[From Peel Plays, 1908]

The Lazy Wife.



Printed and Published by
G & L Johnson,
Prospect Hill, Douglas

(Farm Kitchen with wide chimney, and prat smouldering on hearth. House very untidy- all through-others- JOANEY crouching over ashes with tousled hair, cap hanging by one string, dirty torn apron, &c. An old patched jacket in one hand and a " Ladies' Journal " in the other.)

(Enter Illiam in rags.)

ILLIAM. Is the jaggadsoo at thee yet wumman?

JOANEY. Aye, ye'll have it jus' now.

ILLIAM. Jus' now! I'll warrant thee jus' now. An' never no fire in, nor a dhrop of tay nor so much as a place to sit down in. An' the clo'es in rags on me tit to fresken the rooks. Are you goin' to side the house at all to-day.?

JOANEY. Thraa-di-liooar, man alive, thraa-di- liooar.

ILLIAM. Thraa-di-liooar, ye liggey-ina tiraa ! An' arnt you shamed to be seein' me th' object I am, more fit for wan that's thravellin' on the houses than a well-off man with a good farm an' stock an' all arrim.

JOANEY. You might be purrin' a bit of fire on, Illiam.

ILLIAM. An' what for isn' there fire on, an' when am I goin' to be gettin' me dinner, an' where am I goin' to sit when I do get it. ?

JOANEY. An' the dear me-what's the use of a man at all, that he can't do a han's turn for him- self, an' me so busy with the wool all the morning -Can't you be gettin' your dinner for yourself, ye oul' creep ?

ILLIAM. No, I cann't be gerrin' it for meself either, an' what for should I be doin' the like when there's a woman in to be doin' it for me ? Wheer have you been at all-leavin' the house like this ? -At your readin' an' trash it's like-(Picking up "Journal ") Here's a fine book for the like of you -all about lords and ladies, an' la, la, an' ya, ya, an' curtseyin' an' carryin' on. An' you sittin' in th' ashes all day an' not enough go on you to reddy your head, let alone sweepin' the flure. There was a Peel woman that I was seein' yestherday itself an' it no more than ten o'clock in the morning an' the house all sided at her an' herself as nice as a body could wish to see.

JOANEY. Aisy, aisy ! you an' your Peel woman. What is a man known' at all about all the work a woman has to be doin' ?

ILLIAM. Is it wantin' sarvents you are to be waitin' on you? Why don't you give the cat directions an' set her to be sidin' the house-I'm sure she's keepin' a claner face till you any day. An' the Peel woman was sayin' what a fine house you should be havin' here, with me havin' the farm an' stock an' all. I don't know what took me for to take an' marry you at all only you were chasin' me so hard.

JOANEY. Chasin' you, ye oul' riblas ! Chasin' you indeed; How dare you be talkin' of chasin'-an' you comin' teazin' an' teazin', an' speeikin' over the sthreet, an' creep, creep, creepin' roun' the houses more circutious than a snipe for fear you'd be took at Daa an' the boys, an' goin' down on your knees in the midden to be beggin' me-I only married you at all to be shut on you ! An' now goin' an' talkin' of the Peel woman indeed!

ILLIAM. An' if I'd known the surt you were I'd have took me road home before I looked at you- though you were a middlin' smart lit sthugga in them days too.

JOANEY. (Bridling and looking in glass.) Smart! Aye indeed-an' what's the use in being smart with an' oul' creep comin' in to the fire, an' all he's got to say is. "Are ye therr wumman ? " an', " I s my denner ready wumman ? " an', " I'm dhry thremendjus wumman, if there's a dhrop of jough in, an' a piece with a good slaa of butther on it." -An' never seein' if I have a cap to me head or a shoe to me fut !

ILLIAM. I'd be seein' quick enough if the house was claned up an' a tale of something ready for a man when he's comin' in from his work. What wool have you been at this morning at all ? Fin seeing the queel on the flure middlin' often but I'm not seein' no new clo'es in the chiss at all. An' the Peel woman with the weavers in scores comin' for the tred she's spinning.

