AB-O'TH'-YATE IN LONDON.
GOING TO THE PLAY.
Somewheere i' Lunnon,
June —, 1868.
Three-quarters,—It's hardly safe for me to tell thee wheere aw think
aw am, becose mi yead's getten turned so far reaund, ut aw dunno'
feel sartin abeaut nowt. Aw wish aw'd come whoam a day or two sin',
as aw'm feart aw'm teetotally spoilt for Walmsley Fowt, an' gettin'
mi livin' wi' mi clogs on! Aw fund misel' amung very uncomfortable
dreeams this mornin'—sich as aw never could like to dreeam agen, for
aw want nowt nobbut plain Ab as lung as aw live, an' no' to be
takken fro' mi loom, an' thee, an' th' chiller, for to be "exalted amung men," as th' sperrit o' mi dreeam said aw must be if aw didno'
mind what aw're doin'. Ther' weet on mi face when aw wakkent, an'
for a while aw couldno' help givin' deep heavy sobs ut welly fotched
mi heart up. "Oh, Sally, my wench!" aw fund misel' sayin', "never
let me be beguiled fro' thee wi' no sort o' witchin' huzzies i' pink
silk an' no bonnets, an' bunches o'th' top o' the'r yead as big as a
sixpenny cob loaf! Send me thi blue printed bedgeawn made up i' a
parcel, ut aw may hang it afore mi e'en, an' remind misel' o' what
aw wur once, an' what aw hope to be agen!"
Aw towd thee i' mi last letter ut Sam Smithies had axt me to go to
th' theatry wi' him; but aw'd no idea o'th mischief ut he're plannin'
for me, or else aw should ha' said,—"Away, tempter!" an' corked up
mi ears like bottlin' smo-drink. But aw promised him aw'd goo, an'
t'other neet aw took that step ut may leead me—goodness knows wheere,
if aw dunno' catch howd o' summat to poo misel' back. Read this
letter straight through beaut stoppin', or theau may happen think
wurr on me nur aw desarve, an' say summat savage abeaut me, as aw
know theau con if theau tries. Aw feel ut aw did wrung, but aw
couldno' help misel' after th' start, as aw're same as Jammie o'
Tum's when he're bathin' i'th' sae, an' fund he're gettin' nar
Ameriky nur he should ha' bin, aw're like to go th' road ut th' tide
went, so aw did.
"Come to my hotel abeaut four o'clock i' th' afternoon," Sam said,
"an' aw'll mak' thee so ut yo're Sal wouldno' know thee afore aw've
done wi' thee."
Aw axt him if he thowt they'd forgetten th' pop an' bootjack dooment;
for if they hadno' aw meant to keep mi heels to'ard th' dur as mich as
"Oh," he said, "aw squared that off o reet. They'n say nowt to thee,
unless they just axen thee abeaut th' state o' thi stomach, or if
theau's fund thi own yead an' legs yet."
So aw consented.
Th' day after, aw rambled abeaut, an' sailed a time or two up an'
deawn th' river in a penny "Express" boat till three o'clock wur
struck by th' parlyment church clock, when aw thowt it wur time to
be gettin' ready; so aw shambled deawn to th' "owd sailor," an' gan
mi clogs a taste o' candle, an' rinsed mi face a bit, ut aw could
forshaum to goo among big folk.
When aw geet to th' hotel aw met Sam at th' dur, an' ther three or
four o' thoose little doctors grinnin' through a window at me. One
on em' held up a bootjack, just like that they said aw'd etten, an'
aw shawmt to some tune when aw thowt what strange notions folk
getten i' the'r yeads when they drinken summat stronger nur pop.
"Come on wi' me," Sam said, an' he took me deawn th' street to a
barber's shop; an' when aw axt him what he're for wi' me theere, he
towd me he're gooin' to have twenty year takken off mi shoothers, so
ut when aw geet back to Walmsley Fowt aw should get turned eaut o'th'
dur for bein' takken for someb'dy beside mysel'! Afore aw'd time to
wonder heaw that could be managed, aw fund mysel' on a wooden cheear
wi' a little chap doancin' reaund me like a toothdrawer, an'
chatterin' away at summat ut wur like French to me. Aw couldno'
understond him ut o till he said—
"City cat?" (cut.)
"Nawe," Sam said, "his yure wants no cuttin', aw nobbut want yo' to
mak' it so as it winno' lie deawn."
"Aye," Sam said, "if it isno' too short;" an' he geet howd of a
tuft, an' gan it sich a poo, ut made me rip eaut wi' summat ut sent
th' little barber into a shakin' fit.
"Yessir, yessir—all right!" an' th' barber wapt a pair o' lung
pincers i'th' fire, an' put me inside of a white geawn, ut made me
favvor a pa'son.
"Art up to some sort o' marlockin'?" aw said to Sam; "becose ift'
art aw'm off in a crack, chus heaw th' theatry goes on," an' aw
begun a-feelin' as uncomfortable as if aw're gooin' t' have an owd
stump drawn wi' Doctor Hollant after he'd had a week's spree.
"Howd thi bother!" Sam said, "ift' doesno' want blisters raisin' o'
thi yead," which aw thowt wur a queer way o' makkin' one feel
"Machine brushed?" th' barber said; an' he geet howd of a thing ut
favvort a grindlestone made o' bristles' an' twirled it reaund.
"Aye, give him a gradely sceawerin'," Sam said, an' aw fairly swat
He'd no sooner getten th' word eaut nur th' little barber stampt his
foout, an' wapt at th' back o' my cheear. Then a engine begun a-turnin',
an' aw felt summat druzzin' away at mi yead ut welly lifted me off
mi pearch. It wur just same as if a theausant cats had seen a meause
i' mi yure, an' wur scrattin' for it; but for o that aw couldno' say
but it felt nice, an' "soothin'," as "Shoiny Jim's" wife says th'
birch rod is for childer. When aw thowt he'd scraped mi toppin' as
nee bare as an ivory cage knob, th' engine gan o'er turning, an' aw
sattled deawn i' mi seeat again, wonderin' what ud come next.
Well, theau may think aw wur in a way when th' barber poo'd th'
pincers eaut o'th' fire—red wot, an' Sam said— Mind thi ears, Ab! If theau's ony bant i' thi
pocket, theau'd better tee 'em under thi
chin, so as they'n be eaut o' th' road." But aw had no bant, so mi
ears had to tak' the'r chance as they wur. Aw thowt th' barber wur
gooin' to brun o th' yure off mi yead, if th' steeam brush had left
ony on; but when he popt th' pincers in a mug full o' wayther, an'
they raised a steeam like makkin cinder tae, aw felt a bit yessier.
Well, he set to wark, an' he raised sich a storm i' mi yure, an' gan
me sich a twitchin', ut aw fairly think mi yead 'll never be gradely
agen! It took him mony a yeatin' o'th' pincers afore he'd finished
me off; but at last he laid his tools deawn, gan mi yure a good
soppin' wi' oil, an' brushed it agen wi' a hondbrush. Then he put th'
comm (comb) through it, an' when he'd fettled a while wi' that, he
poo'd mi geawn off, an' towd me to look i' th' glass.
By th' mass, Sal! Aw didno' know mysel'! an' if theau'd bin theere,
theau'd never ha' laft loce on me, for fear o' some grand lady
runnin' away wi' me! My yead wur somb'dy's else this time, surely;
for sich a seet wur never seen i' Walmsley Fowt. Aw dunno' wonder
what happened after, an' what aw'm feart theau'll tak' in a wrung
leet when theau comes to know abeaut it. But theau shall know.
When we'd finished barberin' we went back to th' hotel, an' Sam took
me upsteers, an' show'd me a suit o' clooas ut he said aw must put
on, an' a grand lot they wur! Ther a "dicky" amung 'em, an' theau
knows aw never would wear one awhoam; but this time aw had to submit
to bein' pinned up like a dumplin' in a rag, an' havin' as mich tape
lapt abeaut mi shoothers as would ha' flown a dragon (kite.) When aw'd getten abeaut hauve donned, Sam showed me a white napkin, an' a
collar ut turned deawn like a skoo lad's, an' he said aw mun put
thoose on. Well, theau knows he met as weel ha' put me to makkin
babby-clooas as set me agate of a job of that sort, for aw no moore
knew heaw to begin nur if aw'd bin made o' waxwork; an' after aw'd
fumbled abeaut till aw'd rent th' collar i' two, ut aw fund wur
nobbut made o' papper, Sam geet another, an' set to an' geart me up
hissel. Everythin' fitted as if it had bin made o' purpose for me;
an' when aw looked at mysel' i'th' glass an' seed heaw fine aw wur,
Walmsley Fowt went clean eaut o' mi seet, an' aw couldno' talk
gradely Lancashire English if aw'd bin punced to it! After aw'd
squozzen mi feet into a pair o' boots ut aw could see mi face in, aw
coed misel' finished off, an' aw looked at mi poor owd clogs ut hung
the'r ears so mournful i'th' corner, like two owd friends ut one's
getten too preaud to spake to, an' aw gan way to three or four
"Give o'er thi snurchin', an' put these on!" Sam said, an' he showed
me a pair o' white leather glooves ut would abeaut ha' fitted eaur
Dick i' width, tho' th' fingers would ha' had to be turned up like
th' legs of his fust treausers.
Aw tried mi best to get 'em on; but aw met as weel ha' tried to
squeeze mi yead into th' neck of a quart bottle; so Sam towd me aw
must carry 'em i' mi hont, as it wouldno' do to goo amung th' "swells" beaut glooves.
"We'n just have a shove i' th' meauth," he said, "an' then we'n be
So we went deawn th' steers, an' had a "shove i' th' meauth," ut aw
fund wur a sope o' that red bottle stuff ut aw'd tasted once afore. As aw're gooin' into th'
reawm, a gentleman, ut wur just sittin' deawn at a table, said to
"Waiter! Half-pint o' sherry!"
An' when aw took no notice on him, he flew into sich a passion ut aw
thowt he'd ha' strucken me wi' his stick! So one o' th' waiters went
to him, an' whispered summat in his ear. Then he geet on his feet,
an' doft his hat an' said—
"Beg your pawdon, sir; I mistook you for one of the waiters."
Sam towd him quietly ut it wur th' best thing he could ha' done, as
aw're a lieutenant i' th' "Royal Blazers," an' a capital shot! Th'
mon looked quite nervous after that; but what Sam meant by a "capital shot," aw dunno' know to this day.
"Cab's waiting, sir," a chap wi' a box-organ jacket on coom an'
whispered to Sam; so we mopt up an' put eaur hats on. Aw dunno heaw
it leet, bur owt o' Sam's fitted me nobbut th' glooves, an' th' hat
he fund me fitted me like a pepper-box lid, an' had sich a gloss on,
ut folk could hardly abide to look at it. As we'rn gooin' deawn th'
lobby we met an owd gentleman wi' a white yead, an' he took his hat
off, an' bowed to us. When Sam seed that he geet howd o' mi arm, an'
"Coom on, Ab, afore we getten locked up. Yon owd men's a lord, an'
if he'd known theau'd nobbut bin a wayver he'd ha' had thee i' th'
lock-ups i' two minutes, i'stid o' bowin' to thee!"
Aw fund it eaut then it wur clooas ut made o' th' difference, an' ut
if a lord had put my rags on he'd nobbut ha' bin a wayver.
Well, Sam shoother't me into th' cab, an' off we drove but when aw
coom to bethink me ut he'd said th' play didno' begin till hawve-past
eight, aw begun a-wonderin' heaw it wur ut we'rn gooin' so soon. Aw didno' wonder lung, for th' cab poo'd up after we'd ridden abeaut ten
minutes, an' we stopped a-facing a grand heause wi' trees i'th'
front; an' aw axt Sam if that wur th' theatry.
"Art theau th' Prince o' Wales!" he said, an' he looked at me as if
he're thinking aw'd made a leatheryead o' mysel'.
"Nawe," aw said,—"aw wish aw wur; theau wouldno' get these clooas
back if that wur t' come abeaut."
"Con theau keep a saycret?" he said, an' he stared me i'th' face
like a magistrate when he's talkin to a witness ut's nervous.
"Aye," aw said, "as weel as a woman, an' betther too, if aw're put
"Well," he said, "my sweetheart lives here wi' her mother, an' we're
goin' t'have eaur baggin' (tea) wi' 'em, an' then tak' 'em wi' us. Theau con be a single chap for an heaur or two,
He met ha' knockt me o'er wi' a pae! What! me mak' someb'dy believe
ut aw ha' not as nice a wife as ever made a mon feel as if he're i'
heaven, obbut when hoo's dressin' knots off him wi' her tongue? What! me ut's lived above th' hauve o' mi time,—unless aw'm gooin' in
for a second hundert,—goo gallivantin' abeaut wi' some gingybread
besom ut'll be hanged abeaut wi' finery as full as a winter-hedge,
an' talkin' like a windy foo' o' nineteen, ut's just getten lose
fro' his mother's appron-string? Nawe! Not for Ab! But Sally, my
love!—we're "weak vessels," as "Owd Thumpbook" says, an' if a mon
has a soft place in his yead, a woman 'll find it eaut, an' mak' it
softer afore hoo's done wi' him. It wur so wi' me, tho' aw'm
confessin' it to thee, wi' mi ears brunnin' like two cinders, as if
they knew what to expect when aw geet whoam.
Aw went i'th' heause; an' when th' dur wur shut at th' back on me,
aw felt as if aw'd getten a separation fro' thee, an had to alleaw
thee eighteen pence a week, an' sixpence a yead for th' childer,
besides club pennies, an' shoon brass, an' a bit a summat to'ard
keepin' th' hens.
"Poo thi hat off," Sam said, "an' flourish thi glooves abeaut, an'
dunno' keep fumblin' abeaut thi shirt collar, as if theau'd getten a
rope reaund thi neck ut theau hadno' bin measurt for;" an' just as
he'd getten th' words eaut, an' aw're getten mysel' 'i order as weel
as aw could, ther summat coom deawn th' steers ut aw thowt wur flyin'
an' it fluttert close to Sam, an' the'r faces met.
"Annie,—my friend, Lieutenant Abrams; Lieutenant Abrams,—Miss
Pilcher," Sam said, an' hoo ducked her yead, an' backed fro' me as
if hoo wur feart on me gettin' howd of her hont, an squeezin' it
"I'm delighted to make your acquaintance," Miss Pilcher said to me,
as soft as if hoo'er talkin' through a flute. "Is your regiment in
"Royal Blazers!" Sam said, an' he began a-talkin' as fine as a
"Led the attack at the storming of Magdala, and now returned home
covered with glory."
"Ift' doesno' give o'er lyin' aw'll goo eaut," aw whispert to Sam;
but he sent his elbow into mi ribs, an' towd me no' to be a foo' an'
o 'ud be reet.
