Kitty of the Sherragh Vane and The Schoolmasters
KITTY OF THE SHERRAGH VANE.
THE Sherragh Vane
Is up Sulby glen,
High up, my men —
High up — you’ll not see a sight of ic
From the road at all,
By rayson of the height of it —
Terbil high; and a little skute1
Of a waterfall,
Slip-sloppin from the root
Of an ould kern2 —
You know the turn
At the Bridge, and the Chapel?
Well, in on the gate,
Behind there, that’s the road, like straight
And just you’re passin
The School, and up you go —
A track — a track, you know,
On the side of the brew,3 criss-crassin,4
Till you’ll come out on the top like a landin,
And the house standin
Two fields back —
And all that steep
You can’t see the river, not the smallest peep,
Nor the gill, nor nothin; but lookin right over
By Jove! or
Barrule, or Slieu Core —
‘Deed, you’ll have to be cayful5
With cows and the lek; and no road for a cart
Up yandher place,
But comin in from another art,6
Ballaugh way? Yes.
2. Mountain ash.
6. Point of the compass.
That’s the road they were doin the haulin —
Tear the people was goin a-callin —
Nicholas Tear that’s Nicky-Nick-Nick —
And his wife a Gick of the Ballagick —
Down in Kirk Bride — you know them, what?
And a son and a daughter, that’s the lot —
Saul the son, a name he got
From his grandfather on the mother’s side —
Rather big people down in Kirk Bride.
But the daughter was Kitty — so, aisy then!
That’s Kitty of the Sherragh Vane —
Kitty, Kitty — sure enough —
Kitty — Kitty — hould your luff!2
Aye, that’s your way —
Well, I tell ye, the first time ever I seen her,
She wasn’ much more till2 a baby —
Six years, maybe,
Would have been her
Age; and the little clogs at her,3
And her little hand
In mine, to show me the way, you’ll understand,
Down yandher brew,
And me a stranger too,
That was lost on the mountain;
And the little sowl in the house all alone,
And for her to be goin
The best part of a mile —
Bless the chile!
Till she got me right —
And not a bit shy, not her!
Nor freckened, 1 but talkin away as purty4
As a woman of thirty —
And — “That’s the way down to the School,” says she,
“And Saul and me
Is goin there every day;
You’ll aisy find the way” —
And turns, and off like a bird on the wing,
Aw, a bright little thing!
1. Sail close to the wind: here = take care!
3. Which she had.
Isn’ it that way with these people of the mountain?
But seemin very fearless though —
Very — not for fightin no!
Nor tearin,1 but just the used2 they are
Of fogs and bogs, and all the war
Of winds and clouds, and ghos’es creepin
Unknowns! upon them, and fairies cheepin
Like birds, you’d think, and big bugganes3
In holes in rocks; lek makin frens4
With the like, that’ll work like niggers, they will,
If you’ll only let them; and paisible
Uncommon they are; and little scraps,
That’s hardly off their mammies’ laps
‘ll walk about there in the night
The same as the day, and all right —
Bless ye! ghos’es! ar’n’ they half
Ghos’es themselves? Just hear them laugh,
Or hear them cry,
It’s like up in the sky —
Total5 — aye; for the air is thin
And fine up there, and they sucks it in
And mixes it with the mould
Of all their body and all their sowl
So they’re often seemin
Like people dreamin,
And their eyes open like a surt of a trance,
You know, like Balaam, that had plenty of sance,6
And knew the will of the Lord, and could spake it clever,
But wolloped his dunkey — but — however —
And come from the mountains too did Balaam,
And freckened, it’s lek, the angel would whale him,
And gave in like winkin —
Rather a rum surt of prophet, I’m thinkin
Aye but these mountain people — well —
That’s the surt — like Balaam? no!
Like Balaam! what are ye comin to?
But the gel —
1. Making rows.
2. Because they are accustomed to.
All right! all right! I never seen her
For years, no, not till she’d grew
A splendid craythur, keener,
You’d see, and bouldher, and bigger,
That had such a figure,
Such a face, such a look, right at ye —
Take it or lave it!
She gave it
From the arch of her eyes
Like a bow, and the fringes
And — her nose, you’d suppose?
Never mind her nose!
But black hair —
And Saul’s sister; and Saul and me
Was mates at sea,
Aboord the Mermaid, Captain Lear,
And axed me theer,
Whenever we’d be home,
For me for to come
From the Lhen,
And see them up at the Sherragh Vane.
Summer-time so up I goes,
And goodness knows
The fun I had —
With Kitty? Well, no, my lad —
No, no! that wasn’ her way,
Rather silent, as you may say,
Silent and thoughtful, and kept you off —
About Kitty, nothin for ye to make bould of,1
Nothin that a chap could get hould of —
And me that might ha’ been her father —
Chut! ger out!2
What are ye both’rin about?
Eye to eye
Like sea to sky,
Like sun to moon,
That’s the tune —
Stared it into ye,
Dared it into ye,
Shoved you back —
Aw, it’s a fack3 —
The eye, of coorse
My gough! the foorce!4
Till you’d had enough —
Is eyes like that —
Like a pushy cow?
That’s just lek ye — I’m list’nin to it —
But stow it! stow it!
You’d ha’ tried it on with her? ate your puddin!
No, ye wudn’.
Yes, ye wud? ah, ye didn’ know Saul,
It’s lek, at all?
1. To presume upon.
2 Tut! get out!
Aye — Saul, the brother that was at her?1
Jealous? jealous? well, no matter!
Not Kitty — no, no! but gels about,
Of coorse, and plenty of them, stout
And hearty and free, bless ye! turf-cuttin sayson —
That’s the rayson —
And rushes too; and the farmers comin in carts
From all parts —
And the sarvant gels —
And Joan and John,
And coortin and carryin on —
And pies and priddhas2 and cakes and broth,
The best on the No’th,3
Like a feer4 —
Or what is it the quality is callin it, Mick?
And plenty of it though.
1. Whom she had.
3. On the North side of the Island.
Now a little north of the farm there’s a dip,
And some rocks, and a strip
Of plantin ither1 side,
And not very wide;
And a sthrame that can just pass
Through the long grass,
Slishin — just a slock2 —
You know the thing when a lump of a block
Houlds up the soil, till it’ll spread
In a bit of a bed,
Or a lap, and then —
Steeper till3 ever down the glen.
And in the slock there’s ling
And everything —
Shut in — that’s it,
Except a slit
To the aesthard4 —and all these rocks and trees around him —
There’s where she found him.
Says you —
So fast, Hal Rat,1 wait, wait!
Don’t be stretchin your neck like a gandhar.
Well, for a good many days,
If ye plaise,
We noticed she was over yandhar,
Nor twice, but every chance.
As for goin to the turf — hullo!
One day she wouldn’ go.
She was sick, she said,
Pains in her head,
Or the lek;2 and when we come home
In the everin — the Pope was in Rome!
But Kitty was nowhere; the cows
Was milked, and everything in the house
As comfible, and supper, ye know,
And spoons and basons all in a row —
1. Henry Radcliffe.
2. Something of the sort.
Well, I went to bed.
But Saul was watchin, and, nothin said,
But watchful, jealous, suspicious lek —
That was Saul — he’d ha’ twisted the neck
Of a chap that dared to look at the gel,
The fond of her you couldn’ tell;
And still that sharp with her, and that glum,
And boosely1 it’s rum,
Rum enough the way with such
Lovin so much,
And for all the lovin, the way they’re traitin
The ones they’re lovin, it’s more like hatin.
Couldn’ spake, couldn’ Kitty, wuss or better,
But there he was growlin and grumblin at her.
1. Beastly = surly.
And that’s the way,1 I’m fancyin,
She tuk to be2 silent, but never gave in —
Kept her own notions, that’s what she done,3
Her own notions, that was allis4 right,
Right, and clear as the sun —
Of truth that was in the craythur, eh?
Truth — not hard, not hard; the day
Is truth — the night
Is nothin: she hadn’ no need to hide
A mortal thing; and so this Saul
He hadn’ no call.
But that’s what made her silent — pride?
No, not pride; she was just the same
Sweet innocent thing, that hadn’ no shame
And hadn’ no fear,
That everin many a year
Before, when she put her hand in mine,
And led me down the field: it’s desthry’n5
All pluck and spirit
In many a soul,
That ‘spicion and dirt —
No scope6 with the rowl
Of the long dead sea.
Out with your cable, and ride her free
Don’t look to be wantin every motion,
And every notion
To be comin from you.
Is she good? is she true —
Blood and bone?
Then d___ it, lave her alone!
1. The reason why.
2. Took to being.
5. It destroys.
6. Giving no length of cable.
What was I say’n?
Aye, Saul, this chap, it wasn’ cru’l
He was, and he wasn’ no fool —
Rather hard to explain —
But expecting lek quite nath’ral, ye know,
That him and the sisthar’d allis go
Like two clocks, tick — tick;
Lek if he’d be sick, she’d be sick,
And if he’d be well, she’d be well,
And if he’d go a-sneezin, she’s go a-sneezin,
For no other reason,
Or coughin — or, it’s hard to tell,
There’s people that’s demandin1 — what?
And terbil loving for all that
And still, to be out
So late, no doubt,
It wasn’ surprisin, perhaps, my men,
That the brother ‘d2
And — wond’rin what was in.3
So watch! watch!
And the door on the latch,
And fire and slaughter!
1. So exacting.
2. The brother would.
3. Going on.
What was betwix them he didn’ tell me,
But wouldn’ take rest
Of the thing, but on it and on it,
North and south, east and west,
Boxin the compass of doubt in his brain.
You’ve heard of a chap with a bee in his bonnet?
Well, Saul had a wasp in
His, that fierce;1 there’s people can’t look
At a saucepan
But the lid must be took
Off at them straight2 — just curious.
But that wasn’ Saul — Saul was furious;
And be cussed
To the lot!3
That was it —
1. He was so fierce.
3. Curse them all!
4. Every bit = exactly.
Next day was Sunday, and he was up very early,
And watched her through the oats, and watched her through the barley —
Watched her there,
And saw when she was slantin1
Over to this plantin
I was tellin you, in the holler
Of the slock, you remember; and didn’ foller
At all, not him, but back
To his breakfast, but marked the track,
And knew he harrer,2
Whatever there was arrer.3
1. Making off.
2. Had her.
3. At her = whatever she was after.
And Kitty come into the house,
Like from the cows,
Or the lek, and then —
“Look here,” says Saul,
“I don’t know the when
I’ve been over at the gill,
Or whatever ye call
That slock,” he says.
“Come, Tom, let’s ques’1
With the dog over yandher, aye;
Come along!” Well, never say die.
Over we went
“Come on!” says he,
And him with a gun, and a belt round his waist,
And a marlinspike in it, and — “Make haste! make haste!”
