Credits: David Hoyle
MAJOR CERGHYL …………….. Owner of the Cerghyl Estates
The Major’s Nephew and anticipated Heir
The Major’s Man-of-all-work, Gardener, Groom, etc.
MR. DENBY ………….. Farmer Cobblerslide, also an Ironside
LAURA DENBY …………………………… Daughter of Mr. Denby
MAX WELTON …………………………………… Miner, Grillbottom
MAUD ACKLE ……………… ” ……………. Weaver, Gillbeck Mill
MISS BRANT … A Lady of Rothesdale, on friendly terms
NED DRIVER ………….. Innkeeper, Crowling, also an Ironside
JIM WALKER …………….. Leader of the ” Crowling Ironsides ”
JOE HOLMES \
DOOAD OWEN [ Ironsides
TOM SKIDBY )
GAMEKEEPER No. 1 ………….. Head Keeper at Rushby Hall
GAMEKEEPER No. 2 ………….. Under-Keeper at Rushby Hall
Villagers, Policemen, etc.
Scene 1 … Major Cerghyl’s Deathbed.
Scene 2 … Will Jones secures the Documents.
Scene 3 … Maud Ackle in trouble.
Scene i … Maud Ackle asks a favour from the Squire.
Scene 5 … Jim Walker’s revenge.
Scene 1 … A jolly evening at Ned Driver’s Pub.
Scene 2 … Max Welton makes love.
Scene 3 … Ball at Lace Gappe.
Scene 4 .. The Ironsides on “Ah Powching Expidition.”
Scene 5 … Waiting for the Ironsides, at Rushby Hall, and the Fight.
Scene 6 … News of the Fight reaches Crowling. Scene 7 .. Carrying the helpless form of Denby.
Scene 1 … The Squire pays Denby a Visit.
Scene 2 … Becka and Wilkes.
Scene 3 … The Squire gives Denby Notice to Quit.
Scene i … Discussing the coming Trial.
Scene 5 … The Ironsides win the day at York.
Scene 6 .. A Happy Re-union.
Scene 7 … Closing of “Crag Side” Well.
Scene 8 … Will Jones makes love.
ScEne 9 … The Wedding.
ACT I. – Scene I.
(Bedroom Scene. Major Cerghyl ill in bed. Table at bedside, with medicine bottle, wineglass, etc.).
Nurse Nellie : I think you are a little better to-day, sir. Don’t you think so?
MajoR Cerghyl : Perhaps a little, if only these dreadful pains keep off. But what does the doctor say?
Nurse : He says if we can only prevent these severe attacks which you have had so frequently of late, he has every hope of your recovery.
Major : Ah, Nurse, I cannot stand many more. They become more severe. But I do feel better to-day.
Nurse : I believe you are. I wish to ask a favour of you, sir. I got a letter this morning to say my sister is very ill, and she wishes me to go see her this evening. Mr. Jones will attend to your needs during my absence, which will only be for a few hours.
Major : Go, by all means, Nurse. I think I shall sleep a
Nurse : Thank you, sir. I will not be away long, and I will give Mr. Jones full instructions. Good-day, (exit Nurse). (The Major falls asleep. Enter Will Jones.)
Jones (in a low tone) : Ah, he’s sleeping, is he? Well, that’s better medicin ner onny doctor can give him (seating himself in a chair).
Major (waking up in pain): Nurse! Water—water !
Jones : Just wet thi lips wi’ this. Nurse is away, ye knaw.
Major : Is that you, Will? I do feel queer. I—can— hardly—get—my—breath. Is—my—Nephew—about ?
Jones: Must aw fetch him, sir?
Major : I must see him. I have something important—to— say to—him—before—I—die. And I—I feel—the end—approaching.
Jones : 01 be back in ah minnet. (Aside) Aw wonder what this important message is. A’m ah bit curious ta knaw. Th’ owd chap’s summat on his mind. Ov thow’t soa monny ah lang day. If it’s owt wrang het wants reighting, th’ young en’s noan’t chap ta do it. Aw wish aw knew what it wor. (Exit).
Major : I feel a little better again, but this wrong to Max Welton must be righted—before—I—die !
(Enter Walter Sheldon.)
Sheldon: You have sent for me. Uncle. Are you worse?
Major : I cannot live long, Walter, and I cannot die until I have confessed—my guilt—to you.
Sheldon : Guilt, Uncle! Guilt! Why, what in the world are you talking about. You have always been an honest, straightforward man. If there has been any guilt it has been on my part. And even then you have tried to shield me.
Major : Are you certain there is no one about who can overhear us? (Sheldon looks out first one side and then the other. While he is doing this Will Jones comes into sight, and then retires, unseen by Sheldon.) Sheldon : No one, Uncle.
MajoR : I have greatly wronged you, Walter. I have led you to believe you are the heir to the Cerghyl Estates, and that all these broad acres would be yours at my death. I have plotted and schemed to deceive everybody, all for your sake.
Sheldon : Do not take it so to heart, Uncle. Some way will be done. But who is the heir if I am not? Is there nothing for me?
MajoR. : I shall leave you almost penniless when I am gone. It has been a long-cherished desire of mine to see you married to Miss Brant, of Rothersdale. Then you would have been spared the drudgery of common labour, at least. Sheldon : But you have not told me who the heir is. Major. : The rightful heir is Max Welton, of Grillbottom, a miner at the lead mines upon my estate. I can trust you to see my wish carried out. I have not’ destroyed the papers. No, I have not caried my infamy so far. But when you come face to face with death, the wrongs you have done in your lifetime stand uppermost, and you can die more content, when you know they will be righted. I did it all for your sake, lad. And I—can—trust you.
Sheldon : But where are the documents, Uncle? And I will see that your wish is carried out.
MajoR : You will find them in the library safe. The keys are behind the ledge just over the safe. My strength—is failing. I know I am nearing—the—end.
Sheldon : Drink of this, Uncle. It will revive you. Major : It is—no—good—Walt. I am—dying. Lift—my head—a “.ittle higher. . Let me—look—at the—old crags once more. The last—time—I shall—see them—Walter—(laying down the Major).
Sheldon : Speak, Uncle ! Can you hear me? Speak ! MajoR : Good-bye, Walter. Do not think ill—of—Max— Welton. (Dies.)
Sheldon: Why—dead! Can it be? What am I to do? (Walks about the room in deep thought.) Must I entertain this wild suggestion—and claim all. Who can hinder me? The secret rests alone with me. I will never become a pauper to put another pauper in my place! No, I will claim everything. Nobody knows but that I am the real heir. I will destroy those papers in the morning. This done, the matter will be for ever settled. Max Welton will be made no richer, and I shall be made no poorer. But I must not forget myself. I must do my duty and make known the Major’s death. Then a hundred things will require attention. I am glad the lawyer is on the Continent, or the packet might have been placed in his keeping. And the doctor happens not to be here. Fortune has truly favoured me in this. So now I must put on a sorrowful countenance and make it known. (Exit.)
(Enter Will Jones from his hiding place.) Jones : Soa that’s th’ state ah things, is it? (turning to look at the Major). Poor fellow ! Ya little knew ye’r Nephew er ye’d noan ah trusted a man’s fortune wi’ him. But ye’re mista’en, Squire (aw expect we sal hev ta call him t’ Squire na’ah) if ya think nooabody knaws but yersel. It hel net be hez smooth sailing hez ya think. It’s varra weel aw listened. It’s just ” what hez wor ta be.” Oin, ah believe i’ that. An’ Max, he’d mak a deeal better Squire ner him. It’s just th’ hand ah providence het caused ma ta listen. It isn’t oft owt good comes ah eavesdropping, but aw think ther’ will this time. But aw mun mak off fra here. They’re might be somebody coming onny minnet. (Exit.)
ACT I. – Scene 2.
(Dark scene. Library at Cerghil Hall, safe on one side. Enter Will Jones with lighted candle in his hand, without coat and vest, with one brace loose, very cautiously.)
Jones : Well—it does not matter—aw couldn’t rest ah bit. If aw dropp’t asleep it wer ta dreeam awful dreeams aba’at robberies an’ ghooasts, an’ sich like. Aw dooan’t knaw whether this job bothers Squire er net, aw knaw it bothers me (listening). Aw knew aw should nivver get hod ah them papers wi’ dreeaming, sooa aw thowt best way hed be ta act. It’s ” what hez wor ta be,” aw expect. An’t Squire’s words kept ringing i’ mi ears, ” 01 destroy them papers i’ th’ morning.” An’ ther’s summat seemed ta say, ” Stop him, Will! Stop him! Thar’t all t* chap het can.” Let’s see, wheear did he. say t’ keys wor? On t’ ledge, er summat, ower t’ safe. Aye, here they are, champion ! Sooa far sooa good. (Listening, but hearing nothing, proceeds.) Naah, careful, Will. Thar’t nooan used ta burglaries. If t’ Squire cops ma, om safe ov ah trip ta York, wi’ ah lang stop het t’other end on’t. (Opens the safe, bothers about a while, finds the packet, and puts the keys back again.) Well, ov getten hod, onnyway. They reckon ” A bird i’ th’ hand is worth two i’ th’ bush.” It all depends whether aw get aght on’t safe er net, for ” They’se monny ah slip between t’ cup an’ t’ lip.” Them bits het aw used to write i’ mi copybook het schooil. Ya see ha’ah useful eddication is. It’s ah fair-sized envelope is this. Let’s see, what does it say? (holding the packet close to the candle, reads 🙂 ” To Max Welton, Miner, Grillbottom.” Aye, that’s it. It might be ah nice thing for me, some day, happen, but it hel be worth ah deeal moor ta Max. It’s rayther ah low trick ta do, after all, but it isn’t ah quarter hez low hez t’ Squire’s. “It’s just what hez wor ta be.” But o’m neearly certain aw hear somebody coming. (Listening.) Aye, ther’ is an’ all, sooa ol tak’ mi cannel an’ pike quietly off. (Exit). Gently, Will—gently.
(Enter the Squire, with lighted candle, or lamp; looks all
around the room, under the table, etc.) SquiRe : Well, I could have sworn I heard someone in this room. The place must be haunted or else my nerves are becoming frightfully shattered. Those papers in the safe have been a torment to me since last night, but they shall trouble me no longer. I will put them in the grate and watch them burn until the last line has vanished into smoke. And with it, Max Welton’s fortune! It will be a kind of transformation scene. A novel way of transferring deed’s. (Gets the keys, opens the safe, and seeks for packet). Where can the packet be, I wonder? I don’t see it.- The Major could not be mistaken. He was sensible enough. Perhaps my Uncle destroyed them, and his memory failed him. I wonder if he placed them somewhere else. Perhaps with his lawyer. Or maybe they are stolen. What shall I do? Give up?—No, never! I’ll search every drawer and cabinet in the house. If they are in existence they must be found, somehow or somewhere. And if it comes to a fight, I’ll fight hard!
ACT I. – Scene 3.
(Scene, Garden or Lawn at Cerghyl Hall.)
Jones : Well, aw do believe Squire’s getten two strings to his bow. Yesterday aw drove him ower ta see Miss Brant het Rothersdale. An’ naah om just coming back fra takking ah letter ta Miss Denby ah Coblerslide. Aw see haah it’s all baan ta work aght. Ther’ isn’t ah shadow ah chance for Miss Brant. Ov thow’t he’s been distant wi’ her lattely. Naah ol just give ya my opinion, aw think Squire’s getten ta knaw het Max Welton an’ Miss Denby are sweet on one another. An’ if he can nobbut work his point, it’s this : Squire, says he to hissen, if ye wed Miss Denby, Max he’ll be sooa disap-pointed wol he’ll dra’and hissel, er els he’ll gooa to America er some other aghtlandish place, an’ weep an’ sob hissel ta’t deeath, an’ then he’ll be done wi’. Er if he didn’t gooa away, he thinks sooa mich o’ Miss Denby wol he’d be safe wod t’ Squire if t’worst com ta pass, becoss he’d let Squire alooan, flayed ah hurting his owd sweetheart. It tak’s me ta put two an’ two tagether. He’s an’ owd scheeamer is t’Squire, an noa mistak’. But then it’s ah queer sensation, is love. Ov getten ah snatch on’t missel. But nawther Miss Brant ner Miss Denby are fit ta hod ah cannel ta Maud Ackle. It sets mi heart off thumping like all big drum, whenivver aw think ov her bonny face. Ov nivver said nowt to her yet. But sometimes ye can tell moor wi’ ah look er ah smile ner wi’ talking ivver sooa. Ov gi’en her ah few sly winks, an’ ov seen her blush wol her face, it’s been like t’Red Seea. Shoo’s the girl ah mi heart, is Maud. The apple ov mi eye. Sho’s sweeter than honey. She’s the sugar-candy ov mi happiness, bless her ! Well (looking towards the wings), if shoo isn’t coming! The varra lass om thinking abaat. Ov heeard ’em say if they talked abaat th’ owd lad he’d turn ly. Net het aw want ta mak’ onny acquaintance wi’ sich ah chap. Well, what mun aw do? Stand mi graand er hid missel? Nay, ol nivver turn t’white feather to ah bonny lass like her. Aw cannot help it. It’s ” What hez wor ta be.” (Enter Maud Ackle.) Good-day, Maud.
Maud : Good-day, Will (making off).
Jones : An’ what mak’s ya be i’ sich ah hurry?
Maud : I am on my way to see the Squire. I wish to ask a favour of him. My mother is very ill, and, as you know, we are poor. The doctor has ordered her nourishing food, and she thinks she can enjoy some rabbit soup. So I have come over to ask the Squire to be so generous as to let me have a rabbit for her. There are hundreds running about on his estate.
Jones : Om sorry ta heear ya mother is ill. An’ if od nob-but ah gun od roll one ower fo ya, this minnet, an chance t’Squire.
Maud : You are very good, Will. But I am sure when I tell him my mother is very, very ill, and knowing we are so poor, he will freely grant my request.
Jones : Reight ya are, Maud. Ye’l finnd ah lot ah difference between t’ Major an’ t’new Squire. Aw wish ya success. An’ aw hooap yer mother hel sooin be better. (Exit Maud. Will throws kisses behind her, as she retires.) Naah if ivver they wor ah lass wi’ good common sense, yond’s her. Aw thowt sho talked reight nicely to ma. An’ some day, when ov saved up ah bit ah brass, an’ gets mi wages raised ah time er two, aw sal ax her to be mi wife. That is, if aw can muster courage.
