He also talked about the trade unions, how he got Louise Bennett to organise one among his laundrygirls & how surprised she was at such a request from an employer, & how the Magdalen asylums injure other laundries, having no wages to pay & so being able to undercut”.
NLI Call Number: MS, 3582/32
NLI Catalogue Link can be found here
Date Range of Diary: Oct 1st 1917 – Dec 9th 1917
Monday 29 Oct. – I went down town in the morning, meaning to go to the Ashe inquest, but couldn’t find Store Street, so I went to the Library instead and read Amulets Talismans etc, and the Life of Monmouth. Then I called on Lasairfhiona & then went to dine at Liberty Hall & found it very crowded. One of the girls gave me a labour paper to pass the time, and I eventually got a plate of solid peasoup & some bread and butter & conversation with Emer & Perolz. I remarked to Emer on the virtue of the shirt girls to be serving tables in their dinner hours, & she said “That’s the communal spirit.” Then I went out to
Belgrave Rd in a hurricane of wind & rain, & spent the afternoon with Madeline, who was in bed. Perolz says her heart was affected by the operation; I wonder will she ever be much better. She had a lot of shells of all sorts & sizes from Achill, which we were classifying, according to size only; putting the little tiny ones in a box by themselves & the next smallest in another box. Some of them were lovely; caps of liberty with blue facings etc. Also ff.M. came while I was there. Saoirse was very affectionate, he is a remarkably nice dog even if he does eat people in the street. I went to Brighton Square to tea. At about 7.45 J. W. & I winded our way to the place back of Rathmines Rd where the Keadeen family are
living till their roof & drains are reformed. Chandlee opened the door to us; they were all at home, & R.W. instantly began to talk to me about the Convention. He has sympathy with S.F though a Pacifist, but he won’t have a word said against Redmond. He has an officer friend who got hold of De Valera’s uniform coat after the Rising, and won’t give it back. He also talked about the trade unions, how he got Louise Bennett to organise one among his laundrygirls & how surprised she was at such a request from an employer, & how the Magdalen asylums injure other laundries, having no wages to pay & so being able to undercut. He spoke very well & ferociously about the Catholic Church, & also about animals, & the way people
tell you there is very little cruelty because they don’t mind or recognise cruelty when they see it. Chandlee & Dermot listened to us with amusement, & J.W. talked to Mrs W, who was looking better than usual, & very handsome. Dermot had an electric battery with which he gave people shocks; I had one & it wasn’t at all as strange as I expected; like the tingling in a limb that has been asleep. It was very funny to see I was sitting on the table holding the handles hard & saying “Its lovely.” They all seem to regard it as a treat. I didn’t get much conversation with the children, but Emily & Sheila looked very nice, with fine long plaits. S. showed me a very remarkable landscape she had painted. J.W. went
away at 9, but I stated till 9.40, & not one of the children had gone to bed when I left. I don’t seem to have any special recollection of Oddie. They were all playing round the room with paper balls etc, except C. & D. Dermot was asking me if I was related to that Miss Jacob that teaches art. He is still in the a sociable stage, & Chandlee struck me as being more so than when I last saw him – probably in better health. When I did get home, Mrs ff. M. was out, & when I went up to take off my things; Douglas shouted to know if there was any news of the inquest, so I went up to speak to him, & was stuck for rather more than an hour. He told me how his gas was once the best in the house till his mother dismantled
it because he read so late at night, & now he has to depend on a candle. He also talked about the books he was reading – one about Russian pilgrims to Jerusalem by Stephen Graham, which struck him greatly, & Thackeray whom he despises, & Cranford which he read and enjoyed at 12, etc etc etc. Also about the intrigues of Dr Lynn & Mrs Ginnell in the Rathmines S.F club, but I had to go down to supper & to write a letter before he reached the point of that. It included a complete sketch of the cases of the man that started the club. Mrs ff. M came up long before I got away & tried to get me downstairs. Douglas has grown more of a black beard than was becoming, but he seemed far from ill.
Tuesday 30th Oct. – I spent the morning reading S. Graham’s book, which was very interesting, & gave a pleasant, though very dirty, idea of the Russian peasantry. I went down town after dinner, & reached Liberty hall in time, & had a discussion with Emer & a man I don’t know, about the Magdalen laundries etc.
