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"When are you going to ask Maud
to be your wife?" his mother asked
fondly. "You see, we don't want to
hurry you, Tom, but people are be
ginning to talk, and "
Tom felt a devil of craft enter his
heart. All at once hesawvthe baited
trap that awaited him.
"Oh, yes, mother," he answered.
When she had gone he stole down
stairs. Like a thief he left the house,
gained the street, and took a street
car. Half an hqur later he stood,
with desperate intent, before the
overjoyed Mrs. Elkins. And Elsa, .en
tering, saw them there.
Tom heard her step, he turned
and- grasped her in his arms.
"Tom!" she protested.
"I came to ask you to marry me at
once!" cried Tom. "At once, Elsa,
"But you two aren't engaged!" ex
claimed Mrs. Elkins, scandalized.
"Now see here!" Tom burst out "I
guess we all got on together pretty
well when I lived here, didn't we?
Well I want Elsa. And I'm deter
mined to have her. And those people
the other side of Newburgh have got
a plan for me to marry somebody
else. I didn't see it, because I never
see things. But it seems that it's all
fixed, cut and dried, and and it's
up to you two 'to'help me out"
"Mr. Granger, you're perfectly ab
surd!" exclaimed the mother.
Tom turned to Elsa, who, oddly
enough, was still half in and half out
of his embrace.
"I know I'm a fool. I can't under
stand life. I can only write about
it," said Tom. "I wish I knew how
to ask you properly, but Elsa, dear,
won't you overlook my stupidity and
tell me that you'll marry me? Yes,
and take care of me. I want to
marry you before they find I'm here
and yank me away."
"Tom, do you love me?" the girl
demanded, looking him very straight
in the face.
"i never loved anyone if I- don't,"
"Then yes, dear," said Elsa. "Be
cause I love you with all my heart"
"Then I'll take charge," said Mrs.
Elkins. "I believe you two young peo
ple were just made for each other,
and you want somebody o look
after you, Tom, you dear, foolish
boy, because "
And she burst into tears at the
thought of the happiness in store for
the young people, and their love,
which was to carry them through
the uncharted seas of marriage.
When, three, hours later, Tom and
Elsa found themselves husband and
wife, and emerged into the late sum
mer sunshine from the little church,
an immense crowd surrounded them.
Photographers came hurrying up
with cameras. Their path was
blocked that magic path to the sta
tion and the honeymoon land.
"Look J" gasped Mrs. Elkins, star
ing at a newspaper which somebody
held before her.
Under the caption "Author's Run
away Marriage" she saw the photo
graphs of the bride and groom.
Then, through the crowd, scatter
ing it, came an automobile, and
Tom's parents hurled themselves to
"Stop the marriage if it isn't too
late!" exclaimed the father.
"It is too late," said Mrs. Elkins,
planting hdrself squarely in front of
"Hurrah!" yelled a street urchin,
capering before them.
"You hear that, Simon?" asked
Tom's mother, with cold rage. "Our
son has disgraced our name again,
and irreparably. I wash my hands
of him forever more."
"Madam," asked Mrs. Elkins,
"pray may I ask, have you ever done
But neither the" anger nor the
silence reached Tom's ears. For al-
ready, with Elsa, he was traveling"
the flowery meads of honeymoon
land, which reaches, if one can find
tv- W8 to te sloDes of paradise.
(Copyright, 1916, W. G. Chapman.),