And his brass buttons, and his white ducks —
Aw, reglar bucks,
The two of us —
That’s the man,
Spick and span,
To bring up the r’ar.2
1 Quest = hunt.
That’s the way, but little I knew
There was another beside, that flew
Like a pewhit there from rock to rock,
Keepin an eye on him, takin stock
Of all our actin, like a pewhit ‘ll do,
When she’s freckened1 that somebody’s goin to discover
Her nest, you know them — pewhit, or plover,
All as one,2 and wheelin and wheelin,
And squealin and squealin,
Like a pessin3 —
2. All the same.
3. Person = human being.
It was Kitty that kept us in view,
Slippin along, with a stop, and a rush
From bush to bush,
From stone to stone —
But sound there was none
From Kitty, like pewhits, for pewhits is vi’lent
Rather, but her quite silent —
Silent — and then we come upon him
Quite sudden, lyin in the middle of the firs,
And a quilt and a blanket on him
From her own bed — yis, yis!1
And his head
On a pillow, ye wouldn’ belave, and a shawl
About his neck. “Well, this
The cockfightin I aver!”3
2 Clever nicely placed.
And — “Hullo!” he says, “hullo! hurroo!
Who are you?
Where do you hail from, and what do ye mane1
A-trespassin here on the Sherragh Vane?”
And then a jabber,
From the craythur — I couldn’ tell what,
This or that —
And his throat all gritty.
And then Kitty —
Kitty lek swoops2
From the top o’ the rock, and scoops
Some water in her hand,
And gives it to the man.
2. Swoops, as it were.
The man? Yes, man, — why, what did ye think?
A monkey? ye donkey —
A man, and got him to drink;
And then he spoke,
But it wasn’ no joke
To understand it, by Jingo!
Understand it we cudn’,1
Or wouldn’. “I ‘spec2
It’s the dialec’,”
Says Kitty, “and I’ll spake for him.”
“Jean myghin orrim!”3
Says Saul, — “You’ve larnt very quick.
1. Could not.
3. Manx = Lord, have mercy upon us!
So then she began, —
And me standin starin at the man
With all my eyes, —
And a dacent size
But a rap
Of his lingo! — but aw! poor soul!
He looked like death, and no wonder, the cowl1
And the damp,
For all she was feedin him reggilar,
Like a baby there —
Like a baby, and as thin as a lat’,2
For, to spake of his body, and that,
He was worse than a tramp —
And a tramp, when he’s done,
Is a terbil thing for to look upon
(My gough!3 the lean!) —
And his face all grey, and grizzled, and green,
And nearly all eyes — and the eyes all glassy,
And glazin lek, and, Lord, ha’ massy!4
His jaw was all drabbin,
Like a man’s that’s just died,
Afore it’s tied
Up with a string,
Or the lek — d’ye see the thing?
And, by gough! I’ll swear
The half of him was hair —
3. Good gracious!
4. Have mercy!
5. Dripping and slopping.
Wantin washin terbil — yis!
‘Deed1 it wouldn’ ha’ been amiss,
If, besides bringin his victuals to ‘m,
She’d tuk some soap, and a brush and comb,
And titivated him a little — but darn’,2
And ‘d thought o’ the barn,
But no use —
Stuck to the Slock like the very deuce,
Bein freckened, you know, for all the kind,3
And hardly in his right mind,
With the4 starved and the hunted —
And a surt of5 grunted
Somethin about his freedom, his freedom!
Aye, — so all she cud do was to feed him,
And keep him alive, and just a bit warm,
Till such times as this divil could be persuaded
To come to the farm;
And no harm,
Nor no danger,
Would happen him there, no matter6 the stranger;
Though it must be conceded
He was a despard sobjec’7 —
I mane — objec’.
2. Dared not.
3. Although treated with such kindness.
4. With being so.
6. Although he was a.
And she’d tried him hard, and Would he go
Over to the farm? and “No, no, no!”
That was all she could get —
And “Let me tell them,” — and him to1 fret
And carry on, till she had to drop it.
Well, a poppet
He wasn’, nor yet a dandy — what?
But the whole of that
She didn’ tell us
Just then — no, no! and jealous, jealous —
Saul? aye, Saul —
“This won’t do at all,”
He said. “Why didn’ ye spake to me
First thing?” he said. “What’s this sacresy,
This humbuggin and hidin,
This sliddin and slidin,
Who is the fellow?
D___ him yellow
And green and blue!
Has he tould you?
1. And then he began to.
2. = Unintelligible proceedings. In counting for the tipper at the game of tip or tag, the Manx children chant the following doggerel:
“Wonnery, twoery, dickery, davy,
Hollabo, crackabo, tennery, lavy.
Humblin bumblin, twenty-one.”
Who is he? what is he? You know, I guess, —
We’ll have no saycrets here,” he says, —
“Chapter and vess;1 —
Out with it! out with it!
I’ll have no doubt with it.”
“It is a saycret,” then says she,
“And he’s trusted it to me,
And I’ve promised I’ll tell it to nobody.
It’s his saycret, not mine.”
“Very fine! very fine! —
Promised?” says Saul —
“And d___ it all!
(And blast and blow!)
And a nice craythur to be promised to!”
And “He couldn’t force ye — could he? Chat!1
A hurdy-gurdy rubbish like that” —
Dyin too! and promised she had!
Aw, holy Paul!
That was Saul.
1. Chut = tut.
But Kitty didn’ answer a word,
Only you could aisy see
The sthrong she was in her honesty —
In her conscience — stirred, yis, stirred,
And vexed lek enough; but the pure sweet blood
That was in her — stir her the wuss1 ye could,2
And that’s the best —
Never no dhrop of bitterness
In yandher gel. So — “Come!” says I,
“We’ll have him over to the house, and try
What can we do to clane him a bit,
And see if he’s fit
To live with Christian people,” I said,
“Or some haythan naygur forrin-bred,
And nathral dirty — and his hair lookin frizzy,”
I said; “and ye can’t tell well what is he,
Black, or white, or yallow, or green, or blue,
Till he’s washed, and a good wash too.”
2. However much you stirred her.
“Yes,” I says. “All right!” says Saul, and heaves the gun on his shouldher,
Like a souldher.
Him fuss, then the chap, then me and away we swings,
And Kitty all around him just like wings —
Stoopin, cowrin, wrappin, shelterin him,
That was that wake he could hardly stir a limb —
Aye, and studdyin1 him, and houldin him by the arm —
Bless ye! and all the way to the farm,
Yes, from the very minute we come upon him over there,
Who was he lookin at? at me? at Saul Tear, Exqueer,2
That was shoutin at him like a bull of Bas’n?
Was it? no, it wasn’!
It was Kitty he was lookin at — lookin! what’s lookin? good lord!
Devourin, worshippin ‘s more the word.
Like drew to her, like gript to her with graplins —
This craythur — couldn’ take his eye off her —
Not him, like takin his live or die off her.3
3. Depending upon her for life or death.
And so on through the saplins,
And the field, and the hedge, till we come on the street,
And his feet goin strooghin z greatly,
And beat complately,
And his poor body all curled in a hump,
And — “D’ye see yandher pump,”
“Against the wall?
Sthrip!” he says, “and wash!” he says,
“From head to foot,” and heaves him a lump
Of soap —
And Kitty to jump
Like an antelope,
And in on the door —
Well, to be sure!
1. Stroking = trailing.
But the craythur hadn’ the strength of a clout;
So — “Get under the spout!”
Says Saul, “and never mind for your rags —
I’ll pump,” and pumped till the divil fell flat on the flags.
Then out come Nicky-Nick-Nick,
The father? yes, and as quick as quick —
Aw, a hearty ould chap!
And — “Stap!1
Stap!” he says, and lifts the sowl2
Like a shot; and — “Is it washin?” and — “Bring us a bowl;
I’ll wash him,” he says, and turns to
Like a woman with a baby, — and “Ho, ho!”
And “Ha, ha!” and “He, he!
Such a spree!”
Says Nicky; and tervil comfortin
To the craythur, no doubt; and — “See the skin!”
He says — “Look here — the white!
All right! all right!
He’s comin to! this chap ‘ll do —
Hurroo! hurroo! ”
And rubs and rubs,
And scrubs and scrubs,
2. Poor soul.
“Now then, we’re done,”
He says, “my son!
And I declare
It’s a reg’lar beauty you are!
But — mate! mate!”1
He roors —
Mate! mate! where’s the women?”
And his heart was brimmin
With the joy and the fun, and “Hie-cockalorum!”
And shovin this poor thing before him,
That was trimblin very much,
And made a clutch
To see could he keep his trowsis2 on,
And all but gone —
But Misthriss Tear
Met them theer;
And says she, “What’s this,
She says —
“Is it dacency?”
And surely he might have ast1 her!
But he made a run, and got past her,
And had the chap on the settle
Close to the big kettle
Afore she could wink;
And him to sink
All of a heap there,
Lek goin to sleep there,
Or faintin or somethin — and Nicky to go
And catch the wife around the wais’.
And looks up in her face —
The little monkey —just so —
And smiled and smiled, till she could hardly chose
But smile herself, and slacked the screws
Of her mouth a bit; and then he kissed her,
At laste, missed her,
But done his best, bein small,
And her tall.
And then she said, “No foolishness!”
But — “Let the craythur stay,” she says.
Aw, the joy of Nicky! and caught a gel,1
And spun her round till she nearly fell;
But the misthriss frowned — but Nicky looked middlin
‘Larmed;2 and Kitty with the cups and saucers fiddlin,
And tay for this chap, bein understood
The best for him, lek3 it wouldn’ be good —
Lek nothing more substantialler
Wouldn’ do for the like — aw, they wouldn’ dar!4
And Kitty fed him, houldin the cup
Agin5 his mouth for him to sup,
And moppin the drabs6 with a towel at7 her;
And he tried to spake, but — chitter-chatter!
The teeth and the tongue, and nothin clear.
So when he was fed, we studied8 him theer
Upon his feet;
And out on the sthreet,9
And up on the laff10
Over the stable, and a tickin11 of chaff,
And blankets and piller —
Bless ye! couldn’ ha’ been comfibiller.
3. As if = on the ground that = because.
7. Having a towel.
9. Pavement at the door of a house.
And Nicky head man, and would hardly lave him,
Rejicin, ye know, and Kitty gave him
Her hand to hould for a little bit,
The same’s a baby ‘ll1 hould his mammy’s.
But Saul began with his “blow me’s,” and “d___ me’s “;
And so we quit;
And just on the step
Goin in says Saul to his mother,
“There ‘ll be bother
About that chap!”
That was all! that was all!
Just like Saul! just like Saul!
“But how about the dialogue —
Dialed is it? lek a pessin1 in grog” —
Says Nicky then —
Craw, craw —
For all the world like a jackdaw —
And Kitty’s understandin him, eh?
Kitty, Kitty, what does he say?
Here ‘s Saul declaim you can tarprit4 him clever:
Tarprit, tarprit, Kitty! whoever!”5
Not a word from Kitty, not her.
