Page:Bush Studies (1902).djvu/92

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
80
BUSH STUDIES

Go an' 'ave a snooze. I'll wake yer up ther day after termorrer."

He craned his neck to see into the nearest cattle-van. Four were down, he told his mates, who remarked, with blasphemous emphasis, that they would probably lose half before getting them to the scrub country.

The listening woman passenger, in a carriage between the drover and the bagman, heard a thud soon after in the cattle-truck, and added another to the list of the fallen. Before dawn that day the train had stopped at a siding to truck them, and she had watched with painful interest these drought-tamed brutes being driven into the crowded vans. The tireless, greedy sun had swiftly followed the grey dawn, and in the light that even now seemed old and worn, the desolation of the barren shelterless plains, that the night had hidden, appalled her. She realized the sufferings of the emaciated cattle. It was barely noon, yet she had twice emptied the water bottle "shogging" in the iron bracket.

The train dragged its weary length again, and she closed her eyes from the monotony of the dead plain. Suddenly the engine cleared its