OH, THIS TOOTH!
Whate'er the place is priests ca' hell,
Where a' the tones o' misery yell,
An' rank'd plagues their numbers tell,
Thou, Toothache, surely bear'st the bell
Winter forenoon. A little cottage by the wayside, at the
end of the village. MALLY
pacing to and fro in the kitchen, with a swollen cheek, and her face
lapped in hot flannel.
"EH, dear o' me! Whatever mun I do? My gooms are
steawngin' an lutchin' to that degree ――! I can never stop'
this mich longer! . . . Sarah, see if that back dur's shut!
I'm sure there's a draught somewheer! Oh,good gracious; this
is bad to bide! . . . Ay; thou may laugh, thou little sniggerin'
snicket; but if I wur weel I'd make thee laugh o' tother side o' thi
"I weren't laughin'."
"What arto pooin' thi face at, then?"
"I weren't pooin' my face."
"Get out o' my seet; an' keep out! . . . Gi' me another
handkitcher, some on yo! . . . Jenny, doesto think this swellin'
goes down ony?"
"Nawe; it gets worse."
"Oh, Lord o' me! Talk about pain! Eh, my poor yed;
it feels like a wasp-neest! . . . Jenny, reitch me that cup o'th
hob! An' somebody keeps negglin' at that sneck. Who is it?
Do keep th' dur shut, I pray yo! It's enough to drive onybody
crazy! . . . Eh, dear; eh, dear! did ever ony poor soul suffer as
I'm sufferin' this minute? (Enter a little girl from a
neighbouring cottage.) Now then, theer yo are; that dur's
oppen again! Who is it? Oh, it's thee, Liddy, is it?
What doesto want?"
"Mally, my mother wants to know if yo'n be as good as lend
her a basinful o' flour till my faither draws his wage?"
"See what hoo wants, some on yo, for I connot yer a word
that hoo says! Oh, dear o' me!"
"Her mother wants to borrow a basinful o' flour."
"Oh, that's it, is it? . . . Well, tell thi mother that I
haven't a bit o' flour i'th house! Beside, I'm gooin' to bake;
an' I's want it mysel', tell thi mother! Shut that dur, that's
a good lass! . . . Bless my life! they're never off th' dur stones
for one thing or another! . . . Jenny, warm this flannel again, an'
just put some more coals upo' that fire! Fasten yon buttery
window, some on yo. . . . Oh, this tooth! this tooth! (Door opens
again.) Theer yo are again! What now?"
"Mother, there's a chimbley afire!"
"Well, let it brun! . . . Get out o' this house, thou little
monkey, an' shut th' dur after tho, or I'll chine tho to th'
floor! One met (might) as weel be livin' in a dogkennel, an'
me as ill as I am! Eh, dear! eh, dear! Jenny, reitch me that
cup off th' hob again! an' fill th' kettle up! . . . (She tastes
of the tea.) Oh, good Lord o' me! Who's sweeten't this tay?"
"An' where didto get thi sugar fro'?"
"Out of a white basin i'th buttery."
"Well; taste on't!"
"Eh; its saut! "
"Saut! Th' divvle saut yo! I think yo'r doin'
every-thin' that yo con to torment me, as if I weren't enough
tormented o' mysel! It's enough to make a body run their
country! . . . Gi' me another flannel out o' that oon! Oh, my
"Here, mother, sit yo down i' this cheer, bith' fire; an'
I'll lap some'at round yo'r shoulders."
(She sits down and JENNY laps her up.)
"Ay, that's better, lass! . . . Now, do try to mak a cup o' gradely
tay! Thou'll find some sugar in a brown papper, upo' that
second shelf. . . . Oh, these teeth! Talk about lyin'-in! it's
a foo to this (The door opens again.) Now then!
That dur again! I' the name o' good Katty, what han yo agate
(A man selling sand looks in.)
"Dun yo want ony sond?"
"If thou artn't out o' that dur-hole in hauve a minute, I'll
tak' thee a-top o'th yed wi' th' fire-pote! (Exit the sandman.)
I think the dale's thrut his club o'er this house! Latch yon
dur, an' lock it, an' keep o' out that is out! . . . Hello!
What's that cat getten?"
"Eh, mother, it's run upstairs wi' a beefsteak in it mouth!"
"Good gracious! Wherever are yo'r e'en? o' on yo!
I could like to swear at yo! If I'm laid up mich longer, this
house'll go to rack an' ruin! Cover yon milk up, an' shut
that buttery dur! An' look if thou can see aught o'th doctor
comin'; it's about his time."
(JENNY looks through the window.)
"He's comin' now, mother!"
(Enter the Doctor.)
"Good morning, Mally!"
"Good mornin'! Eh, I'm fain yo'n come'd, doctor! for
I'm very nearly done to th' lung-length!"
"What's th' matter?"
"Matter? Look at my face!"
"Ay, I see. It's a bit side-heavy, for sure."
"Now, doctor, afore yo gone ony fur (further), don't mak me
laugh, for I connot ston it just now!"
"Well, let's be serious, then. It's your teeth again, I
see. I'll soon put you right. Which tooth is it?"
"It's three or four o' these bottom uns, o' this side."
"Open your mouth. (He examines her teeth and tries them
with his instruments.) I see nothing amiss with these
"Poo 'em o' out, I tell yo! I'd better lose my teeth
than lose my life!"
"I don't feel justified in pulling these teeth out, Mally."
"Well, cut my yed off, then; for I connot live i' this
"Well, before we go any further, I'll give you something
that'll relieve you. (Writes a prescription.)
There! Send down to the druggist's for that, and take it
according to directions! Off with you to bed, and stop there;
and let them bring you a good white-wine posset! I'll call
again in the morning, and, if you're no better, I'll see what's to
"Well, I don't know whether I's live till mornin' or not,
doctor; but if I'm no better than I am now, I'll poo 'em out mysel',
if yo winnot! So, good mornin'!"
A DAB O' PUTTY!
Autumn evening. A cottage, in a garden, by the roadside, at
the end of Chadderton Fold. MALL O'
stockings at a little table under the window. JABEZ,
her little son, getting his supper at the same table. PUDDLER
BILL, his father, who has just come in from
work, sitting by the fire, smoking. MALLY
(to her little lad).
"NOW, finish thi
supper, an' get thi lessons: an' then off witho to bed, like a
good lad! (The lad still plays sulkily with his supper.)
"Now, Jabez; what arto chunnerin' an pooin' thi face about?
Thou doesn't need to turn thi nose up at thi porritch, for there's
nought else i'th house for tho!"
"I'm not turnin' mi nose up!"
"Nawe, nor thou doesn't need to turn thi nose up, Jabez, my lad,
thou doesn't need to turn it up, as thi mother says, for thi
nose is just th' pictur' of her's."
"How is it like mine?"
"Well, because it wur handsomely turn't up when he wur born,
my lass! It's like a dab o' putty that's bin thrutched up at
MALLY (to her little lad).
"Jabez, my lad, go thi ways an' send yon hens out o'th garden." (Exit
MALLY. "William, I wish to the
Lord thou wouldn't meddle between me an' these childer! It's a
strange thing that I cannot correct 'em, but thou mun put thy motty
in, an' turn everything that one says to ridicule! A nice way
o' bringin' childer up that is! How can they be expected to
tak notice of oather thee or me, when they see'n thee pooin' one
road an' me pooin' tother. I wonder at tho! An' sich
seely unfeelin' talk, too! Did ever onybody i' their common
senses mak sich remarks about folk's noses, an' bits o' failin'
places. It's a shame to talk sich talk! Bless my life, I
didn't mak mi own nose, no more than thou made thoose two bow-legs
o' thine. An' if thi own mother does sken, hoo's noan to blame
for it, poor body, no more than yo'r Joe is for havin' a long
leg an' a short un! A bonny trainin' thou'rt givin' thi
childer! If I wur thee I'd measure a peck out o' mi own seck,
now an' then, an' try to keep mi tung between mi teeth till I could
say some'at to some sense, particular when there's a lot o' childer
"Well, well; thou's said quite enough! I very seldom
open mi lips at o'; but when I do, thou'rt sure to gi' me twenty
words for one!"
