The Chimney Corner (II.)

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POP AN' COCKLES.


Owd Pinder wur a rackless foo'
    An' spent his days i' spreein';
At th' end of every drinkin'-do,
    He're sure to crack o' deein!


"HELLO; wheer arto for, at sich a pelt?  Arto runnin' thi country?"

    "I'm gooin' down to Posy Bill's for a canful o' traycle, an' a burn (burden) o' Payshen Docks 'at I left last neet."

    "Well,—if thou'll stop an' rosin hauve a minute, I'll goo witho. . . . Is yon Rondle o' Crumper's marlockin about th' fowd again?"

    "It's nought else.  Th' owd lad's brokken out in a fresh place; an he's as peeort as a pynot."

    "It's never true, belike.  Why, by th' mass, I lippent o' yerrin' his passin'-bell every day."

    "Ay; an' so did I.  He's had a tight run wi' th' owd mower this whet; but he is yon, again, thou sees,—as cant as a kittlin!"

    "Ay; he's yon, for sure.  I'll tell tho what,—some folk takken a deeol o' killin'."

    "Ay; they done—an' owd Rondle's as hard as brazzil.  But it's bin a rough poo through for th' owd dog this time."

    "So they say'n.  Why they tell'n me that he wur clen off at th' side for a while."

    "Ay; an' it's true enough, too.  He weren't his own person for mony a week; an' he wander't an' maunder't in his talk; an' they could get nought into him nobbut suction."

    "An' they tell me he yammer't for rum,—neet an' day."

    "An' so he did; an' th' doctor towd Betty that hoo weren't to let him ha' noan upo' no 'ceawnt.  But it seems that while her back wur turn't one day, th' owdest lad fot him some, an' leet him have a poo at it,—for quietness.  Well, when th' doctor coom, he sniffed about a bit, an' he said, 'Hello, Betty; yo'n bin givin' him rum again!' but Betty said mich an' moor that hoo'd never gan him noan.  'Well, then,' said th' doctor, lookin' round among 'em, 'somebry else has!'  Well,—th' owd'st lad happen't to be theer at th' time, an' he said, 'It's me 'at did it!  I couldn't help it!  He went on so, 'at I couldn't bide to yer it; so I fot (fetched) him a saup, an' leet him sup a time or two, while my mother wur out.'  'Well, but,' said the doctor, 'I tell yo again,—yo munnot do it!  Yo'n kill him if yo letten him ha' rum!'  'Well,' said th' lad, wipin' his een, 'I couldn't bide to yer him.'  'But it'll kill him, I tell tho!'  'Well, an' if it does kill him,' said th' lad, 'he couldn't dee o' nought 'at he likes better!'

    "Well, thou knows, th' lad wur reet as far as it went.  But they had to give o'er givin' him rum, an' sich like stuff as that; an', in a bit, he began o' pickin' up his crumbs, an he coom to his-sel' again. . . . Didto never yer about 'em changin' his diet?"

    "Nawe; I don't know 'at I have."

    "Well, then, gi's a reech o' 'bacco, an' I'll tell tho. . . . This is how it let. . . . Th' doctor went in one day, th' same as usual, an' he said, 'Well, Betty, how's th' owd lad gettin on?'  'Eh,' said Betty, 'he's very ill,—he is for sure.  I don't know what I mun do.  But yo'd better goo up, an' look at him.'  So he went up stairs; an' when he coom, down again, Betty said, 'Well,—what thinken yo?'  'Well,' said th' doctor, 'he's ill enough, God knows,—but it's no use givin' him physic,—physic's no use,—keep him warm, an' keep him quiet, an' let him have a saup o' broth, now an' then, an' happen natur' may help him to poo through.'  'Is there nought that one could do for him, then?' said Betty.  'Well,—sartinly,' said th' doctor; 'there is one thing that would give him a chance,—if yo' could get it for him, an' it's th' only thing I can think on that's likely.'  'Eh, whatever is it?' said Betty; 'whatever is it? he's have it,—if I sell up, dish an' spoon!'  'Well,' said th' doctor, 'a change o' diet's what I should recommend.'  'Eh, bless yo,' said Betty, 'he's have it,—as what it is!'  'Well, then, Betty,' said th' doctor, 'if yo can get him some good champagne,—an' some fresh native oysters, an' let him have his fill at his will, it's about the best thing for him that I can think on.'  'Eh, bless yo,—he's have it!' cried Betty, 'if I pop th' clock!'  'That'll do!' said th' doctor, an' away he went . . . In a twothre days he coom again.  'Well, Betty,' said he, 'how is th' owd craiter, bi now?'  'I think yo'n find him a bit better,' said Betty, 'I left him about two minutes sin' up-ended i' bed, yon,—croodlin' a bit of a tune.'  'That favvours mendin,' said th' doctor.  'It does, for sure,' said Betty; 'up wi' yo,—an' look at him.'  Well,—when th' doctor coom down stairs again, Betty said, 'Well, doctor, what thinken yo?  Is he upo th' turn?'  'Ay, ay,' said th' doctor.  'He's getten th' warst o'er.  He isn't like th' same mon.  I thought a change o' diet would bring him to,—if aught would.  Of course, yo' geet him what I towd yo?'

    "'What wur that?'

    "'I towd yo to get him some champagne an' oysters; an yo geet it, I guess?'

    "'Well,—nay, doctor,—I didn't justly get him that; but I geet him th' next best thing to't, 'at I could think on.'

    "'What wur that?'

    "'Well; I geet him some pop [lemonade] an' cockles.  It's very nee th' same, yo known,—an' it comes in chepper!'"


――――♦――――

 
"SEND TUMMUS UP!"


"Thou'll come to mi berrin', Jone," hoo said;
     An' I said I should be glad.

—NATTERIN' NAN.


OWD BILL O' SPIGGIT'S, leaning against the village horse-trough, with a dog in a bant.

BUMPER coming down the lane, with a sprig o' thorn blossom in his hat, singing—


Then swap yor hats round, lads, to keep yor yeds warm;
    An' a saup o' good ale it'll do us no harm.


"HELLO, Bumper, my lad!  What, fuddle't bi noon!  Bi lady, owd brid, thou's let o' thi feet; mindto doesn't leet o' thi back afore neet."

    "Me fuddle't, Billy! me fuddle't,—nought o' th' sort, owd buck-stick,—I can see a hole through a ladder, yet."

    "Well, well,—we'n say cheepin'-merry, then.  By the good Katty, thou's bin having haliday deed, bi th' look on tho', for thou cocks thi neb primely."

    "Eh, Billy, Billy,—I wish thou'd bin wi' me! 'Lilters for ever!' cried Thunge.  Eh, Billy! I've been wheer there's roast and boiled,—an' a lopperin' stew, that it would make a men's yure curl to smell at,—free to o' comers; ay, an' as brisk a tap o' brown ale as ever damped a mortal lip!  It sang like a brid as it went down!"

    "Ay, ay; what, thou's bin amung it, then.  'Heigho, jolly tinker!'  Thou may weel twinkle and twitter so.  Some folk leeten on strangely.  Come, keawer the down a bit, an' cool thisel', for thou reeches like a lime-kill."

    "Hast ony bacco? "

    "Here; help thisel'; an' pipe up."
        .                       .                       .                       .                       .                       .

    "Who's yon 'at's off through th' fowd at sich a scutch?"

    "Nay; I know not; but, by the hectum, he's switchin along like an uncarted stag, as hoe he is."

    "Ay; he's cuttin' th' woint, for sure, is th' lad.  What's up, I wonder?"

    "A labbor or summat, I dar say."

    "More likker a weddin', bi th' look on him; for he's donned like a mountebank's foo."

    "Ay; an' he thinks he's bonny, too.  He's worn some brass o' horse-gowd, has yon lad.  Look at his waistcut; by guy, it glitters like th' front of a rush-cart.  Who is he, thinksto?"

    "Nay; I connot make him out, yet.  I wish he'd come a bit nar.  He favvours a ale-taster about th' nose.  I wonder if he'll turn in at th' Seven Stars?  If he does, I'se have a like aim who it is.  But there's no tellin'.  He's noan use't to yon suit o' clooas,—I can tell that bi his walk.  He looks as if he'd a tin singlet on."

    "I've sin yon mon wheelin' slutch, somewheer."

    "Well; I like as if I should know his wobble."

    "Wobble or no wobble, he's a kenspeckle mak of a face, as far as I can judge.  I could tell him better if he'd his own clooas on."

    "Ay, ay; but he'll need a deeol o' donnin', will yon lad,—to make him pratty,—for as fur as I can see, he's as feaw as a fried neet-mare."

    "Softly, Bill, softly; th' lad didn't make his-sel', thou knows."

    "Nawe; but he's marred his-sel' primely, bi th' look on him; for his chops are o' in a blaze wi' ale-blossom,—an' they're a troublesome mak' o' posies, are thoose. . . . Keep thi een on him, an' see where he holes."

    "Howd! . . . He's kennel't!"

    "Wheer at?"

    "Th' Seven Stars."

    "Bi th' maskins, I know him,—to a yure!"

    "Who is it?"

    "It's Tummy o' Galker's, 'at played Bowd Slasher when we went a-pace-eggin' last year."

    "Thou's hit it!  What's he after, thinksto?"

    "He's off to th' 'Hirin's,' like a hunted red-shank."

    "Why; has he laft th' owd shop?"

    "Ay; bi th' ounters; an' I wonder 'at he's stopt as lung as he has.  Owd Mall's bad to bide,—for boo's as crammed as a crushed whisket."

    "Hoo's a nattle, ill-contrive't camplin' fuzzock,—if ever there wur one."

    "Bill, thou'rt in a terrible way for co'in' folk to-day."

    "Well, I connot bide her men; hoo'll do no reet, nor hoo'll say no wrang; an' hoo's no feelin' for nobry nobbut hersel'; an' that's th' top an' tail on't. . . . But Tummy use't to match her meeterly weel . . . . One day Owd Sam an' Tummy wur busy wortchin' i'th garden; and Sam had getten a lung ladder rear't again th' gable-end o'th house; an' he wur gooin' up a-doin' summat at th' spout, when in comes Mall to th' garden, gosterin', an' hectorin', an' yeawlin' up an' down, reet and lift, th' same as usual.  'Come down that ladder this minute, doesto yer!' cried hoo; 'come down, I tell tho—thou gawmless leather-yed,—for thou hasn't cat-wit!  Doesto know that ladder's as rotten as a brunt rag?  Thou'll breighk thi neck!  Come down, I tell tho,—an' send Tummus up!'  'Noan so, Mally,' said Tummus; 'noan so!  I've a neck as weel as yor Sam,—an mine's worth more brass to me nor yor Sam's is.  If its noan fit for him, it's noan fit for me.  If yo'n goo up, I'll howd th' ladder for yo; but I'm beawn to stop o'th floor, this time,—if yo pleasen.'"

    "Well done, Tummy; he just sarve't her reet!"

    "Oh, Tummus wur too mony for her.  Hoo couldn't bant him at o'.  Never a day passed but they'd a bit of a scog o' some mak. . . . One day, when th' rain wur peltin' down, at full bat, i' gill drops, Tummy coom runnin' into th' kitchen, out o'th garden, sipein' weet; an' he began a-shakin' th' rain off him.  Well,—owd Mall wur helpin' th' sarvant wi' summat, an' as soon as Tummy coom in, hoo lays howd of a greight tin can 'at stood upo' th' sink stone, an' hoo says, 'Here, Tummus,—thou art weet, an' thou con nobbut be weet,—fotch us a can-full o' soft wayter fro th' well, yon.'  Th' well wur about a quarter of a mile off.  Well,—Tummy wur noan so weel suited wi' that, thou may depend, so he looked at her for a minute, an' then he said, 'Here, gi' me howd o' that can!' an' away he went for th' wayter, through th' heavy rain.  In a bit he comes in again, weeter than ever,—wi' th' can on his yed,—an' he said, 'Now then, Mally, wheer are yo?'  'Here, Tummus,' said Mally; 'set it down upo' th' sink.'  But, i'sted o' settin' it upo' th' sink, he tips th' whole can-ful o' wayter slap on to owd Mall; an' flingin' th' can upo' th' floor, he said, 'Now then,—thou art weet, an' thou con nobbut be weet,—fot th' next for thisel'!'"

