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Saltbush Bill’s Second Fight
by [?]

. . . . .

‘Twas Saltbush Bill, and his travelling sheep were wending their weary way
On the Main Stock Route, through the Hard Times Run,
on their six-mile stage a day;
And he strayed a mile from the Main Stock Route, and started to feed along,
And, when Stingy Smith came up, Bill said that the Route was surveyed wrong;
And he tried to prove that the sheep had rushed
and strayed from their camp at night,
But the fighting man he kicked Bill’s dog, and of course that meant a fight:
So they sparred and fought, and they shifted ground
and never a sound was heard
But the thudding fists on their brawny ribs, and the seconds’ muttered word,
Till the fighting man shot home his left on the ribs with a mighty clout,
And his right flashed up with a half-arm blow — and Saltbush Bill ‘went out’.
He fell face down, and towards the blow;
and their hearts with fear were filled,
For he lay as still as a fallen tree, and they thought that he must be killed.
So Stingy Smith and the fighting man, they lifted him from the ground,
And sent to home for a brandy-flask, and they slowly fetched him round;
But his head was bad, and his jaw was hurt —
in fact, he could scarcely speak —
So they let him spell till he got his wits, and he camped on the run a week,
While the travelling sheep went here and there, wherever they liked to stray,
Till Saltbush Bill was fit once more for the track to the Castlereagh.

. . . . .

Then Stingy Smith he wrote a note, and gave to the fighting man:
‘Twas writ to the boss of the neighbouring run, and thus the missive ran:
‘The man with this is a fighting man, one Stiffener Joe by name;
He came near murdering Saltbush Bill, and I found it a costly game:
But it’s worth your while to employ the chap,
for there isn’t the slightest doubt
You’ll have no trouble from Saltbush Bill while this man hangs about —-‘
But an answer came by the next week’s mail, with news that might well appal:
‘The man you sent with a note is not a fighting man at all!
He has shaved his beard, and has cut his hair, but I spotted him at a look;
He is Tom Devine, who has worked for years for Saltbush Bill as cook.
Bill coached him up in the fighting yarn, and taught him the tale by rote,
And they shammed to fight, and they got your grass
and divided your five-pound note.
‘Twas a clean take-in, and you’ll find it wise —
’twill save you a lot of pelf —
When next you’re hiring a fighting man, just fight him a round yourself.’

. . . . .

And the teamsters out on the Castlereagh, when they meet with a week of rain,
And the waggon sinks to its axle-tree, deep down in the black soil plain,
When the bullocks wade in a sea of mud, and strain at the load of wool,
And the cattle-dogs at the bullocks’ heels are biting to make them pull,
When the off-side driver flays the team, and curses them while he flogs,
And the air is thick with the language used,
and the clamour of men and dogs —
The teamsters say, as they pause to rest and moisten each hairy throat,
They wish they could swear like Stingy Smith
when he read that neighbour’s note.