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Lost quotations

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"Too late, too late she cried..." | 08-Jan-05

"Too late, too late she cried and waved her wooden leg..."

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

Do you know this poem? Do you have any clues to help us find it?


Nigel Rees - A Word in your Shell-like - traces it back to the final couplet of a hymn by Miss Etta Campbell and TE Perkins;
"Too late! Too late!" will be the cry -
Jesus of Nazareth has passed by.
It has passed through a number of parodies such as;
"Too late! Too late!" the maiden cried,
Lifted her wooden leg and died.

Henry Peacock

My grandma used to say "Too late, too late she cried as she waved her wooden leg" so often... and i find myself saying it anytime someone says "too late".... but i have no idea of its origin. If you find it, let me know!
Liz J

Someone I worked with in London many years ago used to declaim, theatrically:
"Too late! Too late! the maiden cried, waving her wooden leg in defiance."
None of us ever thought to ask him to continue and complete the quote, nor did we ask him what it was from. Alas! Probably too late...
Christopher Coleman

My father (1898-1965) used frequently to utter the phrase "aha, she cried, waving her wooden leg". I always assumed this was one of the nonsense phrases used by soldiers in World War I, in which my father fought. I know nothing else about the phrase.
David Brown

My grandfather used to quote: "Too late,too late the maiden cried as she waved her wooden leg". A delightful phrase, but no idea of its origins. He was born in 1900 in Australia, and was a fraction too young to serve in WWI.

Another of his favourites was: "Damn it said the Duchess, again spitting in the fire". Would love to know the origins of these!
Karen Lambert

My father's family says, '"Too late, too late" she cried as she waved her wooden leg in the moonlight'. He was born in 1935. Could this not be a poem but perhaps a line from a comedy radio show?
Rilke M

Father's family remembers it as probably from Melluish Bros. A Fruity Melodrama (Only a Mill Girl or The Doings at the Hall) - Bobby Comber, Robert Treddinick, Fabia Drake, Fred Douglas and Alex McGill, Recorded in 1936
Rilke M

My father told me ( in 1947 ) that there was a ?French intellectual who claimed that he could interpret any poem ever written.
Some one created poem that commenced and maybe even finished with?"Too late" she cried and waved her wooden leg. And they all danced round and round until the gunpowder ran out of the heels of their shoes"
This defied interpretation!!!
dean southwood

Lowering the tone, my mum's quote is
'too late! too late! she cried in vain, ...the cat has licked it up again!'
Tracey Penna

We used to say "Aha, she cried, as she waved her wooden leg and cast her glass eye into the distance". or sometimes it started "too late, she cried" but always ended with the bit about the glass eye. I have no idea where it came from.
Norma Mackay

My memory of it is that it was the title of a picture in a gallery.
marie gordon

A friend quoted it to me as "Aha, she cried, and raised her wooden leg and sprinkled the audience with sawdust.' She asked me if I knew the source- So I googled it --and got all of you!
Diane Keating

"Too late, too late" she cried as she waved her wooden leg to and fro, fro and to....

is what my sister-in-law used to say! No idea where it came from which is why I googled it! Surprised to see so many comments about it! I thought it was an original remark of my sister-in-law's!
Sylvia Schulman

I can't believe it! I went online to search for the origin of my mother's (RIP) oft declared "'Too late!' she cried as she waved her wooden leg." only to find this website! We are Australian but obvioiusly the quote is not from Aus. I guess I'll keep researching.
Lisa Williams

My Dad used this expression in the 50's when I was a child but I only remember the "Too late, too, the woman cried as she waved her wooden leg!" My Dads Mum was Scottish and his Dads folk came from the Gold mining fields near Castlemaine Who knows?
Lynne Anderson

I know it as "Too late, too late she cried, and waved her wooden leg, and the chicken flew out of the window". I would love to know where it comes from, but have never been able to find it in dictionaries of quotations, etc. It sound as if it may be music hall or something similar.
Sarah Thompson

Apparently my grandad many times said to my dad "too late, too late she cried"
we also googled "too late she cried"and found you people lurking on this website
Harry Meek 12 yrs Australia

Indeed, my mother used to say;
"Too late", she cried, as she waved he wooden leg!
Whenever some said "too late"

It's something I'd always just accepted until one day I actually thought about it's meaning and found it somewhat lacking! When I asked Mom why she said it she said she believed it came from a story set in the early Australian pioneering times. A period which was harsh and physically taxing to just exist on a day to day basis.

