mind,' said Robin; 'give 'em drink enough,—an' they'n find beds for theirsels!' an' there's one o' 'em did find a bed for his-sel, for he wur taen ill th' same neet; an' he dee'd th' next day."

    "It's bin an ill haliday for that chap, as how 'tis.  Who wur it, saysto?"

    "It wur Jack o' Waddle's."

    "Nay, sure.  Why, I thought that Jack had bin as hard as brazzil."

    "Well, an' so he wur; but then thou knows, cast iron will not last for ever.  It brings 'em down, titter or latter,—as how strung they are. . . . Poor owd Jack!  He wur a daicent, hard-wortchin', simple-hearted chap,—as innocent as a flea!  He never thought he wur doin' reet unless he wur wortchin' like a slave,—for a little wage.  If onybody had offer't him aboon fifteen shillin' a week, he'd ha' thought be wur beawn to ruin 'em."

    ''There's none so mony laft o' that mak."

    "Nawe; that breed o' folk's gettin' thin strewn,—it is for sure. . . . Poor owd Jack!  He co'de (called) wi' his cart at th' Birch Farm one day,—he'd brought some stuff up fro' th' town for 'em.  It wur a blazin' whot summer day; an owd Jack's throttle wur as drufty as a lime-brunner's clog.  Th' mistress co'de him into th' kitchen, an' hoo said, 'John, come in, an' sit yo down a minute.  Yo could do wi' a drop of ale; couldn't yo?'  'Yigh,' said Jack, as he wiped his face wi' his handkitcher, 'I've nought again' it 'at I know on.'  'Here, Jane,' said th' mistress to one o' th' sarvants, 'goo into th' cellar, an' draw John a jug of ale.'  Well, this wur a new sarvant, an' hoo went an' drew this ale out of a wrong barrel,—hoo drew it out of a barrel that they'd letten go sour a-purpose, becose they wanted to use it for aliker (aleger).  Well, when th' lass brought this jug o' sour ale, th' mistress honded it to Jack, an' hoo said, 'Theer, John, get that into yo; I'm sure yo'n do wi' it sitch a day as this!'  'It's very warm, for sure,' said owd Jack; an' then he laid howd o'th' jug, an' he oppen't his gills, for he lippen't o' lettin' th' ale down o' at a woint; but th' first gulp wur enough, an' he stopt an' roll't it round his mouth, for th' taste wur terrible, an' he wur freetent o' givin' it bally-reawm; an' theer he stoode, swillin' it round, an' starin' like a twitchelt earwig.  Th' owd lad didn't like sayin' that th' ale wur naught, so wi' mich ado he manage't to swallow th' odd mouthful, an' then he set th' pitcher down, an' he said, 'Here, mistress; I'm happen noan dry!'  'Eh, do finish yo'r ale, John,' said th' mistress.  'Nay,' said Jack; 'let it ston a bit; I dar say I's be lookin' in as I come back!' . . . Hello! isn't yon Jerry, th' huntsman?"

    "It favvours him."

    "Heigh, Jerry! what's o' thi hurry?  Poo up a bit, an' cak us witho!  We's be in afore th' bell drops!"

    "Well,—our maister's very particular about th' sarvants bein' in i' time."

    "Ay, ay; he's very religious,—of a Sunday,—I know. . . Well,—an' when are yo beawn to get into yon grand new house o' yor's?"

    "Oh, it'll be a week or two yet.  There's nob'dy theer nobbut old Liddy, th' housekeeper; hoo's takken' care, till things getten put to reets. . . . Tother day, there wur a gentleman coom a-lookin' th' house o'er, an' after he'd gone through it, he said to owd Liddy, 'Well, it's really a very fine house,—an' beautifully finished!'  'Oh, nay!' said Liddy, 'it's not finished yet!'  'Indeed,' said he, 'why, what more do they intend to do at it?'  'Well,' said Liddy, 'I heard our master sayin' tother day, that he was going to have a mortgage put on it!'  'Oh, ay,' said th' gentleman, 'I see,—an' that does indeed prove a finisher, sometimes!' . . . Now then; we're just i' time; I see th' parson's comin' across th' feelt, yon! . . . Hello; what's owd Ben doin' stride-legs upo' th' riggin' o'th chapel?  He looks if he wur ridin' a rush-cart."

    "Some'at wrang wi'th bell, I think."

    "Nay; th' bell's goin' reet enough!  What's up, thinken yo?  He'll ha' to come off th' peeorch (perch) in a minute or two, an' start of his clerkin'! This caps me! . . .  Ston fur; th' parson's here!  Let him goo in th' first!"

    "Good morning to you!  A fine morning!"

    "Good mornin', sir!  It's a bonny mornin'!"

    The old parson had walked across the fields, ready robed, for the morning service; and, as he passed through the ancient lych-gate, into the tree-shaded chapel-garth, he looked up with astonishment to find the old man who acted as sexton, clerk, and bell-ringer, sitting astride upon the roof of the chapel, in front of the little belfry, with a hammer in his hands.

    "Hollo, Benjamin," said he, "whatever are you doing up there?"

    And the old man turned half round upon his seat, and he said, "Well, sir; yo seen, it's a fine day, an' there hasn't bin so mony fine days latly; an' so owd Sam Buckley has borrowed th' bell-rope, to lead his hay wi'—an' I've come'd here to ring in wi'th coal hommer!"

    "Come down; come down, at once!" said the parson, as he walked quietly on to the vestry door.

    The old sexton came down from his perch, and followed his master.  The stragglers who had been lounging in the chapel yard, where their fore-elders lay at rest, trickled quietly in, one after another, and took their seats; and in two or three minutes the solemn words of the service of the Church of England floated dreamily through the little chapel, and out at the open doors, into the listening sunshine.


Sunday Noon.

In summer, when the shade do creep
    Below the Sunday steeple, round
The mossy stones that love cut deep
    Wi' names that tongues no more do sound;
The lane do lose the stalken team,
    An' dry-rimmed waggon-wheels be still,
An' hills do roll their down-shot stream
    Below the resten wheel at mill.
O holy day, when toil do cease,
    Sweet day o' rest, an' grace, an' peace!


                O day, most calm, most bright,
The fruit of this the next world's bud.
         .           .           .           .           .           .
The couch of time, care's balm and bay;
The week were dark but for thy light;
                Thy torch doth show the way.


(A fine Sunday, in the height of summer.   Interior of a little moorland chapel, during

morning service.  MARY o' NATHAN'S, with her little son BILLY, and her three daughters seated in their pew.)

THE day was cloudless and bright, and the scene outside the moorland chapel was still "as a resting wheel," save the songs of wild birds, the ripple of a brooklet, here and there, as it wandered through the secluded vale, and a sleepy rustle of trees in the churchyard, which came with drowsy distinctness in at the open doors, mingling with the preacher's voice.  More than half the morning service had gone by with the usual attentive observance, and the responses had risen in audible murmurs from old and young, of the simple congregation; but by the time the sun had reached the vertical point of his journey, and the noontide heat rained down in full force upon the roof of the little pane, the younger part of the assembly had begun to fidget upon their seats.  The heat of the day, too, was beginning to tell, here and there, upon a drowsy nature in that rustic congregation, whose lives being mostly spent actively in the open air, made them more susceptible of the soporific influence of hot confinement, and long restraint in a sitting posture.  More than once old Mary had found it necessary to nudge first one and then another of her daughters, as they were sinking into a dose.  Little Billy, too, was beginning to yawn and get restless.  Twice he had slyly pulled the three half-pennies out of his pocket, to count them over and fondle them; and twice he had been hastily checked by his mother for doing so.  And again, whilst kneeling during the prayers, with his head bent down in an attitude of devotion, the little fellow had furtively begun to practise the art of carving upon the woodwork in front of him, when his mother caught sight of him, and suddenly defeated the first efforts of his genius, by giving him a smart rap on the arm, which knocked the clasp knife from his hand.  The knife went to the floor with a clatter, which drew the attention of some of the congregation, and raised a blush upon the cheeks of every one of the family in old Mary's pew.  She picked the knife up from the floor, and put it into her pocket and shaking the lad by the shoulder, she whispered in his ear, "I'll warm, thee, gentleman, when we getten whoam!"  After this, Billy struggled manfully for a while, to keep himself still; but it was of no use.  The little fellow's child-like sense of decorum had given way.  The heat of the place, and the long continued thraldom of propriety, had been too much for him, and the solemn words of the service were gradually sinking into a monotonous buzz of wearisome sounds, from which he longed to escape into the open air.  Beside, it was getting near "pudding time," and, during the sermon, the only thing that propped his drooping eyelids up was that his thoughts were beginning to concentrate upon a gnawing pain which marked a vigorous attack of his usual noontide stomach complaint; and, when the parson came to the welcome words, "Now to God the Father," &c., he suddenly stood stock still, with the air of a devout young anchorite; but, like a greyhound straining at the slip, he was only preparing all the while for a rush at the open doorway.

    The old clerk had drawled out the last "Amen" in a solemn and tremulous tone; and, after the usual reverential pause, the vicar had lifted his white head, and retired to the vestry.  The organist struck up a lively voluntary; and the young folk began to shake out their holiday feathers, and look around with an air of relief.  Morning service was over; and the congregation surged slowly out through the porch into the open sunshine; with many a greeting, here and there, among the little crowd, as old friends and neighbours met.  The greater part of the congregation walked right on down the deep-worn pathway, out at the ancient lych-gate, into the lane which led to the church; and then took each his several way homeward through the pleasant landscape.  A few staid folk lingered under the trees in the chapel-garth, seated on the low, moss-grown wall, chatting about the sermon, and the crops, and the general news of the parish; and, in one corner of the yard, apart from the rest, a middle-aged matron, with her two daughters and a little lad, all clad in "deep mourning," hovered about a new grave-stone, with moistened eyes, till all the rest had gone; then, slowly and silently took their way, hand-in-hand, up the old lane; and the grave-yard was left once more sleeping in the noontide sun, begirt by its guardian trees.

    As different knots of the congregation straggled homeward through the landscape, old cronies began to "forgather," here and there, and chat together by the way.  The vicar's sermon had been on the Crucifixion and, though this was a fitful theme of the talk of these rustic wanderers, yet their conversation drifted hither and thither, in all sorts of secular directions, in spite of an almost unconscious feeling of reverence for the sanctity of the day.

    "Heigh, Robin!  Slacken a bit; an' tak me witho.  Thou'rt gooin' at a terrible bat!"

    "I want mi dinner, mon."

    "Well, well; what they'n surely lev a bit for thee, as how 'tis!  Poo up, an' lets ha' thi company as fur as we're gooin'."

