Vather bin Terrable Pluff

Our L’il Village by Sal Tregenna.

Well, me deers, I bin mainin’ to ‘rite to’ee avore, but me an’ Vather bin terrable pluff sure ‘nuff, an’ wot wi’ taindin’ to ‘e, an’ lookin’ arter mezel, I heb’n ‘ad no time zur nort, zimmin to me. Then there wuz purty ole doin’s yur Guy Vox weak tha’s when me an’ Vather catched they baistly ole colds if you ax me. But us wuz like th’ cheldern, coarse, an’ us wanted to zee all there wuz to be zeed, bless’ee. I b’leeve I told’ee Nurse wuz gain try to git Jane to hev a bonvire wi’ all th’ ole trade wot ‘er’d a got ‘oarded up in th’ backhouse dedden I? Nurse iz a wecked varmint, iss ‘er iz, an’ er’s nivver appier than when er’s hevin’ pore ole Jane ‘pon th’ string! I zes to ‘er zumtimes, I dunno ‘ow in th’ diggens ‘er can allus be zo lively an’ vull o’ weckedness, allus mixed up wi’ sickness an’ zufferin’s like ‘er iz, pore maid. “Well, if I dedden hev a bit o’ spree now an’ then I should git all out o’ h’art, Aunt Sal,” zes she. “A body got to look to th’ bright zide an’ git a gude ole laff when they gits th’ chance on, if they wants to kip vrom gain mazed.”
Owzumever, a vew nights avore Guy Vox night, Jane cum in vur a yarn, like ‘er generally allus do o’ a aivmen. Nurse axed ‘er if ‘er wuz gain to make a himage to burn vur Guy Vox, an’ Jane zed ‘er dedden knaw whare ‘er shoul or no. “Aw, I thort you’d be a gude ‘and at makin’ himages,” zes Nurse, “you’m that cliver at makin’ ‘ats an’ trade.” Coarse that plaized Jane, tho’ like I zed, there’s a brave mite o’ diff’rence in makin’ ‘ats an’ makin’ himages. But Nurse zed if a body, got th’ knick o’ one they could generally do a brave gude job to th’ tother! Coarse, ‘er zoft-zoped pore ole Jane all auver, ez th’ zayin’ iz, an’ th’ cum-out o’t wuz that ‘er an’ Jane planned to make this yur ole himage between ‘em. Nex’ aivmen Nurse goes off into Jane’s, an’ arter I’d a’washed me zupper things in I goes too, vur to zee wot they wuz on upon. They got zo vur ez vending an’ ole brish-steck. I zed e’d be terrable thin, an’ ‘c would’n make mutch o’ a vire I dedden reckon, but Nurse zed tha’s whare I wuz all out o’t! “You wait till me and Missus Reloar hev vanished theze job, an’ you’ll be vritened to zee wot can be dun wi’ an ole brish! Coarse us bant gain hitch a vew ole’ cloas ‘pon un like ‘e iz. Us bant makin’ a skare-craw but a Guy Vox.” I zed I could zee twuz like pertin’ wi’ a tooth to Jane, to pert wi’ all that ole rubbitch! Ennyway, twuz vigs vur me to zee they pare stecked up glazin to thikky ole brish-steck ez if they wuz gain wurk zum zoart o’ magick an’ make a man out o’n! “Well, whats nex?” axed Jane, glazin’ to Nurse. I could zee Jane ‘ad’n got no more noshun wot cum nex’ than th’ man in th’ moon, but ‘er would’n hev awned up to’t vur th’ wurld! “If you wants a vitty voundashun to wurk on,” zes I, “I should vancy you wanted zum ribs nex’. Wot about thikky ole burd’s-cage there in th’ cloam oben, Jane? I should think you could make tidy ribs out o’ thikky!” Jane gi’ed me a look vit to tern a pan o’ milk zower! “I bant gain spare me burd’s-cage to plaize nobody,” snaps she. “But you knaw very well you never ‘ad a burd in yer life,” zes I, “an’ I never could zee wot you bort th’ cage vur.” (Jane bort thikky ole cage to a jumble zale down to Passen’s yurs agone, vur tuppence, cuz ‘er thort twuz zitch a bargain!) “I mains to hev a canary th’ vust chance I gits,” zes she, “tha’s wot I’m kippin’ th’ cage vur, if you mus’ knaw.” I doant think us shall need yer burd’s-cage, Jane,” zes Nurse, “theze yur brish-steck wull be voundashun enuff  ‘s’long’s us can wrap plainty roun’ un to make a gude vigger,. Th’ queshun iz wot can us hev?” Then ‘er begun to glaze roun’ th’ back-houze to zee wot ‘er could zee. “Wot about thikky ole mat behind th’ dore, Missus? ‘E’d go roun’ un purty menny times.” “My deer days, I can’t spare ‘e,” zes Jane. “Aw, I’m zorry,” zes Nurse, “aunly I zee ‘e’s all tored to lerrops an’ I thort ‘e wuz vanished