Well we'rn shown into a grand reawm wheere a table stood covered wi'
cups an' saucers, an' things ut aw couldno' mak' eaut. Aw sit misel'
deawn upo' th' fust cheear aw coom to, but aw'd no sooner done os
nur Sam geet howd of a hontful o' mi yure, an' lifted me up again.
"Theau'll get th' 'Royal Blazers' badly thowt on if theau sits thee
deawn afore th' women," he said; an' just then th' owd woman coom
in, waddlin' like a duck ut's getten so fed up it doesno' know but
it's a goose. Th' same nominy were gone thro' wi' her, an' when th'
women had fixed the'rsels at th' table, Sam motioned ut aw met sit
deawn, so aw dropt like a hommer, an' squared misel' for atin'.
"Tea or coffee, Mister Abrams?—beg your pardon—Lieutenant, I mean,"
th' owd damsel said, an' hoo' reddened up a bit through her white
paint, ut looked like fleaur on her face!
"Oather 'll do," aw said, no' quite sure ut aw're reet.
"Perhaps you've been so accustomed to coffee while in camp, that you
would prefer tea for a change," an' hoo gan me a look ut fairly
poo'd me to'ard her.
"Oather 'll do," aw said agen, so hoo temd me a cup o' tae eaut, an'
aw sit waitin' o' th' word o' command fro' Sam.
Well, th' tae wur sarved reaund, an' when we'd getten a cup a piece,
th' owd lady said to me—
"Would you oblige me with a little fowl, Mister— Lieutenant Abrams?"
"A little what?" aw said.
"A little fowl, if you please."
Aw looked at Sam, an' fund here rommin' a napkin in his meauth, an'
his e'en wur welly startin' eaut of his yead! He couldno' spake, but
pointed his finger to summat i' th' front o' me ut looked like a
frog, obbut a good deeal bigger.
"Oh, aye," aw said, an' aw honded it to her. Aw'm a little bit deeaf,
an' it mak's me gawmless betimes, an' aw thowt, "Owd damsel, yo'n a
tidy twist if yo' con manage o that for a start!"
"Beg your pardon," hoo said; an' as aw couldno' say ut hoo'd done
owt wrung aw forgan her, an' towd her as mich.
Aw're awlus towt ut it wur bad manners fort laaf o'er atin'; but Sam
poo'd th' napkin eaut of his meauth an' rooard like a young bull!
an' if aw didno' catch his sweetheart wi' her face turned fro' th'
table, an' her shoothers shakin', aw'm a yorney!
"Ladies," Sam said, as soon as he'd getten his face i' shape, "you
must excuse my gallant friend if he happens to be a little awkward. The noise of artillery has injured his hearing, and life in the camp
has somewhat roughened his language and manners; but as a lover
you'll find him both a gentleman and a soldier. Now then,
Lieutenant!" he said, turning to me, "would you please to leave your
jokes to your comrades, and carve that fowl, as only a soldier can. I've no doubt, ladies," he said, turnin' fust to one an' then th'
tother, "that if the lieutenant were to use his sword, he'd carve it
in the most delicate manner possible."
Lorjus, heaw aw swat!—an' when th' fowl wur honded back to me, an'
everybody said they could do wi' a little bit, aw felt as if aw're
gooin' off in a swither! What mun aw do wi' it, aw wondered? Mun aw
use a knife an' fork, or a spoon? Mun aw cut it lengthways, or
across, or delve i'th' middle? But while aw're wonderin' they'rn
starin', an' aw felt ut aw mun do summat; so aw geet howd of a knife
an' fork, an' begun o' fiddlin' away as if a tune wur expected, an aw
hadno' rosined gradely! Aw met as weel ha' bin yeawin (hewing) at a
clog sole, or an owd umbrell' frame, for ony use it wur; so aw
turned it reaund and tried again. Aw'd no sooner getten to wark a
second time, then flirt it went fro' under mi fork, an' jumpt reet
onto mi knee! "Come," aw thowt, "his treawsers are catchin' it neaw!"
but aw geet it on th' plate again in a crack, an' fiddled away like
a monkey on a box-organ. Aw yerd th' owd woman sayin'—
"What a pity you haven't got your sword!"
"Aw could do beaut sword if aw'd a pair o' pincers," aw said; an'
then they' sich a crack o' laafin' went reaund th' table, ut aw
threw th' knife deawn, an' pusht th' plate o'er to Sam. O' someheaw
nob'dy wanted noane then; they'd ha' summat else; but aw could like
to ha' seen what Sam would ha' done wi' sich an owd piece of
machinery as that "fowl" wur. He'd ha' bin hobbled wi' it, aw know. It wur different to carving bacon wi' th' scithors.
Well, they axt me what aw'd have; but as aw didno' know th' name o'
nowt upo' th' table, aw towd 'em aw wurno used to good stuff.
"Aw'd as lief have a buttercake an' a scallion as owt," aw said. "If yo'n no scallions, a two-thre o'
thoose t'other yarbs 'ud do as
Th' owd lady begged mi pardon again, an' aw forgan her a second
time. Then Sam put his motty in an' said—
"My gallant friend has been so much in contact with the enemy, that
his language has become tainted with theirs. That is the reason you
don't understand him. Scallion is the Abyssinian for love, and
is the native word for dear. I told you that Lieutenant Abrams was
well up in matters of gallantry, as you'll find before he leaves for
his seat in Lancashire."
Aw swat wurr an' wurr; an' as aw seed aw'd no chance o' gettin' nowt
beaut aw helped misel', aw scraumt howd of a hontful o' buttercakes,
ut wur cut so thin aw could see through 'em, an' took four fowd at a
bite! O' this fashin aw polished a plateful off while th' owd damsel
wur tryin' to look as if someb'dy had just axt her if hoo'd have
him, an' hoo'd said "Aye," afore hoo knew what hoo're doin'.
Another plateful o' buttercakes wur browt, an' aw samd into thoose;
an' by th' time aw'd getten mi coals in, an' drunken another cupful
o' tae, th' owd lass had hutched her cheear back, an' risen up. Th'
yung un had done th' same, an' Sam motioned to me ut aw must give
o'er atin', whether aw'd had enoogh or not. A wench coom an' cleared
th' table, an' when th' cloth wur rowld up, hoo browt some bottles
in, an' put 'em between Sam an' me.
"Gentlemen, help yourselves, and excuse us for a short time," th'
owd woman said, an' hoo waddled eaut, an' took th' yung un wi' her.
"Neaw, Ab, owd lad!" Sam said, as soon as th' cooast wur clear—"theau
mun show what th' Royal Blazers con do! Ther's a sope of as nice
whisky here as ever laid a mon under th' table. Get some o' this
under thi waistcoat, an' theau'll talk like a quack doctor."
Aw felt as if aw're short o' talking peawer, so aw took Sam's
advice, an' dived into th' whisky deeper nur aw intended, an' deeper
nur aw ever shall again as lung as mi name's oather Ab or "Lieutenant Abrams." When th' women coom back, donned like a young angel an'
ayounger, aw felt as if aw're someb'dy else agen, an ut' aw'd had
o'th corners o' mi tongue filed off. What aw talked abeaut aw dunno'
know, an' aw dunno' think they con remember; but when th' owd lass
coom to me an' said, "My dear Lieutenant—your arm," an' gan me a
look ut made th' inside o' mi yead work like a churn, aw'd
misgivings ut aw'd bin sayin' summat ut theau wouldno' like to ha' yerd, an' ut theau
wouldno' ha yerd quietly if ther'd bin a stoo'
abeaut ut theau could ha' flung at me!
Well, aw gan her mi arm, an' hoo squoze it to her as if hoo thowt
hoo'd moore right to it nur aw had! an' as aw didno' care for an odd
arm or two just then, aw leet her have it quietly; so o' this fashin
wi marched to th' cab. Just as aw'd getten mi knees comfortably
heaused amung a cleaud o' muslin, aw yerd Sam say to th' cab felly—
"Drive to Covent Garden," an' off we drove.
Heaw aw went on when aw geet theere, an' what happen'd after, aw'll
tell thee i' mi next letter. But till then let me advise thee not to
think ony wurr o' thi yorney of a husbant.
AB-O'-TH'-YATE IN LONDON.
A CLIMAX AND A FALL.
Somewheere else i' Lunnon,
BRID,—Aw've lived just
five heaurs of a parlour-so'dier's life, an' bin punced eaut o'th'
regiment th' fust campain! so ut aw'm no lunger "Lieutenant Abrams,
o'th' Royal Blazers,"—th' fust at th' stormin' o' Magdala, an' th'
last fort' mak' a noise abeaut it! Aw'm getten into mi clogs
once moore, if that'll be ony satisfaction to thee; an' ther's a
heause i' Lunnon ut aw dar' no' go to again; that'll be a bit moore
good news for thee, or rayther, theau'll think it is. Aw've
bin put on a tit's back, an' aw've ridden to th' Owd Lad, like mony
a poor leatheryead afore me, an' neaw aw'm Solomonisin' o'er it.
I' mi last letther aw laft off ut aw wur set-eaut to th'
theatry, an' aw wish fro' th' bottom o' mi crop ut aw'd nowt no
moore to say abeaut it; for if aw did no' mak' a foo' o' mysel' it
wur becose aw're one o ready. Whether aw fell asleep i'th' cab
or not aw dunno' know. Aw hope aw did; but aw've a strung
notion ut, besides bein' wakken, aw're in as good romancin' fettle
as ever "Fause Juddie" wur, an' he shad Gulliver. If it wur
so, it wur so; but oather whiskey or summat knockt a bit o' thatch
off my memory, so ut aw recollect nowt abeaut it. Aw nobbut
judge fro' what th' owd lady said, if aw'm reet in co'in' her owd.
Just as aw're wakkenin' up fro' bein' oather asleep or dateless, th'
owd besom said—
"Then you think you'll sell out?"
"Oh, aye," aw said—"If ever aw do sell, aw'll sell eaut!
Ther's no heause i' Hazelwo'th ut ud keep a mon wi' nobbut sellin'
in. Sellin' eaut ud mak' a barrel a week i' difference, an'
that's a consideration, besides they bein' no extra license to pay."
Th' owd lass crackt eaut o' laafin.
"What a funny man you are, my dear lieutenant!" hoo said—"how
nicely you can turn anything into a joke! I didn't mean
selling beer, which, of course, you know. I meant selling your
commission in the army. If you take the farm you spoke of
you'll be obliged to sell out."
Another case o' sweatin'! What had aw bin sayin' abeaut
a farm, aw wondered? Heawever aw thowt aw met as weel put a
good face on, so aw said—"Just so," an' crackt eaut o' laafin', too;
but it coom off a weak stomach.
"Is your seat a pleasant one?" th' owd damsel said an' hoo
looked up i' mi face, same as a yung brid does at its mother when it
wants a worm.
"Well," aw said, "if aw'd abeaut two inches moor reawm, it 'ud
be o th' betther. But dunno' put yorsel' abeaut; aw con happen
manage till we getten to th' theatry."
Another crack o' laafin', th' owd woman leading' off, an' Sam
joinin' in wi' summat like a serenade fro' a jackass.
"You old tease!" her ladyship said, as soon as hoo gan o'er
shakin' her owd fat shoothers, I didn't mean your seat in the coach;
I meant your country-seat down in Lancashire. But you are so
fond of your jokes."
Sithi, Sal,—aw thowt aw must ha' melted! Mi country-seeat
drawn i' Lancashire! Aw wish hoo seed it, an' thee i' th' fowt,
just ticklin' eaur Ab, an' Joe, an' Dick up wi' that bit o' hazel ut
Owd Thuston says con bring moore music eaut nur Owd Jammie Ogden con
wi' his "oon dur." If hoo'd sore e'en that seet 'ud cure 'em,
aw know it would; an' if hoo'd a pair o' ears as cute as Owd
Juddie's, a bit of a sarmon fro' thy tongue, summat like what theau
gi'es me when aw've lost command o'er mi legs, 'ud set 'em to reets
for a time! What would hoo think abeaut th' owd yate, an' th'
dur wi' a wooden latch, an' th' windows abeaut th' size of a giant's
spectekles, an' th' hencote made eaut o' two fleaur tubs, an' th'
looms gooin' knickerty-knock, knickerty-knock, fort creawn o?
Hoo'd think it wur a fine country seeat, wouldno' hoo? Aw
dunno' care, aw'm as preaud on't as if it wur a better, an' sartinly,
when theau'rt in it a finer country seeat need no' be; but it met be
a bit quieter sometimes.
Well, we geet to th' theatry, an' aw fun it wurno' hauve as
grand eautside as aw expected. Its moore like a factory beaut
windows nur owt else; an' ther' noather stage nor pictures o'
battles to be seen, an' no painted women wi' gowd stummagers, an'
balloon frocks walkin' abeaut i' th' front, same as ther' is at
thoose penny shows ut coom to Hazelwo'th wakes. An' ther no
owd foo's to be seen, beaut they met reckon me one; an' no clarionet
tootlin' nor drum byettin'; an' no sheautin' o' folk to rowl up an'
see what they never seed afore, an' moore nur they bargained for.
Ther nobbut two so'diers, wi' drawn guns, an' steel skewers, walkin'
abeaut! an' when Sam towd me they'rn gradely so'diers, aw felt a bit
queer, lest he should put a trick on me.
As we geet eaut o'th' coach, th' owd woman collar't mi arm,
an' th' yun un geet howd o' Sam's, an' o this plan, like a
Hazelwo'th weddin' we marched into th' theatry. My owd damsel
jerked her carcase forrud like a paecock, an' when hoo swept her
train to'ard me, aw made a carpet on't; but havin' no clogs on, aw
managed to let it howd t'gether till we geet to eaur places.
We had to climb a pair o' steers with a red flannel carpet upo' th'
steps, an' aw thowt we should never ha' gotten to th' top. It
wur some fun to Sam watchin' me doance abeaut like a scoperil, for
fear o' strippin' women's dresses. Heaw other folk manage
fort' keep the'r feet off aw conno' tell! Aw've woven wark wi'
ten treddles, an' never misst mi fooutin', but a yard or two o'
trailin' silk bothers me, an' mi feet too. As we passed a
little window ther a mon stood at it ut looked as if he could like
to ha' turned me back; but when Sam spoke to him, an' threw some
brass at him, he looked as pleasant as Punch did when he thowt he'd
gan Judy a gradely sattler. After meauntin' another lot o'
steps, we coom to an oppen place ut wur as dark as if it had nobbut
bin lit up wi' breet buttons; an' Sam pointed eaut to four cheers ut
stood empty, an' he said thoose wur waitin' for us.
