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Emily Ussher and The Trail of the Black & Tans1

Emily Ussher et La Piste des Black & Tans
Joanna Wydenbach
p. 22-38

Résumé

Cet article étudie les relations historiques et littéraires pendant la guerre anglo-irlandaise à travers la publication de The Trail of the Black and Tans par “The Hurler on the Ditch”, pseudonyme de Emily Usher, propriétaire de Cappagh House dans le Comté de Waterford. The Trail of the Black and Tans est l’histoire d’une famille de fermiers catholiques et nationalistes pendant la guerre anglo-irlandaise. Le roman fut publié quelques mois après l’arrêt des hostilités. Cet article retrace l’histoire de l’auteur et de l’éditeur du roman, la Talbot Press de Dublin, et de leurs intentions respectives concernant le destin du livre. Le roman est replacé dans le contexte du lectorat visé par le roman, celui des Anglais non-conformistes, auxquels il est fait référence dans la dédicace, et de son lectorat réel en Irlande. L’article se termine par une étude de la réception du roman en Irlande et en Angleterre. Même si le roman fut accueilli favorablement sur place par les habitants du Comté de Waterford, et dans les journaux nationaux, le livre fut retiré des bibliothèques dans le Comté de Cork et boycotté par la presse britannique lors de sa parution en 1921. Cet article vise à faire découvrir un aspect ignoré de l’histoire de l’édition en Irlande, tout en donnant un aperçu de la situation dans le sud-est de l’Irlande pendant les années 1920. Il montre aussi qu’en redonnant leur place aux romancières irlandaises oubliées du début du vingtième siècle, une compréhension plus approfondie de l’Irlande devient possible.

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Notes de l’auteur

Acknowledgments : I would like to thank the copyright owner of “The True Story of a Revolution” for permission to quote from the manuscript. I would also like to thank the National Archives of Ireland for access to The Talbot Press Papers.

Texte intégral

  • 1  I would like to thank the Helena Wallace Scholarship fund, Queen’s University of Belfast, for prov (...)
  • 2  To use more contemporary wording, such as Michael Hopkinson’s recent argument for the neutral word (...)
  • 3  The Hurler on the Ditch, The Trail of the Black & Tans, Dublin: The Talbot Press Ltd., 1921.      

1In the autumn of 1921 a novel describing the Anglo-Irish war, or what the novel calls the ‘Irish struggle’ of 1919-19212 was removed from bookshops by the Royal Irish Constabulary in the south of Ireland and boycotted by the English press.  The novel’s title was The Trail of the Black & Tans written by the anonymous “The Hurler on the Ditch”.3 The identity behind the nom-de-plume was Emily Ussher, resident at Cappagh House, County Waterford. Yet the novel and the author have remained absent from cultural and historical accounts of the period.  

2This paper attempts to recover the history of both writer and the novel, The Trail of the Black & Tans, through examining three stages of the novel’s production. Firstly, the history of the author and the publisher, alongside their intentions for the novel, will be examined. Secondly, the novel will be read in the context of the intended and actual audience, before finally looking at the actual reception of the novel in England and Ireland. By recovering Emily Ussher’s The Trail of the Black & Tans, a more inclusive insight can be gained into publishing history in Ireland and England, relations between the two countries, as well as an informative historical understanding of the south-east of Ireland in the early 1920s.

  • 4  Francesca M. Wilson, Rebel Daughter of a Country House: The Life of Eglantyne Jebb, Founder of the (...)
  • 5  Francesca M. Wilson, Rebel Daughter of a Country House, 54.  Emily’s sibling Louisa attended Newnh (...)
  • 6  Percival Arland Ussher (1889-1980): born in Battersea, London; educated at Trinity College Dublin (...)
  • 7  Mrs Beverley Ussher (ed.), Public Schools at a Glance (Boarding Schools at £80 a year and over): A (...)
  • 8  Mark Bence-Jones, A Guide to Irish Country Houses, London: Constable & Co. Ltd., 1988, 56.

3Emily Ussher, née Jebb, was born at The Lyth, Ellesmere, Shropshire in 1872.4 She was the eldest of six siblings who were all to become high achievers.  Her sister, Eglantyne, went on to found the ‘Save the Children’ fund. In contrast to her siblings, who all went to Oxbridge, Emily was educated at home, apart from a brief spell in Dresden where she studied art and German.5 In a church situated on the Welsh border she married Irish gentleman Beverley Grant Ussher, an Inspector of Schools under the Board of Education in England. Their marriage provided an interesting symmetry between two generations: Emily’s Irish mother had married her English cousin.  In 1899 Emily and Beverley’s only child, Percival Arland Ussher (remembered today as the Irish essayist and writer Arland Ussher6), was born in Battersea. England was to be their home for the next fifteen years, during which time Emily published a guide to English boarding schools and a schoolbook on leaf folding.7 However, in the spring of 1914, with Beverley’s retirement, they moved to the family home in Ireland. Cappagh House, a “two storey Victorian house”8 with a raised but open outlook, reflected the house’s new residents.

  • 9  For more information see E. H. Ussher, “The True Story of a Revolution, Or what one of my Reviewer (...)
  • 10  See Emmet O’Connor, A Labour History of Waterford, 173-175.

4Beverley and Emily immersed themselves in local society, each following the traits of their respective families.  Beverley became active in local politics and farming issues, while Emily became interested in social issues. By 1916 Emily was a member of the United Irishwomen Association, holding industrial shows at Cappagh, and was involved in the local egg depot and co-operative shop, often to the contempt of her neighbours, the local landed families.9 However, though Emily was active in attempting to improve conditions for the local community, this did not necessarily mean she was willing to sacrifice her own position in society. She was to stand by her landed neighbours when labourers went on strike over a deduction in pay in 1922.10 Viewed through this personal historical lens, Emily is arguably representative of the complexities surrounding the landlord’s relationship to the local community.  

  • 11 The True Story of a Revolution, 11-14.   
  • 12  Mark Bence-Jones, Twilight of the Ascendancy, London: Constable & Co. Ltd., 1987, 195.
  • 13  For more information on Emily’s lecture tour in England see E. H. Ussher, The True Story of a Revo (...)

