written quotes

Lost quotations

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"Who's that a knocking, a knocking at my door?/ It's your little Nell, don't you know me any more?..." | 13-Oct-05

"Who's that a knocking, a knocking at my door?
It's your little Nell, don't you know me any more?...'"

62 comments have been made on this quote. Click here to read them and then add your own!


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Comments:

Hi
Just been speaking to my Dad, who used to recite this to me when I was a child.
I have told him I will try to find more of the lyrics/words.
This is what I know:-

The farm ain't been the same since Nelly went away,
The rooster died and the hen won't lay,
So in this window I'll put a light,
30 below zero gosh what a night,
Who's that a knocking a knocking at my door,
It's only little Nell don't you know me any more?,
Where's that West End guy who used to call you honey,
Did he leave home when he had no money,
He was that West End guy and he could lie with ease,
He had more money than a dog had flees,
He left me on the night when I was so forlorn,
The very same night little dumbel was born,
IS that the fair child?
Well it ain't no other,
Gor blimmy ain't she like her gosh darn mother,
But you can't come into this house with that there child,
Father dear, father dear your driving me wild,
(knock, knock)
Ooyty touty my fair beauty,
There he is there he is the dirty rotter.....

Dad's and my memory now fails.

Dad said this came from Jack Pane radio show 1926-35ish.

Hope this may help, I'll keep digging around.

Please keep me updated

regards

Ian
Ian Cooper

This was my parents' party piece when I was a child. I know another couple of lines, but was hoping someone knew more...

"Where is the man who used to call you honey?
Has he gone and left you now you've got no money?"
"Father dear, father, you're driving me wild!"
"Where is the man who's the father of your child?"

That's all I can remember.

Margaret Fox

my mother in Law would perform this as her party piece. My husband and his sister are trying to piece it together so hopefully will be able to add to it for you
Lou Butler

I was delighted to see that my wife had researched this on my behalf.

As she has said my mother and father used to recite this at Christmas, each playing the female and male roles respectively.

My mother told me that she bought this play as a sixpenny publication in woolworths.

The family may well have put a strong West Country influence on the rendition which shows in my recollection whisch is below.

My mother is now 90 and her memory is failing but I hope to produce this in large print and may be able to piece more of it together.

Little Nell as recited by Nancy Mary Lorraine and Rodney Butler.

?T was a dark and stormy night
When me Nelly went away
And I?ll never forget her
Until my dying day
She was just 16
And the village queen and the prettiest trick
That the valley ever seen
The farm ain't the same since me Nelly went away
The rooster died and the hen won't lay
But in this window I?ll put a light
40 below zero, gosh what a night

Who?s that a knocking at the door?
It?s your own Little Nell
Don?t you know me anymore?
What happened to the actor guy
Who used to call you Honey
Did he leave you all alone when you hadn?t any money

Oh, he?s a slick town guy and he lies with ease
And he?s got more money that a dog has fleas
But he left me alone when I was most forlorn
The very night that my little Dumbell was born

Is that there Dummy
Well it ain?t no other
The gosh-darned image
Of his gosh-darned mother

Hoity Toity my fair beauty
Or you?ll come to harm
Cos I hold the mortgage
On your gash-darned farm
Give me back my Dummy
Your Dummy
My Dummy
Your Dummy
My Dummy

Who?s this a comin
It sounds like a mule
I ain?t no mule you gash-darned fool
Can?t you tell by me badge
I?m the constibule

Now what?s the harm
Do please tell
Well he ain?t done right by my Little Nell
Yes I have
You have not
Yes I have
You have not
???
???
????
????
And I guess I?ll have to fine him a dollar and a quarter
Which all goes to prove the price of sin
And tomorrow night we play ?East Lynn?

Keith Butler

I've got this on record somewhere and could probably finish it for you if you really want.

Keith Butler, some of what you are missing is:

If you interfer you're just as good as dead
Cause I'll get my old shotgun and fill you full of lead

Some more lines are:

What did he do?
What did he do?
What's this harm that he's brung to you?
Well, he wrecked my farm, and he ruined my daughter.
Reckon we ought to fine him bout' a dollar and a quarter.

I haven't heard the record in a while, so this is just from memory.
Rip Van Winkle

Partial alternate text: 'Twas a year ago today That my Nellie went away. She was just sixteen, the Village queen. Prettiest durn gal you ever seen.... Burned my barn and ruined my daughter. Recken I ought to fine you 'bout a dollar and a quarter...Come again tomorrow night. We play East Lynn [stage production] [On amateur stage, the actors bobbed up .and down to the rhthym 0f the lines , flexing at the knees in exagerated hick farmer style. Show staged by physical therapy students from Columbia University at Brattleboro (VT) Retreat in 1947.]
Richard Metcalfe

Back in the late '50's my neighborhood friends and I (ages about 8-12) decided to put on a play to earn a little money. I found this one in a book of short plays for children, and it was very similar to most of these quotes. The play went over quite well even tho none of us really understood most of the references and innuendos :) I played the Farmer, btw. Here's what I remember after 48 years:

Farmer: Twas a dark and stormy night when my Nellie went away
I never shall forget it to my dying day.
She was just 16, the village queen,
Prettiest little gal you ever have seen.
There in the window stands a light,
40 below zero, gosh what a night!
[knocking at door]
Who's that knocking at my door?
Nellie: It's your little Nellie, don't you know me anymore?
Farmer: Where's that actor feller that called you Honey?
Did he send you home 'cause you asked for money?
Nellie: He's a great big bum! He lies with ease.
He's got more women than a dog has fleas!
He left me the night I was most forlorn,
The very same night little Dummy was born.
Farmer: Is that there Dummy?
Nellie: Tain't no other!
Farmer: He's the spitting image of your dear old mother.
But you can't stay here with that there child,
All its screaming would drive me wild!
[enter villain]
Villain: Hoity toity me proud beauty!
Give me Dummy or I'll do my duty!
Give me the child or I'll cause you harm,
'Cause I've got the mortgage on this dadburned farm!
[knocking at door]
Farmer: Who's that knocking? Sounds like a mule!
Constable: I ain't no mule you dadburned fool!
Can't you see by my badge I'm the Constabule?
What's going on here, come and tell.
Farmer: He ain't done right by my little Nell!
Villain: Oh yes I have!
Farmer: Oh no you ain't!
Villain: Oh yes I have!
Farmer: Oh no you ain't!
Constable: You stole his farm and harmed his daughter!
That oughta cost you about a dollar and a quarter!
Cast: Which goes to show the price of sin
Come back tomorrow night and we'll play East Lynn!

Elaine Pack

My Mother used to recite this....and this is what I remember...
It was a dark and stormy night when my Nellie went away, and I never will forget it until my dying day. When Nellie went away she was just 16. the prettiest little critter the valley had ever see. She ran away with an actor guy, with a black mustache and a big bow tie.Now in that window I'll put a light. 40 below zero. gosh what a night.
Hoytee toytee,toytee toy, who's that knockin on my back door?
Fater dear, Father dear, it's little Nell.
I'll get that guy who brought you shame, who wouldn't give your dummy anothe name.


That's all I ever heard!