ACT I. – Scene 4.
(Squire’s Drawing Room at Cerghyl Hall.)
Squire : Yes, I am the sole heir to the Cerghyl Estate. The lawyer, it appears, had not the packet, after all. And I have never been able to make head or tail of it yet. I am hoping everybody else is as innocent about it. The gossips are perfectly justified in their circulation of rumours concerning my unmannerly and unprincipled behaviour. But what of that? Am I not the Squire? Have I not the power to quell the proud and independent spirit of these uncouth and ignorant village clods? Have I not the unquestionable authority to compel these ambitious and arrogant bumpkins to submit to my dominant will and to crush them like so many hideous blackbeetles under my feet? My friends tell me this is not the way to reach their hearts, or win their affections, and to court espect. Bah! What do these villagers know about affection or respect? People only a grade removed from barbarity. And since I became master, because I have shown my power and refused their paltry petitions, they have revenged themselves by ridding the streams of my trout, and by helping themselves to my game at midnight. But a stop shall be put to this before long. I will let them see ” I am monarch of all I survey.” The Crowling Ironsides shall seek for game in a prison cell. They will receive no mercy at my hands. I only wish Max Welton would join them. Then I would soon have him secure. If I were only rid of him I think it would be smooth sailing. If my Uncle was right (and I cannot help but believe he was), then it is quite possible somebody or other might know about it. The point is—how am I to get rid of Max Welton? He is the ghost of my life. I must rid him somehow. Besides, he is in love with Miss Denby, Che belle of Crowling. But he shall never win her. Denby, her father, will never give his consent. And I have always loved her myself—far better than Miss Brant (Fool I’ve been, I must get out of the engagement with her). Two on the carpet at once might lead to unpleasantness. (Bell rings. Enter butler, Will Jones).
Jones : Young lady ta see ya, sir.
Squire : Shew her up. (Exit butler.) Who in the world can it be? Can it be Miss Denby? Perhaps her father has told her I sought an interview with her (laughing). Just like Denby, that. He’s a rare old fossil. I respect him, because I can twist him around my little finger. He proves himself a useful tool. (Enter Maud Ackle.) ‘
Maud : Good-day, sir.
Squire : What do you want? (gruffly).
Maud : If you please, sir, my mother is very ill. The doctor says that only good nourishment and great care will bring her through. And she thinks she could relish some rabbit soup. We have no money to buy a rabbit with, and we thought of the hundreds in your grounds, and that maybe you would be kind enough to let us have just one. And God will reward you for your generous deed, sir.
‘ SQUIRE (sarcastically) : So that’s your tale, is it ? How long did it take you to get your speech off?
Maud (going upon her knees) : Please, sir, I am sincere.
Squire : Sincere in wanting a rabbit. Get up off your knees. I’m not a priest. Where do you live?
Maud : In Crowling, sir.
Squire: Who sent you?
Maud : It was the doctor’s suggestion.
SQUIRE : It might be. Now, you’ve told your tale honestly, let me tell mine. I have no rabbits for anyone in Crowling, whether they are ill or well, so the next time you want any I will save you a journey. My rabbits never come to the Hall. They are stolen by your very neighbours, who will probably be better able to grant your desires. Go and tell Jim Walker, one of the Crowling Ironsides, that you want a rabbit, and don’t come to me. (Rings for the butler.) I’ve done with you now. (Enter butler.) Show this girl out.
Jones : This way, Miss. (Exit Maud Ackle and butler.)
Squire : There, good riddance of another villager. I’ll teach them a lesson in Old Testament doctrines. An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.
ACT I. – Scene 5.
(Wood Scene. Enter Maud Ackle, weeping.)
Maud : What must I do? I was never so insulted in my life. I never thought any man could be so mean, especially living in a fine house like that, and calling himself a gentleman. Has he no heart? Has he no sympathy, insulting a girl who is in trouble, as he has insulted me. To hurl revenge at a harmless innocent woman in her sickness. Cruel wretch that he is. But ‘midst all my troubles I would rather share my poverty than be responsible for his misdeeds, for in some way or other the Lord will provide.
(Enter Jim Walker.)
Jim : An’ what ar’ta looking sa daan abaat, Maud ? Is thi mother nooa better?
Maud : No, I am sorry to say she is worse.
Jim : Hev ya some trouble, lass ?
Maud : Yes, I have just been to the Hall to ask the Squire for a rabbit, and I told him it was for my mother, who was so ill.
Jim: An’ he’d cheek ta refuse ya, hed he?
Maud : He said you stole all his rabbits, and I had to go to you for one next time I wanted any, and save a journey.
Jim : An’ he mentioned my name, did he?
Maud : He did, Jim.
Jim : Aye, an’ he’ll mention it ageeon befoor owt’s sa long.
Maud : I must be going home, now, to mother.
Jim : Aye, gooa hooam ta thi mother, an’ look after her. Niver heed Squire’s refusal. Ol see tha’rt reight. Tell thi mother shoo sal hev ah rabbit ta-neet, ah dozen if shoo wants ’em, and ba’aht Squire’s consent. O’l send ah nice tra’aht er two alang wi’ ’em. Sooa thee look after this mother, an ol look after t’rabbits.
Maud : Thank you kindly, Jim. Good-day. (Exit).
Jim : Good-day, lass. Aw think in ah case ah this sooart ah chap’s ah reight ta tak’ what he wants. Th’ Ironsides sal turn aght ta-neet ta do ah bit ah powching wi’ ah clear conscience. An’ what we dooan’t want we’ll kill an’ thraw e’m on t’lawn i’ th’ front o’ t’Hall. An’ we’ll show Squire het revenge is hez sweet ta us, I, hez it is ta him.
END OP ACT I.
ACT II. – Scene 1.
(Scene, public-house. Ned Driver, landlord, serving customers. Seated at the larger table, with pint mugs in front of them, are Walker, Skidby, Holmes, Owen. Denby sat at a little table on the opposite side, drunk.)
Denby : Here’s health (hic) ta t’lronsides !
Holmes : I, an’ three cheers for ther’ brave deeds, an’ ta Jim Walker.
Denby : Let’s drink his health (hic). He’s hez leader. Another pint, landlord. Om ah good (hic) customer to-day.
Driver : Here yer are, Denby. Os nooan fill ya monny moor pints, er else we sal hev ya ta carry hooam.
Denby : They’se nowt wrang, is ther’, Ned ? It isn’t oft ye hev ah company ah nowt but Ironsides. It mak’s ah chap (hic) owerstep baands ah bit to be i’ sich company.
Driver : I, we’ve hed some rare powching doos an’ all, hevn’t wa?
Jim Walker : We hev. Dooad hasn’t forgetten that Calton affair yet. Hev ya, Dooad? We’d neear ah dropp’t in for’t that time.
Dooad : Aw should think we hed. Od just fixed hez net across t’rooad, an’ ye wer driving t’game tawards it, when blest if ah swell ov ah chap didn’t come stalking on t’rooad.
Jim : I, he wer ah schooil maister.
Dooad : I, but he worn’t maister o’ t’lronsides. When he gat up ta t’net, he stop’t an’ stared raand, but could see nowt, sooa aw com aght an’ gav him ah invitation ta gooa forrad.
Holmes : An’ what did t’bloke do, Dooad?
Dooad : He said he wodn’t. But aw made nowt nooa moor ta do, but used mi feet freely, an’ aw sooin made him wol he couldn’t gooa on when he wanted.
Holmes : Sarve him reight. What business hed he ta interfere.
Dooad : Aw let him know het when t’lronsides tell’d him ta do ah thing, he’d hev it ta do, an quick.
Holmes : He started het wrang en, when he started ah thee.
Denby : It’s rare ale, is this (hie). It’s better ner (hic) t’Squire’s champagne.
Dooad : Shut up, Denby, wol ov finished mi tale. Well, next morning, abaat breakfast-time, aw saw ah lot ah chaps stood reeading ah nooatice, sooa aw went up ta reead it, hez if nowt wor. An’ this is wi said: ” Ten Pounds reward to anyone who can give information as to who the person was who brutally assaulted a schoolmaster near Calton, on the tenth.”
Holmes : What did ya say when ya read that?
Dooad : Aw said, ” By Jack’s, aw wish aw knew whooa’t wor. Od tell for ah deeal less sum ner that.” An’ they nivver did finnd it aght, whooa’t wor. Ost ah been ah fooil ta tell missel.
Denby : Naah, sup off, lads, an’ then (hic) ol pay for pints raand.
Skidby : Thank ya, Denby. You’re ah born gentleman.’ We’re ollus willing ta hev ah pint het somebody’s else expense.
Denby : Well, aw knaw (hic) tha’d get nooa moor (hic) if tha hed it ta pay for thissel (hic), an’ tha’s nooa need ta skit abaat me (hic) being ah gentleman. Aw know tha doesn’t meean it. But if aw arn’t one het better tap, aw (hic) mix wi’ ’em, an’ (hic) that’s moor ner tha can say.
Jim : Ov heeard tell het Squire coming ta see ya middling oft, Denby. You’re getting raand him, sooa’s ye can powch ah bit.
Denby : We’re on varra (hic) good terms, onnyway.
Skidby : It’s nooan Denby. It’s lass he goas ta see. He’s rayther sweet on her, they tell me.
Dooad : Sho’s fooilish if shoo gives Max up for ah soft-heead like him.
Denby : Naah om baan ta (hic) hev nowt wrang said abaat Squire. Him an’ me’s hed monny ah (hic) bottle together. Let’s drink his health, lads. He’s ah (hic) rare sooart.
Jim : We drank Squire’s health that neet, after he tried ta trap hez.
Denby: What neet wor that, ov (hic) forgotten’t?
Jim : Aw dooan’t think tha remembers it, Denby. We hed thee ta tak hooam on ah wheel-barrow that neet. An’ we sal hev ta do’t same ageean if tha dosn’t let that ale alooan.
Driver: An’ what wor this trap het Squire set for ya, Jim?
Jim : Ol tell ya’t tale. Me an’ other fower went ta do ah bit ah powching one neet, when we were dropp’t on. Squire hed ah dozen men, keepers an’ sich-like, waiting for hez.
Holmes : They’d near ah cop’t hez.
Jim: Are ye telling this tale, Holmes, er me?
Holmes : Nay, gooa on wi’ tha. An’ dooan’t ruffle thi feathers.
Denby : Aw believe het (hic) moor they get ah this (hic) ale an’ moor they want. It’s (hic) rare an’ lively.
Dooad : It’s baan ta mak’ ye lively, in ah bit, Denby, if ya dooan’t let it alooan. But it’s nooa use tolking to ya. Gooa on wi’ thi tale, Jim.
Jim : We were on one side” het wall an’ t’keepers on t’ other, ah dozen on ’em. It were varra dark, an’ they dursn’t come ower to hez, net knawing hez strength. Sooa seeing ’em falter, aw took command. ” Come daan fra that top end,” aw shaated. They’re were nooabody theear, ya knaw, an’ aw sent one er two ah bit lower daan. Then we commenced business wi’ makking hez big ah row hez we could, knocking stooans off t’wall, an’ makking sich ah brush abaat, wol they took ta ther heels.
Driver: Did they knaw onny on ya?
Jim : Net they. Aw heeard one on ’em say, ” By George, they’se abaat ah scoor on ’em !” But they left us ah cleear field, an’ we made weel aght, too. Imagine five on hez flaying sooa monny off t’field! Then we all com here, an’ drank Squire’s health. They nooabody put moor ale aght het seet that neet ner Denby. Aw dooan’t know whether he wor ” ailing ” day after er net, but aw fancy he worn’t sa weel. Holmes : Sup off, chaps, an’ let’s be gooin’. Driver (looking at his watch): It doesn’t want lang ah turning aght time.
Denby : It’s ta good ta leeave is this (holding up his mug). It’s rare (hic) ale is this (hic). Up ta t’knocker!
Jim : Come, Denby, let’s hev thi owd favourite afoore wi gooa.
Denby : We will (hic). (Denby rising to his feet and beating the time.)
” Oh, the sunny, the sunny hours of childhood,
How soon, how soon they pass away; Like the flowers, the flowers in the wild-wood, That once bloomed fresh and gay.”
ACT II. – Scene 2.
(Scene: Wood or Landscape.)
Enter Max Welton : I am here in very good time. She cannot have come back yet. She always takes the butter on a Wednesday, and I must see her to-day. I am determined to know the end. Well, 1 scarcely know whether to call it the end or the beginning of my love affair. But days have dragged on heavily with me at the mines lately. Sundays look a month apart, for I always get a glimpse of her pretty face on that ‘ day at the little chapel on the hill. Her rich treble voice in the choir I can hear above any other. My thoughts are far more of her than the sermon. There are times when I feel confident she loves me, though I know the Squire visits there pretty frequently. And what chance have I, a miner, with a weekly pittance—I, who earn my living underground; I, who at a word from the Squire’s lips would be amongst the unemployed? On the contrary, the Squire can offer her wealth and luxury. He would clothe her in purple and fine linen. A girl less sensible than Laura would jump at such an offer. But still, have we not been playmates from infancy? I have always been her ” hero” and she my ” heroine.” We used to play at marriages and talk of the time when we would enact them at the altar. But, alas! Dreams of youth are only castles in the air, to be shattered as we mix with the world. If the Squire was worthy of her I would sacrifice even my love, though no one would ever know how great that sac-rifice would be. I love the very ground she treads on. I want to win her, not because we were playmates, but because I love her. And if I knew for certain she loved me, neither the Squire nor any other barrier should come between us, for no other can ever fill the place which she holds in my heart. (Laura Denby singing a love song behind the wings.) Is that her voice I hear? Yes, it is. Singing a snatch of her favourite song. The man who wins her for his wife can truly say he is happy. (Enter Laura, with a butter basket on her arm.) Good-evening, Laura—if I may use so familiar a name.
Laura : Good-evening, Mr. Welton. I will grant you that privilege, if you prefer it.
Max : Why can’t you call me Max, as you used to do when we were children together?
Laura : Why, you are a man now and might be offended, as 1 am at you hiding yourself behind trees, listening to my songs.
Max : How can you sing so cheerfully, Laura, when other hearts are sad?
