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Re: Pat Ritter. Books

Postby patritter » Wed Aug 16, 2017 11:15 pm

'The Drover' - Page 53:

‘Where did you get the wine?’ Harry asked inquisitively.
‘Japanese didn’t move into our District Headquarters; we raided the place and took all the liquor. The men were in a good mood; we drank the wine and liquor at headquarters that night before we marched next morning.’
‘I think I would’ve done the same.’ Harry said.
‘In the beginning we didn’t know what to expect only when we marched to Changi Prison. We were treated with respect, especially the Australian troops, most of the men made it. There were many dead along the way. A truckload of dead past us and I understood why we surrendered.’
Ted looked exhausted sharing his story with Harry who felt a blow by blow experience visualised in his mind the atrocities caused by war. Ted shared small parts of his experience with Harry; a little at a time and each time Harry was engrossed by the story; he almost forgot about droving.
Rose took over the droving at times which allowed Harry and her father to talk. She saw a difference in her father and was surprised he confided in Harry, more than he confided in her, to share his experiences of the war. He’d never shared those experiences with her or anyone else.
They crossed the Queensland-New South Wales border at Barringun and this was cause for celebration. Rose stayed in camp with Henry while Harry and Ted rode to the pub.
Rose didn’t mind remaining in the camp with Henry for over the time they’d been on the drove each shared their life experiences. Rose was surprised to hear Henry was an aboriginal commonly referred to as the ‘stolen generation’.
He was born on the northern aboriginal camp Hollywood where he lived with his parents and many aunts and uncles.
When he was a baby, government people came to the camp and took him away. He was raised by white people until he was twenty-one years old. He knew all about the white man’s way of life and happy with his upbringing; however, he was aboriginal and needed to be with his own people.
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Re: Pat Ritter. Books

Postby patritter » Thu Aug 17, 2017 11:10 pm

'The Drover' - Page 54:

On his twenty-first birthday his release from the white people surprised him; he returned to Cunnamulla and to Hollywood. There he found his gin and under tribal law they became husband and wife. He built their home from a half 1000 gallon galvanised water tank and within a couple of years he felt he owned the world with his wife and children.
They heard loud male voices singing –, ‘they’re back from the pub, Harry’s singing his favourite song ‘Saddle Boy.’ Henry expressed.
‘Sounds like they had a good time, I’m pleased Harry is getting along with Pa because he needs someone he can talk to.’ Rose remarked.
Harry and Ted rode into camp almost falling from their mounts and the words, ‘saddle boy ride for home’ sang through the silence of the night. They were both intoxicated to the level of inebriation. Both fell from their horses and landed on the ground, ‘I’ll do it – go to bed both of you.’ Rose interrupted.
Harry smiled up at Rose with a cheeky grin on his face, ‘you’ll make a horse tailer yet,’ he mumbled. Rose put her arms around his broad shoulders to take his weight. Harry felt he was in heaven and being rescued by an angel, ‘you are beautiful – you know.’ He whispered close to her ear.
‘Off to bed, and thanks for looking after Pa, he’s a changed man since he’s been talking to you.’ She placed a goodnight kiss on the side of his cheek. Harry felt light headed and made his way toward the camp. Ted retired to his swag while Harry took his boots off and fell into his swag, ‘we had a bloody good night Ted – you beat me with those rum chases.’ Ted didn’t hear Harry because he was sound asleep and snoring.
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Re: Pat Ritter. Books

Postby patritter » Fri Aug 18, 2017 10:45 pm

'The Drover' - Page 55:

When daylight broke the next morning two men limped around the camp with their heads hung low trying to remove the alcohol taste from their mouths.
‘Breakfast is ready.’ Henry called, ‘greasy chops and eggs – come and get em. You look like you had a good time last night.’
‘Henry, I don’t know how Ted put so many rum chases away – you wouldn’t believe how many, I thought he had hollow legs.’ Harry commented.
‘Get into this tucker and you’ll feel better.’
Rose and Ted joined the camp, ‘your horse is saddled and ready Harry.’ Rose said.
‘Ah..thanks, Rose,’ was all he could say? His thoughts were different; he didn’t wash his face and still felt her soft lips against his cheek. A slight smile broke across his face.
After breakfast it was back on the road for droving to continue. Mid-morning they stopped for a break and Harry wanted to hear more of Ted’s story about the war.
‘Where were we, ah..that’s right – we arrived at Changi Prison, food was good and plenty of water. A couple of soldiers tried to escape but were re-captured and told to walk back to camp. They were lucky.’
‘Did you ever think about escape?’ Harry asked.
‘Not on your Nellie – Japanese were everywhere on the island, I wanted to stay alive. I cobbered up with a couple of mates and we cooked and cared for one another, they were good blokes – we stuck together.’
‘How did they feed you?’ Harry asked.
‘At the start they gave us plenty of food, particularly rice and we scrounged food where we could get it. One of my mates found pawpaws and another made rissoles from crusts of bread and bully beef.’
Ted continued his story; he felt comfortable sharing it with Harry. He trusted him. It was when he told him about burying dead Chinese shot by the Japanese and the bodies were 24 hours old, memories returned to haunt him. He continued his story of how he survived on rations of rice and water and lived out in the open until the camp was organised for the prisoners to be housed in the jail; ate rice for breakfast, lunch and dinner, he wondered how he did survive. Was it any wonder his nightmares of this incarceration continued to this day. Harry couldn’t believe how Ted survived through his ordeal of imprisonment.
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Re: Pat Ritter. Books

Postby patritter » Sat Aug 19, 2017 10:39 pm

'The Drover' - Page 56:

They were two days from the final leg of their trip when storm cloud darkened the sky. ‘We’re in for a good one – look at those clouds building in the east, that’s where the bad storms come from.’ Harry told the others.
‘Whata want to do Boss?’ Henry asked.
‘We’ll put these babies to bed early and make the camp safe and have an early night.’ Harry told the others.
The sheep were herded into the brake and everyone returned to the camp, thunder roared overhead, splinters of lightning flashed across the sky.
Henry moved the truck to higher ground just in case the storm clouds broke. On the black soil there is an old saying, you stick to it in the dry and it’ll stick to you in the wet. He’d bogged the truck before and knew he didn’t want to dig it out of a bog hole again.
After setting up camp on higher solid ground Henry prepared dinner. A huge tarpaulin swung over the truck fastened by steel picket pegs driven into the ground – on the horizon deep black clouds blackened the sky. Wind blew hard - Henry placed a sheet of galvanised iron sheeting around the fire and camp ovens to stop the fire from blowing out.
‘It’s going to be a doozie of a storm, Boss.’ Henry said in alarm.
‘That’s drovin for ya – it takes all types of weather.’ Harry commented.
They were safe – it wouldn’t matter how much terror the storm showed; they were safe.
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Re: Pat Ritter. Books

Postby patritter » Sun Aug 20, 2017 10:37 pm

'The Drover' - Page 57:

After eating a hearty meal they sat around the camp fire to yarn. It started to rain, heavier and heavier the drops hit the tarpaulin swiftly running off the edges forming a river on the ground.
‘What about we go to bed, I can’t hear anything you’re saying.’ Harry said. Everybody retired to their swags in the back of the truck.
What was it about sleeping in a warm swag in the back of a truck under a tarpaulin listening to the pitter patter of rain? Harry thought. Is it a feeling of safety being out of the rain, or is it a feeling of contentment and warmth? Before he could count sheep his eyes closed and his dreams surfaced of Rose. If there was a heaven it was close by.
By morning the rain persisted. Lucky Henry parked the truck on high ground because where the sheep were housed was a flood. Water gushed through their legs across the black soil. Their wool was short having recently been shorn and it was the job of Harry, Ted and Rose to move the sheep to higher ground.
‘Open the brake Ted and let em out, there’ll be a few weak ones but we’ll need to carry them to higher ground’. The rain lashed their faces and wind blew hard. Many of the sheep escaped from their night camp leaving twenty to slug their way through the rain and black soil. Ten sheep bogged to their hocks.
Harry was on foot and beside him Rose slushed her way through the black soil and the torrid rain. They worked together grabbing hold of each wether, one by one, man handled it to force it onto higher ground to join its mates.
‘One gone and nine left.’ Harry shouted through the wind and rain toward Rose when the first one struck higher ground.
Whilst Harry manhandled the head of the wether, Rose held onto the rear end and pushed each sheep with her shoulder, one by one crawled their way to higher ground until the last one was about to join the mob, ‘we should have moved this one first.’ Harry said with a smile on his face.
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Re: Pat Ritter. Books