Sue Roz

MY MOTHER AND HER SISTER RECITED THIS AT FAMILY PARTIES IN THE 1940'S. I REMEMBER THE PART ABOUT THE COP TO BE: (CLUMP, CLUMP) "WHAT'S THAT NOISE...SOUNDS LIKE A HORSE." "JUST IN TIME, I'M THE POLICE FORCE. WHAT DID HE DO? WHAT DID HE DO? WHAT IS THE HARM THAT HE DONE TO YOU?"

THEY ALWAYS HAD A BOW OF SOME KIND AND WOULD HOLD IT IN THEIR HAIR FOR NELLY, LIKE A BOW TIE FOR THE FATHER AND AS A MUSTACHE FOR THE VILLAIN. THEY'D MAKE A GUN WITH THEIR FINGER & THUMB FOR THE COP.

HOPE EVERY ONE ENJOYS THIS AS MUCH AS MY FAMILY DID FOR 50 YEARS OR MORE.
GARY LANGEFELD

At the end of the poem...after high kicking through "Which goes to show the price of sin"...my mom and my aunt would add the following:
Rooty Toot Toot,
Rooty Toot Toot,
We are the girls from the institute,
We don't smoke,
We don't chew,
We don't go with the guys who do!
(Then with their hands held like an open book and in a sing-song looking angelic)
OUR CLASS WON THE BIBLE!

It seems that no matter how many times we heard this, especially during the war years, we would laugh until tears came to our eyes. God rest Sally and Flo!
GARY LANGEFELD

My mom did this play as an assignment in speech class in college probably 45 years ago now. It sounds like you have everything pretty much as she remembers it. But there's something about Your dummy! My dummy! Your dummy! My dummy! We don't know exactly where it fits in or what goes with it.

Can anybody help? We'd love to hear from you!

Lisa
Lisa Helsel

My mom and I used to recite this melodrama and change our voices to play all of the parts. I have recited this to my children for years. Here is the way recited it:

Farmer: Twas a dark and stormy day when my Nellie went away.
And I never will forgive her till my dying day.
She was sweet sixteen, the village queen,
Prettiest little gal, the valley ever seen.

Now she went away with an actor guy,
With a black mustache and a red necktie.
Farm ain?t the same since my Nellie went away
The old cow died and the hens won?t lay.

But in my window I keep a light
40 below zero gosh what a night.
But who?s that knocking on my front door?

Daughter: It?s your little Nell don?t you know me anymore.

Farmer: Little Nell well hells? bells,
But where?s that actor guy that used to call you honey?
Did he turn you down when you asked him for some money?

Daughter: He?s a slick down devil that lies with ease
He?s got more women than a dog has fleas.
He left me on the night I was most forlorn
The very same night my little Nell was born.

Farmer: Little Nell that there dummy
Daughter: Taint no other
Farmer: Looks just like your dear dead mother.
But you can?t come in here with that there child

Daughter: Father dear Father you?re driving me wild.

Villain: Harky Tarky me fair beauty
If you interfere I?ll do me duty
Cause I?m in the position to do you lots of harm
Cause I?ve got the mortgage on your gall durn farm.

Daughter: He?s got us where he wants us pa that dirty rummy
Villain: Give me back my little dummy.
Daughter: Your dummy?
Villain: My dummy
Daughter: Your dummy?
Villain: My dummy?

Constable: Well what?s all the ruckus and what?s all the stew
And what?s all the harm he?s brung to you?

Farmer: Well he stole my land and he ruined my daughter
Guess I ought to fine him about a dollar and a quarter.

Cast: Which goes to show the price of sin
Tomorrow night we?ll play it again.

Boom ditty a da ? Boom Boom

This brings back fond memories of my mother. She died in September '05 at the age of 91. Enjoy!
Candace Vargas

OK It goes something like this:

"Twas a dark and stormy night
when my Nellie went away..
Never will forget it till my dying day.

She was sweet sixteen
The village queen
Prettiest darn woman
that you ever did seen.

Now I hang my lantern in my window tonight
40 below zero
DANG! WHAT A NIGHT!
Now whos that knocking
at my door?

(high pitched)
"Its a me, your little nellie,
dontcha know me any more??"

And wheres that actor feller
that use to call ya honey?
Did he up and leave ya when ya
asked him for some money?

(high pitched)
"He was a two faced villain and he lied with ease!
He had as many women as a dog had fleas!"

WHATS ALL THE NOISE??? SOUNDS LIKE A MULE!!

(deep voice)
That aint no mule, ya gosh darn fool!
Cant ya see by my badge, its the constabule!!

And now I'll taker my dummy!!
(arguing)
MY dummy!
MY Dummy!!!

**** Thats all we ever learned, and thats supposed to be the whole thing. I hope me and my sister helped. My dad taught it to us and we used to act it out when we were little kids.********
Gillian Weeks

The version that I remember is a combination of all the others that have been put forth. However, when we preformed this verse, all the "actors" would stand in a line in front of the audience and do a small squat in time to the rhythm. We did this at 4-H camp at Camp Sharon in Sharon Vermont in the 1950"s. IL've been wanting the words for years. Thanks, all.
Ann Ingalls

I've been looking for the words to this poem for years. I'll add the following:
"She went away with an actor guy
With a black mustache an a red necktie"
"What happened to the actor guy who used to callyou honey
Did he leave you all alone when you asked for money?"
Robert Frost

Robert Frost's extra words, in his note immediately above ("She went away with an actor guy, With a black mustache an a red necktie") don't belong in the piece, in my father's opinion.

I will give you the wording for the entire piece in a moment, but let me first mention that when I was a child living in East Africa in the late 1950's, my father used to recite this piece to me so often that I memorized it, and he and I would play the parts. So I recently went through the whole chain of notes from you all, put together what I recalled of the whole piece, and sent it to my father. He is a remarkably young 93 year old with a good memory, and between us we reproduced what he had learned in England in the 1940's. It was his party piece, and he was often asked to recite it, to applause.

There is just one part where the words shown below don't seem right, but my father and I cannot think of any alternative words that work. That's the words "or I?ll do my duty" in the villain's part ("Hoity Toity, me proud beauty, Give me back me Dummy or I?ll do me duty"). We would love to hear any ideas you may have for corrected wording for the above-mentioned phrase. Maybe Mr. Rip Van Winkle would be kind enough to dig out his old record and tell us what the real words are?

And now for the full piece: Little Nell

Farmer: ?Twas a dark and stormy night when my Nelly went away,
And I?ll never forget her till my dying day.
She was sweet 16 and the village queen,
And the prettiest little gal you have ever seen.

The farm ain't the same since my Nelly went away,
The rooster died and the hens won't lay.
But in this window I?ll put a light,
40 below zero, gosh what a night.

(Knocking at door)
Who?s that a-knocking at my door?
Nell: It?s your Little Nell, don?t you know me any more?
Farmer: What happened to that actor guy who used to call you Honey?
Did he send you home when you hadn?t any money?

Nell: Oh, he?s a slick town guy and he lies with ease,
And he?s got more money than a dog has fleas.
He left me on a night when I was most forlorn,
The very same night my little Dumbell was born.

