‘Nay, aw forget, lad; it’s so long sin’.’
’Bud aw haven’t forgetten. Thaa said, “Never mind, thaa’s no need to tell mi faither that; thaa can keep it to thisel.” Aw’ll tell yo’ what, Mr. Penrose, a woman’s as deep as th’ Longridge pit shaft.’
‘Well, thaa’s never rued o’er joinin’ Rehoboth, Malachi.’
‘I’ve never rued o’er weddin’ thee, lass; an’ aw think if thaa’d gone to a wur place nor Rehoboth aw should ha’ followed thee. Leastways, I shouldn’t ha’ liked thee to ‘a’ tempted me.’
‘But thaa’s not tell’d him all, Malachi.’
‘Nowe, lass, aw hevn’t, but aw will. Have yo’ seen yon rose-tree that grows under the winder—that tree that is welly full durin’ th’ season?’
The minister nodded.
‘Well, when aw fetched her fro’ her faither, hoo said aw mun tak a flaar an’ o’, as aw coomd for one on th’ neet as aw geet her. So aw took one o’ th’ owd felley’s rose-trees, an’ planted it under aar winder theer, and theer it’s stood for nigh on forty year, come blow, come snow, come sun, come shade, an’ the roses are still as fresh an’ sweet as ever. An’ so art thaa, owd lass,’ and Malachi got up and kissed into bloom the faded, yet healthy, cheek of Betty, his conquest of whom he had just narrated to Mr. Penrose, and whom he still so dearly loved.
MR. PENROSE BRINGS HOME A BRIDE.
When Rehoboth heard of the coming marriage of Mr. Penrose many were its speculations on the woman he was taking for wife. Amos Entwistle said ‘he’d be bun for’t that th’ lass wouldn’t be baat brass noather in her pocket nor in her face’; to which old Enoch’s wife replied that ‘hoo’d need both i’ Rehoboth, where they fed th’ parson on scaplins (stone chippings), and teed his tung with deacons’ resolutions.’
Milly wondered ‘if th’ lass ‘ud be pratty,’ and ’what colour her een ‘ud be’; while old Joseph declared ’hoo’d be mighty high-minded, but that hoo were comin’ to wheer hoo’d be takken daan a bit.’
The most philosophic judgment was that of Malachi o’ th’ Mount, who, turning on Amos one evening in the chapel yard, said:
’Look here, owd lad; it were yor pleasure to stop single; it were mine to get wed. We both on us pleeased aarsels; let th’ parson do th’ same. He’ll noan ax thee to live wi’ th’ lass; he’ll live wi’ her hissel. Then let him pleease hissel.’
One or two of the women vexed themselves as to whether she would be a Martha or a Mary; and when Deborah Heap was appealed to she said, ‘Let’s hope hoo’ll be a bit o’ both.’
Old Joseph, overhearing this last remark, injected his venom by hinting that ‘no doubt hoo’d be a Mary, but that th’ maister at whose feet hoo’d sit would be a different sort to Him as went to Bethany.’
Then it was Abraham Lord’s wife suggested that Joseph should ’find th’ parson a pair o’ wings, so as he might mate hissel wi’ a angel, for she was sure naught less ‘ud suit Rehoboth fo’k.’ And Oliver o’ Deaf Martha’s wife climaxed the discussion by saying, ‘if that were bein’ a parson’s wife, hoo’d rather be where hoo were, although their Oliver did tak’ drink and ooine (punish) her.’