In those days a man took a wife to run the household and physical strength and stamina far outweighed 'beauty' as we interpret it today.

As the story goes, this woman who had only one leg was desperate to get married, and managed to hide her condition from a gentleman who she wed. After the contracts were signed, she revealed her secret, but by then it was too lat... well it's a theory at any rate ;-)
Alexa Herrmann

my mother in Bendigo had connections to farming, soldiering, english and pioneers oft quoted when we missed out ;-
"too late she cried as she waved her wooden leg and her tin britches rattled in the breeze" and "what's not fair _ a black fellows bottom"
Mike C

I was born in the East End of London in the early 50s, my Mum, Aunt and Nan always cried with a flourish
' Too late, too late she cried as she waved her wooden leg'
- I say it too but have no idea where it came from - the mystery deepens!!
Ruth Dennehy

The version my late mother used to come out with 40-odd years ago was "Aha, she cried as she waved her wooden leg -- only one shoe to clean now!"

I would dearly love to know where that originates from.

Michael Terry

My Latin teacher in High School used to say this. She was in her 40's/50's at the time and was from England.
Heather Jamieson

My mother and father, born 1908 and 1905 respectively. both in South Africa of Dutch (not Afrikaans) English and Swedish decent, used to say frequently, "Too late, she cried and waved her wooden leg!" Unfortunately it never occured to me when I was a child in the 50's, to ask them where it came from. But it's not exclusively Australian. More likely of British origin.
Janine Bjorkman

My Mum's version was "too late! she cried, and waved her wooden leg."
Other comments below:
the bit about "the gunpowder ran out the heels of their shoes" was from the nonsense paragraph about the Grand Panjandrum, supposed to be impossible to memorise.
And there was an echo of:
"After the ball is over
See her take out her glass eye..."
Jenny Chisholm

There (part) version I remember is 'Too late she cried as she waved her wooden leg and through her glass eye in the sea. She sailed...' A fellow student at the University of Canberra in the early 1980s knew the whole verse which is where I first heard it. Her name is Elizabeth Pugh but I haven't been in contact with her since we graduated. Her father was in the Australian Navy. My grandfather was in the Royal Navy and my father says it was a popular saying in navy circles in the 1930s.

Karen Deighton-Smith

My father used the phrase "too late, too late she cried in vain as she waved her wooden leg aloft". He was canadian, fought in wwII, and had a pocket full of unusual sayings to fit the occasion.
Dick Kennedy

as her glass eye glittered in the sun and her apple pickers fluttered in the breeze.
Sorry I know no more
Neil Standfield

I was excited to read this but disappointed not to see my mother's version .. "To late, too late she cried waving her wooden leg wildly" English Midlands 1940s
Felicity Beech

I first this years ago from a patient in a nursing home where I worked and it was imprinted directly into my brain! It seems many people have heard of it and similar derivatives

Such as :- Too late! she cried too late! as she waved her little wooden leg and died

Michael Kater

My dad. born in 1924, had several weird sayings that he said he picked up in WWII from an Aussie soldier that he met over in New Zealand. " 'Aha' she cried as she waved her wooden leg in the breeze" is one, and " 'I see' said the blind man as he grabbed his hammer and saw." is another. Common place sayings in our house, but never knew where they came from, other than an anonymous soldier.
Suzie janney

"too late she cried and waved her wooden leg".
My grandfather used to say this, I've always wanted to know where it came from. He was from Ballarat (Victorian goldfields again as in the Castlemaine example), born 1888 and in mounted troopers in WWI. So there does seem an early Australian/Australian army link.
Liesl O

I worked in printing in Scotland,with an old man in the 1950/60, who used to proclaim, "Good heavens,she cried and waved her wooden leg and died"
ARENA Breck-Paterson

My mum's (b.1927) version is "Too late, too late, too late she cried as she waved her wooden leg." Just a slight variation, but reading everyone else's there is a rhythm which implies poetry. That's all I can offer, we are also Australian with Scottish forebears and mum had two brothers in the army in WWII.
Mandy Brown

I can date it back to the 1940's. My Mother frequently used "too late too late the maiden cried" and I can also remember the wooden leg line. Mother was a fourth generation New Zealander at that time.
Rod Gates

Glad yet frustrated that I am not the only one searching for the answer to this question. My mum's version is "Right she said as she waved her wooden leg in the air". Or sometimes she replaces the word right with Too Late. Mum was born on the Isle of Man in the 50s however her mother was from Liverpool. I started searching because my boss also uses the phrase and a couple of us at work were wondering where it came from.
Erin Douglas

I have read the previous 35 comments, and have enjoyed it. I have made this search before and never found anything. Today, I came up with two "hits."

