A returned Emigrant

I had left the cabin when the mother called after me, "Will ye call, lady, upon Mrs. L——. She lives on the hill; she is rich, and could do anything for ye that ye might be wantin'. She's a good and a kind lady to the poor." Assuring her I had not come to visit the rich, and that I had enjoyed a good dinner in her cabin, she then pointed me to a family who had spent some years in America, and returned with a handsome fortune. I went to the house; the mistress was gone, but going to the barn, I found the man busied at work, who appeared quite Americanised. He told me much of New York, for he had left it since I had. He was whole and tidy, and made quite a contrast to the tattered one working with him. "You must go in, and take some dinner with us," he said. "I have had some potatoes, sir, and do not need any."

"Potatoes!" he answered, disdainfully. "You can't eat potatoes. I know what you have in America, and how you all live." For a half hour I felt transported to New York, forgetting that I had ten miles to walk, with a basket on my arm, in Ireland, alone. This man ten years before went to New York, with his newly married wife, not worth a pound; both went out to service, and both laid by money, and have now returned with a pretty fortune, "to lay their bones," as he said, "on the old soil."

"This goin' to America," said the laboring man, "makes the Irish, when they come home, quite altered entirely."

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.