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An Orkney Maid by Amelia Edith Huddleston Barr

But Sunna was in a very merry mood


Then

the couple were so close, that it was impossible to affect ignorance of their presence any longer; and the old men turned and saluted the young couple. "I thank thee, Colonel," said Vedder, as he "changed hats" with the Colonel, "but now I can relieve thee of the charge thou hast taken. I am going home and Sunna will go with me; but if thou could call on an old man about some business, there is a matter I would like to arrange with thee."

"I could go home with you now, Vedder, if that would be suitable."

"Nay, it would be too much for me tonight. It is concerning that waste land on the Stromness road, near the little bridge. I would like to build a factory there."

"That would be to my pleasure and advantage. I will call on you and talk over the matter, at any time you desire."

"Well and good! Say tomorrow at two o'clock."

"Three o'clock would be better for me."

"So, let it be." Then he took Sunna's hand and she understood that her walk with Grant was over. She thanked Max for his courtesy, sent a message to Eric, and then said her good night with a look into his eyes which dirled in his heart for hours afterwards. Some compliments passed between the men and then she found herself walking home with her grandfather.

"Thou ought not to have

seen me, Grandfather," she said a little crossly, "I was having such a lovely walk."

"I did not want to see thee, and have I not arranged for thee something a great deal better on tomorrow's afternoon?"

"One never knows----"

"Listen; he is to come at three o'clock, it will be thy fault if he leaves at four. Thou can make tea for him--thou can walk in the greenhouse and the garden with him, thou can sing for him--no, let him sing for thee--thou can ask him to help thee with 'The Banded Men'--and if he goes away before eight o'clock I will say to thee--'take the first man that asks thee for thou hast no woman-witchery with which to pick and choose!' Grant is a fine man. If thou can win him, thou wins something worth while. He has always held himself apart. His father was much like him. All of them soldiers and proud as men are made, these confounded, democratic days."

"And what of Boris?" asked Sunna.

"May Boris rest wherever he is! Thou could not compare Boris with Maximus Grant."

"That is the truth. In many ways they are not comparable. Boris is a rough, passionate man. Grant is a gentleman. Always I thought there was something common in me; that must be the reason why I prefer Boris."

"To vex me, thou art saying such untruthful words. I know thy contradictions! Go now and inquire after my tea. I am in want of it."

During tea, nothing further was said of Maximus Grant; but Sunna was in a very merry mood, and Adam watched her, and listened to her in a philosophical way;--that is, he tried to make out amid all her persiflage and bantering talk what was her ruling motive and intent--a thing no one could have been sure of, unless they had heard her talking to herself--that mysterious confidence in which we all indulge, and in which we all tell ourselves the truth. Sunna was undressing her hair and folding away her clothing as she visited this confessional, but her revelations were certainly honest, even if fragmentary, and full of doubt and uncertainty.


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