Booith-Taan Election. (Prose)

A poem by John Hartley

This place 'is nearly a mile from the good old town of Halifax.

Aa! ther wor a flare-up at Booith-Taan Hall that neet! It had been gein aat 'at they'd to be a meetin' held to elect a new Lord-Mayor, for New-Taan, Booith-Taan, an' th' Haley Hill, on which particular occashun, ale ud be supplied at Tuppence a pint upstairs. Ther wor a rare muster an' a gooid deeal o' argyfyin' tuk place abaat who shud be th' chearman. But one on 'em - a sly old fox - had kept standin' o' th' floor sidlin' abaat woll ivery other chear wor full, an' then after takkin a pinch o' snuff, he said, "Gentlemen, aw see noa reason aw shuddent tak this place mysen, as iverybody else has getten set daan." Two or three 'at wor his friends said "Hear, hear," an' two or three 'at worn't said "Sensashun!"

When iverybody's pint had getten fill'd, he blew his nooas, tuk another pinch o' snuff, an' stud ov his hind legs to oppen th' proceedins. "Bergers and Bergeresses," he began, "aw've a varry unpleasant duty to perform to-neet, which is, namely, to propooas 'at we have a fresh mayor," (Cries ov "Shame," "Gammon," "Th' mayor we have is ommost allus fresh!" (etsetra, etsetra etsetra.) "Gentlemen," he began agean, "what aw have to say is this," -

"Luk sharp an get it said, then," said Stander, th' grocer.

"If tha doesn't hold thy noise, Stander, tha'll get noa moor snuff off me, aw con tell thi that; aw mayn't be as flaary a talker as thee, but what aw say is to'th' point, an' aw think 'at a constituency like Booith-Taan owt to be represented by somebody ov standin'."

"Better send th' chearman, he's stud den long enuft," said one.

"Prathi sit thi daan, if tha connot talk sense," said another.

"Its's time for sombdy to stand summat, for all th' pints is empty," said th' lanlord.

"Well, gentlemen," went on th' chearman, "th' question just dissolves itsel' into this: Who has it to be? Has it to be a Doctor sombdy, or a Professor sombdy, or a Squire sombdy, or has it to be a plain Maister?"

"Oh I let it be a Squire," said one. "E'ea, Squire Broadbent ul do," said another.

"Nah, lads, yo' 'Ie heeard th' chearman's resolushun, an' aw sit daan to call upon Mr. Stander, Esquire, grocer, to address yo."

Th' chearman doubled hissel' into th' shape ov his chear, an' after they'd gein ovver pawsin' th' table legs, an' knockin' pint pots, Stander gate up an' began.

"Fellow Municipallers (hear, hear), aw agree wi' what awr chearman says, 'at we owt to have sombdy o' standin' i' society to represent us for this subsequent year 'at's forthcomin'."

"Tha happen want's to get one o' thi own relations in," said Snittle.

"It ud seem thee better to keep thi maath shut, Snittle, till tha's paid me for yond Garman Yeast." - (Shame, shame.)

"Gentlemen, aw propooas 'at this meetin' dissolves itsel' into a depitation to visit Professor Holloway, to ax him if he'll represent us for th' next year. Aw dooant know him mysen, but we've all heeard tell on him, an' we've seen his pills an' ointment advertised, an' aw think he'd be a varry likely man to work awr business to th' best interest ov the whole communicants; an' noa daat he'd be able to heal up ony bits o' unpleasantness 'at's been caused wi' this election. Aw believe him to be a varry pushin' man, an' one ov a spyring natur; for as Elijah Barrett says (i' his book on leeanin' to blacksmith), 'One inch the heighest,' seems to be the motto he works on, for goa where yo will yo'll allus see one o' his bills a bit heigher nor onybody's else, an for that reason aw beg to propooas 'at he should be acceptted as a fit an' proper person.

The chearman stood up an' axed "ony chap to I say owt agean that 'at dar." Up jumped Billy Bartle, an' said, "Aw object to that in total; aw see noa reason to goa to Lunnon to find a mayor, soa long as we've professors at hooam, an aw propoosas 'at we ax - " ("Shut up! shut up!" "Ta' hold, an' sup." "Gooid lad, Billy,") etsetra, etsetra. etsetra.

Just then th' lanlord coom in an' turn'd off th' gas, for he said "they hadn't spent aboon eighteen pence all th' neet."

Th' chearman said he thowt they couldn't do better nor all have a pinch o' snuff wi' him, an' have a pint i'th' kitchen woll they talked things ovver; soa they went daan th' stairs, an' somha they managed to re-elect th' owd en afoor they went hooam, an' six on em hugged him o' ther heeads to th' top o' Ringby, an' niver heed if ther heeads didn't wark th' next mornin'.

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