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VuL. IV.

cLuftii of Ijciithcv


John Hevwood, Dkanscate; and Ktm;KKmi.D, John Dalton Sr
Ano II, Patkknoster Buildings, Loki>on.

<^-^" ,e-?'c> - ^i"-><V - '


The Old Fiddler.

Barrel Okc.an

Told bv the AVintek Fire

Tattlin' Matty...

Own Cronies .

Dead Man's Dinner




Zht (Dirt lirtrtUr


The traveller stops and gazes round and round.
O'er all the scenes that animate his heart
With mirth and music. E'en the mendicant,
Bovvbent with age, that on the old gray stone
Sole sitting, suns him in the public way,
Feels his heart leap as to himself he sings.


[T was not quite eleven in the forenoon as Lobden
Ben sauntered along the road towards the head
of the dough, near Healey Hall, as happy as the
summer day. And right well did that jolly-hearted besom-
maker harmonise with the scene around him. He was a
healthy, hardy, comely fellow, just in his prime,— as clean
as a new pin, and dressed in his holiday clothes, freaked
with such bits of rustic prettiness as his little garden and
his native fields afforded. He looked like " a man of cheer-
ful yesterdays," and hopeful future.

Embroidered was he, as it were a mead,
All full of freshe flowers, white and red,
Singing he was or fluting all the day :
He was as fresh as is the month of May.

The day was hot, and Ben was idle, and, as it still wanted
more than an hour of noon, he paced the road with a slow,


wandering gait His hat was thrown back from his broad
forehead, and in his right hand he carelessly swung a green
branch, as he chanted aloud, —

Be merry while it's day, my lads,

'Twill soon be set o' sun ;
An' fate will have her way, my lads.

Let a men do what he con !
What he con !

Let a mon do what he con !

Then, wiping his moist forehead, he lounged onward in
silence for a few yards. But he was too glad-hearted to be
silent long, and, according to his wont when thus wandering
alone, he began again to interweave the quiet thoughts that
played about his mind with ([uaint threads of the minstrel
memories of days gone by. Like a fitful bird in the
summer woods, he chanted as he went, — now this, now
that ; but nothing long, —

I'm quite content, I do not care.

This world may wag for me ;
When fuss an' fret wur o' my fare,

I geet no greawnd to see.
So, when away my carin' went

I ceawnted cost, an' wur content.

And then, after another moment's silence, another fragment
flitted across his thoughts, and he trolled forth, —

And she did laurel wear !
And she-e did laurel wear !

Ben's voice rang loud and clear in that quiet scene, where
the rich repose of summer noontide seemed to steep every
thing in drowsy delight. Haymakers were at work upon
the hill-sides, spreading out the damp grass which had been
cut before the previous day's rain ; and, now and then, a


cheery laugh, or the cadeace of some snatch of old country
song, came sailing on the sunny air, softened by distance ;
but Ben had all the highway to himself, and the man and his
melody lent a charm to the landscape, as he wandered on,
chanting "like tipsy jollity that reels with tossing head."
The birds eyed him curiously from the trees as he went
lounging by, with the rosy sprig nodding in his hat at every
footstep, and the green branch swinging in his hand ; and
they seemed to listen intently to his lay, till some dreamy
pause of silent thought stole in upon the fitful strain, and
then they gushed forth into wilder music than before, as if
they had suddenly discovered an old friend, and were
delighted to find any human creature astir in the gay green
world as happy as themselves.

He was approaching the head of the clough, called " The
Thrutch," the most picturesque part of the road, and ten
minutes' walk would have brought him up to Healey Hall ;
but, though afraid of being too late for his appointment
with the colonel, he was too shy a man to wish to be too
soon in such an unusual place ; and, therefore, he began to
linger, and look about for a place where he might rest and
cool himself during the intervening time. Seeing a bush
of ripe "heps" that overhung the pathway, he climbed the
prickly hedge, and began to pluck them, like a truant school-
boy whillng away the sunny hours, and as he put them, one
by one, into his pocket, he sang, —

An' still the burden o' my song,

Shall be, to great an' smo",
For hee and low, for weak an' strong.

