A Neet at "Widup's Rest."

A poem by John Hartley

We've mooast on us, at one 'time or another, accidentally dropt amang company withaat havin ony idea o' spendin mich time wi' em, an' yet we've kept stoppin an' stoppin, feelin as happy as con be, an' niver thinkin for a minit what a blowin-up we should get when we landed hooam. An' aw've mony a time thowt 'at a body enjoys a bit ov a doo o' that sooart a deal better nor a grand set affair, becoss when a body expects nowt it's hardly likely he'll be disappointed. Well, it wor one day last winter 'at aw'd walked monny a weary mile, an' it wor commin dark, when aw called at "Widdup's Rest," to see if aw could get owt to comfort me old inside, for aw wor feelin varry wamley. As sooin as th' lonlady saw me shoo ax'd me to step forrads into another raam, which aw did, an' fan a few chaps set raand a fire fit to rooast a bull, an' lukkin varry jolly. As sooin as they saw me they made raam for me at th' hob end, an' began talkin to me as friendly as if they'd known me all ther life. Aw sooin began to feel varry mich at hooam wi' em, an' as th' lonlady browt in some basins o' hot stew 'at shoo wodn't be paid for, (an old trick to get fowk to spend twice as mich another rooad) an' as another chap wod pay for all we had to sup an' smook, aw thowt aw mud ha gone farther an' fared worse. It worn't long befoor some moor coom droppin in (ha that happens aw dooant know, but aw darsay you'll ha nooaticed it monny a time yorsen, 'at if ther's owt stirrin 'at's cheap ther's allus a certain class o' fowk 'at drop in accidentally).

After a bit, we mustered a varry nice pairty ov abaat a dozen, an' as iverybody wor tawkin at once we managed to mak a fairish din. But at last one o'th' chaps proposed 'at we should have a cheerman, an' see if we couldn't conduct business in a moor sensible manner. Ivery body sed, "hear, hear!" an' ov cooarse th' chap 'at wor standin sam wor voated in, which seemed to give him mich satisfaction, an aw couldn't help thinking 'at he worn't th' furst chap 'at had getten put i' sich a position for his brass an' net his brains.

After "order" had been called two or three times bi every body i'th' place, th' cheerman stood up an' sed, "Gentlemen, aw feel varry praad to okkipy this cheer, an' aw'll do mi best to discharge the duties that disolves upon me at this important crikus, an' aw think if ony body wants to order owt they'd better do it at once, soas we shalln't have ony interruptions." We all shaated, "hear, hear!" agean, an' th' lonlady wor i'th' raam befoor we'd time to ring th' bell. When we'd all getten supplied th' cheerman stood up agean, an' knockin th' table wi' a empty ale bottle, sed, "silence!"

We ivery one shaated "silence!" an' luk'd daggers at one another for makkin sich a din, an' then he went on to say, "Gentlemen, as aw'm a stranger amang yo, ov coorse aw dooant know mich abaat yo, but aw should be varry mich pleeased if one on yo wod oblige bi singing a song."

"Nah ther's a chonce for thee, Cocky," sed one.

"Tha knows aw connot sing," sed Cocky, "aw think Ike ud do better nor me."

"Nay, aw can sing nooan," sed Ike, "aw niver sang owt i' mi life but' Rock-a-boo-babby,' an' it's soa long sin aw've forgetten that, but ther's old Mosslump thear, happen he'll give us one, we all know he can sing." "Dooant thee pitch onto me," sed Mosslump, "it'll be time enuf for thee to start o' orderin when we mak thi into th' cheerman, what can't yo start wi' Standhen for, we know he can sing?"

"O, Standhen!" they sed, "we'd forgetten Standhen! He can give us a owd Tory touch we know."

Up jumpt th' cheerman, an befoor Standhen had time to spaik he called aght, "Mr. Standhen! We're all waitin for thy song, an as cheerman o' this assembly aw expect thee to do what tha con to entertain this compny, or otherwise aw shall vacate this cheer."

