The Project Gutenberg EBook of Yorkshire Tales. Third Series, by John Hartley This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with this eBook or online at www.gutenberg.org Title: Yorkshire Tales. Third Series Amusing sketches of Yorkshire Life in the Yorkshire Dialect Author: John Hartley Release Date: April 14, 2006 [EBook #18176] Language: English Character set encoding: ASCII *** START OF THIS PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK YORKSHIRE TALES. THIRD SERIES *** Produced by David Fawthrop and Alison Bush
London: William Nicholson & Sons Limited, 26, Paternoster Square, E.C.
Sammywell Sweeps th' Chimley.
Old Dave to th' New Parson.
What came of a Clock Almanac.
True Blue; A Romance of Factory Life.
"If aw wor a Woman."
Sammywell's Soft Snap.
A Bashful Bradfordian.
Th' Owd, Owd Story.
Jim Nation's Fish-shop.
Bob Brierley's Bull Pup.
Troubles and Trials.
Earnin' a Honest Penny.
Th' Next Mornin'.
What a Gallus Button did.
"Sammywell, has ta seen Swindle latly?"
"Nay, Mally, aw havn't seen him for a matter ov two or three wick."
"Well, aw wish tha'd been at chapel yesterdy mornin."
"Wor ther summat extra like."
"Eah, ther wor summat extra; an summat at wod ha made thee oppen thi e'en. Aw wor nivver so surprised i' mi life. Swindle an his wife wor thear,—an tho' it isn't oft aw tak noatice o' fowk, aw couldn't help dooin soa, an it wor a treeat to see em."
"Aw can believe thi weel enuff; ther's net monny wimmen as hansome as Mistress Swindle."
"Awm not tawkin abaat Mistress Swindle; tha knows better nor that, awd like to know what ther is hansome abaat her? Shoo's noa style abaat her. Shoo's a gurt brussen thing! But Swindle is a gooid-lukkin chap, an awm sewer onnybody could ha mistakken him for a real gentleman. He'd a grand suit o' clooas on, as hansome as onny man need wear at his wife's funeral, an noa sign o' muck under his fingernails, an he'd a silk top hat on at shane like a lukkin glass!"
"Why, what bi that? Aw've a silk top hat, but aw nivver wear it."
"Noa, an tha nivver will wear it, unless tha walks aght bi thisen! It isn't fit to be seen at a hen race. Aw wodn't be seen walkin aght wi thi wi sich a thing on thi heead. But aw meean thi to ha one an aw'll pay for it aght o' mi own pocket, but aw'll goa wi' thi to buy it, for if tha went bi thisen tha'd let em shove onny sooart ov a oldfashioned thing onto thi, but they'll find they've a different body to deal wi when awm thear."
"It's varry gooid o' thee, Mally, to offer to buy me a new hat, but aw railly dooant want one. Yond hat o' mine is as gooid as new for aw havn't had it on a duzzen times. Tha knows aw nivver wear it nobbut when aw goa to th' chapel. It isn't aboon twelve month sin aw gave ten shilling for it."
"It's soa much bigger shame for thi to tell it. It shows ha oft tha goes to a place o' worship. A fine example tha sets to Jerrymier an th' rest o' thi gron-childer. But awd have thee to know at tha'rt net as young as tha used to be, an its abaat time tha wor thinkin o' thi latter end. Tha may be deead an burried befoor long an tha owt to prepare."
"Why, tha sewerly doesn't meean to bury me in a silk hat?"
"Noa, aw dooant think awst ivver have th' luck to bury thi at all! But aw want thi to begin an goa to th' chapel reglar, an let Mistress Swindle see at her husband isn't th' only one at can turn aght like a gentleman."
"Tha'll be like to pleeas thisen abaat it, but aw thowt it wor me tha wor praad on an net mi hat."
"Tha gets some strange nooations into thi heead, Sammywell. If ther's owt abaat thi for onny woman to be praad on awm sewer aw dooant know whear it is. But as sooin as tha's finished thi pipe aw want thi to get shaved, an put on thi best Sundy suit an goa wi me into Westgate an get a new hat—one o'th best ther is i'th shop, if it taks all th' brass aw have i' mi pocket. Aw'll let Mistress Swindle see at shoo connot crow ovver me!"
Soa Sammywell went aght to be shaved, an Mally began to get ready to goa wi him, as sooin as he should be all fixed up to suit her.
"Nah, Sammywell," sed Mally, as sooin as they wor ready to set off, "Aw dunnot want thee to say a word when we get to th' shop. Aw'll do what tawkin has to be done, an if aw connot get thee a better hat nor that tha has on thi heead, and one to seem thi better, aw shall know th' reason why. Aw can hardly fashion to walk daan th' street wi thi, but it isn't varry far an we happen shalln't meet onnybody we know."
When they walked into th' shop, Mally went up to th' caanter and sed, "Young man,—aw want to buy a new silk top hat, latest fashion, best quality, price noa object, if its under ten shillin, to suit this elderly gentleman, an luk sharp abaat it, for we're prepared to pay ready brass."
"Certainly, maam," an he sooin had two or three ready for him to try on. "How will this suit?—latest style."
"That willn't do at all. It maks him luk like a pill doctor. He wants a chapel-gooin hat."
"Well, here's the very thing. Just the style for an old man."
"Then aw dooant want it! He's net an old man! He's noa older nor yo'll be if yo live as long. Why, that maks him luk like a local praicher aght o' wark!"
"How will this suit? This style is very much worn."
"Aw dooant want one at's been worn. Noa second hand hats for me."
Th' shopman didn't loise his patience, but tried one after another wol th' caanter wor piled up wi hats, but nooan on em suited.
"Aw dooant know ha it is," sed Mally, "a big shop like this an cant get a daycent lukkin hat! Awm sewer there must be one if onnybody'd sense to find it. Here's one, try this."
Sammywell put it on. "That's the ticket! That luks like summat! Aw knew aw could find one! Ha does it feel? Is it comfortable?" an shoo twisted it to one side and then twisted it back agean. "Nah, what do yo want for that,—an remember,—ready brass?"
"I cannot charge for that, because that's the hat he came in."
"Is that soa, Sammywell?"
"Eah, this is my own hat."
"Why, then, its what aw've tell'd thi monny a time,—its thee at doesn't know ha to put it on. Th' hat ails nowt if ther wor some sense i'th heead. Tha couldn't have a better. Its a blessin aw coomed wi thi or else tha'd just ha thrown ten shillin away. Awm varry mich obliged to yo, young man, for all th' trubble yo've takken to suit him, an aw hardly like to goa aght withaat buyin summat. Yo happen dooant have onny pooastage stamps?"
"Then yo can let me have threehaupoth."
"Certainly shall I send them?"
"Nay, awm nooan to praad to hug mi own bundles. Gooid afternooin."
"Good afternoon, Mrs. Grimes, glad to serve you at any time."
"He's a varry civil chap is yond. Be sewer Sammywell tha allus gooas to his shop when tha wants a pooastage stamp."
"Tha'rt booan idle, Sammywell, that's what's th' matter wi' thee!"
"Mally, tha knows tha doesn't spaik trewth when tha says sich a thing; for aw havn't a lazy booan i' mi skin an nivver had! Aw'll admit ther are times when aw should be thankful for a bit ov a rest, but ther's no rest whear tha art, tha taks care o' that."
"Rest! It'll be time enuff to tawk abaat rest when tha's done summat! Th' hardest wark tha ivver does is aitin an drinkin, an tha does'nt hawf chew thi mait as tha should. When do aw get onny rest? Con ta tell me that?"
"Nay, aw connot. Aw wish aw could; but tha knows 'ther's noa rest for the wicked,' soa what can ta expect."
"Dooant let me hev onny o' thy back-handed tawk or aw'll let thee see whear th' wickedness comes in! Are ta baan to goa an see after a Sweep to come to this chimley, or are we to be smoored an have all th' bits o' furnitur ruinated?"
"Aw'll fotch thee hawf-a-duzzen sweeps if tha wants em, but why the dickens could'nt ta say what tha wanted asteead o' startin blaghardin me?"
"Aw dooant want hawf-a-duzzen sweeps;—one'll be enuff for what ther is to do, an aw shouldn't want one at all if awd a felly 'at wor worth his salt, but tha can do nowt. Whativver sich shiftless fowk wor created for licks me!"
"Why tha doesn't think ivverybody should be born sweeps, does ta?"
"Noa, ther's noa need for that. But when a chap isn't clivver enuff to be a sweep, he owt still to have sense enuff to luk for one when ther's one wanted. But aw know one thing, an that is, aw'll put on mi things, an set off an leeav thi to it, an tha can awther sweep it, or get it swept, or caar ith' haase wol tha gets sufficated, soa tha knows!"
An wi that, Mally went upstairs to get don'd, leavin Sammywell to mak th' best he could on it. In a varry few minnits, shoo wor daan agean, an flingin a shillin on th' table shoo sed, "Thear's th' brass to pay th' sweep if tha gets one, and be sewer to tell him net to mak onny moor muck nor he can help, an aw'll cleean an fettle all up ith' mornin; an if tha wants owt to ait, tha knows whear it is, an as for owt to sup, tha'rt better baght, an tha knows tha spends sadly to mich," an away shoo went.
Sammywell set varry quiet for a minnit or two, studyin things, an then he sed, "Ho! Soa that's it! Well, we shall see! Shoo's left a shillin for th' sweep but nowt for me. Varry gooid.—Then it just comes to this;—If aw fotch a sweep, he gets th' shillin an aw sit drymaath, but if aw sweep it misen aw'st have a shillin to spend, soa here gooas!" an he seized th' pooaker an varry sooin had th' foir scaled aght.
"Aw dooant think it'll tak me aboon five minnits when aw start, an if aw dooant mak sich a gooid job on it shoo'll nivver know unless shoo gooas up to see, an' if shoo tries that trick it's sewer to be weel swept bith' time shoo comes daan agean," an he put on his hat an went aght, lockin' th' door after him.
Wol he wor suppin his second two penoth, who should come in but his old chum Parker.
"Halloa, Sammy!" he sed, "What's up? Aw've just met th' mistress and shoo sed shoo'd left thee at hooam, varry thrang."
"Did shoo? Well, tha sees aw havn't started yet, but aw'st ha to mak a beginnin varry sooin, tho aw must say its a job at's a bit aght o' my line."
"Why, whativver is it?"
"Its nobbut th' chimley wants sweepin, an aw doant fairly know ha to set abaat it."
"Oh, if that's all, aw can tell thi ha to manage that. It willn't tak thi aboon five minnits."
"Thar't just th' chap aw wanted to see. Call for twopenoth for thisen an then tell me ha to goa on."
Parker didn't need axin twice, an when he'd getten it, he sed,
"Tha doesn't keep hens, does ta?"
"Noa, aw keep nowt but Mally an misen, an awr Hepsabah's childer th' mooast oth' time."
"Well, but some oth' naybors do; an tha could borrow one for a few minnits. A gooid old cock wod be th' best."
"Eeah, aw could get one at belangs th' chap at lives th' next door but one. They're all off at their wark but aw could get one aght o' their yard withaat axin."
"Well, then, its easy enuff. All tha wants is a long piece o' string, an a stooan teed at one end. Then tha mun get on top oth' haase an drop th' stooan daan th' chimley, an it'll roll daan into th' foir-grate,—then tee tother end oth' string to chicken's legs, and shove it, tail furst, daan th' chimley pot, an then goa into th' haase an pool it daan th' flue, an all th' sooit will come wi it, an it'll be a cleeaner job nor if all th' sweeps ith' taan had been at it."
"Bith' heart! Parker, aw'st nivver ha thowt o' that. Aw'll goa an do it at once. Aw could do wi a job like this ivvery day ith' wick."
Sammywell went hooam i' famous glee. He sooin gate some string an teed a nice cobble stooan to th' end on it, an then he gate up onto th' wesh-haase an easily climb'd onto th' thack. He made sewer which wor th' reight chimley pot and dropt th' stooan daan as Parker had tell'd him an daan it went till he could hear it rattle ith' empty foir-grate quite plainly, an then he went daan agean to get th' chicken.
It couldn't ha happened better, for thear wor th' old cock—a girt big white en,—carr'd up in a corner whear th' sun wor shinin, fast asleep. Sammywell had it under his arm in a twinklin, but it wornt quite as easy gettin up on th' thack agean, but he managed it, an after a deeal o' flutterin an squawkin, he teed it fast to tother end oth' string. But shovin it daan th' Chimney pot wor noa easy matter, for it wor a varry tight fit. Daan he went agean, as fast as he could, an as sooin as he gate into th' haase he began to pull.
My! but it wor a job! For a varry long time he couldn't stir it, but at last he felt it wor commin, an then th' sooit began to roll daan i' claads an he wor ommost smoored, but ther wor nowt for it but to keep poolin at it even if he wor burried under it.
It wor a varry unfortnat curcumstance at th' woman Mally had gooan to see should be away throo hooam, for it caused her to turn back, thinkin to hersen, at after all it wod happen be better for her to be at hooam to superintend things if Sammywell had getten a sweep,—an shoo just oppened th' door at th' same instant as th' cock flew into th' kitchen. Shoo couldn't see Sammywell, for th' place wor full o' sooit, but shoo could hear summat flyin raand, makkin a moast awful din, an pots an tins smashin abaat i' all directions.
Th' owd cock, seein th' door oppen, flew aght, catchin poor Mally fair ith' face wi' its wings as it passed, an sendin her onto her back ith' gutter, wi' her bonnet off, an her face blackened like a female christy minstrel!
Th' woman 'at lived opposite wor hingin aght some clooas, an th' cock tried to fly ovver 'em, but th' string bein fast to its legs, browt it daan fair i'th' middle on 'em, an what wi' th' din th' cock made, an th' skrikes shoo made—for shoo thowt for sewer it wor th' owd dule hissen—an Mally's grooans, it sooin browt aght Hepsabah an all th' naybors, an it worn't till a poleeceman coom at onnybody could tell what wor to do.
Ov coarse, th' furst thing th' poleeceman did wor to arrest Mally for bein drunk an disorderly, an ther's noa daat shoo lukt it; an then they all made a rush to th' haase, for th' sooit wor rollin aght oth' door as if th' place wor afire. Sittin on th' floor, ith' middle ov a cart looad o' sooit, wor a poor human crayter, coffin an spittin,—(an some sed, swearin,) an when he wor browt into th' dayleet, it wor Sammywell.
As sooin as he could get his breeath, he started to shak hissen,—when th' woman 'at belanged th' clooas hit him on th' heead wi a prop, an wod ha done moor but Mally interfered. When th' scare wor ovver, th' naybor wimmen did nowt but laff, an Sammywell and Mally went into th' haase an shut th' door.
"Whativver has ta been doing?" axt Mally.
"Aw've been sweepin th' chimley," sed Sammywell.
"An a bonny job tha's made on it. If tha can find onny sooap an watter onnywhear, goa and gie thisen a gooid swill an then change thi' clooas, an leeav me to tackle this mess. Aw dooant blame thee a bit moor nor aw blame misen, for knowin what a fooil tha art, and what a mullock tha allus maks ov ivverything tha offers to do, aw owt to ha had moor sense nor mention sich a thing to thi."
Sammywell thowt th' less he sed an th' better, an he went at once to do as he wor tell'd. He wor as anxious to get away as shoo wor to be shut on him, an as he wor gooin aght, Mally sed,—
"Whear are ta gooin an what are ta gooin to do?"
"Awm gooin to a funeral befoor tha sees me agean."
"Aw didn't know onnybody wor deead. Who's funeral will it be?"
"Some fowk are nivver satisfied! Aw've noa patience wi' sich like! Th' moor some fowk have an th' moor they want. Ther wor noa sich stinkin pride when aw wor young; but young folk nah dooant know what ails em. When aw wor a lass it wor thowt to be quite enuff if one wor plainly an respectably donned, an if they had onny pride, it wor to know at ther underclooas wor cleean an sweet an fit to be seen, but nah it's all top finery an fluff they think abaat; but if they'd darn ther stockins an wesh ther shifts a bit ofter, asteead o' wantin to spooart new gaons an hats ivvery few days it ud seem em better. At onnyrate, them's my sentiments."
"Why, Mally lass, what's set thi off agean? Has somdy been sayin at tha doesn't darn thi stockins an keep thi clooas cleean?"
"Noa ther hasn't, an tha knows nubdy could ivver say such a thing abaat me. It's awr Hepsabah at's started me, if tha wants to know!"
"What's shoo been up to agean? Sewerly tha's moor sense not to tak nooatice o' owt shoo says."
"Aw connot help bein worritted when shoo's put abaght, an shoo's full o' trubble,—an aw connot say at aw wonder at it."
"Why if th' lass is full o' trubble shoo's to be sympathised wi. Has her husband come hooam druffen or what?"
"Tha knows better nor that! Her husband has summat else to do wi his brass nor to teem it daan his throit. He's net like some fowk as aw could mention. But tha knows they've hard to scrat to pay ther way an keep up his club, an awr Hepsabah has a gooid deeal o' pride, an yond hat o' hers is hardly fit to be seen in at warty, nivver name Sundy, an shoo connot affoord another, an th' poor child's ommost heartbrokken."
"Bless mi life! That's easy to set straight! Connot ta lend her one o' thy bonnets?"
"Tha artn't worth tawkin to! Does ta think a young lass, (for shoo's little moor,) wod goa to th' chapel in an old woman's bonnet? If shoo'd had lot's o' father's they'd ha bowt her one."
"Happen soa;—but tha sees shoo hasn't a lot o' father's,—shoo's nobbut getten me,—but if buyin her a bit ov a bonnet will set matters straight aw could sewerly manage that."
"Nah tha'rt tawkin sense. Aw tell'd her if shoo'd nobbut ax thi tha'd nooan see her kept i'th haase for th' want ov a hat. But shoo sed tha'd allus been soa gooid to her at shoo couldn't for shame to mention it. But, tha knows, tha cannot buy her a hat unless shoo gooas wi thi."
"W ell,—tell her to put her things on an we'll goa an get her messured for one at once."
"Tha tawks as if tha wor gooin to get her a coffin asteead ov a hat. Wimmen dooant get messured for hats."
"Oh, dooant they. Well, tell her to get ready an luk sharp."
Mally left Sammywell smookin his pipe an went to carry gooid news to Hepsabah.
"Nah, Hepsabah lass,—aw've managed to tawk thi father into th' humour to buy thi a hat. A'a! but aw've had a job! Come this minnit for fear he changes his mind; an see tha gets a gooid en wol tha's th' chonce." Sammywell wor capt to see em back soa sooin, but tellin em to sit daan a bit wol he went up stairs, he left em an went to put summat into his purse, an wor rayther surprised at Mally didn't follow to see ha mich he tuk, for he had to goa into a box whear they kept ther savins at wor nivver suppooased to be touched except on special occasions.
"Aw shalln't need mich for a job o' this sooart," he sed, "if aw remember reightly that straw hat aw bowt last summer nobbut cost me eighteen pence, an shoo willn't want one as big as that; but awst nooan be to two-a-three penoth o' copper; an aw mud as weel have a bit extra to swagger wi." Soa he tuk a couple o' soverins,—ov coarse intendin to bring em back, an then hurried off wi Hepsabah as fast as he could for fear Mally wod ax some questions he didn't want to answer.
"Whear are we to goa?" he axt as soon as they wor aght o'th seet o'th haase.
"Aw think Pinchems an Twitchems will be th' best place," sed Hepsabah.
"Just whearivver tha likes, an be sewer tha gets one to suit thi."
When they gate to th' shop, Sammywell felt like holdin back, for he'd nivver been i' sich a place befoor, but he screwed his courage up, an tellin' Hepsabah to lead th' way he follered, feelin like a fish aght o' watter.
Hepsabah walked in as if shoo owned th' shop, an spaikin to a gentleman, they wor shown up stairs whear ther wor sich a lot o' wimmin tryin hats on, an sich a lot o' young lasses fussin abaat an attendin to em, wol Sammywell wor fairly flammergasted amang it. One nice young woman browt him a cheer to sit on, but he darn't ventur 'on it, for it lukt as if it wor made o' black sealin wax, but Hepsabah flopt daan on it as if shoo'd been used to sittin o' sich articles all her life. Sammywell whispered to her to be as sharp as shoo could, an stood watchin what wor gooin on. Then th' young woman coom agean wi her armful o' what lukt to be flaars an feathers an ribbins all jumbled in a lump, but which proved to be what they called hats, an as shoo put furst one an then another on to Hepsabah, he wor fairly surprised to discover what a bonny lukkin woman his dowter wor; an when shoo axt him which he liked best, he could nobbut say, "onny on em! suit thisen, lass!" an th' young woman smiled at him an sed, "It's nice when a gentleman likes to see his wife well dressed," an Sammywell blushed an sed "Hem! hem!" but didn't undeceive her. After tryin on abaat a scoor, nooan seemin to exactly suit Hepsabah, th' young woman browt another, an Sammywell's e'en fairly sparkled. "By th' heart!" he sed, "but that's what aw call a Bobby Dazzler!" an it wor plain to be seen at Hepsabah thowt soa too. "Aw should like it," shoo sed, "but awm feeared it'll cost a lot."
"Tha's nowt to do wi that. It's me at's to pay for it!" soa in a few minnits it wor packt in a box, an handed to her, an Sammywell tell'd her to tak it an get aghtside an wait for him an he'd bi wi her as sooin as he'd sattled for it. Hepsabah's face wor all smiles, tho' ther wor just a glisten o' tears in her een as shoo went away.
"An nah, young woman," sed Sammywell, as he held his purse in his hand, "ha mich do yo want?"
Shoo handed him th' bill, but he seemed as if he couldn't mak it aght, soa he put on his spectacles. "This is a mistak, Miss," he sed, "aw've nobbut agreed to pay for one."
"That's quite right, sir," shoo sed, "One hat,—twenty two and six."
"Twenty two fiddlesticks!"
"No, sir, twenty two shillings and six pence. That's not much for a gentleman to pay for his wife's hat."
"But shoo isn't mi wife! Shoo's nobbut mi dowter!"
"No one would think you had a daughter so old;—you must have married very young," sed th' young woman smilin at him in a way at made him feel funny all ovver.
He sed noa moor but handed her two soverins; shoo gave him his change, an he made th' best ov his way into th' street where Hepsabah wor waitin for him; then he lained his back agean a lamp-pooast as if he wor too waik to stand.
"Do yo feel sick, father?" sed Hepsabah.
"Eeah, aw think aw've getten a bit ov a sickener."
"It wor varry warm i' that shop."
"Eeah,—its th' hottest shop aw've ivver been in."
"Yo see, yo arn't used to buyin hats."
"Noa, an awm net likely to get used to it. Aw hooap thar't suited."