Laura : Sad, Max. Why, who can be sad on such a beautiful evening as this? The birds singing so sweetly, with the sweet scent of wild flowers about you, and the fragrance of the new-mown hay. When you can hear the swish of the scythes in the distance, when you can almost catch the jokes from the haymen. Why, it is out of place to be sad to-day! Why, Max, you are getting lowspirited or otherwise you are unwell.
Max : I am unwell, and also lowspirited, Laura.
Laura : Have you been suffering some time?
Max : Yes, for a long time now, Laura, and there is only one antidote in the world which can cure me.
Laura : Surely, Max, you speak in riddles. I cannot understand you. What is this cure for the dreadful malady you are suffering from? And if it is procurable from the means of our modest income, you shall have it, if I have to go without food in order to obtain it.
Max : No, it does not require all that, Laura. The fact is, I’m- I’m-
Laura: Consumptive, are you?—makes you not dare to tell. I was certain you looked dreadfully pale.
Max : No, Laura, I’m—I’m—in love !
Laura: In love, are you? And is that all? Why, you made me begin to think it was something very serious.
Max : It is very serious.
Laura : And who may the happy girl of your choice be? If you will pardon my asking.
Max : It is a lovely girl who lives on a farm at Cobbler-slide.
Laura : Why, it must be Miss Martin, the girl who lives on the next farm to ours.
Max (aside) : I believe she does not care for me. She has no idea I mean her. How I wish I had never mentioned it. How foolish I shall appear if she is engaged to the Squire. But now I must finish it, as I have begun. (To Laura): No, she is worth a thousand Miss Martins. It is you I mean. You, Laura! You—forgive me if I have been rash. I couldn’t help it. I cannot live without you! I should die to see you mar-ied to anyone else!
Laura : It cannot be, Max. It cannot be. Let me go now, or father will suspect something. You have no idea what a time I have of it at home. Do not say more, Max.
Max: Answer me one question, Laura. Do you love me?
Laura : I do love you, Max! And always shall do. And although I marry someone else, my heart will ever be yours. You have heard the Squire pays visits to our house, Max. Father says I shall have to marry him. But I hate him, and I shall be miserable to the end of my days if I am married to him. I told father it was a passing fancy the Squire had, which would wear off after we had been married a few months. Then he would have the degradation of seeing me a despised wife, dying for want of love. But let us both pray that something will turn up to prevent it. There is One above Who knows all. He will guide our steps aright, and what He does is best. If the worst happens, Max, ’tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.
Max: You remember what the Bible says, Laura? “Whom God hath joined together let no man put asunder,” and God has joined us together in love, if not in matrimony, and no man shall divide us. What is the Squire but a scheming villain, who robs the poor, to throw it away on the racecourse. He shall never part us. You are not afraid of us being seen together, are you, Laura?
LauRa : I am afraid father would be displeased.
Max : I believe your father would be pleased rather than otherwise. And I believe the squire is doing his best in trying to compel your father to persuade you into accepting him by threats. You live upon the Squire’s farm, you know. Shall I walk on home with you, and I will have a chat with your father? We used to be good friends.
Laura : And you are yet, Max, I hope. The Squire is causing the trouble.
Max : I’ll carry your basket, Laura. Come along. Let me have just one kiss to seal our hearts. (Kisses. Exit both.) (Enter Will Jones.)
Jones : It looks ta me like seealing lips. Well, aw expect it’s ” What hez wor ta be.” Ov young tricks abaat ma missel when aw meet my Maud. If shoo’d ah seen this it hed happen ah spurred her up ah bit. Aw can’t get ta pop t’question for mi life. Sho ollus gets on ta summat else just when om bahn ta start. What! They’re makking off ba’at seeing ma. Naah that’s way ta get into. Yond two’s living in ah little world ah ther oan. Aw olus thowt they’d mak it up. They’re finest pair i’ Crowling. (Of course, barring Maud an’ me). But aw can’t tell what ta mak’ on her. They’se Squire wi’ her one day an’ Max t’other. Om flayed they’ll be some bother i’ th’ end. It’s easy ta tell which sho likes. But if ivverybody gat what they liked they’d be sa mich cheewsing. Besides they’d nooabody ivver get satisfied. But om ah believer i’ this. Het whativver comes it’s ollus ” What hez wor ta be.” Aw like hez aw ollus pop up het ah awkward time. It’s happen hez weel they didn’t see ma, for, fra t’bit ah conversation het aw owerheeard it’s rayther ov ah nature het wants keeping quiet. Well, Max (as his eyes follow them), aw wish tha weel. Aw hooap thar’t successful i’ marrying t’girl ah thi heart. An’ aw think od better say ditto ta missel. But some day, when (t’proper time comes, tha’ll finnd aght het tha’s ah friend i’ Will Jones. An’ when tha gets to an exalted position aw hooap tha’ll net be same hez Pharoah’s butler, when he wer’ restored ta t’ royal haasehold—forget him het interpreted thi dreeams an’ befriended tha i’ thi dark days. But ov more faith in tha ner that. An’ if they’s onny likelihood het Squire robbing tha ah thi sweetheart anole, ye can rest content it hel nivver come ta pass if om abaat. Om nobbut waiting mi time ta expose him, although he’s mi maister. Ov heeard ’em say het they wer’ ah time for ivverything. An’ t’time for me ta do that hel come some day. (Exit.)
ACT. II. – Scene 3.
Ball at Lacegappe.
(Scene : Lawn in front of Lacegappe, people passing into the hall. Miss Brant enters. The Squire, and Will Jones carrying his bag, attired as a cab driver). Jones : What time do ya intend being ready for back, sir?
Squire ; I will let you know later. Perhaps two o’clock. (Squire enters the Hall).
Jones : All reight, ol be ready. (Will, retiring, meets cabby.)
Cabby : Hallo, Will! Are you in for a waiting job, same as me?
Jones : I, aw expect it hel be inta t’small haars when they leeave this ball.
Cabby : Most likely. Have you brought the Squire over, Will?
Jones : I, that’s what aw hev. Os’t ah cared nowt abaat bringing him, but it’s waiting sich ah while befoor aw can get ta tak him back het kills me mi pig. .
Cabby : Ha, ha! Yes, that’s it, Will. But it appears we are both on for the same company. I have brought Miss Brant from Rothersdale. The young lady the Squire is engaged to.
Jones : Young woman het Squire’s engaged to, did ya say? Ov heeard it rumoured befoor. But aw didn’t knaw whether ther’ wor onny truth in’t er net.
Cabby : Yes, but there is, Will. Why, the Squire has been a regular visitor at the Brant’s for more than two years. I have heard it said the young lady was his uncle’s choice and the Squire was obliged to become engaged to her to get his uncle’s money. Of course, this is only rumour and need not go any further. But I sincerely believe he wished to see them comfortably settled before he died. But let us go down to the stables now and see about the horses.
Jones : Excuse me gooin daan naah. Aw gav mine ah good feed just befoor we set off, sooa aw think it hel hev ta to do ah while. Aw sud be varra mich obliged to ya if ya’ll give her ah drink. It hel save me t’labour ah gooin daan.
Cabby : All right. I will, with pleasure. (Exit cabby).
Jones : Om baan ta look araand corners wol om here. It appears ta be all true abaat Squire cooarting booath Miss Brant an’ Miss Denby. But ol see for missel if aw get hauf ah chance. Ol keep mi ears oppen if they’s ah chance ah heearing owt. Aw think aw owt ta be ah detective. A’ar fowks missed ther way they didn’t send ma for one. It some way seems mi nature ta look inta other fowks’ affairs. But it’s nowt aw can help. Aw expect it’s ” What hez wor ta be.” Om hez keen hez onnybody at getting ta hear news. But best on’t is, aw can keep ah secret. Aw get ta knaw all aw can, an tell hez little hez aw can. That’s just wheear other fowks fail an’ get inta bother. They tell ther’ sacrets ta ther’ friends, ther’ friends tells ’em ta their friends, wol truth is they get all ower i* less time ner it tak’s sand ta run thro’ ah egg-boiler. Naah aw can keep ah sacret, an’ fowks knawing aw can keep one, they tell me things het they wodn’t think ah telling onnybody else. But they’se somebody coming aght het ballroom. Ol just step het back ah this tree wol they’ve getten aght het seet.
(Enter Squire and Miss Brant, who come out for a few minutes on the lawn.)
Miss Brant : It is dreadfully hot in the place. Shall we take a turn on the lawn.
Squire : As you wish.
Miss Brant : Do you know you have only danced with me once during the whole evening, and you’ve scarcely spoken to me since you came.
Squire : If you have brought me out to give me a lecture you might have saved yourself the trouble. Allow me, at least, to dance with whom I wish. There are other ladies requiring attention besides you.
Miss BRant : Yes, and one young lady, especially, gets more attention paid to her than I do. I am going to be honest with you, Walt. You treat me not as your affianced wife, but as a doll to play with—to suit your childish whims. I have noticed your coolness to me of late, and I also know of your visits to Miss Denby.
Squire : If you wish our engagement to come to an end, I will give my consent with the greatest pleasure. I am not used to such insults as you pour upon me. My character up to the present has been honest and pure, and I don’t want any reflections casting upon it by you.
Miss BRant : I have said nothing about our engagement being broken off. You have introduced that. What I want is a plain understanding with you. You cannot look me in the face and say these reports are not true.
Squire : You have brought me out for a cross-examination, then. If you believe these reports before you will believe me it is useless me saything anything.
Miss BRANT : I must believe them, because I know they are true.
Squire : I tell you, you give me no say in the matter.
Miss BRant : If you are loving and true to me you will set my mind at ease, when such reports are circulated about your attachment to another woman. Answer me this question: Do you love Miss Denby?
Squire : “What if I refuse to answer it?
Miss Brant : Then I shall take it for granted.
Squire: And what then?
Miss Brant : What then! Why, who would ask such a question?
Squire : You mean, of course, you give me up?
Miss Brant : Not I who give you up, but the reverse. When you asked me for my hand it was given to you—not only my hand, but my heart! I thought you were a gentleman, and I expected the treatment of a gentleman from you. Instead of that, you have deceived me. You have spoken words of love to me with lying lips. The engagement must be broken off because I know it is your wish. You have shown it in a hundred ways, but because I loved and trusted you I was blind and could not see it. And never would I compel a man to marry me when I knew there was no love. Here is your engagement ring (handing it to him, roughly), and never will it bind you to one who loved you dearer than I did. Take it, and let it do its cruel work in breaking the heart of some other innocent maiden.
Squire : It is all of your own doing, remember. Shall I escort you back to the ballroom? (offering his arm).
Miss BRANT : Shame on you to offer it to me after what has passed. You have acted the hypocrite with me long enough. If your heart is steeped in villainy I, at least, have some self-respect left. Leave me, and I will go, if I wish, without your aid.
Squire (sarcastically): I shall consider myself at liberty in the future. Good-bye, Miss Brant. I might just remind you—you have done me a favour. (Squire retires with a sarcastic bow.)
Miss Brant : Oh! Heaven! What shall I do? How shall I bear it? Would to God I had never known him. My heart is breaking. Not because I regret what I have said, but my love was so pure and innocent. My ideal has been shattered! My knight has turned out to be a knave! My dreams of the future have all faded away. But I must bear it as best I can. I will say good-bye to the hostess and order my carriage to be ready immediately. I will hurry away from the scene which has witnessed the first bitter tial of my life. (Exit.)
Jones (coming from his hiding place): Well, aw wer forced ta listen to ’em talking. Aw couldn’t help mi ears being oppen. It’s just coming ta pass hez aw thowt it wod. Lass hed happen calm daan ah bit if sho wer ah believer i’ ” What hez wor ta be.” Ov nivver seen Squire’s equal. He licks all. Aw just call t’lass ah sparkler, an’ nooa mistak. Sho’s nooan short ah gam’. They’re isn’t monny women het is. That’s my experience on ’em, up ta t’present. Aw might be moor convinced after ov been wed ah yeear er two. Sho fairly stood up to him. An’ shoo did reight. Aw felt fit ta come aght an give him ah good thrashing missel, altho’ he is mi maister, er else pretends ta be. But his game he’l be played aght some day, an’ net ta sooin. If Miss Brant nobbut knew, it’s best day’s wark het ivver sho did in her life—getting rid het Squire. He’s nooa good ta nooabody. But ol gooa daan an’ look after mi horse naah. Maybe he’l’ be makking off back. Aw wish he wod. Aw know aw should get ta bed ah bit sooiner.
ACT II. – Scene 4.
(Dark landscape scene. The Ironsides on a poaching expedition. Rough fellows’, with sticks, nets, and a dog, if possible.)
Jim : Naah, we’ve done ah clever trick, this time. We gat dogs aght an’ made off fra Crowling in ah way het couldn’t be lick’d wi’ nooa general. If we hedn’t slip’t that chap fra Rushby het stood guard het Jack Nook we should ha’ been in for’t het t’other end. He knew het dogs were kept het a’ar haase, sooa he stood guard for two er three ha’ars ta see if we made off. An’ if he’d seen hez he’d ha’ made straight back ta Rushby Hall. An’ they’se nooa telling what we sud hev hed ta contend wi’ when we started setting hez nets. Naah ol just tell ya haah aw did it. They wer’ Dooad, an’ Jack, an’ Bill o’ Gurges ca’ared under a’ar kitchen window waiting for me ta put dogs aght, an’ this chap het keepers hez on were parading on t’rooad i’ th’ front het th’ ha’ase. It wer ah lucky do for us het back window hed oppen (for we hadn’t ah back-door), er else we sudn’t ah been here naah. Od ta be varra cautious. Aw behaved quite innocently hez if aw didn’t knaw het chap wer theear. Aw kept ah leet i’ th’ ha’ase wol abaat bedtime. Aw hed cannel on t’table i’ th’ middle het floor, an’ naah an’ then passed it sooa’s me shadow hed fall on ta t’blind. That wer ta satisfy him aw wer’ het hooam. Aw locked an’ barred doors an’ took t’cannel an’ went clomping upstairs ta bed, pulled blind da’an, an started undressing, minding ta let mi movement an’ figure fall on ta t’blind like ah magic lantern. Then when aw thowt o’d been upstairs lang enough aw blew t’cannel aght an’ crept quietly daan ageean an handed ya t’dogs aght, an’ crept throo t’kitchen window. Sooa doon’t blame me if ya think aw wer ah lang while. Aw dooan’t knaw whether t’chap’s standing theear naah er net.
