A question from a colleague in Theater

Marianne Holdzkom's picture


I got this question from a colleague in the Theater Department at my university and I could not answer it.  I told him I would post his question here to see if any of you could help.  It is below:


"I am currently in rehearsal for a play called Abigail/1702, an imagined sequel to The Crucible. Fascinating play about the search for redemption, posing the question, "Is it ever possible to get out from underneath the shadows of your past?" 
Anyway, there is a line in the play with a phrase that is throwing me dramaturgically (as I can't find any research or evidence to help unpack what it is/means). Abigail, recalling an encounter around 1697 when she confronted Judge Sewall in Boston, says, "No one knew me, nor what I'd done. I was a mud-girl--"
So my question is, what was a mud-girl? Was it an occupation like maidservant, or do you think it's a comment about her status or value? Just can't find any evidence of the word/title itself used anywhere." 
I was unaware of the term "mud-girl" and the only reference I could find was modern, in the Urban Dictionary.  I told him I thought the term reflected her status in society as he mentions.  If any of you know more, please let me know!  The idea for the play sounds fascinating--even though there are so many historical problems with Miller's original work!
Dr. Marianne Holdzkom
Associate Professor of History
Kennesaw State University