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 Witching Hill
The Witching Hill Estate Office was as new as the Queen Anne houses it had to let, and about as worthy of its name. It was just a wooden box with a veneer of rough-cast and a corrugated iron lid. Inside there was a vast of varnish on three of the walls; but the one opposite my counter consisted of plate-glass worth the rest of the structure put together. It afforded a fine prospect of Witching Hill Road, from the level crossing by the station to the second lamp-post round the curve.
Framed and glazed in the great window, this was not a picture calculated to inspire a very young man; and yet there was little to distract a brooding eye from its raw grass-plots and crude red bricks and tiles; for one's chief duties were making out orders to view the still empty houses, hearing the complaints of established tenants, and keeping such an eye on painters and paperhangers as was compatible with "being on the spot if anybody called." An elderly or a delicate man would have found it nice light work; but for a hulking youth fresh from the breeziest school in Great Britain, where they live in flannels and only work when it is wet or dark, the post seemed death in life. My one consolation was to watch the tenants hurrying to the same train every morning, in the same silk hat and blacks, and crawling home with the same evening paper every night...

 The Shadow of a Man
"And you're quite sure the place doesn't choke you off?"
"The place? Why, I'd marry you for it alone. It's just sweet!"
Of course it was nothing of the kind. There was the usual galaxy of log huts; the biggest and best of them, the one with the verandah in which the pair were sitting, was far from meriting the name of house which courtesy extended to it. These huts had the inevitable roofs of galvanised iron; these roofs duly expanded in the heat, and made the little tin thunder that dwellers beneath them grow weary of hearing, the warm world over. There were a few pine-trees between the buildings, and the white palings of a well among the pines, and in the upper spaces a broken but persistent horizon of salt-bush plains burning into the blinding blue. In the Riverina you cannot escape these features: you may have more pine-trees and less salt-bush; you may even get blue-bush and cotton-bush, and an occasional mallee forest; but the plains will recur, and the pines will mitigate the plains, and the dazzle and the scent of them shall haunt you evermore, with that sound of the hot complaining roofs, and the taste of tea from a pannikin and water from a water-bag. These rude refinements were delights still in store for Moya Bethune, who saw the bush as yet from a comfortable chair upon a cool verandah, and could sing its praises with a clear conscience. Indeed, a real enthusiasm glistened in her eyes. And the eyes of Moya happened to be her chief perfection. But for once Rigden was not looking into them, and his own were fixed in thought...



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