5However, Emily was not only active in Waterford. She occasionally turned to national issues, periodically going on lecture tours.  In 1916 she lectured in Ireland to a select audience trying to promote awareness of Irish soldiers at the front.11 In 1920 she lectured in London to raise awareness of the atrocities being committed in Ireland at the time by the Black and Tans. As Mark Bence-Jones comments, many of the Ascendancy, even the pro-British, were against the behaviour of the Black and Tans,12 which suggests that Emily’s opinion was not overtly radical. On the cattle-boat out of Waterford she was to meet her landed neighbour and short story writer Gerald Villiers-Stuart of Dromana House on a similar mission. However, despite a press conference organised by family friend Lord Parmoor, with Irish and English press in attendance to hear her talk under the anonymous title “Unknown Lady”, and four further drawing room lectures in London (one with the influential Irish ascendancy figure Lord Monteagle in attendance) and lectures in Shrewsbury and Ellesmere, Emily soon realised that such dialogue had little impact on the influential upper classes as there was no sign of an end to the terrible situation in Ireland.13  

  • 14  See The True Story of a Revolution, 29-43. The Usshers had offered Mrs Johnson and her family a pl (...)
  • 15  See also Emmet O’Connor, A Labour History of Waterford, 159-161
  • 16 The Waterford News, 31st December 1920, 8

6Returning to west Waterford Emily witnessed her home being protected by the Irish Republican Army (IRA) for the month of July 1920 due to the intervention of Cathal Brugha (1874-1922), Minister for Defence for Dáil Éireann. Brugha had reversed a decision to burn Cappagh House if the RIC sergeant’s Protestant wife Mrs Johnson did not leave in three days.14 This incident was not representative of all IRA activity in the area. Indeed, according to Emily’s journal the reason Mrs Johnson and family had moved to Cappagh House was because the IRA had burnt down the Johnson’s home Cappagh Barracks in April 1920.  The Barracks were part of the Ussher’s estate property. It was because the IRA’s campaign was not against women and children that Cappagh House had been protected, not because the IRA identified with the Usshers. News reports in The Waterford News present other IRA and British military activity, often involving intimidation, in the vicinity of Cappagh House, particularly in nearby Dungarvan, Lismore and Cappoquin.15 There was also the occasional violent act, as seen on 21st November 1920 when a Constable from Cappoquin, not far from Cappagh House, was shot. He died a week later from the wounds he received during the shooting.16

7Emily, unperturbed by the activity surrounding her home, was determined to stop the Black and Tans activities. She turned to another family friend, Molly Childers, née Osgood (1877-1964), who became known for her participation in the gun running at Howth in June 1914:

  • 17 The True Story of a Revolution, 52-53.    

I found her lying on her sofa as usual and she received me most kindly, drew interesting parallels between the American and Irish Revolutions, and recommended me to write an Irish “Uncle Tom’s Cabin.”17

  • 18  Interestingly Irish writer Katharine Tynan also wrote that a “very distinguished English novelist” (...)

As a consequence Emily wrote The Trail of the Black & Tans.18

  • 19  Harriet Beecher Stowe, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, or Life among the Lowly, Boston: John P. Jewett’s Compan (...)
  • 20  Erskine Childers, The Riddle of the Sands, London: Smith, Elder, 1903.  
  • 21  Erskine Childers, Military Rule in Ireland: A Series of Eight Articles contributed to The Daily Ne (...)
  • 22  See Eileen Reilly, “Fictional Histories: An Examination of Irish Historical and Political Novels 1 (...)
  • 23  See James M. Cahalan, ‘Forging a Tradition: Emily Lawless and the Irish Literary Canon’ in Kathryn (...)

8When Molly Childers mentioned Uncle Tom’s Cabin19 it may not have been the only novel she had in mind. Her husband Erskine Childers (1870-1922) had attempted to warn England of an imminent attack in 1903 in his novel The Riddle of the Sands20 and more recently in 1920 his letters to the British Government concerning the present situation in Ireland had been re-published by the Talbot Press.21 This use of literature as a political tool was not new in Irish affairs.22 One of the most well known examples in the history of Irish women’s fiction is Emily Lawless’ novel Hurrish, which William Gladstone (1809-98) read and praised as he prepared his speeches in favour of Home Rule in Ireland in the 1880s.23  

  • 24  For more information on The Talbot Press see John J. Dunne, “The Educational Company of Ireland an (...)
  • 25  When Emily offered the novel to the Talbot Press is not known.  The first letter in the Talbot Pre (...)

9Though Emily did not secure an established English publisher that would have the advantage of a wide audience, The Trail of the Black & Tans nonetheless seemed on course to join the tradition of politically influential novels when the young Dublin publisher the Talbot Press agreed to publishthe novel.24However, a stumbling block presented itself. Talbot was still working on the manuscript when a Truce was declared in July 1921.25 Emily’s objective in writing the novel had floundered near the finishing line. However, there was an underlying suggestion that Talbot would only have released the novel when there was a complete end to violence in Ireland, as in a letter dated 17th September 1921 the Talbot Press literary manager, Mr Lyons, posed the question of whether to bring out the novel if violence resurfaced. This suggests, for the publishers at least, that the end of the Anglo-Irish War was crucial to the timing of the novel’s release.  

  • 26  See letters to Mrs E. H. Ussher (sometimes spelt Usher) in The Talbot Press Archives, National Arc (...)

10This was not the only precaution the publisher undertook when releasing the novel. The content of the novel, as well as the external political climate, were considered. They requested that Emily remained anonymous; that the first chapter setting up the Irish Volunteers as enforcers of the law, while the Crown Forces are seen as underhand, became the prologue (thus softening the attack on the Crown Forces), and that bad language be removed on account of the readership anticipated among the nun population. Talbot also did not use the intended three tone dust jacket, which depicted the Crown Forces shooting the tobacconist, until an agreement had been arrived between the Ireland and Britain (and thus the three tone-drawing of the shooting did not appear on the first edition of the book).26 These changes can be read as Talbot anticipating problems a readership might have with the novel, while also reflecting Talbot’s own publishing experience.

  • 27  Mrs. Thomas Concannon, Makers of Irish History, Dublin: The Talbot Press Ltd., n.d.  The Accession (...)
  • 28  Letter to Alice Stopford-Green, 29th December 1916, 1048/1/38, The Talbot Press Archives, National (...)

11Talbot was no stranger to censorship. The Great War, and the Rising of 1916, had resulted in the censorship of some of Talbot’s, and their co-publisher The Educational Company of Ireland’s books. Immediately after the Rising of 1916 the Educational Commissioners had withdrawn Irish history books in National Schools in Ireland. This action directly affected The Educational Company of Ireland, who subsequently experienced a torrid time in attempts to get the Commissioners to sanction their Irish history books, in particular Katharine Tynan’s Book of Irish Historyand Helena Concannon’s Makers of Irish History.27 In a letter to the historian Alice Stopford Green Talbot’s literary manager stated that the problem was due to a sectarian divide among the commissioners on the correct version of Irish history.28Interestingly, religion was emphasised over politics. After experiencing various forms of censorship it is perhaps no surprise Talbot attempted to play safe with Emily’s novel. However, despite precautions, The Trail of the Black & Tans was to receive censorship from the nation the book had been written for: England.

  • 29  For example, see Declan Kiberd, Inventing Ireland, London: Jonathan Cape, 1995, 364-366.

12Elizabeth Bowen’s well-known account of the Irish struggle of 1919-1921 in The Last September has been read as an example of a member of the landed class unable to record the Irish struggle at first hand, as Bowen presents the Irish struggle off-stage from the Big House setting of Danielstown House.29 In contrast, the Irish struggle of 1919-1921 is at the centre of the narrative of The Trail of the Black & Tans, though notably no reference is made to the novelist’s own class except in reminiscences over Uncle Pat’s argument with his landlord over constitutional issues.

