His Quest

Edwin Greenslade (Dryblower) Murphy 


It was on the old Kalgoorlie track we met him swagging in,

He was middle aged and ginger, haggard eyed and famine thin

And while he munched some damper and a pannikin of tea

He asked us if we thought he'd catch the Perth express at three.

There was not a watch amongst us, but I reckoned by the sun,

If he cut across the leases it could easily be done,

But Mickey bought a clock to light he'd pinched at Hogan's store

And said "Why strike me purple, what's your blinkin' hurry for?

You've done the rattler in today, you ain't got Buckley's hope

But there's one goes down at night time when the stony brokers slope.

The stranger gulped his gargle and unstrapped his scanty swag

And drew a crumpled letter from a dirtied linen bag.

His wasted hands were trembling and I turned a bit aside,

So as not to see the anguish he was trying hard to hide.

"Is there anything amiss at home?" I said to him at last,

He put the letter back again and tied the laces fast.

"There is", he said, "the worst a man can bump agin' in life,

A bloke that boarded with us has skedaddled with me wife.

I trusted him, I did, my God, and many a time an oft

I fed him when he's not the gilt to pay for what he'd scoffed.

A neighbour sent this letter and he's given me the tip

Where I'll find the pair who made me chuck my job and take this trip."

"Any nippers?" chipped in Mickey with a scowl upon his brow,

"But if for not I'd belt the hide from off the bloomin' cow."

The stranger sighed 'n shook his head and Mickey said "I see,

'Spose they've been and done ya' for a bit of LSD."

"No hope," the stranger murmured, for I hadn't none to take;

"Then," said Mickey, "you mean to maul him just for old acquaintance sake?

A man who shakes his cobbers' wife deserves an ounce of lead."

Again the stranger looked at us and sadly shook his head

"That ain't the trouble mate," he said, "she isn't worth a fight

For ever since I married her we've never hit it right."

"Then wot on earth's your hurry," hollered Mickey with a sniff,

"I f you ain't goin' after boodle and you ain't goin' after biff?"

"Just this," the stranger answered, as he rose from off his log;

"When the pair of blighters bolted, spare me days, they took me dog."



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