    "Well; come on then!  What's to do witho?  Thou walks as if thou were hopshackle't!"

    "Thou'd be hopshackle't, too, if thou'd as mony corns o' thi toes as I have."

    "Thou should drink less, and wear bigger shoon, my lad!"

    "It's noather drink nor little shoon 'ass brought these segs, Robin.  It runs i'th blood.  My faither wur trouble's wi' em, afore me."

    "Well, come; let's tak it quietly, then; I'm noan i' that hurry."

    "That's reet, Robin; every time I set my fuut down there's a steawngin' pain strikes straight up fro my toe to th' top o' mi yed!  It makes me envy a chap 'at's a wood leg! . . . I'll tell thou what, Robin; th' own lad's gan us a good sarmon, this mornin'!"

    "He has that! an' he con do, when he's a mind.  I don't know that I ever yeard a bit o' better talk about th' Crucifixion i' my life."

    "Nor me noather.  There mun ha' bin a quare mak o' folk livin' in thoose days, that would ston by, an' see sich wark as that gooin' on!  It's terrible, mon!"

    "It's nought else. . . . But, between thee an' me, I think thoose Jews mun ha' bin a lot o' cowards, Robin!"

    "Nay; I don't think that.  Accordin' to o' accounts, they were'n olez agate o' feightin', oather amung theirsels, or wi' some o'th outside lot.  Oh, nay; I don't think they wur cowards,—but they mun ha' bin o' a savage turn 'at could do sich things."

    "Well,—I don't care.  O' that I con say is that if I'd bin upo' that spot, I'd ha' taen that Pontius Pilate bi' th' yure o' th' yed an' I'd ha' punce't him round th' yard once or twice; an' I'd ha' taen some o' th' tother on 'em one after another,—come cut an' lung tail,—as lung as my shoon had stopt on!"

    "Eh, there's no tellin'.  They wur different times then, mon."

    "Well, ay; they mun ha' bin so.  They wouldn't ha' sich like wark as that now."

    "Nawe, they wouldn't.  But they han their own ways killin' folk i' these days."

    "I guess they han. . . . Didto notice 'at Bill o' Fizzer's an' Sally Robishaw wur axed for th' third time i' th' chapel this mornin'?"

    "Oh, ay.  Sall 'll have a rough hond-full when hoo gets him."

    "Hoo will that . . . Well, what dost think he did, tother day?"

    "Nay; he's noan to reckon on, isn't Bill.  Summat quare, I'll uphowdto."

    "Quare enough for onybody else; but nought to wonder at i' Bill. . . . Well, it wur this.  He went up to th' parsonage one mornin', an' he knocked at th' dur, an' when th' sarvant coom, he said he wanted to see th' vicar,—very particular.  Th' owd chap were sit bi his-sel, up to th' een amung his books; so Martha went and knocked at his dur, an' told him that Bill o' Fizzer's wanted to see him.  'Send him in,' said th' vicar.  An' in went Bill, o' cover't wi' slutch, an' rough out o' th' feelt.  'Well, William,' said the vicar, 'take a seat.  What can I do for you?'  'Well, yo known,' said Bill, 'I put th' axins up about a fortnit sin!'  'Oh, yes,' said th' vicar, 'I remember.  You are going to be married to Sarah Robishaw, at the Hartley.'  'Ay,' said Bill, 'that's hur 'at I wur beawn to get wed to at first; but I've unbethought mysel' sin' then.'  'You have what?' said th' vicar.  'Well,' said Bill, 'I've bin turnin' things o'er i' my mind, yo known, an' I think o' makin' a bit of an awteration.  Sall's a daicent lass enough,—an' her an' me's bin axed twice i' th' chapel; so fur so good.  But what I want to see you about is this,—sin Sall and me wur axed I've let of another woman that I'd rather have than her bi' th' hauve.'  'Why, William,' said th' vicar, 'what is the meaning of all this?  You must be taking leave of your senses!'  'Oh, nay,' said Bill, 'its o' reet!  This fresh un's a very good sort,—an' hoo's a bit o' brass,—its Ailse o' Mally's.  Hoo's more to my likin' a good deeol than Sall.  Her an' me's talked it o'er; an' I've made up my mind 'at I'll get wed to her,—if it con be shapt onyhow. . . . 'Th' same axins 'll do, I guess?'  'Certainly not,' said th' vicar.  'Oh,' said Bill, 'sha'n we ha' to be axed o'er agen?'  'Of course you will,' said the vicar.  'Why, then,' said Bill, 'let it stop as it is; I'll ha' Sally Robishaw; as how th' cat jumps!'"

    "What a bowster-yed!"

    "Ay, thou may well say that!  'Change is leetsome,' as th' sayin' is, thou knows; but there's no change i' Bill."

    "Nawe; he's as big a foo as ever!  God help her,—as who gets him! . . . Owd Mary o' Jamie's wur at chapel this mornin', I seed."

    "Ay; poor owd lass; I'm sorry for her."

    "Th' owd crater looks very ill, for sure; an' hoo's i' black for somebry."

    "I see thou's never yerd."

    "Yerd what?"

    "Well,—a fortnit sin', as I wur gooin wi' th' cart down to th' town, I gav' a look in at their house, thinkin' o' seein' Jem; but I fund nought in but poor owd Mary, rockin' hersel' bi th' fire wi' her yed lapt up, an' a pitcher full o' baum-tay upo' th' hob aside on her."

    "Why, wheer wur Jem?"

    "Well,—th' owd lad's off to another country, about a fortnit sin."

    "Oh, ay?  Why, Susy Potter co'de tother day, an' hoo towd me 'at he wur laid up, an' couldn't stir a peg."

    "Ay, an' Susy wur reet,—as it happens; for, laid up he is sure enough; an' he'll stir no moore, I doubt,—for they'n buried him i' th' owd chapel-yard, yon, among his fore-elders."

    "Eh, dear!  Why, I never yerd a cheep on't!  But then, thou sees, he's bin laid up a good while, an' he's a great age, an' they live't at an outside place.  Poor owd Mary; hoo'll be very lonely!  Nawe; I never yerd on't afore."

    "Nawe; I dar say not.  There's moore agate i' this world than oather thee or me gets to yer on.  It wur Jone o' Quifter's 'at code as he wur gooin' down to th' town, abuyin' a new scythe.  Jone's a bit o' relation o' owd Jem's; an' Jone an' his faither wur at th' bedside when th' owd lad dee'd.  It seems 'at he'd a terrible hard time on't afore he could draw away.  Day after day, an' neet after neet, he lee moanin' an' strugglin' between life an' deeoth,—an' th' last bit o' breath in his body kept comin' to th' edge of his lips, an' then turnin' back again,—as if it couldn't stop in an' durstn't goo out,—like a child, fleyed o' bein' put out o' th' dur into th' cowd.  Eh, bi what Jone towd me,—I believe it would ha' melted th' heart of a stone to ha' sin Mary while he lee theer, feightin' between life an' deeoth.  Th' owd lass war fair worn to a shadow wi, watchin' neet an' day; but hoo turn't his pillow, an' hoo weet his lips, an' hoo wiped th' cowd pain-sweat fro' his foryed,—but, do what hoo could, nought seemed to give him relief.  An' still he kept stickin' to her hond, an' lookin' into her face, as if he would ha' said, 'Mary, connot thou help me?'  Poor owd Mary,—hoo looked as ill as deeoth hersel',—an', as hoo stood theer bi th' bedside, wi' tears running down her face, hoo said, 'Eh, my poor lad! whatever mun I do?  He'll ne'er ha' no pleasur' till it's o'er,—God help him!'  At last, hoo leant down, an' hoo said, 'James, has thou somethin' on thi mind?'  An' th' owd chap knowed what hoo said, for he oppent his een a bit, an' he gasped out, 'Nawe,—nawe!'  'Then, why doesn't thou dee?'  An' sure enough, th' owd lad wur set at liberty the same neet."

    "Poor owd Jem!  He'd had a lung bout on't; an' it would be a happy release.  I'll tell tho what, deeoth's a poor thing!"

    "It is, Robin; an' life's noan so mich better; for we're no sooner here nor we're off again! . . . I've sin nought of our Joe upo' th' road; where can he be stoppin', thinken yo?"

    "He's just at th' back on tho, here, sitho."

    "Oh, thou'rt theer, arto?  'Talk o' the devil, an' he'll oather come or rick his chens' I've herd folk say."

    "Yo don't co' me the devil, dun yo, faither?"

    "I think thou'rt a bit akin to him sometimes.  But hie tho into th' house, or thou'll be missin' thi dinner. . . . Well, good mornin', Robin!  I guess I'se be leetin' on tho at th' latter sarvice?"

    "Ay, I'se be theer."

    "O' reet!"



                                                       In roth I fancy
Some fiend, or fairy, nae sae very chancy,
Has driven me by pawky wiles uncommon,
To wed this flytin' fury of a woman.


Autumn evening. A little country town in Lancashire. MATTY PEEVISH and SALL
          O'DOSSY'S at MATTY'S cottage window, commenting on people passing by.

"NOW then, Sally!  I'th name o' good Katty, what han we comin' now?  Is it a mountebank's foo, or a morris-doancer, thinken yo?  This is a bonny pictur' to turn out into dayleet, as how 'tis!  If I wur th' sun I'd give o'er shinin' till that geet out o'th seet!  Hoo favvours a rush-cart pooer!  There'll be some skrikin' when yon gets into th' market-place!"

    "There will that!  Folk'll think there's a circus comin'!"

    "Yon's worn some brass o' ribbins, an' toppin'-fat, I'll awarnd yo!"

    "I'll tell yo what, Matty; hoo'd mak a rare corn-boggart!"

    "Well,—ay,—as yo say'n, Sally,—I've sin hondsomer flay-crows i' my time,—but, hoo'd do!  There's noan so mony brids that durst face yon top-knot!  See yo, how hoo steps the ground!  Is hoo lame, thinken yo?  Hoo strides like a cat in a gutter!"

    "Bless thi life, lass, hoo's tryin' to walk pratty!"

    "Well—hoo may walk as hoo's a mind; but, I don't like th' look on her!  Yon's gutter-bred, as wheer hoo comes fro'!"

    "Ay!  I'll uphoud yo, hoo's bin fain to scrape a porritch-dish mony a time, has yon—for o' her fithers!"

    "Ay, Sally; it's ever so wi' sich like!  Who's yon 'at hoo's talking to?  See yo! but eh,—hoo's bonny!  I'll tell yo what, hoo'd fot brass, if hoo wur in a show! . . . Who is it, i' God's name?  Con yo mak her out?"

