Clyst. Tam’s hatchin’ of yure cucumbers, Mr. Godleigh.
Trustaford. ’E did crash; haw, haw!
Freman. ‘Twas a brave throw, zurely. Whu wid a’ thought it?
Clyst. Tam’s crawlin’ out. [Leaning through window] Hello, Tam— ‘ow’s t’ base, old man?
Freman. [Excitedly] They’m all comin’ up from churchyard to zee.
Trustaford. Tam du luke wonderful aztonished;
haw, haw! Poor old
Clyst. Can yu zee curate? Reckon ’e’m gone into church. Aw, yes; gettin’ a bit dimsy-service time. [A moment’s hush.]
Trustaford. Well, I’m jiggered. In ’alf an hour he’m got to prache.
Godleigh. ’Tes a Christian village, boys.
[Feebly, quietly, Jim
Bere laughs. There is silence; but the
bell is heard still ranging.]
The same-in daylight dying fast. A lamp is burning on the bar. A chair has been placed in the centre of the room, facing the bench under the window, on which are seated from right to left, Godleigh, Sol Potter the village shopman, Trustaford, Burlacombe, Freman, Jim Bere, and Morse the blacksmith. Clyst is squatting on a stool by the bar, and at the other end Jarland, sobered and lowering, leans against the lintel of the porch leading to the door, round which are gathered five or six sturdy fellows, dumb as fishes. No one sits in the chair. In the unnatural silence that reigns, the distant sound of the wheezy church organ and voices singing can be heard.
TAUSTAFORD. [After a prolonged clearing of his throat] What I mean to zay is that ‘tes no yuse, not a bit o’ yuse in the world, not duin’ of things properly. If an’ in case we’m to carry a resolution disapprovin’ o’ curate, it must all be done so as no one can’t, zay nothin’.
Sol Potter. That’s what I zay, Mr. Trustaford; ef so be as ’tis to be a village meetin’, then it must be all done proper.
Freman. That’s right, Sot Potter. I purpose Mr. Sot Potter into the chair. Whu seconds that?
[A silence. Voices from among the dumb-as-fishes: “I du.”]
Clyst. [Excitedly] Yu can’t putt that to the meetin’. Only a chairman can putt it to the meetin’. I purpose that Mr. Burlacombe— bein as how he’s chairman o’ the Parish Council—take the chair.
Freman. Ef so be as I can’t putt it, yu can’t putt that neither.
Trustaford. ‘Tes not a bit o’ yuse; us can’t ‘ave no meetin’ without a chairman.
Godleigh. Us can’t ‘ave no chairman without a meetin’ to elect un, that’s zure. [A silence.]
Morse. [Heavily] To my way o’ thinkin’, Mr. Godleigh speaks zense; us must ‘ave a meetin’ before us can ’ave a chairman.