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An Orkney Maid by Amelia Edith Huddleston Barr

That Ragnor remarked I see Sunna


"That

is what I heard. He is a good man, but a very hard one."

"If he is hard, he is not good."

"Thou must not say that, little Miss; it may be the Episcopalian belief, but we Calvinists have a stronger faith--a faith fit for men and soldiers of the Lord."

"There! Mrs. Beaton, you are naming soldiers. That is against our agreement to drop war talk. About Macrae I know nothing. He is not aware that anyone but Thora Ragnor lives; and I was not in the least attracted by him--his black hair and black eyes repelled me--I dislike such men."

"Will they live in Edinburgh?"

"I believe they will live in Kirkwall. Mrs. Ragnor owns a pretty house, which she will give them. She is going to put it in order and furnish it from the roof to the foundation. Thora is busy about her napery--the finest of Irish linen and damask. Now then, I must hurry home. My grandfather will be waiting his tea."

Max rose with her. He looked at his little brother and said: "Aunt, he will sleep now for a few hours, will you watch him till I return?"

"Will I not? You know he is as safe with me as yourself, Max."

So with an acknowledging smile of content, he took Sunna's hand and led her slowly down the stairway. There was a box running all across

the sill of the long window, lighting the stairs, and it was full and running over with the delicious muck plant. Sunna laid her face upon its leaves for a moment, and the whole place was thrilled with its heavenly perfume. Then she smiled at Max and his heart trembled with joy; yet he said a little abruptly--"Let us make haste. The night grows cloudy."

Their way took them through the village, and Sunna knew that she would, in all likelihood, be the first woman ever seen in Maximus Grant's company. The circumstance was pleasant to her, and she carried herself with an air and manner that she readily caught and copied from him. She knew that there was a face at every window, but she did not turn her head one way or the other. Max was talking to her about the Sagas and she had a personal interest in the Sagas, and any ambition she had to be socially popular was as yet quite undeveloped.

At the point where the Vedder and Ragnor roads crossed each other, two men were standing, talking. They were Ragnor and Vedder, and Ragnor was at once aware of the identity of the couple approaching; but Vedder appeared so unaware, that Ragnor remarked: "I see Sunna, Vedder, coming up the road, and with her is Colonel Max Grant."

"But why 'Colonel,' Ragnor?"

"When General Grant died his son was a colonel in the Life Guards. He left the army to care for his brother. I heard that the Queen praised him for doing so."


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