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​North-Bound Train

This song is by Nelstone's Hawaiians and appears on the compilation Lonesome Whistle: An Anthology of American Railroad Song (2012).

North bound train was crowded, on a cold December day
Conductor shouted, "Tickets!" in his old accustomed way
When a little girl of seven, azure eyes and hair of gold
Said, "I've got no ticket, Mister," then this little story told
"My mother sews, to earn our bread, from early morn till night
My father is in prison, and they say he's lost his sight"
She then told him of her mission, and how she ran away
To go and see the Governor, and for a pardon pray

She was going for a pardon, on that cold December day
A pardon for her dad, whose sight was fading fast away
She said her little sister and brother would be glad
If she would only bring them back her poor blind dad

The conductor tried to answer, but he couldn't make reply
As with his big, rough hand he wiped a teardrop from his eye
Softly murmuring, "God bless you, little one, stay where you are
You will never need a ticket while I am on this car"

She told him in a whisper how her father broke the Laws
But loved his wife and babies, and how liquor was the cause
When the train had reached the station, he took her by the hand
And led her from the depot to the Gov'nor's mansion grand

She was going for a pardon, on that cold December day
A pardon for her dad, whose sight was fading fast away
She said her little sister and brother would be glad
If she would only bring them back her poor blind dad

When the Gov'nor heard her story, he wondered at her plea
As from her baby lips came forth, "Please set my father free
He is getting old and feeble, and his shaven head is gray
And besides, you know, poor Dad is blind and cannot find his way

Just then the Gov'nor's child came in and saw Nell on her knees
A-praying for a pardon, she said "Sign it, papa, please!"
Next day the Gov'nor led her up to a prison cell
Unlock'd the door and sent the poor blind father home with Nell

She was going for a pardon, on that cold December day
A pardon for her dad, whose sight was fading fast away
She said her little sister and brother would be glad
If she would only bring them back her poor blind dad