Hay-Making (Prose)

A poem by John Hartley

I hope my readers will regard that varry gooid advice, when they see th' grass cut - "Mak hay woll th 'sun shines." There's nowt aw like better nor to spend a day or two in a hay field. Tawk abaat "Ho de Colong!" It doesn't smell hauf as weel to me as a wisp o' new made hay. An' them 'at niver knew th' luxury a' gooin' to bed wi' tired booans, should work i'th' hay-field for a wick. It'll do onnybody gooid; an' if some o' them idle laewts 'at stand bi a duzzen together at th' loin ends laikin at pitch an' toss, wod goa an' work at pitch an' toss, they'd be better booath i' mind an' body an' pocket. Tossin' th' hay is booath healthful an' lawfur but tossin' hawpneys (especially them wi' heeads o' booath sides) is nawther. Hay makkin' is a honest callin', an' when a chap is gettin' his livin' honestly (noa matter what he does), he feels independent, - an' when a chap feels soa, he can affooard to spaik what he thinks. Aw remember once callin' at th' "Calder an' Hebble" public haase, an' sittin' in a raam wi' a lot o' young swells 'at coom throo Sowerby Brigg; an' in a bit, a trampified lukkin' chap coom in, an' called for a glass o' ale. This didn't suit th' young gentlemen, soa one on 'em says to him, "Fellow, you are an intruder." "Tha'rt a liar," th' chap says, "awm nowt at sooart, awm a cheer-bottom mender an' aw've sarved mi time to it." "You don't understand me, sir; what I mean is that you have no business here." "Noa, lad; aw niver come to theeas shops when aw've ony business, aw allus do that furst." This rayther puzzled th' young swell an' his face went as red as a hep, cos aw laff'd at him; an' he struck his naive o'th' table; "Sir," said he, "will you take your departure?" "Noa," he said, "aw'll tak nowt 'at doesn't belang to me if aw know on it." "You're an insolent scoundrel, and I leave you with contempt." "Yo can leeav me wi' who yo like," he said, "awst mislest noabody if they behave therlsen". They all went an' left him, an' as sooin as they'd getten aat o'th' seet he set up a gurt laff, an' called for another glass; an' aw nooatised at he gave th' landlord a Sovereign to tak pay aat on, an' when he brout him his change back, he said, "Thank you, sir," an' bow'd to him as if he'd been one o'th' gentry. This happened o'th' same day as aw'd been at Briggus, an' awst net forget that in a hurry: - aw'll tell yo abaat it. It wor a varry hot day, an' aw'd walked throo Halifax, an' wor beginin' to get rayther dry, an' when aw'd getten ommost thear, aw saw a booard shoved aat ov a chamer winder, wi' th' words painted on, "Prime Ginger Beer Sold here," soa aw went into th' haase an' ax'd for a bottle. He browt me a old hair oil bottle filled wi' summat, an a varry mucky-lukkin glass to sup aat on. "Cannot yo let me have a cleean glass, maister?" aw axed. "That's clean," he says, "for aw bowt it aboon twelve months sin, an'it's niver been used for owt but pop." Aw emptied th' bottle into it, an it lukk'd ommost like milk sops. "What do yo call all thease things at's swimmin' abaat?" aw says. "O, that's yeast, young man; it's a varry gooid thing for ther inside; aw'd a doctor once call'd for a bottle, an' he wodn't let me tak a bit aat: it does fowk gooid." "Well but wodn't he let yo tak some o' theas pieces o' cork aat?" aw axed. "Net a bit! for he said they acted tother rooad, an' it wor th' best to sup th' lot." "Do yo sell a gooid deal o' this, maister?" "A'a bless yo! aw do that. Ther wor a real lady coom here o' Sunday afternooin, an' shoo supp'd seven bottles, an' shoo said shoo'd ha supped seventeen but her stumack wor varry kittle, an' shoo wor feear'd e' upsettin it." "An' wor ther as mich yeast in 'em as ther is i' this?" aw said. "E'ea! an' moor i' some." "Why, then," aw said, "aw should think shoo'd rise early i'th mornin'." "Ther's nowt noa better for gooin' to bed on, nor for gettin' up on, nor that pop." Just then somdy coom in for a hawporth o' mustard, an' woll he turn'd raand aw emptied it daan th' sink, paid mi penny, an' hook'd it. Soa mich for Briggus, aw thowt. Aw've oft heeard it spokken on as a risin' place, an noa wonder if they swallow yeast at that rate. But aw dooant see what all this has to do wi' haymakkin', soa aw'll rake up noa moar sich like things, for fear yo pitch into me.

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