Rigby's Romance by Joseph Furphy

Rigby's Romance

byJoseph Furphy

Kobo ebook | July 7, 2013

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WHILST conveying my own unobtrusive individuality into Echuca on a pleasant evening in the April of '84, I had little thought of the delicate web of heart history which would be unfolded for my edification on the morrow. My mind was running rather upon the desirableness of a whole bag of chaff for my two horses; a satisfying feed for my kangaroo dog (which is implying more than most people wot of); and a good sleep for myself. I would have been prepared to aver that I was merely bound for Yarrawonga, via Echuca, on business of my own; whereas the smoothly--running Order of Things had already told me off as eye-witness and chronicler of a touching interlude--a love passage such as can befall only once in that one life which is each person's scanty dividend at the hand of Time.

Making straight for my customary place of sojourn--namely, Mrs. Ferguson's Coffee Palace--I helped the landlady's husband to unsaddle and feed my horses; after which, I caused that unassuming bondman to bring about twenty lbs. of scraps for Pup, whilst I chained him (Pup, of course) in an empty stall. Then, with six or eight words of explanation and apology to Mrs. Ferguson, I sought my usual bedroom, and, shedding all my garments but one, threw myself into collision with that article of furniture which has proved fatal to some better men, and to a great many worse.

Here an opportune intermission of about ten hours in the march of events affords convenience for explaining the purpose of my journey to Yarrawonga. The fact is that I object to being regarded as a mere romancist, even as a dead-head speculator, or dilettante reporter, of the drama of life. You must take me as a hard-working and ordinary actor on this great stage of fools; but one who, nevertheless, finds a wholesome recreation in observing the parts played by his fellow-hypocrites. (The Greek "hupokrisis," I find, signifies, indifferently, "actor" and "hypocrite.")

I was booked for one of those soft things that sometimes light on us as gratefully and as unaccountably as the wholesale rain from heaven upon the mallee beneath. John C. Spooner, Rory O'Halloran and I had just bought the Goolumbulla brand. Or rather, the manager, Mr. Spanker, had given us the clearing of the run under certain conditions, one of which was the payment of £100.

Goolumbulla--centrally-situated in that wilderness between the Willandra and the Darling--had been settled for about five years. Six hundred head of cattle had originally been placed on the run, to the disgust and exasperation of Mr. Spanker, whose bigoted faith in the evil-smelling merino admitted no toleration for any other kind of stock. His antipathy was reasonable enough in this instance, for these were warrigals, even as scrub-bred cattle go. You know the class--long-bodied, clean-flanked, hard-muscled, ardent-eyed, and always in the same advanced-store condition. They had been wild enough when first brought from the ranges of the Upper Lachlan, and Goolumbulla was just the sort of country to accelerate their reversion to the pre-domesticated type. At the time I speak of, they could barely endure the sight of a man on horseback. As for a man on foot, they would face anything else on earth to get away from him; and if they couldn't get away, that man might either betake himself to his faith, or stand on guard. Which latter alternative sounds so dishonestly vague and non-committal that literary self-respect demands a slight digression.

Title:Rigby's RomanceFormat:Kobo ebookPublished:July 7, 2013Publisher:WDS PublishingLanguage:English

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