The Mounting Steps (1793, Peaudanes Diary)

I heard eighty three year old John Wesley speak today from the mounting steps of The White bear Inn. His step was firm, his appearance vigorous and muscular. A clear, smooth forehead, an aquiline nose, lightest and most piercing eyes, freshness of complexion. His countenance and demeanour was cheerfulness mixed with gravity; an unusual flow of spirits but a mark of tranquillity. In dress, a pattern of neatness and simplicity. A narrow plaited stock, a coat with a small upright collar, no buckles at his knee, no silk or velvet in any part of his apparel and a head as white as snow.
He preached for an hour or so, filled out and varied the basic material with anecdotes and illustrations. Throughout he spoke in plain language. His subject appropriate for this commercial town: gain all you can, save all you can, give all you can. When we gain all we can it must be from honest trades, we must not haggle over prices and usury should not be tolerated. Conspicuous consumption is wastefulness. We gain and save only to give, and when we give we should do so to the poor. Salvation for all is not dependent on good works but must issue from good works as part of our progress.
He who is holy, humble, courteous, mild,
And who, as heav’n’s viceregent strives to prove Himself entitled to the rank he holds,
Deserves our admiration and applause.
What an economist thou wast of time; What method, regularity, and form, Thou shew’dst in ev’ry action of thy life, And all this for the honour of thy God, And the advantage of thy fellow men, without a mercenary view in it,
I cannot but applaud thee for such deeds Admire thy ardour, venerate thy name, And eulogize thee, as the best of men.

The Decision To Use First Names

I said to Friend Peaudane, as we walked Dearne Flats by the serpentine river that he has more than proved his worth as a husband. I would gladly accept him in such a position and be willing to bear him children to cement our association. He answered that it is only a beginning and we must both strive for the ends I described to him at the beginning, extravagance in OUr generosity towards others, nboth personally and publicly. It is now Friend Peaudane, that wishes me to call him Richard as he shall call me Sarah and that we should wait a time yet till we are married. He has his duty to Joseph and family to fulfill.
Yesterday he was present when Susannah, Joseph’s wife gave birth to their second son. Joseph and his brother James who is now living there too pacing up and down, wanting to drown his sorrows, while Richard soothed his furrowed brow with optimistic expressions. But, upon the reception of the child after its sojourn with Susannah, Joseph was all Pray god children are ugly when there but bairns. Richard saw the pride in Joseph’s eyes. Richard wishes to prove his worth to me as a wife as soon as Joseph and Susannah have found a cottage at a place called Old Mill. Here Joseph will raise kine and have a loom. His brother James is to
lodge with Mrs Jackson at the King’s Head. I shall move in with Richard promptly.

The Proposal of Richard Peaudane

I propose a News room for our town. It would enable commercial men as myself to remove ignorance and promote self improvement: a place where new ideas could be discussed, away from the mughouses: where only nonsense is spoken. Clearly, for its upkeep a small charge must be made. More, perhaps for those living outside the toll-bars. Such is the hope for this town that rumours are alive of plans being prepared for the coming of the canal; coaches and packmen being unreliable and prone to attack
from brigands and highwaymen. A News room would show foreign tradesmen that the men of this town have a great hope for its prosperity, and prevent the incidence of rumour that is brought forth through ignorance

Dress Sense

Friend Richard Peaudane has removed his garish dress and thinks to impress me with this. I reminded him of my other stipulation: plainness of manner. He says he has observed John Wesley preaching in the town and would hold him also as another example of neatness and cleanliness. Methodists hold much the same persecuted position in this society as we held in the previous century; prone to preaching so as to change society, a cause we have fallen from, after much of our brethren were persecuted. Though, it must be said they support our Friend William Wilberforce in his fight against slavery, Perhaps Friend Peaudane is correct in following John Wesleys example: A black frock without decoration and a white ruffle, In appearance, at least, he is what I would hope for in a spouse.I then reminded him, that though plain in appearance, the nature of a Quaker is consideration for others. I espoused my belief in the evils of slavery. A commercial man, I was surprised that he also felt the indignity, the horrific notion of one man the slave of another as the basis for a good society was a venal sin. With each conversation and change in the man, if only cosmetic I begin to see his fair and just side. This has impressed upon me more than his change of costume.

 

11. The Five Pounds

I have been giv’n proof of my recovered nature.

Tommy Morton, tinker, in his old age and pauperism has placed five pounds in my hands for his funeral.

On his death I will transport his remains to Monk Bretton, to the Friends burial ground, where he may rejoin his wife, That is his wish and I shall grant it.

It is said a fellow once brought Tommy sixpence to mend. It being neatly and expeditiously executed the fellow asked

How much is it to be?

Sevenpence Tommy replied.

Sevenpence. That is more than the sixpence is worth!

Exactly so, but that is no reason why I should depreciate the value of my labour.

The fellow duly paid and Tommy aware that the fellow was not entirely satisfied offered him a can of flip from the local mughouse.

Tommy occupied the middle shop at the bottom of Market Hill along with a smithy and a barbershop, all by the side of Sough Dyke that flows through the town, and o’er which Sough Bridge bends. His original premises, being considered an obstruction and an eyesore, having fallen into decay and not being able to hold another house Tommy domiciliated himself in the Jury Room of the old Moot Hall, atop Market Hill, where he remained until he was half starved, and whence he was removed to the workhouse. His premises were demolished to improve the topography of the town. I will do all I am able to help him out.

6. The Serpentine Dearne

I went for a walk with Friend Dearman at Dearne Flats. I have decided that this relationship should become more public and thereby confirm the rumours of our companionship. The River Dearne, though prone to dangerous flooding has its own delights. And The Flats are known for their courting couples and rusticating. A note upon this word: rusticating would once have been frowned upon. After all, what can be gained from grass and trees for they are wasteland. Just as the soul can be desolate and made beautiful, perhaps with change in mood, even the worst excesses of tree, grass and river can be seen to improve the soul.

