Full Online Books
Authors Authors Short Stories Short Stories Long Stories Long Stories Funny Stories Funny Stories Love Stories Love Stories Stories For Kids Stories For Kids Poems Poems Essays Essays Nonfictions Nonfictions Plays Plays Folktales Folktales Fairy Tales Fairy Tales Fables Fables Learning Kitchen Learning Kitchen
Valid XHTML 1.0 Transitional Free Classified Website Without Registration Free Classified Website Daniel Company
Twitter Twitter Add book
Full Online Book HomeLong StoriesLight O' The Morning - Chapter 36. "I'm A Happy Man!"
Famous Authors (View All Authors)
Light O' The Morning - Chapter 36. 'I'm A Happy Man!' Post by :svesty Category :Long Stories Author :L. T. Meade Date :May 2012 Read :1924

Click below to download : Light O' The Morning - Chapter 36. "I'm A Happy Man!" (Format : PDF)

Light O' The Morning - Chapter 36. "I'm A Happy Man!"


It was just before Christmas, and the preparations for the festive season were great at Castle O'Shanaghgan. The Squire was quite well again. Once more he walked all over his estate; once more he talked to his tenants; once more he joked and laughed with the other squires of the neighborhood. To a certain extent he had grown accustomed to the grand house with its grand furniture; to the terrible late dinner, at which he stoutly declined to appear in evening dress; to the English servants who knew none of his ways. He began to bear with these things, for Light o' the Morning, as he called his beloved Nora, was always by his side, and at night he could cast off the yoke which was so burdensome, and do what he liked in the barn. At Mrs. O'Shanaghgan's earnest request this barn was now rendered a tolerably comfortable bedroom; the walls had been papered, and the worst of the draughts excluded. A huge fireplace had been built out at one end, and the Squire did not object at all to a large turf fire on a cold night; but the old bedstead from Cronane still occupied its old place of honor in the best position in the room, the little deal table was destitute of cloth or ornament of any kind, and the tarpaulin on the floor was not rendered more luxurious by the presence of rugs.

"Rugs indeed!" said the Squire, snorting almost like a wild beast when his wife ventured to suggest a few of these comforts. "It is tripping me up you'd be? Rugs indeed! I know better."

But compared to its condition when the Squire first occupied it, the barn was now a fairly comfortable bedroom, and Squire Murphy, Squire Fitzgerald, Squire Terence Malone, and the other squires of the neighborhood had many a good smoke there, and many a hearty laugh, as they said, quite "unbeknownst" to the English lady and her grand friends. And Nora, Molly, and even Biddy Murphy often shared in these festive times, laughing at the best jokes, and adding sundry witticisms on their own account.

It was now, however, Christmas Eve, and Mrs. O'Shanaghgan's nearest English relatives were coming to spend the festive season at the Castle. Mrs. Hartrick, for the first time in her life, was to find herself in Old Ireland. Linda was also accompanying her mother, and Terence O'Shanaghgan was coming back for a brief visit to the home which one day would be his. Terence was now permanently settled in his uncle's office, and was likely to make an excellent man of business. Mr. Hartrick was glad of this, for he would much prefer the O'Shanaghgans to have money of their own in the future, rather than to depend on him to keep up the old place. Inwardly the Squire was fretting and fuming a good bit at Mr. Hartrick really owning Castle O'Shanaghgan.

"I must say, after all's said and done, the man is a gentleman," he remarked to his daughter; "but it frets me sore, Nora, that I should hold the place under him."

"It's better, surely, than not having it at all," answered Nora.

"Yes, be the powers! it is that," said the Squire; "but when I say so, it's about all. But I'll own the truth to you now, Nora: when they were smothering me up in that dreadful bedroom before you came, mavourneen, I almost wished that I had sold the place out and out."

"Oh, but, father, that time is long over," answered Nora; "and I believe that, after all, it will be good for the poor people round here that you should stay with them, and that there should be plenty of money to make their cabins comfortable, and to give them a chance in life."

