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An Orkney Maid by Amelia Edith Huddleston Barr

Ian had passed by this circumstance


first subject that pressed her for consideration was the suspicion of gambling. Certainly Ian had promptly denied the charge. He had even said that he never was in the gambling parlours but once, when he went into them very early with the porter, to assure himself that some new carpets asked for were really wanted. "Then," he added, "I found out that the demand was made by one of the club members, who had a friend who was a carpet manufacturer and expected to supply what was considered necessary."

It must be recalled here that Norsemen, though sharp and keen in business matters, have no gambling fever in their blood. To get money and give nothing for it! That goes too far beyond their idea of fair business, and as for pleasure, they have never connected it with the paper kings and queens. They find in the sea and their ships, in adventure, in music and song, in dancing and story telling, all of pleasure they require. A common name for a pack of cards is "the devil's books," and in Orkney they have but few readers.

Thora had partially exonerated Ian from the charge of gambling when she remembered Jean Hay's assertion that "wherever horses were racing, there Ian was sure to be and that he had been named in the newspapers as a winner on the horse Sergius." Ian had passed by this circumstance, and her father had either intentionally or unintentionally done the same. Once she had heard Vedder say that "horse racing

produced finer and faster horses"; and she remembered well, that her father asked in reply, "If it was well to produce finer and faster horses, at the cost of making horsier men?" And he had further said that he did not know of any uglier type of man than a "betting book in breeches." She thought a little on this subject and then decided Ian ought to be talked to about it.

Her lover's neglect of the Sabbath was the next question, for Thora was a true and loving daughter of the Church of England. Episcopacy was the kernel of her faith. She believed all bishops were just like Bishop Hedley and that the most perfect happiness was found in the Episcopal Communion. And she said positively to her heart--"It is through the church door we will reach the Home door, and I am sure Ian will go with me to keep the Sabbath in the cathedral. Every one goes to church in Kirkwall. He could not resist such a powerful public example, and then he would begin to like to go of his own inclination. I could trust him on this point, I feel sure."

When she took up the next doubt her brow clouded and a shadow of annoyance blended itself with her anxious, questioning expression. "His name!" she muttered. "His name! Why did he woo me under a false name? Mother says my marriage to him under the name of Ian Macrae would not be lawful. Of course he intended to marry me with his proper name. He would have been sure to tell us all before the marriage day--but I saw father was angry and troubled at the circumstance. He ought to have told us long ago. Why didn't he do so? I should have loved him under any name. I should have loved him better under John than Ian. John is a strong, straight name. Great and good men in all ages have made John honourable. It has no diminutive. It can't be made less than John. Englishmen and lowland Scotch all say the four sensible letters with a firm, strong voice; only the Celt turns John into Ian. I will not call him Ian again. Not once will I do it."

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