Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

gallant deeds of the knights and their days, seems, at least as a descriptive term, but faintly echoed in the "exploits" and "faits d'armes" of the soldiers of the empire or the republic. And so on, but of course it would be needless to multiply examples.

Another peculiarity of many of these obsolete words is that, although not quite so English in their appearance as many of those which I have mentioned, the resemblance is much nearer than might be imagined by a mere casual observer. To verify this, the student has only to keep in view the laws of change which govern the phonetics of language, which might indeed be termed the comparative anatomy of philology. If, as one might say, we take and dissect the word and study its construction, we soon discover the points of contact. For example, it would seem as if the Latin initial consonants sc, sm, sp, st, presented some difficulties of pronunciation to the inhabitants of Gaul. This led to their prefixing an e, which renders the sound easier by doubling the s. However, the Englishman in his pronunciation of Norman-French evidently dispensed with the vowel added by his conquerors. For instance, the old French words esparse, estache, estaple, estocq, and estrif, are but the antique forms of our well-known English words sparse, stake, staple, stock (meaning race or family), strife, and so on. These peculiarities would seem to confirm the saying of Horne Tooke: "Letters, like soldiers, are apt to desert and drop off on a long march."

By bearing in mind these simple letter-changes, and at the same time substituting for the ordinary syllables which mark the terminations of verbs in the French language, those which are the corresponding signs and syllables in our own, we have before us verbs which are in every-day use amongst ourselves. Good examples of this are to be seen in such old French words as acointer, claimer, destourber, lancer, murdrir, muser, poiser, sevrer, and annoier. The same rule holds good with many adjectives and adverbs, possessing a strength and raciness which their modern French representatives are very far from inheriting.

In conclusion, I may just mention that those who may be induced to study the subject of my communication for themselves will be amply rewarded for their trouble by even a passing glance at authors whose works breathe forth a quaint, old-world flavour, and whose pages offer to the philologist innumerable examples of the changes which steal gradually over a language changes of which our dictionaries may tell us something, but cannot tell us all.

[ocr errors]
[blocks in formation]

THOMAS TYLDESLEY, the writer of this diary,* was born 3rd of April, 1657. His family is well known in this county, where it gives the name to one of our ugliest mining and manufacturing villages. It is situated partly on the crest of the sloping upland which overlooks Chat Moss, and a large portion of Cheshire; in the vernacular it is called "Tinsley Bongs," in ordinary English, Tyldesley Banks. One of the ancestors of the diarist built Wardley Hall, Worsley, better known to most Lancashire readers as "The Skull House," from its being the scene of one of Mr. Roby's so-called Lancashire traditions. The diarist's grandfather was Sir Thomas Tyldesley, the Royalist, who fell in the fight at Wigan, Lancashire, 25th August, 1651. His father, son of the above, was named Edward, and was the builder of Fox Hall, Blackpool. This, with other of the large patrimonial estates, fell to the diarist, who resided mainly at Myerscough Lodge, a house noted as having given shelter to two of our kings-Charles II. and James I., and is the scene of Ainsworth's story, Beatrice Tyldesley. Myerscough Lodge is situate about half-a-dozen miles north of Preston. The township borders upon the Nook, † and was a’royal park. Dialectically it is pronounced "Mascah." Leland says: "Or I cam to Garstane by a Mile and a halfe I left Merscow, a great Parke partely enclosid with Hegge partely al on the Moore side with Pale. On the right it is replenishid with Redde Deere. The Erle of Darby hath hit in Ferme of the King." Deer were wild in Tyldesley's time, and "on the right" a century later than that.

