Never come Monday

“The first one to notice it was old Capper Wambley. And Capper was a very important man. He was the knocker-up in the village of Polkingthorpe Brig—that is to say, he got up early every morning and went round with his pole, tapping on the bedroom windows and waking up the people in time for them to get to work. And this particular morning old Capper knew there was something wrong.

He felt it first as he stepped outside his cottage and coughed in the dark to clear his lungs, and looked up at the sky to see what kind of weather it was.

He felt that there was something wrong with the day, and then he decided what it was. It was still Sunday.

For a moment or two he felt fair flabbergasted at this, for he remembered that the day before had been Sunday, too.

«Ba gum,» Capper said to himself. «This is a champion do, it is an’ all. No doubt summat should be done.»

Now old Capper Wambley was very old, so he sat down on the edge of the curb, and after a while he came to the conclusion that what ought to be done was to think about it. So he began thinking about the very strange event.

«Now,» he said to himself, «it don’t seem reasonable and proper that we should hev two Sundays in a row. Let us see if we can get it sorted out. Now the thing for a chap to do to prove it, is to decide what is the difference between a Sunday morning and a weekday morning.»

Old Capper thought and thought, and he saw that the only difference between the two was that on a weekday morning he wakened the people up, and on a Sunday morning he didn’t.

«So, if Ah doan’t wakken the village up this morning, it is a Sunday morning,» he said to himself.

Soon the window went up, and John Willie Braithwaite’s head popped out of the window.

«Ah’m wakkened,» John Willie said. «Whet time is’t?»

Now old Capper could see that John Willie wasn’t awake, but was just moving in his sleep the way men did from their tiredness and weariness of getting up before dawn. But he knew it didn’t matter this morning.

«Ah just wakkened ye to tell ye it’s another Sunday morning,» old Capper said. «Soa tha c’n goa on back to bed an’ sleep i’ peace.»

Some people were inclined to believe Capper, and some were not.

«Now lewk here, Capper,» Gollicker said, «Ah doan’t but admit that it does seem Sundayish, like, but how are we off to be sure?»

Old Capper thought a while. Then he saw the answer.

«Well, here’s the way us can tell,» he said. «Now if this be a weekday, the mill whistle’ll blaw the fifteen minutes, wean’t it?»

«Aye,» they agreed.

«But if it be a Sunday, like Ah say, the mill whistle wean’t blaw the fifteen minutes, will it?»

They all agreed that was true. So they stood round old Capper, who had one of the few watches in the village, and they waited. They all looked at his watch and saw it said twenty to six, then nineteen to six, then eighteen and seventeen and sixteen. And the second hand went round and finally it said quarter to six. But no whistle blew, largely because John Willie Braithwaite who was supposed to be there at 5:30 and get up steam and pull the whistle cord, was still home and sleeping warmly beside his wife.

«Well,» old Capper says, «that shows it maun be a Sunday again, and now ye can all away hoam and get another hour’s sleep.»

Old Capper went off home himself, and was just making himself a little bit of breakfast, when Rowlie Helliker came in.

«Capper,» Rowlie said, «Ah hear that tha discovered this is another Sunday.»

«Aye, that’s soa,» Capper replied.

«Well,» Rowlie went on, «isn’t hewing two Sundays in a row just a varry little bit irregular, as tha maught say?»

«It is that, lad,» Capper told him. «But tha maun remember us is living in varry unusual times.»

«Piffle,» said Mr. Bloggs.

«Oh, aye?» asked Sam, his dander getting up. «Can tha tell me what day it is now i’ Japan?»

«Its Monday,» Mr. Bloggs said.

«Oh, pardon me, Mr. Bloggs,» the schoolmaster said «Just as a matter of academic accuracy…» and then he studied his watch carefully «but in Japan now it is Tuesday.»

«Tuesday?» roared Mr. Bloggs.

«There, tha sees,» Sam said. «There don’t seem to me to be noa sense to this day stuff. If it’s Monday, as tha says’ down i’ Greenwich; and if it’s Tuesday, as t’schoolmeaster says, i’ Japan; then Ah say it’s just as liable to be Sunday up here.»

«Nonsense,» yelled Mr. Bloggs. «I know what the matter is. You’re all lazy and you wanted another day off. So you call it Sunday.»

«Nay lad,» Sam replied. «There’s six weekdays to one Sunday, so it seems to me like it were six to one i’ thy favor that we’d hev an extra workday i’stead of an extra restday. Simply because tha lost, tha maun’t be a bad sport about it.»

