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TME



A MINING STORY OF
UNUSUAL INTEREST. CAL-
CULATED TO OPEN THE

EYES OF WOULD-BE
GAMBLERS ON THE STOCK
EXCHANGE. FULL OF DRA-
MATIC SITUATIONS. BOTH AT
THE "GOLDEN KANGAROO"
MINE AND ON 'CHANGE.



BOOKSTALL SERIES .



Second Edition. Tenth Tbousar '.




THE LIBRARY

OF

THE UNIVERSITY
OF CALIFORNIA

LOS ANGELES



Sporting Books.

The "Bookstall" Series- Price 1 - each, Postage "Id.

" The Sport of Kings " has perhaps a bigger hold on Australians
than upon any other nation on the earth. Born amongyi horses,
they love a good mount and rejoice in the emulation that produces
the winners. These sporting books contain rattling racing yarns,
stories of "the ring," and tales of all sorts relating to sporl in
general. Likewise they are all purely Australian.

A ROgUe'S LUCk. By Arthur Wright.

The reader is introduced to the undercurrent of the racing and
boxing fraternity, and is never short of excitement.



Gamblers' Gold. By Arthur

Illustrating the difficulties that beset the path of the gambler,
whether in the Iwo-up school, at the card table, or on the turf.
This story is full of "life" as found at the above-mentioned
places.

The Mare with the Silver Hoof. ByBobAiien.

A rattling racing yarn, dealing with the "tricks of the trade"
as practised in certain circles, and telling how a favourite mare
righted a woman's wrong. A really good story.



Eros! Eros Wins! By*. A gar .

A good horse is not always allowed to win, and many of the
doubtful methods of preventing him are opposed herein.



Rung In.



By Arthur Wright.

An attractive tale of "the turf," with an excellent plot, that
contains scenes and incidents full of fun, fraud, and tragedy.



Are now Obtainable at all Branches and Bookstalls of the

N.S.W. BOOKSTALL CO, Ltd.,

AND ALL BOOKSELLERS.



THOS. E. SPENCER

some years ago earned the reputation of being

Australia's Subtlest Humorist

and the writer of the Best Australian Recitations
and Sketches this side of the Equator.



The List to Date :

Bindawalta
How McDougall

Topped the Score
The Spring Cleaning

The Surprising Ad-
ventures of Bridget
McSweeney

Why Doherty Died
The Haunted Shanty
That Droll Lady



Year after year he has
been maintaining that
reputation, and has never
sent to his publisher any
book that public opinion
has not voted a

DECIDED SUCCESS.

Those who are fond of
GENUINE HUMOUR
and a

HEARTY LAUGH



should start with "BINDAWALLA" and go right
down the list. It can be done for a SHILLING
A SHOT, and will prove money well spent. Every
book teems with SPLENDID RECITATIONS such
as clever amateurs love, and the variety is endless.

Price I/- per Vol. Postage, id.



Are now Obtainable at nil Branches and Bookstalls of tbe

N.S.W. BOOKSTALL CO., Ltd.,

AMD ALL BOOKSELLERS.



THE GOLDEN KANGAROO



Copyrighted, 1913, by A. C. Eowlandson,

for the N.S.W. Bookstall Co., Ltd., 476 George Street,

Sydney, Australia.



Wholly set up and printed in Australia by
Websdale, Shoosmith, Ltd., Sydney.




HE WASHKD HIS HANDS AND FACE IX THK K1VEK.
The Go?<li'H Kangaroo Po>/ ZU



THE GOLDEN KANGAROO



BY

AMBROSE PRATT

F" 1 '"' -

AUTHOR of "Three Years with Thunderbolt,"
"Dan Kelly, Outlaw," &c., &e.



With Frontispiece by Percy F. S, Spence



BYPNEY

N.S.W. BOOKSTALL CO., LTD.