"For the Lord's sake do let it drop! he's comin' in again! (Enter
little JABEZ.) Well, hasto sent 'em out?"
"Well, finish thi porritch; an' then get thi lessons.
Hello, who's this? (Enter TUM
on his way home with a basketful of stuff from the market.)
Never, sure! Is that yo, Tummus? What, yo'r loadent like
"Ay, they're some bits o' things for whoam, Mally.
Where's yo'r Bill?"
"He's i'th corner here."
"Now then, owd buzzart, where arto?"
"I'm here, Tummy! Come an' sit tho down! What
hasto getten i' thi basket?"
"Oh, a twothre oddments. I've an offal twenty pound
weight for one thing."
"Well, come, that's a daicent sort of an oddment, for a
start, as how 'tis."
"We're fond o' stew at our house."
"Well, an' there isn't a finer dish i'th world than a bowl of
good stew, weel thicken't wi' crisp haver-bride. . . . What hasto
beside? Come, turn 'em out, an' let's see!"
"Well, I've bin buyin' a new pair o' ankle-jacks, sitho!"
"Let's look at 'em! . . . Ay; an' a rare pair they are, too!
Clinker't, an' toe-capped, too, I see! Thou'll be primely shod
for winter, owd buckstick! But I'll tell tho what, they looken
little, for thee! . . . Cock thi fuut up! . . . Ay; that's a
sarious sort of a hoof, that is . . . Dun they fit?"
"Well, if I mun tell truth, owd lad, I don't know whether
they'n fit or not, for, by the mass, I den forgeet to try 'em
"Well, by Guy! that's a crumper, as how 'tis! . . . It
reminds me of a prank o' Jem o' my uncle Joss's, th' farmer, up
aboon 'Th' Syke,' yon. . . . One mornin' when Jem were gettin'
hissel' ready to be off to th' cow fair, down i'th town, he said,
'Oh, an' while I'm i'th town, I's ha' to buy a pair o' boots, too!
Here, some on yo come an' measure my fuut; an' I'll tak th' measure
wi' me, an' there'll be no moore bother!' Well, they measur't
his fuut, an' they laid th' measure down upo' th' window-sill for
him to tak with him. Well, off he set in a bit, an' as soon as
he geet to th' town he went into th' owd shop, an' he said, 'Joe, I
want a pair o' strong boots!' an' then he began o' gropin' his
pockets for th' measure, but he could find noather top nor tail on't
about his rags. 'By th' hectum, Joe!' said he, 'I've
forgetter to bring th' measure! Never mind, I'll co'
to-morn!' An' out he went. But th' owd shoemaker
followed him to th' dur, an' shouted on him, 'Heigh, doesto yer?'
'Well?' 'Where arto for?' 'I'm gooin' for th' measure
for the boots!' 'Why, who are they for?' 'They're for
mysel'!' 'Well, then, thou's getten thi fuut witho,
hasn'to?' 'Sure I have! By th' mass, I'd forgetten
"Come, that's a good un," said Bill; "but it's not so mich
better than one I yerd no longer sin than yesterday, for o' that."
"What wur that?"
"Well, I went into th' Seven Stars kitchen about noon, an'
there I fund Lither Dick an' th' landlord sittin' bi their two sel's,
one o' one side o' th' fire an' tother o' tother, toastin'
haver-brade, an' soppin' it i' ale. In a bit Dick cocks his
fuut up, an' he says to th' landlord, 'Sitho, Sam, I've had these
boots twelve months, an' they aren't a bit worse!' 'Ay,'
said Sam, 'that may be; but thou's punish't thi breeches ――
Mally had just finished setting the tea things.
"Come, William, th' baggin's ready! Now, John, yo'n
have a cup wi' us, winnot yo?"
"I will, an thank yo!"
"Poo up, then!"
I WISH THI MOTHER WOULD COME.
Th' owd lad had scarcely gone,
When th' bairn began to squal
Wi' hikin't up an' down.
He let the poor thing fall
It wouldn't hand its tongue,
Whatever tune he'd hum,-
'Jack and Jill went up the hill,
I wish thi mother would come.'
WILSON, OF TYNESIDE.
Winter evening. Victoria Station, Manchester. Train
standing, ready to start for Liverpool. A stout good-looking
woman comes puffing up, with a child in her arms.
"TAKE your seats!
Any more for Liverpool? . . . Come, missis, look sharp, if yo'r goin'!"
"Nay yo mustn't be in a hurry! . . . . I've bin runnin'! . .
. . An' I'm such a size!"
"Here; I'll give yo' a lift! . . . Let's have howl o' that
bantlin'! . . . Now then; step up; an' I'll hand it in to yo! (She
steps up, an' takes her seat. He hands the child in to her.)
Now, yo'n getten yor parcel; an' yor o' reet?"
"Yes; I'm all right, thank you! (She settles herself in her seat,
and gives the child a drink.) Husht, my love! Did 'em
plague it? I'll lick 'em, I will!"
(Porters on the platform.)
"Tickets ready, please!"
(She starts, in a fit of consternation.)
"Eh, good gracious! I've forgetten mi ticket!
Whatever mun I do? (To a stout, middle-aged man sitting next to
her.) Maister, would yo be kind enough to howd this child
a minute, while I run for mi ticket?"
"Well, ay, but yo mun be very sharp, missis, for I'm
nobbut a poor hond at this job! Now; be slippy! Yo'n
very little time!"
"I'll not be a minute!"
(Away she runs. The man begins to dandle the child
awkwardly, and the passengers joke him.)
"There, owd lad; thou's getten a job at last!"
"Ay; thou may weel say that! I've tackle't mony a quare
bit o' wark sin' I wur a lad; but this is th' first time I ever
tried mi bond at weet-nursin'! . . . I hope yon woman 'll be sharp,
for I'm freeten't o' some'at happenin'! Childer are sick
comical craiters! Hello! th' gam's beginnin'! (The child
cries.) Husht, my love! For the Lord's sake! husht a
minute, till thi mother comes, an' then thou may skrike thi
ballyful! Hushht! . . . I hope it'll not be takken ill afore
hoo gets back! . . . Look out at that window some on yo! (One of
the passengers looks out.) Is hoo comin'?"
"I see nought on her yet."
"By th' mass, lads," said he, "this is gettin' awk'ard!"
"Ay; thou'll be in for it afore long, owd lad, bi' th' look
o' that choilt! Hasto no hippens i' thi pocket?"
"Have I hectum as like! Husht, my love! . . . Eh, this
is a do!"
In the meantime the tickets were being examined; the doors
were closing, one after another, with a bang; the whistle went for
the train to start; and yet the woman had not returned. The
poor fellow with the child in his arms began to perspire at every
pore; and, when the porter came to lock the door, he started up in a
fright, and cried out, "Heigh, stop! Here! Oppen that
dur! Let me get out! Where's th' guard? Here,
guard! Where's that woman?"
"Where's what woman?"
"Why, th' woman that belongs this choilt."
"Nay; I know nothing about the woman!"