  • 30 The Trail of the Black & Tans, dedication.  
  • 31  Letter to Sir William Robertson Nicholl, 2nd November 1921, 1048/1/68, The Talbot Press Archives, (...)

13The Trail of the Black & Tans describes the Irish struggle of 1919-1921 through the Cromwell family.  Despite the historical association the name might suggest, the Cromwells are a Catholic nationalist farming family.  Shaun, Johanna, Nellie and Mary, having lost their parents to the influenza epidemic of 1918, form the Cromwell family. Spending a quiet night by the fire talking of events ‘abroad’ and singing Irish nationalist songs, they are disrupted by the arrival of the Crown Forces who are acting on a tip-off by a bitter ex-employee of Shaun Cromwell’s. Knowing that the discovery of his dead father’s gun under martial law will mean death Shaun flees and joins the IRA. Constitutionalist Uncle Pat fulfils Shaun’s departing wish that he must look after Shaun’s sisters, but soon Uncle Pat is on the trail of Shaun under the request of the ambiguous mother figure of Johanna. The narrative follows Uncle Pat’s trail as he witnesses numerous atrocities by the Black and Tans, before becoming passively involved in IRA activity. The novel ends with Uncle Pat dead, and Shaun and Johanna emigrating to America with little hope of changing Ireland if Uncle Pat’s earlier trip to America is considered.  Uncle Pat had left Ireland when his Constitutionalist stance became too controversial, only to return to be still branded, but out-dated. The same fate seems to beckon for Shaun and Johanna. The deliberately bleak outlook enables the novel to suggest help should come from the people to whom the book is dedicated: “the Non-Conformists of England”.30 A letter from the Talbot Press to Sir William Robertson Nicholl suggests the novelist is addressing the Church of Non-Conformism, not the political group.31

  • 32  In the first edition a drawing of the Cromwell sisters’ hurrying their brother Shaun out of the ho (...)

14However, it would be wrong to assume that the novel simply condemns the Black and Tans and their associates under the umbrella title of the Crown Forces, as the title of the novel – and dust jackets32 - may suggest. The simple opposition in the prologue (that was originally the first chapter) of the IRA as upstanding law enforcing agents, compared to the underhand Crown Forces, becomes far more complex in the main story, as individuals are freed from blame.  

  • 33 The Trail of the Black & Tans, 12-24.

15For example, Captain Brown, a young and ambitious Black and Tan soldier, is presented as attempting to follow orders to the best of his ability, constantly checking his own conduct on the raid at the Cromwell house. Though he is described as hating his present job, he reasons that he is just following orders set by the British administration. It is this latter organisation that the novel consistently attributes blame to, not to individuals or the King. Furthermore Captain Brown is evidently inept at his job. He is unaware of his privates making eyes at the Cromwell girls or the repeated looting they undertake during the raid. Also he has acted on the word of an informer who is seeking revenge, instead of enlisting help from the local RIC man, who is shown to know his fellow countrymen.33 The novel raises questions about the suitability of Brown and the orders he is following, which in turn, brings the authority of the British administration into question.

  • 34 The True Story of a Revolution, 73-74.

16Other individuals in the Crown Forces, not just Captain Brown, are freed from specific blame within the novel. An RIC Sergeant disobeys orders and watches Shaun escape knowing him to be innocent. Colonel Good, commander of the Black and Tans, realises he has lost control of his unit and decides to retire and enter the political fray in order to bring the atrocities being committed in the name of the Crown forces to the British administration’s attention. Major Jones, the perpetrator of the Black and Tans atrocities whom Colonel Good is unable to control, is suffering from “shell shock”, an illness that implies he is not in control of his own action. Even the man on guard outside the barracks is just following orders when he refuses Johanna access to visit her Uncle held in the barracks. This removal of blame from individuals enables the novelist to criticise the actions of the Black and Tans without offending the “Non-Conformists of England”, appealed to in the dedication. However, though The Trail of the Black & Tans was written for an English audience, the novel was to be published solely in Ireland, and perhaps unsurprisingly, Emily heard that Irish Unionists and Nationalists read the novel.34  

  • 35  Emily states that the two crowning events of the novel were not based on actual events, though she (...)
  • 36  Anon., Review of “The Trail of the Black and Tans”, by “The Hurler on the Ditch”, The Irish Book L (...)
  • 37  W[illiam] D[awson], Review of “The Trail of the Black and Tans”, by “The Hurler on the Ditch”, Stu (...)
  • 38  Mac, “Through the Late Inferno”.  Review of “The Trail of the Black and Tans”, by “The Hurler on t (...)

17In turn, the treatment of the potentially unifying experience of the influenza epidemic of 1918, participation in the Great War, and the real consequences of the fighting, whether as a soldier in the British Army during the Great War or fighting for the IRA during the Irish struggle of 1919-1921, that people were losing their loved ones, also make the novel acceptable to different audiences as they were events that both Irish and English people experienced. Emily recorded that the book was well received provincially (particularly as many of the characters were based on real life people and their experiences).35 Nationally the novel received promising reviews in Irish journals such as the Irish Book Lover,36 Studies37 and the new Irish fiction magazine Banba.38 In these reviews the novelist is repeatedly praised for her treatment of the storyline and her own writing skills. However, reviews become obsolete unless a copy can be obtained.

  • 39  In a letter to Emily’s sister Mrs Dorothy Frances Buxton, Talbot Press mentioned the suppression o (...)
  • 40  Under the enlightening title “A New Censorship” The Irish Independent reports, “The Cork correspon (...)

18In late November 1921 the Talbot Press received news that copies of the book had been removed from bookshelves in Cork by the RIC, which was confirmed by a local agent working for Talbot.39The Irish Independent also reported the removal of copies.40 The reason behind the RIC’s removal of the book may have been due to the political climate. With an agreement between Ireland and Britain looking certain, the RIC were facing a situation where they would soon be the only members of the old Crown Forces left in Ireland.

  • 41  See The True Story of a Revolution, 68.  
  • 42  Retired R.I.C. Sergeant Corcoran.  The True Story of a Revolution, 71.  
  • 43  Emily writes that the Black and Tans “possessed themselves of seven copies for perusal in Dungarve (...)

19Emily refers to the removal of her novel in her unpublished journal, adding Dublin to her list,41 but goes to great lengths to stress that individual RIC members did not share the official stance of the RIC. She writes that a retired RIC man who had provided material for the novel had enjoyed the book,42 and even recalls copies of the novel being bought by the Black and Tans.43 In Ireland, then, the novel received a mixed reception.

  • 44  The title page of the novel holds only the Talbot imprint, which suggests that Talbot Press were t (...)
  • 45  For what follows see Clare Hutton, “Publishing the Literary Revival: The Evolution of Irish Textua (...)