1914

All Dramatic and Picture Itiglitt reserved



CONTENTS

CHAPTER PAGE

I. THE UNDER- WORLD . . . . . . . . 5

II. AN UNPREMEDITATED ELOPEMENT . . . . 13

III. COMPLICATIONS 26

IV. EXPLANATIONS . . . . . . . . . . 36

V. A SUPPER IN THE SHADE . . . . . . 45

VI. SEPARATION 54

VII. THE PRODIGAL RETURNS <>7

VIII. GREEK MEETS GREEK 77

IX. ALAN is ' ' DOPED " 88

X. FREDA 's EVES ARE OPENED . . . . . . 91

XI. A GOOD MAN GOES 98

XI!. MARKET RIGGING AS IT is DONE .. .. 105

XIII. THE STOCK EXCHANGE 117

XIV. ALAN TAKES THE FIELD 126

XV. A STROKE OF LUCK . . . . . . . . 1.''.7

XVI. WITH THEIR Owx WEAPON'S . . . . 1 !!

XVII. DIGGING A PIT 155

XVIII. THE PLOT THICKENS 160

XIX. THE QUARRY SNARED .. .. .. ..167

XX. IN THE CAVE 179

XXI. ALAN PLAYS THE SHOWMAN 189

XXIL THE LAST TRICK 202



PR



CHAPTER I.
THE UNDER-WORLD.

AT a quarter hour short of noon Alan
Brandon left the change house of the Golden
Kangaroo Mine, and, in company with a crowd of
miners, mullockers and truckers (arrayed like him-
self in flannels, dungarees and bluchers) he pro-
ceeded to the time-keeper's window. There he re-
ceived his allowance of "grease" and trudged over
to the shaft head, passing on his way the shift men
who had just come up. At the shaft head a group
of loiterers talked noisily. The men for the lower
levels had gone down, and these were awaiting their
turn. The shift boss detached himself from the
group. "Only half a shift to-day for the six
hundred level, my lads," he announced, "but
you'll all be paid full time."

The miners who had followed Alan raised an
approving cheer. The shift boss hurried off in the
direction of the candle house. Alan glanced en-
quiringly at the loungers. "What's the game?"
he asked.

"Inspection by the Chairman of Directors," one
of them replied.

"Xine hundred!" yelled the brace man sud-

6

1381223



6 THE GOLDEN KANGAROO

denly. The men for that level trooped into the
cage. A bell rang, and the cage vanished.

Alan stared at the quivering, gleaming cable,
lost in thought. Why should there be an inspec-
tion of a level which, according to all report was
about to be abandoned in consequence of a fault
at the end of the workings? Had the Directors
lost faith in the management of Mr. Starke ? And
would the inspection reveal the error in survey
which he, Alan Brandon, had detected? He
remembered having pointed out the error to Mr.
Starke, and the manager's angry acceptance of the
information.

The brace-man's shout, "Six hundred!" re-
called him from his dreaming. The bars were let
down, and a moment later he was cramped in the
dripping cage with a dozen others. The plat man
rang up the engine house and in immediate
response the cage abruptly sank. Alan had be-
come inured to the sensation long ago, but he
alwaj's found a fresh interest in the lights and
shades of the journey into Erebus. The cage
bumped and jolted on the runners fearsoinely.
The sounds of life and work were not. The world
seemed utterly cut off. Presently the cage slackened
speed and halted. The side bars were raised, and
the men trooped out to stand on solid ground again,
six hundred feet below the sunlit surface of the
globe.

Alan passed out with the rest. The familiar
odour of dank earth saluted his nostrils. The
men began to banter each other as they separated
to their several jobs in twos and threes. Alan
stepped into the drive and strode along the truck



THE UNDEK-WOBLD 7

rails, musing silently. He was not popular among
his fellow workers because of that brooding habit
of his. But some of them liked him in spite of it.
One such was his mate, Tarn O'Neil, with whose
mother he "boarded" at the Tinker's Gap. Tarn
was as garrulous as Alan was reticent. He always
found a good listener in Alan, and Tarn loved
nothing better than his own voice. He was very
young for a miner, barely eighteen, but he had
been reared from his cradle "underground," and
was as strong as a bullock. He tramped
behind Alan, loudly chaffing with the others,
and gibing at each section as the men vanished
into the drives branching from the main. The
reverberating rumbling of voice and laughter
gradually died away. Alan and Tarn worked on
the farthest branch drive.

