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  ― 208 ―

‘Barton's Jackaroo.’

‘Bother!’ exclaimed Mr Barton, the Manager of Tarnpirr, as he finished reading one of his letters on a certain evening.

‘What's the matter, papa?’ asked his daughter, Daisy, pausing with the teapot in her hand.

‘Oh, nothing much, my dear,’ he replied; only we are to have company. The firm is sending up the 444th cousin of an Irish Earl to learn sheep-farming, and I suppose I've got the contract to break him in. That's all.’

‘I wish your mother could be at home, Daisy,’ he continued. ‘I never did care much about these colonial-experience fellows. They generally give a lot of trouble, especially when they're well connected. There, read the precious letter for yourself. Pity we couldn't put him into the hut, instead of making him one of ourselves—eh, Daisy?’

The girl laughed as she read aloud,—

‘Mr Fortescue is highly connected; and as he not only brings introductions from the London office, but


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also possesses an interest in several properties out here, we hope you will do your best to make him comfortable, and to give him that insight into the business that he seems desirous of acquiring at first hand.’

‘Why, daddy!’ she exclaimed, ‘you ought to think yourself honoured — “highly connected,” not merely “well,” remember—by such a charge! As for myself, I am all anxiety to see him.’

‘I don't think anything of the sort, then, Daisy, said her father. ‘And if I could afford to do so, I should like to tell them that I consider it a piece of impertinence on their part to ask me to receive a perfect stranger, knowing how I am situated alone with you, how small the place is, and how roughly we live. But one can't ride the high horse on a hundred and fifty pounds a year!’

And the Manager of Tarnpirr sighed, and stared thoughtfully into his cup.

In the general sense of the word, Daisy Barton was not a pretty girl, inasmuch as she possessed not one regular feature. But it was such a calm, quiet, pleasant face, out of which dark blue eyes looked so tenderly and honestly at you, that one forgot to search for details in the charm of the whole. Add to this, one of the neatest, trimmest, most loveable little figures imaginable, and you may have some faint idea of the pleasant picture she made as she sat thinking which of the two spare rooms should be got ready for the new inmate. Mrs Barton was never at the station.


  ― 210 ―
She was a confirmed invalid, and resided permanently in a far southern town. Daisy and an old Irishwoman kept house.

In due course the ‘highly connected’ one arrived, bringing with him as much luggage as sufficed to fill the extra room.

He was a tall, good-looking Englishman, and he gazed around at the small bare house with its strip of burnt-up, dusty garden, and background of sombre eucalypti; at the squalid ‘hut;’ the sluggish, dirty river; and the barren forlornness of everything, with a look on his face that caused Mr Barton to chuckle, and think to himself that the new-comer's stay would be short. The manager had expected a youngster, not a grown man of five or six and twenty, and he was rather puzzled.

This self-possessed, languid sort of gentleman, with well-cut features, long moustache, and slow, pleasant-sounding, if rather drawling, speech, wasn't by any means the sort of creature that Mr Barton was accustomed to associate with the term ‘jackaroo,’ and its natural corollary, ‘licking into shape.’

‘A fellow with lots of money, I expect,’ he said to Daisy that night after their guest, pleading fatigue, had retired. ‘One of those chaps who just come out to have a look around, and then off home again with wonderful stories about the wild Australian Bush.’

‘Yaas; shouldn't wondah, now, Mistah Barton, if you ah not quaite correct,’ laughed Daisy, mischievously.


  ― 211 ―
‘Oh, papa, do all the folk in England talk as if they were clean knocked up?’

‘Only the highly - connected ones, my dear,’ replied her father, smiling. ‘It's considered quite fashionable, too, amongst our own upper ten. He'll lose it after he's been bushed a few times. I shouldn't imagine from his looks, however, that he's got much backbone. He'll be away again presently—too rough a life.’

And, in fact, poor Fortescue at first often did get bushed.

Luckily for him, perhaps, a camp of blacks settled at Tarnpirr shortly after his arrival, and these made a regular income by hunting for and bringing him back. And he was very considerate.

Once, when he had been missing for three days, and Mr Barton and Daisy were half out of their minds with fright, he made the blacks who were bearing him home, tattered and hungry, and faint from exposure, go ahead for clean clothes and soap and water before he would put in an appearance. This incident only confirmed Mr Barton the more in his idea that he had to do with a man lacking strength of character — a dandy willing to sacrifice everything to personal outward show. His daughter thought quite otherwise.