"O, father,—its a beauty! If aw can nobbut get my chap to buy me a costume to match it!"
"Tha'll nivver do that, Hepsabah, becoss he connot. If he'd to buy thee a costoom, as tha calls it, to match that, an pay for it at th' same rate as aw've paid for that hat, it ud cost him aboon a thaasand paand! What does to think it's cost me?"
"Aw can't guess."
"Twenty two shillin an sixpence! That's true whether tha believes it or net."
"Is that all! Why its as cheap as muck."
"Well, mak th' best on it, for tha'll get noa moor muck at th' same price aght o' me. But promise me at tha'll nivver tell thi mother! If shoo'd to get to know shoo wodn't be able to sleep for a wick. It's a scandlus shame, an aw've been swindled! Why, tha owt to ha getten a hat as big as a umbrella for that price."
"Well, if yo hadn't wanted me to have it yo shouldn't ha sed soa."
"Aw did want thi to have it, but it's price aw connot get ovver. Why it weighs nowt hardly. Its cost aboon five shillin an aance. Thee goa in an show it to thi mother an aw'll goa an get summat to steady mi narves."
Sammywell tried to keep his spirits up wi puttin some spirits daan, but he couldn't manage it, an it wor wi fear an tremblin at he lifted th' sneck when he went hooam. All lukt breet an cheerful an th' supper wor on th' table, an Mally's face showed noa sign o' ill temper. "Thank gooidness," he sed to hissen, "shoo hasn't been upstairs to caant th' brass yet."
"Come thi ways to thi supper, Sammywell, aw wor gettin uneasy abaat thi."
"Has Hepsabah been?" he axt.
"Eeah. An shoo's shown me her new hat, an aw must say aw didn't gie thi credit for havin sich gooid taste. Shoo's famously suited, an awm pleeased to think tha's acted as a father should act for once. Aw do believe if tha could nobbut live long enuff aw should be able to mak a daycent chap on thi at th' finish."
"Did shoo say owt abaght what it cost?"
"Nay shoo didn't, an aw nivver axt her, for aw know tha'd nooan be likely to give mich; but if aw thowt aw could get one like it for owt under five an twenty shillin awd be after one i'th mornin."
"Well, but tha connot,—for ther's nivver been but one made o' that pattern."
"Ther'd happen be one ov another pattern to suit me."
"Ther's noa moor ov onny sooart whativver; for th' chap at keeps that shop is gooin to retire from business to-neet an start a bank i'th mornin,—an noa wonder."
"Onnybody'd think to listen to thi at tha didn't thoil it. Aw know ha mich brass tha tuk wi thi an if tha's spent it all, what bi that! Tha doesn't buy thi dowter a hat ivvery wick! an its far cheaper to buy a daycent article nor to squander yor brass on a lot o' rubbish. Shoo's varry careful ov her clooas is Hepsabah, an tha'll see it'll ha lasted weel bi th' time tha gooas to buy her another."
"That's a moral sartainty. If that hat lasts her wol aw buy her another it'll last a long time."
"Say noa moor abaat it. Tha's suited us an if tha hasn't suited thisen its thi own fault. Aw thowt tha desarved a bit ov a treeat soa aw fotched thi a drop o' thi favourite, an if tha doesn't want it all thisen aw dooant mind havin a drop."
"That's all reight, Mally, an awm glad tha'rt soa thowtful, but aw connot help thinkin tha'rt a varry inconsistent woman."
"Nah then! If tha'rt gooin to start callin me names aw willn't have a drop!"
"Aw dooant want to call thi names, but facts are stubborn things. If aw happen to goa an get two-penoth into mi heead tha praiches at me for a full clockhaar abaat th' sin ov extravagance an th' blessins ov economy; but awr Hepsabah can wear a hat at's cost as mich as aw could buy a distillary for, an that's all reight."
"If tha bowt a distillery, Sammywell, nawther thee nor it wod last as long as awr Hepsabah's hat, soa things are better as they are. Hand ovver what change tha's getten i' thi pocket an then sup up an let's get off to bed, an be thankful tha's getten a dowter to buy a hat for, an a wife at advises thee allus for th' best."
"All reight, lass,—awm ready,—but aw connot for th' life o' me see what awr Hepsabah's hat has to do wi young wimmen darnin ther stockins an weshin ther shifts."
"A'a, Sammywell! Ther's a deeal o' things abaat wimmen at tha has to leearn yet."
"Aw believe there is,—but twenty two an sixpence a lesson is a trifle aboon my cut."
"If my memory sarves me reightly, Mally, its abaght forty year sin aw tell'd thee at aw liked a boil'd egg for mi braikfast, an it seems tha's nivver forgetten it, for it seems to me at tha's nivver gein me owt else, an awm just abaat sick o'th seet on em."
"Ther's nivver onny suitin thee, Sammywell, what aw do for thi, an as to givin thi eggs to thi braikfast for forty year, tha knows it isn't true, for aw dooant think tha's had em moor nor once a month, if that. But tha needn't freeat abaat that, for at th' price eggs is nah, its just like aitin brass. Aw've gien em to thi a time or two latly becoss tha complained abaat feelin waik, an ther's nowt at's moor strength nor eggs."
"If this is a sample aw believe tha'rt reight, for this is strong enuff to drive me aght o'th haase. Eggs is nivver fit to ait unless they're fresh, and tha owt to know that."
"It's a queer thing if that isn't fresh, for aw nobbut bowt a duzzen off Judy Jooans yesterdy, an shoo declared shoo laid em hersen."
"Then that accaants for it, for its just th' soort ov a egg at aw should fancy Judy wod lay. When tha buys onny moor, be sewer they've been laid wi a nice young pullet an then they willn't poison a chap. That's ommost browt mi heart up."
"If that's all tha hadn't mich to bring up, but if tha wor like other husbands tha'd set to wark an fix that cellar up, an buy some hens an then tha'd know who laid em. But tha'll do nowt nobbut sit o' thi backside an smook or else spend thi time i' some public wi a glass anent thi. Aw wonder sometimes ha tha can fashion to pool up to th' table an ait at all. But ther's nowt trubbles thee soa long as tha gets thi belly full an has a shillin i' thi pocket an a gooid bed to come to at neet."
"Why, when aw mentioned keepin hens last spring, tha flew up in a tantrum, an sed tha'd have nooan sich powse abaat th' haase, but if tha thinks we could do wi some aw'll get some to-day. This is Setterdy an ther's allus plenty to be had i'th market. Aw think it ud be a gooid idea for ther's nowt awm fonder on nor a fresh egg in a drop o' rum in a mornin."
"Rum agean! It's th' topmost thowt i' thi mind. If aw live longer nor thee, aw'll put a bottle into thi coffin. Tho' if aw did, aw do believe tha'd get up an sup it. But if tha likes to goa an buy a couple o' nice hens an fix a place up for em, tha can tak this five shillin an see what tha can do. An if tha brings me mi reight change an doesn't stop long, aw'll see if aw cannot have summat for thi at tha'll like."
"Aw'll hunt up old blind Billy, an get a couple off him, becoss aw know he's honest, an ther's net monny honest fowk i'th hen trade."
Sammywell worn't long befoor he wor off, an as he wor passin th' Market Tavern, he saw blind Billy commin aght. He tell'd him just what he wanted, an Billy sed, "As far as aw can see, tha's just come at th' reight time, for aw've three grand young pullets at's all ready for layin, an aw'll let thi have em cheap. Six shillin for three; and they're cheap at seven an sixpence."
"Nay, tha axes too much, they're sich little ens."
"Aw nivver saw three bigger at that price," he sed, an as he wor born stooan blind that wor true.
"Aw'll gie thi five shillin, an strike th' bargain just nah," sed Sammywell.
"Tha'rt a hard customer, but as we've had monny a drink together, tha shall have em."
Soa th' brass an th' chickens changed hands an Sammywell wor sooin back hooam wi his bargain.
"Tha hasn't been long," sed Mally, as shoo lukt at th' hens, "an whear's mi change?"
"Ha mich change did ta expect aght o' five shillin, when aw've browt thi three layin pullets?"
"If awd gien thi ten it ud just ha been th' same an aw owt to ha had moor sense nor to ax. But nah tha's getten em, whear does ta intend to put em?"
"Aw'll put em i' yond old hamper 'at's i'th' cellar. Aw cannot fix a place for em befoor Monday."
"Noa, but tha can beg an old box or two or a few booards wol tha'rt aght to-day an then tha'll have all ready for a start."
Sundy mornin saw Sammywell up i' gooid time, an his first job wor to feed his chickens. He felt quite like a farmer in a small way. Then Mally had to goa an peep at em. "Sammywell! come hither this minnit!" shoo called aght, an he ran daan fit to braik his neck. "Peep into that corner," shoo sed, as shoo raised th' hamper lid. An thear sewer enuff; ther wor a nice white egg. He picked it aght gently an they booath examined it, an they thowt they'd nivver seen one as nice befoor.
"What mun we do wi it?" sed Mally.
"Aw think th' best thing to do wi it will be to ait it."
"It ommost luks a shame, but still aw suppooas that's what its for. Aw wonder which laid it. Does ta think it wor th' black en or th' braan en? Aw fancy it wor th' white en."
"Eeah, aw think it must ha been th' white en," sed Sammywell, "but get it boiled an we'll share it."
They wor as pleeased as two childer ovver ther braikfast, an it had seldom happened at they'd booath been in sich a gooid temper as they wor when they started for th' chapel. Sammywell had oppened th' cellar winder to let some air in, an after lockin th' door they wor just startin off, when what should they see but that white chicken pickin away i'th fould.
"Nah, tha sees what tha's done! Tha's left th' lid off that hamper! Aw wish tha'd let things alooan at tha doesn't understand. Tha knows nowt abaat chickens."
"It's thi own fault for leeavin th' cellar winder oppen! Onny fooil mud ha known better nor that. But let's drive it back, if we leeav it aght it'll be lost."
"Shoo shoo," went Sammy, an "Shoo shoo," went Mally, but th' chicken seemed to tak varry little nooatice, until Sammywell made a click at it, then it gave a scream an ran between his legs, an seemed detarmined to goa onnywhear except to th' cellar winder. Hepsabah wor lukkin aght o'th winder an saw what they wor tryin to do, soa shoo coom aght wi th' long brush to help em, an little Jerrymier coom to help too. "Nah, gently does it," sed Sammywell, an they gethered raand in a ring an it lukt as if they wor just gooin to nab it, when Jerrymier sed "Shoo, shoo" an away it flew, clean ovver ther heeads, daan th' ginnel an aght into Westgate.
"Tha young taistrel!" sed Sammywell, but he off after it as hard as he could, an a fine race it gave him. Up one street an daan another they went, but Sammywell's blooid wor up an he worn't gooin to be lickt wi a bit ov a chicken. Th' streets wor lined wi fowk gooin to chapel or church, an they shook ther heeads in a varry meeanin way, an some on em turned up th' whites o' ther een as if they wor tryin to see th' inside o' ther heeads, but Sammywell went on an nivver lost seet o'th chicken. They'd ommost getten to th' taan hall, when they coom to a spice shop an th' door wor oppen, an in it popt. "Nah, aw've getten thi!" he sed, an he follered it in an shut th' door.
Th' young woman i'th shop wor capt when it jumpt onto th' caanter. "Catch it, mistress!" sed Sammy, an shoo clickt at it, but it flew i'th winder, an nivver mind if it didn't mak th' mint drops fly! Then it gate aght an swept all th' glass ornaments off th' shelf an peearked up on th' shandileer; Sammy struck at it wi his umberell, but he missed it, an gave th' young woman's heead sich a crack wol it rang like a pot. Then he oppened th' door an as luck wod have it, it flew aght. Sammy flew aght too, an th' woman ran after him, holdin booath hands to her heead an cryin "Murder!"
That wor enough to start all th' lads 'at should ha been at Sundy schooil after Sammywell, but he didn't care. After it he ran an at last it flew into a ass-middin, an nah he felt sewer on it. It tried to fly aght but it couldn't, but ther wor noa way to get it but to goa in after it. He wished he hadn't had on his best Sundy suit, but ther wor no help for it. He managed to crawl in, an in a minnit he wor up to his knees i' ass an puttaty pillins. Th' chicken raised sich a dust wi flutterin abaat wol he wor ommost chooaked an blinded, but he grabbed it an wor sooin aght, lukkin as if somedy'd been shakin a flaar seck ovver his heead. Th' lads set up a shaat, but he tuk noa nooatice, an made th' best of his way towards hooam, takkin care net to goa past th' spice shop, for he didn't think it wor a proper day for business like that 'at wod be waitin for him. Mally an Hepsabah follered bi a lot o'th naybors, wor commin to see what had become on him, an when they saw what a pictur he'd made ov hissen, they fairly skriked wi laffin—all but Mally. Shoo wor soa mad wol shoo couldn't spaik.
Just as they'd getten to th' end o'th ginnel, old Zekil saw him, and sed—"Heigh up, thear! What are ta dooin wi that chicken?"
"Awm takkin it whear it belangs."
"That's my chicken, put it daan an mell on it agean at thi peril."
"Nay, Zekil," sed Mally, "it's awr chicken, for Sammywell bowt it yesterdy an its laid us a egg this mornin."
"Aw tell yo it's mine! It's nivver laid onny eggs, for it's a cock. Aw can own it becoss its tail feathers is brokken."
Sammywell lukt at it, "aw wish its neck had been brokken," he sed.
Zekil tuk it an made off wi it, an Sammywell an Mally went hooam; "Goa into th' cellar an see for thisen," sed Mally, "Awm as sewer yond's awr chicken as aw've a nooas o' my face."
He went to see, and there wor his three chickens just as he'd left em.
"Nah, what am aw to do? Theas clooas'll nivver be like thersen agean, an awm wellny choaked."
"Tha desarves twice as mich as tha's getten! To think at a chap has lived to thy time o' life an connot tell th' difference between a cock an a hen. Tha must be daft."
"Daft! Soa are ta daft! Tha knew noa moor nor me. But tha can tak thi chickens, an goa to blazes wi em for owt aw care! It wor thee at wanted em, it wor nooan o' me!"
"Tha'rt net spaikin trewth—"
"Well, tha'rt another! If it hadn't been for thee awst ha been i'th chapel this minnit."
"Tha'rt happen as weel at hooam, for tha'rt nooan in a fit state o' mind for th' chapel."
"Awm nooan in a fit state o' body nawther aw think. Just luk at theas clooas!"
"Goa upstairs an change em, an aw'll see what aw can do wi em. Tha'rt th' biggest fool aw ivver met i' my life."
Rosa and Louisa Mellit wor dressmakkers—they'd nawther father nor mother, an nowt to live on but what they could addle wi ther fingers, an that worn't mich; for tho' they'd had a bit ov a shop for ten year, asteead o'th' customers gettin mooar, they gate steadily less—nah an then they'd a dress to mak for a sarvant lass or some o'th naybors' wives or dowters, but when th' dresses wor made an sent hooam, monny a time they didn't get paid for em for months an months, an often enuff they nivver finger'd th' brass at all.
Soa as th' years went on things went from bad to worse, an asteead o' payin ready money for jock as they bowt, they'd to get it on th' strap, until ther worn't a place near whear they'd trust em onny mooar. They'd selled as much o' ther furnitur as they could till they'd nowt else left at onnybody wod buy; an they'd popt bits o' things, sich as books an odds an ends, till they'd nowt else left to pop. An nah th' rent day wor next mornin, an barrin abaat hawf a soverin they hadn't onnythin to pay it wi.
"If we could nobbut get us own debts paid," sed Louisa one neet, when th' shutters were up an they wor talkin things ovver, "we could do nicely—awm sewer Missis Rhodes could pay that three paand shoo owes us easy enuff if shoo wod."
"Aw ax'd her to-day," sed Rosa, "an shoo sed shoo'd try an let us have five shillin at Midsummer."
"What's five shillin then, when we've eight paand ten to pay to morn?"
They booath sat ovver a handful o' coils ther wor i'th grate an sed nowt for a bit, then Rosa sed,
"Ther's yond length o' black silk we've had soa long, that piece Missis Jackson ordered an then wod'nt tak; we mun sell that, it cost fower paand, happen we can get three for it. Whear is it?"
Louisa gate up an fotch'd it off a shelf—it wor tied up in a piece o' paper, an when shoo oppened it aght, it must ha getten damp somehah, for it wor all i' patches o' white mowd, an fairly ruinated.
Then booath on em burst into tears when they saw it, and sat daan ageean an sobbed for long enuff.
"Ther's nowt for it but to be turn'd aght o'th haase an goa an work i' a mill," sed Louisa.
"Eeah! dear-a-me, to think o' us commin to that." An they booath cried ageean.
"We must have summat at we can sell," Rosa sobbed in a bit, "what's getten mother's brooach?"
"We sell'd that to pay th' doctor's bill when poor owd Hamer next door had th' fever soa long." "So we did, awd forgetten."
Ageean nawther on em spake for a bit, an th' wind howl'd raaad th' haase, an rain beat ageean th' panes, an all on a sudden Rosa jump'd up an sed—
"Louisa, dooan't yo' remember when mother wor deein, shoo sed ther wor a little tin box i' her trunk, an at if ivver we wor i' onny trouble we wor to look inside ov it."
"Aw think aw do, but aw nivver saw th' box, whear is it?"
"Aw dooan't know, unless its i'th trunk still, let's hev a look for it."
They gate a cannel an went upstairs, an varry sooin coom daan ageean wi a owd tin trunk at they put on th' hearthstun. Louisa oppened it, an start'd rummagin abaat amang a whole lot o' odds an ends o' wearin apparel, an reight daan i'th bottom corner her hand coom agean summat hard.
"Here it is," shoo sed, as shoo pool'd aght a little flat tin box, abaat eight inches long an six inches wide an appen hawf an inch thick.
One end ov it wor made to slide off, but it wor soa rusty for want o' use 'at it tuk a bit o' bother to loise it, but at last off it coom, an Louisa put in her finger and pool'd aght—not a savins bank book wi a gooid raand sum o' money on its pages—but three owd numbers o'th Clock Almanack.
Poor lasses, they'd been expectin sich things aght o' this box, at when they saw what it contain'd they booath started o' cryin agean.
"Poor mother," sed Rosa, "shoo allus used to say 'at if shoo wor low spirit'd or i' trubble th' "Clock Almanack" allus cheer'd her up, an shoo must ha thowt it wod cheer us up too."
An then they cried agean, for nawther on em felt at all inclin'd for readin noa comic stooaries, or thowt at they'd find much comfort i'th Yorksher dialect that neet; soa Louisa put em back into th' box an nivver oppen'd em—but as th' box wor rayther thin, shoo had to slide em in one at a time, an as shoo wor puttin in th' second one, th' remainin almanac slipt off her knee onto th' floor, an tho' shoo didn't see it, a bit o' white paper fell aght ov it an lay under th' table.
When th' box wor put away they went to bed withaat supper, an cried thersens to sleep, an th' paper laid thear under th' table all neet, an a couple o' braan mice play'd all raand it, an used it insteead ov a table cloth to eat ther supper off.
I'th mornin when Rosa coom daan to leet th' fire th' piece o' paper wor th' furst thing shoo saw when shoo took th' shut daan; shoo picked it up an turn'd it ovver, an thear if it worn't a Ten Paand Bank o' England Nooat. Tawk abaat rejoicins, jewbilee days is nowt to that mornin. Louisa nearly went off her chump an they'd th' best braikfast they'd had for years.
They hadn't noa daat as to whear it had come thro' for it wor dated th' year at ther mother deed, they knew at it must ha been hers, an it had no daat been i'th trunk an tummell'd aght when they wor turnin things ovver—they had another look but ther wor noa mooar. It wor Rosa at look'd, but as shoo knew ther were nowt i'th little tin box but Clock Almanacks, shoo didn't oppen it.
As sooin as th' banks oppen'd Louisa went an gate th' nooat chang'd soa as to be ready for th' lanlord when he coom, an when shoo gate back Rosa met her at th' door wi a smillin face, and sed, at Missis Rhodes had browt th' three paand shoo owed em, an ordered a new black silk dress beside; soa they gate daan th' mouldy piece at they'd look'd at th' neet befooar, an to ther joy they faand aght at th' stains wor only on th' two aghtside folds, an inside it wor all reight an wod mak th' dress weel enuff.
They'd a happy day as yo can guess, an at dinner time they sent a bit o' beef an Yorksher puddin to a poorly woman at liv'd daan th' yard, an like all fowk at does a gooid turn to them at's war off nor thersens, they felt better for it. That neet when th' shop wor shut, they sat daan beside th' assnook an began o' tawkin ha different things seemed thro' what they had done th' neet befooar.
"Just to think," sed Rosa, "last neet we'd nobbut ten shillin an th' rent to pay; an naah we've th' rent paid, an nearly five paand beside, an a dress to mak into th' bargain."
"Eah!" Louisa went on, "an just fancy sellin yond owd bonnet at we've had soa long, to that owd woman at sed shoo couldn't bide new fashioned things."
"Well we've had bad luck long enuff, aw hope it'll turn nah—if we could nobbut get a bit o' brass, we'd buy Miss Simpson's shop i' front street." An soa they tawked on poor lasses i'th gladness o' ther hearts, for it wor wi them as it is wi a seet o' others i' this cowd hard world, they'd had soa mich claady weather at a bit o' sunshine wor ommost mooar nor they could understand. After they'd had ther supper, Louisa sed, "Rosa, last neet aw felt as if aw couldn't bear to read in them owd Clock Almanacs o' mothers, but aw feel to-neet as if a gooid stooary wodn't come amiss."
"Aw'll read one," sed Rosa, an shoo gate up an gate th' little tin case aght o'th box, an took th' Almanacs aght:—
"Ther's eighteen seventy fower, an five, an six, which shall aw read aght on?"
"Th' owdest one," Louisa answered, "tho' noa daat they'll all be gooid."
Rosa pickt seventy fower aght, an oppen'd it, an as shoo did soa a crisp bit o' white paper fell aght, Louisa catcht it befooar it gate to th' floor, an thear it wor a five paand nooat.
"Turn ovver th' leeaves," Louisa cried, "Quick! Quick!"
Rosa did soa, an a reglar little shaar o' nooats fell aght—it wor th same i'th t'other Almanacs, an when they'd gooan throo all th' pages they'd quite a little pile on em—some wor fivers, some tenners, an ther wor one for twenty paand. "Aw see wot dear, dear mother meant when shoo sed if ivver we wor i' onny trubble, we wor to luk into th' little tin box."
Ther wor nearly three hundred paand altogether, an poor lasses they nivver went to bed all neet, for fear o' theives braikin in an stailin—an next mornin they nivver oppen'd th' shop, but went straight away to Miss Simpson's and bowt her shop, stock an gooid will, an all, an paid brass daan for it.
