Page:Germ Growers.djvu/8

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3
PRELIMINARY.

to make a shelter desirable; smoked and chatted. There was light enough to see the smoke of your pipe and the faces of those near you; but if you were listening to the chatter of a group in the other end of the room the faces of the speakers were so indistinct as often to give a startling challenge to your imagination if you had one, and if it was accustomed to take the bit in its teeth. I sometimes caught myself partly listening to a story-teller in the other end of the room and partly fashioning a face out of his dimly seen features, which quite belied the honest fellow's real countenance when the flash of a pipelight or a shifted lamp revealed it more fully.

Jack and I were more of listeners than talkers, and we were usually amongst the earliest who retired. But one evening there was a good deal of talk about the new gold-field in the north-west, and a keen-looking bushman who seemed to have just returned from the place began to describe its whereabouts. Then I listened attentively, and at one point in his talk, I started and looked over at Jack, and I saw that he was already looking at me. I got up and left the room without a sign to him, but I knew that he would follow me, and he did. It was bright moonlight, and when we met outside we strolled down to the beach