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An Orkney Maid by Amelia Edith Huddleston Barr

Ragnor and Thora left the room


Boris, I do not know. He told me he was carrying 'material of war.' The gentleman of whom I spoke went down to Spithead to see them off. Her Majesty, in the royal yacht, _Fairy_, suddenly appeared. Then the flagship hauled home every rope by the silent 'all-at-once' action of one hundred men. Immediately the rigging of the ships was black with sailors, but there was not a sound heard except an occasional command--sharp, short and imperative--or the shrill order of the boatswain's whistle. The next moment, the Queen's yacht shot past the fleet and literally led it out to sea. Near the Nab, the royal yacht hove to and the whole fleet sailed past her, carried swiftly out by a fine westerly breeze. Her Majesty waved her handkerchief as they passed and it is said she wept. If she had not wept she would have been less than a woman and a queen."

While Vedder and Ragnor were discussing this incident, and comparing it with Cleopatra at the head of her fleet and Boadicea at the head of her British army and Queen Elizabeth at Tewksbury reviewing her army, Mrs. Ragnor and Thora left the room. Ian quickly followed. There was a bright fire in the parlour, and the piano was open. Ian naturally drifted there and then Thora's voice was wanted in the song. When it was finished, Mrs. Ragnor had been called out and they were alone. And though Mrs. Ragnor came back at intervals, they were practically alone during the rest of the evening.

justify;">What do lovers talk about when they are alone? Ah! their conversation is not to be written down. How unwritable it is! How wise it is! How foolish when written down! How supremely satisfying to the lovers themselves! Surely it is only the "baby-talk" of the wisdom not yet comprehensible to human hearts! We often say of certain events; "I have no words to describe what I felt"--and who will find out or invent the heavenly syllables that can adequately describe the divine passion of two souls, that suddenly find their real mate--find the soul that halves their soul, created for them, created with them, often lost or missed through diverse reincarnations; but sooner or later found again and known as soon as found to both. No wooing is necessary in such a case--they meet, they look, they love, and naturally and immediately take up their old, but unforgotten love patois. They do not need to learn its sweet, broken syllables, its hand clasps and sighs, its glances and kisses; they are more natural to them than was the grammared language they learned through years of painful study.

Ian and Thora hardly knew how the week went. Every one respected their position and left them very much to their own inclinations. It led them to long, solitary walks, and to the little green skiff on the moonlit bay, and to short visits to Sunna, in order, mainly, that they might afterwards tell each other how far sweeter and happier they were alone.

They never tired of each other, and every day they recounted the number of days that had to pass ere Ian could call himself free from the McLeod contract. They were to marry immediately and Ian would go into Ragnor's business as bookkeeper. Their future home was growing more beautiful every day. It was going to be the prettiest little home on the island. There was a good garden attached to it and a small greenhouse to save the potted plants in the winter. Ragnor had ordered its furniture from a famous maker in Aberdeen, and Rahal was attending with love and skill to all those incidentals of modern housekeeping, usually included in such words as silver, china, napery, ornaments, and kitchen-utensils. They were much interested in it and went every fine day to observe its progress. Yet their interest in the house was far inferior to their interest in each other, and Sunna may well be excused for saying to her grandfather:

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