BY T. E. BROWN.
I can warrant these Stories to be genuine Manx — not Keltic-Manx, of course, but Anglo-Manx, Manx dialect.
They are written by a Lancashire man, and that is the marvel.
My friend (Mr. Rydings) has lived a “good few” years in the Isle of Man, but this alone does not account for the “breadth and length, and depth and height” of his Manxness.
The skill and sympathy with which he draws Manxmen and things are beyond all praise. We of the Island cannot but recognise the perfection of the outline, the fineness of the shading, the sincerity of the colour.
Laxey and Lonan are the foci. Some of the idioms will be seen to be peculiar to that district, which, with the adjacent Baldwin, is Manx of the Manx.
Though a native of the Island, I feel that Mr. Rydings is easily my master in this dialect, and that I can learn much from him.
To Lancashire friends it must be interesting to be guided by a Lancashire man through this fertile garden of native Manx growth. It is not so much a garden, perhaps, as a lovely wilderness of heath and bluebell, of gorse and honeysuckle, of simple hearts, and old-world ways. I hope that, as they read, they will not fail to perceive that our life and language have many points of affinity to their own. We are not strangers. The great Lancashire family of the Derbies gave Kings to Man for some 400 years.
To all our visitors I earnestly commend this work. In taking it away with them they will possess a living Mona Bouquet, which will long contain its fragrance, and be the best and most permanent memorial of their sojourn in Man.
T. E. B.
An Angler’s Holiday among the Manx Mountains
I AM passionately fond of the “gentle craft,” as old Izaak Walton calls it. I am also naturally endued with considerable patience, as every true angler must be – not that I should go quite as far as an old friend, who told me that before anyone could call himself an angler he should be able to sit at a rain-tub for six hours and fish in it, and know there was nothing in it.
During the first week of last August I was spending my summer holiday in Douglas, in the Isle of Man. For months, as I sat at my desk in a Manchester warehouse, my imagination was constantly occupied with the lovely scenes in the Island. I almost fancied I could sometimes smell the sea and the “wrack” on Douglas Beach, and that exquisite aroma of turf-smoke from the farmhouses on the mountains. And when it got to the last week in July, I began to feel (what with the heat of the weather, the smell of calicoes and fustians, and the pent-up excitement) like one who had had all the stamina pumped out of him; and was quite sure if my “going off” by any chance did not come off, I should be laid up ill in bed. But, when the last Saturday in that long-going month came, and I had got my quarter’s salary in my pocket, and my feet on the Piccadilly flags, oh! how my spirits revived as I hurried on to the Station with my Gladstone bag and fishing tickle to catch the four o’clock boat!
You need not fear, gentle reader, that I am going to inflict on you a long account of my passage across on the boat. All that I shall say is, that I came across upon the splendid paddle steamer “Mona’s Isle” in less than the four hours and what with the kindness of the officers on board, and the magnificent accommodation for passenger comforts, the time passed away as quickly and as comfortably as if I had been sitting at home reading in my own parlour. Nor shall I attempt to describe the fearful yells of “I Kelly!” “I Kelly!” (always with the aspirate left out) uttered by the Lancashire lads as the boat landed at the pier. Or, how I was attacked, highwayman-like, with – no, not a pistol! – but a card and “nice lodgings, sir?” on my way up Victoria Street to Circular Road. I knew my good boarding-house keeper (I wish the Manx had enough gumption in them to coin a new word for this all important surnmer-provider), or her charming daughter, would give me a kindly welcome at the door when I arrived. This was my tenth visit to the dear old Island, and I had always stayed at the same house, and with the same kind people. I knew my own snug little bedroom over-looking the Nunnery trees would be reserved for me, and one-half of my holiday’s enjoyment would have been lost if I could not have secured my dear old “diggins.” Ah! there she is at the door, and from the smile on her kindly face I can see I am expected, and all prepared for, for another time at all events. After enquiries about me and mine, I hear of the bright prospects of their two sons in London, then of the younger children, all of whom I know quite well by their Christian names. I am then ushered into the diningroom, and find that my own easy chair, in the old familiar corner, is waiting to receive me. I make myself comfortable, and am soon enjoying, with my tea, delicious fresh herrings.
The day following – Sunday – was a thorough wet day, and it was altogether out of the question to go even to Kirk Braddan Church, my usual Sunday evening’s walk. But, as I stood at the window, and saw the rain coming pelting down for hours, I had a true angler’s consolation, that the mountain streams in the morning would be simply splendid for worm fishing. I had made sure of my license days before, and intended to start very early in the morning if the weather were anything like fair overhead. So early to bed I went, and, in my excitement, dreamed half the night through of landing half-pound trout and broken lines. My kind Mrs. ___ no, I won’t give her name, you might think I was “touting” for her – had made sure that one of the servants would be up and my breakfast ready by five o’clock. I was up some half-hour before this, taking weather observations, and, as it was then fine, and a gentle south-west wind blowing, I concluded it would make up a splendid fishing day – not too bright, for the clouds were high, and plenty of them to screen the sun’s rays. After a sumptuous breakfast and a substantial sandwich for the pocket, I was off up Buck’s Road, even before the street-sweepers and the milk-cars had made their appearance, and away for the Baldwin streams, where I knew there would be good sport.
Oh! the exquisite sensation of breathing this pure mountain sea-air! To me it has always the same delicious sensation as drinking champagne, with this difference, that the more you get the more you want, and no unpleasant “after-claps.”‘
As I got on the high-lands overlooking Tromode Valley, I stopped to take a look round and a rest, leaning on a stone fence. Douglas, to the left, with a few chimneys sending up puffs of white curling smoke; and Carlyle’s description of some such scene in “Sartor” came into my mind. “For it was the smoke of cookery, as kind house-wives at morning were boiling their husband’s kettles; and, as every blue pillar rose up into the air, saying as plainly as smoke could say, such and such a meal was getting ready.”
To the right were the rough, rocky hills of Greba and South Barrule, and the hills above Foxdale; and, in the centre of this hill-surrounded land, lay a charming cup-like valley, dotted here and there with farmsteads, standing amongst clumps of trees. But, I will not attempt to describe this glorious panorama of hill and vale that lay before me, for it would require the pen of a Ruskin to do full justice to it. This, I believe, is about the spot where Martin, the great landscape painter, is said to have stood when he took his sketch for his “Plains of Heaven;” so that, if any one has seen that great picture, or the print from it – which, I remember, was in Agnew’s shop window in Manchester – he will have a far better idea of the scene that lay before me than any poor words of mine can convey. Well, after this short rest, I must hurry on to my fishing ground, before the sun gets too high and bright on the waters.
At the meeting of the two Baldwin rivers I got my tackle in trim, and began operations on the east tributary. A gentle up-stream breeze was blowing, and the water was everything that an angler could desire; a fair flood, as I expected after yesterday’s heavy downpour, and the colour a creamy chocolate, from the waters running through turf bog at the foot of Bienn-Y-Phott.
Now, let us try a worm just behind this stone. Come, that throw is not bad for a hand out of practice for twelve months! No, this length of line won’t do, the current is swifter than I expected, and more water coming down too. Reel off another fathom of line, and try again in that eddy where the water is dashing over that big rock; and, if there is a trout in the river wanting its breakfast, it will be there. Ah! there now, I knew it!
Easy, easy – no, you won’t get back to your rocky home again!
There, you are safely landed on that wet moss, and a beauty you are too!
Talk about Turner-landscapes for colour! They are not to be compared to a fresh trout from a clean stream! And, my word, if it’s an ounce, it’s ___; no, I won’t tell you ‘what’s its weight. “Ab’-o’-th’-Tate” says that “trout-ticklers and amateur gardeners are the biggest liars undurt sun;” so, thanks to “Ab,” I’ll keep my mouth shut, and put the trout lovingly in my basket on a bed of this wet moss, and try for its mate to keep it company. There now, that’s a fifteen yards’ throw, and not a span either side where the other was caught – talk about old mail coachmen flecking a fly from – go it, my hearty!
Here you are, another beauty! Men talk about the delights of a champagne supper! – “it’s now’t but smo’ drink,” as “Ab ” would say, to this!
A little higher up the stream I came across a rather singular thing in natural history, and true disciples of old Izaak have always their eyes on the alert for things of nature, and much can be seen on the banks of our mountain streams very interesting in this respect. On a large rock, that stood in mid-stream about two feet above the water, I saw something move of a brownish colour, which I took at first for a thrush, but, as it did not take wing on my near approach, I knew it could not be that timid bird. When I got as near to it as I could – for the high flood was whirling past on both sides some six or seven feet – I could see the brown thing had laid itself down quite flat in a hollow of the stone, and so near was its colour to the short lichen that, had I not seen it move at first, I should have passed it by unseen. With the tip of my rod I just touched it, and in an instant a brown-grey water-rat dashed off the rock into the stream, and was carried at a furious rate down the river, and over the waterfall from which I had just landed the trout. This poor rat had evidently been washed from its home-moorings by the high flood on to this desolate island, and was evidently waiting with patience for it to subside, not daring to venture until the point of my rod forced it to do so. I saw it helplessly dashed over the waterfall, and ran back to see what became of it, for I had noticed those jagged rocks beneath, and doubted if even a rat’s life could stand against them. When I looked over into the boiling cauldron, I could see something dark swirling round, and at last it was thrown out on to the current, and was being carried down feet uppermost. It had been, as I expected, killed in the falls.
Poor thing! I felt sorry I had disturbed it.
Well, on I went up the stream, sometimes nearly up to my knees in the turf bogs on the bank, but having on an a pair of indiarubber fishing boots, I did not care so long as I could lift my feet and the boots at the same time. It was rather difficult sometimes, as those who have tried it will know. When a pair of boots are once sunk up to the knees in a pretty stiff turf bog, it requires a tremendous wrench to get them out with “swish,” “swish,” like the sound of a suction pump as you drag them up.
About half-way up the stream I came upon a quaint little mill, driven by a water-wheel, and surrounded by tall trees. It would make a sweet water-colour picture I thought, with the splash of the water from the wheel for a foreground and I am astonished that the Manx Turner (Nicholson) his not spotted it before now.
Behind the mill, on a level stretch of meadow, were two men, early as it was (7-15), pulling with all their might at what I thought at first was a long stretch of brown sail-cloth. Having hooked the loose end, they were pulling to a couple of horizontal bars. The elder of them, whom I took to be the father, saw me, and shouted – “Good morning to you, sir! what luck?” I went across the greensward towards them, and showed them, with a true angler’s pride, my morning’s work; they both said they were “beauty troutses,” and the young fellow said he didn’t think the lek was in, and seven of them tuk so ‘arly.
I asked them what sort of cloth it was they were pulling and stretching on the hooks, and the one I took for the father said it was homespun Manx-cloth, made of the natural coloured wool, or “loaghtyn,” as the Manx had it.
I asked him if it was his own manufacture. He said – No, not exactly, it was spun on the little wheel by a farmer’s wife and her two daughters in the next parish, and brought to him to weave into cloth and finish for them. It was made of their own “Kier” wool – a sort of red-brown, to which the Manx gave the name of “loaghtyn.” It was always believed by the old Manx people that this particular breed of sheep had been cast ashore on the south of the Island, when some of the ships of the Spanish Armada were wrecked there, and that these sheep of to-day are the descendants of these shipwrecked Spaniards.
I was very much pleased with the make and colour of the cloth, and deeply interested in its historical associations, and expressed a wish to have a suit made of the cloth if it was for sale. The man told me the whole web belonged to the farmer he had named, but he had no doubt they would sell a suit length.
I noticed that the stream I had just left had been diverted from its natural course for a considerable distance up to supply the mill, and as they informed me it was much overgrown with brush-wood all the way up to its source, I decided to leave it and make my way over the hill to the west river. And as the two men were just going up the garden to the house for their breakfast, I went with them to get to the road. We passed the gable of their cottage, and before they went in the father kindly invited me to go in with them to breakfast and “have share.” There would be groats porrage, and a cup of tay after, and he wouldn’ trus’ but there’d be watered herrins goin’ too.
But, having done breakfast, I told him, only a couple of hours before, I thanked him, and they then came with me on to the road which passed the gable of their house, and directed me the shortest cut to the other river. I thanked them again after giving them my address that they might write to me about the cloth. As the two of them stood on the road watching me as I went along, I could not but admire the splendid physique of both, as straight as my fishing-rod, and as pliable almost; six feet high, if an inch, with broad shoulders set like T squares, and I thought these Manx mountain fellows would have done no dishonour to the Queen’s Life Guards. I got to the West Baldwin stream and again baited my hook with a clean lively worm, and soon found that my luck had not yet left me or the river, breakfast-time was not yet over, for I landed two more “beauty troutses,” as the young fellow called them, within the fifteen minutes.
I had now fished up to the Injebreek Pleasure Grounds, and found this stream quite as satisfactory as the other in the way of good sport. Here at the entrance to the grounds I left the stream; not a soul was to be seen, and, as the hill was begining to be very steep, and the water tumbling down in torrents more like a half-mile waterfall than a brooklet, I knew it was no use to attempt to throw a line in this, as no fish could by any possible means keep its hold in such a cataract. So I made my way over the brow of the hill, intending to drop down on the other side at the source of the main tributary of the Sulby river. I knew, from former experience, there was a splendid reach from its rise to where it is joined by the West Snaefell river.
When I got at the bottom of the water-shed where the river was just forming itself, I found the water much clearer than the other streams I had left, and the flow was not so rapid. So I changed the worm for one of my brightest flies, and, as I was now fishing down stream, with the south wind with me, I had not the least difficulty in throwing a long line and keeping well out of sight. There was also this advantage in throwing a long fly-line, the banks of the stream were pretty free from trees and brush-wood.
Gracious! that’s a nip – easy! easy! – ah! lost! and the gut gone all to the knot! That was a salmon; I saw its gleaming white sides, and was not prepared for a gentleman of that kidney. Let’s try again with a fly the very marrow of the one that is now a pig’s-ring in the nose of my four to-six pound friend, that did not care to smell this lovely ling and gorse, which are so attractive to the bees that are diving their heads into the flowers, and coming out powdered with crimsom and gold; well, every one to his taste, I suppose. But like the old saying:- “‘Tis better to have loved and lost, &c.” So with me. I would rather lose half a dozen hooks and gut than have missed that electric thrill which ran down the rod, and through my arm, from the tug of that silver-bar.
Good luck, however, still went with me, and four or five beauties came to the heather in going down the stream. About a mile down I came to a nice little tributary that came from the left, which evidently had its rise somewhere in the hills overlooking Kirk Michael, and I left the main stream and followed this till I was up on the table land, and a short distance from a large farm house. Having my ordnance map with me – which I always carry, and have cut up in sections, so that I need only take that part in which is laid down the route I am likely to take during my day’s ramble – I took it out of my pocket, and spread it out on the top of a stone wall, for I always like to know the names of the farms I am passing through. This farm I am now on is certainly Druidale; that over the valley on the other side is Crammag; that to the left down Sulby Glen is Ballaskelly, and Tholt-y-Will lies below out of sight. And this across the valley to the left is “Sherragh Vane.” “Sherragh Vane!” why, this is the very spot made classical by the Rev. T. E. Brown in his charming story of “Kitty of the Sherragh Vane.”
I’ll light my pipe, and have a “sit” on this stone fence while I smoke it. Yonder, I see plainly, is the farm house of
“Nicholas Tear-that’s Nicky-Nick-Nick,
And his wife a Gick of the Ballagick;”
and yonder is the gully where Kitty kept in “hidlins” the Chartist outlaw, Ned Blake, and where Tom Baynes and Saul dragged him out, and washed him under the pump; and those the very fields – now standing in yellow corn – where old Nicky-Nick kept Tom at it, tying for him, while he swung the scythe with a swish as an accompaniment to his quaint talk. Here behind me on the breast of the hill, I see the long stretch of turf-pits, where the turf has been cut in past years, but now overgrown with moss and heather, and white cotton-grass, whose fluffy heads stand out very conspicuously against the black turf background, as they nod in the gentle breeze. Here, no doubt, the turf-cutting scene took place, so graphically described –
“Joan and John,
And coortin’ and carryin’ on,
And pies and priddhas and cakes and broth
The best on the No’th.”
Indeed, this ought to be classic ground for Manxmen, at least, and I have no doubt that it will become so in a few more years, when their quaint and forcible dialect will have been lost as spoken, and only preserved in these charming tales.
I should not at all be surprised in another twenty years if Manx car-drivers – as they drive their “fares” round that long stretch of road half circling Snaefell, and in sight of “Sherragh Vane” a full half hour – will tell the story to the “strangers” they are driving, and point to “Sherragh Vane” with as much pride as the Ambleside drivers point out to their “fares” “Fox Howe” and “Rydal Mount.” And on their way down Sulby Glen I can quite fancy some such tale as this: “Yes, sir, I knew ould Caesar Cregeen, the miller, quite well – drunk many a quart of ‘jough’ in his house. Knew Kate, did you say? ‘Deed, though, I did, as well as I knew mee own grandmother. She was sackon cousin of mine, and this is her photo which I always carry in mee pocket, as mee ‘fares’ are always axin me about her when I drives them this way – ‘Deed no, Hall Caine did not make her prettier til she was; there was a tas’e more yallar in her hair til he says, I’m sartin of that. That’s the tree over the rivar where she sat wis her feet in the water.”
Well, as my pipe is just out, and my dream of the future, too, I must be hurrying on after this short and pleasant rest, but I cannot tear myself away from this glorious range of mountains that rise up all round me. Snaefell in front, supported on the right by Beinn-y-Phott, and North Barrule just peeping over the giant’s shoulder, with Carraghan and Slieau Curn on the same chain behind me; and in all this range of vision not a living soul could be seen. One or two farm houses were sending up puffs of white-blue smoke, and the distinct puffs, as they rose, told me that the servant girls were blowing with bellows the turf fires under the pot to hurry on the dinners. And, oh! that delicious smell of turf smoke that came wafted on the breeze! Talk about your “Eau-de-Cologne” and “Mona Bouquet,” they are no more to be compared to the aroma of this condensed essence of ancient heather and Mona’s mountain flora than the smells from the Ship Canal are to the pure scent of the violet!
Instead of going back by the stream I came up, I crossed over part of Druidale to catch on again at the main river. I had just climbed over one of the high soil fences that divide the fields, when, to my no small atonishment, there came scampering out of a burrow in the hedge I had just scrambled over six young wild rabbits, and clapped down within three feet of where I stood. I paused and stood still for some seconds, when I espied, coming out of the hole the rabbits had just left, a large sized weazel, which was evidently in chase of them, but, when it espied myself and the butt end of my fishing-rod, it stopped quite suddenly, stretched out its long neck, gave one glance with its dazzling eyes, and made its retreat back to its burrow. No sooner did the little creatures see their four-footed enemy retreat and out of sight, than they started up from the crouching position they had taken round about my feet, and scampered away across the meadow as only wild rabbits can. I was much astonished and pleased at this singular circumstance, and as I crossed over the fields to the river I could not but ask myself this question: Is the instinct with which these timid creatures are endowed of such a nature that they can discern a lesser from a greater enemy, and fly for protection to the former? in deep reflection on the nature of instinct, passed down the gorse-grown valley side and joined again my favourite stream. When I got to the river at the bottom, I passed over a plank bridge that crossed the stream, and came upon another tributary that ran along the south side of Snaefell and the bottom of Bienn-y-Phott; its rise, I knew, was somewhere among the hills overlooking Laxey, and as I wanted to go to that village, I would go up the stream and fish as long as there was water.
The stream, I found, was running rapidly, and was of a dark coffee colour, no doubt from the turf-bogs where it collected its waters at its head, so I chanoed my bait a-ain for a worm, and began operations with a shorter cast, as the stream was overhung with trees, bramble-bushes, and such black-berries for size, and in such plenty, I never saw in all my life! There were a few ripe, which I gathered, and found of excellent flavour. I quite believe that in a few weeks’ time, when they become fully ripe, a cart-load might be gathered in this glen; they hung in great bunches like grapes.
In my way up I caught four very good trout, but when I came to put them in the basket by the side of the others, they looked almost black and quite another species. I suppose this difference in colour maybe accounted for by the fact that this stream coming from the turf-bogs at its rise, and all along its course, its water is always the colour of coffee, as I saw it, and therefore the fish – by an evolutionary process, as Darwin would say – have been changed from a bright silver-grey to a dark red-brown hue, as these were. I have noticed, as no doubt all anglers will have done, that there is always a slight difference in the colour of the same fish from different streams, but I never saw such a marked difference as this. Here on a tributary on the same river, and not more than half a mile in distance, there is, in the difference I have just mentioned.
About half-way up the stream there is a charming spot, and I suppose mine are the first “cottonie” eyes (the Manx call all Lancashire visitors “cottonies”) that have seen it. I don’t know if it be wise on my part to bring it into notice, but there is one thing alone which will protect its sanctity; I am not afraid it will be made a “show place,” it is too far from any public road, and I question if, at any time, a “cottonie” less equipped than myself – with an over-knee pair of india-rubber fishing boots – will ever get near it. I have seen the “Fairy Glen” at Bettws-y-Coed, and “Stock Ghyll” at Ambleside, but these places, in my opinion, are not to be compared with this Manx “Fairy Glen.” But let me try and give same faint idea of the place as I saw it. The whole body of water in the river becomes compressed to a couple of feet between two high rocks, and falls down some twenty feet into a dark pool beneath, sending up a rainbow spray, which descends upon the rank vegetation around in a perpetual mist, keeping the trees which overhang the pool in continual moisture. And oh! what a little paradise of ferns! – from the delicate maiden-hair species, growing out of the crevices of the dripping rocks, to the stately Royal Fern (Osmunda Regalis) growing on its banks, in a tangled mass of woodbine, bracken, and foxgloves, and rearing its stately flower-fronds some five feet above its lowly fellows.
As I turned away from this enchanted spot, I thought if there happen to be left one or two of the old Manx Fairies (not steam boats) this is the spot where they would like to dwell, and if
“In a cowslip’s bell they lie,”
I hope they would use their magic spell to keep it from the “pleasure resort demon,” and vandal “fern grabbers,” that haunt Douglas Market Place during the “season.”
Well, as the stream above the waterfall was beginning to get narrow, and I knew no fish, not even a salmon, could leap that fall, I decided to wind up my tackle and make for the refreshment hut on Snaefell Road, and as I felt somewhat “peckish” after my seven hours’ fast, a glass of ale and my sandwich would be very acceptable. It is wonderful in the excitement of sport, when your heart is in it, how everything else is forgotten, even the cravings of hunger. Had I been sitting at my desk at Manchester, my stomach would have thought the world was coming to an end, if I had left it uncared for for half this time.
It was a long hard pull up to the hut, through the turf bogs all the way, but I got to it at last, and my glass of ale and sandwich, too. I took a seat on the bench and “fell to” like a hungry ploughman, and that simple fare, after my ten miles hard tramp, with the mountain breezes as appetisers, was to me as good as a Lord Mayor’s banquet, you may be sure.
The cars with the “cottonies” going the “long road,” were beginning to come. In most of them the men sat close to one another with a rug spread on their knees to make a sort of table, and were playing cards when they passed me, and kept looking at their knees while they were in my sight, and no one seemed to be aware that they were passing some of the grandest mountain scenery in the kingdom, and “Sherragh Vane!” They certainly did not look at it!
Having to go to Laxey to execute a trifling commission for my good Mrs. ___ in Douglas to her mother who lives there, I decided to follow the stream that rises on Snaefell, and fish down. But when I got on the brow of the hill, I saw at the bottom the puff of steam from an engine, and knew at once from the heaps of shale at the side that it was a lead mine, and no fish to be had in that river. I would, however, follow the course of the stream, as it was certain to bring me as quickly as any other road into Laxey. So I started, following the stream, but oh! what a difference in the water from those I had just left; a liquid slime, and vegetation itself not able to live on the bank where the water touches.
* * * * *
I left the bank of the river when I came to the first batch of thatched cottages on my left, as I was given to understand by my kind provider in Douglas, that in one of these cottages her mother lived. When I got up on the brow, I conld see the top of the famous Laxey Wheel a short distance from me, and in a garden attached to a white-washed thatched cottage I could see an old woman, with a spotted sun bonnet on her head, digging potatoes. I made my way to her, and found she was the very person I wanted to see. I knew her at once, for I had seen her once or twice at her daughter’s house, and had become fairly acquainted with her.
As soon as she saw me she lifted up her two hands, and exclaimed in surprise: “Lough save us! and dear heart alive! If this isn’ the young falla from Manchester, that allis stays wis our Nessy. Come round to the gate pas’ that thrammon tree.”
I went along the garden hedge of high fuchsia trees, and came to a little wicket-gate, overhung by an elder tree – which, I suppose, is what she meant by “thrammon,” and down a garden path, to the front door, as my friend came round the gable of the cottage, carrying in one hand a bucket full of potatoes and a midden-fork in the other.
