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From there, when it was feasible to make a fresh start, they had to be dragged, some blind drunk, the rest blind stupid from their booze.That had been the hardest job of any: keeping the party together.
And, as he sat, worked on by grief and liquor, he was seized by a desperate homesickness for the old country. He shut his eyes, and all the well-known sights and sounds of the familiar streets came back to him.I have to admit that from the early age of eight or nine onwards, that I had an unhealthy fractionation with beautiful girls dressing up warm for the winter.This stared with many pictorial fantasies from spending hours looking through faction catalogues.They had only been eight in all—a hand-to-mouth number for a deep wet hole.Then, one had died of dysentery, contracted from working constantly in water up to his middle; another had been nabbed in a manhunt and clapped into the "logs." And finally, but a day or two back, the three men who completed the nightshift had deserted for a new "rush" to the Avoca. There was nothing left for him, Long Jim, to do, but to take his dish and turn fossicker; or even to aim no higher than washing over the tailings rejected by the fossicker. He cursed the day on which he had first set foot on Ballarat. " "'Ere, 'ave another drink, matey, and fergit yer bloody troubles." His re-filled pannikin drained, he grew warmer round the heart; and sang the praises of his former life.
He had been a lamplighter in the old country, and for many years had known no more arduous task than that of tramping round certain streets three times daily, ladder on shoulder, bitch at heel, to attend the little flames that helped to dispel the London dark.