Alec, who was with me to-day, delighted me by finding his stolid wooden horse in the summer-house, rather damp and dishevelled, and almost bursting into tears at the pathos of the neglect. "Did you think we had forgotten you?" he said as he hugged it. I suggested that he should have a good meal.
Burgess told me of a water-hole in a creek, called Natta, nine or ten miles off, where I intend to go next. On Monday, the 10th of April, we bade farewell to our two kind friends, the last white men we should see. We finished the champagne, and parted. The natives continue with us. Natta water-hole. Myriads of flies. Alec returns to Cheangwa. Bashful Tommy. Cowra man. Native customs and rites.
Rose had made up her mind to be obstinate about it, because she did heartily "detest" the dish; but as Uncle Alec did not attempt to make her obey, she suddenly changed her mind and thought she would. "I'll try to eat it to please you, uncle; but people are always saying how wholesome it is, and that makes me hate it," she said, half-ashamed at her silly excuse.
Of the N.C.O.'s and men it is possible only to mention a few. I always associate S.M. Alec. Ogilvie with Hogsthorpe at early morning stand-to going round the lines, abusing everyone for making a noise, and himself making as much noise as all the rest of us put together. He was the life and soul of C Squadron. Heaven knows what C would have done without him on the Peninsula.
Thar, that's better ... We ain't got much further to go, Alec; jist across yon range, down the valley, an' up t'other side ... Ah, thar's the gold! I knowed it was thar! I've been a-follerin' it all me life ... Look, man, see how it shines! Gold! Gold! Thank God, I've struck it at last!" He looked around the room, and his eyes fell upon the anxious watchers. "Whar am I, lad?" he asked.
Twelve hours in that scorching sun and Joan waiting here all the time! Well, wonders will never cease! I wish we had one of those live shells we were experimenting with this morning. It would come in handy when the first panel gives way." Joan's eyes could not leave Alec.
Don't you recall how you and I used to prospect together out in the gold country; how we shared our failures and successes?" "Yes, I remember that, Alec. Mighty few successes we had, though, in those days." "But now you've struck it rich, pardner," went on the pleader. "Help me out in this scheme do!" "No, Alec.
The brain isn't overworked down here; we like to find an outlet." "That means you think there's nothing in it really?" "In what?" retorted old Naylor briskly. But Mary was equal to him. "My lips are sealed professionally," she smiled. "But hasn't your son said anything?" "Admirable woman! Yes, Alec has said a few things; and the young lady gives it us, too.
I'm not going to have this night spoiled by any tomfoolery of Talbot's, I don't care what he says. You hear me, Alec? Not a drop. Take out those half-empty bowls and don't you serve another thimbleful of anything until I say so." Here he turned to the young doctor, who seemed rather surprised at St. George's dictatorial air one rarely seen in him.
That's all right for people who can believe in such things, but I'm past such Robinson Crusoe fables." "Why, Alec Stoker!" she cried, in amazement, "do you mean to say that you don't believe in Providence any more?" There was a look of horror on her face. He shrugged his shoulders.