A "Gentleman"

Asenath Nicholson
Chapter XXII (3) | Start of Chapter

The young man was at the door with whom I was to go to Dingle, and went with me to another lodging house, where, though no whiskey was sold, yet the sad effects were manifested about three o'clock in the morning, by a loud thundering at the door, demanding entrance in a most outrageous manner. The good woman arose, put her head out of the window, and inquired who was there, and what was wanting. "A gentleman was there, and wanted his hat," was the answer, and that he would have, if not peaceably, by violence. The mistress told him his hat was not there; he told her it was. She answered that he had not been in the house, but he assured her he would be in, and commenced another battering with fists and boots, till the distracted woman in self-defence went down and opened the door. The "gentleman" searched for his hat, but no hat was there, and he walked quietly away.

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.