Where to spend the night

Asenath Nicholson
Chapter XXI (15) | Start of Chapter

I bade good evening to the housewife, who never left her post, and the bold officious guide followed me out to ask a penny for tobacco. So annoyed had I been with his company, that I begged him to return when on the mountain; he would not, and I resolved that I would furnish him no means for smoking, as a compensation for such intrusion. I now hoped that I might be suffered to make my way alone, to what place I knew not, for here the road terminated. Hyde Park cottage was what, when I left Killarney, I hoped to see, but at this place was told that it now existed only in name. All I could do was to go on, and make a path for myself through mire and bog, till I plunged into a thick wood. It was sun-set, and began to rain. To go back through the gap was impossible; and before me was a dark wood, without a path, and full of pits of water. I looked about for some rock under which I could creep and stop for the night; a comfortable one soon met my sight. To stay under the rock would ensure me a shelter, no venomous serpent was there, rain could not reach me, and I felt not the least timidity. Had a father or brother been with me, and I had looked to him for protection, I should have felt some repugnance; but the Protector, who was constantly about my path, I knew never "slumbers or sleeps," and feeling not the least hesitation, I was about stooping to make my ingress; but when I heard the barking of a dog, and the sound of an axe, I demurred.

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.