Chapter 35398374

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Chapter NumberII
Chapter Title
Chapter Urlhttp://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article35398374
Full Date1901-05-04
Page Number2
Corrections0
Word Count1530
IllustratedN
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleExaminer
Trove TitleA Prisoner of the Forest
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FOR THE CHILDREN. A PRISONER OF THE FOREST. ('By Charles Kindrick.) CHAPTER 'II. After tying 'my hands they led me out of the canyon, and to an open space at the stop of the hill, where the pines grew sparsely. My arms were pinioned to a tree my elbows drawn firmly against the 'bark, and' my forearms wnapped so tightly that circulation was almost stopped. They then swathed my legs between knee and ankle, winding the thongs around the trunk of the pine. Next they girdled me with a piece of a banda, running it twice about my waist, and securing it in a hard, double knot be hind the tree. Then they placed a string of leather across the back of my neck, fetched the ends under my armpits, and' tied them tightly. My tricing up completed, they stood aside, looking at me with a devilish grin of satisfaction on their villainous faces. But they were not 'through with me yet. After a moment they began whittling a gag about three-fourths of. an inch thick and seven inches 'long. They notched the ends, and 'tied them with stout strips of buckskin; after -which they placed the thing in my mouth, drawing it firmly. To prevent 'my head from moving they bound 'my brow 'with a piece of leather, which was stretched taut-the back of 'my head pressing hard against the rough bark of the tree. They each made me a little address, swept the ground with 'yow bows, and left me to my fate. II was so absolutely helpless, reason could offer no remedy for my sorry plight; neither escape nor rescue seemed probable. But, like a ship wrecked sailor cast alone upon an island in a far-off sea, who eagerly watches the horizon .for the sight of a sail, I bent my gaze hopefully to the forest in 'front, my ears alert to every sound. An hour passed. My situation grew painful; my 'legs cramped, my throat parched, any back ached. iI counted the throbs of 'my heart, and it appeared so long between each pulsation I thought it 'would stop for ever. 'I imagined I was enclosed 'with four black walls, 'the light shut out, the rats clambering up my legs, and myself in the toils of some grand in quisitor. 'I closed my eyes; the 'hideous, grin ning faces of my captors loomed before me, smirking and smiling, and showing their white, dog-like teeth. I opened them again, as if startled and felt a deadness crawling up from my feet inch by inch, like a 'blighting paralysis. It were kindness had the Mexicans stabbed me instead of bind ing and leaving me a prey for 'wild beasts, or to a slower death 'from ex haustion. About ten o'clock ' 'heard a rustling of :leaves in the distance, and strained my eyes to catch a view of something alive-something human. In a moment a 'black bear issued from the underwood and jogged slowly along the slope of the hill. Then my heart, which a few minutes before beat swiftly with expectation, driving the warm blood into my numb limbs, once more throbbed slowly, and a shudder crept over 'me. Presentiy I grew so weary I 'felt the leather 'tendons cutting into my soul. Then I thought of the night, and 'how, when it came, iluding me more dead than alive, the 'wolves would howl amound -me, and a hungry.,panther would gnaw my bosom. How long I remained 'in a comatose condition 'it 'would be impossible to tell; but I was brought to myself again by the sharp report of a rifle 'in the canyon below. My heart beat violently, my perspira tion quickened, the blood tingled in my veins. Moved with joy by the fact that a human 'being was so near me I looked to the front intently, and as far to the right and left as 'I could roll ray eyes. I 'listened, and closely following the crack of the gun 'I heard the leaves rustle and the brush snap down the hillside. There was a quick thumping sound on 'the sod. It came nearer and nearer, and in a 'moment a 'wounded buck leaped into the open, limped towards me, and stopped, 'tremrbling 'and pant ing, not sixty feet away. .1 saw its eyes dance and sits nostrils extend as 'it stood quivering in its tracks, 'uncertain 'wvhich course to 'take. There' was a strip of dried' blood on its haunch; a wound, nowibroken