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An Orkney Maid by Amelia Edith Huddleston Barr

Ragnor and the Bishop were at the garden gate


"I

know not. I feel as if I was going into a black cloud. I wish that thy father would come home. He is in trouble. I wonder then what is the matter!"

In about an hour they saw Ragnor and the Bishop coming towards the house together.

"They are in trouble, Thora, both of them are in trouble."

"About Thora they need not to be in trouble. She will do what they advise her to do."

"It is not thee."

"What then?"

"I will not name my fear, lest I call it to me."

Then she rose and went to the door and Thora followed her, and by this time, Ragnor and the Bishop were at the garden gate. Very soon the Bishop was holding their hands, and Rahal found when he released her hand that he had left a letter in it. Yet for a moment she hardly noticed the fact, so shocked was she at the expression of her husband's face. He looked so much older, his eyes were two wells of sorrow, his distress had passed beyond words, and when she asked, "What is thy trouble, Coll?" he looked at her pitifully and pointed to the letter. Then she took Thora's hand and they went to her room together.

Sitting on the side of her bed, she broke the seal and looked at the superscription. "It is from Adam Vedder," she said, as she began to read it. No other

word escaped her lips until she came to the end of the long epistle. Then she laid it down on the bed beside her and shivered out the words, "Boris is dying. Perhaps dead. Oh, Boris! My son Boris! Read for thyself."

So Thora read the letter. It contained a vivid description of the taking of a certain small battery, which was pouring death and destruction on the little British company, who had gone as a forlorn hope to silence its fire. They were picked volunteers and they were led by Boris Ragnor. He had made a breach in its defences and carried his men over the cannon to victory. At the last moment he was shot in the throat and received a deadly wound in the side, as he tore from the hands of the Ensign the flag of his regiment, wrote Vedder.

I saw the fight between the men. I was carrying water to the wounded on the hillside. I, and several others, rushed to the side of Boris. He held the flag so tightly that no hand could remove it, and we carried it with him to the hospital. For two days he remained there, then he was carefully removed to my house, not very far away, and now he has not only one of Miss Nightingale's nurses always with him but also myself. As for Sunna, she hardly ever leaves him. He talks constantly of thee and his father and sister. He sends all his undying love, and if indeed these wounds mean his death, he is dying gloriously and happily, trusting God implicitly, and loving even his enemies--a thing Adam Vedder cannot understand. He found out before he was twenty years old that loving his enemies was beyond his power and that nothing could make him forgive them. Our dear Boris! Oh, Rahal! Rahal! Poor stricken mother! God comfort thee, and tell thyself every minute "My boy has won a glorious death and he is going the way of all flesh, honoured and loved by all who ever knew him."


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