    "Well done, Tummy!  Bi th' ounters, he just sarve't her reet.  Hoo wants sleckin' a bit,—for hoo's a prodigal pouse."

    "Oh, th' owd lad could fit her up nicely, when he're reet side out.  Th' first time I let on him, at after he gan th' owd lass sich a swilkin', I took him into th' Seven Stars, an' I said, 'Here, Tummy; co' for aught there is i' this house, an' thou's have it, for what thou did at owd Mall!' . . . He's noan so breet i' some things, noather.  I remember him an' me gooin' to Southport, an' it wur o' new to him, for it wur th' first time 'at ever he'd sin th' say.  Well, thou knows, when th' tide gwos out at Southport, yo' can hardly see th' saut wayter, it's so fur off th' town.  Well, one day, when Tummy an' me were walkin' bi th' shore, we coom to some fishin'-boats, 'at were laft dry upo' th' sond.  Well,—Tummy looked at these boats a bit, an' then he said to a chap 'at wur gooin' past, 'Maister, how dun they get these boats down to th' wayter?'  An' th' chap said, 'They dunnot tak' 'em down to th' wayter,—th' wayter coms a fottin' (fetching) 'em!'  'Here, here,' said Tummy, 'thou munnot tell me that tale,—I COME FRO' OWDHAM!'"


――――♦――――

 
"OH, MY NOSE!"


"I don't know how yo' feel,
     But I feel quite queer."

—THE OPERA TICKET.


[Two Friends on 'Change.]


"ANYTHING new this morning?"

    "Nothing."

    "No more fires?"

    "Not yet."

    "Trade must be mending, then."

    "Oh, wait till the Evening News comes out."

    "What was that wild burst of merriment about as I came in?"

    "A railway accident,—that's all."

    "Oh—'that's all,' eh?  Ay,—well,—'There's olez a summat to keep one's spirits up!' as Kempy said when he roll't off th' kitchen slate into th' duck-poand.  But, I don't exactly see where the fun comes in with a railway accident, my friend."

    "Ay; you should have heard Doctor Bateson tell the story."

    "I thought he was in London."

    "He came back last night; and he was in the collision."

    "And yet, it doesn't seem like a laughing matter,—to me."

    "Oh, it wasn't a very serious affair.  The passengers were all, more or less, frightened and shaken; and one fine old Roman nose was broken,—but that seems to have been the principal damage."

    "Ay; I see. 'When Greek meets Greek, then comes the'—what's his name?  The owner of the nose wouldn't laugh, I suppose?"

    "Well,—I believe not,—according to the Doctor's account."

    "But what's the story, my friend, what's the story?"

    "Well,—it seems that Bateson had finished his business in London early in the afternoon yesterday; and he hurried down from his hotel to catch the 5-15 train to Manchester.  He was just in time; and he got comfortably seated in a first-class carriage by himself.  The tickets had been examined, and the porters were closing the doors, when a fat old man, with an enormous gold watch-chain, came waddling up to the door puffing and perspiring like a hot Scotch haggis.  The porters pushed him in, the whistle screamed; away went the train; and Bateson and the new comer, sitting opposite each other, had the carriage to themselves.  For the first few miles hardly a word passed between the two, for it took the old man some time to recover his breath.  At last he came to; and he began to squirt out a little jet of neighbourly chat, now and then, as they rolled along.  The old man had a pleasant countenance, the most remarkable feature of which was a fine aquiline nose; and every sentence he uttered revealed that he was a native of Lancashire.  He was evidently well off, and a good-natured man, but very illiterate; and, as Bateson said, 'his clumsy attempts at politeness said a great deal for the goodness of his heart, but very little for his education.'  But, in spite of the old man's strained efforts at 'parlour talk,' Bateson was delighted with him, and they travelled on, mile after mile, chatting genially together, and well pleased with one another.  'Are you going far!' said he to Bateson.  'I'm going to Manchester,' replied the doctor.  'So am I said the old man, rubbing his hands; 'So am I!  Come, that's good!  We shall be company! . . . You're not teetotal, are yo'?'  'Well,—not quite.'  'Ay, well come, that's reet!  All right, sir.  We shall get on in a bit!'  And so, pleasantly they hob-nobbed together, for an hour or more, sitting opposite each other,—the old man with his huge paunch, and his fine old aquiline nose, and Bateson, with his bald, bullet-shaped head, as white and as hard as a billiard ball.  They had reached the green plains of middle England, and the old man was drawing the attention of his companion to the beauty of the landscape, when a sudden shock of the train brought Bateson's bald head bang against the old man's nose,—like a cannon ball.  In an instant, the old man's politeness disappeared; and his language suddenly changed to the broad, strong, idiomatic dialect of Lancashire.  Seizing his nose with both hands, he cried out,—'Oh, by! Eh,—h!  What the — hasto done that for?'  And eke he groaned, and eke he swore, in strong set phrase.  As soon as the doctor had recovered from his astonishment, he said to the old man, 'Allow me to examine it.'

    "'Keep off, yo scamp!' cried the old man; 'keep off!  Allow thee, eh?  By th' mass; I wish I had never set een on tho!  Here; keep off!  Thou's done enough at me!  They use't to co' this a Roman nose; but, by —, thou's awter't it!'

    "'Well, but I'm a doctor,' said Bateson.

    "'Eh, my nose!' continued the old man; 'it'll never be reet again!  Oh—! . . . . So, thou'rt a doctor, arto?  Oh! hearken that; he says he's a doctor!  Ay; an' I guess thou'rt gooin' up an' down th' country makin' jobs for thisel', arto?  Keep off me, I tell tho,—or I'll warm th' shins for tho!  Oh, my nose!  A doctor, eh?  By th' mon, I'se want a parson in a bit if I'm to be knocked about o' this shap!'

    "'But I'm a surgeon, I tell you,' said Bateson.

    "'Surgeon, be —!  Thou's surge't me nicely!  Keep off!  Go to yon tother end!  I'll be noan surge't wi' thee, no moor!'

    "'Well, sir,' said Bateson, 'I'm very sorry for it.'

    "'Soory for it, arto?  Thou lies,—thou'rt nought o' th' sort,—I can tell bi thi een!  I'll ha' thee ta'en up at th' next station!  Soory for it, eh?  Thou met kill a body, an' then say, "I'm soory for it;" but th' law shall have its course, by —!'

    "'My dear sir,' said Bateson, 'I assure you that it was quite an accident.'

    "'Dear sir, eh?' replied the old man; 'dear sir, he says.  I will be a "dear sir" to thee, afore I've done witho!  Thou thought o' makin' some brass out o' my nose, didto?  I'll mak' thee fork out, when we getten to th' fur end,—see if I dunnot!'

    "'I can put it all right for you.'

    "'Thou can put it "all right," conto?  What the didto put it wrang for?  Tell me that?  Keep off!  Thou'll ha' to sit up for this job?  Keep off me; an' go to tother side!'

    "And so he went on, groaning, and swearing, and mopping his broken nose, to the end of the journey.  Bateson's efforts at reconciliation were all useless; and he is now hourly expecting to be summoned before the magistrates for an assault."

    "Poor old fellow!  I hope he got his bowsprit handsomely repaired.  That story reminds me of another. . . . You remember an accident that happened in a tunnel, during the Chester race week, a few years ago?

    "Ay, that was a shocking affair."

    "It was a fearful business.  An old friend of mine was in the same unfortunate train.  He was a fine, portly old man, more than six feet high, and as straight as a 'pickin'-rod.'  I saw him the day after the accident; and he assured me that the carriage he was in was smashed into splinters, and he was shot bodily out of one compartment into, another,—and yet he escaped unhurt.  It must have been a terrible scene.  The dark tunnel was filled with steam, and crushed carriages, and screams and groans of the wounded passengers.  My friend crept out of the ruins of his carriage in the dark; and, stepping over the dead and the dying, he reached the side of the tunnel, and then he groped his way slowly by the wall towards the open air.  He had not gone far before he was aware of a voice that was following him along the tunnel.  It was some poor Lancashire chap who had been at the races; and he was crawling along the wall, on his hands and knees, through the horrible wreck, towards the mouth of the tunnel; and as he crept along, he muttered in terrified tones,—'O Lord, shall I ever get out o' this hole alive!  Eh, that's another deeod un!  Eh, good God! yo'n never catch me at th' races again!  Oh, by th' mon! "Our Father, which art in Heaven."  Hello, that's another kilt!  Eh, I wish I wur a-whoam!  "Give us this day our daily bread!"  Eh, if ever I get out o' this I'll live a different life!'  And so he went on, creeping in the wake of my friend, till he came out at the end of the tunnel; but, as soon as he reached the open air, he sprang to his feet, and, clapping his hands, he cried out, 'Thank God, I'm noan kilt!'  There happened to be a low stone wall near the mouth of the tunnel, and the revulsion of the poor fellow's feelings was so strong on finding himself safe that he cried out, 'Ston fur!  Here goes!' and then, as an expression of gratitude for his deliverance, he sprang right over the wall.  Unfortunately there was a deep reservoir on the other side, and down he went overhead like a stone.  Again and again he rose to the top, spluttering and splashing, and crying for help.  Just in time, he was fished out by the crowd at the mouth of the tunnel; and then, with downcast head, he silently slunk away through the crowd, in his wet clothes, and was no more seen.'"


――――♦――――

 
A BERRIN' POSY.


    OPHELIA: There's rosemary—that's for remembrance; pray you love, remember; and there is pansies—that's for thoughts.
    L
AERTES: A document in madness; thoughts and remembrance fitted.
    O
PHELIA: There's fennel for you, and columbines; there's rue for you; and here's some for me: we may call it herb o' grace o' Sundays:—you may wear your rue with a difference. There's a daisy; I would give you some violets, but they withered all when my father died. They say he made a good end. (Sings.)

For bonny sweet Robin is all my joy.

—HAMLET.


[Winter afternoon; snow falling.  Two countrywomen on the road.]


"IT'S a good mon's case, Betty, when o's said an' done,—it's a good mon's case."

    "I doubt it is, Matty; for o' 'at there's so mich feaw talk gooin'."

    "It's nought else, Betty.  I tak no notice o' sich creepin' saints as yon.  They known nought what folk han to go through,—an' they care'n less; an' that's what makes 'em so ready i'th' tung."

    "Talk's chep sometimes, Matty, for sure, wi' folk 'at's noather sense nor feelin'."

    "A lot o'camplin', concayted wickstarts, 'at hannot had time to reckon their limbs up gradely.  Th' less they known an' th' moore they talken; an' they're never within a lie or two.  Sich like are noon fit to be trusted with a tung. . . . An' then, what can yo' expect fro' folk 'at never had a finger-ache or a fret,—folk 'at han bin shaded fro' th' sun, an' happed fro' th' cowd o' their days,—folk 'at han bin fatten't, an' filled, an' coozle't, an' foozle't, an' pamper't o' ends up, till they dunnot know whose legs they're walkin' wi',—folk 'at never did a hond's-turn for theirsels sin they wur born into th' world,—folk 'at never missed a meal, an' never knew what i' wur to addle one,—mon, they'n no moore notion o' life nor a midge 'at's born into th' morning sunshine, an' dees afore it sets."

    "They dunnot know 'at they're wick, Matty,—they dun not, for sure.  They mun be harrish't, an' parish't (perished) an' hamper't, an' pincer't, an' powler't about th' cowd world fro' window to wole a while,—an' they mun be druvven to their wits'-end, now an' then, for a bit of a thin livin', to keep soul an' body together,—an' they mun lie hour after hour, an' neet after neet, tossin' an' frettin' i'th' dark, an' longin' for mornin', yet freeten't o' th' comin' day,—they mun do this, an' then they'n larn summit 'at'll last their time."

    "Ay, ay, Betty, lass; an' they wouldn't be as flayed o' deein' as they are; I know it bi mysel'. . . . Well, an' what mak o' stuff han yo bin takin', say'n yo, Betty? "

    "Well, yo known, I've bin havin' baumtay, sweeten't wi' traycle, for a while; but Nanny o' Grout-yed's sent me some dried sage tother day, an' I'm tryin' that now."

    "Ay; an' it's as fine a yarb as ever grew upo' God's ground! . . . Here, Betty, let's tee this hankitcher round yor yed.  Yo marmot get cowd into that face. . . . Let's look at that lump again."

    "Ay; just look at it, win yo? . . . . Oh,—mind, Matty!  It's as sore as a boil! . . . If yo'n believe me, I didn't get a wink o' sleep last neet."

