My attendant, John

Asenath Nicholson
Chapter XVI (5) | Start of Chapter

I found them still in their nest, and after much beating and battering at the crazy door, the old man peeped out, calling, "Who's there? and won't it do as well for me to go?" "I have no choice," replied I. "And will ye get breakfast on the way?" This was a modest hint that I should give him breakfast, though it had been adjusted that he should take his before we left. "I shall return and take mine, and you must take yours at home in the meantime." I said this to keep him to his bargain, intending to give him some when he should call. "In an hour," said the old man,"I will be with ye." The hour had not expired when the old man was at the door, with "We had better take the airly part of the day." He had not stopped for his potatoe, and more than probably he had none, and must get the shilling before the potatoes could come. Dividing the breakfast with the old man, I hurried through mine, and the wallet with all appurtenances was swung upon a stick, and snugly adjusted upon the back of my fellow pedestrian. The modest sisters wished all prosperity, giving a smile as they saw us go out.

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.