THIS volume is in reality
a continuation of Clog Shop Chronicles,
and a few words of explanation are here inserted for the assistance
of those who may not have read the former book.
At the time of which we write, Beckside was a small
Lancashire mill-village, situated on the south side of Brogden
Clough, an irregular sort of glen running almost due east and west.
The only public buildings in the place were the schoolhouse and the
little Methodist Chapel. The latter stood on the right, just
as you came down the hill along the highroad from Duxbury. A
little farther down, on the left, stood the Clog Shop, the little
irregular row of cottages at the eastern end of which it stood
forming the top or south side of a triangle, made by the abrupt
turning of the highway down towards the Beck, and by Mill Lane,
which led through the mill-yard on to Beckbottom and Clough End.
The Clogger was the chief official at the chapel, and, being
of a somewhat self-assertive disposition, he had become in course of
time the ruling spirit of the village. Long Ben, a tall, bony,
mild-tempered carpenter, was his lieutenant. And Sam Speck, a
small-featured man living on a small annuity, acted as henchman to
both. Besides these there were Lige the road-mender, Jonas
Tatlock the choirmaster, Nathan the Smith, and Jethro the
knocker-up. These worthies resorted to the Clog Shop at all
convenient times, and there discussed such topics as the life of the
village provided. And it is these conversations and the
circumstances connected with them which are here detailed. The
dialect is that spoken in the neighbourhood of Bolton.