‘Nay aw connot tell, unless it’s some o’ them wrang-heeaded fowk ‘at th’ maister wor tawkin abaat, ’at want to start a schooil booard or some new-fangled noation.’
‘Why, what mak o’ schooils is them schooil board consarns?’
’Aw dooant know, nobbut it’s a schooil whear yo send childer to leearn ther letters, an’ they booard ’em at same time.’
’Why, that’s nooan a bad thing if they give ’em owt daycent to ait.’
’Does ta think they’ll have owt at we shalln’t have to pay for? Did ta iver know th’ Corporation give owt for nowt? All aw wish is ’at they’d let us alooan. We’ve getten on here for aboon fifty year withaat ony o’ ther bother, an’ aw could like to finish my bit o’ time aght as we are.’
They all agreed wi’ this, an th’ wimmen ’at had gethered raand to harken sed they thowt soa too, an’ it ud seem ’em better if they’d luk after ther own wives an’ childer a bit moor, and net come botherin thear.
When th’ bacca wor done, they went back into ther haases, one bi one, an’ went to bed, but ther wor a sooart ov a claad hung ovver ’em all, and they didn’t sleep varry weel.
Next mornin, as they started off for th’ day, they each gave a luk raand, as if to fix iverything i’ ther mind, for fear when they coom back they’d niver be able to own th’ spot.
Sooin after they’d gooan, a lot o’ navvies coom an’ started o’ diggin. Wor’nt th’ wimmin aght in a crack! ‘What are yo baan to do?’ they sed.
‘We’re gooin to put yo all watter in,’ sed th’ gaffer, ’soas yo can do withaat this pump.’
’We dooant want ony watter puttin in; when we want watter we can fotch it,—goa abaat yor business!’
But he tell’d ’em they’d getten orders to do it, an th’ landlord had agreed, soa they went on wi ther wark.
Nah, th’ chap ‘at had takken this job to do, hadn’t takken it bi th’ day; he’d agreed to do it for soa mich, soa yo may bet he kept’ em all at it, an’ it tuk varry little time to dig an’ get th’ pipes laid; an’ then th’ plumbers wor waitin to start, an’ iverybody wor as thrang as if ther lives depended on it bein finished that day,—an’ it wor finished,—an’ as sooin as it wor done they set to wark an’ pool’d daan th’ owd pump, an’ laid some flags ovver th’ well, an’ went hooam.
Th’ wimmin didn’t know whether to be pleased wi’ th’ new taps or mad abaat th’ loss o’th’ pump, an’ soa they sed nowt until ther fellies coom back. It worn’t monny minits afoor they began to coom hooam, an’ as sooin as they saw th’ pump ligged o’th’ graand an’ th’ well covered up, they luk’d like—weel, it’s noa use me tryin to tell what they luk’d like, for they luk’d so monny different ways ’at aw should be fast amang it; but ther worn’t one on ’em suited, an’ net one ’em had patience to luk at th’ new taps.
Owd Jacob spit his teah aght ov his maath as sooin as he tasted it. ’Aw knew ha it ud be,’ he sed, ‘if iver we lost that pump.’