When she had put the things down, and turned back the flaps of her sun-bonnet from her face, she said – looking straight in my face with a smile – “‘Deed, tho’, you’re lookin’ smart an’ stout, la’, an’ the las’ pesson in this blessed world I should expee’ seein’ at Agneash.” After leading the way into the cottage, and taking my coat and tackle from me, she said, as she took the basket of fish: “‘Deed, tho’, there’s weight here, bogh, an’ I wouldn’ trus’ you’ve made a good fishin wis the troutses” – and in the same breath – “And how is Nessy and her man, and the childher? – You’ll be stayin’ wis her as former – ‘Deed, her an’ the gel will do theer very bes’ to make you comfibil; are they full? – but I needn’be axin’ in Augus’! Chut! What am I tinkin’ on, goin’ clanderin’ on lek this when I knows in mee heart you’re jus’ dead, an’ fairly waste1 for want of mate? Take that arram cheer now, and make yourself comfibil. I wouldn’ trus’ now your stockin’s will be soppin’ wet, laak all fisher falla’s are. Take your big boots off. I’ll gerra peer of sleppars off the lat” to put on.
“Wait now, wait (as I was trying to get my boots off) puk up your fut an’ let mee lay hould of the heel, or you’ll navar get them off – theer now, the other – now you’ll be comfibil, an’ take your cheer into the “chiollagh,”2 an’ put your feet to the turfs, an’ I’ll have a cup of tay in no time, as the man said.
“Would you like a herrin’? There’s salt wans sence Satada’; the Manx boats don’t navar go out on Sunda’, so theer’s navar no fresh herrin’s on Monda’ – Chut! What am I tinkin’ on; you’ll be havin’ a couple of your own troutses, and I’ll gut them and clane them for you.”
I told her she must take four or five of the biggest and as I saw there were cups and saucers laid for two, she must join me, which she said she would, and they were soon frizzling away in the frying-pan over the hot turf fire.
While the tea and fish were getting ready, she asked me if I would like a wash, which I told her I would with pleasure; so, she brought out a bowl of water and soap and a clean towel on to the “bink,” as she called the flag outside, and I had the luxury of a wash in the “open,” with delightfiil scenery all around – Laxey village lying before me deep down in the Glen, sheltered, to all appearance, from every wind that blows, with the afternoon’s sun shining upon the white-washed houses on one side the valley – on the other side they were in perfect shade, and the sea beyond glittering in the sun like a molten mirror.
There were about a dozen “visitors,” on the top of the big wheel,” but the distance was too far for me to see if there were any I knew. And as I stood in the garden scrubbing myself with the towel, I heard a voice from within calling out –
“Faith an’ you English ones are mortal slow and ‘tic’lar about your washin’; a Manxman would have done his slick arrim before now. Come, hurry up, the fish is done to a tas’e.”
I hurried in, and was soon sitting at a small round table with a clean white cloth on, and everything nice and natty, when she said –
“Now, fall to your mate,” as the man said, “and don’t be shy; here’s nice soda cakes fresh off the griddle this mornin’, and here’s some oatcake if your teese is good. You’ll be tak’n sugar and milk wis your tay? That’s right, some of you English people is tarrable faddy, I know, about your mate, not wantin’ this, an’ can’t navar do wis that, instead of aetin what’s set afore them, and bein’ thankful.”
I saw the plate, with the five trout nicely browned, was set before me, and I wanted her to have two of them.
“Deed no, bogh!” she said, “I couldn’ touch one for the world; the Manx dont navar ate troutses, theer’s no scales arram, and is’n good for mate; this jam is more to my tas’e; these troutses are nice ones tho’, and done to a turn in fresh butthar-drippin’, and no doubt will be splandid for them that laaks them.
“Now, don’t want coaxin’, but fall to your mate, jus’ as if you was at home.”
I certainly should not want “coaxin” to help myself to this plate of delicious trout; whatever the Manx women are in other departments, they certainly can cook fish to perfection. I had just finished half of my second fish, and had taken the backbone out to get at the under half, when she said –
“Lough, save us alive! the way you ate a fish is somethin’ scan’lous, any one would know wis out tellin’ you’re a cottonie,’ by the way you ‘ brock’3 your fish.”
“Why,” I said, laughing, “is not that the proper way to eat a fish, to take the backbone out of it?”
“Chut! no, the Manx, who oughter know, navar ates fish the lek of that. When the mate is puk off arram at one side, they turns it over on the other, to gerrat the mate; but, of course, the Manx would ate it wis theer fingars, and not brock it lek that any way. Here,” pushing the butter plate towards me, “take some more butthar, its nice and fresh, and don’t spare it now, but ate your mate hearty. Its ages sence your brekfas’, and it’s laak as not you won’t gerra nothar tas’e in your mouse till you gerrat Dhoolish4, and that won’t be till far on of the everin’.
“Come, let me coax you for another cup. No! Well, then, as the Manx proverbs has it, ‘Ta dy liooar chammah as bannish.’ You don’t understand that? The English of it is ‘Enough is as good as a feast.’ So I’ll be clearin’ these ‘Kiartagh’5 awly while you’ll be takin’ a draw of your pipe, which I see in your coat pocket.”
I at once lit my pipe as requested, and went outside in the garden to smoke it.
In looking over the valley, at the bottom across the river I had come down, was a ruined cottage standing amongst a clump of tall trees; it had evidently not been inhabited for a good many years, as all around it was overgrown with tall bracken, bramble, and woodbine. I was looking at it with considerable interest, when the old woman came to the door to hang a dishcloth on a nail in the gable, and I asked her why it had been left in that dilapidated condition, and how long it had been untenanted.
She put her hand over her eyes to shade the sun, which was setting over the hill in front of us, and I saw her bosom heave, and she gave a long sigh, and half-turned herself from me, as if some painful remembrance had been brought to her mind by my enquiries, and the sight of the ruined cottage. After a few seconds, she turned herself round and looked at me, and I could see that her eyelids were moist; but, by the power of a strong will, the tears had been forced back. Then she spoke with a softened and subdued voice, as if what she was going to tell was of too sacred a nature to follow the jerky fashion in which she had hitherto conversed.
“Young man,” she said, “you are a stranger to the I’lan. I have met you once before at our Nessy’s; its laak as not I’ll navar be meetin’ you again. I’ll be 69 years come next Hollantide, and can’t expec’ to live many more years any way. I have navar in my life towl a single sowl – not even our Nessy – all that I know about the sad story connected wis that ould ruined ‘tholthan’5 across the ravvar. But come,” she said, as she moved up the garden path, “let us go into the house while I tell you the story; take that cheer, an’ fill your pipe again while I go an’ bring me rolls.”
Then she went into the other room, and brought an armful of long wool cardings, and, after taking out of a corner a dark mahogany carved little hand-spinning wheel, which she placed before the window overlooking the ruined cottage, and taking a chair and seating herself at the wheel with her foot on a little treddle, she whirled the rim round with her hand, then the foot-treddle caught the down motion, and sent it whirling round.
Taking a handful of the rolls from the back of another chair, she laid them lengthwise on her lap, and selecting one of them – the wheel whirling so fast that the carved spokes in the centre of the rim appeared like a circle of light in a black frame – she twisted deftly the end of the carding to a loose piece of thread hanging at the mouth of the spoolspindle. She then lifted her left hand above her shoulder, and the twist from the revolving spindle was delivered by the right hand into the length of thread held aloft. At the same time she drew out the carding to its proper fineness, the spindle, by some curious process I could not see, winding the twisted thread on to the spool. After she had drawn out the second length – taking in all about the tenth-part of the time I have taken in describing the process – she began:–
“It will take most part of an hour to tell you what I’m goin’ to, its laak as not. The thoughts of ould times comes back to me bes’ thro’ the hum of the wheel and the touch of’ the thread, that’s the for I have puk up the wheel. Light yer pipe – you’ll find twistes over your head on the mantel – give me that egg-cup wis the father at the same time, and I’ll purra tas’e of oil on the spindle, so it won’t make no more noise til a bum-bee – there now, that will do – thank you! and I can proceed.”
The hum of the wheel stopped for a second or two, as she looked out of the window in a sort of dreamy fashion; then the rim was moved slowly until the foot-lever was at the top. When the drowsy hum was heard again, she said:–
“I was jus tinkin’ in me own min’, to be exac’, how many years sence that cottage was lived in. Our Nessy will be 40 years comin’ nex’ Medsummer Feer; she was a lump of a gel of five when Dad and Uncle Juan died, and I was lef’ a lone woman, wis on’y our lil Nessy, the chree.”6
Then the wheel stopped again, and taking from her lap under the rolls a pocket handkerchief, she wiped the little bent gorse twig that carried the thread over the spool flyers, and before putting it back, I noticed that somehow it managed to find its way to her eyes, and she finished by wiping her “specs;” then the hum again sounded, but low, just as when a bee is in a fox-glove bell; and she continued her narrative.
I was sayin’, I tink, that our Nessy was jus’ turnt five, and five from forty will bring it to tirty-five exac’ come nex’ Chrissimus sence what I am goin’ to tell you tuk place.
My only brother Juan – he was allis, bose in this parish and Kil Maul7, call’t Juan the weaver – and his daughter Nora, on’y them two (the mother dyin’ when the lil ting was at the bres’), las’ lived in yandher cottage. Juan, as his name tells, was a waevar, workin’ the loom at home. All the people in this parish and nex’ used to spin theer own wool into thread on the lil wheel laak this exac’. Then they bring it to our Juan to weave it for them into ‘kialtar,’ flannen, linsey, and cheeks for frocks and perricut stuff for the women and gels. The Keir7 and ‘loaghtyn’8 wool would be made into stockin’ yarn, and fine thread to be wove into russad cloth for the men and boys, and a lump of it sometimes would be sent to ould Sudhard te be dyed Manx-blue for Sunda’ besses. That lav’l piece of ground you see in front of the ‘tholthan’ theer was the place he had to stretch his sized webs, before purrin them in the loom. And the strings of people that would be comin’ from all parts of this parish and nex’ was somethin’ tremenjous urro’ massy.
Well, as I was sayin’, the gel, Nora, would be about nineteen – fourteen years more till our Nessy, that she nuss’d scores of hours – making ‘cats’ cradles’ and ‘dolls’ cheers’ for her out of the rushes that growed on the ravvar side.
“And, dear heart, the chree! Such a gel as Nora was then you wouldn’ clap your eyes on now, not if you walked from Point of Ayre to the Calf this blessed day, and in the height of the sayson.
“Tall and slim she was, and as straight as that fishin’-rod yandhar; and as swivel on fut as a hare – springy on her shoes somethin’ tarrable. She wasn’ lek the ‘sthugghas’10 of gels that’s in now wis theer hair crimpt over theer ever brows, and theer figgars made up of padded busses and panyars by the dressmaker.
“‘Deed no! she wanted none of them tings to help her figgar – a back as straight as a foot-rule, and shouldhers thrown back when she walked. She wasn’t, what hapes of men admire, a ‘stout gel’ neither, wis cheeks hangin’ at her laak big red apples lek; but a nice dallicake face arrar, and the pink and white in her cheeks, mixed through others, as the sayin’ is, laak the inside of a red rose jus’ open. But it was the hair and eyes that played the very mischief wis the boys – but theer! I won’t thry to tell you what they were laak. You will hear from the ‘jeeill’11 they done further on in the story.
“Well, at this time I am talkin’ about, Nora was a sarvant at the Cap’n’s (Captain of the Parish?) – Chut! Kneale’s? – no, but Cap’n of the mines, big house at the washin’ bridge yandhar. And the mistress and the gels thought di’monds of her; and such a vice for singin’ arrar you wouldn’ navar belave, could go trim’lin up to the high notes, laak a lark, and come sliddherin’ down again to alto, that would make a thrill go down your back, laak teemin’ cowl water through a spout lek.
“The Cap’n’s gels an’ the Pazon, knowin’ the fine vice that was arrar, tuk hapes of throuble to larn her the notes, an’ nothin’ would sarve but she mus’ be among the singers at the lil church on the Cap’n’s lawn; and the go on them at the praxises, two or three everins in the week, was sometin’ scan’lis urro’ massy. And the young fallas in the tanors and basses almos’ grippin’ one another who’d be carryin’ her music book when the praxis was done arram; and others, that couldn’ sing, waitin’ hours at the church door to gerra glint of a lil smile from her, and would go home quite happy if she on’y bid them ‘good night.’
Well, this went on its laak for near on twelve munses, smilin’ gennal lek, an’ makin’ her jokses to all the same, not faverin’ one more til another. When the cowl’ wather set in tho’, the ones at the church door began to drop off, till there was on’y one lef, and no matthar how the win’ would be blowin’ and freezin’ lek the mischief, stan’ it out he would. And when the organ and the singin’ was goin’ at it full belt, he would clap his han’s and stamp his feet in the porch, to take hate in them. And when the music stopped – I’ve hard him say – he would open the door quite sof’ lek, an’ have a lil peep, when he would hear the Pazon sayin – ‘Jus’ try over that duet wis Corkish, Miss Nora, and then we’ll be done;’ then his heart would give’ a big tump against his ribs. Aye, and I’ve hard him tell – when theer vices come cooin up the aisle of the church, swellin’ and blendin’ lek crame in butther-milk, and one after another, laak gels playin’ at ‘But-thorrin’; then they would go to the sof’, and the player wis her han’s on the top keys of the organ, and the vices swellin’ out to loud, then dyin’ off sof’, jus’ laak a dhrame lek.
“That Thobm-Juan-beg-Corkish, tho’ lil hisself, had a tremenjous heavy bass vice arrim, and as mallar as a bus drum. Then the praxis would be done; but when he saw the Juan-beg comin’ up the aisle smilin’ at Nora, and so close that his arrim touched her frock, and carryin’ her music-book quite imperent lek, he couldn’ stan’ it no longer, but tuk to his heels lek the very mischief, and off up to the Balgean as fas’ as he could lathar, an’ almos, cussin’ hisself. I’ve hard him say that he couldn’ sing a strook.
“Poor falla! If he’d ha’ waited and seen how clavar Nora tricked the Juan-beg, he would hav’ tuk heart. Nora – for all his clavar singin’ and fine bass vice – didn’ keer, no not one haporth for Juan, and didn’ want to give the las’e tas’e of encouragement. Civil she would be, an’ nothin’ more. So when they gorr outside and was walkin’ through the Cap’n’s garden and Juan was jus’ purrin’ his arrim roun’ her wais’ (this she tould me herself), she grabs the music-book urrov his hand, and says, quite sudden lek, ‘Dear me! I’ve lef’ me gloves in the sate,’ and was hafe way back across the lawn to the church, before Juan knew where he was, The sly of the gel! She knew the young Misses would be still in the church, and she would come home wis them, and Juan wouldn’ dar’ to come near them. You mus’ know in them times the Cap’n’s ones was laak kings and queenses, and no one in Laxa – special miners – dar’ say ‘boo to a goose,’ as the sayin’ is. Well, Juan was that mad you wouldn’ belave, and when he saw the gel comin’ wis the Cap’n’s ones, he fell a-cussin’ shockin’, scan’lous – to himself, tho’ – and hurried off home to the Big Wheel, laak a dog wis its tail between its legs.
“This Thobm-Juan-beg-Corkish, calt for short Juan-beg, you mus’ unnerstan’, was a miner, an’ tho’ lil, uncommon clavar wis the mell and jumpa’. I’ve hard tell he navar cracked a knuckle wis his streckin, and wiry as pin-wire, as the sayin’ is, but a tamper arrim, when riled, that was fet to set fire to a green goss bush.
“The bes’ pitches in the mine allis come to his han’, and the praxises, as I have said, bein’ two or three in the week, a lil note would be sent by the Cap’n’s Miss, the organ player, ‘to-night praxis,’ and a labourer laak a shot to take his place, and the pay at the munse end always one of the bigges’ goin’. Chut! yandher times the Cap’n had a free han’ enough, and no one to say him nay, as the man said. ‘Deed, tho’, the times are different now; a bass vice, if its as loud as a tramhurn12, won’t navar change a shif’ even, lerr alone gerrin’ a man in his place, and bein’ paid all the same.
“Well, ‘deed, tho’, the Juan-beg was tarrable mad for Nora, an’ wouldn’ giv’ up the ques’ till he was complate bet, you may be sure of that.
“Well, tho’, for all the other falla was every mossel as despar, but more quieter lek, jus’ as you might say, and when he come near to Nora, or saw her ever so far off – he tould me – he felt as if he mus’ take off his hat, lek goin’ into church, or passin’ a buryin’ lek. It’s quare, isn’t it?” she said, stopping the wheel, and looking through the window with her hand on the rim, and absorbed in thought, and although she had stopped at the question, I could see it was not to me it had been addressed; but her whole talk, for that matter, had been a sort of crooning to herself, with the hum of the wheel for a low accompaniment, and I believe she had quite forgotten that I was in the room. After this long pause the wheel moved very slowly – in fact, I noticed this peculiarity in her spinning; when her talk became somewhat excited, her foot and treadle would become excited too, and the hum would increase to a whizz and a burr-burr that fairly shook the spindle; but as her voice dropped and took a sad tone, the gentle hum would return and almost die away in silence, as it did when she asked the question and stopped.
“‘Deed, aye!” she said, as she let the spun length on to the spool, “this love in men plays the very mischief. In some fallas, laak Juan lek, it goes rippin’ and tearin’ laak when they sets fire to the ling and gorse on the mountains, wis a puff of eas’ win’ blowin’; while wis some it is laak the scutch grass and priddha blossoms, after harrain’ haped in a ruck, and the fire laid on, it goes smoulderin’ and smookin’ for avar lek, even nex’ day you’ll see it, and mayve the day follerin’. This was laak that other falla, smother’d up and kep’ under, but hot, tarrable, and studdy as a gun.
“But lough save us!” said she, turning and seeing me, I believe for the first time since she commenced her story. “I’ve clane forgot. I don’t think in mee heart I tould you who the other falla was. He lived at that big farm house over theer,” pointing with her finger through the window across the valley over to the ruined cottage.
“Yes, I see,” said I, standing up and looking over her shoulder as she pointed, “the one on the brow next to us.”
“Chut! no,” she said, “that’s not it; that’s North Baldrine; the one overside among the trees wis the big outhouses, that’s Balgean, wis more lan’ til any in the parish, and five quarter lan’s to it. A Scotchman he was, livin’ wis his father; his name Donald Stephenson, but the Manx always calt them ‘Levisons,’ I suppose for the short. He was a fine han’some swivel falla, and theer was’n the laak in the parish; he could hav’ puk up Juan-beg under his arrim and trow’d him over the hedge as aisy as lif’n a turmit; but he was quiet shockin’ and wouldn’ hurt a fly. At the plough and the scythe he was tuk at the farmers to be the bes’ in the parish, and the furras, I’ve hard the Ballacragga say himself, was as straight as a rule, an’ laval on the top as a table-clos, an couldn’ be bet anyway. And as for the scythe in the harves’-field, he would keep six tyers arrit from ‘arly mornin’ till late everin’, and be as ‘fresh as paint,’ as the Irishman said, when the day was done arrim.
“Five pa’r of horses arram in the stables, and the ‘perk’ (which I woldn’ trus’ you came across from Snavel hut, and now overgrow’d wis ling and goss, fet for sheeps and young cattle) was standin’ wis corn then, and tremenjous crops arram, and thrashin’ uncommon well, I’ve hard, for the high lan’s.
“Chut! these Scotchies always was, and is till now, tarmble pushin’ fallas, quite difer’ til the Manx, wis theer ‘Furree! Furree!’13 and ‘Traa dy liooar!’14 I’ve hard ould Dan Kermode, the joiner, say, purra Scotchman on Laxa deads15 “Chut! Dan would hav’ his jokses, but no one minded his ‘boughtnets;’ but that’s neither here now there, as the man said.
“Well, tho’, this Donal’ was clavar at the books, arrim in his pockads, and when the hosses tuk a res’ on the headlan’s and the plough tilt up, urrov the pockads laak a shot, and poethry mus’ be read, an’ I’ve hard Nora say times he could reel off wisout book the whole jus’ of that Scotch falla Burnses poethry, and at the concerts in Laxa, the gran’ he could do the recitin’, wis his han’ ups lek a Pazon, an’ his eyes on the ceiln’ lek, an’ his vice a-trimblin’ and shakin’ as if he was goin’ to cry.
“Yes, ‘deed, tho’, he could do it wis a tas’e, and no mistake which I’ve hard myself times and times. He was uncommon friendly at the parsonage, and the Pazon thought hapes of him, bein’ Super at the Sunda’ School when the Pazon hisself wasn’ theer.
“The very nex’ Sunda’ – I min’ Nora tellin’ me – after the praxis I tould you about, he was sittin’ in his own sate at the low end of the church nex’ to the Cap’n’s pew, and the Pazon come up to him and axes him if he would be so kind as to sit wis the boys on the furrim nex’ the singers, as in the mornin’ they were nearly purrin’ him thro-others wis theer antax16 and twis’en on the sates.
“Well, he went up and sat it the side of the boys to keep them qui’t. It was here – as Nora tould me – that the ‘jeeil’ was done ‘betwix’ and between them’ – as Jonny Ka-lay said of the mortar. It was jus’ as suddent as this:– When the collec’, ‘Lighten our darkness,’ was finish’, and the bose of them were a-lift’n theer heads and theer eyes met, quite sudd’n lek, jus’ a sackon, and not one mossel more til that, his eyes – Nora tould me – bamed, and his eye-leds gav’ a surt of a lil flutthar lek – cheeks jus’ one tas’e of red come in, and went – and that was all.
“But she knew in her heart, for the first time, that that big han’some Scotch Donal’ was deep in love wis her. Then the Pazon read the words of the anthem, and they stood up; but Nora was that tak’n aback, that when she tried to get her music togathar the pages wouldn’ fit, and when they come to the duet wis Juan (she got fairly through others), laak a tangled skein, she mess’d and muck’d it, Juan said, mos’ boosely ‘urromassy.’
“When they sit down, all the singers looked at Nora, and wonderin’ in theer hearts what had come over the gel, to do such jeeill as that, when she sung it so gran’ at the praxis. But she hung down her head and looked on’y at the music stand all through the sarmon, and all the time theer eyes navar met, for Donal’ was hushin’ and hishin the boys to keep them quiet, and tinkin’ deep down in his heart he had navar hard such gran’ music in his life – not even Burnses ‘Highlan’ Mary,’ sung to a bagpipe, could come near it, I hard him tell.
“Well, when they gorr outside the church, Juan comes up to her, a tearin’ and ragin’ laak a falla stampin’ mad, and as imperent as sin.
“And ‘what in the world posses’ you to make such a confound’ mess of the quhole ting, half a note flat through it all, and bars wrong in the time, and the deshcords was sometin’ shock’n’?’
“She stood for a sackon wis her head hung down, but navar a word urrov her mouse; but turns round and walks away quite slowly up the Cap’n’s lawn, and went and shut herself up in her own room, and navar come down the whole everin; and the misthress didn’ disturb her, for she thought Nora was vexed at herself for spoilin’ the singin’.
“But Nora, the chree! navar thought one haporth about the singin’, in fac’, she tould me herself, she didn’ hear one single note, but the look of them swimmin’ eyes was on the music, and she didn’ see nothin’ but them!
“Well, the Wensda’ in the follerin’ week happen’ to be the Sunda’ School and Church Tay Party, and the Cap’n’s ones was allis gerrin’ the bes’ tray, and the sarvents – three of them besides Nora, who was parlour-maid and head sarvent – mus’ be all theer, and a tarrable go was on them fixin’ keddles, and tay cups, and flowers for the tables, and pissaves and custards, and boil’d and roast bose in fowlses and mate, and the table haped up and loaded laak a club dinner jus’.
“So when the Wensda’ everin’ come round, the gels all in theer Sunda’ bes’ frocks was theer on the minutes. Nora, wis a red rose from the Cap’n’s green-house pinned on her bres’, jus’ peepin’ out of the white tulle she wore roun’ her neck and in her hair, which was done up to a tas’e, I can tell you, wis lil hangin’ snow-drop flowers, white all over, and out of the green-house, but they warn’ snow-drops, but laak lek. And the pretty she was you wouldn’ belave!
“Well, off they went, the whole batch of them, to the school-house yandhar, which you see standn’ on the top of the hill over-lookn’ Laxa, and had theer own table fixed wis beauty when the Misthress and the young Misses come in, and the Misthress, and the Pazon and his wife complimentin’ her tas’e, and tellin’ her to her face (which made the other gels a lil bit jallis) that they ‘navar seen a table laid out so love-aly before,’ which sent the pink and white roses into her cheeks the las’e tinge mallarer. When Donald was seen comin’ thro’ the door a deeper collour still went up in her forehead, and what wis the hot tay that was a-drawin’ under the cosies, and the warrim room wis the keddles a-boilin’, she had to take her han’kercher out of her pockad to wipe her face, and gev a lil glint from behint it to see if he was comin’ to her table.
“All the gels that was a-sittin’ at the two rows of long tables down the room were heis’in on one side, and lavin’ room for Donal’ to sit, and callin’ out, ‘Here’s room, Mr. Stephenson, waitin’ for you.’ The gels, yon mus’ know, had pass’ theer seven standar’s, and, of coorse, mus’ give him his propa’ name, not lek the ould Manx people that navar used the standar’s, and that’s the for I tould you at the beginnin’ they callt them ‘Levisons.’
