Chapter 71542945

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Chapter NumberIII
Chapter Title
Chapter Urlhttp://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article71542945
Full Date1906-11-21
Page Number33
Corrections0
Word Count1324
IllustratedN
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleAustralian Town and Country Journal (Sydney, NSW : 1870 - 1907)
Trove TitleMidge: An Australian Story
article text Princess Spinnway's Department. MI DOE, AN AUSTRALIAN STORY. By Zora Cross (Burwood). CHAPTER III. Crnsh! Crash! Crash! "What was that?" And Mldgu, stopping suddenly, clutched con vulsively at her soaked garments. Crash! Crash! Crash! Was the forest falling? "Baby! oh, Baby!" she screamed yet once again. "Can't, oh, can't you hear?" Still no answer; nothing but the dreary beat of the heavy rain; the deep thunder, still roaring, shaking the very earth in its foundation. On, on, on; her weary feet could no longer run-dragged now behind her in tired yet un flinching steps. On, on, on! "Oh, Babs!" she moaned; "shall I ever And you?" But tho storm still raged and howled. One last, long effort she endeavored to make; and putting all her remaining strength, her hot and parched lips set up one seemingly everlasting cry of "Baby!" The old friendly forest, disregard ing the raging storm, took up the call, and seemed reluctant to let it die. Still, no answer. Was she to give up the la'st hope? Crash! Crash! Crash! "Dear God, what does lt all mean?" Ah, the All Powerful Hand was at work, for as Midge gazed in the direction of the lightning-struck tree something seemed to appenr bofore her, something moving, some thing living-a tiny, huddled, baby form! Hark! What was that? A baby's scream, a long cry of terror; and Midge disregarding the prickles, the nettle's the unmerciful crags, which tore her feet, darted in the direction whence the sound proceeded. "Baby, Baby! Found, found!" she yelled, In frantic delight, for the next streak of light ning clearly showed her the wee mite. CloBer, closer, she drew, until with one thankful cry-one happy, joyous cry to heaven, Midge clasped hsr "Baby" in her arms. "BabB! Oh. my Babs," she cried, showering the terrified little face with kisses the while, pushing back the tangled curls. "How, oh how, could you run away?" Tho lit tle hands were thrown up, and two soft baby arma entwined themselves around Midge's neck. "I, I Isn't droamin', is I" the little white Hps murmured. "No, no, darling; lt's really Midge," replied Midge's fast fading voice. "But, wh-wh-y did you run-run away, d-a-r-llng," she continued, clasping the «soaked baby form yet closer. "I-à wanted to noe where de ickle birdies libed," Babs replied In a shaky little voice; "but, oh, Midge, do big trees did crack, and I was so frlted. I so glad you corned," continued the swoot little voice, now fully regaining Its silvery tones-for to be In the mlde,t of the greatest of dangers, all foni> was passed If Midge were there. "Hold, hold, to-to Midge," said Midge; "we miiBt-must-try and-and get home." At length the storm abated, and the Bound of croaking voices awoke the silent woods. The pines and gum« only Bighed now for tholr los,t companion; the wind echoed drearily. Brave Midge, nover-tllnching Midge, tried to walk. Were her legs still thero, or had thoy ceased to work. The tiny mite slept peacefully In her aching arms; the pink tinge already had found its way lntu tno baby chocks; but Midge pressed on. Dark, dark, darker than over, and this awful sllonoo only broken by the hoarBo, croaking voices made Midge shuddor, Oh, why didn't it rain again-oh, why wouldn't the trees oraBh and fall as before? All, all, utter solitude and silence-deep, deep, &1 lenoe. This waB terrible. "Oh, Moon! oh, Stars! oh, Father In Heaven! oh, Maker of the 'Land of Waratah!' Won't you pity me!" moaned Midge; "won't you pity this darling I hold! Oh, save her from a dreary end; she's frail and weak! Oh, Father, Father, hear my cry!" was tho heart-rending cry she echoed to Heaven. But no voice re plied to her prayer-a prayer which issued from a heart braver than the bravest. No 'sound awoke the awful silence save the dismal croak, croak, croak! On, on, on! Still the weary steps dragged, and the whole time tho Baby Darling slept tho dreamless sleep of a babe in Midge's aching and fastly drooping arms. On, on, on! She 'seemed to be going faster. She gained more courage, when, hush, hark! "A deep sound strikes like a rising knell!" Does she hear it? Midge, Midge, haste, haste! Thy weary steps must fly. Oh, Heavenly Powers, grant her wing's of Angels, for Midge knows that the yell proceeds from hungry dingoes. "God! Baby!" was all the white lips could utter, as she staggered on. At other times the fierce yell would have only delighted her, but to-night the yell seemed unnatural 'twas a yell from starving dogs. "They mightn't eat us!" she shuddered to think; "but more unlikely things have happened; and if they're very hungry they'd do anything. But these yells seem unnatural," Midge breathed as the yell again broke in yet fiercer. "I have never heard them yell like that before. Oh," she faltered hopelessly, "I wonder If they'd really tear us limb from limb! I've never heard ot a oase before." But again the yell of savage dogs pinched with hunger echoed through the dreary wood, and Midge knew that the yells were thoBe of dogs more than hungry, moro than starving-the cry of the famished. Nearer, nearer! "Heaven! Father! Will they touch us? We are babes; we've done no wrong! Have mercy on the young! Oh, they come nearer, nearer! Fiercer, fiercer grow the yells. Merciful gum's, canst thou not help us? Crash, gums! Fall on us; kill us thus, if die we must, but, oh, save us-'save us from these dogs!" Thus, maddened to stupidity, the faith ful Midge staggered on. Nearer, nearer, and yet nearer!* "Must I give up hope? Oh, they surely wouldn't attack humans!" she moaned. But some cruel thought, bored Its way into hor brain, and echoed, "Famished, starving humans tear themselves to pieces; are dogs any better? No, Midge; far worse," lt concluded. Nearer, nearer, nearer tho pack approaches, as If to swallow the wanderers with ono breath; but ns yell after yell echoed again and again through the wood Midge could hold out no longer. Her aching arms drooped, her weary form fell; the little mite in her arms drooped from her nerveless grasp, and raising her terror-stricken eyes to Heaven Midge silently prayed for release, for life, for safety. With one agonising cry, one long low moan, ono deep earnest prayer, Midge at length suffered her Hps to shout the 'supposed mnglcnl words, "Whoo, Whoo-oo-oo-oo-oo!" Facing the pack, she rose, staggering on her blooding, burning feet; her head Boomed bursting off her; tho dilated eyes seemed to start from their very sockets and though her lips formed tho words, nnd her volco In a moro than dreadful tono uttered tho "Whoo, Whoo!" she knew lt not. She saw the angry, fiorco-looklng mob; she behold their bushy tails high in tho air, and watched thom dlBappoar fnstor than lightning at tho sound of tho ominous words. She hoard just thon a faint "Coo-eo!" and answered in a voice so terrible, so loud, BO awful in its tone-a voice which seemed only to last a minute, and then be gone. She at length beheld a beloved form, a shining lantern, and falling over Babs' form knew no more. * . * . 'Twas a fortnight after the dreadful night, and the fever having abated Midge's grey eyes began to laugh once more. "How are you, little one?" whispered the kindly doctor, seeing Midge's fierce deliriums were all at an end. "May I see Dad and Babs?" was the soft re ply. The little flower-faced blossom was held at a distance in the mother's arms; but the father advanced to his darling's bedside, and on ' observing that all dangers were at an end he " kissed the face, still white and drawn, nnd raising his streaming eyes to Heaven, he thanked it for the existence and preservation of Midge. (The End.)