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An Orkney Maid by Amelia Edith Huddleston Barr

' said Sunna with a straight look at her grandfather


"Grant,

indeed!" she exclaimed, "I am not ready for Grant--I believe I am afraid of the man--he would make me over--make me like himself--in a month he would do it--I like Boris best! I should quarrel with Boris, of course, and we should say words neither polite nor kind to each other; but then Boris would do as that blessed child said, 'Look at me'; and I should look at him, and the making-up would begin. Heigh-ho! I wish it could begin tonight!" She was silent then for a few minutes, and in a sadder voice added--"with Max I should become an angel--and I should have a life without a ripple--I would hate it, just as I hate the sea when it lies like a mirror under the sunshine--then I always want to scream out for a great north wind and the sea in a passion, shattering everything in its way. If I got into that mood with Max, we should have a most unpleasant time----" and she laughed and tossed her pillows about, and then having found a comfortable niche in one of them, she tucked her handsome head into it and in a few moments the sleep of youth and perfect health lulled her into a secret garden in the Land of Dreams.

The next day Sunna appeared to be quite oblivious regarding Grant's visit and Vedder was too well acquainted with his granddaughter to speak of it. He only noticed that she was dressed with a peculiar simplicity and neatness. At three o'clock Grant was promptly at the Vedder House, and at half-past four the land in question had been visited

and subsequently bought and sold. Then the cup of tea came in, and the walk in the garden followed, and at six there was an ample meal, and during the singing that followed it, Vedder fell fast asleep, as was his custom, and when he awoke Grant was just going and the clock was striking ten. Vedder looked at Sunna and there was no need for him to speak.

"It was 'The Banded Men,'" said Sunna with a straight look at her grandfather.

"Well, then, I know a woman who is a match for any number of 'banded men.'"

"And in all likelihood that woman will be a Vedder. Good night, Grandfather."

CHAPTER VII

THE CALL OF WAR

I came not to send peace but a sword. --_Matt. x, 34._

For when I note how noble Nature's form Under the war's red pain, I deem it true That He who made the earthquake and the storm, Perchance made battles too.

The summer passed rapidly away for it was full of new interests. Thora's wedding was to take place about Christmas or New Year, and there were no ready-made garments in those days; so all of her girl friends were eager to help her needle. Sunna spent half the day with her and all their small frets and jealousies were forgotten. Early in the morning the work was lifted, and all day long it went happily on, to their light-hearted hopes and dreams. Then in June and September Ian came to Kirkwall to settle his account with McLeod, and at the same time, he remained a week as the Ragnors' guest. There was also Sunna's intended visit to Edinburgh to talk about, and there was never a day in which the war and its preparations did not make itself prominent.

One of the pleasantest episodes of this period occurred early and related to Sunna. One morning she received a small box from London, and she was so amazed at the circumstance, that she kept examining the address and wondering "who could have sent it," instead of opening the box. However, when this necessity had been observed, it revealed to her a square leather case, almost like those used for jewelry, and her heart leaped high with expectation. It was something, however, that pleased her much more than jewelry; it was a likeness of Boris, a daguerreotype--the first that had ever reached Kirkwall. A narrow scrap of paper was within the clasp, on which Boris had written, "I am all thine! Forget me not!"


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