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HOME > Short Stories > Light O' The Morning > CHAPTER XVIII. — A COMPACT.
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 Mr. Hartrick, still holding Nora's hand, took her down a corridor, and the next moment they found themselves in a large room, with oak bookcases and lined with oak throughout; but it was a stately sort of apartment, and it oppressed the girl as much as the rest of the house had done.  
“I had thought,” she murmured inwardly, “that his study would be a little bare. I cannot think how he can stand such closeness, so much furniture.” She sighed as the thought came to her.
“More and more sighs, my little Irish girl,” said Mr. Hartrick. “Why, what is the matter with you?”
“I cannot breathe; but I'll soon get accustomed to it,” said Nora.
“Cannot breathe? Are you subject to asthma, my dear?”
“Oh, no, no; but there is so much furniture, and I am accustomed to so little.”
“All right, Nora; but now you must pull yourself together, and try to be broad-minded enough to take us English folk as we are. We are not wild; we are civilized. Our houses are not bare; but I presume you must consider them comfortable.”
“Oh, yes,” said Nora; “yes.”
“Do you dislike comfortable houses?”
“Hate them!” said Nora.
“My dear, dear child!”
“You would if you were me—wouldn't you, Uncle George?”
“I suppose if I were you I should feel as you do, Nora. I must honestly say I am very thankful I am not you.”
Nora did not reply at all to that.
“Ah, at home now,” she said, “the moon is getting up, and it is making a path of silver on the waves, and it is touching the head of Slieve Nagorna. The dear old Slieve generally keeps his snow nightcap on, and I dare say he has it by now. In very hot weather, sometimes, it melts and disappears; but probably he has got his first coat of snow by now, just on his very top, you know. Then, when the moon shines on it and then on the water—why, don't you think, Uncle George, you would rather look at Slieve Nagorna, with the snow on him and the moon touching his forehead, and the path of silver on the water, than—than be just comfortable?”
“I don't see why I should not have both,” said Mr. Hartrick after a pause; “the silver path on the water and the grand look of Slieve Nagorna (I can quite fancy what he is like from your description, Nora), and also have a house nicely furnished, and good things to eat, and——. But I see we are at daggers drawn, my dear niece. Now, please tell me what your letter means.”
“Do you really want me to tell you now?”
“Do you know why I have really come here?”
“You said something in your letter; but you did not explain yourself very clearly.”
“I came here,” said Nora, “for a short visit. I want to go back again soon. Time is flying. Already a month of the three months is over. In two months' time the blow will fall unless—unless you, Uncle George, avert it.”
“The blow, dear? What blow?”
“They are going,” said Nora—she held out both her hands—“the place, the sea, the mountains, the home of our ancestors, they are going unless—unless you help us, Uncle George.”
“My dear Nora, you are very melodramatic; you must try and talk plain English. Do you mean to say that Castle O'Shanaghgan—”
“Yes, that's it,” said Nora; “it is mortgaged. I don't quite know what mortgaged means, but it is something very bad; and unless father can get a great deal of money—I don't know how much, but a good deal—before two months are up, the man to whom Castle O'Shanaghgan is mortgaged will take possession of it. He is a horrid Englishman; but he will go there, and he will turn father out, and mother out, and me—oh, Terence doesn't matter. Terence never was an Irishman—never, never; but he will turn us out. We will go away. Oh, it does not greatly matter for me, because I am young; and it does not greatly matter for mother, because she is an English woman. Oh, yes, Uncle George, she is just like you—she likes comfort; she likes richly furnished rooms; but she is my mother, and of course I love her; she will stand it, for she will think perhaps we will come here to this country. But it is father I am thinking of, the old lion, the old king, the dear, grand old father. He won't understand, he'll be so puzzled. No other place will suit him; he won't say a word; it's not the way of the O'Shanaghgans to grumble. He won't utter a word; he will go away, and he will—die. His heart will be broken; he will die.”
“Nora, my dear child!”
“It is true,” said Nora. Her face was ghastly white; her words came out in broken sobs. “I see him, Uncle George; every night I see him, with his bowed head, and ............
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