Tales of the Ridings eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 86 pages of information about Tales of the Ridings.

“There’s nowt sae difficult wi’ t’ letters when you give your mind to ’em,” the smith replied.  “What I want to know is, if Mary Taylor came here of her own accord, or if her was putten into t’ job by other fowks.”

“I reckon shoo was appointed by t’ Eddication Committee.”

“Appointed, was shoo?  I thowt as mich.  Then mebbe ‘B.A.’ will stand for ‘By appointment.’”

The smith’s solution of the problem was received with silence, but the silence implied approval.  The Colonel, it is true, smarting under a sense of defeat, would have liked to press the argument further; but just then the front door of “The Crooked Billet” was thrown open by the landlord, and the smithy was speedily emptied of its occupants.


“Sithee, lass, oppen t’ windey a minute, there’s a love.”

“What do you want t’ windey openin’ for, mother?  You’ll give me my death o’ cowd.”

“I thowt I heerd t’ soond o’ t’ reaper.”

“Sound o’ t’ reaper!  Nay, ‘twere nobbut t’ tram coomin’ down t’ road.  What makes you think o’ reapers?  You don’t live i’ t’ country any longer.”

“Happen I were wrang, but they’ll be cuttin’ corn noan sae far away, I reckon.”

“What have you got to do wi’ corn, I’d like to know?  If you wanted to bide i’ t’ country when father deed, you sud hae said so.  I gave you your choice, sure enough.  ‘Coom an’ live wi’ me i’ Hustler’s Court,’ I said, ‘an’ help me wi’ t’ ready-made work, or else you can find a place for yourself ‘i Thirsk Workhouse.’”

“Aye, I’ve had my choice, Mary, but it’s gey hard tewin’ all t’ day at button-holes, when September’s set in and I think on t’ corn-harvist.”

There was a pause in the conversation, and Mary, to humour her mother, threw up the window and let in the roar of the trams, the far-off clang of the steel hammers at the forge, and the rancid smell of the fried-fish shop preparing for the evening’s trade.  The old woman listened attentively to catch the sound which she longed for more than anything else in the world, but the street noises drowned everything.  She sank back in her chair and took up the garment she was at work on.  But her mind was busy, and after a few minutes she turned again to her daughter.

“Thoo’ll not be thinkin’ o’ havin’ a day i’ t’ coontry this month, Mary?”

“Nay, I’m noan sich a fool as to want to go trapsin’ about t’ lanes an’ t’ ditches.  I’ve my work to attend to, or we’ll not get straight wi’ t’ rent.”

“Aye, we’re a bit behind wi’ t’ rent sin thoo com back frae thy week i’ Blackpool.”

“Now don’t you be allus talkin’ about my week i’ Blackpool; I reckon I’ve a right to go there, same as t’ other lasses that works at Cohen’s.”

“I wasn’t complainin’, Mary.”

“Eh! but I know you were; and that’s all t’ thanks I get for sendin’ you them picture postcards.  You want me to bide a widdy all my life, and me nobbut thirty-five.”

Project Gutenberg
Tales of the Ridings from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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