Page:Bush Studies (1902).djvu/68

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And as the dog kept watch, he thrust them back hurriedly, missing all the pleasure and excitement of a final recount.

With dumb show he asked several questions of his sentinel, and took his answers from his eyes. Then, when Warder, relieved, began to walk about, the old man with forced confidence chaffed him. He sought refuge from his own fears by trying to banish the dog's, and suggested dingoes at the sheepyard, or a "goanner" on the roof. "Well, 'twas 'possum," he said, making a pretence of even then hearing and distinguishing the sound.

But round his waist the belt did not go that night. Only its bulk in his life of solitariness could have conceived its hiding place.

He bustled around as one having many tasks, but these he did aimlessly. With a pretence of unconcern he attempted to hum, but broke off frequently to listen. He was plainly afraid of the dog's keen ears missing something. But his mate's tense body proclaimed him on duty.

"I know who yer thort 'twas, Warder!" They were sitting side by side, yet he spoke very loudly. "Scrammy 'and, ehm?" He had guessed correctly.