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Location: South-west Hampshire, Hampshire, England (SU----) Year: Perf. 1861 Time of Occurrence: Christmas Collective Name: Mummers
Notes & Queries, 3rd Series, 25th Jan 1862, Vol.I, p.66
"In come I Father Christmas,
Welcome or welcome not ;
I hope Old Father Christmas
Will never be forgot.
Christmas comes but once a-year,
When it comes it brings good cheer:
Roast beef. plum-padding,
And Christmas pie,
Who likes it better than I.
I was born in lands
Where there was no one to make my cradle
They first wrapped me in a bowldish,
And then in a ladle.
Where I go, I am nick-named [half silly]
My father was an Irishman.
My mother was an Irishman,
My sister Suke
Cocked an eye,
And played the rattat-too.
My father he was a soldier bold
As I used to often hear them say,
They used to fight with great big sticks,
And often run away;
There's no such fighting in our time,
They fight with sword and gun,
And when in battle forced lo go
There is no chance to run,
In comes I, little Twing-Twang,
I am the lieutenant of the press gang;
Also I press young men and women
To go board man-of-war.
[Little Johnny Jack]
Likewise Little Johnny Jack,
My wife and family at my back;
Although, that they be any small.
If you do not give me lamb, bread, and onions,
I'll starve them one and all.
[Little Jackie John]
Likewise Little Jackie John,
If a man want to fight
Let him come on;
I'll cut and back 'um
Small's the dust.
Send Uncle Harry
To make piecrust
For my dinner to-morrow."
"I have just witnessed a performance of the mummers in the hall of an old country house in the south-west part of Hants. I regret to find that the "act" now varies every year, and is furnished from London. The speech of Old Father Christmas is the traditional epilogue, which has not been tampered with. The dramatis personae wore white trousers, and coats like tunics of printed calico, with scarves, wooden swords, and hats covered with ribbons and artificial flowers. They represent Sir H. Havelock (who kills) Nana Sahib, and Sir Colin Campbell (who kills) Tanty Tobes (Tantia Topee), and the physician, who was distinguished by a horse-hair plume in a pointed cap. Old Father Christmas wore breeches and stockings, carried a begging-box, and conveyed himself upon two sticks, his arms were striped with chevrons like a noncommissioned officer."
The original text does not have character designations. These have been added by the indexer, but could be interpreted differently.
16th February 2002 - Scanned & coded by Peter Millington