Of Tyldesley's education I know nothing; but, from his being the representative of an old, respectable, many-acred family, and from his evident intimacy with the best local families and the high officers of the crown, I presume it was the education of a country gentleman of his day. Tyldesley was not a literary man in any sense. He appears to have been destitute of a love of lettersnot a book or a line of poetry is referred to by him. From his advantage for observing the more noteworthy events of his day,

* The Tyldesley Diary. Personal Records of Thomas Tyldesley, grandson of Sir Thomas Tyldesley, the Royalist, during the years 1712-13-14. With introduction, notes, and index by Joseph Gillow and Anthony Hewitson. Illustrated. Preston. 1873.

†The so-called "Nook" of Lancashire lies to the north-east of Preston, and comprises the country around Chipping and Goosnargh. For a description of it, see the Papers of the Manchester Literary Club, vol. ii., p. 106, and vol. iii., p. 102.

as they affected that locality, it might have been expected that he would have left valuable memoranda. Nothing hardly could be more blank than the disappointment on this head. But, being a sympathiser with the Stuart cause, I suspect some of the incidents which he notes connected with his erratic flights about the countryfor he seems to have been about as ubiquitous as a crow-were mere cues to the memory; he was too cautious to commit to paper anything of dubious consequence. This wariness was the more incumbent upon him as he was a Roman Catholic. One of the chief values of the diary is the scope which it gives to the genealogist, and the editors have turned almost their entire attention in that direction. I have regarded it chiefly from a philological point of view.

Tyldesley was a genial fellow, fond of society, hunting, fishing, bowls, and the bottle. A few days after he has completed his fifty-fifth year, he goes with his wife and daughter to a dancing master, and pays "him 5s. for part." His chief concern in life seems to have been to observe his religious duty, and gain a good name at any cost. In his pursuit after the latter, he lost his fortune and his broad acres, and he was often compelled to raise the wind under difficulties. He seems to have been the prototype of a coreligionist of his, in the same locality, whom I knew. This man was the owner of many broad paternal acres; a man handsome of form and feature. He was scrupulously trim in dress, punctilious as to prayers, and imbued with the false idea that giving is charity. Every beggar, no matter the number, who approached his door, was fed. If the mendicant made his call near nightfall, as he somehow contrived mostly to do, there was a good supper, and a clean bed of straw for him; and, in the morning, a breakfast of bread and excellent new milk porridge hot, to which was superadded a penny. This was given by or under the eye of himself or a member of his family. I have seen more than a score such vagrants, men, women, and children, breakfasting at a time in an outbuilding. Where all the beggars came from to that quiet place I never could make out. If the prayers of the lazy, and the benedictions of the unwashed, avail in propitiating an easy passage to Elysium, my old friend has had a fairer voyage thither than I dare hope to have, for these fell on him and around him in such profusion as can only come from professional lips. Like Tyldesley's, his fields and barns melted

away.

The diary begins 25th March, 1712, and ends 10th November, 1714; so that he commenced to write his journal within ten days of his having attained the mature age of fifty-five. He is tediously minute on some things, and details his small expenses from a penny upward; and even remarks when he escapes "scot free." It is chiefly with respect to his local and dialectal expressions that I

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

shall notice his entries. He often ends the day's record with 66 soe too beed." The sense of the word "so" is similar to that of "shus" of the south, as "shus heaw," which, in some mouths, becomes "chuse heaw," as if the word came from "to chose." In the district where Tyldesley resided, "so how," "so how it is," so now then," take the place of the "shus heaw" of South Lancashire. But so is never used emphatically there, as it is here, in such phrases as "I never thowt we'd cum so far, "are yoa cum so soon?" Tyldesley frequently uses the expression "going to prayers. If you had asked a friend thirty years ago what denomination a certain individual belonged to, and you got the reply, "He goes to prayers," you might have concluded it was a kindly way of informing you that he was a Roman Catholic. The straight unvarnished way was "He's a red neck." Many of the names used by Tyldesley are still fully preserved. Others have undergone a sort of refinement. In the document shown last session to the club by Mr. Plant, praying the king to appoint Isaac Ambrose to be minister at Garstang, some of the signators sign their names Crone and Grunnow; the dialect preserves them as such still. Tyldesley has Crone and Croan and Gorney at the commencement; but toward the end he adopts an 1 to Gorney, and writes Gornal. Modern refinement has them Crane and Gornall. Gradel of the diarist's time has become Gradwell, except in the dialect. The modern Grimbaldestone, Tyldesley wrote Grimbolson. has it Grimmison. the dialect-Goose.

