“We got home by about 9.30, rather cold by that time, Brighid & I went to tea to the Murphy’s & sat discussing people & politics round the table till after 11. Mrs M. upheld De Valera & Griffith as statesmen, & I exalted Mrs SD above them, & complained of caucassing, which they seemed to consider necessary in anythin plans that must be kept secret. Mrs Murphy abused women as being unable to keep from letting things out, & Dr M. thought men were worse – they do it for money.”
WEEK 93: 18th – 24th August 1919
Monday 18th. – I went to Jennings a.d. & he refilled 2 teeth. I went to tea at Walpole’s; Mrs Neild was there & talked of the horridness of Englishwomen who have been working in munition factories & their incompetence as servants. Mr Walpole talked about caves; he has a passion for them & has visited most around the coast. He was in the Metal Man’s cave with a woman who sang & produced wonderful fairylike echoes from all about – why didn’t I think of trying to make Tony sing – and they went in a boat of course. No one but Tom & Stan Jennings & Tony & I ever seems to have gone there on foot.
Tuesday 19 Aug. – I went to meet Aunt Isabella at the station in the evening, paying a visit at the hotel en route. Tash is back & Kitty gone.
Wednesday 20 Aug. – I cycled to Portlaw to visit Miss Scarlett at Woodlock convent. The wind was against me to the Sweep & beyond, but not all the way, & I got there in about 2 hours. Miss S. was out under a tree with her paralysed friend Miss Brown, who is not at all so paralysed as I expected, & has a very good attendant. Dinner happened soon after I arrived. It is a most gorgeous house, with 2 great white stone halls, one opening from another, and from the inner one a great staircase goes up. There was a grand piano there, which a little deformed Miss Daly played Chopin etc on beautifully for us, and big chairs & a sofa, and high stone vases of pink geraniums on high pedestals, which were very ornamental. There were about 18 boarders, mostly elderly.
After dinner we sat a while with Miss Brown in her room & then went out about the grounds. There is a waterlily pond behind the house, & big fields with an avenue between, & plenty of fine trees. We Miss S. is really an admirable & very kind woman & has a great power of being interested in you. Tea was at 4.15. & Ella Young was then much more talkative than at dinner, & was very interesting concerning her donkey Jacko and the feline creatures she visits at the Zoo. She claims to be able to communicate with them telepathically to some extent, & considers she has some insight into the minds of domestic cats too. She has 2 lovely opal rings, one of them a sort of dark brown stone with points of light of all colours in it, & from one point of view there is a faintly outlined tiger’s head in it, with green sparkling eyes. She says this brought bad luck to more than one person, & to herself as well
but she thinks it is more reconciled to her now. She had a beautiful cat’s eye in a ring too, & she knows the lapidary Russell, says he lives in Fleet St & is an extraordinary old character, & sells great bargains, but you should never give him a stone to cut or he’ll cheat you somehow. After tea we sat out on a seat in front, & talked about mountains & their characters, & nature spirits etc etc. E. Y. holds that the mountains are reincarnations of the old gods, or the races that were here before man, and that they do take notice of us if we feel strongly enough towards them. She has had great experience in feeling little spirits or fairies near her & in hearing fairy music. [Short hand symbols here]. I seldom heard anyone talk so interestingly. Miss S. said comparatively little but she seemed to agree with a good deal of it. E.Y. was much interested in my account of Com Seangán [sp.?] & its
effect on me, & had a great wish to go these. I had to leave presently & of all the sunsets I ever saw the one going on behind me over the Comeraghs as I came near the Sweep was nearly the best. There were two long streaks of gold light on cloud edges right across the sky like an elongated rainbows, & the glowing red sun on the shoulder of a hill, & the hill an exquisite clear dark purple. Aunt Isabella keeps terribly early hours, goes to bed at 9.30 or earlier & must have breakfast at 8.
Thursday 21st. – I went out to Tráit Mór by the 12.15. Ben had gone to Comeragh for a few days so I had his room – Charlie’s & was oppressed as he was with all the mechanical books in it. We didn’t do much in the afternoon. D. went in to Waterford to visit Mr Brabazon whose wife had just died, & Tom & I took Louis a bit along the cliff road. The bees were rather cross & drove Uncle Charles out of the summerhouse.
