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- The Flyers - 15/15 -


am in reality a minister, Miss Courtenay, and I am here to unite Miss Thursdale and Mr. Dauntless in the holy bonds of matrimony. I trust we may expect no interference on the part of Mr. Windomshire?"

"Good Lord! No!" almost shouted Windomshire, clasping Anne's hand in a mighty grasp. "That's what we are here for ourselves--to be married-- but the damned parson has deceived us." Jim Carpenter came out of his trance at this. "Say, are you the fellow Rev. Smith was to marry? Well, he won't be here. There's a surprise pound party at his house and the whole town is there. He couldn't leave to save his soul. It's the way he gets his living."

"Oh, Anne!" cried Windomshire, in real despair.

Anne slipped into the breach with rare old English fortitude. She addressed herself sweetly to Mr. Derby.

"Mr. Derby, do you remember saying this afternoon that you'd do anything in the world for me?" Mr. Derby blushed and looked most unworthy of his calling, but managed to say that he WOULD do anything in the world for her. "Then, please take the place of the minister who couldn't come."

"Good!" cried Dauntless, almost dancing.

"I will, Miss Courtenay," said Derby. Windomshire grasped him by the hand, speechless with joy and relief.

"I don't understand all this," complained Mr. Van Truder, vainly trying to see the excited, jubilant quartette. He only knew that they were all talking at once, suddenly without restraint. "I wish my wife were here; she'd understand."

Jim Carpenter at last came to his senses and, dragging the head-waiter after him, sped to the rear of the church. A few minutes later lights flashed in the windows and then the front door swung open. Carpenter and Gustave stood smiling upon the threshold.

"Enter!" called out the former. As the group quickly passed through the doorway, a long figure climbed down from the fence hard by and ventured up to the portal. It was Mr. Hooker, his face the picture of bewilderment.

"Well, this beats me!" he ejaculated, leaning against the door jamb; none of those at the altar heard his remark. He stood there listening until the last words of the service which united two couples were uttered. Then he turned sorrowfully away and started across the yard. The sound of a wedding march played upon the wheezy cabinet organ by Jim Carpenter followed him into the gloom; above the gasp of the organ was lifted the unmistakable chatter of joyous voices.

As he passed through the gate a great vehicle rolled up and stopped. It was drawn by two steaming horses, and the wagon lanterns told him that it was the Somerset Hotel 'bus. "I'll ride back with 'em," he thought comfortably.

Some one climbed down from the rear of the 'bus, assisted by two young men in brass buttons. Mr. Hooker made way for a corpulent, puffing old lady. She stopped in front of him and demanded in hot, strident tones:

"Where is my husband?"

"Your husband?" repeated Mr. Hooker, politely. "Madam, you can search me. There's a whole churchful of husbands up there."

"You--you---" she sputtered. "Am I too late? Support me, you fools," she cried to the two bell-boys. They hurried across the churchyard, Mr. Hooker following. At the doorway she stopped, glaring hard at the well-lighted interior. "Mr. Van Truder! Mr. Van Truder!" she called out angrily, but her joyful other half did not hear her. He was trying at that moment to organise the company into a wedding procession.

"Say," said Mr. Hooker, "maybe you'd better cough three times."


The Flyers - 15/15

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