“I went on to Mrs S.S then and spent an hour with her. She had had a very impudent letter from Dillon that morning, counselling her to avoid politics & confine herself to her private affairs or she might be arrested again, & “her next adventure might be her last”. She was partly amused & partly insulted at it. He did a good deal to help her when she was arrested, but he appears to have lost what mind he ever had.”
NLI Call Number: MS 32582/34
NLI Catalogue Link can be found here
Date Range of Diary: August 10th – 26th October 1918
WEEK 47: 19th – 25th August 1918
Monday 20 19th Aug. – Damp showery morning. I found a rather interesting though very virtuous book called “Tracked” & read a lot of it. We dined at the Vegetarian & went out then to Belgrave Park to see Mrs Skeffington. She came in with Owen, looking very well and seeming in good spirits; though I think there is more grey in her hair than there was. Owen had lost his looks considerably; he wore his hair plastered down in the American style, & had grown out of the lovely child he was, though he is not particularly tall. He looks strong
& sturdy though, & still has a lovely skin. She talked about America, said the people seemed cowed & she thinks the war fever is only very temporary except among capitalists & Anglophiles, & that she feared she would be ignored suppressed or turned out when the U.S. declared war but on the contrary her meetings were bigger than ever after that, & that the law there about conscription is that no British subject whose own country declines conscription can be conscribed. She gave a great account of how Mrs Kettle went to see Shortt & blasted him, & he got quite plaintive & said women were more dangerous in politics than men, & then his wife came to see Mrs Kettle & was very agreeable & said how bad it was, &
he had made a mistake & women were ^more sensible, & when Mrs K. said Mrs S.S. could not get decent food in London, this fool said wouldn’t she come to her house, & she should have every care & comfort there!! She was only hungerstriking from Thursday afternoon to Sunday morning, so didn’t feel very bad effects. A friend of hers in London applied to 2 women doctors to get an order for her to have some milk, & both refused to give it. A third gave one with disapproval. Owen went out after a while, but came in again & I presently got talking to him. He had an American accent but I suppose it will wear off. He bought in a nice grey kitten to show me, & played with it, & said he was going to have a
dog when they set up house by themselves. We went on to Cullenswood house at 4, and Mrs Pearse took us round the garden & then her daughter appeared & we had tea in the upstairs sitting-room. It’s a fine big garden, but very weedy. Miss P. told us how she went looking after her vote at Green St, with some of the 7 young men that also have votes out of St Enda’s, & of a more or less Unionist man that took great pains to smooth things for her & get her attended to quickly. After tea Mrs P. showed us an album of photographs, some groups of the whole family when Maggie was
8, Patrick 7, William 5 and Mary Brighid 3, which I didn’t see when she was showing photos to J. Webb & me. Maggie was very pretty in them in spite of having a fringe, with a bright lively face & dark looking eyes & long legs & a very becoming smile; she looked just like the name Maggie, M. B. was plump & sulky looking, William also plump & not much like his grown up appearance, but very attractive in one, and Patrick with a very serious thoughtful refined sweet tempered face, looking rather as if he had the care of the family on him. Mrs P. was not quite so nice in any as in the big photo, because her hair was so flat & smooth
[Drawing by Rosamond here of a small face with black hair parted in the middle]
& tight, & her husband
was looked rather interesting. There were photos of Patrick & William in petticoats too; P. looking like a rather sad little angel with a mind years too old for him, & really much more than pretty, & W. sturdy & rather stumpish. Its queer how he got more & P. less thin as they grew up. There was the one of Pearse in his wig & gown too, & however plain looking he may have been when I saw him, though he wasn’t exactly plain, he was beautiful in that wig & gown; his face had such “fine” statuesque lines, & the wig seemed to become him so. We went most of the way home in a pony trap from St Enda’s “Nicholas” was driving out to the Hermitage.
