Unexpected Delay

Asenath Nicholson
Chapter XIII (2) | Start of Chapter

Friday.—A tremendous rain kept me in, writing to American friends, and on Saturday went to the steam packet office, to secure a passage for Waterford. The packet had not arrived; I felt a little disappointed, and hardly knew where to direct my steps. My lodgings were gloomy, and my work in Wexford was done, and a longer stay would be but a punishment and loss of time. "It may be for something that I am detained, which will cause me to be thankful," I doubtingly said, when crossing the threshold of the infant school I had previously visited. "You had better visit the parochial school," said the teacher. I went because I had nothing else to do, and found a school of boys supported by the Protestant church. The rector and curate came in to catechise them; the rector was thorough in his investigations, and faithful in imbuing their young minds in the holy principles of the Christian belief, as inculcated in the English church. Learning that I was an American, he said, "You should visit a family of Americans here; the mother has lately come from there." This was a fresh impetus, and without preface or apology, I turned my steps towards the "Hermitage," the place where lived the American lady. The mud was intolerable, and standing nearly over the tops of my boots in it, I demurred whether to proceed, when my country prevailed, and I made an onward effort. A peasant with a cart, wife, child, and other et ceteras, now called out, "May be you'd get up on the cart a bit," and gladly I accepted, and was carried to a better road, and soon found the gate, which opened upon an extended lawn, presenting a wholesome and somewhat tasty house, a little, as I would have it, in American style.

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.