The Rich Merchant's Daughter (Kenneth Peacock)

See also: The Maid Of Rygate (W H Logan)

It was of a rich merchant in London,
With plenty of corn to be sold;
He sent out his daughter to market,
To receive every penny in gold.

She sewed the gold up in her saddle,
For fear of some danger she'd find;
She sewed the gold up in her saddle,
And that was good leather well-lined.

She sewed the gold up in her saddle,
And started home on the highway;
By chance a young man came to meet her,
He bade this fair damsel to stay.

Three blows of his whistle he gave her,
A pistol he clasped to her breast,
Saying, "Deliver your gold, oh my darling,
Or else you will die of protest."

This fair pretty damsel get [sic] frightened,
And so did old dobbin, her steed;
'Twas down from his back she alighted,
Old dobbin trot off with great speed.

He stripped this young maiden stark nak'd,
Gave her his own horse to hold;
'Twas there she stood shivering and shaking,
Like anyone dying of cold.

The fair pretty damsel took courage,
While he was in search of his prey;
She said, "It's no time to stand idle,
I'll show you a trick on highway."

From stirrup to saddle she mounted,
She swung her legs 'cross like a man;
She put the thief's horse at a gallop,
Saying, "Catch me now, rogue, if you can."

He ran and he puffed and he shouted;
He ran and he puffed and he blowed,
Saying, "Come back my pretty fair darling,
And I will give you your clothes."

"My clothing it's not of much value,
You may keep it kind sir, if you please;"
He ran and he puffed and he shouted,
Till his boots they did anchor his knees.

She rode over mountains and valleys,
And places she knew very well;
She left him a trifle in fortune,
With about five shillings to tell.

She rode over hills and o'er meadows,
Arrived home about twelve o'clock;
Her daddy was terribly frightened,
To see her ride home in her smock.

She put her thief's horse in the stable,
And in his portmantle she found,
Some hundreds of sparkling diamonds,
The value of ten thousand pounds.

"Now you will take five thousand pounds, Dad,
And I will take five thousand more;
I think that's a suitable fortune,
To keep the great wolf from the door."

####.... Author unknown. Variant of a British broadside ballad, The Highwayman Outwitted [Laws L2] American Balladry From British Broadsides (G Malcolm Laws, 1957). Also a variant of a 19th-century British broadside ballad, The Highwayman Outwitted By The Farmer's Daughter, published by J Pitts (London) sometime between 1802 and 1819, and archived at the Bodleian Library Broadside Ballads, shelfmark: Harding B 25(844) ....####

This variant was collected in 1952 by Kenneth Peacock in St John's, NL, from Gordon M Willis [1911-2001] of Fogo, NL, and published in Songs Of The Newfoundland Outports, Vol 1, pp.226-228, by the National Museum of Canada (1965) Crown Copyrights Reserved.

A similar variant was collected in 1929 from George Edison [1905-?] of Fleur de Lys, White Bay, NL, and published as #21, on pp.47-48, with the title The Highway Robber in Ballads And Sea Songs Of Newfoundland, by Elisabeth Bristol Greenleaf and Grace Yarrow Mansfield (Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA, ©1933; Folklore Associates, Hatboro, PA, ©1968, all rights reserved).

A variant was also collected by William Hugh (W H) Logan, editor, and published as The Maid Of Rygate (A Pedlar's Pack Of Ballads And Songs, With Illustrative Notes, pp.133-136, 1869, William Paterson, Edinburgh, 1869).

Kenneth Peacock noted that this ballad is related to The Crafty Farmer [Child 283] who goes off to pay the rent. He meets a robber who "gave him his horse to hold," just as he does the daughter in this version. The Yorkshire Boy is another member of this group of ballads, in which the person who outwits the thief is amply rewarded for his or her cleverness.

From Wikipedia:
Portmantle - portemanteau, plural portemanteaux, type of suitcase or bag commonly found in England and other parts of Europe where they were extremely popular in the 19th century for travel. Portemanteau, from the Latin porter (to carry) and the English mantle, which was switched for the Middle French manteau (a coat or cover). They are commonly sold to this day.


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