Farmer: Is that there Dummy?
Nell: Well it ain?t no other.
Farmer: He?s the very spitting image of his gosh-darned mother.
But you can't stay here with that there child.
Nell: Father dear, Father dear, you?re driving me wild.

(Enter villain)
Villain: Hoity Toity, me proud beauty,
Give me back me Dummy or I?ll do me duty.
Farmer: If you interfere you're just as good as dead,
?Cause I'll get my old shotgun out and I?ll fill you full of lead.

Villain: But I can do you heaps of harm,
?Cause I hold the mortgage on your gosh-darned farm.
Nell: He?s got us where he wants us Pa, that dirty rotter.
Villain: Give me back my Dummy.
Nell: Your Dummy?
Villain: My Dummy.
Nell: Your Dummy?
Villain: My Dummy.

(Music interlude)
(Sound of hooves)
Farmer: Who?s this a-comin?, it sounds like a mule.
Constable: I ain?t no mule you gosh-darned fool,
Can?t you tell by me badge, I?m the village constibule.
What's going on here? Come on now and tell.

Farmer: Well he ain?t done right by my Little Nell.
Villain: Yes I have.
Farmer: You have not.
Villain: Yes I have.
Farmer: You have not.
Constable: What's this harm that he's brung on you?
Farmer: Well, he wrecked my farm, and he ruined my daughter.
Constable: Reckon we ought to fine him ?bout a dollar and a quarter.

Cast: Which all goes to show the price of sin,
Tomorrow night we will play ?East Lynn?.
(Music interlude)

Ian Markham

My mother used to recite this, too.

By the way, the term is actually "spit 'n' image" (spit and image), "spitting image."
Diane Dees

My dad used to recite this to my brothers and sister and me in the 1960's.

Farmer: Twas a dark and stormy night when my Nellie went away,
And I'll never forgive her til my dying day.
She was just 16 and the village queen,
And the prettiest little brat that you've ever seen.
Since Nellie's gone away, the farms gone wrong,
The rooster's died and the hens won't lay.
But in this window I'll burn a light,
40 below zero, Gosh what a night!
(knock knock)
Farmer: Who's that a knocking at me door?
Nellie: It's your little daughter Nellie, don't you know me no more?
Farmer: Where's that actor guy that used to call you honey,
Did he chase you off when you asked for money?
Nellie: He was a far-flung guy and he rode with ease,
And he had more money than a dog has fleas.
He left me on the night that I was most forlorn,
The very, very night little Dumbell was born.
Farmer: That there Dummy?
Nellie: Tain't no other.
Farmer: Looks just like your dadburn Mummy!
But you can't stay here with that there child,
All its screaming would drive me wild!
(enters the Villian, twirling his
moustache)
Villian: Ahhh, my proud beauty,
Give me Dummy or I'll do my duty!
Give me the child or I'll cause you harm,
'Cause I've got the mortgage on this dadburned farm!
Nellie: Your dummy?!!
Villian: My dummy!!
Nellie: Your dummy?!!
Villian: My dummy!!
(then Dad would rap his fingers on the table like a horse coming)
Farmer: Who's that a comin' down the road? Sounds like a mule!
Constable: Well, I ain't no mule, you dadburned fool,
Can't you tell by my badge, I'm a con-sta-bule!
You better tell me all what's going on, 'fore i throw you all in the county jail!
Farmer: Well, he ruined my farm and he wrecked my daughter,
Guess we better fine him 'bout a dollar and a quarter.

AMEN! The price of gin! Tomorrow night we'll play again!!



Janet Lucas

Our grade school class at Colona, Illinois put on this skit for our parents and friends in the early 1940's. Each part was recited by a different student, in costume. All the while the entire cast was bouncing up and down, Hee-Haw style, in rhythum with the poetry. What a wonderful time we had. I have been looking for these lyrics ever since. Thank you.
Edna Park Waller

I have just read the many comments of folks who recall Little Nell and am amazed at the length of the poem. My exposure to it was much shorther, being at scout camp Ma-Ka-Ja-Wan in the mid-thirties and hearing it by the campfire, probably considerably shortened. Heres all that I remember;

T'was a dark and stormy night when my Nellie went away
And I'll remember her to my dying day.
She went away when she was just sixteen
Just so sweet and innocent and clean.
She went off with this actor guy
With a black mistache and a red necktie.

What happened to that guy who used to call you honey,
Did he turn you down when you asked for money?

Hoity toity me proud beauty.
I've come here to do me duty.
I'm not here to do you any harm
But I've got the mortgage on your durned old farm.

What's that noise, sounds like a horse?
I'm just on time I'm the poelice force

Fortunately much of this coincides with others' recollections and there is no doubt more hidden away in my mind but after seventy odd years it comes back more slowly. But it is great to know Nell is still active in our memories. Thanks!

Art Van Horne
Arthur Van Horne

thanks to every one that helped to compile littlenell, it was for a retired persons club where iam the compare. bill.
bill calvert

I did this with some youth in Md. in the late 60's and have rewritten it for the retirement home in which I now live. I don't remember where I got it originally. I was glad to find it here with others interested. Here is my version.

(Drummer, off stage, starts to beat a rhythm - kinda slowly, not too fast - and in a couple seconds the Farmer enters, walking, while bending his knees up and down, keeping time to a beat. He goes to middle stage and looks around and then begins with-)

Farmer: T?was a dark and stormy night when my Nellie went away,
I never shall forget it ?till my dying day,
She was just 16, the village queen,
The prettiest little gal you ever have seen,
The farm ain?t the same since Nellie went away,
The hens all died and the rosters won?t lay,
Thar in my window hangs a light,
Forty below 0, gosh! What a night.

(Nellie enters holding a bundle that is suppose to be a baby, bending her knees, too, keeping time to the beat while the farmer keeps bending his knees, both keeping time to the beat.)

Nellie: K-nock, k-nock, k-nock, k-nock

Farmer: Who?s that k-nocking at my dor?

Nellie: It?s your little Nellie
don?t you know me no mo?

Farmer: Whars that actor fellow called you honey,
Did he send you home ?cause you asked for money?

Nellie: He?s a great big bum, and he lied with ease,
he?s got mo? wimmen than a dog has fleas,
he left me the night I was most forlone,
the very same night little Dummy was born.

(Shows the baby bundle to the farmer)

Farmer: Is that thar Dummy?

Nellie: Ain?t no other.

Farmer: He?s the spittin image of your dear old mother,
but you can?t stay here with that thar child,
listn to him haller would just drive me wild.

(Husband/villain enters, pointing to Nellie, also walking and bending his knees to the beat)

Husband: Hoity Toity me proud beauty!
Get on home, and do yer duty,
You thought you could leave me and run away,
But that won?t happen ?cause, you gotta pay.
So give me the child, or I?ll do ye harm,
cause I?ve got the mortgage on yer dad burn farm. (points to the farmer)

(Farmer and Nellie gasp with appropriate signs to go with a gasp. And while they are doing this the constable comes in, dipping his knees and keeping time to the beat, loudly saying in an angry voice:)

Constable: K-nock, k-nock, k-nock, k-nock

Farmer: Who?s that k-nockin, sounds like a mule.

