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The Herring Girl
by Bella Hardy

All you who look down on me with that judgement in your eyes
While the jury picks its fate for me I'd have you save your sighs
As a child with no family I was begging on the street

When great fortune came and made me a herring girl

I don't come from these islands, from England I have roamed
And born in Great Yarmouth, that is my native home
In Autumn when the girls all chased the fish down from the north
How I longed that I would one day be a herring girl

A young girl down from Aberdeen took sick and to her bed
I asked if there was work and down to Rhona I was led
Oh she smiled at the height of me, and said that I would do
And as a Packer I was joined to be a herring girl

This season started up in Scotland, I'd just turned sixteen
And Rhona she's the greatest gutter Stornoway has seen
At eighty fish a minute, and with Mary not much less
We three, we're famed as the best crew of herring girls

Last Saturday was dancing day, and the boys were in the town
We were packing up and cleaning up and heading for our room
When a stranger crept behind us in an ally round the back
Out to catch himself a couple of fresh herring girls

Oh so suddenly he's on us and he's knocked me to the ground
And he's pinned our Rhona by the throat so she couldn't make a sound
But from her apron pocket fell a knife so keen and sharp
I've taught that man the price of fishing for a herring girl

All you who look down on me with that judgement in your eyes
While the jury picks its fate for me I'd have you save your sighs
For I'd gladly do the same again to any man that tries
Test his luck, and take advantage of a herring girl

Contributed by Jayce K. Suggest a correction in the comments below.
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