Harry Heathcote of Gangoil eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 127 pages of information about Harry Heathcote of Gangoil.
the station did not allow of this regularity; but after some fashion the shop was maintained.  Tea was to be bought there, and sugar, tobacco, and pickles, jam, nails, boots, hats, flannel shirrs, and mole-skin trowsers.  Any body who came might buy, but the intention was to provide the station hands, who would otherwise have had to go or send thirty miles for the supply of their wants.  Very little money was taken here, generally none.  But the quantity of pickles, jam, and tobacco sold was great.  The men would consume large quantities of these bush delicacies, and the cost would be deducted from their wages.  The tea and sugar, and flour also, were given out weekly, as rations—­so much a week—­and meat was supplied to them after the same fashion.  For it was the duty of this young autocratic patriarch to find provisions for all who were employed around him.  For such luxuries as jam and tobacco the men paid themselves.

On the fourth side of the quadrangle was a rough coach-house, and rougher stables.  The carriage part of the establishment consisted of two “buggies”—­so called always in the bush—­open carriages on four wheels, one of which was intended to hold two and the other four sitters.  A Londoner looking at them would have declared them to be hopeless ruins; but Harry Heathcote still made wonderful journeys in them, taking care generally that the wheels were sound, and using ropes for the repair of dilapidations.  The stables were almost unnecessary, as the horses, of which the supply at Gangoil was very large, roamed in the horse paddock, a comparatively small inclosure containing not above three or four hundred acres, and were driven up as they were wanted.  One horse was always kept close at home with which to catch the others; but this horse, for handiness, was generally hitched to a post outside the kitchen door.  Harry was proud of his horses, and was sometimes heard to say that few men in England had a lot of thirty at hand as he had, out of which so many would be able to carry a man eighty miles in eight hours at a moment’s notice.  But his stable arrangements would not have commanded respect in the “Shires.”  The animals were never groomed, never fed, and many of them never shod.  They lived upon grass, and, Harry always said, “cut their own bread-and-butter for themselves.”

Gangoil was certainly very pretty.  The veranda was covered in with striped blinds, so that when the sun shone hot, or when the rains fell heavily, or when the mosquitoes were more than usually troublesome, there might be something of the protection of an inclosed room.  Up all the posts there were flowering creepers, which covered the front with greenery even when the flowers were wanting.  From the front of the house down to the creek there was a pleasant failing garden—­heart-breaking, indeed, in regard to vegetables, for the opossums always came first, and they who followed the opossums got but little.  But the garden gave a pleasant

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Harry Heathcote of Gangoil from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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