“It appears that a woman can get 6 months now for communicating disease to a soldier or sailor, under regulation 40 D of DORA, & the soldier’s mere word is enough to convict her unless she is willing to be examined to prove that she is not diseased. Also her name is always published whether she is proved innocent or guilty, & the soldier’s name is never published.”
NLI Call Number: MS 32582/34
NLI Catalogue Link can be found here
Date Range of Diary: August 10th – 26th October 1918
WEEK 46: 12th – 18th August
Monday 12th. – A very fine hot day. I went over to Avonbeg at 10.30, to bathe with Eleanor etc in the Slaney. By their account of the day before I had got the idea that it was just across the lawn or so, but it was a good half mile away across several fields & the road & the railway. It was a very nice place, & the river about 5 feet deep at its deepest, shallow at the far side. It was warm compared to the sea.
They had water wings. Toby swam after sticks & dug stones out of the river bed with great enjoyment. I had a loan of an enormous thick serge bathing suit from Mrs Roberts with legs nearly down to the ground & monstrous thing. It seemed to me that fresh water is more enervating than salt. After dinner Milly arrived, & there was various conversation about Roscrea & the Cumminses. It was with them Milly & Fanny were staying. Mamma & Anna & I went down to the river through the fields in the afternoon but the dogs didn’t come. Jacky goes nowhere with you except to Avonbeg, & Fionn stayed with Milly, of whom he seemed very
fond. After tea Milly & Cousin W. & I went up to Avonbeg with the 2 dogs & paid a visit sitting outside the front door. It was a lovely walk up there, a perfect evening with the sun glistening on the ripe barley & dazzling in our eyes then setting near the mountains & a little crescent moon getting gradually bright over the trees. The Robertses don’t have much conversation. Mrs R. was talking about the boys’ camps Albert Roberts does have near there. Fionn got tired waiting for us to go, & after being repulsed by both Milly & William, he came to me & gradually got the front half of him resting on my lap, the back half standing, & remained
so till we left. We had a lot of talk on the subject of artesian wells after going home, a propos of one that Alex Roberts blasted out in his back yard.
Tuesday 13th August. – News of Mrs Sheehy-Skeffington’s release in the papers. A splendid fine hot day. Milly & I went looking for mushrooms up in the field by the back avenue & in A. Roberts’s field, but got very few. We found Eleanor very busy in a field of arts that was being cut, straightening the bent stalks for the machine & stooking. The machine was like magic, cutting the corn at one side & tying it in bundles & throwing it out on the other. Milly says nothing tires Eleanor, & that Margery
has become a very fashionable person in Dublin. Afterwards she showed me a photo of Jessie Cummins; rather nice looking but I couldn’t see much likeness to Teddy. After dinner Cousin William drove us to Ferns. Cousin Anna came too, as they had shopping to do. We got seats, but the train was pretty full then, & it soon was crowded to suffocation; about 4 people getting in for every 1 that got out, & most with big parcels & baskets. The corridor was crammed, & I suppose the 1st & 2nd carriages were nearly empty. Perhaps ought to invade them & refuse to pay the difference. We changed at Bray for Harcourt St, & it was better after that. We found 11 Rathmines Rd,
which Miss M’Garvey recommended, very comfortable; Mrs Evans the landlady was a small pale grey haired woman, rather talkative. She knows Helen Jacob & Wheddon Harvey, & as we afterwards found, had met Deborah Webb & knew the Skeffingtons, being a suffragist, but she is a great loyalist. Aunt H. called soon after we got there, & sat talking a great deal of misery about Emily Webb & Josephine’s trouble in finding a suitable woman to mind her at night – I think J. will be killed with all the trouble & anxiety she has – and Deborah. D. is very forgetful & must never be crossed in anything, & has dangerous fainting fits. God keep Constance Haughton, but J. Webb is much more worse off. It’s a great advan-
tage of Deborah’s that she doesn’t want Constance always round.
Wednesday 14th Aug. – Madeline was to have come in the morning but didn’t. I went to the Vegetarian for leone dinner & then called on Lasairfhiona & arranged to go to Dalkey on Sunday. Then Mamma went to visit Deborah, & I to Belgrave Rd but was sent on to Moyne Rd where I found Madeline with her mother & a Mrs Fisher, a woman with a great concern about prison reform & a rather obvious way of talking about it. M. was busy attending the revision court at Green St that morning to answer an objection to her vote. Some local Unionist objected to a lot of the new S.F. votes on transparently
absurd grounds, such as that they didn’t live where they said, & they she said the judge was annoyed at having time so wasted. I sat in the kitchen a long time while Mrs ff.M. prepared tea, as she thought Madeline & Mrs F. wanted to talk secretly – I think about Dr Lynn, who is in very deep hiding. No sign of Douglas. I went on to Maxwell Rd then, where Aunt Nannie & Aunt Isabella have set up housekeeping & visited them, finding Mamma there. Their house has a fine hall & 3 fine bedrooms but one of them has to be given over to a servant, so they room behind the parlour has to be made into a spare room, & they have only 1 parlour. Besides, the kitchen is an awful distance from
the front door. We stayed a good while & then went home & had tea & a lot of conversation from Mrs Evans, partly about her attempt to get a sick German put out of the South Dublin Union of which she is a guardian.
