Start joyfully, with fine weather, and threepence in my purse

Asenath Nicholson
Chapter XI (5) | Start of Chapter

At five in the morning I was down stairs, called for my bill, and was told it was three-pence; nothing for the supper, and half price for climbing a ladder. I had now three pence, and but twenty-six miles before me. I went forth, the clouds were swept from the sky, the stars were looking out; it was December, and the day was just dawning; the grass was green, made young and fresh by the rain, and the morning bird had began his song. I should be ungrateful to say that I was not happy. I was more than happy, I was joyful, and commenced singing. I was standing upon a green bank, admiring the scenery, when the thought occurred to take out my purse, look at my three-pence, and realize, if possible, my true condition. A stranger in a foreign land; a female, alone, walking with but three pence in my possession. I did so, and the sight of the pennies, rude and ungraceful as it might be, caused me to laugh. "What lack I yet?" was my prompt reply, and then was I happy that I had been compelled to test my sincerity in visiting Ireland, and my firm unwavering belief in the promises and care of God.

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.