THE DUSTMAN'S WIFE
 
Dustman's Wife
 
Oh, once there lived in Bethnal Green,
As nice a girl as e'er was seen,
Her hair was red, her eyes were blue,
Her dreadful end I'll tell to you.
Now once she'd had a lot of beaux,
But at them she'd turned up her nose,
But in time growing tired of single life,
She at last became a Dustman's wife.

Chorus: With a ranky Twanky doddle doddle doo
And a Ranky Twanky dodle doddle dum
Oh, jealousy brings both bother and strife
As it did to Maria the Dustman's wife.

Of a morning the dustman went out for dust,
A crying out, 'Dust!' as if he would bust,
And left his red-haired wife at home,
With the strict injunction ne'er to roam.
But of course, at times she out would pop,
To get some bread at the Baker's shop,
And the Baker, a man in single life,
He threw sheeps-eyes at the Dustman's wife.

Chorus:

Now Missus Jones told Missus brown,
And soon it got right o'er the town,
That Missus Green, should say, said she,
'Maria is no better than she ought to be.'
They hummed and ha'd and shook the head,
When the Dustman's wife went out for bread,
One swore she saw, as true as life!
The Baker speak!... to the Dustman's wife.

Chorus:

To the Dustman's ears it got ere long,
That somehow things were going wrong,
Of his red-haired wife he had no doubt,
But he thought he'd watch and find it out,
Said Missus Jones to him, said she,
Let's watch the shop and we shall see,
They did and saw as sure as life,
The baker looked at the Dustman's wife.

Chorus:

Well the Dustman stayed to see no more,
But went to public house, next door,
He there stood drinking until night,
And then went rolling homewards, tight.
And when Maria opened the door,
The Dustman felled her to the floor,
Then stabbed her twice with a carving knife,
And that put an end to the Dustman's wife.

Chorus:

Now when he found she was no more,
With grief he like a child did roar,
He sobbed and cried but cried in vain,
For he could not bring her back again,
He ran upstairs then in a crack,
And threw himself out of the third-floor back,
He was smashed and that was the end of life,
Of the Dustman and the Dustman's wife.

Chorus:

Now just before I go away,
A word or two I have to say,
The consequences you have seen,
Of cackling Missus Jones and Green,
Now don't be rash or led astray,
By what mischeivous folk may say,
For that has taken many a wife,
Like poor Maria, the Dustman's wife.

Chorus:
 
Trivia1

Many Music Hall songs were about local characters, so that audiences could relate to them. They were filled with dramatisation and exaggeration and did not always end happily and as such, this is a typical example. Here Fred French sings as 'The Dustman'. He marries a girl who lived in Bethnal Green but is a jealous husband. He hears through gossip mongers that she is having an affair with the Baker and is so enraged that he kills her with a carving knife. He is then wracked with guilt and commits suicide.

Trivia3
 
Written and composed by G.W. Hunt - 1865
Performed by Fred French (1830-1899)
From monologues.co.uk Music Hall Lyrics Collection
 
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