“It was a lovely warm evening, & a lovely place, & lovely roads all round. Harry took me for a walk a.t., into Golden Grove by the back way past the turnip fields, & talked about the religion, beginning “Freddy tells me that Dorothea is inclined to be a Buddhist.” He despises Buddhism because he never heard of eminent Buddhists & he gave me an interesting account of the day of judgement & the answers Jehovah will make to critics. He has the most personal, human idea of him of any one I ever heard talk outside a Catholic church. He admitted the apparent truth of some things I said.”
WEEK 92: 11th – 17th August 1919
Monday 11th. – Still very hot. Helen & Mabel & I drove into town in the donkey trap in the afternoon to do shopping. Mabel had to have a lot of preparation for going back to school – she is going to York in the autumn with Anthony. We visited her dressmaker who struck me as an intolerable person for the position – will do nothing but her own choice except under tremendous pressure & very sourly. We spent a long time in a rather attractive draper’s shop – all Methodist – looking for a coat & stuff to make a dress, and I was introduced there to Jessie Cummins, a short rather good-looking &
very pleasantly looking girl with a likeness to Teddy. Helen seems to have known very little of Teddy, except that he was very shy & would never come further than the gate when he used to come to Sunnyside to bring his sisters home. J. C. said she was more Fanny Haughton’s friend than Milly’s, and had been great chums with Hilda Davis at Mountmellick. The donkey was not very rapid, but it was a nice drive. This evening I had a long conversation or disagreement with Harry on politics & the social system (which he seems to think does not need altering at all) without losing our tempers. I think he is civiller than he used to be. We visited Mrs Bergin in her kitchen afterwards.
Tuesday 12 Aug. – Miss Waller & K. B. went off this morning to the train in the pony trap that brought Frances from it. I had been looking forward to Frances, but was disappointed, she had an appalling
English accent, of the amusedly scornful young sort, but that is more voice than accent, and she took no notice whatever of me & has that style of talking as if all the rest of the world were amusing idiots, that is so common among the young. She is handsome only that she resembles Daisy. She & Mabel seem much more friends than she & Lucy. F. & M. had a lot to say to each other, & F. added one more to the continual voices everywhere calling for Mabel. They fetched down old clothes for me to buy, but none were very tempting. I took a couple which required powerful washing. We didn’t go out anywhere. Another friend of Helen’s – Miss [Blank space], with a strong English accent, came for a couple of days.
Wednesday 13 Aug. – More washing in the morning, Helen took Miss [Blank space] & me to a Methodist tennis club about 3 miles off in the afternoon, & we had a great time there. It was a lovely place, a
spreading park dotted with trees, & distant hills beyond & about 4 tennis courts with a wooden house & trees at one end. There was a match going on between 4 men which we watched, & they were better players than I’ve seen at the Waterford club. One of the them gave me great pleasure, a well-made young man in a white shirt with sleeves rolled up & dark trousers, he had dark hair & was rather handsome & played splendidly; he had a powerful smashing stroke from a which nothing could get past, he would stand near the net & jump up to any ball & smash it down so that no one could possibly take reach it. Bobby Dart was his name. He was intensely in earnest, & had something about him that reminded me of Teddy Cummins. We got tea and lovely cake (no cake at Fancraft so it was delicious) & then a Sunday school children’s treat began to run wheelbarrow races across the ground before us. There was a stout
energetic man named Dooley, who is said to run everything in Roscrea, organised a regular sports, girls & boys’ races of all sizes, round the minister & back again, & sackraces afterwards. He was starter, umpire & yelling crowd all in one. It was great fun, & still going on when we had to leave. There were 3 crowds of people there, & they looked & spoke nicer than the tennis club members in Waterford. Jessie Cummins was there. It was a lovely warm evening, & a lovely place, & lovely roads all round. Harry took me for a walk a.t., into Golden Grove by the back way past the turnip fields, & talked about the religion, beginning “Freddy tells me that Dorothea is inclined to be a Buddhist.” He despises Buddhism because he never heard of eminent Buddhists & he gave me an interesting account of the day of judgement & the answers Jehovah will make to critics. He has the most personal, human idea of him of any
one I ever heard talk outside a Catholic church. He admitted the apparent truth of some things I said. He is intensely interested in his children – much more so now than when they were small, & admires them greatly. Says a schoolmistress who used to teach Anthony & Mabel in Roscrea said Mabel was the cleverest of all, & he agrees with her. She has got a scholarship for York now.
