Find this Story

Print, a form you can hold

Wireless download to your Amazon Kindle

Look for a summary or analysis of this Story.

Enjoy this? Share it!

Gettin’ Back On Dave Regan
by [?]



You might work this yarn up. I’ve often thought of doin’ it meself, but I ain’t got the words. I knowed a lot of funny an’ rum yarns about the bush, an’ I often wished I had the gift o’ writin’. I could tell a lot better yarns than the rot they put in books sometimes, but I never had no eddication. But you might be able to work this yarn up–as yer call it.

There useter be a teamster’s camp six or seven miles out of Mudgee, at a place called th’ Old Pipeclay, in the days before the railroad went round to Dubbo, an’ most of us bullickies useter camp there for the night. There was always good water in the crick, an’ sometimes we’d turn the bullicks up in the ridge, an’ gullies behind for grass, an’ camp there for a few days, and do our washin’ an’ mendin’, and make new yokes perhaps, an tinker up the wagons.

There was a woman livin’ on a farm there named Mrs Hardwick–an’ she was a hard wick. Her husban’, Jimmy Hardwick was throwed from his horse agenst a stump one day when he was sober, an’ he was killed–an’ she was a widder. She had a tidy bit o’ land, an’ a nice bit of a orchard an’ vineyard, an some cattle, an’ they say she had a tidy bit o’ money in the bank. She had the worst tongue in the district, no one’s character was safe with her; but she wasn’t old, an’ she wasn’t bad-lookin’–only hard–so there was some fellers hangin’ round arter her. An’ Dave Regan’s horse was hangin’ up outside her place as often as anybody else’s. Dave was a native an’ a bushy, an’ drover an’ a digger, an’ he was a bit soft in them days–he got hard enough arterwards.

Mrs Hardwick hated bullick-drivers–she had a awful down on bullickies–I dunno why. We never interfered with her fowls, an’ as for swearin’! why, she could swear herself. Jimmy Hardwick was a bullick-driver when she married him, an’ p’r’aps that helped to account for it. She wouldn’t let us boil our billies at her kitchen fire, same as any other bushwoman, an’ if one of our bullicks put his nose under her fence for a mouthful of grass, she’d set her dogs onter him. An’ one of her dogs got something what disagreed with him one day, an’ she accused us of layin’ poisoned baits. An’, arter that, she ‘pounded some of our bullicks that got into her lucerne paddick one night when we was on the spree in Mudgee, an’ put heavy damages on ’em. She’d left the sliprails down on purpose, I believe. She talked of puttin’ the police onter us, jest as if we was a sly-grog shop. (If she’d kept a sly-grog shop she’d have had a different opinion about bullick-drivers.) An’ all the bullick-drivers hated her because she hated bullickies.

Well, one wet season half a dozen of us chaps was camped there for a fortnight, because the roads was too boggy to travel, an’ one night they got up a darnce at Peter Anderson’s shanty acrost the ridges, an’ a lot of gals an’ fellers turned up from all round about in spite of the pourin’ rain. Someone had kidded Dave Regan that Mother Hardwick was comin’, an’ he turned up, of course, in spite of a ragin’ toothache he had. He was always ridin’ the high horse over us bullickies. It was a very cold night, enough to cut the face an’ hands off yer, so we had a roarin’ fire in the big bark-an’-slab kitchen where the darncin’ was. It was one of them big, old-fashioned, clay-lined fire-places that goes right acrost the end of the room, with a twenty-five foot slab-an’-tin chimbly outside.