Good government is o' !


Here he suddenly leaped down from the hedge-side, and

seating himself upon the bank, he began to look at his hand,

into which a great thorn had penetrated; and, as he

examined the bleeding finger, he kept quietly repeating the

last line, —

Good government is o' !

over and over again, until, with the help of his pocket-knife
blade, he had extracted the thorn. Then, rising lazily to
his feet again, he sauntered on, and sang, —

For I never, — no, never, — no, nev-er, —
Shall see my love more !

Go from my window, love, go,
Go from my window, my dear ;

The wind and the rain

Will drive you back again,
You cannot be lodged here.

Begone my juggy, my puggy.

Begone my love, my dear :

The weather is warm,

'Twill do thee no harm,

Thou cannot be lodged here.

IJen walked so near to the hedge-side, for the sake of the
shade afforded by the overhanging bushes, that his face
came in contact with a spider's web, fine as the down of a
midge's wing. He halted, and wiped away the ruins of the
delicate rosace from his cheek ; and even this trifling
incident seemed, unconsciously, to change the tone and
direction of his wandering fancy, for he burst forth with an
old ditty, of anotlicr tune : —


Come, ye young men, come along,
With your music, dance, and song ;
Bring your lasses in your hands.
For 'tis that which love commands ;

Then to the Maypole hie away,

For it is now a holiday !

It is the sweetest of the year.
For the violets now appear ;
Now the rose receives its birth.
And the primrose decks the earth ;

Come to the Maypole, come away.

For it is now a holiday.

Here each bachelor may choose
One that will not faith abuse ;
Nor pay with coy disdain
Love that should be loved again ;

Come to the Maypole, come away.

For it is now a holiday.

And when you well reckoned have
What kisses your sweethearts gave ;
Take them back again, and more.
It will never make them poor.

Come to the Maypole, come away.

For it is now a holiday !

When you thus have spent the time,

Till the day be past its prime ;

To your beds repair at night,

And dream there of your heart's delight.

Then to the Maj'pole hie away,

For it is now a holiday !

Here, spying a n-ell at a little distance, on the other side of
the road, he muttered to himself, " Hello, let's sup '. " and
away he went lounging across towards it. Laying his hat on


the green bank, he knolt down upon the edge of tlie well ;
and, as he bent down to drink, the reflection of his face
rose up in the water to meet him. Ben paused to contem-
plate the sight, and groping at his sore nose, which still bore
marks of the old fiddler's heel, he said, " Come, it does look
a bit better ; but it's hardly fit to be sin yet. Thcy'n be
sure to ax me abeawt it up at th' ho', yon. Well, I's be
like to poo through as weel as I con ; for I cannot go beawt
it, that's sartin. It would do weel enough to go a-fuddlin'
wi', but it's noan fit for a parlour. I wish I could wear
eawr Betty's a day or two till this gets mended. Hoo's a
angel of a nose compar't wi' mine. Come," continued he,
caressing it once more, " I'll poo tho through, owd lad, as
weel as I con." Then, seeing his holiday clothes, and the
posy in his button-hole, reflected in the water, he cried,
" Hello, Benjamin ! what's up at yo're so fine to-day ? Yo're
like th' better side eawt ! Are yo beawn to a weddin' or
summat ? I'll tell yo what, maister, yo're gettin' new things
fast ! Has sombry laft yo some brass latly, or summat, at
there's o' this fancy-wark agate ? . . . Posies an' o' !
Eh, dear ! There'll be no touchin' yo wi' a pike-fork in a
bit. . . . ' Ston fur ! ' said Simon o' Twitter's ! ' Ston
fur ! I never talk to poor folk when I've these clooas on !
Ston fur ! I'm busy wi' th' quality. Co' to-morn, when th'
brass is done ! . . . Well, come, here's luck, owd lad ! "
And dipping his mouth into the well, he took a long drink ;
then rising slowly, and with half-shut eyes, he gave a sigh
of satisfaction, wiped his mouth with his napkin, brushed
the dust carefully from his knees, donned his rose-wreathed
hat, re-arranged the posy in his button-hole, and taking up


the green branch, he lounged back to the shady side of the
road again, singing, —

For I nev-er,— no-o, nev-er, — no ne%'er,
Shall see my love more !

