Asylum for Unmarried Ladies

Asenath Nicholson
Chapter I (17) | Start of Chapter

As I returned, the novel inscription of a "Asylum for Unmarried Ladies," on the plate of a door, attracted my attention; and I begged the privilege of visiting it. I found this was an institution for single females of respectable character, who were advanced in life, whose means were limited. Here they are provided with shelter, fuel, lights, and furniture; twenty-one females, with every comfort that order and cleanliness could bestow, were here. Each manages her own affairs, such as cooking and taking care of her clothes, as she chooses,—as much so as if in her own house; and such as are able are expected to pay 2s. 6d. per week. This makes them feel an independence which persons in all grades are fond of claiming. Pity, great pity, that bachelors are not taxed with all these expenses, for they above all other men demand the most attention from females when age advances. This institution was formed by two or three young females, and much credit do they deserve for their laudable undertaking. May they find as good a shelter if they shall ever need one!

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.