However, in time, ‘Barton's Jackaroo,’ as he was called throughout the district of the lower rivers, became a favourite, not only at Tarnpirr, but on the neighbouring runs. Even old Bridget admitted that


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‘he was a good sort ov a cratur, barrin' the want ov a bit more life wid him.’

But he was always calm and self-possessed; and the Manager was accustomed to swear that a bush fire at his heels wouldn't make him quicken his pace by a step.

And once Daisy, in a moment of irritation, confided to her father that she felt inclined to stick a needle into his jackaroo for the sake of discovering whether that provoking air of leisurely languor was natural or assumed.

‘He's got no backbone, my dear,’ said the Manager, laughing. ‘But try him by all means. I'll bet you ten to one he only says what he did last week, when that old ram made a drive at him in the yard, and knocked him down and jumped on him.’

‘And what did he say to that?’ asked Daisy eagerly.

‘Well,’ replied Mr Barton, laughing again, ‘when he'd cleaned the mud out of his eyes and mouth, he looked surprised and said “Haw!” ’

‘Oh,’ said Daisy, disappointedly. ‘But what ought he to have said to show that he had a backbone, papa?’

‘Well,’ replied her father vaguely, ‘you know, Daisy— er—um—well, that is—um—a great many people, my dear, your father amongst them, perhaps, would be apt to say a good deal on such an occasion.’

‘I have a better opinion than ever of Mr Fortescue,’ cried Daisy indignantly at this. ‘Because he keeps his


  ― 213 ―
temper, and doesn't go on like Long Jim or Ben the Bullocky when any little thing happens, he's got no pluck or resolution! I own he exasperates one sometimes with his calm, dawdling ways. But if he were pushed, I shouldn't be surprised to find more in him than he gets credit for after all!’

‘Umph!’ said Mr Barton glancing kindly, but with rather a troubled face, at the flushed cheeks and sparkling eyes upturned to his own. And as he rode over the run that day the burden of his thoughts was that the sooner his serene-tempered jackaroo got tired of the Bush the better it would be for all of them.

‘Ned, if the river ain't a-risin', an' risin' precious quick, too, call me a Dutchman! 'Arf-an-hour ago the water warn't near them bullocks, and now it's right agin their 'eels!’

‘Well,’ replied his mate, glancing towards the brown stream slowly spreading over the flat, ‘we're safe enough. I'll forgive it if it comes over this. Tell you what, though, you might catch the pony an' canter up to the station, an' tell ole Barton as there's some water a-comin'. He might have some stock he'd like to git out o' the road. An' you might's well git a lump o' meat while you're there.’

So Ned, of the travelling bullock team, went with the news to Tarnpirr, lower down.

But Mr Barton that very morning had been to Warrooga township, and the telegraph people had said no word of floods or heavy rain at the head of the river.


  ― 214 ―
Around Tarnpirr and district the weather had been dry for weeks, so the Manager was not in the least uneasy.

‘It's only a bit of a fresh, Brown,’ said he. ‘It'll soon go down again. Thanks all the same, though. Meat? Yes, of course. And now you'd better go over to the kitchen and get your dinner.’

‘Boss reckons it's nothin',’ said Ned, returning that evening. ‘No rain fall'd up above.’

‘We wouldn't need shift anyhow,’ replied the other, preparing to cook the meat given them by Mr Barton, who little dreamt how welcome it would be to some people later on. ‘We're a lot higher here than they are at the station. I saw “Barton's Jackaroo” just now, out ridin' with Miss Daisy. He's a rum stick, he is.

‘But ain't she a little star!’ exclaimed Ned enthusiastically.

‘She are; all that!’ replied his mate. ‘Finest gall on the rivers. Too good by sights for any new-chum.’

And so the pair sat and yarned and watched the treacherous water of what was to become the biggest flood since '64 stealthily eating its way up amongst the long grass of the sandridge, sneaking quietly into little hollows, then pretending to creep back again, then with a rush advancing a miniature wave further than ever. Sat and talked and watched the brown expanse broaden until the tall oaks that bordered the banks were whipping the fierce current with their slender tops, sole mark now to show where lay mid-stream.




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‘It's a darned big lump of a fresh!’ quoth Ned doubtfully.