    "Let's see! . . . Eh, what a seet! . . . Well, I declare—it's Nan o' Fuzzock's dowter,—Litz o' Nan o' Fuzzock's—hoo gwos by the name o' 'Midden i' Fishers,' wi' some folk."

    "Nay, sure; is it that impident snicket?"

    "It's nought else, Matty!"

    "What, hur 'at there's bin so mich talk about?"

    "Hoo lippen't o' bein' wed, yo known,—but it fell through."

    "Oh, I've yerd o' about it. . . . Well,—hoo's a little brazen-faced madam,—that's what hoo is!  Hoo should cock her neb an' waggle her flounces about,—wi' a calico rag on her back that hasn't sin wayter as three week!  They may weel co' her 'Midden i' Fithers!'  Little sloppety sliven as hoo is!  I'll uphowd yo that just meet now,—for o' at hoo's fithered an' furbelowed to th' heels,—hoo's so ittert't wi' dirt that yo met (might) set potitos in her neck-hole!  Hoo should be donned a bit, should yon,—for hoo'll tak a deeol o' donnin' to mak her nice!  Did onybody ever see sich a be-ribbint foo as it is?  It would beseem her better if hoo wur stonnin' i'th front of a weshin'-mug, wi' a lin brat afore her, an' a pair o' clogs on!  But I doubt hoo's gan o'er wortchin'!  Trampin' princess as hoo is, yon'll ha' to sup sorrow bi' spoonfuls afore hoo dees, yo'n see!  Hoo's after some'at 'at's noan so good, just meet now?  But, if hoo wur a lass o' mine, see yo, I'd larn her a different rub o'th spindle, afore who wur a day owder!"

    "Hoo wants oather endin' or mendin', does yon, Matty; an' if hoo wur mine, I doubt I should lick her to th' seet of hersel,' to begin wi', an' see what that'd do?  But, what can yo expect fro folk 'at's leet gi'n?"

    "Between yo an' me, Sally,—it doesn't come out o' gradely wark, I'll uphowd yo."

    "Let her goo her own gate; I may (make) no 'count o' sich like pouse-dirt."

    "How's yo'r Sam, Matty?"

    "Our Sam?  Eh, never name it!  I've a weary life wi' him.  If ever ony poor soul wur punish't for their sins, it's me.  T'other day――"

    "Hello!  See yo, Matty!  What mak of a craitur han we here?  Yon's a quare pattern, as how 'tis.  I think I'd never a turn't yon out till after dark.  Who owns yon pray?"

    "It's th' new sarvant at th' 'Buck.'"

    "What a trollops, to be sure!"

    "Aye,—hoo's a gradely draggle-tail."

    "An' what a mouth!"

    "Aye,—it'll bide some kussin', will yon!  Hoo darn't oppen it o' at once."

    "What for?"

    "Freet'nt of her yed tumblin' off."

    "Well, it's a terrible gash, for sure.  If hoo gets howd of aught wi' yon mouth hoo'll lev a gap in it."

    "Wheer does hoo belung?"

    "Somewheer Manchester gate on; an' hoo'll ha' to go back afore aught's lung bi what I've yerd."

    "How's that?"

    "Well, hoo's nobbut bin a week at th' 'Buck,' an' they'n gan her notice o'ready."

    "An' what's that for, pray yo?"

    "Well, they say'n hoo's brokken moore windows an' pots than twice her wage comes to, an' afore hoo'd bin here three days hoo'd hauve a dozen colliers whewtin' an' tootin' after her every neet."

    "Hoo favvours one o' that mak, Matty,—does yon."

    "Aye, it's true what I'm tellin' yo; beside, th mistress at th' 'Buck' says hoo's so dirty; an' they keepen missin' stuff"

    "Hoo's a basket wi' her now."

    "Aye, an' hoo's croppen out at th' back, yo seen."

    "Oh, I see!  Aye, it's an ill look wi't, has that,—it has for sure.  I'd get rid o' yon, if I wur them,—an' soon, too."

    "Oh, hoo's nearly done her cap-full; hoo's nobbut another week to stop. . . .Now then; come, Sally, let's poo up to th' fire a bit, I'm gettin' quite parisht (perished)."

    "Stop a minute, Matty,—who's this?"

    "What's he like?"

    "He's a wooden leg, wi' a brass ring on; an' his nose is as red as a cock's comb."

    "It's Dick o' Fiddler's.  A bigger wastrel never kommed (combed) a toppin'!  He's bin sowd up three or four times, an' he owes brass o' up an' down this town.  It's noan so lung he wur taen up for sellin' 'hush;' and he'll be taen up again afore lung, yo'n see, for some'at or another."

    "Is he wed?"

    "His wife is, whether he is or not.  Hoo's had weary deed wi' him, I believe.  A war divil never stepped a floor nor he is.  If I mut (must) ha' my mind, yon would ha' to dangle at th' end of a bant afore mornin'. . . . Let him goo! we can do bout (without) yon when we're busy. . . Now then, Sally; come, poo up to th' fire—it's bitter cowd.  I'll put th' kettle on, an' we'n have a cup o' tay; an' between thee an' me I could like a toothful o' rum in it."

    "Well, Matty; I'm noan agen that mysel', if yo'n let me goo out an' fotch it."

    "Howd te din, lass!  I've a saup in a nook i'th cubbort 'at nobody knows on nobbut mysel'.  Thou knows, I'm ill o' my woint, an' I find 'at there's nought yezzes (eases) me like a saup o' rum,—except it be a drop o' good gin."

    "I'm forc't to tak it mysel', Matty; but mine's for th' rheumatic."

    "Ay; yo couldn't have ought better, Sally.  Now then, poo up; an' I'll mend this fire a bit."

(The door opens, and a man looks in.)

    "Now then,—what dun yo want?"

    "Mistress, can yo tell me wheer Jenny Pepper lives?"

    "Who, sayn yo?"

    "Owd Bill Pepper widow.  Her faither wur a butcher."

    "I know nought about her.  Sper fur; an shut th' dur."

(He retires.)

    "Why, Matty, hoo lives close by here."

    "I know that, but I wur noan boun' to tell yon nought about it.  He favvours a bum-baillie."

(The door opens awing and a little girl looks in.)

    "Well, an' what does thou want?"

    "My mother wants to borrow yo'r hond-brush."

    "Tell thi mother to buy a bond-brush o' her own,—an ax her when hoo's for sendin' that cupful o' saut back 'at hoo borrowed last Monday. . . . An' poo that dur to!"

    "Who's lass is yon?"

    "It's Mall o' Whistler's.  They're never off these durstones, for one thing or another,—saut, an' flour, an' pepper, an' candles,—ay, an' evenly pins.  If thou'll believe me, they'd ha' one out o' house an' harbour, if I wur to gi' way to 'em.  T'other forenoon they coom in no less than three times to ax what time it wur,—till, at last, I could stop it no lunger,—so I took yon little snicket a souse o'th yed, an' I said, 'Tell thi mother to for (fetch) th' clock, an' ha' done wi't!' . . . . Hoo's a quare craitur, is owd Mall."

    "What, this lass's mother 'at's bin in?"

    "Ay;—owd Whistler Bill's her husban'.  They coom fro' Ash'oth moor,—an' they're as feaw as fried pow-cats! . . . Did'n yo never yer tell on 'em gooin a-kessunin' (christening) that last chylt o' theirs?"

    "I dunnot remember."

    "Eh, dear! . . . Well, yo known, Mall an' owd Bill set off wi' this choilt o' theirs to have it kessun't at Ash'oth Chapel; an' when they geet theer th' parson axed 'em what name they wanted to give it.  'Name,' said owd Bill; 'I never gan it a thought abeawt th' name.  Ax my wife, theer.  Doesto yer, lass?  He wants to know what it's to be co'de!'  'Co'de,' said Mall, 'I know no names!  Co' it what thou's a mind!  Pike a name out o'th Bible,—a fresh un!'  'Well,' said owd Bill, 'will Jezabel do for tho'?'  'Nawe!' said Mall, 'I'll ha' no Jezabels!'  'Well,' said owd Bill, 'what's tho think about Habbakuk,—will that do?' 'Nay,' said Mally, 'I wouldn't co' a dog sich a name as that!  Let's yer some'at at's moor sense in it nor that!'  'Well,' said owd Bill, 'mun he co' it Pontius Pilate, then?'  'Nawe, he munnot co' it Pontius Pilate!' said Mally; 'he munnot co' it Pontius Pilate; thou greight leather-yed,— doesto want to have us taen up, or some'at?'  'Here,' said owd Bill, turnin' to th' parson, 'co' it Nicodamus, an' ha' done wi't,—th' woman'll keep us botherin' here o' day!'  So they had it kessunt Nicodamus, an' off they went; but afore they geet whoam they met Owd Thrum, th' weighver, that lives down i'th fowl, yon.  'Well, Bill,' said Owd Thrum, 'yo'n getten th' kessunin' o'er, I guess?'  'Ay!'  'Well,—an' what han yo co'de it?'  'We'n co'de it Nicodamus,' said Bill.  'Nicodamus!' cried Thrum; 'why, I thought it had bin a lass!'  'Well, an it is a lass!' said Bill.'  'Well, then,' said Owd Thrum, 'yo' mun oather ha' th' name or th' choilt alter't, for Nicodamus is a lad's name!'  'The dule it is!' cried owd Bill; 'doesto yer, Mally?  Come thi ways back; it'll ha' to be done o'er again!'  An' away they went back again to Ash'oth Chapel an' geet it unkessunt,—an' they had it kessunt Liddy, after her gronmother!"

    "Well, I never yerd sich a tale i' my life."

    "Eh, yo'd believe 'em if yo knowed 'em,—for hoo's nobbut about ninepence to th' shillin',—an' he hasn't dog-wit. . . . Now then, Sally; draw to, an' put sugar in for yo'rsel', and get a saup o' that rum,—it'll happen skift yo'r rheumatism a bit.  It does me good, I can tell yo.  An', if yo'n believe me, Sally, I'm like to ha' some'at, or else I could never keep up.  I'm not one 'at talks much about sich like things,—but I find myself gettin' war (worse) for wear, I can tell yo.  What wi' lumbago, an' rheumatic, an' tic, an' coughs, an' cowds, an' one thing an' another, I haven't had a sound day as twel'-month.  An' between yo an' me, Sally,—what wi' illness, an' frettin', are tuggin', an' tewin' wi' yon chap o' mine, I'm gettin' weary o' my life,—an' I wouldn't care if it were o'er to-morn,—I wouldn't for sure! . . . Now, Sally, get a saup moor o' that rum."

