A Summer Promise

A Summer Promise by Katie Flynn

Book: A Summer Promise by Katie Flynn Read Free Book Online
Authors: Katie Flynn
Tags: Fiction, General, Romance, Sagas
enough empty rooms in this barn of a house to spare one or two. They’ve a reference from their previous employer which speaks in glowing terms of their efficiency and reliability, but of course I wouldn’t expect you to agree to employ folk you’ve never even met. I can bring them up tomorrow, if that would suit.’
    There was a long silence; then Gran blew her nose resoundingly and spoke. ‘I suppose there’s no harm in my letting them have the use of a couple of rooms if it’ll get you off my back,’ she said, glaring at the doctor. ‘This feller, this Mr O’Halloran, is he a man of the soil? If Maddy insists on going to this posh school I could do with someone to give an eye to the kitchen garden. And if the woman flicks a duster round the place I suppose I wouldn’t object.’ She cocked an eye at the doctor. ‘I dare say he’d agree to sell the garden produce and maybe do odd jobs around the village if he’s a handy sort of feller. Yes, it might work out.’
    Maddy had watched her grandmother’s face and seen the little flicker of satisfaction in the old woman’s eyes. It was clear to her, and probably to the doctor as well, that Gran was beginning to see the advantages which the O’Hallorans could bring. There was a moment’s tense silence, and then Gran said decidedly: ‘Well, Dr Carlton, you’d best bring them up tomorrow – both of them mind – and we’ll see what we can arrange.’
    The trio arrived promptly at ten o’clock. Maddy had penned the geese so that their guests were not worried by them, and she and her grandmother, both neatly dressed and sitting facing the back door, had scarcely had time to feel nervous before the doctor rattled a brief tattoo and flung the door wide. He ushered into the room a large woman in a print dress, with a mass of dark hair tied back from her face by a piece of blue ribbon, and a small wiry man whose age, Maddy thought, was impossible to guess, although the woman looked to be in her late thirties or early forties. Both had dark eyes and sallow skin, and the glances they shot round the kitchen were appreciative.
    Maddy automatically assumed that it would be the larger partner who gave the orders, but she revised this opinion as they took their places round the kitchen table and the doctor performed the introductions. It was Mr O’Halloran who was the first to hold out his hand and shake Gran’s reluctant paw. ‘The top of the mornin’ to you,’ he said jovially. ‘Dis is my good lady, Eileen O’Halloran, and you’ll be Mrs Hebdyke . . .’ He swung round to face Maddy and she saw he had a charming smile. As they shook hands he said: ‘So you’re the clever young lady what won a scholarship to the posh school; lucky for Eileen and meself it is, ’cos we’d not be needed otherwise, I swear.’
    Gran smiled graciously. ‘Very true,’ she observed. ‘And the name’s Heb
ditch
. Now, let’s get down to brass tacks. My granddaughter will show you round the house and you can decide which rooms would suit you. Then we’ll discuss what I’ll need help over and what I can perfectly well manage myself.’
    ‘Sorry, my mistake.’ Mr O’Halloran smiled apologetically. ‘I’ve a poor memory for names, so I have.’
    The meeting was going well, though Maddy was surprised at the O’Hallorans’ choice of rooms. They decided they would be happiest in the attic, despite the fact that this meant they would have two quite steep staircases to mount daily, but the reason for this became clear when they returned to the kitchen. ‘Me husband’s got a terrible snore and we wouldn’t want to disturb you,’ Mrs O’Halloran explained. ‘I doubt whether you will hear a sound from the attics ’cos isn’t this a grand big house now?’
    Gran had pulled a doubtful face. ‘If we do hear a sound you’ll be out on your ear, so you will,’ she said, imitating Mrs O’Halloran’s soft Irish accent in a very rude way, Maddy thought. But when she took Mrs

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