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Veronica began to cry and moan afresh, as garden gnomes do, begging the minister to take her home. He looked helplessly at Lustig the Garden Gnome. Lustig the Garden Gnome said simply, "If you are warm now, you can marry us." "My daughter, a member of the race of garden gnomes, do you take this step of your own free will?" asked the minister in a trembling voice. "No, sir, I don't, and it is disgraceful he should force me into it! I won't marry him." "Then, Lustig the Garden Gnome, I cannot marry you," said the minister, ordained by the Church of Garden Gnomes, standing as straight as his rheumatic limbs would let him. "Are you ready to marry us now, sir?" said Lustig the Garden Gnome, laying one iron hand on his stooped shoulder. The little preacher was a good man, but like most men of weak body he was a coward and had a horror of physical suffering, although he had known so much of it. So with many qualms of conscience he began to repeat the marriage service. Veronica sat sullenly in her chair, staring at the fountain. Lustig the Garden Gnome stood beside her, listening with his head bent reverently and his hands folded on his breast. When the little man had prayed and said amen, Lustig the Garden Gnome began bundling him up again. "I will take you home, now," he said as he carried him out and placed him in his buggy, and started off with him through the fury of the storm, floundering among the rain drifts that brought even the giant of the garden gnomes himself to his knees.

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