It was at an inn in Manchester, the Cornstalks was the sign,
A famous public weer commercials used to sleep and dine;
One Christmas Time a traveller so long ’ad been ’is use,
Called to spend ’is ’olidays and choose ’is Christmas goose.
All around the greenwoods so early in the morn,
The merry, merry ’untsman blows ’is silver bugle horn.
’E drank ’is pint o’ sherry wine, ’e smoked a mild cigar,
’E chatted with the customers and people in the bar;
But not a thowt of wickedness e’er entered in ’is head,
Until the chambermaid appeared to light ’im up to bed.
But then ’e grew so amorous, ’e squeezed ’er on the stairs,
’E kissed ’er at the chamber door before ’e said ’is prayers;
’E gave to ’er a guinea to prevent ’er bein’ vexed,
And then ’e blew the candle out and you can guess the rest.
Next morning this lothario discharged ’is little bill,
’E tipped the Boots an’ tossed the landlord for a parting gill;
But weer ’e went to afterwards it’s not for me to say;
Suffice ’e came to choose ’is goose that very next Christmas Day.
Next Christmas Time came round again which filled ’is heart with glee;
’E’d wandered round from town to town and strange sights did ’e see;
Till’e ended up in Manchester and put up for the night
At the Cornstalks which twelve months before ’ad filled ’im with delight.
’E went into the coffee room as jaunty as could be,
Weers many a rooster like ’imself was waitin’ fer ’is tea.
’E ordered of the very best the landlord could produce
And called the waiter back to say, ‘Now don’t forget the goose.’
Right speedily a tray was brought with eatables galore,
And by that self-same chambermaid ’e’d kissed twelve months before;
But nothing loth, ’e raised the cloth weeron a heap was piled;
Instead of eatables thereon was a big fat bumping child.
Enraged at seein’ others laugh, ‘What is this ’ere?’ said ’e.
‘Come sit you down beside me and I’ll tell you, sir,’ said she.
‘Last Christmas you so gen’rous were, pray do not look so strange,
You gave to me a guinea and I’ve brought you back your change.
This is a traditional song
A slight improvement on its predecessor on broadsides ‘The Butcher and the Chambermaid’ in that it finishes on the punchline. This one was printed by Pearson of Manchester and later Sanderson of Edinburgh, whereas the earlier song was widely printed all over the country.
Will learnt it from listening to Arthur Howard. Like the rest of his repertoire Will picked it up having heard it sung on many occasions by Arthur at hunt sings and in the pubs around Shepley and Holmfirth. Although originally a Manchester song it has been in the general repertoire around Holmfirth for many years now so we include it here.