"Until you returned to Lutha he considered the Austrians

time:2023-11-28 18:50:34 source:rencunzhengju.com author:news

Joe was proud of his male prerogatives. He looked after the selection, minded the corn, kept Anderson's and Dwyer's and Brown's and old Mother Murphy's cows out of it, and chased goannas away from the front door the same as Dad used to do--for Joe felt that he was in Dad's place, and postponed his customary familiarities with the goannas.

It was while Joe was in charge that Casey came to our place. A starved-looking, toothless little old man with a restless eye, talkative, ragged and grey; he walked with a bend in his back (not a hump), and carried his chin in the air. We never saw a man like him before. He spoke rapidly, too, and watched us all as he talked. Not exactly a "traveller;" he carried no swag or billycan, and wore a pair of boots much too large. He seemed to have been "well brought up"--he took off his hat at the door and bowed low to Mother and Sal, who were sitting inside, sewing. They gave a start and stared. The dog, lying at Mother's feet, rose and growled. Bluey was n't used to the ways of people well brought up.

The world had dealt harshly with Casey, and his story went to Mother's heart. "God buless y'," he said when she told him he could have some dinner; "but I'll cut y' wood for it; oh, I'll cut y' wood!" And he went to the wood-heap and started work. A big heap and a blunt axe; but it did n't matter to Casey. He worked hard, and did n't stare about, and did n't reduce the heap much, either; and when Sal called him to dinner he could n't hear--he was too busy. Joe had to go and bring him away.

Casey sat at the table and looked up at the holes in the roof, through which the sun was shining.

"Ought t' be a cool house," he remarked.

"Oh, yes," Mother said--"we're right in the bush here."

He began to eat and, as he ate, talked cheerfully of selections and crops and old times and bad times and wire fences and dead cattle. Casey was a versatile ancient. When he was finished he shifted to the sofa and asked Mother how many children she had. Mother considered and said, "Twelve." He thought a dozen enough for anyone, and, said that HIS mother, when he left home, had twenty-one--all girls but him. That was forty years ago, and he did n't know how many she had since. Mother and Sal smiled. They began to like old Casey.

Casey took up his hat and went outside, and did n't say "Good-day" or "Thanks" or anything. He did n't go away, either. He looked about the yard. A panel in the fence was broken. It had been broken for five years. Casey seemed to know it. He started mending that panel. He was mending it all the evening.


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