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An Orkney Maid by Amelia Edith Huddleston Barr

Now Ragnor knew that this marriage procession


This

hope was more than justified. It was a day of sunshine and little wandering south winds, and the procession was a fact. Now Ragnor knew that this marriage procession, as a national custom, was passing away, but it had added its friendliness to his own and all his sons' and daughters' weddings and he wanted Thora's marriage ceremonial to include it. "When thou art an old woman, Thora," he said to her, "then thou wilt be glad to have remembered it."

At length the New Year dawned and the day arrived. All was ready for it. There was no hurry, no fret, no uncertainty. Thora rode to the cathedral in the Vedder's closed carriage with her father and mother. Ian was with Maximus and Sunna in the Galt landeau. Adam Vedder and his bride rode together in their open Victoria and all were ready as the clock struck ten. Then a little band of stringed instruments and young men took their place as leaders of the procession, and when they started joyfully "Room for the Bride!" the carriages took the places assigned them and about two hundred men and women, who had gathered at the Ragnor House, followed in procession, many joining in the singing.

The cathedral was crowded when they reached it, and Dr. Hedley in white robes came forward to meet the bride and, with smiles and loving good will, to unite her forever to the choice of her soul.

It was almost a musical marriage. Melody began and followed

and closed the whole ceremonial. About twenty returned with the bridal party to the Ragnor House to eat the bridal dinner, but the general townsfolk were to have their feast and dance in the Town Hall about seven in the evening. The Bishop stayed only to bless the meal, for the boat was waiting that was to carry him to a Convocation of the Church then sitting in Edinburgh. But he wore his sprig of rosemary on his vest, and he stood at Ragnor's right hand and watched him mix the Bride Cup, watched him mingle in one large silver bowl of pre-Christian age the pale, delicious sherry and fine sugar and spices and stir the whole with a strip of rosemary. Then every guest stood up and was served with a cup, most of them having in their hand a strip of rosemary to stir it with. And after the Bishop had blessed the bride and blessed the bridegroom, he said, "I will quote for you a passage from an old sermon and after it, you will stir your cup again with rosemary and grow it still more plentifully in your gardens.

"The rosemary is for married men and man challengeth it, as belonging properly to himself. It helpeth the brain, strengtheneth the memory, and affects kindly the heart. Let this flower of man ensign your wisdom, love and loyalty, and carry it, not only in your hands, but in your heads and hearts." Then he lifted his glass and stirred the wine with his strip of rosemary, and as he did so all followed his example, while he repeated from an old romance the following lines:


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