Loss of Appetite

Asenath Nicholson
Chapter XIX (4) | Start of Chapter

My senior comrade now ordered a pot of potatoes, which were soon in preparation, carried to an adjoining room, and a splinter of dry bog-wood put into a crack over the table as a torch to guide the way to the mouth. I was invited to walk in, but though I had not taken any food but a piece of bread early in the morning at Killarney, and had walked twenty-five miles over the roughest path I had ever trod in Ireland upon the strength of that, yet the sight within the walls of that cabin hushed the clamor of my stomach, and I left my fellow travellers to sup alone. The master of the house entertained me with a historical account of Dublin, which he once visited, assuring me it was twenty miles across, containing sixteen hundred public houses of entertainment, and the laws very strict. No persons meeting on the walks were allowed to shake hands; if they did so they were immediately put in prison; he had seen it done repeatedly. This bundle of lies was well received by the auditors, as this man was quite an oracle of the mountains; and modestly telling him that his statements were all untrue, we turned to another subject.

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.