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An Orkney Maid by Amelia Edith Huddleston Barr

Sunna had brought it with her own toilet


The

present which pleased Thora most of all was a new wedding-dress, the gift of her mother. The rich ivory satin was perfect and peerless in its exquisite fit and simplicity; jewels, nor yet lace, could have added nothing to it. Sunna had brought it with her own toilet. In fact, she was ready to make a special sensation with it on the first of January, for her wedding garment as Thora's bridesmaid was nothing less than a robe of gold and white shot silk, worn over a hoop. She had been wearing a hoop all winter in Edinburgh, but she was quite sure she would be the first "hooped lady" to appear in Kirkwall town. Thora might wear the bride veil, with its wreath of myrtle and rosemary, but she had a pleasant little laugh, as she mentally saw herself in the balloon of white and gold shot silk, walking majestically up the nave of St. Magnus. It was so long since hoops had been worn. None of the present generation of Kirkwall women could ever have seen a lady in a hoop, and behind the present generation there was no likelihood of any hooped ladies in Kirkwall.

Thora had no hoop. Her orders had been positively against it and unless Madame Vedder had slipped inside "the bell" she could not imagine any rival. As she made this reflection, she smiled, and then translated the smile into the thought, "If she has, she will look like a haystack."

Now Ian's military suit in his department had been of white duff or linen, plentifully

adorned with gilt buttons and bands representing some distinctive service. It was the secret desire of Ian to wear this suit, and he rather felt that Thora or his mother-in-law should ask him to do so. For he knew that its whiteness and gilt, and tiny knots of ribbon, gave to the wearer that military air, which all men yearn a little after. He wished to wear it on his wedding day but Thora had not thought of it, neither had Sunna. However, on the 29th, Rahal, that kind, wise woman, asked him as a special favour, to wear his medical uniform. She said, "the townsfolk would be so disappointed with black broadcloth and a pearl-grey waistcoat. They longed to see him as he went onto the battlefield, to save or succour the wounded."

"But, Mother," he answered, "I went in the plainest linen suit to bring in the wounded and dying."

"I know, dear one, but they do not know, and it is not worth while destroying an innocent illusion, we have so few of them as we grow old."

"Very well, Mother, it shall be as you wish."

"Of course Ian wished to wear it," said Sunna.

"Oh, Sunna, you must not judge all men from Max."

"I am far from that folly. Your father has been watching the winds and the clouds all day. So have I. Conall Ragnor is always picturesque, even poetical. I feel safe if I follow him. He says it will be fine tomorrow. I hope so!"


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