The Gasker Song (MacEdward Leach)

Come all young lads and lasses,
Come listen to my song,
It's only a few verses,
It won't delay you long;
It was on a Sunday evening,
In the month of July,
We went out to Jack Williams's,
Ourselves for to enjoy.

At five o'clock in the evening
The party did begin,
And we were standing at the gate,
And we were invited in;
When Ernie came out in the door
Those words to us did say,
Saying, "Now, boys, the time has started,
Come in and dance away."

Now, Ernie is a gentleman
Wherever he is to,
And when the strangers comes around
He knows just what to do;
He is a fine young fellow
As you may plainly see,
And every time he gets the chance
He goes with young Katie.

The strangers being all Williamses
It was an awful sight,
The neighbours they were not noticed
As they came there that night;
They left their homes on Sunday
And did enjoy the ride,
No doubt they were a sporting bunch,
Belonging to Kilbride.

Now, Charlie he did hold a light,
I'm sure the job was hot,
He was standing there so steadily
He must go through a lot;
The strangers they all looked at him
And one of them did say:
"Charlie, dear, what have you done,
You are punished in that way?"

The strangers danced the lancers
And washed the room all 'round,
The neighbours watched with anxious eye
And never made a sound;
No doubt they were a sporty bunch,
I need not tell the rest,
The old woman she did clap her hands,
Saying, "Ernie's side goes best."

The strangers' time being over,
Sure they got underway,
And when they were for leaving,
Those words to us did say:
"Get in now, lads and lasses,
For we must get outside,
For the road is long and foggy
From this out to Kilbride.

Some fellows from around the place
They did not hesitate,
But some of them jumped at the chance
And they found their great mistake;
And when they were out on the floor
Those words I heard them say:
"Now, boys, we're going dancing,
Lar Callie you must play."

The fellows who were dancing,
I will bring them in rhyme,
There was Arthur Mahoney from Point Crewe,
Ben Dobbin from the line;
And likewise young Jim Kielly,
He comes next in our song,
Johnny Tobin who was facing him
Sure he lived out along.

The girls they were dancing
Along with those young men,
Bertha Dobbin danced with Arthur
And Sally danced with Ben;
Jim Kielly had a stranger
For the first and the second part,
Johnny Tobin had Kate Dobbin
For she is his sweetheart.

They danced their way to form a line,
It was an awful sight,
Mrs Liza she darted through the crowd
And she took away the light;
The people they all looked amazed
As I did pass this remark:
"Now, boys, wasn't that some mean of her
To leave us in the dark?"

Ben Dobbin was standing in the hall,
Those words I hear him say:
"Now, boys, I just had played a dance
When the light was took away."
Then up speaks Mr Williams,
A blunt old lad was he,
Saying, "What did ye come here for?
There was none sent for ye."

And now the boys got ready,
You bet they lost no time,
The wind being a sou'wester,
A fair wind in the line;
And when the strangers comes around,
Please don't make the mistake,
Don't ye go handy to the house
Or hang around the gate.

Before my song is ended,
I mean to let ye hear,
We pity that old woman
That was down from Salmonier;
As she walked in and out the hall
With her bonnet on her head,
She was waiting for the strangers
There was nothing that she said.

And now my song is ended
For I can sing no more,
The traps they are all ended,
The fishing voyage is o'er;
Indeed it was a poor one,
Don't take it to the heart,
If Squires gets the money,
Sure we won't be in the dark.

Now, if you wants to know the man
Who did compose this song,
His name it is Old Sundown,
You will find him later on;
And don't get in a passion
Before you will get your mark,
For the light it may be taken
And you'll be in the dark.

####.... Old Sundown, per the lyrics. Original Newfoundland moniker song ....####

Collected in 1951 from John Augustus Molloy [1895-?] of St Shott's, NL, and published in MacEdward Leach And The Songs Of Atlantic Canada © 2004 Memorial University of Newfoundland Folklore and Language Archive (MUNFLA).

From the Arthur Murray Dance Dictionary:
The quadrille of the Lancers was a set dance or single dance invented by a dancing master in Paris about 1836. England took it up and it was fashionable for a number of years in polite society there.

From the Dictionary of Newfoundland English:
Lancers - dancing invariably consisted of two types, the square dance with the accent on step-dancing, and, when sufficient space was available, a vigorously danced adaptation of the Lancers called the Chisel. A minimum of eight couples took part in the latter. It was an exhilarating experience to dance to the fast music which continued for approximately an hour. The men stripped to their shirts. Even then they would be entirely saturated with perspiration by the time the turn was completed.


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