‘It'll be down afore mornin',’ replied his mate. ‘And anyhow it can't do us real bad, seein' what we've got in the loadin'. But there's no danger 'ere on this ridge.’

So they turned in under their tarpaulins, and never heard how the water hissed at midnight as it crept, little by little, advancing, receding, but always gaining, into their carefully covered-up fire.

In the snug sitting-room at Tarnpirr, with lamps burning brightly, and curtains drawn against the lowering dusk, sat Herbert Fortescue and Daisy Barton, their heads pretty close together over a chessboard.

‘I'm going across to the Back Ridge out-station this afternoon,’ had said Mr Barton. ‘I sha'n't be home before to-morrow; I want to see how Macpherson's getting on with those weaners. Needn't bother about the river. It's only a fresh, or Warrooga would have sent us word.’

Alas for dependence on Warrooga with its absent trooper, and absent-minded operator, who was warned, just after Manager Barton left him, that masses of water were coming down three rivers towards Tarnpirr!

Had he but taken horse and galloped out the few miles, or sent, things might have happened very differently, and this story would never have been written. But as it was—

‘There!’ exclaimed Daisy, ‘my king is in trouble


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again. I feel out of sorts to-night. It's very close. Shall we go on to the verandah?’

‘With pleasure,’ said the young man rising. ‘But it's as dark as pitch outside. Give me your hand, please, for fear you stumble.’

Hesitating for a moment, their eyes met, and with deepening colour she placed her hand in his, and they went out through the long window into the night. It was very quiet, and the darkness felt woolly and warm. No light glimmered anywhere, and the only sound was the cry of a solitary mopoke coming from amongst the spectral boles of the box trees.

‘The men are in bed, I suppose,’ said Daisy, glancing towards their hut.

They are away on the run, replied Fortescue, ‘drawing fencing stuff for the new line. But it's a wonder we don't see the black's fire.’

As they stood leaning against the garden fence a soft continuous ripple, mingled with a sound like the sighing of wind through tall belars fell on their ears.

‘It's only the river,’ said Daisy, ‘I've often heard it making that mournful noise when it's rising over its banks. Shall we walk as far as the camp?’

It was a rough track, and more than once, but for the sustaining arm of her companion, Daisy would have come to grief over log or tussock.

But they got there at last, guided by a few dim sparks from expiring fires.

‘Why, it's deserted,’ exclaimed Daisy, as they found


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themselves amongst the empty gunyahs. ‘They're gone, dogs and all.’

‘Off on some hunting expedition, I expect,’ replied Fortescue, laughing. ‘They look at me in a comically disgusted manner of late since I left off getting bushed so regularly.’

It was too dark to see the water, but they stood for a long time listening to the swish of it as it ran full-lipped from one steep high bank to the other, telling with eerie mutterings and whisperings, and curious little complaining noises, and low hoarse threatenings of what it would presently do, and the mischief it would work, but in language all untranslatable by its hearers.

‘What a sweet little lady it is,’ said Fortescue to himself as, later, he sat on the edge of his bed staring straight before him into a pair of tender, steadfast eyes conjured out of the darkness. I wonder if she does? I'm nearly sure of it, thank heaven! Why, she is worth coming here and roughing it like this, and being called “Barton's Jackaroo” twenty times over for!’ and he laughed gently. ‘Fancy a prize like that hidden away amongst these solitudes. I wonder what her father will say? Anyhow, I won't put it off any longer. I'll ask him to-morrow.’

With which resolution he laid down and went to sleep, still thinking on Daisy Barton.

He awoke with a start, and lay listening to noises in his room, the remnants, as he imagined, of some grotesque dream.

Gurglings there were, and agonised squeakings and


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scrapings, with, now and then, ploppings and splashings as of many small swimmers. Then something cold, wet and hairy, crawled over his hand.

Shaking it off with an exclamation, he jumped out of bed, and with the shock of it, stood stock still for two minutes up to his knees in water.

Then, striking a match, he saw that his room was awash, and that all sorts of articles were floating about it, drawn hither and thither by the current which swelled and eddied between the old slabs. Up a corner of blanket, touching the water, swarmed a great host of ants, tarantulas, beetles and crickets, whilst drowning mice, lizards, and heaven knows what else, swam wildly round and round and gratefully hailed his bare legs as a harbour of refuge. Hastily rubbing them off, and getting into some wet clothes, he opened the window and looked out. A wan moon shed a feeble light upon one vast sea of turgid water. Nothing in sight but water—water, and the tops of the trees quivering above the flood! No wonder the river talked to itself last night! The scene was enough to make even a man with a backbone quail and feel a bit nervous.

