The regulation of this soup establishment was a pattern worthy of imitation. The neatness and order of the shop; the comely attired Quaker matrons and their daughters, with their white sleeves drawn over their tidy-clad arms—their white aprons and caps, all moving in that quiet harmony so peculiar to that people; and there, too, at seven in the morning, and again at midday. All this beauty and finish, contrasted with the woe-begone, emaciated, filthy, ragged beings that stood in their turn before them, was a sight at which angels, if they could weep, might weep, and might rejoice too. Often have I stood, in painful admiration, to see the two extremes of degradation and elevation, comfort and misery, cleanliness and filth, in these two classes, made alike in God's image, but thrown into different circumstances, developing two such wide and strange opposites.

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.