Valentine Dream (Prose)

A poem by John Hartley

"On Valentine's day, will a gooid gooise lay," is a varry old sayin', an' aw dare say a varry gooid en; an' if all th' geese wod nobbut lay o' that day ther'd be moor chonce o' eggs bein' cheap. But it isn't th' geese we think on at th' fourteenth o' this month i'ts th' little ducks, an' th' billy dux. A'a aw wish aw'd all th' brass 'at's spent o' valentines for one year; aw wodn't thank th' queen to be mi aunt. Ther's nobdy sends me valentines nah. Aw've known th' time when they did, but aw'm like a old stage cooach, aw'm aat o' date. Aw'st niver forget th' furst valentine aw had sent. Th' pooastman browt it afoor aw'd getten aat o' bed, an' it happen'd to be Sunday mornin'. Aw read it ovver an' ovver agean, an' aw luk'd at th' directions an' th' pooast mark, but aw cudn't make aat for mi life who'd sent it; but whoiver it war aw wor detarmined to fall i' love wi' her as soain as aw gate to know. Then aw shov'd it under th' piller an' shut mi een an' tried to fancy what sooart ov a lass shoo must be, an' someha aw fell asleep, an' aw dremt, but aw willn't tell yo what aw dremt for fear yo'll laff. But when aw wakken'd, aw sowt up an' daan, but nowhere could aw find th' valentine. Aw wor ommost heartbrokken, an' aw pool'd all th' cloas off th' bed, an' aw luk'd under it, an' ovver it, but net a bit on it could aw see, an' at last aw began to fancy 'at aw must ha dremt all th' lot, an' 'at aw'd niver had one sent at all; but when aw wor gettin' mi breeches on, blow me! if it worn' t stuck fast wi a wafer to mi shirt lap. What her 'at sent it ud a sed if shoo'd seen it, aw can't tell an' aw wodn't if aw could; but aw know one thing, aw wor niver i' sich a muck sweeat afoor sin aw wor born, an' when aw went to mi braikfast aw 'wor soa maddled, wol aw couldn't tell which wor th' reight end o'th' porridge spooin, but aw comforted misen at last wi' thinkin' 'at aw worn't th' furst 'at had turned ther back ov a valentine.

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