I went to tea at Miss Scarletts, very near in Mount Pleasant Square, at 9.15, & Miss Fleming didn’t turn up till nearly an hour later, during which time I inspected Miss Scarlett’s books & read a little of Cúirt Meadon Oidce. Miss Fleming had lost all the sunburn she got at Bunmahan, & looked prettier for the want of it; but she seems less well than then, & goes to & from work in a tram now. She as usual made me die of envy talking of her various young male friends – the sort of friend that wants a long talk in a lonely place when he’s starting for the war – & we arranged to go to the Abbey on Thursday night if there was anything decent on Miss
didn’t seem very wishful to go unless we wanted her as a chaperon, & she didn’t exactly approve of us when we scored the idea of one. When I said I wouldn’t think myself fit to be a suffragist if I wasn’t willing to go to a theatre alone, she said “Oh, that’s nonsense!” She has a very final way with her.
Tuesday 20 6 th Aug. – We dined at the Vegetarian with Miss Fleming, who pleased me by agreeing with my objection to the fairhaired girl with black velvet round her neck. We went home then, & I went to visit J. Webb. She has got a night nurse, but wasn’t able to go on any excursions hardly with Aunt H. She gave me a very nice bit of embroidery to go on a
hat, & told me how to find J.H. Well’s place at Beann Eadaina [sp.?]. Then I went on to Kenilworth Park, & found Mrs Webb & the 4 younger children & a friend of theirs called Flora. Roger is growing a bit & looks as nice as ever & will talk when he gets a chance; Emily is just the same only a little bigger, so is Sheila, & both have fine double plaits of hair. Ivan is like what Oddie used to be, sociable & genial with a lively cheerful grin & a wish to talk, & very much the same hair & eyes, though there is less red in his hair. [Superscript: Photos taken at Howth]. Chandlee was at the laundry, & Dermot bathing at some place in Merrion Gates, but he came in after a while. It’s curious how very much
darker he is than any of the others, but I suppose who the curious part of it is that he should be the only dark one, considering how dark their mother is. His hair is quite black now, or looked so to me, & his skin is a real brown, not the pinkish brown that the others got at Howth. & which is already wearing off them. He is getting to look strong as well as tall, & will be a finer man physically then either Chandlee or Roger; I’m told he is cracked about games, but he certainly doesn’t confine his mental outlook to them. He talked about the Robertes & Avonbeg, á propos of the boys camps there, where he spent a while one or two years ago, & about the mending of shoes (he soles & heels for the family, I think he learned it at school) & about music
specially singing. He despises trebles because they have no expression, & holds that men’s voices have more expression than women’s. This was at tea, after they had all shown me the garden, mostly apple trees, which were robbed when they were at bean Eadair. When I have been talking to Dermot, I feel that there is not a nicer person in Dublin than he is. Chandlee hadn’t come in when I had to leave, as Mamma & I were going to tea to Uncle Herbert & Tilly. We were rather late getting there, but had a fine tea with eggs & very nice home made bread like yellow meal bread. They had a great coloured steel engraving of a drawingroom at Buckingham palace in the 50s over the chimney piece, all crinolines.
They showed us a lot of photographs after tea; mostly of Uncle Harry’s family. Those that came from America lately had names on them, the rest had neither names nor dates, & Uncle Herbert was beginning to forget who some of them were. We said all we could, but probably made no impression. Bell Taylor’s daughter Dorothy ea is now married & has a baby – her husband’s name is John Stewart, but Uncle H. says he is always called Ike. Dorothea was very nice looking in the photos. Tilly is a very nice comfortable cheerful person, but she frequently call Mamma Aunt Emma, & always calls me Rosa.
