Jan At The Hunt Dinner




This is the ’count o’ how I went to the Hunt Dinner, an’ tis ev’ry word o’t true, as Tom Cobleigh or Squire Manning will tell ’e the same if you was to ax uther-one o’m.

Squire ’ad a cupple o’ tickets for this yer Hunt Dinner, an’ ’e zed if I was mind to go, I cude ride in ’long wi’ ’e, an’ come back the zame.

Wull, I bant wan to miss ort I can get for nothing as yu knew, so I zed I’d be plaised to go. I never adden been to no-jis thing bevore, zo I spruced mezel’ up so well as I was abble; an’ Ann (that’s my wive as praps yu knew) ’er wid insist ’pon me warin’ a gurt ole ’ard collar round me neck, witch ’er’d bought up Exter zame purpose. ’Pon me zaul ’er purty near chucked me.

An’ nort else widden plaise ’er but I mus’ wear a pair o’ white gloves, if ever you yerd o’ sitch a thing.

“Yer,” I zes, “vinish out yer job while yu be ’bout it. Gie’s a vu veathers, an’ a veil, an’ a bit or two o’ lace, an’ a smullin’ bottle, an’ a rid anbrella, an’ then I shall be vinished prapper.”

“All very well for ya to talk” ’er zes, “when I be doin’ me best for ’e. Do ’e want for to go in ’mongst a passel o’ gen’l’vokes lookin’ like a scare-craw?”

“Wull,” I zes, “I dunno how I be lookin’, but that’s exactly wat I veels like. I veels for all the gude in the world like wan o’ these yer imijes they carr’s around Vith o’ November.”

Jiss then the Squire draved up with ees dugcart. So out I strakes, out droo the vore-door, wi’ me white gloves, an’ me tay-drinkin’ butes, an’ this yer darned ole coller ’round me neck witch made me look like a dunkey with ees head droo a barreel, an’ so us draved in to the White ’Art to Barleycombe.

When us got there us ’anged up our coats an’ ’ats in a little rume,

an’ tho’ us went ’vore to ware the dinner was to be zar’d.

Darn ’e soce, if I wadden prapper frightened I was reely, to see the place. Prapperly tooked away me breath zune’s ever I putt me voot inzide door.

Girt long tables thur was all ’long after each side o’ the room, an’ wan crass tap, an’ wan crass bottom, a’ I shid think wi’out a word of a lie, there was vower or vive score vokes there. Zum was stood up, an’ zum was zaut down, an’ zum was walkin-vore-an-back, an’ they was all talkin’ to wance, hard as ever they cude go.

Rale gen’l’men too, most o’m was, wi’ thase yer coats with the front part all cut away, an’ half their shirts showin’. Tell ’ee straight, I didden hardly like to go een vir a minit, vir I zimmed to amissed the Squire zum’ow, but to last I ketched zite o’ Varmer Wills to Beer, an’ Jimmy Bamvield the ocshineer in the far cornder. So I made the best o’ me way crass to they.

Twadden but a minit or two arterwads ’vore somebody knacked pin the taable an’ zes—

“Take yer plaaces gen’l’men plaise.”

“Wat be us gwain to ’ave a dance?” I zes.

“Ti-no” zes Jimmy, “sit down to yer dinner. ’Ave ’e found yer place.”

“Not I ant” I zes, “ ’ave us got prapper places then?”

“Ees fie. Theese yer cards ’pin the taables ’ave got the names wraut down o’ the vokes wat got to sit there. Yu mus’ go around an’ vind the card wat’s got your name on ’en.”

“Aw! darn ’ee ” I zes, “I thort I was gwain to sit long o’ yu.”

“Yu carn do that. Yume bound to sit where they means for ’e to.”

So I started meanderin round the tables reading the cards where there wadden nobody saut to, but I cuden zee my name no-place. I was jis’ thinkin o’ flippin wan o’ the cards into me pocket, an’ sittin down in the place o’t, when a gen’l’man wi ’a pocket ancher on ees arm gimme a git, an zes,—

“What name, plaize?”

“Jan Stewer” I zes, “plaize yer onner.”

“Volley me” so ’e zes, “your place is vore yer.”

So up us trapes all crass the room, an’ ’e zaut me down next to the squire.