As for Barton's Jackaroo, his first astonishment over, he forgot himself so far as first to whistle, and then to swear, but very softly and tentatively, as one trying an experiment.

You see, this was a different matter altogether to being butted of rams, or even being badly bushed without a drink for three days and three nights.




  ― 219 ―

Brushing off his sleeve the head of a column of sugar-ants that had effected a lodgment via the window-sill, he waded into the sitting-room and lit the lamp. Then, making for Daisy's room, he called and tapped until she answered.

‘It's me—Fortescue. Don't be alarmed, Daisy—Miss Barton,’ said he. ‘The water's in the house. Get up and dress, and come out as quickly as possible.’

As he finished speaking a wild yell rang through the place, and Bridget's voice from near by exclaimed, punctuated by screams,—

‘Howly Mother av Moses! Ow! Blessid Vargin an' all the saints purtect us! Ow! the divvle be wid me! but it's drowned I am this minnit! an' the wather up me legs, an' niver a soul comin' next anigh me! Och! wirras thru! it's a lost woman I am, wid all the mices and bastes atin' away at me! Ow! ow! ow!’

With difficulty suppressing a desire to laugh, Fortescue shouted to her to get her clothes on and join him. One little cry of dismay he heard from Daisy as she lit her candle, and then he returned to the dining-room.

Here he was startled to notice a burst of dull moon-light coming in through the front of the house where already were gaps caused by the slabs being displaced and carried away by the water.

Clearly the building, old and rotten, was going to pieces.

Presently Daisy, pale, but silent and composed, entered. Taking her in his arms, he placed her on a


  ― 220 ―
sideboard, grieving the while to see how the water poured from her clothes.

‘I am afraid the whole house will go, Daisy,’ he said. ‘It's shaky and decayed. I was thinking of making a stage on the wall-plates up there. But I'm sure now that our only hope is in a raft of some kind.’

At this moment in floundered Bridget, clasping a large bottle to her breast, and muttering at every stride objurgations, entreaties, and fag-ends of prayers.

‘Ochone!’ she cried, ‘may the saints an' the Howly Mother av all hould us in their kapin' this night!’ Then, uncorking the bottle, ‘Sure, Misthur Fortyskeu, sorr, if ye are a haythen, ye might have a thry for purgathory itself. It's better nor the other place, so it is. Here's the howly wather, avick, that Father Dennis give me lasht chapel at Warrooga—if ye'll let me sprinkle a weeshy dhrop—

‘Come, come, Bridget; stop that nonsense!’ exclaimed Fortescue sternly, as he knocked down slabs and pulled them inside. ‘Isn't there water enough about, without any more. Take the candle and get me some ropes—clothes-lines, saddlestraps, anything you can find!’

Bridget opened her mouth with astonishment. She had never been spoken to in such manner before. Then putting down her precious bottle, she waddled off.

Presently Daisy slipped into the water, saying,—

‘I can't sit there and watch you working away by yourself,’ and she helped to hold the slabs, whilst he and Bridget secured them with lashings.




  ― 221 ―

Four, ten feet long, tied at the ends, and upon them cross-pieces, and upon these the long dining-room table. This was the raft; and while Fortescue tied and knotted and fastened, he talked of how he had once been cast away in a yacht, and had then learned many things. And the pair, listening to his cheery voice, took courage, albeit the water now was waist high.

The seasoned pine timber floated like a cork, and to his satisfaction Fortescue found that with their combined weight it was still well out of the water. He was just considering whether it might be possible to secure a few valuables and important papers, when an ominous creaking caught his ear, and the house began to quiver bodily.

Hurriedly jumping on board and seizing a long thin slab, he pushed off. And what a wild sight it was outside, as the frail craft shot clear of everything into the flood!

The water ran like brown oil, swift but waveless, bearing with it logs, great trees, posts and rails, planks, heaps of straw, debris of every description, whilst into the still, warm air ascended a stern hum like the sound of some mighty engine. It was like the sound of the river purring with satisfaction at the fulfilling of its last night's promises.

