For two hours, they tramped in semi-darkness through the thick pines. The ground was uneven, tree roots and stones sticking up at odd angles, and more than one of them stumbled as their wearying feet failed to lift sufficiently off the ground. The going was far slower than the two doctors would have liked, but they dared not press on too hard, for fear of pushing any of the weaker members of their party over the edge and thereby halting progress altogether.
Eventually, just as one or two of them were beginning to feel that they could walk no further, they heard the sound of a motor car and quite suddenly, the trees began to thin out and the road came into view. The doctors stopped and lowered Miss Wilson to the ground where she leaned on Jack’s shoulder. Gottfried turned to face the girls.
“You can all rest here now in this clearing. Dr Jack and I must go and find transport to get us to my aunt's. We will return in a short while. Please do not wander out of sight of this place as we do not know how long we will be and you must be ready to leave immediately on our return. And try to remain friends,” he added looking pointedly at the two Americans, who were still inclined to squabble, “we still have some way to go yet.”
As his colleague spoke, Jack lowered Miss Wilson to a sitting position against the trunk of an old pine and moved to examine her ankle. “Joey, can you come and help here please?” he requested. As she came over, Jack held the ankle up a foot in the air as Miss Wilson winced with pain. “Can you keep Nell’s ankle elevated at no less than this angle whilst we are gone?” he asked her quietly. “It will help relieve the pain for her.”
Joey nodded and sat down beside her friend, bending her knees up and resting the ankle on top of them. Nell smiled at her gratefully as she felt the pain subside slightly, and the two doctors took their leave.