And Ian did not disappoint the happy hopes which called him. He was on the first ship that arrived and it was Conall Ragnor's hand he clasped as his feet touched the dry land. Such a home-coming as awaited him the cheerful room, the bountifully spread table, the warm welcome, the beauty and love, mingling with that sense of peace and rest and warm affection which completely satisfies the heart.
On the contrary, he found himself without intention declaring: "Well, then, I never found anything the least zig-zaggery about what he said or did. His words and ways were all straight. That is the truth." Yet Ian's happy mood was instantly dashed by Ragnor's manner. He did not take his offered hand and he said in a formal tone: "Ian, we will go to my office before we go to the house.
Boris is ten times more of a man than the best of them. No notice shall I take of this Celt." "Through thy scorn he may live, and even enjoy his life. The English officers do that." "This chicken is better than might be. Wilt thou have a little more of it?" "Enough is plenty. I have had enough. At Conall Ragnor's there is always good eating and I am going there for my supper. Wilt thou go with me?
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.
The Macraes are a good family. There is a famous minister in Edinburgh of that name. The Calvinists all swear by him." "This man sang in a full cathedral service. Dost thou believe a Calvinist would do that? He would be sure it was a disguised mass, and nothing better." Adam laughed as he said, "Well, then, go with me this night to Ragnor's and between us we will find something out.
This was the girl who, standing before her mother, asked for her approval. And Rahal Ragnor's eyes were filled with her beauty, and she could only say: "Dear thing! There is no need to change! Just as thou art pleases me!" Then with a face full of love Thora stooped and kissed her mother and anon began to set the table for the expected guests.
Such changes grew slowly in Ragnor's mind, and much more slowly in practice, but Rahal knew that they were steadily working to some ultimate, and already definite and determined end in her husband's will. The absent also exerted a far greater power upon the home than any one believed.
"What can a sensible man like Boris Ragnor see in such a harum-scarum girl!" was Rahal Ragnor's question, and Barbara Brodie thought it was all Adam Vedder's fault.
Then with Thora thou can talk. This beautiful young man is likely at Ragnor's. It was too stormy for Mistress Brodie to go to her own house at the noonday. Dost thou see then, how it will be?" "I will go with thee, I want to see Thora's new dress. I need not notice the young man." "His name? Already I have forgotten it." "Odd was calling him 'Macrae." "Macrae! That is Highland Scotch.
A pleasant little smile parted Ragnor's lips, and he said with an Episcopalian suavity: "The Wesleyans and the Episcopalians, in doctrine, are much alike. We regard them as brethren;" and just while he spoke, Ragnor looked like some ecclesiastical prelate.