Thursday 14 Aug. – Still fine & hot. We went to town in the trap again a.d., with Miss [Blank space] instead of Mabel. There is something very comfortable & homely about Helen, & she is very kind usually. I think her satisfaction with herself, family etc helps to make her pleasant & comfortable. She was talking about the girls school in Dublin where she used to housekeep, & where Miss [Blank space] was a pupil. We went to the same shop again & several others – it was very hot.
On the road coming back Helen picked a forked hazel twig & found water with it; it kept going round & round continually as we went round the last corner before Fancraft, as if there was a subterranean stream under the road. Anthony had arrived since we left & came out with Mabel to meet his mother. He has changed greatly since I last saw him, in 1915 I think, has got very tall & much nearer beauty than he was, with thick rather dark hair & sufficiently dark eyebrows & blue-grey eyes, & a nice expression, but his clothes are about a foot too small short for him in every direction, & he had a blue collar which didn’t go with his brown face. He has a very low soft voice & rather a cute way of putting things sometimes. Harry asked him numerous questions about the boys’ camp & got some information out of him but at the expense of much hard work. A. and Mabel seem great friends,
and Frances also seem to enjoy each other. Lucy is rather aloof from them all; probably feels them younger & cleverer than herself. Since Frances came I liked Lucy better, anyhow she was natural & had no English accent. Anthony worked hard feeding animals etc, like the rest.
Friday 15th Aug. – There was rather a funny scene between Lucy & Anthony this morning, when she said she owned him 5/- & he was quite pleased to hear it until she proceeded to count it out practically all in pence & halfpence, having a great surplus of these because she sells photos for 1 ½ ‘ & 2’. He was very much taken aback, but bore it better than she had expected. I bought 2 photos & was given another. Helen drove Miss [Blank space] & me to the train & we parted at Ballybrophy. The Cork train I got into there was packed to bursting, partly with soldiers, but I left it at Port Laoire & was comfortable from there on.
A splendid hot day, and the bogs round Ballybrophy were lovely, with the heather in flower. Simon was very glad to see me.
Sunday 17th. – Cloudy warm morning. I cycled out to Tráit Mór to visit the party there, & the road was in a disgraceful state, all churned up from the races & the dry weather, with stones thickly strewn all over it so that I had to zigzag about avoiding them without raising my eyes for at least half the way. I found Louis asleep in the garden & Ben nearly dead after cycling from Cocaill the day before. We went out the cliff road a bit before dinner & sat on the ditch over Wright’s cove, Louis taking great interest in the passersby & Ben asking question’s about Rizzio and James I’s right to the English throne. After dinner I went to visit Lucy Pim at Ardview, where she was staying a week, and found them all at home, plus a rather nice clergyman of some sort. Lucy had
nothing to say, & Mabel & her mother & I did the talking. I spoke of the time I went to Midvale when they had just been taking the honey, & showed it to me but gave me none for tea, &Mabel beat that with a story of a visit she once paid the Cork Haughtons, when they gave her tea & then took her out in the garden & showed her their ripe peaches. I met Helen & Mabel on the road later when I was going to visit them; they were on the way to meeting so I walked a piece with them. Uncle Charlie is cracked about Louis, & L. apparently likes him. After tea Ben & I had great abuse of our Sinn Féin clubs & their methods, & he told us of Bulmer Hobson’s discovery of part of Russell’s diary in the archives of Trinity College, & 4 new letters of Tone to him. The diary, Hobson says, is too intimate for publication, but that may not be left altogether to him to decide. Dorothea had a summing-up
[short-hand symbols here]
of Emily by Mrs Kinsella, as follows: “A poor, blind, deaf, lame little girl, with a tooth in her head or a screed on her back, the most despicable girl I ever saw.” Most of it is partly true, but Mrs K. is lamer herself, & it conveys a totally wrong general impression, but its very powerful. I came home with the wind behind me in no time.
Featured Image: “Stereo view of tennis court with a doubles match taking place, large house in the background”. The Clonbrook Collection, National Library of Ireland, CLON1856.