And the ould chap prittin and pratin
Fit for to frecken7 the crows.
So, I suppose,
That’s the raison ould Nicky was plannin
For me to spake to him —
Me that was understannin
Most lingoes, of coorse, and seemin to take to him
Kind rather — aw, Nicky thought of it
All night, I tell ye, and the how and the what of it,
And nudgin the misthriss that she couldn’ get a wink —
And think and think and think and think.
And — “Tom Baynes,” he says, “Tom Baynes will do’t” —
“Aisy, ye brute!”
Says Misthriss Tear —
Wasn’ he tellin us theer?
Aw, a rum ould boy,
If ever there was, and bound to try;
And up -very early, and called me to come,
And “have it out with this fee-fo-fum.”
3. Onomatopoetic attempts to imitate the “dialec’.”
5. Expletive of delight: q.d., Who ever saw such fun?”
6. St. Christopher, a mere expletive.
7. Enough to frighten.
But the poor thing was asleep when we come on the laff,1
So we waited a bit —
And ould Nicky whisp’rin agate of2 his chaff,
“Do ye think he ‘s a Turk?” says Nicky to me,
“Or a Jew? or some surt of a Feejee —
Or a Moabite,
Or a Perizzite —
Look here!” he says,
“Chapthar and vess!”3
“He’s a Welshman,” says Nick —
“A Welshman! a Welshman! that’s the stick!
You ‘re done, Tom, you ‘re done!” he says —
. . . “How ‘s this
It’s goin? aw, Tom, crid nish!4
You’ll never make out his gibberish —
Welsh, for a shillin!” Then he woke,
And looked about him, and then I spoke.
2. Intent upon.
3. I can give you chapter and verse for it = I am certain.
4. What, or how now?
“How are ye this mornin?” says I; says he —
Wimmell, wammell” —
Couldn’ make out a word, I’ll sweer2 —
“Welsh, for a shillin!” says Nicky Tear;
“Welsh, for a shillin!” Then I tried him in French —
“Howee dooee dissee mavvnin?”
But there wasn’ no sign; when in comes this wench,
Kitty, you know, like a rose of the dawn in —
Aw, ‘deed3 she was; and — “Spake to him, Kitty!”
Says the father —
Is that it, eh? Tom is failin rather —
He knows a dale, but he don’t know enough —
And sailors, you know, is very rough.”
1. The “dialec’ ” very imperfectly represented.
I was middlin mad;1 but Kitty stooped
Over the piller, and the craythur scooped2
His eyes in scollops — you never saw —
And the two of them they worked the jaw
Like the mischief. English? English, no doubt,
Bat English turnin inside out —
My gough! the English! “What is he say in?”
Says Nicky. “What, what, what, what? spake plain!”
Aw, you couldn’ hould him!3
“Spake plain now! tarprit!”4 So she tould him,
But still I suspect
She only tould him what she lekt.5
Why, here was these two
With their parlee-voo;
And no thanks to you,
And no thanks to me,
They could talk to all eternity —
And nobody knowin what they were talkin —
Aw, it was shockin!
1. Rather angry.
2. Opened his eyes until they looked as big and as round as the shell-fish called the scollop.
3. You could not restrain his impetuosity.
But Nicky didn’ care a scrap,
He tuk a notion to the chap —
Aw, bless ye! he was just the sort,
And not heedin for ‘t 1
But Kitty was tellin him every word —
“It’s a dialec’,” says Nicky theer,
“A dialec’,” says Nicholas Tear —
“A dialec’ — of coorse they will —2
These dialec’s is terrible.”
And rejicin. And Saul, and the mother — eh?
Well, of coorse, Saul
Was off to say,3
And me too; so that’s all
You ‘ll get this haul.
1. Not observing but that.
2. People will talk in dialects.
JUST two years after, being home again,
I went to see them at the Sherragh Vane.
But Saul was away, when I got there fuss,1
Bein second mate of the Arquebus
That vi’ge,2 and me aboord of the Hound,
Captain Forster, China bound —
Long vi’ges them days, despard,3 aye!
But home at last, and up for a try
At the harvest theer, and a moonlight night,
And met ould Nicky, that was all right,
And as hearty as ever. And — “See yandher barley!”
And see this, and see that; and ” Agate of it4 early
“To-morrow,” he says. And up through the goss,5
And up the gill — the delighted he was
And the hot, and his head goin bibbin and bobbin,
And a chirpin there little an ould cock-robin.
4. We shall be going at it.
“And how is yandher card?”
Says I; “is he here with you still?” “Hould hard!
Aisy! aisy!” says Nicky Tear —
And, lo and behould! the two of them theer
Quite close, and walkin very slow
On the top of the rocks; and the moon like snow
Upon her head and upon her neck,
And no bonnet nor nothin, and never a speck
Of cloud nowhere, and her face turned full
To the moon that was risin over Barrule —
And the look — by gum! love’s brew’s a-brew’n
When a gel looks like that in the harvest moon —
Special1 coortin — and coortin it was —
That’s what I said to Nicholas.
“Them two is coortin!” I said. “They’ve got
My leave,” says he. “Why not? why not?
Why not?” says Nicky. And then he tould
All about it — aw, a hearty ould sowl!
And this chap he was callin him Ned d’ye see?
Ned — and shuited him to a tee, —
Ned — nothin else — he wouldn’ tell them
What else was he callin; but, all the same,
A fuss-rate sarvant, ‘deed for sure!2
And the way he larned, and clever thallure!3
And a grand head arrim;4 and the strong he’d got —
Aw, bless ye! shuited him to a dot —
And ploughin and sowin, and buyin and sellin,
And cypherin theer, there wasn’ no tellin
The useful; and handy with cattle and sheep,
And all about breedin,
And “shockin5 for readin;
And costin me nothin but his keep,”
Says Nick; and the clanest chap and the nicest,
And civil; and knowin all about prices;
“And study6 uncommon, uncommon!” says Nick.
1. Especially in a case of.
2. Indeed he certainly was.
3. Enough (like Italian assai) = very.
4. At him = belonging to him.
“And how about the dialec’?”
Says I. “Aw, bless your mammy then!
He’s talkin just like other men
Now,” says Nick; “but still they can slant
Into that, you know, whenever they want —
Them two — aw, yes! remindin me —
My gough!” says Nicky, “look here! the spree!”
He says, and he laughed; and then he stopped
Quite sudden, you know, lek freckened,1 and dropped
His merry ould vice. And says he, “Aw dear!
The happy if it wasn’ for Mrs. Tear —
The happy!” “And is she agin2 it?” I said.
“Agin it? Agin it? Thomas, good lad.”
And then he tould me all the jeel3
And the work there’d been — Like steel! like steel!
He said, she was — the sharp and the hard,
And the keen and the could4 — but he didn’ regard;5
And he’d have his way; and he shook the fiss,6
And he stamped the foot. “Never mind,” he says.
And then he saw these two was turned
To meet us; and then this Nicky yearned
To the happiness; and all his trouble
Was gone like a whiff of smook, like a bubble,
That busts in the air, and — “See, see, see I
See the beautiful! the grand!
Hand in hand —
Aw, ye darlins!” he says, “it’s splandid —
Coort on! coort on!”
And he thrimbled, the man did, —
Thrimbled — and then he splains 8
Who had he with him; and “Thomas Baynes,”
He says, “you’re knowin Thomas, it’s lek;
He’s not forgot at9 you, eh?”
And “Hip-hip-hip! hooraa!”
1. As if frightened.
7. “My heart!” a term of endearment.
Did she start? did she blush? did she turn away?
Like a fir,
Was she right,
Was she wrong,
Not a notion;1
But a motion
Of her head —
Aw, a queen
She might ha’ been —
And her hand held out as free.
And “Welcome home!”
And, turnin to ‘m,
“This is Ned,”
1. She had no notion = she never thought.
And Nicky was right; aw, a handsome falla!
He’d got rid of the black and the green and the yalla;
And he stood like a man —
“Ned what?” I began.
But the finger to her lip,
And the father took a grip
On my arm middlin tight,
And says I, “All right!”
And on and passed them; and says Nicky to me,
“There’s nobody knowin the name,” says he,
“Except herself, that’s tould,1 no doubt;
But tell a livin sowl? gerr out!2
Tell me! No, no! she’s not such a fool:
I couldn’ keep it for silver nor gool —
It isn’ in me — saycrets — chut!3
Let them that likes them keep them — but —
Aye, aye! the mother — aw, never fail!
1. Who has been told.
2. Get out! = certainly not!
And — a craythur like yandher,
And not even a name to his tail —
And the goose and the gandher
I was, and the low and demaynin —
Aye, and the wicked and sinful — and would I be deignin
To take such a thing for my son-in-law? dirt! just dirt!
From the road, she said; and the hurt! the hurt
Her friends would be, she was sayin, the Gicks, aye the Gicks —
The Gicks of Kirk Bride! the hurt, the insulted; six,
She said, six daughters, all married on1 farmers, the fuss2
Of the country, she said, ”but her — aw dear! aw dear!
The wife of Nicholas Tear —
And her heart would buss. 2
And what would the daughter be callin? what?
Mrs. Neddy — eh? aye, Neddies enough for the matter of that —
And well if people ‘d keep to their station —
And Neddies and dunkeys and dirts3 and desperation!”
4. Dirty = contemptible creatures.
That’s the way Nicky tould me — dreadful bother!
But, some way or another,
She’d got very quite1 of late —
Very, he said; and we come to the gate —
And — “Kitty has got some life2
Now,” he says; “and a splandid wife
She’ll make,” says Nicky; and — doubts? no, he heddin!3
And — “We’ll have the weddin
Directly,” he says — yes, blow ‘m!
Directly Saul comes home —
“Saul! Saul!” thinks I;
“Is it Saul? Well, never say die!”
2. Ease or comfort.
3. Had not.
So in I goes; and the misthriss gracious thallure,1
But silent, terbil silent, to be sure!
And her mouth like a vice, like a rivet,
Like houldin on,
Like waitin — look out, my son!
That’s the surt ‘ll give it —
All or none!
1. Enough = very.
And that night, when the gel come in,
The nice this Neddie was, and the careful too —
Urrov1 him once, and Kitty as quite2 as quite,
And readin, and not much of a light,
Some surt of a track,3
I doubt, and threw her head back,
And looked like she’d look into heaven; and me
That tould them of Saul, and how long he would be;
And the mother’s eye — just a snip, just a snap,
Just a — bless your sowl! and the dhrap4
Of the thread on her lap —
Aw, aisy enough to see! aw, bless the woman!
Skaddhin5 or skate —
Wait, then, wait!
Saul was comin.
1. Out of = on his part.
5. Herring or skate = no matter what.
And Saul came —
Fire and flame!
This chap, and coortin Kitty Tear,
Carryin everything before him theer,
Cock of the walk?
