'Well, good-bye, old man,' says I, 'and good luck. One of us will come and lead you into the weighing yard, if you pull it off, and chance the odds, if Sir Ferdinand himself was at the gate.'

'All right,' says he, 'I'll look out for you,' and off he goes. I went back and told Aileen and Gracey, and we settled that they were to drive out to the course with Cyrus Williams and his wife. I rode, thinking myself safer on horseback, for fear of accidents. Starlight, of course, went in the Dawsons' drag, and was going to enjoy himself to the last minute. He had his horse ready at a moment's notice, and Warrigal was not far off to give warning, or to bring up his horse if we had to ride for it.

Well, the first part of the day went well enough, and then about half-past one we all went down to the church. The young fellow that was to marry Bella Barnes was known on the field and well liked by the miners, so a good many of them made it up to go and see the wedding. They'd heard of Bella and Maddie, and wanted to see what they looked like.

The church was on the side of the town next the racecourse, so they hadn't far to go. By and by, as the crowd moved that way, Starlight says to the Commissioner --

'Where are all these good folks making for?'

'Why, the fact is there's to be a wedding,' he says, 'and it excites a good deal of attention as the young people are well known on the field and popular. Bella Barnes and her sister are very fine girls in their way. Suppose we go and look on too! There won't be anything now before the big race.'

'By Jove! a first-rate ideah,' says Starlight. 'I should like to see an Australian wedding above all things.'

'This will be the real thing, then,' says Mr. Jack Dawson. 'Let's drive up to our hotel, put up the horses, have a devil and a glass of champagne, and we can be back easy in time for the race.' So away they went. Cyrus drove the girls and his wife in his dogcart, so we were there all ready to see the bride come up.

It looked a regular grand affair, my word. The church was that crammed there was hardly a place to sit or stand in. Every woman, young and old, in the countryside was there, besides hundreds of diggers who sat patiently waiting as if some wonderful show were going to take place. Aileen and Gracey had come in early and got a pew next to the top almost. I stood outside. There was hardly a chance for any one else to get in.

By and by up comes old Jonathan, driving a respectable-looking carriage, with his wife and Bella and Maddie all in white silk and satin, and looking splendid. Out he gets, and takes Bella to walk up the middle of the church. When he went in with Bella, Maddie had one look in, and it seemed so crammed full of people that she looked frightened and drew back. Just then up comes the Mr. Dawsons and Starlight, with the Commissioner and a few more.

Directly he sees Maddie draw back, Starlight takes the whole thing in, and walked forward.

'My dear young lady,' says he, 'will you permit me to escort you up the aisle? The bride appears to have preceded you.'

He offered her his arm, and, if you'll believe me, the girl didn't know him a bit in the world, and stared at him like a perfect stranger.

'It's all right, Miss Maddie,' says the Commissioner. He had a way of knowing all the girls, as far as a laugh or a bit of chaff went, especially if they were good-looking. 'Mr. Lascelles is an English gentleman, newly arrived, and a friend of mine. He's anxious to learn Australian ways.'

She took his arm then and walked on, never looking at him, but quite shy-like, till he whispered a word in her ear which brought more colour into her face than any one had seen there before for a year.

'My word, Lascelles knows how to talk to 'em,' says Jack Dawson. 'He's given that girl a whip that makes her brighten up. What a chap he is; you can't lick him.'

'Pretty fair all round, I should say,' says the other brother, Bill. 'Hullo! are we to go on the platform with the parson and the rest of 'em?'

The reason was that as we went up the church all together, all in a heap, with the Barneses and the bride, they thought we must be related to 'em; and the church being choke-full they shunted us on to the place inside the rails, where we found ourselves drafted into the small yard with the bridegroom, the bride, the parson, and all that mob.

There wasn't much time to spare, what with the racing and the general bustle of the day. The miners gave a sort of buzz of admiration as Bella and Maddie and the others came up the aisle. They looked very well, there's no manner of doubt. They were both tallish girls, slight, but well put together, and had straight features and big bright eyes, with plenty of fun and meaning in 'em. All they wanted was a little more colour like, and between the hurry for time and Bella getting married, a day's work that don't come often in any one's life, and having about a thousand people to look at 'em, both the girls were flushed up a good deal. It set them off first-rate. I never saw either of them look so handsome before. Old Barnes had come down well for once, and they were dressed in real good style -- hadn't overdone it neither.

When the tying-up fakement was over everything went off first-rate. The bridegroom was a hardy-looking, upstanding young chap that looked as if work was no trouble to him. Next to a squatter I think a Government surveyor's the best billet going. He can change about from one end of the district to another. He has a good part of his time the regular free bush life, with his camp and his men, and the harder he works the more money he makes. Then when he comes back to town he can enjoy himself and no mistake. He is not tied to regular hours like other men in the service, and can go and come when he likes pretty well. Old Barnes would be able to give Bella and her sister a tidy bit of money some day, and if they took care they'd be comfortable enough off after a few years. He might have looked higher, but Bella would make any man she took to a slashing good wife, and so she did him. So the parson buckles them to, and the last words were said. Starlight steps forward and says, 'I believe it's the custom in all circles to salute the bride, which I now do,' and he gave Bella a kiss before every one in the most high and mighty and respectful manner, just as if he was a prince of the blood. At the same time he says, 'I wish her every happiness and good fortune in her married life, and I beg of her to accept this trifling gift as a souvenir of the happy occasion.' Then he pulls off a ring from his little finger and slips it on hers. The sun glittered on it for a moment. We could see the stones shine. It was a diamond ring, every one could see. Then the Commissioner steps forward and begs to be permitted the same privilege, which made Bella laugh and blush a bit. Directly after Mr. Chanewood, who had stood quiet enough alongside of his wife, tucked her arm inside of his and walked away down the church, as if he thought this kind of thing was well enough in its way, but couldn't be allowed to last all day.