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He is a funny old man. He must be awfully old, for his face is gnarled and twisted like
the bark of a tree. He tells me that he is nearly a hundred, and that he was a sailor in
the Greenland fishing fleet when Waterloo was fought. He is, I am afraid, a very
sceptical person, for when I asked him about the bells at sea and the White Lady at the
abbey he said very brusquely,
"I wouldn't fash masel' about them, miss. Them things be all wore out. Mind, I don't say
that they never was, but I do say that they wasn't in my time. They be all very well for
comers and trippers, an' the like, but not for a nice young lady like you. Them feet-folks
from York and Leeds that be always eatin'cured herrin's and drinkin' tea an' lookin' out
to buy cheap jet would creed aught. I wonder masel' who'd be bothered tellin' lies to
them, even the newspapers, which is full of fooltalk."
I thought he would be a good person to learn interesting things from, so I asked him if
he would mind telling me something about the whale fishing in the old days. He was just
settling himself to begin when the clock struck six, whereupon he laboured to get up,
and said,
"I must gang ageeanwards home now, miss. My grand-daughter doesn't like to be kept
waitin' when the tea is ready, for it takes me time to crammle aboon the grees, for there
be a many of `em, and miss, I lack belly-timber sairly by the clock."
He hobbled away, and I could see him hurrying, as well as he could, down the steps.
The steps are a great feature on the place. They lead from the town to the church, there
are hundreds of them, I do not know how many, and they wind up in a delicate curve.
The slope is so gentle that a horse could easily walk up and down them.
I think they must originally have had something to do with the abbey. I shall go home
too. Lucy went out, visiting with her mother, and as they were only duty calls, I did not
1 August.--I came up here an hour ago with Lucy, and we had a most interesting talk
with my old friend and the two others who always come and join him. He is evidently the
Sir Oracle of them,and I should think must have been in his time a most dictatorial
He will not admit anything, and down faces everybody. If he can't out-argue them he
bullies them,and then takes their silence for agreement with his views. Lucy was looking
sweetly pretty in her white lawn frock. She has got a beautiful colour since she has been
I noticed that the old men did not lose any time in coming and sitting near her when we
sat down. She is so sweet with old people, I think they all fell in love with her on the
spot. Even my old man succumbed and did not contradict her, but gave me double
share instead. I got him on the subject of the legends , and he went off at once into a
sort of sermon. I must try to remember it and put it down. "It be all fooltalk, lock, stock,
and barrel, that's what it be and nowt else. These bans an' wafts an' boh-ghosts an' bar-
guests an' bogles an' all anent them is only fit to set bairns an' dizzy women a'belderin'.
They be nowt but air-blebs. They, an' all grims an' signs an' warnin's, be all invented by
parsons an' illsome berkbodies an' railway touters to skeer an' scunner hafflin's, an' to