Holmes : Good lad, Jim! Ye’re one in on ’em this time, onnyway. But we’s hev ta mind hez P’s an’ Q’s. They’ve been ah lot keener on hez scent latt’ly, an’ some ah theease days we’s hev ah stiff piece ah business ta do..
Jim : What if we hev? Aw dooan’t knaw ah likelier lot ah chaps for standing it ner us Ironsides. We’re flayed ah now’t i’ Craven if we’ve ah full teeam.
Skidby : Aw think we gooa inta danger when we’ve nooa need. If they’ve ah man on t’watch het this end they’se nooa telling haah monny they’ll be het t’other end. My idea is het best plan hed be ta turn back an’ give up powching wol things sattle daan ah bit.
Jim : Tha allus wor ah soft en, Tom. But they’se noabody keener ah hares ner thee when tha can see t’tails ov ah to’thry.
Tom: An’ they’se nooan on ya hates prison war ner aw do, since we hed ta gooa for rabbiting on Cerghyl Estates. That time when t’Squire refused Maud Ackle ah rabbit.
Dooad : I, we reight cleeared him aght that neet. We killed scoors on ’em. An’ it sarved him reight. Ol bet he looked middling funny when he saw t’ lawn strewn wi’ deead young ens. They’se been nowt worth fotching since then, Hez ther’, Jim?
on’t baat bringing somebody else in. But we’ll gooa on ah
bit farther. Aw see them t’other chaps are just landing up.
(Enter Denby and Ned Driver.)
Denby : We’ve owerta’en ya het last.
Jim : We’ve waited on ya lang enough.
Driver : Gooa on, Denby. We’ll stick to ’em this time. (Exit.)
(Dark landscape scene. Gamekeepers and farmers, all armed with sticks, keeping watch in the woods near Rushby Hall.)
Gamekeeper 1 : We are fully prepared for the Crowling Ironsides to-night. I expected Frank back with some information before now. We could call up a few more men, perhaps, if we we’re certain they had set off.
Farmer 1: Oh, let’s bide hez time. It’s net varra cowd ta be February, an’ we’se be nooa war for missing ah neet’s sleep. Aw think they’ll turn up, yet. They dooan’t keep daycent ha’ars hez ah rule, do powchers, an’ they cannot an getten ta knaw we’re ligging i’ wait for ’em. If they’ll nob-but come, we can guarantee ’em ah warmer welcome ner they’ll be expecting. They’re ah rough lot, but we’ll horn-burn ’em same hez we do t’sheep. We’ll mak’ ’em wol they’ll be good ta tell for wicks after.
Gamekeeper 2 : Ye know which way they ollus come, dooan’t ya? Haah wod it be if ya went ta t’plantation edge, Mike, ta stand sentinel ? They’ll maybe heear hez talking here befoor we’re aware, an’ then hez game he’l be up. Besides, it he’l give hez ah bit moor time ta plant hez sel aght.
Farmer 2: O’d rayther be excused, chaps. They might come another way, an’ if they cop’t me bi missel aw sud nobbut stand ah poor chance.
Gamekeeper 1: Let us all remain here. It might be better. I think there is no fear of them reaching us without our knowledge.
Farmer 1: They’ve come i’ fairish gangs latt’ly. But aw think they’ll sooin tak’ ta the’r heels when we mak ah brush at ’em.
Gamekeeper 2: You dooan’t be ta sewer ah that. These Crowling Ironsides are as sturdy ah set ah men hez ivver Cromwell’s Ironsides wor: We sal hev ta vastly aght-number ’em if we’re onny good. An’ even then they’ll show feight ta t’last. My mate here (pointing to Gamekeeper 1) an’ me, we’ve hed ta run fer hez life moor ner once when we’ve seen ’em coming tawards hez. But what wer that? Did ya heear it? (All intently listen.)
Farmer 2: Nay, aw think it wer nobbut ah hare, er ah
Gamekeeper 1: Give up talking and listen. (After a pause) There it goes again ! That was a twig which snapped!
Farmer 2: Aw can heear somebody laughing—did ya heear that?
Farmer 1: They’re coming, an nooa mistak! You can distinctly heear ah trample ah feet naah. An’ they saands nooa little on ’em.
Gamekeeper 2: They’re here!. Naah, just ah word. Do ya all knaw what ta do after ye’ve all getten hid? Keep hez quiet hez ya can. Ah single move he’l betray hez presence. An’ dooan’t rush aght wol aw blaw mi whistle. Each tak’ yer man. This is hez chance. If we miss it, we desarve it. We’re the attacking party. If it comes ta blaws, mind ya hit ah Ironside. Let’s hev nooa mixing up an’ attacking one another. We’ll lot ’em get the’r nets set an’ then tak’ ’em fair i’ th act. Naah, away ye get to yer hiding place. Mind your points. An’ then aw think we sal conquer. (Exit all.) (Sound of Ironsides approaching. Enter Jim Walker, followed by Dooad Owen, Tom Skidby, Holmes, Driver, and Denby.)
Jim (looking carefully around) : Aw cannot see they’se onny danger here ta-neet, lads. All’s quiet abaat hez onnybody need wish it. Get yer nets aght an’ ta business. They’se plenty on hez ta hev ah fair good haul. Dooad, tha’d better stand sentry?
Dooad (retiring to wings) : All reight, but aw sal hev mi share het plunder. Let’s hev ah fair understanding.
Jim : Of course. Doesn’t ta knaw hez rules yet- Share an’ share alike. If tha’rt copt being t’sentry tha’ll get just hez monny months i’ gaol hez we sal. An’ what shares i’ th’ bad owt ta share i’ th’ good hez weel.
Denby : Let’s hev a net daan this side. We’ve hed monny ah lucky catch here. Dash it! This net’s getten all feltered ov ah lump. It tak’s moor reighting ner ah hank ah worset, after yev let it slip.
Skidby : Wod ya put this net across this corner, Jimp
Jim : I, it he’l do theear. Get that fixed an’ then gooa an tell Bailey ta let dogs gooa in het top end. (Whistle is heard). What’s that? It can’t be onny ah a’ar chaps. Are wa baan to hev ta feight for’t, aw wonder! Seize yer sticks, chaps. It’s net first time we’ve hed ta feight hezsel aght ov a scrape.
Dooad (enter excitedly): They’re on hez, lads! They’re on hez ! Keepers are springing up on all sides like mushrooms.
Skidby (making as if to go) : Let’s run for’t! Aw knew
haah it hed be—
Jim : Run! What ar’ ta talking abaat? Arta baan ta be ah skooil lad all thi life? Tha’d better ah stop’t het hooam an’ teed thissel ta thi mother’s appron. Let’s hev nooa moor ah that sooart ah talk. Naah lads, we’ve wives an’ families het hooam. Shew yer mettle if ya want ta get back to ’em. (Ironsides forming ready for fight.) (Enter keepers, etc., rushing at the Ironsides, blows are dealt
freely. Gamekeeper 2 and Denby fall in the fray. Tom
Skidby makes oft almost before the fight is finished. As
soon as the fight is over the Ironsides, Dooad Holmes,
Walker, and Driver, carry off Denby, who lays helpless.)
Gamekeeper 1: Are you badly hurt, Bill?
Gamekeeper 2 : I’m dying—Oh! my poor head— (they
bandage up his wounds).
Gamekeeper 1 : Drink this. Perhaps it will revive you? (To Farmer 1) : Have the Ironsides got off another time?
Farmer 1 : I, but they’se one fellow they’ll varra likely hev ta carry him all t’way ta Crowling. He couldn’t walk ah step.
GAMEKEEPER 1: Off you go at once and make it known to the police. Maybe they’ll overtake them before they arrive home.
Gamekeeper 2 : Oh ! my head ! Take me home !
Gamekeeper 1 (to Farmer 2): Also, see if Dr. Jessop is at home and send him here at once. Meanwhile, we will prepare to have him removed to his home. (Taking off his coat) Lay your head upon my coat, Bill.
Gamekeeper 2 (in severe pain) : Take—me hooam—ta mi wife—an’ children—
Gamekeeper 1: Directly, Bill. (Aside 🙂 The Crowling Ironsides shall pay the full penalty of the law this time. Their infamous deeds of daring shall bring for them the punishment they so richly deserve.
ACT II. Scene 6.
(Landscape. Enter Max Welton and Will Jones.)
Jones : Ov spent ah varra enjoyable evening het ya’ar ha’ase, Max. Aw ollus like yer company. They’se sooa monny . ah theease two-faced fowk abaat het this day, an’ ye cannot mak’ nawther heead ner tail on ’em.
Max : I know that you are genuine, Will, and I have very much enjoyed your company. But it has had rather an abrupt termination.
Jones : I, Aw wer capt somebody coming ta t’door het this time het neet—er else morning. Aw heeard yaar clock strike one er two little ens.
Max : You will excuse me asking you to leave our house, Will, and coming so far with you, but I can trust you. I know you will not betray anyone if he is doing a kind act. The visitor who came to our door is an Ironside. I need not tell you his name. Perhaps he would not wish it. He came to tell me there has been a serious poaching affray at Rushby Hall. It has been a hand-to-hand fight with the keepers and neighbouring farmers, and Mr. Denby has been very seriously wounded. They are having him to carry all the way, so he thought I might be able to render him some assistance. And I must do it, Will. You know he has no one but his daughter. What a blow is awaiting her. I have no need to tell you how I love her, and we are always willing to do anything for those we love.
Jones : Ther’ isn’t ah thing het aw wodn’t do for Maud Ackle. Ye’ll manage things ah deeal better ner them het’s wi’ him, om certain. O’d ah gooan wi’ ya missel ta help, but Squire’s off het ah ball, an’ he might hev left word for me ta fotch him. He said he wodn’t be back befoor fower.
Max : I would just like to ask a favour of you, Will. Would you mind going on to Cobblerslide and break the news to Miss Denby? Tell her I have gone to render all the assistance I possibly can.
Jones : ‘Aw will. An’ theear’s mi hand on’t (shake hands). An’ if ya knaw me ye can rest content het owt het needs keeping quiet is hez safe wi’ me hez it wer’ under lock and key. My jaws nivver wark wi’ keeping ah sacret.
Max : Thank you, Will. You are always willing to do a kindness. But now I must be getting along. Moments are precious’ when you are upon an errand like this. I will do my utmost, you can rest assured. And I will not relinquish my efforts until I see Denby safe at his home.
Jones (shaking hands) : Well, tak’ care, Max. An’ mind ye dooan’t get inta bother. It’s ” What hez wor ta be.”
ACT II. – Scene 7.
(Dark moorland landscape. Enter Jim Walker, Joe Holmes, and Ned Driver, carrying the helpless form of Denby, roughly bandaged.)
Jim : Naah, chaps. Clap daan. Hang it, let’s hev ah rest. Aw think this is hez quiet an’ loanly ah spot hez we can finnd ta arque t’question hez ta what we’re baan ta do. If Denby’s deead, which aw think he is, best plan he’l be ta bury him. Aw think this looanly spot he’l tell nooa tales.
Holmes : It’s rather hard lines ta leeave ah mate i’ sich ah way an’ i’ sich ah spot hez this, even if he is deead. Aw think if we can carry him hooam befoor leet, an’ if he gets his waands fettled up ah bit, he’d come raand yet. It’s nooa use doing nowt in ah hurry, especially burying ah chap het’s fared ah bit war ner we hev it t’battle.
DRIVER : Well, Denby cannot last till morning. O’m looking for him breeathing his last onny minnet, an’ if we’re baan ta hev ta carry him ta Crowling we’re baan ta hev ah bonny job, an’ nooa mistak. It’s baan ta come ta this i’ th’ end. We’se all be copped an’ browt up for murder, for they’se nooan on hez knaw haah monny keepers we’ve killed. Wheear, if we get rid ah Denby, we’se all hev ah chance ov escaping, for they’se sewer ta be somebody on hez track befoor we can get hooam wi’ ah looad like this (pointing to Denby). (Enter Dooad Owen.)
Dooad : O’v fun ya het last then. Ye’ve faand ah quiet corner for t’ job. Aw faand this spade i’ one ah them aght-buildings belonging ta that farm het stands off t’rooad ah bit. Sooa o’d better get ta work, if ye’ve considered ta part wi’ him.
Jim : Aw think we’ve abaat come ta that conclusion, sooa aw think tha’d better dig ah grave just inside that plantation if tha can manage it i* th’ dark. Tak’ t’sod off middling straight. We mooan’t leeave onny trace ah this job when we get it covered up.
Dooad : All reight. Ol net be monny minnets. (Exit.)
Holmes (kneeling beside Denby) : Aw say, Denby! Can ya heear ma? (No answer). Denby! Denby! Speeak if ya want ta save yer life ? Oppen yer eyes. Lift yer hand! Move someway ta shew hez ye’re alive. No answer; listens close to him.) I can’t detect the slightest signs ah life. But let’s carry him hooam, lads. Maybe he’ll revive. What s’al wa tell his daughter if we bury him here? Can wa look into her honest eyes an’ tell her ah lie? Can ah Ironside be sooa cowardly? An’ it hed be ah bigger shame ta tell her t’truth.
Jim : We’se hev ta tell her he’s cut t’country becos he’s killed one het keepers, an’ shoo’l happen sattle daan when sho knaws he’s done it ta save his neck. They’s monny ah war job ner this happened het seea.
Holmes : An’ what will ya do if shoo’s getten ta knaw all abaat it? Who knaws but what Tom Skidby hed call an tell her all abaat it. He’ll hev landed theear bi naah.
Jim : Scamp het he is! He’s enough ‘ ta tak care on wi’ hissel. Tha’s nooa need ta think he’ll look after onnybody else. He’s ta soft ah chap ta be an Ironside, an’ ol bet if he gets aght ah this scrape he’ll nivver be in another.
Holmes : It’s hez well ta consider things fra all sides Ov hed mi say. Ye can pleease yersel haah ya do naah, but om net i’ t’ way for burying him, even if he is deead.
DRIVER : We hev hez ooan necks ta consider i’ this case. Hev wa ta be hanged, er spend ah to’thry yeears i’ prison for t’ sake ah carrying him two er three miles ta bury, when we can bury him here? It hel mak nooa’ difference ta Denby wheear he’s buried.
