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THA PUBLICK’S MONNA

Thass like I told yer. They’re a-goin to hold a hinkwest on thet thare
silver plearte what tha marster plowed up on ’is land tha other week.
I carnt see no sense in thet meself. Tha Wicar says thass a roamin dish
what Jewlius Seizer or one o’ his men must a dropped. I say to ’im, I say
yew could hold fifta hinkwests without yew could give tha duzzy thing
back to Jewlius Seizer.
Thet ent it, say tha Wicar, thet orl depend on whether thet wor put
thare o’ parpose, or whether thet come thare accidental. They’re got to
find thet out, he say. I carnt see as thet matters, I say, but if thet dew, I
say, yew dornt need to wearst tha publick’s monna on a hinkwest to find
thet out. Thet stick out a mile, I say. Thet thare Jewlius Seizer, nor yit ’is
men, woun’t go puttin tha best Sunda silver in tha middle o’ one o’ tha
marster’s filds not unless they’d gorn light.
Me, I reckon thet must a bin dropped accidental, when Jewlius Seizer
wor a-tearkin orl ’is walables orf to Norwich to rearse a bob or tew,
like what my ow uncle did time thare wor orl thet thare onemployment.
Searme thing happened ter ’im, a candle-stick warth harf-a-crown hopped
out o’ tha sack on tha back o’ his bike, an he never did find it. Thow why
Jewlius Seizer should a went acrorst tha marster’s fild is a misstry to me,
cos thet ent a short cut to nowhere.
Corse, thare a bin a lot o’ furriners pearkin about on tha farm ever
since we found thet thare plearte. To heck if I know where they orl come
from, one on em wor a woman about six foot square what say she come
from one o’ them varsities. She allers did know, so she say, thet this hare
willage wor a roamin camp.
“Then yew know more’n what we dew,” I say, “an we’re lived hare
orl our lives.” Thet shut har up.
Then thare wor another feller come down, proper city feller he wor,
werra smart, an well built about tha showlders, only ’is hair wor a bit
tew long for my likin. He come up to me an “Dew yew find any more o’
them things,” he say, “dorn’t yew say narthin to tha marster. I’ll gi’ yew
a good price for ’em.”
“How much?” I say. “
“What about harf-a-quid?” he say.
“What about it?” I say.

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“Think how much beer yew could git for harf-a-quid,” he say.
“I dornt drink,” I say.
“Listen, son,” he say – thet got me riled for a staart, cos he wornt no
older’n what I am – “I’d be dewin yew a fearvour givin yew harf-a-quid
for suffin what ent no yewse to yew.”
“Look yew hare, Dad,” I say – thet got ’im on tha hop – “if thass
warth harf-a-quid to yew, thass warth harf-a-quid to me.”
“What could yew dew with one o’ them things?” he say.
“Searme as yew, I reckon,” I told ’im. “We eat orf pleartes in tha
country searme as what yew dew in tha town.”
He slung ’is hook.
Then, o’ course, tha marster’s lawyer come to see ’im. I thowt he’d
hev to hev a finger in it somewhere. Pinch, ’is nearme is, of Pinch, Pinch,
Usher an Bunion, from Flitmarsh. Tha fust Pinch wor ’is father, what
died an left ’im tha bizness, an by thet time Usher hed retired an bowt up
Diddlin Hall, an Bunion hed went orf to live in Canada with ’is neffew.
So this hare Pinch is tha only one left, an what with one thing an another I
reckon he dew orlright. Yew know what tha marsters are – if somebodda
sneeze over their land they run orf tew a lawyer.

HARBERT
26th September, 1952

SEIZED FOR THA CROWN

Yew remember thet thare silver plearte what tha marster found on ’is
land? Well, my hart if they ent gorn an run orf with it. Seizin it for tha
Crown, they call it. Thet ent what Ow Bob Blewitt called it in tha Fox
larst night.
They hed tha hinkwest on it in tha Willage Hall o’ Tewsda. Tha feller
in charge wor him whass known as tha Corriner, thow Ow Bob Blewitt
reckon he wor allers known as tha Crowner when he wor a young ’un.
Then they hed a jewry what they reckoned wor twelve good men an true,

