One of its anecdotes is this:
The question of will in relation to the progress of disease is constantly met with in medical practice. On the other hand, given a woman of ardent temperament with a sufficient motive to live; and nothing but mortal disease can kill her. The same may be said of the hardy old folks of the north. Joe in "Jo and the Jolly Gist" (geologist) said of his father, "Fadder deed! He's none o' t' deing mak'. We's hev to worry fadder when his time's come: he'll niver dee of his self so lang as there's wark to hound yan on till."
- p170, The Will Power: its Range in Action (Fothergill, J. Milner, New York: Funk & Wagnalls, 1888, Internet Archive willpoweritsrang00foth).
|cover logo from 1885|
Hodder & Stoughton edition
Fothergill has slightly misremembered his source, as this description comes not from "Jo and the Jolly Gist", but from a sequel, T' reets on't, which appears in Alexander Craig Gibson's 1869 The Folk-Speech of Cumberland:
I’s nūt t’ chap to try to cum ower an oald jolly jist wid whinin’ out “Fadder’s deid!” when ivery body kens ‘at fadder’s whicker or meàst on us. My sarty! he’s nin o’ t’ deein’ mal’ isn’t fadder. Wes’ hev to wūrry fadder when his time cūms, for he’ll niver dee of his-sel’ sa lang as ther’s any wark to hoond yan on tull.The original story, Joe and the Geologist, was anonymously-written - though most likely by Alexander Craig Gibson himself - and published as Joe and the Geologist: a short story in the Cumberland dialect (Carlisle: George Coward, 1866, Google Books HlVKAAAAYAAJ). It concerns a wily character (or lazy passive-aggressive timewaster, depending on where your sympathies lie) who tricks a geologist to avoid carrying stones the latter has collected. Folklore attaches the story to the real geologist Adam Sedgwick, who did fieldwork in Cumberland in the 1820s, and the story appears in The Life and Letters of the Reverend Adam Sedgwick (pp252 ff).
- p8, The folk-speech of Cumberland and some districts adjacent; being short stories and rhymes in the dialects of the west Border counties (Alexander Craig Gibson, 1869, Internet Archive cu31924103992719).
It seems to have been a popular story of its time, and the Lancashire-born novelist Amelia Barr recycled it in her The Squire of Sandal-Side: A Pastoral Romance (c. 1887, Internet Archive thesquireofsanda16258gut), which features a family who know "Joe Bulteel" and Professor Sedgwick. At a Christmas Eve gathering, they recount the story of "Joe and the jolly-jist" (without much detail - it's assumed the reader knows it) along with a more detailed sequel in which Joe and Sedgwick are reconciled.
A dialect writer who was born at Lorton, and is also buried there, was Peter Robinson (Jim Sargisson), author of the ever popular Joe Scoap’s Jurneh through Three Wardles. These sketches mostly appeared as a series of letters in the Whitehaven Herald, and were later published in book-form at Whitehaven in 1881. It is by far the longest work in Cumbrian dialect prose, but not a page too long; and to travel with the redoubtable Joe "frae Hobcarton Boddom ta Ower t' Rays Farm i' Western Canada, on through America, an' ta t' gowld diggings o' Australia whor they fund t’ greit nugget ‘at kick t’ beam at a hundert an’ thurty pund troy weight” is an unforgettable experience. He is the incarnation of good spirits and good health, and like Mark Tapley he keeps a merry heartJoe Scoap’s Jurneh through Three Wardles is available as a Google scan in the Bodleian Library's digital holdings, most conveniently via the Europeana portal:
Robinson, Peter (Jim Sargisson)—1816?-1890.
A Lafter O' Farleys in T' Dialects O' Lakeland, 1760-1945 (Lakeland Dialect Society, 1950)
- Joe Scoap’s Jurneh through Three Wardles. Being a Cumberland Shepherd’s Travels in the Old World, the New World and Australia (Nobbut fer Cumberlan Country Whoke) - ID 014076976 (Click the "Read" link for a PDF).
It does, by the way, feature a reference to "Joe an 't Jollyjist", when the story turns up at a reading held at an 'Improvement Society', and Joe Scoap gets highly indignant at any suggestion that he himself might be the protagonist:
“Truth was oa t’ time at ah niver saw t’old jollyjist, ner his laal hammer ner his pwokes owder, eh me life!”- Ray