Postby patritter » Mon Aug 21, 2017 10:29 pm

'The Drover' - Page 58:

Rose grinned and looked at Harry. She was beautiful, her hair flatten by the rain tucked under the akubra hat, her smile delicious and warm, ‘why did you say about moving the last one first, it doesn’t make sense.’ She said.
‘If we’d moved the last one, first, then we wouldn’t have needed to move it again – would we.’
‘You’re stupid.’
The mob moved to higher ground and walked along the stock route. Harry mounted his horse and whistled the dogs to keep the mob heading south. The rain stopped, the sun broke through the clouds. They were one day from finishing the drive.
Before he delivered the sheep he needed to count them to ensure the correct number was there for delivery. Harry’s way of counting sheep was unique. He rode to the front of the mob with Rose.
‘Ted and Henry - Rose and I will count the sheep along the next fence. You two push them up with the dogs.’ He commanded.
The stock route was positioned parallel to the main highway from Cunnamulla to Bourke. A stock fence divided the highway on the outskirts of Bourke. This was an opportune place to count the sheep. He instructed Rose to stand opposite him.
He took a box of matches from his pocket and emptied the contents.
‘Put these matches in one hand and when I call out a number; place one of the matches into your pocket.’ She took the matches in her left hand.
‘Send them up.’ Harry called to the others. The sheep moved toward Harry and Rose who stood opposite one another to form a funnel to let the sheep move between them.
When a number of sheep rushed through the gap, Harry called out, ‘one’ and continued to count to himself, each time he called the number ‘one’ Rose placed a match into her top shirt pocket.
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Re: Pat Ritter. Books

Postby patritter » Tue Aug 22, 2017 10:41 pm

'The Drover' - Page 59:

After the last of the sheep were through the gate Harry said to Rose, ‘how many matches have you got?’ She counted them from her pocket and said, ‘fifty.’
‘They’re all there then, you did a great job for a girl.’ He commented.
‘I’m not a girl, I’m a woman, or hadn’t you noticed.’ She replied replacing the matches in the box and returned the box to him. He noticed she was a woman, thundered through his mind.
‘Henry, we’ll make camp this side of the bridge and cross in the morning.’ Harry said.
‘Alright, Boss, I’ll see you there this afternoon. He left to prepare the camp.
Ted in the meantime drove the sheep along the stock route; Harry soon joined him while Rose worked the wing with a dog.
‘Ted, tell me more about the war.’ Harry requested.
‘We’d been in Changi Prison for a couple of years trying to keep alive. Food was running low to feed all of the prisoners, some died from malaria and other diseases such as cholera. Somehow I survived. Then we were put into railway wagons and taken by train to Burma to build the rail line. The Japanese wanted to move their troops through to Rangoon.’
‘I’ve never heard of these places, Ted. How in hell did you survive – you’re tough, I’ll give you that much.’ Harry told him.
‘On our wits and tough work, I was one of 12,000 men and most of them didn’t come home. We went by train part of the way then marched the remainder through rain and high humidity. In the end we built their bloody railway track and lost many men doing it. At times it was hard going but you had to keep telling yourself you were alive – that’s what kept most of us going.’ Ted shared with Harry.
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Re: Pat Ritter. Books

Postby patritter » Wed Aug 23, 2017 10:37 pm

'The Drover' - Page 60:

Ted continued his story of survival with Harry. After building the Burma railway line the troops returned to Changi and on 15th August 1945 Japan surrendered. The war was over.
Ted described his return to Australia by sea; skin hung from his bony frame, his eyes sunken in their sockets, arms and legs stripped of muscle, his mind echoed the nightmare of his past four years of capture.
Harry felt pleased to have heard Ted’s story and if anyone needed the highest praise – it was Ted who stood ten foot tall and bullet proof. Ted as well, felt relieved, he’d unleashed the anguish and horror encased in his mind for more than half a decade. He felt relieved to have shared his story with another human being and pleased this human being was Harry. Both men had a high respect for one another.
After the sheep were housed in the brake for the night, the three retired to the camp and sat around the fire.
Harry said,’ this is our last night together. I have enjoyed your company and your help and if we can do it again – I hope we can.’
‘I’ve certainly learnt a lot about droving – thanks Harry, for teaching me to count.’ Rose butted in, a grin on her pretty face.
‘It’s been a pleasure to serve you Harry and thanks for listening to an old codger.’ Ted stated.
‘Don’t worry about me, Boss – I’ll be on the next trip with ya.’ Henry finished.
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Re: Pat Ritter. Books