"Heaw con they be waitin' for us?" aw said, when they dunno'
know we're comin', "an' aw thowt Owd lad, crack that nut." But
they wur waitin' for us after o. Things are shapt different
theere to what they used to be at th' owd penny "Temple," wheere we
had to feight for seats, an' keep eaur clogs i' puncin gear as lung
as t' play lasted! When we'rn comfortably plankt deawn, an'
lookin' reawnd at th' place, ut kept gooin' bigger an' leeter, mi
jaws flew oppen wi' wonder, for aw met ha' bin at Crystal Palace
agen, stuck like a weed in a big posy, or a hummabee amung a flock
o' butterflees. Ther moore bees abeaut beside me, for aw could
yer 'em hummin' though aw couldno' see 'em so weel.
"Do you often go to the opera, Lieutenant?" th' owd lady
said; an' hoo unrowlt a lung papper wi' readin' on, an' began a-lookin'
"What doss say?" aw said, turnin' to Sam; for aw wanted to
mak' it seem as if aw thowt it wur him ut had spokken, becose aw
didno' know what onswer to mak'.
It wouldno' do. Sam wur as deeof as a hommer—aw believe
o' purpose, an' aw're put to mi wit's end what to say or do.
Then th' owd woman said again, as unconsarndly as if hood never axt
"Do you often go to the opera, Lieutenant?"
"Ay," aw said at a ventur'; an' then aw waited like a thief
ut's waitin' for his sentence at th' New Bailey, wonderin' what ud
"What is your favourite piece?" hoo said, an' hoo took a fan
fro' somewheere, an' began a-blowing her face like "Owd Nanny" when
hoo blows th' fire wi'' back-spittle.
Aw turned to Sam agen, like a forlorn hope, an' axt him which
wur th' best piece. This time he yerd me, an' he said—
"Jack Sheppard," aw said to th' owd woman, an' awfelt as if
aw'd had a weight takken off mi crop.
Hoo shut up her fan as sudden as Owd Thumpbook when he's
actin' th' angel o' deeath shuttin' its wing up, an' strikin' her
knee with it, hoo said—
"Now, really, Lieutenant, your jokes are too bad! You
ought to reserve them for your comrades! In earnest, now, what
is your favourite?"
"What's yo'rs?" aw said, an aw tried to look as if aw knew a
great deeal moore nur aw did, like mony a foo' besides me does, when
he's talkin' to someb'dy cliverer nur hissel'.
"The Barber Uncivil,"* hoo said, or aw thowt hoo said,
an' aw wonder't if th' owd dame had bin at th' back o'th dur wi' th'
whiskey bottle, ut hoo should ramble fro' plays to barbers o' that
"Nawe," aw said, "he're quite civil; but he gan mi yure sich
a twitchin', ut aw couldno' like t' have again, noather i' Lunnon
nor nowheere else;" an' just then th' gas flashed up like leetnin',
an' th' music brasted off like thunner, an' aw're spared ony moore
axin' abeaut oather plays or barbers. But th' owd damsel gan
me sich a queer look, ut aw've wondered sin' if aw wurno' makkin'
misel' int' a proper leatheryead at th' time.
Well, th' music after th' fust brast, went as quiet as a
Garman Band, when o th' players, obbut th' clarionet, are eaut
beggin'; an' aw could nobbut yer a flute tootlin' same as if it wur
in love wi' another flute, an' wur tryin' to wheedle it o'er.
Then summat like an oboy struck in, an' th' two on 'em tootled at it
like two cats when they're singin' a duet under a chamber window,
obbut it wur a deeal nicer music.
"How sweet!" th' owd woman said.
It sounds like the breeze
Sighing through the trees,
In some fairy-haunted grove,
Where my brighter fancies rove.
"What do you think of my poetry, Lieutenant Abrams?"
Aw towd her aw're no judge o' poetry,—ut aw could hondle a
beef dumplin' betther, an' ut aw thowt if owd Shakspere had had
mayte enoogh he wouldno' ha' wanted a peaund o' flesh i'stid of his
O this time th' flute an' th' obey wur havin' th' music to
the'rsel's, an' aw thowt it wur hardly fair; but e'enneaw t'others
wakkent up, an' they leet off wi' sich a crash, ut it seaunded for o
th' wo'ld like a lot o' owd cans bein' tumbled deawn a pair o'
steers. An' they kept crashin' away, as if they'rn havin' a
music race; an' whether th' flute an' th' obey or th' fiddles or th'
smodrink pumps had it, isno' for me to say, as it wur a very tight
run race. They'd no sooner done nur up went th' curtain, an'
th' owd woman laid howd o' mi arm, an' squoze it till aw gan meauth
like a heaund whelp.
In abeaut two minutes aw'd cleean forgotten wheere aw wur, or
whoa aw're with. It wur no penny show, that, wi' an umbrell'
roof, an' a sawdust floor; but a grand palace, ut met ha' bin made
bi fairies, eaut o' gowd an' red wo'sted, an' ut when a lot o'
angels see'd it, they made up the'r minds ut th' next haliday they
had, they'd goo on a chep trip an' have a bit of a frolic in it!
This wur chep trip day, an' here wur th' angels—flutterin' the'r
wings, an' seemin' to wonder heaw sich grandery could be fashin'd
upo' this yearth. Wheere th' stage should ha' bin, wi' a
painted rag or two, an' a wooden heause, ther' a church, a gradely
church, an' abeaut a dozen pa'sons coom in singin' a hymn. It
wur singin', too! No mumblin', same as owd Thumpbook does when
he finds it eaut he's getten th' start, an' has to wait for th'
congregation to coom up wi' him. After they'd gone eaut o' th'
seet, ther' summat coom ut aw reckon must be an angel, as no woman
could be as pratty, an' hoe let fly a lot o' music, like turning
pigeons up, for every note fluttert abeaut th' place as if it wur
flyin' on silver wings, an' fund it wur so nice it wouldno' turn
back again! Talk abeaut whistlin'!—Joe Whiteyead's flute, when
here used to goo a-cooartin' Deborah Marsland wi' it—tootlin' under
th' garden hedge, an' owd Johnny seechin' him wi' a hazel stick—wur
a foe' to it! an' theau're used to say ut when he played "In a
cottage" it wur like crommin' the'r ears wi' strawberry an'
After this angel had flown her music abeaut a bit, ther
summat coom donned like a king on a pack o' cards, an' he sent some
notes after t'other fort coax 'em back aw reckon; then they boath
flew 'em t'gether, an' rare flutterin' an' warblin' ther' wur
between 'em. It didno' tak' me lung to find eaut ut these two
wur i' love wi' one another; an' when aw fund th' owd duchess wur
squeezin' mi arm tighter, aw felt double sure ther' a bit o'
croodlin' gooin' on. Heaw lung this lasted aw dunno' know, for
what wi' th' whisky aw'd had, an' th' music ut had wacken't it up,
aw felt misel' gooin' o'er in a sort of a swoon, an' when aw coom
eaut ont' th' curtain wur deawn, an' th' band wur havin' a bit of a
rasp to itsel'.
"Let's goo eaut an' stretch eaur legs," Sam whispered to me.
So we went to th' next baitin' shop an' stretched em.
We tarried rayther lunger nur aw cared for, an' if mi legs
wurno' stretched above straight aw dunno' know what a plim-rule is.
As we'rn gooin' back to th' theaytre we seed a grand carriage at a
dur, an' a lot o' chaps abeaut it wi' knee breeches on, an' cauves
o' legs stickin' eaut like pincushins. If aw didno' see bran
or sawdust tricklin' eaut o' one on 'em mi e'en wurno' fit to be
trusted! Sam wanted to try one wi' his penknife, but aw poo'd
him away an' wouldno' let him. Th' carriage, he said, belunged
to th' "Prince o' Goatland." He knew it by one or two comic
singers bein' abeaut wi' hondfuls o' tickets i' the'r honds an'
the'r hat linin's i' th' seet. While we'rn talkin' an' plaguin'
these chaps at had poo'd the'r meauths so eaut o' shape wi' what
they co'ed sin-in' ut they favvort these new fangled 'bacco peauches,
a gentleman coom deawn th' stairs donned just like us, an' he spoke
to another gentleman ut wur donned i' th' same fashin; an' ther'
sich a scuffle amung th' comic singers an' th' chaps wi' th'
pincushin cauves ut aw wondered what ther' wur up.
"Th' Prince!" Sam said; but which wur th' prince an' which
wur th' gentleman, aw dunno' know to this day; obbut one on 'em, aw
dunno know which, coom to me, an' layin' his hont o' mi shoother, he
"Ab!" (heaw did he know me, aw wonder), "if you'll kick those
bareheaded fellows down the street I'll stand a pint for you!"
Aw towed him aw hadno' mi clogs wi' me, or else aw'd ha'
cleart th' fowt i' two or three jiffies. So he said he're
sorry for that, an' then made a dart into th' carriage, and drove
off like a railroad, leeaving th' comic chaps as glum as if they'd
bin robbed an th' thief gone. Sam said they expected a
pocketful o' brass apiece, an' had miss't it. We went into th'
theatry after this, an' took eaur places agen.
We fund we'd miss't one act o'th piece, an' rarely th' women
sauced us for it. My owd gipsey wur as cross as a rate-felly
when ther's no brass for him, an' no signs o' bein'; but aw reckon
aw said summat to her ut met ha' bin intended for thee when theau'rt
flytin, for her face breetened up just same as if it had bin new
painted an' white-wesht an' th' windows cleeant for a pastime.
Hoo geet howd o' mi arm agen, an' pointed to'ard th' stage, an' towd
me to tak' a pattern fro' what wur gooin' on theere, wheere
everybody wur lovin' one another as hoo said—"like a nest of doves."
Well, aw happen did purtend to tak' a pattern, for th' whisky
had getten th' upperhond on me again, an' aw da'say aw said things
ut are best forgetten. Theau sees aw'm tellin' thee everythin'
th' wust side eaut, as aw aulus do when aw've committed a faut, the'
theau says mony a time ut theau doesno' believe me—speshly when aw
tell thee one tale at neet an' another i'th morning, ut theau thinks
is becose aw've a short memory.
Theau knows th' owd sayin'—"Ut th' Bruck o' true love runs
o'er plenty o' stones, an' has a deeal o' turnin's." It wur so
wi thoose kings and queens on th' stage. Folk wouldno' let 'em
like one another as they'd a mind, so th' King of Hearts, as aw
reckon he wur, flew up into a passion, an' swore i' music ut he
wouldno' stond sich like; an' fort' show he're i' good matter, he
smashed his sword an' threw th' pieces deawn, like owd Juddie
breakin' his pipe when the'r Nan wants to be th' mesther. This
made sich a stir i' my clockwark ut aw couldno' help sheautin' eaut—
"Well done, owd brid! If theau'll come as far as
Walmsley Fowt theau'st ha' th' best we han, an' eaur Sal an' two or
three childer i'th' bargain!"
Think nowt at it lass, for aw're crazy. Theau knows aw
wouldno' part wi' thee for thy weight i' sollit suvverins; an' as
for th' childer, aw wouldno' part wi' 'em for twice the'r weight
i'th' same sort o' stuff, an' price of a pint thrown in. If aw
would,—"Jemmy Johnson squeeze me!"
Well, theau should ha' seen th' owd woman when hoo yerd that!
Her comm rose like a thunnerstorm, an' hoo leet eaut at me like a
tit when its heels han getten th' mesthur of its yead; an' for a
time ther a grand opera performance at th' wrung end o' th' theatry.
"What do you mean, sir; what do you mean? Are you
married, sir; are you married? Have you been deceiving me,
sir? Explain yourself."
"Aye," aw said, "aw'm wed, an' six o' as bonny childer as
ever wur fed o' porritch. If yo' deauten mi word, ax Sam
theere; he knows th' lot."
"Then why had you the impudence to propose to me, sir, and
deceive me in the manner you have, by saying you had an estate in
Lancashire, which I don't believe you have?" An' hoo flapped
her fan i' mi face, as if it had been wings o' some unlucky brid
bringin' me bad news.
"Ax Sam theere," aw said. "Aw've had nowt to do wi' it.
These are his clooas ut aw have on; an' if he did co' me Lieutenant
Blazer, aw'd nowt to do wi' th' kessunin (christening). Aw'm
plain Ab-o'th'-Yate, an' aw dunno' care whoa knows it; an' if aw con
just get eawt o' this scrape, yo'n no' catch me in another o'th'
same sort in a hurry."
Th' owd jewel rose on her feet.
"Annie, my love," hoo says to th' yung un, "these men, if
they can be called such, are imposters. Order a coach
immediately. We won't stay in such company another moment—the
Sam lained o'er to me.
"Ab," he says, in a whisper, "we'd best clear eaut, aw think,
afore we're in a wurr mess. Theau's made a bonny job o' booath
thisel' an' me. Come wi' me to my hotel, for aw'm no' gooin'
to trust thee eaut o' mi seet wi' thoose clooas on."
Aw beaunced up in a crack, an' beaut so mich as sayin' "good
neet" to mi owd flame, ut wur in a swither then, made a dart to'ard
th' dur, an' geet as mony blessin's fro' folk ut aw had to scramble
past, as owt to sarve me as lung as aw'm wick. When aw geet to
th' dur aw looked back at th' road aw'd come, an' seed aw'd laid a
whol fielt o' muslin in a swaithe (swath), as if aw'd bin a scythe,
or a hurricane. Sam, after he'd had a bit of a frap wi' his
sweetheart, an' getten a rap o'er th' nose wi' her mother's fan,
coom sweepin' after me, makkin' another swaithe, an' bringin' a lot
o blessin's wi' him, ut he didno' seem fort' think ud do him ony
good. Aw da'say ther scores o' toes had to be plaistered up
When we geet into th' street Sam co'ed for a cab, an' we
drove to his hotel; an' a rare set-to he gan me upo' th' road for
spoilin' what he co'd his little game." But when we londed at
th' hotel, an' had finished a red bottle, he geet into a better
temper, an' said it wur happen for th' best, as finest o' women
didno' aulus mak' th' best o' wives.
"Aw wish aw'd one like thine, Ab," he said, an' he geet howd
o' mi hont as he said it. "Aw should think aw'd getten a
queen, an' what's moore, a gradely woman."
So theau yers what folk thinken abeaut thee, even so far off
as Lunnon; an' aw think misel' ut theau couldno' do better nur let
it be a consideration i' mi favour when aw get whoam, so ut if ther'
is ony troubled waythers, it may be a drop o' sweet oil o'th' top o'
'em, as eaur Dick's spellin'-book says.
Good neet, owd brid! After theau's yerd fro' me another
time theau may tell th' post felly ut th' next letther aw send aw
shall bring misel', if th' Owd Lad or Sam Smithies doesno' stond
Thine, i' repentence,
* "The Barber of Seville," by Rossini.
AB-O'-TH'-YATE IN LONDON.
TWO PHASES OF A LONDON SABBATH.