20However, in England, an altogether different reception emerged. The novel’s exclusive publication with the Dublin publisher the Talbot Press44 meant it did not have immediate access to the English market. Talbot’s co-publisher, London based T. Fisher Unwin, had refused to take on the novel. As Clare Hutton discusses, it was Fisher Unwin who had persuaded Talbot to publish Thomas MacDonagh’s book Literature in History after the Rising of 1916.45 Talbot had proposed to scrap the publication (due out Easter 1916) on the grounds of MacDonagh’s involvement in the Rising. Unwin had read the market well and MacDonagh’s book sold out in a day. Talbot was to repeatedly publish works by executed leaders, as well as other works on nationalist events, such as the Rising and the Irish struggle of 1919-1921 in the following years. In contrast, Unwin was to disassociate themselves from Irish nationalist literature. Unwin’s refusal to take on The Trail of the Black & Tans in 1921, seemed in tune with the British press.

  • 46  See Letter to Emily Ussher, 10th November 1921, 1048/1/68; Letter to Lady Byles, 16th November 192 (...)
  • 47  Letter to “The Editor” of “Times Literary Supplement”, 24th November 1921, 1048/1/68, The Talbot P (...)
  • 48  “We have just published a book, “Tales of the R.I.C.”…In the course of business, we sent advertise (...)

21In November 1921 Talbot Press’ literary manager Mr Lyons repeatedly refers to the refusal of the influential Sir William Robertson Nicholl, editor of the British Weekly, to acknowledge receipt of the novel,46 and directly berates the Editor of the Times Literary Supplementfor listing the publication of The Trail of the Black & Tansin the political section when The Tales of the R.I.C., a “book dealing with the same subject”, was placed under fiction.  Lyons argued that novels sell 1,000 more copies than a political book, and that the distinction was made simply because The Trail of the Black & Tans was published by an Irish, and not an English publisher.47The Talbot Press had interpreted the Times Literary Supplement’s listing of The Trail of the Black & Tans as a political statement towards themselves, not the novel. Aptly, an Irish newspaper boycotted The Tales of the R.I.C.48 The only reception The Trail of the Black &Tansreceived in England was through family friends and word of mouth from Ireland. The irony of course was that the writer had in fact been brought up in England.

22The delicate relations between the two countries were to be reiterated through English publishers relationships with Irish novelists. A common route for Irish novelists had been through London publishers. Already established Irish women writers such as Dorothea Conyers, B.M. Croker, May Crommelin, Richard Dahen (pen name of Clotilda Inez Graves), L. T. Meade, Margaret T. Pender, Somerville and Ross, and Katharine Tynan continued to have novels published by English publishers during the period. However, for new writers it looked bleak.

  • 49  This database forms the Appendix in my PhD thesis, “Irish Women’s Fiction 1900-1924: Literature an (...)
  • 50  Geraldine D[orothy] Cummins, The Land They Loved, London: Macmillan and Co. Ltd., 1919.  The publi (...)
  • 51  Susanne R. Day and Geraldine Cummins wrote The Way of the World, Broken Faith and Fox and Geese.   (...)

23In a database that I have compiled of seventy-four Irish women writers who had novels published between 1900-1924,49 only one new novelist emerges with an English publisher between 1919-1921: Geraldine Cummins’ novel The Land They Loved was published by Macmillan.50 Cummins, however, was already an established playwright, having written several plays for the Abbey Theatre with her collaborator Susanne R. Day, who herself had had a novel published.51This downturn in English publishers taking on new Irish women’s fiction could be attributed to publishers’ own precarious position following the economic restraints of the Great War, but it also raises a question as to whether relations between Ireland and England may have been a contributing factor, particularly if the novel’s subject matter was nationalist Ireland.  The result was that Dublin publishers, in particular the Talbot Press, became the main outlets at this time.

  • 52  The suggestion to change the original title of the novel (and several minor alterations to the tex (...)

24Talbot’s history of publishing novels is intriguing. From 1917, when they had bought their first manuscript novel, Annie M. P. Smithson’s Her Irish Heritage, they had repeatedly taken on novels that had contemporary storylines with a predominantly nationalist, if not republican, overtone. Emily’s The Trail of the Black & Tans fitted into this pattern, as the novel ultimately lays the blame for the situation in Ireland at the British Government’s feet. But even though quickly gaining a reputation for publishing nationalist fiction, Talbot was cautious. It was not until the following year, with British rule in the twenty-six counties over, that Talbot accepted and awarded their 100 guinea prize to a republican manuscript on the Irish struggle of 1919-1921: Smithson’s The Walk of a Queen.52

  • 53  For example, no entry under Emily Jebb, Emily Ussher, Mrs Beverley Ussher or The Hurler on the Dit (...)
  • 54  “Sudden Death: Of Distinguished Co. Waterford Lady”, The Waterford News, 7th June 1935, 4.  The ob (...)

25The Trail of the Black & Tans was to be Emily Ussher’s only published novel. The use of a pseudonym, both for her novel and lectures, has meant that many biographical sources have overlooked Emily Ussher, and subsequently her novel. Only Stephen Brown’s Ireland in Fiction, out of a wide range of Irish literary biographical sources, acknowledges The Trail of the Black & Tans, but it was not until the second volume in 1985 that Emily was identified as the novelist,53 despite locals recognising her contributions, as seen in the obituary notice in The Waterford News.54 Emily is just one of a number of Irish women novelists from this period that has been overlooked by academics. The recuperation of Emily’s work demonstrates that by recovering Irish women’s fiction a more inclusive reading of Ireland in the early twentieth century can be gained.

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Bibliographie

Archival Material

The Talbot Press Papers, National Archives of Ireland

Ussher E U, The True Story of a Revolution, or what one of my Reviewers called “The Rushing Tragedy of Munster Life”: Life at Cappagh from the Spring of 1914, to the Spring of 1925, when all ended for us in a happy wedding, Trinity College Dublin, Ms. 9269.

Newspapers

Morning Post

The Irish Independent

The Waterford News

Books and Articles

ANON, Review of The Trail of the Black and Tans, by “The Hurler on the Ditch”, The Irish Book Lover, 13:6, January 1922, 110.   

BANK David and MCDONALD Theresa (eds.), British Biographical Index: 2nd cumulated and enlarged edition, Seven Volumes, München: K. G. Saur, 1998.

BENCE-JONES Mark, Twilight of the Ascendancy, London: Constable & Co. Ltd., 1987.

BENCE-JONES Mark, A Guide to Irish Country Houses, Revised Edition, London: Constable & Co. Ltd., 1988.

BOWEN Elizabeth, The Last September, London: Constable & Co. Ltd., 1929.  

BOURKE Angela, KILFEATHER Siobhán, LUDDY Maria, MAC CURTAIN Margaret, MEANEY Gerardine, NÍ DHONNCHADHA Máirín, O’DOWD Mary, and WILLS Clair (eds.), The Field Day Anthology of Irish Writing: Irish Women’s Writings and Traditions, Volumes IV & V, Cork: Cork University Press in association with Field Day, 2002.  