Postby patritter » Thu Aug 24, 2017 10:33 pm

'The Drover' - Page 61:

Chapter 8

Christmas of 1950 was a week away. Harry completed the droving of sheep to Bourke and returned to celebrate Christmas with his sister and her family in Cunnamulla. It was to be a joyous occasion. His brother-in-law Les would be home together with his nephews Young Les and Charley.
Harry couldn’t erase Rose from his memory. He tried to put her memory aside for awhile, however; her beauty returned to him during sleep; he daydreamed of her through other times. What was he to do about courting her? His answer, ‘he would ask Ted.’
In the early evening after dinner Harry walked along the street where Rose lived in the hope to see her outside. Many evenings he walked past her home on the opposite side of the street and looked to see if lights shone from the front bedrooms. Should he wander over and ask for her, he pondered. He couldn’t build up the courage to ask her to the pictures but still wanted to see her.
It was two days before Christmas, Harry did his usual walk on the opposite side of the street when he heard her voice, ‘why don’t you come over and speak with me,’ she called out.
Harry looked through the evening glaze and saw a silhouette of a woman standing close to the front fence.
‘I didn’t want to annoy you,’ he called out and walked across the road to where she was standing. Her black raven hair fell from her neck past her shoulders and down her back. She was dressed in a skirt and blouse – she looked beautiful.
Fragrance of womanhood filtered through his nostrils forcing his mind to imagine how wonderful it would be to become her husband and to serve her the remainder of their lives.
‘How have you been since we got back?’ He mumbled.
‘I’ve missed you.’ She said in a seductive voice.
‘Ah…I’ve missed you too.’ Harry felt pain around his heart and in his mind a nervous ache, he didn’t know what to say, the cat had caught his tongue.
‘How’s your parents, did Ted get over the trip?’ He asked wanting to change the subject.
‘Why don’t you come inside and ask for yourself, they’re sitting in the lounge room listening to the wireless.’ Rose asked in an inviting voice, ‘I’ll make some supper, I’m sure you’re hungry.’
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Re: Pat Ritter. Books

Postby patritter » Fri Aug 25, 2017 11:09 pm

'The Drover' - Page 62:

Harry opened the small gate and followed Rose to the front steps. He followed her steps across the veranda and into the light; his eyes refocused from the darkness. When he entered the lounge room Rose said,’ look who I found wandering outside.’
Ted looked up from his seat, ‘good-evening Harry, great to see you again, looking forward to Christmas.’
‘Yes, how have you been Ted and hello to you Mrs Henderson? How have you both been?’ Harry didn’t know exactly what to say, he was here to see Rose and it was nice to visit Ted and Mrs Henderson.
‘I’ll make us some supper Pa.’ Rose said and left to go to the kitchen.
‘I’ll help.’ Mrs Henderson said to join Rose.
‘Ah…Ted I want to ask you a question, if that’s okay.’ Harry said.
‘Go right ahead my boy, you can ask me anything.’ Ted replied, he remembered how he shared his war story with him and treated him as a person he trusted.
‘Would you mind if I asked Rose to go to the pictures with me?’ Harry muttered.
‘It’s not up to me, it’s up to her; she’s over twenty-one and can make up her own mind. There’s been a slight hitch since we’ve been away,’ Ted continued, ‘mother invited Roger out here for Christmas; she playing cupid, is all I can guess.’
‘When’s he arriving?’
‘Tomorrow, on the Westlander, that’ll put the cat among the pigeons.’ Ted answered with a slight grin on his face.
‘Alright you two come and get it.’ Rose called out.
The two men joined Rose and her mother in the kitchen.
Rose sat Harry beside her, ‘this is not like in the bush – we have normal tea here. Mother, we drank tea from our quart pots, without milk and sugar – it was different.’ Rose admitted.
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Re: Pat Ritter. Books

