Christmas Mummers of Stoneleigh [1925]

M.D.Harris (1925)


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Context:
Location: Stoneleigh, Warwickshire, England (SP3272)
Year: Publ. 1925
Time of Occurrence: Christmas
Collective Name: Mummers

Source:

Mary Dormer Harris
Christmas Mummers at Stoneleigh
Notes and Queries, 17th Jan.1925, Vol.148, pp.42-43


Cast: (Click on any name for the character name index.)
Text:

{Forman knocks at the door.}

For.:

Would you like to pass a time with the Mummers?
Good Master and good Mistress, I hope you are within.
I've come this merry Christmas time to see you and your kin.
I hope you won't be angry, nor take it as offence,
For if you do, pray tell to me, and we'll quickly go from hence.
A. E. I. 0. U. Downderry:
We come this merry Christmas time for to be merry.
Activity of youth, activity of age,
Activity you never saw before on a common stage.
A room, a room, to let us in,
We're none of your ragged sort, but some of your best of kin.
If you don't believe what I do say,
Step in. King George, and clear the way.

{The Forman is now inside the house. Enter King George.}

K.G.:

I am King George, this noble knight.
I shed my blood for England's right,
For England's right and England's reign,
For ever it I will maintain.

{Knock at the door.}

Hark, hark, I hear someone knock.
Pray, who art thou that is knocking?

{Enter Bold Slasher.}

B.S.: '

I am a valiant soldier bold.
Bold Slasher is my name.
From those cruel wars I came.
And, pray, who art thou?

K.G.:

I am King George, this noble knight.
I shed my blood for England's right,
For England's right and England's reign,
And England's glory I'll maintain.

B.S.:

A battle, a battle, betwixt you and I,
To see which of us first shall die.
So guard thy head, defend thy blows,
Likewise take care of face and nose.

{They fight. King George falls.}

For.:

Doctor, Doctor, do thy part,
King George is wounded through the heart;
Likewise ten times through the knee.
Five hundred pounds to cure thee.
Doctor, Doctor, don't delay,
But spur thy horse and come this way.

{Enter Doctor, riding on Tom Fool's back. Fool goes out.}

D.:

Here I are, the seventeenth son of a well-known doctor.
I travel here, I travel there,
I travel at home, I come from home.
I ain't one of those quick-quack, three fardin' doctors.
I go about for the good of the world, not to kill, but to cure.

For.:

What can you cure. Doctor? .

D.:

I can cure all sorts of complaints and diseases,
Just whichever me and my box of pills pleases,

{Holds up pill-box.}

Such as soft-corns, hard-corns, molly-grubs, solly-grubs,
And all such tinklehairy things as these,
The itch, the stitch, the stone, the palsy and the gout,
Pains within and pains without.

For.:

Well, Doctor, is that all you can cure?
Can you tell me how to cure the magpie of the toothache?

D.:

Yes, I can.

For.:

How should you cure him?

D.:

I should cut his head off and throw his body in the ditch.
It is a sure cure, and he's out of the way.
If any old man or woman can do more than this, let them step in and try.

{Enter Moll Finny.}

Moll:

Who do you call Moll Finny?
My name's not Moll Finny.
My name is Mrs. Finny. A woman of great pain [sic.]
Can cure more than you, or any other man again.

D.:

Pray, what can you cure, Moll?

Moll:

I can cure this man it lie ain't quite dead.

{Goes to King George's feet.}

Come now, young feller, rise up thy head.

D.:

That's the wrong end, Moll.

Moll:

That's my beef-steak for once.

{Goes to his head.}

D.:

What's the matter with him, Moll?

Moll:

He's got the gout.

D.:

What's a good thing for the gout, Moll?

Moll:

Draw a tooth.

D.:

Come out of my road.
Seven years' apprenticeship and seven years' journeyman ought to know better than you.
Fetch my barnacles.

Moll:

Fetch 'em yourself.

D.:

Fetch my pliers.

{Moll goes out for pliers, and brings them back broken.}

D.:

Now you've brought 'em, you've broke 'em.
Where did you break them?

Moll:

Over the tumble-down stile where the dead donkey kicked the blind man's eye out.

D.:

That's a funny place, Moll.

Moll:

Yes, up Blue-jacket Lane.

D. {having extracted a huge tooth, presumably from the patient's mouth}:

It's as long as a wet week.

{King George rises. Enter Humpty (or Humpy) Jack. Tom Fool, bearing a tambourine, follows}

Hum.:

Here come I, old Humpty Jack,
With my wife and my family at my back.
Some at the workhouse, and some at my back,
And I'll bring you the rest when I come back.
In comes i, that's never been yet,
With my big head and little wit,
My head so big and my wits so small,
So I brought my music to please you all.

{Plays mouth-organ.}

My father drunk all the tea;
my mother gave me the tea-pot to make a hurdygurdy on.
[Note *] Come, lads and lasses, come fill up your glasses,
And give us poor lads some beer.


Notes:

Harris's footnote:

"* I am not sure who says this."

Harris's Introduction:

"THIS I took down from the lips of one who played the Doctor's part long ago. There are seven characters in the piece. The Forman has a traditional broom to sweep a place for the actors. "King George" and "Bold Slasher" wear red coats, silver-braided caps, and carry wooden swords. The "Doctor" has a top hat, frock coat, white front and kid gloves. "Tom Fool" wears a white hat and is dressed in patchwork for motley. "Moll Finny" has woman's clothes, bonnet and umbrella. "Humpty Jack" wears an old dented box-hat, carries a stick, and on his back a bag of straw. The last three have their faces blackened.


File History:
20th February 2002 - Scanned & coded by Peter Millington

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