Dooad : Well, ov getten ah hoil made i’ t’graand. Let’s get job owe’rd wi’ an mak’ off fra here hez fast hez we can. (They prepare to carry Denby away.)
Jim : They’se somebody coming. Lift him on ta this side. Whoivver can it be het this time het morning? (The Ironsides stand in front of Denby, trying to hide him.) (Enter Max Welton.)
Max : Ah ! Here you are. Where is Mr. Denby? (No answer.) Where is Mr. Denby, I say? Tom Skidby told me ha had got nearly killed, and I have come to render him some assistance.
Jim : Om sorry, but ye’ve come ta lat. Ta tell ya t’truth, we were just baan ta bury him. We’ve getten t’grave dug.
Max: Where is he? Let me see him. (Looks around). Ah, here he is (pulling them aside, he kneels beside him, feeling at his hands and face, and tries his pulse). Why, he’s not cold yet! Are you certain he is dead? DRIVER : We’ve all come to that conclusion, Max.
Max : Why, the man is alive yet. (Taking a flash from his pocket, he wets his lips, and begins to dress his wounds). Is there anything you can make a stretcher of?
Holmes : Ov ah net i’ mi pocket. Let’s cut two boughs daan, an’ then we’se be able ta carry him. It hel mak ah kind ov ah hammock like what they hev ta sleep in when they’re het seea.
Mar : Right! Set to work, then, and some of you fill that grave up. And if you want to escape the law, the less time you lose the better.
Jim: But ye’re running ah big risk i’ coming ta help us, Max. Ye’ll net gooa mak ah talk on’t an’ hev hez all put i’ prison, will ya?
Max : We have got no time to talk over those matters. You can rest content that you will never hear a word against you from my lips. But I don’t approve of your deeds. And 1 hope this will be a lesson for you in the future. I know you have wives and families at home. Some of you have large families to support. And, no doubt, it is partly the pinch of poverty which has driven you to this. Now, I shall expect you to obey orders. I have studied out the best and safest way to reach Cobberslide unseen, even if they are watching the main roads (groan from Denby). Denby seems to be reviving a little, so if you have got your stretcher ready we will proceed at once, and whatever extremities you are driven to in the future, never offer to do such a cowardly deed as you have perpetrated in your hearts just now. And you would have carried out your dastardly act, I presume, had I not appeared on th© scene.
Jim : Thank ya, Max. We knew we had ah friend i’ you. An’ aw dooan’t think het they’se ah man i’ Crowling but what hel giv’ ya ah good word. O’m thankful ye’v come, er else we should ha’ made this job war ner what it is. An’ ye can rest content het if we get ower this affair we shall give up powching, an’ see if we cannot retrieve hissel ah bit.
Holmes : That we will. An’ ye’ll ollus finnd het Ironsides he’l stand by ya, if ye’r ivver i’ onny danger. (They lift Denby on the stretcher, amid groans from him, and prepare for moving forward.)
Jim : Did ya meet onnybody when ye wer coming, Max?
Max : Only the Squire. Will Jones told me he was at a ball, and he did not know whether he had to fetch him or not. • But it appears he was walking back home. He did not say anything, never offering to speak” to me. We passed each other without a word. But the Squire would not have heard about this poaching affair. And I have as much right to be travelling the roads in the early morning as he has. (Lifting up, Denby groans again.) Now, gently, lads—gently. Take hold one at each corner, and we’ll take the fields at White Stoop Gate.
END OP ACT II.
ACT III. – Scene 1.
(Scene: Denby’s Cottage, Denby alone.)
Denby, (with bandage around his head): Aw we’re nivver in ah better fix i’ me life. Aw nivver wor ah chap het wer* particular abaat reight er wrang if aw could nobbut gain summat by it. Aw ollus wor keen ah brass, an’ aw expect aw ollus shall be. Mi fix is this : Ov ah bonny lass, an’ ov two offers for her hand. One’s plenty ah brass an t’other’s plenty ah brains. An’ besides that, he saved mi life het that Rushby Hall affair. O’st ah been buried alive, aw believe, but for him. But it dosn’t matter haah oft aw weigh t’matter ower, aw ollus come ta t’same conclusion—i’ t’favour het Squire. Aw knaw it’s net reight, but ah fortune is ah thing het ah farmer hasn’t put i’ t’front on him ivery day. An’ aw heear plenty ah fowk talking abaat heving missed the’r chance. Aw dooan’t want ta hev ta say that abaat this affair. Om aware shoo’s deeply i’ love wi’ Max Welton, but then sho’d sooin get ta love t’Squire. He’d dress her ‘i silks an’ satins, an’ sho’d weear t’ Cerghyl jewels an’ come aght ah real lady. Sho’d nooan be sa back’ard het heving him if sho knew what it wor ta uphod ah haase for ah working man, even if he’s ah good trade an’ ah good wage. Naah Max, he’s nowt ta offer but hissel. But they dooan’t think ah poverty when they’re i’ love. An’ t’ moor aw talk ta her abaat keeping away fra him an’ t’ moor determined sho seems ta be ah heving him. Ov nowt wrang ta say abaat him. He’s ah better chap ner t’ Squire—if he’d brass. (Knock.) Whoivver can this be? Come in! (Enter Squire.)
Squire : Good evening, Mr. Denby. Glad to find you alone. I’ve called to have a little chat with you and a tete-a-tete with your daughter. By the by, I presume she is at home?
Denby : Yes, sir, sho’s het hooam. But sho’s het present engaged in th’ humble occupation ah feeding t’ poultry. But sho wiln’t be lang befoor sho’s back. Hev ya onny news?
Squire : Most of the news in Crowling appears to be about the Rushby Hall tragedy. It was rather strange that they should ssupect a man like you, Mr. Denby, simply because you were so unfortunate as to meet with an accident on the farm about the same time. But I am glad they have cleared you. It was such an outrageous thing to accuse on such weak evidence.
Denby : Aw thowt once ower they were baan ta try ta run ma inta heving deealings wi’,’em. Aw dooan’t want ya ta think, Squire, het aw should ivver hev onny deealings wi’ sich ah low set ah men hez powchers.
Squire : Rest assured, Denby, you’d be the last man that I should have any suspicion of.
Denby: Thank ya, sir. Hev they getten onny clue ta t’ reight ens yet? Aw havn’t heeard nowt latt’ly. They dosn’t mich news get up ta Cobblerslide, an’ aw havn’t been able ta stir mich since aw hed mi misfortune.
Squire : I have heard from good authority that they have discovered the ringleader, and are about to issue a warrant for his arrest.
Denby : An’ whoo may it be, if aw may be sa bowld?
Squire : I was under an oath not to tell until after his arrest, but I can trust you with it Denby. It is none other than that respectable villain, Max Welton. I always thought him a contemptible rascal.
Denby (excited): Max Welton! Max Welton, of Grillbot-tom!
Squire : That’s the man.
Denby : It cannot be Max ! Impossible! They must be ah mistak somewheear. Why, ov knawn Max all mi life, ivver sin’ he could first toddle, an’ he’s one het daycentest fellows het ivver walked on t’rooad. But naah dunnot think aw put him i’ th’ front ah ye, Squire. Oh, now! They’se nooabody aw should like for ah son-i’-law onny better ner ye. But ov ollus fun Max ta be ah straightforrad honest lad. An’ whooas chap het’s been ta sweear he wer one het th’ Ironsides that neet?
Squire : Well, it will have to come out at the trial, Denby, so I might as well tell you now. I was the man who saw him. I was obliged to tell. Knowing that I came in that direction from a ball on that very morning, they questioned me as to whether I saw anyone or not. And being a truthful man, I was obliged to admit that the only person I saw that morning was Max Welton. He passed me without speaking, and, moreover, looked afraid lest I should know him. I guessed something was wrong. But I had not then heard about the Rushby Hall poaching affair. He is the only person identified. Who the remainder are will probably come out at the trial. One or two others have been arrested on suspicion. Max Welton will probably spend the next ten years within the bare walls of a prison cell.
Denby : The people of Crowling might blame ya, Squire.
Squire : What the people of Crowling will think or say will make no difference to me. He being my rival for your daughter’s hand people will say it was unfortunate for Max to meet me, above all others. But I felt it my duty to tell all, rather than have the guilty conscience that I had screened the perpetrator of a criminal offence against the law, and prevented him receiving “the punishment he so justly deserves.
Denby : Om net baan ta hinder ya fra doing what’s reight, Squire, but aw hooap nooabody het’s innocent hel suffer for it. Ye’l happen excuse ma, Squire, if aw retire. Aw dooan’t feel sa weel. Ol send Laura ta keep ya company ah bit.
Squire : Oh, yes, Mr. Denby. Good-night! I hope you will feel better for a night’s repose.
Denby : Good-neet, Squire. (Aside:) Aw feel ah bit bothered abaat Max Welton, but aw think it hel get cleeared up some way. He’ll net let owt aght abaat us, om certain. He’ll suffer hissel first. (Exit Denby.)
Squire : Now, Max Welton, intended heir of Cerghyl Estates, we are quits at last! It was fortunate I met with him. He has no chance of clearing himself. I believe he had some connection with the Ironsides on that fatal night. I shall swear in my evidence that he was making for home, though in reality, of course, he was going in the opposite direction. Ha, ha ! Max Welton! I shall have an open field while you are away. (Enter Miss Denby.) Good-evening, Miss Denby. May I have the pleasure of offering you a chair in your own home?
LAURA : No, thank you. When my father told me we had a visitor, I had no idea it would be you.
Squire-: Are you disappointed, Laura?
Laura : Call me Miss Denby, please. You are not such an intimate friend of mine that you need use my Christian name.
Squire : Miss Denby, will you pray be seated?
Laura : No, thank you. What I have to say to you I can say it standing.
Squire : How is it that you are so cool and distant with me, Lau—Miss Denby, when I have your father’s permission to pay my addresses to you? And you never treat me with more than common civility—never as one who is to become your future husband.
Laura : You—my future husband—never !
Squire : Miss Denby, you are not yourself to-night. I am your friend. I love you. Why are you so opposed to me, when I could make you so happy. Max Welton has deceived you into making you believe he loves you. He has deceived you, as he has deceived everyone else. And your so-called lover, Max Welton, ere this, is in the hands of the police, charged as an accomplice in the murder of a gamekeeper, and as the leader of the Ironside poachers.
Laura : How dare you torment me so? If he is in the hands of the police it is your dastardly work. If you think you are advancing your cause by telling me this, you are mistaken. I hate you more than ever ! Max told me himself he met you that fatal night. But had he not as much right to be walking the lanes as you had. Why did he not inform the police about you? You were coming towards home—-he was going from it. You were the most suspicious of the two. Before you see the mote in somebody else’s eye, extract the beam from your own ! And now let me tell you, I would marry Max Welton a thousand times over before I would marry a despicable coward like you! And if you get him sent to prison —for it will be your doing if he goes—I will wait, not a month or a year, but ten years if need be! For I shall never call anyone else husband! What are riches and finery without love. I would rather share the most miserable cot with brave Max Welton than dwell in a mansion with a base and heartless wretch like yourself! Poverty and love go hand-in-hand. It is love, and not wealth and pomp, which produces that true and divine happiness which you know as little of as you know of justice—or mercy—or honour !
Squire : You may use strong language now, but your love
will grow cool when a prison cell parts you—when your ideal
has become a felon——-
Laura : Felon or no felon, imprisoned or not imprisoned, the day will come, I hope, when he will be clear before the world. When even you shall learn that no truer heart ever throbbed in human breast than Max Welton’s. The innocent may sufier for a time, but—
The mills of God grind slowly, But they grind exceeding small. And in God’s own way the mystery will be cleared.
Squire : You appear to have a lot of faith in your rustic swain. Your love is deserving of someone better than a miner, who can offer you no more than a common cottage and a tainted name.
Laura : We need not further discuss the matter. I have spoken plainer than usual to-night. And if you have any respect for me you will show it by not intruding into my presence.
Squire : I have your father’s permission, remember, to come as often as 1 please. Perhaps you will regret what you have said to-night. But I will leave you now. You may be more amiable when I call again. Good-night, Miss Denby. Before the trial is over you will dread the name of Max Welton, even before the name of Walter Sheldon, ” the dreaded ; Squire,” as you call me. I, at least, have escaped being placed in the list of felons—and a prison cell. (Exit Squire).
Laura : Was ever woman tormented as I am? Max Welton a prisoner by this time, he said. That you who are innocent should suffer through saving the life of my own father. And we are helpless. We can do nothing to save you. May the God whom you trust in deliver you.
ACT III. – Scene 2.
(Scene : Landscape.)
Wilkes : Om gooin ta hev ah bit on mi oan to-day. Om
gooin ta ——- Fair. An’ if aw gooa bi missel aw shall hev
nooabody ta fall aght with. An’ takking ah girl wi’ ya adds ta t’expense, an’ in ah sense, tak’s away yer freedom. Ye’ve ta suit her het steead ah yerselves. But whooase this coming this way? Aw believe it’s Becka Sharp. Aw dooan’t knaw
haah it is, aw can gooa nooa wheear witha’at meeting her. (Enter Becka.) Good afternoon, Becka!
Becka : Good afternoon, Wilkes. What are ya hanging abaat here for? Ye neearly flayed me aght aw mi wits!
Wilkes : Ar’ta nervous becos tha’s seen me. Tha’s nooa cashion.
Becka : Nay, aw ammot. Why should it upset mi nerves meeting thee? Tha talks hez if tha’d some limb ah royalty abaat tha.
Wilkes : Aw were just thinking het aw nivver set off but what aw come across thee.
Becka : Tha’s nooa need ta think aw put missel’ i’ thi way. Aw dooan’t. Ol tell tha what it is, Wilkes. Tha’rt getting ta big ah edge aw thissel.
Wilkes : Nowt het sooart, Becka. Aw see thar’t donned up
fearful fine. Are ya baan ta ——— Fair?
Becka: That’s just what aw set aght for, if aw could nobbut meet wi’ some good company.
Wilkes : Well, aw hooap tha’rt successful. Aw thowt ah
gooin’ ta ———– Pair missel?
Becka : Well, if tha doesn’t mind, we’ll gooa on tagether. That is, if ye arn’t waiting ah somebody else.
Wilkes : That’s ah good offer, Becka.
