WEEK 6: (5th – 12th November 1917)

She had a bad cold & was sitting by the dining room fire. She talked about Parnell, & said how interesting his wife’s book about him was, but how disgusting of her to publish it, & about the countess, saying people had asked her would it be safe to go into the town the evening she was here.”

NLI Call Number: MS, 3582/32
NLI Catalogue Link can be found here
Date Range of Diary: Oct 1st 1917 – Dec 9th 1917

WEEK 6: 5th – 12th November 1917

Monday 5th Nov. – Wet day. Annie paid us a visit in the afternoon. She read the Old Country with interest but considers she doesn’t understand it. She had very little to say about the Convert. She considers if the North & the rest of the country can’t come to some compromise in the Convention, the country is hopeless. We tried to get it into her head that its not simply a case of 2 parts of 1 coun nation unable to agree, but that 1 part was planted from outside & has always been encouraged & helped not to assimilate with the rest as it would have done in a


free country, but of course it was very hard to get that into her head. She was going up to her sisters for a bit the next Thursday.

Tuesday 6th Nov. – I went to the hotel a.d. & found Mrs P. in bed with a bad cold. She said she had fallen in love with the Countess & the girls seemed much struck with her also. They told all she said & did in the house & T. told all that I knew about her. I had tea with the girls downstairs & after tea their Mr Whelan from Át Cliat, that Tash was staying with, came in – a very plain looking man with a rough, blocky, clean shaved face & red hair. He was very nice, & told yarns he had got in Dublin about the imminence of peace & the hopeless state of the British, that were


very interesting. One was of a traveller who went to a Yorkshire woollen mill to buy stuff for Dublin shops lately, & was told he could get no woollens anywhere in England, as all the mills were busy with a Government contract of stuff for 5,000,000 civilian suits, to be ready in 3 months time. I went to the G. L. class after that – Seadna – just past the beginning.

Wednesday 7th Nov. – I visited R. Butler bid. Her kitten, Sporty, is very nice. I went to the Tech. in the evening, & did a little work, but I wish he had more time to attend to me. There were was 2 other girls doing repoussé work, & a deaf & dumb girl modelling. There was a committee at the club & I put in half an hour at it after the Tech.


Thursday 8th Nov. – I went to town after tickets and got the Bars of Iron out again. Mamma & I went up to St Declan’s in the evening to the discussion on Punishment. Present – Charlotte, Mettrick & Mr Deens besides ourselves. Mettrick started at considerable length, saying there shd be no such thing as punishment, that it was always unjust by nature & evil in its effects. Charlotte seemed rather to agree with him. I had to go away at 9 to a general meeting at the Club; the delegates were to give their accounts of the Convention. O’Connor was doing so when I arrived, he described a good deal of what had been done; then I was called, & gave a few more general sort of impressions; then Sutton read remarking that we had given


no account of the organization schemes, proceeded without reason or mercy to read every word of both of them aloud to us. It took at least half an hour. Then they talked about the meeting on Sunday, and J. Wylie scarified the male members because they had not come to be drilled at the Volunteer hall in sufficient numbers against the procession etc. I left while they were still sitting, & seeing our windows dark, went on to St D.’s and found Mamma & Mr Mettrick still there with Dorothea, & T. just back from seeing Charlotte home. They were discussing the narrowness & piety of Waterford Quakers.

Friday 9th Nov. – I went to the Technical school, & we ground enamel in a pestle & mortar & sprea washed it & spread


on little bits of copper, & baked it in what Mr Shea calls a muffle but I call a little furnace in what he calls the chemmy lab downstairs. But they were failures, owing to something bad in the quality of the copper, he thinks. I went up to J. Connolly a.d. to get his help with a book of local names to be answered according to their probable views in the event of an election here, that G. Bishop gave me to fill up the night before. J.C. filled in about 12 names, & seemed much more of a Sinn Féiner than I had thought. Tom had done a few of them before. I went to Jennings then, about the everlasting crown, & after tea to a special committee meeting at the club –


the meeting had been proclaimed – city & neighbourhoo the extent of the proclamation not yet known. Miss Skeffington has been put on the committee in place of Mc Ettrick who has left Waterford. S. Matthews thought Gallagher did very wrong to ask for how far the proclamation extended – I suppose it did put ideas in their Maxwell’s head. It was decided to send Wheeler up to Át Cliat to tell them the meeting was going to be held. May New was there, the first time I’ve known her be at a committee. They were getting up a flag day for Sunday, which I don’t think much of; it is one Whittles doing, but of course all the sellers were girls.

