Drum Major, The (The Female Drummer)
DESCRIPTION: A girl enlists "voluntarily in a regiment of foot" to follow her lover. A soldier sees her bathing; she is called before the officers. They call her lover and request that he pay the postage on a letter from his love. He pays the postage. They are married
EARLIEST DATE: 1895 (Baring-Gould and Sheppard, _Garland of Country Song_, according to Palmer)
KEYWORDS: love separation disguise soldier cross-dressing trick
FOUND IN: Ireland Britain(Scotland)
REFERENCES (2 citations):
GreigDuncan1 184, "The Drum Major" (1 text)
SHenry H797, p. 327, "The Drum Major" (1 text, 1 tune)
Bodleian, Harding B 28(78), "The Female Drum Major" ("Come all you true lovers and batchelor's sweet"), unknown, n.d.; also 2806 c.17(131), 2806 c.17(130)[almost entirely illegible], "The Female Drum Major"
cf. "The Soldier Maid" (subject)
NOTES [179 words]: The story in the Bodleian broadsides is somewhat different from SHenry but there is enough similarity in lines to convince me that these are the same. Here is a description for the broadsides: A girl enlists "who carries the drum, In search of her true love to Flanders is gone." Besides being a drummer who "excelled them all," she distinguished herself in battle ("she fought with such courage, I mean by the sword, Until that her fame it came up to the board"). A soldier sees her bathing; she is called before the officers. They hear her story and the captain dresses her "in silks so fine, in woman's apparel." They call Jacklare, her lover. They kiss. The captain gives her "fifty pound, In reward for her service as we do hear. The King settled on her three hundred a year." They marry.
"Baring-Gould says that it dates back to the time of Marlborough" (source: Roy Palmer, ed., The Rambling Soldier (Gloucester, 1985) p. 283.) - BS
For notes on legitimate historical examples of women serving in the military in disguise, see the notes to "The Soldier Maid." - RBW
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