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Yet there is no sport in the world to be mentioned in the same volume as “running horses”, and we were very keen on it. All the crack nags were got as fit as possible, and fed up beforehand; and on this particular occasion White-when-he’s-wanted, being in good trim, was given a week’s hard feed and lent to a harum-scarum fellow from the Upper Murray, who happened to be working in a survey camp on the run. How he did open our eyes!

He ran the mob from hill to hill, from range to range, across open country and back again to the hills, over flats and gullies, through hop-scrub and stringybark ridges; and all the time White-when-he’s-wanted was on the wing of the mob, pulling double. The mares and foals dropped out, the colts and young stock pulled up dead beat, and only the seasoned veterans were left. Most of our horses caved in altogether; one or two were kept in the hunt by judicious nursing and shirking the work; but White-when-he’s-wanted was with the quarry from end to end of the run, doing double his share; and at the finish, when a chance offered to wheel them into the trapyard, he simply smothered them for pace, and slewed them into the wings before they knew where they were. Such a capture had not fallen to our lot for many a day, and the fame of White-when-he’s-wanted was speedily noised abroad.

He was always fit for work, always hungry, always ready to lie down and roll, and always lazy. But when he heard the rush of the brumbies’ feet in the scrub he became frantic with excitement. He could race over the roughest ground without misplacing a hoof or altering his stride, and he could sail over fallen timber and across gullies like a kangaroo. Nearly every Sunday we were after the brumbies, until they got as lean as greyhounds and as cunning as policemen. We were always ready to back White-when-he’s-wanted to run-down, single-handed, any animal in the bush that we liked to put him after—wild horses, wild cattle, kangaroos, emus, dingoes, kangaroo-rats—we barred nothing, for, if he couldn’t beat them for pace, he would outlast them.

And then one day he disappeared from the paddock, and we never saw him again. We knew there were plenty of men in the district who would steal him; but, as we knew also of many more who would “inform” for a pound or two, we were sure that it could not have been local “talent” that had taken him. We offered good rewards and set some of the right sort to work, but heard nothing of him for about a year.

Then the surveyor’s assistant turned up again, after a trip to the interior. He told us the usual string of back-block lies, and wound up by saying that out on the very fringe of settlement he had met an old acquaintance.

“Who was that?”

“Why, that little bay horse that I rode after the brumbies that time. The one you called White-when-he’s-wanted. ”

“The deuce you did!Are you sure?Who had him?”

“Sure!I’d swear to him anywhere. A little drover fellow had him. A little fellow, with a big scar across his forehead. Came from Monaro way somewhere. He said he bought the horse from you for fifteen notes. ”

The King’s warrant doesn’t run much out west of Boulia, and it is not likely that any of us will ever see the drover again, or will ever again cross the back of “White-when-he’s-wanted”.