When I started this book, I questioned an author group about writing dialect for the local folks. I’m not sure if you’ve ever read Elizabeth Gaskell’s North & South, but she was one of the first authors who gave her characters what is termed a Mancunian vocabulary. Manchester has its way of pronouncing words, and if you read some of her dialects in the book, it can get pretty dicey attempting to figure out what they are saying. Here is a portion from North & South as an example:
‘Hoo’s rather down i’ th’ mouth in regard to spirits, but hoo’s better
in health. Hoo doesn’t like this strike. Hoo’s a deal too much set on
peace and quietness at any price.’
‘This is th’ third strike I’ve seen,’ said she, sighing, as if that was
answer and explanation enough.
‘Well, third time pays for all. See if we don’t dang th’ masters this
time. See if they don’t come, and beg us to come back at our own price.
That’s all. We’ve missed it afore time, I grant yo’; but this time we’n
laid our plans desperate deep.’
Aye, lass, reading bits and pieces of dialogue as such can really be a challenge. Needless to say, I skirted it for the most part by leaving only a few characters who speak slightly less than correct and articulate proper English. Unfortunately, I don’t have the skill to make it more authentic, nor do I wish to burden readers. I will be the first to admit that reading how the Scottish dialect is written is a real challenge for me that takes away my interest in books.
I’ve saved you the pain for the most part and wanted to clarify why I didn’t go down that route to make it more Mancunian in style.
However, there are a few words you may wonder what the heck they mean.
Knobstick – Means someone who refuses to join a trade union.
Zounderkite – A Victorian word meaning idiot.
To add to the fun of British dialects, from Anglophenia, comes this great One Woman 17 British Accents. You might get a kick out of it. Enjoy!
It’s not often that I write a book in four weeks. Of course, it’s only the first draft and editing begins, i.e. rewrites, embellishments, additions, deletions, etc. After that comes the other kind of editing–grammar, sentence structure, syntax, spelling, punctuation, and further reviews with the help of ProWriting and Grammarly. Then off to Victory Editing to be poked at again.
Some of what you’ll read in Toil Under the Sun may shock you and lead you to believe that I have an evil imagination. The incidents you’ll read about are actual occurrences I discovered while researching and reading the proceedings of the Manchester Assize Courts in 1867. These acts make Boucher throwing a rock in Elizabeth Gaskell’s North & South appear like child’s play.
Here is a short, but shocking list, of terrorist-like activities, perpetrated by union members against those who defied their rules. You’ll read about those rules in the book, which were put in place to supposedly protect the trade. The newspapers and courts called them “outrages.”
- “Bottling” – throwing bottles full of combustible substances into rooms where brickmakers, their wives, and children slept.
- Use of pistols to intimate watchmen and shoot watchdogs during their nightly raids.
- Hamstringing of horses or slitting their throats. Setting stables on fire and burning horses alive.
- The stabbing of cattle and other livestock owned by brickmakers.
- Brutal beatings of employees, including young boys who worked for brickmakers, often resulting in permanent physical damage.
- Destroying bricks sometimes as many as 60,000 or more at a brickmaker’s business.
- Destroying buildings under construction that used machine-made bricks or bricks not made by union men.
- Blowing up brickmaking machines with gunpowder.
- Other atrocities that earned them this comment in the newspapers that their acts were the “despotism of their own class.”
As you can see, brickyard bullies were the hooligans of the day who would do anything to protect their trade, including murder those who stood in their way. A policeman was killed at one of their outrages.
Keep checking back for updates! While editing, I’m going to dive into book two, Slave to None, and continue to the next era of 1870’s and how the trade changed and businesses grew. These are the years of prosperity and growth, and the foundation for family riches.