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Southrons. Be that as it may, they have clearly no similarity either in speech or feature with the peasantry of the neighbouring districts. They have also manners and customs peculiar to themselves. One in particular is the non-observance, or at least the very irregular observance, of the common rule for the transmission of the surname. What rule they follow I cannot say, but it often happens that a son has a surname very different from that of his father : sometimes a man will have two sets of names, as John Smith and Thomas Jones, and that without any intention of concealment-but, except on high occasions, as a marriage or a christening, they rarely use any appellative except the cognomen or nick-name. The Latin word is the best, because the English implies something inconsistent with the staid and regular usage of the epithet by all persons connected with the subject of it, his wife, his children, and himself included.
I knew an apothecary in the collieries, who, as a matter of decorum, always entered the real names of his patients in his books; that is, when he could ascertain them. But they stood there only for ornament: for use he found it necessary to append the soubriquet, which he did with true medical formality, as for instance, Thomas Williams, vulgo dict. Old Puff.” Serious inconvenience not unfrequently arises on occasions where it is necessary to ascertain the true name and reduce it to writing, not only from the utter ignorance displayed by the owner of all the mysteries of spelling, but from his incapacity to pronounce the word, so as to give the slightest idea of what its orthography ought to be. Clergymen have been known to send home a wedding party in despair, after a vain essay to gain from the vocal organs of the bride or bridegroom, or their friends, a sound by way of name which any known alphabet had the power of committing to paper. The habit of using the cognomen is so common, that the miners apply the custom to strangers with an unconsciousness of offence quite classic. If a traveller should be hailed by the epithet “nosey,' he should recollect that Ovid endured the same treatment in the court of Augustus without dreaming of an affront, and he may even flatter himself that he bears some outward resemblance to the great poet.
Indeed, in all communications with persons of higher rank, the miners preserve a bold simplicity of manners far different, at least in my mind, from insolence. I recollect passing through the little town of Bilston at the time of the first abdication of Buonaparte, and being accosted by one of a group of colliers, who, with black faces and folded arms, were discussing the events of the day, with an interrogation, which, imitated in print, might stand thus, “Uy say, what dost thee think othe paice, beoots ?” which being rendered into our language is, “ I say, what dost thou think of the peace, boots ?” My boots were, I suppose, that part of my dress by which I was most conspicuously distinguished from the natives. This I understood as a friendly invitation to a conference on the state of affairs, and my feelings were no more hurt by the designation bestowed on me, than those of Hercules ever were by the epithet Claviger.
But I had made this race of people in some sort my study. I remember once mounting rather hastily the outside of a stage coach which was passing through the coal district, and setting myself down in the first place that offered itself, without taking time to reconnoitre. When I had opportunity for inspection, I found at my right an old man with a rope coiled round him like a belt, by which my practised eye at once recognised him for a canal boatman, carrying home his towing-line. On my left was a personage whose dress was not a little equivocal, consisting of a man's hat and coat, with something like petticoats below. The mysterious effect of this epicene costume was heightened by the wearer's complexion, which reminded the spectator of dirty wash-leather. A short pipe adorned the mouth, with which it seemed well acquainted; and the tout ensemble sat in deep silence. These diagnostics, and especially the last, might have imposed on a novice the belief that the subject of my observation was of the worthiest gender, as the grammarians uncivilly term the masculine : but I knew my compagnon de voyage at a glance for one of the softer sex, and treated her with becoming attention. To all my politeness she returned little more than a nod and a whiff. At length my fellow passengers began to converse, or rather, I suppose, to resume a conversation which I had interrupted. The lady I found was of the same profession as the gentleman on the other side-a conductor of boats. They appeared not to have had much, if any, previous acquaintance, but seemed drawn together by community of sentiment and pursuit. They were soon engaged in an occupation interesting alike to all ranks of society ; namely, an inquiry into the characters of their common friends. As their conversation illustrates in some degree the manners of this people, I will give a short specimen of it in the original; together with a glossary for the benefit of the mere English reader.
Lady. Dun yo know Soiden-mouth * Tummy?
* With the mouth aside.
Lady. A desput quoiet * mon! But he loves a sup o' drink. Dun yo know his woif ?
Gentleman. Know her! Ay. Her's the very devil when her sperit's up Lady. Her is. Her uses that mon sheamful—her rags + him every neet of her loif.
Gentleman. Her does. Oive known her come into the publics, and call him all the neames her could lay her tongue tew afore all the company. Her oughts to stay till her's got him i'the boat, and then her mit say what her'd a moind. But her taks aiter her feyther.
Lady. Hew was her feyther ? Gentlemen. Whoy, singing Jemmy. Lady. Oi don't think as how Oi ever know'd singing Jemmy. Was he ode Soaker's brother ?
Gentleman. Ees, he was. He lived a top o' Hell Bonk 1l. He was the wickedest, swearinst mon as ever I know'd. I should think as how he was the wickedest mon i' the wold, and say he had the rheumatiz so bad !