By the Lord, he’d balk
The beggar, he said;
He’d know his name, and how he was born, and how he was bred —
But he’d have to pack from the Sherragh Vane
In quick sticks.
And — “You’re my friend,
Tom Baynes,” he says. “All right!
And we’ll have it out with him this very night.”
So I didn’ let on1 what Nicky had said —
What was the use?
And sure enough, when we went to bed
In the garret,
He went arrit2
Like the deuce —
Aw, the whole bilin!
By gough! I saw the mother smilin
When he kissed her;
And the smile was half a smile and half a blister.
2. At it.
But any way she had her desire,
And the fat was in the fire —
Up in that garret — goodness! the row!
And where, and how,
And when, and who?
And the ould gentleman’s own hollabaloo!
Questions! questions! aw, the brewer’s big pan1 o’ them,
And never waitin for an answer to one o’ them.
1 Large quantity (expression used in the Anglo-Manx song of “We’ll hunt the wren”).
And — “What’s your name?” he said,
And struck the bed
“I’ll tell you what it is, I’m suspicious
You’re one of these runagate scamps
The coun-thry, and’s come to some grief
With the police,” says Paul; “a thief,
A thief,” he says, “that’s what ye are;
A thief, I’ll swar.1
And the likes o’ you don’ dar2
Have a name;
And so you came
To the Isle of Man.”
Bless me! how the tongue of him ran!
2. Don’t dare.
But this chap was patient though, and the quite1 ye never seen,2
Quite3 uncommon; for it’s mad enough he must ha’ been
To bear such abuse.
Saul!” I says, “I don’t regard4
For vagabones,” I says, “no more till5 you — no, not a rap;
But still this chap is seemin a dacent chap;
And he’s worked faithful on the farm, and you’ve
heard the old man praisin
This Ned, for the honest and the skilful; and no doubt there’s a rayson
Why he can’t be tellin his name, no doubt;
And the truth ‘ll come out
Some day,” I says, “and there’ll be no disgrace in,6
Not a bit of it,” I says; “just hidlins7 lek,
Hidlins — the way8 there’s plenty, I expec’ —
Aye, plenty, and honest chaps enough, and can’t help it.”
2. You never saw such quietness.
6. In = in existence, superfluous adverb.
7. Hiding = any outlaw, fugitive from justice, or even retire from the world only is said to be “in hidlins.”
Aw, he reg’lar yelpit,1
Did Saul; and me to be takin his part!
And the two of us would start
The very next morning — aye, start! he said —
“Not me,” says Ned;
“I’m your father’s servant, and not yours.”
And he shouts and he roors,
This Saul, like all the bulls of Bashan —
“Then what’s your name, and what’s your nation?
And what the this and the that are ye manin?
Is there to be no complainin,
But just for you and Kitty to go
And get spliced? and no more about it? ”
And God d___ him! did he know
There must be a stiffcate,2 and a license, and how’d he get them
Without a name?
Hit or miss,
He’d have an end of this —
“You dirt,” he said, “you common scrub!
You beggar’s cub!
You’ll be slopin from here, that’s what you’ll be do’n,
And precious soon.”
Then says Ned, very patient, but his eyes all aflame —
“What would hinder me to take a name,
A false name? d’ye hear?
And marry your sister, Saul Tear,
In that name? What would hinder me, eh?
To do that, if I’m all the villains you say? ”
“False name, false marriage — sartinly!
What’d hinder him? what’d hinder him?” says I.
Steel and tinder!
Tyre and Sidon!
Saul was blazin!
Foamin! “The raison!
The raison,” he says,
“Your name’s goin a-hidin?”1
1. = is a-hiding: going is superfluous, but almost universally used in such constructions.
“That’s my business,” says Ned, quite firm.
“So it is,” says I; for he wasn’ no worm,
I seen, this Ned, nor no weasle, nor no funk,
But tuk his part like a lad of spunk,
But patient — cool — not a mossil1 flurried2 —
So I backed him, I did — “We don’t mean to be married,”
Says Ned, “all the same,
Till I can claim
My own name,
And hould up my head
In the sight of God and man,” says Ned.
“And no more you will,” says I,
“And never say die!
And fair field and no favour!
And braver! braver!”3
1. Morsel, bit.
3. Bravo! (a reminiscence of some Liverpool theatre.)
Saul was chokin;
And no more was spoken
That night. And, bless ye! next day,
When we’d supped our porridge, and a taste of tay
At1 the women — aye — and out on2 the work,
This ould Turk,
This Nicky Tear,
Up with him theer,
And what d’ye think?
In a clap, in a twink,
Makes the two of them stand
Right out on the floor —
Aye, to be sure!
Ned and Kitty, and hand in hand —
Made them take hands,
And there they stands.
1. Had been taken by.
2. When we were just going out to.
And then says Nicky — “Take witness,” he says,
“Thomas Baynes, and all the rest,
Friends lek in general, — take witness,” says lie,
“These two is engaged to be married, and married they’ll be,”
And gave a nod —
“Married they’ll be, so help me God!”
He said it as sharp as a knife;
But his face bust a1 smilin directly, and up’s2 to the wife,
And kisses her theer,
All stiff in her cheer,3
That said nothin,
But turnin the tip of her ear,
Like a stone, like a slate — very tryin!
But Saul gev a leap like a lion —
I thought there’d been bother,
But stopped at a look from the mother.
1. Burst into.
2. Goes up to.
So out to the shearin,1 the lot2 —
And a beautiful spot —
Very nice it’s appearin,
Like reg’lar up in the sky —
And the chimley smookin
Below, and all that blue and curled,
And just like lookin —
Lookin — lookin all over the world.
Very nice in them places;
And whips off my braces —
Nicky’s rig3 though — Nicky and me,
For ‘ciety4 —
Would hev it!
And as right as a trevit5 —
Nicky to shear, and me to bind —
But Saul stayed behind —
Aye, the best of an hour,
Did Saul; and the misthress? well, she stayed too —
But — of coorse, of coorse! — a power6 to do
In a house like yandher.
Then Nicky tould
All the throuble of his sow —
“How is it,” he said, “they’re doin it —
The women, eh? for they’ll sit and sit,
And sew and sew, and never let on,7
But they’ll watch their chance, they’ll watch, my son,
And they’ll have ye, they’ll have ye! yis, the wife of your bosom!
Or should be — what? aw, the Lord knows ‘m —
The Lord knows ‘m, but I don’.8
Not a word, not the smallest taste of a groan —
But all on the look, on the feel, on the spring,
On the hair-trigger — that’s the thing.
Yis, even at night — aw dear! aw dear!
Like a barrel of powder in the bed with ye theer.”
2. All of us.
3. Division of the field assigned to.
4. Society = company.
6. (She had) a great deal.
7. Betray themselves.
“But you spoke very plain to her this mornin,”
Says I, “very bould, very plucky, like scornin
All oppogician,” I says. “Lay high! 1
That’s your road, Mr. Tear,” says I —
“Stick to that — keep her at that —
Hould your luff2 — you’ll beat her yet —
Yis, you will! You’re a man with a sperrit;
Keep your eye on the thing, and you’ll gerr it3 —
You’ll gerr it,” I says. “But, Saul,” says he,
“Didn’ ye see?
He’s against it too —
It’ll never do.
Fit to ate4 me directly I spoke —
Ye seen him! hearts of oak —
Is it? iron’d5 be more lek6 it —
Allis kickin up a dust —
And didn’ take to him from the fuss.”7
And “Ye seen him, Saul?” and I nodded — Machree! 8
“The two of them! that’s too many for me.
Aw, yes it is — I can make a row,
And shout and defy — aw that I’ll allow —
Any thing hearty, anything free —
Cussin, tearin9 — that’s me! that’s me!
But saycrets — schaemin10 — plannin — rot me!
No, no! they’ve got me there! they’ve got me —
No chance at all — I don’t know how to fix them,
Not a hayporth; there’s somethin betwix’ them
This very minute, I know there is.”
“Have your way with them,” I says.
“Have your way with them; chut!11 chut!
You’ll aisy do it.” “No, I’ll not,”
Says Nicky, and gettin rather hot —
In temper, I mean.
And “Look here!” he says,
“It’s ill-becomin to spake amiss
Of one’s own wife; but, if you’ll considher,
It isn’ azackly12 that ither13 —
No, it isn’ it’s difference lek
Of people — we’re not the one speck,
Nor the one spot, nor the one hide14 —
Me from the mountains, her from Kirk Bride.
Lek15 here the air is keen and quick,
And there the air is slow and thick.
And there the soil is heavy stuff,
And here the soil is only a scruff.
So there they’re all for calkerlatin,
Schaemin, dodgin, workin the patin16 —
Manure? aye — proud tremenjis,
Proud, man, proud, not willin of17 strenjis18 —
Dailin with them — sartinly —
In business lek accordantly; 19
But likin them? no! just jallus,20 jallus!
No, I wouldn’ call it malice —
But nothin friendly, nothin gennal21 —
And me — my gough! I’d like to spen’ all
My life with the like, lek standin on a rock,
Lek crowin to them like a cock —
‘Come up! come up! and how d’ye do to ye?
And cock-a-doodle-doodle-doo to ye!
I don’t disregard ye, and I don’t fear ye;
But I like to see ye, and I like to hear ye.’
Strange talk, of course, but pleasant to me —
‘Ooze is this aoose?’22 and fiddlededee —
Not comin often, nor never knowin
Who are they at all, just comin and goin
And23 steep, ye know, and a middlin pull,
And24 longin for them pitiful —
The talk and all that differing —
Do ye see the thing? do ye see the thing?
And Mrs. Tear — that’s knowin a dale
About the lek: and used of25 a sale
Of stock ev’ry year — and reg’lar raps —
Aw, sartinly — these Whitehaven chaps26
At the Ballagick, and imprin27 amazin,
And thricks and lies; so that’s the raison —
Aw, sartinly. But lonesome here —
Lonesome enough. So Mrs. Tear
Has got her notions. But me — my gough!
If I’m only hearin one of them cough —
The change, eh? — and I don’t know is it right,
But I’m over the hedge, and agate o’ them28 straight.
Newance29 — yis — but natheral,
Isn’ it? But Saul — aye Saul,
Saul and the mother — suspicious, eh?
Suspicious lek a body might say30 —
Suspicious, Mrs. Tear and Saul;
But me! aw, bless ye! not at all.”
1. Take the high hand.
2. Sail close to the wind.
3. Get it.
4. He was ready to eat.
5. Iron would.
8. “My heart!” Here used as an interjection of sorrow.