Looking back, they saw through the open front the lamp, like some welcoming beacon, burning steadily across the waters. Even as they gazed, there was a faint crash heard, and the light disappeared. The house had gone, and in another moment its fragments drifted by


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them. Round and round they swept, now threatened by some huge uptorn tree whose bristling roots came nigh transfixing them, now nearly dashed against the topmost limbs of a standing one, taking all Fortescue's strength and skill to avoid a collision.

Presently they saw, on either hand, long strings of sheep swimming down the current with plaintive bleatings to their death; heard, too, shrill neighings and bellowings of drowning cattle and horses.

Round and round they swept, although they knew it not, towards the raging central current, where disaster was inevitable; whilst Daisy sat with white face, mute, and almost hopeless, and Bridget crouched, one arm around a table leg, mumbling over her beads; and Barton's Jackaroo, the man without a backbone, toiled steadily and watchfully, still finding time, at intervals, to throw a word of cheer to his helpless companions.

Crash! and a log overtaking them and hitting them end-on, sent the raft spinning; whilst to his dismay Fortescue felt the slabs begin to loose and spread. Decidedly, a few more knocks like that, and they would all find themselves in the water.

‘I'm afraid, Herbert, it's going to pieces,” whispered Daisy, who had crept close to where he knelt.

It was the first time she had ever used that name when addressing him, and her voice sounded so inexpressibly sweet that, without even glancing at Bridget, he turned and took the girl in his arms and kissed her, a caress which she, thinking her end at hand, and loving him, returned.




  ― 223 ―

Smash! and they are amongst the stout upper branches of what must be a giant tree. But, in place of pushing off, Fortescue hugs and pulls, and calls upon the women to help him, which they do until the raft is moored, so to speak, hard and fast between forks and branches, the only ones visible now over all that brown, bare waste of water with silver patches of moon-light here and there upon it.

It was a grateful thing to be at rest, even so precariously, after all the twisting and twirling they had come through; and Bridget, rising stiffly and shaking herself, with the fear of present death gone out of her soul, said,—

‘Praise the saints! Sure, Misther Fortyskeu, sorr, we oughter to be thankful for gettin' this far wid clane shkins, so we ought! Sorra a one ov me 'll go any furder if I can help it! Is the wather raisin' yet, does ye think, sorr?’

‘I'm afraid it is, Bridget,’ said Fortescue, as he sat on a stout limb supporting Daisy beside him. ‘I hope, though, it won't rise over the top of this tree.’ But, disquieted by the idea, he presently got into the water and tightened the lashings of the raft as well as he was able.

It was a long, dreary night, especially after the moon went down. Fortunately it was warm and fine. Indeed, throughout that trying time of flood, curiously enough, not a single point of rain fell in that region. They talked of many things, these two, nestling snugly in a great fork of the giant apple-tree, but their chief


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subject was the old, old story; whilst Bridget, just below them, alternately invoked heavenly succour and lamented earthly losses.

‘Twinty wan poun' notes undther me head in the bolsther, an' me too hurried an' flurried to remimber 'em! Sure, it's clane roond I am afther this noight, bad cess to it! But for Father Dennis's wather—may glory be his bed whin his toime comes—it's at the bottom wid the sheep and craturs I'd be afore now, so it is! May the saints above sind the blessed light an' the masther wid a ship to us! Ochone! Miss Daisy, me darlin', I knows it's hard on ye too. An' for ye too, sorr—God forgive me thinkin' ye wasn't quite so smart as ye moight be!’

And so she rambled on, unheeded by the lovers perched in the big fork above her.

Dawn at last, bright and clear, with presently a brilliant sun.

To his relief, Fortescue saw by the marks on the tree that the water was falling. By noon the raft was suspended high and dry. But still a lamentable procession of sheep and household débris, with an occasional horse or bullock, hurried along the swift central stream, at whose very verge a merciful Providence had arrested the raft. Presently Fortescue was lucky enough to secure a pumpkin out of the dozens floating about, and the three divided and ate it with an appetite. Slowly the shadows lengthened. Other tree tops, dishevelled and dirty with driftage, began to appear around them. The water was falling rapidly. But were they to pass


  ― 225 ―
another night there? Fortescue began to fear so, and was even setting about the construction of a platform out of the raft, when a loud ‘Coo-ee-e-e!’ made him start. ‘Coo-ee-e-e!’ in answer; and then a small boat pulled by two men came through the branches of the big tree.

