WEEK 104: (3rd – 9th November 1919)

“I know Hanna used to talk interestingly while I was eating my breakfast these mornings but I can’t remember it unless it was about the American beauty parlours & the money they spend on it etc. It rained this day & i went to the Pelman place in Dawson St in the afternoon & got their 1st book & visited Lasairfhiona in her new office in Molesworth St, & then went to see the Stephenses again. “

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

WEEK 104:  3rd – 9th November 1919

Monday 3rd Nov. I went to the Library in the morning and read the Golden Bough, about Adonis and Atys, & after dinner Constance Haughton took me to a very high toned instrumental concert – the Brodoski quartette – at Leinster house. There is a lovely little miniature theatre there.


There were 2 fiddles, a viola & a violincello, & they did a quartet by Hayden, one by Edgar & one by Beethoven. The Elgar one was heavenly, & so were bits of the others, but I could make nothing of the fast parts. Constance had a very musical non-Quaker mother & aunt, so she knows a lot about music. Also she has a good deal of jewellery from her mother’s family, they not being Quakers, she showed it to me after tea. Some is vulgar early Victorian stuff, needing to be reset, but lovely stones. There was one gorgeous diamond ring. I went to Kenilworth square a.t., none of the 3 elder boys were there, but R. Webb was in a sociable mood & talked a lot about Teach Naoimh Ultain, & how he keeps the


accounts & how unbusinesslike Madeleine etc are, though she at any rate works like blazes.

Tuesday 4th. I went with Miss Ellis over the museum in the morning of course she wanted to see the old brooches & chalices etc, & a very pleasant young man who dwelt in that room gave us a magnifying glass to look at them through and talked a lot about them & showed me Colm Cille’s crozier which I never saw before. I noticed the 2 cats at the foot of the Clonmacnoise or Monasterboice cross for the first time, & saw the man out of the bog who I hadn’t seen for years. All his hair & clothes seem to have rotted away. Miss E. seemed to know a good deal about some sorts of history & was interested in the


costumes. I dined at Garville Rd, & Cousin D. gave me a beautiful long string & green & blue iridescent shells, one of the nicest presents I ever got. I went to visit Uncle Herbert in the afternoon & founded him very luxurious by a noble fire, with a grand cake & biscuit afternoon tea brought in presently by a maid. Tilly was out. I told him my notion of going to America & he gave me the addresses of Nora & Belle. He also talked with horror of the mine strike in U.S.A. Tilly came in shortly before I had to go on to Leonard Well’s. I got there about 5.30 & visited Josephine in the study – otherwise playroom for Stella. She is always interested in what one does & the people one speaks of. We had


dinner in rather a hurry, & Leonard Webb was very late coming home & had to gobble his up in about 10 minutes. Then we went in a tram to the theatre – J.W. did not go – to see Pro Patria & Covalleria Rusticana by the Carl Rosa opera company. Pro Patria was about a Frenchwoman who had one one proper son & one illegitimate half German one,  whose father was a German general, & she mixed them & sent him the wrong one when he asked for his, & you wouldn’t mind that if she had not kept on ejaculating with such prolonged intensity that what she did she did – for – France. She was tiresome but the girl who lived with her & loved the General’s ostensible son, had a lovely voice, and the son, who answered to the name of Fritz & was a German lieutenant, had a very good figure & becoming uniform & sang pretty well. The other son was a spy, & they were all


captured by French soldiers in the end. Cavalleria Rusticana had lovely choruses & I suppose all the music was good in it but I can’t appreciate such things, especially at first hearing, and the story was nothing at all. The hero had a lovely voice & so had the heroine, Santuzza or some such name. L. W. had an opera glasses that were very useful.

Wednesday 5 Nov. – I  went to the Library & read Emily Bronte’s poems, found a few interesting Gondal ones that I had not seen before, & was freshly impressed with the quality of some of the best. I visited Edith & Gertrude Webb in the afternoon & had tea with my aunts & went on from there to the Institute to hear J. Webb, Constance Houghton & Alfred Halliday on the civilizing influence of painting, music & poetry. A. H. was so dull I could not listen to him, and


Constance was moderately dull but J.W. was very interesting – largely about the slightness of the place art takes in most people’s life, though they may pay lip service to it. There was a lot of not very interesting discussion.

Thursday 6th Nov. –  I know Hanna used to talk interestingly while I was eating my breakfast these mornings but I can’t remember it unless it was about the American beauty parlours & the money they spend on it etc. It rained this day & I went to the Pelman place in Dawson St in the afternoon & got their 1st book & visited Lasairfhiona in her new office in Molesworth St, & then went to see the Stephenses again. It seemed to be no use waiting for Doreen Synge not to the there, so I told Ned I was tired of politics & he said buichas le dia, & we soon got on to sex.


very interested in my difficulties; when I said could it be unnatural in me not to admire female beauty more than male, because most women did, he said they must be homosexual – it was such a new idea to him that most women are like that. Doreen Synge seemed aware of it & supported my assertion, & he said it was very interesting. He said Sappho was homosexual & used to practice vice with other women at Lesbos, from which it is called Lesbianism. Lily was getting dinner ready, but she came in before it, after Doreen S. had gone, and I had to go after one course of dinner, to take Miss Ellis to Androcles & the Lion at the Abbey. It was beastly crowded, but the play was very good, though the lion was too grotesque & could not run down steps on all fours, and Lavinia’s


dress was ridiculously spotless & flowing & gorgeous for her circumstances. Androcles & the Captain & the Emperor were all very good. Hanna was gone to bed when I got home all these evenings, being tired after her classes.

