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[54]

“I was rather wild,” he says, “ in my young days, and my father, a Scotch minister, with a large family and a small stipend, was bothered what to do with me. I liked to tear about on ponies, and we had no ponies at the grange. Ha! ha! the dear old dad! He put me on board a ship for Sydney, paid my passage in the steerage, and sent me with a sixpence out into the world. Landing in Australia without a penny in my pouch, I had to take service, anything that offered. A sheep farmer hired me, and I went up country to the runs. A wild life suited me, and after a spell at the diggings, I returned to the runs as partner with my late master, and remained with him three or four years. A man from California gave me the notion of settling here, and I came over with some money and more experience. I stayed in San Francisco five or six weeks, looking round, and feeling for an opening, but the sharpers of that city would have peeled and picked me to the bone. I came down south, and finding two or three ranches in this valley built by English fellows, I thought the place would suit me, and I stayed.”

“ How long ago?”

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