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An Orkney Maid by Amelia Edith Huddleston Barr

But Sunna was not dissatisfied


comes the sunshine! Gleam upon gloom! Cheery and good it is!"

"They say an Easter dress should be christened with a few drops of rain. That is not my opinion. I like the Easter sunshine on it. Now I shall leave thee and go and rest and dress myself. Very good is thy talk and thy company to me, but to thee, I am foolishness. As I shut the door, the big book thou art reading, thou wilt say to it: 'Now, friend of my soul, some sensible talk we will have together, for that foolish girl has gone to her foolishness at her looking glass.'"

"Run away! I am in a hurry for my big book."

Sunna shut the door with a kiss--and as she took the stairs with hurrying steps, the sunshine came dancing through the long window, and her feet trod on it and it fell all over her.

At four o'clock she was ready for her evening's inquest and she found her grandfather waiting for her. He had put on a light vest and a white tie, and he had that clean, healthy, good-tempered look that pleases all women. He smiled and bowed to Sunna and she deserved the compliment; for she was beautiful and had dressed her beauty most becomingly. Her gown was of Saxony cloth, the exact colour of her hair, with a collar, stomacher and high cuffs of pale green velvet. The collar was tied with cord and small tassels of gold braid; the stomacher laced with gold braid over small gilt buttons,

and the high cuffs were trimmed to match. Very handsome gilt combs held up her rippled hair, and a large red-riding-hood cloak covered her from the crowning bow of her hair to the little French pattens that protected her black satin slippers. She expected to make a conquest, and her thoughts were usually the factors of success.

A little disappointment awaited her. She was usually shown into the right-hand parlour at once, and she relied on the bit of colour afforded by her scarlet cloak to give life to the modest shades of her spring colours of pale fawn and tender green. But servants were setting the dinner table in the right-hand parlour; and Conall and Rahal and Aunt Barbara had taken themselves to Conall's little business room where there was a bright fire burning. There, in his big chair, Conall was next door to sleeping; and Barbara and Rahal were talking in a sleepy, mysterious way about something that did not appear to interest them.

At the sound of Adam Vedder's voice, Conall became wide awake; and Barbara's face lighted up with a fresh interest. If there was nothing else, there was a chronic quarrel between them, which Barbara was ready to lift at a moment's notice. But Sunna was not dissatisfied. Conall's quick look of admiration, and Rahal's and Barbara's glances of surprise, were excellent in their way. She knew she had given them a subject of interest sufficient to make even the hour before dinner appear short.

"Where is Thora?" she asked, as she turned every way, apparently to look for Thora, but really to allow her admirers to convince themselves that her dress was trimmed as handsomely at the back as the front--that if the stomacher was perfect in front, the sash of green velvet at the back was quite as stylish and elaborate.

"Where _is_ Thora?" she asked again.

"In the drawing room thou wilt find Thora with Ian Macrae," said Rahal. "Go to them. They will be glad of thy company."

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