by Anonymous Ted Buckley were a smart lookin' chap as folk knew When 'e donned hissel' up a courtin' t'goo. 'E were courtin' a lass' 'at seemed a bit soft, But 'e weren't much better, for 'e went middlin' oft. 'E went four neets a week and sometimes 'twere more, 'E geet theer in good time, but ne'er knew when to goa. There come a neet when 'e geet theer quite lat' Poor lass couldn't tell whether 'e were sick, 'urt or what. It were Sunday before Christmas, I bethink me o't'day, For t'snow 'ad been fallin' and reet thick it lay. When it struck nine o'clock there were no signs o' Ted, 'Er'd ne'er expected 'im if 'er'd been reet in 'yed. 'Owever, 'er 'and't much longer t'wait For 'er 'eard sound o'somebody rattlin' o't'gate. Next minute dur open'd and Ted walked reet in. 'Er looked fowl as 'er could but 'ed still same old grin. "Ee it's a bad neet" e' said as 'e cowed down in't chair. "Ar, there's been many a worse" 'er said wi' a sneer. "Now where's ti been goin? I'd just like t'know. Tha cannot blame everythin' that 'appens on t'snow" 'E said, "Owd thee tantrums and dunnut turn pale; Tha'll alter thi tune when I've told thi mi tale. I've been over t'old chapel t'arken t'choir, They've been givin selections from Ondel's Messiah. New parson were theer but 'e didn't speak long; They were a'itchin to 'ear that sweet service o'song. Now I cannot bethink me as 'ow it all went, But I'll try to explain what I think it all meant. Now they sung of some sheep that 'ad getten astray; As I understand it, they'd gan their own way. "I don't know 'ow many, or 'ow much they cost, But that maks no difference, main thing is they was lost. Then a feller stood up, an 'e sang by 'issel'; Now whether they were 'is sheep as were lost I cannot tell. But 'e said every valley and 'ill ud be made low. I thowt they mean to find yon sheep that's missin' th' know. "Then a woman geet up in a reet clear voice; Told 'em noan to worry but greatly rejoice. Ee!... it were a stiff piece, I'm sure it were 'ard wark, But 'er sang it as easy as tho 'er were a lark. I asked for 'er name to 'ear 'er again some fine day, "It's our leadin' singer" a chap said, "Miss Clay." "Then a feller jumped up an' by 'eck 'e singed cross, I were wonderin' if they were 'is sheep they'd tecken an' lost. 'E said y'ed imagine a vain thing in a rage' While th'organist banged on as though for a wage. But th'audience were suited, you could tell bi their face, An' they sighed wi' relief when 'e cowed down in 'is place. "Then t'rest of t'choir, mad at 'im bein' so clever, Started singin' it ud rain forever an' ever. I made for t'dur as fast as I could; I thowt, I 'd best get wom it there's bound t'be flood. Now I've towed this mi tale about 'arkenin t'Messiah. I 'ope as tha suited an' satisfied Sophia." "Ah weel" er said, "tha makes it sound grand, I'd like t'ear it missel next time it comes round." "I'll tek thi missel'" Ted promised Sophia As 'e utched up 'is chair a bit nearer t'fire. "Ee, that'll be champion" er said, comin' round, "An' 'appen bi that time yon sheep'll be found."
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