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An Orkney Maid by Amelia Edith Huddleston Barr

And Thora was frightened and said 'No


Thora promised him what he wished and for one-half hour they were in Paradise.

Now, how could this love affair have come to perfection so rapidly? Because it was the natural and the proper way. True love dates its birth from the first glance. It is the coming together of two souls, and in their first contact love flashes forth like flame. And then their influence over each other is like that gravitation which one star exerts over another star.

But much that passes for love is not love. It is only a prepossession, pleasant and profitable, promising many every-day advantages. True love is a deep and elemental thing, a secret incredible glory, in a way, it is even a spiritual triumph. And we should have another name for love like this. For it is the long, long love, that has followed us through ages, the healing love, the Comforter! In the soul of a young, innocent girl like Thora, it is a kind of piety, and ought to be taken with a wondering thankfulness.

An emotion so spiritual and profound was beyond Sunna's understanding. She divined that there had been some sort of love-making, but she was unfamiliar with its present indications. Her opinion, however, was that Ian had offered himself to Thora, and been rejected; in no other way could she account for the far-offness of both parties. Thora indeed was inexplicable. She not only refused to show Sunna her Easter dress, she would

not enter into any description of it.

"That is a very remarkable thing," she said to her grandfather, as they walked home together. "I think the young man made love to Thora and even asked her to marry him, and Thora was frightened and said 'No!' and she is likely sorry now that she did not say 'Yes.'"

"To say 'No!' would not have frightened thee, I suppose?"

"That is one of the disagreeable things women have to get used to."

"How often must a woman say 'No!' in order to get used to it?"

"That depends on several small things; for instance I am very sympathetic. I have a tender heart! Yes, and so I suffer."

"I am glad to know of thy sympathy. If I asked thee to marry a young man whom I wished thee to marry, would thou do it--just to please me?"

"It would depend--on my mood that day."

"Say, it was thy sympathetic mood?"

"That would be unfavourable. Of the others I should think, and I should feel that I was cruel; if I took all hope from them."

"Thou wilt not be reasonable. I am not joking. Would thou marry Boris to please me?"

"Boris has offended me. He must come to me, and say, 'I am sorry.' He must take what punishment I choose for his rudeness to me. Then, I may forgive him."

"And marry him?"

"Only my angel knows, if it is so written. Men do not like to do as their women say they must do. Is there any man in the Orcades who dares to say 'No,' to his wife's 'Yes?'"

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