Search      Hot    Newest Novel
HOME > Short Stories > Light O' The Morning > CHAPTER XXII. — LETTERS.
Font Size:【Large】【Middle】【Small】 Add Bookmark  
 By the post on the following morning there came two letters for Nora. She hailed them with a cry of delight.  
“At last!” she said.
Mrs. Hartrick was not in the room; she had a headache, and did not get up to breakfast. Terence had already started for town. He had secured the post he desired in his uncle's office, and thought himself a very great man of business. Linda did not count for anything.
Nora flung herself into an easy-chair, and opened the first of her letters. It was from her mother. She was soon lost in its contents.
“MY DEAR NORA [wrote Mrs. O'Shanaghgan]: Be prepared for very great, startling, and at the same time gratifying, news. Your dear Uncle George, who has been spending the last three weeks with us, has made an arrangement which lifts us, my dear daughter, out of all pecuniary embarrassments. I will tell you as briefly as possible what has taken place. He had a consultation with your father, and induced him, at my suggestion, to unburden his mind to him. You know the Squire's ways. He pooh-poohed the subject and fought shy of it; but at last I myself brought him to task, and the whole terrible and disgraceful state of things was revealed. My dear Nora, my dear little girl, we were, it appears, on the brink of bankruptcy. In a couple of months O'Shanaghgan would no longer have been ours.
I cannot say that I should ever have regretted leaving this ramshackle and much-dilapidated place, but of course I should have shrunk from the disgrace, the exposure, the feeling that I was the cynosure of all eyes. That, indeed, would have cut me to the quick. Had your father consented to sell O'Shanaghgan and live in England, it would have been a moment of great rejoicing for me; but the place to be sold up over his head was quite a different matter. This, my dear Nora, seems to have been the position of affairs when your dear uncle, like a good providence or a guardian angel, appeared on the scene. Your uncle, my dearest Nora, is a very rich man. My dear brother has been careful with regard to money matters all his life, and is now in possession of a very large supply of this world's goods. Your dear uncle was good enough to come to the rescue, and has bought O'Shanaghgan from the man to whom your father owed the mortgage. O'Shanaghgan now belongs to your Uncle George.”
“Never!” cried Nora, springing to her feet.
“What is the matter, Nora?” said Linda.
“Don't talk to me for the present, or I'll say something you won't like to hear,” replied Nora.
“Really, I must say you are copying Molly in your manner.”
“Don't speak to me,” said Nora. Her face was crimson; she had never felt such a wild, surging sense of passion in the whole of her existence. Linda's calm gray eyes were upon her, however. She managed to suppress any more emotion, saw that her cousin was burning with curiosity, and continued the letter.
“Although, my dearest Nora, Castle O'Shanaghgan now belongs to your Uncle George, don't suppose for a single moment that he is going to be unkind to us. Far from it. To all appearance the place is still ours; but with, oh! such a difference. Your father is still, in the eyes of the tenants and of the country round, the owner of Castle O'Shanaghgan; but, after consulting with me, your Uncle George felt that he must not have the reins. His Irish nature, my dear—But I need not discuss that. You know as well as I do how reckless and improvident he is.”
“Oh, mother!” gasped Nora. She clenched her little white teeth, and had great difficulty in proceeding with her letter. Linda's curiosity, however, acted as a restorative, and she went on with her mother's lengthy epistle.
“All things are now changed, and I may as well say that a glorious era has begun. Castle O'Shanaghgan is now your uncle's property, and it will soon be a place to be proud of. He is having it refurnished from attic to cellar; carpets, curtains, mirrors, furniture of all sorts have already begun to arrive from one of the most fashionable shops in Dublin. Gardeners have been got to put the gardens to rights, the weeds have been removed from the avenue, the grass has been cut, the lawns have been mown; the whole place looks already as if it had undergone a resurrection. My bedroom, dear Nora, is now a place suitable for your mother to sleep in; the bare boards are covered with a thick Brussels carpet. The Axminster stair carpets arrived yesterday. In the dining room is one of the most magnificent Turkey carpets I have ever seen; and your uncle has insisted on having the edge of the floor laid with parquetry. Will you believe me, Nora?—your father has objected to the sound of the hammering which the workmen make in putting in the different pieces of wood. You can scarcely believe it possible; but I state a fact. The stables are being filled with suitable horses; and with regard to that I am glad to say your father does take some interest. A victoria has arrived for me, and a pony-trap for you, dear; for it seems your Uncle George has taken a great fancy to you, my little Nora. Well, dear, all this resurrection, this wonderful restoration of Castle O'Shanaghgan has occurred during your absence. You will come back to a sort of fairyland; but it is one of your uncle's stipulations that you do not come back at present; and, of course, for such a fairy godfather, such a magician, no promise is too great to give. So I have told him, dear Nora, that you will live with your kind and noble Aunt Grace, and with your charming cousin Linda, and your cousin Molly—about whom I do not hear so much—as long as he wishes you to do so. You will receive the best of educations, and come back at Christmas to a suitable home. You must have patience until then. It is your uncle's proposal that at Christmas-time you and your cousins also come to O'Shanaghgan, and that we shall have a right good old-fashioned Christmas in this place, which at last is beautiful and worthy of your ancient house. You must submit patiently, therefore, dear Nora, to remaining in England. You will probably spend the greater portion of your time there for the next few years, until you are really accomplished. But the holidays you, with your dear cousins and your uncle and aunt, will always spend at O'Shanaghgan. You must understand, dear, that the house really belongs to your uncle; the place is his, and we are simply his tenants, from whom he nobly asks no rent. How proud I am of my dear brother, and how I rejoice in this glorious change!—Your affectionate mother,
The letter dropped from Nora's fingers.
“And was it I who effected all this?” she said to herself. “And I thought I was doing good.”
The other letter lay unopened on her lap. She took it up with trembling hands, and broke the seal. It was a short letter compared to her mother's, but it was in the handwriting she loved best on earth.
“LIGHT O' THE MORNING [it began]: Why, then, my darling, it's done—it is all over. The place is mine no longer; it belongs to the English. To think I, O'Shanaghgan of Castle O'Shanaghgan, should live to write the words. Your mother put it to me, and I could not refuse her; but, oh, Nora asthore, heart of my life, I can scarcely bear to live here now. What with the carpets and the curtains, and the fuss and the misery, and the whole place being turned into a sort of furniture-shop, it is past bearing. I keep out most of my time in the woods, and I won't deny to you, my dearest child, that I have shed some bitter tears over the change in O'Shanaghgan; for the place isn't what it was, and it's heart-breaking to behold it. But your mother is pleased, and that's one comfort. I always did all I could for her; and when she smiles at me and looks like the sun—she is a remarkably handsome woman, Nora—I try to take a bit of comfort. But I stumble over the carpets ............
Join or Log In! You need to log in to continue reading

Login into Your Account

  Remember me on this computer.

All The Data From The Network AND User Upload, If Infringement, Please Contact Us To Delete! Contact Us
About Us | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Tag List | Recent Search  
©2010-2018, All Rights Reserved