Bouncing Girl in Fogo, The
DESCRIPTION: "There's a bouncing girl in Fogo that I am going to see... She is the sweetest colour of roses a soldier ever knew... You may talk about your Scotland girls, from Boston or the Strand, But you'll get no girl to suit you like the girls from Newfoundland"
EARLIEST DATE: 1924 (England)
KEYWORDS: courting love separation derivative soldier
FOUND IN: Canada(Newf)
REFERENCES (2 citations):
Peacock, p. 354, "The Bouncing Girl in Fogo" (1 text, 1 tune)
ADDITIONAL: George Allan England, _Vikings of the Ice: Being the Log of a Tenderfoot on the Great Newfoundland Seal Hunt_ (also published as _The Greatest Hunt in the World_), Doubleday, 1924, p. 235, "(no title)" (1 text)
ST Pea354 (Partial)
Leo Halleran, "The Girls from Newfoundland" (on MUNFLA-Leach)
George Hatfield, "Girls of Newfoundland" (on MUNFLA-Leach)
Mrs. Wallace Kinslow, "The Bouncing Girl in Fogo" (on PeacockCDROM)
John Molloy, "Girls of Newfoundland" (on MUNFLA-Leach)
cf. "The Yellow Rose of Texas" (theme, lyrics)
NOTES [407 words]: Peacock says "This is the only surviving fragment of a native love eulogy. Fogo is a strongly Irish community off the northeast coast of Newfoundland. The song probably dates from the World War I period."
Considering how close an adaptation the words are of "The Yellow Rose of Texas" [Roud in fact lumps them - RBW], it is strange that the tune has not also been used. The "Bouncing Girl" tune is in 6/8 time and is not at all related to "Yellow Rose."
As in Peacock, the tune of the MUNFLA-Leach songs is not "Yellow Rose of Texas."
While the Peacock version is a fragment, the MUNFLA-Leach Leo Halleran text has chorus and seven verses, and the girl is "a girl from St John's city." Bolstering the idea that the war here is World War I is that the singer used to take his girl to the "Nickel" on weekday nights, when movie ticket prices at the "Nickelodeon" were two-for-a-nickel (at least in the New York City of my parents). There is a promise, if the singer returns, "never more [to] part," but most of the song is to "keep the old flag flying and help to win the day."- BS
That Peacock's text is from World War I seems certain, since it refers to the Regiment, i.e. presumably the Royal Newfoundland Regiment, for which see "The Valley of Kilbride." However, England's text, which is both older and fuller than Peacock's, does not mention the regiment; where Peacock has "No fellow in this regiment knows her but only me," England has "No other fellow knows her, No masher only me!" The word "Masher" does not occur in the StoryKirwinWiddowson, but "mash" is a common Newfoundland pronunciation of "marsh"; Fogo Island is covered with small lakes and ponds. Although I suppose "masher" could also be a corruption of "marcher," which might be a soldier who marches. The man calls himself a hobo.
England's version also gives her a name, "Matilda Jane," and says that they will play the comb and jew's harp together as they sing the old songs.
Fogo is both an island and a town on the island; it is not obvious which one the song refers to. But it is certain that the town contributed its share in World War I. Pickett, p. 153, lists residents of Fogo who served in the Great War: 32 served in the Navy, of whom nine were casualties; 17 served in the Newfoundland Regiment, of whom eight are listed as casualties and one, Frank Lind, is described as "war hero." This from a town that, in 1911, had had 1065 residents (Pickett, p. 51)- RBW
Last updated in version 4.4
- Pickett: Patrick Pickett, project editor, A History: Town of Fogo, Newfoundland, Seaside Retired Citizens Club, 1992
- StoryKirwinWiddowson: G. M. Story, W. J. Kirwin, and J. D. A. Widdowson, editors, Dictionary of Newfoundland English, second edition with supplement, Breakwater Pres, 1990
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