JOANEY. Stop now an' see what I have done- an' the balls of wool in pellags on the flore of the laff.

ILLIAM. Pitch them down to me then that I can be countin' them.

JOANEY. An' who's to be purrin' them back again I'd like to know. An' the weaver comin' to ask for the wool an' the balls all goin' a losin' after all my work. An' then if I'm goin' roun' on my bended knees lookin' for them, it 'll be, " Are ye theer wumman ? " an' "What's doin' on the cat that she's not keepin' things sided "-If I pitch them down, you mus' throw every wan back to me before I'll pitch another to you.

(Goes upon laf muttering and grumbling loudly. Tosses down hall which Illiam returns, counting one. She continues, hitting him when possible, Illiam dodging and rubbing his head, counting in Manx as he returns it each time).

JOANEY. Areye sure you're counting right now?

ILLIAM. Aye, aye. That's a score I've counted now.

JOANEY. Aw well. That's all that's in.

ILLIAM. Deed you've spun well wumman for all. There's plenty done at thee now for the weaver. I'll be seein' him this everin' an' I'll tell him to give a call in a week to-day. (Exit, Illiam. )

JOANEY. Aw thou'll get lave.-(coming down heavily. wiping her face and pushing back her untidy hair.)-Are you gone Illiam? (wringing her hands in distress.) Aw dear, dear! It's me that'll be catchin' it now! What in the world will I do at all, an' th'oul' weaver comin' a week to-day!
(Paces up and down pleating her apron and thinking.) They're sayin' the Foawr up on the hill yondhar is turble good to spin. I wonder would he help me now if I could collogue it out of him. I've a mind to go an' clane meself an' take the road up for all. great voice from chimney.

FOAWR. Is it help with the wool you're wantin' ven thie ?

JOANEY. (Looking round startled.) Aw the sakes! An' who is it that's askin' for I'm not knowin' your voice at all; an' wheer are you that you're not liftin' the latch an' comin' in on the dhure like other folk.

FOAWR. You're wantin' help bad, ven thie.

JOANEY. Deed I am; though its not no consarn of yours whoever you may be. We don't want no thramps here so I'm tellin' ye, an' ye'd bes make haste an' come urrov theer middlin handy.

FOAWR. Ye'll be in a fine hole a week to-day ven thie, if the wool is not ready.

JOANEY. Aye hole enough, an' nawthin' to you any how. You'd better be takin' the road now for you'll not get nawthin' here.

FOAWR. Himself so mad an' all when he finds the way you've been deceivin' him. I wouldn' thruss but he'll be puttin' you to the dhure some of these days, ven thie.

JOANEY. Aw no, Aw no, Illiam's a quate man, an' though he's takin' a bit of anger now an' again he'll not be for puttin' me to the dhure at all. But he'll be scandalous angry this time for all.

FOAWR. What would you be offerin' me now if I help you with the wool, ven thie ?

JOANEY. Whatever you're askin' its like.

FOAWR. I'm not askin' much, ven thie. Only that you'll tell me my name when I bring you the wool a week to-day.

JOANEY. Chut, Chut ! That's aisy enough. The voice that's at you is big enough for the Foawr himself. Any wan of the neighbours can be tellin' me your name any day.

FOAWR. Very well then. If it is so easy mind you yourself, for if you fail to tell me when I bring the wool not one haporth will you get, but a fine new spinning wheel in my house where you'll sit an' spin till Peel fair is in the Harbour So good- evening to you.

JOANEY. Good-everin'. (After a pause goes round looking out of door and window and up chimney &c.) Aw well now. Did ever anybody hear the like ! A new spinnin' queel indeed, an' spin for him is it! Th'oul' schamer ! As if wan oul' coar-ny-hasthan wasn' enough to be spinnin' for. Deed I'm thinkin' I'd better side this place a bit an' get a cline brat on me, an' then I'll take a look in on some of the wins in the Glen an' see can I find that oul' rip's name at all.

(Roughly clears room ; pushing things into cupboards whose doors burst open and spill out their own contents-Sweeps round floor, spills the milk. Takes Illiam's jacket to wipe it up, dries her hands and face with the jacket, pricks her finger with the needle stuck in it, and exit with finger in her mouth.)



