A Weariful Woman

Asenath Nicholson
Chapter VIII (12) | Start of Chapter

It was a market day, and a goodly company of five came in, and made the cleanly kitchen a depôt for their market lumber, much to the annoyance of the old lady; who, though she pleasantly invited them, yet wondered how they dared be so impudent the moment they had gone out. But at evening, when this family came in, and the father asked the mother what she would drink, and what he should get for the children, it was lovely indeed. The mother drew near this gate of death, taking her children, notwithstanding all my entreaties to leave them out of the gulf, and the children all declaring they did not want it. But the father said his children should fare as well as he did, and so all swallowed the liquid fire together.

Finding I was from America, the good man invited me to his house, for he intended selling off, and going there; and the boys said they would have the lumpers boiled at seven o'clock on the following Monday, if I would walk the five miles to enjoy them. This I promised to do if possible, and said good night. "A fine family, that," said my lame hostess; "he is a great farmer, has some hundreds in the bank, and if he goes to America, he don't go empty handed." So much for the salutary effects of the whiskey on the kind heart of the old lady, towards this annoying family.

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.