Excerpt: "Mr. Stamford was riding slowly, wearily homeward in the late autumnal twilight along the dusty track which led to the Windhgil station. The life of a pastoral tenant of the Crown in Australia is, for the most part, free, pleasant, and devoid of the cares which assail so mordantly the heart of modern man in cities. But striking exceptions to this rule are furnished periodically. "A dry season," in the bush vernacular, supervenes. In the drear months which follow, "the flower fadeth, the grass withereth" as in the olden Pharaoh days. The waters are "forgotten of the footstep"; the flocks and herds which, in the years of plenty, afford so liberal an income, so untrammelled an existence to their proprietor, are apt to perish if not removed. Prudence and energy may serve to modify such a calamity. No human foresight can avert it. In such years, a revengeful person could desire his worst enemy to be an Australian squatter. For he would then behold him hardly tried, sorely tormented, a man doomed to watch his most cherished possessions daily fading before his eyes; nightly to lay his head on his pillow with the conviction that he was so much poorer since sunrise. He would mark him day by day, compelled to await the slow-advancing march of ruinhopeless, irrevocablewhich he was alike powerless to hasten or evade. If he were a husband and a father, his anxieties would be ingeniously heightened and complicated. The privations of poverty, the social indignities which his loved ones might be fated to undergo, would be forever in his thoughts, before his eyes, darkening his melancholy days, disturbing his too scanty rest. Such was the present position, such were the prospects, of Harold Stamford of Windhgil. As he rode slowly along on a favourite hackneyblood-like, but palpably low in conditionwith bent head and corrugated brow, it needed but little penetration to note that the "iron had entered into his soul.""