Constable: I a?int no mule, you dad bern fool,
can?t you see by my badge I?m the con-sta-bule?
What goes on here, come and tell

(Farmer points to the husband and says:)

Farmer: He ain?t done right by my little Nell

(Farmer and husband argue, loudly)

Husband: Aire too!

Farmer: Aire not!

Husband: Aire too!

Farmer: Aire not!

Constable: (holds up his hands, facing the audience, and yells) WAIT!!!!

(Everyone stops bobbing up and down and looks at the constable. Everything?s quiet, drumming stops.)

(Then the Constable slowly lowers his hands, looking from one side of the room to the other indicating that he is thinking, maybe walking around in a small circle, stroking his chin. After a minute the drumming starts up again, quietly at first. Everyone then begins to bob up and down to the beat and the Constable turns quickly, pointing to the husband, and says in a loud voice - )

Constable: You stole his farm and you left his daughter,
That ought to cost you ?bout a dollar and a quarter!

(Husband throws the back of his hand to his mouth and cringes. Throwing his cape over his shoulder.)

All: Which goes to show the price of sin
You always lose and never can win!

(Constable grabs the husband by the neck or ear and starts walking off stage to the beat of the drum with the farmer and daughter following - maybe each pumping air or showing some sign of having won)

(Cast reenters and holding hands, takes a deep bow, to the thunderous applause. Then they turn to the right where the drummer has been off stage and they begin applauding while looking at the drummer. Now, this is where the drummer has his day in the sun. He comes on stage, still drumming, smiling at the audience and prances in whatever way he wants to, across the stage in front of the others while they are still applauding. When he gets to the end he takes a deep bow and in a couple seconds everyone starts off stage. Just as the drummer moves out of sight of the audience he kicks up his heel and smiles at the audience - really ?hamming? it up. Then he decides to come back on stage to take another bow after which the Constable comes on stage and gets him by the ear and hauls him off)
Nell Warren

I'm delighted to find this. Fascinating to know it's been performed in England and America. My dad used to recite it to me in the 50's, but never knew where it came from and he only knew the middle bit and that was slightly different to the others here (including the name of the child). We always wanted to know the end! Here's my version
F - Farmer N - Nelly P - Policeman


F 'Who's that a-knocking at my door?"
N 'It's your little Nellie, doncha know me any more?'
F 'And where's that guy that used to call ya honey,
Has he been and gone and left ya now ya haven't any money?'
N 'It wasn't my money, if you please,
he had more money than a dawg's got fleas.
But he took my love and left me all forlorn,
The very same night little Jumbo was born.
F 'And is that there Jumbo?'
N 'Well, it ain't no other.'
F 'Why he's the gosh-darned image of his gosh-darned mother.
But I'll have no truck with that man's child.'
N 'Oh father, dear father, you're driving me wild.'
F Now who's that a-coming, sounds like a mule.'
P 'I ain't no mule, ya gosh-darned fool.
Can't ya tell by my helmet, I'm the village constabule.
Maggie Parker

My dad, who died in 2005 aged 96, used to take great delight in quoting:
"Who's that knocking at my door?
It's your little Nellie, don't you know me any more?
Where is the actor guy who used to call you Honey?
Did he throw you out when you hadn't any money?
He was a west end guy who could lie with ease,
He had more lies than a dog had fleas".

It's all he ever quoted and I'd love to know more.

JEFF BEST

I remember the whole dad blamed thing
Barbara Thomas

At Epworth Orphanage in the '40's and '50's we often performed talent shows, and this was a popular skit to do. It was basically the same as most of those included here. I had completely forgotten about it until a friend reminded me, and as soon as I heard the first line the entire poem came back to me. We learned the skit at various youth camps and assemblies sponsored by the South Carolina Methodist Conference.
Barbara Thomas

I remember doing this skit at 4-H camp in Indiana. However, I remember the beginning in a different way. It was:

Twas a dark and stormy night when my Nellie went away.
The cows ain't been milked and the horses had no hay.
Who's that knockin' at my door?
It's your daughter Nellie, don't you know me any more?
Nellie, dear, where have you been?
Living in the city with Walter and Min.

.....(lapse in memory)

Knock! Knock! Let me in! If you won't do it, I'll bust you in the chin!

and that's where I tend to trail off.

We did recite this while keeping time w/ knee bends. All characters had matching "bows" that were used in the same manner that someone above mentioned.

If anyone knows this version, I would love to hear from you. I am now a librarian and would love to recreate this skit.

What great fun it was reading this.
Sandy Bailey

A few years ago, I looked for this piece and couldn't find anything on it. When I was in high school in the 1960's, our social club used to perform it for "rush." It was such fun. It was interesting to see the long history of the piece.
Lynn Moore


Hello -
Here is the poem I learned from my mother and grandfather around 1949. Mother remembers being Little Nell in a skit when she was in high school in the late 1930s. I have used it as a "piece" many times over the years.

The poem is recited in a fairly flat "cracker" accent for the farmer, Nell and the Sheriff, and a sophisticated but oily accent for the villian. The poem also has a definite "beat" to it. Mother said a piano played a quiet oom-pah sort of thing behind the recitation, and the poem rode on top of that.
There are four characters: The farmer, Nell, the actor, and the sheriff. These were played by four people, or just one person "did" them all.

Ashley, this is for you!


LITTLE NELL

FARMER:
T'was a dark and stormy night when my Nellie went away
And I never will forget ?er til my dyin' day
She was jes' 16
The village queen
The purdiest little gal that chu ever have seen
Well she ran away with an actor guy
With a brown moustache
And a red bowtie
The farm ain't been the same since my Nellie went away-
The hens all died
And them roosters won't lay
Well in this win-der I'll ? place a light
40 below zero
Gad, what a night
Colder than the heart o' me mother-in-law
A'who's that knockin' on my front door?

SOUND FFFECT: (RAP RAP-RAP-RAP RAP, RAP RAP)

NELL: Hi there Paw

FARMER: Well, well, well

NELL: Don'cha know me? I'm your little Nell

FARMER: Well where's that actor guy that used to call you honey
Did he leave you flat?
Without any money?

NELL: He left me on the day I was most forlorn
The very day Dumb Belle was born


FARMER: Is that yore dummy?

NELL: Tain't no other

FARMER: Well, she's a spittin image of yo' pore dead mother
Well you can't come in here with that there child

NELL: Father dear, Father dear,
You're driving me wild!

ACTOR GUY: (TWISTING AND CURLING ENDS OF HIS HANDLEBAR MUSTACHE) Hoity, toity, me fair beauty,
I've come to do what I thinks me duty
And I can do you lots of harm
Cause I own the mortgage on this gosh-darn farm! (He whips a folded copy of the mortgage out of his pocket as he says this line)

NELL: Go away, you naughty old rummy
And give me back my little Dumb Bunny!


ACTOR GUY: Yore Dummy?

NELL: My Dummy!


ACTOR GUY: Yore Dummy?

NELL: My Dummy!
You cain't take this child from me
Pa'll put cha in the lock-up and throw away the key!

(LOUDSOUNDS OF A HORSE APPROACHING)

FARMER: What's that noise, thet sounds like a horse?

SHERIFF: Jest in time I'm the Po-leese Force!
Well, what?s it all about now,
Come on and tell?