"By ――! but thou'll ha' to find her!"
The guard began to laugh.
"Ay; thou may laugh! But this is noan o' my choilt!"
"Nay; how can I tell?"
"I never clapt een on it afore, I tell tho!"
"Ay; that may be!"
"I know nought about th' woman, I tell yo! Hoo axed me
to stick to it a minute, while hoo went for her ticket!"
"Well; time's up," said the guard, laughing again; "we must
"By ――! but yo munnut goo till hoo comes back! It's
noan o' my choilt!"
"Well; and it's not mine!" said the guard.
"It's as much thine as mine!" said the poor fellow.
"I don't know that," replied the guard. "Come, get in
an' let's be off!"
"Nay; I'll go noan till hoo comes! There; stick to it a
minute, till I go an' look for her!"
"Nay, nay; I've plenty o' that sort o' mi own! But, we
must be going!"
"There; tak it wi' yo, then!"
"Not me! . . . Shut that door; we can't wait any longer."
"Then d――n yo, goo!" said the poor fellow, wiping his
forehead with his sleeve, "I'll not stir a peg till that woman
Away went the train; and the passengers looked out, laughing
at the unhappy wight, as they rolled away, and left him staring
helplessly to and fro, and dandling the crying child, with a kind of
clumsy fear, as if it were a red-hot poker. The people on the
platform, too, began to make fun of him.
"Give it a saup o' cinder-tay, owd lad!" cried one.
"Ay," replied he, wiping his forehead again, "an' if I hadn't
this thing i' my honds, I'd gi' thee some cinder-tay, too! (But
now something happened that drew his attention to the child again.)
Hello! . . . Now for it! . . . Ay; it's just as I expected! . . .
Look here! These are my Sunday breeches."
"Lend him a hippin, some on yo!" cried one.
"Tak thi handkitcher, owd lad!" cried another.
(The child began to scream more violently than ever, and a
countrywoman came running up.)
"Whatever are yo doin' at that choilt? Th' little
thing'll skrike itsel' into fits! An' yo'r hondlin' it like a
foo; wrang side up! Gi' me howd on't! There's a pin
prickin' it somewheer!"
"Ay," said the poor fellow, with a sigh of relief, "just tak
howd on't a minute, missis, an' see what ails it!"
But the instant he got it safely landed in the woman's arms,
he slipt off to the corner of the building, and shouted for a cab.
The cab drew up, and he jumped in.
"Where to?" said the cabman.
"Drive straight out at tother end o'th town, toward
Delamere Forest, as fast as thou con! I'll tell tho when to
And away they went.
"Ay," said the kind-hearted countrywoman who had taken the
child in hand, "th' poor little thing might weel cry, with a greight
pin runnin' into it. Look theer!" and as soon as she had put
the child to right, and soothed it into quietness, she looked round,
and said, "Now, then, maister, tak howd! It's o' reet, now!"
But the man was not to be seen. "Hello!" cried she, "where's
"He's off in a cab! " said one of the bystanders.
"Good gracious!" cried the poor woman, "whatever man I do?
My train starts in about five minutes; an' I've children enoo o' mi
own to look after without bein' bother't with onybody else's!
Whatever mun I do?"
In the meantime the mother of the child had got her ticket,
and she came running up to the place where she had left the train
"Hello!" cried she, "where's th' train?"
"Th' train's gone!"
"An' where's my choilt?"
"That fat chap geet out o'th train, an' took it away with
"Eh, whatever mun I do?" cried she; and she went screaming
about one part of the platform, crying out, "My choilt! my choilt!
where's my choilt?" whilst the strange woman with the child in her
arms was going screaming about amongst the passengers, in another
part of the platform, crying, "Where's th' chap that belongs this
At last the two happily met. The mother got her child
the kind-hearted countrywoman was relieved from her untimely burden;
and peace was restored.
But the fat man, who had been nursing the child, came no more
to Victoria station that day.
Singing he was, or fluting all the day;
He was as fresh as is the month of May.
IT was a bitter
winter forenoon. A heavy snowstorm was driving wild across the
moor-tops. The kitchen of the Heather Bell was all a-glow with
a roaring fire, and the wind roared in the wide chimney. On
one side of the hearth a poor hawker sat warming his thin hands,
with a gill, full of sopped oat-cake, on the hob beside him; on the
other sat the old landlord smoking, and watching the snowflakes,
which darkened the little lattice as they flew by, whilst his wife
Mary busied herself stirring a great panful of lobscouse which hung
over the fire, and turning now and then to give directions to her
"Joe," said she to the lame old ostler, "goo an' shool th'
snow away fro' yon front dur. Folk connot get in."
"There'll not be so mony folk here to-day," said Joe, as he
went limping towards the door. "Oh, yigh!" said he, in a tone
of surprise, as he looked into the storm, "there's one comin' now!"
"Who is it?" inquired Mary.
"Nay," said Joe, "I connot mak him out yet, for he's lost
i'th snow! . . . He's a winter surplice on, I can see that, an'
he's singin' like a March throstle, too, as who he is! . . . Husht!"
A clear, strong voice was heard coming up singing through the
Come, Caleb, an' settle thi shanks,
An' let's ha' no moor o' thi bother;
Wi' thi camplin' din, an' thi pranks,
Thou'rt wortchin' thisel' to a lother;
Come, Nathan, poo up into th' nook,
Thou'rt a good-natur't, comical craitur:
Let's join in a chat, an' a smook,
An' a noggin o' hot rum an' wayter.
"By th' mass," said old Joe, "I thought I knew that sound! .
. . It's Cock Robin!"
"Set th' cheese an' loaf onto that little table," said the
landlord. "He'll be as hungry as a hunter!"
In the meantime the song came nearer as the singer came
slowly up the steep and snowy road:
We're neighbours, an' very weel met
We're o' merry lads o' good mettle;
There's Nathan, wur never licked yet,
An' Caleb's i' farrantly fettle:
With a pipe, an' a tot, an' a crack,
An' a crony, I'm just i' my glory:
So now, I'll fling th' world fro' my back,
An' brast off with a bit of a story!
The singer was now within a few yards of the doorway.
"Good mornin', Robin!" cried old Joe. "Thou'rt liketh'
redbreast, th' cowder th' weather an' th' better thou sings!"
"Hello, owd buckstick!" replied Robin. "This is a bit
o' good owd-fashion't winter, isn't it? Ston' fur, an' let's
come into th' house!"
Robin was going right forward, loaded with snow from head to
foot, when the landlady shouted from the inner doorway, "Stop,
Robin! Shake that snow off i'th lobby, afore thou comes in
here; or else we's ha' this kitchen floor in a swim!"
"Reet, Mary, reet!" cried Robin, shaking the heavy snow from
his clothes, and beginning to sing again:
'Twas when the dawn of morning
Began to leet the sky,
I donned mysel' to wander
Afore the dew was dry;
To wander in the gay greenwood,
Right early I did rove,
I could not rest upon my bed
For thinkin' of my love.
"Good mornin', Mary!" said Robin, as he entered the kitchen.
"Good mornin', Robin! Thou'rt i' rare fettle, lad!
Wipe thi shoon a bit, upo' that mat! . . . . (He wipes his shoes.)
Ay; that'll do. Now, get forrad wi' thi ditty! I like to
hear it. Thou knows
Owd rhymes an' owd chimes
Maken one think of owd times,
so get on wi' thi singin'. It'll hinder noan o' me!"
"Well, then, here goes, Mary!
Down in a flow'ry dingle,
Where sometimes we did stray,
Our vows of love to mingle,
At close of summer day;
It's there, where oft among her hair
The flowers of spring I wove,
I sat me down to think upon
The girl that I do love."