As all th' glasses wor beginnin to get low, they felt this to be an appeal to ther inmost sowl, soa they all began, perswadin Standhen, an' after a deeal to do he promised to try. "Aw know awst braik daan befoor aw start," he sed. "Nay, tha'll have to start furst," sed one, "but we'll excuse thi if tha does; if tha tries it'll show willin." After coughin once an' suppin twice, he shut his e'en an' oppened his maath, an' this is what coom aght: -

Thou grand old Church of England!
Though others raise their voice,
And try to stain thy spotless name,
Thou still shall be my choice;
Just as thou art, I love thee thus,
And freely I confess,
I'd have thee not one jot the more,
Nor yet one tittle less.

Those who would rob thee of thy rights,
And urge with specious tongue,
That theft by Act of Parliament
Can surely not be wrong.
I'd have them leave thy sheltering wing,
And nevermore to dare
To stand within thy courts of praise,
Or taint thy house of prayer.

Oh! dear old Church of England,
That points the way to Heaven!
Amid a sad, sad world of sin
The truly, only leaven.
We leave thee to our Father's care,
Who knows thy needs the best,
Convinced that He, by aid of thee,
Will leaven all the rest.

When he'd finished they all knocked ther glasses on th' table bi way ov applaudin, which th' lonlady hearin, at once coom in an' ax'd if they wor "callin?" an' as all wor empty, shoo luk'd varry hard at th' cheerman, an' he nodded "as befoor," soa shoo gethered up th' empties, an' called for Liza "to bring in them glasses," which wor at once done, an' showd a gooid deal o' foreseet on her part i' havin 'em ready.

When all had getten sarved wi' hot watter, an' given ovver crushin sugar, th' cheerman announced 'at it wor Mr. Standhen's call, soa up jumped Standhen, an' said "he couldn't do better nor call owd Mosslump for a song." Some moor applause followed this, but they didn't knock th' tables wi' ther glasses this time, becoss they wor too full. Mosslump stood up, wiped his maath wi' th' corners ov his necktie, turned up his e'en as if he wor gooin to depart this life i' peace, an' in a voice, time, an' manner peculiarly his own he sung -

Mistress Moore is Johnny's wife,
An' Johnny is a druffen sot;
He spends th' best portion ov his life
I'th beershop wi' a pipe an' pot.
At schooil together John an' me
Set side by side like trusty chums,
An' niver did we disagree
Till furst we met sweet Lizzy Lumbs.
At John shoo smiled,
An' aw wor riled;
Shoo showed shoo loved him moor nor me
Her bonny e'en
Aw've seldom seen
Sin' that sad day shoo slighted me.

Aw've heeard fowk say shoo has to want,
For Johnny ofttimes gets o'th spree;
He spends his wages in a rant,
An' leeaves his wife to pine or dee.
An' monny a time aw've ligged i' bed,
An' cursed my fate for bein poor,
An' monny a bitter tear aw've shed,
When thinkin ov sweet Mistress Moore.
For shoo's mi life
Is Johnny's wife,
An' tho' to love her isn't reet,
What con aw do,
When all th' neet throo
Aw'm dreeamin ov her e'en soa breet.

Aw'll goa away an' leeave this spot,
For fear 'at we should iver meet,
For if we did, as sure as shot
Awst throw me daan anent her feet.
Aw know shoo'd think aw wor a fooil,
To love a woman when shoo's wed,
But sin' aw saw her furst at schooil,
It's been a wretched life aw've led.
But th' time has come
To leeave mi hooam,
An' th' sea between us sooin shall roar,
Yet still mi heart
Will niver part
Wi' th' image ov sweet Mistress Moore.