“Ullo, Stewer,” e zes, “I thort yu was lost, sit down us be waitin vor ’ee.”

So I zaut down, very glad to end me journey, but I didden sem as I cude make tap nor tail o’ the things wat was on the table.

The Third Edition besides expanding the Second Edition text, varies the order of the narrative. Forks before napkin.

Fust thing I neticed was, us ’ad all got a gurt pocket ancher sticked up in front of each wan. So I zes to the Squire,—

“Twas very kind o’m zur, to gi’s each a pocket ancher, but I sem ees turrable ’ard to the nawse.”

“That idden a pocket anchor Jan” ’e zes, “tis a servy-et.”

“A wat Sir?”

“A napkin Jan.”

“Aw is it, an wat’s it vor?”

“To put auver yer knees in case you draps ort into yer lap.”

“Aw! Laur massey,” I zes, “If that was ’ome to our ouze, my wive ’ud a lot zuneder I wasted the gravy on me trousers, than bissle up a butivul clane clath like that.”

Then the nex’ thing I noticed was, I’d get ’bout a dizzen knizes an vorks, and I reckon some other pore toad adden got noan. Zo I wispers to Squire again.

“Beggin yer onner’s pardon yer worship,” I zes, “I got zum other vokes knives an’ vorks besides me awn.”

“No yu ant Jan” ’e zes, “yu wait a bit.” Wull, then the cheerman knacked to the table agean, an’ us all stood up while ’e zed graze, an very glad I was too, for I adden ad a scrap o’ no zort since that mornen, brexis, cuz, as I zed to Ann twadden a bit o’ gude aitin o’t to waste, gwain’ out to dinner an all.

Wull, a chap carled a waiter putt a plate vul o’ zummat down in front o’ me, (though wat they carl’th en a waiter for I ocearn tull ’e no more’n a dunkey, for ’e didden wait a second. ’E was no sooner yer than ’e was gone.

An’ wat du ’e think twas? Nort but a dish ’o zoup! Darn if I didden think they was makin’ game o’ me at fust, till I zeed Squire ad a-got the zame, an I reckoned they widden ’ardly try to take a rise out of ’ee. But I thort twadden much of a caper to give a hungry man a plate o’ zoup.

Owsumever, I didden see much likelihoods o’ gettin’ ort else, so I zaut about it, an vurry gude twas too. Jis’ the leastes’ bit too pippery for my palate. But wat a li’l tiny drap they gives ’e. Two or dree mouthvuls an I’d vinished mine, an’ no zuneder ad I putt down me spune in me plaate, than this yer waiter chap wizzed ’en off taable ’vooro I cud zay Jack Robinson, an’ I lookid around jist in time to zee ’en coosin down the rume wi’ my plaate, an’ arf-a-dizen more.

Carl ’e a waiter! Didden gie a chap the chance to ax vor a drap more zoup.

Wull, when I turned back me ’aid, I be dalled if I adden got a plaate o’ zummat else in front o’ me. Gudeness knaws where ’e come from. I niver zeed the comin awn.

’Twas veesh, an’ zum careless toad ’ad let vall a bit o’ lemon on to my plate. I wiz jis’ ’pon the point o’ pickin’ it up an drappin it in under the table when I zeed the Squire ’squeezin ees bit o’ lemon auver ees veesh. Purty near made me zick to zee’n. Wull they zay thurs no countin for taste’es.

I picked out wan o’ me vorks an’ I zeed the Squire ’and- lin a zort of a knive bowed like a mason’s trowel, zo I dude the zame. ’Twas a gude job the veesh was middlin an tender, for I zimmed the knive wanted whettin’ mos doosive.

Tull ’bout pixies! I put down me knive an vork jis’ vir wan minit to pick up we napkin wat ad valled on the floor, an’ I be dalled if my plate wadden flipped off the taable, veesh an all. I turned around quick as lightning and ketched ’old to the waiter. but ’twas the wrong wan. The chap wi’ my veesh was jis’ gwain out o’ zite, an’ this wan was axin me w’ere I’d ’ave beef, mutton or lamb.

“Let’s have a plate o’ bafe ” I zes, “an’ bring along a piece o’ coord to tie ’en down to the table wi’.”

