+ ~ -
Please report pronunciation problems here. Select and sample other voices. Options Pause Play
Report an Error

main body of the cattle, and keep them on the
"camp;" we cut off a few quiet cows from the
rest, and drive them a quarter of a mile or so
to windward of the herd, where we leave them,
well in sight of the others, with a horseman in
charge of them.  Presently, four or five of the
most experienced hands ride quietly in, among
the moving parti-coloured mass, select each man
his beast, and dodge them through and among
the rest, until they arrive at the edge of the
herd.  Then, a sudden rush, and the bullock is
separated from his companions; in vain he
gallops, in vain he twists and dodges to regain
the mob.  Man and horse keep close to his
quarter, between him and his mates, edging him
nearer and nearer at every turn to the quiet
cattle on the plain.  Perhaps he wheels short
round upon the horse, and tries to use his horns;
but the wary nag is not to be caught, turns
shorter still, and the rider's heavy stock-whip
cracks hard and sharp upon the beast's hide.
Out-paced and out-manoeuvred, the bullock at
last perceives the quiet cattle towards which the
stockman is trying to drive him, cocks his ears,
and trots off towards them, while the man walks
his horse quietly back in search of fresh game.

It is a very lively and exciting sight.  On the
higher ground, half hidden by a cloud of white
dust, which rises like a pillar of smoke into the
bright blue sky, is a bellowing roaring assemblage
of horned cattle.  Wild old bullocks, wandering
restlessly through the crowd, their sides
ornamented with many brands and devices, their ears
cut into many shapes, strike savagely with their
horns at everything in their way.  Anxious
matronly cows bellow frantically for their calves,
which run under the horses' feet, looking for
their mothers. Shaggy thin-legged half-starved
weaners, with a precocious look about their
wizen faces, like that on the face of a London
street Arab, look out for a chance to steal
some milk from the mothers of more fortunate
calves.  Blundering young bulls and
handsome sleek heifers, as yet untouched by rope
or brand, and shoals of young cattle that,
as though for mischief's sake, continually
try to join the drafted lot where they have no
business, and are hunted, back by the black boys.
Horsemen ride round the moving many-hued
mass, from the midst of which, every now and
again, the galloping beast darts out, a red-
shirted stockman racing alongside him. Foiled
in their efforts to re-enter the main body, the
selected cattle go trotting about, with heads up,
across the level space between the larger and
the smaller herd.  Horsemen are galloping far
and near in all directions, cattle are bellowing,
men shouting; all is sunshine, heat, dust, noise,
and motion. The work goes on, until the sun
is past the zenith, and horses and men become
of one uniform dust colour.

Three hundred head or so have been cut out,
and the sharp eyes of the men on the camp can
find no more of the cattle they require. The
horsemen gather in a group; the cattle, no
longer kept together by the men who have been
riding round them, draw slowly off the camp;
we all adjourn to the neighbouring swamp, in
which there is still a little water left, among the
polygonum bushes at the bottom of it, to give
our tired horses a drink. The water is very
bad, but seems delicious to us, hoarse as we are
with shouting and parched with dust. Then
the drafted cattle are sent home to the station:
three men in charge of them, to be shut up in
the stock-yard to-night, and taken out in the
morning to feed under strict surveillance. The
rest of us, after lighting our pipes, ride slowly
off in a contrary direction, to bivouac again
tonight, and renew to-morrow, on a different part
of the run, the operations of to-day.


THERE never was a prouder nor more
indulgent father than John Rashleigh.  A haughty,
dry, and saturnine man, with few weaknesses
and fewer affections; all the tenderness of his
nature having concentrated itself on his daughter.
The love which had been only partially bestowed
upon the wife was lavished on the child with an
excess that knew no bounds.

It was unfortunate for Hope that she was
left motherless at the very time when maternal
care and guidance were most needed.  A wilful,
high-spirited girl, clever, beautiful, and
perilously fascinating, ran but a poor chance of
coming to good, without some firm hand to
guide and govern her; but when she was
just thirteen Mrs. Rashleigh died, and Hope
was given up to the worst training a girl
can havethe over-indulgence of a father.
Father, servants, masters (when she chose to
accept lessons, which she did sometimes out of the
weariness of idleness), the half housekeeper, half
companion, bowed to her. No one was found to
oppose her; even Grantley Watts put himself
under her feet with the rest, and thought
himself honoured if she condescended to treat him
like a slave, made him fetch and carry and work
for her, and attend upon her every whim and
caprice. She never thanked him, and she
rarely rewarded him even with a smile; though
sometimes she did; and then he forgot all but
that smile, and thought himself richer than
many a king standing on the threshold of his

Hope and Grantley Watts were cousins of a
far-away kind; though he was that most
miserable of all thingsa poor relation brought up
on charity, therefore in no wise her equal
according to the canons of society.  Still, the
equality of blood was between them however
great the inequality of means; and the equality
of nature as well; save that the balance of
nobleness hung to Grantley's side, who had
been spared the dangers which beset a spoiled
and pampered child, and whose virtues
therefore had a better chance and freer room for

He was a fine, manly, noble-hearted fellow
this Grantley, with two special characteristics,
good temper and an invincible sense of honour.