«Fiddlesticks,» Mr. Bloggs said, now thoroughly angry. «If this is Sunday, then what’s tomorrow? Is it Monday or Tuesday? Or do we lose a day?»

«Happen Ah’m the man to clear that up,» the Capper said, rising to his feet. «Us doesn’t skip noa day at all. T’ thing is that t’ days o’to’week have gate tired o’turning, soa now they’re stuck, like, and wean’t goa no further they wean’t.»

«How ridiculous,» Mr. Bloggs snorted. «If that were so we’d get no further and tomorrow would be Sunday, too, wouldn’t it?»

The Capper scratched his head and thought a moment. Then he looked up quickly.

«Ba gum, lad,» he said. «Tha’s hit t’ nail o’ t’ yead. Tomorrow is off to be Sunday.»

There was only one flaw. The pubs had to go on Sunday closing hours, which allows no man to buy a pint of beer unless he is a legal traveler who has come so many miles. But this did good in a way, because many men walked the legal number of miles, and that way they saw parts of their own country they never would have seen otherwise, and they saw what other towns and villages looked like.”

Eric Knight: Never Come Monday, in: The Flying Yorkshireman (1942)

7 kms of space seepage along the national road 7, Siófok, Tanácsház street (112 km) – Zamárdi, Kocsi pub (112+7 km). Km numbers are displayed with the mouse. Enlarge the map.

20 comentarios:

Megkoronáz A.J.P. dijo...

Brilliant. I'd no idea about Eric Knight (nor that "Lassie" was written by an English person). How did you know about this piece?

British drinking laws used to be very complicated, it seems. It sort of implies that some people were being encouraged to drink & drive (I'm pretty sure there were no penalties for drunk driving in England in those days).

It's really quite interesting to see this kind of road in a country you've never visited, because it's not the kind of place you see on postcards. Maybe I ought to photograph the same kind of Norwegian road. Did you get a beer at the pub at the end of your walk?

Megkoronáz A.J.P. dijo...

What is the body of water along the top side of the map?

Studiolum dijo...

Lassie, in Hungarian translation, was my childhood favorite, and thus when I began to read in English I looked for his other works. “This Above All” (1941) was the favorite of my twenties, and “The Flying Yorkshireman” has been that since my thirties.

The water is the lake Balaton, the most popular resort place in Hungary. Now I inserted a link under the Google map to enlarge it (both enlarging and km numbers did not go on the same map).

Yes, it would be a great project to walk along a Norwegian road (preferably in the mountains) and photograph all the km numbers. Although I doubt you would find the same absurdity photographed here: that between km numbers 112 and 113 there are seven “extra” numbers inserted, God knows why.

And yes, I did deserve a beer in the Kocsi pub. This was yesterday, so it was absolutely legal, but I guess that walking eight kilometers would have authorized me to take a beer even on Sunday.

Megkoronáz A.J.P. dijo...

It has challenges for a translator, this Yorkshire dialect. Let's hope it was done by someone as good as Lénárd Sándor.

I thought there was something odd, but then I put it down to my own inability to understand it properly. This discrepancy may have come about during the changeover to the Gregorian calender, some sort of space-time seepage.

Studiolum dijo...

Yes, I also suspected some kind of space seepage similar to the time seepage in Eric Knight’s story, that’s why I combined them here.

The translation I give in the Hungarian version of the post was in fact done by one of the most competent translators of his age, Szerb Antal, also a professor of English literature and author of an Umberto Eco-like (but much more intelligent) detective story The Pendragon Legend that takes place in medieval England. As far as I can judge, he made an excellent translation of the dialogs in Yorkshire dialects.

It is strange that The flying Yorkshireman, written in war-time Britain (1942) and also including a chapter on the exposure of some Nazi spies in Yorkshire was allowed without any problem to be published and sold in the same year in Germany-allied Hungary in the translation by a Jew, and was such a success that it had to be reprinted the following year. In turn, it was put on index during Communism, as it presented a too human face of capitalist Britain. (After 1990 it was published again of course.)

Julia dijo...

La Leyenda de los Pendragon, publicada por editorial Siruela. Esto significa un precio ridículo en tierras argentinas...
Por suerte hay inescrupulosos por ahí, y estoy leyendo un documento de Word con el archivo. Espero que esté completo y que la traducción "gallega" no sea demasiado... "gallega".

Studiolum dijo...

Te puedo enviar la versión electrónica de la traducción francesa si te parece…

Julia dijo...

Gracias! Pero veré la traducción española, por ahora. O lo buscaré en inglés que leo mejor que el francés.

Μαριανα dijo...

oh, I liked the story so much!