I adden ardly vinished speakin’ avore the plate o’ bafe was under me nawse, an’ the chap was half ways down the room.

Wull, I was detarmined I shidden be chated out o’ theas yer, so when me vork was to me mouthe, I kep’ me knives pressed tight on me plaate, an’ when me knive was to me mouthe, I held the plate fast wi’ me vork. So I maniged to get all me bafe mezel’.

When I’d done wi’ thik lot I was veelin fairly full, but soon’s ever thik plate was gone ’long come another wi’ zum pie on ’en. I zeed now why they gid a feller so many knives an vorks, for ev’ry time the waiters carr’d away me plaat they carr’d knive an’ vork long away-en. So I was force to use a fresh wan.

Wull, arter thik pie I was propperly fulled up. Adden got rume for a bit more the size of a bee’s knee. But thur wadden no stappin o’m. No zuneder ’ad I emp me plaate than long come the wing of a chicken. Yu wid a thort ’e flied there be ’issel’.

They tell’th me that gen’l’vokes thinks nort o’ havin’ twelve or vowerteen divurnt coorses to their dinner. Wull, aul I can say is, gudeness knaws ware they putts it to. I wid a-gid sixpence to have thik collar off me neck. I cuden zee the wing of a chicken wasted vir want of eatin’, but I ’ardly knawed ’ow to get droo wi’ en. And I be dalled arter the chicken was all eat, if there didden come some sort o’ pie; but I tell ’e I cuden titch ’en, I cuden raly. I thort twid be bad behaviour to leff’n, so I spread me pocket anchor crass me knees, an when nobody wadden lookin, I empt me plate into thik, an putt on in me pocket. An a putty vine mess ’e made there wi’ the gravy.

An tho, arter that, I be blawed if a waiter didden come an’ ax me if I’d ha’ some braid an chayse.

“No,” I zes,”lea’ me alone w’ut. Do ’ee think I be made o’ injin-rubber or wat?”

Didden the Squire laff. “Wat’s matter Jan” ’e zes, “ant they gi’d ’ee nuff to ait?”

“Nuff, ay” I zes, “Shan’ want no more to ait if tis for a vortnit.”



Jan At The Hunt Dinner




This is the ’count of how I come to go to this-yer ole Hunt Dinner, an’ tis ev’ry word o’t true. as a-plenty o’ volks can tell ’ee if you mind to ax ’em.

I shude’n a thort no more o’ gwain to the dinner than a cow wude think o’ climming up a apple tree, not a bit more, but Squire Manning he said to me he’d got thase yer two tickets an’ he did’n want the both o’m, an’ if I mind to have wan I cude.

Wull, I ban’t a fella to miss ort that I can get fer nothin’, so I said I wude go. The dinner was to be into the Rid Lion to Barleycome, an’ Squire said I could ride in with he, an’ come back the same.

My wive Ann her was so proud as a paycock cuz her Jan was gwain to dine long o’ the swells. Her was turrable anxious fer me to look viddy, an’ her waint up to Exter same purpose to bring me back sivverl new things to wear.

A gurt ole hard collar fer one thing which gave me corns under me ears, an’ a pair o’ white gloves if you plaise.

“Goo on,” I says, “vinish it while youm about it. Let’s have a vew veathers to stick up in me ’at, an’ a bit o’ lace around me neck, an’ a rid umbrella. Mid so well make a job o’t now you’ve started.”

“All very well,” her says, “fer you to vind vault when I be doin' me best fer ’ee. Do ’ee want to go up among a passel o’ gen’lvokes lookin’ like a scare- craw?”

“I dunnaw what I be lookin’ like,” I says, “but that's axac’ly what I be veelin’ like.”

Jis that minute the Squire draived up in his dug-cart. so out I strakes in me bes’ go-to-mittin cloas an’ me my-drinkin’ butes, an’ the darned ole nuisance of a coller which made me look like a dunkey lookin’ out droo a barreel. An’ so us draived to Barleycome.

When us come to the Rid Lion the fust thing I ’ad to do was to go in a li’l rume an’ let ’em have me ’at an’ coat. There was a chap there stood behind the bar, an’ he let me have a bit of a ticket.

“Putt he in yer pocket, maister,” he says, “an’ mind you daun’ lost ’en, cus if you lostis yer ticket you waun’ be abble to get back yer ’at an’ coat.”