They've nivver luk'd behund em since, tho' its mooar nor two year sin this happened; tho' Rosa's gooan aght o' bisniss, becoss shoo's wed a clerk in a bank; an Louisa's baan to be married at Kursmiss to a chap at has a shop next door, an they're baan to break a door thro' an roll both shops into one.
On th' furst ov October ivvery year as sooin as th' Clock Almanack comes aght, they booath on em run an buy th' first copy at ivver they can lig ther hands on, for th' varry seet ov th' red an yoller cover maks em think o'th happiest moment at ivver they had i' ther lives.
It isn't often at ther's soa mich brass faand inside a Clock Almanack, but ther's monny an monny a paands worth ov innocent amusement to be faand in its pages, an they're odd kind o' fowk at connot thoil to spend a threepeny bit on one, or think ther brass is wasted.
"Mally! If tha cannot scale th' foir baght makkin that din, let it alooan!"
"When aw want thee to tell me ha to scale a foir aw'll ax thi! Aw should think aw've lived long enuff to know that mich. It mun awther be scaled or it'll goa aght."
"Then let it goa aght! If tha maks a racket like that agean tha'll goa aght whativver comes o'th foir, or if tha doesn't aw'll pitch thi on th' top on it! Oh my poor heead! aw wish tha had it for hawf an haar, then tha'd know summat."
"Awm nooan soa sewer abaat that! Tha's had it ivver sin aw knew thi an its varry little at tha knows!"
"Aw know it'll drive me aght o' mi senses if it doesn't stop."
"Well, tha willn't have far to goa, that's one blessin. Bless mi life! its nobbut a touch o'th tooithwark."
"Nobbut a touch isn't it? If tha'd to be touched i'th same way tha wodn't live five minnits. As it happens, it isn't th' tooithwark at all, it's th' newralgy aw've getten into mi heead."
"Well, be thankful at tha's getten summat in it at last, for its been empty long enuff, an that owt to be fain whether its newralgy or oldralgy. Aw've noa patience wi thi, for if ther's th' leeast thing ails thi tha upsets all th' haase. When awr Hepsabah's Jerrymier had it he hardly made a muff, an he did have it wi a vengence, poor child."
"Awd like to know if ther's owt i' this world at Jerrymier hasn't had? If awd to come hooam wi mi neck brokken tha'd declare at Jerrymier had had his brokken monny a time, an seemed to enjoy it! Aw wish he'd nivver been born for he's th' plague o' my life!"
"It mud ha been a gooid job for him if he nivver had been born, an th' same could be sed abaat moor nor him, soa tha can crack that nut."
"Tha'd tawk abaat crackin nuts if tha'd th' face ache like me. O-o-o-o-h! aw believe th' top o' mi heead's commin off! Aw dooant expect onny sympathy, but connot ta gie me summat to ease me a bit? If tha doesn't awst goa ravin mad." "Onny body to lissen to thi ud fancy tha wor that already. Which side is it on?"
"It isn't th' aghtside tha may be sewer. O-o-o-o-h! its like drivin a nail into mi heead."
"Tha mun goa an get it pool'd."
"Pool'd! what pool'd? They can do me noa gooid wi poolin unless they pool mi heead off, an aw dooant think tha'd shed a tear if tha'd to see me come walkin hooam wi it under mi arm!"
"Why, aw dooant know what use it ud be to thi under thi arm, but it's been varry little use to thi under thi hat. But aw'll see what aw can do for thi if tha'll have a bit o' patience."
"Patience! All reight, lass. Aw'll ha patience. Dooant hurry thysen whativver tha does. Tha'd better goa an have a bit ov a tawk wi awr Hepsabah, an tak Jerrymier for a walk befoor tha starts. It may be th' deeath ov his gronfather, but that meeans nowt."
"Ther's nubdy wants thee to dee, for tha'd be worth less then nor tha art nah, if sich a thing could be. Nah, here sithee,—ther's a nice little oonion aw've rooasted, an tha mun let mi put it i' thi earhoil."
"Will that do onny gooid thinks ta?"
"We can nobbut try. Tha knows a sheepheead an oonion is allus gooid."
"Mally,—when tha wor poorly aw shed tears ovver thee."
"Well, if tha did, ammot aw sheddin tears?"
"Eeah, but its pillin that oonion at's made em come. Tha'll be sooary for this someday. Ooooh!"
"Nah, tha'll see that'll gie thi a bit o' ease. Keep this warm flannel to th' side o' thi face wol aw mak thi a pooltice."
"Doesn't ta think aw owt to have summat i'th inside as weel?"
"Aw've heeard say at a dooas o' oppenin physic is a varry gooid thing, an aw've some tincture o' rewbub at aw gate for Jerrymier."
"Then let Jerrymier have it! aw'll have nooan sich like muck! Can't ta think o' summat else?—summat warm an comfortin like."
"Aw can mak thi a sup o' mint teah. That's a varry gooid thing aw believe."
"Tha knows mint teah nivver does for me. Ha does ta think a drop o' warm whisky an watter, withaat sewger ud do? It isn't nice takkin, but when its for physic aw can put up wi it."
"If tha thinks it'll do thi onny gooid aw'll slip aght an get thi a tooithful."
"If it wor nobbut a tooith at wor botherin me, tha might gie me a tooithful, but when its mi whooal heead, a pint 'll be little enuff."
"Keep still just whear tha art, an aw'll fotch thi some, for unless aw do aw dooant think tha'll let me have a bit o' sleep."
Sammywell sat varry still an Mally wornt varry long befoor shoo wor back, an as sooin as shoo could shoo made him a glass booath strong an hot, an considerin at it wor baght sewger, he tuk it varry weel, tho' he did pool a faal face after he'd getten it daan.
"Nah, aw'll mak thi a gooid big bran pooltice at'll goa all ovver thi heead, an then tha mun get to bed, an then aw'll tak a drop o' whisky to awr Hepsabah's husband, for he's fair made up wi a cold."
"Tha mun do nowt o'th sooart. Ther isn't a war thing for a cold nor whisky; all th' doctor's 'll tell thi that. If he's getten a bad cold mak him some mint tea. Ther's nowt better for gettin him onto a sweeat. An aw think if aw wor thee aw wodn't bother abaat that bran pooltice wol we see ha th' whisky goas on. Awm sewer aw feel a bit easier bi nah. Aw think aw'll creep up to bed, an awd better tak th' bottle up wi me for fear it should come on agean, an aw'll leeav thee to mak th' mint teah, an be sewer tha doesn't stop long, for aw connot rest withaat thi."
He went to bed an Mally made a jugful o' strong mint teah an tuk it to Hepsabah's, an when shoo coom back an went up to bed, Sammywell wor asleep.
"He must ha had another tarrible pain," sed Mally, "for th' bottle's empty, but he's saand asleep nah."
When Mally wakkened i'th mornin, Sammywell wor still asleep, soa shoo gate up as quietly as shoo could, an tuckt him in nice an comfortable, an went daan-stairs to get a bit o' braikfast ready.
"Aw know he likes a sup a teah,—an aw'll mak him a bit o' nice buttered tooast an cook him a Yarmoth Blooater, an may-be he'll feel a bit better after he's getten that into him, tho' sometimes aw think he hardly desarves it, for he does try me sometimes wol aw think he's ommost spun me to th' length. But what can aw do? He's nooan what yo call an ill en, but he's soa aggravatin. But aw've nubdy to blame but misen, for aw've spoilt him ivver sin aw had him an awst ha to tak th' consequences. If ivver aw get wed ageean aw'll begin as aw meean to go on. But, A'a dear o' me! whativver am aw tawkin abaat! An old gronmother like me thinkin abaat gettin wed ageean! But ther are times when sich thowts will get into a body's noddle, for aw once heeard a chap say, at a chap does live sometimes till he's to old to be wed, but a woman nivver. But aw needn't trouble misen wi thinkin abaat sich things for he's nooan deead yet nor likely to be; an if he wor aw dooant know whear aw could ivver get another to suit me as weel. If aw could nobbut taich him a bit o' sense, an get him to behave as a chap ov his years owt to do it ud be different, tho' aw do believe aw should feel lost withaat him."
"His braikfast's all ready nah, an aw'll tak it to bed to him, an if he's wakkened up in a daycent temper aw'll have a tawk to him."
Sammywell had just wakkened when shoo went in wi it. "A'a! Mally, lass," he sed when he saw his braikfast, "Aw dooan't know whativver aw mud do but for thee!"
"Is thi heead onny better?"
"Aw nivver felt better i' mi life. It's a shame to put thee to all this trubble, for aw could ha getten up to it."
"It's noa trubble, Sammywell, an aw wodn't care owt abaat trubble if tha'd nobbut try an behave thisen, an net spaik to me i'th way tha does. Awm sewer sometimes, when tha gets into one o' thi tantrums aw feel as if ther wor nowt left for me to live for. If tha'd nobbut try to reform a bit,—if tha'd be as tha used to be forty or fifty year sin, aw should be th' happyest woman within saand o'th taan hall chimes. Get that into thi an tha'll happen feel better. Aw mun goa becoss its weshin day, an aw've an extra wesh, for awr Hepsabah's sent all Jerrymier's clooas at he's worn for this last fortnit, an he does mucky a seet o' brats an stuff."
"Jerrymier agean! What the duce has ta to do wi weshin Jerrymier's clooas! Let her wesh em hersen. Aw've just studden this wol awm stall'd!"
"Thear tha goas agean! If onnybody says a word to thee tha flies off in a passhion. Aw know what awr poor Hepsabah has to do an tha doesn't. Tha'd nivver ha gooan on like that when we wor wed at furst."
"Noa! but ther wor noa Jerrymier then!"
"Ther'd ha been noa Jerrymier nah if it hadn't ha been for thee. Tha cannot get ovver th' fact 'at tha'rt his gronfather. But aw mun be off for standin tawkin to thee willn't get th' clooas weshed."
"It's a drop o' rare gooid teah is this,—aw wonder if shoo's mixed it hersen, if net shoo should allus buy at that shop. Aw dooant think ther's a chap onnywhear 'at's a better wife nor aw've getten, an aw can't help thinkin sometimes at aw dooant treeat her just as aw owt to do. Aw think it's abaat time aw altered things. Shoo wants me to reform, an do as aw used to do when we wor wed at furst. Well, aw can hardly manage that, but aw remember th' time 'at aw used to mak a gooid bit a fuss on her, an used to spaik moor lovinly like. Awm blessed if aw dooant try it on agean! If a little thing like that'll suit her, shoo's worthy on it an shoo shall have it. Aw've had a gooid braikfast, an aw could ha supt a gallon o' that teah if awd had it.—It's th' weshin day, an aw used to give her a help sometimes, an aw'll do it agean."
When Sammywell gate daan staars th' place wor full o' steeam an th' smell o' sooapsuds, but he didn't put on his hat an goa aght, but he crept up cloise beside her an slippin his arm raand her waiste, he sed, "Mally, lass, connot aw help thi a bit?"
"What are ta up to nah! Aw know thy tricks ov old! Tha thinks tha can put thi hand i' mi pocket an tak th' last shillin we have i'th haase! But awm too old fashioned for thi. Ger aght o' this hoil or aw'll claat thi ovver thi heead wi this blanket!"
"Nay, lass, aw dooant like to see thee tewin like this an me dooin nowt, let's help thi a bit."
"It's little aw'll gie for sich help as thine! If tha comes here to reckon to help me, tha'll want payin for it twice ovver."
"Why, Mally love, if tha'll gie me a kuss aw'll turn th' wringin machine for thi wol tha's done."
"Sammywell,—aw want thee to luk me straight i'th face an tell me what tha's had to sup this mornin an whear tha's getten it?"
"Aw've had nowt but that drop o' teah tha browt up stairs."
"Well, aw dooant want to say tha'rt a stooary teller, but aw can think what aw like."
"Nah, Mally love——"
"Ger aght o' this hoil, gurt softheead! If tha comes near me wi onny o' thi 'Mally loves,' aw'll throw this bucket o' watter ovver thi! Tha'rt a fooil thisen an tha thinks awm one, but tha'll find thisen mistaen. After been called 'Old Towel' an 'Blow Broth' an 'Old Nivversweeat,' to say nowt abaat names at awd be ashamed to mention—it's rayther too lat i'th day to try an come ovver me wi thi 'Mally loves.'"
"But awm baan to reform, awm net gooin to call thi sich names onny moor, an if tha'll nobbut let me help thi, Mally love——"
"Aw'll gie thi 'Mally love!' Aw suppooas tha thinks aw havn't enuff to do, soa tha mun come here to aggravate an hinder me all tha can!"
"Tha shouldn't ha claated me across th' chops wi that weet hippen,—that's noa way to help a chap's reformation."
"Aw'll hit thi wi summat harder nor that if tha doesn't put on thi hat an ger aght. It's noa use thee tawkin' to me abaat reformin', for it's too lat on i'th day. If it wor possible to mak thi into a daycent chap ther's nubdy'd know thi. Even little Jerrymier coom in tother day to ax for thi becoss he wanted to goa for a walk, an when aw tell'd him tha wor up stairs, he sed, 'Is mi grondad reight in his heead to-day?' Even he knows thi!"
"Aw've done wi Jerrymier for ivver an aw hooap tha'll nivver mention his name agean in a haase o' mine."
"This haase is mine as it happens, an awst nivver ax thee whose name aw've to mention. A'a! awd be ashamed o' misen if aw wor like thee, comin an makkin a bother like this th' furst thing in a mornin."
"Aw didn't want to mak onny bother,—aw wanted to help thi, Mally love, but——"
"Ger aght o' this hoil or' aw'll mash th' peggy ovver thi heead! Tha gurt maddlin! Tak this shillin an goa an see if tha can mak thisen a bigger fooil nor tha art!"
"Well, aw'll tak it, tho' aw had meant to help thi a bit, but it seems tha'rt too thrang to help a chap wi his reformation. Gooid bye, Mally love, an——" But he just managed so slip aght o'th door i' time to miss th' foir shool at shoo flung at his heead.
"Aw'll put off reformin an tryin to act like aw used to do; for aw get noa encouragement. Its noa use tryin to suit a woman for it cannot be done. Aw see nowt for it but to goa on i'th same old way, an after all, old fowk can nivver be young agean. Well, ther's one comfort,—shoo's gein me a shillin. Vartue is its own reward."
Mister Sydney Algernon Horne, wor a weel to do chap, as yo'll gather thro' his name, for parents dooant give ther child sich fine names unless thers a bit o' brass behind em. If owd Horne, Sydney's feyther, had been a poor warkin man, he'd ha called th' lad Tom, or Bill, or happen Mike; but as he wor a gentleman, wi Bank shares, an Cottage haase property, he dubbed th' lad Sydney Algernon as aw've telled yo. Aw think its nobbut reight at aw should tell yo at this rewl abaat names doesn't allus hold gooid, for ther's a mucky, dirty nooased, draggle-tail'd lass lives up awr yard, wi frowsy hair at couldn't be straightened wi nowt short ov a cooambin machine; shoo hasn't a hawpney to bless hersen wi, an yet shoo's called Victoria Hujaney, after th' Queen o' these lands, an Ex-Empress o'th French.
But aw must get on wi mi tale, or else yo'll happen be thinkin 'at awm nivver baan to tell it. Mister Sydney Algernon Horne faand hissen an orphan at three an twenty year owd, an th' owner o' all th' Bank Shares an th' Cottages, besides th' haase he lived in, which wor a varry nice one wi a big garden, an situated, as th' advertisements says, in the mooast salubrious pairt o' Sheffield.
He knew a deal o' fowk at Sheffield—fowk like him wi a heap o' brass; an bein a single man, an furst-rate company, he wor welcomed i' all th' big haases, a deeal moor heartily nor mooast o'th' readers o'th' Clock Almanac wod ha been. Young men made him welcome, becoss he could tell a gooid stooary an sing a song wi onny on em. Faythers an mothers o' marriageable dowters wor fain to see him, i' hopes at he'd be smitten wi th' charms o' Matilda Charlotte or Ethel Maude,—but th' lasses thersens wor fainest to see him, becoss he wor nice lukkin, an could tawk soft to em, an he used to squeeze ther hands when he wor sayin "gooid bye," soa gently, at he used to mak em ivvery one think at he wor dyin ov love for em.
But Sydney wor too wide awake to be catched easy; he wor varry happy an comfortable as a bachelor, an as he'd a gooid idea at i' mooast cases it wor his brass an not him at they wanted, he steered clear o' all th' traps at they set for him; an when th' Kursmis parties wor all ovver, he wor still single—an they'd none on em getten noa forrader wi him when winter coom agean, an put a stop to Lawn Tennis an Croquet Parties.
But yo know it says i' th' gooid owd Book at it isn't "gooid for a man to dwell alooan"—an aw suppoas it isn't, for someha or other, sooiner or later mooast young chaps get dropt on, an Sydney wor noa excepshun to th' rewl. Aw'll tell yo hah it wor.
One snowy neet, at abaat six o'clock he wor gooin hooam to his dinner, (for swells yo must know ha ther dinners at th' time at respectable warkin fowk ha ther teahs)—He wor just passin a dark lane end, when he heard a woman's voice singin aght "Help! Help!"
He cut up th' rooad as fast as he could, an abaat twenty yards thro' th' corner, he seed a regular offal lukkin feller strugglin wi a young lady under a gas pooast.—As sooin as th' ruffian seed Sydney commin, he bolted ovver a wall, in a way at showed at it worn't th' furst time at he'd takken to his heels to save hissen a thrashin.
Ov cooarse as sooin as th' danger wor ovver, an ther wor noa need o' owt o't sooart, th' young lady swooned away—an it tuk Sydney all his time to bring her raand, in fact it worn't until he'd kissed her two or three times, at shoo begun o' commin to her senses.
As sooin as shoo wor able to walk, he assisted her hooam, or at least to th' haase wher shoo wor visitin. On th' way shoo tell'd him at they call'd her Mabel Mothersdale, that shoo wor stayin a wick or two wi some friends, an that shoo'd just slip aght to pop a letter into th' pillar box, when th' tramp attack'd her.
Sydney went next day to ax hah shoo wor.—Shoo wor varry fain to see him—an th' friends shoo wor stayin wi made a big fuss ov him, an axd him to stay dinner. He stayed ov cooarse.
Th' next day he called wi a piece o' music 'at he'd been tellin em abaat—th' day after he went wi some tickets for a grand concert ther wor baan to be i' Sheffield—an what wi one excuse or another, he seed her ivvery day—an ivvery neet when he doffed his clooas an gate into bed, he felt moor i' love wi Mabel nor he had done th' neet befoor.
At last th' day coom for her to goa back hooam to Brummagem, where her father lived, an when Sydney called to say "gooid bye" to her, he tuk th' opportunity when they wor left aloan for abaat five minutes, to ax her to marry him. Mabel wor a sensible lass, ho knew a reight chap when shoo seed one, soa shoo sed at shoo'd wed him wi pleasur if he'd get her father's consent.
"Mother's been deead these six years," shoo sed, "but befoor shoo deed aw promised her faithful at aw'd nivver marry nubdy withaat mi father wor agreeable."
Sydney kussed her an sed he wor quite content an he'd goa daan to Brummagem next Tuesday, an ax her father on th' Wednesday mornin, an as he wor weel to do i' money matters, noa daat ther'd be noa difficulty i' gettin th' owd feller to have him for a son i' law.
Soa Mabel went hooam wi a happy heart, an caanted th' haars wol next Wednesday, when shoo'd see her dear Sydney Algernon ageean.
Nah as aw tell'd yo befooar, Sydney wor a reight nice young feller—he wor as steady as a clock, an nubdy couldn't say nowt ageean him, nobbut for one thing, an that wor he'd getten an idea into his heead, at he couldn't possibly live baat bacca—mornin, nooin an neet, he wor hardly ivver withaat awther a pipe or a cigar in his maath, an tho' fowk tell'd him at he smooked a deeal too mich, it wor noa gooid.
"Aw couldn't live baat a bit o' bacca," he used to say, "an when th' day cooms 'at aw may'nt smook, aw shall'nt care ha sooin they shut me up in a box, an cart me off to th' burryin graand."
Soa yo can easy imagine 'at wi sich sentiments as these, he didn't leeave off smookin as ha fowk tawked. At last Tuesdy coom, an as th' best train for Brummagem left at five o'clock in th' afternooin, Sydney decided he'd goa by that; an as its a longish gait, ov cooarse he tuk jolly gooid care to have plenty o' smookin materials wi him.
When he gate to th' stashun, he faand aght to his disgust, 'at th' only reekin hoil on all th' train wor full, soa he gate into another carriage an decided to mak that into one, for he'd getten some slips o' paper in his pocket wi "_Smookin_" on, soa as he could stick one on if it wor required, haivver has nubdy else got in wi him, he didn't bother abaat puttin th' slip up. At last th' train started an glided aght o' th' leeted stashun into th' darkness aghtside, for it wor winter time, an a thick muggy afternooin, soa he lit his pipe an started readin a "Clock Almanac" at he'd bowt—an what wi readin th' stories, an thinkin abaat ha sooin he'd see Mabel, an fillin his pipe, he didn't nooatice where he'd getten too; when all ov a sudden th' train started gooin slower an slower, an finally stopt at a bit ov a road-side stashun, abaat as big as one o' them hot pay hoils whear lads caar ov a neet to spend ther coppers in.
As it wor a express he knew it didn't owt to stop there, an just as he wor wonderin what ther wor to do, th' door wor oppened an a little owd gentleman wi spectacles on, wor tumbled into th' same compartment whear he wor, an a leather bag wor shoved in after him—a porter touched his hat an shaated aght "All reet!" th' door wor slammed too, th' whistle blew, an th' train started off agean.
"Phew! Yor smookin, sir!" sed th' owd chap as sooin as he'd getten his breeath an lukt raand.
"Eah!" sed Sydney, showin a cigar at he'd leeted not a minnit befooar.
"Aw insist on yor puttin it aght instantly," sed th' owd feller.
Sydney wornt used to bein ordered abaat like this, soa he sed:
"Oh, yo insist on it, do yo, owd buffer, but suppooas aw dooant put it aght, what then?"
"But you shall put it aght, an at once too," he went on, gettin varry red i' th' face, "do yo think at aw shall submit to be poisoned wi yor vile, disgustin tobacca smook? sich men as yo should ride in a cattle truck or a dog box—tho' if yo wor in there yo'd be taichin th' cawves an puppies bad habbits—Owd buffer, indeed! I'll have yo fined, sir."
"Nah dooan't yo get raggy," sed Sydney, poolin aght his cigar case, an leetin another; "if aw have to be fined aw mud as weel have summat for my brass," an he moved an sat on a seat in front o'th owd chap, an puffed aght o' both cigars as fast as he could, wol he made sich a reek i'th hoil at th' lamp up aboon lukk'd like a full mooin on a misty neet.
