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 TIM O’ TUMS ON HIS WAKES EAWT


Th’ other day aw wur sit i’ th’ rockin’ cheer by th’ hob eend, an’ wonderin’ heaw o these folks wur goin’ on ‘at had gone off wi’ their wakes brass, when there wur a knock coom to th’ dur an’ th’ postman gan me a letter addressed to 


JAMMY O’ JIMS, ESQUIRE,
        YEALDS GREEN,
                CHADDERTON,
                        ENGLAND,
                                LANCASHEER.

“Hello,” aw said, “what’s up neaw?  Aw dunnot owe nob’dy nowt as aw know on, an’ nob’dy ’at owes me owt ’at will go to th’ trouble o’ payin’ me beawt axin.  Heawever, here goes,” an’ I oppent th’ letter.  It wur a lung letter, too.  Aw looked at th’ eend th’ fust, like mooist o’ folks, to see whooa’d written it when whooa should it be but Tim o’ Tum’s.  Theer Mally had been in a Wakes club, an’ hoo said ‘at they must booath have an’ eawt wi’ th’ brass.  Aw didn’t ax ’em wheer they wur goin’ becose it wur no bisness o’ mine, but aw thowt aw should know neaw.  This wur his letter :—

“Th’ Sayside, England,                
“Owdham Wakes, 1907.

“Owd Pal,—

Nob’dy knows, an’ aw shannot tell,
Wheer eawr Mally’s browt me,
To th’ grand sayside,
An’ a donkey ride,
Amung th’ folks o’ fashion.


“Aye, we’re amung th’ quality neaw, Jammy.  For owt as aw know we’re jowin’ agen dukes an’ earls an’ marquises an’ o that sort but nob’dy con tell ’em unless they know ’em.  God hasn’t marked ’em, an’ if they aren’t in a motor car they get lost i’ th’ creawd.  But this is a rare place for motor cars, Jammy.  They’re buzzin’ abeawt like a swarm o’ honeybees.  Aw keep expectin’ someb’dy bein
kilt every minute.  But aw get eawt o’ th’ road on ’em, Jammy.  Aw get deawn to th’ wayther side an’ watch th’ tide come rollin’ in.  Aye, an’ it is rollin’ i’ fine style to-day, Jammy.  Th’ waves are dashin’ an’ splashin’ an crashin’ o’er one another same as if they o wanted to get to land th’ fust.  Eh, but it’s a grand seet.  They’re curlin’ an’ topplin’ o’er i’ their hurry to get forrad.

Theau’s yerd folks talk abeawt th’ sad say waves, Jammy.  They aren’t sad this mornin’.  They look vex’d, just like eawr Mally does when aw’m in her road an’ hoo’s potherin’ abeawt an’ wantin’ to mop th’ hearthstone.  But aw love th’ say.  Its bit o’ temper ‘ll pass away, like eawr Mally’s, an’ it’s face, like her’s, will be as pleasant as a choilt’s what’s getten a new doll.

But aw like to see th’ tide comin’ in, Jammy, an’ aw like to see it goin’ eawt.  Ever comin’ in an’ ever goin’ eawt, never still, never satisfied.  It sets me thinkin’, an’ aw think heaw like it is to th’ great say o’ humanity.  Ebbin’ an’ flowin’, never still, never satisfied.  Some on us are reformers, an’ sometimes we think we’re makin’ progress.  But it’s surprisin’ when we look back heaw short a distance we
ve travelled.  We’re nobbut ebbin’ an’ flowin’.  One generation occupies its time i’ undoin’ what th’ previous generation did, an’ th’ next generation will be busy undoin’ what we’ve done.

But aw started to tell thee abeawt this place, Jammy.  Theau mun excuse me if aw fail to mak’ it interestin’.  Aw’m writin’ this on th’ sands, watchin’ th’ childer build castles, same as folks do o th’ days o’ their lives.  We’re o childer buildin’ castles.  But th’ waves o’ adversity wesh mooist on ’em away.  Aw con see big ships pass up an’ deawn i’ th’ front on me, but they dunnot stop here.  These are ships that pass i’ th’ day.  They pass i’ th’ neet, too, but aw dunnot see ’em.  While we’re restin’ they’re carryin’ on th’ trade o’ Owd England.

