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Miss Wilson, Cornelia and the Robin were the only ones awake when the men returned to the group, and they smiled to hear the American girl telling tales of her homeland, a place that seemed so foreign to the Robin that they kept her almost as rapt as any fairytale that Joey might create.

“Quite a story you’re telling there, Corney,” Jack said, as that young lady made good use of the more colourful side of her vocabulary.

Quite unabashed, Cornelia grinned back at him. “Well, I may not have Jo’s imagination but I guess I can spin a yarn with the best of them,” she retorted.  “Is it time to set off again?”

“Certainly is,” he replied, “and I was going to ask for your help in waking the others, but your clarion tones appear to have done the job beautifully.” He looked around to see Jeanne, Lorenz and Hilary all stirring and coming to. “See to waking Evvy for me will you?”

Leaving her to see to her compatriot, he turned his attention to Joey and crouching down beside her, shook her gently by the shoulder.  When she didn’t move, he shook her again, this time a little harder.

“Do stop shaking me, Jack, I’m already awake.  I was just hoping that if I kept my eyes shut it would all be a dream and I’d wake up in a nice comfy bed,” and with that she sat up, rubbing her eyes.

Jack chuckled and squeezed her shoulder gently. “Never mind, dearest, if all goes well that’s where you will hopefully find yourself tomorrow morning.”

Her eyes misted over as she gazed up at his face.  “Oh Jack, I do hope you’re right. Can you believe we are so close to being safe?”

As he looked at her, he had to work hard to fight the temptation to take her in his arms and tell her that they were already safe, that Hitler and his henchmen could not hurt them now. He knew though that he had to wait a little while longer to impart that knowledge, so instead he squeezed her shoulder again and dropped a quick kiss on her forehead, before standing up and going to help Gottfried bind Miss Wilson’s foot.  They had almost finished when they were interrupted by a loud yell, and they turned around to see Cornelia nursing her chin, while Evadne clutched her forehead.

“Now look what you’ve done, you great splay-footed galoot!” the latter was exclaiming furiously.  “What on earth made you do that?”

“Well if you weren’t so lazy I wouldn’t have had to now, would I!” Cornelia returned indignantly.  “It’s not my fault if you can’t get up as normal civilized people do.”

Jack sighed and, rolling his eyes at Gottfried, who grinned in return, he stood up and crossed over to the site of the disturbance.  “Shut up both of you.” He issued the order sternly. “The last thing we need is you two squabbling. Now let me look at you.”

Having satisfied himself that there were no greater injuries than Cornelia’s slightly bitten tongue, he asked for an explanation.  It transpired that having shaken Evadne roughly several times, with no response, Cornelia had decided that the best course of action was to sit on her legs.  She had sat down rather more heavily than intended, however, and the result was that Evadne had woken with a terrific start and, sitting bolt upright, had crashed her head into Cornelia’s chin.

“Alright, let’s leave it at that shall we? I know it wasn’t a very bright thing for Corney to do, Evvy, but it wasn’t on purpose so do stop making such a fuss. You’re not really hurt, even if your head is a bit sore,” he said, as that young lady continued to mutter under her breath. 

He turned back towards Gottfried and Evadne satisfied herself with pulling a quite remarkable face at her friend.  Thankfully, before Cornelia could retaliate, the Austrian stood up and announced, “Time for us to leave.  Cornelia, you and Joey take the Robin with you, Hilary you take Lorenz, and Evvy please will you help Jeanne.  Jack and I must carry Miss Wilson between us so Joey, if you three could also manage our bags please? We must walk until we reach the road, then we can rest again.”

And with that, the two doctors made a queen’s chair with their arms and when Miss Wilson was settled comfortably, they set off again, deeper into the forest.




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