"Awm a director on this line," th' owd beggar gasped, "an aw insist on yor desistin the smookin at once, sir."
"A director are yo? awm fain to see yo, aw've often wanted to ax one o' ye gentry ha it is at th' trains is soa unpunctual on this line?"
Th' owd chap jumped up an run to th' winder, an let it daan, an started tryin to find th' cord to stop th' train, but bi gooid luck he'd getten to th' wrang side o'th carriage, an while he wor botherin to find th' rope, Sydney opened th' t'other winder an stuck one o'th' slips wi "Smookin" on it, on th' aghtside oth' pane, an then he sed:
"Aw insist on yo closin that winder, sir, th' draught annoys me, as aw've getten a bad cowd."
Haivver th' owd chap wodn't shut it, he kept his heead aght an cought, an it worn't till he catched seet o' Sydney sharpenin a gurt jack-knife on his booit, at he wor flayed into cloisin it. Nah it soa happened at only that varry afternooin, th' owd feller had been readin ith' paper, abaat a man havin escaped throo a mad haase somwhear or other, an it struck him at Sydney must be th' varry chap, soa he wor in sich a funk 'at he didn't know whativver to do, but he thowt th' best thing wod be to keep as still as he could, an not vex Sydney, soa he sat daan as quiet as owt an sed nowt.
"Are yo fond o' mewsic?" Sydney axt.
"Varry," sed th' owd chap.
Soa Sydney started wavin his jack knife abaat, an bellowin a song aght o' tune, abaat Buffalo Bill, an huntin buffalos in th' wilds o' Kensington, an he stuck a verse in abaat scalpin Railway directors. In th' meeantime th' train wor gooin along at a gooid rattle, for they wor lat, an th' driver wor makkin up time, soa th' carriage started o' swingin a bit. Th' owd feller thowt he mud say summat to try an mak Sydney forget abaat scalpin directors, soa he sed:
"Dooant yo think this trains gooin quickly, sir?"
"Aw wish it wod goa twenty times faster, aw wish it wod goa a thaasand times faster," sed Sydney, wavin his arms abaat, "aw wish it wod goa bang into another train an smash this carriage all inter smithereens."
"Why, if it did yo'd be killed!"
"Awd dee gladly ony day," Sydney answered, "if aw could only know at a Director wor killed too."
An soa they went on, Sydney dooin all kind o' mad things, he even insisted on th' Director smookin three whiffs ov a cigar; but at last, like ivverything i' this world, th' journey coom to an end, an they glided into th' station at Brummagem.
As sooin as ivver th' train stopt, th' Director jumpt aght, an called for a porter, "Get that gentleman's name," he sed, "he's been smookin in this carriage."
Sydney wor sittin quite calmly, wi' hawf a cigar in his maath, an th' porter sed,—
"Have yo been smookin, sir?"
"Ov coorse aw have, cannot yo see mi cigar, this is a smookin carriage, luk thear"—an he pointed to th' label on th' winder.
Th' porter couldn't do anything when he seed that, but th' Director sent for th' stashun maister, an made an awful shindy; he sed 'at Sydney wor mad, an ha he'd threatened him wi' a knife, an aw dooant know what beside—but Sydney wor soa polite, an whispered to th' Stashun maister, "at he thowt th' owd feller had had too mich to sup, for he'd been smookin hissen as they could easy find aght if they smell'd his breeath."
Soa th' Stashun maister sed he couldn't do owt, as it wor a smookin carriage, soa Sydney wor allowed to goa to th' Hotel, leeavin 'em to feight it aght as they liked.
Th' last thing he thowt ov that neet befooar he fell asleep wor, ha Mabel wod laugh next day when he telled her abaat it.
Next mornin when he'd had his braikfast, he donned hissen up smart as a chap owt to do when he's gooin a cooartin, an set off in a cab to Mabel's father's haase.
Th' lass wor lukkin aght for him, an after a bit o' kussin an huggin (as is suitable at sich times) Sydney sed he mud as weel see her father an get it ovver.
"He's in th' library," sed Mabel.
"Nah for it," Sydney sed, as they stood aghtside th' door, "gie me another kuss, lass, to keep me up to th' mark, an eh! aw've sich a joke to tell thi abaat afterwards."
Mabel kussed him ageean, an then shoo oppen'd th' door an walked in, wi Sydney followin behund feelin varry uncumfortable, for its noa joke aw can tell yo axin an owd gentleman to gie yo his dowter.
Mister Mothersdale wor sittin at a table, writin a letter, when they went in an he didn't luk up till Mabel sed:—"Papa, dear, this is Mister Horne, th' gentleman I told yo abaat, who protected me from that ruffian i' Sheffield, who tried to rob me."
He lukked up, and Sydney felt like to sink into his booits, for if it worn't th' varry owd chap at he'd travelled in th' train wi' th' neet befooar.
Nah tho' Sydney knew th' owd chap in a crack, by gooid luck Mabel's father hadn't his glasses on, soa he didn't mak him aght at furst.
"Awm varry fain to mak yor acquaintance, sir," he sed, "my dowter has towd me ha kind yo wor i' Sheffield, an aw wish to thank yo for it."
Sydney wor soa flayed ov th' owd feller rememberin his voice, 'at he shoved a hawpny into his maath befooar he spake, an then he sed:—"Aw didn't do much awm sewer, Sir. It wor nowt at all."
"Have aw ivver met yo befooar," Mister Mothersdale axt, "aw seem to know yor voice?"
"Net as aw know on," Sydney answered, feelin at he wor in for a thunderin lot o' lyin.
"Mister Horne's niver been i' Brummagem befooar," Mabel sed.
"It's varry strange," th' owd man went on, as he put his specs on, "aw seem to know yor voice soa weel, an dear-a-me yor face reminds me ov sumdy but aw cannot tell who."
Nah Sydney wor dressed quite different thro what he had th' neet befooar, an while Mabel's father wor puzzlin his heead abaat it, Mabel sed "Aw showed yo a photograph o' Mister Horne, papa, praps that's it?"
"That must be it," Sydney sed, jumpin at th' idea soa sharp, at in spite o'th hawpny he had in his maath, he spoke quite nateral like; an though th' owd feller couldn't believe 'at this nice gradely lukkin young man, could be th' same as th' madman he'd travelled wi' th' neet befooar, th' idea coom into his heead, an th' moor he lukked, th' moor certain he grew.
"Can yo sing," he axed.
"Awm a varry poor singer," Sydney sed.
"Soa wor th' chap last neet," thowt owd Mothersdale, but Mabel put in, "Oh! Papa he sings as beautifully as Sims Reeves."
"Then it couldn't ha been him," thowt her father, an then he axt:
"Do yo know a comic song at awm varry fond ov, abaat Buffalo Bill scalpin Railway Directors in th' Wilds o' Kensington?"
Mabel laft, an Sydney tried to laff too, as he sed:—
"Aw nivver heeard ov it befooar, but if yor fond ov it, aw'll try an get it an sing it for yo."
Th' owd man wor baan to ax some mooar questions when Sydney thinkin it wor time to change th' subject, sed:—"Aw've come, Mr. Mothersdale, to ax if yo've onny objections to"—he'd quite forgetten abaat his voice ageean, an when he gate that far, Mabel's father begun o' beein quite sewer i' wor th' madman, an he stuck in wi:—"Do yo happen, Mr. Horne, to have a big knife abaat yo, for aw want one for abaat hawf a minnit?"
Sydney wor just baan to bring aght his Jack knife, but he remembered just i' time, soa he sed, "Noa, awm sorry aw haven't, but Mister Mothersdale wod yo have onny objections to Mabel an me keepin company? Awm weel off, aw've a gooid hooam to tak her to, an awm sewer aw can mak her happy."
Nah ivvery word at Sydney sed made owd Mothersdale mooar sewer at he wor th' chap at he'd coom daan i'th train wi th' neet afooar. He wor awfully riled abaat it yo may be sewer, for if ther wor one thing on earth at he couldn't abide it wor th' stink o' bacca, an he'd been varry near smooared i' that railway carriage. But wol he wor as mad as a hatter abaat it, he remembered at he'd heeard Mabel say 'at this Mister Horne had heaps o' brass, soa he thowt he'd say no mooar abaat th' neet afooar, but let him wed th' lass, an tak a revenge aght ov him some other way.
Soa he started jawin away, as these better class fathers does, abaat ha he couldn't bide to part wi his dear Mabel, an soa on; but when Sydney tell'd him abaat his Bank shares, an th' cottage haase property, he sooin gave in.
"Well," he sed wi a sniff, as if he'd getten a bad cowd in his heead, "if yo booath on yo love each other soa mich, aw willn't stand in th' road o' yor happiness, but ther's one little request aw must ask yo to grant me, Mr. Horne, in return for my dowter?"
Sydney wor soa sewted at th' way things wor gooin, at he blurted aght, "awst be glad to promise owt yo like to ask, sir."
"Awm a member o' th' Anti-tobacca Society," sed th' owd beggar chucklin to hissen, "an aw hooap yo dooant indulge i' smookin or snufftakkin?"
"Aw do smook a little, sir, but varry little."
"Then, ov cooarse as its soa little, yo willn't object to give it up in order to win Mabel's hand?"
Poor Sydney, he'd nobbut had three cigars that mornin, an he wor fair deein to get aght an have a smook, but ther didn't seem noa escape, soa wi a sigh, he sed:—"Varry weel, sir, aw'll give it up."
Owd Mothersdale grinned, an thowt ha nicely he wor payin him off for th' neet befoor, then he shoved a sheet o' paper across th' table, an Sydney wrote on it that he promised nivver to smook no mooar wol th' owd chap consented.
"Aw shall nivver consent," sed Mr. Mothersdale, "haivver it doesn't matter. Nah, Mabel, gie me a kiss, an then yo an Mister Horne can run away an talk things ovver."
Mabel kissed him, an went away wi Sydney, but when shoo axed him afterwards what th' joke wor he'd promised to tell her, he pretended he'd forgetten.
They wor wed at Midsummer, an Sydney kept his word abaat smookin—he started chewin, an suckin owd empty pipes, but it worn't like smookin, an whenivver he smelt th' reek ov a cigar it fair set him longin, but like a man owt to do, he didn't braik his promise.————————
Abaat a year after, when they wor baan to cursen th' babby, Mabel's father wor ax'd to th' ceremony. Mabel wor vexed at Sydney couldn't smook, becoss shoo knew ha fond he wor on it, soa th' afternooin her father wor expected, shoo sed, "we'll cure papa ov his dislike to bacca smook, or else we'll get him to let yo smook ageean."
"Hah'll yo do it, lass?"
"Wait an see," shoo sed, "yo shall smook a pipe to-neet."
He wondered ha it wor to be done, an at fower o'clock shoo sent him off to th' stashun to meet her father.
When they gate back th' whole haase wor full o' bacca smook, in bedrooms an passages, on th' steps, in th' sittin rooms, ther wor thick white claads ov it.
"Oh, dear-a-me," sed Mr. Mothersdale, "whativvers this? Sydney yo've brokken yor promise, an been smookin?"
"Aw haven't," Sidney sed, "nivver a whif hav aw smook'd sin th' day aw promised."
"Noa," Mabel sed, "we've faand a better way nor that, we're booath fond o'th reek o' bacca, soa we get a fumigatin thing aght o'th greenhaase, and burn bacca in it, it sents all th' haase i' noa time, an saves Sydney all th' trubble o' puffin away at pipes an cigars."
He felt he wor done—he couldn't live i' sich a smook as that, soa he tell'd Sydney at if he'd keep his smookin aght o'th raich o' his nooas, he could start when he liked, providin they wodn't use th' fumigator noa mooar.
Sidney slipt aght into th' back garden, an smook'd what he thowt wor th' best cigar he'd ivver had in his life; an as it says in stooary books "they all lived varry happy ivver afterwards."
"It's noa use, Sammywell,—aw dooant knaw ha tha feels, but aw can assure thee 'at aw dooant feel so young as aw used to do. When aw wor twenty years younger tha allus set off bi thisen an left me to mooild amang it th' best way aw could; but nah, when tha knows 'at aw can hardly put one fooit afoor tother tha wants me to goa for a walk. Its weel enuff for thee to climb ovver hills an daan dales, becoss thi limbs are limber—thanks to me for takkin care on thi as aw have done. It's miserable for me to caar ith' haase all bi misen, an thee wanderin abaat as tha does, an hardly ivver turns up except at meal times, an net allus then. If tha'd ha takken moor nooatice ov what aw've sed to thi i' years gooan by, we could ha been ridin in a carriage ov us own nah. It is'nt at aw've onny desire to show off, but aw think when fowk get to my age, an have tew'd as aw've done, they're entitled to some ease an comfort. But aw suppooas aw'st nivver know what rest is until awm under th' sod."
"Aw think tha must ha been aitin summat 'at's disagreed wi thi, owd lass, for tha's done nowt but grummel this last two-o'-three days. Tha caars i'th' haase too mich. Tha sees tha connot ride a bicycle, an tha'd hardly like to be seen ridin in a wheelbarro, or else awd trundle thee abaat for an hour or two ivvery day, an awr Hepsabah's peramberlater wod'nt hold thi, if it wod it ud find Jerrymier summat to do an keep him aght o' mischief. Then ther's plenty o' tram-cars, but tha allus says tha feels smoor'd when tha rides i' one o' them, soa awm fast what to do amang it."
"Dooant bother thisen.—Aw'st get a ride one o' theas days as far as th' cemetary, an aw shall'nt hav long to wait unless things alter pretty sooin."
"Well, what wod ta advise me to do?"
"It's too lat on ith' day for thee to come to me for advice. Do thi own way, but when tha's lost me tha'll miss me,—mark that. Tha'll nivver find another to do for thi as aw've done."
"Aw hooap net,—but aw hav'nt lost thi yet, an aw dooant want to. But aw've just getten a nooation! Awm capt aw nivver thowt on it befoor! Aw'll goa see abaat it this varry minnit! Tha shall be reight set up this time. Just have a bit o' patience, an aw'll be back in an haar's time."
"Thear tha gooas agean! If aw say a word to thee tha flies off after some wild goois eearand an manages to mak thisen into a bigger fooil nor tha art. Tell me what tha meeans to do?"
"Aw'll tell thi all abaat it when aw come back, an aw weant belong."
"Well dooant goa an get owt to sup. If tha'rt detarmined to have it, buy some an bring it hooam wi thi, for aw believe tha spaiks trewth when tha sed aw'd getten summat at disagreed wi me, for mi stummack's been varry kittle for a day or two."
"All reight, lass! Keep thi pecker up, an aw'll bring thi raand all reight." An Sammywell set off.——————
"Aw wish aw'd nivver spokken," sed Mally, as shoo watched him pass th' winder. "He's getten that bankbook in his pocket, an he'll as sewer goa an squander some moor brass as he's livin. He isn't fit to be trusted. He meeans weel enuff, but he's soa simple. Net but what ther's war nor him if yo knew whear to find 'em, an aw believe he tries to do his best, but that isn't mich to crack on. Hasumivver, aw mun put up wi it, soa aw'll get thi drinkin ready, for he sed he wod'nt be long."
It didn't tak her long befoor shoo'd made as temptin an comfortable a meal as onny reasonable chap could desire, an then shoo set daan to wait wi as mich patience as shoo could. Darkness wor creepin on an shoo'd ommost getten stall'd o' watchin th' clock, when ther wor a queer grindin sooart ov a noise aghtside, an in another minnit Sammywell come in.
"Nah, lass! Tha sees aw hav'nt been varry long an aw've browt thi summat. Bring a leet an have a luk at it."
"Whativver is it?" shoo sed, as shoo coom to th' door wi a cannel in her hand. "Whativver has ta getten?" shoo sed, as shoo walked raand it.
"Aw've bowt this galloway an little carriage soas aw can drive thi aght whenivver th' weather's fine."
"Whativver wrangheeaded trick will ta be guilty on next!"
"Why, tha wor grummelin abaat net bein able to get aght o' door, an aw bethowt me at old Swindle had this for sale, soa aw've bowt it."
"An nicely he's swindled thee aw've noa daat. But are ta sewer it is a galloway? Becoss aw wodn't believe what he says if he went onto his bended knees."
"Well, what does ta think it is? Tha can see at it's nawther a elefant nor a camel."
"Well, lad,—it may be all reight, but aw should want somdy else to say soa. It luks varry poorly aw think, luk ha white it is ith' face."
"That's th' color on it. It ails nowt an tha'll say soa when aw drive thi aght ith' mornin."
"Thee drive me aght, does ta say? Nay, lad, aw've moor respect for misen nor that! What does ta think awr Hepsabah an th' naybors wod say. But it'll do for Jerrymier. But whear are ta baan to put it?"
"Aw've getten a place to keep it, an if awther Jerrymier or his mother dar to mell on it, they'll know abaat it."
"Tha need'nt freeat,—ther'll nubdy be ovver anxious to mell ov a thing like that. If tha'd bowt a donkey an cart an started hawkin cockles and muscles or else leadin coils ther mud ha been some sense in it. But tak it away an come in an get thi drinkin an dooant stand thear lukkin as gawmless as that article. Off tha gooas an tak it wi thi, an if it lives wol mornin tha can show it to Jerrymier an ax him whether it is a galloway or net. It luks as if it had coom aght o' Noah's Ark, tho if awed been Noah aw should ha let that thing have a swim for it."
"Tha'rt th' mooast provokin, dissatisfied, ungrateful woman aw ivver met! Awm in a gooid mind to drive away an nivver coom back!"
"If tha depends on that whiteweshed umberella-stand tha wodn't be far to seek. But tha'd better hand me that bankbook, for fear tha should leet o' onny moor curosities, an we're nooan gooin to goa into th' show trade. Nah away wi thi."
Grimes drove off an Mally went into th' haase.
"What a silly owd maddlin he is. Just to think at he should goa an wear all that brass o' me. Awr Hepsabah 'll be fair ranty. But then it's his own brass an he's a reight to spend it as he thinks fit, an aw know ther isn't another body ith' world but me at he'd ha bowt it for. Aw think aw nivver saw a bonnier little thing, but it'll be time enuff to tell him soa when he's cooild daan a bit. Aw have to keep him daan a bit or else he'd sooin be too big for his booits. That's his fooit. When he's had a cup o' this teah, an had theas muffins (aw bowt em a purpose for him) he'll leet his pipe an sattle daan, an aw can sooin bring him raand if he's as mad as a wasp. Aw'st nivver be able to sleep to-neet for thinkin abaat yon'd pony an th' drive aght ith' mornin."
When Grimes coom in he wor lukkin varry glumpy.
"Come thi ways, an get theas muffins wol they're hot,—they're fresh off th' beckstun an that butter's come reight off th' farm an its as sweet as a nut."
Sammywell sed nowt, but as th' teah began to warm him an th' muffins wor just to his likin his face seemed to clear a bit, an when shoo handed him his second cup, he wink'd at her, (he couldn't help it.) "This is a drop o' gooid teah, lass, an aw think aw nivver had grander muffins."
"Aw've tried to suit thi. Has ta fed that galloway an left it comfortable for th' neet?"
"As comfortable as it desarves! But aw did'nt know 'at a whiteweshed umberella-stand wanted makkin comfortable."
"Aw know its all reight for tha hasn't a heart i' thi belly to hurt a flee. What time does ta intend to start off i'th mornin."
"Mak thi own time. But aw thowt tha didn't care to goa."
"It's what aw've been langin for for years, an tha knows, Sammywell, if aw do say a word nah an agean at doesn't just suit thi, its becoss tha aggravates me. If tha'd treeat me as a wife owt to be treated, aw should nivver utter a wrang word."
"Well, tha artn't th' only one i' this haase at gets aggravated sometimes, but we'll say noa moor abaat it. Try an bi ready bi ten o'clock i'th mornin, an we'll start aght if its fine."
"But tha doesn't feel cross abaat it, does ta lad."
"Cross, behanged! If aw tuk onny nooatice o' what tha says, aw should allus be cross. Let's get to bed."——————
Next mornin Mally wor soa flustered wol when Grimes coom in to his braikfast after lukkin to th' galloway, her hands tremmeld soa at shoo could hardly teem aght his teah.
But shoo managed to get donned at last, an Sammywell browt th' galloway an th' little trap to th' door, an he felt a bit narvous too, for it wor th' furst time he'd ivver driven aght wi his wife, but he wor praad to do it, an his pride kept him up.
They wor i' hooaps o' gettin off withaat Hepsabah an th' naybors gettin to know, but it wor noa use. Sombd'y seen th' galloway, an when Sammywell helpt Mally into her seat, they wor all aght.
Hepsabah stood thear, wi a babby o' awther arm, an Jerrymier at her side, an as they rode past, shoo put on as humble a luk as shoo knew ha, an dropt a curtsey, an sed "Gooid mornin, Mr. and Mrs. Grimes, Esquire." Then shoo brast aght laffin an all th' naybor wimmen waved ther approns or towels or owt else they could snatch howd on, an cheered em wol they gate aght o'th bottom o'th fold.
They tuk th' shortest cut to get aght o'th busy streets, an they worn't long befoor they coom to whear ther wor green fields on booath sides o'th rooad. It wor a grand day, an they sed little for a while, for they wor booath feelin varry happy, an they lukt it.
Old as they wor, an i' spite ov all th' ups an daans they'd had, they felt like sweethearts agean, an if they couldn't luk forrad to th' long enjoyment ov monny pleasures, they could luk back wi few regrets, an hearts full ov thankfulness for all th' blessins they'd had an possessed.
"Aw nivver thowt, Sammywell," sed Mally, after a bit, "at aw should ivver live to ride i' mi own carriage an pair."
"Why, lass, awm pleased if tha'rt suited. But tha can hardly call it a carriage an pair."
"Aw dooant see why net. Its a varry nice little carriage is this an awm sewer th' galloway an thee mak a gooid pair, for aw should tak yo to be booath abaat th' same age, an th' same complection to nowt, except for thi nooas; an yo nawther on yi ivver hurried yorsen mich or seem likely to do; but aw think if aw wor thee awd get aght an shove behind a bit, its a pity to see it tewin up this hill, an its puffin like all that."
"Well, let it puff! If ther's onny shovin to be done tha'll ha to tak thi share on it. We'll stop at yond haase at top o'th hill an then wol we get a bite an a sup, Fanny can rest a bit."
"That's th' galloway's name."
"Then it'll have to be kursend ovver agean."
"Dooant thee think 'at aw forget. It wor Fanny Hebblethwaite at wor allus hankerin after thee until we wor wed, an for some time after. Aw've had enuff o' Fannys. We'll call it Jerrymier."