Wednesday 22nd Aug. – [short hand symbols here] I went to visit Madeline & Emer in the
morning, & had a good deal of conversation with the latter on the theatre etc. She doesn’t care much for acting, but would like to be producing plays, & agrees with me that the Abbey acting is not so good & natural as it used to be. She says musicians & singers are usually guttier in character than any other sort of artists, & that this is recognised in circles where they mix. I suppose it only applies to musicians who don’t create music. She went off then, & I had some talk with Madeline, who was going to Greystones with her mother by the 12.45 train. We dined at home, & had an opportunity of observing the manners &
customs of the military party who were also dining. One of the women had been buying a hat, & one of the men was making wild statements about the extravagance of women – buying a fur coat for £40 & then only wearing it 6 times, etc. It wasn’t experience, it was imagination. The women’s voices are something appalling. “I’m pouring out tea for you to guzzle daown”. I went to visit Aunt N. & Aunt Is. in the afternoon; its queer how uninterested Aunt N. does be in everything. I went on to Garville Rd where Mamma was, & was allowed to visit Cousin D. for a few minutes. She seemed to think it was a very long time since I had
been in Dublin. She seemed perhaps a little less deaf than sometimes, but looked very thin.
Thursday 23rd. – Fine bright morning. I went to a Coirte Coranta [sp.?] meeting at 23 Kildare St at 11.30, by Madeline’s request but nobody came till 12, & then it was only Madeline & a nurse no quorum. They are negotiating about a house to set up a home for diseased babies in. I went on to Mrs S.S then and spent an hour with her. She had had a very impudent letter from Dillon that morning, counselling her to avoid politics & confine herself to her private affairs or she might be arrested again, & “her next adventure might be her last”. She was
partly amused & partly insulted at it. He did a good deal to help her when she was arrested, but he appears to have lost what mind he ever had. She said she wd rather do 3 hunger-strikes than smuggle herself over on a ship from England again – also that the I.W.F.L [Irish Women’s Franchise League] were laying out to assassinate Shortt or somebody if she died of the hungerstrike. I think it would have been the only respectable thing to do; she agreed that it is sometimes sensible. There was a little white cockatoo with detachable head on a shelf, & a green waistcoat with We Want Home Rule on it, & he was so like Redmond that I said if I was a Redmondite I would not have him with that waistcoat, but Mrs SS said that was just why Mrs K. put it on
him, because he was so like R., she never having been fond of R. We talked about the lack of feminism among Sinn Féin women in the provinces, & she asked me to write an article on it for the Citizen. She says she would make the Citizen a weekly but for the paper shortage, which of course comes harder on seditious or anti-government prints than on any others. I went & dined at the Vegetarian then, & left my ring there. It was too wet to go to Howth as I had meant, so I came home & then visited at Brighton Square, & saw Emily Webb who looks much as usual but seems rarely to have a good night. They were much amused when I said I thought there was no more agreeable
person in Dublin than Dermot. Then on my way home I called on Michael Chadwick of Wynnefield Road who works among the girl scouts in Dublin & who writes instructions to me sometimes. I found him a very nice fairhaired steady looking boy – possibly 20 or so, with a drilled way of moving, who apparently devotes most of his evenings to these confounded girls, going to branches all over the Dublin area. He & another boy or two & Commandant May Kelly seem to boss them all. He sympathised with me as to the touchiness & telling tale bearing of the girls, seems to know very well what it is, & showed me the Fianna handbook which is very hard to get, & promised to send me a couple.
He described the uniform, & said it cost £4, which, is certainly prohibitive; he says very few have it. I was very glad I had gone to see him. Then I went in to the restaurant to look for the ring, & after making inquiries found it on the shelf there where I had left it. The cashier was much interested – “Did you get it? Oh, let me see it, I love opals!” I got quite fond of her. I had tea & 3 scones for 6 ½ , & went back to meet Miss Scarlett & Miss Fleming at 9.45. Then We had reserved seats in the 3/6 place – Miss F’s treat – & she told how Earle Grey had dealt with her when she went for them, the booking clerk having gone to her dinner. The play was Widowers’
Houses. It was very well done, especially Colcane, Sartorius & Lickcheese – the latter was gorgeous in the last act when he has got prosperous & gay & says Sartorius without the Mr. Elizabeth Young was as melodramatic as usual, but there was nothing in Blanche for her to spoil, and Earle Grey looked charming & acted very well, especially when she was frightening him in the first act. Miss Fleming fully appreciated his appearance, admired him more than I did, I think. He reminded me of Douglas ffrench-Mullen, but she is not so handsome, though he has beautiful eyes & eyebrows. Sartorius had a beard & no moustache, & was stiff & dignified, & his
chat abo in defence of his screwing & grinding his tenants was admirable. We all enjoyed the play, but the end seems to me flat.
