answered the young man

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"Do you wish we could be always together, Ida?" he persisted.

"Yes," answered the girl, with a half sob of affright, trembling under the strange spell that had slowly but surely been cast over her.

"Then marry me, Ida!" he cried, "this very night—within the hour, and no one can ever part us after that! Oh, Ida, do not refuse me!" he urged. "I love you so that I would die for you. Fate surely intended us for each other, or we would never have met and loved as we do. Oh, my darling, you can not deny it! You do love me, Ida May ?"

She strove with all her might to deny it; but, in spite of herself, he wrung the truth from her lips—that she did love him. A sudden light that she could not quite understand leaped up into his eyes for a moment, and a triumphant smile curved his lips.

"We shall be married to-night, Ida!" he cried. "I will arrange it somehow;" and as he uttered the words, he told himself that the great heiress was as good as won.

"I see a light glimmering in a window a short distance away. I will take you there, and walk back to the village to get some kind of a conveyance."

In a few moments they found themselves knocking for admission at the little cottage from whence they had observed the light.

His impatient knock brought a white, terrified face to a window which was opened above.

[21]

"What do you want?" asked a voice in unmistakable tones of fear.

"I must have shelter for this young lady for a little while," exclaimed Ainsley, impatiently; adding: "I will pay you handsomely if you will allow her to remain here an hour or two, until I can go for a carriage for her."

The window was closed quickly down again, and Royal heard some one say quite distinctly:

"I tell you it is only a ruse. It is an officer of the law."

Again Royal knocked impatiently.

"It is commencing to rain," he called. "For Heaven's sake, open the door quickly!"

Despite the sobs and protestations of the voice inside, a man opened the door and stepped out, confronting them. One hand held a lighted lamp and the other rested upon his hip pocket.

To Royal Ainsley's intense astonishment, he found that he was at the summer cottage of Newport's haughty mayor.

"I beg your pardon," stammered the man, in dire confusion.

"It is rather late to awaken any one; but you have heard the words, 'any port in a storm'? The truth is, I want to find shelter for this young lady until I can go for a conveyance to take her to a minister who is awaiting us to perform. the marriage ceremony."

"Oh, that is it!" exclaimed the mayor, with a look of relief coming over his face. "An elopement, eh?"

"All is fair in love, you know," laughed the young man, leading Ida into the parlor, his host preceding them.

"Who are you, and who is the young lady?" inquired the man.

It was Royal's turn to hesitate now. If he found out that the young girl clinging to his arm was the heiress of the Mays, would he not refuse to perform. the ceremony until they could be communicated withvacation rentals?

"I am Royal Ainsley," , affecting not to hear the last part of the question; and Ida, thinking she was called upon to speak, responded, promptly:

"And I am Ida May, sir."

The mayor wheeled about quickly.




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