A Hungry Man

Asenath Nicholson
Chapter III (13) | Start of Chapter

Passing a gate, we saw a man at work with a small dog, whose emaciated body and trembling skulking manner induced me to say,"Your dog, sir, looks as if you do not feed him enough." "And that I don't," was the answer. "And why not? you should kill him or feed him better." The master made no answer, but that silent eloquence which speaks louder than words. As we walked away, "Poor man!" said the farmer, "he is much of the time hungry himself; he gets but little work, and I doubt not but he is in want of food this minute." The sad proofs of Ireland's woes were then beginning in the county of Wicklow, and I could not enjoy the palatable meal of bread, cream, and fruit, so much did the desponding man and his famished dog annoy me. The sight was then new to me, to see a man in a season of plenty about his avocations without sufficient food to eat, and a faithful dog, meagre and starving, watching and obeying the will of the master. But these have since ceased to be objects of wonder.

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.