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reaches for a’stick. The Drover’s Wife (1892) HENRY LAWSON ‘Henry Lawson ithe central mythmaker ofthe bush lend, and “Phe Drower's Wife" {s tts central story, "The Drover's Wife” appears, larly in Australian anthologies and has inspired paintings anal ‘modern versions. en om ely raps tend ee aL tivp-roomied house’ builtof Sound's timber, slabs, and ed al floored with save the darker green of a few shecaks whi , almost waterless creek. Nineteen ‘The droves, an qx-squatter, is away: with ee His wife and children are Jeff here alone «Four ragged, died-up-boking chidien are pliying about the house: Suddenly one of them yells ‘Snake! Mother Here's.a snake! ‘The gaunt, sun-browned bushwoinan deshes from the kitchen, snatches her baby from the ound, lds he ef ind "Where is i é ‘Here! gone nto the wood: heap? yells the eldest oysr!sehurp: faced, excited urchin of eleven. ‘Stop there, mother! I'l have fim, ‘Stand back! 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He not a Coward, but recent events have shaken her nerves le son of her brother-in-law was lately bitten by a snake, and Besides, she has not heard from her. husband for six months, anxious sbout him, was x drover, snd started squatting hore when they were married. The drought of 18—ruined him, He had to sacrifice the ‘remnant of bis flock and go droving again. He intends to move his faraily into the nesrest town when he comes back, and, in the ‘meantime, his brother, who keeps a shanty on the msin road, comes over about once » month with provisions. The wife has still * couple of cows, one home, and a few sheep. The brother-in-law kills one of the sheep occasionally, gives her what she needs of it and takes the rest in return for other provisions, ‘She i» used to being left alone, She once lived like this for eighteen months. As a girl she built the usual castles in the air; but. ler girlish hopes and aspirations have long been dead, She finds the excitement and recreation she needs in the Young Ladies’ imal, and, Heaven help het! takes a Pleasure in the fashion- = plates. Her husband is an Australian, and so is she. ‘He is careless, but enough husband If he had the means he would take her wo ere like « princess, They are sed to being 1s. No use fretting’ she says. He may forget married; but iF he has 1 good cheque when he comes back he will give most of it ta her, When he had money he took her to the city several times—hired 4 rallway sleeping com ‘marument, ond put up atthe best hotels, He elso bought her a busgy, bbut they had to sacrifice that along with the rest. ‘The last two children were born in the ‘bush—one while her hushand was bringing a drunken doctor, by force, to attend to her. it test’ yin tn al the land. Or, st least, God sent he sent Black Mary. He puit his black face he door-post, took in the situation at a glance, and said HENRY LAWSON 7 died while she was here slone. She rode tance, carrying the desd child. Je must be near one or two o'clock. The fire is burning love. Alliga- ‘or ies with his head resting on his paws, and watches the wall. He is nota very beautiful dog to old wounds where the hair wil readily os he will tackle a flea. He hates all other dogs—except Sangaroo-dogs—and has a marked dislike to fiends of relations of the family. They seldom call, however. He sometimes makes friends with strangers, He hates snakes and has killed many, but he will be bitten some day end die; most snake-dogs end that’ way, low and then the buishwoman lays down her work sind jand thinks, She thinks of things in her own life, lee to think about, ‘The ain will make the grass grow, and this reminds her how she fought a bush fire once while her husband was away. The grass was Jong, abd very dey, and the fire threatened to bar her out. She put on an old pair of her husband's trousers and bert out the flarnes with a green bough, till great drops of sooty perspiration stood out ‘on her forehead and ran In streaks dawn her blackened ight of his mother in trousers greatly amused Torm worked I nusly, and (being old and slightly desf) did not first recognise hi ‘The dogs sorrow for his blunder, and his anxiety to let it be known t