"Xawe, nor I never shall," said Ben, with a sigh. "Eh,
hoo wur a bonny lass, wur Jenny. God bless her ! Eawr
Betty's forgetten o' abeawt it, neaw. But hoc use't to ding
me up wi't a bit, sometimes, when we wur cwortin."

My lodging it is on the cold ground,

And oh, very hard is my fare ;
But that which grieves me more, love,
Is the coldness of my dear.
Yet still he cried, ■' Oh turn, love,

I prythee, love, turn to me ;
For thou art the only girl, love,
That art adored by me."
With a garland of straw I'll crown thee, love.

And marry thee with a rush-ring ;
Thy frozen heart shall melt with love.
So merrily I will sing.
Yet still he cried, ■' Oh turn, love," &c.

But if thou will'harden thy heart, love.

And be deaf to my pitiful moan.
Then I must endure the smart, love,

And shiver in straw all alone.
Yet still he cried, "Oh turn, love," &c.

"Hello; what's comin' neaw!" said Ben, staring down
the road. It was a handsome, well-dressed, and well-
mounted horseman, who came riding hastily along. As
soon as he had got within a few yards of Ben, he pulled up,
and inquired how far he was from the village of Whitworth.

" Oh, three-quarters of a mile, happen," said Ben. " Th'
first heawses yo come'n to. Turn up at th' reet bond amung


th' heawses, an' yo'n be i'th midst on't, i' two minutes. I've
just come fro' thither mysel."

"Do you think Dr. James will be at home?" inquired
the rider.

"Sure to be," replied Ben. "He's seldom off, except
when he's oather huntin' or shootin' ; an' then he doesn't go
far fro' whoam. Well, yigh ; he gwos into ih' Red Lion a
bit of a neet, after he's done"

" What kind of a jjlace is the Red Lion ? " inquired the

" Oh, the best shop i' Whit'orth, if yo wanten to put up.
I know th' folk 'at keeps it, very weel. Th' landlady's an
owd friend o' my wife's. I left my wife thecr this forenoon.
They'n a rare good stable, too."

" Thank you ! " said the rider, and flinging a shilling
towards Ben, he galloped off.

" Yon's moor money nor wit, I deawt," said Ben, looking
after the disappearing horseman. Then, walking up to
where the shilling lay, he looked down at it, and said,
" Well, I never expected that, as heaw. . . . He met
(might) ha' gan it one decently, beawt flingin' it o'th lloor.
, . . But it's no use lettin' it lie theer. It'll come in for
summat (somewhat) better nor mendin' th' hee-road wi'."

Then he pocketed the shilling, and went on singing, —

Green grow the leaves on the hawthorn tree ;
Green grow the leaves on the hawthorn tree ;
They hangle, an' they jangle,
An' they cannot well agree,
While the tenor o' my song goes merrilie.
Merrilee !
Merrilic-ee !
While the tenor o' my song goes merrilee !


"I wish I'd axed yon chap what time it wur," said Ben.
Then, after walking thoughtfully on a few paces, he burst
out again in a fresh direction.

There wur an owd fellow coom o'er the lea,
An' it's oh, I'll not have him !

He coom o'er the lea,

A-cwortin to me,
\Vi' his owd gray heart new-shorn.

My mother hoo tow'd me to oppen him th' door.
An' it's oh, I'll not have him !
I oppen't him th' door,
An' he fell upo' th' floor.
\Vi' his owd gray heart new-shorn.

My mother hoo bade me set him a stoo.
An' it's oh, I'll not have him !

I set him a stoo,

An' he looked like a foo,
\Vr his owd gray heart new-shorn.

My mother hoo towd me to cut him some bread.
An' it's oh, I'll not have him !
I cut Lim some bread,
An' threw't at his head.
An' his owd gray heart new-shorn.
My mother hoo towd me to leet hira to bed.
An' it's oh, I'll not have him !
I let him to bed.
An' he're very near deeod,
\Vi' his owd gray heart new-shorn.

