Female Robber, The
DESCRIPTION: A young woman dresses as a man and goes "upon the pad." Her exploits as a highwayman are listed. Finally she holds up one or more padders. He/each draws a rapier, chase and catch her, discover she is a woman, rape her but let her keep her money.
EARLIEST DATE: c.1690 (according to Ebsworth)
KEYWORDS: rape robbery cross-dressing outlaw
FOUND IN: Britain(England(South))
REFERENCES (3 citations):
Logan pp. 123-126, "The Female Robber" (1 text)
Williams-Thames, pp. 267-268, "The Female Robber" (1 text) (also Wiltshire-WSRO Wt 382)
ADDITIONAL: J Woodfall Ebsworth, The Roxburghe Ballads, (Hertford, 1896 ("Digitized by Google")), Vol. VIII Part 2 [Part 24], pp. viii-x, "The Female Highway Hector" (1 text)
ST WT267 (Partial)
Bodleian, Firth c.17(10), "The Female Robber" ("You females of every station, give ear to my frollicksome song") unknown, no date
EngBdsdBA 21260, Pepys 3.246, "The Female Frollick" ("You gallants of every station, give ear to a frollicksome song"), C. Bates (West Smithfield), no date, accessed 08 Dec 2013.
cf. "The Rant" (tune, per Ebsworth and broadside EngBdsdBA Pepys 3.246)
NOTES: Ebsworth: "'Padder' was the usual name for a highway plunderer, supposed to be on horseback, in contradistinction to a foot-pad. There was also the phrase 'to pad the hoof,' to make one's self scarce ...."
The English Broadside Ballad Archive text, with one exception -- "pockets" or "breeches" being searched -- and a few punctuation differences, is the same as Ebsworth's transcription though the title is different.
Broadside Bodleian Firth c.17(10) is very close to Ebsworth but has the final encounter with several, rather than one, highwaymen who "with her did what they pleased And gave her the money again"; in this regard, Williams-Thames is like this broadside, meeting three highwaymen, but the resolution is cleaned up: "For they gave her back her money and freedom, And sent her a-robbing again." Logan is similar to Ebsworth but has some different encounters and ends with a confrontation with four robbers who rape her before releasing her. - BS
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