    "Sleep!  Bless us an' save us, lass, how ever hasto bidden this?  Sleep; nay, marry; thou'll sleep noan while that's agate!  Thou mun have a poultice on,—an' keep thisel' warm.  Thou're noan fit to be areawt (outside) sich a day as this.  Lap thisel' up, lass; pritho, lap thisel' up!  How does it feel now?"

    "Feel!  Why, it steawnges an' lutches to that degree that I sometimes wish my yed would fly straight off,—an' sattle it that road!"

    "I'm sure it's bad to bide, lass.  How are yo off for blankets?"

    "Well, we're olez pincht for coverin', thou knows, when winter comes on; an' th' warst on't is that, ever since our John deed (died), I've had th' young'st lass sleepin' wi' mo, an' th' little thing potes clooas off i'th' neet-time; an' theer I am i'th cowd, thou knows, as bare as a robin."

    "Eh, that'll do noan, lass. . . . Here; let's look at that thing again.  I'll tell tho what, Betty, I think it'll gether! "

    "Our Sally says so."

    "Ay an' it'll be a good deeol easier when it comes to a yed."

    "I wish it'd come to a yed, then, for I've a feaw life on't as it is."

    "I'm sure thou has, lass.  There's olez a summit i' this world.  If we hannot one great ailment we'n a lot o' little uns; an' it isn't to tell how a bit of a thing like th' tooth warche can potter a body.  It reminds me o' Tummy Glen an' his lad.  Th' lad had been wring in his inside a while, an' one day he says to his faither, 'Eh, faither, I do like th' bally-warche!'  'Thou likes it?  Why, what for?'  'Becose it's so nice when it gi's o'er!'"

    "Eh, Matty, dunnot make me laugh, pritho.  My heart's good enough, thou knows, but my face is terriby out o' gear."

    "It'll do tho no harm, lass, for thou doesn't get mich to laugh at."

    "Eh dear, nawe. . . . An' now then, Matty, I mun part wi' yo.  I'se be like to turn off up this lone.  Yon childer'll be wonderin' what's become'n on me."

    "Well thou'll be like to go, lass—God help tho! . . . Here,—put that i' thi pocket."

    "Raylee o' me, Matty, I dunnot like takkin' it—I dunnot, for sure.  I could do wi' it weel enough, yo known,—but—"

    "Put it i' thi pocket, I tell tho,—an' dunnot be a foo'!  Bless mi life; wi' a lot o' little childer yammerin' round tho' an' nobry to feight an' fend for 'em nobbut thisel'; I wonder how thou poos through,—that I do!"

    "Well, thou knows, our James sends me a bit o' firin', an, sich like, now an' then."

    "He's as poor as a crow his-sel'."

    "Well, he's nought mich to stir on, for sure; but he helps me as weel as he con.  An' as for a bit o' meight, if thou'll believe me, Matty, I thank God, sometimes, that He's takken mi appetite away; for it levs raither moore for th' childer."

    "God help tho, lass!"

    "Well, now then, Matty; I'll bid yo good day; an' thank yo!"

    "Good day, Betty; an' God bless tho!  Now, rap thisel' weel up!"


(BETTY goes away slowly up the lane, through the falling snow.  MATTY stands for a

minute or two, watching her, with tears in her eyes; then she turns away with a sigh, and taps at a cottage window by the roadside.)


    "Now then, Sarah, are yo ready?"


(The door opens, and SARAH comes forth, with her bonnet and shawl on.)


    "I wur just waitin' for yo, Matty.  Eh, what a wild day it is!  Sha'n we be i' time, thinken yo?"

    "We's be about reet,—an' nought to spare.  I promised th' owd woman that I'd be theer at four o'clock; an' hoo'll be lookin' out for me; for though her wits are gwon, as a body may say, yet, yo known, Sarah, hoo's very nice, poor soul, an' hoo's very particular."

    "Poor owd craiter! . . . . But, yo said yo'd tell me about her, Matty."

    "So I did, Sarah. . . . Well, yo see'n,—owd Mary'll be turn't threescore; an' I think her husban' would be raither of oather th' owder o'th two; an' a honsomer, sweeter-lookin', better-dispose't owd couple never stept shoe-leather.  They'd no childer o' their own; but o' th' childer i'th county met (might) ha' belunged to 'em, for everything 'at they let on seemed to tak to 'em, as if they were'n ever so sib (akin).  Owd John wur a kind-hearted owd chap; he wur like a grey-yure't chylt, in his ways.  He wur a mak of a yed-beetler amung th' porters, up at th' railway-station; an' he'd bin there a lung while; an' he wur a great favourite amung th' men.  He use to goo away in a mornin' an' tak his dinner with him; an' then th' owd woman used to send him his baggin' bi a lad, about four i'th afternoon.  At last he wur takken ill; an' he lee i' bed about three months; an' then he deed.  He went out as quiet as th' snuff o' a candle.  Owd Mary took it very ill th' first day; but hoo change't o' at once; an' hoo began o' gooin' up an' down th' house just as if nought had happen't.  Hoo watched 'em carry him away to his grave; an' hoo looked after th' coffin, an' hoo said, 'He'll not be long;' an' th' very same afternoon hoo cut his bread an' butter, an' geet his baggin' ready, an' sent it off,—just as if he'd bin alive.  An' then we knew that th' poor craiter's wits were gone.  Owd John wur in a berrin' club when he deed; an' when they brought her th' club money, hoo thought it wur his wages; an' hoo went out an' bought him two pairs o' woollen stockin's.  At last hoo began a-gooin' so helplessly about her bits o' house affairs that we had to give her house up, an' sell her bits o' furnitur', an tak two rooms for her, in a house where there were folk that would be kind to her.  An', if yo'n believe me, Sarah, th' poor craiter never notice't th' change; but just leet us do what we'd a mind wi' her, like a child.  An' we never tried to undeceive her; for hoo wur quite comfortable; an' it seemed like a merciful thing.  The house where hoo lodge't wur next to ours, an' I use't to go in nearly every day, an' chat with her; an' whatever I said, all her talk ended i' John.  I tried, sometimes, to draw her away to other things; but before we'd said many words hoo wur sure to come back to John again; and hoo olez spoke on him as if hoo expected him comin' in a few minutes.  An' if hoo yerd a foot passin' th' house, hoo geet up, an' looked through th' window; an' then hoo'd goo to th' door, an' look at th' weather; an' hoo'd say, 'Eh, dear; it's beginnin' to rain, an' he's noather umbrell nor overcoat wi him.'  Sometimes hoo'd bring his shirts out, an' turn 'em o'er, one after another, to see if th' buttons were reet; an' hoo'd hang one o'er a cheer i'th front o'th fire; an' then sit down to her knittin', rockin', an' waitin' till four o'clock drew near; an' then hoo'd get up an' cut his bread an' butter, an' get his tay ready,—th' same as ever.  An' then, when neet coom, an' hoo geet tire't, hoo'd goo quietly off to bed bi hersel', and say, 'I think he'll not be long, now,' an' th' next mornin', hoo'd come down th' stairs, smilin', as comfortable as could be, an' hoo'd say, 'John was here last night; he was tellin' me this, an' that, an' tother.'  An' thus, day after day has gone by wi' her for this two year back.  An', eh, Sarah! mony a time as I've sat theer watchin' her sweet owd face, as hoo cut his bread an' butter, an' talked about his comin' in, I could hardly help for cryin', when I thought on him lyin' o' th' while in his quiet grave, safe kept away fro' wind and weather, an' th' aches an' pains o' life; an' I've prayed mony a time that hoo met (might) never come to hersel' again, but just keep airin' his clooas, an' gettin' his baggin' ready, till th' day comes that hoo has to be laid down quietly beside him."

    "This is tn' house, isn't it, Matty?"

    "Yigh.  We're just i' time.  Let's see!"


(MATTY peeps in at the window.)


    "Hoo's cuttin' his bread an' butter!  Come in,—quietly."


――――♦――――

 
BITTER-SWEET.


"Howd, Sam; yo'r Margit's up i'th town;
 I yerd her ax for thee at th' Crown;
 An' just meet now I've scamper't down,
 It's true as ought i'th Bible!
 I know yo'r Margit well of owd:
 Her sung,—it makes me fair go cowd,
 Sin' th' day hoo broke mi nose it'h fowd,
 With end o'th porritch-thible."

—MARGIT'S COMIN'.


[Scene: Kitchen of the Brid an' Bantling.  BILL O' SNICKET'S an' OWD TRINEL seated

 in a dark nook by the fire-side.]


"ARE we to sit dry-mouth, Bill, or how?"

    "Nawe.  Here, Betty, bring us a quart an' a quiftin'-pot."

    "Ay; be sharp, Betty; I'm as dry as soot."


(BETTY brings the drink.)


    "Chalk it up, Betty; I haven't a hawp'ny about mi rags. . . . Trinel; buttle, an' let's sup."

    "I will, my lad. . . . An' I say, Betty, put that dur to, an' let's ha' th' hole to ersels.  Theer!  Now then, Bill, wipe thi face, and tak howd!  We're as reet as a ribbin."


(Enter BILL'S wife.)


    (To the Landlady.)—"Has our Bill bin here?"

    "Go forrud.  Yo'n find him i'th nook, yon."

    (BILL to OWD TRINEL.)—"By th' hectum, Trinel; hoo's ta'en us!  Sit tho still; an' plog thi ears up!"
                 .                          .                          .                          .                          .

    "Oh, thou'rt theer, I see, arto?"

    "Ay; I'm here, thou sees."

    "Ay; an' thou may weel cruttle into a nook.  I'd keep out o'th seet if I're thee!"

    "Well; I am keepin' out o'th seet."

    "Thou darn't show thi face i'th dayleet.  I'd stop theer if I're thee,—for thou'rt likker a corn-boggart than a Christian.  I wish thou could see thisel'!"

    "Well; fot (fetch) a seemin'-glass, an' let's have a look!"

    "Let's have a look!  Thou'rt feaw enough to breighk ony seemin'-glass i'th world!  I wonder how thou can for shame o' thi face sit keawerin' theer, hutch't of a lump, like a garden-twod!  Ay; thou may weel snigger and laugh!  I see nought to laugh at, mysel'.  Arto for comin' whoam, or what?"

    "I think I'll bide here a bit,—till th' wynt sattles."

    "'Bide here a bit,'—thou hawmplin' cauve!  I'd bide here o'together, if I wur thee.  They'n find tho some mak of a bed i'th brew-house, I dar say.  I'd stop till dark, as how 'tis,—for thou'rt noan fit to turn out i'th dayleet.  A bonny pattern for yon bits o' childer, thou art!  Thou greight slaverin' hag-a-knowe!  If I wur thee, I'd ha' mi pickter takken, just now,—it'd do for a ale-house sign, —for thou'rt as like a wild Indian as ought I can think on."

    "Well,—tak mi pickter, then; and sell it.  Let's make a bit a brass, while there's a chance."

    "Make a bit o' brass!  If thou wur in a show thou'd fot summat!  Thou'rt too idle to make ony brass for thisel',—thou loungin' rack-an'-hook,—an' if onybody else con make ony, thou'll make it away for 'em.  I wish I'd never clapt een on tho!"

    "Well; tak' thi een away, then.  What doesto ston starin' theer for?"

    "Starin' theer!  Thou'd make a lapstone stare!  A drunken slotch, as thou art,—keawerin' i'th chimbley barkle't wi' slutch!"

    "Wipe thi mouth, owd lass,—an' start again."

    "Wipe mi mouth!  Thou's getten thy mouth wipe't this time, to some tune.  It never wur a pratty un—but it gwos feawer.  A bonny hal thou's bin makin' thisel' again, I yer."

    "Howd te din."

    "Howd mi din!  Thou may weel say 'howd mi din!  Thou'rt a town's talk, mon!  Th' childer putten their tungs out at tho, as thou gwos through th' fowd!"

    "Well; let 'em put 'em out.  I'm moore bother't wi' thine than theirs."