My mother hoo towd me to take him to church.
An' it's oh, I'll not have him !
I took him to church.
An' I left him i'th lurch,
\Vi' his owd gray heart new-shorn.


When Ben had ended the ditty, he wiped the moisture
from his forehead again, and muttered to himself, '"Eh, it's
warm, God bless yo,' as th' owd woman said when they axed
hur heaw hoo liked th' thin broth. I w-onder what o'clock
it is. Hardly eleven, bith' day, I think. Twelve's my
time; an' I'll go noan afore, as heaw th' cat jumps. I may
no 'ceawnt o' bein' catechise't bi folk, — quality or no
quality. Th' owd kurnul's sure to be theer, — an' happen a
parson or two. I wish this nose o' mine wur reet ; they're
sich chaps for rcadin' folk fro yed to fuut. . . . An'
then, they're sure to begin abeawt yon bit o'th jackass o'
mine bein' wund up into th' mill chamber. Rare gam' for
'em, that'll be. It'll last my life-time, that jackass dooment.
Sarve me reet, too, — leather-yed. I could ha' laugh't rarely
if onybody else had done it but me. But th' laughin's o' upo'
one side, this time, like th' handle of a can. Ne'er mind ;
it'll be somebry else's turn th' ne.'ct. . . . Th' most o'
folk are fain to see other folk make foo's o' theirsels. It's
th' way o'th world. . . . An', by th' mon, if a poor lad
happens to be born wi' a hair-shorn lip, or his yure a bit
cauve-lick't, he's sure to be punce't for't, oather by one
bowster-yed or another, — though he's no moor to do wi't
nor he has wi' makin' moonleet. There's a deeol o' feaw
flytin' i' this cote, — that they co'n a world. . . . But
then, I wur a jumpt-up foo abeawt that jackass-do, — there's
no gettin' off that, ^^'cll, — come, — I's happen lam some-
time. It's a lung lone 'at's never a turn. . . . But I's
catch it, when I get to th' ho'. If it isn't mention't i'th
parlour, it'll be mention't i'th kitchen. Th' sarvants are
ten times war nor th' tothcr. But, never mind, every mon


mun do his do, while th' time's up. ' Come on ! ' said
Kempy ; ' we're noan freeten't o' frogs ! Folk 'at's boggart-
fear't han nobbut a feaw life.' ' Forrad, lads ! ' cried Tickle-
but; ' yo'r wark's i'th front on yo ! ' . . . Fll face up at
twelve, — but not a minute afore, — that's sattle't. An' there's
an hour to do on, yet. Come, Fll keawer me deawn, an'
pike a two-thre o' these heps."

Taking a few of the red hips from his pocket, he was just
preparing to seat himself upon the hedge, when, glancing
along the road, he spied somebody sitting in a shady place,
close by the wayside. " Hello," said Ben ; " what's yon ?
Somebry sittin' bi th' roadside, as snug as a button, wi' o'th
world to theirsel'. I wonder who it is. A tramp o' some
mak, I dar say. Come, Fll have a look at 'em, as heaw."
And away he went lazily onward, chanting, —

Han yo sin my love, my love, my love ;

Han yo siu my love, lookin' for me ?
A cock't hat, an' a fither, an' buckskin breeches ;

iVn a bonny breet buckle at oather knee !

As Ben drew nearer, he began to recognise some features
of the person he had seen from the distance, and, stopping
suddenly, his eyes began to glisten, and, raising his hands,
he cried, "By th' mass; I believe it's Dan o' Tootler's, th'
owd fiddler ! Eh, if it's him ! Come, that'll do ! " And
then he strode forward more briskly, singing, —

Robin Lilter's here again ;

Here again, here again !
Robin Lilter's here again,

Wi' th' merry bit o' timber !