Thursday 15th August. – Mrs Ffrench Mullen came to see us in the morning & gave us some lovely red carnations. We both went in to the restaurant for dinner & then to Liberty Hall where we met Rosie & Bridget Davis on the stairs & B.D. showed us the way to the shirt shop on the quays where Emer was with Jinny Shanahan. Emer looked better than I have ever seen her. She showed us over the place, & said Perloz was coming out of hospital
the next day. She has been having diphtheria. We came home then & I subsequently visited Josephine Webb who was looking very bad and thin & worn out. She had been interviewing night nurses all the morning, & 2 came while I was there & I had to go & sit in the little back room till each was gone. We were discussing Seact mbuaith, & she pointed out some faults in Rú n an Fir Móir that I hadn’t noticed. She recommended me to visit J.H. Webb at Howth in the hope of seeing James Webb’s children, who are staying there with him now. R. Webb’s came back the day before. I went on to Maxwell Rd, meeting Florrie Webb & Ivan in Kenilworth Square.
Ivan was very big & pinkish brown after Howth. Mamma & Aunt H. also came to tea at Maxwell Rd. Aunt Nannie looks older & thinner than when I saw her in 1913, I think Aunt Isabella, if she didn’t always looks so on edge, would be a handsomer woman. I went on at 8.15 to Ranalagh to the S.F. meeting there, and found it in progress; Mr Nicholls speaking. There was a side car with him, Maeve Cavanagh, Madeline (who had already spoken & read the proclamation of the executive) & 2 other men that I don’t know. When Nicholls was done M.C. spoke briefly, mostly about conscription, & that was all. Madeline & M
& I then went in to town on a tram to see if there was anything going on there. They have taken all the heraldic signs off the trams & put numbers on them instead, for which they ought to be skinned alive. The town was full of people, but all the meetings seemed to have passed off without interference. We met 3 men that M.C. knew & she introduced me to them & one of them was Perolz’s Mr Flanagan – just as Mrs Callender described him, rather stout & very quiet. They loitered so on the way home that I left them & went on alone.
Friday 16th August. – We went to the Museum & the National Gallery in the morning. I found 2 interesting
things in the museum that I never noticed before – a rather handsome & gentle looking bust of Charles V in his youth, & a beautiful bas picture relief of a centaur shooting an arrow, at a monster like a cross between a cat & a horse, on a doorway in Cormac’s chapel at Cashel. The pictures in the National Gallery are much more spread out than they used to be; more wall space showing, which I think is an advantage, but the atmosphere there is something frightful. We dined at the restaurant again, & later on went out to Belgrave Rd and had tea with Madeline & her mother in the garden. The Ciaróg has 2 lovely
dark grey kittens who are both already bespoke. Jetty & Val were both more or less asleep on one of the garden beds. It’s a big garden with a great many things in it, but untidy, & it would be nicer with some grass. Madeline seems very interested in gardening. I went on then to Mrs Kettle’s hoping to see Owen, & had a lot of trouble finding the house – 3 Belgrave Park. She opened the door & talked to me in the parlour for a bit about Mrs S.S, but no sign of Owen. When I asked for him she said she had thought he was out in the front garden, which he wasn’t, so I suppose he had gone off the premises. She said Mrs S.S. was probably going to
get a permit to come back, & that she was not very well & wanted a good rest.
Mrs K. is a beautiful young woman; it was the first time I saw her with her hat off; she is very like Mrs. S.S., with just the same voice, & had a splendid crown of thick black plaits and a lovely white neck. She had black earrings and a very becoming lace collar. I went home from there & we had tea at 7 & Aunt H. paid a visit & then I went to a I.W.F.L. meeting at Mill’s Hall, Merrion Row, which I thought was to protest against the deportation of Mrs. S.S., but it was on the contrary concerned entirely with the introduction of part of the C.D. Acts in the interests of soldiers.
