Tegger !

James Hay Stories written in the dialect of County Durham.

Mind there wes some poachin went on in them days. Paxton, the agent, had a bit o land round the back o the bleezer, an it wes teemin wi hares an rabbits an aall sorts. A lot o the lads use ta gan up wi nets an traps, but Paxton wes greedy. He aalways sent for Tegger Wilson, the pollis, an shopped them when he could.

Mind, Tegger use ta catch them. There wes nowt he liked better than a bit o rabbit pie, an many a time he just use ta tak what the'd caught, tell them ter bugger off, an say nowt. He wasn't bad durin the strike. There wes one night he caught Paddy McElevy an Joe Rostron reed-handed wi some rabbits.

"What yer got there, then?" says Tegger.

"Rabbits," says Joe.

"Aw aye?" says Tegger. "An where'd ye get them?"

"Yer knaa bloody weel where we got them!" says Paddy. "Off Paxton's land."

So Tegger just stands there. By lad, he wes a big feller, weel owwer six foot an about sivventeen stone. Built like a house end.

"Now lads, this is a warnin. Aa'll hev ter tak yers in if Aa catch yers agyen. How many kids yer got?"

"Fower," says Paddy.

"Five," says Joe.

"Aye, aall reet then," says Tegger. "Now remember what Aa've said. Gerraway yem, an remember, if Aa catch yers agyen Aa'll hev ter tak yers in. An by the way, Aa'll be up this stretch o road at deed on six ivvery night, so keep an eye out for us."

An then he just laughed an went away. Nivver even tyeuk a rabbit off them. Aye, he wasn't bad at times, Tegger. Mind, he wes a bugger when he wanted ter be. Ivvery Sarrada neet somebody cracked him out. Two lads in partickler use ta gan ter the boozer an get sozzled, an the' use ta come out fightin drunk. Paddy O' Dowd wes one, an the other wes he's marrer, Jackie Winter. Why, Tegger use ter aalways be sittin gettin he's supper in just he's stockin feet, when the two o them use ta stand outside an shout, "Howway, Tegger, yer fat bugger! Get yersel out here. We want a word wi ye!" Why Tegger aalways use ta come ter the door an say, "Aw hell, lads! Not the neet. Aa'm tryin ter get me supper. Gerraway yem!"

"Aah, yellerbelly!" the two o them use ta shout. "Get yersel out here an fight like a man!"

Why, yer knaa, it wes exactly the same ivvery Sarrada. Tegger use ta gan in an pull he's byeuts on, an come back out an gi them both a good hidin. The' were owwer drunk ter hort him, an when the' were sober the' had mair sense than ter tackle him. Why there they'd be, rowlin about on the road an tryin ter stand up, an Tegger'd shout, "Now gerraway yem an let me get me supper in peace!" an back he'd gan inter the house.

We ran a lottery durin the strike. Lotteries wes illegal, yer knaa. Anyway, Tegger gets ter knaa about it an comes round ter see me an Boiler James. "Aa hear yer've got a lottery, lads," says Tegger.

"A lottery?" says Boiler.

"Aye," says Tegger, "a lottery."

"We knaa nowt about nee lottery," Aa says.

"Now howway, lads," says Tegger. "Aa knaa aall about it. Lotteries is illegal, yer knaa. Aa should really tak yers in. But Aa'll tell yers what Aa'll dee. Aa knaa things is not se good at present, so we'll say nowt as lang as Aa get a number. How much yer chargin?"

"Shillin a week," says Boiler.

"An how many's in it?"

"Owwer a hundred."

"It's worth winnin, then," says Tegger. "Aye, like Aa says, put us two bobs' worth in ivvery week. Mind, Aa'm not payin for them, an Aa expect ter win summat."

We had ter let the bugger win three times ter keep he's fyece strite. Aye, he wes a funny un, wes Tegger.

Ray Clark asserts his moral right to be recognised as the author of this text
Ray Clark 2000 / 2005

Stories from Paperless Writers. a new venture for amateur, unpublished writers, site by Jim Hollingsworth.