“There was a S.P.C.A. committee in the afternoon. Uncle E. & Mr Robinson are both resigning. I think Sir James Power wd make a good president. Tom etc went to Woodstown in the motor in the evening, to clear up after the Bannans, and took Aunt Isabella. I went over to St Declan’s after tea to stay a while. They came back at 8, in time for D. to put Louis to bed. That evening there was a lot of talk & facetious reminiscences about flirting & falling in love; I don’t know why sex attraction should always be trusted as a comic subject of the “nuff said” & then laugh sort, nor why Tony should talk as if he was the greatest flirt in the world when he is nothing of the sort.”
WEEK 95: 1st – 7th September 1919
Monday 1st Sept. – Pouring wet day. I went to Mrs O’Reilly’s a.d. & got one little pair of socks for Louis, but there was only the one suitable pair. Tom & Ben went to Orristown by a very early train, before the rain began, meaning to go on to Carnsore Point, but stayed the whole day at Orristown instead. Miss Bowman & Mr Deens came to tea, to discuss what is to be done with the money. She was very
grateful, but most to the Lord, I think. He was very pleasant, & seemed to enjoy the Noah’s Ark book greatly. He went early, & we played patience, & Miss B. told us all about that haunted house she lived in when she was teaching in England, & I wrote it down in the end of this volume in condensed form. She took a loan of Footsteps on the boundary of another world.
Tuesday 2 Sept. – I went to town in the morning & bought shoes & a hat & another pair of socks for Louis. I met Mrs Dwyer & Eileen, & asked them to afternoon tea, as Eileen Smith was coming anyhow. They all came, E.S. first, in coloured glasses which spoiled her. She seems to be in mourning. She went long before the others, & I told them how Steanie used to want to put very tight stayses on her & me, & that started Mrs Dwyer on interesting reminiscences of the trouble distress she once was in over Eileen & Bonnie’s figures, fearing they would have none, tho they wore stays since their infancy.
I went over to St Declan’s in the evening & found Tom cutting the front grass, & Dorothea & Tony who had arrived that morning, hanging about. We went out in the garden soon & weeded like blazes; the weeds have done great work while they were at Tráit Mór. Tony had done his 6 weeks’ mining course at Cambourne and considered it a slack place as regards work. Tom I afterwards learned was going to Cork for a bit at the end of this month. D. asked me would I take the cradle up to Nancy when I go to Belfast. Tony found multitudes of snails’ eggs in the weeding, & they had to be stamped on. We sat in the drawing room afterwards, & he read us poetry out of The Flying Inn. He seemed to have brought a lot of books with him.
Wednesday 3rd. – Fine warm day. I went to St Declan’s in the morning & took Louis in his pram to the hotel, where Tash was more enthusiastic than
ever about him. She carried him about & sat with him on her lap, & he was very good & cheerful. Marie admired him also in a calmer way. He cried nearly went to sleep & then cried bitterly when we put him in the pram, & insisted on sitting up, so hardly slept at all all the morning. There was a S.P.C.A. committee in the afternoon. Uncle E. & Mr Robinson are both resigning. I think Sir James Power wd make a good president. Tom etc went to Woodstown in the motor in the evening, to clear up after the Bannans, and took Aunt Isabella. I went over to St Declan’s after tea to stay a while. They came back at 8, in time for D. to put Louis to bed. That evening there was a lot of talk & facetious reminiscences about flirting & falling in love; I don’t know why sex attraction should always be trusted as a comic subject of the “nuff said” & then laugh sort, nor why Tony should talk as if he was the greatest flirt in the world
when he is nothing of the sort. Between having lived so long with Mamma and being so burningly envious of people who have successful adventures to talk about, I can’t help feeling a sort of vulgarity in the exaggeration of them.
Thursday 4th. – We thought to go to Com Seangán but it was a wet morning, though it cleared up afterwards. Dorothea & I went to town with Louis, & Tony went to the G.P.O on Tom’s bicycle to register a parcel to Portugal, & caught us up on the way home. Then we thought to go into Holmacre [sp.?] & sit by the river, so D. said Annie had told her she might do any time, but Miss Horne was there in the bath chair & we retreated hurriedly, watched by a nurse & a strange woman from the house. There’s something disreputable looking about a perambulator party, especially when the P. is half full of paper parcels. In the afternoon Tom & Tony & I went
in the motor to Cheekpoint & climbed the hill by a much shorter way than the usual lane, a path which seems to have recently cut through the furze. It was not a clear day, there was a white mistiness round the horizon, but it only added to the beauty of the new. Duncannon looked as if the coast ended there. The valley of the Suir is always a dream seen from there, & it was a particularly good day for colours. But most of the heath was beginning to wither. Tony asked questions about topography & was interested in the view, & in finding the top rocks of the hill made of conglomerate. We sat on the river side of the hill & Tony prated about the war – the number of French officers cashiered & shot for disobeying orders to retreat in 1914 etc. After tea, at the usual late hour after the usual vast amount of talk about singing, we got some singing. D. sang I attempt etc, & Leaving yet Loving,
which I’d rather hear in a foreign language because the words strike me as mad, & they sang Pulaski’s Banner and The Moon hath raised together. The latter is a new song to both, and was delicious. Tony sang various things of not much importance, & a very nice German song whose name I don’t know, & the Mariner in his barque etc. The Moon hath raised became his voice nearly better than any of them.
