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An Orkney Maid by Amelia Edith Huddleston Barr

Ragnor liked Ian because it is the Highland form for John


"It

was a bit of boyish folly."

"It was something far more than that. I had a letter from Jean Hay more than two months ago and I investigated every charge she made against you."

"Well, Bishop?"

"I find that, examined separately, they do not indicate any settled sinfulness; but taken together they indicate a variable temper, a perfectly untrained nature, and a weak, unresisting will. Now, Ian, a weak, good man is a dangerous type of a bad man. They readily become the tools of wicked men of powerful intellect and determined character. I have met with many such cases. Your change of name----"

"Oh, sir, I could not endure Calvin tacked on to me! If you knew what I have suffered!"

"I know it all. Why did you not tell the Ragnors on your first acquaintance with them?"

"Mrs. Ragnor liked Ian because it is the Highland form for John, and Thora loved the name and I did not like, while they knew so little of me, to tell them I had only assumed it. I watched for a good opportunity to speak concerning it and none came. Then I thought I would consult you at this time, before the wedding day."

"I could not have married you under the name of Ian. Discard it at once. Take it as a pet name between Thora and yourself, if you choose. No doubt you thought Ian

was prettier and more romantic and suitable for your really handsome person."

"Oh, Bishop, do not humiliate me! I----"

"I have no doubt I am correct. I have known young men wreck their lives for some equally foolish idea."

"I will cast it off today. I will tell Thora the truth tonight. Before we are married, I will advertise it in next week's _News_."

"Before you are married, I trust you will have made the name of John Macrae so famous that you will need no such advertising."

"What do you mean, Bishop?"

"I want you to go to the trenches at Redan or to fight your way into Sebastopol. You have been left too much to your own direction and your own way. Obedience is the first round of the ladder of Success. You must learn it. You can only be a subordinate till you manage this lesson. Your ideas of life are crude and provincial. You need to see men making their way upward, in some other places than in shops and offices. Above all, you must learn to conquer yourself and your indiscreet will. You are not a man, until you are master in your own house and fear no mutiny against your Will to act nobly. You have had no opportunities for such education. Now take one year to begin it."

"You mean that I must put off my marriage for a year."


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