Saturday, 2 August 2014
I bought a few copies - old ones from the 1940s and 1950s - of The Countryman recently. I love them for some of the obscure stories and reports they carry. Here is a wonderful piece of "Devon-speak" which appeared in the Spring 1948 copy of the magazine:
"I'll baste thy hide vur thee ef thee dissent come into th'ouse dreckly minit!" exclaimed the old lady to her five-year-old grandson. "What with yurr mumbudgetting an' trapsying roun' th' drange-way, yu'll be rinnedaver." When she caught sight of me, she crooned, "Aw, me dear sawl, how 'ee be grawn zince I zeed 'ee last! Come in an' zit yezelf down, midear!" Little Archie followed us into the cottage where a fire burned cheerfully in the "bodley". Giving the boy a playful clip over the head, his grandmother said, "It vair makes me bivver to zee littul Arch, the way 'e du love a drap o' dirt. 'E's wors'n 'is farthur were at 'is age. An' 'ave 'e zeed 'Aryot Webb's littul maid zince 'er comed back vrom schule?" she rambled on. "'Er's a praper maid right enuv. 'T'ath adued 'er gude gwaine away."
I love to think of my Devon ancestors talking like this. Dad never did - he always had a nice speaking voice without any Devon accent, but he used to tell me about t'owd bwoys up on't moor, who said thee and thou like they had done for centuries . . .