    "I'm doing very weel, Matty; get some yo'rsel."

    "I've just put some in.  Oh, I'll go nought short.  An' dunnot yo stint it, Sally; for there's plenty moor wheer that coom fro! . . . Ay; I may weel look ill, Sally; for I've had nought nobbut hard wank, an' trouble, an' starvation, an' ill-usage of o' maks sin I geet wed.  I never rued weddin' nobbut once, an' that's been ever sin'.  Yon chap o' mine, see yo, he's no moore feelin' for me nor a stone,—that he hasn't!  If I wur deein' afore his een, see yo, he wouldn't do a hond's turn!  An' catch him missin' a meal!  He can guttle, an' drink, an' sleep, like a greight o'er-groon pig, as he is!  An' he looks upo' me just as if I wur dirt under his feet!  But, thank God, it cannot last for ever,—that's one comfort.  If he'd help me a bit when he comes in fro' his wark,—but, he, bless yo!  I met as weel ax for one o' his teeth,—an' here I have o' this house to look after, fro' mornin' till neet,— ill or weel, I must keep dingin' at it!  An' it'll ha' to be so, I guess, till I drop to th' floor!  I don't know what I mut ha' done if I'd had ony childer!"

(Enter Matty's husband, returning from his work.)

    "Yo'n a fine smell i'th hole!"

    "Well; an' if there is a fine smell i'th hole; thou hasn't brought it!  It hasn't been paid for out o' thy brass!  What is it to thee if Sally here has brought hauve a noggin o' rum wi' her?  It's a bonny come-off if one cannot get a cup o' tay quietly,—an' me as ill as I am!—but one mun be worrited an' harrish't wi' thy din!"

    "Why; I've hardly oppen't mi mouth yet."

    "Thou's hardly oppen't thi mouth!  I wonder how thou can for shame o' thi face abuse one as thou does! . . . Here, Sally; help me to side this table; I'll goo out, an' lev him to it!"

    "Well,—off witho'!"



"Eh; that wur a good un!" "What wur it, Mally?" "I don't know;  but somebody's catched it! "—VOICES IN THE CROWD.

AT the close of one of the old elections in Manchester, I sat at my window, in the marketplace, watching the fall of a shower of rain.  The stall-keepers had crept under the roofs of their sheds; and people stood in the doorways, shaking the wet front their clothing.  The street was very still for a few minutes.  Anon their came trickling round the corner a man with a woeful countenance.  He was a little, square-built fellow, very poorly dressed.  He looked like a hanger-on at some public-house, ready to do any kind of odd jobs, for drink and broken meat.  One side of his face was covered with plaster; and his neck was swathed in a dirty woollen tie.  He was working his passage along the opposite side of the street, with his hand upon his cheek, when a voice from below my window arrested his progress.

    "Heigh, Joe,—come in here, mon; thae'll be drown't!  Arto hawkin' rain-wayter or some'at?  Come in here!  Thou looks like a two-legged dish-clout!"

    He halted; and came slowly across into shelter.

    His friend looked very hard at him, and then said, "By th' mon, owd lad, thou'rt wonderfully alter't!  I should never ha' known tho but for that wart at thi nose end!  What's to do wi' thi face? it looks terrible side-heavy."

    "Oh," replied he, speaking out of the corner of his mouth, "it's eawt o'flunters a bit,—that's o'."

    "Ay; an' so it is, bi th' ook on't," said his friend.  "What ails it?"

    "Well,—I co' it 'Nomination.'"

    "Nomination!  What's that?  Aw thought thae'd getten th' tooth-warche."

    "Well, an' I have getten th' tooth-warche, aboon a bit.  But then I haven't quite as mony teeth as I had last Monday,—that's one comfort.  Th' best o' my teeth o' went that day.  I'd one grand owd buck-tooth,—it wur as big as a piano-keigh, very near,—I wouldn't ha' lost that tooth for a sovereign,—but it went.  I dar say somebody's made it into a chimbley ornament, or else a hondle for a umbrell.  I lost about nine on 'em o' together; an' those 'at's left are wamblin' about like chips in a ponful o' warp-sizin'.  It'll be a good while afore my teeth getten sattle't again.  If thou yers of onybody that's fund a lot o' fine teeth,—they're mine!"

    "Well," said his friend, "I'm soorry to yer it, owd lad; willto have a bite o' moufin?"

    "Moufin?" replied he; "nawe, I'll ha' noan, thae'd never ha' axed me that, if my teeth had bin reet."

    "Well, but thou'rt welcome, if thou'll have a bit."

    "Nay, aw'm livin o' spoon-meight at present."

    "Oh, aw see. . . . Well, an' how wur it done?  Didto run again summat?"

    "Nawe; it run again me."

    "Wur it a cart?"


    "What then?"

    "It wur a breek."


    "I said 'Oh!' too—at th' time."

    "Well, an' heaw wur it?  Thou might tell a body."

    "Well," replied he, "if thy mouth wur like mine, thae wouldn't want to cample so mich.  But aw'll tell tho as weel as I con. . . . It wur done o'th nomination day.  I let of a rook o' chaps gooin' down to see th' row; an' I thought I'd goo too, an' give a bit of a skrike for summat or another, among th' lot.  An' a bonny hullabaloo it wur.  Aw geet ram-jam into th' middle, wi' my elbow in an owd woman's ear-hole; an' I couldn't get it out again noather.  Th' owd lass kept cryin' out, 'Maister; tak yo'r elbow out o' mi' ear-hole, win yo!  I'm deeof enough without yo pluggin' me up o' that road!  Tak it out, I tell yo!  Yo'n ha' to pay rent for that ear-hole, if yo stopper mich longer? . . . But, there it wur,—an' there it had to stop! for noather her nor me could stir a peg. . . . Well; they olez say'n there's th' most thrutchin' wheer there's th' least reawm; an' it wur so theer, by th' mon; First one lot sheawted, an' then another lot sheawted; an' I did my share; for I sheawted every time onybody else sheawted,—so I couldn't get far wrang.  Thae knows, I thought it wur o' getten up for a spree. . . . Well, after these chaps upo' th' platform had palavert, an' co'ed (called) one another to ill to brun, thoose that wur down i'th front began o' snow-bo'in' one another, wi' breeks an stones, an' ony mak o' stuff 'at coom th' first.  Well, thae knows, aw use't to be a rare hond at cloddin' when aw're a lad, so that suited me to a tee.  An' I flang a twothre (two or three) oddments mysel'; for I began to feel as if it wur a fuut-bo match, or summat.  An' every time I chuckt a lump, I stood o' my tippy-toes, to see where it let (alighted).  An' it's rare gam, too,—as lung as a body doesn't get hit theirsel'.  But that mak' o' wark doesn't onswer lung wheer there's a good lot o' folk abeawt. . . . Aw dropt in for't in a bit. . . . I'd nobbut bin a sleepin' partner i' that consarn,—for a good while,—but they wakken't me up o' at once. . . . I'd just 'livert (delivered) a hondful o' clutch,—that let in a chap's neck-hole,—that stood upo' th' platform; an' aw're clappin' my honds, an' co'in' eawt, 'Here, here!'—to summat or another,—for I couldn't yer a word 'at noan on 'em said,—when a hauve-breek come wusk again my chops! . . . I began o' mindin' my own business at after that breek let (alighted).  I'd quite a different way o' lookin' at things, for a minute or two.  I sent no more parcels out.  My een stroke fire!  I seed Solomon's Temple, an' o' his glory!  Folk thought I wur wrang i' my yed!  An' I wur, too,—rayther!  I took no moor notice o' their speeches.  Th' election wur o'er,—as far as I wur consarn't.  That breek wur a plumper. . . . Folk kept sayin' 'What's to do that chap?' an' then I yerd another say, 'Somebody's bin joggin' his memory?' . . . . But I'd had enough.  I don't know who's getten in to this day,—an' I don't care.  My mother use't to say, 'It'll come to tho, yet,—mind if it doesn't!'  An' it has come'd.  It coom o' Monday.  At after that breek let, I don't believe I said another word, nobbut 'O my!' an' I began o' feelin' as if I didn't care so much abeawt stoppin' theer ony lunger; so I pike't off, wi' my yed deawn: for bits o' hard stuff kept flyin' up an' deawn, thick-an'-three-fowd,—like kestiron pigeons.  I geet whoam o' some-heaw; an' I've made up my mind to ha' nought no moor to do wi' noan o' their elections, wheer they begin o' tally-graftin' wi' breek.  That's the end o' my nomination do! . . . Well, thae knows, Joe, I'm nobbut a poor hond at music; but my yed's bin agate o' singin ever sin that day!"



Thou art gone from my gaze!


Fare thee well; and if for ever,
Then, for ever fare thee well!


"THAT'S a corker!" said Enoch o' Twilter's, as he stood in front of a pork-shop window, with his eyes fixed upon a sucking pig, with a red-cheeked apple in its mouth.  "That's a corker!" said he, laying his hand upon his waistcoat, and staring right at the pig—which seemed as if it would have laughed but for the gag in its mouth.  He stood stock still, looking at the pig,—and yet he did not see it.  Although his gaze was fixed upon that well-scraped porkling, with the red-cheeked emblem of the fall of man in its jaws, his thoughts were evidently in some other quarter.  There was a "yonderly look about his eyes which showed that his mind had been suddenly concentrated upon something which had taken place in his inside. . . . The butcher stood in the doorway, beating time with his thwittle, and humming,—

Frisk it, frisk it, frisk it, lads,
    Frisk it while you're able;
Cheepin' layrocks round the board,
    An' plenty upo' th' table;
Crack your jokes, and let 'em leet,
    Sly deception scornin';
Prank it out wi' glee to-neet,
    An' strike to wark i' th' mornin'!

    Till, catching sight of Enoch, gazing at the pig in the window, he stepped from the threshold, and said,—

    "Come, Enoch, let's sell tho that pig."

    Enoch woke up from his dream; and, turning round, he replied,—

    "The dule tak' th' pig!"

    The butcher looked at the pig to see what ailed it.  But that innocent suckling seemed to smile a kind of blind smile upon the man who had dealt its death-blow, as if to assure him that it was contented with its fate.  The pig was all right.  So the butcher turned to Enoch again, and said,—

    "What's up?"

    "Up," replied Enoch; "nay,—it's down!"

    "What's down, then?"

    "I've just swallowed sixpence," replied Enoch.

    The butcher's eyes glided to the lowmost button of Enoch's waistcoat, as if he thought that the sixpence might have lodged somewhere about that spot; and then his eyes wandered back to Enoch again.

