"The landlord of the next pub. is not a bad sort. I won't go in--hemight remember me. You'd best go in. You've been tramping round in theWairarapa district for the last six months, looking for work. You'regoing back to Wellington now, to try and get on the new corporationworks just being started there--the sewage works. You think you've got ashow. You've got some mates in Wellington, and they're looking out fora chance for you. You did get a job last week on a sawmill atSilverstream, and the boss sacked you after three days and wouldn't payyou a penny. That's just his way. I know him--at least a mate of minedoes. I've heard of him often enough. His name's Cowman. Don't forgetthe name, whatever you do. The landlord here hates him like poison;he'll sympathize with you. Tell him you've got a mate with you; he'sgone ahead--took a short cut across the paddocks. Tell him you've gotonly fourpence left, and see if he'll give you a drop in a bottle. Saysyou: 'Well, boss, the fact is we've only got fourpence, but you mightlet us have a drop in a bottle'; and very likely he'll stand you acouple of pints in a gin-bottle. You can fling the coppers on thecounter, but the chances are he won't take them. He's not a bad sort.Beer's fourpence a pint out here, same's in Wellington. See thatgin-bottle lying there by the stump; get it and we'll take it down tothe river with us and rinse it out."。， "No, Ernie. Ain't you going to kiss me?... I'm satisfied."
。， "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.
"Stowsher's goin' to stick," said one privately.。， I saw him in Brisbane afterwards, well-dressed, getting out of a cab atthe entrance of one of the leading hotels. But his manner was no moreself-contained and well-to-do than it had been in the old sixpennydays--because it couldn't be. We had a well-to-do whisky together, andhe talked of things in the abstract. He seemed just as if he'd met me inthe Australia.
。， We became interested in the McKenzie family. Instead of getting bored bythem as some people were, we were always as much pleased when Peter gota letter from home as he was himself, and if a mail were missed, whichseldom happened--we almost shared his disappointment and anxiety. Shouldone of the youngsters be ill, we would be quite uneasy, on Peter'saccount, until the arrival of a later bulletin removed his anxiety, andours.
"But how did you come to know all about this?"。， Also: a hint with the seasons--remember that the seasons arereversed from those in the northern hemisphere, hence June may behot, but December is even hotter. Australia is at a lower latitudethan the United States, so the winters are not harsh by USstandards, and are not even mild in the north. In fact, large partsof Australia are governed more by "dry" versus "wet" than by Spring-Summer-Fall-Winter.
"You're nearly as good as an intelligent sheep-dog to talk to,Smith--when a man gets tired of thinking to himself and wants a relief.You're a bit of a mug and a good deal of an idiot, and the chances arethat you don't know what I'm driving at half the time--that's the mainreason why I don't mind talking to you. You ought to consider yourselfhonoured; it ain't every man I take into my confidence, even that far."。，
"The next job I got was in a mat factory; at least, Aunt got that forme. I didn't want to have anything to do with mats or carpets. The worstof it was the boss didn't seem to want me to go, and I had a job to gethim to sack me, and when he did he saw some of my people and took meback again next week. He sacked me finally the next Saturday.。， "Joe!" he added in a louder voice, condescendingly adapting his languageto my bushed comprehension. "I'm going to sling graft and try and getsome stuff together."
The Australian bush cat has a nasty, unpleasant habit of dragginga long, wriggling, horrid, black snake--she seems to prefer blacksnakes--into a room where there are ladies, proudly laying it down ina conspicuous place (usually in front of the exit), and then looking upfor approbation. She wonders, perhaps, why the visitors are in such ahurry to leave.。， Once, on Gulgong, when he attended the funeral of an old Ballaratmate, a stranger who had been watching his face curiously remarked thatMcKenzie seemed as pleased as though the dead digger had bequeathed hima fortune. But the stranger had soon reason to alter his opinion, forwhen another old mate began in a tremulous voice to repeat the words"Ashes to ashes, an' dust to dust," two big tears suddenly burst fromPeter's eyes, and hurried down to get entrapped in his beard.
， "I am a rouseabout of the rouseabouts. I have fallen so far that itis beneath me to try to climb to the proud position of 'ringer' of theshed. I had that ambition once, when I was the softest of green hands;but then I thought I could work out my salvation and go home. I've gotused to hell since then. I only get twenty-five shillings a week (lessstation store charges) and tucker here. I have been seven years west ofthe Darling and never shore a sheep. Why don't I learn to shear, andso make money? What should I do with more money? Get out of this and gohome? I would never go home unless I had enough money to keep me forthe rest of my life, and I'll never make that Out Back. Otherwise, whatshould I do at home? And how should I account for the seven years, ifI were to go home? Could I describe shed life to them and explain howI lived. They think shearing only takes a few days of the year--at thebeginning of summer. They'd want to know how I lived the rest of theyear. Could I explain that I 'jabbed trotters' and was a 'tea-and-sugarburglar' between sheds. They'd think I'd been a tramp and a beggar allthe time. Could I explain ANYTHING so that they'd understand? I'd haveto be lying all the time and would soon be tripped up and found out.For, whatever else I have been I was never much of a liar. No, I'llnever go home.。， Mitchell's mate moved uneasily, and crossed the other leg; he seemedgreatly interested.