Postby patritter » Sat Aug 26, 2017 10:59 pm

'The Drover' - Page 63:

Harry took a gulp of his tea, ‘It wasn’t that bad – was it?’ He asked.
‘I enjoyed myself.’ Ted answered swallowing a piece of cake.
‘What are you doing for Christmas Dinner Harry?’ Mrs Henderson asked.
‘Having it at my sister’s home – all of the family will be there.’
‘I was hoping you may want to have it here with us.’ She replied.
Harry’s mind went into raptures, what’s this old girl getting up to, Roger will be here and Rose; and I don’t know if it would be a good idea. He thought.
‘Ted told me Roger was visiting and arriving tomorrow on the train – wouldn’t it be crowded?’ He said.
‘What’s this about Roger coming tomorrow - mother.’ Rose exploded and looked directly at her mother with a stare which almost knocked her mother from the chair she was seated.
‘While you were away droving I wrote to Roger and invited him to have Christmas with us – he accepted and will be arriving on the Westlander tomorrow.’ Mrs Henderson answered.
‘Well, he’s not staying here – you had no right mother. Roger and I are no longer together. It was rude of you not to ask me first.’ She exploded pushing her chair away and stormed from the room.
‘Now look what you’ve done mother – upset Rose; and this Roger business, I wish you’d leave it alone, I don’t like the fellow.’ Ted expressed.
‘I do.’ Mrs Henderson continued. ‘I’ll go and see if she’s alright.’
Harry and Ted finished their supper in peace without exchanging words.
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Re: Pat Ritter. Books

Postby patritter » Mon Aug 28, 2017 10:49 pm

'The Drover' - Page 64:

‘I better be going Ted and thanks for the supper, I hope things work out – see you later.’ Harry said.
‘Yeah…I’ll catch up with you later Harry – have a Merry Christmas if I don’t see you.’ Both men shook hands and Harry left the room.
When he walked onto the front veranda he heard sobs of crying coming from a bedroom and knew it was Rose who was crying. Don’t worry Rose – I’ll be here when Roger goes, he told himself when he walked from her home.

Christmas Eve saw the return of his brother-in-law and nephews from their droving trip. Harry’s sister worked tirelessly in the kitchen to prepare Christmas Dinner whilst the men did what men do and drank beer.
‘How’s the droving going?’ Harry asked his brother-in-law.
‘You know what its like – you’ve been on plenty trips – what about your last trip you took along a woman.’ Les asked.
‘I had five thousand sheep to take to Bourke and needed more than Henry to help me. Ted Henderson and his daughter Rose came with me. It was a good trip apart from the rain.’ Harry shared.
‘She must be alright – Anna tells me you’re smitten.’ Les laughed.
‘Not for long – her old boyfriend has turned up; I don’t know what to do.’
‘You love her.’ Les wanted to know.
‘I don’t know what love is – what is it Les – you and Anna, how did you know when you fell in love with my sister?’
‘Ah…you know alright, you can’t stop thinking about her, she’s in your dreams, not only at night but every moment of the day – you’ll know alright, it hits you like a freight train.’ Les shared with Harry.
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Re: Pat Ritter. Books

Postby patritter » Tue Aug 29, 2017 9:27 pm

'The Drover' - Page 65:

‘If that’s the case, then I must be in love with Rose and don’t know it.’
‘What are you going to do about this Roger fella – he might steal her away.’
‘I don’t know – what can I do?’ Harry felt ambushed and disillusioned.
‘Do you want me and my sons to have a talk with him and take him for a trip out of town?’ Les wanted to know.
Stories circulated around town pointed the finger at Les and his sons when someone suspiciously left town without telling anyone. It was only a theory and gossip – there was no evidence or truth about the stories; however Harry had his suspicions.
‘Na…I’ll look after Roger. All I know about him is; he is Queensland champion high jump rider.’
‘I’ll make the bastard jump with a whip on his arse.’ Les laughed and handed Harry another beer.