“Well, as I was a-sayin’, all the gels was wantin’ him to sit by them, as he was in great favour wis them all, but he went straight as a arrar up the room pass’ every one of the gels – jus’ givin’ a lil nod and a smile to all – and ups to the Cap’n’s table, where Nora was jus’ fillin’ a cup of tay for the Juan-beg that sat nex’ her, and takin’ a sate jus’ afore Nora, and she saw him, and wis a lil smile she axes him ‘Are you laakin’ much shuggar, Mr. Stephenson?’ but before he had time to answer – for he had jus’ bent his head to puk his hat under the table – that limb of Satan, Juan (God forgive me for sayin’ so), wis his imperence and mookin’ vice, bittendin to talk Scotch, says, “Deed, tho’, he’s noa a Scoachmawn if he doan’ laak bose shuggarr and whuska’.’ But Donal’ didn’ bittend he hard, and whatavar he may have felt at the momen’, he didn’ let anyone see. So be smiled sof’ly and said, ‘Thanks to you,’ when Nora gave him a cup wis her sweetest smile, and then hung down her head, bittendin’ to smell at the rose in her bres’.
“Me and our Nessy was sittin’ on the same furrim nex’, when the Pazon come, and I heis’ed a lil to one side to make room, and he tuk his seat nex’ to Donal’, and they bose ups at once and begun to talk about books, and poethry, and the way Donal’ could talk, even to the Pazon, was somethin’ ‘strawnary, wis his sof’ vice, and the las’e lil tas’e of a gurr arrim on his r’s, and his vice that low and mallar, and winnin’ lek, you wouldn’ belave. And the varses he could say wisout book, quite pat lek, and the Pazon lis’enin’ and smilin’ gennal mortal, and liftin’ his glasses – which navar lef’ him – and givin’ a lil heissin’ wis his shouldars, lek he did in the pulfit, and Nora, the chree, that plased and sweet smilin’, lis’enin’, and forgettin’ the tay.
“And that Juan, who was sittin’ nex’ her, grabs her pockad han’kecher, and winkiri’ at the fallar nex’ him, rams it undhar his oxthar ‘spectin’ the gal would rag for it, lek mos’ gels would. But I saw the face arrar gerrin’ such a look that shamed him, I can tell you, and she navar tuk the lase notice about the han’kecher, but gorra lil cambric ting that was in the baskag wis the spoons, and wiped her forehead wis it, as if nothin’ had happ’n. And the fool Juan had made of hisself set the boys and girls a-laughin’ arrim, and he jumps up from the furrim wis his cup half done arrim, and flings Nora’s han’kecher on the floor behint her, and walks out of the room as mad as a wasp.
“When the tay was done, and the scholars — ill ones — had gone home, the big ones and the teachers had games, but, of coorse, I didn’ stay till they had done, as it was gerrin’ our Nessy’s bed-time; but Nora tould me of it times afterwards, which makes me remember. It seems they were playin’ at tersey, and a big ring of them, and Nora had the han’kercher and drapt it behint a gel that stood nex’ to Juan, but Juan grabs it, and made chase after Nora, and in his mad way catches hould of her hair and pulls it down; but he didn’ tip her fair, and she found herself quite onexpected in front of Donal’. In liftin’ her hands over her head to rowl up her back hair, she touched his hands, and she felt his hands give her’s a sof’ lil sweeze lek, and (she tould me this offen and offen) theer went through her arrims, and down to her very toes, a lil trill lek; lek when you jus’ grips sof’ the ting the Cap’n had for his rhemnatiz. No one saw it, and no one knew but them two the ‘jeeill‘ that hair had done.
“Well, Nora wouldn’ play not one more strook after that, but went and got the silvar tay-pot and spoons and put them in the baskag, and coax and coax as the other gels and boys did for her to stay she wouldn’, and at the door Donal’ waitin’ wis his hat on ready too.
“When they gorrin the porch Donal’ said he would carry the ‘tray‘ — he callt it Nora said — if she would kindly allow him. Of coorse, lek all young gels, she bittended this and that, and it wasn’ heavy, and she couldn’ think of throublin’ Mr. Stephenson, and a lot of rubbage of that surt, when the sly ting was wantin’ him to carry it all the time. Well, he gorrit, and as they was goin’ up the slip from the door, him a few yards in front, behould ye! who should be comin’ runnin‘ through the door lek mad but the Juan-Beg, and he shouts: ‘Hould on, Nora. I’ll carry the tings for you.’ But when he saw Nora empty-handed, and the baskag at Donal’ some distance off, he grips her wis a shook, and hisses in her ear, ‘Ah! that’s it, is it, mee gel? I’ll stop that lil game,’ and givin’ her one shove that nearly fell’d her, he tore off, cussiri’ tarrable, down the hill the other way. It come so sudden lek, that the gel was fair chek’ when she gorr on the road, but she soon foun’ that Donal’ had seen nothin’ that had pass’, so she didn’ keer.
“When they gorrat the Washin’ Bridge, Nora wanted to take the ‘tray‘ — as he callt it — from him, but he said he would carry it to the door; but she said his way was up the hill, and she was goin’ to purra sight on her father before goin’ in. When he hard this, he says, quite chee’ful lek, that was his nearest way, and he would go wis her; so they come on to the cottage theer. And the nice he was, and the gentle — none of the grippin’ and raggiri’ lek other boys — but the sof’ spuk, and gentle, and consadherat’, you’d navar belave, which fairly won her over, and before they got back to the Cap’n’s, so much had been said between them, and ten times as much unsaid, but felt, and couldn’ find words if they’d tried, that before they were half-way back her hand was houl’in his arrim, and walkin’ as proud as if she had known him for years instead of munses only.
“Well, I’ve jus’ done the two spools, and I’ll ball them now.”
And she left the wheel and went to the hearth and took up a cinder in her fingers, and came and sat down on the chair again; and as she began to wrap the thread which she had spun on a ball round the cinder, she said — “The rest of the story, which is only short now, I will tell you as I am ballin’ this.”
Then she looked through the window at the ruined cottage, and said, in the dreamy voice, as if crooning to herself, as I had noticed before: “It’s mortal strange this longin’ that comes over young people the laaks of Nora; I have hard her tellin’ times and times that it wasn’ his han’some face, nor his figgar in no way that she tuk to him so despard, but his vice, that was it that fairly wutched her lek, and made her forget everythin’ when she was listenin’ to him and when he wasn’ theer she could hear his vice, and the tings he had said was allis in her ears —even when she was goin’ about the house — and she cared for no company now, as his vice was the bes’ company, which she could have all to herself when alone,
“‘Deed, tho’, I wouldn’ trus’ but she was right theer; its not the whole body of a pesson at all that one leks; maybe its a lil dimple in the cheek, or the way the hair falls on the forehead, or a lil toose that will peep and show itself in spite of the red lips, or more liker, two big blue eyes the lek of Nora’s herself, wis a swimmy, far-off look, lek when you look down into deep water from a yawl on a still day; into it you can look, but the depse of blue you can’t fadom.”
Then she stopped herself quite suddenly, and rolling the thread on the ball with a quicker movement, and once more noticing my presence, she exclaimed:— “Chut! what ‘boughnet‘ is this I am ramblin’ into? I clane forget myself. Where was I? Aw you needn’, I’ve gorrit. Well, the weddin’ was to be ‘any after harvis’, and Nora was up wis Donal’ times at the Balgean, and the tather and mother tuk oncommon wis Nora, and proud urro massy wis her too, and couldn’ make enough of her. And hapes of tings they was gerrin for the weddin’ I needn’ be tellin’ you.
“And the Cap’n’s wife — her misthress — delighted, but sorry mortal to part wis her, and wheeravar should they get such a good gel as Nora had been, knew all theer ways, and was more laak a sesthar to the young misses til a sarvant. This was what the misthress was sayin’, but a new silk weddin’ dress was given by her, the very bes’ in Wilson the draper’s shop in Dhoolish, and that thick it would stan’ on end wisout any one touchin’ it. And the Pazon’s wife sendin’ to London for a weddin’ veil and wreath, nothin’ arram good enough in all the Dhoolish shops, which she tried every one of them. And presents from hapes of Donal’s people from Scotland was somethin’ ‘strawnary, and the go that was arram for weeks was somethin’ shockin’ tarrable.
“But lo! and behould ye! when the las’ week in harvis’ had come, and all prepar’d, Nora’s father was tuk tarrable bad, and sick oncommon, and Docthar Craine, from Ramsa’, sent for lek a shot wis the Cap’n’s carriage; and he come and he said, his narves was shuk, but he wouldn’ trus’ wis quit’ness and good nussin’ he would be goin’ about again in about a mumse or so.
“‘Deed, our Juan, even at bes’, was navar nothin’ batthar till a crus’17 and could navar stan’ the las’e tas’e of ‘citement. And the thoughts of Nora lavin’ him had purrim thro-others tremenjous; riot but what he was as plaised and proud at the match as any of us, but bein’ nothin’ but a crus’, as I have said, the joy of it would do the ‘jeeil‘ on him.
“Well, the weddin’ mus’ be purr off for a munse, and Nora wouldn’ lissen to one word to the contrary, but come she mus’ and nuss ‘daa,’ and I navar seen the laak, the love of them two, they were more lek sweethearts til father and daughter.
“When harvis’ was jus’ about done arram, and the days to shorten lek, our Juan began to gerr about again, and on fine days you would see the two of them walkin’ on that laval patch wis his arrim roun’ Nora’s neck and her’s roun’ his wais’, lek you seen gels goin’ to school.
“I was often goin’ down the brew to purra sight on them, and I ‘member I tould Nora that it was allis considhart onlucky by the ould Manx people to purr off a weddin’, but I trusted to the mussy her’s wouldn’ be. This I ‘member more exac’ by what tuk place after, as you will now hear.
“But wait a sackon,” she said, as she rose from her chair, “I’ll give a poke to the fire, and purr the keddle on the ‘slowrie;‘ you’ll be taking a cup of tay wis me before you lave.”
When she had hung the kettle on the hook over the fire, and taken her seat again at the wheel, and begun to wind from a second spool she had put in its place, she began: —
“Nora’s father was gerrin batthar strong, and by the middle of October was arris loom again, and the weddin’ was fix’ for the las’ week in Novambar; Nora was up here times in the week showin’ me her weddin’ presents as they come in.
“The week before the weddin’ she was up here ‘any on the day wis a whole hape of passils, and smilin’ and singin’ lek mad. I ‘member one song in special which Donal’ had gay’ her, callt ‘Jock o’ Hazeldean,’ and as she had brought her weddin’ tings all complate, to the veil and wreath, and was goin’ to thry them on, and as she was dressin’ before the glass, she sung lek a lark, and I well ‘member the words and the way she spuk them exac’ lek Donal’—
‘A chain of gowd ye shall not lack,
Nor braid to bind your hair.’
And when she come to the las’ vess, I ‘member them far more distinc’ til any of the others, because I hard them wis a sad heart and swimmin’ eyes a short time afthar —
‘The kirk was deck’d at morning-tide,
The tapers glimmer’d fair;
The priest and bridegroom wait the bride,
But ne’er a bride was there.’
Well I ‘member she was purrin her veil on — her weddin’ frock she had on — and as she stepped across the room, sweepin’ her dress behint her, more lek a queen lek, she sang again wis a trill that fair wet mee eyes, houl’in up in her han’, I mind, a locket and chain that Donal’ had gev her —
‘A chain of gowd ye shall not lack,
Nor braid to bind your hair.’
And then, stoppin’ quite sudden lek, she turns wis a lil smile, and said, wis her head on one side, laak a robin-red-breas’ when it look’s at you, ‘Auntie dear, am I nice, and will I do to ride in the carriage wis the pair of white hosses, wis white tassels to their ears?‘ But before I could answer, she had rattled off wis a more joyous vice still—
“She’s o’er the border and awa’
Wi’ Jock o’ Hazeldean.’
“The day afthar Nora was here — bein’ Frida’ of all other days — the snow had begun to fall ‘arly on the day, and towards everin’ the groun’ was gerrin’ quite thick wis it, and more to come, as the cap was lyin’ heavy on Snavel, and big clouds of black snow laak soot — till it fell white — were comin’ sweepin’ down the valley.
“I mind me, too, at the close of the everin’, the Juan-Beg come in — his mother bein’ own cousin to meeself — he come up here times to put a sight — as he was ‘speetin’, no doubt — on Nora. He was still despard on Nora, and I ‘member quite well his standin’ for a long time lookin’ through the window over the valley.
“He hadn’ spuk many words since he come in, and a tarrable smul18 was on his face, and the storm I knew was comin’, but I didn’ say one word. But he ups at once, and the blaguardin’, and the mockin’, and the cussin’ he did on Nora was somethin’ scan’lous awful
“I jumps up on mee feet at once, and tould him to shut up, and norr another word urrov his mouse, and I gev’ him the door, which he tuk, and down the garden flyin’ jus’, and a prayer of cussin’ arrim as long till I could see him, teerrin’ down that brew towards the cottage.
“If ever in this worl’ the divil was in mortal man, he was in that Juan, as he went plungin’ and teerrin’ thro’ goss and briars, and snow, and ‘spectin’ every sackon his neck would he bruk in two. I stood outside and watched him, tinkin’ he would be goin’ to the cottage — which I hoped in the massy he wouldn’ wis such a tampa’ on him — I seen him over the ravvar; the snow had stopped fallin’, but the night was comin’ on fas’, and instead of goin’ towards the cottage, he tuk a turn to the right, and in a sackon or two I could see him again the white snow, creep’n up a sheep trac’ by the side of that big overhangin’ black rock you see theer (pointing with her finger as she spoke). When he gorrat the top I could jus’ see him lek a black spec’ lif’en somethin’ wis his han’s, but a heavy mist come and rowl’d up from the sae, and cover’d him up and the whole valley laak a sheet lek.
“Well, as I have said, this was Frida’, and every Frida’ everin’ Nora was always let off at the Misthress, so she could come up to the cottage yandhar and put a slick of cleanin’ on the house for her father lek, so that it would carry over Sunda’.
“On these Frida’ nights it was always the praxis, and had been from the fus’, for Donal’ to come and purra sight on Nora, and when the fingars of the clock would be standin’ at eight exac’, she would be ‘spectin’, navar missin’, and Nora would be havin’ everythin’ nice and tidy, and clane as a new made pin, and herself all nice and fixed up to the nines.
“She would be standin’ at the gable yandhar on fine days and in the light, watchin’ him come down that lil sheep trac’, pas’ the high rock theer — which is allis callt by the Laxa ones the ‘Black Rock.’ And as there was no proper road thro’ the Dreem19 (the lan’ on the top is callt) Donal’ had puk up hapes of white spar stones, and had made a lil cross wis them wheer he always come down, and some he had set on end in the moul’ down the track, so that even on the darkest nights he could go and come, feelin’ the stones and givin’ lil japs wis the point of his stick, wis navar the las’e tas’e or one mossil of fear. This Nora tould me munses before, when we bose stood in the garden theer watchin’ him come down as nimble as a goat.
“Well, that night it come on tarrable about eight, and the snow had begun to fall again, and I mind it so exac’ because I know when I went to get some bons20 at the far end of the garden to put in the oven for the morning’s fire, for the life of me I couldn’ find the stack, and didn’, and a job I had to get back to the house, it was that mortal dark.
“Me and Nessy had gone to bed at about ten — our usual time — and I wrouldn’ trus’ we had been in bed about an hour — Nessy was asleep as soun’ as a bell, but I was awake — when a tunderin’ knock come to the door, and a cry and a groan that near made me heart jump in mee mouse wis the freck it give me.
“I jumps up at once, and runs downstairs, for I could hear it was our Juan’s vice. I tuk the lock off, and as he come thro’ the door into the kitchen, I hadn’ time to straak a light, but by the light of the fire I could see him bare head, and wisout no jackad, the bres’ out of his body jus’, and couldn’ get a word out for panthin’. His face as white as talla, and his hair rux’t up, and his han’s all scratch’d an’ bleedin’. As soon as avar his bres’ come hack to him, he gasps out, more lek a sob than spuk — ’Nora’s dead, Auntie! Nora’s dead!’
“I ran upstairs, struk a light, put mee clo’s on, tuck’d up our Nessy — that was still fas’ asleep — and when I got down-stairs his bres’ had come back again, and all he could say, in a daze’ way, was — ’Nora is dead, and Donal’ under the Black Rock!’
“I didn’ stop one sackon, but grips his arrim and pulls him out of the house, and down that ugly brew, the two of us wis the snow up to our two knees jus’, thro’ goss and thorns and briars. And how the Lord we two manag’d that night to get to the cottage, and as dark as tar, thro’ knee-deep of snow, and such a road, I navar could tell, and can’t to this day; but, howavar, we did get theer, me fus’, for we got parted somewheer.
“When I got to the house, the door was standin’ wide open, but no one in the kitchen. Upstairs I ran, and into Nora’s room, and —
“Lough save us! the sight on the bed was somethin’ pirriful!
“Nora, wis her long hair all tangled about her face, her clo’s on, even to her boots, and the meltin’ snow drippin’ in her hair, and on her clo’s, and her face as white as the sheets!
“I felt her han’s and face — they were laak death.
“I rep’d open her dress at the ches’ (she was lyin’ on the buttons), and pur mee hand on her heart, and felt a lil bate lek, and I knew that life was still arrar, if I could on’y gerrher warm.
“Oh! the chree! the chree! — the lamb millish!21 — if I had any help!
“The Lord save us! And wis these words on mee lips, I tore the wet clo’s off her body laak one mad, and had her between the blankets, and the hot ovan-shelf to her feet when I hard Juan’s fut on the stair.
“He come in on the laf’, look’n’ more dead til alive. Wheer he had been sence I lef’ him the Lord on’y knows. Wis his clo’s all wet and tore to rags, he throw’d hisself on the bed to Nora, wis a loud cry of —
“‘Oh! the bogh mellish! mee darlin’ Nora!’
“Then he went off into a dead faint, and lay laak a stone lek.
“I grips hould of him, that was ly’n laak a clod, and sthrips his wet t’ings off to his shirt, and laid him on the bed beside Nora, as aisy as liffin a baby.
“I was tarrable sthrong yandhar times, I can tell you.
“Then I went and fatched his blankads off his own bed, and the tick’n wis the fathars and laid them haped on the two of them; for I knew in mee heart, the chrees! nothin’ but hate would put the life in them.
“When this was done at me, I lef’ them, and runs on, as quick as the darkness would let me, to the millar’s — that house theer undar the big wheel — and shook them up, and tould them to run to the Cap’n’s and tell them that‘ Nora was a dyin’, and Donal’ was lyin’ dead under the ‘Black Rock‘ — which I tould them as short as I could — and to bring men from the night-shif’ ones, and a stretcher — which they allus keep for accidents in the mine — to carry poor Donal’ on.
“I hurries back as fas’ as fas’, and found the two as I had lef’ them, but jus’ wis the lase tas’e of hate comin’ on Nora’s face, which I touched wis mee hand.
“Well, after waitin’ for ages — which it seemed — and me gerrin hot water, which I knew the docthor would want when he come, and hot flannens which I kep’ purrin on the two of them, I hard the men’s feet go pas’ at las’, and I could see, from the light of the open door, the body of poor Donal’, the ‘bogh!’ bein’ carried shoulder high.
“I bruk down complate, and cry I mus’, or I felt mee heart would bus’.
“The docthor come at las’, and two sarvants at the Cap’n’s, and stayed wis us, tellin’ us what to do till the day bruk, and when he went away he tould me I had saved the two of them for the present, and said I had done all that one mortal par’ of hands could do under the most trying circumstan’.
“He said, poor Juan, bein’ on’y a crus’ at the bes’, he hardly ‘spacted would gerr over it; the gel, he thought would, wis care, if brain favar didn? Serrin; and so he left us, and said he would come again in the everin’.
“Well, laevin the two gels in charge, I come up here to see about our Nessy, as I had lef’ her all by herself the night thro’.
“I found in our hurry when we lef’ the house, we lef’ the door wide open, and so I found it. But our Nessy was all right, but mortal freeken’d when she woke and found me not theer.
“It seems (our Juan tould me this), Nora, when eight o’ clock come, as usual went outside, tho’ snowin’ it was, and dark tremenjous, but take res’ she wouldn’, Juan said, and a omberellar mus’ be arrar, and walkin’ outside in the snow and dark.
“Well, an hour passed away, and no Nora and Donal’ come in, which our Juan thought mortal strange, so he gorra light to the lanthorn, and would look for them.
“When he gorra few steps from the door, behould ye! he saw the omberellar lyin’ on the snow open; and follerin’ the trac’s of Nora’s footsteps — which the fallen snow had not quite cover’d — he traced them under that high rock theer, and —
“Lough save us! what a sight! Lyin’ stretch’d full len’se was poor Donal’, quite dead, and Nora, the chree! wis her arrims claspin’ his face, and her hair and clo’s coverin’ his body, and her own white wis the fallin’ snow, the lamb millish! dead too he tuk her.
“Well, somehow, wis the lil stren’se he had lef’ after the shook it gevvim, he manag’d to carry her to the cottage, and lay her on the bed; then he hurries up, as you know, for me, and bein’ struk stupit lek, navar thought about the lanthorn, which the ones who puk up Donal’ foun’ by his body.
“The day follerin’ an inques’ was held, and Nora and Juan, bose bein’ onsence’ble the way they warr, couldn’ be quashtint.
“The High Bailiff and the Jury, when they come to see the place where Donal’ was puk up, come into the cottage to take down my oas, and what I had to tell, and when he come downstairs from seein’ Nora he was wipin’ his specs’ and his eyes swimmin’ lek, and bein’ so kind and mild you wouldn’ belave, and I tould him all that was seen at me wis mee own eyes, and would take down nothin’ tould by others. It wasn’ everdence, he said, and the jury was put off for two weeks, after a paper was writ arrim for the Pazon at poor Donal’s funarl, to see if Nora and Juan would be comin’ to by then.
“But deary, deary me! he might jus’ as well have purrit off then and theer for avar, as ‘spectin’ them to be on theer oas. Wisin the fortnight our Juan, the ‘ bogh!’ was lyin’ in Kil Lonan churchyard, and poor Nora, the lamb ‘millish!’ was onsensible still, but gerrin’ a lil stren’se, wis every apparance of brain favar serrin in, the docthor said.
“Me and the two gels at the Cap’n’s watched night and day, and at las’ the favar set in, and when it was at its height about midnight, and the turn of the tide was on, the tarrable raggin’ that had been on her for hours was mos’ pirriful to see. I ‘member the clock fingars were stand’n at three on the minutes — half slack of the tide that would be — when she dropped into a gentle sleep for more til an hour. When she woke up she was quite bright lek, and smilin’, and more laak herself til she had been since she was tuk; and seein’ me standin’ wis tears in mee eyes, she said, quite chee’ful lek, ‘Auntie dear, its time I was up and dhrast; Donal’ will be heer, and I won’t navar be ready,’ and quite sharp lek she said, ‘Hurry up, woman, do! and bring me the weddin’ dhress and veil, and help me on wis them quick, or we’ll be late as sure as sure.’
“The two gels and me was stanidin’ at the foot of the bed in amaze for she had navar spuk a sense’ble word all the time from bein’ tuk, so to pacify her — for she seem’d so anxious and well — the gels went and fetch’d the weddin’ frock and veil, and purrit on her as she sat in bed, the chree! She helped them quite strong lek, but a tas’e ‘cited, and panthin’ short lil bre’sses lek, and when the veil was on arram, her eyes, wis a far-off look in them — hint so love-al-ly you navar seen — she sang in a low sweet vice, as sof’ as sof’ —
‘The kirk was deck’d at morning-tide,
The tapers glimmer’d fair;
The priest and bridegroom wait the bride,
But ne’er a bride was there.’
“As the las’ line was a-dyin’ out from her lips, her eyes tuk the same far-off look and stare, and she lay back on the propped up pillas on the bed, and navar spoke again. She lay laak that mos’ on three days, and pass’ away as aisy as a sleepin’ child.
“A week or two after the inques’ the Juan-Beg went off quite sudden lek to the Colorados, to other Manx fellas — miners — that was out there, and no more till twelve munses had pas’, when a slipe in the laval he was workin’ in fell on him and he was tuk up for dead; but he lived jus’ two weeks, and before he died he sent a latthar to his brother at Laxa, and in it a lil slip of paper for me, which you will fin’ in what I am goin’ to give you. I was allus call’d and known by the name of ‘Auntie Nan‘ by the Agneash and Laxa ones.”
She left off winding the thread and wiped her glasses as she took them off, for I could see a mist-film had covered them. Then she went upstairs, and, bringing a small parcel wrapped in a white paper, she put it in my hand and said, “Read this, and lave it wis our Nessy when it is done at you.”
Getting a small table cloth she laid it on the table, saying, at the same time, “You’ll be takin’ a cup of tay wis me now before you lave?” But I thanked her and said I would rather not, as the afternoon was far gone, and I was expecting I might catch a conveyance down at Laxey and get a ride into Douglas.
I pulled on my fishing-boots, and slung the fishing-rod and basket of fish over my shoulder. I then bid my kind hostess “good-bye,” which she returned with a hearty shake of the hand, and told me to give her “love to Nessy,” and tell her “she wouldn’ trus’ but she would be giv’n a sight on them nex’ Saturda’, or the one followin’, any-way.”
I left her standing at the door, while I made my way past the “Big Wheel,” and on to the Commercial Hotel, where I found some young fellows whom I knew, and got a seat with them in their trap.
The old woman’s sad story had affected me very deeply, and when seeing the little church among the trees as we drove from the hotel door, I could riot help, with a sigh, thinking of the sad fate of poor Nora and Donald.
