Western sun, ere he sought his lair, Skimm’d
the treetops, and glancing thence,
Rested awhile on the curling hair Of
Kitty McCrae, by the boundary fence;
Her eyes looked anxious, her cheeks were pale,
For father was two hours late with the mail.
before had he been so late, And
Kitty wondered and wished him back,
Leaning athwart the big swing gate That
opens out on the bridle-track,
A tortuous path that sidled down
From the single street of a mining town.
raven curls and her saucy smile, Brown
eyes that glow with a changeful light,
Tenderly trembling all the while Like
a brace of stars on the breast of night,
Where could you find in the light of day
A bonnier lassie than Kitty McCrae?
the saddle, this girl could ride Like
the fearless queen of the silver bow;
And nothing that ever was lapped in hide Could
frighten Kitty McCrae, I trow.
She would wheel a mob in the hour of need
If the Devil himself were in the lead.
in the shadows’ deepening When
the last sun-spark had ceas’d to burn,
Afar she catches the sullen ring Of
horse-hoofs swinging around the turn,
Then painfully down the narrow trail
Comes Alex McCrae with the Greytown mail.
fever-and-ague, my girl," he said, "'Twas
all I got on that northern trip,
When it left me then I was well-nigh dead,
Has got me fast in its iron grip;
And I'd rather rot in the nearest gaol
Than ride to-night with the Greytown mail.
Golden Gully they heard to-day - 'Twas
a common topic about the town -
That the Mulligan gang were around this way, So
they wouldn't despatch the gold-dust down,
And Brown, the manager, said he thought
'Twere wise to wait for a strong escort.
rode the leaders, the other nags I
left with the coach at the “Travellers' Rest”.
Kitty, my lass, you must take the bags - Postboy,
I reckon's about the best;
'Tis dark, I know, but he'll never fail
To take you down with the Greytown mail."
no further voice to urge This
dutiful daughter to eager haste;
She donned the habit, of rough blue serge, That
hung in folds from her slender waist,
And Postboy stood by the stockyard rail,
While she mounted behind the Greytown mail.
points, the rest of him iron-grey, Boasting
no strain of expensive blood,
Down steepest hill he could pick his way, And
never was baulked by a winter flood -
Strong as a lion, hard as a nail,
Was the horse that carried the Greytown mail;
that really seemed to be Fit
for a hundred miles at a push,
With the old Manaro pedigree, By
“Furious Rising,” out of “The Bush,”
Run in when a colt from a mountain mob
By Brian O'Flynn and Dusty Bob.
Postboy's bosom was filled with pride As
he felt the form of his mistress sway,
In its easy grace, to his swinging stride As
he dashed along down the narrow way.
No prettier Mercury, I'll go bail,
Than Kitty ere carried a Guv’nment mail.
the edge of O'Connor's Hill, They
merrily scattered the drops of dew
In the spanning of many a tiny rill, Whose
bubbling waters were hid from view:
In quick-step time to the curlew's wail
Rode Kitty McCrae, with the Greytown mail.
the Range, by a narrow path Where
towering mountain ash-trees grow,
And a slip meant more than an icy bath In
the tumbling waters that foamed below;
Through the white fog, filling each silent vale,
Rode Kitty McCrae, with the Greytown mail.
forest shadows became less dense, They
fairly flew down the river fall,
As out from the shade of an old brush-fence Stepped
three armed men with a sudden call,
Sharp and stern came the well-known hail:
"Stand! for we want the Greytown mail!"
swerved with a mighty bound, As
an outlaw clung to his bridle rein,
A hoof-stroke flattened him on the ground With
a curse that was half a cry of pain,
While Kitty, trembling and rather pale,
Rode for life and the Greytown mail.
the bags was her only thought As
she bent ‘fore the whistle of angry lead
That follow’d the flash and the sharp report; But,"Oh,
you cowards!" was all she said.
Fast as fast as the leaden hail -
Kitty rode on with the Greytown mail.
no, for a tiny stream On
Postboy's coat left its crimson mark.
Still she rode on, but t'was in a dream, Through
lands where shadows fell drear and dark,
Like a wounded sea-bird before the gale
Fled Kitty McCrae with the Greytown mail.
the crimson life-stream drips, For
every hoof-stroke a drop of blood,
From feeble fingers the bridle slips As
down the Warrigal Flat they scud,
And just where the Redbank workings lie,
She reels and falls with a feeble cry.
horse slacken’d his racing pace When
he found the saddle his only load,
And nervously sniffed at the still, pure face That
lay upturned in the dusty road;
Like a gathered rose in the heat of day,
She droop’d and faded, Kitty McCrae.
Postboy stay by the dead girl's side? Not
he.Relieved of her
He woke the echoes with measured stride, Galloping
up to the postal gate -
Blood, dust, and sweat from head to tail,
A riderless horse with the Greytown mail!
And now a
river-oak, drooping, weeps In
ceaseless sorrow above the grave
On the lush-green flat where Kitty sleeps, Hush’d
by the river's lapping wave -
That ever tells to the trees the tale
Of how she rode with the Greytown mail.