    "Thou greight, starin', sunbrunt foo!  To goo an' come straight out o' thi looms, an' walk three mile, i'th leet-lookin' day to feight a battle!  Sich seely wark! an' to feight wi' Jone o' Woggy's, too, of o' th' folk it'h world!  A mon owd enough to be thi faither,—a poor tatter-clout, 'at's nought noather in him nor on him,—a clemmed craiter 'at doesn't get a gradely bally-full o' meight in a week's time.  Thou met as weel ha' foughten wi' an owd seck.  A poor hobblin' cratchinly felly, wi' one fuut i'th grave.  I wonder how thou can for shame o' thi face; thou greight, o'er-groon, idle, lollopin' hount!  Never thee brag o' thi feightin' no moore.  I could ha' lickt him mysel',—wi' one hond teed beheend me!  Thee, an' thi feightin'!  Thou may weel win,—feightin' owd folk an' childer!  But, as poor a thing as he is, he's laft a twothre bits o' notches upo' that pratty face o' thine.  Thee feight!  Thou can feight noan, wheer a men comes!  If I did feight, I'd have a bit o' credit o' mi feightin', if I wur thee.  It'll cost thrippence or fourpence for Solomon's Seal to get thi een reet!"

    "Give o'er; thou makes mi yed warche."

    "Thi yed may weel warche.  Two foos,—stonnin' up, an' penkin' at one another's faces, like a couple o' nailmakers.  A bonny trade thou's getten' bi th' hond!  A feighter!  Sore bwons, an' ragged clooas!  Thou'll be havin' another arran' to th' Whit'oth Doctor's,—I lippen o' nought else."

    "Thou's no 'casion to talk about feightin': it's noan so lung sin' thou hit Mall o' Stutter's o' th' yed wi' thi clog patten."

    "Ay; an' I'll hit her again, if hoo'll say hauve as mich to me again!  If hoo'll just boke her finger at me once't, I'll have a penk at her piggin', if I have to pay for th' garthin' on't."

    "Thou'rt too rough, lass."

    "Rough or smooth, I'll chine her to th' floor if ever hoo meddles o' me again,—a camplin' snicker as hoo is! . . . Who's that feaw-lookin' twod, at th' side on tho theer, i'th, corner?"

    "It's owd Trinel."

    "Owd Trinel!  That's another racketty slotch!  A bigger waistrel never bote of a cake!  If I had any company, I'd pike somebry 'at wur some bit like daycent; I wouldn't tak up wi' every drunken berm-yed 'at I could rake out o' a gutter!  But yo'r brids of a fither!  Yo'r too fat an' too full!  Yo wanten takkin' down a peg or two!"

    "Well, tak mo down, then."

    "Tak tho down!  Thou'll need noan in a bit.  Thou'rt gooin' th' reet gate to tak down both thisel' and everybody at belungs tho.  Eh, dear o' me; whatever mun I do?  Eh, I wish to the Lord thou would have a bit o' sense, Bill,—an' think what's to become on us a'!"

    "Here; wipe thi een, lass; I'll go witho."


――――♦――――

 
WAKKEN BEGGAR.


What hempen home-spans have we swaggering here,
So near the cradle of the fairy queen?

—SHAKESPEARE.


[ROBIN O' BANTER'S and BILLY COCKTOE coming from the market.]


"AGRIMONY'S a good yarb, Bill."

    "I believe it is.  But there's nought 'at groos 'at isn't good for some'at or another."

    "I guess not,— if they can nobbut find out wheer it fits. . . . How's th' market?  Hasto bought aught?"

    "I've both bought an' sowd,—but nought o' no weight."

    "Hasto getten rid o' th' two-year-owd cowt, yet?"

    "Nawe.  I'll part noan, till I can leet on better nor aught at's turn't up, yet."

    "It's worth brass, is that cowt."

    "It's as prime a bit o' stuff, Robin, as ever went upo' legs; an' thoose 'at gets it 'll ha' to pay for't though it looks a bit rough wi' lyin' out thoose raggy neets."

    "It's as pratty a limber-legged craiter as ever I clapped een, on, Bill.  Thou hasn't had it down at th' market, then?"

    "Nawe; it needs no hawkin'.  Thoose 'at wanten it mun come to't. . . . I geet a fairish price for two cauves; an' I bought two new shuttles, an' a couple o' pickin'-sticks; an' I geet a good oak lung-sattle, an' a prial o'looms chep, at Owd Kempy sale; an' I bought a twothre oddments 'at we wanten a-whoam.  Thou knows our Betty's at th' down-lyin', or else hoo'd ha' bin here hersel'.  Th' looms an' things are comin up i' Jone o' Kitter's cart. . . . Oh, an' I bought a bit o' fustian for a suit o' clooas for th' young'st lad."

    "That's yo'r Antony, isn't it?"

    "Yigh; it's Antony."

    "He's a little scopperil!"

    "He's nobbut just turn't nine; but he's th' roughest cowt at ever we had at our house.  We'n fourteen on 'em round th' table when they're 'o theer; an' he'll side as mich beef at an odd sittin' as ony lusty felly upo' Wardle moorside."

    "He'll be a greight, stark, strung backed, wutherin, Englishman, o' th' owd breed, if he's luck!"

    "He's offerin' very weel,—so far."

    "He taks of his uncle Joe."

    "He does; an' his uncle Joe never wur quiet but when he're feightin'."

    "Ay; he're a regilar kempie. . . . What hasto getten i'th basket, theer?"

    "A keaw-yed."

    "Ay; an' a fine un, too.  Hello; there's summat i'th inside on't here!"

    "Ay; it's a pound o' stokin'-yorn, for th' knitters."

    "By Guy, Bill; thou mun mind they dunnot boil th' yed an' th' yorn together."

    "Well, an' if they did they'd never find it out till it wur o' etten."

    "I dar say. . . . An' is yo'r Antony nobbut nine, saysto?"

    "He're nine th' last thar-cake time."

    "What trade arto beawn to make him?"

    "He says, mich an' moor, 'at he'll oather be a sailor or a bobby-cocker."

    "Let him go for a sailor!  By th' mon!  Owd Englan' for ever!  Mi uncle Joe wur a sailor!  He kilt mony a score o' folk i'th owd war!  Let him go for a sailor!"

    "Well; I've nought much again it, 'at I know on.  He'll do summat, as what he is.  Beside, folk connot expect to live for ever.  An' he's the best hond at swarmin' a pow 'at ever I claps een on!"

    "He gwos to schoo' yet, doesn't he?"

    "Yigh."

    "Who to?"

    "Bill o' Mi Lady's."

    "What, Owd Flutterslutch?"

    "Ay; but he's gettin' rather too mony for his maister.  I think this last do they'n had has about played th' upstroke."

    "How's that?"

    "Well; it's nobbut about a week sin' his mother set him off to schoo' one mornin', at nine o'clock, wi' a butter-cake in his hond as big as a churn-lid,—an' off he went.  Well,—what does he do, but he gwos down th' bruck-side yon, an' sits down, up to th' een amung posies, finishin' his butter-cake.  An' then,—schoo' or no schoo', an' sich like, he didn't care a hep for nought i'th wide world,—so he doffed his shoon an' stockin's, an' down he went into th' wayter; an' theer he flasker't about i'th bruck after jack-sharps.  An' o' th' time, th' day ran by, thou knows, but th' lad kep' powlerin' about among th' wayter, as if o' th' world wur hist own, an' that wur a favourite bit on't.  Schoo', an' everything else, had slipt his mind, an',—lad-like,—he're as free as a new-fisher's linnet, flutterin' an' twitterin' amung th' summer's green."

    "Eh, by th' mass, Bill, I wish I're a lad again!"

    "Ay; but thou'rt too far gone, now, mon.  Never mind; we's happen have another do some day. . . . Well,—as I wur tellin' tho. . . . About th' middle o' th' forenoon, his mother had to go down th' fowd, after some'at or other, an' when hoo coom to th' bruck, th' first thing hoo clapt een on wur Antony, up to th' middle i'th wayter, as thrung as Throp wife.  'Hello!' cried hoo; 'how leets thou artn't at schoo'?  What arto doin' their?'  'I'm catchin' jack-sharps.'  'Ay; an' thou'll catch some'at else,' said his mother, 'if thou doesn't be off to schoo'!'  'I darn't go now,' said Antony.  'What for?'  'Becose he'll hit me!'  'Will he?  Just thee tell mo,—an' if he lays a finger on tho, I'll kom his yure for him!'  'Well,—but I darn't go bi mysel',' said Antony.  'Here; I'll go witho',' said hoo; 'an' thee go reet in, an', I'll stop o' th' outside; an' if he does aught at tho, thee skrike out,—an' I'll come.'"

    "I think hoo mars him a bit, Bill."

    "Mars him!  By th' mon, there's no goin' between em,—they're so thick!  Well, but,—as I wur tellin' tho, his mother took him up to th' schoo'-dur, an' in he went,—an' hoo waited o'th outside, wi' a greight burn-can in her hond.  'Now, Antony,' hoo said, as he went in, 'thee skrike;—if aught happens!'  Well,—in he went,—an' shut th' dur beheend him,—an' hoo stood under th' window, prickin' her ears.  'Hello,' said th' maister, as soon as he clapt his een upo' th' lad; 'Hello, wheer has thou bin till now?'  'I've bin catchin' jack-sharps,' said Antony,—as, peeort as a pynot.  'Oh, ay,' said th' maister, 'well, then come up here,—an' be rubbed!'  So Antony went up,—for he's noan fleyed o' nought i' this world.  'So thou's bin catchin' jack-sharps, hasto?' said th' maister; an' he leet fly at Antony, wi' a greight strap 'at he had,' an' he said,—'Hasto catched that?'  'Come, give o'er,' said Antony, 'give o'er; yo'r to lungous!  Now yo'd better give o'er, Flutterslutch,' said Antony, 'or else yo'n drop in for't,—so I've towd yo!' 'Doesto co me Flutterslutch, thou ill-made whelp!' said th' maister; an' at him he went, an' started o' givin' him a gradely good towellin'.  Then Antony geet to wark, an' he set his clogs upo' th' swing, an' o' th' time he kept skrikin' out, 'Mother, mother, murder!  Mother, murder!'  Well, th' minute hoo yerd that, bang coom th' burn-can slap through th' window, full o' some mak' of an ill-savour't mixin'.  I know nought what it wur, but it alter't that hole to some tune,—an' every livin' craitur geet a swatch on't.  I believe some on 'em's never bin sweet sin'.  Well,—hoo're noan content wi' that, but hoo sent th' dur in wi' her fuut an' hoo flounce't reet in among 'em.  Well,—thou knows what a greight strung Jezabil hoo is,—an' hoo coom pounce again' th' schoo'maister, like a broody hen,—an' hoo geet her claws weel set amung his yure; an' hoo rove him about fro' window to wole, till he skrike't like a witchel't cat; an' while th' cammed daffock, an' this kestrilt of a schoo'maister wur agate o' feightin', th' childer cruttle't o' of a rook, for they thought there were beawn to be murder i'th hole.  An' they co'de one another,—too ill to brun.  He co'de her a mismanner't daggle-tail,—an' a mawkin',—an' a daffockin', sloppety sliven,—an' an ill-contrive't snicketty fussock,—an' sich like.  An' hoo laft him nought short, I'll uphowd to; for hoo're i' full wark, o't time, hommer an' tungs,—an' hoo awter't th' colour of his face afore hoo'd done wi' him."

    "It's bin a bonny bit of a flirt, ow'd lad."

    "It wur nought else; but th' end on't wur that hoo brought our Antony away, an' th' better hauve o'th schoo maister's yure (hair) at th' same time."


――――♦――――

 
BAUM-TAY AND PONCAKES.


Like an old tale still; which will have matter to rehearse though credit be asleep, and not an ear open.—SHAKESPEARE.


[ADAM O' RAPPER'S an' RONDLE O' BONNY MOUTH'S coming home in the dark.]


"I'LL tell tho what, Adam,—Owd Bill wur gettin' raither to warm under saddle, weren't he?"

    "Ay; he comes of a fast-gaited breed; an' he's a good deeol o' slack about his jaw."

    "To my thinkin', Adam, he's o' fluzzins' an' beggar-berm."

    "Time 'll tell.  We's see what it winds to in a bit."

    "I'll tell tho what, Adam,—some folk would sarve hell wi' brimstone, if they could make ony brass by it."

    "There is o' that mak, for sure, Rondle."

    "Ay, is there; an' if it were to burn their father wi, they'd do it."

    "I think ten per cent would fot (fetch) 'em.  An', as for talk,—it'd weary a grooin' tree to yer a chap like yon talk."