As I was riding towards Douglas in the trap, full of sad thoughts, my hand touched the paper parcel in my pocket, and I opened it.
It was a long cutting out of a newspaper, almost gone brown with age and turf smoke, and on the top I could read “Mona’s Her——” but the scissors had cut the other part of the word, and there was no trace of any date on any part of the slip.
On the bottom corner a small scrap of writing-paper was pinned, with these words written in a school-boy sort of scrawling hand, but quite plain:—
“AUNTIE NAN.—It was me that moved the stones. I am dying, and could not take rest. Forgive me, as I hope God will. For Jesus’ sake. Amen.”
I quite understood the meaning of this. How easily a jury can be deceived by evidence!
The printed matter of the newspaper slip was headed in large type, “Laxey News. The High Bailiff’s charge to the jury on the melancholy death of Donald Stephenson. Full evidence in our last Wednesday’s issue.” It read as follows:
“His Worship, the high Bailiff, who was at times so over-come by his feelings that we could scarcely catch his words, in his touching charge to the jury, and the summing up of the evidence in this sad affair which took place near Laxey some weeks ago, said as follows:—
‘You know, gentlemen of the jury, that this sad affair, upon which I shall soon ask you to give your verdict, was suspended for a fortnight so that we might have the evidence of two material witnesses laid before you, but God, in His wise providence, has seen fit to call them away from an earthly tribunal. Their evidence might have been material, or, it is quite probable that the young woman, Nora, who was waiting for her sweetheart at their own cottage door, only saw the body of her lover falling over the precipice. The lighted lantern which he carried in his hand would give sufficient indication to her of what had taken place, the distance — as you saw — being only a few steps from where she stood, she no doubt heard the heavy body fall to the earth, and I firmly believe — as the doctor has surmised in his clear evidence — that the young fellow was killed before he reached the ground. You must bear in mind the distance of the fall, as judged by the constable’s evidence, 150 feet, and nearly perpendicular half the distance, and jagged rocks the other half, upon which he would fall. There is no doubt in my mind, and neither, I am certain, is there in yours, that poor Donald would be killed when his head struck the rocks half way down, and would give neither cry nor moan when he reached the ground where he was found, as given in the evidence by the men from the washing-floor. Well, considering the sad event in this light, and the sudden shock to the poor girl, she would he so overcome by the calamity that she would lose all consciousness, and sink down where she stood. Her father, no doubt, hearing her fall at the door, would hear her say (before losing consciousness altogether) that Donald had fallen off the Black Rock, and was dead. He would carry her upstairs and lay her on the bed, and then rush off up the hill to his sister’s, as you have heard in her very clear evidence. One thing I think we may take for granted, and that is that no one was near to the body after it fell from the rock. Then again, coming to the very clear statements of the men from the mine, who said they found the body lying against the rocks; they examined the ground carefully before they took it up to see if there were any trace of footsteps near, but they could see none. The chest and face of the dead man, before they disturbed him, were quite free from snow, which, in my opinion, clearly points to the fact that no snow had fallen since he lay there. They did notice, when they held up the light they carried, that the snow was stripped from the rock as if a body or some substance had brushed it off. Then take the constable’s evidence; he said he had carefully examined the top of the rocks under which the young man was found lying, and could quite clearly trace footsteps coming from Balgean way; the last footprint was six inches exactly from the ledge of the rock (which fell as nearly as he he could say 150 feet), with the toe of the shoe pointing towards the precipice, and no trace of any footmarks but one. A sheep-track some four yards to the right led down the side of the rocks, and from the uncertain light of a lantern on such a dark night, it was very possible to miss the path and fall over; and, again, the light might have gone out before the fatal step was taken. Then we have the evidence of the farm servants at Balgean with respect to the lantern. They swear that they have four or five lanterns about the cow-houses, and the one found is no doubt one of them; but, as all farm lanterns are nearly of one make and pattern, they could not swear positively to this. They none of them saw the deceased leave Balgean that fatal Friday night with a lit lantern, hut they knew it was his habit on certain nights of the week to go to see his sweetheart. This is all the evidence, gentlemen of the jury, that has been laid before you. It is now your duty to give your verdict according to this evidence.’ — After a consultation amongst themselves for about five minutes, the jury returned a unanimous verdict to the effect that the deceased, Donald Stephenson, had met his death accidentally by missing his path in the dark, and falling over the rocks. — After signing this verdict the jury were discharged.”
2. A wide fireplace, with turf burning on the hearth.
5. Kiartagh-odds and ends-various things.
5. Riuned cottage.
7. Kirk Mauhold.
14. Time enough.
15. Debris of Mine.
17. Crust-frail person.
How “Our Thobm and Kirree” went from Laxey to Midsummer Fair.
[AS TOLD BY KIRREE HERSELF.]
“WELL, woman! You’ve got back from the feer, I see — Come tell us all about what you’ve seen.”
“Lough save us! Mrs. Kelly, is that you? Come in, woman, do, and don’t be standin’ in the door like that, but come on the settle and take a ress (wait woman, let me brush it) till I takes mee t’ings off and puts the keddhel on the bar. I’m jus’ dead and fairly was’e for a cup of tay.
Having jammed the kettle on the fire with the spout up the chimney, and taken her things off and put them on the parlour “laff,” she comes and sits down on the “furrim,” and commences her narrative.
“Mrs. Kelly! Mrs. Kelly! The ‘jeeil’ our Thobm has done this blessed day bates all. But wait, woman, wait. I mus’ tell ye from the very fus’ to make ye understan’, as the man said.
“Well, our Thobm and me made it up las’ week that when the 5th of July would be comin’ we would go to the feer. You mus’ know, Mrs. Kelly, we hadn’ been to the feer for years and years, in fac’, not since the railroad bein’ open,
and, in fac’, Mrs. Kelly, to tell you trus, our Thobm has navar seen a railroad, as the sayin’ is; and as he had sowl a hafer to the Co-op., and gorra good price, an’ his wool too (‘cept what you know, woman, I allis keeps for meeself — a fleece or two of Kier for stockin’ yarn, and some white, for Kalter1; chat! woman, this mill spinnin’ is mortal poor; give me plenty of twiss, twiss, Mrs. Kelly, that’s the stuff to wear, eh? mee own spinnin’ on the lil quheel to stan’ a rep, as the man said — eh, Mrs. Kelly? You know as well as I do). Well, Mrs. Kelly, as I was sayin’ — what was I sayin’, Mrs. Kelly? Oh, aye, aye, our Thobm. Well, as I was sayin’, our Thobm had a new pair of russad trousis made at the tailor — Lawson in the glen — machine stetched, did ye say, Mrs. Kelly? Our Thobm would be tru the leks of them in a munse. No, my gough! nawthin’ ‘ll stan’ our Thobm but needle stetched and thread waxed like a cobbler’s end. (The Fair?) Aw well, Mrs. Kelly, indeed yes, you do well to remin’ me about the feer. Well, as I was sayin’ — (Machine stitched) — No, Mrs. Kelly, and I’ll thank you not to interrupt, Mrs. Kelly. If you think you can tell the story batthar til me, do, but don’t ‘rup’ me, plase.
“Well, Mrs. Kelly, on the mornin’ of the feer, its up we got when we heard the mine’s bell. (Washin’ floor?) Chut woman, miners. How do yo think in your heart, Mrs. Kelly, I could get through all the mess and muck of work I had to do-feedin’ calves, pigs, and fowls, melkin, and hapes of other kiartagh you know I have to do, and meet Jem the Co-op., who promised our Thobm to give us a leff, and you know he is mortal ‘tiklar to start at nine, and it would be no use if we gorr up only at the washin’ bell.
“Well, though, after crammin’ a lot of stuff in a shatchet. (Satchell?) Mrs. Kelly, I’ll ax you not to be a-‘ruptin’ me again. I said ‘sash—’ Chut! I’ll gallantee I know the word as well as you do, and can say it too, you needn’ fear; but I can’t jus’ now get mee tongue roan’ it, as the man said.
“Howsomever, as the pazon said, let us steck to the tex. And so when-when-where was I, Mrs. Kelly? Ah, ye needn’, I’ve gorrit, I’ve gorrit, the sash — dear me! this cough I’ve got in mee neck is fet to tear me to pieces. ‘Scuse me, Mrs. Kelly, I’ll take a spoonful of this cowl pinjane; our Thobm says it’s tarrable good to sof’n the neck.
“Well, we gorrit cramm’d full of cheese, and barley-bread and botthar — fresh barley-bread as you know, Mrs. Kelly, for I had to borrow your griddle the everin’ before — when, lo and behoul’ ye! jus’ as I was squeezin’ the thing to, our Thobm shouts from the laff, ‘Kirree, purra junk of yandhar stock-fish on the sendhars; it’ll go high wis a pint of ale.’ Our Thobm is tarrable fond of salt fish. So I had to do it, and jam it into the — thing, as well, you know, as I could.
“Well, we no sooner gorr outside and put the lock on, and the key in mee pockad, when our Thobm call’d from off the street, ‘Kirree!’ ‘Well?’ ‘Put two new-laid duck-eggs in the baskag; they’ll be nice wis the fish.’ Mrs. Kelly, as sure as I’m alive the — it — thing though, or whatever you’re callin’ it, was ram-jam full, so, you may belave me or no, there warn’ room to put a hayseed in, let alone a couple of eggs. Faix, Mrs. Kelly, as you know, our Thobm is mortal fond of a duck egg wis any sort of a kitchen; so I had to go and get two, as there was no room in the sca— Chut! I had to wrap them in mee han’kecher and carry them in mee pockad. You know, Mrs. Kelly, duck eggs has tougher shells, so no fear; and off we went.
“I walk’d middlin’ quick down Agneash Road, I can tell you, woman, for I know in mee heart Jem the Co. wouldn’ wait one sackon, and didn’ care, no not a farthin’, but ups and off he mus’ go if we wasn’ theer at the time. So I kep’ on pushin’ our Thobm, for I knew the time was nearly up by the way the Agneash boys was hurryin’ to school. But bad cess to it, Mrs. Kelly, and wus’ luck, as the man said, no sooner had we gorr over the river at Creer’s mill than who should our Thobm meet but the Clerk, and ‘Hulloah, Thobm! wheer now? the feer?’ and a cooish3 mus’ be arrim. You know the Clerk and our Thobm bein’ Baldhun bred, mus’ have a long cooish about him, and her, and everybody, and the Ardwhallans, and the Renshents, and Filla the dessart, and a whole hage of rubbage of that surt; and me the shoutin’ at the top of mee vice, ‘We’ll be late! Guy heng! It’s late we’ll be.’ And nawthin’ from our Thobm but ‘fuiree,4 gell! Fuiree woman;’ and bad cess to his I ‘fuiree,’ and if I hadn’ ha’ gone back aud laid hoult of our Thobm’s arrim and actually dragg’d him away, them two would have talk’d on till now. These Baldhun fallas, you know, Mrs. Kelly, are tarrable fond of a long cooish.
“Well, when we gorrit the Co., lo and behoul’ ye! Jem was gone. I was that mad, Mrs. Kelly, I could have ups wis me fisses and given our Thobm on the mous, but what’d ha’ been the use? what’d ha’ been the good, Mrs. Kelly? but he aggravated me wis his ‘Aisy gell! aisy woman for all!’ Yes, he did, though; he reglar ril’d me, I mus’ say, when I knew in mee heart it was his cuss — no, Mrs. Kelly, I won’t say that bad word; it was his listenin’ to newses that made us too late for Jem the Co. Well, I was that mad, Mrs. Kelly — you may belave me or no — that I was for goin’ back. But our Thobm coax and coax, and said how the Agneash ones would make fun of us if we didn’ go to the feer; and, few th’ pacerfy me lek, he said he’d carry the sacket. (Yon needn’ smile, Mrs. Kelly, you needn’, I can tell you — You didn’? Maybe not. Well, we’ll lave that alone, as the man said, and perceed with the tex, as the Pazon said.) Aye, woman, and coax me though to lerrim carry the duck-eggs in his hat, but I wouldn’ lerrim do that, Mrs. Kelly, as you know our Thobm sweats lek the mischief when he’s walkin’, and would be sure to tak’ his hat off to mop his head, furgerrin’ the duck-eggs. No, Mrs. Kelly, I preferred to keep them in mee pockad.
“Well, off we started, and gorr as far as Dan’s — (Mylroi’s?). Chut! woman, do you take us for born idjits to be goin’ down the Glen to Dhoolish? No, but Cleator’s — White’s half-way house — and our Thobm would go in to gerra light for his pipe, he said, and coax and coax enough for me to go in, and — ‘They’ve pop, woman,’ he says. But I said I wouldn’, and, of coorse, I wouldn’, Mrs. Kelly, go in any such place, not in our own parish, to be seen comin’ out maybe by the Super, or at lase by some of the Agneash chapel ones. No, Mrs. Kelly, I honours too much for mee quarterly ticket to be seen comin’ urrov any such places, anyway, as I said, in our own parish. So I walks on, and I hadn’ got no furder till Charlie’s when our Thobm shouts, ‘Kirree!’ ‘Well?’ ‘Howl on! give us three-half-pence. I mus’ have some thombargar at Dan’s.’ And ye may belave me or no, Mrs. Kelly, but the everin’ before I gorrim a quhole quarter of twis’, and him bittendin’ he’d lef’ it at home, which was rubbage, as I purrit in wis mee own han’s in his Sunda’ jacked pockad. He bittendid to feel for it, and pulled out his han’kecher, but I wouldn’ belave, but for all I give him three-half-pence.
“‘Deed, Mrs. Kelly, I navar thrus’ our Thobm wis the pus’. If he gorrit he’d make jeeill of it in no time, and wouldn’ regard, not him, spendin’ it lek fletthars. I don’t navar ‘llow our Thobm mor’n three-half-pence, ‘cept when he’s in Dhoolish, for he says the jough is a half-penny dearer theer, so I have to give him two-pence.
“Well, I gorrup to the top of the White Bridge before our Thobm overtid, me, and we went down the Burnt Mill, and at the bottom theer was a carriage standin’, and our Thobm wanted to gerr in, as he said it was sure to be goin’ to the feer, as theer were so many people in wis theer Sunda’ clothes on. But, you know, Mrs. Kelly, our Thobm has no schoolin’, and says I, ‘You stupit! don’t ye see that’s a thram goin’ to Bovril?’ for I could see the name stuck on the sule like Laxa car.
“Well, on we goes to the Market Place, and the people that was goin’ to the station was somethin’ tremenjous. When we got to the station all the people was rammin’ and jammin’ to the right, but says I to our Thobm, ‘Here’s a road in through this gate to the lef’; we can get in without such jingin’ and scrunchin’.’ So in we goes and up to the train, and we was jus’ gerrin’ in when a man comes up wis a church bell in his han’ and calls ‘Tiggads!’ ‘What tiggads?’ says I; ‘haven’ we got the money in our pockads?’ and out wis mee pus? But would you belave it, Mrs. Kelly, he had that imprince to tell me he wouldn’ tak’ mee money, but we mus’ go to the wooden box and get tiggads? ‘And be slippy about it,’ says he — the imprince that’s in the lek, Mrs. Kelly, for I tuk him to be no batthar til a ‘cottonie.’ But I ups and goes to the hut, and the pushin’ and the scroogin’ before I could get to the man in the hole that was sarvin’ the tiggads; but at last I gorrem. And Mrs. Kelly! Mrs. Kelly! If you’d ha’ seen mee new Sunda’ bonnad, only once wore at me, the jammed and the crunkled it was! And I couldn’ help it, woman, for I had to keep the two ban’s in mee pockad to mine mee pus, and to keep the eggs from bein’ bruk. Well, I gorrem at las’, and I run back, and the men were jammin’ the doors of the train to, and the falla ding-dongin’ the church bell lek mad, and ‘Hurry up, woman, or you’ll be too late.’ And mee, Mrs. Kelly, clane disthracted, and in a muck of sweat, and our Thobm wis his head urrov a wenda’, and signin’ to mee lek mad, and the train jus’ on the move, and ‘Gerr in, woman, gerr in!’ and a man grips me behint, and in I tumbles in the carriage, and the carriage a-goin’, and I flops on the seat, and bad cess to it! mee pock-ad was undhar mee, and I heard the eggs go plop, lok when the boys blows up a tay bag and plop it in theer han’, and I knew in mee heart, Mrs. Kelly, that mee new black merino frock I’d only had on twice was teetotal spoilt. So I inns wis mee ban’ in mee pockad; and turned it inside out, and the muck came flyin’ out, and it went on the frock of a woman that was sittig on the furrim opposite, and in mee flurry I onlucky took mee pockad harr’kecher I’d forgot was wrapp’d roan’ the eggs and brushed it off, and made the woman’s frock ten times wus’ til it would have been if I hadn’ touched it.
“And Mrs. Kelly! Mrs. Kelly! You should have seen the look on that woman’s face — it would ha’ freckened you — red, white, and blue, and, Mrs. Kelly, cry I mus’, and couldn’ help it, woman, and the han’kecher up to mee face, and I turns, and she seen the yalla’ muck runnin’ down mee face, and the woman begun to laff, and our Thobm, the fool! begun to laff, and all the people in the carriage begun to laff, till we ups at the Ballasalla station, and the tiggad man come roun’, and, behoul’ ye! Mrs. Kelly, as sure as I’m alive, we had come to Castletown instead of the feer. And this is how our Thobm and me went to Midsummer Feer.
“And the keddhel is jus’ a-bilin’, and I’ll have a cup o’ tay, for I’m jus’ dead-bet, and no mistake, as the man said.
“Look here, Mrs. Kelly — achree! Gone, are you? Don’t for massy’s sake tell John Oliver, the Ballacregga, or the Agneash ones, for I’d navar hear the las’ of it — (you won’t) — that’s a good sowl! And, Mrs. Kelly, I’ll be sendin’ you a boddle of steep, and I’ll give you, as sure as I’m alive, a fine junk of spare-rib when we kills our pig, and your Ned-beg shall have the bladdhar; theer now. Good everin’, Mrs. Kelly, achree! if you won’t stop, as you say, and hav’ a cup of tay wis me. Good everin’.”
1. Heavy flannel.
MRS. KELLY and “our Kirree” are having a quiet cup of “tay” together. Kirree, with a black “taypot” in her hand, says:—
“Lough save us alive, woman, you’re navar done wis on’y two cups of tay. (Fortune?) Oh, aye woman, yes, I see your fortin — well, turn it up and let’s see your luck —but to tell you the trus, Mrs. Kelly, I don’t navar belave in tay — cups tallin’ fortins. Chat! woman, its nawthin’ but rubbage, bittendin to tell one’s luck wis tay-laves. No, I won’t look at no money-bags, nor such thumfoolery — let me fill your cup, this tag is jus’ at its bes’. (Co-op. tay?) No, no, woman, I don’t gerrit at the Co. Our Thobm says that the Laxa’ tay is no batthar til — Chut! our Thobm is too tarrable vulgar sometimes, so I won’t say what he says. No, Mrs. Kelly, for years and years I have gerrit at Allen’s, in Dhoolish — the Ballavarra ones — you mus’ know, Mrs. Kelly? Wheer the Laxa’ miners always went before the strike — pay Saturda’ — and all the carts in the parish hired arram, and the sthrengs of them in Duke Street, and mus’ wait theer turn at the Divvle’s Elbow, and tremenjous goin’ on arram at the pay — nawthin’ less til the very bes’ of everyting — Bobby-the-Blood, and Rocks, and Bobby Lewney, would jus’ as soon hav’ giv’n you a slap in the mous as lak at ye — these were mortal ghennal1 times, but I forget, Mrs. Kelly, you are too young to ‘member them.
“Chut! woman, you mus’ have another cup — what’s five lil cups laak these to a woman the laaks of you, and after a stockfish dinner, as you say? And two more herrin’s in the ffryin’-pan on the fire-Port-le-murrough steaks our Thobm calls them. (No?) You needn’ say no, Mrs. Kelly; you’ll have to before you lave the table; theer now. Here, wipe your fingars on my brat and fall to, as the man said.
“Chut! woman, what’s two herrin’s apiece for you and me at the fus’ of the sayson? I’ve hard our Thobm tell me when he was at the herrin’s, he thought nawthin’ of takin a dozen and a warp out of the pot on the fire by their tails aud shakin’ the mate off into his bross. (And bread?) Yes, woman, aud plenty of spuds and cabbage, and leeks and the lek. Them fisher-fallas, our Thobm tells me, are allis tarrable ravingus when they goes out at fus’. But, Mrs. Kelly, I makes allowances for men, but when it comes to women drinkin’ twelve cups of tay, and no end of bun loaf, and batthar laid on lek cheese at the Harves’ Home lek I’ve seen wis mee own eyes some women do, I think its piggish, don’t you, Mrs. Kelly? I navar takes mor’n till six meeself. I could mention names, Mrs. Kelly, but chut! what’s the use of causing bothar among naybors, as the sayin’ is? (You promised) Yes, yes, yes, I did woman promise you I’d tell the story how our Thobm gorr home that night we should have gone to the feer. But wait, woman, I’ll jus’ shove these things off the table on to the drassar, so we can sit comfable in the chiollagh,2 purra junk of turf on, Mrs. Kelly, and give me that wing — theer now, that’s comfable and clane, and I can now go on wis mee tale.
“Mrs. Kelly, I do belave in mee heart our Thobm gets more confounded stupider and stupider every day. You’d think, Mrs. Kelly, at his years, he’d a tuk wit, and all my talkin’ to him and scoulin’ — I might jus’ as well save mee bres to blow mee porrage, as the man said, as talk to our Thobm; it takes no more effect til water on a goose’s wing.
“(The Story?) Yes, woman, I’m gerrin at it; but you mus’ let mee take mee bres, and tell it in mee own ways. I know, woman, I go clanderin’ on, and as our Thobm often says, mee tongue goes waggin’ laak a dyin’ lamb’s tail, but I mus’ have mee own way, and mee own time too if I mus’ tell it. Theer now, don’t ‘rup’ me, Mrs. Kelly, and I’ll go on wheer I leff off tellin’ you before. Well, woman, when we gorr into Castletown our Thobm said he knew a house wheer we could ate our mate, and the jough was tremenjous good. You know, Mrs. Kelly, our Thobm was once on a jury at the Castle — Dempster Heywood’s time — and the go that was on our Thobm bet all, woman — up hours before dark — chut! no. What am I saying’? — daylight I mane — and snow comin’ down lek the mischief, and Billy Hom tuk wis our Thobm, and the two of them had to walk every step to Castletown. ‘Deed on Thobm though, and Billy Hom; they were tarrable swivel yandhar times. (Railway?) Chut! woman, there was no railway then; on’y Thobm Cowell’s coach, and he on’y lef Dhoolish in the everin’ — so there was no help for it but shanks’ pony, as the sayin’ is. And mus’ be theer by ten, or my gough, oul Heywood would clap a ten pound fine on ye as sure as look at ye. But, howavar, Billy and our Thobm gorrat the Castle before the coort started, and a pint or two of jough arram before goin’ in, and what wis the murdherin’ long walk tru’ the sludge and muck on the road, and the settin’ up arram two nights before wis a calvin’ cow haffar, our Thobm said he felt tarrable sleepy, and no wondher, woman. Well, Billy Hom and our Thobm were bose tuk, and a back sate arram, and ‘kess the book,’ said the Dempster, quite solemn lek, and this was all our Thobm hard of the trial that was arram. It chance on a very dark winter’s day, and the coort on’y bein’ lit wis two or three tallow candles, no one tuk notice of our Thobm bein’ asleep, and the trial went dronin’ on for three hours and our Thobm slept quite comfable tru’ it all. Mrs. Kelly, our Thobm, you knows yourself, snoors lek an out sow when he’s asleep, so when it was comin’ too loud entirely Billy had to pinch our Thobm, and that kep’ the damper on; but our Thobm didn’ hear a haporth. Billy, I’ve hard him tell, did manage to keep awake sometimes, when George William was shoutin’ at the top of his vice, and latherin’ the table lek mad. The advocate on the other side was — C — (Sherwood? Laughton? Adams? Collister? Thornhill?) No. Chut! woman, don’t be a fool. The name begins wis a C. Dear me, mee head’s gone no batthar til a turmit. Oh, I’ve gorrim! I’ve gorrim! Craggie, that’s the falla; a tarrable bully, but cudn’ houl’ a candle, as the sayin’ is, to George William, that could twis’ oul Heywood roun’ his fingar, I’ve hard say, lek a piece of quhalebone lek. What was the trial about, says you? ‘Deed, Mrs. Kelly, our Thobm navar knew. Hom said he thought it was someting about some falla that had tuk a sheep or sometin’ from somewhere Cronk-na-ary-laa way. But, Mrs. Kelly, you may belave me or no, but I belave in mee heart that Hom know’d no more til our Thobm what was arram. Well, when the talkin’ stop, our Thobm woke up, and they were toul’ to go into a back room and consedhar their vardick. Billy ups at once and perposes our Thobm for fore-falla. (Foreman?) Chut! woman, isn’t it all the same falla and man, what’s the differ? Well, our Thobm wouldn’ stan’, and a falla thee’re call’n Thobm-a-Close, Crammag way, was tuk arram. And ‘Houl’ up your han’s for not guilty,’ and Billy and our Thobm seein’ mos’ of the han’s up, ups wis theers too, as bose of them thought it bes’ to go wis the ‘jority.