I agree with David Brown and others, my Mom said it as "aha she cried! She waived her wooden leg!" and the AHA was very excited. Sometimes it was after locating something she had been looking for...

Mom lived from 1917-1992 and came from rural Wisconsin. She was also a fan of the old radio shows. Her other expression was from Fibber McGee & Molly "T'ain't funny McGee" usually after one of my practical jokes.

The Austrailian comments are interesting. In 1857 when her grandmother came to America from England with a sick aunt - the rest of the family moved to Austraila. When Mom was in school, they were still in contact with those cousins and used letters from them in school "pen pal" projects.

Allen Sharkey

As I remember it

"Too late too late" she cried
As she waived her wooden leg
And bounced her rubber falsies on the floor.
edward Smith

My Dad, born in London in the 1920s, used to pronounce "Enough's enough the maiden cried , as she waved her wooden legs and died." I have no idea where this came from or what it really means.
Roger Warwick

I can't believe it either! I went online to search for the origin of my mother's phrase "'Too late, too late" she cried as she waved her wooden leg" to find there are so many others looking into the origins of this funny little phrase. My mother no doubt heard this phrase from her parents - she was born in 1921 and lived in Melbourne in her youth.
Cate Parkinson

'Too late, too late!' she cried
And dropped her wooden leg and died.

This was the version I always heard and repeated - but recently I heard this variant

'Too late. too late' said Mary to Kate
As she banged her wooden leg on the table.

The similar parody about a woman with an artificial limb is
'She stood on bridge at midnight
Her lips were all a-quiver.
She gave a cough, and her leg fell off
And floated down the river'

I wonder where they all come from?
Hylary Kingham

I too remember this phrase being used by my parents. Also other versions of it like "too late, too late was the cry the man with the lemons has just passed by".
I asked my dad about it back when I was 11 (in 1964) and he said it came from and old hymn ans was then misquoted deliberately in melodramas in Old Time Music Hall, also was often used in traditional Punch & Judy Shows.
Thought I'd mention that, but probably just another blind alley.
Steve Evans

In my family, going back to my grandmother's account in the early nineteen-fifties, the version was:
"Alas, too late, too late, she cried, as she waved her wooden leg upon the mantelpiece'.
I wonder whether it was from Edward Lear, who wrote so much nonsense verse, but do not know.
Phillip Hamilton

My whole family has always said:
"Too late she cried, waving her wooden leg out of the window."
It was something Eric said on Morecambe and Wise, I think.
Might have been Harry Secombe on The Goon Show.
One of those!
Derek And Kong

My mom , born in 1918 used to quote it as this," ahah she cried, as she waved her her wooden leg, and the splinters filled the breeze!"
Carol Werner

My dad used to quote 'on, on, she cried waving her wooden leg' and as a separate phrase 'too late, too late'. I don't know where the first comes from but the second, I understood to refer to Queen Victoria's first comment on hearing about the success of Kitchener in Khartoum at the Battle of Omdurman ie too late to save General Gordon.
Sandra Speares

The version I recall is "Too late, too late the maiden cried, And waved her wooden leg and died!"
I first heard this on a comedy radio show in the early sixties and for the life of me, cannot think who were in the show although it sounds suspiciously like something Spike Milligan woukld have said. An attenuated version was, "Thank you kind sir the lady said, And waved her wooden leg". Which might have originated in an Edward Lear nonsense rhyme.
Nowadays it is occasionally used as a form of put-down to someone considered to be talking nonsense while endeavouring to sound serious.
Warwick Onyeama

I grew up in England in the 60s and the version I remember, which my have derived from either post-rugby match singalongs in the clubrooms or on the coach back home, or else in the army cadets, went:

Too late, too late the Maiden cried,
The dirty deed was done ...

