An Aged Pilgrim

In the family where I lodged resided the mother of the mistress of the house, and she was a character worthy of a place in a better journal than mine. She had seen more than four-score years, yet her intellect was clear, and though infirm, not peevish; cleanly and attractive in her person. By her bed-side I passed many a pleasant hour, reading to her attentive mind the Word of God. One evening, after reading, she added, "What blessed words! what blessed words! and may I ask you what you think of the Virgin?" I told her, and added, as I have ever done, the reason why I do not worship her; "because God had not enjoined it;" and then read the 18th and 19th verses of the last chapter of Revelations. She exclaimed, "O my God! what have I done if this be true? what have I done? God have mercy on me." She continued this for some time, she wept, and prayed that God might forgive her; and during my stay, whenever she heard my footsteps in an adjoining room, she would inquire if I were coming in, and if I would read, still continuing the lamentation about the blessed Virgin. "What shall I do! what shall I do!" she often asked, and was as often told to go to Jesus; and I believe she did go.

Ireland’s Welome to the Stranger is one of the best accounts of Irish social conditions, customs, quirks and habits that you could wish for. The author, Mrs Asenath Nicholson, was an American widow who travelled extensively in Ireland on the eve of the Great Famine and meticulously observed the Irish peasantry at work and play, as well as noting their living conditions and diet. The book is also available from Kindle.