Mr. Nangle's Weekday Lecture

Asenath Nicholson
Chapter XXVI (10) | Start of Chapter

The next afternoon the weekly lecture at the church in the colony was to be held, and I inquired if any one would allow me to accompany him or her to the place of worship. The answer was, "You need no one; go in, and there is a woman there who will show you a seat." Mr. Barrett accompanied me in sight of the place; told me that the females living near his house, with whom I had often conversed, had gone in, and he and his family could not attend that afternoon. This was all legible hand-writing, easily to be read. I went, saw no seat, and stood till every person except the speaker probably might have testified to the color of my hair and eyes, before I was shown a seat. At last a female handed me a stool or small bench, and I took a seat, not far distant from the feet of the preacher. The meeting was not in the main body of the church, but in a school-room. The room was cleanly, the people attentive, the sermon not faulty, and the females dressed tidily. Mr. Nangle must have been apprised of the object of my visit, as I had sent to him either by note or by a member of his church, that I wished from his own lips to get a sketch at least of the success of his mission, for the sole benefit of the American press, as it would be an object of great interest to us. When the amen was pronounced, being so near him, the assembly not large, and the room not a public one, I could not but reasonably expect, without requiring any marked attentions, that he would give me a nod in passing, if not stop to speak. He turned quickly about, addressed a lady of the congregation, and I waited perhaps with too much perseverance, hoping I might yet speak to him; till so many had retired that I withdrew, without a word being spoken by an individual, but not without a most faithful staring, till I was well from the door.

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.