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Some Experiences of an Irish R.M.
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Kristel (kristelh) | 3803 comments Mod
Read 2012
This tale was published in 1899 and is a series of comic tales of Anglo-Irish life dealing with hunting, shooting, horse riding and some drinking. The servants and publicans play minor roles and it is mostly about the elite of society with only a faint hint of struggles of the working class against the landlord class and Irish self government. The lady authors were of the elite class and the story is limited by their vision. Major Sinclair Yeates becomes the resident magistrate of Skebawn. He is of Irish extraction and not quite English but he isn’t Irish either. The scenes are of rural Ireland and West Cork and is pleasantly depicted as green fields, bogs, rivers and coastland. There are many outdoor scenes. The stories are lots of fun.

Diane | 1918 comments Rating: 3.25 stars

Humorous stories about an Anglo-Irish magistrate and his misadventures in turn of the century Cork in SW Ireland. Many of the stories deal with horses and/or hunting. Overall, a light read and nice glimpse into 19th century Irish country life.

Leni Iversen (leniverse) | 411 comments This was an absolutely delight to read. I laughed out loud on several occasions. The book is episodic in nature, containing 12 misadventures of an Irish countryside magistrate at the very end of the 19th century. Most of these misadventures involve the hapless magistrate's landlord, Mr Flurry Knox, who "belonged to clan that cropped up in every grade of society in the county, from Sir Valentine Knox of Castle Knox down to the auctioneer Knox, who bore the attractive title of Larry the Liar (...) and all were prepared at any moment of the day or night to sell a horse."

Life in the county seems to revolve mostly around horses and alcohol, and most of the inhabitants are up to no good, but in a charming and non-malicious way. The Irish magistrate gets embroiled in it all because his education in England has given him a most British way of not asking pointed questions and of just bearing up silently when chaos erupts. His English wife conversely dives into everything with such enthusiasm and good humour that the locals seem to forgive and forget that she is from England.

At times I felt a pang at getting such enjoyment from reading about fox hunting and a way of treating animals that would never fly today. But I figure it is possible to be opposed to fox hunting today and still laugh like a loon at the antics of a fictional fox hunt that took place over a hundred years ago. (view spoiler)

The book was written by cousins Edith Sommerville and Violet Russell, who completed 14 books together before Russell died, after which Sommerville continued writing as Sommerville and Russell for more than 30 years until her death at age 91. They are buried next to each other, together again at last. I am looking forward to exploring more of their books, and I really wish someone would make a TV-series based on the experiences of the Irish R.M.

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