    "Swallowed sixpence," said he.  "Expensive diet, owd lad!  Has some doctor recommended it?"

    "Not he!" replied Enoch.  "Th' doctor would ha' swallowed th' sixpence his-sel', an' he'd ha' gan me some Spanish-juice an' wayter.  It would ha' done me moor good, too."

    "It would, owd lad," said the butcher.  "But there are complaints that nought but money can cure."

    "Ay, there are," said Enoch; "an' I'm trouble't wi' 'ern sometimes.  But money's a mak o' physic that shouldn't be takken in'ardly."

    "Well, neaw," replied the butcher; "it makes things awk'ard, for sure.  I thought bi th' look o' thi' face that summat ail't tho."

    "Summat will ail me, I doubt, afore I get rid o' this," said Enoch, laying his hand upon his waistcoat again.  "I begin to feel short o' breath, neaw."

    "Well," answered the butcher, "if thae'rt short o' breath, thae'rt noan short o' brass, owd lad,—as lung as that sixpence stops i' thi inside."

    "Well," replied Enoch, "one may as weel be short o' breath as short o' brass, for ought I know.  But then, what's o' th' brass i'th world to a mon that connot get his breath?  If I wur ram-jam full o' sixpences I shouldn't feel comfortable."

    "I don't think thae would," said the butcher.  "I shouldn't mysel'. . . . But what didto swallow it for?  Arto layin' by for th' rent, or summat?"

    "Am I hectum as like," replied Enoch.

    "I thought not," said the butcher.

    Just then the butcher saw an acquaintance passing by and, laying his hand upon Enoch's shoulder, he cried out,—

    "Heigh, Joe; gi' me change for this chap, here!  He's sixpence in his inside!"

    "Cut him oppen!" replied Joe, and on he went laughing.

    "Now, then," said Enoch to the butcher, "thae doesn't need to tell o' th' world, if I have swallowed sixpence.  Thae'll have 'em borin' holes into me, if they catchen me asleep!"

    "Thou'rt reet," replied the butcher, "let's keep it to ersels (ourselves)."

    "I doubt I shall have to do that," replied Enoch.

    "It'll happen breed," said the butcher.

    "Ay," replied Enoch; "it'll breed a disturbance."

    "Wur it a good un?" asked the butcher.

    "Never a better," replied Enoch.

    "Well, then, it should pass. . . . But, how didto get it down?"

    "It went down itsel'," replied Enoch.  "I couldn't help it."

    "How so?"

    "Well, thae sees," replied Enoch, "I wur comin' straight to this shop for a pound o' black puddin's wi' th' sixpence i' my mouth; an' as soon as I seed that pig i'th window, theer, it set me agate o' laughin',—an' o' at once,—down went my sixpence!"

    "Well done, Enoch!" cried the butcher.  "I've towd thee mony a time to save a bit o' brass; an' thae's done it at last!  It's th' first time I ever knew thee lay ought by for a rainy day."

    "That bit's safe enough, as long as it stops where it is, as how," replied Enoch.

    "It is, owd lad," said the butcher.  "Thae'rt a mon o' property now, go where tho will."

    "Well, I've a bit o' summat to fo' back on, haven't I?" replied Enoch.

    "Thae has, owd lad," continued the butcher.  "Thae'rt like a walkin' purse.  If I were thee, I'd swallow a thripenny bit, an' three owd penny pieces, now; an' then thae'll have a shillin's worth o' change i' thi inside.  Besides, thae'd jingle as thae walked, like a bell-wether."

    "Well, it's noan so mony folk that gets their inside line't wi' silver, is it?" replied Enoch.

    "Nawe, it isn't, owd lad," said the butcher.  "Thae'rt like a rollin'-stock on a railroad, now."

    "Ay," replied Enoch, "that's o' very weel, as far as it gwos; but how mun I manage for th' puddin's? . . . Yo'n be like to trust me a pound, now.  Yo known that sixpence is yo'rs,—if ever it comes to th' leet again."

    "Ay, ay," said the butcher; "but it'll happen stop where it is."

     "Well, yo known where to find it," replied Enoch.

    "Ay," answered the butcher; "I could say so if it were at th' bottom of a coal pit."

    "Well," continued Enoch, "every time that I pass this dur yo'n know that it's yo'r sixpence that's gooin' by; so it's as safe as th' bank."

    "Ay," said the butcher; "but it'll nobbut pay poor interest, as long as it stops where it is.  An' yet,—there is ways o' bringin' it to th' leet again."

    "So there is!" cried Enoch.

    "Ay, ay," said the butcher; "but it would happen cost aboon sixpence.  But here, come thi ways.  Thae shall ha' some puddin's, let it leet as it will.  There's a bit o' summat good in tho at last.  Come thi ways in!"



Now would I give a thousand furlongs of sea for
an acre of barren ground.—THE TEMPEST.

"MORNING, Harry!"


    "What do you say to a bitter?"

    "I'm your man."

    "Come along then! . . . Well; and where have you been?  I've missed you on 'Change this many a day."

    "I've been in Ireland."

    "Ireland!  I love that Irish land, Harry! 'Green be thy fields, dearest isle of the ocean!'—

"Wert thou all that I could wish thee, great, glorious, and free,
 First flower of the earth, and first gem of the sea,
 I might hail thee with prouder, with happier brow,
 But, oh, could I love thee more dearly than now?

But you don't like sentiment.  Hard work, cop-bottoms, political economy, one God, no devil, and twenty shillings in the pound; a solemn Sunday, and as righteous a week as the exigencies of the day will allow; with a modest quencher now and then, to wash down the dust of business; this is thy creed, O Henry! . . . So you had a jolly trip?"

    "Jolly!  I believe you, my boy!  The passage was very rough; but we had some fun on board, in spite of the weather.  A little knot of country folk, from Lancashire, went over with us; and most of them had never been upon the sea before.  They were a sturdy, comfortable lot; and, when the boat started, they were the merriest folk on board; and they kept us alive with their quaint talk and hearty ways; but before we had got half-way across, they were all as sick as dogs, with one exception.  One old fellow, 'with a frame of threescore and a spirit of twenty,' kept pacing the deck all the way, delighted with the storm.  As the vessel pitched and rolled, he cried out, as he steadied himself upon his round pins:

'Woa, Dobbin!  Thae's had too mich corn, owd crayter!  Woigh, my lad!  Gently does it!  Thae'll waut (upset) th' whole consarn i' tho doesn't mind!  Come; thae'll give o'er rompin' afore thae gets to th' fur end!' And when the tail-end of a wave whisked across the deck, he ducked his head and cried, 'Go it, owd brid; I'll howd thi jacket!  See yo, lads; I'm as weet as a wayter-dog!  Eh, I wouldn't ha' missed this for a five-pound note!  Look out, it's comin' again!  Blaze away; I'm noather sugar nor saut!  By th' mon, lads, this is a prime do!  It makes my toes tingle!'

"And so he kept at it all the way.  But the rest of his companions were in a sad state.  One old man and his wife were worse than anybody else.  The old woman couldn't bide the atmosphere below; so she lay upon deck, wrapt in rugs and shawls, heaving and moaning, and crying out now and then, when she could get breath:

'Oh, I wish to the Lord I were a-whoam!  Eh, if ever I set feet upo' dry lond again!  This rollin' about 'll be th' end o' me!  Look at my clooas! . . . Eh, whatever mun become o' yon childer, if aught happens me! . . . I say—reitch—that thing—I mun—Oh, dear o' me! . . . This sort o' wark doesn't agree wi' my inside!  Oh—I'm done for!'

"The old fellow who was pacing the deck, stopped now and then, to hap her up, and to see if she wanted anything:

    'Now, Betty,' said he, 'how arto gettin' on?  Keep thi heart up, owd lass!'

    'Eh, Joe,' said she, 'I haven't a bit o' heart in me!  I'm as hollow as a drum!'

    'Well,' said he, 'thae mun bide as weel as thae con.  It'll soon be o'er!  We're gettin' nar (nearer) Paddy's lond at every stride!'

    'Thank the Lord for that,' replied the old girl; 'thank the Lord for that!  Ony mak o' lond afore this rantipow!  Oh, that I were a-whoam!  Reitch me that—I shall be a bonny seet i'th mornin'!  Eh, yon childer,—yon bits o' childer! . . . I say, Joe.'

    'Now, then!'

    'Wheer's our Sam?'

    'He lies on his back down below, yon, as white as a sheet.'

    'Go thi ways, an' tell him I want to see him!  Eh, Joe, I'm finished this time!  Tell him that if he wants to see me alive he mun come up this minute!  We'n bin wed thirty year, thae knows, Joe!  Eh, I mun see him!  Joe, tell him I want to talk to him about th' childer.  Eh, I'm welly (well-nigh) done!  I'll try to howd on till he comes; but I mun draw away afore aught's lung!  I pritho (I pray thee), do goo, an' bring him up!'

    'May thisel' yezzy, lass (make thyself easy),' said Joe, happing her up again; 'may thisel' yezzy; I'll fot (fetch) him up.  Thae's have another look at th' owd brid, as how th' cat jumps!'

"And away went Joe to find her husband, who lay down below, as ill as herself, moaning and groaning.  'Eh, lads,' said he, speaking to the passengers near him,

    'Eh, lads, if I'd known o' this I'd ha' gone tother gate on! . . . Dry lond for my brass. . . . This is a doleful spree!  I say, stewart, hond me that what-doesto-co' it! . . . Oh, by th' mon, it's hard wark!  Here, stewart, doesto yer, owd lad,—how lung will it tak us to get to a bit o' sensible floorin'?'

    'Three hours.'

    'Three hours!  By th' mass, I'll sign o'er!  Ten minutes moor, an' I'm done for!  Hond me that—!  Be sharp! . . . Oh, owd lad, I may as weel begin a-taperin' off!  It's up wi' th' owd foo!'

"In the meantime his friend Joe had left the deck, and coming up to him, where he lay, he said,

    'Now, Sam, owd lad; how arto gettin' on?'

    'Gettin' on?' said he, panting for breath, 'Eh, Joe; this is th' last time round!  Th' gam's up, owd lad!  I've tried mony a complaint i' my time, but this licks o'!  Look what a seet I am!'

    'Couldto like aught?' said Joe.

    'Like aught?' replied Sam; 'ay; I could that.'

    'Well; what is it?' said Joe.