"Weel twitter'd, Robin, my lad!" cried the landlord.
"Come, let's have another verse while thou'rt at it! A merry
heart never hindered good wark! Let's have another verse!"
"With o' mi heart, Sam! Here goes again!
It's there I made a garlan',
My darlin' for to don,
An' the posies that were in it
They shined like the sun;
The dewy posies, wild and sweet,
All in the leafy grove:
It breaks my heart to think upon
The girl that I do love!"
"Ay," cried the landlord, laughing, "thou looks brokken-hearted,
for sure! A greight brawsen bullart (bull-ward), with a neck
like th' bole of a tree! Thee, an' 'The girl that I do
love!' I know nought what hoo is, Robin, but thou'rt a bonny
"Ay," said the landlady, joining in the laugh, "thou looks
terribly wasted, Robin! But love does tak strong howd o' some
folk! An' who is this woman that thou's bin yeawlin' about?"
"Why; who dun yo think it is, Mary, but yon rollin' owd
farrantly fuzzock (stout, good-looking old woman) o' mine, at our
house? I used to sing that sung to her twenty year sin,
afore we wur wed. An' I have to sing it again for her, mony a
time, when we're sittin' by th' fire at neet. An' th' childer
are just th' same, they're o' fond o' music, an' mony a time,
when they're gettin' their suppers, they say'n 'Eh, faither, do sing
for us a bit, that's a good lad!' An' then, there's nought
for it, yo known, Mary, but I'm like to start, for th' sake o'
"Well, well; I like to yer it, Robin, for it sounds whoamly,
an' kindly, an' comfortable. . . . An' how is yo'r Sally, saysto?"
"Eh, bless yo'r life! th' owd lass is as reet as a ribbin'!
Hoo's as round as a turnip, an' as swipper as a kitlin' (nimble as
a kitten), ay, an' hoo's as peeort (pert) as a pynot (magpie),
"Well, well; long may hoo keep so, say I, for a
better-hearted crafter never nips th' edge of a cake o' brade! . . .
An' thou'rt i' good fettle, too, Robin, for thou's a voice like a
keigh-bugle! . . . But what's set tho agate o' singin' so soon this
"Well, I'm weel an' hearty, Mary, an' th' wife's weel an'
hearty, an' th' childer are weel an' hearty, an' we owe'n
nobody nought, an' tak it o'together, I feel fain that I'm wick,
an' that's o' that I know about it! "
"Ay, ay; thou may weel sing, lad, thou may weel sing!
Thou'rt like th' birds i' summer, they keepen singin' an' singin',
an' they known nought what they're singin' about."
"Well; I guess they're like other folk, Mary; they keepen
singin' because they're fain, an' they wanten to let it off a bit."
"Ay, ay," said the landlady, "I guess it is so. . . Well,
come; I know thou'rt hungry. Poo up to this table. Thou
sees what there is. There's cheese an' brade; an' a prime bit
o' cheese it is, too. An' there's some cowd ham. Poo up;
an' get agate; an' need no more axis'!"
"Eh, Mary, yo'r a good owd soul! This is grand!
Bring me a pint o' ale!"
"Come, Robin," said the landlord, drawing his chair to the
table, " I think I'll join tho; for it makes me hungry to hear tho
talk! . . . An, doesto yer? Come here (In a whisper.)
There's that chap at th' fireside, there. He looks starve't.
Ax him to have a bit with us!"
"Maister," said the landlady to the tattered wanderer, who
sat warming himself at the fire, "yo may as weel come an' have a bit
with 'em. There's plenty on it; an' yo'r as welcome as th'
flowers i' May! See yo; tak this chair!"
"That's reet!" said the landlord. "Poo up; an' give us
a lift wi' this bit o' stuff, an' then we's be o' comfortable
together! Now, lads, fo' to, and do what yo con, as long
as it lasts!"
They feasted right heartily; and as old Mary was clearing the
things away the landlord whispered to her, "Doesto yer, lass?
That poor owd craiter looks ill clemmed, an' it's hard weather for
sich folk. Slip him a bit o' some'at into his basket, to tak
"I'll do it," said Mary, "with o' my heart!"
Time: A fine afternoon in March. Kitchen of the old Beehive
public-house at the end of the town. BEN O'TH BULLART'S
sitting in a corner. JONE O' WELTER'S, tile village cobbler,
is lurking in the stable in the yard, out of the way of his wife,
who has been looking for him. She has just gone away.
BEN lifts the kitchen window, and shouts into the yard:
NOW then, Jone!
Where arto? Dost yer, Jone? Where hasto croppen to?"
(JONE peeps out at a window in the
"I'm here. . . . Is hoo gone?"
"Ay, hoo's off. Come out."
"Arto sure hoo's gone?"
"I'm sure hoo's gone. I watched her off through th'
"Which gate did hoo goo?"
"Hoo went back towards th' town."
"Had hoo aught in her hand?"
"Nawe; but hoo'd some'at under her shawl."
"I thought so. It'll be a rollin'-pin. . . . What didto
"I towd her thou'd bin here, but thou'd gone down to Spotland
Bridge after some cobblin' jobs."
"Hoo'll not believe it."
"Yigh; I'm sure hoo does, for hoo said nought; and hoo went
off as quiet as a mouse."
"Hoo'll not believe it, I tell tho! Hoo'll not believe
a word that onybody tells her that sits in a alehouse!"
"Thou'rt soft, mon! Come out!"
"Soft or hard, I darn't come out yet. Hoo's as fause as
a boggart, mon. It isn't th' first time that hoo's hunted me
down. Hoo'll turn, an' wind, an' turn again, an' hoo'll catch
me, titter or latter; for hoo knows both th' hare an' th' hare-gate;
an' hoo's a fine nose; an' hoo'll never give in till hoo's run me
"Thou'rt soft, I tell tho."
"Thou'd be soft, too, if thou knowed her as weel as I do. . .
. Go thi ways an' look down th' road, an' see if there's aught
stirrin'. I'll stop among this hay till thou comes back."
(BEN goes to the front of the house, and
looks down the road. All is still; and he returns to the
window, looking into the stable-yard.)
"Now then, owd lad! Where arto?"
(JONE looks out at the window again.)
"I'm here. . . . Well; how are things lookin'? Conto
"Not a mouse stirrin'; come out wi' tho, an' dunnot be a
foo! Come out o' that hay, I tell tho. How long arto
boun to ston tootin' there, like a ratton in a soof (sough,
sewer), watchin' a ferret? Come out, like a mon!"
"I'm comin'! (JONE creeps down from
the hay-loft, and enters the kitchen again, looking fearfully around.)
Between thee an' me, Ben, I think I'd better shift my quarters; for
hoo's sure to come back."
"Not hoo! Keawer (cower) tho down! Thou caps me,
Jone! A mon like thee! Why, thou'd wacker (tremble) at a
"Thou doesn't know what thou'rt talkin' about, Ben."
"Well, keawer tho down, an' make thisel comfortable.
Hoo'll come noan back,not hoo. An' if hoo does come back,
thou'rt noan fleyed of a woman, arto?"
"Yigh, I'm fleyed o' yon woman."
"What! Thee? Th' best wrostler upo' Bagslate
Moor! Why, I thought thou'd a-foughten a lion for a quart o'
"What, me! I wouldn't face our Betty just now, I tell
tho, for a barrel o'th best ale i' this town! . . . Keep thi e'en
upo' that window; or else I darn't stop i' this hole!"