It was, indeed, Dan o' Tootler's, a blind fiddler, well
known all over the country side. His native spot was a
wild moorland fold, near to the foot of Brown Wardle Hill,
at the north-eastern end of the vale of the Roch ; but he was
a great wanderer; and his wide acquaintance with old melo-
dies, especially those peculiar to the north of England, as
well as his remarkable power as a performer upon the violin,
made him a favourite guest wherever he went. At wakes,
and weddings, and churn-suppers, or any country holiday,
his was a well-known and welcome face, in every country
nook between Blackstone Edge and the bleak ridge of
Rooley Moor ; and even far beyond that great dividing
line, — in the hills and dales of Rossendale Forest, and
amongst the lonely folds of Ribblesdale, up to the great end
of Pendle, many a merry heart leaped with joy at the men-
tion of blind Dan o' Tootlers, and his fiddle. There the
minstrel sat, upon an old tree root, which had been left by
the wayside, sunning himself, and crooning a quaint tune,
with his blind eyes turned upward to the summer sky. He
was called " Owd Dan " wherever he went ; but this was
meant more as an acknowledgement of kindly acquaintance
than as indicating the decrepitude of age ; for he was not
yet sixty, and he was a happy-hearted and remarkably hale
man for his years. He was humbly clad, but all was clean
and whole from head to toe ; and even tlie clumsy, uncon-
cealed patches upon his clothing, here and there, were
indicative of wholesome thrift, and showed that, though
poor, he was not severely so, and also that, in his lowly
estate, he was kindly cared for. His son, a cinibby lad of
nine years old, whose business was to lead him by the liand.


had wandered into a field, hard by, to gather flowers, always
keeping within call, whilst the old man rested himself ; and
as the blind fiddler sat there, with his face up-turned, and
quietly swaying his body to and fro, to the measure of an old
tune, which he was crooning dreamily to himself, there was
something very touching in the placid helplessness which
pervaded his well-cut features. Indeed, there is often a
strange heaven of peaceful expression in a blind man's facej
as if the loss of sight, which deprives life of so many
pleasures, had taken away also some of its troubles ; and
the mute, pleading eloquence, — the plaintive quietude — that
dwells in a sightless countenance, moves the heart more
than strength, more than beauty ever can ; as if helpless-
ness itself was surrounded by an angelic atmosphere, more
potent for its defence than any merely physical protection
could be.

The fiddler was on his way to the house of an old friend,
who farmed a large tract of land upon the edge of the
moors, near the town of Bacup. Indeed, the minstrel and
the farmer were distant relatives, bearing the same name,
apart from the personal attachment which bound them to
each other; and, according to a custom long established
between the two, the fiddler had been specially invited, quite
as much in the character of a guest as of an itinerant
musician, to enliven the rustic gathering which thronged the
old house at the Nine Oaks' Farm at the annual churn-
supper, as the feast of the hay-har\est is called in South
Lancashire. The churn-supper at Nine Oaks was famous
all over the Forest of Rossendale, no less on account of the
number of the guests and the bounty of the cheer, than on


account of the presence of a minstrel so well known and so
universally welcome as Dan o' Tootlers was in those days.
He had already walked many a rough moorland mile, and,
having still several miles further to go, the old man had sat
himself down in this shady nook of the road to rest a little
while. The loss of sight had made the fiddler's hearing
more acute than is common to those whose senses are all in
full play ; and in the all-pervading stillness of the scene,
where nothing seemed astir but the songs of wild birds, his
quick ear caught the sounds of Ben's footsteps approaching
from the distance.

"Husht !" said he, as if talking to the birds around him ;
" husht ! there's somebry comin' ! " Then, catching the
tones of Ben's voice as lie came singing on, a quiet smile
crept over the old man's up-turned face, as he rubbed his
hands and said, " Come, I know who that is ! . . .
Husht ! Let him goo on again ! . . . Ay ; it's him.
Lobden Ben, for a creawn ! " As Ben drew near, the
fiddler cried out, with his smiling countenance still turned
sunward, " Hello, Ben, owd lad ! Is that thee ? Heaw
arto gettin' on amung yon yirth-bobs (tufts of heather) upo'
Lobden Moor?"

