Husband and Wife Or, “ Wharivver hev ye been? ”


Wharivver hev ye been to, ye maupin’ owd tyke? 

For ye’ve grown sich a trail-tripe, I nivver sah t’ like ; 

An’ here I’ve bin waitin’, expectin’ ye soon, 

An’ t’ supper’s bin ready an hour an’ aboon. 

But it’s just like ye men — I declare ye’ve naa thowt : 

This tooast’s bin by t’ fire till it’s pined fair to nowt — 

When ye’ll come yan can’t tell, if ye’re nobbut yance gaan ; 

An’ this tea’s bin i’ t’ pot whal it’s cowd as a staan. 

There’s naa gittin’ a meal at reight time, au through t’ day, 

For as true as I’s here, ye’re allus away. 

There’s nae putting up wi’ ’t, ye’re grown sich a ganger ; 

But I’ve med up my mind ’at I’ll stand it na langer. 



Now praytha wisht’ Betty — don’t mak sich a din ! 

Thou macks t’ house like a bedlam, when a body comes in ; 

It’s naabod’s neck if yan be rayther laat, 

I’m sewer it’s nowt that need set thee agaat. 

I met wi’ our Tommy, a-gangin’ past t’ Ploo, 

An’ we caud in an’ gat an’ odd dobbin or two ; 

An’ wi’ talkin’ ower markets an’ farmin’ an’ stock, 

I gav it na thowt whal it struck ten o’clock ; 

When I sed, “ Is that ten? I mun gan reight away,

Or our owd woman ’ll hev summat to say. ”

Saa I tuk up my glass, an’ I drunk what was in it,

An’ I com out o’ t’ house i’ less ’an a minute.

Thou’s hed nowt to do nobbut sit at thy eease,

Saa let it drop, Betty ; now do if ta please !



Let it drop? nay, not I – it wad mack fair mad,

Ye’re grown just as rakish as ony young lad.

Ye may say what ye will, I declare it’s a shaam

That an owd man like ye cannot stop maar at haam ; 

Owt ’at ye hev to do, ye mud do whal it’s leet,

An’ not stop out trailin’ whal this time o’ t’ neet.

Ye keep me up waitin’ here times without end,

An’ ye grow warse an’ warse, ’stead a tryin’ to mend ; 

But, if I sud hev ye mich ofter to tell,

I’ll to bed, an’ I’ll leave ye to fend for yersel.



Now, Betty, my lass, do praytha be quiet !

For thou drives sich a noise, an’ thou macks sich a riot,

Fooaks comin’ down t’ street ’ll hear ivvrything plain,

An’ they’ll say at yon two’s agaat diffarin’ again.

For thou talks sich a height, thou yowls, an’ thou squeeaks, 

Yan mud hear thee a mile an’ a hauf when ta speeaks. 

When yan does come haam quiet, it wad be a capper 

If thy tongue didn’t gang just like a bell-clapper. 

But next time I’s out, now just let nowt be said, 

Git thy supper at t’ time, an’ march off to bed. 

I can do varra weel be mesel, I don’t doubt it ; 

If I can’t mack my supper, I’ll e’en gang without it. 



That’s just what yan gits when yan’s done au yan can ; 

They’re weel ’at’s not pester’d at au wi’ a man, — 

Yan may sit up an’ bother, an’ nivver na eease, 

An’ when yan’s done au yan nivver can pleease. 

Ye think yan sud humble whativver ye say, 

But I tell ye, owd lad, ’at ye’ll see different play. 

But I’ll off ta bed, for it’s time I war thaar ; 

If ye sit up an’ grummle au neet, I don’t caar. 

Whativver ye do, ye think yan sud say nowt ; 

But I tell ye owd lad, ’at yell find yer mistack out. 



Ay ! praythee be gangin’ ; git out o’ me seet !

An’ don’t stand thaar preeachin’ an’ talkin’ au neet !

Look as foul as t’ likes, I don’t caar a pin, 

I’s just suit mvsel what time I come in. 

What occasion hes thou to set up thy faace ? 

Thee mind thy awn business, an’ keep thy awn plaace! 

If I hedn’t gone out it wod just a bin t’ saam, 

For thou’s nivver at eease when I do stop at haam. 

Thou’s allus o’ t’ grummle, thy tongue’s nivver still ! 

I’s fair stoad wi’ t’ sound, an’ it seems thee reight ill,

But yan needn’t expect mich plezzure o’ life, 

When yance yan gits teed to an ill-temper’d wife ; 

An’ t’ allus put up wi’ yer queerness an’ scorn, 

It wad fair mack yan wish’d ’at yan’d nivver bin born. 



Nay, praya now drop it ! for I’ve heeard quite enough, 

An’ rayther too mich o’ that senseless stuff. 

I think ’at ye’ve said near enough about me, 

An’ I’s sure I’s not hauf as ill-natur’d as ye. 

For ye gang out, an’ stop out, here hour efter hour, 

An’ then ye come haam saa surly an’ sour ; 

If yan say hauf a word ’at ye don’t want to hear, 

Ye’re as crabb’d as a wasp, an’ ye growl like a beear. 

It wad seem ye as weel if ye left yer ill-natur’ 

Whar ye gat au yer drink, ye ill-temper’d cratur !

But thaar ye’ll be pleasant wi’ au ’at ye see, 

An’ come haam an’ bring yer ill-natur’ to me. 

If I say hauf a word i’ my awn self-defence, 

Ye storm like a madman, an’ talk wi’ na sense. 

But, say what ye will, an’ do au ye can, 

I’ll nivver be trod under foot wi’ a man ! 

An’ t’ next time ye gang, au ’at I hev to say 

Is, “ come haam better temper’d, or else bide away. ” 

Ye needn’t to think I’s be ill off about ye ; 

If ye nivver come back, I can put on without ye.