A Timely Supply

I hastened to the post-office with anxiety, and found a letter enclosing two pounds ten, with a bundle of Bibles and tracts from the same kind clergyman who had been the instrument, at my first setting out, of getting the Bibles from the Hibernian Society. I wept tears of gratitude, that I, a stranger in a strange land, should be so carefully remembered. I went to the coach-office, for though the carriage was paid in Dublin, yet eighteen pence more was demanded, or the books could not be given. This was another trick played upon me by Bianconi's agents; I paid it, resolving never to have any more to do with his agents or cars. I have observed throughout Ireland two classes of men with a superabundant capital of insolence—post-masters, and the agents of coaches and canal-boats. Civility seems to be lost on them, more than on any others I met in the country. This I attributed to two causes; the hurry and perplexity of their business, and the pride of being so exalted above the spade, in a country where stations above the peasant's lot are so enviable.

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.