Perilous Transit

But the getting home was the next question. Determining to cross the river when anything like probability appeared, I saw something tolerable, though my watchful guide said we should "be destroyed" getting through the bog and rushes on the other side. So engrossed were my thoughts on what I had seen at the Eagle's Nest, that I heeded neither the admonitions of the careful child nor the peril that lay in my path. I stepped upon the rocks, not once looking or thinking what might impede me on the other side, telling the girl to go on before me. She insisted, "Ye'd be lost, ye cannot get up the bank," but after much hesitation she reluctantly obeyed. I soon found myself in a perilous situation; the rocks slippery and far asunder, the water deep and turbid, and my Indian rubber shoes were the most unpromising part of my security, as I could neither take them off, nor maintain my position, but with a great effort. I saw my folly and commended the wisdom of the child, whom I directed to take a horizontal direction up the bank, and with a kind of vacant anxiety bordering on petrifaction, I watched till her well-guided feet stood on the steep bank over my head. What could I do? To retrace my steps or stay where I was, looked alike impossible, and to try to ascend the bank would be almost madness. There was no alternative but onward. I clasped a bunch of hanging twigs, they loosened the earth, and I felt myself sliding. The presence of mind of the guardian angel Mary saved me; she caught the twigs, and with an almost supernatural grasp she said, "Take hold of the top, lady, and I will hold fast at the bottom so that you can't pull them up." It was done, I was on the bank, and not till I looked down the precipitous steep did I realize the presumptuous step I had taken. But my stupidity was God's instrument to save me; my mind was so absorbed on what I had seen, that it was deadened to everything beside, and fear or concern was not awakened. The watchful child, as though my life had been intrusted to her care, guided my way with the discretion of an experienced general.

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.