Sam's Hotel, Lunnon Fowt,
July —, 1868.
aw'm writin' abeaut Sunday, aw'll co' thee by thi Sunday name; for
aw'm full o' Sunday feelin's, an' Sunday wishes to'ard thee an'
everyb'dy. Aw hope theau'rt same, an' ut theau'll keep so a
day or two lunger,—forgettin' mi bits o' yorneyish doin's, ut theau
has scored up again me, an' ut theau'rt sometimes pleest to co
sticks i' pickle." Let 'em keep picklin', an' behanged to 'em.
Yesterday wur a reecher, an' if aw'd roamed abeaut th'
streets o day aw should ha' bin like an underdone steak neaw, fit to
be put on a table wi' fried onions an' fleaur lithin'. But
aw'd a better thing on—aw're i' Sam Smithies' clooas again; but ther
no barberin' this time, so ut mi yure looked as if it had bin knockt
abeaut wi' a whelwynt (whirlwind), or made into a meause neest while
a family o' yung uns had bin browt up. Aw march into th' hotel
neaw just as if aw're gooin' into mi own heause, obbut Sam winno'
stond me orderin' mi own dinner, an' if aw've owt to sup, it hast'
go through his honds afore it gets to mi meauth. Well, aw
conno' grumble at that, seein' what aw've cost him at other times,
besides th' danger ther' is i' lettin' me ha' mi own road i' things
ut concarn mi stomach.
"Ab," he said, when we'rn partin' t'other neet, after aw'd
gan up mi commission i' th' Royal Blazers, "heaw art gooin' to spend
"Well," aw said, "if aw could find eaut a Ranters' chapel
aw'd goo theere; becose they're so yearnest i' what they're doin' ut
it keeps one wakken betther nur they con at th' church; an' aw dunno'
like sleepin' o'er a sarmon, same as owd Johnny o' Sammuls, ut had
his pew back made so hee (high) they couldno' see him when his yead
"Goo wi' me to th' Foundlin' Hospital," he said, "they'n keep
thee wakken theere. Beside, theau'll see a seet ut'll mak' th'
cockles o' thi heart oppen like mussels on a topbar!"
"Is that a church or a chapel?" aw axt him "becose aw'm
rather partiklar abeaut th' sort o' company aw goo amung, speshly
neaw aw'm i' Lunnon."
"Theau may co it oather," he said; "but they go'n through th'
sarvice same as the done at a church."
"Dost think ther'll be a collection?" aw said, for aw're
calkilatin ut mi pockets wouldno' stond mich divin' into.
"Well," he said, "if ther is, theau con tak' a thripenny bit
wi' thee an' put that i'th' box, as mony a hundert beside thee han
done ut could weel afford a suvverin."
"Should aw graise mi clogs, or ha' 'em black-balled?" aw
said. Theau sees aw're given' him a hint abeaut his clooas,
an' aw stretcht misel', fort' show him heaw nicely they fitted me.
"Oh," he said, after he'd chewed his thumbnail a bit, an'
looked at th' floor, "theau con ha' thoose on agen, but theau'll ha'
t' strip as soon as we getten back."
Aw took him fort' meean booath th' boots an' the clooas; so
aw gan him mi hont at once, an' said aw'd goo wi' him.
That sattled on, we parted—"to meet again in a happier
place," as "Owd Softly" said, when he prayed for Little Nopper, an'
then took th' bed fro' under him for rent.
Well, Sunday mornin' coom, an' as aw'd pitched mi tent upo'
Newington Green, aw could hardly tell it fro' a Hazlewo'th Sunday,
it wur so nice and quiet, even to th' church bells, ut rung same as
if they'd slippers on, an' wur feart o' wakkenin' th' babby.
Th' owd sun had put as mony coals upo' his fire as th' grate ud howd,
an' his chimdy drew it into a white yeat; but ther a nice breeze
wafted abeaut me, ut wur as refreshen' as puttin' a cleean shirt on,
an' aw felt as if aw could like to ha' sit theere o day, under th'
shadow o'th' trees—harkenin' bells an' th' brids, an' puttin' one's
thowts an' feelin's i'th' sort o' harmony ut mak's one's e'en wander
up to th' sky, an' marvel what's gooin' on theere. Aw could
just recollect a verse of a hymn ut we used to sing at Hazelwo'th
skoo, when theau're at th' bottom form, wi' a pair o' cheeks like
apples, an' a meauth ut looked as if it belunged to th' hymn; so, as
ther nob'dy abeaut just then, aw led it eaut, two lines at once, as
"Owd John" used to do, an' raised mi voice an' mi heart i' singin'.
Theau knows what a clumsy singer aw am at owt beside a ballit, but
to me just then it sounded like a little chapel, wi' brass
candlesticks upo' th' pulpit, an' brass nobs upo' th' pew durs, an'
twenty pratty wenches stondin' up i'th' loft, tryin' to draw us fro'
this carnil yearth, wi' looks an' seaunds ut belunged to somewheere
Aw believe aw could ha' praiched a sarmon then, for good
thowts kept springing i' mi yead like a well o' sweet wayther, an'
words o' thankfulness coom tumblin' into mi meauth i' sich a way, ut
aw couldno' help Iettin' 'em eaut as fast as ever owd Thumpbook did,
when ther' someb'dy sittin' before him ut had plenty o' brass an' a
wide pocket top, an' ut kept a good table for Sundays. "Carnil
vessel" ut he is.
But time fur meetin' Sam wur drawin' on, so aw had to bless
mi congregation an' send 'em whoam, ut aw met goo an' praich
somewheere else. This aw did i' grand style. Then wi' a
heart runnin' o'er wi' love for everybody, but moore partikilarly
thee an' th' childer, aw gethered up mi carcase, an' took it to
wheere it ud have its eautside put i' haliday trim, as weel as th'
inside. This finished, to th' boots an' white neck-napkin agen,
aw set eaut wi' mi owd companion to th' Foundlin' Hospital. O'
someheaw aw fancied Sam had bin fettlin' his inside up a bit, like
one's-sel', he looked so sollit an' quiet; an' they' no peevish
twinkle in his e'e, ut aw'd seen afore.
Eaur road lee through a part o' Lunnon ut aw'd ne'er been in
afore, an' if aw must choose aw'd ne'er goo in agen, speshly on a
Sunday; for ther' things to be seen theere ut mak's one wish ut a
comet 'ud come wi' a dish-cleaut tail, an' mop th' wo'ld of its sin
an' ugliness, an' give it a fresh start to see if it 'ud mend its
ways! If ther' sich carryin's on among th' Blue-faced Indians,
ut aw've yerd Little Nopper talk abeaut, wheere they'n no leet to
guide 'em, no moore nur dogs or monkeys, we should be sendin' a
ship-looad o' missionaries, for t' tell 'em ther' ways wurno' sich
as 'ud lond 'em reet i' th' next sattlement! But here, wheere
ther a lot o' stray human sheep within raich o' a theausant
shepherds' hookin' pows, ther' is no' one put eaut for t' save 'em
tho' they're up to th' neck i'th' slutch o' wickedness, an' within a
frab or two o' poppin' o'er th' yead, for t' never see moral dayleet
agen. Th' seaund o' that canker-hole coom on me like a sheaut
fro' Bedlam, an' aw tremblt' lest a judgment should come on us just
then, an' mak' it a warmer shop nur it wur.
"Theau'll see a seet e'eneaw," Sam said, "ut'll mak' thi yure
so ut theau winno' need to goo to th' barber's a-havin' it curled.
Theau may have an inklin' by th' noise ther' is." An' just
then we coom to a street ut wur fairly swarmin' wi' maggots—no' sich
like maggots as theau finds i' cheese, ut owd Juddie says are nowt
nobbut "wick fat," but maggots wi' arms an' legs an' clooas—rags aw
meean—an' ut could sheaut an' swear, an' rip abeaut like nowt i' th'
"What does o this meean?" aw said to Sam, for aw'd that sort
of a feelin' ut one has when we'n seen a battle, wheere th'
feighters had bitten one another like dogs. "Heaw is it ut
sich like is alleawed on i' this Christian lond? Wheere are th'
police? Wheere are th' pa'sons? Wheere is th' parlyment?
Wheere is th' Queen? Wheere is"—aw'd like to ha' said a
greater peawer, but summat stopt me.
"Aw've axt misel' that question mony a time," Sam said; "but
aw've getten no onswer nobbut this,—it doesno' matter what folks
done eaut o' th' seet o' th' government an' th' nobs o' th' lond, if
they'n keep eaut o' Trafalgar Square an' Hyde Park. It's when
they go'en theere, ut they getten a bit o' notice fro' thoose ut
should taich an' guide 'em. No other time."
"An' what is this place, an' what are these poor folk doin'?"
aw said; for aw're bewildered, an' dumb-feaundered wi' th' noise an'
th' brawl ut wur gooin' on.
"It's Leather-lane market," Sam said, "wheeze th' poorest o'
the poor han to buy the'r Sunday needs. Theau may truck i' owt
fro' a cabbage to a walnut, or fro' a hontful o' perriwinkles to a
suit o' clooas," an' just then ther a woman, ut wur as ragged an' as
dirty as owd Moll Hollant, held up summat ut looked like a leg o'
mutton, an' ut wur quite as dirty lookin' as hersel', an' hoo axt
what onyb'dy 'ud bid for that. Another put up summat ut Sam
said wur fish, but it looked moore like a leather appron, an' hoo
axt what they'd bid. Then a mon held up an owd senglet, an'
knockt it deawn for sevenpence, after he'd done moore sheautin' nur
ever aw yerd fro' a showfelly at Knot Mill fair. Reaund every
stondin',—an' they'rn as close t'gether as th' pavin' stones i' th'
street,—this sort o' auction wark wur gooin' on, so theau may think
what a bother an' racket ther' wur i' that cusst hole. An'
talk abeaut th' smell!—Phew! aw'm as sick as if aw'd bin ridin' in a
flyin'-box, every time aw think abeaut it; an' heaw even a dog could
ate owt ut wur sowd theere an' forshawm t' goo into a cleean kennel
after, aw conno' understood. It 'ud be a disgrace to
four-legged natur'. That it would!
"Aw'd rayther aw hadno' seen a seet o' this sort," aw said to
Sam, ut wur lookin' on as if it wur a everyday seet to him.
"Aw'd a good crop o' Sunday feelin's when aw set eaut, an' neaw aw
ha' not as mich as a windle laft. Oh, 'for a wilderness o'
monkeys,' as owd Shakspere says, if these are Christian folk!"
"Howd thi bother!" Sam said, "it's same as skinnin' snigs,
they getten used to it, an' thinken no moore abeaut it nur if
they'rn gooin' to a charity sarmon or a Ranters' camp meetin'.
It's Cockney natur'—not to do owt like onybody else."
"But why conno' they get the'r stuff in, sich like as it is,
o' Setturday neets?" aw said, same as they done i' England, or ony
other gradely country?"
"They'n no time," he said. "Setturday neets are
precious to 'em. They han to spend the'r wage i' drink an'
singin'-reaum music then, becose they conno' get it o'th' Sunday
mornin'. Beside, they han to wait for what's laft bi Setturday
folk, so as it'll come in chepper o'th' Sunday. They're a sort
o' market scavengers, ut, like rottens in a soof, aten up what winno'
go deawn th' grid. That's why Lunnon is so free fro'
pestilence. It's a balancin' law o' natur', ut great cities
conno' do beawt, an' eaur parlyment knows it; that's why they dunno'
"Come on," aw said, "afore mi heart comes up," an' aw geet
howd o' Sam's arm an' dragged him to'ard a sweeter place.
"That's one sort o' Sunday life i' Lunnon," he said, as we'rn
gooin' away; "but ut theau winno' goo whoam, an' think ther' isno' a
better sort, theau'll find thisel' i' ten minutes fro' neaw, in a
place ut'll bring o thi best feelin's back, an' one or two extry
He towd true. I' ten minutes fro' then we'rn in another
We stop't at th' gates o' what to me looked like a grand
palace, wi' a big garden i'th' front, laid eaut i' nice walks; an'
wheere ther green shady trees same as ther' is i'th' country.
Aw'd bin stewin in a stink afore, but this seet coom on mi like
suppin at a well, wi' roses an' honeysuckles hangin' o'er it, an'
thee sittin' o'th' side on't, lookin' thi Sunday looks at me.
We went up one o' these walks, an' fund we wurno' by eaursels, for
ther lots o' grand folk upo' th' same arrand. At last we coom
to a dur, ut looked like a chapel dur, wheere a mon stood, howdin' a
tin dish in his hont, full o' little bits o' silver. Sam dropt
a shillin' i'th' dish, an' it looked like a silver giant amung t'
others. Aw fumbled eaut mi thripenny, an' when aw dropt it
o'th' side o'th' shillin' aw felt as if aw'd bin takkin' summat eaut
i'ste'd o' puttin' summat in. But ther others did th' same ut ne'r
shawmt a bit. After that we took eaur hats off, an meaunted a
pair o' steers; an when we'd squozzen eaursels up th' side o' a
gallery, ut wur throng wi' folk, Sam whispert to me to look reaund.
Oh dear me, Sal!—Sarah, aw meean—that wur a seet ut as soon
as aw set mi e'en on they filled as full as they did when aw looked
at eaur little Betty i' her coffin, wi' that little posy i' her hont
ut wur deead like hersel', but booath smilin'! Ther abeawt a
hundert an' fifty childer, to th' best o' mi calkilation, sittin' i'
rows up in a gallery, ut sloped fro' th' top o' th' buildin' deawn
to wheere we stood. They'rn divided i' th' middle bi a organ—th'
lads o' one side an' th' wenches o' tother; an' if aw couldno' ha'
takken everyone on 'em, an armful at a time, an' blest 'em like
blessin' mi own childer, never say ut aw'm a feyther again, or ut
aw've a feyther's feelin's. Aw mun use a big word neaw, an'
say ut a lovlier seet couldno' be eaut o' heaven nur that garden o'
sweet choilt-fleawers—buds, aw meean,—for they'rn like thoose roses
ut are shut up at neet i' innocent freshness, an' i' th' morn are
blown i' full grooth—scatterin' the'r sweetness abeawt as if it wur
wo'th nowt, till th' frost nips the'r petals, an' owd Death puts 'em
in his cooat-breast, an' carries 'em whoam at last!
"Sam, what are o' these?" aw said, for th' sarvice hadno'
begun yet, so ut one could talk.
"They're foundlin's," he said, "an' this is th' Foundlin'
"An' what are foundlin's?" aw said. "Are they childer
beaut feythers an' mothers, like orphins?"
"They're childer ut dunno' know whether they'n feythers an'
mothers or not," Sam said, an' he turned his e'en on me wi' a very
meeanin' look. "They're browt here as soon as they're born,
an' fro' th' minute ut one comes in at that dur, o these tother are
sisters an' brothers to it, an' they'n noane else i' this wo'ld."
