December 9, 2019

Supply and Demand part 3

“After this man and me got through our conversation, which left him dry of information, I shook hands with him and told him I was sorry I couldn’t believe him. And a month afterward I landed on the coast of this Gaudymala with $1,300 that I had been saving up for five years. I thought I knew what Indians liked, and I fixed myself accordingly.

I loaded down four pack-mules with red woolen blankets, wrought-iron pails, jeweled side combs for the ladies, glass necklaces, and safety-razors. I hired a black mozo, who was supposed to be a mule- driver and an interpreter too. It turned out that he could interpret mules all right, but he drove the English language much too hard. His name sounded like a Yale key when you push it in wrong side up, but I called him McClintock, which was close to the noise.

One afternoon

“Well, this gold village was forty miles up in the mountains, and it took us nine days to find it. But one afternoon McClintock led the other mules and myself over a rawhide bridge stretched across a precipice five thousand feet deep, it seemed to me. The hoofs of the beasts drummed on it just like before George M. Cohan makes his first entrance on the stage.

“This village was built of mud and stone, and had no streets. Some few yellow-and-brown persons popped their heads out-of-doors, looking about like Welsh rabbits with Worcester sauce on ’em. Out of the biggest house, that had a kind of a porch around it, steps a big white man, red as a beet in color, dressed in fine tanned deerskin clothes, with a gold chain around his neck, smoking a cigar. I’ve seen United States Senators of his style of features and build, also head-waiters and cops.

“He walks up and takes a look at us, while McClintock disembarks and begins to interpret to the lead mule while he smokes a cigarette.

‘“Hello, Buttinsky,’ says the fine man to me. ‘How did you get in the game? I didn’t see you buy any chips. Who gave you the keys of the city?’

‘“I’m a poor traveler’, says I. ‘Especially mule-back. You’ll excuse me. Do you run a hack line or only a bluff?’

‘“Segregate yourself from your pseudo-equine quadruped’, says he, ‘and come inside.’

“He raises a finger, and a villager runs up.

“‘This man will take care of your outfit,’ says he, ‘and I’ll take care of you.’

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