perately driven, and I had to hustle
for something now and ready. In the
first place, my dear," beaming on
lola, "we've got to get married, you
"When?" asked the astonished
"Every day for a year to come,
"Why, Merrill!" began the old cir
cus man, agape.
"Where?" gasped lola.
"In a balloon," promptly explained
MerrilL "Don't get the jiggers, peo
ple. It's a plain, practical proposi
tion." Then he told what it was. He had
run across an old circus friend whose
business had been making show bal
loon ascensions. The man was crip
pled, could work no longer, but had
some contracts with circuses for the
season. He offered to lease the bal
loon to Merrill for 90 days on an income-sharing
basis. A feature of
the ascensions was to be a prize to
the man and woman who would go
up in the balloon and be married. ,
"You see," said Merrill to old Ze
kiel, "you are a licensed minister.
Not many times will strangers go up
in the balloon, so lola and I must
make the play, and you must many
"Yes," replied Zekiel, "that is a
fact Years ago I had a license to
preach for a sect out in Dakota, and
it holds good. Am I to really marry
you two?" he inquired.
"Once, for good. There is no other
way, and every time the ceremony is
repeated it will bind us closer to
gether than ever!" cried Merrill ex
pansively. "Surely you are willing,
"Can you ask?" questioned lola
softly, her great faith in her lover !
shining in her beautiful eyes.
So it all come about that the trio
entered a new and apparently prom
ising field of business activity. And
so they were married, and for a
month married over and over again.
and were making good headway
when the circus people went bank
It was hard to find another perma
nent engagement. There was a month
of idleness, and the profits were eaten
up by expenses. Finally Merrill de
cided to make a circuit of the county
fairs. There were long jumps, how
ever. The balloon constantly requir
ed repairs and new equipment, and
the prospects were not alluring.
They had about decided to give up
the balloon experiment when, one
afternoon at a bustling Illinois county
seat where a fair was going on, some
thing quite tremendous happened.
No genuine engaged couple ap
pearing to go aloft and be wedded,
Merrill and lola were in a little tent
ready to make up,as bashful groom
and blushing bride, when one side of
the canvas was pressed in and then
lifted, and a. quick voice spoke:
"We'll hide here. -I am sure your
father is on our track."
"Oh, Gerald, what shall we ever
do oh, dear!"
A handsome young man had push
ed into the tent a bewitching little
beauty, and they stood daunted and
fearful before the astonished Merrill
Their story came out they loved
one another, but cruel papa was op
posed, and they had eloped. He was
on their trail. He might arrive to
trace them at any moment
lola regarded the clear-eyed young
man and the fluttering bird of a girl
with moistened eyes. Love and sym
pathy spoke in her rapid suggestion.
"Would you be afraid to go up in
the balloon and be married among
the clouds?" she submitted.
"So long as we land again on terra
firma man and wife, float us to Mars
if you like!" cried the ardent young
So in a hurry the eloping young
lady was arrayed in the tinsel wed
ding 'finery and veil that well con
cealed her face. As to the young
man. Merrill smilingly pasted a falsa
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