Page:Bush Studies (1902).djvu/77

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He must risk letting out the sheep. He covered the blade of the axe and went in a circuit to the sheep, and got over the yard on the side opposite to the hut. They rushed from him and huddled together, leaving him, although stooping, exposed. He had calculated for this, but not for the effect upon himself. Could they in the hut see him, he would be no match for the dog even with the axe. Heedlessly, fear-driven, he rushed to where he could see the door, regardless of exposing himself. Nothing counted now, but that the dog or the old man should not steal upon him unawares.

The door was still closed. No call for "Warder!" came from it, though he stood there a conspicuous object. While he watched he saw an ewe lamb make for the hut's shelter. He stooped, still watching, and listened, but could hear nothing. He crept forward and loosened the hurdles. Never were they noisier, he was sure. He knew that the sheep would not go through while he was there. He crept away, but although the leader noted the freed exit, he and those he led were creatures of habit. None were hungry, and they were unused to feeding at night, though in the