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thow I dint know harf on em so I coun’t say. They come from Flitmarsh
as far as I could mearke out.
I see tha marster set thare lookin like he wor a-gorn to lay about ’im
if they tried to diddle ’im, but he dint hev tew, cos tha Corriner put ’im
right afore they’d hardly staarted. Thet dint seem right, say tha Corriner,
as how when a feller found suffin they should tearke it orf ’im, but thare
wornt narthin for ’im to worry about, cos he yewsually got paid for it jest
tha searme. Tha marster fared a bit easier in ’is mind arter thet. To speak
tha honest trewth, so did I, cos arter all I helped ’im find it, an I could
dew with a couple o’ new tires on my bike.
Well, arter tha marster hed said ’is bit about how he plowed it
up, a totty little ow chap with glarsses tarned round an said he wor a
narkalollajist or suffin, an he knew what thet thare plearte wor. Accordin
to what he say, thet wor a roamin frewt dish what must a bin berried
when times wor hard, like when my ow uncles berried tha best spewns
to keep ’is relearshuns from layin hold on em when tha ow woman died.
Like thet, he say, thet counted as treasure.
Tha jewry set thare lookin as thow thet mearde about as much sense
to them as what thet did to me. So tha Corriner , a werra friendly sort o’
feller what dint look as thow he spent harf ’is time garpin at corpses, he
told thet thare jewry what he reckoned they ought to say, an what they
dint ought to say. In tha finish they browt tha wardict in thet this plearte
wor treasure, an thet’d hev to go to tha Crown. Tom Drew, tha landlord,
he tarned round an give me a wink, an say, “Thet’d a bin better if they’d
said tha Fox ’stead o’ tha Crown ”
I arst tha marster what he reckoned he’d git out of it, an he say his
lawyer told him some London feller what see it reckoned thet wor warth
tha best part o’ fower or five hundred pound. I see Humpty Potter crowdin
a barrer up our loke tha nexter mornin, so I told ’im. “My hart,” he say,
“tha times I’re bin acrorst thet thare fild without knowin thare wor orl
thet monna layin thare underfoot.” Then a look come in ’is eye so I kep
quiet. Thet wount surprise me none dew I wor to go up tha fild o’ nights
afore we git tha winter barley in, to see Humpty diggin away like a duzzy
ow moll.

HARBERT
3rd October, 1952

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DEWIN FOR HARSELF

Mrs Frorst, what live next door tew us, she’re done for harself now.
She’re bin arstin for trouble ever since har pig knocked our fence down.
Well, bor, dew she want trouble she can hev it.
Fust go orf she reckoned thet ent our fence, but hars, an thet wornt
har pig what knocked it down but my little ow dorg. My Ma told har a
thing or tew. “My pore ow husband stuck thet thare fence up when he
wor alive,” she say.
“So he may hev,” say Mrs Frorst, “but thet wor my husband what
employed him to dew it.”
“Dornt talk so sorft,” say my Ma; “yar husband never employed
nobodda, an nobodda never employed him dew they could help it, tha
drunken good-fer-narthin.”
“Why yew foul-mouthed ow hag, yew,” say Mrs Frorst. “I’ll thank
yew not to designate tha memory o’ my pore husband.”
“He never did hev no memory,” say my Ma, “dew he’d a remembered
tha one pound ten what he borrered orf o’ my husband tha night o’ tha
armistice in tha fust warld war.”
* * *
Corse, Mrs. Frorst is like thet thare. Dew she can git suffin for narthin
she’s arter it like a dorg arter a rabbit. She never did hev a day’s illness
in har life till tha Nashunal Health come in, an since then she’re hed one
thing arter another. When har fowls caught tha croup she staarted to corf
suffin crewel so as she could git some physick to stick in their mash. I
never dew know whether they’re har own eyes or glass ones, an thass
my belief she’d cut har leg orf an arst for a wooden one dew she wor to
run short of a copper stick. She got harself a new set o’ teeth jest afore
Chrissmas, about tha time she wanted to kill thet thare pig, an they dew
say she sent tha form for killin tha pig to tha Nashunal Health an tha one
for tha teeth to tha pig marketin board. My Ma reckon thass a pity they
dint kill har an give tha teeth to tha pig.
Howsomever, about this hare fence. Mrs Frorst reckon thet wornt har
pig what knocked it down cos thet hent never bin out o’ tha sty, but she
hed to chearnge har tewne arter Humpty Potter told me he ketched thet
thare pig harfway down tha loke tha searme Sunda mornin as what tha
fence fell down. Then she come hollerin to my Ma about thet bein har

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fence an she wor a-goin to hev us in court for damidges. “Dew thass yar
fence,” say my Ma, “thass yar plearce to put it up agin, an dew thass ours,
then I’ll see yew dew put it up.”
“Alright,” say Mrs Frorst, “I’ll hev it put up an I’ll send yew tha bill.”
“Best thing yew can dew,” say my Ma, “is sell yar pig to pay for it.”
“You leave my pig alone,” say Mrs. Frorst; “even if thet did knock tha
fence down – an I ent sayin thet did – thet wor yar dorg come chearsin it
round my yard knockin my brockerlo down what mearde it dew it.”
* * *
Well, this went on all trew Chrissmas until in tha finish she staarted puttin
it up larst week. Thet wor only a matter of a few poosts brook orf trew
bein rotten, an all thet wanted wor some new uns put in. I come hoom
Saturda an found Fred Johnson, whass a carpenter, diggin holls for em.
“Whare tha hoike dew yew think yew’re a-diggin them holls, bor?”
I arst. Without a ward of a lie, they wor a foot or more on tew our land.
“I’m a-diggin on em whare Mrs. Frorst told me,” say Fred.
“We’ll see about thet,” I say.
Corse, I up an see Mrs Frorst.
“Fred Johnson’s puttin them poosts in their rightful plearce,” she say.
“When my pore husband give yar father good money to put thet fence
up he put it tew far our way. He allers wor a bit thick in tha skull an thet
wornt no good us a-tellin on him, so we let it lay. But thass being put
right now, an yew can holler as loud as yew like.”
Well, she’re done for harself. I’m a-goin to see Lawyer Pinch in tha
mornin.

HARBERT
22nd January, 1954

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