At dawn Deesa returned to the plantation. He had been very drunk indeed, and he expected to fall into trouble for outstaying his leave. He drew a long breath when he saw that the bungalow and the plantation were still uninjured; for he knew something of Moti Guj’s temper; and reported himself with many lies and salaams. Moti Guj had gone to his pickets for breakfast. His night exercise had made him hungry.
‘Call up your beast,’ said the planter, and Deesa shouted in the mysterious elephant-language, that some mahouts believe came from China at the birth of the world, when elephants and not men were masters. Moti Guj heard and came. Elephants do not gallop. They move from spots at varying rates of speed. If an elephant wished to catch an express train he could not gallop, but he could catch the train. Thus Moti Guj was at the planter’s door almost before Chihun noticed that he had left his pickets. He fell into Deesa’s arms trumpeting with joy, and the man and beast wept and slobbered over each other, and handled each other from head to heel to see that no harm had befallen.
‘Now we will get to work,’ said Deesa. ’Lift me up, my son and my joy.’
Moti Guj swung him up and the two went to the coffee-clearing to look for irksome stumps.
The planter was too astonished to be very angry.
We’ve drunk to the Queen—God
We’ve drunk, to our mothers’ land;
We’ve drunk to our English brother
(But he does not understand);
We’ve drunk to the wide creation,
And the Cross swings low for the morn;
Last toast, and of obligation,
A health to the Native-born!
They change their skies above them,
But not their hearts that roam!
We learned from our wistful mothers
To call old England ’ home’;
We read of the English skylark,
Of the spring in the English lanes,
But we screamed with the painted lories
As we rode on the dusty plains!
They passed with their old-world legends—
Their tales of wrong and dearth—
Our fathers held by purchase,
But we by the right of birth;
Our heart’s where they rocked our cradle,
Our love where we spent our toil,
And our faith and our hope and our honour
We pledge, to our native soil!
I charge you charge your glasses—
I charge you drink with me
To the men of the Four New Nations,
And the Islands of the Sea—
To the last least lump of coral
That none may stand outside,
And our own good pride shall teach us
To praise our comrade’s pride!_
To the hush of the breathless morning
Oh the thin, tin, crackling roofs,
To the haze of the burned back-ranges
And the dust of the shoeless hoofs—
To the risk of a death by drowning,
To the risk of a death by drouth—
To the men of a million acres,
To the Sons of the Golden South!