“Fr O’Flanagan pointed out that if you must vote for the Republican candidate whatever his minor sins; even if he disagrees with you in religion or social questions, he is the lesser of 2 evils. At 1…we formed up in the front garden of the Mansion house & marched round Grafton St into College Green & gathered under Grattan’s statue. I was between Mrs S S and Countess Plunkett, & Mrs Pearse was somewhere near. Fr O’F. was the only speaker, he had a good powerful voice for open air speaking. Three peelers tried to get through at one point, but we shoved them back and they retired.”
WEEK 57: 28th October – 3rd November 1918
Monday 28th Oct. – I went to Át Cliat by the 9.40 train, & didn’t get there till 2.40. I went to the vegetarian & got a little pudding there – no meal more than 5′ served between 3 & 5.30, but according to the menu, but a young man opposite me got a whole dinner. I wa went to Harcourt St then to explain that I had got no admission card & they said it wd be all right, & so to Moyne Road, walking all the way as there seemed to be no trams. Mrs ff.M. had got a lodger, a friend of Douglas’s named Noonan; who fiddles at a theatre, & she has no servant! She said N. was not half the trouble Douglas is. He had my room, so I had a little front one that used to be Pearl’s. All the pious pamphlets & books that Douglas used to pole among for my benefit were in the chest of drawers there. Douglas
appeared presently & ate his dinner at about 4.45, & complained to me of his mother’s monotonous cooking. He is really intolerable. He talked a lot, a presently Miss Knox came in, very thin & quite unrecognisable in someone else’s clothes and Madeline followed, & Douglas went out shortly after. Madeline told me all about the efforts of the women in the Rát Uí Máine club to get Mrs SS made candidate for the election, & the male passive resistance they have to encounter – having to have explanations made ten times over & omitting to call meetings that they had been arranged for, etc. She was going to Liberty hall on a message, & took me with her; then she had to go up to Mary St to see Mrs Power, & I was left in a parlour where I was examining books when Mr W. P came in, extremely ceremonious, & exhibited other books in gorgeous bindings to me. Nancy was there, & rather scorned her father’s taste for bindings. She is thinner & much better looking than she was. We called on Mrs Ceannt on our way home; she has her son down with influenza.
Noonan appeared after I got home, he is goodlooking front view but not in profile; with very dark hair & eyebrows, a pale narrow face, & glasses. He had the strongest Cork accent I ever heard in my life, and was very nice and pleasant, & polite to Mrs ff. M. Douglas went to play the piano after supper & was still at it when I fell asleep.
Tuesday 29 Oct. – I went to the Convention with Mrs Ceannt & M. Devitt from the St Enda’s, & was kept at the door a long time getting my admission card made out. Father O’Flanagan was chairman & Harry Boland secretary & the former’s speech was long & rhetorical though some of it was pretty good. Then they made a rule that no one shd speak for more than 5 minutes at a time, but nobody kept it. Then they proceeded to the agenda, which was even longer than last year, & the most interesting item in the morning session was an admirable speech from Mrs SS, about America & the prisoners. It was seconding something, but I have lost my copy of
the agenda – I believe it ws seconding the first resolution about sending a message to Wilson re the peace conference & the prisoners. She said that Shortt offered to release her on condition she wd keep away from the Sinn Féiners, which is a tribute to them, & that they had offered to release Mme Gonne if she wd retire to France for an indefinite time, & she spoke very well about the prisoners in Belfast & about America. At dinnertime I found her in the crowd & she took me to dine at the Vegetarian, where one of the waitresses knows her & will take trouble for her. She says said her house next but one to Dr Lynn’s was not ready yet, & she didn’t know when it would be, & she said that many people are very cold about Mme Gonne (I noticed Mrs Ceannt was when I spoke of her as a good parliamentary candidate) because she divorced her husband. I suppose they blame her more than him, because divorce is so irreligious. She told me that rich Catholics divorce each other freely in the United States, & the church does nothing to them – dines with them, in fact. The afternoon session was partly taken