It was timbered with great ten by ten inch
baulks of Oregon. Tarn followed his mate, grumb-
ling fractiously. If this level was going to be
abandoned, why should they waste their time in it ?
Everyone knew that there was not a colour in any
of the truckloads sent up during the last forty or
fifty shifts. And, anyway, it was a dog's life to
work in a stope so badly timbered. A man might
be crushed to death any minute. These and a
score of cognate complaints did Tarn pour forth.
Alan answered not a syllable. Soon he paused and
raised some planks, revealing a black hole, a sheer
descent into Avernus. Silently he lowered himself
into the cavity and step by step downwards on a
quaking ladder he proceeded. Three flights of
ladders and the descent ceased. Crawling between
several great blocks of Oregon Alan slipped at



8 THE GOLDEN KANGAEOO

length into his stope, and stood erect. The atmos-
phere was hot and heavy. The air reeked clammi-
ness, and a curious foetour made it still more
disagreeable. Stepping over a couple of plank-
covered chutes leading to still fouler depths below,
Alan crossed a heap of stone, and leisurely sur-
veyed the empty "sets" which it was his task to
"mullock in." The stope was timbered with
thick driving laths bent bow-like by the pressure of
the "ground" behind. Many of the laths were
bolstered stoutly with heavier baulks. Some were
cracked; all looked perilously overstrained. With
a sigh of resignation Alan took up his shovel and
began to ply it with the monotonous method of the
expert. Tarn O'Neil followed suit, and for an hour
or more his tongue kept up a ceaseless concert with
his blade. Alan worked like a machine. His
thoughts were occupied with the forthcoming
official inspection of the level. What did it mean?
What was the reason of it? Who had inspired it?
He paused, lighted his pipe, and attacked his work
again. Tarn wagged his tongue like a magpie.
Alan mechanically nodded or shook his head at
intervals. Tarn wanted no more. At a quarter
to four Tarn flung down his shovel. "Must be
darned near crib time, mate," he cried. "Me
stomach's askin' if me throat's cut. Spell oh,
laddie!"

Alan threw a final heap of dirt upon- his "set,"
then gaped and stretched his arms.

"What beats me," said Tarn, "is that, never a
boss has been near us the whole of the half shift.
Rummy, ain't it? Wot do you think, Alan?"



THE UNDER-WORLD 9

Alan spoke for the first time. ''Can you work
a plant and keep a tight mouth, Tarn?" he asked.

"Try me!" replied the other, with unusual
brevity. There was a look in his mate's eye that
had set his heart beating queerly.

"I'm going to overlook this inspection if I can,"
said Alan. "I want you to go up when the whistle
blows, and if the shift boss asks after me, tell him
I was taken sick and went up with the C. 700 men
an hour ago."

"But you'll lose your pay, mate."

"I'll put up with that."

"Wot's the game?"

"I have told you."

"You intend to stay down, an' an' "

"Play the spy, Tarn? Certainly. Never fear to
call a spade by its right name, Tarn."

"Wot d'yer expect to find out, matey?"

"I wish I knew, Tarn. Something shady, I'm
afraid."

"I've always said Grid Starke was a rotter," ex-
claimed Tarn excitedly. "Say, Alan, let me stay
with yer. I'd just love to be in the fun."

Alan shook his head. "That would defeat my
purpose. You must go up in order to explain my
absence. You see, they might search the stope."

Tarn nodded a reluctant assent. "But you'll
put me fly to what you find out, won 't you, Alan ? ' '
he asked anxiously.

"Aren't we mates?" demanded Alan.

Tarn's face cleared. "0' course," he declared,



10 THE GOLDEN KANGAROO

and glanced at his Waterbury. "My ticker says
four. I'm off. S'long, Alan. Good-luck!" He
slithered through the baulks and vanished.