BRADY Anne M. and CLEEVE Brian, A Biographical Dictionary of Irish Writers, Mullingar, County Westmeath: The Lilliput Press Ltd., 1985.

BROWN Stephen J., Ireland in Fiction: A Guide to Irish Novels, Tales, Romances, and Folk-lore, Dublin and London: Maunsel & Co., Ltd., 1916.

BROWN Stephen J., Ireland in Fiction: A Guide to Irish Novels, Tales, Romances, and Folk-lore, Dublin and London: Maunsel & Co., Ltd., 1919.

BROWN Stephen J.,Ireland in Fiction: A Guide to Irish Novels, Tales, Romances, and Folk-lore,Dublin and London: Maunsel & Co., Ltd., 1968.

BROWN Stephen J. and CLARKE Desmond, Ireland in Fiction: A guide to Irish novels, tales, romances and folklore: Volume Two, Cork: Royal Carbery Books, 1985.

CAHALAN James M., “Forging a Tradition: Emily Lawless and the Irish Literary Canon’, in KIRKPATRICK Kathryn (ed.), Border Crossings: Irish Women Writers and National Identities, Alabama & London: The University of Alabama Press, 2000, 38-57.

CHILDERS Erskine, The Riddle of the Sands, London: Smith, Elder, 1903.

CHILDERS Erskine, Military Rule in Ireland: A Series of Eight Articles contributed to The Daily News March-May, 1920 (Reprinted by permission) With notes and an additional chapter, Dublin: The Talbot Press Ltd., 1920.

CLEEVE Brian, Dictionary of Irish Writers: First Series: Fiction, novelists, playwrights, poets, short story writers in English, Cork: The Mercier Press, 1967.

CONCANNON Mrs. Thomas, Makers of Irish History, Dublin: The Talbot Press Ltd., n.d.  The Accession stamp on the National Library of Ireland copy states 3rd Jan 1923.

CUMMINS G. D., The Land They Loved, London: Macmillan and Co., Ltd., 1919.  

CUMMINS Geraldine, Unseen Adventures: An Autobiography covering Thirty-four Years of Work in Psychical Research, London: Rider and Company, 1951.

D[AWSON] W[illiam], Review of The Trail of the Black and Tans, by “The Hurler on the Ditch” in Studies: An Irish Quarterly Review of Letters, Philosophy & Science, 11:41, March 1922, 167.

DAY Susanne R., The Amazing Philanthropists: Being extracts from the letters of Lester Martin, P.L.G., Edited and arranged by Susanne R. Day, London: Sidgwick & Jackson, Ltd., 1916.  

DEANE Seamus (General Ed.), The Field Day Anthology of Irish Writing: Volumes I, II & III, Derry, Northern Ireland: Field Day Publications (Faber & Faber Ltd.), 1991.

DUNNE John J, “The Educational Company of Ireland and the Talbot Press, 1910-1990”, Long Room: Ireland’s Journal for the History of the Book, 42, 1997, 34-41.

FINGALL E., GREENE M.E, PIM Constance and STOPFORD E. A, The United Irishwomen: An Appeal, Dublin: Hely’s Ltd., Printers, 1913.  

FOSTER R. F, Political Novels and Nineteenth-Century History, Winchester: King Alfred’s College, 1981.

HOGAN Robert (editor-in-chief), Dictionary of Irish Literature: Revised and Expanded Edition A-Z, Westport, Connecticut & London: Greenwood Press, 1996.

HOPKINSON Michael, The Irish War of Independence, Dublin: Gill & Macmillan Ltd., 2002.

HUTTON Clare, “Publishing the Literary Revival: The Evolution of Irish Textual Culture 1886-1922”.  D. Phil thesis, University of Oxford, 1999.

HUTTON Clare, “The Talbot Press Archive”,Long Room: Ireland’s Journal for the History of the Book, 42, 1997, 42-45.

KIBERD Declan, Inventing Ireland, London: Jonathan Cape, 1995.  

MAC, “Through the Late Inferno”: Review of The Trail of the Black and Tans by “The Hurler on the Ditch” in Banba, 2:3, January 1922, 249.

MCMAHON Sean and O’DONOGHUE Jo, The Mercier Companion to Irish Literature, Cork: Mercier Press, 1998.

MATTHEW H. C. G. and HARRISON Brian (eds.), Oxford Dictionary of National Biography in Association with The British Academy: From the earliest times to the year 2000, Sixty volumes, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004.  

Munster Womens Writers Project, www.evil.peanut.com/munsterwomen/search/author_search.asp, 30th November 2003.

O’CONNOR Emmet, A Labour History of Waterford, Waterford Trades Council, 1989.

PLUNKETT Horace, PILKINGTON Ellice and RUSSELL George (“Æ”), The United Irishwomen: Their Place, Work and Ideals, Dublin: Maunsel & Company Ltd., 1911.

Princess Grace Irish Library (Monaco) EIRData, www.pgil-eirdata.org/html/pgil_datasets/authors, 3rd February 2005.

REILLY Eileen, “Fictional Histories: An Examination of Irish Historical and Political Novels 1880-1914”. D. Phil thesis, University of Oxford, 1997.

SMITHSON Annie M. P., Her Irish Heritage, Dublin: The Talbot Press Limited, 1917.

SMITHSON Annie M. P., The Walk of a Queen, Dublin: The Talbot Press Limited, 1922.

STOWE Harriet Beecher, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, or Life among the Lowly, Boston: John P. Jewett’s Company, 1852.

[TYNAN Katharine], Katharine Tynan’s Book of Irish History, Dublin & Belfast: The Educational Company of Ireland, n.d.  The Accession stamp on the National Library of Ireland copy states 4th April 1918.

TYNAN Katharine, Review of Daniel Corkery’s The Hounds of Banba in Studies: An Irish Quarterly Review of Letters, Philosophy & Science, 10: 38, June 1921, 315-317.

USSHER Arland, The Face and Mind of Ireland, London: Victor Gollancz Ltd., 1949.

USSHER Arland, Three Great Irishmen: Shaw, Yeats, Joyce, London: Victor Gollancz Ltd., 1952.

USSHER Mrs Beverley, Introductory Notes on “Leaf Folding”: A New Nature-Study Occupation For Upper Classes of Infant’s Schools and Junior Departments(With a ‘Hints for a Lesson’ by Miss K. A. Fryer), London: The London Geographical Institute & Liverpool: Phillip, Son & Nephew, n.d.

USSHER Mrs Beverley (ed.), Public Schools at a Glance (Boarding Schools at £80 a year and over): A Guide For Parents and Guardians in selecting a public school for their Boys, London: The Association of Standardised Knowledge, Ltd., n.d.  

[Ussher Emily] “THE HURLER ON THE DITCH”, The Trail of the Black & Tans, Dublin: The Talbot Press Ltd., 1921.  

WEEKES Ann Owens, Unveiling Treasures: The Attic Guide to the Published Works of Irish Women Literary Writers Drama, Fiction, Poetry, Dublin: Attic Press, 1993.

WELCH Robert (ed.), The Oxford Companion to Irish Literature, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1996.

