“Mrs S. took us all round the gardens & talked about them & the house, & gave us a noble tea plus Mr S., who is small & cocksure, fairly young, & says “That is so. That is so” authoritatively when a woman says something he agrees with. They both talked arrogantly about strikes & labour day – there was a Miss Connolly [perhaps Nora Connolly] speaking on labour day in Wexford – daughter of some labour leader that was killed in the rising – a very common girl, who said the workers wd never get their rights without a revolution, & similar rot & Mr S. wd never take a man back who had once struck, were he a farmer, & wd prevent other farmers doing so as much as he could. “
WEEK 77: 28th April – 4th May 1919
Monday 28th. – An abominable windy day. We went to the train at 9.50 & Miss Courtney was there as usual. I got the House of Halliwell at the Free Library, & it wasn’t as good as most of them – it was the first she wrote. I went to a committee at St Declan’s in the evening – largely about women patrols. D. had a letter about them from Dublin, & it seems that they have cards signed by police inspectors directing the police to help them if necessary, & I pointed out that a lot of us couldn’t go in for being authorised by police authorities, which Mrs Foley admitted, & Mrs Ryan & some others felt the same. I went at 10 while they were in the middle of business still.
Tuesday 29 April. – I went to Killinick when by the 2.30 train. The weather was much better there –
not half so windy. Mr Byron met me, looking thinner than he used & not up to much yet. The lawn was full of sheep and lambs. Miss Byron is living at Orristown now, as Harristown is sold. She is thin & young-looking compared to Mr B., with dark hair & very sweet & gentle manner & voice of the kind that goes with a rockily immovable character. Aunt Maggie showed me the clock golf course that her brother in law General Byron made when he was there lately; it’s a nice game that you can play by yourself as long as you like. Smuts is still there, and they have the old sheepdog from Harristown, Scamp, a lovely dog & effusively affectionate. The garden is looking exquisite with arabis & that purple thing that grows in rock gardens, & forgetmenots & white stock & anemones. There was a labourers’ strike on, & they talked
a lot about it in the evening. The men do seem unreasonable by their account, but I don’t see how wicked selfseeking union officials can force people to strike against their will – it wd seem more credible that they are not perfectly sincere in their remarks to their employers. Its hard on Mr B. to have the strike on when he is not properly well after his illness, & at a busy time.
Wednesday 30 April. – Nothing doing in the morning. Breakfast & dinner are in the breakfast room off the kitchen now, & no fire lit in the parlour till evening, & I used be frightfully cold. In the afternoon Aunt Maggie & I went to tea to the Francis’s – there were 2 Miss Horrocks from Wexford there too; distant cousins of Aunt M., whom she had never met. They were very full of the soldiers that used be in Wexford & how
lonely it wd be after them, & canteen work. Mrs F. is thin & active & very pleasant but deaf. She & Violet do all the work & nearly kill themselves. We had tea with the addition of Mr F, a tall rather goodlooking man & a son Bertie, a bank clerk from Carraig. Some talked of the strike, & Aunt M. afterwards quoted Mr F. as saying “We have the men under our feet & we’ll keep them there” – & said, if you were a labourer & heard a farmer talk like that wouldn’t you want to kill him, & be nearly justified in wanting to. We were taken round the garden after tea, & one of the Horrocks spoke very well of about the vileness of cutting down trees. Another son – Lofty – a wireless operator in the navy, appeared just when we were going; so did 2 lovely collies, with great beams of wood hung round their necks – to keep them from hunting sheep. I made such a fuss that they were taken off then, but God knows for how long
The trees were all coming out along the roads, & the furze & blackthorn & primroses were all magnificent lots of wild violets too. The place was at its best I suppose, probably its not quite so lovely in summer.
Bealtaine May 1919
Thursday 1 May, Labour Day. – Cloudy day. We went nowhere, I played a lot of clock golf, & my record was 27. Great scorn of Labour Day from Miss Byron & some from Aunt Maggie.
Friday 2 May. – In the afternoon we including Miss B. drove to a place about 3 miles off where people named Salmon live – he is manager of Pierce’s in Wexford and they are quite rich, have a
big house & garden & greenhouses & everything handsome about them. The house is luxurious. Mrs S. took us all round the gardens & talked about them & the house, & gave us a noble tea plus Mr S., who is small & cocksure, fairly young, & says “That is so. That is so” authoritatively when a woman says something he agrees with. They both talked arrogantly about strikes & labour day – there was a Miss Connolly [perhaps Nora Connolly] speaking on labour day in Wexford – daughter of some labour leader that was killed in the rising – a very common girl, who said the workers wd never get their rights without a revolution, & similar rot & Mr S. wd never take a man back who had once struck, were he a farmer, & wd prevent other farmers doing so as much as he could. Of course you can’t exactly do that at Pierces, but he evidently wd if he cd. There was a strike on at P.’s then.
They had a little daughter, & a son who showed us a family of rabbits he had, a couple of days old nice little silky things. Mr Levis, that Mamma & Aunt H. used to know at Clonhaston, called in with a silly little English wife while we were there. It was lovely driving home, golden evening sunshine among the young leaves, & heaps of primroses & blackthorn. Miss Byron admires Mr Salmon & is quite as much against strikers as he. He rose from a very low position, so he had to be assertive or the men wdn’t respect him, she explained to me.
Saturday 4th 3rd. – Mr & Miss B. were going into Wexford early in the trap, so I went too, to get Aunt Maggie’s bicycle which was left there for repairs. It was cold enough but the primroses were splendid; I picked a lot coming home. They charged me 6′ for a ball of crochet
cotton at Hadden’s. We had a lovely walk in the evening to see the sheep in a distant field, across the river and along the lane there. We Scamp came with us and was awfully good. We came back by fields near the railway. That flat dull country can be lovely in spring. Sheep have to be very closely inspected for fear something might happen to them.
Sunday 4th. – Cold cloudy day. Aunt M. and Miss Byron went to different
churches but I stopped at home, being encouraged at not to go. I went out another lane beyond Killinick and put another verse on the 7 champions poem – or half another verse, for I did the other half the day before. It was very cold these days and they had no fire or only in the evening. Miss Byron is interested
in saints, even Irish ones, & seems to know a good deal about them. Mr B. was fairly cheerful, & said some very funny things, but he wasn’t equal to the work he had to do, and used go to bed very early.