Charming Young Widow I Met on the Train, The

DESCRIPTION: The singer meets a young widow with a baby on a train. They talk; she claims to see her husband's partner and flees the train, leaving him the baby. As the train pulls out, he finds she has stolen his watch and purse and left him a fake child
AUTHOR: W. H Gove
EARLIEST DATE: before 1867 (broadside, Bodleian Harding B 11(4400))
KEYWORDS: trick money theft train
FOUND IN: US(MW,So)
REFERENCES (9 citations):
Randolph 390, "The Charming Young Widow I Met on the Train" (1 text, 1 tune)
Randolph/Cohen, pp. 315-317, "The Charming Young Widow I Met on the Train" (1 text, 1 tune -- Randolph's 390)
Peters, pp. 190-191, "The Charming Young Widow I Met on the Train" (1 text, 1 tune)
Dibblee/Dibblee, pp. 95-96, "The Charming Young Widow I Met on the Train" (1 text, 1 tune)
Spaeth-WeepMore, pp. 145-147, "The Charming Young Widow" (1 text, 1 tune)
Gilbert, pp. 49-50, "The Charming Young Widow I Met in the Train" (1 text)
JHJohnson, pp. 45-47, "The Charming Young Widow" (1 text)
Cohen-LSRail, pp. 46-51, "(The Charming Young Widow I Met in the Train)" (2 excerpts plus photos of two versions of the sheet music)
DT, CHRMWIDW*

Roud #3754
BROADSIDES:
Bodleian, Harding B 11(4400), "The Charming Young Widow I Met in the Train," J. Harkness (Preston) , 1840-1866
NLScotland, L.C.Fol.178.A.2(071), "The Charming Young Widow I Meet in the Train" (sic.), unknown, c. 1860

CROSS-REFERENCES:
cf. "Quare Bungo Rye" (theme: the singer is left with a baby; but not "The Basket of Eggs" where the girl gets the baby back)
cf. "The Black Velvet Band" (I) (theme: the woman pick-pocket)
NOTES: Cohen believes that there are "two closely related ballads, both dating from the 1860s" with this title. It doesn't seem worthwhile to split them, though. - RBW
I think there are three ballads here:
1) Dibblee/Dibblee has the singer going to Montreal on the train to pick up an inheritance left by an uncle. He meets the "widow" and "baby." She leaves him with the "baby" after picking his pocket, but there is no mention of the baby being dead or "fake."
Broadside Harding B 11(4400) has the singer going to London on the train to pick up an inheritance left by an uncle. He meets the "widow" and "baby." She leaves him with the "baby" after picking his pocket. The baby is a "dummy." The singer has no money to pay for his ticket and must settle the next day. This one is at least recognizable as Dibblee/Dibblee and the ballad behind the DESCRIPTION above.
Broadside NLScotland L.C.Fol.178.A.2(071)f like Bodleian Harding B 11(4400); the difference is that the singer is on the train to Glasgow. The commentary includes this statement: "There are many broadsides which warn more naive citizens against charming women pick-pockets."
2) See LOCSinging, sb10057a, "The Charming Young Widow I Met In The Train," H. De Marsan (New York), 1864-1878: the uncle is dying in Boston. The singer meets the "widow" and "baby" on the train to Boston. She leaves him with the "baby" after picking his pocket. The baby is dead and she leaves a note asking that he bury it. He does. There are no lines in common with the other two ballads; tune: "Jenny Jones." (This version is a variant of Bodleian, Harding B 11(1684), "The Charming Young Widow I Met in the Train," W.S. Fortey (London), 1858-1885 that takes place on the way to London; tune: "Jenny Jones" )
3) See LOCSinging, sb10056b, "The Charming Young Lady I Met in the Rain," H. De Marsan (New York), 1864-1878: this one takes place in London: There is no inheritance, no train, no baby; the pick-pocket trick remains. A crowd blocks his pursuit and he is charged with assault. When he can't pay the fine -- because he has lost all his money -- he must spend a fortnight in jail. There are no lines in common with the other two ballads. This is attributed, on the broadside, to J.G. Peters. (There is a duplicate at Bodleian, Harding B 18(83), "The Charming Young Lady I Met in the Rain," H. De Marsan (New York), 1864-1878.) (This version is a variant of Bodleian, Firth b.26(366), "The Charming Young Widow I Met in the Train," H. Such (London), 1863-1885.)
The H. De Marsan New York broadsides are so close to each other and to "The Charming Young Widow I Met on the Train" -- without being the same ballad -- that it is clear that two are derived from a third. [H. De Marsan dating per Studying Nineteenth-Century Popular Song by Paul Charosh in American Music, Winter 1997, Vol 15.4, Table 1, available at FindArticles site] - BS
Last updated in version 2.6
File: R390

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