FARMER (interrupting the Sheriff): Well he ain't done right by my Little Nell!
He stole my farm and he ruint my daughter,

SHERIFF (interrupting the farmer): Well he oughta be a'fined about a dollar and a quarter

ALL TOGETHER: And that goes to show you
The price of sin
Tomorrow night we'll play East Lynn!

Gayle Higley

What a treat to come across this poem! My aunt was a speech and drama teacher in Dallas years ago. The one that comes closest to the original is the one submitted by Janet Lucas.
It was always a lot of fun to act out.
Janelle Hall

We performed "Little Nell" in high school in the late 1940's. Some of the comments regarding the melodrama/skit came very close to what I remember about it. However, there was one part that went: "He may look sappy, but we want you to know that he's Little Nell's Pappy"

If anyone has the skit with that part in it, I would really appreciate obtaining it. I've tried to find the skit in its entirety for years, with no luck.
Dave Odell

1926 G.A.CO
You're Just the Sweetest Sweeheart
The poem also has a Victorian picture of a couple with it.
Would like to know where to do research on it and / or if you would know of information about it. I would like to be able to tell if I have an original. Find it's worth.It is in the frame I found it in.
Any help will be appreciated
Thank you
Michael Sallee

I went to Otterbein College between 1967 and 1971 and my sorority used to use this poem as a skit during our rush parties. I never knew where it came from originally. I always thought someone in the sorority, some years before me, must have written it and passed it down. I'm glad to get a sense now where it actually originated.

Sometime in the 1980s, I taught the skit to a group at my church and we performed it at one of our spaghetti dinners, to great laughter and applause.

I've enjoyed reading of all the other people who have shared this poem/skit over the years.
Janet Davidson

My Mom performed the story as a sketch for her college sorority during rush, this would be early 1950s this is how her version went:

It was a dark and stormy night when my Nellie went away.
I shallnever forget her 'til my dying day,
She was sweet sixteen, t
the village queen,
prettiest little gal you ever did see.
(knocking)
Who's that knocking at my door?
It's your little Nellie , Daddy. don't you know me antmore?
Where's that actor feller, who called you Honey?
Did you home 'cause you asked for money?
He's a gol darned fool and he lied with ease ,
he had more women than a dog has fleas. he left me on the night I was most forlorn,
the very same night little Doomie was born.
Is that there little Doomie?
T'aint no other.
Spittin' image of your dear dead Mother,
but you can't stay here with that there child.
Father, Dear Father, your driving me wild!
(knocking)
Who's that knocking at my door?
It's the Constabule!
(both Nellie and Father) The Constabule?
Yes, it's the constabule, you gol darn fool .
can't you see by my badge I'm the constabule?
This where both of our memories fade.
Leigh Klug

I remember something like this: Twas a dark and stormy night when my Nelly went away, I never shall forget her til my dying day. She was sixteen, the village queen the prettiest thing I ever seen.
"Who's that knocking at my door, sounds like a mule". "I ain't no mule, you dad burn fool, can't you tell by the badge I'm the constabule". Me and my buddies recited this and more that I have forgotten, at a cub scouts meeting back in the late sixties. Apparently there are various versions. Good luck.
Mark Collins

This poem suddenly came into my mind while I was having a rather stormy caravan holiday. I remembered parts of it from pre war childhood, from a record my Mother had.I couldn't believe it when I saw it on the Internet. I only remembered bits of it and was so glad to have the help from members from the website, we are getting there! It was quite nostalgic to read and be reminded of the word's I had fogotten.
Daphne Rowland

I finally found a printed copy of this little one-act play in my "scrapbook box"! It has no info on who printed it where it came from. I remember doing it when I was a teen-ager at church and Girl Scout camps. (I'm now a 72-year-old grandmother!)

I think there must have been several versions of this, as some of the info others have given seems familiar but not in my printed copy. And my printed copy has some penciled words that have been added.
Carol Tapp

My pledge class did this for some sort of event at the Northwestern Kappa House in 1945 or 1946, Some of the "recollections" sound familiar, and others don't. What a fun little
skit this was, and has been, for all who took
part, or heard it. Delightful to find this on the
internet!
Jan Howard

Something just brought the first few words to my memory, and I tried to remember the rest. I knew that what was seid by most of the posters in the next few lines was not what I remembered. Suddenly it hit me! Since I was 8 years old when the teacher taught this to us, she made the words a little more 60's friendly. How funny. Now with all of this I know what she left out. Imagine the looks from the parents if a bunch of 8 year olds had repeated all of the verses back in the early sixties!
Leah Ray

I no longer have the 78 record, and don't know who it was by, but I did take down the words verbatim before I lost it! Here it is:

FATHER It was a dark and stormy night when me Nelly went away
And I?ll never forget her ?til my dying day
She was just 16 and the village queen
The prettiest little trick the valley ever seen
The farm ain't the same since me Nelly went away
The rooster died and the hen won't lay
So in this window I?ll put a light
5 below zero, gosh what a night
KNOCKING
Who?s that a knocking at me door?
NELL: It?s your Little Nell, don?t you know me anymore?
PA; What happened to the actor fellow used to call you Honey?
Did he run off when he hadn?t any money?

NELL; HE WAS A NO-GOOD GUY guy and he could lie with ease
And he had more money that a dog has fleas
He left me on a night when I was so forlorn
The very same night little Dumbell was born

PA; Is that there Dummy? NELL; Well it ain?t no other
PA; He?s the very spitting image of his gosh-darned mother
But you can?t come in this house with that there child
NELL; Father dear, Father dear, you?re driving me wild
But I?ll get that guy who caused me all this shame
He wouldn?t even give his child a second name

VILLAIN MUSIC (Da da da dah da-a-ah dah)

VILLAIN; Hoity Toity my fair beauty
PA; Now if you interfere you?re just as good as dead
Cos I?ll get me old shotgun and I?ll pump you full of lead
VILLAIN; But I can do you heaps of harm
Cos I own the mortgage on your gosh-darned farm
NELL; He?s got us where he wants us, Pa, the dirty rotter
VILLAIN; Give me back my Dummy
NELL; Your Dummy?
VILLAIN; My Dummy
NELL; Your Dummy?
VILLAIN My Dummy

DA,DADDLE A DA DA BOOM BOOM then sound of hooves

PA;Who?s this a comin? IT Sounds like a mule
CONSTABLE; I hain?t no mule you gosh-darned fool
Can?t you tell by me badge I?m the constibule
What?sit all about? Come on now, tell
PA; Well he ain?t done right by my Little Nell
VILLAIN Yes I have
NELL;You have not
VILLAIN; Yes I have
NELL; You have not

Da, Daddle a DA DA, Boom Boom

CONSTABULE; What did he do? What did he do?
What?s this harm that he?s brung on you?
PA; Well, he?s wrecked my farm and ruined my daughte
WelL I reckon we oughter fine him ?bout a dollar and a quarter
ALL: Which all goes to show the price of sin
Tomorrow night we play East Lynn

sue paradise

Wow! I had NO idea how many of us are out there that know this poem in one form or another. My mother taught it to us when we were little, and I still have a tape recording from 1958 of us reciting it (my three sisters and I) and I was six years old! I won a humerous speech contest in the 1990's doing it as a skit and wearing different hats for each part. My mom also did this in a variety show when she was in her 20's. Funny how we all remember it slightly different. Here's how we learned it:

FARMER: Twas a dark and stormy night when my Nelly went away. I'll never forget her 'till my dying day. She was just 16 - the village queen. Prettiest gal that the valley's ever seen. But the farm ain't the same since my Nelly went away. The roosters won't crow and the hens won't lay. But in my window I'll hang a light. Twenty below zero - Gosh what a night! (rapping on door) Who's that a knockin' on my front door?
NELLIE: Well, it's your little Nelly! Don't ya know me anymore?
FARMER: What happened to the actor guy who used to call you honey? Did he sent you home 'cause you asked for money?
NELLIE: He was a smooth talkin' guy, and he lied with ease. He had more money than a dog had fleas. He left me on the night that I was most forlorn. The very same night this little Dumbell* was born.
FARMER: Is that there the Dummy.
NELLIE: It ain't no other.
FARMER: Well, he's the spittin' image of your goll durn mother, and you can't stay in this house with that there child.
NELLIE: Oh Father Dear, Oh Father Dear - you're driving me wild!
VILLIAN: Tooty Tooty - me proud Beauty. I come here to do me duty.
FARMER: Get out of here boy! You can't do me no harm?
VILLIAN: NO? Well, I got the morgate on this goll durn farm. (clumping noise) Now what's that a comin'? It sounds like a mule!
CONSTABLE: Well, it ian't no mule, you goll durn fool! Can't you tell by my badge, I'm the con-sta-bule! Now what goes on here. Come on, now tell!
FARMER: Well, he (referring to the villain) ain't done right by my little Nell.
CONSTABLE: A-what did he do? A-what did he do? A doo-wah, a doo-wah, Oh what did he do?
FARMER: Well he took my farm, and he ruined my daugther.
CONSTABLE: Well! I guess we ought to charge him a buck and a quarter.
ALL: And that goes to show the price of sin. Tomorrow night we're gonna play East Linn.
Bump-diddly-bump-bump. Some Chick!
*I later changed the Dumbell/Dummy to "Baby" because I didn't like the whole "dummy" reference...
Thanks to all of you! This poem has been such fun to us throughout the years!! Wendy - Indianapolis

Wendy Curto

I remember the first line as being:

"Twar a year ago tonight that my Nellie went away, I never will forgit her till my dyin day"
the rest of it is pretty close to what I remember..but I'll never forgit the opener...after 45 years!

4 of us performed the skit many times for our youth church group in the mid 50's. It was hilarious and we loved doing it.

Sandra Olson

So glad to have the memory pasted together. Sandra Olsen (last comment), my sister, Adrienne and I were part of the "players" that put on this skit as teenagers in the 1950's. I was the constabule and when I said those words I pulled on my shirt to show off my badge and the front popped open. That's the only part I ever remembered until now. Glad to have the rest of the skit! Thanks all.
Kristin Ellis Dahlstrom

We did this skit when I was in college. Most is the same, but we said "'Twas a dark and stormy night when my Nellie went away and I won't forget it 'till my dying day. The farm ain't been the same since my Nellie went away. The cows won't milk and the hens won't lay."
Betty Nelson

The Seniors in Camp Fire Camp back in the 1970's would do this skit every year. This was our script:

Farmer: 'Twas a dark and stormy night when my Nellie went away,
and I never shall forget it till my dyin' day,
She was just 16, the village queen,
The prettiest little gal you ever did see.
The farm ain't been the same since my Nellie went away,
The hens all died and the rooster won't lay,
There in the window shines a light,
Forty below 0. Gosh! What a night!

(Nellie enters holding a bundle that is suppose to be a baby, bending her knees, too, keeping time to the beat while the farmer keeps bending his knees, both keeping time to the beat.)

Nellie: K-nock, k-nock, k-nock, knock knock!

Farmer: Who's that knockin' at my door?

Nellie: It's your little Nellie
don't you know me any more?

Farmer: Where's that actor fellow that used to call you honey?
Did he send you home when you asked for money?

Nellie: He's a great big bum, and he lies with ease,
he's got more women than a dog has fleas.
He left me the night I was most forlone,
the very same night little Dummy was born.

(Shows the baby bundle to the farmer)

Farmer: Is that there Dummy?

Nellie: Tain't none other.

Farmer: He's the spittin' image of your dear old mother,
but you can't stay here with that there child,
listen to him holler would drive me wild.

(Husband/villain enters, pointing to Nellie, also walking and bending his knees to the beat)

Husband: Hoity Toity me proud beauty!
Give me Dummy, or I'll do my duty.
Give me the child, or I'll do you harm,
'cause I own the mortgage on the dadburn farm.

(Farmer and Nellie gasp. And while they are doing this the constable comes in, dipping his knees and keeping time to the beat, loudly saying in an angry voice:)

Constable: K-nock, k-nock, k-nock, knock, knock!

Farmer: Who's that knockin? Sounds like a mule!

Constable: I ain't no mule, you dad burn fool,
can't you see by my badge I'm the con-sta-bule?
What's goin' on here? Come and tell.

(Farmer points to the husband and says:)

Farmer: He ain't done right by my little Nell.

(Farmer and husband argue, loudly)

Husband: Oh, yes I have!

Farmer: Oh, no ye ain't!

Husband: Oh, yes I have!

Farmer: Oh, no ye ain't!


Constable: You stole his farm and you left his daughter,
That ought to cost you a dollar and a quarter!

All: Which goes to show the price of sin
Come back next year, and we'll do it again!
Sharon Evans

My friend Cathy Walpole learned this a summer camp in Wisconsin, USA, in the early 60s. She taught it to me and we performed it together a couple of times at high school events, while bouncing slightly up and down. I was the farmer (hands at his side) and and Cathy was Nellie (simulating holding a baby in her arms) and the villain (simulating cape across his face). We had so much fun! I haven't see nan ending like the one Cathy taught me. Just a few days ago I though of this silliness and couldn't remember all the words. I am glad to know that many of those who responded had a similar experience. Reading the comments jogged my memory sufficiently to remember how we said it. Our version rhymed and unfortunately did not include the constable! I love the internet! My warmest regards to my British friends, perhaps some distant relatives, and to all the Americans who responded. How fun! . Here goes:

Twas a dark and stormy night when my Nellie went away. Prettiest little thing that you ever did see. Never been the same since my Nellie went a way. Rooster won't crow and the hens won't lay.Thar in the window shines a light. Forty degrees below and garsh what a night.
Knock, knock knock.
Who's that knockin at my door?
It's your little Nellie, don't ya know me no more?
Where's that actor fella who called ya honey? Did he run away and steal all your money?
Called me honey and lied with ease. Had more women than a dog had fleas. He left me that night I was all forlorn. The very same night little Tommy was born.
Hoity Toity me proud young beauty. Give me little Tommy or I'll do me duty. I own the mortgage on the dad bern farm. If you give me little Tommy then I'll do you no harm.
My Tommy! - N
My Tommy! - V
My Tommy! - N
My Tommy! - V

Farmer: Well, it just goes to show you the strength of sin. When you fool around with villains you just cain't win.
Martha Myers Tedrowe

