"That's the style! Now you've got
Kneeling in front of the dish, I pounded obediently at the mixture; and
as they alternately cheered and advised and I wrestled with
circumstances, digging my fists vigorously into the spongy, doughy depths
of the damper, a traveller rode right into the camp.
"Good evening, mates," he said, dismounting. "Saw your fires, and thought
I'd camp near for company." Then discovering that one of the "mates" was
a woman, backed a few steps, dazed and open-mouthed - a woman, dough to
the elbows, pounding blithely at a huge damper, being an unusual sight in
a night camp in the heart of one of the cattle runs in the Never-Never.
"We're conducting a cooking class," the Maluka explained, amused at the
The traveller grinned a sickly grin, and "begging pardon, ma'am, for
intruding," said something about seeing to his camp, and backed to a more
comfortable distance; and the damper-making proceeded.
"There's a billy just thinking of boiling here you can have, mate, seeing
it's late," Dan called, when he heard the man rattling tinware, as he
prepared to go for water; and once more "begging pardon, ma'am, for
intruding," the traveller came into our camp circle, and busied himself
with the making of tea.
The tea made to his satisfaction, he asked diffidently if there was a
"bit of meat to spare," as his was a "bit off"; and Dan went to the
larder with a hospitable "stacks!"
"How would boiled cabbage and roast turkey go?" Dan called, finding
himself confronted with the great slabs of cabbage; and the traveller,
thinking it was supposed to be a joke, favoured us with another nervous
grin and a terse "Thanks!" Then Dan reappeared, laden, and the man's
eyes glistened as he forgot his first surprise in his second.