9. Doing something uproarious.
14. Speck, spot, and hide = metaphor from skins of animals as showing marks of difference.
15. For example.
16. Using patent manure.
19. In accordance with their business as farmers.
22. Whose is this house? [mimicking the English (!) accent].
23. The way up to the farm is.
24. And I am.
25. Accustomed at Ballagick, her father’s place, to have a sale of stock.
28. Get into conversation with.
30. As one might say.
And then he tould me the splendid
He was, till I thought he’d never ended —
Fuss-rate, he said, the jography,
The this and that, and as free as free,
And cipherin lek, and good at the pen,
But tould me before, and where and when
And who — and still for all no harm —
Couldn’ be beat on a mountain farm —
And got that ‘cited that he swore and swore
It’s Kitty he should have; and the more
‘Cited he got, the quicker he cut,
Till I hardly could bind for him — foot for foot,
Sheaf for sheaf, and a clip and a toss —
Aw, a ‘citable ould chap he was!
But, just lavin off, says Nicky to me —
“We’ll see,” he says, “we’ll see, we’ll see!
Maybe two against two,” he says;
“There’s no mistake about you,” he says.
“All right! all right!
We’ll see to-night.
I’ll have a talk with her, you’ll be bound1 —
Jinny Clague, from Kirk Marown —
Kitty’s cousin,” he says. “She’s comin
To-night,” he says; “and I’m a rum ‘n2
If I don’t get her to take my side —
They’re terbil high, them ones at Kirk Bride.
Jinny, Jinny! that’s it!
Wait a bit!
You’ll see, Thomas — I’ll bet a cow!
But mind you’ll be civil to her now —
Civil, civil —” “That’s aisy done,”
Says I. “All right! all right, my son!
All right; but rather fond of Saul,
That’ll be like a wall
Against me.” “Never mind!” says I;
“We can only try.
Is she nice-lookin, Mr. Tear?”
“Wait till ye see her,”
Says Nicky; and gettin rather late —
“Aw well, I’ll wait,” I says, “I’ll wait;
Waitin’s no crime.”
1. For a certainty.
2. Rum one.
So Jinny come about supper time.
She was rather squinny,1
Was Jinny —
Cross-eyed — just so —
And, whether or no,
Rather blackavised —
Aw, ‘deed she was; but a bright little sthuggher2
This Jenny — sharpish, wantin shugger,3
It’s likely — aw, wantin shugger, no doubt —
But a reg’lar whiskin turn-about
Of a thing — like spinnin — like a tee-to-tum —
Finger and thumb —
And the eye not so bad, like a keyhole rather —
But, the holy father!
The fire that came out of it — black, black, black —
Skutes5 of fire.
2. Thick-set person.
4. Some notion of symmetry and nattiness is conveyed by these words.
5. Squirts, jets.
Aw, a bright little tight little wobbler,1
And carried her own little box like a hobbler,2
And put it down on the floor. And then
At it the two of them went like sin —
At who? at what? Why, these two madarims —
Runnin in one another’s arms —
It’s a way they have, I don’t know the why,
But they must, I suppose, and ye’ll see them fly —
My gough, the fly! and looks like escapin,
Like takin refuge from the men, that’s gapin
As awkward theer, and never no notion3
To touch them — what? But such a commotion!
Such a twitter! aw, never belave me!
And clings to each other like — “Save me! save me!”
Or is it —”Ah! ye dar’n’!4 ye dar’n’!
Freckened5 of ye? no we ar’n’ —
And how would ye like to be like this?”
And kiss, and kiss, and kiss, and kiss —
But bless them!
1. Brisk person.
3. The men have no idea of touching them.
4. Dare not.
So there they sat and sat,
All twisted together like a plat,1
Till bed-time; and out and up to their room
Twisted still, like a surt of a bloom
Of a double flower,
“In a bower,
After a shower” —
At laste, . . . I mean. . . .
But, bill and coo —
This went on for a day or two —
And then I noticed that Jinny,
Of her eye
Knew well where to fly —
As the sun’s own light —
Aw, the divil and all!
Never off Saul, never off Saul.
And then this little game began-
Here’s the plan —
Saul lettin on1
He was gettin fond
Of Jinny, that never cared a rap for her,
Never a scrap for her;
But what for? You’ll hear, you’ll hear!
Two-and-two was the game to act —
Kitty and Ned on the one tack,
And Jinny and Saul — of coorse they went —
Aw, it wasn’ much encouragement
Jinny wanted. Bless ye! she gorras2
Happy as happy — all cares and sorras3
Was off to Guinea;
She didn’ think of the when and the why —
Reg’lar up in heaven was Jinny —
Her and her eye!
2. Got as.
But I shouldn’ be makin fun
Of the poor sowl.
Once they’re begun,
How can ye conthroul
These despard feelins? I don’t know.
It’s hard anyway, and very hard
For them that’s squintin; for they don’t regard
For nothin nor nobody, nor never thinkin —
They’re that driven —
But works the eye away like winkin.
Of coorse, what else? Isn’ it given
For that? It’s out of the eye
That love lets fly
His arrows — lookee!
And if they shoot crooky —
I raelly don’t know —
It’s the fault of the bow,
Maybe; but still,
Perhaps, when you shoots with a will,
With strength and might,
It’ll straighten the flight.
Or, like enough, a dale depands
On the way they’re tuk;1 like candle ends,
They’re better till nothin; but I’d rather a lamp —
But light is light —
Lek makin believe they’re all right —
The little scamp.
So bless the woman!
Her and Saul got on uncommon.
And the ould chap tried, aw, he tried hard,
In the house, in the yard,
In the field, everywhere —
Tried a surt of a coortin there —
A surt, but tervil ould-fashioned, ye know —
Ould-fashioned, ould-fashioned! aw, a bit of a beau
In his time, no doubt, but differin
With young people. Aye, a chuck o’ the chin;
Slips his arm round her waist, whips her up on his knee;
Sings tribble,1 and rather makin free;
Looks at Saul, looks at me, gives one of his winks,
And you never heard the compliminks!2
2. You never heard such compliments.
But no good, not a bit, only apt to provoke
The misthriss to fancy; but saw through the joke —
Did the misthriss — aye, and knew very well
What was he afthar, and aisy to tell.
So the misthriss took all as pleasant as pleasant,
Only like thinkin it right to be present;
Aw, yis,1 — just the way lek2 she’d studied the plan3
Of a sensible wife with a foolish ould man,
And young gels about.
2. Just as if.
3. The best way for a wife to deal.
And we’d all of us go
Of an ev’rin1 and sit on the settle
In the little bit of a garden they had,
Each lass with her lad;
And the poor ould dad
Lek stung with a nettle,
That he couldn’ keep quite2 —
Like a chap that was tight —
And gettin up a laugh,
And a bit of chaff,
And as well in his bed;
And nobody mindin what was it he said,
Except me, for I pitied the poor ould file;
And maybe the misthriss ‘d give a smile.
But it got that sweet betwix Jinny and Saul,
At last, that there wasn’ no call
For any of us to interfere;
And we’d be sittin theer,
And them two crept away
Somewhere in the hay,
Or goodness knows —
And these others ‘d stray
Out on the hill
And the misthriss into the house,
And Nicky as quite as a mouse —
Only a sigh — and — “Thomas, my pickaninny,
We must do without Jinny.”
1. As peaceably as could be.
And then I’d turn to, and whistle and whistle.
No trees, not so big as a thistle,
Up yandher, not even a bush,
That’d shalthar1 a thrush
Or a blackbird or that, not even a thorn nor a thrammon2 —
No. And plovers, of coorse, is common
Enough, and curlews; but them things,
If they sings,
It’s as much3 — very far, very wild,
Like for a child,
Lek lost on the hills. “Lost! lost!” they’re callin,
When the night is fallin,
And the wind is fair for them —
Well, I don’t care for them.
So, ye see, no wood,
So I done what I could —
Whistled and whistled, I’ll be bail;
And thought a dale — thought a dale.
3. It’s as much as they do = it’s barely singing.
So at last the night of the melya1 arrived;
And that very night this Jinny contrived,
By coaxin and dodgin, by this and by that,
By laughin and cryin, and the divil knows what,
To get the name — aw, wrong of them both!
But still, for all her Bible-oath,
Not a word to a sowl; and longin to tell,
To some gel,
The name — the name she loved so well.
Aw, poor Kitty! — there’s never no knowin —
Ye don’t see it? Well, lave it alone!
I was only statin you’re very ann’yin;2 —
Statin isn’ justify in.
Jinny had only the one notion —
To plaise her Saul, and get him to love her —
Aw, it’s the land of Goshen
She thought she was goin to be in that night,
Or heaven itself, I wouldn’ thrus’3
Hers, hers, hers — he muss!4 he muss!
3.Would not trust = I’m pretty certain.
But, as far as I can discover,
It’s little joy or delight
She got — no, no!
Expectin though —
Expected sartin; thought she would bind him
To her heart for ever. Slippin behind him,
I saw her, I saw her — slipt like a snake
To his ear, and a whisper — “Edward Blake ” —
The chap’s name. Hear I cuddn’1
But it must ha’ been that — she done it that sudden.
But the sudd’ner2 she done it, the sudd’ner Saul
Gave a leap to the door,
And her after him straight; but no use for to call
Nor to run;
He was off like the shot from a gun;
And she spent the night cryin far out on the moor.
1. Could not.
2. However suddenly.
And where was he then?
Wait, wait, my men!
One thing I’ll tell ye —
I’ll just be that bould1 —
From the night of that melya
Nither her nor me, nor a sowl
At the Sherragh Vane,
Ever saw Saul again —
Ever, ever — aw, lave it to me!
You’ll see! you’ll see!
1. Take the liberty.
The melya was over, and all gone away,
And everythin silent, except Nicky snorin —
And snore he did till he shuk the floorin —
So at break of day
I tuk my bundle, and started for Ramsey to catch
The Liverpool steamer; and just where a patch
Of fine red ling runs out to the brew1 —
Behould ye Jinny!
Runnin to meet me too —
Runnin to meet me, thought I was Saul she had,
But she swealed2 like mad —
Swealed urrov 3 her like a ghost —
And I stood like a post,
And stared, and I said —
“Are ye wrong in your head?
I doubt you done some mischief to-night,
Ye nasty thing!”
So she picked a bit of the ling,
And tried to look careless, and tuk to the right,
And me to the left, and tuk the fence,
And never seen her sence.4
3. Out of.
4. 1 Since.
No — for, I’ll tell ye, this
Was Saturday mornin. On the Wednesday,
When we were at say
Me oh my ship, and Saul on his,
Comes every policeman they had in Ramsey — aye —
To the Sherragh Vane — aw, never say die!
Billy-Bill-Sil, and Tom — Juan — Sam — Harry — Phaul,
And Dicky-Uick-beg — Dick — Bob, and Lace Clucas and all.
Lace — you’ll mind — Lace
Mortal big round the waist
Shuperintendin-Inspector, or somethin o’ that surt — bless ye!