Alan Brandon sat down upon a heap of mullock
and wiped his forehead with a knot of cotton waste.
Presently he arose, and blew out the candle that
guttered in a "spider" spiked in a neighbouring
beam. The resultant blackness was a thing to be
felt. Very soon he became aware of sounds, till
then unheard or ignored, which pierced the heavy
stillness of the cavern. The stope was "talking."
Now it was the plaintive crack of straining timbers ;
now a hollow little boom signifying subterranean
movement of some sort; and now again, the swish-
ing sug-sug of trickling earth. He arose at
length with a shudder of relief and proceeded like
a blind man to the ladders. The branch drive was
as dark as the stope he had abandoned, but as he
pulled himself out of the chute hole he heard a
distant hum of voices. With the stealthiest care
he crept down the tunnel. The hum gathered in
crescendo as he moved. Sometimes it broke off
sharply into silence, but each time it was renewed
it had a fresh distinctness. Presently Alan could
detect the timbre of individual voices in the drone.
When he reached the main drive he was amazed to
discover that he was still two hundred paces from
his quarry. He had forgotten to take into account
the wonderful sound-carrying and sound exag-
gerating capacity of the tunnels, so he quickly took
the path again, and when next he paused he could
see and hear distinctly.

Two men were standing on guard near the angle
of the error in survey, which Alan had discovered



THE UNDEK-WOELD 11

a month before, and had reported to the manager,
only to be snubbed severely for his pains. He
knew both well. One was Tug Nicholls, a fore-
man and ex-contractor of the drive, and the other
was a mullocker named Wilson, known throughout
the mine as "Thirsty." Alan bit his lip when he
recognised Tug Nicholls, and all his nebulous sus-
picions were revitalised. Tug Nicholls had
"lined" the drive under the manager's instruc-
tions. Alan sank upon his hands and knees and
crawled along the dank murk between the truck
rails. He halted finally behind an empty truck
within fifteen paces of the talking men. Peering
through the truck wheels he saw that four large
Oregon baulks had been removed from the wall
which they had seemed to have bolstered and sup-
ported, and in the place which they had occupied
there gaped a dull black hole. The baulks were
obviously dummies. Alan put his head between
his hands and gasped. The deviation was ex-
plained. The error in survey had been inten-
tional. No wonder Mr. Starke had rated him for
its detection. The marvel was that he had not been
forthwith driven from the Company's employ.
He remembered that the manager had ordered
him to keep his mare's nest to himself, and he had
given, thoughtlessly, a promise that he would.
Sharply, and with an almost stunning suddenness,
he realised that two men were talking near him,
and that he might do better to listen than to dream.
"How much longer are the blighters goin' to
keep us on the string," said the raucous voice of
"Thirsty" Wilson. "They've had time enough to
catalogue a mint."



12 THE GOLDEN KANGAEOO

Tug Nicholls's deep bass tones replied: ''The
grog shop won't run away from you, Thirsty. Be
patient, my covey. You'll be able to swim in rum
after a bit if you'll only use a bit of common
sense. ' '

''Bosh!" growled Wilson. "I'm tired of hear-
ing that bluff. I want some of the ready to-day,
and, by cripes, I'm going to get it."

Alan Brandon strained his every nerve to listen.



CHAPTER II.
AN UNPREMEDITATED ELOPEMENT.

TUG NICHOLLS appeared to consider his
mate's pronouncement for a moment or two
as though revolving the pros and cons. At length
he said slowly: "I'm not sure it wouldn't be good
policy to demand some ready rhino on account."

"Good policy! 0' course it would," agreed
Thirsty heartily. "Shares is all right in their way,
but you never know where you are with shares
till you sell out, and you never know the right
time to sell 'em, Tug. I've jobbed shares many a
time afore now, and they never did me no good.
If I 'd sell for a rise they 'd fall to blazes, and leave
me cursing ; and if I 'd sell for a fall, as like as not
they'd bolt to glory. Give me the ready, I says,
give me the ready every time."

Tug eyed his companion with a look of tolerant
contempt. "You can pass along your shares to me
if you don't want 'em," he said quietly. "I means
to get shares and money, too."

' ' Oh, you do, do yer ? ' '

"So will you if you ain't a born ijit. Listen

here " He approached Thirsty and his voice

sank to a whisper which Alan Brandon could not

13



14 THE GOLDEN KANGAEOO

catch. The pair whispered together for some
minutes, then on a sudden they started guiltily
apart. The noise of approaching footsteps had
startled them. Presently, too, a hum of voices
could be heard, growing every second more
distinct. Alan counted the seconds.