“Aw, waun’ I?” I says. “You let me come in yer,” I says, “my vine vella, wai’out thikky ticket, an’ you tell me I can’t have back my ’at an’ coat. I’m darned if there waun’ be a funeral in your vam’ly.”

I went in there wai’out me ticket when twas time to go ’ome jis to zee what the chicky toad wude say, but begor, when he zeed me comin’, he clapped down under the counter an’ fetched out my things, and bevore I ’ad time to ax vor’m he says, “Yer’s your ’at an’ coat, maister,” he says. But he did’n ax me fer no ticket, an’ I did’n given none.

Owsumever, arter I’d let he have the ’at an’ coat, I went up ovver the stairs to where the dinner was to be sarv’d.

Twas a immense gurt rume, sure nuff. I was properly frightened to see the plaace. There was a gurt taable along aich side an’ wan across the top an’ win across the bottom, an’ the gletter o’ the knaives an’ vorks an’ the glasses on the taable was nuff to blind ’ee. An’ there was flowers stood about all ovver the place like’s if twas somebody bein’ married.

An’ there must a-bin vower or vive score volks there, some stood up an’ some sot down an’ some walkin’ back an’ vore, an’ all tellin’ so hard as they cude go. All proper gen’lvokes they was wai’ thase yer claw-ammer coats with the front part cut out showin’ about a yard o’ their shirt.

I was feared’ to go in fer a minute, cuz I sim to a-missed the squire, when all to wance I zeed Varmer Wills ovver to Beer, an’ Tommy Bamvield, the ocshineer, cross tother side the rume, so I made me way across to they. Twad’n but a minute or two arterwards some- body knacked p’n the taable an’ said, “Take yer places, genlmen, plaise.”

“What, be us gwain to have a set o’ lancers?” I says.

“No ti-no,” says Tommy. “That’s to take yer plaace fer dinner. Ab’m you found yer proper plaace, eet?”

“No,” I says. “I thought I was gwain to sit long o’ you.”

“Aw, you ban’t, then,” he says. “There’s bits o’ tickets pon the taables with the names on where you’ve got to sit to. You must go around and find the place where your name is to.”

So I started off meanderin’ round the taables raidin’ the tickets wherever there wad’n nobody sot down, but I cuden see mine no-place. I was jis p’n the point o’ flippin’ wan o’ the tickets in me pocket an’ sittin’, down to the place o’t when a gen’lman come up to me, with a pocket ancher across his arm. I reckon he was what they caaled the umpire.

“Ab’m you vound yer place ’eet?” he says.

“No, yer onner, I ab’m,” I says.

“What name. plaise?” he says.

“Jan Stewer,” I says, “plaise yer worship.”

“Volley me,” he says. So us med up a bit of a precession, an’ I volleyed he all around the rume. At last he discovered my ticket next to the squire an’ I sot down, very thankful to aind me journey.

Fus’ thing I noticed was I’d a-got about a dizzen knives an’ vorks.

“Zummat wrong yer, zur,” I saith to the Squire. “l got about a dizzen knives an’ vorks, an’ I reckon some other poor toad ab’n got none.”

“That’s orright, Jan,” he saith, “you ’ang on to what you got.”

Wull, then, the nex’ peculiar thing I observed was they’d provided me with a white pocket-ancher which was sticked up on the table like a church steeple. But I cude’n seem to get on very well with he. Squire seed there was summat wrong. He says, “What’s the matter, Stewer?”

I says, “Tis this-yer white pocket-ancher, zur,” I says. “Tis very kind o’m,” l says, “to provide sitch thing, but I vancy tis turrable ’ard to the nawse.”

My days, did’n ’er laaf ?”

“That id’n a pocket ancher, Jan,” he saith. “That’s a servy-yet.”

I thought he said serve ’ee right, I says. “Sarve they right," I says, “if they ad’n got better sainse.” But I soon seed the way o’t, an’ tis a very gude idaya. You spreads it across yer lap in case you shude ap’m to let fall any o’ yer grub.

Wull, then, there was a passel o’ chaps rinnin’ about which they called waiters. What on airth they caals ’em by that name fer I dunnaw, fer they did’n wait a minute. They was no sooner here than they was out o’ sight. Ketchin’ flays was cheel’s play to ketchin’ wan o’ they waiters.