    'I could like a bit o' dry lond, owd lad, if thae con shap it,' replied Sam; 'a bit o' dry lond!  I'd sooner have that nor aught there is i' this hole!  Eh, Joe; I'm o' of a wamble i'th inside.  I laft whoam for an out; an' if ever I get out o' this they'n never catch me here no moor!'

    'Well but,' said Joe, 'there's yo'r Betty, up at th' top, yon; an' hoo's as nee stitched up as ever onybody wur i' this world; and hoo says that if thae wants to see her alive thae mun goo just now.'

    'Oh,' replied old Sam; 'an' so I'm to goo just now, am I?'

    'Ay,' said Joe; 'thae mun goo this minute, if thae wants to see her afore hoo draws away,—thoose are my orders.'

    'Oh,—an' hoo's ill, is hoo?'

    'Ill,—ay!  I never see'd no poor soul sich a seet sin I were born.'

    'Oh,—well,—go thi ways up again; an' tell our Betty,—fro' me,—that as how ill ever hoo is I'm ten thousand times war (worse)!  If hoo's for dein', hoo mun dee.  Hoo's olez (always) had her own road, so fur; an' hoo may have it to th' end, for me.  As for deein',—tell her I'm just at th' same bat mysel'; an' if hoo dees th' first, I's o'ertak her afore hoo gets far.  Now, off witho, an' tell her what I say for I connot stir a peg off this clod. . . . An' here, Joe; doesto yer?  Well, I'll lev (leave) thee my spectacles, an' my snuff-box, an' ony odd thing 'at thae's a mind to pike (pick) for thisel'.  An', I say,—thae knows, I like our Mary,—thae mun let her ha' th' hauve of everything that there is,—brass, an' everything 'at hoo's a mind to choose; an' then divide th' tother amung th' childer, share an' share alike.  An' then thae'll find a bit o' brass about our Betty an' me, at after we're gone.  Well; get a saup o' summat warm among yo, wi' that, as soon as yo getten to dry lond. . . . An', I say,—for th' Lord's sake, dunnot let us be buried i' Irelan', owd lad!  Thae'll see us takken whoam again; an' laid down amung er (our) own folk, winnot tho?'

    'Ay, I will!'

    'That'll do! Well; gie me thi hond!  Good day to tho, owd lad!  Lap me up.'

    "Well, of course, the old people landed all right; and, after a little rest, they were as merry as ever.  But I fell in with another Lancashire man, who was on his first trip to Dublin.  We dined together in the city; and the story of his reception on landing tickled my fancy a good deal.  He was a strange mixture of shrewdness, simplicity, and humour; and—"

    "Stop, Harry; I'm due on 'Change.  We'll have that after dinner."

    "All right."



What hempen homespuns have we here?


Time, 1820; a keen bright forenoon, in the depth of winter.  The crisp snow lies glitter-

ing upon the streets of Manchester.  BEN O'THUNGER'S, a tall, strong, country fellow, dressed like a waggoner, is sauntering about Cannon Street, leading a little lad, who is muffled to the chin in a woollen "comfortable."  BEN has come from the foot of Blackstone Edge in search of employment; and he is waiting to see the manufacturer to whom he has been recommended.   As he wanders to and fro in the street, he peeps in at the warehouse windows, now and then; and he croons snatches of song as he gazes vacantly around.

"HERE, Billy, my lad,—thou looks cowd!  Thi nose is red,—an' thou'rt as keen as a young ferret!  Let's tee that muffler o' thine, an' tuk it into thi singlet a bit!  Theer, now,—thou'rt as grand as a parish bang-beggar!  As soon as I've seen this chap we'n go down to th' Seven Stars, an' get a bit o' dinner, an' a saup o'summat warm to it; an', then, heigh-up for Black's'n-edge! once moor. . . . Arto tire't, my lad?"

    "Ay,—a bit."

    "Ay,—an' thou may weel.  It's a lung trawnce; an' thou's walked it like a drum-major, my lad!  Well, come,—thou shall ride back i' Billy Robishaw's cart.  He sets off about two o'clock; an' we's just ha' nice time to get a bit o' dinner, in a nook at th' owd house, yon.  Arto hungry, my lad?"


    "That's reet, my lad!  Thou's a rare twist,—an' it's a good sign!  Thou taks o' me for that!  I wur olez ready for mi meals; afore they were ready for me; though we'n bin nought short yet, thank God! . . . Here, sitho; get this manchet an' cheese into tho; an' then thou'll happen howd out till dinner-time. . . . Stop. . . Afore tho starts,—goo in at that warehouse dur, an' ax if th' maister's come'd.  They said he'd be in about now."

    (Billy goes in, and comes out again.  The clerks peep through the window at the two on the street.)

    "Well,—is he in?"

    "Nawe.  They say'n he'll be a quarter of an hour, yet.  An' they wanten us to goo in, an' sit us down."

    "Not I?  I'm noan beawn to sit i' yon smudgy cote!  It's as dark as a coal hole!  I'd raither be i'th oppen street,—ten times o'er!"

    (Begins to croon a song, as he walks about.)

I wish I was on yonder moor,
    An' my good dog wi' me, oh
Among the blooming heather flower,
    Wading wild an' free, oh!
                Wild an' free!
                Wild an' free!
Where the moorlan' breezes blow!

    "What's yon?  Th' Owd Church Clock!  It's strikin' twelve!  Another quarter of an hour, Billy, an' we's be liberated!"

I wish I was where th' moor-cock springs
    Up from the heath'ry lea, oh!
An' the lonely mountain streamlet sings
    To the desert wild an free, oh!
                Wild an' free!
                Wild an' free!
Where the moorlan' breezes blow!

    "See yo, faither; see yo at yon chap wi' a tun-dish on his yed!"

    "Ay; yon's one o'th show folk, my lad.  There's some quare craiters i' this town, Billy."

    "Faither, let's goo whoam.  I don't like here."

    "Nawe, nor me noather, Billy.  It wouldn't do for me.  I connot draw mi breath gradely amung these streets.  They're o' thrutched up in a lump, here,—houses, an' folk an' o'.  For th' bit o' time that I have to live I'd raither live where there's moore elbow-reawm than there is here. . . . . Never mind, my lad.  Bide a bit.  We'n be off whoam again, soon after I've sin this chap."

(Sings again.)

'Mong blooming woods, at twilight dim,
    The throstle chants with glee, oh!
But the plover sings his evening hymn
    To the ferny wild so free, oh!
                Wild an' free!
                Wild an' free!
Where the moorlan' breezes blow!

Upon yon hill I'll take my rest,
    And there my bed shall be, oh!
With the lady-fern above my breast,
    In the keen blast waving free, oh!
                Wild an' free!
                Wild an' free!
Where the moorlan' breezes blow!

    "See yo, faither,—see yo who there is o' t'other side yon!"

    "Ay, bi'th heart,—it's Parsley Bob,—an nought else!  Whatever's th' owd lad doin' here, I wonder.  (Shouts across the street.)  Heigh, Robin!  ow then, Bob, owd lad!  Doesto yer?  Where arto for at sich a pelt?"

    "Hello, Ben, owd layrock!  It's never thee, belike!  Whatever's blown thee this gate on, i' thi haliday jump?  An' here's yor Billy witho, I see!  Whatever han yo agate?"

    "Well,—if I mun tell the truth, Robin, I'm seechin' a shop!"

    "Why, thou's never laft owd Sam's, sure?"

    "Thou's hit th' mark, Robin.  I've laft th' owd shop."

    "The dule thou has!  How leets that?"

    "Well,—it let thus: T'other day, owd Sam coom into th' stable to me,—he wur market fresh, an' so wur I, too, for that matter, for we'd both bin off at th' town,—well, he coom into th' stable to me when I're agate o' fodderin' up for th'neet, an' he began o' gosterin' an' talkin' about th' horses,—he'd ha' this done, an' he'd ha' that done, or else he'd play th' upstroke wi' somebry.  Well,—I couldn't ston' it a bit lunger, so I chuck't th' bucket down, an' I said, 'D―― thee, an' thi horses, too, Sam!  If I connot manage th' horses beawt bein' bother't wi' thee, thou'd better manage 'em thisel'!'  Wi' that he made no moor ado, but he up wi' his fist, an' he fot (fetched) me a cotter o' th' chops.  Well, thou knows, I couldn't ston' that—so I tackled him in a snift.   We'n had mony a bit of a doo afore, but this time I believe I gav him a gradely good towellin'.  Well,—there wur a bonny racket i' that hole for a bit, I'll uphowd to! (I will uphold thee!) Well, thou knows, we're both on us of a tickle temper,—an' th' owd lad's a rare pluck't un, an' he feights rough when th' blood's up, so we didn't play dainty, I can tell tho, but went at it, hommer an' tungs; an', amung us, somehow, th' owd lad geet lamed—an' then he thrut up his hond, an' he said, 'Howd, Ben; let's drop it!  Help me up; I believe my shoolder's out!'  Well,—we'd made sich a din while we were agate, that they yerd us into th' house, an' it brought th' sarvants out,—an' then th' mistress coom, an' th' two daughters,—an' there were sich a kick up i'th hole as never wur yerd tell on.  Th' sarvants wanted to carry th' owd lad into th' house; but he wouldn't let nobody lay a finger on him nobbut me—noather th' wife, nor nobody else.  'Ben,' he said, 'come, thou'll ha' to help me in!  It's bin a fair tussle,—but I'm nobbut th' topmost but one this time!'  So I pushed 'em o' one side, an' I helped th' owd lad into th' house, an' gees him laid on a couch cheer. . . . Well,—th' mistress looked as if hoo could like to cut my throat,—an' hoo as good as swore that I should never do another stroke for them as lung as hoo wur alive!  An' then hoo towd me to walk off, an' never darken a durhole o' theirs again; an' hoo co'de me war than a powcat.  Well, thou knows, owd Sam lee theer gruntin' wi' his shoolder,—an' he kept tellin' me to tak' no notice on her, but goo an' finish my wark.  But th' owd lass stuck to it bitterly that hoo would never sleep another meet under that roof if ever I wur allowed to touch another job about th' premises.  So at last, my own yure began o' bristlin' up a bit, an' I whipt th' stable keigh out o' my pocket, an' I said, 'Here, Sam; tak' thi keigh!  I'll sattle this job at once!  If thou'rt gooin' to be rule't bi th' spindle, I'm not!  So I'll find another shop—an' I'll bid yo good neet,—o' on yo!'  An' wi' that I coom out, an' banged th' dur to beheend me."

    "Oh, be hanged!  That breeze'll blow o'er thou'll see!  Th' owd chap'll send for tho back afore th' week end."