"If I thought that, there'd not be another grumble out of me," said the Squire. "I declare to you, Nora, I'd even put on that abominable dinner suit which your lady mother ordered from the best Dublin tailors. My word! but it's cramped and fussed I feel in it. But I'd put it on, and do more than that, for the sake of the poor souls who have too little of this world's goods."

"Then, father, do believe that it is so," said Nora; and now she put one of her soft arms round his neck, and raised herself on tiptoe and kissed his cheek. "Believe that it is so, for this morning I went round to the people, and in every cabin there was a bit of bacon, and a half-sack of potatoes, and fagots, and a pile of turf; and in every cabin they were blessing you, father; they think that you have sent them these Christmas gifts."

"Ah, ah!" said the Squire, "it's sore to me that I have not done it; but I must say it's thoughtful of George Hartrick--very thoughtful. I am obliged to him--I cannot say more. Did you tell me the things were sent to every cabin, Nora--all over the place, alannah?"

"Every cabin, father," answered his daughter.

"Then, that being the case, I'll truss myself up tonight. I will truly. Mortal man couldn't do more."

The preparations, not only outside but inside, for the arrival of the English family were going on with vigor. Pretty suites of rooms were being put into their best holiday dress for the visitors. Huge fires blazed merrily all over the house. Hothouse flowers were in profusion; hothouse fruit graced the table. The great hall quite shone with firelight and the gleam of dark old oak. Mrs. O'Shanaghgan dressed herself in her most regal black velvet dress for this auspicious occasion; and Nora, Molly, and even Biddy Murphy, all in white, danced excitedly in the hall. For Biddy Murphy, at Nora's special suggestion, had been asked to spend Christmas at the Castle. It was truly good to see her. Notwithstanding her celestial nose and very wide mouth, it would have been difficult to have looked at a happier face than hers. And, Irish as Biddy was, she had got the knack of coming round Mrs. O'Shanaghgan. She did this by her simple and undisguised admiration.

"Oh, Mrs. O'Shanaghgan!" Biddy would cry, "it is the very most lovely thing I have ever clapped eyes on. I never saw anything so magnificent as this room. It's fairyland; the whole place is fairyland;" and as Biddy spoke her eyes would twinkle, and her big mouth would open, showing her immaculate white teeth. So much did she contrive to win over Mrs. O'Shanaghgan that that lady presented her with a soft white muslin dress for the present occasion. If Biddy was proud before, she was almost rampant with pleasure now. She twirled round, and gazed at herself in the long mirrors which had been inserted in the hall between the oak panels.

"Why, then, it's proud me ancestors, the old Irish kings, would be of me now," she was even heard to say.

But, all things being ready, the time at last approached when the tired travelers would arrive. At the eleventh hour there had come a great surprise to Nora and Molly; for Mrs. Hartrick and Linda were bringing Stephanotie with them. How this came to pass was more than either girl could possibly conjecture; but they both felt that it was the final crown of their happiness.

"Can I ever forget," said Nora, "that but for Stephanotie lending us that money I should not have been able to run away to Ireland, and my dear, dearest father might not now have been alive?"

But the sound of wheels was at last heard without.

"Come, girleens, and let's give them a proper Irish welcome," said the Squire, standing on the steps of the old house.

Nora ran to him, and he put his arm round her waist.

"Now then, Nora, as the carriage comes up, you help me with the big Irish cheer. Hip, hip, hurrah! and _Caed Mille a Faitha_. Now then, let every one who has got a drop of Irish blood in him or her raise the old cheer."

Poor gentle English Mrs. Hartrick turned quite pale when she heard these sounds; but Mr. Hartrick was already beginning to understand his Irish relatives; and as to Stephanotie, she sprang from the carriage, rushed up the steps, and thrust a huge box of bon-bons into Squire O'Shanaghgan's face.

