Molly Keane (1904-96)
She wrote, “my mother didn’t really like me and the aunts were ghastly to me and my father had absolutely nothing to do with me” She doubted either of her parents ever read her books even after she was outed as the author. “She (her mother) really didn’t know how to treat us. You can’t think how neglected we were, by our parents. I mean they didn’t do anything with us at all, they simply didn’t bother. They were utterly reclusive. My mother had great taste but was totally oblivious to comfort.
Life was much more stringent then, there was no such thing as hot water or central heating. There were fires but they went out and I remember the deadly cold of the school room and the blue cold coming off the wall. I never remember a fire in my father’s library or in the dining room, although my father was perhaps a bit more warmth conscious.”
Her experiences at Woodruff formed the inspiration for her book Mad Puppetstown (1931) in which the story is set before, during and after the Easter Uprising of 1916 and through the Irish War for Independence when Puppetstown becomes an isolated vulnerable fortress – like so many of the Big Houses.
To quote from Mad Puppetstown “They were strange days for the gentry of Ireland these, strange, silent, dangerous days. The morning’s paper (and if the post was late it was because a bridge had been blown up the night before or the mail raided on its way from Dublin) might tell of a murder of a friend; or the burning of a house that had lately been like Puppetstown, careless in its wide hospitality; or, more rarely, of the capture of rebels or a successful raiding for arms.”
Molly Keane – Later Years
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