But I really don't know anything about the flying Yorkshireman and the connection with Lassie..
Maybe you could explain me? I would be glad to learn....

Regards from Ioannina, Greece!

Studiolum dijo...

I’m sure you know the Yorkshire collie dog Lassie, protagonist of so many films. He is the main character of Eric Knight’s touching novel “Lassie Come-Home” (1940), which was one of my favorite childhood novels.

Only later I discovered that Yorkshire-born Eric Knight also wrote two more really great novels full of irony, insight and love: “This Above All” (1941) on a Yorkshire-born soldier fighting against the Germans at Dunquerque in 1940 and “The Flying Yorkshireman” (1942) on the adventures of Sam Small, a “little great man” from a Yorkshire village. This latter is fully digitized here:

So this is my Yorkshire trilogy or saga sung by the brave bard Eric Knight. I hope I would once see the fairy land of Yorkshire before I die.

Megkoronáz A.J.P. dijo...

Yorkshire is really beautiful and well worth visiting. Sadly, I didn't see any fairies there.

Μαριανα dijo...

Oh thank you so much for explaining me, now I understand!
Very interesting to know! Yes I know Lassie, my mother used to talk about the tv series. When I was born there was no Lassie anymore.


Studiolum dijo...

Sadly, I didn't see any fairies there.

That’s champion, lad. The fact tha dosn’t see’em proves them are fairies indeed.

Mariana: Strange, a life without Lassie! Indeed, before replying to you I was shocked to see that there were no Greek Wikipedia entries on “Lassie” and “Lassie-come-home”, neither any Greek edition of Lassie around on the net. I thought him to be such an international cultural icon like Winnie-the-Pooh.

AJP Crown dijo...

I think you ought to do all your blogging in Yorkshire dialect. It would work in an interesting way with the pictures. There was a tooth fairy who used to live down the road from us. I should take a photograph of the house.

Julia dijo...

En Argentina siguieron pasando Lassie por TV hasta entrados los '80, me parece.
Y mucha gente suele llamar "Lassie" a los perros collie (no digo que le pongan ese nombre, que también lo hacen sino que usan el término "Lassie" para referirse a la raza).
También es común que crean que Lassie es un macho (poco conocimiento del escocés por estas tierras... bueno, del idioma, no la bebida ;-)

Effe dijo...

Lassie appartiene all'immaginario collettivo delle nostre infanzie, così come Pippi Calzelunghe (come si chiamava, in magiaro?)

A proposito del testo che hai postato: in quanto sopraffino traduttore in ungherese di Umberto Eco, non ti sarà sfuggito il collegamento con l'Isola del giorno prima.

Effe dijo...

Julia, anche in Italia si usava il termine Lassie per indicare i Collie. Oggi credo che Lassie non sia più così popolare, tra i bambini

Studiolum dijo...

Harisnyás Pippi (il nome significa esattamente lo stesso che la versione italiana) era infatti conosciuta in Ungheria nella mia infanzia, ma era ben lontana in popolarità da Lassie. Ma oramai anche quest’ulteriore ha perso molto della sua conosciutezza. E’ interessante osservare che mentre trent’anni fa il collie era una razza molto popolare in Ungheria, oggi è diventato tanto raro che quasi si considera esotico. Mi pare che la stessa sorte ha toccato anche ai cani dalmata dopo lo svanimento della moda dei “101 cagnolini”.

Sì, infatti quel romanzo di Eco era la mia prima idea come titolo per questo post. Poi però la novella di Knight e il suo titolo sono apparsi più attrattivi e più adatti come parallelli alla numerazione di chilometri ungherese che si è irrigidita a 112.

E’ una strana coincidenza che domenica, nel giorno della pubblicazione del post c’erano elezioni parlamentari in Ungheria, dove la destra ha vinto la sovramaggioranza. Più tardi un amico mi ha detto che leggendo il titolo di questo post – che in ungherese suona “Lunedì, non venire mai” – alla prima vista ha pensato che si trattasse di una riflessione ai risultati delle elezioni…

Effe dijo...

Il 112 (che in Italia è il numero telefonico dei Carabinieri) sembra non finire mai. E' inutile tentare di arrivare alla sua fine, è una battaglia persa, è come combattere contro i mulini a vento (Knight=cavaliere=don Quijote)

Quanto ai giorni delle elezioni: a Napoli, per significare che una situazione spiacevole prima o poi dovrà pur finire, si dice "Ha da pasa' 'a nuttata" (credo da "Napoli Milionaria" di Eduardo de Filippo, 1945) .

Effe dijo...

corerggo: "Ha da passa' 'a nuttata" (deve passare la notte)