"Well, thou caps me, Jone; I tell tho again. Thou's a
feaw (foul, uncomfortable) life on't, owd lad. Between thee
an' me, I think I could manage yon woman better than thou does."
"I dar say thou thinks so; but between thee an' me, Ben, thou
knows nought at o' about our Betty. I've yerd folk say that
onybody can manage th' bull better than thoose than han it bi th'
horns; an' by th' mass, it's true. . . . Enough said. Howd thi
din, an' keep thi e'en upo' that window till I finish my gill."
"Mak thisel' comfortable, owd brid. I'll tent this
side. There's nought can come up th' road without me seein'
it. . . . Where's thi ale?"
"It's upo' th' hob here."
"That's reet. Now, mak thisel' content for a twothre
minutes. I'll look out for squalls. . . . Hasto bin o'er at
"Ay; I wur theer about a fortnight sin."
"Well; an' is there aught fresh that gate on?"
"Ay; I yerd (heard) that owd Jone o' Flup's an' his wife wur
"That's noan true, as how 'tis; for I seed him gooin' through
th' town wi' a jackass-cart no longer sin than yesterday."
"It doesn't matter. He wur deeod a fortnit sin', an'
his wife, too."
"Well, if he wur off to tother country a fortnit sin', as
thou says, who wur this that I seed wi' th' jackass-cart
yesterday; for I spoke to it, an' I'll swear it wur oather Jone o'
Flup's or his ghost!"
"Keep thi e'en upo' that window, an' I tell tho o' about it."
"Well, let's be yerrin', then; for there's some'at wrong
"Well, thou shall ha' th' tale as I had it mysel'. It
wur Bob o'th Bridstuffer's that towd me; and he should know, for
he's own cousin to Jone o' Flup's o'th mother's side."
"He should know, as thou says. Get for'ad wi' thi
"Well, as thou knows very weel, owd Jone comes of a rackless,
gutter-creepin' breed, an' his wife's noan so much better than
hissel'. O' through life they'n bin livin' fro' hond to mouth,
an' it's bin come day, goo day, God send Sunday, wi' 'em. If
ever they addle't a bit o' brass by besom-makin', an' sich like,
they made straight with it th' first thing, for they wur both fond
o' drink, an' they live't in a low, tatter't way, partly bi hawkin',
an' partly bi beggin', with a bit o' steighlin' (stealing) among it.
Mony a time they wur so stagged up that they didn't know where to
turn for a meal's meight; an' they'd ha' bin clemmed to death, o'er
an' o'er again, but for th' neighbours. Th' owd lad up at th'
ho' wur very good to 'em, fro' first to last; though he knew very
weel that Jone an' th' wife wur up to o' maks o' tricks for raisin'
brass, when they wur druvven to th' fur end. They wearied
everybody out nearly, but him; an' he get a bit tire't on 'em
sometimes; but he al'ays started again, an' gav' 'em another lift,
as fresh as ever. . . .
"Well, to mak a long story short, one day, owd Jone an' th'
wife wur sat, one o' one side o'th hearth an' tother o' tother,
smookin' an' starin' at th' empty grate, for they'd sowd, an'
pop't, an truck't everythin' i'th house for drink, an' they wur
quite at their wits' end how to raise a bit o' some'at to goo on wi'.
"At last Jone took his pipe out of his mouth, an' he said, 'I
guess thou has no brass, Mall?' 'Brass,' said Mally, 'thou
knows I've no brass! I haven't a hawp'ny an' I don't know
where to turn to get noan noather, for we'n riddle't this
country-side middlin' weel, o'er and o'er again. I think we're
gettin' near th' far end.' 'Well, then,' said Jone, 'it'll ha'
to be done!' 'What arto for doin'?' said Mally. 'Between
thee an' me, Mally,' said owd Jone, 'I'm thinkin' o' deein' a bit.'
'Deein' said Mally. What doesto want to dee for? Thou
talks like a foo! Thou doesn't need to be i' sich a hurry
about thi deein'; thou'll dee o' thisel' in a bit, if thou'll be
quiet. Talk to some sense, lad; an' keep thi heart up;
there'll surely be some road done.' 'It'll ha' to be done
soon, then,' said Jone, 'or else I see but little chance o' keepin'
mysel' alive much longer.' 'Howd thi din, an' keep thi heart
out o' thi shoon, I tell tho,' said Mally, 'we'n al'ays poo'd
through so far.' 'Well,' said Jone, takkin' his pipe out of
his mouth, 'we can happen manage to poo through again, if thou'll do
what I tell tho.' 'I'll do it, as what it is,' said Mally, 'if
it'll bring a bit o' some'at in, for I'm welly (well-nigh)
parish't (perished). 'Well, then,' said Jone, 'I'll stretch
mysel' out upo' th' bed, i'th nook theer; an' thou mun dust my face
wi' flour, an' tee my chin up, an' throw a sheet o'er me, an' darken
th' window a bit; and then off witho to owd Joseph, at th' ho', an'
make as poor a mouth as tho con; an' tell him I'd deeod, an' thou
hasn't a hawpn'y i'th house to bury me wi'. I shouldn't wonder
if he doesn't gi' tho a sovereign.'
"Well, no sooner said than done. Jone wur laid out; an'
off went Mally up to th' ho' a-tellin' her tale. As luck let
(alighted), th' owd maister wur away fro' whoam; but one o' th' sons
coom, an' when Mally tow'd him about owd Jone bein' deeod, he gave
her ten shillin' to help to bury him wi'; an' off hoo started back
again wi' th' brass in her hond. As soon as hoo geet to th'
dur-hole owd Jone thrut (threw) th' sheet off, an' rear't hissel' up
i' bed, an' said, 'Well; how hasto getten on?' ' I've getten
hauve a sovereign,' said Mally. 'By th' mass,' said Jone,
jumping off th' bed, 'that's a good do, for a start! I'll have
a go mysel'! Here; thee lie down this time; an' I'll go an'
try th' owd doctor! If I tell him thou'rt deeod, I'm sure
he'll be some'at toward the berrin'! Lie tho down; and I'll
tee thi chin up, an' throw th' sheet o'er tho.'
"So Mally lay down, an' Jone drest her up as weel as he
could, an' darkened th' window; an' then off he set to th' doctor's,
to tell him that his wife wur deeod, an' he hadn't a farthin' o'
brass to bury her wi'. Well; th' doctor wur a daicent,
kind-hearted chap, al'ays ready to do a good turn where he could; so
he said he wur very sorry that Jone had lost his owd woman; an' he
gav him a sovereign to help to bury her wi'; an' Jone set back whoam
again, as hard as he could pelt, wi' th' sovereign in his hond.
"Now, as it happened, th' doctor wur just startin' off to go
up to th ho' (the hall), to see one o'th daughters that wur poorly;
an' as soon as he geet theer, th' first mortal he met, as he went in
at th' dur-hole, wur yung Joseph, that had gan Mally th' ten shillin'
to help to bury her husban' wi'. 'Good mornin', Joseph,' said
th' doctor. 'Good mornin', doctor,' said yung Joe. 'Any
news this mornin'? 'Nought new,' said th' doctor, 'except that
owd Mally o' Jone's o' Flup's is dead. Her husband's just bin
to me for a trifle to help to bury her wi'.' 'Nay, nay,' said
Joseph; 'it's th' owd chap that's dead! Mally wur here about
an hour sin; an' I gav her ten shillin' to help to pay th' funeral
expenses!' 'By the Lord!' said th' doctor, 'I believe it's a
swindle!' 'It's nought else,' said Joseph. Let's run
down an' see; an' if it is, I'll flog him soundly!' An' off
they went together to owd Jone's cottage.
