Page:While the Billy Boils, 1913.djvu/353

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321
MACQUARIE'S MATE

people in this world―a lot of damned old woman nonsense. There's more sympathy wasted over dead and rotten skunks than there is justice done to straight, honest-livin' chaps. I don't b'lieve in this gory sentiment about the dead at the expense of the living. I b'lieve in justice for the livin'―and the dead too, for that matter―but justice for the livin'. Macquarie was a bad egg, and it don't alter the case if he was dead a thousand times.'

There was another breath of relief in the bar, and presently somebody said: 'Yer right, Sally!'

'Good for you, Sally, old man!' cried Box-o'-Tricks, taking it up. 'An', besides, I don't b'lieve Macquarie is dead at all. He's always dyin', or being reported dead, and then turnin' up again. Where did you hear about it, Awful?'

The Example ruefully rubbed a corner of his roof with the palm of his hand.

'There's―there's a lot in what you say, Sally Thompson,' he admitted slowly, totally ignoring Box-o-Tricks. 'But―but——'

'Oh, we've had enough of the old fool,' yelled Barcoo. 'Macquarie was a spieler, and any man that ud be his mate ain't much better.'

'Here, take a drink and dry up, yer ole hass!' said the man behind the bar, pushing a bottle and glass towards the drunkard. 'D'ye want a row?'

The old man took the bottle and glass in his shaking hands and painfully poured out a drink.

'There's a lot in what Sally Thompson says,' he went on, obstinately, 'but―but,' he added in a strained tone 'there's another point that I near forgot, and

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