This was something my daddy used to say and I thought I would never forget it. But I have forgotten it. He didn't sing it. He just recited it. He was born in Quanah, TX. He died at the age of 70 in 1964. I would love to find the rest of it. There were others I would like to find.
Betty Metz

I was in a play a long time ago where this poem was used,. I would like the entire poem if it is available,
Ellen Irvine

I do know the whole of at least one version of this as it was a regular "party piece" at gatherings of my mother's family when we were children. Family story is that Pappy (mother's father) picked it up off the Chatauqua circuit... but the radio show mention from another respondent also seems a likely source. Here's what we have:

?Twas a Dark Stormy Night

Farmer: Twas a dark stormy night when my Nellie went away
And I never shall forget her till my dying day.
She was sweet 16, the village queen,
Prettiest little thing that the valley?s ever seen.
But the valley ain?t the same since my Nellie went away
?Cause the cows all died and the hens won?t lay.
So here in this window I hang my light.
40 below zero? brrr what a night.
[knock knock knock knock knock knock knock]
Farmer: Who?s that knockin? at my door?
[Nellie enters]
Nellie: It?s your little Nellie, Pa, don?t ya know me any more?
Hi there, Pa, don?t you know me any more?
I?m your little Nellie.
Farmer: Well where?s that actor-fella used to call you honey:
Did he leave you flat when you ran out of money?
Nellie: He was a slick young fella and he lied with ease
But he had more women than a dog has fleas.
He left me on the night I was most forlorn,
The very same night Dumbell was born.
[exhibits bundle in her arms]
Farmer: Is that your little Dumby?

Nellie: It ain?t none other.
Farmer: He?s the spit and image of his dear old mother.
But you cain?t stay here with that ?ere child.

Nellie: Oh Pappy, oh Pappy, you?re drivin? me wild.
[knock knock knock knock knock knock knock. Enter Villain]

Villain: Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha ,ha.
Looky here, Farmer, I can do you lots of harm
?Cause I hold the mortgage on your gosh-durned farm.
So give me back my Dumby!
[tug of war with baby]
Nellie: Your Dumby?
Villain: My Dumby!
Nellie: Your Dumby?
Villain: My Dumby!
[knock knock knock knock knock knock knock]
Farmer: Who?s that knockin?, sounds like a mule?
[Enter policeman]
Policeman: Just in time with the cons-ti-bule! What?s goin? on here, I?d like to know?
Farmer: You?d like to know? Well I?ll tell you so!
Arrest that fella if you ain?t too busy;
He?s a slick young guy and he?s driving me dizzy.
He stole my farm and he ruined my daughter.
Policeman: Well, that oughter be worth about a dollar and a quarter.
All: Which goes to show
The price of sin.
Tomorrow night we?ll play East Lynne.
Dum dumty dum dum, dum dum!




Jean MacRae

I should have included in my submission the fact that my mother's family lived in Iowa - the whole skit should be performed with a broad Midwest USA accent! Which, having lived in London for 40-odd years, I can no longer do...
Jean MacRae

I believe I know the entire poem, but I can't type very well. Here goes;

'Twas a dark and stormy night when my Nelly went away,
I never shall forget it to my dyin' day.
Sweet sixteen, village queen,
Purtiest darn thing that you ever done seen.
The farm ain't the same since my Nelly went away,
The rooster done died and the hens won't lay.
Thar in the window shines a light,
Forty below zero, gosh what a night.
Knock, knock! Who's that knockin' at my door?
"It's your little daughter, Daddy, don'tcha know me no more?"
Whar's that actor fellow you call your honey?
Did he send you home without any money?
"He's a gosh darn fool and he lies with ease,
"He's got more women than a dog has fleas,
"He left me the night I was so forlorn,
"The very same night little Doomie was born."
That thar Doomie?
"Taint no other."
He's the very spittin' image of your dear, dead mother."
Knock, knock. Hoity-toity, my brown eyed beauty,
Give me Doomie or I'll do my duty.
Give me Doomie or I'll do you harm,
Cause I hold the mortgage to your little old farm.
"My Doomie!"
My Doomie!
"My Doomie!"
My Doomie!
Knock, knock! Who's that knockin' sounds like a mule.
"Don'tcha call me no mule, you gosh darn fool,
"Can't you tell by my badge I', the constabule?
"What goes on here? Come now, tell.
"You ain't done right by our little, ole Nell.
"Wrecked his farm, stole his daughter,
"No that ought to cost about a dollar and a quarter."
Which just goe to prove the price of sin.
Tune in next week, and we'll play East Lynne.


Can't you tell by my badge I'm the constabule?

It's your little daughter Daddy
Phyllis Cook

We ued to do this at church dinners, probably in the late '40s, early '50s. We did it with deep knee bends in a singsong fashion. I'm so glad to find more of the lyrics--I could get a few lines in fro memory, but no one else I asked remembered it. Maybe I was in Girl Scouts or Brownies when we did it.
Judy Alter

I was part of a performance of this play in 1966 & remember all the parts to this day. Each member stands & we all bent our knees in rhythm to the rhymes as we performed it. This is how it went:
Farmer: Twas a dark & stormy night when my Nelly went away, & I never will forget it till my dying day. She was sweet sixteen, the village queen. Cutest little chick that the town has ever seen. Farm aint the same since my Nelly went away. Roosters won't croak & the hens won't lay. So in this window, I'll hang a light. Forty below zero ... brrr, what a night!

Who's that knocking at my door?

Nell: It's me, Pa, your little Nell. Don't you know me any more?

Farmer: Where's that actor guy that used to call you honey. Did he run away & leave you when he used up all your money?

Nell: He was a slick town devil & he lied with ease. He had more women than a dog has fleas. He left me on a night, I was so forlorn. On the very same night little Dumbell was born.

Farmer: Is that your Dummy?

Nell: Tain't no other.

Farmer: Shore is the image of your poor dead mother. But you can't stay here, with that there child.

Nell: Father, dear Father, you're driving me wild!

Actor guy bursts in: Curses curses, me proud beauty! I have come to do my duty, I have come to do you harm. For I have the mortgage on the dad burn farm!

Nell: Shame on you, you great big rummy!

Actor: Now give me back my little dummy!

Nell: Your dummy?

Actor: My dummy!

Nell: Your Dummy?

Actor: My Dummy!

Farmer: Who's that knocking, sounds like a mule!

Constabule: Aint no mule, you dad burn fool! Can't you tell by my badge I'm the constabule? What's going on, come on tell.

Farmer: He aint done right by my little Nell.

Constable: Stole your farm, ruined your daughter, that ought to go for a dollar and a quarter.

All together: All goes to show the price of sin. Tomorrow night we'll play East Lynn.

Bum, bud ye ya bum bum, bum bum!
Mary Gross

had this skit when in high school and now in a retirement community and would like to do it again
JAN vervoort

Wow! I googled "Twas A Dark And Stormy Night" and got this hit that brought me here. My mother used to perform this to us often when we were children and for Christmas, I decided to turn it into "book" for her as a gift. She loves it! But she thinks there are a few lines that are missing so I was thrilled to find this.