A sprawled, doubled up figure appeared at the
opening, squirmed through and stood up, sighing
loudly. It was Gideon Starke, the manager of the
mine. After him crept a larger and more portly
person, whose enforced crouching evidently caused
him great distress. He entered the main drive,
puffing like a grampus, and as he straightened, he
uttered a heartrending groan.

"Oh, dear! Oh, dear!" he moaned, as he got
his breath. "Never again, Starke, never again.
Not for ten fortunes. Where the dickens is my
flask?"

The manager, a slim, dark-complexioned man,
with a strong capable looking face, poured some
liquor into a metal cup. He handed the cup
to his companion. "Try that, Mr. Sterling. It
will do you good, I'm sure." He swung round.
"Nicholls!"

"Sir," cried Nicholls.

"Make a seat of those baulks for Mr. Sterling.
Look alive, now!"

Tug and Thirsty hurried to obey. Mr. Sterling
slowly absorbed the liquor. His face was grey in
the candle light, and he looked overdone. Alan
narrowly examined him. He saw a big man, some
trifle short of six feet, perhaps, carrying before
him the suggestion of a paunch. His overalls were
of the largest size, but not too large for him. The



AN UNPEEMEDITATED ELOPEMENT 15

contour of his face was nobly curvilinear. The
mystery of the repeated line enveloped him. He
had cushioned rolls beneath his eyes, and a double
nay, a treble, chin. His face was as smooth as
satin. The nose was fat, but moulded in pre-
dacious curves a feature to inspire respect. The
mouth was large and beautifully shaped. His
forehead was a broad and splendid dome. His
hair w r as long, and white as driven snow.

Mr. Sterling diffused an atmosphere of grand
benevolence.

Mr. Sterling's indisposition soon began to mend.
"Ah!" he presently exclaimed. "Thank goodness
I feel better. The air in that tunnel was deplor-
able, Mr. Starke, simply deplorable. I wonder how
men can work in it. Poor fellows, we must really
devise some means of improving the conditions of
their labour."

Thirsty Wilson could not contain himself.
"You'd oughter visit some of the stopes," he said
vehemently.

Mr. Sterling piously raised his eyes to the jagged
roof. "How true it is," he murmured, "that one
half of the world little knows how the other half
lives. We must make order of this, Mr. Starke ; we
must make order."

"There is not a better ventilated mine in the
Commonwealth," protested the manager, with a
note of tartness in his voice.

"True, true," sighed Mr. Sterling. "No doubt
of it; but there. If I spoke hastily and without
mature deliberation, I apologise. But I meant
kindly, Mr. Starke, nor did I dream of casting any
reflection on your management. I have the utmost



16 THE GOLDEN KANGABOO

confidence in you. Yet, to a lover of his kind, Mr.
Starke, a lover of his kind the the, may I say,

the Good heavens! what was that?" A

shrill whistle had sounded.

"It's the cage," announced the manager, and he
was obviously delighted at the interruption. "I
think, sir, if you feel quite recovered, we ought
to be going up."

"Yes, yes, Mr. Starke, certainly." Mr. Sterling
arose. The manager turned to the two miners.
"Be careful how you restore the baulks, men," he
said sharply. "Do the work thoroughly, and
don't leave a trace of "

"What's that?" cut in Thirsty Wilson. "Put
back the baulks? Cover up our tracks? Keep
up the kid stakes? Not much. Not me! I don't
stir a finger again till I know where I stand. I 've
held off long enough, I have. Old dog Trust is
dead."

Mr. Sterling and Mr. Starke stared at the im-
pudent mullocker as though they distrusted their
senses. The manager looked angry. Mr. Sterling
looked pained.

"What do you want?" demanded Mr. Starke.
"I understand you were satisfied with the arrange-
ment agreed upon ten days ago."

"Did yer? Well, I ain't, and that's straight.
I'm fed up of waiting week after week, and getting
nothing. It's time me and Tug here got a diwy."