"But why dunno' the'r feythers an' mothers keep 'em awhoam?"
aw said, for aw felt ut if aw'd a fielt full o' childer aw should
want 'em o to stond reaund th' same table at porritch time.
"That's best known to Him ut watches o eaur consarns," he
said, as if he'd getten into th' pulpit an' wur prachin'.
"Happen ther' are lots o' feythers an' mothers here, ut han childer
up theere, an' they dunno' know which is the'r own, an' never will."
Aw looked up at that gallery agen, an' stared at it till mi
e'en grew dizzy. We'rn at th' wenches' side, an' every face i'
that sweet pictur' wur oppen to me as a book, ut aw could read
strange things eaut on, as if it wur a little Bible, ut said nowt
abeaut th' wickedness o' men an' the'r salvation, but showed me a
little heaven, wheere nowt but childer wur alleawed to goo ut had no
feythers an' mothers upo' this yearth, but had One above ut did for
booath. Every one wur donned alike. A black stuff frock
wi' short sleeves—a little woman's white appron teed o'er it; a
white tippet, an' a white French cap, wur the'r simple Sunday gear;
an' not a silk an' satin bedaubed snicket wur ther' lookin' up at 'em
but favvort as they'd give every rag an' jewel they had booath
theere an' a-whoam to be just like 'em. Aw looked at one i'
partikilar, ut favvort hoo're th' mother to a family o' tuppenny
dolls, an' had browt 'em up i' credit. A sweet face hoo had,
just like eaur little Betty's—ut's neaw i' heaven, bless her!
Whether summat towd her ut aw're thinkin' abeaut her aw couldno'
tell, but someheaw hoo couldno' keep her e'en off me; an' aw felt as
if aw could ha' takken her on mi back an' carried her to Walmsley
Fowt, an' letten her tak' eaur Betty's place. I' mi mind aw
fund whoams for 'em o straight forrad, an' seed 'em groom' up theere
a blessin' to everybody abeaut 'em.
"An' these," aw said to misel' "know nowt o' what a mother
is;—never wur clipt to her breast, an' fondled o'er while hoo's sung
'hush-a-bee!' Never lisped the'r fust words for ears ut
thinken ther's noane sich musick nowheere! Never prattled
the'r little bits o' prayers ut childhood's altar—a mother's knee!
Never fretted when a loved face looked mournfu' an' crowed when it
smiled! Never rode to 'Banbury Cross' upo' grondad's leg, nor
wore his waistcoat an' spectekles when they begun to toddle!
Never wur watched to th' skoo on a Sunday wi' dotin' e'en, nor
hearkened for at neet wi' hearts ut cracken to yer thoose little
feet patterin' at th' dur wi' tiny punces, an' puttin' a heart i'
flutter, ut no sorrow nobbut one can crush!
Aw could goo no furr, for mi heart brasted, an' aw had to put
mi hat o'er mi face while th' flood ut wur letten loce spent itsel'
i' mi napkin. Tell eaur Ab, an' Joe, an' Dick, ut if they
dunno' behave to thee as they should to a mother, aw'll poo the'r
ears till they con garter the'r clooas up wi' 'em, when aw coom
whoam, that aw will. As soon as aw could get mi e'en ut they
could see, aw looked reaund. Ther' wur other hearts watchin'
beside mine. A woman i' black wi' a black veil just drawn o'
one side her face, gan way till aw could yer her sobs above th'
pa'son's voice, ut wur neaw i' th' pilpit beginnin' th' sarvice.
An' her e'en 'ud sometimes be fixed upo' th' gallery,—wanderm' fro'
top to bottom,—fro' end to side, as a mother looks up an' deawn th'
street for a lost choilt. Then hoo'd tak' 'em off, bury 'em in
her napkin, an' brast eaut afresh. Aw'd no 'casion to ax Sam
what that meant. As sure as aw hope to see thee agen hoo'd a
choilt up theere, an' hoo didno' know which it wur, an' wi' o her
seechin' hoo'd never find it.
When th' hymn, wur gan eaut,—if theau'd yerd thoose little
darlin's sing, theau'd ha' bin like me, wet through wi' e'e wayther;
an' theau'd ha' said, like a greater Somebody nor thisel'—"Suffer
little children to come unto me!" for o ut theau's six o' thi own
an' th' kayther noane yet laid by. It seaunded like music fro'
a wo'ld o' sperrits,—ut aw sometimes yerd i' mi dreeams, when
theau're used to sing me asleep, afore theau begun a-singin' for th'
childer! An' whoever could deaut ther' bein' a heaven, after
yerrin' sich a grand promise fro' thoose angel lips, has noather
heart nor ear ut aw'd give a gingham fent for, nor a soul ut con
meaunt two inches above his hat. If he has, aw'm a jobber-knowl,
neaw then! Every part o' th' sarvice wur like a taste of a
betther place, obbut when it coom to th' sarmon, ut wur noane sich a
sarmon as aw could read i' thoose Bible-faces, but coom too nee
one's own wo'ld, to put us i' strunger hope for th' next, or mak' us
feel better nur we felt o ready.
Aw parted fro' that seet same as aw're used t' part fro' thee
of a cooartin' neet, aw wanted to be th' last eaut o' th' place, as
aw're th' last fro' th' side o' yore gate. But "ther's a time
for everythin'," as th' owd book says, an' Sam whispered to me ut it
wur dinner time an' we must goo an' watch th' childer sit deawn to
the'r meal. So aw took a farewell look at th' gallery, gan a
good soik, an' tore misel' away. When aw looked at Sam's face
aw could see abeaut his e'en favvort it had bin wesht sin th'
t'other part wur; so he must ha' bin swillin', too.
Well, we went deawn th' steers, an' we'rn shown into a reawm
ut favvort it would ha' raiched fro' eaur dur to owd Thuston's
shippon; an' ther tables deawn booath sides on't. This wur th'
atin place for th' lads, so aw fund aw should ha' a chance o' seein'
'em better nur aw had i' th' church, as aw're then at th' wenches
side. Th' dinner wur set eaut o ready—cowd beef, a lettuce,
an' a hunch o' bread a-piece—th' plates bein' bigger or less
accordin' to th' size o' th' ater. I' two or three minutes
after we'd takken eaur stond amung th' crowd o' folk ut wur gethert
reaund, we seed two lines o' summat shoot into th' place, as
straight as a ramrod eaut o' a gun. They'rn lads marchin' to
th' tables, led up bi a little band. When every one had getten
a-facin' his own plate, an' gan it a shy look, as if it had bin a
wench, th' band struck up, a blessin' wur axt, an' theau may judge
for thisel' what followed, an' heaw soon, too, when theau's sin eaur
lads delve into a deeshful o' new pottitos—three on a fork at once,
an' deawn wi' 'em. Aw fancied aw yerd th' captain say,
quietly, "Wire in, lads!" an' they wir't in.
That seet made me so hungry aw couldno' abide; an as Sam wur
gauging his waistcoat, so ut he could tell what time o' th' day it
wur, as he said he could to five minutes, we coom eaut; an' after
we'd sattled up eaur consciences, like reckoning up a shop score, we
fund ut we'rn so mich better folk for havin' bin wheere we had, ut
aw made up mi mind ut when aw geet whoam aw'd ha' a Foundlin'
Hospital o' mi own, an' put eaur Ab, an' Joe, an' Dick, an' th'
wenches in it, divided deawn th' middle bi th' lung table i'stid ov
a organ, an' aw'd praich to em' ov a Sunday, as th' owd fisherman
did i' Gallilee, afore parsons wore black gaiters an' broad-brimmed
hats, or sowd folk up for tithes an' church rates, as they han done
afore neaw, tho' aw think they're gettin' moore o'th' milk o'
kindness i' the'r stomachs nur they'n used to feed on i' darker
times. Aw hope they han, at ony rate, for th' sake o' Him ut
towt 'em Charity an' Love, an' had nowheere to lay His yead, nobbut
on th' stones o' th' hee road.
Neaw then, aw've seen Lunnon, but ha' no' seen o by a
theausant times, an' happen never shall, tho' Sam Smithies says aw
mun come agen sometime, an' he'll mak' me into as mich o' a
philosopher, as it's possible to manufactur' eaut o' a foo'.
Heawever, what aw ha' seen an' tasted aw'll never forget to mi deein'
day, nor lose th' seet o' th' lessons ut it taiches. I' two
days fro' neaw aw shall tee up mi bundle an' put mi travellin' legs
on; then, wi' mi nose set to'ard Walmsley Fowt, an' mi heart yearnin'
for thee, aw shall say, i'th' words o' owd Sam Bamfort—"Lunnon, fare
theau sees me agen,
PREPARIN' FOR WALMSLEY FOWT JUBILEE
FIRST COMMITTEE MEETING.
WELL, Sarah, next
year is Queen Victoria's Jubilee year, an' aw reckon we's ha' to do
summat to celebrate it an' do honour to her; aw munset abeaut
shappin' a plan."
"Theau'd better bide quiet a bit an' see what other folk are
begun t' do, an' theau'll happen larn summat ut ull suit. If
theau does summat o' thi own plannin' it ull happen be wur nur that
sail in a tub ut theau gan Fause Juddie, an' it ull be best for thi
to let me know afore tha does owt ut o. What doss think o'
"To be sure it would, owd Skoomissis," aw said. What
blunders aw should mak' if aw hadno' thee ut mi elbow to correct me!
Neaw then, what are we men gooin' to do for this great Jubilee next
"Well, aw'd ha' knitted her a pair o' white stockin's if aw
thowt hoo'd wear 'em. But aw dar'say hoo wears red uns, like
other ladies o' quality; summat different to workin' folk."
"But ther' are poor folk ut wearn red uns," aw said.
"Aye, but thoose are below common, like Black Sam's wife; an'
they nobbut wearn 'em when ladies han done wi' 'em, so it's nowt to
"But aw didno' meean what art' theau gooin' to do," aw said.
"Aw meant what should th' whul fowt do. What should we spend
some money on, as a jubilee moniment to her Most Gracious Majesty?"
"Put a pow up wi' a hen on th' top, for t' show ut th'
naton's bin henpecked fifty year, an' never grumbled," th' owd
ticket said; an' aw thowt by that hoo'd scored a point nicely.
"That's just it," aw said. "Theau's hit th' nail beaut
hommerin thi thumb. A henpecked nation! It's a wonder
nob'dy's thowt abeaut that afore."
"Well, it shows a woman's better able to manage things nur a
mon is. If we'd had a king he'd ha' gone abeaut his wark like
a blunderin' owd foo'; an' his childer would ha' bin scattert abeaut
th' country, till we shouldn't ha' known 'em fro' common folk!
A queen's best, but aw'd mak' it law ut hoo shouldno' wed till
"What would t' do that for?"
"Wheay, art' so blynt theau conno' see that?"
"Aw conno' gawn thi meeanin' yet."
"Conno' theau see we should be on less expense?"
"Aw do see it neaw. Wheay, in a generation or two that
ud lond us into a republic. Ther'd be noather princes nor
princesses. Well, theau has notions o' thi own, an' no
"That's what owd Juddie would ha' coed seaund logic, isno'
it, Abram? Aw reckon theau's never thowt abeaut it before;
"Nawe, that's a new idea; an' theau desarves a patent for it.
Heaw to lessen a nation's expenses beaut hurtin' onybody, or touchin'
what they coen vested interests. If that law wur carried eaut
a bit furr for a generation or two th' country would be no wurr for
it. But neaw theau's sattled that job, let's come to this
"Well," th' owd stockin' mender said, "what doss think we
should do beside puttin' this hen-pearch up?"
"Some folk are i' favour o' scholarships," aw said.
"What are thoose?"
"Payin' so mich brass to a skoo, so ut a lad con go to it
"An' why not a wench as weel as a lad?"
"Aw never thowt abeaut that afore."
"Nawe; that shows yo men are a selfish lot. But if this
money's paid con everybody's lads ha' larnin' for nowt?"
"Nawe, they han to be elected like club stewards, or a local
board. Influence an' favour han to do it."
"Oh, bother sich like, then! It seems one body's
childer are betther nur anothers. Look at Gimblet widow's
lads! Hoo's getten two on 'em i' th' Blue Cooat Skoo at a time
hoo'd a good livin' comin' in. But quiet Nancy couldno' get
one o' hers in, an' th' poor crayther con hardly tell wheere th'
next meal mun come fro'."
"Heaw wur that done?"
"Well, quiet Nancy's a gradely woman. Hoo would-no' do
an unfair thing to onybody, nor try to get an advantage o'er 'em.
But hoo happens to goo to th' wrung chapel. Gimblet widow knew
what hoo're dooin', an' went to th' reet un. Hoo sucked up wi'
everybody ut hoo thowt had a bit o' peawer, an' looked so saintish
one 'ud hardly ha' thowt butter 'ud ha' melted i' her meauth.
But ther's nob'dy likes her twopennoth at th' "Owd Bell" bar window
betther nur hoo does, an' talkin' tattlin' talk abeaut her
neighbours. Hoo con get things off gentlefolk when nobody else
con; an' it's sich like as hoo is 'at 'ud get these scholarships, as
theau co'es 'em. Let us do summat ut everybody con share at
alike, an' no' trust to a system ut's next dur to gamblin'!
Let folk do summat for the'rsel's if they wanten the'r childer to be
pa'sons, an' doctors, an' thoose chaps ut liven by turnin' law to
the'r own side when nob'dy else con mak' owt on it!"
"Then theau doesno' howd wi' scholarships?"
"Nawe, nor wi' thoose ut talken abeaut 'em."
"Well, what other shape should eaur Jubilee tak'?"
"Givin' mayte to thoose ut are clemmin'; an' coals to thoose
ut conno' raise a foire; an' clooas to thoose ut are shiverin' wi'
bare skins! Yo'n find plenty to do."
"That's abeaut as sensible as theau could ha' said, an' aw'll
name it t'morn a neet, when we're havin' eaur meetin'."
"Wheere are yo' meetin' at?"
"Well we thowt to ha' met i' th' church, but we thowt it 'ud
be too cowd unless th' engine wur set a gooin' an' that 'ud be too
expensive. So we're meetin' at th' "Owd Bell." Th'
teetotallers wouldn't let us ha' the'r shop, unless three or four ut
aw could name 'ud ha' the'r noses white-weshed."
"An' theau'rt one on 'em, aw reckon."
"Ha' thi own road."