"But its a mare tha sees."
"Well then, we'll call it Jimmima."
"Let's mak it Jenny an ha done wi it."
"Owt'll do but Fanny. Shoo wor a impotent hussy. Aw wonder what becoom on her?"
"Aa! shoo's been deead aboon a duzzen year?"
"Oh, well then—tha can call it Fanny."
They did enjoy thersen that day an noa mistak, an monny a day after, an they're lukkin forrad to monny a pleasant little time.
Th' naybors have getten used to seein em nah an have noa desire to poak fun at em.
Jerrymier has takken a big fancy to th' galloway, an oft gooas an gethers it a basket full ov sweet clover, an when Grimes an Mally arn't using it, Hepsabah an her babbies have a drive throo th' park, Jerrymier acting as th' cooachman.
Th' galloway knows its getten a gooid hooam. It wants for nowt,—Mally taks gooid care o' that. It's one to be trusted an it knows its way abaat. Some day yo may see an old galloway, pullin a little carriage containin an old man an woman;—all three on em saand asleep, an yo can rest assured at that's Grime's an Mally an ther Galloway.
Susy was only twenty-two, and she had been a widow for over twelve months. She had married when only nineteen, a honest hard working man who was more than twice her age. There had been no love in the match, so far as she was concerned;—she was an orphan,—poor,—lonely, and pretty.
She was only a weaver, and not very expert, yet she managed to make sufficient to pay her board and to keep herself well dressed, for the position she occupied, and her beauty,—for she was very beautiful, and her natural taste enabled her to present an appearance so much superior to those with whom she was in daily contact, that many envied her, and some looked askance at her, and shook their heads, and predicted evil to come.
Some one had dubbed her 'the Factory Belle,' but she never resented what many would have considered insults or slights, but kept on in her own innocent, yet attractive and attentive way, and commanded a certain amount of respect even from those who were secretly her enemies.
No one would for a single moment suspect that she was a widow, for not only was she so young, but looked even younger. That her husband had worshipped her was not difficult of belief, and that she had been to him a kind, fond wife was indisputable;—her gratitude for his kindness and his self-sacrifices to secure her happiness had been such, that if she did not love him with the blind infatuation of youth's fond dream, she respected him, and he was first in her then unawakened affections.
When he was suddenly stricken down with a fell disease which was at that time ravaging many of the towns in the West Riding, she nursed him faithfully, and when he died,—holding her little white hand in his brown, brawny fist, she shed the bitterest tears that had ever dimmed her beautiful blue grey eyes.
After the last sad rites were over, she had disposed of the household furniture, which was all he had been able to leave her, and paid every claim that was presented, finding herself once more alone, and dependent on her own exertions for a living.
She had plenty of sympathizing friends, and more than one would willingly have provided for her in the hope that at some future time they might win her for themselves, but she was of a very independent spirit and preferred to depend on her own efforts to provide for her wants.
She had no difficulty in obtaining employment at the weaving shed where she had worked before her marriage; and right welcome did her fellow workers make her, and the look of sadness which for a time clouded her face, though it did not detract her from her beauty,—by degrees cleared off,—her eyes sparkled as before,—the bloom came back to her velvet cheeks and her lips curled again into the bewitching smile that suited them so well, and with her added years, were developed charms that she had not possessed before.
Her swelling bust accentuated her tapering waist, and her beautifully rounded arms, her well shaped, small hands,—her graceful carriage, all combined to produce a perfect specimen of Yorkshire female lovliness.
Where hundreds were employed, it was not to be expected she would lack admirers. She had many,—many more than she even imagined.
Though almost faultless in face and figure, yet she was not without some faults.
She knew she was beautiful, and she was vain. Much of her apparent artlessness was assumed. She was pleased to be admired, and felt gratified to see the effect of her glance, as she favoured one with a languishing look, and another with a haughty stare, or a wicked, sparkling, mischief loving gleam,—transient on her part but fatally permanent on susceptible hearts.
In her own heart she had never felt love,—she had never sounded the depths of her own nature;—she was as yet a stranger to herself.
Amongst others, who were ever ready at her beck and call were two young men,—both about her own age.—They are both dead now or this story would not have been written. We will simply speak of them as Dick and Jack. One was the overlooker under whom she worked, this was Dick, a prime favourite with the masters, and a clever, honest chap he was.
Jack was known as "Th' oiler," his duty being to attend to the long lines of shafting and revolving pullies. Much of his work, especially the more dangerous part of it, had to be performed whilst the engine was stopped.
Never were known two truer friends than Dick and Jack. After working hours they were seldom separated. They worked together in the little allotment garden which they jointly rented. Even the pig was a partnership concern. Although they were friendly with all they came in contact with, they never made any other special friendships. They were satisfied to be with each other and so confidential were they, that they each lived in the other's life.
Nicknames were common at that day, and Dick was generally spoken of as "True Blue," because of his unswerving integrity. Jack had to be content with the less euphonious title "Th' oiler."
They were neither of them blind to Susy's charms, and admiration blended with pity, and pity, where a beautiful woman is concerned, is likely to lead to something else. They often spoke of her to each other, but it was the only subject on which they ever conversed, that they were not entirely open and honest about. Dick's position gave him many opportunities to be near Susy, and it was remarked that her loom seemed to require more attention than any other under his surveillance.
Susy, with that quick instinct which all women seem to be possessed, saw that he was at her mercy. But she loved her liberty. She had tasted such bliss as married life could offer,—so she thought, and she preferred to feel free to smile on whom she pleased. She was virtuous, and kind, after a fashion, but she was fast becoming a coquet,—a flirt. In her little world she was a queen, and the homage of one did not satisfy her. Hearts were her playthings,—they amused her, and she liked to be amused.
One day, during the dinner hour;—she had brought her dinner to the mill, which was her invariable custom, as the house where she lodged was a considerable distance from the works;—she was sitting in a retired corner in an adjoining room, when looking up she saw Dick standing close by her and regarding her with such a longing, yet troubled look, that although she laughed, and was about to make some flippant remark, she checked herself, and made room on the little bench for him to sit.
"Why, Dick," she said, as he took his place beside her, "what's to do? Has th' boiler brussen, or are we going on strike?"
"Nay, Susy, its summat moor serious nor that. Aw thowt aw should find thee here. Aw hope tha arn't mad at aw've come."
"What should aw be mad for? Tha's as mich reight to be here as me,—an if it comes to that aw suppooas we've nawther on us onny business here an aw think aw'll be gooin."
"Net just yet, Susy;—stop a minnit,—aw've summat to say. Its varry particlar. Can't ta guess what it is?"
"Aw dooant know unless tha'rt gooin to find fault abaat mi piece, an awm sewer aw've done mi best wi it, but yond warp's rotten."
"Its nowt abaat thi wark, its moor important to me nor all th' wark i'th shed. O, Susy, awm sewer tha must know what aw want to say. Tha connot be blind, an tha must know at awm fonder on thi nor o' onnybody i' all this world. Tha knows ha bonny tha art, an tha knows tha's nobbut to put up thi finger an tha can have onny single chap i'th shop, but, believe me, Susy,—ther isn't one at can ivver love thi as aw love thi. Aw'll work for thi throo morn to neet, an tha shall be th' happiest woman i'th world if its i' my paar to mak thi soa. What says ta? Aw willn't hurry thee if tha wants time to think abaat it,—but tell me,—is ther onnybody at tha likes better?"
"Why, Dick, tha's fairly knockt th' wind aght o' me. Tha sewerly forgets at awm a widdy. A young chap like thee doesn't owt to be lukkin after widdys, when ther's soa monny single young lasses abaat waitin for chaps."
"It'd mak noa difference to me if tha wor a widdy twenty times ovver. Tha'rt th' grandest woman aw ivver met, an if aw ivver do wed it'll be thee. Come, nah, tell me,—we havn't mich time befoor th' engine starts. Is ther onnybody tha likes better nor me. Spaik aght. If ther is aw'll bide it as weel as aw can, an aw'll nivver trubble thi agean."
"Noa, Dick, ther isn't. That's gospel trewth. Ther's nubdy livin at aw like better nor thee, an aw dooant know another aw like as weel, but tha knows when it comes to weddin, it mun be summat moor nor likin th' next time. It'll have to be lovin. An aw dooant love thee weel enuff, but aw may leearn to do, but tha mun gie me time."
"Yond's th' engine startin, aw mun be off;—an bless thi for what tha's sed. Aw'll mak misen worthy on thi, an tha shall love me at th' finish."
That afternoon Dick seemed to be walking on air. His face was flushed, and his heart beat until his voice was so unsteady that those who had to speak with him eyed him curiously. As he passed Susy's loom she gave him a look so full of love and sympathy that it required an effort to pass on to his other duties.
When the day's work was ended, he waited, as was his custom, for Jack, though he would much rather have gone home alone. He felt selfishly happy, and he wanted to nurse his secret where no eye could read his exultation. It was a something sacred,—too sacred to be shared even with Jack.
As they walked along, they saw Susy tripping away, some distance in advance.
"Yond's Susy, aw see," said Jack. "Aw could tell her onnywhear. Shoo doesn't walk like th' rest on em. Aw wonder if shoo'll ivver think abaat gettin wed agean."
"That's a matter at we've nowt to do wi. Aw suppooas shoo'll pleas hersen," said Dick, in a tone that fairly startled Jack.
"Summat must ha gooan wrang wi' him at his wark," thought Jack, and they walked along, only now and then giving utterance to some common place remark. Dick's conscience accused him. He felt that he possessed a secret that Jack could not share. There was a rift in the lute. Perfect confidence had ceased to exist between them. Why should it be so? he asked himself. Jack has committed no fault. Had the case been reversed he felt sure that Jack would have confided in him. Ah, but Jack could never love her as he loved her! Nobody could ever love her as he loved her! Nobody! Days and weeks went by, and it was a hard time for Dick. Sometimes he was in the seventh heaven of delight, and again he was plunged in the depths of misery and despair.
Susy seemed just as frivolous as ever. His declaration made no difference in her. She dispensed her smiles as impartially as ever, to all appearance unconscious that every favour bestowed on another was a stab to Dick, but however full of resentment he might feel, a sidelong glance which seemed so full of meaning to him banished his discontent and he accused himself of unreasonable jealousy.
The coldness between the two friends seemed to increase, yet they went to work together as usual, but conversation flagged and only indifferent subjects were touched upon. Dick had still unbounded faith in Susy, and although he could not but see that she avoided him, he accounted for it owing to the respect she still felt for the husband she had lost, and to the seriousness of making a second matrimonial venture.
One day, during the dinner hour, something seemed to impel him to see her and plead with her once more. He knew where she was to be found, and was proceeding to the place, when he heard her voice. He was screened by some huge bales of yarn, and he could hear what she said distinctly.
"Its varry kind o' thee, Jack, to tak pity on me,—aw like thee weel enuff, in fact ther's nubdy aw like better, but when aw wed agean it mun be moor nor likin, it will have to be love. Aw may leearn to love thi yet, but tha mun gie me time."
Dick could wait to hear no more. Retracing his steps noiselessly, he went out into the open air. Could it be true? Had his ears deceived him? Was it possible that the beautiful woman on whom he had lavished all the first love of his life could be capable of playing with him in such a fashion? Jack was his rival! He was a sycophant! a hypocrite! a villian!
How the afternoon passed he could not tell. He kept as far away from Susy as his duties would allow, and at night he walked home alone.
Next day he met Jack at the entrance to the works, but he gave him such a look of hatred that he stepped aside and he passed without a word.
Jack was quite unconscious of having done anything to merit such treatment, but by degrees, as he reviewed the incidents of the past few weeks, a light broke upon him;—he saw it all. They were rivals.
From that time all intercourse ceased between the two who had been deemed inseparable. This gave rise to many remarks from their acquaintances, not a few of whom guessed the cause.
Susy seemed quite unconcerned, and smiled as sweetly as ever. Dick furtively watched her, and the more he looked, the stronger grew his mad infatuation and the deeper became his determination to be revenged.
He never again intruded himself on Susy's dinner hour, but he knew that Jack took every opportunity of seeing her, and the work that he should have done during the time the machine was standing, he had to hurry over when it was in motion. It was a hazardous work;—a single slip might lead to a certain and horrible death. But he was experienced and cautious, and he felt no fear.
The fire of revenge, always smouldering, was almost daily fanned into flame by real or fancied causes.
Jack went calmly on his way. He regretted the break in their friendship, but he could not resign Susy. He hoped all things would come out right at last.
A day came, when, as the engine began to set in motion the innumerable shafts and wheels and pulleys, which in turn transmitted their mighty strength over the hundreds of looms,—Dick stood at the end of the row of machines that were under his charge. His eyes had a strange light in them and his face was unnaturally pale, and his hands wandered unmeaningly over the loom nearest him.
A scream reverberated through the shed, above all the clatter of shuttles and whirr of wheels, and was repeated again, and again. There was a rush towards one point. The mighty engine stopped with a groan, and all the wheels were motionless. All the workers had deserted their posts,—nay,—not all. Dick stood shivering, grasping an iron bar for support.
Susy, stood confronting him. The look in her wonderful eyes was one that he had never before seen. No word was spoken. She passed on to join the throng, and Dick followed like one in a dream.
"Poor Jack!" "poor lad!" was heard on every hand. The crowd divided, and four strong men bore the battered and bleeding form into the private office. Dick saw it,—he followed close behind it. Outside the very sunshine seemed red. He seemed to awake from a dream. There was his friend,—the friend he had loved,—nay,—more,—the friend he did love still. And he? what was he? A murderer:
No one had accused him;—no one even suspected him. Yes there was one. Her eyes still seemed to glare at him with their mute accusation.
What did he care? She had caused it all. He inwardly cursed her; and cursing her loved her more madly than ever. There was no revenge in his breast now.
Hastily throwing on his jacket, he followed the ambulance on which lay the unconcious body, covered with a sheet through which the blood had already penetrated. A doctor had been summoned and he said life was not extinct.
When the Infirmary was reached, Dick entered, no one attempted to intercept him. But when the body was placed in the accident ward, all but the doctors and nurses were ordered out. Dick paced the corridor from end to end incessantly. He could not leave until he knew the worst.
He had long to wait, but at last the doctors appeared.
"He still lives, but there is no hope."
And with that terrible sentence ringing in his ear, he had to leave him.
When he reached the works again, he found them closed, but a crowd of workers were gathered there. He joined them. They were discussing the terrible accident.
"Aw saw it," sed one, "aw wor standin cloise to him when th' ladder smashed an threw him onto th' shaft. His smock wor catched in a second, an he wor whirled raand an raand until th' engine wor stopt, and then he dropt to th' graand battered to bits."
"Its ten thaasand pities," sed another, "an aw connot help thinkin ther's been some foul play somewhear. Who can ha takken th' brokken ladder away? That ladder should be examined. Somdy may ha been foolin wi it."
"It does seem strange," said several, "but mooast likely it'll turn up."
They soon began to scatter, and Dick went homewards. The ladder! Who could have taken the ladder? The tell tale ladder, that bore the evidence of his guilt.
Arrived at home, he shut himself in his room and there he sat through what appeared to him an eternity of night. He felt no desire to sleep. Early in the morning found him again at the Infirmary. He questioned a nurse who was passing.
"He is quite conscious now, but he cannot hold out many hours. It is better he should die, than live a helpless cripple all the rest of his days."
"Aw mun see him," he sed, "Do let me see him."
"That cannot be without the doctor's permission," she said, but seeing the frantic grief of the man, she went and brought the doctor's consent.
Dick was soon at the bedside. He saw only the bandaged head. The face was scarcely disfigured, but there was a look upon it that could not be misunderstood.
A faint smile played over his pale features, as he recognised his visitor. Dick could not speak, but sank on his knees by the bedside and sobbed as only a strong man can sob.
"Jack," he sed at last, "can ta forgie me, lad? Aw did it. But aw wor mad! The devil had me in his clutches. Awm willin to suffer for it, but do forgie me. Forgie me for old times sake."
"Aw knew tha did it, but aw forgie thi freely, for tha didn't know it wod end like this. Aw wor to blame for net dooin mi wark when aw should ha done. Dunnot blame Susy. Shoo's worthy on thi. Shoo tell'd me 'at all her heart wor thine, an aw did all aw could to mak thi jaylus. An shoo wor praad, an when tha seemed to slight her it cut her up, but pride wodn't let her tell thi what aw've tell'd thi nah. It's hard to leeav th' world when young, but its mi own fault. Forgie me, Dick, an let me dee, an may thee an Susy be happy."
"That can nivver be, Jack. Thear's noa mooar happiness for me."
There was no response. The eyelids drooped,—the jaw fell. The nurse who had stood at a distance, drew near and spread a white napkin over his face.
"He's gone. 'Tis better so."
An inquest was held. "Accidental death" was the verdict.
The ladder could not be found. Neither Dick nor Susy ever entered those works again. They were both sadly altered. After Jack's funeral, months passed before they met again. What took place when they did meet can only be surmised. Some short time afterwards their was a quiet wedding, and they moved to another town. But Dick never recovered his old spirits, and it was not long before she was a second time a widow.
When Dick was in his coffin and the men stood by to close it for the last time, she placed in it a parcel. It contained two pieces of a broken ladder, showing where it had been sawn almost in two. This is all the story, Susy is living yet. The secret rests with her and me.
"If aw wor a woman awd——"
"If tha wor a woman tha'd be a disgrace to ivverybody belangin to thi, an thar't little else nah," sed Mally.
"Aw wor gooin to remark, 'at if aw wor a woman——"
"Eah! but tha arn't a woman, an if tha wor tha'd wish thisen a man agean, varry sharply. But if aw wor a man awd set a different example to what tha does. Aw wonder sometimes what thar't thinkin on, if tha ivver does think, which awm inclined to daat, unless its thinkin ha tha can contrive to be awkard an aggravatin."
"Well, but as aw wor gooin to say, If aw wor a——"
"Aw dooant want to hear owt tha has to say abaat it. A fine woman tha'd mak! But aw wish tha wor foorced to swap places wi me for a wick. Aw should like to see ha tha'd fancy gettin up befoor dayleet ov a Mondy mornin an start o' sich a weshin o' clooas as aw have to face ivvery wick; to say nowt abaat starchin an manglin an ironin. An then to start an brew a barrel o' ale for other fowk to sup; an then to bake for sich a family as we've getten,—nivver to mention makkin th' beds an cleanin th' hearthstun,—an' th' meals to get ready, an then to cleean th' haase throo top to bottom ivvery wick,—an darn th' stockins an put a claat on here an a patch on thear, an fifty moor things beside,—an nivver get a word o' thanks for it. Aw just wish tha wor a woman for an odd wick. Aw do, truly."
"As aw sed befoor, If aw wor a——"
"Awm capt tha hasn't moor sense nor to keep tawkin sich foolishness. Tha knows tha arn't a woman an tha nivver can be,—moor's pity. But if aw wor a man awd awther tawk sense or keep mi maath shut. Aw think sometimes 'at summat 'll happen to thi as a judgment for bein sich an ungrateful tyke as tha art. Tha gets up in a mornin an finds thi braikfast ready, an if ther's owt i'th haase at's nice an tasty tha gets it; an then tha walks aght to what tha calls thi wark, an comes to thi dinner, an off agean wol drinkin time, an after that tha awther gooas an caars i' some Jerryhoil, or else tha sits rockin thisen i'th front o'th fair, smokin thi bacca an enjoyin thisen wol bedtime. Ther's some fowk dooant know when they're weel done to. But aw know who it is 'at has to tew an slave all th' day, wi hardly a chonce to wipe th' sweeat off mi face."
"But, if tha'll lissen, aw wor gooin to remark, If aw wor——"
"Tha maks a deeal too monny remarks. Tha'll sit thear, remarkin an praichin bi th' haar together, an nivver give me a chonce to get in a word edgeways. But awm just sick an stall'd o' harkenin to thi. They wor a time, years sin nah,—but aw can remember it tho' tha's forgetten it,—when tha used to sit an lissen to owt aw had to say, an my word wor law then. An if mi little finger warked tha'd hardly be able to sleep ov a neet for trubblin abaat it. But it's different nah. Aw dooant believe it ud disturb thi if mi heead had to tummel off mi shoolders. Aw've studden a gooid deeal sin aw wor wed to thee, an aw expect aw'st ha to stand a lot moor; but one thing aw willn't put up wi, an that is, sittin an listenin to thee, an havin to keep mi tongue still. Soa tha knows."
"Well, but if aw wor——"
"Nah, let it stop just whear it is. Tha's getten a tawkin fit on aw know,—aw wonder thi jaws dooant wark. But aw willn't hear another word! Noa, net a word!"
"Ther's noa 'buts' abaat it! Hold thi noise, do! Tha'd tawk a hen an chickens to deeath. Tha wod. Aw wonder if aw shall ivver have a bit o' peace?—Net befoor awm laid low, aw reckon."
"What wor yond clatter, Mally? Has somdy been smashin summat?"
"Nowt 'at meeans mich. It wor a accident an couldn't be helpt."
"Well, what wor it? Can't ta spaik?"
"It's nowt at's owt to do wi thee, soa tha needn't let it bother thi heead; but if tha'rt soa crazy to know aw can tell thi.—It's awr Hepsabah's Jerrymiah at's brokken th' winder i'th weshus. Nah, arta satisfied?"
"Satisfied! Now! Satisfied bi gum! Does ta think aw've nowt else to do wi mi brass but to buy winders for Jerrymiah to smash? Ha is it awr Hepsabah can't keep her childer at hooam? When we'd childer we nivver sent em raand to ther gronfather's to smash winders! An if aw catch hold o' that young taistrel aw'll tak th' skin off him!"
"Hold thi din, gert softheead! Onnybody to hear thi tawk, 'ud think tha'd gooan cleean wrang i' thi heead! Bless mi life! tha dosn't think 'at th' child did it on purpose, does ta? He wor nobbut tryin his best to catch a blue-bottle-fly, an it went into th' winder whear be couldn't raik it, soa he sammed up a teacup an flang it at it,—nivver thinkin owt abaat th' winder, becoss he knew ha tha hated sich things buzzin abaat thi heead; but whativver that child does it seems to be wrang. Aw'd be shamed o' misen to start grumblin abaat a bit ov a tupny-hawpny winder!"
"Tupny-hawpny winder! Why, it'll cost a shillin to get that winder put in! An what abaat th' teahcup?"
"Oh, that's nowt. It wor nobbut an owd crackt en. Awd meant throwin it away monny a wick sin. Th' child wor sadly trubbled when he saw what he'd done, for he wor feeard tha'd be cross wi him, but aw tell'd him to whisht, for tha wornt to a winder or two, soa tha can give him a hawpny for spice, (tha knows he thinks a deeal moor on it when it comes throo thee,) an tha can call at glazers shop an tell em to send a chap up to put another pane in, an here's sixpence for thisen, sithee, for aw know thi bacca's ommost done."