And “Edward Blake, I arrest ye
In the Queen’s name,” and whereas, and a jag1 and a jumble,
And — mumble, mumble, mumble.2
1. Probably jargon.
2. Imperfect recollections of legal phraseology.
And he gave in at wance1 —
That was the sanse2 —
Gave in; and “I’m ready to go
With you now, if I must.” But — blast I and blow!
And God d___! and “What’s this?”
And quivers the fiss3 —
Poor Nicky, you know —
But soon as make4
As a lamb at5 Blake —
The way, you see, he trusted the chap.
And Kitty? cryin? not a scrap —
Aw, a wife for a man, and no mistake.
Yes; she kissed him, kissed him dear —
Tuk and kissed him theer:
But no sterricks,6 I’m tould, no nisin,7 no bother —
Just a look at the mother,
Just a couple of momen’s,8
And these words
From her mouth, from her eyes, from the woman all over,
“Edward Blake is my lover,
My love, my life;
And I’ll be his wife,
Or I’ll never be no man’s,”
That was all —
Just that, and away she goes,
To get ready his clothes.
And what was the row
That Blake was in?
I’ll tell you now —
You don’t remember; but still
There’s some of you won’t, and some of you will —
Them that don’t want the Queen for their missus —
Five pints10 what d’ye call it? —
Manward sufferings, 11 vote by ballot —
A pasil12 of d___ nonsense, no doubt —
Of coorse, of coorse! and all gone out
Long before now. But the young
This Blake was then he was tuk13 with the tongue
Of these swagg’rin scoundhrils that get on a tub
To be sure —
And the people dyin for want of grub,
And ready for anything: and Blake
Turned out with the rest; for he wouldn’ forsake
The Cause, as he called it. And any ould gun,
Or pistol, or pitchfork, and off they run
To the commons14 there, and stood to their arms
2. Showed his sense.
5. In the hands; through the interposition of.
10. The five points of the Charter.
11. Probably “Manhood Suffrage.”
But the souldiers come
With sword and drum;
And a terbil fight, and thousands kilt —
Long thousands! and the blood that was spilt
Most terbil, I’m tould;
And hardly a sowl
Blake didn’ tell me — no;
I’ve heard it from others, though.
Treminjis slaughter, and the lot of them scattered —aw, facks!1
So Blake made tracks
For the Cumberland mountains; and at Ravenglass
He got aboord one of these smacks,
Or a mackarel boat, or a lugger it was —
Handy anyway, and terbil willin,2
And landed him at Maughold Head,
And of coorse without a shillin —
Without a penny.
1. It’s a fact.
2. Very willing to take him on board.
The rascal, you said?
At Maughold Head, at Maughold Head —
No rascal at all, divil a bit of him!
You don’t know the fit1 of him —
No — bless ye! in the Isle of Man
We don’t understand
These “Polly Tricks,”2
And “knavish thricks” —
And “our hopes we fix” —
Lek it’s sayin in the song —
Right or wrong —
And The Cause! The Cause!
And Freedom! and all about these laws
That’s oppressin the people. Just our own ways
Is doin for us — and the House of Keys3 —
They was used to be
Dacent men enough, and put in
At4 one another, that was answerin
Fuss-rate, but now I’m tould
They make so bould
To be chised at5 the people — quite diff’rin cattle —
And it’s tittle-tattle, rittle-rattle —
Sleet and hail —
Like a tin pot tied to the Governor’s tail —
Poor man! But aisy to talk!
And put in for to make the law,
But better to hould your jaw —
Aw, better a dale!6
And take a chap the way you find him,
Particklar if he laves his bosh behind him —
D’ye hear? just so.
1. The cut, the kind of fellow he was.
3. The Lower House of the Manx Legislature.
4. Elected by.
5. As to be chosen by.
6. Deal. The reference is to the change made in the mode of electing the members of the Manx Parliament. Since 1866, they have been chosen by the popular vote. Before that they were elected by co-optation.
Well, Blake had to go,
Under the ould warrant that was out agen1 him
All the time, and the Demster2 to send3 him
“Out of the Isle,”
To Lancaster Castle, to stand his tri’l.
2. Deemster = judge.
Saul it was, Saul it was,
That done the jeel;1 he was down on the Cross2
At Ramsey straight
From the melya that night,
And, before the day-lift,
Knocked up the High Bailiff,3
That couldn’ act
Till all was corract —
Writs and that, and kermoonicated4
With the Gov’nor, of coorse. But Saul didn’ wait
To see the stren’th of his own shot —
It’s away he got
To Liverpool, and aboord of a ship
At once; and, that very trip,
He was lost overboard in a squall —
3. Chief magistrate of a town.
So Jinny didn’ get much good
Of her schames — the price of blood —
That was it — and stayed a week
Longer; but Kitty wouldn’ speak
A word with her, good or bad —
And no letter
From Saul. So she had
To go at last; for even the misthriss said
She thought it was better.
I believe she got married on1 a widow man,
That was keepin a public-house, by the name of Dan —
“Danny the Prince”
They were callin him; but his name was Cregeen;
But I never seen
The woman since.
Now Kitty had to hope and hope
For it seemed a case of the rope
Aye! And this kind ould goosey-gandhar
Of a Nicky was terbil good to her —
Backed her, stud to her;
Kept up her heart, and kept up his own —
Bless ye! no knowin
The hot little biler2
Of kindness and love that was under the weskit
Of Nicky. Not that the misthriss would resk3 it
To rile her.
And no naggin, nor both’rin, nor fussin to
Get her to think of another,
At4 the mother —
It’s time the misthriss was trussin5 to.
1. That did.
4. On the part of.
But now lizzen!1
In this prison,
Where Blake was put, some rapscallion
Got up a reballion,
And a lot of thieves and murderers,
And such-like curs,
Jined him to set the jail
On fire; and done it — never fail!
And the gov’nor out in his shirt,
And his wife, and his daughter —
And — “Water! water!”
And — “All you men that’s men, come here,
And stick to me!” and Blake, I’ll sweer,2
Was” the very first — aw, keen as a knife!
And saved the daughter, and saved the wife —
And him and the chaps
That joined the gov’nor, I heard them sayin,
Beat these raps —
Beat them clane2 —
And — of coorse! of coorse! What’ll you take
But — “A free pardon for Edward Blake!!”
Aye down from London the very next day —
Hurrah for Queen Victoria!
That’s the woman that can and will —
3. Clean, completely.
Yes, he was pardoned, and me to know ‘t,
And happen aboord the very boat
He was crossin to the Island on —
My gough! the fun
That was arrus1 theer —
Ould Captain Creer
And that — the yarns that was spinnin —
And glasses round,
You’ll be bound,2
And even the very firemen grinnin,
That’s lookin rather fierce with the shoot.3
1. At us = that we had.
2. You may be very sure.
And ashore — and the cart, and Kitty to boot —
Nicky? of coorse! and him and me
On the till,1 and bitendin2 not to see.
And — this and that, and how we’d prosber’d.3
But Kitty and Blake inside on the crossboard,
As happy. And — look at them? No, I didn’!
Only the cart made a joult,
Like a boult
Givin way — and I turned — and her face was hidden
In Blake’s breast —
You may ‘margin4 the rest.
1. Till-board in front.
And up to the farm; and this ould cockalorum
Of a Nick carried everything before him —
The misthriss houldin out — aw, floored
Reglar1 — aye; and what can’t be cured
Must be endured.
1. (She was) regularly floored.
So the ship was righted,
And smooth water,
And a son and a daughter
Still for all —
And poor Saul!
And I stayed to the weddin, bein invited.
WHAT’S he sayin? God bless the falla!
Love is love even in a sheep —
There’s some that takes it middlin shalla;1
But there’s some that takes it very deep.
You mind1 me tellin of Jemmy Jem,
And the son and the daughter, him and them
Up at the church agate2 of the carols —
“Shepherds watchin,” “Hark the harals!”3 —
That night the Christmas4 come ashore —
Christmas Rose, I tould ye afore —
Three schools in the parish
Them times, I remember, and putty5 fairish
For the lek, I think. There was one at the Church,
And the little Lhen wasn’ left in the lurch —
A school there, and one at the Sandy,
Up the gill, that was terbil handy
For the Jurby people; besides the school
In the Town, where none of us went of a rule,
Excep’ — aw dear! poor Tommy6 —but stop!
And Nelly7 — eh? shut up! shut up!
2. Engaged upon.
4. See “Fo’c’s’le Yarns.”
6. See “Fo’c’s’le Yarns.”
Now the school at the Church was countin 3 the head
Of all the three. And Clukish,1 bedad,
Was a splandid Masther — lek2 Jemmy Jem
For shortness, but Clukish all the same —
James Clukish; and sarvin3 for clerk
As well as schoolmaster. And Mark
Was the name of the son, called Marky the Bird;
And the daughter Maggie — they hadn’ a third.
2. As it were (but nearly superfluous).
3. Serving as.
But the school at the Lhen was just for childher,
Enfans in perricuts1 — Danny Bewildher
Was the name of the Masther, callin him out
Of his proper name, that was Danny the Spout;
At laste — I don’t know; but Skillicorn,
I’ve heard them sayin, the man was born —
Poor old Dan — aw, bless your sowl! —
Now was it Skillicorn, or Cowle?
1. Infants in petticoats.
But Clukish (I’m too draggy1),
Clukish, that’s the man, and Maggie,
Fuss-rate singers, father, and son,
And daughter, lek the three in one,
Tuned to a dot, most parfec it was
And him upon the viol- bass —
Treminjis! noted for the long
And loud and soft and full and sthrong.
And when they were sittin the whole of the three
Right in front of the gallery,
I’ve heard the Pazon say they were lookin
Him like a big ould angel sthroogin2
The sthrings, and them lek3 God had given
Lek wings to heave him up to heaven.
3. Looking as if.
Well, me and Maggy, I’ll engage,
Was just about the same age;
And Mark, of coorse, would be younger rather;
And the two of them goin to school to the father:
But me to the little school at the Lhen,
With Danny Bewildher — poor ould Dan!
The like of a school like that you never —
Aw, Danny thought he was taechin clever;
But letters — no! the A B C?
And spells, and that? all fiddlededee!
“Latthars!” he’d say, “idikkiliss!1
Just clap a Testament in their fiss,2
And off they go —aw, bless your heart!
They’ll read soon enough, if ye give them a start.
Latthars! latthars! bewild’rin the childher” —
And so they were callin him Danny Bewildher.
Poor Dan! “a start,” he said, “only a start;”
But, of coorse, we were gettin it off by heart.
That was Dan. So we wasn’ goin
To the same school; but still I was knowin
The two very well. They were just a taste
Shuperior lek, the way they were dressed —
Shoes and stockins — and me — aw, chut!
Never had such a thing on my fut,
Excep’ a’ Sunday.
But meetin them down
On the shore very often or up on a ground
We were callin the Lhergy,1 covered with goss2
And flowers. And aw the nice it was
Of an everin3 to be up there,
And hear them singin! Well, I declare
It was mortal altogether.4 You see
There’s nothin pleasanter to me:
I was allis terbil fond of music —
Not of my own! aw, I’d have the whole crew sick
If once I begun on you — No, no, no!