Friday 24th. – Fine hot day. I visited Madeline in the morning & we sat in the garden with the kittens till Ciarog fetched them in & M. talked about the superiority of Belgian & German cinemas & plays, & a very much admired young actor – André something – who acted for cr play which were reproduced in cinemas – some good ones & some burglar heroes & such, & some that you couldn’t go to at all they were so improper. She had a Nation with a letter in it about Miss Hunt, the American librarian who was sacked because she wouldn’t
by “Liberty Loan.” Persecution seems worse in America than in England. We dined at the Vegetarian & I called on Lasarfhiona on the way home. We had a taxi to the 3.50 train, & then as the train looked full & there was a long queue writing for 3rd class tickets, we went “second, in great luxury without another soul in the compartment all the way. Its monstrous to have so many 1st & 2nd carriages these times when trains are so scarce. The boys looked lovely, & we thought the route just as pretty as the D.S. E.R. one 2/ [short hand text here]. T. met us at Waterford. Miss Bowman was still there & stayed the night, & Aunt H. came in after tea.
Saturday 24th. – Miss B. was talking about a letter Annie wrote to the Standard lately replying to an attack on the F.o.R: by W. Elders lately – an attack on Pacifists in general. Miss B. thinks they are very selfish, not caring that they are wd expose posterity to a much worse war in the future if this one is stopped without destroying Germany. Ben had come to St Declan’s the day before, & he & T. paid a visit in the morning. Ben had nice clothes & his hair was not badly cut. He says said Tony expected to be home before his birthday, & he had a scheme for getting him up to Belfast for his last year at college. He thinks Tony wd have a poor time at home, & might be driven to enlist by it. I’m sure it would be much better for him
to be in Belfast. Stephen is back there again, at some new job that no one know heard about. I visited Annie a.d. & she lent me a standard. The letter is pretty good but has too much.” not boastfully but with in all humility & sincerity” in it. Charlotte came in shortly & we got talking of politics á propos this letter. Annie said Ireland was in a rotten state & they both denounced S.F., & Charlotte said neither nations nor individuals could do well that were always brooding on the past, & that she had only realised this fact in the course of the last year or so. She’s the only loyalist I ever know that took so long to realise it then, & I could swear she had said the same to me every time we discussed politics
since I knew her, but I may be mixing her up with all the others who did so. They think it a fatal sign of national rottenness for S.F. & Redmondism to fight at elections, & for Sinn Féiners in other towns to have a down on Waterford since last March, & seem to think politics are the devil if poor & ignorant people don’t act like Christian philosophers. We went on with the Pirate.
Sunday 26 5th Aug. – They came to dinner, & I was speaking to Mrs Kettle & all her photos of her hundred, & Ben said he had more brains than all the Sinn Féin leaders put together – stronger than that indeed & that S.F. seemed to him fizzling out, & there was no one in it with
the kind of brains that are needed, & he called New Ireland a rag as well as Nationality. I can’t haven’t un read much of Kettle, but what I did read gave me a very flashy & shallow idea of him. I thought most of this was, only said to annoy me, but T. thought it was serious. Then it rained most of the afternoon, & Aunt H. came in, & T. & I got a short walk before tea. Its queer how enthusiastic Ben is about Tone & the United Irishmen, & if they were going on now he would probably be sneering at them. He wanted to know things about Emmet, & he talked about Tone & asked me about books on those times. Tom says Wolfe Tone’s Life does not absorb him, I almost think Dorothea enjoys
it more. I went to the club but there was no quorum. Captain Redmond was at the Imperial & was being cheered there by what were said to be separation women. Then he went towards Tramore in a motor pursued by a very small & struggling crowd booing & cheering, & some of them booed us at the window. It sounded just like the election over again.