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An Orkney Maid by Amelia Edith Huddleston Barr

Conall Ragnor was the first to awaken


After

the departure of the Vedders, Rahal and her sister Brodie went upstairs, taking Thora with them. She went cheerfully though a little reluctantly. She liked to hear Ian talk. She had thought of asking him to sing; but she was satisfied with the one straight, long look which flashed between them, as Ian bid her "good night"; for--

He looked at her as a lover can; She looked at him as one who awakes, The past was a sleep and her life began.

Then she went to her room, and thought of Ian until she fell asleep and dreamed of him.

For nearly two hours Ian remained with Conall Ragnor. The Railway Mania was then at its height in England, and the older man was delighted with Ian's daring stories of its mad excitement. Ian had seen and talked with Hudson, the draper's clerk, who had just purchased a fine ducal residence and estate from the results of his reckless speculations. Ian knew all the Scotch lines, he had even full faith in the _Caledonian_ when it was first proposed and could hardly win any attention. "Every one said a railway between England and Scotland would not pay, Mr. Ragnor," said Ian.

"I would have said very different," replied Conall. "It would be certain to pay. Why not?"

"Because there would be _no returns_," laughed Ian, and then Conall laughed also, and wished that Boris had been there to

learn whatever Ian might teach him.

"Hast thou speculated in railway stock yet," he asked.

"No, sir. I have not had the money to do so."

"How would thou buy if thou had?"

"I would buy when no one else was buying, and when everyone else was buying, I would keep cool, and sell. A very old and clever speculator gave me that advice as a steady rule, saying it was 'his only guide.'"

This was the tenor of the men's conversation until near midnight, and then Ragnor went with Ian to the door of his room and bid him a frank and friendly good night. And as he stood a moment handfast with the youth, his conscience troubled him a little and he said: "Ian, Ian, thou art a wise lad about this world's business, but thou must not be forgetting that there is another world after this."

"I do not forget that, sir."

"Bishop Hedley is a greater and wiser man than all the railway nabobs thou hast spoken of."

"I think so, sir! I do indeed!" and the mutual smile and nod that followed required no further "good night."

It was a lovely, silent night. The very houses looked as if they were asleep; and there was not a sound either in the town on the brown pier or the moonlit sea. It was a night full of the tranquillity of God. Men and women looked into its peace, and carried its charm into their dreams. For most fine spirits that dwell by the sea have an elemental sympathy with strange oracles and dreams and old Night. In the morning, Conall Ragnor was the first to awaken. He went at once to fling open his window. Then he cried out in amazement and wonder, and awakened his wife:--


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