But this Maggie — beautiful! up she’d go,
Up — up — up, to the very sky.
“Give us the lark!” I’d say, and she’d fly —
At laste her vice5 — aw, the happy for hours
Sittin up there among the flowers.
1. High waste-land.
4. Altogether very nice.
And all the notes that ever you heard —
That’s the raison1 of Marky the Bird —
Imitatin — bless ye, then!
Everything from a hawk to a wren —
Thrushes, blackbirds — very rum!
“Chit, chit!” he’s sayin, meanin “Come!”
“Come!” and the pewhit answerin clever —
“Cha jig thy braa!”2 that’s maynin, “Never!”
“Gow smook! gow smook!” as plain as plain —
That’s “Take a smook!” the bird is sayin —
Aye — “Chanel thy pingan ammee!”
“I havn’ a penny ” — obverse,3 dammee!
Curious, though, very, splainin4 —
And everything has got its maynin. 5
1. Origin of his name.
2. This and some expressions following are Manx, but somewhat corrupt.
Aw, Mark was grand — “Curlew! curlew!”
What’s that at all? no more till1 boo —
Nothin just. But Mark had gorrit,2 —
“Mirrieu!3 mirrieu!” — far more horrit!4
“Mirrieu,” dead — lek its mate, you know —
“Dead! dead! she’s dead!” — aw, terbil though,
That bird, like left, like feelin lonely.
And me? — aw, bless ye! one bird only,
Just a rook — they said I dunnit 5
Fuss-rate; and aisy, once I begun it;
But stopped it soon; and her with the lark;
And — “Mirrieu! mirrieu!” that was Mark.
2. Got it.
5. Did it.
Aw, little things thim times: but grew,
Till at last the battle of Waterloo1
Betwix my mother and Danny, that plied me
With the cane one day till he nearly destroyed me.
And home I run, and — “Mother! mother!”
And — “Dan hev kilt2 me!” And — “What’s this bother?”
And takes and hits me a clout on the head,
And looks me all over, and “Come!” she said.
And away with me there; and in on3 the school —
And — “What’s this,” she says, “ye dirty fool?
Ye bogh!4 ye kyout5 ye! you a man?
You sniffikin6 creep!”7 she says to Dan —
“You?” and just a disgrace
To the place —
And the Bishop and the Archdakin —
Aye and she’d be spakin
To the Pazon — ‘deed she’d let him know!
She would so!
And pins him theer against the wall,
And turns me up, and shows him all.
1. An awful row.
2. Has killed.
4. Poor (creature).
5. Miserable being.
“Gerr out!”1 says Dan; “Gerr out!” says he
“Is it out?” she says, and droppin me,
“Is it out?” and grips an inkstand there,
And ups and lets, him have it fair
Betwix the eyes — aw, the ink and the blood!
And Danny all smotherin where he stood,
And puffin and blowin, and spatt’rin and sputt’rin,
And all the dirt goin sloppin and gutt’rin
Down his breast, and — his shirt? my annim!2
Never had the lek upon him,
Nor the name o’ the lek.
1. Get out.
2. (Upon) my soul.
“Gerr urrov1 this school!”
Says Dan, and makes a grab at a stool,
And a run and a drive, and she couldn’ recover her
Footin, and down, and Danny over her!
So there they were rowlin, and crish! crash!
And the furrims2 capsized, and mixed in a mash
Of murder — bless ye! stuck to him manful —
Aye, and handful after handful
Of Danny’s hair went flyin about;
And the childher all began to shout,
The boys to cheer, and the gels to cry;
And then I come behind on the sly,
And caught this Danny a clip on the ear,
And he turned, and she saw her chance, and got clear,
And up and off with us — aw, it’s a fac’ —
And left poor Danny on his back.
1. Out of.
Well, then I was goin to school at the Church,
To Clukish himself, that was usin a birch,
But very little, or a leather strap —
But mostly he was givin ye a rap
On the head with his knuckles — and a little hem!
Aw, a grand ould man was Jemmy Jem.
Taechin! What was there he couldn’ taech?
Bless ye! aye, and powerful to praech
In the chapel; but taechin! Mensuration —
Aw, splendid! Taech it? like a bird!
But ye couldn’ understand a word —
Well, ye wouldn’ expec’ — lek a man, that way,2
That never was a week at say —
No, no! A tailor he was to his trade,
And many’s the pair of breeches he made
In yandher school, — cut out, you know,
On the desk afore him; and sew and sew —
And — “Come say! come say!”3 — aw, the little sinners
We were, to be sure! and — “Take your dinners!”
He’d shout as hearty at twelve o’clock —
Aw, a fine ould cock! a fine ould cock!
2. Superfluous, like “you knew.”
3. “Come up to the desk, and say your tasks,” a customary formula: so, “Take your dinners,” the form of dismissal at noon.
I didn’ larn much, but there’s plenty that did.
There was one little chap with a big round head —
Ye never seen the round1 — by jing!
That chap was larnin everything.
And the more he lamed, the bigger it got —
This head — and the rounder, just like a pot.
“Look at that boy!” ould Clukish was sayin;
“Fit enough to make your tay in —
That head,” he’d say, “like a bottomless pit;
There’s nothin that doesn’ go into it —
Nothin,” says Clukish. And right, no doubt:
It all went in, and it never come out —
Never — so couldn’ be no loss
At2 yandher chap. It’s stored it was
In the big round head. My gough! it’s grand
To have a head that’ll grow and ‘spand,3
And never leak a drop — the pride
Of the mother! But, of coorse, he died —
Sartinly — aw, died, of coorse —
Ye see, the workin and the foorce
Of all that was in him, just like a biler,
And no safety-valve, nor no grease for th’ ile4 her —
Nor nothin — ye see?
1. Anything so round.
2. Nothing could be lost by.
4. For to oil.
No, I didn’ larn quick,
And I didn’ larn much. But I got very thick
With Maggy and Mark. And, when I got higher
In the school, they coaxed me to come in the quire,
And I did: and even after I left,
I stuck to it — aye, and made a sheft1
To sing somethin — tannor2 I was wantin —
Tannor — aye; but allis3 slantin
Into the bass, and — loo-loo-loo!4
And settled to somethin betwix the two —
Rather doubtful, of a manner.5
But Mark was singin the counter-tannor —
See-saw, most beautiful! sixes and sevens —
And Maggie up in the heaven of heavens.
4. (Tries his voice).
5. In a way = somehow.
And so we got big: and then — doodoss!1
I seen the lovely Maggie was.
Milk and roses, milk and roses —
That was the complexion — Moses!
The beautiful she was when she threw
Back her head, and the throat came in view,
Round and white and big, the way
It mostly is with singers, they say —
Fine singers — bless ye the full!
Like a belliss!2 like a bull!
And the strings of her bonnet untied, and flung
Over her shouldhers; and the vice of her rung —
Aw, it rung! it rung! and all her breast
Was swelled to the feel of the happiness —
The joy — the glory — the — chut!3 it’s no use —
“Be cautious! be cautious!” says Billy Baroose.
1. Good gracious!
But Mark was a terbil sorrowful chap —
Lemoncholy1 — that’s the tap.
And the ouldher he grew, the lemoncholier
He got And nobody couldn’ be jollier,
Nor heartier, ye know, till2 me —
But Mark was allis for poethry.
But the sorrowful — bless ye! Lek3 it was bred
In the falla — Mirrieu! mirrieu! — dead!
Just so. And “Lizzen”!4 and then he’d repate
Pomes5 that’d buss6 the heart of a skate —
His own compozin — aye, and still
I was likin to hear him terrible.
‘Deed7 he’d make ye cry — and a lightish slaeper,8
And went to the town to be a draper.
3. As if.
8. He was rather a light sleeper: cf. The Squire in Chaucer’s Prologue.
And me and Betsy1 goin together —
And Maggie keepin house for the father —
And a good job too — at laste, so it appears —
A widda man,2 and had been for years.
And Maggie and me would be about twenty;
And me agate3 o’ the fishin, and plenty
To do, I can tell ye, to keep the pot bilin,
When — lo and behould ye! there came to the Islan’
A terbil man.
1. See “Fo’c’s’le Yarns.”
3. Engaged upon.
Inspector they called him,
Inspector of Schools; and tuk and hauledl him
From parish to parish — the work that was in!2
And so at last he come to the Lhen,
And hed it out with Danny Dan.
1. He was taken about.
2. What excitement there was!
“Latthars!” says Danny, “latthars! dear heart!
Bewild’rn the childhar — give them a start!
Latthars! what’s latthars? idikkiliss!
Clap a Testament in their fiss!” —
“No,” says the Inspector, “just clap this!”
And whips a book from his starn1 pocket —
“Now then!” Bless ye! a Congreve rocket
‘d hev2 done just as well — not a bit! not a bit!
Not the one of them — not a line of it!
And the childhar stared —
“They’re not prepared!”
Says Danny, and argued and argued away,
Till he was black in the face, as a body might say.
And then he jawed, lek fit to buss;3
And then he gave a bit of a cuss;
And then the Inspector brought him up
All standin — poor divil! and — “Stop, sir, stop!”
Says he. “In all my ‘sperience
I never seen such ignorance.
And it’ll be my duty to repoort”
Lek presentin to the coort —
Or whatever it is — coort, or commission —
Something — “total inefficien'” —
Inefficient — that’s their talk.
And so poor Danny had to walk;
And home to his people in Kirk Bride,
And kept at4 the Pazon till he died.
And the Bishop come, and the Captain5 there,
And the Lord knows who, and spakin fair;
And they’d have the school in proper order.
And so we were hearin nothin furdher
Till one day there come a Scotchman — aye —
For6 the schoolmaster.
2. Would have.
3. Enough to burst himself.
5. Captain of the Parish (a Manx official).
6. To be.
He wasn’ shy,
This Scotchman, at all — aw, ‘deed be wasn’:
For the cheek he might have been fuss-cosin1
To Ould Harry himself. Aw, the cock o’ that nose ‘.
And the strut, and the lip, and the tasty clothes!
And snuff and snarl, and snip and snap —
He was what you’d call a pushin chap —
Pushin, bedad! and a new light,
And come to set us all right,
That was sittin in darkness and the shadow of death;
And his name was Alexander Macbeth.
But the chap was good-lookin — that’s the pint,
And a tongue in his head like a ‘varsal jint.
He could make it bitter, and he could make it sweet;
He could lift a gel from off her feet
With that tongue. And schaemin! bless ye, the schaemin!
And plannin and plottin, and watchin and aimin —
Keen though, as keen as a hungry gull,
And still he could look that sorrowful,
And groanin, and hintin, and his eye all brimmin
With the tears — aw, they’re likin that is women —
Being nath’ral kind, you’ll undherstand,
And longin to comfort every man —
Special if he’s handsome, of coorse!
