A Long Journey to Mass

John Francis Maguire
CHAPTER VI (13) start of chapter

Father Gordon spent half his time in the saddle; and though he spared neither himself nor his horse—but himself much less than his horse—it was with the utmost difficulty that he could visit the more distant portions of his mission oftener than twice or thrice a year. Many a time did the active missionary lose his way in the midst of the woods, and after hours of weary riding find himself, in the dusk of the evening, in the very same spot from which he set out in the morning! His safest plan was to leave himself to the discretion of his trusty companion, that rarely failed him; thus, when puzzled as to the path, or rather track, he would throw the bridle on his horse's neck, and at the end of some time he was sure to be brought up before a cottage door, which was generally opened to him in welcome, for even those not of his faith respected the zealous 'Irish minister.' There was, however, one occasion when his reception was of a very different nature; and as the circumstances of the case are remarkable, it deserves to be told. I may say that I heard it the first time in Toronto from a warm admirer of the fine old priest, and afterwards in Hamilton from his own lips.

The Irish in America, first published in 1868, provides an invaluable account of the extreme difficulties that 19th Century Irish immigrants faced in their new homeland and the progress which they had nonetheless made in the years since arriving on a foreign shore. A new edition, including additional notes and an index, has been published by Books Ulster/LibraryIreland:

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