ME AND OLD CHARLIE
performed by
Bernard Miles

I' just been over to ol' Charlies funeral... I seen ol' Nobby at the graveside, he ain't been outside for nigh on six year.
I sez to 'im, "Ow old are you, Nobby?"
'E sez, "Ninety eight."
I sez, "Soon be your turn, won' it?"
'And e' larfed, "I shan't die," 'e sez, "I knows it."
Ha, ha... shouted it at me, like that. "I shan't die." 'e sez.
I wouldn't be surprised if 'e don't, too.
Well, there was a subject over in Old Brie... lived to be a 'undred an' twelve... 'e never died. They went into 'im one morning... 'e wasn't there!... I ain't never seed the goin' of 'im. That was ol' George Elliott... what was.
Aah... but 'e was a wonderful, good workman were Charlie... turn 'is 'and to anything, wonderful man with 'orses... Mr. Buckmaster didn't like to let nobody else 'andle 'is 'Boxie' if 'e could 'elp it. 'E used to gin 'im dandilion leaves... aah, it used to make 'is coat come up lovely... like 'e'd bin knocked all over with a little 'ammer. 'E used to spend 'is Sundays in the stables among the 'orses... 'e did most of 'is courtin' in old Buckmaster's stable.
"If you wants to see me," 'e used to say to these gals, " you'll 'ave to come to stables."
I mind, I sez to 'im one time, I sez, "You mind that schoolmistress over at Slapton... what give you 'alf o' crown a week to walk out with 'er?
An' 'e said, "Aah..." an' 'e larfed... 'e 'ad about a 'undred and twenty 'arf crowns on 'im, at one time.
But 'e married two sisters at the finish... rare one for the gals, was Charlie!
'Fact we both was... but ' were worse. Why, 'e used to say, "I want to scatter my maker's image about a bit afore I be took. Aah, an ' e did, too. I mind, the new vicar, 'e said to me, "I can't make it out..." 'e sez, "all the children in this 'ere village looks alike, to me." And I larfed, but 'e never seemed to follow me, so I give it up... that were the year Mrs. 'Arvey's apple tree blew down.
Well, I mind when me an' Old Charlie was 'elpin' to build the new barn up at the Crabtree, we was up on the roof fixin' in these 'ere rafters and crossties... to 'old 'em in, like. An archy-oligist came by what was diggin' over on the Diblock. 'E shouts up at me, "Oiy..." 'e sez, "you know what you done?" 'e sez...
An' I sez, "No sir!"
'E sez, " You made a triangle!" 'e sez.
I sez, "'Ave I?... I didn't know!"
An' 'e sez, "That's indestructable." 'e sez. "If anyone tries to catch you out..." 'e sez, "no matter who it is..." 'e sez, " say, any two sides of a triangle is, together, greater than the third... that'll 'ave 'em!" e sez. 'E reckoned that were unanswerable. 'E 'ad some students with 'im... young fellow, about forty five.
I mind when Mr. Buckmaster catched me taking a rabbit out of one of 'is snares... aah, red 'anded, he caught me. I 'ad to go up about it, too. T'owld magistrate sez to me, 'e sez, "You got anything to say?" 'e sez.
And I sez, "Yes sir..." I sez. "Any two sides of a triangle is, together, greater than the third." That 'ad 'im!... 'E couldn't answer, 'e 'ad to ask the clerk. Had their 'eads together for about five minutes.
Then 'e sez, "Ten shillings!"
I reckon they'd 'ave made that a pound... if I 'adn't knowed that.
I told this 'ere archy-ologist when I seed 'im, next time... and 'e larfed.
'E said, "I can see I shall have to learn you all about the square on the pyth-agga-arse." 'e sez. "If you know that" 'e sez, that's 'alf the battle."
But 'e never showed me...
The end