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Mary Frith: the Original Roaring Girl

Posted on Apr 3, 2011 in 17th century theatre, london, outlaws | Comments Off

Behind Thomas Middleton and Thomas Dekker’s sparkling stage comedy, The Roaring Girl, (ca 1607-1610), was a real woman, the notorious Mary Frith, aka Moll Cutpurse—a cross-dressing, hard-drinking pickpocket, fence, and Queen of Misrule. The vintner bet Moll £20 that she would not ride from Charing Cross to Shoreditch astraddle on horseback, in breeches and doublet, boots and spurs. The hoyden took him up in a moment, and added of her own devilry a trumpet and banner. She set out from Charing Cross bravely enough, and a trumpeter being an unwonted spectacle, the eyes of all the town were...

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