And there was more I think, but, possibly fortunately, I can't be sure ...!
Robin Burns

seems to be based on Lord Ullin's daughter.by Thomas Campbell
Alex Henderson

My 94 year old Nanny uses this phrase. I ended a relationship with a guy who she claims was not good enough for me. When I told her he kept ringing me saying I will change, please give me another chance - she claimed with a glint in her eye "too late she cried as she waved her wooden leg!" I thought she made it up! she is also from Ballarat as others in this thread have mentioned. I am going to ring her now & find out where she thinks it is from! Perhaps her parents used to say it. Stay tuned my friends........
Anna Robinson

My dad (aussie) brought us up with this saying "Too Late! she cried as she waved her wooden leg and sailed off to sea singing the Marseillais backwards". Don't know where it originated but boy it gets us some strange looks.
Marie Linton

My grandmother, also from Ballarat, would say, "too late, she cried, as she waved her wooden leg".

how funny.

Justin Steinmetz

well I have a theory ..
that its about the gallows, the wooden leg being a slang term for same, and the too late, too late therefore being about maybe a pardon coming through or someone else's confession.

well, its a theory!
patrick cornwell

My mother, born in 1919 used also to quote, "too late she cried & waved her wooden leg". Or it may have started with my grandmother who was born in England in the 1880's. It has become part of our family sayings we all use, but none of us knows where it comes from either.

Gran used also say " ohh,...it's black over Bill's mother's" when Someone was in a bad mood or if it looked like a storm was brewing...but I think that came from the fact that when she was a girl bad weather always blew in from the direction of "bill's mother's" house.

My grandparents used to say something like "Too late she cried, as she waved her wooden leg, and bulged behind her fan". I too have been looking for its source. Both from Melbourne, and my grandfather fought in both WW1 and WW2.
Yoni Prior

Both my mother and her sister, born early in the last century in Essex, at appropriate moments sometimes commented, 'Too late, too late, she cried in vain, waving her wooden leg'.
Shirley Shelton

Whenever I, or anyone, said "Ah ha" within earshot of my father he would finish with "she said as she waved her wooden leg". I am afraid I am now guilty of doing the same to anyone who says "Ah ha" in my presence. Unfortunately he died about 20 years ago, so I can't find out where he picked it up from. It is great to find everyone else is as flummoxed as I am!!!
Vicky Kalnins

I first heard this from my father,-The story went that a gentleman was whirling his partner in a fast waltz when she cried-"Stop ,stop , you are unscrewing my wooden leg". Only to fall down crying "Too late ,too late and waved her wooden leg aloft."
haig hamilton

My grandmother (1897-1978), born and brought up in Woolwich, London, used to say: "Oh dear, she cried, waved her wooden leg and died". I have no idea why!
Gordon White

My grandfather, born 1904, lived all his life in Bendigo, in the Victorian goldfields. I often hear him exclaim:
"Too late!" she cried, as she waved her wooden leg,
And her silk dress rustled
And her tin drawers rattled.

This is similar, but not identical to an expression recorded by another writer here, who traces its origin to a Bendigo source.
Michael Anderson

'She stood on bridge at midnight
Her lips were all a-quiver.
She gave a cough, and her leg fell off
And floated down the river'

I wonder where they all come from?
Hylary Kingham

That is one of Ken Dodd's, almost certainly a parody of Billy Bennett's: She was poor but she was honest
This site won't allow the link but if you type in his name and the title it will doubtless tuen up.

Tracey Penna,
I like your offering a lot.

Sadly (apart from the fact that there are several rugby club type songs which are completely inappropriate) I have nothing to offer.
Harold Angell

My late father would recite the following after consuming
A considerable amount of Claret.

"Too late she cried and waved her wooden leg,
They're coming through the window.
The whip, the whip, nothing but the whip,
Nothing but the whip?
........... ".
I can't remember anything more. It's a phase I use occasionally now when something has just happened. My boys ( all in their 20's use the same phrase.
Stuart Weston

My Father (1928 - 2012) often would cry out "too late too late the maiden cried and waved her wooden leg!" if anyone said too late. He was a third generation New Zealander with a Scottish Father. I never really thought too much about it until I realised it made no sense at all!
Sacha Dick

American here. My grandfather (born in 1923) used to sing a little ditty that went like this: "Oh she cried and she sighed as she waved her wooden leg. No tobaccy (chewing tobacco), no tobaccy, no tobaccy could she make/bake". I never thought much about it but now I wonder where he heard it.
Terry Olsen

I have always used..."too late, she cried as she waved her wooden leg". I have no idea where I got it from - I saw mentioned in comments the possibility of Morcombe and Wise, or the Goons being the responsible parties.

That does sound rather familiar...
Kendel Jemmeson

My dad always said "aha she cried as she waived her wooden leg and her glass eye fell down the toilet" there was more but I can't remember exactly!