"I am an American girl," she said; "but I guess that, whether one is Irish or American, one likes a right-down good sweetheart. Have a bon-bon, Squire O'Shanaghgan, for I guess that you are the man to enjoy it."

"Why then, my girl, I'd like one very much," said the Squire; "but don't bother me for a bit, for I have to speak to my English relatives."

"Oh, come along in, Stephanotie, do," said Molly. "I see that you are just as eccentric and as great a darling as ever."

"I guess I'm not likely to change," answered Stephanotie. "I was born with a love of bon-bons, and I'll keep it to the end of the chapter."

But now Mrs. Hartrick and Mrs. O'Shanaghgan had met. The two English ladies immediately began to understand each other. Mrs. O'Shanaghgan, without a word, slipped her hand inside her sister-in-law's arm, and they walked slowly across the magnificent hall and up the wide stairs to the palatial bedroom got ready for the traveler.

Then the fun and excitement downstairs became fast and furious. The Squire clapped his brother-in-law, George Hartrick, on the shoulder; the Squire laughed; the Squire very nearly hallooed. Terence looked round him in undisguised amazement.

"I would not have known the old place," he said, turning to Nora.

Nora gave a quick sigh.

"Where is my mother?" said the lad then.

"She has gone upstairs with Aunt Grace; but run after her, Terry, do," said his sister.

Terence gave another glance round, in which pride for the home where he was born kindled once more in his dark eyes. He then rushed up the stairs three steps at a time.

"Why, then," said the Squire, "it's cramped and bothered I am in these clothes. What possesses people to make Merry-andrews of themselves night after night beats my comprehension. In my old velveteen jacket and knee-breeches I am a man--in this tomfoolery I do not feel as good as my own footman."

"You look very well in your dinner dress all the same, O'Shanaghgan," said Mr. Hartrick. And he added, glancing from Nora to her father, "I am glad to see you quite recovered."

"Ah! it's she has done it," said the Squire, drawing Nora forward and pressing her close to his heart. "She's a little witch. She has done fine things for me, and I am a happy man to-night. Yes, I will own to it now, I'm a happy man; and perhaps there are more things in the world than we Irish people know of. Since I have my barn to sleep in I can bear the house, and I am much obliged to you, George--much obliged to you. But, all the same, it's downright I'd have hated you, when you altered this old place past knowing, had it not been for my little girl, Light o' the Morning, as I call her."

(L T Meade's Novel: Light O' The Morning)

If you like this book please share to your friends :

Glory Of Youth - Chapter 1. Bettina Glory Of Youth - Chapter 1. Bettina

Glory Of Youth - Chapter 1. Bettina
CHAPTER I. BETTINAThe girl knelt on the floor, feverishly packing a shabby little trunk. Outside was a streaming April storm, and the rain, rushing against the square, small-paned windows, shut out the view of the sea, shut out the light, and finally brought such darkness that the girl stood up with a sigh, brushed off her black dress with thin white hands, and groped her way to the door. Beyond the door was the blackness of an upper hall in a tall century-old house. A spiral stairway descended into a well of gloom. An ancient iron lantern, attached to a chain,

Light O' The Morning - Chapter 35. The Cot Where He Was Born Light O' The Morning - Chapter 35. The Cot Where He Was Born

Light O' The Morning - Chapter 35. The Cot Where He Was Born
CHAPTER XXXV. THE COT WHERE HE WAS BORNNora avoided Molly that night. On reflection, it occurred to her that it would be best for Molly to know nothing of her design. If she were in complete ignorance, no amount of questioning could elicit the truth. Nora went into her bedroom, and changed her pretty jacket and skirt and neat sailor hat for a dark-blue skirt and blouse of the same material. Over these she put a long, old-fashioned cloak which at one time had belonged to her mother. Over her head she tied a little red handkerchief, and, having eaten a