    "Oh, I could do wi' him weel enough, but it's yon woman, mon!  I cannot bide her!—hoo's so rattle, an' hoo's olez meddlin'. . . . But, my time's up, I see.  This chap should ha' come'd in by now."

    "Who is he?"

    "They say'n he's a very daicent sort o' a chap.  He comes fro' somewheer about in moor-ends.  But ho'ever,— he wants somebry to look after his horses, an' he gi's good wage, an' there's no harm i' seein' what he's made on, thou knows."

    "No moor there is, owd lad.  Well, I wish tho good luck, Ben!"

    "Th' same to thee, owd buzzar."

    "Now then, Billy, my lad—slip in again, an see if he's londed."

(Billy goes in at the warehouse door, and comes out again.)

    "Faither, he's come'd.  They say'n yo mun goo in."

    "That's reet.  Come on, my lad!"

(They go in together.)

    "Which is th' maister?"

    "Come forrud!"

    "Are yo th' maister?"

    "Ay.  What doesto want?"

    "They say'n yo wanten a chap to look after th' horses, an' sich like."

    "Wheer doesto come fro'?"

    "Th' bottom o' Black's'nedge.  Shall I do, thinken yo?"

    "Well, thou'rt big enough, as now 'tis.  Who hasto bin wortchin' for?"

    "Sam o' Matty's,—Copper Nob, as they co' him.  I've druvven for him aboon twelve year."

    "Well, an' what didto lev for?"

    "For hommerin' th' maister."

    "Oh, ay!  An' he didn't like it, I guess?"

    "Well,—I don't think he care't so mich,—but his wife didn't like it."

    "Oh,— I see.  Is that a lad o' thine?"

    "One on 'em.  I've seven moor a-whoam!"

    "Hasto brought thi character?"

    "Nawe,—I never axed for noan.  An', to tell yo truth, I'm better beawt it."

    "I dar' say thou art. . . . Well,—thou may come, o' Monday mornin'; an we's see how we can get on."

    "O' reet, maister!"



It was the last that she had left.


AS I came down the main street the other day I was overtaken by an impulsive friend of mine,—a man of singular mental fertility and uncommon culture,—whose rare acquirements and racy humour have always delighted me. The range of his sympathies was unusually wide and warm. To him the small was great, and the great was small; and the commonest things in life could lead him into regions of lofty and reverent thought. In such moods it was a rare pleasure to listen to his discourse. He was at all times an interesting companion. From his well-stored and inventive mind something rich and strange was continually springing in allusion to the things around him: and even passing incidents upon the street often called forth some ingenious remark, or some apt quotation from famous books,—books too much neglected in these days of ephemeral scribble, hurried off the end of the pen to bring bread for the day.

    He overtook me upon the street; and seizing my arm, as usual, he led me aside into St. Ann's Square.  It was not a parade day in that fashionable lounge, and therefore we had a good deal of it to ourselves.  The statue of Richard Cobden seemed to be the first thing that caught his eye.  "Ah, now," said he, "there stands the counterfeit presentment of one of the greatest benefactors of mankind in our day.  He wrought hard, and long, and suffered much; and it will be long before his countrymen comprehend the wide-embracing harmonies of the scheme which occupied that lucid mind.  Even his immediate companions have not all of them grown up to the pitch of his great conceptions.  I am almost disposed to endorse the high eulogium of his illustrious friend and co-worker, who once said to his audience, as he pointed to a marble bust of the great free-trader, 'I tell you that not even marble is more enduring than that man's fame.'" . . . From this theme he glided to the subject of art; and, after severely criticising the statue itself, he said, "The arts, my dear sir, though several in manifestation, are one in their source,—like the fingers of a man's hand.  And then, how different are men's ways of working in art.  For instance, one man, by slow and sedulous effort, and careful retouching, achieves some embodiment of his ideal; but anon, there comes another,—a man of noble creative force,—who strikes the amorphous block with the wand of divine command, and lo, there riseth into the ambient air an image full of the extremest beauty!  Genius does what it must; talent does what it can." . . . And thus, as we paced to and fro, the temper of his discourse glided from one theme to another, as the leafy rustlings of a tree are changed in tone by the changes of the wind.

    On the opposite side of the square, a man, who was once of some eminence in this city, was trailing his weary limbs along, shattered in health, and steeped to the lips in poverty,—although little more than forty years of age.  "Ah," said my friend, "yonder goes one whose sun is going down while it is yet day.  The hand of the Ancient Master is in that worn countenance.  Where are his friends?  There are none so poor to do him reverence now!  Another hapless soldier stricken down prematurely in the battle; and no kind hand to carry him to the rearward, out of the trampling press of the fight.  Ah, my dear sir, it is very sad; it is very sad!" . . . And thus he went on, in plaintive descant, until the massive form of a well-known lawyer came shouldering its way slowly through the sunshine; and my friend changed his note at once. . . . "Ah, there now," said he, "there goes a man of mighty physical mould!  One of the sons of Anak!  There goes a man whose bulk and big assemblage is touched with something finer than the dull world dreams of.  I know him well; and an excellent fellow he is, for all his rugged exterior,—a man with the strength of a giant, and the tenderness of a woman.  By the way, I heard an anecdote of him the other day, which may not be uninteresting.  You know him sufficiently to know that though 'the patch is kind,' he, like Launcelot Gobbo, is a 'huge feeder.'  Well, it seems that he had occasion, once, to go far away from town, up to one of our wild Lancashire moorland hills, upon some legal business; and after wandering about there for some hours, he found, to his dismay, that when his usual dinner-time came, he was miles away from any visible place of refreshment.

    "Hollo!" cried he, looking at his watch; "how's this?  Where am I to dine?  There are no hotels, nor anything here!  I must have something to eat.  What's to be done?"

    The man who was in attendance upon him pointed to a lonely cottage, far down the moor-side, and suggested that something might be had there.  It was the only dwelling in sight, and away they went towards the spot.  The hungry lawyer found a poor woman in the cottage, with six little children playing around her.

    "Mistress," said he, in a jovial off-hand way, "can you find me anything to eat?  Eggs and bacon; bread and cheese; anything!  I'm quite famished!"

    The woman gazed with astonishment at that mighty well-filled frame, which looked so unlike starvation; and then, giving a quiet look around her poor hut, she replied,—

    "Well; I've just made a wimberry cake, for these childer.  Yo can have a bit o' that, if yo'n a mind."

    "Wimberry cake!" cried he, rubbing his hands, "Wimberry cake!  Grand!  It'll do!  Bring it on!"

    The poor woman set the cake before him, and he fell to with a right good will.

    "Ah!" said he, "this is excellent!  It's very wholesome, too! very good, indeed!"

    In the meantime, the children,—who had been silent up to this point, overawed by the great stranger's appearance,—began to creep out from their corners; and, as they watched slice after slice disappear in the lawyer's hungry jaws, tears rose into their eyes.  At last, they could bear it no longer; and they burst out, as if by common consent, with one cry,—"Mother, mother, he's heytin' it o'! he's heytin' it o'!"

    "Good God!" cried the lawyer, flinging down his knife, "am I eating the children's dinner?"

    The poor woman raised her apron to her eyes and she said, "Ay, it's o' that I had for 'em.  I had a bit o' flour i'th house, an' I sent th' childer on th' moor a-gettin' some wimberry, so that I could make it into a cake for 'em.  I thought it would be a bit of a puttin'-on, till to-morn."

    "Poor little things!" said the lawyer, as he pushed the remainder of the cake away from him, "why didn't you tell me that before?  I'll not have another bite!"

    Then, putting a sovereign into the woman's hand, he said, "For Heaven's sake get them something to eat!"

    And he came away from that poor moorland cottage with tears rolling down his rough cheeks.



An' how came this man here,
Without the leave o' me?


AS I sauntered along the street the other day, I met with an old acquaintance,—a humorous fellow, who is, also, a kind of vocal artist, in a small way,—and after the usual salutations, he told me the following story:—

    "By the by," said he, "a curious thing has happened to me since the last time we foregathered.  I had been engaged to take part in a public entertainment, in a manufacturing town about twelve miles from Manchester; and on the morning of the appointed day, I received a note from the secretary of the institution on behalf of which the entertainment had been got up, simply saying that 'Mr. B— would be glad of my company at tea,' and, if I would leave Manchester by a certain train, he would meet me on the platform at the end of the journey.  This note was accompanied by a programme of the proceedings, announcing that 'N. B—, Esq., of Carr Hill, would take the chair.'  This gentleman I had no personal knowledge of; and, indeed I had no intimate acquaintance with a single soul in the place I was going to.  However, I left Manchester by the train mentioned in the secretary's note, and on my arrival at the journey's end I sauntered about the platform, expecting every minute to be accosted by Mr. B—, whose person was unknown to me.  But, one after another, the passengers trickled away from the scene, and nobody seemed to notice me.  The train went on its way; and, at last, I was left alone, pacing the silent platform with resounding step.  It seemed strange; and, as I knew nobody in the town, I began to cast about in my mind what was to be done.  I looked at the programme again.  'N. B—, Esq., of Carr Hill, in the chair.'  It was all right.  Inquiring of the porter, I found that Carr Hill was about a mile and a half from the station; and, seeing nothing better for it, I took my way thitherward at once.

    "It was a fine day; and as my walk brought me into the outskirts of the town, the scenery became more and more striking.  I found the house, a quaint mansion, pleasantly seated in its own grounds, high upon the hill-side, and commanding a fine view of the bold hills on the opposite side of the valley.  Entering by the front gate, I walked through the garden, up to the door, and rang the bell.  When the servant came, I inquired if Mr. B— was at home.  She replied that he was not, but that he was expected in three-quarters of an hour; and then she held the door, and gazed as if waiting to see whether I had anything more to say.  I thought it strange; and, after a minute's pause, I said that I was expected to tea there that evening.  'Oh, indeed!' replied she, with an air of surprise, letting go the door.  'Step in, sir!' said she.  Whereupon I walked in; and when I had hung up my hat, and deposited my stick in the stand, she opened a side door in the lobby, and pointing into the room she said, 'Take a seat, sir, please.'  I entered; she closed the door behind me, and I was alone.