“Lough save us! Mrs. Kelly, at this rate of perceedin’ I’ll navar get tru’ wis mee tale, as the man said.
“Well, woman, as we had come to Castletown in place of the feer, and as theer warn’ any train back immajant, we made it up, our Thobm and me, we’d go and see tru’ the Castle. Our Thobm says he had hard there was some tarrable gran’ tings arram theer.
“So in we went, payin’ the money at the door, and a falla come all smilin’ ghennal mortal, which I tuk for a bobby in his Sunda’ bes’ clothes, and he tak as roan’, splainin’ everyting.
“You mus’ know, woman, beside our Thobm and me, there were lots of ‘cottonies’ goin’ the roun’. And our Thobm kep’ at the falla’s elber, lessenin’ wis his moos wide open to everyting the man said, and comes to a room wheer theer was an oul wooden clock, wis quheels some of them you could see as big as plates on the dhrassar, and the weights, tremenjous, hung on clothes lines across the room. Our Thobm says they were for hanging the prisoners’ shirts on, when they had them washed, to dry. I was’n lessenin’ to the falla, Mrs. Kelly, for the people were starin’ at mee frock wis the yalla muck on, and I went into a corner and pinned it up, so it couldn’ be seen, so I didn’ hear what the falla said. But our Thobm, who, as you know, Mrs. Kelly, has gorra head laak an almanac, and could carry every word quite pat, as the man said, toul’ me that the falla said that that oul’ clock was gove t’ousands of years ago by the Bible ‘Queen of Sheba’ to the Castle, and our Thobm said she lived on the Peel Road, on the Dhoolish side of St. John’s, in a tremenjous castle theer, and that was the ‘east’ she come from. (That’s Greeba?) Mrs. Kelly, I’ll allow you bates me at pronunchon, but when it comes to tology, you know you can’t houl’ a, candle to me; chut! woman, one that was sittin’ lek it would be at the fut of Gammal, Harry Crebbin and owl’ Kay, tarrable clavar fallas, bose in knowin’ texses and Scriptur pints, and soun’ orra massy, I’ve argified wis them bose for hours by the clock, and they were allowin’ they couldn’ come over me. Luk here, Mrs. Kelly, if you want to argify the subjac from a Scriptur point of view, I’m willin’, and in the fus’ place, as Juan-a-Nollick says, don’t the Bible names of persons, when they are turned from the Manx into the English change the fus latthars, as for instance, Yacob into Jacob, Voses into Moses, Yoshua into Joshua, Yuaase into Judas, Yamys into James, and so likewise, as Nollick would say, Sheba, translated from the Manx into English, would be Greeba, and therefore our Thobm and the man was right. Mrs. Kelly, I’ll revise you for the future don’t you navar meddle wis tology, its pas’ your depse, as Juan would be sayin’. And Mrs. Kelly, I’m fairly ashamed of young persons the leks of you not havin’ one mossil of Manx arram, your native langwige, and the very same speech that Adam and Eve used in the garden.
“(The Story?) Yes, yes, les’ get back to the tale. I am glad you puk me up, woman. Wheer was I? (In the Castle.) O aye, aye, ‘thanks,’ Mrs. Kelly, as the ‘cottonies’ say; in the Castle we were, I ‘member. Well, then the falla he tuk us into a room that I didn’ care a farden for, with all sorts of oul’ thing-a-morgigs, spears, swoords, guns and bagganets, and all such lek rubbage, and he callt it, our Thobm said, the hangquitar room. (Antiquarian?) Didn’ I say that? Here you, as you are so clavar, and ‘ruptin’ me, you spell it. Spell it, as oul’ Cannell the one arrim used to say. (A, n, t, q — Chut!) Theer now, I knew you couldn’. You’ve foun’ your match for once. Dear me, when I was a gel and goin’ to school to oul’ Cannell, the one arrim, in the Glen, I was his bes’ scholar, and could spell hard words lek the mischief — Constantinople, Nebucadnezar, Baalzebub. Chut! woman, I could reel them off laak tape, and no mistake, as the Irish man said. (Grammar?) No, Mrs. Kelly, we navar larn’d grammar, nor gerogrepy, nor none of your jus’-comme-up-tings that they turns the childhars’ heads wis now, but Cannell woman was tarrable clavar, writin’ lek copper plate, Manx arrim to perfection. ‘Rule of three it puzzles me, praxis makes me mad,’ and sea schoolin’ for the boys, and Corletts arrim, and the Kerruish’s ones to polish them off, and warn they all captins of vessels sailin’ furrin? Chut! woman, wheer’s the lek of them you’ll find now, wis your grammar and gerogrepy and sengin’?
“Sengin’! sengin’! indeed, nawthin’ now-a-days but sengin’ mus’ be arram, and Kelly-boy-noa and his sol-fa rubbage, and the boys and gels sweelin’ and ballarin’ laak cats and bulls wis ther trimbles and basses, and stretchin’ their necks like coar-ny-hastans.3 Chut! woman, if I mus’ have my way, I’m tinkin’ I would houl’ wis Walter Hooper, when he toul’ our Thobm that if any of his childhar evar larnt or ‘tempted to sing, he would murther them.
“Well, Mrs. Kelly, when we gorr out of the Castle, we come straight on to the station, for I had gorr a tarrable sick head — jus’ fit to splet, for what wis the lookin’ at the out’ tholthans4 of tings in the Castle, and the dirt of tay I gorr at the house wis me mate, and had to pay tuppence for two lil cups, no beggar til egg-cups, which I ups and toul’ the woman to her face was nawthin’ til downright robbery, and not a hapoth batthar til desh-water. (You told her so?) ‘Deed, Mrs. Kelly, I did, and didn’ regard for the leks of yandhar; you know, woman, I can’t navar a-bear to be put on wisout givin’ the laak the lense of mee tongue. Well, anyway, we were sick of Castletown, and between you and me and the bed-pos’, as the sayin’ is, Mrs. Kelly, let me tell you its a tarrable slack and dull place sense the coorts and pris’ners were tuk to Dhoolish. Man alive! it’s wus’ til bein’ buried alive livin’ yandhar, ‘deed I would jus’ as soon live at Thobm Alone’s as the laak of yandhar place.
“Well, we didn’ wait at the station mor’n five minutes when theer up wis a train from Port-le-murrough way, and we gorr in a carriage all one’s self — on’y our Thobm and me in jus’ lek quality folks, and we gorr at Dhoolish in no time, as the man said-and as comfable as comfable.
1. Genial – Jolly.
“WHEN we gor at Masue’s1 clock in the Market Place, the fingars were jus’ standin’ on the minutes of half-pas’ four, and our Thobm said that was ‘arly, and to stay in Dhoolish for an hour or two at las’e. But I wouldn’, no I wouldn’, Mrs. Kelly, for mee head was quhirlin’ like a top and fet to splet. And our Thobm want’d for to go into Thobm Joe’s. ‘And they’ll make you a cup of tay woman, to sattle your head,’ and coax enough. Besides, woman, I don’t think much of Thobm Joe’s, and I toul our Thobm so. Would you balave me, woman, las’ Crissimus I soult two of the nicest and fat-as-butthar gooses as avar stad on one leg, and every Sataday sence, when I had done me butthar and egg at the market, I tuk mee empy baskag into Joe’s, bittendin’ I want’d to lave it for a sackon or two, and always past the compliments of the day to Joe’s wife, expactin’ she would pay me for the gooses, but navar a mawsil of a word abut the goose-money. I hate to dun people for money, laak some of the Laxa ones does on pay days — standin’ at the office door, aud almost grippin’ the miners when they comes out wis theer pay. Some fallas are tarrable hungry for theer money, if it’s been owin’ for a munse or two. Its hateful, Mrs. Kelly, don’t you think so? Well, for this rason I navar would ax Joe’s wife for the money, although she had had them for mor’n six munses, and the savvin-and-sixpunce was still owin’. But chat! woman, I could be as inderpennant as her, and wouldn’ humble to her, nor the Queen herself, if I tuk it that way. You know, Mrs Kelly, nice tempar, if riled, as the man said, won’t navar be sat upon; no, not by the bes’ in the land. So I wouldn’ go in, coax as hard as he laak. But I gav our Thobm tuppance, and toul him he might get a pint of jough at Joe’s, for I always mind a wise sayin’ of Neddy Nims — ‘Navar quarrel wis your bread and butthar if you can halpet.’ Neddy, you know, Mrs. Kelly, was always tuk for a wise falla, although he was not a Premmitif. Well, I toul our Thobm to mind and meet mee in Duke Street, opposite Thobm Hunthan’s ‘mungery shop in half-an-hour’s time, and be shure to be theer sharp, as the auction bills now has it. You know, Mrs. Kelly, our Thobm is mortal slack and bad to hender. So I went to Allen’s, the grocer’s, as I want’d to get tay and pappar, and lil things laak that. And Allen sarved me his-self; he always would do that, Mrs. Kelly, whanavar I went in the shop, no matthar who he would be sarvin — lef’ they mus’ be, and the boy to ‘tan tham, and ‘Well, Mrs. Kelley, and how are you this fine morning?’ (or everin’, jus’ as it may be). ‘And how is your Thobm, and how is Mr. Clague, Ballacregga?’ Its quare, Mrs. Kelly, how some fallas gets mesther’d, and others don’t? Our Thobm navar don’, navar. ‘And how are the crops lookin’ in Kil-Lonan side? Its every appearanse we’ll be gerren a early harves’.’ And as gannal as gannal could be, and quite the gentleman is Mr. Allen; one of the ould surt, as the man said, and very fond of a good cooish he is, when he finds some one that can talk sometin’ worse lessenin’ to. Chut! woman, does’n’ he know everyborry in Kil-Lonan, miners and farmers and all, and is’n’ there some distan’ relation, third or fours cousin either his or the wife’s side, to the Mylreas, or sumthin’ of that surt; but I’m not sure how near. Johnny Hungan could have traced the perrigree to the last dot, and may be our Thobm could; but lanks save us, Mrs. Kelly, where am I ramblin’ to?
“When I gorr out of Mr. Allen’s shop, and was goin’ down Duke Street, there were a lorra people crunchin’ in a jungler’s shop (jew—). Chut! woman, you need’n be ‘ruptin’ mee. I know, I know — where they were havin’ a auction sale, and I sees our Thobm right in the front of the auctioneer, wis’ a lil clock in his hand; it was Tomsellar that was the auctioneer, a tarrable limb, as you know, Mrs. Kelly, and he was shoutin’ at our Thobm, and almost cousin’, and people laffin’ fet to splet theer sides. I crunches in amongst them, and ups to our Thobm as bowl as brass, and shouts — ‘What’s this cossin’ about? I’m ashamed of you, Tomsellar, a family man and church goer, and ‘spectable, which I always tuk you till now, usin’ langwige which any hobbler on the quay would be ashamed of, to a ‘spectable pusson like our Thobm, that’s known you from a lump of a boy, when we gorr our seeds from your father;’ and on I went like that, till I was out of bress. Tomsellar hung down his bead and give a lil snigger of a laf’, but was tuk down a peg, I can tell you, woman. Tomsellar then explain, and said he was very sorry for what he had said, but he really did not know our Thobm with his Sunday bes’ clothes on him, but tuk him for a swindlin’ cottonie.’ Says he, our Thobm had bought a clock and wouldn’ pay for it. So I outs wis’ me puss, and axes how much it was, and the clerk said ‘five shillings,’ so I down’s wis the blunt, and laid howl of our Thobm’s arrim and pull’d him away, and I hard Tomsellar, the sleech, say sometin’ about ‘wearin’ the breeches,’ and the people laffin’; and I knew it was our Thobm’s new russad trousis they were struk wis. So I turns at the door and, says I, ‘Yes, indeed, these are bran new off the needle, Moore the waver’s clothes, and none of your machine stetched neither;’ so I outs with us in the street. Did’n’ I sarve him out Mrs. Kelly? — the imperance there is in some people, Mrs. Kelly, its no use of talkin’. When we gorr in the street, out of the crunchin, Billy Hom was wis’ our Thobm, and I had put the clock in our Thobm’s jackad pockad — and I axed him how in the mischief he cum to be buyin’ clocks when he knew in his heart he had’n a farden in his pockads. Well, Thobm up and toul me the whole rig — Billy helpin’ him. I can always truss our Thobm to tell the truce, Mrs. Kelly, when he’s nawthin’ to lose by it. Well, he said, when he gorr in Duke’s Street, and did’n see me at Thobm Huntan’s shop door, he went down the street a lil way, and saw the people crunchin into the ruction, and so, lek a fool, he mus’ go in. Then Hom says (and Billy is truceful we all knows), when Tomsellar gorra glint of our Thobm at the door, he shouts out — ‘For heaven’s sake, people, stand back! here’s Mr. Thobm Killey, Esq., M.H.K for Garff, at the nex’ election, to be held nex’ week accordin’ to the papars, rutches’ man in Kil-Lonan — not barrin’ Clague, Ballafernan, neither, six pair of bosses arrim; an’ more lan’ til Bishop’s Court — tousans and tousans out on interes’, his own place not a farden in it rich as the Diamon’ King, and no mistake. Frank Johnson was at mee to-day, wantin’ to buy six of mee bigger’ safes, and he said what they had arrem was ram jam of Killey’s bonds, and they kep’ comin’ in baskags full, an mus’ hev’ new safes to purrem in. Now then, start me! start me! that clock is worse two poun if it’s worth a penny. Start me! start me! he kep’ hollerin’ out, and our Thobm, as plased as a stuffed monkey, walks up to the front, and, ‘Five shillings,’ says our Thobm. ‘Chut! that will navar do for a man richer til Noble,’ he said, but no one put another bid in, and it was knock’d down to Thobm, and the man givvit to him when I jus’ comes in, and you know the res’, Mrs. Kelly.
“Well, when we gorr outside, me and our Thobm and Billy, lo and behoult you! who should I see standin’ wis a empy cart arrim, but the miller, and he’d jus’ pek up the lines on the bosses back, and was jus’ on the move to start, and I runs across the street, and he sees me, and shouts on to gerr in and hev a lif’. So our Thobm and Billy helps me in over the cart quheel. I wanted our Thobm, and so did the miller, to gerr in, but Hom grips him and wouldn’ let go his hoult, he said, til they had drunk the ‘jough a dhorris‘2 at Thobm Joe’s. Of course its undurstood and taken for granted, as the man said, Mrs. Kelly, that I had to fork out tuppens to our Thobm, but I had this constilation, as the man said, that it would be the las’ I should give him that day, and he would soon have to follow, because I knew nobry would giv’ tek to either our Thohm or Billy.
“Well, so off we started in the cart, wis plenty of straw to keep mee feet comfable. You know, Mrs. Kelly, the miller is total to the backbone, and no feer of him hendran on the road. Our Thobm, you mus’ know, woman, always sends his groats and barley-male to him, for our Thobm tinks he gets arrim more flour back, because Juan Phil’s mill is water-quheel turned, and oul fashion stones, and our Thobm says he hasn’ faise in them fire-engen turnin’ things and iron stones. But, how-some-daver, as the man said, its my opingin (which our Thobm says, sometimes, does’n count for much) the meal is sweetner to the tas’e til iron stones.
“Well, Mrs. Kelly, wisout furrier transgressin’ on your time, as the super says, I gorr home to Agneash on the minute of nine o’clock. And theer was the fire to light, milkin’, pigs, fowlses, and a hape of other kiartaghs to do, and ger on Thobm-Beg’s suppar on the table, and you know, Mrs. Kelly, the boy-bough was on the everin’ shift, and on the minutes of ten would be home.
“Well, woman, I got all mee kiartaghs done, and our clock was standin’ at a quarter to eleven, and I heard our Thobm-Beg on the street — (Quarter to ten?) — No, woman, eleven! for I allis keeps the clock three-quarter fast, so that the boy-beg can gerr up at six, and be down at the laval’ mous3 when the bell rings. Well, our Thobm-Beg comes in, and his fuss words were, ‘Where’s daa?’ That boy, you know, Mrs. Kelly, is tarrable fond of ‘daa,’ as we calls our Thobm at home. Well, I had to tell him he was’n’ come home, but hopes to the massy nawthin’ had happened him. Well, our Thobm-Beg gorr his wash, tuk his clothes, and pur his clane dros stock’n’s on, and gorr his supper, and was takin’ a draw of his pipe, before flyin’ up, as the man said, when I become tarrable onasy about our Thobm, and his smook being done arrim, and was makin’ off for bed when the clock struck twelve. Goodness grayshurs! I shouted, as sure’s I’m alive, sometin’ has happened to daa — murthered arrem, for I fel’ mee heart go tump against mee rebs. Put your clothes on, Thobm-bough, and les go to Billy Hom’s, and see if Billy hev’ come home. So off we started, and bein’ a fine starry night, we went the short cut across the ravar. It was a pretty stiff climb, I can tell you, ups the brew from the ravar, but, howavar, we gorr at Billy’s at the las’; and we went rount to the back door and saw a light in the kitchen, and ins I went wisout knockan, for you mus’ know, Mrs. Kelly, our Thobm and Billy hev’ all their lives made boundry togethar. Well, when I gorr in, and the gels saw me panthin’ for me bres, and fair checkt, they were freckened lek, for they said I was more laak a gose, and Bella was that kind she ran for the boddle at once, and would make me take a timble full, which I did’n’ want, but have it I mus’, or she would tro it at mee. Well, really, it did soon bring me bres back again, and then I could ask if Billy had gorr home, and how long; and she toult me he come home about half- an-hour ago as full as a mollag, and was sleapin’ on the seddle’ in the parlour. ‘Was our Thobm wis’ him?’ I as’. ‘No.’ ‘Then for massy sake wake him, woman, for I’m afeared our Thobm has been murthered.’ She ups at once, and wakes up Billy, and he come in quite studdy lek, but mor’n half asleep, but studdy as a gun, but his bres smellin’ laak a pungean. Chut! woman! Billy could carry a quarter cas’, and be as studdy, as studdy. Well, when I properly wakes him up, and Bella shook him till we could gerr him to understan’, as the sayin’ is, I asses him where he’d lef’ our Thobm, and he rubs his eyes wis his fisses, and yawns like to splet his mous. My gough, I begun to be impatient, and I nearly knocked him off the settle wis the shook I givvim. At las’ I gorrim somethin’ lek clear, and after a lot of ramblin’ jaw about what our Thobm and him had been doin’, and his jokses, and ‘what he said, and what I said,’ and I was gerrin’ fair mad, Mrs. Kelly, you may believe me, and I toul him to ‘shut up,’ his ‘what I said, and he said,’ and come to the point and tell me where was our Thobm? Chut! woman, you might as well try to stop Laxa ravar wis a piece of a cushag4 as stop Billy’s jaw, when he gets on the talk about our Thobm and him. But when I could piece bits together of sense arrim lek, this is what I could make was the chapthar of events, as the sayin’ is, sense I left them in Dhoolish. Billy and our Thobm, it seems, went back to Thobm Joe’s, and drunk the ‘jough a dhorris,’ and then our Thobm, when his twopence was spen arrim, Billy said, went up as bowl as brass and axes Joe’s wife for the gooses money, which she give to our Thobm, and a receipt mus’ be arrar, and Billy mus’ sign as witness, quite properlek; ‘deed Joe’s wife would see no mistake to her own side. (And quite in the right.) Yes, Mrs. Kelly, I’ve nawthin’ to say again that, specially when it was our Thobm and Billy Hom half drunk already, and would forget the nex’ day, and take the Bible ose they navar gorrit. Well, as nither our Thobm nor Billy couldn’ write a strook, Kelly Ballascroo was callt, and ‘touch the pen’ arrim, and the ting was done, and our Thobm, the dirty sleech! for I can call him no batthar, Mrs. Kelly, got the money — savvin-an’-six-pence, woman, that I had been saving up, as you may say, for the last six munse, to buy a new Sunda jackad I had my eye on for munses in the Co-op. ‘Deed, Mrs. Kelly, as long as I lives, I’ll navar trus’ our Thobm behint my back, no not one single inch, and the ‘jough a dhorris‘ mus’ be drunk wis Kelly, and all the ones in the kitchin’, which was full, and our Thobm, the fool, paying the whole shots and the ‘jough a dhorris,’ and would have been kep up til shuttin’ time, but Joe’s wife, for feer of her license bein’ tuk, wouldn’ fill Billy and our Thomb any more, so they had to lave. Billy was going on a long palaver of how they gorr on from Doolish to White’s at the Half-way House, but I shuts him up, and toult him at once to come to the point.
“I was gerrin’ tarrable onaisy, and Billy, lek a pig, wouldn’ be druv. Well, they went into White’s, and it only wanted half-an-hour to shuttin’ time; and the house being full of the Chutra-side ones, and hapes from Laxa, and our Thobm, the boy-bough, nearly as soon as he gorr in, ups to the table wis a swagger, and ‘drink up buoys, an’ glasses round at my expens; we don’t kill a pig every day,’ and ‘Hear, hear,’ and ‘Well done, Thobm, la!’ and clappin’ tremenjus’, Billy said, and our Thobm lashin’ out the selver lek dus’, and ‘Mrs. White, plaze ‘blige me wis a quart of hot ale, marm.’ Billy was sayin’ our Thobm was talkin’ as polite as a ‘ cottonie,’ and that Tomsellar had fairly turned his head. But, Mrs. Kelly, as soon as ever Billy mentioned ‘hot ale,’ I jump to my feet at once and wouldn’ lessen to another word he had to say, but made him say at once where he had las’ lef’ our Thobm, which he said was the Clerk’s Schoolhouse. Then I hurries to the door like one destrac, and ‘Lough, save us! If our Thobm has been drinkin’ hot ale, it will play the very mischif wis him, and won’t ger home on the night.’ I bids them all ‘good everin’,’ and says to our Thobm-Beg, ‘Hurry up as fas’ as thee legs will run, la! call at Quilliam’s as thou goes pas’, and see if he have him loc in the jug; if not theer, run on to Kil Laane, and thou’ll find him sleepin’, I wouldn’ trus’, in some gatthar or in the ravar it Stroaney-a-cull. So we walks as quick as the ugly road would lerr us down the hill pass Levison’s, and tuk the short cut down the narrow road, that was swimmin’ more like a ravar til a road, and gorr at the Co-op. Thobm-Beg sets off lek mad up the new Dhoolish way. You know, woman, the boy-bough is tarrable swivel on foot, and wouldn’ be a crack in gorrin’ to Kil Laane, if he had to go so far. Well, I came home, for I besought me in the hurry we’d lef’ the door on’y on the latch, not, as you know, woman, we tinks anythin’ of that at Agneash, we are not lek Dhoolish ones wis theer gurgles and the lek, eh, Mrs. Kelly, are we? Well, when I gorrin the house at home, and, of coorse, found everytin jus’ as I had lef’ it, the clock struck one; that was a quarter pas’ twelve by the mine’s time exac’. Well, I set me down and waited as patien’ as I could, but you know yourself that time goes mighty slow when you are waitin’ for anyone. Have you notice, Mrs. Kelly, dos’n it seem ages, even five minutes, when you are expectin’ — waitin’, even a keddhal, when you are lookin’ and watchin’ it to boil, even when you put bons under it, and you blows wis your mous, and your eyes smartin’ lek the mischif; still it won’t boil, if you look arrit, but mus’ ger up and hav a look true the window, and then no sooner til your back is turnt, when you hears it boilin’ over lek mad, and puts the fire out for you. Is’n’ that your ‘sperance, Mrs. Kelly? Well, I set me down in mee cheer, and turns mee back on the clock, and shuts mee eyes, but that was worsen til all; for I could see our Thobm drownen in the Stroaney-a-cull ravar, throwing up his han’s lek mad, tumpin over the big rocks, and at las’ he roults over the waterfall at the bottom and mashes into the sea. Mrs. Kelly, I couldn’ stan’ this, it was worse til the clock, so I goes on countin’ up to a hundhar, but before I gorrat sixty I los’ the count. Chut! I says to myself, I’ll take a candle and go and see if the bases are all right; somethin’ I mus’ do or go mad. Is’n it a quare feelin’ this, Mrs. Kelly, that sometimes comes over us? Well, I gorr the candle, and was jus’ streckin’ a match to light it, when I hard the men’s feet on the street — the boy-bough’s I should know in a tousan, but theer was a sluddhar and a slob I couldn’ make out until the door open, and our Thobm-Beg came in draggin’ our Thobm lek a sack of spuds. ‘Lough save us!’ Mrs. Kelly, his face looked whiter til a gooses, and drunkner til I ever saw him, and bad enough I’ve seen him before; his new russad trowsis muck’d up to the wais. Well, we gorr him on the seddhel in the parlour, and norra word out of his mous. Our Thobm-Beg toul’ me he foun’ him lyin’ on the top of the hedge at the Clerk’s Schoolhouse, sleepin’ as soun’ as a bell, and snoorin’ til he could hear him at the oul Chapel jus’, with nawthin’ in the world on him but his shirt and drawses, and his clothes hung on the talingraf pose, and — when he shuck him, he shouts, ‘Hello! what’s this? miner’s bell?’ That’s what he allis says, Mrs. Kelly, when I wakes him, and he thought he was in bed, then it struck me quite suddint lek, Mrs. Kelly, about the new clock, and I went and ramgaged his pockads, and behoult ye! Mrs. Kelly, as sure as I’m alive, the quhole tings I could find in his pockads was a clay pipe, a bit of twin’ thombargar, and a ha’peany piece, and two lil clock fingars. All the goose money was gone, his watch was missin’, and the new clock all to the fingars! Chut! woman, I was fair stampin’ mad, and if our Thobm hadn’ been too drunk to mind, and wasn’ lyin’ face down, I would have ups wis me fisses and lerrim have it in the mous.
