Page:While the Billy Boils, 1913.djvu/235

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'I s'pose so,' snapped Mitchell. 'There is some things a man doesn't want to joke about.…Well, I think we'll shove on one of the billies, and have a drink of tea before we turn in.'

'I suppose,' said Mitchell's mate, as they drank their tea, 'I suppose you'll go back and marry her some day?'

'Some day! That's it; it looks like it, doesn't it? We all say 'Some day.' I used to say it ten years ago, and look at me now. I've been knocking round for five years, and the last two years constant on the track, and no show of getting off it unless I go for good, and what have I got for it? I look like going home and getting married, without a penny in my pocket or a rag to my back scarcely, and no show of getting them. I swore I'd never go back home without a cheque, and, what's more, I never will; but the cheque days are past. Look at that boot! If we were down among the settled districts we'd be called tramps and beggars; and what's the difference? I've been a fool, I know, but I've paid for it; and now there's nothing for it but to tramp, tramp, tramp for your tucker, and keep tramping till you get old and careless and dirty, and older, and more careless and dirtier, and you get used to the dust and sand, and heat, and flies, and mosquitoes, just as a bullock does, and lose ambition and hope, and get contented with this animal life, like a dog, and till your swag seems part of yourself, and you'd be lost and uneasy and light-shouldered without it, and you don't care a damn if you'll ever get work again, or live like a Christian; and you go on like this till the spirit of