For Life and Other Stories

Out Driving

Steele Rudd

HE used to go out driving a lot once; we don’t now. There’s no horse since the drought. One Sunday we were driving through Dirranbandi, and the horse (Sam) took bad. Father took him out of the cart, and pulled him across to the chemist’s shop; and the chemist came out and bled poor old Sam till he staggered.

“Look out!” Father shouted. “That’s enough, man; that’s enough!”

But the chemist reckoned that he knew more about it than Father, and took another pint of blood out of Sam. Then all at once Sam tried to rear, and fell down, and shivered, and threw out all his legs, and shoved the side of the shop in, and broke a lot of bottles, and died. It cost Father ten shillings to bury Sam; and the chemist sent a bill in. That’s twelve months ago, and the bill is on the mantelpiece yet.

.     .     .     .     .

The road from our place to Gurney’s Gully runs through a station paddock. Father was driving us there in Baker’s dray last week, and a mob of station cattle followed us along. Father stopped the dray to look at them. They came up quite close to us.

“Hold the reins a minet,” Father said, “an’ I’ll give the big brindle fellow a start,” and he took up a long rope that was lying in the bottom of the dray. It had been lying in the dray since we had dragged Betsy out of the creek, and one end of it was tied to the axle. Father heaved the rope at the brindle bullock, and it stuck on his horn (there was a loop on it which Father didn’t know of).

“Moses!” Father said, when he saw what he had done.

The bullock plunged and bellowed, and frightened all the others away. Father got excited.

“Weh! Weh!” he shouted, and snatched the reins from Mother to stop the horse from bolting.

“My gracious me, what have y’ done?” Mother said, and tried to jump out, but Father pulled her back.

The bullock ran round and round the dray, and tied us all up in the rope, and reared and fell under the horse’s legs and bellowed.

“Oh, dear, dear!” Mother said, and looked quite white. Then the bullock got on its feet again, and burrowed under the dray and turned it over, and we all fell out.

“My God!” Father said, and Mother screamed.

All of us screamed, and escaped behind trees. But before Father could stop the horse it got away, and bolted through the paddock with the shafts and body of the dray. The bullock kept possession of the axle and the wheels, and dragged them about till he got stuck round a stump. Then, when Father got a chance, he ran in and cut the rope, and the brute galloped away.

“Blarst ’im!” Father said, and went off to see what had become of the horse. But he only saw bits of the harness.

Now Baker thinks it was all Father’s fault, and wants to make him pay for the dray. But Father is going to town to see about it.

For Life and Other Stories - Contents

Back    |    Words Home    |    Steele Rudd Home    |    Site Info.    |    Feedback