"Now, owd Jone happened to be tootin' through th' window an
he spied th' doctor an' yung Joseph comin' down th' road full pelt.
'By th' mass, Mally,' said Jone, 'we're in for't! Yon's th'
doctor an' yung Joseph comin' down here, together! Jump onto
that bed; an' I'll lie down beside tho; an' I'll poo th' sheet o'er
us, an' let's look as deeod as ever we con!'
"They'd just time to get theirsels sattle't when in coom yung
Joe, an' th' doctor. It wur a dismal-lookin' hole; an' they
walked up to th' nook where owd Jone an' th' wife lee stretched out
upo' th' bed, wi' th' sheet o'er 'em. 'There they are,' said
yung Joe; 'an' by th' miss, they're both deeod!' 'I don't know
whether they are or not,' said th' doctor; 'but I'd give another
sovereign to know which on 'em deed first.' As soon as they
yerd that, they both sprang onto their hinder-ends, an' they
shouted, 'Me! I deed first.'
"Wi' that, yung Joe took owd Jone a crack across the shins wi'
his whip-stock. Jone jumped out o' bed, and darted out at th'
dur-hole, wi' yung Joe after him, floggin' him every yard he went.
'Murder!' cried Jone. 'Dun yo want to kill me?' 'I
connot kill a deeod chap,' said yung Joe. 'I'll larn thi
better than deein afore thi time's up!' 'Murder!' cried Jone
again. 'Wilto ever dee again?' said yung Joe, layin' on as
hard as ever. 'Never, maister,' said owd Jone never again,
as long as I'm wick! Give o'er, I beg on yo! Well, fork
out that berrin'-brass, then,' said yung Joe. 'I haven't a
farthing about me!' said Jone. 'Where is it, then?' said Joe.
'Our Malty has it!' said Jone; an' then"
"Stop a minute, afore thou goes any fur," said Ben o'th
Bullart's, looking through the window. "I never yerd sich a
tale i' my life; but stop a minute! There's some'at comin' up
th' road, yon. . . . By th' mass, it's yo'r Betty! Off witho
into th' stable, again! an' I'll go, too, this time; hoo's brought
th' rollin'-pin wi' her again!"
TH' WRONG SIDE UP.
I can make noather top nor tail o' this.
IT was a keen
December day, and the trees of the vicarage were festooned with
beautiful frost-work. Crisp snow lay thick upon the old
church, and upon the tombs and gravestones of the churchyard, and
upon the roofs of the houses around; but upon the street where the
cattle market had been held, it was now trampled into slush, and
soiled by the business of the day. The crowd was thinning, but
evening was creeping on, and folk had begun to "tak the gate."
Cattle, sold and unsold, were slowly wending away from the scene,
with their drivers at their heels; and the quaint old street, where
the market had been held for centuries, was gradually sinking down
to its usual stillness. But as the light of day declined, the
glow of the kitchen fire grew stronger in the Royal Oak, a famous
old hostelry in front of the churchyard, where Bill Holland and Ben
Boswell, two comfortable butchers, had crept into the chimney corner
for a quiet chat and a glass, before retiring for the night to their
old haunts in the middle of the town.
"Between thee an' me, Ben," said Bill Holland, "bar-foot folk
shouldn't walk upo' prickles."
"Well, one would think so," replied Ben, "but it just depends
whether they liken it or not, thou knows."
"Well, ay, as thou says, Ben. If they liken to
torment theirsels, they're welcome to fill their ballies, as far as
I'm consarn't, as long as they keepen it to theirsels, and don't
trouble other folk. But, between thee an' me, I tell tho
again, there's a lot o' ill-contrive't craiters i' this world that
are never comfortable. Sich folk should be kept in a bit of a
pinfowd by theirsels."
"They're awk'ard craiters to live wi', for sure. But
what ails him? They say'n he's as rich as Cheetham o'
"Rich! What's th' use o' that, if a chap's thrutched in
his mind! Folks cannot height (eat) gowd! When brass
get's pile't up to that pitch, it bides a deeol o' tentin', an'
lookin' after. Now, th' difference between five thousan' pound
an' five million pound is o' book-keepin' an' anxiety. I
consider that a mon's no more goods i' this world than what he can
get good out on. If he'd o' th' brass i' Englan' he could
nobbut sleep i' one bed at a time; an' if his brass troubles his
mind he'd better be poor."
"I don't like bein' poor mysel', Bill. But there's
some'at i' what thou says, for o' that. If a chap's o'er
weighted in his mind he's in an ill case, an' it doesn't matter
whether it's slutch or gowd, if it pons him down."
"It's a feaw life havin' too mich brass, Ben."
"Well, I never tried it."
"Nawe, nor me noather. That's a boggart that never
freeten't noather thee nor me, Ben. . . . But, come, here's a
Merry Christmas, owd lad!"
"Th' same to thee, Bill! It'll be here, now, in a week
or two, as who lives to see it. . . . But, I yer there's one or
two on 'em down i'th town that's started their Christmas raither
afore th' time."
"Oh, ay. Who's that?"
"Well, owd Cushy, an' Nukkin, an' Bob Leech, an' Occy Lee,
an' one or two moore. They'n bin agate o' their marlocks down
i'th owd street, yon, I yer. It wur Occy Lee that towd me
"Ay! What wur it?"
"Well, it seems that some on 'em turned th' Gowden Bo' sign
th' wrong side up tother neet."
"Oh, ay! An' it's true enough, too! It wur Bob
Leech that did it i'th neet-time. Tother knew nought about it.
. . . But, didto yer what a prank Nukkin an' owd Cushy had wi' this
sign th' next mornin'?"
"Not a word."
"Well, thou knows, Nukkin an' owd Cushy are two o'th
driest-throated craiters there is i' this country; an' they're
generally up afore onybody else in a mornin', huntin' for some'at to
sup. Well; th' mornin' after owd Bob had turn't this sign th'
wrong side up, these two coom trailin' down th' street together,
soon after break o' day, scrattin' their yeds, an' tootin' about for
th' first alehouse dur that oppen't; an' when they geet to th' front
o'th Gowden Bo', Cushy looked up at th' sign, an' he said, 'Hello!
what's owd Dan Nield bin doin' wi' his sign?' 'This is noan o'
Dan's!' said Nukkin. 'Yigh, it is!' said Cushy. 'Yigh it
is! I know by th' windows!' 'It's noan o'th same sign,
then,' said Nukkin. 'I connot read it!'
"Well, Cushy seed that th' sign wur th' wrong side up, so he
said, 'Come to tother-side o'th road, here; an' ston o' thi yed up
again th' wall; an then thou'll read it fast enough!' 'Well,'
said Nukkin, 'I feel raither tickle-stomacked this mornin', when I'm
th' reet end up; but I'll have a try at this job!' An' down
went his yed; an' up went his legs again th' wall. 'Now,
Cushy,' said Nukkin, 'thou mun keep howd on me, or else I's never be
able to stick up for I'm nobbut wambly, when I'm stonnin' o' mi
feet!' 'Here, I'll steady tho a bit, owd lad,' said Cushy.
An' he went an' kept his feet up again th' wall.
"'Now then,' said Cushy, 'conto mak it out?' 'Make it
out? Nawe, by th' mass,' said Nukkin, 'it's ten times worse
than it wur when I stood o' mi feet! Th' whole house is th'
wrong side up, now!' 'Conto read th' name upo' th' sign?'
'Nawe,' said Nukkin. 'I con mak noather top nor tail on't!
