The Scholar with his Iliad

It was now church-time. I returned to town, in company with the young woman and laughing boy, who kept near us down the mountain, a distance of two miles; then leaping over a wall, he left us for chapel. Returning to my lodgings, the woman had locked the door of my room and gone to mass, and I was compelled to wait the return of the light-house keeper in the kitchen, till both church and mass were ended. Twilight was gathering, and the young stranger had not called as she promised, and taking a few tracts and a Douay translation for the old man, I ascended the mountain, and entering the cabin, was cordially welcomed. The gift was gratefully received, and the daughter of the old man accompanied me on, till reaching a gate we met a young man well dressed, with Homer's Iliad in his hand, who politely showed us through the gate to the rock, where in the morning I had lost two tortoise-shell combs, when singing to the boys. The mountain linguist found them, and then read aloud the tract, "The worth of a dollar." He was a good reader, and when I offered the tract as a donation, he answered, "I thank you, ma'am; I have a good library at home, and you had better present it to some one who has no books." I was now forced to resort to the strange fact, that has often been related of Ireland, that among her wildest mountains and glens shepherd boys are found reading and talking Latin.

Darkness was gathering, and showing me through the gate, my learned linguist and cabin-girl bade me a good night, and returned to their smoky abodes in the mountain; and a short walk led me to the light-house, and an apology from the young mother, that she was a stranger in town, and could not find my lodgings, corrected all suspicions.

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.