[Superscript above: Emer, I wish to God you’d take your old books & papers out of my house. Well Madam, I wish to God I cd get them out of you.] Madam came in then, & after a bit she & Emer & Mrs Ginnell & Perolz & I went out for something to eat, and lunched at the D.B.C. in Westmoreland St. They all had chops & raw tomatoes except me, & Mrs Ginnell found I was a vegetarian & talked a lot of nonsense to me, Madam putting in a word or two about what you’d do with all the animals etc, & Emer agreeing with me once or twice in her usual sensible manner. Then Perolz told stories about Liberty hall customers, & the children at
Ennis who threw stones at her because they thought she was mad. I went away at last, & called in at the Séanna Fiadaine’s [sp.?] new place in Kildare St, where they were sewing & drinking tea. I went on soon to Garville Rd, & found E. W. there again. She & Constance & I had tea together, & she told me of a sort of concert she was going to that evening – old dance music of 16th & 17th centuries played on the old instruments. She knows a lot about music, & has King Henry’s song with the original setting, which she played for me after tea, like church music with a trill here & there. She & E. W. also sang something Welsh I forget what. E. W. has a fine voice, & teaches singing. I wrote my favourites then, & to my great horror Cousin D. began talking
about Paddy, right before E. W. She’s very wishful to read it, but can’t read to herself, & I don’t want to have Constance reading it aloud to her. She lent me 2 of her own stories, & I left at 8, came back home, hovered about Scoil Éanna trying to look in at windows but decided it was too late to visit there, & came home. Mrs ff. M. was in this time & we sat talking till 10, when Douglas came in, in an overcoat but without a shave, explaining that he must practise against the Samain Concert on Thursday night. He practiced for ½ an hour, something lovely which I believe was Chopin, & then came in to supper & talked till midnight. I forgot what it began with but it turned to his usual praise of the Middle Ages & contempt for modern (like Darrell Figgis) who run
them down, and finally he got reading Rushkin’s Crown of Wild Olive, the lecture on War, to illustrate their superiority. It was very interesting, though of course I disagreed with a lot of it & didn’t get a chance to say so. He said he was nearly a Pacifist, & scorned the mockery of pacifism & pacifists that used go on among the commoner sort of Volunteers, & defen used als to defend Sheehy-Skeffington against them. He said he always thought S.S. one of the noblest characters in Dublin, which is to his credit. He explained when his mother tried to make him talk less, that he had been practically debarred from conversation for 5 days, & was now uncorked, & must be tolerated for a bit.
Wednesday 31st Oct. – Fine day. I went
to Belgrave Rd early, and spent a couple of hours there, talking about the Women Delegates etc. I found Madeline, the Dr, Emer, Jetty & Ciaróg all breakfasting together in Madeline’s room at 10.45. The Dr went out soon, & Emer a good while later. She bes out late at trade union meetings most evenings & then is late in the mornings. Madeline said De Valera said to her, re Mac Neill “If you knew as much as I do, you’d know he wasn’t to blame”, & she had difficulty in not replying “If you knew as much as I do, you’d know he was.” Because De V. was not on the inner committee at all. & has no particular means of knowledge, & she used hear a lot from Madam & Dr Lynn, who both knew all that was known in Liberty Hall apparently. I suppose the truth lies
between them. I went home by the 3.25 train, & arrived at the November Eve party at St Declan’s at 7.50. The company was Eileen, Kitty, Tash, Mr Deens, W. Boyd, Charlie Jacob, & Mettrick. They played magic circles & burning nuts (none of whom wd jump from each other) & peeling apples, & the 3 saucers. W. Boyd & Charlie got widows, Mettrick & Elieen nobody (M. of course let on to be delighted) I kn think Kitty and Tash got bachelors, but one may have been a widower. I had a bachelor, for the first time in my life I think. Mrs D. went off early to a meeting. W. Boyd was very gay & was the life of the party. There was some music too; Kitty & Tash left early & of course that broke us all up. They both looked very pretty, & were in good spirits, & entertained by W.B.
Charlie didn’t say much but appeared to enjoy himself. We melted lead too, but it nearly all came out in long drops like this – whether blood, tears, carrots etc or pearls we had to decide. There were fishes too, & one cow. It seems Dorothea got the ring on the es barm baipgean breac at tea. Mamma had intended to go, but the night was too wet.
