The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #1199   Message #3713
Posted By: Murray
01-Apr-97 - 03:45 AM
Thread Name: DTStudy: Seven Old Ladies
Subject: ADD Version: Seven Old Ladies
Simon, I'm not at all sure how this could be acted out! The mind boggles at the thought, and I've never heard of such a thing. Anyway: look up Ed Cray's excellent "The Erotic Muse" (2nd, improved, edition out quite recently). EC gives notes on the tune and the nursery rhyme, and a text as follows [which the flyleaf assures us is in public domain]. [I abbreviate a bit.] [From first edition]


Oh, dear, what can the matter be?
Seven old ladies were locked in the lavatory;
They were there from Monday 'til Saturday,
And nobody knew they were there.

The first old lady was Elizabeth Porter;
She was the deacon of Dorchester's daughter.
She went in to relieve a slight pressure of water,
And nobody knew she was there.

The second o/l was Abigail Splatter;
She went there 'cause something was definitely the matter,
But when she got there, it was only her bladder, And...

The third o/l was Amelia Garpickle;
Her urge was sincere, her reaction was fickle.
She hurdled the door; she'd forgotten her nickel, And...

The fourth old maiden was Hildegard Foyle;
She hadn't been living according to Hoyle,
Was relieved when the swelling was only a boil, And...

The fifth o/l was Emily Clancy;
She went there 'cause something tickled her fancy,
But when she got there it was ants in her pantsy, And...

The sixth o/l was extremely fertile,
Her name was O'Connor, the boys called her Myrtle.
She went there to repair a slight hole in her girdle, And...

The seventh o/l was Elizabeth Bender;
She went there to repair a broken suspender.
It snapped up and ruined her feminine gender, And...

The janitor came in the early morning,
He opened the door without any warning,
The seven old ladies their seats were adorning,
And nobody knew they were there.

This is obviously an American text [collated from two from California]--see the rhymes in stanza 7; in Britain "fertile" rhymes with "smile." I have heard only three verses of this beyond the first (which serves as chorus), namely Elizabeth Porter, "the Bishop of Chichester's daughter/ Who only went in to get rid of some water"; Elizabeth Bender, who only went in to fix up her suspender, But it somehow got mixed with her feminine gender"; and [not in the above text] Elizabeth (notice they all have the same forename?) Humphrey, who "only sat down 'cos the seat was so comfy, When she tried to get up, she couldn't get her bum free". I've always thought this was the original way of it, later expanded to seven, the various names and predicaments being varied according to the ingenuity of the singer. [My text heard UK, 1952. There's another text in the British collection "Rugby Songs", edited it seems by Harry Morgan, published in London, Sphere Books, 1967 [and a reprint or two]--page 118, "Seven Old Ladies", which has the Bishop of Chichester's daughter, Abigail Humphrey, and Elizabeth Spender, and four others, including "old Mrs. Bickle" who hadn't a nickel. I can copy this if you like. I bet there are about as many variations on this productive theme as there are singers.