Night School Teaching At Red Island
(Patrick Barry)

On the fourteenth day of February,
as you may understand,
A lady from the city
on Red Island she did land;
To start the night school teaching
I'm going to let you know,
Both great and small she took them all
who were willing for to go.

Our other teacher on the Island,
now we all do know her well,
To learn us how to read and write,
if we only could keep still;
When she came in the school room
we didn't know what to say,
About twenty-five people in one class
who did not know B from A.

She taught us how to write our name
in a few nights we caught on,
Now we can open up our books,
read for her one by one;
For myself I was awful stupid, Miss,
I didn't know what to do,
But now I can take my pen in hand
and write a line to you.

The first night that I went to school
it did seem strange to me,
A lesson from my book
on the page two or three;
For education I got none
and grammar I don't use,
Among educated people,
language got to be excused.

We had two splendid teachers here
I'm going to explain,
Pat Barry is one of them,
I couldn't leave out his name;
Bride Reddy is the other.
I hardly can describe,
She is seven years here teaching school,
her age is twenty-five.

Miss Mary McCarthy took the high school,
Miss Reddy's second class,
Our new teacher took the dunces
to learn us hard and fast;
But she was pretty nimble
and she knew what to do,
She learned us how to read and write
and quickly put us through.

Every night when work was over
the music would begin,
And every pupil in the school
with her they had to sing;
For she could play the organ
and it was plain to see,
She sang the songs both new and old
that suited you and me.

The first song that she sang for us
I tell you it was grand,
It was Fare You Well My Pretty Young Gals,
We're Off For The Rio Grande.

The second one she sang for us
I tell you it's no lie,
It was Nancy Tickle Me Fancy
to My Charming Billy Boy.

The women are joined in a club,
I have it for to say,
A beautiful mat that they have hooked,
a present for Father Dee;
I know he will be charmed with it,
all hands would hear him say,
Red Island yet was never slack,
when she had a cent to pay.

We know the times are very bad,
and everyone knows that,
We're starting corporations,
where our Island won't go flat;
And now we have our ice house built,
and we make no delay,
And now we are going to start a farm,
we got to make it pay.

It was on the 30th night of March,
the women they begun,
To have a party in the school,
I was the only man;
I had my cup of cocoa,
and I did enjoy it too,
The women they danced a jolly old set,
a part of the Lancers, too.

The reason that they had me there
you all may hear them cry,
It was to play the accordion
to make their time go high;
They waltzed and danced until twelve o'clock
and then we all joined in,
We spoke a few short verses
and we sang God Save the Queen.

Now to conclude and finish,
I mean to end my song,
Patrick Barry is my name,
Red Island I belong;
If this is not completed, Miss,
I'll tell you what I'll do,
I will compose another one
and send it straight to you.

####.... Written in 1937 by Patrick Barry of Red Island, Newfoundland [b.1887]. Transcribed by his daughter, Mary Anne Counsel ....####


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