Leaving Ballina

Asenath Nicholson
Chapter VII (12) | Start of Chapter

The last day of February, 1848, will be remembered as one that took me reluctantly away from a town and people peculiarly endeared to my heart. I was not coldly hurried away to a coach alone, leaving the family in bed who had taken their farewell the evening before; Miss O'Dowda, Miss Fox, and two little daughters of Peter Kelly accompanied me, and as the high-mettled horse galloped and hurried us away, I looked a sad and tearful adieu. The sun was bright, the meadows on the banks of the Moyne were green, and the ride full of interest. The same sun was shining, the same river flowing—but where were the proud kings with their shields of gold and warlike bearing that once held their sway over this pretty landscape? Dead, dead! some moss-covered stone in a crumbling castle or abbey tells their demise, and the children of the mountains heedlessly trample on the monument. The children, yes, the children of Ireland, cling to my heart beyond and over all else, and when fond remembrance turns to Ballina, the courteous, well-disciplined, affectionate children of Peter Kelly, sometimes make me regret that I ever had seen them, because I shall see them no more. The Irish, both in high life and low, are a pattern to all Christian nations in the early training of their children. No visitor has cause to dread the clamor, in a house, or the confusion and breaking up of all that is comfortable and quiet at table in an Irish family. They are not first at table—first and best served—monopolizing all attention to their own pampered palates—selecting the most palatable food, &c., but seldom are they present with guests, and if so, their demeanor in most cases is an honor to the governess and mother who has disciplined them.