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An Orkney Maid by Amelia Edith Huddleston Barr

For in Lerwick Boris has many friends


Boris--I know. And also Boris is in love with thee."

"That is wrong. No longer does Boris love me."

"But that is impossible. Love for one hour is love forever. He did love thee, then he could not forget. Never could he forget."

"He did not notice me last night. Thou must have seen?"

"I did not notice--but I heard some talk about it. The first time thou art alone with him, he will tell thee his trouble. It is only a little cloud--it will pass."

"I suppose the enlisting ship sails northaway first?"

"Yes, to Lerwick, though they may stop at Fair Island on the way. Boris says they could get many men there--and Boris knows."

"Art thou going to the pier to see them leave? I suppose every one goes. Shall we go together?"

"Why, Sunna! They left this morning about four o'clock. Father went down to the pier with Boris. Boris sailed with them."

"Thora! Thora! I thought Boris was to remain here until the naval party returned from Shetland?"

"The lieutenant in command thought Boris could help the enlisting, for in Lerwick Boris has many friends. Thou knows my sisters Anna and Nenie live in Lerwick. Boris was fain to go and see them."

justify;">"But they will return here when their business is finished in Lerwick?"

"They spoke of doing so, but mother is not believing they will return. They took with them all the men enlisted here and the men are wanted very much. Boris did not bid us a short 'good-bye.' Mother was crying, and when he kissed me his tears wet my cheeks."

Sunna did not answer. For a few minutes she felt as if her heart had suddenly died. At last she blundered out:

"I suppose the officer was afraid that--Boris might slip off while he was away."

"Well, then, thou supposes what is wrong. When a fight is the question, Boris needs no one either to watch him or to egg him on."

"Is that youngster, Macrae, going to join? Or has he already taken the Queen's shilling? I think I heard such a report."

"No one could have told that story. Macrae is bound by a contract to McLeod for this year and indeed, just yet, he does not wish to go."

"He does not wish to leave thee."

"That is not out of likelihood."

"Many are saying that England is in great stress, and my grandfather thinks that so she is."

"My father says 'not so.' If indeed it were so, my father would have gone with Boris. Mother is cross about it."

"About what then is she cross?" asked Sunna.

"People are saying that England is in stress. Mother says such words are nothing but men's 'fear talk.' England's sons are many, and if few they were, she has millions of daughters who would gladly fight for her!" said Thora.

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