afresh and 'bleeding anew, showed the course of a rifle blxtl; and the andtlers seemed to me thae coun~terypart of the buck I had classed the day before. Imnaediately there wvas 'a second sliot; the animal bounded in 'tha air and fell dead. I shramed any eyes on the edge of thec wood. II counted the seconds; timers was a rush of blood to my head; my muscles strained at the band~ages. I closed my eyes, heard a rustling o'f 'brush, opened thaem; thema I saw nmy iaartner emeage from tac :forest and rapidly approach time spot *where the gamne lay. He stood for a few moments contem plating the dead buck. Then, catch ing it by the blornes aid pulling back its head, he plunged lils knife 'into the animal's tharoat. He 'looked around foi' a sapling, and', faidaing one, pulled 'it over, 'fastening the deer's legs,' to the topmost haanchaes, said allowed 'the .tree 'to swing tin ialace again. 'Menanwhile, I wvas expecting every second I would be discovered, and ex ealted 'with the thought of how sur lansed nay 'partner 'would be to find me bounad and gagged, anid helpless. !But his attention 'was entirely ab sorbed 'by the chases; lie failed to ob serve nay proximity said sorry plight. The moments lenagilened, nay impa tience grew to anxiety, and tthe thought that I would not be rescued af tea' all sent a sickeninag shudder' thiaouglh me. Iattempted ito sciape 'my heel on the back of 'the lace, 'but was' tOo 'tightly hound. 11 pressed mny teeth liato the stick that 'gagged nae as if 'I would grind it 'to pieces. After gazing for a moment at the game, to 'be0 certain it 'was :beyond the reach of wolves, 'my partner plcked m1p his rifle and walked atway. I was in dlespair, The enuscleg oi

my limbs twitched; I quaked (Like the-' leaf of the aspen; my (body writhed, my head reeled, and my heart beat con vulsively. (My blood ran alternately cold and, hot, leaving my cheek one moment colourlegs as marble, and the. next glowing with the passion of.a racking pisn. Now, ghastly and disconsolate, I was again filled with momentary hope, which gave way in turn to the harrowing apathy of desperation. My fevered spirit struggled with all the agony of a soul vainly striving to break from the limits of flesh; and all my strength was summoned in the futile effort to tear away the bonds. The thought that .1 would die of star vation-perish without a struggle, with out cause-thrilled my brain with all the agony it could endure. . Then, to :think that my friend came so near without seeing, without rescuing me, and departed, leaving ome to fate-to soul-racking anguish, horror, faintness, unconsciousness-death! Though half paralysed with pain, r thought of the night coming on, with a thousand terrors 'unknown before. My, legs grew weak, and seemed to writhe; my arms pressed like 'unstrung and deadened things into my side; my nerves were rendered flaccid, like wet, supple strings. Perspiration beaded coldly on my brow. My breath shortened to a slow respiration, my ohest scarcdly moving. The blood in 'my veins appeared all to flow one 'way, leaving me hollow and heatless. 'A mist, heavy 'like lead', 'though still imist, enveloped me-my eyes half closed lbehind a deathly gloss. Then .1 felt a clamminess creep into my heart. And then I swooned'-hut without entirely losing consciousness. Unknown objects-strange, fantastic, misshapen things-floated before me. A blackness supervened, the hills, the mountains, the ;forest, appeared a dark, noiseless delusion. The distant wall of summits con, tracted, closing round me until the air became dense and humid. Then the clouds assumed the .forms of 'monsters, girdled with golden belts, and mar shalled to combat on a blue, treeless field. Again ald was ,black and noiseless. Directly the tree to which 'I was bound rose from its roots, drifted in the 'dark ness, and returned 'again to its place. In a moment *more the wood stood upon its (branches, dirt-covered ten tacles swaying in the air, 'and with its inversion iI 'felt a rush of blood to my. head. II thought my hands became free from the !bandagey-(but 'were 'powerless to remove the gag. The tree 'to which I was tied fell sway and left me bound and fettered to nothing-4but bound and fettered still. And then I opened my eyes-and there stood my pantner supporting my limp form, and cutting away the buckskin thongs with his knife. A 'bird had called from the tree to which I 'was bound, and, looking round,: lie had caught sight of me at the last moment. (Conclusion.)