Long befoor he'd done th' chaps had begun tawkin, some abaat politics an some abaat Knursticks, an' when he sat daan th' cheerman wor th' only quiet chap i' th' lot, an' he wor ommost asleep; but Mosslump comforted hissen wi' whisperin to me 'at classical mewsic wor varry little thowt on, an' after a sigh, a sup, a shake ov his head, an' another leet for his pipe, he sat daan evidently detarmined not to be suited wi' owt i' th' singin way that neet. After th' cheerman had wakken'd up, two or three called for "Cocky," an' this time he gate up withaat ony excuses, an' although he did rock backards an' forrads like a clock pendlum th' wrang end up, yet aw must say he entered life an' soul into what he had to do, an' in a voice 'at seemed three times too big for the size ov his carcass he sang -

Lord John and John Lord were both born on a day,
But their fortunes were different quite;
Lord John was decked out in most gorgeous array,
As soon as he first saw the light.
But poor Johnny Lord, it's true on my word,
He'd no clothes to step into at all;
He'd no flannel to wrap, he'd no nightgown or cap,
But was rolled in his poor mother's shawl.
Now, it seems very strange, yet it's true what I say
And I hope you're not doubting my word;
And I'll tell what took place in a general way,
With Lord John and with poor Johnny Lord

The nurse took Lord John, and the doctors stood round,
And examined the child and his clothes;
Whilst a fussy physician, with looks most profound,
Wiped his aristocratical nose.
"It is, I declare, most uncommonly fair,
And its voice, oh! how sweet when it cries;
It really would seem like the child of a dream,
Or an angel just dropt from the skies."
Now, it seems very strange, &c.

Now, poor Johnny Lord and his mother were laid,
Both fainting and cold on the straw;
No doctors would come there unless they were paid,
Or compelled to be there by the law.
No comforting word heard poor Mistress Lord,
As o'er her babe bending she sat,
And each one who saw it cried with one accord,
"What a little detestable brat."
Now, it seems very strange, &c.

The two babes became men as the years rolled away.
And Lord John sported carriage and pair,
Whilst poor Johnny Lord working hard for poor pay,
Was content with what fell to his share.
Lord John went to races, to balls and to routs,
And squandered his wealth with the gay,
Till at last came the reaper, and sought them both out,
And took Lord John and John Lord away.
Now, it seems very strange, &c.

Very soon a grand monument stood o'er Lord John,
To show where the great man was laid,
But over John Lord was no mark and no stone,
It was left as when left by the spade.
But the time yet shall come when John Lord and Lord John
Shall meet in the realms far away,
When the riches and titles of earth are all gone,
Then which will be greatest, friends, say?
Then, though it seems strange, yet it's true what you've heard,
And a lesson throughout it is cast,
Which should comfort the poor working men like John Lord,
For we all shall be equal at last.

As sooin as he'd finished quaverin on th' last noat but one, ther wor sich a knockin o' glasses an' thump in o' fists, wol th' lonlady coom in agean, an' th' cheerman felt it his duty to order "as befoor," which order th' lonlady worn't long i' executin. "Gooid lad! Cocky!" sed Ike, "if aw'd a voice like thee aw'd travel! Tawk abaat Sims Reeves! He niver sang a song like that sin he wor creddled! Nah Maister Cheerman, keep up th' harmony, we're mendin on it aw'm sure. 'Gow, aw'll have another pipe o' bacca o' th' heead on it' nay, raylee, aw niver did hear sich a song," savin which he sat daan an' hid his astonishment behund a claad o' reek.

"Well," sed th' cheerman, "as Ike seems soa anxious, aw think he'd better try an' let's see what he con do." "Hear, hear!" on all sides, an' two or three pulled him up whether he wod or net, an' after a gooid deal o' sidelin abaat, he axed if he mud have his cap on, for he could niver sing withaat cap. "That's to keep th' mewsic throo flyin aght o'th' top ov his heead," sed one. "Order!" sed th' cheerman, "if Ike wants his cap on let him have it, may be he'll loise th' air withaat it."

Ike luk'd very solid for a minit, an' then he struck a lively tune in a voice abaat as musical as a saw sharpener.

Let us have a jolly spree,
An' wi' joy an' harmonie,
Let the merry moments flee,
For mi love's come back.
O, the days did slowly pass,
When aw'd lost mi little lass,
But nah we'll have a glass,
For mi love's come back.

