Pair of Slippers

Asenath Nicholson
Chapter XVIII (13) | Start of Chapter

On my way down the mountain, seeing a most miserable cabin, I ventured through the door, and found it was the home of the mountain boy I had left. He certainly made a happy change when he left the dirty, smoky hovel, where men, women, pigs, and cattle, geese and turkeys, all had one common lodgment, if not one common bed. The old man, the boy's father, said, "he had lived there sixty years, was now in a decline and ould, and hoped, through attention to the duties of the church, to get to heaven at last." He was pointed to the "Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world;" but he could not understand how he could be saved out of his church, nor how he could be lost if he obeyed its mandates. Now for civility and hospitality. The old man said, "an' yer feet are destroyed by the mud, and wouldn't ye have a pair of slippers, and rest yer feet, and stop and take a fresh egg?" Have a pair of slippers! In a hovel like this! All the curiosities of the church-yard now vanished. The egg I did not dispute, for a goose was quietly seated on a nest in the corner, and a hen had just left her's under the cupboard, and was cackling about the room.

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.