Sartinly; but work the oors,1
Work the oors.
1. Oars = let us get on.
It wasn’ long
Afore Mr. Sandy was at it ding-dong
To get the school from Clukish — aye,
The principal school — aw, never say die!
And he worked and he worked, like thingumagee,
Till the Bishop appointed a commitee.
And a committee, it’s like 1 you’re aware,
‘ll do anything; anything, I’ll swear,
Committees ‘ll do — just so, just so —
‘Deed they will.
1. It is likely.
But whether or no,
This Alec Macbeth was at1 Clukish himself;
And “Time to be layin upon the shelf:”
And cocked him up with humbug and flattery,
And “My exc’lin colleague!” and Dear me! the batthar2 he
Would be with a pension, and Wouldn’ he now?
And “Eh, Miss Clukish?” and bow-wow-wow!
The dirt!3 and gorr4 it all “arranged”
Grand, I tell ye. And so he changed
From the Lhen to the Parish: but Clukish still
To be clerk — and quite agreeable.
Tired — and lek everything in its saison.
1. Went to.
3. The scoundrel.
But ould Clukish had another raison,
Another, I tell ye. He seen this rascal
Was gettin spoony on Maggie; and ask all
The Parish, and they’d ha’ tould ye at once
The match was a splendid one, a chance
That wouldn’ often come Maggie’s way.
I’ve asked the Pazon, and what did he say?
“Mr. Macbeth is a man of promise,
And a most respectable person, Thomas;
And very interestin, and clever” —
Azackly1 so! Now, did you ever?
Even the Pazon! ‘Spectable? paff!2
Clever? aye, too clever by half.
Euclid — that was some stuff he was workin
With these lumps,3 that could as aisy swallow a perkin.4
High, man! high — aw, bless your sowl!
Didn’ a woman come and scowl
And complain; and says she, “We’re gettin no rest
Of the night,” she says, “with this foolishness.
He’s shoutin most terbil in his sleep,
And me and the father can’t get a peep.
And we won’t stand it! no!” she said.
And he spoke her so fine; and — “Raelly! in bed!”
And he laughed, and he carried on that plaisin5
That the woman went away amazin
The satisfied: and sleep is money;
But that chap’s tongue was the divil’s own honey.
3. Biggish boys.
5. So pleasingly.
And Mark was delightin in him, too —
Aw, bless ye! he knew his Mark, he knew
The soft sort of chap — a pote!1 a pote!
Wasn’ he one himself? and ‘d know ‘t
In Mark at once. And heaves up the eye,
If ye seen them together, and sigh for sigh,
And groan for groan; and takin turns
Repeatin their pomes. And “The Manx Burns”
He’d be callin Marky — you’ll never rag urrov2
A Scotchman but he’ll take a shockin brag urrov
That Burns. “Tim Shindy”3 — aye, just so —
“Catch her a’ Saturday,” “Scots woho!”
Of coorse! of coorse! You’re mortal fond of them
Aren’ ye, Andra?4 Andra’s one of them.
2. Never worry it out of a Scotchman = never induce him to do otherwise than brag greatly about. Urrov = out of: to take a brag out of=to brag about.
3. The reader will recognise adumbrations of three famous poems by Burns.
4. Are you not, Andrew?
So Mark was altogether tuk with him;
And the Pazon too. Aw dear! worse luck with him!
And me? Well, no; but I’d nothin to say,
And every dog must have his day.
What was my ‘pinion worth to be puttin
Against the Pazon’s? Not a button.
And the Pazon was hardly likin him,
Lek what you call likin — that’s not the trim.1
The Pazon, ye see, was allis for pace,2
But equal, too, for righteousness,
And justice betwix man and man —
Aw, he’d work it well if once he began,
But he wouldn’ go out of his way for a fight —
Righteousness, the thing that’s right —
That was the Pazon. And Dr. Bell
The same: the chap was maenin well,
They thought. “Sincere,” the Pazon said;
And the “valable qualities” he had —
“Valuable,” the Pazon was sayin,
He spoke that sweet, and slow, and plain.
1. The way to put it.
2. Always for peace.
Of coorse the Pazon was diff’rin’ from me,
The two of them bein such schullars, you see,
And knowin a dale about books and such,
The Pazon was likin his talk very much —
Likin his talk; you see, they were maetin
On the same floors,1 and the nither baetin2 —
Maetin, not baetin — and still, for all,3
I believe he could give the Pazon a fall
Now and then, bein slippy and slim;
And nice for the Pazon, remindin him
Of the time he was young, and could argufy
With the best of them. And he wouldn’ try
To flatter the Pazon: he knew like a spit4
That wouldn’ take the Pazon a bit.
And if he was bould, ye know, and imprin,5
The Pazon never liked them simprin,
Cringin divils — and nathral kind.6
So the Pazon was grippin him mind to mind.
But heart to heart was rather me,7
Heart to heart, ye know, lek it would be —
Enstinct,8 isn’ it, they’re sayin?
Feelins lek — lek I couldn’ explain;
Couldn’ grip with him, hadn’ the head;
But I could hate him; and so I did.
But only a boy, and nothin to shove me
Much in his road, that was quite above me —
Hardly know’n me, bless ye! no;
Nor me him; and so — and so.
1. Meeting upon equal terms.
2. Neither getting the better of the other.
3. After all.
4. Easily, at once.
6. And besides (the Parson) was naturally kind.
7. My way.
And Maggie, what ‘d ye do with her?1
Lovin him like Lucifer.
That was the deuce — no good to fret,
Love’s golden net! love’s golden net —
Gold! gold! pure gold! but, sink or float,
Iron is only cobwebs to ‘t.
Caught was Maggie — caught, caught, caught!
No matter the oughtn’, no matter the ought.
Aw, I seen it — that was enough for me —
I’d had my doubts; but see is see —
At a stile on a Sunday afternoon,
The stayin, the delayin,
The snatchin, the catchin,
The detainin, the complainin,
The head so sweetly laenin
On your shouldher —
Don’t be bouldher!
On a Sunday, on a Sunday, on a Sunday, on a Sunday,
On a Sunday, on a Sunday afternoon.
Yes, I seen her at the stile,
Such a smile, at the stile,
Bless the chile! at the stile,
At the stile, at the stile, at the stile, at the stile,
Of a Sunday afternoon.
1. What would you have?
There now! take and make a tune
For my song; they’ll print it for you in Doolish.1
Dear heart! you’ll think I’m gettin foolish.
But if you’ll see that at a stile, my men,
On a Sunday afternoon, why then
You may make up your minds what’s goin to be,
And all the rest is fiddlededee.
Behaved hisself? Of coorse, he done1 —
Had to behave hisself, my son.
But hang it! give the divil his due,
Just the same as I would to you —
Now stow your chaff there, Barney O’Grady!
He trailed her like a puffec2 lady.
So now it’s for a Pazon he was goin:
And how he managed there’s no knowin;
But got the Bishop to examine him,
And some way or other contrived to gammon him
To promise to ordain him — ordain —
Isn’ that the word? whatever they mane —
And curate! curate, I’ll be bail,
Goin for a curate to Pazon Gale.
And would have been the very next day,
If it hadn’ but —stay, my lads, now! stay!
That ev’rin,1 I tell ye, there come a woman,
Along the road though, cryin uncommon —
Cryin, cryin, cryin there —
“Where’s my Sandy? where, oh where?
Where’s my Sandy? my Alexander?
Where is he? where is he?” and had cried like yandher2
All the passage from Whitehaven,
“Where’s my Sandy, div ye ken?”3
And up the pier, and the market-place,
“Where’s my Sandy?” and wouldn’ cease.
And she didn’ regard for none that blamed her —
For of coorse there was people that fie-for-shamed her —
And a pleeceman gev her directions to go;
And “Sandy! Sandy!” she was shoutin, though
2. Like that.
3. Do you know?
And come upon the village street,
And could hardly stand upon her feet —
And the women about her, and — “Get some brandy!”
But she wouldn’ taste it — “Sandy! Sandy!
Where’s my Sandy?” And they tried some rum;
And a call for Sandy: so Sandy come.
Yes, he come; and just gave a look;
And then they say the fellow shook
All over; and then his face all fire,
And straightened hisself like goin to deny her;
And then a rush, and her arms was round him,
And his round her. “I’ve found him! found him!”
She said. And he tuk her into the house,
And shut the door, and as quite1 as a mouse
All night, they were say’n, and plenty to listen,
And fancyin they were hear’n them kissin.
But never a word of any complaint —
It’s lek the poor craythur was that content
For to have him again. And before the dawn
They were off, and just a bundle,2 gone
To Douglas, and afterwards over to Anglan3 —
No nise,4 no bother, no worry, no wranglin —
Just off. The woman, ye see, was his wife —
I don’t know, upon my life,
How they’re doin it — hotch-potch,
Lek accordin to the Scotch5 —
But lawful, I tell ye; so you’d better look out!
Lawful — not the smallest doubt.
2. All their luggage.
5. Scotch fashion.
And the chap was poor, and she’d worked like a slave
To keep him at one of these places they have
For preparin people for schoolmasters,
And pazons and that — St. Bars? St. Burs?
St. Bees — that’s it, and hardly fair —
I’ve heard them tellin that’s seen her there
In a little room, and to brew and bake for him,
And pickin sticks to bake a cake for him.
Well now — Maggie? Hould your kedge!1
I seen her spreadin clothes on the hedge
Of the garden, it wouldn’ be more till2 a week
After that, and I thought I’d speak;
And — “How are tha,3 Maggie, how are tha, gel?”
“Aw,” she said, “I’m very well.”
Very well! very well!
Toull4 the bell! toull the bell!
When ye know what it’s meanin5 — that very well!
1. Anchor keep quiet.
3. Art them.
5. It means.
She died next day quite aisy, they said —
Mirrieu! mirrieu! dead! dead!
Dead! And Mark? He dropped the draper,
And tuk to writin for some paper.
So ye see there’s some that takes it deep?
Upon my sowl, the chap’s asleep!
Kitty of the Sherragh Vane and The Schoolmasters are an exciting continuation of the ‘Fo’c’s’le Yarns’ series.
Kitty of the Sherragh Vane tells the story of Kitty from the now-derelict farm in Sulby Glen, who discovers an injured man and nurses him back to health. He and Kitty eventually fall in love but Kitty’s brother stops their happy course by uncovering secrets from the man’s mysterious past. Imprisonment, arson, rioting and daring rescues ensue before Kitty and the man are reunited happily at last.
The Schoolmasters is a much shorter poem and one in which Brown is able to show off brilliantly his skill at painting Manx characters.
These poems were first published in 1887 along with The Doctor.
T. E. Brown is the Manx National Poet; a brilliant writer, a wonderful person, and someone with the Isle of Man and Manx identity at the centre of their life and work.