The dialect, as usual, takes a short cut, and The modern Gorst he writes in accord with Cuthbert and Lawrence are still favourite Christian names. In the diarist's days there were three Cuddy Threlfall's living in one place, but the 1 final would be sure to be dropped in accord with the usage of the Fylde proper. The Fylde folk will

Drink at a can fu'

An drink an be thankfu'.

Twice over the Diarist points out the number of Toms who happened to be together. In one place he mentions that six out of nine males, accidentally brought together, were called Tom, and in one instance all the males (seven of them) in the house were called Tom. Evan was a common Christian name, and pronounced "Yeughin." Entered under date September 14th, 1713, I find "Went affter din' to ffox Hall paid 6d. ffor boating at Sharde; saw y ferryman carry out off y° boat a Scot & his pack, a sight I never saw beffor, beeing 56 years off age." There were no county courts then. I wish thousands of our working men and their wives of these days were in such blissful ignorance. I have taken from the Diary about 150 words and phrases, and arranged them alphabetically, but a few specimens may suffice to show the character of the whole.

AA

GATE. The word "gate" is variously compounded as "beäsgate," "marsh gate," which are very similar in import, both being equivalent to oxgang, and the latter indicating that it is pasturage on the marsh, which would in all probability be at a lower rate than upon cultivated land. "Joyst" is another kindred word, but refers to the hire of the animal for grazing. "High gate" is used to indicate the highway. The turnpike road near Myerscough is still called "th' 'eegat loän" (highgate lane).

USKEBATH.-On page 117 of the Diary, under date October 12th, 1713, Tyldesley writes-"Thence wee went to cos. Rob. Strickland's chamb" ffound him taking phisick wee smoked 2 pipes hee gave us two drames of uskebath." This is the only time the word is used, and there is no doubt it means whiskey, which at that period and in that part of the country must have been a very rare article. Down to a recent period some of the country inns were entirely innocent of whiskey, and better had they so remained than vend the horrible stuff which they call by that name. Gin and rum were the favourite spirituous liquors at christenings, fairs, "tart-neets," sales, and funerals. Whiskey so-called is now in the ascendancy.

JANNOCK.-The Diarist refers to "wheat cakes," which is a sweet gateau similar to the "short cake" of South Lancashire. He also mentions an item of a more substantial kind of ancient dietary which has almost suffered annihilation at the hands of modern gastronomy. But its name will survive so long as the people of Lancashire love to combine robustness and vigour with expressiveness of speech. I mean "jannock." No man in this county can have a higher testimonial than to be called "jannock;" a man who is "not jannock" has every other quality in vain. "Jannock" is the veritable Lancashire seal, the brand, the trademark, wanting which no man, beast, or thing is genuine. A few years ago Mr. Gladstone brought this word into greater notice by using it in one of his speeches, and it took the southerners by surprise. The application of the word "jannock" to sterling worth bespeaks the high estimation in which the thing itself was held as a staple article of food among our ancestors. In the northern part of the county where it died out of use half a century ago, the name is preserved in an odd distich—

Mi mother towd me to put jannock i'th'oon;
One for neet an' another for noon.

It was in considerable use down to a dozen years ago in the neighbourhood of Tyldesley and Chowbent. I am informed that it is obtainable now in only a very few places. Its decline is more rapid than its kindred oatcake, and, from what I can learn, its entire extinction may be anticipated within the next ten years. It is made of oatmeal and water leavened; it eats sour, and does

« AnteriorContinuar »