I'm not one o'th best readers i'th world when I'm th' reet end up;
but there isn't a worse scholar alive than me, when I'm stonnin'
o' mi yed! . . . Nay; it's no use; I connot make it out! Let
me come down!' 'Thou hasn't gin it a fair chance yet, mon,'
said Cushy. 'Thou'll manage it with a bit more practice.
Try it again, while thou art theer!' 'Here, thee let go my
legs,' said Nukkin, 'an' come an' have a try thisel'. 'I would
in a minute,' said Cushy, 'but I've a sore place at th' top o' mi
yed.' 'Ay,' said Nukkin, 'an' I's have a sore place o' mi yed,
too, if I stop here much longer! Let go my legs, I tell tho!'
'Just have another whet at it,' said Cushy, 'an' then I'll let tho
come down! . . . Conto make aught on it, now?' 'Not a bit!'
said Nukkin. 'It's like a whisketful o' chips! An' as
for th' letters, they're o' masht up together, like a ponful o'
lobscouse! There is one letter amung 'em, an' that's an' O,
an' that's o' that I can make out! Let go mi legs, I tell tho,
an' let me come down, I'm gettin' as mazy as a tup! It's
noan o'th same house!' So Cushy leet go his legs; an' down he
coom, like a seck o' potitos; an' he had to lie theer a while afore
he could gether his wits together again."
"It's just like 'em. . . . But, come; I mun be off down into
th' town. . . . I guess thou'll be lookin' in at th' Blue Bell some
time afore th' neet's o'er?"
"I'll meet tho at th' 'Amen Corner,' if thou's a mind, at
When light enough is in the sky
To shade the smile and light the eye,
'Tis all but heaven to be by,
An' bid in whispers, soft an' light
'S the rustlin' of a leaf, "Good night!"
At evenin' in the twilight.
MORE than an hour
had passed since the summer sun had left the sky, and the rosy
afterglow was beginning, to blend dreamily with the shades of
twilight as the bustle of market-day declined in the heart of a
little rural town on the banks of the Ribble. The town was the
ancient centre of a region of pure air and clear streams, rich in
relics of the history of the land, and unsurpassed in all the north
of England for its picturesque beauty. The green country clipt
it closely in all round; and little garden plots and bloomy bits of
shade gushed in, here and there, amongst the straggling cottages
that fringed its one long, winding old-fashioned street, as if they
loved the pretty little clustered man-nest, and delighted in making
it pleasant. . . . The market-day was drawing to a close, and the
noisy crowd was gradually melting away from the busy scene in the
middle of the town. Here and there, little vendors, who had
cleared out their stocks, were beginning to pack up their empty
stalls, and hurry off to refresh themselves and count their gains.
People looked out at their windows, as the rattle of wheels and the
clatter of horses' feet went by, in quick succession, at the town
end, showing that the great business of the day in the town was
over. Staid country-folk were wandering away homeward, in twos
and threes, along the different roads, into the green country; and,
once more, peace and quietness were stealing over the rough
coble-pavement around the old cross, which was all strewn with
scatterments of hay and straw, and the varied rubbish of a
market-day. As the market-place grew quieter, however, the din
of revelry rose higher in some of the old alehouses around, where
many a reckless farmer from the outlying fell-sides still lingered,
like Tam o'Shanter,
Boozing at the nappy,
Whiles gettin' fou and unco happy,
Nor thinkin' o' the lang lang miles
That lay between him and his hame.
And, as stillness deepened upon the main street, the clatter of
pots, and the sounds of country song from strong fell-side lungs,
began to ring louder and clearer in the centre of the little town.
In one of the oldest hostelries of the town, a famous resort of
market folk, the sign of which was the Eagle and Child, sat
stalwart John Braithwaite the farmer, and his good wife Mary, from
Waddington Fell, waiting till their son Willie had put to the horse,
and brought the spring-cart round from the yard at the rear of the
house. "Th' Brid an' Bantlin'," by which name the ancient
crest of the Stanleys is well known in Lancashire, "Th' Brid an'
Bantlin" was still crowded with lingering farmers and town's-folk,
who had been drinking freely during the day, and who were now
getting very noisy over their cups. John and his wife sat in a
corner by themselves, looking anxiously through the window for the
coming of the cart, for the house was getting uncomfortably hot, and
throng, and riotous. At last Mary was relieved by the sight of
the cart in front of the window.
"Come, John," said she, "yon's Willie wi' th' cart, sitho.
Let's be goin'."
"Ay, well," replied the farmer, drinking up his ale, and
rising slowly from his seat, "I'm quite willin', my lass; for this
cote's gettin' terrible thrang."
"Come, come, John," cried a stout, middle-aged man, who sat
on the opposite side of the room, with a great driving stick in his
hand. "Come! What! yo'r never gooin' bi now, surely?
Sit yo down, Mary. Come, John, thou'll have another.
What's o' yo'r hurry? What! I've as far to go as yo han.
Sit yo down a bit, an' we'n o' go together."
"Nawe, nawe, Sam," said the farmer's wife. "Willie's
waitin' wi' th' cart, yon, an' we mun be gooin'."
"Well, let's o' go together."
"I've no objection, Samuel, if thou'rt ready now; but if thou
artn't, we's be like to leave tho beheend."
"Twothre minutes 'll not mak mich difference."
"We mun be gooin', my lad. We'n a lot o' childer waitin'
on us, an' thou can shake a loose leg, for thou's nought but thisel'.
Beside, if we wur to wait thy time, Sam, I doubtwe should ha' to
wait till mornin'. So, good neet to tho, Sam. We's
happen get a wap on tho some time to-morn, if thou'rt ony bit like."
"I shouldn't wonder if yo doan't see me to-neet again, yet,
Mary. But good neet to yo, if yo are for gooin'. I's be
at whoam soon after yo."
"Thou'll ha' to give o'er cockin' thi little finger, then,
Sam," said the farmer, as he moved towards the door.
"Ay, yo'n had quite enough, Sam. Come on with us, while
it's dayleet, like a good lad."
"Nay, I'll just have another, Mary, an' then."
"An' then what?" said Mary.
"Why, an' then, another," said the farmer to his wife.
"I shouldn't wonder but it'll turn out so, John," said Sam,
who was already beginning to stammer in his speech. "I
shouldn't wonder but I's end up wi' what th' owd clerk at Waddington
co's 'a final gill.'"
"Ay, that'll be about th' size on't, Sam," replied the
farmer. "An' that 'final gill's' finisht mony a strong chap,
Sam. But thou mun do as weel as thou con; so good neet to
"Good neet to yo both, John, an' God bless yo!"
"It's a thousan' pities about Sam," said the farmer to his
wife, as they went down the lobby. "I doubt he's just gooin'
to end up th' same as his faither did."
"Well, his faither begun a-wrostlin' th' champion when he wur
a young chap."
"Well, he begun a-drinkin' when he-wur quite yung, an' though
he wur as strong a chap as ever stalked Waddin'ton Fell, he deed
afore he wur forty-five; an' th' doctors o' said that his liver wur
brunt to a cinder, for he'd bin drinkin' brandy at a terrible rate
mony a year afore he deed. An' I doubt Sam's gooin' to end up
th' same, bi th' way he's gooin' on. It's a greight pity; for
he's a daicent chap."
"It is a pity," said the farmer's wife, as they came up to
the cart, where her son Willie was standing at the horse's head.
"Now then, Willie," said she, "hasto getten o' th' things into th'
"Where's that can o' traycle?"
"Well, thou'd better tee th' lid on wi' a bit o' streng.
I don't want to find th' traycle swimmin' about i'th bottom o'th
cart, amung thi faither's new clooas, th' same as it did th' last
time. . . . John, hasto a bit o' streng i' thi pocket? Let him
tee th' lid on."