Friday 7th Nov. – Damp misty day. I went to Deilginy with some notion of going with Mary to visit May, but we decided it was too wet, & I went for a walk with Lucy out the Vico road instead, which is a lovely place with a view along the coast south. Lucy says she once asked a man what was Oscar Wilde’s crime – he said he could not tell her, & it at once dawned on her, which I suppose was thought transference. She talked a good deal & was very interesting. I had tea there, & Miss Tootell was


apparently disappointed that I had not come for the weekend. Lucy was very interested in my stone buying & would have liked to see them. I had by this time the 12 amethysts, 1 lapis lazuli, 6 corals, a cats eye, a turquoise, a jacinth and a pink topaz, the 2 latter very small.  I went back – with a ½ hour wait at Pembroke Rd – to Mount Pleasant Square & had tea with Miss Scarlett & took her to Figaro. We had front seats & were better off than on Tuesday night, & the opera was more to my taste too, though it was maddening to have Cherubino a girl instead of a boy. Figaro was very good, though plump,& the Countess & Suzanne too had lovely voices, but the only music I really appreciated was where they all sing together at the end, which was heavenly. Susanne had reddish


hair & a red & gold dress, but the countess & Cherubino had grand clothes. The scene where he & the Count both hid in Suzanne’s room was splendid. Miss Scarlett enjoyed it, & seemed to prefer Cherubino as a girl.

Saturday 8th Nov. – Hanna gave me an interesting account of the attempt of the Cumann na mBan representatives to steal Madame MacBride’s idea of publishing the treatment of prisoners here to the world & bar her out from the meeting of representatives of C. na mb., I.W.F.L. & other societies convened to deal with it. She came as representing Ingindena na h-Eireann, [Inghinidhe na h-Eireann ] & they tried to make out that it had become a branch of C. na mb. & had no right to send a delegate. Lily Brennan, Nancy Wyse-Power & I think one of the Ryan’s were principal ones, & it ended in Hanna, Mme Gonne & Mme


Markiewiez going off to Mme G’s house as a subcommittee to draw up the statement about the prisoners. No one can tell a story better than Hanna, yet she does not give the least impression of exaggerating it. I went out to Tir an Iubair after dinner to go for a walk with Helen, & she took me out to Rathfarnham & past Scoil Eanna (the beech trees etc around there were a dream) and round by a cross roads over what she calls Ticknock  – a foothill of the Three Rock mountain, a most lovely place all rocks and bracken & furze & beautiful outlines of hills & broken ground. There was a fine red sunset too. Helen’s conversation was largely occupied with her cousins the Moloneys & their jokes, but we also discussed Miss Scarlett, & after having said I thought she had a rigid mind I found that she had


said the same of me. She thought Helen & I would be good for each other. It seems that when I first met Helen I was dreadfully positive & fierce about some book, & repelled & frightened her. She got reconciled to me afterwards, but still considers me in some respects like a bulldog. I wonder what she would think of Richard Collins. She talked about Quakers, re me & her friend Mr Davis, who appears to know all the Quakers in Waterford by name. We seem to have given her a good impression, but not a gentle or pacific one, of the sect. It was dark when we got home, & we had tea downstairs with her stepmother & Miss Helen has a wonderful lot of photographs in her bedroom, & she showed me a very interesting one of Julius Caesar – a bust – out of a box. I went to Kenilworth Square on my way home, to return The Young Visiters, & found Chandlee alone by


the fire downstairs. I stayed a long time, talking about operas. He is passionately attached to the institutions, has been to most of the Carl Rosa ones, wherever, the money comes from, and knows all about every opera & composer ever created. It was very interesting, and shortly before ten Dermot came in & joined the conversation. He has been to 6 of the present lot of operas & was by no means finished. They were both nice, and I think Chandlee is better looking than he was. He has lovely slippers like Ned Stephens.  Hanna was to have gone to Cluain Meala to lecture on the place of Technical institution in the State, but she got a wire saying the police had forbidden it & it was off – so she took Owen to the pictures after taking him to Androcles the night before. That kid does be let stay up late to a shocking amount.

*Transcribers note: There is some faint faded pencil writing evident beneath the pen that is too unclear to transcribe.


Sunday 9th Nov. – Fine bright day. I dined at Cousin Deborah’s and went to Bray from Milltown station. Harry & Hal met me. There was a regrettable incident after we got back, when Hal was required to produce some chocolate he had been keeping for Seán, & said he had lost it, & neither Harrry nor Lily believed him. Harry told me about his visit to London, & we talked of the Revolt of the Angels which he has been reading in French. I had tea there & Lily gave me the Golden Days that I saw in the shop window 2 weeks before & asked her to buy for me, but I found in the train coming back that lots of it was left out, which I called robbery on the part of the publishers. Seán is really attractive, he is so round & burly, & pretty all but his mouth. I came back by a 7.30 train & visited


Madeline & her mother & Miss Duffy for a good while. Now that Douglas is gone Madeline nearly lives there.

Featured Image: National Museum of Ireland, (National Library of Ireland,  L_ROY_07311)