O, shoo left me in a hig,
An' shoo didn't care a fig,
But nah aw'll donce a jig,
For mi love's come back.
An' aw know though far away,
'At her heart neer went astray,
An' awst iver bless the day,
For mi love's come back.

When shoo ax'd me yesterneet
What made mi heart so leet,
Aw says, "why can't ta see it's
'Coss mi love's come back."
Then aw gave her just a kiss,
An' shoo tuk it noan amiss
An' aw'm feear'd aw'st brust wi' bliss,
For mi love's come back.

Nah aw'm gooin to buy a ring,
An' a creddle an' a swing,
Ther's noa tellin what may spring,
For mi' love's come back.
O, aw niver thowt befoor
'At sich joy could be i' stoor,
But nah aw'l grieve noa moor,
For mi love's come back.

As mud ha been expected, they applauded Ike famously, but th' cheerman wor hard asleep agean, an' it tuk a gooid shakkin to wakken him, an' then he didn't seem to be altogether thear, an' as sooin as they left him aloan he dropt on agean.

"Aw think th' cheerman's ommost sewed up," sed Ike. "Net he! he's noan sewed up," sed Mosslump, "it's that song o' thine 'at's sent him to sleep! who the shames does ta think could keep wakken for sich a song as that? aw knew tha'd do it as sooin as aw heeard thi begin." "Come, aw'll sing thee for a quairt any day," sed Ike, "tha fancies coss tha'd once a uncle 'at could sing a bit, 'at ther's some mewsic born i' thee; but if aw'd a public haase aw wodn't let thee sing in it for a paand, for aw'll bet tha'd turn all th' ale saar." "Tha am't worth tawkin to, Ike, an' as for thee havin a voice, Why! tha arn't fit to hawk cockles an' mussels." "Well, an if aw did hawk 'em aw'd tak gooid care aw didn't sell thee ony unless aw gate th' brass befoorhand, soa tha can crack that nut." "Does ta mean to say 'at aw dooant pay mi way? aw've moor brass commin in ivery day nor tha can addle in a wick." Aw saw it luk'd likely for a row brewin, soa aw sed, "nah chaps, we've had a verry nice evening soa far, an' aw shouldn't like ony unpleasantness, for yo see th' cheerman's had a drop too much, an' aw think we owt to try to get him hooam if ony body knows wheear he lives." "Eea!" sed one chap 'at had been varry quite all th' neet, "aw dooant think he'll pay for owt ony moor, soa we mud as weel get shut on him." "Ther's Frank standin' at th' corner," sed another "aw dar say he'll tak him." "Who's Frank, aw asked." "O, it's a donkey 'at they call Frank," sed Ike, "th' chap 'at bowt him had him kursened Frank i' honor o' Frank Crossley bein made a member o' parliment." "Varry weel," aw sed, "then let's get him onto it." One or two came to give a lift, an' wi' a bit o' trouble we gate him aghtside. Th' donkey wor thear, but as ther wor a gurt milk can o' each side on it, aw couldn't see exactly ha to put this chap on. "O," sed Ike, "he'll ride nicely between' em," soa we hoisted him up, an' gave th' chap 'at belang'd donkey a shilling to see him safe hooam. Off they went at a jog trot, an' aw fancy if he'd niver known owt abaat th' can can befoor, 'at he'd have a varry lively noation o' what it meant befoor he'd gooan two mile daan th' hill. When we'd getten him away, some o'th chaps went back into th' haase, but aw thowt my wisest plan wor to steer straight for hooam, which aw did, an' although aw believe my old woman had prepared a dish o' tongue for mi supper, as aw went straight to bed an' fell asleep, aw'm net exactly sure whether aw gate it or net. When aw wakken'd next mornin, aw began thinking abaat th' neet befoor, an' aw coom to th' conclusion, 'at "Widdop's Rest" might be all varry weel once in a way, but if a chap had weary booans, he'd be able to rest a deal better in a comfortable bed at hooam.

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