We had a drive on Sunday to a noble Lord’s park.  They charged us threepence to go in.  Aw dunnot know wheer o th’ threepences go to, but aw wur towd ’at they go to some charity.  Th’ felley ’at towd me seemed to think ’at it wur very good o’ his Lordship to give this money, becose he met have it for odd-brass hissel’.  Aw said nowt just then but aw thowt to missel’ ’at if th’ thruth wur known happen thoose ‘at wur payin’ their threepences had helped to buy th’ park an’ kept it i’ repair.  Heawever, th’ felley seemed anxious to tell us o he knew, an’ aw didn’t want to offend him.  He went reawnd th’ gardens with us — an’ bonny gardens they wur too — an’ he took us through a tunnel to th’ kitchen gardens, wheer there wur o sorts o’ fruit grooin’ in abundance.  Then we sit deawn at th’ side o’ th’ Hall for a rest.

“Is th’ mesthur o’ this heause awhoam?” says eawr Mally to th’ felley.

“I’m afraid not,” onsert th’ chap.  “You see he has other residences beside this.”

“Has he for sure?  An’ are they o as grand as this?”

“I believe they are, or else grander,” th’ felley said.

“An’ what does he do wi’ ’em?” eawr Mally ax’d.  “He connot be in ’em o at once, con he?”

“No, but he must have a town residence and one or two country residences,” explained th’ felley.


“But why?” said eawr Mally.  “Aw dunnot see why one chap should have three or four palaces, an’ another not have a hut to put his yed in.”

Just then a tall, wiry chap, with a thin red face, coom eawt o’ th’ dur an’ sit hissel’ deawn i’ one o’ th’ cheears on th’ lawn.  He’d a big nose an’ a big m’ustache, an’ look’d for o th’ world like a military officer.

“Hello!” aw said, “Aw’ll bet yon’s his Lordship.”
 
“Yes, I believe it is,” th’ felley said.

“Is it really?” ax’d eawr Mally.  “Then aw’ll have a word wi’ him.  Aw’ve never spokken to a live lord yet, but aw will if he doesn’t knock me deawn.”

An’ wi’ that th’ owd wench made no moore ado, but went up to him and said, “Good afternoon, my lord.”

He looked up wi’ surprise an’ said, “Good afternoon, ma’am.”

“We’ve been lookin’ o’er yo’r gardens, my lord, an’ aw must say ’at they’re very bonny.”

“I am glad to hear you say so,” he onsert.

“But aw should like to say, if yo’ll excuse me, ’at ony one mon ’at has three or four places like this has above his share o’ this world’s goods.”

“Oh,” he said, laughin’ “I see that you are one of these modern Socialists.”

“Nay, aw’m not,” hoo said.  “Aw believe i’ everybody havin’ what they’ve worked for, an’ if nob’dy had ony moore nor what they
ve worked for some o’ these Socialists wouldn’t have as mich as they have.”

“Very good, ma’am, very good,” he agreed.  “That is very neatly put.


“But dunnot yo’ think,” eawr Mally went on, “’at yo’r set is makin’ moore Socialists nor ony other organisation i’ th’ country?”

“How so?” he ax’d.

“Well,” hoo said, “look at this grand park o’ yo’rs an’ o these folk walkin’ abeawt in it.  When they think ’at o this an’ happen two or three moore palaces an’ parks, beside estates i’ big teawns an’ cities, belung to one chap ’at never did owt for ’em while they’re workin’ every day fro’ morn till neet, an’ con hardly keep body an’ soul together — dunnot yo’ think ’at they’ll be dissatisfied?  Dun yo’ think ’at they’ll go on doin’ o th’ wark an’ payin’ o th’ taxes for ever?  An’ when they send men to Parlyment to alter this state o’ things an’ give to folks moore o’ what’s their own an’ a hontful o’ lords reject o their schemes, dun yo’ wonder ’at th’ Socialists are increasin’?  Yo’re bein’ badly led an’ yo’ll find it eawt some day when it’s happen too late.”

“My good woman,” he replied, “this is all very well, but permit me to point out that you are mistaken.  I am not a lord.”

“Yo’re noane a lord?” hoo coed eawt i’ surprise.  “Well, what are yo’ then?”

“I am only his lordship’s butler,” he onsert.

“Is that o,” hoo said.  “Why didn’t yo’ tell me that before?  But never mind.  Yo’re happen no worse for bein’ a butler.  An’ what aw’ve said will do yo’ no harm, an’ if ever yo’ get into a lord it’ll happen do yo’ good.”

Hoo coom back to us wi’ scorn peearch’d on her lips.

“Aw reckon yo’ thowt yo’ wur havin’ me on a bit.  Aw knew ovth’ time ’at he wurn’t a lord.  Onybody could tell beawt lookin’ at him.”

“An’ heaw hasta gone on wi’ him?” I ax’d.

“Oh, aw’ve gan him summat to remember whether he’s a lord or a lackey.”

As my papper’s done aw’ll give o’er neaw, Jammy.  So tak’ care.

Fro’ yo’r owd Pal,
                                          TIM.


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