If nowadays felicity and tranquillity were not the states induced by visions of the Australian frontier, this memoir of an Australian frontierman might be unsettling:
I thought him the personification of everything noble and loveable and this opinion was shared by all at Livingstone Gully. He used to take me on his horse and gallop past the house cracking his stock whip. He played leapfrog, marbles, cricket and handball. He was tall and slight and had the most lovely head of auburn hair, the equal of which I never saw since … remember he could speak the Aboriginal language like a native and there being a blacks’ camp at Livingstone Gully, James Bourke used to call old blackfellows round him and the picaninnies and talk to them and generally would get on his horse and chase them cracking his whip and finish by giving the old men tobacco.
This is not Mary Grant Bruce. It is not a squatter’s widow speaking. Nor a maiden aunt of good descent. It is an old man of the pastoral age.