When songs collide anything can happen…I think ‘The Housemaid’s Revenge’ is a ballad in the making – several students saw this as the inevitable denouement after slicing and grafting, ‘The Blacksmith,’ with ‘Georgie Barnell,’ and ‘Rockley Firs.’
Here’s a lovely first draft contribution from Chris Lethbridge:
‘The place where I was born is a place of woodland. A place of soft dark moss underfoot. A place where the wind whips the tree tops scattering the crows and rooks into the sky like charred remnants of old paper, caught in the updraft of an autumn bonfire. I was a maid of just sixteen, when the village blacksmith wooed me. A fine man, so I thought, ten years my senior by the name of Adam Triles – ‘Brown Adam’ they called him. One fine night, we lay together on those mossy banks at Rockley Firs, Adam and I, the moon and the stars winking between the swaying branches. And after he wrote me a letter – a contract of betrothal surely binding us as husband and wife.
Ah but false Adam, his heart may have been mine, but his head lay elsewhere – with a girl of higher station. And so nine months on with winter across the land and the last beech leaves falling, the time of feasting upon us, I bore to him a child. So much for goodwill for a shamed young woman such as I. Every door slammed shut, no friend would own us. And so I gathered my few belongings, took my child in my arms and made for London where if I could not support us both by honest means, I would live by my wits. I recalled Adam had told me of a nephew apprenticed to a merchant in Cheapside. I determined to seek him out and so my plan took shape. Oh Brown Adam, God shall indeed reward you well for slighting me. And I shall be his instrument.’