Many anecdotes might be collected to shew the great difficulty of discovering a person in the Collieries without being in possession of his nickname. The following I received from a respectable attorney. During his clerkship he was sent to serve some legal process on a man whose name and address were given to him with legal accuracy. He traversed the village to which he had been directed from end to end without success; and after spending many hours in the search, was about to abandon it in despair, when a young woman, who had witnessed his labours, kindly undertook to make inquiries for him, and began to hail her friends for that purpose.
Oi say, Bullyed, does thee know a mon neamed Adam Green? The Bull-head was shaken in sign of ignorance.
Loy-a-bed, dost thee?
Lie-a-bed's opportunities of making acquaintance had been rather limited, and she could not resolve the difficulty.
Stumpy (a man with a wooden leg), Cowskin, Spindle-, shanks, Cock-eye, Pig-tail, and Yellow-belly, were severally invoked, but in vain, and the querist fell into a brown study, in which she remained for some time. At length, however, her eyes suddenly brightened, and slapping one of her companions on the shoulder, she exclaimed, triumphantly,“ Dash my wig! whoy he means moy feyther !" and then turning to the gentleman, she added, “ Yo should'n ax'd ** for Ode Blackbird !”
* Desperately quiet Public-bouse.
+ Scolds out rageously. # Night. H On Hell Bank. & Most given to swearing. **" You should have asked.
Now and then, but not very frequently, groups of these children of nature may be seen wandering about the streets of Birmingham, with much the same sensations as the Indians experience at New York or Philadelphia. It was at Birmingham that the Roscio-mania, as Lord Byron calls it, first broke out, and in a few weeks indistinct rumours of Young Betty's fame caught some ears even in the coal-mines. One man, more curious or more idle than his fellows, determined to leave his work, and see the prodigy with his own eyes; and having so resolved, he proceeded, although in the middle of the week, to put on a clean shirt and a clean face, and would even have anticipated the Saturday's shaving, but he was preserved from such extravagance by the motive which prevented Mrs. Gilpin from allowing the chaise to draw up to her door on the eventful morning of the journey,
lest all Should say that she was proud. But notwithstanding this moderation he did not pass unobserved. The unwonted hue of the shirt and face were portents not to be disregarded : and he had no sooner taken the road to Birmingham, than he was met by an astonished brother, whose amazement, when at last it found vent in words, produced the following dialogue: “ Oi say, sirree, where be'st thee gwain * ?"—- Oi'm agwain to Brummajum.”—“ What be'st agwain there for ?"_" Oi'm agwain to see the Young Rocus." - What ?"_" Oi tell thee Oi'm agwain to see the Young Rocus.”_" Is it aloive ?"
I ought to thank my readers (if one by one they have not all dropped off before this time) for indulging me so long in my garrulity. But I had a reason for it. I wished to preserve some sketch, while the original is yet in existence, of a race which refinement, that fell destroyer of character, has hitherto spared. Soon will these be tales of other times! The primitive simplicity even of the Collieries is threatened. Already have the eyes of Bell and Lancaster searched out even this spot of innocent seclusion; and the voice of education will ere long be heard above the wild untutored sounds which have so long charmed the ears of the traveller.
M. D. H.
“ Peregrine,” said Lady Mary, write.”
O mes enfans! quelles âmes que celles qui ne sont inquiètes que des mouvemens de l'écliptique, ou que des moeurs et des arts des Chinois !"
How far our happiness may be advanced or endangered by the indulgence of a lively interest in all things and persons that chance throws in our way, is a point on which I never could make up my mind. I have seen the man of feeling wrapt up in the fervour of his affection or the enthusiasm of his benevolence, and I have believed him perfectly happy ; but I have seen him again when he has discovered that his affection had been wasted on a fool, and his benevolence lavished on a scoundrel, and I have believed him the most wretched of men.. Again, I have looked on the man of the world in an hour of trouble or embarrassment, and I have envied his philosophy and his self-command ; but I have
ed him too in the day of revel and exultation, and I have shrunk from the immobility of his features and the torpor of his smile.
I could never settle it to my satisfaction. Acute pleasure seems to be always the forerunner of intense pain; and weariness the inseparable demon which dogs the steps of gratification. I have examined all ranks and all faces ; I have looked into eyes and I have looked into folios ; I have lost patience and I have lost time; I have made inquiries of many and enemies of not a few; and drawn confessions and conclusions from demoiselles who never had feelings, and from dowagers who have survived them, and from bards who have nourished them in solitude, and from barristers who have crushed them in Westminster Hall. The choice spirit who is loudest at his club to-night will be dullest in his chambers to-morrow, and the girl who is merriest at the dance will infallibly be palest at the breakfast table. How shall I decide? The equability which lives, or the excitement which dies? The beef without the mustard, or the mustard without the beef ?
Chance, or my kind stars, for I am very often inclined to believe in their agency, especially on fine moon-light nights, has flung me into a circle of acquaintance, where the pleasures and the pains attendant upon these different tempers of mind are continually forced upon my notice, and hold me delight