“On Valentine’s day, will a gooid gooise lay,” is a varry old sayin’, an’ aw dare say a varry gooid en; an’ if all th’ geese wod nobbut lay o’ that day ther’d be moor chonce o’ eggs bein’ cheap. But it isn’t th’ geese we think on at th’ fourteenth o’ this month i’ts th’ little ducks, an’ th’ billy dux. A’a aw wish aw’d all th’ brass ‘at’s spent o’ valentines for one year; aw wodn’t thank th’ queen to be mi aunt. Ther’s nobdy sends me valentines nah. Aw’ve known th’ time when they did, but aw’m like a old stage cooach, aw’m aat o’ date. Aw’st niver forget th’ furst valentine aw had sent. Th’ pooastman browt it afoor aw’d getten aat o’ bed, an’ it happen’d to be Sunday mornin’. Aw read it ovver an’ ovver agean, an’ aw luk’d at th’ directions an’ th’ pooast mark, but aw cudn’t make aat for mi life who’d sent it; but whoiver it war aw wor detarmined to fall i’ love wi’ her as soain as aw gate to know. Then aw shov’d it under th’ piller an’ shut mi een an’ tried to fancy what sooart ov a lass shoo must be, an’ someha aw fell asleep, an’ aw dremt, but aw willn’t tell yo what aw dremt for fear yo’ll laff. But when aw wakken’d, aw sowt up an’ daan, but nowhere could aw find th’ valentine. Aw wor ommost heartbrokken, an’ aw pool’d all th’ cloas off th’ bed, an’ aw luk’d under it, an’ ovver it, but net a bit on it could aw see, an’ at last aw began to fancy ‘at aw must ha dremt all th’ lot, an’ ‘at aw’d niver had one sent at all; but when aw wor gettin’ mi breeches on, blow me! if it worn’ t stuck fast wi a wafer to mi shirt lap. What her ‘at sent it ud a sed if shoo’d seen it, aw can’t tell an’ aw wodn’t if aw could; but aw know one thing, aw wor niver i’ sich a muck sweeat afoor sin aw wor born, an’ when aw went to mi braikfast aw ‘wor soa maddled, wol aw couldn’t tell which wor th’ reight end o’th’ porridge spooin, but aw comforted misen at last wi’ thinkin’ ‘at aw worn’t th’ furst ‘at had turned ther back ov a valentine.”
Ha monny young folk are langin for th’ fourteenth o’ February! An ha mony old pooastmen wish it ud niver come? Sawr owd maids an’ crusty owd bachelors wonder ‘at fowk should have noa moor sense nor to waste ther brass on sich like nonsense. But it’s noa use them talkin’, for young fowk have done it befoor time, an’ as long as it’s i’th’ natur on ’em to love one another an’ get wed, soa long will valentine makers have plenty to do at this time o’th’ year. Ther’s monny a daycent sooart of a young chap at thinks he could like to mak up to a young lass at he’s met at th’ chapel or some other place, but as sooin as he gets at th’ side on her, he caant screw his courage up to th’ stickin’ place, an’ he axes her some sooart ov a gaumless question, sich as “ha’s your mother,” or summat he cares noa moor abaat. An’ as sooin as he gets to hissell he’s fit to pail his heead agean th’ jaumstooan for bien sich a fooil. Well, nah, what can sich a chap do? Why, send her a valentine ov coorse. Soa he gooas an’ buys her one wi’ a grand piece ov poetry like this:—
“The rose is red, the violet’s blue,
The pink is sweet, and so are you.”
It isn’t to be expected ‘at shoo can tell whear it’s come throo; but shoo could guess at twice, an guess puddin’ once, that’s the beauty on it. Then th’ way’s oppen’d aat at once, he’s gein her to understand what ten to one shoo understood long afoor he did. Next time they meet shoo’s sure to ax him if he gate ony valentines, an’ then he’ll smile an’ say, “What for, did yo?” An’ shoo’ll show him th’ direction, an’ ax him if he knows who’s writing that is? An’ he’ll luk at it as sackless as if he didn’t know it wor his own— ther heeads get cloise together, an’ shoo sighs an’ he sighs, an’ then, if ther’s noabody abaat he’ll give hur a smack with his lips an’ lawp back as if he’d burned th’ skin off ’em, an’ shooo axes him ha he con fashion to goa on like that, he owt to be ashamed ov his face? An’ all th’ time shoo’s wonderin’ why he niver did it afoor. Then, if ther’s owt abaat him, it isn’t long befoor ther’s a weddin’, an’ then he’s begun life. He’s settled into his nook i’th’ world, an’ he feels he’s a man. Troubles come, but then ther’s a pleasure i’ bein able to maister ’em. He’s summat to wark for besides his own belly an’ back. He’s a heart-expandin’ responsibility put on him. His country benefits by him, for a man does moor for his country ‘at leaves ten weel-trained sons an’ dowters nor him ‘at leaves ten thaasand paand. Then if sich a little simple thing as a valentine can help a chap on his rooad in lite, aw say.
Be hanged to th’ Grumblers, goa a head Valentine Makkers!!!