    "Talk's chep, Adam!  I could larn moore wi' watchin' two kitlin's marlock upo' th' hearthstone nor ony mak o' talk 'at ever wur slatter't off th' edge o' a mortal lip!"

    "Thou'rt about hauve reet, Rondle.  Th' big'st part 'o th talk at's gooin's fit for nought nobbut shooin' hens wi'."

    "Ay; an' there's some hens 'at would give o'er layin' if they yerd owd Bill talk."

    "Well,—they'd oather drop it, or lay away."

    "I know I would, if I wur a hen. . . An', then, as for fine houses, an' sich like, Adam,—there isn't hauve as mich in it as folk thinken. . . . Talk about houses!  By th' mass, there isn't a house i' this world 'at's as grand as Lobden Moorside, about th' back-end o' th' year!  An' as for ceilin's,—wheer is there a ceilin' like th' sky?  But if thou'll notice, Adam, folk getten so use't to't, while (until) they clen forgetter 'at it's o'er th' top on 'em!  By th hectum,—it's full o' flyin' pickters, an' o' maks o' grand glitterment!  Ceilin's!—There isn't a ceilin' between here an' Jerusalem at's fit to howd th' candle to th' oppen sky!—An' then, doesn't thou see,—if a chap wur a king, an' he own't a hundred an' fifty houses, o' different maks, he could nobbut be i' one on 'em at once."

    "I guess not."

    "Not he!  An' he could nobbut be i' one nook at once.  An' then, if he'd five hundred suits o' clooas, made o' silk, an' satin, an' three-pile velvet,—an' o' covert wi' horse-gowd, an' haliday ribbins, an' sich like,—he could nobbut wear one suit at once."

    "Yigh,—he could if he'd a mind."

    "Well,—ay,—but he'd look like a foo' if he did."

    "Agreed on; but there's some on 'em thinken nought or that."

    "Well,—as thou says, Adam, about that.  Beside,—look here!  If a chap wur th' owner of o' th' heightin'-stuff (eating-stuff) i' this world he could nobbut do wi' one meal at a time, could he?"

    "Howd, Rondle, howd!  I know a chap 'at can put as mich out o' seet at one sittin' as would fit thee an' me for hauve a dozen meals!"

    "Well, then, he's a gradely pile driver, Adam, as who he is,—for thou's a twist like Robin Hood, thisel'! . . . But, let that leet as it will, there isn't a mon i' this wide world 'at's more fun nor I have!  A king can nobbut be i' one spot at once,—an' he can nobbut wear one suit o' clooas at once,—an' he can nobbut height one dinner at once,—an' if he's a better stomach nor me, it's a crumper, that's o',—an I've as big a farm i'th sky as ony londtort 'at's under it,—an',—I'll wrostle th' best king i' this country-side for a quart, just this minute. . . . Hello; what ban we here?"

(FIDDLER BILL, coming down the hill, in the dark, singing.)


"Then to't they fell, an' fought full well,
     I con both sing an' say;
 An' they laid on mony a lusty bang,
     In good owd English play."


    "Rondle; that's oather Fiddler Bill, or the dule his-sel!"


(Sings again.)


"'Yung Chirrup, thou'rt a gallant lad;
     I'll feight till set o' sun;
 But, at every throw, yung Chirrup's foe
     Wur th' topmost mon—but one.'"


    "Fiddler Bill for a theausan' peawnd, Adam!  Husht!  He's startin' again."


"'Sneck up, sneck up; I'm done; sneck up;
     Yung Chirrup wins!' cried he;
 'Thou art the starkest, swipper'st lad
     That ever I did see;
 I'd liefer than a hundred pound
     That I could feight like thee!'"


    "It's Fiddler Bill, again, I say!  Gi' mouth, Rondle!"

    "Hello!  Who's theer?"

    "Who's here?  An Ancient Briton; wi' kest-iron shins; an' yure like pin-wire!  Who art thou?  Oppen thi chops; or I'se be a-top on tho!"

    "Mi name's Fiddler Bill,—"

    "Thou'rt oather lyin', or I'm swapped.  But, get forrud witho, an' let's yer!  What trade arto?"

    "I'm a foo bi trade, an' my faither wur a foo afore mo."

    (BILL) aside.—"Bi lakin, it's somebry 'at knows summat about me.  Come a bit nar, an' let's have a penk at thi nob. . . . Eh, is it thee, Rondle?"

    "It's nought else."

    "By th' mass, lads, I'm fain to leet on yo!"

    "Th' same here, owd brid!"

    "Oh, give o'er, Rondle!  Dunnot shake me!  I'm noan so weel!"

    "What's to do?"

    "I've bin havin' berm-bo' an' traycle to mi dinner; an' I feel as swelled as a new-blown bleddher."

    "Come on wi' thi berm-bo!  Thou'rt olez amung berm, i' some shap or another!  Come on; I'll see thee safe londed, afore we parten!"


――――♦――――

 
BLENDSPICE.


Said our guidman to our guidwife,
"Get up, and bar the door, oh."

OLD SCOTCH SONG.


[BILLY POTYARB an' CALEB O' CAUVE-LICKED ABRAM'S on the road.]


"BILL, owd towel; what mak o' pousement hasto bin rootin' amung?  Thou's a smudgy mak of a look; an' thou'rt out o' gear, fro' top to toe."

    "Well; if thou'll believe me, I're i' sich a feight to get out o'th house this mornin' that I hadn't time to wesh mysel' gradely; so I just ga' my face a lick an' a promise, an' donned mysel' at the readi'st; an' then I crope off as nicely as I could,—for our Nan wur agate; full bat."

    "Thou'rt a weary pictur', as how 'tis.  Thou's deeted thi face primely with some'at; an' thi clooas looken as if they'd bin thrut on wi a pike-fork.  Here; tak howd o' this horn, an' ready thi yure a bit,—for thou'rt moore likker a corn boggart nor aught belungin' this world.  Arto for gooin' off it o'together, or how?"

    "Thou'd ha' bin off it lung sin' i' thou'd gone through as mich as me.  Eh, I have sich a hoast!  My throttle's as reawsty as a bone-house-dur lock,—an' I'm as stiff as a rubbin'-stoop, fro yed to foot."

    "What hasto bin agate on?"

    "Well; I'd a pummer of a day on't, yesterday, wi' one thing an' another.  The first go to I geet catched i' that thunner-shower, i'th forenoon,—an' I had it o' to mysel'."

    "Nay, thou hadn't it o', owd craiter; for I geet a saup on't, mysel'.  I're comin' o'er 'Th' Thistley Feelt' when it started; an' I took to my heels, like 'Owd Stump' wi' th' 'Pie Lad' beheend him; but afore I could get into Th Brid an' Bantlin' dur-hole, I hadn't a dry threed on me.  Eh, how it did come down!  Drops as big as marbles!"

    "Drops!  Nay, bi th' heart; I thought th' welkin' had gan way!  It coom again my face i' quart lumps; an', in about two minutes, I're as weel soaked as if I'd bin steepin' three week in a well-trough; an' at after that, I went whistlin' through it, an' leet it do as it liked,—for I're getten wayter-proof."

    "How leets thou didn't hole?"

    "Hole! wheer mut I hole, at th' top o' Rooly Moor, where o's as bare as a bakstone for five mile round?  There isn't a slifter, nor a ginnel, nor a gorse-bush 'at 'ud house aught bigger than a modiwarp."

    "Why, thou'd be witchod (wet-shod) afore tho geet whoam."

    "Witchod!  Ay,—I're witchod ole o'er.  Talk about walkin' through th' Red Say!  I'd wade fro' here to Jerusalem for a bowl o' stew!"

    "Thou'd catch it upo' that moor-top."

    "Catch it!  I geet it o', I tell tho,—full measur'. . . . An' it wur a grand seet, too!  Thou knows I'm noan yezzy fleyed; but it made my yure stir a bit, now an' then,—for it sounded as if they were'n agate o' crashin' worlds together,—an' every time it leeten't it let up Brown Wardle Hill like a greight flash o' melted silver! . . . But I walked through it, like a wayter-dog, for about three mile; an' then I popt into th' Greenbooth ale-house, an' dropt asleep in a nook, sipein' weet.  Afore lung my clooas began o' reechin' like a lime-kil'; an' when they rooze't me up I're as mazy as a goose wi' a brass nail in it yed; an' they had to dad me whoam; for I couldn't see a hole through a ladder; an' I maunder't an talked o' maks o' bull-scutter."

    "Thou's bin ill, owd lad."

    "Ill!  I shan't be reet again as month."

    "Doesto tak nought for it?"

    "Nawe; but I will do, as soon as I come to a pictur' shop."

    "Well, cheer up, owd brid,—thou'rt noan bi thisel'.  I dropt in for't, honsomely, last neet,—wi' one thing an' another.  Smell at mi jacket! "

    "Ay,—is it tar?  I've bin wonderin' what that wur, a good while.  I thought there an ill savvour about, somewheer.  If my nose is aught to go by, Bill,—thou's bin amung some'at 'at's not so nice!"

    "Thou's guessed to a hay-seed."

    "Well,—go fur off,—thou'rt war nor a pow-cat!

    "Here; feel at my yed, first.  Well; hasto fund aught?"

    "A twothre lumps."

    "Ay; seventeen on 'em.  Thoose wur o' done last neet."

    "Thou's bin i'th wars, Caleb?"

    "Raither. "

    "What were there agate?"

    "Bide, till I leet mi pipe; an' I'll tell tho. . . . Well, thou knows, it wur 'Mischief Neet' last neet an' th' lads i'th fowd an' me agreed to turn out at th' edge o' dark, an' have a bit of a marlock amung th' neighbours.  Well,—when o' wur sattlin' nicely down, an' th' most o' folk had croppen off to bed, Twitchel Tummy whisper't in at our back-dur, 'Now then, Caleb,—arto ready!' So I nipt up, an' off we set; an' as soon as we'd turn't th' house-end, Dan o' Swapper's said, 'Now then, Caleb,—we'n made it for thee to carry th' pow',—an' he ga' me howd of a greight stang, about twelve fuut lung, 'at they had hud (hidden) in a nook.  So I said, 'What mun I do wi' this?'  'Well,' said Dan, 'we're beawn to knock at folk's durs, wheer they're gone to bed, an' when they looken out at th' chamber-window, thou mun fot 'em a crack o' th' yed wi' th' pow, and then run,—that's o' 'at thou has to do,— we'n manage tother amung us.  So I said, 'O' reet!' an' away we went; an' we'd some rare gam for a while, for I played my pow primely; an' every time 'at they looked out aboon, I kept droppin' em a notch or two, an' we left 'em rubbin' their yeds i'th inside.  Well,—at last, Dan said, 'Now then, lads; afore we gwon whoam, let's give owd Fullocker a bit of a touch, for a finisher.'  Well,—that just tickle't me up; so I ga' my pow a bit of a shake, and I said, 'Go it lads!  He borrowed tuppence o' me th' last Winter Fair day, an' he's ne'er gan't me back, so I'll just raise a couple o' nobs on his yed,—an' tak it out that road.'  Agreed on; an' off we set; an' they thunged at owd Fullocker's dur.  In a bit, up went th' window, an' I leet fl wi! mi' pow, but, afore I could tak aim again, there wur some'at coom fluskin' down fro' th' window, an' in hauve a second I wur fair smoor't wi' an ill mixtur' at I think i' my heart they'd bin savin' up for me.  Well, I'd hardly getten my breath, afore owd Fullocker an' his two lads popt off at th' house-end; an' they took mi stang o' me, an' they raddle't my bwons to some tune, I can tell tho'; and that's how I geet these lumps upo' my yed."

    "I guess thou'd be fain to drop it, at after that?"