“The boy-beg tried to peaceify me wis sayin’ he wouldn trus’ findin’ bose the watch and the clock about where he gorr his father, as he would take his watch off and hang it somewhere lek he does on the bed-pose at home. Well, our Thobm-Beg started off again to look for the clock and the watch, and got back jus’ as it was brakin’ day wis both watch and clock arrim. He said when he gor wisin a few steps of the place wherr he puk up the father he hears a gur-gur-gur as loud as the washin’-bell jus’, which fair freckened him, for he thought it nawthin’ less til the Boghane Ballagawn, or a choar-ny-hastan behint the hedge, and was freckened it might fly arrim, but it stop quite sudden lek, and then our Thobm-Beg went to it, and found it was the clock which was an album and had jus’ gone off. (Alarum.) Chut! you needn’ bothar to ‘rup’ now, I’ve jus’ done. And was wrap in a pockad han’kecher, and laid quite careful lek on the top of the hedge, and he found the watch hung as nate as could be on a twig in the hedge over where he found the father. And this is the story I promised you, Mrs. Kelly, of how our Thobm and me got from the feer, which we unlucky navar went.”
1. St. Matthew’s.
3. Mouth of the level.
How our Thobm tuk wit the day after the Feer.
“GOOD everin’, Mrs. Kelly, achree, come in, woman, do. Wheer hev’ you been this long whiles, it mos’ gone a fort-night sense I saw you las’; knock that cat off the cheer, and come and take a res’, as the man said.
“Oh! you’ve brought the quhite-wash brush back; purrit in the corner anywheres. You are always welcome to borrow it, Mrs. Kelly, I am not laak Jenny-a-Nans. When she had borrowed all the sweepin’ brushes in Agneash and wore them to the back, she gorra new one for herself, and when one of the naybors wanted to borrow it for a sackon or two, she ups and toul’ her that it was a good principle, and she for one meant to houl’ by it for the future — neither to borrow nor lend. (Unneighbourly.) Of course it was, woman, but what betthar could yor expec’ from the laak of yandhar? Did you meet our Thobm on Snavel Road? Yes, I thought you would; he’s gone to lef’ the turf on Snavel side, and won’t be back for hours. How’s our Thobm gerrin on sense the feer, did you say, Mrs. Kelly? Oh, quiet enough, quiet enough — norra word urrov his mous. A tarrable sick head arrim the day after, and sorry urrov massy, and would I forgive him, and not say one word about it, and he would live on priddhas and herrin’s for a fortnight? To-day is his las’ day of pengeance, as our Thobm calls it, Mrs. Kelly, and before he lef’ the street he shouts, ‘Kirree, giv’ us another change, them flower-balls will be as good as bros.’ You mus’ know Mrs. Kelly, our Thobm has kep’ wantin’ changes in his mate. One day he would have herrin’ and magnums, nex’ herrin’ and rocks, and herrin’ and kemps, and he has gone through all the changes we had; he thought he would laak herrin’ and flower-balls, and as we hadn’ any ourselves, I gorra kischen in exchange from Bobby to pacerfy him lek. Our Thobm says he is gerrin quite jintale lek in his fingars, and, if he goes on much longer on this mate, he will be as finger jintale as the Coungarrow ones. You know, woman, our Thobm says he can allis tell the boys when they are kep’ on spuds and herrin’ more til once a day, because the fingar and tum on the right hand is allis so cline wis purrin them in their mous wis the herrin’; chat! woman, our Thobm has allis some boughnet of speech arrim when he’s bittendin to be funny. But wait, woman, I’ll jus’ lif’ this pot of spuds on the slowree, and purra junk of turf undhar.
“How did you find the steep I sent you, Mrs. Kelly? (First rate, thank you.) Yes, I am sure you would fin’ it nice and sweet, and the pinjane2 would be tuk in no time. I was allis fus’ rate at makin’ steep — though its me that says it but shouldn’t-or, as the proverbs has it more full, ‘self praise recommends no agitation.’ (Is no recommendation.) — Chut! What does it matter? We know what it manes for all, woman, and, no matter what the proverb says, I will say that no one can make batthar steep til me. (Lus-ny-binjey.3) Guy-heng4 wis your lus-ny-pinjey rubbage; no but calf-runnet, and didn’ the Cap’n and Pazon’s wives, when they were in their full swing in Laxa afore now, allis gerrit from me, and they toul’ me often enough no one could make such nice steep as mine; theer now! will you belave now?
“Look here, Mrs. Kelly, that’s the clock on the mantel our Thobm bought on the feer day; isn’ it a nice one, Mrs. Kelly, for the money; and an album. (Alarum.) Oh, you needn’ bothar to ‘rup’ me. I gorr Garrat, the roadman, to fix the fingars and serrit-a-goin’, and at five o’clock every mornin’ you should hear the gir-ir-ir-ir fit to ‘waken the dead.
“Garrat is tremeujous clavar at a clock, and knows every quheel and pinjin, and can put them together laak a shot, mix them up as you may, and Garrat will in wis them in theer places as fas’ as yon can count, knows every one’s place to a dot.
‘You know ‘Nerry the Clag,’ as they calls him, Mrs. Kelly? (Yes.) Well, Nerry would start clock clanin’, and the Ballacarga ones guv’ him theers to cline, the eight-day-case wis a moon, you know, Mrs. Kelly? (Seen it often enough.) Of coorse you have. Well, quhen Nerry had gorr all the quheels numb’r’d on a newspaper on the table, and one of the gels happ’n to stretch over for sometin’ or other, the quheels come all a-cladderin’ on the floor, all mix’ through others, as the man said. Nerry, my gough! was frecken’d urro’ massey, and thried and thried to put the quheels back again in their places, and was ups at the Ballacarga two or three everins tryin’ to get the quheels right, and swettin’ laak the mischif wis the bothar on him. At las’, when Nerry foun’ he was complate bet, he bittended he wanted to go into the haggad for a straw, but, my gough! when Nerry gorr outside, he puks up his legs and clears the haggad hedge laak a grey houn’, and down home to Laxa laak a shot. Nerry would allis have tuk a Bible oas to his las’ dyin’ days that that clock was made at the clockmakers wis at las’e six quheels too many. Chut! woman, there warn’ one quheel too many. Garrat was call’t in and slicks them all in in no time in theer proper places. But Nerry navar would attempt a moon-face clock after that, and that’s the for he got the name on him at the washin’-floors, its laak by Jack Kinley, or Oul’ Bob, of ‘Nerry the Clock.’ What for were they givin’ these quaer names, did you say, Mrs. Kelly! ‘Deed, its hard to say, but I suppose to tell them by. Oul’ Bob and Caseman were the very mischif givin’ names, and, ‘deed, when we think of it its no wondhar. Take your own name, woman, and count up the Thobm and Jack Kellys in Laxa, and how are you to tell them if you don’t give them a bye-name? You knew Darkie, Mrs. Kelly, that used to come praechin’ from Dhoolish, and allis went on the chabbal ones to get the childhar in the Prumental5 club? (Well enough.) Of coorse. Well, Darkie had got from one of our chabbals Jem Dolly’s name as havin’ mos’ childhar. Darkie knocks at the door and one of the gels come, a lump of a one, maybe thirteen or fourteen, and, when Darkie asked if Mr. James Kelly lived here, she said no, and was sendin’ him on to the Larghan, when her mother calls from the laf — ‘You stupid, it’s your own father he wants; tell the falla to come in, I’ll be down in a sackon or two.’ The gel didn’ know her own name, as she had allis been call’d Jenny Dolly, and her father Jem Dolly.
“Dear heart alive! woman, we’ve been talkin’ about the clock and navar mindin’ the fingars. Look, woman, it’s standin’ at seven, and here we’ve been clanderin’ away for two mortal hours about how our Thobm, the sleech (for I can call him no batthar when I tinks of the goose money), gorr home from the feer — which unlucky he navar went.”
1. “The Manxman is never wise till the day after the fair.” — Translation.
2. Curds and whey.
3. A herb: Crudwort.
4. Get out-(Gu-hang!).
5. Prudential Life Assurance Co.
“Our Kirree’s” Story about “Herrin’ an’ Pas’e,”
“ARE you theer, Mrs. Kelly, three? Come in, woman, do; its a monne of Sundas sence I las’ clap’d eyes on ye. Yes, I know, you’ve had maesles in the house, but that need’n have kep’ you. (Thought I would have been freckened.) Chut! no, woman, mine have all done wis them agers sence.
“Yes, indeed, thee’r nasty t’ngs is maesles; not for the pes’ itself, which is bad enough in all conshus, when its among childhar, but the afthar-claps it laves is far wus — sore necks an’ eyes, an’ hapes of othar dirt it laves.
“Well, woman, I’m glad they’ve got the turn.
“Here, take this sate in the ‘chiollogh,’1 and I’ve gorra mousful of ‘coul tay,’ as our Thobm calls it, in a boddle — not that I’m takis’ any meeself, as you know, woman, bein’ ‘total — but our Thobm will hev a dhrop in the house case of bein’ tuk sick in the night — not that he need be gerrin’ up two or three times in the dead-of-night, and bitendin’ his ches’ is bad, and not more til a spoonful lef’ in the mornin’ of the pint I get quholesale from Williamson’s. (Purrit in the chiss, and lock it, woman?) Mrs. Kelly, you little knows our Thobm when he comes off the boose, if you hev no batthar plan to fix him til that.
“Why, dear heart, alive! I’d hev more to pay to David for new locks til Robert for whisky in the twelve munses on your plan.
“No, theer’s nawthin’ but the turfs will keep our Thobm off the ques’ — see (putting her hand among the heap of square turfs by the fire, and pulling out a black bottle) that’s quhar I allis keeps it, as the shuper says, for immargencies — (immar) — oh! you need’n be a ‘ruptin’ me, I know —but here take this lil tas’e of the craythur in the cup an’ a biscake; it’ll do a tarrable lot of good afthar you bein’ kep’ in the house so long nussin’ the childhar.
“Well, yes; the’ total I am in janneml, I’ll take a timblful wis you for company’s sake, not that I keer one farlin’ for it, only for the win’ in mee bres.
“And quhat’s the news outside, Mrs. Kelly, chree!2 did you hear any?
“Lacks save us, woman! you don’t say so? Quhat? Jenny-veg-Lezayre dead! You don’t say it, woman!
“You fair gimmee a turn an’ a pain in mee ches’ wis the sudd’n it come on me. Gimme that boddle again, woman; I feel faintish an’ ready to dhrop wis the shock it’s gove mee.
“Dear heart alive, the chree! a batthar woman til Jenny-veg navar stapp’d in shoe-lathar — and long hundards arrar — an’ me that know’d her avar sence she come to this parish, an’ married that dirt of a husband of hers, ‘Herrin’ an Pas’e,’ as they calls him.
“Livin’ at the ‘Fifty,’ the bose of us, an’ goin’ for years togathar to oul Jeremy Cowin’s class at Ballacowin Chabal, an’ tellin’ me all her thrubbals wis that sleech of a husband of hers, an’ blind Nan, his mothar. Poor sowl! poor sowl! the chree!
“And when is the berryin’ to be, woman? — (Wednesday!) — that’s short, an’ ony died to-day (Monday); but chut! quhat batthar can you expac’ from that thrustha,3 that’s been a torment arrar avar sence he clap’d eyes on her, an’ gib’n her no batthar life til the life of a dog, an’ her worse ten-t’ousan’ of the laaks of him?
“It makes me blood run cowl ebery time I tinks of him, an’ the ill-usage of that poor sowl! poor sowl!!
“I can’t really belave it! an’ her and me all the time such friends, laak two sesthars jus’, and tellin’ everytin’ to me. (Where did ‘Herrin’ an’ Pas’e’ live, and what was he before he came to the Glen?)
“I’ll tell you, woman, all aburrim, and it’s me that know’d the thrustha from a lump, and sarvin’ his time for a cobbler at the same place as our Bill that’s now in Califurnia, an’ a fortune done arrim.
“Well, James Cowin — sometimes Jemony Cowin — that’s his propar name tho’ navar calt — lib’d on Ballacowin, an’ was a cobbler, as I have said, an’ lurnt, as the sayin’ is, at oul Thobm Cowla’s on the Beach.
“Quhen he had sarved his time, oul Thobm gevvim a pair of the biggest an’ far wornest las’es he had in his shop, an’ sent ‘Herrin’ an’ Pas’e’ out into the worl’ as puffec’ a workman as oul Thobm could make him.
“‘But,’ said oul Thobm, quhen the boy-bogh4 had lef the street wis all his belongin’s tied in a red pockad hank’cher, ‘if all the larnin’ of all the shoemakers in creation, from Adam downwards, could be shot into “Herrin’ an’ Pas’e’s” head, lek shutin’ Jack into a houl of a vassil on the quay, he’d navar be a shoemaker, no navar, navar — it is’n in him, Jonny Kelay, an’ quhat is’n in a falla you cant gerurrov him, eh? not laakly.’ (Navar heard that Adam was a shoemaker, or wore shoes even?)
“Mrs. Kelly bogh, theer’s hapes of t’ings you navar hard — I’ve allis ‘lowed you to be batthar til me pronunchin, but quhen it comes to scripthur pints — me that’s sat lek at the fut of (We’ve heard that before.)
“Yes, my gough! an’ ye shall. Look here, woman; you’ll be, no doubt, ‘lowin’ the fig-laves mus’ hev been stitch’d, an’, quhat more, natheral an’ handy till a brizzle an’ a wax end bein’ all theer to the fore? Chut! this cotton they hab now would navar houl’.
“An would you expec’ now, may I as’? the man to be — goin’ mashin’ among torns an’ briars in his stoc’kan feet?
“I wouldn’ thrus now but they wore ‘carraneyn’5 in them days, lek the oul’ Manx people; an’ its lek as not the fus’ Manx was gerrin’ the patharn from them — quhare else, eh?
“Now, wis this slight digestion, as the shupar says—. (Diges — chut!) Come, that will do, woman — shut up! You can’t get the tongue round it more til me, an’ we will perceed wis the story, as the man said.
“This was the for the by-name of ‘Herrin’ an’ Pas’e’ was purr on him, an’ it will go wis him to the day of his dea’s.
“Any stra’njar, comin’ to Laxa as’in for ‘James Cowin,’ as you know, woman, it’s laak as not he’d be sent to Ballaragh, half-way to Ramsa jus’, or up to Snavel, or mayve to Glun-Roy an ‘Chibbyr Plierrick,’ theer’s so many wis that name arram.
“But, if he as’d for ‘Herrin’ an’ Pas’e,’ he would be toul’ laak a shot he lib’d in a t’atch house overside of the ‘Fifty.’
“And this is the for he got the name arrim of ‘Herrin’ an’ Pas’e’ — Jemony bein’ tuk for a swell, as a young falla did’n navar keer to weer the usual blue apern; but, it was’n altogather that nether — Jemony, as everyborry knew, was morthal lazy, an’ for the life of him (as you may say) couldn’ sit on his cobbler’s stool for two hours han’-runnin’.
“He mus’ go a dozen times a day to see how John-Beg was gerrin’ on wis the fishin’, an’ to the quay to see if the ‘Chieftain‘ was loaded an’ ready for sea.
“And as everyborry can see, woman, wis half an eye, it would navar do for Jemony to wear a brat an’ to take it off every time he went out.
“Beside — chut! quhat are you talkin’ about? Oul Thobm would have tuk notice if he was seein’ the brat comin’ off, but navar the bit of it, not him.
“‘Jus’ round’ the gable, that’s all,’ he would say, when quashthant.
“Well, wis navar habin’ no brat on nor the smallest tas’e of a pockad hank’cher arrim, mus’, of coorse, use his breeches to wipe his finghars quhen he had them in the pas’e-horn afthar purrin’ it on the shoe; and, as oul Dan Kermode said, ‘the boy-bogh’s breeches was as glazed an’ slibby as a slide the ‘mob-beg’ makes in fros’;’ and, of coorse, woman, the sem had to sarve quhen he had e’t his herrin’, which was at las’e three times a day.
“So, when Jemony come to the fire, oul Thobm used to say — ‘Thou smells as sthrong, both, of herrin’ an’ pas’e as Crellin’s curein-house on the souse Quay.’
“So this was the for he was gerrin’ the name on him of ‘Herrin’ an’ Pas’e.’
“He lib’d up at the Ballacowin in an oul t’atch cottage pas’ the ‘Fifty,’ wis his oul blind mothar, 70, if a day, but oncommon smart at that — could go about wis the stick arrar, an’ feedin’ an oul sow that was kep’ at them, an’ fowlses by the scoore, batthar till many a woman I know wis two pair of eyes arrar.
“The house ‘vided in two halves wis boards, and the parl’our side, as you may say, wheer the beds was, was parted wis a streng across and an oul bed-quilt hung. It was not very clane. (The bed-quilt?) Chut! no, boderation! the house I mane.
“But, no one could expec’, on’y an oul blin’ woman theer, and the sow comin’ in, an’ fowlses, an’ three or four cluckey hens hatchin’ undhar the beds, and a clay floor. It was rather dampish too at times, special quhen floods on the road, an’ the water quashin’ thro’ the kitchen, burr a tilt in the floor, an’ aisy to run out at the back door.
“But the oul woman could always tell when the flood was comin’ by the ducks, an’ aisy to gerr on the table or on a cheer til it had washed thro’, an’ no feer if it did’n come quhen the fowls was a hatchin’. It’s then the jeeyl would be, and a matthar of two or three scoore eggs would be rottan, and no arly chickans for the ‘cottonies,’6 lerr alone, woman, the hens that would be washed down into Ballacowin ravar, which I had seen times wis mee own eyes when I lib’d at the ‘Fifty.’
“Well, I ‘member, woman, the ‘Herrin’ an’ Pas’e’ gorr an order from Thobm Spatch to make him a new pair of shoes.
“‘Lerram be’ beg enough an heaby,’ said Thobm, ‘I’m t’inkin’ of goin’ nex’ week to Snavl7 turf-lag, an’ mus’ hab them by Satada’ night at latest.’
“This was T’ursda, the day afthar he lef’ oul Thobm Cowla’s; and the ‘Herrin’ tuk the measure wis a foot-rule an’ a piece of an oul sheep-lankat.
“Of coorse, woman, he had’n everytin in full workin’ order yet, no one could expec’ that, burr a three-legged stool was arrim, and his awls, brizzles, pas’e, an’ wax, an’ the las’es oul Thobm was gibbin him in a meddha8 on the floor by his side all quite pat, as the man said.
“By Frida night the ‘Herrin’ had his fus’ shoe done arrim, an’ purr on the lat’, and knew it would be quite ‘asy to do the othar by Satada’ everin; and had’n he time ‘thallure?’9 an’ no goin’ down to oul Laxa now; he could lie in bed far on the day, an’ work later at night; and that’s quhat he done. The clock finghars was stand’n on the minutes of eleben quhen he gorr up.
“His mother, of coorse, had been up hours and hours. Old Nan was allis up ‘arly, as theer was hapes of kiartaghs10 to do in the mornin’ part of the day.
“Quhen the ‘Herrin’ an’ Pas’e’ had done his breakfas’, an’ gib’n a las’ wipe to his herrin’ han’ on his breeches an coat-sleabes, he serrat his work ‘like a giant new-made,’ as the Bible says.
“But lo! an’ behoul’ ye! quhen he look’d in his meddha, wheer he lef’ it on the floor the everin’ before, not the smalles’ tas’e of wax could he fin’, and his pas’e was all ‘et at them ‘blas’ed’ fowlses; an’ ‘quhere is that las? confoun’ it! not a sight of it to be seen.’
“His mothar said muc-arkagh11 had been in, and as lek as not had tak’n it out arrar; an’ it was his own doin’, an’ he would’n knock up a bit of a sty for her; aud the brute hed tuk an’ e’t alive ony las’ week a sittin’-hen, eggs an all, an’ sarve him right for the slack he was if it had gorr his las.’
“Quhen the ‘Herrin” gorr outside he foun’ the sow crunchin’ the las’, and half e’t arrar; an’ gib’n her a t’undrin’ kick, he lef’ her to finish, an’ went an’ tuk the las’ from the shoe on the lat’, an’ made some more wax, quhile the mothar, to pacer-fy him, made some new pas’e, an by workin’ late he gorr his fus’ pair of shoes done an’ tuk to Thobm Spatch at Amagarry.
“‘Les’ try them on,’ said Thobm. ‘Theer look’n quhere, boy,’ tryin’ one on.
“‘That’s middlin’ la’, beg enough for all.’ Then trying the othar on —
“‘Chut! quhat’s this? Can’t sweeze me fut in — quhy you stuped blockhad, you’ve made them bose for one fut, an’ the lace tags a full inch more to one side til the middle, laak a falla wis a crooked mous’ arrim.’
“An’ wis this he flung them at ‘Herrin’ an’ Pas’e,’ jus missin’ his head.
“These was the fus’ an las’ pair of shoes that ‘Herrin’ an Pas’e’ ever ‘tempt’d to make. He was goin’ roun’ on the farmers, mendin’, patchin’, an’ solein’, but navar a new pair done arrim afther that. (How did he come across Jenny-veg, did you say, Mrs. Kelly?)
“Well, I’ll tell you, woman, all aburrit; but wait till I’ll be puttin’ a junk or two of turf on the fire, an’ liffln’ this pot of spuds on the slowree,12 so the dinner will be gerrin’ on by the time our Thobm comes from Snavel turf-lag.
“Now, then, I can perceed quite comfabl when that’s done at me.
“Well, I ‘member quite well the fus’ time the ‘Herrin’ an Pas’e’ met Jenny-veg.
“I was stayin’ for a sarvent at oul Jemmy Cowin’s at Ballacowin, an’ bein’ a late harves’-it was the beginnin’ of October before we tuk the ‘Mheillea’13 — you know woman them high lan’s are allis late.
“I’ve known Jonny Baldhoon wis stooks out at Crissimas, but we were navar so late as that come to.
“Well, I min’ as if it was on’y yestharday gone pas’, an’ its 40 year jus’, if a day, ‘ Herrin” an’ me was in the same butt.
“Of coorse, we was cuttin’ wis sickles yandhar, an’ quhen the ‘Mheillea’ was cut at me oul Jemmy would navar let noborry but me cut it.
“I ‘member I was bringin’ the stook undhar me arrim, an’ the othar gels follarin’ wis junks of cushags14 in theer han’s, when that sleech of a ‘ Herrin’ an’ Pas’e’ com’pt behin’ me and purr his arrim roun’ me neck an’ tried to kiss mee.
“I ups wis mee fis’, woman, and lerrim have it in the mous, an’ knocked the riblas15 down.
“My gough! to be kiss wis that big ugly moos, wis thombargar spit allis runnin’ out an’ dhroppin’ at his chin, was fit to turn a gel’s stomach.
“But he navar ‘tempted to kiss me afthar that, I can tell you, woman.
“Quhen the ‘Mheillea’ supper was done arrus that night, I min’, quhen the boys an’ gels was lavin’ the house, the masthar cault ‘Herrin’ in’ Pas’e’ back into the kitchen, an’ ases him if he would min’ tak’n the hoss an’ cart wis hafe a dozen fat sheep to sell for him ‘arly in the mornin’ to Michalmas Feer, the day follain’ bein’ the 10th October, an’ the Feer-day at Kuk Michael.
“The masthar said he couldn’ go himself, as the wathar was very brickle, an’ was anxious to get the corn in, an’ couldn’ loose a day.
“Of coorse, woman, the ‘Herrin” jumped at the offar, but said he had’n got no clo’s that was fit.
“But, the misthress ups at once an’ towl me to run up to the chiss on the parlor laf, an’ get the masthar’s sackon’ bes’ black clo’s shute, she was s’ure it would fit to a T.
“Whuch I done, an’ brought down, an’ he tried the jackad an’ was’put on, an’ fitted fus’-rate, ‘cept the collar, whuch covered his ears, whuch the misthress said would do fus’-rate wis a big mufflar roun’ his neck; and the masthar said the sheep was in the haggat ready, an’ ‘put planty of straw in the cart an’ come ‘arly.’
“I ‘member quite well I was in the cowhus’ quhen he was laebin the street, an’ he come in an’ tried to coax me to go wis him to the Feer. (Of course you said yes?) Mrs. Kelly, how dar’ you? and me that gib him the jap on the mous not more til two hours gone. No, not if theer warn’ another falla lef’ in the quhole I’lan’, I wouldn’ have gone wis yandhar fritlag.16
“The mornin’ follerin’ he come ‘arly enough, and was away ober the mountains wis the hoss and cart before we gorr up. Quhat I am goin’ to tell you now the ‘Jenny-veg’ herself toul’ me times and times.
“It was at this Michaelmas Feer that Jemry fus’ pull ap wis the dirt, an’ be put the guiybogh17 on her, bad cess to him, an’ was’ luck to her, as the man said.