" Eh, — Dan o' Tootlers, — owd dog ! " cried Ben, running
up, and catching the fiddler by the hand. " God bless thy
owd tweedlin' soul ! Wheerever arto wanderin to, wi' thoose
bonny bits o' cat-bant o' thine ? "

" Oh, a bit fur up, Rossenda' gate on," replied the fiddler.
" I'm beawn to a churn-supper, at the Nine Oaks."

" Th' dule theaw art ! " cried Ben. " Eh, thae will
tickle yon owd clinkert shoon o' theirs up, aboon a


bit : Ry th' maskins, I wish Pre beawn witho', owd
brid 1 "

" An', by the good Katty, I wish thae 7C'iir, owd crayter 1 "
replied the fiddler. "But I'm i' good time, yet. Come,
keawer tho deawn a bit."

" I'm i' good time, too," answered Ben. " I've aboon an
hour o' mi bonds."

"Well; come thi ways, an' have a keawer, then," con-
tinued the fiddler, shifting, to make room for Ben upon the
old tree root. " Keawer tho deawn. Th' moon's had
mony a reawnd sin I let on tho afore. An' wheer arto for
when tho sets off again, like,— conto tell? Or, thae'rt like
wayter in a bruck, — noan tickle if thae can keep gooin'."

" Yelley Ho's (Healey Hall) th' first shop I have to play
for, as soon as th' dme comes," replied Ben.

"What, owd Kurnul (Colonel) Cherrick's?" said the

" Why, thae'rt noan so fur off theer, now, arto ? " replied
the fiddler.

" I can yer th' dogs barkin' i'th yard, fro' here," answered

" Come, that'll do : "' said old Dan, rubbing his hands ;
" that'll do I ■'

" He wants me to goo up to th' top o' Blacks'n Edge wi'
him an' some friends of his, this afternoon," continued Ben.
"Oh, ay !" replied the fiddler. "There'll be fine doin's
thae'U see. He's a rare owd cock, is th' kurnul. Yo'n be
nought short, if he's theer. But yon be pinch't for time,
winnot yo? I'd ha' started i'th mornin'."


"Well, thae knows," replied Ben, "I go bi orders.
Twelve o'clock's my time ; an' I's go noan afore."

"Shootin", I guess?" inquired the fiddler.

" Nay ; I know nought what they're after," answered Ben.
" It's reel to me, as what it is ; though I like to see a bit
o' good spwort, for o' that. But twelve o'clock's my time ;
an' it wants an hour yet."

"Well, then," said the fiddler, "thac'rt i'no peighl. So
come an' sit tho deawn, an' let's have a bit o' talk. I'll be
sunken if I'm not gooin' meawldy for th' want o' somebry to
fratch wi' ! Come an' sit tho deawn."

"I'm willin'," said Ben, giving the old man a friendly
slap on the shoulder, as he sat down beside him on the tree
root. " Hutch up a bit. . . . Well, an' heaw arto
gettin' on, Dan, owd lad?"

"Oh, peeort (pert), lad; peeort as a pynot (a magpie),"
replied the old fiddler, smiling.

"That's reel," said Ben, "I like to yero' folk doin' weel,
particilar fiddlers, — they'n so mich fancy-wark abeawt 'em.

A mon 'at plays a fiddle weel,
Shold never awse (attempt) to dee.

rij tell tho what, Dan !"

" Well."

"It's a fine day, an' we'n plenty o' time on er bonds ; an'
it's a good while sin we let o' one another afore ; an'
there isn't a wick soul i'th sect nobbut thee an' me."

"Well; an' what bi that?"

"Why. thae met trate a body to a bit of a do iipo' that
friskin'-stick o' thine. Come, strike up ! "


" Well," replied Dan, drawing his fiddle from the bag ;
"I've nought again that noather."

" Good again ! " cried Ben. " What arto beawn to give
us, owd brid?"

" Aught 'at ever thae's a mind, Ben," answered the fiddler,
as he rosined his bow.

"Well, let's have a good owd minor, then," said Ben.

"Agreed on," replied the fiddler. " But I'll tell tho svhat,


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