Cool Reception

The night's rest had made no improvement in the cabin; the keepers of it had returned, but so refined had they become, that the master, who was standing bolt upright, as if to guard the hole of the floor where the pigs breakfasted (for he was near it), told me as soon as I said "Good morning," that the "mistress was out;" and so she was, for I saw her slide into a little room back of the outer door, as I entered. A short good morning ended the call. These things are not written to ridicule what could not be avoided, nor to expose faults which are and should be kept hidden; but they are written because they might be avoided, and should be censured; they are nuisances which no family, having the light of revelation and the benefits of decent society, should present to the world. They are a libel on the character of Him who is purity itself, and who abhors all that is filthy. Poor human nature!

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.