Sue Anglian

My grandmother used to use this quote, but it was longer than above:

"Too late," she cried
As she waved her wooden leg above the crowd
And the ship pulled away from the quay.
Wendy Carey

My father used to say, "Too late she cried as she wildly waved her wooden leg". I don't know why and I wish I'd asked him. He was born in 1906 and served in England in the Air Force in WWII. He had other wacky sayings like, "I see, said the blind man, who couldn't see at all".
Bill B

My workmate in Taranaki, New Zealand in the 60's used it as "Too late, too late, she cried and waved her wooden leg dolefully" which I found very funny. But yesterday my sister-in-law from Dunedin used the phrase (without the dolefully), being the first time I'd heard it for years. She said her mother used it and she was from Scotland.
I do like the story of the groom finding out too late his bride had a wooden leg. Can't believe we can't find out where it came from!
Miriam Martin

My mother (born 1907 in a small town in New York State) had a version that reads "Aha, she cried, as she waved aloft her wooden leg", used to express surprise at finding something. No contacts with England or Australia, centuries in NE USA. One of many such sayings that she used. Also "T'ain't so, McGee."
Esther Martin

I always heard it as "Too late, she cried, as she waved her wooden leg and said goodbye in Spanish". Like everyone else, I have no idea where it came from, but I always thought I heard it on The Goon Show. It's exactly the sort of nonsense they specialised in. So I'm none the wiser as to its origin, but much wiser as to its universality (in variations).
Helen Gardner

My soulmate (RIP) used to say 'Too late she cried as she waved her wooden leg and they both giggled'. No idea where he got this from, and always wondered, so just thought I'd Google it and look what I found . . . Lots more versions with lots more questions?? Ah, but that's the fun of life!
May Andrew

My mother was also born in a small town in western New York State, twenty years later than Esther Martin's. Her family's version of the phrase was " 'Too late!' she cried, as she waved her wooden leg in defiance of the crowd."

"Tain't so, McGee," which Ms. Martin also mentions, is a catchphrase from "Fibber McGee and Molly," a radio show that ran in the U.S. in the 1930's and 40's. Another radio-related phrase is "coming on like 'Gangbusters'," the introduction to which was very loud, with gunfire and squealing brakes. (Or so says my father--it was long before my time.)
Paul Littlefield

My Mother always sung:
Ahah she cried, as she waved her wooden leg aloft, and dyed her hair a fiery red. I will not eat your Mother's pie crust, no she said, I'd rather die fust.

She was born and raised in Suffolk and this was sung with a Suffolk accent.

Sylvia Jones

My mother used the expression "Too late she cried, in Spanish, as she waved her wooden leg...."!
This was usually used as comment when something had happened and was beyond recovery, but also sometimes just as a comment
. Never had an explanation of where this expression came from, although mum did spend some time in South Africa in the 1940s. Don't know if this is where she heard it or not.,
John Dixon

Mother frequently used the phrase. She was born in 1915, grew up in England and emigrated to South Africa in 1948. Father maintained it was part of a Music Hall song from the 1930s. There was no Australian connection.
Jill Winter

My mum was born in the east end in the twenties and has always used this expression "too late was the cry, as she waved her wooden leg"

Wendy Coy

I know it as 'Alas, Alas the maiden cried, she shook her wooden leg and died!'
I can't remember if it was my mother or my father who used to say this when we were children in the 1960s (maybe it was both). They are both dead now, so I can't ask them.
juliette young

My Polish-American grandfather always said "Oho, she cried and waved her wooden leg... They didn't know that when I sat down at the piano I had a hole in my pants..."
Lynne Hale

My mother who was born in Australia in 1917 used the phrase "too late she cried as she waved her wooden leg! " mum always said it was what her mum always said!? I say it all the time much to the bafflement of everyone!
Ruth Haines

I feel sure that "Too late, Too late she cried and waved her wooden leg" came from a music hall drama "Only a Mill Girl or the Doings at the Hall" as suggested by one contributor. I served in the Royal navy in WW2 and also remember the following version
"Too late she cried and waved her wooden leg,
They're coming through the window.
The whip, the whip, anything but the whip,
Anything but the whip?
being recited at on board concerts.
Ron Penn

I see she cried as she waived her wooden leg
stabbed in the back with a carrot
Mother pass the beets.
claire stovesand