"Yo' never went after noather th' church nor th' teetotal
place. Theau'rt at it again, Abram! If aw towd as mony
lies as theau tells o'th' good Sunday, too, aw should be feart o'
gooin' t' bed! Yo' never thowt abeaut nowheere nobbut th' Owd
Well, that sattled things as far as eaur Sal an' me wur
consarned. An aw went an' geet a leeaf or two o' potyarbs for
th' broth fro' a corner o' Jim Thuston's five-acre, wheere aw knew
ther a nettle or two laft eaut o'th' summer's grooth.
Monday neet coom, an' we'd a very good meetin'. Aw knew
ther' would be when Sam Smithies had sent word he're comin', an' ud
stond some drink for 'em. Rare stuff for fotchin folk when
it's chep! Some wur agate a-singin' afore th' cheearmon wur
elected; an' aw knew by that they'd get through th' business at
railroad speed. Never wur sich loyalty shown sin' th'
creawnation! An' aw believe ut if th' queen had walked in, an'
ordered a glass o' red poort wine, they'd ha' bin feightin which
must ha' paid for it, besides strippin' the'r jackets for her to
walk on! They'd never known a better queen sin' they're born;
an' that wur abeaut as true as owt they could ha' said, as ther's
never bin one sin' Queen Anne, an' they sayn hoo's deead!
Aw're moved, an' seconded, an' carried into th' cheear; then,
like mony a cheermon beside me, aw're fast what to do. Sam
Smithies coome to th' rescue. He said—
"Mesthur Cheermon, fort' start this business aw move that
it's desirable that Hazelwo'th should do summat fort' show its
loyalty. Hazelwo'th is too important a place to run i'th' ruck.
It mun be somewheere i'th' front. What place has done moore
to'ard reformin' eaur aristocracy nur it has done? Eaur
nobility are not th' same nobility as they wur a hundert years sin'.
Then if a workin' mon had spokken to a prince he'd ha' bin
transported. But we're lived to see a day when a prince,
within a few years o' bein' a king, con talk to workin' folk in his
own palace, an' wi' his wife and family reaund him; when he con show
'em through his palace an' through his greaunds; an' chat wi' 'em as
if he'd belunged to th' same club, an' paid his subscription
regilarly! Aw've no deaut he'd feel betther after that nur
ever he felt in his life, unless it wur that day he took that lass
fro' Denmark to be his stockinmender. Sich events as these
desarven celebratin', for they shown ut th' big an' little are comin'
closer t'gether, an' for one another's good. It shows, too, ut
eaur nobility wanted eddicatin' to it; an' aw think Walmsley Fowt
has done its share to'ard that eddication. ("It has, Sam.")
Well, then we owt to do summat worthy on us to show eaur loyalty to
kings an' queens when they shown the'r loyalty to'ard us, an' dunno'
govern us like Nayro did th' Romans. Aw therefore move ut we
do summat, as aw said afore, to show eaur loyalty to eaur Queen and
constitution. Th' shape it should tak' con be sattled after."
Billy Softly couldno' see what th' church had done amiss ut
it should be laft eaut o'th' perambilations. It sarved a very
wise end. It contributed a good deeal o' charity ut wouldno'
be done witheaut it. ("Aye, an' theau gets thi share.")
Jack o' Flunter's thowt they'rn ramblin' away fro' th'
question; but while they wur away he'd give 'em a bit o' a verse o'
po'try he'd just made. Everybody knows ut Billy wears th'
pa'son's cooat o' a Sunday.
(Billy: "Theau'd wear it, too, if theau had it.")
Cheearmon: Gentlemen, keep to th' question, Jack o' Flunter's
has had too much inspiration. Another quart, an' Burns ud be
Jim Thuston ud second Sam Smithies' motion. He agreed
wi' everythin' he'd said, an' thowt ut Hazelwo'th owt to do summat
worthy on it bein' put i'th' map. It had bin snubbed lung
enoogh, sayin' ut it had done so mich, as Sam had said, to eddicate
thoose above us, an' bring 'em up to eaur level. Here quite
sure ut if Hazelwo'th, speshly Walmsley Fowt part on't, did its
dooty next year it ud not only be put into th' map, but it ud ha' a
good place in it! (Hear, hear.)
Ther' bein' no 'mendment, aw put th' motion. Every hont obbut Little
Dody's wur held up for it, an' Dody wur asleep. Aw then declared it
"Wakken up, Dody!" Jack o' Flunter's said, givin' him a good shake,
"theau's had too mich broth, owd lad. Puddin's comin' on th' next."
"Sha' ha' no pud; wai' f'r beef," Dody muttered. Then he sang, in a
Oh, dear to my heart is the home of my childhood,
And charming young Jessie, the flower of Dunblane,
The old oaken bucket, the iron-bound bucket,
The charming young Jessie, that hangs in the well.
"Makken a mess o' that! Wheere am aw?"
Leeavin' Little Dody to his mixin' up o' two songs ut are sung to th'
same tune, ut he kept dooin' till he went to sleep again, we went on
wi' th' bizness.
Th' cheermon (that wur me) said—, "Neaw we'n sattled ut we are to do
summat i' this ju—jubilee year, we mun neaw consider what's best we
con do. Eaur Sal has thrown eaut an idea ut aw think desarves some
consideration. That is puttin' a pow up wi' a hen on th' top, for a
weathercock. Aw think we couldno' do better nur adopt that idea. It
'ud show ut creawned yeads—we could put a creawn on th' hen's yead
i'stead of a comm—i' these days han to turn wi' th' wynt. They darno'
goo agen public opinion an' public feelin'. They darno' start a war
on the'r own ackeaunt. They conno' tax us beaut we'n a voice in it. They conno' meddle wi' nowt unless we'n a mind to let 'em; so
they're i' no danger o' losin' the'r yeads as they wur once on a
time. O they han to do is to pearch on the'r pow, an' show us th'
road th' political wynt is blowin'.
Every one at th' meetin' fell in wi' th' idea; an' it wur moved an'
seconded, an' carried, as Billy Softly said, wi' "proclamation." Some wanted to roast a ox; but that 'ud cost too mich; an' if we
bowt a cauve, th' butcher mit swap it for a jackass! Siah at Owd
Bob's thowt a pig 'ud be th' best, as they wouldno' be limited to
size. If they couldno' raise brass for a big un, they could ha' a
little un. But ther' an objection raised to this; if they roasted a
pig they'd ha' to turn it th' wrung side eaut; becose if they
roasted th' reet side eaut th' bacon 'ud be done afore th' poork! This part o' th' bizness wur laft o'er to some meetin' nar
th' time; an' havin gone as far as we could, we sang "God save the Queen,"
an' aw closed th' meetin'. But ther's aulus another meetin' deawn
steears, as a sort o' a "good neet" meetin'. Sam Smithies ordered
some moore "inspiration," an' we sit till th' cheearman's wife coom,
an' said ther' a meetin' to be howden awhoam, an' hoo wanted to move
th' fust resolution at it.
PREPARIN' FOR WALMSLEY FOWT JUBILEE CELEBRATION.
SECOND COMMITTEE MEETING.—NOWT DONE.
WHEN th' second
meetin' o' th' Walmsley Fowt Jubilee Committee wur held at th' "Owd
Bell" they moved me into cheear agen. Ther' wur a full attendance.
Sam Smithies proposed ut th' minits o' th' last meetin' be read.
"What han we to do wi' minits?" Jack o' Flunter's wanted to know. "Lump 'em, an' say heaurs."
"Jack doesno' understood what aw meean,"
Sam Smithies said. "He kneaws moore abeaut settin' a boiler up
he does abeaut minits."
"Aye, when he turns th' flue i' th' wrung chimbdy," Billy Softly
said, takkin' a stroke o' revenge eaut o' Jack.
"Minits are fort' show what wur done at th' last meetin'," Sam said. "Wheere are they?"
"We'n never chosen a secretary," aw said.
"Heaw wur that?" Sam wanted to know.
"Well," Jim Thuston said, spakin' to Sam, "theau're one on us. Why didt' no' put us reet?"
"It's not too late; we'n start reet neaw. Con onyb'dy remember what
"Aw know what aw did," Little Dody said. "Aw walked into th'
mop-hole, an' had to wesh mi treausers misel'!"
"But that had nowt to do wi' th' bizness o' th' meetin'."
"O ut we did at th' last meetin' wur agreein' to put up a pow wi' a
hen on th' top for a weathercock," aw said.
"Then aw move ut that minit be confirmed," Sam said.
"Nob'dy's ony peawer to confirm nobbut a bishop," Billy Softly said.
"If Sam'll say reproved, i'stead o' confirmed, aw'll second it."
"Approved, theau bobbinhat!" Jim Thuston said.
"Oather'll do. Go on wi' th' bizness."
So th' minits wur approved, Little Dody wantin' to know if th'
mop-hole bizness wur included.
"Th' next bizness is to appoint a secretary," aw said.
"Will onybody domineer?" Billy Softly axt.
"Billy, we con get on wi' what bizness we han to do beaut thee
bringin' eaut thi grammar ut not one hauve on us con understood," aw
said, thinkin' aw'd put him one in.
"It isno' my faut," Billy said, "Yo' should ha' gone to th' skoo,
same as aw did. Then yo' could ha' understood ony sort o'
ramifications." Then he chuckled, an' winked, as if he bin as fause
as a boggart.
"Aw move ut Jim Thuston's segritary," Jack o' Flunter's geet on his
feet an' said, "Onybody ut con reckon a milk score up thrippence too
mich is fit to be Chancellor o'th' Excheker, say nowt abeaut a
segritary! If we subscriben five peaund to'ard expense o' this pow,
he'll mak' it ten shillin' moore! Aw dunno' know heaw he does it."
"It's thi ignorance," Billy Softly said. "It con be done bi
fluctuations, aw know. But aw'll second Jim, an' carry him
"Theau'll let us vote th' fust, an' then theau con put as mony grand
words to it as theau con sooart eaut," aw said. "There's nowt
disturbs my worm pastur' so mich as meetin' wi' a lot o' eddicated
ignorance ut wants to show itsel' off." Aw put th' motion, an' it
That job done, Jim Thuston wur installed into his office, an' he
poo'd a milk book eaut o' his pocket, an' co'in for pen an' ink, he
squared hissel' for bizness. Jack o' Flunter's winked at Billy
Softly, then turnin' to th'
"Th' fust resolution ut's passed, Jim, theau con write across mi
name. It ud tak' one as lung as a chapter i'th' owd book for t'
cover Billy's milk score!"
"Gentlemen, bizness," aw said, knockin' on th' table wi' a
corkscrew. "What sort an' size of a pow mun we have?"
"Ther's a popilary (poplar) tree i'th' Ho Cloof," Billy Softly said,
"as tall as a chimdy, an' as straight as a twinin-in rod."
"What sort of a chimdy?" Sam Smithies wanted to know, "a factory
chimdy, or owd Juddie's bake-heause chimdy?"
"It's abeaut th' length o' a stove-pipe, aw dar'say," Jack o'
Flunter's said. "Ther's no poplar i'th Ho Cloof ut ud be wo'th
"We could ha' a ship's mast for a peaund or two," Sam Smithies said. "Aw know wheer ther's a lot lyin' rottin' i' Liverpool, an' no deaut
they want to get 'em eaut o'th' road."
"Th' best thing ut's bin thowt on," Jim Thuston said.
"Ther's one belunged to a ship ut used to run th' blockade ut th'
time o'th' Merriky war wur gooin' on," Sam said. "It's nobbut a bit
pock marked wi' bein' shot at, so ut it ud do for us. Aw could ha'
it at th' price o' firewood."
"Then aw move a motion ut a depitation fro' this committee be sent
to Liverpool to see this mask," Billy Softly said; "an' ut Sam
Smithies an' me be th' depitation."
"Jobbery!" Jack o' Flunter's sheauted.
"If ther's ony pickin' t' be had, Billy'll ha' some on it," Jim
Thuston said. "Why mun th' secretary be laft eaut?"
"An' th' cheearmon?" Little Dody said.
Sam Smithies got on his feet.
"Mesther cheearmon," he said, "we are no' a Corporation, ut con
afford to have eauts at th' expense o' th' ratepayers when one mon 'ud
do th' job as weel as a dozen. Sendin' three on us to Liverpool, an'
feedin' us as we should ha' to be fed, an' treatin' us to
champagne—eaur cheearmon smacks his lips at that—'ud cost us moore
nur two pows! So aw see no good in it. Sometime when aw ha' to goo
t' Liverpool on mi own bizness aw con get this mast, an' charge yo'
nowt for expenses."
That didno' goo deawn wi' me an' Billy. Someheaw when folk wanten to
be a bit patriotic, an' offern the'r sarvices to th' public, an'
chargen 'em twice as mich for thoose sarvices as they would for
the'rsel's, folk want to mak' it eaut ut it's jobbery, when it's
nowt but a likin' they han for th' public an' th' public interests. Shawm on 'em!
It wur carried ut Sam should do th' job, an' th' secretary wrote it
deawn i' th' milk book.
"Ony moore bizness?" aw axt. Sam Smithies said—
"Th' hint wur thrown eaut some weeks sin' ut we could raise an
exhibition.—(Hear, hear.) It mit no' be quite as big as th'
Manchester Exhibition, but happen big enoogh for us. We could ha'
lond at thrippence a yard; an' if we charged th' exhibitors
eighteenpence a yard, an' th' hauve price for skyage, th' money 'ud
pay for th' buildin'; an' what visitors paid for gooin' in 'ud be
clear profit. At that rate we should want no guarantee. These are th'
lines ut Manchester folk are workin' on; an' if exhibitors an'
visitors are foos big enoogh to submit to these things surely we may
expect Hazelwo'th folk doin' th' same. We may no' mak' a fortin'
eaut o' th' spec, but we may mak' some peaunds, if they'n let us."
Jack o' Flunter's couldno' see heaw th' thing 'ud work. Hazelwo'th
folk wurno' so mony sheep. They wouldno' follow a gilded bell-wether. Manchester folk would; put a big price on a thing they'd snap it up! Put a less price on th' same article, an' they wouldno' ha' it at no
price! They'd think it wurno' wo'th it. Th' same wi' plays an'
singin' shops, put on a fair price, an' nob'dy 'ud goo; but put on a
big price, an' if ther's a bell-wether i' th' shape o' a rich lady
to leead up th' sheep'll follow! Owd Juddie has towd him that mony a
time, an' he knew.
"Aw'd rayther this question coome on nar th' time," aw said, "ther's
some months yet to work on, an' by to'ard next February we con see
what other folk are doin'. It'll no' tak' us as lung to put th'
buildin' up as it did Siah at owd Bob's to build his pig-cote."
"Not unless we had to stale th' breek," Jack o' Flunter's said; "an'
ther's no owd heauses bein' poo'd deawn neaw, as ther wur when Siah
raised his bacon temple; we should ha' to buy o'th' buildin'
"Dost' meean t' say aw stole mine?" Siah at owd Bob's said, jumpin'
on his feet, an' his yure raisin' wi' him.