(Room in Foawr's house, eight or ten Fairies with spinning-wheels, sing.

Snieu queel snieu ; 'rane queel 'rane ;
Dy chooilly chlea er y thie, snieu or my skyn,
Lheeish yn ollan, Ihiams yn snaie
S'beg fys ec yn ven litcheragh
Dy re Mollyndroat my ennym.

JOANEY. (Peeping in cautiously, comes forward, bobbing curtseys and lifting hands in astonishment.) Aw yes. I've gor it now! Mollyndhroat. Is that the name that's on him ? Well, well, I might have gone among the neighbours an' none of them able to tell me as much. An' I thought I would come up to the house an' be hearin' it from the sarvents. But I wouldn' be for inthrudin' on the quality at all an' me in me dishabills. (Fairies come round her and one speaks as they slowly circle round her.)

Ist FAIRY. Mollyndhroat is his name. If you don't tell it right you will have to be a slave like us and spin, spin, spin till Peel fair is in the Harbour.

JOANEY. Aw deed, that would be a bad job. Mollyndhroat. No, no. I'll not forget it at all. But how he found out I was wantin' help is what beats me.

2nd FAIRY. That's easy told. You have a big oven back of your house opening into the chimley. Well the Foawr when he's feelin' the couth likes to creep in there and then he is hearing the newses, an' that's how he heard what you were saying.

JOANEY. Aw well now! To think of that. An' many's the time we would be hearin' noises in the oven too an' thinkin' it was rots that was in.

Ist FAIRY. Lizzen now. When the Foawr brings the wool to you he will be askin' you down the chimley if you have got his name. An' if you can tell it right he will be rolling the balls of wool down the chimley to you.

JOANEY. Aye aye. An' I'll be ready with my apern held out to catch them for fear th' oul vagabone will be thryin' to go back on his bargain.

2nd FAIRY. Then you'll be very keerful to count the balls an' when you've jus' wan short of the score you'll shove a bart of sthrow up the chimley to prevent him pitchin' the last wan down.

JOANEY. (Listening with open mouth and bobbing curtseys first to one and then to another.) Aw deed now.

Ist FAIRY. Yes now mind you don't forget. The Foawr is bound to give you the score of balls, and it's in the oven he'll have to stop till he's given up every wan.

JOANEY. Well now ! But still an' for all, what for am I goin' to waste wan leavin' it with him ?

2nd FAIRY. For this reason; that while the Foawr is fast in the oven is the time we will have a chance to get free from him an' his spinnin' queels, for its home (all joining in with wails of grief ) home, home we're wantin' to be, an' lovgin' longin' all the time-Oh-

(All sing to Air of " Ta mee nish Keayney.")

Hear us lamenting for our homes far away
Far away, far away!
Where the bees among the heather and the wood-dove on the spray.
Are mourning on the mountains, an' lamenting night an' day
For the wans that's so far away.

JOANEY. Aw well! I mus' be doin' what I can anyhow an' maybe you'll be purrin' a sight on me wan of these days.-

(Sounds heard of great steps. Fairies fly to their wheels and begin to spin wildly, singing " Snieu queel Snieu."

JOANEY flees looking round and peeping to see if the way is clear.)



(Farm Kitchen. Illiam & JOANEY. Evening dusk.)

ILLIAM. I was seein' a fine sight this everin' comin' over Laxa way.

JOANEY. Aw deed. What newses have you got now?

ILLIAM. I was comin' up by the mines theer an' the whole place a blaze of light, an' a great whirring an' whistlin' soun' comin' up the Glen. I had a mind to run but 1 gave a look down first to see could I see anything at all. An' theer behoul ye was the Foawr sittin' at the big Laxa queel spinnin' like the win' an' his han's flyin' with the tred to an' fro like lightening, an' him shoutin' like mad to the whistlin' queel.

JOANEY. Losh bless me! What was it he was shoutin ?

ILLIAM. I can't mind it jus' now.

JOANEY. Was it this (Sings Snieu Queel Snieu in a high-pitched quavering voice.)

