And so they approached the bridge over the river and Pixie and Dixie—who'd never been in this part of the County before—were amazed at the four-story house which rose high over the bridge and ran the full length, about twenty feet or so, with an archway through which even quite tall people—in comparison with Pixie and Dixie—could walk without ducking their heads or bumping them, and wide enough for a single horse and cart, or motor car, and sitting at a small table by the entrance was a jolly-looking fellow, dressed in a red sweater and blue pants, with one leg in a kind of caliper, and a jaunty yachtsman's cap at an angle on his head; Lucky Lester, for it was certainly he, according to the sign beside him which stated that he was the
Schola Saxonum Toll Bridge,
horses and riders 9c,
horse-drawn wagons 10c,
motorized vehicles 15c-30c depending on length
"why's it called that?" Dixie whispered to Henry, who crouched beside him and whispered back: "cause it crosses the Schola Saxonum River, okay? now leave the talkin' to me," and he turned to the Bridge Manager, doffing his hat which gesture the jolly man emulated, then Henry said: "looking better, Lucky, I guess workin outdoors like this is better than bein a miner, eh?" and Lucky agreed: "sure thing, Henry, it's a young man's game underground, although Godfrey ain't young, as you well know, but I spose Troll years ain't the same as ours, and the new Engineer he's got knows a thing or two, he's fairly mechanised the place since my accident, but I'm not complainin', sure it was a lucky turn for me, got me this billet an' Dusty's inside bakin' a pie - rhubarb still yer favourite?" and Henry acknowledged the truth of this, then Lucky asked Mayzie, "how're you gettin' on with the cartwheels?" and she told him her record was twenty-five in a row, and offered to demonstrate, but Lucky suggested she wait till after lunch, then told Henry that the Engineer, Simon Legree usually stopped the diggers at Noon and he and Godfrey would be coming above ground: "course, Legree's a bit of a hard taskmaster and he'd have the machines runnin' round the clock, but Godfrey's an Old School Troll, 'Down Tools for Mealbreaks,' sez he, can't abide the feel of the vibration down below when he's eatin' says it spoils his appetite and brings on a malaise - you ever see a Troll with a malaise, Henry?" but Henry shook his head, so Lucky explained: "turns him sorta greeny-orange, and comes out in purple boils, an' 'is breath gets like cinnamon, an' you knows how Trolls can't abide cinnamon," which Henry admitted he did: "yepp, I was up in Down City when there was an epidemic of cinnamon-itis among the Old German Trolls, in the middle o their Annual Weimarization Festival, you ever been to that, Lucky?" and the jolly man beamed: "oh for sure, Henry, me an the Missus was there for our Honeymoon that very week - not when they had the cinnamon-itis, I think it musta been two years after the one you're talkin' about - but it was the Festival Week, oh what a Lucky man I am to be married to Dusty an' have my beautiful kids, but you know what happened last week?" and Henry grinned, "nope, although I guess you're gonna tell us," and Lucky nodded: "I didn't win the Lottery!" and despite Henry's reproachful glance, Mayzie blurted out: "what's lucky about that? we didn't either," but Lucky didn't take any offence, he said: "well, it was Hiram Herman, you know him, Henry, the Hermit over in Underhill, he won it, single ticket, no sharers, so he went to the Post Office to collect his winnin's an' just as he came out, with that big wad of notes in his hand, a runaway goat butted him an he fell in the road, got run over by a bus, let go of the cash, an it got sucked up by a twister, distributed over five Counties, poor old Hiram got taken to hospital, seven busted ribs, both legs broken, cracked spine, fractured skull, lost eleven teeth—an he only had twelve before that—he's in plaster from his ankles to the top o his head, that's how lucky I am!" at which very moment, Dusty Lester appeared carrying a tray which she set down on the table, "good to see you, Henry, I looked out an' saw you and Mayzie an your little friends," at which Dixie opened his mouth, but Pixie clamped a paw over it, "so I brung out extra, you always look like you could use a decent feed, Henry," and the Cat with the Hat grinned like he was from Cheshire, and said: "I guess it's my metabolism, Dusty, but the fact is, I always can!" and with that, and the extra chairs Dusty took from behind the sign, they all settled in to enjoy lunch, and await the arrival of Godfrey the Troll and the mysterious Simon Legree!