’Very like. One doesn’t drink cham—paign because it’s better nor anything else. A nobbler of brandy’s worth ten of it. It’s the glory of out-facing the swells at their own game. There was a chap over in the other colony shod his horse with gold,—and he had to go shepherding afterwards for thirty pounds a-year and his grub. But it’s something for him to have ridden a horse with gold shoes. You’ve never seen a bucketful of cham—paign in the old country?’
When both Dick and Caldigate had owned that they had never encountered luxury so superabundant, and had discussed the matter in various shapes,—asking whether the bucket had been emptied, and other questions of the same nature,—Caldigate inquired of his friend whether he knew Mick Maggott?
‘Mick Maggott!’ said the man, jumping up to his feet. ’Who wants Mick Maggott?’ Then Caldigate explained the recommendation which Mr. Crinkett had made. ‘Well;—I’m darned;—Mick Maggott? I’m Mick Maggott, myself.’
Before the evening was over an arrangement had been made between the parties, and had even been written on paper and signed by all the three. Mick on the morrow was to proceed to Ahalala with his new comrades, and was to remain with them for a month, assisting them in all their views; and for this he was to receive ten shillings a-day. But, in the event of his getting drunk, he was to be liable to dismissal at once. Mick pleaded hard for one bout of drinking during the month;—but when Dick explained that one bout might last for the entire time, he acknowledged that the objection was reasonable and assented to the terms proposed.
It was all settled that night, and some necessary purchases made. Ahalala was twenty-three miles from Nobble, and a coach had been established through the bush for the benefit of miners going to the diggings;—but Mick was of opinion that miners ought to walk, with their swag on their backs, when the distance was not more than forty miles. ‘You look so foolish getting out of one of them rattletrap coaches,’ he said, ’and everybody axing whether you’re going to pick for yourself or buy a share in a claim. I’m all for walking,—if it ain’t beneath you.’ They declared themselves quite ready to walk, and under Mick’s guidance they went out and bought two large red blankets and two pannikins. Mick declared that if they went without swags on their backs and pannikins attached to their swags, they would be regarded with evil eyes by all who saw them. There were some words about the portmanteaus. Mick proposed that they should be left for the entire month in the charge of Mrs. Henniker, and, when this was pronounced impossible, he was for a while disposed to be off the bargain. Caldigate declared that, with all his ambition to be a miner, he must have a change of shirts. Then Mick pointed to the swag. Couldn’t he put another shirt into the swag? It was at last settled