“I went to meet Ben at the Vegetarian at 1, & found Tony standing at the door reading Wolfe Tone. Nancy & Bob were also of the party. We found Ben knew where more of the places Tone mentions were, so after dinner we all went to inspect the inside of the City Hall. It’s a splendid marble palace, nearly as beautiful as South Kensington museum, but has the trail of Edward & Alexandra all over it, and all the portraits of course are the usual dull pompous style. “
NLI Call Number: MS, 3582/36
NLI Catalogue Link can be found here
Date Range of Diary: 12th September 1919 – 27th January 1920
WEEK 100: 6th – 12th October 1919
Monday 6th Oct. – I went to meet Ben at the Vegetarian at 1, & found Tony standing at the door reading Wolfe Tone. Nancy & Bob were also of the party. We found Ben knew where more of the places Tone mentions were, so after dinner we all went to inspect the inside of the City Hall. It’s a splendid marble palace, nearly as beautiful as South Kensington museum, but has the trail of Edward & Alexandra all over it, and all the portraits of course are the usual dull pompous style. Bob had to go back to work then, & we were conducted to the roof of Robinson & Cleaver‘s by Ben to look at the view, which was fine though it was a misty day and they didn’t know the names of the hills around. The workrooms we passed through had horrid atmospheres, & the people looked bad. It’s a dreadful place.
Then we adjourned to the technical schools & spent a very pleasant hour or so wandering around its upper story, looking at casts and clay things & reproductions of pictures. Discobolus was there. One of the nicest things was a life size statue of Marie de Brabarcon at some such name, kneeling at prayer with a most life like little dog nestling among her skirts. There were room empty class rooms with more things in them; it was very interesting altogether. Then we went to Ben’s place in Cromwell Road for tea. He bought cakes on the way & I bought Edinburgh rock, which turned out to be the same soft lemony sugarstick M’Donald’s used to keep years ago, & the whole ¼ lb vanished during tea. They could have eaten twice as much. Ben has a powerful lot of books, mostly unreadable, but there was a Life of St Teresa & a few
others that one might have read. He gave me one, the Historie case for Independence by Darrell Figgis, which he despises. I went home then & it was a most exquisite evening. The Antrim road suburbs were a dream at this time with the changing trees & the brilliant green lawns cove strewn with coloured leaves.
Tuesday 9th. – I started to go to Át Cliat by a 10 train but found it was off, & had to wait for a 2.45 one. I went to the picture gallery at the public library, but all of it was shut but one room of portraits, the only interesting ones of which were 2 forbidding oil paintings of Hugh O’Neill, with long brown curls & a hooky nose & a weatherbeaten complexion & a severe frown & dark eyes puckered at the corners. They might be like him only he could not. I looked at the museum be so ugly.
which wasn’t much, & read a book on rings in the library. Then the train wasn’t crowded, & Slieve Gullion & the other mountains were very noble, but I had a fearful time trying to find my trunk at Amiens St, it was at the very bottom of everything & it was about half an hour before it came out. I had trouble getting a car too, & the train was ¾ of an hour late, but that didn’t matter, for there was no one at Belgrave Square when I arrived but the maid, Hanna was at her classes. Owen came in just as I was finishing tea, looking very – I scarcely know whether to say pretty or handsome – now that his hair is let do as it likes again. He has wonderful eyelashes. Dr Lynn paid me a visit a little before ten, and Hanna came in while she was there, looking older & more worn than in April,
(36) on account of her late illness. Dear me what a delicious voice she has.
Wednesday 8th Oct. – Fine sunnyday. Hanna was out except at meals. She told me if I wanted to be useful I might dust & sort out her books which are a bit untidy in reality if not in appearance. I went to see Aunt Nannie & Aunt Isabella in the afternoon & had tea with them.
Thursday 9th. – I visited J. Webb in the afternoon, at Leonard Webb’s, out near Palmerston Park. Hilda Webb is very English but nice, & Stella looks German, very fair & squarish, with a lot of light hair & spectacles. They asked me to go again the next Monday. I went to Mrs ffrench Mullen’s to tea, & Madeline was there, also a Miss Duffy who seems to live with them. Douglas is keeping house by himself
somewhere in Cluain Tarbh, with a piano, so there is peace in the house. They had a very nice kitten, partly white. Madeline talked a lot about the babies’ hospital & arranged to take me to see it next day.
Friday 10th. – M. was an hour late going to the hospital, I know no one worse at keeping appointments except Upton. There were 8 babies there, 2 dying, one of the most awful little weird old skeleton I ever saw, the rest hopeful, though one nice little one did die afterwards. They were all different & most interesting, all boys except the dying ones. “The president” was very funny & evidently has a lot of character. The matron showed me round & was very nice; Bridget Davis is one of the nurses there. They have the place very nice.
Hanna went off to Glasgow for the weekend. She told me all about the meeting in Meath where she was hurt; a most interesting story. She is a great contrast to Bessie as a mother, she speaks impartially about Owen – “Owen is a rather stolid kid, as you may have noticed.” I spent the evening in, with Owen, and he told me about a cinema play he had just seen at Dúnlaoighaire – the White Cat rearranged for pictures. He is going to the Stephens’s school at Glenageary now. Met Perolz in town. I was writing a review of Women of ’98 for H. at this time, & did others later.