WHO WAS WHO 1929-1940: A Companion to Who’s Who containing the biographies of those who died during the period 1929-1940, Second Edition, London: Adam & Charles Black, 1967.

WILSON Francesca M., Rebel Daughter of a Country House: The Life of Eglantyne Jebb, Founder of the Save the Children Fund, London: George Allen & Unwin Ltd., 1967.

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Notes

1  I would like to thank the Helena Wallace Scholarship fund, Queen’s University of Belfast, for providing full financial assistance to allow me to present a paper, on which this article is derived from, at “The History of the Irish Book”, Troyes, 6-7th May 2004.

2  To use more contemporary wording, such as Michael Hopkinson’s recent argument for the neutral wording “Irish War of Independence”, relies on the knowledge that independence was achieved after this conflict.  Though as Hopkinson states, only twenty-six counties had gained independence, and this was in the form of Dominion Status.  (See Michael Hopkinson, The Irish War of Independence, Dublin: Gill & Macmillan Ltd., 2002, xx.)  However, writing in 1920 Emily did not know this conflict was to be the final event before independence, and so in an attempt to contextualise the period the wording “Irish War of Independence” would be incorrect.  The common terminology of “The Tan War” or “The Troubles” by republicans, or the denial that the conflict was more than a rebellion by the British and so termed a rebellion in the 1920s (See Michael Hopkinson, The Irish War of Independence, xx) is not apparent in wording used in The Trail of the Black & Tans.  The closest Emily comes to describing the conflict in Ireland in 1919-1921 between the Crown Forces and the Volunteers is the “Irish struggle” (See The Trail of the Black & Tans, Dublin: The Talbot Press Ltd., dedication.).  This is the wording I will use in this chapter with the inclusion of the dates to make the reference clear: “Irish struggle of 1919-1921”.    

3  The Hurler on the Ditch, The Trail of the Black & Tans, Dublin: The Talbot Press Ltd., 1921.      

4  Francesca M. Wilson, Rebel Daughter of a Country House: The Life of Eglantyne Jebb, Founder of the Save the Children Fund, London: Allen & Unwin, 1967, 33.

5  Francesca M. Wilson, Rebel Daughter of a Country House, 54.  Emily’s sibling Louisa attended Newnham College, Cambridge; Richard attended New College, Oxford; Eglantyne attended Lady Margaret’s Hall, Oxford; Gamul was to read medicine at Cambridge or Oxford, but died before he came of age; Dorothy attended Newnham College, Cambridge.  For more details, see Francesca M. Wilson, Rebel Daughter of a Country House, and entries on Louisa Wilkins (née Jebb) Vol. 58, 986-987, Eglantyne Jebb, Vol. 29, 838-840, Dorothy Frances Buxton (née Jebb) Vol. 9, 282-283, Richard Jebb, Vol. 29, 850 in H. C. G. Matthew and Brian Harrison (eds.), Oxford Dictionary of National Biography in Association with The British Academy: From the earliest times to the year 2000, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004.   

6  Percival Arland Ussher (1889-1980): born in Battersea, London; educated at Trinity College Dublin and St. John’s College Cambridge; married Emily Whitehead of William Street, Nenagh 1925; sold Cappagh House in 1943; moved to Dublin; proficient in Irish, translating, among others, Merriman’s Midnight Court; primarily known for his works The Face and Mind of Ireland (London: Victor Gollancz Ltd., 1949) and Three Great Irishmen: Shaw, Yeats, Joyce(London: Victor Gollancz Ltd., 1952); he wrote many other books besides these, including travel and numerous articles for journals and newspapers; one of the Irish intellectuals of his generations, along with Eric Dodds and Hubert Butler, who recently received close attention through the work of Robert Tobin, Merton College, Oxford.  

7  Mrs Beverley Ussher (ed.), Public Schools at a Glance (Boarding Schools at £80 a year and over): A Guide For Parents and Guardians in selecting a public school for their Boys, London: The Association of Standardised Knowledge, n.d., Bodleian Library, Oxford copy is dated 14th April 1912; Mrs Beverley Ussher, Introductory Notes on “Leaf folding”: A New Nature-Study Occupation For Upper Classes of Infant’s Schools and Junior Departments, London: The London Geographical Institute & Liverpool: Phillip, Son & Nephew, n.d., Bodleian Library, Oxford copy is dated 17th July 1907.   

8  Mark Bence-Jones, A Guide to Irish Country Houses, London: Constable & Co. Ltd., 1988, 56.

9  For more information see E. H. Ussher, “The True Story of a Revolution, Or what one of my Reviewers called “The Rushing Tragedy of Munster Life”: Life at Cappagh from the Spring of 1914, to the Spring of 1925, when all ended for us in a happy wedding.”  TCD 9269 – not TCD, Gebb MSS as Emmet O’Connor indicates in A Labour History of Waterford, [Waterford]: Waterford Trades Council, 1989, 202 ft. 27 and in his biographical reference to the manuscript p. 377; Francesca M. Wilson’s Rebel Daughter of a Country House, 161. For the work of the United Irishwomen see E. Fingall, M. E. Greene, Constance Pim and E. A. Stopford’s “The United Irishwomen: An Appeal”, Dublin: Hely’s Ltd., Printers, 1913; Horace Plunkett, Ellice Pilkington and George Russell (“Æ”), The United Irishwomen: Their Place, Work and Ideals, Dublin: Maunsel & Co. Ltd., 1911.  The organisation’s magazine, United Irishwomen, was first published for general consumption in August 1925.  Previously the magazine had been produced just for the readership of Wexford.

10  See Emmet O’Connor, A Labour History of Waterford, 173-175.

11 The True Story of a Revolution, 11-14.   

12  Mark Bence-Jones, Twilight of the Ascendancy, London: Constable & Co. Ltd., 1987, 195.

13  For more information on Emily’s lecture tour in England see E. H. Ussher, The True Story of a Revolution, 45-48.

14  See The True Story of a Revolution, 29-43. The Usshers had offered Mrs Johnson and her family a place to stay when the troubles heightened. Mrs Johnson initially refused. However, when Mrs Johnson’s home, the RIC house, was burnt down she accepted the invitation and along with her children stayed with the Usshers for several months. However, during the Johnson’s residence at Cappagh the Usshers received an anonymous threatening letter that Mrs Johnson and family had to leave within three days or Cappagh House would be burnt down. Emily appealed to the priest Father Gleeson P.P., and the leading Sinn Féin man, Brennock the butcher.  She also wrote to her son Arland in England informing him of the situation.  Emily later found out that on hearing of his mother’s news, Arland had written to the MP for West Waterford in Gaelic (not realising he was the Minister for Defence, Cathal Brugha). When the IRA arrived three days later at Cappagh, the Usshers found that the soldiers’ intention was not to burn, but protect the house: “we have received a special dispatch from our Minister of Defence to say we must protect you - It is no part of our programme to wage war on women or children…”, 40.