    "Howd, stop; I haven't done yet. . . . Well,—we o' took to o'r heels, thou knows; an' when we coom to a quiet nook, I rested mysel' again a wole a bit, an' groped at my lumps.  Dan an' tother lads did nought nobbut laugh; an' they wouldn't come within three yards on me,—for I stank like a foomart.  So Dan said, 'Goo an' wesh thisel' i'th' bruck a bit,—an' let's go whoam.'  So I went in, up to th' middle, an' did as weel as I could; but o' th' wayter i'th' world wouldn't sweeten me now.  At last I coom out,—sipein' weet, an' as down as a hommer,—for I wur fleyed o' gooin' whoam.  Well, as I crope off, down th' fowd, after these tother chaps,—for they would't walk beheend me,—a woman thrut a chamber-window up, an' started o' coin' out, "Help, help!  Somebry's plogged th' dur-lock-hole up; an' I want to go to mi weshin'!'  'By th' mass,' said Dan, 'it's Mall o' Bedflock's!  Run for a ladther!'  So they went an' geet a ladther, an' Dan said, 'Up witho, Caleb; an' let her out!'  So, without givin' it a thought, thou knows, I bowted up; but I'd no sooner getten into th' chamber than they nipt th' ladther away; an' theer I wur, fast i'th house with owd, Mall; an' I did what I could to oppen th' dur, but it war no use. . . . Well, owd Bedflock happen't to be drinkin', with a rook o' th' same mak, at th' Bull's Yed; an' somebry ran an' towd him to be sharp, for there war a chap i'th house wi' his wife.  Well,—Bedflock come off, tickle-but, wi' a cleaver in his hond; an' th' owd fowd wur up i' no time; an' th' women cried out, 'Crash th' dur in, Bedflock, an' give him a good towellin';' but, just as th' dur began to gi' way, I lope slap through a window at the back, an' I let solsh up to the middle 'i some slutch; and theer I stuck, till Dan an' these tother come an' pood me out wi' a rope. . . . Well, thou knows, I're war wus nor ever; but I did no moore weshin'.  I crope off whoam, just as I wur,—for I wur about three-quarters deeod. . . . Hello; what comes here?"


(AMOS O' COCKTOE'S comin' up the road, with a door on his back, singing.)


"We're neighbours, an' very weel met;
     We're o' merry lads, o' good mettle;
 Here's Kester,—wur never licked yet;
     An' Nathan's i' rattlin' fettle;
 Wi' a pipe, an' a tot, an' a crack,
     An' a crony, I'm just i' my glory;
 I'll tipple the world fro' my back,
     An' brass off wi' a bit of a story.
                 Fal-lal-der-dal, layrol-i-day!
 Tother day, when I're rovin' areawt,
     I let of owd—


    Hello; who's theer?"

    "What, Amos! owd lad; is that thee?  What arto for wi' th' dur?"

    "Eh, lad; I'm fain to see yo!  Howd a minute till I put this dur down; an' I'll tell yo o' about it. . . . When I coom out o' th' house to-neet, my wife says, 'Wheerto for?' an' I said, 'I'm gooin' to have a gill.'  An' hoo says, 'Well, if thou stops out after ten o'clock thou'll ha' to stop out o' neet, for I'll lock th' dur on tho.'  So I says, 'Here, owd lass; I'll save thee th' trouble o' lockin' th' dur on me,—I'll tak it wi' me;' an' then I hove it oft th' hinges, an' browt it wi' me."

    "Why; thou'rt keepin' oppen house, then?"

    "Ay; an' it shall be oppen house for me; as lung as I ha' one."


――――♦――――

 
THE WIND STORM.

Cease, rude Boreas, blust'ring railer!


[Scene, the kitchen of the Brid an' Bantlin'.—Time, a windy evening, in December.

Persons, FLOP, BLOTCH, TWITTER, LOBSCOUSE, and "OWD SAM," the landlord, gathered about the hearthstone.]


"BETTY, lass, put that dur to, or thou'll have us blown away!  There's some'at flown up th' chimbley, just now.  What wur it, lads?"

    "It wur th' cat," said Twitter; "I just geet a wap o' th' tail as it wur gooin' out o' seet."

    "Nay," said the landlord; "th' cat's theer, i'th inside o' th' fender."

    "Well, then," replied Twitter, "it wur oather a pair o' sithors (scissors), or a brid-cage.  I'll swear it wur some'at, for I see'd it."

    "By th' mon," cried the landlord, glancing round, "it's mi Sunday singlet!  Put that dur to, Betty; or thou'll ha th' hole emptied in a minute!  Lads; if yo'n ony lose (loose) teeth, keep yo'r mouths shut!  It's as much as I can do to howd mi yure (hair) on!  Put that dur to!"

    "Stop a minute, there's a woman comin'!"


(Enter MALL O' PUMMER'S, rolling and puffing like a porpoise.)


    "Oh, I'm done up!"

    "Eh, Mally, is it yo?  How ever dar yo ventur' out i' sich a storm as this?"

    "Eh, what a breeze!  My bonnet's gone!"

    "It's a wonder yo aren't blown away o'together."

    "Well,—I'm sich a size, yo see'n, or else.  Eh, I've had sich wark to keep my feet!  Put that dur to!  Here; I'll help yo! . . . Now then!  Stop till I get my breath!  I'm so fat, yo see'n."

    "Sit yo down, Mally.  Win yo hav a saup o' some'at?"

    "Wait a bit. . . . (In a whisper.)  Is our Judd here?"

    "Nawe."

    "Has he bin here to-day?"

    "Nawe."

    "When wur he here?"

    "About a fortnit sin' (since)."

    "Wur he here o' Thursday neet?"

    "Nawe; I think he's taen th' sulk about some'at."

    "Oh, then; he's noan here?"

    "Nawe."

    "Oh! . . . . Betty; I think I'll try a saup o' gin.  I've sich a pain, just here, wi' comin' up yon broo."

    "I dar say.  See yo, Mally; come into this room; an' yon be quiet."

                .                     .                     .                     .                     .                     .

    "Hello, Sam," said Lobscouse, "I've knocked my ale o'er."

    "That's reet, my lad," said Sam; "one good sheeder's (spiller) worth two fuddlers, ony day! . . . Never mind, owd brid our Betty 'll wipe it up, an' bring tho another, directly."

    "O' reet!  Eh, Sam; yo should ha' bin i'th town to-day!  Slate-stones an' chimbley-pots were flying about like brids; an' th' factory chimbleys wur wavin' an' wobblin' about like willow trees.  We's yer o' some lumber when this gale's o'er."

    "Ah, but," said Billy Twitter, "it's noan o'er yet.  By th' mon, when I wur i'th town, I couldn't ha' walked up th' street if I hadn't borrowed two fifty-sixes of owd Jem, th' cheesemonger, to carry i' my bonds. . . . Husht!  There's somebry at th' dur!"

    "Ay, there is," said the landlord.  "I dar say Betty's fasten't it.  Go thi ways, an' let 'em in, as who they are."

    The minute Twitter opened the door, in shot a short, thick-set fellow, with a great round face, and a hard, bullet head.

    "By th' mon," cried he, "I'm fain to get into this cote!"

    "Ay," said Twitter, as he thrust the door to, "it's a blowy day, isn't it?"

    "Blowy!  It's a gradely sneezer, is this!  I've had to walk o' mi honds an' knees part o' th' gate; an' then I've had to howd on bi th' woles (walls); an', just as I wur comin' up th' broo, there wur some'at about th' size of a tombstone coom wuzzin' past, upo' th' wynt, within about three-quarters of an inch o' my left ear. . . . Hutch up, lads!"

    "Ay; sit tho down. . . . How fur hasto come'd?"

    "Fro' Rachda'."

    "I like as I should know thee, owd brid.  Wheer doesto belung to?"

    "Rachda'."

    "An' what arto code (called)?"

    "I'm th' best known bi 'Blackwayter Ben.'"

    "An' where's th' 'Blackwayter'?"

    "Rachda'."

    "Hasto ony relations?"

    "Lots."

    "What are they?"

    "Rachda' folk."

    "Is thi faither alive?"

    "Ay."

    "What is he?"

    "He's a Rachda' chap."

    "What trade arto?"

    "Flannel."

    "What mak?"

    "Rachda' flannel.

    "An' wheer arto gooin' to?"

    "Rachda."

    "By th' mon, thou'rt Rachda' fro' top to toe, owd brid! . . . . Well, an' how's this bit o'th breeze yo'r gate on?"

    "Breeze!  I're in a ale-house, at top o' Wardleo'th Broo, this mornin', an' it blew th' window out; but, in a minute or two after, it blew another in, that just fitted."

    "That'll do, owd brid! . . . Poo together, lads; an' keep yon dur shut!"


――――♦――――

 
THE LOST DONKEY.


[Scene, kitchen of the old inn.—Time, winter evening.  Persons, FLOP, SLOTCH,

TWITTER, OWD SAM, and the RACHDA' CHAP.]


"WELL, an' how arto, owd dog?" said the landlord to 'Rachda' Ben.'

    "I'm nobbut thus an' so."

    "How's that?"

    "Well.  I've sprain't my anclif (ankle), an' my elbow warches, an' I've a singin' i' my lift (left) ear, an' some'at ails my neck, an' I've an ill cowd, an' my ribs are sore,—an' I'm noan reet i' my inside, an' I've had a twothre (two or three) fresh knobs set on at th' top here—"

    "Thou'rt rarely out o' flunters, owd mon."

    "Ay, rayther. . . . An' I've had two teeth knocked out, an' I've had my shins punce't, an my yure wants powin' (cutting), an' I'm hungry, an' I'm dry, an' my yed feels like a mug-ful o' slutch,—an' I'm beginnin' o' skennin',—an' I'm wrang o' gates (all ways)."

    "Ay; an' thou's two black een. . . .Thou's bin i'th wars, owd brid."

    "Well,—ay.  I had a bit of a dust wi' Ab o' Pinders,—but we sattle't it."

    "Come, that's better.  How did yo sattle it?"

    "He sattle't it his-sel'."

    "How so?"

    "He tanned my hide for me."

    "Nay, sure?"

    "Yigh; an' it's third time, too."

    "Well, come; that's done wi'."

    "Ay,—till we leeten o' one another again."

    "Thou'rt for havin' another twell (twirl), then?"

    "Ay; I'll mak up th' hauve dozen afore I give in."

    "Well,—amung yo be it. . . . Trade's bad yo'r gate on, isn't it?"

    "Yigh, it is.  I've bin out o' wark nine week."

    "Never mind, owd craiter.  It's a lung lone 'at's never a turn.  Fear not, but trust i' Providence, owd brid."

    "Oh, I've tried it.  But it's my opinion 'at Providence intends every mon to do a bit o' some'at for his-sel'."

    "An' nought nobbut reet, noather.  But, there's moore in it than that."

    "I guess there is. . . . I could manage weel enough, but it makes th' wife so nattle."

    "That makes ill war (worse)."

    "I tell her so; but hoo'll have her own road."

    "They're o' alike for that."

    "Ay, they are. . . . But our Nan's war than the dule."

    "Nay, nay; noan so, sure."

    "Yigh, hoo is,—an' I can prove it out o'th Bible."

    "How so?"

    "Well; doesn't it say, 'Resist the devil and he'll flee from thee?'"

    "It does, I believe."

    "Well; if I resist our Nan hoo flies at me."

    "An' then—"

    "Well, an' then I have to give in,—that's what it comes to i'th end."

    "I dar say.  Well, an' I guess thou'rt lookin' out for a job, now?"

    "Nay; to-day I've been powlerin' about th' country side, seechin' a jackass 'at belungs a relation o' mine,—I dar say yo know him,—'Lobden Ben,'—he sells besoms."

    "Know him!  Sure I know him!  'Besom Ben,'—as daycent a chap as ever stept shoe-leather.  Ay, ay,—an' has he lost his jackass, then?"

    "Ay, it's bin lost a week, now; an' he's some put about o'er it, too.  I'm quite soory for th' lad.  He cannot sleep at neet; an' he does nought but maunder up an' down axin' folk if they'n sin Dimple,—an' he runs at every jackass 'at comes into th' seet; an' when he finds it's wrang un, he brasts out a-cryin'.  I'm flayed th' lad'll goo off it o'together."

    "It's a pity for him."

    "He'll never look o'er it if it doesn't turn up."

    "Then thou's had no tidin's on't, hasto?"

    "Nawe; I can noather yer top nor tail on't."
                   .                   .                   .                   .                   .                   .

    "Sam," said Lobscouse, "thou remembers that great flood 'at coom down th' cloof about four year sin'?"

    "What, when Owd Neckhole Mill wur weshed down?"

    "Th' same dooment, owd lad,—little Flitter wur nearly drown't in't,—but he cotched howd o'th bough of a tree."

    "I remember."