Becka : But then, ye’re happen flayed on hez being seen tagether. Ye could do warr, Wilkes, ner tak’ on wi’ me. There’s lots ah ye bachelors want stirring up ah bit. Naah, what can ye say ta that, Wilkes?
Wilkes : Aw dooan’t knaw. Ye’ve reight ta’en t’winnd aght ah mi sails. Aw might hey made arrangements for owt ye knaw. An’ if aw want ah girl ta wilk aght wi’ ol hev one ah mi oan chooice.
Becka : Aw dooan’t see why men shoold ollus hev ther pick. If aw tak ah fancy to ah young man aw dooan’t see owt ta hinder ma fra telling him sooa. But if ye men fall 1′ love wi’ ah nice-looking lass, ye think sho sud tak on wi’ ya, haah ugly ya be. It’s abaat like men, ye’ve fairly some consequence abaat yersel’. An’ if ya willn’t gooa wi’ ma, well—ye’re nooan sooa big ah catch. Sooa ol be makking off.
Wilkes : Nay, tak thi time, Becka. Aw nivver said aw wodn’t gooa wi’ ya. Haah do ya knaw but what if od twenty ta chewse fra aw should chewes ye befoor onnybody else?
Becka : Naah, that’s sensible talk. Aw admire ya for it. Sooa tak mi arm an’ let’s be gooin’. An’ see if we can’t put two an’ two tagether befoor we get ta t’Fair. An’ if we do mak’ it up, they’se nooabody nowt ta do with it nobbut hezsel.
Wilkes : Aw call it putting one an’ one tagether. Thar’t ah brick, Becka, an’ if aw wanted ah partner i’ life (which is varra daahtful), aw might gooa farther an’ fare worse.
Becka : We’ve talked ah lot ah silly stuff, Wilkes, but they’se nooa telling what it hel leead to. An’ they’se nooabody od rayther be seen on t’rooad wi’ ner yersel. An’ that’s nooan flattery, an’ even if it is, they’se nowt like men for standing it.
Wilkes : We’ll hev an enjoyable day, Becka. Od nooa idea ye thowt sooa mich on ma, an’ aw like ya nooa warr for being straight. They can tell what to mak’ on ’em then, an’ ol stand treeat ta-day, besides.
Becka : It hel be treeat enough wi’ yaar company. We’ll
do t’serious talking sometime else, sooa come on, er else————
Fair hel be owered befoor we get theear. (Exit.)
ACT III. – Scene 3.
(Scene : Denby’s Cottage. Denby and Squire in close conversation.)
Squire : I tell you, Denby, you will have to compel her to marry me. Persuasion seems to be no good. “I gave up Miss Brant for your daughter, and now your daughter positively refuses me.
Denby : Aw cannot compel her ta marry ya. Shoo’s mi only child, ya know. Ov tried all t’meeans aw could think en, an’ aw can mak’ nooa impression on her.
Squire : You are her father, and if your child is a dutiful child she will obey her father in all things. You have given her advice and she has refused it. Why not, as a parent, enforce it upon her?
Denby : Aw cannot enforce it onny moor ner aw hev done. Ov used threats, an even abused her, but it mak’s nooa difference. Sho’s sooa firm abaat it wol ov given ower trying ta mak her alter her mind.
Squire: I thought she would have been different when
Max Welton was arrested. The trial comes off to-morrow. I
hope he is found guilty and sent for penal servitude for life.
That would humble her proud spirit a little. I shall do all in
my power to bring it to pass.
Denby : Dunnot wish ah man ill. Maybi he’s innocent. It
he is, aw hooap he’s set free. Ov now’t wrang ageean nawther
on ya. Ov done mi best for ya, Squire, an’ om sorry ye
could’nt mak ah match on it. Believe me, they’d ah nooabody
been better suited ner aw should to hev seen my lass mistress
ah Cerghyl Hall, an’ shoo’d ah filled place hez weel hez enny
lady i’ t’h land.
Squire : That does not satisfy me, Denby. You will eiiher have to compel your daughter to marry me or quit your farm. I give you no other alternative.
Denby : You’re varra unreasonable, Squire. Ov explained it all haah it wor. Aw cud do nooa moor. Aw cannot promise onny farther ner aw hev done. But spare ma t’farm, Squire! Oh! spare ma t’farm. It’s been in a’ar family for moor ner ah century, an’ it hed neearly kill ma ta leeave it naah when om getting on i’ yeears. Ov sarved ya hez faithfully hez aw could, an naah it’s come ta this. (Breaks down )
Squire: You know what you have to do. If you wish to keep it, do it, and it shall be rent free to you in the future. Denby : Aw cannot, Squire; really, aw cannot. Squire : Then we need not further prolong our interview. If you consider different, let me know. In the meantime, I shall order my steward to serve you with a notice. Good
Denby : Good day, Squire. (Weeps bitterly).
ACT. III. Scene 4.
(Scene : Country Lane or Landscape. Miss Denby and Will Jones enter from opposite sides.)
JONES : Well, it’s coming awful near t’time, naah, Mis9 Denby Ov nivver gi’en ower tremmelin all t’wick. Imagine me in another day, standing befoor judges i’ ther curly wigs, looking at ma like all fettet thro’ ther eyeglasses. An’ they’ll be lawyers, jurymen, an’ all sooarts ah snobs.
Laura : You must not let them confuse you, Will. Jones : They’ll net confuse ah chap sa sooin hets nowt but trewth ta tell. It’s sich-like hez t’Squire het hel get confused het tries ta tell rayther moor ner t’truth.
Laura : The Squire is your master, Will. Do not say anything disrespectful of him or you might lose your situation.
Jones : Squire hel not be my maister lang. He’s gi’en ma mi nooatice becos om gooin’ hez ah witness ta try ta cleear Max.
Laura : Surely the Squire has not been so mean. That is cowardly.
Jones : Cowardly! Oh, he’s used ta them sooart ah jobs. Om baan ta think now’t abaat it. It’s ” what hez wor ta be.” He’ll hev run his race sooin.
Laura : What do you mean, Will ?
Jones : Just what aw say. Aw could mak’ ye’r hair stand reight o’ t’end, wi’t things aw knaw abaat Squire. Sometime befoor lang ye’ll get ta knaw what it is. But rest content it hel be good news for moor ner ye.
Laura : Do you think you can clear Max, Will. Remember my happiness rests with you. I know you will do all you can to save him. I shall pray for your success. Does Max know you are going for a witness?
Jones : Nay, aw didn’t, get ta see him befoor they marched him off. But he knaws het if Will Jones can do him ah good turn, he will do. Tom Skidby’s getten summoned hez ah witness. He saw Max het his ooan hooam het ah time it is considered impossible for him ta hev been wi t’lronsides. But aw doon’t think Tom hel be mich good. They seem ta all be depending ah me for cleearing t’job up.
Laura : I think I must be going now. Do your best, Will! Here is Tom Skidby coming this way. Good-day, Will (Exit.) Jones : Good-day, Miss Denby. Keep yer pluck up.
(Enter Tom Skidby.)
Skidby : Ye’re just man aw were seeking, Will. Jones : Varra weel. Om varra pleeased if om i’ freight spot for once i’ mi life. An’ what is it ye’re wanting, Tom? Skidby : Ye’re ah witness het trial, arn’t ya? Jones : That is sooa.
Skidby : Ov getten ah summons to attend an’ ole (nervously). Om flayed they’ll think aw were one on ’em. Ov just been thinking abaat takking mi hooks aght het gate. What do ya think, Will?
Jones : Aw think thar’t foolish if tha does. If tha doesn’t turn up they’ll set it daan het once het tha wor one on ’em. Tha’s nowt ta feear. Just tell thi tale what tha wer summoned for. Het tha wer wi’ Max het his oan hooam just after t’were done. Tell him hez neear hez tha can. Aw wer’ wi’ Max when ya called him ta t’door.
Skidby : Aw see. Ye knaw all abaat it, Will. Soa it’s noa use beeating abaat bush. But what mun aw say if they want ta knaw wheear aw wor befoor that time?
Jones : Thee tell thi oan tale, an’ al tell mine. Ov quite enough ta think abaat wi’ that.
Skidby : Mr. Bennett, him het runs th’ owd mill, is baan hez ah witness ta say we wor het hez wark het six o’clock on t’following morning. We might—that is—they might get oft. Aw hooap they do. It’ll be ah reight breeaking-up net th’ Ironsides will this.
Jones : Well, Aw sal do mi best. If that wiln’t do aw can’t do nooa moor. If they get off, they get off. If they dooan’t— they dooan’t—an’ whether way it is, it’s what hez wor ta be.
ACT III. – Scene 5.
Scene : Street in York.
(Jones, Walker, Dooad, Skidby and Welton stood talking.) Jim : Three cheers for Will Jones. Nivver hied getting yer nooatice fra t’Squire, Will. We’ll look after ya ah situation when yer time expires. Ye’ve done hez good service ta-day, an’ i’ t’spite ov all t’ glaring lies het Squire tell’d ye’ve cleeared Max.
Skidby : Aw dunnot knaw what they’ve summoned me ta York for. Ov nivver hed ah word ta say.
Dooad : Now, an’ it’s varra weel. Tha’d ah varra likely ah spoiled t’job if tha hed. Ov nooan forgetten haah tha treeated hez that neet. Denby mud ah de’ed for owt tha cared abaat him, when tha left hez wi’ him ta carry fra Rushby Hall. Tha minded ta look after number one, an’ nooa mistak. Ye’ve heeard all th’ history abaat that neet, havn’t ya, Will?
Jones : I, moor ner once. Ye can say what ye like for me being here. Aw shall do ya nooa harm.
Max : We are all certain of that, Will. And if there were only more men in Crowling like yourself, we should be proud of them, as we are of you.
Jones : Aw ammot ah bragger, Max, but this is ah small service ov rendered, compared wi’ what om baan ta do.
Max : And what can that be, Will? Has Denby and the Squire fallen out?
Jones : It’s nowt ta do wi’ t’lass this time, Max, but dooan’t ask ma onny farther. It’s ah sacret yet. An’ Will Jones is net chap ta let ah sacret aght befoor t’time comes. It hel come in ah bit. Bide yer time.
Jim : Mr. Bennett’s done hez good service ta-day, lads. It isn’t oft het ah maister hel stand up for his men hez he’s stood up for us. We’se ollus respect him for what he’s done. Nooa lawyer cud ah done better.
Driver : Did ya thraw that pigean up, Dooad, ta let ’em knaw i’ Crowling het we’ve won t’day? They’ll be some leet hearts when that lands.
Dooad : I, Aw threw that up minnet we com aght o* t’ Court. Ol bet it isn’t far fra Crowling, naah, for nivver ah better pigeon faced ah bob-wire ner my dappled hen. It’s come fra London moor ner once, an’ i’ little time, too.
Jim : I, it’s ah good bird, Dooad. Aw say, hez onny on ya seen t’Squire sin’ trial ended?
Jones : Nay, aw havn’t. He’s seen an’ heeard moor ner he wants fer one day. It hel leearn him ta keep his fingers aght ah other fowks’ affairs.
Policeman : Move on, there !
Jones : Wheear hev wa ta move to, aw wonder. We’re doing nowt, an’ we worn’t speeaking ta ye.
Policeman : Move on, I say, or I will lock you up. You are obstructing the footpath.
Jones: Oh, by! We’re baan ta hev another trial if we dooan’t mak off fra here. (Commences to walk off.) If some folks get ah bit ah pa’ar they like ta shew it. They think they are somebody becos they’ve ah to’thry ah breet buttons on ther suit. They like ta think het fowk’s flayed on ’em. (Exit all. Enter Gamekeeper No. 1 and the Squire.)
Gamekeeper 1: We have lost the case, sir, so we shall have to give in. The Crowling Ironsides have defeated us another time. But I think we shall have quietness for a little while, both on your estate and at Rushby.
Squire : Very likely. But if I could have had my way I would have sent the whole lot for a twelve months. You had the right lot, but short of evidence.
Gamekeeper 1: Your man, Max Welton, got out of it nicely by proving an alibi. You could not say much after Jones’s speech. Didn’t he say he was your coachman, gardener, and man-of -all-work ?
Squire : He is at present. But he is working his notice, and the sooner it expires the better. I suspect him of being in league with the poachers. A man can be in a good situation too long, you know.
Gamekeeper 1: Quite so, Squire. A change is better sometimes, they say, if it is for the worse.
Squire : Yes. And I would make a good many changes if I could only see my way clearly.
Gamekeeper 1: Do you mean in your household?
Squire : Yes. I shall notice at once anyone I suspect of being in league with these confounded Ironsides, as they boast in calling themselves.
Gamekeeper 1: Rather a strange name, I suppose it is after the British hero, Cromwell, they chose this name, because of what they call their heroism and bravado.
Squire : They are a pack of thieves and robbers! They ought to have named themselves after Dick Turpin, or some other notorious character of that description. It would have been nearer the mark.
Gamekeeper 1: We have trouble enough with them, Squire, anyhow.
Squire : Now, you look well after them at Rushby, and we will bring them to their doom yet. It goes against the grain, you know, does defeat, with both of us.
Gamekeeper 1: I will, Squire.
Squire : And I will be ready for them when they start their game again. I will double, yea, threble, my staff of gamekeepers, and if an Ironside falls into my clutches—”woe be to that man! The extent of the law only shall release him.
Gamekeeper 1 : But we must be making for home, Squire (looking at his watch). It is further on than I thought. We will talk these things over as we are going back.
Squire : As you wish. But I am thirsting for revenge!
ACT III. – Scene 6.
(Scene: Garden. Max and Laura enter from opposite sides.)
Max : Oh ,Laura ! Laura ! My darling ! Laura : Max ! At last! (Embrace each other.) Max : You still love me, Laura. You do not believe ma guilty ? I know you don’t..
Laura: Believe it, Max? Believe you guilty? I would sooner believe the stars would fall, or the sun melt away, than believe you guilty of a crime like the one you were charged with.
Max : I have borne up bravely for your sake, Laura. I knew that one heart was beating with hope for my release; that one pure soul prayed for my pardon.
Laura : Yes, Max. But let us not think of the past. It is over, now. The almost unbearable suspense is ended, and you are a free man once more.
Max : What do the people of Crowling think of my release? Are they pleased, or do they still believe me guilty?