"That's all reight. Ov cooarse th' child didn't meean to braik th' winder, nor the teacup nawther,—but he owt to be towt different; an aw dooant believe awr Hepsabah knows owt abaat trainin childer as they owt to be trained. But aw'st send noa chap up here to put that winder in. Aw've getten nowt else to do an aw meean to put that in misen. Aw can buy a square o' glass that size, for abaat thrippence, an better glass nor that wor too. But, Mally, nah this is a bargain;—If aw get th' glass an th' putty, and put it in, tha gies me th' shillin th' same as tha'd gie it onnybody else."
"Tha can have th' shillin! Aw'm nooan grumblin abaat th' shillin,—but aw connot see wot tha wants wi soa mich brass day after day. Ther's hardly ivver a day passes ovver thi heead 'at tha dosen't ax me for awther sixpince or a shillin, an awm sewer ther's all tha needs to ait an drink at hooam, an tha's as gooid clooas to don as onny man need wish,—an nobbut th' last Sundy, tha axt me for sixpince for th' collection, an tha nobbut put in a hawpny, for aw wor watchin thi.—A'a, well! but hasumivver, here's another shillin, soa if tha thinks tha can put it in, goa an get a square a glass an ha dun wi it."
"'Think aw can put it in?' Aw dooant think owt abaat it! Aw know aw can put it in! What does ta tak me for? Does ta think aw havn't th' strength an brains enuff to wrastle wi' a bit o' glass like that?"
"Tha's wrastled wi too monny glasses, Sammywell, sin aw knew thi, an they've getten thi daan moor noa once. It's gettin lat i'th' day, nah, to expect thi to mend mich, but if tha'd nobbut sign teetotal an join th' chapel, an buy Jerrymier a new Sundy suit, aw think aw mun see summat to admire in thi even yet."
"Ther's as mich to admire abaat me as ther is abaat some other fowk aw could mention, but aw'll bi off just nah, for when aw've a job to do aw want to get it done, an net stand hummin an haain abaat it like thee."—————
"Nah, Mally lass. If awd had as mich sense when aw wor young as aw have nah, we'st ha been ridin in us carriage. Sithee—aw've nobbut gien thrippence for this glass an aw've getten putty for nowt an when that winder's mended it'll be better nor new an ninepence saved, soa tha sees we'st be soa mich i' pocket."
"Then that's ninepence tha'd nivver ha saved if it hadn't ha been for Jerrymier, soa tha connot say he's gooid for nowt onny moor."
"Ger aght o' mi gate, an lets do summat. Bring me a cheer to stand on an a knife an a hammer an a chissel an aw'll show thi ha to put a winder in, in abaat two or three ticktacks. This is what aw call a soft snap. Ninepence,—that's threepenoths for abaat three minnits wark. Nah, thee stand thear an steady th' cheer. Here gooas!—-- Aw wonder what dang'd sooart o' putty that lumpheead used 'at put this winder in. It's as hard as iron—Jer-rer-ruselem!"
"What's to do, Sammywell? Has ta takken th' skin off?"
"Skin off! Oooo! Aw've ommost takken mi finger off! Get us some claat an a length o' threed to lap it up. If aw knew th' chap 'at put that winder in, he'd nivver put another in."
"Ther nah,—be moor careful,—it mud ha been war,—but tha sees that's what comes ov a chap startin to do summat 'at he doesn't understand."
"Understand! What the dickens is ther to understand abaat puttin a winder in? It's nooan puttin a winder in at's trubble! it's gettin this dang'd owd glass aght 'at tother chap put in. But awm nooan gooin to be likt bi a winder. Stick fast to that cheer. One,—two,—three——"
"Nah, tha's done it! Tha's gooan an brokken another pane! Ah knew tha'd mak a mullock on it when tha started!"
"Did ta! Well, aw'll mak a mullock o' thee i' two minnits if tha doesn't shut up! Tha sees awm dooin mi best to try to save a penny or two an tha does nowt but try to aggravate me. Braikin another pane doesn't amaant to mich;—they're nobbut thrippence a piece; aw think th' best plan 'll be to tak th' sash aght an put it on th' table, an then it'll be easier to get at. What says ta!"
"Do as tha likes, but aw think tha'd better let a chap come an put em in an ha done wi' it."
"If aw connot put a winder in we'll do baat. Nah, tha'll see it's just as simple as suckin spice, nah 'at aw've getten it whear aw can get to it. A'a, ther's noa wonder 'at them glazeners gettin rich! Chargin a shillin for a bit ov a job like this. Awm moor nor hawf inclined to goa into this trade, as old as aw am. Nah, tha sees, that's all ready for puttin th' glass in. Umph!—th' chap 'at cut this must ha been cross ee'd. Well, nivverheed,—aw guess aw can just squ-e-e-e-e-ze it in—. Dang it! it's allus alike! If awd ha cut that glass misen it ud ha just been reight. Nah it's crackt reight across! But it'll ha to do,—crackt or net crackt! Consarn it! aw dooant see what fowk want wi winders in a wesh haase! awm i' two minds to board th' hoil up an let em wesh i'th dark. Hasumivver, that's nooan sich a bad job if it'll nobbut stick. If aw hadn't brokken this tother pane aw'st had done nah. Nah, Mally, lass, aw'st want another shillin for this tother winder."
"Tha'll get noa moor aght o' me. Tha mun buy another square aght o' thi ninepence tha's saved."
"What ninepence?—Does ta expect a chap to goa trailin abaat th' taan for a hawf a day buyin glass an stuff, an nivver spendin nowt. These winders ud cost thi a shillin a piece if onny body else put em in, but aw willn't be hard on thi,—gie me another sixpence an aw'll finish th' job."
"Aw wish tha'd nivver started it. But this is th' last penny tha'll get aght o' me, soa tha knows! Aw nivver saw nubdy frame war i' mi life! Why, if awd gien awr Hepsabah's Jerrymier th' job he'd ha done it better nor that."
"Wod he?—Well, suppooas tha does give him th' job! Aw'll tell thi what it is.—Aw've just studden this sooart o' thing as long as awm gooin to.—Ther's awr Hepsabah an her Jerrymiar, an thee, 'at know ivverything an can do ivverything,—an aw know nowt an can do nowt, an awm treeated war nor nowt, an soa yo can just tak them winders an stick em up as they are, or mend em, or do what the daggers yo like wi em, but aw tell thi this, once for all,—'at as long as ivver thy name's Mally, tha'll nivver catch me slavin an plannin as aw have done for thee an thine. If tha'd nivver ha interfered, them winders ud ha been in, but tha'll nawther put em in thisen nor let me do it—soa awm gooin aght."
"Gooid shutness! Th' longer he lives an th' war he gets."
One wod hardly expect to find a bashful young chap in a Bradforth printin office. But ther is one; but aght o' consideration for his tender feelins aw willn't tell his real name, but call him James Fearnly. If yo're varry anxious to find aght who it really is, this is th' way to do it. When yo've a bit o' spare time, if yo connot manage to get 'em all together at once, tak 'em one bi one, as yo can catch 'em, an read this stooary to em. Th' furst one 'at blushes, yo may safely tak to be him.
James fell i' love wi a young woman 'at lived up Manningham loin, an its allus been suppooased, bi them 'at know 'em, 'at shoo must ha fell i' love wi him at th' same time, or sooiner; but hasumivver, to th' surprise o' ivverybody 'at knew James, they gate wed. Ha they spent ther honeymooin aw cannot tell, an aw wodn't if aw could, but after a bit they gate nicely sattled in a little haase on Thornton Road.
Angelina was his wife's name, but he cut it short an called her Angel, which he varry likely thowt shoo wor. But if he wor bashful, shoo worn't. Shoo'd a bonny face, an a shape 'at made ivvery old chap 'at saw her wish he wor young ageean; an when owt tickled her shoo laft like a locomotive whistle in a fit; an as for bein bashful,—why—shoo didn't know what it meant.
Shoo'd a sister,—A'a! but shoo wor a grand en! To tell the trewth, James had fallen i' love wi her furst, but he wor too bashful to tell her soa, an he'd nivver ha had pluck to pop th' question to Angelina if it hadn't been 'at they wor lost at th' back o'th Taan Hall, an he had to borrow a lantern to prevent 'em runnin agean lamppooasts.
But when they'd getten sattled, Maude Blanche, (that wor th' sister's name,) coom to pay em a visit. Nah, Maude Blanche wor just as fond o' fun as James wor feeared on it, an shoo kept jabbin him between th' ribs, an sayin all sooarts o' queer things, an axin him questions 'at he couldn't answer an he blushed until Angelina had to tell her to stop, for fear all his blooid wod be in his heead.
Well, they went to bed. James an his wife i' one raam and Maude Blanche i'th next. James wor sooin i'th land o' nod, an Angelina felt disgusted when shoo heeard him snoorin an turned raand an followed his example.
Ha long they had slept they didn't know, but Angelina oppen'd her e'en, an what should shoo see, but th' drawers oppen, an all th' stuff scattered raand. Shoo gave a skrike, an jam'd her elbow between James's ribs wi' sich a foorce 'at he fell on th' floor like a log o' wood.
"Murder! police! thieves!" shoo skriked. "A'a, dear! what ivver shall we do! drive 'em aght!"
"Angelina, aw cannot do it! It's impossible!" an he stood shivverin an shakin and tryin to lap his legs up in his shirt tail.
"Aw've been robbed! That solid goold brooch aw gave fifteen pence for is missin, an all mi hair pins an a bobbin o' black threead, and gooidness knows what else! Maude Blanche! come here! Maude Blanche! does ta hear?"
"Gooid gracious! tha arn't callin thi sister in here an me i' this state!" sed James, an he dived under th' bed.
"Maude Blanche! _do_ come! Th' hasse is full o' robbers!"
"For God's sake, Angelina, dunnot let her come in here till awm donned. Aw've nowt on but mi shirt, and if shoo comes an sees me aw shall faint reight off."
"Shirt be hanged! what does it matter if shoo sees it! shoo'll have it to wesh next wick! Tha owt to be 'shamed o' thisen!"
"Aw am, an aw'st be moor soa if shoo comes in. Does ta know aw've noa stockins on, an mi britches is hung ovver th' bed fooit; an this shirt is a quarter ov a yard to short! Dunnot let her come in whativver tha does!"
Just then th' door oppened, an a smilin face peep'd in.
"What's to do?" axt Maude Blanche.
"We've been robbed! an that softheead is caarin under th' bed asteead o' runnin after th' robbers!"
"Turn her aght, Angelina! If tha doesn't aw shall sink throo th' floor. Gie me mi britches if tha'll do nowt else, an then aw'll see what aw can do. Maude Blanche! If tha hasn't forgetten all tha's ivver been towt at th' Sundy schooil, get aght o' this hoil as sharp as tha can! If tha doesn't tha'll see what tha'll be sorry for as long as tha lives, for aw cannot stand it!"
Angelina wor soa upset 'at shoo hardly knew what shoo wor dooin, but shoo pitched James's britches under th' bed, and Maude Blanche wor laffin wol shoo had to rest ageean th' bed fooit to steady hersen.
James tried to put on his britches, but it wor noa easy matter, but in a bit he did get his legs into 'em, altho' they wor th' wrang side before, an then he crept aght, moor deead nor alive, an a deeal war freetened wi' Maude Blanche nor he wor abaat th' robbers.
"Whear's th' robbers?" he sed, lukkin daan at th' slack ov his britches an fumblin after th' buttons.
"Ther's noa robbers," sed Maude Blanche, "it's nobbut a bit o' my fun. Aw heeard yo booath snooarin an aw thowt it ud be a gooid jooak to mak yo fancy somedy'd brokken into th' haase."
"A'a! did ta ivver!" sed Angelina, turnin to James; "did ta ivver see one like her i' all thi life?"
"Aw dooant think aw ivver did, an aw nivver want to see owt like her agean. Aw wonder if shoo ivver saw owt like me? Aw should think shoo'll nivver forget it as long as shoo lives."
"A'a, hold thi wisht! Little things mak noa impression on awr Maude Blanche."
They all went to bed agean, but James couldn't sleep, his narves had getten sich a shock. As sooin as it wor dayleet he gat up an dressed an went to his wark, but he couldn't think o' owt else, an ivvery time he did think, he blushed soa, wol th' foreman sed he wor sewer he'd getten scarlet fayver, and advised him to goa hooam an get a hot posset.
He's workin steady nah, but he's nivver getten ovver th' scare 'at heed had that neet, an he nivver gooas to bed withaat his britches, or else he has a newspaper pinned raand th' hem ov his shirt.
Angelina tells him 'at he maks a deeal o' fuss abaat nowt, but he considers it a varry serious matter.
Last time 'at Maude Blanche paid 'em a visit, shoo wor wearin a pair o' green spectacles, an when Angelina axt her what shoo wore 'em for, shoo sed 'at shoo did it becoss shoo wor feared if shoo lukt at James wi' th' naked eye 'at it mud send him into a fit.
If th' young chaps whear he worked had getten to know abaat it, they'd ha plagued his life aght, but they kept it to thersen. It wor Angelina 'at tell'd me abaat it, for shoo sed shoo knew aw could keep a saycret, an it didn't matter whether aw could or net, for if aw tell'd it, ther'd nubdy believe it.
Well, aw've tell'd it, an it's true an all.
Sammywell Grimes an his wife, Mally, wor set anent th' foir,—Sammywell seemingly varry mich interested ith' newspaper, an Mally, showin signs ov impatience, wor darnin stockins. All wor silent except for th' tickin oth' clock, wi nah an then a long-drawn-aght sigh throo Mally an an occasional grunt throo Grimes. At last Mally couldn't stand it onny longer, an shoo pitched th' stockins on th' table an sed,—
"Dost know, its just cloise on an haar an a hawf sin tha set daan wi that paper, an tha's nivver oppened thi lips to me durin that time? Aw remember when things wor different. Ther wor a time when tha tuk a delight i' tellin me all th' news, but latterly tha tells me nowt, an if it worn't for Hepsabah an some oth' naybors aw shouldn't know whether th' world wor gooin on as usual, or it had come to an end."
"Why, lass,—th' fact oth' matter is ther's nowt to tell. Aw nivver saw th' like. Aw dooant know what papers are gooin into, for ther isn't a bit o' news in em. Aw've just glanced ovver this an aw can find nowt worth readin."
"It doesen't tak thee an haar an a hawf to find that aght. Is ther owt in abaat th' war?"
"Oh, war! Aw believe it does say summat abaat th' war. It's still gooin on, an one chap has sprained his ankle an another has had a narrow escape an De Wet is expected to be captured as sooin as they get hold on him, an a lot moor sich tales, but they arn't worth thinkin abaat coss they'll all be contradicted ith' mornin."
"An does it say nowt abaat that butcher at's run away an left his wife? Awr Hepsabah wor sayin shoo believed they'd catched him."
"Hi! They've catched him, an he wor browt up at th' Taan Hall this mornin an he pleaded 'guilty,' soa th' magistrate sed as he'd allus borne a gooid character he'd give him his choice, an he could awther goa back hooam an live wi his wife or goa to quod for three months wi hard labour."
"They've let him off easier nor he desarved, but aw should think his wife's gien him a bit ov her mind."
"Nay, net shoo! Shoo's nivver had th' chonce, for he tuk three months. Shoo's a tartar aw believe."
"Shoo must be if that's th' case. A'a, Sammywell,—a chap at's blessed wi a gooid wife owt to goa daan on his knees i' gratitude for they're varry scarce."
"Aw believe they are;—a chap wod have to goa a far way to find one at this day."
"He'd have to travel a deeal farther to find a gooid husband,—aw can tell thi that! An if tha arn't satisfied wi thi wife tha's getten tha'rt at liberty to goa an find a better. It's noa use a woman tryin to be a gooid wife at this day, for they get noa better thowt on. If they did, tha'd think moor o' me nor tha does!"
"Aw dooant see ha aw could do that, lass, for tha nivver gives me a chonce to forget thi unless its when awm asleep, an net oft then, for if tha doesn't want one thing tha wants another, an awm allus fain to do what aw con for thi, but tha'rt nivver satisfied for long together. Aw wonder sometimes what aw gate wed for."
"Aw've been wonderin that for a deal o' years. Th' fact is aw dooant know what sich chaps live for. If aw wor a man aw should like to be able to luk back an think awd done a gooid turn to mi fellow-man."
"Aw think aw did that when aw wed thee."
"It wor th' best thing tha ivver did for thisen, an tha knows it! But awm net gooin to waste mi time tawkin to thee for tha arn't worth it. Has ta made up thi mind what tha'rt baan to have for thi supper?"
"Owt 'll do for me."
"As tha seems to care soa little abaat it, suppooas tha gooas withaat for a change."
"All reight, lass. Just do as tha likes."
"Aw connot do as aw like, if aw could aw should have summat to ait, for aw've hardly put a bite into mi heead this day, an ther's nowt ith' haase aw can touch, an awm too tired to goa aght for owt, an aw've nubdy to send, soa aw'st ha to do withaat as usual."
"If tha'll nobbut say what tha wants aw'll fotch it for thi if its to be had; tha knows that."
"Well, if tha doesn't mind. Aw think we could booath enjoy a bowlful o' mussles,—but they mun be gooid ens an aw dooant think tha knows th' shop. They call th' chap 'at keeps it Jim Nation, but aw dooant know whear it is, but tha can easy find aght."
"Willn't onny other shop do just as weel?"
"Noa, another shop willn't do becoss aw want th' best. We allus pay ready brass for awr stuff an aw dooant like to think at other fowk get better sarved; an when aw went for th' milk this mornin aw heeard Mistress Whitin tawkin to Widdy Baystey an shoo sed, 'my husband's getten mussels twice as big sin he went to Jim Nation's shop,' an aw want some oth' same sooart."
"Gie me summat to put 'em in," sed Grimes, "aw'st sooin find it for ther isn't monny fish-shops i' Bradforth."
"Well, luk as sharp as tha can," sed Mally, "an be sewer they're fresh."
Grimes set off an Mally began at once to get th' table laid for th' supper.
Befoor Grimes had gooan varry far he thowt his wisest plan wod be to ax somdy. Soa seein a poleeceman he made enquiries.
"Aw dooant know exactly," sed th' bobby, "but aw fancy ther's a chap o' that name keeps a shop somewhere up Manningham way."
Soa Sammywell set off i' that direction, keepin his een oppen for a fish shop. After he'd gooan ommost a mile he sed,
"Awm a fooil for commin all this way, for if awd nobbut gien it a thowt aw'st ha known ther wor noa shop o' that sooart up here. Mi best plan wod ha been to goa to th' market an enquire thear. They'd be sewer to know," soa he walked back agean, but he made a few enquiries as he went along, but nubdy seemed to know.
Just as he'd getten to Westgate he saw Tom Taggart an he felt sewer he'd know, for he seemed to spend his time trailin abaat th' streets.
"Hallo, Tom!" he sed, "tha'rt just th' chap aw wanted to see! Can ta tell me whear Jim Nation keeps his fish shop?"
"Jim Nation?" sed Tom, rubbin his chin,—"Let me see. Are ta sewer it's a fish shop?"
"Aw should think it is for he sells mussels."
"O,—hi, tha'rt reight. It is a fish shop. What did ta say wor th' chap's name?"
"O,—Jim is it? Tha'rt sewer it isn't 'Tom'?"
"Noa, it's Jim."
"It isn't Sam Shackleton tha meeans, is it? He sells fish sometimes."
"Aw tell thi his name's Jim Nation."
"O,—well,—then it willn't be Sam Shackleton. Awm like as if aw know th' chap tha meeans but aw connot spot him this minnit. Let's goa into th' 'Star' an mak some enquirements, ther's sewer to be somdy 'll know him."
Soa into th' 'Star' they went, an Tom called for a pint for hissen an axt Grimes what he wor gooing to have. "We connot come in an goa aght drymaath, tha knows," sed Tom, soa Grimes ordered twopenoth an paid for booath. Then they axt ivverybody if they knew whear Jim Nation's fish shop wor, but altho two or three on em believed they'd seen it, nubdy could tell whear.
"We'd better have another drink an sit daan a bit," sed Tom, "ther'll be sewer for somdy to come in at'll know."
But Sammywell worn't havin onny moor o' that sooart, so he left em. When he wor aght ith' street ageean, he scrat his heead an sed summat he shouldn't.
"What a lumpheead aw am! Why didn't aw goa to ax Mistress Whitin at furst, an save misen all this bother?" an he started at once for her haase.
He faand her sittin sewin,—for ther's little or noa trade dooin in a milk shop after drinkin time.
"Wod yo be soa gooid, Mistress Whitin, as to tell me whear Jim Nation has his fish shop?"
"Fish shop.—Jim Nation.—Nay, Mr. Grimes, awm sooary to say aw connot. It's nowhear abaat here, that awm sewer on. Has he been ith' trade long?"
"Well, this is the degger! Aw've happen getten th' wrang name; but awm sewer that's what Mally tell'd me. But yo happen willn't mind tellin me whear yo're husband buys his mussels?"
"Mussels! My husband nivver buys onny mussels. If he does he taks em somewhear else to cook, for we havn't had sich a thing i' awr haase aw couldn't tell th' time when. Awm feeard on 'em. Yo must be mistakken."
"Well, ther's a mistak somewhear,—that's a sartanty. My best plan will be to goa back hooam an see if aw can get some better information."
"Tha's been a long time, Sammywell;—had ta onny trubble to find th' shop?"
"Shop! Ther isn't sich a shop! Aw've walked monny a mile an axt scoors o' fowk, an my belief is at tha's just been makkin a laffinstock on me. Mistress Whitin says shoo nivver heeard tell o' sich a chap nor shop nawther."
"Then hasn't ta browt onny?"
"Ha the dickens could aw bring onny when aw tell thi aw couldn't find th' shop!"
"A child o' four year old could goa a eearand better nor thee! If awd sent Jerrymier he'd ha browt em an they'd ha been cook't an etten befoor nah."
"Well, it isn't too lat to send Jerrymier yet. But aw tell thi Mistress Whitin says ther isn't sich a shop, an they nivver had a mussel i' ther haase sin they wor born nor for years befoor that!"
"Ov course shoo'd say soa! That shows th' depth on her. Shoo wants to have th' best o' ivverything for hersen. But aw'll goa an see if shoo'll tell sich a tale to me. Her's isn't th' only milk shop i' Bradforth, an aw'll nivver buy another drop on her as long as aw live. An if shoo doesn't mind what shoo's dooin aw'll put th' inspector onto her, for its moor watter nor milk at aw've been gettin thear for a long time."
