Asenath Nicholson
Chapter XVI (8) | Start of Chapter

I now succeeded in keeping pace with my guide for a time, and by dint of management kept John in tolerable mood. He would now and then mutter out that the place was a "devil of a starved one, that not a hap'orth could be got if the heart was broke." Taking the hint, I presented him with a piece of bread from my muff, which appeased for a little his clamor, and we pursued our journey amicably together. But no happiness is unalloyed. On a sudden, a terrible crash was heard, and lo! the handle of the basket had given way. Out tumbled books, Wicklow pebbles, &c., and a complete overturning of all the contents of the wallet took place. With strings and pins, matters were again adjusted in a tolerably good way; but John, in fastening all together, had the shrewdness so to manage that the muff was again turned over to me. Drawing near the town, a cabin of tolerable appearance met our eyes, and the tidiness of the abode was now held out to me as a bait. "She can give as clane a bed as any woman in the kingdom." I heeded not, till the hotel of Glengariff burst upon our view. Here the praises were redoubled—"Ye'd find every convanience, and as chape as any lodgin'-house in all the country." I had, before leaving Bantry, been told there was a private lodging that would serve me better than the hotel, and I determined if possible to spend the Sabbath there. It was a sad mistake. John was the better judge, and should have been obeyed.

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.