Roshine Lodge

Asenath Nicholson
Chapter IV (6) | Start of Chapter

Rain hurried us to our dinner, and poured upon us, during the ride of eight miles, in darkness, to the cottage of Dungloe. A little incident occurred this evening, which happily testified to a remark made by Mr. Forster, in a letter to a committee, during the famine. Speaking of the starving poor, he says, "They are suffering most patiently, and in this parish, where there are ten thousand souls, not one single outrage has ever been committed in the memory of man."

Mrs. Forster and myself in our retreat and hurry had neglected to shut the hall door; in the morning it was quite open and the hall floor covered with water. "What a dangerous condition," I said, "is this, to leave a house at night, especially in a time of hunger, as the present." "Not in the least," was the answer; "I should not be afraid to leave every door unlocked at night, and every window open, with food or any other property in reach; not the least iota would be touched by one of them." This was self-discipline, which can scarcely be reconciled with hunger in any stomachs but the Irish.

A letter from Mrs. Griffith, in the spring of 1849, says, that the people of Arranmore had recovered their former standing, that relief was immediately sent from England, and they had saved as much for seed as they could, and not starve. Five hundred died from famine on that island. The potatoe was not blasted the following year, and they again looked up with tolerable comfort. The island has since been sold, and cultivation will be carried on upon a more extensive and profitable scale. Could a new race of landlords settle upon that coast, and drain and plow the now useless soil, the tenants that are drooping and discouraged, would lift up their heads with joy and hope. The air blows as pure as ever breezes did; and were industry encouraged, and food abundant, the inhabitants would cause the grave-digger to have the same source of complaint that once was made in the South, when a poor woman exclaimed, "The times are dreadful, ma'am, Patrick has not put a spade to the ground this six weeks, not a word of lyin."