An officious Policeman

Asenath Nicholson
Chapter XXV (6) | Start of Chapter

I almost regretted reaching the town of Outerard, but here found pleasant accommodations, and in the morning passed out to walk through the town while the car was getting ready. A policeman stepped up, "Are ye Lady Clare, ma'am?" "I am not Lady Clare, sir, but Mrs. N. from New York." "From New York! and what brought you here?" "To see you, sir, and the rest of the good people of Ireland." "To see me, ah! and you know it's my duty to inquire of every suspicious person that comes along what their business is." "Indeed, sir! every suspicious person! And is it your duty to ask every person who passes peaceably through your country what his business is, and to give an account of himself?" "It is, ma'am." "Then you have duties which no other policeman understands, for I have travelled a great part of Ireland, and the police-officers have treated me with the greatest kindness." He turned away, went to the sergeant, and asked him if he should arrest me. The officer told him no, to be off about his business; and the woman who accompanied me lectured him so severely for "tratin' a dacent body so," telling him he was "a saucy red-head," that he walked away, silenced, if not ashamed.

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.