。， "Round and round the wood-heap they went, and round the shed, and roundthe house and under it, and back again, and round the wood-heap and overit and round the other way, and kept it up for close on an hour. Bill'sbill was just within an inch or so of the game-rooster's tail feathersmost of the time, but he couldn't get any nearer, do how he liked. Andall the time the fellers kept chyackin Page and singing out, 'What priceyer game 'un, Page! Go it, Bill! Go it, old cock!' and all that sort ofthing. Well, the game-rooster went as if it was a go-as-you-please, andhe didn't care if it lasted a year. He didn't seem to take any interestin the business, but Bill got excited, and by-and-by he got mad. He heldhis head lower and lower and his wings further and further out from hissides, and prodded away harder and harder at the ground behind, but itwasn't any use. Jim seemed to keep ahead without trying. They stuckto the wood-heap towards the last. They went round first one way for awhile, and then the other for a change, and now and then they'd go overthe top to break the monotony; and the chaps got more interested in therace than they would have been in the fight--and bet on it, too. ButBill was handicapped with his weight. He was done up at last; he sloweddown till he couldn't waddle, and then, when he was thoroughly knockedup, that game-rooster turned on him, and gave him the father of ahiding.
。， A clearing in the scrub--bare as though the surface of the earth wereploughed and harrowed, and dusty as the road. Two oblong huts--one forthe shearers and one for the rouseabouts--in about the centre of theclearing (as if even the mongrel scrub had shrunk away from them) builtend-to-end, of weatherboards, and roofed with galvanised iron. Littleventilation; no verandah; no attempt to create, artificially, a breathof air through the buildings. Unpainted, sordid--hideous. Outside, heapsof ashes still hot and smoking. Close at hand, "butcher's shop"--a bushand bag breakwind in the dust, under a couple of sheets of iron, withoffal, grease and clotted blood blackening the surface of theground about it. Greasy, stinking sheepskins hanging everywhere withblood-blotched sides out. Grease inches deep in great black patchesabout the fireplace ends of the huts, where wash-up and "boiling" wateris thrown.
But after I'd fixed him comfortably and given him a drink from the waterbag the greyness left his face, and he pulled himself together a bit; hedrew up his arms and folded them across his chest. He let his head restback against the tree--his slouch hat had fallen off revealing a broad,white brow, much higher than I expected. He seemed to gaze on the azurefin of the range, showing above the dark blue-green bush on the horizon.。，
"And sometimes she'd come skipping into the breakfast-room late, lookingawfully sweet in her dressing-gown; and if she saw any of us there,she'd pretend to be much startled, and say that she thought all the menhad gone out, and make as though she was going to clear; and someone 'djump up and give her a chair, while someone else said, 'Come in, MissBrown! come in! Don't let us frighten you. Come right in, and haveyour breakfast before it gets cold.' So she'd flutter a bit in prettyconfusion, and then make a sweet little girly-girly dive for her chair,and tuck her feet away under the table; and she'd blush, too, but Idon't know how she managed that.。， "Her mother was coming up to stay awhile at the end of the year, but theold man hurt his leg. Then her married sister was coming, but one of theyoungsters got sick and there was trouble at home. I saw the doctor inthe town--thirty miles from here--and fixed it up with him. He was aboozer--I'd 'a shot him afterwards. I fixed up with a woman in the townto come and stay. I thought Mary was wrong in her time. She must havebeen a month or six weeks out. But I listened to her.... Don't arguewith a woman. Don't listen to a woman. Do the right thing. We shouldhave had a mother woman to talk to us. But it was no place for a woman!"
。， Peter's goldmining ventures were not successful. He sank three duffersin succession on Gulgong, and the fourth shaft, after paying expenses,left a little over a hundred to each party, and Peter had to send thebulk of his share home. He lived in a tent (or in a hut when he couldget one) after the manner of diggers, and he "did for himself", even towashing his own clothes. He never drank nor "played", and he took littleenjoyment of any kind, yet there was not a digger on the field who woulddream of calling old Peter McKenzie "a mean man". He lived, as we knowfrom our own observations, in a most frugal manner. He always tried tohide this, and took care to have plenty of good things for us when heinvited us to his hut; but children's eyes are sharp. Some said thatPeter half-starved himself, but I don't think his family ever knew,unless he told them so afterwards.
Trav'lers and strangers failed to see anything uncommonly ratty abouthim. It was known, or, at least, it was believed, without question, thatwhile at work he kept his horse saddled and bridled, and hung up to thefence, or grazing about, with the saddle on--or, anyway, close handyfor a moment's notice--and whenever he caught sight, over the scrub andthrough the quarter-mile break in it, of a traveller on the road, hewould jump on his horse and make after him. If it was a horsemanhe usually pulled him up inside of a mile. Stories were told ofunsuccessful chases, misunderstandings, and complications arising out ofHowlett's mania for running down and bailing up travellers. Sometimes hecaught one every day for a week, sometimes not one for weeks--it was alonely track.。，