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- A Fool and His Money - 63/63 -

I think I said that I had come at last. She took my other hand in hers and drawing dangerously close to me said:

"I do not expect to be married for at least a year, John."

"I--I congratulate you," I stammered foolishly.

"I have a feeling that it isn't decent for one to marry inside of two years after one has been divorced."

"How is Rosemary?" I murmured.

"You _are_ in love with me, aren't you, John, dear?"

"Goo--good heaven!" I gasped.

"I _know_ you are. That's why I am so sure of myself. Is it asking too much of you to marry me in a year from--"

I haven't the faintest notion how long afterward it was that I asked her what was to become of that poor, unlucky devil, Lord Amberdale.

"He isn't a devil. He's a dear, and he is going to marry a bred-in-the-bone countess next January. You will like him, because he is every bit as much in love with his real countess are you are with a sham one. He is a bird of your feather. And now don't you want to come with me to see Rosemary?"

"Rosemary," I murmured, as in a dream--a luxurious lotus-born dream.

She took my arm and advanced with me into a room adjoining the parlour. As we passed through the door, she suddenly squeezed my arm very tightly and laid her head against my shoulder.

We were in a small sitting-room, confronting Jasper Titus, his wife and his tiny grand-daughter, who was ready for bed.

"You won't have to worry about me any longer, daddy dear," said Aline, her voice suddenly breaking.

"Well, I'll be--well, well, well!" cried my late victim of the links. "Is _this_ the way the wind blows?"

I was perfectly dumb. My face was scarlet. My dazzled eyes saw nothing but the fine, aristocratic features of Aline's mother. She was leaning slightly forward in her chair, and a slow but unmistakable joyous smile was creeping into her face.

"Aline!" she cried, and Aline went to her.

Jasper Titus led Rosemary up to me.

"Kiss the gentleman, kiddie," said he huskily, lifting the little one up to me.

She gave a sudden shriek of recognition, and I took her in my arms.

"Ha! ha! ha!" laughed I, without the slightest idea of what I was doing or why I did it. Sometimes I wonder if there has ever been any insanity in our family. I know there have been fools, for I have my Uncle Rilas's word for it.

Mr. Titus picked up the newspaper he had been reading.

"Listen to this, Allie. It will interest you. It says here that our friend Tarnowsy is going to marry that fool of a Cincinnati girl we were talking about the other day. I know her father, but I've never met her mother. Old Bob Thackery has got millions but he's only got one daughter. What a blamed shame!"

* * * * *

It must be perfectly obvious to you, kind reader, that I am going to marry Aline Tarnowsy, in spite of all my professed opposition to marrying a divorcee. I argued the whole matter out with myself, but not until after I was irrevocably committed. She says she needs me. Well, isn't that enough? In fact, I am now trying my best to get her to shorten the probationary period. She has taken off three months, God bless her, but I still hope for a further and more generous reduction--for good behaviour!


A Fool and His Money - 63/63

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