    "Well, when th' flood war at th' height I stoode i'th middle o' th' fowd, watchin' th' wayter go roarin' by, when, o' at once owd Mall o' Flazer's coom runnin' up, an' hoo cried, 'Eh, lads, do help us!  Our jackass is gooin' down th' wayter!'  Well, off we set, tickle-butt, an' down th' cloof we went, about hauve-a-dozen on us, wi' owd Mall an' th lads after us as hard as they could pelt, till we coom to th' 'Fairy Nook,' when there's a bit of a bend i'th bruck,—an' theer we catch't th' jackass.  But it wur as deeod as a nit. . . . Well, they began o' cryin' an' skrikin', as if it had bin a gradely Christian istid of a down-craiter; an' nought would sarve owd Mall but th' jackass mut (must) be carried into th' house.  'Bring it whoam!' hoo kept sayin', 'bring it to it's own whoam!'  Well, I felt soory for th' owd lass; so we geet howd, an' we carried it up into th' house; an' then,—I never seed sich a seet sin I're born,—they cried o'er this jackass, an' they stroked it, an' they talked to it, an' they cried again, till, by th' mass, I coul hardly help for cryin' mysel'.  Well, in a bit, th' owd chap geet up, i'th nook, an' he said, 'Well, thou's bin a good jackass to me, Jenny, an' I hope we's meet again in another world!'  An' th' next day they had it buried i'th garden,—an' they flang bits o' rosemary, an' sich like, into th' grave."


(Enter JUDD O' SIMON'S.)


    "Capital races, lad!" cried Judd.

    "What's up?"

    "'Th' hunt's up!  Our Mally's after me!  I've just slipt her!"

    "Thou hasn't slipt her so mich," said the landlord; "hoo's i' tother reawm, yon, wi' my wife, so sing low!"

    "Then I'm off again!"

    "Here, here; thou doesn't need to goo!  Hoo'll be off directly!  Hoo doesn't know thou'rt here!  Hud (hide) thisel' i'th buttery, theer, till hoo's gone!"

    "O' reet!" said Judd, creeping into the buttery.

    "An', doesto yer?" whispered the landlord, as he closed the buttery-door, "keep still, an' help thisel' to what there is while thou art theer!  I'll bring tho a gill!"

    "O' reet!"


――――♦――――

 
THE WORM DOCTOR.


We have been rambling all the night,
    And nearly all the day;
And now we've rambled back again,
    With a bloomy branch of May.

OLD SONG.


[Haytime.—JONE O' RUMBLE'S, leading the mowers in a nine-acre meadow.—DAN O'

ROUGH CAP'S, with a tuft of wild roses in his hat, comes down the lane, singing]—


Oh, the merry month of June,
    It's the jewel of the year;
And down in yonder meadows
    There runs a river clear;
And in its pleasant waters
    The little fish do play,
While the lads and bonny lasses
    Are tumbling in the hay.


[He stops, and leans upon the gate, looking into the meadow.]


"WELL, Jone, owd lad; thou'rt switchin' it down, I see."

    "Hellow, Dan; is that thee?  Ay; we're fot'in' (fetching) it down.  It's a swelter of a job, too."

    "I'll tell tho what, Jone; it doesn't look amiss."

    "Oh, naw; it's a grand yarb this time!  I could fair lie me down an' height (eat) it!"

    "He'll have a rare crop, too,—if it's weel-getten."

    "Never better.  But we're raither leet-honded.  I guess thou couldn't lend us a mon or two, couldto?"

    "Nawe, by Guy!  We're up to th' een in it ersel's.  I've just bin seechin' help, but I can leet o' noan."

    "I dar say.  They're snapt up of o' sides.  We geet ours in last week, or else I shouldn't ha' bin here, mysel'. . . . Here wait a minute; what's o' thi hurry?"


(JONE, to the mowers.)


    "Stop, an' rosin, lads; while I have a word wi' Dan."


(Mowers.)


    "Ay; let's whet! . . . Where's that lad? . . . Here, Billy; bustle out; and let Dan sup."

    "That's reet.  Here, Dan; thou'll do wi' an odd tot."

    "Oh, ay.  Well, come; here's lucks a-piece."

    "Th' same to thee, owd brid!"

    "Well, Jone; an' how's th' owd lad gettin' on wi' this slobbery bit o' lond of his?"

    "Oh, primely!  Well, th' corn'll be raither leet this time, I doubt; but, tak' it o'together, he's done very weel.  Mon, he knows what he's about.  He's noan like Jerry o' th' Knowe, 'at muck's wi' sond, an' drain't wi' cinders.  Oh, there's worse lond than this upo' th' moor-ends.  Beside, it lies weel; an' th' owd lad knows how to hondle it; an' he behaves weel to't, an' keeps it i' good heart."

    "I'll tell tho what, Jone; I wish I'd about forty acre o' th' same mak."

    "Why, yon o' thine's as good, every bit. . . . But some folk are never content; if they'd o' th' world gin to 'em they'd yammer for th' lower shop, to put their rubbish in. . . . What thou's bin down to th' 'Rushbearin',' I yer."

    "Ay; I've had a bit of a flirt amung 'em."

    "Well; an' how didto get on?"

    "Well; to tell tho truth, Jone, I hardly know, for I haven't quite getten o'er it yet."

    "Th' owder an' th' madder!"

    "Thou may weel say that. . . . I know one thing, Jone; I laft whoam upo' th' owd mare, an' I coom back, th' neet after in a cauve cart, wi' th' tone lap riven off, an' seven or eight fresh notches upo' mi shins."

    "Yo'n had lively doin's, then?"

    "Well,—raither."

    "Didto leet o' Bull Robin, or somebry?"

    "Oh, nawe, it were a fresh do o'together.  But, I'll tell tho. . . . I hadn't bin i'th town hauve-an-hour afore th' Marlin' Rushcart an' the Smo'bridge Rushcart met, down i'th 'Butts,' an' they geet agate o' feightin'.  Th' first go to, th' Smo'bridge lads poo'd their stangs out o' th' ropes, an th' Marlin lads did th' same, an' to't they went hommer an' tungs; an', o' somehow, I geet mixed up amung th' rook, an' I wur force't to do a bit for mysel'.  Thou'd ha' done th' same if thou'd bin theer.  Well,—at th' end of o', th' Smo'bridge lads wauted (upset) th' Marlin' cart into th' river, an' then they set to an' clear't th' feelt wi' their pows; an' when things geet sattle't down a bit, I piked off, out o' th dust, an' went up to 'Th' Hare an' Hounds,' to weet my whistle.

    "Well; I geet croppen into th kitchen, amung a rook o' chaps fro' th' moor-end, an' theer I sit.  Well; when it gees near th' edge o' dark, an' we'rn o' gettin' th' mettlesome side out, there coom in a rough-lookin' chap, wi' a hairy cap on, an' he began o' camplin' about warts, an' doctor's stuff, an' sich like.  I hearken't his talk a good while; but I could make noather top nor tail on him.  He sed he wur born a bit aboon 'Keb Coit,' but he laft theer when he wur a lad; an' I can believe it, too, for they'n never let yon mon stop lung together i' one spot.  He looked to me a sort of a hauve-breed between a gipsy an' a rantin' parson,—mixed with a bit o' bull-an'-tarrier.  I axed him what trade he wur; an' he said his father was a yarb-doctor, an' did a bit at butchers' skewer makin'; his mother rule't planets, an' towd fortin', an' sich as that; an' he'd bin brought up to pills, his-sel', but he're agate o' worms at present.  It seems he'd had a stall i'th market, but he'd sowd up o' his powder's an' stuff, nobbut some oddments 'at he had in his pockets, an' he'd let us have 'em chep, as he'd a good way to go.

    "Th' best stuff 'at ever wur, for aught i'th inside—particular worms.  There never wur a worm i' this world 'at could ston it.  Well; we'd some rare gam wi' him, for he wur about as quare a cowt as ever I set een on; an' he goster't up an' down th' hole, an' talked sich keaw-slaver 'at I could hardly howd fro' flingin' a pot at him.  But th' owd lad began o' takkin' his drink raither too fast, till, at th' end of o', he dropt sound asleep in a cheer i'th nook, an' began o' snorin', like a reawsty coffee-mill i' full wark.  But what capt everybody i'th hole wur that though he're sound asleep, wi' one e'e shut, as close as pasted papper, tother e'e wur laft wide oppen, starin' straight at a ham 'at hung upo' th' ceilin'.  At first I thought he're winkin', but I soon fund out 'at it weren't a gradely wink: an' it made a cowd crill run through me, fro' yed to fuut, for, by th' mon, he did look flaysome!

    "Th' folk i'th kitchen wur th' same; one o' two sups up, an' crope out; an' tother began o' sattlin' down, an' whisperin' to one another.  Some said he're nobbut makin' gam on us, an' othersome said 'at he'd forgetter to shut his left e'e when he fell asleep.  At last one on 'em jumped up, an' he said, 'Ston fur; I'll sattle this job, o' somehow!  An' then he went an' shaked him, an' said, 'Now then, owd lad!  Doesto yer!  Wakken a minute!  If thou wants to have a bit of a snoore, do it gradely—an' put o' the shuts up!  Doesto yer; thou's laft thi left e'e oppen!'  Wi' that he wakken't up a bit, an oppen't his tother e'e, an' he grunted out, 'O' reet!'—an' then he thrut (threw) his yed back, an' dropt asleep again, wi' his mouth wide oppen, an' th' odd e'e starin' straight up at th' ham, th' same as before.

    "Well; by th' mon, I began o' feelin' ill.  Bill o' th' Husted Nook, sit th' next to me, an' he whisper't i' my ear, 'Dan; I'm off!  That chap's some'at to do wi' th' owd lad!'  An' off he went.  An' we o' sit theer, staring at this chap, an' talkin' together in a low keigh.  An' one said to th' landlort, 'If I wur thee, Joe, I'd shift that ham;' an' another said, 'I'll tell yo what lads, I don't know what to make o' this chap; but it's my belief 'at he's one o' thoose 'at never dar shut both een at once.'

    "At last, I could ston it no lunger; so I went quietly up to him, an' boked my finger at this oppen e'e,—but it noather winked nor stirred.  Wi' that I touched it.  It wur as hard as brazzil!  An' I shouted out, 'By Guy, lads, it's made o' glass!'  An' as I wur givin' a bit of a caper, I happen't to come slap down upo' this chap's toe wi' my shoon.  An' then,—by the hectum, Jone,—thou should ha' sin what a dust there wur kick't up i' that hole, in about hauve a minute!  I never see'd nobry better wakken't than that chap wur!  He sprang out o' th' cheer as if he'd bin fire't out of a gun; an' he coom at me, tickle-butt, th' yed first, rambazz, again th' bottom end o' mi waistcoat, like a cannon bo'.  It took mi breath a bit—but I coom to; an' then we were up an' down that hole, out o' one nook into another, o' mixed up together, pots, an' ale' an' cinders, an' folk,—thou never see'd sich a row sin' thou're born!

    "Well; I'd some'at to do to bant him for he're as swipper as a kitlin', an' as strung as a lion; but, I leet him taste o' mi shoon, now an' then,—an' I began o' 'liverin' bits o' parcels, one after another, about th' end of his nose,—carriage paid;—an, in a bit, I brought him round to my way o' thinkin',—an' he seem't to awter his mind about things o' at once,—for he started o' givin' o'er an' he looked at me wi' his odd e'e,—tother e'e had gan o'er lookin' for that day,—he looked at me, an' he said, 'Drop it!'  Well, thou knows, Jone, some folk takken a deeol o' convartin'; an' if yo connot get at their consciences, there's nought for it but warmin' their shins.  But I can tell tho one thing,—that lad wur quite a change't character when I'd done with him."

    "An' how did he goo on wi' his wormpowders?"

    "Nay; I yerd no moore about that.  I left him sit i'th nook, as quiet as a mouse, feelin' up an' down his clooas for brass for another pint. . . . But, I think thou's had enough for one do.  I'll tell tho moore when we meeten again, I mun be off to th' hayfeelt; so I'll bid tho good day!"

    "Good day to tho, Dan!"


(Away goes DAN, singing)


"In come the jolly mowers,
     To mow the meadows down;
 With budgets, and with bottles
     Of ale, so stout an' brown;
 All hearty lads, of courage bold,
     They come their strength to try;
 They sweat, an' blow, an' cut, an' mow,
     For the grass is very dry."


――――♦――――

 
THE GOBLIN LOVERS.


And many another goblin tale
    May, perhaps, be just as true.

BLOOMFIELD.