ILLIAM. Its like it was. (Joaney looks pleased and nods her head.) Aw well. Thou's meddlin' good to spin thyself but I'm thinkin' thou's got thy match in yondhar falla. Never in all my born

days did I see such a tred. Fine as a cobweb it was an' tough as gaid.

JOANEY. Chut. Chut. I could do as good too if I was as big as Laxa Queel.

ILLIAM. Aw well; it was middlin' good for all.--Is this th'everin' Johnny the Penny was comin' ? I'll take a look down the road to see is he in sight, an' thou'd bes' be puttin' the wool to- gether for him. (Exit Illiam.) (Foawr'sgreat voice heard from chimney.)

FOAWR. Is it you that's in, ven thie ?

JOANEY. Aye deed; it's me right enough.

FOAWR. Have you foun' the name that's on me, ven thie ? For not wan ball of wool will you be gettin' if you havn't.

JOANEY. An' dear me, what hurry is there on you ?

FOAWR. Well, you'd bes' make haste before Himself catches you.

JOANEY. Aw well ! I'm not very sure that I can remember it. Let'e see now what's this it is ? Is it Mollyree it is-No ?

FOAWR. No it's not.

JOANEY. Well, look at that now ! The head that's on me is no batther till a gorse-bush for names, though I have it right enough. You'll be wan of the Mollyrine wans though !

FOAWR. I'm not wan of that clan.

JOANEY. Aw well ! It's like they're callin' you Mollyvriday ?

FOAWR. They are not though.

JOANEY. I'll warrant your name is Mollychreest.

FOAWR. You're wrong then.

JOANEY. Are you goin' by the name of Molly- voirrey ?

FOAWR. Deed I am not.

JOANEY. An' maybe your name is Mollyvartin for all ?

FOAWR. An' maybe it's not at all.

JOANEY. Aw well now! They're sayin' there was only seven families livin' on th'Islan' at wan time, an'their names all began with Molly. Them was the rael oul' standards ! So if you are not Mollycharaine, you're none of the rale oul' Manx wans at all an' I'm not thinkin' nawthin' of you !

FOAWR. Well I'm not for all though. Now be careful, ven thie, for next guess is your last.

JOANEY (pretends to look frightened and retreats slowly Pointing her finger at chimney where there is the shadow of a great hand holding a ball). Slesh hene yn ollan as lesh any hene y snaie, Son shen MOLLYNDHROAT (with a shout) cha vow eh dy braa !

FOAWR roaring and throwing stones and ashes down). Bad luck to you then. You never would have guessed it unless you're an' oul' witch.

JOANEY. Bad luck to yourself, my Boy, for thrying to stale a decent woman's wool.

FOAWR. Goll dys y Jowyl yourself an' your wool an' take that an' that-(Pitching down balls furiously. Joaney runs round catching and counting them till within one of the score, when she tumbles them all down again and shoves a truss of straw of the Chimney. Great roaring and spluttering. Fairies fly in dancing and singing Tappagyn Yiargyn as they dance round her)-

He's fast in the chimney
That's houlin' him tight,
An' we've stopped on our way
For to lave you good-night.
But mend you your ways,
Or some of these days
You'll be took, you'll be took-
Took at the Foawr.

You shall have a new bonnet
With ribbons of green,
And a new chequered apern
That's fit for a queen.
But mend you your ways,
Or some of these days
You'll be took, you'll be took,
Took at the Foawr.

(Enter Illiam).

ILLIAM. Are ye theer, wumman ?

JOANEY. Aye am I. Is the weaver there?

ILLIAM. I'm seein' him comin' roun' by the Chappal. He'll not be long-Ma word wumman, what have ye been at now!

JOANEY (excitedly). Illiam ! There's some big, murtherin', thief of a jackdowe buildin' his nes' in the oven. Go you roun' at the back an' stuff a bart of sthrowe down the chimley the way we'll get him clicked urrov that, an' I can be clearin' him away when I go for to light the fire in the morning.

(Illiam ,goes out. Joaney begins picking up balls of wool in her apron again, letting them fall as fast as she picks them up).




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