We Of The Never-Never By Jeanie
We Of The Never-Never By Jeanie "Mrs. Aeneas" Gunn - Page 240 of 304 - First - Home

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"Nothing Like Variety," Dan Chuckled; And A Few Minutes Later Again We Were Leaning Well Back In Our Saddles As

The horses picked their way down the far side of the ridge, old Roper letting himself down in his most

Approved style; dropping from ledge to ledge as he went, stepping carefully along their length, he would pause for a moment on their edges to judge distance, then, gathering his feet together, he would sway out and drop a foot or more to the next ledge. Riding Roper was never more than sitting in the saddle and leaving all else to him. Wherever he went there was safety, both for himself and his rider whether galloping between trees or beneath over-hanging branches, whether dropping down ridges with the surefootedness of a mountain pony, or picking his way across the treacherous "springy country." No one knew better than he his own limits, and none better understood "springy country." Carefully he would test suspicious-looking turf with a cautious fore-paw, and when all roads proved risky, in his own unmistakable language he would advise his rider to dismount and walk over, having shown plainly that the dangerous bit was not equal to the combined weight of horse and man. When Roper advised, wise men obeyed.

But gorges and ridges were not all Dan had to show us. Twice in our thirty-five miles of the Roper - about ten miles apart - wide-spreading rocky arches completely span the river a foot or so beneath its surface, forming natural crossing-places; for at them the full volume of water takes what Dan called a "duck-under," leaving only smoothly flowing shallow streams, a couple of hundred yards wide, running over the rocky bridgeways.

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