"Nawe," Jack said. "Aw meant to say ut if we
bowt th' breek an'
slates we could build it sooner nur if we had to stale 'em, becose
ther's no owd buildin's gooin' to wrack as ther' used to be at th'
time theau begun a-pig keepin'. Theau's misunderstood me."
"Aw thowt theau'd ha' to draw thoose words back," Siah said, seemin'
satisfied wi' Jack's explanation; an' harmony wur restored.
Sam Smithies thowt a drop moore inspiration ud set us to reets, an'
send th' price o' shares up! We agreed ut it would witheaut puttin'
it to th' vote. It's one o' thoose things ut con be done witheaut
formality. Th' inspiration wur browt in, an' bizness stood still for
a minit or two. When we'd oiled th' wheels th' machinery went moore
briskly. After a good poo at his tumbler, Sam geet on his legs, an'
aw hommered th' table wi' th' corkscrew.
"Mesther Cheearmon," he said, "we mun ha' every-thin' cut an' dried
before we starten a-buildin'. We mun know what we're gooin' to do
fro' th' beginnin' to th' endin'. If we are to have machinery we conno' go to th' expense o' puttin' steeam deawn. (Jack o' Flunter's:
"Gettin' it up, theau meeans.") We conno' get it up beawt boilers,
an' we conno' afford to put thoose deawn."
Billy Softly begged to interrupt him. He said: "If we conno' ha'
machinery driven bi steeam, we could ha' it i' still motion. (Jack
o' Flunter's: "A bit moore o' thi scholarment, Billy!") What aw meean bi still motion is this: we could ha' it fixed like as if it
wur goin', but at th' same time it ud be stondin'. Ther's a still
motion, an' a-gooin' motion; dunno' yo' see?" an' he sit deawn.
Sam Smithies said—"That's a new law to me, unless Billy meeuns ut a
watch mit be stopt, but if th' owner on't wur travellin' on a
railroad, it wud be gooin'. (Billy —"That's just it." ) Aw see, like
a bobbin wheel put in a cart. It mit be still an' gooin' at th' same
time. Th' next thing Billy finds eaut 'll be perpetual motion; an'
then he'll dee!"
Jim Thuston: "What space mun we alleaw for this machinery i' still
Th' Cheearmon: "That would depend on th' size o'th' buildin'. If we
covered an acre wi' it, we mit alleaw a rood, an' so on, i'
proportion; we'n say that's understood beaut votin'. Th' next
question is—"Mun we ha' a pictur' gallery?"
Billy Softly: "We could ha' a reaum wi' pictur's in, but aw see no
need o' havin' a gallery, like th' Methody Chapel, one row o' forms
above another. Owd Johnny Skooals tumbled fro' top to bottom once,
an' broke his leg! Let's ha' it on th' level.
Th' Cheearmon: "It would be."
Billy: "Heaw con it be a gallery, then? It's time some o' yo' went
to skoo' agen, if ever yo' did goo!"
Jack o' Flunter's: "We went wi' th' still motion. That's why we'n
stuck wheere we aulus wur!"
Siah at owd Bob's: "Pictur's be hanged! Aw could show one ut ud lick
ony pictur' yo' could bring!"
Little Dody: "Is it Solomon's Temple ut yo'r Mary did wi' th' needle
when hoo're a wench, wi' a brid on th' ridgin' as big as th' chimdy?"
Siah: "Nawe, one bigger nur that. Aw had to mak' a hole i'th' floor
afore aw could hang it up! It's a side o' bacon! Lick that wi' paint
if yo' con!"
Sam Smithies: "Aw happen to know summat abeaut pictur's, an' aw
should like us to be careful as to what sort we han. We mun ha' no
owd masthers, as they co'en em—painters ut painted nowt but things
they never seed, an' wur done o' purpose to freeten owd women an'
childer. We mun ha' thoose wi' subjects possible, if not likely. No pictur's o' childer wi' little wings an' fat legs! no writhen-faced
figures, wi' long narrow-toed shoon, ut looken as if they used 'em
while stondin' o' their yeads, to flap flees off th' wall; no
pictur's o' battles ut wur never seen, an' happen never fowt. Lets
ha' nice uns, ut we con look at, an' feel better for it; that's th'
true purpose o' art."
Jim Thuston: "Should we ha' images, too?"
Sam: "Dost' meean stattys?"
Jim: "Thoose pot things ut chaps carryn on a booart on the'r yeads,
an' sheauten 'imigees'?"
Sam: "Aye, but they should ha' clooas on, same as they putten on
angels, an' other fablus animals."
Jim: "But theau wouldno' put clooas on hosses, an' keaws, an' dogs?"
Sam: "They need noane. We're so used to seein' 'em witheaut ut we
tak' no notice on 'em."
Jim: "Are we to ha' owd armour, an' swords, an' spears, an' axes?"
Sam: "Aw should say we owt to ha' if we con get to know wheere they
makken 'em. Ther's a place i' Sheffi'lt wheere they turn a lot eaut,
but they sayn they're too busy to tak' ony fresh orders. If we could
borrow some ut's never bin used, they'd be as good as new."
Jack o' Flunter's had a few observations to mak'. He proposed that
we had a hond loom amung th' machinery. That could be gooin', as
they'd want no steeam. Put owd Mally-at-th'-rain-tub on it, wi' a
reed o' gingham; an' let her wayve, for t' show heaw fortins wur
made fifty year sin', an'—here Jack stopt. "Wheere are yo' off to?"
Jack wanted to know.
But nob'dy had a word to say. Th' mention o' a loom had stricken us
dumb; an' one after another we crept deawn steears, an' sidled into
th' kitchen, leeavin' Jim Thuston botherin' wi' th' minits. Aw hadno'
even time to dissolve th' meetin'; an' it's noane dissolved yet; an'
when we are to meet agen aw dunno' know. Th' committee could stond
owt, fro' picture galleries to machinery i' "still motion," but when
a loom wur named they shot deawn steears as if they'd seen a
boggart! Aw shouldno' be surprised if its put a stop to Walmsley
Fowt Jubilee Exhibition.
Mi owd reckoner-up says men never begun owt yet ut they finished! They should tak' a pattern fro' women.
PREPARIN' FOR WALMSLEY FOWT JUBILEE CELEBRATION.
A NEW MOVE.
SIN' th' last
meetin' eaur committee seems to ha' bin rayther fragmentary, brokken
into pieces ut had nowt to hang together by. It aulus happens
so when everybody wants to ha' the'r own road, or think the'r
notions are better nur other folk's. It's not only so i'
Walmsley Fowt, but i' England generally. A lot o' men gethert
t'gether, it doesno' matter what for, if they'n no opposition fro'
eautside they'n feight amung one another. Aw thowt ther nowt
could ha' glued eaur committee t'gether, short o' a pottato pie doo,
or a main brew. But summat else has done th' job; an' neaw
they're as thick as inkle wayvers.
Some folks winno' work unless they mun be mesthers. Let
'em be leeadin' bosses an' they'n poo like mules. It's bin so
wi' th' nobs o' Hazelwo'th. They could see no way o' makkin'
this exhibition a success. They threw not only a wet blanket
upo' th' skame, but a whul damp bed, sheets an' pillows an' o!
An' when they thowt it wur deead an' buried, wi' a stone on it, they
thowt they'd try if they couldno' ha' a resurrection. So they
set to wark an' co'ed a meetin' to be held at th' Church Skoo, an'
ther o th' big names i'th' teawnship on th' bill—th' rector, an'
tradesmen, shopkeepers, an' two bettin' chaps ut wur co'd "gentry."
Poor me an' mi companions wur laft eaut, tho' we'rn th' fust to set
th' bobbin a-rollin'. But someheaw Billy Softly managed to
creep amung these nobs. Heaw he did it we couldno' tell, but
he's ways o' his own, Billy has, an' he con talk nicely to ears ut
liken bein' tickled.
Th' owd committee ud ha' a meetin', too, afore this new lot
could be getten t'gether, an' we didno' need mich co'in on, noather.
As soon as it geet wynt ut Sam Smithies ud like to meet his chums at
th' Owd Bell they swarmed deawn th' lone as if they'd yerd th'
heaunds! But Billy Softly wur missin', an' we didno' care;
he're best amung t'other lot. We met this time i'th' kitchen,
an' Sam Smithies moved hissel' into th' cheear before we could get
sarved. Th' meetin' wur oppent as soon as th' last pint had
bin browt in; an' when we'd o supped Sam geet up an said—
"Ther's some queer wark gooin' on i' this bit of a teawnship,
an' aw darsay yo'n yerd on't ("We han.") No sooner dun we
mention a skame for getten up an exhibition, but it's cried deawn,
an' snuffed at, as ill as if we'd bin startin' another Hencote
Company, wi' Ab theere as secretary ("Keep off that, Sam,"—that wur
fro' me.) These folk ut han cried it deawn, an' when they seen
we conno' get on wi' it, they creepen reaund th' fowt i' th'
neettime, an' stalen eaur tools. They con see ther's summat in
it neaw. But what is it ut has oppent the'r e'en? Not
owt they care abeaut th' exhibition no fur nur forradin' the'r own
self-interest. Yo' know abeaut this new buryin' greaund ut a
company han bowt? ("Aye, we known"). It appears th'
peawers i' Lunnon winno' let 'em start on't for another year; so
they han no interest commin' in on th' shares. Well, what dun
yo' think the'r proposin' to do? ("Set th' greaund wi'
pottatoes an' cabbitch "). Nay, that wouldno' pay 'em. They're
proposin' to ha' th' exhibition on that greaund! (Sensation).
An' yo'n yer if yo'n attend th' meetin' next Monday what terms they
wanten. It's a bit o' th' coolest jobbery ut ever aw knew; an'
yo'n think so yo'rsels if yo'n be at th' meetin'. Aw've getten
t' know this mich eaut o' Billy Softly."
After some moore talkin' it wur agreed ut we should attend
this public meetin' i' full foorce, o six on us—an' see if we
couldno' ha' a bit of eaur road. We wurno' gooin' to submit to
havin' to pay a lot o' greaund rent to th' Cemetary Company when we
could ha' had Jim Thuston's fielt for next to nowt.
Th' day for howdin' th' meetin' coome; an' as it wur co'ed
for eleven o'clock, it wur i'tended they' should be nob'dy at it
nobbut thoose folk ut had nowt else to do, an' th' promoters o' th'
cemetary could ha' the'r own road. But they'd reckont beaut
londlord bein' i' th' reaum! They hadno' considered ut wayvers,
when they're at th' busiest, could spare an heaur for followin' th'
heaunds, an' surely they could spare one for t' attend a meetin' of
sich importance as this exhibition meetin'. An' even if they
couldno' they'rn everyone beaut wark at th' time, so they mit as
weel be at th' meetin' as keauntin' cinders awhoam, or sittin' at th'
"Owd Bell," waitin' to be axt. So we mustered i' sich a number
as took th' steeam eaut o' some o' th' promoters; an' thoose ut had
come to talk big had made up the'r minds to let the'r pegs deawn a
bit an' tune the'r fiddles to slow music. Thoose ut belunged
to other trades nur wayvers swelled eaur ranks, so ut when th'
rector wur moved into th' cheear we'd a mijority of two to one.
Th' rector fun' it wur different talkin' at a meetin' to what it wur
praitchin' in a church, an' he blundert thro' his oppenin' speech i'
sich a way ut noather th' promoters, nor nob'dy else knew what to
mak' on't. As far as aw con recollect it wur summat like this—
"Gentlemen, we are met here this morning—haw—this morning to
consider—haw—to consider the question of the possibility—haw—of
holding an exhibition of—haw—works of art and manufacture,
and—haw—objects of natural sciences—haw—objects of natural science,
as contemplated by, I am sure you will understand me when I say (a
voice: "Verily, verily, I say unto you "), that such are
enumerated—haw—in the category of art and manufactures, ah, hem, now
we come to business (wiping his spectacles). It will be left
for this meeting to decide as to the form and character this
exhibition shall take. I am sure—I am sure—it will be to the
advantage of this important township, and other important townships
by which we are surrounded, that this exhibition should take place.
I think I may say that is a settled question. It remains for
this meeting to say that it shall be so by passing a resolution upon
it. It would be—haw—premature to decide upon a site until we
have passed the resolution that there shall be an exhibition, which
I regard as a settled question. We have a site in view, and
have gone so far as to engage a manager. (A voice: "Whoa's
engaged him?") We, the committee, pro tem., which means for
the time. ("Whoa's elected 'em?") No one; the committee,
pro tem., is of spontaneous growth—only for the time being. We
surrender our authority to this meeting. I now call upon Mr.
Jackson, grocer, to move the first resolution." (Sits down. A
voice: "It's time yo' sit deawn, yo' owd buzzart.") Mr.
Jackson rose with a bit o' papper in a tremblin' hont. He
"Mesther cheearmon an gentlemen: Aw've what they co'en a
resolution to propose, but aw'm nowt o' a spaker, an' it is (looks
at papper) ut this exhibition be held on th' Cemetary greaund."
Chairmon: "That's the wrong one. That is for the
committee, when elected, to decide.
Then th' row begun. Mesther Jackson, in his blunderin'
way, had shown the'r cards; an' thoose abeaut him pood him deawn,
an' would ha' held him deawn if he hadno' shown feight. But he
rose like a cork.
"Gentlemen," he begun agen, "aw'm no' gooin' to be put deawn.
This resolution aw made misel', an' aw'm gooin' to ha' it put.
If th' cheearmon winno' put it aw will. Aw'm a sharehowder i'
this, i' this—(a voice: "Skeleton's rest")—in this cemetary greaund,
an' aw'm gooin' to look after mi own interests whether others dun or
not. If it hadno' bin ut we shall ha' this lond upo' eaur
honds, dooin' nowt for a year, this exhibition—(another poo deawn).
Gentlemen"—this time his voice seemed to coom fro' under a bowster,
ther' so mony abeaut him. ("Goo on, Sugar.")
"Gentlemen,"—this wur a partin' word for th' little grocer wur
bundilled eaut at a dur.
Cheearman: "Mr. Potts will propose the resolution which ought
to have been proposed by Mr. Jackson."
Mesthur Potts rose, an' said—
"My friends, I have to propose the first—a—resolution, that
it is desirable that an exhibition should be held in Hazleworth next
year, to com—commemorate the jubilee of her Majesty's reign. I
have nothing more to say."
Cheearmon: "Mr. Slops will second the resolution."
Slops rose an' shaked hissel' as if his clogs didno' fit him
gradely. After he'd hooked his thumbs under his galluses, an'
prepared us t' expect a long speech, he said—
"Mesther Cheearmon, Aw'll second it. Th' same speech 'll
do for booath." Slops flops.
Cheearmon—"Will Mr. Wild support the resolution?"