Friday 5 Sept. – A cloudy uncertain day. I took Louis out in the morning, & had to struggle with him all the time on the subject of his legs, which he wanted to keep in the open air & I wanted to keep covered. We all went to tea to Suirview and had a good deal of singing. I don’t know what Aunt Isabella & Uncle E. thought of it, but they were no more lively than usual; Uncle E. went to bed at 8 as usual, & Aunt Is, hardly
said anything. D. sang Lido Waters, etc – they sang Pulaski’s Banner & the Moon hath raised, and Tony sang King Henry and Since First I Saw, & Dear harp of my country, which of course he had a low opinion of, and Here’s a health unto his Majesty, which is a splendid song, only very short, & the Leather Bottel, which I’m not as fond of as I was – as a song; as a tune it is lovely. We were looking at the Ark book too, Tony had not seen it before & I don’t know if D. had. Tony enjoyed it acutely, but of course had to stick up for Shem & abuse Ham as soon as he found how we estimated them. We had a fine supper there & got home late.
Saturday 6 Sept. – A sufficiently fine morning to warrant starting for the Comeraghs. Annie couldn’t go, so with a good deal of difficulty we got Tash instead, & started. It was rather late by that time, then, because it took time to get Tash, but the motor was in very good humour, & we got to Mahon Bridge in an hour or so.
We left the car by the cottage, & T. ordered tea from a boy who was the only one of the family at home. The mountains were looking perfect in the sun, with cloud shadows floating over them, but of course not so mysterious or awful as if there had been mists or clouds on them. We stopped about 2/3 of the way up for lunch – saw tomatoes were very popular with all but me, & Marie had given us a lot of bottles of ginger ale, but it wasn’t extra nice. Tony didn’t say much, but he was evidently taking notice, & Tash admired the place & the prospect honestly. I’d like to know if she got any particular impression of Tony. We then proceeded to the lake & sat by it for a time. There were a lot of mountain sheep everywhere about. It got very dark & threatening them, but when we left the lake & proceeded up the left and slope towards the jagged rocks it got fine
again & remained so. Tom & Tash sat down presently, & we went on, & soon found we were in for very tiresome & strenuous work, going up & down & in & out around those rock pinnacles towards the top of the mountain. When we got to the end of them we took a rest before attacking the very uneven joining of ridge & mountain, & ate a few fraughans that grew around, & looked down at the lake. I don’t think I ever got such a sense of the slow majestic visible passage of time as in watching the cloud shadows go b across the face of the mountain at the other side of the lake. We were just over the top of Jacob’s ladder. After some more hard work, & a fine view down into the great empty hollow at the other side of the ridge, we got onto Móin an Mullac, & found it was indeed a móin. It was an ugly wet desolate bog, that squelched at every step, with red-ended grasses, & of course a strong wind was there, but it had a weird strange look like the end of the world, with great black trenches.
cut through the turf by the rain, & in the distance a cliff sticking out beyond an expanse of grey rock skinned by the weather, which looked exactly like a bit of the seashore. We looked down to the lake & saw how far from straight the precipice was, & we found an old bit of newspaper in a pool – even there – but buried it decently. We skirted round the top of the precipice & came down the other side, stopping to throw stones down and see them jump in the heather like rabbits, and took another rest, & Tony talked about climbing a mountain in Switzerland with Bourquin & drinking out of the stream that came from the cistern full of watersnakes, and then when the slope got steeper we took to roll down it, & horrified Tash, who was watching from the other side of the hollow. I forgot to mention the view from the top; it was unearthly, the plain so faint & bright & enormous, getting misty round the edges, and the dim mountains at the horizons, the Galtees off beyond the Comeraghs to the west, & Slieve
Bloom to the north, & the Wexford & Carlow mountains to the north east, & the sea straight before us. We seemed able to see half Ireland. It was almost the best 2 hours I ever had. We got back to Tom & Tash disintegrated with rolling and laughing, & had another snack to eat. It was 5.30 or so when we got down to the cottage, & the little boy had a lovely spread, with grand tea and boiled eggs & rather stale soda bread. Tash was greatly impressed with his housekeeping powers, & Tony with his the wheel to blow the fire, which seemed new to him. It was a perfect evening, and we had a lovely drive home, and arrived before D. was expecting us just as she was putting Louis to bed. We did a good deal of cooking – or preparing food – for dinner next day in the kitchen then, Mrs Kinsella being out. A very pleasant evening, but my shoes swelled inside as they dried after the boy, & will never recover it.
Sunday 7th. – A grand hot day. We spent a good deal of it in the garden, but went nowhere. Some rather interesting conversation re Uncle Stephen’s affaire du Coeur, á propos of his poetry about it, which I was reading. She was a barmaid, & he never got courage to propound the match to his father, & she has been out of Cork now for ages. The 12 years poem was good, & one other in parts, but there was a great deal of that mixture of rather slimy enthusiasm of the about woman’s beauty & both slimy & violent abuse of her self & morals that a certain rather weak type of literary man is so fond of – it was beastly.