    "It was a quaint apartment, richly and tastefully furnished.  The walls were hung with pictures by famous artists, and costly books lay strewn upon the tables.  I took up one of these.  It was an illustrated copy of Froissart's 'Chronicles;' and, seating myself upon a sofa, I was beginning to lose myself in the Middle Ages, when—'Tap, tap, tap!'  The door opened, and the servant looked in.  'Would you be kind enough to send your name, sir, please?'  I gave her my name, and once more she disappeared.  It seemed queer that they didn't know about it.  Perhaps he has forgotten to tell them, thought I.  And then, easy-hearted, I was relapsing into old Froissart again, when another tap came to the door.  It was the servant again.  'Will you step this way, sir, please?' I rose, and walked to the door.  'Take a seat in that room, sir, please,' said she, pointing to an open door on the opposite side of the lobby.  I went in.  It was a room very like the one I had just left.  Costly books, and pictures, and furniture, with a cosy charm pervading the whole—a quaint nest of rich and tasteful homeliness.  And then, in this case, a cheerful fire tinged the shady light with a genial glow.  'Mrs. B— will be down in a few minutes,' said the servant, as she closed the door behind her.  I was examining a fine oil painting by Sam Bough, when a silken rustle in the lobby announced the approach of the lady of the house.  She entered; and, with quiet courtesy bidding me 'Good evening!' she sat down to crochet, saying that she expected her husband every minute.  So we chatted quietly about the weather and about the books which lay upon the table.  In a little while the front door of the house was heard opening.  'He's here!' said she; and, rising from her seat, she went out and closed the door after her.  There seemed to be a dead silence on all around for the next two or three minutes, and then Mr. B― himself entered the room, and, with a twinkle of quiet humour in his eye, he shook me by the hand, and bade me welcome.  His face was new to me, but I liked it.  And now, thinks I, 'all's right!' and I began to feel thoroughly at home; and I began to chatter—as is my wont, now and then, when the fit is on me, about this and that—books, politics, pictures, music, antiquities, and the scenery around us; and the genuine, though undemonstrative, geniality of his manner soon made me feel as if we had been 'as thick as inkle-weavers' all our lives.  And then he began to bring out rare books,—first one, then another,—some of them the most costly existing illustrated works upon botany,—in which science I thought that he seemed to feel an especial interest.  After a pleasant, discursive chat, he offered me a cigar, and proposed a stroll in the grounds belonging to the house, until tea was laid out.  And away we went, followed by his little terrier.  It was a lovely evening.  The bold outline of the opposite hills stood in grand relief against the sky; and as the dreamy glamour of twilight sank upon the scene the landscape looked finer than before.  As we sauntered about, I found that he was well acquainted with the historic associations of the scene.  After a pleasant stroll, we went to tea. at which we were joined by his wife and his little daughter.  Nearly an hour passed away in pleasant talk over the evening meal; and then, after a chirruping cup, we walked to town together,—he to preside over the evening's entertainment, and I to take my share in the performance.

    "The affair went off in a satisfactory way; and, when it was over, he walked with me to the station to catch the returning train.  Just before I took my seat in the carriage, he shook hands with me.  'Good bye!' said he,—'somebody of my name has invited you to tea this evening, but, mind, it was not me!'  For a minute or so I was stunned; and then I made all sorts of blundering apologies.  'Oh, don't say a word about it,' replied he; 'I have enjoyed the whole thing, and I hope you will find your way to the same place again as soon as you have opportunity.'  And yet I felt a little uneasy about the thing until I received a letter from him to the same kindly effect."



Poor lad; he had a deal o' heart,
But very little head.


[NAT SLASHER and NATHAN O' DOLL'S meeting in a green lane.]

"NOW then, owd dog!"

    "Now then!"

    "Nice melch mak o' a mornin'."

    "Grand groo-weather, for sure.  Weet an' warm, like Owdham brewis."

    "What's to do wi' tho?  Thou stonds very keckley."

    "Rheumatic or summat.  I've never bin reet o' mi pins sin' Rushbearin."

    "Thou wackers about like a tripe doll.  We mun ha' tho spelk't up a bit, owd craiter, or else thou'll be tumblin' lumps."

    "I feel very wambly, for sure.  I'm as slamp as a seckfull o' swillin's."

    "It's this rakin' out at neet, mon.  It'll not howd wayter.  Thou mun oather poo up, or sign o'er.  Pike for thisel'."

    "Our Mally says so."

    "Ay; an' your Mally's reet . . . . Well, an' how are things shappin' down i'th cloof, yon?"

    "About th' owd bat.  There's nought uncuth (strange) agate 'at I know on.  Well,—Bill o' Swiper's has order't a new dur to his pig-cote; it should ha' bin ready th' day after, but owd Churn-pow, th' joiner, wur off at a weddin'.  Dan o' Cumper's wur axed for th' first time to Lizzy o' Flipper's, last Sunday, an' Ben at th' Hauve Moon's getten his sign painted o'er again, wi' th' shap of his gronfaither, smookin', i'th middle.  There's nought else stirrin', mich.  Well,—yigh,—Dick o' Belltinker's is for havin' one of his front teeth poo'd out, if it doesn't give o'er warchin'."

    "Why, yore quite in a boil, then.  But it olez wur a lively nook, for th' size on't."

    "Ay; th' town's busy if there' three folk talkin' together at once."

      .                        .                        .                        .                        .                        .

    "Well; an' how's Owd Tupper gettin' on?  Didto tell him what I said?"

    "Ay; I towd him, mich and moor; an' I gav him th' best advice 'at I could."

    "An' how then?"

    "Well; thou knows what a wild kempie he is.  He hearken't what I had to say, an' then took his own road,—th' same as ever.  At it he went,—ticklebut,—like a bull at a gate.  I'd better ha' save't mi breath to cool mi porritch wi'."

    "Well,—I lippen't o' nought better.  Mon, there's some folk 'at winnot be said,—an' Dick's one on 'em.  Reet or wrang, he'll have his own gate; an' nought'll stop him,—but a stone wole."

    "I towd him I thought he wur stonnin' in his own leet."

    "Thou met as weel ha' chanted th' 'Evenin' Hymn' to a deeod pow-cat.  There's nought for't but lettin' him tak his own gate.  Sich like olez leeten o' summat 'at poos 'em up afore they dee'n.  He'll come to of his-sel', thou'll see."

    "Well,—I laft him to't."

    "Thou couldn't do better.  Let him powler about th' world a bit; it's a rare schoo' for bull-necked scholars."

      .                        .                        .                        .                        .                        .

    "Hasto yerd about Nat o' Softly's gooin' to Runcorn last week?"

    "Nawe; I never yerd.  Poor little Nat!  What's he bin doin' theer?"

    "Oh, by th' mass, I mun tell tho that.  Here; let's sit us down upo' th' hedge-side a bit . . . Well, thou knows, Nat's nobbut about ninepence th' shillin' at th' best, poor lad, an he's bin ill knocked about amung it, for he's bin taen in of o' sides,—it oft leets so wi' folk 'at's no ill in 'em if they happen to be of a dull turn,—"

    "He's as numb as a clay dobber!"

    "That's noather here nor theer.  Th' lad connot help it.  His faither wur so afore him; an' there isn't a mon livin' 'at can jump out of his own skin into another. . . . Well—but,—as I wur tellin' tho.  Little Nat's bin out o' wark a good while; an' he's bin ill put to't for a bit o' scran, now an' then.  He's had to fly up wi' th' hens mony a time.  Well,—about a week sin' he yerd of a job deawn at Runcorn; an' he pricked his ears at news, an' settle't his-sel for after it.  Well, thou knows, th' owd lad wur as clemmed as a whisket,—an' he wur fair stagged up o' gates,—for he'd addle't nought of a good while; an' he took th' gate out o' Boarcloof wi' fourpence hawp'ny in his pocket.  Well,—when he geet down into Manchester, he bethought his-sel about th' boat 'at runs to Runcorn fro Knott Mill, upo' th' Duke's Cut; an' off he set to see if he couldn't get to go by it; for he wur nobbut a hawmplin' mak of a walker at th' best,—an' he're as wake as a weet dishclout,—besides, he thought it'd save shoe-leather, an' sich like.  Well, when he geet to Knott Mill, he went up to th' captain o' th' boat, an' he said, 'How soon does this boat start, maister?'

    "'In about ten minutes.'

    "'Con I goo wi' it?'

    "'Ay, sure thou con.'

    "'But I have no brass.'

    "'Oh, then, thou connot goo wi' it.'

    "'Ay, but, maister,' said Nat, 'yo'n be like to let me goo, for it's a matter o' life and deeoth, mon.'  An' then he up an' towd th' captain about this job 'at he'd yerd on at Runcorn, an' he said, 'I'll tell yo what I'll do wi' yo!'

    "'Well; what wilto do?'

    "'I'll wortch my passage, if yo'n a mind.'

    "Well, th' captain looked at Nat a minute or two, an' then he said, 'Wait a bit till I speak to yon chap o' mine; and I'll see what I can do for tho.'  In a twothre (two or three) minutes th' captain coom up again, an' he said to Nat, 'Well, I think we can shap that job for tho!'

    "'That's reet!" cried Nat, rubbin' his honds, 'I have nobbut fourpence, yo known, an' I'se want it for a bit o' summat to heyt.  One good turn desarves another.  I'll pay you back th' first time I've a chance,—I will for sure,—if I'm a livin' mon!'

    "'O' reet, my lad!  Well,—thou says thou'll wortch thi' passage?'

    "'Sure, I will!'

    "'What conto do?'

    "'Oh,—aught at o'!'

    "'Arto ony hond at drivin'?'

    "'Well, I should be, for I drove a cart for Owd Shapper six year.'

    "'Conto manage to drive yon horse for us?'

    "'Me?  Ay! as weel as ony mon i' Manchester.'

    "'Well, off witho, an' get agate then; it's time to start.'

    'An' away went Nat, as content as a king; an' mile after mile he drove th' horse along th' canal bank, thinking to his-sel, now an' then, as he looked down at th' ground, 'I met as weel ha' gone up th' owd road, an' walked it, for aught 'at I can see.'  An' then he'd give a look back at th' boat an' console his-sel wi' sayin', 'But I am gooin' wi' 'em 'at after o'.'  An' o' this time th' captain stood wi' th tiller in his bond, steerin', an' watchin' poor Nat as he trail't along th' bank, an' wonderin' how fur he'd goo afore he fund it out.  But Nat drove to th' fur end, as quiet as an owd sheep; an' when they geet to Runcorn he shook bonds wi' th' captain, an' he said, 'Well; I can nobbut thank yo,—I'se never forget yo!'

    "Well,—th' captain wur a daycent chap, and he said 'Nawe; nor I'se never forget thee, owd lad!  Here, come; we're noan beawn to put upo' good natur'.  Thou's be paid for thi drivin', as how!'  So they raise't him five shillin',— an' they gave him a good feed,—an' they towd him what a foo he made of his-sel.

    "'By th' mass,' said Nat, 'I kept thinkin' there wur summat wrang about it!'"

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