[Mrs.] Dorothy Large

Life
1891- [Mabel; née Dorothy Lumley], b. Tullamore, Co. Offaly; ed. Dr. Williams’ Schol at Dolgelly, North Wales and later RIA School of Music, where she took a teacher’s certificate; issued novels of Anglo-Irish country life such as Songs of Slieve Bloom [n.d] and Cloonagh (n.d.), Book Soc. Recommendation; The Open Arms (1933), Talk of the Townlands (1937), and others; contrib. stories of animals for The Irish Times, published as Irish Airs (Constable 1932); noted as a dog lover. IF2 DIL2

[ top ]

Works
Poetry, [as “M”], Songs of Slieve Bloom (Dublin & Cork: Talbot Press 1926), 31, [[1]pp. [18.5. cm.; TCD copy in Cunningham collection inscribed by Elizabeth Corbet Yeats]; The Cloney Carol and Other Verses (Belfast: Quota Presss 1934),25pp.

Fiction, Cloonagh (London: Constable & Co. 1932), 288pp.; Irish Airs (London: Constable & Co. 1932), xii, 221pp., ills. [24] by George Morrow [infra]; The Open Arms (London: Constable 1933), [8], 310, [2]pp.; An Irish Medley (Belfast: Quota Press [1934]), 116pp., ill., pl. [18.5 cm]., front. [signed Kerr]; The Kind Companion (Dublin & Cork: Talbot Press 1936), 128pp., ills. by Mildred R. Lamb [for children]; The Glen of the Sheep (Dublin & Cork: Talbot Press [1938]), 120pp., ill. by Mildred R. Lamb; (Dublin: Browne & Nolan [Richview Press] 1939), 104, [4]pp., ill. by Jack MacManus [engrav.]; The Onlooker (London: Methuen & Co. 1940), 245pp. [TCD, BL, NLScot]; The Quiet Place (London: Methuen & Co. 1941), 250pp.; Talk in the Townlands (rep. from Punch), with ills. by young Irish artists (Dublin & Cork: Talbot Press 1937), 192pp.

[ top ]

Irish Airs, by D. M. Large / with 24 ilustrations by / George Morrow (London: Constable & Co. 1932), xii, 221pp., ills. [24] by George Morrow [ded. “To My Grandfather/John Henry Leech”]; printed by courtesy of the Editor of the “Irish Times”. CONTENTS: The Pedigree [1]; The Walking of Warrior [9] “The Common Fox” [15]; Robin [23; see infra]; the Nonedescript [31]; The Stop-gap [39]; Rabbits and Bees [47]; The Red Terrier [55]; The Financial Crisis [63]; “Go to the Ant” [71]; The Basket-Lad [79]; Up in the Sky [89]; Heredity [97]; Choral Cookery [105]; Sheep and Lambs [113]; The Friend in Need [121]; The Walking Encyclopaedia [129]; The Octogenarian [137]; The Reunion [145]; Cloonagh and the Censorship [155]; The Christmas Spirit [163]; Rus in Urbe [171]; The Watcher [179]; Pioneers [187]; The Bridge of Cloonagh [195]; An Honoured Prophet [205]; Fairy Tales [213]. Ills. for each by George Morrow, commencing An Honoured Prophet [front.] and cont. with “The Common Fox” et al. [variously], incl. 2 ills. for Cloonagh and the Censorship. [&c.].

[ top ]

