WEEK 102: (20th-26th October 1919)

“Dr Lynn came in the morning to ask one to go with her & Edith Ellis, the English pacifist who was staying at the Standard, & who gave £100 to the Babies Hospital, to the Mater Hospital to see the released hunger strikers there. E.E. wanted to visit them, & the Dr was pressed for time & wanted me to stay with her & take charge of her. Dr L. had a couple of visits to pay first, then we picked up E.E. at the Standard, a rather goodlooking woman but with very round eyes, & went on to the hospital. “

NLI Call Number: MS, 3582/36
NLI Catalogue Link can be found here
Date Range of Diary: 12th September 1919 – 27th January 1920

WEEK 102: 20th – 26th October 1919

Monday 20 Oct. Dr Lynn came in the morning to ask one to go with her & Edith Ellis, the English pacifist who was staying at the Standard, & who gave £100 to the Babies Hospital, to the Mater Hospital to see the released hunger strikers there. E.E. wanted to visit them, & the Dr was pressed for time & wanted me to stay with her & take charge of her. Dr L. had a couple of visits to pay first, then we picked up E.E. at the Standard, a rather goodlooking woman but with very round eyes, & went on to the hospital. It was very huge & impressive; we found 6 ill looking unshaved men with no collars sitting round an empty fireplace at the end of a ward – not that it was cold, there were hot water pipes – & they welcomed us very kindly & seemed glad of visitors.


After a bit 3 of them, who were less conversational than the others, went out for a walk & a shave, & the doctor left, & Miss E. & I listened to the prisoner experiences of the remaining 2. Her’s was named Murray & was a hunchback, mine’s name I forget, Donnelly, & both had been in jail in England after the rising. Mine told me that orders came from the Castle to forcibly feed them but the doctor would not do it. He gave a horrid account of the time in handcuffs too. One Paddy O’Keefe, another of the same lot, & a F.D.E., came in & listened to all this with a broad grin, & said when we were free there wd be no excitement anymore. I said there would be plenty, with social-political quarrels – Socialists against capitalists & so on. He said there wouldn’t be any Socialists – socialism was all humbug. One of the orthodox crowd, who make it impossible to revere the government.


Miss Eillis & I dined at the Vegetarian, & I took her over the library at Trinity College & asked her to tea. She is nice enough if only she would let herself be a human being & forget for a while that she is English. She was one of the Quakers who were in jail for refusing to submit their publications to the censor, & is always referring to her prison experiences. I visited J. H. Webb & he showed me a tremendous O’Callaghan pedigree. Miss Ellis came to tea, & we had it in the upstairs back parlour, minus Owen, & she & H. talked about prisons, & she amused H. greatly by saying when she was in jail she was quietly & amenable because she felt she had broken the law & ought to accept the punishment peaceably – also that love & gentleness were what was wanted in the jail. After tea she went off


somewhere & H. & I went to the IWFL to hear an Indian named Gupta talk about women in India. He had very rosy ideas on the subject, gave the impression that in India the wife is the head of the husband (letting out how ever later on that she mostly gets a good deal of her education from him) & no woman has to work outside her own house etc. He made out the ascetic life of widows to be voluntary, & said the purdah [sp.?] & polygamy were introduced by the Mohammedan Conquest & were foreign to Hindu ideas & not widely practiced by them. There was a lot of discussion, & he got rather pulled to pieces by Hanna & others. Then we & he repaired to Mme Gonne’s at home, getting there a little before 11, I staying till nearly 1. Mrs & Darrell Figgis were there, & a few others, including a very nice boy, a bit older than Sean,


Image of Darrell Figgis taken from Internet Archive Book Images

who talked to Gupta & me, & is so out with Eoin Mac Neill since the rising that he won’t even read his books on history. Apparently he was in the rising himself. Darrell Figgis talked very severely of the D.M.P. [superscript: G men especially of course] & I said the more of them killed the better. He is really handsome, in spite of his beard. The big brown dog Ponto was there, & a big gray wold hound asleep on the sofa. H. remarked as she & Gupta & I were going home what an attractive woman Mme MacBride is, & Gupta said oh no, she couldn’t be – she was old. A woman past youth he obviously could not imagine to have any interest or attraction – we parted with him at Har the end of Harcourt St with pleasure – there was something indescribably gross about his manner then. It was 1.30 at least when we got home, walking all the way of course.


Tuesday 21 Oct. – [short-hand writing here]. I went with J. Webb to visit her new flat in Leeson St – 3 rooms at the top of the house; nice rooms enough but its dreadful to have no sink & no separate room for Lizzie. J. W. took me to see Lily Williams’s studio, where there were some lovely landscapes & a few misty portraits, & a book with reproductions of Lavery’s pictures – all women – which Lily Williams showed us with great enthusiasm. I said why did artists never dwell on masculine beauty thay way – why always women, never men – but neither of them saw the point at all, & both admire female beauty more themselves. What’s the good of women being artists if they are like that? Men’s portraits are painted for the character in their faces; women for their beauty! In justice to


W. I should explain that it was Lily Williams who said that. I spent the afternoon sorting Hanna’s books in the drawingroom, and it was tough work. I stopped at home with Owen for tea, H. being out at her classes.