Mally threw a shawl ovver her heead an tuk th' basket, an called for Jerrymier, so as he could carry it for her, an away they went.
Mistress Whitin wor sittin just as Sammywell had left her, an wor runnin ovver in her mind th' names ov all th' fowk she knew at kept fish shops. When Mally stept in shoo didn't nooatice at shoo wor varry excited soa shoo sed,
"Come in, Mally;—awm just studyin abaat what yo're Grimes wor axin me two-or-three minnits sin."
"It needs noa studyin abaat. Yo know what he axt yo weel enuff, but yo dooant want to tell. Aw've allus takken yo to be a varry different sooart ov a woman. Didn't aw hear yo, wi mi own ears, tellin owd Widdy Baystey,—noa longer sin nor this mornin, at sin yor husband began gooin to Jim Nations at he gate mussels twice as big as at onny other shop? Nah, deny it if yo can. Aw dooant see what ther is to laff at nawther."
"Why, Mistress Grimes, yo've made a sad mistak. Aw wor nobbut advisin Mistress Baystey to let her lad,—him at's so waikly,—to goa th' Gymnasium. Sin my husband started o' gooin he's twice as strong as he wor, an th' muscles ov his arms are twice th' size they used to be. Yo see its been all a mistak."
It tuk Mally a minnit or two befoor shoo could reckon things up fairly, but as sooin as shoo did shoo laft too, an then takkin Jerrymier bith arm started off to find th' nearest fish shop.
They hadn't far to goa, but when shoo axt th' chap ha he wor sellin his mussels, he stared at her wi' all th' een in his heead.
"Mussels! Ther's noa mussels at this time oth' year," he sed.
Mally lukt flummuxt for a minnit, then givin Jerrymier a shillin to goa to th' pooarkshop for a duzzen sheep trotters, they sooin landed safely hooam.
"Noa wonder tha didn't bring onny mussels, Sammywell, for they arn't i' season, but aw've browt summat aw know tha likes. Here Jerrymier, tak these for thisen, an dooant be long befoor tha'rt i' bed."
Ha they enjoyed ther supper aw can nobbut guess, an what explanation shoo gave Grimes aw dooant know, but Jerrymier an his gronfather wor laffin fit to split th' next mornin, at th' yard botham.
Bob Brierley had been wed three months. He wor a book-keeper an a varry daycent chap for owt aw knaw to th' contrary. His wife wor a nice young thing, an blest wi a gooid share o' common sense. It seems strange, but yo'll find its generally th' case, at th' best lasses wed th' biggest fooils. But this isn't allus soa, for aw wed one o'th best misen.
Hasumivver, Bob an his wife wor varry happy, at leeast they thowt soa, but they had to have a taste o' trubble like th' rest o' fowk.
They'd noa childer, nor onny signs o' onny, but they had a bull pup. It wor a gooid job i' one respect at they had this pup, for if they hadn't aw should ha been short ov a subject to write abaat.
Whether it had etten summat at upset it stummack, or whether it grew sick o' seein them fondlin an messin wi one another aw dooant know, but ther's noa daat abaat it bein sick.
This didn't bother Bob varry mich;—men havn't sich tender feelins as wimmin, but Angelina, (that wor wife's name, but her husband called her Angel) wor i' sooar trubble. Shoo gave it castor oil, an hippi-kick-yor-Anna, an coddled it up i' flannel, an cried ovver it, an when Bob coom hooam to his drinkin, an grumeld becoss it worn't ready, shoo called him a hard hearted infidel.
Bob didn't quite like it, but seein at shoo wor soa put abaght, he made shift wi sich things as wor handy, an then tuk his share o' nursin wol Angel cook'd a beefsteak for hersen.
But i' spite ov all they could do, it just fittered once an gave a farewell yelp, and deed. It wor a sorrowful neet. Whether they lost onny sleep ovver it aw dooan't know, but next mornin Angelina sed shoo'd "had its voice ringin in her ears all th' neet, an shoo thowt shoo'd nivver get ovver th' loss on it."
"Oh, we'st get ovver it i' time," sed Bob, "it nobbut cost ten an sixpence, an when aw get mi wage advanced aw'll buy another."
Angelina made noa reply to what shoo considered a varry unfeelin remark, an for th' furst time durin ther wedded life shoo began to suspect at Bob wor noa better nor th' rest o' fowk.
"What mun we do wi th' little darlin?" shoo axt.
"Why, chuck it i'th middin," sed Bob, an then seein a luk ov horror coom ovver her face, "unless tha intends to have it stuffed, or mak sawsiges on it."
This wor moor nor Angelina could stand, an sinkin into th' rockin cheer, shoo wod ha fainted reight away, but happenin to see th' clock, shoo saw it wor time for Bob to start for his wark, an he couldn't stop to bring her raand, soa shoo had to pospone faintin till another time.
"Happen awd better bury it i'th garden," he sed, "it willn't tak a minnit."
"E'e! nay!" shoo sed, "aw'll lap it up i' some nice clean newspaper, an tha mun tak it wi thi, an when tha finds a nice secluded spot, whear it can rest peacefully, lay it to rest."
"All reight, lass! put it on th' table wol aw goa for mi hat an coit," sed Bob, "an dunnot freeat."
Angelina lapt it carefully up, an sat daan to have a gooid cry, an Bob coom rushin daan, feeard he'd be lat, tuckt th' bundle under his arm an set off intendin to drop it into th' furst ashpit he coom to.
He passed monny a one, but ther wor allus somdy abaat, an he couldn't get a chonce o' gettin shut on it, an he wor foorced to tak it to th' office wi him. This didn't trubble him varry mich, for he'd allus a hawf an haar for his lunch at twelve o'clock, soa he detarmined he'd dispooas on it then, an i'th meantime, he put it in a cubboard i'th office, whear it wodn't be seen.
It seem'd to Bob at moor fowk went to th' cubboard that mornin nor had ivver been to it befoor.
"Its time this cubboard had a clean aght," sed th' manager as he wor huntin for a book, "it smells like a vault."
Bob tremeld, but all passed off safely. Twenty times during that mornin he wor put in a sweeat wi' furst one an another, but twelve o'clock coom at last, an waitin till tother clarks had gooan, he grabbed his parcel, an jumpt in th' furst tramcar he saw,—luckily ther wor nobbut one man inside an he wor readin a paper,—soa puttin his parcel i'th opposite corner, he jumpt off at the next stoppin place. He started off at full speed an wor just beginnin to smile at his own clivverness, when somdy shaated.
"Hi! Hi, thear!" an turning to luk, he saw a man rushin towards him holdin his parcel.
"You forgot your parcel, young man," he said, puffin an blowin, "it was lucky I happened to see it!"
Bob sed "thank yo" as weel as he could, an then sed summat else, which aw willn't repeat, an tuckin it under his arm, he went to th' place whear he usually gat his breead an cheese an his glass o' bitter.
He sat in a quiet corner, an one bi one th' customers went aght, an thinkin he saw a favourable chonce, he put his bundle on th' seeat, and threw a newspaper carelessly ovver it, supt up—an when he thowt nubdy wor lukkin he quietly left it an wor sooin back in his office, feelin wonderfully relieved. But he hadn't seen th' last on it even then.
All wor quiet except for th' scratchin o' pens, for th' maister wor sittin at his private desk, when a redheeaded lad,—Bob thowt he wor th' ugliest lad he'd ivver seen in his life,—coom in grinnin, an sydlin up to him, an holdin th' parcel at arms length, as if he wor feeared o' bein bitten, he sed, "th' lanlord o'th 'Slip Inn' has sent this,—he says yo left it on th' seeat."
Bob snatched it aght ov his hand an put it in his desk, but th' lad still stood grinnin.
"Dooan't aw get owt for bringin it? Aw know what it is, an aw should think its worth summat."
Bob's face wor as red as a hep, an th' sweeat wor like dew on his forheead,—th' leeast coin he had wor a shillin, but he put it into his hand an bundled him aght, wol th' maister gave him a luk at made him uncomfortable for th' balance o'th day.
When five o'clock set him at liberty, he tuk his parcel once moor an started for hooam; but ther wor a grim luk ov determination on his face.
"Aw'll get rid o' thee this time, if aw have to walk twenty mile to find a place," he sed. "Th' chap aw bowt thee on, sed ther wor nowt like a bull pup for stickin, an tha's stuck to me wi a vengence. Aw wodn't goa throo another day like this for all th' bull pups i' Bulgaria! An if Angelina ivver perswades me to buy another aw hooap they'll call me bull pup for th' rest o' mi days!"
He'd nearly getten hooam, when he coom to th' corner ov a small croft, an as ther wor nubdy abaat he dropt it ovver th' wall; an mutterin summat throo his teeth, an shakkin his fists, he went hooam, but net i'th sweetest o' tempers.
Angelina lukt him up an daan, an in a surprised voice axt, "Hasn't ta browt it back?"
"Browt it back! Browt what back? Does ta think awm daft?"
"Why, then what's to be done? Ther's nowt to cook for thi drinkin!"
"Drinkin! What's that to do wi it? Tha sewerly didn't think o' cookin—"
"Aw thowt when tha fan aght th' mistak tha'd ha sent it back."
"Mistak! What are ta drivin at? What wi th' bull pup an thee yu'll send me wrang i' mi heead!"
"Why, didn't ta know at tha'd taen th' wrang parcel? Tha tuk th' leg o' lamb at th' butcher's lad had just browt, an left th' poor dog on th' table!"
"Th' deuce aw did? What's ta done wi it?"
"Aw gave a man sixpence to tak it away. But whear's th' leg o' lamb?"
"Hold on a minnit! It's nooan far off."
An withaat another word he started off, an as luck let, it wor just whear he dropt it. He oppened th' parcel to mak sewer it wor all reight, an then he set off back.
"Well, if onnybody had tell'd me at aw wor sich a fooil as net to be able to tell th' difference between a leg o' lamb an a bull pup aw wodn't ha believed em;—but th' best on us are fooils sometimes."
"Here it is, Angelina,—cut off a steak or two an let's have summat to get th' taste o' that bull pup aght o' mi maath! Awm sooary at tha's lost thi pet, but tha munnot tak it too mich to heart."
"Me! Net aw marry! Awm rare an fain its gooan for little dogs mak a deal o' muck:—An somtime,—ther's noa knowin, ov coarse—but it may be,—mind, nobbut say it may,—we may have summat else to nurse at'll suit us better nor a bull pup."
Did it ivver occur to yo 'at if it wor as easy to shake off unpleasant acquaintences as it is to shak a carpet, what a dust ther'd be i'th world?
It doesn't do to want to get rid ov a thing just becoss it isn't to yor likin. Its advisable sometimes to have disagreeable things handy to give a relish to what's moor appreciated, tho less sowt after. Ivverybody will admit th' advantages ov gooid health, but nubdy can appreciate it like one 'at's been sick. It's th' circumstances 'at surraand th' cases 'at accant for th' opinions we form.
If rich fowk sympathised as mich wi poor fowk, as poor fowk envy rich fowk, ther'd be noa poverty. We all know that. But then it's what will nivver happen.
A chap 'at's worried to deeath becoss his stocks or shares have dropt fifty per cent connot enter into a poor woman's anxiety abaat flaar or mait gooan up a penny a paand. What's nobbut an inconvenience to one is starvation to another.
Ther's a deeal o' difference between poetry an philosophy, an aw connot help thinkin 'at if poor fowk had less poetry an moor philosophy, an rich fowk had visa versa, we should get nearer level an all be better for it. If we could nobbut get ovver that waikness ov worshipin a chap for what he has raythur nor for what he is we could simplyfy th' social problem."Riches may depart,
But ther's monny an honest heart 'at hasn't getten a laff left in it. They know bi bitter experience, 'at"The smiling lips decieve us,
But haivver dark th' prospect may be he's a fooil 'at gives way to despair. Haivver bad things are, they mud be war; an when a chap ends his life to get rid ov his trubbles, th' chonces are at th' tide wor just abaat to turn if he could nobbut ha had pluck to wait.
Th' trubbles we have are seldom soa heavy 'at we connot bear em, tho it may be hard wark, but when we're a bit cast daan, we dooant freeat hawf as mich abaat what we have to put up wi, as to what's gooin to happen. Imaginary evils are allus war to bide nor th' trubbles we railly have."Let to-morrow take care of to-morrow,
Ther's summat for yo to think abaat, an let th' July sunshine enter into yor hearts. It'll help to chase away th' claads o' care, an maybe, buried hooaps may yet blossom into a harvest ov happiness an joy.
Fortun, they say knocks once at ivvery man's door, but varry oft th' man doesn't happen to be in, an i' that case he sends his dowter, but ther's nubdy getten a welcome for Miss Fortun, but once shoo gets in, shoo's a beggar to stick. Better try to mak friends wi th' old man.
Sarah's that agravatin' sometimes, wol aw feel as if it wod do me gooid to hav a reight swear at her—an' aw should do it, if it wornt for th' fact at awr Tom's wed a lass at has a uncle 'at's a deacon at a chapil, an' when a chaps respectably connected like that, aw think its as weel to be a bit careful ov his tawk.
Nah aw'll gie yo a' instance, awd had a five bob bet on wi' a chap called Uriah Lodge, it wor abaat hah mich a pig he wor baan to kill wod weigh when it wor dressed, an' aw won. Uriah promised to pay mi o' Sundy mornin', but insteead o' th' brass, ther coom'd a letter throo him to say 'at he'd been havin' a tawk wi' a district visitor abaat it, an this chap had soa convinced him o' th' evils o' bettin', 'at he'd decided at he wodn't pay me, for if he did it wod do violence to his conshuns, but if aw liked he'd send mi a fry o' pigs livver asteead. "Conshuns," aw sed, "it's mooar like at it'll do violence to his britches pockets, aw willn't have onny ov his muky pigs livver."
"What's to do nah," Sarah axed.
Soa aw tell'd her all abaat it, an ov cooarse aw expected at shoo'd side wi' me,—but noa, shoo sed,
"Awm sewer aw respect Uriah for th' cooarse he's pursuin', aw hooap it'll be a lesson to yo—what wor yo baan to do wi' th' brass?"
"Aw wor baan to buy a paand o' bacca wi' it," aw sed. Then shoo started abaat bettin', an' horse racin', an' smookin', an' aw dooant know what moor—yo'd a thowt aw wor th' warst chap i' all Maant Pleasant if yo'd heeard her: an' shoo ended up wi' sayin' 'at shoo wished awd be a bit mooar like a chap 'at lives next door to us called Martin Robertshaw.
"He doesn't bet," shoo sed, "he doesn't smook, hes a daycent gradely lad is Martin, he wor off at hawf past eight this mornin' daan to th' Sundy Schooil—yo'll nivver catch him drinkin' at public haases an' bettin' abaat deead pigs—his missis is a lucky woman if ivver ther wor one."
Its noa use i' th' world tawkin' to Sarah when shoo gets reight on, soa aw nivver spake a word wol shoo'd finished, an' then aw sed,
"Have yo finished yor sarmon, missis?"
"Yes," shoo went on, "it's noa gooid tawkin' to sich as yo, it's nobbut wastin' breeath, yo'll goa yor own gate aw expect i' spite o' all aw can say."
"Well," says I, "it's hawf past twelve, lets have us dinners for awm dry after this storm, an' as its a fine day we'll goa up to th' top o' Beacon Hill for a walk an' see th' view o' th' taan."
Soa we had us dinner an set off.
Beacon Hill's weel known i' Halifax, it soars up at th' bottom o' th' taan as bare an' bald as a duck egg; ther's norther a tree, nor a shrub, an' aw dooant think thers a blade o' grass that even a moke wod ait, unless it belanged to a Irishman an' wor hawf clammed. It lets th' east wind on to th' taan throo a hoil at one end, an it keeps th' mornin' sun off, an' hides th' evenin' mooin. It grows nowt nobbut stooans covered wi' sooit, an' smook throo th' gas haase hangs ovver it all day long like a claad. But up at th' top thers some stooan delves, an' a field or two whear they say reeal grass grows, an' i' support o' this noashun somdy's had th' cheek to turn hawf a dozen cows aght, an' let 'em pretend to graze,—of cooarse its all mak believe, for they mun gie th' poor brewts summat to ait beside, or else th' inspector for crewelty to annimals wod have been daan on em befoor nah.
It's a long gate up Beacon Hill—yo goa up New Bank an' ovver Godly Brig, in between th' Bloody Field an' Saint Joseph's Schooil, an' then reight up to th' top, an' if it wornt for th' fact at thears a gooid few public haases o'th road aw dooant think 'at Sarah wod ivver have getten to th' top at all; for shoo wor tuk bad wi' th' spasms jist at th' side o' th' Pine Apple, an shoo had attacks ivvery few minnits wol we gate to th' Albion, which is th' last licensed haase; but bi gooid luck they didn't coom on after that, for as thers noawhear to get her onny thing comfortin' if shoo'd been tuk agean, aw dooant know whativver aw should ha done.
Well, we gate to th' top at last, an' sat daan to luk at th' view. It's reight grand, an them at hasn't seen it should goa bi all means at once. Yo can see all ovver th' taan—monny a thaasand chimleys all smokin' at once, an' scoars o' mill's, an' ivvery nah an' then when th' wind blows th' reek away, yo can see th' Bastile as plain as owt.
As we wor sittin' daan to rest we heeard sumdy tawkin' jist ovver th' wall, soa we kept still a bit, an' varry sooin we heeard as mich cursin' an' swearin' as owt to have filled a faandry for a wick.
"Whativver is ther to do," sed Sarah, "lets have a luck?"
We gate up, an' went an' luk'd throo a hoil i' th' wall, an' thear daan in a bit ov a holler, soa 'at they couldn't be seen, wor abaat twenty gurt strappin' young fellers tossin' coppers.
We hadn't been lukkin' moor nor a minnit or two, when a man wi' a red beeard coom runnin' daan th' hill an' stopt abaat ten yards throo whear th' chaps wor laikin' at pitch an' toss, an' he started o' writin' summat daan in a book.
"Bobbies!" a chap shaated aght, an i' hawf a minnit ther wor nubdy to be seen, nobbut th' new comer, for ivvery one on 'em had hooked it as fast as if th' owd chap wor after 'em.
Then th' feller sammed up th' coppers, an' coom'd reight to whear we wor, an' climbed ovver th' wall. He wor laffin like owt. When he'd getten on to th' side whear we wor, he luk'd a bit surprised to see us, but he sed nowt—soa Sarah axd him if be wor a poleeceman, an' if he wor baan to report 'em at th' Taans Hall?
"Net aw," he sed, "awm noa bobby awm not, aw nobbut did it to flay 'em."
"But yo gate ther brass," aw sed.
"For sewer aw did," says he, "aw mak a day's wage at this trade ivvery Sundy, it's th' best payin' professhun aght—aw gate seventeen pence this mornin' at Ringby, an ther's eighteen pence here, that's three bob nobbut a penny. Last Sundy aw addled three an' ninepence, at Siddal an' Whitegate. Ther soa flayed if onnybody starts o' writin', 'at they hook it like a express train, for they think yor takkin ther names daan."
When he'd sed this he brust aght laffin agean, an' sed to me, "Dooant yo' knaw me?"
"Noa," aw sed, "but aw seem to knaw yor voice."
Then he ax'd Sarah if shoo didn't knaw him nawther?
"Aw've nivver clapt een on yo' befooar," Sarah sed.
He laft as if he wor baan to split for a bit, an' then he sed, "Luk here, but yo' munnot split," an' he pull'd off his gurt red beard, an' awm blow'd if it worn't Martin Robertshaw, th' chap 'at lives next door to us.
Aw wor soa capt yo' could ha' shoov'd him ovver wi' yor little finger, an' Sarah leaned up agean th' wall, an' aw thowt th' spasms wor comin' on agean; but aw wor mista'an, for they didn't, at least not wol we gate daan to th' Albion once mooar.
"Aw promised my missis a sewin' machine," Martin went on, "an' as brass is soa hard to addle just nah, aw've had to start i' this line, an' it pays weel to, an' ther's noa danger abaat it. A chap has to put his hand to owt nah days to earn a honest penny—aw doan't call it chaitin' to ease sich as yond on ther brass. But aw mun be off, aw've to goa daan to Shibden yet, an' bizness befoor pleashur's my motto. An' he run daan th' hill callin' aght 'at we worn't to tell his missis 'at we'd seen him.
"Nah then, lass," aw sed, "yo' wor sayin' a bit sin' 'at yo' wished aw wor a bit mooar like yon chap,—what do yo' say nah?"
"Well," Sarah sed, "aw willn't say at aw exactly approve ov his goins on, but onnyhah, yo'll admit at he's gettin' th' brass for a gooid purpose; aw tell'd yo' at his wife wor a lucky woman, an' aw stick to mi words."
"Then aw suppooas if awd sed aw wor baan to buy yo' a new bonnet wi' Uriah Lodge's five bob, it 'ud hey been awl reet?"
"Circumstances alters cases as th' sayin' says," Sarah went on, "but yo' wor baan to spend it i' baccy, an' aw shall still stick to what aw sed this morn, 'at bettin's reeal wicked; but coom on, for aw feel as if th' spasms wor comin' on mi agean, awm awl ov a tremmel, an' tawkin maks mi war."
So we went daan to th' Albion, an' then hooam.
We wor just gooin to bed that neet, when Missis Robertshaw coom in, to ax Sarah to lend her a rubbin bottle.
"Is somdy hurt?" Sarah ax'd.
"It's Martin," shoo sed, "he wor gooin daan to Shibden this afternooin, to visit one ov his Sundy skollards 'ats badly; an' he happened bi ill luck to coom on a reg'lar lot o' idle young fellers at wor laikin at pitch an' toss. Martin connot bide wickedness o' noa sooart, soa he stopt to tell 'em hah sinful gamblin' wor, 'specially on a Sundy, an' hah mich better for 'em it 'ud be, if they'd put ther hard-addled brass into th' Savins Bank, but asteead o' takkin his gooid advice, they set on him an' beat him black an blue, an' robbed him o' three bob 'at he had in his pockit, 'at had been subscribed for th' missionarys at th' Sundy skooil."
"Is he mich war?" aw axed.
"His Sundy coit's all tore to ribbons, an his ankles sprained; one o' his front teeth is knocked clean aght, an' his watch is gooan. Aw shall be only too thankful if he gets to his wark in a fortneet."
"Hev yo' telled th' perleece?" Sarah sed.
"Noa," shoo sed, "it wodn't be noa sooart o' use tellin' them chaps, they're too lazy to do owt nobbut draw ther wage,—besides, Martin's that forgivin', 'at he says he'd rayther suffer i' silence nor let onnybody be punished on his accant—but aw mun be off." An' shoo went aght wi' th' bottle.
