Page:Bush Studies (1902).djvu/85

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that the old man might be creeping along with the sheep—they were so used to him. He ran and headed them, driving them swiftly back to the yard. Before they were in he knew he was wrong. Again he turned and scanned the creek, but felt no impulse to search it. It was half a mile from the hut. It was impossible that the old man could have got there, or that he could have reached the more distant house. Besides, why did the dog stay at the door unless on guard? He ran back to the hut.

The dog was still there, and in no way appeased by the yarding or the sheep. He swore at the threatening brute, and cast about for a gibber to throw, but stones were almost unknown there. A sapling would save him! Seven or eight myall logs lay near for firewood, but all were too thick to be wielded. There was only the clump of myalls, and the few stunted sheoaks bordering the distant creek. To reach either would mean a dangerous delay. Oh, by God, he had it! These poles keeping down the bark roof. He ran to the back of the hut, cut a step in a slab, and, putting his foot in it, hitched the axe on one of the desired poles and was up in a moment. He could hear the cabbage fronds