Wednesday 22 Oct. – I went to meet Edith Norman at a room she has in Harcourt St at 12.30, where she lunches. She talked all the time about her wish to move, with her husband, & leave her mother in law in Greenmount Rd with a care taker. I had some conversation with Hanna on sex at dinner; she said she was glad to be through with sex & regarded it as rather a nuisance & a hindrance in life. There is a kind of coldness & asceticism about her. She said she had imagined a romance


Nelson’s Pillar, Dublin. Image from NLI, Eason Collection c.1927. EAS_1178

about me & Ben, but also that she had imagined me like Dr Lynn & Madeleine, having no use at all for men. I went with Miss Scarlett to the Botanical Gardens in the afternoon, & all the way from Nelson’s Pillar to the Gardens I kept to Irish, but when we got to the greenhouses I struck. There were lovely orchids – little green & purple shoes with white stars over them, and things like that. There were splendid begonias too and ferns, etc etc etc. It was a rather misty afternoon and the trees & bushes were heavenly. I went back with Miss Scarlett & had tea with her & then went to the Friends’ Institute to hear Cecil Watson’s lecture on Irish mythology. He is a man of a very attractive appearance if he wasn’t getting so bald – a very strong refined well drawn face, very serious & melancholy,


& worn, and a nice serious natural expressive voice, and an engaging lack of eloquence or fluency in speaking. He had lantern slides of ancient monuments & remains & ogham stones, & he said cormlechs, dolmens, barrows etc are found all over Europe, but we are the only people who have kept any record or tradition of the people who put them there. He went through the early invastions & a good deal of the Tain, & read Mave’s speech out of the Gates of the North & also the Burial of King Cormac, both extremely well. He was wrapped up in his subject, & his inability to speak fluently or well made his interest all the more apparent & impressive. There was not much discussion, but no one mocked at the stories or said anything foolish.

Thursday 23rd. – Visited my aunts & D. Webb


in the morning. It was wet all day & foggy and dark. In the afternoon I went to the Stephenses & found Lily just back from the college where she teaches cookery, & changing her wet clothes. She talked about Dorothea & Louis & asked questions & was very pleasant & comfortable. Brendan was in the kitchen, a plain but well behaved baby with a large face & scarcely any hair. She put him on a pair of white knitted “kickers” over his frock, in which he looked like a pot bellied short legged goblin, & he lay before the fire in this very contentedly afterwards. We had tea downstairs with Ned & Doreen Synge, who was very silent, & Denis, who is plain & fat in the cheeks but has lovely golden brown hair & may get good looking, & can speak very distinctly for a kid of 3. He is devoted to Doreen


partly because she has a motor bicycle & spends a lot of her time with it. Ned talked a little about Jaunty & his “hectic” friends & doings, which was interesting, & mentioned meeting Tony lately for the 1st time – Tony said hardly anything but what he did say was very much to the purpose – but after tea in the drawingroom he got only guild socialism & the 2 necessary things to be done to help on the social revolution – help any kind of education for the poor & genuine co-operative enterprise – & was comparatively dull. I went on finally to visit Helen Fleming at Terenure & found the house without difficulty. Her father died very lately when she was away in London, but her step mother & step aunt were there. The former has a lovely face. Helen talked a lot about Tubs and his wife


Gwen, whom she was staying in London. The later seems unpleasant – I don’t believe I should like him either.

Friday 24 Oct. – I dined with Miss Scarlett and went to Deilziny [sp.?]  to stay for a few days, after going to 96 Harcourt St to rectify the mistake about the money. Mary & Lucy had 2 boarders, a pleasant talkative Miss Westropp with a little round face & the most receding chin I ever saw, who was recovering from an operation, and a melancholy middle aged Englishwoman named Tootell who had partly lost her memory & was very miserable. Nina was there too on her way back from Wales, and we got some music from her after tea. I do wish she would do her hair more tidily.

Saturday 25 Oct. – Nina went just after


dinner. I was showing the photo of T. & D. and Louis to Mary & Lucy, & when they got to the photo of Monmouth in the same book, Lucy actually knew who he was – unlike most people who encounter it. She is fond of English history, and knows the wars of the Roses too. I visited the Somerses after supper and saw them all, including Togs, whose legs are perfectly restored. Mrs S. and Miss Walsh [superscript: Lucy gave a lovely account of When Knights were Bold at supper] seemed well & cheerful.

Sunday 26 Oct. – Very cold day. I went to Bray just after dinner, and visited Lily. Harry was away on a buying tour in London. Aunt Mary was there & asked us all to tea. I brought some few sweets for the children, but Hal, as he is now called, was so troublesome about keeping on asking for the variety that were put away for another time, that I resolved not to bring any the


next time. We went to tea at Aunt Mary’s, and had it in the kitchen, which was as elegant as many parlours, and Lily never got a moment’s peace with watching that the children did not do something wrong. Uncle Fred is very fond of them, but does not tolerate mischief, and when he was washing up after we had gone into the parlour, he was heard screaming to have them taken away. [Superscript: They have Saturday Night there now, looking beautiful, & Uncle F. prize her, & can mend her exquisitely when she breaks.] Aunt Mary talked about May’s new baby & Daisy’s children. After we went back to Main St I found that Hal liked to be told stories, & he kept me at it till I had to go to the train, so I liked him better than before. Lily looked pretty well; wanted to hear all about Louis of course.