I posted my book on my blog called talbertsthisandthat.blogspot.com if you are interested in peeking. (Type in "Twas a dark and stormy night") in the SEARCH bar.)

My college son was SO NICE to pose for me all the characters in the melodrama.

Thanks everyone for sharing your memories and lines. I can't wait to show my mother!
Lisa Talbert

This was put to a song and was\ sung by the members of one of the late night bands, Ambrose, Roy Fox, Harry Roy Nat Gonella?
colin gullen

In the 50's I was working out of Loveland Colorado with The Dick Mango Orchestra. " Little Nell" was a segment in the show that we did just prior to intermission time. Four or five band members wore appropriate hats to designate each character, it was done with the rythym section playing an easy tempo vamp, all rhyming was done in tempo. Thanks for putting this site it clearly brings back many good memories to many nice folks
James Smith

"Twas a dark and stormy night when my Nell went away.
The rooster crows and the hens won't lay
So in this window I'll hang my light.
40 below! Gosh what a night!

I have MOST of this but iffy on a couple lines....
Michele Zustak

Elaine Pack's version is the one I remember except for the sentences: HENS is plural, Thar in the window HANGS a light and Where's that ACTOR fellow who called you honey, Did he send you away cause you asked for money? No, no, that bum lied with ease, he's got more WOMEN than a dog has fleas.
We did this little skit at summer camp where I was a counselor. I played the farmer and wore bluejean coveralls, Nellie had a bow in her hair carrying a wrapped baby doll, sheriff wore a badge, and villian had a moustache. This was always a hit at camp and as we repeated the words, we (at the knees) went up and down in tune with the words and sentences.

Funny! I woke up this morning thinking about this little skit we use to do at camp.

Keep smiling,
Lyn Shipman

Twas a dark and stormy night when my Nellie ran away,
And I shan't forget her till me dying day.
She was sweet sixteen, the village queen,
The prettiest little lass you ever have seen.

Now in this window I'll hang a light
40 below zero GOSH what a night.
Colder than the heart of my mother in law (Knock knock)
Now who's that a-knocking on my front door?

Don't you know me Paw, it's your little Nell!
And where's the actor man who used to call you Honey?
Did he leave you flat without any money?
He left me on the day I was most forlorn,
The day that Dumbell here was born.

Is that there Dumbell?
T'aint no other.
Looks just like yer Goll Dang mother
Well you can't come in here with that there child.
Father O father you're driving me wild.

Enter villain: Hointy dointy me proud beauty
I have come to do me duty.
I can do you heaps of harm cause I hold the mortgage on the whole darn farm.

Gimme back my Dumbell
My Dumbell
My dumbbell
My Dumbell.
(Hoofbeats) Now what's that I hear like the sound of a horse?
Just in time from the ol' Police force.
Enter cop.Now whats wrong here? Come on now tell!
Well he ain't done right by my little Nell
He's taken my farm and he's a-ruined my daughter!
I'd say he ought to be fined about a dollar and a quarter.
And that goes to show ya the price of sin....
Tomorrow night we play East Lynn.

My long dead Daddy used to say it just that way What a wonderful memory!.
Bob Niles

Twas a dark and stormy night when my nellie went away
Never will forget it til my dying day
She was sweet 16. The village queen.
Prettiest darn woman that you ever seen.

The farm ain't the same since my nellie went away.
The rooster died and the hen won't lay.
So I hang my lantern in my window tonight.
Forty below zero! Dang! What a night!

Well who's that knockin, at my door?
Its a me your little nellie don't ya know me anymore?
And where's that actor fella, that used to call you honey?
Did he up and leave ya when ya asked him for some money?
He was a two faced villain and he lied with ease.
He had as many women as his dog had fleas.
He left me on a night I was so forlorn. The very same night my little dummy was born.
Skip some stuff here***
And now I'll take my dummy! My dummy! My dummy!
What's all the noise? Sounds like a mule!
It ain't no mule, ya gosh darned fool, can't ya see by my badge I'm the constabule!
:more bickering about the father:
And I don't know the rest. That's enough for me though.. fun little skit. My dad taught it to us when we were little. I recite it often still. I'm 36. Its now 2014. Keep this skit going.. its classic!!
Gillian Violin

This little play is just like a folk song, passed down by word of mouth, with so many slightly different versions. Yet, certain phrases really stick and are the same in every version, such as, "I ain't no mule, you ]gol-durn[ fool! Can't you tell by my badge I'm the constabule?" There must have been an original, but it really doesn't matter.
In 1955, I was on a week-long 70-mile backpacking trip in the Sierras with Boy Scout Troop 38 and Robin Harrison recited Little Nell over and over. All seven of us all learned it. (He also did "Gunga Din", which we learned, too.) When we got to Camp Ol-ja-to, we performed "Little Nell" as a skit at one of the campfires. We were terrible actors, but what fun!
But the version I learned had already been filtered by Robin's memory, and now by mine, 59 years later. It's very close to the one posted by Sue Paradise from her transcription of a record.
We were very tempted to replace "trusty shotgun" by "rusty shotgun", and may have even done so. Also, we must have added the "Coises!" at the end, because none of the other versions I read here have it. Here is my version"

?Twas a dark and stormy night when my Nellie went away,
And I never will forget her till my dying day.
She was sweet 16 and the village queen
And the prettiest little trick that the county?d ever seen.

The farm ain?t the same since my Nellie went away;
The rooster?s died and the hens won?t lay.
So in this windy, I?ll put a light.
Forty below zeree! Gosh, what a night!
(Knock! Knock! Knock!)
Who?s that knockin? at my door?

It?s your little Nell, don?t cha know me anymore?

What happened to that actor guy who used to call you Honey?
Did he send you home after he?d spent all your money?

He was a smooth-tongued guy and he lied with ease,
And he had more money than a dog has fleas.
He left me on the night I was most forlorn ?
The very, very night little Dummy was born.

That there Dummy?

?Tain?t none other!

The very spittin? image of his gol-durn mother.
You can?t live in this house with that there child!

Father dear, Father dear, it?s driving me wild!
But I?ll get that guy that done me all this shame,
So mean he wouldn?t give his child a middle name!

Hoity-toity, me proud beauty!

Now if you interfere, you?re just as good as dead,
?Cause I?ll get my trusty shotgun, and I?ll pump you full of lead!

But I can do you heaps of harm,
For I hold the mortgage on your gol-durn farm!

He?s got us where he wants us, Pop. The dirty rummy!

Give me back me Dummy!

Your Dummy?!

My Dummy!

Your Dummy?!

My Dummy!

Who?s that comin?? Sounds like a mule.

I ain?t no mule, you gol-durn fool!
Can?t you tell by my badge,
I?m the constibule?
What?s she all about? C?mon now, tell!

Well, he ain?t done right by my little Nell.

Have so!

Have not!

Have so!

Have not!

What did he do? What did he do?
What?s this harm that he?s done to you?

Well, he wrecked my farm and he ruint my daughter.

Then I reckon we oughta fine him
?Bout a buck and a quarter!

Coises!!

Which all goes to show the price of sin.
Tomorrow night, we?ll do ?East Lynn?.
_____________
Yah ta da, yah ta da;
Yah ta da, ta da dah!

(posted 9/2/2014)
Bob Chamberlain


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