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Jim Snell’s Catches

A Cornish Tale about Our L’il Village by Sal Tregenna.

Well, me deers, an’ ‘ow be’ee doin’ oe this time, I wuder? Spaikin’ vur mezel’ I’m a mite larrancy, ez th’ zayin’ iz. Veelin’ th’ hait, terrable, I be, an’ ‘et when us gits a drap o’ rain or a mite o’ cloudy we’ther, I’m reddy to zet avore th’ vire like enny ole tom-cat, iss I be! I dunno whare tiz my vancy or no, but zimmin’ to me us hev ‘ad a nashun queer mixsher o’ we’ther thze zummer. Th’ ‘ot hev bin blazin’ ‘ot, heb’n it, an’ th’ coll we’ther hev bin coldish. I wuz taalkin’ ‘long wi’ Jim Snell ‘bout it ‘tother aivmen, an’ ;e reckons tiz cuz I’m gittin’ old I veels th’ changes zo mutch. “You ought to go in vur this yur ray-jew-venashun traitment, Missus,” zes ‘e. “They can put monkey glands into ‘ee, now, an’ make ole vokes young again.” “Iss, an’ you’m welcum to try it, vur me, James!” zes I. “I got monkeys ‘nuff to dail wi’ now, wi’out hevin’ mezel’ terned into one,” “Z ame yur!” chimes in Ann. “I declare enny wummin might ‘s’well be a monkey kipper in th’ zoo, ez be conzerned wi’ Jim! Zee wot a dance ‘e’ve a’luaid me theze las’ blessed week!” “A, doant’ee go an’ rake all thikky tale up again, Ann!” snaps Jim, lookin’ ez vulish ez a wagon-hoss. “Whare’s Maister, too?” ‘e axed, changin’ th’ subhiek quick, like! “Aw’ ‘e’s out in garden digging’ zum teddies, I b’leeve,” zes I, an’ off goes Jim out to garden to hev a yarn ‘long wi’ Vather.
Coarse. Zoon’s ‘e wuz gone I axed Ann wot ‘e’d a’bin up to. I tellee, me’ deers tiz a gude plan vur we married wimmin to get together once ‘pon a time to talk over our trubbles, idden it? Pore ole Ann, ‘er’d ‘ad a vine ole caper wi’ Jim sure nuff, an’ ‘er wuz veelin’ a mite zore over’t, too. But be th’ time ‘er’d a’vinished tellin’ me th’ taale, an’ I’d ‘ad a gude ole laff over’t , well, Ann begun to zee th’ Vunny zide o’t, too, an’ it cleared th’ air between ‘er an’ Jim, I’m sure it did. Jim’s case, me deers, I’m gittin’ old, an’ I’ve allus vound it does ‘ee a power o’ gude to onburden yerzel’ when you veels you got a grievance. Th’ more you kips ‘em to yerzel’ an’ nurses ‘em up th’ bigger they grawz! “Well,” zes Ann, “you knaw wot Jim iz ‘e’s allus out vur ‘catches,’ ez ‘e calls ‘em, an’ ‘e’s never ‘appier than when ‘e can come ‘ome wi’ ‘is vrail an’ pockets tinged vull o’ odds an’ ainds wot ‘e’ve picked up on th’ roun’s. Nobody knaws wot a’ dance e’ do laid me one time an’ anether. Every time I goes to th’ cupboard to take out a glass dish, I’ll bet me life I shall vend ‘em vull up wi’ a vew speshal teddies vur zaid, or pays, or banes, or zum zitch thing, Once I even vound me bes’ junket bowl vull o’ zum zoart o’ manure! Las’ week, e’ begun Wensday be bringin’ ‘ome two rabburts wot zumbody ‘ad catched in th’ corn. Well, I put ‘em into a pie Thersday mornin’, thinkin’ to hev’n cold when Jim got ‘ome in th’ aivmen. Tiz a big roun’ Thersdays, out to moors an’ all, an tiz allus pas’ nine avore ‘e gits back. Well, I ‘ad th’ zupper all ‘pon th’ table when ‘e cum ‘ome, an’ I put th’ tay to zawk zoons I yurd’n cum in th’ gate. I thort I zeed a bag ‘pon ‘is back ez ‘e passed th’ winder, but I dedden pay mutch ‘tenshun to’t. Enny way, ‘e cum in, an’ whiles ‘e wuz hevin’ a waash ou in the back-houze, I cut out th’ pie, an empted up th’ tay. When ‘e cum in ‘e zed “Wot’s vur zupper Ann?” “Rabburt pie,” zes I. “I bant gain ait it!” zes ‘e glazin’ to me wild’s a bloomin’ ‘awk! “Rabburts! Rabburts! Rabburts! Tha’s a’ I’ve ‘ad all day, an’ I’m danged if I’ll ait rubburt vur zupper, too!”  Coarse, I dedden knaw wot ‘e mained, an’ I axed’n wot in th’ diggens ‘e wuz chowin’ ‘bout.
