Filial Affection

Asenath Nicholson
Chapter XXV (17) | Start of Chapter

The next morning I had hoped to visit the island of Clare, a distance of fourteen miles, but was disappointed in getting a boat, and turned my steps through a beautiful wood on Lord Sligo's estate. Half a mile took me to a house, out of which came a mother, two daughters, and a grand-daughter of six years old. This child's mother was in America, and had been gone nearly four years; but so indelibly fixed was the mother in the mind of the child, that every woman that is a stranger she hopes may be the one she ardently desires to see. When she found I was from America, it was affecting to see the imploring look she cast upon me. The mother bade her daughter to accompany me through the wood, telling the grand-daughter to go into the house. The child obeyed, but we soon heard her in pursuit. She plucked the bluebell and primrose, and presented them to me; broke great boughs from the hawthorn, and filled my hands; looking with such a winning confidence into my face, that I wished her away. She followed me to the cabin where I stopped, and for three hours sat near me; her aunt could not persuade her to return, neither could I, but by giving her a look; and then she lingered and looked after me till she could see me no more.

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.