Laura : How could they believe that, Max? Nearer the day for the trial came and more they believed in your inno-cence, until everybody tried their utmost to get you oft.
Max : I should never have been accused but for the Squire. It was very cowardly of him.
Laura : He might have saved himself the trouble if he thought getting rid of you would make me love him. We can be happy in our poverty, but his riches would have crushed me. Oh, Max! How glad I am to see you back again! How slowly the days have dragged on since your arrest. And my father is as pleased as I am that you have returned. You have killed him with kindness, Max.
Max : Has your father a kind word for me, Laura? Has he
really given up pestering you about the Squire? Why, this is
better news than my release. ■■
Laura : You should have seen him when Mr. Owen’s pigeon arrived. He went wild with joy at the good news. I never saw such rejoicings in Crowling before, not even at a feast-time.
Max : I am pleased to hear it, Laura. It is worth the suffering I have endured, because through that we are reaping this harvest of joy. Truly, God has led us in a way we knew not. And to-night, Laura, my cup of joy is running over.
Laura : Yes, Max. It is indeed a happy time, and I am almost afraid to speak lest it should vanish.
Max : Words fail to express my gratitude. To think our
dark days are ended, and that I am free to bestow upon you
. the love and protection I have so long coveted. To think that
every barrier is broken down, and that in the future I can
come to your house a welcome guest.
Laura : Yes, Max, love conquers all things. And never was love truer and purer than ours, even in the darkest days. You, who was confined in a prison cell, was my only comfort and hope. My dreams and my prayers were for you.
Max : I am thankful for it, Laura. Thankful for such true and passionate love. Your love, like a guardian angel, hovered around me in my cell, and bid me not to be afraid of doing what was right, but to leave all in the hands of a kind Providence. And He has brought us off. victorious, free from the law, your father seeking to be forgiven, and in full possession of your heart. Happy is too weak a word to describe my gratitude.
Laura : Yes, but our happiness must not be kept to ourselves. My father needs comforting. It has been a great sacrifice for him, poor fellow!
Max : Is there some trouble you have not made known to me, Laura?
Laura: Yes. When my father told the Squire he would not force me into a marriage against my will he gave him
notice to quit the farm—the home of our family for generations. Was it not cowardly?
Max : Cowardly is not the word for it. Call it inhuman. I must see the Squire about it. Surely he has not heart in him to do that. If he has, it shows how false and fickle was his love for you. If he had true love within his breast he could not bear to see harm befall the girl he would fain have called his wife.
Laura : He has also given Will Jones notice to leave the Hall because he gave evidence in favour of you at the trial. We must try to get him a situation, Max.
Max : Surely, the wrongs of so wicked a man will not go unpunished, even in this world. Will Jones shall never pine as long as I have a crust of bread, and my hands can never toil in a nobler work than toiling for a honest man like Will. Some way must be done. Surely the men of Crowling will rise against such tyranny. But let us now pay your father a visit and cheer him in his despondency. And let us hope the clouds will soon disperse, and, ere long, the sun will shine again.
Laura : May it be so, Max. You always look on the bright side.
Max : As if there could be any other side but bright when you are near.
ACT III. Scene 7.
Closing of Cragside Well.
<Scene, Landscape. Two masons with their tools, a few stones laid about, the Squire superintending the walling-up of the public water supply. The water is running continuously throughout this scene. It requires a tank beneath the stage. One end of the pipe comes about the middle at the stage, the other end behind the wings. A large funnel fits the pipe, which is kept with a supply of water during the whole of this scene; is easily arranged and very effective.)
Squire : It does not matter to you what the people of Crowling will say. This well will have to be covered in. Let them die of thirst, if they like. What do I care about it? About as much as they care about me. So set to work at once, and obey my orders.
Mason :. But this well’s been i’ t’gooa ivver sin’ th’ owdest man can remember. An’ fooak’s nooawheer else ta get ther watter fra.
Squire: They must fetch it from the streams, where they go grobbling for fish. They could do it at the same time, and save a journey.
Mason : Do thi ooan way, an’ then tha’ll happen live longer. But we sal get ah lot ah ill-will for doing it, an’ we’se want extra pay. If tha’s muckied thi ticket wi’ meean tricks, aw hooap tha dosn’t want us ta do’t same for nowt. Thar’t mista’en if tha does.
Squire : Get along with your work. I’ll see you are well paid. This well is in my land, and because my forefathers granted a privilege so long, am I obliged to continue it? The people have shown their independence lone enough. It is now my time to let them feel their feet a little.
Mason : Well, ye’ll cap me if ya get ta do it quietly, becos aw dooan’t think ye can stand ta do it accoardin’ ta law.
Squire : I tell you, my word is law! And when I say Cragside Well will have to be closed, you’ve got to do it, and hold your tongue. So let me hear no more about it. (Enter Joe Holmes, with a couple of water-cans, and a pipe in his mouth.)
Holmes: Hallow! What’s up? Are ya baan ta mak im-provements ?
Squire : We are going to improve it by closing it. I’d rather see it going into the ground to nourish the worms than to see it carried away by such as you.
Holmes : Ye’ve ah mighty edge ah yer’sel, Squire. Aw think ye cud finnd summat better ta do ner try an’ rob us poor fowk ah all t’free gift we can booast on.
Squire 1 You have enjoyed the gift long enough, but despised the giver. Perhaps you will regret, now, the way you have treated me.
Holmes : If aw nivver hev nowt ta be thankful for nobbut what aw get fra ye, aw sud nobbut be ah poor creature. Ol tell ya that, Skuire, an’ ta yer face anole. Think what ya like abaat it.
Squire : Am I to be insulted? And by a man who has been accused, more than once, of poaching.
Holmes : Aw know. Ye’ve run ma in ah time er two, but ye couldn’t run Max Welton in, hez hard hez ya tried. An’ ya didn’t stick ta t’truth, nawther.
Squire : Wretch that you are ! If you do not leave at once I will have you arrested for libel and trespassing upon my estate. You are trying to villify me with your slander. In the presence of these people you are trying to spoil my good name and blaspheming my character.
Holmes : Ye’ve nooa need ta freeat abaat yer character. They’se nooabody can spoil that. Ye lost it monnny ah yeear sin’. Fra end ta end het neighbourhood they’re isn’t two het hel give ya ah good word—unless they’re looafers het hel do it for t’sake ov ah pint! Stand aght het rooad (attempts to fill his can, but is kept back by the Squire and masons).
Squire : Go and fill your dirty cans somewhere else. You
are not going to fill them here. ‘
Holmes : If ya dooan’t keep oft me ol pitch ya in th’ heead first. Somebody else sal know abaat this! Ol gooan an’ raise an alarm i’ t’neighbourhood, an’ then we’ll see whoos t’ maister. (Exit Holmes.)
Mason : Bother’s starting i’ good time, Squire. Ye know what th’ owd Book, er Shakespere, er some on ’em says : ” It’s easier ta mak enemies ner friends.” An’ aw think ye’ll finnd that true, aw knaw aw do.
Squire : You go on with your work. I know my duty, and you ought to know yours.
(Enter Maud Ackle.) Maud : Can I fill my can, please?
Squire (mockingly): No you can’t. This well will be closed from this hour to the day of my death. Who the next heir is, or what he will do, is of no consequence to me.
Maud : Closed! Closed! Where have we to get our water from, I wonder? This well belongs to the public, and has done ever since my grandfather can remember.
Squire : Have I to be dictated to by you and your grand-father in the government of my estate?
Maud : Will you please let me fill my can this time ? We are requiring the water at home.
Squire : I will give you the same answer as I gave to you once before, when you came to beg a rabbit. You remember it? And if your neighbours interfere they will also meet with a similar fate to what they met with on that memorable occasion, namely, a month in gaol!
Maud : Here are the villagers coming. We will hear what you have to say to them. You can use strong language to a girl, which proves what a coward you are. But face these stalwart men and use your insolence to them, and see what will become of it. (Enter Driver, Holmes, Denby, Skidby, and other villagers.)
Holmes : Naah, Squire! We wish ta come ta terms.
Squire: What business have you to interfere with my plans? (Cries of “Shame! Shame.”) Here, policeman, do your duty ! Arrest them !
Holmes : Shall we stand by an’ see this well shut up an’ do now’t ta keep it oppen? (Cries of ” Never ! Never !”).
Owen : We’ll feight for’t first. (Cries of ” Om Willing.”)
Holmes : Let’s do it quietly, if we can, fowks. But we willn’t give in ta t’Squire this time if yer all i’ my mind. (” Hear, hear.”) We’re standing up for now’t but reight, an’ aw may say, nowt but what’s lawful, nawther. Are wa baan ta let him rob hez ah this well an’ stand by an’ do nowt? Are we baan ta let him tak wi’ force what he cannot get bi law? . (Cries of ” Never ! Never !”).
Owen : Let’s drive him off t’field !
Policeman : I ask you, in the name of the law, to clear off!
Holmes: Net an inch, chaps. Keep yer graand? (Enter Max Welton.)
Max: What is all this about, Squire?
Squire : What do you want to know for? I’ll send for you when I require your advice. But as you have asked a civil question I will give you a civil answer—I am closing Cragside Well!
Max : You have nothing to do with this well, and close it you shall not! We have here a band of men who will hurl you away by force if you do not submit. We have suffered enough at your hands. It was the last straw which broke the camel’s back, and the time has come when your deeds have reached a climax. (To masons) : Pick up your tools and leave the place. (To policeman): If you were doing your duty you would have ordered them from the place long ago, instead of protecting them. Is it your duty to do wrong for the sake of a tip? If you do not clear off in ten minutes we shall make you.
Squire : Take no notice of this mean fellow, but proceed with your work. In the meantime, some of you go for the militia, more policemen, or anybody, to stop these scoundrels.
Max : Be ready, men to stand up for right!
Jim : We’se need nooa axing ta do that, Max. Seize him, Dooad an’ Tom, an’ be ready for throwing him inta t’well.
Tom Skidby : It willn’t matter sa mich if he’s draanded. Het leeast it hel do him nooa harm will ah cowd watter bath.
Dooad . I, he wants baptizing. He’s getten ah black enough heart. •
Squire : Villains! Scoundrels ! Here, policeman, arrest them, can’t you? Why are you standing there like a dummy?
Dooad : Ol ca’ant one, two, an’ three, an’ we’ll let him gooa het third swing.
Max : Stay! Give him time to withdraw. We will allow him ten minutes to repent in, withdraw his men, and clear off.
Squire : Ten minutes or ten hours will make no difference to me.
(Enter Will Jones and Mr. John Hobson, Lawyer.) Jones : An’ what are ya doing here, Maud ? Maud : The Squire refuses to let us have water. Jones : Tak nooa nooatice het Squire. He’s nowt ta do wi’ nawther t’watter ner t’land it’s in.
Squire: You villain! What is that you are saying? Jones : Howd on a bit wol ov told mi tale. Ov looked forrad ta this day for monny ah lang month. It’s ” what hez wor ta be,” het aw should tell ya ta-day. Ov waited mi time an’ naah it’s come. Ta begin het beginning, when Major Cerghyl lay on his deathbed, aw owerheeard him say ta t’ Squire theear het he he’d hooaped ta hev lived ta seen him married to Miss Brant fra Rothersdale. He said het he wor sorry for him, sorry het he’d gi’en him ta understand he wor th’ heir, but he worn’t. He said rightful heir ta t’Cerghyl Estates wor Max Welton, ah miner on his estate het Grill-bottom. An’s that’s nooa other ner hez good friend, Max. (Villagers shout, and wave their caps, amid ” Hurrah’s ” and ” Three cheers for t’new Squire.”)
Holmes : Hev ya heeard that, Squire? Ye might hez weel pay yer men off an’ send ’em hooam.
Max : Do not speak in that strain, Mr. Holmes. Jones : Ov nooan finished yet. Well, after heearing that aw kept mi ears weel oppen, an’ hearing him muttering ta hissel, aw crept clooice up ta t’chaimer door, an’ thrust it ah bit oppen, an’ owerheeard Squire mak ah vow het Max Welton should niver hev ah penny het money. He said he’d burn’t packet i’ th’ morning, wi’ t’will in, an’ aw heeard Major tell him wheear it wor—in ah seealed packet i’ t’safe. Aw gat it inta my possession. I’ other words, aw wer’ ta sharp for him! Aw livered packet inta t’ hands ah Mr. John Hobson, Lawyer, three wicks sin’. Ol naah call upon him ta proclaim Max Welton heir to Cerghyl Estates! An’ om sure if ya went ah day’s march ye couldn’t finnd ah better man for t’position. (Cheers.)
Squire: What is this villainy you are trying on? Because I discharged you, because I could not trust you, blackguard that you are, you are trying to take your revenge by inventing a pack of lies, to swindle a honest man out of his rights.
Jones : It’s ye het’s dooin’ t’swindling. It’s ye het’s villain. It wor becos aw wodn’t help ya ta get shut ah Max het ye secked ma. Ye didn’t knaw het aw hed ya between mi’ finger an’ mi thumb, did ya, naah. But ov waited mi time. An’ soa ye might hez weel sattle daan, for its ” What hez wor ta be.” Ov hed ya like ah dog wi’ ah string ta its neck—ov nobbut let ya gooa sooa far.
Hobson : Ladies and gentlemen. It is under rather peculiar circumstances that we are met here to-day. But Mr. Jones here wished me to follow out his plan, although it is not being caried out as originally intended. I have gone over the document and confirm its legality, which no one can dispute. It is the last will and testament of Major Cerghyl, and is duly signed by two witnesses, and corroborated by the conversation overhead between the Major and his nephew, just before his death. The sole heir is Max Welton, of Grillbottom, a miner. The gross value of the estate is about ,£150,000. (Holmes gives a low whistle of surprise.) I need not say anything further. But I shall advise Mr. Welton to take possession immediately. The Squire is in the hands of Mr. Welton to deal with as
he thinks fit. (To policeman) : You had better apprehend him before he makes any attempt to escape. (Policeman takes charge of him.) He is under a heavy penalty of the law. (To Max): Now, Mr. Welton, I congratulate you on your good fortune as Squire of Cerghyl Hall. (Loud cheers from the villagers.)
Max (agitated): Dear friends, before I respond, let me ask you to release the Squire. It is not my wish to take any proceedings against him. He certainly deserves punishment, but a guilty conscience will be punishment enough. (Exit Squire, who seizes Will Jones, and shakes him as he retires).
