CHAPTER I. – A HAPPY HOME.
“I wonder will any of them come, Jerry?”
The pretty little woman’s face got puckered all over with baby wrinkles, more suitable to the wee pink face that lay on her bosom than to her own somewhat pale one, as she made the remark.
Jerry looked up from his newspaper and gazed at her lovingly for a moment before he answered, his answer being a confident smile with a knowing shake of the head from side to side as who should say– “Oh, you little humbug, pretending to distress yourself with doubts. Of course, they’ll come–all of them.”
Katey seemed to lose her trouble in his smile–it was wonderful what comforters love and sympathy are. She drew close to her husband and held down the tiny bald pink head for him to kiss, and then, leaning her cheek against his, said in a soft cooing voice, half wifely, half motherly, “Oh, Jerry, isn’t he a little beauty.”
Children are quite as jealous as dogs and cats in their own way, and instinctively the urchin sprawling on the hearth-rug came over and pulled at his mother’s dress, saying plaintively, “Me too, mammy–me too.”
Jerry took the child on his knee. “Eh, little Jerry, your nose is out of joint again; isn’t it?”
A mother is jealous as well as her child, and this mother answered–“Oh, no, Jerry, sure I don’t love him less because I have to take care of the little mite.”
Further conversation was stopped by a knock at the door.
“That’s some of them stayin’ away,” said Jerry, as he went out to open the door.
As may be seen, Jerry and his wife expected company, the doubts as to whose arrival was caused by the extreme inclemency of the weather, and as the occasion of the festivities was an important one, the doubts were strong.
Jerry O’Sullivan was a prosperous man in his line of life. His trade was that of a carpenter, and as he had, in addition to large practical skills and experience gained from unremitting toil, a considerable share of natural ability, was justly considered by his compeers to be the marking of a successful man.
Three years before he had been married to his pretty little wife, whose sweet nature, and care for his comfort, and whose desire to perfect the cheerfulness of home, had not a little aided his success, and kept him on the straight path.
If every wife understood the merits which a cheerful home has above all other places in the eyes of an ordinary man, there would be less brutality than there is amongst husbands, and less hardships and suffering amongst wives.
The third child had just been christened, and some friends and relatives were expected to do honour to the occasion, and now the knock announced the first arrival.
Whilst Jerry went to the door, Katey arranged the child’s garments so as to make him look as nice as possible, and also fixed her own dress, somewhat disturbed by maternal cares. In the meantime little Jerry flattened his nose against the window pane in a vain desire to see the appearance of the first arrival. Little Katey stood by him looking expectant as though her eyes were with her brother’s.
Mrs. Jerry’s best smile showed that the newcomer, Mr. Parnell, was a special friend. After shaking hands with him she stood close to him, and showed him the baby, looking up into his dark strong face with a smile of perfect trust. He was so tall that he had to stoop to kiss the baby, although the little mother raised it in her arms for him. He said very tenderly–
“Let me hold him a minute in my arms.”
He lifted him gently as he spoke, and bending his head, said reverently:–
“God bless him. Suffer little children to come unto me, for of such is the kingdom of Heaven.”
Katey’s eyes were full of tears as she took him back, and she thanked the big man with a look too full of sacred feeling for even a smile.
Jerry stood by in silence. He felt much, although he did not know what to say.
Another knock was heard, and again Jerry’s services were required. This time there was a large influx, for three different bodies had joined just at the door. Much laughter was heard in the hall, and then they all entered. The body consisted of seven souls all told.
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