Tour to Belmullet

Asenath Nicholson
Chapter V (2) | Start of Chapter

We reached Belmullet; he secured me a lodging; but the rector called and invited me to spend the time at his house, and I did so. But here was a place which might justly be called the "fag-end" of misery. It seemed to be a spinning out of all that was fearful in suffering, and whoever turned his eye there needed no other point of observation, to see all that famine and pestilence could do. It appeared like a vast crucible, where had been concocted all that was odious, all that was suffering; and which had been emptied, leaving the dregs of the mass unfit for any use.

Well did James Tuke say, in his graphic description of Erris, that he had visited the wasted remnants of the once noble Red Man in North America, and the "negro-quarter" of the degraded and enslaved African; but never had he seen misery so intense, or physical degradation so complete, as among the dwellers in the bog-holes of Erris.

"Figure and mien, complexion and attire,

Are leagued to strike dismay."