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HOME > Short Stories > Light O' The Morning > CHAPTER IX. — EDUCATION AND OTHER THINGS.
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 The next day the Squire and Terence went off together. Mrs. O'Shanaghgan was very angry with her husband for going, as she expressed it, to amuse himself in Dublin. Dirty Dublin she was fond of calling the capital of Ireland.  
“What do you want to go to Dirty Dublin for?” she said. “You'll spend a lot of money, and God knows we have little enough at the present moment.”
“Oh, no, I won't, Ellen,” he replied. “I'll be as careful as careful can be; the colleen can witness to that. There's a little inn on the banks of the Liffey where I'll put up; it is called the 'Green Dragon,' and it's a cozy, snug little place, where you can have your potheen and nobody be any the wiser.”
“I declare, Patrick,” said his lady, facing him, “you are becoming downright vulgar. I wish you wouldn't talk in that way. If you have no respect for yourself and your ancient family, you ought to remember your daughter.”
“I'm sure I'm not doing the colleen any harm,” said the Squire.
“That you never could, father,” replied Nora, with a burst of enthusiasm.
Mrs. O'Shanaghgan surveyed her coldly.
“Go upstairs and help Terence to pack his things,” she said; and Nora left the room.
The next day the travelers departed. As soon as they were gone Mrs. O'Shanaghgan sent for Nora to come and sit in the room with her.
“I have been thinking during the night how terribly neglected you are,” she said; “you are not getting the education which a girl in your position ought to receive. You learn nothing now.”
“Oh, mother, my education is supposed to be finished,” answered Nora.
“Finished indeed!” said Mrs. O'Shanaghgan.
“Since Miss Freeman left I have had no governess; but I read a good bit alone. I am very fond of reading,” answered Nora.
“Distasteful as it all is to me,” said Mrs. O'Shanaghgan, “I must take you in hand myself. But I do wish your Uncle George would invite you over to stay with them at The Laurels. It will do Terence a wonderful lot of good; but you want it more, you are so unkempt and undignified. You would be a fairly nice-looking girl if any justice was done to you; but really the other day, when I saw you with that terrible young person Bridget Murphy, it gave my heart quite a pang. You scarcely looked a lady, you were laughing in such a vulgar way, and quite forgetting your deportment. Now, what I have been thinking is that we might spend some hours together daily, and I would mark out a course of instruction for you.”
“Oh, mammy,” answered Nora, “I should be very glad indeed to learn; you know I always hated having my education stopped, but father said—”
“I don't want to hear what your father said,” interrupted Mrs. O'Shanaghgan.
“Oh, but, mother dear, I really must think of father, and I must respect what he says. He told me that my grandmother stopped her schooling at fourteen, and he said she was the grandest lady, and the finest and bonniest, in the country, and that no one could ever put her to shame; for, although she had not much learning to boast of, she had a smart answer for every single thing that was said to her. He said you never could catch her tripping in her words, never—never; and he thinks, mother,” continued Nora, sparkling and blushing, “that I am a little like my grandmother. There is her miniature upstairs. I should like to be like her. Father did love her so very, very much.”
“Of course, Nora, if those are your tastes, I have nothing further to say,” answered Mrs. O'Shanaghgan; “but while you are under my roof and under my tuition, I shall insist on your doing a couple of hours' good reading daily.”
“Very well, mother; I am quite agreeable.”
“I suppose you have quite forgotten your music?”
“No, I remember it, and I should like to play very much indeed; but the old piano—you must know yourself, mother dear, that it is impossible to get any music out of it.”
Mrs. O'Shanaghgan uttered a groan.
“We seem to be beset with difficulties at every step,” she said. “It is such a mistake your father going to Dublin now, and throwing away his little capital. Has he said anything to you about the mortgage, by the way, Nora?”
Nora colored.
“A little,” she answered in a low voice.
“Ah, I see—told it as a secret; so like the Irish, making mysteries about everything, and then blabbing them out the next minute. I don't want, my dear, to encroach upon your father's secrets, so don't be at all afraid. Now, bring down your Markham's History of England and Alison's History of Europe, and I will set you a task to prepare for me for to-morrow.”
Nora went slowly out of the room. She hated Markham's History of England. She had read it five or six times, and knew it by heart. She detested George and Richard and Mary, and their conversations with their mother were simply loathsome to her. Alison's History, however, was tougher metal, and she thought she would enjoy a good stiff reading of it. She was a very intelligent girl, and with advantages would have done well.
She returned with the books. Her mother carelessly marked about twenty pages in each, told her to read them in the course of the day, and to come to her the next morning to be questioned.
“You can go now,” she said. “I was very busy yesterday, and have a headache. I shall lie down and go to sleep.”
“Shall I draw down the blind, mother?”
“Yes, please; and you can put that rug over me. Now, don't run shouting all over the house; try to remember you are a young lady. Really and truly, no one would suppose that you and Terence were brother and sister. He will do great credit to my brother George; he will be proud of such a handsome young fellow as his nephew.”
Nora said nothing; having attended to her mother's comforts, she left the room. She went out into the sunshine. In her hand she carried the two books. Her first intention was to take them down to one end of the dilapidated garden and read them steadily. She was rather pleased than otherwise at her mother's sudden and unlooked-for solicitude with regard to her education. She thought it would be pleasant to learn even under her mother's rather peculiar method of tutelage; but, as she stood on the terrace looking across the exquisite summer scene, two of the dogs, Creena and Cushla, came into view. They rushed up to Nora with cries and barks of welcome. Down went the books on the gravel, and off ran the Irish girl, followed by the two barking dogs. A few moments later she was down on the shore. She had run out without her hat or parasol. What did that matter? The winds and sea-breezes had long ago taken their own sweet will on Nora's Irish complexion; they could not tan skin like hers, and had given up trying; they could only bring brighter roses into her cheeks and more sweetness into her dark-blue eyes. She forgot her troubles, as most Irish girls will when anything calls off their attention, an............
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