Mr. Sterling entered the conversation. "How
much?" he demanded, suddenly. His tones were
brisk and dry. It was singular to note that his
charming aspect of benevolence had completely
given place to an expression of cold disdain.



AN UNPKEMEDITATED ELOPEMENT 17

Thirsty was plainly disconcerted. He glanced at
Tug Nicholls with eyes that begged mutely for
assistance. Tug stepped into the breach. "If
you please, gentlemen," said he, in a cringing
voice, "we'd like a bit of ready on account. Ye
see, Wilson and me is poor men, and "

"How much?" repeated Mr. Sterling.

Tug stopped cringing. Mr. Sterling's eyes were
boring him like bradawls. To hide his discomfiture
he began to bluster.

"I ain't used to be spoken to like a dog," he
declared indignantly. "Us coves may be common
miners, but we know our rights. We are partners
with you in this here plant, and "

"How much?" said Mr. Sterling.

Tug abandoned the unequal contest. "We want
fifty quid apiece," he answered sullenly.

Mr. Sterling nodded. "I shall forward the
money to Mr. Starke to-morrow. The amounts
will be debited against your respective share
interests. But, mark me, my men. No moie of
this. I concede your present demand because you
have been kept waiting. But never again. I'm
not the sort of man to be blackmailed. A bargain
is a bargain. Keep your part loyally or get out
here and now. Don't flatter yourselves that I am
in your power. Tell all you know, and you '11 only
hurt yourselves. Idiots that you are. You'd
hold a pistol to my head, would you ? Bah ! ' '

Two more crestfallen rogues than Tug and
Thirsty never hung their heads before a magistrate.
They had not a word to say. The whip of Mr.
Sterling's tongue had bitten through their hides
and lashed every grain of courage and self-respect



18 THE GOLDEN KANGAEOO

out of their heavy carcases. They were crushed
humiliated to the very dust.

Alan Brandon could have shouted out in admira-
tion. He recognised in Mr. Sterling a master intel-
lect, a very prince of scoundrels, and so tense was
his interest in the discovery that, for a second, he
forgot what he did, and raised his head above the
truck edge the better to appreciate the spectacle of
mind trampling matter underfoot. The movement
was unfortunate, for at the moment Mr. Starke's
eyes were roving down the drive. Alan, crouched
deep in the shadows, but a ray of light must have
touched his forehead. The mine manager uttered
a queer little cry, and, catching up a crowbar and
a candle, he darted towards the truck. Alan had
ducked his head, and for an instant he saw noth-
ing. He heard the approaching steps, however,
and hastily prepared to fight or fly. He was too
late to do either effectively. As he arose the light
of Mr. Starke's spluttering candle sharply re-
vealed his outlines. The mine manager cried, "a
spy!" and hurled his bar. It caught Alan on the
left side, and so forcefully, that the breath was
driven from his body. During his time of helpless-
ness, Tug and Thirsty strove manfully to redeem
themselves in Mr. Sterling's estimation. Rushing
to Mr. Starke's assistance, they attacked Alan, one
with his fists, and the other with a spade. They
worked well, if rather noisily.

Before Alan woke to consciousness the entire
level had been searched for more spies, and a
council of war had been held. The question was,
what to do with the "blackguard?" He had their
secret. They were obviously in his power should



AN UNPKEMEDITATED ELOPEMENT 19

they permit him to escape. Thirsty Wilson sug-
gested keeping him a close prisoner in some old
stope until it would be safe to liberate him. Tug
Nicholls impulsively suggested murder. Mr.
Starke proposed to organise an "accident." Mr.
Sterling's contribution to the discussion consisted
of mordant comment on the stupidity and impru-
dence of his allies. They all talked at once, and
only gradually did a sign of order evolve from
,their excited chatter. At length, however, Mr.
Sterling procured silence, and obtained command
of the floor.

His voice was heard by Alan as in a dream. ' ' We
are in a most regrettable predicament," said Mr.
Sterling. "Another fortnight at least is essential
to the fruition of my plans. This marplot must
be gagged. So much is clear. How to do it is
another matter. Violent measures, as far as I am


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