IT was a wild-looking November night.  The clock of Rochdale old church struck nine, and the chimes began to play "Sandy o'er the lea,"— wheezing a little here, and stammering a little there,—like an old man struggling with a song.  Straggled masses of white cloud were scudding wildly across the sky, into the south-east, between which the moon threw checkered fits of pensive light upon the old church, and the worn gravestones around.  There was something unusually sombre about the night, which seemed to subdue all ordinary sounds of life.  The wind came through the vicarage trees with mournful sough, and the fallen leaves whirled audibly about the dwellings of the dead.  In a shady nook of the churchyard, two lovers stood shivering by the side of an old tombstone.

    "Eh, Jem," said Mary, tucking her shawl under her chin, "it's very cowd.  I mun be gooin'.  If my mother knowed I wur here hoo'd be as mad as a wasp.  Besides, it's gettin' late, an' I've some things to iron afore I go to bed.  Hoo said mich an' moore tother day that if ever hoo yerd o' thee an' me meetin' again hoo'd brun mi clooas."

    "Well, let her brun 'em," said Jem; "let her brun em,—if hoo's short o' firin'.  I care nought for thi clooas.  Onybody may ha' th' shell, Mary,—if they'n lev me th' krindle (kernel.)  An' if hoo does brun thi clooas, come thi ways to me, an' I'll find tho summat to put on, thou'll see."

    "Eh, Jem," said Mary, "don't talk sich stuff!  Our folk are so quare wi' me that I cannot sleep at neet for thinkin' about it; and yo'r folk are just as ill.  Tother day I met thi mother down i'th fowd, and hoo shaked her fist at me, and hoo said, 'Thou doesn't need to set thi cap at yon lad o' mine, thou little snicket!  We'n bin hag-ridden lung enough wi' one an' another on yo'!  Thou's never have him!  We wanten nought to do wi' folk o' a boggart-breed!'  An' then hoo towd me i'th oppen street about my great-gronmother bein' hanged for a witch."

    "Never mind her, Mary," said Jem; "never mind her.  Hoo is my mother, sure enough; but hoo desarv't throttlin' for sayin' sich a thing.  But never mind her.  I'd ha' tho, sitho, Mary, ay, if 'Th' Owd Lad' wur thi faither! . . . But, yo'r folk are just th' same wi' me.  I let o' yo'r Sam i'th 'White Hart' dur-hole tother day, an' he said, 'Keep thi een off me!  I want no truck wi nought belungin' th' lower shop!  Thi faither rule't planets, an' towd fortin', —an' thi mother's noan o' theer; an' yore o' of a dark mixtur' together, seed, breed and generation; so keep o' thi own side; an' if ever I catch thee talkin' to our Mary again, it'll ha' to be thee an' me for it!'  Well, thou knows, Mary, if he hadn't bin thi own brother I'd ha' had a bit of a do wi' him as soon as look at it; but as it wur him, I kept my tung between my teeth, an' leet him have it to his-sel'.  It wur hard wark, too, I can tell tho.  If it had bin onybody else I'd ha' warm't his ear-hole."

    "Eh, Jem, we're quarely fixed o' both sides.  It looks very hard that folk should ha' to suffer for what's bin done bi thoose 'at went afore 'em. . . . I'm sure my life's quite miserable. . . . But, let's not talk about it.  It makes me o' goose-flesh."

    "Well," said Jem, "thou'll come to-morn at neet, then?"

    "Ay," said Mary, tucking her shawl about her, "I'll be here at eight o'clock."

    "Well, come on then," said Jem.  "I'll go down th' church-steps; thou'd better go through th' gates,—an' then nobody'll know."

    And away they sauntered across the grave stones.

    Before they were well out of sight, two heads popped up from behind the wall, near where they had been standing.

    "Are they gone?" said one.

    "Keep still a minute," said the other.  "They're off.  Now, we'n have a bit of a prank wi' yon two, if thou's a mind."

    And the thoughtless mischief-makers laid their heads together, and chuckled with delight as they walked away, considering how they could most effectually defeat the intended meeting, and trouble the troubled hearts of the simple pair, whose love for each other was already painfully mingled with superstitious fears; which were constantly fed by the bitter prejudices and unfeeling ignorance of their friends on each side.

    The two conspirators were well acquainted with the girl's brother, who was the deadly foe of the unhappy swain; and he entered into the plot they had laid with malicious delight.  With him they arranged that she should be carefully imprisoned in the house on the night of the promised meeting.  Through him also, they obtained a dress, and a shawl of hers, in which they disguised one of themselves whose face they painted with blue rings round the eyes, and with such a generally hideous and ghastly effect that the rude artist suddenly flung down his brush, and said, "By th' mon' I'll do no moore at thee!  I'm gettin freeten't mysel'! "

    On the following night, as the old church clock struck "the trysted hour," the disguised conspirator was at his post, leaning against a tombstone, in the shady corner of the churchyard, with his face muffled in Mary's shawl.  Before the last stroke had boomed from the church tower, poor Jem made his appearance on the other side of the churchyard.  With a mind full of unhappy forebodings, and naturally inclined to unearthly fancies, he trod the gravestones as if he was afraid to waken the dead.  With fluttering heart he quickened his step when he saw the figure leaning upon the tombstone in the corner; and, as he drew near, he whispered, "Mary, I'm just i' time!"  "Just i' time!" replied the other, uncovering his hideous face to the pale moonlight, and advancing to meet the: approaching swain.

    In one wild flush, the latent superstitions and smouldering fears which had haunted him so long, overwhelmed the unhappy lover's mind; and, with a fearful cry, he turned and fled,—across the churchyard, and down the steps, and through the town, until he reached his mother's cottage.  Rushing in, with his pale face bathed in cold sweat, he hastily barred the door behind him, and dropping into a chair, he cried,

    "Mother, it's o' true!  Thank God we are not wed!"

    And they never were wed.

    The poor fellow was seized with brain fever.  After his recovery, he took ship for America, and was never again seen in his native land; and Mary lived and died in forlorn loneliness, the unhappy victim of wanton mischief and ignorant superstition.


――――♦――――

 
DEET NO PAPPER.


[Autumn evening—JONE O' WOGGY'S and BILLY MINTCAKE coming down the

moorside.]


"I'LL tell tho what, Bill; there's some foos laft i'th world, yet."

    "Well,—ay,—there's thee an' me, for a start."

    "Speighk for thisel', Bill."

    "I have spokken for misel',—an' for thee, too.  To th' best o' my thinkin', Jone,—wherever yo finden folk, yo'n find foos."

    "Well; it's th' likeliest shop to seech for 'em in, as how 'tis."

    "It is, owd lad; an' if yo leeten of anybody at o', yo connot go wrang; for I believe there isn't a wick soul i' this world 'at hasn't a foo-side."

    "I doubt it is so, Bill."

    "Ay, marry is't.  Thou'rt noan o'er-breet thisel', Jone; or else thou'd ne'er ha' bin trodden on as thou has bin."

    "Happen not."

    "Thou'rt noan quite up to concert-pitch, my lad."

    "I dar say."

    "I tell tho, thou'rt a slate or two short, owd brid."

    "I shouldn't wonder, Bill.  But thou con happen lend me one or two o' thine."

    "I've noan to spare, Jone; an' if I had thou wouldn't know what to do wi' 'em."

    "Why, then, I'm just as weel without.  But, I'll tell tho what,—I wish thou'd let mi slates alone.  They bother'n thee moore nor they bother'n me."

    "I know that.  Thou'll keep hawmplin' an' slutterin' through it, onyhow,—till thou comes to th' shuntin'-spot,— an' then we's yer no moore about tho."

    "It matters nought if one's content, does it?"

    "Happen not; but folk say'n they're content sometimes, when they are not quite content."

    "Well,—it goes again th' grain to be ta'en in, as thou says, for sure; but do what yo wi'n, mon, yo connot tent o' sides at once, in a world like this."

    "Nawe, yo connot, Jone.  It's like livin' in a whisket-ful o ferrets, sometimes.  Tak it o'together it's noan sich a feaw world at o',—but, here an' theer, there's a quare bit of a nook in't,—an' folk that rooten amung varmin are sure to get bitten titter or later (sooner or later). . . . So thou didn't get sattle't wi' owd Fullocker, didto?"

    "Not I, marry; nor no signs on't."

    "I'll tell tho what, Jone; thou mun keep thi een upo' th' fugle-man while thou't agate wi' him, for he's as slippy as a snig, an' as keen as a clemmed foomart.  He wouldn't make two bites of a chap like thee."

    "Oh, I could ha' sattle't wi' him in a minute if I'd ha letten him have his own road."

    "Ay, marry; thou may sattle wi' the dule his-sel' upo' that fuutin'."

    "Well; I're i' twenty minds to let him have his fling; for I' make no 'count o' sich like shammockin' wark an' I wanted to get rid on him, an' go mi own gate."

    "Well; an' it would ha' bin happen as well.  But, my advice to thee is this,—deer no papper."

    "Bi th' heart, Bill; I connot do that, except I fling th' ink-bottle at it,—for I con noather read nor write."

    "Thou connot read!  By th' mon, that had clen slipt my mind.  Thou'rt in a bonny pickle, owd craiter.  But I'd like to bin th' same misel'; for, when I're a lad, we'd no books; an' we'd nought to spare for schoo'-wage, for it wur hardpeighlin' for us o' to raise as mich as would keep body an' soul together.  That wur i' 'barley times,' thou knows.  Ay,—we'd noather books nor brass to spare; so, when we'd had an hour or two to spare, mi faither use't to tak me up an' down th' streets, an' larn me to read off th' alehouse signs.  That's wheer I geet my larnin'.  Thou met do th' same.  I'll goo wi' tho ony time, an' gi' tho a bit of a lesson.  I geet on very weel at first,—for I wur olez a good un at takkin' things in; but, at th' latter end, there wur a lung spell of weet weather coom on; an' every time a shower o' rain started, mi faither gav o'er readin' th' sign, an' he popped inside to get a gill; an' that put an end to o' mi schooin', as far as mi faither wur concarn't.  But after that I took it up o' misel',—an' I powler't up an' down readin' everything 'at I coom at,—an' what wi' th' signs, an' tomb stones, an' bits o' readin' upo' th' carts, an' sich like, I geet quite a dab hond at last; an' now I've a twothre books o' mi own,—an' I root into 'em now and then, for a bit of a leetenin'. . . . So, thou connot read!  Bi th' ounters, Jone, thou'rt as ill-shackle't as Dody o' Snicker's!  I pept in at his dur-hole tother day to ax if he'd had ony word o' their Jack; an' he said, 'Ay; we'n had a letter from him;' an' he code o' their Sam to bring him th' letter.  So Sam brought him th' letter; an' Dody spread it out, an' he said, 'Now then, Bill, I'll read it to tho'.  Well, that capt me, thou knows, for I knew very weel that he didn't know th' difference between a B an' a bull's fuut.  But I soon fund him out.  Thou sees, he'd had this letter up an' down th' fowd o' day, gettin' first one and then another to read it for him, till at last he'd gettin it off bi heart.  Well; when Sam brought him th' letter, he sprad it out, an' began 'o pretendin' to read it; but I pept o'er his shoolder, an' bi th' mass, he'd getten it th' wrang side up.  So I said to him, 'Howd, Dody, howd; thou's getten it th' wrang side up, mon!'  Well; he wapt it round in a minute, an' he said, 'It's noan o' my faut; I have it as our Sam gav' it mo; thou sees he's left-honded!' . . .But that's noather here nor theer.  We wur talkin' about this bit o' th' scog 'at thou has agate wi' owd Fullocker; an' my advice to thee, again, Jone, is this: deet (mark, soil) no papper about nought at o'.  Mi faither wur about as fause a chap as ever I let on; an' when I coome to be groon up to a lusty chap, he said to me, 'Bill; mind what I'm beawn to tell tho.  Whatever else thou does, deet thee no papper, an' then thou'll be o' th' reet side for runnin'.  Let other folk deet as mich as they'n a mind; but deet thee noan!'  That's what mi faither towd me.  Eh, mon; I've sin sich pranks played wi' bits o' papper 'at a cowd shiver comes o'er me every time 'at I look at a sheet; so, once for o' I tell tho again, Jone,—deet thee no papper!"

    "Now, then, here we are at th' 'Moor Cock,' thou sees.  Are we to co', or how?"

    "I could do wi' an odd tot."

    "Come in, then."


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