My father, born in Melbourne Australia in 1928, used to say ' "Too late, too late!" she cried, as she waved her wooden leg.' I loved this expression as a child and he always used to say it almost automatically whenever anyone else said that something was 'late' or 'too late'. So I don't think he meant it as an idiom, it was more of an instant word association for him. I think he got it from his own father who was born in Melbourne, Australia in the 1890s and fought in WWI. Grandpa died in 1947 when dad was only 17 but I think that phrase was something he heard a lot as a child. Also another weird one which I'd love to know more about is '"Home, James, and don't spare the horses!"' This was from my mother who grew up in Scotland and London during WWII. Sometimes she just abbreviated it to, '" Home, James!"' She also just used it contextually, I. e, when we were leaving somewhere to travel home.
Astrid Wootton

My dad, who was born in 1926, and served in WWII (Philippines), and who often misquoted things, used to say:

"'Ho, Ho!' she cried in accents wild, and waved her wooden leg on high!" Has anyone heard THAT variation? Also, given the number of world war veterans who spoke recited all these variations, could whatever song or poem this came from been part of someone's USO performance?
Phil Kean

My grandmother was raised in Glasgow, Scotland about 140 years ago. She used to say, "Thank you kindly, Sir, she said and shook her wooden leg and died".
George Doyal

My Grandma, born 7/28/1900, used to frequently say: Thank you kindly sir she said, as she waved her wooden leg. She was a funny old gal.
wade stallings

My Great Grandmother born 1911, would say "Too late, she cried, in accents wild, as she tore up the papers, and burned up the child." A little morbid, but I assume there is some history there, itay have been translated from Yiddish or Russian? Has anyone heard this before
Haley Davis

My version is . Ha Ha she cried ,the kids boss eyed, her mother needs an eye glass.
H E Hamer

As I remember.. " Too late, too late she cried as she waived her wooden leg and the wind blew through the knot hole in her knee. My interpretation is purely MY conjecture, when something happens which is monumental liken to our recent political issues here in the US,( NOT a fan of the Trumpster,) . Many complain, many disagree but no one did anything about it when they could/should have.!! Also ... closing the barn door after the animals have bolted. Sorry also have no idea of it's origin. I use it when I feel helpless in various given situations.
Ann Venditto

My mother, born in 1919 would often say;
"Too late, too late", will be the cry as Dobsons Ice Cream cart goes by. She used it when we forgot to do things or to emphasises the consequences of procrastinating over things we needed to do. I've always assumed it was something she'd heard her mother say as grandmother was full of rhymes, quotes and misquotes.
Dick Bailey

Too late, too late she cried as she waved her wooden leg and her glass eye glittered in the moonlight.
Paul ryan

my uncle used to say hooray she cried as she waved her wooden leg and slung her water a mile and a quarter.
robert spiers

My mother told me that after anyone said "my god.." my grandmother, from Liverpool, born 1881, would add
"said the countess as she waved her golden leg".
I presume this is a corruption (or her own variation?) of "wooden leg". Has anyone else ever heard the golden version?
Erica Malcomson

My father (1942 -2010) used to say:

"Too late, she cried as she waved her wooden leg aloft. At last, at last, I have my revenge."

When asked what it meant, he said it was the punchline from a rude joke that we were too young to hear - even when we were in our 30s. Unfortunately he took his secret to the grave with him.
Julie Lamberth

A family saying of ours used to be:

"Too late she cried, her kids boss-eyed and waved her wooden leg and died."

I dont know where it comes from!
Aidan Bickersteth

Like others, I thought the question Google led me here! I know it as "Too late!" she cried, as she waved her wooden leg. But I cannot recall who I got it from! I feel it was either my parents or my inlaws - of who only my father-in-law survives. he is 81 and I will ask him.

I do feel The Goons may have been the link: both my mother and my father-in-law were fans and somewhow, it does seem like a Spike Milligan thing to say! But perhaps it harks back to music hall days?

I am in Melbourne, my mother was born near Wagga, my father near Mildura. My father in law in the UK, my mother in law locally, with Scottish forebears.
Yvette O'Dowd

I heard the phrase as follows: Aha , She cried, as she shook her wooden leg with GLEE and slapped it in the butter !! This came from an amateur actor and full time histrionic by the name of Lynn Edward Lucas of Houston, Texas now deceased.
Marc Wohlbier

My mother (born in Dulwich, London in 1932) still says, 'Ah me, she sighed, and waved her wooden leg, and died.' Having heard this all my life, I'm struggling to think that there are different versions!!
Gill Coombs

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