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2 corrections, most recently by peter-macinnis - Show corrections


" Jo-hn-ee, John-e-e-e," calls a wo- man's voice, load shrill toned, half coo-ee, half yell.

Getting no response, she puts all the power of her lungs into another shout, " J-oh-nee-ee-e-e." Still no reply to her call. "I'll skin those young wretches," she says to herself angrily. " I know very well they can hear me; I'll cut the legs off them,

see if I don't.

The call was heard by two bare- footed boys, whose trousers seemed well adapted to the hot summer weather by the torn and well ventil- ated looks of their seats. The boys   were indolently eating watermelon, while squatted on the grass and weeds, growing luxuriantly between the rows of corn in a small paddock near to the house from which the woman is calling.

"Listen to mother," said Bobby, the youngest of the two boys. " Isn't she giving it lip ?"  

"Oh, let her yell," said the other   boy, sarcastically. "She wants me to get wood, or something, I'll bet ; and I'm not going to be fool enough to go home for that. ' Jessie will be

home from school soon, and she can do it. Let us go down to the creek, and Jessie can't find us there. She's always trying to find us for mother, so as to get us a hiding," commented Johnny, in injured tones. The boys acting on the suggestion, emerged from the corn paddock; but on the opposite side from where the woman was still shrieking " J-oh-ne-e^e."

A yellow and white dog, evidently a companion of the boys, starts to sniff and growl as the boys are going past a log, around which grew in a thick clump thistles and cobbler's


"A snake, a snake; shake him Rover. There he goes under the log," said Bobby. " See him Jack ?"

"Yes, ain't he a whopper; catch him Rover, you silly coot. Rover doesn't seem to think it altogether healthy to venture among the weeds, so stays where he is and barks."

" Wait till I get a stick and poke him from the other side," says Bob. "You can watch and sool Rover on him when he comes out."

Johnny, with one hand on Rover's back, wno is standing slightly in advance, waits for tile result of Bobby's stratagem.

Bobby finds a stick about 8 -feet long, which he, after a hasty look, thinks will do for < the purpose, and going to the opposite side of the log, starts probing for the snake. Rover, with bristles up and ayes aglow, is intently ^yatch¡ng operations. Bobby

notices him from the other side of

the log, and innocently pokes the stick through the weeds at him. Tho effect is marvellous.

Rover, with a blood curdling yell, springs suddenly backwards, vio- lently knocking Johnny over by the force of his sudden retreat.

" What the- are you up to ?"

gasped Johnny, angrily, " You damn

" I didn't know Rover would be fiightened," snickered Bob; then with a yell of laughter adds " didn't

he cut."

" I'll make you cut, you silly ass, if you do it again," threatens Johnny.

Bobby's retort is cut short by a loud " co-ee "-this time evidently given by a man's voice.

" Hello, Dad's calling us. Hear him; let's get home," says Johnny. " 1 expect we'll get pie. The boys with uneasy minds started home-

ward. .

"I say, Johnny," whispers Bobby fearfully, as they are crossing the clearing to the house, " Dad's got a

hoe in his hand."

But Rover unconsciously gets them out of the dilemma they are in by just at that critical time chasing out on the open ground, in'full view of Dad and the boys, a paddymelon.

Dad forgets his grievance with the boys in the excitement of the chase, as, hoe in hand, he pursues the mar- supial.

"Stop himl Catch bimi Hit bimi Sool himl" yell Johnny and

Bob in chorus.

"Kill the b-" yells Dad, and they rush, and slip, and stumble about in their endeavour to block the paddymelon.

Now, either by instinct or driven by terror, the paddy, makes straight towards Dad ; while Rover, fully, as

excited as the rest, is close behind. " I've got the cow," triumphantly yells Dad, making at the same time a terrible sweeping blow with the hoe at the passing paddy.

" Blazes, Dad, you've killed Rover," cries Johnny, disgustedly ; for Dad missing his blow at the paddy, the hoe falls with irresistible force on the unfortunate dog's head, who rolls over on the grass with a yelp of pain.

Dad, in a rage, makes a supreme effort to catch the paddymelon ;> but his foot slipping down a small stump

hole, he pitches to mother earth with more force than comfort.

Bobby snickers, but immediately subdues his inclination to laugh on seeing the expression of his father's face, who almost sets the grass alight with the fiery eloquence of his words.

Picking the hoe up, Dad walked up towards the dog, I suppose to ex- amine his hurt and sort of make friends again. To poor Rover, with his tongue hanging out panting, and winking and blinking his eyes, while trying to regain his scattered senses, tho sight of Dad again advancing with the hoe was too much. With a

yell of terror he sprang up, fearing the worst, and with tail curled between his legs, he made a record run for the scrub, where he stayed for two days ; but Bob and Johnny, with a lot of coaxing, finally per- suaded him to return home.' But the sight of a paddymelon ever since puts Rover in a tremble, and if over he sees Dad with a hoe he always

cuts for shelter.