It - peaceful and regular, with an occasional
single day "out-bush"; and when the Maluka in his leisure began to fulfil
his long-standing promise of a defence around my garden, Cheon expressed
himself well-pleased with his reform.
But even the demands of station books and accumulated mail-matter can be
satisfied in time, and Dan reporting that he was "getting going with the
bullocks," Cheon found his approval had been premature; for, to his
dismay, the Maluka abandoned the fence, and began preparations for a trip
"bush." "Surely the missus was not going?" he said; and next day we left
him at the homestead, a lonely figure, seated on an overturned bucket,
disconsolate and fearing the worst.
Cheon often favoured an upside-down bucket for a seat. Nothing more
uncomfortable for a fat man can be imagined, yet Cheon sat on his rickety
perch, for the most part chuckling and happy. Perhaps, like Mark Tapley,
he felt it a "credit being jolly" under such circumstances.
By way of contrast, we found Dan and Jack optimistic and happy, with some
good bullocks in hand, a record branding to report for the fortnight's
work, and a drover in camp of such a delightful turn of mind that he was
inclined to look upon every bullock mustered as "just the thing." He was
easily disposed of, and within a week we were back at the homestead.