Witley, June 6, 1917

Wednesday         Last night slept in the open fields was inclined to be windy rained a little this morning went into action till noon – got back about 4 pm Another letter from [Janie] May 5th Rec’d one from Jack [John Worsley] Yesterday April 26 Had my first swim last night In the Pink

“We will miss the Petewawa [sic] and Ottawa rivers this Summer. On the warm days in Petewawa the boys just reveled in their cooling waters. The best outlook here is the River Wey, which a fellow can dive across. And then again there are the horse troughs, which compare favourably to some of these ‘mighty’ waterways.” (1)River Wey

Then again, the River Wey offered other amusements: in this cartoon, George declines to explain to Fatima what ballast means. (2)

The document Fatima is holding bears the title “The Nancy Lee.” “On the good ship Nancy Lee” is a song by George Cobb and Jack Yellen, published in the US in 1913 — one of many “minstrel”-type songs. It begins:

“Hurry my honey babe (2x)
If you’ve got some kisses to spare
Before I’m going away from here
Going to leave you, dear,
Captain am calling me  ‘All aboard there!’
Let’s have another kiss
Something I’m going to miss
On those moonlight nights on the silv’ry stream
tho’ leavin’ you makes me sad
I’m feelin’ kind o’ glad
Gettin’ on that boat…” (3)

This song is not to be confused with “The Wreck of the Nancy Lee” — a comic song from 1931 by Arthur LeClerq — featuring a captain who plays his ukelele as his ship goes down.

(1) The O.Pip. 1:2 (May 1917). 14
(2) The O.Pip. 1:3 (June 1917). 1
(3) “On the Good Ship Nancy Lee,” Digital copy in the Howard W. Wildin Sheet Music Collection of Gonzaga University.

Copyright 2017. See “More about this project.”

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