Reading with Servants

December 3d.—Another night of darkness and terrible storm. The lightning threw a blue luster upon everything,—the affrighted daughters turned pale,—the mother sat in a dark corner, now and then giving a stifled groan,—shrinking before the voice of Jehovah when he thundered in the heavens. The next morning while the tempest was still high, a sorrowing old mother and young wife had come, bearing on a cart the body of the son who was drowned on the 9th. The white coffin besmeared with tar stood upon the pier; the mother, wife, and sisters were beside it, mingling their loud lamentations with the storm. "He was as fine a young lad as ever put the oar across the curragh, and had the larnin' intirely," said the old mother.

The scenes on this coast that dreadful winter, are scenes of awful remembrance, and one bright spot alone cheered the sadness. It had been the practice for the mother and daughters to assemble in a retired room in the evening for reading the scriptures and prayer. One evening a daughter of the family came from the kitchen with the strange glad message, that one of the laboring men had requested that the lady should, ("if it wouldn't be too much,") come down to the kitchen and read to them there. Joyfully we all went, and found there a company of more than twenty, all quietly seated on forms; the kitchen in the best order, and a bright fire upon the hearth. They all rose as we entered, and one said, "We wouldn't be bold, lady, but may be ye wouldn't refuse to raid a little to us." Testaments were procured—candles lighted—and these simple-hearted rustics in their turn read with us, making comments as we passed, till the scene from the interesting became affecting. We prayed together, and when we rose from our knees, one said, "We never haird so much of the good Christ before." They all thanked me, and gave me hearty blessings, and said good night, calling after me, and "may the good God give ye the long life, and happy death." Every night, when it was possible to do so, the kitchen was put in order, and a messenger sent to ask if the lady was ready. I saw one of these men twenty miles from there, standing by his cart, when he spake (for I did not know him,) "God save ye, lady, we're lonesome without ye entirely, we don't have the raidin', and maybe ye'll come again."

Read "Annals of the Famine in Ireland" at your leisure

Annals of the Famine in Ireland

Read Annals of the Famine in Ireland at your leisure and help support this free Irish library.

This book still has the power to shock and sadden even though the events described are ever-receding further into the past. When you read, for example, of the poor widowed mother who was caught trying to salvage a few potatoes from her landlord's field, and what the magistrate discovered in the pot in her cabin, you cannot help but be apalled and distressed.

The text of this new edition has professionally been reset and an index added to the paperback.


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