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An Orkney Maid by Amelia Edith Huddleston Barr

Sunna was deceitful and imprudent


"What

must be the end of all this? What the devil am I to think?"

"Think no worse than needs be."

"What did Boris do--or say?"

"He walked rapidly to Sunna, and he said, 'Miss Vedder, thou art wanted at thy home--at once thou art wanted. Get thy cloak, and I will walk with thee.'"

"Then?"

"She was angry, and yet terrified; but she left the room. Boris feared she would try and escape him, so he went to the door to meet her. Judge for thyself what passed between them as Boris took her home. At first she was angry, afterwards, she cried and begged Boris not to tell thee. I am sure Boris was kind to her, though he told her frankly she was on a dangerous road. All this I had from Boris, and it is the truth; as for what reports have grown from it, I give them no heed. Sunna was deceitful and imprudent. I would not think worse of her than she deserves."

"Rahal, I am much thy debtor. This affair I will now take into my own hands. To thee, my promise stands good for all my life days--and thou may tell Boris, it may be worth his while to forgive Sunna. There is some fault with him also; he has made love to Sunna for a long time, but never yet has he said to me--'I wish to make Sunna my wife!' What is the reason of that?"

"Well, then, Adam, a young man wishes

to make sure of himself. Boris is much from home----"

"There it is! For that very cause, he should have made a straight clear road between us. I do not excuse Sunna, but I say that wherever there is a cross purpose, there has likely never been a straight one. Thou hast treated me well, and I am thy debtor; but it shall be ill with all those who have led my child wrong--the more so, because the time chosen for their sinful deed makes it immeasurably more sinful."

"The time? What is thy meaning? The time was the usual hour of all entertainments. Even two hours after the midnight is quite respectable if all else is correct."

"Art thou so forgetful of the God-Man, who at this time carried the burden of all our sins?"

"Oh! You mean it is Lent, Adam?"

"Yes! It is Lent!"

"I was never taught to regard it."

"Yet none keep Lent more strictly than Conall Ragnor."

"A wife does not always adopt her husband's ideas. I had a father, Adam, uncles and cousins and friends. None of them kept Lent. Dost thou expect me to be wiser than all my kindred?"

"I do."

"Let us cease this talk. It will come to nothing."

"Then good-bye."


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