She Drank Her Ale at the Bar

by Crosscurrents Music

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This song arrived ten minutes after Lynn Feingold posted this 1896 New York Times article on my Facebook wall. I can take a hint.

Girl Cyclist in Rahway Amazed Loungers in Chamberlain's.

A petite female figure in natty bicycle costume entered Chamberlain's saloon on Cherry Street today, and with a toss of her head, ordered a bottle of Bass's ale. The genial bartender began to wrap the bottle in paper, but she said:

"Please pull the cork."

The men that were in the saloon at the time looked at each other and then at the maiden. In a short time the bottle was emptied as a half dollar flipped on the bar. The bartender made the change. She mounted her wheel and soon was out of sight up Irvington Street, toward Saint George's Avenue.

The New York Times
Published August 25, 1896


She drank her ale at the bar
The men they looked at each other
She ordered a Bass, without even a glass
And she drank her ale at the bar.

In the year eighteen-ninety and six
In Rahway, one hot afternoon
A cycling wench chose her thirst for to quench
In Chamberlain’s local saloon.

In her muttonleg sleeves of black mohair
With split skirt and leggings and vest
This natty costume amazed the saloon
When she ordered a pint of the best.


She didn’t choose water or switchell
There was no lemon squash for this lass
With a toss of her head, this cyclist she said,
“I’ll have a bottle of Bass.”

The bartender, startled but genial
Pulled the bottle and got straight to work
In paper to wrap, but the bar she did tap
And said, “if you please, pull the cork.”


The men in the bar they fell silent
And stared at the maiden once more
In the blink of an eye, the bottle was dry
And a half dollar flipped on the bar.

The barman made change without speaking
And this velocipedestrienne
She mounted her wheel and her bell she did peal
And was soon out of sight once again.



released June 15, 2021
(c) 2020 Lynn Noel Crosscurrents Music




Crosscurrents Music Boston, Massachusetts

Lynn Noel brings traditional song and heritage arts online to create digital community. Lynn has a voice of striking clarity and power, equally at home in rhythmic chanteys and flowing ballads.

Lynn is a respected song session leader on both sides of the Atlantic and the producer and host of the Mermaid's Tavern online folk club. She has earned awards from the IUCN, NRCA, and CDSS.
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