vur. I should devise ‘ee to git th’ rids o’n, Ennyway, else you’ll be hitchin’ yer vit in’n, an’ braikin’ yer laigs, or it might be yer neck.” I could zee pore ole Jane wuz hevin’ a purty ole tussle wi’ ‘erzel’, an’ then ‘er zed, “Aw, well, heb’n if you mine to, aunly ‘e wuz ‘andy vur shovin’ ‘ginst th’ dore vur to kip th’ draff out.” Zo Nurse took th’ ole mat an’ rolled’n roun’ th’ broom-steck, an’ tied’n on wi’ a peace o’ cord. Twould take too long to tell’ee every thing Nurse rolled roun’ thikky ole brish avore ‘er reckoned th’ figger wuz purfick! But I’ll warn pore ole Jane wuz swettin’ laiks, an’ Nurse wuz lookin’ ez plaised as Punch. ‘Er ferricked out a purty passell o’ ole bags an’ coats an’ trade vrom under th’ table, wot Jane declared wuz “th’ pore, deer dog’s baid,” an’ ‘er dedden knaw Wotever ‘e’d do when ‘e cum to slaip thikky night! Nurse zed ‘e aut to slaip out in th’ linney ‘pon th’ straw, an’ ‘er thort Jane wuz too up-to-date to hev an ole dog slaipin’ in onder th’ back-houze table! Zo I reckon pore ole “Swaller” hev ‘ad to shift ‘is quarters, cuz Jane would do ennything Nurse zed wiles th’ mood lasted! “Now we wants zummin’ vur a haid,” zes Nurse, “an’ a pare o’ ole boots vur’n, too, an’ a ‘at, an’ zum cloas,” I thort pore ole Jane would hev drapped, you! “I heb’n got nort more you can hev,” galloped she. “Bezides, you’ve ‘ad very well, an’ I reckons tiz Sal’s tern to gi’e zummin towards it,” “I can gi’e ‘ee an’ ole coat,” zes I, “but I thort I wadden spoased to be in this job, Jane!” Jist then Bill an’ Zilas cum in, an’ they wuz vair teckled auver th’ himage. Bill zed there wuz an ole voot-ball out in th’ linney Nurse could hev vur a haid, an’ then Jane waint away off in th’ kitchen an’ left Nurse an’ Bill to vanish th’ job. “I’m very glad you sterted this noshun, Nurse,” zes Bill, laffin’ like a piskey. “I’m allus tryin’ to git Mawther to cleer out theze ole back-houze, but I can never git ‘er to do’t. Still, you’ve made a brave ole clearance theze aivmen I’ll warn that, an’ be time us hev drest’n up there won’t be menny ole rags left ‘angin’ up behind th’ dore!” There wadden ‘nother, I’ll tell’ee, I’ll warn if thikky himage ‘ad up one coat ‘e ‘ad jist a dizzen, an’ dree pares o’ trowzers I knew vur zartin. Then I gi’ed ‘em an’ ole pillah slip wot wuz wored jist droo, an’ they made a vace out o’ that be zewin’ o’n roun’ th’ voot-ball, an’ puttin’ in heyes an’ nawse an’ mouth wi ink. Then Bill put on one o’ Zilas’s ole bowler ‘ats to’n, an’ a pare o’ ole boots o’ ‘is awb, an’ I mus’ zay ‘e wuz ez wecked lookin’ an ole himage ez you’d mit in a day’s march! Coarse, Jane purty ballyragged Bill an’ Zilas arter us waint out, ouz us could yur ‘er hollerin’ like a witneck vrom out to garden gate ez us waint out. But ‘er dedden hev th’ neck to go an’ take enny o’t off, tho’ ‘er purty moaned an’ groaned auver zo mutch “gude trade bein’ burned to ashes, ez ‘er zed! Bill zed ‘e wished twuz Guy Vox every weak, cuz there might be zum ‘opes o’ kippin’ th’ back-houze cleer then!
When th’ might cum Jane stecked in th’ dore-place waatchin’ Bill an’ Zilas an’ Nurse an’ Vather an’ me burn th’ himage, but ‘er would’n cum out an’ ‘elp, Then Nurse brot out a bootivul gurt box ‘o vire-works wot ‘er’d bort, an’ they put they off. I b’leeve that ded cheer Jane up a mite, cuz twuz well wo’th waatchin’ I’ll warn that. Then I axed ‘em all to cum in an’ hev a dish o’ tay in to my plaace an’ avore th’ aivmen wuz auver Jane wuz veelin’ more like ‘erzel. “’E made a darned gude vire, dedden ‘a” zes Bill, jist ez they wuz laivib’. “Iss,m” zes Jane to me, in a whisper, “but they dedden burn Vather’s bowler tho’, I dun ‘em there! ‘E vaaled off ez they carr’ed ‘n out, an’ I heed’n away. ‘E’s a nashun gude ‘at ‘e iz, an’ I dedden want’n destroyed. Pors ole Nat Brown iz nex’ dore to daid, an’ I deer zay they’ll az Zilas to be barer to’n, zo ‘e’ll want thikky bowler if they do. Zame’s I zed, wi’ a gude brish up wi’ th’ blackin’ brish ‘e’ll be gude ez new!”