Willie tied the lid upon the treacle can.
"Now then," said the farmer, "is o' reet, my lad?"
"Then up witho; Mary, an' let's be off."
"I'll tell tho what, John," said the farmer's wife, looking
up at the clear evening sky, "it's a beautiful neet. I'd as
lief walk as ride, if thou will, an' let him goo on wi' th' cart.
What; it's nobbut about three mile; an' I've bin crampt'n up, first
i' one nook, an' then in another nook, o' day, till I feel as if I
wanted to stretch my legs a bit. What saysto?"
"I'm quite willin', my lass."
"Well, then, Willie, hie tho whoam wi' th' cart; an' mind how
thou taks thoose things out; an' tell our Martha to have a bit o'
supper ready in about an hour. Thi faither an' me's gooin' to
walk. Now don't thee goo an' stop upo' th' road, that's a
Away went Willie with the cart, rattling out at the town end,
past the quiet mansion where the two halberts flanked the front
door, to show that the mayor of the town dwelt there.
The farmer's wife watched him till he had turned the corner,
and then she said, "What; he'll be at whoam i' twenty minutes, if he
keeps on at that rate. Come on, John; let's be gooin'."
And away they went, cheek-by-jowl, jogging quietly down the
old street, Mary with a basket on her arm, and the tall, stalwart,
staid-looking farmer by her side, with a stout hazel staff in his
hand, as fine a specimen of the north-country yeoman as could be met
with in a day's march. And many were the kindly greetings they
met with on their way,
"What, yo'r gooin', John?"
"Ay, we're off."
"Well, good neet to yo!"
"Good neet to thee, Dick!"
The next was a hale, cheerful old woman, who stood in her
open doorway, with spectacles on nose, enjoying the balmy twilight.
"Never sure!" said she, as the farmer and his wife came down
the footpath. "Never sure! What's to do that yo'r afoot,
John? I seed Willie go by wi' th' cart, an' I thought to stop
him, but he went to fast for me. . . . Well, Mary, an' how are yo?"
"We're weel an' hearty, Martha, thank yo."
"Well, an' yo looken so, both on you, yo done, for sure;
an' I'm fain to see yo. . . . An' how are they o' awhoam?"
"Well, they ail'n nought, Matty, thank God for't!
Yo'd think so, too, if you were to see 'em at meal-times."
"I'm fain to yer it, Mary, I am for sure. I like to
yer o' folk bein' meat-whole; it's a good sign."
"Well, I think so, Matty. An', if yo'n believe me, it
does me good to see 'em get their dinners; for if folk connot eat,
they connot work, as who they are. . . . An' how's yo'r Abraham
"Oh, he's pikein' his crumbs up again, thank you, Mary."
"Well, we mun be gooin'; so I'll bid yo good neet, Matty!
It's sich a fine neet that our John an' me are gooin' to walk it,"
"It is a beautiful neet, Mary; an' good neet to yo, an' God
And thus exchanging many friendly salutations by the way, the
comfortable couple toddled out at the old town end, into the open
country, where the shades of twilight were sinking softly upon the
quiet fields, and the evening air was sweet with the smell of new
hay. When they had got about a mile and a half on the way, the
farmer stopt in front of a pleasant-looking cottage, which stood,
half-hidden, in a garden by the roadside, and he said to his wife,
"What! we's be like to co' at yo'r Joe's, I guess?"
"Well, I want to be gettin' whoam; but we'd happen better
just look in, or else they'n think it strange. But don't let
Joseph persuade tho to stop, now; for if thee an' him gets sit down
together, there's no stirrin' yo."
"I'll be ready as soon as thou's done talkin' wi' Sarah,
and yonder hoo is i'th durhole, sitho, waitin' on us!"
Joseph was brother to the farmer's wife, and Sarah, who stood in the
doorway, was Joseph's wife.
"Well, if ever!" cried she, spreading her hands as the farmer
and his wife came up the garden walk. "Well, if ever!
Wonders never cease! Whatever's come'd o'th cart? Han yo
bin upset or some'at?"
"Nawe," replied the farmer. "There's nought wrang,
Sally. My wife an' me han walked up, as it's sich a fine neet;
an' we sent Willie on wi' th' cart. . . . Where's that chap o'
"Yo'n find him i'th corner theer, John. In wi' yo. . .
. Well, Mary, an' how are yo? Come for'ad, an' tak yo'r things
off; an' I'll put th' kettle on."
"Thou doesn't need to put no kettles on, Sally, for our
supper's waitin' on us, an we're not gooin' to stop mony minutes."
"Well, bless mi life! tak yo'r things off while yo stoppen! .
. . Now, John, mak yorsel' a-whoam. Yo seen what there is upo'
th' table. . . . Mary, come into this tother room a minute, I want
to speighk to yo."
The farmer and old Joe were now left to themselves, sitting
opposite one another, each with his glass and his pipe.
"Well, John," said Joe, "has there bin aught stirrin' i'th
"Nawe. A poor market, very. If I wur about ten
year yunger, Joe, I'd farm no moore lond i' this country, unless
it wur mi own."
"Rents mun cum down, John."
"Ay; but farmers 'll ha' to come down first."
"I dar say. . . . Why, owd Bill Sprowell's wife's deeod!"
"Ay; an' th' owd lad wouldn't let 'em bury her for mony a
day. He kept sayin', 'Let her stop a bit! Let her stop!
I'm determin't to ha' one quiet week wi' her, as how 'tis,
afore we parten!' . . . This is a saup o' very good whisky, Joe,"
continued he. "Very good it is. Wheer doesto get it
"I get it fro' Manchester," replied Joe. "What a
terrible shop Manchester is for drinkin'," continued he. "I
wur theer about a month sin', at th' cattle market, an' I had to goo
into one o' thoose starin', flarin' ginshops, to look after a
butcher that I'd had some truck wi'; an' while I wur theer I seed as
sickly a bit o' brokken-down town life as ever I claps een on.
While I wur loungin' about th' counter, waitin' for this butcher,
there wur a greight, fat, dirty, red-faced woman coom staggerin' in
at th' dur-hole, wi' a little, wizzent, quiet-lookin' chap beheend
her, with a face as white as a sheet. Afore hoo could get
gradely into th' place, down hoo went upo' th' floor; an' as this
little chap helped her up again, hoo looked round, an' hoo said,
'I'm trouble't wi' th' rheumatics. This is my husban'.
I'm come to tak care on him. He's a jobber in a factory, but
he's bin out o' wark. John, goo an' sit tho down,' an' th'
little tatter't divvel went an' set down i'th nook as quiet as an
owd sheep. 'Maister,' said hoo to th' chap at counter, 'gi' me
a glass o' rum!' Th' chap gav' her th' rum, an' said, 'What's
he to have?' 'Who? our John? Oh, give him a bottle o'
pop, he's had enough! John, thou mun have a bottle o' pop.
Thou connot ston' mich drink, it gets into thi yed so! . . . He's
my husban', maister; an' I like him as weel as ony I've tried yet! '
'Why, how mony han yo had?' 'I've had three afore him; an' if
he dees I'll have another!'"
Here the farmer's wife and her sister-in-law came in from the
"Come, John," said the farmer's wife, "let's be gooin'!
Yon supper 'll be waitin' for us; an' it'll take us hauve an hour to
get up th' broo! . . . Well, good neet, Joseph! Good neet,
Sarah! We's see yo o' Sunday, again, if o's weel!"
"Good neet to yo both! Yo'n have a nice walk, for it's
a lovely neet!"