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THE CLADDAGH-A "WAKING”—FATHER TOM
THE CLADDAGH-A “WAKING ”_FATHER TOM.
“CHARITY! In the honour of God, yer Honour ! I'm a Claddagh woman, with five small childerGod help 'em, the crathurs! And one lying stritched in the house beyant.”
The speaker was one of a group of ragged and wretched-looking women who, in the “Sister Isle,”
—the which country I was visiting,—were crowding about the entrance of the hotel in which, after landing from a small yacht, which was for the time my nominal home, I had temporarily taken up my quarters.
The house of entertainment (?) was situated in
the centre of a large and singularly unprosperouslooking town ; a town which, to my thinking, partook largely of the characteristics of an American city at the early period of its creation, and when that specimen of Anglo-Saxon industry and taste for speculation had but just commenced its trade in dry goods, drugs and chemicals, and fancy goods generally.
And yet for all this resemblance between the American city and the Hibernian town, the latter is a very old creation, and the capital also, as I imagine it should be called, of the westernmost portion of our Queen's dominions. Moreover, if we may believe those interested in its welfare, it possesses many natural advantages ; but (pending the period when those bounteous gifts will be utilised) all that in the first instance attracts the traveller's eye is a general appearance of unthrivingness and decay, the which symptoms are exhibited principally in the display of a population which, for barefaced, bare-limbed, and unblushing mendicancy, for a paraded and traded-on stock of dirt, rags, and idleness, are second to none (and it is saying much) in any Irish town which it has ever been my lot to visit.
It was a cold blowing day in August—this may