“Before The Dawn” Part Two

This is part two of “Before The Dawn”, that first appeared in the “Friend” in the 1950s.

Will Margaret tell Ian how she feels?

“I’ve sent Dad and Peter Lewis home in the car. You and I can go in the Sigurd—the storm has died down.”

He took her hands and lifted her to her feet.

“We’ll just have a cup of ‘tea then we’ll be on our way.”

Half an hour later the Sigurd was chugging towards the village, blown along by the wind. Wrapped in a black, shiny oilskin, Margaret stood beside Ian at the wheel.

He reminded her of that day long ago when she christened the boat—in lemonade ! She had always loved the old Norse names, and Sigurd had certainly lived up to her name, strong and reliable in all weathers.

“Young Lewis seems keen on the Vikings, too,” he said suddenly. “I’m told you and he get along fine together. I like him.”

“So do I,” she replied with a smile.

It seemed an eternity, though it was only a few chugs of the engine before he spoke.

“Now I can tell you about my problem, Margaret, because tonight I’ve solved it. All I need is your approval.”

She realised then that the expression beneath his tired eyes was that of a man who was at peace with himself.

“Tell me about it, Ian.”

So he told her about the London surgeon he had met in Glasgow. There was a good job going down south, a job he thought Ian was specially fitted for.

For an ambitious man it was a golden opportunity.

“I told Julie about it. She couldn’t understand why I hesitated. One thing led to another until I had to remind her that it was my future. It was for me to decide.

“Strangely enough, that was the last time I met Julie.”

In quiet understanding she listened while he explained that he’d thought about his father, who was getting on and needed help.

But here was a chance that might never come his way again. He had to weigh up everything very carefully before deciding.

“But I knew tonight,” he went on in the firm, ringing tones Margaret remembered from the old days. “I knew’ there was plenty to do here in my own beloved islands.

“Here I could be happy. I was angry when I thought of the exodus of people from the Shetlands, as if success in life could be measured in terms of money and position.”

Margaret’s voice wasn’t quite steady when she replied.

“I’m sure you are right, Ian,” she whispered. “we need new ideas here to put new life and hope in the people. There is so much to do, and it will never get done if everyone with brains and ability goes away.”

The grip on her arm tightened.

“Dear Margaret. I knew you would understand.

“I knew, too, when I saw you tonight with young Jimmie that you would help me, that we could accomplish so much together. Unless . . .” he broke off, and she sensed the anxiety in his voice. “Unless there is anything between you and Lewis.”

She laughed and leaned against him happily.

“Peter’s girl in Edinburgh is the eighth wonder of the world by all accounts,” she said. “They’re to be married in the summer and are coming here to spend their honeymoon.”

She heard Ian’s sigh of relief and smiled to herself. But wisely she said nothing.

As she lifted her mouth for his kiss, Margaret only whispered happily, “This, Ian, is your real homecoming.”

Here’s a wee insight into “Friend” Illustrations Ed Manon’s latest work, which accompanies this story (above). 

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Iain McDonald

Iain is Digital Content Editor at the "Friend", making him responsible for managing flow of interesting and entertaining content on the magazine's website and social media channels.