‘Hoorar!’ shouted one. ‘We was afraid it was all up with yees! But where's the Boss?’

‘My father went to the out-station yesterday,’ replied Daisy.

‘Oh, then he's right enough,’ said the man. ‘Bet your life, miss, he ain't very far away this minute! He's seed, afore now, what the “bit of a fresh” turned to. Hand us down the lady fust, guv'nor.’

But old Bridget, being lowest, and in a hurry, suddenly let herself drop fairly on the speaker's shoulders, fetching him down, and nearly capsizing the boat. Then, to his infinite astonishment, she got her arms round his neck and hugged him, and would have served his mate the same way, but he sprang into the tree and avoided her.

‘Where are your waggons?’ asked Fortescue, as at last they pulled off.

‘Ten foot under water, by this, replied the carrier, ‘seein' it was up to the naves afore we left. We knowed nothin' till we feels it in our blankets. Then up we jumps, and, behold you, we're on a hiland about twenty foot round, an' the flood a-roarin' like billyho. As luck 'll 'ave it, Tom, there, has this boat in his loadin', takin' her to a storekeeper at Overflow—I


  ― 226 ―
expect he's a-thinkin' on her just now. So we hiked her out, paddles an' all, gits some tucker, an' steers for Tarnpirr, knowin' as you was a lot lower 'n we, an' no boat. Well, when we sees nothin' but water where the house shud ha' been, we reckoned you'd all been swep' away, so comes along on chance, cooeyin' pretty often. By jakers, guv'nor, if you hadn't 'appened to have savee enough to chuck that thing together, you'd all a' been gone goosers sure enough! I don't b'lieve there's one single solitary 'oof left on the run, not exceptin' our bullocks an' saddle 'orses.’

The castaways now made a much-needed meal off damper and some of the Tarnpirr mutton, and voted it a wonderful improvement on raw pumpkin, even with love for its sauce.

Before they had pulled a mile towards Warrooga, they met Mr Barton with some residents in the police boat. He had been nearly frantic with anxiety since, on returning home, he encountered the water, and, galloping back, had with great difficulty reached the town-ship.

‘What's the use?’ replied Mr Barton despondently, when, that same evening, Fortescue asked him for Daisy. ‘I'm a ruined man, and, like most such, selfish, and I want to keep my little girl. So far as I can gather, there's not an animal of any description left alive on Tarnpirr. Pastoral firms make no allowances; they'll say I ought to have cleared everything off before the flood came, and they'll sack me at a minute's notice.


  ― 227 ―
Of course, if the people here had done as they should, I might have saved most of the sheep, if not all. No; I don't like to disappoint you, after having behaved so nobly and pluckily—and I must say now that I never did you justice—but I think, Mr Fortescue, you'd better choose a wife elsewhere; I do, indeed.’

Seeing that Barton was irritable, and rather inclined to hug his misfortune, Fortescue, perhaps wisely, said no more just then, and apparently took his dismissal with a good grace.

But later, before starting for the capital, Daisy and he had a long talk, during which a conspiracy was hatched.

Mr Barton bade his jackaroo a kindly good-bye; and if he felt any surprise at the non-renewal of his suit, he never showed it.

He was expecting, with almost feverish impatience, a letter from the firm in answer to his own report, with details of the disaster at Tarnpirr. And when at length it arrived, after what seemed a long delay, and he found that, instead of the reproaches and curt dismissal he was prepared for, it contained sympathy and an appointment to a large station on the Darling Downs, words were wanting to express his utter astonishment, and his deep contrition for the bad opinion he had formed of his employers.

‘Never mind, Daisy,’ he cried. ‘They say the owner will be there himself to receive us on our arrival. I can thank him then in person.’

‘Dear me, how nice that will be!’ replied Daisy, demurely.




  ― 228 ―

‘And, only fancy,’ he went on, ‘they request us to take our servant—that's Bridget, of course—with us! I'm to find out, too, if those carriers lost much, and, if so, to compensate them.’

‘How very good and thoughtful they must be,’ answered Daisy—but this time with moist eyes.

I will not insult the reader's penetration by asking him to guess who the owner of that Downs station was.

It will be sufficient to remark that Mr and Mrs Fortescue have only just returned from their wedding trip to the Continent; and that it will be very long indeed ere they forget that memorable night in '90 upon which the waters came to Tarnpirr, and caused ‘Barton's Jackaroo' to show what he was made of.

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