An English Prophecy

A cleanly woman, knitting upon a wall, told me she was English; had been in Dublin a year; her health was poor, and she had come out for an airing. "But oh! these miserable beggars. They think they shall get free; but England is so grabbing they never will; and besides there is an ancient prophecy that England is to fight and conquer the whole world, and give them all the gospel."

"Where did you find this prophecy?"

"They say it's in the Bible."

"To what church do you belong?"

"To the Protestant."

"You should read the Bible for yourself, and see if you can find such a prophecy."

"I've a prayer-book"—

Leaving this learned theologian, I found a woman sitting upon a stone, with a basket of gooseberries by her side, from which she had sold but three halfpence farthing's worth since the preceding morning.

"I have three children to feed," said she, "and God knows how I can do it; when they were babies around my feet, I could feed 'em, and put decent clothes on their bodies; but now I can get no work."

For a halfpenny she poured twice the value into my bag, which I refused; when, with the tear in her eye, she said, "You would give more if you had it, and you speak a kind word to the poor; and what's a handful of gooseberries?" Turning to the old men who were breaking stones, I said to them, "You are aged, and how much do you have for this labor?"

"Sixpence ha'penny a day, ma'am."

"Is that all?"

" Ah! that is better than idleness," said the younger, "and my wife gets a job now and then which helps us a little."

Read "Ireland's Welcome to the Stranger" at your leisure

Ireland's Welcome to the Stranger

Read Ireland's Welcome to the Stranger at your leisure and help support this free Irish library.

This book cannot be recommended highly enough to those interested in Irish social history. The author, Mrs Asenath Nicholson, travelled from her native America to assess the condition of the poor in Ireland during the mid 1840s. Her journey took her through the counties of Dublin, Wicklow, Wexford, Tipperary, Cork, Galway, Mayo, Sligo, Cork, Kerry, as well as parts of King's County (now Offaly) and Queen's County (now Laois).

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


Library Ireland Facebook