15  See also Emmet O’Connor, A Labour History of Waterford, 159-161

16 The Waterford News, 31st December 1920, 8

17 The True Story of a Revolution, 52-53.    

18  Interestingly Irish writer Katharine Tynan also wrote that a “very distinguished English novelist” suggested Tynan should write a novel on Sinn Fein’s involvement in the Anglo-Irish war along the lines of Uncle Tom’s Cabin.  However, Tynan does not state who suggested the idea.  Instead Tynan uses the comment to suggest Daniel Corkery has answered the call with his short stories The Hounds of Banba.  Katharine Tynan, Review of Daniel Corkery’s The Hounds of Banba, in Studies: An Irish Quarterly Review of Letters, Philosophy & Science, 10:38, June 1921, 316.    

19  Harriet Beecher Stowe, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, or Life among the Lowly, Boston: John P. Jewett’s Company, 1852.  

20  Erskine Childers, The Riddle of the Sands, London: Smith, Elder, 1903.  

21  Erskine Childers, Military Rule in Ireland: A Series of Eight Articles contributed to The Daily News March-May, 1920 (Reprinted by permission) with notes and an additional chapter, Dublin: The Talbot Press Ltd., 1920.

22  See Eileen Reilly, “Fictional Histories: An Examination of Irish Historical and Political Novels 1880-1914,” D.Phil thesis, University of Oxford, 1997; R. F. Foster, Political Novels and Nineteenth Century History, Winchester: King Alfred’s College, 1981.

23  See James M. Cahalan, ‘Forging a Tradition: Emily Lawless and the Irish Literary Canon’ in Kathryn Kirkpatrick (ed.), Border Crossings: Irish Women Writers and National Identities, Alabama &  London: The University of Alabama Press, 2000, 40.

24  For more information on The Talbot Press see John J. Dunne, “The Educational Company of Ireland and the Talbot Press, 1910-1990”, Long Room: Ireland’s Journal for the History of the Book, 42, 1997, 34-41; Clare Hutton, “The Talbot Press Archive”, Long Room, 42, 1997, 42-45.

25  When Emily offered the novel to the Talbot Press is not known.  The first letter in the Talbot Press archives to Emily is dated August 26th 1921, and the letter states Talbot was to start work that Monday on the manuscript.  Talbot offered to buy the entire copyright of the manuscript for £21 on 12th September 1921.  On the 23rd September Talbot stated they were enclosing the final proofs of the book to Emily.  The book was released some time in October 1921.  This suggests there was not a delay in publishing the novel if there had been no delay before the first letter to Emily in August 1921, contradicting Emily statement in The True Story of a Revolution that the publication was “due months before, had been delayed till the Truce was assured”. (The True Story of a Revolution, 68)  The dedication in the novel is signed the 5th May 1921, suggesting a period of three months until the correspondence from Talbot.  However, Emily had offered the manuscript to three other publishers before Talbot, which may account for this time delay.  The fact the novel was published in October indicates that while there may have been a threat to publication, events meant the threat was void.  See letters to Mrs E. H. Ussher (sometimes spelt Usher), August 26th 1921-October 1921, 1048/1/67-1048/1/68, The Talbot Press Archives, National Archives of Ireland.    

26  See letters to Mrs E. H. Ussher (sometimes spelt Usher) in The Talbot Press Archives, National Archives of Ireland.      

27  Mrs. Thomas Concannon, Makers of Irish History, Dublin: The Talbot Press Ltd., n.d.  The Accession stamp on the National Library of Ireland copy states 3rd Jan 1923; [Katharine Tynan], Katharine Tynan’s Book of Irish History, Dublin & Belfast: The Educational Company of Ireland, n.d.  The Accession stamp on the National Library of Ireland copy states 4th April 1918.  I discuss this incident surrounding Irish history books in National School in Ireland post 1916 in more depth in my PhD thesis, “Irish Women’s Fiction 1900-1924: Literature and History”, Queen’s University of Belfast.

28  Letter to Alice Stopford-Green, 29th December 1916, 1048/1/38, The Talbot Press Archives, National Archives of Ireland.  

29  For example, see Declan Kiberd, Inventing Ireland, London: Jonathan Cape, 1995, 364-366.

30 The Trail of the Black & Tans, dedication.  

31  Letter to Sir William Robertson Nicholl, 2nd November 1921, 1048/1/68, The Talbot Press Archives, National Archives of Ireland.

32  In the first edition a drawing of the Cromwell sisters’ hurrying their brother Shaun out of the house is given in a two-tone colour of red and white.  In the cheaper edition, published in 1922, the dust jacket is of a well-dressed man falling, having been shot by the Crown Forces.  (This is taken from the scene in the novel when the tobacconist Connolly is shot).  In the drawing three men from the Crown Forces have smoke coming out of their guns, symbolising the eagerness of the Crown Forces to shoot.  One member of the Crown Forces is cheering.  All the Crown Forces have evil looking faces.  The drawing by “J. Quinn”, Joseph Quinn of Westmoreland Row, Dublin, is in three colours.  Both editions have a drawing of a RIC man pointing a gun, with one eye closed and a cigarette in his mouth on the spine of the dust jackets.  

33 The Trail of the Black & Tans, 12-24.

34 The True Story of a Revolution, 73-74.

35  Emily states that the two crowning events of the novel were not based on actual events, though she does state that there was some foundation for the incidents described. The True Story of a Revolution, 68.

36  Anon., Review of “The Trail of the Black and Tans”, by “The Hurler on the Ditch”, The Irish Book Lover, 13:6, January 1922, 110.

37  W[illiam] D[awson], Review of “The Trail of the Black and Tans”, by “The Hurler on the Ditch”, Studies: An Irish Quarterly Review of Letters, Philosophy & Science, March 1922, 11:41, 167.

38  Mac, “Through the Late Inferno”.  Review of “The Trail of the Black and Tans”, by “The Hurler on the Ditch”, Banba, 2:3, January 1922, 249.  

39  In a letter to Emily’s sister Mrs Dorothy Frances Buxton, Talbot Press mentioned the suppression of the novel and stated that they were enclosing a report by the local agent.  (Letter to Mrs Buxton, 2nd December 1921, 1048/1/69, The Talbot Press Archives, National Archives of Ireland.).  Sadly the report is not with the letter in the archive.

40  Under the enlightening title “A New Censorship” The Irish Independent reports, “The Cork correspondent of the “Daily Herald” says a representative of The Talbot Press (publishers) states R.I.C. ordered Cork booksellers to take out of their windows the recently-published volume “The Trail of the Black and Tans”.  The Irish Independent, Tuesday November 29th 1921, 6.

41  See The True Story of a Revolution, 68.  

42  Retired R.I.C. Sergeant Corcoran.  The True Story of a Revolution, 71.  

43  Emily writes that the Black and Tans “possessed themselves of seven copies for perusal in Dungarven barracks and … brought eight at the Westland Row bookstall before they finally returned to England”.  The True Story of a Revolution, 68-69.  

