It was very still. The small vacant schoolhouse stood on a flat a hundred yards from the Creek, with its little verandah and its rough fence. Everything seemed asleep after the scorching January days of drought, and no wind swept down that night through the gorge at the head of the valley or rumbled like an ocean among the hills. No other human habitation could be seen. There were few signs of life; nothing but a distant curlews melancholy long-drawn cry. Once a native cat climbed the chimney and made his way noisily down inside. Then nothing more might be heard save now and again the awkward flight of a great moth. The strong bright moon sailed across the clear sky and sank behind the western range, leaving a last kiss on the summit of the tallest gum-trees. After that the valley was left to the stars. .I nthe evening an English youth had entered a saloon carriage at Sydney station; he was about eighteen years old and fair; his face was of a slow meditative East-A nglian cast. He carried a small black bag from which he at once drew out a book and began to read. In his pocket were several large official documents, including one which appointed him Teacher of the Half-T ime Schools at Kanga Creek and Blair sC (Typographical errors above are due to OCR software and don't occur in the book.)
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