Still Friend Dearman sees philanthropy towards others, plainness of dress and mildness of manner as ends in themselves. I told him that the only path by which he can show real change is for him to have ideas and manners of his own. Too many Commercial men are taken in by the mechanical nature of change. It is the human heart that must change too. He must no longer see the Dearne as a navigable waterway and more as a stream that gives life to its surroundings. I am not only to be his wife but a companion too.

I said to Friend Peaudane, as we walked Dearne Flats by the serpentine river that he has more than proved his worth as a husband. I would gladly accept him in such a position and be willing to bear him children to cement our association. He answered that it is only a beginning and we must both strive for the ends I described to him at the beginning, extravagance in our generosity towards others, both personally and publicly. It is now Friend Peaudane, that wishes me to call him Richard as he shall call me Sarah and that we should wait a time yet till we are married. He has his duty to Joseph and family to fulfill.

Yesterday he was present when Susannah, Joseph’s wife gave birth to their second son. Joseph and his brother James who is now living there too pacing up and down, wanting to drown his sorrows Clearly, since he ventured upon this self improvement his mind has moved to the self improvement of others and I find he likes himself. He should be wary of too much pride in what he knows of himself. New converts are likely to be over vociferous for others conversion. Knowledge is power.

2. The Quaker Bear

Welcome the Quaker Bear chained and prancing
To its mistresses stick in May Day Green
Gone the freeman dancing to mughouse beat.

I remember Dick when you would ask sixpence
for my wares, now you walk the other way.
Your fine thigh no more suited to my sweatmeat.
More interest in a book than turning my pages.
You are old before your time, a wasted man.

In the mughouse you would sing to me:

My Friend thy Beauty seemeth good
We Righteous have our failings;
I’m Flesh and Blood, methinks I cou’ d,
Wert thou free from Ailings

And I would reply:

Believe me Sir I’m newly broach’ d,
And never have been in yet;
I vow and swear
I ne’er was touch’ d,
By man ’till this day and night.

And supping on your ale you’d sing:

Then prithee Friend, now prithee do,
Nay, let us not defer it;
And I’ll be kind to thee
when thou hast laid the Evil Spirit.

And sitting in your lap I would:

I vow I won’t, indeed I shan’t,
Unless I’ve Money first, Sir;
For if I ever trust a Saint,
I wish I may be curst, Sir.

And jangling your purse:

1. The Cap Fits

If the cap fits, put it on.

I must become other than I am for a woman.

For seven years I trudged behind a counter, a willing, though not obedient slave. My temper soured, marr’d my future views, my projects o’erturn’d and my quiet disturb’d. I was not ev’ry thing I ought to be.

For sev’ral years I have led a single life, nor coveted a spouse: till now, all alone, like Adam in the garden, I have found out I am wanting, and that is a wife.

I have found a comely maid, a native of Ardsley and a fellow Friend and mean to bind her in indissoluble chains. I live a bachelor in my fathers ancient wood and plaster house called St Ann’s and warehouse at the north-east corner of May Day Green, in the fair commercial town of Bamsley; linen manufacturing, my business. I thought a good standing enough to gain a wife; I did not think two worthless fellows could from their tatling, tell~tale disposition, have set at ears my nearest, dearest friends ; their worthless stories have broke all confidence, destroy’d the harmony of private life and made an earthly paradise a hell; poison’d the stream that flows by, soil’d the bleached linen drying in the fields.

I pretended to be very good; a man set up for something more than human, a pharisee of strict observance, pretending to Communion with God.

7. The Beast

She’s turned you into a beast; a gamboling bear in the market place. Turning at her dry stick this way and that. Dancing to the beat of her words to earn a pittance of her crust.
I forget myself you are not lonely that is not the reason for marriage; you just want your reputation back.

Some wights took it away from you shouting about the town. Well when you have it back I’m waiting awhile till your senses return and we can salt each others meat again.
She’s a peach your little quaker girl; that glory of red and yellow that has the ripeness of summer sun rising and nothing of the cold sun setting. She’s a globe, new land awaiting your travelled feet upon her shore. You would pluck her, and bite into her softness till the juice of pleasure washed both of you into joy, and she would bite into you, for you would be a peach too and both would joy until as two seeds lain side by side you marvelled at being fruit enough for the others pleasure. But I forget you are quakers and must give over such pleasures.

4. The Custom Weaver, Richard Peaudane contemplates marriage

Joseph Lister is one of my many custom weavers. I shall offer him board in my premises. It will remove my loneliness awhile and further prove to Sarah my will to have her bound to me.
Joseph and his brother James have inherited a four-loom shop at Beaver Hoyle from their uncle, John Lupton. Joseph has acquired a wife, Susannah Bottomley of Wool dale and a son. Susannah is pregnant again. John wishes to make a life separate from his brother James. He is a regular and fastidious workman like his uncle. And John Lupton
portrays his nephew as a pattern of industry. As he produces the linen that we may spread it out on the fields to dry, to croft, so he may gather it up and store it in my attendant warehouse. If I cannot help him in his progress then I am the poorer man as my future wife Sarah has taught
me.
As I observe Susannah with Joseph, she is constantly curbing his generous nature. A beggar came to Our door and asked for shoes and Joseph gave him his best brogues without a thought. Susannah scolded Joseph with the words: We have not enough for our own feet and you give away our best. We must gain and save before we can give! Joseph, smiles and kisses her pregnant stomach. As I presumed a wife becomes more than a companion, but a moral arbiter. A family dispels the disconsolate air. This place of mine does not feel so empty. It only lacks a wife for myself