“Jenny and another gel, her fren’, was on the Feer-groun’ pritty ‘arly, an’ saw the ‘Herrin’ an’ Pas’e’ dribe on the Feer-groun’ wis the cart, an’ quhen she saw him, she towl’ me she said to the gel that was wis her, ‘That’s a “local,” see the nice black clo’s that’s arrim.’
“You mus’ know, woman, Jenny was tarrable mad on the ‘locals,’ bein’ from a lump of a gel on the ‘class-book,’ and navar missin’ her quarterly tiggad. And she went roun’ the tills of the cart to see the name, which was, ‘James Cowin, Ballacowin, Lonan, No. 2.’ The ‘Herrin an’ Pas’e’ hadn’ been a crack on the feer before he had sowl the sheep, an’ quhen the bargin’ was done arrim, an’ the man who had bought them Earnest — money which she knew — was dribin them off the feer, she as’ed him, quite innercent lek, who did he buy the sheep from, and the man said, ‘From Jemmy Cowin, the local praechar from Kil Lonan, and a smart falla he is for dribin a barga’n an’ no mistake.’ Well, her an’ the gel, she toul’ me, went into a tent, an’ no sooner were they in til the falla in nice black clo’s come in afthar them, an’ nawthin’ would sarve but a feerin’ mus’ be bought for the bose of them, an’ theer pockads fill’d wis turkey-nobs, gingar-snaps, an’ crackers, an’ a quhole han’ful of silber urrov his pockad lek a shot to pay for them, an’ ‘would they have a glass of wine an’ a bistake, an’ he would ordhar dennar for them at the ‘Mithar,’ an’ rattlin’ aul’ Jemmy’s sheep money in his pockad laak a lord lek. But the gels wouldn’; but they mus’ go, for all, the roun’ of the feer wis him, he said, he wanted to buy a couple of haffars an’ a good meer, if he could fin’ them to his laakin’. And roam’ the Feer they went, the ‘Herrin’ and Pas’e’ grabbin houl’ of the eldhars of every bas’e he come to, an’ lookin’ in all the hosses mouses, an’ the han’ful of silber out lek a shot, an’ would they take arness?18 but makin’ sure the price was low enough, an not tuk, an’ makin’ the gels belive he was goin’ to buy all the cattle in the Feer.
“Quhen the two gels, she toul’ me, was ready to start for home, he comme up an’ said he was too, not bein’ able to get the cattle he wanted, an’ he would put the hoss in the tills, and, as he was goin’ theer way, at las’e as far as Sulby Street, he would give them a lef’ in the cart, there was nice clane straw for the feet, and they would be nice and comf’ble.
“The gels, of coorse, was glad of a lif’, bein’ tired wis the long walk from Lezayre, an’ dhraggin’ about the Feer all day, which is more tirin’ still, an’ more ‘special habin’ such a nice jintale young man wis them, and everybory lookin’ at them as they druv’ through the village, Jenny sirrin’ nex’ him on the sideboard, which was tuk urrov the cart an’ laid across the box, an’ plenty of straw for the feet. And Jenny the bogh, tarrable proud; and as’n him quasthints about the chabbal ones at Kil Lonan; an’ did he lek the new district Shuper, the Rev W. T. Ratcliffe, an’ was proud to say he was from theer parish, and did he laak ‘Craine the Glack’? And the craf’ of the ‘Herrin an’ Pas’e,’ seein’ whuch way the win’ was blowin’, wis this smart gel at his side, ansart accordint-ly. Yes, he laaked the Shuper middlin’, he was very soun’, but for all theer wasn’ enough go in him to his laakin’; he wanted a falla in the pulfits that could lay on fire an’ brimstone, an’ bring convarts to theer knees at the panitant furrim, that was the sort for him, if theer was dep’s at the bottom. ‘Craine the Glack’ he didn’ keer much for, his dishcoorses no dep’s in them, he laaked a falla wis plenty of dep’s arrim; he wanted mate in a sarmon, not cabbage an’ win’, sometin’ to chew. Gib’im dep’s — dep’s — no mathar how deep, it couldn’ be too deep for him, he could follar to the lowes’. And so the convarsation went on betwix’ them two, the other gel lerrin them hev’ it to theerselves, and, before they puk up at Ballaugh Street, she ventur’d to as’e him if he was on the plan, but ‘wouldn’ trus’ it would be ‘plan-beg,’19 bein’ young.’
“‘No, Miss,’ he said. You mus’ know, Mrs. Kelly, the ‘Herrin” could be perlite an’ gran’ yandhar times quhen it was lek to sarve his ends. ‘I have the honour, Miss, to have my name enrolled on the ‘plan-more,’20 — and am proud to be able to testerfy to my dear Lord and Masthar-aw-hum-an’ middlin’ high up, too.’
(Never knew that he ever was on the plan, or ever went to church, or chapel?) “Chut! woman, no more he was, burr a pack of lies arrim from beginnin’ to end; but seein’ the gel so mad on the ‘locals,’ he knew this mus’ be the way to shute his own ends, an’ his name bein’ Jemmy Cowin, but call’t ‘Jemony’ for short (when not ‘Herrin’ an’ Pas’e’), the same exac’ as the masthar’s, but no ‘lation whatavar. But libin’ on Ballacowin, it was aisy to mistake the two.
“Quhen they gorr on Ballaugh Street, he puk up at the ‘Nors Star’ Inn, an’ said the hoss mus’ gerra drink, and would the young ladies, his fair friends, take a glass of wine and a biscake? an’ bittended to talk laak a ‘cottonie’ lek.
“But the bose of them bein’ ‘total,’ and in ‘class,’ wouldn’, but a boddle of pop aech in the cart; and before goin’ in hisself into the ‘Hors Star,’ she toul’ me, he went into a shop and bought a quhole hape of papparmin’ lozzanjars, gibbin some to aech of them, an’ purrin’ the res’ in his pockad.
He was in the house a mortal long time the gels thought, an’ was jus’ gerrin’ ober the tills of the cart to walk, quhen he comes runnin’ out, wipin’ his mous on his black coat-sleabe, and champin’ laak a crushin’ mill a beg mous’ful of lozzanjars, an’ none too studdy nithar on his legs for a ‘local,’ but bein’ Feer day, “lowances mus’ be made,’ she thought.
“Qnhen they gorrat the ‘Genjar,’21 the other gel gorr out, as she lib’d on the ‘claddagh,’ an’ Jenny was gerrin’ out, too, but he grips an’ held her on the sate, tellin’ her that he was goin’ that way to call at Dan Cormode’s to look at a prize haffar, which he had tuk a notion to buy if money would gerrar, and Jenny, the sowl, bein’ nawthin’ loath, an’ rather proud bein’ seen ridin’ through theer own parish wis such a gintale young man arrar, and a well-known ‘local,’ but she did rather wonder to herself the hoss should be so t’irsty, an’ on’y comin’ from Ballaugh; for herself no, she wouldn’ hev allothar boddle of pop, nor genjar-snap nither, which he coax her to an’ the othar gel on her labin’ them ‘oie vie.’22 ” He turnt the hoss at the ‘Genjar,’ and went back over the bridge an’ through the ‘Curraghs,’ and, before they gorrat Andhris village the sly dog of a ‘Herrin’ an’ Pas’e’ had gorr urrov the gel that her uncle Bob, who had died on’y twelve munse gone by in America, had lef’ her £300, which was in Dumbl’s,23 an’ all to the fore, every penny an’ intres’. That there was on’y herself an’ the mothar libin’ on theer own craf’ of eight acres an’ the right of a turf-lag near to, and one cow at them, and a haffar they were feedin’ for the butchar.
“Her father dyin’ two years before, bein’ hisself a ‘local,’ and the mothar an’ the gel bose of them, on the dea’s-bed, hed to take a bible oas that the gel would navar marry an unconvarted man, but a ‘local’ if pozzib’l. ‘The “jeeyl”24 he had seen done wis the Lord’s people marryin’ inferdhals was the for he had made them take the solum oas, and he could die quite happy now,’ which he done before the nex’ mornin’ bruk, an’ all the people in the parish jus’ at the funarall, an’ hapes of ‘locals’ from othar parishes, an’ was buried at Andhris church-yard.
“This is quhat Jenny-Beg, the sowl! toul’ me he gorr urrov her before they puk up at her street gate, and very ‘ticlar to ase if theer was a bond or fromigary-note on the place, and hed the mothar made a will? an’ as laak as not she would be gerrin oul, an’ nobody but herself lek to come in, an’ no gurgians25 to come botharin’ roan’ an’ the lek to that ‘ fud -y-cheilley;’26 it was hateful, didn’ she tink, eh? (Its a wonder she’d tell all.) Well, Mrs. Kelly, bogh, you didn know poor Jenny-veg lek me, or you wouldn’ woudhar at all at all.
“She was as innercent as a chil’, and as open as the day, as the man said, and navar no suspigion, but as open as a piece of lookin’-glass, as the sayin is.
“Quhen they gorrat the house nawthin’ mus’ sarve but he mus’ take the hoss urrov the tills, an’ purrit it in the empty stall in the cowhus, and come in and hev tay. Which was a nice t’atch house, wis ‘bent’ for straw, which lases longer, and as nice an’ eben on the top as a beehive; parla on one side, an’ kitchen, wis a roomy back kitchen an’ dairy, behint; and, up-stairs lafs to match, and the cowhus, and turf, and pryddha29 houses on the haggat a trifle off, and a mortal nice place it was, I can tell you, woman, bein’ theer times an’ times wis Jenny quhen she come to our parish, and the thrammon-tree28 at the gable, right up to the chimbley, and a lil garden in front, wis holly-docks an’ sithar-wood an’ roses that high that they darkened the bedroom windows, and the las’e tas’e would the oul’ woman ‘low to be cut, an’ that sweet smellin’ in the rooms in summer-time you wouldn’ belave.
“Well, the oul’ woman — Jenny’s mother — Jenny toul’ me — was as much tuk wis the ‘boy-bogh’ at fus’ as Jenny herself, and special quhen she hard he was a ‘local,’ and full of quasthants about the Kil Lonan ones on the plan she had hard tell of but didn’ know.
“Harry Cubb’n, who hed fus-rate Manx arrim, an’ couldn’ be bet, an’ a tarrable powerful praechar in the Manx. But quhen he come to the house at fus’, she toul’ me she t’ought it tarrable quhare he should be again champin’ another mousful of lozzanjars! Chut! woman, was’n it to kill his bres, as he t’ought?
“Mrs. Kelly, woman, arn’t these men deep?
“Our Thobm used to do that at fus’ quhen we were married — quhen he tuk on the sly three or four glasses of whiskey, he would, as sure’s you’re alive, gerr a pennus of mints an’ champ them up before he gorr home to dead’n his bres, as he t’ought.
“But, Mrs. Kelly, I was intarmint to purr a stoppar on that. ‘Look heer! Thobm,’ says I, ‘the smell of a whiskey bres is hateful in all conscious, but quhen it comes to mix’n it wis mints, it’s ten tousan’ times wus, and wus far til onions. Less hab one at a time, but, my-gough! for heavern’s sake don’t navar again ‘temp to mix them!’
An’ he navar done afthar that. Mrs. Kelly, woman, you’ll ‘sense me, won’t you now? but the way I’m goin’ ramblin’ in mee tale is somet’in shoc’kan, is’n it now?
“Well, raelly, I mus’ puk mee self up, or I’ll navar get to the end.
“Well, afthar that they serrat the tay, and a long grace done at this herpocrite — an’ jam an’ pisaves, an’ honey an’ chees, an’ barley bread, aw lashins, bless ye! an’ the ‘sleech’ talkin’ to them about the two par of hosses he’d got, an’ the twelve milkin’ cows he hed, an’ the hun’ards of sheep on the perk,29 an’ the poun’s of butthar he tuk ebery Satada’ to Dhoolish market, but keer30 his-selp to stan’ wis the baskag, and not to thrus the gels; and if he hed a nice smart wife now, ‘how much batthar it would be, eh! mum?’
“And the oul’ woman agree in wis him to the full, and Jenny delighted too; and the 80 acres of lan’ he was heir to, an’ a couple of hun’ards of acres of perk-lan’ for sheep and young cattle, and norra farlin’ of a mortgage on it. (Well done the ‘Herring!’ Why didn’t he lash in the whole parish while he was at it?)
“You may say so, woman — the ordashus rascal! A jap in the mous he should hev got. But know’n, as he done, these craythurs knew no more about Kil Lonan til they know’d aburt Jaricho, a few hun’ards of acres and a dozen cows or so was nithar here nor theer, as the man said.
“Well, they talked on an’ on for aver so, as Jenny toul’ me, til the oul’ woman said it was her bed time, an’ was gerrin’ ready to ‘fly-up,’ as the man said, quhen the ‘Herrin’ an’ Pas’e’ said it was allis his praxis to finish the day at the Throne of Grace, and would they objet’ to a mousful of prayer whuch he would offer? — whuch he done — ‘an’ the blessin’ the baskag an’ store, an’ the prosperity of this humble houshol’,’ whuch Jenny t’ought was a tarrable shockan good prayer. But the mothar, who, of coorse, knew more, t’ought he was gerrin’ tarrable fud-y-cheilly,31 an’ all-through othars, before he gorret the end; but, bein’ young and nervous, it was no wondhar; and she lef’ them, and went to bed quite content, bein’ a ‘local’ and a prayin’ man.
“Jenny toul’ me she was rather tuk aback at the raggin’ an’ sweezin’ a ‘local’ would attemp’ quhen he hed blow’d the candle out, an’ they were bose sittin’ on the seddle. But she t’ought, bein’ lek feer night, and, as she said, she knew ‘the flesh was willin’, but the spirit’ — chut! bodderation — how does it go, Mrs. Kelly? (What? One that’s sat at the foot ‘—?)
“Don’t be mock’n, woman, its shoc’kn; and, if you don’t know, lerrit alone, all’ let’s come back to the tale, an’ don’t be aver-lasin’ ‘ruptin’ me, or I won’t go on — theer now! Shut up, woman, an’ let’s perceed wis the tex, as the shuper says.
“Well, quhare was I? you’ve knock’d mee thro-othars laak a tangled skein — aw! I’ve gorrit, I’ve gorrit, you need’n.
“Well, he stav’d on wis the gel mos’ of the night — as you know, woman, was usual them times — an’ as it was’n no use, he said, goin’ to Dan Comode’s to buy the prize haffar so far on the night, he would put the hoss in the tills, an’ go to Kil Lonan roun’ by Ramsa’, an’ would come again maybe nex’ week to purra sight on her an’ the haffar at the same time, whuch he done. (Which did he do?)
“‘Ruptin’ again, stupid! can’t you undherstan’? — went home, of coorse, didn’ I say so? and gorr home on the Ballacowin Street quhen we were at breakfass, wis three half-crowns gone urrov the sheep money, whuch he said he had los’ urrov a hole in his pockhad, whuch was all lies, as I turnt out the pockhads when the clothes come back, an’ were right, an’ not the las’e tas’e of a hole in any of them.
“The masthar was tarrable mad, an’ would stop the money a shillin’ a time urrov every pair of shoes he would sole for them till it was paid, which was navar all paid to this blessed day, as the sayin’ is.
Howl on, woman, now, before I perceed. I’ll jus’ gerra ‘warp’32 of herrins urrov pickle an’ put them in the pot wis the spuds, so they’ll be doin’ quhile I tells you the res’.
Now, then, let’s see quhare we were, woman.
(He got home from the Fair, and never paid all the sheep money.)
“Right you are, Mrs. Kelly, bogh, you’ve gorra head lek an almanac, as our Thobm says, for ‘membrin’.
“The nex’ time he went ober to Lezayre to see her afthar the Feer day you min’, was ‘on this wise,’ as our respected Shupar says. It was on a Sunda’, I min’, aburra couple of weeks afthar the Feer. On the Satada’ before we hed a cow tuk bad boosely, an’ Thobm Spatch was calt in, and his ‘pingion was to send off to ‘Ballayockey’ at once for harbs.
“The masthar was on the plan that Sunda,’ for Ballaraugh. You mus’ know, woman, oul Jemmy Cowin would naber miss his ‘pintment on the plan, no matthar come quhat would, theer he mus’ be, an’ I belave in mee heart if the wife had been lyin’ in the sheets, go he would. Not laak these ‘boy-boghs’ of fallas now on the plan, if the lil finghar aches, or they ‘neezes twice han’ runnin’, its a ‘scuse to miss theer ‘pintment.
“Well, the cow was tarrable bad, urra massy, when the everin’ was closin’ in, and out Tbobm had gibn’ it as his ‘pingion that nawthin’ but Ballayockey harbs would gib the craythur aise, so the ‘Herrin’ an’ Pas’e’ was calt, and would he take the hoss ‘arly in the mornin’, and ride ober to Ballayockey? The craythur was in agarness,33 an’ be sure to hurry back. The saddle and bridle was in the cowhus laff,34 and the misthress said he could get the clo’s as before, but min’ an’ not mess an’ muck them as he did on the feer-day. (Had he no Sunday clothes of his own?) Lauk sabe us alibe, woman! Him hab Sunda’ clo’s? He navar in his life had as much money sabed as would genrim two pockhad hank’chers, lerralone a shute of clo’s, but spend’n it constant laak flitthars lek ebery farlin’ as he gorrit, at the ‘John Joseys.’
“Well, he went to the cowhus to get the saddle and bridle, but the rats had cut the starrup lathars, burr he said he would take them home an’ fix it, and the masthar said, as he would be off ‘arly, he would gibbim the money for Ballayockey, and a ‘shillin’ for himself, which I knew was stupid on his part, but didn’ say nawthin’, as the man said, but lerrim.
“In the mornin’, quhen I went to the cowhus to gib a sap to the cows, behowl’ ye! the hoss was still in the stall, an’ the falla hed navar gone. I come, I ‘member, an’ toul’ the masthar, who was tarrable mad, and for me to go down at once and see quhat was up wis the falla, which I done. And, you know, woman, theer house was on the Ballacowin, and on’y a field from ours. I went at once, and when I got wisin forty yards of the house, Sunda’ as it was, I hard a tremenjous pankin wis a hommarin’ a lap-stone, an’ I open the door quick lek an’ went in, and behowl’ ye! mee fine falla was hommerin’ away laak mad at the starrups, whuch he hed navar touch’d the night before, burr, as oul’ Nan said, ‘It was Jemmy Cowin’s fault for gibin’ him the shillin,’ ’cause it burnt a hole in his pockhad, an’ wouldn ‘take res’ till he gorrit it in his guts, and come home at the dead of night as drunk as McKellya, and that was the for he had to fix the starrups this mornin’, and for massey’s sake don’t tell the Ballacowin,’ or we’ll navar hear the las’ of it, the whuch I promis’ faisful if he’d on’y be slibby an’ gerr off ober the mountains, whuch he done, and the masthar navar knew.
“Burt the decatefal herpocrite an’ ‘riblas,’35 it makes nice blood run cowl’ quhen I tinks of the way he blaguarded an’ almos’ cusst poor ‘Bob Alone’ for doin’ the sem ting in his innercence what he himself had been doin’ not more til in hour gone in cowl’ blood. (What was that about ‘Bob Alone’?) Well, it was this way — and Bob, poor falla, towl’ me hisself all aburrit it the time-Quhen the ‘Herrin’ an Pas’e’ was ridin’ roun’ Snavl mountain laak a lord lek, in Jemmy Cowin’s black clo’s all to the full, as the man said, he come upon ‘Bob Alone’ wis the cart and hoss, and one of the tills bruk arrim, and the cart half full of turf lyin’ on its side in the ditch, an’ poor Bob standin’ in the middle of the road houlin’ the bosse’s head an’ shoutin’, ‘Massey on us! quhat’s come on the brute? The collaugh36 navar lifted heel before!’
“‘Hullo!’ says the ‘Herrin’ an’ Pas’e,’ and puks up the hoss, ‘quhat’s this? Dessicatin’ the Lord’s day, an’ workin’ on the Sabas,’ and quhare did he expec’ to go quhen he died, an’ wasn’ he ashamed to be breakin’ God’s holy commands, and his ox, an’ his ass, an’ his hoss, and wasn’ he freckened that the divvle would lay houl’ of him theer an’ then, an’ make a ‘sample of him for his great sin? And on he went lek that for avar so. I ‘spose, woman, Jemmy Cowin’s black praechin’ clo’s hed gorr in the blood, an’ that’s the for it come out.
“But quhen poor ‘Bob Alone,’ the sowl, knew it was Sunda’, he jus’ tuk his hoss by the lines, and as the hose went towards Keppal-gate Road, he said, ‘I’ve miss’d a notch, I’ve miss’d a notch. I’m bery sorry; ‘deed I am! ‘deed I am!’ (What did he mean?) Quhy, woman, this chap libin’ up near the top of ‘ Mullaghouyr’ of coorse navar saw no one from week in to week out, and, as he towl’ me, he could on’y keep count of the days as they pas’ by cuttin’ a notch on the back ob the seddel. He had miss’d a notch that week someway, and t’ought it was Satada’, and that’s the for he come out wis the cart an’ hoss. Bob, poor sowl, would jus’ as soon have tuk an’ e’t his head, as the sayin’ is, as come out wis the hoss an’ cart if he had know’d it was Sunda’.
“Well, that divvle-possest herpocrite ‘Herrin’ an’ Pas’e’ (God forgib me for sayin’ so; but it fair makes me mad to this day quhen I tinks of the ‘riblas’) rode on to Kuk Andhris, and as Jenny towl’ me aburrit it times, don’t I know meself all aburrit? purr up his hoss in theer cowhus’ as usual, an’ went on to Ballayockey at once for the harbs, but didn’ make has’e back as the masthar had toul’ him, “deed no,’ as the millar says, “deed no.’
“He keer’d nawthin’ for the cow dead or alibe quhen he got theer, but stayed wis Jenny an’ the mothar all day, braggin’ urrov the heavy crops he hed saved, an’ all undhar t’atch, and would trash ten boll to the acre at the very las’e, an’ spuds an’ turmit crops was heavy scan’lous urra massy, and t’ankful to the good Lord his bountiful providence, and £100 would be paid to Dumbl’ afthar all expanse paid, to the res’, whuch, wis intres’, would ‘mount to long hun’ards, an’ wouldn’ trus’ to a couple of t’ousands, but hedn’ seen the bank-book lately, but mus’ gerrit made up, an’ look afthar quhen he got the haggat a bit tidy. And did they know anybory that was in want of a trifle of a t’ousand or two on mortgage? Good lan’ s’curity he mus’ have; he didn’ care to purrit on house proppity at-all at-all. Dhoolish buildhars had been arrim times, but didn’ laak their s’curity, he couldn’ tros’ stones an’ morthar, but lan’ was quhat he wanted that couldn’ run away, an’ quheer you would nab sometin’ to look at for your money. Aye, man, of coorse.
“And this was the bhragg Jenny toul’ me he had the quhole day to the mothar an’ her, an’ how his fathar an’ mothar was gerrin out, an’ hed lef’ eberytin’ to him, an’ sole management. (Always understood old Nan was left a grass widow when ‘Herrin’ an’ Pas’e’ was a lump37.) Of coorse, woman, but don’t you see? quhen he was fair afloat on his lies — t’ousands in the bank, an’ a father or two heer an’ theer didn’ matthar one farlin’s worse38 quhen he was arrit- quhy should it, eh?
“And the fathar an’ mothar wantin’ him to marry the Ballacraga gel, which was an heiress, an’ a farrim arrar an’ long t’ousan’s, but he didn’ keer for her, as she wasn’ in ‘class’ an’ onconvarted, an’ mus’ hat one of that surt. (Well?) Chut! don’t be ‘ruptin’, woman, you know what I mane — not one of his surt. Well, the upshot was, as she towl’ me times, before the day was done she hed promis’ to marry him in a monse time. (Its a wonder she would consent so soon, and took driving with that ‘jough-eig’39!) Chut! woman, its my pingion he got some of his mothar’s — oul’ Nan’s — harbs an’ dirt an’ put the ‘butch’ [witchcraft — charm] on her. Besides all to that, Mrs. Kelly, woman, in weddin’s its laak Johnny Hogg said in sellin’ his wool — ‘You navar know for sartin if you are gerrin’ up too ‘arly, or lyin’ too far on the day’ — Howavar, he said, for heaven’s sake not to breas a word to anyone; if it got to his fathar an’ mothar’s ears, it would play the very mischief wis him, and maybe stop the weddin’. But tings would come right afthar they were married, an’ he tuk her home. And she an’ the mothar done so. (Done what?) Done quhat, indeed! Why, of coorse, stupid, ruptin’ cons’ant, done quhat he toul’ them, shut theer mouses, as you should do, and not be clack-clackin’ avar- las’in’, an’ snappin’ lauk a ‘juish’41, as the man said.
“That night before he come away he went wis the mothar an’ her to the Lhen Chabbal everin’ sarvace, and, bein’ a revival goin’ they stopped at the afthar prayer-meetin’, and ‘would Brother Cowin engage’, and he went arrit full belt, hammerin’ the furrim, an’ makin’ up in nise quhat was wantin’ in sanse, but everybory bein’ full of ‘citement, an’ shoutin’ out as loud as hisself, it didn’ much matthar quhat he done, as nobory tuk much heed, so theer was nise enough an’ groans to match. But Jenny, poor sovl! t’ought it a ‘strawnary prayer for the ‘casion, an’ the amens which follow’d plased Jenny, the bogh, shockn’.
