Another Short Visit to the Colony

Asenath Nicholson
Chapter XXVI (15) | Start of Chapter

On Tuesday morning I returned to the colony, to get a few articles I had left, and to take a letter to the office I had written to Mrs. Nangle, the true copy of which is now in my hands, and should this be thought too severe, that may appear in a second edition. On my way to the colony, I met a stranger returning from Achill who lived in the country. He had some years since become a convert to the Bible, by reading and meditating upon it, and in a few sentences he manifested such a knowledge of his own heart, of the character of God and of the Scriptures, as I had not seen in any person, whether learned or unlearned. He was taught of God, emphatically. How different are such from man-made Christians! A girl accompanied me a mile, who talked intelligibly on the Scriptures. A Baptist man, she said, had some years before given her a Bible, and she was well acquainted with it. She was a Catholic, but said she intended to join the colonists, for the sake of getting better schooling, and being more cleanly: I advised her to do so. I stopped but a few minutes in the colony, and saw none of my old friends but the family where I had lodged. Walking back, a little shower sprinkled the earth, and a beautiful rainbow appeared. A peasant stopped to admire, and pointing to it said, "A sign! a sign!" He could speak but a little English, and supposing he meant the promise that the world should not be drowned, I spoke of the flood; but he had never heard of it, and gave a vacant stare, then said, "Rain, rain!" He was old, had always lived on that island, and never knew that God had drowned the world.[22]

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.