Chapter 35362016

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Chapter NumberIX
Chapter Title
Chapter Urlhttp://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article35362016
Full Date1900-07-04
Page Number2
Corrections0
Word Count1115
IllustratedN
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleExaminer
Trove TitleA Barefoot Bride
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CHAPTER H. The next morning iawned clear and dewy. Tiss rose from her slumbers with a sense of something pleasant impending. She had a fire to light, and her father had forgotten to bring in any wood the night before. At the close of the garden on its western side a stretch of bush widened out to lose itself among the river's hills. She took an axe and went out whist ling gaily. Every bird was waking, and the grass blades shone like turquoise and ,ruby spears. Goldily gleamed the sun through the boughs. It was gay work chopping. Her strong young arms flew out over the hard wood, mak ing the chips dance hither and thither. Every vein tingled with health, the blood leapt rosily into her cheeks. The two young men, themselves searching for sticks for their tent fire, found her there. They went forward through the thick tea-tree doffing their hats. To their surprise Tiss leant on her axe and bowed gracefully, though all in. fun. Lindlay held out his hand, and the girl slipped her dark little one into it, shyly. The touch of the warm fingers sent a thrill through the young man. He took the axe from her and comrn menced to chop. "You've never cut a log before, have you?" asked Tiss, etanding withl her hands on, her knees, as often she had .:een her father do. Lindlay turned to give his answer, and noticed her quaint'altitude. "Show me how to hold the axe properly," he said. She went nearer and slid her fingers down the handle till they reached his. "This one up further and this lower," she said. But it took him a long time to learn how to swing and let the handle quickly out to give sufficient force. He had chopped one largo length when a laugh from Arnold made him turn quickly. The aee. left to it :ielf. slipped, and hlefore he I new what

had happened had passed through his canvas shoe. Tiss ran quickly forward. "You've chopped your foot," she cried, "take oif your boot, ciir, quick." Arnold uttered a vexed exclama.tiou. "What a fool you are, Lindlay,"he cried "acting the goat with that axe; here, let's help you off with your shoe." "It's nothing," said Lindlay, "cuts a. ways ilced ulamenduusly." "Take my arm anti come down to the river. 1 don't expect it's much, as y,.u say." But it was deeper than they thuuglht. There wan nothing to be uune in the end but go to the cottage and get some thing to bind it up. Tiss led the way, her armns fall of wcod and chipi:. Down a. narrow track, then tiirouga a gap in a log fence, where a path led to tihe cottage door. An old woman stood in the doorway scaling a lish. She gazed in blank naiazeinelt as the trio confronted her. Arnoid was the irst to speak. "My friend has met With an accident," he said. "Can you give us something to bind up a pretty deep cut?" Mris. Bridges was a woman of few words. With a glance at Lindlay's face aho beckoned them in. "Come away in, come away in, gentlemen," she said, and in a few moments Lindlay found . himself stretched on a box sofa with the old woman in attendiance. At their en trance an old man, with eyes like an eagle hawk, rose fromn a settle by the fireside. He scanned the young men keenly, then went forward. "The gentleman's hurt hisself," said his wile, in explanation; "he's came here to get it tied up." "Sit here, sir," lie said to Arnold, pointing to the settle. Arnold did so, then looked at Lind lay. "'Are you all right now, old man," he asked. But Lindlay had fainited away. When he came to himself he was lying propped up with pillows, his foot swathed in linen, while Arnold sat op posite him on the hearth, a bowl of porridge on his knee. Tiss was whisking about the room. her bare feet making a pleasant thudding on the iloor. He was soon provided with a bowl and spoon, and thought he had never tasted such porridge. "is my foot cut deep?" he asked of the old. woman. "Very deep, sir, and there ain't a doctor within 20 miles." "I inust thank you for binding it," said Lindlay. "A friend in- need is a friend indeed." Mrs. Bridges went on with her work, a gleam of pleasure on her rough face. It was not very often a gentleman called her friend. The young men spent the rest of the day in the cottage, Lindlay many days after. A week passed before he was able to put his foot to the ground. Meanwhile Arnold, growing im patient of the delay, took his boat and camera up the river into creeks and wonderful gullies, where none had been before. His collection of photos increased with wonderful rapidity. But Lindlay, as his wound became healed, grew more and more loth to leave the cottage. Tiss's face had cast a spell over him; her beauty was a charm, chaining him to the, spot. And old Mr. Bridges watched it al: from his settle. He was a keen old man, and could see which way the wind blew, but as yet thought nothing of it; his girl was as purely innocent as ever. 'After a fortnight's waiting Arnold grew inipatient. "I'm not going to stay maundering here any longer," lie said to Lindlay; "I'm about sick of this." Lindlay turned his face away, "We've got another fortnight," he said queerly, "why not put it in here? my my foot's not up to much yet." Arnold put his hand on his friend's shoulder. "Lindlay," he said, "you'ro not fooling after that girl, are you?" "What dy'e mean?" "You haven't been making love to this wild girl of the woods?" "Making love! she doesn't know what the word means." "Well, then, I don't see why we shouldn't be off to-morrow." "I'm not going 'to-morrow," said Lindlay, very firmly; "you can please yourself, of cour'se." Arnold's face was a mixture of pity, anger, and disgust. "You can't mean ill .to. a harmless child like that," was all he said. "I don't mean any ill." "Are you going to marry her?" "If she'll have me." Arnold's head went back in a great gaffaw. "And introduce your bare foot bride to Melton society--well, you're a bigger fool than I took you for, Lindlay." "I suppose thlere are shops contain ing shoes small enough to cover her feet," said Lindlay with quiet anger "anyway, I'm not going to-morrow." (To be Continued.)