“He gorr home, I ‘member, on Ballacowin Street as the clock was strikin’ eleben. Thobm Spatch had been waitin’ hours for the harbs, as the cow was still tarrable bad, an’ the masthar was jawin’ boosly enough tit the ‘Herrin” bein’ so late, but tuk it aisy bein’ Sunda’, and I ‘membar I boiled the harbs in a quart of jough42 an’ pappar, an’ was gib to the cow, which was all right in the mornin’.
“Wait, woman. I’ll jus’ lef’ this pot of herrins an’ spuds off the fire, an’ put the keddle on the ‘slowrie’ before I tells you the res’ you don’t know, which is on’y short now. But our Thobm won’t take res’ if the keddle is’n on the boil quhen he’s done his spuds. He mus’ heb a cup of tay an’ barley-cake an’ a junk of cheese afthar.
“He says you may blow yourself out laak a mollag43 lek vis herrin’ an’ priddltas, an’ botthar-milk, but by the time you’ve got across the haggat you feel as slampy44 as a mollag jus’ prick’d, and norra ha’porth of feedin’ in them, an’ mortal boosly kitchen45 and that’s the for the keddle mus’ be a-boilin’. Jus’ put that bonn46 at your fut undbar, Mrs. Kelly, it will halp it on the boil.
“Yandhar is our Thobm. I see him comin’ down at Snavl mine; he’s more’n til a mile off, an’ wont be here for avar so long, but I heb to tell quhat I’ve got to, short, before he comes.
“As I was tallin’ you quhen I lef’ off, the weddin’ was to be in a munse, and not a sowl to know nithar in that parish nor this. He had walked ober to the norse an’ got the license all right, but quhat was he to do for clo’s for the weddin’, an’ a hoss an’ cart to fetch her chisses, an’ hapes of othar kiarthayrs she’d got, he couldn’ tell. The masthar didn’ want no more sheep sol’ nor no more harbs from Ballayockey, an’ quhat to do he was fairly puzzle.
“But the day before the weddin’ he toul’ the mother — oul’ blin’ Nan — an’ toul’ her too quhat a rich wife he was gerrin, wis long hun’ards arrar. An’ the oul’ wutch, as you know, woman, was as full of the divvle as an egg is full of mate, as the sayin’ is, an’ she soon fonn’ a way urrov the difficulty, as you will hear.
“I ‘member quite well the day before the weddin’, which happen’ to be pancake Shusda’ of all other days, an’ I was t’rowin’ up a pancake to turn it, as you know is the lek, woman, quhen it tuk a shine, as they will sometimes, an’ as the ‘Herrin’ an’ Pas’e’ was jus’ stappin’ in at the kitchen door at the time, bad cess to it! it onlucky fell on his head, an’ the sof’ bathar an’ fat ran down his neck. Of coorse, it was an accident, as everybory could see, an’ tho’ riled enough the ‘Herrin” was at the time, he soon gorr ober it, an’ afthar he hed e’t that pancake an’ anothar, I hard him as’in the masthar if he would come down to the house an’ see his mothar as she was bad urrov massy vis a tarrable pain in her leg an’ side.
“The masthar went down vis him at once. Oul’ Jemmy, you know, woman, was allis considhart tremenjous clavar at ‘dochtrin, an’ often calt to see peoble, an’ by some would be calt jus’ as soon as Stole, the dhruggis’, who, you know, woman, is tuk to be clavar urro massy. Chut! hasn’ he gorr all the books an’ fothargary stuffs of Docthar Craan’, of Ramsa’?
“Quhen they gorr on the street — as he towl us — oul Nan was booin’ an’ groanin’ mos’ pirriful, and, quhen they gorr inside, she was lyin’ wis a blankad mupp’led roun’ her head, an’ her leg on a cheer; and he towl us her leg was that swell’d it was as far roun’ jus’ as his t’igh.
“She said she couldn’ get the stochin’ off, it was that full, and the cullar of a piece of a beeve’s livar; and, quhen he touch’d it thro’ the stook’n’ she sweeled out jus’ as if a knife was goin’ a-runnin’ in her wis the pain that was array, and she’d been in agarness all the everin’. (Poor soul! poor soul! the chree!)
“Stuff an’ rubbage an’ bogh, an’ a split stick, more lek, should heb been tuk to her back, to gib a nip an’ a blow, as the man said. But you’ll hear, woman, you’ll hear.
“The masthar gib it as his pingion that it was harrisipples, and to be tuk fus’ t’ng in the mornin’, an’ no time los’, to Misthress Berry, at the Sthrang; and to take the cart an’ hoss, an’ put planty of straw in the box of the cart to lie on, an’ the quhilts to cober her; an’ if any one in this blessed worl’ could kill the disase, it was Misthress Derry wis her harbs an’ her charms, an’ navar failed, an’ a mos’ wondharful woman wis power from on high he belayed, and Jemony to come back wis him to the house; an’ it was as lack as not they would be goin’ through Dhoolish, an’ he might as well get the shute of black clo’s as former, an’ be dasent for all, as becomin’ one comin’ off Ballacowin.
“So the ‘Herrin” come up back wis oul Jemmy, an’ tho misthress sent me up to the chiss to get them, and a hafe-crown gib to the sleech for Misthress Berry, an’ the masthar and misthress tarrable urro massy sorry for oul Nan.
“An’ oul cuss she was, but allis libbin’ on the Ballacowin and blin’, the two of them — I mane the masthar and mistbress — was very kin’ to her, an’ as much skim-milk an, butthar-milk quhen we churn’d, an’ spuds an’ turmits an’ carrats, an’ allis hafe a sack of barley-male was lef’ at the door quhen the cart was comin’ from the mill, and norra farlin’ for it all.
“But quhen it come to us feed’n the pig, it put mee monkey up, I can tell you, woman — tho’ sarvant on’y I was, I couldn’ stand’ to see t’ings gone to was’e, an’ I towl the masthar, but all I gorrurrov him was — ‘Lerram, lerram, you’ll get lave,’ and I navar said nawthin’ afthar that, but lerram, and the t’ings might go to pot! for quhat I keered.
“But I’m ram’lin away from the subjac’ again — quhy did’n you puk me up, woman?
“As soon as I gorr up in the mornin’, an’ went to gib a sap to the cows, I foun’ the hoss gone, an’ the cart urrov the haggat; so I know’d they were gone off very ‘arly.
“But, behowl ye! oul Nan, the t’izzle, as we hard afthar, was tuk no fardhar til her sisthar at Thalloo-Hogg, and puk down on the street, an’ was drink’n’ rum lek a fish, an’ singin’ an’ dancin’ all day laak mad lek, an’ bragh’n tremenjis at the ruch wife theer Jemony-Bogh had gone to bring home. (But what about the erysipelas?)
“Chut! women-bogh, it was nawthin’ but all lies an’ bittend’n from fus’ to las’, an norra haporth to do wis her, but tuk an’ jamm’d a quhole boilin’ of pig’s porrage in one of the ‘Herrin’s’ stock’ns, and shove her leg in it, and that’s the swell leg she’d gorr an’ the sweelin’ an’ groanin’, all made up for the ‘rasion, as the man said; an’ to get the hoss an’ cart, and the black clo’s for anothar time, and all plan’t an’ carried by that divvle-posses’ wutch — (God forgib me for blagardin’ the woman, and her in Kil Lonan churchyard!) — oul blin’ Nan it was; but, Misthress Kelly, woman, as I was sayin’, it makes mee blood run cowl quhen I t’inks of the wickadness and desate of them two.
“Quhen he hed lef’ the mothar at Thalloo-Hogg to be calt for on his way back wis the hoss an’ cart — he dribes across the mountains, and gets to Kuk Audhris village in time to get to church.
“I could tell you, woman, hapes of t’ings about the wedd’n breakfiss, whuch was up to the nines, I can tell you, an’ fus’-rate, an’ couldn’ be bet — as Jenny towl me herself times — wis on’y them three arrit.
“An’ the way them two went to the church, woman, was a show! one goin’ one road an’ the othar goin’ another — mos’ of a mile roun’, frecken’d of bein’ quasthint and meetin’ quite promiscake lek. (Promiscuous.)
“Oh! you ueed’n be a ‘ruptin’, I know, I know — at the church door, and on’y the pazon an’ the clerk theer, an’ the clerk guv her away, and the pus’ from her to pay the clerk, as he hadn’ les’ til a £5 note, whuch he had crump’t up in his han’, an’ was nawthin’ in the worl’ but a piece of dirty tombargar papar; and all the money he had gorr in the worl’ was the hafe-crown the Ballacowin gib to him for Misthress Berry, at the Sthrang. (A terrible cold wedding I am thinking.)
“You may say so, woman, not lek the wedd’n’s they hed here; ‘deed no, nawthin’ laak tham.
“Quhen me an’ our Thobm was spliced, no cars or shosabl’s in yandhar times — shanks poney an’ a fiddlar goin’ before.
“All the miner fallas — Bobby-the-blood, an’ Rock, an’ oul Jem Crow, an’ Bobby Lewney, Neddy Hommy, an’ Ketty-boy-noa, an’ a fella they calt ‘Lord John,’ an’ a scoor of othar fallas met us at Peg-Balgean’s at oul Laxa, an’ the cart-rope across, an’ norra sowl to pass till eberyborry hed gone into Peg’s an’ drunk our Thobm an’ my health.
It cos’ me a mathar of twalve shillin’ for jough an, brok’n glasses. But, my gough! ours was’n done on the sly, but the horns blowin’ laak mad lek at the ‘mob-beg’ for three or foour everin’s han’-runnin’, and eberyborry in the parish knowin’ for monses — but that’s nithar here or theer, as the man said, let’s gerr on.
“Well, they went from the church jus’ as if nawthin’ had happ’n, him a yard or two in front, and her comin’ as she might behin’, a tarrable quare comin’ home from a wedd’n, but the bose of them did’n ‘want to be quashthant or tuk notis’ of, an’ so they gorr home to her mothar’s, an’ the hoss put to the tills at once, an’ the chisses, three of them purr in the cart full of Jenny’s t’ings — dresses an’ perricuts no end ob, an’ linen sheets an’ blankads, an’ kalthar an’ flanen enough to stock a drapar’s shop, an’ all her own spinnin’ on the lil quheel; an’ the oul mothar bidd’n good-bye at the street-gate, an’ the tears runnin’ down her cheeks, an’ couldn’ for the life of her say more til ‘God bless you, gel, an’ be a good wife,’ and hed to run back into the house wis her brat ober her face she wus that full, an’ couldn’ see them dribe off the street. (Poor soul! poor soul! the chree!)
“The everin’ was gorrin’, he said, and they had batthar be gerrin’ on the road, as they had a long dribe before them, an’ the snow jus’ beginnin’ to fall, tho’ a fine everin’ wis the moon at full, an’ would be light on the mountains for three hours, whuch it would take them at the very las’e; and he halp her ober the quheel into the cart, and they sat on chisses, and drub away.
“Many’s the time, the poor sowl! has sat an’ cried quhen she’s been tellin’ me about this parthan wis her mothar, whuch you must know, woman, Jemmy, the sowl, hed navar lef’ for one single night before, and I could naber less’n to her wisout cryin’ too, an’ a lump in mee neck, quhen I t’ought of the home she was leabin, and the one she come to, poor sowl!
“Quhen they gorr at the ‘Genjar,’ he stop the hoss an’ coax her to gerr out, and hab a mousful of sometin’ warm, if it was on’y genjar wine, before cross’n’ the mountains — but she wouldn’ gerr out, she towl me, as she was wrapp’d in rugs, an’ felt no call for anyt’in, an’ ded’n keer to meet any one she might be know’d to.
“He went in, howen-so-avar, but did’n stay long, but she notice’, quhen he gorr in the cart, the necks of two boddles in his jackad pockads — oul Jemmy’s money for Misthress Berry gone laak a shot lek — and they drob over the ‘claddagh’ as the neares’, and up Sulby Glen.
“Quhen they hed gorr as far as the chabbal and Sulby Bridge, he gorr out, as you know, woman, theer is a tarrable steep sigsaggin hill for morn til a mile, and he went behint the tail of the cart, and she hard a curk go plop, an’ a plug-lug-glug, and she knew wisout seein’ that he was dhrink’n quhat was in the boddle by the neck.
“An’ quhen they gorr at the top of the hill ober agans’ ‘Tholt-y-will,’ the snow bein’ heaby on the road, an’ no one min’in’ the hoss, it hed gone off the road into the ditch, an’ he come runnin’ up an’ stagger’n wis the emp’y boddle in his han,’ and grab’d the lines at the bosses head, swearin’ an’ cussin’ lek a ‘jough-eig,’ an’ ‘mashes the emp’y boddle against the stone wall an’ bruk it into smithareens.
“An’ this was the fus’ time, as she towl me, she hed the suspedgion she had been desaved, and that he was no ‘local,’ or how could he? and her heart, as she said, went as heaby as a lump of lead.
“Quhen he gorr in the cart again, quhuch was quite as much as he could do, bein’ dead dhrunk jus’, he purr his arrim roun’ her as they sat on the chiss, an’ wanted to kiss an’ cuddle her up, burr his bres smelt that nas’ey of rum an’ tombargar spit that she wouldn’ lerrim; and the hoss, that freckned an’ starty at bein’ cuss’ at and not being use to, it was quite as much as he could to keep it on the road an’ urrov the turf bogs on Snavl side; an’, as she towl me, kep’ as far from him as she could, an’ she felt in no heart for anyt’in of that surt wis such a lump at her bres’ wis the heaby heart she’d got.
“As they were comin’ down by ‘Cairn-gerjoil,’ the moon was jus’ goin’ down behint ‘Mullaghouyr,’ an’ she could jus’ see a glint of the tops of the farm-houses of Ballacowin an’ Ballaquine, an’ she as’e him if one of them was theer house; burr all she could gerr urrov him was a dhrunk’n grunt, an’ — ‘You’ll see, you’ll see, time enough.’ Quhat lil consus he hed (an’ that was preshus lil, woman) was beginnin’ to bodhar him, as the man said. (I should think so, the brute!)
“Quhen they gorr at the road leadin’ on to Thalloo-Hogg Street an’ puk up, it was quite dark, an’ the ‘Herrin’ an’ Pas’e’ gorr urrov the cart to gerr his mothar.
“Hom an’ the sisthar managed, betwix an’ between them; to gerrar into the cart, but she was that dhrunk she lay in the straw — but, quhen the cart hed gone through the ravvar at Ballaquine Hill, she managed to fin’ her feet (Jenny towl me), and come slobberin’ ober her, sayin’, in the bes’ English she could — She ‘mus’ hab a sight ob our Jemony’s ruch wife,’ an’ gabbin’ away in Manx, whuch Jenny couldn’ undharstan’, navar bein’ used of the laak, lek, at home, the mothar bein’ an English gel, an’ in savvis at Archdaycon Moore’s quhen the fathar married her, so theer was navar no Manx spuk arram. (How in the world could she see, being blind, and a dark night too?)
“Quhy, woman, oul Nan allis saw wis her finghars, day-light or dark made no diffar wis her; an’, Jenny towl mee, she begun to finghar her all ober — wis not very clane han’s ethar — an’ she come to her nose an’ moos, an’ fingharin’ eberytin’, even to her ear-rings, laak fingharin’ a pianna.
“An’ she finghard all her clo’s, from the rose in her bonnad down to her laskic-side boots an’ stock’ns, and even countin’ how many perricuts an’ skirts she’d gorr, an’ wondharful tuk wis the sale-skin jack’ad; and wouldn’ trus’ now, my gough! there’d be long poun’s yandhar.
“An’ she was sayin’ in her rubbidgy talk, as well is she could, quhat a brave wife theer Jem had got, an’ not forgerrin’ to clap her han’s at the long hun’ards she got’ an’ the nice farrim tha’ was arrar.
“Jenny towl me she was fair sick wis the tongue arrar goin’ clack-clack, snapp’n lek a ‘jouish,’ mex’n the Manx an’ English, an’ the smell of her bres laak a pungeon wis her mous con’sant arrar nose.
“At las’ they gorr at theer oul ‘tholthan’47 of a house, an’ Jenny whondar in her heart quhy the chisses would be goin’ a bringin’ to the cowhus or stables, whuch she took it, an’ not to be lef at the house, bein’ dark, and no light in, she couldn’ know batthar.
“But, poor sowl! she was soon ondesabed quhen the rascal jump urrov the cart an’ halp’d the mothar out, an’ she went into the House an’ gorr a light, an’ the ‘Herrin” begin to take the chisses out and purr them in the house, mak’n shure of them any way.
“Then he lef’ Jenny out, an’ naber a word urrov his moos, but purr her in the house — the herpocrite and ordasious rascal he was-an’ the divvle — led he hed been, and tho’ dhrunk he was — quhen it come to this, an’ the shame of it, quhen he saw Jenny stan’ in amaze in the dirty oul ‘thalthan,’ shut his mous, an’ norra word urrov him, as he went out and tuk the hoss an’ cart back to our house; bein’ all in bed I member at the time.
“Then poor Jenny’s eyes was open complete quhen she saw the mis’abl’ dirty place she hed come to, an’ not much could she see ithar; its the light the oul dirt hed was no batthar til a farlin’ rush in a cressit, an’ was lookin’ more laak a mine hole til a house, she towl me, an’ to think this was to be her home now, an’ how cru’lly she hed been desaved!
“She sunk on the seddle as she was, an’ bus’ out a cryin’, an’ oul Nan goin’ potharin’ aburt wis the cresset in her han’ tryin’ to light the fire, an’ talk’n to herself all the time in Manx, whuch she couldn’ understan’.
“Quhen the fire was made arrar, and the keddle purr on the slowree, and was beginin’ to boil, the ‘Herrin’ an’ Pas’e’ come in again for habin’ tuk the hoss an’ cart, an’ come on the seddle wis her and coaxes enough to take her t’ings off an’ make herself at home, an’ to kiss her; an’ sorry mortal t’ings was’n agsactly as she might expec’, burr in pass’n through this worl’ t’ings was often not as we was expact’n, an’ the Lord knew bes’ what was good for his childhar, an’ not often lerrem hab theer own way, an’ to take up the cross, which was far batthar for us.
“And a lot of othar ‘boughtyned’ and rubbage of the laak surt he went on wis, Jenny towl me, as he sat beside her. (A slap in the mouth he should have got.)
“You may say so, woman, and sarve him right. My gough! if it hed been me, two black eyes he would have got and no mistake, as the man said.
“Quhen oul Nan hed got the tay on the table, wis two cups an’ saucers and a pint mug, an’ the soda-cake she was bhraggin urrov she hed, made wis her own han’s the everin’ before, and the chees, and ‘ do come, woman, do for all.
“Poor Jenny, the chree! towl me theer was such a beg lump in her neck for the worl’ she couldn’ hab gorr a tas’e down to save her life, if it had been of the very bes’, instid of made at that dirty owl bas’e, wis han’s an’ face that looked as if they had’n touched water an’ soap for munses han’-runnin’.
“An’ she did’n, but sat on the seddle quhile the two of them guzzl’d down theer mate laak two pigs in a throch, and, quhen they hod e’t up ev’ry mossal on the table, that ‘riblas’ of a ‘Herrin” tuk a boddle of spirrits urrov his pockhad, and, quhen he couldn’ get the curk urrovit, he tuk the knife and jap’d the neck off, an’ poured the quhile pint in the mug he hed done his tay in, and bose of them serarrit48 dhrink’n times about till avary dhrop was done arram.
“The oul wutch tried to gerr on her legs to clare the ‘kiartaghs’ from the table, but she went down laak a mop on the floor, an’ theer she lied.
“He jus’ manage’ to stagga behint the oul dirty quilt, an’ fell on the bed.
“And theer she sat on the seddle, poor sowl! through the night, cryin’ fet to bus’ her heart, an’ down on her knees wraslin’ wis God to gib her strens and patience to beer the heaby cross that hed come upon her.
“And the two of them snoor’d an’ slep’.
“An’, as she towl me, quhen the day begun to bre’k she was on her knees an’ her head res’n on her han’s on the furrim; she mus’ ha’ drop’d asleep-an’ she saw her fathar; he come wis a smile, an’ lay his han’ on her head as he did quhen she was a lil gel at his knee, and he said — ‘Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil: for thou art with me’ — then he lef’ her, an’ she ‘woke, an’ she towl me often she fel’ whunderful comforted an’ happy.
“And that’s the way she spent her weddin’ night, the chree!
“And Misthress Kelly, bogh! You’ll ‘scuse me, won’t you? but this lump that’s come in mee neck won’t lemme perceed no furdhar wis the story, and as our respacted shupar says, ‘Why need we labur the question furdhar?’
“You know yoursel’, woman, the res’ as well as me, how the rascal an’ oul’ Nan spent all her money dhrinkin’ an’ idlin’ about as long as it las’. But the hard thrubb’l that came on poor Jenny-veg an’ bruk her heart jus’ was that afthar they were married she could navar gerrim to go to chabbal wis her. She was willin’ to go wis him ethar to Balldhoon prim’tiv’ or the Ballacowin, quhuch was her chabbal, bein’ a Wesley’n, as you know, woman. But the dirt hed avarlas’in some’scuse or othar, ‘Pherrick-ny-moaney,’ or the ‘Nollick’ was ow’n him for sol’in theer shoes, an’ the teeves an’ the cusses! not laakley him set fut in the same place as them rogues, an’ he navar went to chabbal or any place of washup all the time they were married, but Oul’ Nan an’ him serrin’ boosin’ at home as long as the money las’. (How did Jenny’s mother take it?) Well, as I toul’ you afore, woman, I went wis Jenny times afthar she fus’ come here to see her mothar, an’ for me not to say one mossal of a word how she hed been desaved to her mothar. And to see the ‘put on’ of that gel quhen wis her mothar was suthin’ marblous urro massy, and even to the bhraggin’ arrov the twalve cows she hed to milk, an’ the butthar an’ egg she tuk to Dhoolish market every Satada’, an’ navar lerrin’ on was a show.
“And the joyous she was before her mothar; but the longin’ that tuk her at times was pirriful to see, and this was carried on for twalve munses, and the mothar navar knew to the day of her dea’s, quhuch was fourteen manses exac’ from Jenny’s weddin’.
“And heer’s our Thobm on the street, as hungry as hungry I’ll be boun’.
“You needn’ run, Mrs. Kelly, woman; you won’t be e’t. Well, good everin’, woman, if you are off.
“Mrs. Kelly, chree! Do you hear? You’ll be goin’ to the berryin’, won’t you? Your Jem is mornin’ ‘shef,’ an’ will see to the childhar. That’s a good sowl; call on your way down an’ we’ll go togathar. I mus’ sen’ at once my black merino frock down to the factory for John Foser to gib it a dip in the black pan; them nasy yallar spots wis the egg at the Feer I can’t gerr out, but Foser will take them out laak a shot. Good everin’ to you again.”
3. Dirt — vagabond.
4. Poor simpleton.
5. Shoes of untanned hide.
8. Small tub with one handle.
12. Hook-hanger over the fire.
16. Rag-worthless fellow.
17. Poor goose — Put the guiybogh on = bring to grief.
19. Little plan.
20. Big plan.
21. Ginger Hall, name of a public house.
22. Good night.
23. A Manx Bank.
29. Park-mountain pasture.
30. Took care himself.
36. Male of animals.
37. Small boy.
39. Flat beer — miserable fellow.
40. Witchcraft — charm.
43. Dog-skin buoy for herring-nets.
45. “Boosly Kitchen” — bad Victuals.
48. Set at it.
“The skill and sympathy with which he draws Manxmen and things are beyond all praise. We of the Island cannot but recognise the perfection of the outline, the fineness of the shading, the sincerity of the colour.” [T. E. Brown]
Hailed by T. E. Brown as a seminal part of the literature of the Isle of Man, Egbert Rydings’ Manx Tales is a collection of part comic part tragic tales based in and around Laxey.
Having been friends with the Manx National Poet since before he returned to live on his native Island, Rydings worked closely with T. E. Brown on their joint pursuit of creating a dialect literature of the Isle of Man. In a letter of 1895 Brown wrote:
“we have arrived at the last squeak of the Manx language proper. So I think what we have now to do is to make a new start, making Anglo-Manx dialect the basis. In its turn this will probably become obsolete, but meanwhile the catastrophe will be deferred by your stories, and, perhaps I may add, mine.”
It was Brown who suggested that Rydings write down the stories of Manx Tales, initially as material to recite in public and subsequently to be published in the Ramsey Courier. The four stories that make up Manx Tales were eventually offered to the London publishers, Macmillan, but the dialect put them off. So instead it was published in Manchester by Heywood’s on 10 August 1895. The book was entirely successful in achieving Rydings’ and Brown’s purpose; it may not have sold well, but it did salvage for us today something of the richness of Manx life of over a century ago:
“Let us then make all we write very good and sound – Manx timber, Manx talking, Manx bolting, Manx everything. […] In all this, there is no money – of that I am sure. But there is the joy of self-utterance, of sympathy elicited, of vital union with a people whom we love, and who deserve our love, of a precious future treasury, the old possessions of the race, wondering, perhaps, how they should have come to lose so much, thankful for what will have been saved from the shipwreck.”
The Lancashire-born owner of the Laxey Woollen Mills, Egbert Rydings, came to call himself a proud Manxman and to be hailed by T. E. Brown as a co-founder of a new Manx dialect literature.