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The Farrier Lass O’ Piping Pebworth
by [?]

HUMFREY LEMON, meeting Bered Turnip, before the “Red Deer,” doth speak as follows:

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Whom have we here? Well, well, by my troth! ’tis none other than Bered Turnip, the farrier, as I do live! Come for an alms-drink, comrade. Would I had as many gold-pieces as we have burnt alnights i’ this very tavern! And is it thus we meet after all these years? It doth seem but yesterday that we supped under this very roof as juvenals. Dost thou mind thee o’ the night that we gave old Gammer Lick-the-Dish a bath in his own sack, for that he served us in a foul jerkin? By’r lay’kin, those were days! Well, well, to meet thee thus! Though, believe it or not, as thou wilt, I had such a pricking i’ my thumbs but an hour gone that I was of a mind to roar you like any babe with a pin in his swaddling-bands. Thou wast my beau-peer i’ those times; and we are kin by profession, moreover. How be Mistress Turnip and thy eight lads? Ha! ha! Dost remember how old Anthony Butter–him who was gardener at Amhurste Castle, ye mind–dost thou remember in what spite he held thee because o’ those eight little salads o’ thine? A always said a married with an eye to a’s posterity; and o’ my word a’s been cockeyed e’er since, for’s posterity has e’er kept him on the lookout: never chick or child hath Mistress Butter given him.

Quoth he to me one day, a-setting of ‘s chin in ‘s thumb and forefinger (thou mind’st his solemn ways)–quoth he to me, “Lemon,” quoth he, “would I knew why the Lord doth seem to look with a more bounteous favor on such as are farriers, than on such as be followers of other trades; for methinks, what with thee, and Turnip, and Job Long-pate, who bides in Dancing Marston, England will owe the chief o’ her future population to blacksmiths.” I quoth, to humor him, quoth I, “Belike, Master Butter,” quoth I, “the Almighty hath gotten wisdom by experience, and doth purpose to put no further trust in gardeners.” Whereat he waxed so wrathful, that for the sake o’ my breeches I took to my heels. But, Lord! it doth seem as though a had a spite against th’ very children o’ others. Thou mindest my Keren? By’r lay’kin, ’twill not stick i’ my old pate how that thou hast not been in these parts since my Keren could ‘a’ walked under a blackberry-bramble without so much as tousling her tresses. Well, a grew up a likely lass, I can tell thee! Sure thou mindest why we–my wife and I–did come to call her Keren? Go to! Thou dost! ‘Tis the jest o’ th’ place to this day. Well, then, if thou dost not, I’ll be at the pains o’ telling thee; for methinks ’twas a wise thought. We did christen her Keren-Happuch; “for,” quoth my wife, “when that we be pleased with her, we can call her Keren–which is as sweet-sounding a name as a maid can have; and, on the other hand, when we be wroth with her, we can call her Happuch–which sure would be a rough name even for thy trotting mare Bellibone.” Ha! ha! And thereby, comrade, hangs another tale, as Master Shakespeare was wont to say. My wife, thou must know, hath e’er been a loyal admirer o’ our gracious Queen, and it comes to her ears one day as how her Majesty did ride a-horseback most excellent well. Naught would do but that I must let Mistress Lemon mount for a ride upon my gray mare Bellibone. Now Bellibone, though as willing a nag as ever ambled, did think far more o’ getting to her journey’s end than o’ the manner in which she did accomplish the journey; and, I will say, a trotted as though a was for breaking th’ stones on th’ Queen’s highway, instead o’ getting o’er ’em. Well, I did what I could to dissuade Mistress Lemon from her enterprise, but a was as firm as one o’ my surest driven nails in a new shoe. So a let her go. Couldst thou but ‘a’ seen her when she was returned an hour after! Ha! ha! ha! a was for breaking my head with my own pincers.