It appears that a woman can get 6 months now for communicating disease to a soldier or sailor, under regulation 40 D of DORA, & the soldier’s mere word is enough to convict her unless she is willing to be examined to prove that she is not diseased. Also her name is always published whether she is proved innocent or guilty, & the soldier’s name is never published. They say hundreds of innocent women have been victimized under this regulation in England, let alone those who were not innocent, & a woman in Belfast got 6 months without apparently any further proof than the word of a profligate solider. Mrs Connery spoke first, then Miss Cahalan, & a rather objectionable woman with an English accent, a Miss
Moser of the Dublin Watch committee, who spoke of our England, which we always thought was such a land of liberty. I told Mrs Connery afterwards that she shd warn her not to talk like that again, & she said Mrs Wyse she had been got to speak only because Mrs Wyse Power failed to turn up, & they had tried to get a speaker from the Women Delegates too, but none was sent. Dorothy Evans also spoke, & was less offensive than Miss Moser. There were a good lot of women there & a few men.
Saturday 18th Aug – Miss Scarlett came to see us in the morning, & she & I had lunch at the Vegetarian and went to a matinee of Candida at the Abbey. Candida
was Elizabeth Young, Morrell was Harry O’Donovan, Eugene was Earle Grey, and Burgess J.A. Keogh. He was very good, rather too big for head in his make up, but his English voice & acting were excellent, Candida looked well enough, but was a bit too provocative & coquettish in her manner to Eugene, Morell was very good, & Eugene would have been so if he had only refrained from longdrawn quavering in all the ardent or poetical parts of his talk, & if he hadn’t worn such a big Parisian sort of tie. He was rather handsome & looked the part all right, but its absurd to make him 18, he must have been at least 21. Miss Scarlett had never seen or read it before
& admired it of course, & wouldn’t admit that it was rough on Morell to hear how much he was worshipped & looked after & taken care of, in the last scene. or I went out to Leeson St then to visit the Stephenses, but there was no sign of life in their house & the brasses looked as if they hadn’t been cleaned for weeks. I believe they are on holidays somewhere & I wont see them at all. I went home then & presently Mamma came in from visiting Tilly & Aunt N. & Aunt Is. There were 2 married couples, both the husbands soldiers came to the house this day. They all had strident English accents, & the women looked vulgar with the
sort of vulgarity that mat be as high toned as possible.
Sunday 19th. – We did nothing in the morning & had dinner at home. I got a letter from Tom; & Wooden bridge seems to be a place of unlimited possibilities.
In the afternoon Mamma went to Brighton Square & I went to Deilgany. I waited 25 minutes for the Kenilworth Square tram & it never came, so I went in to town & got the Deilgany tram in Nassau St. It was so full then that I couldn’t go up to the top, & it got fuller & fuller, but I did get upstairs when we were about halfway. I found 2 visitors, a big stout nice looking cheerful Miss O’Donovan from Cork & a silent young
friend of hers, Miss Hogan, at the Somerses. Miss O’D. was at Melleray lately, & made a general confession to a priest with a northern accent like throwing stones at you, & when he found she had been at Marlborough St training college & he counted it a sin, because it’s a mixed college, not exclusively Catholic, but she refused to repent it. My God, what bigots they are. We had tea in the diningroom without Charlie, & I found that the enamel was chipping off the brooch I gave Lasairfhiona, & took it to put in fresh. After tea I went to St Anne’s and found them preparing supper, & was set down to talk to a Mrs Harrison, a sister of Henry John
Allen, who a very cheerful, alive, friendly old lady, who was at school in Clonmel when Aunt Hildah, Uncle Herbert & Uncle Fred were children, & knew them all well. She talked about them & my grandmother, & how Aunt Hildah was too good for Uncle Newenham, & how she lately saw a letter written by Uncle Edmund describing scenes from the Merchant Of Venice acted at Hillside long ago, H.J.A. as Shylock. Four more women appeared at supper, all old but one. I told Lucy of the lovely miniature of W. Taylor that Uncle Charlie got when Aunt Janie died, & she said it was offered to her & May but she wouldn’t have it in the house. She had 2 very nice landscape
sketches that Larry Croasdaile had sent her. I went back to the Somerses then, & we sat in the drawingroom window & Charlie honoured us with his company till 9, when I started back. Tog was running about as well as ever, but one of the cats had died. Lasairfhiona had a very pretty deep blue silky dress that her mother made. The tram got crowded very soon, & at least 100 people on the way, in groups here & there, were refused entrance because it was so full. This is the result of so many Sunday trains being cut off, & makes it purgatory to go by tram, or to be a conductor, or to want to go by tram and not be told “Full up!”
by each one in town. I did get the Landstowne Rd tram though; it only goes as far as Rathmines Road now.
Featured Image: Trams and pedestrians on Nassau St viewed from Grafton St, (Image courtesy of National Library of Ireland, Clarke Photographic Collection, CLAR99)