Perfumed Bedchamber

Asenath Nicholson
Chapter XXI (5) | Start of Chapter

In the midst of this stable the mother brought out two clean linen sheets, and aired them, lit up a fire, and soon I was invited "down" through the lodging-place of the cattle, into a bed-room without a floor, with a proud pile of more than fifty bushels of potatoes, fresh from the pit, which the mother said was but a bit for all the family. The smell of these, with that issuing from under the door where the cattle lay, and the smoke from the newly made turf fire, made my condition not only unpleasant, but so suffocating, that I feared at times serious results. Glad was I when the faithful cock in the next room announced the day. I arose, and asking for my bill, was answered, "Nothing." I gave him the usual price, an English sixpence, and went out.

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.