Interview with Mr. and Mrs. Nangle

Asenath Nicholson
Chapter XXVI (11) | Start of Chapter

Saturday was the appointed day for me to call on Mr. Nangle for my letters, and I went with strong hopes that I should through them get access to him, and acquire the desired information. I went to the door; Mrs. N. refused to see me, unless I had a special message. I sent word that I had called for papers which Mr. Nangle had of mine. "Mr. Nangle is in the post-office, and you can go there, the mistress says." I went to the post-office. Mr. Nangle said, "In three-quarters of an hour I will see you at my house." Before I reached his door, the nurse with an infant in her arms met me and kindly said, "Step into the next shop, and when Mr. Nangle comes I will let you know."[21] To that nurse I am for ever obliged. I had no sooner entered, than a company were gathered about me, and without preface or apology, commenced talking of the merits of Ireland, its wealth, especially at Achill, and how much Americans were indebted to the Irish; that though Ireland had the appearance of poverty, yet she was quite comfortable and independent, and that she had carried much money to America.

I had only time to answer that it was a great pity some of it had not circulated among us, either for their benefit or ours, for we certainly had many of them to support. The nurse now entered, saying, "Mr. Nangle has returned," and she led me to the hall. As I passed the window, two or three young misses, the daughters of Mr. Nangle, were looking through it, laughing in a low, vulgar manner; and I was afterwards informed that the governess, who had more good breeding than influence, rebuked them for their rudeness, but to no purpose. The nurse left me seated in the hall, and Mr. Nangle showed me to the parlor, and handed me my letters without adding a word. I asked some questions about the colony. In a few words he told me its prosperity, and ended by saying it exceeded all expectation.

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.