44  The title page of the novel holds only the Talbot imprint, which suggests that Talbot Press were the only publisher.

45  For what follows see Clare Hutton, “Publishing the Literary Revival: The Evolution of Irish Textual Culture 1886-1922”, D. Phil thesis, University of Oxford, 1999, pp. 299-243; Clare Hutton, “The Talbot Press Archive”, Long Room, 42, 1997, 43-44.  

46  See Letter to Emily Ussher, 10th November 1921, 1048/1/68; Letter to Lady Byles, 16th November 1921, 1048/1/68; Letter to Mrs C. R. Buxton, 18th November 1921, 1048/1/68, The Talbot Press Archives, National Archives of Ireland.  

47  Letter to “The Editor” of “Times Literary Supplement”, 24th November 1921, 1048/1/68, The Talbot Press Archives, National Archives of Ireland.  

48  “We have just published a book, “Tales of the R.I.C.”…In the course of business, we sent advertisements of the book to various Irish papers, and among them to The Irish Independent.  Our first order was accepted, the advertisement of the book appearing in their issue of November 21.  Our second order has been returned to us.  The advertisement was refused on the grounds “it would have an irritating effect on the Irish Public during the present crisis”.  However, interestingly the publisher goes on in the letter to point out that though The Irish Independent had refused to advertise the book, they had ironically reviewed the book positively; “no more interesting book has been published for a long time” and “we anticipate a very large audience”.  Quoted from ‘The Irish Tenor: “Tales of the R.I.C.”, a letter to the Editor of the Morning Post from W. M. Blackwood and Sons, in the Morning Post.  5th December 1921.    

49  This database forms the Appendix in my PhD thesis, “Irish Women’s Fiction 1900-1924: Literature and History”, Queen’s University of Belfast.

50  Geraldine D[orothy] Cummins, The Land They Loved, London: Macmillan and Co. Ltd., 1919.  The publishing history of the novel is intriguing.   Interestingly Cummins herself was later to express the belief that Macmillan had marketed her novel as if written by a male novelist, which Cummins felt had been detrimental to the sale of her book.  See Geraldine Cummins, Unseen Adventures: An Autobiography covering Thirty-four Years of Work in Psychical Research, London: Rider and Company, 1951, 88-89.     

51  Susanne R. Day and Geraldine Cummins wrote The Way of the World, Broken Faith and Fox and Geese.  The latter two plays were performed at the Abbey Theatre Dublin (1913 and 1917 respectively).  Susanne R. Day’s novel The Amazing Philanthropists: Being Extracts from the Letters of Lester Martin P.L.G., Edited and arranged by Susanne R. Day was published by London: Sidgwick and Jackson, Ltd., 1916.  

52  The suggestion to change the original title of the novel (and several minor alterations to the text) was made by the Talbot Press as a condition to awarding the novel their prize.  (Letter to Miss Smithson, 18th July 1922, 1048/1/73, The Talbot Press Archives, National Archives of Ireland).  As a Revival publisher, the decision to connect it with revivalists William Butler Yeats and Lady Gregory’s play Cathleen ni Houlihan was ideal, and they even sent a copy to W. B. Yeats acknowledging the association.  (Letter to W.B. Yeats, 28th October 1922, 1048/1/75, The Talbot Press Archives, National Archives of Ireland.)

53  For example, no entry under Emily Jebb, Emily Ussher, Mrs Beverley Ussher or The Hurler on the Ditch are made in the general Irish biographical sources Stephen J. Brown, Ireland in Fiction: A Guide to Irish Novels, Tales, Romances, and Folk-lore, Dublin and London: Maunsel & Co., Ltd., 1916, 1919 or 1968); Brian Cleeve, Dictionary of Irish Writers: First Series: Fiction, novelists, playwrights, poets, short story writers in English, Cork: The Mercier Press, 1967; Anne M. Brady and Brian Cleeve, A Biographical Dictionary of Irish Writers, Mullingar: The Lilliput Press, 1985; Ann Owens Weekes. Unveiling Treasures: The Attic Guide to the Published Works of Irish Women Literary Writers Drama, Fiction, Poetry, Dublin: Attic Press, 1993; Robert Hogan (ed.-in-chief), Dictionary of Irish Literature: Revised and Expanded Edition A-Z, Westport, Connecticut & London: Greenwood Press, 1996; Robert Welch (ed.), The Oxford Companion to Irish Literature, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1996; Sean McMahon and Jo O’Donoghue, The Mercier Companion to Irish Literature, Cork: Mercier Press, 1998.  In the biographical entries in the five volumes of The Field Day Anthology of Irish Writing (Vols. I-III. Derry: Field Day Publications, Faber & Faber Ltd., 1991 & Vols. IV-V Cork: Cork University Press in association with Field Day, 2002), the on-line database Munster Womens Writers Projectonline at www.evilpeanut.com/munsterwomen/search/author_search.asp, 30th November 2003, orPrincess Grace Irish Library (Monaco) EIRData,www.pgil-eirdata.org/html/pgil_datasets/authors, 3rd February 2005, there is no entry to Emily Jebb, Emily Ussher, Mrs Beverley Ussher or The Hurler on the Ditch.  Main biographical sources also produced no results: Who Was Who 1929-1940: A Companion to Who’s Who containing the biographies of those who died in the period 1929-1940, Second Edition, London: Adam & Charles Black, 1967; David Bank and Theresa McDonald (eds.), British Biographical Index: 2nd cumulated and enlarged edition, Seven volumes, München: K. G. Saur, 1998; H. C. G. Matthew and Brian Harrison (eds.), Oxford Dictionary of National Biography in Association with The British Academy: From the earliest times to the year 2000, Sixty volumes, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004.  It is not until Stephen J. Brown and Desmond Clarke, Ireland in Fiction: A guide to Irish novels, tales, romances and folklore: Volume Two, Cork: Royal Carbery Books, 1985 that Emily is identified as the novelist: “Ussher, Mrs Emily Horsley. Pseudonym:The Hurler on the Ditch’”, 261-262; also 122.    

54  “Sudden Death: Of Distinguished Co. Waterford Lady”, The Waterford News, 7th June 1935, 4.  The obituary mentions Emily’s social work in the community, including holding the local United Irishwomen’s Association meetings at her house, and her novel The Trail of the Black & Tans.

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Joanna Wydenbach, « Emily Ussher and The Trail of the Black & Tans », Revue LISA/LISA e-journal [En ligne], Vol. III - n°1 | 2005, mis en ligne le 27 octobre 2009, consulté le 14 novembre 2018. URL : http://journals.openedition.org/lisa/2487 ; DOI : 10.4000/lisa.2487

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Joanna Wydenbach

(Belfast, Ireland)
Joanna Wydenbach is a DEL (Northern Ireland) research student at Queen’s University of Belfast, and she has just completed her doctoral thesis entitled “Irish Women’s Fiction 1900-1924: Literature and History”, supervised by Dr. Michael McAteer.  She has given papers at conferences and seminars in Ireland and France.

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