Page:Lippincotts Monthly Magazine-94.pdf/367

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357
An Orcadian Week’s Entertainment

ness, which overlooked the “Stones,” I deferred my departure for twenty-four hours.

I started out in a burst of sunshine on my nine-mile walk—there are no trains in the Orkneys—but reached my destination in a deluge. As I traversed the narrow streets, cobbled to the extent of direst discomfort, trying in vain to see the sky through roofs which apparently met overhead, I exclaimed involuntarily, “How awful!” However, all discomfort was forgotten when, at my abiding place, I was greeted in tones of warmest cordiality by an old body with befrilled mutch framing her smiling face.

“Come awa’ ben,” she exclaimed in tones of warmest cordiality. “Ye’ll be the lady frae Kirkwall I was expectin’.” I was at once conducted to a room where a brightly burning lamp showed me a table literally groaning under the weight of good things provided for me. There were fowls, ham, mutton, beefsteak-pie, scones, biscuits, pancakes, bread and butter, marmalade, honey, cheese, jam, tea, and cakes. After seating me, she bustled away, closing the door behind her. Considerable time elapsed before her return, during which period

I was well employed. “This is most unpleasant weather,” I remarked when she appeared again.

“We do not often have such storms in America this time of

year. And how cold it is getting outdoors!” I shivered. Immediately I saw that I had made a mistake. The smile left her round face, and she answered somewhat severely, “Well, folk dinna

drop down dead frae the heat here the way they do in the streets of America in summer we are comfortable all the time it is neither too

hot nor too cold but I would rather be too cold than to drop down dead frae the heat.”

“Oh, yes, indeed,” I ejaculated hastily, adding somewhat irrele vantly, “How religious the Orkney people are! I have been hearing

how regularly they go to church.” Her face became somewhat brighter. “I have a cousin in America,” she commented, “an’ she wrote

me about the queer religions there spiritualism an’ Christian Science an ev'rything but maybe I should n’t be speakin’ that way for I dinna gang to the kirk mysel’ noo that the steeple’s been put on I telt the minister that it would be a gey-like thing for me to go to the kirk an’ me expectin’ ilka windy day or night that the steeple would fa’

down on my roof I use to go regular but how could I be goin’ when the wind blows so hard I’m afraid of the steeple how could I go when I’m afraid the steeple will be fallin’ down on my hoose?” “But I should not be so afraid of the steeple as of the sea. The

bay washes the foundations of many of the houses, does it not?” “Oh ay that’s true the bay comes right in below this window folk wi' nothin’ to dae sit an’ fish out the window ye couldna dae better than