Friday 22 Aug. – Fine day. Edwin & Charlie came in on bicycles from Comeragh to take honey, & spent a couple of hours working hard. I took Louis out as far as the Doneraile walk in the pram, & Uncle Edmund came out to pay a visit in the middle of the morning. Tráit Mór was so full of people at this time that the first post didn’t get round to Midvale till 11 a.m. I came back by the 9.30 & had 6 men in uproarious spirits, who turned out to be Welsh visitors going home, singing songs in the compartment with me. A man in the next compartment, after a long course of Nanny Lee etc, recommended them to sing something Irish, whereupon they sang all together a very attractive Welsh song. The people in the next compartment applauded it, & one big ugly light haired man said with great dignity “Gentlemen! I’m very glad to hear you sing in your own language. And
when you go back to Wales, tell the Welsh people that when we sing in our national language, we are put in prison.” More applause. The Welshmen then sang the Dear Little Shamrock, supported by the next compartment, & then English songs – nothing more Welsh – all the rest of the way.
Saturday 23 Aug. – I went to Carraig by the morning train, to stay a couple of days with Brighid. Her mother & sister & niece were all at Kilkee. She was out when I arrived, but came in soon, & showed me Studios & Colours until dinnertime – she knows a great deal about modern painting. What I liked best was Helen & James by Philip Connard. She gave me a very interesting acct of the persecution of Seamus Ua Murcada [sp.?] at Rinn by Christy Farrell, & the connection with it of Harry Gill & Mrs Murphy & the Farrell family, who excused Christy on the ground that he had always been a pet. In the afternoon we
walked on that nice public walk along the river, and visited the Murphys, & discussed the state of the world with Dr M., who has a very pessimistic & cynical view of it. After tea – about 9 – we went to the pictures & saw a French film with plague & a jealous husband & a family reconciliation at a shrine in a church, & part of the Brass Bullet, which was much more interesting, especially the trial scene & where the road bridge burned & the motor was preparing to jump it. A Mrs Quirke & her young son, friends of Brighid’s were there, & the boy was very much excited.
Sunday 24th. – Damp morning. B. went to mass & I read “Initiation” which had a picture on the cover of Enid & Nevill that was very nice of Nevill. It is an interesting book, but God help any one that R.H.B. picks out for a hero or heroine. I discovered that Brighid has a brother in Ohio –
Springfield – who is urging her to go out & visit him, & she intends to in the winter or spring, so possibly we might go together. She showed me a very nice letter from him. He is a half-brother, Michael by name, & has a wife & 4 children. After dinner we went, with Mrs Murphy, on an outside car, to a place at the foot of Shiab na mBan which they call the shooting lodge. It belongs to Lord Ormond but they only go there occasionally to shoot. It was about 7 or 8 miles’ drive, then we came to a gate & a long avenue to a stable yard where we left the car & above that were was a long ravine in the mountain side, with paths through the woods & a stream running down & a path beside it, going over & back on bridges, & with flights of steps here & there, and foreign shrubs & trees, & everything well & carefully kept, the most exquisite place. There were seats here & there with views down the
glen to the plain & the Comeragh, which were opposite us by then. There was a lovely little clear basin of brown mountain water at one place, with little waterfalls below it. We went up as far as the end of the wood, & down party by other paths through the wood. There were a lot of other excursionists there. Its wonderful how well Mrs Murphy can go up steep places. We got home by about 9.30, rather cold by that time, Brighid & I went to tea to the Murphy’s & sat discussing people & politics round the table till after 11. Mrs M. upheld De Valera & Griffith as statesmen, & I exalted Mrs SD above them, & complained of caucassing, which they seemed to consider necessary in any plans that must be kept secret. Mrs Murphy abused women as being unable to keep from letting things out, & Dr M. thought men were worse – they do it for money. B. & I sat up after we got home, & discovered that each of
us means, some time in the future, to adopt a child. She wants a girl, I have a sort of wish for a boy, though I knew when he turned out badly people wd all think how cracked I was to think I could bring up a boy.