We of the Never-Never eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 310 pages of information about We of the Never-Never.

With the nearest doctor three hundred miles away in Darwin, and held there by hospital routine, the Maluka decided on bed and feeding-up as the safest course, and Cheon came out in a new character.

As medical adviser and reader-aloud to the patient, the Maluka was supposed to have his hands full, and Cheon, usurping the position of sick-nurse, sent everything, excepting the nursing, to the wall.  Rice-water, chicken-jelly, barley-water, egg-flips, beef-tea junket, and every invalid food he had ever heard of, were prepared, and, with the Maluka to back him up, forced on the missus; and when food was not being administered, the pillow was being shaken or the bedclothes straightened.  (The mattress being still on the ends of cows’ tails, a folded rug served in its place).  There was very little wrong with the patient, but the wonder was she did not become really ill through over-eating and want of rest.

I pleaded with the Maluka, but the Maluka pleading for just a little more rest and feeding-up, while Cheon gulped and choked in the background, I gave in, and eating everything as it was offered, snatched what rest I could, getting as much entertainment as possible out of Cheon and the staff in between times.

For three days I lay obediently patient, and each day Cheon grew more affectionate, patting my hands at times, as he confided to the Maluka that although he admired big, moon-faced women as a feast for the eyes, he liked them small and docile when he had to deal personally with them.  Until I met Cheon I thought the Chinese incapable of affection; but many lessons are learned out bush.

Travellers—­house-visitors—­coming in on the fourth day, I hoped for a speedy release, but visitors were considered fatiguing, and release was promised as soon as they were gone.

Fortunately the walls had many cracks in them—­not being as much on the plumb as Johnny had predicted, and for a couple of days, watching the visitors through these cracks and listening to their conversation provided additional amusement.  I could see them quite distinctly as, no doubt, they could see me; but we kept a decorous silence until the Fizzer came in, then at the Fizzer’s shout the walls of Jericho toppled down.

“The missus sick!” I heard him shout.  “Thought she looked in prime condition at the Springs.” (Bush language frequently has a strong twang of cattle in it.)

“So I am now,” I called; and then the Fizzer and I held an animated conversation through the walls.  “I’m imprisoned for life,” I moaned, after hearing the news of the outside world; and laughing and chuckling outside, the Fizzer vowed he would “do a rescue next trip if they’ve still got you down.”  Then, after appreciating fervent thanks, he shouted in farewell:  “The boss is bringing something along that’ll help to pass some of the time—­the finest mail you ever clapped eyes on,” and presently patient and bed were under a litter of mail-matter.

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We of the Never-Never from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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