Th' Last Month (Prose)
Th' last month o' th' year; an' ther's summat rayther sorrowful abaat th' last o' owt, exceptin' trouble; an' still to me ther's allus summat varry interestin' abaat owt at's "th' last." Aw've watched men when they've been buildin' a long chimley, but aw've niver felt mich interest till it's come th' time for 'em to put on th' last stooan; they've labored day by day, riskin boath life an' limb, an' still aw've felt varry little anxiety; but it's just th' fact on it bein' th' last stooan; an' aw've hardly been able to tak my een off it till it's been finished an' th' last man's come safe daan. But still it's a sorrowful saandin' word is "last." Th' last farewell - th' last look - th' last breath - an' th' last restin, place; it sets fowk thinkin what there'll be after "th' last." Th' last month i'th' year isn't a bad time to luk back an' see ha we've spent th' past eleven, an' aw think ther's few but what'll be able to see monny a place where they've missed it. An' if soa we'd better mak th' best o'th' few days left to mak what amends we can. Owd Christmas comes in smilin', with his holly an' his mistletoe, an' his gooid tempered face surraanded wi' steam of plum puddin' an' roast beef - tables get tested what weight they can bear - owd fowk an' young ens exchange greetin's, punch bowls steam up; an' lemons an' nutmegs suffer theresen to be rubbed, scrubbed, sliced, an' stewed; an' iverybody at can, seems to be jolly at Christmas. Some fowk luk forrard to Christmas just for th' sake of a gooid feed, an' aw've seen odd ens, nah an' then, 'at can tuck it in i' fine style. Aw recollect one Christmas when Jooan o' Jenny's (we used to call him Jooan long stummack) went to London (he'd one o'th' best twists aw iver met wi'), an' he wor takken varry wamley for want ov a bit ov a bitin on, soa he went into a cook's shop an' ax'd 'em ha mich they'd mak him a dinner for? "Eighteenpence, sur," said th' maister, "come, sit daan an' help thisen." Soa he sat daan just at th' front ov a lump o' rooast beef, an' cut a piece off as big as a brick, an' he worn't lang i' polishin' that an' cutting another. Th' landlord wor rayther capped when he saw it goa like that, an' he says "Tha'rt hungary, lad, aw think! Will ta have, summat to sup?" "Noa thank yo, sur," says Jooan, "not just yet." He varry sooin put th' second lot where it could keep th' furst company, an' began cuttin' a third; this made th' maister seem varry uneasy, an' he says, "Tha'd better have summat to sup, lad! Mun aw fotch thi a pint o' drink?" "Noa, thank yo," said Jooan, "aw mak a practice niver to sup till aw've hauf, done." "Why, lad," says th' landlord, "haitch will ta tak' to drop it?" "Well" said Jooan, "if yo dooant like my company aw'm sooary aw've come, but aw shouldn't like to leave this table for less nor hauf a craan, if aw do aw shall be a loiser." Th' old chap pooled awt hauf a craan an' banged it on to th' table, an' says, "Tak' it, an' tak' thisen away, an' niver put thi fooit i' my haase agean as long as tha's a day to live; tha'd ruin me in a wick." "Why, maister," he says, "yo cap me sayin' soa, for aw can't ait as mich bi a caah head as once aw cud. Aw'll tak' th' hauf crawn; gooid day, maister; you've made a shillin 'at me."
Th' Last Month (Prose) by John Hartley