a convergence of tea time thoughts for ladies

The Highland Lady in Dublin

Here she is again in her 2nd book (journal she wrote) Elizabeth Grant of Rothiemurchus, Elizabeth Smith is her married name.  They’ve left the country side estate of Baltiboys to live 2 hours away in Dublin since her aunt came to live with  Elizabeth and familyColonel Smith is her husband who is getting older (in his 70’s) and has always had asthma.  Her oldest daughter, Annie is married, Janey is at home and Jack is away at a boys school coming home on  holidays.

Photo below is of Elizabeth Grant/Smith.   She was 58 yrs. old in 1855 when she made a  journal entry below.   Her husband the Colonel is now referred to as the  General since he was promoted.   In this photo it looks like she has knitting string coming from the basket and she doesn’t have her cloak and bonnet on, so this is a later picture than the one described on  this  October 18th entry (pg. 306):

I went to Robinsons for my photograph.  A pretty print it is, the attitude very life like, perfectly easy and natural, and of  course the resemblance accurate.   But oh, dear me, I look very old and very grave is the expression once so joyous.  It was Bartle’s fancy to have me done in my cloak and bonnet, the General is going to have another done in my home dress, cap in hand as he usually sees me.

elizabeth grant

The potato famine is over and the time period of this journal of hers is  1851-1856.  She’s in her 50’s and the Industrial Exhibition has come to Dublin from May to October in 1853.  She writes about whenever they go to it.  On this very hall (photo below)  Elizabeth remarks on their visit there and describes this photo  to a tee! ( I can’t find the exact page now)  The bust statues and all the pictures on the walls she mentioned.  where photo on left is taken from online 2nd photo is outside view of Dublin Exhibition where photo on the right is from.

image image

Oh the  problems of her daughters marriage…so much depends on the man to run his finances.  James King is much talked about (her son-in-law) as well as his weasel of a father.    Mrs. Milltown  always has woes because her husband spends all her money that she brought into the marriage.  Things were different back then as to there being not much protection from spend-thrift husbands taking the wife’s money.  We’re talking 1850’s, remember.

The Colonel goes to play billiards  in town after his dinner from 5pm-7pm which is  something he couldn’t do in the countryside Baltiboys home and he isn’t playing whist anymore! (well, for that particular month anyway)  Of course I had to look it up… whist?  It’s a card game  with some similarities to bridge .  It was a game for the servants halls, hunters and country squires says Wikpedia.

“His evenings are spent very comfortably without whist!  which is a wonderful relief to Janey and me”…                    Elizabeth Grant Smith page 183.

imageimageHere’s the kitchen range that was the Dublin 1953 Exhibition that Mrs. Smith bought for Annie her daughter.  Don’t know if Annie’s was built in or not, but this one was at the Exhibition that she refers to on page 294.

Jane called for me with William and they took me to the Agent with the kitchen range about which I have been so puzzled.  I saw these grates,  smoke consuming as they are,  at the Exhibition, but among all the hardware merchants in Dublin could get no clew to them, so I thought I would try here and I have found them, so Annie will be made very comfortable.   (page 294)

Her Ireland schools, her love for her children,

Mrs.. Smith still hires and fires the teachers at her school in the country that she started,  and takes monthly trips there in a “car” (it’s a train car I think) to collect the rents twice a year from the tenants at Baltiboys.   I  was always interested in the  hiring and firing of her servants in their Dublin home since their stories  were interesting.

I’ve come to know her through her writings, and her love for her children shines through as she is watching for maturity in each one as as they go through the different stages of young adult life.  Annie who is married , Janey  the sunshine of their home with the good singing voice, and Jack, her only son.  She writes her journals for him to read in his future.

I could  not find photos of the Herald Steamer or the Ariel; the ones Elizabeth Grant/Smith rode on to meet Jane her sister in Scotland.  She mentions Dickens plays and books and comments on them… doesn’t like Beethoven’s music , but likes most of the others….

(page 295) Florence Nightingale’s father was a friend of Elizabeth Grant before she was married.    Nightingale’s photo. image


imageThe Moustache movement- Beards must come in cycles over the centuries.  Mrs. Smith talks about them on page 203 calling it the mustache movement!

“there’s quite a revolution taking place at home here- the moustache movement- every man one meets is “bearded like the pard”  It’s quite amusing, all ranks alike, nothing to be seen but hair.”

*bearded like the pard is some reference  to a play or something.


Hot water footstool refilled? (page 185).

image imageCould this be like the hot water footstool Mrs. Smith got refilled before traveling in the carriage with the doctor to go to Annie’s to see her baby?   site where I found this antique hot water footstool.

Side note-  While reading this book and looking up immigration from Ireland at the time of the potato famine, I came across evil  Cromwell.;. 1600’s through the 1840’s of Irish slaves sent to the West Indies to mate with black slaves to create a molto slave that was  in demand at the time.   I never learned that in school!  Wow, the things they left out of history books!

I am glad to have read this book for a look at life in Dublin in the 1850’s and to glean from Mrs. Smith’s writings.   All her servant problems were so interesting, her family life and associations…    She was  one smart woman in how she ran her household, raised her children and lived her life!


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