Meeting with Father
Of course, after leaving school we continued to live at Tyrone as usual. Although we all seemed very happy and contented, I know that mother was not without her worries and misgivings. One day my father, who of course never came up to the house, sent me a request to meet him at the entrance to the avenue, as he particularly wanted to have a chat with me. So off I went, and there he was standing near the gate with a lunch basket he had brought along so that I could remain with him all day. On the way down towards the river he said he was growing tired-of living alone in a large house and wondered if I would like to stay, for a while, with him. Of course, since his separation from mother, he saw very little of us, and he seemed really fretted about his uncontrollable temper, and told me it was all his own fault and that he realized the absurdity of his position. His sister, too, hoping for the best, always corresponded with him and no matter how he would run through his allowance, she was always behind him and never ceased encouraging him to change his ways. I am sure he tried hard to make the effort, but was not determined enough to live up to it. He said, “I am going to get my home newly furnished and have it repainted and decorated,” and then I was to go to live with him, which I promised to do if he would get away from his wild companions. His intentions at the time were sincere, but in a few days he had completely forgotten all about them.
Mother was anxious to see if my brothers could take turns in staying with him, but it was of no use; he simply tired them out with his late hours, etc. Of course, having grown up with so many families living within a few miles of his home, he always had many visitors at his place. In fact, everybody seemed to like his company. His cooking and housework were done by an officer’s servant and wife. They had refused to go to India with their former master, so my father engaged them to look after his comforts and paid them a good salary. Even if he did find fault and dismiss them, they would always come back because he was so generous to his help. Mother always encouraged us to write to him and, I suppose, she longed for the day when we would all be together again. But as the years passed on, it seemed as if we were growing more and more apart.
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Written by Elizabeth La Hiff Lambert
Published here 22 Aug 2022 and originally published 1979
Page 0086 of Athenry History
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