Saturday 10th Nov. – I went to visit Mrs Coade a.d. & took her some specimens of writing to read – she tells characters from


Image of Katherine O’Shea from her book Charles Stewart Parnell His Love Story and Political Life (Source: Internet Archive Book Images)

writing. She had a bad cold & was sitting by the dining room fire. She talked about Parnell, & said how interesting his wife’s book about him was, but how disgusting of her to publish it, & about the countess, saying people had asked her would it be safe to go into the town the evening she was here. I showed her Aunt H.’s writing first, & she read it fairly well but not fully; then I showed her Annie’s, & she read it like enchantment. Very refined & humble minded, cd do more if she had more ambition, less will power than Aunt H., great originality, lot of imagination, fond of reading & has good taste in books; much more in hr than ever comes out, needs encouragement, suffers sometimes from inward irritability. She was greatly interested when I told her whose writing it was;


she knows Annie & admires & pities her. Charlotte came in then on business & I walked a bit of the way home with her. She said she had a horrid thing to tell me, & hoped I wouldn’t be hurt – someone of great authority told her I had been on the verge of arrest a year or 2 ago & might be arrested now only for him. Willie Hill I suppose, but I can’t think why I should be arrested. I went down to the club a.t. & met Miss M’ Carthy from Dungarvan & Miss Brodrick there, come to collect the next day. Its marvellous the activity of women in collecting money, the horriblest of all forms of political work, & the one they seem to take to most. I went over to the Volunteer hall at 9.30 & they ^& May New were there before me.

The Vols. & club members were being


drilled & going down stairs in twos like thunder, & being formed up in the street, by Peadar Woods. We formed up also, between them & the Fianna, & all went down to the station.

[Superscript above: I had a long conversation with a man named Dee from Dún Garbhan]. Of course there was a long wait, at last the committee members went on the platform & presently after the train came in. Griffith looks very small beside De Valera. Mrs Wyse Power was in the train too. The procession marched across the bridge & along the quay (some hostile demonstrations at the corner) & up Barronstrand St and round George’s St & O’Connell St where P. Woods dismissed the Volunteers. I was with May New all this time; she was looking for O. Puzzau to go home with her, but he


was not to be found, so she had to go alone.

Barronstrand Street Co Waterford 1907 - National Library of Ireland Ref Number P_WP_1732
Buildings in Barronstrand Street, Co. Waterford 1907. (Source: National Library of Ireland, Poole Photographic Collection,  POOLEWP 1732)

Sunday 11th Nov. – It began to rain about 10. I went down to the club, got flags & papers of various kinds, & went down the quay & hung about there looking for sellers to replenish, as it was not thought safe for them to go to the rooms for more, for fear the rooms might be attacked by Redmondite mobs. Strange how one despises the mob when its Redmondites. I went into the hotel once to dry myself, & G. & De V. came back from mass with pomp just as I was going away. All the sellers seemed to congregate at the cathedral most of the time. There were great parties of police & young small soldiers in


Broad St & Lady Lane, the latter with ridiculous looking steel hats, and they had mules in Lady lane carrying some sort of munitions of war. The populous stood in a row close before them & the police, staring with great interest. I was with May New at this time; then I went by appointment to the carstand Powers, at 10’clock, & found great number of police & soldiers outside their house too. They dried me in the kitchen for I was very wet, & gave their father dinner there. They had a sort of lunch & so had I. Mr Power had been to mass with the visitors, & was going in the waggonette to the meeting. We set off first, E. having lent me a long coat instead of my own wet one, & went out the Cork road to


where the Sugarloaf Rd comes in, where a car full of  with 2 female Wylies made us get up on it, & the waggonette passing us at the same time, we proceeded in procession. It was very absurd somehow. The Volunteers were marching behind or in front I forget which, & people in groups travelling out after us, & other cars. Arrived at the next place where a road comes in, everyone stopped & we stood in the road & talked to the people out of the waggonette till the meeting started. The Powers told Griffith the branch was named after Meagher & I said I wished it had any other name but that. When [superscript inserted above: – An English reporter had some discourse with E. Power] a fair crowd had gathered, they went back into the waggonette & opened the meeting – Ald. Power, a man from