The Westlander was due into Cunnamulla at 4.45pm that afternoon. Harry decided he would go to the railway station and size up the situation. He’d never been in a situation like this before and had to be guided by his instincts and the love he felt for Rose.
Precisely at 4.45pm the train whistle blew as the Westlander pulled into the platform. On the eastern end of the platform Harry stood puffing on a smoke with his hat drawn over his eyes. He slouched against the wall half hidden by a post; he could see passengers alighting from the train. Mrs Henderson stood on the platform alone. Harry sighted her.
He noticed she walked toward the train once it stopped when a tall athletic male stepped from the train, Harry heard Mrs Henderson say, ‘hello Roger.’ She swung her arms around his neck and placed a kiss on his cheek.
‘Hello, Mrs Henderson – it’s good to see you again, isn’t Rose here?’
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Re: Pat Ritter. Books

Postby patritter » Wed Aug 30, 2017 11:09 pm

'The Drover' - Page 66:

‘She’s home, can I take your luggage?’ She asked.
‘I’ve got it, thank you.’ The tall athletic male replied.
They walked from the railway station. Harry thought of following them; however, he changed his mind and returned to his sister’s home to drown his sorrows.
‘Did you see him?’ Les asked.
‘Yeah, he’s a big fella – tough looking. I don’t know Les, about this love thing. Do you think I’ve got a chance with Rose?’ He asked.
‘You won’t know if you don’t have a go – if it’s meant to be - then it will happen.’ Les answered.
Harry couldn’t stop thinking about Rose and Roger together in the same house and why Mrs Henderson wrote to him. He’d like to know what she’d written; but it was no use worrying about what was in the letter because he couldn’t read. His mind filled with confusion. What should he do? Should he confront Roger and tell him Rose was his girl, ah that’s foolish, he thought, or perhaps let it run its course and hope he returns on the next train.

Christmas Eve at the Oxford Hotel was the place to be, Harry decided it was time to enjoy Christmas, because next day was family day. He dressed in his best jeans and shirt; shaved and splashed on aftershave which he normally didn’t use and walked to the hotel. The place was packed to the rafters with locals and out of towners.
He was about to order a drink when he noticed Roger and Rose walk into the hotel. Rose saw Harry before he saw her and she beckoned him over with a wave of her hand. Harry didn’t want to join them however thought he’d better.
‘Harry, this is Roger, a friend from Brisbane, Roger this is Harry,’ each man looked one another in the eye and shock hands. He’s got a strong grip, thought Harry and good looking with it, what chance did he have.
‘Rose has told me all about you, Harry; it’s like I’ve known you all of my life.’ Roger said.
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Re: Pat Ritter. Books

Postby patritter » Thu Aug 31, 2017 11:12 pm

'The Drover' - Page 67:

‘She never mentioned you.’ Harry expressed in a sullen voice. His blood pressure rose with the thought of Roger sitting next to Rose.
‘We can be friends, can’t we?’ Roger continued, filled with an air of self confidence.
‘I suppose so,’ muttered Harry, he failed to understand why Rose bought Roger to the hotel. Was it to make him jealous, or had she changed her mind about him – Roger and Rose had almost been engaged at one time.
‘I’ll get a round of drinks, what do you drink Roger?’ Harry asked.
‘What about me – I’ll have a shandy, that’s a beer and lemonade if you don’t know.’ Rose admitted.
‘I’ll have a beer thanks Harry.’ Roger answered moving closer to Rose.
Harry moved toward the bar to order the drinks, his mind bubbling over with questions, he had no answers. What should he do, play along with them or come out and tell Rose his true feelings and tell Roger to be on the next train out of town. Was he good enough for Rose, Roger was a gentleman, educated and appeared to be a decent bloke. He purchased the beers and returned to their company.
‘Rose told me about your trip to Bourke, you obviously know your stuff about droving, but is it something that will last. Road transport is coming.’ Roger said with authority.
‘I’ve been doing it since I was 13 years old and it’s all I know. At times I think about doing something else but it’s in my blood, my father was a drover and before him his father a drover.’ Harry explained. Why was Roger asking these questions? Did he want to honestly know about his work or was he making small talk. He’s stirring the pot because my blood pressure is rising and I don’t like this fellow, Harry thought.
‘What about yourself, you jump horses, don’t you?’ Harry asked sarcastically.
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