“Yes, but it won’t take us two months to elope,” she protested. “Sh! Don’t speak above a whisper. Aunt Elizabeth has wonderful ears.”
“By Jove, darling, I believe you’re two-thirds willing to try it on,” he whispered.
“We must be sensible, Hugh. You see, I can’t be married until the twenty-third of May. Well, aunt is determined to announce the engagement to-morrow night. Don’t you see we couldn’t elope until the twenty-second at best, so we’re doomed for two months of it in spite of ourselves. If we get through the two months why should we elope at all? The worst will be over?”
“We can’t escape the announcement party, I’ll admit, but we can get away from all the rest. My scheme is to elope to a place that will require seven or eight weeks’ time to reach. That’s a fine way to kill time, don’t you see?”
“Why not? We can do as we like, can’t we? And what a bully lark! I’d be a downright cad to ask you to do this, Grace, if I didn’t love you as I do. We can use assumed names and all that!”
“Oh, dear, dear, doesn’t it sound lovely?” she cried, her cheeks red with excitement.
“The twenty-third of May isn’t so far off after all, and it won’t be half so far if we’re doing something like this. Will you go?”
“If I only could! Do you really think we—we could?”
“Whoop!” he shouted, as he seized her in his arms and rained kisses upon her face. Then he held her off and looked into her eyes for a moment. Then he gave another whoop, kissed her, released her and did a wild dance about the room. She stood beside the big chair, equally as excited, laughing unrestrainedly at his hilarity. At last he brought up at the other side of the chair.
“But where could—I mean, shall we elope to?” she finally asked.
“Anywhere. Bombay—Australia? Let’s make it a stunner, dear—let’s do it up right.”
“And be married away over there? Oh, Hugh!”
“Certainly. They can marry us over there as well as anywhere. Here, I’ll write the names of ten places and we’ll draw one from my hat.” He sat down before a table and feverishly wrote upon the backs of a number of his calling cards the names of as many cities, his companion looking over his shoulder eagerly. Without ado he tossed the cards into a jardiniere in lieu of a hat. “Draw!” he said tragically.
“Wait a minute, Hugh. What have we to elope from? There isn’t the faintest objection in the world to our marriage.”
“There you go—backing out!”
“No; I’m just as willing as you, but doesn’t it seem rather absurd?” Her hand hung over the jardiniere irresolutely.
“It will be the greatest wedding tour that mortals ever took. Draw!”
“Well, then, there’s the card. Mercy!” she cried, dropping a card on the table. “That’s a long distance, Hugh.”
He picked up the card and his face paled a little as he read: