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True Tilda eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 260 pages of information about True Tilda.

She walked resolutely away down the path.

“But where are you going?” asked Arthur Miles, running and catching up with her.

“Farther on, as usual,” she snapped.  “Can’t yer see they don’t want us?”

“But why?”

“Because they’re love-makin’.”

He made no answer, and she glanced at his face.  Its innocent wonderment nettled her the more, yet she had no notion why.  She walked on faster than ever.  In the clearing by the “Four Alls” they came on the young American.  He had packed up his camp furniture, and was busy stowing it in the canoe.

“Hullo!” he greeted them.  “Can’t stay for another sitting, if that’s what you’re after.”

With Tilda in her present mood the boy felt a sudden helplessness.  The world in this half-hour—­for the first time since his escape—­had grown unfriendly.  His friends were leaving him, averting their faces, turning away to their own affairs.  He stretched out his hands.

“Won’t you take us with you?”

Mr. Jessup stared.

“Why, certainly,” he answered after a moment.  “Hand me the valise, there, and nip on board.  There’s plenty of room.”

He had turned to Tilda and was addressing her.  She obeyed, and handed the valise automatically.  Certainly, and without her help, the world was going like clockwork this morning.

CHAPTER XVIII.

DOWN AVON.

“_ O, my heart! as white sails shiver,
     And crowds are passing, and banks stretch wide,
   How hard to follow, with lips that quiver,
     That moving speck on the far-off side._”—­JEAN INGELOW.

They were afloat:  Arthur Miles in the bows, Tilda amidships, and both facing Mr. Jessup, who had taken the stern seat, and there steered the canoe easily with a single paddle, as the Indians do.

They shot under the scour of a steep bank covered with thorns and crab-apple trees and hummocks of sombre grass.  Beyond this they drifted down to Welford Weir and Mill, past a slope where the yellowing chestnuts all but hid Welford village.  They had to run the canoe ashore here, unlade her of the valises and camp furniture, and carry her across the weir.  The children enjoyed this amazingly.

“Boy, would you like to take a paddle?” asked Mr. Jessup.

Now this was what Arthur Miles had been desiring for twenty minutes past, and with all his soul.  So now, the canoe having been launched again and Tilda transferred to the bows, he found himself perched amidships, with his gaze fixed on the reaches ahead, and in his hand a paddle, which he worked cautiously at first, following Mr. Jessup’s instructions.  But confidence soon grew in him, and he began to put more vigour into his strokes.  “Right, sonny,” and “Better and better” commented his instructor, for the child took to it as a duck to water.  In twenty minutes or so he

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