AND he hadn’t any “ideers”—at least, he said so himself— except as regarded anything that looked to him like what he called “funny business”, under which heading he catalogued tyranny, treachery, interference with the liberty of the subject by the subject, “blanky” lies, or swindles—all things, in short, that seemed to his slow understanding dishonest, mean or paltry; most especially, and above all, treachery to a mate. That he could never forget. Andy was uncomfortably “straight”. His mind worked slowly and his decisions were, as a rule, right and just; and when he once came to a conclusion concerning any man or matter, or decided upon a course of action,
JIM was born on Gulgong, New South Wales. We used to say ‘on’ Gulgong—and old diggers still talked of being ‘on th’ Gulgong’— though the goldfield there had been worked out for years, and the place was only a dusty little pastoral town in the scrubs. Gulgong was about the last of the great alluvial ‘rushes’ of the ‘roaring days’—and dreary and dismal enough it looked when I was there. The expression ‘on’ came from being on the ‘diggings’ or goldfield—the workings or the goldfield was all underneath, of course, so we lived (or starved) on them—not in nor at ’em. Mary and I had been married about two years when Jim came—— His name wasn’t ‘Jim’, by the way, it was ‘John Henry’, after an uncle godfather;
BERMAGUI: Where The Mystery was - and where mystery is. Sunset, and a sad, old mysterious bright gold fan-like to dull copper one. Red flag with broad white cross; gloomy and half fearful, half threatening in sunset glare. Sort of jumbled curve of bay - sand, rotten rock and beach scrub and tussock. As if it were meant to be a clean curve with white sand. But juttings-out of rotting earth and sand and bastard rock that were not "points" nor anything else were left - mixed up with scraggy bush and scrub and coarse tufts that Nature forgot, or hadn't time to shove away and tidy up.
DAVE REGAN, Jim Bently, and Andy Page were sinking a shaft at Stony Creek in search of a rich gold quartz reef which was supposed to exist in the vicinity. There is always a rich reef supposed to exist in the vicinity; the only questions are whether it is ten feet or hundreds beneath the surface, and in which direction. They had struck some pretty solid rock, also water which kept them baling. They used the old-fashioned blasting-powder and time-fuse. They’d make a sausage or cartridge of blasting-powder in a skin of strong calico or canvas, the mouth sewn and bound round the end of the fuse;
THE MORAL should be revived. Therefore, this is a story with a moral. The lower end of Bill Street—otherwise William—overlooks Blue’s Point Road, with a vacant wedge-shaped allotment running down from a Scottish church between Bill Street the aforesaid and the road, and a terrace on the other side of the road. A cheap, mean-looking terrace of houses, flush with the pavement, each with two windows upstairs and a large one in the middle downstairs, with a slit on one side of it called a door—looking remarkably skully in ghastly dawns, afterglows, and rainy afternoons and evenings.
The Oracle and I were camped together. The Oracle was a bricklayer by trade, and had two or three small contracts on hand. I was "doing a bit of house-painting". There were a plasterer, a carpenter, and a plumber -- we were all T'othersiders, and old mates, and we worked things together. It was in Westralia -- the Land of T'othersiders -- and, therefore, we were not surprised when Mitchell turned up early one morning, with his swag and an atmosphere of salt water about him.
THERE are many times in this world when a healthy boy is happy. When he is put into knickerbockers, for instance, and ‘comes a man to-day,’ as my little Jim used to say. When they’re cooking something at home that he likes. When the ‘sandy-blight’ or measles breaks out amongst the children, or the teacher or his wife falls dangerously ill —or dies, it doesn’t matter which—’and there ain’t no school.’ When a boy is naked and in his natural state for a warm climate like Australia, with three or four of his schoolmates, under the shade of the creek-oaks in the bend where there’s a good clear pool with a sandy bottom.
"When you're going away by boat," said Mitchell, "you ought to say good-bye to the women at home, and to the chaps at the last pub. I hate waiting on the wharf or up on deck when the boat's behind time. There's no sense in it, and a lot of unnecessary misery. Your friends wait on the wharf and you are kept at the rail to the bitter end, just when they and you most want a spell. And why? Some of them hang out because they love you, and want to see the last of you; some because they don't like you to see them going away without seeing the last of you; and you hang out mostly because it would hurt 'em if you went below and didn't give them a chance of seeing the last of you all the time --
THE TIME Mary and I shifted out into the Bush from Gulgong to ‘settle on the land’ at Lahey’s Creek. I’d sold the two tip-drays that I used for tank-sinking and dam-making, and I took the traps out in the waggon on top of a small load of rations and horse-feed that I was taking to a sheep-station out that way. Mary drove out in the spring-cart. You remember we left little Jim with his aunt in Gulgong till we got settled down.