“Go out in back-houze!” zes ‘e, “an’ hev a look in thikky bag out there!”  Zo I lights th’ candel, an out I goes. An’ I’ll warn you if e’ ‘ad one rabburt in thikky bag, ‘e ‘ad a score! ‘Arvest rabburts, all o’ ‘em, an’ zum o’ ‘em wuz tored to rags, an’ very near cum to life again! Deden I jaw’n, tha’s all! Zame’s I tould’n, vokes would’n hev gi’ed’n zitch ole rubbitch if they dedden knaw wot an ole vule ‘e iz. But ‘e zed ‘e tooked em all cuz ‘e dedden like to zay ‘NO’ veer ‘e’d put enn’ybody out. Bezides ‘e zed, if you zay ‘No’ to one thing you never gits nort more offered to’ee, an’ you might miss a raft gude catch! I tould’n ‘e ‘ad to carr’ ‘em out an’ berry ‘em, but ‘e zed ‘e’d ‘ad the’r company ‘long enuff an’ ‘e wadden gain  to do nort more to ‘em thikky night. Zo in th’ aind I ‘ad to take th’ showel an’ lantern an’ go out an’ berry ‘em. Like I zed, I could’n slaip a wink wi’ that lot onder th’ roof. An’ then I ad’n got no stummicck left vur rabburt pie, nother, an’ in th’ aind th’ pie waint out to th’ dog! ‘E wuz all ‘o a vidget an’ twinkle, an’ twadden long avore ‘e tooked th ‘candel an’ waint over steers. I bide down an’ put away th’ zupper things an’ then I waint up too. When I got up, there wuz Jim vixed up wi’ my dressin’ gown on, an’ a vine zight ‘e wuz lokkin’. “Whare’s me clain cloas, Ann?” zes ‘e, lookin’ like a cheel catched stailin’ th’ jam. “Wot in th’ wurld do’ee want ver clain cloas vur now, middle o’ th’ week,” zes I. “Twull be baistly agane ‘ginst Zenday.” I got to hev it.” Zes ‘e, an’ I zeed a wild look in th’ heye o’n! Well, I waint to flasket an’ got ‘is clain change yur’n, an’ ‘e put it on. Arter us wuz in baid I zed “Wot ded’ee do wi’ yer baisly cloas, Jim?” “Chucked it out o’ winder!” zes ‘e. “Wot in th; diggens vur?” I axed. “There wuz flays in it!” zes ‘e. “Rabburts’ vlays! An’ the beggars doant ha’f nab nother! I catched tain ‘e em in me trowzers! I reckon you’ll hev to waash it all in Jeys.” “Well, James,” I zed, “I should ‘ope you’ve larned a lesson! A vine ole catch o’t you’ve ‘ad today, heb’n ‘ee? An’ I hopes you notiss that tiz me wot gits th’ baistly aind o’ th’ steck every time. I’ve ‘ad to berry th’ rabburts, an’ now I got to waash yer cloas.”
“Nex’ aivmen I wuz out pickin’ in his cloas when ‘e cum ‘ome, an’ I zeed that ‘e’d a’got a bag ‘pon’ ‘is back agane. ‘E wuz beamin’ all over ‘is vaace, an’ when I cum in ‘e zed “Looky yur, Ann, I got a bedder catch today!” I waint an’ looked in th’ bag, an’ lo an’ be’old twuz apples.
“Varmer Crabb gi’ed me they.” Zes ‘e “E tells me they’ve ‘ad a reglar plague ‘o’ wopses out ther, an’ they bin aitin’ th’ apples off th’ trees. Theze be sweet ones, an’ ‘e picked in all there wuz left, an’ gi’ed me theze to ait.” I tould’n to put ‘em down deery, an’ I dedden go near ‘em till nex’ day. Then arter denner I thort I’d like a apple, an’ I waint down an picked out one. My dear, I might ‘s’well hev bin stinged to de’th, vur zackly’s I wuz gain put thikky apple in me mouth, I notissed a ‘ole in un, an’ when I waint to cut it out I vound ‘e wuz nort but a shell an’ ‘e wuz chuck vull o’ wopses! An’ th’ bigges’ ha’f o’ they apples wuz th’ zame! I dedden knaw wot to do, vur there wuz a crowd o’ ‘em cum out when thet vound th’ bag wuz opened, an’ a purty ole chase I’ad catchin’ wopses. In th’ aind I tied th’ bag up, an’ put’n in a big pail, an’ empted boilin’ wadder auver’n. Zo that wuz anether o’ Jim’s gurt catches! Nort but a passen o’ trubble, like everything else ‘e brings ‘ome.” “Well never mind, Ann!” zes I, arter we’d ‘ad a gude laff. “Le’s hev a dish o’ tay, an drown all our trubbles in th’ taypot!” No zooner ‘ad I emptied out tay than in cums Vather an’ Jim Snell. Like I zed to Ann, they zoon smilled th’ tay pot. An’ th’ vurst wurds Jim Snell zed when ‘e cum in, wuz, “Ann, hev’ee got yer vrail ‘lone wi’ ‘ee? I got a vew o’ Maister’s shallots yur, I’m gain zave vyr zaid.”
Zo you zee Jim’s still ‘pon th’ ‘catch.’

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