up with the elections. Those in jail were all starred as not to be voted for, and there is to be another Ard Fheis & another election as soon as they came out. Boland & [blank space] were secs, Mrs Power & G. Nesbitt treasurers, & Eoin MacNeill, Dr Lynn & Mrs SS were the 3 first names for the executive. Cathal Brugha, P. MacMahon, Dr White, M. Staines, were on it too, with a lot of others, including quite as many priests as is desirable. I went to Brighton Square for tea, & found that J. W. for once agreed with me on a question of literature – that Ó Conaire is very unpleasant in a good deal of An Cead Cloc, & she wishes he was not our only modern original writer. I went back to the Convention then, & they had an interminable discussion about the amount that shd be demanded from each club for the general purposes fund. They finally decided on P. her member per week, some of it to go to headquarters & some to the Comhairli Ceanntair. There were some lovely heads of thick dark wavy hair near me but few
really handsome faces. A great many young men spoil their looks by an insolent expression of the mouth. There were more women there than last year, I think. It stopped shortly before 10, & Mrs S.S. & I walked home together. She told me that “Paddy Little” of New Ireland asked her lately wd she be an election candidate, & she said she didn’t know, & he said “Aren’t you in favour of limitation of families?” She replied that anyhow she wouldn’t put that in her election address. She said Owen wishes very much for a brother or sister, but she believed the fact was that she never seemed to have time to have another child. I thought it was because she was so ill when Owen was born. This was the night that Douglas and Noonan had a concert and the people next door rapped on the wall of my room to make them stop.
Wednesday 30th Oct. – I went to the Convention & it didn’t start till nearly 11. There was bad news of the Belfast prisoners, some of whom seemed to be dying, & the chairman was
just going to pass to other business when Mrs W. Power asked weren’t we going to do something about it? It was decided then that we should all march to College Green in the dinner interval & have a public meeting about it. Then there were long & tiresome letters read from the bishops of Killaloe & Limerick, & there had to be votes of thanks to them. Stephen James O’ Meara in seconding one made the outrageous statement that in the hearts of all the hierarchy [Superscript: only love of God came before] love of Irish independence. was only s Mrs Power who was on one side of me said “Question!” in a loud whisper, & Mrs SS who was on the other side, said “With me its a poor second. Also ran!” She has a lovely way of saying things. Then there was a long discussion about Labour & the election. Headquarters had drawn up a pledge, promising that you were out for a Republic & wd resign if Labour ever asked you to go to Westminster, which was the price they demanded for giving a Labour candidate a clear field. Even this did not satisfy everyone; one man said the Labour
candidate in the division believed in Karl Marx’s doctrines, & how cd he vote for him? Fr O’Flanagan pointed out that if you must vote for the Republican candidate whatever his minor sins; even if he disagrees with you in religion or social questions, he is the lesser of 2 evils. At 1 so it was raining, & we formed up in the front garden of the Mansion house & marched round Grafton St into College Green & gathered under Grattan’s statue. I was between Mrs SS and Countess Plunkett, & Mrs Pearse was somewhere near. Fr O’F. was the only speaker, he had a good powerful voice for openair speaking. Three peelers tried to get through at one point, but we shoved them back and they retired. I had to go out to Moyne Rd for my dinner, as Madeline had arranged to be there. She comes in every day to help her mother. I thought it wd never be ready, & I didn’t get back to the Convention till the afternoon session was well on. It consisted entirely of leaving things to the Standing Committee. Mrs
Power & Countess Plunkett & I didn’t get a word in at the end about women election candidates. There was less smoking this day than the last, but it was awful on Tuesday morning or evening. Mrs SS objects to it extremely too, & she & I appealed to Fr O’F. to stop it, but his mild request had very little effect. I do think there’s something very caddish about a man who goes on smoking in a public assembly like that after he has been asked not to. Mrs SS told me her husband abhorred smoking, & they had a great fight to get it forbidden in the I.W.F.L. meetings. Mrs Pearse took me home to tea with her. Mrs Ceannt & M’Devitt, who were inseparable all through the Convention, came with us & parted at Mrs C’s gate. I was put into the room opposite the kitchen while tea was prepared, & there, with M’Devitt & someone else, was “Professor Slattery.” He talked to me about election chances for a long time, & wd hardly allow any seats as certainties.
