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HOME > Short Stories > Light O' The Morning > CHAPTER XIX. — SHE WILL SOON TAME DOWN.
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 “I am going to Ireland to-morrow, Grace,” said Mr. Hartrick to his wife that evening.  
“To Ireland!” she cried. “What for?”
“I want to see my sister Ellen. I feel that I have neglected her too long. I shall run over to O'Shanaghgan, and stay there for two or three nights.”
“Why are you doing this, George?” said Mrs. Hartrick very slowly.
Mr. Hartrick was silent for a moment; then he said gravely:
“I have heard bad news from that child.”
“From Nora?”
“Yes, from Nora.”
“But Terence has never given us bad news.”
“Terence is not a patch upon Nora, my dear Grace.”
“There I cannot agree with you. I infinitely prefer Terence to Nora,” was Mrs. Hartrick's calm reply.
“But I thought you admired the child.”
“Oh, I admire what the child may become,” was the cautious answer. “I cannot admire a perfectly wild girl, who has no idea of self-discipline or self-restraint. And remember one thing, George: whatever she says to you, you must take, to use a vulgarism, with a grain of salt. An Irish girl cannot help exaggerating. She has doubtless exaggerated the condition of things.”
“I only pray God she has,” was Mr. Hartrick's reply.
“If things are even half as bad as she represents them, it is high time that I should pay my sister a visit.”
“Why? What does she say?”
“She has given me a picture of the state of affairs at that house which wrings my heart, Grace. To think that my beautiful sister Ellen should be subjected to such discomforts, to such miseries, is intolerable. I intend to go to O'Shanaghgan to-morrow, and will see how matters are for myself.”
Mrs. Hartrick was again silent for a moment or two; then she said gravely:
“Doubtless you are right to do this; but I hope, while you are away, you will do nothing rash.”
“What do you mean?”
“I mean that, from the little I have seen of Nora, she is a very impetuous creature, and has tried perhaps to wring a promise from you.”
“I will tell you quite simply what she has said, Grace, and then you will understand. She says her father has mortgaged the Castle evidently up to the hilt. The mortgagees will foreclose in a couple of months, unless money can be found to buy them off. Now, it has just occurred to me that I might buy Castle O'Shanaghgan for ourselves as a sort of summer residence, put it in order, and allow Patrick O'Shanaghgan to live there, and my sister. By and by the place can go to Terence, as we have no son of our own. I have plenty of money. What do you think of this suggestion, Grace?”
“It might not be a bad one,” said Mrs. Hartrick; “but I could not possibly go to a place of that sort unless it were put into proper repair.”
“It is, I believe, in reality a fine old place, and the grounds are beautiful,” said Mr. Hartrick. “A few thousand pounds would put it into order, and we could furnish it from Dublin. You could have a great many guests there, and—”
“But what about the O'Shanaghgans themselves?”
“Well, perhaps they would go somewhere else for the couple of months we should need to occupy the house during the summer. Anyhow, I feel that I must do something for Ellen's sake; but I will let you know more after I have been there.”
Mrs. Hartrick asked a few more questions. After a time she said:
“Is Nora to remain here?”
“Yes. I was going to speak to you about that. It is a sad pity that so pretty a girl should grow up wild. We had better keep her with us for the next two or three years. She will soon tame down and learn our English habits; then, with her undeniable Irish charm and great beauty, she will be able to do something with her life.”
“I shall be quite pleased to have her,” said Mrs. Hartrick in a cordial tone. “I like training young girls, and Nora is the sort who would do me credit if she really were willing to take pains.”
“I am sure she will be; she is an honest little soul.”
“Oh, I see you are bewitched by her.”
“No, not bewitched; but I admire honesty and candor, and the child has got both.”
“Well, well!” said Mrs. Hartrick, “if it is arranged that Nora is to stay here, I will go and see Miss Flowers at Linda's and Molly's school to-morrow, and ask if Nora can be admitted as a pupil. There is no use in losing time, and she may as well start her lessons next week. By all means, George, go and do your best for the poor things. Of course your sister ought not to be allowed to be in money difficulties.”
“I should think not,” said Mr. Hartrick.
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