Saturday 11th. – Fine day. I was in town in the Miss Scarlett visited me in the morning & asked Owen & me to see her in the afternoon. We went, & she took us to walk out beyond Terenure, through
a golflinks there & a path through rough bushy place where there was a splendid chestnut tree that afforded Owen great enjoyment in gathering chestnuts. It was a lovely place with the bright green grass & all the autumn colours on the trees & bushes. We went back to Mt Pleasant Square & had tea with Miss Scarlett, and Owen seemed pleased with her on the whole. Then we, plus Mary the maid, went to the IWFL dance at the Mansion house. It was a fancy dress dance, but very few of the men & by no means all the women were in fancy dress. Mrs Quinn was Autumn Leaves, a very pretty dress, & Miss Yates had a white Greek contraption with one arm & shoulder entitely base, & an ivy wreath in her hair, but the short skirts & highheeled
slippers destroyed the Greek effect. Miss Flanagan had a read Turkish dress with black lace over it. I had met those 3 before that morning at the rooms, preparing food, but there was no one else that I knew in the least, except Miss Cahalan who was a sort of French shepperdess with very elegant feet. For a long time no body came near me, & they danced 1 steps, foxtrots & waltzes over & over again. Owen & Mary supped & went home. At last a middleaged grey haired man came & asked me to waltz, & talked a lot, & invited me to supper. There was a little creature in a French workman’s costume with a beard & a mask who was very spry & gay, and presently it took off its beard & mask & was revealed as one Mrs Cogley, & she be claimed to know me, & brought a very tall,
stiff, chilly, goodlooking young man in evening dress to dance a 1 step with me. I think Dunne was his name. I must have been very desperate for a dance to dare it, he was of so terrifying an aspect, but I got on all right, & it was a delightful sensation to be dancing with a young man of the right height for me, strong & able & well dressed, who held me so tight & danced so exceedingly well. He didn’t speak a word, which made it in a way more curious & amusing, & its always better not to talk while dancing. A while after that I was introduced to a complete contrast except that he was also goodlooking, a very talkative cheerful young man, obviously a Catholic, while the first might have been either, but who couldn’t dance with him. But it was a sort of
of mixed up dance waltz with grand chains & constant change of pastness, so he didn’t last long. At one time I found myself dancing with a khaki soldier, & at another with a small man who waltzed admirably. There was a judging of the fancy costumes, & Autumn Leaves & Willy Reilly won, though any man I was talking to thought the “picador” in the purple velvet kneebreaches should have got the prize, just because she was pretty & had an elegant figure. I was surprised at the admiration of her expressed by obvious Catholics. J.J. Walsh was there, Miss Keevey introduced him to me & he talked a lot but despised dancing. Another Catholic askd me to dance a foxtrot a while after, but I couldn’t manage it, so we had some more supper & sat out a little while in the round room, & he had no conversation
& tried hard to put his arm round me, so I couldn’t stand much of him. He was very dull. A lot of people in powdered wigs etc, out of “Lady Molly” were there, & couple of the men looked very nice. Willy Reilly danced something with me & told me somewhat about the film play he was in at St Enda’s the next day, & then I had a splendid waltz with Mrs Cogley, & she told me I was a lovely waltzer. Then I had to wait an hour or more till it was all over at 4.30, to get a seat home in a taxi with Mrs Quinn & some Flanagans. I found my purse had been stolen from the cloakroom, with 13/- & a key in it, & everyone kept telling me what a fool I was to leave it there, except a nice cheerful young man called Hughie who was in the taxi with us, & who said it was easy to say that
Sunday 12th Oct. – Owen went off with Ronán Ceannt to see the film play at Scoil Éanna. I dined with my aunts, & was poisoned with their sugared lentils & gravy. They were rather interested about the dance. I went on to visit at Kenilworth Square then, & found Chandlee alone with a splendid fire & a book by Locke, whom he likes. He was interested in the dance too, & talked a good deal about all sorts of things – especially Sheila’s hair, when she & Emily & Joyce Trapnell [sp.?] (a tall good-looking silent kid) had come in & Sheila was sitting on the arm of his chair. Sheila is abnormally small, with masses of fair hair, not so reddish as it was, & we were considering how far this hair would reach, hair by hair, across Ireland, & how the number of hairs could be counted. Emily has got very pretty but
doesn’t talk much. Roger came in presently much bigger & looking very nice, but in a shy silent stage. Then Dermot, just at 5 which was tea time, & Emily went to get the tea. Their parents were both at the hotel. Dermot seems unchanged, same charm as ever. We had tea downstairs, Emily acting as hostess. Owen & a little friend of his appeared then & giggled together. Chandlee & Dermot talked to me, with their usual pleasantness. The girls in that family do be very quiet. C. & D. seemed interested in Owen & his new school. I had to go soon after tea, thinking Owen might be home, but not a sign of him till I went to Mrs Ceannt’s to look for him at 9 & found him & Ronán’s dog just starting home. Ronán is a nice boy, they seem great friends.
Featured Image: View from City Hall, Belfast. Laurence Collection, National Library of Ireland, L_CAB_04202.