Quotations
Robin” (Irish Airs, 1932), pp.23-29: ‘The first time he came he was just “a robin”; Tthe next time he was “the robin”.; after that he was Robin,, and we loved him as a friend. Every morning through a long winter he waited on the window-sill, keeping at bay far larger birds than himself, and he tapped the glass impatiently if his friends delayed their coming. When the morning sunshine touched the frosted grass, he sang a few sweet, gentle notes about little birds that were hungry, about frozen clay that could not be pierced by such a tiny bill as his. When the rain beat against the streaming panes panes he watched the window from a rose-bush near by: rain or shine, he was waiting for his breakfast, and when it came, he was grateful. Best of of all, he liked to find the window a little open for then he came in and sampled the things on his friends’ table. The bread was just like his own crumbs, he found, and sugar was an over-rated luxury to a robin. Marmalade was horrible stuff, he seemed to think, while, irritably, he cleaned his sticky beak. But the [25] butter - that was something of which Robin had dreamed, and now it was within his reach. After that, it was useless to give him bread without butter-not buttered bread. but a nice pat of butter beside the crumbs that had satisfied him before. / Often the window was left open until the table had been cleared, and that was Robin’s chance. If disturbed, he showed no signs of panic, but slipped out through the narrow space, and carefully cleaned off all traces of butter. As the weeks went by he grew more and more venturesome, and his visits were not connected invariably with breakfast time. Wnen one wrote at the table by the window, Robin came in and watched with deep interest. When one read, he perched on the back of a chair, and listened to the whisper of turning pages, or to the sound of newspaper sheets being turned-a sound that had frightened him at first, but that was soon accepted as something that would not harm an inquisitive bird. Gradually, we formed the habit of reading aloud any little tit-bit of news that we thought might interest him, and his attention was flattering. Anything about the Birds Protection Bill , then being discussed, he seemed to find entrancing, and he listened with his smooth [26] head cocked to one side. and his dark eyes very bright: sometimes he nodded-there could be no question about that. / When the Bill was discussed at its second reading, we told him all that was said. We read aloud the speeches about the “humane” use of birdlime; but, for the first time, the patience of our hearer was exhausted, and he was gone. The next time he came we told him about the professional bird-catchers and their grievances, but another flutter. and he disappeared again. We made up our minds then to say no more about it until the Bill was passed, then we could all rejoice together. Robin would listen for a long time to the little bird anecdotes that creep into the papers from time to time. He was evidently thrilled by the story of the wagtails in O’Connell Street, who crowd on to the bare branches of a tree when twilight comes, and are not disturbed by the roar of traffic, nor by the eager voices of the people who watch them. / On St. Valentine’s Day, when the birds are said to make arrangements for setting up house once more, Robin found the dining-room empty, and the table cleared, but the kitchen window was open, and he went in there instead. There was no butter to be seen, but a spring mouse-trap, ready set, stood on a high shelf, and it held a bit of bread, dry and uninteresting. Robin pecked negligently, and the skies fell on his little smooth head. A little later we found him, with his red breast upturned and his dark eyes glazed: when we saw what had happened, it was one of the bitterest moments in our lives. To think that his friends had done this thing - not the people who smear the twigs with birdlime, who blind a singing bird that he may attract other birds to the tages where they can scarcely stretch their wings; but the friends in whom Robin had trusted because they hated all cruelties to small feathered things. / We have tried to forget the plans we made for telling him of the passing of the Bill; we do not read aloud any more anecdotes about birds. / Thrushes and chaffinches gather on the window-sill, though the need for crumbs is over: perhaps they wonder where the little fellow can who kept them all at bay. We told them when the Dáil let the Bill go through, but somehow it was not the same at all.’ [END; photocopy supplied by Kevin de Ornellas, UUC, 2006].

[ top ]

References
The Irish Book Lover has notices on Cloonagh [Vol. XX: 48], Irish Airs [XX: 21], The Open Arms [XXI: 68], and A Cloney Carol [XXIII: 156].

Desmond Clarke, Ireland in Fiction [Pt II] (Cork: Royal Carbery 1985), lists Cloonagh (London: Constable 1932); Irish Airs (London: Constable 1932); The Open Arms (London: Constable 1933); The Kind Companion (Dublin: Talbot 1936), ill. Mildred R. Lamb; The Glen of the Sheep (Dublin: Talbot 1936); An Irish Medley (Belfast: Quota 1934); Talk of the Townlands, reprinted from Punch (Dublin: Talbot 1937); The Man of the House (1939); The Quiet Place (1941). For the most part, ‘variations on the old themes of Irish incompetence and frivolity’ [Irish Times reviewer.]

Robert Hogan, ed., Dictionary of Irish Literature (Gale 1996 Edn.), remarks: ‘[S]he wrote humorous novels and tales and sketches of country life that tend to be sentimental and broadly brogued. She is pleasant enough, but hardly in the same class as Somerville and Ross or George A. Birmingham or even Lynn Doyle.’ (unsigned; p.682.)

Belfast Public Library holds Cloonagh (1932); Irish Airs (1932); An Irish Medley; The Kind Companion (1936); The Open Arms (1933); Talk in the Townlands (1937), all fiction; also Song of Slieve Bloom (1926).

[ top ]

Notes
Dolgelly, N. Wales: See Samuel Palmer, “Mill at Torrents’ Walk near Dolgelly, North Wales” (c.1835-1836), black chalk and watercolour, heightened with opaque white, on beige woven paper [37.6x47.4 cm], held in National Gallery of Canada [online.]

[ top ]