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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 293 pages of information about A Perilous Secret.

CHAPTER XII.

THE CLANDESTINE MARRIAGE.

Walter Clifford and Mary sat at a late breakfast in a little inn that looked upon a lake, which appeared to them more lovely than the lake of Thun or of Lucerne.  He beamed steadily at her with triumphant rapture; she stole looks at him of wonder, admiration, and the deepest love.

As they had nothing now to argue about, they only spoke a few words at a time, but these were all musical with love.

To them, as we dramatists say, entered Mrs. Easton, with signs of hurry.

“Miss Mary—­” said she.

“Mrs. Mary,” suggested Walter, meekly.

Mrs. Mary blew him a kiss.

“Ay, ay,” said Mrs. Easton, smiling.  “Of course you will both hate me, but I have come to take you home, Mistress Mary.”

“Home!” said Mary; “why, this feels like home.”

“No doubt,” said Mrs. Easton, “but, for all that, in half an hour we must start.”

The married couple remonstrated with one accord, but Mrs. Easton was firm.  “I dreamed,” said she, “that we were all found out—­and that’s a warning.  Mr. Walter, you know that you’ll be missed at Clifford Hall, and didn’t ought to leave your father another day.  And you, Miss Mary, do but think what a weight I have taken upon my shoulders, and don’t put off coming home, for I am almost shaking with anxiety, and for sure and certain my dream it was a warning, and there’s something in the wind.”

They were both so indebted to this good woman that they looked at each other piteously, but agreed.  Walter rang the bell, and ordered the four-wheeler and his own nag.

“Mary, one little walk in that sweet garden.”

“Yes, dear,” said Mary, and in another moment they were walking in the garden, intertwined like the ivy and the oak, and purring over their present delights and glowing prospects.

In the mean time Mrs. Easton packed up their things:  Walter’s were enrolled in a light rug with straps, which went upon his saddle.  They left the little inn, Mary driving.  When they had gone about two miles they came to cross-roads.

“Please pull up,” said Mrs. Easton; then turning to Walter, who was riding ridiculously close to Mary’s whip hand, “Isn’t that the way to Clifford Hall?”

“It’s one way,” said he; “but I don’t mean to go that way.  How can I?  It’s only three miles more round by your house.”

“Nurse,” said Mary, appealingly.

“Ay, ay, poor things,” said Mrs. Easton.  “Well, well, don’t loiter, anyway.  I shall not be my own woman again till we’re safe at the farm.”

So they drove briskly on, and in about an hour more they got to a long hill, whence they could see the Gilberts’ farm.

“There, nurse,” said Mary, pouting a little, “now I hope you’re content, for we have got safe home, and he and I shall not have a happy day together again.”

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