Section 1: An Irish Childhood
Born in 1852, the youngest daughter in a family of 16 children, Augusta Persse was, in her own words, ''little welcomed," being a girl, and taught ''not to think of herself the equal even of her sisters." Growing up on an unbookish, rural Galway estate and assigned to look after ailing older brothers, she seemed destined to a narrowly bound life. Her marriage in 1880, when aged 27, to her distinguished neighbor Sir William Gregory, then aged 63, brought her status, foreign travel, and a rich social life. Their only child, Robert, was born in 1881. Gregory published her first essay in 1882 and wrote an introspective memoir and numerous articles and poems in the 1880s. Her earliest political activism spurred a brief affair with Wilfrid Scawen Blunt. Her writings from later in this period show Gregory just beginning to discover the Irish subjects that would be central to her later literary career.