Squire : You villain! I’ll half kill you !
Max : Also let me say, friends, that until just now I had not the slightest idea that I was in any way connected with the Cerghyl Estates. Only it recalls to my mind an incident which happened when I was quite a little boy. I remember my grandmother (now gone to her long home) taking me upon her knee and saying, ” Max! If everybody had their rights you are the possible heir to a big estate. Pew know it, but it is nevertheless true. If ever you attain wealth, or position, remember, Max, that the secret of true greatness is to be good.” I require no better advice than the advice she gave me then. Wealth brings its cares and responsibilities. But let us continue to be friends. Position need make no difference, remembering that the toiler is the most important. We are all alike in the sight of God, and we cannot expect peace and unity in our land until the rich will shake hands with tha poor, until master and man can converse together. Let us always bear in mind that—
Rank is but the guinea stamp; A man’s a man for a’ that.
ACT III. – Scene 8.
(Garden Scene. Enter Will Jones.)
Jones : Things are working aght varra nicely. Max hez ta’en possession ov his estate, an’ t’Squire’s ta’en his hook. Aw shall nivver get used ta calling Max ” Squire.” Aw can scarcely believe it’s true. But Max isn’t satisfied yet. He’s hez thrang hez he can be after another fortune. One better ner that he’s getten. An’ that’s Miss Denby! It strikes me het wedding’s baan ta come off varry sooin, an’ here aw am, makking nooa progress het all wi’ Maud. But om just waiting on her coming naah, an’ then om baan ta knaw mi fate. Bless her ! Aw love her moor ner ivver. Ov heeard ’em say het they’re deeply i’ love when they start makking verses abaat ’em, an’ latt’ly aw couldn’t_ help singing abaat her— little snatches ah mi oan composing, ya know. But sho’s nivver promised ta be mi wife yet. Whether it’s me het’s soft er sho wants ah lot makking on, aw can’t tell, but aw ammot baan ta bi i’ suspense onny longer.
(Enter Maud Ackle.)
Maud : Good-evening, Will. A penny for your thoughts!
Jones : Good-evening, Maud. Aw didn’t see ya coming. Look here, Maud, ah penny wodn’t buy my thwots unless aw could think ’em ower ageean.
Maud : They must be of a pleasant nature.
Jones : Pleasant! Ther’ isn’t ah word i’ t’ dictionary good enough ta express ’em. They were abaat ye. Bless mi life! Aw think abaat nooabody else—nobbut missel.
Maud : I cannot stand flattery, Will. You make me blush!
Jones : Ye knaw haah aw love ya, Maud?
Maud : How should I know, when you’ve never told me.
Jones : Havn’t ya guessed hez mich this while back. Havn’t aw shewn’t ivvery time ov met ya. An’ here ov been freeating mi life aght, neearly, thinking ye wer’ takking moor nooatice ah somebody else ner me. Yaar name it’s been last i’ mi mind het neet an’ t’ first in ah morning.
Maud : 1 cannot help you thinking about me, Will. But you mind to keep your thoughts to yourself.. You don’t intend anyone else to share them, it appears.
Jones: Ye’re net scolding ma, are ya?
Maud : Get along with what you were going to say when I interrupted you.
Jones : Aw wer just telling ya haah aw loved ya. This world hed be ah wilderness withaat ya. Aw believe if ya said ya didn’t love ma aw should nivver smile ageean. Aw should nivver heear t’ birds sing, ner nowt; aw should gooa abaat wi’ mi heead daan an’ think they were nowt left ta live for.
Maud : Do you love me so much as that, Will, or are you jesting? I cannot think you are in good earnest. It is some silly notion that has entered your head, which will wear off in a day or two.
J ones : Aw cannot live baat ya, Maud. Aw ammot jesting. Will ya be mi wife? it’s first time aw iver axed onnybody.
Maud : Of course I will, if you mean it. But why have you not asked me before? I have had to wait so long that I had a sort of—of—given up hope!
Will: Is that soa? ” What ah thickheead ov been. Me being flayed aght ah mi wits ah axing ya, an’ ye’ve wanted axing all t’ time. But next aw propose to—that is—(scratches his head—well—dash it!
Maud: What’s that you are saying, Will?
Jones : Aw were nobbut getting mixed up ah bit—om excited.
Maud: Do you truly love me, Will?
Jones : Love ya? Aw should nivver ah axed ya to be mi wife if aw hadn’t.
Maud : But you know how poor I am, Will. I’ve no dowry to bring you.
Jones : What dowry do aw want onny moor ner yersel’ ? Ah man isn’t worth calling ah man if he weds for owt but love. ” It’s just what hez wor ta be,” het- we two should mak it up. Dooan’t ya think sooa, Maud?
Maud : Perhaps.
Jones: Are ya willing ta tak ma, Maud, for better er war? We’ll hev ah nice little cottage, wi’ ah nice garden, an’ nice fla’ars in it, an’ be reight comfortable tagether. Naah, what do ya say, Maud?
Maud : You are too good, Will. I am not worthy of a love like yours, but let it be as you wish.
Jones : Let’s strike t’ bargain wi’ ah kiss (attempting to kiss her).
Maud : Wait a bit, Will. Can’t you see there is someone coming?
Jones : Od nooa eyes for nooabody but ye, Maud. Why, it’s Squire Welton! (Enter Squire Welton.) Good-evening, Squire.
Max : Good-evening. But please call me Max. It will feel more homely. I hope I am not intruding. You know the old saying, ” Two’s company, three’s none.”
Jones : Net het all—net het all, Max. Truth is, ov just arranged ta start up business ah mi oan account.
Max : One has only to glance at your faces to be assured of that. I am happy and pleased to be the first to offer you congratulations. Nothing gives me greater pleasure, Will, than to congratulate you on your choice of such a true-hearted girl for your intended wife. And i can truthfully say the same to you, Miss Ackle, on your good fortune in securing so good and noble a man for your intended husband. I wish you happiness and success in life.
Jones : Thank ya, Max.
Maud : Let me also thank you for your compliments.
Max : Now, let me deliver my message. I was on my way to your house, Will, to invite you, yea, insist on you being the best man at my marriage, next week, accompanied by Miss Ackle. Would you mind going up to the Hall and helping me to arrange matters?
Jones : Not het all, Max, if Maud is willing.
Maud : Of course I am willing. Have I not promised to be your slave (jovially)?
Jones : It’s net varra lat yet. Ol send ah nooat ta yer mother ta say ye’ll net be hooam befoor nine or ten. Ol tak ya hooam when we leeave th* Hall. (Exit.)
ACT III. – Scene 9.
(Scene: Outside the Church, ante-room for Church. Enter
Jim Walker, Joe Holmes, and Ned Driver, dressed in their
Sunday best, with silk handkerchiefs around their necks.)
Holmes : It’s ah lang time sin’ aw were het ah wedding, chaps. They arn’t mich i’ my line. But they’se mooast an women nivver think ah missing one.
Drives : I, it is moor ov ah woman’s hobby is watching weddings. But, then, ye can say t’ same ower funerals. They’se mooast on ’em willn’t miss one, whativver sooart ah weather it is.
Holmes : Aw expect they can’t help it. They’re flayed ah missing summat.
Driver : Aw dooan’t think ov been inside het Church ah twenty yeears, an’ that were when they buried Dave Gill.
Jim : We couldn’t help hezselves ta-day. We’ve come aght ah respect ta Max Welton—excuse ma, aw meant Squire. He’s been ah good en ta us Ironsides.
Holmes : Naah thee gooa in’ t’ first, Jim. Tha’s ollus been aar leeader. We’ve come i’ good time, sooa get ah seeat weel ta t’ back. They’l be ah lot ah fine fowks theear.
Driver : Leead in, Jim, befoor Becka Sharp gets here. Aw call that her het’s coming daan’t rooad. (The three enter the church. Enter Becka Sharp.)
Becka : Ov been ta see lots aw weddings i’ mi time, but they’se nivver been ah wedding het this church ov onnybody fra Cerghyl Hall, sin’ aw can remember. Aw dooan’t knaw when mi oan turn hel come. Still, they’se nowt like living i’ hooap.
(Enter Dooad Owen.)
Dooad : Hallow ! Becka? An’ what’s browt ye here this morning? Hev ya come ta see this fine wedding?
Becka : Aw hev, Dooad. It’s baan ta be ah famous affair, they say.
Dooad : Aw expect ye’ve come aght ah curiosity, an’ ta see ther’ dresses.
Becka : Ye ight ha’ been farther wrang. But om expecting ah bit ah gossip hez weel. Ye ollus heear summat fresh het ah wedding.
Dooad : Aw thowt ye’d ah getten ta owd-maidish ta come an’ see stirs ah this sooart.
Becka : Talk abaat that when ov gett’n wed, Dooad. Om happen net hez owd hez ye think aw am.
Dooad : Now, happen net. Aw nivver met ah woman yet but what tried ta mak hersel aght ta be young.
Becka : Om hez young-looking hez yaar wife, onnyway. An’ hez handsome, aw hooap! (Curling her nose up).
Dooad : If tha’d ah possessed sa mich beauty they’d somebody ha’ seen it befoor naah. Ye may be hez young looking hez mi wife, but de darn’t tell her sooa—het leeast, aw darn’t mention owt ta her, er onnyways hint het sho looks owder ner sho used ta do.
Becka : We’ve ah reight ta keep young looking, havn’t wa? Om baan inta t’ church an get ah good seeat.
Dooad : Aw think ol follow suit. (Enter church. Also a few villagers stand about, all who are at liberty. Enter Squire and Will Jones.)
Squire Max (taking oft his hat): Good morning, friends!
Will Jones : Aw tell’d ya it hed all come reight, it’s ” what hez wor ta be.” (Villagers take off their hats and greet the Squire. Squire and
Jones pass into church. Miss Brant and Miss Ackle, part
of the wedding party, pass into church. Remainder of
villagers enter church. Enter Miss Denby, leaning on her
father’s arm. Denby dressed in his best and leaning
heavily upon his stick.)
Denby (stopping) : Wait ah minnit wol aw get mi winnd. Tha’s been ah good lass ta me, Laura, an’ it pains ma ta part wi’ tha.
Laura : Cheer up, dad! I shall always look well after you and see to your comfort.
Denby (with emotion) : It reminds ma het time when aw led yer mother ta t’ same altar. An’ aw wish sho should ha’ lived ta see this day.
LAURA : Don’t break down, father. But try to keep up for my sake. Let this day be full of happiness, above all others.
Denby : We’ll try, lass, we’ll try. (Proceed into church. Harmonium in ante-room. All join in
singing, ” The voice that breathed o’er Eden.” The church
bells commence ringing, as the villagers come out of church and stand about in groups.)
Becka : Well, aw niver saw nooabody look nicer i’ mi life ner Denby lass. Whooa could ah thowt it ov ah farmer’s lass. Didn’t ya think sho wer smart, Dooad?
Dooad ; Aw dooan’t knaw het aw nooaticed her mich.
Becka : Didn’t ya nooatice her figger ? Aw nivver saw ah smarter.
Dooadh Now, aw saw nooa niggers. But then, om nowt ta
gooa by. Aw can hardly tell ah nine fra ah six. Whooa were
that other wench het wedding? – *
Becka: Dooan’t ya knaw her? Why, it’s Miss Brant. Her het Walter Sheldon went wi’ ah bit. They’re coming aght. (Bells peal loudly, villagers cheer, and throw rice. All form
in a semi-circle, leaving the centre to be filled up with
thise who have taken part in the wedding.) 39
Holmes : We offer hez congratulations ta’ t’ Squire an’ Mrs. Welton, an’ we wish ya happiness an’ prosperity.
Jim : Hear, hear! Them’s my sentiments. But just allaw ma say ah word er two. Om sewer ye’ve made this neighbourhood better. Max, for ya living in it. An’ thanks ta ye, we’re better citizens. We used ta powch ah bit, an’ then come ta ye ta get hez aght ov hez scrapes.
Skidby : Aw can truly say od nooa real enjoyment aght all powching. An’ om glad we’ve left that kind o’ life, an’ for good, aw hooap. An’ aw wish Mr. and Mrs. Welton ivvery happiness. An’ if we were in ah suitable place we’d drink ther health.
Squire : Thank you, friends for your congratulations to my wife and I. Though we first met under distressing circumstances you have proved yourselves to be good-hearted men. And if you use the powers which God has given you for good, what mighty influence you will wield in this neighbourhood. And although you call me the Squire (we have Will Jones to thank for that), yet we shall always meet as equals, and I can say the same on behalf of Mrs. Welton.
Denby : Well, om baan ta say nowt ageean ya reforming. Best ah my days are gooan. Ov been misled wi’ t’ late Squire an’ om sorry for it. Ov net acted reight, aw knaw. Still, Providence hez favoured me an’ mine aboon mi wildest dreeams. Aw congratulate ya, Squire—an’ Mrs. Welton, although ye’re mi ooan lass, an’ ov net ollus done reight to ya. Yet ye’re one het finest lasses, i’ th’ land.
Driver : We all thank ya for t’services done i’ t* past. But we mooan’t forget Will Jones. We owe hez freedom ta him.
Jones : Ov nobbut done mi duty. An’ aw hooap nooan on hez is flayed ah dooing that. An’ thanks ta t’ Squire, ov getten mi owd job back ageean, wi’ ah salery aw nivver dream’t on once ov ah day. An’ om expecting giving ya an invitation to another wedding sooin.
Maud : Don’t talk like that, Will, before all these. You know it can’t be yet awhile. I am out of work, and has been ever since Gillbeck Mill was burnt down. And we cannot live on air.
Jones: Bless ya, lass! Havn’t ya just heeard ma say ov getten mi wages risen, an’ Max—that is, new Squire—hez ah haase ready for hez gooin into. Tha dosn’t want ma ta live bi missel, does ta?
Max : Press your suit, Will. There’s nothing like being in ver linings. Through the darkness came the break of dawn, earnest.
Mrs. Welton : Let me also thank you for the kind way in which you have complimented my husband and I. The dark days we all remember are past and gone. The clouds had sil-The mists have cleared away and left a beautiful landscape. And I seem to comprehend more clearly the happy condition of the Psalmist, when he said: ” Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life.” And I have, indeed, a goodly heritage.