The homes, initially intended as short-term refuges, increasingly turned into long-term institutions, midway between a monastery and a prison. The rule of silence was often a major feature of the women's lives, and corporal punishment was common. This PC shows a Magdalen asylum that was part of High Park Convent (Sisters of Our Lady of Charity) in Drumcondra, Dublin.
In addition to prostitutes, Magdalen asylums started taking in unmarried mothers, mentally challenged women, or abused girls. Residents in Magdalen asylums were required to work, primarily in laundries, and were sometimes given a regular salary. Maria, in the short story Clay from Dubliners, lived in a Magdalen asylum. This PC shows the laundry Packing Room in St. Mary's Asylum of High Park Convent in Drumcondra.
(Holds up a finger.) Now don't tell a big fib! I know somebody won't like that. O just wait till I see Molly! (Slily.) Account for yourself this very sminute or woe betide you!"
(Looks behind.) She often said she'd like to visit. Slumming. The exotic, you see. Negro servants in livery too if she had money. Othello black brute."
"Eugene Stratton. Even the bones and cornerman at the Livermore christies. Bohee brothers. Sweep for that matter."
"(Tom and Sam Bohee, coloured coons in white duck suits, scarlet socks, upstarched Sambo chokers and large scarlet asters in their buttonholes leap out."
"Each has his banjo slung. Their paler smaller negroid hands jingle the twingtwang wires. Flashing white kaffir eyes and tusks they rattle through a breakdown in clumsy clogs, twinging, singing, back to back, toe heel, heel toe, with smackfatclacking nigger lips.)"
"TOM AND SAM
There's someone in the house with Dina,
There's someone in the house, I know,
There's someone in the house with Dina,
Playing on the old banjo."
"(They whisk black masks from raw babby faces: then, chuckling, chortling, trumming, twanging, they diddle diddle cakewalk dance away.)"
Cakewalk is a traditional African American form of music and dance which originated among slaves in the US South. It was named for the reward given to the the best dancers. The cakewalk started as a parody of the formal European dances preferred by slave owners. It featured a lot of exaggerated hopping and very high kicking, combined with traditional African dance steps. Costumes often included excessively large bowties, suits, canes, and top hats. Following the American Civil War, its tradition continued amongst African Americans in the South and gradually moved northward. The syncopated music of the cakewalk, with growing complexity and sophistication, evolved into ragtime in the mid 1890s. The dance briefly was a fad, among whites and blacks on both sides of the Atlantic, at the end of the 19c."
(With a sour tenderish smile.) A little frivol, shall we, if you are so inclined? Would you like me perhaps to embrace you just for a fraction of a second?
(Screams gaily.) O, you ruck! You ought to see yourself!
For old sake' sake. I only meant a square party, a mixed marriage mingling of our different little conjugials. You know I had a soft corner for you. (Gloomily.) 'Twas I sent you that valentine of the dear gazelle."
Glory Alice, you do look a holy show! Killing simply. (She puts out her hand inquisitively.) What are you hiding behind your back? Tell us, there's a dear."
(Seizes her wrist with his free hand.) Josie Powell that was, prettiest deb in Dublin. How time flies by! Do you remember, harking back in a retrospective arrangement, Old Christmas night, Georgina Simpson's housewarming while they were playing the Irving Bishop game, finding the pin blindfold and thoughtreading? Subject, what is in this snuffbox?"
You were the lion of the night with your seriocomic recitation and you looked the part. You were always a favourite with the ladies."
(Squire of dames, in dinner jacket with wateredsilk facings, blue masonic badge in his buttonhole, black bow and mother-of-pearl studs, a prismatic champagne glass tilted in his hand.) Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Ireland, home and beauty."
The dear dead days beyond recall. Love's old sweet song.
(Meaningfully dropping his voice.) I confess I'm teapot with curiosity to find out whether some person's something is a little teapot at present."