Wan o’m putt zummat down in front o’ me. An’ what do ’ee think twas? What do you think—wull, there, you'd never guess if you tried a hundred times.

Nort but a dish o’ zoup!

I thought he was makin’ spoort o’ me till I seed the squire ’ad the same, an’ I considered they wude’n ’ardly dare to make game of he. But I did’n reckon very much o’ that caper, to fetch a fella all that way, and then gi’ ’en a dish o‘ zoup. I cude a-got that ’ome.

Not but what twas very good zoup, arter that. Jis the laistest bit too pippery fer my pallat. But what a dinky drap they gives ’ee. Why, I drinked all my dishful in about vower gullups. An’ I ad’n scarcely putt back the dish, on the taable avore wan o’ they waiters whip’n up an’ was off like a lamplighter.

Caal he a waiter! Why he did’n wait long nuff fer me to ax fer some more zoup.

Wull, when I turned back me haid, I’m darned if I ad’n got another plate in front o’ me. Gudeness knaws where he come from. I never seed the coming o’n.

Twas a bit o’ veesh, an’ some careless toad ’ad let vaal a bit o’ lemon right on the top of it. I was jis p’n the point o’ flippin’ it in under the taable, when I zeed squire ’ad got a bit too, an was squaizin’ his over his veesh. Purt’ near turned me off my feed to see ’en.

I selected wan o’ me knives an’ vorks. The fus’ knive I come to wad’n no more gude than a dunkey’s kick. He’d a-got a edge like a timbern spune, an’ wuddn cut butter hardly. Sol left he sittin’ an’ took the nex’.

Wall, l’d ait about half me veesh when the ole serve- me-right slipped off me lap on the vloor. I stoopied down to pick ’en up. an’ when I come back I be dalled if my plate ad’n gone, veesh an’ all.

Caal he a waiter. I flipped around an’ ketched ’en hold by the coat tails, but twas the wrong wan. My chap was down tother end o’ the room, an’ this vella was axin’ me whe’er I’d ’ave bafe, mutten, or lamb.

“Bring us a plate o’ bafe,” I says, “an’ bring a bit o’ coord so’s I can tie’n down to the taable.” Wull, ’ee took me back a butifle plate of bafe an’ graavy an’ vege’bles, vit fer a king to ait. Twas a bit more viddy than the old zoup.

An’ I was determined I shude get all this lot fer mezell. Zo what I do’d was this yer. When me vork was to me mouthed I kep’ me knive pressed down tight on me plate, an’ when twas turn fer me knive to go to me mouthe I held me plate fast with me vork. So no blimmin’ waiters did’n go coo’sing off wai’ none o’ my bafe.

Wull, by the time I’d finished thik lot I’d ’ad nuff. But there was no stoppin’ of’m. No sooner ’ad wan chap tooked away me empty platter than another dapped down the wing of a chicken.

I did’n want ’en no more’n a dug wants two tails, nit a bit more. But I cude’n zee the wing of a chicken gwain fer want of aitin, so I managed to get droo wai’t.

An’ arter that I ad’n got rume fer a bit more the size of a bee’s knee. But there was no stoppin’ of’m. They tells me that gen’lvokes thinks nort of havin’ tain or a dizzen divvernt cooses to a meal. Well, all I can say is, bless the insides of ’em.

The next helpin’ I got was some sort of a pie. I cude’n ait’n; twad’n a bit o’ gude to say. But, arter that, I did’n like to laive ’en, cuz I thought, when they’d tooked all the trouble to cook ’en, twude look bad behaviour to rayfuse ’en. So what I do’d was this yer. I putt me ole serve-ee-right across me lap, an’ I spread me rid pocket-ancher p’n tap of he, an’ then, when nobody wad’n lookin’, I emp the pie into me pocket- ancher an’ putt it into me coat-tail pocket. Twas orright so fur as the pie was consarned, but twas a doost of a mess with the gravy. An’, arter all, twad’n a bit o’ gude. Us cude’n ait it when I got ’ome, cuz when I got up in the trap I furgot all about me pie, an’ I sot down on ’en an’ squaished ’en all abroad to a clat.