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Penelope's Irish Experiences   By: (1856-1923)

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by Kate Douglas Wiggin.

Published 1901.

To my first Irish friend, Jane Barlow.


Part First Leinster.

I. We emulate the Rollo books. II. Irish itineraries. III. We sight a derelict. IV. Enter Benella Dusenberry. V. The Wearing of the Green. VI. Dublin, then and now.

Part Second Munster.

VII. A tour and a detour. VIII. Romance and reality. IX. The light of other days. X. The belles of Shandon. XI. 'The rale thing.' XII. Life at Knockarney House. XIII. 'O! the sound of the Kerry dancin'.' XIV. 'Mrs. Mullarkey's iligant locks.' XV. Penelope weaves a web. XVI. Salemina has her chance.

Part Third Ulster.

XVII. The glens of Antrim. XVIII. Limavady love letters. XIX. 'In ould Donegal.' XX. We evict a tenant. XXI. Lachrymae Hibernicae.

Part Fourth Connaught.

XXII. The weeping west. XXIII. Beams and motes. XXIV. Humours of the road. XXV. The wee folk.

Part Fifth Royal Meath.

XXVI. Ireland's gold. XXVII. The three chatelaines of Devorgilla. XXVIII. Round towers and reflections. XXIX. Aunt David's garden. XXX. The quest of the fair strangers. XXXI. Good bye, dark Rosaleen! XXXII. 'As the sunflower turns.'

Part First Leinster.

Chapter I. We emulate the Rollo books.

'Sure a terrible time I was out o' the way, Over the sea, over the sea, Till I come to Ireland one sunny day, Betther for me, betther for me: The first time me fut got the feel o' the ground I was strollin' along in an Irish city That hasn't its aquil the world around For the air that is sweet an' the girls that are pretty.'

Moira O'Neill.

Dublin, O'Carolan's Private Hotel.

It is the most absurd thing in the world that Salemina, Francesca, and I should be in Ireland together.

That any three spinsters should be fellow travellers is not in itself extraordinary, and so our former journeyings in England and Scotland could hardly be described as eccentric in any way; but now that I am a matron and Francesca is shortly to be married, it is odd, to say the least, to see us cosily ensconced in a private sitting room of a Dublin hotel, the table laid for three, and not a vestige of a man anywhere to be seen. Where, one might ask, if he knew the antecedent circumstances, are Miss Hamilton's American spouse and Miss Monroe's Scottish lover?

Francesca had passed most of the winter in Scotland. Her indulgent parent had given his consent to her marriage with a Scotsman, but insisted that she take a year to make up her mind as to which particular one. Memories of her past flirtations, divagations, plans for a life of single blessedness, all conspired to make him incredulous, and the loyal Salemina, feeling some responsibility in the matter, had elected to remain by Francesca's side during the time when her affections were supposed to be crystallising into some permanent form.

It was natural enough that my husband and I should spend the first summer of our married life abroad, for we had been accustomed to do this before we met, a period that we always allude to as the Dark Ages; but no sooner had we arrived in Edinburgh, and no sooner had my husband persuaded our two friends to join us in a long, delicious Irish holiday, than he was compelled to return to America for a month or so.

I think you must number among your acquaintances such a man as Mr. William Beresford, whose wife I have the honour to be. Physically the type is vigorous, or has the appearance and gives the impression of being vigorous, because it has never the time to be otherwise, since it is always engaged in nursing its ailing or decrepit relatives... Continue reading book >>

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