for the party. He has a moustache, & looks a little better, & less like a German kitten, than he did in July 1917. He went off with to the masters somewhere when Mrs & Miss P. and the tea came in. Eva Burke, who was nursing the influenza boys, had tea with us; a big good looking dark haired girl, Frank Burke’s sister, and we had lovely hot cakes. Frank Burke, Joyce, a boy called Willie & another that I didn’t know, came in and sat or stood about talking and looking very nice. Joyce was criticizing Mrs Wyse Power’s way of talking to people who are in the middle of a speech, at the Convention – “She’s terrible giddy.” It was very like the evening I spent there after Ashe’s funeral. When the young men went out Eva Burke said to me wouldn’t to be dreadful to have them always in the house. Mrs Pearse and I sat in the kitchen then for a while, and some little boys came in in stocking feet to leave their boots in the corner. One of them didn’t look more than 7. Then after a bit I went and
visited Aunt Nannie and Aunt Isabella, and they asked me to dinner on Thursday. I know Douglas was in when I came home, because I asked if he would play for Mrs Pearse at her little Oiche Samna concert the next night, but he was far too grand. Noonan is really a much nicer person; there must have been great faults in Douglas’s upbringing.
Thursday 31st Oct. – [Superscript: Visited Lasairfhiona in the morning]
I went to dinner to Maxwell Rd, and they have there Mansfield Park and Northanger Abbey & Persuasion with Hugh Thomson’s illustrations, which were very interesting to look at, though I think he makes everyone too much alike. I went to Bray by the 5 train and it was pouring rain then. I found Lily just starting to wash Seán and put him to bed; he has got quite fair but is quite pretty & stronglooking, but he roared nearly all the time. F.H. has got comparatively plain, & had a very tullish voice, but was civil and
well behaved. Lily looks very well. We had tea & F.H. was put to bed after playing a sort of hide & seek under the table, and we washed up and then sat by the fire. Lily is awfully interested in Dorothea & wanted to know which she wanted a boy or a girl. Uncle Fred has been having influenza badly. I was telling them about Seán ó Floinn’s revelations about Catholicism, & they were much interested. Harry came with me to the 9.30 train – it was still pouring rain & continued so all night. I was given supper in the kitchen, & Douglas started reading aloud The Flying Inn to me till I had to go into the parlour to finish a letter to Mamma. It was very interesting, & I took it to bed with me & read most of it. Douglas had a very young taste for Chesterton. The black kitten had spent a day at Belgrave Rd, but came back again. Noonan seemed fond of her, & told me his family in Cork had 3 dogs & 4 cats. This was the day Dr Lynn was arrested & let off again, after great
activity on the part of Madeline & the Lord Mayor, or agreeing to take no direct political action while the epidemic is on. She does be inoculating people for it.
Mi na Samna November 1918
Friday 1st Nov. – I stated in all the morning & had a lot of Douglas’s company. He was practicing most of the time, & he also provided me with lives of various saints to read & talked to me so that I couldn’t read them. If he would play all the time it wd be better. He read “Ancient Art & Ritual”, & presently found out that it was by a woman & said he had noticed a sort of weakness in the style. Madeline came to dinner, and after dinner I went to visit Mrs S.S. &
Miss Scarlett but they were both out, so I went to read the Golden Bough at the library till it was time to go to the Kenilworth Square at 5.30. It was pouring rain all this time. The Webb’s house is at the south west corner, a great big noble house with a big hall & a mirror half way across it, and two bathrooms, a little one at the top of the house & a big one at the bottom, and a green house, & fine large rooms. Chandlee opened the door, & Mrs W., who was very nicely dressed, & looked well, showed me over some of the house. There was a friend of Chandlee, a boy called Donovan, who was introduced to me as a Sinn Féiner, who had come to tea. Chandlee & Dermot were interested to learn that I was staying with the ffrench-mullens; they know all about Douglas’s musical fame, & how he won the feis ceoil medal for piano playing (which I didn’t know till he told me), & were amused at my description of his goings on. Oddie was in bed with moderate influenza. We had tea
