The Jubilee Guild (Kenneth Peacock)

Come all you Newfoundlanders
I'll sing for you this song,
It's only a few verses
and it won't delay you long,
I am a new composer
and I'd like to try my skill,
And what I mean to speak of, boys,
it is our Jubilee Guild.

A girl came down from Canada,
McLellan was her name,
She was a clever young girl,
no need to be ashamed,
And two more girls from St John's town
they joined her with a will,
To go out to Burnt Islands
and start our Jubilee Guild.

When they came to Burnt Islands
'twas welcome and good cheer,
The people came both young and old
to know what they might hear,
They elected in the members
belonging to this place,
And the women sot with eager minds
and smiles upon their face.

The first to be president,
a secretary likewise,
The next to be treasurer,
a woman who tells no lies,
It took two hours to find one,
an honest woman, too,
Someone to count the money
and to know right what to do.

When they had it completed, boys,
then each one took her place,
"Come fetch along some old felt hats,
house slippers we will make."
They never had no gale-house
nor no place to put their loom,
So the girls packed up all in despair
and went to Chaffey's room.

Then the women all got together
and a tea they did prepare,
They served it in the Island school
where each might get her share,
They said the boys were welcome
up to their tea-and-chat,
But all the boys got frightened
case they'd have to weave a mat.

So now my song is ended,
I'll have no more to say,
But I could write a report, boys,
to reach from Spaniard's Bay,
But that would take some paper
and a time for me to write,
So wash your face and comb your hair,
there's a meeting on tonight.

####.... Arthur Keeping, a Salvation Army Major [1883-1965] of Burnt Islands, NL ....####

Collected in 1960 by Kenneth Peacockfrom the author, Arthur Keeping, a Salvation Army Major [1883-1965] of Burnt Islands, NL, and published in Songs Of The Newfoundland Outports, Vol 1, pp.66-67, by the National Museum Of Canada (1965) Crown Copyrights Reserved.

Kenneth Peacock noted that this was Arthur Keeping's one and only effort as a composer, and quite a creditable job it was. The Jubilee Guild, he wrote, is a women's organization in St John's, formed in 1935 as a service club to give instruction in handicrafts, domestic science, home nursing, and so forth, to women of the outports. The 'arty-crafty' types who often find emotional outlets in such organizations are good subjects for satire especially in the alien environment of an outport, but on the whole, Peacock thought Mr Keeping had been very kind. Peacock further noted that the organization actually has helped enormously in bringing economic and social benefits to the outports. At the very worst, he said, it always provides entertainment for the male population. Peacock described a 'room' in verse 5 as a shack where fish are usually processed, and concluded by noting that the population of Burnt Islands (about 12 miles east of Port aux Basques, at the southwest corner of NL) was divided between the mainland and a nearby island (verse six) where a school was situated. The water between was usually buzzing with boats, both manned and motored.

GEST notes that the word 'sot' appears several times in the Dictionary Of Newfoundland English, usually within quotations which serve as examples of usage for defined words. The word itself is obscurely defined on page two of the Introduction to the Dictionary. It is used in this song as the past tense of the verb 'sit' spoken with a Newfoundland dialect.


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