Whoa's Mesther Wild, aw wondered! Aw could see nob'dy
o' that name, till Billy Softly coom shuffling to th' front, an'
then aw bethowt me his feyther's name wur Wild. Someb'dy i' th'
meetin' coed him "Mesther Sleeve-creeper." He said—
"Aw feel ut aw'd like to say summat upo' this subject.
Yo'r aware ut other teawnships are lookin' at us, an' they winno'
tak' the'r wynt till they'n yerd heaw we'n gone on. This
Exhibition is of as mich circumnavigable importance as th' Ship
Cheearmon—"Will Mr. Wild keep to words the meeting can
Billy—"Well it's of efficient importance. Happen
that'll do better. Efficient importance, gentlemen—(A voice:
"Throw th' dictionary at 'em, Billy.") Aw consider ut wi' sich
men as eaur rector at th' yead o' th' indicate, this movement 'll
move onward like electric fluid fro' th' North Pole to th' South,
witheaut stoppin' at th' equator.—(A voice: "Shut thi face.")
Eaur noble rector is a lord of hosts i' hissel'.—(A voice: "Theau
wants another thank-you-sir; th' cooat theau's on's getten threed-bare.")
Eaur noble rector never tak's nowt i' hond but he goes thro' wi' it,
as th' Israelites went thro' th' Red Sae.—("Aw wish he'd goo thro'
thee.") Someb'dy's determine aw munno' be yerd, so aw'll drop
it," an' he dropt!
Cheearmon—"I'll put the resolution. Those in favour put
up both hands."
Every hont went up; an' abeaut th' middle o' th' skoo aw seed
a pair o' legs, middlin' weel timbert at th' end, bobbin' up!
That mon wur for havin' four votes! Th' cheearmon said it wur
"u-nannymous," an' as they'd gone as far as they could that day, he
declared th' meetin' adjourned to some other day.
"If we dunno' mind," Jack o' Flunter's said, as we'rn leeavin'
th' skoo, "yon chaps 'll be too mony for us. They seed they
couldno' carry the'r point or else they wouldno' ha' brokken th'
meetin' up so soon."
"Nawe " aw said, "if they could goo so far as t' choose a
manager witheaut ony peawer, they wouldno' stop at a thing or two.
We mun be on th' watch, as th' 'Lumpies' wur for 'Wingy,' an' wait
till it breaks cover. Just an odd gill an' then whoam."
CRONNIES AT "TH' OWD
PREPARIN' FOR WALMSLEY FOWT JUBILEE EXHIBITION.
TH' "Owd Bell"
never rung sich music fro' its tongue, nor sent sich a smell eaut at
th' front dur at th' same time, as it did last Setturday afternoon.
Strangers stopt at th' dur, snifted an' hearkened, walked a yard or
two past, stopt agen, then turned back an' darted in. Well,
for one thing it wur cowd eautside, an' they could see heaw th' snow
had bin melted i' th' fowt wi' th' yeat ut had coom fro' th' inside,
an' a warm pint 'ud help 'em on th' road. Then they'rn
trapped, like a hungry meause, or a sparrow ut's had bare dooin's.
Th' ale-warmer, like owd Thuston's fryin' pon, never wur letten goo
cowd, but kept gettin' rom'd i' th' foire abeaut twice i' every five
minutes, till th' sugar pot had to keep bein' filled, an' th' nutmeg
wur workin' away like a little sawmill. Whoa couldno' be merry
an' dry under th' influence o' th' yeat an' th' smell ut filled th'
heause as wi' a flush o' scented sunshoine? An' what caused th'
smell dun yo' think, ut made th' strangers stop lunger nur they
would ha' done, an' ha' moore pints nur they intended havin'?
It wur sixteen peaund o' a goose, stuffed till it wur ready to brast
wi' sage an' onions, an' wur to be on th' table at five o'clock, for
six on us to tackle! Aw complained to th' owd rib abeaut bein'
a bit poorly at dinner-time, an' couldno' touch th' dinner ut wur
getten for me awhoam. Hoo said it wur drink ut caused it, an'
ut aw could ate as weel as onybody if aw kept off it. When mi
leg wur brokken an' aw couldno' goo eaut, aw'd ha' limped to th'
table afore th' dinner wur ready, but neaw aw couldno' touch it.
Ther' wur a peaund o' good black puddin's, too, ut had coom fro'
Stretfort, wi' a lump o' fat at every bite! What could aw ha'
Aw knew what aw could ha' betther, tho' aw're no' gooin' to
tell her; an' when four o'clock wur dacently passed aw said to th'
"Aw feel as if aw could do wi' a sope o' summat to mak' me
sae-sick, an' get mi stomach clear'd eaut. Aw think aw'll goo
deawn to th' druggists an' ha' a blackan'-tan. That'll set me
to reets as soon as owt."
"Black-an'-tan, eh! " hoo said, wi' a dark suspicion on her
mind ut aw meant summat else.
"Aye," aw said. "One should do some doctorin' afore
next week, or else we conno' get through th' atin' ut has to be
"Aw con get through my share beawt owt," hoo said, rayther
snappishly, aw thowt. "But theau never thinks at bringing nowt
whoam wi' thee ut's nice, nobbut but what theau's swallowed!
If theau'rt gooin' to th' druggist's bring some linseed for that
cough, for theau kept me wakken above an heaur wi' it yesterneet."
"Is ther' owt else theau wants?" aw said, "an' aw'll get it
at th' same time,"
"Aye, bring some candy-lemon for a puddin', an' a bito'
spice; theau con happen do wi' that to thi dinner t'morn."
"Aw shall just be i' fettle for it after th' physicin' aw
shall have. Keep th' kettle boilin', so ut aw con ha' summat
wot when aw'm gooin' t' bed"; an' wi' that aw laft her, an' went, as
hoo thowt, to do mi arrands.
Aw're just i' nice tiff for tacklin' th' goose, an' felt as
if aw could hardly wait for five o'clock, but wanted to be startin'
at once. When aw geet to th' Owd Bell aw fund t'other chaps
wur theere, rubbin' the'r waistcoats, an' lookin' at th' clock.
Aw seed aw'd just time to do mi arrands at th' druggist's, but
forgeet th' black draft. Aw've a very short memory sometimes,
an' it wur abeaut th' shortest then. Th' spice, an' th'
candy-lemon, an' th' linseed aw londed o reet; an' when aw geet back
to th' Owd Bell they'rn just booardin' th' brid on th' table.
It wur a whacker, aw thowt, for six on us!
"Whoa's gooin' to th' meetin' t'neet? " aw said, as aw took
mi peearch at th' table.
"What meetin'?" Jack o' Flunter's wanted to know.
"Wheay, th' exhibition meetin'!" aw said.
"Aw'd forgetten ther' wur one," Jack said. So had
t'other chaps. Th' goose wur th' topmost o' everythin'.
"Aw'm no' gooin' t' leeave that brid for no sort o' a meetin',"
Siah at owd Bob's said.
"Nor me noather!" went reaund th' table.
So this great exhibition ut wur to raise Hazlewo'th to th'
dignity o' a borough, an' bring lots o' brass into th' teawnship,
met go to Banter o' Boby's so lung as ther a fat goose to be etten.
It's way o'th' wol'd; bribery wur at th' bottom on it o.
"Aw should like to know wheer this goose has come fro," aw
said, before we begun operations. "Ther's summat queer abeaut
it. Th' londlort says he's had nowt to do wi' it nobbut cookin'
"Never mind wheere it's coom fro'," Jim Thuston said.
"Get that scythe into it, an' let's be dooin' summat beside talkin';
whittle a leg off an' wheel it deawn here. Aw'm as hollow as a
pair o' ballis."
"Thee come an' carve it," aw said, "for aw dunno' know which
is a leg, an' which is a wing."
"Turn it t'other road abeaut," Jim said. "Theau knows a
duck's legs are hanged on different to a hen's, an' a goose is
nobbut a big duck. Th' legs are bent th' contrary way to a
hen's; if they wurno' they'd swim backert!"
"Let's aitch carve eaur own," Little Dody said, "That'll be
We took th' advice, an' aw shoived a flake off th' breast ut
'ud ha' done for a cap creawn, an' hauled eaut a scope full o' yarbs
as big as a little cabbitch.
"Theau's made that brid lob-sided, Ab," Jack o' Flunter's
said as Jim Thuston squared for wark. "If Jim does a bit o'
mowin' like that ther'll be nowt nobbut th' limbs for us. Aw
should like t' ha' a twel th' next."
"Theau'll ha' to wait till aw get reaund this joint," Jim
said; an' flop a lot o' gravy went on th' table.
Heaw that goose geet hacked an' hommered by th' time it had
gone reaund th' table it 'ud be hard to say, but ther mich o' nowt
laft nobbut summat like a basket after th' last men had operated on
it. As for carvin' th' legs an' th' wings, ther' nob'dy tried
nobbut Jim Thuston, an' he very nee had it on th' floor. Th'
pottatoes had gotten welly coved afore we're sawed, but that didno'
matter, it wur th' goose ut wur th' main thing. As far as talk
wur consarned ther quietness for abeaut twenty minutes, for everyone
wur peggin' away as if he're feart o' someb'dy takkin' it off him.
"It's dry dooin's," Jack o' Flunters said, as he fell back in
his cheear after scrapin' up.
"Aw never thowt abeaut ony drink," Jim Thuston said, as he
worried at a booan abeaut th' size ov a little stew.
"Nor me noather," Little Dody said, still busy wi' his tools.
"Aw've no reaum for drink."
"It'll ha' to be of a thin sooart, if aw've ony," Siah at owd
Bob's said. "Fourpenny couldno' find a shop."
Just then th' landlort walked in wi' a big pitcher ut steeam
rose fro', an' he wanted to know if we'd finished. Ther a
hauve gallon o' whisky punch for us as soon as we'd sided th' goose!
"Sam Smithies is comin' when th' meetin's o'er," he said.
"Yo' mun leeave a bit for him, or else he'll poo th' heause deawn if
he smells it."
"He may pike this basket," aw said; "he'll find very little
beside. Why didno' he come at fust?"
"He'll let you know when he comes," an' wi' this hint th'
londlort backed deawn th' steers, after he'd oppent one o' th'
windows for to let th' smell eaut.
"Ther's summat strange abeaut this do," aw said, after th'
londlort had gone. "Aw'd like to get at th' bottom on't."
"Get to'ard th' bottom o' that pitcher," Jack o' Flunter's
said. "Never mind th' goose. We'n welly bottomed that;
so let it lie wheer it is, an' let's be smellin' at that steeam.
Aw want us to get agate o' singin' afore onybody else comes in.
Never mind th' table bein' sided—buttle reaund."
We buttled; an' while th' sarvant wur sidin' th' table we
geet to th' thin end of a long pipe apiece, an' set eaursels for an
heaur or two's feelin' what Kesmas wur like. Thera bin a great
change i'th' weather, judgin' bi th' weet ut wur tricklin' deawn th'
windows. But it wur happen th' punch ut wur causin' th'
change. We'rn gettin' very happy beawt singin'. Everyone
wur to' full to sing; an' th' comfort we had wur of a quiet sort,
till we yerd a noise makkin' its road toward us. Th' noise wur
caused bi Sam Smithies, an' we looked at one another.
"He's in a temper o'er summat," Jack o' Flunter's said; an'
we o on us thowt th' same.
E'enneaw he bangs th' dur oppen, an' sets his e'en on th'
table, an' thoose ut wur sittin' at it.
"Yo'r a nice lot," he begun, "sittin' here stuffin' an
guzzlin' while th' meetin's bin gooin' on."
"What meetin?" aw said, as if aw'd known nowt abeaut it.
"Wheay, th' exhibition meetin', what else?" he said.
"Here th' cemetary lot han bin havin' the'r own road while yo'r
crommin' yorsel's here."
"Wilt ha' a bit o' goose?" aw said.
"If aw have aw hope it'll poison me!" Sam said. "Aw'll
ha' no goose ut's bin fed at th' rectory."
"What doss meean bi that, Sam?" aw said.
"Aw meeon that goose wur sent bi th' rector as a bribe for t'
keep yo' away," Sam said. "He knew his men, he did. Get
at a Walmsley Fowt stomach, an' he con do owt he likes wi' yo'!"
"We didno' know th' rector had sent it," Jim Thustonsaid.
"We couldno' mak' it eaut."
"It wouldno' ha' mattered if th' devil had sent it, yo'd ha'
stopt away fro' th' meetin' for it. Here they'n gone an'
passed a resolution ut th' exhibition shall be held on th' cemetary
greaund, an' th' sharehowders are to goo in free as oft as they
like, after bein' paid a heavy rent beside. An' for th' sake
of a bribe yo'n stopt away, an' letten 'em ha' the'r own road.
If aw're i' yo'r place aw couldno' for shawm to be seen till Kesmas
Aw mun say ut aw felt a little bit takken deawn wi' what Sam
had said; an' th' goose didno' feel so yessy on mi crop after knowin'
th' rector had sent it as a bribe to keep us away fro' th' meetin'.
Aw said as mich to Sam, but he towd me it wur o katty-watty, an'
less aw said abeaut it an' th' betther. Aw geet him to sit
deawn, an' ha' a tot o' punch. He could drink that, he said,
wi' a clear conscience, becose he knew th' londlort had gar it.
He took a second tot, an' a third; an' bi th' time he'd bottomed
that he'd getten his temper eaut o'th' ruffles. But he towd us
he'd ha' to talk to us yet.
"Neaw," he said, after he'd charged a new gun, an' getten it
agate o' fizzin', "yo'r just th' sort o' Englishmen ut we'en too
mony on, folk ut'll sheaut for a new thing like a choilt for a new
toy, yo' go'en mad o'er it; an' one ud think yo'd never sleep while
it lasted. But yo'n no sooner sucked th' paint off nur yo'
thrown it o' one side, an' it's forgetten! Aw remember once
seein' th' Rifle Volunteers muster for a parade a-facin' th'
Infirmary. They'rn quite new then, an' folk creawded to see 'em.
But when they'rn ready for marchin' they someb'dy geet a lad for t'
have his bare legs blacked wi' a shoe-black. This took o' th'
attention off th' volunteers; an' when they marched ther' wurno' a
single sowl to watch 'em off; they'rn to' much takken up wi' the'r
new toy! Yo'r just th' same. Yo' sheauted for th' Ship
Canal, when th' idea wur new; but when th' exhibition begun to be
talked abeaut th' Ship Canal had to go to th' wall. Neaw it's
dicky wi' that becose yo'n had a goose sent yo'; an' it'll be dicky
wi' th' next thing ut's started if ther's a quart o' ale i'th'
We felt every word ut Sam had said. It wur o true; but
someheaw another reaund o' punch made us forget it. Th' wo'ld
hasno' changed yet.