downstairs minus Roger senior who dined in solitary state afterwards, & who was poor company whenever he did appear. Chandlee was very cheerful & inquisitive, he & his mother & Dermot seemed to be asking me questions all tea-time, but especially Chandlee. All the young ones have holidays from school because of the epidemic, & Chandlee was threatening Dermot with very short Christmas holidays on account of it, but D. didn’t seem to mind. We agreed that business holidays are much too short, Emily & Sheila hadn’t a chance to say much; though Chandlee did ask questions about the Belmont magazines we saw; which they were & what was in them etc, C. looked fairly well to me, though I’m told he is still very delicate. They were still greatly interested in my ring & how it was made. Mrs W. seemed to me more lively than usual. After tea C. & his friend retired somewhere, & Dermot, Emily, Sheila, Ivan & I were left in the drawing room. Dermot gave me an
impression of being very well dressed; I don’t know why, unless it was that he had elegant slippers on, & that his hair was very smooth & satiny. Emily & Sheila have noble plaits, & E. is getting tall, & has nice legs. Ivan is lovely, he is so cheerful & plump & goodhumoured, & anxious to be in everything that’s going on. We played What is it like, & D. was rather bothered between his own wish to make things hard, & his knowledge that the children weren’t up to a hard game. He showed me 3 medals he got for races, all on the same day, which seemed to me too much running altogether, especially as one at least was ½ a mile. Presently their parents came back, & at 7.40 I had to go, as I was to be at the Stephenses at 8. They had Kevin O’Shiel with them; a plain red-haired looking young man with a rocky sort of face & a great gift for story telling in an Ulster accent. He had charming stories about certain Sinn Féiners in Omagh; one Peter Houghey, a painter & decorator, his dealings with
a D. I. who owed him a lot of money in 1916, with a colonel who had to go to him for the key of a house where the S.F. club was, & which he wanted to inspect with a view to commandeering it, but he didn’t get the key; & with a Monsignor who objected to Connolly’s books, & “Priests & People in Ireland” which P.H. introduced into the library of some Catholic young men’s club he belonged to. P.H. seems to be a great anti clerical, & a most able & hardhearted person. There was also the old man who wanted to organise a Murder Laygue of old men, to kill peelers & soldiers. O’Shiel produced their conversation in a strong northern accent which twisted up his face into a rockier shape than before. He also told of how they threw stones at an aeroplane that came buzzing round very low down at a feis, & drove it away. A good part of the time he was talking to Lily on a sofa & ned was talking to me about fly boys he has saved.
from the conscription & about Red Branch legends & how they are softened down from the original to make them less grotesque (Cuchulain’s seven eyes etc) & about the school his brother & sister in law are thinking of starting, but he didn’t say much about that – it seems very unsubstantial yet. They rallied O’Shiel about flirtations in a way calculated to make him think himself a great flirt entirely, & mystified me altogether with it. Lily asked me a few questions about Dorothea & Nancy, but she was practically all the time either talking with O’Shiel or listening to his stories. I got Ned to recite the poem about the murder of Danny – by Synge, & O’Shiel enjoyed it. Lily seemed to me on the way to a double chin. Denis was in bed of course. About 10.15 came in one of their English freak visitors, a Bolshevist (so they said) congregational minister who had been lecturing somewhere in the north of Dublin & had a bad time getting home. He was very English & called Nelson’s Pillar “your
Trafalgar square”. He was quite middle aged too. We were having supper then, & very soon after I left. I got him drowned & found everyone else had gone out & got come in drowned too.
Saturday 2nd Nov. – I went over to visit Madeline, but found her on her feet fussing, just going to the house they have got for a children’s hospital in Charlemont St, where Dr Lynn was setting up a system of inoculating people for the influenza. I went too & saw the place, & then went into town, visited Lasairfhiona again & dined with Mrs SS at the Vegetarian. She was telling me I should compete for the prize offered at the Convention for an essay on Ireland’s Case for Independence” so as to make me feel it was pure laziness if I did not. I forget what else we talked about, but she was very good company. I went home then, & caught the 3.50 train & got home a little after about 8.30.
Sunday 3rd Nov. – Fine day. Tom had a cold, so they didn’t come to dinner, but Mamma & I visited them in the afternoon.
Featured Image: College Green, Dublin. c. 1890s (Image courtesy of National Library of Ireland, Lawrence Collection, L_CAB_02264).