Dunhill who spoke well & briefly; Dee who spoke as if he wd never stop, I forget who else, & finally De Valera. We have the supplement of the News with his speech & Griffith’s, so I will say nothing of them except that they laid into English reporters well, & there were 2 or 3 there listening to them. De V. spoke first in Irish, saying how much easier the political fight would have been if the language had never been allowed to decay. He had the usual way of saying men & every man etc, as if there were no women in the country; I didn’t expect it of him. The 2 Powers & I left while Griffith was still speaking because he & De V. were coming to tea at their house & they wanted to be home before them. I was staying for tea too.


They arrived soon after we got there, with cheers & curses from the mob in the street. Ald. Quinlan, Dr White, Gallagher, & Sean Mathews all came in too, & drinks were passed round. De V. wouldn’t smoke & I forget if he drank, but Griffith had whiskey, saying “I have all the vices.” The men all went away then, except Gallagher, & we sat round the drawingroom fire, or watched the people in the street. E. being downstairs getting tea, & J. too part of the time, their father had a chance to speak, & he told stories of his helping the Fenians to escape on his coalboats long ago. Col. Kelly was one. This interested G. and De V. greatly. Then Griffith demanded of me why I didn’t like Meagher, & rather completely disagreed with me when I said I could


not stand his oratory & that he shd not have stood for parliament that time. He apparently thought he cd not be blamed for that. He must admire him or he wouldn’t have edited his speeches. J. Power of course fell on me, & they went off then on Meagher. The girls pointed told De Valera I had objected to his way of speaking to men only, & he said he wished he always had someone to prompt him on that point when he was going to speak. I said I didn’t think he should require prompting at this time of day. We sat thus at tea.

A.G.              E. de V.       & it was a noble meal, including cold meat.
R.J.                Ald P.
Gallagher    J. P

They ate with great good will & specifically admired the oatcakes. The girls talked a great deal of course;


De V. didn’t say much; he is hoarse again & was evidently tired. I recalled Mr Sheehy Skeffington’s story about the style of Scissors & Paste to Griffith & he remembered it with pleasure. He said he feared an editor had a bad reputation, & E. Power said he had the reputation of a woman hater, & I had told them he was such, & he nearly died laughing. There are some people that its not safe to say anything to. I was surprised to find Griffith so pleasant & genial; not a bit stiff. They made him write in their autograph book, & De V. on their little autograph tea-cloth, & De V. said, speaking of writing, that the worst writing he ever saw was “Tommy Mac Donagh’s” – that he used to pray he wd never get a military order in writing from him, & he asked him once, if ever


he was sending him an order, to type it. I can’t remember any more of their conversation, I think they enjoyed listening to the Powers & resting their tongues. I left soon after 6 & came home to find Mamma & T. & D. at tea. After tea we played bridge till it was time for me to go down to the club. I arrived at 8, found the room pretty full, & the proceedings didn’t commence til at least 8.30. Ald. Power not being there, I was in the chair, with Maurice Quinlan beside me, rather drunk, beating the table with a heavy stick for applause & making audible remarks now & then, & Gallagher behind me. The addresses were read & presented & they each made a speech, rather better in some ways than those they


made “out on the road outside” as De V. put it. His was largely about the theological innocence of rebellion against unlawful authority, & the attitude of Sinn Fein to labour, which didn’t satisfy me, but most of it was good. Griffith’s as usual was better. Then they sang the Soldier’s Song & I left, meeting Tash at the door close to May New. I learned afterwards that she had got quite comparatively reconciled to M. N. I was home by 9.30 or so, in time for supper.