"The Lady Next Door", in other words, Ireland, is an account of the tour of Ireland by a pro-Home Rule British Liberal journalist, published in 1914. It provides valuable interview material and personal impressions of several prominent Nationalists and Southern Unionists, giving a snapshot of the views of key activists on what they thought was the eve of Home Rule and their expectations of what a Home Rule Ireland would be like. He gives valuable insight into the ideological tensions of the Liberal-Nationalist alliance, particularly with reference to Nonconformist unease about the prospects for Ulster under Home Rule, the development of moralist rhetoric in defense of Liberal policy, and the tendency of some British commentators to idealize Ireland as a pious rural Arcadia.
Harold Begbie (1871-1929) was born in Suffolk, England. Begbie was an Evangelical Protestant with tendencies towards theological modernism, who believed in social reform based on religious revivalism and individual regeneration. He was a well-known journalist in his time and published over a hundred books, but is now chiefly remembered for defending the existence of the Angel of Mons. Patrick Maume is a researcher with the Dictionary of Irish Biography, and the author of The Long Gestation: Irish Nationalist Life, 1891-1918 (Dublin: 1999). He has edited several titles in the Classics of Irish History series.