Mí na Samna November 1917
Thursday 1st Nov. – I went to town to take my old gray coat to J. Ayres for her niece, who is not very well & has not no coat she says.
Friday 2nd Nov. – I went to the
technical school, and I think I finished the little shield, as Mr Shea calls it, except for the enamelling. When it was polished it looked quite elegant. I went to the carstand Powers to ask what time was the Countess arriving that afternoon, & found it was 3.20, so I arrived at the station at that hour & found prominent Sinn Fein – idlithe gathering, but the train didn’t come in till 3.50. They had a carriage ready for Madam, & into this they ^were put her & 3 men, while all the women who had come to welcome her followed behind in the mud. We talked to her at the hotel for a few minutes & then I went home with the Powers & visited with them. Madam had a stalwart youth of 18 or 19 with her, in Fianna
uniform & glasses, as aide de camp (Fitzgerald was his name) & of course Poppet. It came on to rain soon, & continued heavily all the evening. I had to walk along the park wall, holding up an umbrella, when I got was going down to the concert-&-lecture at the theatre, with the flood that was on the road. I found Madam & Poppet & K. Hicks & Mac Donald & Fitzgerald & several performers etc sitting & standing in a most ramshackle place behind the stage; Madam in a sort of rather becoming Fianna uniform with epaulettes, which gave her a resemblance to Trilby. I took no note of the concert items (Kearns kids, May Rolleston, & the usual songs) & had some talk with Madam about
Cumann na mban; it has a convention coming off the end of this month, she says. J.D. Connolly came & praised Fr O ‘Flynn’s lecture to me at great length. At last they began arranging people on the stage behind the curtain, with Fianna standing all round, & after some delay they got started with the addresses & the lecture. The lecture was all about Madam’ experiences in the rising, from the raid on the Spark to the surrender – nothing about her court-martial unfortunately. She & Connolly sent out the mobilization orders to the Citizen Army to come & guard Liberty Hall while the Spark was being printed there, & she gave instances of coal porters etc getting the signal in the midst of their work & dropping everything & going. Then she went on to herself &
Captain Dr Lynn going in a motor to their posts, & a defence of their policy in holding the Green as long as they cd, because it commanded the streets by which soldiers were most likely to be brought in from outside Dublin. She described regiments marching up to the Green & the 2 officers with the front rank being shot & the soldiers then all turning & making off as one man – which she said happened either 3 or 4 times. She told how the British took machine guns into the Shelbourne out of Red Cross ambulances, & fired on the girls who were cooking & attending the wounded. She also gave vivid accounts of crawling over so far through holes in walls visiting out-posts at midnight, & how they broke through into a restaurant when they were nearly starving, & Mrs S. S. brought them
a great sackful of food one day. She said there were 200 soldiers sniped [superscript: by boys] in At Cliat in the fortnight after the rising, in revenge for Colbert & Heuston. She spoke very well, & it was all very exhilarating though a little too bloodyminded. I don’t think boys under 16 ought to be let use arms at all; it can’t but be bad for them. She paid a great tribute to Colbert & Heuston & held them up as models to all Fianna boys. The audience was very large & most enthusiastic. I quit when the lecture was over.
Saturday 3rd Nov. – I got a note from Mrs Murphy of Carrick, asking me to go there with the Countess next day, & stay the night, so I telephoned to the hotel to ask her if she cd make room for me on her car, &
she said she’d let me know if there was a seat vacant, but I never heard any more till days afterward when I found there were 2 or 3 cars went, full of joy riders, & the Countess never asked if room could be made for me at all. [short hand symbols]
Sunday 4th. – T. & D. came to dinner & tea. They had Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, on loan from Ben, & we tried to read it, & got very sick. It is a rather loathsome book I think. When D. found we disliked it she said we didn’t understand it a bit & she was sorry she lent it to us. I don’t think the fact of not appreciating a book makes it any harm in the to the universe to have it lent to you, & I don’t think a mind like Stephen’s
is worth writing a book about, but I suppose that’s his own affair. I went to a Sinn Fein club committee in the evening – all about arrangements for the meeting on the 11th.