qC5

qC5

"But two millions—"

"You are worth it."

"Darling, you will repent."

"Repent!" She pressed him closer to her. "Repent that I exchange a lonely life for companionship with you? Oh, my dear, how can you think so? I am sick of money and sick of loneliness. I want you, you, you! Noel, Noel, it is your part to woo, and here am I making all the love."

"It is such a serious step for you to take."

"It is the only step that I can take. I am known as a mercenary woman, and until we marry and give up the money, everybody will think scornfully of me. Besides, Freddy must be punished, and in no other way can I make him suffer so much as by depriving him of the wealth he sinned to obtain."

"Yes. There is that view, certainly. And," Lambert gasped, "I love you—oh, never doubt that, my darling."

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"I shall," she whispered ardently, "unless you get a special license and marry me straightaway."

"But Garvington and Silver—"

"And Clara Greeby and Chaldea, who both love you," she mocked. "Let them all fight out their troubles alone. I have had enough suffering; so have you. So there's no more to be said. Now, sir," she added playfully, "wilt thou take this woman to be thy wedded wife?"

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"Yes," he said, opening his arms and gathering Agnes to his heart. "But what will people say of your marrying so soon after Pine's death?"

"Let them say what they like and do what they like. We are going to the Colonies and will be beyond reach of slanderous tongues. Now, let us have tea, Noel, for I am hungry and thirsty, and quite tired out with trying to convince you of my earnestness."

Lambert rang for the tea. "Shall we tell Jarwin that we intend to marry?"

"No. We shall tell no one until we are married," she replied, and kissed him once, twice, thrice, and again, until Mrs. Tribb entered with the tray. Then they both sat demurely at the first of many meals which they hoped would be the start of a new Darby and Joan existence.

And the outcome of the interview and of the decision that was arrived at appeared in a letter to Mr. Jarwin, of Chancery Lane. A week later he received a communication signed by Agnes Lambert, in which she stated that on the preceding day she had married her cousin by special license. Mr. Jarwin had to read the epistle twice before he could grasp the astounding fact that the woman had paid two millions for a husband.

"She's mad, crazy, silly, insane," murmured the lawyer, then his eyes lighted up with curiosity. "Now I shall know the name of the person in the sealed letter who inherits," and he forthwith proceeded to his safe.