"Ther's a deal o' humbug i' this world," Sarah sed, when th' woman wor gooan, "awm glad he's getten catched at last, aw mak nowt o' sich decaitful fowk, robbin' poor people o' ther brass,—it's little enuff 'at we can finger honestly nah a days. Aw've been wantin a new bonnet monny a week—Missis Lupton's getten one, an' shoo's getten a faal face to put inside ov it two, an aw dooant like to be bet bi a woman like that,—soa if yo' can get that five bob thro' Uriah, it'll come in handy. Aw've sed times an times agean, 'at them Lodges wor th' nearest fowk i' all Maant Pleasant, an' fowk owt to pay ther debts, whether it's bettin or whether it isn't."
"Aw'll see him to morn."
"That's reight, lad, do, an' let's goa to bed nah, for we shall have a rare gas nooat this quarter if we sit up like this."
They tell me 'at in Orstralia they have Kursmas Day in th' middle o' summer,—aw dooant knaw whether it's trew or net, for someha' them 'at's been i' furrin pairts are varry mich addicted to th' practiss o' tellin lies,—but if they hey ther Kursmiss i' summer, all aw con say is, 'at it's a mistak; ov cooarse furriners can do as they like, but it allus seems to me at th' best ov Kursmiss is at it cooms i'th middle o' winter to cheer poor fowks' hearts when th' days is dark an gloomy. It's a wonderful time is Kursmiss—all th' shops as ther winders dressed aght wi' th' best things they hev, to mak a show, an gas leets shinin all up an daan, an ther's geese an turkeys hangin up aghtside,—an yo' see ivverybody lukkin as gooid humoured as if they'd getten some brass gi'en.
Aw know nowt mooar pleasant nor to goa throo th' markits on th' neet befoor Kursmiss, an luk at th' stawls an th' smilin faces all up an daan.
Aw heeard a bit ov a stoary abaat Kursmiss a bit sin' 'at aw'll tell yo.
Ther wor a young lad at Dewsbury an he wor varry fond o' gooid aitin,—it's net a varry uncommon complaint amang lads,—but this chap wor mooar nor usual fond o' gooid things, an if ivver he gate hold ov onny brass, he allus used to spend it awther at a pie shop, or on fish fried wi' chipt puttates, or some other daintes o' that sooart.
It wor Kursmiss Eve last year, an he'd getten howd o' some copper bi sweepin snaw off th' doorstuns for th' nabers, soa after he'd hed his teah, he set off to fill hissen full o' summat tasty.
"Aw'll ha' summat reeal gooid to-neet," he sed, "as it's Kursmiss time."
He lukt into shops at tarts, an penny ducks, an blood puddins, an all sooarts o' things; but he'd hed them all monny a time, an he wanted summat fresh.
At last he went into th' markit place, an after he'd luk'd raand, wi' th' brass fair burnin a hoil in his pocket for want o' spendin, he coom to a stawl whear a chap wor shaatin aght:
"Hoisters! reeal natives! a penny apiece!"
Nah he'd nivver tasted a hoister i' all his life, it wor summat new, soa he went up to th' chap an axt for one.
Th' man gate hold o' one an started o' oppenin it wi' his knife, but th' lad sed—
"Howd on, aw say, that's a varry little en, aw want a reight daan big un—th' biggest one yo' hev i'th place."
"If yo' want a reight big un," th' man sed, "aw con sewt yo' up to th' mark," an he went behund th' stawl, an in a hawf minnit he coom back wi' one abaat as big as a pan lid. It wor oppened, an th' fish wor liggin on th' shell i'th center, abaat three inches across.
"Will this sewt yo'," he sed.
"That'll do," th' lad sed, "aw like a fair sized un."
He put some pepper an vinegar on it, an handed it to th' lad an sed, "Aw dooant think yo' can manage it, sir."
He nivver spake, but tuk th' shell in his hand, an oppen'd his maath an sukt it in. He'd to try two or three times befoor it went daan his throit, an it nearly choakt him, but at last it went.
"Aw've done it," he sed wi' tears in his een, "Hah mich is ther to pay?"
"Nah, aw willn't mak noa charge," th' man answered, "yo've done weel, aw didn't think yo' could ha' managed it, ther's three fowk tried at that hoister to-neet, an a dog beside, but it lickt 'em all."
Th' lad turned away, an slipt behind a row o' stawls, an aw willn't say onny mooar abaat what happened after.
Chairley Dempster wor nobbut a little chap but he'd a varry big opinion ov hissen. He'd consait enuff for hawf a duzzen. His mother wor a widdy an he wor th' only child shoo'd ivver had an shoo set a deeal o' stoor on him, an firmly believed at ther wornt another at wor fit to hold th' cannel to him.
Noa daat this accanted for him havin sich a gooid opinion ov hissen. They wornt varry weel to do, for when her husband deed, he'd nowt he could leeav her except th' bit o' furnitur an th' babby.
Fowk thowt shoo'd be wed agean, but they wor mistaen. If it hadn't been for havin Chairley happen shoo wod ha done, for shoo wor young an strong, an varry gooidlukkin i'th bargain' an lots o' chaps wod ha thowt thersen lucky if they could ha 'ticed her to buckle on wi 'em. But shoo kept em all at a distance, an managed, wi weshin an cleeanin for fowk, to mak as mich as kept her an her lad.
Shoo spoilt him, as wor to be expected, an denied hersen lots o' things shoo badly needed to keep him weel donned, an shoo wor nivver as praad as when shoo heeard somdy say at he lukt 'like a little gentleman.'
Shoo kept him at Schooil wol he wor fourteen, an he didn't shame his taichers, an when he left he wor cliverer nor mooast lads ov his age.
Dooant run away wi th' idea at he wor a fine young gentleman, for he wor nobbut a country lad, for he'd been browt up in a country place amang country fowk, but he wor one o'th better sooart, an amang th' naybors wor considered a bit ov a swell.
What trade to put him to bothered his mother aboon o' bit. Shoo could ha liked to ha made him into a doctor or a parson, or shoo wodn't have objected to startin him as th' president ov a bank, but sich things cost brass an shoo wor varry poor. He could ha liked to ha been a sowger, but he worn't big enuff, an sailerin didn't suit his stummack. At last he had to be content to get into a grocer's shop as a lad abaat, and he wor sixteen bi this time.
Th' maister sooin tuk a fancy to him, for he worked hard an steady, an befoor he'd been thear a month he wor put behind th' caanter to wait on customers. His mother wor ovverjoyed at this, an altho shoo wornt one o'th biggest or best customers, ther wor nubdy went ofter to th' shop. If shoo nobbut wanted two articles shoo went twice for em, an shoo wor nivver in a hurry to get sarved, for the biggest pleasur shoo'd ivver known wor to watch Chairley deal aght punds o' sewgar an cakes o' sooap.
But ther's noa pleasur i' this world at isn't mixt wi some pain, an it wor soa i' her case. One day as shoo wor watchin him sarve a lass wi a rasher o' bacon, an saw th' way he smiled at her an shoo tittered back at him, struck her for th' furst time, at th' day might come when he'd be somdy else's Chairley, an shoo'd hay to tak a back seeat.
When shoo went hooam shoo could think abaat nowt else, an shoo set studyin abaat it soa long, at when he coom hooam to his supper ther wor nowt ready for him, an th' foir wor aght.
"What's to do, mother?" he sed, "arn't yo weel or have yo nobbut just getten hooam?"
"A'a, lad," shoo sed,—lukkin raand suspiciously, as if shoo wor feeard he'd browt some lass wi him,—"aw dooant know what's to do. Aw just set me daan to think a bit at time's flown by withaat me nooaticin it. Has ta come straight hooam?"
"Hi,—aw allus coom straight hooam when mi wark's done."
"An did ta coom bi thisen all th' way?"
"Ov coorse aw coom bi misen. Did yo want me to fotch somdy wi mi?"
"Nay, lad. Aw hooap that day's far distant when tha'll bring onnybody here to tak thi mother's place. Who wor that forrad young thing at tha wor sellin that rasher o' bacon to when aw wor i'th shop?"
"Aw nobbut know her furst name. They call her Minnie, shoo's a sarvent at that big haase at th' street corner."
"Minnie, do they call her? aw think Ninny wod be a name to suit her better. Aw nivver saw her befoor i' mi life, but shoo's noa gooid, aw saw that as sooin as aw clapt mi een on her. Aw hooap tha'll mind what tha'rt dooin an have noa truck wi sichlike."
"Why, mother, aw've allus thowt her a varry gooid lass, an awm sewer shoo's a bonny en."
"That's just whear it is. They allus are bonny are sich like as her. But next time shoo cooms into th' shop just order her off abaat her business. An see at tha does as aw tell thi. Shoo can get what shoo wants at another shop at's nearer their haase. Its nooan yor bacon shoo wants;—its thee shoo's after, but tha'rt sich a ninnyhammer at tha can't see it."
"Yo must know, mother, 'at aw can't order her aght o'th shop. Awm sewer shoo thinks nowt abaat me. Ther's nooan sich luck. Shoo's older nor me bi ivver soa mich, an shoo could have onny chap i'th street if shoo'd to put her finger up. Awm sewer aw dooant know what's put sich a nooation into yor heead. But aw'll have mi supper if its ready."
"Come thi ways;—awm sooary aw've kept thi waitin, but tuk it into thi. Tha'll get moor gooid aght o' that nor sich as her. Ther owt to be a law to punish sichlike."
Chairley sed nowt noa moor, but he thowt a lot. To tell trewth, sich thowts had nivver befoor entered into his heead. An if his mother had nivver sed owt abaat it, it's possible they nivver wod. It wor Setterdy neet, an as he wor anxious to be up i' gooid time at Sundy, he sed, "Gooid neet," an went to bed. For th' furst time in his life he tossed an roll'd abaat, an couldn't fall asleep. His mother had put that lass into his heead an he couldn't get her aght. He'd allus thowt her a nice lass, but he'd nivver known ha bonny shoo wor till then.
"A'a!" he sighed, "awd goa throo foir an watter for sich a lass as her."
An th' upshot on it wor, at when at last he did fall asleep, it wor to dream at he'd wed an angel just like her, an he wakkened to find th' bolster cuddled up in his arms. Sundy passed someway, but nawther schooil nor sarmon did him onny gooid. Unconsciously he'd set up an idol an wor worshippin it wi all th' strength ov his young heart.
As he went to his wark next mornin, he happened to catch th' seet ov hissen as he passed a shop winder, an for th' furst time he felt ha little he wor.
Ommost fust customer to enter th' shop wor Minnie. Shoo wanted a duzzen fresh eggs. Chairley's face went as red as a pickled cabbage, an when he went to get em his hands tremeled soa at he smashed two.
"Oh, what a pity," sed Minnie.
"Oh, net at all, awm quite used to it," he stammered. Then Minnie stared at him an laft, an he tried to laff to, an one oth' shop lads gave a guffaw an this soa nettled Chairley 'at he samd th' bag wi th' eggs in an sent it flyin at his heead, an gave it sich a crack at th' bag wor brussen, an th' eggs all smashed wor sylin daan throo his heead to his feet, an just then th' maister walked in.
Minnie stood stupified an Chairley seized his hat an ran aght at th' back door. Wol th' lad wor splutterin an slobberin, an th' maister doncin mad, Minnie slipt aght an bowt her eggs at another shop. But shoo couldn't get Chairley aght of her mind. Shoo'd allus admired him, an thowt what a gooid husband he'd mak for somdy when he gate a bit older; an nah shoo saw as plainly as could be ha matters stood, an guessed as near trewth as if Chairley had tell'd her all abaat it.
It wor lat on ith' day when Chairley slunk into th' shop, an th' maister mooationed for him to step into th' private office. What tuk place aw dooan't exactly know, but when they coom aght Chairley lukt varry warm, an th' maister had a grin on his face at wor a gooid sign.
Three or four days passed, an Minnie nivver entered that shop. Chairley tried to feel thankful, for he didn't know ha to face her, an yet he wor miserable, for he felt as if he couldn't live withaat her.
Just as he wor turnin th' corner oth' street on his way hooam,—it wor ommost dark an he wor in a varry low kay;—a voice cloise to him sed, "What's the price of fresh eggs to-day, Chairley?"
Chairley felt like jumpin aght ov his skin, as he turned raand an saw Minnie, laffin all ovver her face an lukkin moor bewitchinly bonny nor ivver.
"A'a, Minnie! Miss Minnie, aw meean;—Aw have to beg yo pardon. Aw'll nivver do it agean as long as aw live. Will yo forgie me this time, an coom to th' shop as usual?"
"Has the shop-boy forgiven you?"
"Aw care nowt abaat him."
"But the master?"
"Oh' he's all reight, but when aw gate to know who yo wor, they could ha fell'd me wi a feather."
Minnie had stept back into th' shadder oth' porch an wor sittin on th' step. Chairley wor ith' shadder o'th' porch too. All wor varry quiet for a long time an when th' mooin peept aght an sent a mild soft leet into that same porch, it showed a couple sittin varry cloise together.
When Chairley went hooam that neet, he wor th' mooast important chap, in his own estimation, at lived i' that taan. His mother had been uneasy for th' past few days, for shoo saw ther wor summat wrang, an shoo nooaticed th' change in him as sooin as he went in. "Has things gooan reight wi thi to-day, Chairley?" shoo ventured to ax him.
"Nivver better, Mother;—Nivver better!"
But shoo felt sewer ther wor summat undernaith, an shoo wor detarmined to find it aght. Shoo knew at Chairley wodn't be at th' shop next mornin, as it wor his day to goa seekin orders, soa shoo waited till he'd getten off, an then shoo went to see his maister.
"Come this way, Mrs. Dempster," he sed when he saw her, "what can we do for you this morning?"
"Aw wanted to spaik to yo if yo pleeas. Awd like to know if my son has been havin onny trubble latly?"
"Well, my dear Madam, troubles come to all on us at times. I dare say Charley has had a little trouble,—just a minimum."
"Aw mud ha known it! But if yond Minnie doesn't let my lad alooan aw'll mak this taan too hot for her. Shoo owt to be smoored an all sichlike."
"Excuse me, Mrs. Dempster, but if you are alluding to my niece Minnie, I must ask you to speak with more respect, for she is as good as she is good-looking, and that is saying a great deal."
"Yo dooan't meean to say shoo's yor neese sewerly."
"She is my niece and your boy's sweetheart. They were engaged last night with my full consent, and a nice young couple they are. If all goes well, they are to be married when Charley comes of age, and will then succeed me in this business."
"Laws-a-mercy on us! Well,—well. An a nice lass shoo is too," an off shoo set to think things ovver agean.
Shoo nivver agean interfered wi his coortin. They're wed nah. Shoo lives wi em, but shoo can't understand why they allus laff if shoo sets em fresh eggs for ther braikfast.
One Friday neet last summer, ther wor a braik daan at th' shop 'at Dick Taylor worked at, just befoor stoppin time, soa th' ovverlukker telled him 'at it wor noa use his comin i'th mornin, as they wodn't be able to start th' engine agean wol Mundy.
Dick worn't sorry, for it wor fine weather, an' he thowt a day's halliday ud be varry pleasant. When he gate hooam, he telled his missis 'at he wor baan to laik th' next day, an' shoo sed,
"Naah, Dick, ther's a chonce for yo to pleeas me—yo know aw've axed yo all th' summer to tak me raand to see th' parks i' Bradforth, for aw've nivver seen one on em, exceptin Lister's, an' that's becoss it's soa near—they tell me 'at th' flaars i' Peel's park, an' up at Horton, are reeal beautiful."
"We'll goa, Mary," Dick sed, "an' up to Bowlin Park too."
Shoo gave him a kuss, an' gate him his teah, an' let him keep a shillin aght o' his wage, to get some cigars wi' for him to smook when they wor aght th' next day. After braikfast i'th mornin they set off.
They lived near th' Stashun at Manningham, in a haase off Valley Road, soa they cut across, an' ovver th' canal, an' up bi Spinkwell, into th' main road for Peel Park. It wor varry hot, soa bi th' time they gate into th' park, an' lukt at th' flaar beds daan bi th' lake, an' climbed up on to th' terrace, they wor varry glad to sit daan on a seeat near to whear th' band stand is.
Ther's a grand view thro' thear, yo can see reight ovver Bradforth as far as Lister's Milns, an' Queensbury—th' sun wor shinin, an' Dick wor just leetin one o'th cigars when a young man abaat two or three an' twenty coom daan th' walk, huggin' a basket—when he seed em he stopt, an' sed:—
"Can yo give me a match, mate?"
"Eah," Dick sed, "hear's a box, help thisen,"—when he'd leeted his pipe, Mary sed, "This is a varry nice park, sir."
"I," he answered, "an' it's a nice place for coortin in, on a neet when th' band isn't playin—you cannot coom here ov a evenin withaat findin abaat hawf a scooar o' cupples—yo see it's net too near th' taan, wol it's nice an' quiet—but it's net too lonely nawther, a decent lass can coom here wi' her sweetheart, an' nawther her mother nor nubdy else can say owt agean it, for ther's allus somdy awther commin or gooin."
"Yo seem to know it well?" Dick sed to th' young feller.
He wor nobbut a ugly chap, but when Dick sed this, he smiled wol he wor nearly nice lukkin, an' his een twinkled wi' fun, as he sed,
"Aw should think aw do know it, an' aboon a bit too, why aw wor rewinated net hawf a yard thro' whear yor missis is sittin."
Mary jumped up as if th' seat wor baan to bite her, an' her nelly tummeld reight thro' th' railin, an' ligged among th' shrubs on the slope abaat ten feet below.
When th' young feller seed that, he fair skriked aght wi' laffin, but befoor Dick could do owt, he wor ovver th' railin, an had getten her umberel up agean.
"It wor a nelly tumblin daan like that at did for me," says he, "but aw see yor maized, soa aw'll tell yo all abaat it;" soa he sat daan on th' seat beside me, an' he began.
"When aw furst coom a workin to Bradforth, abaat three year sin, aw lodged wi' a young feller 'at lived i' Otley Road—we slept i'th same room; an' one Sundy mornin as we wor dressin, aw sed to him, 'at aw wor flayed aw should have to buy a new pair o' Sundy britches, for them aw hed getten wor wore varry shabby.
"'Aw'll sell yo a pair,' he sed; an' he pulled a pair aght ov a box, 'aw bowt em off th' pegs, an' gave fifteen bob for em, noa mooar nor a year sin—but aw nivver liked em—aw wor em when mi sister wor wed, an when aw went to Blackpool for a wick last July, an' that's all, yo shall have em for eight bob, an it's a bargain sich as yo willn't get ivvery day.'
"They wor reeal smart traasers, an' to mak a long stooary short, aw bowt em; an' that evenin, aw wor gooin aght a walkin wi' a lass 'at aw knew, soa aw wore em to luk smart like. Aw wor thinner then than aw am nah, for aw've filled aght a bit sin aw wor wed; but this chap 'at aw bowt em off, wor hawf as fat agean as aw wor, a reglar porker, fit for killin; an' when aw coom to put th' britches on, aw fun aght, 'at they wor ivver soa mich to wide for me raand th' waist—that worn't th' warst o' it, for aw fun aght also 'at fower aght o'th six gallus buttons wor off—but aw hadn't time to sew onnymooar on, soa wi' a bit a bother aw made em do.
"Well, aw set off wi' th' new traasers on—it's trew 'at they wor hitched up that high 'at aw worn't a bit comfortable, an' ther wor as mich room in em as wod nearly have done for two like me, but as me tail coit hid it aw didn't mind that, an' aw felt a reeal swell, aw can tell yo, for they wor th' leetest coloured pair 'at ivver awd ivver had i' my life. Amy wor waitin o' me, an' we walked daan here to Peel's Park, an' sat on this varry seeat."
"Awm gettin varry interested," Mary sed, when he stopt to leet his pipe 'at had gooan aght, "goa on wi' yor tale."
He puffed away for a minnit, an then went on:—"Someha or other Amy's nelly slipt in between th' railins like yor's did a bit sin, an aw wor ovver th' fence after it like a shot,—but when aw wor climbin up agean, my golly, if one o'th two remainin buttons didn't snap cleean off, aw think th' thread mun ha' been as rotten as apples,—luckily aw wor just on th' top o'th rail, or aw dooan't knaw what aw should ha done, but aw managed to get on to th' seat, an thear aw sat."
Mary an Dick booath started o' laffin, an Dick sed, "Well, an ha did yo' goa on?"
"It wor noa laffin matter for me aw con tell yo',—it wor summer time, an not dark wol nearly ten o'clock, an it wor nobbut eight then. Amy faand aght in a minnit 'at summat wor wrang, but shoo sed nowt, an aw kept it quiet as long as aw could, wishin at th' sun 'ud luk sharp an goa daan, but asteead o' that, it seemed to me 'at it wor gooin higher up ivvery minnit. Soa when shoo'd sed at shoo wor chilly, an wanted to walk a bit, abaat hawf a duzzen times, aw wor forced to tell her th' truth. Aw expected shoo'd a made fun o' me, but shoo didn't; shoo lukked reeal consarned abaat it, an sed shoo wor varry sorry for th' mishap, but we'd stop whear we wor till it wor dark. Soa we sat thear for a bit, an then shoo sed,
"'It ud be a deeal better for yo if yo hed sumdy to luk after yor clooas far yo.'
"Mi mother lives up at Keighley," aw sed, "an it's soa far shoo connot, an th' lanlady's hawf blind."
"'Well,' Amy went on, 'but if yo'd hed a wife, shoo'd do all sich things as that for yo.'
"Someha' or other mi arm slipt raand her waist, an aw willn't tell yo' noa mooar; long befoor th' sun hed set, an it went daan sooin enuff nah, it wor all sattled."
"'All's weel at ends weel,'" Dick sed.
"Eeah," th' young feller sed, "but aw'll tak mi solem Alfred Davey 'at when aw put them thear britches on, aw'd noa mooar thowts o' bein wed, nor aw hed o' be in hang'd. Aw'd nobbut gooan aght walkin wi' Amy to pass th' time away, as young fellers will do."
"Awm sewer aw hooap shoo's made yo a gooid wife," sed Mary.
"Nivver a chap hed a better wife i' all th' world nor aw hev," sed he, "but yo' shall coom in an see her, we live i' them haases at th' end o'th Corperashun Quarries daan thear. Coom on."
Dick explained 'at they wor gooin to see th' other Parks, but he wodn't ha' noa refusal.
"Yo' con goa to-morn to Horton,—coom on, an me an Amy 'll goa wi' yo' to Bowlin Park this afternooin, we've nivver been sin it wor oppened."
He wor soa pressin 'at they went an hed ther drinkins wi him an Amy,—an he show'd 'em th' britches 'at hed been the cause ov it all. They went to Bowlin i'th afternooin, an sin' then they've oftens had a bit ov a aght together.
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